Accusing the other side in a debate of a hidden agenda never gets us anywhere. So let’s just not.
In the Israel/Palestine debate, there’s a trap that both sides fall into, repeatedly – and I’m no exception – which makes it more of a mud-slinging event than a discussion. In a nutshell, the trap is claiming the other side has a hidden agenda.
As you may have noticed, I’ve been redesigning the website over the last couple of days. It was one of those things I wanted to do at some point but really wasn’t planning on starting, until I suddenly got sucked into it and started obsessing. I’m sure I’ll still find some little detail to “fix”, then another, then another, but at this point I’m willing to declare the redesign complete and successful.
Of course, if you notice anything that seems off, let me know.
Germans are entitled to opinions and to the choice of whether or not to voice them. We should welcome it when they do – even regarding Israel.
This post is about the Günter Grass poem “What must be said”. If you haven’t read the poem yet, please do so before reading the rest of this post (German/English/Hebrew).
Lisa Goldman shared a NYT piece about how the poem has made more Germans speak up about Israel, sometimes even in ways that make Israeli lefties feel uncomfortable.1
One commenter on Lisa’s post responded: “the creators of Holocaust should keep their mouth shut for the sake of decency”. This would, in and of itself, be a reasonable comment, except that at this point in history, the people actually behind the Holocaust are for the most part dead – a fate far more pleasant than they deserve, as it were – and this kind of comment aims simply to silence all German criticism of Israel. Oddly enough, you don’t hear it when Germans voice opinions supportive of Israeli policy. Continue reading What has to be said – and who has to say it→
This is not to say that Israeli lefties are used to offensive comments about Israel – but that some of the comments Germans are making may be beyond what we accept as honest criticism. [↩]
It’s not every day that you see these words combined: “pronoun causes controversy”. And I’m honestly not a fan of politically manipulating language, especially since I know enough about language to know we know very little about it. But I was still delighted to read this piece on Slate.com:
Earlier this month, the movement for gender neutrality reached a milestone: Just days after International Women’s Day a new pronoun, hen (pronounced like the bird in English), was added to the online version of the country’s National Encyclopedia. The entry defines hen as a “proposed gender-neutral personal pronoun instead of he [han in Swedish] and she [hon].” The National Encyclopedia announcement came amid a heated debate about gender neutrality that has been raging in Swedish newspaper columns and TV studios and on parenting blogs and feminist websites.[…] Continue reading Sweden’s gender-neutral pronoun goes official→
I bumped into an amusing post on an inactive blog. In five quick, tongue-in-cheek points, Evan Lenz explains what grading teaches you:
2. An abdication of responsibility
Grading encourages you to abdicate all responsibility for evaluating your own learning. That’s somebody else’s job. Other people know better about not only what you should be learning but how well you are learning it. This is their game, and it’s your job to play it. Why you would want to learn something, what you would apply it to, what meaning or importance it has for you, what enjoyment you get from it—these are completely irrelevant to your grade. So why even pay attention to these considerations? They are a waste of time. They’re not going to help you pass that next test.
Everything you do is political, because not trying to change anything is simply working to keep things as they are.
There’s a song by Skunk Anansie called Yes, It’s Fucking Political. I don’t it hear often, but I’m hearing right now. When I first heard it several years ago, I don’t think I really understood it. “Yes, it’s fucking political! / Everything’s political!” Seemed kind of vague. I only really understood it a few months ago, reading an interview in unerzogen magazin with a couple who decided not to tell anyone outside the family about their young child’s biological gender. The point was made there with incredible clarity, and I’d like to argue it here. Continue reading Everything’s political→