Fading species and dying tongues (NYT)

Joshua Fishman joshuaafishman at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 12 20:54:14 UTC 2003

The Kerim blog (mentioned in your mail for
6/12/'03) also contains a "Middle East" section
that applies to Israel requirements that it does
not apply to the USA, UK, France or Russia, all
of whose occupations of foreign territory go
unchallenged. I have come to view such
one-sidedness as the disguise that antisemitism
adopts nowadays. Israel may not think of itself
as an "occupier" (although there are Israelis who
do publicly hold this view), but neither does the
USA, either with respect to Amerindian
territories or with respect to Grenada,
Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. We must stop making
Israel the whipping-boy for our own personal
sense of guilt and powerlessness. Anti-Israelism,
Anti-Zionism and Anti-Americanism have become
safe masks to hide behind, bringing together a
very motley left/right crew. Much of the
financing of this blindspot comes from the
Saudis, Syria and Egypt, all of whom have found
it easier to whip up hostility against Israel
than to work on democratization and social
justice at home. As a member of "Peace Now" I
fully accept criticism of Israel only if it is
even-handed and also points out the terrorism and
authoritarianism that are rife among its Near
Eastern neighbors and the colonialism that the
West still practices with impunity. To harp away
only at Israel is to seek to delegitimize it and
could lead once more to the anti-Jewish savagery
of the 40's. Isn't the openly anti-semitic
rhetoric of the Arab press a crime? Why do we
chose to overlook it? How can the champions of
small languages and cultures be so blind? Will we
ever learn? Joshua A. Fishman

--- "Harold F. Schiffman"
<haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu> wrote:
> Some members of this list were concerned that
> the New York Times article
> (above) didn't get responded to, or that the
> responses weren't
> coordinated.  Language Policy list members
> maybe interested to know that
> Kerim Friedman <kerim.list at oxus.net>, who is on
> another list I'm on
> (ling-anth) has listed all the responses people
> made to the New York Times
> article on dying languages, on his "blog", at:
> Some responses to the Times were also
> published, but they don't publish
> long letters, so there wasn't much that could
> be said.  Those responses
> are also on Kerim's blog (I think).
> HS

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