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Peretz: Arabs are Incapable of Civilization

By Matthew Yglesias

"Peretz: Arabs are Incapable of Civilization"

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It’s strange the kind of sentiments you see considered acceptable among liberal magazine editors-in-chief like TNR‘s Martin Peretz:

Whether the Gaza Palestinians can ever have a truly civil society is another question, the answer to which — given the Arab societies that surround them — is probably ‘no.’

Okay then. In some ways, it’s good to see these sentiments laid out plainly. Disputes between a dominant and subordinate ethnic or religious group are hardly rare in the world. Kurds want independence from Iraq and from Turkey, but Turks and Arabs don’t want to give it to them. But the way these things normally go is that Turkey says Turkish-born Kurds are Turks. They’re citizens of Turkey and carry Turkish passports. This is unsatisfying to Turkey’s Kurdish population, who’s been mistreated in a variety of ways and has various grievances. But you can at least process what the Turkish view of the matter is. With the Palestinians it’s different. They’re not Israeli citizens with Israeli passports, but they’re not citizens of Palestine with Palestinian passports. They’re just a subordinate people. It’s a highly unorthodox situation.

And it’s one I imagine would be a good deal easier to maintain belief in the justice of if you’re able to back it up with some dehumanizing concepts about the inherent limits of Palestinians to go alongside your security rationales.

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