Salolainen’s comment about USAmerican Jews exposes a wider problem in Finland

by , under Enrique

National Coalition Party MP Pertti Salolainen got himself in hot water Saturday due to a comment he made on YLE Aamu TV morning talk show about USAmerican Jews, reports Helsingin Sanomat. The vice chairman of the foreign policy committee said that American Jews have vast control over the wealth and media in the United States. As a result, this hinders Washington from remaining neutral toward the Palestinians. 

You can read about Salolainen’s statement on the Jerusalem Post as well.

In my opinion, the biggest mistake that Salolainen did was making such a gross generalization in the first place. USAmerican Jews may control part of the country’s wealth and media, how much is another point.

Moreover, for a vice chairman of the foreign policy committee to make such a generalization adds salt to Salolainen’s inopportune comment.

So what’s the lesson we should learn from Salolainen’s mistake?

Never generalize about ethnic and religious groups because you are going to get yourself in big trouble especially if that group has the means to defend itself.

Too many politicians and policy-makers in this country make similar generalizations about immigrants and other ethnic groups.

This explains in party why their policies and expectations aren’t realistic. They are based on stereotypes and myths that aren’t simply true.

 

 

  1. Farang

    But can’t you see that in this case the generalization was not only relevant, but necessary.

    Let’s take another example: In Finland we have lots of christians. Now, some people want to separate church from the state. And for that there are lot of opposition in Finland. And why? Because of the christians. That is totally relevant generalisation to say that because of christians the separation of state and church is not going forward.

    • Mark

      Farang

      But can’t you see that in this case the generalization was not only relevant, but necessary?

      The only thing this kind of comment and its defence reveal is utter ignorance.

      For a start, there is divided opinion within Islael and in the USA about what exactly is an appropriate response to the Palestinian question.

      Second, the idea that control of a newspaper or wealth would automatically mean that Washington would remain ‘neutral’ towards Israeli issues lacks an understanding of American politics and the media. For a start, one in two Jews in the US vote Democrat and only one in six vote Republican, even though Republicans typically support a harder line over the Palestinians.

      Obama has stated unequivocably that the Palestinians should have their own state and that Israeli settlements in pre-1967 Palestinian territories do NOT have legitimacy.

      Third, Democrats have favoured talks while seeking Palestinians to accept Israel’s right to exist, to reject violence and to abide by existing agreements. The Republicans recognised that Israel does not need to negotiate with ‘terrorists’, including Hamas and Hezbollah.

      So, Democrats have been seen to be pro-Palestinian, while also maintaining a strong allegiance to supporting Israel, which is after all, one of the few functioning and healthy democracies in the region.

      So, you think generalisations are okay? Clearly you haven’t a fucking clue, Farang, as per usual, about the real issues in the US, in Israel, or even where anyone stands on them.

  2. Toiset Soundit

    Generalizing about Jews as infiltrating money and power echelons in a disproportianal manner, is a remnant of anti-semitism. Poreover it is irrelevant with regard to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

    However Mark, I strongly disagree with you on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Israel is not what I would call a democracy, it’s a European colonial state, based on a racist (zionist) ideology. A state which illegaly occupies Palestinian teritories, uses torture on a daily basis, terrorizes the Palestinian population, not only by the daily routine checks at border controls, but also by the economic blocade it imposes on the Palestinians.

    Considering the Palestinians and Israeli state machine as two aquals is just a plain denial of the power imbalance between these two, i.e. between victim and aggressor.

    With regard to the USA: the difference between dems and reps is a futile one. It boils down to the same thing all over again: support of an aggressive war-mongering state.

    Shalom and salam on to you

  3. Mark

    Toiset Soundit

    Considering the Palestinians and Israeli state machine as two aquals is just a plain denial of the power imbalance between these two, i.e. between victim and aggressor.

    That’s an oversimplification of the situation. There is not ‘good guy – bad guy’ simplicity to this. There is palestinian terrorism, which at one point in Israeli history saw weekly terrorist attacks within Israel. Then there is the complete lack of proper democratic institutions within Gaza that would bring security or a justice system. This is as much a result of the split within the Palestinian movement as Israeli bombing.

    The issue I have with the Israelis is disproportionate use of force. The whole world has an issue with Israel over that, including a great many Jews living in other parts of the world. There are hard-headed stubborn idealists and militants on both sides of the conflict and there are victims on both sides. Now, Israel is holding Gaza hostage, but that is because of Hamas coming to power, which have yet to recognise Israel’s right to exist. Israel has recognised the right of Palestine to exist.

    All in all, you are trying to present this issue from one side only, in my view, and missing the enormous historical and political complexity of the situation.

  4. Toiset Soundit

    How ironic you should say that I am missing out on the enormous political and historical complexity of the situation.

    Again, you present the conflict as being one where two parties are of equal power. There is a disbalance of power in the relationship between Israel and palestine.

    Palestine terrorism is actually resistance of a people oppressed by a military occupying force. Compare it to the actions of the ANC.

    The fact that there are no proper democratic institutions in Palestine territory is your interpretation of democracy my friend. Hamas was elected in fairly organized elections. The fact they do not recognize the state of Israel is comprehensible. After all Israel occupies their land. And for Israel recognizing Palestine? Yeah right, in words maybe. Haven’t you noticed how the Israeli government responded to the granting of the non-member status at the UN of Palestine?

    The fact that Palestine is devoid of so many things, amongst others all kinds of infrastructure (mostly paid for by the EU), is because Israel systematically destroys it.

    I recognize the complexity of the situation, but I also recognize the fact that Israel has occupied Palestine, up until today continues to do so and also wages wars, discriminates against the black Falasha’s, and its Arab citizens (within the borders of Israel proper), kills and maims children and women, all this since 1948 (nakba).

    Honestly I think a two-state solution is the most realistic one, since then Jews living in Palestine also need to have a right to live on the land where they were born. But the first step should come from Israel.

    • Mark

      Again, you present the conflict as being one where two parties are of equal power. There is a disbalance of power in the relationship between Israel and palestine.

      Actually, I don’t present it like this. But it’s important to recognise that terrorism likewise entails an imbalance of power, where a very small minority attempt to hold the majority to ransom through acts of terror. And any state that seeks to protect itself against such a threat is by definition bringing far greater resources to the table, though they might still not be effective. It only takes one bad apple, as they say.

      Hamas was elected in fairly organized elections.

      Yes, but they weren’t elected to promptly stage a military coup, assasinate a great many of their political opponents and then abolish all democratic institutions and replace them with a military junta, were they? Perhaps you don’t fully appreciate the significance for the peace road map of Fatah being expelled from Gaza?

      The fact that Palestine is devoid of so many things, amongst others all kinds of infrastructure (mostly paid for by the EU), is because Israel systematically destroys it.

      Hmmm. Perhaps you don’t realise that Israel is not going after the civilian infrastructure per se, but rather diminishing Hamas’s military capability. The fact that Hamas occupy public buildings and place their military installations in built up areas is a rather cynical attempt by Hamas to use ordinary Palestinians as human shields. I’m not saying that Israel isn’t going too far, but one fact is inescapable, Hamas concentrate a vast majority of their resources towards building and maintaining a military force. The rocket attacks are a constant act of aggression.

      The fact they do not recognize the state of Israel is comprehensible.

      No, it is incomprehensible. Do you recognise Israel as a state and its right to exist? It takes two to make the walk towards peace, and each step must be made in unison. Either party that says they will not work towards peace until the other side concedes is an enemy of peace. This operates on both sides. There should be no preconditions to talks. That’s just putting a barrier up to the peace process. But both sides are doing it. Israel is extending settlements, knowing that this is an effective stall of the process, while Fatah are likewise demanding a settlement freeze as a precondition. Israel is stalling because they are pandering to hardline Israelis. So, the minorities are dictating the state of play, while the entire population suffers the consequences.

      But politics is never a single issue, and neither is the Palestinian problem.

  5. Toiset Soundit

    Ok, here we are on the slippery slope which is the discussion on the Palestine-Irael conflict. I respect your opinion, but I also know my facts on this one and I look at it from another perspective altogether.

    Maybe let’s not get this topic off track (also my bad :-)), after all the issue at hand here were the somewhat dumb generalizing statements of Mr. Salolainen, which I fully reject.

    Again sjalom salam peace unto you (it’s almost joulu after all…)

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