Tuesday, September 24, 2002

China = Israel?
I used to see myself as a supporter of the Tibetan cause. I flew the flag of Free Tibet on my car bumper, joined IFTIP (Israeli Friends of the Tibetan People) and went to see the Dalai Lama speak when he last visited Israel.

Then, some time ago, I saw a program about China, on Israeli TV, in which an academic expert on China said a few words about the Chinese side of the Tibet issue. It was very eye opening. I suddenly realized that I knew far too little about the conflict and all my information came from one side.

I have noticed that many claims pro-Palestinians regularly make about what Israel does to the Palestinians are very similar to atrocities I’ve heard and read that are ascribed to China with regard to Tibet. I’m talking about claims such as using the territories as a toxic waste dump, ethnic cleansing, unrelenting racist discrimination, indiscriminate murder of innocents and so on. You know the score. It is all suspiciously similar to what they’re saying about China and Tibet. And it’s more or less the same sort of people who are saying these things in both cases.

I know China is a very different kind of country, which still propagates its ideologies forcefully, and puts people who think differently in prison. Therefore China cannot really be compared to Israel.

I think Tibet should have freedom, just as I believe the Palestinians should have a state, when they can prove themselves trustworthy. But I have begun to wonder if the Chinese are really as wicked as they are made out to be, with regard to Tibet.