Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

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In this latest article by Jeff Halper, former professor at Tel Aviv University, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, winner of the Kant World Citizen Prize 2009, and founder of the Israeli peace activist group, Israel Committee Against House Demolition, he provides a run down of the options available to Obama in dealing with the right wing Likud government now in power in Israel. Entitled, NETANYAHU CHOOSES WAREHOUSING (not yet available on site), it was written a few days ago on May 25, 2009 and mailed out to supporters.

Would Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu say the magic words "two states" after his meeting with President Obama? All Israel held its breath. (He didn't). The gap between the two is wider than those words could ever have bridged, however. Obama, I believe, sincerely - perhaps urgently - seeks a resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, a precondition, he understands, to getting on with larger, more pressing Middle Eastern issues. Netanyahu, who rejects even the notion of a Palestinian mini-state as grudgingly accepted by Barak, Sharon and Olmert, is seeking a permanent state of "warehousing" in which the Palestinians live forever in a limbo of "autonomy" delineated by an Israel that otherwise encompasses them. The danger, to which we all should be attuned, is that the two sides might compromise on apartheid - the establishment of a Palestinian Bantustan that has neither genuine sovereignty nor economic viability.

For his part, Obama seems to understand the strong linkage between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the hostility towards the West so prevalent in the Muslim world. His administration has been quite candid about the need to move forward on Palestine in order to deal with the Iranian nuclear issue, and his ability to withdraw from Iraq, stabilize Afghanistan and Pakistan and deal with the challenge political Islam poses to the "moderate" Arab states also depend, to a meaningful degree, on forging a new relationship with the Muslim world , which requires an end to the Israeli Occupation.

Yet ending the Israeli occupation is furtherest from Netanyahu's mind, who still seems focused on  continuing the colonization through what he calls "natural growth" expansion of settlements.  Netanyahu's latest effort to defy Obama is to offer the dismantling of some illegal outposts, while continuing to build only in existing settlements, a plan that would potentially double the population of Israelis living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including the populations of large settlements (let's just call them what they are, cities) located beyond the Wall.

According to Halper, Netanyahu and his Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are in the process of "reframing" the conflict: Here's how (details in article):

(1) The Iran threat is preeminent, uniting the US and Israel into a strategic alliance and completely overshadowing the Palestinian issue...

(2) Such "slogans" (as Lieberman characterized them) as occupation, settlements, settlers, land for peace and even the "simplistic" two-state solution must be abandoned in order to "go forward" according to a new slogan: "economy, security, stability" - meaning improving the Palestinian economy while ensuring Israel's security.

(3) Israel will continue to expand its "facts on the ground."

(4) "United Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. It will never again be partitioned and divided." (Netanyahu two days after meeting Obama)

(5) Both the US and Israel seek broader involvement in the peace process by the Arab states, but once again, Israel has its own particular spin on that. While the US is formulating a comprehensive approach to peace and stabilization in the entire Middle East region, Israel's formula of putting "economic peace" before any politically defined peace agreement tries to create a state of normalization between Israel and the Arab/Muslim world that would relegate the Palestinian issue indefinitely to the back-burner.

Then there all the mechanisms for delaying or undermining negotiations:

· Creating insurmountable political obstacles, such as the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a "Jewish state."

· Delayed implementation. OK, the Israeli government says, we'll negotiate, but the implementation of any agreement will wait on the complete cessation of any resistance on the part of the Palestinians. (Another impossible provision: pacification.)

· Declaring a "transitional" Palestinian state. If all else fails - actually negotiating with the Palestinians or relinquishing the Occupation not being an option - the US, at Israel's behest, can manage to skip Phase 1 of the Road Map and go directly to Phase 2, which calls for a "transitional" Palestinian state before, in Phase 3, its actual borders, territory and sovereignty are agreed upon. This is the Palestinians' nightmare: being locked indefinitely in the limbo of a "transitional" state.

In conclusion, Halper concedes that a real two-state solution is anathema to the Likud-led government and that the best term to describe what Israel intends for the Palestinians is warehousing,"a permanent state of control and suppression in which the victims disappear from view and their situation, emptied of all political content, becomes a non-issue."

Without significant pressure, the Obama administration's call for a viable two-state solution, even understanding all of Israel's tricks, will not be answered. Israel's trump card has always been Congress, where it enjoys bi-partisan support. The leaders of Obama's own party may balk at pressuring Israel, fearful of not being re-elected. AIPAC is still a force to deal with in Washington.

What Halper sees as the most disturbing possible outcome of Obama's peace initiative is "compromise" between resolution of the conflict and the inability to get Israel to withdraw from the Occupied Territories so that a viable Palestinian state may emerge. Such a compromise may nothing less than Apartheid, even though other euphemisms may be invoked.

Where does Obama stand? According to Halper, there already are signs that "the Obama administration will allow Israel to keep its major settlement blocs, including a "Greater" Jerusalem, and prevent the Palestinians from having sovereign borders with the neighboring Arab states." Such outcomes would suggest that Obama is prepared to fold under pressure.

Halper's last word: "Israel believes that it can finesse an apartheid situation in the guise of a two-state solution."

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions is based in Jerusalem and has chapters in the United Kingdom and the United States. I will try to inform when Halper's article appears on ICAHD sites. Here they are:

www.icahd.org
www.icahduk.org
www.icahdusa.org

Permissions granted.

Tags: Apartheid, Israel, Jeff Halper, Netanyahu, obama, Palestine (all tags)

Comments

100 Comments

Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

 I can fully understand your gripe against Bibbi, but I don't understand how you can place the responsibility for success or failure at the feet of Obama. History has clearly shown that actions or lack of actions (ala GWB) by US Presidents effect the IP death spiral in very transient and insignificant ways. Maybe a few hundred more of your diaries will help. We shall see.

by QTG 2009-05-27 09:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

Change "your gripe" to "Halper's gripe" and you will be closer to the truths voiced in this diary. I have enormous respect for Jeff Halper's views which I had to paraphrase here. I've learned from them as have others. He's a fine example of what an Israeli peace activist should be: a truth teller. And he's not alone. However, I could never take credit for his insights about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

by MainStreet 2009-05-27 10:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

 But he has accomplished no more than Obama. Should we blame him, too?

by QTG 2009-05-27 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

I don't think Halper is blaming Obama, who should be lauded for his strong support of the two state solution. What he is concerned about is what that solution will actually look like if implemented under political pressures to compromise.

Perhaps the best one can say is that Obama can tell the difference between a sovereign, independent and continguous state and an Apartheid bantustan. But at this point, Netanyahu has drawn the lines: the Jordan Valley will always be a part of Israel (there goes the borders of an independent state), Jerusalem will never be divided (there goes the Palestinian capital), and no right of return (UN Resolution 194) for the 5 million Palestinian refugees from 1948 (there goes Palestinian acceptance).

by MainStreet 2009-05-27 10:56AM | 0 recs
Yep

the only thing Obama could do would be to take a really really hard line, threaten to cut off all aid.  That would be politically impossible.  I have little hope that this situation will improve in the next 8 years.

by JJE 2009-05-27 01:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Yep

Everyone hopes that Obama can do better than his predecessor, who of course did nothing. George Mitchell is the frontman on this issue, and with Hillary and Obama behind him, I suspect we will see more action than the stalemate and obfuscation of the past 8 years.

This is really a last chance at peace, and think the administrations knows it.

by MainStreet 2009-05-27 01:26PM | 0 recs
But

I don't see much likelihood of success.  I don't see what Obama could do that would make Israel get serious and also be politically possible domestically.  I think a serious change in direction will have to come from Israeli domestic politics, not the US.

by JJE 2009-05-27 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: But

Obama only has to instruct the US delegation to the UN to stop vetoing security council resolutions.  That way, it is not the US that forces Israel to a bargaining stance, but the rest of the world, including all NATO allies, who routinely vote against Israel when given a chance.  

Israel's policy to make the Palestinian people permanently warehoused and stripped of rights is now, and has always hung on the tenuous thread of US support.  One passed vote in the security council will lead to massive and sudden change, and allow hardcore international diplomacy to work.  

by Winston Smith 2009-05-28 03:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

"He's a fine example of what an Israeli peace activist should be: a truth teller"

No.

You select only the arguments that work in favor of your ultra-biased viewpoint.

And demanding Israel be recognized as a Jewish state is quintessential to its survival in its current form, and they will rightfully not cede that.

How about not being tolerant of the religious intolerance exhibited by the Palestinian Leaders on this issue. Israel has the right to declare itself a Jewish state, and to make that an obstacle for peace is intolerance. It's as simple as that.

by ThemRights 2009-05-27 10:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

Israel has the right to declare itself a Jewish state if it does so democratically.  All any other state is obligated to do is recognize Israel's right to do so and normalize relations with a peace treaty.  The rest is just gamesmanship and obstruction.

As for your crack about the religious intolerance of Palestinian leaders, you need some more specifics there.  The FATAH leadership has committed publicly to accepting Israel's right to self-determination and to live with it in peace in exchange for 22% of historic Palestine and reciprocity within a permanent peace accord.  If you are going to argue that they can't be trusted, which I disagree with, then why would adding an endorsement of Zionism solve your problem?

Here's my diary on this very subject:

http://www.mydd.com/story/2009/5/22/1158 25/461

by Strummerson 2009-05-27 10:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

You say, "Israel has the right to declare itself a Jewish state if it does so democratically."

Well, the result of that democratic process is easy to call: 80% Israelis are Jewish, 20% are Muslim or other. Or if you want to think ethnically, Jewish versus Arab or other.

What would Thomas Jefferson say if he were living today? And I said today.

by MainStreet 2009-05-27 11:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

I'm also not clear on why Strum is apparently insisting on this recognition of "Israel's right to do so,"  but that I will leave alone.

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-27 11:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

The same way Iran has a right to declare itself an Islamic republic and operate as a theocracy.  That's exactly what "the right to self-determination" is.  It doesn't mean anyone else needs to endorse Islamic theocracy, or theocracy of any sort.

You'll recall that I have frequently opposed political Zionism.  One of my reservations about the two state approach is that I am not eager to preserve it, as that's what this will do.  But other considerations outweigh that.  As an Israeli citizen, I would vote against such language.  There are many other things I would likewise alter.

The point is that states have a right to determine themselves.  If a majority of any state does so, as long as they do not violate the human and civil rights of minorities (which I think would possibly continue and need to be opposed after a two state agreement) other states are bound to recognize their right to do so.  It doesn't mean they have to agree that it's a valid mode of self-determination.

It's really not very difficult.

by Strummerson 2009-05-27 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

Again though, why this insistence on such recognition.  The recognition is either implied, and thus irrelevant, or disputed and still irrelevant.

My rights are not predicated on your recognizing them, only your not violating them.  I certainly have no intrinsic right to your formalized "recognition" of my rights (indeed, demanding such recognition probably is a violation of your own rights).

Iran has a right under international law to declare itself an Islamic republic.  It has no corollary right to a formal recognition of that right.

Yes indeed, not that difficult at all.

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-27 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

Oh, please.  This is exactly my point.  We recognize under international law the rights of states to determine themselves.  My point, and the main point you failed to grasp though you claimed to have read my diary on it, is that Israel's insistence on such recognition is obfuscating gamesmanship.  Nothing is required beyond the implicit recognition of another state's right to exist and determine itself that accompanies a permanent peace treaty and normalization of diplomatic and economic relations.

Everyone who wanted to understood that.  Only those two of you who are chronically suspicious of my motives and twist anything and everything I write into some perverse and counter-productive light due to some weird obsession with my clandestine anti-progressivism seem not to grasp this.

Witch hunt someone else for a change.

by Strummerson 2009-05-27 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

Again, Strum, take it easy.

If you'd dialed down your sense of being persecuted just a bit you might have noticed that I wrote "Strum is apparently insisting."

I did not presume to know whether you were or not.

Still don't understand why you wrote it, but if by saying:

"All any other state is obligated to do is recognize Israel's right to do so and normalize relations with a peace treaty"

you really were saying nothing more than:

"All any other state is obligated to do is normalize relations with a peace treaty"

then we are in full agreement.

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-27 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

I'm lying.  I really want to lure everyone here into a delusion so I can pursue the occupation and Jewish hegemony.

You are the only one perceptive to pick up on the ambiguity there where I reveal my "true" position.

by Strummerson 2009-05-27 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

Strum, if you think I'm crazy, then please clarify for a crazy man.

By the former did you in fact mean the latter, or not?

And if not, why?

And if so, I'm glad to have asked for clarification.

by YuedoTiko 2009-05-27 12:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

It doesn't matter either way.  You've proven my disingenuousness to yourself.  What does it mean then when I tell you I'm lying?  That I'm not lying, because I always lie?  Or does my confession that you are correct to doubt my honesty and further claim that I always lie, mean that I am lying about lying and therefore telling the truth?

This is the problem when you decide to go on a mission to discredit someone on this basis.  There is nowhere to go from here.

I suggest we just stay out of one another's way.  I'm sure you can find someone else to play with.

by Strummerson 2009-05-27 12:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

It has often been noted by political analysts that Israel is already an ethnocracy by the way its laws have been construed by the High Court, which permits at least 20 separation laws, laws which permit separation between Jews and Arabs, to stand. They are not much different from the separate but equal laws that permitted whites and Blacks in the US to live separately.

Those laws were stricken, as we all know, by the Warren Court.

So yes, it is really very difficult to watch a people whose ancestors were subjected to similar laws in Germany in the 1930s going for this kind of thing. The Holocaust deserves better than this. And maybe that's why the children of Holocaust survivors in Israel today form a large proportion of the members of peace organizations.

by MainStreet 2009-05-27 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

Agreed.  Hence my aversion to political Zionism.

by Strummerson 2009-05-27 11:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

In 60 years Israel has never seen fit to make such declarations that it be recognized as a Jewish state. In fact, it was recently pulled out of the hat for what is apparently another stumbling block to avoid peace negotiations. How can Israel be Jewish state if 20% of its citizens are not Jewish? And when one adds to that the demand for loyalty oaths from Israeli citizens who are not Jewish, you can see what is coming down the road: the transfer of Israeli Arab citizens from Israel proper, which Lieberman (and, believe or not, Henry Kissinger, who was raised in a liberal democracy called America) has also proposed.

Have we ever heard of any other country making such a proposition and requirement, that would alienate a significant portion of its citizens?

by MainStreet 2009-05-27 11:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

You are entitled to your opinion, which seems largely subjective, incidentally, but so are the other users on this site.  You are not permitted to troll rate other users just because you disagree with them:


Do not troll rate (rating as 1) another user's comment unless it is a comment that is an attack on another user. Do not hide (rating as 0) a comment unless it is an abuse of the guidelines. Abusing this privilege will result in all your ratings being erased and/or getting a warning, or being banned.

About MyDD

Them's the rules.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-27 01:45PM | 0 recs
Not a religious issue to the Palestinians

There are thousands of Palestinian Jews who live in peace with Palestinian Christians and Muslims under occupation.  Palestinians have never had a problem with Jews, but with the Jewish European colonists who took for themselves the right to ethnically cleanse an Arab land to found an apartheid  state.  

The question I always ask the Israeli apologists is what do you do with the Palestinians?  Annex the territories, grant full equality and citizenship with the right to return to cities from which they were ethnically cleansed, the right to buy property and to participate fully in a democratic government?  

Or do you suggest a withdrawal from lands occupied but not annexed, and allow the Palestinians to form an independent nation, which includes the right to control airspace, water aquifers, form alliances and raise a military?

For the typical Machivellian "the ends justifies the means" Israel apologist, neither choice is acceptable, which is why the strategies described in this post are right on point.  As I explained earlier in the thread, just one US vote in the UN security council would begin to unravel the decades-long delaying tactics of Israel.  

by Winston Smith 2009-05-28 04:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Not a religious issue to the Palestinians

I agree with most of this post.  But this is a bit perplexing:

"There are thousands of Palestinian Jews who live in peace with Palestinian Christians and Muslims under occupation."

Prior to Zionism's development in the early 20th century there were indeed communities of Jews who lived primarily in Jerusalem, Hebron, Safed, and Tiberias.  And you are correct that they lived in peace with others.  However, the Arab resistance to Zionism prior to statehood resulted in a massacre in Hebron that caused the rest of the community to flee.  There were other instances of violence between Jews and non-Jews as well.

But you seem to claim here that the descendants of those pre-state and pre-Zionist communities have maintained an identity separate from the Zionist state and now live in the occupied territories among Palestinians with whom they identify.  Except for isolated cases of a few individuals, certainly not thousands or even hundreds, this is simply not true.  There are indeed non-Zionist Jews in Israel who dissent from its policies, as well as dissenters who consider themselves Zionists.  But they affiliate culturally with Israeli Jews far more than Palestinian Muslims and Christians.

by Strummerson 2009-05-28 05:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Not a religious issue to the Palestinians

Well, first there are the Samaritans (descendants of the Kingdom of Israel, as opposed to most modern Jews who are descendants of the Kingdom of Judea, and the Babylonian exile.)  There is a question about whether these too groups recognize each other as Jewish, but both clearly claim the religion as their own.  A current  population of around 400 Samaritans live as Palestinian Jews under occupation.

Then there are  the Jewish Palestinians, most of who are recognized as full citizens of Israel, but clearly identify themselves as Palestinians.  Before partition 11% of Palestinians were Jewish, and many live under occupation, especially in Jerusalem.  There are several notable anti-zionist Palestinian Jews.

Uri Davis, an Israeli citizen, academic, activist and observer-member in the Palestine National Council living in the Arab town of Sakhnin, identifies himself as an "anti-Zionist Palestinian Jew".[2][3]
Davis's use of the term is best exemplified by his explanation that: "I don't describe myself as a Palestinian Jew, I actually happen to be a Palestinian Jew, I was born in Jerusalem in 1943 in a country called Palestine and the title of my birth certificate is `Government of Palestine'. That is neither here nor there, though. It is significant only in a political context in which I am situated, and the political context that is relevant to my work, my advocacy of a critique of Zionism. I'm an anti-Zionist Jew."

by Winston Smith 2009-05-29 06:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Not a religious issue to the Palestinians

Again, I am sympathetic to your general intent, but it serves no one to twist things out of context and exaggerate them.

1. Samaritans are not Jews.  They are distinct, no matter what theory one ascribes to with regard to their origins.  Members of the small community that resides in Holon sometimes intermarry with Jews and identify with Israel.  The Nablus community indeed identifies with Palistinians, but they certainly do not identify as Jews.  Etymologically, if one holds with their own claim of origins in antiquity, they are also not "Jews" as they neither descend from the tribe of "Judah" nor from the southern Kingdom of Judah, nor from the Roman province of Judea.  And as you say, there are only a few hundred of them.

2. I acknowledged that there us a small handful of individual Jews who descend from the pre-State Jewish community and identify with the Palestinians or who descend from Zionist immigrants but still identify with the Palestinians.  Uri Davis fits in here.  Far far far more common are those who descend from the Jewish community in the region from before Zionist immigration who now fully identify as Israelis.  I was once engaged to an Israeli who could trace her family back at least 8 generations in Jerusalem.  

3. Nothing in this response backs up your claim of thousands of Jews who identify with the Palestinians and live under occupation with them peacefully.  Such a claim is at best an enormous exaggeration.  There is no significant Jewish constituency that satisfies such a description.  It sounds good.  But anyone who knows anything about the demographics of the region will find it nonsensical.  Advocacy like this seems well intentioned, but its not worth the price in credibility.

by Strummerson 2009-05-31 04:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Livni must have read Halper's article.

Livni brands road map peace plan as 'bad' for Israel

 

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni on Tuesday called the road map peace plan "bad" for Israel, in the wake of Foreign Minster Avigdor Lieberman's repeated statements in support of the United Nations-backed initiative.

She said Israel should rather opt for the Annapolis parameters, launched in 2007, which stipulate direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

"According to the plan, a final-status agreement will only be reached in its third stage; as such, there will be an excuse not to talk. Refraining from talking will bring us to a situation in which we won't have a partner for talks," Livni, the Kadima chairwoman, told Army Radio.

(snip)

Her comments came despite a declaration by Netanyahu during a trip to the United States last week that Israel was prepared to relaunch peace talks with the Palestinian Authority immediately.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1088 326.html

 

Wonder why Lieberman would condone the Road Map but not Annapolis? Now we know. Pretty slick.

by MainStreet 2009-05-27 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

You clearly lack the fundamental insight, understanding, and awareness behind the need to keep Israel a Jewish state.

MainStreet, instead of just spewing borderline Israeli-hate speech here, how about being upfront and listening your biases or at least your background in being so vocal in all your incredibly slanted posts here, because I want at least an idea of where you're coming from.

Especially when you lack, like I said, the fundamental insight, understanding, and awareness behind the need to keep Israel a Jewish state.

Israel is not like the United States, the UK, France, etc. It doesn't matter what Thomas Jefferson would say.

It was founded strictly with the intention of being a Jewish state and a Jewish stronghold. The world has made that necessary.

It's one thing to be for Palestinian causes, including two states, and a call to bring stability to those people. It's one thing to stick up for Arab rights in Israel. It's one thing to be critical of Israel's government.

But there's a reason that people that are anti-Israel or anti-Zionist are often called anti-Semitic -- because they lack the empathy and understanding of why a Jewish state was needed, and needs to be protected.

To go around calling it apartheid is hate speech, and I will stand by idly and watch it go unchecked like it has been. It's wrong.

by ThemRights 2009-05-27 11:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

We haven't seen the Anti-Semitic card thrown about here for some time. It indicates a kind of last resort argument.

Why not try to look at the issues instead and see why people like Gary Ackerman (D-NY) are now talking openly about Zionism gone wrong, at least the Likud variety.

by MainStreet 2009-05-27 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

I wonder if there is a corrolary to Godwin's law that covers this.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-27 01:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

I got a chuckle out this point, but I don't know. Perhaps some creative individual will devise a new law to cover it.

by MainStreet 2009-05-27 01:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

And I want to add, it really does come off anti-Semitic, even if you're not necessarily intending it to be.

You may not hate Jews, but criticizing the one bastion they have the entire world -- unlike Muslims, Hindus, Christians, etc., that have many countries where they are in power -- that was given to them after there was a worldwide plot to exterminate them, and labeling efforts to make sure it continues to be a safe haven for them as apartheid absolutely rings a bigoted tone.

What you have basically done on this site, in every manner except actually outright said, is spew viewpoints that amount Israel does not have the right to exist.

Israel is not Israel if it's not a Jewish state.

To spew the numerous diaries you have over even just the short time I've noticed it, I cannot help but really believe you harbor a lot of anti-Semitic tendencies. And yes, being so virulently, utterly anti-Zionist tends to be a branch off of that larger tree.

Again, there's a difference between being pro-Palestinian and critical of Israel, versus what you are.

You are not just that, I believe you are anti-Israel, and you, sir, need to be called out on your sheer intolerance.

by ThemRights 2009-05-27 11:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

Still at it, I see.

Why does Jeff Halper's article throw you into such a spin? It's insights? The reality which right wingers would prefer to remain hidden?

Given the context, you really should be directing your comments at Jeff Halper, although I will try to defend him as I'm able.

by MainStreet 2009-05-27 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

PS: Jeff Halper can be reached at <jeff@icahd.org>. Why don't you contact him and express your gripes.

by MainStreet 2009-05-27 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

 I just emailed him and asked him to stop blaming Obama. He said he would.

by QTG 2009-05-27 12:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

Jeff just emailed me to ask why a supposedly progressive blog like MyDD is shilling for the occupation.

by Strummerson 2009-05-27 12:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

There's always time for humor, even when serious issues are being discussed. Thanks.

by MainStreet 2009-05-27 01:41PM | 0 recs
There we go

criticism of Israel/Zionism = anti-semitism.  I know you only started here yesterday, but do you really think nobody has seen this old ploy before?

by JJE 2009-05-27 12:46PM | 0 recs
Re: There we go

Actually, there are a fair number of pro-Zionist anti-Semites.  I include among them all the right wing American evangelicals who lobby against ending the occupation because they want Jews to be involved in Armageddon to bring Jesus back.

Pastor Hagee anyone?

by Strummerson 2009-05-27 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

First of all, I don't read the biased, garbage vitrol that you post here. So I have no comment.

"It indicates a kind of last resort argument."

Again, then why not list your background and why exactly you are so utterly inflammed about Israel.

"criticism of Israel/Zionism = anti-semitism.  I know you only started here yesterday, but do you really think nobody has seen this old ploy before?
"

Critism of Israel and Zionism isn't anti-Semitism, no.

But don't act as if that just shields everything, because I think a lot of what MainStream posts here does have some anti-Semitic undertones.

People that are virulently anti-Israel, especially virulently anti-Zionist, whether they believe it or not, it's an anti-Jewish stance.

To be vehemently against the right to a Jewish homeland -- nothing regarding necessarily its government, or which side to take on the I/P battle -- but to be against a Jewish state...

It's an anti-Jewish stance.

And maybe you lack the insight to understand why, but don't act like I'm just throwing out some bigot card because I don't like what I'm hearing.

I only spoke up because I'm APPAULED at some of the things this poster is posting.

by ThemRights 2009-05-27 12:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

As a Jew who holds dual Israeli-American citizenship, and one who has often disagreed heatedly with MainStreet, I assure you he is not an anti-Semite.  He does not wish Israelis or Jews ill.  He opposes the right wing Zionist policies that degrade Jews and Palestinians alike.  He is definitely a critic of Israel, but I have never, and I mean never, seen him credit anti-Semitic myths and/or slurs.  He consistently expresses deep admiration particularly for Jewish activists with whom he agrees, such as Jeff Halper.  Halper doesn't even disavow Zionism as such.  He is deeply committed to cultural Zionism and sees political Zionism undermining it.  So there you have it.  MainStreet has never attacked Jews, has expressed respect for Jewish culture, history, and religious expression, and admires a Zionist, albeit a cultural one.

MS, please correct me if I mischaracterized anything here.

ThemRights, before you accuse someone of something as despicable as anti-Semitism, you better have evidence beyond your disagreement with that poster.

by Strummerson 2009-05-27 12:57PM | 0 recs
by canadian gal 2009-05-27 01:13PM | 0 recs
Re: actually...

I have to disagree here.  I remember that diary when it happened.  I wasn't completely comfortable with it but I didn't think it qualified as anti-Semitism.  Perhaps I have a stricter understanding of the term.

by Strummerson 2009-05-27 01:16PM | 0 recs
perhaps so.

personally i am inclined to find any blanket statements about any ethnic, racial or religious group to be highly questionable.  especially when they feed into long-standing racist memes like this one does that the jews are wealthy.

its a shame that the diary linked above was deleted since i think it is important that the community judge these statements on their own without yours and mine interpretations.

not in isolation - but there are other things here that support this such as the continual quoting of holocaust deniers, apologizing for violence and such behaviour, calling israel's security concerns 'nonsense', claims that the us-based jews brought the americans into the iraq war and plainly using controversial terminology that borders ridiculous.

as for me - i will continue to HR any comment by persons that attempt to misrepresent my position to further their own agenda as evidenced below.

by canadian gal 2009-05-28 11:04AM | 0 recs
Re: perhaps so.

I certainly think you are within your rights to HR willful misrepresentations of your positions.  As for the diary in question, I read it differently, not as a blanket statement about Jewish wealth.  As I said, I was not entirely comfortable with it.  I thought it clumsy and lacking in nuance.  And I think it appropriate to raise objections.  But from there to an accusation of anti-Semitism seemed to me a bit of a leap.

If by "holocaust deniers," you refer to Norman Finklestein, I also don't think accurate.  In fact, I think that his case against Dershowitz was pretty solid on the grounds that if such a large share of my footnotes matched those of a prior work, and in the same order, any University would toss me out.  In fact, I think some of Finklestein's criticisms of the politicization and commercialization of the holocaust are valid.  I also acknowledge that he is a controversial figure and that some of his claims are problematic.  Some of the opposition to him and his work in the Jewish community seems unwarranted and a bit knee-jerk.  But I do not think he is a holocaust denier.

As you know, I have serious disagreements with MS, both with regard to his arguments and modes of argumentation.  But given that we are both committed to addressing this issue, and that I think it's important to widen participation, I'm trying to make it work better.  If I ever saw something I thought represented clear cut anti-Semitism, I think you know I would not hesitate to confront it.  But I honestly have not seen it.

As for "controversial terminology," this is one of the most controversial issues of the day.  I expect the terminology to be controversial.  Why don't I write a diary about Aung San Suu Kyi?  Because there is no argument to be made there.

Frankly, I wish there was a way to get you involved in I/P diaries again.  But that's up to you.  

by Strummerson 2009-05-28 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: perhaps so.

yes - i am referring to finkelstein - as well as ahmadinejad.

now everyone is entitled to their opinions of course, but generally they should be backed by some of of reason, ethics or facts. as to your point of academia and what not - in the case of finkelstein while the fact that he was denied tenure seems problematic on its face, upon digging one finds that the case went to a university-wide faculty panel, which voted 4-3 to reject him. the university president followed this recommendation, citing finkelstein's tendency "toward advocacy and away from scholarship"

also to call finkelstein controversial is an understatement. the son of holocaust survivors, he has gained notoriety by accusing his fellow jews of exploiting the holocaust to justify israeli atrocities against the palestinians and to "shake down" german corporations and swiss banks. his 2000 book, the holocaust industry: reflections on the exploitation of jewish suffering, was described by historian omer bartov in the new york times book review as "a novel variation on the anti-semitic forgery, 'the protocols of the elders of zion.'"

finkelstein has compared the anti-defamation league to nazis, mocked holocaust memoirist elie wiesel as a "clown," and suggested that holocaust survivor accounts are routinely fabricated. more recently, he has scoffed at death threats to muslim canadian feminist irshad manji, a critic of islamic extremism.

but it is worth noting that he has no publications in peer-reviewed journals--usually a requirement for tenure--and most assessments of his books have been scathing. columbia university historian david greenberg, no knee-jerk defender of israel, called the holocaust industry "a hate-filled screed" filled with "pseudo-scholarship, extreme anti-israel ideology and--there is no way around it--anti-semitism."

so yeah - ill stand by my statement on finkelstein.

as to your comment about commitment.  what does this mean exactly?  that between the two of you, there is a dedicated i/p diary on the rec list daily? to be blunt - its been a bit much considering that most here don't participate anymore.  frankly it just seems like you and he going back and forth (generally with the usual ethical gaps) on the same issues with a few others sprinkled in here and there. im not sure how the benefits anyone involved at all.

lastly as you know having witnessed it first-hand i got tired of the willful misrepresentation of my positions to fit some larger agenda (as you can also attest to be a victim of), personal attacks and the wholesale hypocrisy by some on these boards. while i note that in the past few days some highly intelligent and interesting voices seem to have weighed in on these threads, im not willing to wade back into this yet.

by canadian gal 2009-05-28 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: perhaps so.

I'm sorry I don't have time to respond to this in full.  We're getting ready for the holiday here.

As for Finklestein, some oof the attacks on him are politically motivated.  Some of his criticisms are valid, not all.  And I made no statment one way or the other about his tenure case.  But I don't think the "protocols" crack is warranted, nor do I think he qualifies as a holocaust denier.  What concerns me more is the culture in the American Jewish community, at least in its mainstream institutions, of squashing dissent.  While some see political Zionism as a moral obligation, others do not, but are frequently intimidated or excluded.  I don't agree with all Israel's critics.  But there is a sever lack of tolerance for a diversity of perspectives.  Judaism is not political Zionism and political Zionism is not a religius commandment.

As for your comment about my diaries and interactions with MS, your point is very well taken.  As I cannot exclude him, nor him me, I am making an effort to improve this.  

And of course, I respect your prerogative not to participate.  I hope you indeed recognize that my commitment to including you and to defend your right to a civil and fair hearing is quitre genuine.

Now I have to check the fish and finish preparing the texts I am teaching tonight.

Chag Sameah, if you observe.

by Strummerson 2009-05-28 01:47PM | 0 recs
Re: perhaps so.

"finkelstein has compared the anti-defamation league to nazis, mocked holocaust memoirist elie wiesel as a "clown," and suggested that holocaust survivor accounts are routinely fabricated."

Foxman has indeed turned the ADL into a proZionist joke and Elie Weisel is a hypocrite and confirmed liar. The last criticism I can't speak to.

n/t Don't have the time to get deeply into it.

by MainStreet 2009-05-28 05:07PM | 0 recs
Re: perhaps so.

And the diary I deleted was deleted by me because I had a more important diary to post and didn't wish to hog the postings. And you were told. By contrast, you claimed it was deleted because of blatant anti-Semitism, which absolute bullshit. It was based on two Haaretz stories, both light human interest stories, if I recall.

You took the opportunity to claim that the administration deleted them. You must really live in a state of anguish about what is happening in the Middle East.

This story is titled, Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians. If you think it is anti-Semitic, then make your case. On the other hand, if you disagree with its content, then let's hear it, the other side of the story.

You complain but never post anything to tell the other side of the story. The void is getting noticable.

by MainStreet 2009-05-28 01:33PM | 0 recs
The deleted diary you claim was antiSemitic.

In full.

Now, for something different: another Israel

Looking inside Israel it is possible to say that most Israelis are preoccupied with issues that just don't reach beyond the wall, where "the Arabs" reside. Here's some interesting developments that will permit one to say the Israelis are just ordinary people, whose lives confront the same problems confronting ordinary people in any nation including America. Even poverty has risen in Israel since Netanyahu, as Minister of Finance in the previous decade, succeeded in installing an unregulated Reaganomics finance system, which made the few rich, and many others poor.

Man arrested for having sex while driving drunk down Petah Tikvah highway was this headline in Israeli's liberal newspaper, Haaretz, recently.

Police arrested a 28-year-old Petah Tikvah man for drunk driving late Friday night after he was caught driving erratically on the highway while having sexual intercourse with a female passenger.

A breathalyzer test performed at the scene found that the driver had a blood-alcohol count three times the legal limit.

A little research brought up the information that at the end of 2007, the population of the city of Petah Tikvah stood at 188,900, and growing at an annual rate of 2.5%. Unlike Israeli cities like Sderot and Ashkelon and many other Israeli towns and cities, which were recently in the news, Petah Tikvah was not a transformed Palestinian city, ethnically cleansed in 1948, but was founded in 1878 by religious pioneers from Jerusalem. It was the first modern Jewish agricultural settlement in the Ottoman Palestine and has since grown to become one of Israel's most populous urban centres.

For me, what is most important aspect of Petah Tikvah is that it is the home of Israel's first Arabic speaking clown as indicated by this headline:

Israel's first Arabic-speaking clown: Laughter proves the best medicine

19 Feb 2009 Sarhan Mahamid, an Israeli Muslim from Haifa, has become Israel's first Arabic-speaking clown, healing sick kids in Hebrew, Arabic, and gibberish

Did you get that? "Healing sick kids in Hebrew, Arabic, and gibberish."

So what's next: a Jewish clown who speaks Arabic. Peace is possible.

by MainStreet 2009-05-28 02:00PM | 0 recs
Here's your link.

Perhaps you can point out the antiSemitism.

<blockaquote>

heh. (2.00 / 2)

israelis are just ordinary people, whose lives confront the same problems as anyone else?!!?  and they even have poverty?  

no way.  can't be, they're jews.

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that word I reach for my feather Boa!" -- Allen Ginsberg
by canadian gal on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 03:57:56 PM EST
[ Reply to This |  none1- troll2- mojo ]  

Of course they that's not true (2.00 / 2)

Jews own everything..and they secretly run everything!

And, they all eat Chinese food on Christmas too!
(oh, wait, I think that one IS true....)

Rush Limbaugh, Sara Palin and Joe the Plumber...The Triad of Republican Irrelevancy.  
by WashStateBlue on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 04:14:58 PM EST
[ Parent | Reply to This |  none1- troll2- mojo ]  

Re: Of course they that's not true (none / 0)

If you can't provide a link, then hold your tongue.

by MainStreet on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 04:58:07 PM EST
[ Parent | Reply to This ]  

Then how will I type? (none / 0)

I'm already petting the dog with one hand, I can't really type with my nose all that well....

Rush Limbaugh, Sara Palin and Joe the Plumber...The Triad of Republican Irrelevancy.  
by WashStateBlue on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 05:06:43 PM EST
[ Parent | Reply to This |  none1- troll2- mojo ]  

Re: Then how will I type? (none / 0)

Sorry about your 'other hand' disability. If you're a one-handed veteran, let's get a movement going.

by MainStreet on Sat Apr 25, 2009 at 05:17:15 PM EST
[ Parent | Reply to This ]  

Re: heh. (none / 0)

This is a diary about tolerance and peace making, and out of the blue, you turn the screws with cynical observations.

Was it my statement about Netanyahu's finance system, which increased poverty in Israel, that angered you?

Try New York City.

by MainStreet on Sat Apr  

by MainStreet 2009-05-28 08:45AM | 0 recs
Re: actually...

I reread those posts and find nothing in them that could be construed as anti-Semitic. I think that you trying to take another stab at the criticism of Israel is antiSemitic meme.

?This is a diary about tolerance and peace making, and out of the blue, you turn the screws with cynical observations.

Was it my statement about Netanyahu's finance system, which increased poverty in Israel, that angered you?

Try New York City."

And Netanyahu did increase poverty in Israel. What has that to do with the notion that all Jews are wealthy, as you stated.

You have done your most to get IP issues off this blog. Apparently, the idea of censoring a prominent sector of American foreign policy does not sit well with a blog that attempts to provide broad coverage of political issues. May I suggest that you get involved, and if you believe that there is a bias toward any side, like the Israeli side, then make a case for it using the diary option. You seem to avoid talking about the Israeli government side of the issue yourself, but then want others to stop talking about the peace side of the issue. Yes, I said "peace side of the issue."

by MainStreet 2009-05-28 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

No corrections needed. Our difference are indeed political, even though we both now agree that two states is the only solution. But don't ask me how we are going to get there.

by MainStreet 2009-05-27 01:44PM | 0 recs
Undertones, schmundertones

If you have a quote of his that demonstrates anti-semitism, just post it.  I suspect you know that you can't, which is why you're relying on weasel words like "undertones".

Just because you say that opposing an ideology that bases citizenship on ethnicity and religion is anti-semitism does not make it so.  It may surprise you to learn that many Jews are against a Jewish state.  Presumably they believe in such anti-semitic notions as judging someone by the content of their character rather than who their mother was or what god they worship.

but don't act like I'm just throwing out some bigot card because I don't like what I'm hearing.

Until you are able to substantiate your claims with arguments rather than repetition I will be unable to conclude otherwise.

by JJE 2009-05-27 01:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Undertones, schmundertones

Ignorance is sometimes the best remedy, JJE.

by MainStreet 2009-05-27 01:46PM | 0 recs
Mainstreet is many things...

Obnoxious
Rude
Pathological
Foul
Repugnant
Unbalanced
Irrational
Biased and extreme

And I'm fairly certain he only showers on Sunday. But I would split matzah with him.

by oc 2009-05-27 11:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Mainstreet is many things...

All those things, and all I'm trying to do is advertise peaceful solutions which are best for everyone including Israel. That I appear to favor the underdog should not be surprising. I'm a liberal Democrat who came out of the 60s era.

Ask any Jewish American: what was the cure to anti-Semitism in America (there were times we know when Jew couldn't join country clubs or swim with the pure at heart), and they should tell you, liberal democracy. Anti-Semitism took a major dive when the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, and it never really surfaced again except in sporodic incidents by the loonie NeoNazis. Jewish activism on behalf of anti-Segregation laws paid off. It came home.

Now CG may not have had similar experiences in Toronto is understandable. But her views to support Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands is just not understandable.

by MainStreet 2009-05-28 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Mainstreet is many things...

Now CG may not have had similar experiences in Toronto is understandable. But her views to support Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands is just not understandable.

Untrue statement.

No Afikomen for you!

by oc 2009-05-28 11:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

And if you need me to be more specific on why having a Jewish state is so completely important, and why people that are virulently against one tend to have anti-Semitic biases about them, I'll be happy to get more in depth.

But just note that you don't have to necessarily ask me to elaborate, it just needs to be indicated to me that you or someone else or MainStreet simply does not "get" it, and I'll then proceed to chime in.

And I will continue to call for MainStreet to state just general stuff about his background at least pertaining to this issue, so I can get more of an idea about why exactly he is so anti-Israel and where he's coming from.

I can understand and empathize much more with someone if they're living, let's say, somewhat poor in the Gaza Strip or West Bank, than some ignorant ultra-liberal post-college wingnut who is happy (read: ignorant and unempathetic enough) to put aside an entire peoples' multi-thousand year struggles against oppression and persecution because of some naive idea that big-bad-Israel has  much more power, nevermind the backing of that awful-nose-in-other-countries'-business- United Stats --- so they're automatically to blame for all the region's troubles.

by ThemRights 2009-05-27 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

I think you misunderstand the ethos of blog participation.  People are free to share what they choose.  No one is obligated to share any personal information.  Some share a great deal, some almost nothing at all beyond positions.  We create relationships with others based on interactions over time.  Credibility progresses organically, or not.

by Strummerson 2009-05-27 01:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

"ThemRights, before you accuse someone of something as despicable as anti-Semitism, you better have evidence beyond your disagreement with that poster."

And I'm happy to perhaps give him the benefit of the doubt, however two things:

1) It's not like I'm hurling the "anti" card at everyone. Just at one person who I detect to have a lot of hostility towards Israel.

2) The sad truth of the matter is, just because someone does not come out and say obviously anti-Semitic remarks doesn't mean they may not harbor those undertones.

Look, I consider myself a Democrat, voted down-ticket Democrat in Election 08 but didn't support Obama. From being on the McCain-Palin side of things, you're much more able to dscern who is against Obama's policies between those who, frankly, harbor some prejudice.

People that harbor prejudice almost never outwardly demonstrate it.

by ThemRights 2009-05-27 01:03PM | 0 recs
Now this is a neat trick

People that harbor prejudice almost never outwardly demonstrate it.

How convenient!  Totally eliminates that pesky insistence on "facts" and "proof" that anti-semitic bigots are always calling for.

And a PUMA to boot!

by JJE 2009-05-27 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

There is a major difference between hostility towards Israeli policies and hostility towards its Jewish population.

by Strummerson 2009-05-27 01:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

"How convenient!  Totally eliminates that pesky insistence on "facts" and "proof" that anti-semitic bigots are always calling for."

What in the world? Are you THAT naive?

You can't prove someone is anti-Semitic. It's a gut thing.

Perhaps the notion that people can harbor prejudices even without outwardly wearing it on their sleeves is lost on people that would have no perspective to draw from.

I'm not acting as if my opinion is some universal fact that everyone must accept.

I'm saying that some of the stuff he has posted here make me think he has a virulent dislike of Israel and/or Israel as a Jewish state.

People that tend to have that notion can be one of or all of:

1) anti-Semitic

  1. Be prejudiced
  2. Just really ignorant and unempathetic

Based on some of the stuff I have seen here, particularly from MainStreet, I think he's at least 3.

"It may surprise you to learn that many Jews are against a Jewish state."

There are also Jews who believe Jesus Christ is the savior.

" Presumably they believe in such anti-semitic notions as judging someone by the content of their character rather than who their mother was or what god they worship."

Ahhhhh, so pro-Israel/Zionist Jews base it off of who their mother was and/or what God they worship, because anyone basing it off of "content of character" would clearly be against Israel.

Gotcha.

by ThemRights 2009-05-27 01:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

My gut tells me that you're an anti-Semite, that you eat puppies and that your father is involved in the mafia.

Don't ask me why.  "It's a gut thing."

by Strummerson 2009-05-27 01:50PM | 0 recs
As an initial housecleaning matter

I would suggest you reply to comments with the "Reply to This" button, conveniently located right below a comment.  Keeps things nice and orderly.

What in the world? Are you THAT naive?

Yep.  I'm naive enough to insist that if one makes an accusation, one should be able to back it up.

You can't prove someone is anti-Semitic. It's a gut thing.

Oh really?  I think I could prove Julius Streicher was anti-semitic without too much effort.  Since I don't share your gut, I'm going to have to dismiss your accusations unless you can substantiate them.

There are also Jews who believe Jesus Christ is the savior.

And so they are also anti-semites, as you claim anyone who opposes political Zionism to be?  It's not clear what point you think you are making with that statement.  Please elaborate.

Ahhhhh, so pro-Israel/Zionist Jews base it off of who their mother was and/or what God they worship, because anyone basing it off of "content of character" would clearly be against Israel.

No, Israel bases political participation on ethnicity and religion.  Is this in dispute?  Some people disagree with that, and are thus opposed to Israel as currently constituted.

by JJE 2009-05-27 01:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

"There is a major difference between hostility towards Israeli policies and hostility towards its Jewish population."

And unfortunately, the point that people seem to be missing (so I'll be more explicit in saying this):

There gets to be a point where hostility towards certain Israeli policies **IS** hostility towards its Jewish population, because of the context in which modern Israel was founded as as well as the context of the world Jewish population today.

by ThemRights 2009-05-27 01:28PM | 0 recs
Oh really?

Where is that point?  In your gut?

by JJE 2009-05-27 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

Remember when I explained that credibility grows organically over time, or not?

Yours isn't growing.  I suggest that you take issue with some point in the diary and explain why you disagree with it instead of throwing slurs around based on a "gut" none of us are familiar with.  No one is familiar with anyone's gut here.  Make an argument.  Don't just accuse someone of pathological group-hatred because you disagree with their perspective.  Maybe you'll learn something.  Keep going like this, and I assure you you'll convince no one of anything nor will you learn anything yourself.

by Strummerson 2009-05-27 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

"Don't just accuse someone of pathological group-hatred because you disagree with their perspective.  Maybe you'll learn something.  Keep going like this, and I assure you you'll convince no one of anything nor will you learn anything yourself."

There's very little to argue. ESPECIALLY on I/P matters. ESPECIALLY with people who feel very strong on the issue with one side or the other. Most people know that people just tend to be very non-budging of this issue.

So I will say this:

I do not necessarily want Arab Israelis to be treated as second-class citizens. Of course not. But there comes this dilemma about how to give them full equality, in conjunction with their population boom, yet have Israel's future as a Jewish state fully secure.

Israel needs to be a Jewish state to be the safe haven for Jews that it is today. As history has shown on numerous occasions, when Jews are not in power -- even if it's not initially -- they often face persecution, AND/OR the Jewish religion and culture becomes increasingly minimalized.

There are not enough Jews in the world to ignore this threat. The world Jewish population is stagnant, but the world religious Jewish population outside of Israel is declining.

This is all after the world's Jews were targeted for total extermination. For thousands of years the Jews have persecuted. Finally, they have a strip of land to govern as their own.

This is not like Arabs, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, blacks of several different origins, etc. where each of these religious and ethnic groups has multiple areas to call their own.

Israel represents the one last bastion for the Jewish people, religion, and culture to flourish in the way that it wouldn't be able to outside of a Jewish state.

Most people know this, but cannot seem to extend the empathy towards Zionism, and the need for a Jewish state. Even if someone -- even a Jew -- who is not personally in support of a Jewish homeland, should be able to understand, objectively speaking, one is needed lest the entire culture be put at risk in the coming years, decades, centuries, whatever.

That's why attacking Israel's need -- not desire, not hope, not "ehh, if we're lucky", NEED -- to remain a Jewish state is so important.

To denigrate the importance of that, to label it as apartheid that must be stopped, to ignore that it was founded with the purpose of BEING a Jewish state to be a safe haven for Jewish people, I DO consider that an attack of the Jewish people.

Criticizing the treatment of Palestinians is one ting and an entirely different can of worms. What to do about remedying the situation, criticizing Israel's government, or the settlements, whatever,

that's one thing.

But to attack the heart of it all -- and labeling Israel's future as "apartheid" I count as that -- signals to me that despite all that's happened for thousands of years, you do not care about the preservation of the Jewish people or their culture.

You may have large reservations about Israel's actions. That's fine.

But to act as if the already stated and aspects that are implicit of Israel's Jewish identity isn't absolutely essential, or should be ceded to make room for regular old Arabs, or that Israel should be able to be taken in whatever direction its population at some current point in time feels like -- thereby opening up Israel to lose the strength of protections it ads to the Jewish people and culture, means you lack basic empathy and understanding of how necessary it is to preserve the Jews and their culture, or that you don't care.

And frankly, why should I act as if people that don't care about the preservation of the Jews and their culture ISN'T anti-Semitic?

It's not a fact thing. It's not something to debate about using propagandist articles from both sides. It's not something that can be proven.

It's a morality argument, and you either accept it or you don't.

by ThemRights 2009-05-27 02:22PM | 0 recs
It depends

If one thinks that the best way to ensure survival is to make sure that every tribe has its own state, then one might agree with you.  Of course, then Uighurs, Tibetans, Kurds, Tamils, etc. are all entitled to their own states as well.  When do you think we'll see that?

If, on the other hand, one thinks that the best way to ensure the survival of ethnicities and cultures is to reinforce the principles of equality, dignity, and human rights for all, and that a politics explicitly premised on ethno-religious identification undermines that goal, one would disagree with you.  Put more succintly, one might think that the answer to outrages perpetrated in the name of tribalism is not more tribalism.

by JJE 2009-05-27 02:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

You make a compelling historical and moral argument for the need of a Jewish state but you may be doing a couple of things that seem counter-productive to your aims.  Firstly, there are plenty of people with genuine sympathy and understanding of these arguments who don't necessarily agree with every detail of the policy of the current Israeli leadership, in fact may oppose some of these precisely because they believe them to be antithetic to Israel's long term interests.  This hardly qualifies them as anti-Semitic or hostile, quite the contrary, and they are certainly entitled to 'debate' these issues which is exactly what is happening here.  There are factual political and diplomatic and considerations to be discussed, plenty of them, and this should advance the whole process and ultimately, one supposes, benefit Israel's condition.

Further, the US has been a long-standing and loyal ally of Israel and it would be fair to say that this is widely supported by public opinion, but as citizens Americans also have a duty to assess the policies and actions of their own government and at some point this public debate, such as it is, will intersect with Israel's interests.  That is an inevitable consequence of the alliance and something Israel needs to weigh against the benefits, just as any other sovereign state must do.  It is clearly not in Israel's interest that perceptions emerge that aspects of the relationship with Israel are undermining US policy or aspirations elsewhere.  That's just the way things are.  It's pretty clear there is significant diversity of opinion within Israel as well, which cannot be discounted.

Secondly, 'if you're not with us you're against us' attitude reflected in the generalised notion that 'people that don't care about the preservation of the Jews and their culture' are anti-Semitic doesn't seem to be a winning strategy as it indicts a huge population which is otherwise indifferent and amplifies Israel's perceived enemies by a significant order of magnitude.  For what?

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-27 03:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

I hear you, but I want you to give me due credit -- I am not saying criticism of Israel is invalid at all, and I have stated that multiple times.

I don't WANT its Arabs to be treated poorly.  I don't WANT Palestinians impoverished. (I do not believe Israel is the major reason they are, but that's another issue.)

I'm talking about the core of this matter.

The use of the word "apartheid" goes right to the core of the matter.

It seeks to frame the current situation as a Jewish minority holding hostage a majority against their will, and that this must be stopped.

And whether or not it's explicitly said, that means Israel not remaining a Jewish state.

I take huge issue and offense at THAT argument.

Compromising Israel's Jewishness is not the only solution to dealing with the notion of how to treat Arab Israelis fairly or what to do about Palestinians or the neighboring Arab countries.

As lovely as the idea of Israel turning into some mini-America where all the religions are in their Holy Land co-existing peacefully is nice to entertain, in reality, it cannot work that way. The simple fact is, Israel is the ONE safe haven for Jews. This is not true of any of the other groups. Does that necessarily means its FAIR to give Jews elevated status over the other groups because they are so few in number? No, of course not.

But I'm sorry, I refuse to accept an argument that it is OKAY to ignore the simple realities of history and current population in relation to the Jewish people, and if history and persecution has forced the Jewish people to have to defend a strip of land as their own from other groups, then that's the way it has to work.

Because the Americanization of Israeli democracy is not worth putting the Jewish people there and the last chance at perpetuating the Jewish culture at risk.

by ThemRights 2009-05-27 03:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

OK, you are not saying criticism of Israel is invalid, though I must admit I had difficuly seeing that clearly while sifting through your previous comments.

I am not suggesting it is OK to ignore the 'simple realities of history' or demographics, but it might be suggested that beyond the moral arguments Israel has to deal with the 'realpolitik' of sovereignty just like any other nation.  And 'simple' realities are pretty thin on the ground in history, generally.  'Apartheid' is an inflammatory description, to be sure, and your point about the respective majorities and minories is well taken.  But it raises the question of how one reconciles the principle of universal suffrage with the aspirations for a 'Jewish' state you have articulated and how not comprimising Israel's 'Jewishness' would be achieved in practice without disenfranchising non-Jewish Israelis.  Your comments on that would be welcomed.  

My position is that sincere debate of these issues with the intention of actually resolving the problems and identifying practical, acceptable solutions is the challenge.  The moral arguments are important but merely frame the ethos, among all parties respectively, in which these pragmatic solutions are hopefully hammered out.  It seems to me, at this point, that the less the Israeli leadership insists on a 'Jewish state' the more likely they are to achieve it.  And certainly the 'Americanisation' of Israel seems neither desirable or necessary.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-27 03:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

"But it raises the question of how one reconciles the principle of universal suffrage with the aspirations for a 'Jewish' state you have articulated and how not comprimising Israel's 'Jewishness' would be achieved in practice without disenfranchising non-Jewish Israelis.  Your comments on that would be welcomed."

I don't really profess to know.

Like I said, I don't want there to be second class citizens of Israel, but one of my first replies in this thread was the acknowledgment that it presents a dilemma of how these two opposing forces of maintaining Israel as a Jewish state while not denigrating its religious minorities.

I totally understand that those two goals seem like they're incapable of working in harmony.

I do want to remind you that the Israeli government is very proactive in dealing with this issue head on, and what to do to maintain Israel's Jewish identity in the future.

But I think there are creative of dealing with this. There could be incentives given to Arab families to emigrate. There could be an Israeli agency dedicated to finding Arabs well-paying jobs in other countries so they can leave Israel with their future intact. It could be cutting a deal with Egypt and the United States to cede land for a Palestinian state and promoting stability in the region (well more than Israel's very presence there as a democracy already does) if they agree to take in or lure a small percentage of Israeli-Arabs every year to help keep that population down.

I mean I don't know, that's just at the top of my head. Who knows whether any of those ideas are feasible or realistic.

But compromising Israel as a Jewish state cannot happen.

What I do dispute about what you said, though, is Israel's insistence on it being recognized as a Jewish state being counterproductive.

I think not only is that a perfectly legitimate thing to ask for recognition of, but I'd go so far to say that it is a necessity that the Israeli government is taking in order to safeguard its Jewish nature.

by ThemRights 2009-05-27 04:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

Well then, welcome to the discussion.  It gets pretty heated sometimes but I think you will find a pretty robust, well-informed debate has been going on over the last few weeks which I have been enjoying immensely and which has exposed the readership here to much detail and many reasonable arguments on these challenging topics.

As for my comment about Israel's insistence that their negotiating partners uniformly accept the notion of Israel as a 'Jewish state' as a precondition for talks it is just my opinion, as I said.  My concern is that while sympathetic to that aspiration it's formal acknowledgement is not strictly necessary relative to the fundamental importance of accepting Israel's sovereignty, which seems achievable and reasonable, and that it is an issue that Israel can otherwise manage as a matter of domestic policy irrespective of it's neighbour's views on the subject.  It seems, in fact, to create a difficulty which casts some doubt on the sincerity of Israel's readiness to reach a permanent settlement.  

The whole issue also raises the question of the 'right of return,' however, and I agree with current US policy to amend the Arab peace plan to exclude that condition.  On that tangetial point regarding Israel's 'Jewishness' I agree with you.

So now what do we propose doing about the 300,000 Israelis in the settlements?  Because vacating those settlements strikes me as the likely quid pro quo for dropping the 'right of return?'

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-27 04:25PM | 0 recs
Safeguarding it's Jewish Nature

I guess this is one solution:


The Knesset plenum gave initial approval on Wednesday to a bill that would make it a crime to publicly deny Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, punishable by a sentence of up to a year in prison.

The measure was the latest of several introduced in the past week by right-wing lawmakers and denounced by critics as an assault on free speech, particularly for Israeli Arab citizens, most of whom are of Palestinian origin.

It would outlaw the publication of any "call to negate Israel's existence as a Jewish and democratic state, where the content of such publication would have a reasonable possibility of causing an act of hatred, disdain or disloyalty" to Israel.

Nadav Shragai - Knesset okays initial bill to outlaw denial of 'Jewish state' Haaretz 27 May 09

Disdain?  I thought the Patriot Act was bad.  Apparently a fifth of Israel's population is Israeli Arab.  This strikes me as a sign of weakness, not of strength, on this point.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-28 02:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Safeguarding it's Jewish Nature

Lieberman's party is actually trying to push two bills that are equally heinous.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party is set to advance its controversial bill requiring citizens to swear loyalty to the state.

The bill, proposed by MK David Rotem, will be brought to a Knesset ministerial committee on Sunday .

Rotem is the chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee.

According to the legislation, a person requesting citizenship will be "required to make a declaration in which they commit to being loyal to the State of Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state, to its symbols and values and to serve the state as much as required through military or alternative service."

The expected proposal follows another controversial bill put forward on Wednesday by Yisrael Beiteinu lawmakers that would make it a crime to publicly deny Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, punishable by a sentence of up to a year in prison.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1088 919.html

I guess they think that coercing "oaths" and repressing the minority population's expression of their historical experience will make them more safe?  Why would that work?  

How would this be different from forcing Italian Jews and Protestants to take an oath that affirmed Italy's identity as a Catholic state?  How is this different from proscribing Native Americans from any public recognition of their dispossession?

Those who want to argue that Jewish historical experience is different from any other and thus that it bestows unique national privilege miss the point that experience of persecution is not justification for chauvanistic power.  They miss the point that exercise of such power threatens the moral character of Jewish culture and may ultimately make Jews less safe by replacing the trumped up grievances of the past with contemporary ones that have significant validity.

As for the argument that history both justifies political Zionism and makes the State of Israel as a Jewish State imperative to Jewish cultural and national survival, this is simply a bad argument.  Jews have prospered historically in two situations: under benevolent autocrats and in strong constitutional democracies with developed notions of civil society that guarantee enfranchisement to all citizens, regardless of demographic status.  The first situation proves unreliable.  Benevolent autocrats cannot guarantee anything beyond their life spans.  And their exploitation of Jews for their own interests often increased resentments that led to violence.  The second situation is more reliable, though the implosion of the Weimar Republic and its capitulation in part by democratic means to fascism shows this also has vulnerabilities.  The realities of economics and politics suggest that no culture is secure in an absolute sense.  But all are most secure when all are enfranchised and equally respected.

ThemRights wants to maintain the radical difference of Israel in terms of its justification and situation.  It's not America, to be sure.  But it seems unreasonable to deny that Jewish hegemony over others contributes nothing to the conditions that Israelis for good reason experience as insecurity in their daily lives and that influence its political sociology in countless detrimental ways.  In fact, I think it contributes quite a lot.  The principles of political liberalism are as relevant there as anywhere else.  History demonstrates that Jews thrive where everyone's opportunity to thrive is ensured.  This notion, along with other factors, helped mobilize Jews in this country to actively support the civil rights movement.

It may be helpful to keep in mind that the lyrics of Israel's national anthem focus on a Jewish hope that has endured for 2,000 years: "to be a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem."  It does not describe a hope to be a privileged people or a ruling people, but a "free people."  And again, Jews are most free where and when the freedoms of all peoples are sought and protected.

The bills Lieberman's party are pushing represent both ethical travesty and historical ignorance.

by Strummerson 2009-05-28 03:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Safeguarding it's Jewish Nature

Very well said.  My own position is encapsulated in my comment upthread:


'there are plenty of people with genuine sympathy and understanding of [compelling historical and moral arguments for the need of a Jewish state] who don't necessarily agree with every detail of the policy of the current Israeli leadership, in fact may oppose some of these precisely because they believe them to be antithetic to Israel's long term interests.'

But I have neither the cultural experience, beyond growing up in New York, nor the intimate knowledge of Israeli politics which informs this discussion and it limits my participation in these threads as much as I appreciate reading them.  I think that some of the exchanges, though heated, and occasionally biased, do serve to illustrate clearly the underlying difficulty in resolving these issues and comprise an immesely helpful journal on the whole topic.

Just off topic, slightly, while having a long look at this map of the West Bank I could feel my heart sink at the daunting prospect of resolving the settlement issue and a thought occurred to me.  Why not offer, as a condition of settlement, dual Palestanian citizenship to any Israel settler family which refuses other inducements and chooses to stay?  That leaves the choice to them, alleviates the highly charged issue of forced vacation and could reasonably leave the new Palestine with a multi-cultural ethnography which might be helpful to both nations.  Just a thought.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-28 03:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Safeguarding it's Jewish Nature

In the near term, I think the idea that settlers would remain in a Palestinian State, just as some Palestinians hold Israeli citizenship is unworkable.  Abu Ala (Ahmend Qureia), the former Palestinians PM and chief negotiator, suggested something similar in a recent interview (you could probably find it through google) but I read it as a polemical statement.

The problem is that most settlers don't simply want the right to live on that land, they want to control it.  They want to maintain their political and material superiority.  As it is, they receive a disproportionate amount of water, have a much easier time obtaining land and building permits, and have an entire network of roads for their use that excludes most Palestinians.  They are not going to stay and live peacefully without maintaining these privileges and their private "Jewish" infrastructure.  Many are also there as an act of extending Jewish sovereignty.

Those who envision an eventual bi-national conferderal solution entertain the possibility of detaching citizenship from residency, such as Jeff Halper, whose name gets thrown around here quite a bit.  But this would only become possible in a relatively distant future that sees the balances of power shift dramatically.

by Strummerson 2009-05-31 04:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Safeguarding it's Jewish Nature

I can understand the objections, it is obviously an idea which is not consistent with the settler's political or territorial intentions but it does rather solve the problem of their forcible removal.  I'm familiar with their preferential status regarding infrastructure but that would change in the context of a sovereign Palestinian administration.  Some would, of course, elect to leave and that even raises the possiblity of property swap arrangements with Arab Israelis who might prefer to reside in a new Palestine.  Otherwise they would be compensated at market value for their homes.  Those who stayed could be offered dual citizenship and might benefit the new state in respect of their education and professional experience.  The most virulent, politically, may elect to stay as a minority to champion their ideological values and would truly be 'pioneers' in a minority among their Palestinian brethren.

The Palestinians, conversely, would need to accept these new citizens as part of their political and cultural heritage.  There has been a long history of Jewish and Muslim coexistence in the Mandate.  It would stretch the tolerance of all concerned, to be sure, but as 'unworkable' goes nothing seems to top the current situation and I just don't see Israel finding the will to displace these settlers by main force.  It would topple a Likud or Kadima government and leave unresloved internal resentments of any other coalition not to mention that the potential for mutiny in the IDF called on to execute such a decision is very real.  This strategy avoids such an impasse.

Thanks for the references, I will check them out.  Always a pleasure to discuss these issues with you.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-31 07:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Safeguarding it's Jewish Nature

Not objections at all.  Just my $.02 about the feasibility.  I actually think that many many Palestinians would be open to this.  I just don't see the settlers going for it.  It would require a real sea change in their world-view and living conditions that I think they are unprepared for.  In theory, what you suggest makes clear ethical sense.  But it seems incompatible with the ethos of the settlers as I understand it.

I take Abu Ala's comments as polemical, not in the sense of being insincere, but with regard to the fact that I think he also sees this as a non-starter.

I think this piece from the BBC last week sheds some light on the sociological conflicts between Palestinians and settlers in the West Bank.  I wanted to post a piece on it, but haven't had the time due to the holiday: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7 919832.stm

by Strummerson 2009-05-31 02:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Safeguarding it's Jewish Nature

I take your point on the unpopularity of this notion with the affected settlers, it just seems preferable to the political hazards of sending the IDF into an armed seige to displace them if it comes to that.  Sounds like that is the position that Fatah will be arguing regarding the return of the West Bank.  And it does have an ironic ethicality to it, at face value.

Thanks for the link I will read it with interest.  Would love to see you posting diaries again, you have been sorely missed.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-31 09:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Safeguarding it's Jewish Nature

Of course I agree it would be preferable.  Ultimately, I think Jews have a right to live as fully enfranchised anywhere in the Land of Israel, provided we do so ethically with regard to others inhabiting that land.  But if the settlers were interested in responding to rational preferability and political reality, they wouldn't have established themselves there at the barrel of a gun and at the expense of the non-Jewish population.  

Certainly, it must be acknowledged that pre-State Jewish immigration to Palestine was often aggressive, but not always, and the animosity these immigrants faced from the local population cannot in every case be justified by phrases such as "resistance to colonial occupation."  Furthermore, the decimation of European Jewry and the displacement of its remnants in the middle of the last century forced the issue in Palestine in ways that subjected more ethical contingencies to increased material and political pressures, exacerbating the animosity.  

Nevertheless, from 1947 onward, and particularly since 1967, Israel's policies and the predictable resistance they provoked have rendered joining the neighborhood peacefully and respectfully impossible.  Jewish sovereignty and hegemony have taken precedence over the development of more organic connections between Jewish communities and this land.  Are the settlers interested in living in their "homeland" as their primary aspiration, or only on condition that they dominate it?  I think the latter.  And I think it's sad and perverse.

As for my diaries, it's been less than a week!  But thanks for the encouragement.

by Strummerson 2009-06-01 05:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Safeguarding it's Jewish Nature

That would have to be one of the sanest comments I have read on the subject, here or elsewhere.  Sadly it remains an extremely difficult issue which creates an apparent impasse for any proposed territorial settlement.  The disposition of Jerusalem, of course, an equally sensitive problem.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-06-01 06:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Safeguarding it's Jewish Nature

I can understand the objections, it is obviously an idea which is not consistent with the settler's political or territorial intentions but it does rather solve the problem of their forcible removal.  I'm familiar with their preferential status regarding infrastructure but that would change in the context of a sovereign Palestinian administration.  Some would, of course, elect to leave and that even raises the possiblity of property swap arrangements with Arab Israelis who might prefer to reside in a new Palestine.  Otherwise they would be compensated at market value for their homes.  Those who stayed could be offered dual citizenship and might benefit the new state in respect of their education and professional experience.  The most virulent, politically, may elect to stay as a minority to champion their ideological values and would truly be 'pioneers' in a minority among their Palestinian brethren.

The Palestinians, conversely, would need to accept these new citizens as part of their political and cultural heritage.  There has been a long history of Jewish and Muslim coexistence in the Mandate.  It would stretch the tolerance of all concerned, to be sure, but as 'unworkable' goes nothing seems to top the current situation and I just don't see Israel finding the will to displace these settlers by main force.  It would topple a Likud or Kadima government and leave unresloved internal resentments of any other coalition not to mention that the potential for mutiny in the IDF called on to execute such a decision is very real.  This strategy avoids such an impasse.  Here's Qureia's remark:


Do you believe Israel would agree to evacuate Ma'aleh Adumim's 35,000 residents?

Qureia: "[Former U.S. secretary of state] Condoleezza Rice told me she understood our position about Ariel but that Ma'aleh Adumim was a different matter. I told her, and Livni, that those residents of Ma'aleh Adumim or Ariel who would rather stay in their homes could live under Palestinian rule and law, just like the Israeli Arabs who live among you. They could hold Palestinian and Israeli nationalities. If they want it - welcome. Israeli settlements in the heart of the territories would be a recipe for problems. Israel evacuated all the settlements in Yamit and in the Gaza Strip. All the prime ministers who negotiated with Syria, including Netanyahu, agreed to evacuate all the settlements from [the Golan] Heights. So why is it so difficult for you to evacuate the settlements in the West Bank?

Akiva Eldar - PA: Settlers can Become Palestinian Citizens miftah.org 27 May 09

I didn't realise I was echoing a Palestinian talking point.  I'm not sure what is so 'polemic' about that but Qureia strikes me as a bit of a used-car salesman with some of his comments.  Thanks for the tips, always a pleasure to discuss these issues with you.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-31 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Safeguarding it's Jewish Nature

And don't miss this interview with Indyk, seems no accident this insider narrative is emerging now.

by Shaun Appleby 2009-05-28 04:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

Since there is no edit button, I just want to add that if this were the United States, I wouldn't be saying these things.

But Israel was not founded on the same principles as the United States. The context of how Israel was founded and what it means to the Jewish people must be kept in mind.

by ThemRights 2009-05-27 02:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

What Israel means to some Jewish people is not what Israel means to all Jewish people.  Israel doesn't even mean the same thing to all Israelis.

Please stop speaking in the name of the Jewish people.  No individual has the right to do that.

The State of Israel was founded as a means to several ends.  Its validity and justification resides in how it serves those ends.  It's not clear to me that the State of Israel makes Jews more secure or that it strengthens Jewish culture.  One can support the enfranchisement and security of Jews in the Land of Israel, the Hebrew culture of those Jews, and the contributions of their civic and cultural institutions to Jews internationally and historically without believing in the necessity of a Jewish State.  This is especially true if that state undermines the ends it is meant to serve.

Confusion of means with ends is one of the oldest definitions of idolatry.

by Strummerson 2009-05-28 04:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

"No, Israel bases political participation on ethnicity and religion.  Is this in dispute?  Some people disagree with that, and are thus opposed to Israel as currently constituted."

My posts above are why this is an attack on the Jewish people and culture.

And frankly, it all takes on this utterly naive spin, when you phrase it like that.

To phrase it like that, that Israel should be just like the United States, is to completely ignore the contexts under which both nations were founded. Not letting religion and and ethnicity dictate the politics of a democracy is noble -- but naive when that nation was set up as a safeguard for that very religion and ethnicity in the first place.

The notion just reeks of ignorance, of some 20-something liberal who has none or does not care about history or tradition or the need to safeguard culture.

To disagree that Israel should not base its politics on ethnicity and religion is to essentially say that it being a Jewish state should be up for question at some point, particularly just because the Arabs are having many more babies, is to say that the Jewish people should not have a bastion to call their own. That they shouldn't have their home, where their culture can thrive and people can be free of persecution, persecution that has been aimed at them for thousands of years.

(Does that mean screw Israeli Arabs? Of course not. I don't want them living as second class citizens. But compromising Israel as a Jewish state is NOT the solution.)

I consider that an attack of the Jewish people and the Jewish culture, and even if it wasn't necessarily intended, it is an anti-Semitic viewpoint to have.

by ThemRights 2009-05-27 02:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

"If one thinks that the best way to ensure survival is to make sure that every tribe has its own state, then one might agree with you.  Of course, then Uighurs, Tibetans, Kurds, Tamils, etc. are all entitled to their own states as well.  When do you think we'll see that?

If, on the other hand, one thinks that the best way to ensure the survival of ethnicities and cultures is to reinforce the principles of equality, dignity, and human rights for all, and that a politics explicitly premised on ethno-religious identification undermines that goal, one would disagree with you.  Put more succintly, one might think that the answer to outrages perpetrated in the name of tribalism is not more tribalism."

1) I'm not against any group having their own state.

2) Again, you do not get it. You lack basic empathy of the situation in favor of some idealistic notion based entirely on American principles.

I'm not talking about specific treatment of Arabs or Palestinians, etc. etc.

I'm talking specifically about Israel needing to be a Jewish state.

If Israel is not a Jewish state, if the Jews there are open to not having those protections and safeguards needed to perpetuate their culture, it puts the entire people at risk somewhere down the line.

To say that that should happen because you feel that every democratic country needs to have the exact principles of America's is so beyond naive and narrow that I question what your background is, that I question if you have anything to draw on in being related to a minority or a persecuted people or religion. Or whether you care.

You may not LIKE a country that bases its politics on ethnicity and religion, but unfortunately, that needs to be met with an understanding -- and the historical and current precedent -- that if it does not operate like that, a people and culture are vulnerable to being lost.

It's ironic, especially considering the position I'm advocating, and I'm sure people will think I'm hypocritical, but your absolute insistence that every democratic country must operate with exactly the same values as America's is extremely ethnocentric.

To say that it's worth making an entire people and culture eventually vulnerable, so a country should have the same principles as America, is deplorable.

Because that's what you're saying.

And I consider that an attack on the Jewish people.

by ThemRights 2009-05-27 03:08PM | 0 recs
Reply to This

Please, learn how to use that link.

1) I'm not against any group having their own state.

That's nice, but the point of the examples was to demonstrate that the principle you're advocating is unworkable in practice.  As we have seen in Israel for the past 60 years.

If Israel is not a Jewish state, if the Jews there are open to not having those protections and safeguards needed to perpetuate their culture, it puts the entire people at risk somewhere down the line.

Lots of peoples are theoretically "at risk down the line".  It doesn't follow from that that every single one is entitled to an ethnocratic state.

To say that that should happen because you feel that every democratic country needs to have the exact principles of America's is so beyond naive and narrow that I question what your background is

This is, of course, a straw man, since I made no such claim.  I simply made the claim that basing citizenship and nationhood on ethnicity and religion runs counter to fundamental Western principles.

And I consider that an attack on the Jewish people.

And I consider your views backwards, pre-modern, and tribalistic.  C'est la vie.

by JJE 2009-05-28 05:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Reply to This

As a member of the Jewish people, I assure everyone here that I don't feel attacked by JJE one bit.

I have asked ThemRights to stop speaking in the name of the Jewish people.  No one has the right to do so.

by Strummerson 2009-05-28 06:06AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

I AM speaking in the name of Jewish people, and will not back down from doing so.

" I simply made the claim that basing citizenship and nationhood on ethnicity and religion runs counter to fundamental Western principles."

AKA ethnocentrism.

" It doesn't follow from that that every single one is entitled to an ethnocratic state."

You lack basic empathy.

1) How many of those groups were subjected to mass extermination attempts and persecution for thousands of years? If they were, I totally support a state for them.

2) Regardless, they don't have a state, and Israel does.

I do think that JJE essentially saying Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state is offensive and an attack.

by ThemRights 2009-05-28 08:00AM | 0 recs
Still having difficulty

with "Reply to This" I see.

AKA ethnocentrism.

Yep.  I oppose political ethnocentrism in all its forms, including political Zionism.

You lack basic empathy.

You lack a basic understanding of enlightenment principles and rationality.

I do think that JJE essentially saying Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish state is offensive and an attack.

It is an attack.  Just not an anti-semitic one.  As for your offense, meh.  A lot of people get offended by things they disagree with.  I'd be more impressed if you could substantively rebut my points rather than emoting about how offended you are by them.

by JJE 2009-05-28 10:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

You do not speak in my name.

You have NO right to speak for me or any other Jew who has not designated you as their spokesperson.

Can you explain your rationale for claiming the right to speak for all Jews?

Or, do you exclude those who do not share your opinions from the Jewish people?

Regardless, this is sheer chutzpah.

I've noticed that you are avoiding my critiques of your invocations of Jewish history and the implied readings they rest upon.

It's time for you to debate honestly.  If you are going to make such broad claims and claim such broad authority, you need to establish the basis on which you do so and answer dissenters.

Otherwise, you are just an idiot on a soap box.

Of course, you could always label me an anti-Semite.  It wouldn't strengthen your argument, but it might make you feel even more superior.

Above, you express a desire for "due credit."  How about making possible for me to do so.

Either way, the choice is yours.

But no one speaks for me.  And I claim to speak for no one else.  Though I may invoke opinions of others that are close to my own, I generally do so with some specificity.  Regardless, no one has the right to speak for an entire people if they have not been elected to do so.  Did it ever occur to you that doing so implies Jewish homogeneity?  That, in my eyes, approaches racism, or perhaps...anti-Semitism.

by Strummerson 2009-05-28 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

I noted that it was an ironic thing for a person advocating the Jewish state to be debating ethnocentrism.

But there's little to debate. It's a moral argument.

I'm in favor of criticising the Israeli government, being pro-Palestinian, not wanting Israel-Arabs to be treated unequally, etc. etc.

But there comes a point where someone is advocating against the Jewish state and the need for the Jewish people to have a homeland, as JJE is doing. JJE, I already debated your points.

You have demonstrated you just don't care, and don't see any moral argument in the Jewish people needing a homeland where their culture can thrive as it only can in a Jewish state.

That I consider anti-semetic and offensive.

by ThemRights 2009-05-28 02:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Netanyahu chooses to warehouse Palestinians

If political Zionism is a moral imperative beyond debate, and thus an absolute good, then dissent and disagreements are indeed evil.  How does it feel to be so confidently on the side of the angels?

The problem is your axiomatic assertion that the State of Israel is necessary both for Jewish existence and for Jewish cultural development.  Are those also beyond debate in your eyes?  Are those ideas impervious to examination and criticism?  If so, you really have nothing to discuss with someone as evil as me.  But I reject as intellectual thuggery such a position that puts historical and cultural questions beyond critical debate.

Here's an example of an analogous argument: everyone who rejects the divinity of Jesus Christ is damned to hell for eternity.  This is an article of faith and a moral absolute.

How comfortable are you with that dogma?

How does it differ from your own?

by Strummerson 2009-05-28 02:24PM | 0 recs
Nonsense

I noted that it was an ironic thing for a person advocating the Jewish state to be debating ethnocentrism.

It's ironic for someone advocating an ethnocentric state to be debating ethnocentrism?  How is that ironic.

But there's little to debate. It's a moral argument.

Moral arguments are not debatable?  I guess Kant, Nietzche, Hume, Locke, and all the rest were really wasting their time.

JJE, I already debated your points.

No, you simply reasserted your conclusions.  Not the same thing.

You have demonstrated you just don't care, and don't see any moral argument in the Jewish people needing a homeland where their culture can thrive as it only can in a Jewish state.

Oh there's an argument, just not a persuasive one.  Jewish culture survived and thrived for centuries without a Jewish state.

And I thought this was about the need for security for Jewish people.  Are you conceding that argument doesn't hold much water and instead focusing on culture?

That I consider anti-semetic and offensive.

Your view is well-established at this point.  What you haven't done is provided any justification for it.  Or rather, you haven't provided any good justification for it, because "there comes a point" and "it's a gut thing" aren't very good justifications.

by JJE 2009-05-28 04:03PM | 0 recs

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