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Creative Middle Eastern Math?

By brandtpfundak in News
Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 01:15:53 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)

I realize that this is an update to an earlier story on the violence between Israelis and Palestinians but given the events of the last 24-48 hours I think it is important to revisit the topic.

Those of us who know of the history of the Israel in the past 50 years have heard of situation that has been playing out for the last two weeks being played out before. Palestinians start causing "trouble" in Israeli eyes and people start getting hurt and killed. So the question is, is Israel justified in their actions against Palestinian dissidents?

Let me first start off by saying that I am not a believer in any sort of organized religion. Why is that important? because the fate of Israel is bound up in the beliefs of the three major religions--Judaism, Christianity and Islam. While the current conflict is between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims (and as I will state below, the distinction of cultural groups is important) this situation affects anyone associated with the religions above (whether you are a believer or not--you may have family and friends who are belivers.)

Here in Cleveland (and I'd be willing to assume around the globe) the reaction has been predictable to say the least. Both Jewish and Palestinian cultural groups have held vigils and pointed the finger of blame at each other. The media pretends to be neutral in their reporting of the conflict, but US media is bending toward the long standing policy of support for Israel. I say this because there seems to be more outrage over the deaths of two Israeli soldiers than the deaths of 90 young Palestinians. No one in the US has come out and claimed that perhaps the measures the Israelis took to react to the deaths of the Israeli soldiers were extreme.

Given all that has happened in the past two weeks, I find it hard to not sympathize with the Palestinians. While Al Gore proclaims that the US is a "fair broker" in the Mid East peace process, he also claims that US foriegn policy in the region is pro-Israel--two statements that I find contradictory. Perhaps the Palestinians are finally realizing they are getting the short end of the stick from the US, who seems to look at the Palestinians as just another group of Arab Muslims that should give up their claim to their cultural heritage and go move to countries with other Arab Muslims.

Don't get me wrong. I think it is important that the US retain strong ties with Israel and I totally believe in the concept of a Jewish nation state. But I think it is unfair that this state has come to exist at the expense of the Palestinians, who lost their own nation to the Israelis in 1948. I think that it is hypocritical of both the Israelis and the US to believe that it is okay for there to be an Israeli nation state but not a Palestinian state. Yes, there have been peace negotiations for the last 7 years, but recent events show me (at least) that the peace process has always been slanted toward Israeli and US interests and that the Palestinians have been fighting an uphill (and losing) battle.

What do you guys think?


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Creative Middle Eastern Math? | 63 comments (62 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Some points to consider (4.25 / 8) (#1)
by farl on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 11:36:29 AM EST

US media is bending toward the long standing policy of support for Israel.

While this might be true, using the US Media as a rational for basing anything is pretty silly IMHO. All newspapers/media tend to have some sort of bias. As posted in an earlier article similar to this one, some very pro-palestinian media was shown. I have seen both sides praised and ridiculed by US Media, and that leaves me with rather little faith in what they are reporting on. Not that it's true or not, but rather their bias is called into question.

While Al Gore proclaims that the US is a "fair broker" in the Mid East peace process, he also claims that US foriegn policy in the region is pro-Israel--two statements that I find contradictory

I don't find that contradictory. Just becuase you support one side doesn't mean in certain circumstances you cannot be neutral, and work for the "better good" of both sides.

But I think it is unfair that this state has come to exist at the expense of the Palestinians, who lost their own nation to the Israelis in 1948

Why don't we give the US back to England? Or even better (and probably more deserved) give it back to the Native American tribes who were here first. While the pure statement of fact might be true about who was where first, nations/places tend to change ownership over time.


Giving US back to the indians (4.60 / 5) (#6)
by meadows_p on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 11:48:10 AM EST

Giving the US back to the natives is a much better analogy than giving it back to the English (*being English, I wouldn't mind that happening, but that's for a different story*:). The US natives forcably had their land taken from them, whereas we (the english) nicked someone elses land, and then had a rebellion amongst ourselves (pretty much). I've never thought about it like that, but perhaps the analogy of living on someone else's land, has something to do with the USA pro-Isreal bias...

[ Parent ]
to be honest.... (3.00 / 3) (#11)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 01:01:10 PM EST

I've never thought about it like that, but perhaps the analogy of living on someone else's land, has something to do with the USA pro-Isreal bias...

Does any nation-state exist today that can not be demonstrated to have conquered and taken over its land mass from the natives?

It seems to me that history is mostly the story of group of people taking land from another group of people.

[ Parent ]

Re: to be honest.... (2.50 / 2) (#15)
by XScott on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 01:19:24 PM EST

Does any nation-state exist today that can not be demonstrated to have conquered and taken over its land mass from the natives?
Probably not, and very few can claim to have made any attempt at reconciliation with the natives they displaced. You don't see a whole lot of Reservations in countries other than the US. I'm not saying the US did a good thing, just that if we hadn't made some efforts at letting the natives preserve their culture the whole point would be moot.

-- Of course I think I'm right. If I thought I was wrong, I'd change my mind.
[ Parent ]
about natives (2.25 / 4) (#22)
by boxed on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 05:40:24 PM EST

Does any nation-state exist today that can not be demonstrated to have conquered and taken over its land mass from the natives?

Think about that for a minute. It's pretty damn obvious that the answer is yes. On the american continents and the australian the answer is no, but that is an exception</me> not the rule. Very few European countries has driven away any natives and those that have have only done so from small territories. The same goes for central China, Japan, mostly all of Africa and central Asia. Just because something is normal where you come from (the US) does definetely not mean it's normal everywhere else.

[ Parent ]

ooops, sorry about the erroneous tag (1.00 / 1) (#23)
by boxed on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 05:42:07 PM EST

[ Parent ]
depends what you mean by "driven away" (3.66 / 3) (#29)
by a humble lich on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 10:19:59 PM EST

It seems that many countries in Europe were taken by force (or at least parts of them were). Ireland (before gained it's independence) is a good example, as is England (the Saxons first drove the Britons away, then the Normans conquered the Saxons), Italy (what happened to the Eutruscans and the Italian Greeks), Greece (there was a non-Indoeuropean group in Greece before the Greeks came--many place names and the Greek word for ocean come from them). Spain was invaded by the Celts, Romans, and Germans. The difference is in Europe mostly people were assimilated into the new culture as opposed to killed or put on reservations (but not always Ireland was basically one big reservation).

[ Parent ]
Actualy That's bullshit (4.80 / 5) (#30)
by kraant on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 02:05:27 AM EST

Japanese displaced the Ainu who can now only be found in hokkaido... Read more about this here...

And the history of the han chinese is one of invasion and domination of people from vietnam Mongolia etc etc... and ethnic non han chinese within china proper who are slowly dissapearing due to state sponsored mass migration of han chinese.

I wouldn't have liked to be a san when the bantu colonised his homeland...

And the thought that Europe was anything other than a constant battle ground between competing tribes each trying to displace the other is laughable to anyone who has even a cursory knowledge of history...

"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]

Human Rights is for EVERYBODY (3.18 / 11) (#2)
by maynard on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 11:38:40 AM EST

The level of violence the Israeli government permits is just disgusting. I have all the sympathy in the world for those unfortunate souls who perished in the holocaust, but defending the state of Israel by using the same tactics of violence against ordinary citizens and children shows an obvious double standard.

Here's a horrible example of the violence, see a father attempting to shield a twelve year old boy from crossfire as Israeli troops shoot with impunity. By coincidence, a Salon writer actually happened to know the father, Here is her account of the man.

I really don't understand the need for this level of violence from Israel. It bothers me to no end that we're supporting this with our tax dollars. Of course, invading Panama bothered me even more, but this is certainly one more example of American foreign policy I disagree with.

Finally, I bear no ill will toward people of Jewish heritage. Nor do I feel strongly against Muslims, Christians, or Hindu beliefs. But if we're going to talk human right, let's make it a standard that all must follow.


Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.

A few further comments about bias... (4.00 / 6) (#17)
by farl on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 02:16:22 PM EST

The level of violence the Israeli government permits is just disgusting.

Permits whom?
a. Israeli violence against Palestinians - when you get shot at, bombed, stoned, and otherwise attacked, you tend to respond violently in turn.
b. Palestinian violence against Israelis - when you get shot at, bombed, stoned, and otherwise attacked, you tend to respond violently in turn.

Note the similarity?

Cycles of violence are pretty common in war zones. And the level between the government and what most soldiers do is pretty far between. Leaders might be talking about peace while soldiers/fighters are out shooting. It is almost IMPOSSIBLE to control a mob, whether they are in uniform or civies.

Here's a horrible example of the violence, see a father attempting to shield a twelve year old boy from crossfire as Israeli troops shoot with impunity.

Firstly, this is a horrible act. Secondly, I would like to see the 2 minutes of footage from just before this, that might actually show WHY it happened. Soldiers tend not to shoot people for the fun of it. Even if they are in mob mode.

[ Parent ]
Yet more comments about bias. (4.00 / 4) (#45)
by i on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 01:14:58 PM EST

A 12 year old is hit by a stray bullet. Everybody screams bloody murder.

A rabbi tries to save a Torah scroll, gets lynched by a blood-thirsty mob. Nobody gives a rat's ass.

Two reserve soldiers arrested by Palestinian police, get lynched by a blood-thirsty mob. A wife calls her husband on a mobile phone. Her call is answered by a man that flatly states: "I've just killed your husband". Nobody gives a rat's ass.

A merchant makes his daily route of buying fresh food, gets murdered by his own suppliers. Nobody gives a rat's ass.

They're Jews, so they deserve it, right?

And because they oppose a blood-thirsty mob, they are a blood-thirsty mob themselves. Very logical indeed.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]

Wait till they sing "We Shall Overcome" (4.00 / 1) (#38)
by El Volio on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 10:36:29 PM EST

The US is just about Israel's only real friend in this mess. Other nations who aren't actually supporting the Palestinians have begun to distance themselves from Israel.

As it is, the Palestinians are doing themselves a pragmatic disservice by violence. Both sides are, I know, but all it will take is one Gandhi or MLK Jr (yes, I realize that this was mentioned in another post) to win over a large number to nonviolent protest. When they sit in the streets and sing "We Shall Overcome", and the Israelis still attack them, world opinion will come crashing down overwhelmingly against the Israeli government.

Both current positions are untenable. But the Israel gov't can't back down; there's too much support in the general populace. The Palestinians, by continuing their protest by peaceful means, could win by default.

[ Parent ]

The strange thing is: (2.66 / 3) (#43)
by i on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 11:58:21 AM EST

they are throwing stones, lynching people, destroy synagogues, and the world opinion is still overwhelmingly against the Israeli government. Ain't this world a weird place?

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
I wonder why... (3.33 / 3) (#48)
by Moneo on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 03:37:16 PM EST

> they are throwing stones, lynching people, destroy synagogues, and the world opinion is still overwhelmingly against the Israeli government.

Might that have something to do with the fact that the Israelis are responding with weapons fire, tank-mounted automatic guns, and other uses of excessive violence. I seem to remember a UN Security Council resolution about this, and a conspicuous abstention from the US.

I've read and responded to several of your posts, and there's just one thing I want to say...it's OK if Israel is not perfect. The country isn't going to get torn down for it. Every one of your posts has struck me as a defensive knee-jerk reaction. There are lots of things wrong with Israel, just as there are with any other country. Stop trying to make it seem as though you're just trying to live there peacefully and the dirty Arabs won't let you. Stop trying to get pity for Israel. They don't deserve it in this case.
Propaganda plays the same role in a democracy as violence does in a dictatorship. -- Noam Chomsky
[ Parent ]
I seem to remember that same resolution (2.33 / 3) (#50)
by i on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 03:53:14 AM EST

and many others. One of them equated Zionism with racism. The Security Counsil is some kind of deity here? No, it is comprised of nations. Many of which are, incidentally, happen to depend on Arab oil.

Excessive violence? Pardon my French, but you fucking don't know what are you talking about. When Arafat's army uses weapons fire this doesn't seem excessive to you, does it? Oh, I forgot. Poor Arafat doesn't have an army. It's "police".

Sure there are lots of things wrong with Israel. You just don't seem to know what these things exactly are.

I normally don't participate in discussions like this. After all, most people draw their opinions from CNN reports, what do they know? But here I expected somewhat higher than average level of intelligence, hence the reaction. Thank you for pointing out that it is entirely unjustified.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]

I strongly agree with this post. (none / 0) (#55)
by maynard on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:23:04 AM EST

I don't support either the Palestinian or the Israelis in this ethnic regional conflict. Instead, I look at the issue from a policy standpoint, one whereby both parties are set to a human rights standard and then judge their behavior accordingly.

For example, in the situation where a Palestinian mob lynched those two Israeli soldiers in the police station, I would argue that the members of that mob, and potentially the Palestinian police officers if they gave up those soldiers willingly, should be tried for capital murder. period.

However, the Israeli government replied with air to ground missiles, tank mounted machine guns, and other forms of military violence. There's a BIG difference between individuals committing barbarous acts of violence and state sponsored military violence.

Let's take this off of Israel and move to any of a number of other ethnic conflicts around the world. For example, in Rwanda the Hutu massacres of the Tutsi population represented an organized campaign of mass murder to wrest political power from the Tutsis. Since, in this argument, there are few willing to support the Hutu's in their genocide it's certainly not controversial to condemn their action.

How about the Turk/Kurdish conflict in Turkey? This particular issue has American foreign policy at stake, so it's a little more controversial for me to argue that the Turks have committed unreasonable violence against their citizens. Yet this is what I believe.

The same goes for the Guatemalan, El Salvadorian, and Mexican government's excessive violence against their native populations. Or China. Or the horrible abuse of power and violence in Afghanistan. Really, the point is consistent policy, not which ethic group is right or wrong.

There's a strong policy divide among wonks in the American government between those who promote "American interests first" vs. those who support "standard human rights for all". This is a pragmatism vs. morality conflict, and I stand for the latter. I really could care less about Israel or Palestine as nations and just wish they'd resolve their differences peacefully and get the hell out of our national budget. I'd rather our tax dollars go to funding local schools, health care, basic infrastructure, and (after all this even) tax cuts! Go figure, a Nader supporter can even stomach tax cuts. <g>

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

Fifty years? (4.33 / 6) (#3)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 11:41:43 AM EST

Those of us who know of the history of the Israel in the past 50 years have heard of situation that has been playing out for the last two weeks being played out before.

The last fifty years? Try at least the last 50 centuries.

Throughout all of recorded history the middle east has been one big mess of one tribe conquering the others in the area. The only lasting periods of peace that I'm aware of are from when some outside force (the Persians, the Romans, the Greeks, etc.) have swooped in and imposed a peace through force of arms.

Given that all of the groups involved (Palestinians, Israelis, Islamic militants, Zionists, etc.) have demonstrated the ability to live peacefully in other areas (to a greater and lesser extent) I wonder why everyone gets their bowels in an uproar while living in the Holy Land.

I hope for peace in the middle east, but I do not expect it in my lifetime. I am to well acquainted with human nature to expect otherwise. It will take several exceptional figures of the likes of Gandhi and Rabin to bring peace to the middle east. The question is, will the right figures emerge at the right time?

Re: Fifty Years (1.50 / 6) (#5)
by marooned on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 11:46:54 AM EST

>It will take several exceptional figures of the likes of Gandhi and Rabin to bring peace to the middle east

Dont you think you got it a bit wrong here. Gandhi was in no way connected to the Middle East peace process
i.e. India != Middle East

[ Parent ]
Believe it or not, I'm not confused (3.50 / 4) (#10)
by Anonymous 242 on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 12:51:56 PM EST

Dont you think you got it a bit wrong here. Gandhi was in no way connected to the Middle East peace process i.e. India != Middle East

I wasn't refering to Gandhi as a notable person that was active in the Middle East. I was refering to Gandhi as one of those exceptional figures that helps bring about momentous change. Whether or not Gandhi ever played a part in Middle Eastern peace process is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the Middle Eastern peace process needs someone with the exceptional integrity, vision, leadership skills and fortitude as Mohandas Gandhi supplied while he graced this earth.

It is possible that Yitzak Rabin could have eventually played that role, but we will never know as his life was cut all too short. To many lives altogether are being cut short in the Middle East, today. Sometimes it makes me weep.

[ Parent ]

I am not a racist or a facist but.... (3.22 / 9) (#4)
by meadows_p on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 11:42:59 AM EST

I feel that I have to put that in the subject line, but I don't really see that the creation of a Zionist Jew state is justified.

I'm not denying the holocaust, and I fully agree that what happen in WW2 was awful for all the persecuted people concerned, BUT, atrocities of a similar scale have happened more than once in recent history, Stalin and the Russians springs to mind.

But surely when WW2 was finished, the Nazi threat was over. Wouldn't it have been better to try and integrate Jews, wherever they were, into the communities that they were currently living?

Surely it was grossly unfair to just give over British Palestine to create a Zionist State. I cannot believe that whoever did this failed to see that dispossessing a people of their land wouldn't fail to cause problems over time.

Not wanting to sound simplistic here, but compare the appearance of the Isreali Jews and the palestinians with their Arab neigbours. The palestinians have been living there for hundreds of years and have the right to the land.

The USAian influence in Isreal is blatently supporting a puppet state to have influence in an area which is vehemently anti USA.

I just hope that this doesn't escalate into an all out war, because if it does, this could be the biggie (WW3).

By no means do I proclaim myself to be an expert on middle-east history and politics, but these are my opinions based on the information I've observed.

Nitpick (2.50 / 2) (#13)
by Zarniwoop on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 01:10:10 PM EST

The decision that there would be a Jewish state in Palestine was made by 1922, by Great Britain, after reviewing the issue with the League of Nations. This was after the British government promised they would push for the issue, as is pronounced in The Belafour Declaration.

See The Belafour Declaration and The Palestine Mandate for more details.

[ Parent ]
Contradictory promises... (3.50 / 2) (#36)
by Moneo on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 09:45:11 PM EST

You're right. But do remember that those same people also promised the Arabs a sovereign state in the region in order to gain Arab support for the First World War.
Propaganda plays the same role in a democracy as violence does in a dictatorship. -- Noam Chomsky
[ Parent ]
People have short memories. (2.50 / 2) (#42)
by i on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 11:50:41 AM EST

Otherwise they would remember that Arabs refused to take what was allocated for them, and decided to take everything instead.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
That was after Israel existed (4.00 / 1) (#47)
by Moneo on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 03:23:02 PM EST

It sounds like you're talking about Arab actions after the establishment of Israel. I am not. I am discussing contradictory promises the British made to both Arabs and Jews, which eventually led to the conflicts in Israel.

To address the point you do bring up, though...what was allocated for them? You mean after they were betrayed and entirely displaced and their land was given to others, they weren't content to just sit idley by? How very shocking!

What's happening in Israel now saddens (because of the activities of both sides). I would very much like to see it end...I would like people there to begin to coexist. At this point, I don't think either side is right and I just want it to stop.

That does not mean, however, that I think the creation of Israel was right. I think it deplorable and I find it shocking that so much of the world is undisturbed by it, and by the events that followed. Worse things have happened in history, however, and dragging around our mistakes with us isn't going to help. So I accept the fact that Israel exists, if not the principle on which it does...and I would very much like to see a peaceful win/win solution in the area, although I realize it's not going to happen (even with vaunted US meddl^H^H^H^Hintervention).
Propaganda plays the same role in a democracy as violence does in a dictatorship. -- Noam Chomsky
[ Parent ]
So Arabs were betrayed. (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by i on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 04:32:44 AM EST

Let's see. The Balfour declaration was talking about, roughly, the territory of modern Israel, West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan as the territory for future Jewish national home. Then UN ended up allocating leth than half of the territory of modern Israel for Jewish state. Without Jerusalem, and it was divided into two chunks of land without connection between them, or with a connection about 1km wide, I forgot which. Talk about betrayal.

Now you think that creation of Israel was deplorable, and you find it shocking that much of the world is undisturbed by it. Well, don't you think that creation of the good old U.S. of A. was deplorable? Don't you find it shocking that much of the world is undisturbed by it?

You also realize that a peaceful win/win solution in the area isn't going to happen. Do you have any idea why?

And now some quotes.

Knesset Member Abd el-Malek Dahamsha of the "Ra'am" Party, during his visit to Syria in 1997, said: "Palestine and Syria are one homeland. The Arab people will win by the sword; the victory will be won by the jihad of the Arab world." (Jerusalem Post, August 15, 1997)
Knesset Member Azmi Bishara (of the "Balad" Party) has called the Hezbollah terrorist group, which fires rockets at schools and homes in northern Israel, a "legitimate resistance movement" that is "fighting bravely against occupation by Israel." (Jerusalem Post, Feb. 22, 1999; IMRA, July 4, 1999) On a visit to Syria, Bishara placed a wreath at the tomb of Islamic Jihad terrorist leader Fathi Shkaki, who was responsible for the murders of numerous Israelis as well as the 1995 bombing that killed Brandeis University student Alisa Flatow, of New Jersey. (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 21, 1997) Earlier this year, Bishara took part in a violent rock-throwing demonstration against Israeli police who were dismantling an illegally-built home in the city of Lod. (Jerusalem Post, June 22, 1999)
Bishara's colleague in the "Balad" Party, Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi, who served as Yasir Arafat's chief adviser on Israeli affairs during 1992-1999. (Jerusalem Post, June 18, 1999) Tibi is a physician who in 1987 "was fired from his job at Hadassah Hospital when he assaulted a Jewish guard and walked away as his victim lay bleeding on the floor" (Jerusalem Post, Dec. 26, 1994) He has publicly described Arabs who sell property to Jews in Jerusalem as "selling their souls to the devil." (Jerusalem Post, August 28, 1997) Last year, Tibi was arrested for punching and spitting at an Israeli border policeman. (Jerusalem Post, June 18, 1999) Another disturbing incident occurred last year when Tibi's car was stopped at an Israeli Army checkpoint. The soldier who inspected his car was a Druze. Tibi said to him: "You are a Druze and that's why you're collaborating with them. My shoe is cleaner than your family." (Arutz 7, January 4, 1998)

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
An Interesting related post (4.14 / 7) (#7)
by intol on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 12:09:24 PM EST

A few days ago while I was researching this topic, I stumbled into the middle of a heated debate on this topic. I am posting a copy of one post here because I feel that it can add to or generate some discussion on this topic here. What follows is the complete post which was found on http://nuance.dhs.org/lbo-talk/9902/1149.html. Only the email addresses have been changed to protect the innocent from Spam.


From: seanno@ksu.NOSPAM.edu
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 00:00:05 -0600 (CST)
To: Nathan Newman nathan.newman@yale.NOSPAM.edu
Subject: Anti Isreal = Anti-Semetism?

I'll delurk and bite at your thread.
> This is an odd ideological jag, at cross-purposes with itself. The point of
> Collective Guilt was to blame the Germans for the Holocaust and justify
> unique retribution against that country by the victors.

How would someone justify the Israelis' opposition and pressures on the American policy makers not to recognize the massacres against the Armenian people such as when the pro Isreal lobby took steps to keep congress from recognizing the Armenian genocide. Similarly a BBC documentary on the Turkish slaughter of Armenians was dropped from Isreali television because the idea that Jews are the only people to ever suffer a genocide is a central element in the ideological justification for Zionism. The holocaust was a brutal slaughter of world historic significance but it in no way justifies the creation of a settler state exclusively for Jews in Palestine. a key element of zionism is that Jews are Gods chosen people, that the suffering of Jews is special and subsequently justifies any and all oppression of Arabs by Jews. On one hand anti-semetism is a very real phenomenon and yet, the charge of anti-semetism is also used as an ideological subterfuge to justify any and every autrocity by the state Isreal.

> A more general statement of generic hostility to Jews already had a label –
> it's called Anti-Semitism. The idea that Jews needed their own state was
> not justified by the Holocaust; the idea was already over fifty years old
> and was justified by millenia of genocide, discrimination, pogroms and
> wholesale expulsions. The Holocaust merely played an ideological reminder
> role for the Zionists to use just as decolonization put real estate into
> play on the international scene.

It is true that the idea for a Jewish state existed prior to the WW2 but not as an outcome of autonomous national development. British imperialistinterests were threatened by the growing Arab nationalism in the region and they needed an agent in the region to help them protect that interest. furthermore, fifty years before The holocaust the Jews constituted less than 7% of the total population of Palestine which makes no sense to say that there was a mature development of nationalism and an idea of Jewish statehood. The holocaust and the sufferings of the jewish people were used by the Zionist leaders to attract Jews to Palestine and use them as a force for the imperialist interests. David Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, himself refused to save tens of thousands of Jewish people from the holocaust because their demographic characteristics did not suit his need for an army. So old, very young, handicapped, and even women were left to die in the gas chamber because Ben Gurion did not see them as good jews [see the Israeli new Historian Tom Segev on Ben Gurion and the Holocaust].

Also, the post WW1 and WW2 decolonization process was a rearrangement of world geopolitics according to core Imperialist's states interests. There is no meaning in talking about a Jewish state in Palestine as a historical outcome of local factors fifty years prior to the holocaust. The Zionist second and sixth congresses suggested Uganda and Argentina as a location for the Jewish state. That is an acknowledgment that Jews have no special claim on the territory of Palestine, either historically or religiously (which is just asinine anyway) Although I do not see the relevance for historical or religious claims in the conflict but both the UN 181 resolution you cited and the first zionist plan [as seen in Hiem Waizman's Trial and Error] included the areas with rich resources [e.g., water]as a location for the Jewish state. This contradicts the religious claims because it give the Jews the areas they do not claim as holy for them [the north and south of palestine] and gives the west Bank, Gaza, other areas to the Arabs where the Jews claim that David's kingdom existed. Waizman, the first Israeli Chairman and a zionist founder, did not care about Hebron or Jerusalem, but negotiated with the British on the Litany River of Lebanon to be part of the suggested Israel.

Nathan again:
>That a bunch of Arab groups had been on the wrong side of World War II
>just added to the force of the argument at the time (and remember that
>the 1948 UN vote was amazing lop-sided in the Zionists' favor).

Arabs in the Middle east and North Africa account for almost 300 million people. Only the Zionists willingness to be used as an agent of British and later American Imperialism resulted in Palestine as the location for the state of Isreal. Much bloodshed would have been spared if European Jews had migrated to the U.S. following WW2. It is as if you are saying that 300 million arabs are in the middle east by mistake while 4 millionJews are there by historical necessity. The creation and growth of the state of Isreal has caused the death of 110,000 Palestinians and the ethnic cleansing of over 1.3 million people since 1947 [see this Israeli source Benny Morris :The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem. 1987. Oxford].

> Of course, Jewish brutality against its internal Palestinian minority has
> just demonstrated why Collective Guilt is silly; any majority group turns
> brutal and nasty when it is either dominated by ideological/religious
> fanatics and/or has external pressures that leave the population fearful and
> vulnerable to demagogic racist appeals.

Isreal is an explicitly Jewish State! Isreal is also a militarized police state with citizenship and law based upon explicitly religious and ethnic categories. At least 97% of Isreali's are "dominated by ideological religious fanatics." The only Isreali's excluded from this are the tiny smattering who actively oppose their own state by defending Palestinians in Isreali courts, providing prisoner support and other activities.

Nathan Again:
> Not to start a whole other thread (although it inevitably will), I do think
> the Left ideological opposition to Israel's existence (as opposed to
> opposition to its brutal actions) has large streams of Anti-Semetism
> associated with it. The justification for why Jews don't deserve their own
> state as much as any other nationality has always seemed weak to me.

First, this is false on purely semantic grounds. If you want to play the ethnic origin game (which is dangerous in and of itself) almost any arab is more "semetic" than jews who have lived in Europe for a thousand years and have intermarried and procreated with many "non-semetic" peoples. Palestinians in Isreali prisons (frequently held without charge or trial in administrative detention for years) have lived in the region longer and ironically speak Hebrew better than many Isreali guards (who are frequently recent migrants from Russia). The zionist's propaganda machine works exactly by confounding anti-Semitism with Anti Zionism.

How can you seperate Isreal's hypothetical existence from Isreal the real material political and economic entity? Isreal isn't an abstraction that hangs in the air. The term Historical rights" should not mean who was there first as it is commonly understood by nationaists of all stripes, but rather the actual role of each party in the conflict. Israel proved that it can only play an oppressive role not only in the region but also in the world. Israel's allies have always been reactionary former colonizers and imperialist forces and its enemies were and are always national liberation movements all over the world. The affinity between Isreali and South African apartheid was matched by excellent political andeconomic relations between the South African Apartheid regime and Zionists. The emerging cozy relationship between Turkey, with its war against Kurds and Isreal is further evidence of the deeply reactionary nature of the state of Isreal. The best evidence of Isreal's reactionary role in the region is its treatment of Palestinians both within Isreal and in the occupied territories. Palestinians are denied access to water (Isreali's use ten times more water than Palestinians), access to land (Palestinians systemically can't get building permits and have their houses destroyed to make room for Isreali settlements in the territories and inside Isreal itself), access to transportation (the roads connecting settlements in the territories have been largely designated for settler and soldier use only), economic in-puts (most of which must be bought exclusively from Isral at exhorbinant prices), lack of jobs inside Isreal(Palestinians serve as low wage semi-proles in the Isreali economy), and exclusion from Isreali markets for Palestinian agricultural and manufactured goods. The denial of even any semblance of civil and democratic rights for Palestinians in the occupied territories should be final proof that Isreal is an apartheid regime. A struggle for the abolition of the state of Isreal is progressive.

> The argument that the Palestians were already there fails, since plenty of
> groups have lost nation-state control to later migrants. And there were of
> course plenty of Jews in the Middle East long before 1948;

Nathan your "since plenty of groups have lost nation-state control to later migrants" evinces a nonchalance towards the brutality of history I seriously doubt you would maintain if repression in the former socialist bloc was the topic. History does hurt, but that shouldn't keep us from choosing sides. Palestinians in Palestine and The neighboring Arab countries by far out number the Israeli Jews. The recent migration of Russian Jews is in large part an attempt by Isreal to counteract the population growth of Palestinians, who have one of the world's highest birth rates, thus Isreali citizenship and migration policy isn't just unfortunate and tangential but instead is central to the expansionist project of a greater Isreal. In something like 50 years there will be twice as many Palestinians in Palestine as there are Jews in Isreal. Contrary to zionist claims Palestine was not empty prior to the establishment of the state of Isreal and the near future will be characterized by a tiny minority of Jews with significant resources and a huge population of Palestinians living in grinding poverty and rapidly deterriorating ecological conditions. Palestine is an exemplary case of systemic underdevelopment at the hands of Isreali development. There were NOT plenty of Jews in Palestine prior to 1948. when the state of Israel was first established the Jews were only 600,000 while 900,000 Arabs were forcibly expelled. if you add the number of Arabs in the middle east to whom the Palestinians belong as a nation the Jews will never be plenty. the Jews never exceeded 12% before the expulsion of the Palestinians, and the difference was that the British laws facilitate the Jewish immigration, economic development, armament, and did exactly the opposite to the Palestinians. The state of Isreal was created as an instrument of Anglo-American Imperialism and persists to this day only with enormous economic and military assistance from the U.S. Support for the state of Isreal is support for a racist apartheid regime and U.S. Imperialism.

Sean Noonan



It comes down to concepts of Nationalism... (3.66 / 3) (#16)
by brandtpfundak on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 02:03:50 PM EST

This e-mail holds a lot of why I bothered to post this story in the first place (and I am sorry if I misclassfied it--I am kind of new here, but I appreciate how having a voice is encouraged.) I don't consider myself a globalist by any stretch of the imagination, but the idea of a religious, racial or cultural nationalism to me seems a bit archaic. I understand why people do it however--our identities are bound up in cultural difference and nationalist attitudes help to make the lines between individuals a bit less blurry. However, in my vision of how I would like the world to be there would be no borders, no nationalism.

Having said that, I have to be realistic. While I know that the holocaust is not the only reason for the state of Israel, the Jewish people were the victims of a genocide. The Jewish people must maintain their cultural identity not only for the sake of their religion but for the sake of the world. The Holocaust serves as a reminder as to why we must not accept hatred in this world. I would argue that no other cultural group in the last century paid so dearly for their beliefs. For that reason alone, Israel must exist.

The problem as I see it is this: The Israelis are forgetting their recent history. Yes, culturally speaking Palestinians are Arab Muslims, but they are also Palestinian nationalists. They simply can't go to Jordan or Syria and get over the fact that there is no Palestine. That is like asking an Israeli Jew to give up his or her identity as an Israeli and get over it. In either case it's an unfair thing to ask.

I think my real problem with this issue is US involvement in the peace process. I was very disheartened by what I perceived as a total agreement in US foreign policy toward the Middle East between Gore and Bush during Wednesday's debate. Like I stated before--I believe that the US can not be Pro-Israel and at the same time a "fair broker" for peace in the region. Israeli interest in the region is largely the same as US interest in the region. Wouldn't that give Israel the firmer footing in the peace process? Wouldn't that automatically put the Palestinians at a disadvantage when they come to the table? As a US citizen I have become, over the years, largely suspicious of US foreign policy and this seems to be another example of suspicious foreign policy to me.


[ Parent ]

Somebody has to say it... (3.00 / 2) (#34)
by Moneo on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 09:30:32 PM EST

> associated with it. The justification for why Jews don't deserve their own
> state as much as any other nationality has always seemed weak to me.

Say after me:
"Judaism is not a nationality."

That's right, folks. Jews are a religious group, an ethnic group and a cultural group. They are not a 'nationality'. Does being Anglican make you English? Do the protestants have a nation? No. Jews have no more claim to a nation and/or nationality than any other religous or ethnic group does. They're welcome to trace their cultural, social and ethnic devlopment back to a region, if they want (as are [African/Asian/Indian/Arab]-Americans, for example)...but that is very different from having a nation, or a right to a nationality. If you want to argue that they have a right to a nation on other grounds (because of the Jewish holocaust (as opposed to the Armenian holocaust, or the Kurdish one), or because of the original Zionist ideas) then that's another argument entirely. But simply being Jewish isn't good enough.
Propaganda plays the same role in a democracy as violence does in a dictatorship. -- Noam Chomsky
[ Parent ]
All right. (3.00 / 2) (#41)
by i on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 11:46:08 AM EST

So Jews are a religious group, an ethnic group and a cultural group. But you know, they are not a first-class religious group, not a first-class ethnic group and not a first-class cultural group. If they were (like we Americans are), they would be allowed to found a nation (like we Americans did). But they are not, so they are welcome to trace their roots to whatever region they like, until not one of them is left on this planet. For being a Jew is not good enough to have a nation. Being just about everybody else apparently is good enough, as can be readily witnessed by Australia, New Zealand and the entire American continent.

Thank you for explaining nicely just who you are. Now everybody else repeat after me:

Rights are not given. Rights are taken.

I am an Israeli. This land is my only home. Not yours, not somebody else's. Mine. Why? Because I'm willing to defend it. With my teeth, with my nails, to my death if need be. That's why.

What rights do you have to your home?

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]

I think you missed my point (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by Moneo on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 03:11:34 PM EST

It seems like you think I'm saying Jews have no right to a nation. Maybe I came across wrong, that's not what I intended. If Jews can acquire and defend a nation, then, pragmatically, they have as much of a right to it as anyone else (I'm trying not to get into a philosphical argument about rights). What I am upset about, however, is that a lot of people seem to be under the illusion that Jews deserve a nation, for some reason. You don't. Nobody does. No ethnicity deserves a nation solely beause they are an ethnicity. That was my point -- not that Israel shouldn't exist (that's an entirely separate argument we can get into)...but that its existence is not justifiable by some 'higher' right.

What rights do I have to my home? The exact same as you to yours. I'm lucky enough, though, not to live in a contested area.
Propaganda plays the same role in a democracy as violence does in a dictatorship. -- Noam Chomsky
[ Parent ]
Alright. (none / 0) (#56)
by dj@ on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 01:01:19 PM EST

Since you asked, I will tell you what rights you have to your home. When you say you, you sometimes mean me, and vice versa. You may wish for me to call you an Israeli, but I think you are selling yourself short. I feel this would also be true of a request to label you as Palestinian, or even American.

Besides, I think being a Jew means being too good to have a nation. I think the same of all people, regardless of what they choose to call themselves. Unfortunately, some feel pressure to get theirs because others are doing the same. So instead of being from a small piece of land, I choose to be from god, yahweh, love, and allah, in no particular order. I also believe that I will return to that entity. When I say that I exist, anyway, this does not mean that I exist only for that moment when I uttered the words. This means that I shall exist eternally. I believe this no matter what anyone else believes, whether they believe me or not. You don't need to "be" an anything in order to have immortality. You can have all this and more without a land-locked god that is your nation.

If you were to ask me, identifications and labels do no one a service. I don't need anyone to create an identity for me, and I don't wish to create an identity for anyone else. Politics has its basis in a group's creating an identity that will provide that group a greater livelihood to the exclusion of others. You go very quickly from needing to survive to needing to conquer.

This earth is a bounty, and everything else must have been created in order for this earth to exist. There is more than enough of every scarce resource, including land, for the sustenance and triumph of every human being. There is hardly enough of every unlimited resource.

Instead of fighting over territory that is sacred because of something that other individuals did thousands of years ago, we should act in such a way that every other site becomes holy. Those people, thousands of years ago, did indeed rationalize the divine. However, the word is highly contextual. If you attempt to freeze the context so that the word forever remains true, you will lose sight of the fact that the voice of the eternal never stops from being revealed.

[ Parent ]
I'm an atheist. (none / 0) (#58)
by i on Wed Oct 18, 2000 at 03:29:21 AM EST

Does it contradict being a Jew? Let's see.

I label myself Jewish because:

  1. others label me Jewish
  2. other Jews were killed for being Jewish
  3. refusal to bear this mark is cowardicity, and betrayal of memories of these other Jews

I don't fight over a territory because it's sacred. Others might, but I don't. I simply have no other place to live. You may wish to be homeless, that's your right. I don't. When every home on this planet wecomes every human being to come in and live in I'll reconsider this. However it's rather silly to demand that every home is open when you don't have your own.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]

Coward in whose eyes? (none / 0) (#62)
by dj@ on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 12:20:42 PM EST

I'm an atheist too. I'm probably not an atheist in exactly the same way that you are, but I understand what you mean. To give an analogy, we are here saying, "I'm black, I'm white, I'm orange, I'm pink, I'm blue, I'm yellow, I'm pink, etc.", when we can all be pure white light. At certain times, I feel more in line with a certain identity, but that doesn't mean it has to be exclusive to others and absolute. I'm not exactly Jewish, partially because I don't feel as though I'm allowed to be, but I participate in many of the Jewish holidays anyway on my own without permission. I do the same for Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and some other "isms" even. I try to take the positive elements of those religions and adopt them into my identity.

If I had to describe myself in terms of labels and identities, I would say that I'm everything and nothing at the same time. What this means to me is that I reserve the right to accept any identity for its positive elements, and then deny it based on its negative types. I'm a Muslim in certain senses, but if that means that I don't like women, then I'm not a Muslim. I'm Jewish in certain ways, but if that means that I have to adopt a religious identity that is transferred through heredity, then I'm not. I'm Christian in many ways, but if that means that I have to believe Jesus was the son of God, then I'm not. I see that as a metaphor. Shoot, I see myself as a son and servant of God, too. Big deal.

I'm Arab in certain ways. I'm Afghani in certain ways. I'm American in certain ways. I'm Indian in certain ways. I'm Pakistani in certain ways. I'm a Black in certain ways. I'm a White in certain ways. I'm a man in certain ways. I'm a woman in certain ways. I'm a saint in certain ways. I'm a criminal in certain ways. I'm a believer in certain ways. I'm an unbeliever in certain ways. I'm homosexual in certain ways. I'm heterosexual in certain ways. Truly, all of those identities apply to me because of my upbringing and life circumstances.

In the big scheme of things, these labels don't matter to me all that much. I will adopt whatever identity will allow me to avoid the tense political motives.

I deeply feel for the situation in the Middle East. I have lived there before. I consider all those people my brothers and sisters. I don't care if they're Palestinian or Arab. I just don't want people to become hurt and to suffer. I try to see beyond the roles that other people forced those people into, and realize that in another time and place, I could be there and suffering along with them, or we all could be frollicking in peace.

Part of my taking responsibility for that situation is localizing the lessons that can be learned from that. For me, it means allowing people to define themselves in any way that they want. I believe, if given the full choice, people will adopt the way of love, compassion, and mercy. I see adopting a political identity as choosing form over actual content.

[ Parent ]
Support != because its a Jewish State. (3.80 / 5) (#8)
by WinstonSmith on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 12:37:35 PM EST

After reading the comments already given, I feel the need to de-lurk for a moment. There's been talk that we (the US) support Israel (and the peace process) because they are a Jewish State. I would disagree with that. We support them because they are a democracy.

Support != because they are a democracy (4.25 / 4) (#9)
by Zeram on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 12:46:09 PM EST

We (the US) support Israel (and the peace process) because we (the US) make a good show of being friendly to a group that has been oppressed thourghout history and is trying to make a safe place for their people, but we ignore the fact that they do it by disposeing a racial majority (the Palestinians) and doing many of the same things to the Palestinians as has been done to Jews in the past. The benefit we (the US) get is a relatively stable Middle East that is one less thing to unbalance world economies.
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
Democracies (4.00 / 3) (#18)
by aphrael on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 03:00:47 PM EST

I might believe you, but we don't support India, which is a democracy, so there's got to be something else going on.

[ Parent ]
Re: Democracies (3.50 / 2) (#31)
by charles on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 02:55:27 AM EST

India is far from a democracy. Well, far more than the US is at least. India is socialist.

[ Parent ]
Democracy and socialism aren't inconsistent (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by aphrael on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 05:41:09 AM EST

well, at least unless you think sweden and norway aren't democratic; last I checked, they were.

India may have a socialist *economy*, but their government is elected democratically (well, more or less; there's a lot of corruption there). Socialism = economics; democracy = politics. Two different arenas, for all that they're often confused.

[ Parent ]
India calls itself one... (3.00 / 1) (#37)
by El Volio on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 10:25:11 PM EST

...although it's a sham democracy at best.

Regardless, while the US does not support every democracy(*) indiscriminately, it does have a policy of giving preference to democracies. It's a stated fundamental goal of US foreign policy.

(*)Yes, I know that these are not "true" democracies. A more accurate, though not perfect, description would be "governments accountable to their citizenry and controlled by them".

[ Parent ]

Actually... (none / 0) (#63)
by ooch on Fri Oct 20, 2000 at 04:48:59 PM EST

...The US government doesn't care a bit about democracy. What is cares about is that US-businesses can freely enter foreign country's. And by doing that stealing all valuable resources from that country, and bring the profits to American shareholders. Whether the country they steal from is a democracy or not, isn't important. As long as it is a stable country. Dictatorships are mostly highly stable.

If you see the support given by the US-government to a dictatorial regime in nicaragua, which killed 200.000 civilians, made uncountable human rights violations, and suppressed every movement from the people to undermine it. And the the US supporting that with "developing aid", and training for the millitary, just to insure the interests of some US banana producers. (Probably Pres. Reagan is responsible for more human-rights violations than Milosovic). When you have seen that, there is no way you can say without utter shame that the US only supports democracy's.

[ Parent ]

The U.S. backs winners, not losers (2.33 / 3) (#19)
by dchinyee on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 03:43:39 PM EST

The U.S. supports Israel because the U.S. supports winners. Israel is a force to be reckoned with in the region and doesn't have any qualms about behaving savagely (as is evinced by their recent behaviour). Self-preservation is the primary agenda of U.S. foreign policy. Israel is a good ally to have.

[ Parent ]
The US makes winners... (4.00 / 2) (#35)
by Moneo on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 09:38:45 PM EST

Sorry, the US doesn't support Israel because they are winners...Israel are winners because the US supports them. Israel has been "a force to be reckoned with" because they have had US training and equipment, not because of any inherent ability. Back when Egypt tried to take back the Sinai Peninsula, they had to wipe out the Israeli airforce (I think they used Soviet SAMs). They managed that, but the US kindly and promptly furnished Israel with a replacement. (I may be getting the details wrong...I'm really tired.)

One other point, before I go...if the US does support winners, what happened in 1990/1? Iraq had the upper hand and they were one of the most powerful Arab nations...and yet the US opposed them. Seems to me like the US supports a steady supply of cheap oil, not winners.
Propaganda plays the same role in a democracy as violence does in a dictatorship. -- Noam Chomsky
[ Parent ]
Power vacuum (3.50 / 2) (#20)
by HMV on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 04:15:59 PM EST

The fact that they have use the democratic process (few are "democracies" - not even the US is) is meaningful only that it lends itself to stability. The US is interested more than anything in the balance of power in the region, and a stable Israel means a lot to that end. We prefer that those who are calling the shots are highly visible and accountable to someone (in this case the citizens of Israel) rather than rouge autocrats.

For similar reasons, we have backed both Iran and Iraq against the other within the past 20 years. The balance of power is very delicate over there, much more so than central Europe in the early 1900s.

[ Parent ]
Christianity and the US (none / 0) (#49)
by PresJPolk on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 03:46:14 PM EST

The US backs Israel because Judeo-Christian beliefs dominate US politics. For every Ralph Reed in the Republican party, there's a Joe Lieberman in the Democratic party.

The US supporting Israel now is just a continuation of Europeans fighting in the Crusades.

[ Parent ]
Israel is not a democracy. (none / 0) (#61)
by ooch on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 04:58:21 PM EST

If Jews in France were required to carry identification cards designating them Jews (even though French citizens), could not acquire land or buy or rent homes in most of the country, were not eligible for service in the armed forces, and French law banned any political party or legislation calling for equal rights for Jews, would France be widely praised in the United States as a "symbol of human decency" (New York Times) and paragon of democracy? Would there be a huge protest if France, in consequence of such laws and practices, was declared by a UN majority to be a racist state?

It is the case when you turn France into Isreal, and Jew into Arab. Makes you think doesn't it?

[ Parent ]

There's no right answer here, folks... (4.60 / 5) (#12)
by trhurler on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 01:02:36 PM EST

These groups have been fighting for many, many centuries. Each claims some divine right to govern the region, and neither is going to budge on that. The idea of "peace" is a sham in itself; there can be no peace where conflicting religious beliefs motivate warfare, and so if the beliefs won't budge(they won't,) then the war won't end.

As for the Israeli retaliation against the arabs, yes, and that's what you'd do too, if you were outnumbered over 100-1. The Israelis hold their ground by the use of massive, overwhelming force. The arabs, on the other hand, artificially stage "spontaneous uprisings" of people who just HAPPEN to have automatic weapons, antitank missiles, and so on, in order to get themselves killed on television and drum up sympathy. Neither side has any moral high ground; they're both wrong, and as long as we pretend otherwise, nobody will really understand. If you support one side over the other, you aren't looking hard enough at just how evil both these groups can be to the other.

Now, since moral considerations are hopeless, here's the pragmatic analysis: Arafat cannot survive unless he can get at -least- part of the current Israeli capital as soveriegn territory, but the Israelis will not allow this to happen; they'd sooner kill their own leader than let him do such a thing. This means that, sooner or later, there is going to be a major military conflict, with winners and losers. Probably the winners are going to be the Israelis, and the odds are, they're going to utterly devastate their enemies. The US could stop them, but only at the cost of utter devastation of the Israelis, which is no better. In either case, the victory of one side will be so costly, even to itself, that it will not feel that it has "won" much of anything. What we -ought- to be doing is sitting back and staying out of the way of the oncoming storm, because there is nothing else reasonable we -can- do, and also because it is not our job to solve everyone elses' problems.

'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

I'd agree... (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by speek on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 09:00:50 AM EST

...but for one small problem. The US helped put Israel there (a stupid thing, but it's past now), with a promise of support. If we suddenly withdrew support, we'd be reniging on that promise, and that would be a shameful thing to do. The best I can see is for the US to announce that support for Israel will last X more years, at which time, the US will completely withdraw from the region. This gives the people of Israel time to leave (not en mass, I'm talking individuals here). It gives them time to work out a peace, and it gives them time to prepare in any other way they see fit.

But, I certainly agree with your end goal.

al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

There's no right answer here, folks©©© (none / 0) (#59)
by aidan on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 06:46:35 AM EST

The arabs, on the other hand, artificially stage "spontaneous uprisings" of people who just HAPPEN to have automatic weapons, antitank missiles, and so on,

The palestinians haven't carried out airstrikes against the Israeli leaders official residence ¥Israeli helicopters took out buildings in Yasser Arrafets compound¤© It's been the israelis using anti-tanks missles, both sides have access to automatic weapons, but the palestinians are mainly using rocks and molotovs©

What we -ought- to be doing is sitting back and staying out of the way of the oncoming storm, because there is nothing else reasonable we -can- do, and also because it is not our job to solve everyone elses' problems©

No, however the current situation is the responsibility of the powers that created Israel in such a cack-handed manner in the first place© The two expansionist wars that Israel has fought ¥where it claimed the occupied terroritories and the gaza-strip¤ didn't help either©©©©

- Aidan

[ Parent ]
Big, gross factual error (2.83 / 6) (#21)
by boxed on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 05:17:24 PM EST

because the fate of Israel is bound up in the beliefs of the three major religions--Judaism, Christianity and Islam

The four major religions are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Lift your gaze just 1 centimetre off your american soil next time.

Huh? (2.33 / 3) (#24)
by Delirium on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 06:40:20 PM EST

So why are Buddhism and Hinduism major religions while Judaism is not? I could see if you were arguing for there being five major religions, but I don't understand why you claim there are only four.

Also, this is a completely tangental point, since the three major religions of the Middle East (and hence the only important ones to this discussion) are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

[ Parent ]

I base it on these facts: (4.50 / 4) (#26)
by boxed on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 07:01:33 PM EST

This article clearly shows that judaism has a following of 0.2%, compared to hinduism 13.4% and buddhism 6%. Sikhism 50% bigger than judaism, but I don't hear people going around talking about it as a major religion.

About christianity, judaism and islam being the only major religions in the middle east I agree, but this was not what the article said or even vaguely implied.

[ Parent ]

Re: I base it on these facts: (2.50 / 2) (#27)
by Delirium on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 07:14:03 PM EST

Thanks, I'd never seen detailed statistics on religious beliefs of the entire world before. I suppose now that I think about it it makes sense that Judaism is only 0.2%, as it's a fairly small minority religion in North America and Europe and nearly non-existent everywhere else. Perhaps they're considered a major Western religion (despite their small size even here) since they've historically had a fairly major role politically and economically.

And for the other point, perhaps to be more clear the article should've said "the three major Western religions" or "the three major religions in the Middle East."

[ Parent ]

you're welcome :P (3.00 / 2) (#28)
by boxed on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 07:28:31 PM EST

It took me quite some time to dig that article up :P

Judaism has had more influence theologically though. Strictly speaking Judaism itself hasn't had a big economic impact actually, it's antisemitic actions themselves that forced the jews to start with banking. It is a bit ironic that they were forced against their will and their faith do do banking and hundreds of years later the fact that they got rich from this (duh) is now held against them. Antisemitism made jews wealthy and well educated, and because of it they are hated. Or maybe it was the other way around, who knows. It's really quite absurd anyhow.

[ Parent ]

Baha'is and Christians. (3.50 / 2) (#32)
by erotus on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 06:39:33 AM EST

While I'll agree that Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are major world religions, Hinduism and Buddhism don't really play a role in Israel.

Regarding Israel, we only focus on Islam or Judaism, or Arab or Jew. We forget about Christianity and the Baha'i Faith. Christians in Jerusalem sometimes get discriminated against as well but not to the same extent. There are Palestinian Christians who have become very resentful that they are lumped in with the rest of the crowd.

The Baha'is are for the most located in Haifa because that is where their holy shrines are located. Unlike Jerusalem, Haifa does not suffer from violence to the extent that other cities do. A friend who was in Israel a year ago told me there was a government official who said "why can't Jerusalem be more like Haifa." I've seen pictures of the Baha'i shrines and let me tell you, they are a sight to behold. The Baha'is are working hard for peace in the region and yet they have very little media coverage. It's a shame that the media only reports killing and violence.

[ Parent ]
Problems with Religious States (3.33 / 3) (#25)
by Delirium on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 06:55:55 PM EST

This whole mess illustrates what I see as the problems with political systems that are not neutral towards religion. This situation is unresolvable because the Jews and the Muslims both wish to live on the same land (which, for various reasons, is holy to both of them), and each to run their own independent governments. Obviously these two goals are incompatible. The very idea of a "Jewish Nation" or a "Muslim Nation" is one of intolerance and bigotry - sure, Israel "allows" people who are not Jewish to live there, but there is an implied bias against a non-Jewish person living in a self-described "Jewish state" (and often more than just an implied bias). The same goes for Jews living in Muslim countries.

For example, the small Arab political parties in Israel (the fact that there are race- and religion-based parties such as Shas and the Arab parties in the first place illustrates the problem) nearly always support the liberals (the current government), which is why the government can often survive with less than a majority coalition on paper. So why aren't they part of the coalition? They'd be perfectly willing to join, but they're not invited to, simply because they are Arabs - they're seen as the enemy, despite supporting the majority of the government's policies and being Israeli citizens. Sure, they're citizens, but they're treated as second-class citizens, solely on the basis of their race (there are Christian Palestinians who are also discriminated against similarly).

Anyway, I think the main point is that institutionalized racism, as exists currently in both Israel and Palestine, needs to be done away with before any real progress can be made. There is no excuse for a government treating citizens differently based on their religion and/or heritage.

We have a problem here. (1.00 / 1) (#44)
by i on Sun Oct 15, 2000 at 12:12:16 PM EST

They'd be perfectly willing to join, but they're not invited to, simply because they are Arabs - they're seen as the enemy, despite supporting the majority of the government's policies and being Israeli citizens.
Maybe this has something to do with them inciting to kill Israeli soldiers and Arab "traitors" (those who collaborate with the govt and serve in the army) from the parliament tribune? Maybe they are seen as the enemy because they are the enemy?

Institutionalized racism my ass. Watch less CNN, it will make you a great service.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]

Absolute Victory? (3.00 / 3) (#33)
by holdfast on Sat Oct 14, 2000 at 05:51:57 PM EST

Let us ask ourselves what would be the result of each side was able to completely remove the others armies. (Perhaps we could get the UN to remove all the soldiers from one side)

Israeli victory
All (or most) Arab (not Palestinan) opposition would be interned, many quite probably without trial. Many Arabs would choose to leave Israel for one of the many other Arab countries around the Middle East. Some right-wing extremists would try and kill as many Arabs as they could. Israeli police and armed forces would go in. The rightwingers would be faced with a stark choice - surrender or die. Some would die at the hands of ther own police.
Eentually, with no crisis, Istrael would calm down. Many emergency restrictions would fade away. They would end up as the most democratic country in the Middle East. (Sorry, they already are.)

Arab Victory
All Israeli and Arab opposition would be interned. There might be a few show trials. Jewish non combatants would be interned or forcibly ejected rfom the country if they were lucky. There would be victory "celebrations" where any Israeli citizen passing would be in great danger of lynching. Police stations would be no haven. Police would stand back unwilling or unable to deal with the scale of popular feeling.
With no opposition, democratic freedoms would evaporate. No religion but Islam would be tolerated much as in some Moslem countries today. Neighbouring countries would feel pressured into removing what the west regards as features of a modern civilised society - property & voting rights for women, religious freedom, even nominally free speeh would go.

I am not an Israeli. I am not Jewish. I have never been to the Holy Land. I am not what you in the US would define as a right-wing fundamentalist. I have lived in several countries in the middle east and Africa including Libya Iran and (northern)Nigeria. I did not notice Islam as tolerant when in a position of superiority!

"Holy war is an oxymoron."
Lazarus Long
What a mess (none / 0) (#52)
by Beorn on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 10:33:20 AM EST

It's hard to side with anyone in this conflict. It was wrong to create Israel -- it was an geographically unnatural, shortsighted act of pity, based arrogantly on a christian-centered western world-view. And if Europe and US really wanted to resurrect ancient kingdoms, why not give away some of *our* land to people we've treated bad?

They shouldn't have been there, but now they are, and there's really no way to undo this. The dilemma is this: The arab countries do not accept Israel, and a weak Israel will be destroyed. Some of the disputed areas are strategically important, and out of pure self preservation Israel would have to trust its neighbours in order to give these up. They don't, for very good reasons.

So on one hand we have the fanatical minorities, on both sides, who continue to renew the hatred, and on the other hand we have average normal people who just wants a place to live in safety. It's a bloody mess, and nobody should be surprised it blew up again. I don't side with any of them, I only feel sorry for the victims.

- Beorn

[ Threepwood '01 ]

My perspective (2.00 / 1) (#53)
by Rainy on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 02:58:07 PM EST

First of all, from what I heard in the news (which may all be lies, but anyway..), these 2 israeli soldiers were lynched by a mob while palestinians were killed in skirmishes where they attacked israeli soldiers with stones and so on. Israeli retaliation makes sense cause they realize that a mob is ultimately not dangerous to a well organized force, so they attacked comm points, tv stations, police stations that can organize that mob into an efficient fighting force. I don't know much about history of founding israeli state in '48, and I don't think it matters much: US territory also belonged to indians and you don't see people tripping over each other rushing to return it to them. The point is, that's where these people live now and they got nowhere to move, really. Let's face it people, it all boils down to whoever has the power to defend their territory. From what I heard, it seems to be that what will happen is that Israel is going to win, ultimately, because it has a far better organized and equipped army. Palestinians need to understand that they can either attack now and lose, or build up a good economy over next 20-30 years, build a good army and then perhaps negotiate better terms. Of course, they won't cause they're religious fanatics. And so they will waste human lives till cows come home, so I'm glad I'm not there. Generally though I don't feel sorry for the dead palestinians (those who attack, anyway) cause they're out to kill for religious reason, and that's a capital crime in my book. They knew innocent people would get caught in crossfire, and now they're acting as though they're shocked that a teenager got killed. Look, if you don't want teenagers to be killed, form an organized division, march to wherever israeli army outpost is, and get butchered away from the city. The thing that started it was pretty silly: so some jew went to that temple, big deal.
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
not true. (none / 0) (#60)
by ooch on Thu Oct 19, 2000 at 04:44:05 PM EST

I wrote a long comment, when netscape crasht. Anyway, i'll just post this link now, and go to bed.

It is a rather objective site, with interesting views, from all sorts of commentators. I especially like the pieces of Fisk, a journalist of the independant. They are very clear written. Thats it for now. I'll use Lynx next time:)

[ Parent ]

My take on all this (4.00 / 1) (#54)
by Chakotay on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 08:47:23 AM EST

It was wrong to create the state Israel in the first place. But that evil is done now, and there's no reversing it. What would be a good compromise, in my opinion, would be if there were two countries there, Israel and Palestine, with Jerusalem neutral inbetween, kinda like DC, to be the capital for both states. But since this isn't Utopia, that's not going to work.

One thing I'd also like to point out is that Christianity, Islam and Judaism aren't the three major religions. They're the largest Judaic religions, and Christianity and Islam are very big indeed, but there are religions larger than Judaism. Paganism, if anybody would ever find a way to actually count all Pagans worldwide, would most likely also rank up there.

I'm rooting for the Palestinians. If it comes to a war, they'll lose. They have a well oiled, well trained, modern fighting machine against them, and the Western media and politics too. They'll lose the fight. But I'll root for them anyway. Why do the Israelis, according to the West, have claim to a country on that piece of sand over there, while the Palestinians, who have equal religious and historical claim to that piece of sand, are ignored?

To quote Hans Lebbis, a Dutch comedian:

I know the solution. Why don't those Palestinians take those rocks that they're throwing, and build a wailing wall instead. Then both the Jews and the Palestinians have their own wailing walls, so they can all write their complaints on little pieces of paper and stick them into those walls. Then at night, you can send a UPC(*) representative along to collect all those complaints and dump them in the trash - problem solved!

(*) UPC is an American-funded, American-modeled Dutch cable company renowned *cough* for its virtually nonexistant customer service. If they don't outright ignore a complaint, they'll act extremely slowly.

Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

Give the Palestineans their land back (none / 0) (#57)
by end0parasite on Tue Oct 17, 2000 at 10:39:30 PM EST

I've heard it all before. "The Isrealites had the land 2000 years ago, then the Palestineans brutally invaded it, so it's rightfully the Isrealis". I disagree.

(To Americans) This land was originally the Native Americans', but our ancestors invaded this country killed most of them off, keeping what little was left in tiny reservations. So, if we were to be invaded today, and the invading country was to give this whole land to the Native Americans, would you be happy with it? Would you be okay? I hope not. It's not my fault my ancestors did what they did. It's the same way over in the Middle East.

I'll give you another example. Say I, a total stranger, walk into your house, and behind me is a very powerful government guy. He and his troops come in and start kicking out all your family members. I explain, saying, "This house is now mine, because my God says so." Say, however, you believe in a different God. To boot, there's nothing you can do about it because Uncle Sam -- er -- the government is suppressing the hell out of you. I imagine you'd rebel.

Creative Middle Eastern Math? | 63 comments (62 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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