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[P]
Thinking about Israel: Atonement and Pride

By Otter in Op-Ed
Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 12:16:23 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

As Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur approach, it is the traditional time for Jews to examine their lives and decide how they could do better, as individuals, as communities and as a people. Unfortunately, during the last year and especially during the past week, there has been no shortage of voices telling us how badly we are doing as a nation. I've been trying to think matters through myself, as honestly as I can.


These thoughts were private, but after reading so many half-truths, misunderstandings and outright falsehoods [1] last week, and especially after yesterday's article [2] I wanted to share them publicly. I don't claim this to be the last word on the subject -- on the contrary, I hope it spurs people to learn more about all the points of view before forming their opinions.

My biases: I was born and raised in the US in a religious Jewish family and continue to practice at some levels. I was educated with a steady diet of Likud-style rhetoric and have gone out of my way to learn as much as I could about all sides. I've lived in Israel for months at a time. Politically, I'm a moderate Republican who voted for Gore but thinks Bush won.

Why Israel is there:

A little history lesson: For about a millennium and a half, Israel was the home of the Jewish people. We were exiled in 586 BC by the Babylonians, pleaded and fought our way back, to be exiled a second time by the Romans in 70. We then existed as refugees for nearly 2000 years, always viewing Israel as our home, repeating "Next year in Jerusalem!" at holidays and maintaining a continuous presence in Israel as one group of invaders kicked out another. In 1947, the UN recognized the right of the Jewish people to live in their own state.

Nothing racist there, or the idea that we're better than anyone else. Purely a matter of wanting for ourselves what Tongans, Tajiks and Kongos have, what the Palestinians were supposed to have and what they've now gotten.

Now, obviously 2000 years is a long time, and obviously other people had made the land their home. (Although not nearly as many for nearly as long as is generally asserted, especially in Israel proper.) The line I was raised on is that in 1948, the Israeli government urged Arabs to stay, the Arab governments urged them to leave until the Jews could all be driven out and that the Arabs who lost their lands were the ones who left. Historians argue at length about the accuracy of this, but it seems clear that it's far from entirely true and far from entirely false.

Where the Jews of the world have erred, I think, is in completely dismissing the losses of the Palestine Arabs. I'm inclined to think that had Israel's neighbors not spent decades pursuing its complete destruction, we would have been more generous on our own side. Nonetheless, it's time to press for everyone to know and recognize the reality of what happened and to decide what we owe for it. Israelis, by the way, are far more familiar with these issues. I doubt if any children are fed as negative a view of their homeland as are students in secular Israeli schools.

Occupation:

This is a whole different issue. I've always put weight on the facts that the West Bank is the real Biblical Israel and that in the rest of the world, countries that initiate and lose wars routinely lose some territory doing it. 35 years later, it seems clear to me that the territory isn't going to be assimilated the way Israel proper was and that hanging on to it, against the will of a population willing to repeatedly orchestrate the deaths of their children to score PR points, requires us to become the kind of people we simply can't accept being.

Israeli leftists were spectacularly wrong about the goodwill of the Palestinians, but they were right that expansion of settlements, beyond the harm it did to individuals, was a disaster. What was intended to make Israeli involvement inevitable has now made retreat impossible. The religious Jewish world needs to come to grips with what has to happen in the next few years.

On the other hand, I've had second thoughts on Israel's policy of using "moderate physical pressure" to interrogate terrorists, now outlawed by the courts (a phrase you don't often encounter in the Mideast). While I thought I understood the argument for it, it seemed entirely unacceptable in a democracy. Until last Thursday, when suspected hijacker cells were arrested and I found myself shouting at the TV to jab them with cattle prods until they tell us what else is going on. [3]

Similarly, while I thought I understood the argument for assassination of terrorist leaders (there's little you can do about people who are eager to die, so put some fear into the ones who send them but aren't interested in dying themselves) I thought it was unacceptably distasteful. Today, I and most of the world would consider a similar response by the US to be the epitome of restraint and justice, compared to what I fear we're about to do.

Jerusalem:

This is an issue in itself. It needs to be understood that Jerusalem, and particularly the Temple Mount, is the epicenter of Judaism. For reasons of religion, tradition and autonomy, I'm with the people who believe that it can only be given up under remarkable circumstances.

A point I've never heard anyone else make is this: most commentary on Jerusalem, at least in the US media, takes a tone of, "Three religions all consider this city holy. Isn't that an unfortunate coincidence?" There never seems to be any recognition that it's because Jerusalem is the city of the Jews. Jesus preached and was executed there because it was the capitol of his day. And Islam? Jerusalem is hundreds of miles from the events of Mohammed's life and is not mentioned in the Koran. The importance of Jerusalem in Islam is entirely a reflection of its importance to the Jews and especially to the Crusaders. Meanwhile, I've found that even moderate Arabs in the US see nothing peculiar about asserting, "Well, it may be your holiest city but it's our fourth-holiest and we must have it."

Honestly, I think Israel's conduct in the control of Jerusalem has been exemplary (especially compared to Jordan and media darling King Hussein, who denied access to and systematically destroyed Jewish holy sites). Moslems and Christians have tremendous autonomy over their sites. [4] Come on, people, listen to what you're saying! Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount gets described as though it's the Taliban destroying ancient Buddhas. Yes, it was an unnecessarily inflammatory breach of protocol. Yes, after it was filtered through the Arab press, it read as "Sharon calls for destruction of al-Aksa!" But, really, if that's the worst thing that's happened in recent memory (it's not - shootings by a solitary nut were) it's a testament to Israel's tremendous tolerance.

Religion:

A comment here nicely explains the difference between a theocracy and a state religion and why Israel is not a theocracy. What form that religion should take is a matter of great dispute in Israel, but I don't see why whether buses run in Netanya on Saturday or whether a Reform rabbi can perform a conversion is of any more global importance than that I can't buy beer today (Sunday) in Boston, or whether Alabama public schools can display the Ten Commandments. I'm inclined to leave this one in the hands of the people who live with the consequences. (This is almost entirely an intra-Jewish matter; Moslems, Christians, Druze, Circassians and the rest run their own affairs and it's not as if Hamas and Islamic Jihad are complaining about the absence of swimsuit models on Jerusalem billboards.)

On the US end, my sense is that Reform and Conservative leaders who wield influence here are frustrated by their irrelevance in Israel, where Jews are either religious or not. Instead of building up a base of support, I think they've taken the easy way out, and taken their case to the international media, which are always ready for stories of Israeli religious zealotry. It's regrettable, but unfortunately the current situation has given everyone a better perspective on internal disputes.

Perspective:

Finally, I want to encourage everyone to get a grip. I've been reading all sorts of Durban-esque debate as to whether Israel is or isn't the innermost circle of hell. We're asking whether a democracy, with courts and human rights, and one of the most phenomenally ethnically diverse population in the world, has faced incredible adversity while conducting itself as best as it possibly could. And that at worst, those affected number less than a larger Tokyo neighborhood.

It's speculated that Arabs, unable to freely criticize their own governments, make the US and Israel lightning rods for their frustrations. Reading interviewee after interviewee this week speak as though US policies vis a vis Israel are their only concern convinced me that it's true. I'll be blunt: the Arab world used to wield tremendous political, military, theological, scientific and intellectual influence. Today, Arab countries, without exception, live under medieval governments ranging from well-meaning despots (Jordan, Qatar, Morocco) to authoritarian tyrants (Iraq, Syria, Libya) to hell on earth (Sudan). Their economies are disastrous, unless they happen to be sitting on top of vast wealth, and, with few exceptions, have zero influence on the world except through violence. Israel could vanish off the face of the earth and none of that would change.

Shana Tovah, and a good New Year to you all and the rest of the world. May God grant us the sense to make this one less grim than the last, and may He comfort the families of Tara Creamer, Karen Martin and the thousands who died with them.

[1] This response to one of my Slashdot comments, from someone who seems to be relatively knowledgeable, really took me aback, as the bit about Arab citizens having special license plates is so obviously reminiscent of Nazism. Two Israelis and a Palestinian confirmed that it's pure nonsense.

[2] No offense, but does someone really think that one of the world's most pressing geopolitical issues can be summed up by a retyped PLO brochure on an AOL home page?

[3] Giving credence to my original view, though, the latest story is that these were actually innocent groups of Arabs, who apparently decided two days after the hijackings was a good time to board a plane with fake pilot uniforms and airline IDs in their carry-ons.

[4] One time, while wandering around Jerusalem, I found a church flying the Scottish flag. I took a tour and listened to a rant on the need for Presbyterian autonomy in the area. That's when I began to despair.

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Thinking about Israel: Atonement and Pride | 115 comments (113 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
+1 FP, despite disagreeing with nearly everything (3.96 / 32) (#1)
by localroger on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 01:40:51 PM EST

Well-written and an important insight into a point of view we rarely see.

We then existed as refugees for nearly 2000 years, always viewing Israel as our home, repeating "Next year in Jerusalem!" at holidays

This is so completely meaningless it's hard to put into words just how ridiculous it is. Are we to respect every racial land claim going back to 70 A.D.? And if so, where do we put the people now living in those claimed lands? Antarctica's open, but it's a little cold there. It would also get a little crowded after the Native Americans kick out the 300,000,000 invaders who took their land only 300 years ago.

And this is the crux of the problem; all the rest is spin control. No matter who was invited to stay by proto-Israel or to leave by its enemies, the land was taken by force of arms from people who actually lived there -- not toasted it at weddings but actually walked upon the earth. Their neighbors took offence at this (just as we might look askance if Germany invaded Canada) and fought. This resulted in a war, which proto-Israel won. Congratulations.

Now the people from whom the land was stolen simmer with hatred, and who can blame them? Their claim to their land does not go back to 70 A.D., it goes back to 1948. There are still Palestinians alive who remember a time when they were not an oppressed minority at war with foreign invaders in their own homeland. It doesn't matter how few they were; if there were only three their land was stolen, it's still theft and what Israel did and continues to do is still evil.

Britain and the USA (and much of the rest of the world) backed Israel in part out of guilt over what was done by the Nazis, but the lesson Israel seems to have taken from the horrors of WWII is "gee, that almost worked for the Germans, we need to be like that." Israel has done many of the same things to the Palestinians, including torture, seizure and destruction of property, and incarceration in concentration camps, which the Nazis did to the Jews. It's a wonder nobody thought of passing out smallpox-infected blankets, as my ancestors did to the original owners of this country.

Given that Israel exists and is home to millions who consider it their personal home, dissolving the state would be as impractical as trying to give the USA back to the Indians. But one can adjust one's attitude even if one is not the perpetrator of the crime. One can treat the prior residents with respect, as equal citizens, and make apologies (how ever hollow) for the actions of one's predecessors; or one can continue to bulldoze homes, steal land, and act as if the prior residents are dirt. It's obvious which path the Israeli government has chosen.

I can haz blog!

comparing Israel to Nazi Germany (4.00 / 7) (#2)
by adamba on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 02:20:57 PM EST

You can't be serious. Nazi Germany had an official government policy of exterminating all Jews, just for being Jewish.

And I don't see the validity of your argument about who was there in 1948. By the same logic, Iraq could say, "How could the US throw us out of Kuwait, we were there in 1990?" You've got a land that several groups have a historical claim to, which resulted in an ongoing war as you might expect, but you can't say that one group automatically has a more valid claim.

- adam

[ Parent ]

Answer (4.18 / 11) (#3)
by localroger on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 02:36:54 PM EST

You can't be serious. Nazi Germany had an official government policy of exterminating all Jews, just for being Jewish.

I am completely serious. In fact, it was when I learned that Israel was building de facto concentration camps in my teens that I completely lost my sense of humor about them. No, Israel hasn't done everything the Germans did to them, but they have done far more than they should have.

And I don't see the validity of your argument about who was there in 1948. By the same logic, Iraq could say, "How could the US throw us out of Kuwait, we were there in 1990?"

As a matter of fact, Iraq has a very valid claim to Kuwait not because of 1990 (obviously invalidated by 1989) but because of the British partition which created Kuwait as a separate country. (The British policy, as their empire collapsed, of partitioning new countries to keep them as week as possible Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time but is really coming back to haunt the world.)

Anyway, to use your logic, I don't see how you can compare a claim based on a short war in 1990 to a claim voided by the Roman Empire.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

concentration camps? (3.00 / 5) (#27)
by adamba on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 06:48:27 PM EST

Do you know what a concentration camp is? It's not an internment camp or a work camp or a refugee camp. So perhaps you could explain what a "de facto" concentration camp is, and present a single shred of evidence that Israel was building them. Do they have de facto ovens where people are de facto guessed to their de facto deaths, while de facto scientists do de facto medical experiments on de facto living subjects?

- adam

[ Parent ]

Concentration camps (4.16 / 6) (#33)
by localroger on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 07:28:53 PM EST

A concentration camp is not defined by the fate of its internees, but by their density. Germany had concentration camps (especially in the early days of the regime) which were not death camps. It is a hastily erected, poorly constructed place ("camp") where a high density of people are incarcerated (the "concentration" part). Because of the high population density the food tends to be inadequate and of poor quality and sanitation poor. Israel has built numerous facilities that meet this definition.

As far as the other stuff, no, Israel has not done those things. Yet. The problem is, the act of forcing people into the camp makes it very easy if someone gets the bright idea one day, and the tone of rhetoric coming from Israel is not encouraging.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

intellectual dishonesty (2.00 / 2) (#35)
by adamba on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 08:37:26 PM EST

It's fine to argue but you are splitting semantic hairs to serve your argument. First you say the Israelis are building concentration camps like the Nazis did, then later you say, Oh well I didn't mean *that* kind of concentration camp.

And the notion that it's just a small step to killing everyone...do you really think that? Do you perhaps think it would be less of a step for an Israeli than for, say, a god-fearing American? What about the "rhetoric" coming from the US these days?

- adam

[ Parent ]

Failure to get the point (4.33 / 3) (#38)
by localroger on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 09:05:08 PM EST

First you say the Israelis are building concentration camps like the Nazis did, then later you say, Oh well I didn't mean *that* kind of concentration camp.

Actually, the Israelis are building concentration camps like the Nazis did -- in 1933, not 1942.

And the notion that it's just a small step to killing everyone...do you really think that?

I can't help noticeing that it only took 9 years to get from 1933 to 1942. Of course, Israel has been building camps a lot longer than 9 years, so they are obviously showing more restraint than the Nazis did.

Do you perhaps think it would be less of a step for an Israeli than for, say, a god-fearing American? What about the "rhetoric" coming from the US these days?

cf. It Can't Happen Here, or The Handmaid's Tale. In the wrong time it's not much of a step at all. And it's a hell of a lot easier once you've got all your enemies into the camp.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

other states concentration camps (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by sonovel on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 12:45:21 AM EST

Am I wrong in believing that other arab nations (Lebenon for one) have camps for Palistinians? Are these country as guilty as Israel?

[ Parent ]
Yep (3.00 / 1) (#97)
by PhillipW on Wed Sep 19, 2001 at 02:29:12 PM EST

You are correct sir, they are guilty as well.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
I give up (2.50 / 2) (#50)
by adamba on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 02:43:34 AM EST

I recall in your article on gambling you asserted that any well-dressed Japanese with money was a yakuza. Now this. I don't know what to say except to suggest a little examination of your own biases.

- adam

[ Parent ]

I second the motion (none / 0) (#93)
by localroger on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 08:09:06 PM EST

I recall in your article on gambling you asserted that any well-dressed Japanese with money was a yakuza.

You're obviously ready to read racist intent into any observation. My problems with Israel have nothing to do with race and everything to do with their well-documented history of human rights violations.

As for New Year's Eve at Caesars, I think if you'd been there you wouldn't have had any doubt that it was a de facto organized crime lord convention, either. There were quite a few factors going beyond "well-dressed" and "Japanese." I am quicker than most people to give someone the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes it turns out things really are what they seem.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

*camps (4.00 / 1) (#36)
by delmoi on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 08:47:35 PM EST

Camps where people die are death camps.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Kuwait (3.75 / 4) (#5)
by ZanThrax on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 02:40:44 PM EST

was full of Kuwaiti during the short occupation, not Iraqi; the analagy is quite flawed.

Reasons are not excuses and retaliation is not justice.


[ Parent ]
Mmmmm.... (2.85 / 7) (#4)
by scriptkiddie on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 02:37:47 PM EST

Are you forgetting that a significant fraction of the world's population, even today, wants to exterminate all Jews? This would seem to make the existence of a Jewish homeland a necessity.

Israel has made mistakes, but the Palestinians certainly have as well...

[ Parent ]

It didn't have to be Palestine (4.50 / 6) (#6)
by localroger on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 02:41:12 PM EST

When the horror of what the Germans did became apparent several countries offered the Jews potential homelands that were more fertile and less occupied than Palestine. But those didn't contain Jerusalem, and the fact that the people living there weren't offering didn't deter anybody.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Israel Unnecessary (4.00 / 7) (#10)
by SPrintF on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 03:40:34 PM EST

Are you forgetting that a significant fraction of the world's population, even today, wants to exterminate all Jews? This would seem to make the existence of a Jewish homeland a necessity.
Actually, there are more Jews in America than in Israel.

One of Israel's major issues, one of the big reasons they want to segregate non-Jews out of their society, is that, if left alone, Arabs in Israel will outnumber the Jews.

Israel is less like Nazi Germany and more like the old white South Africa, I'm thinking.

[ Parent ]

There are more Irish (3.00 / 2) (#13)
by i on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 04:39:00 PM EST

in New York than in Dublin. Does it mean that Dublin is unnecessary?

Plus, "they" don't want to segregate non-Jews. What kind of TV do you watch?

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

[ Parent ]

Yes... (3.00 / 2) (#16)
by Danse on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 05:05:31 PM EST

But Dublin didn't have to be confiscated from it's current residents in order to give the Irish a home.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Please explain. (3.00 / 2) (#18)
by i on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 05:15:56 PM EST

Do Irish deserve two national homes now, one in Dublin and another in New York? Or do Jews deserve no national home?

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

[ Parent ]
No... (4.33 / 3) (#31)
by Danse on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 07:09:44 PM EST

The question is not "Do the Jews not deserve a national home?" The question is, "Do the Jews deserve a national home at the expense of the people currently living there?" I don't think anyone can really make a case that the Jews deserve that land based on them living there 2000 years ago. As it's been stated before, they were offered refuge in many countries around the world. More of them live in the US than in Israel. Is there any particular reason they need to have their own country? Is it a good enough reason to justify forcibly kicking the Palestinians off their land?






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Nazi Israelis (4.22 / 9) (#7)
by Lode Runner on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 02:51:01 PM EST

Though I also disagree with a number of the author's claims, I believe that your comparison of Israelis to Nazis is inappropriate.

The Israelis have done horrible things, but they never did to the Arabs what the Nazis did to the Jews. Yes, the Israelis expelled Palestinians, and then oppressed them, but they never rounded up Arabs and shipped them to extermination camps. There is no Israeli counterpart to Auschwitz.

Those human rights activists who pursue the line that Israel is the Fourth Reich or that Zionism is just like Nazism undermine their progress in rectifying legitimate grievances. Just look what happened in Durban: Arab rights activists marginalized the whole conference with their alienating Zionism=Racism/Nazism claims. Anyone who followed the conference can tell you that the anti-Israel vitriol upset not just the USA and Israel, but also the EU, India and pretty much the rest of the non-Islamic world (except China).

The Israeli=Nazi rhetoric is also popular in the larger Arab world too. I know, I've lived there (in Amman). Before I learned how to read Arabic well, I'd pick up a newspaper and only be able to understand numbers and diagrams that read: Magen David, equal sign, Swastika. But what's even more troubling is that the very people who are equating Zionism (and Judaism) with Nazism are also trying to prove that the Holocaust didn't happen. They don't seem to care that they can't have it both ways.

In my opinion, if you want to make Zionists think about Israel's crimes, the stronger analogy is to the Czarist pograms of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Czar's Cossacks would sweep through poor Jewish villages, killing and terrorizing the innocent residents, with the goal of keeping the Jews quiet or making them leave. Sounds a bit like the West Bank. But as bad as the Czars were, they weren't like Nazis.



[ Parent ]

Comparing acts, not ideologies (4.41 / 12) (#8)
by localroger on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 03:36:37 PM EST

I believe that your comparison of Israelis to Nazis is inappropriate

While the distinction sometimes gets lost, I don't think the Israelis are "like" the Nazies. I think they have, however, undeniably done many of the same things as the Nazis. You say

but they never rounded up Arabs and shipped them to extermination camps. There is no Israeli counterpart to Auschwitz.

While there is a grain of truth to this there is also a certain degree of hair-splitting. When do "mass arrests" become "rounding up," and how much does a prison camp in the desert have to look like Auschwitz to earn the comparison? Okay, they don't have ovens and Zyklon-B. That doesn't make what they are doing right.

Israel should be very worried, because if I have come to harbor such a negative attitude toward them I shudder to think how people who actually dislike Jews on principle must feel. I am the guy at work the racists have to tiptoe around, because I'll call them in an instant if they make a blanket comment or racist joke. I know what was done to the Jews, not just in WWII but throughout history, and it was horrible and unjustified.

This said, it must be added that two wrongs don't make a right. If my TV set is stolen it doesn't justify me to break into my neighbor's house and steal his. (In turn, if I do in turn steal my neighbor's TV set, he's not justified in shooting me to get it back.) There have been many sins in the Middle East but the original sin, with regard to Israel, is the fact that it is there at all. The argument that the Jews lived there in 70 A.D. is ludicrous; if we accept that logic then we have to ask who owns the entire New World, much less countless patches of the Old. In the aftermath of WWII several places that wanted to host the Jews offered them homelands, which they refused. Instead they wrapped themselves in righteous indignation over the Holocaust and used it as an excuse to make war and take the land of another group of people who had been minding their own business.

I have no particular beef with any ethnic group but I have a big problem with individual people who behave unfairly. Like it or not, the logic that you are justified in oppressing your neighbor because of what was done to your parents is Nazi logic, the logic that leads to whatever excess is necessary to counter the "threat" posed by people who start out only defending themselves. The Holocaust happened and it was horrible but it also happened 50 years ago, and there's nothing we can do to undo it. What Israel is doing to the Palestinians is going on today. Maybe it isn't as bad, but the historical fact of the Holocaust is not an excuse.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Question. (4.00 / 2) (#12)
by i on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 04:28:49 PM EST

if we accept that logic then we have to ask who owns the entire New World, much less countless patches of the Old
This is a good question. Why not ask it?

So I'm asking. Who owns the New World, and why?

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

[ Parent ]

Who owns the New World (4.50 / 4) (#19)
by localroger on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 05:18:31 PM EST

As a practical matter, the people who live here, who would as individuals become highly pissed off at any attempt to evict them. This does not invalidate the wrongs committed by our ancestors, but piling more wrongs on top of old wrongs does not make right.

If you thread back up you'll notice I specifically said I don't think Israel should be dissolved. What it should do, and immediately, is stop oppressing the Palestinians and remove the many restrictions on them. The area is not over-populated, especially since the Israelis introduced technology that makes the land more arable. The problem isn't that Israel moved in; it's that it moved in and kicked the prior occupants out. Of course, they did that because the prior occupants didn't want them moving in and fought; but what's done is done, blah blah blah. If we don't recognize that some of these ancient property disputes are unsolvable and move on, we'll have war forever over crap nobody remembers.

The situation for Native Americans is mostly a sorry one today, what with the reservation system and all, but at least our NA population isn't confined to the rez. Any NA who wants to can leave the rez, go to any college, take any job, and buy the house next door to mine. They have all the problems of any other formerly oppressed poverty stricken group but at least they have exactly the same freedoms that I do. And the situation is pretty much the same in the rest of North America, with the descendants of Natives being legally equivalent to descendants of the invaders.

It's worth noting that the one sure criterion for USian citizenship is that you were born here. By definition all living Native Americans meet that requirement and therefore have all the rights and privileges of US citizenship. If Israel could say the same it would be a giant step forward.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Hmm. (3.00 / 3) (#23)
by i on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 05:45:04 PM EST

I don't see how Israel could be easier on her Arab citizens. They enjoy all freedoms that every other citizen has, and even more. Then there are occupied/disputed/liberated/controlled (I'm not taking any political side here) territories. Territories are not Israel, never were, never (I hope!) will be. What they will be I don't know. Current mainstream politics tends towards an independent Arab state, though there is a wide spectrum of opinions wrt their future status. Then there are refugees, which are the problem of this conflict... but this is for another top-level comment I suppose.

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

[ Parent ]
"Territories" (4.33 / 3) (#25)
by localroger on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 05:58:16 PM EST

Then there are occupied/disputed/liberated/controlled (I'm not taking any political side here) territories. Territories are not Israel, never were, never (I hope!) will be.

It is painfully obvious that Israel wants to expand its borders, which is a large part of the problem. Next-door neighbors rightfully fear any state which shows expansionist tendencies, especially a state that has higher technology and is better funded than themselves. Realistically, any "occupied territory" has to be considered de facto a part of Israel until the Israeli military leaves. Being such a young country with so little history, it is easy for Israel to consider "adjusting" its borders as convenience dictates.

BTW the USA still has a few "territories" like Puerto Rico. Their citizens don't get to vote in national elections but otherwise have all the same rights and privileges as US citizens. To repeat myself, when Israel can say the same of its occupied territories it will be a giant step forward.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

I think you're wrong here. (3.00 / 1) (#56)
by i on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 04:39:28 AM EST

Can you cite historical precedents of occupied countries cinsidered de facto parts of occupying countries? I don't remember such things. Granted, if the occupant annexes any terrirories they become part of it -- not only de facto but also de jure. But Israel never intended to annex West Bank and Gaza.

As for Puerto Rico I think it's a "freely associated country"; that is, its inhabitants do want it to be considered a part of US.

Finally, if you think about the fact that destruction of Israel is a stated goal of more than one neighbouring country, you may understand why Israel isn't comfortable with borders that leave it 15km wide in the most populated central part.

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

[ Parent ]

Puerto Rico (4.00 / 1) (#101)
by Banjonardo on Thu Sep 20, 2001 at 01:02:27 AM EST

Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth, who does not vote for president, and doesn't pay federal taxes. They are citizens since the 50s.

If they wanted to, they could become a state, or secede. (The seperatists got 3% of the gubernatorial vote in this last election)

They kinda live off the no-tax in U.S. thing. The way things are are perfect for them.
I like Muffins. MOLDY muffins.
[ Parent ]

comparing acts _and_ ideologies (4.37 / 8) (#14)
by Lode Runner on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 04:50:25 PM EST

Now I'm confused... You claim to draw a distinction between act and ideology, but then go on to confound the two. I'll try to address you point-by-point.

While there is a grain of truth to this there is also a certain degree of hair-splitting. When do "mass arrests" become "rounding up," and how much does a prison camp in the desert have to look like Auschwitz to earn the comparison? Okay, they don't have ovens and Zyklon-B. That doesn't make what they are doing right.

When did I ever claim that what the Israelis were doing was right?

As for splitting hairs over the difference between the Gaza Strip, which Edward Said has described as "a gigantic concentration camp", and Auschwitz, I think there's a great deal more than hair's breadth of distance between the two. Same goes for comparing the refugee camps to Auschwitz. The Israelis have relegated the Palestinians to ghettos (care to check the etymology of that term?), not extermination camps.

Israel should be very worried, because if I have come to harbor such a negative attitude toward them I shudder to think how people who actually dislike Jews on principle must feel. I am the guy at work the racists have to tiptoe around, because I'll call them in an instant if they make a blanket comment or racist joke. I know what was done to the Jews, not just in WWII but throughout history, and it was horrible and unjustified.

There's no distinction between history and the modern day. Israel did not suddenly go from being a collection of persecuted Jews to an aggressor overnight; rather, Israel is an aggressor and oppressed. Although Zionists tend to cite the Holocaust as the reason they support Israel, the thing that really gets them to circle the wagons is modern-day oppression of the Jews. Jews are oppressed everywhere, and like it or not, Zionists believe that self-determination of the Jewish people is the only way out.

This said, it must be added that two wrongs don't make a right. If my TV set is stolen it doesn't justify me to break into my neighbor's house and steal his. (In turn, if I do in turn steal my neighbor's TV set, he's not justified in shooting me to get it back.) There have been many sins in the Middle East but the original sin, with regard to Israel, is the fact that it is there at all. The argument that the Jews lived there in 70 A.D. is ludicrous; if we accept that logic then we have to ask who owns the entire New World, much less countless patches of the Old. In the aftermath of WWII several places that wanted to host the Jews offered them homelands, which they refused. Instead they wrapped themselves in righteous indignation over the Holocaust and used it as an excuse to make war and take the land of another group of people who had been minding their own business.

You're correct to denounce tu quoque arguments as fallacious, but the TV-set analogy you made doesn't apply to what happened in Palestine in the 1940s. If you're going to criticize Israel, you have to know what happened there; you can't just set up straw men and knock them over.

The argument you're really up against is as follows: if squatters are on your God-given farm and your family's starving to death because of these squatters, then you go kick the squatters out. No, this argument isn't a tu quoque like yours, but you'll find it isn't an appropriate analogy either.

As for the Zionist rejection of other proposed Jewish homelands (e.g. in the steppes and in Africa), that's misleading too. The thing that kept the Jews going for 2000 years in exile was a set of values, and one thing they really strove for all along was an independent Jewish state in the land they fled. But there's more... one thing that Israel has that the other proposed homelands didn't was a steady Jewish presence and long periods where Jews enjoyed autonomy. Whether it was ruled by the Byzantines, the Persians, the Arabs, or the Turks, there were semi-autonomous or completely autonomous communities of Jews in the lands that is now called Israel and the West Bank.

I have no particular beef with any ethnic group but I have a big problem with individual people who behave unfairly. Like it or not, the logic that you are justified in oppressing your neighbor because of what was done to your parents is Nazi logic, the logic that leads to whatever excess is necessary to counter the "threat" posed by people who start out only defending themselves. The Holocaust happened and it was horrible but it also happened 50 years ago, and there's nothing we can do to undo it. What Israel is doing to the Palestinians is going on today. Maybe it isn't as bad, but the historical fact of the Holocaust is not an excuse.

Here you've hit on something profound. This "Nazi" logic of justifying oppressing one's neighbor because of past grievances is almost universal and should prompt most nationalistic movements to take out some time for introspection. But this does not necessarily apply to Israel. The Israelis oppress the Palestinians because they fear what the Palestinians could do to them rather than what the anti-Semites have already done to the Jews. The role the Holocaust plays in this mess is that the Israelis (rightly) fear that many Arab regimes want to do them as the Nazis did to the European Jews. This subject is contentious and is fiercly debated within Israel and yes, I'm aware that it's not debated here in the USA, but that's another conversation for another day.

As long as you insist that Israel's existence is a crime -- the "original sin" you called it -- you'll never convince me that you know how distinguish between act and ideology.



[ Parent ]

Existence of Israel (4.14 / 7) (#22)
by localroger on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 05:37:03 PM EST

The creation of Israel was a crime. Things being done, its continued existence is not. People born in Israel who regard it as their home would be just as offended by being kicked out as the Palestinians are.

Going on, specific treatment of the indiginous population by the state of Israel is a crime, and remains so to this day.

The Israelis need to recognize how they are regarded by their neighbors and why, instead of pigheadedly digging in heels and stomping harder on the necks of their enemies.

The argument you're really up against is as follows: if squatters are on your God-given farm and your family's starving to death because of these squatters, then you go kick the squatters out. No, this argument isn't a tu quoque like yours, but you'll find it isn't an appropriate analogy either.

Because the "squatters" are people whose parents legitimately bought the farm from the people who drove your distant ancestors off of it, and regard themselves as the legitimate owners. The fact that squatting can confer ownership (as it does at least in the USA) is a tacit admission that living in a place and coming to regard it as home confers upon you certain rights with regard to that place.

The Zionists had no right to invade Palestine in 1948. None. Zip. Nada. It was a bad idea and the reason they have troubles today is that they did this thing that was a bad idea.

OTOH things like that are spectacularly hard to undo, as the situation in Ireland shows. So the sensible thing is to adopt a US-style citizenship policy and make everyone equal under the law. THEN hunt down and kill anyone who continues the violence, on EITHER side.

The role the Holocaust plays in this mess is that the Israelis (rightly) fear that many Arab regimes want to do them as the Nazis did to the European Jews.

With good reason since, unlike the Nazis, the Arabs have some justification for this. While I abhor the many horrible things done to the Jews since 70 A.D. I don't buy this "we did it because we were afraid." Read Hitler's writings and they sound exactly the same. Of course Hitler was a delusional freak while the Jews have legitimate reasons to be afraid; but the thing about fear is that you can use it to justify anything. The Israeli prison camps don't have ovens and Zyklon-B yet, but I really don't like the direction things are going.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

creation vs. being (4.40 / 5) (#37)
by Lode Runner on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 08:58:30 PM EST

The creation of Israel was a crime. Things being done, its continued existence is not. People born in Israel who regard it as their home would be just as offended by being kicked out as the Palestinians are.

How can you reconcile wholeheartedly opposing Israel's creation while also supporting its existence? Israel's creation and continued existence both spring from the same fount: Zionism. The Zionist principles upon which Israel was founded continue to guide the country today. Israel's liberal democracy, diversity, and exclusivity are all manifestations of the same Zionism that created the nation in the first place.

The Israelis need to recognize how they are regarded by their neighbors and why, instead of pigheadedly digging in heels and stomping harder on the necks of their enemies.

Though it's true that the Israelis and their supporters need to understand the Palestinians' plight better, there are signs that they already comprehend the legitimate complaints held against them. The author of the original story has demonstrated this.

But the Israelis also recognize that many of their foes would still murder them even if the Palestinian problem were magically solved. The economic and ideological gap between democratic, prosperous Israel and its poor, despotic neighbors is enormous. And we haven't even reached the problem of religion and religious extremism yet...

Squatters...

This debate is usually solved by claiming that both the Israelis and Palestinians have legitimate rights to the land that is now Israel. But one serious problem is that many of the Palestinians who want to realize their legitimate goal to return to their former homes also want the Jews to leave first. This desire is much more common in the refugee camp Palestianians than it is to the Palestian diaspora as a whole. Probably a Palestinian state would go a long way toward solving this existential problem for Israel.

The Zionists had no right to invade Palestine in 1948. None. Zip. Nada. It was a bad idea and the reason they have troubles today is that they did this thing that was a bad idea.

That's another straw man. The formation of Israel was not a matter of a simple invasion. The Zionists, and I'm still not sure what you mean by that term, immigrated to British mandated Palestine and then fought an anti-colonial war to gain independence and then fought a civil war to keep that independence. In the course of said civil war, the Zionists did indeed invade Palestinian lands, while Arabs also invaded centuries-old Jewish areas... there were also mass exoduses and expulsions, though nobody ever seems to mention Jewish flights during that era.

LR:The role the Holocaust plays in this mess is that the Israelis (rightly) fear that many Arab regimes want to do them as the Nazis did to the European Jews.

lr: With good reason since, unlike the Nazis, the Arabs have some justification for this. While I abhor the many horrible things done to the Jews since 70 A.D. I don't buy this "we did it because we were afraid." Read Hitler's writings and they sound exactly the same. Of course Hitler was a delusional freak while the Jews have legitimate reasons to be afraid; but the thing about fear is that you can use it to justify anything. The Israeli prison camps don't have ovens and Zyklon-B yet, but I really don't like the direction things are going.

The way I read the above passage is that you believe the Arabs have some justification for exterminating the Jewish Israelis. Well, I'd like to hear this "justification." In my mind, your outburst has gravely damaged your claim that you are an anti-Zionist but not anti-Jewish. You see, in these arguments, you're not supposed to find justification for any kind of genocide at all. That such a thoughtful person as yourself holds this position makes me fear for the Afghans.

As for Hitler, he alone is not the reason that the Holocaust happened. Jews aren't afraid of Hitlers nearly so much as they are afraid of the underlying anti-Semitism that Hitler exploited.

You're absolutely right that fear plays a major role in causing suffering. But I disagree with your projection of a holocaust of Palestinians given the current situation. Both the Zionist Israelis and the anti-Zionist Israelis believe fervently that this must never happen. Those few Jews who do call for the annhilation of the Arabs are truly a fringe, whose only route to power, claims Abba Eban, is if the rest of Israel disappears in an atomic blast.



[ Parent ]

Misstated/Misread (4.12 / 8) (#39)
by localroger on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 09:21:10 PM EST

The way I read the above passage is that you believe the Arabs have some justification for exterminating the Jewish Israelis.

That certainly wasn't my intent, though I see the semantic problem. Let me try again.

The Germans were not really wronged by the Jews living among them. The Arabs really have been wronged by the state of Israel.

When they attacked their Jewish population, the Germans were attacking vapours and reflections.

When the Arabs attack Israelis, they are attacking a genuine enemy that has objectively wronged them.

Inasmuch as anybody is ever justified in using force against another -- a subject of no small debate at this moment -- the Arabs can certainly justify their resistance to Israel's activities and, to a certain extent, the existence of the state itself. I don't think anybody can ever justify genocide. Frankly, I don't think anybody can ever justify forcing an individual human or family out of a place he has been living for some time, calls home, and has been assured a legal claim by the ubercontrolling governmental body of the moment.

I know it sounds flippant to compare the Israelis and Nazis, but this is a line of thought developed over years of contemplation. The Nazis did not start out building ovens and gas chambers; they started out with Kristallnacht and forced relocation to ghettoes and wire-encircled camps. The people who emigrated from Germany to Palestine weren't stupid. They have to know better than anybody else in the world the meaning of what they are doing when they do these very same things to other people.

Bulldozing a civilian home, a favourite activity of the Israelis, is an act of particular cruelty requiring a well-developed sense of sadism. It crushes the individual while costing the state only a few pennies worth of gasoline. Can this ever be justified? It seems like a small thing next to the canisters of Zyklon-B but the stink of mindless hatred behind the acts is the same.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Nazis vs. Zionists (3.66 / 3) (#44)
by Lode Runner on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 11:50:27 PM EST

That certainly wasn't my intent, though I see the semantic problem.

I should've given you the benefit of the doubt on that one, but K5 is swarming with hypocrites. Anyway, I'm glad you're as principled as you claimed you were. But you're not off the hook yet...

When the Arabs attack Israelis, they are attacking a genuine enemy that has objectively wronged them.

That Israel has objectively wronged some Arabs is undeniably true, but I must take issue with your claim with your claim that Israelis are "genuine enemies" of the Arabs. To begin with, "Arab" is too broad a term, for there are plenty of Moroccans, Saudis, Kuwaitis, Qataris, etc who have violently attacked Israelis (and its supporters) when they themselves were not even indirectly harmed by Israel. As for the truly oppressed Palestinians who strap dynamite to their waists and explode themselves in restuarants and discos, they're not attacking a genuine enemy either. It is unfathomable to me how a bunch of 15-year-old girls waiting in line for a chance to go dancing can become genuine enemies of Sheikh Yassin.

...the Arabs can certainly justify their resistance to Israel's activities and, to a certain extent, the existence of the state itself...

With this I concur, with the caveat that you qualify the term resistance such that it excludes attacks on innocent civilians. If you find yourself repulsed by intentional massacres of Israeli civilians you'll find yourself at odds with the majority of Palestinians, who sadly find these attacks justified.

Frankly, I don't think anybody can ever justify forcing an individual human or family out of a place he has been living for some time, calls home, and has been assured a legal claim by the ubercontrolling governmental body of the moment.

I can't tell you how many times I've gotten this far in this discussion with Arab colleagues and then was told that Israelis/Jews are not human beings and that the valid point you brought up simply doesn't apply to them.

I know it sounds flippant to compare the Israelis and Nazis, but this is a line of thought developed over years of contemplation. The Nazis did not start out building ovens and gas chambers; they started out with Kristallnacht and forced relocation to ghettoes and wire-encircled camps. The people who emigrated from Germany to Palestine weren't stupid. They have to know better than anybody else in the world the meaning of what they are doing when they do these very same things to other people.

It doesn't sound flippant so much as it smacks of an underexposure to rigorous discussions about history and life in the Middle East. I too have thought long and hard about my position and I'd like to think that I demonstrated here that there's some substance to it.

A few points about the comparison of Israel to the Nazis:

  • Though the Nazis did not start building gas chambers in 1933, Hitler made it clear as early as 1924 that he intended to destroy the Jews. Not many Germans (or anyone else) took Hitler's early plans seriously, though. Most German historians agree that Hitler would have proceeded with the extermination of the Jews much more quickly had Germans not resisted the Nazi euthanasia campaign in the 1930s. Only the fog of war let the Nazis carry out their plans.

  • The claims by Adolf "I am a Zionist" Eichmann that the Nazis merely intended to rid Europe of Jews by expelling them and not killing them (but that the war forced the Holocaust upon the Nazis) are spurious too. When Nazis invaded a given area, they usually gave civilians a chance to flee, but screened those civilians to make sure no Jews escaped. That's life on the Eastern Front.

  • Kristallnacht was more than just a pogrom, it was an enormous social event. While Jews were expelled from their homes and businesses, ordinary Germans did not just sit at home. Instead, they participated in gigantic book-burning rallies and listened to speeches that made it clear that "Crystal Night" was the beginning of something much larger. Again, while the Zionists certainly have committed pogroms against the Palestinians, there is no Israeli counterpart to Kristallnacht.

The underlying theme of the above is that the Nazi leadership intended to kill the Jews all along, wheras one cannot realistically claim that the Zionists intended to destroy the Palestinians from the birth of the Zionist movement.

Bulldozing a civilian home, a favourite activity of the Israelis, is an act of particular cruelty requiring a well-developed sense of sadism. It crushes the individual while costing the state only a few pennies worth of gasoline. Can this ever be justified? It seems like a small thing next to the canisters of Zyklon-B but the stink of mindless hatred behind the acts is the same.

I've never understood how Israelis expected to control Palestinian violence by bulldozing people's homes. To some, the justification of this sadism lay in the Palestinians' own sadism, but you don't need to be Immanuel Kant to see the flaws in that line of reasoning. To others, bulldozing is a relatively humane means of discouraging violence, but that's a rotten argument too. Yet as hateful as bulldozing is, it does not warrant Palestinian attacks against innocent Israelis or anyone's support of this form of "resistance."



[ Parent ]

Arabs havbe allies as well (3.00 / 1) (#76)
by peace on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 02:00:29 PM EST

[please forgive if this is a dupe, it's my first post to K5 and I'm not sure I understand how it works yet]

That Israel has objectively wronged some Arabs is undeniably true, but I must take issue with your claim with your claim that Israelis are "genuine enemies" of the Arabs. To begin with, "Arab" is too broad a term, for there are plenty of Moroccans, Saudis, Kuwaitis, Qataris, etc who have violently attacked Israelis (and its supporters) when they themselves were not even indirectly harmed by Israel.

This stance would preclude the concept of an ally. In light of recent events in the USA and the reaction of NATO and non-NATO countries around the world, the Arab reaction to the formation of Israel should not seem allien.

The arab nations stated that they would attack the state of Israel if it was declared and that is exactly what they did hours after the declaration.

That people identifying themselves as Arab around the world would share similair world views does not seem surprising.

Kind Regards

[ Parent ]

find/replace (4.33 / 3) (#68)
by chopper on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 11:31:19 AM EST

How can you reconcile wholeheartedly opposing Israel's creation while also supporting its existence? Israel's creation and continued existence both spring from the same fount: Zionism

replace 'Israel' with 'the US' and 'Zionism' with 'Manifest Destiny'.

the creation of various lands in the US was a crime against humanity. natives were butchered, and those that weren't were forcibly relocated.
and yet i, for one, still support the existence of the US.

give a man a fish,he'll eat for a day

give a man religion and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish
[ Parent ]

Israel Exists (4.00 / 1) (#85)
by coward anonymous on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 01:54:49 AM EST

"The Israelis need to recognize how they are regarded by their neighbors and why, instead of pigheadedly digging in heels and stomping harder on the necks of their enemies."

One could argue that the Israelis DO recognize how they are regarded by their neighbors and this is precisely why they are digging in their heels...

"The Zionists had no right to invade Palestine in 1948. None. Zip. Nada. It was a bad idea and the reason they have troubles today is that they did this thing that was a bad idea."

Let me guess, you read this in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, right? This statement leads me to believe your knowledge of Middle East history is alarmingly weak. What invasion, from where and in what direction might you be talking about?

"The Israeli prison camps don't have ovens and Zyklon-B yet, but I really don't like the direction things are going.

This is probably the first time I've heard of this, what prison camps are you talking about?



[ Parent ]
Oh, another thing I forgot. (1.25 / 4) (#15)
by i on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 05:03:00 PM EST

if I have come to harbor such a negative attitude toward them I shudder to think how people who actually dislike Jews on principle must feel.
And the practical difference between you and those "people who actually dislike Jews on principle" is ... ???

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

[ Parent ]
difference... (4.75 / 4) (#17)
by Danse on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 05:10:55 PM EST

He doesn't dislike Jews just because they're Jews., he dislikes what the country of Israel is doing to the Palestinians. There's a difference between disliking people and disliking the actions of people.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Everybody has his own reason (1.50 / 4) (#20)
by i on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 05:23:56 PM EST

to dislike Jews. Hitler had one or two of those too, as I recall -- it wasn't just on principle, it was because of their actions.

And by the way. If you want to compare anything to Holocaust, you better get your facts and numbers straight. But instead of facts and numbers, all I see here is pure rhetoric.

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

[ Parent ]

Now who's full of it? (4.57 / 7) (#24)
by localroger on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 05:51:22 PM EST

Everybody has his own reason to dislike Jews. Hitler had one or two of those too, as I recall -- it wasn't just on principle, it was because of their actions.

I have written at least 1,000 words in this thread explaining my attitude and I think it should be pretty clear, if you weren't so busy setting up that straw man, that I haven't said anything about disliking Jews. I have said that I dislike Israel.

And while it's pretty widely understood that the "actions" Hitler feared were fairy tales lifted from the Czarist Russian propaganda work The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, I don't think there's much doubt that the state of Israel is actively oppressing a population of people who are by any sane assessment the rightful owners of the land which was invaded to create that state.

It is because he was afraid of vapours that Hitler was able to justify any level of atrocity, because anything he could imagine he could imagine being done to him. I sense the same problem, though obviously not nearly as developed, in the radical Zionists who are afraid of the vapours that might be launched against them.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

There's a problem. (1.20 / 5) (#60)
by i on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 04:57:06 AM EST

You see, Israel is a home to Jews. You dislike Israel. Not goverment, not politics, not military. Home. I take offence.

As for fear of vapours, I recommend you reading some contemporary mainstream Arab press.

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

[ Parent ]

doublethink... (3.75 / 4) (#9)
by daelstorm on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 03:39:17 PM EST

is very popular over here. Moreso than you'd imagine from a few month's in Jordan, one of the better Arab countries.

I watch Palestinian Television with a frown and a smirk, wondering how people could be so foolish to believe the things the reporters tell them, without any proof, such as video footage or documents.

[ Parent ]
interesting (4.50 / 2) (#21)
by Lode Runner on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 05:31:37 PM EST

If you've got a front row seat to what's presently happening in the Arab world, then you'd be doing us all a great service by sharing your experience and insight. I, for one, would greatly appreciate more frontline information.



[ Parent ]

Proof (4.66 / 3) (#26)
by Sheepdot on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 06:18:44 PM EST

"and incarceration in concentration camps"

I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with you.

I'd just like evidence that Israel has done this to the Palestinians. It'd be beneficial to see such a thing.

The US gov't threw countles Asian-Americans in camps as well, why aren't we still condeming the US gov't for actions that happened years upon years ago?

Or is there a certain point where a country "owns up" to what they have done?


[ Parent ]
www.thenation.com (4.25 / 4) (#30)
by localroger on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 06:55:33 PM EST

...though nothing on this topic's up right now, a couple of the columnists regularly berate Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians.

The US gov't threw countles Asian-Americans in camps as well, why aren't we still condeming the US gov't for actions that happened years upon years ago?

They were recently awarded reparations, and while it's too little too late the surviving victims of this atrocity got sizeable checks from the government for their inconvenience. Also, I don't believe we made a habit of beating and torturing the Japanese-Americans during their detainment, though it certainly amounted to confiscation of all their property.

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Thanks for the vote and... (4.40 / 5) (#29)
by Otter on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 06:52:21 PM EST

This is so completely meaningless it's hard to put into words just how ridiculous it is...It would also get a little crowded after the Native Americans kick out the 300,000,000 invaders who took their land only 300 years ago.

For what it's worth, I do feel great empathy towards the Indians, and not only because of the cautionary example of trading some of your land for peace with people who want all of it.

But, and I guess I didn't make this clear, I definitely understand that you can't walk on to someone's land, show them a Bible and expect them to leave of their good will. The point I was trying to make was in response to the notion I've frequently seen floated lately, that Jews materialized out of Poland and kicked Arabs off their land. That's why I made the distinction between Israel proper and the West Bank. The point is that Jews exist, they want a homeland like everyone else, their true homeland is in Israel/Judea/ Palestine and they were given one the way all sorts of ethnic states were created in the post-WWII period.

the lesson Israel seems to have taken from the horrors of WWII is "gee, that almost worked for the Germans, we need to be like that."

I'm the umpteenth person trying to explain to you why this analogy is wildly exaggerated to the point of offensiveness: you seem to be fixated on the existence of wire-encircled ground as the essence of the Holocaust.

My grandfather came from a town in Belarus called Przymelsi. He emigrated before the Nazis came, at which point every Jew in the community was killed by SS troops under a particluarly sadistic commander. He lost every single member of his family including 11 brothers and sisters. If you don't see that as a million miles from anything that has ever occurred under Israeli occupation, I can't imagine how to begin to communicate with you.

[ Parent ]

Where does it come from, where does it go (4.09 / 11) (#32)
by localroger on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 07:22:16 PM EST

you seem to be fixated on the existence of wire-encircled ground as the essence of the Holocaust.

I'm fixated on the existence of wire-encircled ground as being wrong. I don't care who puts up the wire. The Nazis were a spectacular example of how far things can go once you accept the idea that herding people into barbed wire pens is OK. It's a good rule of thumb that if you can't afford enough real prisons you're arresting too many people. Israel's regular appearance in Amnesty International bulletins especially pisses me off because, of all the people anywhere on Earth, you'd think the victims of the Holocaust would have more sense.

The point is that Jews exist, they want a homeland like everyone else,

Every single person who emigrated to Israel as opposed to being born there had a homeland before moving to Palestine. I can understand why the ones from Germany didn't want to stay but even that isn't an excuse for invading someone else's home.

"Everyone else" doesn't necessarily either want or need a "homeland" segregated by their race, religion, or whatever other characteristic they feel separates them from everyone else. The unprecedented bad treatment of the Jews throughout history makes their case somewhat unique, but it really is a dangerous precedent to say that because X group has some distant historical relation to Y landmass that they should be able to move there and displace the people who think of it as their home now. Do you have any idea how many other groups would claim land this way if they thought they could get away with it?

And frankly I don't think it's a good idea to start sorting people out into the white state, the black state, the Latino state, the Christian state, the atheist state, and so on. People who are surrounded only by others who agree with them are prone to adopt progressively less realistic ideas about the rest of the world as they mutually reinforce their shared nutty assumptions. (IMO this is one of the problems Israel has today.)

You, and some of the other respondents, seem fixated on the idea that there can't possibly be any kind of comparison between Israel and Germany because the example of Germany was so over-the-top. That's like saying it's okay because the airplane I hijacked was only a Cessna and the building I ran it into didn't collapse.

Germany didn't go from respectability to the full Nazi horror story in a single night. It was a progression which began with the forced resettlement, the mass arrest, and the ground encircled by wire (but not yet a death camp). Israel may know better than to go the rest of the distance, but how do you convince the people who are on the wrong side of the wire?

I can haz blog!
[ Parent ]

Slight Topic Shift (2.50 / 2) (#34)
by Dlugar on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 08:28:05 PM EST

And frankly I don't think it's a good idea to start sorting people out into the white state, the black state, the Latino state, the Christian state, the atheist state, and so on. People who are surrounded only by others who agree with them are prone to adopt progressively less realistic ideas about the rest of the world as they mutually reinforce their shared nutty assumptions. (IMO this is one of the problems Israel has today.)
I also agree that it would be stupid idea to start sorting people out into various groups of ethnicity or religion. However, I don't see any reason to desegregate those who have already done so willingly of themselves. History has shown us that when you force two groups to be together who really don't want to be, bad things happen. "Good fences make good neighbors," so to speak. It is my opinion that time and education are the only ways to break down the walls of prejudice--not mandated desegregation.

However, this is only tangentially related to Israel, since I don't think anybody would argue that there are "good fences" in place.

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
"Force together"? (4.66 / 3) (#53)
by ianb on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 03:29:10 AM EST

History has shown us that when you force two groups to be together who really don't want to be, bad things happen.
Could you tell me what that history is? When the various Balkan ethnic groups were being forced together there weren't very many (ethnic) problems. It was when they were allowed to fall apart that things got ugly -- and when they were used against each other (in WWII). Should we have left schools in America segregated? Or was the problem that we should have segregated people into seperate cities? Seperate countries? Moved all the blacks back to Africa? It would have saved us a lot of racial strife.

[ Parent ]
We all want a homeland? (2.33 / 3) (#52)
by ianb on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 03:23:49 AM EST

The point is that Jews exist, they want a homeland like everyone else, their true homeland is in Israel/Judea/ Palestine and they were given one the way all sorts of ethnic states were created in the post-WWII period.
Lots of people don't have homelands. I know of no baptist homeland. Hell, I don't even know of a Christian homeland. I guess my homeland is Chicago right now, 'cause that's where I live. Doesn't seem like a homeland to me, though. Is there a homeland for white people? Asian? I suppose in a really lame way Liberia might be African Americans' homeland. Is America my homeland? Then isn't it yours too?

You make it seem like a homeland is such a natural thing. I don't think it particularly is. Home is where you hang your hat. The Israelis took someone else's home and made it their own. That they were there historically is rather meaningless. No one was stopping Jews from moving to the Middle East and making a home there. They could have gone there and bought homes and made lives for themselves. They could have called Jeruselem home. If there wasn't democracy, they could have fought for it, and I'm sure they would have achieved it. If they had no representation, they could have fought for that, and I'm sure they would have achieved it. In fact, while they were persecuted many other places, Muslims have traditionally been very tolerant and respectful of Jews. It is a shame that respect didn't seem to go both ways.

[ Parent ]

Some perspective. (4.75 / 4) (#57)
by i on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 04:47:55 AM EST

No one was stopping Jews from moving to the Middle East and making a home there.

Actualy, the British did, and before that the Ottomans. But Jews did it anyway.

They could have gone there and bought homes and made lives for themselves.

They did exactly that.

They could have called Jeruselem home.

That's what they did, exactly.

If there wasn't democracy, they could have fought for it, and I'm sure they would have achieved it. If they had no representation, they could have fought for that, and I'm sure they would have achieved it.

It's a little hard to fight for a democracy when five neighbouring states want to massacre you, isn't it? You have fight for your life first.

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

[ Parent ]

You're already there (4.75 / 4) (#64)
by Otter on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 08:48:52 AM EST

I know of no baptist homeland. Hell, I don't even know of a Christian homeland. I guess my homeland is Chicago right now, 'cause that's where I live. Doesn't seem like a homeland to me, though.

Take it from someone who was born and raised here, and who flies an US flag outside his home all year -- you have "American" oozing out of your ears, and you're so seamlessly ensconced in your homeland you can't understand what I'm talking about.

No one was stopping Jews from moving to the Middle East and making a home there. They could have gone there and bought homes and made lives for themselves. They could have called Jeruselem home.

That basically is what happened. The overwhelming majority of Jewish occupation came either from settlers creating new communities in what was then a sparsely inhabited, malarial backwater of Syria (Tel Aviv was founded out of sandy nothing near Jaffa -- there was no Palestinian metropolis there) or areas taken after villages cleared out to pave the way for the oncoming Arab conquerors. The myth is that all of it came about that way, which is what needs to be confronted and redressed.

[ Parent ]

Conveniant One Sided Arguement (2.40 / 5) (#48)
by eliwap on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 02:10:01 AM EST

As to your comments that Israel is a country that was taken over by force. You are simply lying to yourself. The state was granted by the International Community. The Arab nations simply rejected the existance of the state and immediately declared war.

The warfare that has existed over the past 1/2 century was initiated and perpetuated by the Arab states in the region. Egypt and Jordan have now made peace. And between Isreal and Egypt and Jordan there is peace. Palestinian Arab's have the opportunity, for the first time in their history, to establish a homeland for themselves. All they have to do is to stop shoting at Israel. The longer they keep shooting the more land they are going to lose.

It really is that simple.

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

no moral right (1.00 / 1) (#78)
by rehan on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 11:04:27 PM EST

I don't think that the international community does not have the right to declare that a state exists in a particular area. The inhabitants of that area do, and they have the moral right to control it.

Stay Frosty and Alert


[ Parent ]
whoops - what i meant to say was... (3.66 / 3) (#79)
by rehan on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 11:06:32 PM EST

I don't think that the international community has the right to declare that a state exists in a particular area. The inhabitants of that area do, and they have the moral right to control it.

Stay Frosty and Alert


[ Parent ]
By your logic... (3.00 / 1) (#91)
by PhillipW on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 02:49:42 PM EST

...if the International Community, excluding the United States, said that California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas shall belong to American Indians, then the United States lost that by conceiting the land, and not by force. I would say that your logic is very flawed.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
nice troll (NT) (2.50 / 4) (#67)
by yesterdays children on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 10:23:35 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Quick Question ... (4.40 / 5) (#28)
by Dlugar on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 06:50:00 PM EST

Can you clear something up? In the above, the unstated question "Are you for or against Israeli expansion of settlements? Are there any excuses (good, poor, or otherwise) for Israeli expansion?" seems to have an unclear answer. You seem to waver between various things and not really say anything one way or another. Out of all the things discussed lately, this is one I have not heard a great deal from the Jewish point of view, and you seem to state things very well. Would you mind elaborating?

Dlugar

Speaking unofficially (5.00 / 4) (#40)
by Otter on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 10:11:41 PM EST

Well, I don't presume to represent the "Jewish point of view" and I'd be interested to hear what Israelis have to say about this. I think the rationales range from the religious ("It's our land and we must hold on to it!") to pragmatic (Israel is a tiny country and, especially when there was a very real threat from Jordan, every extra mile is a blessing.)

As far as what I feel, as you sense, I'm conflicted. I wish things would have turned out that the Arab population had accepted citizenship and made a life as minority, the way it worked in UN-mandated Israel. And the West Bank includes the real Israel -- Hebron, Shechem, Bethlehem -- and it twinges me to give all that over to a regime that will never allow me to visit Abraham's tomb the way Moslems can go to Jerusalem or Jaffa. But, given the perspective of today looking forward, I think the best answer is for Israel to forgo the West Bank and tell the settlers they've got to leave, like in the Sinai withdrawal. It's going to be extremely painful but to me the alternatives seem worse.

Gaza, on the other hand, is just hopeless. Egypt doesn't want it, there's no useful way for it to be part of a Palestinian state, and it's populated by extremist Arabs who are waiting in the camps until they can occupy Tel Aviv and the craziest of the nutcase settlers. I can't imagine what good could happen there.

[ Parent ]

Gaza (5.00 / 2) (#43)
by Dlugar on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 11:29:25 PM EST

Very nice to get some more information about this area that, while perhaps is common knowledge, at least I haven't heard very much of. Even though you're not, of course, deigning to speak as an official "Jewish point of view," this is very helpful for me, at least. Thanks.

A few questions about Gaza: why is it "hopeless"? Why doesn't Egypt want it? Why is there no useful way for it to be part of a Palestinian state? Why do the "extremist Arabs" there want to take over Tel Aviv? And what are your personal opinions as to what should be done with the land?

Dlugar

[ Parent ]
Nothing there (4.00 / 2) (#66)
by Otter on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 09:23:30 AM EST

A few questions about Gaza: why is it "hopeless"? Why doesn't Egypt want it?

The Sinai is a large, mostly uninhabited area with great natural resources. Gaza is a tiny patch of sand, with no resources, no industry, nothing but uneducated, furious, religiously fanatical residents. Egypt had no interest in taking that mess for itself.

Why is there no useful way for it to be part of a Palestinian state? Why do the "extremist Arabs" there want to take over Tel Aviv?

It's physically removed from the West Bank (which has good land, industrial development, water, access to Jordan and an educated population). Given the present reality, Israel isn't going to allow easy travel from one area to the other, across Israel. The mention of Tel Aviv is in the context that (IMHO) that the only future Gaza has is if Israel is destroyed and replaced with a contiguous Arab state from sea to river. That's what the inhabitants are sitting in camps waiting for -- encouraged by Palestinian leaders who see them as a source of zealotry and photo ops, fundamentalists who recruit their forces from there and the Gulf countries, who use it for cheap labor.

And what are your personal opinions as to what should be done with the land?

Like I said, hopeless. I genuinely don't know where to start.

[ Parent ]

I've lost hope already (4.20 / 5) (#41)
by uweber on Sun Sep 16, 2001 at 10:35:42 PM EST

Things went to hell again when Rabin was murdered and has reached its pinacle with the election of Sharon who - if I remember corectly - was involved in several massacres. What thought process leads to the conclusion that shooting up Palestinian police stations and inteligence services will stop terrorist attacks? Sure Arafat used to be a terrorist, too, but I truely belive he genuinely wanted peace. How many more "setlers" have moved in in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank since Oslo? It seems that reason was burried right next to Rabin.

YOU'VE lost hope, what about us? (4.83 / 6) (#54)
by mattip on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 03:33:17 AM EST

After Rabin's murder, there were elections in Israel. In an attempt to influence the elections, the Hamas terrorist group blew up busses in Israel and exploded a bomb outside a shopping center considered the center of Tel Aviv (see - World Trade Center). Guess what? Peres lost the election and Nataniyahu got elected. Oh yeah, Arafat arrested the perpetrators, but then let them go two years later.

Barak goes to Camp David trying to negotiate a deal that Israel probably would have rejected in a refereundum. Arafat rejects it (OK, too much too fast, but why slam the door?), and uses Sharon's provocative visit to the Temple mount to open a bloody conflict.

I still live here, still send my 7 year old to an experimental Arab-Jewish school in the Galilee (99% of the schools here are segregated along religious/cultural lines, Jews, orthodox Jews, really orthodox Jews, kibbutznikim, Arabs, Druze...)

If the rest of the world would just look away for a generation or so, I think moderate voices would carry the day. But every time a TV camera gets in the way, people start yelling and throwing things. OK, we have a lot of problems, alot of discrimination. Who doesn't? The past is becoming irrelavant, let's deal with tomorrow.

Matti

[ Parent ]
Who wins? (4.66 / 12) (#45)
by float1111 on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 12:25:29 AM EST

""I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."

And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.

I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.

But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.

Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering.

A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food.

There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying thesewidows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.

We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already.

Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.

New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time

So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.

And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?"
-Tamim Amsary"


Any Thoughts?

Bingo! (3.00 / 1) (#65)
by CaptainZapp on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 09:03:23 AM EST

It is posts lik yours, that make this site very valuable, once in a while.

I agree wholeheartedly and I truly hope, that this is not turning out into a propaganda blizzard, which looks great on CNN (conveniently ommitting the fact that 100'000s of civillians die), but serves no purpose whatsover.

Thanks & Shalom

[ Parent ]

Well-reasoned (4.00 / 2) (#75)
by weirdling on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 01:59:18 PM EST

I would like to know what you think of the rebels the Taliban are currently fighting? would they be a viable form of government?

I only hope Bush is seeking out people like you when making his decision.

I agree there is no doubt someone will have to invade Afghanistan, but it appears that Pakistan will do it before the US even gets there.

What I would like to see is US aid in the form of infrastructure rebuilding. Rebuild all the farms, schools, roads, etc., and clear the mines. Such an operation would take a couple of years and tie up two divisions or so of Army Corps of Engineers, at which point, we get out and leave the country to a (hopefully) stable authority.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Novel Idea! (3.00 / 1) (#90)
by PhillipW on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 02:38:18 PM EST

I do not think that an invasion is really necessary. If we did not threaten to bomb Afghanistan, we could probably send in humanitarian mission to improve the Afghan situation. This would certainly nurture a feeling of goodwill towards the Aghan population, who is already fed up with the Taliban. And the ringing of revolution shall grow louder. I know this is extremely optimistic of me(not my typical way of thinking), but it was just a thought, or variation on your idea.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Israelis need to change their behavior (3.40 / 5) (#47)
by Andy Tai on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 02:06:45 AM EST

Yes, the Israelis are the friends of Americans and the Palestinians were associated with terrorism and some celebrate the current tragedy. And the Israelis have enough firepower to forever hold the Palestinians in their current place. But Israel needs to know their current policy will never buy Israelis peace. They shall consider what Jews went through in WW II and project that experience to the Palestinians of today. Give them something and compromise. The Palestinians need to be treated with respect, just like the way Israeli treats another Israeli. There are traditional claims and all that, but Israel should be first responsible to the interests of this planet, and that means compromising with the Palestinians.

Unless (3.00 / 1) (#84)
by coward anonymous on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 01:35:40 AM EST

Unless peace and mutual "respect" is not what this conflict is actually about. You should also remember that it takes two to Waltz. It can't be just Israel's fault...


[ Parent ]
No historical perspective (3.40 / 10) (#49)
by coward anonymous on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 02:36:11 AM EST

There is one thing that irks me in all middle-east discussions. Every one is so worked up with "moral" issues and human rights that no one seems to have any historical perspective.
The Palestinians never existed as a people or any other kind of group definition at any time in history up to and during the Israeli declaration of independance. They were then created as a political tool by Arab dictators as if by magic. Yes, I challenge someone to find me a quote from a credible historical document mentioning the "Palestinians" prior to 1948.
If anyone loved the Palestinians so much why didn't Egypt demand the Gaza strip when Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula? After all, the Gaza strip was under Egyptian control prior to 1967. I'm sure the Egyptians would then give the Palestinians a homeland...
Why didn't Jordan press for the return of the West Bank?
Does anyone care to read up on how the Palestinians fared under these esteemed regimes? How are they doing today in Jordan? Or Lebanon? No, they aren't displaced by Israel, the Jordanians always had them.
The sad truth is that not one Arab country wants the Palestinians. All their "brothers" hate their guts.
Finally, the Palestinian problem will disappear off the face of this earth the day oil ceases to flow out of the Persian Gulf. When that day happens (and probably long before) the Western world will suddenly forget the Mideast even exists.
All those people fluting their moral hubris will suddenly find more interesting things to stir their caring souls.
I want to know why all these morally upright individuals seem to ignore the ongoing massacre in Sudan, the constant chaos in Western Africa, the problem of the Gypsies in Europe (where many of these morally superior people live), the Kurds in Turkey and Iraq. What about the Basques in Spain and France? Don't they deserve their own home lands?
Well, my friends. Not one of these esteemed peoples has oil to back up it's claims. Not one - so they are left to rot.



You are avoiding the issues (3.66 / 3) (#51)
by Andy Tai on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 02:55:51 AM EST

Whether Palestinians exist before as a people or not is not relevant to the current conflict in Palestine/Israel. Nor are how Jordan and Egypt treated the Palestinians. The fact is that there is a conflict, and there are people suffering and Israel is supressing a population. Israel needs to deal with this in the interests of all human beings.

[ Parent ]
There is no black and white (3.33 / 3) (#62)
by kvikeg on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 06:57:35 AM EST

This is not exactly correct. Of course, you can't ignore the facts and treat the other side with respect, but you still should remember history and the routes of the current problem. Concerning the population suppression, well, there is no easy way of dealing with it. You can't be always right, there is no way to fight terrorist and be involved in peace talks. I can tell you that i don't think that Israelians (i'm from Israel btw) always right and i'm not telling that Palestinians completely wrong. The problem is that peace process takes time and there is no easy and clean way of reaching peace - you can't make an omlet without breaking eggs (or how it goes).

[ Parent ]
Not really (3.00 / 3) (#82)
by coward anonymous on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 01:16:50 AM EST

Once you allow that the Palestinian identity is a fiction you find yourself with other questions. Where did this identity come from? Who invented it and to what end?
The obvious answer is the Arab world, as a convenient way to pressure Israel back into its pre-1967 borders and perhaps into the sea. What better way to present a conflict to their advantage than to cast it into terms the Western world finds dear to its heart? What Westerner doesn't root for the oppressed underdog?
As an interesting example, note that the "human rights" claim was only introduced in the last decade or so and became wildly popular only in the last 3-4 years - an effort to to keep up with the latest Western fashions.
If it is an Arab invention, why is it Israel's task to fix it? If the Arabs created an identity from nothing and manufactured a problem where there was none why is it Israel that has to remedy the situation?
It is noteworthy that, as happened often throughout history, the local populations welcomed the Israeli conquerors into the territories - they were only too happy to be rid of oppressive dictatorships. The Israeli occupation was far from perfect, there is no doubt, but not nearly as oppressive as to bring about such upheaval - not nearly as oppressive as the neighboring regimes. If you agree that the identity was manufactured than how can you pretend that its course to belligerency wasn't manipulated by neighboring enemies? After all, if they can manufacture the identity, they can mold it to any shape or form they want.

If you agree that the West is hypocritical in regards to who it pays attention to, then you put yourself on shaky ground indeed. If you accept that the West's morals only count where there is oil, then what kind of morals are we talking about exactly?

[ Parent ]
Not really... (5.00 / 1) (#88)
by PhillipW on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 02:20:01 PM EST

Once you allow that the Palestinian identity is a fiction you find yourself with other questions. Where did this identity come from? Who invented it and to what end? The obvious answer is the Arab world, as a convenient way to pressure Israel back into its pre-1967 borders and perhaps into the sea.

This sounds extremely similar to the American nationality. It was entirely non-existant until the start of the American Revolution. This does not destroy the validity of it at all. There is a conflict here, a valid one, that needs solving, and I do not mean the displacement of Palestinians.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
really... (3.00 / 2) (#94)
by coward anonymous on Wed Sep 19, 2001 at 04:15:43 AM EST

Yes, there is a conflict but what solution do you think would satisfy an identity defined essentially by being anti-Israel?
If the Palestinian identity has been molded into something that rejects the existence of Israel, then there is no way Israel can bridge the gap. Whatever you propose Israel do will never be enough. Israel must cease to exist to appease the Palestinian identity in its current incarnation.
Changing the Palestinian identity is the one thing Israel cannot do while the Arabs can.

The Americans were not hell bent on bringing down the British empire, they just wanted to be left alone.

[ Parent ]
Heh (3.00 / 1) (#96)
by PhillipW on Wed Sep 19, 2001 at 01:50:07 PM EST

I don't know a solution, and I don't pretend to, like most American citizens. This is exactly why I do not meddle in their affairs.

And in actuality, the Americans wanted to take away a piece of land that the British invested very heavily in.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Read the bible dipshit. (3.00 / 2) (#98)
by Sir Spankotron on Wed Sep 19, 2001 at 09:16:46 PM EST

Ever heard of the Philistines? Yeah. that's us. The Arabic word for Palestine is Filistin. PHILISTINES

[ Parent ]
dipshit says it all (5.00 / 1) (#104)
by coward anonymous on Thu Sep 20, 2001 at 03:18:38 AM EST

Calling me a dipshit doesn't make your baseless claims true.
You should do a little bit of research yourself before jumping headlong into subjects you seem to know nothing about. The Philistines, if you had bothered to look them up, are most probably of Mycenaean origin.
So unless you consider yourself Greek, the only thing you have proven is your ignorance.


[ Parent ]
Long before 70AD (4.57 / 7) (#55)
by ianb on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 03:58:32 AM EST

At least according to scripture (which I won't actually claim is accurate), I believe the Jews got Israel by committing genocide on the Canaanites.

There is a sad irony in this.

Re: Long before 70AD (4.50 / 4) (#70)
by jethro on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 11:49:12 AM EST

Yes, according to the bible, the Israelites actually did destroy about 7 different peoples when returning to the Land of Israel after a stint with slavery in Egypt.

This was 3000-5000 years ago, if it did actually happen. I believe there MIGHT be a statute of limitation on such things - Ancient Israelites about as similar to current day Israelies as a random Italian person is similar to an ancient roman soldier.

Not to sound inflametory, but think about this: Those events took place THOUSANDS OF YEARS before Islam and Christianity existed. I mention this because I find it somewhat mind-boggling.
Besides, genocide was commited against the Jewish race many, many many times since Biblical days - I think they've paid for their crime.

--
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is kinky.
[ Parent ]
There is truly nothing new under the Sun (4.50 / 2) (#72)
by pranshu on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 12:13:22 PM EST

Yeah. We keep thinking our problems are unique.

There have been human beings pretty much identical to us for the last few hundred thousand years.

[ Parent ]
Or did they? (2.50 / 2) (#81)
by Apuleius on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 12:12:36 AM EST

Note that the Bible refers to Canaanite natives living in the land after the conquest, and even keeping one of the earlier kingdoms (Gshur). Trash talking, perhaps?


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
first the election screw-up in Florida, now this? (1.50 / 6) (#59)
by integrin on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 04:51:49 AM EST

without repeating everything already said, i'll say this: Israel's honeymoon is over, or at least it should be. the US has gone out of its wat to help in the peace efforts, but Jews are intelligent folks. they see how they can drag our great country into their holy war and think that's the only way the world will understand their plight. we americans should shutter in our skin at what's ACTUALLY happening. i think it's clear that Israelis have no quams at all about destroying the world (along with their Palestinian playmates), as long as THEY don't have to sacrafice anything. so the next time you americans are enjoying that Big Mac at your local McDonald's or just browsing the aisles at your favorite Wal-Mart, ask yourself, are YOU prepared to lose all of this? are you prepared to DIE for someone else's holy war? there are two solutions to this problem, and the american people must choose one before it's too late: 1. open up McDonalds, Burger Kings, KMarts, and a WalMart or two, in Afghanistan. let's spread the wealth and show these people what they're missing. we might even consider an NFL expansion team in Kabul. that would seal the deal. 2. pull out of Israel NOW. their war does not involve us. they're religious fanatics who are perfectly content to destroy this earth behind the cloak of religion. even if they all kill each other, there are more than enough Jews spread throughout the world today to carry on their traditions, disrupt presidential elections, and run any civilized country's entertainment industry. the point is, the second we adopt a more sensible and just policy in the Middle East, these problems go away. Make your choice. But know that whatever you decide, your kids will still be wearing Bin Laden T-shirts (similar to the El Che shirts so popular today......."No, that is not the lead singer for Rage Against the Machine, my American friends") in 10 years -- mark my words.

type of attitiudes (2.66 / 3) (#61)
by lord rel on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 06:28:31 AM EST

I am an Israeli Those are the type of attitudes that drive new immigrants to israel they are the type of racism that is common in many countries even in the so called "enlightened countries" "look at the jews stealing our jobs and killing our childern" which existed for a long time you can see those sort of comments coming from the dark ages. even a jewish person in which hold a high position is first considered a jew then a person of high position. these attitudes are one of the reasons for the creation of israel. the usa didnt have any interest in the middle east till the 70s oil crisis and suddenly israel became the usa`s "allie in the middle east" when it needed presence in the middle east. if this was a "holy" or a "war" is would be might even an relevant comment its not holy becuase its a war about land not religion because before the nation of israel was founded here the half a million jews in israel didnt have any direct problems with most arabs in israel there wasnt a war with any arab nation for a while since its foundation israel suffered from terror much of it from organized parteis crossing the borders some of you might also note that most of terror is attacking civilians and not soldiers therefor it cant be called a war. you could notice that india gained independence with a policy of none violance i dont claim israel is 100% innocent of the blood and hate but how people that dont live and see both sides of the story can actually have a reasoned discussion on this people who never stepped a foot in israel will never get the reasons for this conflict. and in comment on the The Smurfs as Marxist Propoganda i do believe most of you didnt notice the names Gargomel and Azreal ( with the jewish name ending el ) this part of the propoganda of Peyo seeing rich jews as evil figures most of you dont know Peyo was was suspected collaborationist with the nazies many people are unable to see thier own racism ( which is a not a good name because being jewish is a belief not a race ) but as i read Kuro5hin article i see it though it seem you ignore it

[ Parent ]
And with all them smarts... (1.00 / 2) (#92)
by beergut on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 06:36:38 PM EST

... apparently does not come grammar or punctuation.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Not all Americans (2.50 / 4) (#73)
by weirdling on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 01:23:17 PM EST

I, for one, see a stronger support for Israel amongst those I know. Anyway, why and how is this 'Israel pulling us into their war' or did I miss something?

I agree that we need to improve the lot of the Arabs, particularly in Afghanistan.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
You are a NAZI (2.66 / 3) (#95)
by eliwap on Wed Sep 19, 2001 at 08:26:55 AM EST

Anybody that would repeat this re-iteration of the continuous blood libels against Judiasm is a NAZI.

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

Lurking (none / 0) (#107)
by Banjonardo on Sat Sep 22, 2001 at 01:17:05 AM EST

Sometimes I just lurk, within a story. Just find..............random comments. (Surfing on flat)

And I came accross THIS little gem.

Anybody that would repeat this re-iteration of the continuous blood libels against Judiasm is a NAZI.

Notice how he capitalizes "Nazi", which stands for national socialism, and was a German political party. It's like he uses the holocaust (Arguably the most terrible event in human history) to condemn anyone who at all disagrees with his views.

Lately, it seems, anyone who disagrees with Israelite policies, or Judaic policies, is immediated labelled as an "anti-semite NAZI"

Really, pick better wording. And the use of the word " re-iteration" is also incorrect. A re-iteration is a repetition, so therefore to " repeat this re-iteration" means to "repeat this repetition." Oh, and a libel is a calumny, or false publication meant to lower someone's reputation. So "blood libels" are "blood falsified publications" which makes no sense at all.

Therefore, you are merely trying to use big words. I guess the " you are a NAZI" part made that obvious, though.......
I like Muffins. MOLDY muffins.
[ Parent ]

Re-iterating. (5.00 / 1) (#109)
by eliwap on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 02:56:13 AM EST

They are are a re-iteration. A repitition of the Elders of Zion, A publication that accuses Jews of a global conspiracy to take over the world. This slander was used to justify all sorts of attrocities against Jews ultimiately leading to the calamity known as the Holocaust. And I will repeat this. Anyone who accepts this slander as truth is a NAZI and I accuse you of blood libel.

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

You don't get it do you? (1.00 / 1) (#116)
by The Meshuggener on Fri Sep 28, 2001 at 07:01:30 AM EST

The Islamic extremists are using the U.S. involvement with Israel as an excuse to attack it (the U.S.). They would like nothing better than to wipe out Israel and all the Jews living there.

Afganistan doesn't want help. Build a McDonald's there and you'll see the worst store in the chain come in to existance (IF its not burned down within the first 24 hours of completion). They believe that the worst thier situation is in this world, the better it will be in next and that if they die in battle they will be guaranteed a spot in heaven and be treated like royalty. They don't seem to care who they drag in to the fray as long as its a fight. This is a people who purposely make sure that they have nothing to lose.

it's clear that Israelis have no quams at all about destroying the world (along with their Palestinian playmates)

Really? Where did you get your information? All I've seen is an attempt by the Israelis to talk things out and in response their so called "Palestinian playmates" send human bombs. You obviously have missed the reports and films of Palestinian children proclaiming that they want to blow themselves up. They think its a game. An obvious sign of brain washing.

You first say "We Americans" and then you say "You Americans". So which is it? Are you an American or not?

they're religious fanatics who are perfectly content to destroy this earth behind the cloak of religion

Who? The Jews, Extreme Islamics or both? The Jews just want to be left alone and live in peace. The Extreme Islamics take the Kuran way out of perspective. They practice selective reading and interpretation. Truth be told that the Muslim religion is an offshoot of Judaism.
There are some Jews who could be considered fanatical by some but they have no plans to take over the World or destroy it. The extremists on the other hand just want everything to be Islamic and they don't care how its done or how how many lives it takes to do it. Hence the Terrorists.
I wonder how the human will to live and the instinct to survive is short-circuited so badly that an individual straps a bomb to themselves and be able to trigger it. It takes a truly twisted mind to do something like that.

there are more than enough Jews spread throughout the world today to carry on their traditions, disrupt presidential elections, and run any civilized country's entertainment industry.

That's a rather anti-semtic thing to say. It's your right to say something like that even though its wrong. Don't hate us for having traditions that teach commerce and business sense. Not every exec in Hollywood is a Jew so don't get yourself in a tizzy. Don't blame everything that goes wrong in your life or in the World on the Jews.

As far as our kids wearing T-Shirts with Osama Bin-Laden's face on it. I think your right. They'll be wearing them. But it won't be praising him. It will have his picture with bars superimposed over it, celebrating the day he was brought to justice. Or maybe you're talking about the Old West wanted type of T-Shirts that I've seen today.

Problems just don't go away. You need to do something about them. Just making a policy won't make it go away either. The WTC attack is proof that if you turn your back to a problem that it will come back to bite you in the ass. I dislike using the WTC incident as an analogy. However I don't believe I'm disrespecting those who have fallen by using it.

The last few weeks have been interesting to say the least. The U.S. went from being bullies to being a victim in a matter of weeks. Hopefully we're going to see a change for the better in the world. We all see each other as human beings. We affirm it every day. Yet we still are intolerant of the religion and ideas of others. And though we preach tolerance, we are far from practicing it.

[ Parent ]
Yes, Israel is a liberal democracy (4.75 / 4) (#63)
by itsbruce on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 07:44:39 AM EST

And like all the other liberal democracies, it has sponsored and participated in the murder and torture of less privileged peoples. The Israeli population, like the populations of all other liberal democracies, has tolerated, ignored or even applauded abuses against others which they would never allow to be perpetrated against their compatriots.

Until the citizens of liberal democracies are as intolerant of the abuse and oppression of others as they are of damage to their own liberties, their (our) claims to civilisation will continue to be so much hypocrisy.


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
Author's note (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by Otter on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 11:42:16 AM EST

First, I appreciate the opportunity for a soapbox. I wrote this because I've been reading all sorts of things that seemed surreal to me. I'm sure my views seem equally outlandish to many of you, and I'm grateful for getting a respectful listen and thoughtful responses.

I admit I chuckled when I saw localroger's comment that' I'm providing an unfamiliar perspective. You know the guy with the yarmulka who works down the hall from you? Or the Syrian guy in Accounting? Who listen during political debates over lunch but don't say much? I guarantee you that my views are downright universalist compared to theirs. And that's not even getting into the viewpoints back in the Mideast.

I wish I could respond to more comments as they come in but I'm off for a few days for the holidays. Shana tovah!

License Plates (4.60 / 5) (#71)
by jethro on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 12:07:42 PM EST

This response to one of my Slashdot comments, from someone who seems to be relatively knowledgeable, really took me aback, as the bit about Arab citizens having special license plates is so obviously reminiscent of Nazism. Two Israelis and a Palestinian confirmed that it's pure nonsense.
It's not nonsense. Unless they canceled that in the past three years. I lived in Israel all y life until then.

Yes, Palestenians do indeed have different coloured license plates. They didn't always - it just started about 10 years ago. Guess why this was implemented. You guessed it - car bombs.

Now, as for the comparison to Nasizm. I've had quote enough of that. The Nazis singled out Jews for no reason. Jews were a scapegoat. Jews were discriminated against, MOVED into ghettos, starved and killed by the legion for no reason whatsoever.

Is there discrimination against Palestenians in Israel? Yes. Is there a reason for it? Yes, there is.

So far, every single terrorist act against Israel was performed by a Palestenian.

Does this mean all Palestenians are Bad? Absolutely not. But it does mean the good ones aren't able to keep the bad ones from going out and commiting horrible terrorist acts. They don't have a strong enough leadership to stop terrorism.

Some of the things Israel does do seem a bit extreme - and believe me, there is a part of the Israeli population who thinks so too. Unfortunetly terrorism made that part a minority.

However (and also unlike Nazi germany), Israel is a DEMOCRACY. We have ELECTIONS. Check your records. When terrorism is on the decline and it appears like Peace is a good and valid option, a peace-oriented government gets elected. When peace talks and concessions seem not to work, well, a stupid government gets elected.

Another two notes:

1. The Palestenians are now an Autonomy. They have their own currency, stamps, etc. You think they won't have their own license plates?

2. I live in Minnesota. I notice that War veterans, wounded veterans, limousines and trucks have seperate license plates. And lets have a look at Native American cars... I think the license plate is their smallest concern.

--
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is kinky.
Palestinians vs. Israeli Arabs (4.50 / 2) (#74)
by Delirium on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 01:45:02 PM EST

Not having lived in Israel I don't have first-hand experience of this, but my impression was that Palestinians - i.e. those living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, who are not Israeli citizens - have different license plates, as theirs are issued by the Palestinian authority, but that Israeli Arabs, being full citizens, are given the same license plates as all other Israelis. Is this incorrect?

[ Parent ]
it is true (4.00 / 1) (#83)
by coward anonymous on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 01:26:17 AM EST

Israeli Arabs have the same plates as everyone else in Israel.
The Palestinians can have one of two different license plates. Those under Israeli control have one kind of license plates while those under PA control have a second.


[ Parent ]
Deir Yassin (4.00 / 3) (#77)
by adkl on Mon Sep 17, 2001 at 02:10:13 PM EST

The line I was raised on is that in 1948, the Israeli government urged Arabs to stay, the Arab governments urged them to leave until the Jews could all be driven out and that the Arabs who lost their lands were the ones who left.

Could you share your opinion on this subject ?

Here's what happened. (3.00 / 1) (#80)
by Apuleius on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 12:10:49 AM EST

A militia that was later disbanded in an intra-Israeli civil war, sent a bunch of ill-trained 17 year olds who had been half-starved for weeks by the siege of Jerusalem, to capture a village of moderate but not critical importance for breaking said siege. The result was a massacre. But for every Deir Yassin there is a Kfar Etzion. Ever heard of that one?


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
Kfar Etzion (5.00 / 2) (#86)
by mmcc on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 04:53:44 AM EST

OK. I did a little research. According to Israel here's what happened in Kfar Etzion.

Where is it? Right in the middle of Hebron, Palestine. The masacre occured in 1948, during the Arab-Israeli wars (?) 19 years before an official Israeli settlement was re-established.

Here is some more about what's going on there today and a map of Israel and Palestine.

[ Parent ]

Let's shift the blame... (4.00 / 3) (#87)
by Dutch on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 02:17:25 PM EST

I'm sick to death of hearing about what all Israel has done wrong. Nobody ever mentions all the promises Arafat has made and backed out on. No one ever mentions that the other Arab nations, who claim they sympathize with the Palestinians, won't lift a finger to help them economically. I don't see mention of how horrible it is when innocent Jewish school children are killed by a bomber. All we ever hear is how horribly the Jews retaliated for what was done, or how horrible it is when the Israeli police beat some suspect. Get over it. Suspects get "thumped" in every country on this planet. Don't you think for a minute that anyone captured by the Palestinian authority would be treated humanely, if they thought that person had something they needed. Why is it that no one finds it mad that Arafat recommended a penalty of death for any Palestinian cought selling land to a Jew. The Arafat government stated that "we cannot guarantee the life of the reporter if he publishes this film," referring to the film of Palestinians celebrating Tuesday's incident. If there's one name that is hated all over the world, it's the name Jew. In every country where Jews reside there is prejudice agaist them. They try to finally get away from it by returning to their _rightful_ homeland, only to have the entire world, save for the U.S., to try to take that away from them too. I don't fault the Israelis for doing anything they've done. They're doing what any one of us would do if our survival depended on it.

The Problem (4.00 / 1) (#89)
by PhillipW on Tue Sep 18, 2001 at 02:21:46 PM EST

The problem with this is that you can not ignore the evils of one side and focus on that of another. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians have clean hands here.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
If you only read one comment, read this one. (2.00 / 1) (#99)
by Sir Spankotron on Wed Sep 19, 2001 at 09:43:32 PM EST

It's quite hard to judge how long the Israelites were in 'the land of milk and honey'. Remember in the bible, folks lived for 800 years? So, your estimate of 1500 years is just as valid as my claim of 500 years or maybe less.

No matter how long the Israelites were there, they were ousted. You know why, by whom? Because OVER AND OVER, they didn't listen to God. God gave them laws which they ignored. Repeatedly. The Jews broke the contract. That little deal with Abraham? gone! David? gone!
Why can't people understand that? God kicked you out and he never said you could go back.

Did you read the article linked to at cactus48.com the other day or not? Would you care to REFUTE ANYTHING in that entire article, or just blather about, well, what exactly? What about all the UN Resolutions condeming Israel's actions ? Or the Geneva convention? Bulldozing peoples houses???

Oh, and by the way. Arabs are Semites too, so the word 'anti-semitism' is a complete misnomer as it should apply to Arabs as well.






Read Your Bible (none / 0) (#103)
by eliwap on Thu Sep 20, 2001 at 02:06:11 AM EST

Deuteronomy chapter 30 paragraph 4: If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from hence will the Lord thy G-d gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: While Arabs may also be Semites, the Term Anti-Semite was coined specifically in support of NAZI policies of virulent hatred of Jews. Unjustified discrimination is a plague that has been with us for as long as people have been on the planet. We aren't going to get anywhere on this issue if we water down the facts of history in order to advance political ambitions. It will only continue to exacerbate the plagues that we, with our own minds create.

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

Gee, WWII is over ... (1.00 / 2) (#100)
by wytcld on Wed Sep 19, 2001 at 11:24:48 PM EST

... so let's give the Jews land that belongs to the Palestinians! We gave the Poles part of Germany, but the Jews ...? Part of Palestine should be enough for them, after all some of their ancestors lived there about 2 thousand years ago.

Pardon my presumption, but we really should have given the Jews Berlin. Palestine was not properly Europe's to give.

Nonetheless, once some Jews were in Palestine, the rest of the Arab world, which had been more hospitable to Jews than Europe for some centuries, drove them out of all other Arab-controlled countries. This action, retroactively, gained the Jews the right to take part of the Arab lands as their own, namely Israel, and as much other land as they could claim in the wake of wars in which the Arabs attacked them.

One of Arafat's party's official newspapers reportedly rejoiced in the "heroic" destruction of the World Trade Centers the day after the attack. If this is true, let there be no mercy.

Jews Have Always lived in Historical Israel (3.00 / 1) (#102)
by eliwap on Thu Sep 20, 2001 at 01:48:06 AM EST

Jews Have Always lived in Historical Israel. Get your facts straight. There has never been a Palestinian state. Palestine was a name given by foreign invaders. If I am not mistaken, by Rome. As such such Palestinine was the land of the Jews as referred to by Rome. Only now in the modern age are Palestinian Arabs, squatters that have been here for a long time. have the opportunity to gain a state of their own. And yes in my opinion they do have squatters rights given the very long amount of time that Palestinian Arabs have been here. But this does deligitimize Israel's right. Human rights as defined by the UN Charter of Human Rights also applies to Jews.

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

Too Bad Israel Doesn't Follow Those Rules (none / 0) (#112)
by PowerPimp on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 02:34:25 AM EST

Israel hasn't signed any of the Geneva Convention treaties, and flagrantly abuses the UN human rights laws in their treatment of Palestinians. Last I checked it wasn't the Jews in Israel who were being arrested without warrants and tortured by the Mossad.
You'd better take care of me God; otherwise, you'll have me on your hands...
[ Parent ]
Duly noted. (none / 0) (#113)
by eliwap on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 02:00:16 PM EST

Duly noted. But what you don't see in Israel is lynching of Palestinian nationals for accidentally walking into an Israeli city. It would seem that many Palestinians are doing that to themselves. So what if they take some Israeli's with them (obvious sarcasm). What you see is Israeli civilians convicted and executed without trial by stoning, suicide bomber and various other terrorist attacks.

What you see in Israel is the outlawing of radical extreme groups such as Kach. You do not see the Palesinians outlawing extremist groups in their midst such as Islamic Jihad or Hamas. In Israel you see Peace Now activists demonstrating for peace. Where are the Palestinian peace marchers marching peacefully? Anybody see any recently? No? You see them dancing on the street when over 6,000 people were killed in the United States. And the Palestinian security apparatus threatening the lives of Journalists who are making the effort to record the truth of supporters of extremists groups celebrating Bin Laden's success.

Where is the proclaimed peace of the brave that Arafat has proclaimed. Just one year ago, Israel and the Palestinians began to discuss the most sensitive issues dividing us. Did the Palestinians need to agree to everything presented by Israel. No... they did not need to. But what happened is that they not only decided not to agree, they decided to resort to violence. Israel was (and still is) willing to continue to negotiate (as long as it takes) until agreement can be reached; conditioned on Palestinians stoping their violence toward Israel. Palestinians claim injustice toward their own. However, should Israel accept the injustice of Palestinian terror on Israel? All the Palestinians would have to do to end the seiges and tank shellings and air borne attacks is to stop killing Israeli's. Stop the terror attacks. This is not asking too much. And it is not asking the Palestinians to lay down, give up all of their perceived rights and die, but the exact opposite. Stand up and live and then negotiate and continue to negotiate as long as it takes. Peace between nations will grant everyone their rights.

By the way, the Supreme Court of Israel ordered the complete ceseation of any form of torture. Israel sees their own problems and the problems are being corrected. If you look at any country, on the earth; if there is a clear and present danger then a court sponsored warrent is not required. And this includes the US and every other country. The clear and present danger is warrent enough.

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

Correction to Jews Have Always lived in Historical (3.00 / 1) (#105)
by eliwap on Thu Sep 20, 2001 at 10:50:06 AM EST

Correction to the Bottom to last sentence. Bold indicates correction. Jews Have Always lived in Historical Israel. Get your facts straight. There has never been a Palestinian state. Palestine was a name given by foreign invaders. If I am not mistaken, by Rome. As such such Palestinine was the land of the Jews as referred to by Rome. Only now in the modern age are Palestinian Arabs, squatters that have been here for a long time. have the opportunity to gain a state of their own. And yes in my opinion they do have squatters rights given the very long amount of time that Palestinian Arabs have been here. But this does not deligitimize Israel's right. Human rights as defined by the UN Charter of Human Rights also applies to Jews.

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

Here's your problem... (3.00 / 2) (#106)
by docvin on Fri Sep 21, 2001 at 09:08:57 PM EST

You're using the first person plural to refer to a bunch of people who died thousands of years ago.

They are not you. They are dead people with whom you have nothing in common.

If I were you, I'd do the following.

1. Read a few books on all the religions which have existed over the past ten thousand years, how they arose, and how they spread. Realise where "yours" fits, in the scheme of things. Slap yourself on the forehead.

2. Go out into the street, and say a big "FUCK YOU" to your rabbis, your ancestors, and that big ol' city-smiting, child-eating, bush-burning god of yours. You might like to burn a few holy books and symbols as a token gesture.

3. Get a good night's sleep. In the morning, get on with your life, and forget about those silly people killing each other in petty disputes about imaginary creatures, so many thousands of miles from your home.

The same advice applies to any Muslims, Hindus or Christians reading this, by the way.

Self Delusions (none / 0) (#108)
by eliwap on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 01:40:00 AM EST

Your Athesitic Anarchistic NAZI religion is self delusional and self defeating. Together we stand and together we will fall; all of us. As you can see, from recent events that what happens to one person usually has an effect on somebody else. We share common fates. And this is regardless of what you believe in.

We all have some pretty basic things in common. If you wish to disassociate yourself from the humanity, that's your bag. Go live on a mountain somewhere and become a hermit. But don't try to impose your anger and hatred on anyone else.
Realize one thing frail weak person whose existance is temporary, full of complaints, deluded into thinking that what you see is the real world; you are no god. If you were one you would make a pretty poor one being full of hatred, anger and consequently destructiveness; you are going to die just like everybody else. And in the grand scheme of things sooner rather than later.
Find peace. Go in peace. Peace be unto you brother.

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

You're a walking depression in the Godwin field (4.00 / 1) (#110)
by docvin on Sun Sep 23, 2001 at 06:13:54 PM EST

You know, if you keep calling everybody a "NAZI" (sic), one day somebody is going to get offended.

Maybe I'm not a god. At least I never smote anybody. I never ordered the stoning of adulterers. I never burned cities to the ground. I never sent bears to eat children. And I never demanded that anybody worship me under threat of eternal, infinite torture. So it sounds like I'm way ahead of God then, doesn't it?

And if atheism is a religion, then health is a disease.

PS. I didn't reply to your other points about peace and togetherness and the temporary nature of human life. Mostly because they have absolutely nothing to do with what I wrote, and because little kittens are cute and furry.

[ Parent ]
The Point (none / 0) (#111)
by eliwap on Mon Sep 24, 2001 at 02:31:23 AM EST

Sometimes it pays to think about things more than twice. Sometimes more than three times. Atheism rather than agnosticism is a religion that states the belief that there are no gods. It is a belief structure that fails the same burden of proofs as does any discussion on the existence of G-d. Telling people to abandon their understanding of themselves and their sense of self identity with violent statements like FU is as offensive as me calling somebody an N (I don't mean nerd). Is that their problem (or mine for that matter)? Maybe (maybe it also yours) but it does alienate one from another. Tolerance and acceptance works both ways. And no... religion is not the root of all evil. It is the force that binds people and communities together, with creeds of commonly shared values, obligations, and rights. And like every other human activity can be used or manipulated for either good or evil. And if you don't believe in G-d then let me offer this thought. At least, as an idea, G-d is useful (you do not have to repeat the historical perversions; everybody is aware of them). It provides for the idea that there are universal values that cannot be changed at the whim of somebody who persumes to play god (yes I know laws change). It is the strength and foundation for democracy which even places Prime Ministers and Presidents under the rule of law. Instead of some supreme human ruler who is the law. And it is this misguided, misperceived idea of the divine right of kings that is the root of all evil.

"Absolute power corrupts absolutely." In my opinion this is true for commoners as well as kings. It does not mean that individuals do not have responsibility for their own actions, but the opposite. Individuals then must think about and take responsibility for their actions, because suddenly and until justice is made palpable by its effects, is an abstraction that must be considered in daily life. It imposes itself on consciousness and conscience, because their is no absolute physical authority that one can point to. "I was just following orders" stops becoming an excuse. Just as the "it just felt good," stops being the absolute arbitrer of human action with the increased potential for revenge, murder and theft. There is self imposed inhibitons (sometimes inhibitions are good) that encourage moderation rather than extremism.

The point of all of this being is if you do not want to be insulted, don't insult somebody. Loving muffins and kittens does not make it excusable.

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
[ Parent ]

Exiled in 586 BC from there .. Really ? (none / 0) (#114)
by Highlander on Tue Sep 25, 2001 at 06:30:01 PM EST

Excuse me, please help me get my historical picture straight: What is the evidence that "the Jew people" or their ancestors were driven from the lands where the Israel of now is ? If I recall right Jericho had to be taken back forcefully, and I guess people living in the desert for 40 years would be pretty eager to settle in about just any better area than the desert.

Another question: Would you consider the possibility that some of the "Palestinians" ancestors living in Israel were members of the jewish state at the times before Rome invaded.

Your negation of their right to live in Israel seems to show that Israel is indeed a theocratic concept. But I guess things would be easier if people calling themsleves Palestianians wouldn't blow up bombs in your backyard.

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.

Denial is Politcally motivated (5.00 / 3) (#115)
by eliwap on Wed Sep 26, 2001 at 03:11:15 AM EST

Roman chronicles and other historical documents, archeological findings, the Bible and the collective memory of the Jewish Nation are evidence of the the Jewish claim to the land.

And before you focus on the Bible as evidence, let me focus on it. Islam, Christianity, and Judiasm all accepts the book as a genuine expression of G-d's word. Even many Jewish religious scholars express grave misgivings if a person were to take the Bible as simply an historical document. Be that as it may, the Bible itself, even if the words do not necessarily reflect an "accurate" time line of history, is an historical document in that has existed for a very long time. And even if one accepts current archeological claims that book itself was compiled during the Babylonian exile, it is still a very long time. And this book relates a story, accepted by many different cultures throughtout the centuries, that extrodinary events occurred in the desserts of Sinai which led to the formation of the first and subsequently second commonwealth of the Israel and the Jewish people.

As to your question that some Arab's and Jews where living in the land at the time is land should not even be a question. Both peoples, where descended from the same patriarch. And have always lived in the region with concentrated populations living in different regions. Jews were living in Judeah whose name was then altered to Palestine by the Roman invaders (Judeah=Land of Judah, Palestine=Judeah, Palestine=Land of Judah). I am not versed at all about the anthropological debate that is going on concerning this issue. Those that are making the claim that Jews or Arabs did not live on this land are twisting history for religious and political purposes. Those that are trying to deligitimize the sacredness of the land and the specific sites for both peoples are doing the same.

One of things that has been obscured by the long history of the Jewish exile is that the Jewish religion has been and is intimately tied to the Jewish nation. So much so that the two are almost indistinguishable from each other. The Jewish nation is not a theocratic concept. It is a socio-political reality that has been re-enforced throught all of history through discrimination and persecution. It is only in modern era where Jews have been granted citizenship to host countries as a result of the pluralism that exists in democracies. And within these democracies you see citizens with many different nationalities. And so, you get phrases such as Irish Americans, Arab Americans, Jewish Americans, etc... In Israel, you have Arab Israelies, Druse Israelies, and of course Jewish Israelies.

Israel has always been the national homeland of the Jewish people. This is not theocratic. This is political. And the current conflict that exists in the region is also not theological, it is also political; twisted by extremist theocrats into a religious struggle, so that they can gain politically by a "struggle of survival."

And, indeed, if the Palestinian Arabs would simply end this misperception, end the violence and incitement, they would soon find that for the first time in their history, they had their own politically independant homeland and their full rights, living side by side with their Israeli cousins in their politically independant homeland, with full access to all religious sites throughout the region. We would then be able to concentrate on the real problems in this region such as discrimination, poverty and ignorance.

Peace be unto all. Let us all find the way to apologize for our past mistakes, and forgive our past insults toward each other so that the people can be blessed by the fruits of peace.

"Understanding is the basis of communications. Enlarge your mind to multiple points of view. The world is infinitely larger than your huge ego. -- Hey I said that :)"
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Thinking about Israel: Atonement and Pride | 115 comments (113 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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