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Total number of comments: 2493 (since 2013-01-23 13:17:29)

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  • Israeli election revealed 'a total lack of political mobilization against' the occupation
    • @annie

      please! this is absurd. how could AQ or any entity possibly be perceived as throwing iraq into iran’s orbit more than our invasion of iraq and literally hand delivering the government to iranian proxies like hakim and the badr brigades trained in iran? don’t pretend AQ’s was responsible for ‘throwing’ iraq into iran’s orbit. we’re not idiots here.

      First off US policy was always to encourage a Sunni coup. When we ousted the Ba'ath government we had no interest in creating a Shia state, we had an interest in peacefully developing the resources of Iraq and shifting which companies got the oil contracts. It was only after the Sunni uprising, led by Al Qaeda that we fully backed the Shiites. And incidentally as soon as the Sunni became more cooperative, we became more balanced.

      Yes, Al Qaeda made their choice. Iraq could have remained a Sunni controlled state.

      . the rise of AQ was directly related to US imperial interests in the ME.

      The rise of Al Qaeda was directly related to anti-Nassarist positions during the cold war. If you want to consider anything the US does as "imperialism" then sure. But that's not really meaningful. Because under your theory you would have Al Qaeda helping us during the 1980s advancing imperialism, Al Qaeda on both sides during the 1990s and Al Qaeda fighting imperialism during the 2000s. We want control the resources, the Soviets wanted control of the resources, Al Qaeda wants control of the resources, pan Arabists movements want control of the resources, local populations want control of the resources. The various players all compete with one another. They resist us, we resist them.

      Al Qaeda isn't anti imperialistic, look at the recent violence in Northern Mali or their actions in the Sudan. Looking at any place where you examine how the populations live where Al Qaeda has taken control its hard to consider them "good guys" in your imperialists vs. brave natives narratives.

    • @ritzl --

      We have talked to them. During the 1980s we were heavily involved with them. During the 1990s we worked together on things like Kosovo. In places like Iraq we certainly had serious negotiations that the effects of their policies would be throwing Iraq into the Iranian orbit.

      They want stuff we have no intention of giving. They are attempting to get it by force. We are attempting to resist by force. In other places the roles are reversed. It is not like we don't understand each other's motives.

      Talk to them is a silly cliche. At the very least put forward a real proposal that you think they would accept and we would be willing to offer.

      Of course we have a real desire to solve the problem. Al Qaeda is a couple hundred billion dollar a year bleed on the economy. Al Qaeda is well aware of the cost, track it and talk about it quite frequently with pride. They are well aware of our genuine desire.

      As for my all ears comment is was directed at critics of the drone policy not Al-Qaeda.

    • Joemowrey --

      extrajudicial assassinations

      The reason there is no opposition to extrajudicial assassination is that there is no other center-left plan for dealing with Al-Qaeda. They've been really impressive over the last decade fighting the US in about 40 countries and picking new territories.

      I don't think anyone is thrilled with the idea of the having huge numbers of killer robots bombing people based on a list secretly drawn up at the White House, including Obama and Brennan. I think everyone agrees there needs to be more checks and balances and ultimately this isn't a great way to conduct foreign relations.

      If you know of another viable suggestion given all the manifold problems I think everyone left to right is all ears.

  • Election Day in Jerusalem: Deciding to vote, boycott or rebel
    • @yonah --

      That doesn't work. Israel just divides the territory. They keep area C and Jerusalem and declare A, B and Gaza independent. Once Israel formally declares it makes no claim to those territories there is no possibility of a civil rights struggle.

      Obviously Jerusalem and Area C would be "disputed territory" between the two states but the people living in those territories would have de-jure equality in particular the right to vote, so the situation would be analogous to the Kurds not to South Africa.

    • @yonah --

      Good point. But have to say I think resistance is a bad reason. When confronting a much more powerful enemy who is also determined creating a "win-lose" situation means you almost always lose. They need to create "win-win" situations.

      Non participation was effective when Palestinian labor was important and Israel had substantial economic ties to them. But Ariel Sharon ended those, now you have situations where large number of younger Israelis don't know Palestinians at all. They are to them, just evil entities on the other side of the wall. Under those sorts of circumstances non-participation encourages dehumanization which is not at all to their advantage.

      IMHO the Palestinians need to think of a strategy they can live with that Israel can live with. For 70 years they believed the Arab armies in one form or another are going to change the balance of power away from what it is and get them a better deal they can get on their own. In such a circumstance resisting just a little longer and waiting makes sense. I assume they have been disabused of that notion by now.

  • UN investigation to probe 'unlawful killings' by drones in Palestine, Pakistan and Yemen
    • @Hostage

      Hasbara fail!

      You may want to start checking your paranoia. I know about this case because I'm an American. This case had nothing to do with Israel.

      It’s pretty obvious who was “out of control” and it wasn’t the Italian Judiciary.

      That's for the people to Italy to decide. The leftists are likely going to win in February so we'll see if they start acting against CIA officers operating in Italy or cooperate with them.

      They obviously forgot to ask the EU Council, the Italian Supreme Court, the UK Supreme Court, the European Court of Human Rights, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

      Yes they did. And if these people were ever arrested they would likely also obvious forget to ask those courts when they deliberate botched the arrest or let the CIA know the exact route they would transferring the prisoners on so that they could be rescued or... however they choose to not enforce this order. Or maybe they just do it legally and the President of Italy issues a pardon for the sake of international relations.

      The Italian Judiciary couldn't handle the heat from the Amanda Knox case. Italian judges and prosecutors are used to being able to casually charge anyone with calunnia that dares challenge to aggressively challenge them. They were none too found of US political culture where judges and prosecutors can be freely attacked in the mainstream press. And with Amanda Knox the country was split. There would be no split in the case of a CIA arrest and it wouldn't be true crime drama shows and Lifetime covering the case. The heat from a CIA arrest would be 100x what it was from Amanda Knox.

      No they have no intention of doing anything. We've been talking about standing up to Israel. You are now talking about standing up to the United States in a way that is likely to escalate, fast. Like I said, talk to me when they've held an American for a week.

      The former US Vice President of the United States has stated openly he authorized enhanced interrogation and he supervised the renditions program. Whatever you may think of it, those agents were under orders from the executive and properly reported their acts to both House and Senate Intelligence committees as members have repeatedly testified. These were acts of the United States not of individuals.

      Further, why would they ever check with the UK Supreme court.

      The requests for arrest warrants will be coming from the State of Palestine or through the ICC/Interpol in the future. The government doesn’t have any discretion in the latter case.

      Going back to the previous case I suspect that Interpol is clipped by member countries if the ICC starts acting out of control. No country is anxious for Interpol to start arresting political criminals. How many people in the Italian government and Italian cooperated with the CIA renditions program?

      Now in terms of Israelis, that is at least plausible. On the other hand Israeli non cooperation with Interpol would be bad. I think on balance Interpol is not going to act against an important member state.

      But even if they did. I still suspect the problem once the case went to trial would be to construct a specific case. Israel could present some rather impressive counter evidence to a trial of individuals where alternative witnesses come forwards and say they authorized the thing the person on trial is accused of authorizing. I'm not sure how the ICC gets around reasonable doubt.

      So I think the whole thing is unlikely.

      Nonetheless, former President Bush and the CIA agents have cancelled their foreign travel plans.

      Yes and just like in Britain and Belgium the reaction of the government was to weaken the law. The prosecution now has a burden of proof to show delocalization is warranted. Which is going to be their out.

      Switzerland is a country which for 700 years has carefully avoided taking actions that could draw it into war is not going to try and hold a former US President for a long period of time.

      Human rights groups announced that Bush cancelled because of them. Maybe he did to avoid embarrassment. Maybe he had a cold.

      Oh and there has even been one of those universal jurisdiction war crimes trials in absentia where they were found guilty.

      The US Supreme Court has ruled that former government officials do not enjoy immunity from lawsuits when they violate customary prohibitions against torture, kidnap, murder, & etc., since those are not lawful acts of state.

      Yep. And there have been how many successful torts?

      That sort of thing happens in plenty of cases where defendants engage in unlawful flight to avoid criminal prosecution or waive entry and appearance when they have been provided with advance notice of the Court date and refuse to obey the summons and defend their actions.

      It never happens here. There are 0 US cases of trials in absentia in the USA. Those sorts of differences are not going to be shrugged off if a CIA agent is ever held. And they are not going to be shrugged off in Italy.

      For example Italy is the leader in the European anti-death penalty movement. I can remember an Italian anti-death penalty activist complaining about getting laughed at during the Amanda Knox issue. The aide to Rick Perry asked him if he was going to send a representative from North Korea in next. One of the arguments inside Italy was that Italy's ability to lobby the US was gone as long as Amanda Knox was held. And remember she wasn't even all that important, and Americans were divided.

      Face it . The Italian trial was a symbolic trial, blaming a bunch of Americans, that no one ever intends to enforce.

    • @Hostage

      I know about the 23 CIA agent case in Italy, so I'll focus on that one. Italy has a long tradition of an out of control judiciary. Berlusconi ran several times on this issue, but because they kept charging him with corruption (which might have been true) and a hooker scandals his motives on this were mixed.

      People of Freedom however agrees with him broadly. Rocco Girlanda who heads the Italy-USA foundation has trashed the Italian courts and intervened in many cases where the people involved got trials.

      In the Italian case you would be looking at throwing CIA officers in jail, based on a trial in which no defense was presented (more or less), where the prosecution didn't present individual evidence for a sentence assigned and then raised with the defendants not even present. And this is the case that they would be sticking to when enormous diplomatic pressure was applied.

      The Italian government, People of Freedom, was fully in line with Bush's rendition program. The Italian left (Democratic Party and further left) that control the courts want to embarrass the right by keeping this in the news. No one in Italian politics wants the political, economic and military consequences of actually to enforce these judgement. The Italians are not insane.

      Were they to try and enforce them, it is hard to think of a case better for the right wing government of Italy to attack the courts with than this case.


      As for the UK. Every time the courts have tried to apply Universal jurisdiction to Israelis much less Americans the government has quite aggressively undermined them. The UK can petition for a prisoner back, that's SOP but that is quite different from arresting Americans.


      Everyone wants to avoid the embarrassment of arresting a US official and holding them for a few days. But that's all that is going to happen. The UK cases about Universal Jurisdiction made that absolutely clear that the governments were not willing to tolerate the level of blowback the courts were trying to create. Talk to me when a country arrests and holds a US official for a week and then I'll take that seriously.

    • I'm having a tough time seeing what comes out of this investigation. The UN has been pretty clearly opposed to the notion of a "global war on terror" that the USA and Al-Qaeda are conducting a war with more or less the entire world as one big battlefield. I don't think even most people in the USA consider this entirely legal. The UN is generally rather ham handed and uncreative when it comes to the exigent circumstances that require countries to come up with new solutions.
      The dialogue is pretty predictable:

      UN: This is bad you shouldn't do it.
      USA: I agree. What is your suggestion
      UN: We don't have one. But the assassination program is bad you shouldn't do it.

      Far better than an investigation since the facts are well known would be a viable international framework for dealing with Al-Qaeda. A good answer to how to deal with them. We can't have a military organization operating in 40 countries:
      * assassinating everyone from aid workers to ambassadors
      * conducting horrific acts of terrorism to get maximum publicity
      * and every now and then backing one side in civil wars and taking control of weak countries
      * recruiting from all over the world to create domestic disturbances

      What's needed are alternatives not obvious statements of disapproval.

  • On US television, Zuckerman, Ross and Remnick all refer to Israeli prime minister as 'Bibi' on first reference
    • justicewillprevail
      Yep, the USS Liberty attack was the actions of a real friendly state.

      Yes it was. My belief is it was an accident. The #1 thing that kills Americans in most of our wars is friendly fire. I don't think that is troops intentionally shooting each other.

      But if wasn't an accident then I think the reason was rather clear. The Israelis had made it damn clear to the Americans they were conducting an attack and didn't want intelligence being gathered which is what the Liberty was doing. They were going to do a lot of damage to the Egypt and Syria and the Americans were not going to have good info. No country likes spying of its troops during an attack. If the Israelis felt that strongly about it, it was likely communicated and ignored by the USA> The USA had no business being there. And given this blog, if the attack had been a hostile country the people where would be applauding it.

    • @sean --

      I'm rather happy that we have peaceful transitions of power and people don't go to prison because their party lost power. Whether one agreed with the Iraq war or not. 75% of the American people agreed with Bush ( ) on Iraq. I don't think it is a sign of corruption that we don't scapegoat people whose opinions the current ruling party disagrees with and throw them in jail.

    • @Woody --

      Nope you wouldn't. Generally when there is coverage of other countries political systems you don't see people with ties to oppressed minorities that have little power joining in the discussion on more than a token basis. Tibet has lots of support among US liberals, but when their are discussions about Chinese economic or military policy no one cares what Tibetans think.

      31% of Saudi Arabia are non citizens when we discuss Saudi policy everyone is interested in the house of Saud. That 31% doesn't get represented. When we were discussing Iraq for 4 decades the discussions were about Sunni opinion mostly. Shiite opinion only got discussed after the US invasion when it became relevant.

      Israel is a foreign country, not a domestic community. America should be addressing the government and people in power in Israel and their opinions when discussing Israeli politics.

    • If one were to tune into a show about elections in Japan you would see a bunch of Americans with ties to Japan: often Japanese heritage. Similarly with Russia, similarly with Tanzania similarly with any other country.

      Charlie Rose is doing a news show on PBS, which has a high Jewish viewership. About 1/3rd of PBS's donors are Jews. When you are talking the Israeli elections the tone is going to be friendly to Israel and Jewish. That's the way US television works.

      As for humanizing Netanyahu, Israel is a friendly state that's how friendly states get treated. Canada gets treated a lot better than Iran.

  • 'State of Palestine' it is
    • @Hostage

      Those sanctions or restrictions would otherwise constitute a violation of The Treaty on European Union regarding the free movement of goods and services and would require the approval of the EU Council – where the measures could be voted down.

      Good now we are starting to get to the truth of the matter. There aren't sanctions on Israel, because the pro-sanctions groups lack the votes in the EU Council. A body the USA doesn't even have a vote on, much less a veto over. The problem ain't the USA it is Europe.

      Now if you want I can start going back through economic sanctions that were authorized by the UN and finding examples of European countries conducting lots of black market trade. But to pick one very well known example, during the Iraq sanctions regime there were lots of Jaguars and BMWs in Iraq, and the triangle trade Iraq Turkey EU was well known. Conversely the EU is being quite effective against Iran, and according to Iran going well beyond the UN mandates. They were also quite aggressive against Myanmar with sanctions.

    • @Hostage

      I'm hard pressed to see where you are disagreeing with me. Yes it is a legal obligation for Israel, yes they aren't complying nor have they even setup the infrastructure to easily bring themselves into compliance. Everyone knows this and no one seems to really care.

    • What are you blathering about? There is no limit on Israel’s exports to China and the USA, so how can you argue that there would be a greater demand for Israeli exports in China and the USA if Europe implements sanctions?

      The problem isn't demand it is supply. Many Israeli exports are supply not demand constrained. Israel has had to switch markets for products multiple times because of symbol sanctions and they have done so easily.

      Jeffb: So it isn’t veto in the UN that’s creating the problem but rather the USA’s indifference to Israel.
      Shiango: Both but the veto is achieved through blackmail, corruption and bribery.

      What are you talking about? The veto is achieved by just doing it. It is an intrinsic right of the USA and all permanent Security Council Members. The yes votes to USA resolutions are often achieved that way, but the no vote has no such requirement.

    • @Hostage --

      The question was one of sanctions. You are now talking about criminal prosecutions which is an entirely different matter. And yes Rwanda and Sierra Leone a few individuals have been held for a long time / life at the hands of the west. If that happens to a few Israelis they won't be the first Jews to die for Zion and they won't be the last. I doubt it will happen but if it does, so what?

      You may not think that’s a magical power, but it has put people just a smart as Netanyahu and Lieberman behind bars.

      Who cares about smart? The question is powerful not smart. Yugoslavia required a USA war to get the tribunal up. A better analogy for an Israel cut from the US is North Korea.

      It wouldn’t be a wise move for Israel to rely on the United States to protect it from enforcement of UN sanctions by “a coalition of the willing” UN member states.

      That's not so easy. I keep get censored when I try and discuss the military situation, but I'll try this

      a) If the ships are within hundreds of miles of the shore they are defenseless relative to the IDF.

      b) If they are hundreds of miles from the shore they need to be grouped enough to not be subject to submarine attack.

      c) If they are hundreds of miles from the shore and grouped you are talking most of the non USA navy in the world. How long are they willing to keep that up?

    • @annie --

      Yes and they've been saying this for about 15 years. Israel refuses to do their part and nothing much happens. And there is good reason for this. The economy of the settlements and the economy of Israel are fully integrated. There is no distinction between "settlement goods" and Israeli goods. The Israeli's probably can't clear figure out what percentage of what goods were manufactured there.

      It would be like asking Americans to clearly label items that had any involvement in the California, Arizona, Texas economy and separate them out from goods from the other 45 contiguous states. That sort of thing isn't even tracked.

    • @Hostage --

      So what exactly is your argument here? The original argument was that US veto wasn't stopping anything. Europe can impose sanctions if they want, and they don't want. I cited a British diplomat. You then argued the British would be soon leaving. So I cited a French diplomat. You are now arguing that the French diplomat doesn't mean what he says because after all he's changed policy on meaningless symbolic gestures in the past. So what is your theory here, that the EU ministers who are willing to go on record saying there will be no sanctions and possibly leak that maybe there will be some sort of like sanctions sometime in the future actually intend to implement crippling sanctions in the near future?

      It is pretty simple. Meaningful sanctions are complex to implement and require enforcement mechanisms. European leaders have never to the best of my knowledge even proposed enforcement mechanisms. (And by enforcement mechanisms I mean naval ships ready to sink boats not pieces of paper).

      If the EU wanted to impose voluntary sanctions Israel has been doing stuff that they don't like for a long time. Time after time after time the EU has "deplored" various Israeli acts, made demands and sometimes even imposed mild sanctions. All against a backdrop of large trade increases in the aggregate. Take for example the Orient house. Here is a link that describes the kind of language used: And you'll notice even the US joined in. And the result as far as actions was precisely nothing. Well maybe there was some sort of a thing about labeling products from the settlements that Israel refused to comply and the matter was dropped.

      European governments have consistently refused to take any heat. Belgium allows an indictment against Sharon, Israel pulls their ambassador and Belgium backpedals. And that was on a symbolic issue. If Belgium couldn't handle the symbolic blowback from a symbolic trial what makes you think they are wiling to handle the real blowback from real action?

      It is pretty simple. If the EU wanted to take action they wouldn't be vaguely threatening, they would be openly debating specific policy proposals. Look at the discussion regarding Iran for what a real sanctions discussion would look like.

    • @Shiango

      The reason there isn’t a European boycott is because the US lobbies feverishly to prevent any such policies in Europe and Europe has historically always done as they are told by the US.

      Assume you are correct that's the reason, and I'm wrong that the EU doesn't want sanctions. If that's the case then again the USA veto is just indicating the reality of the situation that until the USA is willing to vote for sanctions they won't happen. So it isn't veto in the UN that's creating the problem but rather the USA's indifference to Israel.

      I'm not sure how on the base point you are even disagreeing.

      China could care less about human rights.

      Yep. And the USA only cares a little more. And that's a problem because Israel can easily divert their core exports to China and the USA. And in terms of imports that's raw materials, mainly not coming from Europe. Which means that even if there were European sanctions we are talking 2% of GDP tops. Less than they suffer now from the Arab boycott they've been subject to since the 40's.

    • @Shingo

      Correction. It’s a good example of a real sanctions regime that has been imposed for political reasons, not justified reasons. When sanctions are imposed on a false premise, they tend to fall apart.

      All sanctions are imposed for political reasons. What other reasons would they be imposed for, artistic? "Chad poetry is terrible until they improve their poetry we need to cut them off".

      In any case the Iranian sanctions are working quite well in terms of economic damage. The GDP of Iran is $331b and they are losing about $60b / yr from the sanctions. But note, these are enforced sanctions not voluntary sanctions so much bigger numbers. Also their economy hasn't collapsed, that's a depression but not economic collapse.

      And I love how sanctions against Israel are fully justified here, but Iran which holds mock trials, massacres ethnic groups exports terrorism (human rights violations) throughout the region, has no pretense of even being remotely democratic.... gets support. The rule seems to be, pick the opposite of whatever side the USA is on.

    • @shingo --

      Then the UNSC passes article 7 resolutions imposing sanctions on Israel and Israel’s economy collapses.

      Slow down a little bit. In this hypothetical we had an article 7 resolution with sanctions. Assume you get that. Are these enforced sanctions of voluntary sanctions?

      If enforced who does the enforcing? What ships. Be specific.

      If voluntary. Then how doe the UN or article 7 help? Countries voluntary sanctions now and don't.

      So no I don't see how it works. I think there is a belief on this blog that the UN has magic powers.

    • @Hostage

      Francois Hollande said the same thing. Israel doesn't need England to "have its back". As I said above to Annie the EU tends to officially apply tightly targeted mild sanction to Israel for PR purposes, while broadly increasing trade. EU ministers want business and they want influence. It is hard to imagine an EU sanction regime that would bite very much. Though it is easy to imagine a few symbolic acts in support of the UN.

    • @Annie

      the EU did threaten to boycott israel. some fairly high level talks as i recall.

      Agreed. There are usually threats about EU boycotts. Sometimes even a few mild sanctions. And then an ever increasing level of trade. William Hague was pretty clear after the E1 announcement that sanctions were off the table as a response.

      the EU is israels biggest trading partner, and it would impact israel in a huge way.

      I'm not sure about that. It depends what gets sanctioned. Israel's GDP is $250b with about 1/4 of that trade related. 80% of Israel exports are high tech and electronics. A lot of that is military, quasi military or Intel related. Most of the time when people talk about sanctions they are talking about the other 20% and now you are talking 5% of the economy, a 20% is just 1% off GDP. If you start talking about that 80% most European need to ask do countries interested in stability and peace really want Israeli arms manufacturers shopping around for new exciting markets for their military goods? So assuming we are talking 1% of GDP those sanctions are far less than the damage the Arab states boycott does today. I can easily imagine mild sanctions like that, but I don't see them changing Israeli behavior.

      European countries use one country's sanctions as an opportunity for another country to pick up a few hundred million to a few billion in extra trade. Moreover, these sorts of mild sanctions instantly kill Europe's diplomatic influence. Europeans love to go to Israel and do photo ops where they negotiate to get something for the Palestinians, It's a proven vote getter. They also like official condemning the Israeli ambassador and Israel acts all huffy showing how effectual they are.

      Iran is a good example of a real sanctions regime.
      1) There are sanctions.
      2) If those sanctions don't work they are followed up by really harsh sanctions
      3) Those sanctions are enforced
      4) If Iran tries to break the sanctions regime there is a credible threat of countries anxious to go to war.

      Without step (4) its rather had for sanctions to work.

    • @Annie --

      if the US withheld their veto, why not address the most likely scenario first? don’t you think international sanctions would follow.

      If you can't even get the UK, Brazil, France, Italy, Spain ... to stop trading with Israel why would they be willing to put more or less their entires navies in service of the UN to enforce sanctions for years?

      Moreover you still have another problem with enforcement, once we see enforcement isn't really viable without the USA actually participating. Then the issue becomes voluntary sanctions. And that doesn't require the UN. The USA doesn't get a veto in the EU. If the Eurozone wants to boycott Israel, they boycott Israel they don't need USA or UN permission to do it. Israel is clearly in material breach of multiple human rights resolutions there's no question about the legality of a boycott. The reason there isn't a European boycott is because Europe doesn't want to boycott. China is a huge source of raw materials for Israel. They could stop selling tomorrow.

      Israel has already been subject to voluntary sanctions. About 2/3rds of the countries on the planet won't trade with Israel. They were subject to terrible sanctions during the 1950s that really did bite to implement RoR and they didn't. The reason there are no sanctions is because at the end of the day the rest of the world doesn't care that much about the Palestinians. They care a little bit. So they pass resolutions which amount to "Israel is yucky" but beyond that, it ain't happening. With or without a USA veto unless the USA changed its mind and actually supported the sanctions.

      The veto is not creating the problem it is just accurately reflecting the problem.

    • @John h

      Lets assume the US didn't veto but still considered Israel and ally. The UN passes an article 7 violation and moves to send in troops. The IDF is the 4th or 5th best army in the world and tells the UN if they move in troops the IDF will treat them as hostiles and attack. The USA doesn't object.

      How is that any different?

    • @Ellen --

      The two states/countries, have never signed an alliance. Because without complete borders it is an impossibility for Israel to do so.

      Of course Israel can be an ally without complete borders. Japen had disputed territory that doesn't stop a US alliance.

  • Don't believe the (liberal Zionist) hype: Israel's elections ratified the apartheid status quo
    • @Castellio --

      If the Palestinians demand one person one vote in a unified state then the liberal Zionists will…. ?

      Do exactly what they did in the 1950s. Perceive RoR plus democracy as a threat to the Jewish state and be unabashedly and openly willing to resist.


      In 1973 The Israelis were doing badly in their war against Syria. They sent up a second group of armor to hold off the Syrians for a few days till the main armor groups could arrive. It was entirely possible they would fail to hold Syria.

      Moshe Dayan ordered Israeli planes were loaded up nuclear weapons in case their 2nd round tank forces in Golan didn’t hold out long enough for the main armor to arrive. What generally isn’t understood in the west is that what Israel was planning on nuking would have been the Syrian armor in Israel proper, near Israeli cities. Let me just repeat that. When actually confronted with the possibility of the choice of , in reality not in theory, Israelis decided they would rather hit their own cities with nuclear weapons than live under an Arab government.

      Now let me compound that. Everyone Israel knows this. And everyone (more or less) thinks Dayan made the right decision. There is a broad consensus in Israel that’s how much they don’t want to live in an Arab state.

      Liberal Zionists will reject RoR + one-man one vote in a heartbeat without having to think twice.

    • @Joe Mowrey --

      America is a two party state. In a closely contested election not supporting Obama would have been supporting Romney. Progressives learned their lessen when they frivolously supported Ralph Nader and got George W Bush elected president with a Republican Senate and House.

    • Any western culture country is going to have more shared values than one without it. Compared to their neighbors they have shared values. Japan is a very peaceful and democratic culture but ultimately Japanese culture is very Buddhist and very hard to penetrate.

    • The parties all shifted right, the electorate shifted a bit left in terms of what parties they picked. Lapid is pretty close to where Likud used to be. I think if the Palestinians don't agree we are going to see a unilateral Israeli peace. Something along the lines of Bennett proposed, which is fairly similar to Lapid:

      annex the settlement blocks including Ariel, possibly all of Area C.
      The international community rejects this annexation but isn't going to genuinely do anything about it.
      Declare Area A and B independent.
      Maybe call A, B and Gaza a state or 2 states if not set them up as self governing colonies.

      Israel internally ties more of the privileges of citizenship to military service. Israeli Arab national service levels are rising about 10% a year already and if this continues by math alone the Arab Israelis willing to assimilate join the society as full members. Those that don't end up with citizenship in the colony/state and some sort of residency permit.

      Conversion standards are lowered which most Israelis want. Right now mainly for the Russian community but working through this issue also creates a pathway for the Israeli Arabs.

      Not the prettiest solution but a workable one.


      And finally Israel is not now nor has it ever been a liberal state in the western sense. When it was founded it was Eastern European labor, basically a right socialist country (often known as fascist). American influence and contact is exposing Israelis to Republican ideas making it more like a neo-conservative country. Meretz is pretty much the only European liberal kind of party and they do 5-10%.

  • British conference kicks off campaign calling for apology and reparations for the Balfour declaration
    • England had a tough war they were losing and they made 3 sets of conflicting promises:

      1) Husayn-McMahon agreement with the natives to give them freedom from the Ottomans
      2) Balfour declaration with the Zionists to get Jews in Palestine and elsewhere on board
      3) An agreement with France to carve up the Ottoman territories including Palestine

      (3) was the agreement they by and large intended to keep. Sure there were Christian Zionists who genuinely supported (2) but Britain had every intention and tried rather hard to break their Balfour promises as well.

      As for Britain's responsibility, all over the empire tribes that got along with the British did better than those that didn't. There is nothing unique about the Palestinian situation in this. And there is nothing different about it today, tribes that get along well with the Americans do better than those that don't.

  • The status quo reigns -- Lapid chooses Netanyahu over partnering with Palestinians
    • @Shmuel

      Not counting those Israelis (about 20% of the population) who are Palestinians, of course.

      That's a decision they are going to have to make. As Israeli Arabs they are Israelis. As Israelis of Arab descent they are even more Israeli. As Israelis who had some ancestors were Palestinians even more. And that leads to interbreeding so in a very few generations everyone becomes an Israeli with a few Palestinian ancestors and there is no problem ever again.

      But as "Palestinians" now and currently, they are identifying with a foreign state that has engaged in multiple wars against Israel. Whether Palestine survives or not that identification ties them more closely to states outside Israel's borders and thus makes them a disgruntled 5th column and a threat not an asset to the state. Israel has/is successfully incorporated some minorities, and they can be track if they want. Or they can buy into anti-colonial BS and not be on that track, ultimately it is up to them.

      I'm very happy that Israeli Arabs are starting to speak a Hebrew / Arabic creole rather than Arabic amongst themselves. That's an important step towards assimilation. I'm very happy that during the worst of the 2nd intifada there were only a few incidents of them joining in. I'm happy that Israel is thinking of making enlistment genuinely universal, because having "served your country" is such an important part of earning respect in that culture. But I'm very unhappy that more and more the "Israeli Arab" / "Palestinians inside the green line" have started identifying again as "Palestinian" that's a potentially tragic mistake.

    • Split down the middle?

      OK lets pick different issues, transportation policy. You explain to me the massive unresolvable differences between the parties.
      The availability of contraception and abortion services?
      Bank law and bank regulation

      Sure there are differences but the Israelis can find compromise legislation and common ground. You may not like the consensus but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

    • I think what Israelis wanted and what they got was a normal election where the electorate fights about domestic economic issues, internal social issues and foreign policy last. And they got it. The Israelis managed to have a normal democratic election where they got to focus on the economy and different parties from Labor to Bayit Hayehudi presented economic programs and pledges.

      In terms of the Palestinians the Israelis have a consensus, more or less do what they are doing and muddle through.

    • Lapid supports annexation of multiple settlement blocks as part of a two state solution. In particular he considers Ariel a must. He supports strong security action, against Palestinian terror. He's far close to Netanyahu than the Arab parties. Further Netanyahu has always had a strong preference for parties to both his left and right to balance things out.

      I'd say it was a no brainer.

  • Millions disenfranchised in Israeli vote due solely to ethnicity and geography
    • @James --

      You are missing my point. I agree England was a state prior to Westphalia. Where I'm disagreeing with you is the English didn't consider England a state in the modern sense prior to Westphalia since the notion of state in the modern sense didn't exist. A 13th century English person would have identified himself as part of Christendom, a continuation in some sense of the Western Roman Empire. His local king was a provincial ruler, and his right to rule did not bubble up from the English people but trickled down: God the father to Jesus to Jesus' vicar on earth the Pope to his King whom was indirectly anointed by God to his role via. his local agency.

      If you had talked about peoples who share a language and culture forming a voluntary association for common governance, even though he might agree that is what happening de facto he wouldn't agree that de jure that was what he was part of.

      Westphalia was important for stating that the religion of the ruler was the proper religion of the people he or she ruled.

      No precisely the opposite. Westphalia was important for stating that the ruler was proper regardless of their religion. It didn't change the idea that the ruler / prince should impart whatever religion they belong to to their subjects. What it did however was break the tie between the God's true church and rulers.

    • @Hostage --

      Neither the ICRC nor the Swiss government, acting as the depositary of the Geneva Conventions, serve any UN function or purpose.

      You are absolutely correct. I forgot about that. I stand corrected.

    • talknic --

      Exactly! And citizenship is based on geography and birth.

    • @ Citizen

      No I meant what I said. Those 300k are quite often family members, spouses. Others are biologically Jewish (one Jewish great grandparent) but religiously Christian. And they are quite often openly and obviously religiously Christian. If they were biologically and religiously Jewish there wouldn't be any controversy. But your first link I'd agree with. It shows successful assimilation. The children of these Christian are essentially secular Israelis.

      My only point of major disagreement with the article is the Christmas comments. That's common in the Russian Jewish community even in the USA. Communism recast Christmas so that Santa Claus is Father Frost, Christmas is New Years, a Christmas tree is a New Years tree... I find it as offensive as most American Jews do, but that's Russians not Christians.

    • @Mooser --

      Evan assuming Israel under any conceivable would ever agree to a situation which allowed for suits and moreover allowed for them to be one sided (i.e. Palestinian leaders wouldn't be liable for terrorism) and even allowing for the fact that most israeli politicians are middle class and thus not interest to sue...

      If we assume that 60% of Isratin's population are Palestinians that still means 40% are Jews. If we assume something like a 12 person jury with 9 being required to convict, even if you assume about 1/8 Israelis will convict you can only win those cases about 5% of the time. The Palestinians are never going to get that sort of compensation.

      Mind you even if a binational state were imposed somehow I don't think remotely this peaceful. Rather the person suing wouldn't live long enough for their to be a trial. The binational system would be tied up tight by both sides to render it completely ineffectual and the societies would use gang style violence to resolve issues.

    • @James

      England was a state in that sense, even prior to the Norman Conquest more than 1000 years ago.

      1000 years ago England viewed itself as a continuation of the provenance of Britannia. Until Henry VIII the legitimacy of the British monarch came at least partially from the Pope, which is why he worked so hard for a papal dispensation to marry Anne Boleyn . When Henry broke with the Pope he set in motion the process by which England adopted the Westfalia model along with the rest of Protestantism. But I'd say those ideas clearly evolved during his rein and during the subsequent reins of Mary (with her failed attempt to restore the previous system) and Elizabeth (who shattered the old system once and for all).

      So while England was clearly a nation state I'd argue from the time Wessex decided to start unifying it, it didn't think of itself in those terms for many centuries.

    • @Cliff

      I don't know what the multiple links policy is here but here are some example cites:
      (considers the drop from 20k but has the 9500 number):

      This one is earlier (2009) when it was only 1/2 but a more reputable source:

      I can't link directly (javascript) but the 2005 and 2011 US State department reports.

      Heck the person running against Chavez (Capriles Radonski) has some Jews in his ancestry (he's lifelong Catholic) but even a little Jewish blood get's commercials:
       Disloyalty
       Claims that his candidacy is a front for a Zionist conspiracy to take over Venezuela
       Belonging to a group of exploiters responsible for the misery of others
       Being part of international Zionist cabal which controls the media, Hollywood, and finances
       Promoting Nazi and Fascist methods
       Being an Israeli Mossad agent
       Seeking to import the Arab Spring to Venezuela
       Using “oppressive” tactics such as those allegedly used by Israelis against the Palestinian people
       Being an “illegitimate” Catholic who, like his ancestors, were Christ killers


      Which have led supports to come up with, "BEWARE OF THESE JEWS, they are invading us little by little, where they see an empty piece of land they build a shopping center harming all those that live around it..." (they are talking about Venezuela here not Israel... but the rhetoric sure sounds familiar regarding settlements)

      or chanting "GAS! GAS! GAS! FOR THIS SHITY JEWISH-NAZI!"

    • Hi Citizen

      In 1954 the relationship between the USA and Israel broke down and became mildly hostile. The invasion of Egypt was part of Israel getting into France's sphere. America was caught of guard that Israel would be quite that aggressive in acquiring arms and Israel's current relationship stems from them agreeing to leave Egypt.

      As for US aid it is a token $3b at this point out of $15b / yr in expenses. The real value of the alliance for Israel is the USA selling great stuff to Israel. For America they get Israel regularly testing USA stuff in battle conditions. Also the USA buys quite a bit of Israeli weapons: Python, SMAW, SIMON grenade...

    • @talknic --

      Or they could what most states don't annex the stuff they want, leave behind the stuff they don't want and walk away. That creates disputed territory between the State of Palestine and the State of Israel, the UN sides with Palestines and then the two sides work it out.

      See Scarborough Shoal / Huangyan Island between China and the Philippines or
      East China Sea with Japan and China.

      Every Israeli who serves in the army swears, "Masada shall not fall again" They aren't going to be bankrupt for a generation. If the choice is that or upping the violence, they will up the violence.

    • LeaNder --

      Do you think Germany should allow parties that basically aim at destroying the German system, abolishing democracy and aim at some type of Germany for the Germans?

      Yes. I think neo-Nazi parties should be able to openly express their views and run for office in free and fair elections like they do in the United States. If a time comes where a large percentage of the German electorate in a consistent way comes to believe that they no longer want to live under the sort of government they have today I think they are entitled to form a new system through a balanced method of change.

      Don’t you think one shouldn’t look closer if evidence surfaces that people gathering around these parties kill all type of people that they define as enemies?

      That's a different situation. That's a terrorists organization with a political wing. I have no problem dismantling terrorists organizations. This was about political parties.

      If you think that is perfectly good so, then I would like to warn you that German Jews would be on that enemy list too. Not to worry, since they should all come to Israel anyway?

      Anti-semitism has gone out of fashion in Germany and the anti-semitism that exists today in Europe is mainly on the left not the right. So I don't think this is likely. A better example than Germany is France, where Jews in France are conservatives because they've been driven out of the left wing parties. A suspect a similar thing would happen in Germany.

      Jewish expulsions in the last 2 generations have all been left win socialists governments. Most recently, Venezuela. Hugo Chavez wanted "zionists" out of his country and the Venezuelan Jewish population is down from 30k to 9k. That's the next batch of settlers.

      (rest in next post)

    • @Annie --

      Both the things you list aren't domination, they are expulsion. Domination requires a desire for control.

    • @Annie --

      I didn't gloss over it. I referenced it in my response to Hostage, as "your theory of the law". I'd want to see how this incredibly broad definition of "race" is considered in other cases. For example the Copts in Egypt. Or for example Venezuelan government over the last 10 years has through systematic discrimination expelled 2/3rds of their Jewish population. I'd be curious to see how the UN doesn't apply your broad definition to that.

    • @Woody

      So your shitty little country is more racist than pre-Civil War USA.

      Colorado became a state in 1875. It was a territory before that.
      Utah 1896
      Arizona 1912
      New Mexico 1912

    • @Hostage

      I'm going to have to look into this a little bit. Under your theory of the law, racial has nothing to do with race even though the statue uses the term "race" over and over and over. That in fact it has nothing to do with race.

      And now additionally that dominance has nothing to do with dominance. So if your understanding were correct "the crime of apartheid" is a collection of acts with no ties to intent nor any ties to any particular racial criteria. Under that understanding of the law, I don't see how it wouldn't apply to the US regarding its prison population.

    • @thankgodimatheist

      You meet the geographic criteria to vote in French elections. Same way that Russian Christians and Israeli Arabs get to vote in Israeli elections.

    • @Mooser

      -- Is there another god-dammed country that does that anymore, that marks people’s identity material with “Jew”?

      Yes there is. America is an exception in considering nationality to be a matter of individual choice and thus everyone is American, most countries list nationalities. Of particular importance Soviet and Russian passports list Jewish nationality as Jew. And since that passport is used to kindergarden on up everyone all across the spectrum knows to make sure to discriminate. That's real evil and not the pretend kind, its why Jews had to leave.

    • @sardelapasti

      No that is not how it works. A country annexes territory when it actually annexes it. Refusing to leave is just a long term occupation. That's why Russia didn't annex East Germany even though it created a whole system to join East Germany to it and permanently stationed troops on its soil.

    • We are discussing apartheid not illegal occupation. The UN has been unequivocal that they consider Israel's occupation illegal. In so far as one cares what the UN -- a long time enemy of Israel -- thinks Israel is breaking their laws on occupation.

    • @Mooser --

      The issue is not whether these were good or bad policies for the USA. I think everyone in retrospect would want to reexamine the blowback from how the US beat the Soviets in Afghanistan. Contras for example I think was terrible policy for the USA. The issue is whether Israel was a friend to America. Now whether America makes good choices.

      Israel helps the US out on all sorts of things. That's the point.

    • @Light --

      I agree. Israel has problems with discrimination and several classes of citizenship. But this discussion was about the vote where all citizens are equal.

      As far as the issues with parties. I don't think parties should be banned or be banable. I absolutely positive disagree with these sorts of restrictions in the many democracies that have them France, Germany and Israel. I'd like to see them gone. That being said, France has them and France is still a democracy.

    • @Annie --

      So is your claim that Israelis are secretly making people think they want to cleanse the land of Palestinians when in reality they are trying to setup a long term system of economic exploitation? Does that even make sense? Why would so many of their actions then undermine an colonial exploitation arrangement?

    • @elijay --

      It may or may not be more moral, lets assume less. But it ain't apartheid.

    • @Annie --

      Yes actually it is based on what they want. Apartheid is a crime of intent. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is intent.

      The rest of your analogy doesn't make sense. Making someone's life miserable to get them to leave isn't apartheid since you aren't acting to maintain dominance. Read your own definition.

    • America didn't cease to be a democratic state when it occupied Iraq. I'm sure roughly 0% of the Iraqis wanted us there. A state is democratic based on how its citizen choose their leaders, not based on how it treats enemies.

    • @Annnie
      Of course they won't. They will kidnap, kill and arrest enemies of the state of Israel. The same way that America would kidnap, kill and arrest Al-Qaeda and Taliban members even if they were running / held office in Yemen, Afghanistan, Mali, Pakistan...

      The Israelis are fine with Palestinians picking whatever officials they want who aren't interested in meaningfully challenging Israel. If they do, then they get treated as enemies of the state. That's how wars work.

    • Annie --

      That disproves the only Jews vote. 1st generation Russians in the USA are Tea Partiers. The fact that you dislike the politics of Russian immigrants doesn't change the fact that Israel does not use a Jewish only criteria.

    • @Hostage --

      IANAL but my understanding of the crime of apartheid is it requires an intent to establish racial dominance.

      a) Israel doesn't want to dominate the Palestinians they want them to leave.
      b) Israel's system isn't based on race.

      So I'd disagree with your definition.

    • Not true. The 330k recent immigrants from Russia who are Christian vote. The Israeli arabs vote. Citizens vote, n0n-citizens do not.

      Being ethnically Spanish (i.e. born to Spanish parents) does confer citizenship... Same exact system. Israelis vote in Israeli elections, Spanish vote in Spanish elections.

    • And why would the Israelis ever agree to that. What would even be the point of partition in that case? That's just combines the worst of the one and two state solutions. Add the complexity of partition to lack of either people having their national aspirations.

      I can understand if you don't like the idea of nation states. That's an understandable position. And once say the Japanese and Koreans to live in common states this will be worth talking about for Israel.

    • Mass migrations followed by societies being replaced by other societies is everyday business for states. There are about probably 20 states right now having those sorts of issues. And there is nothing medieval about it there was likely less mass migration then than it most times before of since.

      As for 18th century notion of citizenship, yeah. There are two models:

      The 17th century Westfalia notion that established the idea of a state for a people expressing their common will

      The model of Christendom / Rome of a global empire where peoples and states were arrangements for semi-local government under the empire / Pope...

      Those are the two models we have.

    • That was during a period of time when Carter shut off arms sales. The friendship was in trouble. Same as what happened in '54 when Eisenhower shut off the flow of arms and Israel conspired with the British and French.

      Friends in international relationships just mean currently sharing common interests.

    • Well primarily my geography, absolutely.

    • This is all never going to happen but if it did, I assume that Palestinians in Israel would be subject to the same kinds of agreements we signed with the confederacy. There will be no trials for taking up arms against their country, but at the same time those who acted to defend their country against their rebellion will have the same immunities. Citizenship is citizenship in Israel.

    • Yep. The purpose of Zionism was to make Jews a people line any other. A small state acting as a vassal for more powerful states is likely the status of about 90% of the states on the planet.

      Jews haven't ben a vassal state since the Roman empire. They've been a vassal population and I'm not sure if it worked out or not on balance. It bred a lot of hatred but where it worked it often got Jews out of serfdom, education and resources. We don't get to run history twice and see how it plays out with Jews never having agreed to cooperate with the ruling classes, but I suspect they don't make it through 1900 years.

    • Really then why can't I vote in Spanish elections?

    • Being of descent of Spanish citizens or naturalized into Spanish citizenship. Spain, for example, has two categories of people who can vote:

      nacionalidad española de origen -- born Spanish
      acionalidad española no de origen -- naturalizad

      And naturalized has criteria.

    • I love this "occupation" and ROR rhetoric. It should be one or the other. Either there are two states for two people in which case it should be Jewish west of the partition or it should be one Democratic state in which case there is no occupation just a civl rights issue.

    • What Israel gives the USA is a trusted friend, and state that is happy to be a vassal state. In a world where most of their other friends are generally alliances of convenience the Israelis stand by the USA even on issues they don't care about. We know a lot about the ones from a few decades ago like contras, the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan... More recently it appears the Israelis were running hot operations with the Kurds in Syria, Northern Iraq and Iran. They are funding the MEK, in Iran and doing all sorts of intelligence there.... We know the CIA dumps war on terror suspects on the Israelis now that the renditions program is shut down.

      Yes they are helpful.

    • The right to vote everywhere is a privilege based on ethnicity and geography. I can't vote in Spanish, French or British elections because I don't meet the ethnic or geographical criteria. So what?

  • Dan Rather says Israeli missile defense saved Palestinian lives in Gaza
    • Violence feeds on itself in both direction. Iron Dome by preventing successful missile strikes likely prevented severe Israeli retaliation for those successful strikes. Israel can hit Gaza much harder than it has but in general tries to keep the death toll semi proportionate so their actions are seen as "wars" and not "massacres".

      I think it is fair to say anything that reduces Palestinian military effectiveness as least in the short term reduces not increases Palestinian casualties.

  • Israel and the nomination of Chuck Hagel
    • by pro-Israel activists against influential Americans and Europeans — like those by Pamela Geller against Barack Obama. That is the pattern that has the potential to blow the entire Zionist experiment sky high.

      Oh for crying out loud. Pamela Geller is the chairwoman of Women for Sarah Palin. She says the same kinds of stuff about Barack Obama as Tea Party members who are 200 hundred different groups say about Barack Obama. Heck she might even be more polite than average.

      Just because Pamela Geller is Jewish does not make her actions any more influential than the tens of thousands of right wing extremist groups that have nothing to do with Jews. If Barack Obama is going to be upset with Jews it is going to be progressive Jews that make it difficult for him to stay centrists. Jews, given their share of the population, and their high level of political activism are a disproportionately small number of the right wing kooks in America.

      Pamela Geller is great for him, she ties the Tea Party to all sorts of Islamaphobic paranoid rantings, and this helped him win Michigan and will keep helping.

  • The limits of liberal Zionism: 'NYT' columnist Roger Cohen misrepresents the Nakba and the right of return
    • @James

      Yes, well documented. But is one American in twenty even aware Hillary Clinton tried to stop the growth of the illegal Jewish colonies, and Obama sold her out?

      Israel was heavily debated during the US presidential elections especially in Florida. Obama made it pretty clear that on issues of substance he agreed with Romney, he disagreed on issues of tone.

    • @James

      Are you arguing that the people of Hawaii could set up their state as an independent country, provided “the people” could vote?

      I'm not sure what could means. The US doesn't recognize the right of states to secede. Texas is a unique case because there is a treaty. But if by "could" you mean should be able to. Yes I think the people of Hawaii have the right to secede and form their own country or even combine with another country, for example Japan.

    • @James --

      No I'm arguing that many of these treaties are often nothing more than middle or latter stage of the acquisition of territory by force. They aren't something wholly different. I think territorial treaties are sometimes, but not always, a good thing in they help societies sort out conflicting claims of territory. There is no meaningful difference between what Israel is doing and what France or the United States did and both continue to do.

      I'm tired of arguments that cast Israel as unique for doing things that most other countries either have done in the last few centuries or often are currently doing. State formation is a violent process.

    • @talnic --

      That's not what James is saying. I'm not sure that if there had been a democratic poll in Texas the vote would have been to sever with Mexico. There certainly were subsets of the population that approved of severing with Mexico but we just simply don't know how the poor, especially the black and hispanic poor felt on the issue. But for the purpose of argument let's assume that they would have approved. That's an acknowledgement that land belongs to its current inhabitants, that people in a territory have a right to self determination and the right to break from their current governing authority and join with another whom they feel more attached to. " When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another ". That would be endorsing the position from the Clinton parameters, "what is Jewish is Israeli, what is Muslim is Palestinian". Which the Israelis agreed to at the time and have offered several times since.

      Rather the position being advanced here for those who advocate a 2 state solution is that ownership is racial and irrevocable. The population of a territory does not have the right to self determination, rather they are to be permanently bound to an entity that does not represent their interests and they believe hostile to their interests. There is absolutely no question which political entity the residents of Gush Etzion would choose to join with were they granted self determination.

      The Palestinian population is that the right to self determination does not exist or should not apply to Jews. Now this theory that land is held in a racial trust is not unique to the Palestinians, Milošević had the same theory about Kosovo that since it had one time been Serbian it was permanently and irrevocably Serbian regardless of the desires of the current population. But let's not confuse that theory with "self determination" it is entirely the opposite. It support self determination is to support Israel not the Palestinian position in the negotiations.

      I notice the weasel word, "legitimate" which doesn't mean anything. Every population on the planet everywhere got there through forcible mass migration. The way "legitimate" is used to exclude people one doesn't like while allowing the same behavior from people one does like. I happen to believe all people are legitimate and all people are rightfully entitled to self determination in their territory.

      As an aside, the USA does have a treaty with Texas. That was one of the arguments that Governor Perry among others has made on the question of secession for Texas and why it would be different for Texas than it was for the Confederate States.

    • Hagree represents tens maybe hundreds of thousands. I'm talking tens maybe hundreds of millions. Scofield, Darby, Mackintosh, Inglis, Moody, Ryrie...

    • By treaty here you mean creating the conditions for a war in which millions died and then getting agreement based on the threat of death to more millions? Yes, if you want to consider that somehow morally superior France does have a treaty.

    • @James --

      It is a bit late, the area has undergone cultural Francification. So the population now often identifies as French. IMHO the Eastern German speaking part should have been part of Germany and the Western part in France. More or less territory should be determined by the resident population.

      But I consider that an analogous case to what's happening in Palestine.

    • JeffB: The majority of Americans who care in any meaningful sense at all about Israel want an ingathering of the Jews so that the righteous 144,000 gather in Israel and thus one of the objectives of the 2nd coming is achieved. The American people, who do care see this as their best interest.

      James: - Are you referring to the delusional end-of-timers, who want the Jews to drive all non-Jews out of the “Land of Israel”? To bring on the destruction of the planet.

      I'm not quite sure, your characterization of the beliefs is kinda far. Yes I'm referring to end-of-timers, yes they often support a Jewish Israel, No I'm not referring to people who see that as inducing the 2nd coming. As for destruction of the planet... some do some don't.

    • The majority of Americans who care in any meaningful sense at all about Israel want an ingathering of the Jews so that the righteous 144,000 gather in Israel and thus one of the objectives of the 2nd coming is achieved. The American people, who do care see this as their best interest.

      You may disagree and think this is stupid, but it ain't the Israeli Lobby that came up with that doctrine.

    • I see. So the stealing and the keeping are OK as long as some time in the future there is a treaty?

    • @James --

      The UN more or less does fully recognize Palestine on the 1967 borders. That just mean much regarding the facts on the ground. The Europeans would have to do a lot more than just push for more UN resolutions. And while the Europeans may object and say mean things about Israel, they aren't ready to fight a war for a "just resolution" of Palestine.

      The United States stole: California, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, Utah and New Mexico from Mexico. We just enhanced the fence to keep Mexicans out. We deported 2m Mexicans in the last 4 years who had illegal crossed into these territories. Is this complete racist BS? Absolutely. Is anyone going to do anything to stop the USA from doing this? No.

    • @ritzl --

      I'm kinda quitting the discussion here but your post didn't include ad hominem so I'll reply and see if it makes it through.

      Because Jewish-Israelis would opt for armageddon before reconciliation with the Palestinians from whom the land was violently taken (i.e. the mythology of the founding of Israel)?

      Yes. I think their are substantial factions on both sides that would reject binationalism and turn violent. The IDF command is a hotbed of Zionist loyalties and the Army far from keeping the peace would, at least at the subcommand levels start backing these factions. In a binational state that would be parts of the army fighting other parts of the army. Different countries would get involved. And as civilians scattered they would take this fighting with them. The IDF (which at this point I'm assuming is binational) would be feeding weapons to these factions.

      Israel is so much more powerful militarily than any of its neighbors these rollover effects be immense. Look at the how the militias from the fall of Libya spread. Now just imagine if instead of rocket launchers they had WMDs.

      None of the governments in the Middle East, as much as they may hate Israel want to see Israel go down hard at this point. The Arab peninsula never experienced WWI, WWII death tolls and they would rather not.

      Would Palestinians, per se, be an aggravating instability force in regional politics, as opposed to a moderating one?

      Of course. Israel is today a very dangerous country but it has clear objectives and an army fully under the control of the government. It can be negotiated with and contained effectively. Once factions of an army no longer view the government as "their government" the ability to control these factions breaks down fast. That's the problem with Pakistan for example where the army, the intelligence service and the government all have distinct foreign policies.

      WB will never be a sovereign state. That means that the WB is with 99.5% probability, Israel

      I suspect it will end up as a semi-self governing colony. Israel has to annex the WB for full enfranchisement to happen. Think about the USA and conditions for statehood with various states like Utah. So I don't think it is anywhere near 99.5% in the near future.

      That means that ALL the Palestinians in the WB will, at some point be Israelis

      Not necessarily at least not in a meaningful sense. As long as the Palestinians consider themselves Palestinians they can't be Israeli. Just living in a state doesn't make you a citizen of that state. Particular a borderline theocracy with mandatory army service and that service already tied to citizenship privileges. Palestinians could be classified as "non-citizen residents".

      That means with the vote, eventually. That means an increasing Palestinian presence in Israeli politics and courts.

      Another possibility is a vote for a "government" where the power resides elsewhere like the JNF and the IDF. Egypt is starting to move towards something like that. And Europe with an ever increasingly powerful but less accountable European Union is a democratic example. So I'd be a little cautious about this step. That a vote means control of politics, it doesn't have to.

      OR if you believe that Israel is going to violently evict 2-3M Palestinians from the WB without some significant and actioned international notice.

      I think in the end if Israel is forced to choose between RoR and ethnic cleansing it won't even be a hard choice. And yes there will be actioned international notice. But look at North Korea, Iraq until the American attack or Iran today. There is no question ethnically cleansing Palestine would mean a rough generation for Israel, similar to '48-67. But in the end, they did do it and they did live with the consequences then when they were much weaker.

      Moreover, opportunities may present themselves where Israel has options with even less consequence. The Israelis have proven themselves patient and disciplined.

      As far as the “grandchildren of refugees” comment, again you completely dismiss your own heritage (assuming you’re Jewish, and if not, I apologize for the assumption). German law enables progeny of killed or expelled Jews to have German citizenship, in perpetuity. Why, in your view, is that not something the Palestinians should enjoy?

      I'm Jewish, but I'm not German. I'm 3/4s from Odessa. And no I don't enjoy a right of return. Nor do I think I should enjoy such a right. I have the right to freely travel to Saint Louis, New Orleans, and Chicago because having been born in America I am American not Ukrainian even though biologically I'm Ukrainian. I don't buy into this idea of racial privilege that RoR implies.

      As for the German example, that's nice of the Germans. But just because my neighbor chooses to invite the Smith's to spend the weekend doesn't mean I have to invite the Dagwoods to spend the weekend. The German people choose to offer RoR to the Jews. The Israeli people don't choose to offer RoR to the Palestinians. The Germans now like the Jews, the Israelis don't like the Palestinians.

    • @James --

      The Franks didn't want the people they wanted the land. They were engaging in a mass migration, they didn't view themselves as colonial conquerers. They expelled them because they didn't want to compete for resources.


      As for the Moors that is centuries later. There was no Islam during the period of the Huns.

    • @Smuel --

      Forget the Jewish character of the state. It is not just religion in the sense that American's use the term Jew. This is not merely a problem of religion. The problem is the Israeli character of the state. Palestinians, particularly those in refugee camps hate Israel. They do not want to be Israeli. They do not want to join Israeli society. They do not want to learn Hebrew, go to a Israeli public school, participate in Israeli public rituals that have a Jewish flavor, serve in an Israeli army fighting other Arabs.... They do not want to be Israeli. This isn't even a point of dispute.

      Sure physically Right of Return can be implemented if Israelis want to disband their lives and culture and create an entirely new entity. Same thing would work if all the Palestinians moved en mass to Lebanon, Laos or Ottawa. Human mass migrations are highly disruptive, what's happened to the Palestinians being a terrific case in point.

      One society that has organized itself well for taking in mass migrations if immigrants is the United States. That's a far more viable option than Israel. But ultimately I don't think a 4th generation person of Palestinian decent living in Syria is Israeli anymore than I'm Ukrainian (where my family was 2 1/2 generations ago).

      So yeah, there is plenty of land. So what?

    • @Citizen

      I think many those dead might be surprised with your rendition of what they all died for.

      I agree. The people who died in the black plague didn't realize the freedoms for serfs, the need for a middle class and the anti-clericalism they were creating much less that those forces would bring about the Reformation. If prefer Israel to their deaths being pointless and without meaning, but I'm a softy :)

      How do you differ in your logic? [from Hitler]

      1) I support women't participation in society and disagree with Kinder, Küche, Kirche
      2) I have no problem with homosexuality
      3) I don't believe in racism and don't support racial oppression.
      4) I want stronger protections for property
      5) I prefer trade to force in international relations

      More or less I disagree with most all of Hitler's distinctives.

      France wrt Algeria back in the day?

      Algeria was a typical exploitation colonialism. Israel is settler colonialism, not at all the same thing, not even close.

      Ditto wrt the Apartheid S Africa regime’s philosophy?

      I don't support apartheid.

      use the same legal & ethical principles–on Israeli leaders and some US leaders too. That wouldn’t be bad in itself.

      I commented above (in moderation at the time I'm writing this):
      When Israel invades Jordan to setup death camps, invades Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt to pull those Palestinians into Jordanian death camps then analogies to the Nazi’s are appropriate otherwise they aren’t doing anything remotely similar to the Nazis. Israel has a long term track record of showing that once the Palestinians leave as long as they don’t attempt to use their new homes as a base to attack Israel, Israel has no problem with their existence.

      As for the USA. The USA I think is a fairly moral empire. It has serious flaws, it makes mistakes and business plays too great a role. But I don't for a second think the world would have been anywhere near as nice a place if the Axis powers had won WWII. What the USA is guilty of pales in comparison to what the Axis proposed for the world.

    • @Annie --

      you can’t speak for all jews. this is gross.

      First off I thought you believed in Democracy, not unanimity. But I don't have to speak for all Jews. Jews are no longer a stateless people with millions of individual opinions. Rather a vehicle exists that allows them to speak collectively, and that vehicle is Israel.

      I didn't agree with George Bush on most policies, and disagree with Barack Obama on some but that doesn't mean that George Bush and Barack Obama don't speak for Americans. Netanyahu and Lapid speak for Jews collectively. Individually they speak for themselves.

    • @ritzl --

      All during the 1950s Israel was rather weak, compared to today. All their neighbors strongly supported RoR. The USA and Soviet Union supported RoR. The moral case for RoR was much stronger since the people involved were in fact refugees.

      Today Israel is the dominant power in the region. Most their neighbors would hate to see a country loaded to the gills with chemical, biological and nuclear weapons fall into a dangerous civil war that spill to five other countries. The USA and Russia support a two state solution along the lines of the Clinton parameters. The people involved are the grandchildren of refugees. The towns and villages from which their grandparents came are long gone and built over. There would be virtually no practical way to implement RoR.

      No, RoR is not over by the hand of Israel. Israel has done quite nicely in achieving its objectives.

    • @James --

      I agree Israel won't allow a Palestinian army. The primary army that exercises ultimate authority over that territory and keeps out foreign invaders will be the IDF. As for the Israelis objecting to the UN, they have good reason to believe UN peacekeepers will be ineffectual in guarding the border but I don't think that's the primary reason. They wouldn't want say 100k Russian troops, that would be an effective force, either.

    • @Citizen

      then the millions upon millions who died during those world wars of aggression (always in the name of preemptive defense) died for nothing.

      Well for the Jews what they died for was to move Zionism from a fringe movement to a realized ideal. World War I is what collapsed the Ottoman empire and the space as Turkey was receding and England was assuming control was how the Zionists moved in and became a meaningful force on the ground 1.5m refuges freed from the camps in WWII are who fought the Arab Armies in 47-49. What gives their death meaning is Israel.

      If this is justification, then might is right and we are still in the stone age.

      I don't know about the stone age. But moral systems have existed as long writing has existed. There is nothing new about "be nice to people" type philosophies. But letters to santa clause, the preaching of Isaiah, the sermon on the mount are not legal systems. Legal systems are dependent upon an enforcing power: that is to say the capability of violence underlies all law.

      Only humans and insects organize themselves into mega-societies, and only humans do so without bonds of kinship. What has advanced in the last several thousands years are better, that is more humane and more efficient, systems by which humans organize themselves themselves into these groups. I think we should applaud the progress but not overstate it.

      As for the Nuremberg Trials, people who did really bad things got punished. I don't go much beyond that, but that ain't bad in and of itself.

    • @James --

      The UN peacekeeping missions are lightly armed observers who act as a neutral party when the two sides want such a party. They aren't peacemakers and they aren't peace builders. They aren't setup to fight an army they are setup to observe. the entire UNs peacekeeping budget globally over many many conflicts is $3.6b. Countries like Bangladesh contribute the troops because they need the money.

      The IDF is $15b a year, and likely that is under counting the difference, the troops are highly a highly trained first world first. The UN can't keep the IDF out. They can complain really loudly, which is more or less what the UN does today when there are incursions. When a real army capable of actually fighting is needed the UN security council calls on regional military alliances like NATO or Community of West African States.

      The UN pulled out of Rwanda and allowed the Rwandan genocide to happen when they lost 15 guys. You think they stay when they lose 15k in the first hour of fighting?

      On the Lebanese Israeli border there was a huge, 12,600 person force who did precisely nothing in 2006 and 2010 when one side or the other made a definite choice to engage in hostilities. The UN did night fight Lebanon's wars and they will not fight Palestine's.

      Moreover I can't imagine Israel ever authorizing a UN force on Palestine's soil. Israel has been pretty clear that they don't want foreign armies operating in Palestine and that would include the UN.

    • @James --

      A state without an army is a protectorate of a larger state not independent. In the case of a demilitarized Palestine the effective Army would be the IDF.

      In the situation Parity was discussing above you would have either 2 armies under 2 polities laying claim to the same territory or a unified army not subject to his parity plan but rather some sort of unified government. The entity that controls the army generally is the government.

    • They left and moved to Spain and North Africa. The Spanish are the descendants of the Visigoths.

    • A state has 4 fundamental objectives:

      1) An army which protects the territory from external armies.
      This can't be 50/50 or you will have a divided army which end up looking like to armies. You can't 50/50 kill people either both "states" are at war or they are not.

      2) The enforcement of contracts. Which has to be common and shared. And since Israel is rather small most important contracts will need to be under joint laws.

      3) The creation of goods for common usage. Which again there is only going to be one of. You can't have different sewage policies in the same body of water.

      4) The enforcement of law and order. This might be divisible except when there are disputes between people, and then the two systems would come into conflict.

      I just don't see it.

    • You can't live in Israel and be unaware of how it came into being. They know. Just as Americans know in vague sense about 270 years of Indian wars. Just as French people know they are got their land by pushing the Visigoths out into Spain...

      They don't care. Every single person everywhere in the world is where they are because of countless mass migrations accompanied by war.

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