Commenter Profile

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

Showing comments 300 - 201

  • Israel's endless enemies -- the dangerous myth in Ari Shavit's book
    • @Sumud

      We saw what happens when they meet real soldiers in Lebanon in 2006.

      Well first off the laws of war require soldiers to wear uniforms to distinguish them from the civilian population. Funny how the law isn't so important when it applies to your side. But let's ignore the legal issues and just get to the practical ones.

      What happened? Even using Hezbollah's own estimates the IDF has about 6::1 to10::1 kill ratio and the equipment damage ratio was even higher. On top of that damage to the Lebanese economy was about $5b. Politically there was a huge shift away from Hezbollah which was seen as having dragged Lebanon into an offensive war. Which led to political changes not to Hezbollah's liking within 2 years. To figure out which country was winning, what country was begging the UN and international community for a ceasefire and which one wanted to keep playing?

      The only possible sense the 2006 conflict can that be seen as anything other than a huge victory was that the high kill ratio was lower than than Israel is used to. Other than that its a huge victory.

      Please dear God let the USA have some "defeats" like that in Afghanistan or where ever we fight next.

    • @Sumed --

      OK you want something that was a real post-Oslo concession Israel offered some villages in Israel proper:

      But I'd really question your premise. Being "legally entitled" to stuff from an agency with no army on the ground doesn't mean much. My family has a factory and a commission in Czarist Russia. Ain't worth much. If "legally entitled" by which you mean League of Nations / UN proposals meant much the Palestinians would be doing better than the Jews. People often trade hard to collect debts for $.30 on the dollar. That doesn't mean they are making a bad deal or the people offering to buy the debt for a fraction are cheating them. The Palestinians lost what they were legally entitled to in wars.

    • @Slater --

      Excellent review. No one really knows how history plays out differently. Obviously there are peace gestures that Israel doesn't jump on, and there are Israeli peace gestures that various Arab powers don't jump on. Israel and its neighbors are making slow halting progress towards peace coming to accept a reasonable possible resolution.

      But at the end of the day peace gestures made by Israel are sometimes reciprocated but often not. Peace gestures made by Arabs are often reciprocated but often not. That's the way most conflicts work. On the other hand once both sides show clear evidence of not wanting war and being satisfied with peace, like Egypt and Israel today both sides do live in peace. Which shows a more nuanced picture than I think you are presenting.

      Some of your "irrefutable facts" I have to take exception to. For example Nasser. When a country moves its military into an attacking position, declares its intent to attack and then engages in provocative actions I think it is reasonable to say their intent is to attack. You cannot simultaneously argue that Nasser was such a liar that he would do and say all that without meaning it, while at the same time arguing that a peace treaty with such a man would be worth a bucket of spit.

      The official stated policy of Egypt was:
      Our aim is the full restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people. In other words, we aim at the destruction of the State of Israel. The immediate aim: perfection of Arab military might. The national aim: the eradication of Israel. – President Nasser of Egypt, November 18, 1965

      I don't know how the guy could be any more clear about his objectives. Or for exampel the head of the Egyptian military:
      As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel. We shall exercise patience no more. We shall not complain any more to the UN about Israel. The sole method we shall apply against Israel is total war, which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence.

      It is possible that Nasser and his staff were lying. It is possible that they didn't mean it. But that rhetoric is not consistent with a desire for peace. I happen to think to take a reverse example that Netanyahu is lying about his intention to strike Iran. But given Netanyahu statements were Israel to put a large number of planes in the air traveling east I think Iran would be acting defensively if they shot them down. They don't have to not take Netanyahu at his word, and similarly Israel acted reasonably to take Nasser at his word.

      Israel has almost never refused countries diplomatic relations when offered. Israel has been refused diplomatic relations over a chunk of the planet. Is there any doubt that Saudi Arabia could have an embassy in Israel tomorrow if they wanted one without any changes to Saudi policy? Is there any doubt that Israel can't have an embassy in Saudi Arabia tomorrow without changes to their policy. One side is imposing conditions the other is turning them down.

    • @piotr --

      Try this. Israel is the one place where Jews if they are die get to die with honor rather than meekly walking to the gas chamber. Read the description above. That's about Jews doing rather than meekly having done to them. Jews make their choices, Jews live with the consequences. When they win they get to enjoy the spoils of victory. Before they suffer the agony of defeat they have to lose first.

      For the first time in two millennia when the Jews face their enemies they don't have quiver in the dark. Rather, they can say to their enemies this time, to quote King Leonidas, "Go now, run along and tell your Xerxes that he faces free men here, not slaves". That's a notion of safety that takes into account the distinction that a slave is never really safe.

  • David Brooks comes out against the occupation
    • @Annie --

      things have been going a little haywire w/public opinion in direct relation to the rise of the internet.

      I'd say that public opinion is becoming more pro-Israeli and more anti-Palestinian in the last decade. I don't think this is the latest graph but:

      You can see the direction is a huge spread and becoming more hostile. That's a huge, huge spread. The public does not like Palestinians and they do like Israel. Hamas feels like Al-Qaeda Jr. to Americans.

      Even among the 18-29 year olds (the most hostile age group):
      38% like the Israelis
      31% have no opinion
      16% dislike both
      15% like the Palestinians

      Supportive groups like Conservative Republicans break 75/2.

      I just don't agree that there is any kind of shift in public opinion except getting more pro-Israeli.

      i don’t think you can keep israel intransigence under wraps indefinitely no matter how much your ‘jewish community’ supports it.

      I don't think it is under wraps. I think most Americans that in most conflicts there are negotiating positions the other side will accept. They aren't going to see the Israeli position as intransigence. The MW position is based on presuppositions like very strong support for the UN. We know that among Democrats in the United States, by far the most pro-UN group, when the UN didn't support George Bush on Iraq the UN's approval rating fell by 10 percent, and stayed low for almost 4 years. That's not deep support.

      claiming the aim of BDS is to ” liquidate Israel,” is analogous to claiming the aim of zionism is to “liquidate” palestine.

      To say that Zionism aims to liquidate Palestinian national aspirations or Palestine as a nation, is harsh but it is fair. If Team A is playing Team B; Team A wants to win. Another way of saying that is Team A wants to make Team B lose.

    • @Phillip --

      I’m a Jew, I don’t support these ideas. What do I do? Where do I go? Hey I found a Jewish tent in my travels, JVP. They make me feel part of a non-Zionist Jewish community.

      JVP is fine. But it isn't mainstream. In small numbers you can find people who support anything. The question what the community in large numbers will do. It is reasonable to talk about Jews as the most socially large ethnic minorities in America even though there are a prominent Jews that among the financially conservative and prominent Jews that are leaders in social conservative movements. The Jewish position is the one the vast majority of Jews hold.

      To pick another example. The Democratic party has always hated the Mormons. The Mormon extermination orders were issued by Democrats. The Utah war (Mormon territory of Utah vs. US Army) was with a Democrat. Much of the anti-Mormon literature that kept Utah out of the union came from Democrats. In the 1950s the LDS church's positions were solidly in line with the John Birch society. In the 1970s they opposed the ERA and sided with the rising religious right in the Republican party. The LDS church has been structurally Republican for 180 years. Democrats still get 10-20% of the vote consistently and even occasionally quite a bit more. That doesn't mean Mormons aren't Republican.

    • I’d point out, Brooks is agonized by the “horrific” choice of leaving the West Bank. Why does an American columnist regard such a territorial matter half the world away as so painful– when so many other territorial/sovereignty issues over much greater swaths of the planet don’t amount to a hill of beans here? Because of religious attachment, in an empowered American group. And what have been the consequences of such devotion? American support for the occupation, for 46 years.

      Heck that's part of what got Israel created. According to everyone, Truman was appalled by the idea of leaving 160k+ Jews as permanent refuges after the holocaust and was horrified. Marshal at State his most trusted advisor was horrified by the long term damage that recognize Israel would to American oil interests. Clifford, the head of the '48 campaign made it clear that Truman would lose a good chunk of the Jewish vote if he didn't come out for Israel. So America strongly supported Israel.

      Jews support Israel. Jews have always supported Israel. Jews will always support Israel. American Jews may agree or disagree with some aspects of Israeli policy, but they will never support something like BDS which aims to liquidate Israel. You don't kill what you love because you disagree on some side matter. You just have to accept the fact that the BDS campaign because it explicitly calls for return of refuges and non-recognition of Israel as a Jewish state will always face Jewish opposition. It is simply too extreme.

      David Brooks represents the moderate two state solution position. Two states, with Israel's security concerns being primary. That's been a popular position for 46 years.

    • But the day will come when those 600,000 settlers will be driven back across the green line. BDS will be the tool.

      Are you sure the tool won't be magic gremlins? I've been hearing a lot about magic gremlins.

      Just out of curiosity. What percentage of GDP do you think you'd have to hack off the United States to get them to give up the territories they stole from Mexico? Or did you notice how easy to was to get the Sunni in Iraq to give up effective control of Kurdish and Shiite areas? It wasn't like we had to actively fight a war for 4 years or anything.

  • John Kerry's framework proposal sets the stage for the ‘Gazafication’ of the West Bank
    • @chu -

      Nowhere else to go? China? India? Backing oppressed ethnic minorities throughout the arabian peninsula and trying to establish friendly governments. They have lots of places to go.

  • 'Foreign Policy' blames AIPAC for warmongering Iran bill, but Maddow won't tell you that
    • @loberwyper --

      The President of the United States, the Secretary of State and large number of leading senators and representatives were in favor of war with Syria at the time. AIPAC had a mainstream position on the war. It was one that a majority of the public disagreed with. That's all. Lobbies all the time have positions that are in the minority. That is the constitutional purpose of lobbies to argue for positions that would otherwise not carry the day. Nothing unusual happened.

    • and Hayes tackled both Iran and Israel twice before he lost his first show.

      Just as an aside. Getting moved to the 8:00 PM weekday slot from a weekend show is a promotion.

    • @Kathleen --

      I think Maddow's foreign policy positions mainly revolve around shifting responsibility from the executive to congress. So anywhere the congress and the president agree, she's not picking the fight. She will oppose Israeli positions where they disagree with her central issue. For example she opposed the drone war early on which Israel supported.

      On the issue of Iran with the current president she's happy to see congress asserting their authority. She's unhappy to see diplomacy being undermined. That's a consistent position. I agree she's anti-Iran and sees Iran as an enemy as does almost the entire population. She dislikes conservative religious extremists all over the planet.

      continually jumps over human rights issues in the West Bank, Gaza and in Israel.

      Agree. She's either pro-Zionist or indifferent, I suspect indifferent.


      Anyway my point was just that she doesn't buy into conspiratorial lobby theories on a host of issues on which such ideas are raised. She pretty much assumes people believe what they claim to believe. Even with people like Mitt Romney she tries to do that as much as possible.

    • I'm a regular of Rachel Maddow's show. She generally discusses politics from the point of view that the politicians presenting bills agree with their content. While she discusses lobbying she discusses it in terms of organizing cross state boundaries on primarily domestic issues.

      She's not going to accuse Robert Menendez or Chuck Schumer of taking a bribe or not really believing in that position without tremendous evidence. If you know of any staffers for Robert Menendez or Chuck Schumer willing to come forwards and say their senator actually likes the Iran deal but needed the cash, or something like that, of course she's cover it. But otherwise it is just speculation.

  • Students at George Mason University organize graduation walkout on Apartheid profiteer Shari Arison
    • @Cliff --

      Nonsense on the compensation for Native Americans. That most certainly is not the world's position on them. They don't get fair compensation and no one is even arguing they should. And most relevantly no one feels it necessary to use language like: "yankee-fascist/thieves/liars/etc who are the intellectual equivalent of Holocaust deniers, denying the Native Americans their justice and liberty and homeland".

      As far as integrating them fully as equals. There are many Zionists that would love to do that. That's up to the Palestinians, to admit that Palestine is as dead a state as the states of the Delaware Indians are today and join Israel, including the state religion.

    • @Markrcca

      Good someone raising the same points! Let me just point out that those European, Middle Eastern... countries are all built on murder and displacement. All countries arose from mass migrations. Our whole species exists because we displaced early hominoids.

  • EU official threatens funding to PA, saying Israel should pay for its occupation
    • @Citizen --

      Hard to be an anti-Zionist and advocating moving 5m more Jews to Israel. Sorry but you have to pick.

    • @American

      Jews in Europe right now are throwing moral support behind rightwing parties because they (effectively) got kicked out of the European left. The European Jewish community has been moving right in most countries for a few generations. France is probably the best example where the French Jewish population mostly feel that the French left kicked them out because of their anti-Zionist / pro-moselm positions.

      At the same time the European right's objections to Jews are disappearing as Jews shift right. In particular Jews no longer support a world government and a world without states since Jews now have their own state and are much more satisfied with the world as it exists. Why is to hard to believe that as Jews agree with the right's worldview on more issues that the European right isn't willing to reassess their position on Jews?

      We saw a similar example in the United States during the 2003-4 protests against the Iraq war. Which might be more familiar. When the Iraq war was first being raised, Hussein's anti-Semitism / anti-Zionism played a major role in dividing the peace movement. About 1/2 the peace movement in the USA is Jewish and the Jews, even in the peace movement mostly did support or were indifferent to forcible regime change. Democratic politicians seeing that even the peace movement was divided decided not to oppose Bush and the Republicans.

      As the war built up and then started, the antiwar movement decided to embrace anti-Zionism as "part of the struggle" and Jews walked away from the antiwar movement during those years. George Bush had the advantage of a weak divided peace movement. It was only when the antiwar movement became narrowly focused on US out of Iraq that Jewish participation resumed and the peace movement started to become effectual.

      And incidentally I think the same thing applies here. If BDS is successful in becoming a mainstream position among Democrats in the USA one of the consequences will be that Jews become Republicans. And that's a group that is quite possibly the most socially liberal ethnic minority in America, and relatively economic liberal as well. In 2012 when the Republicans lost ground almost across the board with ethnic, religious and racial minorities there were very few exceptions. One of those exceptions was Jews where Romney's strong position on Israel won him an extra 100k Jewish votes or so.


      Even if your assessment is right, what European Jews are doing is acting like a people. They are sacrificing their local interests for the more important national interest. Zionism created a nation.

    • @Hostage --

      Right now there isn't much need to tighten it. When there was a major suicide bombing campaign it along with more aggressive policing brought it to an end.

      If there were a major intifada, those jobs disappear and that wall becomes remilitarized. Ask the Koreans how ineffectual the DMZ is.

    • @American --

      I agree that a threat of cutting off aide as a way to pressure Abbas is more plausible, than a punishment for Israel. Europe is tired of the stress and wants Abbas' signature on a deal.

    • @Eva --

      Israel has constructed defensive fortifications, Israeli West Bank barrier. Moreover Palestinians aren't part of the domestic workforce (mostly) at all anymore. It won't be anything like the Intifada. They don't have to "keep the peace".

    • I'm not sure how cutting off aid to the PA is supposed to hurt Israel. The reason for the aide to the PA was that European countries wanted to be able to show their level of influence on the ground for domestic reasons. I don't see why 2006 wouldn't repeat if they intend to cut off aide. This also relieves a lot of pressure in Europe to take more hostile action. So sounds like a good thing to me on balance.

      It will be interesting to see how Israel responds given a freer hand, a carrot as well as a stick. Do they for example create huge economic disparities between various areas in the West Bank to encourage internal migrations and break up social structures? Do they try and setup some sort of town level governments like Ariel Sharon advocated? In the mid 2000s there was a lot of talk in Israel in funding civil war in Gaza. Would they still want this or are they content with the situation? Opens up lots of possibilities for Israel.

  • For 'NYT', boycott supporters might as well be aliens
    • @Ron --

      I don't know you but if you are associated with academia, likely no one thinks you personally intend to kill them during the conversation. That's not what's meant. That's not what is ever meant. So if you are twisting your imaginary interlocker then you are doing what you are accusing me of.

      Though I will admit that I did feel personally threatened that way during an anti-Israel demonstration in the mid 90s where I did think it could turn immediately violent.

      As for the the paragraph after paragraph of what a bad person I am... that doesn't really address the issue. I don't get checks from Israel. I just disagree with you.

    • @Ron --

      If the issue does seem to be about individual motivation, as in, my own, then another thing I do is ask, really bluntly and as a requirement for further discussion, whether the person genuinely fears that I – me – not anyone else – want to kill them and their families, or hate them so badly that I want someone to kill them as soon as possible. It should become clear to them that if they do harbor that fear, then there’s no point in me talking to them, and if they don’t, then we can talk without that bugaboo lurking around waiting to be invoked.

      Year after year the army core of engineers rates the status of repair on bridges and dams all over the United States. Because of a long term decrease in infrastructure spending over the last few decades year after year after year those ratings on average are falling, and falling rapidly. Over the last 5 years we've seen a noticeable upsurge in bridge and dam failures. I'll assume that roughly 0% of the people voting against infrastructure spending are willing to bomb infrastructure. I'd assume that roughly 100% of the people voting against infrastructure spending would be thrilled if magic gremlins decided to do all the needed repairs.

      What difference does that make to the fact that the inevitable results of their policies are more dam and bridge failures? I have no problem saying they are voting for dam and bridge failures even without believing they actually support any particular failure.

    • @Pabelmont --

      And did these same people make the same argument against boycott of SA way back when?

      The arguments against the SA boycott were:

      1) Cold war based: The SA govt was pro-USA the ANC was pro-Soviet.
      2) Fear of the human catastrophe that a sudden shift would induce.
      3) Resource based. There were some important products from SA that the USA made use of. For example Reagan and Congress had ordered an upgrade of our nuclear forces which required lots of tritium. While the USA could produce all the tritium it needed many of our facilities were unsafe so their were environmental concerns with losing this supply.

      The BDS movement hasn't gotten popular enough to have people weigh in on (3) type issues yet. (1) and (2) have their obvious analogies today.

  • 'It's hard to see why Israel won't follow white South Africa's road to extinction,' says 'Forward' writer
    • @hostage --

      I quoted the charter as applicable to their domestic issues i.e. conditioning full participation based on acceptance... The things about solving problems peaceably etc... are potentially other issues but they don't have to do with the point you were objecting to in the December 19, 2013 at 8:17 pm post.

      Similarly the section on the rights to self determination of peoples. That clause is a god send for Israel it defends the entire purpose of Zionism. The whole point of all the actions are to achieve self determination of a people. So that clause they have immunity from. To object to Israel one must believe that self determination is only a right for the right sorts of people, one that Jews should have been permanently denied. So no. They can never be in violation of that article.

      The point of my post is that Article 1 as written (and again I'm willing to accept that the GA has distorted it to mean anything what-so-ever but that's not the charter that's just the GA) sets down a purpose and what Israel is doing is agreeing to advance this purpose. It is a vague promise, easy to achieve and Israel does.

    • @Sibraik --

      Replying up a level

      If Israel crushes Palestinian statehood, following the dictates of your illiberal Zionism, then Palestinians will be the MAJORITY within Greater Israel, not just “a minority”. There is no way such as state could ever be considered ” a nation like any other”.

      I don't think so. I suspect with Gaza out we are looking at about 2.6m Palestinians including East Jerusalem. But besides the demographic issue, even if the Palestinians were a narrow majority there are lots of things Israel can do to create minor biases. Look at the United States for example where:

      population -> eligible voters -> registered voters -> actual voters get successively more narrow and more rightwing.

    • That violates Article 1 of the UN Charter by conditioning full participation in the political process of the State on acceptance of ethnic or racial superiority of the Jewish people.

      Article 1 doesn't say anything quite that strong: [Purposes of the United Nations section:] To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and

      Israel can and has agreed to advance the purpose. Moreover, your interpretation of this would prohibit state churches which cannot possibly the case as many countries that are members have state churches.

    • @Sibraik --

      Replying up a level

      If the Palestinians do no accept that, then Israel will be held morally–if not legally–accountable. Israel will be a pariah state, an Apartheid State, a Persecution State [Hostage -:) ]. Israel and Zionism will be delegitimized–and many thoughtful Zionists argue that delegitimization is an “existential threat.”

      These sorts of lines assume that Israelis are idiots when it comes to PR. Then there is a whole other batch about "the lobby" that makes them geniuses beyond measure. Let me propose a middle ground. Israel is pretty good at PR. The UN and the arab states are obviously where Israel is in worst shape, they face the most hostile crowd. The US congress is where they are in best shape. The EU sort of represents a middle ground.

      Israel is perfectly capable of adjusting behavior under pressure, for example in the mid 1960s the military rule of the Israeli Arabs was starting to cause international concern so they got rid of it. They could do the same thing in the territories. They are patient so they can be always pushing things in a Zionist direction but always slowly.

      Well how did the world deal with the Russians when they crushed the Chechens? What did the world say when the democratic government of Myanmar decided they didn't like a muslim minority and engaged in mass murder and ethnic cleansing of their Rohingy minority? In Pakistan there are attacks on the Christian communities. Gypsies are still horrible mistreated in Europe.... The world will object but they won't fight a war for the Palestinians and that's probably what it would take to effect real change.

      Moreover Israel is IMHO already more powerful than North Korea. They are incapable of being a pariah state in the South Africa model. They cannot be safely isolated, because

      a) Israel's intrinsic interests are towards regional instability. While most world powers want mostly regional stability.
      b) Israel is capable of inducing instability via. military means if left to their own devices.

      they need to be kept within an international system. The question becomes how does the world deal with Israel if Israel doesn't treat a minority well?
      Israel won't be a pariah state. What will happen though is they will be a normal state with problems and lots of stuff that people don't like. The days of them being a shining light of morality are over. The Jews are going to be forced to admit that now they are walking in the Tzar's shoes they can see his POV.

      And that's good for the Jews. They need to become a nation like any other.

    • @Shingo

      What piece of stolen land do you live on?

      Under your definition land from the Unami Delaware.

    • @Hostage

      Yeah we all have that same social convention since the Nuremberg Charter established that the Hague rules are customary international law. Israel is an occupying power, so it can’t exercise “Eminent domain” against Palestinians for the private gain of Israeli settlers. That’s called pillage and its a war crime.

      GP was arguing that eminent domain as intrinsically a form of theft. I was just pointing out that there are lots of people subject to it, that approve of it. I voted for a guy for township counsel who thinks my side of the street should be EDed and added to a development.

      Your claim of pillage IMHO just points to the completely unreality of calling what's going on in the West Bank an occupation. I think the Palestinians would be thrilled if what the Israelis wanted to do in the West Bank was pillage, "please take everything you can carry and then leave forever".

      The UN's definition of occupation is an army controlling a territory for a short period of time with little interest in establishing permanent anything. Under those conditions there would be little reason for development planning. But that's just not what's going on. Instead you have a government with a long term interest spending resources with the intention of benefitting from those resources for many years.

      That's development it isn't pillage. Frankly if there were Israelis involved were ever tried (which I don't think they would be) I think any fair jury (which the UN is not) would have to find them not guilty. The people laying expensive water pipes were not trying to steal dirt, they were building the infrastructure that allows humans to live with high population density.

      Finally ED is not "against Palestinians". If my house gets EDed it would be against "JeffB" but for the interests of New Jersey. Similarly when property gets EDed it is not against Palestinians and for settlers but rather it is for Israel. The Palestinians should be ethnically Palestinian Israelis and benefitting from that.

    • @Basilio

      Quite frequently the Israeli government does what most western governments do and offer to buy the property at or above market price:

      The issue for the Palestinians are that they have social conventions against selling their lands to Jews so they don't take the money. They don't recognize Israel's right to exercise eminent domain since they don't recognize them as the legitimate government.... The Palestinians frequently define Israel doing things that any normal government would do with incredibly harsh language. My region of the country eminent domain is used more than any other and I've never felt it as a form of oppression.

    • @Hasbara --

      March the plan had been trashed and was now the Arab League plan. You are forgetting a key step. The Arab league plan wouldn't have interested me. I would have been opposed at the time, and still am. Sharon's rejection of the March plan after normalization was removed I fully supported at the time.

      Consequently, and contrary to your claim, the Arabs had never proposed full diplomatic ties between Israel and all the Arab nations. In 2002 they did. That was a watershed.

      You have a point that there was a new concession. You may be right on that. I was pretty ticked about them dropping full normalization. Given the cold peace with Jordan and Egypt I didn't (and still don't) see full diplomatic ties as being anywhere near worth what Israel was being asked to give up.* It's OK, but I'd much rather have the territory. So I agreed with Sharon's position. On the other hand real friendly relations, normalization, that's something the IDF can't get Israel. That's something worth a lot to Israel, that was a real concession. And that's why even me, someone from the right (at the time), was willing to support the original proposal.

      * = I'm going to make a quick comment. My definition for whose land it is, is whose army has possession. Formal recognition is a mild concession after the territory is firmly under an army's control.

      Also, the language about refugees was carefully crafted not to mention the concept of a full return. There was room for negotiation, but the Israelis missed the opportunity.

      Missed what opportunity. Other than a few embassies what didn't they get? A decade has passed. Its been a good decade for Israel. What did they lose?

      Yes — that’s why the Israeli peace plans come with caveats that render them unacceptable. Can the Palestinians be faulted for not accepting them?

      Yes they can be. I think Arafat may very well have driven his people to destruction when he turned down Camp David. When he turned down Clinton he compounded a bad choice with total insanity. Today anything like the Camp David agreement is never happening.

    • @Shingo:

      2 seconds of Googling: notice the date this is February before the plan got trashed:

      Sharon is excited, proposes a meeting and the Saudis turn him down. Note also in the article the importance of "normalization" not just normal diplomatic relations.

    • @talknic

      We’ve never seen one from Israel…

      Sure we have. Return of all territories (Golan, West Bank, Gaza, Sinai) in exchange for a full peace. Not taken well:

      Of course, people asking for their LEGITIMATE and LEGAL RIGHTS under the Laws and UN Charter Israel obliged itself to uphold is nonsense and an insult.

      Yes it is.

      Israel has never had a war within its sovereign extent.

      1973. The latest bombings from Hamas. And if you want to talk never during the early 1950s there were frequent cross border raids.

      Name one having since 1933

      South Sudan (2011) after horrible violence
      Kosovo (2008) broke free from Serbia
      East Timor (2002) after a generation of slaughter
      Eritrea (1993) after a terrible civil war
      Germany (1990) formed out of two countries after a long bitter cold war with occasional flare ups.
      Yemen (1990) after the North Yemen fueled a nasty civil war in South Yemen they flipped the government to a friendly and the two sides agreed to merge to become one country
      Namibia (1990) which was given to South Africa by the League of Nations (since you are into the law after all) broke off after civil war.


    • @Shingo --

      I write an entire post about the distinction between King Faud's offer an the Arab peace offer and you completely conflate the two in your response quoting me as if I were talking about the one when I was talking about the other. So no, not false you just aren't reading.

    • @Shingo

      No, the best option is to push the US to the side, take this to the UN an ICC and bring in the rest of the world to pressure Israel into abiding by international law.

      We discussed this already in your Europe boycott. The rest of the world without taking extraordinary actions can't put enough pressure on Israel to create major concessions.

      And if the USA is pushed to the side, the Palestinians are kicked out of Israel within 10 days. The USA's interest in regional stability is the only thing keeping the Palestinian population in Israel.

    • @MHughes976

      Even so I’d like to know what compromise the Palestinians have been offered that they should, for all their negative feelings, have accepted and on what principle their claimed obligation to accept would be based.

      There are lots of compromises that they could have accepted but the obligation is on the basis of the leadership's pragmatic grounds to do what's best in a bad situation for their people. To play a bad hand well. There is no claimed obligation beyond that.

      The Palestinians have a legitimate complaint. That's what makes the conflict so difficult to solve. The easy road emotionally is for the Palestinians is to fight on to their destruction. The hard road is to accept that their will not be a deus ex machina and their best bet is to decide what is really vital to them, make the best deal they can (which won't be good) and protect what's vital at the cost of almost everything else.

    • @The Hasbara Buster

      “The Arabs” have long accepted a compromise peace. In 2002, the Arab states, under the auspices of the Saudi king, offered recognition of Israel and full diplomatic ties in exchange for the State’s retreat to the Green Line. Unlike Israel’s offers, which are always secret and temporary and never set forth in writing, the Arab peace proposal can be found on the Internet and has not been retracted.

      That's not what happened at all. I remember this quite well because it is the only serious peace offer I'd ever seen in my life. The Saudi King, King Faud made an off the record offer of full normalization and an Arab state handling of refuge problem in exchange for a return to the '67 borders. I thought that was a tough offer, but even as a righwing Zionist (I was rightwing at the time) I would have been willing to sign. I wasn't the only one who reacted startled. Ariel Sharon thought it was such a good offer he immediately called for direct or indirect negotiations to tighten the offer up. Sort of a "I'll meet King Faud anywhere to discuss this".

      A few weeks later that offer got pulled. It then became the typical normal diplomatic relations i.e. peace+embassies and "attain a just solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees". Which was an insult not a peace offer. It is a return to the same nonsense that people had been talking about for decades. And that of course was rejected out of hand.

      I think the point of that little episode shows that Israel is willing to have peace providing it is to their advantage. Which is what other countries do. For Israel like any other country the choice between peace and war is strategic, "We see, therefore, that war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means. What remains peculiar to war is simply the peculiar nature of its means." (Carl von Clausewitz).

  • 'NYT' covers historic American boycott vote by quoting 3 Israelis attacking it
    • @Phillip --

      The South African boycott movement was popular with the Congressional Black Caucus long before it was mainstream with liberals. So by the time there was a South African boycott movement in any large scale sense it had political support. This was acceptable position once it became public discourse. And very quickly after becoming public discourse the support in congress grew.

      In the case of BDS there are domestic political groups with stature that would likely favor a less pro-Israeli approach in particular the foreign policy realists in the mainstream republican party and their financial backers the oil companies. Then their are the paleoconservatives. None of which are nearly as large or united. Outside of those everyone is a Zionist. BDS is a movement of the left, and isn't isolationist so it can't even cooperate. So BDS gets treated like a fringe movement.

      With the NYTimes in particular, as the saying goes for the NYTimes Israeli policy is a municipal issue. NYTimes readership quite often has particular Israeli parties they like or see themselves as supporting. So BDS is going to get covered the way members of the Sunni resistance or Mexican drug cartels get covered; people who are attacking us.

      There were lots of people who supported the SA government, and opposed the antiapartheid movement. But no one that I knew back in the heyday of the antiapartheid movement identified with Afrikaners. So no one (at least mainstream), even the most strident defenders of SA, felt personally attacked by antiapartheid activism. Everyone saw this as moral vs. pragmatic. They could see how people could be on the other side.

      BDS doesn't really aim for that sort of legitimacy. They use really strident language and aim to hurt people's feelings, they aim to offend. And frankly they have a much tougher problem because people do identify with Israel.

  • Podhoretz leaves 92d St Y stage after saying Swarthmore Hillel deserves 'to be spat upon'
    • @larick --

      If you had an executive position 15 years ago then you are at least my age. Which means you remember the Jewish community during the Lebanon invasion. They were unhappy about the human rights abuses, but they didn't turn on Israel completely.

      When full equality is put before the Jewish community they are going to be torn between their belief in democracy and their desire for a state that protects Jews. They aren't going to turn on Israel. The same way that Americans can be disappointed in the NSA spying program, and oppose it without siding with Al-Qaeda.

      Jews are still going to want strong guarantees that things like the Law or Return be preserved. Also full equality means things like the prohibitions that exist on Jewish religious rites in areas of the old city disappear. If there are negotiations in that direction they will likely come to understand that neither side wants an American style religious structure. Since they are liberal and don't believe in cultural imperialism....

    • @larick --

      If your premise is that Israelis are a bit paranoid and thus they justify violence... why wouldn't carrots work better than sticks? For example after Oslo there was a bit of an opening and decrease in tension which shifted Israel left on security policy. Why wouldn't you advocate a repeat of that process? Why play into the narrative of world oppression by increasing it, rather than contradict the narrative?

    • @Ellen --

      It might be hard for the "lap dogs" in the US congress to object too strongly to the process of nation forming since the American nation is quite obviously stitched together from various other national groups based on a shared ideology. You may object to that process, but Americans do not.

      As for the endless black hole. Israel is comparatively cheap. Several wars for Saudi Arabia have been expensive.

    • @Ellen

      I think you should read the Southern literature. The South was fighting for slavery quite explicitly. Your history has things somewhat backwards. After the civil war the idea of the war is completely discredited by the cost and death. So the two groups flip and use each other's reason for fighting in the negative to justify themselves.

      Before the war:
      North: War to maintain the federal government, the union
      South: Slavery

      After the war:
      North: Against slavery
      South: States rights

    • @Citizen --

      You are a sane person.

      Assume that Iran offered Israel a peace treaty. Included was a promise to stop funding Hezbollah on the condition that Israel stop aiding the MEK, PKK... and full diplomatic relations. Do you have any doubt they would accept?

      Assume that Israel offered Iran a peace treaty. Included was a promise to stop funding MEK, PKK... on the condition that Iran stop aiding the Hezbollah and full diplomatic relations. Further there were obvious reasons to believe this would help relations with the USA. Do you have any doubt they would reject it?

      Can we at least on this clear cut an issue not blame Israel?

    • @seafoid --

      Zionism took a religion and made a nation. Yes they were "invented". So what?

    • @lysias --

      There is no France from which the Israelis came. Israel goes down, it goes down hard. Right now the world is having a similar conversation about North Korea because of the purges and the possibility that this far less advanced nuclear regime might lose control on the ground. With Israel, with their military capacity in a situation of desperation fighting for survival. What do you think that would look like?

      I can paint a pretty brutal picture of what a country with powerful convention forces, tons of biological weapons and ICBMs going down hard would likely look like. Just picture, Israel post fall. Imagine for a moment even one division (10,000 IDF soldiers) marching with a few ICBMs along with some heavy equipment fighting their way into a city, slaughtering / cleansing the civilians in the city and getting 150k of their population to a good food and water supply. Now imagine there are 20 of those groups all at the same time all scattering and all desperate. That's picture is the equivalent to of what the ancient world meant by barbarian invasions and they were terrifying to settled populations. Good warriors with nothing to lose and the certainty of death for them and the people they guard if they lost the battle. You think Israel is a threat now? That picture IMHO is why the Arab regimes, even though they detest Israel don't see want to see it go down hard anymore. They have to live on the peninsula after the fall of Israel.

      You paint your picture.

      Now the nice thing, I don't see a chance of that happening. Israel has never been stronger.

    • @pabelmont

      JeffB — not sure I get your drift, other than it suggests (to me at least) I was mistaken — or hypocritical.

      You had asked how once could accuse the ASA of hypocrisy and I gave a fairly long defense of it.

      Still, where Israel has prevented the refugees (exiles) from 1948 and 1967 from returning to their own country (that is, to the country from which they were displaced, even iof there was an intervening change of government), how is it NOT a matter of human rights for ASA adn others to demand that the refugees/exiles be allowed to return?

      I didn't get into BDS demand 3. I don't know the ASA's position on other refugee populations. In general I suspect though they are more in favor of permanent resettlement in most situations. Let's take the Sudanese refugees in Israel. On Mondoweiss people weren't arguing that Israel is depriving the Sudanese refugees of their human rights by not sending them back to die in a civil war. Rather they were advocating for permanent resettlement in Israel. And that's the norm among most Western humanists. They accept that humans migrate. They welcome it. And they want states to offer permanent resettlement and not discriminate against their ethnic minorities. So typically the ASA would be angry at Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Iraq for not resettling people of Palestinian descent.

      Let's put this in an American context. Should the United States have blocked England from trying to make Ireland more Catholic by making our Irish population uncomfortable and anxious to return to Ireland? Or did we handle things in mostly the right way? I suspect the ASA if anything would think we should have been more generous to Irish immigrants not less.

      I think the ASA is being hypocritical on BDS demand 3 as well. The idea of using hundreds of thousands of civilians as a political pawns to achieve idealogical aims when acting against their interests is not something they would generally support. Michel Aflaq would have no problem with it, but the ASA typically would.

      I haven’t read the WORDS of the ASA resolution (and the supporting documentation) with a fine-tooth comb, as it were. But what supporters of the boycott wrote seemed in line with concerns for Palestinian human rights.

      No they aren't. There are rights and concepts in the BDS that are not part of human rights discourse as they are understood in the west. There are human rights as understood by Arab Fascism. They are close. But you see the problem on the Mandela thread as well. His theme, to the Afrikaners, people who were just as "colonial" as the Jews in Israel are "we are one people, in one nation". That is typical western humanitarian values. "We are a people, you are a disease called Zionism that attacked our country" is 1930s Arab Fascism. And the ASA normally wouldn't support it.

      I don't think it is at all wrong to accuse them of hypocrisy. Certainly their moral voice on every other issue has to be weakened. Because the ASA with this action no longer supports human rights as understood in by western humanism.

    • @pabelmont

      Hypocritical, "behaving in a way that suggests one has higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case." Yes that's what they are accusing them of. They are saying that they don't believe the ASA is genuinely upset about Israel's human rights violations but is rather pretending to be upset because they have other political objectives.

      In particular you have a group using language like "occupation of Palestinian lands". Most ASA scholars in most contexts don't believe that racial groups are entitled to the permanent possession of lands. They don't agree with the Klan that say Jews or Blacks shouldn't be moving into white Christian neighborhoods. Rather in most context the ASA supports a notion of non-discrimination where all people should have the rights to reside anywhere in their country. In the case of Israel they don't support that. In the case of Israel they adopt the Klan's position that there should be racially exclusive neighborhoods, based on previous historical residency. What could be more hypocritical for an anti-racist organization like the ASA than endorsing a genetic test for residency? And let me cut off the objection, I fully understand that's the UN's position as well.

      The BDS position is ultimately based on an incoherent mixture of Ba'ath ideology and mainstream western humanism. Demand (1) of the BDS defines the Jews as foreign colonizers. That demand comes from the notion that European Jews are an enemy of the future pan-arabic socialism because after all they aren't even Arabs. That's an unfixable genetic problem. Now it is weird that the Arab fascism of the 1930s has become fashionable among American leftists. Now mix you demand (2) of the BDS is in the language of western human rights law. Michel Aflaq would reject the language of liberty that demand (2) promotes.

      Normally the ASA would reject fascist considerations. They would reject the idea that Jews are genetically diseased and therefore not able to be part of the nation. They would reject that sort of anti-colonial language and instead would exist in the world of western humanitarian values. They wouldn't side with fascism.

      I'm not sure what's complex here. If they were just calling for national self determination, i.e. the J-Street position then fine. If they were just calling for equal rights for all, then they would really consistent with their normative views. But they aren't they are using the language of Arab fascist parties.

      Why wouldn't that be hypocritical? What else would you call it? This is ultimately the problem with the BDS position, it tries to appeal broadly by mixing irreconcilable ideologies.

    • @Annie

      better to just apply pressure on equal rights for all people.

      If you and BDS were just for equal rights for all people I'd be onboard with you in a second. We could be having discussions about mixing the housing, mixed schooling, some sort of affirmative action economic program. We wouldn't be having conversations with the assumption that Israel is a country with an unhappy ethnic minority that needs assistance in assimilation. Rather than discussing them as a settler colonialist "rapist" enterprise that should be liquidated.

    • lysias

      Was abolitionism an existential threat to the antebellum South?

      Of course! The antislavery movement ended up dragging the south into a war where several percent of its population killed, its cities burned to the ground, the economy wrecked, it social structures permanently altered, it was under a hostile occupation that took almost 2 decades of terrorism to shake and then only partially.

      I like abolitionism but of course of it was an existential threat.

  • African asylum-seekers march to Jerusalem to protest detention, violently arrested [Video]
    • @Marco --

      How can it be that conservative, moderate, liberal, and progressive Jewish Americans who join in a consensus in support of the civil rights movement – in retrospect anyway – suddenly become silent on the issue of African refugees and their racist treatment in Israel?

      Maybe because their critics always assume the worst of them, like the objection to Sudanese is based on race? A more charitable explanation is that Israel law has no concept of asylum seekers. They are constructing law to handle the Sudanese and having an internal discussion. In addition they are having external discussions and partnering with the UNHCR (which incidentally is not nearly so negative, funny how the UN only has credibility when they say bad stuff about Israel). Mostly their treatment of these people has been humane and they are given social services and off the book employment. 100% are illegal immigrants which many countries just deport without question. So instead of complementing Israel on how humanely they treat illegals, you attack them for racism.

      Why would you expect any substantial group of Jews anywhere to support lying about Israel for negative political effect?

  • The 'genetic truth' of Jesus's (and Hanna Rosin's) 'classically Semitic appearance,' as revealed to Jeffrey Goldberg
    • @Peter --

      Replying up a level. Originally (in this message) you had said it wasn't disputed.

      As far as the lack of continuity of population I don't know a single ancient writer who doesn't agree that Titus cleared the population out. The descriptions before and after the first Roman-Jewish war of Judea are entirely different, and the archeology supports a complete collapse of the infrastructure needed to support a large population in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas.

      Why would you doubt a genocide occurred?

    • @Peter --

      Yes both of those two are disputed.

      On (a) quite a few historians believe that Christianity didn't originate directly from Palestinian Judaism at all. The earliest clear signs we have of proto-Christianity is in Alexandria not Palestine. The sect we can track the best, is one that failed to merge. The Sethians, who move towards a form of Gnostic Christianity, fail to merge with more mainstream sects during the 2nd century and then

      What we consider Christianity today is several generations removed from anything Jewish, and the story of Jewish origins came later. For example one thread of Christianity may have been:
      Essenic Judaism (a non Sadducean ofshoot ) to Essenic Gnosticism. This merges with Samaritanism (not Judaism official though another close cousin) and a personality cult to form Simonianism, a form of proto-Christian Gnosticism. Samaritan sects exists mostly or exclusively outside Palestine and become popular among God Fearers who are not Jews. These sorts of sects institutionalize into various forms of Encratite Christianity and that again merges and morphs into proto-Catholicism.

      This is a meaty topic. But no. You can't assume that Christianity formed in Palestine.

      On (b) absolutely not. We have very little evidence for the majority of Christians in the first two centuries being Jews. Rather from the mid 2nd century on, the majority of Christian literature when it discusses Jewish topics shows a remarkable degree of ignorance about Judaism. This is the kind of literature that could only evolve in a community almost entirely devoid of Jews. Further if you look at evidence from Christian burials the people being buried in the later 2nd century don't have ties to the Jewish community. So you have something like Jews -> God Fearers -> non-Jewish enthusiasts. But Jews at that time in the Roman empire are heavily residing outside of Palestine and proto-Christianity seemed to have mostly evolved among Hellenistic Jews, not the sects that were most popular in Palestine.

      For example the concept of an angel named Jesus that creates the world is Hellenistic, you see it briefly mentioned as Philo. The idea of a Logos intermediary between unknowable Theos, comes from Stoicism and is popular in Hellenistic Judaism as well. A spiritual Melchizedek running a pure priesthood in heaven unlike the corrupt priesthood on earth is Essenic you see it in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Their merger of the three you see in the theology of the Book of Hebrews which is clearly Jewish makes reference to itself as being from an Italian community (at least in its canonical form) and represents a proto-Christianity.

      As for continuity remember that Palestine gets devastated in 3 wars, one in each generation starting with 69 CE. There is no continuity of population. The Palestinians are genetically likely mostly a group that arrived in the 7th century, though that Levant had plenty of migration before and after.

      Finally Shmuel is correct below that yes apostasy removes rights under the law of return. The case this came from:

      So sorry. The argument falls apart.

    • Wikipedia has a pretty good article on this (though I'd quibble with some details):

  • It sure pays to support Israel!
    • @Citizen --

      The reason religious institutions pay no tax is that the power to tax is the power to regulate. Given the power to tax a president could establish a defacto state church. Our system is based on assuming that people will abuse power. And the founders did not want a marriage of church and state, both to protect the state from the church and to protect the church from the state.

      As far as Scientology mostly it was the IRS backing off. The original argument was that Scientology was a commercial enterprise for the purpose of benefitting Hubbard, well Hubbard has been dead for a while. Congress in 1989 was were looking into accusations of IRS wrongdoing and the Scientology files came up. While Scientology had gone just short of illegal in their war against the IRS, IRS agents had crossed the line in their attacks on Scientology. Scientologists who had been involved in criminal enterprises in the 1970s were gone from leadership by the late 1990s. Finally the church was only doing stuff that churches can legally do.

  • Israel is uniquely sexy -- Ari Shavit tells Sally Quinn
    • @Maximus --

      France is obsessed with its own sexiness. Italy as well.
      "Virginia is for lovers" if you want a US example.

      But mainly this is a healthy continuation of Zionism, getting away from ghetto values. Ghetto Jews are pale, scholastic, fat, balding, wear unfashionable clothing.... while Israeli Jews are tanned, muscular, healthy and wear young military fashion. A key part of Zionism is trying to reverse the psychological damage of 2000 years of statelessness. Zionism takes the ghetto out of Jews. It sends a message, I'm sitting here writing on Mondoweiss instead of playing VolleyBall in the sun because I never made aliyah.

      Also as a propaganda tactic it works. By encouraging Jewish teens in American to sexually idealize the IDF they identify with them.

  • Stop the Nonsense: Nobody is proposing a boycott of 'the Jews'
    • @Roha --

      replying up a level

      I call them “invaders” because they were not immigrants prepared to become part of the country they moved into, but were planning to take it over and make it into another country.

      Which is a reasonable definition. I think you should consider this definition though with respect to the current BDS definition regarding return. If the one is an invader so is the other.

      The Jews not yet in Palestine had no rights to live in Palestine.

      Then you are point blank rejecting the Zionist claim. Which is a denial of equality. You are presupposing that there should be a Palestinian state and not a Jewish state. That's not equality.

      The people of Palestine had no special obligations to them. If those Jews did not have rights equal to those of their fellow citizens in their home countries, that was a matter for the home country.

      Zionists argue there home country was Judea. I understand you think they are incorrect, but again you are presupposing they were wrong to prove they were wrong.

    • @Roha --

      Replying up a level since there is no reply button. You were arguing in this post that they Palestinians supported equality in the 1930s. You are now arguing they didn't support it because they didn't want invaders. If Zionists are invaders not citizens of equal worth then they can't be equal. During the 1930s people were passing back and forth between the borders. There weren't (yet though they were forming) hard lines between Palestinians and the people of neighboring countries. People who might migrate from Lebanon to Palestine are migrants. I wasn't invading New Jersey when I moved here from California.

      "Invader" implies an illegitimacy. That would be like a white racist, saying "I support full legal equality for niggers". The very use of the term "nigger" means they don't support full equality.

      In the 1930s the issue was never the equality of the Jews already in Palestine. I don't think the Palestinians were offering that, and believe it is easy to prove but ultimately it is irrelevant. What both sides were arguing about was the equality of those Jews not yet in Palestine. Even if the Palestinians were willing to have .2% of the Jewish population in a state of full equality what good does that do for the Jews of the world?

      As far as truth and reconciliation,

      I don’t know it’s false. It seems a reasonable deduction on the basis of your writings. Your concern seems to be with protecting Jews and advancing their cause, rather than justice for Palestinians,.

      That's very different from me considering Palestinians to not be of equal worth. I work for company X. My job is to advance the interests of company X. If company X is competing with company Y I may be acting against company Y's interests. That doesn't mean I don't in the abstract view X and Y as equal, I just happen to be on one team.

      I absolutely consider the Palestinians of equal worth. I don't think justice is possible for them, every Israeli could get killed by aliens tomorrow and that would fall short of justice. Justice is off the table.

      What I would love is peace and prosperity for them. I'd love them to join in full equality in Israel as Israelis and I'd happily support raising their standard of living and working towards making their lives equal good with those of the Israelis.

      But even while believing they are of equal worth, if they are permanent enemies of Israel I'll encourage Israel to crush them even to extinction. That's the same reason I support most USA acts against Islamists. I don't consider them not to be of equal worth, I do consider them enemies.

    • Allan --

      Replying up a level. That exchange was perfect. That's exactly the craziness. The UN is so warped that they can't acknowledge that Israel left Gaza. The Gaza Palestinians have a state.

    • @Hostage --
      (reply up a level)
      I don't think anyone will believe that Hamas is Israel's local governing authority in Gaza. Whatever you can accuse Hamas of, being an Israeli stooge is not on the list. They are an independent government.

      A partial occupation does not an occupation make. Otherwise Cuba would be occupied territory. As far as the trade stuff, that's Gaza under blockade not occupation. Two countries are going at it and one is blockading the other. That isn't occupation.

    • @talnik --

      Gaza is not occupied territory, it is independently governed territory. And yes I know the Zionism is Racism institution doesn't agree.

    • @RoHa

      They could stop being Jews. It would be “the smart thing to do”.

      RoHa if I had been around after or during the 3 Roman wars I would have been opposed. I think we lost a lot for circumcision and trying to deny the right of Roman soldiers to have eagles on their flag. We did the dumb thing, I freely admit it.

      First you need to be clear about what you mean by “a people”, and then work out in what way Jews are to be “like any other.

      I'd use: a large aggregate of homo sapiens united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular territory.

      Are Australians “a people like any other”? If so, Australian Jews (who are surely part of the Australian people) are already members of “a people like any other”. Israel is not necessary.

      For now yes. I'd agree. Israel is not necessary for Australian Jews in 2013. Up until a few years ago Venezuelan Jews were part of the Venezuelan people. Then Chavez came to power and suddenly they were an enemy 5th column and most of them fled to Israel. Israel was necessary for them. Israel doesn't seem as necessary now because there just aren't that many Jews left in non-israeli countries. With the exception of the American Jews, Jews have been rescued from all over the planet.

      If Israel became a state for all its citizens, and the Palestinians were full, equal, citizens, why wouldn’t they be loyal?

      Why would you expect that to solve the problem? The southern whites during the civil war were always before and after full equal citizens. Catalans have full equality and they still want out.

      For Palestinians, because they retain their Palestinian identity and thus the memory of the horrors of their dispossession they would view over 1/2 the population as racist colonizers who had no right to be there and would expect their state to defend them against their internal enemy. Not a good situation likely, crack out the Zyklon B. Or alternatively in the new Islamic identify that's developing they would view them as a religious minority destined to be ruled by the muslim majority. etc...

      That’s because you think that Jews are more important than Palestinians.

      How do you think it advances this dialogue by making accusations which you know are false? What point do you think that one liner serves?

      [the Palestinians] supported [egalitarian democracy] in the 1930s, but the Zionists rejected it.

      What are you talking about? Do you know anything about the 1930s? The Arab League was working hard at the time to block Jewish immigration. The British throughout WWI and after prevented revolts by blocking Jewish immigration. Why do you think they were doing that? The Palestinians had several violent attacks against Zionists settlements. 1929 for example the Palestinians rioted against equal access for Jews to holy sights.

      I'd say if anything the 1920 riot is what started to put an end to the Zionist dream that the Palestinians would join them a socialist state. By the 1930s no one expected anything other than a violent ethnic war on either side. In 1936 they lost their first major war of extermination (there were flare ups earlier):–39_Arab_revolt_in_Palestine The later 1930s were a key turning point where the Zionists because of Palestinian hostility were able to mostly ally themselves with the British against the Palestinians.

      So no. Nothing like that remotely happened.

    • @Sibiriak

      I would prefer to describe Israel as an “ethnocratic state with theocratic and liberal-democratic elements”

      That's a fair characterization, supremacist is not because of the implied racism. Most countries with a state religion want their religion supreme. That doesn't mean much other than Israel, like Iran, is trying to find a way to have a state church and democracy.

      I think the absorption of the Mizrahim and Sephardic and more recently the Russian Christians prove that the state can move in a less ethnocratic direction. We'll have to see how things play out with the Maronites after the initial generation of SLA is gone but so far so good. I think those several examples prove that ethnocracy is not an unavoidable component of Zionism. I could easily imagine during the next century that the ethnic elements become less important.

    • @Hostage --

      Replying up a level. Your argument was that American society is secular and thus the people didn't hold certain theological position. Your argument was not that the American legal system is non-discriminatory. Those are two very different concepts.

      So absolutely the US government isn't in the business of taking a census of religious opinion, that's Barna's business. But that has no impact on whether the American culture is secular or not.

    • Shmuel --

      Can't reply so replying up one level.

      You got me on the Talmudic reference and Lamentations. I stand corrected.

      The shofar is kinda mixed (like the flag) since it was also a Zionist symbol of defiance to the British since the British didn't permit it 1931-47. I was taking it that way, but of course there is no way to disentangle it from the religious meaning.

      Empty... is what I meant by "explicitly Jewish". There is no way to get all the implicitly Jewish stuff out of Israeli culture ever. The same as an American Jew, the west is Christian my western heritage is a Christian heritage and there is no way to disentangle Western / American culture from Christian culture. The very debates we are having about freedom of religion comes from the Anabaptist declarations of the four freedoms.

    • @eljay --

      Yes. Living like other nations helps Jews. They are undoing the same sort of nation state forming process that people's all over the planet have engaged in and when completed it will allow the Jews to live like any other nation.

      I don't agree with your characterization of Israel as being offensive rather than defensive. Israel's support for the National Front for the Liberation of Angola was offensive. Israel's work in Honduras and Costa Rica was offensive. Israel defending themselves against a hostile population that wants to dispossess them of their country is defensive though I have no problem calling the Palestinian resistance also defense. I see two people's fighting for the same land. The Palestinians are a threat to Israel, people have a right to defend their home. I get that you believe that the Palestinians have a legitimate case and the Israelis don't but that doesn't change the nature of the conflict. You are just siding with the other team. The rapist analogy is simply grotesque.

      Zionism cannot support it and neither can Israel. It would defeat the entire purpose of supremacist “Jewish State”.

      When has Zionism ever declared itself in favor of supremacism? That's you, who obviously hate the Israeli people, putting words in their mouth they never said nor even indicated they believe. Arguing that Israel can't do X, because Israelis are bad and X is good is kinda silly.

    • @Sibiriak

      Can't reply to your posts, but thank you for stating the obvious. Aa Jewish tallis with the symbol of a mythic Jewish religious figure is a Jewish symbol. One can debate whether Israel should have a state religion. One can't debate that attacks using that symbology aren't also attacks on the religion.

      And you are absolutely right about the national anthem being explicitly Jewish too. Jerusalem of Gold, isn't explicitly Jewish but it doesn't recognize the '49 borders either. So the likely secular replacement would be seen as equally objectionable.

    • @Cliff

      Tzion is literally Jerusalem. The Star of David represents David's kingdom which was Jerusalem. Judaism in the 20th and 21st century is morphing into Zionism, Zionism is the realization of Judaism. What you are saying is would be like trying to divorce Catholicism from the Catholic hierarchy. That's why Jewish organization in America tie themselves to Israel in a way they don't to say French Jews or what's left after Chavez of Venezuelan Jews.

      As for the non-Jewish citizens of Israel they complicate things. But ultimately they haven't becoming meaningfully citizens in terms of being loyal to the state. The flag doesn't represent them, and they don't fight for that flag. That sounds harsh, and hopefully when the rest of this plays out that can be fixed but for right now... yeah they don't treat it as their flag so it isn't their flag. They just live there.

    • @Ellen

      Zionism and the Israeli state does not tolerate miscegenation.

      Of course they do. Ashkenazi Jews and Sephardic Jews marry all the time in Israel. Palestinian Jews, which probably have 0 racial differences from other Palestinians marry freely. They've adopted the term Mizrahim Jews so as to indicate that racial arabs are to be fully embraced. The Israel's government has worked hard to diminish racism in their society. They still have problems, like we do, but I'd argue they likely encourage "miscegenation".

      Now what you probably really meant was not miscegenation ,which is about race, but rather that they don't encourage marriage between people who identify with the state religion and those that reject the state religion. And they certainly don't encourage that. On the other hand they tolerate it, you can see this in the Russian community where Russian Christians married to Jews who identify as Israelis and are loyal to Israel are welcomed. That's a counter example to the racism / religious bigotry charge. Israel can tolerate people who want to become Israeli even if they aren't willing to renounce Christ.

      Israel will not tolerate Palestinians becoming permanent and loyal Israeli citizens. It could have happened, but Zionism would not and will not allow it. You know, the fear of loosing a Jewish identity for the state

      I don't see any reason why loyal Palestinians would have been a problem for Israel's Jewish identity. Even the Palestinians in '49 Israel have been mildly hostile not really loyal. The one in Jordan, Egypt, Syria and later Lebanon were outright enemies of the state. The ones in Gaza are incredibly hostile. The ones in the West Bank were friendly until the early 1980s, they were being assimilated into Israel, and then they became hostile and the situation has deteriorated for over a generation.

      I would agree that Israel has not been the best at bringing the Palestinians into the fold. That being said, I think the Israelis and the pre-Israeli Zionists have shown themselves open to friendly relations with the natives when when friendship was available. Had the Palestinians bought into Zionist socialism and joined with the Jews in seeing the Turkish as their common enemy you would be looking at a different situation. Had the Israeli Arabs embraced their Israeli citizenship (like those Russian Christians do) rather than tolerating it, I think there wouldn't be a distinction even made between them and Israelis after 3 generations. Had the 1st intifada never happened you would be looking at a situation in the WestBank where WestBank Palestinians are freely participating in the economy, the educational system... of Israel. Had the 2nd intifada never happened you wouldn't have Israel laying the groundwork for another round of ethnic cleansing (or possibly genocide).

      I can fully understand that because what happened to the Palestinians is completely unfair they aren't willing to make the concessions required of an immigrant. But let's be fair here. Israel is not willing to have a 5th column and the Palestinians are not willing to act like immigrants in what they perceive as their own country. Both sides are rejecting the other's terms for Palestinians living in Israel as Israelis. Both sides are rejecting the other.

    • @talknic

      JeffB: “Of course they are. All of France is occupied stolen land.”

      talknic: UNSC resolution number what?

      -50,000 approximately. That's when the UNSC was dealing with the massive populations transfers happening all over Europe as a result of Attila's invasion of Europe. In particular when the Visigoths were pushed into Spain by the group that became the Franks. That is "stealing the land" to apply the same standards you want to apply to Israel.

      JeffB: The idea that Jews should be held to standards totally unlike the rest of humanity, since after all they aren’t really human
      talknic: Quote an example … thx

      A good example is the one above. In my entire life I've heard zero people argue that the France is an illegitimate country, that the French should move back to Germany and give France back to the Spanish.... That the French people aren't rightfully entitled to France... Or for that matter the Spanish aren't rightfully entitled to Spain, since the Visigoths pushed the Vandals out. Or I gave the example in India of these sorts of mass migrations. There is a mass migration going on in right now in Pakistan from Afghanistan and I don't hear the same language being applied to them.

      The policy for every human group is to be understanding towards mass migration, seeing it as a natural process that's been going on for billions of years and not consider a property of how the migrators are evil. It is understandable the Pashtun are leaving, there is has been 4 decades of war in Afghanistan. No one considers them having taken up residence in Pakistan to be "stealing".

      Israel can’t be represented without the Star of David, it’s on the flag

      Of course it can be represented. Just don't use the flag in hostile representations pick another symbol. The USA has managed to be plenty hostile to other countries without tarnishing their flags.

    • @Ellen --

      I'm surprised this is a new one. I would have figured the origins of the term "antisemitism" i.e. "we of the antisemitism league aren't anti-judaic we are antisemitic" . The modern example is from the Aryan Christ movement which dealt with whether baptism was effectual on Jews. Arthur de Gobineau for whom the colored races, which included Jews, shouldn't be meaningfully considered part of the specifies. He thought the Jews constituted a mid point between white humans and colored races. This BTW is the theologian who influenced Wagner. That statement above, the invention of the word antiSemitism was Wilhelm Marr and the Antisemitism League. While Marr himself wasn't a theologian the league had many members that were. Eventually their influence spread to wider society the Pan-German League which had originally admitted converted / assimilated Jews stopped admitting them. Another person influenced was Adolf Stoecker, a theologian who was court chaplain and founder of the Christian Social Gospel political party. It is unclear whether he believed Jews were incapable of converting to Christianity and being good Christians or whether he just believed it unlikely. In Austria you have the Karl Lueger and his Christian Social Party, which won the elections in Vienna for example, so obviously included quite a few Christians. He was financed by Georg Ritter von Schönerer, who rejected the possibility of Jewish conversion and did so openly...

      I could keep going. This is mostly about 1/3rd of the characters you would see in any of the discussions of the evolution of continental anti-semitism in the 4 generations prior to Nazism.

      In English speaking countries British Israelism, which is the core belief that the ten lost tribes of Israel are the British. In itself this group didn't reject conversion though by the 1890s many of the ideas of Christian Identity, in particular the notion that non-whites (again including Jews) don't have souls and thus can't be saved. That notion didn't catch on wildly though until it hit the USA and that's early 20th century. Today the religious arm goes by Kinism which you may have run into. Mainstream Presbyterian groups (like the PCA) have had to deal with this theology in their own contemporary membership, and they reject it, but they deny its existence.

      Anyway I'm not sure where to go from here. Hopefully this answered your question.

    • @Hostage

      No I'm not talking about mostly secular societies like Israel. I'm talking about deeply religious societies like the United States where we both live.

      For example
      87% claim religion is an import part of their life
      81% of Americans believe in an afterlife, with another 9% uncertain
      79% believe the soul is eternal,
      77% are Christian, 50% consider themselves absolutely committed to Christianity / Christ
      69% believe in all knowing, all powerful creator
      60% believe the bible is infallible in all of its teachings (which if they read it does not support the rather cavalier positions you attribute to them)
      28% reject any notion of salvation apart from Christ (i.e. doesn't matter how good you are, you go to hell).


      You are a bit odd. You spend a great deal of time for month (years) on end arguing that Jewish religion led people to do stuff that's threatening to non Jews while dismissing the possibility that any other faith has similar problems.

    • @Memphis

      I'll stand by the history on this topic. There have been other times and places that were good for Jews and then things got nasty a century or two later.

      I live in the USA and I've had very few instances of anti-Semitism in my life. It's been very comfortable. But I'm well aware it is a Christian country.

      Reformed Judaism if you think about it takes the forms and social structures of a Protestant denomination and applies them to Judaism, thus making Judaism into "just another denomination". Conservative Judaism copied it in that. The forms of Judaism that thrived in the United States are mainline Protestantism for Jews. I didn't live in the generation of Jews that had Christmas trees to fit in, but that wasn't coming from nothing. There is a good book by an Dr. Brodkin on this transformation in America, How Jews Became White Folks

      I didn't make aliyah. But I'm very very happy I have the option. And isn't it funny how when there are threads talking about AIPAC the liberals get worried about blowback?

    • OK 2 points for you. You did catch me in some poor phrasing there.

      But my answer to Ecru is pretty much sums up my opinion:
      I’m not sure how you example doesn’t reinforce what’s meant by attacking the Star of David. The Irish Republicans consider Great Britain an illegitimate union. The anti-Zionists consider Israel and illegitimate country / people. In neither case does it have anything to do with specific acts.

    • @Ecru --

      The Union Jack symbolizes the union of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The point of the symbol is the union of Saint Patrick (Ireland), Saint Andrew (Scotland) and Saint George (England). When they attack the Union Jack they are attacking the union. They are saying that Ireland is not part of Great Britain, that there shouldn't be a Great Britain.

      And yes they are insulting the Australia, New Zealand... who see themselves as part of the British commonwealth. They are declaring their non-membership. It wasn't about specific issues they wanted a permanent divorce. That's why Ireland isn't part of the commonwealth even today.

      Ireland in attacking the Union Jack in the 20s onward was declaring unambiguous "we are not part of the same country, we are not the same nation". The Irish Republicans in Northern Ireland was doing the same thing. It had nothing to do with massacres, even without the massacres they didn't want to be part of Great Britain. That was the whole point of the war they were waging. If they just wanted to complain about England they would be using the flag of England (which just has the cross of Saint George) and not the Union Jack.

      I'm not sure how you example doesn't reinforce what's meant by attacking the Star of David. The Irish Republicans consider Great Britain an illegitimate union. The anti-Zionists consider Israel and illegitimate country / people. In neither case does it have anything to do with specific acts.

    • @pabelmont

      John McCain all during the 1990s an into the 2000 campaign was absolutely opposed to Likud's settlement strategy and strongly sided with Labor's attempts at a two state solution. With McCains attempt to move right after 2004, and the Iraq war becoming a rightwing cause McCain ended up having to shift his position on Israel. McCain is pretty inconsistent and if you could get him to tell truth my guess is he's still slightly to the left or Rabin on Israel Palestine. And that's best case. Heck, it wouldn't shock me if in his heart he's the old fashioned Eisenhower pro-Arab, anti-Zionist kind of Republican. But at the end of the day from the contras, to the fight against Soviet vassal states, to the opposition to the Ba'ath to now Iran Israel, and the Israeli right in particular has been on his side. And he's reciprocated by being a staunch ally in the Senate to Israel.

      As for the Christian Zionists and anti-semitism. I've never had a problem with Christians who believe that Jews are going to hell for the same reason that Muslim, Buddhists and Hindus are going to hell. Please group us in with the other heathens that reject Jesus! I want to be just another religion. Which is why I loved when the Jesus seminar started leaving the Greek words for Jews untranslated. That way the New Testament is taking place in Iudaea among Iudaeans whose religion was Ioudaïsmos. Much, much, much safer. What scares the daylights out of me are theological principles that create some sort of unique relationship. Liberal Protestant theologies in America that consider Jews off limits for missions scare me. While these are intended to be nice, they don't strike me as all that theologically different from the 19th century Protestant theologies that considered Jews incapable of conversion since they weren't really human.

      But there as long as the New Testament is about Jews then the 144,000 righteous celibate Jews are the people who accompany Jesus and well... there isn't much we can do about that.

    • I always thought that the flag would represent all citizens of Israel.

      Flags represent the state not the people. So for example the Eagle of Saladin on the Egyptian flag doesn't represent the Egyptian Copts. Arguably it doesn't even represent the majority of the population who reject the notion of a racial Arab nationalism (Ba'ath) ideology and instead prefer a pan-Islamic identity.

      So... my question to you is: under your theory of symbols why isn't Egypt an apartheid state?

    • @Hostage

      The representative government of Zimbabwe? Really! Really!

      As for the rest regarding what we are debating, I'm not sure we are debating that. You are arguing against points I've never made.

    • @Hostage --

      Speak for yourself. I don't watch sports much and I don't think I've ever seen judo, sailing or canoeing on TV. But if I did, I'd be cheering that flag. America has 2400 medals, they've got nothing to prove. I think Israel has 6 they do.

    • @Shingo

      What minority does the pro-Zionist cause threaten in the USA?

      What borderline racist language regarding Jews are you referring to?

      The wild conspiracy theories about Jews secretly controlling governments and corporations. Essentially Jews work as the agents for the prince of the age (satan).
      The idea that Jews should be held to standards totally unlike the rest of humanity, since after all they aren't really human.
      The idea that what Jews do is of cosmic importance, so that Israel isn't some tiny insignificant country but rather the key issue of the age.
      The constant lying about Israel. The idea that such lying is acceptable. Since all evils ultimately are attributable to Jews anyway.


      Anti-Zionism is unabashed classic anti-Semitism. It essentially takes the theological position from the Gospel of John and writes it into modern politics.

      And that's on top of people who had no problem objecting to Terry Jones' Koran burnings having no problem on this very thread arguing for the acceptability of going after Jewish symbols like the Star of David.

      What aspects of anti-Semitism has anti-Zionism not embraced?

      You’re clearly an Israeli propagandists, seeing as you have no problem with Israeli propagandists claiming that the Arabs only came to Palestine after the Jews made the desert bloom or claiming there is no such thing as a Palestinian.

      There is a perfectly good example. I've said the exact opposite repeatedly. But you felt no compulsion about lying.

      France is no longer staling land and occupying it

      Of course they are. All of France is occupied stolen land.

    • @lyn117

      I gather you support the Zionist cause and thereby (you can’t get around it) the mass murder of innocent villagers and townspeople by which Israel was founded. Why? Why do you want all Jews everywhere to be labeled as ethnic cleansers and racists?

      A bit rhetoric but I think underneath it that's a good question.

      I support Zionism because I believe that Judaism is uniquely unable to deal with Christianity. Because Judaism plays a central role in the Passion, Christians are unable to treat Judaism like any other group of "heathens" but instead project all sorts of theological, philosophical and psychological issues on to Jews. Which means Jews can never just melt into Christian countries and ever be truly at home. I think Zionism in helping Jews become a people like any other by making Israel a country like any other solves this existential problem.

      The rest of your question is basically that Zionism isn't nice to Palestinians and do I support that. I do think Israel is participating in a tribal war on the usual basis of tribe X and tribe Y want land Z. I don't think tribe X winning that war proves that they are racist against tribe Y, especially when tribe Y is of the same race as many of the people in X. So I rejection the characterization as racist.

      From a Jewish perspective it is therapeutic. Jews are getting to see politics from the Tzar's point of view. Having been exactly where the Palestinians are though I think what they are going through is dreadful. The smart thing for them to do would be to do the equivalent of convert to Christianity, that is become loyal Israelis. I don't think they are going to. So ultimately, if they survive as a people after Palestine, they seem destined to experience history from the Jewish point of view and come to understand why the Jews were so desperate to do what they did in Palestine.

      The question is not why do you support killing and ethnic cleansing? I don't, Israelis don't. But I think the Israelis are right that if in the end the Palestinians create the kinds of problems that Vespasian, Trajan, Hadrian had with Jews then ultimately we are going to have use the same sorts of solutions that they used.

      I would love to have this phase of Israel's history end tomorrow. Where Israelis of Palestinian descent participate in the life of Israel, marry and have babies with Israelis of Jewish descent to the point that there are no two people. I think Zionism supports that. And I think humanism supports that. And I think Israel would support that.

      Right now the Palestinians don't support that.

    • @Pabelmont

      A prosecutor prosecuting Jewish gangsters would be focusing on the gangtsterish acts, not on the asserted (and wholly irrelevant) Jewishness of the accused.

      The ASA aren't prosecutors they are lobbyists. Using your analogy they are lobbyists looking for an attack on the Jewish neighborhood because of gangsterism. The sort of thing that Republicans often push for in Black neighborhoods that drive USA incarceration rates sky high.

      As for gangster prosecution being ethnic blind... when Italian gangsters were being prosecuted absolutely it had to do with dynamics in Italian neighborhoods and Italian-American community. Lots of the people who were strong advocates wanted to break up the neighborhood systems to allow for redevelopment projects. On balance those were probably good things, but of course they were attacks on Italians. The crimes nor the support for these neighborhood groups were ever decontextualized.

      The rest of your comment I mostly agree with.

    • @Bumblebye

      The flag represents a nasty, belligerent, supremist nation.... It has had its religious ‘power’ stolen from diaspora Jews by the State of Israel.

      Nope. Doesn't work that way. The Flag of Israel represents the people of Israel who are Jews. The symbol is Jewish and remains Jewish. You or Roger Waters are certainly free to hate Judaism. But if you attack the Star of David you are attacking Israel because it is Israel not because of any nastiness towards the Palestinians.

      Otherwise people are free to call you a bigot and say that since the anti-Zionists appropriated bigotry acts like desecrating religious symbols for political effect for they stole the term from bigots in other areas.

    • Basically what the author is saying is he doesn't like the fact that he's up against an opponent who can punch back. And certainly that's the case with many human rights causes on the left. Argue against Saudi Arabian sexism and while there may be Americans who like the house of geopolitical or economic reasons few are on the left. Israel-Palestine is a case where leftwing activists have to deal with what leftwing politicians have to deal with in the broader public, people who think they cause is a bad cause and often that they are bad people for supporting it.

      The anti-Zionist cause uses very aggressive rhetoric. A domestic minority group finds that rhetoric threatening and offensive. The anti-Zionist's lobby's position is that they are going to use it anyway. Well what do you think is going to happen then?

      What do you think that Southern Conservative Politicians have to deal with when they are making the case for passing laws that just "coincidentally" harm black people while trying to achieve some other objective and use some borderline racist language regarding African Americans? They get demonized in the press. What do you think happens to Western Conservatives when they are making the case for passing laws that just "coincidentally" harm Hispanics while trying to achieve some other objective and use some borderline racist language regarding Hispanics? They get demonized in the press.

      So why do you think that when you as Liberals are making the case for passing laws that just "coincidentally" harm Jews while trying to achieve a Palestinian state that using some borderline racist language regarding Jews is going to escape notice? Other countries don't have their legitimacy attacked. People disagree with French policy they don't disagree with the existence of France. People disagree with Russian policy, they don't deny there is a Russian people and claim they should all move back to Poland. Of course there is a presupposition of antisemitism when you take such a strong position. Why wouldn't there be?

      As for the rest I think there is a bit or irony here for example:

      that these scholars deploy innuendo, assumption, and slander to raise an argument in defense of Israel speaks to the irrational loyalty fostered by the rituals of Zionism.

      I'm assuming "the rituals of Zionism" means Judaism because Zionism itself is a political belief without many rituals. And what exactly with that line do you think you are doing but deploying innuendo?

      For a slander example:

      We have to work doubly hard to highlight the systemic oppression they support and celebrate.

      Nobody celebrates systemic oppression. No one. Oppression is a tool used to accomplish some other end that is seen as justifying the acts required to oppress. By accusing Zionists of "celebrating oppression" you are engaging in the very rhetoric you object to.


      If you want to avoid this sort of dialogue.

      1) Be extremely measured and fair.
      2) Always take Jewish sensitivity into account.

      If that seems like too much trouble, then obviously you consider the end worth engaging in language which America's Jewish minority finds offensive and are justifying that based on how important you think your political objective with regard to Palestine is. It should be understandable to you how people might confuse that choice to not be sensitive with celebrating insensitivity.

  • Freezing and canoeing in Gaza
    • @Annie --

      I don't know where you live, but cities in NJ and PA do emergency dam openings during storms all the time. About 4 years ago there were dozens of them because of the quantity of rain. That's not cruelty it is just physics. The alternative to Northern NJ doing a dam release and flooding us in the center a little is a dam bursting causing an uncontrolled release with water hitting much faster filled with rocks trash doing amazing damage. As bad as those pictures are an uncontrolled release would be far far worse.

      A dam release is a kindness not a cruelty. The cruelty would be not to release. Of course the right way to do this is for the upstream communities and the downstream communities to carefully coordinate. But that requires trust and frequent communication where both parties are doing their best to take each other's needs into account. "Normalization" in other words.

  • Palestinian negotiators angered as Kerry proposes Israeli demands
    • @Shingo --

      We may be at a point of fundamental disagreement here. I think an accusation is either true or false.

      If the Palestinians accuse the Israelis of killing child X and it turns out he/she was killed by friendly fire they owe Israel a sincere public apology. If they failed to do so, then they liars. And that doesn't change even if the Israelis killed child Y. That's absolutely fundamental.

      Your claim was that they tried saying nice stuff. My claim was they didn't. You then claimed the reality forced them to say mean things. I then gave 4 easy examples where the reality did no such thing. You are now excusing lying. No one is forced to lie.

      Similarly doctoring photos. If the Palestinians are giving false reports then the presupposition must become all their reports are false. Doctoring photos is a huge deal.

      And Israel has absolutely has destroyed holy sites. That doesn't change false claims of their intent or their actions. If Palestinians claim the Israelis did A to B they are lying unless the Israelis did A to B, regardless of whether they did C to D or not.

      The Palestinians are thoroughly dishonest in their propaganda. And getting back to the main point, if they running around doing this sort of thing then they haven't tried being complementary. They aren't being forced to lie.

    • @Shingo --

      They don’t need to . Their own domestic courts are bound by the treaty with the ICC.

      So what? Their domestic courts are bound to enforce the Geneva convention as well. Their domestic courts are bound to enforce the agreements against torture. Their domestic courts are bound to enforce EU regulations prohibiting trade with human rights abusers. The ICC will just be reason 56 that if the government wanted to stop trade it could. But it won't be reason #1 that if they don't want to stop trade they will have no choice but to stop trade.

      JeffB: If we assume that with a total European block out Israel’s cost of European imported goods rise 10% and exported goods sales prices fall 10% then we are at a bit over 1% of Israel’s GDP.

      ShingoWhy make such a limited assumption? If trade falls by at least 50%, then not only will that represent 5% of GDP, but the prices of imports will likely double. On top of that, loans and loan guarantees are sure to dry up, along with charitable income. The IDF is in the red to the tune of 20 billion.

      You are counting the same dollars 3 times. 10% is a rather high estimate for additional transportation costs, advertising costs, going through a 3rd party costs, costs of going with more expensive producers outside Europe... That's not a low estimate at all. 2% wouldn't shock me, while 20% would.

      100% is a ridiculous estimate. If Israel isn't selling stuff to Europe they get to recapture some of that productive capacity for their own market. Your figures have them manufacturing SodaStream, tossing it in the ocean and then paying double to import CocaCola. They may be able to sell more SodaStream in friendly countries: the USA, China, India... with higher transportation / advertising costs. If they can't then they save on the price of manufacturing those goods and recapture that productive capacity for the domestic market to fulfill the now wide open market for imports.

      And that's BTW best case a good where sanctions are likely to effective. The number one Israeli export is diamonds (didn't know that) and that's 24% and that's on an international market where producers are mostly interchangeable. All sorts of countries would love to stop trading in African "blood diamonds" and replace them with Israeli diamonds if Europe stopped buying Israel's diamonds. And frankly how will the Europeans possibly enforce this? After that comes medicines (11%) I guarantee you if people in Europe start dying when there is an Israeli medicine available to cure them (especially remember this is Israel which is good at using western media) there will be a backlash.

      But even if I were wrong about 10% and you really did get to 5% of GDP and that did induce a recession, that's it. The banking crisis, the loans... are just a manifestation of what a 5% drop in production looks like. That doesn't go on top of the 5% that is the 5% working its way through the system.

      Israel is just not that close to Europe. Trade in goods is just 32% of Israel trade economy and trade is only a 1/4 of the economy of Israel. And not all of that is to Europe. 27.8% is USA, 7.7% Hong Kong, 4.3% is China is economy. Depending on how you you count the USA can be as high as 38%. Europe by being hesitant about building trade with Israel and constantly doing micro sanctions has diminished their role in the Israeli economy.

      The reality is that 1% of GDP is a generous estimate. 2% of GDP, a mild recession is the absolute outer edge of what Europe is capable of. The idea of seeing Israel going up to 50% or more US trade and having Israel reorient themselves away from the EU and towards the USA permanently is not something European business wants. This is a sanctions policy that I think most EU business would see (and rightly) as hurting the EU more than Israel. So because it can't really change the policy I don't think any serious sanctions regime is likely: there are lots of Europeans that are more upset about the fall of Nokia than the fall of Palestine.

      BTW Citizen. To continue our conversation. If BDS were a serious movement ready to move up to having politicians support it, they would be having international economics write serious whitepapers on different proposed sanctions regimes and various economic models of their effects. We wouldn't be working on basic facts. Policies are scored for impact, and they are scored by lobbying firms. That costs real money.

    • @Shingo & Hostage

      There was just a discussion of this with Lapid. Among Israelis who had left the country during 2011 and had not returned by 2012, 16,000. Same figure for 2010: 15,600. Which is a bit over 2 per thousand. Israel during most of its history averaged 3.2 per thousand.

      The CIA agrees with Israel's figures and puts the net at 1.8 per thousand.

      Finally GDP per capita is 16th up from 21 just 7 years ago. Israel is not low for OECD countries but rather fair and rapidly getting better.

      Italy is an example of a country with high (but not drastic emigration) at 9.26.

      There simply is no crisis at all.

    • @Hostage --

      Israel's place on must development indexes has risen solidly over the last decade including those that look at medium income or adjust for inequality. Inequality is way up in Israel and it wouldn't shock me if poverty is up. The original claim was that the skilled were fleeing because of economic weakness. Fleeing where? Israel is doing better than either the USA or Europe in terms of growth.

    • @Shingo

      i) They've accused Israel of using chemical weapons.
      ii) Multiple times they have accused Israeli soldiers of killing children where the bullets in them came from Palestinian weapons (i.e. they killed their own kids by accident)
      iii) They've doctored photos of damage done during air strikes.
      iv) They made false accusations about israeli attempts to destroy holy sites

      Come on now. It doesn't do any good to pretend that reality isn't happening.

    • @Hostage

      I already gave you an excerpt from the official British policy statement to the EU regarding its handling of arrest warrants for all of the international criminal tribunals.

      Yes you did. And I don't I believe they mean it. They made similar comments about their everlasting binding commitments on things like the Geneva convention which would apply to Livni and the prohibition on torture which apply to Americans who are there all the time.

      You’re simply trying to dissemble and use hubris as a substitute for your lack of knowledge about the subject.

      If you are trying to get into a who knows more about international law contest with me, you win. I'll throw in the towel now. You have me beat and not by a little bit. Where I think your understanding is lacking is political science and history not law. How and why laws have power.

      Quite simply we can observe that the UN's clear cut orders are quite often ignored and openly. The UN has neither the consent of the governed as states or peoples for its laws. It plays a role more like the Pope and Church did in the middle ages than a legal system in the true meaning of the word.

      As for universal jurisdiction, Amnesty International did an exhaustive study this year that cataloged the states which exercise universal jurisdiction over at least one international crime and found that 86 percent of countries still do, usually for war crimes.

      And there have been 0 arrests of Americans. With Americans having committed many many war crimes. Similarly Russians. You need to explain that discrepancy if your system actually worked and did anything.

      The last time I checked, Jonathan Turley was still blogging about the fact that Bush and his cronies couldn’t even board a plane for Canada without worrying about being arrested on their arrival.

      I've heard these claims from Amnesty International. Canada's Attorney General Robert Nicholson at the time said that was BS and there was no intent to do anything of the kind. George Bush was in South Africa 4 days ago, he wasn't arrested. The South Africans knew he was there. 23 months before that Bush was in Africa (Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia ) raising money for cervical cancer. Amnesty International called for his arrest. No one tried.

      1) George Bush admits in his book to having ordered torture. I think he's lying that it was Dick Cheney, but unquestionably there is now reasonable suspicion.
      2) Most of the world are signatories to the convention against torture which mandates such investigations and arrest, regardless of position.

      So if your theory that international law takes precedence over domestic concerns were correct George Bush would have been arrested, many many times on his trips abroad. BTW same with Donald Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld travels all the time (health permitting, he is old) for the Rumsfeld Foundation. . In May 2011 4 people from Code Pink tried to arrest him on war crimes, they were booted out and one arrested.

      You keep ducking the Robert Seldon Lady example. Just a few months ago we've seen what happens with these arrests, no one wants the heat.

      Just ask all of those 90 year-old suspects that the Wiesenthal Center is still pursuing.

      Hitler lost WWI and the current government of Germany doesn't view itself as a continuation. That's not at all the same situation that we are talking about.

      Meanwhile, Rumsfeld is fighting off a flood of lawsuits right here at home over acts committed in Iraq. The Seventh Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling that the former Secretary of Defense can be sued personally for damages by two American military contractors claiming they were detained and tortured in Iraq.

      You are a bit out of date:

      Besides I've never claimed that USA courts may not go after USA officials for misconduct during the Bush administration. That's a totally different thing, it wouldn't be a threat to the United States the way a foreign power doing it would be. I think Vladimir Putin is a war criminal. I also think his crimes were official acts of the Russian state and as such the USA only has the right to go after Russia not Putin individually for it. Going after Putin is an act of war. I think George Bush is a war criminal and I would support action (possibly military action) against any country that went after him for it. George Bush is still my X-president and an attack on him is an attack on me.

    • @Shingo

      With the economy tanking, Israel will collapse and all those Israelis will dust of their second passports and put them to use, just as all the skilled and educated Israelis are already doing.

      The Israeli economy has more than doubled in the last decade. Who do you think is going that, the easter bunny? Those are skilled Israelis. We have population figures, there is no mass emigration from Israel.

      Let’s see the British government try that kind of stunt once the ICC issues a subpoena for those war criminals.

      Do you really believe the British government has a greater degree of respect for the ICC than for its own domestic courts? Yes, they are going to be perfectly happy to pull that kind of stunt. England lived through World War I. They know how countries react to their popular leadership being killed or captured and it isn't pretty. The ICC's position of "I don't like hornets, lets hit the nest with a stick and see what happens" is not something they are going to go along with.

      If the UK thought capturing Israeli leaders would be a good idea, they have plenty of opportunity. What do they need the ICC for?

      It won’t be necessary for anyone to gang up on Israel, just stop trading with them.

      Why hasn't that already happened? Trade has more than doubled in the last decade. In 2009 the EU was really upset about Gaza and to show their strong support for human rights, they froze any progress on future trade agreements all the way through 2011.

      But let's assume they did. Total European trade with Israel is about 30b€ ( That's imports and exports. If we assume that with a total European block out Israel's cost of European imported goods rise 10% and exported goods sales prices fall 10% then we are at a bit over 1% of Israel's GDP. That isn't even enough to cause a recession in Israel. And that BTW all assumes 0% smuggling which we know from many other trade blackouts is not at all what's going to happen.

      The EU doesn't have that much leverage over Israel. The EU would have to do a decade or two of being super nice to Israel to build up enough trade to be able to have the kind of leverage you want them to have. Then they might be able to induce a recession. But the reality is that a country that just recently went through a large scale suicide bombing campaign which on top of everything induced a severe recession to hold on to territory is not going to relinquish it for a moderate recession.

      A moderate depression (10% of GDP) is the minimum I think that's even conceivable to have major effect on Israeli policy. That's $25b. If you were to assume that 100% of Israel's exports to Europe don't get sold anywhere and all those companies go out of business, you still aren't at $25b. You would need something like a blockade involving international sanctions. And then you get into the logistics issues.

      No one who is powerful enough to hurt Israel that badly hates Israel. Lots of countries hate Israel, but they aren't particularly good at projecting power. If they were Israel would have died in the 1950s when it was more hated and much less powerful.

    • @Shingo --

      You are mixing up two things.

      1) What I think will happen mid-term to the Palestinians under their current strategy.
      2) What I think the smart strategy for the Palestinians is and what the results of that strategy would be.

      Those aren't remotely similar. If the Palestinians were being smart they wouldn't be pursuing a two state strategy based on independence. A two state strategy is going to force them to make complex geopolitical choices that work very much to their disadvantage. They are inevitable either end up a vassal of Israel or an enemy. What they should be looking to do is to head that off and make that relationship formal now, while it is something they are freely giving.

      That being said. Saying nice stuff about Israel probably would help at the negotiating table. Calling the Israelis war criminals, accusing them of things they aren't doing, trying to rally the world against them and then expecting Israeli public opinion to support their leadership being nice at the negotiating table is truly dumb.

    • @talknic

      There’s no such thing as ’49 Israel… a negotiated settlement per the Armistice Agreements has never been reached

      I'm not sure exactly what you are arguing, you seem a bit unclear. I agree with you that the armistice agreement shouldn't be binding since both parties indicated they believed it wasn't the border. But then go argue with most of your fellow MWers. Because they most certainly believe the Green Line is a border.

      But mainly "'49 Israel" i.e. the armistice lines is just a conventional term for this particular part of Greater Israel. I'm not attaching much meaning to it.

      The Palestinians have nothing of Israel’s ... How much more non-Israeli territory does Israel want?

      You seem to be using non-Israeli territory for all of Greater Israel. And that's what Palestinians have of Israel's. A recognition the war is over. Israel does value something they can call peace. Because Mexico ceded Colorado, and took the money for Texas the United States doesn't relitigate the issue regularly. Moreover I'm not sure Israel wouldn't be happy with less than 78%. They might be interested in more like 65%. The issue is which 65%.

      Judea, the whole point of putting the Jewish state where it is, ended up mostly on the wrong side of the armistice lines. I don't know that the Jews struggled for millennia to settle next to their ancestral home.

      Finally of course governor Abbas can get a deal far better than President Abbas can ever dream of. The more independent Palestine demands to be, the less they get in terms of territory.

    • For the record since this is getting to be a gang up.

      I have never denied the holocaust happened. I do not now nor have I ever had any non mainstream opinion about the death toll during the holocaust. I haven't done a lot of research so I don't have strong opinions but all the experts seem to put the toll in about and present consistent evidence for their ranges. I do not (to the best of my knowledge) have any particularly non-mainstream beliefs about it.

    • @Hostage

      No one here is talking about actions initiated by private parties through a British court. We are discussing arrest warrants issued by the ICC and the resulting Interpol red notices to non-member states.

      You are right you aren't talking about Universal Jurisdiction because that's proven to be a complete failure. But ten years ago if we were having this debate you would have been. Back then the argument was pretty clear cut.

      a) The Geneva convention unambiguously forbids occupying powers from engaging in behaviors that Israel (arguably) performs like transferring its population into occupied territories and collective punishment.

      b) There are recording of Israeli leaders bragging about these policies.

      c) Hence there was clearly enough evidence for an arrest and trial, as per Rwanda or Yugoslavia.

      d) More importantly Universal Jurisdiction was the whole moral basis for Nazi hunting, in particular the kidnapping of Adolf Eichmann so if Israel wasn't going to argue that its action with respect to Nazi hunting were immoral ....


      And what happened was this legal theory collapsed under real politics. Donald Rumsfeld made it crystal clear that the United States did not recognize a right for European courts to order the kidnapping of foreign leaders. Countries have no authority over one another's leaders. Kidnapping leaders is still an act of war.

      Mind you. Donald Rumsfeld is literate, he is intelligent and he has a fairly good legal department. He was perfectly capable of understanding the arguments and utterly totally unequivocally rejected them. Facing that European leaders changed policy, their black letter law and Universal Jurisdiction collapsed. European leaders do not want to commit acts of war.

      In the case of UJ the USA had to speak out of both sides of its mouth since the USA had also enforced UJ itself. In the case of the ICC, the American political class is horrified by the procedure. The American public despises the idea of a UN court that has the right to scoop Americans up and try them without benefit of a jury. Neither political party supports the ICC. Both parties proudly openly reject it.


      As for Interpol warrants. We just saw in the Robert Seldon Lady case that Interpol will not take on an intelligence service. If an intelligence service is willing to openly state that they view executing an Interpol warrant as an attack they won't do it. Interpol wants to be an international police force, the police do not challenge the military. Their goal is to act with the permission of governments. They are not a military. There have been many cases where the US military and US intelligence services have refused to obey courts and then the issue gets kicked up to congress to resolve. The police don't side with the courts and try and force the military to do anything.

      For exactly the same reason Interpol will not take on Mossad. If the ICC starts issuing warrants for Israelis that Israeli refuses to recognize as legitimate Interpol will not attempt to execute them. Mossad is larger and better funded than Interpol ($1.71b vs. $96m). Interpol would lose that conflict and they have no illusions about that.

      The UN without the Security Council is the UN debating society. We've seen that with the World Court's unambiguous order that Israel needs to demolish the separation wall.

    • @Shingo

      Actually it will compel all signatories to the ICC to be compelled to arrest those jerks should they set foot in the countries.

      Yep. Just like the arrest warrant against Livni compelled the British government not to see her off but instead arrest her. We just had a test of these warrants with Robert Seldon Lady. Even when they do arrest them once the arresting force understands they are up against an intelligence service they let them go.

      But even if not. So what. Those 25 won't be the first to die (or effectively die) for Israel they won't be the last. They will be martyrs and heroes forever.

      So yeah, talk tough and enjoy the status quo while you can, because it’s about to go pear shaped.

      When? I've been hearing about how the world is about ready to gang up on Israel since the 1996 bombings. So when exactly does the huge gang up on Israel start? When should I expect Israel's GDP to be 10% lower than its all time high (a moderate depression) as a result of sanction?

    • @Stephen --

      That's an excellent point. There is a large Palestinian population in America. Diana Buttu (Canadian) is an incredibly effective spokesperson because she thinks like a westerner. She's a better than average politician by domestic standards as a spokesperson... I know she's on the outs with Abbas and Erkat but someone like her would do a world of good.

      She projects an air of being a tough negotiator but someone with whom I could imagine peace.

Showing comments 300 - 201