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JonIrenicus
06-08-2010, 03:50 AM
In the interest of piling on.



http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/it-s-time-to-stop-demonizing-israel-1.294833

rfrobison
06-08-2010, 05:46 AM
Excellent essay.

bjkeefe
06-08-2010, 12:59 PM
In the interest of piling on.



http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/it-s-time-to-stop-demonizing-israel-1.294833

Eh, he makes some good points, I suppose, but I wish he had made more clear the view that righteous criticism of some of the actions taken by the Israeli government does not equal "demonizing Israel." Not by a long shot.

opposable_crumbs
06-08-2010, 07:18 PM
Pretty weak offering that relied on the same empty cliches, many of which were flat out wrong. Admittedly I didn't make it to the end.

JonIrenicus
06-08-2010, 07:54 PM
Pretty weak offering that relied on the same empty cliches, many of which were flat out wrong. Admittedly I didn't make it to the end.

The cliches are not empty, it is the mind of the person hearing/reading them that is the problem.

Whatfur
06-08-2010, 08:48 PM
Pretty weak offering that relied on the same empty cliches, many of which were flat out wrong. Admittedly I didn't make it to the end.

I hate to point out the irony of starting your post with the words "Pretty weak offering" when you point to cliches and errors without specifics and then end it with and admission of ignorance. Feel free to itemize the errors so a real discussion can take place.

Thanks Jon...thanks Bernard. Truth is easy.

opposable_crumbs
06-08-2010, 09:18 PM
I only wish I hand BHL's tireless work ethic, as it is, I'll just point to this one line
We mustn’t tire of reminding others: the blockade concerns only arms and the material needed to manufacture them.

If you are a fan of irony you'll love this paragraph, enjoy:

When he [Henning Mankell] tells us he is thinking of forbidding the translation of his books into Hebrew, how can he really forget the sacrosanct distinction between a stupid or wrong-headed government and the masses of those who do not identify with it?

bjkeefe
06-08-2010, 10:24 PM
Feel free to itemize the errors so a real discussion can take place.

What oc should answer:

I have already "entertained the rest of us". Thanks for playing along, baby cakes.

Back to this thread:

Truth is easy.

That is without question the funniest thing YOU, TSOF, have ever said.

Whatfur
06-08-2010, 10:29 PM
I only wish I hand BHL's tireless work ethic, as it is, I'll just point to this one line

...and yours in pinching out this bit of truth while ignoring a couple paragraphs of others which fly in the face of your assumed point here.


If you are a fan of irony you'll love this paragraph, enjoy:

Pretty sure irony is exactly what he was reaching for here. Whats your point? Sweden has been a 200 year embarrassment and their conduct during WWII was pretty much criminal. In some ways, they are currently getting their just desserts.

Lyle
06-08-2010, 10:33 PM
Love that guy. The Christopher Hitchens of France, sort of.

opposable_crumbs
06-08-2010, 10:58 PM
Whats your point? Sweden has been a 200 year embarrassment and their conduct during WWII was pretty much criminal. In some ways, they are currently getting their just desserts.
Well if anyone is good at defending criminality, or at least attempting to, it's BHL, whether they are Polish or Israeli or possibly Swedish.

opposable_crumbs
06-09-2010, 10:05 AM
Thanks Tayyip

Israel eases Gaza embargo to allow in previously banned food items (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gXp6fvvgQLELYgmlMBK-EaQ8A1WQD9G7MJ7O0)

Florian
06-09-2010, 01:22 PM
Sweden has been a 200 year embarrassment and their conduct during WWII was pretty much criminal. In some ways, they are currently getting their just desserts.

An embarrassment that lasts 200 years....for whom exactly? Leaving aside WW II, about which Sweden could do very little, what exactly is your point? Is Sweden an embarrassment for having lost its empire?

From Wikipedia:

"Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century, the country expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire. The empire grew to be one of the great powers of Europe in the 17th and early 18th century. Most of the conquered territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries. The eastern half of Sweden, present-day Finland, was lost to Russia in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Sweden by military means forced Norway into a personal union which lasted until 1905Since then, Sweden has been at peace, adopting a non-aligned foreign policy in peacetime and neutrality in wartime."


I am glad you approve of BHL, who seldom disapproves of anything Israel does, but maybe you are carrying your francophilia beyond the call of duty?

kezboard
06-09-2010, 01:29 PM
He does make some good points, but most of them are fairly obvious: the prime minister of Turkey is being hypocritical for making a stink about Gaza while denying the Armenian genocide; the flotilla was deliberately provocative; Egypt also maintains the blockade and it has the tacit approval of other Arab states. So if he's trying to make the point that Israel isn't an evil monster and that it's wrong to suggest that it is, thanks Bernard, point well-taken. However, this is where he goes over the rails:

Destitution of the anti-totalitarian dialectic, its imitations and its reversals. Confusion of an era when we combat democracies as if they were dictatorships or fascist states.

So you can't criticize a democracy? You can't boycott a democracy? Or is he saying that Israel could never do anything evil because it's a democracy? Sorry. This points to something that drives me crazy about defenders of Israel: on the one hand they complain that Israel is held to a higher standard than other states, that there's a greater uproar over the flotilla thing than, say, the North Koreans blowing up the Cheonan ship, and then on the other hand they say that we should support Israel because it's a democracy. How can you not see the contradiction there?

nikkibong
06-09-2010, 01:40 PM
He does make some good points, but most of them are fairly obvious: the prime minister of Turkey is being hypocritical for making a stink about Gaza while denying the Armenian genocide; the flotilla was deliberately provocative; Egypt also maintains the blockade and it has the tacit approval of other Arab states. So if he's trying to make the point that Israel isn't an evil monster and that it's wrong to suggest that it is, thanks Bernard, point well-taken.

Kez, it seems he's not addressing this point to us. He appears to be pushing back against a lot of the more distressing things he's seen in the French press. (specifically, the leftist tabloid, Liberation.) Nous sommes tous israelis?



So you can't criticize a democracy? You can't boycott a democracy? Or is he saying that Israel could never do anything evil because it's a democracy? Sorry. This points to something that drives me crazy about defenders of Israel: on the one hand they complain that Israel is held to a higher standard than other states, that there's a greater uproar over the flotilla thing than, say, the North Koreans blowing up the Cheonan ship, and then on the other hand they say that we should support Israel because it's a democracy. How can you not see the contradiction there?

I actually can't. Maybe I'm just obtuse right now -- only one cup of coffee so far. Could you please elaborate on the contradiction?

Florian
06-09-2010, 02:01 PM
Kez, it seems he's not addressing this point to us. He appears to be pushing back against a lot of the more distressing things he's seen in the French press. (specifically, the leftist tabloid, Liberation.) Nous sommes tous israelis??

Israéliens....mais passons.

Calling Libération a leftist tabloid is a bit like calling Nation a leftist tabloid. Perhaps you would, but no one in France would. Indeed there is really no equivalent of the British and American tabloid press in France.

I seldom read Libération, but its views on Israel are hardly what you would call distressing in Europe. Only in the US.

Whatfur
06-09-2010, 02:15 PM
Frank going to Wiki? What is this world coming to?
...

Wiki Wiki Wiki...

... but maybe you are carrying your francophilia beyond the call of duty?

My ancestors were pretty much forced out of Sweden in the middle of the 19th century because of religious persecution. Because of their religion they were not allowed to vote, own land, etc. This was a large if not predominant reason Swedes came to America. Quite the switch to where they find themselves now, eh?...thus the "just desserts". In any case and unlike yourself, I was not looking to leave "aside" their WWII involvment nor was Bernard.

nikkibong
06-09-2010, 02:34 PM
Israéliens....mais passons.

Calling Libération a leftist tabloid is a bit like calling Nation a leftist tabloid. Perhaps you would, but no one in France would. Indeed there is really no equivalent of the British and American tabloid press in France.

I seldom read Libération, but its views on Israel are hardly what you would call distressing in Europe. Only in the US.

Florian-

By tabloid I was referring to the actual physical shape of the product. Per wikipedia, A tabloid is an industry term for a smaller newspaper format per spread; It's been a couple of years since I've been to France, but I seem to remember Libe fitting that shape...and definition.

bjkeefe
06-09-2010, 02:55 PM
Frank going to Wiki? What is this world coming to?

If I had to guess, a desire to put the fodder where the cattle could reach it.

My ancestors were pretty much forced out of Sweden in the middle of the 19th century because of religious persecution. Because of their religion they were not allowed to vote, own land, etc. This was a large if not predominant reason Swedes came to America.

Sorry to hear that. Sorry also to hear the larger lesson did not appear to take, in your case.

Florian
06-09-2010, 02:56 PM
Florian-

By tabloid I was referring to the actual physical shape of the product. Per wikipedia, A tabloid is an industry term for a smaller newspaper format per spread; It's been a couple of years since I've been to France, but I seem to remember Libe fitting that shape...and definition.

Calling Libération a "leftist" tabloid and in the context of your remarks about BHL I think you had the pejorative meaning in mind. But I accept your dodge.

bjkeefe
06-09-2010, 02:58 PM
Florian-

By tabloid I was referring to the actual physical shape of the product. [...]

Good plausible deniability, but I have to say, I read the connotation the same way.

Even if you didn't mean it in the derogatory sense, you are an experienced enough wordsmith that, at least, you should have been aware how the term might play.

popcorn_karate
06-09-2010, 06:43 PM
So you can't criticize a democracy? You can't boycott a democracy? Or is he saying that Israel could never do anything evil because it's a democracy? Sorry. This points to something that drives me crazy about defenders of Israel: on the one hand they complain that Israel is held to a higher standard than other states, that there's a greater uproar over the flotilla thing than, say, the North Koreans blowing up the Cheonan ship, and then on the other hand they say that we should support Israel because it's a democracy. How can you not see the contradiction there?


I actually can't. Maybe I'm just obtuse right now -- only one cup of coffee so far. Could you please elaborate on the contradiction?

Israelis want it both ways: they want to be perceived and treated like a liberal democratic state, but at the same time they find it intolerable to be held to a moral standard any higher than that of North Korea.

JonIrenicus
06-09-2010, 08:58 PM
Israelis want it both ways: they want to be perceived and treated like a liberal democratic state, but at the same time they find it intolerable to be held to a moral standard any higher than that of North Korea.

Correction. They find it intolerable to be held to an unreasonable moral standard. One that we or other European countries would not tolerate for themselves. Particularly if the offending party was not arab/muslim and was instead western. To many, that places a handicap on expectations from THAT group. And like all sloppy aesthetic filters of looking at the world like an over emphasis on an external locus of control like all good left leaning people hold to be dominant, they see a greater influence on palestinian suffering to be caused by outside agents like the Israelis, not themselves. And so they over damp the self inflicted pathologies, and highlight settlements as the primary agitation between the two peoples, as if decades of civilian attacks and declarations of destruction as your primary goal are simply minor irritants to peace. As if settlement freezes and reversals is the keystone by which hostility and antagonisms will end. But people never go that far, never make demands on the non Israeli party, or expect anything from them. It's as if cooperation as a concept can be achieved by one party.

Yes. I sometimes wonder what the difference between people is, ok not sometimes, all the damn time. Why is it that the same information falls on people so differently. It must have to do with their baggage, and so whos baggage here is more problematic?

TwinSwords
06-10-2010, 12:49 AM
Good plausible deniability, but I have to say, I read the connotation the same way.

Even is you didn't mean it in the derogatory sense, you are an experienced enough wordsmith that, at least, you should have been aware how the term might play.

Glad you guys didn't fall for that.

Wonderment
06-10-2010, 12:58 AM
Hass, an Israeli Jew, has lived in the Occupied Territories as a Ha-Aretz journalist for years.

Click me. (http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/not-by-cement-alone-1.295036)

Florian
06-10-2010, 02:46 AM
Why is it that the same information falls on people so differently? It must have to do with their baggage, and so whose baggage here is more problematic?

Because some people know some history and see ongoing events in the perspective of history.

Your tireless support for Israel against the wicked Palestinians no doubt reflects well on your character (and I am sure it tickles your vanity to think that you are standing up for lofty moral principles in this forum of moral relativists and Israel bashers), but it is tiresome nonetheless. The conflict between the state of Israel and the Palestinians cannot be reduced to a comic book battle between good and evil. It is rooted in history, and will only be ended when Israel accepts its historical responsibility for the present condition of the Palestinians. I know that moral ambiguity of any kind troubles the conscience of many Americans, but that is the result of the history of your country.

I quoted these two passages in another exchange. You might want to think about them:

Abba Eban (former Foreign Minister of Israel): "The Palestinian Arabs, were it not for the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate, could have counted on eventual independence either as a separate state or in an Arab context acceptable to them....It was impossible for us to avoid struggling for Jewish statehood and equally impossible for them to grant us what we asked. If they had submitted to Zionism with docility, they would have been the first people in history to have voluntarily renounced their majority status."

Amos Oz (Israeli writer): "Zionism is a movement of national liberation, which has no need of any 'consent' or 'agreement' from the Arabs. But it must recognize that the conflict between us and the Palestinians is not a cheap Western in which 'goodies' are fighting against 'baddies'. It is more like a Greek tragedy. It represents two conflicting rights. The Palestinian Arabs have a strong and legitimate claim, and the Israelis must recognize this, without this recognition leading us into self-denial or feelings of guilt. We are bound to accept painful compromise, and admit that the land of Israel is the homeland of two nations, and we must accept its partition in one form or another."

rfrobison
06-10-2010, 09:41 AM
I submit, Florian, that even after all the bloodshed and disappointment of the last few years, the majority of Israelis are willing to accept, at least in the abstract, that the Palestinians are a legitimate nation with a legitimate claim to statehood.

I am less certain that the Palestinians, having been imbued with a sense that they are history's greatest victims, are willing to accept the equally powerful claims of Jews to some of the same land. Moreover, many have been seduced by the siren song of jihad and martyrdom--something that absolves them of the difficult task of having to live with their Jewish neighbors, rather than kill them or be killed by them. Both of these, when you think about it, are much easier, and in a way more comforting in that the destination is certain.

Peace entails doubt, and both sides seem reluctant to give up the certainties of their own tragic national stories.

At some point, Israelis will have to move beyond theoretical acceptance of Palestinian statehood to make the territorial, and political, and perhaps most importantly, the psychological concessions to allow that state to be born and to its people to live in dignity.

The Palestinians, for their part, will have to accept the reality of Israel's existence; that they will never succeed in reversing the naqba--insofar as that means erasing the "Zionist Entity."

So what is it to be? Permanent siege and endless occupation? Endless jihad and the comforts of martyrdom and the afterlife? Or will these estranged cousins take the harder road to coexistence and peace?

I don't know the answer. I only know what I hope for.

Florian
06-10-2010, 04:41 PM
I submit, Florian, that even after all the bloodshed and disappointment of the last few years, the majority of Israelis are willing to accept, at least in the abstract, that the Palestinians are a legitimate nation with a legitimate claim to statehood.

I am less certain that the Palestinians, having been imbued with a sense that they are history's greatest victims, are willing to accept the equally powerful claims of Jews to some of the same land. Moreover, many have been seduced by the siren song of jihad and martyrdom--something that absolves them of the difficult task of having to live with their Jewish neighbors, rather than kill them or be killed by them. Both of these, when you think about it, are much easier, and in a way more comforting in that the destination is certain.

Peace entails doubt, and both sides seem reluctant to give up the certainties of their own tragic national stories.

At some point, Israelis will have to move beyond theoretical acceptance of Palestinian statehood to make the territorial, and political, and perhaps most importantly, the psychological concessions to allow that state to be born and to its people to live in dignity.

The Palestinians, for their part, will have to accept the reality of Israel's existence; that they will never succeed in reversing the naqba--insofar as that means erasing the "Zionist Entity."

So what is it to be? Permanent siege and endless occupation? Endless jihad and the comforts of martyrdom and the afterlife? Or will these estranged cousins take the harder road to coexistence and peace?

I don't know the answer. I only know what I hope for.

There may once have been a time when the majority of Israelis were willing to accept that the Palestinians had a legitimate claim to statehood, "at least in the abstract," as you put it. I don't think this is true anymore, either in the abstract or in the concrete---the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and the frankly racist, anti-Arab attitudes of Likud and other extreme religious parties (about which I know very little) isn't very encouraging! Earlier Israeli governments, more secular and European in their orientation, certainly paid lip service to the idea of a Palestinian state, but with the help of the stupidity of Palestinian leadership they could always say that the time was not yet ripe for it. As for the Palestinians, I think that their religious fanaticism has only grown in proportion to the hopelessness of their political situation. The one is the result of the other. It is unfair to blame Hamas for being dedicated to the destruction of Israel when Israel has always been dedicated, in deed if not in word, to the non-existence of a Palestinian state.

bjkeefe
06-10-2010, 06:18 PM
Peace entails doubt, and both sides seem reluctant to give up the certainties of their own tragic national stories.

Nice line.

With wider applications, as well.

JonIrenicus
06-10-2010, 06:29 PM
There may once have been a time when the majority of Israelis were willing to accept that the Palestinians had a legitimate claim to statehood, "at least in the abstract," as you put it. I don't think this is true anymore, either in the abstract or in the concrete---the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and the frankly racist, anti-Arab attitudes of Likud and other extreme religious parties (about which I know very little) isn't very encouraging! Earlier Israeli governments, more secular and European in their orientation, certainly paid lip service to the idea of a Palestinian state, but with the help of the stupidity of Palestinian leadership they could always say that the time was not yet ripe for it. As for the Palestinians, I think that their religious fanaticism has only grown in proportion to the hopelessness of their political situation. The one is the result of the other. It is unfair to blame Hamas for being dedicated to the destruction of Israel when Israel has always been dedicated, in deed if not in word, to the non-existence of a Palestinian state.

And right there is the rub that separates the left from the non left. Palestinian intransigence is more understandable and tolerable and indeed, justified, as it is a direct result of the actions of the Israelis.

I see. So the actions of the Palestinians are a direct result of Israeli actions, and Israeli actions are a direct result of... what exactly? Do they operate in some sort of vacuum?

So the party with the free will and responsibility and blame is the more western party, and the palestinians? willows blowing in the wind? simply reacting the the hardships placed upon them externally, and none of those hardships are self inflicted?


There are surely racists on both sides, which side do you think has more racists as a percentage of the population? Or which has a higher intensity of it?

Seeing as that the leftist logic maintains that malice and vice stems from western actions, presumably before the creation of Israel, there was no body of racism towards jews from neighboring arabs/muslims.


Because as we know, with a large sampling of arab/muslim societies, they tend to be MORE tolerant and liberal right?

I really, REALLY am sick of the constant deflections of dysfunctions caused by the self and blamed on the other. I get that every fibre in your liberal core demands external rationales for bad behavior, with the leftist twist that the only serious negative consequences of external behavior that matter are western in origin, but for once in your life can you take off the wine goggles and look at the world as it is instead of as you expect it to be with that disgusting fog?

rfrobison
06-10-2010, 06:44 PM
There may once have been a time when the majority of Israelis were willing to accept that the Palestinians had a legitimate claim to statehood, "at least in the abstract," as you put it. I don't think this is true anymore, either in the abstract or in the concrete---the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and the frankly racist, anti-Arab attitudes of Likud and other extreme religious parties (about which I know very little) isn't very encouraging! Earlier Israeli governments, more secular and European in their orientation, certainly paid lip service to the idea of a Palestinian state, but with the help of the stupidity of Palestinian leadership they could always say that the time was not yet ripe for it. As for the Palestinians, I think that their religious fanaticism has only grown in proportion to the hopelessness of their political situation. The one is the result of the other. It is unfair to blame Hamas for being dedicated to the destruction of Israel when Israel has always been dedicated, in deed if not in word, to the non-existence of a Palestinian state.

The pathologies of the two sides are mutually reinforcing. I see little point in trying to pin the ultimate responsibility for the long and bloody conflict on one side or the other--though it is certainly fair and right to condemn specific acts of violence as they happen.

Historians can debate and apportion blame as they wish from the comfort of their seminars. Armchair policymakers like me can muse and pontificate in cyberspace, but ultimately it isn't up to us what happens. Sad but true.

AemJeff
06-10-2010, 06:46 PM
The pathologies of the two sides are mutually reinforcing. I see little point in trying to pin the ultimate responsibility for the long and bloody conflict on one side or the other--though it is certainly fair and right to condemn specific acts of violence as they happen.

Historians can debate and apportion blame as they wish from the comfort of their seminars. Armchair policymakers like me can muse and pontificate in cyberspace, but ultimately it isn't up to us what happens. Sad but true.

Now, this is something I can agree with.

listener
06-10-2010, 10:32 PM
Now, this is something I can agree with.

Yes, I too thought that was well put.

Florian
06-11-2010, 03:05 AM
The pathologies of the two sides are mutually reinforcing. I see little point in trying to pin the ultimate responsibility for the long and bloody conflict on one side or the other--though it is certainly fair and right to condemn specific acts of violence as they happen.

Historians can debate and apportion blame as they wish from the comfort of their seminars. Armchair policymakers like me can muse and pontificate in cyberspace, but ultimately it isn't up to us what happens. Sad but true.

And I wasn't trying to pin "ultimate" responsibility on anyone--a meaningless expression in any case when talking about history. I thought I had made that abundantly clear when I quoted Eban and Oz.

I see no acknowledgement by the pro-Israel camp in the US that there is a tragic conflict of two "rights," of two national narratives. There is just a lot of moralistic and journalistic bombast, unleavened by knowledge of history.

Florian
06-11-2010, 03:09 AM
And right there is the rub that separates the left from the non left. Palestinian intransigence is more understandable and tolerable and indeed, justified, as it is a direct result of the actions of the Israelis.

I see. So the actions of the Palestinians are a direct result of Israeli actions, and Israeli actions are a direct result of... what exactly? Do they operate in some sort of vacuum?

So the party with the free will and responsibility and blame is the more western party, and the palestinians? willows blowing in the wind? simply reacting the the hardships placed upon them externally, and none of those hardships are self inflicted?


There are surely racists on both sides, which side do you think has more racists as a percentage of the population? Or which has a higher intensity of it?

Seeing as that the leftist logic maintains that malice and vice stems from western actions, presumably before the creation of Israel, there was no body of racism towards jews from neighboring arabs/muslims.


Because as we know, with a large sampling of arab/muslim societies, they tend to be MORE tolerant and liberal right?

I really, REALLY am sick of the constant deflections of dysfunctions caused by the self and blamed on the other. I get that every fibre in your liberal core demands external rationales for bad behavior, with the leftist twist that the only serious negative consequences of external behavior that matter are western in origin, but for once in your life can you take off the wine goggles and look at the world as it is instead of as you expect it to be with that disgusting fog?

I am heartily sick of you as well. You obviously understood nothing of what I said.

Ocean
06-11-2010, 07:34 AM
I see no acknowledgement by the pro-Israel camp in the US that there is a tragic conflict of two "rights," of two national narratives.

I like that statement. I captures how extreme groups continue to think in terms of good guys - bad guys. And of course, the non-thinking public believes the tale. It is a tragic story indeed.

JonIrenicus
06-11-2010, 08:01 AM
I like that statement. I captures how extreme groups continue to think in terms of good guys - bad guys. And of course, the non-thinking public believes the tale. It is a tragic story indeed.

Forget good vs bad, I'd settle for an acknowledgement of better or worse. But not even that can be granted. To see no distinction between a group motivated to protect its peoples lives vs a group motivated to destroy the lives of others, shows active disregard for their own peoples lives by using their own civilians as shields for attacks, who murder opposition on their own side for not toeing the same hard line, but of course neither side is better or worse.


And when the fools are backed into a corner on points so basic a child could understand the right path, they perform a reversal, declaring the acts of the worse group justified/understandable as they stem from and are caused by the other group.

What a nice little loop. No responsibility, a blank check for behavior on the one side, and ultimate blame for the other side - both for its own actions AND for the actions of the other who of course, were forced into behaving badly by the Israelis.


I'm not neutral. I don't see both parties as equally at fault or problematic, each sides motivations as equally benign. The thing is Ocean, neither does Florian, he just chooses the worst side to give the benefit of the doubt and helps them by providing them cover by shifting the focus of the greater problem to the lesser one.

Whatfur
06-11-2010, 08:51 AM
A little flower from the Muslim Student Association. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fSvyv0urTE)

rfrobison
06-11-2010, 10:15 AM
Hmm, well, I'd say that my sympathies tilt toward Israel, if for no other reason than they ARE a democracy. And as great as the suffering of the Palestinian people has been and is, their leaders have never shown any sustained willingness to compromise with their Israeli counterparts on the issue of co-existence with the Jewish state. Nor have they shown much commitment to playing by democratic rules, even among themselves.

But I think you're judging Americans (even those of us who lean toward Israel) a bit too harshly and lumping us all into one big ahistorical, bombastic, moralist camp.

Did my previous post not persuade you that I, for one, can see both sides of the story? I do not I think I'm alone. Not by a long shot.

And are you not guilty of the same moralistic bombast when pointing the finger (yet again) at Uncle Sam?

That's a rhetorical question, by the way. You needn't answer. Quite frankly, your "Americans are too ignorant and too provincial and too Manichean to understand the complexities of the situation" spiel is a bit tedious.

I have said before and I wish to reaffirm that I enjoy your comments, and you do bring a unique insight to many of the topics discussed on this site. So I hope you will not take offense at the foregoing but, well, I simply have difficulty with your constant need to denigrate Americans. Given the diversity of views expressed here, we surely cannot all be guilty of the flaws of character and intellect that you seem compelled to ascribe to us.

Florian
06-11-2010, 12:46 PM
Hmm, well, I'd say that my sympathies tilt toward Israel, if for no other reason than they ARE a democracy. And as great as the suffering of the Palestinian people has been and is, their leaders have never shown any sustained willingness to compromise with their Israeli counterparts on the issue of co-existence with the Jewish state. Nor have they shown much commitment to playing by democratic rules, even among themselves..

So what if Israel is a democracy? Israel has no desire to co-exist with the Palestinians on an equal footing, either by granting them independent statehood or granting them citizenship in Israel. This is perfectly obvious to anyone who has followed the situation over the past 20 years.

But I think you're judging Americans (even those of us who lean toward Israel) a bit too harshly and lumping us all into one big ahistorical, bombastic, moralist camp. .

I spoke of the pro-Israel camp in the US. It is bombastic and moralistic and historically uninformed. Sorry, if you find that offensive, but I am not altogether surprised: you clearly identify with that camp.

Did my previous post not persuade you that I, for one, can see both sides of the story? I do not I think I'm alone. Not by a long shot..

No, it did not persuade me. And this post persuades me that I was right not to be persuaded.

And are you not guilty of the same moralistic bombast when pointing the finger (yet again) at Uncle Sam? .

How so? I said nothing about Uncle Sam in the above posts, although I do think that there has been a decline in American political culture in recent memory.

That's a rhetorical question, by the way. You needn't answer. Quite frankly, your "Americans are too ignorant and too provincial and too Manichean to understand the complexities of the situation" spiel is a bit tedious..

Sorry that you find it so tedious. The truth is often tedious.

I have said before and I wish to reaffirm that I enjoy your comments, and you do bring a unique insight to many of the topics discussed on this site. So I hope you will not take offense at the foregoing but, well, I simply have difficulty with your constant need to denigrate Americans. Given the diversity of views expressed here, we surely cannot all be guilty of the flaws of character and intellect that you seem compelled to ascribe to us.

I do not feel the constant need to denigrate Americans, and I take offense at you for saying this again and again. But I feel no compunction whatever about condemning American foreign policy in the Middle East and for thinking that those who support it are stupid, misinformed and bombastic.

popcorn_karate
06-11-2010, 04:55 PM
I see no acknowledgement by the pro-Israel camp in the US that there is a tragic conflict of two "rights," of two national narratives. There is just a lot of moralistic and journalistic bombast, unleavened by knowledge of history.

and JonI is bound and determined to prove exactly how accurate that statement is.

<sigh>

rfrobison
06-11-2010, 05:34 PM
So what if Israel is a democracy? Israel has no desire to co-exist with the Palestinians on an equal footing, either by granting them independent statehood or granting them citizenship in Israel. This is perfectly obvious to anyone who has followed the situation over the past 20 years.

Madrid peace conference: 1991; Oslo Accords: 1993; Camp David: 2000; Taba summit 2001..."Proximity talks": 2010.

These are just a few examples of negotiations on some sort of two-state solution to which Israel was a party. You may believe the Israelis did not (and are not) conduct[ing] these talks in good faith, and you may be correct. But that is exactly what the Israelis say about the Palestinians.

So, in fact, both sides are partially to blame for the current impasse--as I DID, in fact acknowledge in my earlier post, and as you seem unable or unwilling to concede. You point the finger of blame mostly at Israel; I tend to do the opposite. Who is objectively right or wrong is so irrelevant it's comical. It reminds me of a quip attributed to Henry Kissinger: "Why are academic disputes so vicious? Because the stakes are so low."

Florian
06-12-2010, 01:18 AM
Madrid peace conference: 1991; Oslo Accords: 1993; Camp David: 2000; Taba summit 2001..."Proximity talks": 2010.

These are just a few examples of negotiations on some sort of two-state solution to which Israel was a party. You may believe the Israelis did not (and are not) conduct[ing] these talks in good faith, and you may be correct. But that is exactly what the Israelis say about the Palestinians.."

There is a fundamental disparity between the two parties: Israel is a state, the Palestinians are stateless. Israel has no intention of granting the Palestinians statehood, except in the framework of a "Greater Israel," i.e. a collection of semi-autonomous communities separated from one another by Jewish settlements, bantoustans in short.

The Oslo Accords were never accepted by the Likud and other religious parties. Rabin paid the price for naively thinking that his compatriots could live together in peace, side by side, with the Palestinians. All the other talks you mention were failures.

Who was/is in good faith? In bad faith? What does it matter since it is perfectly obvious to anyone not blinded by prejudice that Israel has no intention of granting the Palestinians what they want.

So I do not agree with the following.

So, in fact, both sides are partially to blame for the current impasse--as I DID, in fact acknowledge in my earlier post, and as you seem unable or unwilling to concede. You point the finger of blame mostly at Israel; I tend to do the opposite. Who is objectively right or wrong is so irrelevant it's comical. It reminds me of a quip attributed to Henry Kissinger: "Why are academic disputes so vicious? Because the stakes are so low."

Academic disputes generally are comical. But this isn't an academic dispute. It is a dispute about historical truth. It may have no consequences for us, but for the Palestinians and Israelis the questions of quid facti and quid juris are questions of life and death.

JonIrenicus
06-12-2010, 02:54 AM
So what if Israel is a democracy? Israel has no desire to co-exist with the Palestinians on an equal footing, either by granting them independent statehood or granting them citizenship in Israel. This is perfectly obvious to anyone who has followed the situation over the past 20 years.


For the sake of argument, let us assume that is true. Why? I think the answer to that question makes all the difference in the world.


If the reason is that they have no want of a Palestinian state because they want it all for themselves, then that is not a defensible position. If the reason they do not want go forward with a palestinian state and an opening of check points and a removal of the blockade is that they believe by doing so they open themselves for an assault on their people, then that is a very different thing.

***
Stop here. Do you see any distinction between those two rationales for staying statehood (in principle, even IF you think neither is the option)? If yes, then continue on. If no, then we ought to simply stop. We are not in the same moral universe and our ethical frameworks are incompatible.
***

I believe the latter is the case. And so yes, I am more tolerant of an Israel staying the effort of some sort of palestinian state until they can be better assured it is not simply a means to attack and destroy Israel.



If you want to know why that take is so much easier for me to hold onto, the best I can give you is a parallel. Criminality.


Do I think people ought to be free to go and do what they please? Sure. Do I want people locked away in cages? Does that make me happy? No, no it does not. And yet I condone the forfeiture of peoples freedoms all the time, as do you, and anyone else reading this. Not based on race, not based on class, based on destructive and harmful behaviors that need to be checked, isolated until turned into a more benign state and then (and ideally only then) let loose.


Are there mass demonstrations of people arguing that the removal of criminals freedoms is wrong? No. Because people tend to care more about the safety of innocent people than the freedom of criminals. Many of which, if released, would cause net harm to society.


Now the palestinian case is not that strong, clearly most palestinians are not criminals, and yet they elected what I deem essentially a criminal gang with criminal intent as their leaders.

We know the answer about what to do with criminal individuals. There is no contest about the removal of freedoms there. It is accepted.


But what of a large section of a population with criminal sympathies against a state? What do you do then? Allow perfect freedom? Unchecked sovereignty? Right of return? And what happens when the people who state clearly they have no interest in coexistence are the majority?


You see, too me, the rationale of why we do things is very important, and in my view Israeli actions are closer to dealing with a criminal population than an apartheid system. And that gives them more leeway in my view.

I told you and others how to get me on their side. Israels actions in the absence of palestinian aggression or declarations of non coexistence or elections of groups like Hamas would NOT be justified.

They would have no leg to stand on, all they need do is forfeit the rockets and aggression and civilian attacks, and human shields and my sympathies would fall into their camp.

I cannot do that now, because for the non left, those things MEAN something, like not getting the right to perfect unfettered freedom. Crocodile tears is all I have.


Now if someone wants to make a Kleimanesque point that the Israeli policy is counterproductive, that the harder line is doing more damage than good, I am PERFECTLY open to that argument. Perhaps the blanket bans that effect the innocent along with the guilty is causing more harm than good.

But I will not, CANNOT, look at Israels actions and reject them as the actions of some demonic apartheid state. Intent matters, the why matters. Not just results.

It would bother me that the palestinians had no state infinitely more if there was less aggression in their ranks. But, there I go again, holding them to standards higher than a dog. I am such a racist. If only I were more left that kind of standard and expectation would seem just and right.

rfrobison
06-12-2010, 03:18 AM
There is a fundamental disparity between the two parties: Israel is a state, the Palestinians are stateless. Israel has no intention of granting the Palestinians statehood, except in the framework of a "Greater Israel," i.e. a collection of semi-autonomous communities separated from one another by Jewish settlements, bantoustans in short.

That may, in fact, be the policy of the current Israeli government, but governments can and do change--in democracies. That's why Israel's democratic nature is important. To the extent that the Israelis want to be accepted among the civilized nations of the earth, they will have to make compromises; as will the Palestinians. Again, as per my previous.

You may feel such values no longer obtain in Israeli society, but for the sake of everyone ensnared in this net, you'd better hope you're mistaken. Over the very long term--I don't even care to speculate just how long--I'm optimistic. If South Africa under apartheid* could be negotiated away, if the troubles in Northern Ireland can be talked into irrelevance, so can the Middle East dispute be resolved. It is a matter of self-preservation--for both parties.

*[Note to JI and anyone else who may be reading this, I am not equating in any way the situation of South African Blacks under apartheid and the conflict over Israel-Palestine. I cited it merely as an example of a long and apparently intractable dispute that was, in fact, tractable.]

Academic disputes generally are comical. But this isn't an academic dispute. It is a dispute about historical truth. It may have no consequences for us, but for the Palestinians and Israelis the questions of quid facti and quid juris are questions of life and death.

That much we do agree on, anyway. Perhaps we should adjourn this round of our own peace process and call it a day.

Florian
06-12-2010, 03:38 AM
Jonirenicus writes....

I think I have made my point of view clear in this exchange and in an earlier exchange with ray in seattle.

Contrary to what you seem to think, I am not a partisan. I neither approve nor disapprove of Israel (or the Palestinians) from a moral point of view. In fact I am extremely reluctant to make moral judgements when talking about an issue like this. The history of states and peoples is beyond good and evil....in the moral sense. If you knew a little more history (and especially a little more about the history of Zionism, Israel and the Palestinians--- going all the way back to the Ottoman Empire), you would lose your naive faith that a political conflict between two peoples both claiming a right to self-determination is the same as a moral conflict between individuals (or between an individual and the state).

A solution to this problem, if there is to be a solution (and frankly I am very pessimistic about the prospects) will have to be a POLITICAL solution, whether that means an independent Palestinian state, citizenship in Israel, or emigration (deportation?). The alternative is the status quo, and a continuation of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians.

Wonderment
06-12-2010, 04:01 AM
A solution to this problem, if there is to be a solution (and frankly I am very pessimistic about the prospects) will have to be a POLITICAL solution, whether that means an independent Palestinian state, citizenship in Israel, or emigration (deportation?). The alternative is the status quo, and a continuation of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians.

The status quo is completely unsustainable, and no Israeli in his/her right mind will deny that.

As the status quo deteriorates, it becomes Apartheid (or worse).

You have described the obstacles (insuperable) to a two-state solution (there is no deal that's acceptable to either side). Thus, there will be no independent Palestinian state.

Mass deportations (to where?) are inconceivable and not even tolerable to a future far-right US government, much less the rest of the civilized world.

That leaves only one path to peace: one secular, democratic state encompassing Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The more people pretend a two-state solution is possible (Europe and the USA), the worse off Palestinians (and in the long run, Israelis) are. In addition, the crazier the situation gets, the more likely it is to spark a regional or international war, the use of nuclear weapons and a collapse of economic systems.

Florian
06-12-2010, 11:36 AM
The status quo is completely unsustainable, and no Israeli in his/her right mind will deny that.

As the status quo deteriorates, it becomes Apartheid (or worse).

You have described the obstacles (insuperable) to a two-state solution (there is no deal that's acceptable to either side). Thus, there will be no independent Palestinian state.

Mass deportations (to where?) are inconceivable and not even tolerable to a future far-right US government, much less the rest of the civilized world.

That leaves only one path to peace: one secular, democratic state encompassing Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The more people pretend a two-state solution is possible (Europe and the USA), the worse off Palestinians (and in the long run, Israelis) are. In addition, the crazier the situation gets, the more likely it is to spark a regional or international war, the use of nuclear weapons and a collapse of economic systems.

I am more and more coming around to your point of view. In the long run a single, secular state looks like the only rational solution. But, alas, what is rational in the long run isn't necessarily what people desire in the short run.

Whatfur
06-12-2010, 11:48 AM
Wow...Frank, Wonder Boy, and Fur are in the same camp...what could go wrong?

It's true that I think a 2 state solution has gone by the wayside, albeit I do not have a problem with pointing at the Palistinians for it failure. Who can deny with a straight face that once Israel yanked settlers out of Gaza that if the Gazans would have went about the business of positively building a nation... instead of trashing what they had and lofting rockets ...that a second state could have evolved.

Wonderment
06-12-2010, 05:55 PM
I am more and more coming around to your point of view. In the long run a single, secular state looks like the only rational solution.

It took me a long time too. I was an ardent two-state supporter for decades, and I was a True Believer for a while after Oslo, gradually losing faith as time went on. Once the US under Bush signed on to keeping key settlement blocs (a policy now reiterated by the Obama government) I knew it was finally over.

Also, I am very disheartened by the level of fanaticism in Israel itself. As you've noted, the liberals are in decline, and the right wing extremists (religious and secular in cahoots) have become a powerful enough demographic force to dominate in any coalition government.

So now I think we need to start over on the right track toward One State. The less blaming and recriminations the better.

listener
06-12-2010, 09:33 PM
It took me a long time too. I was an ardent two-state supporter for decades, and I was a True Believer for a while after Oslo, gradually losing faith as time went on. Once the US under Bush signed on to keeping key settlement blocs (a policy now reiterated by the Obama government) I knew it was finally over.

Also, I am very disheartened by the level of fanaticism in Israel itself. As you've noted, the liberals are in decline, and the right wing extremists (religious and secular in cahoots) have become a powerful enough demographic force to dominate in any coalition government.

So now I think we need to start over on the right track toward One State. The less blaming and recriminations the better.

Thanks for explaining how you came to your present point of view -- I'd been thinking of asking you about it. I don't know if I can see it that way, but you've done a whole lot more thinking about the situation than I have, so I do appreciate your perspective.