Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Israel-Palestine

I am quite pro-Israel in my sentiments, and while I don't post on the topic here very often, I get into discussions on other sites.

I always seek to simplify arguments as much as I can see my way to. The public arguments on all topics are often wading in the shallows, picking up shells and seaweed while ignoring the foundational sea. There is one foundational argument which underlies any defense of the Palestinians, and I think that argument false.

Just in case there are readers with the usual criticisms of Israel ready to hand, I should note that arguments which claim to disapprove of Hamas or the PLO but maintain that Israel is not above criticism seem to always end in the same place. While that sentiment is certainly reasonable in theory, I find that in practice such people go on to spend 95% of their energy criticising Israel. They deceive themselves that they are being open-minded. They make a mere nod to deploring the actions of the Palestinians. David Bernstein's criticism of Human Rights Watch over at Volokh brings out many commenters of this type. They protest often that of course they don't approve of the actions of the Palestinians, but they resent what they see as a blind support for Israel.

Blind support, upon examination, turns out to be any support at all.

Here is the simple argument which I believe underlies all those defenses, the ocean which enables the shells and seaweed to exist. They believe that the Palestinians are the "real" owners of the the land, so everything they do is self-defense; that Israel is an intruder, so everything they do is unwarranted agression. Few would admit that this level of prejudice motivates them - shreds of reason and evenhandedness are important to them - yet it just pours out of them. If one tries to enter into any discussion of the original UN resolution, of Balfour, of purchase of land, of continuous presence, we find that all of these things aren't really part of their discussion. All those arguments are rejected out-of-hand.

I would ask what the basis of unassailable Palestinian ownership is. Not that the Palestinians have no claim, but I wonder what is the overwhelming, slam-dunk rightness that allows their defenders to dismiss all treaties, negotiations, history, and rights of property as irrelevant? Because when one strips the other debris away, that argument, whatever it is, is the one that supports all the others. Why do people believe that the Palestinians are the "real" owners of every square inch?

There is, of course, another type of critic of Israel who simply believes that more talk, more negotiation, more concession, more niceness, is what is needed but has never been tried by Israel. I can't see any point in even addressing that

34 comments:

emanuel appel said...

K.I.S.S.(keep it simple stupid)

Jew Hatred at bottom.

pabelmont said...

While I agree that the land (I/P) belongs to the Palestinians by right of long recent residency (500 years is a lot longer than we USers have resided in America, for example) and that ISrael's claim is merely the old-style claim to ownership by conquest (which the UN and Nuremberg Trials seem to have cast some doubt upon as a legal right), my MAIN CONCERN is with the settlements and wall, which are well-known to be illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention and other international law and conventions.

So, I want Israel to remove the wall and the settlers FOR AS LONG AS THE OCCUPATION LASTS. After that, they can do wahtever is then legal. I do not even call (or not often) for an end to the occupation, because that is merely a call for peace, and I don't know how to engineer peace.

emanuel appel said...

The land of Israel belonged to the Jews by right of occupation for thousand of years before the Arab migrants from Saudi Arabia showed up. They are the johnny come latelies. By that criteria, the occupiers in North America, Australia, New Zealand should all go home.

No, the present countries in the Middle East were created as the aftermath of WWI during the Versailles and San Remo conferences in 1920. Iraq, Jordan, Syria,Lebanon were created then as well as Israel.

If you won't accept an Israel, then I don't accept Arab aliens in the land of Israel.

terri said...

I will preface this by saying that I am probably a little bit out of my depth here because I have not researched or read all of the various treaties and agreements regarding the establishment of Israel as an official state.

I'll count on you and your readers to point out where I go wrong in my thinking about this.

I will also state that I am ambivalent about the situation in Israel and often feel like there is no way to unpack all of the emotional, political baggage that is unique to that area.

First off,(in reference to emanuel appel's comment).....I think it's ridiculous to label anything other than unfettered support for Israel as "jew hatred". That is a conversation stopper right there and a dirty tactic to take.

I would ask what the basis of unassailable Palestinian ownership is. Not that the Palestinians have no claim, but I wonder what is the overwhelming, slam-dunk rightness that allows their defenders to dismiss all treaties, negotiations, history, and rights of property as irrelevant? Because when one strips the other debris away, that argument, whatever it is, is the one that supports all the others. Why do people believe that the Palestinians are the "real" owners of every square inch?

I think people understand land being "won" in a war, the rewards of the conquerer and what-not. However, when a political state comes to power through deal-making, however well-intentioned, it creates a a sense of distaste. In the same way that we can look at how the US obtained land from Native Americans, not always in wars, but through the relocation of people groups and promises of compensation of various types and attempts to assimilate Native Americans by trying to conform them to US culture, we can look at Israel with that same feeling percolating in the back of our minds.

I think it's a visceral, emotional reaction to think that Israel has land which doesn't belong to it. Or maybe it's just an emotional reaction to seeing what money and power can accomplish in a few short decades in an area that didn't/doesn't have much money or power.

Those feelings are only one element. I think the other emotional element comes from having a powerful political state which has a narrative that includes God, Himself, as promising the land to the Israelites.

That idea makes people angry because it means that right up front there is little to no room for negotiation or concession. You can hear this in some of the rhetoric of Jews and Christians when they threaten God's threatened judgement against making any concessions.

Things become even more complicated with the Law of Return. A Jewish person can easily become a citizen of Israel and take up residence there just because they are Jewish. It's like expecting Ireland to make me a citizen with full rights just because 150 years ago my ancestors once lived there.

Imagine if Canada was a Muslim nation that allowed any muslim from anywhere to become a citizen on the basis of being muslim. How long would it be before the US began to become uneasy in its relations wit Canada? Would we become paranoid about Canada and all its political moves?

These types of feelings are what add fuel to the fire in Israel/Palestine.

How do you overcome general bad feeling about political events which aren't all that old? Is there an expiration date on how long people can hold on to them?

Do Native Americans still harbor anger and resentment against the US government all these years later? Yes. Many do.

I'm not sure it's all that different in Israel.

Gringo said...

pabelmont
So, I want Israel to remove the wall and the settlers FOR AS LONG AS THE OCCUPATION LASTS.
Why is the wall there,pabelmont?
Israel put the wall to defend itself against suicide bombers and the like. Are you saying that suicide bombers have the right of open access to Israel to kill Israelis at will?


FOR AS LONG AS THE OCCUPATION LASTS.
Israel informed King Hussein during the Six Day War that it would move on the West Bank only if Hussein attacked Israel. Guess what happened.

Nasser blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba and told the UN troops to leave. Both hostile acts.If you don't like the consequences of war, don't engage in it. Very simple.

Settlements: did you have any objection to Hussein's father booting Jewish people out of Hebron, where they had been thousands of years?

Gringo said...

pabelmont:
500 years is a lot longer than we USers have resided in America, for example
Where did you come up with this 500 years figure? How long have Jewish people resided in Israel? Jus wondering
that ISrael's claim is merely the old-style claim to ownership by conquest
But there was no conquest involved in your "500 year" claim.

Try some logical consistency, please.

emanuel appel said...

Dear Terri,

First, let's deal with facts of the land. Visit this website to educate yourself
http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/history/history%20of%20israel/

Second, all those "gut feelings" that you mention and "unfettered support for Israel" being a negative begin to ring alarm bells.
During WWII most normal people gave "unfettered support" to the anti Nazi alliance. Should one have said, "well those Nazis aren't all that bad"?
I give unfettered support to a people, Israel, who are facing execution every day from Moslem religious imperialists who have a 1,500 year record. Israel is not demanding Mecca or that Arabs give up their religion. They want their own land, no more or less. The Arab lives from Bagdad to Morocco but not satisfied unless he wipes out a non Moslem nation.

When one applies a double standard , when one denies nationhood to one people and unlimited violence to another, it is Jew hatred. When one says that nationhood has to be done with major violence in order for it to be "clean" whereas negotiations and forbearance are suspect, then we have a major cultural gap, fuzzy thinking, or bigotry.

Israel came into being not through deal making but through major violence and trauma in 1948. She was invaded by 5 Arab states including Iraq. Do you want more violence?

Israel's achievements were created by hard work and not "money and power". Now, if that is not anti Jewish slur, I don't know what is. You may mean well but you say exactly the wrong things to the Jew.

Israel is History. If you resent her relationship with God through the Bible, that's too bad. Become a Buddhist and problem solved. However, if Christian you then have to accept our primacy.

Politically, Israel has compromised. She repeatedly asked the Jordanians to stay out of our wars but they joined Egypt in 1967 and paid the price.

The Law of Return - this is what makes a Jew furious with outsiders.
What damn business of yours is it how we organize ourselves? Do we criticize your citizenship rules? This is what leads us to label outsiders as bigots. Has anyone ever criticized Ireland or Pakistan for their citizenship rules?

How do you overcome the stalemate? When the Arabs agree that we are a Nation and not their subjects and that our land is ours.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

pa belmont, I call bullshit. I went to your site, (and others with your comments)and that is not your MAIN CONCERN. You have no history of modifying your views in the course of discussion, regardless of information presented. For example, you neglect to point out that in that 500 years what we currently call Palestinians persecuted their neighbors (ask the Druse), or that of the land in question, the Palestinians were given 90% (they are kept out of that by Arabs) and are now insisting on parts of the remaining 10%. Not good things to leave out. You twist words in this very comment, which is what put my suspicions up. Thanks for giving evidence for my point that all arguments are ultimately founded on a belief that the Palestinians are the "real" owners, regardless of whatever data shows up.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Terri, I think yours are the views of most people who have a sense of justice and fairness but only partially follow the events in Israel. In such a context, the accusations against it, which are frequent, loom larger than they should. Also, one gets a lot of "This is what Israel says its justifications are" from those who disagree with them.

You are a just and reasonable person, I know from your own site and your comments here. But look what you immediately fell into. emanuel appel said nothing about unfettered support for Israel, yet you read that into his statement. That is what supporters of the Palestinians claim and is the conventional wisdom among many in our political and journalism classes. But however widely believed, it is unsupported. A dozen of these unexamined assumptions clutter up the national discussion, impairing clarity.

I think assuming all critics of Israel are guilty of Jew hatred is indeed over-the-top. But if you enter online discussions, you constantly find people who say they are not motivated by Jew hatred, yet if you scratch the surface, you find that they are. EA overgeneralises, but he is not basing this on nothing. Belmont provides an excellent example. His site argues meaningless distinctions yet keeps returning to the evils of Zionism. All too common.

As to deal-making, I strongly agree. It is a sad thing that negotiation and compromise do not create the finality that defeat in war does. People do hang on endlessly, keeping their wounds fresh and thinking that the next negotiation will give them what they are sure they deserve. I shudder to think that intensive war might be the only kindness - in any situation, not just Israel's. The nature of Western democracies is now to stop short of victory and attempt to negotiate. (See Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Cyprus, Lebanon, Ireland - everywhere). Allowing things to go on endlessly allows everyone to rewrite their histories and seems to make things worse. I shrink back from the obvious conclusion.

I don't think "money and power" were what created Israel. I think those were results of Israeli determination to carve a nation out of the desert. That's not a pure situation, as Israel certainly has received wealth and influence from people in the west, and Jews especially. Yet so have Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, which have not prospered in the same way. Envy may be a factor.

Many Jews keep the narrative that God has given them the land, and evangelical Christians often support them in this. But the nation of Israel does not make that claim, and has always expressly avoided it. They found their right on more prosaic claims of continuous presence, purchase, and negotiation.

As to the Law of Return, I see your point, but would note that Ireland does have a limited law of return. I have known several people who have moved their on the basis of their grandparent's citizenship. As to the Canada thought-experiment, I think that would depend on whether Canada declared war on us and passed resolutions declaring we should be wiped off the earth - or had lots of citizens who said so. If not, I think we would learn to trade with them and get along, as we do with Canada now and try desperately to do with Mexico.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Okay, EA, you did sort of undermine my defense of you. Chill. Terri is not setting you up or pretending to be reasonable in order to trap you. She's the real deal.

emanuel appel said...

Dear assistant,

"Chilling" is the last thing one needs to do in this area.

By not "chilling", many of the 6 million who wound up in a gas chamber would be alive today.

I felt I was being very civil to Terri as an individual whose mind is not totally closed.

I don't know if you are Canadian. If you are, I get a picture of Canadian life mainly through Mark Steyn's writings. I see a nice decent society bullied by Quebecers and Moslems. I wouldn't put up with it.

terri said...

I wrote a long comment and then deleted it.

I don't know how discuss this topic without feeling like I am being pulled in multiple directions because I don't want to defend Holocaust deniers and terrorists...and I also don't like being told that I/we/the world must assume the primacy of Israel just because we are Christians.

Perhaps there is too much rebellion in me to enjoy being told what I "must" accept.

Thanks for assuming my reasonableness and justness, AVI!

I'll try to live up to that. ;-)

Assistant Village Idiot said...

EA, I still say chill. Much of your comment to Terri was civil, but not all. Applying the European and Middle-Eastern experience to Americans is unwarranted. I have written a fair bit about the Shoah on this site, but I don't regard it as a universal excuser of any statement or action of individual Jews indefinitely. If it were, then I would chide you for not devoting your energy to the religious group that is being persecuted worldwide today, which is Christians. Or to the still-persecuted Roma in Europe. (Any WWII argument you believe should bind me/us in guilt can be fairly applied back on you/yours at present, so be hesitant.)

But I don't insist that. The persecution of my co-religionists does not grant me any special moral standing. Only acting justly warrants that.

emanuel appel said...

To terri and to assistant

I think what hinders effective communication is a cultural divide between us. It cannot be helped.

You stress form and "manners" whereas I see a ruse to give you the advantage. I stress candor even it hurts your feelings because you are fighting for debating points while I'm fighting for survival.

This "topic" is not about how to conduct a proper afternoon tea. This is about preventing a horrific massacre.

AVI, you yourself have noticed the obsession that some people you've met have about Israel. It's the tip of the iceberg.

I don't believe I've stated that "anything" that Jews or Israel the State do has my blessing. What I will state is that Terri and you have discovered an old truth - terrible slaughter brings a long peace. That is something that Israel is too squeamish to admit.

It's ironic that the more we cry for peace, the more our enemies despise us and thirst for our blood.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

EA, you puff up to give yourself rhetorical advantage. We said nothing about form or manners or afternoon tea. You are caricaturing our views and arguing against something we did not say. That is not a cultural divide between brave souls who prefer "candor" and timid ones who want to pretend there is no problem. I am nothing if not candid. You are trying to require that people not only agree with you, but agree with you in exactly the terminology you wish to hear, or you dismiss them insultingly.

That level of insistence might be appropriate in dealing with a people who have been your enemies, giving you every right to suspect that deviations from how you have described things might conceal deceit. But you are dealing with people who love justice and have never done you any harm. Comparing others to Nazi enablers and claiming that refusal to acknowledge rightness as you see it is to enable Muslim aggression does not violate merely decorum, but truth.

Those who are hard-pressed are likely to overstate their case, and it may indeed seem a cheap morality for those not in danger to counsel self-control. I expect a certain amount of that and don't mind it, but notice, it is much the same as the excuses people make for Palestinians. You personally cannot allow yourself much of that.

I have to suspect that there is some personal issue that is lurking behind the more acceptable motive of desiring safety for a people - but not being a mind-reader, I don't know what that might be.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

EA, you puff up to give yourself rhetorical advantage. We said nothing about form or manners or afternoon tea. You are caricaturing our views and arguing against something we did not say. That is not a cultural divide between brave souls who prefer "candor" and timid ones who want to pretend there is no problem. I am nothing if not candid. You are trying to require that people not only agree with you, but agree with you in exactly the terminology you wish to hear, or you dismiss them insultingly.

That level of insistence might be appropriate in dealing with a people who have been your enemies, giving you every right to suspect that deviations from how you have described things might conceal deceit. But you are dealing with people who love justice and have never done you any harm. Comparing others to Nazi enablers and claiming that refusal to acknowledge rightness as you see it is to enable Muslim aggression does not violate merely decorum, but truth.

Those who are hard-pressed are likely to overstate their case, and it may indeed seem a cheap morality for those not in danger to counsel self-control. I expect a certain amount of that and don't mind it, but notice, it is much the same as the excuses people make for Palestinians. You personally cannot allow yourself much of that.

I have to suspect that there is some personal issue that is lurking behind the more acceptable motive of desiring safety for a people - but not being a mind-reader, I don't know what that might be.

emanuel appel said...

Dear AVI,

Let me be specific.

Above, you've told me to "chill", meaning tone down my rhetoric. I, on the other hand, don't give advice or pointers to reasonable people. Their expressions are theirs.

The assumption above is either that you are well meaning or that you set yourself as arbiter of manners or rhetoric. Now, why should I chill? Why should I listen to you as to how I express myself? Agree or disagree, my form is my own.

The fact is that when discussing the Arab /Israeli conflict, it's difficult to find open minded persons. Rather, I mostly find bigots on both Right and Left whose only position is Anti-Jew. This manifests itself in them using minutia as an excuse to bash Israel. It's amazing to find Arabs/Moslems, some of the most flagrant human rights violators, faulting Israel for not being a human rights model after 63 years of warfare. The same applies to Leftists who're using the Arabs as the ideal Third World allies versus the West. These Leftists are partnering with primitive people who've no idea of Marxism or even the Renaissance for God's sake.

My hidden agenda? It's not hidden at all. My family - 98% died between 1939 and 1945. I have no first cousins. Jews trusted the Allied govts and nothing happened to save them. To add insult to injury, the British tried to drown Israel before her birth. So, I'm a little miffed.

When I hear Terri's arguments that Israel's birth is somewhat tainted because her struggle was
"negotiated" into an armistice; that the Law of Return, designed to gather in the Exiles and Holocaust survivors into their only refuge, is somehow racist and exclusive makes sme see RED. It reinforces my feeling that most Westerners only respect massive violence and bloodshed before they can befriend you. It means that Israel doesn't know how to carry herself in the world.

terri said...

emanuel,

I don't think Israel's birth is "tainted". I certainly understand the desire for the Jewish people to find a place and nation where they could live after having lost families, lives, wealth, homes, and just about everything to the Holocaust.

My comments aren't really my opinions as much as they are me trying to understand why things might be the way they are, why people act the way that they act in this discussion.

I am sorry that you don't have any first cousins.

I firmly believe in laying blame at the feet of those who deserve it. When I hear arguments about how the Allied nations should have done this or that to stop the Holocaust, how they should have known and intervened earlier, I feel as if the blame is being cast upon those who eventually liberated Germany and put an end to the horrors going on there.

What Hitler did was unprecedented. Who could have known, in that time, what he was planning? It would have boggled the mind to think that a thing could happen....that millions of people could be systematically dehumanized and murdered on such an enormous scale?

The Law of Return made/makes perfect sense for Holocaust survivors and as a way to build up the beginning of a country. The question I have revolves around whether it is still necessary to implement 60 years later.

You say its nobody's "damn business" what Israel chooses to do about citizenship. That's entirely true about any nation so long as that nation is acting within their own sovereignty. It becomes other people's "damn business" when a nation is asking for other countries to support them and promise defensive alliances to combat countries that are wanting to obliterate it.

No nation can ask for and rely on support while simultaneously refusing to be in dialogue with its allies.

Asking for help opens up any nation to the scrutiny of other nations. This no different for the US.

You are full of passion about this issue. You are angry, see red, are sure that those who might differ in opinion are Jew-hating bigots.

That kind of passion and refusal to see the other side is just as abundant and heartfelt in the Palestinians. It hasn't helped them out a whole lot.

I don't know what the solution for Israel and Palestine is. I wasn't advocating for a brutal war, I was only saying that it's less "complicated".

I do believe violence begets violence. A war in the middle east will only set off more reactionary wars.

emanuel appel said...

Dear Terri,

You may be a well meaning person who has come into a conflict late in the game, like walking into a football or hockey game in the third or final quarter.

To understand the motivation in this particular game, one must be well steeped in the history of the 19th and 20th century.

What you may not know but most Jews know is that 1) Hitler laid out his plans in writing in the 1920's 2) The details of the Holocaust began to be known in 1942
3) Allied planes flew over the gas chambers and took pictures 4) The British and Roosevelt took a very calm view of the slaughter for the reason that the Germans were doing the British a favor - they were killing those who'd be looking to Palestine as the place of choice after the war. I would suggest a book called "The Secret War against the Jews" by John Loftus.

My main beef is this - Israel is held to impossibly high standards during war time while the Arabs are held to no standards. Iran and other tyrannies are given a spot in the UN Human Rights Commission. It's a political strategy supported by vaguely Left societies.

You have a point when you say that you can't have your cake and eat it too. If I were Israel's Prime Minister, I would break diplomatic relations with 3/4 of Europe. I would expect and demand nothing from them. I would not go down as America's satrap. I would establish martial law as long as the war with the Arabs lasts.

Now, let's talk about the Arabs in the land of Israel.

From 1948 to 1967, the Arabs had the West Bank ( including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. There was no "occupation". Yet, there were continual guerilla atacks against civilians and soldiers. There was no distinction.

No Jew was allowed into East Jerusalem to pray at the Western Wall ( Wailing Wall as Western writers derisively labelled it). Jewish places of worship were systematically destroyed and our gravestones desecrated. They taught us that there is no quarter with them if they get the upper hand while they whine and snivel if you conquer them. That's why no Israeli in his right mind will divide the capital with them because we will have no capital. We know them and they have a record while well meaning people like you, who're used to Canadian ways, think that all's negotiable.
The gas chamber is not negotiable.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I tell you how we behave here because it's my house, my party.

No one in the history of the world, so far as I can tell, has gone to rescue another people without some self-interest. The Allies certainly had some self interest, but some of our actions were pure generosity. We act better than anyone in the history of mankind, yet you complain that it was not enough? Well, perhaps we might come to that conclusion ourselves, under our own judgment. It seems a strange accusation. If it is so persuasive to you, I remind you again that other innocents suffer in the world, this day, and you seem as unconcerned with their plight as you accuse the Allies of being.

It is not that I am unaware of the Paper Walls America erected to decline to rescue Jews. I am far more aware of them than most. My claim is that any rescue is nearly unprecedented. I would additionally note that Jews in Eastern Europe were told the details of the Holocaust but as late as 1944 many did not believe it. Mind-reading what Churchill and Roosevelt were thinking is absurd. Loftus is a very smart and well-informed man, but such mind-reading is his great failing. He believes he knows why people do what they do because it fits his preconceived narrative. He leaps to conclusions because he disregards some information and all alternative explanations.

As to Israel being held to double standards, and Arab unreasonableness, I agree with you, and have said so throughout. That might provide Israel some license, some slack, to react hastily and excessively, but it provides you individually with no such license.

Suffering is a sad thing, but does not confer moral superiority. That would be reasoning like a Palestinian. Suffering makes rightness come at a higher cost, but it is not morally elevated in itself. Only truth and righteousness grant that elevation.

I am not accusing Jews or Israelis of falsely claiming righteousness because of suffering, I am accusing you of it directly, as an individual. Jews and Israel collectively are not entirely immune to that failing, but have certainly minimised it admirably.

As to the further comments to terri and me, I will repeat: you are exaggerating and caricaturing what has been said and then working yourself into a fine self-righteous indignation refuting the straw man. Terri did not say the Right of Return was racist, but you accuse her of that; negotiation was absolutely part of the founding of Israel, however much work, battle, and wisdom contributed after. To resent that statement is not to resent terri, but the truth.

I am not using minutiae to bash Jews. I am using your own words to bash you. Considering that part of some larger and noble cause you serve is hiding behind that cause.

I note from my search engine that this is not the first site which has suggested you do not listen accurately and are unnecessarily insulting. You might pause to consider that it is not everyone else who is wrong.

emanuel appel said...

Dear AVI,

A couple of things re this conversation

Granted that this is your blog and you set it up. You have the power to block. You argue your way and I mine. You don't have the right to impose your ideas of etiquette on me because that determines the outcome.

Terri said " Things become even more complicated with the Law of Return. A Jewish person can easily become a citizen of Israel and take up residence there just because they are Jewish. It's like expecting Ireland to make me a citizen with full rights just because 150 years ago my ancestors once lived there.

Imagine if Canada was a Muslim nation that allowed any muslim from anywhere to become a citizen on the basis of being muslim. How long would it be before the US began to become uneasy in its relations wit Canada? Would we become paranoid about Canada and all its political moves? "

I hear this criticism from people who bear Israel ill will. Why does this rankle? If we can't recontruct our nation according to our will, we're nothing but someone's colony. We're not.

You may not be aware that Quebec gives preference immigrants who are French speakers. English Canadians don't riot over it or continuously carp on it.
Every nation sets its immigration policy but ours comes in for criticism as tainted, foul, apartheid-like. Of course, Moslem nations have the most enlightened, cosmopolitan rules in the world :) The Left conveniently forgets it.

Jewry was not rescued. It was left to rot. The remnants were rescued by our own people, not you.
The fact is that the British, given the Mandate of Palestine, the lifeboat, pulled it away from the drowning victims BEFORE the Holocaust and AFTER. The evidence is there if one looks. Was it done for a barrel of Arab oil or plain malice? You decide.

Your charge against me of being blind to the suffering of others is the same that Harry Truman made in his diary. How selfish are these Jews! They just had 6 million of their nation shot, gassed, and cremated and they only think about their families and people!

I'm irritated. If you want to call it self righteous, ok. But I'm not going to turn my back on my nation for "universalist" ideas. The "universalists" are exactly the type that see our pain with no emotion.

Last, I'm amazed that you took the trouble to "look me up". I hope I don't hurt your feelings but I'm interested in what you or anyone else says to me here rather than spy on your past :) Do I get a gold star if I prove that I "play well with others"?

Jonathan said...

You know what this debate needs? More Copithorne!

Gringo said...

emanuel appel
They taught us that there is no quarter with them if they get the upper hand while they whine and snivel if you conquer them.

That is the reality of what Israel has to deal with.

I notice that pabelmont has not bothered to reply, just another drive by comment.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I take the trouble to look people up when the display a certain level of unreason, to see if there is something I am missing which will help me understand. Or, to see if they are revealing the same unreason elsewhere and it's not just me. It is more a check on myself than on you. Nine times out of ten, I find that my conclusions about someone are indeed correct. But not always. Terri had a commenter at her site that I leaped to conclusions about, and so backed off.

I notice you still haven't actually answered anything I put in front of you, simply insisting louder what you have already said. So this is clearly hopeless because you have either have not the ability or not the inclination to review even 1% of your views to see if they require modification. The inability to consider the possibility that one could be even 1% mistaken is evidence of pathology, whether that be about religion, germ theory, or geography. Though the causes of this are varied, they are often biological (three likely ones occur to me) and you likely have no ability to even see this in yourself, if my experience is correct.

So not for you, but for others and my own practice of clarity I make my final comments. You may have the last word, and I will certainly read it, but unless there is some change - not in the evidence you bring up but in your approach - I shall not respond.

It is not a matter of arguing your way or mine. That is an evasion so that you don't have to take other people into consideration. The rules of reason and discussion are not something I have invented for this site, but something that exists outside of you are I. They are not questions of "etiquette." They are what they are, like gravity or the spectrum of light. I am the arbiter on my own site as to whether visitors are sufficiently within the bounds of reason to actually participating. EA is sometimes right and sometimes wrong, so he might be worth listening to. But he is not actually participating here, so there is no point in responding.

Paragraph 4 "I hear this criticism from people who bear Israel ill will." That is not evidence that the speaker also bears you ill will. Many who say "I ride camels" might also bear Israel ill-will. That does not make camel-riding evidence of ill will to Israel. It is logically unsound.

Paragraph 6 "Jewry was not rescued. It was left to rot. The remnants were rescued by our own people, not you." Jewry did not defeat Hitler nor liberate the camps, both of which were necessary to, though not the entirety of, rescuing the Jews.

Paragraph 7 "Your charge against me of being blind to the suffering of others is the same that Harry Truman made in his diary. How selfish are these Jews! They just had 6 million of their nation shot, gassed, and cremated and they only think about their families and people!" I didn't make the charge against Jews, but against emanuel appel. When you are challenged, you pretend that it is Jews in general who are being challenged. Convenient. I did not charge you with being selfish, or blind to the suffering of others, but of illogic. The very argument you make today about what the Allies should have done 70 years ago, and their moral failing thereby, applies against you this day. If the Allies were wrong (and I think they were), then so are you, and you do not have moral standing to accuse. You are claiming suffering as your basis of moral standing. I am saying one needs more than suffering to have standing, because many peoples, innocent and guilty, have suffered. You are, in fact, making only the same argument that the Palestinians are making: "It's ours and we have suffered." I reject that as sufficient from them, I reject it as insufficient from you. Many Jews, and the Israeli spokespeople, make additional moral arguments you do not. I have to wonder if EA personally just does not understand some of the arguments that his own people make in their defense.

emanuel appel said...

"I notice you still haven't actually answered anything I put in front of you"

If I haven't it's because your questions were buried under a lot of rhetoric.

Self asurance is not to be confused with unreason. We look at the world through different prisms. The tough part is to frame our questions simply. I'll try to answer .

You object to my concluding that people who think Israel is wrong in certain things bear her ill will. When people maintain that Jews are not entitled to nationhood or enjoying the fruits of victory, I will conclude ill will. If you don't, that's your world but don't tell me what to conclude.

You claim I don't "participate". What is this, the grammar school playgorund? This is an exchange of views.

Once again, re Jews we disagree. Jews were not recued by you. They were destroyed. The remnants, the ones overlooked were gathered and brought to Israel.

RE the suffering of others

I identify with Israel. You state that I'm indifferent to the suffering of others. You're 100 % correct since the "others" don't give a shit about me and, to add insult to injury, continually offer to teach me "manners". On the other hand, the Arabs get the "sympathy".

I have every moral standing to accuse the "Allies". Me and every Jew in the world. We drowned while they watched. I repeat, the Land was available to rescue European Jewry before the Holocaust and after. The British deliberately kept us out while we burned.

Today, it's Obama that's repeating the pattern. It's familiar.

I'm not claiming "moral standing". I'm saying apply the same standards to us as to anyone else. It's not happening.

By the way, since we're internet peeping, I noticed that this topic has attracted more comments than any other of your "pensees". Keep it up.

Thanks for the forum.

Gringo said...

Terri,I suggest you regularly consult the Middle East Media Research Institute, an Israeli endeavor which translates the Arab press into English. This brings into focus the PLO’s policy of saying one thing to the West and another thing to its own people. At the same time, reading MEMRI shows there are hints of reform in the Arab world.(But that is not the same as "engaging" a thug like Assad.)

One headline: “Egyptian Cleric Ahmad 'Eid Mihna: The Jews Are Behind the Misery, Hardship, Usury, and Whorehouses, and Any Form of Corruption”

To the best of my knowledge, no one has successfully accused MEMRI of inaccurate translation.

FWIW, here is my comment at Maggie’s Farm onWhat if there wasn’t an Israel?


Here is Martha Gellhorn’s The Arabs of Palestine, from a 1961 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. She was an ex-wife of Ernest Hemingway. Read it carefully and compare it to today, nearly a half century later.

Joseph said...

If owning a land in the distant past gives you a right to the land then it's Israel's land.

If owning a land in the present gives you a right to the land then it's Israel's land.

If owning a land for the past forty years (forever by American standards) gives you a right to the land then it's Israel's land.

Which is it?

Ray said...

It is very heartening to see some sincere attempts at discussion in these comments. I may be a little late to the party, but I thought I'd put in my own two cents on the real reasons for this continuing conflict, and how to end it.

Yes, Jew hatred is a fundamental part of the mix, as is the use of the issue by totalitarian Arab states to distract their citizens from their own domestic tyranny. It is the neighbors who finance the impoverished, erstwhile Egyptians and Jordanians in their attacks against Israel.

The basic problem that continues the fight is Arab false pride. When the combined Arab armies attacked Israel, they intended to annihilate the new state and crush the Jews. Instead, they lost. Despite overwhelming numerical advantage, delusions of Arab martial prowess, bigoted contempt for the Jews ability to fight, they lost.

The Arabs in Israel left their homes voluntarily to stay safe and let others do their fighting, intending to return after the Arab victory to plunder what remained. Instead they were shut out. The Arab will was thwarted. This continues to fuel their anger and hatred.

Jordan and Egypt eventually decided that losses in never-ending wars were a bad bargain, and made peace after reclaiming what they could of their face and military honor.

The Jordanians and Egyptians who remained within the military borders of Israel -- now calling themselves "Palestinians" as a convenient collective term -- have never accepted their defeats, and instead portray themselves as victims of Israeli cruelty. It is an infantile response, not adult acceptance of their own responsibilities.

The solution is to apply Gen. Sherman's dictum from the US Civil War to the Palestinians, as it was applied to my ancestors:

"...we are not only fighting hostile armies, but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war, as well as their organized armies."

Their will to fight must be broken by force. They must feel the hard hand of war until they beg to be allowed to surrender unconditionally to Israel. Many of them, young and old, men and women, will have to die.

This will require a major change in resolve in Israel. Israelis will have to abandon the role of exasperated parents. I don't know if they have the stomach for it. They care too much what the world thinks, and what they want to think of themselves, kind and compassionate.

Until one side or the other loses the will to fight, the conflict will continue.

Ray

terri said...

Joseph,

What about the Canaanites, Assyrians, Babylonians and Romans? They all laid claim to parts of Israel at one point or another and for more than a few years.

If we're going to appeal to history, well then I guess it becomes a little subjective as we decide which part of history is authoritative.

I think your point about who owns/occupies/inhabits the land now is probably the best. There is no past or future for us...only the present that we must deal with.

Emanuel,

I often try to understand the world by putting myself in the place of others and imagining what my reactions would be, how I would feel, and if I could see myself making some of the decisions that others make. It doesn't always lead me to the "right" solution, but it does help stretch my point of view.

Now I will confess that I can't help being the person that I am; American by birth, Christian by choice, semi-educated, middle-class, mother, wife...etc. All of those things interfere with me agreeing with you.

Probably what is more of an obstacle to me, than any other feeling, is my dislike of people who have a sense of entitlement. This is a semi-religious, cultural feeling that probably can't be torn from me.

So, when what I hear you saying seems like "We deserve everything we've got....maybe even more"...or...."Everyone else alive during WWII let the Jews down and it's their fault and they owe us for not acting sooner"...or..."Those who don't agree with us are bigots and hateful"....I recoil.

I can't help it. It's part of who I am.

Now, even though I don't like entitlement, I can rationally talk myself through some of it. I can see how any people group who has been systematically denied resources, or had resources stolen from it, might be entitled to compensation of some sort.

African Americans have been behind the 8-ball in America because slavery gave them an impoverished beginning. Freeing them wasn't enough. It has been a slow long process of establishing rights, offering educational incentives, and slow, cultural change.

There is a reason that many of the poorest parts of any major town are filled with minorities. It takes a long time for a group, as a whole, to overcome purposeful impoverishment.

However, there will always be certain individuals who will overcome any and every obstacle in their path, despite the general impoverishment and injustice they have had to endure. Those individuals usually are not people with a strong sense that they are owed anything, by anyone. They take the hand they are dealt and turn it into something spectacular.

Most people don't/can't do that...at least not as effectively as some people do/can.

I'll end here before I delve into something else.

terri said...

Part 2; Ideology and Identity

As I continued to think about this discussion, I found myself floundering and I wasn't sure why.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that maybe part of unraveling the conflicting feelings I have about the whole mess was found in trying to understand what exactly the Israeli state represents....and that point, on a smaller scale,is "What does it mean to be a Jew?"

You see, I can't escape my religious background. To me, being Jewish means practicing Judaism. It means believing certain things about God, Life, and Humanity. It is a belief system that someone could choose to be part of in the same way that one could choose to be muslim, hindu, christian, or mormon.

However...that isn't exactly true of the identity of a Jew, because although religion is a part of that identity, it isn't the only part. Being Jewish also seems to entail a very loose racial/ethnic/genealogical aspect.

Now to my American/Christian mind, I have difficulty understanding the mixture of these two ideas. I can understand a state based on common religious feeling, kind of like a very large commune. I can understand a state based on common ethnic background, like any number of countries without diverse populations.

It is this tenuous connection between religion and race that I think throws me and, many others, off.

In some ways, I understand an Orthodox Jew and his/her views better than I understand secular Jewishness. I kind find common reference points in people who have strong religious beliefs of any sort....because there will always be shared commonalities in the way in which religious groups behave, even if their particulars might differ vastly.

A crazy Islamic cleric is not all that different from a crazy Fred Phelps. Different contexts, same motivations.

That works in positive realms too. You can find people of good will in almost any religion.

So, emanuel, explain for me from your personal perspective what we are talking about and who is entitled to what.

In your views what makes a person a Jew and then entitles them to a plot of land in Israel.

I'm asking seriously, not sarcastically.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

terri, I don't know if it's any comfort, but Jews argue about the same thing all the time. Opinions vary as to what constitutes Jewishness.

That can be said, though less forcefully, of Christians as well. To define Christian is to make a theological statement.

Gringo the Goy said...

Terri:
Probably what is more of an obstacle to me, than any other feeling, is my dislike of people who have a sense of entitlement. This is a semi-religious, cultural feeling that probably can't be torn from me.

I suggest that you read the Memri and Atlantic Monthly links I provided, and ponder "sense of entitlement." It ain't just the Joos, believe you me. Really. Also note that we feel entitled to our land in the US, though the long-term history of how we acquired that land has some issues. I for one am not returning to Europe over land guilt.

A sense of entitlement versus being exterminated,such as what happened in Europe and what Iran and others threaten 60 years later. Think about it. Here is one example why Israelis have that point of view:the Hamas Covenant. An excerpt follows.

The Islamic Resistance Movement maintains that the land of Palestine is Waqf land given as endowment for all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. One should not neglect it or [even] a part of it, nor should one relinquish it or [even] a part of it. No Arab state, or [even] all of the Arab states [together], have [the right] to do this; no king or president has this right nor all the kings and presidents together; no organization, or all the organizations together - be they Palestinian or Arab - [have the right to do this] because Palestine is Islamic Waqf land given to all generations of Muslims until the Day of Resurrection.


I and most Israelis perceive that if they disarmed, they would be invaded the next day. Did withdrawing from Gaza bring peace? On the contrary, it brought more rockets down on Israel. Whereas if the Arabs disarmed, there would be peace. No peace, no recognition, no negotiation. Remember that from after the Six Day War? Israel lives in a very dangerous neighborhood.

terri said...

"Gringo the Goy"! lol!

I suggest that you read the Memri and Atlantic Monthly links I provided, and ponder "sense of entitlement." It ain't just the Joos, believe you me. Really. Also note that we feel entitled to our land in the US, though the long-term history of how we acquired that land has some issues. I for one am not returning to Europe over land guilt.

Agreed. I would only differ in saying that, as an individual, there is very little I personally feel entitled to. Most of the things I feel entitled to are abstract and moral ideas.

I feel entitled to freedom. I feel entitled to having the same opportunities as anyone else. I feel entitled full citizenship rights.

I can't say that I feel entitled to money, land, etc.

I can't say that I fully understand how America can engage in the mess there in any useful way. Reading your quote from Hamas, all I'm left asking is,"is that what it is still all about"?....the Jewish/Islamic conflict....Isaac and Ishmael all over again?

And if that's what really fuels the conflict....how will it ever be resolved?

I think the short answer is that it won't.....although that just seems like a promise of more misery for everyone.

I know what my comments must seem like. I ask them because I think it's important to try and get at what's underneath it all. If people think less of me for asking the questions...oh well...that's life.

terri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.