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January 11, 2010

Comments

That was vewy unwise of Ms. Glick.

Interesting how a piece suggesting that a country can be convinced to take what amounts to a side in potential Arab-Israeli policy disagreements doesn't include the word "oil" even once.

AIUI, this is still just a fringe suggestion, both in America, and in Israel (and, IAL, essentially within conservative thought).

MC hints at the reason. The real problem, from Israel's perspective, with a Sino-Israeli alliance is that China cares first and foremost about securing raw materials for economic development, so it has an interest in doing favors for ME OPEC nations, and none for Israel. As MY points out, there's little evidence China would back off just because this was a little inconsistent, value wise.

Point: definitely fringe.

But it illustrates the absurdity of the situation, I think.

I'd agree but for one quibble*:

The main task before Israel has less to do with Israel improving it's current HR record, and a lot more to do with preventing a confrontation that would make it intolerable and threaten the very viability of the Jewish state.

IOW, it all boils down to securing a lasting peace with a sovereign state of Palestine, aka a two state solution.**

AIUI, Israel's citizenry knows this -- what I just described is basically the Israeli consensus on the conflict. What's weird is how it's failed for so long to push their leaders into reaching this kind of settlement, and in the case of Bibi, essentially sabotaging it.

Though I guess, as an American, I shouldn't be too surprised.

*yeah yeah, I'm sure you saw it coming a mile away...

**essentially, MY's point

AIUI, Israel's citizenry knows this -- what I just described is basically the Israeli consensus on the conflict.

The word "know" is doing a great deal of work in that sentence. I don't think the Israel citizenry know this to be true, at least in so far as this alleged knowledge does not seem to have altered their behavior. Every credit card user "knows" that every swipe of the card brings more debt, but lots of people still get surprised by crushing credit card debt every year anyway. There is a difference between theoretical and operational knowledge.

What's weird is how it's failed for so long to push their leaders into reaching this kind of settlement, and in the case of Bibi, essentially sabotaging it.

That's only weird if you make certain assumptions. If you assume that the Israeli consensus is actually "eh, the stupid Arabs can't do anything to force our hand, but the crazy settlers are both more likeable and more powerful, so let's give the Arabs nothing and the settlers whatever we can get away with and let tomorrow take care of itself", then the current state of affairs is exactly what you'd predict.

Turb

Your first point -- on the "difference between theoretical and operational knowledge" -- certainly makes sense. It makes the second point, which at least I find less convincing, unnecessary.

Point: It makes the second point, which at least I find less convincing, unnecessary.

Actually, I think it strengthens it.

While in the long term Israeli violence towards the Palestinians may mean their nation is heading for disaster, the Occupied Territories have been illegally occupied now for well over a generation - for 40+ years, more than half the time that the nation of Israel has existed.

In the short term, the Palestinians represent no serious threat to Israel or to individual Israelis: more Israelis die in traffic accidents than die in terrorist attacks. And by "in the short term" we are talking about decades, by now. A society built on violence and injustice may be heading for catastrophe in the long run, but that kind of "could happen someday" is the hardest kind of catastrophe to care about: especially when it's argued that it will come because of violence and injustice towards people whom Israelis are taught to believe are their moral and social inferiors in every way.

That the goal of many Palestinians is not a "two state solution" but an end to the injustice of the Israeli apartheid state in maintaining an artificial Jewish majority by denying so many inhabitants citizenship, is something that... isn't discussable.

Where nearly one half the population of Israel/Gaza/West Bank are non-citizens who can be denied free travel, the right to vote, can have their homes destroyed and their farmland taken away, can be killed pretty much with impunity by the citizens, and where the citizens think the problem of their apartheid state can be resolved not by granting full citizenship to all inhabitants but by recognising the patchwork homelands for their non-citizens as independent nations, then you have a problem. To put it mildly.

Careful, Jes, careful. If you continue going on like that people will conclude you're unserious. I mean, really, how could you even suggest that the Israelis might manage to have a functioning state without a legally enforced Jewish majority? That's difficult - nay, impossible - to conceive working. I mean, would such a nation even really be sovereign in any meaningful sense? No, if you want to be serious, you need to propose a more realistic nation-state, like say a non-contiguous territory with no right to a military, and no control over its borders, airspace, or water. A nation like that, now, that's a proper sovereign state, and a right doozy of one at that!

If you continue going on like that people will conclude you're unserious

Actually, they usually conclude I must be anti-Semitic. *tired*

And then they want to know what's "artificial" about the Jewish majority in Israel.

I was born in 1967, and back when I was a teenager and the Occupation was less than 20 years old, I used to think that a two-state deal was a reasonable goal. I don't think so any more, and it came about partly because a close friend lived in Israel for a few years: he was emphatically a supporter of the Israeli state and the Jewish majority, but he also provided some vivid, first-hand detail of how Israelis think and feel about the Palestinians with whom they share their state.

"I mean, really, how could you even suggest that the Israelis might manage to have a functioning state without a legally enforced Jewish majority"

The point of a Jewish state in Israel isn't just to have a functioning state in that area; it's for the Jewish people to have some way of protecting and developing their own collective identity.

They seek this rather than relying on the goodwill of other nations, as they did during the diaspora, because the historical evidence strongly shows a tendency to persecute the Jewish identity.

As it happens, this is the very reason that a functioning Palestinian state is not just a good idea for Israel's long time interests, but a moral imperative.*

"That the goal of many Palestinians is not a "two state solution" ... isn't discussable."

I don't know what "isn't discussable" means here, but the materials I've read make much of the fact that Palestinian support for a two state solution is dwindling, and fast, especially among the young.

Which is just further evidence that delaying (or sabotaging) the peace process is threatening the very viability of a Jewish state, and of all such a state has to offer the Jewish people.

*This is also something of a consensus in Israel -- at least on the theoretical level

Also, this may well deserve a fuller response:

"If you assume that the Israeli consensus is actually "eh, the stupid Arabs can't do anything to force our hand, but the crazy settlers are both more likeable and more powerful, so let's give the Arabs nothing and the settlers whatever we can get away with and let tomorrow take care of itself", then the current state of affairs is exactly what you'd predict."

On the issue of theoretical vs operational knowledge, and whether a dichonomy proves that a theoretical consensus is "actually" a consensus, I think a lot of the civic discussion in America proves to illustrate the question well.

For example, polls indicate that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe in man made global warming. If we can take it as a given that Americans support the continuation of human civilization, than this would seem to indicate that the population would support the measures necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change.

And yet, this is not the case -- from polls showing Americans' low support for legislation that would cost them even $15/month, to lagging support for CAT Legislation*, the citizenry shows great reluctance to support the changes necessary to solving the problem -- ie, to act like they know.

Now, an outside observer may look at this reluctance and notice a very vocal (minority) that is skeptical of man made climate change, and conclude that "Well, I guess Americans don't really believe in global warming".

But this, I believe, would be mistaken -- not all self-destructive behavior is caused by ignorance; knowledge does not always lead to action.

*sorry, I couldn't pin down either link

If we can take it as a given that Americans support the continuation of human civilization, than this would seem to indicate that the population would support the measures necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change.

They forgot to ask a few other questions that might connect those dots, Point; questions relating to causality and controllability. If people believed that things were warming up, that human activity was largely responsible for said warming, that said warming was serious and even life-threatening, and that we could do something to mitigate or even reverse said warming, then it might be taken to be a sign of some intellectual deficiency.

But the poll doesn't ask any of those questions. It just asks if people believe warming is occurring, and whether we ought to try and do something about it.

What, no love on the post title? I was expecting something. A flower. A candy.

"But the poll doesn't ask any of those questions."

Oops -- my bad. On further research, a majority of Americans do believe that global warming is man made (though it's not as overwhelming as it was a few months ago -- and even then, I expect the jump in skepticism will be temporary, when the e-mail brohaha dies down).

http://news.discovery.com/earth/americans-climate-change-poll.html

Given a large majority also support taking action against CC, even if China and India do not, I'd take this as a sign that three of the four dots you mentioned are connected in these two polls. As to GW being life threatening, I think associating the crisis with drowned cities is about as common as anything, so I think that can be taken as a given.

"What, no love on the post title?"

Sorry, I'm just not seeing the connection to Goodfellas...

If you assume that the Israeli consensus is actually "eh, the stupid Arabs can't do anything to force our hand, but the crazy settlers are both more likeable and more powerful, so let's give the Arabs nothing and the settlers whatever we can get away with and let tomorrow take care of itself", then the current state of affairs is exactly what you'd predict.

Add to that assumption the following corollary: "We can pretty much do whatever the hell we want, and the richest and most powerful country in the world will provide us with the resources and protection to do it with. Every couple of years there's going to be an elaborate bit of costume drama involving a 'peace process,' which no one involved believes will accomplish anything, but everybody has to make it look like they're 'doing something' for their own domestic political purposes. And we play along, and then go back to doing whatever the hell we want. It's a small price to pay."

On further research, a majority of Americans do believe that global warming is man made (though it's not as overwhelming as it was a few months ago -- and even then, I expect the jump in skepticism will be temporary, when the e-mail brohaha dies down).

Hmm...your link says that where, exactly?

Here's the poll results, more clearly. I don't think they show what you say they do.

I don't think any of the opinion polls say anything about whether AGW is real or not, they just speak to the politics of AGW. Which is different from the science.

Just to clarify my comments, hopefully.

Sorry, I'm just not seeing the connection to Goodfellas...

Well, it was really more about the wig than the movie, but I love that scene.

Was it because Morrie's wig did, in fact, come off?

"Hmm...your link says that where, exactly?"

"The number of Americans who believe there is solid evidence that the Earth is warming because of pollution is at its lowest point in three years"

"Here's the poll results, more clearly. I don't think they show what you say they do."

Aye, so it does... DAMN YOU, AP!

But seriously, the study said it was a low point in the past few years, with 47% supporting MMGW.

While this is obviously not a majority, I still have a hunch it will rise above the 50% mark before too long (see e-mail brohaha). Of course, I could just be unduely optimistic on this...

I don't know what "isn't discussable" means here, but the materials I've read make much of the fact that Palestinian support for a two state solution is dwindling, and fast, especially among the young.

It means you're "not serious" if you make mention of it. Mainstream "wisdom" is that a two-state solution is the only conceivable outcome, and everything else must be dismissed without a moment's consideration. If one party acts in a manner to preclude a two-state solution from being realizable but mouths platitudes about being dedicated to bringing one about, it is accepted as good and just and right, because the alternative is not considered conceivable. Thus when farcical Palestinian "states" are grudgingly outlined, the proposers are sagely lauded, despite that the sovereignty of the proposed entities being laughable (see, e.g., "serious" laments about the Palestinian's childish, petulant rejection of that most generous offer made in Camp David in '00). There certainly would be no mention made of the fact that Palestinians are increasingly disillusioned with a 2-state solution because it has become increasingly clear that the Israeli establishment is not acting in good faith when it proposes one, and is doing nothing to halt the further establishment of facts on the ground that might preclude even the establishment of the non-sovereign self-governing Palestinian bantustans their proposals outline.

Israel is a tar baby that the US is slowly unsticking itself from. It is about time.

Israel has nothing China wants or needs so they would be a passing acquaintance at best for Tel Aviv. They certainly would not give Israel one thin dime for anything or have any interest in even visiting there on vacation.

The crystal ball says that the future of any Palestinian state is Yemen. Even the bookmakers in Las Vegas won't take bets on anything else.

If only global warming mania would really cut America's oil addiction and let us write off the whole stinking Middle East with one rubber check. Ah, to dream about a better future . . .

I can think of one thing Israel has to offer that China might be interested in - the very latest in American military technology.

Must be a major bummer to have at your throat opponents who think putting a radio controlled bomb on a Downs syndrome victim is clever, and have a substantial segment of public opinion think YOU'RE the irrationally vicious ones, just because the would-be genocides are too incompetent to rack up a respectable body count during their incessant attacks on you.

and have a substantial segment of public opinion think YOU'RE the irrationally vicious ones

Ahmad Ghanem, 75:

I have an 86-dunam plot of land that is situated southwest of Deir al-Ghusun. When they built the separation fence, about 25 dunams of my plot were destroyed. I was left with 40 dunams of land on the eastern side of the fence, and about 50 dunams of olive groves on the western side. ... As they walked over to me, which took three minutes or so, they swore at me and insulted me, and they also cursed my wife and daughters. When they got close enough, one of them hit me in the face and forehead with his rifle butt. I fell to the ground, and bled a lot, with the blood running onto my chest and kaffiyah. When I fell, the other soldier stepped on my chest, which hurt a lot. The first soldier continued to hit me in the face and the sides of my body. The beating lasted for about five minutes.

Muhammad Eqneibi, 55:

I live in the al-Qazazin (glaziers) neighborhood in the Old City in Hebron, and work as a plasterer. For years, I’ve worked in Israel, in the Ashkelon area. I had a permit to enter Israel and also a magnetic card, but they both expired. .... The soldiers who remained told us to sit on the ground, next to each other. They took our ID cards and cell phones and searched us. The pale-skinned soldier took the four youngest laborers to the fence, Iyad and Sa’id among them, and told them to try and close the gaps in it. He came back with them about half an hour later. He ordered all of us to crawl, on our hands and knees, one after the other. He told us, in turn, to crawl for twenty meters and to crawl back. While we crawled, the soldier followed, kicking and hitting us with his rifle butt. He was shouting all the time. The other soldier stood and aimed his weapon at us.

I was third in line. The pale-skinned soldier made me crawl faster. He kicked and hit us when we slowed down or when a gap opened up between us. We crawled along the side of a path by a trench.

When this “game,” which lasted about an hour, ended, the pale-skinned soldier ordered us to take off our shoes and, one after the other, to walk on thorns for about twelve meters and to return the same way. The soldiers didn't hit us while we walked on the thorns.

Khaled a-Najar, 55:

I live in Khirbet Qawawis, 1.5 kilometers west of the Mitzpeh Yair settlement. I have 100 head of sheep and goats. Earlier today, at about 5:30 P.M., I was grazing my flock about 200 meters from the perimeter of the settlement. .... The two settlers started running towards us. When they were less than 50 meters from us, they stopped and started throwing stones at us and at our flocks. I think that the soldier standing by the settlement saw them throwing stones at us. A large stone hit Na'el in the face and knocked him to the ground. They continued to throw stones at us. Two stones hit me in the chest, and I fell too. The two settlers came over to us, and the tall one took my shepherd's stick and used it to hit me on the head and all over my body. I was still lying on the ground. I couldn't defend myself because I was in so much pain, and also because of a disability I've had since a settler shot me at the beginning of the intifada.

Yeah, what a bummer, having a substantial segment of world public opinion think "irrationally vicious" is a good way to describe a country where such attacks by citizens on non-citizens are so commonplace.

just because the would-be genocides are too incompetent to rack up a respectable body count during their incessant attacks on you.

The B'Tselem fatalities report is now over a year behind - I would guess that the casualties of 2009 stretched their ability to check, confirm, and report accurately to an extent they may never be able to catch up.

But as of December 2009, their figures were:

Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces: 4860. Within that round number - Number of Palestinian children killed: 953. Number killed by Israeli security forces who were not taking part in the hostilities: 2192.

Palestinians killed by Israeli civilians: 47.

Israeli civilians killed by Palestinians: 727. Within that round number - Number of Israel children killed: 123.

Israeli security force personnel killed by Palestinians: 335.

234 Palestinians have been killed by Israelis intentionally in a "targeted killing" - that is, an extra-judicial execution by missile. 153 more Palestinians have been killed by Israels as a lethal side-effect of their practice of "targeted killing".

Israel's supporters do tend to talk of the "incessant" attacks by Palestinians on Israelis. Looking at the month-by-month charting by B'Tselem of the attacks by both sides, it is evident that the incessant attacks are committed by Israel's security forces: it is they who routinely kill Palestinians, demolish their homes, and brutally and viciously attack ordinary working men as described above.

No one can argue that the Palestinians do not also attack the Israelis. But to describe their side's attacks as "incessant", while admiring Israel for managing to "rack up a respectable body count"... is perverse.

As opposed to folks who are launching ill controlled missiles into residential areas? The point, Jess, is not that the Israelis are nice people. Plop them down in the middle of Europe, and they'd clearly be mad dog killers.

OTOH, context counts, and in the context they find themselves, they're about as nice as they could afford to be, and not be wiped out. They're certainly not as nasty as the people who surround them.

Brett: As opposed to folks who are launching ill controlled missiles into residential areas?

Yeah, the difference between the Israelis and the Palestinians in this specific issue is that the Israelis launch hi-tech missiles into residential areas, which invariably kill more people, "rack up a more respectable body count" as you put it, than the low-tech missiles available to the Palestinians.

OTOH, context counts, and in the context they find themselves

The context that means they have to keep killing and brutalising Palestinians in order to justify their Jewish-majority state?

By the way, Brett, you keep adding an extra "s" onto "Jes". Not sure why. Should I reciprocate by addressing you as Brettt or as Bretts?

OTOH, context counts, and in the context they find themselves, they're about as nice as they could afford to be, and not be wiped out.

Right, exactly! This is e.g., why Israel had to invade Lebanon in '06, with all attendant brutality and obscene civilian casualties, plus several billion dollars of infrastructure and property damage. If they had been any nicer than they were when they invaded, they'd have been wiped out. Obviously, this pales before the existential threat posed by the Palestinians, so if they can't always manage to be quite as nice they were in Lebanon it's tragic but entirely understandable. Context counts.

OTOH, context counts, and in the context they find themselves, they're about as nice as they could afford to be, and not be wiped out.

[GrandMoffTarkin]I think you overestimate their chances.[/GranMoffTarkin]

"As opposed to folks who are launching ill controlled missiles into residential areas? "

That's the Palestinians. The folks launching well-controlled missiles into residential areas (and killing many more civilians) are the Israelis.

Hm, let's see, the Israelis wouldn't be, by chance, launching counter fire at the locations from which the Palestinians are launching attacks? And the Palestinian casualties wouldn't, by chance, happen to be because the Palestinians deliberately launch their attacks from crowded civilian areas?

Moral idiocy, that's what's on display here.

Oh, and sorry, Jes: Maybe you'd like to try "Bret", I'd find the mistaken gender aspect annoying.

Brett, the Palestinians live in a crowded civilian area. The Gaza Strip is 25 miles long and just over 6 miles wide and more than 1.5 million people live there: it has one of the highest population densities on Earth.

The difference between what the Israelis do to the Palestinians and what the Palestinians do to the Israelis is exemplified by this day (14th January) last year:

Gaza Strip: Israel's bombardment continues for a 19th day, with overnight air raids on 60 targets, including 35 weapons-smuggling tunnels on the border with Egypt and an unknown number of rocket-launching sites. One air strike damages a cemetery in Gaza City.

Northern Israel: Police say three rockets were fired from southern Lebanon towards the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona. The missiles land on open ground, and there are no reports of injuries or damage.

Oh, and sorry, Jes

Apology accepted with thanks. Jesurgislac isn't actually my real name, you know, or anything like it: but I'd got used to "Jes" as a convenient short form for a complicated nick, and while I don't normally object to any variation or typo on Jesurgislac, "Jess" just seemed odd to me.

The problem here is that the conflict between Israel and it's neighbors is a genuine tragedy, there ISN'T any happy solution. It's true that the Israelis are oppressing the Palestinians. It's also true that if they stop oppressing the Palestinians, the Palestinians will be able to launch much more effective attacks on Israel. And, alas, those Palestinians who wouldn't launch attacks get oppressed along with the guilty.

As I said, if you plopped Israel down in the middle of Europe, their current behavior would make them mad dog killers. But there's no reason to think that, if they were in the middle of Europe, they'd be engaging in their current behavior. Luxembourg wouldn't be burrowing under the border to launch suicide bombings. Monaco wouldn't be launching home-made missiles into Israeli neighborhoods.

The Israelis behave the way they do because they've got Palestinians for neighbors. And it's no accident, the Palestinians are trapped on the Arab side of their borders, too. (Something that's seldom discussed in this context.)

The Palestinians are the human equivalent of a pack of rabid dogs you keep in a kennel next to your neighbor's property, because you really hate your neighbor, but don't dare attack them yourself. They're the Arab war on Israel by proxy.

The problem here is that the conflict between Israel and it's neighbors is a genuine tragedy, there ISN'T any happy solution.

Well, there are, in fact, two happy solutions. One: the Palestinians could all agree to drop dead or emigrate - the "solution" originally envisaged by the founders of the new nation. Two: the State of Israel could accept that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, occupied for 43 years out of the 62 years Israel has existed, are in practical terms part of Israel, and all the inhabitants need to be given full Israeli citizenship.

The problem with both happy solutions is that neither of them are happy for half the population. The first "happy solution" entails violence and genocide: the second "happy solution" entails an apartheid state agreeing not to make a specific race/religion a requirement for citizenship.

One of them is morally preferable to the other, but if you see the human beings slaughtered and brutally abused as "rabid dogs", you will see no difficulty with a final solution.

If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Maybe there would at last be a chance of civil marriage in that new Israel [/snark]

Over the last few years, I have (somewhat reluctantly) come to agree with Jes that a two-state solution is no longer feasible. The populations are just too intertwined.

I now believe that the Palestinians will invevitably give up their struggle for independence and begin demanding citizenship in Israel, though it will probably take another few decades of misery and failure and increasing Bantustanization. I also believe (and hope) that the Israelis will shrink back from the brink of the other "solution" Jes described.

Funny how Jes is so worried about being put outside the pale while simultaneously putting people who disagree with her into the abyss.

It's an aphorism, Sebastian. A fairly well-known one, at that.

"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche, "Beyond Good and Evil", Aphorism 146, 1886.

I am amazed that you define people who slaughter and brutalise others merely as "people who disagree with Jesurgislac". Do you really have no other moral standard for that violence?

"I now believe that the Palestinians will invevitably give up their struggle for independence and begin demanding citizenship in Israel"

And Israel would be starkly insane to agree to such demands. What would be the point, so that Hamas could dump the payloads out of the trunks of cars, instead of having to deliver them by missile?

Why not begin demanding citizenship in the nations surrounding Israel, which they have more cuturally in common with? The answer is pretty straightforward: It wouldn't lead to the distruction of Israel as it presently exists.

Why not begin demanding citizenship in the nations surrounding Israel

For much the same reason, I suppose, that you don't demand citizenship in Mexico, no matter how much you have culturally in common with it, Brett.

The Palestinians are inhabitants of Israel, presuming that we count Israel as including the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Indeed, some of them are still elderly survivors of the first ethnic cleansing to create Israel as it presently exists - or children and grandchildren of the survivors. They live within Israel's borders as non-citizens in order to maintain Israel "as it presently exists" - a state in which about 40% of the population are non-citizens in order to maintain an overwhelming Jewish majority among the citizens.

It seems very strange to me that you are arguing that a large minority of inhabitants within the state should be denied citizenship - should be ruled by a government which claims the right to kill them, while they have no right to vote. Are all your libertarian/anti-government tirades really so hypocritical? Or is this just straightforward racism against Palestinians?

Why not begin demanding citizenship in the nations surrounding Israel, which they have more cuturally in common with?

Wait, I think I know this one: because they are not from there, and they don't currently reside there, and those nations don't want to add a raft of non-citizens/occupied people/limbo dwellers that it had no part in creating in the first place.

And forced expulsion is a war crime.

I think that's the actual answer, not the whole destruction of Israel thing.

One would presume the point of including the Palestinians in Israeli politics is the same as including Nationalists (including Sinn Fein and, with it, many former IRA members) in the government of Northern Ireland: to involve the people in the area in its political process in a way that doesn't involve killing (on either side).

Brett -- you can't even give up on a comment thread and leave when you think you have been treated unfairly or go to a blog that has more in common with you culturally. So I have a hard time picturing you leaving your family farm and allowing it to remain in the hands of invaders who refuse to give you even token compensation for it.

My family farm is currently up for short sale, complete with home I built with my own hands, orchard, stocked pond, hundreds of feet of river frontage, and 10 wooded acres lousy with deer. I'm not going to get even token compensation for it.

So maybe that was a bad analogy.

Since the Israelis are capable of living the way things are now, the defining characterist of any settlement that actually has a ghost of a chance, is that it not leave them worse off. Taking into their body politic a population that's been spending the last few decades trying to kill them doesn't meet that criteria.

Since the Israelis are capable of living the way things are now

Well, population numbers are heading in the wrong direction.

Taking into their body politic a population that's been spending the last few decades trying to kill them doesn't meet that criteria

Well, the intention has been mutual. Starving Gaza of food and fuel and other document war crimes included. And the alternative is apartheid.

Anyone else notice Brett's (probably purposeful) conflation of Israelis and Jews? Or just me?

Brett -- So maybe that was a bad analogy.

It wasn't an analogy. It was a description of the Palestinian's circumstances. I'm perfectly willing to accept that their situation does not match your own. The interesting part lies in the differences and in your reluctance to consider how you would react if your situation did more closely parallel theirs: actual ongoing state sanctioned military violence, family deaths as a direct result, severe overcrowding, deprivation, human rights violations, etc.

I'm sure you and your family are suffering as a result of what you are going through. That does not prevent you from being able to identify with others who are going through much worse and who have been going through it for much longer.

As long as they're launching rockets over the border, that should be phrased, "starving Gaza of munitions." Let's not, after all, elide why it's happening. Eliding WHY Israel is doing these things seems to be somewhat of a constant among it's critics, I've noticed.

BTW, I'm serious about the short sale; Anybody interested in a really good deal on a farm in Southeast Michigan?

Whereabouts, Brett?

Not that I'm in a position to buy, but I grew up fairly close to Edwardsburg.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=8734+Burt+Rd,+Capac+Michigan&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=8734+Burt+Rd,+Capac,+Lapeer,+Michigan+48014&ll=42.98183,-82.995644&spn=0.019434,0.030127&t=h&z=15>Here

Near Imlay City, due West of Port Huron, due North of Detroit.

As long as they're launching rockets over the border, that should be phrased, "starving Gaza of munitions."

But it's food. And medicine. That's not munitions. Eliding that is kind of important.

Let's not, after all, elide why it's happening. Eliding WHY Israel is doing these things seems to be somewhat of a constant among it's critics, I've noticed

A war crime is a war crime. Blockading civilian populations and preventing food and medicine from being delivered is what it is regardless. It's collective punishment, and it's despicable. Hamas' attacks are despicable, no doubt. But one is a nuisance that have led to 0 fatalities. The other is a war crime that has led to many, many fatalities.

And the invasion of Gaza was much worse.

Brett: Let's not, after all, elide why it's happening.

Let's not. It's happening - if we look back sixty-plus years - because the state of Israel was founded with the intention that the Palestinians should not be citizens in it, and as far as possible, should not be in it at all.

Obviously you can argue back and forth over the various casus belli since - the killings committed by the Palestinians, the more "respectable body count" racked up by the Israelis.

Founding an apartheid state is a source of violence. White South Africa eventually had to accept that they must cease to keep black South Africans as non-citizen inhabitants of their own country. Let's hope that eventually, so will the state of Israel make the right decision: you can't expect to keep millions of people subjugated and non-citizens in perpetuity without at least some of them resorting to violence and to acts of terrorism because they see no other way. Nelson Mandela said it plainly and explicitly in 1964: "All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or to defy the Government. We chose to defy the law. We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the Government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence."

"Hamas' attacks are despicable, no doubt. But one is a nuisance that have led to 0 fatalities. The other is a war crime that has led to many, many fatalities."

I am confused by this. So the Palestinians should be allowed to just dump some shells into Israel, send some suicide bombers into Israel and that should all be treated as a nuisance? So what if a few, or a few dozen, people die. Cumulatively the body count really isn't too bad so it really doesn't deserve a response? Really? The Palestinians have acted so nobly in the face of an apartheid regime that they deserve the protection on moral grounds?

This isn't close to historically representative of the back and forth of these two sides promises that have been made and broken over more than half a century.

It is no wonder that Israel might be considering expanding its allies if this myopic view is what they perceive is growing in America.

"So the Palestinians should be allowed to just dump some shells into Israel, send some suicide bombers into Israel and that should all be treated as a nuisance? So what if a few, or a few dozen, people die. Cumulatively the body count really isn't too bad so it really doesn't deserve a response? Really? The Palestinians have acted so nobly in the face of an apartheid regime that they deserve the protection on moral grounds?"

Essentially, yes. Everything - including blowing up buses full of civilians (who of course are not actually civilians) - is a legitimate response to a terrorist regime. I'm not sure why this is so difficult. If a regime drives your people to the sea, you hit back with every terrible thing you can until they learn not to push.

"Everything - including blowing up buses full of civilians (who of course are not actually civilians) - is a legitimate response to a terrorist regime. I'm not sure why this is so difficult. If a regime drives your people to the sea, you hit back with every terrible thing you can until they learn not to push."

That could be a quote from the Israelis, of course.

Except that the Israelis started it, not the Palestinians. This all can end when they either a) accept the Palestinians as true citizens or b) the issue is forced on them.

I doubt either outcome is going to be happy for the Zionists; their best course of action is and has always been to vacate the region where they don't belong. Negotiations can be made to secure fair access to religious sites.

"Hm, let's see, the Israelis wouldn't be, by chance, launching counter fire at the locations from which the Palestinians are launching attacks? And the Palestinian casualties wouldn't, by chance, happen to be because the Palestinians deliberately launch their attacks from crowded civilian areas?"

No, that wouldn't be true. In fact, that would be expressions of willful ignorance and apologetics for Israeli war crimes. Nothing I didn't expect from you, Brett.

I don't really have the energy to go find reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Report, B'Tselem, or Goldstone (a well-respected jurist until he committed the crime of criticizing Israel), but if you had any of that moral sense you think I lack you'd find them yourself.

"Except that the Israelis started it, not the Palestinians. This all can end when they either a) accept the Palestinians as true citizens or b) the issue is forced on them."

That is exactly right, the issue is that the Palestinians, who have no country, need one and the only one available is Israel. So until they gain control of Israel there won't be any peace. That's the Palestinian view.

Based on that consistent stance, if I were Israel I might question their motives and trustworthiness in negotiations, also. I might also take the stance that any attack will be returned tenfold. I might.....act like Israel.

"if I were Israel I might question their motives and trustworthiness in negotiations, also. I might also take the stance that any attack will be returned tenfold. I might.....act like Israel."

Zionists should really question whether they want to be remembered for doing the right thing and permanently leaving, or initiating a conflict that they will never ever win. To me, that's a pretty clear-cut question of survival which dictates that they leave while they still can.

"That is exactly right, the issue is that the Palestinians, who have no country, need one and the only one available is Israel. So until they gain control of Israel there won't be any peace. That's the Palestinian view.

Based on that consistent stance, if I were Israel I might question their motives and trustworthiness in negotiations, also. I might also take the stance that any attack will be returned tenfold. I might.....act like Israel."

So you'd steal a country, oppress your victims in other ways and then feel morally justified in any violence you inflict on them if some of them fight back? And you'd project your ugliness onto others by talking about their motives, their lack of trustworthiness, etc.... Okay.

And btw, as far as returning any attack, it's pretty hard to tell when the violence starts. With some the rule of thumb seems to be the violence starts when an Israeli is attacked--violence towards Palestinians is just the normal routine.

And Sid--you're the moral mirror image of Brett when you justify Palestinian atrocities.

"And Sid--you're the moral mirror image of Brett when you justify Palestinian atrocities."

I'm sorry, but what atrocities?

Attacking your oppressor with whatever means you have available is not an atrocity. It's not pretty, and it might be morally questionable when we look back and debate it 50 years from now, but it will also be looked upon as a legitimate form of resistance. As long as Israelis inhabit territory which they stole, and as long as they serve in a military that murders and rapes women and children, then they are going to be targets.

"Zionists should really question whether they want to be remembered for doing the right thing and permanently leaving, or initiating a conflict that they will never ever win."

Do you mean the West Bank or all of Israel? Because if the latter, you're just advocating ethnic cleansing and I can't see how that's different from what Israel did in 1948.

Even with the West Bank, not all the settlers should necessarily have to leave, though they should be willing to live under Palestinian rule if there is a two state solution. (Those who obtained their land in a fair way, if there are such,should be able to stay.)

"Do you mean the West Bank or all of Israel? Because if the latter, you're just advocating ethnic cleansing and I can't see how that's different from what Israel did in 1948. "

I mean all of Israel.

Ethnic cleansing implies something that doesn't exist. The totality of Israel is an occupied territory. The Israelis living there now, whether they participated in the initial genocide or not, are occupiers and invaders, and they're complicit as long as they remain.

Nor would they want to remain; the demographic shift will permanently disenfranchise them anyways. When Palestinians come to power, they'll pursue legal means to rectify what was taken. Why stay and become an oppressed people yet again? Relocate to the United States and Canada.

" It's not pretty, and it might be morally questionable when we look back and debate it 50 years from now,"

I suspect we will still be discussing this in present tense fifty years from now.

"Attacking your oppressor with whatever means you have available is not an atrocity."

Yes it is. I've seen this stance from lefty supporters of Palestinians before, and once or twice they quoted some UN document (I think), but I don't think their argument is legally valid. Not that I'm a lawyer, but I don't think international law says you can target unarmed civilians even if you are a member of an oppressed group. There's probably some leeway in terms of "collateral damage" if you aim at IDF occupation forces, but I'm just guessing on that.

Legality aside, on moral grounds there's no excuse for, say, suicide bombing aimed at women and children. If you target a settler who has been committing violence against Palestinians without the Israeli police lifting a finger to stop him, that's another story (though I still don't know what international law would say).

"Legality aside, on moral grounds there's no excuse for, say, suicide bombing aimed at women and children. If you target a settler who has been committing violence against Palestinians without the Israeli police lifting a finger to stop him, that's another story (though I still don't know what international law would say)."

What possible recourse do you have if someone you care about is murdered? Should you protest and be shot? Petition the UN and wait for nothing to happen? Beg the Israelis to stop butchering you? Shoot at the guys with the armoured bulldozers and the machine guns?

No. It's not pretty, and it's an uncomfortable thing at times, but in a question of survival, you have no other recourse. You lay down and die, doing nothing, or you strike at a target that will make a difference, that might convince your oppressors to think of what they're doing.

"Wait, I think I know this one: because they are not from there, and they don't currently reside there, and those nations don't want to add a raft of non-citizens/occupied people/limbo dwellers that it had no part in creating in the first place.

And forced expulsion is a war crime."

Well at this point most of them are not from there, and in about fifteen years none of them will have been from there.

Yes this has been a mess since the British decided to make a half ass partition. But at some point things are what they are.

A two state solution acknowledges it and moves forward. A Palestinians get to take over Israel solution doesn't.

"I mean all of Israel.

Ethnic cleansing implies something that doesn't exist. The totality of Israel is an occupied territory. The Israelis living there now, whether they participated in the initial genocide or not, are occupiers and invaders, and they're complicit as long as they remain."

Okay, that's just immoral and also wrong. By now there have been several generations of Israelis born in Israel and it's their home now, no matter what was done in 1948 to make it that way. You can argue in favor of one man one vote and a Palestinian right of return without expelling Israeli Jews (whether it's feasible is another question and there's the danger of civil war), but you're advocating collective punishment of millions of people for the crime of being born in a land which was stolen, even if the crime was committed long before they were born. A lot of us are in trouble if that reasoning goes through.

Also, that word "genocide". If you want emotional hardhitting words, why not stick to "ethnic cleansing" and "apartheid"? I know the lefty argument for the "g-word"--I've had that argument elsewhere as well. But it's not convincing. I'd explain, but you haven't made the case for the word (it might be different from the one I've seen) and I've got laundry to do.

"but you're advocating collective punishment of millions of people for the crime of being born in a land which was stolen, even if the crime was committed long before they were born. "

No, I'm arguing for collective common sense and morality. The Zionists will never ever win the numbers game by any other measure besides continued extermination. If they don't push it past their current levels, then they still will be overwhelmed.

And present generations may not have been party to the initial occupation, but they continue its practices. There was a time when right-thinking Israelis could have united and rejected Zionism, but that time is far past. Too many Palestinians have died. And still it continues. Everyone who participates - by shooting or voting - is complicit in occupation.

Okay, that's just immoral and also wrong. By now there have been several generations of Israelis born in Israel and it's their home now, no matter what was done in 1948 to make it that way.

Additionally, there is the matter of the Jewish population that predated the dissolution (or for that matter, formation) of Mandate Palestine. Ignoring their existence is no more intellectually honest than embracing the hoary old "empty land" myth so beloved of many a Zionist.

"Additionally, there is the matter of the Jewish population that predated the dissolution (or for that matter, formation) of Mandate Palestine."

... whose numbers have always been wildly inflated and don't attest to their persistent violence pre-1948.

My great-grandmother was forced out, but she told my grandmother that things were far worse before; being forced to leave became a welcome reprieve. The Zionists long forfeited any right to inhabit the Palestine; if they could not abide by the rules of the majority, what else could be expected?

A lovely bit of unconvincing argument by anecdote. Chapeau.

Sid, you cheerfully advocate collective punishment and eschew consistent moral standards. I am firmly anti-Zionist, but were I not already in your camp your exhortations would push me in the other direction.

"A lovely bit of unconvincing argument by anecdote. Chapeau."

It happened. That's all I can say. Zionists were murdering Palestinians with impunity well before 1948; Palestinians were not always peaceful, but what choice was there?

"Sid, you cheerfully advocate collective punishment and eschew consistent moral standards."

It's very easy to boast about consistent moral standards when your house isn't be demolished, your son shot, and your wife raped and disfigured. But when an evil regime commits horrible crimes against you, you look for all available options, no matter how terrible. And I don't think going after occupiers is all that terrible, regardless of whether they're cradling a rifle at the time or not.

How do you answer daily genocide, when no one in the world does anything about it? Answer me.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. If something is wrong only when it's done to you, there exists little chance of convincing others to take up your cause. Jus ad bellum does not remove an obligation to jus in bello. Et cetera, ad nauseam.

Also, the dismissal of anecdota was not aimed at your citation of pre-Nakba Zionist-on-Arab violence, but rather the invocation of your great-grandmother to that end. Just to be perfectly clear.

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. If something is wrong only when it's done to you, there exists little chance of convincing others to take up your cause. "

That's not a convincing argument to those currently being exterminated. Forgive them if they don't see things with the same clarity as you do. They only have to live with genocide every single day. And forgive them for concluding that they need to do something drastic to survive, something which works and makes the Israeli Jews take notice.

Ultimately, I concede that there are no principles, beyond getting back what was stolen from you by any means necessary, including targeting Israeli soldiers who happen not to be in uniforms at the particular moment.

Enjoy the warm, solitary fire of righteous outrage your zealous self-assurance affords you, then. I'm sure there is nothing anyone could possibly say to sway you a millimeter in your conviction. By strange coincidence, I likewise suspect nothing you would say will sway almost anyone else who doesn't already share your beliefs. That's the beauty of holding up double standards as laudable. Have fun with that.

Could somebody decide whether the Palestinians are being exterminated or whether they're about to outnumber the rest of the Israeli population, because you can't argue both at the same time. Thanks in advance!

"By strange coincidence, I likewise suspect nothing you would say will sway almost anyone else who doesn't already share your beliefs."

The vast majority of the world shares my beliefs, in case you haven't noticed. I don't think we'll miss having someone who professes sympathy yet demonstrates absolutely no understanding for what those who resist tyrants have to do.

"Could somebody decide whether the Palestinians are being exterminated or whether they're about to outnumber the rest of the Israeli population, because you can't argue both at the same time."

Yes I can.

I correctly pointed out that the Israeli's campaign as it stands now is one of extermination. It's simply a long-term one, one in which the Palestinians are (hopefully) able to overwhelm the Zionists with sheer numbers and marginalize them, ideally driving them out of the country.

And again, the rest of the world (and some here, fortunately and thank you) recognize the obvious: the Zionists don't belong in Palestine. Not now, not ever. And until they realize that, I fully support whatever steps the Palestinian resistors need to take.

Then you are morally bankrupt. If the Palestinian resistors feel they must nuke Tel Aviv, or fillet live Israeli newborns over an open flame, you would support them? If they concluded instead they needed to flay Palestinian newborns and frame the Israelis? If so, well, I doubt your global majority who agrees that the Palestinians are brutally oppressed would still stand with you; they will rightly shrink away with revulsion. If you'd not support such acts, then you do not fully and unconditionally support them in your struggle as you claim to, and there must be limits on what they can do to resist and overcome their oppressors. The question, which you airly dismissed upthread, then becomes what those limits should be.

Grotesque hyperbole aside, jus ad bellum does not magically make jus in bello a quaint frivolity. I may have the most just cause in the world, but that does not mean there are no limits upon what I can do in its pursuit. I do not argue that Palestinian resistance to occupation is not just, I merely assert that your avid and defiant claim that every non-Arab in Israel is a legitimate target with no rights who can be slaughtered as brutally as anyone might chose is a moral monstrosity, and one that does no favor to the Palestinian cause.

Good day.

Couldn't we just let Sid and Brett argue it out? Two mirrors, facing each other, an infinite regression of infinitely-duplicated moral bankruptcy.

I proposed (long ago) to remove everyone from Palestine and then to destroy all of it by use of the dirtiest nukes available, so that the area will be uninhabitable for longer than anyone living there now will be alive (+ at least 5 extra generations). Especially the holy sites should be wiped 110% from the face of the Earth and replaced by mile deep craters.

I might add that Germany could take, at least, a million of them to repopulate North Eastern Germany. Hardy settlers used to farm poor land would be very welcome. They could also deal with the rampant Neonazism. If the Palestinians are willing to share locations with he Turks there would be plenty of room here for them too (with a subdistrict of Berlin as their capital city). An additional feature would be that it would mightily annoy the Poles to suddenly have tons of Jews and Muslims in the neighbourhood.

"Couldn't we just let Sid and Brett argue it out? Two mirrors, facing each other, an infinite regression of infinitely-duplicated moral bankruptcy."

Please. You invoked the same language attacking the Zionists; the only difference between what Palestinians face and South African Blacks faces is degree of severity. But like so many hypocrites, you're quite content to expend moral vitriol against Israelis but cower away from saying the obvious and what you really think. You don't invoke Mandela and say "well, this is what happens" without secretly realizing that its what the Zionists deserve.

"They could also deal with the rampant Neonazism."

Yeah, you're probably right: Some of that old-school Hamas Nazism would have those pretender wanabes sorted out right quick. Maybe make proper Brownshirts of them.

It is amusing to watch the so-called "libertarian" get his panties in a wad defending a group of people who initiated force to take something that didn't belong to them and are using even deadlier force to keep its historical owners from taking it back. I guess when "libertarianism" rubs up against the world as it is, pragmatism is a lot easier to stick to than principle is, huh?

I mean, any "libertarian" who had a lick of goddamned sense in his head would be on the side of the Palestinians here.

Silly Phil. Those Palestinians need disarmed so the Israeli government can do whatever it pleases with them. Anything less would not be good and just and right. I mean, it's not like they're an armed populace resisting an oppressive government or something.

Try to use the sunk costs of history as an excuse to wage anything goes warfare, and the world would drown in blood. I have a great deal of sympathy about what happened to the Palestinians, but the problem is that, today, they seem determined to make the worst of a bad situation.

Right. Because sitting down, shutting up, and accepting expulsion to nations that don't really welcome them, or at "best" starvation on tiny, disjoint, overcrowded hunks of marginal land that Israel doesn't want would be making a better job of their bad situation.

Look, your argument that they should quit resisting would be a whole lot more convincing if we couldn't look back at history and see how well it's served them in the past. The past shows fairly clearly that Israel is quite content to utterly ignore them while settling more and more of the occupied territory; how exactly does that make things better for them?

Remember, again, simpering platitudes about them accepting being cleansed to neighboring Arab states shall be treated with the derision they deserve; said neighbors have made it pretty damn clear they don't want the Palestinians any more than Israel does, and in light of this alone, we should hardly be surprised that the Palestinians aren't champing at the bit to go.

(Also: you say you have a great deal of sympathy for what happened to the Palestinians... have you even a modicum for what continues to happen to them, or shall we assume you feel collective punishment of the Palestinian civil population to be justified today?)

Has anyone ever seen Sid and Brett at the same time?

I was quite precise about my phrasing: I have a great deal of sympathy for what happened to them, but due to their behavior, I have little sympathy for what's happening to them. As I said, they're making the worst of a bad situation.

Brett is totally cool with collective punishment. Innocence is meaningless if you share culture or ethnic identity with someone who is guilty. Duly noted.

Also, again, how would, e.g., the Palestinians unilaterally returning to the status quo ante pre-First Intifada be meaningfully better for the Palestinians than the "worst" they're making of things now?

Things that happened to people who are still alive to remember, be pissed off about and do something about them are not "the sunk costs of history," you moral midget.

But, again, I love this "libertarianism" that supposes that, when someone comes along and initiates force to steal land that you have ethical title to, if you don't do something INSTANTLY to get it back, you have to stop forever and accept whatever the thieves deal out to you.

Oh, how proud Ludwig Von Mises would be of you, Brett. You've really taken libertarian "thought" to its logical end.

And all this "due to their behavior" is fine talk coming from a man who not a week ago was jerking off the to idea of shooting people if a new US Constitution didn't come out the way he wanted.

You're, like, the person I can readily look to for moral guidance. Because I can suss out your opinion and know that "DO THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THAT" is the right thing to do.

Phil: It's important to remember that a democratically-elected government taxing the citizens who elected it (by majority) in order to pay for public services beneficial to those citizens is theft.

A government killing occupied people, bulldozing their homes, depriving them of food and medicine, taking their land, and paying religious zealots to build armed encampments there is the proper and just way of the world.

Any violence done to Palestinians is, by its very nature in the past and, while in principle, regrettable in practice is always completely justified.

I'm not cool with collective punishment. You guys, on the other hand, are apparently cool with collective vicious stupidity. That's what I see in the Palestinians: A stubborn determination at every decision point to cut off their collective noses to spite their faces.

The well off can, to some extent, afford stupidity. That would be the Israelis. The poor can not. The Palestinians might have already won if they'd chosen Gandhi for a role model. Instead they chose Hitler's pal, the Grand Mufti. They've chosen to behave so badly that even with the Israelis being no angels, anybody who doesn't share their aspiration of destroying Israel is bound to have sympathy for what the Israelis have to face.

Haha, again with recommending peaceful nonresistance to others while dreaming about an armed revolution in your own country.

I do feel somewhat sad for you, though, that you are locked into such a confusing and contradictory brain. Does it hurt?

I find the implication that I want my relatives in Israel --my cousin Eric, his wife and their four children -- to be destroyed more amusing than offensive, if par from the course for you.

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