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September 26, 2012

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Epiphanys interruptus.

If I mention Philip Roth, will we be back on topic?

What's really funny about epiphanies is that that the one to whom "so much" is revealed rarely can persuade anyone else of just how profound and awesome his/her new insights are. And, in nearly every instance, there is very good reason why this is so.

Quoted. For. Truth.

If I mention Philip Roth, will we be back on topic?

beats me...

"What's really funny about epiphanies is that that the one to whom "so much" is revealed rarely can persuade anyone else of just how profound and awesome his/her new insights are. And, in nearly every instance, there is very good reason why this is so."

Well, it depends on whether the new views line up with the views of the listener. When they do line up, very often the epiphany seems quite convincing. When they don't, it doesn't. Funny how that works.

Also, substitute "rationally defended political views " for "epiphanies" and I don't think the percentages change much. Hilzoy used to post here and you couldn't find a calmer person more devoted to logic (to the extent anyone can be) and she didn't convince everyone all the time. That wasn't necessarily irrational on the part of her opponents. Though sometimes it was. (I'm thinking of just those instances when Hilzoy's views lined up exactly with my own.)

That said, if we're talking about Blackhawk's epiphany, I'm not on his side on the value of old religions issue. Since I'm Christian, you wouldn't expect me to be. But he's obviously partly right about the clannishness problem. I see that on a small scale with American Christians in various ways and for that matter, in my own prejudices when I'm aware of them.

If I mention Philip Roth, will we be back on topic?

Only if we all launch into a chorus of Fifty Ways To Love Your Liver.

Speaking of which.

Well, I thought, early in my comments, I was opening the door for Portnoy's Complaint

(contra fuzzy face' cheerleading for montheistic western society)

I think you've inferred something that was not implied.

here is everything i remember from every Phillip Roth novel i've ever read : "buttermilk and clorox", and animals have just the right amount of brain matter to tan their own hides.

This is a great and thoughtful post Doc, thank you for it.

My "late to the party" contributions:

the primary job of a prophet is ... to act as a conduit between God and the rest of humanity

As I understand it, this is exactly the role of the prophet. The prophet's "job", as it were.

Also as I understand it, any reading of what the actual Hebrew prophets actually wrote and said has to lead you to believe that one of the most important things to god - one of god's highest priorities - is that people in a position of misfortune or disadvantage be treated not just fairly, but with positive kindness and generosity.

I.e., that they be comforted.

Likewise, I can't imagine reading what the actual prophets actually wrote and said and not come away with the impression that the special target of god's anger were people who held any sort of position of privilege or authority, and used that position for their own advantage. Especially if that came at any cost to the less fortunate.

Maybe we're reading different prophets.

The law given by Moses, and later in the levitical code and in deuteronomy, places great importance on personal righteousness, especially as expressed in practice.

I don't see the same emphasis in the prophets. In fact, the prophetic understanding of righteousness (again, as I read it) in many cases *is* to treat other people humanely and with respect, and in particular to treat the less fortunate with positive kindness and generosity.

I.e., to comfort them.

That's what I take away from it, FWIW.

I thought wj's point about Greek vs. Germanic / Nordic democratic traditions was right on, and probably worth a discussion either here or (more likely) in another thread.

Folks talk a lot about the "Judeo/Christian" traditions of the US. To my eye, the Anglo/Germanic traditions are far more relevant, historically.

Thanks again for a great post Doc!

The other thing that strikes me in Doc Science's post is the quandary that Israel faces through being both a political entity and a religious community. Or, at least, a community with a strong and distinct religious identity.

How do you meet the pragmatic, real-world obligations of a modern nation-state, while also living up to the moral, ethical, and spiritual requirements of religion, let alone faith?

When people talk about the US being a "Christian nation", I always have to ask myself if they understand exactly what they are calling for.

Seriously, do they really want to take that on? Do they really want to be obliged to live out (for example) the words of Jesus, as a national project?

A lot of things would have to change. Probably more than folks have in mind, when they talk about stuff like that.

When people talk about the US being a "Christian nation", I always have to ask myself if they understand exactly what they are calling for.

Exactly. Proper theology? No heretics? Literaliism? Everybody behaves? Protestant Christianity?

Zionism is formed during an era in European history wherein ethnic and religious identity were to be bound up with the notion of the nation-state, isn't its original intent moot? What can Zionism say to Arab Jews? African Jews? Indian Jews? Does it matter, since Europeans have/had a better grasp on organized violence? Power dictates truth.

Proper theology? No heretics? Literaliism? Everybody behaves? Protestant Christianity?

The stuff I have in mind is more along the lines of "if any man asks for your shirt, give him your tunic also".

In other words, never mind the theology, just the basic words of Jesus are a sufficient impediment.

"Christian nation" is a very high bar. Likewise "Jewish nation", "Muslim nation", "Buddhist nation", "Hindu nation", etc. Take your pick, they're all difficult.

Just meeting the bar of simple, basic justice is more - way more - than hard enough. "Good" is, IMO, beyond the grasp of polities.

Sounds like a collective action problem.

magistra writes:

On the specific issues of religious tolerance, for the majority of its history, Islam has been more tolerant of both Christians and Jews than Christianity has been of either Muslims or Jews. There are Christian communities in Egypt that have been there for more than 1000 years; until very recently there were Jewish communities in Iran, etc.
That might be setting rather a low bar; treatment of dhimmis is only "tolerant" if you compare it to frequent murder and forced conversion. Not allowing people to build houses of prayer, requiring them always to be treated as second-class citizens, with a death penalty if they dare get "uppity" and try to act as though they are full human beings is not what we'd call tolerant - at least not compared to 21st century Western standards.

Blackhawk12 writes:

And Arabs enjoy the same rights as Jewish Israeli citizens? Or is it more of a Jim Crow situation?
The same rights? Yes. But the Israeli election system is rather idiotic, requiring voting for a party list rather than candidates. The result is massive fracturing of voting power except from groups that figure out how to band together - which usually means some least-common-denominator interests. Religious Jews and Sephardic Jews are also under-represented in the Knesset, as a result.

Arabs sit in the Knesset, on the Supreme Court, and so on. They have total freedom of movement and the right to live anywhere in the country. That doesn't mean that there is no perception of intolerance. I heard a talk recently from an Israeli professor who was being interviewed by reporters from several Arab nations. They wanted to know pretty much this question, so he called in one of his students, who happened to be an Israeli Arab sheik. The sheik told the reporters that Israel was horribly unfair to Arabs - but that it was a hundred times better than any Arab nation.

Blackhawk12 again:

It is interesting that elements of the Jewish diaspora found equality and a lack of persecution in India amongst the Hindus
and many other places; antisemitism has mostly been found among Christian, Muslim, and Communist societies, to the best of my knowledge.

My comment about the advantages of the West were about success of the societies overall - not tolerance of others.


I'll try a different tact on essentially the same question I started out with, to wit, who the hell actually chooses to be a Jew?

I mean people convert to christianity, people elect to be buddhists, people choose new agey thinking, peaople even convert to islam, but I can honestly say I've never even vagually known anyone who read about judaism and decided to become a jew. It's seems ridiculous to, my mind, to even attempt to imagine such a thing - that is, accept for people with Jewish genes that decide to explore their ancestory or something and then decide to get involved in the religious aspects where they had not previously been.

I don't think Judaism has much to offer beyond the clan/anscestor thing. The golden rule, apparently, is the trump card and it's available in several more appealing flavors.

I'd like to hear Jews explain why they want to identify as jews before I hear about all of their angst and confusion. It would really help provide some context.

So, what, exactly is the appeal of Judiasm beyond getting to declare that g-d likes you better than those marshugana goys? seriously. What?

sorry, that last came of a little too harsh. But I am seriously interested in whether or not judaism has an appeal - or even a willingness to accept converts - beyond some sense of ancestorial ties.

I truly don't see the appeal myself, but i am wondering what others might see there that other systems don't offer.

Oddly enough, I really don't understand why anyone wants to be a Christian. The whole concept makes no sense to me.

Original sin?

You get away with all sorts of crap because Jesus was crucified (well, I see the appeal, but it still makes no sense).

Heaven? Hell? Because you buy into the whole thing, or don't? Come on.

Blackhawk12,

Religion does not have the same universal function you think it does. For some it is a metaphysical thing, others it is part of their ethnic/ethnie/ethnos identity, others it is Western, Modern, Progressive thinking, other it is anti-modern, regressive, hierarchical, and even others it is about national pride, for some it is rational, others it is mystical and a-rational or irrational and for others it is all those things.

You keep assuming everybody uses religion in the same way.

Blackhawk... um...

Doctor Science had just posted that she had chosen to become a Jew and you ask, "who the hell actually chooses to be a Jew?" Seriously?

I know quite a few Jews-by-choice. There doesn't seem to be only one reason, but many people decide that they like the value system and they way that we have of connecting with G-d. You've so convinced yourself that clan identification is the major function of religion that you have blinded yourself to the face that most people - especially most religious Jews and Christians - don't see it that way.

FF, Doctor science is very peculiar in her perspectives and activities in many ways, IMO. I don't take her to be at all typical.

someotherdude, you contunue to make wildly inaccurate assuptions about what I assume.

"You've so convinced yourself that clan identification is the major function of religion that you have blinded yourself to the face that most people - especially most religious Jews and Christians - don't see it that way."

Of course they don't see it that way. They are convinced that they are correct in a very final absolute objective way and that everyone else is wrong. What's *not* clannish about thinking that my god is the real god and all those who don't believe that are lost in this life as well as the next? You keep saying that it's not clannish, but that doesn't make it so. How about actually explaining *why* it's not.

Judaism is not only a" my god is the only true god" religion, but it's also tightly based on a supposed history of a clan of people (after all most of the OT is just a bunch of stories about the history of the Jews, their special relationship with god, and the purity of the Jewish familial lines). You deny this to be the case?

However, FF, you also continue to make erroneous assumptions about what I think. I do not see, for example, Buddhism or Toaism as being clannish, nor the Hindu system, nor the beliefs of the ancient Greeks ( to include the Eleusinian mysteries).

".....For some it is a metaphysical thing, others it is part of their ethnic/ethnie/ethnos identity, others it is Western, Modern, Progressive thinking, other it is anti-modern, regressive, hierarchical, and even others it is about national pride, for some it is rational, others it is mystical and a-rational or irrational and for others it is all those things."

This, by itself is a valid statement that I agree with and already knew.

Thay being said, it really says nothing.

Are these all good motivations in a 21st century world? Or are some of them destructive?

BTW, speaking of converts, it seems that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, with 80% of adherants living outside the Arab world.

The fastest growing religion in the US is, apparently, Buddhism.

Converts to Judaism are too miniscule to even show up on the radar screen as far as I can see - I only mention this to back my assertion that it is an unusual person indeed that converts to Judaism. From what I read, orthodox Jews don't even want the conversion of goyim spouses of Jews.

So it's not only that people aren't getting in line to convert to Judaism, it's also that some proportion of Jews don't want new Jews. They want to keep the clan's blood pure.

Blackhawk12:

They are convinced that they are correct in a very final absolute objective way and that everyone else is wrong.
You're projecting, here. You know basically nothing about religious people, but you have invented your own ideas about how they think. This line describes you - at least as you have behaved here. You believe yourself to be correct in a very final absolute way and that everyone else is wrong.
Judaism is not only a" my god is the only true god" religion, but it's also tightly based on a supposed history of a clan of people (after all most of the OT is just a bunch of stories about the history of the Jews, their special relationship with god, and the purity of the Jewish familial lines). You deny this to be the case?
Actually, Judaism is a "my god is everybody's god" religion, but "only those who were born Jewish or choose to become Jewish are obligated to follow Jewish rules" religion. It's not "based on" our history. Rather, a portion of our history is recorded as a record of our attempts, successful and failing, to keep it. As opposed to, say, Christianity and Islam which agree on the "one god" thing, but insist that everybody in the world needs to follow their rules.
From what I read, orthodox Jews don't even want the conversion of goyim spouses of Jews.

So it's not only that people aren't getting in line to convert to Judaism, it's also that some proportion of Jews don't want new Jews. They want to keep the clan's blood pure.

Um, no. I know quite a number of Orthodox Jews married to converts. It is amazing how little you know about Judaism and Jews, yet you feel free to make lots of hateful comments.

I guess you're basically uneducable. I'm going to try ignoring you at this point. But it can be sooo hard when you are so wrong.

Oddly enough, I really don't understand why anyone wants to be a Christian.

I see your point.

Personally, I focus more on Jesus and less on Paul.

And I pay no attention to Augustine, at all.

But even so, yes, there is something absurd about it.

Blackhawk, why do you have such an idiotic handle? What person in their right mind names themselves after a helicopter?

===pause===

My apologies for making my point by example rather than by explanation, but your attempts to try and find out more about Judaism strike me as being about the same as saying 'It's a shitty little religion for small minded people. By the way, does anyone want to explain why anyone would want to convert to it?'

Now, you have a bit of a history of anti-semitic remarks (see here as one specifically called out by other commenters and including a(n apparently unclosed) goodbye cruel blog tag) means you are basically starting this discussion firmly seated in the penalty box, but I took your 10:39 comment at face value, so I am going to pause for another moment here, and just point out that when you are presented with a counter example (like the good Doc being a convert to Judaism) and you reply "I don't take her to be at all typical", you are violating the first rule of holes.

As for the question of how many people convert to various religions, that is an interesting one, but ultimately unrelated to this discussion, as it is a discussion of the principles of various beliefs, not the number of likes a religion can attract, because if it were, we would probably be worshipping at the First United Church of Porn.

On other things, I want to change Russell's observation to a rhyme to teach to people going to Sunday school.

Focus more on Jesus and less on Paul
And pay no attention to Augustine at all.

that is, accept for people with Jewish genes

1. s/accept/except
2. "Jewish genes?"

You might be taken a lot more seriously if you didn't write like a third grader in the White Power movement.

(Although I shouldn't expect more from someone who thinks Martin Sheen, Rita Hayworth and Cameron Diaz aren't "white.")

Byomtov/Fuzzyface

Specifically on contrasting treatments of the Jews by Christians and Muslims, my main argument is that neither Islam nor Christianity intrinsically possess values that would automatically lead to religious tolerance/intolerance. Modern "Western" values do not flow automatically from Judeao-Christian teaching, because if they did, how do you explain more than a millennium of failure to conceive of religious tolerance, never mind practice it? (Incidentally, Fuzzyface, to say that "separation of church and state" is a "Western" value just seems ludicrous to someone like me, who is a member of the Church of England, a church governed by Queen Elizabeth II. We need to try and think comparatively about such matters, which is hard for all of us).

What I'm arguing is that because Islam at a relatively early stage evolved a written and authoritative statement of how other religions should be treated, it has been harder for it to adapt to changing social values concerning tolerance than Christianity, which has fewer specific social rules in its canonical texts. To take the examples of Britain and the Ottoman Empire: the Jews were expelled from England in 1290, and only allowed back in informally in the late seventeenth century. Jews were allowed to enter Parliament in 1858 and full access to all offices of state came in 1890.

The Ottoman Empire never expelled Jews living there and passed laws in the mid-nineteenth century officially abolishing religious discrimination (as part of the Tanzimat reforms). Some of the successor states to the Ottoman Empire have subsequently re-imposed restrictions on Jews (e.g. they are effectively banned from entering Saudi Arabia). Restrictions on Jews have not, however, been re-imposed in the UK. So the position of Jews in the UK is now better than in the former Ottoman Empire, having once been substantially worse.

Why is this the case? It can't be because British people/Europeans/Christians are intrinsically tolerant and Turks/"Arabs"/Muslims aren't; the medieval and early modern evidence doesn't support that. Anti-semitism certainly continued to exist in twentieth-century Britain (we had our own home-grown fascists). It can't be about the "separation of Church and State", because there is still a state religion in the UK. It can't be attributed to the effect of ancient Greek values or the existence of Parliament or the Renaissance/Reformation, because the treatment of Jews was worse in England until at least the seventeenth century, well after these occurred. (The suggestion that Oliver Cromwell officially allowed the Jews to return has now been debunked).

I want to argue that one of the reasons that British anti-Semites/theocrats were not able to re-impose restrictions on Jews after they had been removed in the nineteenth century is that they did not have specific canonical authority to appeal to. Protestants who wished to repress Jews could point to passages of the New Testament that were generally hostile to them, but not ones mandating how they were to be treated by the state, because early Christianity wasn't in a position to decide that. And to Protestants, the Old and New Testaments was the only canonical authority for such decisions. On the other hand Sunnis or Shias who wished to repress Jews could point to early canonical texts (the hadith, the pact of Umar) that did mandate how they were to be treated as inferior by the state.

In other words, path dependence meant that canonising rules early on that were more tolerant than one's neighbours made them harder to alter at a later stage, when they had become less tolerant than others.

"Arabs sit in the Knesset, on the Supreme Court, and so on. They have total freedom of movement and the right to live anywhere in the country. That doesn't mean that there is no perception of intolerance. I heard a talk recently from an Israeli professor who was being interviewed by reporters from several Arab nations. They wanted to know pretty much this question, so he called in one of his students, who happened to be an Israeli Arab sheik. The sheik told the reporters that Israel was horribly unfair to Arabs - but that it was a hundred times better than any Arab nation."


I don't have time for this today, but this is just embarrassing. "Perception of intolerance." So its just perception?

Anyway, Israel's biggest sin is in how it treats the Palestinians on the WB, which is comparable to the way a certain southern African country treated its black population.

I don't have time for this today, but this is just embarrassing. "Perception of intolerance." So its just perception?

That's kind of a hard question to answer, wouldn't you say? If I claimed that there was no actual intolerance, wouldn't that be my perception, while somebody else's would be different? I don't think anything can be described as "just perception" or "not just perception" as that assumes some way of determining reality without using perception.

Anyway, Israel's biggest sin is in how it treats the Palestinians on the WB, which is comparable to the way a certain southern African country treated its black population.

I don't believe that's a reasonable or fair statement. South African blacks didn't have a longstanding history of murdering the whites, along with repeated statements that their goal was genocide. How to treat the Palestinians is a thorny problem in Israel; every single time they decide to let up on restrictions, more Palestinians take advantage of the opportunity to murder Israeli civilians.

It may well be that many Palestinians would be perfectly happy leaving in peace with Israel. Maybe. When Palestinians form their equivalent of Israel's "Peace Now" organization, it will be much easier to believe.

magistra,

Specifically on contrasting treatments of the Jews by Christians and Muslims, my main argument is that neither Islam nor Christianity intrinsically possess values that would automatically lead to religious tolerance/intolerance.
I suppose it depends on what you believe automatically leads to religious intolerance. Given that modern-day Christianity is very tolerant, I would tend to agree as far as that faith is concerned. I'm not so sure about Islam. True, the Ottomans did not expel their Jews; however, there were intermittent pogroms and forced conversions - on top of the general treatment as second-class citizens. The "Golden Age of Spanish Jewry" in the Iberian peninsula was under the Berbers and Moors, who weren't particularly devout Muslims, and ended when the very religious Almohads took over. I think we'd need an existence proof an actually tolerant Muslim society before agreeing that intolerance is not inherent in Islam.
Modern "Western" values do not flow automatically from Judeao-Christian teaching, because if they did, how do you explain more than a millennium of failure to conceive of religious tolerance, never mind practice it? claimed that (Incidentally, Fuzzyface, to say that "separation of church and state" is a "Western" value just seems ludicrous to someone like me, who is a member of the Church of England, a church governed by Queen Elizabeth II. We need to try and think comparatively about such matters, which is hard for all of us).
I don't recall claiming that those values flowed automatically from such teaching. Only that the values are found within the teachings. For example, a Western value demands equal justice for all - that's pretty explicit in the Pentateuch. But much of Medieval European society had clearly different justice systems for the highborn and the lowborn.

When I say that separation of Church and State is a Western value and is based (or at least permitted) by Judaeo-Christian teachings, I mean that you can find the basis therein. Judaism has a separation of powers among the kingship, priesthood and judges, while the Christian statement "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's; render unto G0d that which is G0d's" gives an explicit basis from Christianity. You won't find a similar statement within Islam, as far as I have been able to tell.

Liberal Japonicus, I got to tell you, it really shows an inablility to think rationally and discuss openly when someone conflates a dislike (perhaps even an intense dislike) for Israel's policies and Israel's relationship with the US, with anti-semitism/hate talk.

So we have Bibi running around with his immature crayon scrawled cartoon bomb graphic (talk about third grade) trying to scare the citizens of the US into a war with Iran. And lying about % figures (IAEA says 20% , Bibi is going on about 80% to 90% enrichment). I can't be upset that Israel is trying to take us over the edge of sanity for it's own selfish reasons?

That AIPAC exists and how it functions and for what purposes is no mystery nor conspiracy theory. A US citizen not wanting a foreign government lobby to have a grip on US govt is not antisemitism nor is it hate talk.

Not appreciating how Israel treats its Arab citizens and neighbors - most practically due to how that behavior impacts the US - (despite FF's blatant distortion of the truth concerning these things) is not antisemitism or hate talk either.

Phil, re; the white power movement (of which I am not a member nor even a sympathizer) let me ask you this. If Jews and African Americans, etc all get to be proud of their traditions and openly celebrate them and we are to respect them, why can't white people be just as proud of their heritage. Are you white, Phil? I think you are. Why do you self loath?

Fuzzy Face - it does seem to be true that Judiasm doesn't seek converts. However, your response to the issue of those seeking to convert is facile at best. Reformed Jews? Seems they are more open to the idea. Orthodox, not so much. So it looks to me, admittedly an outsider, that it really depends on who you ask.

If Jews and African Americans, etc all get to be proud of their traditions and openly celebrate them and we are to respect them, why can't white people be just as proud of their heritage.

I guess you've never heard of the many St. Patrick's Day parades around the country. Did you happen to see Ferris Bueller, which featured a major scene during a very large and well attended German parade in downtown Chicago? Are Italians white enough? They have quite a few large festivals in the cities in my part of the country, most notably on Columbus Day in Philadelphia. I know of decent sized Polish and Greek festivals that occur at least yearly around here. I could probably go on, but I think I've made my point.

So, I guess my question is - WTF are you talking about?

Russell (and anyone else),

Thanks for not being offended. I wrote that in a moment of irritation and should not have adopted such a mocking tone.

I do wonder, from time to time, whether it's possible to make a sort of metaphorical sense of the whole thing.

Original sin: Natural and unavoidable human failings.

Crucifixion: The damage we do others by our bad behavior.

Redemption: Understanding the damage and atoning.

Not particularly original, I suppose, and a lot of stretching of ideas that I don't actually understand more than very supercficially.

"So, I guess my question is - WTF are you talking about?"

The white power movement?

Just trying to respond to Phil's scatological comment. My mistake.

why can't white people be just as proud of their heritage.

They can.

It's the shooting the people who aren't white part that's problematic.

Thanks for not being offended.

NO WORRIES.

I wrote that in a moment of irritation and should not have adopted such a mocking tone.

Understandable.

Not particularly original, I suppose

The best things rarely are.

But who counts as "white"? How do you define "white heritage"?

iberal Japonicus, I got to tell you, it really shows an inablility to think rationally and discuss openly when someone conflates a dislike (perhaps even an intense dislike) for Israel's policies and Israel's relationship with the US, with anti-semitism/hate talk.

Why, just LOOK at all this criticism of Israel, its policies and its relationship with the US!

" I can honestly say I've never even vagually known anyone who read about judaism and decided to become a jew. It's seems ridiculous to, my mind, to even attempt to imagine such a thing"

"I don't think Judaism has much to offer beyond the clan/anscestor thing."

"who the hell actually chooses to be a Jew?"

"So, what, exactly is the appeal of Judiasm beyond getting to declare that g-d likes you better than those marshugana goys?"

Just trying to respond to Phil's scatological comment.

You do not know what the word "scatological" means. You are a stupid, stupid person and are punching way above your weight class.

Liberal Japonicus, I got to tell you, it really shows an inablility to think rationally and discuss openly when someone conflates a dislike (perhaps even an intense dislike) for Israel's policies and Israel's relationship with the US, with anti-semitism/hate talk.

Let's look at the comment I linked to

Any how, to answer that question is easy. No one gets elected in this country without the Zionist lobby (e.g. AIPAC) backing. Anyone who defies Isreal won't get relected. Israel itself boosts of this power.

Romney is already on board with the neocon nuts who think that bloody revolution across the middle east is a good thing - you know, the same guys that brought us the Iraq adventure, occupy A-stan, support the Muslim Brotherhood in Sysria, Egypt and Libya. Mostly jews, but also some other brilliant think tank paid for by the arms industry types.

Obama less onboard, yet finding himself needing to ride the fence for fear of running afoul of the zionist lobby pre-election.

You cast around these words, and when called on them, you say 'oh, only talking about Israel, not about Judaism'. So there is something about owning what you say rather than trying to squirm out of it.

But to make this clearer, the good doctor wrote the following in the original post

Be warned that I will be policing the comments with extra firmness -- I'm aware that this topic is one of the third rails of the Internet, with Godwin pre-installed.

She may be hesitating to pull the trigger on the ban hammer because she doesn't want to be seen as being thin skinned. I labor under no such burden, so I am giving you a warning now, one which I extend to the 'why can't white people be just proud of their heritage' garbage (as if someone said they couldn't be). So whatever 'you got to tell me', you may wish to turn it over a few times and then pass on the temptation. If you want to participate here, you are going to have to play nice, regardless how much you feel israel is a carbuncle of nations. I hope I've made myself clear.

"You cast around these words, and when called on them, you say 'oh, only talking about Israel, not about Judaism'."

Well, that's where things get interesting because for Jews Israel is obviously holds some amount of importantance in their identity as Jews and for some, even those who are American citizens, Israel is a major facet of that identity; perhaps even above and beyond their identity as Americans.

That there is a Jewish lobby is beyond question at this point. True there are some strains of the lobby that are more militant than others.

Even Barack Obama implicitly noted differences within the lobby when 'casts' this about, "there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says, 'unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel, that you’re anti-Israel,' and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel."

So this is an interesting aspect of Judaism; what it means to be a Jew. For some maybe it's just righteously following the miztvahs (apologies if I got that wrong) and for a substantial proportion (I don't know what proportion) there is an integral and very important link to a little piece of land on the Eastern shore of the Med. that they believe god promised to them and that they are entitled to and that, furthermore, they are always looking to beyond the country of their residence and citizenship.

This latter seems to me to be a source of both group cohesion and of group self-perpetuating suffering. Deserved suffering? I didn't say that, but a reality of suffering nonetheless.

Even Barack Obama implicitly noted differences within the lobby when 'casts' this about, "there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says, 'unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel, that you’re anti-Israel,' and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel."

Notice that Obama doesn't use the word "Jewish" anywhere in this quote. The strain of the pro-Israel community he's speaking about consists of many people who are not Jewish. It is not a "Jewish lobby." It's most of the American right.

So far, it seems you think people who are devoutly Jewish are necessarily clannish and that people who are pro-Israel are necessarily Jewish (and therefore clannish).

I mean, I get that you disagree with American Jews who, in your opinion, identify too strongly with Israel and that you disagree with many of the Israeli government's policies and positions. I probably agree with you on some, perhaps many, of those points. But you bring along so much baggage with it that it's really hard to take you seriously.

You know hairshirt, people here accuse me of being intensely stupid, having all this or that baggage, being ignorant, bigotted, etc, but the thing is that the same people just make sh_t up to fit their view of the world - like you for example. Yes, AIPAC has members and support from non-Jewish members and groups, particularly hardcore christians of the end of times ilk. However, AIPAC is *not* ,as you suggest, just an org with rightwing appeal. It is happy to have - and does have - members from the left as well. It self describes and successfully seeking alliance with and membership from both major US political parties. It achieves this at least partly and perhaps largely through massive campaign contributions. It is the most powerful lobby on the hill. It's not all about ideals for non_Jewish members/supporters.

Additionally, All of it's presidents have been Jewish.

At least one former CIA director and one former DIA director believe and have publicly stated that AIPAC should be registered under FARA.

I don't normally rely on wiki too much, but this one has some good links that I am too busy to go pick up individuall on my own.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Israel_Public_Affairs_Committee

So a former CIA director is saying essentially what I am saying, but people here are better informed and know it's all just antisemitic rhetoric? Because that is basically what you are saying - that or you just don't care to actually look into the issues and prefer to float around in a happy bubble.

We should have to go so far afield to get some fundemental facts correct just to have a basic discussion. I understand, though, that it's not a discussion anyone here wants to have. I'll let you be.

"I don't believe that's a reasonable or fair statement. South African blacks didn't have a longstanding history of murdering the whites, along with repeated statements that their goal was genocide. How to treat the Palestinians is a thorny problem in Israel; every single time they decide to let up on restrictions, more Palestinians take advantage of the opportunity to murder Israeli civilians."

I believe it is an entirely fair and rational statement. I could change the comparison to the United States and its Native American population in the 19th century and the comparison would be even more fair. The main distinction between the three cases (and here I'm not being original)is simply the relative populations involved. As some clever commenter at Jerome Slater's blog (I'm too lazy to go link) pointed out, what makes the I/P conflict unlikely to end in a democratic one state solution as opposed to the apartheid one state we have now is the fact that the numbers on both sides are similar. White people in the US might have been reluctant to let Native Americans off the reservations if there were 200 million of "them" crammed into less than 22 percent of their land (and shrinking due to white settlement activity), all wishing the Europeans had never come. There are always atrocities (on both sides) and there is generally bloodthirsty rhetoric involved when a settlers move into an already inhabited land.

I wonder too if you remember much about what South Africa was like--not so much terrorism against whites, but thousands died in black on black violence in the townships between the ANC youth and the government-backed Inkatha party. The ANC tortured people in its prison camps. And South Africa isn't exactly a crime-free region since. Is that sort of violence not supposed to count in determining the rights and wrongs in a given situation?

As for the rhetoric used, I just saw an interesting link to a Haaretz piece which pointed out that the rhetoric and the behavior (on both sides) doesn't really match up too well.

As for violence, an early Zionist Ahad Ha'am was already complaining about contemptuous violence being displayed by Jewish immigrants towards Arabs in the early 1890's. The first large scale killing between the two groups was in the 1920's, by the Palestinians in two pogroms. In the later one, in Hebron, many Jews were saved by their Palestinian neighbors. By the 30's the Jewish terrorist groups were planting bombs in Arab marketplaces. So there's some parity there.

As for restrictions and murdering civilians, please don't tell me you're serious. Well, I know you are and that's depressing as hell. The Israelis have killed more civilians and if you say "in response to terrorism" I will invite you to look a little more deeply at the details. I'm not going to do it here, but frequently a given spasm is initiated by something violent the Israelis do first. And many of those restrictions you mention are imposed to protect the settlers on the West Bank, who in turn often get away with violence against Palestinians. There are two sets of laws in practice for two sets of people in the West Bank and that's apartheid. As for what happens inside Israel itself, there is real discrimination, but as there is some chance of fighting it legally within the system for Israeli Palestinians that's a separate issue and doesn't really concern me as an American, or no more than countless other cases in other countries. But we are deeply implicated in Israel's stupid and immoral policies towards Palestinians in general.


"When Palestinians form their equivalent of Israel's "Peace Now" organization, it will be much easier to believe.
"

That's grotesque. There are Palestinians who are in favor of non-violent protest. (Unfortunately some of the youth still throw stones, though I noted with interest that stone-throwing was considered non-violent protest when it was done against the Mubarak security forces.) You talk as though it's Islamic Jihad on the one hand, and Peace Now on the other. That's simply false. What's really ridiculous about this is that Israel has had just about the most compliant Palestinian government it could possibly wish for in the PA (too compliant, really) and they still keep building on the WB, even during the so-called freeze a couple of years ago.

There was no mention of AIPAC in the Obama quote I was addressing, nor in my comment. AIPAC is not the whole of the "pro-Israel community." So, who's making stuff up?

I can't say with certainty that AIPAC is or is not the most powerful lobby on the hill, but that assertion sounds pretty fishy.

But even so, yes, there is something absurd about it.

Posted by: russell | October 03, 2012 at 04:30 AM

I would go even further and say the relationship between the father and son/Jesus, is sickening. The relationship between God and his children is brutal and abusive…but I keep coming back to the faith. Like a moth to a flame, or a dog to his vomit.

Like Lady Gaga said (I think), maybe I was born this way. (Maybe that’s why Calvinism speaks to me).

But Blackhawk, you have a very old fashion understanding of religion, which was much more popular at the turn of the last century.


not the number of likes a religion can attract, because if it were, we would probably be worshipping at the First United Church of Porn.
Posted by: liberal japonicus | October 03, 2012 at 07:41 AM

That was freakin’ funny. Because its true…and they demand more than 10%

As an aside, I wish folks would stop hating on Paul and Augustine. If you guys don’t like the way they formed their understanding of the Gospel, blame Greek philosophy. And Hellenized Rome.

"I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby."

That was from Thomas Friedman in a column from December 2011, referring to a Netanyahu speech that received 29 standing ovations from both members of Congress when he visited that summer. So yeah, it's a pretty powerful lobby. I don't know about "most powerful" or how one rates such a thing. Obama tried to force a settlement freeze, a pretty mild thing really, since settlements on occupied land are an ongoing war crime, and he didn't get much support from either side of the aisle. You only started to see prominent Democrats siding with Obama against Netanyahu recently, because Netanyahu was trying a little too hard to push us into war with Iran.

I was going to link to the Friedman column I mentioned, but I don't like Friedman that much and so here instead is one by Larry Derfner at the Israeli online magazine 972--

link

Donald,

I believe it is an entirely fair and rational statement. I could change the comparison to the United States and its Native American population in the 19th century and the comparison would be even more fair. The main distinction between the three cases (and here I'm not being original)is simply the relative populations involved. As some clever commenter at Jerome Slater's blog (I'm too lazy to go link) pointed out, what makes the I/P conflict unlikely to end in a democratic one state solution as opposed to the apartheid one state we have now is the fact that the numbers on both sides are similar. White people in the US might have been reluctant to let Native Americans off the reservations if there were 200 million of "them" crammed into less than 22 percent of their land (and shrinking due to white settlement activity), all wishing the Europeans had never come. There are always atrocities (on both sides) and there is generally bloodthirsty rhetoric involved when a settlers move into an already inhabited land.

That you've found a similarity - two different populations - doesn't make the comparison appropriate. The Arabs, including the Palestinian Arabs, have been completely consistent in insisting that they will never live in peace with a sovereign Jewish state. You seem to be making a bunch of unwarranted assumptions, including the idea that the Palestinian Arabs were native to the land and that the Jews are interlopers. That happens not to be the case. The land never belonged to them, and they didn't even start calling themselves Palestinians, as far as I can tell, until the 1960s. By international law, the entire Palestinian mandate was intended for Jewish settlement, subject only to guarantees for the civil rights of any non-Jewish inhabitants. Of course, 78% of the mandate was unilaterally handed over to the Arabs to create what is now the state of Jordan.

There are Palestinians who are in favor of non-violent protest. (Unfortunately some of the youth still throw stones, though I noted with interest that stone-throwing was considered non-violent protest when it was done against the Mubarak security forces.) You talk as though it's Islamic Jihad on the one hand, and Peace Now on the other. That's simply false. What's really ridiculous about this is that Israel has had just about the most compliant Palestinian government it could possibly wish for in the PA (too compliant, really) and they still keep building on the WB, even during the so-called freeze a couple of years ago.
Not at all. In the first place, stone-throwing is not non-violent, no matter what people may have said regarding Mubaraks' forces. And I am not talking of some isolated non-violent protests. Peace Now is an Israeli organization which protests against Israel. A corresponding Palestinian organization would be protesting against the Palestinian Authority and in favor of concession to Israel. Nothing of the kind exists.

And no, I am not "talk[ing] as though it's Islamic Jihad on the one hand, and Peace Now on the other." I'll thank you not to try to read my mind. Respond to what I actually say, please, not what would make it easy for you to answer.

No, the PA government has never been "compliant." The PA has recently been cooperative as regards security arrangements in the West Bank - which has resulted in some mutual benefit. But its leadership has consistently refused to accept the possibility of a permanent Jewish sovereign state, has refused to take action against terrorism against Israelis, and doesn't control Gaza at all. In fact, according to its own constitution, it has no legitimacy, since its term of office ended years ago.

Building in the WB is a point of contention, as both sides rush to create "facts on the ground." But Israel has not expanded the boundaries of its populace there, by agreement, while the Palestinians have shown no such restraint. All building has been within the existing boundaries.

But the issue is not, and has never been, about boundaries. It is about whether a sovereign Jewish state is permitted to exist at all. The conflict is between the Jews, who want to keep on living in their ancestral land, and the Palestinians, who would - at least according to the Hamas charter - prefer to kill them all.

There is a huge peace movement among the Palestinians; for some reason many in the US media do not feel it important enough to report about.

Israel wants to claim all the good stuff of “The West” while clinging to its bad stuff as well. One man, one vote is the future of Israel, and the old fashioned state-political theory of a unified ethno-religious-national identity will be understood to be a relic of the past.

One more thing, I attend conferences on Calvinism and there is always a huge South African presence. And one of the justifications for apartheid was the inherent violence of Black Africans, and the suffering their ancestors experienced in concentration camps of the British.

Another thing. Native Americans never referred to themselves as Native or America, or Indian. And various tribes in Africa, never referred to themselves as African or Black. All of those names were given to them, as a result of colonialization.

I can't say with certainty that AIPAC is or is not the most powerful lobby on the hill, but that assertion sounds pretty fishy.

If one searches OpenSecrets.org, one finds that, as spenders go this cycle, they aren't even in the top twenty.

If you guys don’t like the way they formed their understanding of the Gospel, blame Greek philosophy. And Hellenized Rome.

Hmmmm

Focus more on Jesus and less on Greek Philosophy
And pay no attention to Hellenized Roman fee fees.

Doesn't quite scan. ;^)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that both Paul and Augustine were profoundly influenced by their culture, going so far as to use Neo-Platonic categories to translate/communicate the Gospel to the culture around them. The Trinity, piety, and other concepts seem to have been more Hellenistic/Roman, than Judaic.

"The Arabs, including the Palestinian Arabs, have been completely consistent in insisting that they will never live in peace with a sovereign Jewish state. You seem to be making a bunch of unwarranted assumptions, including the idea that the Palestinian Arabs were native to the land and that the Jews are interlopers. That happens not to be the case. The land never belonged to them, and they didn't even start calling themselves Palestinians, as far as I can tell, until the 1960s. By international law, the entire Palestinian mandate was intended for Jewish settlement, subject only to guarantees for the civil rights of any non-Jewish inhabitants. Of course, 78% of the mandate was unilaterally handed over to the Arabs to create what is now the state of Jordan."

It is true that some Jews have been there all along, and there's been a longing on the part of Jews in the diaspora to return. The idea that Arabs aren't native is silly--either you are agreeing with the Joan Peters idiocy (though it's older than her) or you're saying that people whose ancestors moved there hundreds of years ago (or longer) aren't natives. Frankly, I'd say Israelis who are there now are natives, if they were born there and are first generation. (Also, if we're going back 2000 years ago chances are the genetic lines between Jews and Palestinians are very entangled. At least some Jews presumably converted to Christianity and then some of them later to Islam.)

I know that the Sam Remo declaration is commonly cited by rightwing Israel supporters. In the early 20th century Jews were less than 10 percent of the population. The Balfour declaration was sheer arrogance--the British had no moral right to be making such promises. It's also doubletalk--you don't promise the land that is already lived in to Jews (who were a small minority there) and at the same time say the civil rights of the non-Jewish population would be respected. This is characteristic of the time period, towards the end of the era of European imperialism and as happened elsewhere, the European powers set the stage for all the crap that has happened there since.

Palestinian nationalism as such was probably born as a reaction to Zionism. It's an irrelevancy as far as rights are concerned--there were hundreds of thousands of Arabs/Palestinians living in what is now Israel and they were forced out or fled and not allowed back.

"Peace Now is an Israeli organization which protests against Israel. A corresponding Palestinian organization would be protesting against the Palestinian Authority and in favor of concession to Israel. Nothing of the kind exists."

It shouldn't exist, not as you want it to. There are Palestinians who believe in a nonviolent struggle for their rights. That's what should exist.

"But its leadership has consistently refused to accept the possibility of a permanent Jewish sovereign state, has refused to take action against terrorism against Israelis"

Abbas refuses to say he recognizes Israel as having the right to exist as a Jewish state. He recognizes it as a sovereign country that controls its own borders--as he put it, what they call themselves is their business. Asking Palestinians to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state is asking them to endorse their own expulsion. This is a separate issue from the Palestinian right of return. Olmert claimed he and Abbas argued about the extent of that back in 2008, but that Abbas conceded he wouldn't demand that it be taken to the point of changing Israel's Jewish character. (BTW, that's a hell of a concession for the Palestinians to make and it dwarfs anything Israel will ever give up.)

"Building in the WB is a point of contention, as both sides rush to create "facts on the ground." But Israel has not expanded the boundaries of its populace there, by agreement, while the Palestinians have shown no such restraint. "

Um, yeah, sure. Palestinians are rushing to build in what's left of their land, while Israelis cancelled their settlement "freeze" (which wasn't real to begin with).

By the way, how many settlements are WB Palestinians rushing to build inside the 67 borders of Israel? I mean, if there's some sort of parity here then presumably both sides are crossing the border in opposite directions, trying to build facts on the ground. Israelis must grind their teeth constantly having to pass through all those Palestinian checkpoints around Tel Aviv.

I agree that the Hamas charter is barbaric, but that doesn't represent all Palestinians. It doesn't even represent all of Hamas. But the difference between the Israeli right and the Palestinian right isn't all that great anyway, not in practical terms. They are brothers under the skin and as for genocidal rhetoric, there's some of that from Israeli rabbis too you know.

I don't know how much money is spent, but AIPAC gets results--here's an example from 2010, when 76 Senators sided with Netanyahu against Obama--

politico

The background was that Obama wanted a settlement freeze, while the Israelis wanted negotiations without preconditions. The senators, full of support for that noted dove Netanyahu, thought Obama was making a mistake.

No doubt it was the cogency of Netanyahu's arguments that had them all convinced.

someotherdude,

There is a huge peace movement among the Palestinians; for some reason many in the US media do not feel it important enough to report about.
Then I'm rather disappointed you didn't think it important enough to link to information on it, either.

If one searches OpenSecrets.org, one finds that, as spenders go this cycle, they aren't even in the top twenty.

Everyone knows that the Jooos have infiltrated the Illuminatis (or was it vice versa?) that control most of the rest of campaign contributions. You have to peek behind the curtain, as I have.

Donald Johnson,

It is true that some Jews have been there all along, and there's been a longing on the part of Jews in the diaspora to return. The idea that Arabs aren't native is silly--either you are agreeing with the Joan Peters idiocy (though it's older than her) or you're saying that people whose ancestors moved there hundreds of years ago (or longer) aren't natives.
Those who moved their hundreds of years ago or longer, sure. It is certainly not the case that no Arabs are considered native to the land. That's why the Mandate specified that their civil rights had to be preserved.

The Balfour declaration was sheer arrogance--the British had no moral right to be making such promises.
And it was that same "arrogance" that led them to create the many Arab nations that now exist. Are all of those also illegitimate? Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and so on? By international law, conquerers have always decided where sovereignty lay. What other right did the Ottomans have? Or, for that matter, what right did Rome have to expel the Jews in the first place? You need to be consistent. Are you going to invalidate Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait...? All of these countries were invented by the Brits.
Asking Palestinians to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state is asking them to endorse their own expulsion.
Nonsense. Israel being a "Jewish state" does not mean that nobody else is allowed to live there. It's not like the Palestinians insistence on a Juden-rein Palestine. It's just stating that they will accept Israeli sovereignty as final, and not constantly be trying to undermine it. They want a state for the Palestinians, they have to concede a state for the Jews.
Um, yeah, sure. Palestinians are rushing to build in what's left of their land, while Israelis cancelled their settlement "freeze" (which wasn't real to begin with).
By what law did the land ever belong to the "Palestinians"? You seem to be inventing your own laws, here.
I agree that the Hamas charter is barbaric, but that doesn't represent all Palestinians.
And yet they voted Hamas into power, and there doesn't appear to be any effective resistance to their authority.
But the difference between the Israeli right and the Palestinian right isn't all that great anyway, not in practical terms. They are brothers under the skin and as for genocidal rhetoric, there's some of that from Israeli rabbis too you know.
If the Palestinians limited themselves to rhetoric, there would be peace. The Israeli rabbis aren't firing rockets at Palestinian schools. Do you really not see a practical difference between offensive rhetoric and murder?

As an aside, I wish folks would stop hating on Paul and Augustine.

No hating, just drawing a distinction.

Or, to state it from a slightly different angle:

both Paul and Augustine were profoundly influenced by their culture, going so far as to use Neo-Platonic categories to translate/communicate the Gospel to the culture around them.

That's all good, but their culture is not my culture.

"And yet they voted Hamas into power...."

And Israelis voted Bibi into power.

"The Israeli rabbis aren't firing rockets at Palestinian schools..."

Sure they are. Willy Peter too....and bulldozers. They kill ratio is about 5 to 1 (Pal.s to Jews) over the past decade.

"Everyone knows that the Jooos ....."

Is that what a jackass considers to be a cogent argument?

"And it was that same "arrogance" that led them to create the many Arab nations that now exist. Are all of those also illegitimate? Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and so on? By international law, conquerers have always decided where sovereignty lay"

Promising that Palestine would be the homeland for Jews when the vast majority of people already living there were non-Jewish is arrogant. The US recently conquered Iraq. If we had then proclaimed that Iraq would be the homeland of some group (perhaps even one with an ancient historical tie to the land) that would have been not only arrogant, but ridiculous. And yes, the rest was arrogant too. You were making a claim based on international law and I'm pointing out the sheer moral irrelevance of the Balfour declaration and what followed. I'm not suggesting that we now have wars to redraw all the boundaries.

"Nonsense. Israel being a "Jewish state" does not mean that nobody else is allowed to live there. It's not like the Palestinians insistence on a Juden-rein Palestine. It's just stating that they will accept Israeli sovereignty as final, and not constantly be trying to undermine it. They want a state for the Palestinians, they have to concede a state for the Jews."

Nonsense right back at you. Israel is a Jewish state because about 700,000 Palestinians were ejected back in 1948 and not allowed back. (Some that tried were shot.) Asking the Palestinians not just to recognize Israel as a state (which the PLO did decades ago), but as a Jewish state is a slap in the face. So they take the land, force the Palestinians out, and then demand that the Palestinians recognize their right to have done it? Abbas is right--once the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist they have done what is required under international law and it is not their duty to go further. Are we supposed to recognize Iran's right to exist as a Muslim theocracy? No. Is Mexico supposed to recognize our right to exist as an Anglo-Saxon hegemony that took much of their territory from them in the 19th century? No. As for Juden-rein Palestine, have we just gotten into Godwin territory? Can I make Nazi analogies too? Palestinians demanding the removal of illegal settlements on the West Bank are often portrayed as demanding a "Juden-rein" Palestine.

"By what law did the land ever belong to the "Palestinians"?"

Un freaking believable. So it's perfectly okay for Israelis to settle in the West Bank, but it's not okay for West Bank Palestinians to move back inside the 67 lines? Are you making a case for a one state solution? The apartheid one, that is? Quite a few rightwing Israelis think this way and it's part of why some think the two state solution is near death. I'm not optimistic about a democratic one state solution coming out of this--more likely there will be either the continuation of apartheid (dressed up as a 2SS, complete with bantustans).

Incidentally, some lefties think that because the tendency is going this way it's good news for a one state solution, but I think Jerome Slater is right--if a 2SS is out of reach a democratic 1SS is even further.


link1

Slater

"nd yet they voted Hamas into power, and there doesn't appear to be any effective resistance to their authority."

Israeli behavior is barbaric too, and there doesn't appear to be any effective resistance to their authority.

Broken sarcasm detector?

"The Israeli rabbis aren't firing rockets at Palestinian schools. Do you really not see a practical difference between offensive rhetoric and murder?"

I didn't see that until I saw the other person's reply. I grant the terrorism and murders committed by the Palestinian side and you say the most extraordinary things, as though you imagine that Israel didn't drop white phosphorus on Gaza (the willy pete of the other reply) or that they haven't killed far more civilians in the past several decades than Israeli civilians killed by Palestinians. You can't have a serious discussion on this topic if both sides aren't willing to admit that both sides have done terrible things.

And there's nothing unusual in your stance. It pops up in virtually every discussion of the I/P conflict and it has no more relationship with reality than the most vile piece of anti-semitic rhetoric, yet it is accepted as part of polite conversation.

Ooops! Forgot how much time I spent reading. That last was for Bernie.

Promising that Palestine would be the homeland for Jews when the vast majority of people already living there were non-Jewish is arrogant. The US recently conquered Iraq.
Numbers seem hard to verify, but OK, I'll grant the arrogance. Yes, I was arguing law - didn't realize you weren't. But then, most of the borders of Middle East are the result of British arrogance. Some wound up worse than others.
Israel is a Jewish state because about 700,000 Palestinians were ejected back in 1948 and not allowed back.
Incorrect. They were not "ejected" - at least not most of them. Arab leaders told them to get out of the way and claimed that the Jews were going to massacre them if they didn't, so they fled. Those who did not flee became citizens of Israel.
So it's perfectly okay for Israelis to settle in the West Bank, but it's not okay for West Bank Palestinians to move back inside the 67 lines? Are you making a case for a one state solution?
I am questioning your assertion that the land was ever the property of the Palestinians. Israel conquered the West Bank in a defensive war - and when they offered it back to Jordan (along with the Gaza back to Egypt and the Golan back to Syria) in return for peace, they were answered with the three "Nos" of Khartoum. That's what gives them the right to control the land, including allowing their citizens to settle in it - along with the Mandate which gives them the legal right under international law.

Given that the West Bank Palestinians fled and are not citizens of Israel, and have no control over the land, they have no right to enter the country.

You keep invoking the bugaboo of "right-wing Israelis" - I think you have missed the fact that pretty much all Israelis nowadays have concluded that the Palestinians have no interest in peace. No, there is not likely to be a two-state solution or a one-state solution as long as the Palestinians are intent on the destruction of Israel. Once that changes, all kinds of things could be possible. I'm not holding my breath.

"Incorrect. They were not "ejected" - at least not most of them. Arab leaders told them to get out of the way and claimed that the Jews were going to massacre them if they didn't, so they fled."

You're decades out of date on this. Some fled because there was a war and some were deliberately expelled. You don't know this? And after the war some tried to come back. Some were shot. The ones who stayed were now a small minority, no demographic threat, to use the charming phrase.

"I am questioning your assertion that the land was ever the property of the Palestinians. Israel conquered the West Bank in a defensive war - and when they offered it back to Jordan (along with the Gaza back to Egypt and the Golan back to Syria) in return for peace, they were answered with the three "Nos" of Khartoum. That's what gives them the right to control the land, including allowing their citizens to settle in it - along with the Mandate which gives them the legal right under international law. Given that the West Bank Palestinians fled and are not citizens of Israel, and have no control over the land, they have no right to enter the country"

This is sheer nonsense. How can you possibly believe that there is a law that says Israel can take over territory already inhabited, keep it if it wants to, allow its citizens to settle there, and treat the Palestinians there as less than citizens. You objected to the apartheid label and yet you actually embrace the practice of it. You just don't want the label.

And the Mandate is a League of Nations affair--I doubt very seriously that most experts in international law would give the Balfour declaration any weight. Israel's right to exist as a nation would fall under what the UN decided in the late 40's. That, incidentally, was also unfair to the Palestinians, but that is the law and so Palestinians, the sensible ones, would do well to recognize it. The moderate ones did decades ago. I agree with Finkelstein about that--if the left is going to invoke international law it also has to recognize Israel's right to exist inside the 67 borders. Again, the PLO has done this--not the "Jewish state" angle, which they aren't obligated to do. Hamas has not, though some have made noises about being practical. But Israel screams and yells when the PA tries to obtain recognition at the UN, so they have little basis for complaint regarding rejectionist Palestinians.

"You keep invoking the bugaboo of "right-wing Israelis""

I'm being charitable. If you wish to claim that most Israelis think this way, go right ahead. I suspect the truth is more complicated--that the majority are indifferent to the Palestinians or even uneasy about their treatment, but so long as there is no intifada going on and their own lives are comfortable enough they're not going to start an upheaval in their own society to reach a peace agreement. People tend to be that way. The settlers are passionate in their belief that they have the right to practice apartheid and passion wins over indifference in politics.

As for blaming the Palestinians, no doubt that's true too. There's a considerable amount of doublethink in your own position--you object to the apartheid label and yet embrace the notion that Israelis can move to the WB and Palestinians can't move inside Israel. That makes perfect sense to you, so it would seem like fanaticism if Palestinians bitterly resent the hypocrisy, racism, and arrogance. On top of that some Palestinians really are fanatical, just as some Israelis clearly are.

I expect nothing from the I/P conflict except disaster in the long run. I hope that's wrong. Maybe it would be if Obama in a second term felt empowered to grow a spine, but I doubt it. As an American I would like to see us dissociate ourselves from that train wreck. We are perfectly capable of committing war crimes on our own account without being wedded to Israel's . But we're too deeply entangled and it's our problem too.

Crikey. I finally got caught up on reading all your comments.

Blackhawk, be more polite. I don't feel as though I've monitored this discussion as closely as I should have (a client opened an email attachment they shouldn't have, didn't realize what was going on, then updated their website via FTP and got malware on EVERYTHING), so I feel like I have to not banhammer you at the moment. But I really want you to think CAREFULLY about your next comments.

That's all good, but their culture is not my culture.

Posted by: russell | October 03, 2012 at 10:17 PM


You got me there.

To give a polite answer to a rude question:

My observation is that in the past 20-30 years conversion to Judaism has become not uncommon. It is rare for people to convert as singles, though. In most cases, converts are partnered with a Jew, and come in with them.

Googling about, I came across Peter Kaufman Gluck's U. Michigan PhD dissertation, an anthropological study of interfaith parents raising their children as Jewish. His findings are very close to my observation and experience.

Most importantly, it is *extremely* rare for intermarried American Jews to convert to Christianity; it is not uncommon for their Christian spouses to convert to Judaism, or to practice Judaism and raise their children as Jews without undergoing a formal conversion.

Partly, in my experience, this is because Judaism is not centered on a credal statement: there is no list of things to which you have to give assent, as one does converting to Christianity. Judaism is about what you *do*, how you act -- it's possible to be an observant Jewish atheist or agnostic, for instance, which is pretty much unthinkable for a Christian.

Now I have to go to sleep, so play nicely while I'm gone.

Fuzzy Face,

I was under the impression that Israel had established itself, like a traditional European (Western, if you like) colonizing power.

Ari Shavit, Q: According to your findings, how many acts of Israeli massacre were perpetrated in 1948? Benny Morris, A: "Twenty-four. In some cases four or five people were executed, in others the numbers were 70, 80, 100. There was also a great deal of arbitrary killing. Two old men are spotted walking in a field – they are shot. A woman is found in an abandoned village – she is shot. There are cases such as the village of Dawayima [in the Hebron region], in which a column entered the village with all guns blazing and killed anything that moved. "The worst cases were Saliha (70-80 killed), Deir Yassin (100-110), Lod (250), Dawayima (hundreds) and perhaps Abu Shusha (70). There is no unequivocal proof of a large-scale massacre at Tantura, but war crimes were perpetrated there. At Jaffa there was a massacre about which nothing had been known until now. The same at Arab al Muwassi, in the north. About half of the acts of massacre were part of Operation Hiram [in the north, in October 1948]: at Safsaf, Saliha, Jish, Eilaboun, Arab al Muwasi, Deir al Asad, Majdal Krum, Sasa. In Operation Hiram there was a unusually high concentration of executions of people against a wall or next to a well in an orderly fashion. "That can’t be chance. It’s a pattern. Apparently, various officers who took part in the operation understood that the expulsion order they received permitted them to do these deeds in order to encourage the population to take to the roads. The fact is that no one was punished for these acts of murder. Ben-Gurion silenced the matter. He covered up for the officers who did the massacres."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Morris


It might be argued, that one of the reasons for the fundamentalist reaction in the early and mid 20th Century, was the rise of "Christian atheism." That is, Protestant churches did not require members to believe in the supernatural events of Scripture, for membership.

Most of the Founding Fathers, are usually understood as deist, but I think Christian atheism might better describe the form of their deism. Thomas Jefferson's Bible being a prime example of this impulse.

Michael Harrington and James Joyce are examples of RC examples.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_atheism

I understand about 30% of Northern European Christians, do not believe in a literal interpretation of the supernatural events of the Bible.

But your point is well taken, since the late 1970s, literalism has become more popular.

Fuzzy Face,

When I mention a Palestianian Peace Movement, I was thinking of this:

http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/international/09-Jun-2012/west-must-recognise-peaceful-palestinian-resistance-movement

http://uva.academia.edu/AnnedeJong/Papers/1843936/The_Gaza_Freedom_Flotilla_Human_Rights_Activism_and_Academic_Neutrality

http://www.globalresearch.ca/another-palestinian-gandhi-ignored-by-u-s-media/

Sorry about the long links, but I'm writing from my IPad.

Fuzzyface wrote:

The "Golden Age of Spanish Jewry" in the Iberian peninsula was under the Berbers and Moors, who weren't particularly devout Muslims, and ended when the very religious Almohads took over. I think we'd need an existence proof an actually tolerant Muslim society before agreeing that intolerance is not inherent in Islam.

Well, there you have it. If someone finds an example of a tolerant Muslim state, you decide it's not properly Islamic. If someone finds an example of a anti-Semitic western/Christian state (like medieval England), well that doesn't count, because what you're talking about is 'modern Christianity' (well, what you're really talking about is Christianity as practised in the US, given you don't seem well-informed about even European Christianity). You're moving the goalposts in a way which makes any comparisons meaningless.

It's perfectly sensible to say that Christianity as currently practised in the USA is much more tolerant than Islam as currently practised in Middle Eastern countries (I don't pretend to know the details of e.g. current South East Asian practise). But to say that is the one eternal truth about Christianity and Islam is to adopt a completely ahistorical attitude.

Is that what a jackass considers to be a cogent argument?

No, it's what a jackass thought was a fun way to underscore that the rhetorical vehicle of another commenter is in fact a Mini Cooper with a few dozen clowns as passengers.

Once the Internet fixes the sarchasm, life will be much easier.

Once the Internet fixes the sarchasm, life will be much easier.

IOW, I think Slarti was saying that the Clan of Fiercely Independent Thinkers has a bit of a stiffy for the Clan of the Jews.

That's just the Zionist Entity making you say that, McKTx.

the Zionist Entity

Some of my best friends' friends are circumcised.

"Clan of Fiercely Independent Thinkers '

Clan meaning more than one? I don't have any use for Blackhawk's idiotic statements about Judaism (I happen to know Christians who've converted to Judaism and vice versa and a long time ago where I went to school a white female college prof from the Midwest had switched from Methodist to Muslim. People convert every which way. The whole religion bashing topic bores me no matter who does it and I ignore it,but yeah, Blackhawk made some offensive statements upthread.)


Or is this another one of those routines where if someone bashes AIPAC and/or Israel it's because they're anti-semitic? Because that's garbage.

Just (and belatedly) for the record. I am not hating on Paul but happy to do it on St.Augustine. There is quite a lot I dislike about him but I think the most consequential evil he wrought was his teaching on original sin that explicitly condemned even the unbaptized unborn to hell without exception.

Someotherdude,

OK, you're right - these do sound like non-violent protest movements, and they are indeed not covered by the Western press that I've seen. Now, they are not what I was talking about. The point I was trying to make was that Palestinian society does not appear to tolerate dissension anything similar to what Peace Now represents - protests _against_ their own authorities and in favor of reaching out to the other side. That's what I believe is essential for the possibility of peace.

But

I was under the impression that Israel had established itself, like a traditional European (Western, if you like) colonizing power.
A frequent charge, but wrong in this case, not the least because a colonizing power by definition makes the new territory a colony of its home state. And you need to be very careful about citing Benny Morris. He says that a lot of his work has been misunderstood and misused, especially by dishonest scholars like Ilan Pappe and Norman Finkelstein.

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2008/05/benny-morris-on-1948-recanting.html

Donald Johnson,

We're not coming even close to an understanding here, so I won't bother answering every comment you make, but I'll take on a couple.

This is sheer nonsense. How can you possibly believe that there is a law that says Israel can take over territory already inhabited, keep it if it wants to, allow its citizens to settle there, and treat the Palestinians there as less than citizens.
No. There are a few issues here. First, if you're going to say once a land has inhabitants, no other people is allowed to come in establish a state there, then most of today's nations have no right to exist. If you're going to establish a rule along those lines, you need to refine it quite a bit and show that it applies to everybody, not just Israel. Second, even ignoring your misuse of the label (the Arabs living there did not call themselves Palestinians), those who remained in the borders are full citizens. It is only those who took themselves out of Israeli sovereignty who are not. Non-citizens, especially those who have in word and deed declared themselves enemies of a state, do not have the right to be citizens of that state or be treated as such.
There's a considerable amount of doublethink in your own position--you object to the apartheid label and yet embrace the notion that Israelis can move to the WB and Palestinians can't move inside Israel.
Apartheid has a specific meaning: a system of segregation by race. Israel does not do that. Israeli Arabs are full citizens, permitted to live where they wish. Palestinians in the West Bank are not, and therefore have no more right to move into Israel than Mexicans have to move into the US. The disputed territories are not sovereign nations, and their status is disputed. Both sides claim them, so you cannot apply the same principles there.

magistra,

Well, there you have it. If someone finds an example of a tolerant Muslim state, you decide it's not properly Islamic.
It is not for me - or you - to say who is "properly Islamic." I said only that they were not particularly devout. Claiming that Muslims who are not devout are not "properly Islamic" is like claiming that Reform Jews are not "properly Jewish." As somebody who grew up Reform, and who has plenty of Reform relatives, that's not a claim I choose to make.

There is quite a lot I dislike about him but I think the most consequential evil he wrought was his teaching on original sin that explicitly condemned even the unbaptized unborn to hell without exception.

Posted by: Hartmut | October 04, 2012 at 11:26 AM

He’s an egalitarian! As an aside, I was lurking at a reactionary Roman Catholic site. (And when I say reactionary, I mean that’s what they were calling themselves, not conservative, not orthodox, but reactionary). Anyway, when they would enter abortion discussions, it was interesting to read how newbies to the site were introduced to the concept of original sin and the notion of “innocent babies.”

In defense of the indefensible, the concept of original sin helped me make sense of Foucault’s notion of “power” and Marx’s notion of “Primitive Accumulation.”

It is not for me - or you - to say who is "properly Islamic." I said only that they were not particularly devout.

I think magistra was invoking the "no true Scotsman" thing rather than accusing you of being judgemental about a lack of religious conviction.

Dissent is usually a touchy subject in occupied and colonized areas. Whether it was Native American’s lynching Christian converts in reservations or Necklacing in South Africa or the notion of the Useful Jew, in anti-Semitic societies.


In regards to Morris, I know his controversial place in establishing Israeli history, and that is why I chose him. He is bluntly honest as to what it took to establish a Jewish state. He reminds me of the Anglo-Saxonist/conservative historians who are blunt about breaking Indian and African eggs to establish the United States.

Ben-Gurion was a "transferist"?

"Of course. Ben-Gurion was a transferist. He understood that there could be no Jewish state with a large and hostile Arab minority in its midst. There would be no such state. It would not be able to exist."

I don’t hear you condemning him.

"Ben-Gurion was right. If he had not done what he did, a state would not have come into being. That has to be clear. It is impossible to evade it. Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here."

When ethnic cleansing is justified

Benny Morris, for decades you have been researching the dark side of Zionism. You are an expert on the atrocities of 1948. In the end, do you in effect justify all this? Are you an advocate of the transfer of 1948?

"There is no justification for acts of rape. There is no justification for acts of massacre. Those are war crimes. But in certain conditions, expulsion is not a war crime. I don’t think that the expulsions of 1948 were war crimes. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. You have to dirty your hands."

We are talking about the killing of thousands of people, the destruction of an entire society.

"A society that aims to kill you forces you to destroy it. When the choice is between destroying or being destroyed, it’s better to destroy."

There is something chilling about the quiet way in which you say that.

"If you expected me to burst into tears, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I will not do that."

So when the commanders of Operation Dani are standing there and observing the long and terrible column of the 50,000 people expelled from Lod walking eastward, you stand there with them? You justify them?

"I definitely understand them. I understand their motives. I don’t think they felt any pangs of conscience, and in their place I wouldn’t have felt pangs of conscience. Without that act, they would not have won the war and the state would not have come into being."

You do not condemn them morally?

"No."

They perpetrated ethnic cleansing.

"There are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing. I know that this term is completely negative in the discourse of the 21st century, but when the choice is between ethnic cleansing and genocide – the annihilation of your people – I prefer ethnic cleansing."

From:
An">http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/01/16/an-interview-with-benny-morris/">An Interview with Benny Morris

"The point I was trying to make was that Palestinian society does not appear to tolerate dissension anything similar to what Peace Now represents - protests _against_ their own authorities and in favor of reaching out to the other side. "

The Palestinian governments are not very tolerant of dissent--there is dissent however and Palestinian human rights organizations that criticize Hamas based in Gaza. Human Rights Watch just put out a very critical report of Hamas's human rights violations in Gaza based on info from Palestinians. HRW They do not "reach out" to the other side in your sense AFAIK, nor should they, not given your opinions.. Palestinians are doing what they should be doing if they advocate nonviolent resistance to Israeli occupation and also the oppression of their own government.

"First, if you're going to say once a land has inhabitants, no other people is allowed to come in establish a state there, then most of today's nations have no right to exist. If you're going to establish a rule along those lines, you need to refine it quite a bit and show that it applies to everybody, not just Israel. Second, even ignoring your misuse of the label (the Arabs living there did not call themselves Palestinians), those who remained in the borders are full citizens. It is only those who took themselves out of Israeli sovereignty who are not. Non-citizens, especially those who have in word and deed declared themselves enemies of a state, do no"

Sigh. More nonsense. People who either flee their homes in war or are forced out have the right to return afterwards. If the government in charge doesn't let them back in then it's a form of ethnic cleansing even for those who fled.

As for your first point, on moving into an already inhabited land, clearly that is much of the story of humanity and in particular, Western settler colonialism in recent centuries. I implied as much already when I compared Israel to the US. The Zionists got into the act very late, when that sort of behavior was in its twilight years of acceptability. White people could still set the terms and draw the borders, but it was starting to look funny. As far as Israel inside its 1967 borders are concerned, the injustices (including the Nakba) involved in its creation are receding into history. Israel has the same legal rights as any other country inside the 67 borders. A two state solution might involve some sort of negotiated right of return, allowing a non-demographically threatening number of Palestinians to come back. Personally I think the whole question of "demographic threat" is nonsense, but I also recognize that it might be awhile before the Middle East is ready to accept the melting pot notion.

But you and whatever fraction of Israelis agree with you still want to live happily back in the good old days of imperialism, where Israelis get to waltz into the West Bank and establish settlements and build roads mainly for themselves, cutting the landscape up and making life for the Palestinians an absurd Kafkaesque existence, and sometimes worse than that, while they of course aren't allowed to move back inside the 67 lines. Sure, don't call it apartheid. Call it narcissistic racist bovine fecal matter if you prefer. Apartheid is shorter and gets the point across. Desmond Tutu called it apartheid, but what does he know about it?

"Apartheid has a specific meaning: a system of segregation by race. "

Race is a socially constructed category, as I think the intellectual types like to say. You could distinguish between two groups of people any old way you wish and run an apartheid-like system. It doesn't have to be race. It could be the length of their eyelashes. One of the smart things Blackhawk said way upthread is that people have been shown to establish idiotic oppressive systems like that in experiments with college students arbitrarily divided into two clans. You singled out the morally insignificant detail (how the two groups are defined) and focus on that, but you are defending two sets of laws for two groups of people, one on top and one on bottom. It's apartheid even if it is based on eyelash length.

[Palestinians[ do not "reach out" to the other side in your sense AFAIK, nor should they, not given your opinions.
In which case, there can never be peace.
People who either flee their homes in war or are forced out have the right to return afterwards.
Where does this "right" come from? In the wake of WW II, there were millions of refugees. They were resettled elsewhere. Why didn't they know about this "right"? The creation of Pakistan created millions of refugees, both Hindu and Muslim - they were resettled elsewhere.
"Apartheid has a specific meaning: a system of segregation by race. "

Race is a socially constructed category, as I think the intellectual types like to say.

You have completed missed the point. There is NO forced segregation in Israel, whether by race, height, hair length, or anything else. Israeli Arabs can live anywhere they choose.

Refusing to allow hostile non-citizens to move in is not apartheid.

In light of Johnson’s comment, let me refine my comment. I don’t think finding discord, criminal behavior, brutal treatment, torture, or exploitation among and within a community, as proof of their lack of legitimacy.

This is a bit ironic tactic, considering that European Christendom justified Jewish ghettos, because of the crime and vice committed within the areas they had originally created.

I think it's sort of basic human decency, fuzzyface. The funny thing is you don't even have to defend the Nakba--in practice not many people outside the far left think there's going to be an unlimited Palestinian right of return actually implemented. How could there be without Israel's consent? Won't happen. But you apparently can't let it go at that--terrible injustice, but that's water under the bridge. No, you have to defend forbidding people to come back to their own homes and you defend it by referring to other, greater massive human rights violations that occurred around the same time.

So you're right, fuzzyface. Human rights themselves are nonsense on stilts. People are murdered all the time, driven out of their homes all the time, there's no compensation and they or the surviving family members just have to suck it up.

"You have completed missed the point. There is NO forced segregation in Israel, whether by race, height, hair length, or anything else. Israeli Arabs can live anywhere they choose.
Refusing to allow hostile non-citizens to move in is not apartheid."

Hey, right back atcha. You're the one saying Israelis can move into the West Bank, but Palestinians on the West Bank can't move into Israel. Because they're "hostile" non-citizens. Imagine. Hostile. Why ever would they be hostile, being treated as second class non-citizens in their own land?

You're killing me here. I was angry and disgusted, but we've reached a breakthrough--this is just starting to get funny. The best arguments against the rightwing Israeli position are made by those who hold that position--they just have to keep talking. Excuse me for the bugaboo of "rightwing"--you claim that this is just the majority of Israeli opinion. You're not doing Israel any favors claiming that.

""In which case, there can never be peace. "

On the bright side though, that means Israel can keep stealing more land.

Anyway, the serious Israeli peace activists wouldn't expect the Palestinians to be making concessions--the Palestinians are the ones with the boots on their neck. The one exception here is that the Palestinians should be expected to renounce terrorism, as Israelis should be expected to renounce war crimes. (Not that easy to do, apparently). And oh, settlement building.

In light of Johnson’s comment, let me refine my comment. I don’t think finding discord, criminal behavior, brutal treatment, torture, or exploitation among and within a community, as proof of their lack of legitimacy.
Nor do I. But 1) the attacks on Jews predate the founding of the modern state of Israel - see the 1929 Hebron massacre, for instance, and (2) the repeated promises of genocide against the Jewish population and repeated attacks on Jewish civilians make it rather difficult to believe that they would ever be ready for peaceful coexistence.

This is not and never was about land. It is about whether Jews are allowed to have a sovereign state in the Middle East.

"This is not and never was about land. "

That's great news. If that's the case then the Israelis can stop stealing land in the West Bank, uproot the settlements, pull back to the 67 lines and tell the Palestinians they are willing to negotiate in good faith, but any rocket attacks or suicide bombing attacks will be dealt with by Israel, though they would welcome the assistance of the Palestinian government in suppressing fanatics in their own ranks.

Now sure, that's not really fair to the Palestinians. They've suffered much more at Israeli hands than vice versa. Still, it's a fine start. Isn't it great that it's not about the land?

Incidentally, lumping all Palestinians into a category of genocidal Jew killers does make it easy for you, doesn't it? White Americans used to say the same thing about Native Americans. Of course during the Hebron massacre many Jews were saved by their Palestinian neighbors, but that doesn't mean anything to you either, nor do the massacres of Palestinians by Zionists. There was this guy named Sharon, for instance--got his start as a mass murderer in 1953, then moved on, eventually became Prime Minister. People must have voted for him. Weird.

link

The link at the blog Lawrence of Cyberia makes the point about why it is important to respond to the kinds of dehumanizing ploys that fuzzyface is using about Palestinians. You've got to point out that Israelis/Zionists used the very tactics they condemn as barbaric when Palestinians do it, and they often employ their standard tropes even when they don't apply. (There's an interesting story there about a NYT reporter who photographed a Palestinian rescuing a child caught in crossfire during the 2nd intifada, and then a few weeks later that photo is used by an Israeli as "proof" that Palestinians use their own children as human shields.)

Anyway, I've spent enough time today arguing with 19th century white person attitudes. The interesting question is to what extent fuzzyface is right in claiming his views are the norm in Israel.

That's great news. If that's the case then the Israelis can stop stealing land in the West Bank, uproot the settlements, pull back to the 67 lines and tell the Palestinians they are willing to negotiate in good faith, but any rocket attacks or suicide bombing attacks will be dealt with by Israel, though they would welcome the assistance of the Palestinian government in suppressing fanatics in their own ranks.
In 1967 they were at those lines, there were no settlements, but the Arabs were busy trying to murder Israeli citizens. What possible reason is there for Israel to expect something different happen if they tried it again?
Incidentally, lumping all Palestinians into a category of genocidal Jew killers does make it easy for you, doesn't it?
Of course I never did any such thing? You like to twist my words. Most Palestinians never make any effort to commit genocide. They make no effort to condemn it, but they personally wouldn't do it. I've even been approached by a Palestinian in the US who expressed a wish for peace. The problem is not that every single Palestinian is intent on genocide, but that their leaders do and there is no real activist opposition to the idea. Those who murder Israelis are lionized as heros and have streets named after them. In the relative few cases when Israelis have attacked Palestinians, they've generally been arrested and prosecuted by their government - that's why it doesn't happen so often.

Please justify your slander of Ariel Sharon. Document the "mass murders" that he started committing in 1953, etc. I'm getting a serious impression that you spend a lot of time reading anti-Israel sources

Nor do I. But 1) the attacks on Jews predate the founding of the modern state of Israel - see the 1929 Hebron massacre, for instance, and (2) the repeated promises of genocide against the Jewish population and repeated attacks on Jewish civilians make it rather difficult to believe that they would ever be ready for peaceful coexistence.

Posted by: Fuzzy Face | October 04, 2012 at 06:24 PM

Are you talking about Arabs, or Europeans? Because if that's your argument, why are there Jews still living in Europe?

This is not and never was about land. It is about whether Jews are allowed to have a sovereign state in the Middle East.

How is that not about land?

russell, perhaps I should have been clearer and said it is not about boundaries. It's not a question about which land will belong to whom but whether Israel is allowed to have a country with defensible borders.

I'm not going to get into discussions of Israel/Palestine, but while this thread is still alive I would like to ask those who know a lot more about modern Judaism than I do on what arguments it bases its acceptance of religious toleration (e.g. freedom of worship by all faiths within a Jewish state, freedom to convert, etc). Is this on the basis of specific Tanakh/Talmudic statements or on more general principles of tolerance?

Ephraim Kishon joked that Israel needs the West Bank to have enough space for the -ael on the world map (instead of just Isr.). That makes more sense than some of the justifications used by actual politicians/ideologues.
Btw, where is the Canaanite lobby?

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