Every time a new new Israeli-Palestinian peace plan is unveiled, diplomats and analysts will invariably urge the various players to summon the political courage to seize this latest “window of opportunity.” And sure enough – as I was reading an article on the latest revamping of the Arab Peace Plan, one Israeli leftist pundit was quoted tweeting:””Historic opportunity for Israel. Will our government have the guts to seize it?”
As for me, I’m asking a different question: “Since Israel has all but annexed 60% of the West Bank through home demolitions, forced evictions, revocation of residency rights and unchecked construction of Jewish settlements, how could anyone think this government is even remotely interested in a viable two-state solution?”
How much longer does this have to continue until we are ready to admit the patently obvious intentions of Israel’s governments? Given the facts on the ground, the discussion of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank is beyond absurd. Israel has been inexorably settling Area C and East Jerusalem while simultaneously depopulating those regions of Palestinian residents for decades. By this point, this process has become nigh well complete. Now Israel’s newest government coalition includes a major party whose official platform calls to annex Area C. One prominent Israeli settler leader calls the current government “a wet dream.” Are we really, truly going to continue to talk about a two-state peace process with a straight face?
According to a 2011 EU research report, in 1967, between 200,000 and 320,000 Palestinians lived in what is today called Area C. But since that time, home demolitions and Israel’s prevention of new building has caused that number drop to 56,000. In a similar period, the Jewish population in Area C has grown from 1,200 to 310,000.
Israeli journalist Amira Hass has convincingly argued that the creation of “Palestinian ghettos” in Areas A and B “were always the plan” even well before the 1993 Oslo peace process that created these zones. According to Hass, when new coalition party member Naftali Bennett calls for annexing Area C, he is only “following the logic of every single Israeli government: maximize the territory, minimize the Arabs:”
According to Bennett, about 60 percent of the West Bank – a.k.a. Area C – is annexable. What’s important about Area C is not whether 50,000 Palestinians live there, as democratic, benevolent Bennett claims, while suggesting to naturalize them and grant them Israeli citizenship, or whether the number is around 150,000 (as my colleague Chaim Levinson reminded us earlier this week).
Don’t worry. Even if there are 300,000 Palestinians living in Area C and all of them agree to become citizens, the Israeli bureaucracy will find ways to embitter their lives (the way it does the lives of the Bedouin in the Negev), revoke their citizenship (the way it does the residency status of Palestinians in East Jerusalem) and leave them without the little share of their land they still have (the way it did to the Palestinian citizens of Israel within the 1948 borders).
This is why Bennett can allow himself to be munificent. The true story behind area C is that there aren’t 400,000 Palestinians living there today; the villages have not expanded in accordance with their natural population growth; the number of residents has not grown; the herders can no longer graze their flocks freely; many of the inhabitants lack access to water, electricity, school and medical clinics; Israel has not been taken to the International Criminal Court in the Hague for destroying the cisterns; there are no paved roads in and between villages…
As I have said a million times and will say another million times: Area C is a tremendous success of Israeli policy and its implementers, the army and the Civil Administration. It is part of a farsighted, well-executed, perfectly thought-out policy that has succeeded precisely in that there aren’t 400,000 Palestinians living in the area. Bennett is probably decent/honest enough to acknowledge the debt he owes to the previous generations of Israeli politicians and military officials who warmed the country up for his annexation plan, ensuring its acceptance would be as effortless as a knife cutting butter in the sun.
The long and short of it? If the international community is really interested in a just peace, it should stop trying to breathe life into a corpse of a peace process and hold Israel accountable for its ethnic cleansing/annexation of Area C. And at the same time, it would behoove us all to start exploring creative new solutions that would extend full civil and human rights to all who live on the land.
In this regard, I highly recommend this recent piece by journalist/blogger Mitchell Plitnick. Mitchell has long represented an important progressive voice on Israel/Palestine: consistently smart, well-informed and always underscored by an abiding political realism. Like so many of us, he has long clung to the paradigm of a two-state solution – but over the past year he has been openly exploring the compelling reasons why he believes that the door to this solution has now become irrevocably closed. In this recent article, he dares to explore out loud what a new one-state solution might possibly look like:
…In the end, Israelis will realize that the status quo can’t hold and they will have to find a way to give Palestinians their freedom and their rights. That can be done without losing the most basic elements of a Jewish homeland. But it will require abandoning the ethnocratic concept of the Jewish state that has characterized Israel since before it was Israel.
The state can still be a Jewish home, with a constitution that guarantees that any Jew fleeing anti-Semitism anywhere in the world can find a haven in Israel. It can be a state where Hebrew is still a national language and one that has a culture that draws heavily from Jewish roots, European, Middle Eastern and Iberian. It just can’t do these things exclusively. They will also have to apply equally to Palestinians.
It’s not such a leap. Palestinians would also be able to come to this reformed state to flee persecution. Arabic would also be a national language, as it officially is now. The culture of the state would reflect the Palestinian heritage as well as the Jewish one. Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial, would still be there, but there might also be memorials to the Palestinian villages that were destroyed. Palestinian refugees who wish to would have an opportunity to return gradually, through some bureaucratic process that both peoples would agree upon. Yes, that means the Jews will not be a majority, but a constitution would protect not only Jewish and Arab rights equally, but would ensure that the character of the state reflected both cultures.
That is important, and it is also the place where the vision of a secular, democratic state falls short. The biggest problem with that vision is that it ignores the strong sense of nationalism that exists among both Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs. As someone who has no use or liking for nationalism, I wish that were not the case, but wishing does not make it so. The future state cannot be a melting pot, a mere civic society, in the manner the United States strives to be. It must be a national home. Whatever the political formation may be, it must be reflective of the nations that have been created by Zionism among Jews and Palestinian nationalism among the Arabs of Palestine.
Obviously, this is a future that is not on the horizon. And it is clear that many people, probably most, would not be able to conceive that such a future is even possible. But the alternative for Israeli Jews will be the eventual total loss of any homeland in Eretz Yisrael. A state with democratic structures like Israel which deprives millions of people of human and civil rights is an inherent contradiction. A state with one set of laws for some people and another set for another group of people all under one sovereign is an apartheid state, and it is a thing the world no longer tolerates. Only Israel’s unique place as the state of the Jews, in the wake of the Holocaust has allowed that state of affairs to last this long.
Mitchell is certainly correct when he says that this future is not on the horizon as of yet. Soon enough, however, the world will see the patently apartheid nature of a state the privileges its Jewish citizens while warehousing Palestinians inside a “security” regime of walls and checkpoints. As this oppression become more undeniable, we’ll surely be hearing and reading similar visions to Mitchell’s. At present these ideas exist largely in the domain of academia, journalism and the activist community; might we dare to imagine that events on the ground will eventually cause them to be considered by the political elites?
As far as I’m concerned, that time cannot come soon enough.
Most troubling in the description of the state to come in Israel is that there are no political guideposts in this article which might help a reader understand how to visualize into actions sincere wishes for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. How do these two peoples “get there,” Rabbi Rosen? How do Diaspora Jews help Israelis and Palestinians move toward a one-state solution which recognizes inherent interests of both Israelis and Palestinians?
In all this talk about the future of Israel, I believe that one of my primary apprehensions has been overlooked. That is, that there is a global contingent that is less concerned with the welfare of anyone in Israel as they are with the wielding and fueling of the Arab Israeli conflict for the purpose of exploitation and control of the Middle East.
I remember pre-1967 Israel and the positive, creative and hopeful visions that came from there as people experimented with the Kibbutz and Arabic speaking Jews travelled with the Arabs across the desert sharing culture and food. I saw all this wondrous hopeful plethora of positive energy dispersed, crushed and extinguished by purposeful agenda’s to manipulate perceptions, events and politics in the entire Middle East.
I would like to hope that such wondrous beauty will return for if not, I fear that the world civilization will follow suit and decay.
Most of you have never heard of Mae Brussel who exposed much of the covert action shaping the United States for decades. Although she was apparently murdered using lymph cancer and her decades of research proving her arguments hidden away in a vault kept from public eye, the spirit she engendered to expose manipulative machinations and to help create a more just and egalitarian world has the potential to blossom again.
As many of those who have apprenticed under her believe, when machinations that cannot stand the light of day succeed and go unexposed, they continue to grow. Only when finally exposed can they be eliminated. Although we cannot know or expose all that goes on, we can leverage the momentum for a popular transition to a better world by consistently supporting that which is just and sublime.
I agree with you on almost everything. This Israeli government will never make peace in a way acceptable to the Palestinians and the rest of the world. The Obama Kerry initiative is doomed to failure as long as they keep repeating the same old process that can’t work.
The only way for a truly fair settlement is for the world to impose one. The Occupation survives because we in the US pay for it. Only the US has the power to enforce a solution but clearly we do not yet have the political will.
The only area of disagreement is what should be imposed. As Mitchell Plitnick says, the solution must recognize the nationalistic aspirations and rights of both Jews and Palestinians. I believe that can only be done when a two-state solution is imposed and peace enforced by international powers. In time I believe that the two states, hopefully with others in the region will form into an EU type relationship with total cooperation, but neither side is ready for that yet.
AIPAC is every bit as dangerous and well entrenched as the NRA. Until we break AIPAC’s stranglehold on Congress and the President (which they have regardless of who is in office) the US will not have the moral will to do the right thing and impose a two-state solution.
No one can impose a settlement in the Arab-Israel conflict. First of all, most people in Europe and the West don’t care about it one way or the other, viewing it as one of the numerous intractable conflicts in the world that can’t be settled. Thus, there will never be the popular political backing for the military, political and economic force you seem to believe would be mobilized to force Israel and the Arabs to do what you want. For heaven’s sake, Obama couldn’t even force Israel to permanently freeze settlement building, do you think andone can force Israel to perform vivisection on Jerusalem which would end up dividing the city? Or forcing half a million Israelis out of the terrirtories over the Green Line. Look at the opposition to military involvement in the Syrian slaughter…do you think people in the West want to get involved policing an Arab-Israeli peace?
Secondly, both Europe and the US are in long-term economic and social decline and they simply don’t have the power to do what you want, even if they wanted to, which they don’t.
Thirdly, even though I have shown that, unlike what you state, that “only the US has the power to enforce a solution” which isn’t true, where would the “will” you are looking for come from, after all these decades of American support for Israel, which polls show is as strong as ever?
Sorry to destroy your dreams. The status quo will continue indefinitely, but the two sides will eventually come to an UNOFFICIAL modus-vivendi when the Arabs side decides it is going to have to improve the lives of its people instead of engaging in endless, fruitless posturing against Israel.
I agree that the likelihood of a significant intervention is very low, I do not agree that it is impossible. The momentum must come from the US, but it will only happen if Obama is willing to confront AIPAC and clearly he has not demonstrated that.
Research shows that many Americans do care about Israel and Middle East Peace. How else would Israel remain as the highest recipient of US Aid and Egypt as the second largest? America has had peacekeepers in the US a number of times, but boots on the ground is not the issue. There are plenty of countries who will supply troops if they are compensated. It would take less than the $3 billion we give Israel annually and the $2 billion we give Egypt to enforce a peace.
The Arab Peace Initiative, updated this week, shows that Arab countries are as concerned about this madness as we are. The Palestinian situation only strengthens the Muslim extremists and distracts Arab nations from other issues. They are also very worried about the millions of young adults throughout the Arab world with few job prospects. Ther are a fertile source of recruits for Islamic radicals.
Am I charging windmills? Yes, I am not optimistic, just saying what I think should happen. and making clear that I think the best outcome is a two-state solution as opposed to Brant’s feeling that we need a new model.
Sadly I do not see the Arab side come to the unofficial situation you describe. As much as I hate to say it, the most likely scenario I see is a third intifada which I pray will be non-violent to the extent possible. At the same time pressure on Israel to annex the West Bank and give the Palestinians a vote will be increased.
While I can’t speak for him, I think that Brandt would agree that an unofficial solution based on Arab acceptance of the status quo is even more unlikely than the US intervention that I pray for.
Pssssh. Easy peasy.
1. Enforce all existing laws about how much money the U.S. can contribute to another nation and for what.
2. Enforce all existing standards for the operations of agencies of a foreign power in and toward our governmental processes.
3. Conduct a real-deal security check on all staffers at the legislature.
In other words, nothing new is required. If U.S. law enforcement and legislature merely obeyed its own existing rules, Israel would be reduced to a minor beneficiary at best.
As for the will to do it, thank you for crowing your triumph so loudly. It’s better to see bullying contempt displayed nakedly, frankly. I’m used to facing it, frankly – it’s been a long few decades.
But a few decades is not forever. “Ike” or whatever your name is – you do know that President Eisenhower made a phone call to Nikita K one day and the two of them scuttled that plan for Israel, France, and Britain to attack Egypt, right? Are you sure you like him now? Maybe I should adopt the handle “i-like-ike56.”
Which is my way of saying that policies change. More pointedly, I believe Mikhail Gorbachev informed Erich Honecker about this back in 1985. The parallel appears exact to me.
when I was old enough to understand the concept of Israel Ialways assumed that the people who were living there would be living with the People of Israel.As I grew older I found out that I was very Naive.I did not understand why Jerusalem.was not available to all Faiths.War And more War.Palestinians and Israel seemed to want nothing of the sort.since then the Two Stae soution has been on the Table and as you wrote Brant there seems to be very little left for a State of Palestine to exist since Israel has destroyed most of the land available.It seems that Israel asks for the Pelastinians to give uo there pride honor and be quiet While Israel keeps taking.this is so tragic.I hope one day in My Childrens future that they will bridge the gap along with many others to call each Neighbor.
I’m not sure I understand your comment. Since I’m interested in a logical dialogue on the issue and am directing others to this site, could you explain?
What do you mean by “the people who were living there would be living with the People of Israel?”
What part of Jerusalem is not available to all faiths? The only place I know of is the area around the Dome of the Rock, where observant Jews are not allowed, but I’ve heard even that is changing.
What do you refer to when you say “Israel has destroyed most of the land available?”
The rest of it seems fairly subjective, but your points indicate actual occurrences which may be used in future debate and it would be useful to know when/where what you’ve cited has actually happened.
The issue is not whether the conflict can be solved, what Brandt is asking, and we are commenting about is what is the approach and process most likely to bring a solution.
I do not see anyone in this discussion saying that a solution is impossible, although some of us are definitely pessimistic.
Based on your view of the history and your implication that the conflict is solvable, how do you see that solution developing and what do you see as the ultimate outcome? One state, two states, some new model?
As I have said previously, I have always for a one state solution whereby everyone lives together in peace, with equal rights under the law.
As far as achieving such a goal I am more able to guess at what will happen than to suggest how to make what I would like to see happen.
As far as what I would like to see happen, I believe the key is in diffusing the beliefs that continue to breed hatred and division. I think this forum here symbolizes incredible progress compared to where we were at 10 or 20 years ago. Yet a popular consensus on ethical and fair solutions as opposed to the Machiavellian dog eat dog practices presently in place is a prerequisite.
I remember the disbelief I experienced years ago when Tanya Harding hired a thug to break Nancy Kerrigan’s kneecaps so she could win the skating championship and people I worked with actually supported Tanya Harding. Yet globally this type of thinking is a looming crisis being fed by hopelessness and despair. I believe the way people think must change.
Currently in the U.S. we see the decay of the middle class and a greater separation of rich from the poor. This tendency parallels what has been a global condition for a long time. The U.S. once represented the counterforce to this standard: that is, the creation of an egalitarian society where all people live as equals. As the U.S. falters as a role model for this positive social change, one can only wonder if it will be picked up somewhere else or if change will come as it always seems to when a civilization plunges into a dark ages.
If we see this trend toward class separation continue, the world will plunge into darkness and disaster will force a rebirth of values. Otherwise, if we see a social awakening and the sharing of resources so that everyone has food and housing and a place that allows them self esteem in the world, the world might take a turn for the better without such a disaster. I am no prophet to say what will happen.
With respect to Israel today, I believe the decision is one the Jewish people must make. They must make a decision that is their own and not some kind of manufactured consent as Noam Chomsky would call it. Even people like Barry Chamish, speaking from a right wing Israeli perspective, sees much that I see in America today: Covert action driving government agenda’s that correspond neither to the interests of the right or the left. Hidden agenda’s set by special interests outside the realm of public awareness. Covert Action that when exposed targets those exposing it equally whether they are on the right or the left. Yet I believe that educating the public about what is going on by sharing knowledge is the key to social awakening.
So, as we educate people for change we become noticed, sometime silenced, the more successful we are. Can such malice be overcome? I believe to do so calls for timing that is charmed; that is to say, awakening people in the moment they are ready to be awakened. Again, the key to this lies in the collective unconscious which lies in that many know as God.
So, I do my best to make a better world for all people and put my life in the hands of God and should I die a horrific, unjust death at the hands of malevolent forces, invoke my Buddhist side that says “I’ll be back”.
(Note: website address is very old website not updated or fixed after hacking; email is correct but phone number is not)
Thank you for the detailed response to my last post.
You are totally correct that the growing economic and social gap in the US and around the world contributes to many of the problems and conflicts we are experiencing. Unfortunately the type of broad social change that you advocate is terribly difficult to achieve, and may not be possible within a realistic time frame to help solve the Middle East issues.
Your statement that the decisions on Israel must be made by the Jewish People requires some calcification. AIPAC says that Israelis (the 80% who are Jewish) must make all decisions. Yet Israel claims to represent all Jews and asks Jews from around the world, like me, to support Israel financially and politically. If your statement refers to Jews world-wide I agree. As a Jew I am committed to make Israel a nation that I can be proud of.
On the issue of whether to advocate for one state or two, or some new model, I take my direction from history. Looking around the world, nations formed by war or colonial rule that include multiple ethnic groups rarely survive. Look at the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East. Those that survive do so only because of strong authoritarian governments.
Even the so-called American melting-pot is a myth. The vast majority of political and economic leaders in the US have been white, Christian, European immigrants. Most of them have been and remain Protestant. People of color, especially Native Americans, have had no say in government prior to the 1960’s and even then there are legitimate issues of equality. Yes, the US is better than most, but we still have a ways to go.
I believe that both Jews and Palestinians are national entities that deserve full self-determination. The best way to achieve that initially is through sharing the land and resources.
Regarding implementation, to borrow an over used phrase, friends don’t let friends drive drunk. Long term disputes are rarely settled by the people involved without outside involvement. Ireland and the Baltics are recent examples. I do not support covert actions or secret plans, this must be out in the open.
I also believe that both Israelis and Palestinians, when pushed to participate in an international mediation, can reach agreement. It may be a fine line, but there is a difference between a totally forced resolution and using an open combination of political and financial pressure and grass roots education. This model worked well in Ireland and I believe it can work in the Middle East.
Seth, everything you say makes sense and I think any differences is in the interpretation of what was meant. For instance, I said the Jews in Israel ultimately must make the decision on what happens. Although the global Jewish community has a role in determining what happens, the role of the community is through influence and not by force. Ultimately, the Jewish people in Israel make the decisions for the future of israel.
I wonder to what degree that is true. As I said quoting Barry Chamish, at times it seems the Israeli government has its own agenda which infuriates both the right and the left, and seems to be independent of both. Then there is the additional forces of politics. For instance, it has been suggested in Haaretz ( http://www.haaretz.com/ )Newspaper that Netanyahu wanted the conflict with Gaza before the election, believing the conflict would help him get re-elected reminding the Israeli public that his militancy is not without a cause.
I am suspicious here. Allegedly, the leader of Hamas in Gaza had worked closely with Netanyahu. Might he have been asked to participate in some mutual military engagement to help Netanyahu get re-elected? Were the missiles shot from Gaza sent into left wing neighborhoods to convince residents that they needed Netanyahu to protect them? We can’t ask the former leader of Hamas, Ahmed al-Jabari, for he was killed in a pinpoint missile attack in Gaza in November driving down Gaza Street. Other articles indicate he and Netanyahu had worked closely and that he had been very cooperative with Netanyahu. Was he killed to assure he would remain silent? Was there fear he would talk and undermine Netanyahu’s strategy to get re-elected.
Whether or not this is the case in this instance, which I believe it is, this seems to be, the pattern in countless other events that have nothing to do with Israel or the Jewish people, generally. This is a political trend gaining more and more prominence as a Machiavellian technique among politicians worldwide. There will come a point when people begin to see through such machinations and they will suddenly stop working.
I believe the public awareness will come about rapidly. I sure hope so for the sake of Jews and Palestinians in Israel, for I don’t see the world imposing a solution on Israel, nor the forces that embrace conflict for political and financial gain within Israel suddenly putting human rights before their political and financial agendas.
I hear your voices talking about a solution and I am glad to hear such sounds. I don’t however think there is any empirical formula to make things better. Change must come on an individual basis, from person to person, via how we interact and educate each other. Sometimes such change seems to come too slow but perhaps like a mother giving birth, such change is destined and has a set time.
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Thanks for the Plitnick link. This whole situation makes my heart ache.
Can I ask a question? Why can”t the Israeli/Palestinian situation be handld .the way that Canada handled the French problem in British Canada? Create a country from some of the adjoining Arab countries of which Israel would be one of the provinces.(states). This state could have as part of its constitution its homeland to the Jews & yet be incorporated within an Arab country, ( named Caliphate). It could have its own police, fire, etc and yet retain for the Arabs their honor.
Of course the national constitution would have to guarantee the existence & protection of the State of Israel (here we have the question of trust? perhaps a guarantee of this from the UN or the big 5.)
I have never heard this mentioned. Does it have merit?
Al, I think that’s a great idea. I also believe that if people are given a way to live their lives and to build their self esteem, threats will be limited to the usual: criminals and people who are bribed or blackmailed. The latter will always be a problem everywhere in the world until such time as means are acquired by society to obstruct such horrific activities.
“Of course the national constitution would have to guarantee the existence & protection of the State of Israel (here we have the question of trust? perhaps a guarantee of this from the UN or the big 5.)
I have never heard this mentioned.”
I have and in fact I was born and grew up in such a system of protection. It’s called the dhimmi system of the “protected” people, only in lieu of “Jewish state” it was called “Jewish quarter”. Indeed it was a question of trust guaranteed not by the UN or the big five but something called the Pact of Omar. Nice try, Al-.
To Sylvia:- Sorry, but I still think the ides has merit. What I had in mind was a situation like the one in Canada where the entire French people live in Quebec and they are surrounded by the English. Can’t such a plan be used in the Middle East?
Forget the “Pact of Omar” ( which I do not know) but again – the Big 5 or the UN – if we can trust them>
I too believe that Netanyahu wanted the Gaza war to help his re-election. He has a history of going to war when it would benefit him politically.
Regarding Netanyahu and Hamas, I do not believe that he was in any form of conspiracy with Hamas. Please read this op-ed from the NY Times. Gershon Baskin, the author and an Israeli who has worked with Hamas, is a close personal friend. I have known him since he was 16 and I believe that his report on the situation is accurate.
There is a significant possibility that that both Gershon and Mr. Jabari were duped by Netanyahu into a false sense of security.
Gershon has a book coming out this fall in Hebrew and English on his work on co-existence.
Seth, I want to say I believe you completely. Restated, Mr. Jabari may have been used by Netanyahu but there was probably not deliberate collusion between the two. I herein qualify the substance of my belief with my long winded explanation for discerning truth and creating a foundation for social change by means of communication.
You say you know the author and have since he was 16. This is important. In our discussions you have demonstrated reason and patience, two qualities con artists rarely demonstrate. Therefore, until further notice, you are qualified as wholly credible as far as I am concerned.
Although my experience in the Middle East started back in the late 1950’s, I became a researcher into truth in 1968 when in San Francisco, a group called the Everyman’s Theater, presented shows on the death of John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King. There documents were so compelling while being so conflicting with mainstream media’s popular presentations, that discerning truth became an objective in life.
One in which I have many shortcomings. However, for 45 years now I have had the opportunity to discuss, hear and read vast amounts of information on specific subjects. I have learned two things. One, that personal knowledge is far more credible when presented individually and honestly person to person than most reports made to the public. Have you ever had the wonderful experience of being in the middle of something you witnessed that became news? Perhaps like me you’ll recall how different actual events were from what was told to the public, even in small and unimportant matters. Of course, my experience is that the greater and more important a matter is, the more it is twisted.
Anyhow, I have noted over the years also that when deceptions muddy the truth, the truth typically stays the same and the deceptions alter as necessary to explain away new evidence. This is one means by which inductive reasoning can be used to discern lies from truth.
All this to “qualify my belief” in your statements. Hopefully, I shall always be able to rely on credible information from you and you will be able to rely on credible information from the author of the article. If either of us ever discover new information we’ll let the other person know. This is the key to change, interpersonal communication between credible people. I say credible, since none of us are going to rely on quoting known liars and con artists. The building of social consciousness in this way can effect major changes. So I believe.
One of my closest friends, since I was 13, always told me that the difference between an argument and a discussion is that an argument is two people each attempting to appear to be right and prove the other WRONG in the eyes of an audience; a discussion on the other hand is two people sharing possessing knowledge that may be vastly different, working to bridge what both people know and by means of reason arrive at an agreed upon conclusion.
This post reflects one of the most maddening aspects of current Western leftist thinking — the tendency to demand tolerance among all people and yet view solutions through their own ethnocentric lens. Mitchell Plitnick’s post in its entirety, which Rabbi Rosen excerpted, reads as if Israel is some sort of mini-United States that just needs a fresh new attitude and a few constitutional tweaks to set things right. Come on. This is not just a matter of culture. The U.S. is bounded by two gigantic oceans, which in a world of continuing brutal violence (yes by both sides in their own ways) still counts as a major factor.
This may come as a shock to some, but identity still matters to human beings. There are obviously both constructive and destructive ways to act this out – much of the Middle East conflict rests on understanding how to make this distinction. In fact, I’ve often wondered whether the long-term strategy of the Palestinian people as a polity (not necessarily as individuals) is to simply wait out, push back at, and reject all of the 3 to 6 offers of a two-state solution that have occurred until such time as it can be viewed that it is Israel’s de facto rejection of such a solution that is the problem. That’s precisely what seems to have occurred, in the wildly incorrect assertions of Plitnick, Rabbi Rosen, and the people in that film trailer/promotion he previously posted as to “why” there aren’t now two states in historic Palestine.
Under this long-term strategy, now that a one-state, “bi-national” (or however termed) solution is under discussion, it can generate its own supportive rhetoric based on Western intellectuals’ misreading of national formation throughout other parts of the world. That leads to the same old problem of asymmetry in this particular conflict – Israel being the state that accepts minority rights, while Arab national states do not and will not. Israel’s appropriate rejection of this way of discussing the issue because of the forward timeline it implies leaves what we have now – a legitimate national entity with an appropriate, long-accepted sovereign identity (a Jewish state) with nevertheless acute defense needs. We can discuss those defense policies all we want, but for us to imagine they can all be resolved by simply entering into a Jeffersonian fantasy world that will permanently sort things out is political and cultural self-absorption of the highest order.
To Neal-your idea of a hidden conspiracy between Bibi and Hamas is ridiculous, but my husband has correctly said for many years that there’s some kind of understood agreement that won’t allow the conflict between them to get completely out of control. Hamas realizes there are limits to what they can do without provoking Israel to bomb the hell out of them, and Israel is always looking at the lawfare angle of each retaliation, or preemptive action too. That’s what Mandelblit is there for as legal advisor. Your sympathies are obviously with the Palestinians only, but at least your style of writing isn’t as defaming as other “progressively Jewish” sites online, which openly publish anti-semitic talkbacks without shame.
It is not tolerance that is being asked for, it is adherence to civilized respect for other people. When crimes are committed against one group by another group out of racist beliefs, this is viewed as criminal in the civilized world. There are those who would muddy the distinction just as there are criminals who will rationalize any crime.
I am impartial and without bias in any direction and disagree with your smear that I sympathize with the Palestinians with the implication that I am biased.
I see this as a tactic to disqualify my reason without addressing what I have said.
Since early childhood I have wanted nothing but the best for the Jews and the Palestinians. Like all people, regardless of culture, conditioning or the times, I do have a tendency to defend the underdog.
The Palestinians are the underdog and that creates its own bias that transcends me and transcends all culture. Within the human species there will always be those who wish to bring down the arrogant and proud and tyrannical and lift up the humble and the meek. This is human nature. I NEVER lose sight of the interest of the Jewish People and in my own mind I separate the Jewish People, (which includes people of many points of view) from those who engage in oppression and violence against a people without a home or hope in sight.
Where is morality in supporting the “underdog” simply because he is supposedly the weaker party? During World War II, the Axis (Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan) were the underdogs…the weaker party going against the immensely stronger Allies. There is no way the Axis could win the war. Does this make them the good guys?
You think the Palestinians because they are the undedogs. Over a thousand Israeli were killed in suicide bombings by the “weak” Palestinians, who also have the whole Arab world which greatly outnumbers Israeli Jews, so who is the underdog, really (if it really makes a difference?). Even before the state of Israel, which you seem to consider to be a “big bully”, Jews were blamed in Europe for running a secret conspiracy that supposedy gave us immense power to push around Germany and other countries. This is what lead to fertile groun for the Holocaust throughout Europe. So you see, we are always considered the bullies even as we are Holocausted and pogrommed around.
For me, being militarilly powerful is a refreshing change and I want to keep it that way and am not interested in a silly morality of trying to portray ourselves as eternal victims, thinking that that is some kind of honor
How about oppressed rather than the term underdog, does that suit you better?
If White and Black, Muslim and Jews, Christians and Atheists all live in America, they can in the One State Israel. Make a fair constitution and the world will support you.
In the colloquy between Neal and Ike, I agree with Ike but would put it differently, since I think that Nazi/Hitler analogies are rarely helpful. Neal, look at your phrase, “When crimes are committed against one group by another group out of racist beliefs …” Would not this description, at the very least, fit the phenomenon of suicide bombing? I’m not even talking about the victims here, I’m talking about what that tactic (meaning on the part of those who send out the bombers, not the poor bombers themselves) implies about one side’s view of co-existence among all peoples among two states OR within one state.
In my view, this illustrates the difficulty of taking what I have expressed in this thread as the Western liberal cultural viewpoint that looks for the underdog and sides with them, as if each side sees the battlefield in exactly the same way. And yes, in this discussion we absolutely need to talk about Israeli military tactics. But it’s simply not a question of choosing up sides, finding the weaker party in terms of academic notions of power structure, and siding with them, or least not siding with them under the currently fashionable construct of “boycott” with no room for counter-narratives. That’s actually not going to solve any problems.
MFC. To answer your first question, I believe the majority of suicide bombing are done for money, nor out of longstanding beliefs. People are offered $25,000 or so to give their life. They are told that this vengeance is a path to justice. The money will go to their families living in dire straits and without hope. The pressure is great to acquiesce and the act of arguing the sensibility of such terrorism would in fact put that Palestinian in a position to be viewed as traitorous for standing up for what is right, just as those who argue on behalf of Israeli injustices use the very same techniques to pressure other Jews to acquiesce and do what is WRONG.
To me, that puts you in the same camp as those who do pressure people to become suicide bombers. However, at the top, as I have stated, I believe the suicide bombers are orchestrated by people with money. Although the Skulls have the ultimate agenda behind this, there is little doubt they are unable to find a wealthy Arab to contribute to their cause of defending the Palestinians or a middle man to take that money and offer it to some child under great pressure to become a suicide bomber.
Let’s change things. There must be better ways than violence and oppression that begets more violence, more hate and more oppression.
As I’m sure almost everybody reading this immediately saw, you completely missed my point. I said: I’m not talking about the bombers themselves (although if I were, your explanation is incredibly facile – a majority of human beings on Earth are poorer than Palestinians and they cannot be coerced into committing suicide for any amount of money). I’m talking about the adults who mastermind these events. What they are doing is the very definition of a hate crime.
The point here is that the BDS wing of anti-Israeli world opinion relentlessly flings around terms like racism, apartheid and so on. Well, if you’re going to do that, at the very least you cannot affix label that on one side. Personally I don’t like casual uses of terms like racism. But if it must be in the conversation, then its persistence in this conflict only proves the essential point that I and others have made in this thread – that Israel/Palestine is not some antiseptic laboratory on which you can impose all of your Western governmental theories derived from the comfortable suburban enclaves in which I bet most of us live, including Rabbi Rosen. In service of getting you to at least recognize that much equivalence between the two sides, I’ve decided not to be offended by your charming comment to the effect that I’m no better than suicide bombers.
In this context I also have to deal with your remark elsewhere that no more than 10% of a given population feels the hate. This is a variant of the same old flaw in logic and language that stifles debate on this and related subjects, such as how to address terrorism in the U.S. and elsewhere. If I observe that many of the perpetrators of Bad Activity X come from Group Y, I have NOT said that most members of Group Y engage in X. Get it? A statement does not logically follow from its converse. The point here is that if 10% have extremely bad faith toward others, that’s actually far too many IF the acting out of such extreme ideology takes particular violent forms. (BTW the same is true of the Rush Limbaughs who scream that any attempt to discern a pattern among prospective right-wing domestic terrorists is a libel on all conservatives – it’s not.) The Israeli people have no choice but to take this into consideration in all of the following discussions: how to provide for the current defense, how to negotiate for a two-state solution, and whether to consider a one-state solution.
2nd Question. I have no problem with Israel using the military to secure the safety of her people. I have read ‘The Art of War’ by Sun Tzu.
One of the clear themes of this highly regarded strategic military thinking is always to minimize injury and damage to your opponent. Clearly acting out of vengeful or hateful or malicious places is counterproductive.
Yet for years the Israeli Government has done just that. From Pissing on Holy Places to random attacks on civilians and acts to make their lives unlivable, clearly the strategy of the Israel Government has been driven by something other than an interest in the short and long term security of Israel.
In fact, the actions of clearly caused increased danger and lower security in both the short and the long term.
Neal, you don’t discuss or admit to the terrible hatred of Jews fomented from early age on not only in Gaza, but the West Bank as well. Until you admit this exists, and it has a long history and basis preexisting the state of Israel, let alone the occupation. Does the latter make it worse? Of course, but eliminating the occupation will not make the Jew hatred, genocidal to a large degree, go away. Be realistic; your writings smack of a nirvana-like, socialist approach, which isn’t to bash you, but to alert you that most people, least of all in the arab world, do not think like you. . To expect Jews, espec. those in Israel, to agree with you, or be branded as bad, is pathetic. You do not have their backs; sorry, I really don’t think you care much about the average Israeli Jew’s life or well being.
Roz. First of all I believe you are generating a non existent hysteria for the purpose of your argument. Much like the horrific acts that are claimed to be for the “Security of Israel” which In fact undermine the “Security of Israel”, your hysteria about the hatred for Jews is greatly exaggerated.
Yes, there are those Palestinians that have been crushed NOT to increase Israel’s security but to ‘bring the Palestinians to the knee’s’.
Why I wonder??? I suspect that it is to foment wars between Jews and Arabs who have largely worked together most of the last thousand years in order to take control of the oil. I have repeated this over and over but get drowned out by baseless unfounded allegations such as yours.
First, take a look at any population. How many people’s lives are driven by hate? I have dealt with a tremendous amount of hate and racism personally, yet I believe it comes from no more than 10% of any population. Many in a population may follow momentarily, but they just want to belong to a group and identify more than really feeling hatred. Still others in a population may follow not because they feel any hatred but because they fear the repercussions of disputing a concept with someone who is ill bent on driving that concept of hate with hysterical mania. Who wants to get ‘dirtied’ by dealing with such people??? My father always said that he who argues with a fool proves himself a fool also.
I can see that in Palestinian areas in Israel there is justification for hate but I doubt even then that much more than 10% of the people really feel that hate, and I believe they could be turned around.
As Rabbi Brant says on page 20 of his book, the attacks on the Palestinians are not about Israel’s security. What are they about then???
I have stated over and over again that leadership controlling Israel is being driven by the Skull Conspiracy to destroy Israel and the Arab and Persian nations of the Middle East for their oil. All it takes to take over any organization, no matter how powerful, is a gun at the head of the man in charge. From there others can be influenced with rights of passage, like the LAPD secret police who for years must commit a crime against black people to prove he will not snitch off other officers on the force who routinely engage in the same.
I am stating that the leadership in Israel, covert and overt, has been taken over by the Skull Conspiracy for the purpose of USING Israel.
The object of the attacks on the Palestinians IS NOT to bring them to their knees, it is to outrage the world against Jewish people, especially the Arabs. Indeed, they are probably frustrated they have not started more WARS so far and continue to encourage and conspire to orchestrate vile acts of a horrific nature to increase hatred and conflict.
I realize you are opposed to my desire to reduce hatred and conflict. You imply that it is because you love Israel, but I do not believe you. I do not believe that Jewish Israeli’s believe you. I believe people know the truth in their heart.
I know Jewish Israeli’s on the left who disagree with you. I believe Barry Chamish, on the right, disagrees with you. So who really agrees with you? Small minded easily manipulated people living in fear and driven by covert terrorist acts to increase that fear? People who do not wish to soil themselves with your fabricated facts and wild accusations to promote WAR?
Maybe you REALLY believe what you have written to me. I think like Americans cheering on war as if it was a football game, to you this is nothing more than a game you want to win, regardless of right or wrong. Then I pray for you that God opens your eyes and your heart so that you may start doing the right thing.