April 20, 2006

Discussing Israel With Far Left Atheists Is Like Discussing Evolution With A YEC


I'm just shaking my head more and more these days when it comes to my discussions about Israel with Left to Far Left (politically) Atheists.
They are completely ignorant of the true facts of the situation. They don't know the real history. Yet they have LOUD opinions that Israel is the bully and Israel is to blame for the Palestinians plight.
I have the same feeling in my head and stomach talking to these intellectual droids as I do when I try to convince a YEC that the earth is ancient and evolution is fact.
If you present them with facts, they either ignore them, or try their hardest not to understand it because it doesn't fit their agenda. For example, many Far Left Atheists have a problem with the term Atheist Jew, no matter how much I explain that a Jew is a Jew by religion and/or ethnicity. I even go further stating anti-semites generally don't care if a Jew believes in God or not, he hate the Jewish culture/ethnicity. I always add, "did Hitler care if a Jew believed in God or not before he murdered them?"
And they still don't get it. They still don't understand my stance that anti-semitism or potential anti-semitism anywhere in the world, any time, justifies Israel's existence, because it is now a refuge for Jews to go. Ironically, the Far Left with their ignorance, and lack of facts, and lack of understanding reality, actually justify a need for Israel because if it they were in charge, there wouldn't be a Jew alive and the masses would be Dhimmis.


Here is an excerpt from a great article from 2004 by Richard Baehr:

Why does the Left hate Israel?

I believe there are several reasons:

1. It is an easy way to express one’s hatred for America.

2. Israel is viewed as an outpost of colonialism , and an active practitioner of it.

3. Israel is a western nation, and hence can be judged by the left. Israel is not protected by cultural relativism, as the Arabs are.

4. Leftist Christian churches can escape any lingering guilt about the Holocaust, by turning Israel into a villain. Some leftist churches hate Israel because they think this will help protect their members in the holy land- in other words they feel threatened.

5. Ferocious Muslim hatred of Israel and the Jews reinforces the natural cowardice of many on the left who go along with the Muslims to stay out of their line of fire.

6. Jewish leftists are prominent in the anti-Israel movement. This opens the floodgates for everybody else.

7. Israel is attacked because the secular left is appalled by the influence of religious settlers and their biblical connections to the land of Israel, and by the support for Israel by evangelical Christians, and Christian Zionists.

1. Hatred of America

The most basic reason as suggested already is that those who hate America, also hate those whom America supports, of which Israel is exhibit A. For Al Qaeda, there is the great Satan, America, and the little Satan, Israel. Since 9/11, Al Qaeda has made the focus of its hatred for the great Satan, the great Satan’s support for the little Satan. In Europe there are a much larger number of hardcore leftists than we have in the United States. Score one for America, I think. Two percent of the population vote for the Green Party here, 10% or more do so in European countries. While many think the Greens are primarily an environmental movement, the party platform in every country in which they are a factor, including the US, is replete with harsh attacks on Israel. In many European countries, the Greens are part of a left of center governing coalition, which helps explain why there is so little sympathy for Israel in Europe.

Why do the Greens hate Israel? The Greens hate the western consumer society in which they live, they hate corporations and capitalism, and they hate globalization. America is the great Satan for the Greens – the killer of Kyoto, the maker of genetically modified foods, the exporter of McDonald’s, Disney, Hollywood trash and Starbucks. So the Greens are leftist by definition. And economic leftists have an anti-American world view which tends to make them reflexively pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel. This hatred of America, which spills over into anti-Israel venom, is, as mentioned earlier, also quite common on the college campuses in America.

2. Colonialism

Along with the hatred for America, comes a world view about what America and its Western allies represent. In short, the western capitalist societies are believed to be colonialists. While the European empires disbanded half a century ago in most cases, the left believes that colonialism is still evident in the economic relations of the western countries with the third world- in the exploitation of their economies. Globalization has become the catchphrase to describe how the west gets rich off of the backs of the poor countries and their people. Hence, a critical slogan of the anti-war effort in Iraq was No War for Oil. Why do western nations go to war? To steal the resources of the Third World One might wonder about what resources we were fighting for in Afghanistan, but consistency has never been a requirement for a leftist world view. Israel in the mind of the left is a colonialist creation. The Zionists were given a country to settle where other people already lived. Then the western nations tried to expunge their guilt for the Holocaust (which most leftists will tell you was a bad thing, though hardly unique in the long history of western colonialist genocide) by agreeing to partition Palestine and formally create one Jewish majority state and one Arab majority state.

After 1967, the left’s job became easier in attacking Israel, since Israel became a very juicy target. By absorbing millions of Palestinians in the west bank and Gaza, Israel became an occupier. By creating settlements, Israel showed the left its desire to permanently dominate the Palestinians. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Eastern European satellite nations gained their freedom. So for the left, Israel has become the most glaring example of a western society oppressing indigenous peoples.

Now of course the left never became too agitated over the Soviet Union and their system of satellite nations. After all, the economic philosophy of communism had a lot of appeal for many on the left, even after many decades of proof that neither the Soviet Union, nor China, nor any other communist countries had created economic or political systems that had much to so with any noble visions about workers paradises that leftist philosophers might have gleaned from the writing of Karl Marx. Today’s economic explosion in China has, of course, come through the Communist party’s capitulation to capitalism. But the left did not criticize China’s now permanent occupation and annexation of Tibet, nor the movement of many Chinese into Tibet to create a Chinese majority there, nor the Soviets’ movement of hundreds of thousands of Russians into the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia after World War II, so as to diminish the percentage of the native stock in those countries. Jewish settlers are perhaps 10% of the population of the West Bank. So no-one could seriously suggest that the settlements were an attempt to create a Jewish majority in the area. Instead, stories are circulated about nefarious Israeli plans to move the Palestinian population out of these areas, and make them Arab free, in other words- ethnic cleansing, one of the left’s favorite charges.

The charge that Israel has plans to move the Palestinians out is almost amusing, since it is the reverse that is true: the Palestinians demand and the left wholeheartedly endorses the call for making the west bank Judenrein [all Jewish settlers out], yet also demands that Israel accept the Palestinian right of return, and absorb 4 million displaced Palestinians, 95% of whom are descendants of original refugees, and have never set foot within pre-67 Israel. One might ask how these people are returning to anything that is theirs or that they know, but why complicate things?

3. Moral Relativism

There is another perhaps more important reason why Israel is singled out. Objective observers might look at Israeli society, and while noting all its obvious problems, would also recognize its vigorous free press, its system of justice, its democratic form of government, its willingness to absorb immigrants of different skin color and national origin to create a new society, its great tolerance for diversity, the role of women in society. Such observers might conclude that Israel compares quite favorably to the authoritarian nations surrounding it. But Israel will always be judged by a different standard from its neighbors. The reason for this is that Israel is not only viewed as a western creation, but a western nation, and its neighbors are not.

With the west, anything short of perfection is intolerable, because for the left perfection is the goal. With the third world countries, the left expects nothing (and for the most part gets nothing). When Hutus used machetes to slaughter Tutsis in Rwanda in 1993 – almost a million in four months – the left reserved its criticism for western nations for their inability or unwillingness to intervene. But as regards the ethnic slaughter, the left’s attitude was more or less paternalistic: what do you expect of these natives? I do not remember reading any criticism of the Hutus, or their culture, or their practicing majority rule in such an unsavory way. Of course, had the West militarily intervened, the left would have criticized the countries that sent troops for attacks that killed innocent civilians.

The reason for this hypocrisy I think is the triumph in the academy, and among many in the journalistic profession and the intelligentsia of many western nations, of the noxious notion of moral and especially cultural relativism. This is especially true as regards the left’s attitudes towards the behavior of non-western third world people. This is the triumph of the late Edward Said, the distinguished man of letters, and Professor at Columbia University. Said was a professor, but also the photographed rock thrower on the Israeli Lebanese border (thereby presumably perfecting the body and the mind). Said of course was also the man who fabricated his entire personal history, claiming for half a century to be a dispossessed Palestinian, when in fact he was a member of a wealthy Egyptian family, and neither he nor his family suffered any expulsion from Palestine. But why mess up a good story that combines the personal with a historical narrative that one is fabricating in both cases? Of course Columbia University took no action against Professor Said for either his violent act, or his fraudulent history.

Said wrote a watershed book, Orientalism, arguing that the west could not judge the Eastern world, because it did not understand it, and never could. This is the diversity of separation. We can’t judge what we don’t know, and more importantly can never know. Hence, no universal standard of justice or judgment can ever apply. What may be judged bad or inferior here (say religious intolerance) might be an important feature to hold together a different kind of society, where the role of religion in society is different from ours, and transcends the very notion of nation state.

But Said of course went further. He not only wished to defend the Third World from attacks from the West that many of these third world states were intolerant, bad societies. He attacked the West for its intellectual imperialism, for daring to believe that western philosophy and religion could provide a framework for judging other societies and for our trying to make the rest of the world in our image, which of course we believe is superior: a cultural arrogance. The West he argued, judges the rest of the world inferior for not measuring up. So Western attempts to criticize Arab countries for their intolerance of non-Muslims is a form of colonialism. It is not hard to understand how this kind of argument would have massive appeal among the refugees of the sixties now dominating the faculties of most American colleges and universities. 4. Christian Holocaust Guilt

There is also a religious dimension to the left’s hatred of Israel. Some of this I think represents the attitude prevalent in Christian churches to show sympathy for the perceived underdog: in this case the Palestinians. This support for the underdog is a big part of the leftist ideology – the teenage rock throwers combating the Apache helicopters and tanks of the occupying army. But I think there is something deeper, and less savory to the preference of the Christian left for the Palestinians over Israel. The Jews, in the view of the Christian left, have been waving the bloody sheet of the Holocaust for over 50 years. And the Christian left is tired of hearing about it.

They think that Israel has gotten a free pass for too long, because the Holocaust prevents Israel’s critics from attacking it, for fear of being labeled as anti-Semites with no historical memory. For years, the criticism of Israel in Germany, in particular, has been more muted than in other parts of Europe, for this very reason. But in the last year, even this sensitivity evaporated. This Christian coldness to Israel is a factor in the liberal or high churches in America – the Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Quakers, and all the other mainstays of the National Council of Churches, the good friends of Fidel Castro, and the group that pressured the Clinton administration to send Elian Gonzalez back to Cuba. Absolution for failure to intervene to prevent the Holocaust, or for complicity in its having occurred, can be wiped away by accusing Israel (the Jewish surrogate) of all kinds of high crimes and by using the same language of the Holocaust: ethnic cleansing, genocide, brutal occupation, starvation, human rights violations, to describe Israeli behavior today.

There is also one other factor for the problem of the Christian churches with Israel, and that is fear. The number of Christians in the holy land has been declining, and at an accelerating rate, since Muslims assumed more control over Lebanon, and the Palestinians assumed control over much of the West Bank after Oslo. The Christian churches in the Palestinian territories and Jerusalem have little to fear from Israel, and much to fear from the Arabs. Just as European governments have become more pro-Palestinian as their Arab population has grown, so Christian churches have become more pro-Palestinian to try to appease the Arabs who control the future of the Christian churches in the Holy Land.

5. Cowardice and Group Think

It is difficult to miss the virtual unanimity within the left on the subject of the Middle East. There is little visible political courage on the left to take contrary views to those held by most others in the movement. The left, much more than the right, seems to need group reinforcement. If there is aggressive anti-Israel sentiment from the chorus on the left, those who are not as passionate about the issue, find it easier to join the chorus, than stand aside. On the campuses, there is another problem: Muslim students are fiercely hostile to Israel. Confronted with this aggressive hostility to Israel, even many Jewish students recede, rather than confront it. So there is no effective counterweight.

It took a physical attack against a small group of Jewish students at San Francisco State University last year, and the action of a single professor who witnessed it and described what happened in a widely circulated email, to finally alert many in the Jewish community to how desperate things were getting for Jewish students at many colleges in the face of this anti-Israel venom. The hard core left on campus, both faculty and students, are happy to make common cause with Muslim students and show their solidarity, particularly since a new issue for the left, since 9/11 concerns protecting the civil rights of Muslims and Arabs in this country. Jewish students are also resented by other minority groups on campus because of their perceived hostility to affirmative action. Minority students have therefore become active enthusiasts of the Palestinian cause on many campuses- a solidarity action in the face of perceived common enemies.

There is a distinction between being pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel. Those who hate Israel prefer to say they are for Palestinian self-determination and freedom. This sounds better than claiming that you hate Israel. Of course, were Israel not to exist in the Middle East, the last thing the Palestinians would have is self-determination, and freedom. Why would the Palestinians have what does not exist in any of the other 21 Arab countries? But the left is happy to demand a free, democratic Palestine- all of it of course, not just the West Bank and Gaza, but Israel too, after a right of return brings 4 million refugees into Israel to create a majority Palestinian state.

Those who support the Palestinians are also reluctant to attack the methods the Palestinians choose to use to win their freedom. So while lip service may be paid to a perfunctory condemnation of certain suicide bombing attacks, there are always root causes- the occupation, and settlements, and discrimination. There can be no conduct by the favored group- in this case the Palestinians, that can be judged bad in its own right, for that might serve to muddy the waters on the moral valence between the two sides of the conflict. In some circles, the violence is even romanticized, just as Che Guevara and Ho Chi Minh were heroes to the left in the 60s.

6. Jews Who Hate Israel

The passion with which the left hates Israel is also related to the fact that the left contains many Jewish haters of Israel. When Noam Chomsky, and Norman Finkelstein are the thought leaders of the movement to deny Israel’s legitimacy, and moral standing, this gives cover to those who hate Israel for perhaps baser motives- raw anti-Semitism for instance. Israel’s universities are full of professors who detest Israel and Zionism, such as Ilan Pappe, and major Israeli newspapers such as Haaretz employ Jewish pro-Palestinian writers such as Gideon Levy and Amira Hess. Many Jewish anti-Zionists in this country get their guidance from Israelis in various left wing groups, such as Jeff Halper, who are actively working to destroy the Jewish state.

For a long time, the left has argued that Jews need only fear the right – the fascists, the Christian crusaders, the neo-Nazi hate groups. Certainly there are lunatics on the right who are a danger not only to Jews but to a free society. But today I think there are many more Jew haters and Israel haters on the left than the right. It is wrong of course to generalize and equate anti-Israel views with anti-Semitism. One can be critical of Israel, and one can certainly be critical of specific Israeli policies, such as settlements, without being a Jew hater. On the issue of settlements, almost half the Israeli population thinks that many of them were a bad idea. But when Israel is singled out, as the left does, and held to account for things for which no other country is judged negatively, then something more is going on. Why is Israel the subject of 40% of all critical UN resolutions? Is Israel responsible for 40% of what is wrong in the world?

I have been to several of the left wing Israel hate fests. They are scary. There is real passion in the air. There is something about Israel that gets the juices going. Anti-Semitism is a part of it. There are a lot of people who are envious of Jews, on the left as well as the right. Patrick Buchanan thinks Jews have hijacked the conservative movement. But on the left, particularly in the academy, and in journalism, I am certain there is professional envy of the many Jewish faces and what better way to get even, and get back for sometimes losing the competitive battle, than by picking on the Jewish state as a surrogate. Leftist Jews sometimes lead the assault against Israel in these venues, thereby giving the attacks, whatever their reason, greater moral authority. Few Jews will stand up for Israel in these environments, because of the great pressure on the left to conform to the group think in the institutions they control.

7. Hatred of Religion

Finally, there is the conflict between the religious beliefs the left associates with the state of Israel, and the secular humanistic values of the left. The anti-Zionists in Israel are foolish enough to believe that a secular democratic bi-national state of Palestine would afford them the same liberties they enjoy today. The leftists in Israel and abroad seek an end to nationality, and other antiquated creations, and the building of mankind. How exactly they would deal with jihadist Islam and aggressive Wahhabism, we don’t know. The left has its own religion- it just doesn’t require going to church. Reading the New York Times over coffee will do, except on high holy days, when you also must read the New York Review of Books, the Nation, and the collected works of Paul Krugman. The left also despises Israel because it associates its policies in the territories with the behavior of religious Jews, the “right wing zealots,” as they prefer to call them. Just as leftists hate the Republican Party in America, because they believe that it is controlled by corporations (bad) and Christian fundamentalists (very bad), the left believes that Israel’s behavior is bad, because it is controlled by people who are “irrational” religious believers.

All this talk by the settlers about the biblical ties to Judea and Samaria, is foreign to the ears of those who believe that everything in this world should be decided through reason, and can be negotiated by lawyers, and international organizations. It is ironic of course, that Israel’s so-called religious zealots will likely be much less a factor in preventing a settlement to the Middle East conflict, than the religious exclusionists on the Arab side who have always detested, and wanted to expunge the presence of a non-Muslim state in their midst. But for the left, strong religious views in a Western country are those to be attacked, not those of third world people. For a Western county should know better than to allow itself to be controlled or influenced by religious people. There is a place for religion (a very private sphere for the few on the left who pay lip service to being a member of a church), and there is reason for everything else. The left basically detests religious people and religions of the west (particularly the Catholic church for its views on abortion), but is neutral about third world religions and believers, for which they are not able or willing to judge, but rather must protect against our cultural biases against them.

The support for Israel by Christian conservatives and evangelicals is also a source of great resentment by the left. While the fringe right may believe that the Jews control the world’s banks, the left fears that Christian conservatives control the Republican Party, which right now controls the Presidency and maintains a small majority in both houses of Congress. If Christian conservatives are on one side of an issue, the left has to be on the other side. The friends of your enemies are also your enemies. It is impossible for the left to accept that there can be any common ground between themselves and religious conservatives. Sadly, there are many Jews who have been unable to welcome the passionate support for Israel that comes from the Christian conservatives, because of their disagreements with them on social issues, which I daresay are much less important issues for Jews than the survival of the state of Israel.

Conclusion

The evidence I believe is clear today that Israel faces far greater threats from the left than the right. The left is reflexively anti-Israel and has established important beachheads in significant American institutions- academia, the media, and the old line Protestant “high” churches, as well as in the very seats of government power in many Western European countries, and their intelligentsia. It is not surprising that Israel seems unable to get a fair shake from college professors, the BBC, Reuters, NPR, or liberal churches. Being anti-Israel has become part of their religion.

I do hope the Lefy intellectuals who read my blog read this and actually try to understand it.

53 comments:

  1. Well not all lefty atheists.

    *points to himself.

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  2. "...my stance that anti-semitism or potential anti-semitism anywhere in the world, any time, justifies Israel's existence, because it is now a refuge for Jews to go."

    This doesn't make much sense. Israel is one of the most dangerous places in the world for a Jew to live, and anti-semitism & potential anti-semitism exists everywhere, Israel included. It's like an African-American moving to the Congo to escape the violence of inner city black-on-black crime.

    I'd argue that the fact that Israel exists is enough to justify it's existence. To paint it as some sort of safe refuge for Jews—though that was it's original intent—is not reflected in modern reality.

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  3. Chimp, unfortunately we are a minority.

    Guav, do you remember last year that around 3,000 French Jews left France for Israel because of a rise in anti-semitism?
    Israel is safer than France right now for Jews and Israel accepted these Jews and didn't turn them away.
    As Muslims infest the West and spread hatred and burn cars, Israel becomes more and more a refuge.

    Did you miss the story of the French Jews?

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  4. Another point Guav. I know this is far fetched (I hope any ways): Lets say that a region in Russia decided to murder all the Jews there. They don't even think about it because Israel would be sending missiles very quickly.

    My point is that Israel subtly protects Jews everywhere on this planet.

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  5. Sure, but emigration by Jews from Israel has reached 15,000 to 20,000 annually. More Jews are leaving Israel every year. Why is that? Where are they going?

    Probably not to France, where the Muslim problem is causing people other than Jews to get the fuck out of Dodge, but there are clearly safer places for Jews to live than Israel.

    And Israel would attack Russia? In addition to the fact that Israel doesn't have any missiles that can reach further than the southeastern tip of Russia, I find the idea that Israel would launch an overt military attack on Russia to be far-fetched. More likely—and prudent—they would send in the Sayerot Mat'kal ninjas to extract those in danger, which would be a proper response.

    To say that pogroms are not happening because Russians are afraid of Israel's military power is a little silly I think. Mass slaughter of Jews do not happen around the world not because of fear of Israel, but because ... well ... people just don't really massacre Jews anymore. I think that whole Holocaust thing kinda put most people off the whole idea of exterminating the Jews (at least in practice if not in thought).

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  6. Some of us far to the left lefties are PRO-ISRAEL, though within Israeli policy itself, we do not support every decisioon the Israeli government makes. I have my own issues with my fellow socialists and their blind support for all apparent 'underdogs' without regard for who it is they are supporting.

    Let's discuss sometime.

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  7. P.S. Pardon me, I intended to say the southwestern tip of Russia, not southeastern.

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  8. Guav, if Israel couldn't do it with missiles, the USA would.
    Jews in Europe thought like you did in the 1930's. That Jews don't get killed for being Jews anymore. I'm not arguing that Israel isn't the safest place for Jews, but it is the final refuge. And Jews are most likely leaving Israel to get away from potential violence coupled with better job opportunities perhaps.
    Actually, I believe there was a record amount of Americans who moved to Israel last year, so it works both ways.

    SL, maybe you can make a post on your blog, I'd be happy to discuss it. And I too have been critical of Israel policy in some instance too, but to be honest, since the Gaza withdrawal, I have become a bit of a Hawk, as I see nothing in the Palestinians actions that leads me to believe they would be content with a peaceful state.

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  9. "I have my own issues with my fellow socialists and their blind support for all apparent 'underdogs' without regard for who it is they are supporting. "

    Prezactly. And I agree with the other poster who said that it's existence is its justification.

    What these moronic "Israel is evil" posters NEVER talk about is what's to be done with all the innocent citizens in Israel. They jabber endlessly about how evil Israel is and how it has not right to be there. They beat their chests and wring their hands for the poor palestinians, but advocate treating Israelis THE EXACT SAME WAY.

    They're either complete morons, or raging bigots.

    Or, entirely cluess.

    I'd go with the last one.

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  10. I agree that some on the left hate Israel for irrational, albeit somewhat understandable, reasons. As you write, the Palestinians *are* the underdogs, Israel has committed terrible offences, Israel has occupied Palestinian land (i.e. land exclusively populated by Palestinians), Israel does blatantly discriminate based on religion/ethnicity, etc.

    There are plenty of reasons to hate Israel. And perhaps if you don't know too much about the situation, you might even excuse (or at least "understand") some desperate Palestinians blowing up themselves and a bunch of Israeli civilians as the only avenue of fighting back available to them.

    Personally, I don't hate Israel. I think they've done some terrible things, but I support their right to exist and favor a two-state solution. (They certainly have as much right to Israel as we do to the U.S., for example.) I'm for the unilateral withdrawal and I absolutely oppose terrorism. I'm just saying I can see where the anti-Israel people are coming from, and it's not necessarily anti-semitism.

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  11. "I'm just saying I can see where the anti-Israel people are coming from, and it's not necessarily anti-semitism. "

    Exactly how many times does this have to be agreed with before people stop posting it?

    Israel is occupying anyone's land. Is refugess status now inherited through generations? How can you be a refugee from a land you've never lived in? If you're American, are you planning on making room for the Native American descendants of those whose land was stolen from them? Exactly how long do a group of people have to live somewhere before THAT is where they are from?

    Israel does do some horrible things. Horrible things in response to the horrible things Palestinians do. Neither side has clean hands.

    While I was in Israel, the people I was staying with worked with an interfaith alliance trying to bridge the gap between the two and stop the violence. One old Palestinian man told me he was Jordanian until the Jews wanted to move in and then they (muslim countries) called him Palestinian.

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  12. Apikoros baal korchoApril 20, 2006 1:19 PM

    Lya, you've just mentioned something that many people ignore: Jordan is Palestine. Many of the Palestinians of today became stateless because they have become pawns in a rather cruel game that their leaders played with them.

    Stopping the violence is something that is very desirable, but given the outcome of the most recent elections, the chances are that the cycle of violence will only escalate. Violence only breeds violence. If Hamas justified the recent attack in Israel, there doesn't seem to be much hope for peace in the near future.

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  13. Wow. That was a nice, succinct summation. I think I hear lefty heads exploding. That's always a good sign. Be prepared to be labelled by the left. The term Zionazi comes up a lot. If you keep it up you may even get a picture of yourself with swastikas and horns eating a baby.

    For the record, while Evangelical Christians like myself have religious reasons for supporting Israel, i.e. the verse in the Old Testament that says roughly, "Those that bless Israel will be blessed, those that curse her will be cursed", It is not religion alone that requires that we give our support to her.

    Israel is the only democracy in the area. Christians, Jews, Arab Israelis and even Atheists all live freely in Israel. Try being a Jew, Christian or Atheist a few hundred miles away in Egypt or Iran.

    Anyone who says that they believe in self-determination and Democracy and who doesn't support Israel is a hypocrite.

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  14. People keep saying that Israel has done lots of terrible horrible things but I can't think of any myself. Do they mean targeting terrorists and their leaders for assasination? Sounds like a good idea to me - should happen much more often. Demolishing the houses of suicide bombers? Seems restrained to me. Building a fence? - again quite restrained. Lebanon invasion - what? they're supposed to just sit back and get attacked all the time and do nothing? It's nasty out there folks yet not nasty enough to convince most Palestinians not to vote in a terrorist government.

    ...and who could not love Israel after Operation Entebbe and the raid on the Osirak nuclear reactor?

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  15. "How can you be a refugee from a land you've never lived in?"

    Likewise, how can you "return" to a land that you've never lived in? There are, in fact, original refugees still alive who cannot return to Israel to villages that they did in fact inhabit. On the other hand, I can legally "return" to Israel, although neither I nor my German Jewish grandparents or their grandparents have ever set foot there. And never wanted to.

    At least be consistent. Lya Kahlo, your entire comment was somewhat hypocritical. "If you're American, are you planning on making room for the Native American descendants of those whose land was stolen from them?" Isn't a large part of the justification for Zionism the belief that the descendents of the ancient Jews have a right to live where their ancestors did?

    "Exactly how long do a group of people have to live somewhere before THAT is where they are from?" Unless you're a diaspora Jew, presumably? You're not applying your logic consistently. To argue that Jews have a legitmate claim to the land is one thing—they do. To dismiss the fact that Arabs also have a legitimate claim to the land is to deny reality.

    Thank you for the work you were doing there, though.

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  16. Guav, the rules have changed. Like it or not. 50 million refugees were created since WW2. Why is it the Palestinians are the only ones trying to get back to where the few that are alive today rented from.
    If a Palestinian has a deed, of course I would compensate, but the rest of the Right of Return nonsense is just that.

    The fact is that most of Palestine was barren. Nobody had to be displaced. Palestinians were given bad advice and left.

    Israel was formed to be a refuge for Jews everywhere on the planet to avoid another Holocaust or mini Holocaust.

    Those are the rules.

    Arabs have proved that they can't be trusted to move back to Israel in sufficient numbers. And the ones who enter to work these days were not born in Israel.

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  17. Also, all of you guys keep forgetting to mention this little quote:

    "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades."

    Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League
    May 15, 1948.

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  18. On the right of return:
    I you had a family and you owned a duplex where you lived in the bottom half of it, would you rent out the top half of your duplex to a convicted child molester because his grandfather used to rent that house 50 years ago?

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  19. People keep saying that Israel has done lots of terrible horrible things but I can't think of any myself. Do they mean targeting terrorists and their leaders for assasination?

    They fire missiles into residential neighborhoods. Yes, they're targetting one terrorist leader, but they kill civilians as well. Is it more moral than bombing a Sbarro's in which there are a few soldiers? Yes, probably. But their hands aren't completely clean, either.

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  20. JA, I've said it over again, the settlements were a mistake. But mistakes happen, now there are small cities in the west bank.
    Leaving them would cost billions of dollars.
    and where do you put 200,000 people?

    I just say financial compensation and possible land swaps if possible and getting out of the smaller settlements.
    But even so, it won't be enough.

    Gaza happened and they still voted Hamas.

    I don't have any empathy left for the Palestinians. Can you give me one reason based on their actions or desires to feel sorry for them?

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  21. Rules? There are rules? Who made them?

    See, I thought we were discussing how silly the concept of ancient land rights were. Either they are or they are not. Pick one. We don't just get to say "The rules are what I say they are—European Jews can "return" to land they haven't inhabited for 2,000 years but for Arab Muslims to want to return to land they lived on 60 years ago is a ridiculous idea." That's irrational and totally hypocritical. I can "return" to Israel. I don't have a deed.

    "The fact is that most of Palestine was barren. Nobody had to be displaced. Palestinians were given bad advice and left."

    One hundred years of incredibly rich and intricate regional history in three short sentences? Come on.

    "Arabs have proved that they can't be trusted to move back to Israel in sufficient numbers."

    How so? Israeli Arabs have generally behaved as loyal citizens. During the 1967, 1973 and 1982 wars, none engaged in any acts of sabotage or disloyalty. I'm not saying that Arabs should be allowed to return unrestricted to Israel proper—I don't think refugee's descendents should be allowed to return—I'm just saying the concept is not nearly as far-fetched as the Law of Return.

    "I you had a family and you owned a duplex where you lived in the bottom half of it, would you rent out the top half of your duplex to a convicted child molester because his grandfather used to rent that house 50 years ago?"

    No, but I'd rent it to a farmer. Or a truck driver. Or a storeowner. Or construction worker. What kind of question is that?

    And you know as well as I do that Zionism long predates the Holocaust. It was not a reaction to the Holocaust. The formation of the Jewish state in Palestine was a goal regardless of whether or not the Holocaust had occurred. And the early Zionists understood very well that this was not going to be accepted by the current inhabitants and that they were going to have to be displaced. Early Zionist writings are very clear on this, and David Ben-Gurion and others from the time Israel was officially formed were extremely frank about this.

    "I've said it over again, the settlements were a mistake."

    Yes, and "mistakes" like that have actual consequences and results, and shape how things play out over there. They affect people. They continue to affect people.

    "Gaza happened and they still voted Hamas."

    Their alternative was what, give Fatah another turn? It's not like they had a choice between two sterling, fantastic leaders like George W. Bush and John Kerry haha. Some people have to choose between crap and crap—not everyone has the wide variety of fine leaders that we have to select from here :)

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  22. For the record, I think:

    1. Israel should withdraw completely to the 1967 borders. Totally.

    2. Not grant a right of return to the Palestinians to Israel proper. It's not gonna happen. Period.

    3. The settlers should be told they have the option of being resettled within Israel's border or taking their chances on their own. Maintaining and protecting the settlements is hurting Israel, in many ways. If they want to be religious fundamentalists, let them. But the rest of Israel should not suffer because of it.

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  23. BEAJ:

    JA, I've said it over again, the settlements were a mistake. But mistakes happen, now there are small cities in the west bank.
    Leaving them would cost billions of dollars.
    and where do you put 200,000 people?


    Well, they might have to just bite the bullet and do it. A swiss-cheesed Palestine that's divided by Israeli-patrolled roads with checkpoints is going to keep stirring the hatred.

    I don't have any empathy left for the Palestinians. Can you give me one reason based on their actions or desires to feel sorry for them?

    You talk as if the Palestinians think with one mind. Can you feel empathy for those non-terrorists who have lost civilian loved ones in military actions? Can you feel sorry for those just trying to scrape out a living who have to wait for hours every day and face possible abuse at random check points? Can you feel sorry for those who used to live minutes from loved ones who are now hours away due to checkpoints? Can you feel sorry for those whose livelihoods were made inside Israeli cities who can no longer consistently get to work?

    They're not all terrorists.

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  24. Wow interesting thing going on. For one I'm a far far far leftist, I make the left look right. Even the Leninists don't want me. We all agree I think on the fact that Israel was formed in a "fishy" way with blessings of Truman. However, whether we like it or not it exists. The same logic that gives Jews to return to Israel, gives the Arabs to the lands they occupied. Israel should draw back to the lands of 1967, period. Those settlements were a "mistake" and they should be rendored. Billions of dollars? Well my friend, peace ain't cheap. Arabs are real people, 67% voted for terror, why should the the other 30% suffer. Come on Fatah and Hamas? Think about it. That is what Israel must do.

    What Palistinians should do is: Vote Hamas out NOW. Stop regarding anything Jew as evil. Terror and killing is never justified. This cycle of violance, no one knows who threw the first punch, The jewish gangs or Arab protestors. Stop supporting terrorists and meglomaniacs like Ahmedinijad.

    I'm a devout follower of the teachings of Emerson and Thereou and Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King. I don't justify violance whatsoever. Hate breads more hate. Muslims like Ahmedinijad hate Jews. Many Jews like AJ find Palistinians worthless. We have to get rid of that sentiment. It's time to take out the bad blood on both sides and sit down and talk. These old guards on both sides, no disrespect AJ must not be in charge. Young people, peace loving people on both sides and we all know they exist must get to power. Then only then we will have "Isratine"

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  25. I'm not faulting the theory or goals of pacifism, I just don't think it's a terribly realistic philosophy—it only works if everyone is a pacifist.

    Didn't Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King ... like ... get shot?

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  26. JA, again I asked outside of humanity, what have the Palestinians done in the way of action or desires to make me sympathize with them, any of them?

    Here is what they teach the kiddies. I see no hope, and I see no reason to give the Palestinians anything.

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  27. guav, yes I reduced into short sentences. But that is how it is summed up.
    I'm not talking about Israeli Arabs I'm talking about ROR for Palestinians. No chance.

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  28. Anyone can sum anything up in such an oversimplification—it's so devoid of detail, context and information as to make it utterly useless for any practical purpose of discussion.

    My point was that Arabs who desire to be a citizen in the Israeli state have historically been loyal to that state. I would presume that any Arab wishing to return to Israel would be checked out thoroughly.

    Not that I think Return should be implemented, for either Jews or Arabs. I think both instances are silly, which is all I have been saying. You guys can't say that it's absurd for Arabs to claim 50 year-old land rights while saying that it's totally rational for Jews to be claiming 2,000 year-old land rights.

    I mean, as an atheist, I'm sure you don't give two craps about the biblical claims to Israel, which is why you always gloss over all that and frame the creation of Israel solely as a necessary reaction to the Holocaust, but that's not even close to the whole story. But the whole Law of Return is based on biblical grounds, otherwise how can I, descended as I am from German Jewry, "return" to Israel? I'm an American of European ancestry. I'm not Middle Eastern.

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  29. As an Atheist, it wouldn't bother me if Israel was in Uganda. But Judaism does exist.

    When I look at Law of Return, I interpret it as the Law that allows me to go to Israel if the Canadian gov't decides to kill Jews.

    It is an exageration I know, but the Jews in Europe in the 30's thought that the idea of murdering Jews was a joke.

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  30. Yes the got shot, which proves there is no god. but that's another story. If you have one holy scripture in my life it would the lyrics of "Imagine". You call it a fairy tale I call it a dream. and I have to say what Great John Lennon said "you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one". and Yes, John was shot too.

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  31. I am left-winger and I like Israel. It's a western nation with vibrant political and cultural scenes and protection of various civil rights.

    Bacon: They voted Hamas based on Hamas' domestic policies, not their foreign policies. http://www.la-mancha.net/?p=1368

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  32. Leopetr, I don't buy it. Sorry. 54% voted for Hamas and in a recent survey 54 % support suicide bombings.

    the gaza withdrawal happened under Fatah, if I was a Palestinian and I wanted a state I wouldn't have hesitated and voted for Fatah. But sadly, that isn't the case.

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  33. Bacon, you're talking as if Fatah did not also support terrorism—the very link you gave earlier displays Fatah's support of terrorism (scroll down). These people were given a choice between terrorists and terrorists, and you're complaining that they elected terrorists. Nothing would satisfy you.

    Well, Fatah was corrupt and incompetent and they were sick of it. Hamas could end up being good leadership eventually, we'll have to see. It's not like it would be the first time when terrorists became rulers (Israel itself was birthed with the assistance of Jewish terrorist groups, some of whom went on to lead the new nation).

    They obviously cannot just go around blowing themselves up anymore now that they have been given some sort of legitimacy. They have to take running a government seriously. I can condemn their past actions, but as far as them being in control now and having actual responsibility, they'll have to change or die.

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  34. Fatah had a terrorist past, and no motto to destroy Israel. A distinction should have been made, and was by me, that the Fatah under Arafat were terrorist, but the post Arafat Fatah was negotiating successfully with Israel.
    Political parties do change, but Hamas was clear going into the election that their goal is the destruction of Israel.

    Sorry, but I don't buy the corruption crapola. And you can explain why this month 54% of Palestinians still support suicide bombings.

    I don't see Hamas changing. I see them dying though.

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  35. Then there you go AJ. Hamas pisses everyone off along with Hizbollah and Iran. We have to get rid of this terrorist mentality. Again I see your resentment of 54% of the Palistinians I am quite sure there are more who support Suicide bombers but the other 44% should not pay for the sins of their kin. I understand your emotions AJ, my people as well are fighting for their homeland while the other ethincs are killing us and genociding us since 1947. But I don't hate the Punjapi or the Indian or the Iranian..My revolution is born from my love for my people not from my hatered of others.

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  36. GLO, I hate terrorists. Radical Islam needs to be removed. For me, sure I have a bias because I'm a Jew, but I hate terrorists plain and simple more than I love Jews.
    I admit it, I hate someone who made a delusional moron strap on a suicide bomb more than I hate the bomber and more than I love Jews.

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  37. "Likewise, how can you "return" to a land that you've never lived in?"

    Strawman. Who here has spoke in support of that religious tenet?

    " There are, in fact, original refugees still alive who cannot return to Israel to villages that they did in fact inhabit."

    Proof?

    "Isn't a large part of the justification for Zionism the belief that the descendents of the ancient Jews have a right to live where their ancestors did?"

    I didn't understand how you could possibly think that was hypocritical until I sasw that you're going to create strawman and then run with it. Who here has expressed ANY support for the biblical/religious nature of the start of Israel?

    Open your brain a bit. The country already exists. There is no going back. It is completely and UTTERLY pointless to be setting up strawman dealing with the creation of Israel when no one here has said a thing in support of the the religious tenet.


    "Unless you're a diaspora Jew, presumably? You're not applying your logic consistently. To argue that Jews have a legitmate claim to the land is one thing—they do. To dismiss the fact that Arabs also have a legitimate claim to the land is to deny reality."

    More running with the strawman or is it a major lack or reading comprehension? The deceitful content of your post has already been dealt with.

    "Thank you for the work you were doing there, though. "

    Oh please. Don't insult my intellegence and integrity and then try to play nice. Talk about not being consistent.

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  38. Ok this is what I see:

    BEAJ - You're unwilling to recognize that even Israeli voters have shifted to the left of you. Labor got far more votes than Likud last election, mainly because they recognize that Israel is safer out of Gaza and the West Bank. Kadima, which offers a unilateral version of peace, still recognizes that at the very least Israel will be safer out of most of the west bank. But you believe those withdrawels were a mistake, as you said quite clearly in reference to Gaza. What do you know that Israeli's do not?

    Listen, in my entire life there has never been one issue you could study that was a clear open and shut case with the exception of perhaps mathematics. I've even heard positive things said about the Mongols in Medieval history. I find your sense of incredulousness in each reply astouding because this is such a complicated topic but you want to reduce it to a misleading simplicity.

    And there is no double standard with me. I am very critical of Islam and suicide bombing. Zionist Jordan (that's his name) has followed my blog closely and knows about the fights I've been with Muslims. And when I was in college, I challenged the Students for Justice in Palestine because they lacked any balance.

    In my view, both partisans are wrong. It's not about "moral relativity" although that is conceivably a byproduct of atheism, it's about both sides having so much staked in the game they can't be trusted with being unbiased.

    Lya - You're focused on the issue of the general legitimacy of Israel and the historical oppression of Jews. I don't deny either of those two points. The problem is, your viewpoint overlooks the creation of Israel for practicality (it exists now, etc) which is FAIR, but you have to keep in mind that these underlying historical and geopolitical issues are not going to disappear. The foundations of a nation are always going to be there, so questions about the foundations of Israel will continue to exist, fairly or not. You cannot dismiss the discussion by saying "it exists now" and forgoing any look into the historical narrative.

    Even though extermist challenge the legitimacy of Israel, almost every Pro-Palestinian group has basically demanded Israel simply return to the 67 borders, which includes East Jerusalem. Hamas is foolish, and leading Palestine to a dead end. I consider the Palestinian voters short sighted, and they will suffer for their choices, especially if Hamas succeededs and shar'iah is imposed on their society/economy. But from time to time, Israeli voters have made poor choices (*cough* Netanyahyu). Luckily, the current generation in Israel is smart enough to see the big picture, which I suppose is a luxury.

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  39. I was for the Gaza pullout Steve. On the basis that it was costly, would show the world and Palis a good gesture, make Israel safer.
    The Palis did exactly what I expected. They have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Now I see no reason to spend mega cash retreating from medium sized cities in the West Bank. Keep the larger settlements and make a defendable border around all of Israel and then Israel should wash its hands of the Palestinians, and with each inevitable attack, carpet bomb them as any attack would be an internation act of war once Israel draws the final borders.

    The ball is the Palis court, but they are running out of time to change this plan.

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  40. I think this is coming to an end after many ideas were posted. Bottom line to sum it up is what AJ said, Israel did what could possibaly be done by a nation under attack. The Ball is with the Palistinians and their Arab friends. I am fearful though of the Iranian and Hizbollah threats. I do not think any peace plan even fair to the Palistinians would grant them satisfaction.

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  41. What a detailed and complete entry.. and to add value to its existence. I agree. Except I reached my conclusion based on which religion do I find more socially acceptable.

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  42. "They have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

    There are not many opportunities in the West Bank.

    Nevertheless, even though Israel pulled out and still there is conflict with Palestinians, Israeli voters believed that pulling back behind their wall will ultimately make them safer (even if it harms Palestinians).

    That is altogether different from even caring how the Palestinians react to the withdrawel. Do you understand what Im saying here? Its safer for Israel to not be exposed, in enemy territory if you will, and safely in mainland Israel.

    Therefore your comment about missing opportunities is quite irrelevant, at least from the perspective of current Israeli policy makers.

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  43. Again Stevo you miss the point. The Palestinians have had many offers and turned them all down, from 1948 on.

    When the Gaza withdrawal happened they had an opportunity to condemn terror and work on a state and show sincerity in that direction. Not only did they send missiles, they voted in Hamas who stated ahead of time that their ultimate goal is the destruction of Israel.

    Do you get it yet?

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  44. your fighting a different argument. All Im saying is that Israel is safer out of the west bank and gaza, regardless of the position of the Palestinians. You're arguing about development issues in Palestine and political problems in their elections.

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  45. Lya Kahlo: I don't think what I said was a Straw Man at all. But I guess we won't agree on that.

    "Oh please. Don't insult my intellegence and integrity and then try to play nice. Talk about not being consistent."

    You can throw it back in my face if you like, but I'm not insulting you—neither your intelligence nor your integrity (?)—by any stretch of the imagination. I was sincerely thanking you for your constructive work over there, which is a hell of a lot more than most people do.

    You could only view my compliment as inconsistent if you believe that one must be enemies with those who they disagree with and concede them nothing. Thankfully, I don't feel this way. So it's not inconsistent at all for me to disagree with something you've written, yet respect you as a person or appreciate things that you've done.

    Take it or leave it, doesn't make a difference to me.

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  46. Steve, I don't know if Israel is safer if they left the West Bank. I used to think so, I don't anymore. I don't know if the benefits outweigh the costs.

    Gaza was a no brainer. Only 8500 people to evacuate. And they were surrounded by 1 million Arabs.

    The geographics and continuation is different in the West Bank. Evacuating all the settlements will bring 2 million Arabs whose majority voted for Israel's extinction closer to 5 million Jews.

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  47. "I'm just saying I can see where the anti-Israel people are coming from, and it's not necessarily anti-semitism."
    .............
    Well I don't see where they are coming from and there are no reasons to hate Israel unless one is a complete biggot. Give me the reasons anyone should hate Israel. And please don't give me that garbage about things they have done. Israel is morally superior to most nations of the world. There is no justification for singling out Israel for scrutiny and hatred.

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  48. You just answered your own question, anonymous. People like myself are tired of seeing Israel on a moral high-ground it does not deserve.

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  49. "The geographics and continuation is different in the West Bank. Evacuating all the settlements will bring 2 million Arabs whose majority voted for Israel's extinction closer to 5 million Jews."

    Demagoguery is a game two can play. When Likud came to power in the late 70's, Israelis elected a party dedicated to the destruction of Jordan. Begin was leader of Herut, a Likud faction that considers Jordan part of Eretz Israel. Does that mean Israelis really want to invade Jordan, or that they deserve whatever they get?

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  50. I like my moonbat better:

    http://static.flickr.com/33/93472430_aefd58b0be_m.jpg

    You are welcome to it, if you do too.
    Nice place you have got here, blogrolling you right now.

    Cheers.

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  51. More of an American leftist tendency than an Australian leftist tendency, I suspect. Don't know for sure. I know that white Africans here are hated on sight, very often -- doesn't matter if you're left or right.

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  52. Andrew, Israel is placed on a higher plateau by those who hate Jews its seems.
    Israel is supposed to be perfect it seems. No country is.

    Israel has made mistakes like all countries on this planet. The Palestinians have made nothing but mistakes.

    Thanks snoopy.

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  53. "Israel is placed on a higher plateau by those who hate Jews its seems."

    Anonymous must hate Jews, then. He wrote this after all:
    "Israel is morally superior to most nations of the world."

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