The Israel / Palestine mire (again)

LeVeL

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Israel and the Jewish diaspora make progressive pieties look silly.

Why does the Left hate the Jews?

The Labour party in the United Kingdom is being convulsed at the moment with a public reckoning of the anti-Semitism of some of its most prominent members, including the former mayor of London, ?Red? Ken Livingstone, who has just been suspended from the party for arguing that Adolf Hitler was, effectively, a Zionist. He was trying to explain away the anti-Semitic remarks of MP Naz Shah, who suggested that Israel be liquidated and its population forcibly resettled in the United States.

In the United States, the Harvard Law Record went to some lengths to conceal the identity of a law student who attacked a visiting Israeli dignitary as ? in the classic anti-Semitic formulation ? ?smelly.? That student was Husam El-Qoulaq, a Palestinian leftist. The campus Left has, to no one?s surprise, rallied to his defense. Among those defending him were a number of Jewish law students, who insisted that El-Qoulaq couldn?t possibly have known the anti-Semitic history of ?smelly Jew? rhetoric, in spite of his having been reared at the world center of such nonsense.

Others insisted that the Harvard case and the Labour cases are ? this, too, will be familiar ? not at all about anti-Semitism but about anti-Zionism.

That argument does not stand up to two seconds? scrutiny, and never has. One of the fundamental stories of history is that people move around and bump into each other. It is true that most of the current Jewish population of Israel descends from people who were not precisely sons of the soil they now inhabit. But then, neither are the so-called Palestinians, who are Arabs. Arabs famously come from Arabia, but they are located all over the world. No one talks about the need to get the Arabs out of Egypt or Libya ? or Palestine, for that matter ? any more than anybody seriously thinks about returning the Americas to the descendants of the aboriginal population, which, of course, wasn?t aboriginal, either, but merely the first to emigrate. The Irish are descended of people not native to Ireland, as indeed ultimately is every population in the world, including those in the African cradle of humanity.

And it isn?t because the establishment of Israel is, relatively speaking, fresh in the historical memory, and therefore an open wound. Before the end of World War II, there was no Pakistan, and to the extent that there was an ?India,? it was a geographical rather than a political term, much like ?Palestine.? There was no independent Ireland until the 1920s and no Republic of Ireland until 1948. There was no People?s Republic of China until 1949. There was no Zimbabwe until 1980, no Czech Republic until 1993, and no modern Democratic Republic of the Congo until 1997. Israel is an ancient state compared with geopolitical newcomers such as the 30-odd countries created since 1990.

Yet it is the Jewish state, and the Jewish state alone, that is permanently marked for extermination. No one is throwing a fit about Timor-Leste or Serbia. The old saw about American racial politics was that in the South whites accepted blacks individually but rejected them corporately, whereas in the North it was the opposite, with the Yankees embracing integration and equality in theory while ensuring that they rarely encountered a black American in person. (Senator Bernie Sanders, proud son of diverse Brooklyn, now represents the whitest state in the Union.) And that?s the best that the Left can say for itself: ?We don?t hate the Jews individually, just as a nation.?

That?s not much of a defense.

Adolf Hitler is supposed to have justified his anti-Semitism to Otto Wagener on the grounds that ?the Jew is not a socialist.? Neither was the Jew a New Soviet Man, as Josef Stalin?s minions launched their murderous purges with denunciations of ?rootless cosmopolitans,? a term of abuse recently revived by partisans of Donald Trump. In the United States, the Jew-haters took the opposite view: that Jews were to be reviled because they were socialists and potential New Soviet Men.

The Jews can be whatever their enemies need them to be. For Henry Ford and more than a few on the modern left, the Jews are the international bankers secretly pulling the strings of the global economy. As one widely circulated Occupy video put it: ?The smallest group in America controls the money, media, and all other things. The fingerprints belong to the Jewish bankers who control Wall Street. I am against Jews who rob America. They are 1 percent who control America. President Obama is a Jewish puppet. The entire economy is Jewish. Every federal judge [on] the East Coast is Jewish.?

For those who learned at the feet of that old fraud Edward Said, the Jews are the colonialists, the European modernists inflicting capitalism and technology upon the noble savages of their imaginations. The Israeli Jews commit the double crime of insisting upon being Jews and refusing to be sacrificial victims. They were okay, in the Left?s estimate, for about five minutes, back when Israel?s future was assumed to be one of low-impact kibbutz socialism. History went in a different direction, and today Israel has one of the world?s most sophisticated economies.

For the Jew-hater, this is maddening: Throw the Jews out of Spain, and they thrive abroad. Send them to the poorest slums in New York, and those slums stop being slums. Keep them out of the Ivy League and watch NYU become a world-class institution inspired by men such as Jonas Salk, son of largely uneducated Polish immigrants. Put the Jewish state in a desert wasteland and watch it bloom, first with produce and then with technology. Israel today has more companies listed on NASDAQ than any other country except the United States and China. The economy under Palestinian management? Olives and handicrafts, and a GDP per capita that barely exceeds that of Sudan.

The Arab?Israeli conflict is a bitter and ugly one. My own view of it is that the Palestinian Arabs have some legitimate grievances, and that I stopped caring about them when they started blowing up children in pizza shops. You can thank the courageous heroes of the Battle of Sbarro for that. Israel isn?t my country, but it is my country?s ally, and it is impossible for a liberty-loving American to fail to admire what the Jewish state has done.

And that, of course, is why the Left wants to see the Jewish state exterminated.
 

prizrak

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His tone is extremely biased, making him hard to take seriously.

As far as all the countries he is listing go AFAIK Israel is the only one created for/by immigrants rather than people who already lived there. It's a pretty unique country in that sense, it's not even colonialism as Jews had no country of their own.
 

laxmax613

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I'm really skeptical of this piece because the author makes the assumption that there is no other plausible explanation for Jewish success under pressure but Rand-ist Objectivism. We know that's not true, and if it were, the author would have some very negative things to say about how we Jews designed our state, our community institutions in the diaspora, and currently understand the moral charge of our faith. I understand that I risk the same mistake when I say this, but if you look at the examples I mentioned above, it is clear that pointing to Jewish fascination with Enlightenment-inspired Liberalism is far more compelling than this piece's pigeonholing of the Jewish experience as one that has benefited from a kind of libertarian self-determinism. The facts just aren't there to support it.

Jewish institutions, even before emancipation brought Jews to Liberalism in a formal sense, always relied on the strength of Jewish institutions, not individual will, to protect the community from the conditions of subjugation. And once European societies sought to reorganize themselves to grant greater say to their burgeoning bourgeoisies, Jews brought themselves into the mainstream institutional fray when they could. It took the regressive step of anti-enlightenment far-right ideology to pull this apart. Many argue that the liberal social democracy of the late 19th century through the interwar period was bound to fail, but I struggle to find those positions compelling myself. I think there was a place for that kind of cosmopolitanism if protected from challenges from the right, but history has shown us that this was far from easy.

Anyways, Labor today: I don't think we can really look deep into Left-wing ideology to find the root of the bigotry that we're looking at today. Alternatively, I think we can look to a party that has struggled to attract real intellectual leadership in the past few decades, and instead has looked to populist positions to replace it. The election of Malia to the national student thing is just the latest example. Bradford as a district has a long history of being the site of populist battles not tied to any party-wide position. Maybe Galloway was sacrificed, but Shah's success has shown that this is a problem Labor faces systemically. it simply is unable to present a platform that is more compelling than veiled xenophobia. That's not a left wing problem in essence, it's a problem Labor faces as a party.

Granted, I feel the sting of some Left-leaining prejudice in the United States, myself. I have learned to understand when neoliberal means neoliberal and when it means Jewish, for example. Sounds crazy, but then again classrooms are crazy places. It's going to be real bittersweet graduating in a week and a half.
 

LeVeL

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200,000 party at Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade, region?s biggest



Wonder when we'll see a gay pride parade in Gaza or the West Bank. Or any Muslim country, for that matter.
 

RdKetchup

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Reminds me, I have a coworker who once told me he hoped he could go back to Israel before he dies and kill as many gay in the parade as possible by running them down on a horse :|

Also this.
 
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LeVeL

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Reminds me, I have a coworker who once told me he hoped he could go back to Israel before he dies and kill as many gay in the parade as possible by running them down on a horse :|

Also this.
We have anti-gay extremists in the US too. Doesn't take away from the fact that homosexuality is widely accepted here (and in Israel). In most other Middle Eastern countries, the only gay parade they might have is one where they show off beaten and killed gays.

Reminds me of a group called Queers for Palestine, or something along those lines. You couldn't come up with bigger nonsense if you tried.
 

prizrak

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Reminds me, I have a coworker who once told me he hoped he could go back to Israel before he dies and kill as many gay in the parade as possible by running them down on a horse :|

Also this.

I'm going to have to back up Lev on this one. There is a big difference between personal opinions of bigots and homophobs and institutionalized discrimination or straight up punishment of gays. AFAIK there is not a single muslim country that doesn't have some sort of harsh laws for gays.
 

argatoga

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I'm going to have to back up Lev on this one. There is a big difference between personal opinions of bigots and homophobs and institutionalized discrimination or straight up punishment of gays. AFAIK there is not a single muslim country that doesn't have some sort of harsh laws for gays.

Iraq. There is still plenty of discrimination, but one can be gay there in their private life and not suffer a harsh punishment. Things are better in Iraqi Kurdistan, but there is still discrimination. ISIS is horrendous of course, but then it is an organization that includes much of the former Baathist government, so one wouldn't expect them to act differently when they again are in power.
 

LeVeL

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Congress moving to cut US funding to UN in wake of anti-Israel vote

Congress is already setting the stage to cut off U.S. funding to the United Nations in the wake of a contested vote last week in which the Obama administration permitted an anti-Israel resolution to win overwhelming approval, according to congressional leaders, who told the Washington Free Beacon that the current administration is already plotting to take further action against the Jewish state before vacating office.

Other punitive actions by Congress could include expelling Palestinian diplomats from U.S. soil and scaling back ties with foreign nations that voted in favor of the controversial measure, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about the situation both on and off the record.

The Obama administration is still under bipartisan attack for its decision to help craft and facilitate the passage of a U.N. resolution condemning the construction of Jewish homes in Jerusalem, a move that reversed years of U.S. policy on the matter.

The Free Beacon was the first to disclose on Monday that senior Obama administration officials played a key role in ensuring the measure was passed unanimously by the U.N. Security Council. This included a phone call by Vice President Joe Biden to Ukraine?s president to ensure that country voted in favor of the measure.
Fuck the UN with a thousand dicks. Cut off all funding and turn the building into more Trump condos for all I care.


ETA:
Trump tweets:
We cannot continue to let Israel be treated with such total disdain and disrespect. They used to have a great friend in the U.S., but not anymore. The beginning of the end was the horrible Iran deal, and now this (U.N.)! Stay strong Israel, January 20th is fast approaching!
 
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LeVeL

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So you do support settlements in the occupied territory?
Indirectly. There won't be a "two state solution" as long as the Palestinians remain terrorists (they could've had their own state in the 40S but didn't want to) so might as well keep building and expanding the one and only socially liberal, democratic nation in the region.

ETA: my bigger issue is that the UN has long been anti-Israel and sympathetic to terrorists. On top of that, Obama just reversed decades of foreign policy and stabbed Israel in the back.
 
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chaos386

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Indirectly. There won't be a "two state solution" as long as the Palestinians remain terrorists (they could've had their own state in the 40S but didn't want to) so might as well keep building and expanding the one and only socially liberal, democratic nation in the region.

How do you envision Israel absorbing the Palestinian population into the eventual single state? Do they become Israeli citizens?
 

LeVeL

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How do you envision Israel absorbing the Palestinian population into the eventual single state? Do they become Israeli citizens?
Ideally the Palestinians would cease perpetuating terrorism and only then could there be a serious discussion about two states. Sadly, I doubt that will happen, as hatred for Jews runs very deep among Palestinians (once again, refer to the official charter of their leadership, Hamas, and find the part where they want to hunt down and kill all Jews worldwide) but it would be nice if they at least voted for a non-violent government. Otherwise, I'm not sure what the solution is but waiting for one side to eradicate the other doesn't sound too appealing.
 

RdKetchup

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Oh it sure would be nice. It would also be nice for Israel to stop the settlements, which are seen as a provocation by the other side.
 

LeVeL

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Trump?s plan to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem could help the peace process

President-elect Donald Trump?s pledge to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and his selection of an ambassador to Israel who heartily supports the relocation have produced a deluge of dire warnings. Critics claim the move would unleash a wave of extremism, making past clashes pale by comparison. But these warnings may be exaggerated. A careful look at conflict-resolution theory suggests that moving the embassy could be a constructive move, pushing Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiations.

Many assumed Trump would renege on his campaign pledge once in office, as Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush did. But relocating the embassy allows the Trump administration to reinforce that, unlike the Obama administration, it doesn?t consider settlements the key obstacle to peace. Trump will be particularly keen to make this distinction after the U.S. abstention Friday on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, which effectively declares illegal all Israeli presence beyond the 1949 armistice lines, including in East Jerusalem. Trump?s transition team has publicly called moving the embassy a ?very big priority? and is reportedly exploring the logistics for its new location.

Conflict-resolution experts call this tactic a ?burning bridges? move, which sends a clear, credible commitment to act. The costs of a move may be high, but the literature on conflict resolution suggests this could prove a strength, not a weakness. As has long been noted by scholars, the perception of a party?s will and commitment is essential to peacemaking. Demands and offers need to be believable, and concrete actions can display a readiness to react.

Though some Arab states may protest, official relations between Israel and its neighbors have never been better as they face down common threats, from Islamist extremism to an expanding Iranian influence. Additionally, the argument that moving the embassy would drive a wedge between the United States and Arab states or Europe is less tenable following the passage of the U.N. resolution.

As highlighted by a former member of the Knesset, not only does the resolution delegitimize Israeli communities set up on land captured in the 1967 war, but it also designates pre-1967 territory as ?Israel proper.? So while the international community hadn?t previously recognized Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem, the resolution actually commits the world to recognizing the western half of the city as part of the state of Israel, making Trump?s campaign promise more feasible than before.

Critics are right that an embassy move could spark demonstrations and perhaps even in other forms of retribution, undermining the shaky Palestinian Authority. But Jerusalem has already faced a wave of violence in recent months, and the potential for future clashes isn?t sufficient cause for delay. For the moment, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would probably be able to control any fallout after emerging considerably stronger since last week?s Security Council vote and the Fatah central-party elections earlier this month.

Negative reactions may be dampened if the move recognizes Muslim and Palestinian connections to the city. One small site shows how this might work. On the outskirts of Jerusalem, perched on a hilltop with magnificent views, the Tomb of Samuel is a model of interfaith harmony. Jews and Muslims conduct prayers there simultaneously. Scholars who study sacred sites note that it?s the only place on the planet where a functioning synagogue operates underneath a working mosque. The tomb?s low-density population area and relatively minor religious importance for Muslims have helped to preserve the peace. But strong coordination and dialogue between the local Muslim clerics who administer the mosque and Israeli civil authorities who control the Jewish prayer room there as a national park have also been essential to stability.

The peaceful coexistence that has emerged at Samuel?s Tomb contrasts sharply with the record of confrontation on the 35-acre Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound in Jerusalem?s Old City. The site has become a place of violent struggle because of not only its centrality to the religious beliefs of both Jews and Muslims but also the lack of coordination between the many political actors and organizations that operate there.

An embassy move will upend long-standing U.S. policy. But that policy has been based primarily on the prospect of a negotiated two-state solution. Since June 1967, the United States has maintained that Jerusalem?s final status should be decided through direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Successive U.S. administrations have claimed that recognizing the city as Israel?s capital and relocating the U.S. Embassy there would prejudice any negotiated outcome. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 mandated that the embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 1999. However, a built-in waiver provision intended as a temporary measure has allowed every president since then to delay the move at routine six-month intervals.

The symbolic act of relocating the embassy would do nothing to resolve the day-to-day problems ? such as entrenched pockets of poverty and the continued frictions between the city?s religious and secular residents ? that have long plagued Israel?s most populous multicultural urban space. But a reversal of the longtime U.S. diplomatic boycott of Jerusalem could bode well for Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects. Sending a strong message that the new administration stands with the Israeli government on a major symbolic issue with high potential costs could push the Palestinian leadership to a greater sense of urgency in negotiations. The U.S. Embassy move could even help advance efforts to duplicate the precious Jewish-Muslim coexistence model of Samuel?s Tomb for Jerusalem?s other contested sacred spaces.
 

Interrobang

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38734956
Israel approves plans for 2,500 new settlement homes in West Bank
Israel has announced plans to build 2,500 more homes in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they had agreed to the move "in response to housing needs".
Palestinian officials said the plans undermined peace hopes by building on land they want for a future state.
It is the second such announcement by the Israeli authorities since US President Donald Trump took office.
Mr Trump has indicated that he will be more sympathetic to settlement construction than his predecessor, Barack Obama, and has appointed a staunch settlement supporter as his ambassador to Israel.
Last month, he criticised Mr Obama for declining to veto a UN Security Council resolution which demanded Israel immediately cease all settlement activities and warned they were "dangerously imperilling the viability of a two-state solution".
About 500,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

My biggest Problem with this at this point of time is that I think the Israeli Government is being dishonest. Their government does not want a 2 State solution anymore and they should say that. Their actions speak volumes, but how can we trust the Israeli Government that says one thing, but then acts in a way that puts more and more hurdles into the way of a 2 state solution?
 

LeVeL

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Do you actually believe that the Palestinians want a two state solution?
 

Interrobang

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Do you actually believe that the Palestinians want a two state solution?

All of them? No. Most of them? I recon. And what's the alternative that Israel is pursuing? No Palestine but palestinian ghettos with a fence around them scattered across Israel? What is the actual plan?
 
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