Israel

The challenge of talking candidly about Israel

There do seem to be more and more people checking this out every day, and I hope they are not disappointed by the sporadic posts. Very sorry. I need to work for a living. If someone could figure out a way to change that circumstance, I would post every day, several times a day. Within a day or two, I’ll post something about the obstacles to candid conversations about Israel in the public arena. In the meantime, there is a great piece by Eric Alterman in The Nation on the very same topic. A brief excerpt:

The difficulty of solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stems from more sources than one can comfortably count, but surely one of the most significant is our inability even to discuss it. The emotional intensity of so many people’s investment in their own self-justifying story line censors the effects of any potentially upsetting fact.

For instance, I thought it a pretty significant problem for Israel’s unquestioning defenders when Peace Now revealed that nearly a third of the land currently occupied by Israeli settlements was actually listed as private Palestinian land. In other words, these so-called “facts on the ground” rest on exactly the pattern of illegal seizure that critics have long alleged and successions of Israeli governments have sought to cover up. But I’ve yet to read a word from those dedicated to defending any and every action by Israel explaining how this new information affects their arguments.

Similarly, the apparently never-ending deadly violence between Hamas fighters and the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades in Gaza–to say nothing of the murderous hatred both sides openly profess toward all Jews–ought to provide considerable cause for pause among those who demand an immediate end to the Israeli occupation, security concerns be damned. And yet from those who hold that position, one hears precious little about Israel’s entirely understandable worries about the prospects of being asked to live alongside a failed, fanatical and heavily armed Islamic state.

34 thoughts on “The challenge of talking candidly about Israel

  1. Land “ownership” is a very fuzzy concept in the West Bank and is not like the concept of ownership in the US. Most of the scraggly West Bank was never surveyed, nobody is checking deeds and titles in Jordan.

    The standard is that whoever has continuously resided there for ten years is the “owner”.

  2. It opens the question of what is ownership in general, a good question to open up.

    In Israel, much of the land is held by the Jewish National Fund, and then the land is leased to individuals or organizations that own buildings on the land.

    I like that concept, that land itself is not possibly property.

    What we call property is really an agreement between those with potential claims, abutters, others, that an entity has exclusive use to that property for a temporary period.

    The western concept of ownership, and the neo-religious, is that property is a permanent and very considerable right, and without really much accompanying obligation.

    That process of refining what is the law of the land is a big component of the disagreement. It needs to be presented on a table, and discussed.

    Otherwise, the concept is simply manipulated.

    The region is no long sparsely populated. The traditional method of determining title will likely not be sufficient to maintain peace, at any social scale, and between any contending parties.

    Some more formal definition is obviously required. It is important that immediately when that law is agreed, that it be applied conscientiously, and in a fully color-blind manner.

    The definition of who is a Jew is much much too vague to possibly serve as a reliable basis of any title claim, whether by assertion or by exclusion.

  3. I fail to see how the definition of a Jew affects reliable basis for title claim.

    It may be a reliable basis for determining a death penalty for an Arab who sold such land.

  4. Ethnicity is a determinig factor of land title claims in Israel, currently and historically. (Actually if not legally in all cases).

    (The right of return is in fact a settlement of the legal question of title for those individuals that were not permitted to return to homes in 1948, ON the basis of ethnicity.)

  5. Its better for Israel to function under the consistent rule of law, than under arbitrary rule, even if named as “laws”.

    Law is color blind for one. Title and other rights are determined on the basis of objective characteristics.

  6. I don’t understand how ethnicity is a factor in ownership of land. By that standard, the Arab living in Kuwait can claim ownership to the late Palestinian territory. After all, to him, it is all one big “Arab Land”

    My understanding of the fictional ‘right of return’ is that it is based on the wording of the relevent UN resolution allowing those persons, who desire to live in peace with their neighbors, the right to return to the space they inhabited prior to having left due to a war.

    Seems reasonable but how do we prove that these individuals desire to live in peace with their neighbor. Afterall, when over 60% of the arabs, to whom this resolution is directed, support suicide bombing. Hardly a group endorsing peace.

  7. The right of return is literally the right of former Palestinian owners of land to be compensated for or return to the land that they own.

    Its a reasonable assertion that tests whether Israel operates under the rule of law or other expediency.

    Its not a question of an exchange for peace.

  8. The problem with most debates and conversations about the Palestinian right of return is that they focus on “rights” –like the rights of Palestinians to receive title to land or the rights of refugees to live in certain places.

    Those conversations are necesary, but they don’t do much more than prod people to harden their positions in order to win debates, and to assert conclusions with much more certainty than they actually feel.

    I am much more interested in practical solutions to address the plight of Palestinian refugees that could conceivably be accepted by both sides. A variety of ideas were tossed around during the Oslo years and, as I understand it, different options have been broached recenrly by both the Jordanians and the Saudis.

    When it comes to this issue, the most important rhetorical task for those who care about Israel is to acknowledge that Palestinians suffered a terrible calamity and that Israel is obligated –for both moral and practical reasons– to do everything feasible to fix what broken…everything, that is, except permitting an uncontrolled flood of refugees into Tel Aviv and Ashdod and the Galil. All too often, Israel’s defenders deny that the Jewish state has those obligations. Naqba-denial leads nowhere.

    I wonder what “Realistic Israeli” thinks…

  9. On the question of law, the minimum that Israel and/or Israelis owe is compensation for property that was expropriated without due process.

    A “law” that affirms the right of the state to expropriate property without due process is not a law, but a decree.

    The same question applies to EVERY state, in the region, in the world, but it does apply to Israel.

    Rights are important, as they describe the characteristics of a society operating under law. One characteristic of law is that it is consistent, and not arbitrary. It then becomes KNOWN that “if I violate the law I will be prosecuted”, and “if I conform to the law, my rights will not be arbitrarily usurped”.

    That allows free will and reason to be the primary value in individual and community life, NOT the prospect of pandering to power.

    While it may temporarily conflict with the degree and flavor of Jewish dominance of the Jewish state, it makes the difference between whether Israel is a society of righteousness (the Jewish virtue), or a society solely of association (a shell without a nut).

    If arbitrary laws are allowed to remain, then they will be applied to some Jews as well, and then Israel will become the state of a faction within Jewish community, and not a state of Jewish community.

  10. Absolutely, the Palestinians should be compensated for the the land that they were forced from. That’s what the 25 billion dollars that Israel offered Arafat in 2000 was for. Unfortunately, Arafat walked away from the deal and started blowing up innocent Jews in Israel.

    Palestinian leaders are obsessed with useless rocky, hilly West Bank land and ignore the substantive natural resource issue- water rights (to the Jordan River and the aquifer under Jerusalem).

    Yes the Palestinian suffered a calamity- equally Jordan’s fault as much as Israel’s. The Palestinians have refused to move on from self-identification as “the refugee”. They could have built a prosperous nation by now. If you want to blame Israel, it’s because you don’t don’t understand the Arab mentality.

    It’s very easy to sit in the United States- who nuked 220,000 civilians 60 years ago, had racial segregation 40 years ago, slavery 150 years ago, Guantanamo Bay Hell Zone, Abu Gharab torture Prison, and has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq and caused a humanitarian disaster there, and has 40 million people without health care – and be politically correct and blame Israel for the horrors of waiting a checkpoints to make sure Arabs are not transporting bombs and killing terror leaders without giving them a fair trial.

    The lack of objectivity is really beyond belief.

  11. “It’s very easy to sit in the United States- who nuked 220,000 civilians 60 years ago, had racial segregation 40 years ago, slavery 150 years ago, Guantanamo Bay Hell Zone, Abu Gharab torture Prison, and has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq and caused a humanitarian disaster there, and has 40 million people without health care – and be politically correct and blame Israel for the horrors of waiting a checkpoints to make sure Arabs are not transporting bombs and killing terror leaders without giving them a fair trial.

    The lack of objectivity is really beyond belief.”

    Its actually a diversion from the content of the discussion.

    The question that I am raising is whether law in Israel (and in Palestine) will be color-blind or contain ethnic tests.

    If it contains ethnic tests then it is at least partially arbitrary, and could equally serve as precedent for discrimmination against classes of Jews, or Jews themselves.

    If it is FIRMLY color-blind, then it becomes rule of Law (rather than rule of laws), and confidently protects all.

    Angers come from a combination of reason and manipulation (Israelis angers, Palestinian angers).

    The trick is to get the prevailing majorities to act from the reason portion of the motivation, and reject the manipulation or opportunist portion.

    In that way, conflicts can usually be resolved. Conflicts in which ideology is the driver (as distinct from needs or legal rights) are usually unresolvable.

    Checkpoints are a bad thing. Border controls are reasonable, but checkpoints are always an intrusion.

    (Then we’re back to the question of whether the societies can be separated or whether they are inevitably intimate.)

    In the math of checkpoints, they propose to add some security, and inevitably constrict and anger those checked, and then invoke international objection. What does that add up to? Positive or negative?

    I think checkpoints are one right thing that Israel should reduce and then cease as soon as possible.

  12. “Its actually a diversion from the content of the discussion.The question that I am raising is whether law in Israel (and in Palestine) will be color-blind or contain ethnic tests.If it contains ethnic tests then it is at least partially arbitrary, and could equally serve as precedent for discrimmination against classes of Jews, or Jews themselves. If it is FIRMLY color-blind, then it becomes rule of Law (rather than rule of laws), and confidently protects all.”

    This is pedantic crap- take it back to your University and write a PHD dissertation on it…

    The degree to which Israel has restrained itself and abides by it’s principles of democracy dwarf the United States by a thousand-fold.

    Yes, some innocent civilians get killed when Israel tries to stop missiles being launched from Gaza. How many civilians were killed in Iraq?
    The Arabs launch dozens of crude missiles every day from Gaza into the Israeli town of Sderot. The fact that we have not dropped a bomb on them is testament to our civility and restraint.

    The Palestinians are victims of their own corrupted leadership- this is their problem, but the problem has fallen on Israel.

    Having the US or Europe value-judge Israel is big
    joke. The US and Europe as arbiters of morality and justice???

    More blood has spilled in Europe than anywhere else.

    They should be watching Israel and follow her
    example…

    The reality is that the Palestinians need their own state and need to stop attacking Israel. Until that point in time it’s a matter of survival for the Jews in Israel has it has been since we were thrown out 2000 years ago…

  13. Realistic Israeli,

    I don’t condemn checkpoints or security barriers per se. We share the same first name, don’t forget. I’ve got family in the Jordan Valley (who would gladly leave if they got compensation, BTW). Of course something must be done to prevent suicide bombers from entering Israel and, under the current circumstances, it is much better to be safe and get smeared by international moralists than to be sorry. If Ephraim Sneh says that border or boundary controls are needed to protect Israeli lives until a Palestinian government provides that protection, I’ll argue with all of the anti-Israel lefties who disparage them.

    But the problem is that more and more checkpoints are not on the Green Line and too many are not even set up to protect settlements that should never have been established in the firsr place. Too many are dividing up the West Bank, separating one swath of Palestinian land from another. They are not used to protect borders/boundaries, at least not directly; they are used as a means of internal control. I am not saying this based on my perspective from a safe perch in the U.S. I have traveled around with the women from Machsom Watch and seen it for myself.

    Often, military planning is to planning as military music is to music. Often, military planners have a tin ear to the human and political consequences of what they propose and what they implement. Perhaps that is inevitable, because the military needs to achieve fixed, concrete objectives.

    But, in this case, what we are seeing is a process that, bit by bit, is leading to the cantonization of the West Bank, which the left has always said is Israel’s primary objective.

  14. Internal control is why there have been no major terror attacks recently.

    How the IDF conducts its operations is not for you to judge.

    The Homeland Security Department snoops on people, too. Why is it “National Security” when the US does it and something else when Israel does it?

  15. “The Palestinians are victims of their own corrupted leadership- this is their problem, but the problem has fallen on Israel.”

    Well, the reality is that it currently is within Israel’s responsibility.

    And, given that, the question is whether Israel completes that responsibility in a way that furthers peace in the future.

    You might distract the question to one of “judgement” that you then resent, but that is NOT the question raised.

    The question is entirely pragmatic, as in what is created by the norms put in place in the manner that Israel attempts to do what it is doing?

    What are the options? Then, from those options, what is the most effective means of humanely implementing them.

    Even if temporary regulations are needed, to fail to signal that the GOAL is a state of Law, rather than a state of partially arbitrary laws, is negligence.

    And by a state of Law, I mean a state in which laws are formulated and applied in a color-blind manner, fully and confidently.

    “They should be watching Israel and follow her
    example…”

    In many respects, the US and Europe and the world should follow Israel’s example. And, in other respects, the US, Europe and the world should learn from Israel’s abysmal mistakes and failures in policy and application.

  16. Realistic Israeli,

    Thank you for –perhaps inadvertently– bringing this conversation back to the original topic, which was “how to talk candidly about Israel.”

    You wrote:

    “Internal control is why there have been no major terror attacks recently.

    “How the IDF conducts its operations is not for you to judge.”

    In other words, how the IDF conducts its operations is not for me to criticize…I don’t buy that.

    The notion that the military and security echelon has had too much independence in setting policies and creating facts in the OPTs has been discussed in the Israeli press. At least it was discussed before the recent fiasco in Lebanon. So why shouldn’t I have the right and the ability and the obligation to reflect the concerns expressed by ISRAELIS?

    Moreover, what I have written repeatedly here is that this conflict is MY problem because I am an American, not just because I am American Jew who wants what’s best for Israel. This is not just a local neighborhood feud. Every questionable action by Israel that is supported or passively accepted by the U.S. government is perceived by much of the world as implicating me. Plus, if you want me to keep defending Israel’s actions and policies (like, for example, the concept-if not the route– of the security barrier) in the U.S., they need to be actions and policies I agree with.

    That’s a very glib summary of a very complicated position.

    You also wrote:

    “The Homeland Security Department snoops on people, too. Why is it “National Security” when the US does it and something else when Israel does it?”

    I was not questioning the need to “snoop” in order to root out Palestinian terrorists. I was asserting that a terribly high political price is paid when snooping creates facts on the ground that could have diplomatic significance.

  17. No measure it too extreme if will save a life…everyday terrorists are intercepted.

    If you think that the Israeli government has its soldiers on reserve duty- where the government pays their full civilian salary for the entire time- from their jobs making computer chips, airplanes, high-tech, etc. just to bother Arabs your are grossly mistaken.

    Are the checkpoints in Iraq OK with you?

    “diplomatic significance”- there is no such thing anymore. The Palestinian government are terrorists and we are at war with them just like America has it’s war on terror.

    The Geneva Convention allows Israel to do what ever it needs to do in the occupied territories for her security.

    The situation is not that complicated- the Palestinians don’t want peace, so we are in an endless war with them until they get a big bomb dropped on their heads and wake up to the realty that peace is a very nice thing.

  18. “The Palestinians” are various. Most want peace. The Palestinians that I’ve met in business, and those that I’ve met in cultural settings, that seek a civil life, certainly do want peace.

    By Israel’s actions and policies, it makes peace of the 90% either distant or close.

    Its too easy to cavalierly describe “them” as the cause of problems. I’ve NEVER in my life seen a problem that was entirely caused by “them”, or that there was nothing that I could but defend.

    There has always been a possible link.

    I don’t expect there is a possible link with those that are diehard anti-Israeli, or anti-Jew. But, they are few by my experience.

    I think the anger at Israel is rational.

    The triangulation is what makes the disaster both in Israel/Palestine and in Iraq. Hamas/Israel/Fatah/Hezbollah.

  19. Realistic Israeli,
    “No measure is too extreme if it would save a life.”

    So when are you prepared to stop driving? If nobody drove thousands of lives annually would be saved in Israel. But there are tradeoffs.

    “The degree to which Israel has restrained itself and abides by it’s principles of democracy dwarf the United States by a thousand-fold.”

    This is simply nationalistic sloganeering. You don’t say what Israel’s principles of democracy are, so how can you measure that it has fulfilled them a thousand-fold more than the U.S. has?

    Actually, Israeli democracy has many of the characteristics of American democracy in the 1830s-1850s:
    1) Widespread use of military heroes –“Arab fighters”–to head political parties.
    2) De jure differences between the settler i.e. Jewish population and the native i.e. Arab population within Israel.
    3) The “Arab question” as the issue that divides the parties. In the U.S. the “Indian question” became relatively minor after the 1830s when Eastern Indians were deported to the West. Then the slavery question became the divider between parties.

    And if the internet and blogging would have existed in the 1850s, Realistic Israeli would have been right at home with the journalists and politicians and their supporters of the time.

    Actually, Israel still has yet to catch up with the U.S. We had four presidents who were Indian fighters (plus Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy), whereas Israel has had only three prime ministers who were Arab fighters, unless one counts Rabin twice or counts Netanyahu as an Arab fighter for his service in Sayeret Matkal.

  20. What are you talking about?
    In those years women and black could not vote and the blacks were slaves.
    The one million Israeli Arabs live better than probably 50 million Americans (health care, education, representation in government).

    Indians? The Jews are the ‘Indians’ -the ‘native people’ of Israel, not the Arabs.

    You’re the one buying into your own ‘nationalistic sloganeering’. America’s history is shameful. They let the Jews die in the camps and refused entry to Jews that they knew were going back to Europe to be gassed. 8 million blacks died in the slave trade. You nuked 220,000 innocent civilians in Japan. Now, you torture people in prison. What horrors is Israel guilty of? They destroy the houses of suicide bomber. They search the vehicles of people who have vowed to destroy them.

    Really, Tom, it’s time to wake up from your American Dream.

  21. A distraction.

    “How are you doing at your job?”

    “THEY are doing worse.”

    I thought the question was how are YOU doing at your job.

    “I don’t want to look there”.

  22. There was a Peace Now demonstration Hebron today…

    “However, local Palestinians threw stones at the Peace Now bus and a police vehicle after the demonstration. No one was hurt in the incident.”

  23. Palestinians distrust the Israeli peace movement, as having not made substantive shifts in the Israeli policy towards the occupied territories.

    Both the Palestinian and the Israeli reactions are understandable.

    If the current status is acceptable to you (including the moral consequences of keeping a few million people isolated), then it would be advisable to continue with current policy options.

    If the current status is not acceptable to you, then it would be useful to consider alternative approaches, and when you become committed to one or another, to act on them.

    A defensive militant approach is by definition temporary. Its difficult to sustain that degree of defensiveness over a lifetime. It then requires willing young people to defend.

    In Israel, the young are almost unanimously enthusiastic to join the army, to defend, to contribute to the well being of the community, to serve the community.

    Any action taken will be criticized. The goal of doing the right thing cannot then be to avoid or even reduce criticism.

    The standard of no risk comes with the willingness to risk one’s ethics, as to implement that degree of safety, absent sincere artful and bold efforts at reconciliation, requires a willingness to harm others harshly, the good with the bad.

    Again, if you are a religious person at all, please consider the model of Abraham (however you like to spell it).

  24. “Palestinians distrust the Israeli peace movement, as having not made substantive shifts in the Israeli policy towards the occupied territories.”

    Did you dream this up?

    My sources tell me that the Palestinians like to throw stones and shoot guns in the air…

  25. “My sources tell me that the Palestinians like to throw stones and shoot guns in the air…”

    Your sources are then prejudicial and willing to generalize rather than to analyze.

    In 1994, two fairly close friends of mine were in Ramallah when the Oslo accords were ratified. There were guns shot in the air yes, and my Jewish friends were a bit scared initially. However, for the next day and a half, hundreds of Palestinians danced with them in the streets, and invited them to their homes.

    They thought that the left had successfully convinced the right that Palestinians are human beings, and that a mutually beneficial relationship was possible.

    Since that time, Rabin has been shot, Netanyahu has been prime minister and did everything he could to subvert the Oslo understanding. More Palestinians are now living on less land, with fewer rights, in an increasingly isolated region.

    They hoped that the left would humanize Israel. The majority of the Israeli left were not pandering wimps, but assertively Zionist ethically minded Jews.

    Its an odd juxtaposition of profound humanism in the same bodies as those willing to ignore suffering.

  26. Realistic Israeli,
    First of all I didn’t deny that slavery occurred. I consider the antislavery parties, Liberty Party and Free Soil Party, about whom I’ve just published a book, to be the American equivalents of Mapam and Meretz.

    Now, the Mormons thought that the Indians were the lost ten tribes of Israel–Israelites, if not Jews, but seriously when did the Indians ever leave North America en masse and then return under a foreign administration? The Israelis may be “returned natives” as they see themselves, but because of circumstances they were forced to return as settlers. Just remember, it was the British Colonial Ministry that administered mandatory Palestine.

    As far as turning Jews back to “be gassed in Europe” this simply isn’t true. As of early December 1941 the U.S. and Germany were at war. No one in the Allied West knew about the Holocaust until 1942 when Polish couriers made it to Britain and let them know about the establishment of the death camps in Poland like Auschwitz. The U.S. wasn’t sending Jews back to Europe in 1942 because they were are war with Germany then and Jews weren’t getting out of Europe in any numbers in 1942.

    When you try regurgitating nationalist mythology you might try thinking through what you are saying.

  27. Oh, your writing a book. Is this why everything happening in Israel is a mirror of what your book is about?

    America had ample opportunity to bomb the tracks leading to the camps, which would have saved millions of lives, but “didn’t want to get involved”.

    The Nuremberg Laws were passed in 1935. Krystalnacht was in 1938. America completely ignored the plight of Jews.

    There has been a continuous Jewish presence in Israel for the last 2000 years. The Jews never left and never “returned”.

    I hope your book is more accurate than the stupid, subjective comments that you make in this blog.

  28. I don’t believe that bombing the tracks would have saved millions. Regardless, the tracks should have been bombed.

    Few countries would have thought it their responsibility to rescue any group in 1935 or 1938.

  29. Realistic Israeli,

    I understand your response to an number of resent comments, but it seem to the that the only important questions are the ones that Richard Witty raised in post #23:

    “If the current status is acceptable to you (including the moral consequences of keeping a few million people isolated), then it would be advisable to continue with current policy options.

    If the current status is not acceptable to you, then it would be useful to consider alternative approaches, and when you become committed to one or another, to act on them.

    A defensive militant approach is by definition temporary. Its difficult to sustain that degree of defensiveness over a lifetime.

    ….

    The standard of no risk comes with the willingness to risk one’s ethics, as to implement that degree of safety, absent sincere artful and bold efforts at reconciliation, requires a willingness to harm others harshly, the good with the bad.”

    So which is it? Is the current situation acceptable to you or not, and if not, what do you realistically propose be done to change it?

  30. Trying to make sense,

    Thank you for posing the question. It is one the hard right in Israel has never been able to answer. I am not sure where Realistic Israeli fits on the ideological spectrum so I do hope he/she responds.

    Of equal importance, I love your name. It conveys the spirit of this blog.

  31. What none of you understand or want to face up to is the Arab-Islamic mentality. The Arab-Islamic culture–is pathetic and sick by Judaic-Christian standards and probably by most other value system. The Koran and the imams have fundamental problems compared with every other tribal, religious, moral, ethical value set that I know of.

    When the US State Department trains foreign service officers it divides cultures/countries into “doing” countries and “being” countries (very politically- correct). The Arabs are a “being” country. Mixed in with clan rivalry and violence. It’s not the Christian Arabs that are screwed up, only the Islamic ones. Nor are the Druse screwed up.

    Look at the Islamic-Arab world- generally speaking it is pathetic. Saudi Arabia has a literacy rate in the bottom third of all the world’s countries. If you don’t think that this speaks volumes, you and I have no common ground to base this discussion.

    Living with and being surrounded by Islamic-Arabs is like trying to deal rationally with someone with a bi-polar disorder- it doesn’t work. They don’t want peace and prosperity- they want chaos and destruction. You can twist this around all you want and blame it all on Israel and the Jews, but you are fooling yourselves. Israel wants peace, prosperity, and security.

    Jews are reacting the depraved behavior around them.

    If you want to take the Arabs side- go ahead. They are not going to destroy us. We trust nobody but ourselves. Europe and the US have screwed us before and will probably screw us again. Let Europe suffer with it’s growing Arab population. When the Arab world runs out of oil in 90 years or so, they will be broke, powerless and irrelevant and nobody will give a crap about them and their bullshit.

    It’s amazing that no one sees the Lebanese recklessly killing “Palestinians”- the people that they are supposedly so concerned about. Or the wonderful democracy of the “Palestinians” killing each other. DOESN’T ANYONE UNDERSTAND WHAT A ‘TRUCE’ MEANS TO AN ARAB??? NOTHING!!!!!!!

    Egypt, Israel’s ‘friend’, has been arming for the past 10 Years to destroy Israel. Egypt is the most fundamentalist Islamic Arab country and hates Israel more than any other Arab country. WE ARE SURROUNDED by VIOLENT PATHETIC CULTURES THAT WANT TO DESTROY ISRAEL.

  32. Realistic,

    The only insight I agree with is contained in last clause of the second sentence:

    “Saudi Arabia has a literacy rate in the bottom third of all the world’s countries. If you don’t think that this speaks volumes, you and I have no common ground to base this discussion.”

    Let’s put it this way. If I had to be stuck on a desert island and could choose between having you as a companion or Sari Nusseibah, or the Jordanian guy who sells me magazines a block from my office, or the Arab Americans who volunteer for the American Task Force on Palestine, or the Muslims from various countries I’ve encountered in passionate but civilized dialogue groups concerned with this tormented issue over the years, or any number of other people from the Arab world, I’d choose any of them over you, any time.

    Avram Burg, whom I’m sure you despise, talks about how some Arab families in Hebron protected Jewish families in the midst of the massacre in 1929, while other Arabs either did nothing or joined in the pillaging and murder of Jews whose families had been living there long before the Zionists arrived. Now, when he sees the descendants of those Palestinians, he wonders which category they belong to, the murderers or the decent people who helped their Jewish neighbors. You don’t seem to have any room in your saddened, bitter skull for the latter category.

    I’ve been listening to different versions of your rant all my life. Please take it somewhere else.

  33. Dan, yeah, you have met a self-selected group of civilized Arabs that you have sought out.

    I have met Jews that hate Israel and are anti-Semetic, too. And, If I sought them out, they would be all I encountered.

    I deal with Arabs every day and I am in Jordan all of the time (at the QIZ) and employ more Arabs in a single day then you have ever met in your life. Your little world is beautiful.

    The Arab-American that picked up and left his backwards country is the enlightened exception. Just like the German that left Germany in the 30’s is the enlightened individual that was not one passive accomplices to the Holocaust. Clearly, such self-selected individuals, like your friends, stand above others.

    Have fun with your folly-of-a-blog. Don’t worry, however, there are Jews here in Israel that are protecting your land and your people for future generations.

    Me bitter, saddened? Far, far from it. I think you are projecting yourself onto me.

  34. Well, I guess that answered the question!

    Dan,

    Thanks for the kind words. This site is terrific, one of the few places I’ve heard thoughtful, detailed discussion of the hard stuff from people who are willing to really argue not just throw the same thoughtless cliches around.

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