American foreign policy American Jews Arab-Israeli conflict Israel J Street Palestinians

The pro-Israel peace camp cares about America, too

As it prepares for its first national conference this weekend, J Street, the political arm of pro-peace, pro-Israel American Jews, is being assailed by those who don’t want it to take positions independent of the Israeli government.

Chuck Freilich, a former Israeli National Security advisor, castigates the J Streeters’ “presumptuousness” and claims they think they “know better what is right for Israel” than the Israelis. Haaretz columnist Anshell Pffefer sums up the attitude of Israeli government officials towards J Street: “What do these limp-wristed shtetl Jews who have never held an M-16 know about running a country?”

These complaints are a variation of the message American Jews have been hearing from Israelis and some American supporters for decades: unless we serve in the Israeli army or vote in its elections, we have no right to criticize Israel in public. But those who bring out that old chestnut now are discounting or ignoring an inconvenient truth: J Street’s supporters –myself included- are American citizens who back American policies that we believe are in our own country’s interests, as well as the interests of Israelis, Palestinians and the rest of the world.

Like other J Streeters, I think the Obama administration is helping America and Israel when it tries to stop actions that, if left unchecked, will preclude a two-state solution, including Israeli settlement expansion and Palestinian violence and incitement.

As long as Israel and America are seen in much of the Muslim world as steadfast allies in a war between civilizations, what Israel does in the occupied territories is my problem, too. The Israel-Palestinian conflict fuels global instability and extremism and provides a valuable mobilizing tool for terrorist groups that would just as soon attack the New York City subway system as Sderot.

Yet Israelis and others who want J Streeters to shut up choose not to remember that Middle East peace is an urgent American prority. In June, I published a column expressing the pain many people in my camp will feel if there is a confrontation between Israel and the U.S. It also affirmed the need to give Obama the political leeway to lean on both sides of the conflict rather than just one side. In response, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach chastized people like me in Huffington Post by calling us, astonishingly, “sunshine Jewish patriots,” as if we were traitorous Palmach soldiers in 1948, instead of modern American citizens. Father Coughlin and Henry Ford would have appreciated that image.

Rabbi, I weigh in on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict not just because I have a life-long concern for Israel, but also because I am concerned about America’s security and well-being. There is no contradiction between the two priorities.

I am stepping into tricky rhetorical territory here, dredging up the sensitive question of where American Jews put their loyalties. That is a subject which Jews in the U.S. tend to be afraid of broaching in public. They shouldn’t be. American Jews’ relationship with Israel and the role of U.S. interests in that relationship are easy to explain and justify, although the truth is often obscured by the scurrilous accusation from white supremacists and paleoconservatives that we are a bunch of fifth columnists.

Jews in America want to protect America, and care about the safety of our families and neighbors and fellow citizens. Many of us also worry about Israel’s safety. The fact that we have multiple affinities and identities does not mean we put the interests of a foreign power above the interests of our own country. We do not. Of course there are occasional, isolated and deplorable exceptions like Jonathan Pollard, but they are the exceptions that prove the rule.

The President’s stance against more settlements is well within the boundaries of mainstream Israeli thinking, even though the current, center right government doesn’t have much use for it. But even if it were a radical idea in Israel, no Israeli would have the right to rebuke me for advocating policies for my own government.

Israelis and their supporters should feel free to tell J Street that Obama’s approach is wrong. But they should stifle the impulse to tell us, American citizens, that we should never support a U.S. administration that disagrees with Israel.

123 thoughts on “The pro-Israel peace camp cares about America, too

  1. I’m not a shtetl Jew (where are there shtetls in America?), but I’ve not only held an M-16, but I’ve fired it on many occasions as well.

    Israel is like a man who has married for money and wants to have full access to his wife’s money without any obligation of fidelity. Israel wants only one country’s interests to be considered in the relationship.

  2. This is valid commentary. However, I do not buy the implication that Jews who lean to the right (especially on Israel) are not American patriots,

    In fact, the pro-Israeli camp in the US (Jews and non-Jews alike) tend to be conservative flag-amd-country folk.

    This whole label of U.S. Jews not being America firsters often comes from those who decry the existence of nation states.

    Go figure.

  3. I have been monitoring the American Jewish Left (or “progressives”, if you prefer) since the rise of J-Street and it has worried me because we don’t want to see the splits in the American Jewish community that we saw in the time of the extreme crisis in the 1930’s and 1940’s. We never know when Israel could face a similar existential threat.
    The primary people I have monitored in my observations are MJ Rosenberg, Richard Silverstein, MagnesZionist (actually half-American, half-Israeli), Tony Karon, Dr Bernard Avishai, Phil Weiss and some “progressive” non-Orthodox American Rabbis, in addition to this site. I don’t know how influential any of these people really are but they do get their views out. Silverstein had, until recently, a blog column in the Guardian which gave him a pretty big readership.

    Now, on the eve of J-Street’s big coming-out party, I have reached an optimistic conclusion….J-Street is doomed to self-destruction, at least in its attempt to try to define itself as THE voice of American Jewry. The reason is that the ONLY THING that all its supporters have in common is that they HATE AIPAC.
    Now, I don’t know anything about AIPAC, but I do think most American Jews and most true supporters of Israel are willing to leave it to the Israeli government to decide what the country’s interests and policies are. J-Street, of course, stands for having the US impose views contrary to these, even at the cost of using punitive sanctions, supporting boycotts of Israel, voting against Israel at the UN, etc.

    This conclusion can be reached simply by looking at the views of the people I mentioned above.
    MJ Rosenberg, Phil Weiss and Richard Silverstein all despise Israel with a passion (EVEN IF Rosenberg and Silverstein call themselves “Zionists”) in that EVERYTHING they write pours fire and brimstone on Israel, they will never say anything positive about it and anyone who opposes their views is dismissed as a fascist, “hasbarist”, anti-Palestinian Racists, warmonger, imperialist, tribalist, ethnocentrist, etc, etc. They vehemently reject anyone who tries to correct any mistakes or errors they make.

    Tony Karon, Phil Weiss and MagnesZionist, on the other hand, enjoy pointing out their belief of how Zionism was a criminal conspiracy from its very beginnings in the 19th century. They all seem to accept Shlomo Sand’s view that there is not now and never was a Jewish people (anybody who has read Rabbinic literature over the centuries knows that is preposterous nonsense) and that the criminal 19th century Zionists somehow managed to pull the wool over everybody’s eyes and suddenly “invented” a Jewish people.

    Thus, although many J-Street supporters claim that their goal is to solve the problem of 1967, i.e. get Israel out of Judea/Samaria and get rid of the settlers (Dr Avishai, Dan, some of the “progressive” rabbis) and that Israel will be “worthy” of support after that, others say the problem is 1947 (the creation of the state) and that the Naqba must be addressed and simply getting Israel to withdraw to the pre-67 lines doesn’t take care of the refugees. Dr Avishai, Phil Weiss, MagnesZionist and Tony Karon all object to the very idea of a Jewish state so a peace agreement must lead to Israel dismantling its Zionist infrastructure and become a “state of all its citizens”.
    J-Street’s organizers felt comfortable with inviting Josh Healey and his “Queer Intifada” until it became an embarrassment for them, so they are quite obviously divided among themselves.

    So we see that J-Street is an incoherent mass of people who are malcontents with the current Jewish establishment and view it as a vehicle for expressing their dissatisfaction, even though there is no agreement on what it is they really want.

    Remember, most Americans who support Israel are non-Jews and so the average person who is sympathetic to Israel is not going to view Josh Healey’s Queer Intifada as being “pro-Israel” no matter how much J-Street claims that they are.

    J-Street would probably have more of a future if they would drop the “pro-Israel” label and simply identify themselves as “Americans who support a more ‘balanced’ Middle East policy” or some such thing. The American Council for Judaism was an anti-Zionist organization formed in the 1940’s and they were quite open about their opposition to Israel and Zionism and it had a pretty large membership (tens of thousands) in the 1950’s, but it withered away over the years. J-Street is simply an attempt to revive the idea. However, trying to use J-Street to work out all their Jewish angst about their crises of self-identity (Phil Weiss is the most open about this) in addition to having a political agenda will simply turn most people off, FORTUNATELY. So, enjoy your party, J-Street, it may be your last.

  4. YBD:
    I guess you’ll have to add Herzl’s name to your list of Jews opposed to a Jewish state. It is not an accident that Herzl entitled his book in German Der Judenstaat–The State of the Jews–and not Der Judischestaat–The Jewish State. The title was mistranslated into English. In his novel Alteneuland he spoke of Arabs being fully equal citizens of the state. Herzl would have understood Bernard Avishai very well. Herzl spoke about the rabbis being confined to their synagogues and the soldiers to their barracks. He would be very surprised by Israel today.

  5. I should add a couple of points:

    (1) There is no question that there are numerous supporters of J-Street like Dan who sincerely support Israel and want what’s best for it. But taking an attitude of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” can be self-defeating…i.e. saying that just because you don’t like AIPAC and the Judea/Samaria settlements therefore I can make an alliance with ANYONE who doesn’t like them means you can end up with Neo-Nazis and Nasrallah. I recall a comment posted on MONDOWEISS (Phil Weiss’s site) by a woman who attended a counter-demonstration which was directed against the Israel-day parade in New York. Her counterdemonstrators numbered a few dozen and the police put them all in one area so that there wouldn’t be any disturbances. Although she attended it in order to “protest the occupation” she found herself outnumbered by NeoNazis and Muslim extremists who were praising suicide bombers. She said she would probably not attend next year.

    (2) The other thing to notice is that very few Israeli politicians, even from the so-called “Peace Camp” including Labor, Kadima and MERETZ are having anything to do with J-Street.

  6. Y-Ben, you have to give Dan points for intellectual honesty. Has long as America and Israel are allies that’s a problem for him.

  7. Yakov,
    I also adopt Abraham as model, and his patriarchy implies mutual acceptance, if you adopt the modern model of loving your children equally, and not the Sarah model of expelling those that you feel threatened by.

    The Israeli primary law has DUAL equally compelling components.

    1. Israel as haven for Jews.
    2. Israel as site of equal due process under the law, and assertively equal rights for all minorities.

    J Street also adopts a similarly dual primary motive, asserting those dual values as simultaneously measures of our success, our existence.

    One of J Street’s thesis is that Israel has abandoned the dual nature of its primary law, has abandoned its skeleton, its constitution.

    In that sense, it is MORE pro-Israel than any advocacy group that insists over an extended period of time, that Israel focus on only one of its primary features, the ethnic.

  8. Yaakov

    I only heard Jeremy Ben-Ami (founder of J Street) once (on NPR). So maybe my insight is limited…but he sounded respectful of AIPAC. The only schism I could detect was around the issue of settlement freezes.

    I definitely do not see him in the same camp as the others you mentioned.

    I probably don’t agree with him on everything…but it’s not enough to deem him an arch enemy.

  9. Suzanne-
    I really don’t know much about Ben-Ami but I don’t trust him or the others on the staff of J-Street. Ben-Ami is essentially a political operator and he will say what sounds good to the listener. But it was his organization that invited Israel basher Josh Healey (“Queer Intifada-Guantanamo is Aushwitz)to an officially sponsered J-Stree event. Clearly, they identify with the radical Jewish Left.
    To be perfectly honest, I view J-Street NOT as a “pro-Israel” organization, but as an ANTI-Israel organization. While it is true that none of the people I mentioned above have any official position with them, why would people who are more or less anti-Zionist Israel bashers feel comfortable with a “pro-Israel” organization? Why would Arab donors or pro-Arab functionaries like Nancy Dutton give money to a “pro-Israel” organization? Ben-Ami himself stated that Israel is a danger to US interests and the welfare of American Jews.

    I would have no problem with them if they just came out and said that the traditional relationship with Israel is not in the US interest (even though the majority of Americans don’t feel that way) and they want a more “even handed” policy. But they keep saying they are “pro-Israel”. This is simply Orwellian.

    Ultimately, J-Street’s line is that which Dan gives here…”it is in everyone’s interest that there be peace so strengthening the Arab countries (relative to Israel) is a good thing in order to achieve regional cooperation”. But, as you probably know, I maintain (and most Israelis agree with me) that the ARAB’S view the Arab-Israeli conflict as a zero-sum game, as much as “progressives” like Dan and the others might not like this. Thus, if Arab political operators are donating money to J-Street, it can only mean to me that they view J-Street as working AGAINST Israel’s interest which automatically means to them that it is to the benefit of the Arabs.

  10. J Street is assertively a pro-Israel organization.

    It seeks that Israel be secure, free, prosperous, and primarily fulfilling the dual nature of Israel’s primary law.

    If you fundamentally disagree with that dual nature of Israeli primary law, perhaps you are anti-Israeli, Yakov.

    Consider it please.

  11. Great post, Dan. I’d wear these insults directed at J Street supporters as a badge of honor. “Limp-wristed,” really? People still use that?

    In a coincidence, I recommended your blog to paleoconservatives on Daniel Larison’s blog. So I will recommend his post on J Street to you. It’s not what would think from an American Conservative magazine blogger.

    In defense of the paleo part of their name, I would say the primary distinction of paleo-cons is their opposition to the foreign interventions of the neo-cons, so the natural position for them is support detaching ourselves from the Israeli government. The paleos like Pat Buchanan are putting their racial prejudice ahead of their foreign policy instincts. Did you have any other paleos in mind when you wrote this?

    – a pro-peace pro-Israel progressive American Gentile who supports J Street.

  12. Norwegian shooter:
    If you are an American why do you call yourself by another nationality in your screen name?

  13. YBD:

    I can understand why you identify with Avraham. Being a figure of the late first millenium BC or the early second millenium he probably did not know too much about democracy, nor about logical argument and reason, nor about empiricism. Considering that the Torah was written centuries after Avraham died, he is even a more legendary figure than Muhammed or Jesus. Those who declare themselves loyal to a legendary figure tend to be those who operate purely out of faith or out of a desire to have an empty vessel that they can pour their own views into.

  14. The patriarchs define two things:

    1. A lineage. In describing himself as a Avraham Avinu Zionist, Yakov is asserting that the promise to Abraham of land to his ancestors remains actually legally binding in some manner.

    Because of his willingness to sacrifice his miracle son (conceived at 90), he is rewarded with certainty, birthright, and the ability to permanently transfer that birthright.

    Even though he sent his first-born son into the desert presumably to die (also a willing sacrifice, but to the whims and jealousies of Sarah, not to God).

    2. An archetype. That definition of follower of Abraham conflicts with the lineage assertion. Abraham is known archetypically for his courteousness, his hospitality, his overwhelmingly deep humility, his openness to ALL (not selectively).

    The model of that archetype is his bargaining with God for the sinners of Sodom and Gomorroh. “If there are 50 righteous men, will you spare the city … you “vicious, jealous God”, how about ten”.

    And, by the Abrahamic standard, there are certainly more than 50 righteous Palestinians, more than 50 righteous Gazans.

    But, Israel also sacrifices to the whimsy of sentiment (Sarah’s jealousy), as much as the commitment to the Eternally Intimate.

    Sorry to appear mysoginist in this description. Its inherent in the story, sadly. (Sentimental and jealous women).

    A friend is a Jewish women’s advocate, adopting dance as prayer, the archetype of Miriam.

  15. Here’s the deal.

    J Street political ideology works when you deal with Canada, Belgium or Luxembourg.

    J Street political ideology cannot work when dealing with nations or groups who openly ‘Promise to finish what Hitler started’.

    Everyday, Palestinian and government run media, school curricula and a whole lot of religious preaching revolves around genocidal anti Jewish sentiment. That of course is in addition to the anti Israel sentiment that is part and parcel of Arab identity.

    For over 50 years, peace conditions in the Middle East as enunciated by the UN, Quartet, the EU and virtually every other diplomatic effort has been remarkably consistent. The conditions are as follows:

    *Cessation of violence.
    *Diplomatic recognition.
    *Secure borders.

    Which of these things are too onerous a burden for the Palestinian and Arab world?

    What does matter is that there are many Palestinians and Arabs who leave their Sabbath worship services who whipped into a frenzy and ready to kill. This is unique among the Abrahamic faiths and this is a reality- and this hate is reinforced every day.

    It matters not a whit that there are Palestinians who wear pants, use cell phones and eat KFC.

    We cannot deal with people who at once deny the Holocaust and with the same breath believe such grand evil is a wonderful idea.

  16. Fungus:
    Nobody that I know in the peace camp is saying that Israel should unilaterally disarm. When I as a student back in Jerusalem in 1978 first heard the name Peace Now I was suspicious. It sounded to me too much like “peace at any price.” But I investigated the group. I learned that it was founded by a group of young reserve officers. I went to hear what one of the founders had to say. He did not sound like a pacifist to me. Instead he sounded like someone who wanted to explore whether peace was possible, particularly with Egypt.

    Palestinians also have their least of reasons why they cannot have peace based on Israeli actions. Israel denies any responsibility for an nakba, the Palestinian exodus of 1948. Many Israelis also think that it was a wonderful idea. The one thing that Obama has asked of Israel is that it stop its settlements, which are illegal under international law, as the IDF’s judicial branch had determined before the Six Day War. Stopping settlement accomplishes three things. First, it demonstrates that Israel is willing to obey international law. Second, it allows a peace process to develop. Third, it leaves some land free to serve as the basis of a future Palestinian state for when the Palestinians will be willing to take the necessary steps to gain independence and have peace. Of course, if you prefer to simply continue as you have up until now and blame the other side for all difficulties you will have many partners among the Palestinians–especially among the Islamists and the fedayeen. But if Israel in the next decade or two becomes as isolated as isolated as South Africa in the 1980s, don’t blame J Street or Peace Now or Obama.

  17. Tom–good post. While I share Israelis’ paranoia about Islamic jihad and “right of return”–I’m not sure prolonging the status quo is the answer to Israel’s long term security.

    I’m curious…if you don’t mind saying, why did you attend school in Jerusalem? You’re not Jewish but you seem to have a strong affiliation with Israel.

  18. Tom-

    Your remarks are at best ingeniousness.

    The Naqba came about as result of Palestinian and Arab world stated intent to commit genocide, fist and foremost. At the time, newspapers and radio recordings promising rivers of blood and and orgies of rape were commonplace (ah, those damned records!). There is no such thing as a disproportionate response to calls for genocide.

    In 1948, the UN partitioned Palestine and Israel. The Israelis accepted that partition, the Arabs preferred war. Wrong choice.

    Now, here’s the deal, Nations come into being by one of two ways: treaty or conflict. That applies to every nation on earth. Israel’s legitimacy was conferred on her by the UN and later, by defending herself.

    That there are Israelis happy to see the dispossession of Arabs is of little concern- there are Americans who believe that slavery was a good idea. What is relevant is the positions taken by the governments involved and the majority of people.

    The Palestinians have proved time and time again that they prefer war over peace. They are not special in that regard. The entire Arab world is a great stew of dysfunction- teh greatest assemblage of failed states in modern history, dedicated to ongoing corruption and the disabuse of her citizenry.

    The settlements are indeed a problem, but even calling them ‘illegal’ is somewhat problematic (those rulings are non binding). In any event, Israel does have a track record of trading land for peace, as opposed to land before peace. Jordan and Egypt are testament to that.

    Still, you failed to address my central question so I will ask you again:

    For over 50 years, peace conditions in the Middle East as enunciated by the UN, Quartet, the EU and virtually every other diplomatic effort has been remarkably consistent. The conditions are as follows:

    *Cessation of violence.
    *Diplomatic recognition.
    *Secure borders.

    Which of these things are too onerous a burden for the Palestinian and Arab world?

  19. Fungus:
    I recommend that you read Simha Flapan’s “The Birth of Israel” for a more nuanced position to what happened in 1947-48 than the Israeli political mythology.

    In your question you group together or conflate a number of things that have been part of different approaches but not of the same one. For instance Res. 242 called for secure borders and cessation of violence but not diplomatic recognition. It also stated the principle of the inadmissability of acquisition of territory by force, something that most Israelis ignore.

    I support the U.S./EU preconditions for the admission of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others into peace negotiations: recognition of Israel, a ceasefire, and recognition of previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

    Cessation of violence is a problem as it gives anyone with an AK or a rocket launcher a veto over peace negotiations. This might be fine with you, but I’d be satisfied with the organization involved going on ceasefire. In Northern Ireland peace negotiations continued and an agreement was reached despite the ongoing terrorism of dissident republican terrorists in the Real IRA, Continuity IRA, and INLA.

  20. It’s not surprising that AIPAC is exerting political pressure on members of Congress not to attend next week’s J Street conference in Washington. AIPAC feels threatened (rightfully so) by J Street, a pro-peace and alternative pro-Israel lobby that is gaining legitimacy.

    AIPAC smear campaigns against pro-peace Jewish activists and groups are nothing new. AIPAC’s concerted efforts to discredit Jewish critics of Israeli policies are well documented.

    An August 1992 Village Voice article by Robert I. Friedman revealed that a unit of AIPAC investigated and harassed dovish Jewish groups advocating land for peace. The AIPAC office, known as Policy Analysis, maintained files for the purpose of discrediting pro-peace groups like Americans for Peace Now and the Jewish Peace Lobby.

    A former AIPAC staffer, Gregory Slabodkin, was the source for Friedman’s article and provided internal documents to support his charges.

    “The mandate of Policy Analysis (formerly Opposition Research) is to monitor, analyze and respond to anti-Israeli activities in the United States,” the head of the office, Michael Lewis, wrote in an internal memo in August 1990. “Arab Americans are by no means our sole concern. New Jewish Agenda, the Jewish Peace Lobby and the Jewish Committee on the Middle East to name but some of the more prominent organizations, were all formed in the past few years.”

    J Street is just the latest target for AIPAC’s smear tactics, although the political stakes are higher this time.

    AIPAC is afraid of a free and open debate of U.S. policy in the Middle East, which to date has been dominated by AIPAC. They are not the only national Jewish organization to target J Street, although they stand the most to lose as “the” Israel lobby. However, we should not be surprised by this AIPAC smear campaign against J Street.

    AIPAC has long operated a covert section that monitors and keeps files on politicians, journalists, academics, Arab-American activists, Jewish liberals, and others it labels “anti-Israel”.

    In that same August 1990 internal AIPAC memo made public by Slabodkin, the head of AIPAC’s opposition research boasted: “There is no question that we exert a policy impact, but working behind the scenes and taking care not to leave fingerprints, that impact is not always traceable to us.”

    It wasn’t so long ago that the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council passed a resolution condemning “McCarthy-like” tactics used by some Jewish organizations. The resolution proposed guidelines for dealing with “the right of dissent” on Israeli policies, and emphasized the importance of open and thoughtful exchange in an atmosphere of “mutual tolerance and civility.”

    AIPAC and its backers in the organized Jewish community should adhere to that standard.

  21. Tom-

    I recommend you read Why Did the Arabs Run?, just published in The Nation.

    Now, UN 242 is only part of the equation (and by the way, that resolution explicitly calls for recognition of the State of Israel by the Arabs. Your assertion is false. They are however, not obligated to have diplomatic relations with Israel. Perhaps that is what you meant.)- and that UN Resolution came about as a result of the Six Day War. In many ways, a more relevant discussion would include UN resolutions of refugees- all of which included the 800,000 Jews expelled from Arab countries and whose communities and presence predated Islam. That is at least of equal if not greater importance than the issue of Palestinian refugees. That Arab nations have refused to settle them or take care of them is not Israel’s fault or doing and no one with the slightest familiarity of the matter makes that claim.

    Finally, AIPAC is not smearing J Street. By refusing to acknowledge the stated anti semitism and genocidal intent of Hamas, Jihad and other Arab regimes in the region, J Street et al have made clear their intent to turn a blind eye to that racism, hate and bigotry. While that may well be perfectly acceptable to you, I cannot discern the difference between Hamas and the KKK. Unless of course, J Street is ambivalent about the KKK as well.

    That Hamas was elected in ‘free’ elections is irrelevant. Adolph Hitler and the Nazis came to power by the of manipulation of the electoral process. Had the Allies bombed Berlin and killed off the Nazi party and leadership, up to 50 MILLION lives would have been saved.

    The Nazis tried to hide their real agenda. Hamas, et all, can’t be bothered. They make their genocidal intentions clear and unambiguous. Those who voted for Hamas knew exactly what their agenda was.

    Finally, I will acquiesce to your point about the cessation of violence, that can be no guarantees that every Palestinian will adhere to law and order – just as soon as there is a peace treaty and recognition of of the State of Israel.

    Now I ask again- which of those two things are too hard for the Palestinians and Arabs to agree to?

  22. Regarding AIPAC’s and the Israeli government’s supposed “smearing” of J-Street, I can only remind everyone that the “peace camp” had its day during the phony “Oslo peace process” in which Rabin, Peres, Beilin and others pushed AIPAC to support the “peace process”, lobby for American weapons and aid for terrorists like Arafat and terrorist regimes like that of Assad’s Syria, and in which organizations that opposed Oslo were smeared and accused of being “warmongers”, “enemies of peace”, and, of course, “assassins” in the wake of Rabin’s murder.
    The Left had its chance. Finally, in Israel, people have woken up and now realize, across the spectrum politically, that the Arabs (both Palestinians and other Arab countries) are not interested in peace. Thus, the fight by the Left has now gone across the ocean to the US in which they are hopting that somehow J-Street can split the Jewish community and try to convince the Adminstration that they can put punitive sanctions on Israel or condemn Israel in the UN and somehow maintain support of the US Jewish community (this, of course, forgets that the large majority of support for Israel in the US comes from non-Jews).

  23. The liberal left is the only chance.

    It is the fulfillment of both Torah and conventional ethics.

    The revisionist Torah interpretation (attributing conquest of the land with keeping the ethical commandments as “the covenant”) is the deviation.

    I mean it to be a serious question whether you in fact love Israel Yakov, if you dismiss the importance of the DUAL nature of Israel’s primary law.

    That of haven for Jews, AND of equal due process for all (literally all).

  24. Richard-

    You are equating Jewish religious doctrine with Muslim religious doctrine, which by all accounts is absurd on many levels- not the least of which is the reality that most Israeli Jews are not religious and in fact, the settler movement influence is disproportionate only because of political machinations.

    Now, while Israel is by no means a perfect Utopia, it does offer Arab citizens equal civil rights- a situation not equal in the Palestinian territories. While implementation of rights for minorities may not be perfect, I can think of other countries where the same might be said.

    At this point let’s just say it would be unwise for you to play the comparison game, to put it mildly.

    Israel has the right to have any immigration policy it chooses. Further, Israeli immigration policy is remarkably similar to the immigration policies of other nations.

    Citizenship status is derived by way of one of two criteria- ‘blood’ or ‘land.’

    In the United States, for example, citizenship is primarily derived by ‘land’ status. That means that if you were born here, you are automatically awarded citizenship.

    Conversely, being born in Switzerland is no guarantee of citizenship. In fact, there are generations of people that have been born in Switzerland that are not entitled to Swiss citizenship according to Swiss law.

    Descendants of British, Irish and Polish ancestry, for example, are all entitled to enhanced and privileged immigration status by those nations. Throughout most of Europe, having even a bit of ‘preferred’ blood entitles one to a citizenship ‘fast track.’

    Israel has every right to determine her own immigration rules.

    Consider too, the rescue of Ethiopian Jews (the largest rescue of Blacks by whites in history) and compare that to the slaughter by the Arab tribe janjaweed in Darfur and the ongoing slave trade by Arab slave traders in Mauritania. It isn’t surprising that Muslims that made their way from Sudan want to stay in Israel.

    In fact, when the Israelis pulled out of Lebanon after occupying an 11 mile security zone (After years of rocket attacks against civilians and the Lebanese government’s inability or unwillingness to halt those attacks, the Israelis had enough), even the Alawites, the clan than claims the ruling Assads of Syria, pleaded to remain under Israeli jurisdiction, preferring Israeli rule to that of an Arab country.

    In the same way that Ireland and Poland consider themselves to be Catholic states and Muslim nations declare their identity, Israel retains that same right.

    Lastly, I ask again:

    For over 50 years, peace conditions in the Middle East as enunciated by the UN, Quartet, the EU and virtually every other diplomatic effort has been remarkably consistent. The conditions are as follows:

    *Cessation of sanctioned violence.
    *Diplomatic recognition.
    *Secure borders.

    Which of these things are too onerous a burden for the Palestinian and Arab world?

  25. Fungus:

    I suggest you read the Wikipedia article on 242. References are to “all states.” Some Arabs claimed at the time that this did not refer to Israel as Israel was an entity and not a state. The main controversy is over the meaning of the withdrawal clause and it seems that it was deliberately drafted in such a way that different parties could claim different interpretations.

    Re refugees. Please cite the numbers of UN resolutions that refer to Jewish refugees. I have never heard of the UN recognizing them as refugees. I think that they should be and that the value of their property left behind should be taken into account in refugee compensation negotiations, but I know of no support for this in the UN.

    Why do you ask your question of the Arabs of me?I’m not an Arab or even particularly an Arab sympathizer.

  26. Fungus,
    My statement was of contradiction in Israeli practice with Israeli fundamental law.

    It has a dual nature. To be loyal to Israel as Israeli is requires then loyalty to the dual nature of the law.

    To be only loyal to the Abraham Avinu component (the component of Jewish haven) conflicts with what Israel IS (both Jewish AND democratic).

    In a democratic setting, ALL residents, all citizens, even all visitors have equal rights under the law.

    For there to be roads that are only passable by Jewish residents, is a violation of equal rights and equal due process. For there to be selective criteria for building permits is a violation of equal due process.

    Re: Fatah and the West Bank per your three criteria (not literally the sequence or definition of Quartet or bi-lateral agreements). More a current revision of prior agreements.

    But even so:

    1. Cessation of Sanctioned Violence – Both Fatah and Hamas have ceased active violence against civilians in particular, and there is extremely limited violence currently even against military personnel. Not stated by Hamas as unlimited duration. Fatah has firm commitments to not adopt violence (but their patience is being tried).

    I don’t consider that to be a good goal on Israel’s part. They have sustained a policy of non-violence for a decade. There are hotheads, but it is also Israel’s responsibility to renounce mob and unnecessary military violence (gross and subtle).

    2. Diplomatic recognition – Fatah has recognized the state of Israel as Israel. Fayyad’s recent statements are consistent with your definition of Israeli rights to manage its borders. Namely, “It is none of our business how Israel chooses to self-identify. It is entirely an internal matter for their society. We recognize Israel as Israel.”

    To make peace, it is primarily with those that one borders. Saudi, Iraq, Iran acquiescence is secondary.

    A condition for Syrian and Lebanese recognition is clarification of Israel’s border goals, and acceptance of pre-67 lines as guideliness, as a minimum territorially in sq miles.

    To say, we will not discuss borders in the context of a mutually dependant discussion process, is to state overtly “We prefer to occupy. We prefer our role as suppressor.”

    3. Secure borders is entirely a relative term. But, it is relatively constructed by treaty. Walls, fences, tank units, artillery lines, alone are LESS SECURE and much more of a drain than treaty with military presence as a maintained deterrent and monitoring.

    The incremental annexation (formal or by obvious implication of the path of the fence/wall) represents the FAILURE of Israel to identify and reconcile along defined borders.

    Which of those conditions are too onerous for Israel as well?

    To my mind, all of them are doable if there is a will to reconcile. If there is none, indicated by the continuing annexation of land, then the overtures for “peace” are a pretense.

    Better that they actually proceed.

    There is NO NEED to continue settlement construction anywhere in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. That it is the key obstacle to any peace, should motivate Israelis and Jews that seek Israel’s security, to urge that settlement expansion cease, and immediately.

    It is a means to an end, NOT a compromise.

  27. Its like the decision to be kind to your wife, your friend, your work colleague, rather than win the next argument.

    Better that you lose the argument, and keep the friend.

  28. Richard-

    UN General Assembly Resolution 194 is a fundamental document. Specifically, it deals with the refugee problem in the region. It does specify any particular ethnic origin.

    Are you suggesting that the issue of 800,000 plus Jewish refugees is of no import as a matter of a comprehensive peace accord? If as you suggest, simple compensation be afforded them, why not apply the same standards to the Palestinians?

  29. Richard-

    You wrote,

    “In a democratic setting, ALL residents, all citizens, even all visitors have equal rights under the law.”

    That certainly does not apply in a time of war- and the Arab countries have made clear their intent. That is reinforced by the Arab states refusal to recognize Israel reinforces that truth.

    Think of the Obama renewed Patriot Act on steroids- unless of course you object to Israel defending herself and citizenry.

    Further, Israel is under no legal or moral obligation to afford equal rights to the Occupied Territories. That nation’s rules are no different than that of any other occupying forces. In fact, the Israeli occupation has been the most benign military occupation in history.

    As for the settlements, Israel has a proven track record of trading land for peace. The problem is that the Palestinians have never abided by any accord they have agreed to.

    That should of no surprise. Institutionalized racism, hate and bigotry pretty much preclude civilized behavior. “We’ll finish what Hitler started” is hardly evidence of moral or ethical equivalence on the part of the Palestinians with any civilized society.

  30. You think Israel is in a state of permanent war?

    That it is never a civil state, only a martial one?

    Israel hasn’t traded land for peace, because it doesn’t have land under uncontested legal title to trade, at least in the West Bank. Even in Sinai, the land that was “traded” was Egyptian land that Israel had occupied through war, Egyptian by internationally recognized borders.

    It does take a commitment to work for peace. So, if you personally or other Israelis don’t have that commitment, then it is unlikely.

    My contention is that peace is a MORE SECURE status than a state of war, and certainly with the prospect of existing treaties unraveling.

    It doesn’t really particularly matter by what logic you come to that commitment for peace.

    But, it is important to acknowledge that settlement construction is a deterrent to it.

    The next Israeli election will preceed the next American election. If Netanyahu presides over what is continuing to be deterioration in relations with ALL of Israel’s neighbors, then he will likely lose.

    You will have the option of some sort of coup by force, or someone that is more willing to pursue peace will be in power.

    Maybe you are not loyal to Israel’s primary laws, and you and others will participate in some civil war.

    Hopefully, you will see reason, that peace is both possible and preferable.

    Its a great tragedy that the sum total of discussion by Yakov and you, is posturing to oppose peace, rather than brainstorming to pursue peace in a way that facilitates the characteristics to be incorporated into it, characteristics of what Israel’s needs are.

    I agree with you that it would be wonderful if the Arab offer for peace were unconditional.

    But, that is very possible to be arranged if Israel is clearly and confidently committed to a just peace. Often in contracts, both parties hold conditions of the other, which need a third party to bridge. If willing. “I’m willing if you are willing”. “I agree, I’m willing if you are willing.”

    You are lying to yourself in describing “the Palestinians have never abided by any accord they have agreed to.”

  31. Richard:

    You wrote: “You think Israel is in a state of permanent war?

    That it is never a civil state, only a martial one?”

    In fact, when it comes to the raison d’etre of occupation…yes.

    In any case, the Israeli public is who needs to be persuaded on the liberal left peace approach.

    Fungus is right…they’re largely secular. So something other than land lust is driving the decision.

  32. Richard-

    Rather than attack me personally, why don’t you point to an instance where the Palestinians were in accord with an agreement they signed?

    As for your other remarks, they are misleading at best.

    Israel ceded the West bank and Gaza back to Jordan and Egypt respectively after a peace agreement was reached with them. They in turn ceded the territories to the Palestinian Authority who immediatelt began terror attacks on Israeli civilians (including blowing up school buses, nurseries and kindergartens). Hard as it is to believe, most people find that morally repugnant.

    All that the path to peace requires is mutual recognition and a cessation of violence- something Hamas, Jihad, et al, have refused to do. Even elements in Fatah have refused to recognize Israel. Couple that with ‘promises to finish what Hitler started’ and the like in media, school curricula and from the pulpit, you can understand Israel’s reluctance to deal with the Palestinians. Perhaps that is why most civilized nations regard Hamas, Jihad and like organizations as terror groups. I will repeat: You cannot espouse genocide and deserving of a seat at the table of civilized nations.

    Suzanne- what drives the Israelis is simple to understand. The Palestinians have offered nothing but promises of genocide.

    There is no such thing as a disproportionate response to genocide.

  33. Your error is in your generalization “The Palestinians”.

    Palestinians are various.

    Its not all that different than when dissenters or radical Palestinians site “The Zionists”.

    Currently, the PA is keeping its agreements with Israel. It has for an extended period enforced the prohibition against assaults on Israeli civilians from the West Bank.

    You are blind.

    “There is no such thing as a disproportionate response to genocide.”

    Please, you do understand that that is what Hamas states in relation to Operation Cast Lead in which hundreds of civilians were reputably described as targeted by the IDF. (Not just in Goldstone.)

    Do you believe that an Israel with 650 miles of exposed frontier (its entire perimeter) is more secure than an Israel with 350 miles of exposed frontier (current – including West Bank as exposed frontier).

    Or, do you believe that an Israel with 0 miles of exposed frontier, but with some necessity for third party verification, would be most secure?

    Or, do you just front this theme of “Palestinians are out to get us” as a smokescreen.

    I addressed your three criteria, Fungus. Please respond to the substance.

    You defined those three criteria as some obstacle to discussion of Palestinian sovereignty, but still Hamas-like never stating overtly that you regard those criteria as a prerequisite for your earnest intent to reconcile.

  34. Please change your name. I won’t grace your arguments by calling you “reality”, and “fungus” feels too disrespectful to speak to a human being.

  35. Fungus:
    “The Israeli military occupation has been the most benign in history.”

    And you know this how? Because you made a careful historical survey of all military occupations in history? Or because Boogy Ayalon or some other Israeli general or politician made this statement?

  36. Tom, give me an example of a military occupation, ( actually I don’t accept that term but I’ll go with it for the moment ) that was more benign. and don’t go to Japan post WW2. Or Germany. Go with a situation where the other side wanted to I don’t know KILL YOU.

  37. I put the question to you again Rich. How does it feel to engage with Phil, Adam, and their followers on Mondoweiss. The “hitler had the right idea” crew?

  38. Richard

    The Palestinians I’m referring to are the vast majority- the ones who voted for Hamas, support the PA and other entities who support and accept calls to genocide as part and parcel of Palestinian identity.

    Those are the Palestinians I’m talking about.

  39. Tom Mitchell

    Yes. The analysis has been made before and I can back up my claims.

    Now, suppose you point out an occupation that has been more benign.

  40. Bill-

    I have no issue with comparing the post war occupations of Germany and Japan with the Israeli occupation of the Wast Bank and Gaza.

  41. Odd description of Palestinians “Fungus” (as you refuse to adopt a reasonable name).

    Take a real poll.

    And, if the results differ from what you’d hope, make the responsible effort to educate.

    Talking with you is similar in tone to the Mondoweiss posse.

  42. I just think its kind of funny that your seen has some sort of right wing zionist over there. Kind of ironic, isn’t it? But I suppose when you engage with Phil ( I think we got into WW2 on the wrong side Weiss ) and his little buddy, Horrowitz. ( Some serious man crush stuff going on there ) it’s a little humorous.

  43. If you removed the malicious from your tone, we could talk about my impressions of Phil, his comrades, and his posse.

  44. I want to hear Richard’s impressions of Mondoloco!

    There seems to be a lot of different opinions on the Palestinian majority’s stance on making peace with Israel.

    Probably the fairest thing to say is it’s all opinion and not fact at this point.

    They do have a credibility problem as long as they keep voting in Hamas though. Given that occupation is the BIGGEST ISSUE affecting all other issues (economy, food, health etc)–one has to wonder what’s clouding their ability to see the big picture.

  45. Richard-

    It is not up to you to determine what my nom de plume ought or ought not to be. Perhaps you might focus on the matters and issues at hand. To do otherwise makes you appear rather (clearly, at this point) unknowledgeable about matters you purport to know about.

    Please be specific in making your point. Cite examples, published policies, etc. Wishful thinking does not an argument an argument make.

    That said, I will be more specific re the Palestinians, for your own edification.

    Hamas (elected as the voice of the Palestinians) has committed 4 definable sustained war crimes and human rights violation

    Hamas has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel. Under the U.N. Charter this is considered a war crime — incitement to genocide.

    Hamas has repeatedly fired deliberately on civilians and civilian ares without warning. t

    Hamas terrorists have a deliberate policy of hiding behind civilians and in civilian facilities.

    Hamas have been holding an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, without access to the Red Cross, for three years.

    All these are defined war crimes and human rights violations.

    This is the part where you come in and blame the Israelis.

  46. I agree with you that Hamas as an organization has committed war crimes, horrendous acts.

    I disagree with your generalization “the Palestinians”. Its an amateurish approach, cynical.

    You are extremely naive about my political statements to site “this is the part where you come in and blame the Israelis”.

    The either/or demonization game is shared by proponents and opponents of Israel.

    For moderates, fanaticism and generalization, ARE what we primarily object to.

    We have a human faith that reconciliation of tangible issues are resolvable, if there is intent to.

    We seek to solicit the commitment, the clarity, that Israel and Israel’s proponents do so commit, and don’t engage in deception to shield more manipulative ends (like settlement expansion).

    The request for you to change your name, was to avoid me and others the discomfort of using a derogatory term in addressing you.

    Sure, you are free to play such games.

    I’ll instead make up a name to refer to you, that is more innocuous, rather than play that game with you.

    If you are a Jew that regards the commandments “love thy neighbor as thyself” or “thou shalt not steal” or “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s possession”, then you would be a Jew in shell but not in nut.

    I hope you understand the significance of that statement. The shell is dead, and its ONLY purpose is to preserve the living nut. The nut is live and worth preserving.

    It is possible to advocate for assertive defense, without resorting to excess and offensive offense.

    Again, I’ve met my Abrahamic 50. So, in the spirit of the life of Abraham (who convinced God to LOVE humanity rather than as Noah experienced to destroy humanity. Its psychological, a description of the Jewish creed.)

    The reason that Jews walked into the ovens rather than kill (a gamble anyway) was to preserve the nut, rather than just the shell.

    There are Jews, Israelis, who regard God and all in the world as hating, rather than loving.

    Its good that we assert our right to live as a people, but not by ruthlessness or self-deception.

  47. That should have been

    “If you are a Jew that regards the commandments “love thy neighbor as thyself” or “thou shalt not steal” or “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s possession” as unimportant, then you would be a Jew in shell but not in nut.”

  48. name withheld,
    I’ve responded to your specific criteria, but you didn’t address my comments. Go back and read my response to your three objections/criteria (I can’t tell which), and respond specifically.


  49. “It is possible to advocate for assertive defense, without resorting to excess and offensive offense.”

    There is no such thing as a disproportionate response to genocide.

    “If you are a Jew that regards the commandments “love thy neighbor as thyself” or “thou shalt not steal” or “thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s possession”, then you would be a Jew in shell but not in nut.”

    There is no such thing as a disproportionate response to genocide.

    Israelis are under no obligation to facilitate in the least the stated genocidal objectives of the Palestinian leadership. While it may be true that there are Palestinians who do not subscribe to these ideas, they in n way mitigate what the Israelis must do to defend themselves.

    As I have noted before, had Western Europe not tried to fool themselves into believing they could deal with Hitler and bombed Berlin in September of 1939, up to 50 million lives would have been spared (44 million if you happily acquiesce to the murder of 6 million Jews).

    As for your rather obsessive regard to my nom de plume, well, I suspect you shall have to adjust. That you disapprove is of little meaning to anyone but yourself. If and when you cease to make derogatory personal remarks then I will follow suit.

    lastly, if you go back to the origins if this thread, it was you who first started avoiding responding to my assertions. You clear that up and I shall do the same.

    That said, I’m nothing if not accommodating. List those things you feel I need to address and I shall respond, line by line. Then I shall submit to you what I would like you to address and you can respond. That way, you can reiterate what you purport to be ‘responses’ to the issues I have raised.

    It is rather curious that you initiated the personal attacks.

    Freudian, actually.

  50. “There is no such thing as a disproportionate response to genocide.”

    And, WHERE EXACTLY do you see genocide OCCURRING?

    Words are NOT actions, especially the words of a few (too many definitely, but utterly insufficient to generalize).

  51. Go read back, and review your assessment as to what you regard as “personal insults”.

    Are you open to actual discussion of these issues?

  52. In no particular order:

    I misspoke- all my other references were ‘CALLS to genocide’.

    Of course, you knew that. Otherwise you would have objected earlier.

    As for words not being actions, I remind of the reality that had western nations bombed Berlin in 1939, up to 50 MILLION lives might have been saved (again, as I noted, 44 million if the murder of Jews means little or nothing to you). Further, there are times when utterances carry the full legal weight of actions.

    I shall repeat:

    ..I’m nothing if not accommodating. List those things you feel I need to address and I shall respond, line by line. Then I shall submit to you what I would like you to address and you can respond. That way, you can reiterate what you purport to be ‘responses’ to the issues I have raised.”

  53. I made many substantive points.

    BOTHER to address them.

    You are far less than accommodating in practice.

  54. Yes, Richard, ‘There is no such thing as a disproportionate response to “calls of genocide”?

    For example, we take threats to the President of the United States very seriously. In fact, the law is quite clear: you don’t even have to have a weapon to or even have a specific plan be guilty and convicted of a felony.

    Then there is the utterance of terroristic threats, also a felony and grounds for arrest and conviction.

    There is also the matter of threatening a spouse, a terroristic utterance in a separate and distinct category.

    There are hate crimes laws, albeit in other countries, whereby hate speech is grounds for conviction and imprisonment.

    Shall I go on? Or is the institutionalized call for the genocide of Jews for some inexplicable reason acceptable to you?

    Have you ever noticed how people that disregard the lessons of the Holocaust are the same people who have no trouble with those who call for another?

  55. By the way, list the issues you wish me to respond to and I will.

    Afterward, I shall make a list to which you can respond.

  56. You don’t kill civilians randomly because someone issued a verbal threat.

    That is “no disproportionate response to calls of genocide”.

    Or, is that degree of morality lost on you? You do know what the word “no” means?

    The descriptions of arresting issuers of hate speech is important. The punishment for that is usually probation, NOT annihilation of a village.

    Proportional, NOT no such thing as a disproportionate response.

    You become what you claim to defend against.


    1. Is a 650 mile frontier (total Israeli border with adjacent land), more or less secure than a 350 mile frontier (total Israeli border with states not at peace with Israel), or a 0 mile frontier (total Israeli border with states not at peace after successful negotiations at or near the green line)?

    The treaties with Egypt and Jordan are unraveling under Netanyahu, and the treaties and prospects with the PA are similarly?

    2. Do you regard all Palestinian parties as equivalent?

  57. “You don’t kill civilians randomly because someone issued a verbal threat.”

    That’s not how Cast Lead happened.

  58. “You don’t kill civilians randomly because someone issued a verbal threat.”

    The Israelis do not ‘kill randomly’. See this for more clarification:

    “The descriptions of arresting issuers of hate speech is important. The punishment for that is usually probation, NOT annihilation of a village.”

    That remark is incorrect.

    There are lots of examples of the imprisonment for hate speech and even for the utterance of threats.

    There is not a single example of the Israelis attacking a village for hate speech. Not one.

    “The treaties with Egypt and Jordan are unraveling under Netanyahu, and the treaties and prospects with the PA are similarly?”

    The treaties with Egypt and Jordan are not unraveling and will not. They have survived successive Israeli regimes, including a previous government led by Netanyahu.

    What is a fact is that despite so many successive Israeli regimes, the Palestinians have been unable to find a peace partner with left, right, center or any derivatives thereof. The one Palestinian constant has the decades of institutionalized racism, bigotry and hate (your reticence to address and outright condemn these facts has not escaped me. I do find that most curious.)

    “Do you regard all Palestinian parties as equivalent?”

    That depends on the parties you are referring to and what you mean by ‘equivalent’. If you are asking about Hamas, the answer is no. The are no different than the dysfunctional white supremacists who take great pleasure and pride in claiming them as allies.

    As an aside, do you support Hamas and their white supremacist comrades?

    I shall post my queries to you later tonight or tomorrow.

  59. By the way, there are numerous examples of serious Palestinian violence against civilians that was instigated by far less than verbal threats.

  60. RF,
    You weren’t commenting on what Israel did or didn’t do.

    You expressed a philosophical thesis. You stated that there is “no disproportionate response to calls of genocide”, that implies that ANY question of ethical or legal review of means and strategies that you adopt are off the table, if there is any stimulating hate speech.

    That is ludicrous. Maybe you don’t speak English concisely, or that you are thinking something (but not writing it), then assuming that it is conveyed.

    You also entirely missed what I was asking in the question about equivalent. I contest that your language about generalized “Palestinians” ignores FUNDAMENTAL differences between groups, ideologies, methods, commitments.

    So, I ask you about your consciousness, your knowledge. Do you regard all Palestinians as equivalent.

    If you say yes, I would then say that unless your political program is only expansion, that you would be a dead weight on good Israeli decision-making whether military, political, social, ANY.

    I’m sorry that Suzanne is taken in by your worries.

    And, I would recommend that you look further at the relations between Israel and Jordan and Egypt. As Yakov noted, it is now impossible to fly directly from Israel to Egypt (that is different than during Oslo), and hence impossible to conduct any meaningful trade or other discussion.

    King Abdullah of Jordan is committed to western forms of universal education, community development there, and it will take a great deal of alienation to make Jordan’s choice to opt out real, but those tensions are being pressed by Netanyahu.

    Whereas Israel could have, and could be an accepted peer in the region, it is now going the route of isolation (incrementally and soon reaching some tipping point).

    To not see that is to ignore that at 32 degrees, water changes to ice, and that tipping point happens with just a one degree swing from 32.5 to 31.5 (with a big jump to make the actual phase change).

  61. To add to the “knowing your “enemy”” suggestion.

    It is useful to know that Hamas itself is diverse. The majority of Hamas leaders spend their time and attention of social service, and religious education. They tend to be older 30’s and 40’s, with children, and less dogmatic. They also tend to have passed their credibility tests by some demonstration of zeal, either personal suffering or in the minority of cases, some militancy.

    The younger radicalized warriors (driven by exagerated sense of duty to the point of irrationality and willingly cruel) are a distinct faction. Only few individuals can retain and lead that into their 30’s and 40’s. Cool-headedness seeps, risk-aversion, concern for subsequent consequences.

    Deterrence is a relevant Israeli military strategy to defines “boundaries” (meaning clear definitions of what is acceptable from what is unacceptable).

    When there is ANY communication by force that is vague in any substantive way, then Israel doesn’t set those clear boundaries, but becomes fascistic.

    The appearance (and likely reality) of Israel’s continuing annexation and expansion, IS one of those vaguenesses that shift the character of its otherwise defense to cruelty.

    Israel does not have defined borders, and appears to oppose treaty at least partially to avoid having to define them.

    The settlement expansion indicates the INTENT of the Israeli state. If it ceased settlement expansion entirely, then it would have more objective basis to claim that its military engages in defense, rather than the current accusation that it is offensive, expansionistic.

    What do you desire? Do you desire that Israel find a way to define a mutually consented border?

    Or do you desire that Israel continue to grow, “naturally”?

  62. “The younger radicalized warriors (driven by exagerated sense of duty to the point of irrationality and willingly cruel) are a distinct faction. Only few individuals can retain and lead that into their 30’s and 40’s. Cool-headedness seeps, risk-aversion, concern for subsequent consequences.”

    From what I understand, the elders are counting on this kind of shaheed-ism. It is revered…even by mothers.

    I am willing to change my perception of what the typical Palestinian mindset is these days…

    …when I see an inside view (t.v., newspaper, political organizing etc) of what the Palestinians are spoon fed.

    Right now I’m skeptical.

  63. “You weren’t commenting on what Israel did or didn’t do.”

    OK, we’ll try this again.

    You said, ““You don’t kill civilians randomly because someone issued a verbal threat.”

    You provided not a single example.

    I noted that “The Israelis do not ‘kill randomly’. See this for more clarification:

    Is that not specific or clear enough? Though you cited no examples and chose to deceive readers, I refuted your silly remark.

    You and not I, seem to have trouble understanding how exchanges work. I use this response because you chose to insult me.


    You said, ““The descriptions of arresting issuers of hate speech is important. The punishment for that is usually probation, NOT annihilation of a village.”

    Once more, you cited no examples. I understand why, of course- because there are none. Once again, by virtue of ignorance or deliberate deceit. I shall assume you would never knowingly deceive anyone. Know what I mean? Sure you do.

    You also asked (most curiously), “So, I ask you about your consciousness, your knowledge. Do you regard all Palestinians as equivalent.”

    I shall repeat my response.

    “That depends on the parties you are referring to and what you mean by ‘equivalent’. If you are asking about Hamas, the answer is no. The are no different than the dysfunctional white supremacists who take great pleasure and pride in claiming them as allies.”

    Your further remarks that “It is useful to know that Hamas itself is diverse. The majority of Hamas leaders spend their time and attention of social service, and religious education, etc., etc., is absurd.

    That is like saying the KKK is acceptable because there are charitable bigots. While that is clearly acceptable to you, it is not acceptable to most civilized people. That is also understood by many western democratic nations who appropriately refer to Hamas as terror organization.

    It interesting to note you seems perfectly happy to assign some mythical institutional ‘intent’ to Israel.

    You said, “The settlement expansion indicates the INTENT of the Israeli state.” This is untrue. Settlements have been abandoned in exchange for peace, high court rulings have gone against settlers, etc.

    You deliberately made deceitful or ignorant remarks about Israeli intent. You have also completely ignored or minimized the STATED genocidal intent of Hamas, or the STATED intent of Hamas not to renounce violence or the STATED intent of Hamas, et al, to never recognize Israel.

    I shall ask you again. Do you support Hamas and their white supremacist comrades?

    For some strange reason you have refused to unequivocally condemn Hamas or their ideology.

    More later.

  64. No dialog yet.

    You’re speaking to yourself.

    We get this a lot from the far left. It confirms my assessment at how similar the Israeli right is to the far left.

    Read back.

  65. Why did you not respond to the practical question of relative security resulting from increasing frontier under treaty?

  66. RF–I’ve read Richard’s posts for months now, and I’m positive he condemns Hamas and sees them as a terrorist faction.

    I think the rift in opinion here is over how much Hamas reflects popular opinion in Gaza.

  67. Richard-

    I’m in a benevolent mood. Let’s do this one at a time.

    You said:”The descriptions of arresting issuers of hate speech is important. The punishment for that is usually probation, NOT annihilation of a village.”

    Example of Israel annihilating an entire village for hate speech, please?

  68. Suzanne-

    You noted that “I’ve read Richard’s posts for months now, and I’m positive he condemns Hamas and sees them as a terrorist faction.

    I think the rift in opinion here is over how much Hamas reflects popular opinion in Gaza.”

    I have not read Richard for months as you have. I would appreciate his clarifying his opinion on Hamas. I would imagine he would be happy to take the opportunity to unequivocally renounce Hamas and their supporters. He refuses to be clear on the matter.

    Now, as to Hamas itself: The popular opinion of Hamas is irrelevant.

    They received a majority of Palestinian votes notwithstanding their stated racism, bigotry, hate, refusal to renounce violence and refusal to recognize Israel and her right to exist. They have also made clear their genocidal intentions in their charter, in their state controlled media, in school curricula and more often than not, from the pulpit.

    Suppose the KKK were a dominant political force. Suppose they never renounced their bigotry or their for a racial holy war, with the eradication of certain minority groups and gays as a primary and unimpeachable goal.

    Now suppose the KKK also ran puppy shelters.

    Suppose you were a minority or gay. Would you want Klansmen living next door to you?

    Not only does Richard espouse Klansmen living next door to you, he wants you to accept them and their racism, homophobia and calls to genocide as acceptable alternative political expression.

    Why? Because they run puppy shelters.

    The fact remains that the Palestinians have to decide who will lead them: The more secular PA or Hamas, Jihad, et al.

    How Israel negotiates will depend on who governs the Palestinians. They can address the PA one way and Hamas in another.

    Until Israel knows who she is really negotiating on behalf of the Palestinians we are wasting our time.

  69. RF–you don’t have to convince me…we’re pretty much on the same page.

    I guess the other rift is whether the PA has better intentions than Hamas.

  70. Suzanne-

    Day in and day out for decades, there has been one consistent Palestinian and Arab world message. Media, school curricula and pulpit preachers have all embraced the notion that Jews are subject to slaughter. Does anyone really believe that decades of hate, racism, bigotry and calls to genocide will simply melt away?

    When nations that are that are led by or are under the influence of tyrants or dictators, attempt to justify their actions, we can rightly assume that justification is false. Tyrants and dictators do not make moral choices, because moral choices can only lead to the demise of the tyranny.

    Anyone that comes to the defense of tyrannical regimes and their leaders, have themselves made a conscious choice to defend and stand by what is immoral. They themselves consciously adopt an immoral posture.

    That has been the PA’s past. There needs to be some big changes. Really big.

  71. RF,
    I asked you to read back. Go back to the beginning of the thread, when you first raised your “three criteria/three objections”.

    I CLEARLY stated that ALL of your objections are currently qualified, even by Hamas currently.

    And, if you read back in this thread, you’ll see a condemnation of Hamas, as well as an acknowledgement that Hamas is not as simple or non-changing as you fantasize.

    Hamas, like likud, is slimy, never honest.

    Please answer the important questions RF.

    1. Do you desire a fair and confident peace? Or, do you desire continued conflict? (Yes or no. You can certainly elaborate, but don’t avoid the questions.)

    2. Do you desire Israel to continue expanding its settlements in the West Bank, and particularly in East Jerusalem?

    3. Do you believe that a border with a treaty is more secure or less secure than one without a treaty and without recognition?

    4. Do you believe that all Palestinian factions have the same character, the same political logic, the same means?

    5. Do you believe that all of the 1350 deaths in Gaza were the result of conscientiously applied professional and legal warfare, or were a portion of those deaths due to negligence, and/or intentional collective punishment or individual murder?

    6. Do you believe that in the absence of reconciliation with a state Palestine, that the Arab world, Moslem world, will accept Israel, or does it take sincere and considerable compromise and likely compensation?

    7. Do you believe that your actions, your words, have any affect on the outcome of history?

    8. Do you believe that failing to work FOR peace is morally acceptable, that objecting alone to what irritates you among the Arab world, is sufficient basis of action?

    9. As ALL human relations are of compromise, what RELATIVE (rather than absolute) actions do you believe will encourage trust between peoples?

  72. 10. Are you doing what is right, or merely rationalizing for your failure of imagination and communication?

  73. In no particular order.

    Let’s start with number 10:

    “10. Are you doing what is right, or merely rationalizing for your failure of imagination and communication?”

    Your questions merits contempt as it is no more than a poor attempt at trying to divert attention from your own inadequacies.

    You are projecting- as others on this site have noted. Your reputation precedes you.

    I can make this as personal as you like. Your call.

  74. “7. Do you believe that your actions, your words, have any affect on the outcome of history?”


    From the Hamas Charter:

    “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

    “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. “

    “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

    “After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.”

    More from those you hold in such high esteem:

    “Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious…The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realised…

    The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a universal organization which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times…

    It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security and safety where their lives, possessions and rights are concerned…

    The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the links in the chain of the struggle against the Zionist invaders. It goes back to 1939, to the emergence of the martyr Izz al-Din al Kassam and his brethren the fighters, members of Muslim Brotherhood. It goes on to reach out and become one with another chain that includes the struggle of the Palestinians and Muslim Brotherhood in the 1948 war and the Jihad operations of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1968 and after…

    The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: ‘The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him…’

    Resisting and quelling the enemy become the individual duty of every Muslim, male or female. A woman can go out to fight the enemy without her husband’s permission, and so does the slave: without his master’s permission…

    There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with…

    The day The Palestinian Liberation Organization adopts Islam as its way of life, we will become its soldiers, and fuel for its fire that will burn the enemies…

    The Zionist invasion is a vicious invasion… It relies greatly in its infiltration and espionage operations on the secret organizations it gave rise to, such as the Freemasons, The Rotary and Lions clubs, and other sabotage groups. All these organizations, whether secret or open, work in the interest of Zionism and according to its instructions…

    We should not forget to remind every Muslim that when the Jews conquered the Holy City in 1967, they stood on the threshold of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and proclaimed that ‘Mohammed is dead, and his descendants are all women.’

    Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Muslim people. ‘May the cowards never sleep.”

    To answer your question again: Yes, I believe that actions and words have an outcome on history.

  75. “8. Do you believe that failing to work FOR peace is morally acceptable, that objecting alone to what irritates you among the Arab world, is sufficient basis of action?”

    Failing to work for peace is never morally acceptable.

    That said, attempting to make peace with those who declare genocide as their stated goal is an exercise in stupidity. See my reponse to your question 7.

  76. 4. Do you believe that all Palestinian factions have the same character, the same political logic, the same means?

    No, not all Palestinians factions are alike.

    For example, the PA is different from Hamas.

    PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Feb 27 2008 said that he does not rule out returning to the path of armed “resistance” against Israel and took pride in the fact that he had been the first to fire on Israel and that his organization had trained Hizbullah.

    In an interview with the Jordanian daily al-Dustur, Abbas said that he was opposed to an armed struggle against Israel – for the time being.

    “At this present juncture, I am opposed to armed struggle because we cannot succeed in it, but maybe in the future things will be different,” he said.

    “I had the honor of firing the first shot in 1965 and of being the one who taught resistance to many in the region and around the world; what it’s like; when it is effective and when it isn’t effective; its uses, and what serious, authentic and influential resistance is,” Abbas said.

    “It is common knowledge when and how resistance is detrimental and when it is well timed,” he added. “We (Fatah) had the honor of leading the resistance and we taught resistance to everyone, including Hizbullah, who trained in our military camps.”

    More from Abbas:

    Abbas praised late Hamas spiritual leader Ahmed Yassin, who was assassinated by Israel in March 2004.

    He also used Quranic verses to claim Jews are corrupting the world.

    “The sons of Israel are mentioned as those who are corrupting humanity on earth,” Abbas said during a portion of his speech in which he criticized recent Israeli anti-terror raids in the northern West Bank.

    From the WSJ:

    “His outright refusal to confront and disarm terrorists, in violation of the Road Map, hardly registers anymore in the Western media and where it does, it is usually excused and attributed to his relative political weakness. However, the media also give very little idea of the extent to which the Palestinian Authority continues to glorify terrorists… Then there is the soccer tournament named in honor of the terrorist who murdered 30 people at a Passover celebration in Netanya, or the girls’ high school named by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Education after a female terrorist who murdered 36 Israeli civilians and an American nature photographer. (The school was recently renovated with money from USAID, channeled through the American Near East Refugee Aid.)

    Examples could easily be multiplied. A poetry collection published by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Culture, for instance, is named in honor of a suicide terrorist (dubbed “the Rose of Palestine” in one of the poems) who killed 21 at a restaurant in Haifa. (The collection was distributed this August as a special supplement in the daily Al-Ayyam. Most of Al-Ayyam’s editors are appointed by Mr. Abbas.)…

    The Palestinian Authority sometimes goes so far as to stamp out even the most symbolic gestures of coexistence with Israel. Consider last month’s soccer match, organized by the Shimon Peres Center for Peace, in which Israeli and Palestinian soccer stars played together in a joint “Peace Team” against Barcelona. They played well, losing only 2-1 at Barcelona’s famous Nou Camp stadium in front of 31,820 spectators, including many dignitaries. Yet on the Palestinian Authority’s orders, the Palestinian Football Association announced that it would punish the Palestinian players for daring to participate in such a match…”

    That’s the PA- not Hamas.

  77. 9. As ALL human relations are of compromise, what RELATIVE (rather than absolute) actions do you believe will encourage trust between peoples?

    The Palestinians:

    Renounce and cease violence and incitement.

    Recognize Israel’s right to exist.

    Negotiate secure borders.

    Establish functioning government institutions.

    The Israelis:

    Cede all control of the occupied territories to a recognized and peaceful Palestinian government, with the exception of east Jerusalem.

    Negotiate free trade and free trade zones, as well as institute a common currency so as to kick start the Palestinian economy.

    Negotiate shared infrastructure where necessary and if mutually beneficial.

  78. “6. Do you believe that in the absence of reconciliation with a state Palestine, that the Arab world, Moslem world, will accept Israel, or does it take sincere and considerable compromise and likely compensation?”

    The query is of low importance.

    Israel has enhanced relations with every nation in the first world.

    Cultural, scientific, educational, research, agricultural, medical,technological and commercial exchanges are world class.

    That Israel has been denied relations by some of the most dysfunctional (and according to the UN Report on Human Development, the most backward) regimes in the world has no great impact on Israel. The Arab states are the losers, not Israel.

  79. 2. Do you desire Israel to continue expanding its settlements in the West Bank, and particularly in East Jerusalem?

    No more settlements.

    East Jerusalem is another story.

    The Palestinians have a long track record of desecrating Jewish holy sites.

    What Israel found in 1967 West Bank and Jerusalem was appalling. Despite repeated promises and agreements, Jews were never allowed access to their holy sites and Houses of Worship. There was a reason for that.

    Every single Jewish House of Worship (hundreds) was destroyed- all of them. The tombstones of the Mount Olives Cemetery, over 2000 years old, were desecrated. Many were used to line latrines and as sewage conduits by the residents and the Arab occupants of Jerusalem. The area in front of the Wailing Wall, the most sacred of Jewish holy sites was a garbage dump, some 60 feet deep, by some estimates. Yes, there are photos and other documented evidence of these realities.

    When the Israelis entered Jerusalem, they found the few Christian schools forced to teach the Quran. The found unreliable electricity, schooling (girls were forbidden to go to school), virtually no health care and a non existent economy.

    The Israelis provided to the Palestinians- the very ones who tried to destroy the ancient and proud history with deliberate malice- schools and universities, health care, sanitation, electricity, an economy and an infrastructure they had never known.

    Don’t think the Palestinians don’t know it.

  80. “1. Do you desire a fair and confident peace? Or, do you desire continued conflict? (Yes or no. You can certainly elaborate, but don’t avoid the questions.)”


  81. “3. Do you believe that a border with a treaty is more secure or less secure than one without a treaty and without recognition?”

    Good question.

    It all depends on who signs the treaty.

    See my answer to your questions 7 and 4.

  82. “5. Do you believe that all of the 1350 deaths in Gaza were the result of conscientiously applied professional and legal warfare, or were a portion of those deaths due to negligence, and/or intentional collective punishment or individual murder?”

    That question has been asked and answered.

    See this:

  83. Nice selective order.

    East Jerusalem is key. Settlement in East Jerusalem is the difference between a contiguous and therefore viable Palestinian state, and a non-contiguous, and therefore Bantustan-like Palestinian state.

    In other words, the distinction between the intent to reconcile, or the intent to annex and suppress.

    It puts your assertion “I do desire peace” into question.

    The world is DIFFERENT now than it was in 1948, when Jordan occupied and neglected Jewish shrines. (Is a shrine that important relative to peace? Sovereignty over a shrine? “The Caves of Machpelah are OUR ancestors’, our patriarchs” (not yours).

    It would be useful if you answered the questions in the order they were written, but I get that that wouldn’t conform to your thesis that there is no possible constructable peace, only a theoretical peace with permanently rationalized impossible conditions.

    Abbas has already been to Jerusalem by the way.

    I got to Mondoweiss and get convinced that the “solidarity” only means war, permanent war.

    And, I come here to listen to RF and Yakov, and get convinced that likud and Israeli only means war, permanent war.

    And, EACH describe themselves as rational, moral, skillful, “peace-seeking”.

    And, it ends up confirming my thesis that the two primarily “dance with each other”, clearly in a dance of death, with NO EFFORT on the partisans part to open their eyes to any daylight.

    Its as if it is always 4:30 in morning (dark, opaque, monolithic), rather than getting to 5:30 (when the sun peaks through).

    RF’s thesis is that Hamas is genocidal permanently and in all conditions (which is nearly certainly true in a few cases, but the reality of their people is that as they assume responsibility for others, they moderate at least some). And, that Fatah is only likely to be genocidal.

    Again, IGNORING that his and his collective action significantly affect the largely CONDITIONAL construction of animosity.

    The concept that we affect the world intimately by our actions and words, by the construction of a possible reconciliation (still well defended, but conditional), is inherent in the Jewish NUT (in contrast to dead shell) that I grew up with.

    To abandon it by a century long fortress and expansion approach, is a betrayal of the nut. Its as if the 6 million didn’t die (in respectable human deaths), that only the Jabotinsky zealot shell-worshippers were the messengers.

    Likud Zionism as new halacha, as new prayer-life?

  84. If thick-skin is all we have become, maybe Israel isn’t that important.

    I assume Israel is more than that. I hope so.

  85. Just for what its worth.

    If I ask YOU, your impression, to post an article from elsewhere, is dishonest and cowardly to my perspective.

    Speak your own mind using the word “I”, and please address the arguments themselves, not merely adrenaline of reaction.

  86. Mr Witty-

    As I noted in my first response, there was no particular order to my responses.

    This isn’t complicated. I only post ideas in support of my own perspective.

    Making this about me does change reality nor the fact that you are unable to address the issues presented.

    Hamas IS ‘genocidal permanently’. Their own words makes them so. Yhey employ the same words today as they did 10 years ago. The Palestinians voted for them knowing full well what they stood for. Tghe Nazis tried to hide their agenda and intent- Hamas, et al cannot, be bothered

    Learn to deal with reality. As others elsewhere have noted, you are a lightweight- and a dishonest one at that.

    The ‘intent’ and actions of both Israel and the Palestinians has been made clear, time after time.

    Israel has given up land for peace before and the Palestinians have violated every single agreement and treaty they have agreed to.

    Richard, you are like an ape in a tuxedo.

    You can put an ape in a tuxedo- you can teach the ape to sing, dance and even use a knife and fork. However when it’s all said and done, the only one who believes the camouflage is effective is the ape.

    Ask yourself a question: Given the documented racism, bigotry and hate of Hamas, the PA, et at al, who is more likely to deceive and speak out of both sides of their mouths?

    Would decent people want to be perceived as a bigots, or would bigots want to be perceived as a decent person?

    You are a fraud, Richard- an you are one of those bigots as well. Of course, that’s something you’ve head before, as I have been recently made aware. You want to make this about me? Do you really want to play the ‘pivot and attack’ game?

    Think about it.

    Know what I mean? Sure you.

  87. “Their own words makes them so. Yhey employ the same words today as they did 10 years ago.”

    Words aren’t genocide. I thought you were presenting yourself as “realistic”.

    Again, in Egypt (the only time Israel traded land for peace), it gave back land that it NEVER had any claim to by law or sentiment.

    “Richard, you are like an ape in a tuxedo.

    You can put an ape in a tuxedo- you can teach the ape to sing, dance and even use a knife and fork. However when it’s all said and done, the only one who believes the camouflage is effective is the ape.”

    I guess this is a description of your willingness to be civil.

    Lets make it about issues, real issues.

    Your assumptions and analyses are false, so lead to skill-less and harmful conclusions and if applied by leadership to horrendous policies and performance.

    Likud has historically demonstrated the “ability” to make things fall apart. Smug, insulting, prejudiced, expansionist, suppressive.

    There are dangers in the world.

    In assessing ANY population, of any data, of any people, to FAIL to recognize diversity within the population, to FAIL to recognize possibility in that diversity, is a negligence, a failure of analysis, a self-deception.

    The web is infected with hundreds that are willing to anonymously post invective and insult.

    Your language is seen.

    The only valid basis of criticism of the urge to do everything that Israel can for peace, is the suggestion that “peace is impossible” because there is too much hatred, too many current hotheads on both sides.

    There is merit to that argument. If you look around the anonymous web, there are many that wear masks and then shoot. Certainly there is plenty of history to suggest that the way that militias, and now at least partially, the IDF conduct their military efforts is callous or intentionally punitive.

    In contrast, the peace movement urges change, urges change in attitude to humanize the other (especially those that have conditional views, meaning “IF” behavior and policies allow for reconciliation, reconciliation will be chosen).

    It is identical language to the language of the covenant. “IF you keep my commandments, I will give you the rain in its time.” (the ten) ‘If not, I will disperse you’.

    So, if you are Jewish in fact, you would advocate for EFFORTS for peace, rather than rationalizations for expansion.

    By peace, you will realize the protection of shrines. Whereas by protecting the shrines by willingness to do horror (“there is no disproportionate response to calls of genocide”), you will yourself desecrate the shrines.

  88. You debase your argument by accusations of “liar” or “fraud” or “ape”. They don’t add to the veracity of your arguments, which at the end of the day must be the measure of what is practical and desirable.

    If you heard those words, you heard them from radical anti-Israelis, which is an odd place for you to trust for conclusions, especially on character.

    I have argued in the past with neo-religious that to abandon the commandments in favor of acquiring unlawful possession of land (in violation of title standards) is itself a renunciation of Jewishness.

    Resulting in Jewish clothes, but without a Jewish (priestly) soul.

    Being Jewish is both intimate and collective, the key word being AND.

    It, like the dual nature of the Israeli basic law as Jewish AND democratic, are hard to live up to.

    It takes regular self-reflection, prayer, commitment, imagination, wise (rather than opportunistic) leadership.

    Our task is to complete that work that is half done, that commandment by God, to create a humane society with humane relationships, rather than a dominant society with suppressive relationships.

    Israel worth the name.

  89. “Words aren’t genocide. I thought you were presenting yourself as “realistic”

    As I noted earlier, threats and utterances can be are considered crimes- especially when uttered by those with prior bad acts.

    Under your logic, it was good to wait for Hitker to finally invade Poland before western nations responded. Of course, had we bombed Berlin before the war started, we would have saved up to 50 million lives.

    Given that Hamas leaders hasve stateed on occasion that they ‘Promise to finish what Hitler started’ you can underzstand why not just Israel, but the civilized world regard them as a terror organization.

    Your remarks also underscore why you refuse to renounce Hamas racism, bigotry and hate and why you don’t distance yourself from their suppoeters and their supporters. You have boxed yourself into a position of support for Hamas, et al, from which you cannot extricate yourself.

    So much for sage counsel.

    Lastly, you request fir civil debate is laughable. You insult ne and then feign umbrage when it is dished out in return, Further, your insistence on civil debate about Hamas is absurd. That is like you defending the Nazis or the KKK over tea.

    Given the past statements of Hamas and their current institutionalized political stand, media broadcasts religious instruction, it is hard to see the difference between them and the aforementioned.

    Perhaps Hitler was redeemable and worth negotiating with in your eyes because he handed out chocolate to children .

    Maybe the KKK were fine folkks because between lynchings, they supported an orphans and widows fund.

    The ‘diversity’ of population argument borders on idiotic. The Palestinians freely elected Hamas. Tbey knew exactly what they were supporting until Israel decided that they had enough terror.

    If the ‘diverse’ population of Hamas really were interested in peace, they would get rid them, by ballot or bullet.

    Once of course they finish singing that most po0pular ditty, ‘Hamas! Hamas! Jews to the gas!

    Making theological arguments is irrelevant inasmuch as your theological insight is clearly at shallow as your political insight. Further, in assigning a religious component to your remarks, you make way for the Palestinians to do the same.

    Maybe you need to rethink if religion is where you want to go.

    Referring to you (as others have, as liar or idiot or worse) as I do in no way debases my argument. It debases you.

    Know what I mean? Sure you do.

  90. That you derive that interpretation of my views is frankly comic.

    I think you sell yourself short, and sadly Israel and all of the Jewish people, particularly by not undertaking to question the wisdom of settlement expansion, and particularly in East Jerusalem.

    There are a few options as to relationships between Israel and Palestine.

    1. Annexation – The former ideology of likud and cherut before.

    2. The current likud strategy is isolated and very limited Palestinian self-administration (also Rabin’s proposal at the time, for which he was assassinated by individuals stating very similar to your comments here). That is very different than the Jabotinsky or cherut proposal of Israel from river to sea plus approximately 1/3 of current Jordan. And, that is a different proposal than ANY of the biblical definitions of promise in Torah.

    In that proposal Palestine does resemble the South African Bantustan arrangement, that South Africa falsely claimed was “recognizing their sovereignty”.

    3. Strong Israel adjacent to sovereign but dominated and internally weak Palestine. At best an elder brother relationship, at worst an economic subordination.

    4. Strong Israel adjacent to sovereign and healthy peer Palestine. At best a good and mutually beneficial friendship. At worst, war and later isolation for Israel.

    5. Cantonal single state – Israel as a province of Israel/Palestine under a central parliament with single military and system of law.

    6. Undifferentiated single state.

    My goal is 4. I don’t believe that Israelis and Palestinians desire to be part of a single state. And, any relationship of permanently institutionalized suppression of Palestinians will result in at least anger.

    Militarily, EVERY position in relation to military enemies has exposed flanks. And, in vain efforts to secure the flanks, militaries must expand. And, as another flank is then exposed, expand again, and again, and again.

    The way that they remove the exposure of their flanks from enemies is by genuine TREATY.

    In 1938, that literal logic in form led to appeasement of Hitler. The problem was that the word of the treaties (Russian non-aggression, Chamberlain acquiescence on Sudetanland and Austria) were not treaties in fact, only treaties in form.

    So, the effort to treaty with Palestine must be substantive, not rhetorical only.

    The diplomatic reality is that there IS the Arab League offer on the table, that can be clarified and enacted if there is a will to.

    There is an administration in Palestine that IS willing to treaty with Israel as Israel, and Hamas even has acknowledged (less than trustworthily) that it would not oppose a Palestinian plebiscite on any proposed agreement. Even Iran has stated as such (also less than trustworthy).

    There is a river in the way, but there also is the ability to build a bridge.

    To not walk that path, because one ignores that one can build a bridge, and instead concludes “its impossible to get to the other side”, is not my idea of responsible leadership.

    It makes me question, more than question, whether the intent is really a smokescreen, hiding the lust for territory, specific territory (East Jerusalem and hills, Hebron Hills, others).

  91. Richard–am I correct in boiling down your view to this:

    The only acceptable offensive against guerrilla warfare and terrorism is negotiation.

  92. Richard-

    While no one could possibly be as smart as you, consider the following:

    Why Are Egypt’s Liberals Anti-Semitic?

    Western delegates to the Cairo congress should know about the country’s Judeophobia.


    Later this week, Egypt will play host to the 56th Congress of Liberal International, which bills itself as the world federation of liberal and progressive democratic parties. Among the nearly 70 parties represented by LI are Britain’s Liberal Democrats, Germany’s Free Democrats, and the Liberal Party of Canada. In the U.S., LI’s Web site cites the National Democratic Institute as a cooperating organization since 1986.

    In Cairo, the visiting delegates will be hosted by the Al-Gabha, or Democratic Front Party. Western liberals (in the old-fashioned sense of that word) are always delighted to discover like-minded people in the Third World, and perhaps nowhere more so than in Arab countries. Yet, at least in Egypt, there’s a dirty little secret about these self-described liberal parties: They are, for the most part, virulently anti-Semitic, sometimes opportunistically but just as often out of deeply-held rancorous convictions.

    Consider the case of Sekina Fouad, a well-known journalist who also serves as the DFP’s vice president. In an article published earlier this year, Ms. Fouad dismisses any distinction between Jews and Israelis, the reason for which is “the extremity of the doctrine of arrogance, distinctiveness and condescension [the Jews] set out from and seek to achieve by all means, and on top of which blood, killing, terrorizing and frightening.” She corroborates this argument with an alleged statement by “President” Benjamin Franklin, asking Americans to expel Jews since they are “like locusts, never to get on a green land without leaving it deserted and barren.”

    Needless to say, Franklin never made any such statement, not that a journalist like Ms. Fouad would bother to check. She also asks the question “Are Zionists Human?” which offers backhanded credit to Jews for having “helped [her] understand a history full of examples of their expulsion, getting rid of them and their unethical and inhuman methods.” In earlier writings, Ms. Fouad has written about what she calls “Talmudic teachings that determine types of purity unachievable by the Jew unless by using Christian human sacrifice” for the making of “blood pies.” Not surprisingly, she also dismisses the Holocaust as part of an “arsenal of Jewish myths.”

    Nor is Ms. Fouad some kind of outlier in the Egyptian liberal movement. Take Ayman Nour, who contested the 2005 presidential election under the banner of his own party and was subsequently jailed for nearly four years, becoming something of a cause célèbre among Western officials, journalists and human-rights activists.

    Immediately after his release earlier this year, he attended a celebration organized by opposition groups—including the Muslim Brotherhood—in the northern city of Port Said, commemorating “the first battalion of volunteers from the Egyptian People setting off to fight the Jews in 1948.” The word “Jews” was stressed in bolded black lettering on the otherwise blue and red banner hanging above the conference panel. Yet far from trying to distance himself from that message, Mr. Nour got into the spirit of the conference, talking not only about his solidarity with Palestinians but also “the value of standing up to this enemy, behind which lies all evils, conspiracies, and threats that are spawned against Egypt.”

    Then there is the case of Egypt’s oldest “liberal” party, Al-Wafd, whose eponymous daily newspaper is one of Egypt’s most active platforms for anti-Semitism. Following President Obama’s conciliatory Cairo speech to the Muslim world, columnist Ahmed Ezz El-Arab faulted Mr. Obama for insisting that the Holocaust was an actual historical event and gave nine historical “proofs” that it had never happened. He concluded that “the evil Jewish lies succeeded in creating an atmosphere of hatred for Germans that resulted in the death of millions.”

    These examples are, sadly, just the tip of an iceberg. What makes them all the more remarkable is that, contrary to stereotype, they do not have particularly ancient roots in Egypt. Until Egypt’s Jews were expelled by Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s and ’60s, Egypt had a millennia-old, thriving Jewish community. As late as the 1930s, Jewish politicians occupied ministerial posts in Egyptian governments and participated in nationalist politics.

    But all that changed with the rise of totalitarian and fascist movements in Europe, which found more than their share of imitators in the Arab world, both among Islamists and secularists. When Egypt’s monarchy was overthrown in 1952 by a military coup, anti-Semitism became an ideological pillar of the new totalitarian dispensation.

    Since then, Egypt has evolved, coming to terms (of a sort) with Israel and adopting at least some elements of market-based economic principle. But anti-Semitism remains the political glue holding Egypt’s disparate political forces together. Paradoxically, this is especially true of the so-called liberals, who think they can traffic on their anti-Semitism to gain favor in quarters where they would otherwise be suspect or unpopular. They have taken to demonizing Jews with the proverbial zeal of a convert.

    Westerners, who tend to treat Arabs with a condescension masked as “understanding,” may be quick to dismiss all this as a function of anger at Israeli policies and therefore irrelevant to the development of liberal politics in the Arab world. Yet a liberal movement that winds up espousing the kind of anti-Semitism that would have done the Nazis proud is, quite simply, not liberal. That’s something the visiting delegates should know before they come to Cairo. More importantly, it’s something the Arab world’s genuine liberals need to understand before they once again commit moral suicide.

    Messrs. Bargisi and Tadros are senior partners with the Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth.

  93. Suzanne-

    You said, “Richard–am I correct in boiling down your view to this:

    The only acceptable offensive against guerrilla warfare and terrorism is negotiation.”

    That is exactly what he is endorsing. Of course that is not true.

    If fine speeches could eradicate evil, we would live in a Utopia.

    If fine speeches could eradicate evil, there would be no Darfur or other African hellholes of death and misery.

    If fine speeches could eradicate evil, there would have been no loss of up to 50 million souls in WWII.

    If fine speeches could eradicate evil, there would be no war in Afghanistan.

    If fine speeches could eradicate evil, there would be no racism, bigotry and hate.

    If fine speeches could eradicate evil, there would be no terror.

  94. Thank you, RF, for posting that article about Israel’s “liberal” friends living in Israel’s “peace partner” Egypt.

    Here is a news item about Jeremy Ben-Ami saying that J-Street is now aligning itself with the Kadima party. If memory serves me, Kadima is the party that bombed the heck out of Lebanon and Gaza and whose leaders are accused of war crimes by Goldstone. I wonder of what all those enthusiastic “progressives” who attended J-Street’s conference think of that?

  95. Suzanne, RF, and Yakov,

    Its sad that you trivialize others’ views in that way.

    And, its sad that your pallette for political proposal are limited to military approaches.

    I’m not sure how anything that RF has said addresses my comments.

    Are you?

    “Fine speeches” are not the same as treaty confirmed by defensive military, confirmed by third party military, confirmed by international oversight.

    A lot of layers for accountability to treaty.

    Terror is difficult, as we’ve talked about here at long length. Military response, even anticipation, has been at best only partially, and effective, and depending on the context creates 3 new and young terrorists for the 2 assassinated.

    So, that is where I insist that effort be put, into changing the context.

    In an environment in which Gazan civilians (that have very VARIOUS political preferences and approaches) are cornered and only Hamas is present, providing social services, representing them (even if poorly), then the civilians will pick Hamas (over Islamic Jihad or PFLP).

    To consider all of the civilians of Gaza prospectively valid military targets because they elected Hamas, is sick, sorry to say.

    There really is international law, that Israel is a signatory to.

    Did you consider my question about the possible political goals/options? And, the basis for my preference for mutually healthy states?

    And, the faith that Israelis have the wits, the imagination, the skills to construct a reliable treaty.

    I also notice that you stayed away from the question of whether peace is possible at all if Israel expropriates East Jerusalem and surrounding “suburbs”. (Its amazing how sprawl happens, one suburb all of a sudden becoming the metropolis.)

    And, I also noticed that you stayed away from any question relative to the Arab League proposal, which if confirmed realizes Israel as accepted state in the region. You’d think that that would be worth something.

  96. Richard-

    The Arab league has not recognized Israel and in fact, have gone to great lengths to be obstructionist. Following the 6 Day War, Arab League wrote the Khartoum Declaration, announcing that only violence was to be used in dealing with Israel. No negotiations, no recognition and no peace with Israel.

    The Arab League has remained ineffectual (and mostly silent) in dealing with the rape and slaughter of children in Algeria by the GIA, the ongoing slave trade in Mauritania and the Janjaweed rape-fests in Darfur.

    The Arab League, claims to speak with the voice of Arab unity.

    That organization represents some of the most dysfunctional and oppressive regimes in history. The track record is clear: They do everything in their power to place obstacles and blocking any and all attempts at progress that are in the regions best interests and they do so all in the name of Arab unity and interests. They talk a good game but in the end, the Arab League merely reflects the dysfunctional regimes that sponsor it.

    Even the name, ‘Arab League,’ is deliberately misleading. In fact, that organization does not represent Arab interests at all- and never has. The Arab League has not sponsored a single educational, economic or real democratic reform and empowerment program in it’s entire existence. The Arab League is an organization dedicated to maintaining the status quo and preserving the leaders of some of the most repressive and dysfunctional regimes in the world. That is it’s entire raison d’etre.

    The Arab League has nothing offer the western, civilized world or Israel. That their efforts go into preserving and protecting that assembly of murderous, tyrannical and dysfunctional Arab world leaders is reason enough to disqualify anything they might have to say.

    Here’s another bit of realty: Military occupations end after there is peace, not before. That truth applies to the Palestinians as well.

  97. Richard-

    Fine speeches that lead to treaties between civilized nations is one th8ing.

    Fine speeches that lead to treaties with broken and dysfunctional regimes is quite another.

    Both Chamberlain and Hitler made fine speeches before WW2, speeches that lead to treaties and the death of up to 50 million people.

    Like Hitler, the Palestinians have never renounced their intentions to eradicate the Jewish state slaughter it’s inhabitants.

    In fact, they repeat their intentions daily, n media, schools and from the pulpit.

  98. It wasn’t my intention to trivialize anyone’s remarks. I wanted to cut through the abstract thinking, philosophizing, rhetoric etc and get to the core of the argument.

    It does seem to boil down to a rift between those who believe this will have to be resolved through military means–and those who believe peace can be achieved bloodlessly through negotiation.

  99. All too true, Suzanne.

    That said, negotiating with Hamas is not like negotiating with Belgium or Canada.

    It also bears remembering that in western culture and civilization, violence is the option of last resort. For the Palestinians and the Arab world, violence or the threat of violence is a primary negotiating tool in the same wasy as racism, bigotry and hate have become a part of the dysfunctional Arab regimes.

    There is no such thing as a ‘disproportionate response’ to calls for genocide. All conflicts end with ‘disproportionate response.’

    The Israelis are entitled to defend themselves from those who openly or not so openly call for their annihilation.

    Peace among nations is arrived at when the cost of war becomes overwhelming.

    Racism, bigotry and hate are overcome when the cost of racism, bigotry and hate becomes too great for society to bear.

    As long as nations and peoples perceive the cost of war as acceptable, then we will have war.

    Jews are in our reality and consciousness because wherever there is institutionalized oppression there is anti Semitism (even the Left’s beloved Hugo Chavez has gotten on that bandwagon). Wherever there is evil there are people who make no secret of their hatred of Jews. The Jews have been the canaries in the coal mines of human history for a very long time.

    When the Israelis respond militarily to religiously mandated violence from Gaza or build a fence to protect themselves from suicide bombers and those who choose to celebrate such events they can indeed be referred to as an ‘Apartheid’ responses, because those responses are intended to keep the institutionalized hate, racism and bigotry out of their society.

    Like the Israelis, every single civilized western culture rejects the apartheid of radical Islamists that calls for death, destruction and hate. Israeli and western rejectionism is a reaction to events foisted upon them, not about a religion or culture. Free societies don’t care what you believe or how you pray. Free societies are only concerned with how you behave and treat others.

    Radical Islam, left unchallenged, is the perfect petri dish from which a plague no less dangerous than the Black Death or smallpox will emerge. The world is a living organism, and at some point, when under attack, organisms fight back. Unimpeded violence will never be assimilated into the organism that is human society and culture of today. That kind of society died out a long time ago and will not return. Humankind has come to far to accept barbaric and Neanderthal, jungle like behavior as part of our reality. Progress, not regress, is the yardstick. Societies, cultures and religions are judged on what they build and create, not by what they destroy. Rejectionism is an ethical response, when what is rejected is antithetical to the morality and values that celebrate and ensures the dignity of freedom democratic expression for all.

    Unimpeded violence will never be assimilated into the organism that is human society and culture. That kind of society died out a long time ago and will not return. Humankind has come to far to accept barbaric and Neanderthal, jungle like behavior as part of our reality. Progress, not regress, is the yardstick. Societies, cultures and religions are judged on what they build and create, not by what they destroy.

  100. RF,
    You dismiss the Arab League individually and collectively, “surprisingly” using generalization to do so.

    Whether you like it or not, the Arab League contains uniquely vibrant and very sophisticated states, and some genuinely medieval.

    Nevertheless, FOR a relatively easily constructable agreement, 57 states that had formerly been at war with Israel, agreed to recognize Israel, IF (that word) Israel negotiated in good faith to realize definable consented borders.

    And, rather than even consider pursuing the establishment of normalized relations with 57 Muslim states, you rationalize expansion of maybe 15 square miles of settlements.

    There is a third alternative which is negotiation firmed by the presence of military, and with redundant military presence of US/EU and UN.

    Multiplying the power of a treaty, not a temporary armistice, not necessarily even a cold war.

    Don’t be gullible to believe RF’s generalization on dysfunctional Arab states. Like all generalizations (thought and spoken), they misrepresent.

    There is diversity of sophistication, democratic features, law, accountability, ethics among the Arab majority states in the Arab League and other conditionally willing Muslim states.

    And, as I’ve said many times, it is possible to construct a contract, a treaty, with a party that one does not fully trust. That is to get systems of third party verification and application of law, into the treaty itself.

    It happens ALL the time, successfully mostly.

    But, not trying is self-fulfilling. “I failed”.

  101. And, nearly always stated as “they caused it” (talk about dysfunctional personality or collective personality – politics).

    Its literally a child’s excuse.

  102. Richard-

    Name a single successful Arab League sponsored educational, economic or real democratic reform and empowerment program.

    While your at it, please name the entire village eradicated by Israel for hate speech, as you asserted.

    You also said,”There is a third alternative which is negotiation firmed by the presence of military, and with redundant military presence of US/EU and UN”‘

    The UN has been there for 60 years.

    The EU, NATO, Quartet have all made clear the conditions for peace:

    Cessation of violence
    Diplomatic recognition
    Secure borders

    That’s it. The conditions have been on the table for decades. Those items are none negotiable.

    You also said, “Don’t be gullible to believe RF’s generalization on dysfunctional Arab states.”

    Please point to a single example of a successful Arab state. According to the UN Report on Human Development rated the Arab states at the bottom of the educational barrel (save for sub Saharan Africa) and almost at the bottom of functioning economies (selling oil and corrupt regimes do not a healthy nation make). Then there is the matter of women’s rights, gay rights, minority rights and so on.

    There is also the matter of tolerated honor killings, FGM (100 million plus, according to the UN), slavery, child sexual abuse and so on.

    Of course, what do the authors of the UNRHD know?

    So far, your track record indicates deliberate deceit or an amazing unawareness of the facts.

    Which is it?

  103. “In December 2000, the president had put forward his far-reaching set of parameters on all the final status issues. . . . He was even prepared to spend his last four days in office negotiating the deal. A desperate Barak was waiting for the call to a final summit meeting. Barak’s foreign minister, Shlomo Ben-Ami, was so keen to reach an agreement that he had gone beyond his instructions and informed Arafat that he could even have sovereignty over the Jewish Holy of Holies, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. But at the last moment, Arafat reneged.”

    —Martin Indyk, Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account
    of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East

  104. Richard–I’m not gullible about anything. My pov is pretty consistent…I favor something like a King Abdullah agreement, I believe in a settlement freeze–and I think Israel should do whatever she has to do to defend herself in a proxy war. And yeah, sometimes bringing your enemy to its knees is the only solution…I believe that 100%.

    It’s been proven true more often than not.

  105. Cessation of violence
    Diplomatic recognition
    Secure borders

    No violence currently. The only exception is some rock-throwing at anti-fence demonstrations, but responded to by IDF with tear gas, rubber bullets, and periodic live ammunition.

    The PA has recognized Israel.

    Secure borders – Time to define them by consented negotiation.

    ALL of your key criteria are either completed or within ISRAEL’S primary control and influence.

    Time to start doing, rather than just talking.

  106. I get that you fear (you use the term predict, somehow prophetic as you are) that those conditions are not fully confident given the state of conflict within Palestinian society, and currently stated commitment to fight Israel and Israelis (and willingly gruesomely).

    I don’t doubt that there are EXCELLENT reasons to distrust.

    I also don’t doubt that Israel has the imagination, discipline, military capability, of constructing a consentable peace treaty with the PA, and with Syria and Lebanon, if it intends to.

    Again, the major obstacle is the settlements, including the settlements and developments that are being built in East Jerusalem, exclusively for Jewish residents.

  107. “No violence currently.”

    True. How many weeks has it been? How many weapons are being smuggled in from Gaza? Has the institutionalized incitement in media, schools and from pulpits stopped?

    “The PA has recognized Israel.”

    That’s nice. Hamas has not and there are elements of the PA that explicitly do not recognize Israel and advocate violence.

    “Secure borders – Time to define them by consented negotiation.”

    On that we agree. As soon as the violence and threat of violence is removed, the time will be ripe for real negotiations.

    More later.

  108. Its been 8 months since Gazan rocket fire.

    There is no current threat of violence. Due to a combination of fences (even though illegally intruding into private and prospectively public Palestinian’s land), IDF roadblocks (though even in the areas where the roadblocks have been removed recently, there is still no violence), and PA enforcement.

    The border between Gaza and Israel is defined and defensible. The border between Israel and Palestine is a moving target due to Israel’s annexations and expropriations. Time to stop it unilaterally so that rational people can conclude a treaty.

    Stop the self-propogating delay.

  109. Fungus,
    Now that I’m back at my computer I’ll respond to your response in #39.

    1) U.S. Occupation of Japan after WWII.
    2) Allied Occupation of Germany after WWII.
    3) Allied Occupation of Italy after WWII.
    4) NATO Occupation of Kosovo.
    5) UN Occupation of Bosnia.

    You can’t put stipulations after the fact that didn’t match your original remark. These are all military occupations. If you are going to engage in sloganeering you should expect to be challenged on it.

    And in Germany there were former SS troops that engaged in guerrilla warfare against Allied troops. In Bosnia some Serbs attacked U.S. personnel. Yet in none of those instances did the military occupiers attempt to settle their own population in the territory that they were occupying in violation of the Geneva Convention.

  110. Richard-

    Hamas has declared a ‘Hudna’ with the express purpose of rearming- hence the interdiction of mass amounts of weapons by the Egyptians and Israelis.

    Hamas is not ‘ready for peace’.

    Hamas has made clear tha tthey will never recognize Israel.

    Hamas still calls for violence and terror.

    Hamas institutionalized calls for genocide and expressions of racism, bigotry and hate from state sponsored media, schools and religious pulpits go on unabated.

    Would you assign credibility to the KKK and welcome then into your tent because they hadn’t lynched a black man in a few months, even as they publicly stated to you and everyone else their desire to do just that and worse? Well, we know the answer to that, Richard.

    Of course you would.

    Know what I mean? Sure you do.

  111. RF,
    You don’t get that by your generalization “THE Palestinians can’t be trusted”, you functionally compel Hamas to be relevant, chosen in their society?

    That is an affect of your action.

    The December action in Gaza included rational and valid military targets, and irrational and socially punitive targets. By your logic, the punitive targeting is acceptable because Hamas militia had been in some of the locations at some point in the recent past, and the Gazans elected and accepted Hamas anyway.

    Or, do you agree that half (or some significant number) of the Gazan deaths were not related to rocket launching directly or indirectly, and were therefore unnecessary, excessive?

    My analysis of political opponents includes the reasoning of whether and to what extent their opposition is conditional or unconditional.

    Those individuals that adopt unconditional opposition, and genocidal particularly, are unlikely to be swayed. Some do nevertheless. They are imprinted criminals.

    But, the VAST majority of individuals, including in Hamas (particularly the majority of Hamas activists that work primarily in social service and religious training) have conditional opposition, NOT genocidal.

    And, the conditions by which that number then choose reconciliation over revenge, is influencable by Israel and Israelis.

    And, it is possible to design incremental and in cases permanent features that both prohibit violence against Israeli civilians, AND realize actual reconciliation and normalization.

    Whether you acknowledge it or not, Palestinians are human beings, part of the same human ancestry, part of the same human community.

    Many of the current Palestinians are legally Jews, in matrilineal descent from Jews. There is no statute of limitations on matrilineal descent, even for those that converted willingly or originally by force.

    I have a dog story, that you will likely find insulting, though I also apply to my own behavior.

    That is that I was taking care of a friend’s dog at 19. I took the dog to a concert (not all that smart), and the dog got into a fight with another dog at the concert. I attempted to grab my dog, to restrain it from fighting. It quickly turned the majority of its aggression to me, bit me, and entirely forgot about the other dog.

    That is the animal logic of loyalty. Social loyalty, familial defense, is a mammalian trait, human only because humans are mammals. The same mammalian features that invoke the loving loyalty of motherhood, invoke the punitive features of attacks on the “disloyal”.

    Its surprising when those that attempt that consider themselves humane, or responsible, when they are demonstrating a mammalian “Pavlovian” behavior, not thought, not compassion.

  112. It is true that sometimes one has to drop thought, compassion, creativity to defend, to be an effective dog.

    But, the permanent nature of your warring attitude shifts that from a temporary need, to a permanent characteristic.

    I hope you see that, and that that is not a virtue.

  113. The important clarifying point of my criticism, is that I am still waiting for your brainstorming, your assessment of strategy TO achieve peace, your commitment to creatively and conscientiously realize it.

    I’ve not heard it yet.

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