Live from the J Street National Conference

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79 Responses

  1. Avatar tom van dyke says:

    BDS = Beck Derangement Syndrome?Report

  2. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    After three locked Google Docs, I gave up trying any more.Report

  3. Avatar Will says:

    Errr, who wrote this?Report

  4. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    I spent 18 months in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. J Street’s position on refugees is very weak tea. Given that the resettlement problem is the most onerous, J Street’s bland restatement of the status quo ante means they’re not serious. J Street seem to be AIPAC Lite, for every practical purpose.Report

  5. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    I’d like to address two continuing problems affecting American-Israeli relationship. It is no secret to anyone, anymore, that Israel has a great many nuclear weapons. Israel has never submitted to an international inspections regime such as IAEA, nor has it signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, nor will it ever do so while the current political parties remain extant.

    At the end of Gulf War 1, the great warships were heading home. Watching from the shore were a group of military advisers, including several Pakistani generals. Someone asked them: “What have the neighbouring nations learned from all this?” A Pakistani general said “Now everyone will want a nuclear weapon. The United States never invades a country with a nuclear weapon.”

    Within two years of that fateful utterance, both India and Pakistan had tested nuclear weapons.

    I contend Israel’s posture on NPT has led to a nuclear arms race. While Israel refuses to do what every other nuclear nation has done and continues to lie about it all, I see no good reason we should get terribly upset about Iran’s lies on this subject. Nor is the subject limited to Iran: I believe KSA has already purchased nuclear weapons against the eventuality of Iran getting one. Saddam tried, Israel bombed his reactor. Syria tried, Israel bombed their reactor. Libya tried: mystifying everyone, Qadafy came clean and gave up his trial run.

    Why can nobody persuade Israel to sign the NPT? J Street can’t, or won’t. A quick autocrawl of their site doesn’t turn up the word nuclear anywhere.Report

    • Avatar Max in reply to BlaiseP says:

      J Street doesn’t have a position on Israel’s nuclear weapons, as the issue is tangential to the question of Palestinian sovereignty.

      I’m interested to hear about your experiences in the refugee camps if you’d like to share them.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Max says:

        Then J Street is moving deck chairs on the Titanic. J Street’s mission is two-fold: first, to advocate for urgent American diplomatic leadership to achieve a two-state solution and a broader regional, comprehensive peace. Get a policy on Israel’s intransigence vis-à-vis NPT or get off the stage: you lot are simply not writing serious position papers on the most onerous Israeli-American issue and the greatest obstacle to a broader, regional comprehensive peace.

        Palestinian sovereignty is the very least of Israel’s worries: most of the Palestinian leadership are in Israeli jails and all have at one time or another been in those jails. I will write more anon about what I saw in Lebanon: this I can tell you, the Lebanese hate the Palestinians far more than the Israelis.Report

        • Avatar Max in reply to BlaiseP says:

          Well, I’ve expressed J Street’s lack of position on the issue of Israeli nuclear weapons as best I can.

          The Arab Peace Initiative, which offers a regional, comprehensive peace, has nothing to say about nuclear weapons. It is wholly concerned with the issue of Palestinian sovereignty.

          I have no idea why the presence of Palestinian leadership in Israeli prisons should mitigate general Palestinian sovereignty as an Israeli concern – but even if this ought to be true, there is no question that is not. Just in the past few days, the current Israeli government has talked of little else (though the message delivered has been decidedly mixed.) Netanyahu claims to want a stepping-stone deal by May; Barak wants one much earlier; and meanwhile Danny Ayalon is in the WSJ relitigating whether or not the West Bank is occupied at all.

          One may agree or disagree with, or choose to believe or not believe, any of those three men – but the idea that they are not preoccupied with occupation does not hold water.Report

          • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Max says:

            I can understand why J Street wouldn’t take a position on Israel and NPT. You don’t feel it’s germane to the formation of a Palestinian State.

            But it is germane. It’s the elephant in the room nobody wants to discuss. Now let me tell you, plainly, until you get one, all this fluffy talk about the Arab Peace Initiative is just so much well-meaning bosh.

            Here’s the fundamental equation: in the wake of the Ottoman Empire, there were no land deeds. The Ottomans never understood the concept: the lands were owned by the pashas and the beys, who moved the fellahin around like so many horses and cattle. A new set of pashas has emerged: Israel and the Strong Men. The fellahin are still where they were before: though they run around in Egypt, joyfully proclaiming their freedom from the hated Mubarak, soon enough the Egyptian military will reimpose control over those optimistic young things with their tweets and Facebook postings and things will go on precisely as before.

            The Arab Peace Initiative was promulgated by the Strong Men. Hamas has rejected it. Alas for Israel, it doesn’t have some toothless, defeated old scarecrow like that bank robber Arafat to prop up on the other side of the negotiating table anymore. Now it faces Hamas, a very different creature. Across the mountains, it faces Hizb’allah, grown deeply wicked and powerful since last Israel went north. Hizb’allah has no love for the Palestinian refugees: they keep them bottled up in their camps, forbidden any sort of meaningful work in Lebanon. Syria grows ever craftier, the only remaining secular state in the region, and secular only because the Ba’ath Party remains in power.

            Who is left on the Arab side of the table to back the Arab Peace Initiative? Nobody of any consequence, except the Strong Men, all of whom are presently distracted by these demonstrations. Israel’s situation grows increasingly precarious, its threadbare sophistries are tattered sails holding no wind.

            And I will tell you another thing for free: Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi of the Muslim Brotherhood just came back to Egypt from exile in the company of his young toughs. When that Western do-gooder Wael Ghonim tried to get on the stage, Qaradawi had him shoved off the platform. Israel did its deals with the Strong Man Sadat and Mubarak kept up the cold peace for as long as he could. Now all bets are off.

            The time for rapprochement with the Palestinians is long past. If you want to help Israel, my advice is to send shiploads of high strength concrete: it will be needed in the next few years for the construction of bunkers. Iran will eventually get a nuclear weapon and when it gets one, it will fire it. We are talking about a government run by millenialist madmen who are building hotels and stadiums for the imminent return of the Mahdi. They have already sent tens of thousands of missiles to Lebanon: Israelis are no longer safe, anywhere. This calls for a peace process encompassing far more than a few hectares of rocky ground on the West Bank. Israel will either pull its head out of it ass and behave like a responsible nuclear power or it will be forced to fire those nukes.Report

          • Avatar stillwater in reply to Max says:

            Every Presidency since Nixon has been preoccupied with I/P. And every president has heard encouraging words from Israeli leadership that they are serious (SERIOUS!) about hammering out a deal. Then some Palestinian kid throws an olive pit at a Jewish persons car, and the rockets fill the nightime sky because the Palestinians aren’t serious about peace.

            Look, I think what you’re trying to accomplish here is admirable, but overlooking the importance of the facts (just mere facts?) that BlaiseP brings up here is ridiculous. You say the Palestinian leadership’s incarceration in Israeli prisons is besides the point wrt to a two state solution. Do you really believe that Israeli policy and actions over the last 64 years can simply be dismissed as irrelevant? Look forward not back, right? Right.

            Until the state of Israel makes serious concessions to the international community and to Palestinian autonomy, and establishes itself as a bargainer of good faith, J Street’s desires here seem like a mere continuation of Israeli policies from the past: the unilateral right of Israel to dictate the terms of the settlement.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to stillwater says:

              The USA’s attempts at a meaningful peace process since Jimmy Carter have only been face-saving gestures. When it counts, you may consistently rely on the United States to veto any UN resolution condemning Israel for anything.

              To the rest of the world, this is no different than China’s consistent protection of North Korea from the slings and arrows of outrage from various and sundry.

              But this really doesn’t matter much. The cardboard thunderbolts of the UN aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, going right back to the formation of Israel. The Blue Helmets in Lebanon are useless, the UNHCR even more so, if that is possible.

              And now, mirabile dictu, now comes J Street to blithely inform us it is both pro-Israel and pro-peace. Lo this is a great marvel in our times, a tidy resolution of conflicting paradigms in what the theologians would call a Mystery. According to J Street’s pilpul of pro-peace sophistry, we are to ignore the presence of hundreds of completely unregulated nuclear weapons and reactors. While Mordechai Vanunu remains muzzled and Israel’s friends dismiss this issue as a distraction from the peace they seek, let us state the matter plainly: Israel will never join the ranks of respectable, law-abiding nations.Report

              • Avatar stillwater in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Max wrote: I have no idea why the presence of Palestinian leadership in Israeli prisons should mitigate general Palestinian sovereignty as an Israeli concern

                ‘as an Israeli concern’. So the entire approach is Israel-centric.

                It’s hard to not get snarky here. Too hard.

                Is it in Israel’s interests to promote a two-state solution?
                J Streets’ answer: Why, yes, yes it is!

                Why not just be done with it then, J Street? Just return to the pre-67 borders, and let the Palestinians resolve their own issues?

                J Street answer: Well, there’s problems, see. Like what form of government the New Palestine ought to take, for example, whether it ought to have the right to democratic elections, and the right to a standing military, and of course these issues are complicated by the fact that major Palestinian political parties are official terrorist organizations, so we’re concerned about that, as well as the obvious necessity of Israel to protect itself from any potentially terrorism-supporting government New Palestine may elect by collecting taxes from the Palestinians, especially so if they have a standing military, which come to think of it may not be such a good idea, or even permitting democratic elections to begin with (we’ll have to think about that). And of course water rights issues in the Golan Heights need to be resolved, not to mention disputes over Jerusalem, and the necessity of trade restrictions into New Palestine, obviously. All these issues need a resolution. But since the Palestinian leadership is all incarcerated or officially designated a terrorist, we – the J Street guys – humbly offer to negotiate on the Palestinians behalf.

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to stillwater says:

                And gosh, we really do need that Wall. For security reasons, you know.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

                It seems, and I don’t have the statistics at hand (maybe Mikie could get ’em), that the Palestinians haven’t blown up as many innocent, unarmed Jews as the usually do since the wall went up. Hey, maybe we need one down in our Southwest?Report

              • Avatar stillwater in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Robert, based on the views you present at this sight, there is no doubt in my mind that if a non-Christian government were to occupy your land, and restrict your right to movement, gainful employment, political representation, etc., that you’d be firing rockets over the wall faster than anyone.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                Good point, my friend Bob! Extreme force and walls are the only thing separating and preventing Palestinian non-stop murder. They get especially get all excited and rambunctious around Easter time. Here’s what a few of your lil’ darlins’ have been up to when not negotiating for peace.

                64) September 9, 2003 – Two Palestinian homicide bombings, one at a crowded bus stop near Tel Aviv, the second five hours later at a popular Jerusalem nightspot killed 14 Israelis and wounded and maimed dozens. Among the victims of the bombings was the head of a Jerusalem hospital emergency room and his 20-year-old daughter who was going to get married later in the everning. – click here for more details.

                63) August 19, 2003 – A mass murderer from the group “Palestinian Islamic Jihad” blew himself up onboard a bus in Jerusalem, killing 18 people and wounding scores, including over 40 children. – click here for more details.

                62) August 13, 2003 – Two Palestinian homicide bombers blew themselves in the Israeli towns of Rosh Ha’ayin and Ariel, murdering two Israelis and wounding 12 in almost simultaneous attacks. – click here for more details.

                61) July 8, 2003 – Mazal Afari, 65, a resident of Moshav Kfar Yavetz, east of Netanya, Israel, was killed and three of her grandchildren were lightly injured when a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated his explosives inside their home, causing it to collapse. – click here for more details.

                60) June 19, 2003 – A Palestinian suicide bomber detonated a bag of explosives in a grocery store located in Moshav Sde Trumot, Israel. Avner Mordechai, 63, the owner of the store, was critically injured in the blast, and later died of his injuries. – click here for more details.

                59) June 11, 2003 – Sixteen Israelis were killed and more than 100 were wounded when a fascist Palestinian homicide bomber, dressed as an ultra-Orthodox Jew, detonated his explosives belt on a bus in downtown Jerusalem. Palestinian terrorists have attempted 11 homicide bombings and murdered 23 Israelis in the last 4 days, since Palestinians “accepted” the “roadmap for peace” and the end of violence – click here for more details.

                58) May 19, 2003 – In the fifth suicide bombing in two days, a Palestinian homicide bomber blew up at the main entrance to the Shaarei Amakim mall in Afula killing three Israelis and wounding 50 – click here for more details.

                57) May 18, 2003 – The scum from Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or Arafat’s Al-Aksa brigades once again murdered unarmed innocent women and children when a homicide bomber blew up on a bus in Jerusalem killing seven people and wounding 20 – click here for more details.

                56) April 29, 2003 – A Muslim British citizen blows himself at “Mike’s Place”, a restaurant in Tel Aviv, murdering 4 Israelis and injuring 50. For more details on the attack and for information on “Mike’s place”, click here.

                55) April 23, 2003 – To prove that Palestinians are serious about not implementing any peace agreement, a Palestinian murderer killed one and wounded nine in a homicide bombing at the entrance to the Kfar Sava train station, northeast of Tel Aviv – click here for more details.

                54) March 30, 2003 – In the first suicide bombing since the start of the Iraq war, a Palestinian terrorist detonated himself outside a crowded cafe in the Mediterranean coastal city of Netanya, wounding nearly 40 people, two of them critically – click here for more details.

                53) March 5, 2003 – 16 people, including many school children, were massacred by a Palestinian homicide bomber who blew himself up in a crowded bus in the northern Israeli city of Haifa – click here for more details. Abigail Litle, a 14-year-old girl, and a citizen of the United States of America, was killed in the blast – click here to read her story.

                52) January 5, 2003 – 23 people were killed, and more than 80 were wounded when two Palestinian murderers from the Islamic Jihad blew themselves up. Two powerful blasts, about 2 minutes apart, ripped through a crowded neighborhood near the old Tel Aviv bus station – click here for more details. Steven Cromwell, a 43-year-old father of 2, and a citizen of Ghana, was killed in the blast – click here to read his story.

                51) November 21, 2002 – Massacre in Jerusalem: a Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber detonated an explosives belt packed with nuts and bolts to maximize the impact inside a Jerusalem bus filled with schoolchildren. Eleven Israelis were murdered and over 50 wounded in the terrorist attack, including 5 women and 4 children. The Palestinian group Hamas (Islamic Resistance) proudly claimed responsibility for the murders. For more details, click here. Among the victims was Ilan Perlman, an 8-year-old boy, click here to read his story.

                50) November 4, 2002 – A Palestinian genocide bomber blew himself up in a crowded shopping center in Israeli town of Kfar Saba. Two Israelis were murdered and 32 wounded in the terrorist attack, including two infants. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad proudly claimed responsibility for the murders. For more details on the attack, click here. Among the victims was a 15-year-old kid, Gaston Perpiñal, originally born in Argentina. Click here to read his story.

                49) October 27, 2002 – A Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber blew himself up outside a gas station outside the Israeli town of Ariel, killing himelf, two Israelis and wounding over 30. Ten to 15 of the wounded were in serious condition, media reports said. A woman shouted at a group of soldiers that she suspected a suicide bomber was among them, and a soldier opened fire, “then the bomber blew up,”. The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas proudly claimed responsibility for the murders. For more details, click here.

                48) October 21, 2002 – Fourteen people were killed and 50 wounded when a car bomb containing about 100 kilograms (200 lbs) of explosives was detonated next to an Israeli bus traveling along Wadi Ara on Route No. 65 towards Hadera. The bus had pulled over at a bus stop at the Karkur junction when the homicide/suicide bomber, driving a jeep, approached from behind and exploded. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed that the murders were carried out by two of its members from Jenin. For more details, click here. Among the victims was a 19-year-old young Israeli woman, Sharon Tubol – click here to read her story.

                47) October 10, 2002 – A Palestinian terrorist slips while boarding an Israeli bus and falls. The bus driver and a fellow passenger then pinned the bomber to the ground after seeing some wires sticking out of his clothing, and screamed: “It’s a terrorist! Everybody get out of here!”. Unfortunately, the incompetent Palestinian morron managed to blow himself up murdering Sa’ada Aharon, a 71-year-old grandmother of 15 (click here for her story), and injuring over two dozen. For more details, click here.

                46) September 19, 2002 – A Palestinian genocide bomber blew himself up in a crowded bus in Tel-Aviv, deliberately murdering 5 and wounding over 60 Israeli men, women and children. The blast occurred at about 1 p.m. local time on bus No. 4 at the corner of Allenby and Montefiore Streets, near The Great Synagogue of Tel Aviv. The force of the blast blew the roof off the bus, blew out most of its windows and blackened the interior. A witness, Shmuel Salomon, said he saw bodies being hurled from the bus. “There were arms and legs on the ground. It was a horror,” said Shmuel Salomon, who owns a restaurant in the area. For more details, click here. Among the victims was Solomon Hoenig, a 79-year-old grandfather of 5 – to read more about Solomon, click here

                45) September 18, 2002 – A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at a busy intersection outside the Israeli-Arab city of Umm el Fahm, killing a police officer and wounding three people. The bomber detonated his explosives while standing on the highway, after police approached him because he was suspiciously weaving between trucks on foot For more details, click here.

                44) August 4, 2002 – A Palestinian genocide bomber blew himself up on a bus at the height of morning rush hour traffic near the Israeli town of Tsfat. Nine passengers were killed and over 50 innocent human beings were seriously injured. The explosion blew off the roof of the bus and the vehicle then burst into flames. “I picked up four dead myself,” Haim Ben-Shimon, a civilian who was nearby at the time of the blast, told a Radio news station. “The bus is simply crushed. It looks as if the explosion happened in the center of the bus. For more details, click here. The Palestinian terrorist group “Islamic Jihad” managed to kill Adelina Kononen, a 37-year-old mother of 2, originally from the Philippines – click here to read her story.

                43) July 31, 2002 – Seven Israeli students were slaughtered when a very powerful bomb exploded inside a school bag on a table inside a Hebrew University cafeteria in Jerusalem. Over 80 people were injured by the blast, including 14 that are currently in critical condition. The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas (Islamic Resistance) claimed responsibility for the murders. Click here for more details.

                42) July 17, 2002 – At least three people were killed and more than 30 wounded in a double genocide bombing in the heart of Tel Aviv. The attack came a day after a murderous attack on a bus near the town of Emmanuel that killed eight. Police said two Palestinian terrorists blew themselves up between a cafe and a cinema in an area near the former central bus station that has become a center of night life mainly for foreign workers. Click here for more details.

                41) June 19, 2002 – Seven Israeli unarmed civilians were killed and 37 injured when a Palestinian genocide bomber blew himself up at a crowded bus stop and hitchhiking post in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem. The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which directly reports to Yasser Arafat, claimed responsibility for the attack. For more details click here.

                40) June 18, 2002 – A Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber detonated an explosive device packed with nails and metal shards on a crowded city bus in Jerusalem during morning rush hour, killing 19 passengers and wounding dozens more. Many high-school students were killed in the blast. For more details click here.

                39) June 12, 2002 – A Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber killed Hadar Hershkowitz, a 15-year-old Israeli girl, and wounded 10 others when he blew himself up in the middle of a group of people in a restaurant in Herzliya, just north of Tel-Aviv. For more details click here.

                38) June 5, 2002 – A Palestinian terrorist drove a car packed with a large quantity of explosives into an Israeli bus (Egged No. 830) traveling from Tel-Aviv to Tiberias at the Megiddo junction near Afula. 17 people were killed and over 50 were injured. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (Islamic holy war) claimed responsibility for the murder. Click here for more details.

                37) May 27, 2002 – A Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber blows himself in front of a coffee shop in Petah Tikvah, east of Tel-Aviv, killing two and injuring over 30. A 3 year old girl is reported dead, while an 18 month infant is reported critically injured. The Palestinian terrorist group “Al Aksa Martyr’s brigade”, which directly reports to Arafat, has taken responsibility for the homicide. For more details click here.

                36) May 22, 2002 – A suicide bomber blows himself up on the pedestrian mall in Rishon Letzion, 15 km (10mi) southeast of Tel Aviv shortly after 9 p.m. Two people are killed in the blast and over 30 others are wounded. For more details click here.

                35) May 19, 2002 – An homicide/suicide bomber rocks Netanya main market killing three and wounding dozens – click here for more details. Among the victims was Yosef Haviv, a 70-year-old Israeli – click here to read his story.

                34) May 8, 2002 – A suicide bomber strikes at a snooker club in Rishon Letzion south of Tel Aviv, killing 16 Israelis and wounding 60. See “Mother of 3 is victim” and for more details click here.

                33) April 12, 2002 – Female suicide bomber blows herself up at the Mahane Yehuda market, Jerusalem’s main outdoor market, killing six people and wounding over 100. See “Grandmother of 9, victim of Palestinian Terrorism”

                32) April 10, 2002 – A Palestinian suicide bomber kills eight and wounds 12 when he blows himself up on a bus crowded with commuters near the northern city of Haifa. Noa Shlomo, 18, was killed in the blast, click here to learn more.

                31) March 31, 2002 – Suicide bomber blows himself up in the Matza restaurant run by Israeli Arabs in the northern port city of Haifa, 15 people are killed and 44 are injured. A second suicide attack wounds six people at the West Bank settlement of Efrat. Orly Ofir, 16, was one of the Haifa victims murdered by the Palestinian homicide bomber, click here to see her story.

                30) March 30, 2002 – Suicide bomber blows himself up in a busy Tel Aviv restaurant on Allenby Street, at least 20 people are hurt.

                29) March 29, 2002 – Woman suicide bomber blows herself up at a supermarket in the Kiryat Yovel suburb of Jerusalem, killing two people and injuring at least 20. Rachel Levy, 17, was one of the victims murdered by the Palestinian genocide bomber, click here to see her story.

                28) March 27, 2002 – On Passover (a Jewish Holiday), a Palestinian genocide bomber walked into the dining room a hotel, located in the center of Netanya, where 250 guests had just sat down to begin dinner. He detonated an explosive device, killing 22 and injuring 140, including many children and elderly. The Palestinian murderer was identified as a member of Fatah Al-Aksa Martyrs brigades, a terrorist group that directly reports to Yasser Arafat. He was on the list of wanted terrorists Israel had requested be arrested. Dvora Karim, 73, was a grandmother of 3 and great-grandmother of 1 that was killed in the attack, click here to see her story.

                27) March 21, 2002 – A Palestinian genocide bomber detonated a bomb, packed with metal spikes and nails, in the center of a crowd of shoppers on King George Street in Jerusalem. Three unarmed civilians were killed and 86 were injured. Among the victims was Tzipi Shemesh, 29, a pregnant mother of 2 – click here to see her story.

                26) March 20, 2002 – A Palestinian genocide bomber blows himself up on a bus near the Israeli Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, killing seven people and wounding 27. The attack occurred around 7 AM., shortly after the No. 823 Egged bus had stopped to take on passengers at the Umm el-Fahm junction. A few moments later, the terrorist detonated the explosives strapped to his body, blowing himself up and killing or wounding all of those with him on the bus, which was completely gutted. Among the victims was Mogus Mahento, 75, grandfather of 13, who had immigrated from Ethiopia in 1991. Click here to read his story.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Well yes, Mr. Blaise, Israel does indeed need that wall. How about comparing terrorists attacks pre-wall and post wall. Would you like to make a little wager? Come on, now, you seem quite confident in your assertions. Are you seriously trying to argue that the construction of that Wall has not been beneficial and helpful to the Israelis? Or are you worried about stirring up the make-believe, “Arab Street”? I noticed no one commented about the outpouring of joy, singing, dancing in the “Arab Streets” following the 9/11 attacks. The only regrets they had was not being able to participate in the bloody carnage. Ultimately, as history has shown over and over again, the only good Infidel is a dead Infidel.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to stillwater says:

                But hey, J Street is gonna Boycott ‘n Sanction and Divest and, well, just all kindsa meaningful gestures to stand up to Bibi, etc. And Dennis Ross gave a speech, too. That putz Dennis Ross was right in there, rootin’ for the War on Iraq, him and all his AIPAC buddies. That Dennis Ross is allowed to open his mouth in public and speak of peace is a schande.

                Eet eez to larf. Bibi has faced down far more serious efforts to dislodge him from his positions that this bunch of wishful thinkers.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to BlaiseP says:

                STillwater: As I understand it, the Israelis allowed Pals in their house of reps, allowed the Pals to work in Israel and have businesses. Then the rad Pals started strapping on explosives and killing innocent Judens and that was pretty much that.
                Is it ok with you if the Jew has a homeland/nation, or should that be verboten? And, if you think its ok, how much more should the Jew give of the lands they won in wars of self defense? You libruls live in la, la land.Report

              • Avatar stillwater in reply to BlaiseP says:

                And, if you think its ok, how much more should the Jew give of the lands they won in wars of self defense?

                What’s you evidence that they were wars in self-defense? Have you looked at the history, the motives and political alignments of the time, at the internal documents where the expression of Israeli military objectives conflict with the CW, the inordinate power differential between each such that ‘defense’ is quite clearly a euphemism for something else?

                Have you considered the possibility that Palestinian oppression is under-reported; that the right to return is conventionally viewed to be already settled and therefore a non-issue; that the Israeli response is entirely out of proportion to the instigating act; that the so-called ‘instigating act’ is irrational, and hence an act of desperation by people with nothing left to lose?

                I’m not sure this falls on a liberal-conservative line, like you rather simplistically assert. As an example (because it’s close at hand) do you deny that BlaiseP has direct experience with refugees, and with Palestinians living on the West Bank? Are his views the unfiltered observations of someone who’s been there, or are they merely colored by liberal bias?

                It is OK with me that the Jews have a home, just so long as they admit that the land which constitutes most of current Israel was already occupied (tho Jews had a presence there) and that they expelled millions of Arabs from the lands they occupied in expansionist wars, justified (Orwellianly) as ‘self defense’. They have a right to a place, how much of a place is subject to dispute.

                Finally, am I right in assuming that you’d defend you’re home and land with force from oppressive occupation?Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to stillwater says:

                Dude, take a breath. Very few countries today weren’t formed by some sort of war or violence. It’s called the right of conquest.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to stillwater says:

                Look, putting aside the obtuseness of a good deal of the rhetoric, Israel faces an existential crisis. A homeland for the Jews — ma zeh what can this mean? Is this a racist statement or the dream of a people who have said, year after year, “If I forget thee O Jerusalem, let my hand forget her cunning.” The beauty of the first half of that tehillah changes quickly, to a song of revenge and dashing the heads of the children of Babylon against a stone.

                I’ve read Hebrew since my father taught it to me as a little boy, an amusing diversion for him. I’ve read Arabic as long and spoke it, too. I don’t take sides. My mind has become the sad, fusty old storeroom of a hoarder of words. The glories of Haroun al-Rashid and the songs of David, the ghazal of the Sufi — it is all of a piece.

                The madness of the people involved, the insane litanies of atrocities, some of which arrived here via Cut-n-Paste. Now I will tell you what I have seen. It is a prison locked from within. All these wishful thinkers and dreamers and NGOs and J Streeters and the rest of them stand outside the prison, reaching their arms through the bars, attempting to reason with the prisoners.

                Not all of them reason, some egg the prisoners on.

                Americans, if they cared about the plight of these people, both Arab and Israeli, would stop taking sides, stop listening to these litanies of hatred and murder. In short, stay the hell out of it.

                But fear not thou, O Jacob My servant, neither be dismayed, O Israel; for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall again be quiet and at ease, and none shall make him afraid. Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to stillwater says:

                I think “stay the hell out” works. Let the Jews and Palestinians settle it.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to stillwater says:

                Blaise, this just isn’t fair–you even speak Hebrew? Awesome. Oh, and Arabic, too? I’ve heard Arabic is a monstrously difficult language to learn. I do agree with much of what have written re. Israel and this post. I have a real problem though with all of your equivalences. Maybe being attacked by 7 different countries on 4 different occasions seems just to you, but I think it’s not the behavior that will likely endear you to anyone. I know, as if they could care about such a concern. We’re dealing with eternal blood lust here and it’s going to be a fight to the death.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to stillwater says:

                Solomon once said “He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife not his own, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.”Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to stillwater says:

                Yes, Bob–agree. Let the Pals and Jews handle it themselves. I doubt, if Israel is to allowed to fight her enemies with two guns ablazin’ the war would last three hours, tops. She’ll know when it’s time, believe me.
                And it won’t be pretty.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to stillwater says:

                Oh, don’t get me wrong here. My only yardstick is refugees and by God Almighty the Arabs ran all the Jews out of their cities, especially Baghdad and Alexandria, where they had lived in peace with their Muslim neighbours for many centuries. And all those Russian Jews — Israel was a refugee nation from its inception.

                Let me repeat this: I do not take sides. Nobody with any insight into the problem takes sides.

                I have no love for the Arabs who have continued to persecute the Palestinians, murdering them and locking them into ghettos every bit as vile as the ones Europe shoved the Jews into all those years ago.

                It is the supremest of ironies to see the State of Israel, a nation conceived from the horrific aftermath of WW2, people who had been persecuted for centuries, denied the right to own land, now treat their Palestinians this way. It is a situation so tragic, so maddening, so entirely “justified” by the Litanies of Madness, no sensible person can claim to understand it, except from a great distance. Those who are condemned to live in it, at short range, are prisoners locked into the Prison of History. And only they can open it.Report

              • Avatar Max in reply to stillwater says:

                If you’re actually interested in the organization’s positions on the issues, I’m happy to provide answers, but I didn’t write this to cast stones at anyone and I’m not going to play that game.

                Blaise asserted that Israel is not concerned about the issue of Palestinian sovereignty. I disagreed and provided evidence. The exchange is crystal clear, and for you to quote a single sentence and recast the entire argument as if I could only understand the Israeli point of view is disingenuous. Not to mention ridiculous, since anyone reading this thread can clearly see what you’ve done.

                J Street is not Israeli- or Palestinian-centric, whatever those terms mean to you. They’re an American organization, comprised of Americans, lobbying the American government on matters of America’s foreign policy. They have Israeli supporters and Palestinian supporters and welcome input from those groups.

                By the way, that doesn’t mean that making the case for a Palestinian state from the Israeli perspective is wrong. It’s not wrong, and what’s more, it’s effective. Like any people, Israelis want to know “what’s in it for them.”Report

              • Avatar stillwater in reply to Max says:

                J Street is not Israeli- or Palestinian-centric,

                Sorry for getting confused. Early in the piece you said “J Street is the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement.” I apologize for letting that statement inform the rest of what you had to say.

                Look, I knew when I posted the snark thing I would get slagged. And I apologize for overly-simplifying what is in fact a difficult, and seemingly intractable, issue. Good luck to you. Israel, however, will not agree to any terms that are even minimally acceptable to the Palestinians. I think the snark still holds.Report

              • Avatar stillwater in reply to Max says:

                Like any people, Israelis want to know “what’s in it for them.”

                But this is the problem with Israeli policy all along, from the 47-48 expansion, through 67 and subsequently. It’s merely an instance of what Kissinger called ‘fact building’: the use of force to occupy a territory followed by the incremental settlement of that territory by Israelis, leading to a legitimate or contestable claim to that territory down the road.

                The whole expansion of 67 is an instance of this very phenomenon. Now Israel, in your own words, feels like they need to know ‘what’s in it for them’ by simply returning to the Palestinians what’s rightfully theirs. And you wonder why I snark about this stuff.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to stillwater says:

                My friend Stillwater, “expansion”??? It’s called self-defense. Please tell me how many victorious countries gave back land they fought and died for. I think you’ll find it to be ZERO. And while you’re at it, please put down Howard Zinn’s historical monstrosity and read:
                The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran
                by: Robert Spencer

                “Rightfully theirs????” I think I’m going go go kill myself. Every word you’ve just written is the same Leftist doctrinaire propaganda they use to teach children–yeah, teach them how to be good suicide bombers and mass murdering “martyrs”.

                Here, see for yourself.



              • Avatar stillwater in reply to stillwater says:

                H, hey, where’s my music link?

                Btw, it’s really hard to take you seriously about this subject. ben-Gurion’s own writings establish the fact that the 47-48 conflicts were expansionist. The six days war was nothing at all if not expansionist.Report

              • Avatar stillwater in reply to stillwater says:


                “If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?” David ben-GurionReport

              • Avatar stillwater in reply to stillwater says:

                Please tell me how many victorious countries gave back land they fought and died for. I think you’ll find it to be ZERO.

                The land called ‘Germany’ seems free of US control. Twice over.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to stillwater says:

                Stillwater, let’s examine the 1947-1948 war a bit. The United States and pretty much the rest of the world, had accepted the Balfour Declaration which drafted in 1922 giving the Jewish people a permanent home and a restoration of the Jewish Commonwealth. So, guess what happens when the UN voted in favor of a national homeland for the Jewish people—SEVEN Arab armies ATTACK Israel! That was just the start. This went on for a few months. Finally, when the British Mandate expired on May 14th 1948, Israel was recognized as a free and independent state. Now, guess what happens next—FIVE Arab nations attack Israel! Yes, the day after Israel got its independence, Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon and Iraq launched a vicious attack their new neighbors. The Palestinians hightailed it out there as fast as they could–they were so confident the Arab armies would prevail (a nonstop Arab propaganda campaign told them as such) they figured they’d sit it out for a few weeks and return victorious with not a living Jew in view. So, there goes Transjordan. You, of course know, that the Mandate and partition of Israel of 1948 included ALL of the land they are saying belongs to them. Yes. To repeat, they have already had in their possession every square inch of land they are now fighting over. They actually have much more, but you get the point–The Palestinians were handed a separate state in 1948–78% for the Arabs and 22% for the Jews and they REJECTED IT and instead chose WAR. It was all or nothing and on that note must leave. More later.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to stillwater says:

                Ever doth the Mighty Wurlitzer play the March of the Poor Oppressed Jews of the 1948-49 War. The facts are quite different.

                The best historian of the war was Benny Morris. His two books serve as bookends: 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War and One State, Two States: Resolving the Israel/Palestine Conflict.

                One thing is for sure, there are no Good Guys in this story. The practical reality of Israel/Gaza/West Bank/Settlements/Golan is this: it’s all controlled by one outfit, just under different circumstances.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to stillwater says:

                Ah, your music, Stillwater. Okay, not exactly Fat Tuesday music–more like anti-Fat Tuesday, but the gods simply dictate this choice for you sir. You’ll love it!

                It’s Beethoven time, my friend.

                “There is something in it of Divinity more than the ear discovers: it is an Hieroglyphical and shadowed lesson of the whole World, and creatures of God; such a melody to the ear, as the whole World, well understood, would afford the understanding. In brief, it is a sensible fit of that harmony which intellectually sounds in the ears of God. I will not say, with Plato, the soul is an harmony, but harmonical, and hath its nearest sympathy unto Musick: thus some, whose temper of body agrees, and humours……”Report

              • Avatar stillwater in reply to stillwater says:

                H, You’re right about the 48 conflicts in that they weren’t strictly speaking about expanding the borders: those stayed the same. I was too loose in what I said. What I was getting at was the effort by the Israeli’s to push out the Arabs from within their territory, set up shop, and claim it as their own. So these efforts were expansionist in the sense of taking more land exclusively for Jews. By bad, on that.

                And look, I’m fully aware of what the conventional view of things is. So repeating it isn’t going to influence me, although it may influence someone who thinks I might be wrong. It’s much too complicated an issue to get into here, but in short, in 47, the Israelis began cleansing their state of Arab elements, pushing them beyond the borders. The expulsions led surrounding countries to take notice, escalating tensions. Then the outbreak of a large conflict.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Max says:

                Look, Arabic has a proverb: usually you only hear the second half of it, everyone knows it so well. ????? ???? , the silent demon. To see evil and say nothing is to be a silent demon.

                J Street means well enough. But let’s get serious here. Palestinian sovereignty is not the solution. Let’s presume, tomorrow, everything you advocate came true.

                According to your own site, you propose to compensate the refugees. Okay, how much do you propose? There are roughly a million and a half refugees in camps and about three million not in camps, mostly in Jordan. These are rough numbers, but I’ve worked with refugees. Where do you propose to resettle them? Give me a break, compensating four and a half million people?. You simply are not serious. Do you propose to pack them all into the West Bank? It’s for damned sure the Arabs don’t want them: they’ve locked them up in the camps for 60 years and it’s for absolutely sure Israel won’t take them. That’s like packing the population of Los Angeles and Chicago combined in there, instantly more than doubling the West Bank population. There are no jobs for them and they’ve never worked a day in their lives or their fathers’ lives or their grandfathers’ lives, the Arabs never let them. Hell, there’s isn’t enough water for them all to flush the toilet. Even if you packed them in to massive housing blocks you’d never squeeze them all in. And don’t even talk about the Gaza, that’s already hideously overcrowded.

                You need more substantive proposals. Might think about my points about Israel’s nukes, too. Everything else is just crazy talk.Report

              • Avatar Max in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I think at this point it’s worth clarifying what J Street does (and does not) do. The organization itself is comprised of three branches – a lobby, an education fund, and a PAC. This is a pretty typical set-up for groups working Capitol Hill these days. One thing to note right away: AIPAC is not structured this way, and J Street and AIPAC go about their work in very different ways. So a comparison between the two, while tempting, isn’t really helpful.

                That said, organizations like J Street go to varying lengths to write or propose policy on their respective issues. I’ve worked in the past for groups with exactly this structure that focus most of their manpower on crafting policy. J Street, however, does very, very little of this. The reason is simple: track-two (meaning non-governmental) policy organizations working on Israel/Palestine abound. They’ve already done most of the policy heavy-lifting. The leaked reports surrounding Olmert’s 2008 negotiations with Abbas demonstrated just how much of the final status agreement is known. (It addressed refugees, by the way.)

                On thing I tried to get across in this article is the way in which J Street is trying to set itself up as a meeting space for these groups. A quick example: two organizations that I didn’t mention but that had leadership at the conference were IPCRI ( and the team working on the ARC project ( Both of these orgs have done groundbreaking policy work, but they didn’t do it through J Street, they did it with their own resources or grants from USAID, the UN, and other interested parties.

                Basically, J Street is trying to fill a need – to be a *political* presence in the US that supports efforts to reach a two-state resolution. It’s not a policy think-tank, not because it’s unserious but because that’s not what’s needed.

                And this is very much just my opinion, but if J Street is vague on its specific policy goals when you drill down to the details, I think that’s for the best. J Street can’t and doesn’t want to be all things to all people – at the same time, I think the challenge it is answering is to be more things to more people than movements from the left generally are. Having watched a fragmented left-wing in Israel continue to tear itself apart, I feel strongly that a countervailing force like J Street – that fully satisfies few, but brings in many – is just the thing.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Look, for my money, you guys need to take a substantive position on something. The Left Wing in Israel self-destructed because was constantly tripping over its own feet. Along came the Second Intifadeh, the hardliners yelled “See? Told you so!” and the Left never recovered from the shame, and now you guys come along, yet another incarnation of the same fluffy thinking.

                Israel has raised self-delusion to an art form. After a while it starts to resemble those odd Chagall paintings with these dreamlike figures floating in the void. I despair of Israel: erummim ki wayedeu sahenem, ene wattippah qanah and both their eyes were opened and they knew they were naked.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to BlaiseP says:

                That changes everything, Blaise. And to think here I was, about to address the UN tomorrow with a solution to the never ending problem of Palestinian statehood. Belle Isle (in Metro Detroit) Michigan will be the new homeland for all Palestinians. Why wouldn’t it work? This Isle could support 50 million people or so with not too many problems. Considering how they love to blow things up, we can even have a little area in the park that would allow that, you know, “controlled demolition”. Also, there are a ton of deer there as well. I won’t say it, but they can always pretend the deer are you-know-what and be as happy as Punch killing and lugging dead deer around. They get to kill living things and at the same time, achieve martyrdom. Just trying to help.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                There was some talk of the British putting the Jews up in Uganda, back in the days of Hertzl. After looking the place over, the Jews politely (and firmly) passed on the offer.

                The phrase “Ugandists” comes up every so often in Israeli politics. Eretz Yisroel of old was mostly centered Judea, now part of the West Bank. Thus, when anyone proposes a Palestinian State on the West Bank, the Rabid Settler Contingent gets to its feet and shouts “Ugandist!”.

                Unfortunately for these zealots, they use the phrase Judea and Samaria to describe the West Bank. The pitiful remnant of the Samaritan community in Nablus was destroyed in the First Intifadeh. There is very little left of Samaria.

                The Samaritans exist in a strange place within Judaism: to this day, Orthodox Judaism does not fully acknowledge the Samaritans as Jews. calling them kutim, nor do the Samaritans use the common word yisroeli to describe themselves. They have their own Talmud, write in the ancient Hebrew script, worshipped on Mount Gerizim and spoke Arabic for many centuries, though mostly you’ll hear modern Ivrit in their communities. Both the Israelis and Palestinians consider them their own and consider them citizens.

                One last bit of historical trivia: the Samaritans were the downfall of Pontius Pilate. Someone stirred up the Samaritans to start digging on Mount Gerizim. Pilate, thinking it was a mob forming, attacked them with cavalry and executed the ringleaders. The Samaritans complained to Pilate’s superior, Lucius Vitellius, who deposed Pilate for it.

                In the days of Jesus, the Jews and Samaritans hated each other. In answer to the question “Who is my neighbour?” Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan.

                If anyone deserved to live in peace on the West Bank, it would have to be the Samaritans. They, not the Ashkenazim or the Sephardim, held on through all the horrible centuries of forced conversions and massacres. The First Intifadeh did largely drove the Samaritans from Shechem and Nablus: their ancient synagogue stands empty, rocketed from an Israeli helicopter. The Samaritans might make it for another century, but I doubt it.Report

          • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Max says:

            Hi Max–I’m with you 100%, friend! And by all means keep producing those nuke–lots and lots of nukes. When you’re surrounded by 300 million anti-Semitic lunatics who desire nothing more than to see every Israeli citizen beheaded, we’re talking a very, very potent nuclear disincentive to not cross the line as in, that great Eastwood line, “Go ahead, make my day!” Boom. Let the fires of hell rain down on these heartless, bloodthirsty, barbarians–hopefully Allah will be there to welcome all of them at the doors of hell. And keep building those “settlements”, the more the merrier.
            Do the million Arabs living in the State of Israel call their homes and businesses “settlements”? Hell no. That’s more like the “right of return”. It just kills me when people refer to them as such but what really kills me is the utterly ridiculous “refugee” label. According to the most recent Palestinian “census”, there now exists more than 7,000,000 Palestinian refugees–not kidding! Hey, I want a right to return and put in a claim in to a few castles in Bavaria that were in my family —trust me Max, they’ll go right into the hands of of Israel. Do you think the surrounding Arab countries are going to extend such generosity by allowing the Jews kicked out of their countries in the 1948 war to return?? Ha. They’re banned from entering, much less living in Saudia Arabia and most other countries in the region, are not that much different. And I seriously doubt, with the exception of Egypt, that the entire population of Jews living in Arab countries is more than 500. These cowardly, putrid, Islamist terrorists think nothing of deliberately killing men, women, and children–their m.o. actually spells it quite, well as in not recognizing the right of Israel to even exist. Blow up school buses, discos, restaurants, hotels, religious services, hey, what the hell. And what is the common denominator of those targets? They are all civilian targets–victims were all unarmed, innocent, civilians just going about their lives peacefully. Of course, to the Islamist, there is no such thing as an “innocent” Jew. They are condemned from conception and have NO right to even exist. To paraphrase a movie line, “sure we’ll sit down and negotiate with them, and then immediately after we achieve our “peace” we’ll slaughter ever last one them!
            Gee, where have we heard type of sentiment that before?

            Be warned, NEVER trust American Leftists regarding Israel-at best, they’re maybe one notch above Hamas, and even then, that’s pushing it. They are every bit as rabidly racist as their fellow Palestinian butchers–they just cloak it a bit differently using their own particular brand of nonsensical, hurtful rhetoric. And who can forget 9/11. I’ll never, ever forget seeing them-Palestinians- singing and dancing in the streets–speechless with joy, waving pictures of bin Laden, their immortal hero! The mainstream media, naturally, pulled all the cameras from that scene and never played it again. I just can’t imagine why….can you? You don’t suppose they would actually play toesy with the contemptible, bloodthirsty beasts do you?
            Oh goodness no. Never. All the best to you Max. You and the state of Israel are always in our prayers. Shalom.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

              General “Buck” Turgidson: Mr. President, we are rapidly approaching a moment of truth both for ourselves as human beings and for the life of our nation. Now, truth is not always a pleasant thing. But it is necessary now to make a choice, to choose between two admittedly regrettable, but nevertheless *distinguishable*, postwar environments: one where you got twenty million people killed, and the other where you got a hundred and fifty million people killed.

              President Merkin Muffley: You’re talking about mass murder, General, not war!

              General “Buck” Turgidson: Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops. Uh, depending on the breaks.Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Hey “Buck”, my vote for funniest movie–“Merwerdich-liebe”– of all time, although Spinal Tap is a very close second.

                “Dr. Strangelove: Sir! I have a plan!
                [standing up from his wheelchair]
                Dr. Strangelove: Mein Führer! I can walk!

                [discussing the Doomsday machine]
                President Merkin Muffley: How is it possible for this thing to be triggered automatically and at the same time impossible to untrigger?
                Dr. Strangelove: Mr. President, it is not only possible, it is essential. That is the whole idea of this machine, you know. Deterrence is the art of producing in the mind of the enemy… the FEAR to attack. And so, because of the automated and irrevocable decision-making process which rules out human meddling, the Doomsday machine is terrifying and simple to understand… and completely credible and convincing.”

                And there you have it, right from the lips of the father of the atomic bomb, Dr. Strangelove–the precise reason why Israel will never reveal anything about their nuclear weapons stockpile and program. A little mystery goes a long way with this subject, and in this part of the world, with all the cards stacked in her favor, it would be utter madness not to mention suicidally insane to reveal anything about her nuclear stockpile. Fear works. Disclosure doesn’t.

                I don’t think your word/person substitutes work, Blaise. How about the Palestinians will be that party with the funny spider on their flags and armbands, say around, 1933-1945. And their victims during that same period will be: gypsies, homosexuals, transgenders, the countries of Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Western Europe and on and on and on. They Jews can be substituted by no one–they’ll just be themselves as in, 1 out of every 3 Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Something that Chomsky, to this day, denies ever took place. Please forgive my awful German. Have to start somewhere!

                Vielen Dank für die Antwort! Und ja, ja, Schiller ist sehr gut. Ich liebe soviel Schubert Lieder. Heir ist eine Lieder von Die schöne Müllerin. Nicht Schiller aber Wilhelm Müller. Verstehen Sie mich? Mein Deutsch ist nicht gut. Besser arbeit! Bis bald. H

                Gute Nacht, gute Nacht!
                Bis alles wacht,
                Schlaf’ aus deine Freude, schlaf’ aus dein Leid!
                Der Vollmond steigt,
                Der Nebel weicht,
                Und der Himmel da droben, wie ist er so weit!Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Heidegger says:

                Nice knowing all of ya–I surrender, and am on my way to jump off the Belle Isle Bridge. Watch the news tonight. I’ll be the one waiving the Israeli Flag! And will have Chopin’s Funeral March blasting away!!

                All the best gentlemen and scholars. Max, you’re a terrible disappointment. Beni would chop you up and spit you out so fast, you wouldn’t know what hit you. You need a lot of book learnin’ my friend. Still lots of time, yet. Unfortunately, might take a nuke to open your eyes and see the mortal danger you’re in. Sad. And a sincere Good Luck my friend.
                As Jason said, I want to formally disassociate my self from my vile comments. I’ll assume you feel the same way which is really such a shame.

                What really saddens me is, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the many of the people on this site completely agree with me. However, you’re afraid of your reputations, and to agree with me, of all people, would do irreparable harm. How about I stay and all of you leave? I’m glad you all agree. I’ll welcome all of you back after you can prove and document that you attended the Rush Limbaugh Institute for Conservative Studies.

                Wonderful solution, gentlemen!Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Heidegger says:

                Blaise, how can you be my enemy when you write such a beautiful post?

                The one that’s down a few comments. I really love it–not all, but most. Good job!Report

              • Avatar Heidegger in reply to Heidegger says:

                Sorry stillwater-forgot to post the link–here goes–enjoy!


            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

              Tell ya what, Heidegger, substitute Israel for Palestine and Jewish for Arab and you’ll find yourself preaching a mighty sermon from the Al Qaeda perspective.

              With friends like you, Israel hardly needs enemies.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Heidegger says:

              And here’s a little German for you to work on. It’s by Schiller, a very fine German poet:

              Gegen der Dummheit kämpfen die Götter selbst vergebens.Report

            • Avatar Max in reply to Heidegger says:

              I’ll leave it to more regular commenters to wade into Heidegger’s particular brand of trolling and emerge with something sensible. Needless to say, I don’t know anyone – within J Street or without – who shares this “perspective” (maybe dignifying it a bit much with that word, but I’m at a loss.)Report

              • Avatar stillwater in reply to Max says:

                I have a hard time understanding H as well. But he provides great music links. So there’s that.Report

              • Avatar Matty in reply to Max says:

                I’ve encountered Hedigegger’s comments on various things over a few years now and got two general conculsions. 1. Not even he knows when he is being serious. 2. It is generally safest for everyone else to assume he isn’t.Report

            • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to Heidegger says:

              H-man, brilliant stuff. You’re right about these wacky leftist, particularly Jewish leftist. I mean, dude, what is it about these ‘intellectuals’? It’s as if they have a death wish, though you see the same phenomenon in American Leftist, their existential guilt that manifests itself in a profound psycopathological disorder that seems to yearn for the destruction of the self, either as the individual as as a nation, all in the sacred name of political correctness and its attendent epigonic virtues. That’s one reason why we shouldn’t vote for the CD’s, way too many of ’em are nuts.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Max says:

        Let me put it plainly: until Israel signs NPT and comes clean on its nuclear weapons inventory, there will be no meaningful Palestinian State: anyone who now does a deal with Israel will be seen as kowtowing to the USA, who have resolutely shielded Israel from the same sanctions as Iran now endured on the basis of not coming clean on nuclear weapons proliferation.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to BlaiseP says:

          I suspect that a “meaningful” (whatever that means) Palestinian State requires, among other things, “meaningful” attempts at a Palestinian State’s creation.

          Dig, if you will, the idea of Israel disappearing entirely. Whoops! Where’d they go? They were all raptured? Now… that doesn’t make any sense at all… but here we are and every Jewish inhabitant of Israel is now gone. Vanished.

          Is it more likely that:

          A) The Palestinians move into Israel and ask a handful of other countries to give help with engineers who can train the Palestinian people to run the electric plants and maintain the electric grid, run the water plants, and run the sewage processing plants?

          B) The Palestinians burn down the (now empty) Synagogues and any other buildings that offend their sensibilities?

          It seems to me that B is more likely (though I base that pretty much on what happened after the Gaza withdrawal and, as we all know, anecdotes are not data!)

          As B strikes me as more likely, I have come to the conclusion that a “meaningful” Palestinian State is not possible. If A were more likely, I suspect that there isn’t much that most folks could do to *PREVENT* the Palestinians from establishing a meaningful state, like, 20 minutes from now. (They’re in a much, much better place than they were in the 90’s and, for that matter, the early oughts and, as such, I see them on a good vector and maintain hope that A will be more likely at some point… I don’t know that they’re necessarily there, though.)Report

          • Avatar Max in reply to Jaybird says:

            In this case, your anecdote is even worse than “not data,” given the huge societal disparities between 2006 Gaza and 2011 West Bank. I recommend familiarizing yourself more fully with Salam Fayyad’s state-building plan, which is to be completed this year. I am not a utopian by any stretch, but I think it’s at this point indisputable that Mr. Fayyad has made tremendous gains in implementing civil society, raising GDP, and establishing a reliable, American-trained security service.

            I really liked the first thing you said, about meaningful attempts at the creation of the state. I think those attempts are being made and I’d be happy to share more of that information with you, if you’re interested. But I would also respond with a question: is your (admittedly impossible) thought experiment meaningful in the context of reaching a realistic, viable Palestinian state? If not, why does it interest you?Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Max says:

              I’ve met Salam Fayyad. He’s pissing in the wind. The PA is far more corrupt than he is righteous. Ever been to Ramallah and seen all those shiny new buildings? Guess who’s occupying them. That’s right, all the old PA crooks, every square meter.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Max says:

              given the huge societal disparities between 2006 Gaza and 2011 West Bank

              I’m a fan of a three-state solution, myself… but there have been no shortage of plans for the last 6,017 years. One thing that has been shown by Iraq (and Egypt and Libya and other places acrost the Middle East) is that culture is very, very, very, very important when it comes to establishing a State.

              No plan survives first contact with culture.

              But I would also respond with a question: is your (admittedly impossible) thought experiment meaningful in the context of reaching a realistic, viable Palestinian state? If not, why does it interest you?

              Only insofar as if every single Jewish inhabitant of Israel leaving at noon on Ash Wednesday would not result in a realistic, viable Palestinian state (or, hell, even providing the foundation for such), I don’t think that someone waving a piece of paper in the air would do it.

              But, hey, maybe I’m wrong. As I said, they seem to be on a good vector. I hope they stay on it.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Within two years of that fateful utterance, both India and Pakistan had tested nuclear weapons.

      India first tested a nuclear weapon in 1974.

      Pakistan first successfully tested a nuclear weapon in 1998. Pakistan started on its nuclear program, though, shortly after India’s ’74 Smiling Buddha test.Report

  6. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Apologies for the glitches on this post. Google Docs has betrayed me.Report

  7. Avatar Steve S. says:

    Have you considered the possibility that the U.S. is not the solution but rather the problem? That there is no incentive for Israel to cease its inexorable rightward march so long as the U.S. provides reflexive diplomatic, military, and economic cover for everything they do? And that this bipartisan policy continues under Obama, and there is nobody on the horizon who will deviate from it? Not saying that to the extent the U.S. is involved you shouldn’t try to influence its policy in a positive direction, but have you considered the alternative of U.S. disengagement?Report

    • Avatar Max in reply to Steve S. says:

      That’s an interesting question, and I heard it discussed a great deal at the conference. As an organization, J Street does continue to believe that strong US leadership is the way forward, and they are still calling on the Obama Administration to put forth its own version of a final status agreement, rather than waiting on the two parties to come back to the table.

      In the past there have been interesting opportunities presented that might have meant that the US could take a backseat – I mentioned the API above, and there were warming relations between Israel and Turkey until last May, etc. Today, though, I don’t see any country with the ability to take as good of a swing at this as we have. If you can think of an alternative I’d be interested to hear it.

      I question one assumption you’ve made. I think there are many incentives for Israel to correct its rightward shift despite its American alliance, and I think those are becoming clearer to Israelis every day. Witness Mr. Netanyahu himself scolding his cabinet for trying to initiate more settlement growth. The current coalition is weaker than ever, and as a firm believer in “sow the wind/reap the whirlwind,” I expect to see the pendulum in Israel swing back toward the left soon.

      One of the better panels I attended at the conference was with leaders of Israel’s “new left,” including a coordinator of the Sheikh Jarrah protests and an official with “Breaking the Silence,” an organization that collects and publishes testimony from soldiers in the Occupied Territories. One of the unforeseen benefits of the national political left going to pieces has been a resurgent interest in direct action and independent journalism, and those efforts are going a long way toward waking Israelis up to the violence of occupation. They’re not a replacement for successful politics, but in a small, liberalized country, being forced to confront the reality of state violence can go a long way toward changing someone’s mind.Report

      • Avatar Steve S. in reply to Max says:

        “they are still calling on the Obama Administration to put forth its own version of a final status agreement”

        Gotta be honest with you, Obama is about the last person on Earth to stick his neck out for this sort of thing. His idea of problem-solving is to convene summits and committees. If you want an American President to lead on this issue I suspect you’re going to have to wait for a new one.

        “If you can think of an alternative I’d be interested to hear it.”

        I’m throwing out this idea of American disengagement to see how it bounces around. I’m not a specialist in this area and I don’t pretend to know what the exact consequences would be. What I do know, as a middle-aged individual who is reasonably engaged with the world, is that the U.S. as supposed honest broker has been official policy for many decades and we still have no Palestinian state. In fact, things seem far worse now than they did 10-15 years ago, when it looked like there might be a ray of hope. Israel looks more reactionary than ever. The network of Arab dictatorships that the U.S. has been bribing to play nice with Israel, either by treaty or de facto, is crumbling. The Palestinians are fractured by the corruption and inability of their leaders to make progress. Iran is a growing regional power and Israel all too happy to engage them in cold war. Anyway, that’s what the landscape looks like with the world’s greatest superpower having been directly engaged for many decades. What if the U.S. took its money and diplomatic cover and went home? Not that I expect that to happen.

        “I think there are many incentives for Israel to correct its rightward shift despite its American alliance… The current coalition is weaker than ever”

        If I’m understanding this paragraph correctly, you’re arguing that internal Israeli politics will tilt its policy to the left in the near future. Can you explain why? And even if it does, what makes you think a more Labor-ish government, which itself had decades to solve this problem and didn’t, will be an improvement?

        You end on an optimistic note and I hope you’re right.Report

        • Avatar Max in reply to Steve S. says:

          “the U.S. as supposed honest broker has been official policy for many decades and we still have no Palestinian state. In fact, things seem far worse now than they did 10-15 years ago, when it looked like there might be a ray of hope. ”

          That resonates with me very deeply. One of the reasons for my general optimism is that I feel like part of a strong generational shift among American Jews on Israel (and this is reflected in polling, it’s not mere anecdote.) I think a lot of us just coming now into adulthood took a look around at the shambles of a “peace process,” and thought “why on Earth would we continue to listen to the same people who have made such a mess of this for the past 20 years?”

          J Street is a place for all ages, but it is led by young people, and the prevailing attitude is that we need to throw off our old ways of viewing this conflict. So in that sense I agree with you, and resoundingly.

          America still represents a lot of control in the Middle East, though, including Israel. So I guess the distinction I make would not be one of American “engagement” vs. “disengagement”, but rather the manner in which America chooses to engage. And I think the consensus at J Street is that America has a real financial/social/political investment in Israel, and that the smart politics is to leverage that investment, not to dismantle it. This is one of the reasons why J Street opposes the BDS movement that I talked about.

          I’m not suggesting that your point is illegitimate just because you’re not an expert, I very much prefer to engage with people who are willing to admit they’re not experts. But I do think the pressing question for those who are interested in an American disengagement has to be, “who takes up the mantle in our absence?” On their own, Israelis and Palestinians will not reach a deal. Some third party is going to have to be involved.

          There’s also a third option, of course, which is to just say “screw it” and leave them to fight. I don’t begrudge Americans the right to feel that way, but I am a Jew so for me it’s not an option. I do understand it, though.

          I don’t know that Israeli politics will really tilt all the way to the left, but I think as we continue to fail to contain Iran, and as Israel grows ever more isolated, reality is going to sink in for the Israeli man-on-the-street that the center needs to take charge again. And as I described above, I think many of the direct action campaigns – certainly more than were expected – are having a real effect on the public conscience of Israelis. If Palestinian nonviolent protest, aided by the Israeli left, can continue to grow at the pace it has since the end of the second intifadah, I think it could be a difference-maker within a few years.

          And yes, obviously all of this is written from the perspective of a determined optimist. I put many hours of my week into this work, I can’t really live it any other way than through optimism.Report

  8. Avatar stillwater says:

    @ Max Socol,

    If you’re actually interested in the organization’s positions on the issues, I’m happy to provide answers

    OK, I’m done ranting/snarking. What are J Streets proposals about a) Palestinian autonomy, b) international trade into New Palestine, and c) Golan Heights water rights?Report

    • Avatar stillwater in reply to stillwater says:

      Oh, and d) are we talking about the pre-67 borders, and if not, why not?Report

    • Avatar stillwater in reply to stillwater says:

      Still waiting.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to stillwater says:

        Come now, I’m sure max has a day job. Give him a good orund 24 hours at least.Report

        • Avatar Max in reply to North says:

          Indeed. And on Tuesdays my day job is also a night job. I actually just got home from work, so let me see what I can do before I go to sleep.

          First of all I want to firmly reiterate that I am not paid by J Street and I don’t represent them in any official way. I’m a volunteer and a glutton for punishment, so I like to engage with people who don’t know about us. But I do it on my free time and I’m not always right when I try to put words in their mouth.

          Second, again, J Street doesn’t spend much time (any, as far as I know, but I could be wrong) developing its own policy proposals. J Street has positions on everything you’re asking about, but not proposals. If you’re interested in the latter I can steer you toward allied organizations they work with whose proposals they like. The bottom line (and I know Blaise doesn’t like this, but it is the truth) is that J Street is about creating a big tent, and a viable political consensus for a two-state resolution. Sometimes that means you can’t get as specific as some would like. That’s politics.

          Positions, though. J Street is in favor of Palestinian sovereignty (which I take to mean autonomy as you use it above, unless I’m misunderstanding you) in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, taking into account agreed-upon land swaps. I don’t know that J Street has an official policy on trade for Palestine but I assume they favor it; are there people who support a sovereign Palestine who also oppose trade to it?

          Re: the Golan, are you asking about water with respect to the West Bank, or Syria?

          And yes, we are still discussing fundamentally pre-’67 borders, again excepting agreed-upon land swaps. I had a good interactive map to show you but I can’t find it, let me talk to somebody in the office tomorrow and I’ll post the link.Report

          • Avatar stillwater in reply to Max says:

            Thanks for replying in good faith. I, as much as anyone not directly involved in this issue, would love to see a two-state solution actually be realized. Obviously, you care more about this eventuality than I do, so I apologize for demeaning the effort with snark. You will admit, at least I hope, that my pessimism about the effort succeeding may derive from something deeper than mere cynicism.

            So onward. By presenting this list, I’m wondering about resolutions of problematic issues, any one of which could derail the settlement process. And the right to return didn’t even make my list!

            I can understand that, from your pov, these are details that get hammered out along the way. My worry is that without a basic framework in place – something more than a vaguely defined border and various land swaps – there is nothing to negotiate. So understanding what Israel’s basic requirements are seems like a necessary precondition for negotiations to even get going.

            By ‘autonomy’ I meant something more than sovereignty: what structural limitations on Palestinian autonomy does J Street think appropriate, if any? (free election, eg., including Hamas? the right to self-defense? autonomy at the constitutional convention?)

            The trade issue was in reference to the current regime imposed by Israel blocking the free movement of goods into Gaza. Does J Street think Israel ought, as a matter of principle, to have a voice here, or ought the new government have an unfettered right unilaterally to determine it’s own trade policy and partners? (Not a trivial issue.)

            Re: the Golan water issue, I understand that something like 35% of Israel’s fresh water comes from there. If the settlement requires Israel to cede control of that territory, will they be required to cede other water rights to the West Bank? Will the West Bank be provided those Golan water rights? Do they return to Syria? (Maybe this is a tangential issue. I dunno. I can’t see Israel giving up that water, since all its future growth is predicated on tapping into that resource. Conversely, palestinians will only accept the deal if there’s enough water to have a functioning society.)

            Obviously, from the pov of brokering a deal permitting the creation of a new state, the most important item here is the autonomy issue. Personally, I can’t see how this issue gets resolved by negotiation and agreement, since fundamental national rights will be contested right outa the box. So I think a fair appraisal of what Israels requirements will be isn’t an unfair question.Report