In Defense of Zionism I: A Crash Course in History

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  1. Avatar Saul DeGraw
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    One of other potential and somewhat anti-Semitic experience

    The NYC-Metro area is Jewish enough that the public school system and some private universities close for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur because a good number of the students, teachers, and administrators would take of from school and work during those days. When I was in grad school at a private university, I caught a fellow student muttering somewhat under his breath about how he didn’t see a reason to close during those days. I don’t think he was being completely anti-Semitic but he clearly wasn’t used to being in an area where a another group was large enough that it made sense to shut down for their holidays.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Saul DeGraw
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      “I don’t think he was being completely anti-Semitic but he clearly wasn’t used to being in an area where a another group was large enough that it made sense to shut down for their holidays.”

      That’s a bit of a false dilemma, no?Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Kazzy
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        I’m not sure what you are getting at.

        He was a bit pissed/annoyed that grad school would be cancelled. His muttering was something along the lines of “I don’t see why we have to be closed because it is Yom Kippur.” There are ways he could have phrased or asked that would not have been quite as direct.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
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        Maybe he was just a selfish jerk who was inconvenienced by the school being closed while failing to reap the benefits of its closure (namely, by being able to attend services).

        He might have been similarly frustrated by closings for other holidays he did not observe. It doesn’t necessarily follow that he either harbors animosity towards those who do observe it OR is ignorant of their customs.Report

  2. Avatar dhex
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    i think your third graf is missing some stuff.Report

  3. Avatar Lyle
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    It is an interesting historical fact that Jews were far better treated during the good times of the islamic societies than in christian times. Before the Spanish conquered Al-Andalus they lived under the protection of people of the book, it meant paying an extra tax but other than that Jews participated fully in the society. When Ferdinand and Isabella conquered it the Jews were told convert or leave. Apparently up till after 1800 from 1453 Jews were well treated in the Ottoman empire. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_the_Ottoman_Empire The Ottomans employed the millet system where confessional groups were allowed to enforce their own law of persons on members of the group rather than the Ottoman law of persons. Other Millets where Rum millet,, Armenian and Syrian Orthodox.(From Wikipedia here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millet_%28Ottoman_Empire%29). Of course if a moslem were involved then Islamic law prevailed.
    In one sense this is going to a limit of a multi-religious society.
    But I do beleve the generally better treatment of Jews under Islam than Christianity should be noted.Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Lyle
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      There is debate about how well Jews were treated in the Ottoman Empire and other Muslim societies but it some ways it was probably better than how they were treated in Christian Europe.

      This does not necessarily mean I think they will be treated well in a one-state solution. An extra-tax still renders someone a second-class citizen in many ways.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Lyle
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      I would debate the idea that Jews were treated better under Islam than Christianity. There was usually less violence under Islam but under Islam, Jews were still second class citizens with at best limited autonomy. The Jews of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth enjoyed more rights and powers of self-government than the Jews of the Ottoman Empire in that they had power over intra-Jewish criminal matters and if they worked as Estate managers had power over non-Jews in way that would be unthinkable in Muslim or even most Christian countries at time. Saying that the Jews of Islam were well-treated is basically like a White American wondering why African-Americans had problems with the situation under Jim Crow where everybody got along if they knew their place.

      There is also no evidence that the Arab nationalist would evolve in a way that would include Jews. We don’t know what would happen but we can take an educated guess. Most forms of nationalism tended to exclude the Jews from the body politic. The various nationalisms in the Arab and Muslim-majority world have also evolved in an exclusiory way. Chances are that the Jews in the Ottoman Empire would be excluded by Arab nationalists.Report

  4. Avatar Dan Miller
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    Looking forward to the rest of this series.Report

  5. Avatar Sierra Nevada
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    The historical question of zionism leaves little to no room for debate. Jews must have a home from which basic decisions of governance and self defense are made by Jews themselves.

    The open question is whether any such state, established in the midst of and containing a large population of Arabs who also have a long standing claim on the land, can endure as a democracy.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Sierra Nevada
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      This is close to my own view. I look forward to the rest of this series.Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Sierra Nevada
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      Some of these questions and issues are relevant and very necessary today. Others not as much.

      The location of the Jewish state was decided by the British conquest of the Middle East during WWI, the Balfour Declaration, and eventually the UN Partition and Israeli War of Independence. The Jewish State is where it is. I think it will need to give up some land for peace (or at least detente) in the Middle East but it is not going to relocate wholesale to another part of the world.

      There are people who think that Zionism and Israel was a mistake like Tony Kushner and Judith Butler but this kind of historical revisionism is 20-20 hindsight (but not really) and still ignores the history on the ground at the moment of Israel’s creation. It was clear after the Holocaust that many European states did not want their Jews back and started the development of secondary anti-Semitism* and the United States and other allied nations were not prepared for massive Jewish migration. There is no one who has an answer for where the survivors of the Holocaust should have gone after the end of WWII.

      *Defined as “The Germans will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz.”

      I do think that the Holocaust and Holocaust education did help lead to a massive reduction in anti-Semitic attitudes in the United States but it was still a process that took decades. The GOP was famously not always enthusiastic about Israel. James Baker famously said during the first Gulf War “Fuck the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway.”Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Sierra Nevada
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      A Jewish homeland need not be governmentally Jewish to survive and to treat everyone equally.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kim
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        I love it when Kim says something coherent and intelligent like this, because it proves my belief in her intelligence correct.

        Anyway, +1.

        A government that places one type of person above another type based on things like race, religion, or creed, or that excludes people for those reasons, is going to end up being a bad place, even if the initial reason was to protect an historically persecuted type of person. It is only a matter of time.

        That this is true has little if anything to do with whether a Jewish homeland is necessary.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
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        Chris,
        Yeah, we’re at the point of functional apartheid now. At some point, this could possibly have been peacefully resolved. I’m not sure we’re still at that point now.Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Kim
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        “A Jewish homeland need not be governmentally Jewish”

        What the hell does that even mean?

        “A Jewish homeland” signifies a dominant polity, “governmentally Jewish” signifies that polity’s politics.

        You can’t do away with a Jewish government and keep a Jewish homeland. The only question is can that government survive as a liberal democracy.Report

      • Avatar Brooke in reply to Kim
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        I don’t think the concept of a “Jewish state” is compatible with the idea of a democratic one. Israel is an ethnocracy that gives Jewish people, even non-citizens, special rights and funding that not all citizens get. The government’s attitude toward the Arab population and toward the continued land grabs in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are indicative of discrimination, not democracy and the rule of law.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
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        Sierra,
        A Jewish homeland is where the Jews stay. The Druze homeland is probably Israel too. They don’t have laws favoring them, do they?Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Kim
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        Kim, your definition of homeland is a bit too broad. By that definition, Germany was a Jewish homeland during the Holocaust. “A place where people stay” and “home” are distinct things. With the difference being security and autonomy.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
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        Sierra,
        Israel has been the Jewish homeland since time immemorial. I don’t think it would change if it became a non-discriminatory state**.

        **I am aware, if others are not, that this discrimination also takes place against Jews.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kim
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        @sierra-nevada

        Do you feel that every religious and/or ethnic group therefore deserves a home? Or is there something unique about the Jewish people?Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Kim
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        Kazzy, while that is a fine question, it is too theoretical for my limited mind. As a practical matter, I am entirely sympathetic to distinct ethnic or cultural groups who have been subjected to genocide (Native Americans and Jews being straightforward examples) asserting rights of homeland autonomy and self governance.Report

      • Avatar Brooke in reply to Kim
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        Sierra, I’m generally for group to have the right to self-determination and self-governance too. The reason why I think that Jewish people and Israel are different is because they weren’t native to the land they wanted for their state. The people who declared the state were recent arrivals, some of whom made no secret of the fact that they wanted to take the entire land from its native people.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Kim
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        @kazzy

        I don’t know about the history of other groups but I think that there is enough evidence of past and ongoing anti-Jewish prejudice that it justified the creation and pressing for a Jewish state. I think it seems clear that the European powers in the 19th century did not really want to accept Jews as full and equal citizens.

        The Austrian-Hungarian Empire tried to be relatively inclusive but they still had politicians that were fiercely anti-Semitic like Karl Luger, mayor of Vienna.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Lueger

        The baiting of minorities (religious, sexual, racial, ethnic, political, etc.) is unfortunately too tempting for people to resist and I suspect it will continue for as long as people are alive on this planet.

        I don’t think there are any easy answers or easy solutions. Israel was created and exists though. The best solution is to acknowledge this as fact and move toward reconciliation as much as possible. The Palestinians deserve a nation state of their own and so do the Israelis.Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Kim
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        Kim: “I don’t think it would change if it became a non-discriminatory state.”

        Isreal’s turn toward fascism under Bibi and the old school racism and colonialism of the settler movement has me wishing that Isreal would at least try to find out.Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Kim
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        Brooke, you play too fast and loose with “native people” for my tastes. Jews and Arabs are native people to that place. Deal with that fact, and your arguments might get somewhere.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
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        Brooke,
        How about we apply this solution to America first? Or Canada? If we want to give America back to the First Nations as a proof of concept…. (bear in mind, the US government still owns large parts of most western states).Report

      • Avatar Brooke in reply to Kim
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        “Israel was created and exists though. The best solution is to acknowledge this as fact and move toward reconciliation as much as possible. The Palestinians deserve a nation state of their own and so do the Israelis.”

        Saul, this was probably a viable outcome as recently as 30 years ago, but it likely isn’t one today. Israel has worked hard since 1967 to make any future Palestinian state lack viability by dividing up Palestinian territory, planting and expanding ever more settlements, and failing to stop settler violence.Report

      • Avatar Brooke in reply to Kim
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        Sierra, there was a native Jewish community in Palestine around the time Zionism began. Nobody’s disputing that, but I think that when an ethnic group’s population has mostly lived outside of that area for centuries, they’ve lost their claim to it as homeland or “native” population. You can’t just show up after you’ve been living someplace else for hundreds of years and expect that the people who are living there now are going to give you ownership.Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Kim
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        Brooke, if you want to define Jews as non native to that portion of the middle east, I respectfully bow out of this conversation. Just as I would if I was debating an eliminationlaist settler who tried to do the same to native Palestinians.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kim
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        Sierra Nevada, how exactly is Israel turning to fascism under Bibi? People make this sort of accusation all the time but they really fail to provide any examples of this. Under the alleged fascist Bibi, the previous President of Israel was removed from office and convicted of rape. Is this the action of a fascist state? Israeli hospitals are treating Syrians wounded during the fighting are being treated in Israel hospitals by the hundreds. Is this what a fascist state would do? In 2014, Israeli Bedouin living in the Negev protested construction plans of the Israeli government in Israel’s pre-1967 territory and Netanyahu decided to cancel the construction plans. Is this what a fascist state would do?

        I understand that people don’t like Bibi Netanyahu and they aren’t obligated to. However, if they are accusing him of being a fascist than the need to provide evidence because they are making a very serious accusation. His policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians aren’t noticebly different from his predecessors and he actually respondend to protests by Israeli Arab citizens by listening to them and changing his plans.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
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        Lee,
        Do you remember the Palestinian only and Jew only busses between Israel and Palestine?

        Alsotoo: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/01/26/cries-of-discrimination-as-israel-detains-illegal-african-immigrants/

        I’m not going to walk out on a limb and call any of this fascist (I’d rather talk of the TeaParty if we must use that term, for god’s sake!).

        But it is more than troubling, as is the loss of life of Innocent Israeli Informants in Gaza. On air, no less.Report

      • Avatar Brooke in reply to Kim
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        “Brooke, if you want to define Jews as non native to that portion of the middle east, I respectfully bow out of this conversation. Just as I would if I was debating an eliminationlaist settler who tried to do the same to native Palestinians.”

        What amount of time being absent from the place where your distant ancestors lived is sufficient to remove your “native” quality, then? The Jewish community that remained in Palestine certainly had a right to call itself native, but Jews from Europe and other parts of the Middle East had been living in those lands for centuries. They were native to their European and Middle Eastern countries of origin, not Palestine.Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Kim
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        @brooke : “What amount of time being absent from the place where your distant ancestors lived is sufficient to remove your “native” quality, then?”

        Good question. I dunno.

        A follow up for you: supposing that some of the more fanatical elements of the settler movement got their way and expelled Palestinians from Isreal and the Occupied Territories, how long would they have to be gone to no longer fit your definition of “native”?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kim
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        Here is the Israeli Ministry of Justice’s fascist (sarcasm) anti-discrimination public service announcement from their fascist (sarcasm) Prime Minister:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICX0W1AEM5IReport

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Kim
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        @kim : “I’m not going to walk out on a limb and call any of this fascist”

        I guess I should creep back off the limb a little and say that I don’t think Israel is fascist any more than the United States is. But the fear being stoked by reactionaries in both countries and by real external threats has led them down paths that certainly look frighteningly like fascism.

        @leeesq at the risk of looking like a book seller, I’d recommend that you read Goliath by Blumenthal. You might find some answers there that would satisfy your curiosity about how people might view the direction Israel is headed under Bibi and the hideous coalition that empowers him.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Kim
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        @sierra-nevada

        Mondoweiss is hardly what I would call an unbiased source.

        This little argument is part of the problem. Both sides seem to have their feet stuck in the ground and are unable or unwilling to accept that their side might be slightly wrong in some way. Everything in the Middle East seems to get viewed in black or white terms. You are either with Mondoweiss or with the Settlers. There is no room for being opposed to Mondoweiss and the Settlers.

        It should be possible to be against Mondoweiss or criticize Blumenthal’s book without being seen as being rabidly pro-Settlement.

        I prefer something like this which is more nuanced:

        http://www.amazon.com/My-Promised-Land-Triumph-Tragedy/dp/0385521707Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kim
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        @saul-degraw, I would recommend reading this link to understand the phenomenon:

        http://whatwouldphoebedo.blogspot.com/2011/07/anti-semitism-and-first-world-problems.html

        To many on the left, Zionism isn’t the national liberation movement of the Jewish people because they can’t quite comprehend the Jews as a people that needed national liberation. They would rather fit Israel into their little anti-colonial attitude.

        @sierra-nevada, one doesn’t have to give trash a close inspection when one realizes its trash. I have posted many instances of the allegedly fascist Netanyahu government doing very non-fascist things including helping citizens of a country that officially wants Israel gone from the face of the earth. Do you think that its possible that the sheer amount of Jew-hatred in the Muslim world is just one reason we don’t have a peace agreement? Just a tad little at least?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kim
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        They would rather fit Israel into their little anti-colonial attitude.

        But it is possible to hold anti-colonial attitudes and recognize that after the Holocaust, the Jewish people needed a homeland. The problem is that we can’t have that discussion, because the two sides have polarized to the point at which it is only possible to either support the way in which the creation and maintenance of a Jewish state has been carried out, or to reject the idea entirely.

        Granted, most of the people I know don’t actually think in those polarized terms, on either side, but as soon as you put them in a room together, that’s where they end up. Your comments here are a good example.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kim
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        @chris, the problem is that I’ve never met a person who held these attitudes. Most of them are in the “Zionists were evil, racist white imperialists from Europe acting with malign intent” line of thought.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kim
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        @leeesq , I’m quite certain that you have. Hell, you’re talking to one now. And I say this as someone who has nothing but respect for you: in this post, you aren’t coming off much better than your portrayal of them. I can’t see how it would be possible to discuss this with you.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Kim
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        @leeesq

        The last comment was out-of-line. I know you were not accusing Chris of being from that line of thought but it does not contribute to civil dialogue. The rest of your arguments were fact based and reasonable.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kim
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        @chris, I apologize if I insulted you.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kim
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        @leeesq , no apology necessary, of course. I am not insulted, merely frustrated, because I see the same dynamics arising here that I’ve seen so many other places when these issues arise, and in particular the dynamic of each side blaming the other entirely for the lack of movement in any dialogue.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Kim
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        @chris

        To be fair but depressing, I think that is generally true for politics across the board. We are getting more and more polarized in my estimation. Reasonable people can disagree is no longer an option, now it is all “If you disagree, you are unreasonable by axiom.”Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Kim
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        @saul-degraw : “Everything in the Middle East seems to get viewed in black or white terms.”

        Agreed.

        For instance, I am a supporter of Zionism. Antisemitism has been so persistent, and so destructive, for so long (and not just in Europe) that I don’t see how there would be any end the suffering of the Jewish People except for the establishment of a place where Jews would not be dependent on others for their basic human rights. Zionism is pretty damned close to self-evident to me.

        But the catch is that a state founded on a particular religious culture necessarily has, at best, a very tenuous relationship with liberal democratic values. I think that Israel historically has pulled it off as well as can be expected. But that tenuous link is threatened by defenders of the state who call honest Jewish critics “self hating Jews” and concerned Isreal supporting non-Jews “Antisemites.”

        No enemy could ever make me waver in my support of Israel. But some of Israel’s cheerleaders do give me pause.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kim
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        @Chris, its not so much the conclusion of the anti-Zionists that bothers me but the some of things that they ignore. Saying that the Jews have a bum deal but that isn’t a reason to give some other ethnic group a bum deal is a perfectly reasonable proposition. Its just in my experience nearly impossible to get even that sort of acknowledgment out of many anti-Zionists.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Kim
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        Well, there are two general types of people who are generally labeled anti-Zionists. There are the true anti-Zionists, who think that Israel should not exist, should never have existed, and should, at some point (perhaps as soon as possible), cease to exist. You’re not going to find much common ground with them. Then there are the people who are deeply critical of the way in which Israel has conducted itself, as a state, and continues to conduct itself, but who believe that Israel has a right to continued existence and to protect itself. With these people you can probably find common ground, even if you disagree with their conclusions.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
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        Lee,
        Chris isn’t the only one you’re speaking to who holds a nuanced anti-Zionist view.
        Israel was a bad idea, and is rapidly turning into a worse one. It’s a little like the Catholic Church — any money you give to it supports markedly immoral things.

        It’s one thing to say “I support Israel”. It’s another to say “I support organized destruction of Palestinian homes for the sake of the Jewish People.” But, when dollars come to cents (sense!), it means the same fucking thing.Report

    • Avatar Murali in reply to Sierra Nevada
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      Jews must have a home from which basic decisions of governance and self defense are made by Jews themselves.

      There is no must about it. Anti-Semitism need not be an enduring and widespread feature of every society. In any functioning liberal society, Jews would have the same rights and freedoms as Gentiles. If Palestine-Israel (single state solution) had a liberal constitution that separated religion from state and protected both Jews and Arabs (and for that matter everyone else) from discrimination, there wouldn’t need to be a specifically Jewish state.

      As far as justice is concerned, the Jewish state option is an unfortunate and probably corrupt concession to hatred and xenophobia.Report

      • Avatar Brooke in reply to Murali
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        One that has victimized an entire people for a crime they didn’t commit, and then continued to victimize them for having the temerity to fight back against their conquerors.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Murali
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        “Anti-Semitism need not be an enduring and widespread feature of every society.”
        … Japan’s ability to glom onto everything Western, including things it probably shouldn’t, notwithstanding…Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Murali
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        Murali: “Anti-Semitism need not be an enduring and widespread feature of every society.”

        Historically, anti-semitism is sufficiently enduring and widespread enough to warrant the claims of Zionism.

        Functioning liberal societies can fall apart (Hell, even Abe m’fing Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus). The irony is that is both the reason for Jews to have their own homeland, and the danger that Isreal could itself become a fascist state.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Murali
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        Sierra,
        I’m not so sure. If all the Jews moved to America, would anyone really be that upset? Say they took over Wyoming or Vermont?Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Murali
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        Give them Texas. Please.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Murali
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        Anti-Semitism need not be an enduring and widespread feature in every society but there was little evidence that things would change in the immediate post war period in Europe or elsewhere.

        Even in the aftermath of the Second World War but before the creation of Israel, immigration authorities in New Zealand justified excluding Jews because “the worst thing about Jews is that they cringe and fawn when they are weak and bully and exploit when they have the power…and there is always the Jew’s uncanny ability to see always one move ahead of his competitors.” See The Penguin History of New Zealand by Michael King, pgs. 369-370. Other immigrant authorities in other immigrant receiving countries wanted to exclude Jews on similar grounds and this was after the full enormity of the Nazi plans were known.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Sierra Nevada
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      The historical question of zionism leaves little to no room for debate. Jews must have a home from which basic decisions of governance and self defense are made by Jews themselves.

      I agree with this. I’d add that the contemporary question of zionism, if understood as you phrased it, also leaves no room for debate.

      The open question is whether any such state, established in the midst of and containing a large population of Arabs who also have a long standing claim on the land, can endure as a democracy.

      I’m curious why you think, given what you said earlier, that this is an open question. If Arabs are accorded the full spectrum of rights and privileges as Jews, including respect for long standing land claims, a negative answer logically follows, no?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater
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        Definitely. In a sense, a Jewish state is a true test of liberal western ideals. It is, in some ways, in direct contradiction of those ideals, but on the other hand, those ideals lead to the conclusion that the Jewish people, oppressed for millennia, should be accorded whatever protections possible, including self-determination.

        My own view is that a state that is built on ethnic, religious, or racial categories will, inevitably, end up in a very bad place. History is pretty much unequivocal on this. The question is how you deal with that without compromising the protections that history also unequivocally tells us are necessary.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater
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        If Arabs are accorded the full spectrum of rights and privileges as Jews, including respect for long standing land claims, a negative answer logically follows, no?

        Surely there’s a majority Arab country in the region we could look at to see how their human rights are doing and we could do a quick side-by-side, right?Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Stillwater
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        Yet history basically also tells us that multi-national states are terrible places to be in, especially if there’s a substantial gap between the various nations in terms of wealth and population. Relatively ethnically homogenous nation-states, seem, at least in the short-term to be the best way to build a society.

        The cases of how Yugoslavia dissolved or the Greek-Turkish population transfers are instructive in that respect. The fact that say Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, Greece, and Turkey are functioning relatively well and have not gone back to war with one another shows that homogeniety and some level of partition might be necessary.

        The problem in the Israel-Palestine case is as much geographical as anything else: The land being fought over is so tiny that partitioning it fairly would be a challenge.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater
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        I don’t mean to indulge in my “little anti-colonialism,” but “they’re better off under our rule” sounds a lot like the justification for every instance of slavery and colonialization over the last few centuries.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater
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        I see a difference, perhaps naively, in establishing relatively ethnically homogeneous states, and establishing states that codify that ethnic homogeneity as law, rather than as a geographical reality. That is, there’s a difference between, “Let’s all retire to our corners and start with a fresh set of states” and “Let’s all retire to our corners and set up a system of government that means, in effect, that if you come to our corner your status, and your descendants’ status, as citizens will always be limited in certain ways.”Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Stillwater
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        Surely there’s a majority Arab country in the region we could look at to see how their human rights are doing and we could do a quick side-by-side, right?

        Of course, part of the problem with a lot of the Arab countries is that they’re not, strictly speaking, mono-national in character. Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran have very sizable ethnic cleavages based on everything from sectarian differences in religion to nuances in tribal background. In effect, nearly every Arab state is in some sense occupying some of their own territory against several other nations.

        Attempts to craft a secular nationalism to overcome that and paper over things (copying say Turkey or for that matter Israel) failed spectacularly with Nasser’s little experiment in unifying Egypt and Syria in the United Arab Republic.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        I see a difference, perhaps naively, in establishing relatively ethnically homogeneous states, and establishing states that codify that ethnic homogeneity as law, rather than as a geographical reality. That is, there’s a difference between, “Let’s all retire to our corners and start with a fresh set of states” and “Let’s all retire to our corners and set up a system of government that means, in effect, that if you come to our corner your status, and your descendants’ status, as citizens will always be limited in certain ways.”

        One need only look at how migrants are treated throughout the liberalized world to note that the latter does happen, primarily through a mixture of immigration laws and informal barriers than anything else. And then of course there’s truly shameful examples like Japan’s treatment of Zainichi Koreans.Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        @stillwater “I’d add that the contemporary question of zionism, if understood as you phrased it, also leaves no room for debate.”

        Nope. My support for Zionism is entirely conditioned by history. A purely contemporary assessment of an aggressively colonizing, nuke and chem armored state like Israel would be hard for me to support. Add in how contemptuously Israel often treats a steadfast ally like the U.S., and I would find support for Israel very debatable.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        Sierra, while your here could you answer the question I asked up there, the one about the why you think it’s an open question? It doesn’t seem open to me.Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        @stillwater “I’m curious why you think, given what you said earlier, that this is an open question. If Arabs are accorded the full spectrum of rights and privileges as Jews, including respect for long standing land claims, a negative answer logically follows, no?”

        Sorry it took me so long, stillwater. My reason for doubting the long term stability of liberal democracy in Israel is simply this: I take it as self-evident that cultural pluralism is a state of nature. Meaning that any state predicated on privileged rights for any given cultural group is inherently unstable, and can only temporarily maintain stability by increasing the privilege (and thus the political power) of the privileged group.

        Israel’s Law of Return is a significant privilege only enjoyed by Jews. Unless Arabs were also granted a Right of Return, they do not have “the full spectrum of rights and privileges as Jews.” This is not a trivial asymmetry, and result in more injustice, not less, as time goes on.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        Sierra,
        I’m predicting genocide in Israel/Palestine, as of this point. It’s only a matter of when (and, of course, by whom).Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        @nob-akimoto

        Yet history basically also tells us that multi-national states are terrible places to be in, especially if there’s a substantial gap between the various nations in terms of wealth and population. Relatively ethnically homogenous nation-states, seem, at least in the short-term to be the best way to build a society.

        The problem with this theory is recency bias and a rather limited data set. And even that data set is murky. Scotland is not a hellhole, neither is Switzerland. Spain has (and has had) its problems, but those are largely unrelated to its ethnic and language divisions (if anything, the Catalans are propping up the rest of the country). Etc.

        The norm in history is that ‘civilization’ has been made up of multi-ethnic polygot empires. Nationalism and the rise of the nation-state have been reactionary forces on history as often as they have been progressive, if not more often.Report

  6. Avatar Patrick Mehr
    Ignored
    says:

    The definitive account of the Dreyfus Affair, by lawyer and member of the Académie Française Jean-Denis Bredin, has been reissued as an eBook by Plunkett Lake Press and George Braziller: The Affair: The Case of Alfred Dreyfus

    And Chaim Weizmann’s autobiography, Trial and Error, which recounts Weizmann’s lifelong efforts in the Zionist movement, is now also available as an eBook: Trial and Error: The Autobiography of Chaim WeizmannReport

  7. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Gaza and the West Bank should secede from Israel.Report

  8. Avatar Brooke
    Ignored
    says:

    I wish that Jewish history had taken a better turn in Europe, and that the more inclusive nationalisms of Western Europe had prevailed in the central and eastern parts of the continent. We might have been able to avoid some of the worst crimes in European in Middle Eastern history during the 20th century. However, history did not happen that way.

    The main issue with Zionism, as I see it, is that it began at the point in history where Europeans were starting to awaken to the problems and evils of colonialism. They would spend the next half century dismantling their empires, whether by choice or by force as reality set in and the people of colonial territories began to express their own national aspirations.

    The original sin of Zionism is that it never took into account that the native people of Palestine might not want to be colonized by Europeans. The voices of Palestinian Arabs fell repeatedly on deaf ears, as the world gave away their land to what they rightly saw as European foreigners. In the aftermath of World War II, the Palestinians were made to pay with their land and their national aspirations, for the genocidal crimes of Europeans.

    I sympathize with the plight of European Jews who were victims of discrimination and violence, but the just resolution of their plight was to protect their property and rights in the lands where they lived, not to give them the keys to Palestine.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Brooke
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      says:

      Hungary was plenty inclusive. Always has been.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Brooke
      Ignored
      says:

      Brooke,
      And what of the Yemeni Jews, the Iranian Jews? Are you really calling for armed American Intervention whenever Something is Wrong with religious/cultural sentiment anywhere? Rwanda? Tibet? Iraq? (the list goes on).

      Because that’s bullshit, it ain’t gonna happen, and I ain’t gonna pretend we live in a fairyland where that might happen.Report

      • Avatar Brooke in reply to Kim
        Ignored
        says:

        Who is calling for armed intervention?

        The expulsion of Jews from Muslim countries in the wake of the founding of Israel is a different matter. Obviously, the rights of those Jewish citizens should have been protected and respected in those countries.

        The real problem is that there is nothing right or righteous about the creation of Israel. It represented Europe foisting off a problem of its creation on a people who lacked the means to assert their rights and preferences.Report

      • Avatar Brooke in reply to Kim
        Ignored
        says:

        The difference with “national sentiment” in any of those areas is that the people who felt it lived there and had been living there for generations. The Jews who established Israel were foreigners who landed there for the purpose of taking possession of land from the inhabitants of Palestine.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
        Ignored
        says:

        Brooke,
        You are either calling for armed intervention, or you are calling on us to “poohpooh” people dying. Because the Hutus still killed the Tutsi, regardless of how much screaming we did over it. You can sit around in an ivory tower and claim “this is the Most Just Solution”. Yeah, fuck that shit. You willing to shoot someone to make your Most Just Solution? Yeah, I thought not.

        Your eurocentrism is doing this debate very little good (you might want to remedy it before continuing commenting, as it might get under my skin if you let it persist much longer).

        Also, please familiarize yourself with the concept of a market economy, where people are able to buy and sell land, and immigrants are able to buy land from other people.Report

      • Avatar Brooke in reply to Kim
        Ignored
        says:

        Kim,

        You’ve certainly invented a lot to try to accuse me of. History shows that Jewish ownership of land in Palestine was well below 20% at the time of the partition.

        This was not a question of people who’d lived in an area for hundreds of years consolidating their territory and declaring a state. It was a transplanted population that arrived en masse because the Europeans and Americans did not wish to deal with the refugees in Europe or North America.

        Palestinian Arab concerns were ignored when they tried to assert their rights not to be overrun by Europeans arriving on their shores.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
        Ignored
        says:

        Brooke,
        Yeah, I notice you’ve failed to actually state what intervention you’d promote in those cases that involve ethnic cleansing.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Brooke
      Ignored
      says:

      First, its debatble whether or not the Jews who immigrated to Israel/Palestine where white Europeans. They certainly didn’t see themselves as such and neither did most Europeans with their repeated calls for the Jews to leave.

      Second, its completely not true that the Zionists were entirely unaware of the national ambitious of the Arabs of the Ottoman Empire in general or Palestine in particular. Many Zionists from across the Zionist spectrum like Ahad Ha’am, Theodore Herzl, and Vladimir Jabotinsky were very aware of Arab nationalism and formulated various responses to it from attempting negotiations to a willing fight against it. The Arab response like the European response was always “No Jews” regardless of whether we came from Europe or were native to the Middle East. Basically, Jewish leadership said fish it at a point and decided to just go alone if necessary.Report

      • Avatar Brooke in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        I never claimed that the Jews who entered Palestine from Europe where “white Europeans.” The fact remains that they couldn’t be anything other than Europeans, going back hundreds of years, with roots, communities, and languages based in their experiences there. They were no more Middle Easterners than any other European population, with no credible claim to the land.

        The fact that European Jews were treated as outsiders in Europe was a European problem and should have been dealt with there. How was the refusal of European powers to grant rights and citizenship to their Jewish populations a problem that Palestinian Arabs were involved in at all? It wasn’t. The Palestinians were simply chosen as those who would pay the price for European discrimination.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        The Arabs also treated their Jews as outsiders. In an ideal world, the treatment of European Jews as outsiders was a European problem and should have been treated as such. There were Jews and Jewish organizations that sort a solution to exclusion within the contexts of the society they lived in either by fighting for integration or accepting it. These solutions famously didn’t work.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        Lee,
        They did work, for a good 50 years, for a 100 years, something like that.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq
        Ignored
        says:

        Brooke,
        I think you may be conveniently ignoring a few bits of reality here.
        During the Holocaust, Jewish belongings and houses were confiscated by their countrymen (Poles in particular, but most places, the Christians merely took over the Jews areas).
        Put that together with Jews having a more communal structure — so you couldn’t have just two Jews out of 100 original going back to a town, that just doesn’t Work.

        And then add in most of them not wanting to go back to the kind of neighbors that you had, who would STEAL Your Shit and stand by while you were hauled away to die.

        In short, Jesus, you’re really fine with a whole sack of shit being dumped on these Jews.Report

  9. Avatar Shazbot11
    Ignored
    says:

    My position is that Zionism in the early 20th century (pre-WW-II and post Holocaust) was psychologically understandable but unjust. I get that good people who had been oppressed and victimized would want a homeland. But given that it was already the homeland of someone else, taking it was still unjust.

    The pro-Zionist attitude since the 1980’s (or so) has become something far more psychologically complex. It is obviously understandable, psychologically, to become nationalistic in the face of terror attacks. (See the U.S. post 9/11) But that nationalism can lead to unwise and immoral overly violent responses. (Again, see the U.S. post 9/11). But again, the fact that an attitude is psychologically understandable does not make the actions that follow from it morally acceptable. The Iraq War war was unjust and so is a lot of Israeli violence. (Lots of Palestinian violence too).

    Moreover, the pro-Zionist attitude has a strange relationship with the settler movement, which is deeply immoral and unjust.

    However, the most pro-Zionist politicians (and the voters who elect them in some ways) have been the most responsible for unjust oppression and violence directed at the Palestinian people.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Shazbot11
      Ignored
      says:

      I wrote a little about Zionism and protests in my Art piece for Mindless Diversions.
      It is striking how little criticism of Israel is allowed in America, particularly when Jews love to argue so much, and Jews in Israel love to criticize their government.Report

      • Avatar Ken S in reply to Kim
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        says:

        In a way this is true, Kim, but not in the way you think.

        There is little criticism of Israel in the US. What we do hear, constantly (including on this site), is “Israel has no right to exist”, “Israel’s PM is a fascist,” and so on. That’s not criticism, it’s in another category altogether.

        Let’s do some math. There are 55 declare Muslim states. (I didn’t make that number up, or take it from a Zionist website. I took it from the website of the OIC, a Muslim website.) There is one Jewish state. What would you call someone who claims that the world’s great problem is that there are too many Jewish states?Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Kim
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        says:

        There are only too many Jewish states in the sense that there are too many ethno-nationalist states. Of course there shouldn’t be Muslim states either. States, if they should exist at all, should be secular and liberal. Defenders of Israel qua Jewish state seem to think that having and defending an ethno nationalist state is in some sense excusable.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
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        says:

        KenS,
        I don’t think any state that allows thugs to harass and attack women within their borders without punishment can really be thought of as a decent state that we ought to put money/dollars into protecting.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kim
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        says:

        (The first thing to come to mind for me is The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice but surely that’s not the example Kim is thinking of.)Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Shazbot11
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      says:

      There is a wide-variety of pro-Zionist. I am a Zionist, I am not a Likkudnik or a Revisionist or a supporter of the settler movement. There is not only AIPAC but J Street.

      The Middle East of the pre-WWI was largely uninhabited and viewed as a backwater of the Ottoman Empire. What do you think would have been the just or correct response to the situation of Jews in 19th century Europe? I think this is a fair question, there should be alternative courses of actions if a movement is going to be criticized as unjust. Just sitting and taking it was not an option.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        @saul-degraw I find this comment to be moderately offensive. The population of Mandatory Palestine at the time was estimated to be 1.3 million in the mid-1930s, which is over double the total Native American population within the borders of the modern US in 1800 in a much smaller area. The Europeans pawned off their problem on a group of people too powerless to do anything about it.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        So this is a weird counterfactual but…
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_settlement_in_Imperial_Japan

        I do wonder if a Jewish homeland somewhere in Mainland East Asia, say somewhere in Manchuria or around Shanghai would’ve had a decent shot at survival….Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        The Middle East?
        My, your ignorance is shocking.
        http://looklex.com/e.o/lebanon.demographics.htm
        http://looklex.com/e.o/saudi_arabia.demographics.htm

        Which of these two places does Israel look more like, hmmm?

        Nob,
        there was jewish settlement in China as well. After Mao, etc, it has disappeared.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        There were millions of people in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire. In 1914, there were about 585,000 people living in what would become Israel/Palestine. 85,000 Jews and 500,000 Christians, Druze, and Muslims. That doesn’t seem a lot by modern standards but it wasn’t inconsiderable by the standards of the time.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot11 in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        “Just sitting and taking it was not an option.”

        So the choice was to take it out on the occupants of Palestine by taking their land? That is an immoral option.

        What was a better option, morally? Politically advocating for increasing the flow of legal immigration to the U.S. and Canada instead of politically advocating for taking occupied land without asking the permission of the indigenous peoples?

        Or emigrating to Palestine and not pushing out the indigenous people. Aim at a state that was as Muslim as it was Jewish, that respected the native inhabitants.

        That would’ve been hard. Maybe it would work. Maybe not.

        Being moral is often hard. It requires risks.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Half like the government in Israel, half like the government in…

        (Which country are we going to point to?)Report

      • Avatar Frank_A in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Nob,

        I do wonder if a Jewish homeland somewhere in Mainland East Asia, say somewhere in Manchuria or around Shanghai would’ve had a decent shot at survival….

        There was the USSR’s Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Siberia, near Manchuria:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Autonomous_Oblast
        As the article states, it declined about the time of the 1st purges…Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Shaz,
        Are you familiar with the story of the Exodus?
        America sent refugees back to the death camps.
        America is culpable for a goodly amount of Jewish deaths there.

        And a good deal of Pacifistic Jews did just die in the Holocaust.Report

      • Avatar Frank_A in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, I say was, it still IS an oblast, but not a hotspot.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @mo, thats 1.3 million including 450,000 Jews not 1.3 million Arabs.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        AIPAC isn’t a big, bad Likudnik organization. It generally supports whatever the Israeli government decides to do. If they negotiate with Palestinians, AIPAC supports it. If they ignore the Palestinians, AIPAC supports this.

        J-Street is a troublesome organization. Its officially Zionist but has problems expressing anything to pro-Israel because lots of its members are completely anti-Zionist.

        http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/147016/j-street-attendees-show-support-for-right-of-returnReport

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @leeesq Actually, it was sub-400K Jews. I don’t see where I said it was 1.3 million Arabs. 1.3 million people in an area the size of NJ isn’t a bustling metropolis, but it’s also not some sort of Wyoming-esque untouched backwater wilderness.Report

      • Avatar Lyle in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Re: Nob although it would not have worked Stalin did create a Jewish Autonomous Oblast in far east russia. (In fact the area still is called the Jewish Oblast) but there are few Jews there (It sits on the Manchurian border). Stalin tried the idea of seperating nationalities and making them an important part of the issue else why so many Soviet Socialist Republics, Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics with the RFSSR, and lower level units).
        It never really took off reaching a max according to wikipedia of 25% jewish population in 1948 and declining later.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Lee,
        AIPAC supports whatever the End-Of-The-Worlders want.
        Last seen supporting Americans crushing Syria (and then Iran, naturally).

        AIPAC is not your friend.Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @leeesq From your own cite that, I guess you mean as evidence of Jstreet being a “troublesome” organization:

        “Backing for the recognition of the Nakba, too, is problematic. While the displacement of Palestinian refugees is a matter of historical record, the use of the term nakba—meaning disaster or catastrophe—is done in order to indicate that in addition to the refugee crisis, the creation of Israel is in itself part of the tragedy.”

        Acknowledging the massive displacement of Palestinians at Israel’s founding as a “matter of historical record,” yet recognizing it for the tragedy that is was is somehow “problematic?”

        I’m gonna call BS on that.

        The Nakba is every bit the tragedy that Palestinians claim it is. In a very real sense, it is the “birth defect” of the nation of Israel very much as slavery was for the United States. Let us hope that Israel can confront that tragedy without the carnage that the US brought on itself by failure to deal with the injustice of its “birth defect.”Report

      • Avatar Ken S in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Murali — Yet we’re not arguing about Saudi Arabia’s right to exist, are we?

        In this wonderland that exists only in your head, it would be sensible to argue that Israel as a Jewish state should not exist. On planet Earth, not so much.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        In a very real sense, it is the “birth defect” of the nation of Israel very much as slavery was for the United States.

        There’s a much closer analogy available. Any particular reason you didn’t use it?Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Except that it is almost clichéd to say that any of the Muslim states should not in fact be Muslim states. No one outside of fundamentalist Muslims, who are somewhat absent in this part of the blogosphere is defending the existence of these places qua Muslim states. But Zionists seem to think that Israel qua Jewish state (rather than qua secular liberal state) has some special dispensation from God when they are horrified (and rightfully so) at the way Muslim states treat their non-Muslim residents.Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @mike-schilling : “There’s a much closer analogy available. Any particular reason you didn’t use it?”

        I am ashamed to admit that I don’t know which analog you are referring to. Clue me in and I would be glad to examine the point.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Sierra, he is referring to the people that were here when we got here, just as there were people in Palestine when the Israelis arrived.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        The U.S. has also displaced its native population, far more completely and brutally than Israel has.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @will-truman @sierra-nevada @mike-schilling – FWIW, it took me a few minutes to get it too. Honestly, I think the “any particular reason?” portion of the question, since it seemed vaguely accusatory, threw me off the trail longer than it would otherwise have taken, since I was trying to grok where Mike was coming from with that (and TBH, still don’t really know fully what he was saying with it).

        And not to answer for Sierra, but I would imagine that “reason” is because in American political discourse we usually don’t spend nearly as much time discussing the wrongs that were done to Native Americans, in large part due to the shameful fact there just aren’t that many of them left to remind us, what with the literal genocide and all.

        So *that* historical example of America’s founding sins doesn’t come to mind as easily as the *other* one that we talk about all the time.Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @mike-schilling , @will-truman Of course, shameful that didn’t occur to me.

        However, analogies are tools of rhetoric, not logic. Why I stand by the analogy I gave as more apt:

        The founders based their case for the founding on “All men are created equal.” That was the moral soil upon which the flag was planted. Injustices done along the way in the founding and later expansion of the US could be “justified” by the revolutionary ideal at the core of the republic. Slavery, and the genocide of Native Americans* were two such injustices. But slavery is the injustice that almost (and some say did), destroy the whole project, because it was entirely at odds with the ideal that gave moral justification to the republic itself.

        As an analog, the only moral justification for Zionism is that of creating a home for the dispossessed, a place where they could make for themselves security and justice. The Nakba was entirely at odds with that moral justification, as it was an act of dispossession.

        *The civil war has actually happened, so its horror is in some sense fathomable as a cautionary tale for tolerating the intolerable. The bill has yet to come due for what was done to the First Peoples.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        Murali, I think its actual very easy to find people that have no problem defending the idea of Muslim-majority countries as officially Muslim including having an official international organization while at the same time saying that is racist for Israel to be a Jewish state. Most of the Muslims that routinely denounce Israel’s plea to be recognized as a Jewish state seem very comfortable with their own countries being offically Arab or Muslim states. Political Islam is popular and there seems to be little appetite for secularism in many Muslim-majority countries even if they don’t want a Talbian like theocracy either. At least some non-trivial association between Islam and state or Arab identity and state seem to be desired. If Muslims believe that they can have Muslim states than they shouldn’t begrudge the Jews a state to.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Lee,
        Their position (naturally) is that that land was the Palestinians. I don’t think they have any REAL objection to a jewish state, as a jewish state. Just NOT HERE.

        (well, other than the religious objection, which says that everyone should be muslim and have islamic government. Note: this is not a by force conversion sort of thing).Report

      • Avatar Shazbot11 in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        Analogizing apartheid in Israel with the genocide of Native Americans in the U.S. isn’t likely to help the discussion. The former is awful, but the latter is even worse.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Analogizing apartheid in Israel with the genocide of Native Americans in the U.S. isn’t likely to help the discussion. The former is awful, but the latter is even worse.

        This is one – one! – time when I’ll note something George said had merit.

        Most of the First Nations folk died from the consequences of interactions with Europeans well before there was a sustainable colony presence on the North American continent.

        More here and here.

        That makes the death of the First Nations largely attributable to something we didn’t really know much about until the 1860s. Consequentially, this makes little difference to the folk who were here before the Europeans were, but intentionally, this is something different from structuring your society from the ground-up to have second class citizens.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @leeesq

        1. What Kim said

        2. You don’t find advocates of political Islam here on this site. And likely, not even on the sites that we regularly link to. And not even on the sites which people who comment on this site and the sites we regularly link to are likely to visit regularly. Sure, advocates of political Islam are (in a sense appreciable to us in secular liberal societies) being inconsistent in condemning the existence of Jewish states but not of Islamic states. But not only are we not those guys, there is no reasonable way to confuse us with those guys.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        Murali, my point was that the choice isn’t between Jewish Israel and secular, democratic multicultural Palestine. Its between Jewish but still reasonably multicultural Israel and an Arab nationalist/Muslim centric Palestine. Even if the Israelis agree to give up affiliation between Jewishness and the state, it doesn’t mean that the Palestinians are going to give up their ethno-nationalism or religious-nationalism. I don’t see anyway to peacefully impose the type of liberal, multi-cultural secularism we see desirable on the region in a way that would work. The desire for multi-cultural secularism must come from within the societies rather than outside and we are a long slog away from it if regional events in Israel, Egypt, Syria or elsewhere are anything to go by. In the meantime, I fail to see why Israelis should basically offer themselves up as sacrifice while we wait for this to happen.

        The entire anti-Zionist argument has one fatal flaw, it can’t provide any reasonable answer for what the Jews should do besides “cross fingers and hope everything turns out fine.”Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        Lee,
        That’s flatly untrue.
        Allow me to express a different anti-Zionist position:
        “Leave before the genocide starts, let the blood not be on your hands”

        It’s wise advice, even if you still believe that Israel has a right to exist.
        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/nov/17/izzeldin-abuelaish-plea-for-peace-gaza-israel
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnEe2N-kxJk

        He has more strength than I do, I must admit — yet even he has left.Report

    • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to Shazbot11
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      says:

      @glyph Of course you are right. Even thought I stand by the analogy as such, it is telling that the genocide of the First Peoples didn’t even occur to me in this light.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Sierra Nevada
        Ignored
        says:

        It points to one of those uncomfortable ironies that go all the way back to a lot of our mythologies – the idea that if you are going to be unjust to someone, better go all-in with that injustice, burn it down and salt the earth; otherwise his descendants come back on your descendants and vice-versa, in an eternal cycle. It’s been a long time since I read the OT, but IIRC God told the Hebrews to wipe out the Canaanites. When they did that, things were “good” for them, in the land of milk and honey.

        But when they left survivors…

        (and before anyone goes there, no, this is not an endorsement of genocide, nor a likening of current Israeli policy to genocide. I could have as easily used Roman examples – Pax Romana was established in some scorched-earth places largely when there was no one left standing to oppose it. Just pointing out that a lot of our old myths tell us, as does Mike the Cleaner, “no half-measures”, and this sort of endless tribal tit-for-tat is likely why.)Report

  10. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    “College is a safe place to express highly charged politics..” Err, you’ve been reading the news for the last few decades yes? No way I’d call college a “safe” place, unless you’re generally following the party line. It was more tolerant when I was in university. Seems a lot less now.

    The problems with the founding of the Israeli state were created by the great game the western powers engaged in the Middle East. The Brits had been meddling there for years, and now, facing an armed struggle with the Zionists, I think they decided to bail. Of course, all those Jews flooding into the holy land did nothing but annoy the Muslims, who were already living there, making a nice start for a thousand year conflict over the land. How’s that for an unintended consequence for foreign policy?Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
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      says:

      Haha. you think it was unintentional??? haha.Report

      • Avatar Matty in reply to Kim
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        says:

        I really wanted to post the relevant video here but I can’t find it so I’ll have to settle for Wikipedia on St George’s Island

        Unlike India, Cyprus, Palestine and Ireland, the country was not partitioned, causing misgivings by Sir Richard Wharton, the Permanent Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He cynically believed that partitioning the former colonies caused civil wars, making the people of these countries spend all their time and energy fighting each other, rather than someone else. After all, “it saved us [i.e. the United Kingdom] having a policy about them.”

        Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Kim
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        says:

        @Kim
        @Matty
        Intentional or not is irrelevant. The brits shouldn’t have been putting their noses into where it didn’t belong. They did, and the consecquences were vast and deep, and still reverberating. We’ve done the same, and it’s gotten us the same results.

        We don’t need a policy about a few goat herders wandering the hills of Palestine..Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
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        says:

        Damon,
        because there’s so much fighting in Jordan? How about Saudi Arabia?
        America will continue to put its nose wherever it damn well pleases,
        whether we want it to or not.

        We can, however, create opposing reasons for direct military intervention.
        Not that that will save lives, it certainly hasn’t in Syria.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Kim
        Ignored
        says:

        @kim

        Perhaps I wasn’t clear. We shouldn’t be butting our noses into the affairs of foreign countries except on very rare occasions.

        Sure we can create reasons for no direct military intervention, but I think the best one is “it’s none of our damn business”. Most of the time, intervention just makes a mess of things. Time to cut our losses and pull out.Report

      • Avatar Matty in reply to Kim
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        says:

        @damon I am no fan of colonialism but I’m struggling to see how the Ottoman Empire could have been dismembered without foreign involvement and remember they were a defeated power in disarray back home so the status quo was not an option.

        Who would you have given the area to, the French, the Arab revolt (which was largely dependent on British arms so that puts you back where you started) or some other group?Report

  11. Avatar LeeEsq
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    says:

    Very good post but some of the basic needs improvement. Leon Pisker’s Auto-Emancipation was not a proto-Zionist work but one of the full fledged Zionist works even though the term Zionism wasn’t coined at the time. The first true defense of Zionism is Rome and Jerusalem by Moses Hessm, who took his inspiration from Italian nationalism. Proto-Zionism generally refers to Orthoodox Rabbis like Zvi Kalischer (sp?) and Alkalai who argued that Jews should move back to Israel/Palestine to set up for the Messiah.

    Most historians trace the begginning of the Zionist movement back to the assasination of Tsar Alexander II in Russia in 1881. While previous Tsars were not that kind towards their Jewish subjects, it was Alexander III and his ministers that started the use of Jews as scapegoats. This led both to the mass immigration to the United States and the early days of Jewish nationalism with the First Aliyah to Israel and the formation of the first Jewish nationalist organization, the Hovevei Zion. What Herzl did was organize the different Jewish nationalist groups into one organization, the Zionist Organization, and involve Jewish communties from Western and Central Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      It seems to me that any discussion of zionism is incomplete without discussing the impacts of the Jewish Enlightenment in Europe before hand. It wasn’t until acculturation and emancipation were tried under the model of Moses Mendelsshon that the necessity for Jewish nationalism (hence Zionism) became necessary. The explicitly sectarian nature of European nationalism in the post-Enlightenment period also drove that forward.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Nob Akimoto
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        says:

        That’s actually a dramatic misread of a lot of things. Most of the Enlightenment Jews wouldnt’ have wanted an Israeli state (the goal was to assimilate more into current society). And the Orthodox Jews of Germany weren’t about moving to Israel either (loss of political power, for one thing).

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh_Platform

        Conservative Jews, a relatively late development (and more incorporating Polish/Russian ideals), were heavy on the Zionism.

        A lot of Jews just wanted to escape, and Israel after 1949 had open borders.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Nob Akimoto
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        says:

        The problem with this is that both Proto-Zionism and Zionism originated in the parts of Europe and the Jewish communities where the Haskalah was weakest, the Jewish communities of Russia and Romania. Most immigrants in the first Aliyah were devotely Orthodox. Most Haskalah influenced Jews rejected Zionism until after WWII for the most part. The Reform movement was vehemently anti-Zionists till the very end because a big part of the Reform movement involved the rejection of a concept of Jewish peoplehood. Many Orthodox Rabbis weren’t that kind to Zionism either but the Rabbis that were pro-Zionist were Orthodox and anti-Haskalah.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Nob Akimoto
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        says:

        Lee,
        I learned a new word (haskalah)! My thanks!
        (yes, I have had multiple courses on this.)Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Nob Akimoto
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        says:

        I think it’s impossible to separate 19th century nationalism and post-emancipation from the development of Zionism. Herzl himself is part of that Central European community influenced by the general trends of Haskalah, including the fact that he was a relatively normal post-emancipation socially assimilated Jew. That’s part of what helped radicalize him so thoroughly after the Dreyfus Affair.

        There’s also the fact that it was the combination of an intellectual tradition existing in Western Europe plus the oppression in Eastern Europe that gave the required impetus and momentum to settle outside of the European mainland. Yes, the first Aliyah was predominantly Russian Orthodox Jewry, but it was the acculturation of the previous generation that led to sufficiently powerful figures like the Baron de Rothschild that could bankroll much of these early aliyot.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Nob Akimoto
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        says:

        More succinctly, from an old lecture: “The desire to reclaim Israel has always been there among the Diaspora, but it wasn’t until the late 19th century before it actually happened. It was the dual developments of post-emancipation and nationalism that led to that moment.”Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq
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      says:

      Jews were a substantial portion of the terrorists in Russia, so the use of the term “scapegoat” may be a bit misguided. (Not that this in any way shape or form excuses pogroms).Report

  12. Avatar Kim
    Ignored
    says:

    comment in mod.Report

  13. Avatar Shazbot11
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    says:

    Also, I generally think the question of whether the original Zionist project was just or unjust is now irrelevant to the present.

    The fact is that generations of Jewish people have been born and in and thus now have a sovereign claim to the land. They ain’t going anywhere, and even if there parents stole the land (or not), they now own it.

    Reparations seem in order, given that there are still victims and their immediate descendants. Those reparations might involve limited right of return. Maybe, maybe not.Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Shazbot11
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      says:

      I can support reparations as part of the peace process without reservation.

      Lee has a point on Israel not descending into totalitarian apartheid though. The actions of the Israel government in many ways have been the opposite of totalitarian apartheid-ism. There is a hysterical sense of hyperbole to accuse Israelis of Apartheid and genocide and this seems to hark back to classic anti-Semitism of declaring the Jews to be in Paradox. We are weak and strong.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        I dunno Saul. Ten years ago I’d have said unambiguously that Israel was in little danger of apartheid. Seven years ago I grumbled that the Palestinians never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity as I watched the Peace-Labor Left die of sheer despair. Since then I’ve watched the walls go up, the terrorism go down, the Palestinians moderate (at least functionally) and the Israeli polity contentedly pocket the gains and settle down to contentedly living with the status quos and clucking their tongues as the Settlements swell while voting in Likud government after government.
        Now? I see the apartheid danger and I see it pretty keenly. I worry for them because now it’s beginning to look like apartheid or apartheid-light is becoming the politically and culturally “easy way” to move forward and electorates like easy ways.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        Beinart is no anti-semite. He self-describes as a zionist and I am just quoting him. I am more pessimistic on time lines. That is all.

        Without a viable two-state solution, unless West Bank Palestinians get to vote in Israeli elections, you have apartheid pretty much by definition.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        @north, http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/04/06/israeli-arab-microbiologist-wins-on-israel’s-‘masterchef’-reality-show/

        http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Arab-MK-Israel-trying-to-divide-Arabs-by-targeting-Christians-for-IDF-draft-350070

        See also the links I posted in other points. At least within the pre-1967 borders and the Golan, non-Jews are being integrated into Israeli life and government more than they ever were in the past. With concrete evidence rather than fear, how is Israel exactly in danger of becoming an apartheid state?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        Lee,
        Sources cited above.
        Most notably, Jewish terrorists are treated with a very different eye than Arabic Terrorists.
        Apartheid “separate but equal” busing.

        And saying “but we’re so NICE to the good Arabs” is fucking bullshit. You rule the entire country, or you let the Arabs do whatever the fuck they want with Palestine — including a non-fractured government. note: having a fractured government is YET ANOTHER way the Israelis are disadvantaging the Palestinians.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        Lee,
        Also, see my link above about racism in Israel.
        I don’t need to remind you how close to home that hits for me, do i?Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        @Lee, Israel is in danger of becoming an apartheid state because they are rapidly approaching a point where the two state solution is a dead letter. The Palestinians in the territories are governed almost entirely by Israel in their movement, their ability to build homes, operate businesses, access to water and interact with the Jewish settlers who are being privileged over them in virtually every economic and political arena. Palestinians in the territories have no votes in the Israeli government nor do they have a prospect of getting it. Within the territories this is race based. This is pretty much the definition of apartheid.

        That this budding apartheid is not as horrifically pervasive as the South African regime that gave it its name doesn’t negate the threat of it. Granted Israeli Arabs are treated well (a lot better than Jews are treated in the antediluvian Arab excuses for states) within the 1967 lines, other than the gunshot Mrs. Lincoln how was the play?

        I have no personal connections to the Palestinians myself so other than a general intellectual sense of humanism I don’t carry a brief for them. They’ve been something between damned fools and savage fools for much of their history but that’s no excuse for the Israeli’s to start behaving like savage fools in turn. When the Palestinians, the Gods laugh, are functionally moderating it’s damned foolishness no less.

        So yes, I once didn’t see much prospect of apartheid and now, God(ess?) help them I can see it looming. If the Israeli’s let themselves stumble into it or be led by the nose into it by their right wing nutbars it’ll end in tears and rest assured plenty of them will be mine.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        North,
        ever the optimist, I see. I predict the end of this disasterous experiment to be genocide.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        God(ess?) forfend Kimmie, or Jehovah forfend I suppose in this case.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        North,
        God helps those who help themselves.
        Rewarding the Palestinians for peaceful options remains a good endeavor.
        Likewise, a boycott of Israel’s current regime and its corporations might do the world some good.
        And if not? Tis mischief and laughter — a bit more strength will be all to the good.Report

      • Avatar Shazbot3 in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        North and Saul,

        Can you imagine 50-200 thousand settlers being moved in the next 15 years. I can’t.

        If those settlers aren’t moved in 15 years, there will be more of them and they will be more entrenched. Those born in occupied territory will have a claim to the land of their birth.

        This is as inevitable as anything.

        Apartheid is a reality because the two-state solution is not possible anymore. You have one state where the Palestinians live under apartheid.

        I suppose you can argue that they are to blame for their own apartheid, but I think that would be a pretty repugnant argument to make.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        Shazbot3: I am not quite that pessimistic. I think the settlements are reversible along with land swaps; it won’t be easy but it’s possible. I do think, though, that they are in serious danger of becoming irreversible.

        In that the occupation in the territories is supposed to be reversible it’s not apartheid; it’s an occupation. If it does indeed become irreversible then I agree that it’s going to become apartheid. It simply isn’t there yet.

        I don’t think blame was brought up but I think it’s patently obvious that both groups involved are heavily to blame for the mess they find themselves in. I don’t believe in infantilizing the Palestinian people; they have made many terrible and immoral decisions over the unhappy history of the region to cause and worsen their predicament; the Israeli’s have done likewise.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        North,
        The settlers will fire on Israeli troops to keep their illegal (even under Israeli law) settlements. I don’t think murderers and terrorists are going to be nice and rational and leave someone else’s country peaceably.Report

  14. Avatar Shazbot11
    Ignored
    says:

    Also, I agree and disagree with Beinart. He is right that the possibility of a two state solution is dying (as the settlements grow in size and their roots get deeper) and that when it dies, there will only be apartheid.

    However, he is wrong because it already died. In 15 years or so, the settlements will be unremovably entrenched across the West Bank. There will be no political will to remove them in the next 15 years. (In fact, there is sometimes not enough will to stop expansions.) There can be no country called Palestine that is carved up by the settlements that now stretch all over. Therefore there will never be a country called Palestine.

    Pessimistic, yes. But do you see grounds for optimism?Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Shazbot11
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      says:

      The problem with the peace with the Palestinians are not the settlements. The settlements are a red hearing. Israel has removed settlements from the Sinai Peninsula to achieve peace with Egypt and from the Gaza Strip in an experiment of unilateral withdrawal. These settlement withdrawals occurred under Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon, two men not generally known for being doves and peaceniks.

      There isn’t peace with the Palestinian leadership because Palestinian leadership is either outright opposed to peace and the existence of Israel in the form of Hamas or is unwilling or unable to compromise on any issue in the form of Fatah. Even on issues that they have to know are going to be deal breakers like having Israel accept five million Palestinian refugees within the pre-1967 borders, Palestinian leadership simply refuses to bud. They are either can’t get over the old desire to destroy Israel or they simply do not believe they have any mandate to make even the most minor, symbolic concession to the Israelis.*

      *My personal opinion is basically that for the most part, Palestinian leadership would love to have Israel gone for good but realizes they don’t have the means to achieve that. What they are willing to settle for is Israel to leave the West Bank without a formal peace agreement so that they can at least continue on a symbolic war against Israel.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        The Sinai settlements were there for less than a decade with populations in the neighborhood of a couple thousand. That’s a completely different scale.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        The Gaza Settlements were longer lasting and on a bigger scale with a much more adamant population. It took a bit of work but Israel was able to get rid of them fine.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        @mo, and I really do think the Settlements are a red hearing. I think the main reason why we don’t have peace is that the most of the Muslim world and the Palestinians in particular are still not able to accept the Jewish State in any form.

        http://shawarmanews.blogspot.com/2014/04/jews-slaughtered-humans-in-their.html

        http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/feminism-is-a-facade-to-dishonour-muslim-women-says-isma-chief*

        *Note that Malaysian Isma chief is claiming that feminism is Zionist-Christian invention.

        Isn’t it just slightly possible that these widespread Jew hatred is partly the reason why the Palestinians and other Muslim majority people are having such a difficult time reaching any agreement with Israel. That they might simply find it inconceivable that they have to make symbolic concessions and can only see Jews as group to be ordered about?Report

      • Avatar Shazbot11 in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        About 7-8,000 settlers were removed from Gaza, IIRC.

        There are 400,000 illegal settlers in the West Bank, 225,000 of whom are outside of East Jerusalem.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_statistics_for_Israeli_Gaza_Strip_settlements

        (scroll to bottom)

        It isn’t apples and oranges so much as apples and planets.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_statistics_for_Israeli_Gaza_Strip_settlementsReport

      • Avatar Shazbot11 in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        But yes, you could do a Gaza-style pullout now and pull back the settlements that reach further in to the West Bank and keep those closer to Israel. It is technically feasible (for a while longer) but there is no will to do it. It will never happen.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Yeah, I’m really not seeing how the half million settlers and the lack of territorial integrity are a red herring. Demanding that your opponents give up the possibility of a contiguous state as a precondition for negotiations isn’t going to get you very far.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Lee. Israel is perfectly capable of unilaterally withdrawing (and annexing the bigger settlement population blocks with some commensurate land being publicly placed into trust for the eventual Palestine in exchange) without any serious threat to their security. They don’t need anything in return from the Palestinians or Arabs (though if they did the Palestinians and Arabs would have no excuse not to eventually normalize relations with Israel. I understand why Israeli’s don’t: the right wing honestly doesn’t want to; the left wing was killed by Arafat (may he roast in hell) and the Gaza rocket barrages and the center majority wants to “get” something in exchange for pulling back.

        It would be nice if someone would pay you to discard the ticking bomb you are grasping but if they refuse to pay you it is still essential to discard the bomb for free. Being rid of the bomb is in of itself worth it, any quid pro quos is gravy.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        @north, my actual opinion is that Israel basically should do a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank and tell the Palestinians to do what they want. Allow them to have Iranian embassies in Ramallah even. Its not necessarily for demographic reasons but mainly to just do something to force a solution to the problem. The only issue is that I see a Gaza type situation, where people complain Palestine is still occupied even though it has a standing army and embassies across the world with East Jerusalem as a capital because the right of return hasn’t been dealt with.

        @nob-akimoto, the Palestinian demand for a geographically coherent state isn’t outrageous. What is outrageous is their continual insistence not to make even ritual concessions like saying Jerusalem is really important to the Jews as well or even acknowledging any Jewish connection to Israel/Palestine. Israelis are going to be a lot more inclined to trust the Palestinians and leave the West Bank if they don’t think its going to be merely another step in the war against the Jewish state that was ranging since 1948. I think you are really under-estimating how many Muslims just really hate the idea of the Jewish State in the abstract let alone as an actuality.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        @leeesq How is their pullout from Gaza evidence that the issue is Hamas and not that they don’t want to disturb settlements? As Shazbot pointed out, the numbers are completely different and the difference between the West Bank and Gaza is that they gave territorial control directly to Hamas, rather than to the more moderate organization.

        If you look at the parties in the ruling coalition, you have Yisrael Beiteinu sharing the top of the ticket with Likud and The Jewish Home party. Those are two very strong pro-settlement parties. The plan named after their current minister of foreign affairs calls for absorbing all of the settlements and dividing up their land on purely racial lines. Let’s also not ignore that the settlements are largely situated in places that control a significant proportion of freshwater springs.

        Abba Eban was a bit narrow in his quote, both sides in this conflict have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        @north, I think the Israeli center would be happy if some American or European would cut the diplomatic requirements and bluntly say something that I suspect most of them know are true but can’t say because its not what you say in these sorts of situations.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Lee,
        Giving concessions to a country that unilaterally commits asymmetric warfare against you is always going to be a hard sell.

        The Israeli government is culpable in any division in the WestBank.

        This ends in blood. If you know anyone there that you can persuade to leave, I’d do it sooner rather than later.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        North,
        it wasn’t Arafat’s bullet that killed the left wing in Israel. That was a settler’s. There is no political will for suicide in Israel.Report

      • Avatar Sierra Nevada in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        @leeesq : “The problem with the peace with the Palestinians are not the settlements.”

        This is entirely counterfactual. The settlements in occupied territories are THE peace problem. The current status quo of breakneck settlement expansion is unilateralist, effectively destroys any chance for peace with the Palestinians.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Lee: We’re in agreement mostly about the Palestinians. The one point I disagree with is the right of return. If Israel pulled out but told the Palestinian refugees some people would kvetch and claim occupation but the vast majority of people and the voting majority in the countries Israel actually cares about (the developed world) would be pretty much satisfied.

        And really if the trade partners and diplomatic allies are satisfied (which they would be, let’s be plain- the world majorities give not a rip about the Palestinian refugees in Arab countries*) and the demographic entanglement and primary moral issues are resolved then Israel would have no unique existential threats remaining at all. Which is probably why the prospect of it scares the Israeli right to no end.

        As to diplomatic strong arming? I don’t know. My own observations is that Israeli’s, center or right, react very poorly to being bluntly shoved or bluntly told anything on a governmental level. Look at Kerry.

        *I do not think this is a good thing but it’s a fact.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        @north, according to the New York Times, Netanyahu’s government is considering a unilateral withdrawal from parts A and B of the West Bank while annexing the seam zone where the main settlement blocks are into Israel. Thats probably the most feasible solution at this point.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        I also might have explained my point about diplomacy better. I suspect that most diplomats in the West know that Palestinian stubbornness on practically even symbolic concessions like saying “Jerusalem is important to the Jews to” let alone anything concrete is the main obstacle to peace. They also know about the epic levels of Jew-hatred in Muslim-majority countries. Having Kerry and other similar situated people say this out loud might and in public might make the Israeli center feel better when they do a unilateral withdrawal for essentially nothing.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Lee- I’ll believe it when it happens. Cynic that I am I think Bibi’s government would collapse if he tried.

        As for the Palestinians, well yeah they refuse to concede these various symbolic gestures, perhaps because in almost every substantive way they’ve conceded everything for little to nothing in return. Security cooperation is at an all time high, the West Bank is quiet, the Fatah controlled borders are secure. They don’t even get lip service from Bibi’s administration in return, I don’t blame them for intransigence.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Shazbot11
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      says:

      Peace is dead. At least, any peace we might have wanted.
      The new peace will come with blood. Innocents will die, as they have died.Report

  15. Avatar Shazbot11
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    says:

    Please fish my comment out of moderation. I hope it is my links and not my views that got me stuck in there.Report

  16. Avatar Chris
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    says:

    Saul, good post. I’m hoping that at some point in the series you talk about the role, and use, of the Middle Eastern states (Israel and the Arab states) in the Cold War.Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Chris
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      says:

      Thanks. The Cold War is an interesting aspect in this and one part that I know only a scant bit about and will require more research on my part but the USSR and US used the Middle East for their own geopolitical struggles.Report

  17. Avatar Saul DeGraw
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    says:

    @chris

    Moving downhtread. I generally agree with your comment to Leeesq but I am going to say the both sides do it (at the risk of being cliche) with the links to Mondoweiss to counter Alterman.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Saul DeGraw
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      says:

      Yeah, my basic point was both sides do it. That’s part of the problem: since both sides end up gravitating to the extremes, there’s very little actual discussion, just recrimination.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Chris
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        says:

        It’s really hard to work up a proper discussion or debate when the starting positions are: “Response to oppression and the holocaust” vs. “colonialism”.

        It’s probably as contentious as it is because the people being discussed in the present tense still have agency. The native american genocide for example, isn’t discussed in similar amounts of contention despite the fact that the American cavalier treatment of it in popular history is much, much worse than anything Israel has ever done in characterizing its occupation.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        says:

        Hell, we still celebrate some of the perpetrators of that genocide. Some are even on our currency.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Chris
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        says:

        Exactly. Could you imagine how things would be if there were a sizable population of native americans to contest that? To discuss about reparations or right to return to places like New England? Or what sort of language would be used for things like the Redskins?

        Hell, we need only look at how contentious Civil War dead-enders can be when confronted regarding their position or whisper the word “reparations” about slavery when there’s only white people in a room.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        says:

        Nob, I can. I see it in the discussions of the legacy of America’s other large-scale genocide, which does have a substantial surviving population.

        I threw out the rest of my comment, because I didn’t want to lead the discussion down another rabbit hole, but suffice it to say, as a southerner, the way in which the South deals with its legacy is pretty damned disgraceful most of the time.

        Also, dude, shoot me an email.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chris
        Ignored
        says:

        @nob-akimoto, your on to something but I don’t think its exactly right. In my experience, a lot of non-Arab or Muslim critics of Zionism are mystified about why a Jewish nationalist movement would appear in the late 19th century in the first place. These aren’t dumb people, they recognize that oppressed minority groups would have a nationalist reaction. Many African-Americans responded in a nationalist rather than integrationist manner to how they were treated in the United States. Likewise, some Jews had a nationalist reaction to their treatment as minorities in Europe or the Middle East.

        Its not necessarily the conclusion that they reach, anti-Zionism, but their inability to understand why Zionism would appear in the first place that bothers me. Many of them really seem to think that the Jews who moved to Israel/Palestine where no different than the Afrikaners in South Africa or the French in Algeria. They have these utopian fantasies of the Middle East being a utopian, multicultural land where everybody got along before the Zionists appear that have no basis in reality.

        The entire position at best seems to range between “lets cross our fingers and hope everything turns out okay for the Jews” to malevolent neglect.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Chris
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        says:

        Lee: I don’t know, I tend to find that there’s a lot of people who don’t understand how radicalization and nationalism came into force. I think the same people who don’t understand the reasons for Zionism are also the ones who feel that maybe Malcom X was too radical or that they don’t really grasp the reasons for the IRA.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chris
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        says:

        @nob-akimoto, I’ve met more than a few radicals that get all dewey eyed about Malcolm X but think that Menachem Begin was a despicable human being even though both were subjected to similar radicalizing experiences. I’ve posted this link earlier but its worth reposting:

        http://whatwouldphoebedo.blogspot.com/2011/07/anti-semitism-and-first-world-problems.html

        I don’t think that these people are anti-Semitic, its just that they can’t quite see Jews as oppressed minorities in the same way that African-Americans or even the Irish before their independence were seen as oppressed minorities.Report

  18. Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto
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    says:

    Saul:
    I’m a little curious as to whether or not this is really a defense of Zionism, or if it is more a post-hoc justification for it. That is, it’s all very good as a reason for the existence of Israel as a Jewish state, but it does very little to defend the nation-state’s own choices since it’s become a matter of having its own agency.

    To use a somewhat tortured comparison, one might argue that the Central Asian ‘stans have a right to self-determination which was denied under both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, but that in itself doesn’t serve as a defense of Uzbek or Kazakh national polities as they’re currently constituted.Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Nob Akimoto
      Ignored
      says:

      @nob-akimoto

      That is a hard question to answer. I think you are falling into the general trap that anti-Semitism is largely in decline around the world. If the world treated Jews like 21st century America treated Jews, there would probably not be a need for Zionism.

      I am defending Zionism as it originated in the 19th century and existed through out most of the 20th century. The Zionism of Herzl, Pinsker, Ben Gurion does not need post-hoc justification. It is defended by the experience and treatment of 19th century European (and probably non-European) Jews.

      I do not disagree that some of the decisions made by Israel post-Independence were wrong. No nation is going to be 100 percent. The United States has made many horrific decisions but I think only a few radicals would call for the dismantling of the United States like people call for a one-state solution in Israel/Palestine which would essentially be the dismantling of the Jewish state. Australia and New Zealand also made a series of brutal and unconscionable decisions regarding their native populations but does anyone call for Australia or New Zealand to disappear as we know them? Reparations and acknowledgments of wrong doing are necessary for the peace process but there were plenty of Jews who were expelled from their countries after Israel won the 1949 war and more after the 1967 War. Are those Jews going to get their property back? Or were the actions of Iraq and Jordon justified?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        I think you are falling into the general trap that anti-Semitism is largely in decline around the world. If the world treated Jews like 21st century America treated Jews, there would probably not be a need for Zionism.

        THis is confusing to me. How does current anti-semitic expressions in countries around the world justify the contemporary existence of Israel? I mean, A jewish state doesn’t alter the experiences of Jews in France or Haiti or South Korea or etc. And as you mention, there are safe havens for Jews in other countries. THe two things – antisemitism worldwide and a Jewish state – strike me as completely disconnected. Justifications must come from elsewhere, it seems to me.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Saul DeGraw
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        says:

        I don’t actually think antisemitism is on the decline, if anything (particularly in western liberal societies) there seems to be a troubling increase of it, or at least the more insidious forms of it, which are very similar to say the racial treatment of the non-“big” minority groups in the US. (There’s a substantial difference between how minorities that are large and visible are treated vs. the “model” minorities, and I feel like Jews are getting treated in a similar way to say Asian-Americans largely speaking.)

        With that said:
        I would argue, again, that the dynamics are different precisely because Israel isn’t Australia or New Zealand: ie they didn’t systematically try to eradicate their aboriginal populations.

        I’m honestly not asking for the Jewish state to be dismantled, I would prefer, actually, a paid reparations based dismantling of the Palestinian state (pay every Palestinian household 10 million US dollars on the condition that they renounce all their claims) or something wildly extravagant and unrealistic of that nature, so don’t look at me to provide a useful path forward.Report

      • Avatar Mo in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @nob-akimoto At least in the US, you’re wrong. The ADL has noted a steep decline in Semitic incidents.Report

      • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        @mo

        Your sentence is lacking a word that makes a bit funny and Onion-esque:

        “ADL announces steep decline in Yiddishkeit in the U.S.”

        Or like one of my other favorite Onion headlines:

        http://www.theonion.com/articles/mel-brooks-starts-nonprofit-foundation-to-save-wor,2316/Report

      • NobAkimoto NobAkimoto in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Mo, the whole argument I was making was that rabid antisemitism of the shooty kind is on the decline, but it’s more underlined racial dog whistle style stuff that seems to be increasing.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Saul,
        I call for Australia to disappear as we currently know it. It’s a disgrace to first world countries everywhere.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul DeGraw
        Ignored
        says:

        Nob,
        Not in Ukraine, and not in Paris. If antisemitism is up all over europe, I’m not sure it’s fair to just look at America.Report

  19. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    The “where would you rather live?” gambit, silly as it is, strikes me as being fairly interesting insofar as my answer is “Israel!” pretty emphatically… and I’m a white cis-het male (of substance, sure, but the heat will melt those extra pounds right off).

    We seem to have a significantly different standard for the countries in the region with regards to civil rights, treatment of people of different ethnicity, treatment of women, treatment of homosexuals… Different attitudes toward the rights mentioned in the first, or fourth, or eighth Amendment.

    So on and so forth. I’m a big fan of Israel mostly because it strikes me as an island of veritable libertarianism in the middle of an ocean of religious people who make Focus on the Family look like g-danged Unitarians.

    I mean, like, get this: non-Muslims aren’t even *ALLOWED* into Mecca. They’re not even *ALLOWED* there. I’ve never heard criticism about this. Every so often, when there’s a hajj stampede (hey, that’s the name of my band in high school!), I hear some folks complain something to the effect of “they really should bring Disney in there to manage the lines… Disney could fix things up in a matter of months.” Is there criticism for Israel being primarily a Jewish state? Oy gavolt! The things I’ve heard! Criticism for Islam’s Capital being *SOLELY* a Muslim Capital? Eh, who cares? I mean, *I* don’t even care.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s precisely because you’re a white cis-het male that your answer and contemplation of the question isn’t very interesting, because you make a handful of assumptions of how you would be treated. It’s silly and irrational but many people would prefer to be oppressed by their own nation than be mostly free second class citizens in someone else’s.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Nob Akimoto
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, we’ve got chicks and homosexuals and transpeople on the board. Would their opinions of where they’d rather live be interesting?

        Where would you rather live, Nob?

        because you make a handful of assumptions of how you would be treated

        Please don’t forget my handful of assumptions about how I’d be expected to treat others (and social expectations for how everybody treats everybody, including, of course, chicks, homosexuals, transpeople…)Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Nob Akimoto
        Ignored
        says:

        I think you’re asking the wrong question, Jay.

        Let’s change the hypothetical.

        1942
        Where would I rather live – the US or Japan, assuming everything is the same for ME as it is right now.

        And that’s a question I don’t know how I would answer. While I would probably be materially (and in fact, probably in terms of civil rights) better off in the US, even with the reality of internment and anti-Japanese racism, I’m not sure that’s enough to make me want to be that othered.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Nob Akimoto
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m not sure that’s enough to make me want to be that othered.

        Well, given that we only have 2014 to look at as comparison, what groups are likely to be the most “othered” in the Middle East? Can we ask that?

        What country would you rather be that group in?Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Are there any places that non-Catholics, non-Jews, non-Mormons, non-____ are not allowed?Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Ah Israel, every libertarians favorite socialist country 🙂

      To be fair, I did go into the Dome of the Rock while in Jerusalem. I might have also gone into Al-Asqa Mosque but cannot remember.Report

    • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      So…is this a hypocrisy argument? Is it an argument that, because the neighboring Arab countries are terrible, Israel has no obligation to treat the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel proper morally? I don’t understand how this proves or means anything apart from being a cheap shot at the one side.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Been wondering that myownself.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        I think that looking at what sectarian rivalries turn into in the rest of the Middle East (see: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, etc.) is a fair answer to “Israel should become a state where Jews, Christians, and Muslims all live together.”Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Then why is Jay talking about how non-Muslims aren’t allowed into Mecca?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Mike,

        Still not seeing it.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        @don-zeko

        No idea. You’d have to ask JB.

        @stillwater

        If you really don’t understand why Israelis don’t want to turn their homeland into Lebanon, I don’t think I can explain itReport

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Mike,

        On this thread we’re supposed to be considering justifications for Zionism and arguments in favor of a Jewish state, not assuming those questions have already been answered. I don’t see how Jaybird’s comment is relevant to that discussion.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m only responsible for JB’s comments on Thursdays.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Mike, if this is really the argument Jaybird is making, there’s all sorts of problems with it. For one, it doesn’t speak to the moral argument that critics of Israel are making about the plight of the Palestinians. Just because integrating these people into Israel is unpalatable doesn’t excuse the status quo. Now Jaybird probably isn’t on board with settlements and occupation forever, but considering that he’s not spelling out this argument in any detail, I’d like to hear the argument.

        Similarly, there’s a bit of an essentialist flavor to talking about Saudi Arabia and Syria and so forth here. After all, Saudi in particular is hardly an example of a sharply ethnically or religiously divided state: it’s an example of an Arab and Muslim state. This makes it easy to read the argument as “The Israelis can’t be expected to share a polity with those people, because look how horrible they are in the Gulf, in Iraq, in Syria, etc.” Now again, I don’t think that Jaybird is saying that Arabs or Muslims aren’t suited to participating in a liberal Democracy. But the logic of the argument not at all obvious, and because it can run in ugly ways that I don’t want to attribute to anyone here unfairly, I would really like to see it made more completely.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        No, the argument I’m making is not “hypocrisy” as much as “why in the hell are we holding Israel to standards that, otherwise, don’t bug us?”

        Israel is a Jewish state. Oooooh!
        Saudi Arabia is a Muslim state! Eh, well, you have to understand, their culture…

        It’s not even an argument really. It’s an observation. It’s just noticing that we’re holding Israel to standards that would be a punchline if we even mentioned holding one of the oil countries to.

        Does no one else see that as weird?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        I mean, I’m checking out wikipedia and it seems here that after the partition plan, Jews were forcibly expelled from neighboring countries. There’s talk of stuff like “Operation Magic Carpet” to get them out of Yemen and riots that resulted in entire swaths of Jews saying “yeah, we’ve got to get to Israel”.

        And now we’re talking about how other countries in the region are more homogenous?

        Does that not strike anybody as goofy?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Two things: that’s not a fair representation of the talk of homogeneity, and Israel is held to a higher standard for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that it aspires to one.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Should a fair representation of homogeneity in those other countries expect to mention the whole “expelled Jews” thing or is this one of those things where we just can’t hold those other countries to the same standards as real ones so there are a lot of things we just won’t mention when it comes to them, hell, why are we talking about them anyway? Weren’t we talking about Israel?Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        I feel pretty safe in asserting that none of the people critical of Israel here are happy with any aspect of Saudi Arabia’s government. But this is silly. Does the fact that North Korea is a nightmarish prison camp of a country mean that we can’t criticize China’s human rights record, or Japan’s immigration policies? “We’re not nearly as bad as that other guy” is a childish argument that can justify almost anything.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Jay,
        Can we speak of non-Arabic countries? Like Iran, which still has a functioning jewish community — and elects them to the Parliment?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Hell, personally, I think we should do what we can to transfer all of the Jews from Israel to Baltimore or Washington DC or something (hey! I’ve got an idea for a new name for the Redskins!), they’re first worlders, have a vaguely compatible culture, and there’s enough of an established presence beforehand that they won’t be dropped in the middle of nowhere with the associated culture shock (We’d probably also need to write in something to the Constitution about a right of return for Jews to Baltimore if it ever came to that, though).

        Then, once the Palestinians finish burning the last Zionist Sewage Treatment Plant, we can go back to not giving a shit about the people killing each other over there because we don’t really hold them to much of a standard, at the end of the day.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        There has long been a debate in the Zionist movement about it exactly means to be a Jewish state. The weakest interpretation was that it would simply be a state with a Jewish majority and therefore, the government in Jewish hands. The most adamant wanted something like a Jewish version of Iran. Most were aiming at something inbetween, a Jewish state would need a Jewish majority but it also require that the public holidays be Jewish holidays, the language be a Jewish one, that the schools should teach Jewish history and identity, and the government should protect and encourage Jewishness.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Jaybird, that last comment may be a new low for you. And that’s sayin something.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Why in the hell are you holding *ME* to a high standard? Yell at Saul.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        hey! I’ve got an idea for a new name for the Redskins!

        The Foreskins?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Mike, ewww.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Wait ’til you see the branded hoodies!Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        The homogeneity talk was Nob making an empirical observation. My point was that I’m cool with dividing the world in such a way that it will, in the long run, lead to more peace, but I am against codifying such divisions into law in such a way that it makes people who move in, or who were already there, second class citizens just because they weren’t part of the justification of the initial partition for ethnic or religious reasons.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, do we agree that we’ve got a double standard thing going on here?

        If we agree to that, then maybe we should explore how to best be successful with the whole joint partnership thing we want to set up, given that we’re not going to be dealing with equals.

        Is there a point at which we agree we should *STOP* having a double standard (or whatever it is that we agree exists)?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        I should hope we have a double standard. I mean, we’re just trying to get much of the Middle East to come out of the dark ages in its treatment of women, religious minorities, etc. Asking them to behave like liberal western democracies would be pointless. Israel, on the other hand, at least aspires to be a more liberal society than pretty much all of its neighbors, and I see nothing wrong with confronting the issues that brings up.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Would it be okay for Israel to have a double standard too?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Depends on what the double standard is in reference to.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        Maybe the ability to say something like “You must be able to meet at least this high of a standard to be accorded equal status.”Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        I don’t concede that we have a double standard here at all. Nobody is saying that the human rights abuses and general terribleness of the governments of the gulf states, Egypt, Syria, etc. is ok, and nobody’s making an argument about the relative immorality of Israel vis a vis the rest of the world. I think we all agree that Israel’s actions are not the most immoral in the world, and that they shouldn’t have to be the most immoral in the world, or even in their region, for us to properly criticize them.

        What you’re calling a double standard is, at most, a problem of emphasis: an argument that the criticism applied to Israel is disproportionate to the severity of Israel’s wrongdoing when you compare it to other states that also do wrong. Maybe that’s true. But this argument is the last refuge of a scoundrel. it means that you can’t make an affirmative defense of your behavior, and are instead pointing out that you aren’t the only one, or that other people are worse. It’s telling the police officer that you shouldn’t be arrested for shoplifting a DVD because this other guy stole a TV, and nobody caught him.

        What’s going on is that Israel aspires to be a democracy that respects human rights. People in the US feel much stronger ties to Israel, in terms of ancestry, cultural affinity, etc., than they do to Saudi Arabia. And the US is far more complicit in enabling Israel’s behavior and protecting Israel from sanction by the UN than we are in the wrongdoing of other states, even clients like Saudi. That means that Israel’s wrongdoing gets more attention, and that’s exactly how it ought to be.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        So it’s not a double standard? It’s just a “we’ve talked about Slavery enough, let’s talk about the excesses of the North for a while” kinda thing?Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Jay,
      Israel’s treatment of women is nothing to be trumpeted about. Israel’s active destruction (via press) of Palestinian women’s groups that tried to stop honor killings is dastardly and evil.

      I sincerely doubt most people understand enough about how women/homosexuals function in these societies to be able to say anything. I’m not even terribly qualified to talk about homosexuals (though I have read about a lot of them in religious schools…)Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kim
        Ignored
        says:

        My googling shows the Palestinian groups blaming Israel for the increase in Honor Killings in the occupied territories but I’m not seeing where Israel was actually doing any active destruction.

        And I’m not sure that that example leads me to the conclusion that I’d rather be a woman in Palestine than in Israel, at the end of the day.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
        Ignored
        says:

        Geraldine Brooks writes about it. The Israeli writers were holding their interviews about women trying to Change Something as evidence that the Palestinians were Backwards and Wrong — and cost the Palestinian Women a ton of credibility “you’re making us look bad” along with “you talked to the occupiers, you can’t be one of us!”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Kim
        Ignored
        says:

        Palestinian women die due to Honor Killings.
        Israeli women try to help, try to talk about it.
        Palestinian men accuse Palestinian women of collusion with the occupiers.

        This constitutes Israel’s active destruction, via press, of Palestinian women’s groups that try to stop honor killings.

        I’ve gotta say, that’s some 12th Dimensional Chess on the part of the Israelis, there.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim
        Ignored
        says:

        Jay,
        no the Israeli reporters (mostly men, I’d assume) call the Palestinians backwards for having honor killings (using their interviews with folks trying to STOP the killings as evidence).Report

  20. Avatar Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m waiting for part II. I’m not sure I see many of the echoes of the Dreyfus Affair or Herzl’s early Zionist leadership in the world today. Not that these were not significant, but Sykes-Picot and Balfour seem like they loom much larger.

    Or maybe, Gentile-like, I’m not sensitive to how these events echo. Do individual Jews still feel at a disadvantage when accused of crimes? Are they reasonable to do so? Does the existence of modern Israel vindicate Herzl’s championing of the cause of creating a Jewish homeland? Could Herzl’s vision have been realized in any other meaningful way other than emigration to the ancestral lands from before the Diaspora? I mean, no one of gravity was ever really serious about Uganda or Patagonia, were they?Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw in reply to Burt Likko
      Ignored
      says:

      @burt-likko

      Re: Jews and Crimes.

      I think it depends. I am not familiar with any incidences of prosecutors using anti-Semitic remarks to convict a Jewish defendant when the evidence was fierce. I do think that when things like Bernie Madoff happen, it is still a “shande vor de goyim.” Don Sterling and Sheldon Adelson and Don Snyder are also shandes. 80 percent of Jews are Democratic and liberal. Why do our 20 percent of right-wingers make the loudest and most offensive news?

      That being said many European Jews are immigrating to Europe because they feel increasingly unsafe in their native countries:

      http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/157703/rising-number-of-french-jews-making-aliyah

      “Aliyah rates from Western Europe increased by 35 percent in 2013, with 4,390 people immigrating to Israel from Western European countries as compared with 3,258 in 2012, according to data released by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israel Ministry of Immigration and Absorption.

      The most dramatic upturn in aliyah rates, though, was seen in France. In 2013, 3,120 new olim, or people making aliyah, arrived in Israel from France, compared to 1,916 the previous year, marking a 63 percent increase. 2013 was also the first year since 2005 that more Jews immigrated to Israel from France than from the United States, despite the massive disparity in size between the two communities. Even more striking, the increase in French aliyah rates was the driving force behind a 7 percent increase in the total number of Jews who moved to Israel this year.”

      As I mentioned above, France is having a very very hard time at keeping anti-Semitism in check because the quenelle as a meme and the popularity of Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, the French-Cameroonian Holocaust denying “comic” who invented the gesture.

      That being said, there are times when I do feel like there is anti-Semitism. A few summers ago, the anti-circumcision movement tried to make it illegal to perform circumcisions in San Francisco via referendum. They decided to publish a comic with a blonde-hair and blue-eyed superhero fighting a bunch of evil Hasidic Jews. The stupidity or outright anti-Semitism of this gesture was shocking. Though it did backfire and the majority of San Franciscans polled said circumcision was a religious right for Jews and Muslims. Still our friend free speech shows people shooting themselves in the foot over and over again.

      There are also plenty of places in the United States where it still seems perfectly acceptable to make Jews control the world bank kinds of arguments.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      @burt-likko, there is also http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/96146/swedens-damn-jew-problem and http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/88901/the-dispossessed.

      Everything might seem peachy keen in the United States and Canada but many Jewish communities in Europe or elsewhere in Latin America are increasingly under siege. There is decently seized minority of Muslims in Europe that take their anger regarding the situation on Israel/Palestine and there own lot in Europe out on Jews directly. There is also a plurality of white European politicians and activists that either hem or haw about this or actively support it. The most damning instance occurred in Malmo, where the former Mayor basically decided not to do anything about acts of intimidation against the 1000 or so Jews in the city.Report

  21. Avatar Kim
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    says:

    Comment in mod?Report

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