On Non-Violence

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  1. Avatar Glyph
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    To those of you who say, “But the Baltimore riots hurt innocent businesspeople; they don’t target those responsible,” I ask: truly, then, would you support the people of Baltimore if they came with guns and attacked the police station? Would you say that they were justified in their actions and the government should not respond to that? But the police are not the straightforward cause of this wave of shootings; they are only the symptom. The cause is the same oppression that Dr. King fought, the same oppression that has continued for four centuries in America. Precisely how long do you believe that people should be obligated to hold their tempers if they wish to be listened to?

    The moral argument against unnecessarily harming innocent third parties to a dispute is not complicated. If the police are “only the symptom”, they are still an order or two more proximate to the root cause of the violence and oppression than some random bodega owner who may himself be part of the oppressed class.

    A coherent argument can be made that violence may indeed sometimes be justifiable even for avowed pacifists (in fact, that’s what you mostly do a good job of here); but justifying violence against violent perpetrators in self-defense is a very different animal from justifying violence against random bystanders, and you harm your argument by conflating the two. Otherwise we risk sliding all the way down that slope where it becomes acceptable to cut off some random Japanese tourist’s head on TV so as to draw attention to the plight of Palestinians.

    Used against Al Qaeda or ISIS, we claim, such endeavours would obviously be failures, and beyond naïve.

    Al Qaeda and ISIS are not democracies, unlike the three states named here in which non-violence was a successful tactic. This is probably salient, since as you note in the following paragraph, the primary function of non-violence is to prod the conscience of the voters to pressure their states to change. I am unsure ISIS or Al Qaeda would be vulnerable to such pressures, and I don’t see where these two paragraphs or the rest of the piece resolve that fundamental discrepancy.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Glyph
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      “[T]he primary function of non-violence is to prod the conscience of the voters to pressure their states to change. I am unsure ISIS or Al Qaeda would be vulnerable to such pressures…”

      That’s basically the argument from this old essay, one of my canonical favorites to repost whenever someone brings up Ghandi.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to DensityDuck
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        The function of non-violence is to reach people’s consciences to provoke change, yes. Do you think the members of ISIS lack consciences entirely?Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to KatherineMW
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          Yes.Report

          • Avatar morat20 in reply to DensityDuck
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            I somehow doubt that’s your actual opinion, insofar as anyone with, oh, half a high school education would realize what a stupid belief that would be.

            The only people without consciences, so to speak, are outright sociopaths. If you’re trying to claim ISIS consists solely of sociopaths, well — pardon me while I giggle uncontrollably.

            Assuming you take some weird, personal definition of ‘conscience’, would you say American soldiers in Vietnam lacked consciences? Christian Crusaders? Southern Whites lynching blacks, anytime in the last 400 years? Anyone involved in the slave trade, in all of history?

            Any member of any religion that practiced human sacrifice — so the ancestors of quite a bit of South America. The Christians in Salem? The Catholics and Protestants killing their way through what’s now Germany in the 1600s? The entire Germany Army in WWII?

            If so, when exactly did ‘conscience’ develop and what magical process brought it about?Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to morat20
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              I think this thread is getting derailed, going back to @katherinemw ‘s reply, which dodged my basic point.

              The issue is not whether or not the members of ISIS have consciences; the issue is whether those individual members and their consciences have much ability to effect meaningful institutional change.

              Democracies arguably have a mechanism, voting and elections, for accomplishing just that. Autocracies don’t.

              Are ISIS and Al Qaeda democracies? My understanding is no, that both are much more akin to military organizations or juntas, with top-down chains of command (though AQ is obviously somewhat decentralized).Report

              • Avatar morat20 in reply to Glyph
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                Democracies are just as susceptible to propaganda and being whipped into war as any dictatorship. Mobs aren’t known for their discernment.

                I can think of, oh, at least two wars America got involved in entirely because a relatively handful of people whipped up a frenzy. (Gulf War 2.0 — specifically Iraq. Afghanistan was a separate issue, but Iraq was basically pushed by Dick Cheney’s B-team and nobody else on Earth and the Spanish American war….)Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to morat20
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                My argument is not that democracies don’t have failure modes. My argument is that democracies have the ability to course-correct from the bottom up, and that course-correction can include withdrawing from conflicts or bad policies that their mob mentalities instigated. My argument is that democracies likely respond better to nonviolent protest than autocracies do, and I am basing this on the very examples in the OP.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to morat20
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                By B-team do you mean Team B? Because they were a similar group of dishonest, war-mongering morons.Report

              • Avatar morat20 in reply to Mike Schilling
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                Yes. But B-Team also implies a certain lack of…skill. 🙂Report

        • Avatar James K in reply to KatherineMW
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          @katherinemw

          You are over-universalising what a conscience does. A conscience is something that bugs you when your actions are contrary to your morality. People steeped in different moralities to ours have consciences that react very different to ours. You and I were raised in a liberal-Enlightenment moral tradition that teaches that violence is bad, if sometimes justified, and attacking those who are not offering violence in return requires an extreme justification. This principle may be the strongest prohibition liberalism has.

          You can see how this attitude affects executions. The US is one of the last liberal countries to execute people, the rest having abandoned the practice out of moral repugnance. And how does the US typically execute people? At night, in a small closed room with limited viewing. The method used, lethal injection, is optimised to appear as gentle and bloodless as possible. This is a protocol that was designed by people who either have a pang of conscience about what they are doing (even if they feel they are ultimately justified), or are pandering to people who do.

          How does IS execute people? In full daylight in the open sky, with videos circulated around the world. They behead their victims, a bloody form of execution and one that is far from a clean death unless performed expertly. That is a protocol designed by people who have no moral qualms about what they are doing, and who have no care for the opinions of people who disagree.

          So why is this? Is IS run entirely by Evil Mutants with no capacity for moral reasoning? I don’t believe that for a second. They have a moral code, it’s just not ours. To be clear here I’m not suggesting some kind of racial essentialism, Medieval Europe’s morality shares more in common with IS than it does us. Their moral code is one that states that goodness is obedience to God, as described in the Quran (or their understanding of it, at least). To them those who refuse to obey God deserve to be punished, including with death. Killing people who resist God’s Law is noble and good. Whether they are offering you violence is not morally relevant.

          That’s why passive resistance won’t work on the likes of IS, and wouldn’t have worked on the Mongols or the Romans either. Passive resistance only works on a society that believes that attacking people who aren’t fighting back is prima facie a bad thing to do.Report

          • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to James K
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            That’s certainly a better argument than Duck’s, and one I’ll have to think about. I do believe, though, that there’s something in every person that recognizes, on some level, that murder is wrong. Christians in many centuries, in many places, have accepted persecution and martyrdom from people who thought killing them was morally justified, and had faith that this would make a difference.Report

            • Avatar Zac in reply to KatherineMW
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              “Christians in many centuries, in many places, have accepted persecution and martyrdom from people who thought killing them was morally justified, and had faith that this would make a difference.”

              Did it, though?

              (To be clear, I agree with the premise and gist of your post. I just don’t know if I agree with the bit I quoted.)Report

    • Avatar Notme in reply to Glyph
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      @glyph

      I agree that i cant see any moral justification for harming innocent third parties.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Glyph
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      How is a country a democracy if it harshly oppresses and denies the franchise to a large majority (as in South Africa) or half (as in Israel) of its ruled population?Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to KatherineMW
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        Neither was the South. Nonetheless, the people that can vote are your targets for changing hearts and minds. Non-violence isn’t going to make a tyrant, an autocrat, or an oligarchy do anything differently.Report

        • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Kolohe
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          Unless we’re looking at state with power centralized in a ruler along the lines of the USSR circa 1950, even tyrants and dictators will be reliant upon the tacit support of a class of bureaucrats, civil servants, army officers and the like who are capable of forming their own moral judgments and exerting pressure upon state policy-making. I’ll grant that democracies are more susceptible to this sort of pressure, but they aren’t the only regimes that care about public opinion. If non-violent opposition can’t influence autocratic regimes, how on earth was Communism overthrown in eastern Europe?Report

          • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Don Zeko
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            Excellent point. The Velvet Revolution and many other eastern European anti-Soviet revolutions of the 1990s definitely deserve a place in the history of change achieved through non-violence.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to KatherineMW
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        In all the elegy-writing around the time of Nelson Mandela’s death, lots of Canadian media outlets emphasizaed how Mr. Mandela was the first democratically elected president of South Africa.

        One thing I didn’t notice was any of those outlets remarking on how Lester B. Pearson was the first democratically elected prime minister of Canada.Report

        • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to dragonfrog
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          A very good point. It wasn’t exactly analogous, as First Nations people are a much smaller proportion of the Canadian population than black people are in South Africa, but it’s very much worth recognizing. (I hadn’t realized Diefenbaker was responsible for that and took a personal interest in it. Kudos to him.)

          (And obviously, neither the US or Canada even had the majority of adults eligible to vote until 1919 at the earliest. It seems like we instinctively define whether a country was a democracy at any point in history based on what proportion of white males who were alowed to vote. If the property qualification was too high, it wasn’t a democracy; if the property qualification was low, it was a democracy. That doesn’t mean this is a good or legitimate definition.)Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Glyph
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      Glyph – I am not saying the people of Baltimore are right to attack local businesses. I am asking whether people are sincere when they raise that as their objection to the ‘riots’. In other words: who would you support the people of Baltimore attacking? The police? The government? Who?

      Because it is not legitimate simply to say that agents of the government can use violence freely against them without consequence, but that they must be condemned if they use violence.Report

  2. Avatar North
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    I agree heartily on your general sentiment though I suspect that lumping the Palestinians in with this is going to cause you problems since their history complicates the picture in a manner that your other examples do not.

    Those who condemn violence or misbehavior on one side while excusing or hand waving violence on the other are committing a similar and equally blind or cynical maneuver.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North
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      Meh, I found that supporters of the Palestinians really don’t care about Jews. They don’t perceive us as a real minority group and they do not see our persecution as real persecution. Radicalization that would be justified and rationalized in other minority groups is denounced in the Jews. Jews faced the same pressures in Europe and MENA that African-Americans faced in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries. A nationalist reaction was provoked. The difference is that leftists find one radicalization acceptable and the other not.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq
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        Seriously, @leeesq ? The only way people could support the Palestinians is to care nothing for Jews?

        There is no use even engaging that position if it is one you sincerely hold.Report

        • Avatar j r in reply to Kazzy
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          @leeesq has a point. There are lots of folks who reflexively support “the Palestinians” out of a belief that the brown and the powerless always have a moral claim over the white-er and the powerful. Just like there are lots of folks who support “Israel” out of the opposite set of beliefs.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to j r
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            @j-r

            I don’t doubt that. But to say that ” supporters of the Palestinians really don’t care about Jews” goes much further. He isn’t saying “some” or “most”… he is saying all. That support for Palestinians is predicated on a lack of concern for Jews, an inability to see them as minorities, and so on and so forth.Report

            • Avatar j r in reply to Kazzy
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              I only said that he had a point, not that he’s right.

              As I said below, Israel-Palestine conversations tend to be overtly tribal. People who support Israel tend not show too much concern over the fact that Israel keeps much of the Palestinian territories in a state of permanent under-development. And people who support the Palestinians tend not to care too much that the state of Israel is surrounded by folks who would love nothing more than to drive them all into the sea.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to j r
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                @j-r

                Do you find that to be true of normal folk? Or just people who care enough/are paid enough to make opinions very well known? I don’t tend to talk the I/P conflict much, but most people I know are pretty clear that both sides are culpable and need to cut the shit (and that includes a number of politically liberal Jews who probably feel gravity from both “tribes”). They’re just not the sorts of people to take to the internet or airwaves to make that known.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
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                For instance, I am sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians but also recognize the unique and precarious situation that Israel/Israeli Jews find themselves in. I probably lean slightly toward the Palestinian side primarily because of the power differential between the groups but to say that I don’t care about Jews is laughable. I grew up in a town with a large Jewish population and count many Jews among my closest friends. My wife was bat mizvahed. And I’ve taken to these pages to conditionally defend my Satmar neighbors… a group even many American Jews have disdain for.

                To say I don’t care about Jews because I offer support to the Palestinian people is ridiculous.

                (And I know you’re not saying that, @j-r … @leeesq is. But I also believe he has said to be non-Zionist is to be anti-Semitic and that any Jews who hold such a position are self-loathing.)Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Kazzy
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                @kazzy and @leeesq

                Yes, I know lots of normal people who approach the topic from the perspective of clear partisans to one side. Lots don’t, but enough do that it is a fair comment to make.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to j r
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            @kazzy @j-r I can think of many more liberal but pro-Israel people that I met that expressed at least some sympathy towards the Palestinians. You just need to open up a newspaper or do a search online. Thomas Friedman, Jonathan Chait, William Saletin, and many others are like this. The Pro-Palestinian faction tends to be more unreflexively unsympathetic towards Israel, Zionism, or Jews at all.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq
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              Lee, to characterize Chait as reflexively unsympathetic to Israel seems risible. Chait, along with a lot of Israel’s liberal and more libertarian supporters, stand aghast at the self destructive road the Israeli polity has been prancing down for the past several years. To voice criticism of those decisions and to warn of the serious danger Israel’s actions are exposing her to is the act of a true supporter and friend of Israel. To remain silent in the face of or to support those self destructive decisions is the act of an enemy or a sycophant.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq
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              @leeesq

              You’ve set up a No True Scotsman: supporters of Palestinians are necessarily anti-Jewish; if they aren’t, then they aren’t true supporters but rather just sympathetic.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Kazzy
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                @kazzy

                That is one way to read Lee and if you read him that way, then I agree with you. Support for Palestinians does not necessitate disregard for Jews.

                As I said above, though, he has a point. Just look at my exchange with Brooke below. From her reckoning, that part of the world belongs to the Palestinians and not to the Jews who immigrated there in the 19th and 20th centuries. Basically, she is positing a view that every ethnic group has some claim to collectively occupy and determine the fate of some piece of land by virtue of their ancestors having lived there. Personally, I find that point of view to be deeply flawed for other reasons. More relevant to this conversation, however, is that by accepting this position, you are implicitly saying that the Jews have no such place and are forever destined to be foreigners on someone else’s land.

                I support Palestinians who want to live peaceably alongside Israel and I support the Israelis who want to live peaceably alongside Palestine. And I denounce those on either side who want to violently evict the other side from their homes and lay claim to the whole thing. I am guessing that your views are closer to mine than to Brooke’s, but that simple fact is that lots of people, on both sides, hold Brooke’s essentially tribal point of view.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to j r
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                @j-r

                I think you and I are in agreement. Some people who support Palestinians have little to no concern for Jews, historically or in contemporary times. I won’t and have never denied that. Anti-Antisemitism has been and remains a scourge that need be rooted out.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
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                j r:

                From her reckoning, that part of the world belongs to the Palestinians and not to the Jews who immigrated there in the 19th and 20th centuries.Basically, she is positing a view that every ethnic group has some claim to collectively occupy and determine the fate of some piece of land by virtue of their ancestors having lived there.Personally, I find that point of view to be deeply flawed for other reasons.

                You are misrepresenting what I’ve said. I said that the people who lived in Palestine had the right to determine their own fate, not by virtue of ethnicity, but by virtue of their longstanding presence and ties to the land. That group includes people of multiple ethnicities and religions. I am opposed to ethnic claims to a piece of territory and ethnocratic countries.

                I find the concept that hundreds of thousands of displaced people from another continent can simply show up in someone else’s land with the goal of creating a new country and expect to be legitimized to be deeply flawed for a number of reasons. It trashes the self-determination of the native population and favors the desires of the new arrivals. European Jews were Europeans and if it was necessary for them to have a state, it should have been located in Europe, not on another continent in the midst of another people’s lands.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to LeeEsq
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        Yeah Lea, what Kazzy said. I think the Palestinians have been massively screwed over and are treated very poorly. All my moms family were jewish and i cared for them. I even had some distant relatives die in concentration camps. My wife’s family are jewish and none of think the P’s are getting a good deal but we care about family and jews and Israel. This is not an either/or situation.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to greginak
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          @greginak

          I am going to attempt to go through the differences here. I think a big issue is that Judaism and Jewishness seems to exist in a place where no one can decide if it is a religion, ethnicity, culture, or a combination of all three. There are a lot of people who are fairly secular and not very religious but still see themselves as Jews ethnically, morally, philosophically, and culturally. This is the Yiddishkeit, Jewishness.

          In my experience, many but not all pro-Palestinian activists see Judaism as a religion and not as an ethnicity even though many Jewish people see themselves as ethnically Jewish. They also tend to think of Jews as being European in origin and don’t realize that there are native Jewish populations from the Middle East, North Africa, India, and China that live in Israel and all over the world. Seeing Jews as merely being European makes it is easier to just see Zionism as another variant of European Colonialism.

          There also tends to be very little knowledge about the history of anti-Semitism beyond some select points. Yet alone history of the whole Zionist movement which basically has a lot of parallels to Marcus Garvey. You can also do a lot of comparisons between the formation of extremist Zionist groups like Betar to the formation of the more militant civil rights groups like the Black Panther Party if you look at the circumstances of when they formed.

          I don’t think some parts of the Left have ever known what to make of Jews or their status in the world. This has been true since Marx wrote The Jewish Question.

          Palestianians are clearly treated as a people-ethnicity-nationality that deserve their own state. Why not the Jews? How do you decide which ethnicities deserve their own state and which do not? Do Jews lose out because we were stateless for 2000 years? Who gets to decide whether Jews are an ethnicity or not? The Jews themselves? Non-Jews? People who are partially Jewish by birth but were not raised Jewish?Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Saul Degraw
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            Apparently Israel.
            *eyeroll*
            Do you know any Jews that count as religiously Jewish, who are not Ethnically Jewish?Report

          • Avatar greginak in reply to Saul Degraw
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            @saul-degraw My guess it is the clueless american version of pro-Palestinian advocates who think all jews come from europe. People in the near/mid-east usually get the crazy mix of religion and ethnicity that riddles teh area. That doesn’t’ mean they are any better or less violent or whatever, just that they at least acknowledge all the differences.

            The problem is mutually antagonistic people fighting over a relatively small patch of land. It would be nice if all of the different ethnic groups could have their own little homeland, but that isn’t realistic in the …ummm….biblical lands.

            It is possible to want good things for both the Pal’s and Jews. It doesn’t take much, IMHO, to see both groups as having been sporked over for a long time. And that each group has been violent and the oppressor at times.Report

          • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Saul Degraw
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            @saul-degraw I suspect that if you spoke to many people sympathetic to the Palestinians, you would not find that they think the Palestinians have a right to their own state, but that they do have a right to be co-equal citizens of a sovereign state. If Israel were to cede the West Bank to Jordan or the Gaza Strip to Egypt (and Jordan/Egypt took it and made the residents of those territories citizens), then I would drop virtually all of my moral criticisms of Israel.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to LeeEsq
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        ISRAELI JEWS see fit to judge nascent NATIONALISM AS TREASON.
        So kindly shut up and read your laws, before you say that it’s just the leftists accepting one and not the other.

        This is the third draft. After the hydrogen peroxide.Report

      • Avatar Brooke in reply to LeeEsq
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        I consider myself a supporter of the Palestinians, not because I “do not care about Jews” but because they were unfairly deprived of their land in order to assuage the guilty conscience of a racist Europe.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Brooke
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          Israel’s creation and much of her history are considerably more morally complex than that.Report

          • Avatar Brooke in reply to North
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            To someone with the luxury of viewing it from the outside, perhaps. But to people who saw their land wrenched from their hands and given to foreigners while the rest of the world was experiencing the end of the colonial era, it’s a pretty accurate picture.

            Even reading the writings and remarks of Zionist leaders before partition, it’s clear that many of them were were intent on dispossession and displacement of the native Palesitnian population.Report

            • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
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              … it’s a pretty accurate picture.

              No. It’s not.

              How do you even wrench land from someone’s hands?Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
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                So you deny that the major powers of the post-WWII era ratified the creation of Israel over the objections of the native people? That the voice of the people of Palestine was largely ignored as foreigners poured into their land?Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
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                j r:

                How do you even wrench land from someone’s hands?

                Ethnic cleansing worked pretty well for the Haganah and its allied terrorist militias.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
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                So you deny that the major powers of the post-WWII era ratified the creation of Israel over the objections of the native people?

                I don’t know what that means. By the time WWII ended, there were lots of Jews living there. If your argument is that they weren’t “natives,” then you are not taking anti-colonial stance; you’re taking an anti-immigration stance.

                Ethnic cleansing worked pretty well for the Haganah and its allied terrorist militias.

                That was all one-sided, right?

                And my objection to the wrenching land comment is that it is a confused metaphor, which is in line with generally fuzzy, imprecise analysis on this topic.

                If you want to make points about the Israeli government’s mistreatment of Palestinian people, go for it; there’s lots to point out. When you characterize the founding of the state of Israel as purely an exercise in colonial seizure, you are simplifying history to the point of meaninglessness.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
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                How could the arrival of Jewish migrants to Palestine be anything but a colonial action? These were people with other nationalities and other homes elsewhere in the world coming to a place that wasn’t theirs to establish new communities along idealistic and nationalistic lines. They weren’t Israelis, but Germans, Russians, Britons, and others who arrived with the goal of creating a new country in a land they largely didn’t own.

                Even by 1947, Jews accounted for less than 1/3 of the population of Palestine. The majority of Palestinians, mostly Arabs whose families had lived in the region for centuries, did not favor giving half their country to a newly-arrived group of what they rightly considered foreigners. Who in their right mind would find such an arrangement fair or acceptable?Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
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                How could the arrival of Jewish migrants to Palestine be anything but a colonial action?

                Because immigration is not colonization. Unless, you are one of those nativists who call Mexican immigration to the United States the “Reconquista.”Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
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                Immigration is usually about personal concerns and a desire to join a society that already exists. This is not what was happening with Jewish nationalists settling in Palestine. They saw themselves as part of a nationalist venture, not just as individuals moving to join a society where they have decided they might fare better.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Brooke
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                So then are Mexican immigrants colonizing the US? I’m from Canada originally? Am I engaged in a vicious colonization of Minnesota?

                It also bears noting that it’s not like the resident Arabs of the region had a nation of their own, they’d been yanked from the grasp of the imperial Ottoman’s only a few decades previously, it’s also not like there were not Jews living in the region to begin with (there were). The Israeli immigrants were certainly no angels but to dumb it down as simply an Jewish colonial invasion is nonsensical. If the Jews had tried marching in by force the English (who were nominally running the joint at the time) would have shot them.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to North
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                How is your analogy even similar? Mexicans coming to the US are immigrating. To my knowledge, they have no nationalist designs, nor desire to reshape the US as a political entity or establish a new nation. The fact that Zionism was motivated exactly by the desire to build a society (rather than joining one) and to create a new nation is precisely the difference between colonialism and immigration.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to j r
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                Brooke, the very basic overview is that the Jews were always in the region, a lot of Jews began to move there, gradually at first then in greater and greater numbers after the respective world wars. The Ottomans considered the region a generally irrelevant backwater and paid only passing mind. The English who acquired the region as a colonial possession after WWI had an attitude that varied between indifference and jaundiced disapproval (on a peace and quiet basis) depending on the variations of the politics back at home. It bears noting that the Jewish people moving into the region were not marching in with guns, they bought or rented land to live on. Eventually the Jewish presence was large enough that they began to agitate for a state of their own and yes that agitation included some definitely dubious behavior on the part of their militias and indeed some outright terrorism (though of a rather milquetoast version as IIRC they called in warnings of their bombings to prevent fatalities).

                Ultimately to address this a partition was declared, a section of the land for the Jews and a section of the land for the Palestinians. It was then that the Palestinians and Arabs militarily invaded.. and lost. Then they continued that habit of losing through a series of botched wars with Israel successively gaining more and more territory. Initially the Israeli’s intended to trade large portions of the territory they gained back in exchange for peace and recognition but were rebuffed (the famous Arab three No’s). Then some segments of the Israeli society began settling the territory forming the Israeli settler movement that so plagues the issue today.

                So, indeed there’s definitely some serious issues of colonialism and violence involved in Israel’s founding but to sum it up simply as the Israeli’s marched in and took the Palestinians land is a terribly slanted misinterpretation and indeed infantilizes the Palestinians by denying them agency in their own history. Had the Palestinians accepted the original partition it’s hard to see how they would have ended up in the sorry straits they now find themselves. Then again the Israeli’s, in gradually giving in to their religious zealot wing, are rapidly turning from semi-colonizers into full-fledged invaders who are bordering on apartheid. That is a choice that can only end in disaster for a tiny single state with no natural resources of its own.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to North
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                There’s a difference between saying that there was a native Jewish minority in Palestine and saying that the presence of a small community of Jews means that Jews from all over the world somehow retain a claim on that land. The latter is what I reject.

                Pre-partition, the Jewish presence in Palestine remained small, with Jews owning less than 10% of the land there and making up a minority of the population. That presence does not justify ignoring the wishes of the native people to the degree that those recommending, and later enacting, partition did.

                It’s like saying being a person of Irish descent in Boston gives you the right to fly back into Ireland and be treated as though it’s your homeland.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
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                says:

                It’s like saying being a person of Irish descent in Boston gives you the right to fly back into Ireland and be treated as though it’s your homeland.

                Well, in fact, if you’re of Irish descent and one of your grandparents is/was an Irish citizen, you are in fact eligible for Irish citizenship.

                Besides that though, you are making a claim that there are “native peoples” and there are immigrants and that the wishes of native peoples ought to take precedence over those of immigrants. Do you hold that position in other countries or just in Israel-Palestine?

                Also, what do you mean when you say “the wishes” of the Palestinians? Do you think that there was one such set of preferences? Probably not. There were likely Palestinians who would have been happy to live alongside Jews and Palestinians who wanted the Jews expelled. Unfortunately, the folks who ended up speaking for the Palestinians mostly held the latter opinion and effectively alienated themselves from the conversation around partition.

                Certainly, we are talking about acts of injustice, but please stop pretending that this was a case of one side unilaterally imposing those injustices on the other side.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
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                says:

                I would say the injustices are pretty one-sided when large groups of foreigners filter into your land and then are given international sanction to form a new country on your land despite their status as minority landowners and minority population.

                Did the Palestinians fight back when their protests went unheard? Yes, they did. And the interesting thing, is you can see that Zionist leaders said they would have done the same, had their positions been reversed.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Brooke
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                says:

                Basically what JR said. The original assertion, that the Israeli’s rolled in and yanked the land away at gunpoint, is a gross oversimplification at very best (and even then is flat out inaccurate).Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to North
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                says:

                I didn’t say they “rolled in and yanked the land away at gunpoint.” Obviously, they had quite a bit of foreign support in the form of the British government, and later a sympathetic world that saw Palestine as a desirable destination for Jewish refugees instead of being forced to shoulder the burden alone.

                You can see from the writings of Zionist leaders that there was always a vocal faction who wouldn’t rest until they had control of the entire land and who identified their aim as dispossession from the very first.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Brooke
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                says:

                You can also see that despite those Zionists desires to attack all of Israel’s wars were defensive up to modern times. Look no one is claiming Israel is in the Iceland(Singapore?) club of immaculate conception but it’s not a gross abomination either.Report

              • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North
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                says:

                @north

                Close but you are also forgetting that large 19th Century Europe saw the rise of anti-Semitism as a racial hatred (anti-Semitism was coined as term to make it clear that the Jews were a separate race instead of merely being non-Christian Europeans) also lead Jewish people to think “Maybe we need a state of our own to protect ourselves.” This was largely cinched as a conclusion by the antics and out-right evil of the Dreyfus trial.

                There is also the Balfour Declaration which declared British support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine right after WWII.

                In short, this stuff is complicated. You know that. I suspect that many pro-Palestian activists don’t care to learn how complicated this stuff is because it might mean changing some opinions. It is much easier to denounce the Israelis as a colonialists and imperialists as Brooke so easily does.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to Saul Degraw
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                says:

                I’ve never said it wasn’t complicated, but nothing you’ve said in this post makes the movement of Jews to Palestine not colonial in nature. Many of the people who came to the British colonies in the Americas also did so to escape persecution because of their status as religious or social minorities, yet their actions are no less colonial than those of Zionists.

                The Balfour declaration was notably in conflict with the guarantees made to the Arabs of Palestine from the very beginning and throughout its development as British policy, it was stressed that the rights of the native Arab population must be respected. Yet, as time went on, this fell away and as Arabs began to find their voice in opposition to the arrival of European Jews, their concerns became increasingly ignored.

                There’s nothing just or inevitable about Jews coming to the conclusion that “we believe we are a nation and we deserve a nation of our own” and taking possession of a land outside Europe for that purpose, especially over the objections of the people who lived on that land. The Palestinians were neither responsible for the racism and exclusion experienced by the European Jews who invented Zionism, nor were they obligated to be the ones to cede land for Jewish national aspirations.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
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                says:

                I’ve never said it wasn’t complicated…

                That is exactly what you’re doing when you claim that this was a case of unilateral persecution of one group over the other.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
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                says:

                I didn’t say it was unilateral, what I have said was that, on balance, these problems would never have arisen without the colonial aspirations of European Jews and international sympathy for Jewish victims of WWII.

                There would not have been a need for Palestinian resistance if the rights of Palestinians had been respected and Jewish colonialism not indulged.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
                Ignored
                says:

                @brooke

                You have not once in this conversation, at least not that I’ve seen, mentioned the Palestinians as anything but passive victims. That’s exactly what it means to claim that the founding of the modern state of Israel was a story of unilateral victimization of one group of people over another.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
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                says:

                The Palestinians are the primary victims in the dispute. Yes, in their resistance and their attempts to assert their rights, some Palestinians have done things that victimized Jews. However, almost all of these follow British and Jewish attempts to impose an unwanted foreign presence upon the natives of Palestine.

                The entire situation comes about as a result of foreign colonization. Throughout the arrival of Jews in Palestine, the Palestinian Arabs tried various means to make their objections to this colonization known, sending written notice of their views to the British, protesting, and calling strikes.

                Yet, these actions only met with partial and short-term success. The influx of Europeans did not end, and the Palestinians saw half their country being given away to a minority that only owned a tiny percentage of it in actuality. Why should the world expect the Palestinians to ratify their own dispossession?Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
                Ignored
                says:

                The Palestinians are the primary victims in the dispute.

                You have taken an entire group of people, erased their individual lives and roles in the modern history of the region, for good or for naught, and reduced them all to victims.

                Also, the whole idea of “having half their country given away” implies that the whole country belonged collectively to Arabs and not to individual Jewish settlers and property owners who immigrated there under Ottoman and British rule. You have to decide, either making a claim of collective ownership based on ethnicity is wrong or its right. If it’s wrong, then your position is contradictory because those Jewish settlers had just as much right to be there as the Arabs living alongside them. If it’s right, then you need to explain why it is only right for Arabs to claim their own state and not for Jews.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
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                says:

                The country belonged collectively to the people who’d lived there for generations, based on their presence and history there, not any ethnic affiliation. These people were primarily Palestinian Arabs of the Muslim and Christian religions. The foreigners could’ve been French Catholics, for all I care, and the colonization still would have been wrong.

                At the time of partition, Jewish ownership of land was less than 10% in Palestine. This is not enough of a basis on which to expect half the land be turned over for the formation of a nation for these newly-arrived European Jews. Prior to partition, the largest part of the Jewish population in the Mandate arrived between 1931 and 1947. Their presence in the Mandate is too new to justify a national claim to the land, and thus, the native inhabitants, whatever their ethnicity or religion, are the ones who should have had the ability to determine the fate of the land.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
                Ignored
                says:

                You can make a credible argument that says that once the British left, the area should have been turned into one big multi-ethnic democratic state and you can criticize the individual actors who opposed such a thing. That would require you to admit that lots of Arabs would have said yes to such a state and basically drove the Jews out of it once established.

                And you can make a credible argument that says that once the British left, the area should have been partitioned to give both Jews and Arabs their own state, with a shared Jerusalem in the middle and you can criticize the actors who opposed that. And that would require you to admit that it was actors on both sides who made such a thing impossible.

                Your argument is not credibly, however, because it posits that Arabs have a right to their own ethnically-based state in that region, but Jews don’t. And that’s why I call it a tribal argument.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                My argument is not that the Arabs have a right to a state based on the fact that they are Arabs. As I spelled out clearly above, the majority population, which was mostly Arab, had the right to a state due to its historical and continuing presence in the land.

                The new arrivals, mostly Jews from Europe, did not gain the right to demand their own state just by virtue of showing up on the scene. It’s not reasonable to expect their wishes to be weighed equally with those of the native population.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
                Ignored
                says:

                Fine, but like I said, that essentially means that you are making the same nativist anti-immigration argument that some folks make about Hispanic immigrants to the United States. That this country collectively belongs to “us”, and maybe we should let a few of “them” in, but that the “us” ought to retain the collective right to impose our will over the “them.” That is tribalism.

                And it’s even worse than that, because there was no Palestinian state to begin with and most of the land settled by Jews was previously uninhabited. Jews founded Tel Aviv, but according to your logic it should really belong to Arabs because it’s in the Middle East.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                j r:
                Fine, but like I said, that essentially means that you are making the same nativist anti-immigration argument that some folks make about Hispanic immigrants to the United States.That this country collectively belongs to “us”, and maybe we should let a few of “them” in, but that the “us” ought to retain the collective right to impose our will over the “them.”That is tribalism.

                One doesn’t follow from the other. The United States and its citizens, of all ethnicities, have the right to determine and carry out immigration policy. We do not grant citizenship immediately to new arrivals. The process of naturalization is designed to assimilate people to the culture, institutions, and values of Americans. Immigration arguments do not hold water here, because the situation is not analogous to the colonization of Palestine.

                As the responsible party, ostensibly preparing Mandatory Palestine for nationhood, Britain had an obligation to make a policy that was in the best interest of Palestine’s inhabitants, most of whom did not want European foreigners settling in their country.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
                Ignored
                says:

                As the responsible party, ostensibly preparing Mandatory Palestine for nationhood, Britain had an obligation to make a policy that was in the best interest of Palestine’s inhabitants, most of whom did not want European foreigners settling in their country.

                That is exactly like saying that the U.S. federal government has an obligation to make a policy that is in the best interest of the residents of Texas, so if the majority of Texans don’t want Mexicans settling in their state, then the federal government should bar Mexican immigration to Texas.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s not the same relationship. Mandatory Palestine was not an integral part of British territory. It was never understood to be a permanent possession. In fact, the whole point of the Mandate was to prepare the inhabitants of the territory for self-governance and nationhood in order to fulfill the treaty obligation represented by the Hussein-McMahon correspondence.

                Britain had a special responsibility toward the people of Palestine and it failed spectacularly. It acted, again and again, against the interests of the native population of Palestine by participating in the introduction of a foreign population with aims incompatible with the wishes of Palestinians.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
                Ignored
                says:

                Britain had a special responsibility toward the people of Palestine and it failed spectacularly.

                I agree with this statement, but add that when you say toward the people of Palestine you should mean all the people of Palestine: Arabs, Jews, and other minorities.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                The native communities of Palestine, Arabs, Jews, and other minorities. Not the newly-arrived Europeans.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
                Ignored
                says:

                The native communities of Palestine, Arabs, Jews, and other minorities. Not the newly-arrived Europeans.

                So this is where you finally admit that you are a nativist?Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not a nativist, as the term applies to the US immigration debate. I’ve taken pains to show how US immigration policy isn’t a good analogy to the situation in Mandatory Palestine.

                Throughout this exchange, I’ve maintained that the rights of the native population of Palestine are more important than the desires of newly-arrived Zionists. Why shouldn’t the rights of the people who had, you know, actually been living in Palestine for centuries, take precedence over those who showed up?Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
                Ignored
                says:

                @brooke

                I’m not a nativist, as the term applies to the US immigration debate.

                No, it does not. Here is the definition of a nativist:

                Nativism is the political position of demanding a favored status for certain established inhabitants of a nation as compared to claims of newcomers or immigrants.

                And here are your statements:

                It acted, again and again, against the interests of the native population of Palestine by participating in the introduction of a foreign population with aims incompatible with the wishes of Palestinians.

                The native communities of Palestine, Arabs, Jews, and other minorities. Not the newly-arrived Europeans.

                Why shouldn’t the rights of the people who had, you know, actually been living in Palestine for centuries, take precedence over those who showed up?

                Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                The term isn’t apt here in this context, because it refers to immigration and not colonization. In the context of immigration debates, nativism plays on fears of what immigrants might do, despite the fact that immigration is largely a personal and economic decision. There is usually no actual political agenda on the part of immigrants that nativists oppose.

                The European Jews who came to Palestine did so for the specific purpose of establishing a competing culture and nation, making it an act of colonialism and not immigration. The right of the ancestral Palestinian community to decide as a whole if it wanted this is different that arguing about whether individual immigrants should be admitted and under what conditions.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
                Ignored
                says:

                Sorry @brooke, you’ve already shown your hand. And there is nothing that you are saying here that nativists in other contexts aren’t saying elsewhere.

                I could change a couple of nouns and post what you’re saying here elsewhere on the internet and nobody would think that it looked out of place in a discussion of Hispanic immigration to the United States or Middle East, African or Asian immigration to Europe.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
                Ignored
                says:

                j r:
                Sorry

                I could change a couple of nouns and post what you’re saying here elsewhere on the internet and nobody would think that it looked out of place in a discussion of Hispanic immigration to the United States or Middle East, African or Asian immigration to Europe.

                You could, but you wouldn’t be representing my stance on immigration. Trying to tar me with something that takes on a different meaning in a different time period and context does you no credit.

                If you want to disagree about whether the massive influx of European Jews into Palestine was colonialism or something else, you’re welcome to. But you seem to be willfully misunderstanding that there’s a big difference between a trickle of people moving as individuals to a new country where they intend to become a part of the existing nation and culture, and a group representing 1/5 of a region’s population showing up for the sole reason of establishing a competing country.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Brooke
                Ignored
                says:

                @brooke part of Britain’s shared relationship with the people of Mandate Palestine was a promise to create a Jewish National Home there. This was first expressed in the Balfour Declaration and latter codified in the San Remo Treaty.

                Also by saying that who Palestine belonged to is mangled. You say it belongs to Arabs, Jews, or other minorities but not newly arrived Europeans. This would be implying that any Jew who immigrated to Palestine between 1918 and 1945 is really a European and not a Jew.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Brooke
                Ignored
                says:

                These being the Jews who were too Semitic for Europe and, apparently, too European for the Semitic parts of the world. And who should have accepted their fate as stateless people, because, as the OP says, the oppressed should always accept the judgments of their oppressors.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Mike Schilling
                Ignored
                says:

                These being the Jews who were too Semitic for Europe

                Given Europe’s attitudes in the mid-19th century, wouldn’t that be basically all of them?Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                “they began to agitate for a state of their own and yes that agitation included some definitely dubious behavior on the part of their militias and indeed some outright terrorism”

                I’m glad someone finally mentioned this. But let’s get real, “some”? If that behavior had been done by muslims to the us, we’d have invaded like we did Iraq.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                @north the Ottoman government was actually very aware of the Zionist movement and worked to prevent Jewish immigration or land purchases in the areas that would become Mandate Palestine, Jordan, and the Golan. They didn’t want another Lebanon.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Brooke
          Ignored
          says:

          @brooke

          Europe, North America, and Australia made it very clear that they didn’t want the Jews pre and post-World War II. See:

          http://www.amazon.com/None-too-many-Canada-1933-1948/dp/0886190649

          The Allies didn’t have the time or resources to reintegrate Holocaust survivors either and potentially not the desire either.

          So what were the Jews to do?Report

          • Avatar Brooke in reply to Saul Degraw
            Ignored
            says:

            Try to reintegrate themselves into Europe, which was their home. Demand a homeland carved from the territory of Germany, the main antagonist in the war, since it was in vogue to compel land concessions from the losers and hand them over to the victors.

            It certainly didn’t fall to the Palestinians to cede their home and their territory to refugees from another continent whose plight they had nothing to do with. How this could even be considered fair by anyone is beyond me.Report

            • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Brooke
              Ignored
              says:

              They carved the territory out of the Ottoman Empire, who lost their war.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to Kolohe
                Ignored
                says:

                That land was neither a nation, nor intended to be one. The phrasing “Jewish national home” was chosen very deliberately, and very consciously short of “nation” for the purpose of making clear that a Jewish nation was not being founded.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Brooke
                Ignored
                says:

                The Ottomans controlled it for a lot longer than the Germans controlled, well, anything.

                “Germany” only became more or less ethnically homogenous in the massive ethnic cleansing that took place during and in wake of WW2. Before that, enclaves of different ethnicities, Germans, Slavs, Poles, and Jews spread like a patchwork quilt between Berlin and Moscow.Report

              • Avatar Brooke in reply to Kolohe
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                says:

                I’m not commenting on the ethnic makeup of Germany in the late 18th-early 20th century. What I’m saying is that since territorial concessions were sought from Germany to compensate victimized peoples and states, this should have been the first option for establishing a Jewish state, not the dispossession of a distant people on another continent.Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to Brooke
              Ignored
              says:

              Brooke: It certainly didn’t fall to the Palestinians to cede their home and their territory to refugees from another continent whose plight they had nothing to do with. How this could even be considered fair by anyone is beyond me.

              I agree with this, and it is running up against my own “but it’s not right to harm an innocent third party” comments elsewhere on this same post.

              I don’t know how to square that circle, but I want to at least publicly acknowledge that I am aware of the friction. Curious how KatherineMW would resolve the same tension, which for her would be running in the opposite direction.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Glyph
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                says:

                Glyph – My view is that it was horrifically irresponsible for the British to “gift” land that they never rightfully possessed to the Jews (via the Balfour Declaration) while at the same time promising the Palestinians an independent state on that same land (via the McMahon Letters). And it was unjust to take land away from the Palestinians to compensate or redress the crimes of Europe in World War II.

                As for what should have been done: what should have been done by the governments involved was allowing unlimited Jewish immigration to Canada, the United States, Britain, and any other Allied nation, and treating them as equals. If any nation in the world had treated Jews well, then Israel wouldn’t have appeared as a necessity. If nations had treated Jews well in the early 1900s, Zionism wouldn’t have been a thing, at least not in large enough numbers to have any effect.

                Regarding the more difficult question of what Jewish leaders should have done during and after World War II: I don’t have an answer. They could have demanded land taken from Germany, which would have been a just and not unprecedented solution (a large swath of Germany was carved off to give to Poland post-WWII), but they wouldn’t necessarily have gotten it. And such a charnel-house, moreover one on the frontier of war between Germany and the Soviet Union, would be the last place I’d want to live in their circumstances. They could have been provided with a state in the US or Canada – land the same area as Israel would be a legligible part of our area. I think that would have been the best solution. But given that WWII-era Canadian PM William Lyon Mackenzie King was a man who restricted Jewish immigration down to virtually nothing during the Holocaust, that wasn’t something had a snowball’s chance in Hell of happening.

                But there were many Palestinians who were willing to live with them peacefully who they deliberately drove off their lands in a campaign of ethnic cleansing in ’47-’48, and they shouldn’t have done that. And what they’ve done from 1967 onwards has been deliberately expansionist, not defensive. Not occupying the West Bank and Gaza, and in particular NOT building setttlements there, would have prevented the vast majority of the problems and moral dilemmas they face today. But from the moment they captured the Palestinian Territories nearly 50 years ago, they were intending to annex them.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                That’s not exactly the question I was asking.

                If you feel it is not justifiable that an innocent third party (the Palestinians) were harmed by Europeans’ attempts to resolve their recent “dispute” (and hoo boy is THAT a euphemism) and achieve a sort of “justice”, then how do you justify the harms to innocent third parties from, say, rioting due to police violence in Baltimore or whatever?

                After all, maybe sometimes an innocent third party’s bodega has gotta get burned down, and sometimes their bodega has to be annexed/occupied.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Glyph
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                says:

                Ah.

                The major precipitating cause of the search for a Jewish homeland (which led to the creation of Israel) was European anti-Semitism. It’s easy to look back at history and say that if 1800s and 1900s Europe hadn’t been anti-Semitic, there would be no Israel and the Palestinians would not have been driven from their land. But we can’t go back in time and change that.

                The causes of the Baltimore riots – police brutality (especially against black people) and lack of accountability as the proximate cause, and a long chain of racist abuses up to the present day as the larger larger cause – are still going on. So if you really want to use the comparison you’ve made: your situation as an American is like being a German during the Holocaust and claiming concern about the injustice the Jews in Palestine are doing to Palestinians. The patent ridiculousness, and certainly what appears to be extreme disingenuousness, of that position should be obvious to you.

                The solution to the issue of damage done by the Baltimore riots is not “stop rioting”; it is “solve the problems which the riots are reacting to”. Recognizing that is not the same thing as saying the riots are morally praiseworthy.

                Related: one of the inspirations for this post was an article by Ta-Nehisi Coates, where he says things better than I can (and also has better personal understanding of what’s going on in Baltimore and where it comes from): http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/nonviolence-as-compliance/391640/Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to KatherineMW
                Ignored
                says:

                KatherineMW:
                your situation as an American is like being a German during the Holocaust and claiming concern about the injustice the Jews in Palestine are doing to Palestinians.The patent ridiculousness, and certainly what appears to be extreme disingenuousness, of that position should be obvious to you.

                Well, I guess any discussion with Israel in it was gonna go Godwin sooner or later.

                KatherineMW: The solution to the issue of damage done by the Baltimore riots is not “stop rioting”; it is “solve the problems which the riots are reacting to”

                I disagree. To switch analogies yet again, rioting may be like the fever that indicates (and helps fight) an infection.

                But we prescribe antibiotics for the infection to solve the root cause, and we provide ibuprofen/aspirin etc. to bring that fever down before the fever *itself* kills the patient, or damages his brain.

                Just as fevers and riots may indicate and help solve an underlying problem, these “symptoms” can themselves be harmful, and cannot simply be handwaved away as irrelevant while we embark on the long course of curing root causes.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                I generally agree. On a similar note the Spanish should not have brought foreign pathogens over to North America and killed 90% of the indigenous inhabitants and then enslaved the rest. The Europeans should not have engaged in a program of land theft and warfare against the survivors and driven them into cramped reservations. This is not, however, justification for the surviving Native Americans to violently attack civilians (it would also be strategically unwise for them to do so). Israel exists, it’s not going to be forcibly removed any more than any of the other nations who have foundations of blood, colonialism and force (basically all of them but Iceland and possibly Singapore).

                I agree emphatically that the occupation of the territories and most especially the settlement program was where Israel began laying the most pernicious seeds of her own danger. It is no small irony that in that nations short history it is the things they chose to do themselves that generate for them the only serious long term threat to their continued survival.

                But beyond that the question of nonviolence and the musing on it in this original post fits very badly onto the Palestinian cause and history. The Palestinians have not practiced genuine non-violence in their unhappy history of relations with Israel. They’ve been engaged in sporadic violent struggle interspaced with periods of sullen exhaustion; a choice which has served them extremely poorly. It should also be noted, credit where it is richly due, that since Arafat’s death the Palestinian Authority has taken a pretty solid turn in the direction of true non-violence in the West Bank, a positive development that has been criminally denied and ignored by a war weary and cynical Israel in the grasp of her worst right wing nutball elements.

                Still, nonviolence would be an extremely powerful tool for the Palestinians if they could master it. Israel’s geopolitical position and nature is almost perfectly positioned to be vulnerable to a nonviolent resistance movement.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                I have not claimed that the Palestinians have had a consistent policy of non-violence (although the West Bank since 2006 certainly has, and as you recognize, it has done them no good).

                I claim that it is inconsistent and immoral to demand non-violence from the Palestinians without demanding non-violence from the Israelis.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to North
                Ignored
                says:

                So you’re in favor of Political Terrorism, North?
                Traitors always prosper, even when they get hit with fines for not buying from the Acceptable People.
                (I am rather upset with the Israeli supreme court’s recent decision, in case it’s not clear).Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Brooke
              Ignored
              says:

              They did try. There were pogroms in Eastetn Europe after World War II. The USSR and other Communist states were not well disposed to their Jewish citizens.Report

  3. Avatar j r
    Ignored
    says:

    Two quick thoughts:

    To those of you who say, “But the Baltimore riots hurt innocent businesspeople; they don’t target those responsible,” I ask: truly, then, would you support the people of Baltimore if they came with guns and attacked the police station? Would you say that they were justified in their actions…

    The problem with this line of argument is that it easily sidestepped by answering, “yes.”

    If people started attacking police, I wouldn’t take to the streets and join them, but I also wouldn’t condemn them. When people burn and loot targets of opportunity, I do condemn them. If you want to try to put forward a moral or ethical framework that justifies using non-involved people as a means of signalling victimization at the hands of people outside of your reach, I would love to hear that argument. This, however, is not it.

    Also,

    And the same question to those who demand non-violence from the Palestinians as a condition for even the least amount of support for ending the occupation. They suffer violence from the Israelis every day.

    When you construct an argument where you pit Palestinians, as a whole, against Israelis, as a whole, you are immediately conceding any pretense to a moral argument; instead, that construction is completely tribal.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to j r
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      says:

      On the first day of the violence, I saw headlines on CNN that said something like “SEVEN COPS INJURED, ONE UNRESPONSIVE” and I said “so it’s a war”.

      Then the CVS got looted and I said “Oh, it’s only a riot.”

      As for Israel vs. Palestine, we might finally be far enough from 2001 to discuss options without having to discuss (except in passing) the 2nd Intifada being interrupted by 9/11. As such, we probably should.

      And we should hope to avoid the word “but” (except in passing).Report

    • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
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      says:

      The Palestinian issue is somewhat different from Baltimore, as black Americans are members of American society and citizens within it. They are no longer a captive people whose rights and equality are denied by law. We can argue about the remaining social and systemic barriers to opportunity, but it is not the same situation as the Palestinians.

      The Palestinians remain and have always been at war with the conquerors that the powers of the world gave their land to.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Brooke
        Ignored
        says:

        The Palestinians remain and have always been at war with the conquerors that the powers of the world gave their land to.

        This is the perfect example of a statement that approached the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the perspective of pure tribalism and without much of an effort to penetrate the history of what actually happened.

        The ironic thing is that there are lots of people on the left who view the Jewish immigration to the region through the same lens that contemporary immigration opponents view Hispanic immigration to the Southwest United States.Report

        • Avatar Brooke in reply to j r
          Ignored
          says:

          I’ve studied Mideast relations and recent history fairly extensively. Just because I do not share the idea that the creation of Israel was just and appropriate does not mean I have a simplistic perspective.

          Palestinian Arabs were never considered co-equal citizens of Israel under law or attitude. Their situation is not analogous to Baltimore as such. They remain a people under occupation, their rights denied.Report

        • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to j r
          Ignored
          says:

          jr, if Hispanic immigrants to the US were openly immigrating with the intention of setting up their own state in the US southwest, then virtually all Americans would be anti-immigration. If they said, “Okay, California’s ours now, it’s a Hispanic nation-state – you’ve got 49 other states, that should be plenty,” I suspect Americans would object to that just as strongly or more so than the Palestinians did.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      The problem with this line of argument is that it easily sidestepped by answering, “yes.”

      If people started attacking police, I wouldn’t take to the streets and join them, but I also wouldn’t condemn them. When people burn and loot targets of opportunity, I do condemn them.

      All right. If that’s what you genuinely believe, that’s fair. I suspect most people comdeming the riots would not be okay with it if it went from riots to full-on attacks on the police. (Given how much people freaked and blamed police-reform activists when those two cops in New York were shot.)Report

      • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to KatherineMW
        Ignored
        says:

        No, I would hope the police arrest them. That is not the way we solve problems in Democracies, and if you think it is then you are beneath contempt. See my comment below.

        Seriously Katherine. What in the hell is wrong with you? You seriously support taking up violence to address grievances before all other alternatives are exhausted? You know, like nominating and electing officials that aren’t part of the problem?

        Either adults in Baltimore are capable of playing by the rules of democracy, or they are incapable of being responsible adults in the US. I assume they are capable. You obviously assume something substantially less.Report

        • Avatar morat20 in reply to Cardiff Kook
          Ignored
          says:

          Well, to be fair: Once side has already taken up violence. That’d be the police. You remember those guys, right? The ones that killed a guy for no reason? The ones with all the guns, the lawyers, and the habit of saying “He was coming right at me” unless there’s video footage they don’t manage to destroy?

          Any of that ringing a bell?

          Because, to be totally honest, I’m thinking that if one side has already taken UP violence, the only question is whether or not violence in return is the best tactic. I’m sure reasonable minds might differ, but it’s certainly not crazy to think “Maybe I should shoot back” when bullets are being fired at you.Report

          • Avatar Brooke in reply to morat20
            Ignored
            says:

            I believe violence should be avoided whenever possible. Just because a person or a group has used violence against you doesn’t mean it’s automatically appropriate to respond with violence, especially when that violence targets innocent third parties.

            The imbalance of power is what’s really causing the problem here. The police have powers, weapons, and authority granted to them as representatives of the state. The understanding is that those advantages will be used to uphold the state’s laws fairly. When that fails to happen, and the police escape punishment for their failures, it creates tension between people and the state and within the state itself.

            What can reasonably be done when the state’s representatives fail to uphold their end of the social contract and no corrective action is taken?Report

          • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to morat20
            Ignored
            says:

            @morat20

            Great job of explaining the dangers of an overly powerful state to a classical liberal. This is what we assured you was going to happen. News flash, if the state can abuse its power, it will. Full stop.

            The left convinced itself that this isn’t true if “we” control the reigns. How is that working out for you guys after your party has exploited the people of Baltimore for over two generations?

            Society requires agreed upon rules and conventions to operate. In ours this includes the idea of democracy and how people get a voice in their affairs via their representatives. With a decentralized federal system, they also get exit options, or the ability to vote with their feet by fleeing the “stationary bandits.”

            The accepted manner which we expect an honorable adult to act in this country in these matters, is to use their voice to influence their representatives. In the case of Baltimore, this obviously hasn’t occured to their satisfaction. I fully support them in using further nonviolent means to achieve their ends. Perhaps they should start by voting out the assholes who have run this city. Next, perhaps they start questioning the dependency and “destructive benevolence” which the ideological left has been actively using for the last forty years.

            If the people of Baltimore, or anyone else, decides to shortchange the process, and attempt to use violence against the authorities or, worse, against fellow citizens, they should be removed from society.

            You and Katherine are getting dangerously close to calling for a violent uprising as a response to the statist, dependency fostering, race mongering crap that your own political philosophy peddles. The people of Baltimore are just fodder for your ideology.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to Cardiff Kook
              Ignored
              says:

              Liberals are liberals, kook, and lefties are lefties.
              Everyone’s looking for loopholes, but if you’re decently clever, you can get the loopholes aligned just towards where you want ’em.

              Business or government, markets or law, it makes no difference.Report

            • Avatar morat20 in reply to Cardiff Kook
              Ignored
              says:

              Yes, that’s it. You’ve successfully read my mind! You in no way enacted a strawman.

              What’s your next trick?Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                So, you didn’t write:

                “Because, to be totally honest, I’m thinking that if one side has already taken UP violence, the only question is whether or not violence in return is the best tactic. I’m sure reasonable minds might differ, but it’s certainly not crazy to think “Maybe I should shoot back” when bullets are being fired at you.”

                Drop the straw man rhetoric. You and Katherine are as I stated getting real close to justifying or rationalizing violence. Shame on you.

                If I am wrong, please write a retraction or clarification to the above.Report

              • Avatar morat20 in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, since you commanded it oh liege, I shall not use the term ‘strawman’. How’s this?

                Would you like to go ahead and fill in the rest of my point? I’m afraid I keep getting it wrong, since you’ve decided to argue about other things! I just can’t hold up my end of the conversation, since I keep clinging stubbornly to my points and not the ones you want me to make.

                And by the way, violence is easy to justify! Self-defense is accepted in every jurisdiction in the US. In the whole world, pretty much. Violence in self-defense, even Ghandi was okay with. There, I just justified violence! If you want me to rationalize it, I suppose I could explain WHY self-defense is considered a justification for violence….Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                @morat20

                I wrote:
                “Seriously Katherine. What in the hell is wrong with you? You seriously support taking up violence to address grievances before all other alternatives are exhausted? You know, like nominating and electing officials that aren’t part of the problem?”

                You wrote in response to me:
                “Well, to be fair: Once side has already taken up violence. That’d be the police…
                Any of that ringing a bell?

                Because, to be totally honest, I’m thinking that if one side has already taken UP violence, the only question is whether or not violence in return is the best tactic. I’m sure reasonable minds might differ, but it’s certainly not crazy to think “Maybe I should shoot back” when bullets are being fired at you.”

                So, what exactly was your point if it isn’t to rationalize or justify violence? Is it that human nature is such that people naturally tend to react to violence with violence, but that as rational human beings we need to avoid this at all costs and pursue democratic means? So you are actually agreeing with me?

                If so, sorry for misinterpreting you, and thanks for agreeing with me that promoting or rationalizing violence is wrong. I wish Katherine would agree with us too. Maybe she does too and just isn’t being very clear in her rejection of all violence against the police.Report

            • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Cardiff Kook
              Ignored
              says:

              Great job of explaining the dangers of an overly powerful state to a classical liberal. This is what we assured you was going to happen. News flash, if the state can abuse its power, it will. Full stop.

              You had a proposal for a system in which police have no authorization to use force and are punished like regular citizens when they do? I wish we had pulled our noses out of our copies of Das Kapital long enough to have listened to you.Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Troublesome Frog
                Ignored
                says:

                Um, yeah.

                If you’d pull your noses up, you might recall some crazy nonsense about a limited state, not starting a war on drugs, not destroying inner city schools by handing them over to government bureaucracies, not creating dependency with a poorly coordinated welfare state, not undermining families by replacing fathers with the paternal state, not raising minimum wages and not supporting union cartels because the effects these will have on the supply of local jobs for inner city youths.

                You might have even noticed all the warnings about unintended consequences, state supported cronyism and rent seeking, public choice hazards, stationary bandits and such.

                Detroit and Baltimore are exactly what we keep warning you will happen. This is the destination you are aiming at whether you realize or intend it or not.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                There’s a whole lot of other stuff that goes into these outcomes, @cardiff-kook ; and I don’t particularly agree with the your set of assumptions.

                But just to get to some basic place here — they are assumptions of causation and they might well be correlation or complicated systems that are complicated to tease out. But history does not suggests that lack of regulation or state brings about any sort of utopia.Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to zic
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                says:

                And I wasn’t arguing for the absence of a state or a utopia and never have. Never. I am not an anarchist and never have been.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m looking for a more direct connection between your preferences on the size of the welfare state and the propensity for police to beat people to death when they’re in custody. Sometimes people get a little bit off into the weeds and start railing about the evil of their political enemies and lose track of the point that started the whole discussion–it’s the “What does this have to do with Vietnam, Walter?” problem.

                It seems like the connection that’s being made here is that police are an arm of the government and government is bad (except in exactly the amount that you approve of–saying all government is bad is crazy, and you’re not crazy!), so it follows that, say, introducing school vouchers would somehow necessarily make police behave better. My view is that there’s a narrower scope of more correlated factors that we could be talking about, like accountability and oversight, and I suspect we’d largely agree about those things.Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Troublesome Frog
                Ignored
                says:

                @troublesome-frog

                Accountability and oversight are necessary but in no way sufficient to address the root causes of Baltimore or Detroit or south side Chicago and a dozen or two other inner city minority areas.

                The larger problems include massive unemployment, low educational attainment, unraveling families, welfare dependency, missing employment opportunities, high crime rates, high rates of imprisonment, and so on.

                It is real easy for those on the left to stand up in solidarity for the people in Baltimore when it means attacking others (ie racist cops who aren’t enlightened like those of the left).

                Problem is, you are attacking the symptoms not the disease, and some of those NOT on the far left are starting to suggest that it is the left who have dominated the institutions of these dysfunctional areas.

                It is left leaning people, under the rule of left leaning representatives, adopting a left leaning ideological view of the world, running left leaning schools, with left leaning welfare state, and a left leaning preaching of blacks as victim losers, and a left leaning “let’s raise the minimum wage and push out employers” (Walmart) mentality, and left leaning rationalization of violence against the police.

                Maybe, just for one brief second, those of you on the left should stand up tall and just consider the possible ramifications of the world you are creating. Consider the stakes.

                I am pretty damn sure classical liberal ideology didn’t create the inner city issues. It is where the antithesis if my views are enacted where problems are the worse. Indeed, the situation is what classical liberals have warned will occur for over a century.

                Is the problem severe enough that you guys will take the bold step of questioning your assumptions? If not, that tells you something about human nature doesn’t it?

                You are Baltimore.Report

              • Avatar Troublesome Frog in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                I think we may be differing on “the problem” here. If “the problem” is poverty and all of the problems that come with it, that’s kind of a big discussion, and I’m sure we’d find plenty of common ground. But poverty exists all over the country. And the policies you’re railing against exist all over the country. And there are only a few places rioting.

                There are only a few places that are rioting, and those all have one thing in common: high profile cases of police violence highlighting a long running trend of police abuse. That’s not a problem that requires major social and economic reform. It’s not a problem that will be solved by letting more poor black people work for a $6 an hour at Wal Mart while the police harass them or cutting back on welfare payments while the police harass them. It’s a problem that can be attacked directly and immediately. We’ve given too much authority to police with too little accountability, and it’s time we pushed hard in the opposite direction.

                I am pretty damn sure classical liberal ideology didn’t create the inner city issues.

                I’m pretty sure that a lot of inner city issues aren’t a product of political ideology at all, so much as a complex blend of economic and social history and the intrinsic properties of densely populated urban areas. Sure, there are a lot of disastrous wrong-headed policies–the drug war and all of our ridiculous “tough on crime” posturing being at the forefront. But a lot of people like to use any crisis to say, “If only you did everything I ever said, no matter how peripherally related to this problem, this wouldn’t be happening. Let’s do that now. Got a problem with riots in Baltimore? A corporate income tax cut is where we start!”

                It is where the antithesis if my views are enacted where problems are the worse.

                That’s an interesting observation, but does it correctly assign causation? Do some places have a lot of poverty because they spend a lot of money on income support, or do they spend a lot of money on income support because they have the most poor people? I mean, I don’t think there was a time in history or a place where urban centers didn’t have substantial populations of poor people, so it seems like it would at last be worth considering the notion that poverty and its associated problems might not be 100% a byproduct of you not being in charge.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Troublesome Frog
                Ignored
                says:

                Some of these enforcement institutions are 150-350 years old. If oversight and accountability were effective and durable, we shouldn’t be having this discussion.

                How committed/dependent to these institutions has society become? Why is it such a task to disassemble/dissolve them and rebuild them as something more suitable?

                Oscar commented something awhile back that was salient and I will alter and deploy it in my own way:

                If your institution is dependent on having ‘highly accountable’ people in charge, your institution will fail often.Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Troublesome Frog
                Ignored
                says:

                Good discussion, @troublesome-frog

                “We’ve given too much authority to police with too little accountability, and it’s time we pushed hard in the opposite direction.”

                I agree completely with this sentence and the importance of holding the police accountable. This is a great start. I would add though that we don’t have a problem like this in my neighborhood for the black and brown members of mine or others families. The police couldn’t get away with this and wouldn’t try. I am not saying there has never been a bad apple or whatever. But our community and our police are not at war with each other. There is a deep level of trust and respect, and minimal levels of underlying crime or violence.

                In Baltimore and South Chicago, I do not believe this is the case. These are areas of substantially higher crime, with significant murder rates (Chicago), high rates of male incarceration, high youth unemployment, gangs, and so on (granted I am more familiar with Chicago than Baltimore). These are the drivers of the battle between police and the citizens. If Baltimore and S Chicago had 100% black police forces, it would do nothing in my opinion to reduce the animosity, distrust and acts of mutual violence between citizenry and cops.

                To fix these areas, we need to address the underlying socioeconomic mess which has created the violence.

                “Do some places have a lot of poverty because they spend a lot of money on income support, or do they spend a lot of money on income support because they have the most poor people? I mean, I don’t think there was a time in history or a place where urban centers didn’t have substantial populations of poor people, so it seems like it would at last be worth considering the notion that poverty and its associated problems might not be 100% a byproduct of you not being in charge.”

                Classical liberal philosophy, oddly enough, is based upon me NOT being in charge. That is the point. But back to the issue…

                I agree with your comments about twisted causality. This is a complexity situation with self re-enforcing loops of cause and effect, not a linear causation issue. I do believe that the mindset and framework which people bring to society which makes a significant difference in social outcomes. People who believe they are victims, will indeed always be victims, for example. It is a self propagating mindset which perpetuates the helplessness and anger which eliminates trust and initiative needed to be self responsible.

                The way the left peddles victimology is possibly one of the most harmful mindsets possible — worse even than the racism which it often uses as a foil. If you want to guarantee someone will never succeed in life, just convince them they are a victim. This is doubly true if they are a victim (and we all are victims to some extent in some ways or another).

                There can be safety nets without dependency or undermining marriage. There can be rule of law and even restrictions on drug abuse without a war on drugs. There can be police protection without an us/them mentality. And a good education and a free environment for employment and self employment are not unsolvable issues. Billions have figured out the recipe. For example, there is no good reason all the money spent on education in Baltimore cannot result in you know….educated people.

                The problem though isn’t that I am not in charge. The problem is the ideology and solution sets offered by those who are in charge. And in every dysfunctional urban mess, it is the same party at the helm, and they are all peddling the same victimology, social dependency, bureaucratic nonsense which got them where they are. At a minimum they should start experimenting with substantially different social policies. Failure to do so is damning by itself. When stuff isn’t working, reasonable people try something else, usually influenced by what is working in other areas.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                Where is it working, Cardie? Paris?
                Yeah, tell us which city has it working well.
                (If you say Pittsburgh, you’ll make me laugh).Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Kim
                Ignored
                says:

                Working well compared to what?

                Anyone can cite cities with substantially better outcomes and safer environments. Or parts of cities with better outcomes. We can also compare areas which are making progress faster and slower over time.

                Is your point that it is difficult to find areas of a large percentage African ancestry where socioeconomic status is substantially better than Baltimore? I doubt that is true. But if it is true, then you are right that my recommendations may just not work. Let’s encourage them to try them and see. What harm could trying a fresh approach be in a situation which resists current approaches?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Cardiff Kook
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                says:

                If anyone can cite such, do so yourself. I was asking in complete sincerity.
                Choose your own metrics and explain them, if it suits you.Report

        • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Cardiff Kook
          Ignored
          says:

          Seriously Katherine. What in the hell is wrong with you? You seriously support taking up violence to address grievances before all other alternatives are exhausted? You know, like nominating and electing officials that aren’t part of the problem?

          No, I don’t. But I consider it unjust to act as though the people of Baltimore are behaving worse than the agents of the state who have killed people without cause, or to act as though the people of Baltimore are the main problem here and deserve the larger share of condemnation. I don’t think taking up violence to address grievances of oppressed people is worse than taking up violence to subject other people to arbitrary police power.

          If you don’t want riots, focus on stopping the police from murdering people. Don’t focus on condemning the reaction while ignoring the actions that incited it.

          In a different post, you ask if I reject all violence against the police. Let me turn it around: do you reject all violence by the police? My entire post was in support of non-violence; what I ask for is consistency in that stance.Report

          • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to KatherineMW
            Ignored
            says:

            No, I emphatically DO NOT endorse non violence from the police. Indeed, I am pretty sure the only people who do are anarchists, and neither you nor I are anarchists. Jaybird isn’t even an anarchist.

            The state has a monopoly on violence. In democracy, we supposedly come up with rules and social obligations (including one of non violence between citizens) and then we create a socially responsible unit (with checks and balances accountable to the people) which is responsible for ensuring these rules are followed. As a last resort, this specifically includes using coercion. The police are specifically empowered to enforce our rules and laws, and to eliminate violence, even as a last resort by using it themselves.

            We will surely agree that the police and authorities can abuse their power and monopoly privileges on coercion. We will probably agree that they abuse these powers more in violent inner cities than they do in most peaceful suburbs. We may also agree on various approaches to limit this abuse including close oversight of the authorities, checks and balances in government, an active element of community involvement, severe restrictions on the scope of government regulation and control, the elimination of government unions, and so on. Feel free to agree or disagree as you will.

            That said, I will condemn all unwarranted or excessive violence by the police. However, if the police abuse this responsibility ( and they have) the appropriate course of action is to use peaceful and democratic means to address it. Please let me know if you agree.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to KatherineMW
        Ignored
        says:

        I suspect most people comdeming the riots would not be okay with it …

        Here is where my fundamental problem with these sorts of discussions lie. The OP is essentially crafted as a response to white conservatives. And that’s fine, but it doesn’t have a whole lot to say about how the people in question can get from where they are now to where they need to be. That is a complicated question, but the answer most definitely does not involve burning down neighborhoods.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    I agree with what you are writing in a general matter. There is always the complicated issue of arguing who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed. There might be broad agreements but only through ideological lenses.

    There is also the problem of collateral or proxy damage because the oppressor is too powerful and too out of reach. The examples here can be the NYC Draft Riots during the Civil War where Irish immigrants went after poor blacks in NYC, the real culprit was the rich elites who did not serve in the war. Progroms against Jews in Eastern Europe are another example.Report

  5. Avatar j r
    Ignored
    says:

    The non-violence movements in India, in the United States, and in apartheid South Africa are laudable, but they have set a pernicious precedent that their leaders and activists never intended. They were overwhelming acts of grace: men and women willing to sacrifice their freedom, their bodily integrity, and even their lives, and to change the hearts and souls of their persecutors and pursue reconciliation. Their actions, rather than serving as inspiration to others who hold power, have become a minimum standard imposed on the powerless: if you want us to pay attention to you, if you want us to even consider your cause and actions legitimate, you must accept to be imprisoned and beaten and murdered without raising a hand against your oppressors. Meanwhile, the powerful treat non-violence only as something to demand of the weak, not as a principle by which they themselves should seek to live.

    I also think that this gets a lot of things backwards. You are portraying the choice that certain people and movements made to be non-violent as a form of magnanimous behavior. In one sense it was, but in another very real sense, it was a strategic decision. What those folks understood is that violence almost ends up taking as much a toll on those who use it as it does on those against whom it is used. Violence is like explosives. In the hands of someone who knows what he is doing, explosives are very useful in accomplishing a specific task. In the hands of the untrained, explosives just make it likely that those hands will be blown away.

    There is the romantic notion of the downtrodden and the aggrieved rising up to seize power, bit that romantic notion is bunk. Any revolution that happened that way didn’t end well. And any revolution that ended well didn’t happen that way.

    In reality, the powerful don’t demand non-violence from the weak. The powerful count on violence from the weak and use it as an excuse to counter with even more violence. This is why every police department has military-grade weapons and tactical gear and armored vehicles. This whole system is, in many ways, predicated on the expectation of violent reactions from the weak. When people riot; they are playing right into those expectations.Report

    • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      “When people riot; they are playing right into those expectations.”

      The riots also reinforce the worst imaginable beliefs people have of in who they perceive as the rioters. These are the actions of people whom most Americans want nothing to do with. My guess is racists and those on the far left both secretly love it. Baptists and bootleggers. It promotes both their agendas.Report

    • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to j r
      Ignored
      says:

      Gee one might wonder if the police showing up in riot gear might want to provoke the riots to cover up their misconduct…Report

  6. Avatar Cardiff Kook
    Ignored
    says:

    Katherine,

    If the government of a city is abusing its citizens, the process we have to address it is one which involves such alternatives as speaking out against it, exiting the exploitative area or using the tools of participatory government to address it. I fail to see that the citizens of the affected area have exhausted the culturally acceptable options.

    I suppose there is a point where I could accept rising up against ones’ evil overlords. However, I would never excuse violence against innocent third parties. Indeed I strongly endorse decisive violence to prevent it.

    Democracy does indeed blame the victims. We get the government we support, not the one we deserve.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Cardiff Kook
      Ignored
      says:

      @cardiff-kook

      “…culturally acceptable options…”

      This is a tricky wicket here because the ‘culturally acceptable options’ are typically set by those within the culture of power. And the ‘culturally acceptable options’ seem to shift based on what is convenient to the folks in power.

      I mean, how many of the people decrying the ‘thugs’ in Baltimore were the same folks championing Cliven Bundy (until he forgot that ‘thug’ was the slur-du-jour)?

      Telling the folks of Baltimore that they simply should have voted harder seems pretty tone deaf. And let’s be real: most of the politicians directly affection the lives of Baltimore’s citizens were from the supposed “right” party. The people very likely voted for the candidates they should have given the options. The problem is that the system is so royally fucked that poor brown folks in Baltimore are still getting ‘rough rides’.Report

      • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        Indeed. What if we had paid attention before the CVS burned? Always disturbs me that people just ignore the peaceful protests.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to TrexPushups
          Ignored
          says:

          Who does “we” refer to in that sentence? The local government? The state government? The internet?Report

          • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            A horrifying combinination of more than just those three.

            1) the media. They really don’t pay much attention if something doesn’t burn down.
            2) We the people. Not much conversation about Freddie Grey before that. Hell I had a coworker who had never heard of him much until she asked me why the rioters where upset.
            3) the local authorities. Notice how the Tamir Rice investigation is being dragged out, on and on?

            I don’t recommend riots. Hell the local street gangs have been trying to keep public order and stop rioting. I just think ink shouldn’t be spilled condemning the “violence” if you ain’t going to spend more ink condemning the violence of the police.Report

      • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        @kazzy @trexpushups

        So, they voted hard enough but for some crazy reason it was always for the same people exploiting them? Maybe we have different opinions about how democracy should work, and how we define the “right” party or representatives.

        Pretty much by definition, they voted for the wrong representatives. And the rules of democracy do indeed bring responsibility with influence. Democracy, as with any system promoting self determination, does entail a degree of blaming the victim and giving credit to the beneficiaries.

        This sounds harsh, but the alternative is to view humans as livestock, under the care and protection of their betters.

        We are dealing with a sub society which has been caught in a vicious trap of dependency and victimization. They need real leaders from within who can rise up and point out the path to self determination. Absent this, they are gonna get more of the same.

        If some instead reject civilized conventions and responsibilities and choose the path of violence, then it will be even worse. The fact that some on the left are actually peddling (justifying?) this dysfunctional approach is mind boggling.

        Democracy, when used responsibly, gives people a voice over those in power. If this is the best government they can earn, I suggest they try much, much harder and/or get their families out asap. As caring individuals, we should support them in non violent, non exploitative self determination.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Cardiff Kook
          Ignored
          says:

          @cardiff-kook

          You realize you are talking about a group of people, most of whom are here because their ancestors were taken here in chains, right? And that the ancestors that followed them were, by force of law, made into second-class citizens? And whose ancestors after that, including many still alive today, continue to be treated as de facto second-class citizens by society? These are the people you say have “rejected civilized conventions”? Seriously?Report

          • Avatar morat20 in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            Dude, bygones. The Civil War ended and the entire South realized it was wrong, collectively apologized, and gave each departing slave a gift basket. And Jim Crow ended in 1964. Totally. Wiped away like it never happened.

            We’ve been officially color-blind since the Loving v. Virginia at the latest, and anyone who says otherwise is the real racist.Report

            • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to morat20
              Ignored
              says:

              Yep and Baltimore totally didn’t intentionally create the ghettos with housing policy. Also voting for people who say racism is over then in the next breath say black people are lazy will totally get racial justice accomplished.

              Oh and Marilyn Mosby seems to have been a smart choice for the people of Baltimore.Report

          • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            i don’t hold those of Baltimore to any different standard than I expect of my own family members, who were also descended from slaves or migrant workers. Yours is a clear example of the racism of low expectations. You can’t expect “those” people to be capable of self determination. You got exactly what you expected didn’t you?

            The people rejected civilized conventions was aimed at RIOTERS (and indirectly to Catherine and Morat for promoting violence). Don’t twist my words.Report

            • Avatar morat20 in reply to Cardiff Kook
              Ignored
              says:

              Ah, yes. “The guy crying racism is the real racist”. I’ve never heard that before.

              Kudos for noticing me promoting violence. I mean, I’ve been slipping it under the radar, but finally someone keen enough to notice! And also notice by racism! Good lord, man. All my nefarious bad thoughts will be exposed!Report

              • Avatar Cardiff Kook in reply to morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                I provided the exact quote. Want me to attach it again? Would you quit obfuscating and either clarify the quote or retract it?

                Waiving your hands in the air and calling foul when your quote is sitting up above makes you look sad and desperate.Report

              • Avatar morat20 in reply to Cardiff Kook
                Ignored
                says:

                Hmm. Maybe I misjudged you. I assumed you were creating a strawman, but you know what they say about ‘assume’.

                Maybe English isn’t your first language? That could explain it. Or maybe you think divorcing something of context changes the original meaning? A strange view of cause-and-effect could do it….

                Still, whatever it is — you’re the only one to have read it that way, and I’ve clearly denied it — going so far as to say it was a deliberate falsehood uttered by you because you couldn’t address the actual point!

                Which makes your insistence that your interpretation of my words is correct…odd. Unless you truly believe you know what I mean more than I do?Report

  7. Avatar Kolohe
    Ignored
    says:

    Palestinians should try the non-violence thing one of these days because killing Olympic athletes and old men in wheelchairs obviously hasn’t worked.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Kolohe
      Ignored
      says:

      Oh, SURE, because being tried for TREASON is a GOOD PLAN!!!!
      And convicted, you know.
      Because being nonviolent is such a good idea when it comes to the Israeli Government.
      “Political Terrorism” was the phrase, and it’s as applicable in the West Bank as in Israel proper.Report

    • Avatar Brooke in reply to Kolohe
      Ignored
      says:

      I don’t think anyone who supports the Palestinians argues that the Munich killings were a justified expression of nationalism. Bit of a straw man here.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Brooke
        Ignored
        says:

        No but you’ll find plenty of pro-Palestinians who’ll say blowing up a bunch of Israeli civilians on a bus, or in a pizza parlor or cutting their throats in their homes or synagogues, while distasteful have to be understood as reasonable because history, colonialism, racism, etcetera.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Brooke
        Ignored
        says:

        It’s strategy advice. Similarly, when discussing Baltimore, one can look at the ’92 Los Angeles riots and see how well that worked out. (answer: the reaction led to a political climate where police malfeasance was even more tolerated, because the police were the thin blue line against those people).Report

        • Avatar Brooke in reply to Kolohe
          Ignored
          says:

          I don’t think most people will argue that attacking civilians has worked out well for various Palestinian groups. I do think there is a meaningful philosophical difference between civilians protesting police violence where there is rioting on the fringes, and violent resistance to military occupation.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Kolohe
          Ignored
          says:

          You can cherry pick instances where non-violence worked, and instances where violence failed.

          But then, you can also note that for example Algeria and Haiti didn’t gain their independence from France by moral suasion, and Jamaica did not abolish slavery because all the reasonable white people were won over by peaceful protest.

          Would Dr. King’s front in the Civil Rights movement have succeeded in the absence of the Black Panthers, the Nation of Islam, without the riots in Harlem, Watts, Detroit? We won’t ever know, but armchair strategists calling for non-violence on the part of the oppressed can act like they know it would have.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to dragonfrog
            Ignored
            says:

            The riots in Harlem, Watts, Detroit happened contemporaneously with civil rights legislation, and the political reaction to them is how we got Richard Nixon and a status quo EEO bureaucracy – and no movement on the economic side of social justice – for the next 30 some odd years.

            Edit: and how has Haiti’s revolution worked out for them, since then?Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Kolohe
              Ignored
              says:

              Haiti? Well, they’re at least doing better on the not-being-plantation-slaves front.

              You reckon the civil rights legislation would totally have been respected and enforced by all the reasonable white people in charge, if only the dispossessed had turned the other cheek another 5,000 times? You might be right – all the alternate-history fiction in the world won’t prove you wrong.Report

              • Avatar j r in reply to dragonfrog
                Ignored
                says:

                You reckon the civil rights legislation would totally have been respected and enforced by all the reasonable white people in charge, if only the dispossessed had turned the other cheek another 5,000 times?

                There is a whole lot of real estate between turning the other cheek and burning down neighborhoods.Report

            • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Kolohe
              Ignored
              says:

              I would suggest that the conditions that led Haiti to having a successful slave revolt overlapped a fair bit with the conditions that were going to lead to a pretty terrible post-colonial experience one way or the other.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Don Zeko
                Ignored
                says:

                European countries and the United States could not and would not allow for a successful Black majority country during the early 19th century when Haiti achieved independence. It might give Blacks in still under white control funny ideas.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to LeeEsq
                Ignored
                says:

                Astonishing circumstance, Lee – we’re agreeing on a thread where I mentioned Israel/Palestine (though not on the subject).

                Europe and America went to great lengths to sabotage Haiti, including France demanding a crippling indemnity from it in compensation for the “property” France had lost. (So much for liberté, egalité, and fraternité.) The problems of Haiti cannot simply be laid at the feet of bad domestic policy or leadership.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to dragonfrog
            Ignored
            says:

            Jamaica abolished slavery because enough people in the UK hated it enough for the British parliament to abolish it through out the Empire. The Jamaican planters accepted monetary compensation in return.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to LeeEsq
              Ignored
              says:

              Those reasonable white people again – they totally would have abolished slavery even if the Baptist War hadn’t happened the year before, right? The timing was just coincidental?Report

            • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to LeeEsq
              Ignored
              says:

              The British colonists really didn’t have much in the way of options: they were dependent on the British Empire, and they were, I believe, outnumbered by the slaves. They could acquiese to British abolition, or they could accept the consequences of being a small minority surrounded by former slaves who considered themselves free.

              Prior slave revolts likely made the danger of their position more clear to them.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    The libertarian part of me says “of course Israel should allow Right of Return to pretty much everybody in the region!”

    And then I think about what will happen to such things as “gay marriage”, “abortion rights”, “freedom of the press”, “and so on” in the resultant state and I think “wait… my libertarianism isn’t working for me here… where did I go wrong?”Report

    • Avatar Brooke in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      It would take time for liberalism and liberal positions to regain their strength in Israel, but I also think it’s important enough for Israel to do right by the Palestinian refugees and diaspora its existence has created that this takes precedence. The sooner we can get to one secular, democratic state that respects the rights of Arabs and Jews equally without preferring the more recent arrivals, the better.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brooke
        Ignored
        says:

        The sooner we can get to one secular, democratic state that respects the rights of Arabs and Jews equally without preferring the more recent arrivals, the better.

        It’s a pity that Israel is the best hope for this in the region.

        Or only country in the region that doesn’t result in a gigglesnort when you mention it and “respecting rights of Arabs and Jews equally” in the same sentence.Report

        • Avatar Brooke in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          In some regards, Israel is a good model. Circumstances have forced it to find a way to become cosmopolitan and forward-looking because of the diverse populations it has taken in. On the other hand, there are a lot of worrisome trends when one looks at religious extremism, nationalism, treatment of Palestinians, and the rights of minorities.

          The growing tension between Israel’s desire to be both Jewish and democratic can’t be ignored. In the end, I think it’s better for democratic to win that battle and for the state to move away from its ethnocratic origins. The nationalism Israel is based on is as exclusionary as many of the European nationalisms the founders of Zionism wished to escape.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Brooke
        Ignored
        says:

        Brooke: It would take time for liberalism and liberal positions to regain their strength in Israel,

        How much time?

        What if that time is “never”? Does that change your position on the best path forward?

        Are there any other countries in the region that Israel might look like, both plausibly and desirably?Report

        • Avatar Mo in reply to Glyph
          Ignored
          says:

          Egypt, Lebanon and Beirut in the 60s/70s were quite liberal for the time. That isn’t ancient history, it’s within living memory. So it’s not that absurd to think those attitudes could return.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Mo
            Ignored
            says:

            Funny thing is if you get killed in a spasm of illiberal madness and then the state gradually liberalizes you remain dead. It is no small wonder that Israeli’s don’t look warmly on the prospect of a right of return to Israel proper for everyone who wishes to come.

            That said a simple solution is merely partition and a right of return for the Palestinian diaspora to Palestine. The problem, primarily, is that the Israeli’s are unwilling to confront their own fruitcakes on the matter without getting various tidbits in return and the various Palestinian groups, for both pride reasons, understandable resentment reasons or for clear sighted malevolent reasons are unwilling to offer those concessions.Report

          • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mo
            Ignored
            says:

            It may not be “absurd”, but it’ll be a hard sell to anyone who’s familiar with what happened to Egypt, Lebanon and Beirut in the intervening time; “hey, Israel, give it a shot…after all, what’s the worst that could happen?”Report

            • Avatar Brooke in reply to Glyph
              Ignored
              says:

              Each of those nations has its own problems and its own causes for illiberalism. They can’t all be thrown into one pile and treated as different instances of the same case.

              And it’s not as though illiberal government is the sole result of these countries being left to their own devices. Much of the modern Middle East has been shaped by the desires of the world powers that desired a sphere of influence there. American support for strongmen has a long history in that region, as does our lack of ability to learn about the local peoples and cultures before interfering.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Brooke
                Ignored
                says:

                “Each of those nations has its own problems and its own causes for illiberalism.”

                It was pretty much “Cold War” + “anti-colonialism” + “religious awaking”.

                The only difference was who ultimately prevailed.

                (everyone knows Beirut is *in* Lebanon, right?)Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Kolohe
                Ignored
                says:

                Kolohe:
                (everyone knows Beirut is *in* Lebanon, right?)

                Well, this is the ME we are talking about, so that could be just a temporary state of affairs 😉Report

        • Avatar Brooke in reply to Glyph
          Ignored
          says:

          I don’t think it would be “never,” but even in that case, I think the right of people displaced from their homes to return to their homes and regain what was stolen from them is still the more important consideration.

          I’d love to see more liberal, democratic governments in the region and I think we’ll get there, but we’re in a period of regression after a promising crossroads.Report

          • Avatar Glyph in reply to Brooke
            Ignored
            says:

            @brooke

            Brooke: even in that case, I think the right of people displaced from their homes to return to their homes and regain what was stolen from them is still the more important consideration.

            I appreciate your honest answer, but this is something I’d have a lot of trouble signing onto, and I’m not even Jewish or Israeli. If we knew for a fact that liberal democracy would be gone from the region pretty much entirely, but at least some Palestinians got their land back, that seems like the kind of tradeoff that most Westerners (or Israelis) wouldn’t go for; it seems like it has the potential to increase overall misery in the region.

            And crossing fingers and hoping that doesn’t happen, or that it only happens for a limited time and then things are better than ever, seems like wishful thinking given the history of the region over the last several decades.Report

            • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Glyph
              Ignored
              says:

              It could be the case that this is a situation in which we must choose between immoral outcomes, as the procedurally right thing to do (allowing people to return to land they were illegally and/or immorally displaced from) may lead to a substantially immoral result (the disappearance of liberal or democratic political institutions in Israel or worse).Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      You let the Sauds start throwing propaganda around.
      The Palestinians didn’t start out as Radical Muslims,
      they started out as decent people with Moderate Beliefs,
      more on the lines of the Egyptians.Report

  9. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    YEAH GUYS I’M SURE AN I/P FLAMEWAR WAS EXACTLY WHAT THE OP WANTED HEREReport

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      Now you see the violence inherent in the system.Report

    • Avatar Brooke in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      Because it’s terrible to try to point out the lack of useful parallels between an international conflict with nationalist overtones and the reactions of citizens of a country to that country’s failure to live up to its commitments in law and ideals.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      Well, from past experience the Israeli/Palestinian situation is something KatherineMW feels pretty strongly about, and she devoted what appears to a casual glance to be the longest paragraph (of eleven) to it; in fact, that ninth paragraph occupies what would roughly be the “climax” position, if this essay were a screenplay.

      I’d say that question is pretty central to what she’s actually on about; not Baltimore.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Glyph
        Ignored
        says:

        The post isn’t intended to focus on one particular region or conflict, but on the broader issue of how inconsistent it is require non-violence from groups who lack power while not demanding it from the powerful. Israel/Palestine is a major example of that, yes, but the sentiment is commonly invoked wherever oppressed people use violence to resist oppression.Report

        • Avatar Kim in reply to KatherineMW
          Ignored
          says:

          Do you consider the Orthodox in Jersusalem to be an oppressed people?
          They are after all using violence, although it’s not being suppressed nearly as efficiently as the Palestinians are…Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      Tell you what, I’m kinda not digging the whole ALL CAPS thing.

      Not digging it.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Burt Likko
        Ignored
        says:

        The point is to use an insouciant, flippant style to mock the utter derail of the OP’s post into another tired old “Oh, those Israelis are a bunch of dirty so-and-sos” “Yeah well the Palestinians ain’t Boy Scouts neither!” back-and-forth. It’s a way of demonstrating the attitude that the discussions in this comments thread are not worth the time and effort it takes to act like an adult when describing them.

        So, hey, you’re not digging it? DAT’S DA JOKE.Report

    • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      My thought exactly. If there was ever a more useless subject to debate online I don’t know what it is. It’s become sort of a corollary to Godwin’s Law that any discussion of downtrodden minorities eventually devolves into how awfully Israelis/Palestinians treat each other.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      Remember Koom Valley!Report

  10. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    A toddler is walking towards a busy street. The parent grabs the toddler by the shoulders and quickly lifts them away, moving them back into the house despite the child’s screams and struggles.

    A toddler is using permanent market to draw on a wall. The parent slaps the toddler on the head, knocking it to the ground.

    In both cases was physical force used to correct undesired behavior. Physical force applied quickly without the consent of the subject is one of the most basic definitions of “violence”.

    Do you think the people who say “police use of force can be acceptable” are thinking of the first toddler or the second?Report

  11. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m a big fan of non violence. I think some principled use of it can work wonders. It has before. I also believe that those are special situations and not the norm. So to answer you question, yes.

    To @cardiff-kook and others…yeah well, violence seemed to work against the king back in the day. And remember, victors write the history books. If the revolution had failed, we’d all be reading about those dirty traitorous colonist that lost….Report

    • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      Hey plenty of confederacy fans wrote history books and they lost the war(won the peace through terrorism and other classic techniques) but they lost the war and got to write the history books.

      And now I need a drink.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to TrexPushups
        Ignored
        says:

        Those books common reading in any educational institution?
        Those books common knowledge to any american?

        The common understanding of the Civil war: it was about slavery.Report

        • Avatar morat20 in reply to Damon
          Ignored
          says:

          It was about slavery is the simple version. It was about lots of things is the more complicated version. It was about slavery is the complex version. 🙂

          So saying it’s about slavery is very simplistic, the sort of thing you’d teach kids in a general history class. Talking about economics, states right’s, and historical impulses and local cultures is what you’d teach in an introductory college history class.

          How virtually every one of those issues boiled down to ‘slavery’ in the end is what you’d teach at the high level. (The economic problems? Industrialized north versus more agrarian, labor-intensive south — which resulted in slaves becoming both more expensive AND less useful, effectively causing sunk costs that couldn’t be redeemed and trapping large swathes of the South’s wealth in something that was becoming increasingly useless. Culturally? Slave owning was a status symbol, and a wealth one. Even the federalism argument boils down to the usual thing of ‘for federalism when it lets State X tell State Y what to do, against it when it lets State Y tell State X….)

          The Civil War had many causes, but at the root of virtually every one of them was slavery.Report

  12. Avatar LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    @brooke before the severing of the Ottoman Empire, there was no Palestine but a collection of Ottoman Provinces. The Ottoman Provinces that became Mandate Palestine had a population of 500,000 Arabs and 85,000 Jews in 1914. Why did the Arabs of the newly identified Palestine have a right to not only their own country but to actively exclude the Jews living their from any definition of Palestinian? If it is racist and immoral for Jews to exclude the Palestinians than should it not be the same for the Palestinians and other Arabs? Or do the Arabs like the Europeans get to ostracize the Jews?

    @kazzy Brooke is a good example of what I am talking about. He or she has demonstrated what can be described as near constant apathy towards the plight of Jews in his or her arguments. I find that among pro-Palestinisn sympathizes that such apathy is common.Report

    • Avatar Brooke in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      LeeEsq: Why did the Arabs of the newly identified Palestine have a right to not only their own country but to actively exclude the Jews living their from any definition of Palestinian?

      Actually, prior to the start of large-scale Jewish immigration, propaganda of the WWI period addressed all people living in Palestine as “Palestinians” and encouraged them to take up arms as allies of the British. The Arabs of Palestine had a right to their own country because it was their home, and because of the deal they made with the British. They didn’t know that the British were going to engage in the deceit and double-dealing that ended up undermining their right to self-determination in their own territory.

      I haven’t demonstrated anything resembling “apathy” toward the “plight of the Jews.” I am simply saying their plight did not entitle them to the ownership of a state in Palestine over the objections of the native inhabitants. Most of these Jews were Europeans whose homes, nationalities, and places of residence were in Europe. They had no meaningful ties to Palestine. Nowhere have I said that they were not entitled to appropriate remedies from the parties who wronged them in Europe.Report

    • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      @leeesq Perhaps I missed a comment uphthread, but isn’t Brooke talking about expulsion of Arabs in 1948, not immigration of Jews into Palestine prior to that point?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Don Zeko
        Ignored
        says:

        He or she is saying that the Palestinians had the land yanked out under them in 1948. If Brooke thinks that the United Nations had no power to partition the Palestine Mandate and create Israel without complete consent of the Palestinians than he is effectively arguing that how the Ottoman Empire was dismantled and the borders of the Middle Eastern countries established was also illegitimate. He or she also referred to the Jews living in the region as colonists regardless of how long they have been there or when they came. Brooke’s argument is that the Arabs living in what became Mandate Palestine were the “indigenous people” and the ones with the right of self-determination including choosing to exclude the Jews if it so pleases them.Report

        • Avatar Brooke in reply to LeeEsq
          Ignored
          says:

          Just so you know, I’m a woman, as my name suggests.

          I have no problem with the idea that the carving of the Middle East into spheres of influence for colonial powers was illegitimate. It’s the logical extension of what I’ve been saying, and what I’ve been hinting at when commenting how poorly the whole affair was handled by those European powers charged with administering the mandates and protectorates that resulted.

          It’s hard to imagine how the British and French could have been more tone deaf with the way they drew borders, dealt with Palestine, ignored the aspirations of the Kurds, made contradictory commitments to various groups inside and outside the region, and imported a foreign dynasty into Iraq and Jordan.

          The Jews I specifically referred to as colonists are those who arrived as part of the Zionist enterprise, those who left their nations of origin with the goal of fulfilling their nationalist aspirations. The Jewish communities that existed alongside the native Arab and Christian communities are obviously in the same group as their countrymen since they had roots and an established presence in Palestine. They had lived in relative peace with their neighbors before Zionists set their sights on Palestine and were just as much a part of the native fabric as the majority community.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      @leeesq

      Does apathy towards Jews exist among Palestinian supporters? Yes. I won’t deny that.

      Is it common? I really can’t say.

      Is it inherent to the position — which seemed to be your initial contention? I reject that assertion.Report

  13. Avatar Guy
    Ignored
    says:

    LeeEsq:
    Brooke is a good example of what I am talking about. He or she has demonstrated what can be described as near constant apathy towards the plight of Jews in his or her arguments. I find that among pro-Palestinisn sympathizes that such apathy is common.

    I’m only sort of on the Palestinian side, because this is one of those issues where having an opinion is rhetorically dangerous. This, though, I feel like responding to. The reason you never hear from Palestinian sympathizers who are willing to talk to you is that you are unwilling to talk to them. I don’t want respond to you on the I/P argument, because so far as I can tell you’re going to parse everything I say as “I hate Jews and don’t care about the Holocaust or the history of European anti-Semitism”. Please don’t think your responses are the only problem in this discussion, of course. Anyone who has any sympathy for the Israelis just has to live with the fact that @brooke will parse everything they say as “I hate Palestinians and don’t care about Europe’s history of colonialism”.Report

  14. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    I strive for nonviolence; I want to believe in nonviolence, but I’m only able to think of it as a goal to strive toward; and one that can probably never be reached.

    Non-violence requires one to be willing to accept harm; to give up a very basic right to defend oneself. This shouldn’t be done in ignorance, but in full understanding. So in embracing non-violence, you must embrace the notion of potentially being violated; because you are only one side of the action. Perhaps you can and will inspire others to non-violence; but in most cases that this has happened through history, it’s done so at the doors of martyrdom.

    I’m bothered by the conflation of different types of violence here; the violence of a state (fighting ISIS to defend a town, for instance) vs. the violence of a group (rioters looting a store, though I’d question if that’s actually violence,) vs. personal (pushing a child back from oncoming traffic).

    Despite the deep longing for simple rules, violence isn’t simple, it’s complex, and has vectors flowing in all sorts of directions. The only thing I am comfortable with here is that violence is an integral part of life; earthquakes are violent; the fox that took my cat was violent to my cat in caring for her kits. Violence, amongst humans often means detecting lesser evils of violence — the Kurdish village’s residents or the ISIS invaders; we don’t get non-violence here; we get some limited control of channeling violence. And when we talk about violence, we rarely get to the violence of humans on others; on the environment, on whole species violently wiped out of existence. We forget that life is violent; even birth is violent, both to the mother and the child.

    That complexity itself undermines arguments for nonviolence. There will always be some scenario where even the most peace-filled soul resorts to violence; to feed her children, to defend his daughter from rape.

    I think it’s better to think of violence as discreet types of actions; and instead of violence: good or bad have a better understanding of the moral arguments for violence; when it’s good and when it’s bad. There are women in prison for murdering violent partners. There are villages Syria and in the path of war lords. It just doesn’t seem simple to me, it seems fractal, and often, there seems to be no non-violent path through to the other side.Report

  15. Avatar Barry
    Ignored
    says:

    “Who do we not demand it from? We do not demand it from the police – the authority to carry out violence is inherent in their purpose.”

    It’s not even that – we, as a society, don’t demand that the police refrain from casually killing people and lying about it.Report

    • Avatar TrexPushups in reply to Barry
      Ignored
      says:

      And some people seem to make it their hobby to smear the reputations of the dead and cheer the police.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to TrexPushups
        Ignored
        says:

        In all fairness, that’s mostly denial. They really, really, REALLY don’t want to think they live in an America where that happens. Ergo, any potential opening to blame the dead guy is seized.

        Common human thing. Everyone does it, at one time or another.

        I trusted the local cops right up until one of them decided to play “Dick around with Morat’s dad while he’s leaking blood over the whole car”.

        Pulled over a block from the ER, father in the passenger side of the car with a white towel stained deeply red (deep cut, Dad on blood thinners) and clearly blood all over his clothes. And the officer asks “Do you know why I pulled you over?”

        Which led to a [i]twenty minute back and forth[/i], refusing to even let me pull foward INTO the ER and offload the bleeding passenger.

        Nope. He wanted to spend some time with me, and the effective hemophiliac who needed a dozen stitches could just freaking wait.

        In the end? I got a ticket for going 5 mph over the speed limit, which was dismissed by the judge the second he saw the photo of my dad’s leg. Judge also remarked, openly and in court, that the officer in question was an a**hole and he wasn’t surprised at all. Guy was finally booted from the force three years later, after an incident that — rather unfortunately — happened to involve the son of a very good lawyer AND the son of the mayor. (Which, again, Officer Friendly there was being an a**hole even by his own official report).

        Man had a raft of complaints against him.

        Any trust I had in the police died a few years later, when I watched a cruiser — no lights — come careening down a residential street at 40+ mph and slam into another car. Within ten minutes there were a dozen cops there, talking OVER the EMT’s (for the other driver, who was mildly injured) trying to figure out how to blame the injured guy.

        Sadly before the days of cell phones, but a good eight or nine of us showed up to testify that the officer had no lights on, no sirens on, and was speeding heavily when he whipped around the corner and slammed into a driver at a stop sign.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to TrexPushups
        Ignored
        says:

        “And some people seem to make it their hobby to smear the reputations of the dead and cheer the police.”

        After watching these scum look at killing after killing after killing and justify it (with occasional breaks to whine about white right-wingers/’Christians’ being oppressed) , I’ve lost all sympathy.Report

  16. Avatar Gabriel Conroy
    Ignored
    says:

    I’ve read most of the comments, but not all, so I apologize if this has been mentioned before, but I’d like to chime in and agree with whoever pointed out above that non-violence is/was as much a strategic decision as it is/was a moral decision about right and wrong. And in the US at least (I don’t know enough about India or South Africa) it may have succeeded–to the extent it did succeed–in a way slightly different from what the OP supposes.

    It wasn’t so much that the non-violent protesters shocked the conscience of Bull Connor or Orval Faubus or George Wallace and those like them so that they went home, took a look inside their own heart, and started to change their approach and reconsider things. Maybe some did. George Wallace supposedly did. And maybe that was what MLK and his cohort desired.

    But I suggest that, again in the US context, the important thing about non-violence was that it shocked the conscience of the whites outside the south. They may have been just as racist as southern whites and in their own way practiced or tolerated something approaching Jim Crow style segregation, but seeing the police brutality on camera led northern whites to accept a law that would ban the most obvious forms of Jim Crow.

    I realize this is a tangent and doesn’t address the OP’s main point about how and whether we judge rioters.Report

  17. Avatar Will H.
    Ignored
    says:

    I think this is an absolutely fantastic post.
    Thank you, Katherine.

    I believe a lot of the detractors could be satisfied in the slippery slope argument in the examination of agency.
    Complaints on target selection are often a matter of proximity, rightly or wrongly. “Those who do evil tend to do so to those near at hand,” and all that.

    I find it impressive the diverse ways that principles of fluid mechanics can be applied to various situations.
    Here, it’s about pressure build-up.
    I’ve seen the crater 5′ deep from an 8″ pipe with an improper bleed valve for the steam.
    Very impressive.

    I find it wrong-headed to expect different results in other situations.Report

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