False Dichotomies

LITERATURE HIP-HOP ISRAEL INDIA LOVE MISCELLANY

Round and Round

I hope that those who were so interested regarding the timing of Operation Cast Lead will be asking equally critical questions about today’s absurd attack by Hamas (or its subsidiaries). A bomb attack was launched on an Israeli patrol along the Israeli/Gaza border; one soldier was killed and three others wounded. Clashes ensued, during which at least one Palestinian (probably a civilian) was killed. In retaliation, the Israel has launched an air strike on Southern Gaza. At the time of writing, IDF tanks are back in Gaza (free hummus still on offer to anyone who can tell me of a single example in history of a group – other than Hizbollah in 2006 - succeeding in liberating territory and then attempting to goad the occupier back in). 

And guess who’s about to come to town? Senator George Mitchell, Obama’s new envoy to the region, widely heralded as the most tough and objective mediator yet to try his luck at achieving the impossible. I’ve spent the last couple of days at the World Jewish Congress (of which more later in the week), during which I’ve heard from Peres, Barak, Bibi, and Olmert. With Israel’s reputation in the world arguably at one of its lowest points yet, they still seemed to have enough diplomatic know-how to herald Mr Mitchell’s arrival, even if they would have preferred Dennis Ross or someone even more pliable. The last thing you want to do is piss off a new President when he’s barely been in the job for a week.

Which makes today’s attack even more bizarre. Even before appointing Mitchell as envoy, there were signs that Obama was prepared to soften the US stance on Hamas. The first phone-call he made to a foreign leader was to Mahmoud Abbas (edging out Mr Olmert by a few seconds). He has swiftly done an interview with al-Arabiya. He has announced that no more prisoners will be sent to Guantanamo, and has begun planning for a withdrawal from Iraq. At least on a symbolic level (and it would be hard to do more than that, so early in his administration), he has done all he can vis-a-vis the Muslim world, the only region specifically singled out in his inaugural address.

The only positive spin to be put on the stupidity is that it might be a sign of deepening division within Hamas. There have already been suggestions that the primary responsibility for the failed Hamas brinkmanship at the turn of the year lies with Khaled Meshal and the leadership in Damascus. Other reports suggest that Gazan operatives have even been ignoring orders from the exiled wing of the party, as they know what the consequences will actually be for the people of Gaza. Earlier this week, there were signs that Israel and the Hamas were warily edging towards a longish-term ceasefire, something the latter desperately needs. Given all this, perhaps today’s attack actually represents the first shot in a Hamas civil war. If not, then it should certainly give pause for thought to those who think Hamas may yet be moderated.

Either way, Hamas are once again shown to be the aggressor. A relatively weak and stupid aggressor, to be sure, but an aggressor nonetheless. I await the howls of protest at this recklessness with baited breath.

71 comments

71 Comments so far

  1. Peter D January 27th, 2009 6:43 pm

    Alex. Some point.
    1) We don’t even know the attack came from Hamas. This is yet to be determined
    2) Suppose the attack came from one of the military units of Hamas. Isn’t it funny that Israel embarks on destroying the only force capable of keeping order in Gaza (and, think of it, the only force ever that managed to stop Qassams!) yet when there is an attack coming from this force it complaints. How can Israel expect Hamas to control its military forces if it just spent three weeks trying to destroy this organization and thus its control mechanisms?
    3) The deterrence that was supposed to be the primary goal of Cast Lead is obviously very weak. Why the hell did we kill and maim all these people?
    4) The attack came against a military force – not civilians. This is important. Few will disagree with legitimacy of armed struggle against oppressor’s armed forces, even if a specific action is not smart etc.
    5) I do not buy the symmetry in responsibility implied between a strong, rich, democratic country like Israel and a beleaguered organization like Hamas. It is like getting upset about children not behaving up to a certain standard while there are grown ups that behave even worse. Not a perfect analogy, but you get my intention, I hope. Yes, we can condemn Hamas for its actions and question their timing, but Israel’s actions are far worse.

  2. Alex January 27th, 2009 6:54 pm

    Peter,

    1. If Hamas wasn’t in some way responsible, then I would expect them to rush to deny involvement. One report has suggested they have denied it was them, while simultaneously praising the operation. Another suggests that an al-Qaeda-esque group (who I always thought were very weak in Gaza) are involved. At best, it seems to be like the recent rockets from the north. Hizbollah gets others to do the dirty work so as to maintain plausible deniability, while at the same time slowly ratcheting up the situation so that Hizbollah can continue to fire on Israel without being hit back.

    2. Don’t really understand your point: are you suggesting that this happened because Hamas aren’t able to control their operatives because of the Israeli attack?

    3. As you say, we are still unsure precisely who is responsible. If it is a sign of some sort of Hamas civil war, then Israeli deterrence is not affected.

    4. Do you disagree with the attack?

    5. I said nothing about symmetry (I do not see why it is relevant to this discussion; remember that there is more to conflict – even between materially unequal competitors – than power differentials). I merely condemned the Hamas attack.

  3. Peter D January 27th, 2009 7:26 pm

    1) Agree with your analysis re: “plausible deniability”. It makes Hamas look rather shrewd, though.
    2) I was saying that destroying order in a house and then expect order from that house is stupid. You want Hamas to be responsible – then don’t undermine their control mechanisms. Yes, I do believe there is a disconnect between the pragmatic leadership of the organization, that Zakai and Ephraim Halevy and Diskin and others talked about, and their military wing, which was always not easily contained. Now, in the wake of the murderous campaign by the IDF in Gaza, this control is even more undermined.
    Speaking of the larger context, if Hamas is destroyed or unable to control the street, the alternative for Israel is only worse and will come in a Somalia-like chaos and murderous, uncontrollable gangs. There are many people that believe this is the ultimate, insidious Israel’s goal, by the way.
    4) That’s beyond the point. I regret loss of life always. I could be the soldier killed under different circumstances in my life. But this is a struggle for life and death for the Palestinians and we have to recognize that when they target armed forces they act within international legitimacy.
    5) Good. It was important for me to make the point and I’d be happy if more people made it while comparing Palestinian and Israel’s actions.

  4. Alex January 27th, 2009 7:40 pm

    1. I guess one man’s stupidity is another man’s shrewdness.

    2. Do you believe this to be Israel’s ultimate goal?

    4. On what grounds do you suggest that Palestinians have the right to target Israeli soldiers wherever they be and no matter what they are doing?

  5. Gert January 27th, 2009 8:16 pm

    Alex, you’re sounding more like a Hasbara mouthpiece with every passing day. Now you’re getting your info on this attack from Ha’aretz only. There must be other, conflicting narratives about this attack around. And Peter D’s point 4) is important: are you willing to deprive the Palestinians of every imaginable avenue of resistance? Unconditional surrender will lead to their legitimate demands to be honoured by Israel, you think? What ahistorical tosh… Or is this thing being censored by Shin Bet?

    If anybody here still thinks Bambams is going to somehow provide the counter-fire Israel needs to be FORCED to make its “concessions” [cough!] they need their heads examining.

    La Livni seems set in the mean time to keep “changing reality”. Aaah, don’t you just love zionutspeak?

    Perhaps Netancescu will make good? Eeerrmm… No.

  6. Peter D January 27th, 2009 8:25 pm

    2. I don’t know. Israel is not a monolith, but there are definitely forces that want this in order to be able to keep the current situation, make it worse and maybe eventually even justify a massive ethnic cleansing of Gaza. But there are other forces too.
    It is always tempting to think that politics is only a front for some dark, hidden forces that operate behind curtains and present false fronts that may even look at odds with one another. The best I can say is that I don’t have enough evidence to neither believe this theory nor reject it completely.
    It is worth keeping it in mind, however.
    3. Well, as long as Israel continues to deny the Palestinians their rights, they are justified under international law to target Israel’s armed forces. This latest attack can hardly even qualify as a ceasefire violation, since the ceasefire was not negotiated but rather unilaterally decided upon by both sides.
    Israel believes it has the right to target Palestinian armed forces too, so, what’s the big deal?

  7. Alex January 27th, 2009 8:29 pm

    Gert, it’s one thing to absurdly accuse me of being a hasbara mouthpiece, quite another to watch your transformation into a JSF devotee.
    Clearly, I’ve rushed this piece out soon after the event itself, and I wouldn’t be surprised if things on the ground overtake some of the analysis (although not the core points) If there are other, conflict narratives about this attack, then you’re welcome to refer to them.

    I believe the Palestinians have every right to attack armed forces who are on the land entitled to them (i.e. the West Bank and Gaza). I do not believe a soldier patrolling the border fence between Gaza and Israel counts.

    As for the strange nicknames, stuff like that isn’t generally useful for a serious conversation. Ditto Zionut.

  8. Alex January 27th, 2009 8:34 pm

    Peter D – your latest comment raises an important issue, which I’ll try and deal with in a future post.

  9. Peter D January 27th, 2009 9:52 pm
  10. Zkharya January 27th, 2009 11:58 pm

    I am not sure I agree with the premiss of Peter D’s “Don’t hurt Hamas because they are the most effective police” argument.

    I think it just means Hamas needs mature sufficiently to start educating its people that extra-governmental forces must obey the central government (rather than praising them), and start policing more effectively, by using its resources to build a functioning state rather than maintaining the perpetual struggle against Israel and Zionism. I think it shows how, practically, maintaining an ideology of eternal struggle and building a functioning state within international law and with normal treaties and agreements with its neighbours are fundamentally mutually incompatible, even as they were incompatible with Palestinians making the choices to build their own state 60 years ago or so.

    Unfortunately too many in the British and European far left are bent on encouraging Palestinians to such a disastrous course of action, for their own thoroughly domestic, European and British political purposes.

  11. Zkharya January 28th, 2009 12:09 am

    The way Hagannah dealt with IZL’s and LEHI’s attacks on the British was fighting them to surrender or extinction.

  12. Madzionist January 28th, 2009 12:41 am

    Not surprising in the least that anti-Jews would justify terror against Jews, and then demonize Jews for having the audacity to respond. Same old song…

  13. Gabriel January 28th, 2009 11:33 am

    “3. Well, as long as Israel continues to deny the Palestinians their rights, they are justified under international law to target Israel’s armed forces. This latest attack can hardly even qualify as a ceasefire violation, since the ceasefire was not negotiated but rather unilaterally decided upon by both sides.”

    And under International Law, Israel is entitled to respond. Sometimes, what is a right under international law is still incredibly diotic and beyond counterproductive.

    Your latter point is some nice post facto reasoning, but there was a ceasefire and the Palestinians broke it.

    “. Israel is not a monolith, but there are definitely forces that want this in order to be able to keep the current situation, make it worse and maybe eventually even justify a massive ethnic cleansing of Gaza.”

    There are certainly people who would like that, but I would never go so far as to call it “forces”. The reoccupation of Gaza is not going to happen and is not spoken of in any serious way outside of a very small percentage of people.

  14. Avram January 28th, 2009 11:59 am

    “The way Hagannah dealt with IZL’s and LEHI’s attacks on the British was fighting them to surrender or extinction.”

    Or join them and support them, as they did on countless missions unless they were more interested in sucking up to the British (the Season) or trying to ‘prevent’ an army with an army phenomenon (Altalena). Both times, it took tremendous leadership by Begin to prevent a civil war …

  15. Peter D January 28th, 2009 11:17 pm

    Gabriel

    There are certainly people who would like that, but I would never go so far as to call it “forces”. The reoccupation of Gaza is not going to happen and is not spoken of in any serious way outside of a very small percentage of people.

    Not convinced. It won’t happen in the current circumstances. However, if the situation in Gaza deteriorates into chaos, Israel may find itself in the position to massively transfers scores of Gazans to Egypt or something of the kind. Apocalyptic? Yes. Impossible? I don’t know.
    But even in the more “benign” scenario we are still talking about Israel benefiting from having extremists on the other side as a justification for continuation of oppressive policies toward the Palestinians both in the WB and in Gaza. Dov Weisglass spoke of it more or less openly. Jeff Halper called it “warehousing of people” – nothing other than a slow, creeping ethnic cleansing. Now, this might be considered too slow and too ineffective by some in Israel and I am not convinced they are not “forces”. The fact that it “is not spoken of in any serious way outside of a very small percentage of people” proves nothing.

  16. Peter D January 28th, 2009 11:19 pm

    Avram, if Begin example proves anything – and I agree that he was the main factor that prevented the civil war during the Saison – is that even terrorists can morph into statesmen. Substitute Etzel with Hamas and see my point.

  17. Avram January 29th, 2009 10:13 am

    There is a big difference between the two, and I think you know it.

  18. GideonSwort January 29th, 2009 6:52 pm

    Your taste in Humus is appalling Alex, so no thanx. Good point though.

  19. Alex January 29th, 2009 7:02 pm

    Why do you say my taste in humus is appalling?!?

  20. GideonSwort January 30th, 2009 12:13 pm

    You failed the Khalil test, sweetheart.

  21. Peter D January 30th, 2009 5:27 pm

    Avram

    There is a big difference between the two, and I think you know it.

    Not a very big one: Irgun and Lehi just killed many more Arabs and Brits than Hamas could ever hope to, that’s all. They invented the bus bombings, the bobby trapped car bombings, as well as such things as castrating their victims. So, if anything, Hamas could learn from Irgun and Lehi. Avram, we were fed lies all these years.

  22. Madzionist January 30th, 2009 9:37 pm

    Peter, your ridiculous claims show a lack of education in both current events and history. Please source your propaganda in the future. Thanks.

  23. Peter D January 30th, 2009 10:52 pm
  24. Madzionist January 30th, 2009 11:44 pm

    Five minute google searches are grossly insufficient for complex subject matter, Peter. If anything, the Jews of the 30′s and 40′s demonstrated excessive restraint as they were being persecuted and massacred by the local arabs and their British allies.

    Ever hear of the White Paper, Peter? Black Sabbath? The Arab uprisings of 1936, 37, 38 and 39? The Hebron Massacre of 1929? Let me give you a link to a site that outlines the entire Irgun historical account from the world’s most authoritative expert, Professor Yehuda Lapidot (Hebrew University):

    http://www.etzel.org.il/english/

    Here’s also a nice little rundown of the Jews killed by your friendly neighborhood arab terrorists.

    http://www.lindasog.com/public/terrorvictims.htm

    As is the case with Nazi apologists who like to discuss how they built so many wonderful public works, supported environmental causes and animal rights, and restored the self-esteem of a country that was deeply depressed following their defeat in WWII, we hear the same tired and sad rhetoric from the anti-Zionists who praise the social work and public education of Hamas.

    Look, more “Palestinians” voted for Hamas than Germans voted for Hitler. Do you feel the allies were guilty of genocide for bombing the snot out of Berlin towards the end of WWII? Were all those German civilians killed and wounded an act of cruel and wicked forces murdering the innocent?

    Double standards never hold up very well under scrutiny, Peter.

  25. Peter D January 31st, 2009 12:54 am

    Nothing like quiting an Etzel site, Mad Zionist, to prove that Etzel are not terrorists. I actually gave you one zionist one too, http://www.zionism-israel.com/his/Israel_war_independence_1948_timeline.htm, let’s see:
    Dec 12, 1947 Irgun bombing at Damascus gate kills 20, wounds 50 (Levi, 1986, p. 432) .
    Dec 29, 1947 Irgun bombing at Damascus gate kills 12 Arabs, 2 British killed, 43 wounded (Levi, 1986 p. 433) .
    Dec 30, 1947 The Haifa refinery riots and massacre-Irgun threw bombs from a speeding car into a crowd of Arabs outside the Haifa oil refinery; six killed and forty-two wounded.
    Jan 4-5 Haganah blows up Semiramis hotel in Katamon. 40 killed 45 injured. (Levi, 1986, p 434).
    Jan. 7, 1948 Jaffa Gate bombing – The Irgun rolled a bomb from an armored car into the Arab crowd at the Jaffa Gate stop of the No. 3 bus (Collins & Lapierre, 1973 pp. 416 ff.). killing 14.
    And you can go to Jaffa market and find a bronze plaque that will tell of this heroic attack (even though not in the same words):
    “4 JANUARY 1948
    At 12:25 p.m. two Jewish terrorists, one driving a truck loaded with time bombs and the other driving a jeep, both as usual in British uniforms, drove to the end of a lane between the Arab welfare and relief centre in Jaffa housing children and the Barclay’s Bank. The truck was driven in the lane and left there, and the driver was picked up by the jeep driver who was waiting for him. As they drove away, the whole town was rocked by a powerful explosion and many distant buildings were damaged by the concussion. The welfare centre was demolished. Seventeen Arabs were killed in this coldblooded murderous attack and 106 were wounded. Among those killed and seriously wounded were women and children.
    United Nations Security Council Official Records, Supplements – 1948.”

    Now you ask me about the Allies and the German civilians and presume you know my answer. You are not as smart as you think you are, mr. Kahane wannabe. Bombing of civilians in the WWII was a war crime regardless of who did it. The fact that these crimes were not prosecuted is shameful, and to add insult to injury gives imaginary rhetorical ammo to smart alecks like you.

  26. Avram February 1st, 2009 12:33 am

    Peter – what was the Irgun’s goal? Now please correct me if I’m wrong here – to establish a home and kick the British out? What caused them to split from the Hagnah (whom they did work with on many occasions with the Hagnah felt they needed the Irgun’s far more capable fighters)?

    Can you HONESTLY compare Begin to Meshal/Hanieh? I mean, honestly.

  27. Avram February 1st, 2009 12:36 am

    Btw Peter, all your examples, though we all know there are more, are after Nov 29, 1947. I’m sure you are well aware that the ’1948 War’ started just around there with both people starting to go at it as much as possible, knowing the Brits’ stay on the land was on borrowed time.

  28. Peter D February 1st, 2009 5:44 pm

    Peter – what was the Irgun’s goal? Now please correct me if I’m wrong here – to establish a home and kick the British out?

    So? What is Hamas goal is not “establishing a home” and kicking the Israelis out?
    Come on, take the blinders off.

    Btw Peter, all your examples, though we all know there are more, are after Nov 29, 1947.

    You’re not a careful reader, Avram. The Wikipedia link lists attacks from the 30s and is not extensive either. And if you say that you know there were many more, why bother bringing up the point to begin with?

    I’m sure you are well aware that the ‘1948 War’ started just around there with both people starting to go at it as much as possible, knowing the Brits’ stay on the land was on borrowed time.

    So? That justifies terror attacks against civilians? I’m also sure that you are well aware that the Palestinians have been oppressed and dispossessed and slaughtered for 60 years now, so, they have enough excuses on their own to engage in terror. But terror is unjustifiable regardless of excuses and of who makes them, a Jewish Avram or an Arab Ibrahim.

    Can you HONESTLY compare Begin to Meshal/Hanieh? I mean, honestly

    Sure, I can see no reason not too. And Shamir was even worse. That creep cooperated with the Nazis and was behind Bernadote murder. What’s wrong, Avram, when Jews kill Arabs and Brits it is somehow different from Arabs killing Jews?

  29. Madzionist February 1st, 2009 6:47 pm

    Peter,

    Not sure, but from what I’m gathering you believe that if Jews attack arabs under any circumstances they are terrorists, but if arabs attack Jews they are freedom fighters regardless of who they slaughter. Your idea that in a civil war in which Jews are being persecuted, post-holocaust, by Hitler’s arab allies and anti-Semitic British occupiers, and decide to retaliate in order to deter another genocide, they are worse than the Hamas extermination organization of today.

    Uhhh…no, but thank you for playing and please remember to pick up your commemorative “I appease anti-Semites” t-shirt before you go.

  30. Avram February 1st, 2009 11:39 pm

    “So? What is Hamas goal is not “establishing a home” and kicking the Israelis out?”

    So you think that’s only Hamas’s goal? Do you think they’ll let us have Disney Land here too? Or play nice with our women and children too after? Try not to let your anger cloud your judgment – the Irgun’s posters the day the War started stated rather clearly in Arabic what would happen to ‘neutral Arab villages’ (see Abu Ghosh for example).

    “You’re not a careful reader, Avram. ”

    You’re not a careful reader either sir because I was quite obviously commenting on the attacks you listed from late 1947 onwards, I didn’t open any of the links. I know what most of them say already.

    “So? That justifies terror attacks against civilians? ”

    War, and again your examples were after the war had started, is where everyone is a target unfortunately. Do I agree with that? Nope. Do I think it’s preventable? At times, yes.

    “But terror is unjustifiable regardless of excuses and of who makes them”

    Yet you quite notably refuse to put any blame on the 1947-1949 War on the Arabs … So I would actually say that to you based on the fact you’ve carefully side stepped the major massacres committed on this land by Arabs against Jews … Unless of course, those are ‘ok’ because they’re protecting their land?

    “Sure, I can see no reason not too.”

    How much have you read about Begin? Just curious, because either little or you’ve just conveniently ignored what Meshal and Haniyeh talk about and promote for Hamas (Who killed Mickey Mouse again?).

    “Avram, when Jews kill Arabs and Brits it is somehow different from Arabs killing Jews?”

    Didn’t say that – I’ve not denied what the Jewish underground did … but going by your track record on this site ole chap, I do wonder if I re-arranged words there, you’d find yourself agreeing with the sentence …

    Btw, can you please offer me solid proof of your allegation towards Shamir (not Bernadotte, but the Nazis).

    And have you studied the Ottoman Empire land records out of curiosity?

  31. Peter D February 2nd, 2009 7:12 pm

    Avram,

    So you think that’s only Hamas’s goal? Do you think they’ll let us have Disney Land here too? Or play nice with our women and children too after? Try not to let your anger cloud your judgment – the Irgun’s posters the day the War started stated rather clearly in Arabic what would happen to ‘neutral Arab villages’ (see Abu Ghosh for example).

    Did not get that at all. Who “they”? Did I ever advocate Hamas to be the government of the State of Israel? I was pointing out that just as Irgun and Lehi were fighting for establishing Jewish home in EY, so is Hamas. And just as Irgun declared that neutral Arabs could stay (only to go and attack Deir Yassin, which was neutral) Hamas declared the same about the Jews in its charter:
    “Hamas is a humane movement, which cares for human rights and is committed to the tolerance inherent in Islam as regards attitudes towards other religions. […] Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security”
    Do we need to take this with more than a grain of salt? Of course, just as with Irgun declarations above. Maybe you should read about the battle of Jaffa – which, according to the UN partition plan, was supposed to remain a Palestinian enclave in the Jewish state – during which Irgun indiscriminately shelled the city for three days, after which of 80,000 residents there remained… 3,000. Maybe you should read testimonies of Arabs literally forced into the sea – the ultimate nightmare of Jewish Israelis, by the way – with families throwing babies to those on board of ships, with babies falling into water and drowning… Of words of Irgun fighters saying they were sorry they did not expel the last 3,000 too (actually, because Begin was not such a bad guy after all and let those remain). And if you say, come on, the Hagana were better, no, they weren’t. And if you say: this was war time, we can somehow excuse it; nope, in the military administration years, in the 50s, the Arabs were still expelled from their homes to Gaza. Actions speak louder than words, Avram.
    I do believe that there Hamasniks and Palestinians in general who would be happy to murder Jews: it would be unreasonable to assume that, for example, there are people who forgo the urge for revenge; people, whose relatives, kids were killed by IDF, for example – for sure some would like to kill Jews, no?

    You’re not a careful reader either sir because I was quite obviously commenting on the attacks you listed from late 1947 onwards, I didn’t open any of the links. I know what most of them say already.

    Still, you found it convenient to point to me that I only referred to attacks that happened about the time of the War of Independence, while you, supposedly, know that there were attacks in the 30s too. So, why bother with the whole thing?

    Yet you quite notably refuse to put any blame on the 1947-1949 War on the Arabs … So I would actually say that to you based on the fact you’ve carefully side stepped the major massacres committed on this land by Arabs against Jews … Unless of course, those are ‘ok’ because they’re protecting their land?

    Avram, I “carefully sidestepped” these massacres because we were discussing Jewish terrorism. I am sick of the requirement to mention Arab terrorism in the same breath just so that someone feels better. I stick to the topic. I said, ”But terror is unjustifiable regardless of excuses and of who makes them”, what else do you need? I am not going into the whole war justifiable/unjustifiable here. First, we’re not talking about the war itself, but whether war justifies acts of terrorism or war crimes; which I say, no. Not for protecting ones land, not for fighting for a homeland, etc.

    How much have you read about Begin? Just curious, because either little or you’ve just conveniently ignored what Meshal and Haniyeh talk about and promote for Hamas (Who killed Mickey Mouse again?).

    Some. Meshal is a despicable fellow, but Haniyeh is not that bad. I read somewhere (maybe Debka) that at one point Israel pre-approved assassination of several Hamas figures but not Haniyeh, as Israel considers him moderate enough (and he doesn’t control the military wing). Whatever this info is worth… I told you, I actually am quite sympathetic to Begin, first, because he prevented the civil war in the Yishuv in the wake of the Saison, and second, because he signed the peace with Egypt. But he was a terrorist that morphed into a politician. It is a long topic.

    Didn’t say that – I’ve not denied what the Jewish underground did … but going by your track record on this site ole chap, I do wonder if I re-arranged words there, you’d find yourself agreeing with the sentence …

    That’s mean and uncalled for. Point me to anything in my “track record on this site” that would justify that.

    Btw, can you please offer me solid proof of your allegation towards Shamir (not Bernadotte, but the Nazis).

    Nothing is “solid proof”, but there is enough evidence to strongly suggest that. Read this, in full of you have time, or search for “Yitzhak Yzernitsky” and read a little bit above and a little bit below.

    And have you studied the Ottoman Empire land records out of curiosity?

    Wouldn’t say that, but what are you trying to say?

  32. Avram February 2nd, 2009 9:09 pm

    “only to go and attack Deir Yassin, which was neutral”

    I can quote you a Jordanian Newspaper that says it wasn’t – but it’s irrelevant.

    “Jaffa – which, according to the UN partition plan, was supposed to remain a Palestinian enclave in the Jewish state”

    The partition plan? You mean the one rejected by the Arabs in their brothers’ names? Read Begin’s description of what/why/etc happened there in the Revolt. I think ‘perhaps’ you’ll see it differently (I don’t do italics n’ stuff, sorry).

    “one point Israel pre-approved assassination of several Hamas figures but not Haniyeh, as Israel considers him moderate enough”

    Very interesting, never heard of this before. But it does make sense considering the ‘Hamas Gaza’/'Hamas Syria’ split (or at least it seems like one).

    a) I don’t think it’s mean – I have no problem with the left’s view, I agree with a lot of it. I just find that you ‘seem to’ blame Israel for 99.99% of all the problems in the region – As we’ve discussed in the other thread (or I’m trying to show), the problem between Jew & Arab have gone on for well over a millennium – this has little to do with land (in my opinion) . That’s what irritates me – I can take the fact we’ve screwed up a ton, I never used to but as you read and understand more, you realize there’s no way you can ‘remain oblivious’ to what we’ve done. But the other side has done just as much wrong, and it just seems in your writing that you really don’t care about that ‘because you want to get your own house clean first’.
    b) Ok I can’t read that all now – I am sure it’s things I’ve seen strongly linked on Neturei Karta. Are you by any chance one? (just curious, you don’t have to reply if you don’t want to)
    c) Ottoman Land records _ I haven’t read them either but a few people I know who have say that it makes the conflict even more complicated to digest.

  33. Peter D February 3rd, 2009 12:40 am

    Madzionist

    Not sure, but from what I’m gathering you believe that if Jews attack arabs under any circumstances they are terrorists, but if arabs attack Jews they are freedom fighters regardless of who they slaughter. et cetera

    Not sure? It’s good, because I never said nor implied anything of the kind.

  34. Peter D February 3rd, 2009 1:18 am

    I can quote you a Jordanian Newspaper that says it wasn’t – but it’s irrelevant.

    Do, by all means. I am also still trying to find an elusive Davar article that supposedly claimed that there was fire from Deir Yassin on the Jerusalem road some days before the massacre. I do now that some anti-Zionist orthodox Jews from nearby came at some point to the village and started shouting and cursing the Jewish fighters there for attacking their good neighbors.

    The partition plan? You mean the one rejected by the Arabs in their brothers’ names? Read Begin’s description of what/why/etc happened there in the Revolt. I think ‘perhaps’ you’ll see it differently (I don’t do italics n’ stuff, sorry).

    Israel did accept the partition plan. Suppose all the Palestinian Arabs rejected it – does it mean they lose the right to live in their homeland? Can be expelled at will? And, yes, I don’t think it was such an irrational thing for a Palestinian living in those years to reject this plan. Just as if somebody came to your home and tried to occupy part of it because, he claimed, his ancient relatives used to live there, I doubt you’d be very happy to oblige.

    Regarding your point (a). I don’t believe the past problems between Jews and Arabs are at the root of our conflict now. For the nth time, we had more problems with Europeans but don’t have a conflict with them. There is a lot of writing the roots of this current conflict, it is tough to summarize, but, here goes, in a primitive manner:
    Jews wanted a homeland. They’d love to see the Palestine as “a land without people for people without a land”, but, unfortunately, the reality was otherwise, in fact, there were people there (and I am getting that Kimmerling in a couple of days, so, will be better equipped to answer your questions about the Palestinian people in the near future) and that was very annoying. The inevitable conflict started. Jews were buying land from wealthy effendi living in Istambul or elsewhere and getting rid of poor fellaheen who subsisted on the land (even so, they managed to buy only about 7%) The Palestinians saw their land slipping away between their fingers. The conflict intensified etc. Now, at some point it became very convenient for the Jews to start conflating, even subconsciously, the Palestinians with Nazis (case in point: Madzionist) and start demonizing them as some sort of bloodthirsty irrational beasts who dream of nothing but to kill as many Jews as possible. Once you demonize a group of people, it is very easy to convince yourself that crimes committed against it are no crimes but justified actions. Etc.
    A similar process happened on the other side too, I don’t deny that. But I put the blame squarely on Israel not just because I “want to get my house clean first”. But also because I cannot make symmetry between a strong, well-off, democratic state, and dispossessed, oppressed people living in shit for the last 60 years. Nowhere do I justify crimes committed by both sides. But we are much better equipped to stop ours as well as having the more keys/means to solving the conflict (or at least of de-escalating it) than the Palestinians. The Palestinians do not present an existential danger to the State of Israel, yet all our actions spring from the paranoid belief that they do. On the other hand, the State of Israel posses a real threat to the existence of the Palestinian people – I am not saying that we’re going to burn them in ovens tomorrow, but we can over a period of time depopulate Gaza, break the spirit of the Palestinians in the WB; all while we continue to confiscate their lands, deprive them of basic human rights, kill them etc.

    Point (b) No, it is hardly linked to NK. Lenni Brenner is a Marxist, AFAIK, at least used to be. I myself am not religious at all.

    Point (c) I doubt it goes beyond the fact that only about a small percentage (I think about 30%) of the land in the Palestine was de jure in private hands as registered by the Ottomans. This doesn’t mean a lot, since it was a normal practice at the time and since any reasonable framework of law would recognize de facto land ownership in these circumstances.

  35. Peter D February 3rd, 2009 1:42 am

    Read Begin’s description of what/why/etc happened there in the Revolt. I think ‘perhaps’ you’ll see it differently

    Well, Begin on what happened there wouldn’t be a very neutral source, would it? I actually did read it, I remember. Maybe I should refresh my memory, but I don’t remember there being a lot beyond what you’d expect of a person responsible for atrocity to write about such. Neutrality aside, it is impossible to ignore the testimonies of the Arabs too.

  36. Avram February 3rd, 2009 9:04 am

    “Neutrality aside, it is impossible to ignore the testimonies of the Arabs too.”

    I don’t (but are you wrt Deir Yassin?)

  37. Madzionist February 3rd, 2009 5:51 pm

    Peter, what part of the vast and well documented arab and British atrocities against the Jews prior to 1948 upsets you most? What part of the Arab-Palestinan open and public allegiances with the Nazis prior to 1948 do you find most disturbing? What part of the massive arab immigration into Israel post 1920 makes you feel most uncomfortable with their new-found nationalism and wild claims to being “indigenous”?

    You see, your selective ignorance is almost as spectacular as your devotion to arab nationalism and anti-Semitism. You reject all Jewish claims to the land of Israel and consider the “original sin” of modern Jewish self-determination an unforgivably inhumane act, making every military operation by the Jews a crime against humanity by default.

    By the tame token, you have wholly and completely bought into a mythical Palestinian nationalism that DID NOT EXIST before the 1970′s, and believe any and all violence against the Jews by the arabs in order to advance this “right to the land” to be the understandable manifestation of the persecution and oppression of the arabs.

    Of course, you have an incredible ability, uncanny even, to blindly ignore history to achieve this narrative. You read selectively to fit your predetermined bias, and then convince yourself that your conclusions are based on objectivity. The reality you live in may not be based in truth, but it does have selective nuggets of it spliced together and edited to fit a worldview that has a single purpose: To exterminate Jewish self-determination in Israel, and place them back under the islamic dhimmitude in which the Jews have been brutally persecuted for over a millennium.

    You see the Jews merely as glorified European land/money grubbing thieves, maliciously displacing and persecuting arabs who are the preeminent symbol of human victimhood and suffering. Your entire narrative is based on the idea that Jews were the aggressors from the very start, taking the military offensive against British/Arab solidarity as a mission to colonize the “indigenous”. If only the Jews had minded their own business and not come to this land with their racist Zionism, the entire world would be enjoying greater peace, and moslems would never have become “radicalized” or “violent”.

    Yes, if only those damn Jews weren’t meddling in the affairs of others, shoving their noses into areas of the world they don’t belong, trying to carve out a nation that they don’t deserve, and clinging to an antiquated, racist, bigoted ideology of chosen Jewish supremacy that is the root cause of all the justifiable worldwide hatred and mistrust.

    It makes me laugh, because as a Jew I fully understand there is no distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. You are so blind with pro-arab activism and anti-Zionism that you can’t fathom a justifiable reason for Jews wanting self-determination as a nation in Israel, a land that we have claimed as a ours, without interruption for over 3,000 years, despite multiple exiles, continuous worldwide persecution, and mass extermination.

    Still, we pray to Jerusalem everyday, 3 times a day, and “next year in Jerusalem” is our traditional Passover declaration every year. We are a nation, we are a religion, we are a code of ethics and laws, we are a tribe, we are a family, and the Land of Israel is our one true home no matter where we may currently be residing.

    You still don’t get it, do you? You read a few anti-Zionist declarations by some Jewish heretics and think you know who we really are or what we actually stand for. In truth, you know nothing.

    We were persecuted by Arabs in the land of Israel long before the British and the Ottomans. We have sometimes been small in number, sometimes been populous and a majority, but we have always maintained a presence in Israel since biblical times.

    Throughout the millennia of the exile there has been no nation established within the borders of Israel, at any time, except for modern Israel. Jews have come to the holy land despite hardship and brutal persecution, all because we’re Jews and knew that this was the one place on earth we can call ours, and not be alien visitors looked upon with mistrust as outsiders.

    You no nothing of this because you refuse to open your eyes, you just see an imagined history that begins with a mythical nationality called “Palestinian” for whom you establish the neat and clean label of “victim”, and go about libeling Jews in exactly the same fashion as Jew haters have done for thousands of years.

    There is not an option of a co-Jewish/islamic state. It can’t and won’t work, it will only lead to Jews getting killed and persecuted en masse, but you don’t seem to care. To you there is only one solution, and that means an end to the Jewish State and the beginning of a mass exodus of millions of Jews from the holy land into a world that despises them and wants nothing to do with them.

  38. Alex February 3rd, 2009 7:07 pm

    MadZionist – everything you have written is an unfair representation of Peter’s position. In addition, you haven’t backed up a single thing you’ve said.

  39. Madzionist February 3rd, 2009 7:46 pm

    Alex, are you saying Peter is a Zionist? That his posts condemning the founders of Israel being terrorists and the Palestinians as the rightful indigenous are somehow not reflective of his positions as an anti-Zionist?

    What should I back up? The Jewish claims to the land are well understood and self-evident, and shouldn’t require links or documentation. I guess I could link all the historical and religious ties Jews have to the land, but that really wasn’t the point to this post. My intention was to provide an overview of how an anti-Zionist positioned his conclusions to fit a narrative that is based on a Utopian worldview and a Palestinian myth, nothing more.

    Does anyone actually deny that the Jews have had a horrible history of persecution from the islamic world? The Christian world? The secular/communist world? This is painfully obvious, so what I’m trying to accomplish is not proving the world is round, we all get that, but to show that the lessons of our persecuted history do not reside in an archive or a bubble but in reality.

    If arabs become a majority in Israel and dismantle the Jewish State, it is common sense to conclude that it would not be a pretty picture for Jews. It is obvious that the Jews would have another exodus, fleeing to someplace that will have them far from the persecution that they will surely face if they stay as a conquered minority in a newly established arab state.

    So, let me ask you this question, Alex. If the arabs were to become a majority, eliminate the Jewish State, begin establishing a Sharia style of government as they have in the territories of Gaza and parts of Judea/Samaria, how long do you think the majority of Jews will want to stick around and see it through?

    I tell you now, not very many. The land will return to a sewer of destitude, and Jews will very quickly flee to America, Canada, or anyone else that would consider taking them in en masse.

  40. Alex February 3rd, 2009 7:55 pm

    Madzionist – I don’t know whether or not Peter considers himself a Zionist; I haven’t asked him. I think his position is that some of the founders of Israel engaged in what we would today describe as terrorist behaviour (at least if it was done by others), and in this I would agree with him. The point that Palestinians (or whatever you prefer to call them) have a long history of living in this land, one pre-dating contemporary Zionism, is also true, and I suggest you look a lot closer at your historical sources.

    I accept that we have a painful history of persecution; Israel was created to ensure that we can start a new chapter. We need to know when to stop – when we’ve won. This, I think, is the point of Jabotinsky’s ‘Iron Wall’ idea. As Ephraim Halevy said at the WJC last week, we are an incredibly powerful state, impossible to dislodge, and we should begin to behave like it.

    The solution to your fears of an Arab majority is partition, apartheid, a binational state, or ethnic cleansing. You can choose. I prefer one or three over two or four.

  41. Madzionist February 3rd, 2009 8:51 pm

    Ephraim Halevy said at the WJC last week, we are an incredibly powerful state, impossible to dislodge, and we should begin to behave like it.
    Impossible to dislodge? I beg to differ, as Israel is more vulnerable both from the 5th column within as well as the terrorist State of Gaza. Missiles landed in Askelon again today, which was an impossibility just two years ago. The entire north had to essentially be evacuated during the Hezballah war. The Jewish State is committing suicide with the help of the arabs who can’t wait to see it die.

    You say you would support a binational state in place of Israel. Does that not abolish the nation if your vision comes to fruition? And assuming the arabs then execute their right to full return of all the descendants of the war of Independence and beyond, that will make the Jews a distinct minority in the “New Palestine”. How do you suppose that would go?

    Listen, it always sounds nice on paper to dream of a world where all grievances between arab and Jew are removed and love reigns supreme, but this is messianic nonsense. Arabs will exact blood, and Jews will need to flee if your dream ever became a reality.

    Think the gentiles of the world will rally to the aid of the Jews? History certainly suggests otherwise, and the present reality is just as bleak as the historical one.

  42. Peter D February 3rd, 2009 10:50 pm

    Thanks, Alex, you are spot on.
    MZ, I really don’t feel like answering any of your posts. You accuse me here and on Magnes Zionist of being “increasingly nonsensical” and “throwing out wild statements with no basis on reality”, to which I say “why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”
    Consider, for example, your own phrase “making every military operation by the Jews a crime against humanity by default”; nowhere did I claim that. You, on the other hand, ignored references to attacks against civilians by Jewish underground groups that could be called “military operations” no more than Paelstinian terrorism.
    I don’t have neither time nor the will to rebut your other claims that have the same quality. If you want to address specific issues, we can discuss them one by one.
    I feel that you’re upset with my position and that’s fine, I just don’t see whether we can proceed with dialog in this manner.

  43. Alex Stein February 3rd, 2009 10:51 pm

    MadZionist – those missiles landing in Ashkelon will hardly bring down the state.

    I didn’t say I supported a binational state; I said I would prefer it to formalised apartheid or ethnic cleansing (with either side at the wheels)

  44. Madzionist February 3rd, 2009 11:42 pm

    Peter, we aren’t getting anywhere because you won’t address any of these matters honestly, you just evade or ignore when cornered with counterpoints you aren’t prepared to answer. In the end, it’s your dishonesty that I find most irritating.

    You say: Consider, for example, your own phrase “making every military operation by the Jews a crime against humanity by default”; nowhere did I claim that.

    OK, then why don’t you take this opportunity to outline the Jewish military actions against the “Palestinians” you have wholeheartedly supported. Now is the chance to clear your name and show how even-handed you really are! Until now, you have been presenting a one-sided propaganda argument positioning the arabs as the perpetual “victims” under a false pretense of objectivity. So, let your support for all those Zionist military acts you agree with fly, and make old MZ proud to eat his words!

    Want to continue hearkening back to whether or not there were retaliatory attacks against arabs and Brits by the Jews in pre-1948 Israel? Fine, I know for a fact that some arabs and Brits were targeted by Jewish military groups at that time, and more should have been because maybe it would have deterred arab massacres and terror against Jews more effectively.

    What does this prove? It proves Jews are determined not to be slaughtered like sheep, and have a very deep and profound claim to the Land of Israel.

    I want peace for both sides, ultimately, do you? Or do you want to continue with your absurd commentary about how the land “means more to the Arabs” than it does to the Jews? I assure you that is one argument you can’t win.

  45. Avram February 4th, 2009 12:44 am

    “For the nth time, we had more problems with Europeans but don’t have a conflict with them.”

    So you’re comparing European society today to the Arab society of today? I hope someone of your obvious intelligence are not comparing the two societies – Maybe we can meet up in Cairo and watch the Elder of Zion miniseries over a shot of Arak? The more you post about this subject though, the more I realize how you have not really delved in the history of this ‘rift’ that has existed between Jew & Arab since Muhammad.

    wrt Dir Yassin:

    In Al Urdan’s April 9, 1953 edition:

    “The Jews never intended to hurt the population of the village but were forced to do so after they met hostile fire from the population which killed the Irgun commander”
    Yunes Ahmed Assad (of Dir Yassin)

    Now, say what you want, but that’s a survivor of what happened talking rather candidly about what HE SAW. I think Shmuel Katz goes into the subject in depth in Day so Fire (Or a book of similar title).

    Btw, the book that mentioned the big massacre in Fez is Hirschberg’s History.

  46. Peter D February 4th, 2009 1:27 am

    Read this fantastic article, which precisely summarizes the Mad Zionist Syndrome of the Israeli society! (here in Hebrew).

  47. Madzionist February 4th, 2009 5:43 am

    Checkmate, Peter.

  48. Peter D February 4th, 2009 6:17 am

    OK, then why don’t you take this opportunity to outline the Jewish military actions against the “Palestinians” you have wholeheartedly supported. Now is the chance to clear your name and show how even-handed you really are! Until now, you have been presenting a one-sided propaganda argument positioning the arabs as the perpetual “victims” under a false pretense of objectivity. So, let your support for all those Zionist military acts you agree with fly, and make old MZ proud to eat his words!

    I would support, for example, operation Nachshon opening the route to the blockaded Jerusalem during in 1948. Regardless of why the war started and all that, there were people that needed to be saved in Jerusalem. I support defensive wars, but there was only one pure defensive war – You Kippur. It could’ve been prevented, sure, but, as about everybody else on the planet, Israel understands only the language of force. Could have given back of Sinai (and Golan) without having to spil all this blood. Nevertheless, once attacked, it was right to protect itself. I support actions agains well verified hostile targets done in a manner that does not bring unjustified harm to civilians. If you know of a lab that produces explosives for suicide bombers, you are OK to go in and take it out. You are not OK to kill another hundred people in the process or destroy half the town. And, of course, always remember that this is not really a solution, but just a tactical operation that does nothing to solve the long term problem of why there are people that are willing to blow you up in the first place. So, if you rely on such operations without ever advancing the genuine solution of the problem, then you did nothing. And so on. If you’re so willing, bring me concrete examples and I will reply.
    MZ, you say I am dishonest. You’re entitled to that opinion, but then you say “Fine, I know for a fact that some arabs and Brits were targeted by Jewish military groups at that time, and more should have been because maybe it would have deterred arab massacres and terror against Jews more effectively.” So, we have no disagreement that act of terror (i.e, deliberate targetting of civilians) took place, it is just that you find a convenient justification for such when we’re talking about Jewish military groups and refuse to grant the same to the Palestinians. This is quite self-defeating, because two can play this game: “Fine, I know for a fact that some Jews and IDF soldiers were targeted by Palestinian military groups at that time, and more should have been because maybe it would have deterred Israeli massacres and terror against Palestinians more effectively.” And, MZ, there has almost never been a crime that did not have a very good rationalization and justification attached to it.

    Or do you want to continue with your absurd commentary about how the land “means more to the Arabs” than it does to the Jews? I assure you that is one argument you can’t win.

    This argument was always tangential and supposed to maybe shed some light on the phenomenon of refugees. It was never of a great importance to me. Nevertheless, not only don’t I see it as absurd, I’d claim that I have a very good chance of winning it. Simple: most Jews live outside of of Israel, and people of your ilk – attached to the land to the point of worshiping it – are a minority even in Israel.

  49. Avram February 4th, 2009 1:27 pm

    “most Jews live outside of of Israel”

    Most Palestinians live outside of Israel proper, so I guess no need for a binational state eh?

  50. Peter D February 4th, 2009 4:25 pm

    Avram, I am not comparing the societies. The “Arab society” (whatever is meant by it) has enough of its own sicknesses and is in flux. It is a complex topic not to be summarized in two or three sentences, and I will not pretend to be knowledgeable enough to do so anyway. My point was this: if we came tomorrow and started claiming land in Europe and treating natives there as we do with the Palestinians, then we’d have a conflict with Europeans. In fact, this example is not very good, since Europeans, unlike the Arabs, constitute many different ethnicities, but even so, you would not see the Europeans sit idle. In that respect, whatever differences there are between the “Arab society” and the “European society” as well as whatever similarities there are between the “Israeli society” and the “European society” will take a back seat, will play almost no role, because a basic human instinct is to resist injustice and support the oppressed, especially if the oppressed is of your blood. The Arab hostility to Israel comes mostly (I don’t know how to quantify it – 90%?) from them identifying with the Palestinians. Whatever historical odds existed there between Arabs and Jews in the past, they play a less insignificant role. This is only natural. I had similar discussions in the past; it is tiring repeating the same arguments, so, maybe just read some here, in particular the comment, where I make this point:
    “Explain to me, for example, how come the Shiite of South Lebanon who were always friendly to the Jews, indeed, even sheltered many in the War of Independence, who initially welcomed Israeli invasion of Lebanon suddenly morphed into Hizballa and its base of support? [...] I think it is much more credible to any balanced person that it was Israeli actions that were mainly responsible for the alienation and animosity. The last Lebanon debacle succeeded alienating many more former Israeli sympathizers in Lebanon, including large numbers of Maronite Christians (not Muslims at all!) I am not disputing that there is self-serving propaganda run by some Arab or Mulsim regimes. But I repeat, it is secondary to the animosity inspired by Israel’s actions.”
    To appreciate the complexity of the topic, read this, for example. It may bring a totally new perspective on some of the issues.
    Re: the quote about a Deir Yassin. Suppose for a second it is genuine. What does it mean? We know that Irgun and Lehi wanted to attack Deir Yassin. Their motives are unclear; There apparently was no threat coming form the village. Pail also suggested that Irgun and Lehi were just eager to fight and kick some Arab ass. So, the Jewish fighters come to conquer the village, get pissed off when Yiftakh is killed and go on a killing spree. The quote is not really incompatible with this, right?
    Now, what’s the source of the quote? Shmulik Katz. Ask a cat to guard the sour cream, as they say in Hebrew. Just about as credible as Begin on the Jaffa battle. Wouldn’t be surprised for a second if he inverted its original meaning. There are many more testimonies that tell of horrors of Deir Yassin. There is some inconsitency regarding the cases of rape; some say there were, some say there weren’t. Who knows. In the Arab culture it is often preferable not to admit such shame, so, this might explain it. Whatever. Frankly, Deir Yassin is notorious not for it being the only such massacre: even Deir Yassin appologists like Milstein mention in the same breath that there were many, many more, so, the only reason for it being the most famous one is that it was sort of the first one and that both sides had interest to publicize it and exaggerate the number of casualties: the Arabs to show how bad the Jews were and the Jews to scare the hell out of Arabs and make them flee (Milstein documents this), which worked very well. So, what’s the point to bring it? There is not a shadow of a doubt that terrible atrocities were committed during the War of Independence.

  51. Peter D February 4th, 2009 4:29 pm

    Most Palestinians live outside of Israel proper, so I guess no need for a binational state eh?
    I never said we “need” it, but rather that we might not have a better choice. You know, if you climb up a tree and cannot go down normally, sometimes the only choice it to start falling and hitting all those branches and hope for the best. We climbed the tree, we cannot come down. We don’t have good options anymore. It sucks.

  52. Avram February 4th, 2009 6:17 pm

    “I never said we “need” it, but rather that we might not have a better choice. You know, if you climb up a tree and cannot go down normally, sometimes the only choice it to start falling and hitting all those branches and hope for the best. We climbed the tree, we cannot come down. We don’t have good options anymore. It sucks.”

    Ha – such a pessimist.

    Btw, your Lebanese example is one – What about the opposite? You obviously haven’t bothered looking for that side, which I can understand as you have a specific outlook. Again, I just wish you’d actually study the history of Jews in the Arab world, or talk to those living today who were alive in the 1900-1920 (well before you can use Zionism as an excuse) about the issues with Arab rule. It might just be interesting to see the perspective of those who lived in the Arab world – well before the ‘evil world’ you seemingly think was ‘only created by Evil Zionists and their actions’. I’ll say this again (Are you Ashkenazi/Mizrachi/ס”ט out of curiousity?) – this conflict was here long before Zionism and Israel, and I’m surprised someone as smart as you hasn’t delved into the region’s rich and brutual history to find this out.

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree because you want to live in a world pre-1948 (ie no Israel, and a ‘binational state’). I like it the way it is – I haven’t given up hope that we’ll find a way to live side by side with the Palestinians, and the Arabs, in peace (not yet at least – give me a few more years)

  53. Madzionist February 4th, 2009 8:06 pm

    I support defensive wars, but there was only one pure defensive war – You Kippur. It could’ve been prevented, sure, but, as about everybody else on the planet, Israel understands only the language of force.

    The Yom Kippur war was the war of fools for Israel, and the direct result of Israel not finishing the job correctly in 1967. Golda Meir and her passive idiocy allowed Israel to nearly be overrun by the arabs, and the Jews nearly suffered a 2nd Holocaust as a result. This strategy is simply naive at best. If you only support using military operations AFTER passively awaiting attack you are at risk of annihilation. This philosophy is effectively anti-peace and apathetic to human extermination.

    What you still can’t seem to understand is that there are differences in cultures, ideologies and motivations. If Jews must go to war to stop arabs from collectively exterminating them you vilify the Jews for their brutality. If America must bomb Germany into submission in order to procure unconditional surrender and end their mass-extermination efforts, you vilify America for being blood thirsty.

    It’s an incredibly upside down place you live in; a bizarro world in which good is vilified for fighting evil and evil is vindicated for trying to kill good. The arabs have never wavered in their desire to eradicate the Jews from Israel and beyond, yet you look at it from the perspective that the Jews are the evil persecutors. This moral equivalence is unbelievably naive madness.

    As you said above, people ultimately only understand the use of force as deterrence. The moslems live by the sword, always have, even amongst each other, yet when it comes to their open bloodlust for Jews you foolishly abandon the concept and can’t speak the language?

    Nonsense, you make up the rules as you go, and they not surprisingly always end with the Jews being the villains. Old time scapegoating, Peter…we’ve seen this stunt played throughout history and it can be spotted from a mile away and it just amazes me that others miss it.

    Propaganda against those in power always attracts society’s most gullible elements.

  54. Peter D February 4th, 2009 8:12 pm

    Btw, your Lebanese example is one – What about the opposite? You obviously haven’t bothered looking for that side, which I can understand as you have a specific outlook.

    Could you clarify what you mean by that?

    Again, I just wish you’d actually study the history of Jews in the Arab world, or talk to those living today who were alive in the 1900-1920 (well before you can use Zionism as an excuse) about the issues with Arab rule.

    Avram, and you are barging into an open door again. I did not deny there were problems. Problems of minorities living amoung majorities, treated badly, massacred etc were/are common throughout the history. As if Jews were the only minority that was treated badly ever! What I was saying is that explaining the current conflict as a continuation of the previous conflicts, problems, whatever you want to call it, is tenuous. These play a role, sure, but it’s minor. There is a principle called Occam’s Razor: don’t look for complex explanations when simple explanations are at hand.
    I come from Russia.

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree because you want to live in a world pre-1948 (ie no Israel, and a ‘binational state’). I like it the way it is – I haven’t given up hope that we’ll find a way to live side by side with the Palestinians, and the Arabs, in peace (not yet at least – give me a few more years)

    We don’t disagree. I don’t want to live in a world pre-1948 and it would be stupid to think this was possible. Just like you, I haven’t given up hope. If we can pull off the two state solution – hallelujah – it has the potential of being much less bloody than trying to build the bi-national state. I have no problem with Israel having a Jewish character, as long as it doesn’t infringe on other people’s rights.

  55. Peter D February 4th, 2009 8:17 pm

    “It’s an incredibly upside down place you live in; a bizarro world in which good is vilified for fighting evil and evil is vindicated for trying to kill good.”

    And in a bizarro world in which you live in the good is indistinguishable from evil, because it just rationalizes its evil actions away.

  56. Madzionist February 4th, 2009 9:17 pm

    Avoid all you want, Peter, but remember: reality has a way of catching up to even the most elusive. Suicide is not a higher form of enlightenment, and your projection is transparent.

  57. Madzionist February 4th, 2009 11:40 pm

    I have no problem with Israel having a Jewish character, as long as it doesn’t infringe on other people’s rights.

    Define “Jewish character”, Peter. Better yet, as Lincoln famously said: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

    My point was this: if we came tomorrow and started claiming land in Europe and treating natives there as we do with the Palestinians, then we’d have a conflict with Europeans.

    Funny, but history reveals that it is the European colonizers (British) who conquered the Ottomans, and were subsequently vomited out of the Land of Israel by the Jews in their successful war for self-determination. “Palestinian” is a recent, mythical, fraudulent nationality invented for tactical purposes by moslems interested in destroying Israel. You begin your entire construct on a bogus premise, and possess neither the education nor confidence to objectively learn the truth. You are a Palestinian activist, we get it, but you are not entitled to invent your own facts in support of your cause.

    Indeed, Arabs are the illegal aliens in a Jewish land, and their continued presence in Israel is the root cause of the conflict. The sooner they are removed the sooner there will be peace. Your myth of a native, indigenous “Palestinian” exists nowhere but in folk lore. The arabs who scarcely dotted the barren landscape prior to the waves of Aliyah were not “Palestinians” living in “Palestine”.

    You are painfully gullible. You read a few “Palestinian” propaganda narratives, buy into it like gospel, and then advance it with complete and perfect ignorance. The arabs looked at the land you call “Palestine” as merely a random section of a landscape dominate by islam. You don’t want Jews to spoil that landscape, and are disgusted with the chutzpah the Jews demonstrated for daring to act on their most deeply held beliefs and establish the Jewish State in the Land of Israel.

    Get over it. Your side lost, and in time they will seamlessly blend into another random quadrant of the vast islamic landscape.

  58. Avram February 4th, 2009 11:51 pm

    You think it’s an ‘open door’ Peter – I think your inability to see how ‘deep’ this problem between Jew and Arab is takes away from your otherwise strong understanding of their side and opinions (I only say this because you rarely focus on our side, which is ok – you’ve explained why so you don’t have to do it). There were always issues between Arab and Jew, heck the Qu’ran talks about it quite openly. If you look back at the history of the people, you’ll see why this is not really about land. In its current format it is, but it wasn’t in the 1900s or the 1800s etc. I think once you grasp that, you’ll see why I don’t feel like it’s an open door.

    “I have no problem with Israel having a Jewish character, as long as it doesn’t infringe on other people’s rights.”

    Ok – This I can work with (though there will be things we disagree on naturally)! And while I DO have issues with the state next to us being rather free of us (and probably difficult to travel to to visit our holy sites), I am willing to compromise on this if it brings the next generation a chance to serve in an army that doesn’t have to fight but just be ‘on guard’ (maybe like the Swiss army ;) )

  59. Peter D February 5th, 2009 1:05 am

    MZ, defining Jewish character is not easy and everybody will mean something else by it. It is easier to say when a certain action whose purpose is to strengthen the Jewish character infringes on somebody’s rights.
    Now, it is your claim that “arabs [...] scarcely dotted the barren landscape”that is an invented fact that has been discredited myriad of times, including by Zionist historians. Nobody takes it seriously except for your kind. Joan Peters wrote a once famous book claiming that most of the Palestinian Arabs immigrated in the first half of the twentieth century, and you can read what happened to it (Porath’s rebuttal of Peters is here and his communication with Sanders and Pipes is here). So, maybe you should have listened to your own advice: “Better to remain silent…”
    You don’t want Jews to spoil that landscape, and are disgusted with the chutzpah the Jews demonstrated for daring to act on their most deeply held beliefs and establish the Jewish State in the Land of Israel.
    Yes, I am. I also recognize that that cannot be reversed right now, what’s done is done.
    Get over it. Your side lost, and in time they will seamlessly blend into another random quadrant of the vast islamic landscape.
    Maybe, maybe not.You are not a prophet, neither am I. From what I see, your prediction is unlikely. “My side” by the way, is that of humanity, as opposed to racism and barbarism.

  60. Madzionist February 5th, 2009 8:35 pm

    Nobody takes it seriously except for your kind. Joan Peters wrote a once famous book claiming that most of the Palestinian Arabs immigrated in the first half of the twentieth century, and you can read what happened to it… So, maybe you should have listened to your own advice: “Better to remain silent…”

    You amuse me, Peter. I honestly think in some strange, sad way you really do believe that the likes of Finklestein and Chomsky are objective, credible historians of Israel.

  61. Peter D February 5th, 2009 9:22 pm

    No, MZ and your Etzel site are! Chomsky’s and Finkelstein’s names must have fogged your reading glasses: I brought you Yehoshua Porath, who is a moderate right-winger in many respects.

  62. Madzionist February 5th, 2009 10:22 pm

    Peter, you provided this link: http://www.chomsky.info/books/power01.htm

    If it ain’t Chomsky it sure is a good fake! Also, Finklestein is repeatedly referenced in the article for his “expertise”, my friend.

  63. Peter D February 5th, 2009 10:36 pm

    Your reading glasses must be really fogged, MZ. Several characters to the right… warm… warmer… bingo! a link to the article by Porath that is mentioned in Chomsky’s piece. Az okh un vey, do I need to feed you too?

  64. Madzionist February 5th, 2009 10:50 pm

    Do I need to feed you too?

    No, your ample supplies of revisionist history and arab propaganda has me quite full, thank you! I clicked to your link from Chomsky in which he bases his theory largely on the work of Finklestein – it is not an illusion, my friend.

    BTW, the book you so jubilently quote from him as a “moderate rightwinger” was authored at a time when he was a radical leftist like Chomsky. It was several years later when he miraculously awoke from this mental illness and became a rightwing nationalist. Perhaps there is hope for you yet, Peter! :)

  65. Madzionist February 5th, 2009 10:52 pm

    Sorry, meant Porath by “him” in the 2nd paragraph above.

  66. Peter D February 6th, 2009 6:05 am

    He was no radical leftist, just an anti-clerical. If you think he “awoke from his mental illness”, why not ask him whether he thinks now that the “arabs [...] scarcely dotted the barren landscape prior to the waves of Aliyah”. In fact, try to find one serious historian saying that. Just don’t be surprised if you’d are ridiculed or if your nom de plume is taken literally.

  67. Madzionist February 6th, 2009 6:39 am

    I guess round and round is the appropriate title of this thread, eh Peter? Suffice to say, we will both be able to present arguments and links that are backed up by sources we consider serious that support our opinions. The “google” game of link playing gets old after awhile, and I’m getting bored with this.

    Bottom line: I have read and clearly understand both sides of the argument we are having, and have concluded that you are wrong and I am right. Odds are you have done the same in reverse. Bottom line: I absolutely, 100% believe that the Land of Israel is the exclusive, eternal, immutable inheritance of the Jewish people, and it is our obligation as Jews to settle and possess it…all of it. You feel the opposite is true.

    Get it, got it, good.

    Now, I will concede this point: The two state solution is an absurd idea, and if one wants to make an intelligent argument it must be either in support of an international state of all humans, or a Jewish State exclusively for Jews.

    I hope you understand that it is possible to advocate for a Jewish State without being hateful of gentiles, just as I do understand that it is possible to be an advocate for an international state for all humans without hating Jewish people.

    However, our positions are obviously radically different, and this will likely lead to more heated exchanges in the future. It’s been my experience that rightwingers are much more adept at understanding where leftwingers are coming from than the other way around, but I hope you will prove my theory wrong. I’m not holding my breath, but we shall see where the chips fall.

    Cheers!

  68. Peter D February 6th, 2009 7:48 am

    Well, MZ, I guess your latest comment is somewhat of an improvement over “your selective ignorance is almost as spectacular as your devotion to arab nationalism and anti-Semitism.”, geez :)
    It’s been my experience that rightwingers are much more adept at understanding where leftwingers are coming from than the other way around, but I hope you will prove my theory wrong.
    How about this: my schooling in Israel was in a yeshiva tikhonit and I spent a lot of time in the company of settlers and dati leumi. Do you reckon I could be adept at understanding where the rightwingers are coming from?

  69. Madzionist February 6th, 2009 6:00 pm

    “Well, MZ, I guess your latest comment is somewhat of an improvement over “your selective ignorance is almost as spectacular as your devotion to arab nationalism and anti-Semitism.”, geez :)

    Good point, Peter. I’m sure you’d agree that this topic sometimes brings out angry typing, and I’m not immune to overreaction. Sorry.

  70. Avram February 8th, 2009 1:08 am

    Look at that! If we can have ultra right and left wingers show love on the internet, perhaps there is a chance for the internal stability of Israel too!

    **group hug everyone**

  71. Madzionist February 8th, 2009 6:50 am

    Kumbaya, avram. I suspect the love-fest won’t last forever, but at least we can say we’ve had this moment together.

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