Why Stop at Boycotting Israel?





Mr. LeVine is professor of modern Middle Eastern history, culture, and Islamic studies at the University of California, Irvine, and author of the forthcoming books: Why They Don't Hate Us: Lifting the Veil on the Axis of Evil; and Overthrowing Geography: Jaffa, Tel Aviv and the Struggle for Palestine, 1880-1948. He is also a contributor, with Viggo Mortensen and Pilar Perez, to Twilight of Empire: Responses to Occupation. Click here to access his homepage.

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With the recent vote by the British Association of University Teachers to boycott some Israeli academic institutions and scholars who support the Occupation, it is becoming increasingly difficult for scholars of the Middle East, and especially Palestine/Israel (or Israel/Palestine, or Israel and Palestine, or Palestine and Israel—there are historical-chronological reasons to put either one first depending on how far back one goes) to avoid publicly taking sides in this often acrimonious debate.

I find this debate fascinating as much by what it excludes as by the subject matter itself. What I want to argue, however, is that if we look at the idea of how best to pressure Israel to end the Occupation and allow a real fulfillment of Palestinian nationhood (whatever that means) from a holistic—literally, global—perspective we can achieve deeper insight into the logic of the boycott/disinvestment argument, what level of support or criticism they are receiving from scholars and the public at large, and how likely it is that these strategies will achieve their stated goals.

When the idea of a boycott first arose in 2002 I was immediately and directly impacted. I was co-chair of a group composed of Israeli and Palestinian scholars which had just won a prestigious grant to work together on a research project. Unfortunately, the Palestinian members were compelled to withdraw from the group, both because their universities would not allow them to work in the same group as Israeli scholars--even though the scholars in question were among the most progressive and "pro" Palestinian (to use that much abused prefix) scholars in Israel--and because they felt that their community was experiencing such a level of violence that they couldn't devote energy to a joint project at the time.

It was hard to disagree with them, having seen first hand how much energy it takes Palestinian professors to keep their students following the syllabi when they're trapped across the West Bank and Gaza by suffocating curfews and can rarely make it to class in person. And so the remainder of our group, Israelis, Europeans and me, the lone American, supported their decision to withdraw officially because we understood they had no choice but to do so given the circumstances—this occurring in the incredibly tense and violent aftermath of the Israel invasion of Jenin. Since then we have continued to work together on a more ad hoc and unofficial manner, while our group went on to win the award the next year with a new group of Palestinian scholars who were freer to work with their Israeli colleagues.

But even as I spent hours on the phone to Ramallah, Nablus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Bersheva working through the complex issues with colleagues from both communities the larger issue of boycotting Israeli scholars and disinvesting from Israel began to trouble me increasingly. It's not that I have a problem with Palestinians and Israelis calling for disinvestment from or even boycott of Israel because of its ongoing policies in the Occupied Territories (the two strategies are not identical even if they do stem from a similar political-moral calculation). After all, it's their struggle and they have the right to advocate whatever non-violent strategy they think will help them achieve their goal of ending the Occupation in all its aspects.

Indeed, when I read Ilan Pappe's appeal and recall his sense of utter exasperation at the inability of Israelis either to grasp the heinous realities of the Occupation or to do much of anything to end it, or talk to Palestinian academics who suffer so much from it in so many ways, I understand why Palestinian and Israeli scholars who advocate such measures feel that only the strongest possible message will have a chance of forcing the Israeli academy—and just maybe through it, Israeli society at large—to confront their role in the dispossession and continued oppression of millions of Palestinians. Nor, because of the immediacy and vastness of the Occupation, do I expect Israeli and Palestinian activists to have time or energy to move beyond comparing their plight to those of other oppressed groups to actually work actively on behalf of, say, Tibetans or the people of the Congo or Darfur.

What I have grown increasingly troubled with, however, has been how few non-Palestinian or Israeli scholars have seen this conflict in broader terms or considered that other countries/situations should logically and morally warrant the same consideration and treatment as Israel.

When the list of signers of the boycott call was first published about two years ago, I looked at it and emailed many of the signers to understand who they were. It turns out that most weren't/aren't scholars of Israel/Palestine or its two national movements, but rather were scientists or professors from other fields unrelated to their study. Well, it's pretty easy if you're, say, a professor of literature in London, to say you are boycotting Israeli scholars or institutions. You probably don't work with any Israelis and even if you did, given the "security situation" chances are you're not planning to visit them any time soon anyway. It's perhaps a bit more challenging if you work in medicine, IT, sciences or related fields were Israelis are disproportionastely (to its size) represented. And it's slightly more dicey if you’re a professor of Middle Eastern political or history in general, or focus on another country in the region (and here it's getting tougher because there are so many excellent Israeli scholars of other Middle Eastern/Muslim countries).

But what happens if, like me, you're a historian of Israel/Palestine? How am I supposed to support a boycott of Israeli scholars and institutions? How do I do that and still continue my work, which involves visiting the country and various libraries, archives, meeting with Israeli colleagues, to achieve the level of understanding of events past and present that public presumes I should have as a historian and scholar of the country? Am I supposed to support the boycott but personally demure given the impossibility of working on a country I'm boycotting?

The point is, for most people who don't regularly work on or in Israel/Palestine or with Israeli colleagues, supporting a boycott is a nice way to demonstrate or burnish one's progressive credentials without having actually to give something up personally to make one's statement.

And there's another even more important issue when understanding calls for either boycott of or disinvestment from Israel: The participation of most of the supporters, however unwittingly and unwillingly in occupations perpetrated by their own governments that are nearly, as, and perhaps even more destructive than Israel's clearly criminal occupation. Let's start with the obvious but seemingly forgotten fact by most American-based scholars that every professor at an American university is the direct beneficiary of the most successful genocide in human history: that is, the European conquest of the North American continent. Indeed, European Christians succeeded in achieving in America exactly what European Jews failed to do in Palestine--to secure their new homeland with a negligible amount of the indigenous population left on it. And we are no better than the professor from Bar Ilan University who goes to teach in an outpost—just that we've succeeded in turning all our frontiers into bustling cities, while Israel still (thankfully) has a long way to go before this happens.

Let's face it; unless you're a direct descendent of either African slaves or Native Americans, if you live in the U.S. you are no better than a Jewish settler living in the West Bank or Gaza. How many people calling for boycotting or disinvesting from Israel even know the name(s) of the Native American tribe(s) on whose land, most likely stolen, their universities sit? How many of us have ever taken the time to work with Native American communities—our own Palestinians—who continue to suffer greatly from centuries of colonialism and occupation? Before, or at least at the same time that, we become involved in conflicts outside the U.S., don't we have a moral responsibility to do everything in our power to help the people from whose dispossession we directly benefit?

There was a similar logical problem with the infamous Zionism equals Racism resolution at the UN. That is, aside from the fact that the particular discrimination at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian case is more ethnic and/or religious than "racial," the fact is that there is almost no nationalist movement and nation-state in the modern world that has not been at some point—and usually till quite recently remained—been based on "a form of racism and racial discrimination" and which is also "a threat to world peace and security" (as Resolution 3379 described Israel) in its policies at home and/or abroad. This is particularly true of the kind of "settler colonial" societies of which the U.S., Australia, South Africa and Israel are prime examples, and of course of the major European empires or today the U.S.

And so the main problem is not that the UN condemned Israel, but rather that it only condemned Israel for possessing the kind of destructive and discriminatory ideologies, identities, and state practice that remain common to far too many nation-states in the modern era.

Move forward thirty years, and today the U.S. and Britain (where the boycott and disinvestments movements are strongest) are currently involved in a horrific, brutal occupation of Iraq that has killed many more Iraqis in two years than Israel has killed Palestinians in a century of conflict. And let's not forget the nearly incalculable material damage the Iraqi occupation has wrought. Shouldn't anyone who supports the boycott/disinvestment call simultaneously call for similar actions against American or British academics (that means, essentially, as Ilan Pappe has done, having the courage to urge a boycott against yourself) and the institutions for which they work?

And it's not just Iraq. My university, the University of California, has the contract to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is home to one of the major nuclear weapon research programs in the United States. In other words, the same people who pay my salary manage one of the most dangerous and immoral operations in the world. I know many of the supporters of the boycott/disinvestments also work at various UC campuses; shouldn't we demand that UC immediately sever all ties with any government military or intelligence program and be willing to resign our positions if this doesn't occur in a timely manner? How in good conscience can any of us continue accepting money from UC based on the same moral principles that would lead us to call for the boycott/disinvestments in Israel? In fact, let me state here that I am willing to sign onto such a petition if other supporters of the Israeli boycott support it (that's if, in all seriousness, my wife let's me risk our family's future for this principle). And shouldn't we be boycotting any colleagues who come from university programs that have any ties to military or intelligence programs?

And what right do we have to stop with the United States? As bad as our occupation of Iraq is, China's genocidal occupation of Tibet is worse than the Iraqi and Palestinian occupations combined. Not to mention the widespread use of child and near-slave labor as the basis for the country's extraordinary growth. Shouldn't we be boycotting and calling for disinvestment from China at the same time as Israel? And Egypt, which we now know is "rendition" central in the war on terror, and therefore a lynchpin of America's own axis of evil? And Sudan? And Russia? And the list goes on and on.

Don't the victims of these occupations or political, religious, gender, economic and other severe and systematic forms of oppression deserve our concern and action as much as Palestinians? This is what I mean about the need to think holistically. As long as supporters of boycotts or disinvestments from Israel focus almost entirely on this one case, it becomes easy for the Right and so-called "supporters" of Israel (that's like calling someone who keeps pouring drinks for an alcoholic a "supporter" of that person) to raise issues of unfairness and anti-Jewish sentiments as being involved in the singling out of Israel, thus making it harder for supporters of these actions to achieve their stated goals.

So here's my suggestion: Let's put together a code of ethical conduct we expect any business or university or scholar with whom we or our university works to adhere to and demand that our university refuse to deal with any person, institution or business that can be shown knowingly to violate it. Let's say that if a university (or program/department within it) anywhere in the world (including in the U.S.) receives government funds related to war, violence and oppression, we will condemn the program or school, whenever possible refuse to work officially with it, yet forge relationships with faculty therein who, like Pappe and numerous other farsighted Israelis, are willing to risk their careers to change their system. Such a code would certainly include things like supporting or directly engaging in illegal occupations, systematic violations of civil, political, labor and human rights.

Let's take a page from the great (although by no means complete) success of Students Against Sweatshops and demand that our universities "disinvest" from any company (state or private-owned) that earns any significant income from military related contracts, or that violate workers' rights or the rights of indigenous or other peoples as well. Let's use our unique position in the public sphere and civil society to work against the walmartization of the world economy even as many of us focus our energy on the Apartheid Wall (they are certainly not unrelated). Such a code would clearly impact Israel in many facets, but not to the exclusion of so many other places where governments and corporations engage in systematic abuses against local populations that desperately need to be stopped. The Right could no longer label people as "anti-Semitic" for supporting actions against Israel that we would equally support in many other countries.

Ultimately, a more holistic and universalist strategy stands a better chance of ending the occupation and transforming both Israeli and Palestinian societies towards cultures of justice, peace and reconciliation than the current strategy of largely singling Israel out for criticism.

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omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
Is it your poor memory or another attempt to deceive the general reader?

Your question:
"Re: The sorry truth most people know but unconsciously leave out/To Amin (#61650)
by N. Friedman on May 28, 2005 at 2:51 PM
Omar,

Then what was your point in citing to the book?"

Seems to overlook the fact that the book was first cited by a Mr N.Friedman in the following post:

"Re: The sorry truth most people know but unconsciously leave out/To Amin (#61596)
by N. Friedman on May 27, 2005 at 12:40 PM
Omar,

Thank you for calling me incomparable.

I do not think that the Israelis have the goals you assert. I think they want their tiny strip of land.

I gather, however, that you are a student of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Otherwise, such a grandeous plan might never have occurred to you. But, of course, that book was a forgery."



omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

To some Israel is the realization of a long held Biblical dream, to others a haven to most a trouble spot in the Middle East.
However to the people most affected by its establishment, the Arabs, and by cultural extension the Moslems, in general and the Palestinians in particular , it is the gravest threat to their national security and the fiercest cultural challenge since the Crusades!
To those most threatened and challenged the vital question becomes;

WHAT IS ISRAEL ??

In the year 1948 a new state, presumably the successor to a Jewish state/nation which collapsed some2500 years earlier, came into being in the center of the Middle East and at the heart of the Arab nation.
The establishment of Israel, in that particular location, the alleged land of Israel, as a homeland for the Jews from all over the world was the fulfillment of a long held plan of the Zionist movement and of the Western Powers. For a majority of Jews, and some Christians influenced by the Zionist movement, it was the realization of a long held dream; the return of the Jews to the supposed land of Israel. For the imperialist Western Powers it was the founding of an advanced and permanent Western military/economic/cultural outpost in the region.
The supposed land of Israel was variously defined, to allow for future expansionist plans, to include all of historical Palestine by one Zionist faction, to also include Trans Jordan by another and to extend from the Euphrates, in the East, to the Nile, in the West, by a third faction. It is note worthy that up to this date (the year 2005 A.D.) Israel still does not have an official delineation of its borders.
Israel was established in Palestine with total disregard to the existence of an indigenous population, the Palestinians, against their violent and relentless political, and sporadically armed, opposition. The Palestinians, who since the Islamic conquest of Palestine in the first third of the seventh century had been fully Arabized , were predominantly Moslem and Christian Arabs in the nationalist/ cultural sense .The establishment of Israel in Palestine was equally met by the unanimous opposition and rejection of the rest of the Arab and Moslem worlds.
The establishment of this alien nation/state of Israel was made possible, primarily, by the Zionist/British mandate collusion through a policy of forced radical demographic alteration of Palestine.
When Britain occupied ,then obtained from the League of Nations in 1922 the mandate to administer Palestine, the Palestinian Arabs , both Moslem and Christians, made up 80% (Eighty Percent ) of the population , the Jews , mostly of Arab and Oriental descent, 10% (Ten Percent) ;the balance of 10% being Armenians, Chercassian , Russians, Italians etc When the mandate was terminated , and due to the British policy of admitting into Palestine Jewish immigrants and colonizers of different origins but mainly of East European provenance (always against the unanimous opposition of the Palestinians Arabs) Jews formed approximately one third of the total population of Palestine .
The nature of the conflict that accompanied the British policy of admitting Jews into Palestine, between the Palestinian Arabs on one side and the British/Zionist coalition on the other , and the objectives of that policy were abundantly clear to both the West and to the Zionist movement :
” David Ben-Gurion, eminently a realist, recognized its nature. In internal discussion, he noted that 'in our political argument abroad, we minimize Arab opposition to us,' but he urged, 'let us not ignore the truth among ourselves.' The truth was that 'politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves... The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country, while we are still outside'..”. Noam Chomsky, "The Fateful Triangle."
This crucial radical demographic transformation of Palestine, and the assumed political rights emanating from it for the Jewish minority, was the result of a concerted Western effort implemented by Britain and financed, mainly, by American donors. Throughout it was met by ceaseless Palestinian opposition and the adamant refusal of Britain to allow the Palestinian people the ability to exercise the RIGHT OF SELF DERTERMINATIN, since as noted in the KING- CRANE report to President Wilson (1919):
"If [the] principle [of self-determination] is to rule, and so the wishes of Palestine's population are to be decisive as to what is to be done with Palestine, then it is to be remembered that the non-Jewish population of Palestine - nearly nine-tenths of the whole - are emphatically against the entire Zionist program.. To subject a people so minded to unlimited Jewish immigration, and to steady financial and social pressure to surrender the land, would be a gross violation of the principle just quoted...No British officers, consulted by the Commissioners, believed that the Zionist program could be carried out except by force of arms. The officers generally thought that a force of not less than fifty thousand soldiers would be required even to initiate the program. That of itself is evidence of a strong sense of the injustice of the Zionist program...The initial claim, often submitted by Zionist representatives, that they have a 'right' to Palestine based on occupation of two thousand years ago, can barely be seriously considered." Quoted in "The Israel-Arab Reader" ed. Laquer and Rubin.



In 1947 the UN General Assembly adopted a plan, always against Palestinian and Arab opposition , to “partition “ Palestine into a Jewish State and a Palestinian State allocating the former some 52% and the later some 48% of the area of Palestine.
Palestinian and Arab opposition to and rejection of the “partition “plan was based on the historically undeniable fact that the new demographic composition , and the resulting cultural /nationalist identity of a considerable Jewish minority , on which its alleged right to a state was based , was achieved against the will of the people of Palestine by a foreign power with no legal power to affect this demographic distortion ,. Or as best summed up by the British historian Professor Arnold Toynbee “… he who does not own gave he who does not deserve.”
Arab and Palestinian efforts to prevent, by armed force, the establishment of this Jewish state in Palestine failed and the 1948 conflict ended with the establishment of Israel .The armed conflict ended in 1949 with the Jewish “state” in control of some 72 % of Palestine and massive Palestinian/Arab population movements, some voluntary some forced , that resulted in what became some 7500000 displaced Palestinians refugees.
These refugees were, and still are, denied by the state of Israel the RIGHT of RETURN to their homeland and the right to exercise their birthrights in what became the state of Israel.
Soon after Israel declared its independence it enacted “The( Israeli)Law Of Return” by which any Jew , of whatever extraction or nationality and no matter how long or where he and his forefathers has been living for the last 2000 years (approx.),was entitled, by the mere fact that he was Jewish or of Jewish origin, to relocate in Palestine and become a full citizen in the state of Israel; while always denying Palestinian refugees the “Right of Return “ to their homeland to exercise their birthrights.
In 1967 a new war erupted between Israel and Jordan ,Syria and Egypt resulting in Israeli conquest and occupation of the rest of Palestine ( presently known as Gaza and the West Bank ),the Syrian Golan heights and the Egyptian Sinai peninsula ,all still under Israeli occupation except for Sinai.

So in addition to the cardinal point that the establishment of the state of Israel in Palestine led to the DISLOCATION, DISPOSSESSION and DISFRANCHUISEMENT of the Palestinian people , an integral component of the Arab nation, from and in his homeland it led to the deARABIZATION of its heartland, Palestine!

THE MEANING OF ISRAEL:
As such and because of the HOW, WHERE, WHY this nation/state was planted in Palestine, Israel came to mean, to the overwhelming majority of Palestinians and Arabs, the following:

- An illegal and illegitimate alien body (state/nation), imposed by a foreign hostile power on their land, the establishment of which led to the forced dislocation, dispossession and disfranchisement of the Palestinian people and the total denial of their birthrights as the rightful owners and dwellers of the land of Palestine

-A racist/confessional discriminatory nation/state that grants, and withholds, basic inalienable human and civil rights depending on the religious affiliation of the person(s) under consideration.

-The body that achieved the forced alteration of the cultural/nationalist identity of the land of Palestine.

-The latest , successful ,attempt by the WEST to plant an alien body in the heart of the Arab/Moslem world ; a new campaign in and a sequel to the failed Crusades in the incessant effort by the West to deArabize and deIslamize ( often called Westernize ) the Middle East , and the Holy Land in particular, by forcing Judeo /Christian culture on the region through the imposition of an alien culture by an alien people .

-An outpost of Western imperialism designed to dominate the region politically and economically and exploit its resources to the benefit of the imperialist powers and their regional representative (Israel).

-An advanced military base from which to preempt and frustrate any Arab effort to attain a sovereign political will and implement a truly independent policy.

-An ever-present expansionist power out to grab more Arab lands, depending on who is in power in Israel of the adherents of the three definitions of the land of Israel.

-A hostile physical bulwark between the Eastern (Al Mashreq ) and the Western (Al Maghreb) wings of the Arab nation and a major obstacle to the physical continuity of Arab lands.

That, in short, is ISRAEL to an overwhelming majority of Arabs and Moslems.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
I really am at a loss how do you understand things! Is it my English or your comprehension ability?
My sentence is:
"Omar (b): For obvious reasons you fail to understand that indigenous Christian Arabs are, and chose to be, an integral component of the Arab nation unlike those who chose to ally themselves with the alien intruder and deny their Arab origin and throw their allegiance to an aggressive racist cause."
Rereading it I note that you have failed to follow the rest of the sentence which reads:".......unlike those who chose to ally themselves with the alien intruder and deny their Arab origin and throw their allegiance to an aggressive racist cause."

Have you ever heard of Michel Aflaq, Emile Ghouri, George Habbash, Wadi Haddad ,Clovis Maksoud, Elias Saba, George Farah and other thousands and thousands of dedicated Arab nationalists all of whom are indiginous Christian Arabs ,Should you know anything about the anti Zionist role played by these people, among the millions of Christian Arabs you would know how inane your remark "chose to survive rather than suffer" is.

If a truncated sentence defines things for you that is your problem not mine.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Moshe
1- Re your question:


"I have a question for you. Do you believe that either Jews/Zionists/Israelis orchestrated the 9/11 attacks on the US? Do you believe that many Jews recieved warnings to not go to work on that date? I await your response to these important questions."
No I do not believe any of these childish allegations make sense!
2- I would like to hear from you what you consider as an equitable settlement of the Arab-Palestinian/Israeli conflict.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
"...you asserted a view that suggested you believe in the "theory" set forth in the document."

What kind of a statement IS THAT?

"asserted" and "suggested" do not normally go together...however go ahead tell us what else my "assertions" "suggested" to you !


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman is waivering ; responding to Mr Duss exhortion :"Let's start sending settlers there(Iraq) immediately!" he opined:
"In principle, we could send people to live(settle) in Iraq. However, we agreed not to do so and that has decisive significance." thus avoiding the doctrinairely loaded term "settlers" and using instead the harmless term "to live"!
It is indeed a sad day when a man with Mr Friedman's strong convictions bows under pressure; but not for long!
The old messianic fire burns on:"In principle, we could send people to live in Iraq."
However since it is a matter of "principle" the "agreement ( here Friedman is again waivering ; it should have read " the decision" not the "agreement") not to do so" could change at Mr Friedman's discretion or dogma dictates !
One question :Mr Friedman ,who is the "we" in "we could send people to live "? Is that the USA or Israel?
Or is it Micronesia ( or equivalent) ? They also partook in the conquest and are now jointly in control/.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Fruedman
Am I to understand that NOW you understand my sentence:
""Omar (b): For obvious reasons you fail to understand that indigenous Christian Arabs are, and chose to be, an integral component of the Arab nation unlike those who chose to ally themselves with the alien intruder and deny their Arab origin and throw their allegiance to an aggressive racist cause."

That would be a breaktrough!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
So you have some thing to say , after all ,and the "game" is not over!
It could be a game for you :watching and enjoying the daily carnage in Iraq by the US army and diverse mercenaries fullfilling a Zionist dream with American blood and treasure.
It is not ... neither for the valiant Iraqi people nor for the poor GI!

Back to the bottomless well of wisdom and erudition!

"We (who is "WE"? )meant anyone involved in the project to attack Iraq could, in theory, settle people in Iraq."

What theory are you reffering to ?

The theory that any professional boxer can bash the brains out of a five years old boy?

Do you call that a "theory" ? I would not be surprised if it is for you and your ilk; actually I suspect it is!

I call that "in", savage immoral and unprincipled "practice"; as often adopted and practiced by the Zionist movement and its pernicious off spring Israel!


"Morally, I am not a believer in colonization." you add!
But in practice you are a devout supporter and "practicioner" of it as for the Zionist colonization of Palestine !
What is the meaning, the value ,the importance of "morallity" if not applied "in practice"?

None ,no doubt, to you because "morallity" is only something to cloak the ugly "practice" with!

As I said earlier I enjoy every word you utter!
Seldom did we have as forthright a spokesman for Zionism as you!
Kindly, please go on telling us more about your inner convictions and beliefs!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Moshe
In case you failed to notice it I have an answer and a question for YOU!



Re: Let all who doubt the imposibility for peace read Omar's posts (#61969)
by omar ibrahim baker on June 2, 2005 at 12:07 PM
Moshe
1- Re your question:


"I have a question for you. Do you believe that either Jews/Zionists/Israelis orchestrated the 9/11 attacks on the US? Do you believe that many Jews recieved warnings to not go to work on that date? I await your response to these important questions."
No I do not believe any of these childish allegations make sense!
2- I would like to hear from you what you consider as an equitable settlement of the Arab-Palestinian/Israeli conflict.




omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Golmohamad

I have read carefully your sincere post then followed with interest your discussion with Mr Moshe, Mr Simon and the incomparable Mr Friedman; each in his own peculiar way a typical Zionist.

I am certain you have well noted their responses to your well meant initiative.!

Flushed and drunk with an arrogance born out of an easy victory , enjoying the unlimited and unconditional support of the USA, the moral support of most of the Judeo/Christian communities in the Western hemisphere , the total support of practically all of world Jewry and banking on the presumed continued decadence and decline of the Arab/Moslem world Zionists and Zionism can only see the actual triumph of their colonialist project and the possibilities it opens for further encroachment on the sovereignty and natural resources of the region and the potential for economic predominance of the Third World in paricular and the Southern Hemishphere in general!!

They, the Zionists, will hear but will not listen to what you have to say!!

Whether knowingly or unknowingly , with its successful depopulating colonization of Palestine, Zionism has launched the world on One of those epoch making , world dividing and cultural polarizing colonial expeditions that breeds interminable wars, engender enduring historical enmities and consume generations before disintegrating and tapering off !

The nearest historical parallel to the Zionist project I can think of is the earlier Crusading campaign.

Did you happen to read my post "What did Zionism Achieve"? I outlined in it what I think are the historical consequences and world wide repercussions of the Zionist project and its triumph in Palestine !

I wish you safety , success and happiness.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

I recall you once asked for references on the Palestine national movement.I gave you some links that you found too encompassing.
Here is the title and all details on a good readily available book on the subject.


Palestine: A Modern History
by A.W. Kayyali




Publisher: learn how customers can search inside this book.
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Availability: Usually ships within 1-2 business days from these sellers.



3 used & new available from $70.00
Edition: Hardcover







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Product Details

Hardcover: 243 pages
Publisher: Croom Helm Ltd (June 1, 1978)
Language: English
ISBN: 0856646350
Amazon.com Sales Rank: #3,076,328 in Books
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omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007






The good thing about Mr. Friedman is that he speaks out boldly his convictions. Lacking the finesse and intellect of Mr. Moshe he boldly asserts that even the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights are not "occupied", implying that expansionist Israeli designs are not really "expansionist.".
And should Israel withdraw from all or part of these territories it would be doing so out of the kindness of its heart and not out of any legal or moral obligation.
He is, explicitly, full of praise for the gentle hand with which Israel has been dealing with the opposition to its "non-occupation" of the "occupied" territories .
By stating:"By the standards of Europe, the Israelis have been gentle." He is contrasting Israeli methods with methods used in quelling the Warsaw uprising!.
He is also full of praise for Israeli post-conquest policies in the "non occupied" but "occupied territories": "By American standards even, the Israelis have been gentle." no doubt implying that Israel should be lauded for not confining the inhabitants of the "nonoccupied " "occupied" territories into reservations!

However Friedman should be read carefully for he is, despite his effort to conceal it, much more "open" about his true beliefs.
These beliefs are under laid by a set of inborn convictions:
1- Mankind did not progress in any meaningful way and the same old practices are still valid and applicable to day:" Looking backwards, history is filled with groups displacing, massacring, and otherwise supplanting each other."
2-Not committing a heinous crime is the moral equivalent of an act of charity and magnanimity:" In any event, the Palestinian Arabs, in the scheme of things, have not been wiped out."
3-The fate of an old settled community, for at lest 12 centuries, is secondary to the desires and ambitions of the marauding community. The native indigenous SHOULD succumb to the will of the alien marauder :" Thus, proposing that Israel take in millions of people who, if the Palestinian Arabs were remotely serious about setting up a state, are needed in the state of Palestine - not in Israel, if the state of Palestine is to be viable, speaks volumes about the Palestinian cause.
4-Its express will and its right to self determination could be waived away if it runs counter to the designs of the marauding community:" It is as if one were expelled from Hartford and were resettled in New Haven. That is a pretty minor offense in the scheme of what has happened to people on this Earth."
5-A blind revengeful "revangiste" indiscriminate , blood thirsty attitude:" As you may be aware, the Arabs are serial abusers - although they are hardly unique although they are rather exemplery -." An eye for an eye irrespective who gouged whose "eye" !


6-Evil, if evil at all, is acceptable. And a greater evil at least justifies, if it does not ennoble, the lesser evil as in Israel versus Palestinians contrasted with Nazi/Jew and Colonialist Americans/native Americans.
7-"With my sword uppermost I decide what is "legal" and what is" moral"!
The important thing about this mode of thinking is that it is the legitimate outgrowth from the seminally RACIST, retrogressive and innately discriminatory (Jew versus "ghoyim") Zionist dogma.
The more I read Friedman the more I understand Zionism; for that I thank him!
!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
Actually I have read about the book ( The Protocols of the Elders of Zion) but not the book itself!
I understand that you and yours are terribly worried about it, some are even scared, but all of you fight it!
I find it rediculous to worry about and fight a book!
Is it any different from the millions of books written by all sorts of people with all sorts of opinion, facts, allegations, dreams,fabrications, messages, stories,pretensions etc etc?
Whether it is a forgery or not is immaterial; the importance of a book lies in what is in it!
I truly do not have to read it to know what Zionism is! I know Zionism first hand !

What is it that worries you about it ?

To worry about a book is sick unless ,of couse, it is such an eye openner that it would really make some people worry !
IT IS ONLY A BOOK!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Moshe
1-I do not think that even you would equate the Koran; (Perhaps you should tall that to your brethren throughout the Middle East, who are rioting and dying because the possible desecration of a single book)with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion a political book; and a forgery at that according to you!
Not for anything but that millions and millions believe that the Koran is Divinely inspired .
Out of respect for these hundreds of millions, I never thought you would make such an inane remark!
Is the real Moshe emerging slowly?
2- I stand by my opinion that whether that book, The Protocols etc.., is a forgery or not ..is immaterial.
The important thing is what is in it and how people react to what it has to say. I have enough faith in the intelligence of readers to be AGAINST any and all kind of book censorship which you seem to demand in the case of this book?
Do you want it universally banned??
Are you for censoring IT? !
Do give me a sraight forward answer!
Possibly nothing made the reputation and fired the desire of so many people to read it as much as the Zionist campaign, which often verges on the hysterical, against it.
Which reminds of the legal case brought against a certain British historian, I do not recall his name, for writing a book denying the occurrence, or the number of victims, of the Holocaust!
I found it baffling; thousands of books , articles, films have documented its veracity so why worry about one book!
Thousands of books ,articles etc disputed the Divine inspiration of Islam and had all sorts of description for Mohamed and the Arabs; I never worried about that!
I never worry about he who is swayed one way or another by one, or even two or three, books.
3- You call me anti Semite and anti Jew that is a false accusation and a naked lie.I am not and I do not care whether you believe that or not.
How can I be anti Jew while knowing that Chomsky, Professor Magnus, Alfred Lilienthall, Einstein and other untold thousands are anti Zionist JEWS.
That the adherents of Nahumi Carta are JEWS?
However I do know that your last resort in countering anti Zionists or anti Israel is to label them, falsely of course, as anti Semite and/or anti Jew!
There has been recently a universal campaign to that purpose , equating anti Zionism/anti Zionist Israel with anti Semitism,which, as I believe you know, never took off and will never take off.
I believe that this campaign is , or will soon turn, counter productive and lead many people to know more about Zionism; which warms my heart.
You have been crying wolf too long and too much for any sane person to take your word seriously
Your only recourse Moshe is to avow the aggressive, pernicious and racist nature of Zionism disown it and join progressive humanity!.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Addressing Mr Peter K Clarke,the incomparable Mr Friedman had the following nugget of wisdom to dispense to the unlearned!

"Peter:The assumption you have is that Gaza, Samaria and Judea "belong" to a people called the "Palestinians" and that such "people" are actually being robbed. That, frankly, simply is not the case."(Re: worthless distortions (#61347)
by N. Friedman on May 24, 2005 at 11:56 AM)
Faced with such a formidable mind set and to avoid being labelled a "quasi lawyer" or , the soon to come,"pseudo lawyer" I dare not ask "Why does it not belong to the people who have been living in it for, at least, the last 13 centuries?" nor " To whom does Manhattan, DC and LA belong or ,for that matter, Istanbul and Paris?"
The only question I dare ask Mr Friedman is :" If it does not belong to its inhabitants for the last 13 centuries to whom , then, does it belong?" .
However expecting his full lawyerly erudite reply that it is the subject of " a dispute between peoples with competing claims to the same land" may I ask: "on what grounds does the other, nonPalestinian, party base its claim?"
The important thing here is that the man is serious and genuinely reflects the opinions of his Alma Mater: Zionism!
However whether it is part of Zionist design to reveal that much at this stage is another question but the man is true to his dogma and beliefs.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

To All and Moshe
"That the adherents of Nahumi Carta are JEWS?" should read :'....of Naturi Carta Are JEWS"...sorry for the inconvinience!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Friedman
1-" A simple answer to my question will suffice."
Do not you ever tell me how to answer a question!
2- "Again, are you asserting that the content of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is accurate"
THAT I , as your question implies, ever" asserted that the content of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is accurate" is a figment of your sick imagination! I never did nor can I, I never read the book.

"...or do you claim that its content is nonsense?"

Having never read the book, this is the third time I say that, I can not judge one way or another!


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

"My view: land belongs to the party which controls it and can prevent others from taking it. There is no such thing as indigenous owners."(Re: Time machine history/The Incomparable Friedman (#61389)
by N. Friedman on May 25, 2005 at 7:15 AM)
Mr Friedman
Am I to understand from your staement above that the opinion and will of the majority of the people who inhabit it does not count?


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

More cow patties from Omar... (#61725)
by E. Simon on May 30, 2005 at 11:08 AM
Simon:This further thought-Spam, branded in the vigorous spirit of the same kind of Middle eastern nationalistic polemicism that gripped xenophobic Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to grand effect - is, coming from Omar, entirely to be expected.

Only the last few are worth addressing, as the rest have already been refuted ad nauseum:

-Omar: Mr Simon
Evidently, your background was so full of dung that invoking it seems to make you happy and self fulfilled!
I can understand that but I do not pity you because many grown up men managed to overcome their backgrounds.
For starters, I note that you have conceded the historical background of the issue by failing to dispute the facts therein. That is good enough for me since it is not your kind that I address with my posts.
As to your innate commentary on " Only the last few are worth addressing, as the rest have already been refuted ad nauseum", I have the following to say:


-Omar: (Israel is)The body that achieved the forced alteration of the cultural/nationalist identity of the land of Palestine.

-Simon:Well, if a group is only able to define itself based on a pathological, murderous hatred of "others," then the Palestinian national movements and their allies have certainly accomplished that next "logical" step
OMAR:What you consider to be ." pathological, murderous hatred of "others,"" is usually called by normal people "patriotism" ,i.e. attachment to one's homeland; its people, its heritage and its culture seemingly something you do not have unless of course your present place of residence is not your "homeland" and your attachment and allegiance reside some where else! You will not be the first of your ilk.


-Omar: (Israel is)The latest , successful ,attempt by the WEST to plant an alien body in the heart of the Arab/Moslem world ; a new campaign in and a sequel to the failed Crusades in the incessant effort by the West to deArabize and deIslamize ( often called Westernize ) the Middle East , and the Holy Land in particular, by forcing Judeo /Christian culture on the region through the imposition of an alien culture by an alien people .

-Simon: Of course, Jews, being new arrivals to the Middle East, are alien in the sense that they have only been living there as a distinct group for at least a thousand years longer than the Arabian conquests which consolidated Islamic rule throughout through jizya, dhimmi status, discriminatory jurisprudential models, and other "voluntary" measures. ( the rest is an irrelevant diatribe)The far worse "imposition of...Judeo/Christian culture on the region" is no more evident than in Saudi Arabia, where progressively compulsory codes preventing women from driving, for instance, can't be unquestioningly swallowed like they were in the old days and outrage ensues over the forced incineration of school girls for not wearing head scarves. How the kingdom will survive as the cultural bastion for the sacred universal values it states to hold to, and still manage the occasional public beheading, is surely threatened - to the justifiable consternation of a concerned humanity that no one can seem to identify.

-Omar: Do you contend that the, pre mandate, 10 % Jewish component in the Palestinian population increased to 38 % through natural growth or was it Jewish "immigrants" that increased their number! Jewish immigrants who come into Palestine against the express will of the 90% of the population are alien intruders!

Irrespective of what you think of Arab/Moslem culture,which is irrelevant to this discussion, the point is that Western Judeo/Christian culture is alien, and, judging by the Last one thousand years, is hostile to the people and culture of the region. What ever is the nature of our culture, which is far from being represented by Saudi practices, it is our own indigenous home grown heritage. It is up to us to develop it the way we feel best for our society and future. That definitely DOES NOT entail supplanting it with Western Judeo/Christian culture.
Well Simon if you and your ilk have reservations about our culture you and yours are most welcome to Neither visiting nor living under it
Do not worry about us we WILL NOT miss you!
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
-Omar(Israel is) An outpost of Western imperialism designed to dominate the region politically and economically and exploit its resources to the benefit of the imperialist powers and their regional representative (Israel).

-Simon:I have no doubt that the only economic resource of any financial value which any country in the Middle East - other than for Turkey and Israel - are capable of producing, oil, would be willingly sold by the local imperialist leaders

Omar: If your understanding of what imperialism entails is restricted to selling oil then you have a great deal to learn. Do that it will not hurt you.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXx
-Omar:(Israel is) An advanced military base from which to preempt and frustrate any Arab effort to attain a sovereign political will and implement a truly independent policy.

-Simon:Of course, there are many politically sovereign Arab states. They are not sovereign in the sense that the people aren't allowed to have a voice in their government, but what Israel has to do with that - as with so many other things - is a figment of Omar's creative imagination.
-Omar: Sovereignty , vis a vis imperialist and colonizing powers and designs, is very different and totally distinct from Democracy. The former imposes a confrontation of wills with the imperialist power(s) and their regional representative as for the USA and Israel!
The latter is purely an INTERNAL affair to be achieved SOLELY by the interaction of existing institutions with indigenous forces in which you have no say nor will you be allowed to have a say.
In other words, it is none of your business! It is our business with the present regimes.
You should be able to see the difference now; it is not very hard to understand!



-Omar: (Israel is) An ever-present expansionist power out to grab more Arab lands, depending on who is in power in Israel of the adherents of the three definitions of the land of Israel.

-Simon:Don't forget that tiny Sinai peninsula, which is dwarfed by the enormous current land mass administered by Israel - were it not for the fact that it was given back to the country that sought it once it pledged to stop attempting to wipe Israel off the map. Same concept applies with land given to Jordan as a term of peace treaties. Of course, peace agreements, while understood by such "Western tools" as the governments of Egypt and Jordan as being sensible policy and in the interests of each, are just a wedge to separate the people and governments of both countries from their justifiable hatred and contempt at the fact that 5 million Jews and 1 million Arabs are able to continue the nefarious act of going about their daily lives.

-Omar: One single act, the withdrawal from Egyptian Sinai by a certain "Israeli" government does not settle the question of Israeli expansionist designs neither from the dogmatic point of view nor from Israeli practices.
a-From the Zionist dogmatic perspective there is little agreement, and a heated debate within Zionist circles, about their respective definitions of' the " land of Israel" whether it is:
i) Historical Palestine only or
ii) Historical Palestine plus Trans Jordan or that
iii) It extends from The Nile to the Euphrates ???
The expansionist implications of each of these definitions of the "land of Israel" is too obvious for any further comments to be made!
b-Israeli practices re its expansionist designs has been as much a source of suspicion as its guiding Zionist dogma. These include the following unmistakable actions or inactions:.
i) The adamant Israeli refusal to delineate its OFFICIAL borders.
ii) Its creeping de facto expansion in the West Bank and GAZA through the building of settlements in occupied territories and, most recently, the all too obvious path/location/route chosen for the Wall which lies mostly east of the green line thus appropriating, according to the most recent estimate, 18-20% of the most fertile land area of the Wet Bank.
iii)Its de facto annexation of the occupied Syrian Golan heights through the building of settlements and the imposition/application of Israeli lawson it.
It takes a very naïve mind, to say the least, to interpret Israeli withdrawal from Sinai as proof of its non expansionist ambitions and designs.
XXXXXXXXXXXX….
-Omar:(Israel is)A hostile physical bulwark between the Eastern (Al Mashreq ) and the Western (Al Maghreb) wings of the Arab nation and a major obstacle to the physical continuity of Arab lands.

-Simon:Well how dare someone buy a house between me and and my friend!

As shown by the French vote in Europe, physical continuity is no guarantee of political continuity. The latter could be more easily implemented in the Arab world, were it only to be attempted with a less neolithic understanding of political principles such as democratic participation, federalism, rule of law, individual rights and other such passing western fads. But because these ideas are always disregarded, the model to which such unification attempts revert are reminiscent of the caliphate or other imperial models, that over-emphasize the agglomeration of theocratic or cultural imperatives at the expense of a functionally civil, political body.

-Omar:Your houses and friends analogy is infantile and from a strategic perspective, verges on the dim witted.
No hostile land/nation/physical barrier separates the nations of the EU from each other .
For you to better understand the significance of the present condition imagine a Red Chinese nation sitting along the Mason-Dixon line and extending all the way West to the Pacific thus severing all land links between the Northern and Southern states of the USA.
Would you accept such a barrier in the USA?
The great majority of EU nations, i.e. all EU nations except the UK, Greece and Cyprus, have more than one land link between each other either through or across transnational borders.
XXXXXXXXXXXX
Mr Simon:In your blind devotion to Israel You have failed completely to realize, or feigned incomprehension of, the significance of these factors to the nation most affected by them and , if anything ,I suspect that ,if you do, you appreciate and welcome their positive impact on Israel.
However, it is not your appreciation, or absence of appreciation, that matters here!
It is the objective appraisal of the impact of these factors on that nation that, historically, will decide its strategies and policies in the future as long as a ZIONIST Israel occupies Arab/Moslem/Christian Palestine.,


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Remember me? (#61914)
by Adam Moshe on June 1, 2005 at 2:36 PM
I certainly don’t want to take anything from Mr. Simon, who is more than capable of presenting and intelligent and cogent response. Nevertheless, I hope that he will not mind if I add my own thoughts to Omar’s post.

1) “What you consider to be ." pathological, murderous hatred of "others,"" is usually called by normal people "patriotism"

I do not agree that patriotism demands “pathological, murderous hatred of others,” as you suggest. Is it not possible to love ones country while still respecting others? I see no reason why, and in fact many of America’s greatest patriots very much admired certain aspects of other countries (Jefferson and Franklin with regards to France, Adams and Madison regarding Britain after the war).

-Omar: Simon characterized Palestinian patriotism as "“pathological, murderous hatred of others,” Well it seems that you as much as Simon seem not to appreciate that there is such a thing as "patriotism" i.e. attachment and cherishing one's homeland and the readiness to defend it. Patriotism DOES involve hating and resisting its enemies, who have DISPLACED, DISPOSSESSED and SUBJUGATED its people, then SUPPLANTED them with aliens.
However, with some people the concept is diluted due to the presence of an other ulterior allegiance! It is not so with the majority of humanity.
2) “Do you contend that the, pre mandate, 10 % Jewish component in the Palestinian population increased to 38 % through natural growth or was it Jewish "immigrants" that increased their number! Jewish immigrants who come into Palestine against the express will of the 90% of the population are alien intruders!”

a):So what if they were immigrants? So what if the local population did not welcome them?

-Omar(a) :Forced entry of immigrants against the express will of the indigenous people is a form of invasion by alien intruders. It is doubly so when they immigrate as part of a colonialist campaign as in the case of Zionist Jewish immigration to Palestine.
If you do care about the will of the "local population" I do and so much for your "democratic" pretensions!
(b):Was that not the case of millions of Chinese, Latino, and Eastern European immigrants to American communities throughout the 19th and 20th century? What matters is whether the immigrants were behaving immorally by migrating there.
Omar (b): None of these immigrated to America against the will of the American people nor had they ulterior political designs to deAmericanize the USA; they came in with the consent of the American people and willingly chose to assimilate in American society; they were NOT part of an anti American colonialist invasion!
(c):Given their ideological connection to the land; given the fact that the land was acquired legally through fair purchase; given the fact that many of those immigrants were fleeing intense persecution and immigration restrictions elsewhere; given all of these things, I will ask again what I have said many times before, what does it matter morally if they were relative newcomers and that many local Arabs did not want them there?

Omar ( c):It is extremely significant that you CORRECTLY describe the connection as "ideological" and not as "spiritual/religious" or "cultural". This has been my stand all along; that the colonialist racist Zionist ideology of the immigrants ran contrary to the aspirations and will of the indigenous population of Palestine and as such were, are and will always be, rightly resisted!
Unassailable figures , previously posted on this Forum, show that the, very little amount of land "purchased" by Jewish immigrants in no way entitle them to make a "national" claim on Palestine the majority of whose land still legally belong to the Arab Palestinian people .





3) “It is up to us to develop it the way we feel best for our society and future. That definitely DOES NOT entail supplanting it with Western Judeo/Christian culture.”

I agree with you 100%, and you may develop it however you like in any of the the 22 Arab nations in the region, many of which were created and facilitated by Western colonialism and some of whose culture is infused with what you call “Western Judeo/Christian culture” (even though ironically, much of THAT began as Islamic culture). If you were to take Israel and multiply it by approximately 650 times, then you will understand how large the Arab countries in the region are.—

Omar: This is, from you Moshe, an uncharacteristically meaningless and verbose comment,.
AS to your "(even though ironically, much of THAT began as Islamic culture).; is that not, in the CONTEXT of our dialogue, an infantile redundant comment?
Why did you not stop at the inescapable " I agree with you 100%," to my " “It is up to us to develop it the way we feel best for our society and future."
You would have retained some of the respect I had for you!
Is the real Moshe emerging slowly?
4) “(Israel is) An outpost of Western imperialism designed to dominate the region politically and economically and exploit its resources to the benefit of the imperialist powers and their regional representative (Israel).”

a)See above. Anyone looking at a map of the region would realize the absurdity of this statement. Never before has such a small country “dominated” a region whose countries do not recognize its existence and often refuse to trade with it.

Omar (a): - Once again, you indulge in a conscious effort to mislead the general reader.
It is NOT, as you well know, a question of size, it is a question of power and ulterior designs.
Imperialist Japan versus Asia was, possibly, "smaller"!


b)If Israel and its tiny land areas and tiny population is able to generate so much domination, they are to be hailed for doing the impossible, not scorned for it.

Omar (b): This is interesting! Are you heralding the Israeli "super man"?
Conversely as the tool of the worldwide Zionist movement, the spoiled child of world Jewry, the owner of the third, some claim the second, nuclear weapons arsenal in the world and the strategic ally of the dominant imperialist power, then Great Britain now the USA, Israel wields considerable power for its size!

5) “(Israel is) An advanced military base from which to preempt and frustrate any Arab effort to attain a sovereign political will and implement a truly independent policy.

It has been almost 60 years since Israel was created and with the exception of the 1956 Suez fiasco, and the 1981 destruction of the Iraqi nuclear facility, there are not many examples to substantiate your claim. How on earth does Israel manage to disrupt domestic policies and if it does have some mysterious power that allows them to do so, why on earth would it generate domestic policies that are so detrimental to the state of Israel to begin with??

-Omar: These are the OVERT operations in which Israel played second fiddle to imperialist powers.
By the way, do you think Israel played ANY role in the preparation for and execution of the recent imperialist invasion of Iraq? I t eagerly wait to hear from you on this one!

6) “Omar: One single act, the withdrawal from Egyptian Sinai by a certain "Israeli" government does not settle the question of Israeli expansionist designs neither from the dogmatic point of view nor from Israeli practices.”

Again, look at a map. Retaining the Sinai more than doubled Israel’s size, as well as providing it with a few oil refineries that Israel currently lacks. Strategically, it created an enormous buffer between itself and its most powerful enemy of the time. Dismissing this as simply “one single act” that settles nothing is like dismissing the single act of landing on the moon as not settling the question of whether man can land on the moon!

Furthermore, if it is so interested in a land-grab, why has it done nothing in its history to actually implement these mythical desires? Aside from Jerusalem, Israel has refrained from annexing the West Bank and Gaza, and even the scattered settlements can hardly be called a land grab given the size of the region. Why, Israel has the military muscle to take so much more, why does it not simply do it if your fantasies are accurate? So far it seems, any example that you can offer can be rationally explained by security concerns rather than any expansionist desire and as the for borders, since there has been no attempt by the Palestinians to actually negotiate the precise location of borders, the land itself is in dispute.

-Omar: Re Zionist Israel expansionist designs I note that you have consistently failed to comment on the three "ideological" definitions of the "land of Israel"! Which one is yours? Is it:
i)Historical Palestine only or
ii) Historical Palestine plus Trans Jordan or is it
iii) The land that extends from the Euphrates to the Nile????
I also note that you had nothing to say about Zionist Israeli designs on the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
Nor had you anything to say re settlements in the West Bank and Gaza and the Wall.
However that you say "apart" in ;" part from Jerusalem" does not does not nullify the expansionist nature of the annexation.
It is in the very nature of the aggressive, marauding and racist Zionist doctrine to be expansionist; and you, if you recall., have preemptively justified that with your theory of being able " to hold on a land and have others accept that" as sufficient legal and moral for "owning" it.

7) “…imagine a Red Chinese nation sitting along the Mason-Dixon line and extending all the way West to the Pacific thus severing all land links between the Northern and Southern states of the USA.
Would you accept such a barrier in the USA?”

a)Of course not, since the US is today a sovereign and independent nation and thus any attempt to create a Communist sub-government would be unconstitutional. At the time of Israel’s creation, the region was neither sovereign nor independent.

-Omar (a):
Is independence a precondition for a people to retain ownership of its land and to safeguard its national/cultural identity?
According to your perverted racist theory GB could have promised India to the, say , Japanese or Australian people.
It is exactly here that all your liberal and democratic pretensions come to naught!
We believe that a "homeland" belongs to the people who inhabit it, with the previously mentioned qualifications, and NOT to the state that rules it.
Once more, according to your inane logic, Britain could have promised the to become USA to the Russians irrespective of the will of the American people.

b)Furthermore, your “ethnic” argument against the existence of Israel is moot, as Iranians are not Arab, and yet no one seems to mind their presence in the region. Also, see my post above and go look at a map of the region to see how small Israel truly is.
-Omar (b): Why should we? How could we mind the presence of the brotherly Iranian people in Iran? It is, unlike Zionist Israel in Palestine, their homeland and we are happy to have them as neighbors.; .The Iranian people DID NOT displace and dispossess an indigenous people and supplanted them with aliens gathered from the four corners of the world brought together on a Racist/ethnic/confessional basis as Zionism did to the Arab Palestinian people.
Moshe
You are losing your cool and indulging your bias with, to say the least, bizarre questions and comments!



c)Also, the US has made no problem of the fact that Canada separates it from one of its states, nor does Britain consider physical attachment a prerequisite for being European. If you believe that the bonds that tie your culture together are nothing more than physical proximity than that is your right, but I suspect few Muslims object to the fact that Islamic world is separated across several continents.

Omar ( c); The Canadian people live in their homeland Canada .The Canadian people DID NOT invade and usurp Canada from the USA.
Moshe
You used to be much more rational!

8) “It is the objective appraisal of the impact of these factors on that nation that, historically, will decide its strategies and policies in the future as long as a ZIONIST Israel occupies Arab/Moslem/Christian Palestine.,”

Hmm, this statement is odd for 2 reasons: one is that you assume that your view of the situation is “objective” despite your frequent emotional laments. It is entirely possible that it is we who are objective and you who are not, or (as I suspect to be the case) there is no such thing as objectivity as we are each filtered by our own beliefs, backgrounds, and religions.

Omar ( a): Your "objective" assessment of the situation is of no value to us for it will spring from your racist marauding Zionist ideology; our "objective" understanding of the issue will determine our decisions.
(I do not recall ever lamenting; I believe in resisting and fighting the enemy.)

b)Second, I notice that you refer to Palestine as being “Arab/Moslem/Christian.” Just above, you went to great lengths to reject the imposition of “Western Judeo/Christian culture” and yet here you finally seem to at least implicitly admit that the real problem with Israel is not its policies or its history, but the fact that the country is full of Jews, rather than Muslims or Christians. This is no surprise to me, but I wonder if such was your intent.
Omar (b): For obvious reasons you fail to understand that indigenous Christian Arabs are, and chose to be, an integral component of the Arab nation unlike those who chose to ally themselves with the alien intruder and deny their Arab origin and throw their allegiance to an aggressive racist cause.

[ Reply ]


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Adam,

Your historical summary is more or less correct, but "ownership" does not require possession in any normal definition of the word. If it did, then Jews who lost savings, life insurance, art holdings and other properties in the Holocaust could logically be deemed non-owners of their former assets, and thus entitled to no compensation. Here your blind unwavering support for whatever perverse policies may rule in Israel leads you into a blatant contradiction (unless you advocate that Jews now pay back the hundreds of billions of dollars of restitution payments received from the German government over the past several decades). You want to be able to say without qualification that Palestinians are not "owners" of the property forcibly taken from them in 1947-48 in areas that have since been part of Israel proper, and this leads into moral and logical knots. Would you not rather be less one-sided, more qualified, and more consistent ? To be so effectively, however, you will probably find it necessary to face your own prejudice and act to mitigate it. Your many hundreds of prior posts on HNN give some but not much indication for optimism in this respect.

Although less ridiculously stated, and at least tokenly qualified, your suggestion that the first step forward is for "an end to violent attacks against Israeli civilians" is a recycled non-starter. It amounts to the same old extreme pro-Israel propaganda which pretends that since 100% of the blame for the present mess rests with Palestinians, that nothing can be done unless they make unprecedented and probably unworkable unilateral concessions. One might as well say that since Israelis were unable to stop 100% of their terrorism in 1948, that they forfeit their right to statehood. The Mitchell plan and a dozen other more realistic peace proposals rely on no such extreme and one-sidedness silliness. Realists know that BOTH sides need to start making concessions and soon, not just one side. In reality, at least as seen through relatively unbiased eyes, the right of Israelis to live without fear of terrorist attacks is no more morally valid than the right of innocent Palestinians not to have their houses blown up or bulldozed, or to be assasinated by missiles because of the crimes of other family members. To the unprejucided, the right of Israelis to statehood and to not being "driven into the Mediterranean" is not more compelling than the right of Palestinians to a state within the West Bank bounded by something quite close to the since-1948 internationally recognized borders of Israel, and to not being ethnically cleansed into non-existence as "Jordanians". There are many reasons why Israel has been transformed over the past few decades from a model of hope and inspiration in the early years of its existence into a something more like an international pariah, and anti-Semitism is not the foremost among those reasons.




Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Adam, I regret to observe that your latest statement above is full of illogic, dubious grammar, and historical confusion. I have time to address only one of your many one-sided muddles: Your point 4.

You first quote me

"One might as well say that since Israelis were unable to stop 100% of their terrorism in 1948, that they forfeit their right to statehood."

And then you "argue":

"One might, but one would be incorrect since as you know, Israel is indeed a state. The reason for this is simple: By attacking British interests in the region, Zionists made it clear that the best and cheapest thing for Britain to do was leave. Once they left, British interests will no longer be attacked. In sharp contrast, by targeting innocent men, women, and children within Israel, and by labeling the entire country as an occupation, Israelis have no reason to believe that they would be ANY safer, cheaper, or better not to have greater control over an unquestionably hostile neighbor, particularly when many advocate continuing the attacks even after they gain statehood.

The 1948 analogy would work far better if Jews in Britain began blowing up buses and cafes in London and vowing not to stop until every Jewish person who wishes it may move to Britain without qualification."


I would prefer to not have to repeatedly point out personal traits, but they are, unfortunately, at very core of your mistakes and illogic here. And these same traits are apparent in many, many prior posts of yours that I have read over many months, AND, I regret to note, seem to be worsening rather than than improving.

If you were not closed-minded and biased towards whatever policies the government of Israel follows, then surely you would at least pause to consider the "other side" of what you are saying.

Yes, Israel is a state NOW, but it was not in 1947 when terrorism by Jews was an integral element of the movement to ESTABLISH a state where one did not yet exist. I would not say that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are an even close parallel, but they ARE trying to use terrorism to further their goal of their kind of statehood. Once Israelis leave, in the Palestinian terrorists’ view, "they will no longer be attacked", as with the Brits in 1947. Of course, Israelis were not committing acts of terrorism in Britain in 1947: it would have been logistically difficult, and they were succeeding well enough by terrorizing the Brits in Palestine. It would be even more logistically difficult, and counterproductive for Palestinian terrorists today to try bombing cafes in Brooklyn.


I would like to invite you think deeply, and for yourself about Israel and Palestine. Imagine, for example, that all your relatives are Palestinian Moslems. Then ask yourself, with each of your statements, would I say what I am saying about Israel and Israelis if dozens of my friends and relatives, innocent of any violence against Israelis, had nonetheless been killed or injured by them ? If that is too tall an order, then examine your statements in comparison with the official propaganda put out on the Israeli government websites, and on the websites of their more extreme U.S. lobbyists like AIPAC, and ask yourself honestly, are these thoughts and beliefs really and truly my own, and did I get them through independent reasoning from facts discovered on my own, from neutral sources ? Being a polite and well-meaning blind partisan is much better than being an impolite and not well-meaning blind partisan, but the means still do not justify the ends.




Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


This is more a bit rich. Bush and Co have not done diddleysquat for Sudan, and the world knows it. Americans have indeed made large committments to help other people around the world over past decades, and that is why so many Americans and so many people elsewhere feel so betrayed by the cowardly crooks running Washington today and ruining America's past accomplishments with their corrupt international blunderings.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Adam, Point out which of the dozens of Friedman's posts refers to the Hamas charter, or provide the link yourself and I'll look at it. It is possible, though unlikely, that I am mistake and that Hamas intends to hunt down and kill Jews all around the world regardless of whether Israel ends its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. I strongly suspect, however, that Hamas is using terrorism as a means to an end, as Israelis did in the 1940s, and as "settlers" today use violence and murder, not as an end in itself.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


I did not put ALL the blame on Bush for the massacres in Sudan.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


No jokes. Have you got a link to the charter ? I'd like to know what it actually says.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


I would like to concur with one of the few useful insights gleanable from this comment thread: that there is a major difference between what the current U.S. federal government and its domestic supporters are trying to do in Iraq and what the terroristic Israeli "settler" movement is doing in the West Bank. I am not, however, impressed by overblown and archaic terminology.

The historical essence of "Zionism" was the attempt to establish a secure homeland (e.g. a state) for Jews in what for decades if not centuries before had been called "Palestine". "Game over" or not, that mission was accomplished in 1948. The fundamental source of discontent and strife for the next 45 years related to the unwillingnesss of other groups (mainly Arabs of various sorts and in various regions) to come to grips with that fait accompli. Finally with the Olso deal, came the realization that the prior decades of violence and misunderstanding had gone on long enough, and it was time to try the "two-state" solution which had not only been fully compatible both with Zionism and international law all along, but was the only realistically workable long term solution. What we have had during the last decade is a series of mostly successful attempts by extremists on BOTH sides (let me stress the obvious reality, nonetheless denied in thousands of HNN postings by the likes of Friedman and Moshe, that Israelis and Arabs BOTH share huge amounts of blame for THEIR JOINT mess) to sabotage the establishment of peace, security, and statehood for BOTH Israel and a new Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza.

There is no need and little value gained by trying to apply arcane, overblown and prefabricated rhetorical labels like Zionist to the discussions on this website, when 99 times out of 100 much simpler causal factors are obviously at work. Childishness, for instance.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


To say that that the great-great-great-great grandchildren of those who exploited and robbed native Americans in the 1880s (and earlier) are "no better" than settlers on the West Bank who are robbing and exploiting Palestinians in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 (and earlier), is to go well beyond an "apples-oranges" comparison. More like apples-gold fish.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


The crude propaganda piece by an unidentified columist in a newspaper is provided by your link is an utterly worthless contribution to the discussion. On its very face, the piece is a fraud. It is rife with blatant distortions (just one of many examples: the word "resist" is rephrased as "excercise violence") With such utter garbage coming incessantly from BOTH sides (the distortions from Palestinians about Israeli "goals" and "aims" are if anything much worse), it is little wonder that these two peoples have been at each others' throats for 50 years despite many efforts of the many Nobel Prize winning and other hard-working mediators from outside. These thugs and liars in the Mideast deserve each other. It is, however, a pity that so many innocent Israelis and Palestinians must suffer due to the minority of terrorists in their respective midsts.

Go ahead now, N, for the 188th time and scream and yell about how all the bad guys are on the Palestinian side only, and the only thing to be done is to convince the whole world to gang up on them, and beat them into submission. A great formula that has worked wonders and brought peace and prosperity and security and international respect to Israel for the last 40 years.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


To whom does Palestine "belong" ? To a rationale dispassionate outside observer, the answer can only be to all peoples with long-standing ties to the region. That means religious and secular, indigenous and European Jews, Moslem Arabs, Christian Arabs and all the various other sects and ethnicities there. The sane and workable way to proceed vis a vis such multiple claims to territory is through a series of compromises, ala the Czechs and Slovaks, the Flemish and Walloons, and Protestants and Catholics in North Ireland. This is not generally easy, but it is preferable to endless hate and violence. In the "Holy Land", the workable recipe since the early 20th century has been to allow Jews to stay and migrate to the region, but not to completely ethnically cleanse it of all other groups. Since the 1948 UN plan, that recipe explicitly calls for two states, Israel and Palestine, at peace with each other. Since the formation of the state of Israel later that year, the same unchanging set of boundaries has been drawn in practically every atlas ever printed in the free world. Blind partisans of one side or the other deny all of this, and rejoice at their self-fulfilling prophecies coming true. But, to any objective outsider, there is a large amount of blame to be allocated to both sides.

It is fortunate that mainstream Americans are not incessantly taught (as they once were) that the only good Indian is a dead Indian. I wonder how long it will take until the Israelis and Palestinians can similarly reduce to such blind prejudicial hatred to a tolerable minimum. As long as distortion and propaganda are principal means for both sides to argue their cases before the American public, it is hard to be optimistic. Resisting is not the same as excersing violence for example, and such abuse of English is not something that thinking Americans need accept. But so far they do so with scarely a whimper of dissent. Probably, this is because most Americans getting involved in such issues are closed-minded partisans of one side or the other. Here at HNN, 90% of such closed-minded partisans are only interested in defending all actions and policies of whatever weird coalition currently rules the state of Israel, and denigrating Palestinians wholesale, without differentiation. For about the 3000th time, this is again evident in this thread, although we do have here the (for HNN) highly unusual and extremely rare situation of two dissenters from the "My Isreal right or wrong" mindset in the same thread.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


Well, if the biased propaganda center that translated it is to be trusted, this "charter" is very long-winded, obscure, Anti-Semitic, and probably more than a little obsolete (in 1988, GW Bush was in rehab for drugs and booze, Don Rumsfeld was trying to make money dealing with Saddam, and chickenhawk neocons of the recent Iraq farce were supporting this kind of pseudo Islamic rhetoric and the future Al Qaeda types rallying around it in Afghanistan).

I don't actually see much relevance to the thread here. It is next to impossible from this weird charter to figure out what the attitude of Hamas might be 17 years later with regard to blowing up cafes with suicide belts for example, let alone whether such terrorism might be considered by them to be justified (a) in the occupied terrorities, (b ) within the legal boundaries of Israel or (c) against Jews elsewhere (e.g. Britain). As the point in question hinges on which of these three Hamas might endorse, the document is rather worthless to the discussion. Anyway, not to be categorially prejudiced like in so many posts by diehard Israel-no-matter-what supporters here, but we are not exactly dealing here, in the writers of this charter, with people known for their truthfulness.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

I don't think Clarke is assuming that either the WB or Gaza belong the Palestinian people collectively. At any rate, one needn't assume that to make the claim that Palestinian property rights are being violated systematically in both places.

Would you, N, say that the following is legitimate treatment? It comes from the B'Tselem website; it's the text under the link for "planning."

-------------
Over the past three decades of occupation, Israel has employed in the West Bank a policy of planning, development, and building that severely restricts construction by Palestinians, while allocating broad expanses of land to establish and expand Jewish settlements. In this way, Israel has created a situation in which thousands of Palestinians are unable to obtain permits to build on their land, and are compelled to build without a permit because they have no other way to provide shelter for their families.

Israel froze planning in Palestinian towns and villages. The existing planning schemes, which date back fifty years and more, serve as the basis for approval - more often rejection - of applications for building permits. Land registration has been frozen for thirty years, making it easy to deny applications for permits on the grounds of failure to prove ownership of the land. Israel administers the building authorities, which have no Palestinian representation. A Palestinian wanting to obtain a building permit to build on his land in Area C [that part of the West Bank which remains under complete Israeli control] must undergo a prolonged, complicated, and expensive procedure, which generally results in denial of the application.

In this situation, and with no option, many Palestinians are compelled to build without a permit. The construction is not a political act or an act of protest. Rather, the construction is the only way left to them to provide housing for themselves and their families.

Rather than change this situation, Israel has adopted a policy of mass demolition of Palestinian houses. In the past ten years, the authorities have demolished more than 2,200 residences, leaving more than 13,000 Palestinians homeless. This policy continues today in Area C.

At the same time, at least 155 Israeli settlements, containing more than 170,000 Jewish Israeli citizens, have been established. These settlements benefit from an efficient system of planning and supervision of construction, and establishment of comprehensive planning schemes for all the settlements. Despite this, thousands of houses were built in these settlements without permits. Israel refrained from demolishing these houses, and instead issued retroactive building permits for thousand of houses constructed without permits. This building-permit policy blatantly discriminates between settlers and Palestinians.

Planning and building is a purely civilian matter. The military authorities have the right to intervene in planning and building only where patently military matters are involved. Conversely, individuals have a basic right to be involved in determining the future of their surroundings, including the right to elect and direct the planning and building authorities, and occupation cannot justify denial of this right.
-----------


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

N.,

I'm sorry, that is simply not an answer to the post I wrote. You start by casting aspersions on B'Tselem. Why should we doubt them? The only reason seems to be that you want to evade the facts they have identified. You not only don't rebut the facts, you can't even manage to acknowledge their existence.

You then produce a diatribe that has absolutely nothing to do with anything in the excerpt. I asked you whether you thought the expropriations mentioned in that excerpt were legitimate. I didn't ask for a position paper on the negotiating stance of the Palestinian Authority, an issue which is absolutely irrelevant to the question of expropriation--the topic raised by Clarke's post, and the topic I was pursuing.

Even if I granted the truth of everything you say (which I don't), it would do nothing to alter the facticity of the issues in my B'Tselem excerpt. Nor would it do anything to enlighten us as to your position on the expropriation of Palestinians. From what you have written--and haven't written--a person could safely infer that you think that given history and the negotiating stance of the PA, Palestinians have no rights whatsoever, and Israel can dispose of them however it wants.

Instead of making vast generalizations about "the Palestinians," and what "they" want--generalizations about millions of people based on the choices of their unelected political leadership--why not focus on the facts in that excerpt? The answer seems to be that your position on this subject is the picture-perfect definition of dogmatism. You simply will not accept the existence of a fact if it casts negative light on Israel, and your only response to the discussion of such facts is to change the subject so that you can discuss something else.

I rarely agree with Mr Clarke about anything, but his criticisms of your mode of argument are entirely on target.


Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

An educational post. Here is what I've learned from it:

1) It is perfectly legitimate to make accusations of dishonesty against an organization without offering anything resembling evidence for one's accusation. Further, when one makes such an accusation, the assumption is that the organization is "guilty unless proven innocent," so that anyone who makes reference to the organization bears the burden of proving innocence.

The fact is that B'Tselem's claims are documented in hundreds of pages of well-researched and well-references reports, whereas your accusation is a fabrication based on nothing.

2) B'Tselem's assertions are a pack of lies, you say, but it wouldn't matter even if they were all true, because all they would show is that the Israeli government is engaged in systematic rights-violations in the Occupied Territories which is not "the issue". Everybody engages in systematic rights-violations; so when Israel does, the proper response is to wave that "non-issue" away, muttering "Cosi fan tutte" while changing the subject to "the issue".

Actually, if you read the thread, "the issue" was not why there has been no resolution to the dispute. "The issue" (the one raised by Peter Clarke and then continued by me) was whether Israel is in fact guilty of systematically violating the rights of Palestinians. You claimed that Clarke's view presupposed that the Occupied Territories belonged, as a whole, to the Palestinian people. I disputed that, & you then insisted on changing the subject.

In my view, the question of legitimate Palestinian grievances has to precede any discussion of a "resolution." Before "resolving" something, you have to know what the dispute is about. In this case, the dispute is partly about Israel's expropriation of the Palestinians. To fail to acknowledge that in the name of "dispute resolution" is to try to legitimize that expropriation as fait accompli. That of course is what you want; you just can't put it as plainly as that.



Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/4/2005

Omar,
For a man who has chosen to leave 99% of my comments to stand on their own rather than respond to them (which is not a complaint by the way, quite the contrary), I would not be so impatient, particularly on the weekend, when I am on the computer rarely.

I write this message only to tell you that I am aware of your post but do not have the time to give it the consideration that it deserves at this moment. Stay turned and I will respond sometime early in the week, probably Monday.

As for the book that you cite below, what does it say? Also, I do not recall the links you cite, although if I did not trust them, I am sure I had legitimate reason. I tried looking into the book on-line but could find little to explain what it says or anything about the author.


N. Friedman - 6/4/2005

Diana,

You are assuming that Professor LeVine actually does not know or (if he does not know) actually cares to find out. My bet is knows full well and does not care.


Diana Applebaum - 6/3/2005

In his April 1, 2005 column, Confessions of a Supposed Marxist Rockstarophile(http://hnn.us/blogs/entries/11104.html,) Mark LeVine characterizes the International Solidarity Movement as "true soldiers of peace" and angrily lashes out at Tvi Kahn for acurately accusing the ISM of "overtly endorsing terrorism."

I and others provided extensive evidence of ISM support for terrorism. On April 3 LeVine wrote "as to your other pieces of information, i will investigate them and get back to you."

We are waiting to hear back from you, Mr. LeVine.


N. Friedman - 6/2/2005

Omar,

So are you now saying that Michel Aflaq has seen the light by converting to Islam? Perhaps you meant something different. In any event, you were not very clear.

The problem with your intruder talk is that about half of Israel's population consists of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. They are, in fact, more indigenous to the Arab regions than the Arabs and, moreover, are certainly as indigenous to what is now Israel as any people on Earth. And they needed to flee and Israel was, to them, the ancestral home or, at the very least, the only place that would take them in.

So, what are we to do here, Omar? At least as many Jews (and, in fact, substantially more Jews) were expelled from Arab countries as Arabs who claim to have been pushed out of Israel. That, frankly, sounds like a population exchange, exactly as occurred between Turkey and Greece. And, the Turks absorbed a lot of people as did the Greeks, all in an effort to resolve a dispute. So, do you want to resolve the dispute so that all involved have might have rights?

Or, do you think that there are no implications, morally and politically, for the Arabs (including Palestinian Arabs) pushing their Jewish populations out? In fact, if there are implications from what occurred to the Arab side, there are implications from what happened to the Jewish side. And, unlike the Arabs, the Jews take care of their own, absorbing, at great cost, nearly a million such refugees. Or, is this to be a one way street where we only concern ourself with Arab refugees who were abandoned by their fellow Arabs?

So, the question is whether you want to view things universally - as in the same rules apply to all - or whether you are merely an advocate. You will have a more serious debate here if you adopt positions that are, as philsophers say, not merely ad hoc. Or, in plain English, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.




N. Friedman - 6/2/2005

Adam,

Your comment: No. Perhaps if you could explain exactly why you are so offended at the comment, I could better respond. I meant, of course, that at one time, it was the Muslims who practiced tolerance, if not equality, to other minority religions.

I would suggest, for your interest regarding the noted comment, that you read Ibn Warraq's Why I am No a Muslim. Warraq describes the origin of the theory of Islamic tolerance. In particular, the theory was espoused by people who had objections to Christian and other Western practices and thus they espoused tolerance by Muslims, much akin to the theory of the noble savage asserted by Rousseau.

In that notions regarding Islam have political consequences in the West, historical theories regarding Islam have to be taken with a considerable grain of sand.

My research suggests that the Muslim regions, even at their height, were only - and this is arguable but not certain - slightly better than the Christians and, in some areas and times, rather poor. Which is to say, they were rather typical of conquerors - which is not intended in a derogatory sense - and were not noble savages. They were real people with outstanding political skill. But they were no angels. Far from it. One need merely note the devarshme to know that the theory of tolerance is a myth. Or, one can consider the hundreds of thousands of slaves, including slave runs from supposedly Golden Age Andalusia into France.

I might also note that the notion of "tolerance" is, in a sense, an Islamic interpretation of their own institutions. More particularly, the dhimma, as Omar is fond of noting, is interpretted as something entered into by volition. The reality was that the volition was that of nations which faced wars of annihilation and, either before fighting began, conceded to the dhimma or, after some fighting, conceded to the dhimma.

Among the practices of the dhimma are the jizha tax, the land tax, disqualification from giving testimony against a Muslim, wearing special clothing, etc., etc.




N. Friedman - 6/2/2005

Omar,

I am well aware that Eastern Christians, in fact - as you suggest -, were early supporters and likely the most prominent and vocal supporters of Arab Nationalism - pan-Arabism and the like -. So I agree with you that pan-Arabism at one time was an Arab nationalist, not a religious, movement. As I understand the matter, the thinking was that there was a future as equals for Christians as "Arabs" since that was a secular notion.

Since that time, with the rise of pan-Islamism, most Christians in the Arab world, having been severely mistreated (as documented by Freedom House), have concluded that pan-Arabism was really an illusion covering the reality, which was really always pan-Islamism.

So, I am not sure that the participation of Christians in the pan-Arab experiment quite speaks to your comment. I also note that some of the Christians you cite are not really Christian.

As mentioned previously, Aflaq converted to Islam and believed that "Islam is pan-Arabism."

George Habbash was a Marxist-Leninist of nominal Greek Orthodox background and one of the founders, along with Wadi Haddad, of the Marxist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In other words, they were terrorists.

I am not aware of Clovis Maksoud's religion. Doing a bit of checking online suggests he is likely Muslim, not Christian as his wife is Muslim and as some articles refer to him as Muslim.

I reiterate that your comment was rather revealing. Nothing wrong with your view but it does support a theory I have read and suspected regarding Arab nationalism.


N. Friedman - 6/2/2005

Omar,

I have heard of these people. I note, in particular, Michel Aflaq who came to believe that pan-Arabism really meant pan-Islamism. As you may be aware, Aflaq was an Orthodox Christian hwo converted to Islam and advocated that other Christians to do so, saying, "Islam is Arab Nationalism" (quoted in Sylvia Haim, Arab Nationalism, 1962, p. 64).


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/2/2005

As always, Mr. Freidman, I am profoundly grateful for your kind words.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/2/2005

Omar,
Below, I have, as always, responded to your post point by point, refuting your allegations, many of which do little to actually respond to the points I made.

Before we get to that however, I have some broader questions that I think might help move this along:

A. In order for you, Omar, to accept the state of Israel and be willing to live in peach with her, what must the Israeli government do exactly? This is not a history question, or an invitation for you to again make extraordinary accusations. It is a question about what they can TODAY do to earn your acceptance.

B. You seem to insist on specifying “racist Zionist Israel” in your statements. Why not simply say “Israel.” I do not agree that it is racist, as I have explained many times, and to say that it is a Zionist state is a bit redundant, like me constantly calling them “nationalistic Palestinians” rather than simply “Palestinians.”

C. When you talk about the creation of the state of Israel, are you referring to the immigration of Jews to the region, the political declaration of independence of 1948, the conflict that greatly enhanced its size in 1948, or the conflict in 1967. At times, I am genuinely uncertain as to what you mean when you talk about the immorality/racism/illegality/etc. of the creation of Israel.



Now, on to specifics of your post:
1) “Simon characterized Palestinian patriotism as "“pathological, murderous hatred of others,” Well it seems that you as much as Simon seem not to appreciate that there is such a thing as "patriotism" i.e. attachment and cherishing one's homeland and the readiness to defend it. Patriotism DOES involve hating and resisting its enemies.”

You have put words into Simon’s mouth that he did not say. Simon said the following: “if a group is only able to define itself based on a pathological, murderous hatred of "others," then the Palestinian national movements and their allies have certainly accomplished that next "logical" step.”

The critique was the methods Palestinian national nation movements, who utilize terrorism and a culture of death, he said nothing about patriotism. Of course it is natural for patriots and non-patriots alike to hate their enemies. Nevertheless, it is NOT natural for people to raise their children to love murder and death. Certainly, America has many enemies today and in history, yet we do not advocate the murder of innocent men, women, and children simply because they were born into that group, and when civilians are killed, it is openly and privately regretted, not openly glorified.

In short, my position on patriotism stands for any civilized culture.

2)
“(a) :Forced entry of immigrants against the express will of the indigenous people is a form of invasion by alien intruders. It is doubly so when they immigrate as part of a colonialist campaign as in the case of Zionist Jewish immigration to Palestine.”

I agree with your philosophy, just not your history. Forced entry is an invasion by intruders. When it is part of a colonial campaign, it is indeed far worse and morally repugnant. There, we agree! Where we part ways is that you think that this is how Jewish immigrants arrived and I know differently. I will repeat it as many times as I have to: they arrived legally, not forcefully. It was not part of a “colonial campaign.” Where exactly was the home base from where to branch into colonies? The settlers to Israel came from many different places, not to establish a colony, but to live and work and raise their children.

Furthermore, and I have no need to belabor the point, but there were many ARAB immigrants into the region from neighboring areas as well. Population census from the Ottomans show large immigration patterns of Arabs as well as Jews so many of those who now claim that the land is their ancestral homeland are totally wrong.

“(b): None of these immigrated to America against the will of the American people nor had they ulterior political designs to deAmericanize the USA; they came in with the consent of the American people and willingly chose to assimilate in American society; they were NOT part of an anti American colonialist invasion!”

You are quite wrong. Many came against the will of the American people, who saw them as a threat to the labor market, as well as a racial threat. There was just nothing they could do about it until there were so many, the US started putting immigration restrictions on all minorities. Individual communities did far worse, refusing to sell property to minorities in hopes of keeping them out (why don’t you ask the KKK what their solution was, you might find incredible similarities to what you claim is patriotism). As for their intentions to “deAmericanize the USA,” many critics of the rise of Latino culture in parts of the country argue that they are trying to do exactly that. Indeed, the acclaimed Samuel Huntington recently wrote an article that began with the following statement:

“The persistent inflow of Hispanic immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two cultures, and two languages. Unlike past immigrant groups, Mexicans and other Latinos have not assimilated into mainstream U.S. culture, forming instead their own political and linguistic enclaves—from Los Angeles to Miami—and rejecting the Anglo-Protestant values that built the American dream. The United States ignores this challenge at its peril.”

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=2495

“( c): Unassailable figures , previously posted on this Forum, show that the, very little amount of land "purchased" by Jewish immigrants in no way entitle them to make a "national" claim on Palestine the majority of whose land still legally belong to the Arab Palestinian people .”

This is a semantic problem. What do you consider “Palestine”? The land the Jews bought entitled them to a national claim ON THAT LAND. The remainder of Israeli territory was seized in a defensive war against it, not “claimed.” Furthermore, even there, Jews constitute the majority, and Arabs are given their rights. If Arabs were a majority within the land of Israel, then that would indeed, be a big problem.

3) “AS to your "(even though ironically, much of THAT began as Islamic culture).; is that not, in the CONTEXT of our dialogue, an infantile redundant comment?”

No. Perhaps if you could explain exactly why you are so offended at the comment, I could better respond. I meant, of course, that at one time, it was the Muslims who practiced tolerance, if not equality, to other minority religions. At one time it was the Muslims who embraced progress, and self-introspection. You seem to imply that these are Western cultural traits. I was pointing out the irony of that statement given the proud history of the Islamic culture that seems ignored by today's Middle Eastern governments.

Just out of curiosity, what on earth did you think I meant by the comment?

4)
“(a): - Once again, you indulge in a conscious effort to mislead the general reader.
It is NOT, as you well know, a question of size, it is a question of power and ulterior designs. Imperialist Japan versus Asia was, possibly, "smaller"!”

Good point, but Japan became imperial by doing what? Expanding its size! Manchuria, the Philippines, Malaya, China, etc. Israel has engaged in no such expansion, nor has it even attempted to do so.

“(b): Conversely as the tool of the worldwide Zionist movement, the spoiled child of world Jewry, the owner of the third, some claim the second, nuclear weapons arsenal in the world and the strategic ally of the dominant imperialist power, then Great Britain now the USA, Israel wields considerable power for its size!

Your anti-Semitic rant here is simply not worth responding to. I re-post it simply because the madness you subscribe to should be pointed out for all to see.

5) “do you think Israel played ANY role in the preparation for and execution of the recent imperialist invasion of Iraq?”

No, I don’t. If you have any evidence to the contrary, I would be open to it. (By the way, simply saying that Jews run the world and force others to do their evil bidding is NOT evidence).

I have a question for you. Do you believe that either Jews/Zionists/Israelis orchestrated the 9/11 attacks on the US? Do you believe that many Jews recieved warnings to not go to work on that date? I await your response to these important questions.

6) “Omar: Re Zionist Israel expansionist designs I note that you have consistently failed to comment on the three "ideological" definitions of the "land of Israel"! Which one is yours?"

Those definitions are yours, not mine. Israel includes all of the land seen on any political map called “Israel,” nothing more. Unless and until any additional land is annexed into that political entity, it remains now what it has remained for a long time. I could ask you the same question… when you talk about liberating “Palestine,” what is it that YOU mean?

7) “I also note that you had nothing to say about Zionist Israeli designs on the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Nor had you anything to say re settlements in the West Bank and Gaza and the Wall.”

You are mistaken.

I will repost my response here: “So far it seems, any example that you can offer can be rationally explained by security concerns rather than any expansionist desire and as the for borders, since there has been no attempt by the Palestinians to actually negotiate the precise location of borders, the land itself is in dispute.”

I will explain in detail why any nation would have taken control of the Golan and why any nation would have desired a physical land barrier to protect itself if you would like to move this discussion there. For now however, I will only say that each of those actions are for security reasons. As for the settlements, I am against them personally, but so long as no innocent people are displaced or dislocated and the settlements are built on vacant land, I don’t really see a solution so long as the Palestinians choose death over peace.

For any settlement not built within those above parametres, I join those whose condemn them.

7)
“a) “Is independence a precondition for a people to retain ownership of its land and to safeguard its national/cultural identity?...“We believe that a "homeland" belongs to the people who inhabit it, with the previously mentioned qualifications, and NOT to the state that rules it. Once more, according to your inane logic, Britain could have promised the to become USA to the Russians irrespective of the will of the American people.”

To answer your question directly, yes, unfortunately, independence and the sovereignty that goes with it is really the only way to safeguard ones security and rights. If you don’t believe me, ask the Southern Sudanese why they simply cannot practice its culture without being butchered. As for what YOU believe, the Confederate States of America would disagree with you, as would the Kurds, as would the Chechens, and on and on.

You see Omar, this is not my “inane logic,” it is political reality and always has been.

As for GB being able to give the colonies to the Russians, guess what? The Spanish gave ITS colonies away, and the French gave away its territory to the Americans “irrespective of the will of the” indigenous inhabitants. This is reality. It sucks, I knows, but that is how the world works. Either learn to live within that world, or continue blaming all the ills of the world on the Jews and vow to destroy them, your choice.

“(b): Why should we? How could we mind the presence of the brotherly Iranian people in Iran?... ( c); The Canadian people live in their homeland Canada .The Canadian people DID NOT invade and usurp Canada from the USA.”

The point I was responding to was your implicit argument that part of the problem with Israel’s existence is that it is a non-Arab country and separates part of the Arab world from another part of the Arab world. I am not sure what your comments above are getting at, but to state the obvious: the Canadian people DID invade and userp Canada from the Native Americans!

8)
“( a): Your "objective" assessment of the situation…”
“(I do not recall ever lamenting; I believe in resisting and fighting the enemy.)”

Omar, what are you talking about? What part of the following were you unable to understand:

“(as I suspect to be the case) there is no such thing as objectivity as we are each filtered by our own beliefs, backgrounds, and religions.”

(Actually, you believe in murdering your enemies friends, children, and anyone who also agrees with that enemy. You also believe that this enemy is really a part of a worldwide conspiracy that controls all other enemies- such is the unmistakable conclusion from your posts).

“(b): For obvious reasons you fail to understand that indigenous Christian Arabs are, and chose to be, an integral component of the Arab nation”

What reasons would that be? And what of the Jewish Arabs, who have lived in the region for centuries?


N. Friedman - 6/2/2005

Omar,

You write: For obvious reasons you fail to understand that indigenous Christian Arabs are, and chose to be, an integral component of the Arab nation...

You have made a defining statement. And it is rather unusual for a person who claims not to be religious.

Evidently, you define the Arab nation as really being the Muslim nation. How interesting. So, Christians are acceptable so long as they cooperate with the Muslim nation.

Does that mean that Maronites are not part of the Arab nation? And what about Copt? None of them are too happy about the Arab nation.

I note, lastly, that the very thing which you claim as racist in Israel is racist in your statement. Which is to say, you are willing to have Christians around so long as their interests do not disagree with what Muslims want. In other words, you expect Christians to be dhimmis!!!

Recall, Omar, Jews were once dhimmis. They refused that status - i.e. they became free people and thus able to advance their own, not merely Muslim, interests - but only after the Muslims turned on such Jewish dhimmis and expelled them, presumably as displaced punishment against Israel or perhaps for appearing to side with outside powers to help Israel in violation of the dhimma.

Somehow, Omar, I doubt that Christians "chose" to be part of the Muslim nation. More likely, they "chose" to survive rather than suffer the fate of the Maronites and other captured non-Muslim nations within the Muslim regions.


N. Friedman - 6/2/2005

Adam,

Even by your high standards - which are at the very top of HNN -, yours is a brilliant post. I could not add a word.



Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 6/1/2005

I certainly don’t want to take anything from Mr. Simon, who is more than capable of presenting and intelligent and cogent response. Nevertheless, I hope that he will not mind if I add my own thoughts to Omar’s post.

1) “What you consider to be ." pathological, murderous hatred of "others,"" is usually called by normal people "patriotism"

I do not agree that patriotism demands “pathological, murderous hatred of others,” as you suggest. Is it not possible to love ones country while still respecting others? I see no reason why, and in fact many of America’s greatest patriots very much admired certain aspects of other countries (Jefferson and Franklin with regards to France, Adams and Madison regarding Britain after the war).

2) “Do you contend that the, pre mandate, 10 % Jewish component in the Palestinian population increased to 38 % through natural growth or was it Jewish "immigrants" that increased their number! Jewish immigrants who come into Palestine against the express will of the 90% of the population are alien intruders!”

So what if they were immigrants? So what if the local population did not welcome them? Was that not the case of millions of Chinese, Latino, and Eastern European immigrants to American communities throughout the 19th and 20th century? What matters is whether the immigrants were behaving immorally by migrating there. Given their ideological connection to the land; given the fact that the land was acquired legally through fair purchase; given the fact that many of those immigrants were fleeing intense persecution and immigration restrictions elsewhere; given all of these things, I will ask again what I have said many times before, what does it matter morally if they were relative newcomers and that many local Arabs did not want them there?

3) “It is up to us to develop it the way we feel best for our society and future. That definitely DOES NOT entail supplanting it with Western Judeo/Christian culture.”

I agree with you 100%, and you may develop it however you like in any of the the 22 Arab nations in the region, many of which were created and facilitated by Western colonialism and some of whose culture is infused with what you call “Western Judeo/Christian culture” (even though ironically, much of THAT began as Islamic culture). If you were to take Israel and multiply it by approximately 650 times, then you will understand how large the Arab countries in the region are.

4) “(Israel is) An outpost of Western imperialism designed to dominate the region politically and economically and exploit its resources to the benefit of the imperialist powers and their regional representative (Israel).”

See above. Anyone looking at a map of the region would realize the absurdity of this statement. Never before has such a small country “dominated” a region whose countries do not recognize its existence and often refuse to trade with it. If Israel and its tiny land areas and tiny population is able to generate so much domination, they are to be hailed for doing the impossible, not scorned for it.

5) “(Israel is) An advanced military base from which to preempt and frustrate any Arab effort to attain a sovereign political will and implement a truly independent policy.

It has been almost 60 years since Israel was created and with the exception of the 1956 Suez fiasco, and the 1981 destruction of the Iraqi nuclear facility, there are not many examples to substantiate your claim. How on earth does Israel manage to disrupt domestic policies and if it does have some mysterious power that allows them to do so, why on earth would it generate domestic policies that are so detrimental to the state of Israel to begin with??

6) “Omar: One single act, the withdrawal from Egyptian Sinai by a certain "Israeli" government does not settle the question of Israeli expansionist designs neither from the dogmatic point of view nor from Israeli practices.”

Again, look at a map. Retaining the Sinai more than doubled Israel’s size, as well as providing it with a few oil refineries that Israel currently lacks. Strategically, it created an enormous buffer between itself and its most powerful enemy of the time. Dismissing this as simply “one single act” that settles nothing is like dismissing the single act of landing on the moon as not settling the question of whether man can land on the moon!

Furthermore, if it is so interested in a land-grab, why has it done nothing in its history to actually implement these mythical desires? Aside from Jerusalem, Israel has refrained from annexing the West Bank and Gaza, and even the scattered settlements can hardly be called a land grab given the size of the region. Why, Israel has the military muscle to take so much more, why does it not simply do it if your fantasies are accurate? So far it seems, any example that you can offer can be rationally explained by security concerns rather than any expansionist desire and as the for borders, since there has been no attempt by the Palestinians to actually negotiate the precise location of borders, the land itself is in dispute.

7) “…imagine a Red Chinese nation sitting along the Mason-Dixon line and extending all the way West to the Pacific thus severing all land links between the Northern and Southern states of the USA.
Would you accept such a barrier in the USA?”

Of course not, since the US is today a sovereign and independent nation and thus any attempt to create a Communist sub-government would be unconstitutional. At the time of Israel’s creation, the region was neither sovereign nor independent. Furthermore, your “ethnic” argument against the existence of Israel is moot, as Iranians are not Arab, and yet no one seems to mind their presence in the region. Also, see my post above and go look at a map of the region to see how small Israel truly is.

Also, the US has made no problem of the fact that Canada separates it from one of its states, nor does Britain consider physical attachment a prerequisite for being European. If you believe that the bonds that tie your culture together are nothing more than physical proximity than that is your right, but I suspect few Muslims object to the fact that Islamic world is separated across several continents.

8) “It is the objective appraisal of the impact of these factors on that nation that, historically, will decide its strategies and policies in the future as long as a ZIONIST Israel occupies Arab/Moslem/Christian Palestine.,”

Hmm, this statement is odd for 2 reasons: one is that you assume that your view of the situation is “objective” despite your frequent emotional laments. It is entirely possible that it is we who are objective and you who are not, or (as I suspect to be the case) there is no such thing as objectivity as we are each filtered by our own beliefs, backgrounds, and religions.

Second, I notice that you refer to Palestine as being “Arab/Moslem/Christian.” Just above, you went to great lengths to reject the imposition of “Western Judeo/Christian culture” and yet here you finally seem to at least implicitly admit that the real problem with Israel is not its policies or its history, but the fact that the country is full of Jews, rather than Muslims or Christians. This is no surprise to me, but I wonder if such was your intent.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/31/2005

A very good point Edward. Like all such myths, the only solution is an education system that values learning for its own sake rather than learning directed at some twisted ideological agenda.

Unfortunitely, as Omar and others have demonstrated, once such beliefs are internalized, not only are they impossible to dislodge, but generate intense loathing directed at anyone who does not conform.


Edward Siegler - 5/31/2005

Omar is right about one thing: That is the way Israel is seen throughout the Arab-Islamic world. To what extent is the truth determined by our perceptions? If one billion people believe that Israel is to blame for the Middle East's problems, what should we make of this and/or do about it?


Amin Ali Golmohamad - 5/30/2005

Peter, I feel I must commend your clear and impartial reply. It shows a lot of insight into finding a working solution to this ongoing problem.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/30/2005

Peter,
Your post is nothing short of remarkable. In your effort to blame everyone else for being bias and ignoring the evidence, you refuse to even acknowledge that maybe Hamas (gasp) actually believes what they wrote. If they no longer support these positions, then why would they not change their charter? If they are lying in the charter, than for what purpose, and to whom are they lying to? If they are lying to the people, it only proves that the people are even more fanatical than Hamas since Hamas feels it necessary to exaggerate their statements for their support.

I suppose having you admit that Hamas MAY not be truthful is a small concession, but if their actions are to be ignored, and their charter is to be ignored, and their public statements I assume you would rather ignore, by what basis are we to decide what Hamas believes or stands for?


N. Friedman - 5/30/2005

Omar,

In other words, your contention at http://hnn.us/comments/61706.html is that most Muslims are lost in the Middle Ages and confuse a modern state with an offense to Islam.

For anyone who needs any further confirmation of my theory, Omar has provided it


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/30/2005

Thanks for the suggestion... done.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/30/2005

Sorry for the delay, I have been away. There are so many inconsistencies and hypocrisies in your post Omar, I will try to address them briefly, although I could spend pages demonstrating how each one is, to be overly generous, incorrect:

1) “I do not think that even you would equate the Koran; (Perhaps you should tall that to your brethren throughout the Middle East, who are rioting and dying because the possible desecration of a single book)with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion a political book; and a forgery at that according to you!”

The Koran is a book. Do you dispute this most obvious of observations? As I have stated before, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is not a forgery “according to me,” any more than the world is round “according to me.” It is a forgery according to factual study and analysis. The fact that you refuse to acknowledge this and your frequent insinuations that the book is actually correct and accurate is, to me, proof positive of anti-Semitism and the belief that the Jews really do form a grant conspiracy in order to take over the world.

Your hiding behind the excuse that you have never read the book is simply because you do not want to admit what your posts imply. I have never read Mein Kampf but would not be prepared to suggest that MAYBE what is written in it is true, simply because of a lack of first hand reading. The thrust of the book, excerpts, premises are so well known, to plead indifference based on not reading it is certainly not an excuse that any intelligent person could easily accept.

2) “Out of respect for these hundreds of millions, I never thought you would make such an inane remark!”

No educated Muslim would deny that the Koran is a book, as you seem to. My invoking it is simply proof that your astonishment at such reaction because of one book does not seem to mind any of the other examples that I have cited.

3) “I have enough faith in the intelligence of readers to be AGAINST any and all kind of book censorship which you seem to demand in the case of this book?
Do you want it universally banned??
Are you for censoring IT?
Do give me a sraight forward answer!”

Omar, perhaps you should have calmed down and taken a breath before writing your posts. I do not think the book should be “banned” any more than a book that claimed that Arabs are sub-human, Islam is a religion of violence and superstition, or any other book that may exist that you offend someone. The words “ban” and “censorship” are your own, not mine and I have never advocated it.

4) “Possibly nothing made the reputation and fired the desire of so many people to read it as much as the Zionist campaign, which often verges on the hysterical, against it.”

This sounds very similar to the argument that the actions of Israel actually cause anti-Semitism. The argument erroneously assumes that people should not condemn racist reading material because to do so would only encourage its reading. People should condemn all racist books, articles, etc. rather than simply allow other people (such as yourself, for example) to assume that the books popularity means that its validity is a serious possibility.

5) “Thousands of books ,articles etc disputed the Divine inspiration of Islam and had all sorts of description for Mohamed and the Arabs; I never worried about that!”

This, despite your emotional reaction when I bring up the reaction of the Koran desecration. Why the strong reaction if it means nothing to you? In any event, what you have done is irrelevant. Many Muslims and Arabs have indeed been up in arms about various books that have been published suggesting that there were no Arabs on the land when Jewish settlers arrived and that Israel was indeed a “land without a people for a people without a land.” By your own logic, I suppose that means that the accusations may in fact be true and maybe we should be debating that.

6) “You call me anti Semite and anti Jew that is a false accusation and a naked lie.I am not and I do not care whether you believe that or not.
How can I be anti Jew while knowing that Chomsky, Professor Magnus, Alfred Lilienthall, Einstein and other untold thousands are anti Zionist JEWS.”
If you do not care what I believe or not, then it really doesn’t matter. However, to answer your question, I have found that just as the leader of the KKK embraced the philosophy of Malcolm X in the 1960’s because it conformed to their own ideology, anti-Semites often flock to Jewish enemies of Israel as the shield behind which they may spew forth anything about Jews… sorry, Zionists that they like.

(For the record, Einstein was an ardent Zionist)

7) “However I do know that your last resort in countering anti Zionists or anti Israel is to label them, falsely of course, as anti Semite and/or anti Jew!”

This is also a popular tactic embraced by anti-Semites: by (often) preemptively condemning those who would equate anti-Israel with anti-Semitism, it creates a wall of security that allows them to say the most inflammatory and repulsive things about Israel, Israelis, Zionists, their supporters, and often implicitly all Jews while maintaining that anyone who calls them into account is simply playing (to use a popular American catchphrase) the “race card.”

8) “There has been recently a universal campaign to that purpose , equating anti Zionism/anti Zionist Israel with anti Semitism,which, as I believe you know, never took off and will never take off.”

I am unaware of any such campaign and suspect that it does not exist. Who organized this campaign? Where is its base of operations? How does it try to achieve this? I AM aware however of a campaign to call anti-Israel sentiment anti-Israel sentiment and genuine anti-Semitism with anti-Semitism.

9) “Your only recourse Moshe is to avow the aggressive, pernicious and racist nature of Zionism disown it and join progressive humanity!”

Your final sentence reveals the real hypocrisy of this entire discussion. You have called me and everyone else who supports Israel racist (too many times to count), and yet you spend a great deal of time accusing me of playing the “race card” when you actually invoke anti-Semitic sentiments! Your ability to accuse others of what you so careless do yourself repeatedly is truly impressive.


N. Friedman - 5/30/2005

Adam,

You replied to me, not to Omar. You might want to re-post so that he recognizes your important words.

N.


N. Friedman - 5/30/2005

Omar,

This is the post of yours which I had in mind:

Re: The sorry truth most people know but unconsciously leave out/To Amin (#61594) http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=61594#61594
by omar ibrahim baker on May 27, 2005 at 12:05 PM

Mr Golmohamad

I have read carefully your sincere post then followed with interest your discussion with Mr Moshe, Mr Simon and the incomparable Mr Friedman; each in his own peculiar way a typical Zionist.

I am certain you have well noted their responses to your well meant initiative.!

Flushed and drunk with an arrogance born out of an easy victory , enjoying the unlimited and unconditional support of the USA, the moral support of most of the Judeo/Christian communities in the Western hemisphere , the total support of practically all of world Jewry and banking on the presumed continued decadence and decline of the Arab/Moslem world Zionists and Zionism can only see the actual triumph of their colonialist project and the possibilities it opens for further encroachment on the sovereignty and natural resources of the region and the potential for economic predominance of the Third World in paricular and the Southern Hemishphere in general!!

They, the Zionists, will hear but will not listen to what you have to say!!

Whether knowingly or unknowingly , with its successful depopulating colonization of Palestine, Zionism has launched the world on One of those epoch making , world dividing and cultural polarizing colonial expeditions that breeds interminable wars, engender enduring historical enmities and consume generations before disintegrating and tapering off !

The nearest historical parallel to the Zionist project I can think of is the earlier Crusading campaign.

Did you happen to read my post "What did Zionism Achieve"? I outlined in it what I think are the historical consequences and world wide repercussions of the Zionist project and its triumph in Palestine !

I wish you safety , success and happiness.


It sounded rather similar to the view of The Protocols.

Now, can I have your opinion on the topic at hand, which is whether you believe in the opinion set forth in The Protocol.




Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/30/2005

Sorry for the delay, I have been away. There are so many inconsistencies and hypocrisies in your post Omar, I will try to address them briefly, although I could spend pages demonstrating how each one is, to be overly generous, incorrect:

1) “I do not think that even you would equate the Koran; (Perhaps you should tall that to your brethren throughout the Middle East, who are rioting and dying because the possible desecration of a single book)with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion a political book; and a forgery at that according to you!”

The Koran is a book. Do you dispute this most obvious of observations? As I have stated before, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is not a forgery “according to me,” any more than the world is round “according to me.” It is a forgery according to factual study and analysis. The fact that you refuse to acknowledge this and your frequent insinuations that the book is actually correct and accurate is, to me, proof positive of anti-Semitism and the belief that the Jews really do form a grant conspiracy in order to take over the world.

Your hiding behind the excuse that you have never read the book is simply because you do not want to admit what your posts imply. I have never read Mein Kampf but would not be prepared to suggest that MAYBE what is written in it is true, simply because of a lack of first hand reading. The thrust of the book, excerpts, premises are so well known, to plead indifference based on not reading it is certainly not an excuse that any intelligent person could easily accept.

2) “Out of respect for these hundreds of millions, I never thought you would make such an inane remark!”

No educated Muslim would deny that the Koran is a book, as you seem to. My invoking it is simply proof that your astonishment at such reaction because of one book does not seem to mind any of the other examples that I have cited.

3) “I have enough faith in the intelligence of readers to be AGAINST any and all kind of book censorship which you seem to demand in the case of this book?
Do you want it universally banned??
Are you for censoring IT?
Do give me a sraight forward answer!”

Omar, perhaps you should have calmed down and taken a breath before writing your posts. I do not think the book should be “banned” any more than a book that claimed that Arabs are sub-human, Islam is a religion of violence and superstition, or any other book that may exist that you offend someone. The words “ban” and “censorship” are your own, not mine and I have never advocated it.

4) “Possibly nothing made the reputation and fired the desire of so many people to read it as much as the Zionist campaign, which often verges on the hysterical, against it.”

This sounds very similar to the argument that the actions of Israel actually cause anti-Semitism. The argument erroneously assumes that people should not condemn racist reading material because to do so would only encourage its reading. People should condemn all racist books, articles, etc. rather than simply allow other people (such as yourself, for example) to assume that the books popularity means that its validity is a serious possibility.

5) “Thousands of books ,articles etc disputed the Divine inspiration of Islam and had all sorts of description for Mohamed and the Arabs; I never worried about that!”

This, despite your emotional reaction when I bring up the reaction of the Koran desecration. Why the strong reaction if it means nothing to you? In any event, what you have done is irrelevant. Many Muslims and Arabs have indeed been up in arms about various books that have been published suggesting that there were no Arabs on the land when Jewish settlers arrived and that Israel was indeed a “land without a people for a people without a land.” By your own logic, I suppose that means that the accusations may in fact be true and maybe we should be debating that.

6) “You call me anti Semite and anti Jew that is a false accusation and a naked lie.I am not and I do not care whether you believe that or not.
How can I be anti Jew while knowing that Chomsky, Professor Magnus, Alfred Lilienthall, Einstein and other untold thousands are anti Zionist JEWS.”
If you do not care what I believe or not, then it really doesn’t matter. However, to answer your question, I have found that just as the leader of the KKK embraced the philosophy of Malcolm X in the 1960’s because it conformed to their own ideology, anti-Semites often flock to Jewish enemies of Israel as the shield behind which they may spew forth anything about Jews… sorry, Zionists that they like.

(For the record, Einstein was an ardent Zionist)

7) “However I do know that your last resort in countering anti Zionists or anti Israel is to label them, falsely of course, as anti Semite and/or anti Jew!”

This is also a popular tactic embraced by anti-Semites: by (often) preemptively condemning those who would equate anti-Israel with anti-Semitism, it creates a wall of security that allows them to say the most inflammatory and repulsive things about Israel, Israelis, Zionists, their supporters, and often implicitly all Jews while maintaining that anyone who calls them into account is simply playing (to use a popular American catchphrase) the “race card.”

8) “There has been recently a universal campaign to that purpose , equating anti Zionism/anti Zionist Israel with anti Semitism,which, as I believe you know, never took off and will never take off.”

I am unaware of any such campaign and suspect that it does not exist. Who organized this campaign? Where is its base of operations? How does it try to achieve this? I AM aware however of a campaign to call anti-Israel sentiment anti-Israel sentiment and genuine anti-Semitism with anti-Semitism.

9) “Your only recourse Moshe is to avow the aggressive, pernicious and racist nature of Zionism disown it and join progressive humanity!”

Your final sentence reveals the real hypocrisy of this entire discussion. You have called me and everyone else who supports Israel racist (too many times to count), and yet you spend a great deal of time accusing me of playing the “race card” when you actually invoke anti-Semitic sentiments! Your ability to accuse others of what you so careless do yourself repeatedly is truly impressive.


E. Simon - 5/30/2005

This further thought-Spam, branded in the vigorous spirit of the same kind of Middle eastern nationalistic polemicism that gripped xenophobic Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to grand effect - is, coming from Omar, entirely to be expected.

Only the last few are worth addressing, as the rest have already been refuted ad nauseum:



-The body that achieved the forced alteration of the cultural/nationalist identity of the land of Palestine.

Well, if a group is only able to define itself based on a pathological, murderous hatred of "others," then the Palestinian national movements and their allies have certainly accomplished that next "logical" step.


-The latest , successful ,attempt by the WEST to plant an alien body in the heart of the Arab/Moslem world ; a new campaign in and a sequel to the failed Crusades in the incessant effort by the West to deArabize and deIslamize ( often called Westernize ) the Middle East , and the Holy Land in particular, by forcing Judeo /Christian culture on the region through the imposition of an alien culture by an alien people .

Of course, Jews, being new arrivals to the Middle East, are alien in the sense that they have only been living there as a distinct group for at least a thousand years longer than the Arabian conquests which consolidated Islamic rule throughout through jizya, dhimmi status, discriminatory jurisprudential models, and other "voluntary" measures. The far worse "imposition of...Judeo/Christian culture on the region" is no more evident than in Saudi Arabia, where progressively compulsory codes preventing women from driving, for instance, can't be unquestioningly swallowed like they were in the old days and outrage ensues over the forced incineration of school girls for not wearing head scarves. How the kingdom will survive as the cultural bastion for the sacred universal values it states to hold to, and still manage the occasional public beheading, is surely threatened - to the justifiable consternation of a concerned humanity that no one can seem to identify.


-An outpost of Western imperialism designed to dominate the region politically and economically and exploit its resources to the benefit of the imperialist powers and their regional representative (Israel).

I have no doubt that the only economic resource of any financial value which any country in the Middle East - other than for Turkey and Israel - are capable of producing, oil, would be willingly sold by the local imperialist leaders - I'm sorry, I mean sheikhs, emirs, kings, and military dictators (a crucial distinction) - to the west regardless of any presence there, let alone domination.


-An advanced military base from which to preempt and frustrate any Arab effort to attain a sovereign political will and implement a truly independent policy.

Of course, there are many politically sovereign Arab states. They are not sovereign in the sense that the people aren't allowed to have a voice in their government, but what Israel has to do with that - as with so many other things - is a figment of Omar's creative imagination.


-An ever-present expansionist power out to grab more Arab lands, depending on who is in power in Israel of the adherents of the three definitions of the land of Israel.

Don't forget that tiny Sinai peninsula, which is dwarfed by the enormous current land mass administered by Israel - were it not for the fact that it was given back to the country that sought it once it pledged to stop attempting to wipe Israel off the map. Same concept applies with land given to Jordan as a term of peace treaties. Of course, peace agreements, while understood by such "Western tools" as the governments of Egypt and Jordan as being sensible policy and in the interests of each, are just a wedge to separate the people and governments of both countries from their justifiable hatred and contempt at the fact that 5 million Jews and 1 million Arabs are able to continue the nefarious act of going about their daily lives.

-A hostile physical bulwark between the Eastern (Al Mashreq ) and the Western (Al Maghreb) wings of the Arab nation and a major obstacle to the physical continuity of Arab lands.

Well how dare someone buy a house between me and and my friend!

As shown by the French vote in Europe, physical continuity is no guarantee of political continuity. The latter could be more easily implemented in the Arab world, were it only to be attempted with a less neolithic understanding of political principles such as democratic participation, federalism, rule of law, individual rights and other such passing western fads. But because these ideas are always disregarded, the model to which such unification attempts revert are reminiscent of the caliphate or other imperial models, that over-emphasize the agglomeration of theocratic or cultural imperatives at the expense of a functionally civil, political body.


E. Simon - 5/30/2005

Omar said:

2- I stand by my opinion that whether that book, The Protocols etc.., is a forgery or not ..is immaterial.
The important thing is what is in it and how people react to what it has to say. I have enough faith in the intelligence of readers to be AGAINST any and all kind of book censorship which you seem to demand in the case of this book?
Do you want it universally banned?? ....

And,

Your only recourse Moshe is to avow the aggressive, pernicious and racist nature of Zionism disown it and join progressive humanity!.

..........................................................

Well, if this "progressive humanity" is incapable of telling the difference between banning or censoring a book and simply understanding and accepting that it is a bunch of baloney, then such a group is one that most intelligent people won't be joining.


N. Friedman - 5/30/2005

Omar,

Fair point. I did bring up the topic of The Protocols but only after you asserted a view that suggested you believe in the "theory" set forth in the document.

I am still interested in learning if you believe in the theory espoused in The Protocols. Do you consider it the explanation of Jewish behavior? It was my impression that such is your view. Am I incorrect?


Arnold Shcherban - 5/29/2005

Adam,

There is no absolute truth in this world, but there is definitely a concrete one, and this latter one MUST BE PRONOUNCED. Coincidentally, it is a 'relativism of truth'
that serves as a perfect pseudo-intellectual defense for all the wrongdoings and wrong-doers, current neocons, in particular. We see it once and again on these boards, too.


E. Simon - 5/29/2005

"Do not you ever tell me how to answer a question!"

This can seemingly be described than nothing other than intellectual cowardice.

Alas, as Omar has shown us so many times here on these discussion boards, it is all too typical of a familiar pattern: that of "he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day."


N. Friedman - 5/29/2005

Amin,

I think you are correct that there are many ethnic groups which call themselves Arab. That is certainly correct. However, I do not think that the Palestinian Arabs are such a people - although, at this point, they have certainly become a distinct people -.

I note that prior to 1948, Palestinian Arabs mostly claimed to be Syrians. Jordanian Arabs also claimed, prior to the creation of Jordan, to be Syrians. Culturally and historically and ethnically, I do not think that the Jordan River has been a major divide, at least not sufficient to suggest the distinction you have drawn.

Which is to say, I think that the reason that the PLO charter speaks of Palestine as defined by the Palestine Mandate is that, at the time, there was no other definition that had any connection to Arab history.





Amin Ali Golmohamad - 5/28/2005

I would like to politely disagree with this statement:

"in fact, were not different in any outward way from Arabs in other states"

That is equivalent to saying that there aren't any differences within the "anglosphere" (i.e. UK, USA, Canada, Australia, NZ , etc) or all Francophone countries (France, Belgium, Canada, etc)

I have visited many parts of the arab world on many occasions and know arabs from many different countries. I have lived in Saudi Arabia for 10 years There is a huge amount of variety in culture even within the same country . The common point is mainly religion.

Looks can vary from a Nubian Sudanese, a tall light skinned algerian, a dark featured bedioun, a light skinned southern Iraqi, a curly haired Yemeni, a blond syrian etc. Arab subcultures vary similarly. I know many egyptians who don't like to be refered to as arabs as opposed to egyptians. The gulf states have some similarity, but since the arabic speaking world covers such a large area, there are great differences. I would compare this to central and south america, where no further explanation would be necessary to emphasise the differences.

I would agree that the palestinians are by appearance slightly similar to arabs living in SOME parts of syria, lebanon, egypt and jordan, but not elsewhere in the arab world. But aside from appearance, their diet, customs, accent, mannerisms etc differ from their neighbours as much as a manhattan new yorker differs from a rural texan.

They speak of the palestinian mandate because those were the boundaries of their former homeland. They speak of a great arab nation because they feel like part of a greater arab world, just like the the countries of the anglosphere have a special relationship not shared with other nations.


Amin Ali Golmohamad - 5/28/2005

When I said 'artificial', I refered to the boundaries of lebanon. They hem in several different cultures. This does not normally happen in what I personally define as natural countries, eg Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, where there is a good degree of a homogenous population. In lebanon there is a good number of different races which makes governing them rather difficult.


N. Friedman - 5/28/2005

Omar,

You write: What is it that worries you about it ?

About the book itself, I am not worried. About the use of the book historically, that is another story. The Protocols was rather central to mythology of those who believe in elminationist Antisemitism. Which is to say, the book is central in the ideology of those who have advocated murdering all Jews. Hence, when I read about people taking the book seriously, I suspect I am dealing with a radical antisemite.

I hope that I have answered your question.




N. Friedman - 5/28/2005

Correction, not correct. Sorry.


N. Friedman - 5/28/2005

Corect, Omar,

You view is that the almight does not have the right to recreate Eretz Y'srael.


N. Friedman - 5/28/2005

Omar,

You write: That the adherents of Nahumi Carta are JEWS

This group - which you have mistyped -, in fact, believes in Eretz Y'srael but holds the view that the almighty, not atheists like ben Gurion, have the right to reconstitute the Jewish ancestral home. Your view is that not even the almighty can do that.


N. Friedman - 5/28/2005

Omar,

Then what was your point in citing to the book?


N. Friedman - 5/28/2005

Omar,

Again, are you asserting that the content of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is accurate or do you claim that its content is nonsense?

A simple answer to my question will suffice.


N. Friedman - 5/28/2005

Adam,

Note: I am not claiming that there were no Palestinian Arabs and certainly am not claiming that there were no Palestinian Arabs living in what is now Israel but only that they did not view themselves to be a separate people and, in fact, were not different in any outward way from Arabs in other states. Such is why, for example, the PLO Charter defines Palestine by reference to the Palestine Mandate rather than any boundary in Muslim or Arab history. It is also why that Charter speaks of the Palestinians and of Palestine as part of the Great Arab nation.



N. Friedman - 5/28/2005

Adam,

The article previously appeared in Foreign Policy magazine. It is a good article. I note, however, that Palestinian nationalism would likely never have occurred had Israel not come to be. The creation of the "Palestinian people," Palestinianism and its history are directly connected to the creation of Israel, the refusal of the refugees to be resettled and the Arab states to resettle them and the Six Day War.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/28/2005

Omar,
Of all of your posts that I have read, and all of the vitriol spewed forth against Israel and Zionists, this one really must take the cake for the most anti-Semitic I have since read from you. Where to begin?!?

1) “I find it rediculous to worry about and fight a book!”

Perhaps you should tall that to your brethren throughout the Middle East, who are rioting and dying because the possible desecration of a single book. Theodore Roosevelt created the Food and Drug Administration because of a single book, and Lincoln once insinuated (falsely but to make a point) that one book started the Civil War. The Nazis were so worried about books that they burned many of them and most civilized people tend to “worry” about such events. How many scientific and cultural achievements were said to be credited to a single book? How many lives changed, opinions formed, and prejudices solidified? My point? Books matter; they always have, and I pray they always will. Your confusion about why people worry about a book is, to be frank, sad.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4587679.stm

2) “Is it any different from the millions of books written by all sorts of people with all sorts of opinion, facts, allegations, dreams, fabrications, messages, stories, pretensions etc etc?”

In that it has become the basis and justification for the worst forms of injustices against Jewish people throughout the 20th century, it most certainly is different. In that it is taken to be a fact by anti-Semites throughout the world (even cited in the Hamas charter and once put in an Egyptian museum before international pressure forced its removal) and thus used as fodder for hate, murder, and genocide, then yes, it is different.

3) “Whether it is a forgery or not is immaterial; the importance of a book lies in what is in it… To worry about a book is sick unless ,of couse, it is such an eye openner that it would really make some people worry!”

Unbelievably that I should even have to say the following: it IS a forgery, and this fact most certainly is not “immaterial.” That would be like suggesting that whether or not Jews drink the blood of Christian and Muslim children; whether or not the Holocaust occurred; or whether or not we landed a man on the moon is “immaterial.” I wonder if you consider it irrelevant whether books claiming that there were no Palestinians living on the land in 1948 are accurate or not.

You speak as though the validity of the book is controversial, it is not. It is a demonstrated hoax. Your statement above suggests that you support the message of the book and actually believe in a worldwide conspiracy of the Jews. How can the message contained in a book be important when such a book was a lie written for the aim of discrediting the Jewish people worldwide?

4) “I truly do not have to read it to know what Zionism is! I know Zionism first hand!”

I do not believe that you truly know that Zionism is, and you most certainly know nothing but hatred towards the Jewish people. Such is the undeniable conclusion from this unfortunate post of yours.


N. Friedman - 5/28/2005

Omar,

So are you saying that you think that Jews follow what appears in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion? Please explain so that I can understand you views clearly.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/28/2005

I would recommend the following article which debates what the world would really look like if some on this post had their dreams come true and Israel had never been created. It also looks at the frequently cited claim that Israel is the CAUSE of the worlds ills.

As Greek composer and cultural icon Mikis Theodorakis said, a position that seems to gain a lot of support,
"Today it is possible to say that this small nation is the root of evil. It is full of self-importance and evil stubbornness."

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.asp?ID=16827


N. Friedman - 5/27/2005

Amin,

You are a very, very welcome addition to this site. By the way, you have written a very intelligent post.


Amin Ali Golmohamad - 5/27/2005

Dear Edward

It is true that I believe that the US is capable (stress that particular word) of great humanitarian efforts. As you know, they aren't fulfilling their true potential. I am a person who believes that the US really should be involved in the world on the scale it is and more, but for the right intentions and methods.

(You said that kind of talk led to being accused of: flag-waving, jingoistic Bush lover. I would like to point out that I didn't mention anything patriotic about the US, nor did I praise Bush or his predecessors, all I stated was some fact and a lot of opinion :) )

You mentioned that one could consider the USA learning from its mistakes and leaving the world to get on with its business. However, I believe that if the USA were to back off and return to its isolationist policies it clung to before WW1 and for part of WW2, there would be no effective way of righting the wrongs of today- I will elaborate :

1) If the US were to exclude itself from world politics, the UN would surely see its strength fade considerably. The USA is one of the few countries that has the means to carry out an agenda to aid the crisis points in the world(I'm not saying it doe though). The USA makes a very large contribution the UN (although it really should be doing more). If the US were isolationist, it would become noncommited, and without it the UN would be like a building without its keystone; a pushover for aggressive nations to get their way.

2) Surely some other power would rise to fill the power vacuum if the USA were to step down. Would you rather see China aiding the creation of one-party states or starting a war with Taiwan? The USA, with its intervention, has enabled a status quo to exist in that disputed region as well as ensure we get a nice cheap influx of Taiwanese made products :)

3) On the other hand, in the case of N. Korea, I have a feeling that crisis would still be contained thanks to China, but possibly more volatile due to the lack of US aid to S. Korea; aid which assured that country actually survived the Korean war after an unprovoked invasion from the belligerent north.

4) Would the screams of the Russian oppression of Chechnya fall on deaf ears? It seems that the US is the only country with the guts to criticise Russia about their private war.

5) Iran is a potential threat to the whole middle east and beyond. I don't know whether the US makes it worse or helps deter it - that is open to discussion. However, I do know that if it weren't for the US influence in the area we would have seen many Persian Gulf countries like Saudi arabia become oppressive theocracies like Iran. Suppose the EU were to try and talk them out of making Nukes - enriching uranium is enough evidence to cause serious concern- they resemble the appeasement to Hitler prior to world war 2 as they are just trying to give aid to stop them.


It is unfortunate that many people (not saying you are) are influenced by what the news frequently reports, which tends to be the failures of US foreign policy and the exposing of scandals. They do occur often, but the news will play up what the public wants to hear. Therefore we rarely hear of the occasional long term good side effects of US policies, or potential good side effects if they were to be carried out with good intent and better methods. We rarely hear what they've prevented. I'm not a US supporter, but I will not let popular opinion and the media bias my opinion.

I am aware that many a time the meddling of the US has lead to terrible scenarios (eg in panama, chile etc). There are many debts that the US has to pay to the world, such as the $5 billion 1975 US dollar it owes vietnam.

However, it is my belief that the US has responsibilities to less fortunate nations. Hopefully a better government will somehow emerge there that will allow them to fulfil their proper role as the most powerful nation in the world.

I hope what I have written has helped explain why I had that unusual viewpoint in that earlier post.

Best wishes

Amin


N. Friedman - 5/27/2005

Mike,

Fair point. I note, however, that the history of the Muslim regions pretty much bears out my point.


Michael Barnes Thomin - 5/27/2005

Mr. Friedman,
Perhaps statements that you make such as, "And I am doubtful, given the history of the Muslim regions, that Arabs will ever accept Israel on any terms," are what leads some to believe that you have contempt towards Arabs or Moslems in general. There is no doubt that there are some Arabs or Moslems that will not except Israel's existence no matter what fruitful and fair arrangements can be made, but to suggest as the statement you made that all Arabs (perhaps you did not mean all, but this is what in fact the sentence suggests) will not except "Israel on any terms" is an unsupported and generalized comment, that on its face can be perceived as racist. One does not have to hate a race to be racist or make racist comments. If, perchance, we would all be a bit more careful in the statements we make we might avoid future insults that eat up a substantial amount of space on these threads. I dare say, that nearly half of the posts on here are filled with attacks against other posters. Granted, overall there is, at least for me, interesting and educating exchanges, but I for one am growing tired of the invective dialogues that lead the posts down into a tireless path of finger-pointing schoolyard arguments. In my most humble opinion, it might do us all well to stop swatting at flies and continue engaging in meaningful discussions.

Best regards to all,
Mike


Edward Siegler - 5/27/2005

Hey, everybody's doing it. And some things never go out of fashion. Like you, Mr. Friedman, I would gather that anyone talking about a conspiracy of "world Jewry" is a student of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. This tract is still widely read in the Arab world and among neo-Nazis.

But let's wake up and get real here - obviously Israel is trying to take over the whole Middle East. Why else would this huge country have launched so many wars of expansion. The U.N. partition agreement created Israel as a discontiguous two-part scattering of territory surrounded by hostile Arabs and without Jerusalem. So obviously Israel launched a war of expansion THE VERY NEXT DAY AFTER IT WAS CREATED! And again in '56 and '67! The '73 war was simply an attempt to reclaim stolen territory. Who says Israel was "acting in self-defence?" Give me a break - if it wasn't for the unity and strength of the Arab world in fending off this aggression, Israel's borders would extend from Cairo to Riyhad.

Anyway, it only makes sense that the existance of Israel is what is causing all the problems in the Middle East. Those Jews, um, I mean Zionists (I don't want to be accused of anti-semitism here, there are SOME good Jews)have been keeping the Arab world down from day one. How else could you explain the backwardness of Israel's neighbors - Israel's advanced state of developement was created at the expense of everyone else in that part of the world. That's what colonialism is all about. If only that country would do the right thing and just stop existing. Sunnis would stop hating Shiites, the Kurds wouldn't be a problem, the governments in that region would start reforming themselves and everything would be cool. No wonder those suicide bombers are seen as heroic freedom fighters.


N. Friedman - 5/27/2005

Peter,

NOt to make a mountain out of a molehill, where did you note the long history of the US doing nothing about Sudan? I recall your words to be Bush & Co which I took to be the Bush administration. But then again, maybe I misread you.


N. Friedman - 5/27/2005

Omar,

Thank you for calling me incomparable.

I do not think that the Israelis have the goals you assert. I think they want their tiny strip of land.

I gather, however, that you are a student of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Otherwise, such a grandeous plan might never have occurred to you. But, of course, that book was a forgery.




Edward Siegler - 5/27/2005

The question is not only why the U.S. has not interviened in the Sudan, but why no other country on earth, or the U.N., has either. The U.S. has sent about $500 million in humanitarian aid there. The African Union has recently proclaimed that they do not want any foreign troops in the Sudan.

Another question I have is why Americans believe in a mythical time in the past when we were widely loved by the world and that it's only been Bush Jr.'s actions that has ended this long honeymoon. Charles de Gaul didn't much care for us even after we'd evicted the Nazis from his country; "yankee go home" has been the motto of Latin America for as long as anyone can remember; there has rarely if ever been good relations between the U.S. and Russia, or China (exept for a brief period around World War II perhaps); and the Middle East has pretty much wavered between resenting the hell out of us for backing the creation of Israel in 1948 to hating our guts for it. Where and when was this warm and wonderful feeling the world supposedly had towards the U.S. in the not-so-distant past?


N. Friedman - 5/27/2005

Peter,
I below correct my typos:

I support any solution which has a realistic chance of ending the dispute. I am skeptical, given all the deaths that occurred after Arafat ignored Clinton's December 2000 bridging proposal, that the two state solution is worth the cost in lives. And I am doubtful, given the history of the Muslim regions, that Arabs will ever accept Israel on any terms. But, I certainly favor peace and well recognize that the Israelis contribute to the problem at least to some extent. However, the main issue to nearly all problems in the Middle East is religion and, more specifically, the notion in Islam that Muslims must rule the entire area as a matter of religious edict.


N. Friedman - 5/27/2005

Peter,

I support any solution which has a realistic chance of ending the dispute. I am, given all the deaths that occurred after Arafat ignored Clinton's December 2000 bridging proposal, that the two state solution is worth the cost in lives. And I am doubtful, given the history of the Muslim regions, that Arabs will ever accept Israel on any terms. But, I certainly favor peace and well recognize that the Israelis contribute to the problem at least to some extent. However, the main issue to nearly all problems in the Middle East is religion and, more specifically, the notion in Islam that Muslims must rule the entire area as a matter of religious edict.


N. Friedman - 5/27/2005

Peter,

Here it is again: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/hamas.htm

I suggest you investigate the portions copied from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I also suggest you check out the Islamic terminology as it is critical to understanding the document. Terms such as ummah and Waqf are very important to understanding things.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/27/2005

Me:
"I would also agree wholeheartedly that there is much blame to go to all 4 sides (any moral consideration must include the actions of the British and the UN whose treatment of the situation very much set this all in motion) and I have little doubt that if this conflict were to be settled (which I find extremely unlikely anytime soon) both Israel and the Palestinians will look back at their history very differently."

Peter:
"What we have had during the last decade is a series of mostly successful attempts by extremists on BOTH sides (let me stress the obvious reality, nonetheless denied in thousands of HNN postings by the likes of Friedman and Moshe, that Israelis and Arabs BOTH share huge amounts of blame for THEIR JOINT mess."

Exactly when and how did I deny that both sides share some of the blame. Yes, I am aware of the many things that YOU claim that I believe, but kindly point to a source.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/27/2005

Peter,
See the post directly above my own. You may also find a copy yourself, as I have said, it is no secret, and is posted on many sites.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=U&;start=1&q=http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/hamas.htm&;e=9888

Some highlights:
"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it" (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory)."

"Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people. "May the cowards never sleep."

"It is the duty of the followers of other religions to stop disputing the sovereignty of Islam in this region, because the day these followers should take over there will be nothing but carnage, displacement and terror."

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


N. Friedman - 5/27/2005

Peter,

You must be joking.


N. Friedman - 5/27/2005

Omar,

I never suggested I support the Iraq war. That is in your head.

Zionism is not colonialist and Israel was not a colony.

I am glad you enjoy my writing.

I wish, however, that you would engage in a discussion rather than spouting propaganda. You clearly have a good head on your shoulders so try thinking how the dispute looks from the side of a person who supports Israel. That will help you make an actual argument. Then we can engage in a fruitful discussion.




N. Friedman - 5/27/2005

Adam,

Thank you, as always, for your kind words. They are heart felt.

I might add: I really am not anti-Muslim, anti-Arab. I am not against the UN although I am troubled by some things it does.

I am against the Jihad/Dhimmi element of Islam. However, I find the rest of the religion to be rather interesting even if I do not believe in it and I find many of its practices rather medieval - a charge I would lodge against classical Judaism and Christianity as well - but, of course, the religion arose in the Middle Ages so that is to be expected.

To set my record straight: In my view, the history of Islam is rather violent but, I assume, no worse than Christiandom's history. I note, however, to understand what makes the Islamic regions tick, I think you need to address Islamic notions, not Christian or Western notions. And one should use notions applicable to that part of the world when developing an explanatory model.

Otherwise, the observer will be constantly surprised and at a loss to understand what occurs other than as a reaction to the West when, in fact, the "reaction" theory is, I think, an unlikely explanation which basically denies the Muslims any dignity or ambitions. In fact, Muslims have real ambitions and such ambitions drive much of what some people in the West mistake to be a mere reaction to the West.

That is my view and it is why I constantly refer to Islamic concepts to explain the action of people who act explicitly in the name of Islam.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/27/2005

As a friend of Mr. Friedman (on the HNN boards- I have never met the man) I can tell you that your post if, I believe, unfair.

I have observed no racism in any of his posts and he and I have, on occasion, not seen eye to eye on certain issues. To suggest that he is anti-Muslim simply because he is critical of certain practices of the faith is to suggest that liberal Christians who oppose the Church’s stance on, say, gay marriage, is actually anti-Christian.

To suggest that he is anti-Arab simply because he opposes the actions of the Palestinians is absolutely no different (and actually less defensible) that suggesting that anyone who criticizes Israel is anti-Semitic, a charge I assume you would deny.

I would also argue that no one on this post or elsewhere that I have ever seen or read, has discussed the conflict without any bias. Indeed, many people on this post claim to be so, and tout their self-righteousness in every post, but this is a farce, and obviously so.

Being pro-Israel, pro-US, anti-UN, etc. (although I would argue that this is too simplistic a charge against Mr. Friedman) is neither racist nor anti-Muslim.

Although I know that Mr. Friedman is more than capable of defending himself on these boards, I would be remiss if I did not post my disagreement.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/27/2005

Peter,
You may use all of the personal attacks you like if you feel that they somehow make you feel vindicated. I merely pointed out the obvious hypocrisy of a man lamenting one-sidedness while at the same time demonstrating contempt and impatience at any other side. If it makes you feel better however, don’t let my observations deter you (as you clearly have not). Now on to your points, buried between the vitriol:

1) “Once Israelis leave, in the Palestinian terrorists’ view, "they will no longer be attacked", as with the Brits in 1947.”

By what basis do you make this claim? Hamas, the most popular and successful Palestinian organization, does not agree with you, and has made no secret of this. I would invite you to read their charter, which Mr. Friedman has provided, or the numerous other public statements that continuously reaffirms this belief.

2) “Of course, Israelis were not committing acts of terrorism in Britain in 1947: it would have been logistically difficult, and they were succeeding well enough by terrorizing the Brits in Palestine. It would be even more logistically difficult, and counterproductive for Palestinian terrorists today to try bombing cafes in Brooklyn.”

You are quite correct, which is why, as I have pointed out, it is such a poor analogy. Perhaps a far better analogy would be the reaction of the United States to being attacked by Bin Laden. Afghanistan did not attack us nor did its government, but they were obviously sympathetic and harboring those who will not stop in their aggression, so we invaded and occupied Afghanistan. Can there be any doubt that if Bin Laden still found free haven in Afghanistan; if the training camps and other networks were to rematerialize; can there be ANY doubt that the US would never leave Afghanistan so long as there remained an existential threat to its security? I have none.

3) “Imagine, for example, that all your relatives are Palestinian Moslems. Then ask yourself, with each of your statements, would I say what I am saying about Israel and Israelis if dozens of my friends and relatives, innocent of any violence against Israelis, had nonetheless been killed or injured by them ?”

I could easily throw the request back at you, and ask if all of your relatives were Israeli Jews and many had been murdered by terrorism. Would you still attack anyone who disagreed with you with such obvious disdain and dismissal?

To answer your question directly however, if I were a Palestinian, I would certainly have no love for the Israelis, but would I rejoice at the death of innocent Israeli children? Would I applaud the murderers and preach hatred and death to my children? It is impossible to say with certainty, but my answer is that no, I would not. I would realize that I could not condemn Israeli “terrorism” while condoning our own, and would recognize that Israeli attacks follow like clockwork terrorist attacks on Israel. To stop the Israeli attacks then, the solution is to stop attacking Israel, a strategy that has thus far yielded little fruit.

After all, although I support Israel and many (though by no means all) of its policies and structure, I cannot condone the murder, maiming, or deliberate humiliation of innocent Palestinians. When such deliberate acts occur, as they do, I do not rejoice at the soldiers, or celebrate their cowardly acts. I condemn them, just as strongly as I condemn Palestinian acts of terrorism. I therefore doubt that I would suddenly loose my humanity, or my empathy, were I on the other side of the fence.

4) “If that is too tall an order, then examine your statements in comparison with the official propaganda put out on the Israeli government websites, and on the websites of their more extreme U.S. lobbyists like AIPAC, and ask yourself honestly, are these thoughts and beliefs really and truly my own, and did I get them through independent reasoning from facts discovered on my own, from neutral sources ?”

Your question is based on a faulty premise, since you assume (and always will I suppose) that my information comes from the Israeli government or lobbying groups. They do not. The question is therefore moot. I suspect, having read your posts, that you would make the accusation even if I agreed with 90% of what you have said, since my blindness, ignorance, etc., etc., would merely blind me to the other 10%.

5) “Being a polite and well-meaning blind partisan is much better than being an impolite and not well-meaning blind partisan, but the means still do not justify the ends.”

I am curious which in the above statement you put yourself in Peter?

I look forward to when you have time to address other points that I have made.


N. Friedman - 5/27/2005

Omar,

I see you asked a question. We meant anyone involved in the project to attack Iraq could, in theory, settle people in Iraq. That is a description, not a moral statement. However, settling people in Iraq would be a folly - again a description, not a moral judgement -. It is for that reason that no attempt to settle Iraq will occur. Otherwise, the fact that Iraq had oil would likely lead to colonization, justified by the moral argument of bringing democracy to savages. Again, that is a description, not what I think is moral.

Morally, I am not a believer in colonization. But, as I have said, the world does not function on a moral basis and one needs to view things as they are, not as we wish they are. After one views what is, one can then judge it.



E. Simon - 5/27/2005

Amin,

I'm not sure how you define artificial. Usually something man-made, like any state or political entity, is artificial. The U.S. was pieced together and cemented by many different groups of people. The fact that this process - unique in its scope - occurred (even at the expense of Native Americans) and doesn't seem to be in jeopardy seems to be a simple observation not having much to do with distinctions such as natural or artificial.

If you mean political freedom, (as with economic freedom) then I can see what you mean insofar as the "will of the people" is concerned. However, I'm not sure why these territories need to be in dispute if only the Israelis and Palestinians would accept what is considered sufficient for every other group of people on earth: separate nations in which to express their own will of how to govern their lives as two distinct groups of people. That is to say, the idea that there does not need to be a dispute, does not negate the idea that different peoples can tend to their own affairs better on their own, without undue interference from each other.

And if it isn't clear, by "their own affairs" I mean something more productive than being indoctrinated into the commission of suicide-murders and destroying and expropriating property.


N. Friedman - 5/27/2005

Peter,

Not to but in to your conversation with Adam, but I note the following point you make:

I would not say that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are an even close parallel, but they ARE trying to use terrorism to further their goal of their kind of statehood.

How do you know that Hamas seeks a state? Hamas' Covenant appears to suggest that they consider historic Palestine to be a Waqf, not a state. Read it: http://www.google.com/url?sa=U&start=1&q=http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/hamas.htm&e=9888

Do you think Hamas does not know what it seeks? Do you understand the concept of the Waqf?


N. Friedman - 5/27/2005

Peter,

For the millionth time, genocide has been going on in Sudan since 1983. As much as I might like to find fault with Bush, the question is well asked: why did the US do nothing, since 1983, while 2 million people were being butchered and intentionally starved by the Islamists, while they reinstituted slavery, while they took children from their parents to raise in a different religion and even after they made the Jihad public? One can rightfully blame Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II. And one should. But to put all the blame on Bush II is ahistorical.


N. Friedman - 5/26/2005

Arnold,

Nonsense. I am certainly not anti-Muslim or anti-Islam. I am pro-Israeli but I am certainly not a racist. You clearly have not read my posts carefully.


Edward Siegler - 5/26/2005

Amin,
Your belief that the U.S. is capable of great humanitarian efforts is a surprising one. It's surprising because it's so rare, or at least so rarely expressed. That sort of talk usually leads to an accusation of being a flag-waving, jingoistic Bush lover.

Not to be a downer here, but consider that instead of America learning from its mistakes and making better efforts to alleviate suffering in future, the American people might tire of making large commitments to foreign countries and decide to let the rest of the world mind its own business. If no one else is in a hurry to end the genocide in Sudan (to pick one example) then why should we? With an aging population, the U.S. may not be able to maintain a large investment in the military and foreign aid projects in the future. We're usually told that these things are "imperialistic" and evil attempts to control the world, and our pet projects in saving little corners of the world don't always go so well. America may well decide that it's time to stop doing these things.


Arnold Shcherban - 5/26/2005

Mr Friedman should openly admit that as it directly follows from his continiously demonstrated motto "Israel and Jews are always right even when they are wrong", he's
not only an anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racist, but ultra-Zionist racist.
Any person whether he's Jew or not that displays unbiased approach to the issue in question is immediately dismissed as being, at best, wrong, at worst - anti-semitic.

On the other token, whoever says anything either in Israel's defense or anti-Palestinian, anti-Arabic immediately becomes Mr. Friedman's (of course, just temporary, while needed) friend.
In support of the latter conclusion I invite anyone to follow any of his posts on any topic.
Thus, the racist motive is the main secret, but quite transparent to the careful observer, theme of his permanent pro-Israel, pro-Right US, anti-UN, anti-world-majority, anti-Arab, anti-European rap.


N. Friedman - 5/26/2005

Amin,

One point of correction in what you write:

The number of Palestinians who left what is now Israel was not about 1 million people. Palestinians have claimed that number on occassion. The number is probably between 400,000 and 700,000. Most likely, the number is closer to 400,000 than the higher figure. And the number of people likely pushed out by the Israelis was about 50,000.

I note: those who left the Haifa area were moved by the British. Those who left Joffa left mostly at the behest of local Arab leaders who insisted that no Muslim should be ruled by a Jew. Wealthier Palestinian Arabs left long before fighting broke out. Large numbers left on exagerated fear of massacres. And large numbers left to join the fighting or to avoid the fighting - in many cases, at the behest of Arab authorities in the region -.

It is also to be noted that the 1948 war created refugees other than Arab. In particular, Jerusalem, which had a very large Jewish presence for centuries, had all of its Jews expelled. Moreover, there were attacks all over what was then called Judea, Samaria and Gaza resulting in large numbers of massacred Jews and large numbers of people fleeing. All told, about 85,000 Jews were pushed from their homes in historic Palestine.

But that was not quite the end of the story. The Arab war against Israel was not limited, on the Arab side, to attacking Israel. Jews were accused in Arab countries of having relations with the Jewish population in Israel. Hence, these Arab Jews were visciously attacked, massacred and, in the end, driven from their homes. They were forced to leave all of their belongings behind and, unlike the Palestinians who were moved a few miles from their homes, these Arab Jews often had to move more than a thousand miles away to a very different culture. In any event, all told, 856,000 Arab Jews lost their homes and approximately 650,000 of them ended up in Israel. In due course, such people became the majority among the Jewish populations in the country.

I take all of the talk about refugees to miss the point. The fact is that Jews sought to resettle Jews displaced by the Arab, just like the Germans did for the displaced Sudetens (12.5 million people). By contrast, the Palestinian Arabs, who have the right, as we speak, to migrate to Jordan and to become Jordanian citizens (under the Jordanian law of return - as most Jordanians are of the same ethnic group as the Palestinian Arabs), made a political calculation, just like most Arab nations made, to remain in refugee camps where they are used as pawns in their war against Israel. And again, there is no imaginable reason why the Arab states cannot absorb these poor souls as all involved are of the same ethnic and mostly the same religious background.


N. Friedman - 5/26/2005

Adam,

These are all excellent points you are making - in this and the prior post -.

Peter, you will note, dismissed a first rate article by Ari Shavit as being propaganda. Peter's problem is that he does not know enough about the topic to have an opinion so he prefers to throw insults to cover his biases. Compare his comments to those of Amin. While I disagree with Amin, he clearly has command of facts.

I disagree with you to the following extent: the recent strenghth shown by Hamas suggests that there simply is no settlement to the dispute anytime soon. A hudna might be reached but only if Hamas feels that it needs to regroup. I do not think they see such a need at present. And they are resisting efforts to disarm and, moreover, Abbas - whom you place some hope - has, as noted by Shavits, moved back to the Arab view as proclaimed in the 1960's, namely, Israel needs to agree to absorb all of the refugees as well as their millions of offspring. That, frankly, represents a dramatic step backwards.


N. Friedman - 5/26/2005

Amin,

My apology. Here is the article:

http://www.meforum.org/article/383 .

Here is another useful article which takes the issues more or less as I view them.

http://www.meforum.org/pf.php?id=18


N. Friedman - 5/26/2005

Amin,

Read this article (a bit dated but it provides a good explanation of the dispute as it has existed in Sudan for a very long time). I might add that Sudan might be considered a microcosm of how Muslims and non-Muslims interact where Muslims rule or seek to rule according to Shari'a.


N. Friedman - 5/26/2005

Amin,

I am rather unusual, at least among a non-Middle Easterner - and entirely unique, so far as I know, on this website -, in considering Middle East problems as concerning the protection of non-Muslims.

My view is that the real problem is religion and that, given that Muslims are the majority, they basically play the role of the oppressor and employ religious justification for demanding to control the heights of society.

I view the Maronites and Israeli Jews to be two sides of the same coin, with the Jews suceeding thus far and the Maronites losing 150,000 people in their endeavor to obtain freedom. I note that the Maronites as well as the Copts (although not the Coptic Pope who has to watch his manners in Egypt) tend to be well desposed toward the Israelis as such peoples tend to seek what the Israelis have suceeded in doing, namely, obtaining independence from the Muslims.

I might add: Lebanon - country of the Maronites - had a long history, holding out against Muslim invaders for quite a number of centuries. It was, as you say, part of the Ottoman Empire but has an actual local reason for coming back into existence, namely, the protection of the Maronites.

I also note that a read through the Hamas covenant will cure you of the notion that there is one state settlement. Such covenant places Jews basically in the same light as Armenians under the Ottoman Empire after the Armenians were accused of breaking the dhimma.

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/hamas.htm


Amin Ali Golmohamad - 5/26/2005

I am aware of the crisis in sudan, however as I'm a medical student I get little or no contact with history or politics, subject which are truly my passion.

However, I have read about the crisis in Sudan, based on the arab-like population trying to control the "nubian separatists" by force or such.

Sudan was once a home for Osama Bin Laden. The sudanese government is both directly and indirectly responsible for the Darfur crisis and is still engaged in a long civil was in the southern provinces. According to W. Bush's logic, there is a better case to invade Sudan than there ever will have been to invade Iraq - There happens to also be oil in sudan!

However, the cost of such an invasion would make the Iraqi campaign look like a skirmish. Sudan is huge, has very difficult terrain to negociate and is littered with tribal clans ready to go beyond death in their loyalty and fighting invaders - it would be another Mogadishu scenario. So we've just ruled out a US led/style of invasion.

This is the first time I've thought about this issue so you'll have to forgive my amateurish expression of my opinions - without conclusion even -

Amin


Amin Ali Golmohamad - 5/26/2005

Multiracial nations have been problems for a long time, and I do happen to be Baha'i :) - I'm impressed you knew about them :)

In my opinion, the main reason lebanon ended up the way it did was because it was an "artificial" colonially defined country, like the DRC, vietnam (many ethnic laotians etc.), Iraq, South africa etc.
Other countries have sorted this problem out quite violently (when pakistan declared itself independent, and the bloodshed that followed).

Now I'm faced with the same idea here with Israel vs Palestine. It is an artificial country carved out of the former Ottoman empire that presently contains an ethnic mix, and a split nor a union of disputed territories doesn't seem to work. A way round this would be goodwill, but then that word's 1000 a penny these days isn't it?
I'll think about how to solve that problem practically, as one variable I always seem to take as constant is the will of the people.

Amin


Amin Ali Golmohamad - 5/26/2005

Indeed Adam, you have thought the problem out quite thoroughly and made some very good points. I'll address them:

About (1)
True, there is an immense amount of hostility between Jews and Palestinians. It is very conceivable that taking the action of mixing these two very immiscible populations at present would be opening the gates of hell.

In my blunt opinion, the people in the Holy lany aren't all ready for a real solution until their suffering eclipses their mutual loathing. History has shown it takes suffering on the scale of the Holocaust for great change (for better or worse) to take place. Hopefully, (being the optimist) that point will be arrived at with as little bloodshed as possible.

About (2)

Indeed you are correct, having two names for one state would pose a stymie. However, this is a slightly peripheral issue, so I'm sure they'd hypothetically figure something out. The major point you made was about Palestinian returning to their homes, compensation and documentation difficulties. Before I suggest the solution, let's accept some hypothetical parameters:

a. Israel is not under threat from invasion or belligerent milatant organisations
b. Israel is financially stable
c. The Israelis and Palestinians are ready to cooperate and compromise, and have somehow managed to eliminate their stereotypical hatred for each other (perhaps something worse will happen that will make them forget their differences...but I'm sure there would be many Palestinians ready to calm down if they were getting what they wanted, as for the unconsolable extremist minority, that is a different problem)

If these conditions are met, you can imagine that the money would be available to build additional homes in settlements for returning palestinians if their homes were either destroyed or being inhabited by another family. Beggers can't be choosers (with no disrespect intended, but I believe if a refugee is given a choice won't argue the case too hardily to avoid having to go back to the sordid camps they presently live in).

To address poor documentation, there can be standard compensation anyway which would enable them to have a different home.

About 3)

It is true that terrorist have little regard for their co-religionists, however, they are housed by their co-religionist and have must a cause. If their cause was to allieviate the suffering of the arabs, and it had already been solved, they would not be supported or hidden by their co-religionists. Anger and despair are the cause of terrorism. We must remember that terrorists have emotions and feelings. If jews are portrayed in a true brotherly light by allowing palestinian families to resettle, then surely some solution can be met, I know it's hard to make such predictions from this perspective but I'm just trying to point out that it's conceivable.

About 4)

My mistake about my terminology. But I would say that a good number were forced to leave by zionist group. About a million felt compelled to leave. Some couldn't return because their land was confiscated when they were in absentia.

Concerning land area, I know Israel isn't huge, but relatively speaking, it has ample resources to accomodate another million people. There are many smaller countries with higher populations - look at Bangladesh's population density! And it manages.

About 5)

A realistic, if slightly pessimistic prediction. However, if condition c. were met, (where something terrible were to happen that made any form of violence between the parties concerned an outrage) it would be possible to avoid such a scenario n'est pas?

Okla, now all we have to wait for is that terrible thing to happen. I've always been of the school of thought that something terrible will have to happen first anyway in order to facilitate peace. Something on the scale of the atrocities in lebanon...

Amino


N. Friedman - 5/26/2005

Amin,

Individuals of different cultures can no doubt get along just fine. No doubt about that.

The issues become different when groups sufficiently large to be considered a substantial political community, of very different cultures, make such attempts. The most obvious example that comes to mind is Lebanon which, since the 1940's, has not succeeded in a formula where all of the groups - and we are speaking groups divided by religion - are really or even approximately equal. That is why (a) there was a terrible civil war and (b) the solution before and after the war was to have separate voting by religious group along with assigned positions in the government (i.e. a Maronite for this job, a Sunni for that job and a Shi'a for another job). And formulas such as exist in Lebanon bode rather poorly for a civil war free future for that troubled land.

I might add: one need only look at the Arab and Muslim region's politics to know that it has no equality on offer for non-Muslims. Hence, the problems over the years for Copts in Egypt, for Christians and, even worse, for Ba'hai in Iran (and the Ba'hai have, in essence, no rights at all), for Maronites in Lebanon, for Christians in Indonesia, for Christians in Pakistan, etc., etc.. None of these places suggest Muslims being willing to treat non-Muslims as equals.

[I am not suggesting that the non-Muslims are all prepared to treat the Muslims as equals were such non-Muslims to gain political clout. The reality, however, is a part of the word that has a huge Muslim majority so the real issue is what Muslims are willing to do to afford rights to non-Muslims.]

And historically - as an effort to explain some of today's inequality -, there is the issue of the dhimma (or, in essence, the surrender pact). The very essence of the pact is that non-Muslims under a dhimma are simply not equals. Such people have conceded priveleges but never equal rights and never inherent rights and, on the best interpretation, on condition only of paying the jizha (poll tax) as, basically, protection money from a Jihad which, if the dhimma is violated, may resume (and, historically speaking, has often resumed upon perceived violations).

The dhimma relationship, from my studies, that is established can and has been called "tolerant" in the sense that the conquered peoples - really, under the pact, conquered nations - may continue to practice their religion and are not merely killed - as conquerors other than the Muslims routinely did in ancient times-.

However, the the interaction and life of non-Muslims must, in some sense, advance the interest of the Muslims as such goes to the essence of not killing off those in conquered nations who refuse to convert. And such is part and parcel of religious practice which, to me, means that such is part of the world view that a religious Muslim is taught, meaning that the just Muslim state is not one based on equality. I suggest to you that such explains, in particular, the problems that Copts and Maronites have encountered as the realm of religious has revived in the Muslim regions.

I might add: Muslim countries have more or less universally rejected the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in favor of separate declarations, which pay homage to the the sacred Shari'a view including the dhimma relationship, accepted by all of the Muslim region countries. Such strongly suggests that Jews - if it were possible to suppress the stated goals of Hamas to drive all Jews out of the region - could have no equal future in the utopia you posit unless and until Muslims change their views regarding the rights of non-Muslims under Muslim Shari'a rule.

Hence, while I agree with Adam that you express your position elegantly and with considerable persuasiveness, I do not agree with you.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/26/2005

That first statement should read as follows:
First let me say that I appreciate your sentiment and share your vision of peace in the region where all people can live regardless of creed. Nevertheless, I must respectfully disagree with you, for reasons I shall discuss below.


N. Friedman - 5/26/2005

Amin,

I would be interested in reading your thoughts on Sudan. That is a country I have followed somewhat closely. My gut reaction is that if there were a country deserving to have its government run out of town and, perhaps, tried for war crimes, it would be Sudan. The words "slavery" and "Sudan" seem to be inexorably linked, as are the words and phrases "forced conversion," "intentional deprivation of food," "massacres" and "millions dead."


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/26/2005

Amin,
First let me say that I appreciate your sentiment and share your vision of peace in the region where all people can live regardless of creed. Nevertheless, I musr respectfully disagree with you, for reason I shall discuss above.

1) “The solution isn't two states, but one, where both Jews, Muslims and followers of all other versions of God's message to mankind can live as equals, with equal rights under a unified government incorporating the interests of all parties.”

Given the hostility that we have seen between the 2 sides over the past several decades, I do not believe that any such reconciliation could be possible without massive, genocidal bloodshed. Just as Hindus and Muslims in India could not live together in peace; just as Kurds and Turks; just as the Serbians and ethnic Albanian in Kosovo; just as the numerous ethnic conflicts that plague Africa have not been alleviated by sharing a joint government, so to do I believe would be the case in any bi-national state.

For one thing, there are tremendous economic imbalances that would cause tension between the Jews and Arabs living in this state, causing resentment and violence. Second, you have both sides harboring strong nationalist feelings, which would preclude the possibility of living in any state other than one dominated by the other side. Finally, the history of the conflict is so deep, the hatred so palpable, even neutral observers descend into outrage and emotion just discussing it. No people with such a history could be put together without a degree of civil war that makes the current situation seem like paradise by comparison.

My final reason for opposing such a state is simply a personal prediction: I believe that within a few short years, such a state would certainly see an Arab majority very soon, and I have seen little in the region and among Palestinians that would lead me to believe that Jews could have any place in such a society.

http://www.jimena-justice.org/

2) “The country could be called Israel by the Jews and Palestine by the Muslims. Internationally, it could be known as the Holy land (or kingdom of heaven lol). Also, the muslims would be allowed to return to their homes/land that they were kicked out of in the 40s and 50s or be suitably (and fairly) compensated. If that happens, they will have no reason to fight, as they will have what they want and deserve in any just persons mind.”

Any such state would have to make some important decisions, like what to name the country (all of the ethnic tensions would only be exacerbated by having 2 names). As for Palestinians returning to their homes, what if those homes are currently occupied by Jews? Who shall compensate Palestinians for it? With birth rates and lack of documentation, how can one “prove” that it was once their home? Also, would not the immediate reaction of the international community be that by simply Annexing the territories, Israel really IS engaged in a land-grab?

3) “Separating the Jews and Muslims makes it easier for suicide bombers to target their "enemies". If they live in mixed communities, they will kill their co-religionists, and thus not have any way of winning their support. Therefore what I proposed above aids the disbanding of militant wings of the Palestinian parties.”

I do not believe that terrorists hold much concern for co-religionists. Certainly, many Israeli-Arabs have been killed by suicide terrorism, as have numerous Iraqis from Iraqi terrorism. I further do not believe that any such state would see any exstansive mingling, but instead there would be Jewish areas of the country and Arab areas of the country just as there exists in any multicultural society.

4) “I am sure God didn't mean for the Jews to kick out all the inhabitants of the Holy land to they could live in it. Even though it is said it was a gift to them, I'm sure it mentions in the Torah that generosity is a virtue that Jews should aspire to, so they would be doing good by sharing it. They don't lose anything as there is plenty of space.”

Actually, the Jews did not kick out all of the inhabitants. Almost 20% of Israel is non-Jewish. These are people who stayed in their homes during the war and later became full Israeli citizens. Finally, I do not agree that there is plenty of land.

The following maps demonstrate just how small Israel is (note that I do not support the text accompanying the maps, I merely post it for visual evidence).

http://www.masada2000.org/geography.html

5) “The huge military budget could be redirected to the compensation efforts and building of infrastructure in the presently Palestian controlled lands, to bring them up to the standard in presently Israeli controlled lands.”

I suspect that the military budget would be channeled into Jewish militias designed to fight off the various Arab militias that would be formed. Israel would turn into Lebanon and blood would fill the streets, of this I have very little doubt.

6) “I have nothing against any Zionists personally, I just feel they have misunderstood the real meaning of what it is to be Jewish. To follow any unadulterated religion of God means you must treat someone the way you would wish to be treated, if not better.”

I respect your position, particularly the thoughtful way that you have expressed it (an extreme rarity on these boards). Although I do not share your opinions about the solutions, or about Zionism, I certainly admire your intention.


Amin Ali Golmohamad - 5/26/2005

I would rather address this comment to Adam Moshe, as I think it is applicable to the Israel-Palestine issue we've had this discussion about.

About a solution for the Israel/Palestine etc problem, The solution isn't two states, but one, where both Jews, Muslims and followers of all other versions of God's message to mankind can live as equals, with equal rights under a unified government incorporating the interests of all parties.

I think all interests would be best served because it would allow the legalisation of jews settling in the west bank, as they would be able to buy homes in already existing cities, and live side by side with muslims as they have for centuries before the state of Israel came to being. The country could be called Israel by the Jews and Palestine by the Muslims. Internationally, it could be known as the Holy land (or kingdom of heaven lol). Also, the muslims would be allowed to return to their homes/land that they were kicked out of in the 40s and 50s or be suitably (and fairly) compensated. If that happens, they will have no reason to fight, as they will have what they want and deserve in any just persons mind.

Separating the Jews and Muslims makes it easier for suicide bombers to target their "enemies". If they live in mixed communities, they will kill their co-religionists, and thus not have any way of winning their support. Therefore what I proposed above aids the disbanding of militant wings of the Palestinian parties.

I am sure God didn't mean for the Jews to kick out all the inhabitants of the Holy land to they could live in it. Even though it is said it was a gift to them, I'm sure it mentions in the Torah that generosity is a virtue that Jews should aspire to, so they would be doing good by sharing it. They don't lose anything as there is plenty of space.

Then one would tell me that this solution is too idealistic and is unaffordable. Well consider the fact that Israel's military expenditure is gargantuan. If this kind of action as mentioned above were taken, I'm CERTAIN that the hostile nations that surround Israel would establish friendly relations and forgive the occupation. The huge military budget could be redirected to the compensation efforts and building of infrastructure in the presently Palestian controlled lands, to bring them up to the standard in presently Israeli controlled lands.

Since the Jews and Muslims would be mixing, there would be far closer community ties as there had been before Zionists stated that they had to leave to make the land "clean"(a form of ethnic cleansing in my opinion). I have nothing against any Zionists personally, I just feel they have misunderstood the real meaning of what it is to be Jewish. To follow any unadulterated religion of God means you must treat someone the way you would wish to be treated, if not better.

With that , I end this drawl of my own opinions because I really should get back to studying my anatomy.

Amin G.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/26/2005

Amin,
Your thoughts and opinions are more than welcome at HNN, and I think you make excellent points in your post. Well said.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/26/2005

1) “ownership" does not require possession in any normal definition of the word. If it did, then Jews who lost savings, life insurance, art holdings and other properties in the Holocaust could logically be deemed non-owners of their former assets, and thus entitled to no compensation.”

Peter, you make an excellent point here, although I should note that the point would have been better taken if made without the petty accusations and partisan attacks against me. In point of fact, my support for Israel is neither “blind” nor “unwavering,” nor directed against any “perverse policies.” Furthermore, there is no “blatant contradiction.” Your post is so full of such inflammatory attacks against anyone who does not 100% agree with your position, I will not respond in kind.

My statement was the following: “Whoever owns the land are those people who occupy it and can convince others to accept it.”

I am not really sure how I contradicted that in any way, shape, or form? I am talking about land ownership and you are talking about possessions. You also ignore the qualifier in my statement “and can convince others to accept it.” If you break into my house while I am gone, you do not “own it” since, although you meet the first criteria, you have not met the second. The difference is critical because numerous occupations and governments throughout history have been deemed illegitimate despite ownership. China, for example, was not recognized as the true “owners” of the land for a long time because they were Communist. Thus my logic is perfectly consistent with items stolen from Jews in the Holocaust, or any item stolen from anyone for that matter.

2) “Here your blind unwavering support for whatever perverse policies may rule in Israel leads you into a blatant contradiction… extreme pro-Israel propaganda… extreme and one-sidedness silliness”

Peter, I cannot help but ask, is the above really necessary to your point? You made the claim yourself not long ago that “most Americans getting involved in such issues are closed-minded partisans of one side or the other.” Must you demonstrate your own inclusion in this group by including personal accusations in your response rather than simply ask me to clarify my position or call me on my points, or numerous other logical responses?

Even later in your post you cannot make any rationale response without engaging in name-calling. You are correct, Peter, “most Americans getting involved in such issues are closed-minded partisans of one side or the other.” This fact, as well as the numerous exchanges on this topic throughout the HNN never ceases to hit home to me how irreconcilable the two sides really are. If 2 people not even a part of the conflict cannot communicate without displaying their contempt, what real hope exists for those parties on the ground? None, I would submit.

3) “your suggestion that the first step forward is for "an end to violent attacks against Israeli civilians" is a recycled non-starter. It amounts to the same old extreme pro-Israel propaganda which pretends that since 100% of the blame for the present mess rests with Palestinians, that nothing can be done unless they make unprecedented and probably unworkable unilateral concessions.”

You may be right, ending the terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians probably is not workable, although I do not call this action a “concession,” but an acknowledgement of human rights. If they are unable to do this, and that first step is not taken, than I maintain the conflict will never end. It will simply drag on, with the status quo being more or less maintained for the foreseeable future. However, I am confident that with a new leader dedicated to peace (rather than death) there is more hope now than ever before. It is fortunate that this new leader, Abbas, agrees with me and acknowledges the need to stop the attacks against Israel. Whether or not he can follow through with such beliefs is what we all await.

4) “One might as well say that since Israelis were unable to stop 100% of their terrorism in 1948, that they forfeit their right to statehood.”

One might, but one would be incorrect since as you know, Israel is indeed a state. The reason for this is simple: By attacking British interests in the region, Zionists made it clear that the best and cheapest thing for Britain to do was leave. Once they left, British interests will no longer be attacked. In sharp contrast, by targeting innocent men, women, and children within Israel, and by labeling the entire country as an occupation, Israelis have no reason to believe that they would be ANY safer, cheaper, or better not to have greater control over an unquestionably hostile neighbor, particularly when many advocate continuing the attacks even after they gain statehood.

The 1948 analogy would work far better if Jews in Britain began blowing up buses and cafes in London and vowing not to stop until every Jewish person who wishes it may move to Britain without qualification.

5) “The Mitchell plan and a dozen other more realistic peace proposals rely on no such extreme and one-sidedness silliness.”

Actually, the Mitchell plan calls on the PA to do exactly such “one-sidedness silliness.” Observe a passage from the report:

“We believe that the PA has a responsibility to help rebuild confidence by making it clear to both communities that terrorism is reprehensible and unacceptable, and by taking all measures to prevent terrorist operations and to punish perpetrators. This effort should include immediate steps to apprehend and incarcerate terrorists operating within the PA's jurisdiction.”

6) “Realists know that BOTH sides need to start making concessions and soon, not just one side.”

Perhaps the discussion could move along if you would tell me what you suggest Israel do and what you suggest the Palestinians do and how this can be done concomitantly.

7) “To the unprejucided, the right of Israelis to statehood and to not being "driven into the Mediterranean" is not more compelling than the right of Palestinians to a state within the West Bank bounded by something quite close to the since-1948 internationally recognized borders of Israel, and to not being ethnically cleansed into non-existence as "Jordanians".

I am curious, when you talk about the 1948 borders, are you referring to the UN partition map, or the State of Israel as it existed prior to 1967? This is very important to this discussion and would hate to think that we are actually arguing about 2 very different things here.


Amin Ali Golmohamad - 5/26/2005

It is a sad fact that most moral abstentions/boycotts/criticisms (like that of the British Association of University Teachers) are only made where people can get away with them. If someone were to take any meaningful action against the sweatshops in china, the rich shareholders will lose a fraction of their wealth; knowing their lobbying power, such inconveniences to their worldwide plunder will not occur.

In the current state of affairs, if there is no money to be made in solving a problem, then it is put on the backburner for the next election, for a politically correct but unaccountable politician makes empty promises. Any government aid that goes towards these kinds of problems is usually table scraps in the scheme of things. I make my point on this website: http://costofwar.com

This is the first time I'm posting on this site, and I'm sure most people on this site are aware that powerful countries that want moral credit try to make their case by "picking" on isolated countries that have few allies to turn to such as North Korea, Iran, Syria, libya, sudan. I'm not understating the gravity of the problems there, but these are minor on the whole when you compare it to the devastating AIDS pandemic in africa. The form of aid would be medicines, not guns and war. That doesn't help the rich government lobbyists who have investments in the armaments industry, as well as many US cabinet ministers. Please, I'm not making a case here against America, it isn't productive and I love many aspects of American culture.

So back to the point about stopping at Israel. I think that these boycotts will come of nothing. The only way they have the impact that will bring about real results will be if it's carried out on a government level, with one aim in mind, with every non-offending country making a real commitment.

At present, such a utopian environment does not exist, and very few nations have the guts to do anything meaningful to solve problems - to this, I respect the USA. No matter how corrupt their government, no matter how they conduct their military, no matter what their malintent for oil/conspiracies, no matter how much carnage they cause, I still believe they are doing their duty as the world's most powerful nation. I have faith in the fact that they will eventually learn from their mistakes and conduct future problem solving attempts with these episodes in mind.

Perhaps, the US will one day take affirmative action in the middle east to solve the Palestinian conflict - they've made an excellent start by ensuring the Palestinian authority receives funds directly, so it can conduct the duties of a real government. This in my opinion, will have more effect than any boycott ever will. Boycotts are statements, truly, but at the end of the day, they are just words. In the case of Rwanda in 1994, words wouldn't have stopped the killing. We need action, which speaks leagues louder than any boycott ever will.

When the politician with the bravery to take on whatever backlash for breaking out of the classical lip-service/non-commitant line arrives (a bit bolder than Tony Blair), world crises will truly be solved with steps that aren't backtracked every other week with repeated hostilities etc.


Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/26/2005

I would like to address the issue Peter raised: “To whom does Palestine "belong” (#61388).

Firstly, this very much depends on what land we are talking about. This is important since some view ancient Palestine as all of the territory of Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, and much of Jordon. Others view Palestine as only Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, and others still think of Palestine only as the West Bank and Gaza. It is also important to ask the question on when someone owns it since ownership was changed hands quite frequently over the course of the 20th century.

For myself, as a general guide, I will repeat an assertion that I have said elsewhere and maintain here: Whoever owns the land are those people who occupy it and can convince others to accept it. I believe that this is a fair rule that applies to every known land dispute that I can recall. Take the case of Israel: it was not enough for the Jews to occupy some land and call it a state, it needed to be accepted first. It was only when President Truman made such a recognition that the state truly came into being.

So too with the Palestinians: what land do they “own”? Clearly, they occupy much of the West Bank and Gaza and indeed much of the world accepts this as correct, although not enough for the Palestinians to feel bold enough to declare statehood. As for Israel proper, the Palestinians do not, in large number, occupy it and virtually none of the major powers on earth recognize that they have any claim to it.

The case of the United States in Iraq is irrelevant here, since we have never claimed ownership of the land and further, it is unlikely that anyone would accept it (besides, we do not “occupy it” in the sense that I am referring to here, i.e. actual civilian communities).

I would also agree wholeheartedly that there is much blame to go to all 4 sides (any moral consideration must include the actions of the British and the UN whose treatment of the situation very much set this all in motion) and I have little doubt that if this conflict were to be settled (which I find extremely unlikely anytime soon) both Israel and the Palestinians will look back at their history very differently.

Nevertheless, although the history of conflict has been made to be paramount to the current conflict, this ensures that peace will NEVER come. I believe that in history, Israel has behaved more or less proper and right, and the Palestinians have been made the victims of their own corrupt leadership, and their despotic neighbors (none of this of any fault of their own, certainly in the beginning). Nevertheless, even if I did not believe this to be the case, it changes nothing. Regardless of who was “right” or “wrong” 60 years ago or 40 years ago or 10 years ago, what does it change? To suggest that both sides are at fault equally helps nothing.

In my opinion, the first step towards peace must be an end to violent attacks against Israeli civilians (or at least some obvious signal that such attacks do not meet with the approval of the government or the people). Once that is done and the culture of death that has permeated Palestinian society has been tempered or addressed, support within Israel for the occupation will drop to a small minority and the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza will end. This will not bring peace, by any means (as I have said, history is difficult to forget or change), but it will lay the groundwork for some future relationship between the two people. That is my suspicion anyway. Frankly, I don’t see any of it happening any time soon.


N. Friedman - 5/26/2005

Omar,

I appreciate all the attention.

If you have an opinion - other than to play games with the wording of my comments - state it. Otherwise, I have nothing more to say to you.



Edward Siegler - 5/25/2005

LeVine is correct in noting that there are many cases of grave injustice that should require a response. However his recitation of these cases leaves much to be desired. For example:

What sort of boycott, and with what goal in mind, will address the American Indian's loss of land in the 19th century?

Will boycotting something until the U.S. withdraws from Iraq really help the situation there? What reason does anyone have to expect this outcome? If an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces is what Iraq wants, why hasn't the Iraqi government called for it? What makes some American university's perception of what is right more accurate than the Iraqi government's?

Boycott Israel until what? Israel stops being attacked or it stops responding to those attacks? Until the Palestinans are happy enough to stop attacking? Until the Palestinans have their own state and decide that Israel can exist after all? Until all "oppression" is ended?

Force universities to sever ties with the military? When these universities receive federal money? Is he saying the military itself is "immoral" or only some of the programs within it?

The idea that we should establish codes of ethics is a good one, but to then suggest that these codes should require a condemnation of "war, violence and oppression" is extremely broad. What about defensive war? And who defines under what circumstances this is taking place?

Solving what ails Egypt, Russia, China, ending the military and everything else is quite an ambitous program. What this "hollistic" approach requires is anyone's guess. But what it would result in is pretty clear: A boycott of just about everything everywhere.

A better approach is to choose the worst situations and ask what can be done to help. Outright genocide and extrememly severe repression, such as is occurring in the Sudan and North Korea, should merit the most urgent responses. What's taking place between Palestinians and Israelis doesn't hold a candle to these situations. The problem is that things like reaching into one's pocket to contribute to humanitarian orgnaniations or writing one's representative lacks the drama and grandstanding that a controversial boycott involves. No one has ever become a celebrity for sending a bag of wheat to North Korean refugees in China.

No, forget about that. I'm going back to ending "war, violence and oppression."


N. Friedman - 5/25/2005

Matt,

I was not attempting to claim a position that was moral. If morality were king, you can be sure that the world would not look remotely like it does today. Morality is not king so it is best to determine what makes the world function rather than merely moralizing about it.


I do not claim that the world works in a moral manner. I think you have to be blind to believe that the world functions on some great moral principle. It does not and one who wants to live in the world needs to consider that point in determining what course to take.

Hence, the Israelis must, when they act, consider that absent their force of arms, they would all be exterminated by Arab armies of invasion. And Israelis must also consider that the Arabs have economic clout by virtue of the oil resources Arab nations control and that such controls "moral" sentiment, particularly among Europeans. And, then there are a host of other things that help Israelis reach the course of action they pursue.

Can Israel's action be deemed moral? Within the parameters of a world that almost never functions on moral considerations - and most especially never functions on moral considerations where Jews are involved -, the Israelis do quite well. If measured by an absolute standard of morality, they do not do as well but, again, no worse than others faced with tough circumstances.


Matt Duss - 5/25/2005

N. Friedman, thank you for confirming the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of your position. What a clown.


N. Friedman - 5/25/2005

Correct:

The line that begins "Even if we had not agreed to settle Iraq..." should be changed to read:

Even if we had not agreed not to settle people Iraq


N. Friedman - 5/25/2005

Matt,

In principle, we could send people to live in Iraq. However, we agreed not to do so and that has decisive significance.

Even if we had not agreed to settle Iraq, the various calculatable costs of doing so to the US would be far greater than the calculatable benefits - if there are any -.

Such manner of calculus, of course, does not always come to the same result. Pursuing the conquest of North America, from the perspective of the US population, far out weighed the costs involved, which is why we proceded.

Were the calculus different about Iraq, you would be listening to assertions of principle and morality justifying the establishment of colonies. One might consider what the Europeans said to defend their conquests and settlement against the will of those they viewed as being less civilized.




Matt Duss - 5/25/2005

"My view: land belongs to the party which controls it and can prevent others from taking it. There is no such thing as indigenous owners."

By this logic, of course, Iraq belongs to the U.S. Excellent! Let's start sending settlers there immediately!


N. Friedman - 5/25/2005

In answer to Omar's question: No. I favor democracy.

My point was different. I was talking about which party controls a territory, not the form of governance established by the rulers.

Where, incidentally, have Arabs done much in terms of establishing democracies.





Marc "Adam Moshe" Bacharach - 5/25/2005

I must say that I very much enjoyed the article here. Although there are some items or statements with which I disagree (the occupation, if it is illegal, which I do not believe, it is certainly not “clearly” so), overall, the author did a wonderful job of illustrating the bias and hypocrisy in Israel-bashing.

I can assure anyone reading this that if I believed that some morality or ethics were being violated by Israel, I would gladly condemn it as strongly as I can. What I cannot support is any suggestion that these actions constitute the “worst” in the world, the “worst” in the region, and even the “worst” in the current conflict. A comparative analysis simply does not bear this out.

I would also like to address the B'Tselem article provided by Irfan Khawaja. I find much of what Israel does in the occupied territories to be awful, unjustified, and condemnable. Such is the inevitable consequence of the situation, whose natural results were evident in how quickly the occupation of Iraq has unfolded in very much the say way as the occupation of the territories, with the exception that Israel acquired the lands in a defensive war against mortal enemies who wished its destruction, whereas the United States acquired Iraq as the result of either faulty intelligence or outright deceit (or both- whichever you prefer).

Let us then condemn these practices, just as surely as we would condemn abusive practices in Iraq. My problem is that, when it comes to Israel, its very existence, indeed its very IDEA of its existence is often called into question. When the occupation is used to justify why Israel is inherently unjust, why Zionism is a racist concept, or why Jews have no regard for others’ lives, what should be a legitimate debate on policies descends into rhetorical war for ideological and moral supremacy, which helps no one.

The occupation did not result from nefarious intentions of Israel, but from the certainty of an invasion by Egypt and others. It is sustained, not because Israel is attempting a land-grab (or else it would have simply annexed the territories long ago), but because the territories are so dripping with vitriol, hate, and death, that Israel perceives occupation to be the most secure means of containing it and protecting its citizens. As I have said all too often before, end the terrorism, and you end the occupation.

All of the above being said, that does not mean that I agree with every decision made or every action taken by soldiers who are put in possibly the most stressful conditions imaginable (perhaps more so even than if they were engaged in open combat). Abuses by soldiers should not be tolerated, and abuses by the legal system or the government should not be tolerated. It is when such abuses, which exist and should be condemned in any government, transform into an argument about the historical or ideological failure of Zionism or moral repugnance of the state of Israel that I take offense.

I should also not have to point out that the very existence and prominence of B'Tselem, and its ability to fundamentally challenge virtually every Israeli actions without threat of arrest or detention is something that by itself puts it morally above the vast majority of those countries seeking Israel’s destruction.


N. Friedman - 5/25/2005

Omar,

Who does Manhattan belong to? Good question. It once belonged to an American Indian tribe. The land was allegedly sold to some Europeans by someone in the Indian tribe. In any event, Indians no longer live there in any numbers.

My view: land belongs to the party which controls it and can prevent others from taking it. There is no such thing as indigenous owners.


N. Friedman - 5/25/2005

Irfan,

Then we shall have to disagree. I do not think that Israel is guilty of "systematic violations." I think that most of what Israel does is self-defense. And, in order to understand why it is self-defense, you need to consider what the Palestinians are doing.

You will note that your claim is no better than an Israeli claiming that Palestinians simply commit barbaric acts without providing the context. One needs to consider the context. I do not think that the Palestinians have as strong a context for their acts but I do acknowledge that they have a context.

Groups like B'Tselem basically ignore context so that their allegations are, to me, impossible to screen through to determine which are important and which are mere propaganda.

That, frankly, is why I call their reports packs of lies.


N. Friedman - 5/24/2005

Irfan,

You ask me to respond to an article by people whom, in my view, lack credibility. I cannot. I do not think what they write is accurate. I think it is basically a pack of lies. So, I do not know how to respond.

Let us assume that Israel took some land. So what? Then the Israelis are like the rest of humanity. The issue, I reiterate, is to find a settlement to the dispute.

I identified the issues which explain why the dispute does not settle. I do not claim that all Palestinians are anything but rather that the trend among Palestinians - especially their leadership - prevents settlement. I think I am correct about that. No doubt the Israelis contribute as well. However, the fact that the Palestinian leadership has backtracked toward the 1950's speaks volumes, in my humble view.

Again: show me some evidence that B'Tselem is not merely making things up to advance their political agenda. Then I can respond. Otherwise, I do not quite know what to say.


N. Friedman - 5/24/2005

Irfan,

Were B'Tselem a party which carefully chronicled events, I might take seriously what they say. I think, however, that they have grossly mischaracterized events. Which is to say, I do not think their chronicle is either accurate or useful.

The situation with the Palestinians and Israelis is that both claim all of the land in issue and cannot come to terms on how to divide that land. The Palestinians - a people only in the political sense of the word (and emphasis on recent politics as in politics that responds to the West and to Israel of today but which does not really arise in connection with either traditional Arab or Muslim history) - are fighting the war of 1948.

The point made by Ari Shavit in his excellent article is that the Palestinians have reverted all the way back to the 1960's in terms of their political thinking.

Of course, the Israelis are still fighting the aftermath of WWII.

Both sides talk past each other. There is no settlement anytime soon.

The reality of Palestinian life is that it changed dramatically - up and down - with three main event: (a) 1967, (b) Oslo and (c) the current Intifadah.

Palestinians in the territories after 1967 saw - and this can all be verified - dramatic improvements in terms of life span, education and wealth. By 1988, the longevity of Palestinians in the territories was akin to that of Europeans. Educational achievement (i.e. people who went to college, etc.) was the top of the entire Muslim regions and rivaled Europe. Economically, the Palestinians made around 40% of what Israelis made (which means they did as well as average people in many European countries) and that placed Palestinians near the top of the Arab regions. Politically, they had as many rights as any Arabs outside of Israel proper.

After 1994, a fairly rapid economic decline occurred in large part but not exclusively due to Arafat's misrule. At present - and due to the war -, living standards in the territories have declined to about $1.50 or so a day which is still not at the bottom of the Arab regions (with Syria and, I believe, Egypt being even lower) - and that is during a war -.

The Palestinian negotiating position is that Israel - not Syria and Jordan which are Arab and, more than that, have a primarily Palestinian population and not the proposed Palestinian state to be - ought to take in refugees. Moreover, the Palestinians argue that Jews settled in Judea and Samaria all need to leave.

Hence, the Palestinian position is really (a) no Jews where Palestinians have the majority and (b) where Palestinians have a minority, Jews must allow more Palestinians in so that, presumably, when the Palestinians have the majority, part (a) will apply and Jews will have to leave.

I note: if the Palestinians were serious about creating a state rather than destroying Israel, (a) they would have taken up President Clinton's December 2000 bridging proposal, (b) they would not employ terrorism and (c) they would seek to settle the refugees in the Palestinian areas so that such areas might form a viable state.

On the settlement of refugees issue, recall, after all, what Israel has done to help Israel: (a) it has taken in refugees from the Arab regions (i.e. nearly a million people) and (b) taken in refugees from the USSR (i.e. also nearly a million people). Such people are one of the main reasons why Israel is a fairly rich and powerful country that is able to defend itself. Which is to say, the absorption of people makes a country more, not less, viable. So, in my view, the Palestinians would, if they really wanted a viable country, seek to take in as many people as they can manage.

Instead, the Palestinians want to destroy Israel.


N. Friedman - 5/24/2005

Omar,

The word "they" in my last sentence refers to Palestinians.


N. Friedman - 5/24/2005

Omar,

I changed my mind. I shall respond to one point you made.

You write:Mankind did not progress in any meaningful way and the same old practices are still valid and applicable to day:" Looking backwards, history is filled with groups displacing, massacring, and otherwise supplanting each other."

1. The 20th Century was probably the most brutal century on record. If it is not most brutal, it is near top of the list. I do not know what practices are still valid and which have become invalid. So far as I know, mankind still uses the same methods and practices today that were used when Muslim Turks, Kurds and Syrians butchered 1.5 million Armenians early in the 20th Century. And the same methods were employed, in the 1990's, in Sudan and in Indonesia. Those standards were used in Europe and Asia in the mid-20th Century when, during WWII, such people managed to kill 50 or so million people. And those standards were employed early in the 20th Century when Europeans managed to kill, in WWI, 20 million people. This very day, in Sudan, upwards of 5,000 people will die needlessly and the same yesterday and the day before, etc., etc., and, unless something changes, the same will happen day by day into the future. In China, it is estimated that the Cultural Revolution killed 50 - 100 million peoople in the mid-1960's. In the USSR, some 20 million people or so were butchered in the early to mid 20th Century in various purification campaigns by Stalin. I think I have left out a substantial number of large scale massacres involving millions of people. So, the world has not become gentler. If anything, the world has become more brutal. And by world standards, the Israelis are fairly gentle.

2. If man has progressed beyond massacres, displacements and the like, then presumably the Palestinians should opt for tactics suitable for that world. Which is to say, Palestinians, if the world has progressed, ought not use brutality against the Israelis. Yet they behave rather brutally.


N. Friedman - 5/24/2005

Omar,

Actually, I said that the term "occupied" is a legal, not an historical, term. I stand by that.

I did not claim that there was no dispute regarding control of Judea, Samaria, Gaza or Jerusalem. Obviously there is. However, LeVine prefers to use legal/political language instead of historical language. I see nothing wrong in responding to that.

Please note that you have mischaracterized my position. I, accordingly, have no reason to respond further unless and until you address my actual argument.


N. Friedman - 5/24/2005

Peter,

I cited to you a new analysis by a respected analyst. The analyst favors a two state solution to the dispute. What he writes is entirely consistent with what Palestinians have been saying.

Frankly, I usually just disagree you. In this case, you are simply incorrect. Ari Shavit does not make things up. Ari Shavit does not write propaganda. Ari Shavit is, like you, a leftist but an honest one. And Ha'aretz, where the article was published, is pro-dispute settlement and pro-giving the benefit of the doubt to the Palestinian Arabs. You might, before you display further ignorance on a topic about which you know exactly nothing, investigate the matter a bit more carefully. You have made a fool of yourself.



N. Friedman - 5/24/2005

Peter,

The assumption you have is that Gaza, Samaria and Judea "belong" to a people called the "Palestinians" and that such "people" are actually being robbed. That, frankly, simply is not the case.

Closer to the truth, there is a dispute between peoples with competing claims to the same land. And the Palestinian Arabs, in fact, claim all of the land and are unwilling to do anything to resolve the dispute. In fact, they are willing to do far less than the Israelis are willing to do.

See this article about the position now adopted by the "Palestinian" leadership. It is a throwback to the Arab League position of the 1950's and 1960's.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/578339.html


N. Friedman - 5/24/2005

Professor,

Looking backwards, history is filled with groups displacing, massacring, and otherwise supplanting each other. As you may be aware, the Arabs are serial abusers - although they are hardly unique although they are rather exemplery -.

More logically, your argument should be that what is done is done. The dead cannot be brought back to life. That is as true for the American Indians as it is for Armenians or Jews. Alternatively, you must apply the same standards to all conquerers including the Arabs. They, after all, have a claim only to Arabia.

In any event, the Palestinian Arabs, in the scheme of things, have not been wiped out. At most, some Palestinian Arabs, had they not chosen to be pawns in refugee camps, were displaced within 5 to 20 miles from their original homes. It is as if one were expelled from Hartford and were resettled in New Haven. That is a pretty minor offense in the scheme of what has happened to people on this Earth. It is not even as bad as what happened to Jews in Arab countries in response to Israel's coming to be. Nor is it worse than the dozens of expulsions and massacres and famines that Jews suffered under Muslim rule.

As for the "occupation," I think that is a legal term masquerading as historical analysis. Historically speaking, the Jews and the local Arabs of historic Palestine are two groups of people who could not come to terms on joint rule and thus now have competing claims to the same land.

The notion, on the other hand, that the "occupation" is illegal is a question for lawyers which, frankly, you are not one. Not to go too legal on you, but the very fact that UN 242, the controlling legal document, does not even refer to Israel's control of the Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Jerusalem or the Golan Heights (or anywhere else) as an "occupation" but instead speaks of the parties to the 1967 war reaching terms on secure boundaries and recognized boundaries, among other things, ought to tell you that, absent agreement by the parties on what are secure and recognized boundaries, the "occupation" - something not even part of UN 242 - could not be possibly be considered illegal. I know. I know. You will find a psuedo lawyer who says something different. Please!

If the Palestinian Arabs want to help their cause, then they ought to adopt a settlement proposal that is intended actually to promote a state. Thus, proposing that Israel take in millions of people who, if the Palestinian Arabs were remotely serious about setting up a state, are needed in the state of Palestine - not in Israel, if the state of Palestine is to be viable, speaks volumes about the Palestinian cause. Such proposal strongly suggests that the Palestinian Arabs have one and one goal only: to destroy Israel. And that is why the Palestinian Arabs use tactics which are so very violent. They mean what they have meant since the late 1930's, which is, they mean to throw the Jews into the sea.

As for boycotts, the Israelis have not done anything which any other country, faced with an uprising, would not do. By the standards of Europe, the Israelis have been gentle. By American standards even, the Israelis have been gentle. Which is to say, the very examples you provide are so much worse than anything Israel has done that the notion of a boycott of Israel would only occur to an antisemite.



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