Israel

But Our War Crimes Were Heroic and Honorable

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Hezbollah is angry about a new Human Rights Watch report that condemns the group's rocket attacks on civilians during last year's war with Israel. Since Hezbollah deliberately launched thousands of anti-personnel rockets into Israeli towns and bragged about doing so, it cannot very well deny that it committed war crimes. Instead, its leaders argue that Human Rights Watch should save its criticism for Israel, whose air attacks on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon killed far more civilians than Hezbollah's crappy rockets did.

But Human Rights Watch, which plans to release what will undoubtedly be a scathing report about Israel's conduct during the war next week, insists this is not a numbers game and that two wrongs don't make a right: Deliberate or indiscriminate attacks on civilians are always wrong. "The fact that more Israeli civilians didn't die is not a tribute to Hezbollah but a tribute to Israeli bomb shelters," says Sarah Leah Whitson, director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa division. "The point we're making is that even though they say 'only 43 Israeli civilians were killed' that doesn't make it OK."

Israel's war with Hezbollah was disastrous in several ways, not least because of the many innocent people it killed. To the extent that the Israeli government could have reduced or avoided those deaths (by responding to Hezbollah's initial cross-border raid in a less dramatic fashion, for example), it is culpable for them. And even if the invasion and air campaign had made sense, there are reasons to question some of Israel's judgments about which targets to attack and how. But Israel was at least ostensibly attacking legitimate military targets and inadvertently killing civilians in the process, as opposed to deliberately targeting civilians, which strikes me as an important moral distinction. To put it another way, the IDF considers killing civilians a mark of shame, while Hezbollah wears it like a badge of honor, which is why its leaders are dismayed by the criticism from Human Rights Watch.

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  1. two wrongs don’t make a right

    But three lefts do.

  2. You gotta love the rationalizing power of modern human beings. We’ve actually come up with “acceptable” ways of inflicting mass destruction and death against either other.

    The whole concept of war crimes is BS. There is no “important moral distinction” between killing soldiers and civilians – aside from the way it soothes the conscience.

  3. “There is no “important moral distinction” between killing soldiers and civilians”

    I’m sorry but that’s crazy talk.

    So if I’m attacked by an armed robber it’s ok to shoot you to show him I mean business?

  4. But Israel was at least ostensibly attacking legitimate military targets and inadvertently killing civilians in the process, as opposed to deliberately targeting civilians, which strikes me as an important moral distinction.

    And right there is where you lose all credibility in my eyes. Israel’s disregard for all Palestinians is every bit as contemptible as Hezbollah’s honor in killing. While your two wrongs don’t make a right point is valid, never the less, Israel’s overwhelming military capabilities, their willingness to use them, and the resulting numbers of casualties, places the greater culpability at their feet. As opposed to the struggling resistance against an oppressive regime.

  5. I’d still like Israel to explain how bombing the hell out of Beirut accomplished anything when their enemy was at the other end of the country!

  6. Didn’t the US media pornographically display a “body count” during the vietnam war?

  7. So if I’m attacked by an armed robber it’s ok to shoot you to show him I mean business?

    This is a remarkably apt analogy to a certain situation that happened in September a few years back and our response to that event.

  8. Answer: There is no “important moral distinction” between killing soldiers and civilians – aside from the way it soothes the conscience.

    Question: What is the most likely comment from a snivelling troll regarding moral justification?

  9. Warren,

    Jeez, have you been taking an agitprop creative writing course?

  10. I’m sorry but that’s crazy talk.

    So if I’m attacked by an armed robber it’s ok to shoot you to show him I mean business?

    I’m saying that if you decide to declare war on a country, you’re saying that you’re going to do whatever you have to do in order to bend that country to your will. Coming up with moral rules for attacking a group is rationalization.

    Also, sometimes there is a strategic reason to kill “civilians” – today’s citizen is tomorrow’s solider, for example. Plus, the line is often very vague. Is someone who works in a factory that produces fighter jets a civilian or part of the military?

  11. de stijl,

    Which response? Invading Afghanistan?

  12. StupendousMan,

    The one after Afghanistan.

  13. “…whatever you have to do”

    Well then Israel should use tac nukes.

  14. Also, sometimes there is a strategic reason to kill “civilians” – today’s citizen is tomorrow’s solider, for example.

    You are so full of shit.

    Plus, the line is often very vague. Is someone who works in a factory that produces fighter jets a civilian or part of the military?

    Civilian casualities from strategic bombing of a factory is not equivalent in any way to civilian deaths from indescriminent shelling of residential areas.

    Go away Dan, you have worn out your welcome.

  15. I think I’m with Dan T. on this one. War is war is war is killing people is murder. Just because the guy or gal doing the killing or getting killed is in a uniform, that doesn’t make it morally purer. It’s not better because the intentions of a state are behind it.

  16. There is a kernel of truth to what Dan says.

    If you attack an enemy/country/area, you are going to do damage. That’s war. You cannot expect perfection in terms of civilian/non-civilian casualty ratios. And for people to expect perfection is asinine.

    That being said, those who attempt–within reasonable limits–to reduce those ratios and have the minimum number or non-combatant casualties can be viewed as trying to take a more moral approach.

    However, nothing changes the fact that WAR=DEATH. The kernel of truth in Dan’s statement is that no matter what you do to reduce civilian casualties, you’re still killing people.

    That’s why you don’t get involved in war if you can at all help it.

  17. From the HRW report that Jacob linked:

    “Human Rights Watch said that in some instances Israel located its own fixed and mobile military assets in or near civilian areas of northern Israel…”

    You can pretty much rest assured that FOX news won’t mention this bit if they report on the HRW report.

  18. Dan T, et al.

    Again, China does not own most or even a large amount of our national debt.

    When politicians talk about the scary mainland Chinese controlling our economy, its demagoguery of the first order.

  19. Whoops, wrong thread.

  20. What I’m trying to get across is that war is an amoral exercise. You do whatever you have to do to win. If you think that killing enemy civilians is going to help you win, you do it.

    Also remember that it’s only a “war crime” if you lose. Nobody can enforce war crime punishments on the winner.

  21. Hi#,

    “War is war is war is killing people is murder.”

    Um, no. Killing people is not necessarily murder despite your confusing the two.

  22. Dan T,

    So if you find yourself at war, don’t waste time, whip out the nukes. It’s all the same, right?

  23. Nobody can enforce war crime punishments on the winner.

    A 3rd party with more military might than the winner can.

  24. Dan T,

    So if you find yourself at war, don’t waste time, whip out the nukes. It’s all the same, right?

    That was our strategy to finish off WWII, and it seemed to work pretty well. Despite the hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths involved.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocting overkill. No need to use nukes when less drastic measures will do the job. But the main reason we never really went to war with the Russians was the mutual knowledge that both sides were willing to use nukes despite our alleged moral qualms about killing civilians.

  25. A 3rd party with more military might than the winner can.

    That’s true, I suppose. But traditionally I believe the concept of war crime has been used by the winners to punish the losers.

  26. kohlrabi,
    Sorry. I do, of course, make a distinction between murder and self-defense. I also believe that this distinction is often intentionally blurred by states when they choose to wage war.

  27. I would have gone with “But our war crimes are cheeky and fun.”

  28. From the NYT story that Jacob linked:

    “More than 1,200 Lebanese, most of them civilians, and 128 Israelis, many of them soldiers, were killed in the monthlong war.”

  29. As Jacob pointed out, the lack of Israeli civilian casualties has more to do with bomb shelters than it does careful Hezbollah aiming. Actually, Hezbollah’s unsophisticated weaponry doesn’t afford much careful aiming anyway, does it?

  30. Is there a distinction between killing civilians and killing soldiers?

    I think so. The civilian is unarmed and defenseless. The soldier is armed, trained, and attempting to kill the one who kills him.

    I would like to hear our Muslim posters comments on Hesbollah’s statement. As far as I know, the Prophet made strict prohibitions against killing civilians.

  31. War is hell. That’s why I fully support banning war. Instead, we should resolve all conflicts by one-on-one battles between giant robots, piloted by “jox”.

  32. Hizbollah’s views and actions concerning HRW are disgraceful. Long time readers of H&R know I oppose Israel’s 1967 war gains and occupation, and vehemently opposed their actions against Lebanon. They were disgraceful. But the idea that two wrongs don’t make a right is exactly what makes me condemn Israel’s actions, it’s Israels fanatical supporters who make this argument (“well they started it so we get to blow up everything we want and keep anything we take now” seems to be their ethical principle). Hizbollah are a bunch of authoritarian jerks who often commit what amounts to war crimes, and they acted in line with what they are during the recent fighting.
    Now as to this comment:
    “But Israel was at least ostensibly attacking legitimate military targets and inadvertently killing civilians in the process, as opposed to deliberately targeting civilians, which strikes me as an important moral distinction.” That is dubious at best. Israel’s attacks were way over the top and caused a far disporpportionate amount of civilian deaths as well as infrastructure damage. And Israel had far better weaponry which could give them more precision, so they certainly have no excuse. Of course, one can’t blame Jacob for kowtowing, as those who criticize Israel often find themselves punished by it’s fanatical supporters:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/11/arts/11depa.htmlex=1339214400&en=ed585a1989381dc7&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
    I also disagree with Dan T. There is a moral difference in killing a combatant. The combatant is at least ostensibly engaged in trying to harm you and your nation, and the civilian is less able to fight back and protect him or herself. In the case of the Lebanese fighting I could add that many of the civilians killed had little or nothing to do with Hizbollah (in fact many probably were aligned with rivals of it, just another reason why Israel’s actions were so senseless and immoral).

  33. Jacob:

    …attacking legitimate military targets and inadvertently killing civilians in the process, as opposed to deliberately targeting civilians, which strikes me as an important moral distinction.

    It seems a critical moral distinction. Thankfully, Hezbollah isn’t getting any of our tax money. Too bad the Israeli government is.

  34. Game Show Host | August 31, 2007, 11:23am | #

    Answer: There is no “important moral distinction” between killing soldiers and civilians – aside from the way it soothes the conscience.

    Question: What is the most likely comment from a snivelling troll regarding moral justification?

    Gimme time and I will come up with a better one.

  35. For anyone who sees little difference between killing soldiers and civs — does that mean that you consider yourself a legitimate target for Iraqis?

  36. Hezbollah = civilians when they aren’t holding weapons.

  37. A,

    But three lefts do.

    Saying that caused the last big whippin’ that I ever got from my dad.

    Ahhh, memories.

  38. “For anyone who sees little difference between killing soldiers and civs — does that mean that you consider yourself a legitimate target for Iraqis?”

    Does the fact that we are a democracy, and have elected the government that had invaded Iraq have relevance? Lets face it, we are responsable for the Iraq situation. Our elected leaders send our troops and pay for it with our tax dollars.

  39. An expansionist ethnic democracy vs. a terrorist group from sectarian democracy.

    I’ll take none of the above, thanks.

  40. Does the fact that we are a democracy, and have elected the government that had invaded Iraq have relevance?

    No. I’m simply asking if those who hold that view think it works both ways.

    The citizens of Iraq had no such choice, after all.

  41. Thomas Paine’s Goiter:

    Saying that caused the last big whippin’ that I ever got from my dad. Ahhh, memories.

    Well, I was a “Spock child” (as in Dr. Spock). My sister and I were never spanked or hit in any manner, or even yelled at-Just talked to, and talked and talked and talked…

  42. An expansionist ethnic democracy

    given the massive shrinkage over the past 40 years, they seem to be pretty shitty at expansionism.

  43. My sister and I were never spanked or hit in any manner, or even yelled at-Just talked to, and talked and talked and talked…

    Now THAT’s cruelty. I bet they tried to reason with you, too. Used the Socratic method. You poor kid!

    😉


  44. given the massive shrinkage over the past 40 years, they seem to be pretty shitty at expansionism.

    I wouldn’t call giving up the Gaza Strip “massive”.

  45. edna

    I believe Cesar was referring to the Israelis. The “sectarian democracy” is supposed to be Hesbollah, although I wasn’t aware that the Mullahs stood for election.

  46. The “sectarian democracy” is supposed to be Hesbollah, although I wasn’t aware that the Mullahs stood for election.

    They do, Hezbollah has seats in Parliament.

    I call it sectarian because the Parliament, cabinet, and President is apportioned according to religious factions.

    Also, the census they use is a 30-40 year old one that vastly over-states the numbers of Christians and Sunnis and understates the numbers of Shias.

    I think the folks in California, Texas, and Florida would be pretty pissed if the House of Representatives and the Electoral College was based on the 1960 census.

  47. For anyone who sees little difference between killing soldiers and civs — does that mean that you consider yourself a legitimate target for Iraqis?

    I guess I’m saying that it matters not.

  48. And I mean Lebanon, not Hezbollah.

  49. I wouldn’t call giving up the Gaza Strip “massive”.

    you might be conveniently forgetting a minor bit of desert called “sinai.” that’s ok, i’ll meet you for drinks at sharm el sheikh.

  50. Edna-

    Do you have any objections to Israel living completely within its pre-1967 borders and sharing Jerusalem?

  51. Cesar

    Sorry, I assumed you referred to Hesbollah as they were the subject of Jacob’s post.

    The problem with the ‘1967’ borders is that they were the result of the 1948 War, which in turn was a result of the Balfour declaration, which in turn was… etc.

    There is no “just” solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and there are plenty of wrongs on both sides. I wish the US, Britain, France, Canada, Russia & everyone else would:

    A: Stay the hell out of it. &
    B: Stop selling armaments to either side.

    My great fear is that the outcome will be another genocide. I’m not completely sure who will be the executioner and who the victim, but the numerical odds do not favor the Israelis.

  52. “Do you have any objections to Israel living completely within its pre-1967 borders and sharing Jerusalem?”

    These types of questions get to me. Do you actually think attacks against Israel would cease?

    Why should Israel act in a way that makes them more vulnerable? To make critics with no real stake in the matter happy?

  53. c- sharing with whom? the same guys who barred all jewish entry pre-’67? why ’67 and not ’49? or ’19? or some other magic date? 1066? what’s magic about the cease-fire lines established when jordan and egypt occupied gaza and the west bank?

    my own impractical idealism notwithstanding, i would think that a better solution is to cede most of the west bank, incorporate jerusalem and the contiguous suburbs, then cede some ’49-’67 israeli territory to make the sums add up to 100%.

    anything the palestinian arabs get is a gain, since they have not ruled themselves since… umm…. ever.

  54. These types of questions get to me. Do you actually think attacks against Israel would cease?

    No. Are they ceasing now even with the occupation?

    Withdraw, and if they attacks really get that much worse (I doubt they would, Palestinians seem more content to fight with each other) they go back in.

    c- sharing with whom?

    A Palestinian state.

    I didn’t ask if the borders were logical,
    I asked what would be the objection to it?


  55. my own impractical idealism notwithstanding, i would think that a better solution is to cede most of the west bank, incorporate jerusalem and the contiguous suburbs, then cede some ’49-’67 israeli territory to make the sums add up to 100%.

    So, you exchange a city that is very important to many Palestinians for pieces of desert?

  56. Aresen:

    Now THAT’s cruelty. I bet they tried to reason with you, too. Used the Socratic method. You poor kid!

    Exactly! You too? Transgressions would require a conversation about why what I did was a wrong thing to do. To demonstrate that I understood, they would end wih me either giving a little talk or answering question on the type of transgression involved.

    It was asking a lot for an 8 y/o kid to explain all the property rights and water damage ramifications germane to putting his little sister’s toy oven into the swimming pool before he could go out and play again.

    As I had no experience with corporal punishment, I remember one time I saw a friend get spanked by his Mom and it freaked ME out!

  57. So, you exchange a city that is very important to many Palestinians for pieces of desert?

    yes. it’s not like there’s no place in the west bank important to israelis. and if “important to many palestinians” is the critereon, then all of israel must be ceded, n’est ce pas?

  58. yes. it’s not like there’s no place in the west bank important to israelis. and if “important to many palestinians” is the critereon, then all of israel must be ceded, n’est ce pas?

    The West Bank is by far majority Palestinian. The pre-1967 borders are by far majority Jewish. Thats why I say 1967 borders.

    I’m not familiar with the demographics of Jerusalem, but I bet the numbers of Palestinians and Israelis are pretty close.

  59. And I’d be willing to bet West Jerusalem is majority Jewish, East Jerusalem majority Arab.

  60. Rick Barton

    Exactly! You too?

    Not exactly. Sometimes they lost it and hauled out ‘the strap’ (standard school issue – my mother taught school for several years).

    I pushed the limits. Really pushed the limits.

    Of course, that was before I figured out how to tell lies that couldn’t be checked.

  61. I think so. The civilian is unarmed and defenseless. The soldier is armed, trained, and attempting to kill the one who kills him.

    Except, sometimes the conscript is a scared 18 year old kid who’ll be shot if he doesn’t join up, shot if he retreats and shot if he tries to surrender. And insurgent fighters, even if they’re bloodthirsty and armed to the teeth, are civilians.

    Soldier/civilian is a legal designation, not a moral one.

  62. To put it another way, the IDF considers killing civilians a mark of shame…

    It is against the official rules of course, but given the corrosive nature of war it may not be that big of a deal to the average Israeli soldier.

    Anyway, I personally don’t buy into either group’s story about themselves. Then again, I am a rather cynical person.

  63. Thugs like Hezbollah – and ones who think that they and their wars are annointed by God – always respond to criticism by human rights groups (ICRC, AI, HRW) by saying they should have criticized their enemies instead.

    So, how are Baghram, Gitmo, and Abu Ghraib doing, anyway?

  64. When Israel deliberately takes down a multistory building with a couple dozen occupied housing units in it, because there are military targets in the basement, that’s not the accidental killing of civilians. When they respond to criticism with, “Hey, that’s what they get for putting the missile tubes in the basement,” they make it clear that the civilian deaths were intended to teach a lesson.

    Anyone think it would be good, clean, honorable soldiering to drop a skyscraper in Manhattan that houses an Army recruiting office on the ground floor?

  65. I’m saying that if you decide to declare war on a country, you’re saying that you’re going to do whatever you have to do in order to bend that country to your will.

    Dan T., there is a difference between declaring war because the other side bombed Pearl Harbor, and declaring war because (insert snarky Iraq reference here). Yeah, yeah, FDR tried to provoke the attack, but fighting back is not the same as picking the fight.

  66. So, how are Baghram, Gitmo, and Abu Ghraib doing, anyway?

    Uh, prosecutions and prison sentences.

    Of course, not for anyone with real authority.

  67. Except, sometimes the conscript is a scared 18 year old kid who’ll be shot if he doesn’t join up, shot if he retreats and shot if he tries to surrender.

    Very good point, which is why libertarians oppose conscription.

    And insurgent fighters, even if they’re bloodthirsty and armed to the teeth, are civilians.

    Definitely false. If they have taken up arms for a social, political or nationalist cause, they are soldiers, even if they are conscripted like your first group. Uniforms are nothing more than a means of telling “your guys” from “our guys”.

  68. joe lite,

    You do know that Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Red Cross have all found torture being frequently used in all three of those military prisons, right?

    Did you manage not to know that, or do you just not care?

    Hey, they’re just biased against the US. Why don’t they ever criticize Cuba and Iraq?

  69. “For anyone who sees little difference between killing soldiers and civs — does that mean that you consider yourself a legitimate target for Iraqis?”

    Does the fact that we are a democracy, and have elected the government that had invaded Iraq have relevance? Lets face it, we are responsable for the Iraq situation. Our elected leaders send our troops and pay for it with our tax dollars.

    We are not the government. The government is a gang of thugs who rob us and generally do immoral things with the proceeds. We don’t voluntarily pay taxes — we do it or else — and we don’t get to individually choose which of a selection of governments (Republican / Democrat / Libertarian / None) we will send our voluntary taxes to in return for the services we choose to subscribe to. Blaming us for the evil deeds of politicians is wrong, unless the particular “us” in question is someone who supported a particular politician because they knew they’d do the evil deed in question, and supported that bad act.

    Don’t buy into the big lie, and blame the victim.

  70. joe, yes torture is being used by the US military. This has been widely critized by many in the US population (including many libertarians).
    The publicity and criticism has resulted in the prosecution of many low-level military personel.

    Clearly these prosecutions do not go far enough, but we can at least expect the practice of torture to end when the US population puts a new administration in place. This is what makes the US different than Cuba and Iraq.

  71. Good-bye joe, I do not plan to think of you for the next four days.

  72. joe lite,

    You’ve defined your whole Hit&Run persona based on another commenter with whom you disagree. Don’t you think that is kind of lame?

  73. Better than Iraq and Cuba != Beyond criticism.

    The publicity and criticism has resulted in the prosecution of many low-level military personel. != justice done, nor torture policies renounced.

    BTW, there has never been a case brought against anyone at Gitmo for mistreating prisoners.

  74. The civilian is unarmed and defenseless.

    Speak for youself.

  75. robc | August 31, 2007, 3:46pm | #

    The civilian is unarmed and defenseless.

    Speak for youself.

    Point to you.

    Thanks for the chuckle.

  76. Edna et al
    Do you think it is morally justified for one nation to occupy land and peoples they gained control over in a war, yes even in a defensive war, against their consent? I don’t think you’d even consider that to be just if this were not Israel we were talking about.

  77. If you attack me in the street, after I defeat you in self defense do I get to live in your house and tell your spouse and kids what to do?

  78. “To put it another way, the IDF considers killing civilians a mark of shame, ”

    It?s not.

  79. “We are not the government.”

    Yes we are.

    We put the government in place, we decide who is elected. The American people could all go and vote for a repeal of the income tax amendment. We could vote for a party that does not allow the millitary to be more than 10,000 people unless we are actually in a declared war. If you don’t think we are still in charge do you vote, and if so why?

  80. joe lite,

    You’ve defined your whole Hit&Run persona based on another commenter with whom you disagree. Don’t you think that is kind of lame?

    Yes

  81. When Israel deliberately takes down a multistory building with a couple dozen occupied housing units in it, because there are military targets in the basement, that’s not the accidental killing of civilians.

    True, though I think it is allowed under the Geneva Conventions.

    When they respond to criticism with, “Hey, that’s what they get for putting the missile tubes in the basement,” they make it clear that the civilian deaths were intended to teach a lesson.

    But is it a bad lesson? Is it an immoral act?

  82. Not quite sure if this point has already been raised (I’m frankly too lazy to check), but there is an important distinction between the military and civilians. Civilians don’t ask to be put in danger; soldiers, to some degree, (especially volunteer forces) do when they sign up. Or at least they realize that they may have to face the possibility of losing their lives because of their profession.

  83. Mr. Niceguy,

    Do you think it is morally justified for one nation to occupy land and peoples they gained control over in a war, yes even in a defensive war, against their consent?

    Well, no, but sometimes it just sorta happens. Israel found itself in control of the land it overran when it counter-attacked countries that hat attacked it, or pre-empted attacks from forces massed on their border. The U.S. found itself in control of the Phillipines and Puerto Rico that same way – except in our case, the military threat wasn’t even that real.

    That’s the thing about empire – it can creep up on you, without you even desiring or being aware of it. And then it becomes tough to know what to do next.

    This is why we need to make a conscious effort to avoid becoming an empire; why the preceding statement was made without the slightest note of denunciation about the goodness of the United States; and why responding to the charge that a certain policy or war is imperialistic by noting the United States is not an evil, enslaving country misses the point so badly.

  84. joe

    I think I agree with your 5:52 post. (The last paragraph is a bit of a run-on sentence.)

    I think democracies have an unconcious incentive to Empire: They view their way of government as inherently superior and, by [false) extension, themselves as superior. While every nation and people tend to view themselves as superior, the visible failings of non-democratic forms of rule tend to encourage this view in democratic peoples.

  85. Do you think it is morally justified for one nation to occupy land and peoples they gained control over in a war, yes even in a defensive war, against their consent?

    there’s some complex issues of philosophy there. i don’t do philosophy, it gives me the shpulkies.

    but do please remember, the inhabitants of the west bank and gaza have never had consensual government. the land was occupied by jordan and egypt, before that by britain, before that by turkey… and though i know that you will strongly disagree with this, the israelis would love to figure out a way not to be occupying the west bank (other than jerusalem), but still be able to maintain reasonable security for its citizens. as joe correctly implies and their actions vis a vis egypt and the aborted clinton accords demonstrate, there is no great desire among israelis and their government for empire.

    as to your second question, you’d be wrong. i have certainly been vocal here about the immorality of the occupation of kurdistan and how badly those people have been screwed by the iraqis and turks.

  86. edna

    I would agree with your point about the Israelis not wanting to occupy the West Bank. (I’m thinking of the majority of Israelis, not the hard-core Likudists who consider everything between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean as Israel’s God-Given territory).

    However, the nub of it is “security for their citizens”. For good reason, past and present, the Israelis fear relying on the goodwill of others for their survival.

    I don’t have a solution, but it seems to be one of those situations where “you can’t stay where you are, but there’s no place else to go.”

  87. When they respond to criticism with, “Hey, that’s what they get for putting the missile tubes in the basement,” they make it clear that the civilian deaths were intended to teach a lesson.

    But is it a bad lesson? Is it an immoral act?

    Yes and yes

  88. areson, exactly. the hard-core occupationists, despite the volume of newsprint devoted to them, are an extremely small and unpopular minority there, even within likud.

  89. edna,

    as joe correctly implies and their actions vis a vis egypt and the aborted clinton accords demonstrate, there is no great desire among israelis and their government for empire.

    Let’s be accurate here – there is no great desire among most Israelis for empire. There is a significant minority – a minority large enough to occasionally control the government, as under Ariel Sharon – who believe that it is their birthright as Jews and Israel’s right and duty as the Jewish state to grab and settle a little empire in the “Biblical Land of Israel.” There most certainly is a purposeful imperialist mindset among the settler movement.

    Now, these loons most certainly are not all Israelis, or even most of them – despite what their stateside apologists claim.

  90. …which, I see, is a point you already made.

    Well.

    All right then.

  91. Edna
    That the inhabitants of the occupied territories were under non-consensual governments is only relevant if Israel gave them a consensual government asap. They did and have not, and so you have two wrongs again and no rights (Jordan and Syria not letting the inhabitants have a voice in government [I think all the non-democratic governments in the Middle East, and elsewhere, are non-legitimate]) and Israel militarily occupying and ruling the inhabitants without their consent). So Israel is just in the wrong. I see what joe is saying, Israel did not just launch an attack and take these lands, it was complicated and they suddenly had them, and they have these very legitimate security concerns. But we still have a wrong, a plain out wrong, though one where we can better sympathize with the wrongdoer. Can you not just say it’s wrong to occupy a people militarily without their consent, even if the conquest came in a defensive war? I think you know it is, you just (rightly) think Israel is an unusually sympathetic wrongdoer here and perhaps (wrongly) feel that any criticism of Israel will be bad.
    Of course most Israeli’s are decent people and they don’t want to plunder the Middle East or the world. But I do think there are more people over there, especially policy makers, who currently and historically saw the occupations as possible “opportunities.” The whole “facts on the ground” actions suggest that…

  92. Do you think it is morally justified for one nation to occupy land and peoples they gained control over in a war, yes even in a defensive war, against their consent?

    That is arguably how almost every nation on earth came into being. Nations are generally formed at the point of a sword or gun, over the severe objections of some of the populace.

  93. Let me add something. I know that some people are reluctant to criticize Israel because they feel it will feed anti-Semitism. I think that it may, but we cannot let fear of anti-Semites keep us from recognizing immoral behavior in an ally that we are materially supporting (I also think NOT criticizing Israel feeds more anti-Semites). I also think that those who criticize Israel, but not China over Tibet or Turkey over Kurdistan are suspect (I am strongly opposed to those as well). I also think it should be obvious that Israel is a democracy with civil liberties unheard of in that region, and in that sense they are akin to us and deserve a special place in our hearts and maybe policy.
    But their occupation of the post-1967 lands is immoral and illegal and we should exert whatever pressure we can responsibly to end it. And I think that is way more than we have done.

  94. “We are not the government.”

    Yes we are.

    We put the government in place, we decide who is elected. The American people could all go and vote for a repeal of the income tax amendment. We could vote for a party that does not allow the millitary to be more than 10,000 people unless we are actually in a declared war. If you don’t think we are still in charge do you vote, and if so why?

    Trollaphile — you’re using the collective “we” on an individualist website. Check your premises, and try replacing “we” with “I” throughout your post and see if it still makes sense. I didn’t put the government in place, other people did. Virtually no politician will consider proposing repealing the income tax, although a substantial portion of the populace supports that. With the exception of Ron Paul, I can pretty much guarantee that no politician on the next ballot I pull will support a smaller military. I will leave most of my ballot blank, because there will be no one there who represents my viewpoint. My blank votes — my statement that no one running is fit to take office — will not be counted, even if the blank votes exceed the number cast. I vote to protest having a government that rules without my consent, and that is not based on voluntary subscriptions.

    The government is composed of politicians, not the voters or non-voters, almost always elected by a process where the overwhelming majority of the people eligible to vote did not vote for them. “We” are not the government. That is the big lie that statists use to justify their theft and tyranny.

  95. a minority large enough to occasionally control the government

    let’s be clear, joe- because of the really dysfunctional parliamentary system of the knesset, “large enough” means 3-4%. the popular support for the religious wackos there is extremely small, thank goodness.

    mng, you use so many buzzwords and fuzzy terms that i have trouble responding adequately. let’s go at some of the more specific bits.

    Can you not just say it’s wrong to occupy a people militarily without their consent, even if the conquest came in a defensive war?

    often yes, but not always. it’s very unusual that a military occupation is defensive, i’ll grant you, but unusual does not equal impossible.

    perhaps (wrongly) feel that any criticism of Israel will be bad.

    i would challenge you to find anything i’ve written here to support that statement. i strongly disagree with many of israel’s policies, but to be fair, i’m not the one out there with several million people who want me dead. i’m safely in napa valley where there are very few fundamentalist muslims, so have the luxury to armchair quarterback. and my loyalties are to the usa, the country which generously took in my family and saved them from death at the hands of europeans, so when israel’s policies conflict with america’s best interests, i tend to be more than a bit biased in favor of the home team.

    But I do think there are more people over there, especially policy makers, who currently and historically saw the occupations as possible “opportunities.”

    the record does not support this. “land for peace” has worked when the people to whom the land is ceded intend peace. and when sufficient bribes are paid, of course. unfortunately, we’re the ones paying those bribes.

    i still favor the “edna plan” for that region. i also favor a whole lot less attention by the world- it’s astonishing to me that a petty regional spat involving an astonishingly small proportion of that region’s land area and population can generate so much attention and hot air.

  96. Anyone think it would be good, clean, honorable soldiering to drop a skyscraper in Manhattan that houses an Army recruiting office on the ground floor?

    If (for example) NY and NJ were at war, and the NY office was shelling NJ, then NJ has the right to take it out, civilians be damned. Israel wasn’t destroying every multistory building with a basement that could be used to store weapons, it was destroying buildings that were also being used as firebases to launch artillery into Israel. Any “civilians” that are still around are either Hezbollah agents without uniforms (so their deaths exaggerate civilian death statistics), civilians cooperating with Hezbollah by acting as “human shields” or providing other material support, civilians coerced into acting as human shields, or civilians too stupid to realize that firebases are military targets or too arrogant to believe that mere Jews would kill them. Only the the third get any sympathy from me.

  97. i still favor the “edna plan” for that region. i also favor a whole lot less attention by the world- it’s astonishing to me that a petty regional spat involving an astonishingly small proportion of that region’s land area and population can generate so much attention and hot air.

    Well, we definitely agree on something then. I think its mostly because the religious fanatics–Jewish, Muslim, and even Christian that keep us focused on this tiny strip of desert near the Mediterranean.

    And thats why I’m glad I’m an atheist!

  98. I’ll blame a citizen for the government s/he lives under just as soon as s/he has significant control over it.

    And, no, voting doesn’t count. Neither does wishing upon a star, casting spells, or thinking positive thoughts.

  99. (

    Especially for aresen and Rick Barton)

    One of the most obnoxious ideas in parenting is “I don’t care who started it..” It TOTALLY matters who started it. I always asked my kids “Who hit first?” Because if you want to teach fairness to your kids this has to be crucial and important. Whoever hit first has the blame for whatever happened to him, short of being killed. And no, it doesn’t matter if the person who hit first was smaller and weaker. If his big brother clobbered him, it was his own damn fault, he shouldn’t have hit first.

    In the larger, international sense, this is called “initiation of force”. If you DON’T want your land occupied and infrastructure destroyed, it’s very simple. DON’T INITIATE FORCE.

    This is a very hard concept for those with an authoritarian bent to understand. Because they are totally used to initiating force within their own countries, families, etc. The Arab countries in 1967 thought that they could invade what they BELIEVED to be a weaker country, Israel, with impunity. They were soon shown differently. They got off lightly only losing territory.

  100. When Israel deliberately takes down a multistory building with a couple dozen occupied housing units in it, because there are military targets in the basement, that’s not the accidental killing of civilians. When they respond to criticism with, “Hey, that’s what they get for putting the missile tubes in the basement,” they make it clear that the civilian deaths were intended to teach a lesson.

    Anyone think it would be good, clean, honorable soldiering to drop a skyscraper in Manhattan that houses an Army recruiting office on the ground floor?

    Note to Joe: A missile launcher is rather more provocative than an Army recruitment office. Jeesh Joe, I keep making internal promises to not say mean things to you here and then you trot out something like this that is so fucking incredibly stupid.

    You can go back to shilling for Saddam now.

  101. One of the most obnoxious ideas in parenting is “I don’t care who started it..” It TOTALLY matters who started it. I always asked my kids “Who hit first?” Because if you want to teach fairness to your kids this has to be crucial and important. Whoever hit first has the blame for whatever happened to him, short of being killed. And no, it doesn’t matter if the person who hit first was smaller and weaker. If his big brother clobbered him, it was his own damn fault, he shouldn’t have hit first.

    I totally agree with this. “I don’t care who started it…” should be rephrased, “fairness is of no concern and I am too busy make a just judgement on the matter…”

  102. Several people have started with the “I don’t care who started it” business to be addressed by those who then say “it is important who started it, and it was the Arabs, so the deserve what they got” (or in the words of one commentator, they “got off lightly” in just having some lands occupied indefinitly). This is silly, for two reasons:
    1. If you really want to go back to who “started it” you have to go back to the Zionist movements wacky dream of taking people and plopping them down half a world away in the midst of peoples of who were currently inhabiting the land. What the Zionists did was akin to what Jim Jones and his movement did in S. America, with the qualifier that the Zionists wanted to create their own little nation in the Middle East. Their historical connection to the land was ancient and their cultural connection to the land was negligible. It’s hard not to be sympathetic to the Zionist dream considering the horrible treatment these people got at the hands of Euorpeans (and Africans and Arabs for that matter), but it really was wacky if you bracket it and look at it for what it entailed. It was bound to start trouble.
    2. Again, as edna has helpfully pointed out, the people in the occupied territories had little say in their governments actions towards Israel. How in the world can it be justified for them and their descendants, including women, children, old men, etc., who had no part in hostilities towards Israel, to be occupied against their consent for decades? If Iraq somehow defeated us, would they be justified to occupy your hometown and tell you and your kids what to do for several decades? Would you go along with this occupation, or would you resist? And would it be helpful for the world to suggest that you just learn to accept some form of limited autnonmy and get along and stop making trouble?

    edna-You’re dancing around the issue. I suspect you’re jewish and feel some solidarity with Israel here, and that’s understandable, but a spade is a spade whether it is in the hands of a jewish or arab gardner. Again, is it justifiable to occupy a people against their consent, whether the occupation occurred in a defensive or offensive action? What in the world is “fuzzy” about these words or this rather plain question? I’m using occupation and consent in the usual, normal ways. I think you realize that its Israel’s supporters arguments that are indeed fuzzy (like that its usually wrong but we need this security [of course the latter can never justify the former, the Soviets occupied the Warsaw Pact nations as a “security buffer;] or we keep trying to give back the land but they don’t want it [all current offers have involved limited autonomy that few peoples could or should have to accept]).

  103. mng, please read my answer more carefully. i directly answered those specific questions. the fuzzy terms (e.g., “legitimate” “moral”) were part of questions i didn’t answer, just because i don’t really know what the questions mean.

    apparently, i did not make myself clear enough:

    occupations are not usually defensive, but on rare occasions they are.

    i’m not talking about occupations resulting from defensive wars, i’m talking about occupation as a defensive measure itself.

  104. Edna,

    Ariel Sharon was not one of the “religious wackos,” but he certainly was a “Jordan to the Sea” imperialist, and the Godfather of the “settler” movement. The imperialist, maximalist zionists make up quite a bit more than 3-4% of Israel’s population – they make a majority of Likud, which comes into power fairly regularly. And the record most certainly does support the description of Sharon and rest of the settler movement as having seen the occupation as an opportunity.

  105. Bob Smith, wayne,

    Well, you’ve certainly memorized your propaganda. Hezbollah was launching missiles from Beirut? You sure about that?

    wayne, you can now go back to gaping at the bubble patterns in your drool puddle.

  106. You know, the “it does SO matter who started it” was made much more effectively by Yassir Arafat.

    But barbarians just can’t help themselves.

  107. edna,

    For thoughtul and intelligent people – so, not wayne, for example – the last five years have been a dramatic lesson in how easily “defensive” can turn into “pre-emptive” can turn into “preventive” can turn into “imperialist.”

  108. Ariel Sharon was not one of the “religious wackos,” but he certainly was a “Jordan to the Sea” imperialist

    his record as prime minister might lead one to a different conclusion. what was israel’s occupied territory when he took office? what was it after? what was the area of settlements (excluding contiguous jerusalem suburbs) when he took office? what was it after? (i’ll allow that my exclusion here is deliberate- imperialism and suburban sprawl are not the same thing to me, but i can understand different views)

    i am apparently neither thoughtful nor intelligent. 😉

  109. edna,

    Knock off the revisionism – the record is just too long to ignore what a dramatic flip-flip he engaged in in the last few months of his life, and how despised he was among his former colleagues for doing so.

    I’d thought you were trying to have an honest conversation, and now you’re going to pretend you’ve never heard of Sharon’s role as the founder of the settler movement, and his strategy of locating settlements to cut Palestintian towns off from each other in order to prevent the eventual formation of a state?

    And, btw, if you “sprawl” into land you don’t own and have no right to build on, that’s called theft.

  110. Here, edna, let me jog your memory:

    “Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Palestinian) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours…Everything we don’t grab will go to them.”
    — Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of the Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, Nov. 15, 1998.

    Everyone there should move, should run, should grab more hills, expand the territory. Everything that’s grabbed, will be in our hands. Everything we don’t grab will be in their hands.

    “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in 25 years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.”

    -Ariel Sharon to Winston Churchill III in 1973.

  111. “wayne, you can now go back to gaping at the bubble patterns in your drool puddle.”

    That’s pretty funny, Joe!

  112. “apparently, i did not make myself clear enough:

    occupations are not usually defensive, but on rare occasions they are.”

    Obviously this is why you don’t like philosophy, because you’re not good at it. The question is not are occupations defensive (even this you misunderstand, I meant that they happen in the course of defensive actions), obviously sometimes they are. The question is, is it then just? Just to occupy and rule people without their consent (even if that occupation is done in your “defense”)?
    Yes or no? Could Russia occupy Estonia to feel more secure, or rather would you say it is just for them to do so?

  113. You see edna, I start with a silly ethical principle, one that can be applied to all like situations: that it is morally and ehtically wrong to rule a people without their consent.
    Is Israel not ruling the Palestinians? Of course they are. Have they consented to that rule? Of course they haven’t. Then that rule is wrong. The fact that the rule resulted from a defensive military action, that some limited autnomony has been offered to the ruled at times, and that the rule is justified in the name of security makes it no less wrong.
    OK, college football kickoff. Be back around halftime…

  114. “just” is one of those fuzzy words.

    i don’t get the estonia analogy. estonia wasn’t deeply, ethnically allied with a population surrounding russia, outnumbering the russians by a couple orders of magnitude, sworn to destroy russia, and lobbing missiles regularly into russian cities. i might feel different about the soviet control of estonia had all those things been true.

    joe, could you answer my questions regarding sharon’s actions as prime minister with regard to expansionism? did israel expand or contract? were there more or fewer legal settlements?

    And, btw, if you “sprawl” into land you don’t own

    did jordan “own” that land? just askin’.

  115. oh, and i should add that russia did not sieze estonia after a war that a country which included estonia fought (and lost) to destroy russia. and there actually was a country of “estonia” before the soviet occupation.

    i’m really amazed at how bad that analogy is.

  116. And, btw, if you “sprawl” into land you don’t own it’s called theft

    Like Chavez is doing in Venezuela

  117. The analogy was a hypothetical, one to test what ethical principle you support: is it just to occupy another people against their consent, even to secure yourself? By “just” I mean morally correct, how is that fuzzy to you? You think some things are right and wrong, don’t you? So can you answer the question now?
    BTW-Russia has always given the answer that its domination over the Warsaw pact nations is to “secure” itself, to give itself a “buffer zone” (remember that a Euorpean force actually did intervene militarily in Russia’s affairs shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution and they were attacked and invaded in World War II). Many in the West did indeed swear to end Bolshevik rule in Russia, so they were worried…But let’s not debate that, as my moral principle condemns the Soviet occupations as well as Israel’s.
    PS-I like how you “time travel” in your post. The lobbing of missles that you speak of, obviously referring to Hamas activity, occurred AFTER the occupation.

  118. See edna, when people reason they usually have a general principle, like it is wrong to occupy a nation against its consent, and then they can apply it to particulars that fit within the principle. Obviously if it does not fit under the principle a different judgment must be made. I’m trying to discern your general principle on occupations, because I suspect, like most supporters of Israel’s actions in this case, you find what they have done appalling if someone else did it. But they are this poor, beleagured minority so its ok for them (I don’t mean those adjectives sarcastically btw, the jews are the most oppressed and hated people in the world both historically and currently; this does not though excuse their [the ones in Israel, and even there many are split as to the justness of the occupation] bad behavior in this instance any more than a person with a terrible childhood and unfortunate circumstances is justified in robbing someone at gunpoint).

  119. no, i argue that they need to do it because the alternative, under the current circumstances, is their own death.

  120. were there more or fewer legal settlements?

    More.
    Next question.

  121. Edna-

    What kind of “security” has Israel gotten since they occupied the West Bank? It seems to me Israel is no more secure than they were in 1967, perhaps less so.

    I don’t understand why Israelis don’t want to drop that strip of land like dead weight. Israel has the best military in the region, a good economy, and nuclear weapons. If the Palestinians try anything (again, they seem more content to fight each other anyway) I don’t think Israel would have to do much to defeat them.

  122. Oops,

    I meant more “settlers” not settlements…

  123. ” To the extent that the Israeli government could have reduced or avoided those deaths (by responding to Hezbollah’s initial cross-border raid in a less dramatic fashion, for example), it is culpable for them. ”

    Give me a fucking break. That such a statement is widely accepted at all shows the breadth of anti-Israeli sentiment amongst those in the media. The only reason that so many died in Lebanon is because Hezbollah launches all of its attacks from civilian areas, disguised as civilians themselves. The whole “disproportionate force” canard needs to be laid to rest, unless you believe it is all right for terrorists to attack a sovereign nation with impunity.

  124. “What kind of “security” has Israel gotten since they occupied the West Bank? It seems to me Israel is no more secure than they were in 1967, perhaps less so.”

    Remind me again of the major military assaults made on Israel since 1967.

  125. Bopo-was there a major assault on Israel in 1967? There was certainly preparation for one, but Israel (probably rightly) attacked first. It was certainly the quick defeat of their Arab foes that dissuaded any further attacks from them (well, their subsequent development of nukes doesn’t hurt either).
    Edna- I guess I fail to see how in the world the occupation is providing “security.” Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan certainly have the capacity to attack Israeli soil today just as they did pre-occupation. Does anyone care to dispute this? In fact, all that the occupation has done is create a group of non-state actors who are harder to deter who then attack with abandon (Hamas et al).
    Anti-Israeli sentiment in the media? Bopo you must have access to some serious crack, or you’re so fanatical that you think any media coverage short of Likud press releases is “biased against Israel.” The whole idea of the disporportionate nature of the military action against Lebanon comes from…math. The staggering Lebanon death toll seems way out of whack with tragic but relatively minute results of the Hizbollah raid it was meant to rspond to. But more importantly was the nature of the bombing: many people killed and deprived of infrastructure in Lebanon were not only NOT Hizbollah, but were members of factions opposed to it! In addition the Lebanese government (one of the few democratic and cosmopolitan ones in the region) was the one undermined, not Hizbollah. Israel’s actions were not just immoral, they were clumsy, stupid and couterproductive. They also btw struck an incredible blow to whatever credibility the US had left on this issue as we once again blindly supported them to the outrage of literally the entire world do you want a link to the UN debates at the time?).

  126. What kind of “security” has Israel gotten since they occupied the West Bank? It seems to me Israel is no more secure than they were in 1967, perhaps less so.

    really? egypt, jordan, syria, lebanon, and iraq all have troops massed, ready to invade?

    you’re a bright kid, cesar, but you need to get a little better sense of history.

  127. You know edna, if you want an analogy let’s try East Germany. Germany swore to destroy the Soviets (Hitler, though making the initial pact with Stalin, was quite vocal in his hatred for all things communist). He attacked them and their existence was very much at stake. The Russians then beat them. The Russians also were aware that the capitalist world bore them nothing but ill will (well, a great deal of this was paranoia on Russias part, but they are a people who are very touchy about security from foriegn invasion [see the Mongols]). In their eyes they faced a much wealthier numerically superior existential foe determined to destroy them, and they wanted a buffer zone “for security” (sound familiar?). They “occupied” East Germany for a period of time similar to what Israel has Palestine.
    If the Russians had reason to believe this was in their security interest does that make what the German people endured just? I think not, but I guess you would have to say yes (unless you have, say, a double standard for Israel).

  128. really? egypt, jordan, syria, lebanon, and iraq all have troops massed, ready to invade?

    And Israel defeated all of them single-handedly even when it did not occupy the West Bank or Gaza.

    Israel is many times more stronger than it was even 40 years ago today, and there is a peace treaty with Egypt and Jordan. Syria is the only one holding back, and it is hardly going to conduct a war on its own. Even if it did, Israel could defeat them in a week.

  129. The only real threat I can see to Israel is Iran, and occupying the West Bank doesn’t do much in that area.

    In fact, it prevents the use of a very good tool–turning the Sunni groups (Hammas) against the Shia (Hizbollah) so they fight each other instead of Israel.

  130. The only real threat I can see to Israel is Iran, and occupying the West Bank doesn’t do much in that area.

    fortunately for the israelis, you’re not their defense minister.

    And Israel defeated all of them single-handedly

    to the surprise of everyone, including the israelis. i know, it all looks so obvious in the rear-view mirror.

  131. Edna-

    What on the West Bank is a threat exactly? Palestinian militias that are fighting other Palestinian militias? And how does sending fanatical settlers there help defeat them?

  132. If the Russians had reason to believe this was in their security interest does that make what the German people endured just?

    “just.” you do like fuzzy, imprecise, subjective words.

    i really don’t think that russia viewed the occupation of east germany as an existential issue.

  133. What on the West Bank is a threat exactly?

    uhhh, several million people who want the israelis dead? and who will ally with whatever major power (e.g., iran, syria) who will arm them to try to accomplish this goal? whose territory cuts in so deep that there’s only a need to drive an army about 10 miles to cut israel in half?

  134. uhhh, several million people who want the israelis dead?

    The crazy homeless guy two blocks away from me wants everyone in my city dead. Whether he has the means to accomplish that goal is another question.

    and who will ally with whatever major power (e.g., iran, syria) who will arm them to try to accomplish this goal?

    Syria as a major power? They’re a joke and if Israel fought a war with them it would last about a week.

    In 1948 I’d be very sympathetic to that argument. In 1967, a little less so but could still understand it. But in 2007, the gap between Israeli military power and Arab military power has grown so wide Israel can be perfectly safe with or without occupying the West Bank.

    Again, when Israel withdrew from Gaza what happened? The Palestinians didn’t invade Israel, they just ended up fighting each other.

    Deny Arabs a common enemy and they have the political cohesion of a bucket of scorpions.

  135. Edna, even if a military occupation were absolutely necessary for the security of Israel, how do settlers enter the equation?

  136. Edna-I’m flumoxed as to why “just” is such a fuzzy concept to you. You don’t consider what the Russians did to the East Germans wrong (unjust)? It seems easy to me. I’ll bet you easily make moral judgments all the time. If someone told you the Holocaust was unjust would you say “I dunno, that ‘just’ is a fuzzy concept, so I’m going to reserve judgment.” I’d bet you’d think that while what is or is not just is a difficult question sometimes and that while people will often come up with different answers that the Holocaust is plainly and surely unjust (kind of like what is or is not the square root of some monsterous number is a difficult question that will flumox some people, but there is a sure answer to the question). So don’t be coy, you believe that some things are morally wrong and others morally right (just and unjust). And I bet you think that generally it is morally wrong (unjust) to occupy a people for decades even if you think it necessary for your “security.” You just want to give Israel a pass. I’m not buying unless there is some morally relevant reason to, and I don’t see one.
    The Russians most certainly saw their occupation of Warsaw Pact nations as existential, in fact they still do (notice their strong opposition to NATO expansion). And Israel’s security concerns (which are fairly obviously unrelated to occupying those strips of land and people as I noted above) do not justify their immoral occupation. And in your world seeing something as a security neccessity makes foriegn conquest and occupation right (or just or OK or something something for you I guess)… In my world that still does not justify their rule of the East Germans (hey you guys from the thread above, Germany attacked first, so they were lucky to get off as easy as occupation, eh?) or Israels of the Palestinians.

  137. “i would think that a better solution is to cede most of the west bank, incorporate jerusalem and the contiguous suburbs, then cede some ’49-’67 israeli territory to make the sums add up to 100%.”
    edna-this is from one your early posts above. Here you say that you think Israel should give up much of the occupied territories. You then say this about the occupation in a later post:

    “i argue that they need to do it because the alternative, under the current circumstances, is their own death.”

    So on the one hand if Israel were to give up the occupied land it would mean “their own death”, their is a grave need to occupy these lands. On the other you think they can afford to give up much of it to settle matters.

    HUH?

  138. Deny Arabs a common enemy and they have the political cohesion of a bucket of scorpions.

    And as long as Israel exists, they will have a common enemy … not that they won’t fight amongst themselves, too.

  139. The Palestinians didn’t invade Israel, they just ended up fighting each other.

    putting aside the few thousand rockets launched from gaza into israel, of course. and one can certainly imagine that if a hamas government controlled their borders and could import better rockets, they’d stop using them.

    mng, the context you miss is to whom the land is ceded and under what conditions. your analogies continue to suck, but i can’t blame you for that, i don’t think there really is a good contemporary analogy; this is so disfunctional as to be sui generis.

  140. mng and joe seem to want to gamble on how
    nice the Palestinians will be if the Israelis
    just gave up Judea and Samaria.

    I guess their version of the drive by media
    doesn’t bother to report on the daily rocket
    and motar fire coming from Gaza district.

    Not that mng or joe would care. It’s only
    being aimed at Jews. And mng and joe don’t
    consider Jews to be human beings.

  141. Let’s keep things in historical perspective. The Palestinians were pushed off their land (what is now Israel proper, not the current occupied Palestinian land) upon the founding of the Israeli state in a brutal ethnic cleansing.

    There’s nothing that can be done about that injustice now except for the Right of Return, of which the Israeli government has recognized the validity, while at the same time blocking any meaningful implementation thereof.

  142. “When they respond to criticism with, “Hey, that’s what they get for putting the missile tubes in the basement,” they make it clear that the civilian deaths were intended to teach a lesson.”

    I have not seen any such response from Israel. The official response is to blame Hezbollah for endangering Lebanese civillians, not to blame the Lebanese civillians for allowing Hezbollah to do it.

    As for whether war is ever moral, there are degrees of morality; to fight for self-preservation is a necessary evil and morally excusable, to fight for personal gain or profit is morally inexcusable, and to fight for one’s country’s startegic and economic interests is somewhere in between (arguably). Similarly, killing an opponent’s soldiers is a necessary part of war, killing civillians unintentionally is less justifiable, and killling civillians for the sake of killing civillians is not at all justifiable.

  143. Lord Acton-I don’t consider jews to be people? Fuck you pal. I started on this thread DEFENDING the HRW report condeming the immoral acts of Hizbollah. You’re obviously part of that crowd that uses the anti-Semitism charge against anyone who questions the Likudian view of the world.
    Edna-You’re free to point out where the analogy breaks down. I tried to find one with all the relevant characteristics you mentioned:
    1. An aggressor (Germany/Arabs)
    2. A percieved or claimed existential security threat (the USSR literally hemmed in by US missles/Israel hemmed in by Arab states)
    3. a decades long occupation (both East Germany and the occupied territories)
    You don’t seem to have any general principle by which to judge the moral rightness or wrongness of an occupation (of course I would say that any non-temporary occupation without the consent of the occupied is morally wrong, do you believe in slavery as long as the slave holder feels threatened [they did in the South, and with good reason as quickly slaves outnumbered free whites in many areas]). You have one set of principles for Israel and another for other instances to reach the results you want. That seems to be why you cannot state a general principle that justifies Israel’s actions. They’re just blessedly unique (jeebus every situation is different from every other, but I bet you don’t hestitate to make moral judgments of Germany’s occupation of contigious lands in WWII [they claimed ancestral connections and security concerns too you know], Russias occupation of East Germany, China’s occupation of Tibet, etc.).

  144. “Let me add something. I know that some people are reluctant to criticize Israel because they feel it will feed anti-Semitism. I think that it may, but we cannot let fear of anti-Semites keep us from recognizing immoral behavior in an ally that we are materially supporting (I also think NOT criticizing Israel feeds more anti-Semites). I also think that those who criticize Israel, but not China over Tibet or Turkey over Kurdistan are suspect (I am strongly opposed to those as well). I also think it should be obvious that Israel is a democracy with civil liberties unheard of in that region, and in that sense they are akin to us and deserve a special place in our hearts and maybe policy.”
    That’s my post from 8:06. Yeah, anti-Semite I am.
    Hey two can play at this game. LordActon doesn’t care about liberty and subsequently doesn’t mind when people have their liberty taken from them at gunpoint. After all, they’re just Arabs, and we know people like LordActon feel these people are less than human and they can’t appreciate autonomy and freedom, right?

  145. LordActon-

    Go back to LGF. How many Israelis have been killed by those rockets, vs. how many Palestinians are killed by missiles from the IDF that are a hell of a lot more powerful and deadly every day?

    I suppose if a kid shoots you with a water pistol , the proper response is to blast him with a shot gun?

  146. Mr. Nice Guy,

    Perhaps a previous comment that I made about the ADL is germane here:

    The ADL conflates the anti anti-Semitism part of their purview with a defense of the Israeli state, claiming that criticisms of the Israeli government are an attack on Jews in general. This is, of course, unfair to the victims of the Israeli state. But it’s also unfair to Jews cuz it engenders anti-Semitism by implying that Jews in general and the Israeli state are the same, thus falsely making the former culpable for the sins of the latter.

  147. And mng and joe don’t
    consider Jews to be human beings.

    i can’t decide if this is more unfair or untrue. i’ll go with untrue.

    cesar, you blithely skipped over my point about body counts. these are not water pistols and they have killed people. does bad aim and poor access to modern weapons minimize the potential danger? will the palestinians stop launching rockets once they can buy better ones?

  148. Excuse me, but just when were the Palestinians a “free people”? And if Yasser Arafat is interested in “who started it”, he’s got a beef with the UN and Alger Hiss, not Israel itself. Jews have always lived in Israel, yes, even before the UN made Israel a state.

  149. Ok, if someone shoots a matchlock musket at you from 200 yards away is it ok to respond with a bazooka?

    Poor analogy, but my basic point was that the Israeli state is in little danger of being exterminated by the Palestinians.

    There seems to be this belief that if the occupation of the West Bank were ended, the Israeli state would face a real threat of extermination. I think that belief is unfounded and paranoid.

    As for buying better missiles, I’d like to know with what money. Palestine isn’t exactly an economic power house, and theres no Soviet Union anymore to arm them.

  150. you really can’t think of any way they would be able to obtain better weapons? not a single other country or group that would supply them?

    my goodness.

  151. atrevete, it is probably improper to use the present tense when writing about arafat.

  152. you really can’t think of any way they would be able to obtain better weapons? not a single other country or group that would supply them?

    Some groups would be willing to give them 1970s Soviet weapons that are easily outclassed by anything in the Israeli military. As the Gulf Wars and Kosovo showed, Cold War weapons don’t do much against a 21st-century military unless an occupation is attempted.

    Ok, lets say they are able to purchase state-of-the art weapons. How does having settlers building towns in the West Bank prevent this, exactly?

  153. Jews have always lived in Israel, yes, even before the UN made Israel a state.

    True, and in far greater numbers, so did the folks who came to be called the Palestinians-Long enough to have developed a recognizable Palestinian dialect of Arabic.

  154. edna:

    i can’t decide if this is more unfair or untrue. i’ll go with untrue.

    Absolutely! But before, didn’t you make the same type of mistake with about me?

    (Said with a smile in a good natured, no hard feelings what so ever, sort of way.)

  155. Edna 🙂 Yes, Nobel laureate Arafat can take up his beef with the UN in hell right now, I suppose. Among other beefs he may have.

  156. And I’ve heard of SWAT teams responding with heavy duty automatic weapons to bank robbers with .22 pistols. It’s INSANE to think that the Israelis are in no particular danger because they are “only” under attack with crummy weapons, so it’s not really fair to fight back with good weapons.

  157. And I’ve heard of SWAT teams responding with heavy duty automatic weapons to bank robbers with .22 pistols.

    Yeah, and when that happens I think its abuse of state power. You picked the wrong site to use SWAT Team analogies on!

  158. Ok, lets say they are able to purchase state-of-the art weapons. How does having settlers building towns in the West Bank prevent this, exactly?

    i’m getting dizzy from the spin. i guess i’ll have to explain this to you veeeerrrrry slowly.

    if there are settlers, that means that the borders and territory are not controlled by the p.a., so no state-of-the-art weapons.

    ok, now also slooooowwwwwly… if the west bank is turned over to the p.a. and they have control of the borders, thus state-of-the-art weapons, there aren’t settlers.

    so, repeat after me: if there are settlers there, the p.a. isn’t in control. if the p.a. is in control, there are no settlers there.

    we call this “mutually exclusive.” it’s simple enough that even a grad student can eventually figure it out.

  159. “Jews have always lived in Israel, yes, even before the UN made Israel a state.”
    I’m afraid Rick Barton beat me to the obvious answer to this goofy assertion. The ratio of Jews to Muslims in that area pre-Zionism and the movement of mostly European Jews to the area in the late 1880’s was not conducive to any Jewish claim on the land. Does atrevet really know that little about it and yet have a strong opinion? Hmmm…

    I think Cesar is holding his own in his debate with edna (though I am enjoying it), but I want to add this two cents. edna has claimed the occupation is crucial to Israel’s survival. I’m guessing she is alluding (from further posts she makes in debating Cesar) to the fact that Hamas regularly attacks Israel and that if they became an autonomous state they could get better weaponry which to use in said attacks. I think edna is correct here (though I would add Cesar’s qualifier that whatever weaponry they could get would leave them still far inferior to the IDF) as Hamas is a bunch of thugs. However, I wonder if she notices the irony that she feels that occupying the territories is necessary to defend Israel not against Syria, Jordan or Egypt (who could easily still attack Israel whether the occupied areas were occupied or a free state, I mean, look at a map), but against Hamas, a group that exists…because of the occupation! Wow, that’s a perfect circle if I ever saw one. If Israel had given back the territories asap after the 1967 conflict (like any morally civilized nation would have as I have argued [note the immediate UN resolution passed demanding just that]) then they would only have to worry about state actors, the very ones that leave Israel alone right now. Perhaps their argument is they screwed up back then and now they have this current mess (though this still does not help them with the basic moral argument that they have essentially enslaved tens of thousands of people at gunpoint, a morally horrible thing to do in the name of ‘security’ [we tried this with internment during WWII, though with admittedly less suspect folks]).
    PS-Of course they still have to worry about Hizbollah…Oh snap, they were created in response to an Israeli occupation TOO!

  160. Jacob says: “To put it another way, the IDF considers killing civilians a mark of shame, while Hezbollah wears it like a badge of honor, which is why its leaders are dismayed by the criticism from Human Rights Watch.”

    Does “its” refer to the IDF or Hezbollah?

    Both groups whined about their respective HRW spankings, not sure Hizbollah ever bragged about killing civilians (in one case they apologized though clearly because it was an Arab citizen of Israel).

    Both just do it with varying levels of public evasion and practical restraint about it. And both mantain it was a necessity.

    The best approach to this conflict is NOT to look for a moral superior. It’s faster that way to getting to the bottom.

  161. Edna-

    A military occupation could prevent the PA from being in control without the settlers, right?

  162. Mr. Nice Guy-

    Those are excellent points. Strong military responses to terrorism help. However, long-term occupations only make terrorism worse.

  163. In the 3000+ years in the history of the land of Israel as a political entity, only three independent states have ever existed there, and each one has been Jewish. They are: the state established after the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, the commonwealth established during the second temple and destroyed by the Romans, and the modern state of Israel, established in 1948.

    At any other time, when the Jews did not have a sstate in Israel, no other country, ethnic group, nation, or religious group did.

    In the late 19th Century, when the zionist movement began, and Jews started migrating to Palestine in significant numbers, the area was controlled by the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Throughout history the Jews never relinquished their claim to Israel, even after being forcibly removed.

  164. Mr. Nice Guy, do you KNOW the ratio of Jews to Muslims living in the area was?

    When the first fairly accurate census was taken in 1844, Jews in Jerusalem outnumbered Muslims by 40%.

  165. atrevete,

    Could you please provide a link or source for that statistic?

    It doesn’t sound right given what I’ve read of the historical population data disparity in favor of Muslims (there were also, and still are, Palestinian Christians) in what is now Israel proper.

    Also, in Jewish mythology, Palestine is the land of the book of God and Jerusalem is “God’s veiled bride”. But note thar after the first Zionist Congress in 1897 in Basel Switzerland, a Zionist delegation was sent to Palestine for a fact-finding mission and to explore the viability of settling Palestine by European Jews. The delegation replied back from Palestine with a cable that stated:

    “The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man.”

  166. It was about 700,000 Palestinians who were pushed out of their homes and off their land (in what is now Israel proper, not the current occupied Palestinian land) attendant to the founding of the Israeli state in a brutal ethnic cleansing.

  167. When Israel deliberately takes down a multistory building with a couple dozen occupied housing units in it, because there are military targets in the basement, that’s not the accidental killing of civilians.

    The alternative, of course, is to allow Hezbollah a sanctuary from which they can kill Israelis with impunity.

    I think the Israelis did the right thing, given the choice that Hezbollah presented them with.

    Hezbollah put those people at risk, Hezbollah gets the blame. Any other conclusion lets the side that uses human shields off the hook.

  168. However, long-term occupations only make terrorism worse.

    See, e.g., Germany, Japan, Italy, hell, Tibet, etc.

  169. “When the first fairly accurate census was taken in 1844, Jews in Jerusalem outnumbered Muslims by 40%.”

    atrevete-you’re just getting worse. Even if your figures are correct, is modern day Israel restricted to Jerusalem? You see how bad these pro-Israel arguments get don’t you? And yet you make them. I geuss reason is a slave to the passions…

    “In the 3000+ years in the history of the land of Israel as a political entity, only three independent states have ever existed there, and each one has been Jewish. They are: the state established after the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, the commonwealth established during the second temple and destroyed by the Romans, and the modern state of Israel, established in 1948.”
    1. Are you sure about this? Even the Jews say this land was populated by peoples before they came, and the torah tells of how they took it (have you ever heard of Exodus and Joshua?). If even half of the book is true (and archeologists debate this) then there have been constantly shifting boundaries and borders between Jews and other peoples. The Jews have always claimed have “occupied” it, and then of course it was subsequently occupied by a laundry list of empires. Your comments about “independent” states is confused at best.
    2. You realize that even if we accept your dates that in 1948 the amount of time the land was in Jewish hands versus the time it was not(and I mean this overall) tilts toward the latter? But much more relevant is that there had not only not been a Jewish state there for an astounding 20 centuries(!) but there had not been much of a Jewish presence outside Jerusalem (where even there, given your figures, they were a minority) for about 19 centuries!!! How this makes it make sense for a bunch of Europeans with little connection to the language, culture, climate, etc., of the area to plop down in the late 1880’s on and declare a state there is beyond logic and reason. Ironically, if you want to use the argument that the Jews, who had their land occupied for those 20 centuries, had a right of return, then how can you deny the modern day Palestinians their right of return from land that has been occupied for only a few decades??? Again, support for Israel usually brings seemingly normal intelligent people into mental gymnastics to defend their position.
    3. Now I think I’ve shown how weak your point was on the two most obvious grounds. But get this, even if we were to shut down our mental faculties for the sake of accepting that your points meant what you think they do for this debate, how do your points defeat the issue of PALESTINIAN self-determination? At best you’ve given some (incredibly confused and weak) arguments to justify a Jewish state in the area. But noone denies that there were SOME non-Jewish folks living in the area for centuries, and noone denies that at the VERY LEAST there were these people living in the occupied territories pre-1967. So they should live under occupation and be denied self-determination of what was admittedly their own land pre-1967 WHY?

  170. Occupation of Japan-1945-1952=7 years
    Occupation of Germany-1945-1955=10 years
    Occupation of Italy=1944-1946=2 years (I’m going by the establishment of the first republic)

    Occupation of Palestine-1967-current=40 years

    Yeah RC Dean, these are definitely the same thing…
    There are certainly examples of occupations with little (compartively) resistance and “terrorrism”, but there are surely a lot of examples of occupation resulting in lots of it too. Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? What would you do if me and an army conquered your hometown? Just go to work and mind your own business?

  171. if autochthony is your criterion, we need to evacuate all of the united states and most of south america. oh yes, and most of europe. and all of the arabs need to go back to arabia, including the palestinian arabs.

    about half the population of israel is descended from (or is) people who were expelled or fled from arab and muslim countries. should they be repatriated? given compensation? what about someone living there with my ethnic background (half european, half turkish)? cut in half, with the appropriate pieces sent to the appropriate countries?

  172. edna-well, duh. Please read closely. Was I making the argument that autochthony was some criteria for who gets what land, or was I pointing out that to those (such as averete) who make such a claim that:
    1. Israel’s claim on that grounds ain’t as strong as they would like and
    2. any claim Israel would have based on a right of return to lands thy had for a long time would apply to the recently pushed off Palestinians (whose claim is even more recent and practically fixable)

    No, we can’t go back in time centuries and correct past expulsions and movements. This of course is why Zionism is a farce as an idea. Your post ironically demonstrates this.

    What we can say is that when we have some people living on some land for hundreds of years we cannot have some people from half a world and vastly different cultures just plop down and say “hey, we used to own this house like 20 centuries ago, so get off we are taking it back.”

    And what we really can say is that when we have some people living on some land that both sides agree is theirs (which Israel recognized pre-1967) we cannot have tanks and armed men roll in and say “hey, your governments started something so we are not only taking your land but enslaving you indefintely (until we feel “secure” from the hatred and bad behavior that our enslavement of you will inevitably create)”.

    On the issue of the inhabitants of Israel who were forced to leave their homes, well of course I think they should not have been kicked out. I’d love to see autocratic and intolerant governments in the Middle East and elsewhere toppled and replaced with free and tolerant ones. And of course this is in line with my principles, and curiously out of line with yours. According to your criteria, applied generally, these nations should, for example, be able to occupy jewish enclaves if they can claim that their security is threatened. For example, Lebanon, if it had the might, could have captured a chunk of Northern Israel when Israel invaded in 1982 and ruled the jews who lived there indefinitely, right? Your principles would be fine with that I guess (so far the closest thing I’ve seen you put forward to a principle of when it is just to occupy a foreign people without their consent is 1. when your security is threatened and 2. as a result of a defensive war, both of which would be satisfied by my hypo)? But you really mean only Israel gets to do that kind of thing, don’t you?

  173. edna-you know, as you can tell from my above posts, I rarely challenge the “facts” that are thrown around during debates on this topic. The reason I do so is because 99% of the time the fact claim given is irrelevant to whether the occupation is just or not (it is always unjust to enslave someone unless they are a present danger, and the population of the occupied territories includes many women, chidlren, elderly and even young men who are simply no danger to anyone, Israeli or otherwise, but who are currently enslaved by force of arms of Israel).
    But I’m gonna have to ask for a cite for your claim that half of Israel’s population is jews expelled or fleeing (not quite the same as “chose to leave” for the greener pastures of Israel in all cases) Arab nations.
    According to the CIA factbook a full quarter of Israels current population is European or N. American BORN much less descendants. So for your assertion to be true then of the remaining 75% of the population only a quarter of them are descended from ashkenazi. That strikes me as an incredible claim, though I hold out that it is possible.

    The wikipedia entry on Jewish ethnic divisions states baldly:
    “By the time the State of Israel was proclaimed, the majority of Jews in the state and the region were Ashkenazi.” This of course backs my claim of the silliness of a bunch of Europeans plopping down and saying “hey this is now our state.” (note: I’m not trying to play gotcha: It acknowledges that after declaration of statehood there was a flood of Sephardim from the area).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_ethnic_divisions#In_Israel_and_Judea

  174. Also, sometimes there is a strategic reason to kill “civilians” – today’s citizen is tomorrow’s solider, for example.

    IOW, nits become lice (as was said in justification of the massacre of infants in American Indian villages).

  175. Jews have always lived in Israel, yes, even before the UN made Israel a state.

    Since Hispanics have “always” lived in Los Angeles, I trust you agree that it (and the rest of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas) should be given over to the new nation of Aztlan.

  176. edna:

    about half the population of israel is descended from (or is) people who were expelled or fled from arab and muslim countries.

    About 20% of the population of Israel (not counting the occupied lands) is of Arab (non-Jewish) linage. Does your contention accommodate his fact? Also, could you please cite a link or source?

  177. to nutshell things: do you really think that setting aside about 0.5% of the non-oil-bearing part of the middle east for people with long-standing and universally recognized origins who are not arabs (increase that to about 3% if the kurds are finally successful in establishing a country) is so grotesquely unfair as to completely destabilize the remaining 99.5% (97%)? it’s a petty border dispute in a huge roiling sea of fucked-uppedness that only pays it lip service.

    i suspect you don’t want to compare the treatment of jewish refugees by israel to the treatment of arab refugees by… well… all the arab countries.

    (i’ll look up exact percentages for you some other time, i’ve got to go buy tomatoes now)

  178. rick, gotta run, but i do owe you a link and exact numbers. the 50% is an order-of-magnitude, pulled out of my hind-regions, based on what i see walking down the streets of any israeli city and the distribution of the people i meet and deal with there. excludes arabs- i’m in the wine business, so don’t deal with them very much.

  179. edna:

    should they be repatriated?

    All people who have been unjustly removed from their countries the way that the Palestinians were, upon the founding of the Israeli state, should be allowed to repatriate.


  180. All people who have been unjustly removed from their countries the way that the Palestinians were, upon the founding of the Israeli state, should be allowed to repatriate.

    I have to disagree with that. I favor a two-state solution, one Palestinian (West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem) with the Israelis getting the rest. Each people lives in their own separate area. Letting the Palestinians back in would basically mean civil war at this point. Its been way, way too long with two many hatreds on both sides for them to live in the same state. Its a pipe dream. Neither side can live in security, unless separated from eachother.

  181. Concerning occupations and terrorism:

    There is no denying that the Israeli government occupation has engendered terrorism on the part of some Palestinians as a response. And that innocent Israelis have been among the targets.

    And there is also mounting evidence that the US military occupation of Iraq has engendered both domestic (inside Iraq) as well as worldwide terrorism as a response.

    How many innocent people will be victims of terrorism after our government (unless we stop them) attacks Iran?

  182. Cesar,

    That seems a very workable and fair solution. But I don’t see why it should be exclusive of the Right of Return for those Palestinians who are still alive and were forced out upon the founding of the Israeli state. Note that about 20% of the population of Israel proper is Arab.

  183. edna:

    the 50% is an order-of-magnitude, pulled out of my hind-regions…

    What refreshing frankness!

  184. Rick-

    Only if those Jews who are still alive and had to flee Arab countries can return to the Arab countries and have their property restored, as well.

    And I don’t think the Arab countries would ever go for that.

  185. In 1967, after the Six Day War, Israel offered to return almost all the land it had won in that war of self defense in exchange for peace.

    The Arab world responded to this offer in September 1967 with the three “No’s” – “no peace with”, “no negotiations with”, “no recognition of” Israel.

    At Camp David in 2000, Prime minister Barak offered Yasir Arafat and the palestinians more than 95% of the West Bank and part of Israel proper to establish a Palestinian state. Arafat not only rejected the offer, but then launched the second intifada, during which civilian israelis were targeted for death by suicide bombers.

    It is Israel who continues to wait for compromises from its Palestinian neighbors, who have never stopped dreaming of conquering all of Israel.

  186. Does anyone notice atrevete’s consistent bait and switch? One charge is thrown out, contested by various posters, and atrevete simply responds by throwing out another one. And another. And….
    At 2:38 pm the (irrelevant) point was that the Palestinians were never a “free” people and so are rightly doomed to slavery I guess.
    At 2:09 am the point was that the area was mostly Jewish anyway at the time of Zionism (of course the area atrevete pointed to was just Jerusalem and was less than 50% by his own numbers).
    At 1:59 am the point was that all the “independent” nations there were jewish (I refuted this as both incorrect and irrelevant at 8:48 am)
    Now the point is that Israel has tried to make peace, tried oh so hard, and it is just those darn Arabs who keep on.
    No responses to when I, or Cesar, or Rick or whoever counter his assertions. Just yet another lob of the rhetorical grenade.
    Atrevete, may I suggest that such “punditry” exhibits a person interested in defending what you cannot justify but already feel (and I use that word purposely) is right concerning Israel and you are just lobbing whatever grenades you can, no matter how goofy, in the hopes that one will hit and you will have scored some pr for Israel rather than trying to reach an honest, objective view of the fairness of its existence?
    It’s tiresome when the other person has reached their conclusion, usually only from reading sources friendly to that conclusion, and is hell bent on defending it rather than honestly exploring it. But once more to the breach, dear friends:
    Given what you say is true atravete (at least you note that Israel offered back “almost all the land,” of course I guess you also realize that under international law at the time any keeping of land was and is illegal [hence the UN Resolution that passed overwhelmingly to that effect]; you don’t note the many strings on autonomy of the Palestinian State offered to Arafat, but lets bypass that), how does any of this justify the armed military occupation of a group of people without their consent? If we attacked Canada, and they defeated us, but they decided to keep your hometown (after offering to give back, say, 70% of it but keep your part and the US refused), and they would militarily rule you and your fellows without your consent, what would you think about that? You already know what your answer would be, you just can’t face having to apply the principle to Israel knowing it fails the test in this area. Israel is a great nation, admirable in many ways. But it’s inception was truly a tragic mistake and it’s occupation certainly immoral and illegal. Face it.

  187. If by “the UN Resolution that passed overwhelmingly to that effect” you are referring to Un Security Resolution 242, this resolution spoke of a. returning “territories” captured during the war, DELIBERATELY omitting the words “all the” territories or even “the” territories, to emphasize that Israel was not obliged to return ALL the territory it had captured.

    As the British ambassador to the UN, Lord Caradon, explained: “It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positons were undesirable and artificial.”

    Another clause in the resolution called for “the acknowledgements of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

    These conditions, to this day, remain unmet. Israel does not enjoy anything near “secure and recognized borders.”

    Resolution 242 was meant to be implemented as part of a negotiated solution between parties. There was never an expectation that Israel should withdraw from the territories PRIOR to the signing of the agreements.


  188. As the British ambassador to the UN, Lord Caradon, explained: “It would have been wrong to demand that Israel return to its positions of June 4, 1967, because those positons were undesirable and artificial.”

    Ironic coming from the British who drew just about every border in the Middle East, every last one of them “Undesirable and artificial”. See: Iraq.

  189. Should Israel hold on to all this land forever? Of course not. Israel should facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian West Bank/Gaza state only after it is clear that the Palestinians will a. relinquish claims to any part of Israel, b. stop terrorism against Israel and severely punish those who plan or perpetrate it, c. accept in word and deed Israel’s right to exist.

    If, as in your scenario, NiceGuy, the US had tried to destroy Canada and ended up being occupied by Canada, I would have no problem accepting those conditions.

  190. So, atrevete, you believe the right of people to have their own state is not a natural right but based on good behavior?

  191. RE: The right of people to have their own state…

    No. People do not have the right to have their own state…

    Rather, they have the right to participate equally and meaningfully in the governance of the state in which they live.

    Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

  192. Which the Palestinians cannot do.

  193. People, of course, also need the freedom to move from one state/place to another and to participate fully and meaningfully in their new chosen state of residence.

  194. Cesar,

    Very true.

    I think land for peace is doomed to fail because it is premised on ownership rather than equal participation. If the occupied territories were integrated into Israel, and all Palestinians given full citizenship with full rights to representation and participation in the nation, then how that land was incorporated into the state of Israel would be a moot point. Occupations end when the invader leaves, or the invaded are assimilated equally and naturally into the society.

    [please insert all needed qualifiers, caveats, and nuances at will]

  195. I think land for peace is doomed to fail because it is premised on ownership rather than equal participation. If the occupied territories were integrated into Israel, and all Palestinians given full citizenship with full rights to representation and participation in the nation, then how that land was incorporated into the state of Israel would be a moot point.

    They would never do that, because then Israel would no longer be a “Jewish” state. Its a sticking point with the Israelis that the “Jewish character” of Israel is maintained, which precludes that.

  196. Its not just the Israelis, either. The Palestinians want an “Arab” state. Neither side is willing to live in a state based on citizenship like the United States, Canada, or Brazil. They want ethnic states.

  197. Cesar,

    Also very true.
    And there is the issue of whether the Palestinians would consent to the deal.

    The two state solution may be the easier to swallow at this point in history, but if Israel had integrated Gaza, the West Bank, and all the people living there into their political system 40 years ago, giving them just and equal representation, the two state solution would not be needed.

  198. Cesar:

    Only if those Jews who are still alive and had to flee Arab countries can return to the Arab countries and have their property restored, as well.

    It doesn’t seem fair that one people (the Palestinians in this case) who have been dispossessed should have as a condition of their remedy, other governments doing right by, and making remedy for, other aggrieved peoples.

    BTW, how many Jewish folks are we talking about here?

  199. atrevete:

    In 1967, after the Six Day War, Israel offered to return almost all the land it had won in that war of self defense in exchange for peace.

    It’s with low hopes that I ask you to back that up cuz you didn’t back up the demographic statistics that you gave earlier after I asked. But what ever, note that…

    When Winston S. Churchill III in 1973 asked Ariel Sharon: “What is to become of the Palestinians’ land?” Sharon answered: “We’ll make a pastrami sandwich of them. We’ll insert a strip of Jewish settlement, in between the Palestinians, and then another strip of Jewish settlement, right across the West Bank, so that in twenty-five years time, neither the United Nations, nor the United States, nobody, will be able to tear it apart.”

    I don’t think that the Israeli government has never bargained in good faith since.

  200. What ever the remedy and solution, can we all agree that it’s time (I would say past time) for the US government to stop giving the Israeli government tax dollars with which to prosecute the occupation? And can we also agree to cut off Egypt and Jordan as well?

    BTW, up thread I observed with gratitude that at least Hezbollah doesn’t get our tax dollars.

  201. …Of course it shoulda been: “I don’t think that the Israeli government has bargained in good faith since.”

  202. “If, as in your scenario, NiceGuy, the US had tried to destroy Canada and ended up being occupied by Canada, I would have no problem accepting those conditions.”
    Hell, no wonder we disagree, you don’t value the Palestinian’s right to autonomy and self government and you don’t value your own right to both. You only value that right for Israel. You would “have no problem” (your words) if another nation occupied your town, no problem that “they would militarily rule you and your fellows without your consent”? Bizarre. Good to know some people would welcome slavery so readily. Just don’t be mad if others (the Palestinians for example) don’t welcome it so readily as you.

  203. Cesar and Neu Mejican and Rick
    I think this from above captures the essence of the debate:
    “Rather, they have the right to participate equally and meaningfully in the governance of the state in which they live.”
    The Palestinians are in a true limbo land, a true apartheid, a people ruled directly by others with no say. This drives people crazy (it would me).
    Having said that, since Israel is based on a Jewish majority (and a bi-ethnic or multi-ethnic state is well nigh impossible now) then the only way to achieve that for both sides IMO is a two state solution, or theoretically giving the occupied lands back to the nations from whence they were taken (though given the awful nature of those nations I’d prefer the former). Of course it can’t be some bullshit autonomy like they are usually offered where Israel retains the right to “collect taxes”, control their borders, and limit their defense spending. But equally certain Israel would retain the normal rights of a nation to strike if bellligerent activity occurred.
    Rick, you’re right. Ideally they would give all those they have dispossessed the right of return, withdraw to 1948 or orginal UN borders, or best case time travel and prevent Israel from coming into existence (it was a really, really wacky idea [though sympathitically so considering the horrors the jews faced in Europe]). But barring that the two state solution is the best we can do to get the most people under governments of their own consent.

  204. What ever the remedy and solution, can we all agree that it’s time (I would say past time) for the US government to stop giving the Israeli government tax dollars with which to prosecute the occupation? And can we also agree to cut off Egypt and Jordan as well?

    I hope we could all agree to that. The only aid to either side should be private.

  205. But I have to say, if theres one people in the history of the world that deserves their own state its the Jews. Every time they end up a minority somewhere they get screwed.

  206. Every time they end up a minority somewhere they get screwed.

    Yeah, like here in America.

    =/;^)

  207. Rabbi Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik [aka. Reb Velvel- (1886-1959)] once said:

    “How can the little rabbis and heads of yeshivas take upon themselves the determination of things dealing with life and death? It is obvious that the partition will bring with it the anger and hostility of the Arabs and other nations of the world. This whole thing touches on the shedding of blood. HOW DO THEY HAVE THE ARROGANCE TO MAKE JUDGEMENTS DEALING WITH LIFE AND DEATH?

    More on this man of principle.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yitzchak_Zev_Soloveitchik

  208. Every time they end up a minority somewhere they get screwed.

    Every time? What ever, at least we can say that some times the screwings were separated by hundreds of years. I’m thinking of Muslim Spain.

    Also, although it’s no comfort to the screwed, the screwers have at times been Jewish too. I’m thinking of the disproportionate representation of Jews in the Russian Commie hierarchy at the same time persecution of folks who were Jewish was going on.

    I’m also thinking of the liberation of the Jews in Europe in the late 18th century where the breaking down of the ghetto walls met liberation for Jews from the oppressive Jewish hierarchy and the chance for Jews to learn from. enjoy, and take part in larger European Society.

  209. Rick-

    Muslim Spain actually ended out very badly for them. Have you heard of the Almohads before? They were they last dynasty in Muslim Spain and they were violently anti-semitic. So yes, in the end, they go screwed.

    Germany was also one of the most tolerant places for them in Europe, and it didn’t end so well there either! I’m just saying, if I were Jewish, I’d want a majority Jewish state too, given history!

  210. Every time they end up a minority somewhere they get screwed.

    Not here in America, which has been a land of liberty and prosperity for Jews as it has so many folks who were persecuted elsewhere.

    Note that per capita, the most affluent Jewish population in the world are America’s Jews. I know that the same is true for Blacks and India Indians-probably for lotsa other peoples as well. If we can preserve capitalism and check the growth of, and shrink, government. America will continue to be the land of opportunity.

    Lastly-Wonderful words from George Washington’s Letter to the
    Jews of Newport, Rhode Island
    (1790)

    “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens. May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

  211. Cesar,

    Yeah but bsfore things ended badly for Jews in Muslim Spain, there were long periods of time where everyone-Muslims, Christians, and Jews lived in peace. Generations of folks came and went like this.

  212. Shoulda been: “Yeah but *before*…”

  213. rick: latest figures show 2.5mm mizrahim in israel, and about 750k sephardim. about 7mm total population.

    my hind regions were pretty close, if you’ll pardon the expression.

  214. I have to say, if theres one people in the history of the world that deserves their own state its the Jews. Every time they end up a minority somewhere they get screwed.

    Yeah, I’ve noticed how pogroms are a recurrent feature of American history. Obviously, the only way all those Jews huddling in fear in this country can ever be safe is to emigrate to Israel, where their security is assured.

  215. the descendents of the jews that made it to the u.s. before the immigration clampdowns earlier in the last century are indeed fortunate and in the safest place they can be.

    the problem is a place for jewish refugees in the years after those restrictions…

  216. btw, we can say the same for arabs in the u.s. and their descendants- they average among the wealthiest, most educated, and most successful people here, and they are safer and freer than any non-royal (and many royal) arabs living in the middle east.

    too bad contemporary arab refugees have been shut out along with everyone else.

  217. From a pool of 1.4 BILLION Muslims which are 20% of the world’s population (2 out of every 10 people)
    Literature

    1988 – Najib Mahfooz

    Peace

    1978 – Anwar El-Sadat

    1994 – Yasser Arafat

    2003 – Shirin Ebadi

    Chemistry

    1999 – Ahmed Zewail

    Physics

    Abdus Salam

    Jewish Nobel Prize Winners

    From a pool of 12 million Jews which are 0.2% of the World’s Population (2 out of every 1,000 people)

    Literature

    1910 – Paul Heyse

    1927 – Henri Bergson

    1958 – Boris Pasternak

    1966 – Shmuel Yosef Agnon

    1966 – Nelly Sachs

    1976 – Saul Bellow

    1978 – Isaac Bashevis Singer

    1981 – Elias Canetti

    1987 – Joseph Brodsky

    1991 – Nadine Gordimer

    2002 – Imre Kertesz

    World Peace

    1911 – Alfred Fried

    1911 – Tobias Asser

    1968 – Rene Cassin

    1973 – Henry Kissinger

    1978 – Menachem Begin

    1986 – Elie Wiesel

    1994 – Shimon Peres

    1994 – Yitzhak Rabin

    1995 – Joseph Rotblat

    Chemistry

    1905 – Adolph Von Baeyer

    1906 – Henri Moissan

    1910 – Otto Wallach

    1915 – Richard Willstaetter

    1918 – Fritz Haber

    1943 – George Charles de Hevesy

    1961 – Melvin Calvin

    1962 – Max Ferdinand Perutz

    1972 – William Howard Stein

    1972 – C.B. Anfinsen

    1977 – Ilya Prigogine

    1979 – Herbert Charles Brown

    1980 – Paul Berg

    1980 – Walter Gilbert

    1981 – Ronald Hoffmann

    1982 – Aaron Klug

    1985 – Herbert A. Hauptman

    1985 – Jerome Karle

    1986 – Dudley R. Herschbach

    1988 – Robert Huber

    1989 – Sidney Altman

    1992 – Rudolph Marcus

    1998 – Walter Kohn

    2000 – Alan J. Heeger

    2004 – Irwin Rose

    2004 – Avram Hershko

    2004 – Aaron Ciechanover

    Economics

    1970 – Paul Anthony Samuelson

    1971 – Simon Kuznets

    1972 – Kenneth Joseph Arrow

    1973 – Wassily Leontief

    1975 – Leonid Kantorovich

    1976 – Milton Friedman

    1978 – Herbert A. Simon

    1980 – Lawrence Robert Klein

    1985 – Franco Modigliani

    1987 – Robert M. Solow

    1990 – Harry Markowitz

    1990 – Merton Miller

    1992 – Gary Becker

    1993 – Rober Fogel

    1994 – John Harsanyi

    1994 – Reinhard Selten

    1997 – Robert Merton

    1997 – Myron Scholes

    2001 – George Akerlof

    2001 – Joseph Stiglitz

    2002 – Daniel Kahneman

    2005 – Robert (Israel) Aumann

    Medicine

    1908 – Elie Metchnikoff

    1908 – Paul Erlich

    1914 – Robert Barany

    1922 – Otto Meyerhof

    1930 – Karl Landsteiner

    1931 – Otto Warburg

    1936 – Otto Loewi

    1944 – Joseph Erlanger

    1944 – Herbert Spencer Gasser

    1945 – Ernst Boris Chain

    1946 – Hermann Joseph Muller

    1950 – Tadeus Reichstein

    1952 – Selman Abraham Waksman

    1953 – Hans Krebs

    1953 – Fritz Albert Lipmann

    1958 – Joshua Lederberg

    1959 – Arthur Kornberg

    1964 – Konrad Bloch

    1965 – Francois Jacob

    1965 – Andre Lwoff

    1967 – George Wald

    1968 – Marshall W. Nirenberg

    1969 – Salvador Luria

    1970 – Julius Axelrod

    1970 – Sir Bernard Katz

    1972 – Gerald Maurice Edelman

    1975 – David Baltimore

    1975 – Howard Martin Temin

    1976 – Baruch S. Blumberg

    1977 – Rosalyn Sussman Yalow

    1977 – Andrew V. Schally

    1978 – Daniel Nathans

    1980 – Baruj Benacerraf

    1984 – Cesar Milstein

    1985 – Michael Stuart Brown

    1985 – Joseph L. Goldstein

    1986 – Stanley Cohen [& Rita Levi-Montalcini]

    1988 – Gertrude Elion

    1989 – Harold Varmus

    1991 – Erwin Neher

    1991 – Bert Sakmann

    1993 – Richard J. Roberts

    1993 – Phillip Sharp

    1994 – Alfred Gilman

    1994 – Martin Rodbell

    1995 – Edward B. Lewis

    1997 – Stanley B. Prusiner

    1998 – Robert F. Furchgott

    2000 – Eric R. Kandel

    2002 – Sydney Brenner

    2002 – Robert H. Horvitz

    Physics

    1907 – Albert Abraham Michelson

    1908 – Gabriel Lippmann

    1921 – Albert Einstein

    1922 – Niels Bohr

    1925 – James Franck

    1925 – Gustav Hertz

    1943 – Gustav Stern

    1944 – Isidor Issac Rabi

    1945 – Wolfgang Pauli

    1952 – Felix Bloch

    1954 – Max Born

    1958 – Igor Tamm

    1958 – Il’ja Mikhailovich

    1958 – Igor Yevgenyevich

    1959 – Emilio Segre

    1960 – Donald A. Glaser

    1961 – Robert Hofstadter

    1962 – Lev Davidovich Landau

    1963 – Eugene P. Wigner

    1965 – Richard Phillips Feynman

    1965 – Julian Schwinger

    1967 – Hans Albrecht Bethe

    1969 – Murray Gell-Mann

    1971 – Dennis Gabor

    1972 – Leon N. Cooper

    1973 – Brian David Josephson

    1975 – Benjamin Mottleson

    1976 – Burton Richter

    1978 – Arno Allan Penzias

    1978 – Peter L Kapitza

    1979 – Stephen Weinberg

    1979 – Sheldon Glashow

    1988 – Leon Lederman

    1988 – Melvin Schwartz

    1988 – Jack Steinberger

    1990 – Jerome Friedman

    1992 – Georges Charpak

    1995 – Martin Perl

    1995 – Frederick Reines

    1996 – David M. Lee

    1996 – Douglas D. Osheroff

    1997 – Claude Cohen-Tannoudji

    2000 – Zhores I. Alferov

    2003 – Vitaly Ginsburg

    2003 – Alexei Abrikosov

  218. what does that have to do with israel? the only guys i know personally on that list are american or british, and agnostic/secular by religion.

  219. Why Are Jews So Powerful?

    Dr Farrukh Saleem

    There are only 14 million Jews in the world; seven million in the Americas , five million in Asia, two million in Europe and 100,000 in Africa . For every single Jew in the world there are 100 Muslims. Yet, Jews are more than a hundred times more powerful than all the Muslims put together. Ever wondered why?

    Jesus of Nazareth was Jewish. Albert Einstein, the most influential scientist of all time and TIME magazine’s ‘Person of the Century’, was a Jew. Sigmund Freud — id, ego, superego — the father of psychoanalysis was a Jew. So were Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman.

    Here are a few other Jews whose intellectual output has enriched the whole humanity: Benjamin Rubin gave humanity the vaccinating needle. Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine. Alert Sabin developed the improved live polio vaccine. Gertrude Elion gave us a leukaemia fighting drug. Baruch Blumberg developed the vaccination for Hepatitis B. Paul Ehrlich discovered a treatment for syphilis (a sexually transmitted disease). Elie Metchnikoff won a Nobel Prize in infectious diseases.

    Bernard Katz won a Nobel Prize in neuromuscular transmission. Andrew Schally won a Nobel in endocrinology (disorders of the endocrine system; diabetes, hyperthyroidism). Aaron Beck founded Cognitive Therapy (psychotherapy to treat mental disorders, depression and phobias). Gregory Pincus developed the first oral contraceptive pill. George Wald won a Nobel for furthering our understanding of the human eye. Stanley Cohen won a Nobel in embryology (study of embryos and their development). Willem Kolff came up with the kidney dialysis machine.

    Over the past 105 years, 14 million Jews have won 15-dozen Nobel Prizes while only three Nobel Prizes have been won by 1.4 billion Muslims (other than Peace Prizes).

    Why are Jews so powerful? Stanley Mezor invented the first micro-processing chip. Leo Szilard developed the first nuclear chain reactor. Peter Schultz, optical fibre cable; Charles Adler, traffic lights; Benno Strauss, Stainless steel; Isador Kisee, sound movies; Emile Berliner, telephone microphone and Charles Ginsburg, videotape recorder.

    Famous financiers in the business world who belong to Jewish faith include Ralph Lauren (Polo), Levis Strauss (Levi’s Jeans), Howard Schultz (Starbuck’s), Sergey Brin (Google), Michael Dell (Dell Computers), Larry Ellison (Oracle), Donna Karan (DKNY), Irv Robbins (Baskins & Robbins) and Bill Rosenberg (Dunkin Donuts).

    Richard Levin, President of Yale University, is a Jew. So are Henry Kissinger (American secretary of state), Alan Greenspan (fed chairman under Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush), Joseph Lieberman, Maxim Litvinov (USSR foreign Minister), David Marshal (Singapore’s first chief minister), Issac Isaacs (governor-general of Australia), Benjamin Disraeli (British statesman and author), Yevgeny Primakov (Russian PM), Barry Gold water, Jorge Sampaio (president of Portugal), John Deutsch (CIA director), Herb Gray (Canadian deputy PM), Pierre Mendes (French PM), Michael Howard (British home secretary) and Robert Rubin (American secretary of treasury).

    In the media, famous Jews include Wolf Blitzer ( CNN ), Barbara Walters (ABC News), Eugene Meyer ( Washington Post ), Henry Grunwald (editor-in-chief Time), Katherine Graham (publisher of The Washington Post ), Joseph Lelyyeld (Executive editor, The New York Times), and Max Frankel (New York Times).

    At the Olympics, Mark Spitz set a record of sorts by wining seven gold medals. Lenny Krayzelburg is a three-time Olympic gold medalist. Spitz, Krayzelburg and Boris Becker are all Jewish.

    Did you know that Harrison Ford, George Burns, Tony Curtis, Charles Bronson, Sandra Bullock, Billy Crystal, Paul Newman, Peter Sellers, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Douglas, Ben Kingsley, Kirk Douglas, Cary Grant, William Shatner, Jerry Lewis and Peter Falk are all Jewish? As a matter of fact, Hollywood itself was founded by a Jew. Among directors and producers, Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks, Oliver Stone, Aaron Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210), Neil Simon (The Odd Couple), Andrew Vaina (Rambo 1/2/3), Michael Man (Starsky and Hutch), Milos Forman (One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Douglas Fairbanks (The thief of Baghdad) and Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) are all Jewish.

    To be certain, Washington is the capital that matters and in Washington the lobby that matters is The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. Washington knows that if PM Ehud Olmert were to discover that the earth is flat, AIPAC will make the 109th Congress pass a resolution congratulating Olmert on his discovery.

    William James Sidis, with an IQ of 250-300, is the brightest human who ever existed. Guess what faith did he belong to?

    So, why are Jews so powerful? Answer: Education.

    The writer is an Islamabad-based freelance columnist
    Email: farrukh15@hotmail.com

  220. edna:

    rick: latest figures show 2.5mm mizrahim in israel, and about 750k sephardim. about 7mm total population.

    Thanks edna- You appear to be very close if you were saying that the Mizrahim and the Sephardim together comprise about 50% of the Jews in Israel cuz in that 7mm total population of your country, we have to account for the Arab non-Jewish component as well. Which I understand is about 20% of the population. I had to google up “Mizrahim” but now I’m hep. I would have guessed these folks were called “Sephardim” before now.

    And I read that, ” Many speakers, especially in Israel, identify all non-Ashkenazi Jews as Sephardim. This is widely perceived as illogical, as the literal meaning of “Sepharad” in medieval and modern Hebrew is “Spain” or “Iberia”, and most Mizrahim are not in fact of Spanish or Portuguese descent.”

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

    Do you agree that, many speakers in Israel identify all non-Ashkenazi Jews as Sephardim? Where did you find those figures?

  221. the problem is a place for jewish refugees in the years after those restrictions…

    Indeed, and FDR shutting out the Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in the 1930s was one of the most disgusting things ever done by a president.

  222. I’m just sayin’-

    Please leave the ethnic collectivism at home. K thnx.

  223. http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/002812.html

    On The Evolution Of Ashkenazi Jewish Intelligence
    Ashkenazi Jews pose two mysteries for biological science. First, why do they have so many genetic diseases that fall into just a few categories of metabolic function such as the sphingolipd storage diseases Tay-Sachs, Gaucher, Niemann-Pick, and mucolipidosis type IV? The rates of such diseases are so high that their incidence must be the result of either a recent genetic bottleneck where the Ashkenazi population was very small or natural selective pressures aimed at some other phenotype(s) selected for these genotypes due to advantages that those genotypes offer for other functionality. The second mystery is why are Jews so smart? Granted, a lot of Jews want to argue that they are just studious due to their culture. Also, lots of ideologues – particularly on the political Left – stand ready to attack anyone who argues that ethnic and racial groups differ in average intelligence. But the higher average level of Ashkenazi Jewish intelligence is so glaringly obvious that I figure anyone who tries to argue otherwise is either engaged in intellectual con artistry or is ignorant or foolish. So again, why are Jews so smart?

  224. Do you agree that, many speakers in Israel identify all non-Ashkenazi Jews as Sephardim? Where did you find those figures?

    linguistically, yes, to the extent that people still think about it. the impression i get (and i must disclaim that i spend far less time there than i do in europe and speak/read/understand hebrew far less well than french or german) is that the main division is between the recent russian arrivals and everyone else.

    the figures came from the israeli gov’t’ census and statistics branch. wasn’t hard to find via google.

    But the higher average level of Ashkenazi Jewish intelligence is so glaringly obvious that I figure anyone who tries to argue otherwise is either engaged in intellectual con artistry or is ignorant or foolish.

    interestingly, the opposite argument was made during the period where immigration began to be restricted. ashkenazi jews from eastern europe scored quite poorly on iq tests in that era and were widely thought of as racial inferiors (including by the german jews who had already been here for several generations).

    at my son’s school, the brainiacs all tend to be from places farther east than israel and are decidedly not jewish. they’ve got better food, too.

  225. The point about Jews scoring the lowest on IQ tests 100 years ago, while now they have some of the highest scores is a good point to bring up when people talk about what low IQs blacks have.

  226. The point:

    http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/002812.html

    The savage persecutions suffered by Jews suggest that high intelligence can generate resentment among the masses. No doubt there will be some who will suggest that the Cochran-Harpending paper should have been suppressed to prevent awareness of the secret of Ashkenazi intelligence from seeping out.

    But you have to be a true-blue intellectual to assume that the only way anybody would ever notice anything as obvious as Jewish brainpower is if it gets mentioned in the New York Times. Political correctness doesn’t keep facts from being talked about-just from being written about in an intelligent, constructive manner.

    Yes, everyone thinks Jews are smarter, even many people who publically deny they believe this. Persecutions of smart minorities happen already. An honest accurate discussion of the causes of resentment smarter and more successful groups would, in my view, make it easier to ameliorate the causes of resentment between ethnic groups. I think people would be less prone to ascribe Jewish successes to conspiracies if Jews were accepted as being smarter for genetic reasons. High IQ genes cause higher intelligence. Higher intelligence increases productivity when learning and working. Hence greater wealth. That’s a lot less reason for resentment than the idea that some group is no more productive but engages in conspiracies to take from others.

  227. One final point from http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/002812.html

    Did Medieval Usury Bans Lead To Israeli Power?

    Step back and look at Jewish and European history from the context of this hypothesis. A few things come to mind. First off, Middle Ages bans on Christian money lending created an environmental niche in which high IQ was selected for in Jews. This led to a few important historical consequences. First off, it led to financial and reproductive success of urban Jews and hence resentment against them by both elites and masses in Europe. This resentment of course led to pogroms and Hitler’s “Final Solution”. There’s an old Japanese saying that comes to mind: “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down”. Well, smart Jews stood out and the response of jealousy and resentment against the more successful “other” is a recurring theme in human history.

    But here’s the twist: Catholic usury restrictions, by creating an environmental niche that selected for higher Ashkenazi IQs, therefore made possible the eventual return of Jews to Israel. An ethnic group of much lower intelligence never would have been able to pull off the creation and defense of a state in that location against such hostile neighbors.

  228. most of the jews of eastern europe were not financiers, they were plain old peasant farmers. so much for the evolutionary hypothesis. not that it explains the enormous academic success of yellow and brown kids from asia anyway…

  229. After the re-creation of the Polish Republic in 1918 its Jewish community was still the largest in Europe, constituting approximately ten per cent of the Polish population. Most of them lived in the cities although almost a quarter lived in villages, which allowed for the continuation of the unique shtetl communities. The overwhelming majority of Jews worked in commerce, industry, and the professions and in some areas the Jews constituted a majority. Tailoring and shoemaking were typical Jewish occupations, as was shopkeeping. At the same time 56 per cent of all doctors, 43 per cent of teachers, 33 per cent of lawyers, and 22 per cent of journalists were Jewish. Most Jews belonged to the petty-bourgeoisie and were not well off. (3) Depressed economic conditions and anti-semitism, which was rampant in Poland especially between 1918-1923 and 1936-38 forced many Jews to emigrate. As Ezra Mendelsohn stated ‘The experience of Polish Jews between the wars was a combination of suffering, some of which was caused by anti-semitism, and of achievement made possible by Polish freedom, pluralism, and tolerance.(4) Despite the anti-semitism, Jewish politics, culture, and religion flourished and made for a spiritually rich and varied life. Jewish education and scholarship prospered. The press was in three languages (Yiddish, Hebrew and Polish). Social, communal, political and religious organisations blossomed in a way which made autonomous Jewish life in Poland richer and more interesting than that in Western Europe and America.

  230. edna has a kung-fu grip on this debate. Jesus Christ.

    (And I didn’t mean to bring up the Jesus.)

  231. Praise the Hezbollah warriors. They taught the Israeli IDF that killing Arab civilians (A Jewish tradition for 59 years now) has its consequences – dead Jews in northern Israel this time. Perhaps advanced Iranian al-Shahab III IRBM’s to go along with the Syrian Scud-C’s and D’s next time.

    Israel has no respect for Lebanon and Syria. It violates their airspce on a whim and bombs and attacks them at will hitting any target it desires with impunity. Some 26 months ago the IAF even ‘buzzed’ the predidential palace in Damascus in a threatening manner.

    Hezbollah taught them that ‘there is a price to pay’ for their indiscriminate attacks on their neighbors, KA-BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

    The coming war will see Syrian IRBM’s (600) dropping chemical weapons on Israel’s length and breath and Hebollah has only grown stronger, bolder, better supporter by the Lebanese people and more resolute.

    The continuing massacures in Gaza and violations of Lebanese airspace and soverignty by the Jews will justify ‘whatever’ retaliation is brought to bear against Israel and the world will ‘not shed a tear’ for the eternal interlopers.

    ThAZCowBoy
    Tombstone, AZ.

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