What Can Be Done About Israel?

Although I am disappointed, I can’t say I’m surprised. Obama has sent a new peace envoy to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within a few days of entering office, which is nice I guess. But there still isn’t any sign that he will be taking any definitive action to curb Israel’s continued illegal and immoral actions in the Palestinian territories. It remains utterly astonishing to me that Israel can flagrantly kill thousands of innocent civilians in a so-called attempt to weed out terrorists, seriously injure goodness knows how many more, destroy Palestinian buildings and infrastructure (including their totally and utterly outrageous policy of bulldozing Palestinian homes), erect barriers in Palestinian territory which prevent them from traveling freely and getting to work (so destroying their economy), and of course, illegally occupy Palestinian land, leaving thousands of Palestinians as refugees in their own homeland. What is even more outrageous however is the US government not only doesn’t condemn this, it effectively condones it, by not only supplying far more financial aid to Israel than any other country, but by supplying them with far and away the most military aid as well!

I have been very happy with many of the actions Obama has taken since entering office, particularly by so swiftly ordering the closure of Guantanamo Bay and a pull out of Iraq. Yet while it is true that he made no specific promises regarding Israel, I was desperately hoping to see a dramatic change of US government policy on this issue. Once again though, this was only a hope, not an expectation—the power the Jewish lobby wield in Washington remains as strong as ever, and Obama still has to deal with congress. It is amazing how powerful they are actually, given what a small percentage of the US population they are. I guess it shows that dollars mean a lot more than votes in America.

In fact, let’s talk about dollars. In a time when the US is trying to find as much money as possible to deal with its own financial crisis, it is sending nearly 7 million dollars per day to Israel! As rich as the Jewish lobby may be, surely they can’t bring in anywhere near that much money to Washington? Stopping all that aid to Israel would be a massive net gain not only for the US economy, but for the US government itself. How can this outrageous expenditure possibly be justified, when Israel is a rich, industrialised nation, and they use it for illegal and immoral military actions and occupation of Palestinian land? Is it any wonder that Muslims (who are Israel’s victims) hate the US so much? Isn’t it obvious that this is the primary reason why September 11 happened, and that handling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict fairly is the best way to prevent future terrorist attacks against the US?

It is true that the US sends a fair bit of aid to the Palestinians as well, but it is only a tiny fraction of what they send to the infinitely richer Israelis, and wouldn’t be anywhere near enough to make up for the damage done to the Palestinian economy by Israel anyway. Ending aid to Israel would be by far the most effective (and perhaps only) way to make them even consider complying with international law, not to mention any reasonable definition of moral behaviour. After all, they have no reason to at all now, given that the US government gives them so much support, and blocks any UN resolutions to take action against them. I think it has become very clear that Israel’s actions aren’t really about preventing terrorism, but rather provoking it, so they have an excuse to kill ever more Palestinians, and take even more Palestinian land, until ultimately there are no Palestinians left, and the land is all their’s. (And before anyone goes on about the Palestinians’ terrorist actions, think about this for a minute: what would you do if you were in their position, against such a militarily superior enemy?)

I find it very hard to believe that the money and power of the Jewish lobby alone is enough to force the US government into taking such an outrageous position on this issue. And of course, they aren’t alone—they have the backing of the most powerful political lobby in the US, conservative Christians (a lobby so powerful that they currently dictate Republican party policy). This is because the Bible says Israel has to exist where it is now come Judgement Day. And even worse (because all three Abrahamic religions come from the same source), Muslims consider it to be their Holy Land as well. So we have three major religions claiming the same territory as their own, and two of those religions making the US government back their claims for it with massive financial aid and military support. Is there any better example of why religion must end, if we are ever to have lasting, global peace?

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I basically agree Sachiko, but don’t give up hope yet.

Obama may realize that he needs to withold loan guarantees and/or military aid if Israel is to stop and reverse Jewish settlement in the territories. THat is a fairly drastic move for a US president, but if Netanyahu and the Likud hardliners get back in , he may realize that that is the only option that will work.

Saying that anyone who has Jewish ancestry has a “right of return”, but people who were born there and have ancestors going back many centuries do not–what can that be other than religious and ethnic chauvinism of the worst kind?

  
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Hi Sachiko:

Here is an article I wrote on this subject:

Ramzi

THE TRIUMPH OF NAZISM:
Israel’s War of Extermination on Gaza.
By Ramzi Obeid

British Member of Parliament Gerald Kaufman has compared Israel and its 23-day war on Gaza to Nazi Germany. Kaufman, who is Jewish, is perfectly qualified to call a Nazi when he sees one. His parents escaped Poland and the Nazi holocaust in World War II and his grandmother, who was too weak to travel, was shot to death by Nazi soldiers inside her home. Commenting on the arithmetic of the war in a BBC interview, Kaufman said about the rising Palestinian death toll: “Four Jews against 1,000 Palestinians – that is Nazism.” In a debate in the House of Commons he said the Israeli claim that many of the Palestinian victims were militants “was the reply of the Nazi” adding: “I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.”

The Zionist-Nazi comparison was also made by several officials including Professor Richard Falk, the UN investigator into Israel’s conduct in the occupied territories, when he described “the massive Israeli punishment directed at the entire population of Gaza”, likening it to the Nazi record of collective punishment. Kaufman and Falk are not the only ones to raise echoes of World War II. Israeli Deputy Defense Minister, Matan Vilnai, himself issued a warning to the Palestinians not too long ago, threatening a holocaust or ‘shoah’ on the people of Gaza.

An examination of the conduct of the war itself coupled with a two-year siege which depleted stocks of food, fuel and medications in Gaza and the deliberate targeting of all buildings, including schools and hospitals, leads inexorably to the conclusion that what occurred in Gaza was a veritable Zionist holocaust committed in broad daylight in the 21st. Century.

First there is the eyewitness testimony from the mother who was ordered by Israeli soldiers to give up half of her ten children as a gift to the state of Israel right before they shot five of them before her eyes. There are countless other stories of a similar nature which all remind us of scenes in films such as “Sophie’s Choice” and “Schindler’s List”. Additionally, there is the eyewitness testimony of those who fled neighborhoods in Gaza where Israeli soldiers ordered men, women and children to leave their homes only to round them up and execute them in the streets or where Palestinian civilians were ordered to stay in their homes only to be bombed at close range by use of Mirkava tanks. It is important here to remember that similar tactics were employed by Israel in its July 2006 war against Lebanon, notably in the Southern Lebanese village of Mirwaheen, whose residents were ordered by the Israelis to vacate their village and then the departing convoy was bombed. In addition, many other massacres were carried out in Lebanon. Numerous stories filtered out of Gaza despite the fact that Israel did not allow the media to go into the Strip to cover the war — stories of entire families massacred inside their homes or while escaping the full force of the Israeli military machine. The stories are similar to those told by people fleeing Nazi atrocities in World War II.

Then there are the types of weapons that Israel used targeting civilians in what seems to be experimentation to see what effects these weapons would have on humans. This is also reminiscent of Nazi experimental bombings of towns and cities all over Europe from Guernica to Stalingrad. What is noteworthy is that these weapons were given to Israel by the United States. Two questions pose themselves here: Did the Bush Administration know that the weapons were to be used in such a manner, and did they give their approval?

First, there are the WP (White Phosphorus) bombs, which are incendiary weapons that cause massive and multiple organ failure and second- and third-degree burns, in addition to serious illness or even death caused by inhalation of the dense smoke that these weapons produce. Several human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have reported that WP bombs were used by Israel against civilian populated areas in Gaza.

Second, the Israelis used DIME (Dense Inert Metal Explosive) bombs which produce an unusually powerful blast, spraying a superheated “micro-shrapnel” of powdered Heavy Metal Tungsten Alloy (HMTA). Scientific studies have found that HMTA is chemically toxic, damages the immune system, rapidly causes cancer, and attacks DNA, making it a geno-toxic weapon polluting the Palestinian gene pool. The use of DIME bombs by Israel was reported by investigative journalists of Italy’s RAI television as early as October 2006, and Dr. Mads Gilbert of Norway and other physicians, who worked at Shifa Hospital in Gaza during the 23-day war, confirmed their use in the latest bombings.

The logical conclusion is that by using these weapons, Israel appears to have waged a war of extermination against the Palestinians in Gaza producing a result similar to the Nazis sending Jews and others to the gas chambers in concentration camps like Auschwitz and Treblinka.

This means that the analogy used to compare Israel to apartheid South Africa by people like Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu is no longer valid. Israel can no longer be compared to anything except Nazi Germany. A huge number of tremendous implications flow from this. When Barack Obama says he is committed to Israel’s security, it is tantamount to saying he is committed to the security of Nazi Germany. When Western leaders insist on Israel’s right to exist and its obligation to defend its citizens, they are saying that Nazi Germany had a right to exist and defend itself in similar fashion. Perhaps the most momentous implication has to do with the so-called peace process: Just as Germany had to renounce Nazism at the end of World War II for peace to be maintained in Europe, it should be a requisite precursor to peace in the Middle East that Israel renounces Zionism and adopts a new democratic constitution with equal rights for all, which guarantees fully the rights of Palestinians, including their right to return to their towns and villages from which they fled in 1948 and 1967.

Do Nazism and Zionism not have several attributes in common, including the rejection of the universality of human rights and a total contempt for international humanitarian law? Is peace with Israel not similar to the “peace in our time” that Neville Chamberlain brought back from his meeting with Adolf Hitler in Munich in 1939? In this equation is the Palestinian resistance not the same as those who fought and resisted Nazism, and Mahmoud Abbas and pro-western Arab regimes the appeasers and collaborators?

The stark reality of this situation is that the so-called civilized world, the United States and the European Union, which lost hundreds of thousands of their citizens in the struggle against Nazi Germany are now imposing, by fire and Iron, a Nazi regime in historic Palestine, namely Israel. Due to a combination of corrupt calculated interests, moral bankruptcy and intellectual dysfunction, the US and EU have for the past 61 years shamelessly sponsored the Zionist project mobilizing all their diplomatic, economic and military might towards that end. They have done so despite widespread opposition amongst concerned citizens, especially in Europe, who have discovered the truth for themselves in spite of the campaign of lies, deception and disinformation about the issue of Palestine which the Western media have engaged in.

Following World War II, while the victorious allies were busy writing laws such as the Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to make sure that Nazi atrocities never happened again, they were setting up a similarly racist and brutal regime in Palestine. Although Nazi Germany lost World War II, the fact that those who fought and defeated it have backed the Zionist entity so vigorously against the will of the international community — represented in the current situation by the 154 to 2 vote in the United Nations General Assembly against Israel’s war in Gaza and the millions throughout the world that protested against it — constitutes a clear triumph for Nazism over democracy and human rights. This triumph will be complete if Israel is allowed to capitalize from this war and if Israeli leaders and military commanders do not face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in a court of law. Charges should also be brought against American, European and Arab leaders who aided and abetted them.

  
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I am sure this isnt going to get published – but here goes.

You make these comments – but have you ever been to the region? have you even been in Israel when a rocket attack from Hamas rains down on its population.

If this was Australia – and a close country stated raining down bombs on us – what would be the first reaction of the people – there would be protests in the streets – calling for retaliation swifly and immediately..

The Australia people wouldnt take it – so what should the Israelis? Hamas has vowed to wipe out the Jewish State from the face of the Earth… its actually in their charter… Again – what happens if another country decides that Australia should be wiped from the Earth – and start to act on it?

Well – cmon Sachiko what do you think to that… personally – I think you need to stick to looking nice and leave the political discussion to the more informed members of the community.

  
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Originally Posted By Tony
You make these comments – but have you ever been to the region? have you even been in Israel when a rocket attack from Hamas rains down on its population.

If this was Australia – and a close country stated raining down bombs on us – what would be the first reaction of the people – there would be protests in the streets – calling for retaliation swifly and immediately..

The Australia people wouldnt take it – so what should the Israelis?

What an outrageously biased and ridiculous comment! You ask how I would feel if I was threatened by a rocket attack, but how would you feel if your wife and children were blown to smithereens, your house bulldozed, your livelihood taken away, and your land stolen from beneath your feet? What the hell makes people like you think Israel can just do whatever they want to the Palestinains, and take whatever land it wants from them? What the hell makes you think the Palestinians should just sit back and take whatever Israel wants to dish out to them without retaliating? The Israelis stole the Palestinians’ land from them, not the other way around! The only reason Hamas wants to wipe out Israel is because Israel took their home away from them. How would you feel in their position? And no matter how much they might want to do it, they simply do not have the capability to anyway. But Israel has the capability to wipe out the Palestinians, and that’s exactly what they’re trying to do.

Hamas has vowed to wipe out the Jewish State from the face of the Earth… its actually in their charter… Again – what happens if another country decides that Australia should be wiped from the Earth – and start to act on it?

Once again, why the hell do you condemn Hamas for this hollow threat, but allow Israel to act it out?

Well – cmon Sachiko what do you think to that… personally – I think you need to stick to looking nice and leave the political discussion to the more informed members of the community.

It seems to me that I’m much better informed (or at least a lot less biased) than you are anyway.

I am sure this isnt going to get published – but here goes.

Seems you were wrong about that.

  
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Originally Posted By Mark Crawford
Obama may realize that he needs to withold loan guarantees and/or military aid if Israel is to stop and reverse Jewish settlement in the territories. THat is a fairly drastic move for a US president, but if Netanyahu and the Likud hardliners get back in , he may realize that that is the only option that will work.

I really hope you’re right.

Saying that anyone who has Jewish ancestry has a “right of return”, but people who were born there and have ancestors going back many centuries do not–what can that be other than religious and ethnic chauvinism of the worst kind?

Absolutely!

  
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@Ramzi Obeid – Thankyou so much for posting your article here! Where was it originally published?

Needless to say, I couldn’t agree more. Zionism is indeed tantamount to Nazism, and Jews should know that better than anyone. How they can now attempt genocide themselves is incomprehensible.

  
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Israel have the right to defend their people against rockets or terror.
If the people read a newspaper..there stands how they could attack the Iran befor the Iran attacks them.
So the normal Israeli think much different than a European or Australian.
They know how dangerous the hole area is and that most muslims would love to kill and destroy them.

As german i cant compare Israel with Nazi Germany.
If they would act like this…no one in Gaza would live now.
But they dont act like a modern western country, too.
To build walls and destroy the economy dont bring peace.
I think the people from Gaza must move to the West Bank and the Fatah need to search Hamas Fighters under them.
Or you will have every year the same and if the Hamas get better rockets they can reach much bigger cities.

Now the thing with the land and who owns it.
Both nations have the right to live there and the 3 most important religions have huge interests there.
For me the best way would be a neutral state Palestina..and maybe Jerusalem under UN or European controll for the first years. If you show the children they arent so much different and how they can live together..it could work.
When the children grow up with terror nothing will change..then you can do what you want…one state or two…both cant work right.
And their cant be peace if the Libanon or other countries are controlled by Islamists like the Hisbollah.
This Islamists are the much bigger problem for the hole world.
I dont want to live like the people in Saudi-Arabia or the Iran.

And Sachiko…the Roman destroyed the former Israel state and thats why the Jews escaped to so many countries.
In most countries they had problems because they were different…so you cant really say they have no right to live there.
If someone dont like the Israel state there..they can say thanks to England.
They loved to make borders…

  
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HI SACHIKO! Jewish people –I think, and probably this would be the explanation to their continual provocation, really believe THEY ARE THE “CHOSEN” PEOPLE… and if you go on adding things as this you´ll find that for centuries they were “the money providers” for whatever might mean a good investment for their money no matter what was it all about. They probably believe that in fact THEY ARE the most intelligent people on earth, of course they had people such as EINSTEIN, most probably JUNG was also a Jew, not to talk about FREUD and many more perhaphs not so notorious such as these ones perhaps not practising nevertheless no less Jewish in their actions in general and thinking in particular. Still another thing to be considered is that Christian religion is only and at best an heresy of Judaism, it involves a lot of other religions but their origin is and like it or not they are based on old beliefs like some kind of an “update” they might think that growth in the “new version” is a renewed “god´s support” of their suppossedly original belief. Who knows?

  
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Hi Fernando – nice to see you here! What you say does seem to be true, at least to a point. Jews seem to be quite touchy as well – it often seems as though you can’t say anything about them (even if it isn’t negative) without being accused of ant-Semitism. I don’t think I am anti-Semitic, but I am anti-Zionist. One thing I like about many Jews is that they seem to be quite sexually progressive, unlike most other religions (although of course the ultra orthodox Jews are very conservative). It is also true that Christianity is basically an adaptation of Judaism for mass market consumption. :-)

  
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@Martin

Everyone has the right to defend themselves (including the Palestinians themselves), but nobody has the right to use it as an excuse for genocide, epecially if they’re trying to provoke their enemy into comiting terrorism so that they have an excuse to kill more people and destroy more property. I think the only reason Israel haven’t wiped out the Palestinians yet is because they don’t think they can get away with it – yet. To keep all the US money and arms coming in, they can’t push it too far.

Your suggestion of making Jerusalem a neutral, UN controlled territory is a very good one I think. I think that if Israel stops their aggression, the Islamic states will become a lot less aggressive too.

Your last point is an interesting one, but I think that Jews should be happy with what is their true homeland now: the United States. After all, it’s a far more peaceful and prosperous place to live! :-)

  
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Sure in the USA live most Jews and in Western Europe they should have not huge problems..here in Germany the police secure a synagogue or museum about them. Its more to show that the state will protect them..not that they are really in danger.
Special because our histery they get a lot money for their projects.

But in the last years a lot more people dont like Jews..but thats because the state Israel and not the normal people there or the Jews here in Europe.
The normal people have problems to distinguish…

Last weeks much people made demonstrations against Israel here and in London or so…but most of this people dont want peace…special here this were radical muslims! Most people here have fear for them … this could be a huge problem for all western countries soon…

At the moment the UN cant do much…thats one of the main problems we have today. They cant punish the Iran and the Israeli dont trust the UN.
They always hear the Iran wants to destroy them and not even the USA stop the Iran…so the UN looks very weak and they think they need to do it alone with walls and weapons.
If this dont change..Israel will act the same way again and again.
I am very sad that Europe isnt strong enough to controll this area.

  
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Sachiko… I am trying to keep cool head here but I think you been reading the wrong news or siding with Hamas. Well I want you to know Sachiko that Israel is going through tough time and here is something I want you to do Sachiko if you have HALF OF BRAIN try living in Israel for a year or two and see what they have to go through everyday then probably you would be whistling a different tune.

  
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@Joshua – Yet again, perhaps you should try living in Gaza, then maybe you would whistle a different tune! What makes Israelis (and Israeli sympathisers) think they’re the only ones who are suffering?

  
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Originally Posted By Martin
But in the last years a lot more people dont like Jews..but thats because the state Israel and not the normal people there or the Jews here in Europe.

And this is exactly why Zionism is bad for everybody, including Jews themselves. We’ve had a lot of anti-Israel demonstrations here as well, but it certainly hasn’t just been radical Muslims protesting.

  
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Hi,

Damn, I just started writing here and I accidentally deleted what I wrote. :-( LOL. So, I start again. Better luck this time. Okay, I wrote something about this here, about the Gaza crisis.

worldpaulcarr.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!2AA66E340D37A86C!1922.entry

Anyway, I think what has happened in Gaza and is still happening is a humanitarian crisis. I don’t think the principle problem lies with Israel. It lies with the United States of America. During the Bush years, the Dubya years, Bush wasn’t interested in engaging in the peace process in the Middle East.

Okay, I’ll cut to the chase. The problem is: the United States of America, successive governments, both Republican and Democratic, think that they alone have solutions for all the world’s problems. I guess in Israel and Palestine, there needs to be an honest broker to broker a peace. I don’t think the United States (and I apologize for speaking in such general terms) has such a role as an honest broker. An honest broker needs to be accepted by both sides as a credible peace-maker. Clearly, Palestinians, whether of Hamas/Fatah or any other hue, do NOT accept representatives of the United States whether Democratic/Republican or any other hue or mix, as credible peace-makers. That doesn’t surprise me. Given the history of the United States of America screwing things up in that region of the world.

How about China? Maybe, they’d make a better broker for peace in the region? Maybe the European Union? But, will the Israelis accept them? Let’s go back to Bush. Bush didn’t want to engage in the peace process in that part of the Middle East. That, in itself, was not the problem. At the same time, he wasn’t interested in letting anyone else engage in the peace process either. Now, THAT was the problem. Bush would scorn an EU initiative or any other imaginative effort by some other well-meaning country or collection of countries. He interfered and he didn’t interfere, you know what I mean.

And, now we have the Democrats back in power in the US of A. They’ll want to engage more, I guess. But, that will still leave the fundamental problem. And, that problem is that the United States only makes matters worse by attempting to interfere in that region of the world where its reputation has been shot to pieces thoroughly with one party to the conflict, i.e. the Palestinians.

Regarding Zionism, I wouldn’t make a big deal about this word. On wikipedia, I read, “Zionism is an international political movement that originally supported the reestablishment of a homeland for the Jewish People in the historic Land of Israel (Hebrew: Eretz Yisra’el, “the Land of Israel”), later called Palestine, and continues primarily as support for the modern state of Israel.”

There’s no mention of Nazism there. From what I read, Zionism is just Jewish nationalism. Clearly, Jews/Israelis have just as much entitlement to be nationalist and nationalistic as Palestinians have.

Anyway, what else to write? Ah, of course, I could be wrong about what I write above.

:-)

What else to write? Yeah. I must find something for you. A youtube video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYAgyv2MKyI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUaeID9Lap0

It’s about the situation in the West Bank. What struck me about this piece is that the State of Israel is in real trouble!!. In just 10 years time, Jewish Israelis will be a minority in the greater region of Israel/Palestine. And, yet, there is huge reluctance amongst even moderate Israelis now to accept a two-state solution.

It also struck me as interesting that one of Israel’s candidates for Prime Minister next month,Tzipi Livni, the present Israeli foreign minister, wants to evacuate the 400,000 or so Israeli settlers in the west bank using force if necessary.

Anyway, what am I trying to say? Not sure. Erm, maybe the USA is a malign influence on Israel, stopping Israel time and time again from doing the right thing?

  
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@Mark Crawford – wrote:

“Obama may realize that he needs to withold loan guarantees and/or military aid if Israel is to stop and reverse Jewish settlement in the territories. THat is a fairly drastic move for a US president, but if Netanyahu and the Likud hardliners get back in , he may realize that that is the only option that will work.”

Ah, my friend, I wouldn’t hold my breath there.

Would this be the same Barack Obama who is being ever so nicey nicey to the Republicans over his stimulus package, even stripping some part of it because the Republicans were saying it encouraged abortions and, then, guess what?, the Republicans, all of them in the House, voted against the stimulus package anyway.?

  
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I agree with everything you have stated Sachiko. Especially about the Conservative Religious Right in America. I would like to add that another reason the US Government supports Israel’s stealing of Palestinian land and warehousing displaced families in Gaza is US history parallels what the Israelis are doing. The US government has stolen all of the indigenous peoples land in the Continental US, Alaska, and Hawaii, broken every treaty, and warehoused Native Peoples on the worst most useless land possible. And then has the gall to bury nuclear waste there. It all comes down to greed, arrogance, and might makes right. I’m sure that Hitler and the Israeli Zionists looked at US history and concluded they could do it too.

Also, anti-Zionism does not mean anti-Semitism. Anymore than anti-Nazism means anti-Germanism. I do not blame all Jews for what Zionists are doing. And I and other Americans should not be blamed for what Bush/Cheney did or the continued US support of Zionism. I do realize that most American Jews consider anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism, so I never discuss my feelings with them for fear of losing their friendship. And since I wield no political power, all I can do is blog. But I find the great majority of bloggers(except for this site)are not interested in reasonable resolution of problems, but are only interested in emotional rantings and ravings.

I would like to say to Martin of Germany, you were not even born during the Nazi Era. Your generation should not feel any collective guilt for what some of your ancesters did. If that were the case we would all be living in guilt forever.

  
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Problem #1: What year is it?
Welcome to the year 5,769/2,009/1,349.

Problem #2: Who are attacking the Israelites this time?
(Israelite perspective)
Cannanites, Hittites, Pharesis, Macedonians, Alexandrites, Greeks, Romans, Christians, Turks, Bedowins, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Ottomans, Nazis, Stalinists, British, Egyptians, Transjordanians, Palestinians, Iraqis, Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Iraqis, Egyptians, Palestinians, Iraqis, Egyptians, Lebanese, Hamas, Palestinians, Hamas, Palestinians.

Problem #3: Or is it, who are the Israelites attacking this time?
(other perspective)
Cannanites, Hittites, Pharesis, Macedonians, Alexandrites, Greeks, Romans, Christians, Turks, Bedowins, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Ottomans, Nazis, Stalinists, British, Egyptians, Transjordanians, Palestinians, Iraqis, Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Syrians, Jordanians, Iraqis, Egyptians, Palestinians, Iraqis, Egyptians, Lebanese, Hamas, Palestinians, Hamas, Palestinians.

Problem #4: The true and always present causes of conflict.
Tribal Identities, Class/Race/Gender/Religious distortions of power in society, scarcity of resources, lack of education, lack of/or skewed historical knowledge, massive and divisively poor current conditions of living, outside political/military/economic powers influencing the players of the conflict. Add the breakdown of communication methods leading to rumor/innuendo/lies/deceptions leading to misunderstandings leading to escalations of hostilities leading to the next chapter in the long war between whomever and whomever since the beginning of time.

(Possibly Unreachable)
Solution #1:
Everybody in these areas need to stop actively inflicting harm.
Solution #2:
Everybody in these areas need to stop actively inflicting harm.
Solution #3:
Recognize the other side exists.
Solution #4:
Recognize that each side has valid greivances for the issues at hand.
Solution #5:
Find some way to establish a dialogue process that comes first before the escalation of violence takes place. As the writers of the Torah, followers of King David and the first followers of the King Hummarabi, there must be some sort of inter-tribal court system that could be set up to air and adjudicate these grievances.
Solution #6:
Agree not to take funds from outside interests unless equal amounts are provided to both sides for humanitarian purposes.
(USA/Iran/Iraq/Syrian/Jordanians-Others)
Solution #7:
Agree to protect each other from outside aggression.
Solution #8:
Abide by the agreements, respect cultural differences, respect each other.
Solution #9:
Stop assassainating your own leaders who provide the frameworks for and work towards implementing solutions #1-8 in a realistic and method driven way.
Solution #10:
Vote for/Support leaders who put peace as the first priority, as everything else (prosperity, technological advancement, wealth, commerce, educational excellence) begins with the achievement of peace as a social goal.

Currently (Israel and Palestine)/(Palestine and Israel) are both wrong.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, they just makes everything worse.

  
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@Paul Carr – You are very right – the US does have very little credibility with Muslims, and with very good reason. Still, it seems even they had hope that Obama’s administration would be up to the job.

@Robert – You have a good point – as I’ve said previously, I think Israel is the west’s last great act of colonialism, and a very destructive one at that. And colonialism in general has left lasting scars across the entire world (and is why Africa is in such a mess). I think we just need to draw a line in the sand and admit that it was very, very wrong, and make sure it is never allowed to happen again.

@Akacra – You are absolutely right of course – as usual! ;-)

  
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Oh, I dunno. It’s all so depressing. :-( Sachiko, I’m a big fan. :-D

I think one of the commenters earlier said something like, you know, what did he say, ah, :-) what did he say? ah yes, something like “Israel has a right to hit Gaza in order to stop the mortar attacks into Israel” or something like that. But, I mean, did they stop? I don’t think so. And now we have how many Palestinian civilians dead? 1000 plus?

You know, something else I wanted to write. Yeah. “Zionism” is just a word. People input extra meaning into the word where none exists. It’s like “anti-semitism”.. If you criticize France, you’re “anti-French”. If you criticize Romania, you’re “anti-Romanian”. If you criticize Israel or the Jewish community, you’re ah, “anti-Semite”. Isn’t saying anti-Semite in the context of the Israeli-Arab disagreement actually a contradiction? Aren’t Arabs like Israelis also Semites? But, anyway, that aside. Why do we say “Anti-Semite”? Is it like if you criticize Israel, it’s more than just criticizing Israel? Is it that you may be raising the wrath of God himself? Again same with Zionism. From what I gather, and again, maybe I’m wrong, Zionism just means Israeli nationalism, just like you have French nationalism, German nationalism and British nationalism but are there any special (-ism) words for these?

Sorry for the waffle. HeHe. It’s 7:30 here in Beijing. I can’t sleep.

  
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Thanks Paul! :-)

It often seems to me that people like to trot out the “anti-Semitic” accusation to protect Jews from legitimate criticism. Anti-Zionism is not the same thing as anti-Semitism, although Zionists love to claim that it is. But as I said, I think Zionism is bad for Jews themselves, as well as everyone else.

  
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I have numerous friends who are anti-Zionist Jews. They are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. The fact is that it is not anti-Semitic to be anti-Zionist. Rather it is anti-Semitic to BE Zionist. Zionism has dehumanized Jews in the eyes of the world. The political elites in Israel are not even descendants of the ancient Jews. They are originally Khazars or Slavs who converted to Judaism in the 9th. century. Notice how many of them have blond hair and blue eyes — not Semitic traits at all. Until Israel renounces Zionism and recognizes that non-Jews have equal rights as Jews, Israel has no more right to defend itself than Nazi Germany. Israeli leaders are like modern day Hitlers who should be tried for crimes against humanity and war crimes and locked away for good. The biggest joke is when Israelis complain about the rockets. Let Israel and the Palestinians swap weapons for one day. The Palestinian resistance gives Israel the rockets and in return, Israel gives the Palestinians the Apache helicopters, F16 jets, Mirkava tanks, Caterpillar bulldozers, armored personnel carriers, DU bombs, WP bombs, DIME bombs, cluster bombs, flechettes, bunker buster bombs etc…. Let us see how then those Israelis will like it. Israel is like a nation of Marie Antoinettes. They want to commit untold crimes on people and deny them the right to resist. On top of it Israel steals not only land. The food they say is theirs: Hummus, falafel, tabbouleh etc.. are all Palestinian and Lebanese foods which they have stolen and market as Israeli foods. Their nuclear technology and enriched uranium they use in their bombs are all stolen from France. Even their national anthem is stolen from the classical work called “Ma Vlast” by the Czech composer Bedrich Smetana who was not even Jewish himself. The only thing that Israel has invented is modern day terrorism. The first hotel bombing, first car bomb, first bombing of an embassy, the first booby trapped letter are all Israeli inventions by the Irgun, Stern and Hagannah terror groups.

  
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I really appreciate your perspective Ramzi. I’d very much like to hear more from anti-Zionist Jews actually – Israel’s behaviour in Palestine could lead to the most widespread anti-Semitism the world has ever seen. And I couldn’t agree more with your comment about swapping weapons for day. :-)

  
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HOWDY! With surprise I noticed that an opinion I sent yesterday on the Jewish Question has not been included at least up to this moment. Only two things might have happened: my problem wth Cookies either that my comments have been considered preposterous or something of the sort as the last I heard from you on the subject said that something like that the text WAS AWAITING SOME KIND OF AN APPROVAL… in fact what I said is not new as it was a remark on the jewish people serious belief that they are today´s version of the WW.II. years of the German belief that it was them the HERRENVOLK. They are NOT NAZIs, they only firmly believe they are the only carriers of a GOD REVEALED TRUTH and to this should be added that they also think they are something like the best of HUMANITY…
I hope these lines get trough!

  
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Hi Fernando,

To protect us against spam, the first time somebody posts, it goes to the moderation queue. But as you’ve probably just seen, once you already have an approved comment, they then go straight up!

  
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Sachiko and Ramzi Obeid talk about Zionism. First of all, I don’t know what you mean by Zionism. Are you saying that successive Israeli governments have a policy of supplanting the Palestinians in the West Bank, the end game of which is to remove all the Palestinians entirely from there – and possibly the Gaza strip too? If that is the case, why don’t they say so publicly? If that were the case, then it’s clear that Israeli governments have spectacularly failed. Take the 60 minutes clip, I copied earlier.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYAgyv2MKyI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUaeID9Lap0

In just 10 years time, Jewish Israelis are going to be an minority of the population in the greater Israel/Palestine region.

Anyway, I don’t believe in conspiracy theories and I don’t believe that the Israeli government actually wants to do that.

  
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Of course they aren’t going to say it publically – otherwise they wouldn’t be able to get the support they need to do it! And the fear of becoming a minority is one of the things driving them to do it.

  
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@Sachiko – Last I checked Israel was a democracy. Are you saying that regardless of what government or coalition government Israeli people elect, they’ll have the same (unstated) end-game in mind, the complete expulsion (or worse) of the Palestinian people from the West Bank and/or the Gaza strip? An individual Israeli cabinet minister would have to be a complete wingnut to say so publicly, never mind the entire government. Brings to mind this guy:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/october01/mideast_10-17.html

  
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There certainly are some moderates in Israel who decry the massacre of Palestinians and the theft of Palestinian land, but they are unlikely to be elected.

  
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The goal of the Israeli Zionists is to finish what they started in 1947. And that is to slowly but surely push all nonjews out of the borders of the present day Israeli Zionist State. They will not publicize this because they would receive global condemnation. However, nothing will stop there incremental achievement of this goal. Why do you think they keep building illegal settlements on the West Bank? They don’t want a two state solution, they want it all for themselves.

Zionism is not nationalism as felt by indigenous people who have formed a nation. Zionism is the idea of sending millions of jews from Europe and America whose ancesters had lived there for hundreds of years to Palestine to steal the country away from it’s legitimate population. If that’s not colonialism, what is?

  
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Absolutely! It is indeed colonialism, no two ways about it.

  
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I totally agree with the argument put forth by Robert.

Paul Carr asks about Zionism, how does one define Zionism?

On a lighter side, I once attended a presentation by the late and great Israeli writer and thinker Tanya Reinhart and sitting right next to me was one of my anti-Zionist Jewish friends. One person stood up at the end of the presentation, during q&a, and asked Tanya to define Zionism. At this point, I turned to my friend and asked HIM to define Zionism for me. He looked at me and said: “Ramzi, Zionism is a mental illness.”

Seriously, it will take a whole book to define Zionism. Zionists define Zionism as the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. If we take this definition at face value and taking into account the misery and oppression that the Zionist project caused for the Palestinians and all neighboring people, then logic would suggest that perhaps the liberation of the Jewish people is not a worthwhile pursuit since it causes great harm to others. So if we were to follow Zionist logic, Jews do not deserve to be free.

Of course this is nonsense, everyone deserves to be free. Moreover, logic would suggest another definition of Zionism. Due to the fact that Zionism (by practice as well as by policy) maintains that Jews are superior to other people and therefore have superior rights, its definition becomes more in line with the definitions of fascism and Nazism. The definition of Zionism would then be a supremacist and racist ideology guided by hatred and violence. Just like Nazism stripped Germans of their humanity and fascism stripped Italians of their humanity, Zionism is currently stripping Jews of their humanity. That, my friends, can never be good a good thing.

  
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Ambiguities, layers of policy, and chambers of history –

How many Jews did the US receive as legal immigrants from Europe during the years of WW2? Only 121,000 got such sanctuary, last I heard. In proportion to the millions of executions attributed to Nazi action, this was not much help for the Jews. Is this a source of vulnerability to Israeli demands for aid? Can anybody correct and update my “information”?

Perhaps we should consider both Hitler’s Deutschland AND the new “Zion” as primarily British financier creations. US complicity is conspicuous, but one should consider that virtually all US support for the new would-be Zion has played out strictly during the post-WW2 years. Over this same period, the US has moved steadily, more and more, toward subservience to Anglophile financiers in its affairs. That process began with the replacement of FDR with Truman as President, thus switching a Constitution-oriented leader (who developed a very distant and testy relationship with Winston Churchill, for certain reasons) to a leader who was to Churchill as a caddy is to a flamboyant golf enthusiast. That same process saw the dissolution of FDR’s Bretton-Woods agreements under Nixon’s watch in 1972 (opening the way for the Wall Street/London globalization swindles), and culminated finally in the excesses of the Bush Dynasty, from which the Gaza tragedy proceeds.

Was Hitler a “British” creation? Some point fingers at the US: indeed, Prescott Bush, gandfather of the Ex, directly participated in financial aid to Hitler, drawing upon US banking resources. But Prescott Bush was in fact a confirmed Anglophile, in terms of business and political associations, and also personal loyalties. And the post-WW2 period was not the only parade of anglophilic leaders in US history: Teddy Roosevelt openly declared the US and Britain to be friends, when they had been enemies historically. Then, another US pro-Anglo-Dutch-Venetian financier period ensued, culminating in the involvement of the US in the depression, and the installation of Hitler. Incidentally, those putatively prosperous “roaring 20s” in the US were noted to be “especially hard on the American farmer”, historically. Thusly, the REAL economy (actual physical productivity) of the US was dangerously challenged then (and the post-GW Bush world condition is worse).

Can any of you more articulate blog-critics get me on track with some more specific historical data? I would love to believe there is still in Israel (and the greater region about it) a substantial population that respects the efforts of people like Yitzak Rabin, Anwar Sadat, — and maybe even Yasir Arafat in his later years — to make peace in the Middle East. Can one envision a true Zion – a truly peaceful, prosperous, egalitarian, and culturally diversified “Midst of the Land”?

  
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Originally Posted By Robert
The goal of the Israeli Zionists is to finish what they started in 1947. And that is to slowly but surely push all nonjews out of the borders of the present day Israeli Zionist State. They will not publicize this because they would receive global condemnation.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_citizens_of_Israel.

There are 1,114,000 Arab citizens of Isreal.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel

“Making up 16.2% of the population, Muslims constitute Israel’s largest religious minority. Arab citizens of Israel, who comprise 19.8% of the population, contribute significantly to that figure as over four fifths (82.6%) of them are Muslim.”

So, are you saying that it is the unstated goal of successive Israeli governments to disenfranchise 19.8% of the Israeli population and others who are non-jews and then expel them from the country? I think that’s absurd.

While writing this, it got me thinking.. Is there such a person as an Arab Jew or a Jewish Arab? I suppose if this is possible, their numbers must be very small.

  
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@Paul Carr – The holocaust seemed unimaginable at the time too – until it actually happened.

If you read these articles more carefully, you will see that a lot of these “Arab Israelis” are actually living on land that has been annexed by Israel, and don’t identify themselves as Israeli. Others are living in well established pre-Israel towns such as Nazareth, which contain a lot of non-Jewish minorities (such as Christians) who feel under constant threat of expulsion, and whom many Jews feel are a threat to the state of Israel. Once again, Israel hasn’t removed these people en masse because they haven’t been able to get away with it, but if they feel they can, they will. As Ramzi says, Zionism is wrong by its very nature – establishing a state for one religion (with the resultant displacement of people from other religions) just isn’t acceptable in the 21st (or even 20th) century.

  
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Originally Posted By Sachiko- The holocaust seemed unimaginable at the time too – until it actually happened.

The problem with people like you and Ramzi Obeid is that you can’t imagine peace in the Middle East. You just imagine imminent war, Holocaust, Shoah, call it what you will. Reading Ramzi Obeid, I get the distinct impression he wants the entire Jewish population of Israel to pack their bags and get out.

If you read these articles more carefully, you will see that a lot of these “Arab Israelis” are actually living on land that has been annexed by Israel,

Yes, I knew this already. That’s why I wrote Arab citizens of Israel. I was referring to Arabs who live within the pre-1967 border. They are citizens and they can vote for members of the Knesset just like Jewish Israelis. Over four fifths of them (82.6%) are Muslim.

and don’t identify themselves as Israeli.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_citizens_of_Israel

“There is research that supports that the overwhelming majority of Arab citizens of Israel would choose to remain Israeli citizens rather than become citizens of a future Palestinian state.”

  
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Here are my thoughts on Israel:-

When Moses came down from the “Mount” he told the mugs (people) who followed him that they would go to “the promised land”
but he didn’t tell them when they would get there.
They went searching far and wide, exploiting the economies of most European countries, being inadvertently catalysts in the start of the 2nd world war until finally they were issued, by the League of Nations, with what is now known as “Israel”.
Eventually they found the “Promised Land” – USA, where they have controlled the economy and therefore, foreign policy,for close to 80 years . Therefore they think they have a Yaveh given right to treat everyone else like shit.

Here endeth the first lesson.

  
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Originally Posted By Paul Carr

Originally Posted By Sachiko – The holocaust seemed unimaginable at the time too – until it actually happened.

The problem with people like you and Ramzi Obeid is that you can’t imagine peace in the Middle East. You just imagine imminent war, Holocaust, Shoah, call it what you will.

This isn’t really about what we can imagine – we are merely pointing out the sad facts of the matter.

and don’t identify themselves as Israeli.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_citizens_of_Israel

“There is research that supports that the overwhelming majority of Arab citizens of Israel would choose to remain Israeli citizens rather than become citizens of a future Palestinian state.”

Also from the same article:

Arab citizens of Israel are often called Arab Israelis or Israeli Arabs, a term with which some identify but the majority reject.

The tension between their Palestinian Arab national identity and their identity as citizens of Israel was famously described by an Arab public figure as, “My state is at war with my nation”.

According to the 2008 National Resilience Survey, conducted by Tel Aviv University, 43% of Muslims refer to themselves as “Palestinian-Arabs”; only 15% defined themselves as “Arab-Israelis” and four percent of those surveyed said they considered themselves “Muslim-Israelis”.

I was a bit confused by this apparent contradiction at first, but I think what it means is that these people identify themselves as Palestinian ethnically, but know that Israel is where the jobs are (and it’s their home anyway), so they would rather have Israeli citizenship for these reasons. I think this is a very sad reflection of the lack of opportunities afforded the people in the Palestinian territories.

This whole situation is deeply tragic if you ask me.

  
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@porkar

Sadly, it does seem as though Zionists really do have this sort of attitude – yet another example of just how dangerous, destructive and divisive religion can be (epecially the Abrahamic religions).

  
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As with so many lies meant to last for 1000s of years, most jews are not really even the jews of the bible.

This links to a complete book on the subject.
http://198.62.75.1/www2/koestler/
Where do the Ashkenazim Jews come from?
The Thirteenth Tribe

The Khazar Empire and its Heritage

By Arthur Koestler

How lucky we are to live in an age when truth is pouring out over these wires. We need of course to take the truth beyond our minds and share with others

  
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I have a question for Paul Carr: Where in my writing do I say that I want Jews to pack up and leave? If you want to engage in civilized debate, please do not libel people like that. This proves that you misinterpret everything you see and hear which explains your total ignorance about the Middle East and particularly Palestine. You must be sniffing something to believe that Palestinians have equal rights in Israel.

  
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@Ramzi Obeid – Well, there’s this comment here. You appear to be fairly dismissive of Israel. You appear to suggest that Israel has stolen lots of things even the food and therefore that it’s not an authentic state or nation. You rather tongue-in-cheek claim that the only thing Israelis have invented is modern day terrorism. It’s hardly an endorsement of Israel’s very right to exist.

I don’t pretend to be informative on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Fact is, I’m not. (*) I’m sure you know more about it than I do. Actually, I enjoyed reading your comments. They’re very informative. I can see you have a lot of information on it. But, just because you’re well-informed doesn’t mean that you’re right.

I remember Barack Obama back in 2007 or 2008 went on the Daily Show and Jon Stewart raised with him concerns that he was too inexperienced to become President of the United States of America. He replied that the likes of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld had a lot of executive government experience going back to the Nixon years but they still made bad decisions such as supporting the US invasion of Iraq.

You know, I can see you’re well-informed but you build your information around a narrative that I can not agree with or stomach or alternatively, you have concluded the same narrative based on the large volume of information you have acquired. (**)

Well, I’m sorry you feel I libeled you. It wasn’t my intention to do so. I thought we were having a discussion or a debate. I remind you that I wrote that it was my “distinct impression”. Maybe, my distinct impression is wrong, in which case, I’m sorry. It would appear you want me to “put up and shut up”. Sorry, I can’t do that either. As far as I’m concerned, this is a debate/discussion. You don’t agree?

Of course, I unequivocally condemn the Israeli invasion of the Gaza strip. I deplore the loss of life and the maiming of life. I live a comfortable life. It’s impossible for me to even imagine the suffering that has been inflicted on the people there, on sons, daughters, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, family and friends. As you pointed out before, there appears to be plenty of irrefutable evidence that the Israeli military deliberately targeted civilians on plenty of occasions and this is very disturbing.

I thought up some questions to ask you.

1) You’ve already given your definition of Zionism. You claim that Zionism is worse than simply Israeli nationalism. You claim that it’s a variation of Nazism. You claim that Zionists logically believe that Jewish Israelis have more natural rights than Palestinians. (***) So, my first question is: Are you saying that the present Israeli government and indeed all Israeli governments are Zionist in their thinking under your definition of the word “Zionist”?

If so, I’m confused. According to the 60 minutes clip I linked to in a previous comment,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYAgyv2MKyI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUaeID9Lap0

even Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and candidate for Prime Minister in the upcoming Israeli elections scheduled for this month, wants all 400,000 or so Israeli settlers in the West Bank to be removed, forcibly if necessary. Doesn’t sound very “Zionist” to me. Is she fibbing then? Is this a lie? Is she being, what’s the word, disingenuous?

So what’s the political landscape in Israel/Palestine like, Ramzi Obeid? Moderate politicians are insincere whilst the extremist politicians, though stupid, at least have sincerity on their side? I don’t take such a depressing viewpoint on world affairs even in an unhappy place like Israel/Palestine.

I think she was very brave for saying what she did. She’ll probably lose to Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming election. But, even if Benjamin Netanyahu wins the upcoming election, if enough global pressure is put on him, he’ll compromise, just like he did from 1996 to 1999 when he was prime minister. He signed two interim agreements with the Palestinians despite his hardline positions in opposition. (****)

From : http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1046154.html

My second question to you is, okay, what’s your solution to the problem? What does Israel need to do to secure peace? What do the Palestinians need to do? What does the wider Middle Eastern region need to do? What about the global community? What needs to be done in the first year? What’s your road map for peace? What is your idea of a final status agreement which will ensure a peaceful and peace-loving Israel/Palestine in the future?

My third question is have you got anything good to say about Israel? I hope you won’t give another tongue-in-cheek answer there.

I think it’s very unlikely and too much of an ask to expect Israel to unilaterally withdraw from the West Bank and to raise completely the blockade of Gaza when you have Hamas which won parliamentary elections back in January 2006 stating that they don’t recognise Israel’s right to exist, when you have Iran which many Israelis fear is developing nuclear weapons and delivery systems to attack their cities, when you have other terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, when you are surrounded by countries that are critical of Israel. The President of Israel Shimon Peres has even had a spat with the prime minister of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan in recent days.

International pressure will have to be brought to bear on Israel and the Palestinians to bring about a peaceful settlement. I don’t think the USA is the right country to lead the charge.

I was just glancing over the script of Barack Obama’s inauguration speech. Many liberals in US politics think it was an excellent speech giving it an A-. I don’t think so. I thought it was ordinary myself. For example, Barack Obama said this:

“Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.” (******)

There’s not a hint of an apology by Obama for example to the American Indians whose land was stolen from them over a period of decades which some people have described, in the broader sense, as genocide. In fact, quite the contrary, Obama’s speech was one of “we make no apologies”.

Same with the Middle East. If only a US President would fess up and say, “Hey, we failed and we’re sorry about that.”(*******). Unfortunately, this only happens in works of fiction such as the movie, “American Dreamz” where the fictional US President, Joseph Staton, played by Dennis Quaid. (I have a soft spot for Dennis Quaid) tells us at the end of the movie he’s sorry for the conflict in the Middle East. Obama won’t fess up. He won’t confess. He won’t say sorry. I bet his administration will be a mediocre one just like George Bush’s and Bill Clinton’s before him. He might have a little more success than Bill Clinton because I think he has more congressional support than Bill Clinton had but I don’t think Barack Obama has the leadership or the charisma to overturn the “Reagan Revolution” that’s been ongoing since 1981. I might be wrong.

And, unfortunately, this is bad for the Middle East too. Noam Chomsky thinks that Obama’s stance on the Gaza crisis is approximately the Bush position.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_mT0Puz2es
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlnC4uhK1v8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEL0wuruUrc

Sachiko wrote in her original article that she was “disappointed” about Obama’s inaction in putting a stop to Israel’s illegal and immoral actions in the West Bank and other matters. I think she should be devastated.

Let’s go back to Zionism. For me, the invocation of Zionism as the real problem in Israel/Palestine is a cop-out. I’m sure there are some Zionists as Hamzi Obeid defines them in Israel. I’m pretty sure they are a minority. Contrary to what Sachiko thinks, there are lots of moderates in Israeli politics. In fact, there are enough to get things done. But, the United States of America, the villain of this piece, consistently interferes. Back in 2006, Ron Paul pointed out that part of the problem in the Middle East is that the United States constantly interferes for example in Israel’s sovereign right to conduct a foreign policy as it sees fit. There were many moderates in Israel who wanted to make peace with Syria and withdraw from the Golan Heights but the United States vetoed it.

You know, right now, I think it is Obama supporters who are invoking the spectre of “Zionism” as an excuse not to get anything done in the Middle East. They can claim that it’s the fault of those unreasonable Zionists. “We had better not upset them or they’ll nuke our cities.” The spectre of Zionism is just a cloak that the International community wears on occasion to justify doing nothing. For me, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is an international conflict which requires an international solution. Neither side to this conflict can unilaterally solve the conflict by themselves. As I wrote in my first comment I don’t think the USA will be accepted as an honest and impartial broker by the Palestinian side and so they should step aside and let another honest and impartial peace broker acceptable to both sides step forward.

(*) I like to learn more about this conflict though. My thanks to you again for providing me with lots of information and writing to this thread has afforded me an opportunity to do some further research into the matter.
(**) In your comments, you subject Israel to written degradation in much the same way as you claim Palestine has itself been subject to actual degradation by Israelis. Two wrongs don’t make a right, Ramzi Obeid.
Also, since you consider my comments to be libelous, I politely suggest that you’re a little too sensitive.
(***) Okay, as I recall correctly, you were saying that Zionism, as you define it, is even worse than apartheid. Palestinians in the West Bank are being confined to South African style Bantustans but until the original Bantustans, Israel’s plan is to move the inhabitants on later presumably across the Jordan river.
(****) I think there’s a lot of hope that there can be a lasting peace as a result of a peace process this time based on the Two-State solution. I think this forms the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative which was first proposed by no less a person than then Crown Prince (now King) Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in 2002 and re-endorsed in 2007.

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

There is widespread support for it.

(*****) One final thing. For me, the Israel/Palestine conflict is not so much a political conflict as a conflict of development. You have Israel, a developed country pretty much and you have Palestine, a developing country. I read somewhere that the per capita GDP of Israel is 30 times than of the Palestinian territories. This conflict is really a clash of societies in different stages of development. And, often when that happens, it is the less developed society that suffers much the worse. Sierra Leone and its blood diamonds is another example that comes to mind. There are lots of other such examples. Sure, there needs to be a political solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict but that solution has to come from and be imposed by the international community.

(******) This part of Obama’s speech was like, “We, Americans’, are always right. Our story is better than yours and if we tread on your feet then clearly you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Cue: American Indians. He also said the following:

“To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but
that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

(*******) I see no signs that Obama acknowledges any failure on the part of previous US governments in their handling of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Again, his administration’s attitude appears to be one of claiming that they have not failed and insisting that the Obama administration alone has the best interests of Palestinians and Israelis in mind.

  
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My dear Paul Carr,

As to a solution for Israel/Palestine? I see none! A two State solution may seem reasonable like with Korea. However, I see no indication from history that Zionists would ever agree to that since it would contradict the basic premise of Zionism. Do you understand that there are Jews who sincerely believe with every beat of their heart that the Real Estate involved truly belongs to them and them alone, because one of their ancient human scribes wrote on a scroll that GOD said so?

Plus there are Palestinians with Deeds in hand for their property that was stolen from them in 1947 who are going to keep sending rockets into Israeli occupied territory as long as they are subsidized by oil rich neighbors.

If there really were an Abrahamic GOD, I think he would have placed his finger on that shore of the Mediteranian by now and pushed down to create a second cleansing flood instead of allowing the ethnic cleansing that is going on now. Do you have a solution, other than the ficticious “finger of GOD” one I just described?

  
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Originally Posted By Paul Carr
even Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister and candidate for Prime Minister in the upcoming Israeli elections scheduled for this month, wants all 400,000 or so Israeli settlers in the West Bank to be removed, forcibly if necessary. Doesn’t sound very “Zionist” to me. Is she fibbing then? Is this a lie? Is she being, what’s the word, disingenuous?

So what’s the political landscape in Israel/Palestine like, Ramzi Obeid? Moderate politicians are insincere whilst the extremist politicians, though stupid, at least have sincerity on their side? I don’t take such a depressing viewpoint on world affairs even in an unhappy place like Israel/Palestine.

I think she was very brave for saying what she did. She’ll probably lose to Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming election. But, even if Benjamin Netanyahu wins the upcoming election, if enough global pressure is put on him, he’ll compromise, just like he did from 1996 to 1999 when he was prime minister. He signed two interim agreements with the Palestinians despite his hardline positions in opposition. (****)

Hi Paul,

I think you answered your own question with your last paragraph. There certainly are moderates in Israel, but they’ve so far proven unelectable. So it would seem the majority of Israelis are Zionists, which makes perfect sense – after all, non-Zionists would most likely prefer to live outside of Israel.

You’ve also kind of answered your question about what to do. There has to be a lot of international pressure to bring Israel into line, which has to start with the US. At a minimum, they should cease their blatantly biased support of Israel. This means they should end the outrageous largesse of their financial aid – and even more importantly their utterly inexcusabe military aid – and they should stop blocking the UN from taking action against them. Indeed, they should be standing with the UN in their condemnation of Israel’s actions, and be ready to back it up with military force if necessary.

In reality though, religion plus lots of money will likely make this impossible, unless the American people wake up en masse and force the US government to do the right thing. Perhaps we should be focusing on that 7 million dollars per day to try and make this happen – Obama’s election shows that the people can still get their way if they’re motivated and organised enough, and the current financial crisis should be a strong catalyst to push the US government to stop throwing all that money away.

  
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@Robert

I think there is on question that religion is the “elephant in the room” here: as much as I am hopeful that the sort of solution I describe above could be made to work, I remain of the opinion that ending religion is the best (and ultimately perhaps only) way to resolve this conflict and many others like it.

  
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@Sachiko – Well, I don’t think the outlook for moderates doing well in the February 10th Israeli elections is very bright.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Next_Israeli_legislative_election

The latest Dialog poll for January 28th gives Netanyahu’s Likud 28 seats, Tzipi Livni’s Kadima 25 seats, Yisrael Beiteinu 15 seats, Labour 14 seats, Shas 10 seats, United Torah Judaism 5 seats, Meretz 5 seats, Jewish Home 3 seats, National Union 4 seats, Gil 2 seats, United Arab List-Ta’al 4 seats, Hadash 3 seats, Balad 2 seats.

Here’s a good introduction of where each political party stands:
http://www.reuters.com/article/wtMostRead/idUKTRE50H00320090118?virtualBrandChannel=10112

It’s pretty close between the top two parties. I think, in theory, Tzipi Livni, could be asked to form a coalition government even if her party doesn’t end up the largest in the 120 seat Knesset. But, according to this poll, the numbers are against her. Presumably, she’d have to cobble together at least 61 seats to support her government. Shas refused to join her proposed government last year because she wouldn’t rule out negotiating the status of East Jerusalem. That just leaves, as far as I can see, Labour, Gil and Meretz and possibly the support of the Arab parties, United Arab List-Ta’al, Hadash and Balad. That gives her 55 seats. I’m not even sure if Arab parties will support any Israeli government. That just leaves her 46 seats.

Netanyahu, assuming this poll accurately reflects how the final election result will be, has more options.

Interesting to see how Netanyahu swings after the election when he’s looking for coalition partners. I wonder if Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, will be putting any behind-the-scenes pressure on Netanyahu. Wouldn’t surprise me. The USA always interferes in Israel’s internal politics.

Netanyahu could go to the Zionist fundamentalist parties on his right to give him the necessary 61 seats. Likud + Shas + Yisrael Beiteinu + United Torah Judaism + Jewish Home + National Union = 65 seats. Alternatively, Netanyahu may opt for a more centrist based coalition. Labour Party, Likud and Kadima make 67 seats. Another possibility I see is Kadima + Shas + Likud (63 seats). Since Netanyahu will be prime minister, maybe Shas can be persuaded to work in such a coalition. Of course, the second option, I think would be the best.

The policies of some of these Israeli Zionist parties on the right are clearly not very palatable. Avigdor Liebermann’s Yisrael Beiteinu wants to do a land swap with West Bank territory.”He says Israel’s 1.5 million Arabs and some of their land should be “swapped” for West Bank Jewish settlements”. United Torah Judaism “represents ultra-Orthodox Jews of Ashkenazi, or European, background”. National Union “is an ultra-right religious coalition that demands an end to peace talks”. Shas appears to be slightly more flexible on the West Bank but doesn’t want to share Jerusalem with the Palestinians and wants negotiation on this matter ruled out. Also, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shas ,”It furthermore also demands and endorses an immediate compensation package for those Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews that were forced to leave their host countries and their subsequent property, as well as other connurbations, behind. This clause being fulfilled by Arab Countries in any Bilateral Peace Agreement is a hard condition for Shas being willing to accept any peace deal with the PLO.”

Robert wrote before that “The goal of the Israeli Zionists is to finish what they started in 1947. And that is to slowly but surely push all nonjews out of the borders of the present day Israeli Zionist State”. Ramzi Obeid equates Zionism with Nazism.

If we take their definition of “Zionism” and look at this latest Israeli poll data again, it’s clear that the clear majority of Knesset seats will be occupied by non-Zionists. On the “Zionist” side of the bracket, you can include Yisrael Beiteinu, United Torah Judaism, National Union, Jewish Home and, possibly, Shas. That gives them 37 seats. Shas appears to be more flexible on future West Bank negotiations minus the question of Jerusalem. But, let’s, for the sake of argument, place them in the Zionist set. That leaves 83 seats occupied by non-Zionists.

My understanding of Likud is that it’s kinda like the equivalent of the secular McCain/Guiliani wing of the US Republican party minus the more egregious religious wingnuts. Likud has a long history of negotiating with its Arab neighbours. Likud leader Menachem Begin “secured Israel’s first treaty with the Arabs, when he signed a pact with Egypt in 1979.” From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Likud Then Likud leader Yitzhak Shamir “also granted some legitimacy to the Palestinians by meeting them at the ill-fated Madrid Conference following the Persian Gulf War in 1991.” As written before, Benjamin Netanyahu signed two interim agreements with the Palestinians when he was Prime Minister from 1996 to 1999. Likud’s official position is to support the two-state solution.

  
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@Robert – All religions, when mixed with politics, are inherently stupid. Judaism, in that sense, is no different to any other religion. You’ll find religious fanatics everywhere who will take a literal interpretation of their “holy book” to justify eternal ownership of one piece of real estate or another.

That’s why I’m suspicious of someone like “the Dalai Lama”, real name Tenzin Gyatso. He dons the saffron robes of a Buddhist monk and then he talks politics. I’m weary of him even before he opens his mouth.

  
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Paul Carr:

I do not have time to read your lengthy replies. I read a short passage and concluded that reading what you write is a total waste of time. I also do not think that you understand what you read. For example you say I am dismissive of Israel’s right to exist. You are damn right there. Israel has no more right to exist than Nazi Germany or the plethora of awful bloody regimes that have existed in history. You interpret this as me wanting Jews to pack up and leave. This is such a ridiculous conclusion that it does not merit a reply. Suffice it to say the fact that you misinterpret everything you read makes everything you have to say totally nonsensical. Whatever I or anyone else writes you are not going to understand anything. If a true democracy is established in what is today Israel (a supremacist, racist state guided by hatred and violence) some Jews might want to pack up and leave. This will be because they do not want to live in a country where they have equal rights with people they believe to be inferior. If this is the case, then all I have to say is: GOOD RIDDANCE.

Anything would be better than Israel. The only place in the world that discriminates at a ratio of 20 to 1 against a section (the Arab section) of its population with respect to social programs such as education and health care. The only place in the world which has laws that discourage intermarriage almost to the extent of prohibition. The only place in the world that views part of its population as a demographic problem. The only place in the world that has different license plates and ID cards for a section of its population. The only place in the world where only a section of the population (the Jews) get permits to build and remodel their homes. The only place in the world that allows only a section of its population (again the Jews) to go on certain roads and bridges. And by the way, white European Jews (the elites in Israel) do not only discriminate against Arabs but also against colored Jews as well.

But, Paul Carr, no matter how monstrous and evil Israel is you will still defend it. As far as I am concerned people like you are not worth having a debate with. This is the last time I reply to your ridiculous postings.

  
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@Ramzi Obeid – When writing about you, I wrote, “I get the distinct impression he wants the entire Jewish population of Israel to pack their bags and get out.” I didn’t write, “He wants to entire Jewish population of Israel to pack their bags and get out”. As far as I’m concerned, there is a difference.

Anyway, I guess I could have rephrased it better than I did. I should have written that, in fact, you don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. I should have made a distinction between the people and the country. I’m sorry. Clearly, if you really wanted the entire Jewish population of Israel to pack their bags and leave then you would have written so.

I’m on a learning curve when it comes to understanding the problems in that part of the world. You are, of course, entitled to your point of view. I understand it’s the same as Hamas’s position.

I guess I was clumsy in how I phrased it. Clearly, you don’t want the Jews to get out. You want them to stay in Palestine. No doubt, in your conception, with their considerable expertise, they can help develop that part of the world to the benefit of all the inhabitants there.

I guess what I was trying to convey was that most Jews are recent arrivals in Palestine and I was wondering what your judgment on that was.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism

“In the 1890s, Theodor Herzl infused Zionism with a new ideology and practical urgency, leading to the first congress at Basel in 1897, which created the World Zionist Organization (WZO). Herzl’s aim was to initiate necessary preparatory steps for the attainment a Jewish state.”

I guess this political event provided an important impetus for more Jews to go to live in Palestine along with other push factors such as Russian pogroms and the difficulties for Jews to find entry into other countries such as the USA in the 1920s because of immigration quotas. Clearly, the Balfour declaration of 1917 when the British government endorsed the idea of a Jewish homeland which, in turn, was adopted by the League of Nations in 1922 when it gave its mandate to Britain to rule there, were also important milestones and encouraged further Jewish immigration to Palestine.

Between 1922 and 1946, for example, the number of Jews in Palestine increased dramatically from 83,790 to 608,225. Whereas the Muslim population grew relatively modestly over the same period, from 486,177 to 1,076,783.

Anyway, I was wondering what you thought about that. All these Jews who arrived in Palestine after 1897 and their descendants, would they have to go back to wherever they came from? Well, I think you answered that already. No, they don’t. Well, I’m glad to hear it.

You’re wrong when you write that I will defend Israel no matter how monstrous and evil it is. As a matter of fact, during this discussion, I unequivocally condemned the Israeli ground and air attacks in Gaza. In contrast to some others earlier, I didn’t use the argument of previous Palestinian mortar and rocket attacks on Israel to justify Israeli military intervention. There was no justification for Israeli military intervention. As you pointed out, a death toll of 4 Jews to 1000 Palestinians certainly is Fascism.

You also point out other disturbing features of the Israeli state.

For example, marriages between Jews and non-Jews performed in Israel appear to be disallowed.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscegenation

“In Israel, all marriages must be performed by religious celebrants. Civil marriage does not exist in Israel, although it is legally recognized if it is performed abroad. Rules governing marriage are based on strict religious guidelines of each religion. By Israeli law, authority over all issues related to Judaism in Israel, including marriage, falls under the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Orthodox Judaism is the only form of Judaism recognized by the state, and marriages performed by non-Orthodox Rabbis in Israel are not recognized (although they are recognized if performed abroad). Halakha prohibits marriage of Jews to non-Jews. The Rabbinate in Israel will not perform a marriage between a halakhic Jew (one born of a Jewish mother or Jewish by conversion) to a non-Jew or to a “non-halakhic Jew”, even if the latter is considered a Jew under Israeli civil law, such as a person of Jewish paternal descent. This is regardless of whether the halakhic Jew is Orthodox. Multi-faith couples must get married outside of Israel to avoid this discrimination, most often in Cyprus.”

Well, it’s pretty bad to be sure. If I’m not mistaken, in Saudi Arabia, no religion is officially recognized outside a very narrow, literal interpretation of Sunni Islam.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_religion_in_Saudi_Arabia

“A majority of Saudi citizens are Sunni Muslims. Within Sunni Islam, the strict interpretation of Islam taught by the Salafi or Wahhabi school is the only officially recognized religion.”

Also, “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocratic monarchy in which Islam is the official religion; the law requires that all Saudi citizens be Muslims. Religious freedom is virtually non-existent. The Government does not provide legal recognition or protection for freedom of religion, and it is severely restricted in practice. As a matter of policy, the Government guarantees and protects the right to private worship for all, including non-Muslims who gather in homes for religious practice; however, this right is not always respected in practice and is not defined in law. Moreover, the preaching and public practice of non-Muslim religions is prohibited. The Saudi Mutaween (Arabic: مطوعين), or Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (i.e., the religious police), enforces the prohibition on the public practice of non-Muslim religions. The Government claims to recognize the right of non-Muslims to worship in private; it does not always respect this right in practice.”

So, if I’m reading this correctly, in Saudi Arabia, you don’t have churches or synagogues. You can worship your non-Muslim religion in the privacy of your home but there’s no guarantee that the Mutaween won’t come knocking at your door. And inter-faith marriages? I’ll leave it to you to join the dots.

The Middle East is hardly a region of the world that is awash with pluralism that we are accustomed to in Western countries.

  
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Blah Blah Blah…..I’m getting the feeling here that Paul either has nothing better to do, or he is getting paid by someone by the word to fill up as much blog space as possible, thus boring everyone in the discussion into ceasing to blog. I guess the Massad has to spent every penny of the US tax dollars they are given, one way or another, so that they can get an increase in their budget each cycle.

  
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@Robert – Nothing better to do, my friend.

  
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Alright guys – I agree that Paul does tend to ramble a bit (a lot!), but I think this discussion has been very civil and constructive for the most part so far, so let’s try and keep it that way, shall we? Still Paul, I think everyone would appreciate it if you could perhaps be a little (a lot!) more concise. :-)

  
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I, for one find Paul’s comments quite interesting, although the last one did seem to go off track, ever so slightly w/ the Saudis. I would put in my two cents about a potential peace plan, but it would take up far too much space here, and I see Paul getting an earful for that already. Maybe I should start a companion blog. Unfortunately I lack the talents dear Sachiko has to draw a following, so I guess the secret for peace will die with me. ;)

  
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Come on Sagredo, let’s hear it! I’m sure everyone would be interested in a potential peace plan, and would understand that explaining it will require a fair bit of text – I for one want to hear it anyway. :-)

  
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I’d like to hear it too. I think, “All we are saying…is give peace a chance.”
And I realize that being concise is extremely difficult. Most college text books prove that. But if you spend some extra time reviewing and editing your text, it can be done. I have edited out several paragraphs of a blog I was writing after I realized I had rambled along a misguided tangent. So, Sagredo….?

  
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Originally Posted By SagredoI, for one find Paul’s comments quite interesting, although the last one did seem to go off track, ever so slightly w/ the Saudis.

Ramzi Obeid wrote that Israel is “The only place in the world which has laws that discourage intermarriage almost to the extent of prohibition.”

I investigated that further on Wikipedia. In Israel, it appears that inter-racial marriage is not prohibited but inter-faith marriage between a jew and a non-jew is prohibited. I then took a closer look at Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, a strict interpretation of Sunni Islam is the only officially recognized religion. In Saudi Arabia, you’re not allowed to build churches or synagogues or Buddhist temples or any other place of worship other than a mosque. Taking this logic a step further then, interfaith marriages, for example between a Muslim and a Jew, are also prohibited in Saudi Arabia.

  
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Paul:

Although Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, it is one of Israel’s biggest allies in the Middle East. I would like to see the Saudi monarchy go just as much as I would like to see Israel go. Israel apologists always resort to comparing Israel to the medieval monarchy in Saudi Arabia in a failed attempt to make it look good. As the old saying goes: birds of a feather flock together.

Ramzi

  
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I am very happy to see that we’ve avoided getting too heated in here. A big thankyou to everyone for keeping things civil, especially to Paul for not getting worked up about other people’s criticisms. :-)

I am very proud of my fans actually: do any other models’ blogs have such great discussion as this?

  
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@Ramzi Obeid

I think Saudi Arabia and Israel have been technically at war with each other since 1948.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/saud/cron/

Yet, in 2007, the Bush administration proposed 20 billion dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and 30 billion dollars in arms sales to Israel over the following 10 years which I think was later approved that year by Congress.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/28/washington/28weapons.html

Very few, if any, conditions were placed on this aid. In the case of Saudi Arabia, the Bush administration said that if they pressed for too many conditions on its military aid, then Saudi Arabia would look elsewhere for arms vendors thus weakening US influence in the region. I guess the same argument could have been given regarding Israel.

One reason the Bush administration used to justify the military aid to Saudi Arabia was “the growing power of Iran”. One reason the Bush administration used to justify the military aid to Israel was to give Israel a military edge in the region.

On the face of it, giving military aid to two countries technically at war with one another doesn’t make any sense.

Jon Stewart lampooned these arms sales on the Daily Show on August 22nd 2007.

http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Stewart_slams_arms_sales_to_Saudi_0823.html

Video at bottom of the page.

I guess US foreign policy isn’t very unitary. It’s actually a hotchpotch of fragmentary regional foreign policies where the US has favourites (as in a favourite governments, not necessarily a favourite people) in one region of the world or another and defers to that favourite. Japan in the Far East. Israel in the Middle East. Poland/Czech Republic in Europe where the US wants to build facilities for its missile defense shield against the common boogieman, Iran.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_missile_defense

“On August 14, 2008, The United States of America and Poland announced a deal to implement the missile defense system in Polish territory, with a tracking system placed in the Czech Republic.”

I think the majority of the populations of both Poland and the Czech Republic are against this missile defense shield.

Take the issue of F22 fighter jets.

From : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-kelly/obama-lobbyist-rule-doesn_b_160378.html

Last month, Chris Kelly wrote, “…..President Obama got a letter from forty-four senators and about 200 congressmen asking him to build more F-22 fighters. How good is the F-22? It’s so good that we haven’t lost a single one in Iraq or Afghanistan. We also haven’t used one.
That’s how valuable they are. They’re too valuable to use in a war.
We’re saving them up, in case the Soviet Union comes back. Or Mothra. Or the Soviet Union and Mothra, working together. And I wouldn’t put it past them, either.”

From: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/10/us/politics/10jets.html?_r=1&hp

“Air Force officials have told Congress that they are hoping to win a $9 billion commitment to produce at least 60 F-22s over a three-year period, which would expand the fleet to 243.”

Fighter jets that are too good to be used in war and, guess what, around 200 congressmen and 44 senators want more to be built in order to create jobs in their districts or states and stimulate the economy.

Well, that’s the US Military Industrial Complex for you. I think very few US senators or congressmen dare criticize it. Back in 1961, during his farewell address to the nation, outgoing Republican US President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, warned of the growing power of the military industrial complex.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military-industrial_complex

Regarding it, he called on his people “to comprehend its grave implications”. He said, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. ” Nearly 50 years later, I think the military industrial complex eats up an even larger percentage of US GDP and few Senators or Congressmen, Republican or Democrat, dare criticize it.

Just to briefly steer this back to Israel. As Noam Chomsky has pointed out, the US has its military industrial complex, Israel has its own and they’re interconnected.

  
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Hi Paul – I see you’re rambling again. :-)

Still, I think your last point is an important one, and what may actually be behind this whole thing. As the weapons trade generates so much profit for the US – and there are so many powerful people behind it – I can’t shake the feeling that there are many influential people in the US government who actually want continued war in the middle east, so they can keep making money. And on top of that, there’s oil of course. An outrageous example of the latter is how Halliburton has profited from the Iraq war. Is it just a coincidence that Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton right up until the time he became Vice President? This is just about the most outrageous conflict of interest I can think of.

I’m reminded of a joke that was doing the rounds when the US invaded Iraq. Question: “how can the US be so certain Iraq has weapons of mass destruction?” Answer: “because we have the receipts”.

  
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Here is a peace plan that a reasonable Israeli government can be pressured into accepting–but that someone like Netanyahu would never agree to except under extreme duress.

Israel is only entitled to the amount of land that it had in 1967, and that is recognized in international law and by most of the world community.
BUT perhaps it could be allowed to extend its territory into the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem) to include about half of the Jewish settlers there, IF they gave Palestine and equivalent amount of land in return–for example, to build a corridor between the West Bank and Gaza.

Then you would only have to re-settle about half of the Jewsish settlers, whose homes could be given to Palestinian refugees.

Plus I love Sachiko’s face, body, mind and spirit…wait a minute, what’s that got to do with Peace in the Middle East??!!

  
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@Sachiko – I think I’ve always been on-topic. First of all, Ramzi Obeid wrote that Israel is “The only place in the world which has laws that discourage intermarriage almost to the extent of prohibition.”. So, I investigated Saudi Arabia on wikipedia and it appears that Saudi Arabia prohibits intermarriage in that country because of the very nature of that state. I’m sure there are other examples too to disprove Ramzi Obeid’s statement. I felt I was entitled to disprove what he wrote if I could.

Second, I mentioned USA’s military industrial complex. I made mention of the many tentacles of this beast. For example, I made mention that the US government wants to build facilities for a missile defense shield in the Czech Republic and Poland to discourage a supposed (nuclear) missile attack from the phantom menace, Iran. I made mention that this military industrial complex feeds on conflict and the fear of conflict, perhaps more so on the second than the first. If the world were at peace and all of us were living happily ever after then, there would be a much weaker case to be presented by the military industrial complex’s many lobbyists on K Street in Washington for more armaments to be built such as the F22 fighter jet I made mention of in a previous post. A fighter jet which has never actually been used in combat. Yet despite the fact that over 180 have already been built, the air force wants to build 60 more and they have support from 44 Senators and over 200 Congressmen.

People like Dick Cheney, who in recent days has told us that the US faces an imminent nuclear attack under an Obama administration, serve the military industrial complex and the publicity given to his statement, which will, no doubt, be thoroughly analyzed and dissected by the political punditry will strengthen the case for the armaments industrialists’ lobbyists. The myth of insecurity is the perfect environment for the expansion of weaponry.

George Bush gave us the “axis of evil” comprising Iran, Iraq and North Korea. John Bolton expanded it to include Syria, Libya and Cuba in a speech entitled “Beyond the Axis of Evil”. In January 2005, Condolezza Rice came up with “Outposts of Tyranny” which includes Iran, North Korea, Belarus, Cuba, Zimbabwe and Myanmar. These terms could come out of the title of some Hollywood blockbuster. What next? “The Diabolical Duo”or [insert wacky Hollywood title here]?

So that’s the fear of conflict, but, then there’s also actual conflict, such as the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. In 2006, Israel bombed much of Lebanon and invaded the south of the country and killed over a 1000 people, mostly civilians. Disturbingly, I think, in 2007, one reason the US government gave to justify the 9.1 billion dollars extra money allocated to Israel in its military aid over the following 10 years was that Israel needed to replenish its military stock that it had expended the previous year in its conflict against Hezbollah in Lebanon. It’s almost as if Israel was being rewarded for putting its weaponry to the test. The same with the Gaza strip violence. I think within the first few hours of Israeli air attacks 200 people were killed because their attack was first launched during a time when many people were milling around outside and children were going home from school.

Around 10 years ago, I was feeling sluggish. I was yawning repeatedly during the day. I was lethargic and I lacked energy. I had no idea what the matter was. I went to the doctor. He took a sample of my blood and had it tested. A week later, I went back and the doctor gave me the results of my blood test. He told me that a type of fungus called Candida was living on the lining of my stomach. He gave me a strict regimen of food and drink that I was to consume and food and drink I was to avoid henceforth. This humble fungus thrives on sugary foods, beer, orange juice and other things which I can’t recall now. So, I was to avoid these types of food and drink in the future. Afterwards, I thought about this. This simple organism, this simple fungus, was sending signals to my brain instructing it to tell the rest of me, my arms and legs, to go over to the shop and buy, buy buy and eat eat eat sugary food and drink like chocolate and fizzy drinks which, in turn, would allow the fungus to thrive and expand. I, like a zombie, did as commanded. It’s amazing that. A simple organism brought me, a complex organism, to my knees.

The US Military Industrial Complex is kinda like that. It’s like a fungus on the body politic of US society. It hijacks the political system, it carefully sifts and selects an approved political punditry over a period of decades who, in turn, set up false opposites and false debates to insulate the political class and the pundits who report on them from ordinary Joe and Jane Public, making the political class more prone and malleable and impressionable towards the Military Industrial Complex’s army of lobbyists and their endless piles of cash. Even a democracy can be hijacked by such a fungus. And those who say US democracy is the best system in the world are the blindest of all. There is no greater barrier to progress, no greater incentive to regress, than complacency.

Anyway, Sachiko, in her original post, wrote about Israel and the USA. In my last comment, I wrote about the USA too, in particular the US military industrial complex and some its tentacles, such as its (proposed) Missile Defense Shield in Central Europe, which is built upon the fear of conflict with the phantom menace, Iran, and how it feeds on strife and insecurity generated by actual conflicts such as those that Israel has been engaged in in recent times in the Gaza strip and Lebanon.

  
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Originally Posted By Paul Carr
So that’s the fear of conflict, but, then there’s also actual conflict, such as the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. In 2006, Israel bombed much of Lebanon and invaded the south of the country and killed over a 1000 people, mostly civilians. Disturbingly, I think, in 2007, one reason the US government gave to justify the 9.1 billion dollars extra money allocated to Israel in its military aid over the following 10 years was that Israel needed to replenish its military stock that it had expended the previous year in its conflict against Hezbollah in Lebanon. It’s almost as if Israel was being rewarded for putting its weaponry to the test. The same with the Gaza strip violence. I think within the first few hours of Israeli air attacks 200 people were killed because their attack was first launched during a time when many people were milling around outside and children were going home from school.

Israel’s attack on Lebanon was an absolute outrage, and I couldn’t believe how the US condoned it.

It is also worth noting that these Israeli military actions seem to have had no obvious effect on their supposed terrorist targets – they seem to have only been effective in targeting innocent civilians.

You do make some good points about the US military-industral complex, but I do think your lengthy paragraph regarding your bout with Candida was getting rather off the track, even if it is an analogy. :-)

  
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@Mark Crawford – I don’t think Israel will agree to a corridor between the West Bank and Gaza where it actually has to cede territory to Palestine. I think they will agree to a sort-of tariff free transfer route between the two Palestinian regions where goods and services can be transferred freely.

The tragedy and irony of the post 1947 Israeli Palestinian conflict is that a final status agreement is probably going to be very similar to what the UN laid down in its 1947 partition plan. Israel will probably be able to keep its border it acquired by war in 1948. One reason for this is that presently most Israeli Arabs, that is Arab Israeli citizens, would actually prefer to live in Israel and not in a future Palestinian state.

Just like in the 1947 UN Partition Plan, the whole of Jerusalem, in any future plan, will be placed under direct UN administration. Israel will have to withdraw from all the West Bank in accordance with 1967 UN Resolution 242, a resolution which even the USA supported. All 400,000 or so Israeli settlers will probably have to leave or be forcibly removed. Tzipi Livni, the Kadima candidate for Israeli prime minister in the Israeli election on Feburary 10th, even supports using force to expel all these settlers, if necessary.

Palestinians will have a “right to return” to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but not to Israel. I read that the per capita GDP in Israel is like 40 times that of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip so I can’t imagine many of the Palestinian refugees in Jordan or Lebanon or elsewhere going back any time soon. And the whole region of Israel/Palestine is packed enough as it is, with 10 million plus people and continuing to grow rapidly.

So, a final peace settlement will have to be heavily financed. Financial powers, like the USA, the European Union, China, Japan and India will have to step up to the plate and finance the peace, creating much needed jobs and investment in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip specifically.

In the run-up to a final status agreement, the US will have to back off and allow another peace broker to step in to broker the final peace. More importantly , the USA must not interfere in the peace process thereafter in the run-up to a final status agreement. I think a Chinese emissary would be an excellent choice. China lies outside the Abrahamic religious sphere. Israel enjoys good relations with China. I think both the Palestinians and Israelis will accept a Chinese peace broker.

  
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There is going to be a hard-line government in Israel. So, if Obama really wants to be different from his predecessors, he will have to threaten Israel by witholding loan guarantees and/or military and economic aid. That is difficult to do when Iran is threatening the region and he needs support for other aspects of his program. SO I hope that you are right in suggesting that someone else will step in. But even if the US is not the final broaker, it has to lean on Isreal because the US is the only country whose support Israel really NEEDS.

  
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Originally Posted By SachikoAlright guys – I agree that Paul does tend to ramble a bit (a lot!), but I think this discussion has been very civil and constructive for the most part so far, so let’s try and keep it that way, shall we? Still Paul, I think everyone would appreciate it if you could perhaps be a little (a lot!) more concise. :-)

@Sachiko – My Dear Sachiko, You can’t draw an equivalence between Robert’s remark and my remark. I complimented Robert as my friend. Robert, on the other hand, thinks I’m possibly a terrorist.

  
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Originally Posted By Mark CrawfordThere is going to be a hard-line government in Israel. So, if Obama really wants to be different from his predecessors, he will have to threaten Israel by witholding loan guarantees and/or military and economic aid. That is difficult to do when Iran is threatening the region and he needs support for other aspects of his program. SO I hope that you are right in suggesting that someone else will step in. But even if the US is not the final broaker, it has to lean on Isreal because the US is the only country whose support Israel really NEEDS.

I think it is a fiction that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. I don’t buy it that Iran is “threatening the region”. I understand Iran is giving a lot of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians of the Gaza strip. Israel is misinterpreting this as giving aid to the militant wing of Hamas. Perhaps, if the Israelis would lift their blockade of the Gaza strip, it wouldn’t be necessary for the Iranians to give humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

Iran is not developing nuclear weapons but don’t listen to me. Listen to Mohamed El Baradei.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

“The head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, has stated that he has seen “maybe some studies about possible weaponization”, but “no evidence” of “nuclear material that can readily be used into a weapon” or “an active weaponization program” as of October 2007.”

Or how about the United States National Intelligence Estimate of November 2007 which “judged that Iran halted an active nuclear weapons program in fall 2003 and that it remained halted as of mid-2007″ I think it’s a collection of reports of 16 different US intelligence agencies.

Yet, despite these facts, despite this intelligence, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, when running for the Democratic nomination, just a few months later, chose to ignore it They chose to ignore their own National Intelligence Estimate report from a few months before.

Hillary Clinton went further.
From:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUiFcaWxn8o

She threatened to “obliterate” Iran if Iran attempted to launch a nuke attack on Israel. You know, I don’t see any difference between what Hillary Clinton says here and what the worst terrorist on the face of the planet would threaten. Hillary Clinton is now Barack Obama’s Secretary of State.

Of course, Hillary Clinton was playing politics. The youtube clip is from April 2008. She was a little behind Barack Obama in the race for the Democratic nomination. She needed to try a different tack and her different tack was to try to “out-Republican” Obama. In a country, where, alas, “republicanism” is the more dominant of the two principle political ideologies there, it was a very effective weapon. Barack Obama, in response, also moved to the right but he was careful not to overtake Hillary Clinton on the right. As I recall, during those televised Clinton/Obama debates in early 2008, Barack Obama also ignored the National Intelligence Estimate report of November 2007 because he didn’t want people to think that he was “soft on terrorism” compared to Hillary Clinton.

You know, I don’t like the President of Iran’s, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s politics. His politics are located in the centre right or right of the political spectrum. For example, I don’t like his homophobic views. I find them distasteful. But, ultimately, when push comes to shove, I have to believe him and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, when they say that there are not developing nuclear weapons and that they just want to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes, such as energy generation.

One country that we know does have nuclear weapons is Israel.
Helen Thomas, God bless her, that woman’s my heroine, asked Barack Obama at his last news conference on the 9th of February, I think, 2 questions. The first was whether Pakistan was offering safe haven to so called terrorists from Afghanistan and secondly she asked him if he knew of any middle eastern country which had nukes. Obama kinda ignored her second question because if he answered it honestly he would have had to acknowledge that Israel indeed, for now, is the only country that has nuclear weapons in the Middle East. But, he didn’t give that answer. He didn’t answer that Israel has nuclear weapons even though he knows that Israel does have nuclear weapons. Mohammad El Baradei says that Israel has nukes but Barack Obama doesn’t.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO7A5Q332lo
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mj-rosenberg/why-did-obama-diss-helen_b_165544.html

We all know Israel has nuclear weapons. Thanks to another hero of mine, the whistle-blower, Mordechai Vanunu.

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

The former Israeli nuclear technician leaked details of Israel’s nuclear weapons program to the British press in 1986. He was subsequently lured to Italy and kidnapped by Israeli agents and brought back to Israel, where he was convicted of treason, and got 18 years imprisonment. We know that Israel has quite a lot of nuclear bombs as well as missile delivery systems for them and also possibly thermonuclear devices too. Drop one of those on a big 10 million plus city like Tehran in Iran would probably wipe the whole city out. Israel officially denies it has nuclear weapons. It has adopted a policy of “deliberate ambiguity”. In other words, the Israeli government won’t give a straight and honest answer just like Barack Obama adopts a policy of deliberate ambiguity in not giving Helen Thomas a straight and honest answer.

Going back to Helen Thomas. If only younger journalists were like her. And, actually ask the questions that the politicians don’t want to hear. You know, do their job.

Gleen Greenwald on his blog,

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/02/11/state_secrets/index.html

mentioned Stephen Colbert’s fantastic speech at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner in 2006

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qa-4E8ZDj9s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOYZF3It848
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAvFM4TYQKU

Colbert rightly mocked the spineless US 4th Estate.

“But, listen, let’s review the rules. Here’s how it works. The President makes decisions. He’s the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put ‘em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration? You know, fiction!”

Well, I’m glad we have people like Helen Thomas who have the courage to ask the tough questions and to try to put the President’s feet to the fire. Alas, the President can withdraw his feet if he so wishes with hardly a ripple of controversy in the mainstream US press just like Obama did in his evasive answer to her question.

  
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Originally Posted By Paul Carr
@Sachiko – My Dear Sachiko, You can’t draw an equivalence between Robert’s remark and my remark. I complimented Robert as my friend. Robert, on the other hand, thinks I’m possibly a terrorist.

Robert was obviously being light-hearted, but I was not equating you and him. I was asking your critics to keep it civil. In fact I was impressed by your civility, as I said in a later comment above:

Originally Posted By Sachiko
I am very happy to see that we’ve avoided getting too heated in here. A big thankyou to everyone for keeping things civil, especially to Paul for not getting worked up about other people’s criticisms. :-)

I am very proud of my fans actually: do any other models’ blogs have such great discussion as this?

I see you’re rambling again now though. :-)

  
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Originally Posted By Sachiko
Robert was obviously being light-hearted, but I was not equating you and him. I was asking your critics to keep it civil. In fact I was impressed by your civility, as I said in a later comment above:

(snip)…..

I see you’re rambling again now though. :-)

I don’t agree with you that Robert was being light hearted. If he was being lighthearted, he would have at least inserted a smilie, I think.

First, I wrote a comment which I think was a largely on-topic comment on my take on the history of Zionism. I also wrote about Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s intermarriage laws. I put quite a lot of effort and research into that comment actually like I did with many of my comments.

Then, Robert replied with this,

Blah Blah Blah…..I’m getting the feeling here that Paul either has nothing better to do, or he is getting paid by someone by the word to fill up as much blog space as possible, thus boring everyone in the discussion into ceasing to blog. I guess the Massad has to spent every penny of the US tax dollars they are given, one way or another, so that they can get an increase in their budget each cycle.

I replied with this.

@Robert – Nothing better to do, my friend.

You, then, intervened, like a referee I suppose, with this:

Alright guys – I agree that Paul does tend to ramble a bit (a lot!), but I think this discussion has been very civil and constructive for the most part so far, so let’s try and keep it that way, shall we? Still Paul, I think everyone would appreciate it if you could perhaps be a little (a lot!) more concise. :-)

Yeah, you always criticise me for rambling. Don’t you ramble on your blog too? So, the fact that I ramble gives Robert cause to allege that I’m possibly a member of what many would consider, like the CIA, to be a terrorist organisation ?

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

Robert’s remark was below the belt. I don’t care how long he has been knocking about on your blog. Even “seasoned veterans” can adhere to a minimum standard of decency. If you are going to continue to be so unfair to me, Sachiko, then I will leave. Good luck to you anyway.

  
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@Paul Carr

I told Robert to keep it civil, and I complemented you for your very civil reponse to him. What else can I do? As regards rambling, the original article is indeed normally supposed to be longer and more detailed than any individual comment on it – comments are generally supposed to be concise. I think there is a lot of valuable information in your comments, but you can get a little off the track sometimes as well. If you keep them more focused, people will be more likely to read them, rather than switching off (as has obviously been the case with at least two people). As Robert later said:

And I realize that being concise is extremely difficult. Most college text books prove that. But if you spend some extra time reviewing and editing your text, it can be done. I have edited out several paragraphs of a blog I was writing after I realized I had rambled along a misguided tangent.

  
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Originally Posted By Sachiko@Paul Carr

I told Robert to keep it civil, and I complemented you for your very civil reponse to him. What else can I do? As regards rambling, the original article is indeed normally supposed to be longer and more detailed than any individual comment on it – comments are generally supposed to be concise. I think there is a lot of valuable information in your comments, but you can get a little off the track sometimes as well. If you keep them more focused, people will be more likely to read them, rather than switching off (as has obviously been the case with at least two people).

You asked both Robert and me to keep it civil. And, that’s the whole point of my criticism. Apparently, Robert was pissed with the length of my article. So, he alleged that I was possibly a member of what many would call a terrorist organisation. I actually addressed him as “my friend” in my reply before you weighed in. So, in my personal opinion, Robert was out of line, not me.

Actually, if anything, you’re blaming me more than him. It’s as if I brought this on myself because I ramble a lot and therefore poor Robert couldn’t help himself but allege a possible Mossad link.

Regarding your argument about conciseness. You mean concise like this?

“The goal of the Israeli Zionists is to finish what they started in 1947. And that is to slowly but surely push all nonjews out of the borders of the present day Israeli Zionist State.”

or this?

“[Israel is]The only place in the world [which has laws that discourage intermarriage almost to the extent of prohibition. ”

Well, if that is the meaning of concise, then, I’d rather be long-winded.

Your criticisms are duly noted, Sachiko. I won’t comment on your blog again.

Good Luck.

  
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@Paul Carr – I said:

Originally Posted By Sachiko
I agree that Paul does tend to ramble a bit (a lot!), but I think this discussion has been very civil and constructive for the most part so far, so let’s try and keep it that way, shall we?

I was referring to you in the third person, which means I was not telling you to be civil – I was telling those who criticised you to be civil. And after that, I did specifically compliment you on your civility.

Also, my comments were not intended as criticisms, so much as suggestions – your comments can obviously be a whole lot more than one line. For example, Ramzi’s original comment was quite long, but it was focused, and having made his key points, he kept his comments concise after that. Once again, I think there is a lot of good info in your comments, and if you took everyone’s advice, more people would read them in full and get the most out of them, instead of switching off as they are now.

  
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I am no great defender of Israeli policies, but the comparisons you make are ridiculous and totally disproportionate. Out of all the inhumane acts of violence in the world, a small fraction come from the state of Israel. Compare Palestinian casualties in all of their conflicts with Israel to Bangladeshis killed by Pakistanis, Darfuris killed by Sudanese, Iranians killed by Iraqis and you will find many other far more egregious acts of violence. Israel acts in its nationalistic self interest, at times hyper-aggressively and unjustifiably, but to compare them with Naziism is to pervert the meaning of that word. Moreover, why do you judge a Jewish state differently than you judge every other state in the region when they routinely flout human rights, torment religious minorities, make women completely subservient to their husbands and regularly execute gay people? Lastly, where do you expect the millions of Jews who were forcibly expelled from Arab countries to live? Do you expect a government run by Hamas to protect their civil rights? Do they have a right of return to their homes? Are they justified if they start randomly killing Arab civilians?

  
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I assume you’re referring to Ramzi’s comments, but I’ll respond anyway. The point here is the United States’ outrageous support of what Israel is doing: the US justifiably condemns the other attrocities you mention, yet it supports Israel’s. And Jews have a far better and more comfortable home in the US, rather than fighting over the middle east with the Arabs just because it is their “promised land”.

  
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First, it is not clear to me that the US “justifiably condemned” any of the atrocities I mentioned. The US actively supported Pakistan during the cold war and Iraq during its war with Iran. At best, the US gives Sudan a slap on the wrist for ongoing genocide while not taking minimal actions to stop it.

However the US aside, why does the rest of the world condemn Israel to non-existence, while doing nothing about ongoing genocide in Sudan? Why, for example, is Sudan permitted to be an upstanding member of the Arab League?

Moreover, why does anyone countenance Hamas as a legitimate political movement when their aims are the eradication of Jews, the subjugation of women, and the imposition of Islamic law?

Lastly, your apparent solution, that all Jews in Israel should just move to the US, is preposterous. Arabs too have a much better and more comfortable home in the US, yet you would never suggest they just leave their homelands en masse. While in historical terms, the US is not particularly hostile to Jews as of today, it does have its subtle forms of hostility towards Jews. For example, a huge portion of the population equates morality with Christianity, implicitly considering non-Christians to be immoral and refusing to hire them, date them, etc. Who is to say that the same people who today say Jews must rule Israel because it will bring about a second coming of Christ won’t tomorrow go back to believing that all Jews bear guilt for the murder of Christ? Moreover, during the Holocaust, the US turned away Jewish refugees, condemning them to death. Since its inception, Israel has been a destination for Jews fleeing persecution around the world, a role the US has never been willing to play. Given their unique history of oppression around the world, Jews need a country that can be relied on to protect them.

None of which is to say that Israeli actions in Gaza were justifiable. However, in the grand scheme of wrongs, they pale in consideration to the many more horrific things that have been done by the people committed they fight against.

  
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The reason the US government is so biased in favour of Israel is because the Jewish lobby (with the Christian right behind them) is so powerful in the US. Hence, the US is clearly the place where they have more power and freedom than anywhere else. No other religion needs its own home country – such a notion is totally out of place in the 20th century, let alone the 21st. And the bottom line is, the establishment of Israel in Palestine was a blatant act of colonialism, of land already occupied by Palestinians. The rise of militant Islam is a direct result of Zionism – if it weren’t for Israel, chances are the Arab world would be a lot more progressive than it is today. But Israel makes the west look evil in the eyes of Muslims, which has pushed them to the extremist position many of them occupy today. But now that Israel has been established, they have the opportunity to create a country that provides equal rights and opportunities to all religions, which would make them a shining beacon of peace and prosperity in the middle east, and an example that many more enlightened Muslims would surely follow. But as it is, the Zionists simply want to wipe the Palestinians out of existence, which provokes perfectly understandable hostility from Muslims.

  
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Several responses:

1. There is a ridiculous alliance between some Jewish conservative intellectuals and the Christian right that makes Jewish influence appear disproportionate. All religions in the US have freedom and the potential to access power, but as we hear ad nauseum from the right wing, “America is a Christian country.” Which is not to say that Jews necessarily will be persecuted or discriminated against in America, but there is no structural protection for them within American demographics. The same nutty Christians who favor Israel believe that all Jews are going to hell.

2. Jews are not only a religion, but also an ethnicity and Israel is largely a secular state under Jewish-majority rule. Isralei Arabs are given full citizenship rights, including the right to vote. The question is what rights to afford refugees who live in areas won by Israel in the 6 day war. The obvious solution is for Israel to give back the land and let those refugees form their own country, however when Israel started moving in that direction unilaterally, it was greeted with rockets fired at innocent civilians.

3. While I agree that in an ideal world, there would be no countries premised on ethnicity, we do not live in an ideal world and there are numerous countries that explicitly tie citizenship to nationality (Germany, for example). Moreover, no Jew would ever be elected to lead any Musim majority country, nor would they have been prior to the advent of Israel. Hamas, which won a popular election amongst Palestinians, is committed to the destruction of Jews and the maintenance of a state premised on Islamic law, which codifies the inferiority of other religions. Even Andalusia, though the most tolerant place for Jews at the time, severely limited Jewsh citizenship rights and had sections of cities where Jews were forced to live.

4. Every other major world religion and most other major ethnicities have countries where they constitute the majority. Until Israel, Jews never had such a country and, not coincidentally, were the most persecuted of all such groups.

5. The colonialism model plainly does not apply to Israel. Israel was not formed to be a client state of a greater European power. On the contrary, Israel was founded as a place where refugees, who had been directly targeted by European powers for extermination, could flee to. Moreover, unlike every other colony, Jews had a direct historical connection to Israel.

6. Before the founding of Israel, Muslims in Palestine cooperated with Nazis, suggesting that the problem was Jews, not a secular state of in which Jews could reside.

7. Aside from the lunatic right wing in Israel, no one has ever tried to “wipe the Palestinians out of existence.” Conducting warfare against a hostile enemy is not the same as genocide.

  
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Steve, Imagine yourself living on an island where your ancestors have lived for hundreds, possibly thousands of years. You own property, houses, farmland, vineyards, olive groves. You harvest the fish from the sea. All of a sudden a consortium of foreigners pay to flood your island with people from their shores. Their gene pool is a mix of all of Europe and Russia. There numbers are legion and unending. Eventually they force you and your family and neighbors out to sea and take everything you legally own. Wouldn’t you be a little upset and want your island home back? Living as boat people is a bit tenuous.

  
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@Paul Carr – if you are still out there? I was being “light hearted”. I have a tendency to create absurd scenerios for comic relief. I am a great fan of the master comedians Jonathan Winters and Robin Williams. I think you have been working too hard lately and probably need some well deserved rest and recreation. Also, as to your intensive research, remember this: Not everything you find in the media is factual. Much of what you find in books, documentaries, newsprint is tinted with opinion and propaganda. It can be very much like advertising. I think you might be a good candidate for becoming a biblical scholar, but need to lighten up and not be so paranoid. Of course I don’t think you are a terrorist……are you?

  
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Robert, you make it sound like Europeans happily sent their fellow countrymen to live in Israel without any animosity and purely for the benefit of the home countries. In fact, Europe had just attempted to kill all Jews, they were not welcomed back to their European homes, and their property had largely been stolen. Surviving European Jews were not welcome members of European society, but were instead emciated, impoversihed refugees lucky to be alive. In fact, subsequent to the Holocaust, the Poles killed Jews returning from the camps. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kielce_pogrom

Shortly after the formation of Israel, Arab countries expelled all their Jewish populations leading Israel to become a country of majority Mizrahi-Jews up until the fall of the Soviet Union.

Lastly, is is not like Palestine was a thriving independent state. It had been part of the Ottoman Empire, then part of the British Empire. Palestinians, as a distinct nationality, did not exist until the formation of Israel.

None of which is to say that Palestinians ought not have rights. However, the analogies being floated around are preposterous and historically inaccurate.

  
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I think the difference between how you and I view this issue Steve is that you see it as a historical issue, whereas I see it as a present day one. It is true that Jews have suffered terrible persecution in the past, but that is the past. In the present day world, we are much less discriminatory toward different religions, and I just don’t see any evidence of large scale persecution against Jews any more (although animosity toward their actions in Palestine is creating a new form of anti-Semitism, which they have brought entirely on themselves). Hence, a Zionist state has no place in the modern world. Why do you think Jews need special “structural protection” in the US, when no other religion is afforded such a thing? They already practically dictate US foreign policy – how much more “special treatment” do they need? Indeed, the formation of Israel has actually created problems for them – as you say, they were expelled from Arab countries after its formation. And I think it is very clear that Israel’s military actions are indeed an attempt at Palestinian genocide – if they could get away with killing even more innocent civilians (and taking even more Palestinian land), they would. Hamas and militant Islam in general is simply a very understandable reaction against that – the only difference between them and the Israeli government is that they are simply more honest about their intentions.

  
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If civilian casualties during warfare equals genocide, then the term loses all meaning. When has Israel ever killed Palestinian civilians outside of an armed conflict? The only arguable example was Sabra and Shantila, but even then, it was carried out by Lebanese Christians and came in response to an ongoing was with the PLO. When have Israeli soldiers ever lined up civilians and shot them at point blank range? Where are the mass graves? Compare Israeli actions to actual genocide and the difference become obvious.

I think you just miss the point on structural protection. The point is not that any minority should ever have special rights under the law. It is that by the very nature of being a minority, a population is always exposed to the changing whims of the majority. Before Nazism, Germany was one of the most tolerant countries for Jews and a functioning democracy. To have demographic structural protections, a population must be in the majority somewhere.

Every other major religion has a country where a majority of the citizens are of that religion. Jews, who once had such a country of their own, and were horrendously persecuted for thousands of years after they lost their country, once again deserve the opportunity to call a country their own.

While undoubtedly the existence of Israel created hostility from Arabs, Jew-hating did not start with the creation of Israel.

It would be ideal if no countries ever persecuted minority religions, in which case, there would be no justification for gerrymandering a country to be majority Jewish. However, that is not the world we live in. Singling out Jews to be uniquely dependent on the good graces of their historical oppressors is both unjust and naive.

  
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The latest attacks on Gaza (and the one on Lebanon too) were clearly conducted in such a way as to maximise civilian casualties, and to minimise the damage to their supposed terrorist targets. These attacks did little if anything to eliminate terrorists, and in fact created many more. Which really does seem to be exactly what the Israeli government wants, so they can use the ongoing terrorism as an excuse to get away with more and more civilian casualties – until there aren’t any left. Israel can’t conduct open genocide because they’d lose their US funding, hence all of their “collateral damage”.

Gerrymandering a country on behalf of Jews is only going to make anti-Semitism worse, not better, and that’s exactly what’s happening. You can’t enforce “demographic structural protections” – that only creates distrust and animosity. Jews are a minority because of the exclusivity of their religion, and their belief that they are the “chosen race”. If they want to improve their demographic situation, they should be more open and inclusive. To not support Zionism is hardly unjust or singling Jews out – it is in fact singling them out to do so! After all, I don’t expect a country to be created for atheists, even though we certainly are a minority (and one that is very much discriminated against in the US).

  
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Originally Posted By Steve
Lastly, is is not like Palestine was a thriving independent state. It had been part of the Ottoman Empire, then part of the British Empire. Palestinians, as a distinct nationality, did not exist until the formation of Israel.

Steve, By your words above, you indicate that since Palestine had only been a colony in the past, it was OK for it and it’s peoples to be colonized again. In a post colonial era, that is a totally preposterous idea. With that kind of thinking, it would have made much more sense to send Europe’s Jews to New Jersey.

I realize my simplification scenerio of the invaded island home is disturbing to Zionist historians. It is also disturbing to the US Bureau of Indian Affairs. Human prehistory and history is one of constant migration and territorial competition, just like our simian cousins. It’s just what we do.

Instead of giving me another Zionist slanted history lesson, could you simply answer my question about how you would feel about being driven from your ancestral island home?

  
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Most of Europe is majority atheist at this point. Moreover, as an atheist myself, I do not countenance myself as a member of a distinct religious/ethnic group. I suppose if I went to secular humanist meetings once a week, it would be somewhat analogous, but I do not. Moreover, proving that Judaism is not merely a religion, Jewish atheists have been persecuted as Jews throughout history and continue to be today.

The latest attacks on Gaza and Lebanon may have allowed for ridiculous amounts of civilian casualties, but civilian casualies, while terrbile, are not the same as genocide and international law recognizes the difference. If civilians are deliberately targeted without a legitimate military purpose, which no one has proven about either Gaza or Lebanon, that may constitute a war crime, but even that does not rise to the level of genocide unless the intent is to remove a group from existence. No one in their right mind accuses the allies in World War II of committing genocide against Germans even though German civilians were routinely targets of airstrikes and died in far greater numbers than Palestinians. Israel voluntarily left Gaza under Sharon. Explain how that furthered an intent to kill all Palestinians.

Suggesting that Jews should start proseltyzing if that want any sort of demographic protection from persecution is insane. Do you really want Jews to start setting up missions, knocking on your front door, and telling you that you are damned to hell if you don’t convert. Or, if you want them to become as numerous as muslims, how about conquering independent countries and killing anyone who doesn’t convert, unless they are people of the cloth, in which case they can live in segretates neighborhoods and be treated as inferior under the law.

Lastly, Robert, if you want to ignore history, you only prove your naivete. As it happens, Arabs too, were colonizers. Read the Koran. How do you think Islam spread?

Of course no one wants to be driven from their ancestral island home. Now answer my question. What if people want to return to their ancestral island home after they have been targeted for extermination?

Regardless, Palestinians as Palestinians did not exist until Israel was founded. Before then, they identified themselves as Arabs and not a a distinct nation. While leaving your family’s home is not fun, it is not like their country was taken away from them. They never had a country and did not identify the the political entity that included Palestine. Their claim is non-sensical in historical-national terms. Instead, they have a collection of individual claims where some people were forced out of their houses to make way for Jews. As you know, many stayed and became citizens of Israel.

Both Palestinians and Jews have a legitimate claims to the land that occupies Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. The question is how to resolve these competing claims in a way that enables both populations to thrive. Since Palestinians are committed to the destruction of Jews, a single political entity is not a viable option.

  
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Originally Posted By Steve
Lastly, Robert, if you want to ignore history, you only prove your naivete. As it happens, Arabs too, were colonizers. Read the Koran. How do you think Islam spread?

Steve, I’m not ignoring history or pre-history. As an anthropologist I’m simply looking at the big picture. Something most humans are extremely loathe to do. While you are seeing this dilema in nationalistic terms only, I am observing it in long term humanistic terms. Do you really believe in humanistic terms anything justifys forceably removing people from their homes simply because they don’t have a Nation-State as defined by you.

  
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Steve, I just pushed the wrong button and lost a lengthy reply which I am too tired to replicate, so in brief: Being targeted for extermination does not justify anything other than retribution against the extremist idividuals who targeted you. Usually, visiting the ancestral home means a brief visit, not replacing the current inhabitants.

Solution Attempt: Equal partition like the Koreas; India/Pakistan.
Cut off all US Government aid to all parties.
Probable Outcome: Lebanon

  
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Originally Posted By Steve
Most of Europe is majority atheist at this point. Moreover, as an atheist myself, I do not countenance myself as a member of a distinct religious/ethnic group. I suppose if I went to secular humanist meetings once a week, it would be somewhat analogous, but I do not. Moreover, proving that Judaism is not merely a religion, Jewish atheists have been persecuted as Jews throughout history and continue to be today.

This isn’t really the point. There are many religious and ethnic minorities in the world, many of which do not have a country where they are the majority. Why do you think Jews alone are entitled to this?

The latest attacks on Gaza and Lebanon may have allowed for ridiculous amounts of civilian casualties, but civilian casualies, while terrbile, are not the same as genocide and international law recognizes the difference.

You still aren’t getting my point Steve. I know that, and most importantly, Israel knows that. Which is exactly why they are doing things this way. Ask yourself why these military actions have had so little effect against their supposed terrorist targets, but have been so devastatingly effective at killing innocent civilians. As I’ve already said, Israel can’t get away with open genocide, or they’d lose their US funding. So they’re trying to do it by stealth, under the guise of “collateral damage”.

Suggesting that Jews should start proseltyzing if that want any sort of demographic protection from persecution is insane. Do you really want Jews to start setting up missions, knocking on your front door, and telling you that you are damned to hell if you don’t convert. Or, if you want them to become as numerous as muslims, how about conquering independent countries and killing anyone who doesn’t convert, unless they are people of the cloth, in which case they can live in segretates neighborhoods and be treated as inferior under the law.

Where the hell did I say that? I said they should be more open and inclusive. In other words, they shouldn’t have the attitude that they are the “chosen race”, hence exclusive and superior to others. If they were more accepting of inter-faith marriages, for example, there might well be more of them. Indeed, it is exactly this attitude which may have led to anti-Semitism in the first place. What is it about Jews that has made so many people hate them throughout history? This could be the reason.

The point I’m making is that you can’t enforce “demographic structural protections” for Jews (or any other religious/ethnic group) simply by creating a country for them. Their demographic position has been defined by how they conduct their religion, and they have to live with the consequences of that. And we now have anti-discrimination laws to protect Jews, and other religious and ethnic minorities.

Personally, I do not want any more people following Judaism or any other religion. I want all religion to end, as I believe it is the only way we can ever have lasting, global peace. Once again, if you take religion out of this, Israel would never have been established where it is now, and there would be no conflict. Hence, I do not accept religion as justification for what is in practice an act of colonialism.

Regardless, Palestinians as Palestinians did not exist until Israel was founded. Before then, they identified themselves as Arabs and not a a distinct nation. While leaving your family’s home is not fun, it is not like their country was taken away from them. They never had a country and did not identify the the political entity that included Palestine. Their claim is non-sensical in historical-national terms. Instead, they have a collection of individual claims where some people were forced out of their houses to make way for Jews. As you know, many stayed and became citizens of Israel.

I find your line of reasoning here outrageous in the extreme. So it was alright for colonialists to take America away from native Americans, and to take Australia away from the aboriginals, just because they didn’t call themselves a country? For goodness sake, the Palestinian people lived on, farmed and owned this land before Israel took it over. It doesn’t make any difference at all that they didn’t call themselves a country. This is the 21st century – colonialism is now considered unacceptable.

Since Palestinians are committed to the destruction of Jews, a single political entity is not a viable option.

Why do you continue to condemn Hamas (who do not represent all Palestinians anyway) for simply being more honest about their intentions than the Israeli government? Especially as Hamas has no power to actually carry out their threats, while Israel most certainly does have the power to wipe out the Palestinians – and the evidence suggests they are trying to do exactly that. And Israel basically created Hamas through their own actions in the Palestinian territories anyway – if Israel allowed the Palestinians to have a peaceful and prosperous home, do you think they’d want to wipe Israel out?

  
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Thank you Sachiko for touching on many of the points I accidentally deleted in my previous response.

Steve, On 2/17 you started out your comment with “I am no great defender of Israeli policies, but”. I would say you are a great defender of Zionism and justify Zionism solely based upon retribution for the holocoust. This does not make you unique. I was born in 1947, and in my youth was a Zionist. I wanted to fight in the 1967 war to defend Israel, but of course it only lasted 6 days. I was raised in the US as a strict Methodist and had many Jewish classmates and intimate friends. When I joined the business community, over half of my associates were Jewish. I fondly treasure all those relationships.

After I became enlightened through education, maturity, anthropology, and the Vietnam Era, I saw many things in a new light. Not the Jewish People. Not the Vietnamese People. But the pompous British and American politicians who screw everything up by their stupidity. I am no longer a Zionist. It was a preposterous mistake. It doesn’t change the affection I feel for my Jewish friends. I wish all the Jews who migrated to Palestine could have found homes in America. America would be a better place if they had. And other than the Religious Zealots, I think most Israelis would be happier as American citizens. There lives would certainly be more peaceful.

  
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Yeah – I think the holocaust made a lot of people (justifiably) feel a lot of sympathy toward Jews, and a need to do something to protect them from such a thing happening again. But Zionism was exactly the wrong way to do it. I really do feel the vast majority of Israelis would be far better off in the US.

  
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Sadly, I fear that Obama probably holds no more answers with regards to: “What can be done about Israel?” than any of his presidential predecesors.

My cynicism is based essentially on the fact he’s appointed a Zionist, Rahm Emanuel, as his White House Chief of Staff. Consequently, when push comes to shove, you just know who Obama is going to be most sympathetic too, not least because Emanuel is effectively both his right hand man as well as being his political enforcer. And, It would be an absolute shock if Rahm didn’t have the ear of every pro-Israel lobby group in the USA.

Personally, I see Obama as being a mix of cynical politician and skilful pragmatist, which means that when it’s time again for him to have to raise money for his next presidential campaign, he’ll know all too well how much the Jewish lobby pays. And, given that in 4 years time the Obama stardust/celebrity factor is likely to have become tarnished, I see him becoming more dependent on those old traditional ways of raising money, and less likely to get bank-rolled by Mr & Mrs Joe Public’s internet donations. My prediction is that in 4 years time Mr & Mrs Joe Public will have realised that Obama’s presidency represented more of the same, rather than being a genuine agent of change.

Already the rot is begining to set in for many of his voters, they’ve seen him try to elect tax dogers and lobbyists into his administration, as well as unveil a PORK rich financial stimulus package, despite all his campaign promises to do the opposite. And, as for his Iraq withdrawl, it can hardly be called a full-scale withdrawl when he’s still going to keep 50,000 US personnel based there. Even Nancy Pelosi has taken him to task over this.

Getting back to Israel, for me, the big unknown remains Iran. The reason I say this is because they still flatly refust to recognise the state of Israel and are openly calling for its destruction, and while they pursue a Nuclear program it’s highly unlikely that Israel are going to sit idly by and let them build a BOMB. This means at some stage, unless there’s a MAJOR change with the Iranian leadership or their policy, you can expect to see an Israeli stike on Iran, and if that happens there’s only one side that the Obama Administration is going to support, and that’s Israel.

I hope I’m wrong, and I sincerely hope that Obama really is the new Messiah rather than just another Chicago politician who knows the art of saying one thing, and than doing something completely different. Time will tell!

  
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I agree that Obama is a consumate politician and a great pragmatist, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t do the right thing. I remain hopeful regarding most things (and I remain convinced his presidency is infinitely better than another republican admininistration), but I’m sorry to say that I share your skepticism regarding his handling of Israel, as the Jewish lobby are just far too powerful.

  
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As a child of the Cold War, I have grown to NOT FEAR THE BOMB. The 60+ years of nonuse proves to me that no one is going to use one out of pure fear of total retaliatory annihilation. All the doomsday scenarios that could be created by the human imagination hold as much water for me as biblical prophecy.

  
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What Obama Should Have Said to Israel

President Obama has the right priorities and he articulates them well. For that reason alone, he merited his election, and probably merits re-election as well. But he also came out of the starting blocks compromising, instead of using his power and prestige to make others compromise. He thereby wasted some of the political capital he had when he was elected, and has encouraged his opponents and adversaries at home and abroad to paint him as being ‘weak’. This mistake was understandable, at least in the area of domestic policy, because he was trying to learn from the examples of Presidents Carter and Clinton, who ran into trouble after antagonizing Congress. But a President is upposed to have more latitude in foreign policy than in domestic policy—even if foreign policy touches upon some important domestic constituencies.

At the outset, President Obama should have set a new, tougher tone with Israel in order to expedite the peace process. Specifically, he should have listed a set of penalties for Israel for continuing to build settlements anywhere in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem:

1) witholding government loans;
2)deducting the amount of aid money to Israel in proportion to the amount of money that Israel spends on settlements; and
3) indicating that henceforth the US will not automatically wield a protective veto over UN resolutions that are hostile to Israel.

Now, it is true that Israeli P.M. Netanyahu has recently ordered a temporary freeze on settlements in the West Bank ,but not East Jerusalem. That is because he was embarassing and angering the President of the United States, who had been under growing pressure to apply sanctions. So he deftly avoided that eventuality by “voluntarily” agreeing to stop some of the settlement building.

But it should be President Obama letting Netanyahu off the hook, not the other way around. And then only if all , and not just some, of the settlement building is stopped.

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It was amusing to hear former Vice-President Dick Cheney accusing Obama of “dithering” over his decision about Afghanistan. This certainly doesn’t appear hypocritical when you consider how “decisive” Bush and Cheney were about Iraq in 2001-2003. But it is hypocritical when you consider that the proper focus of the War on Terror–Afghanistan and Pakistan–has been neglected for six years. All the more reason to call the Bush presidency one of the worst in history.

  
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@Mark Crawford – Needless to say, I couldn’t agree more with what you are saying here.

  
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I don’t like whats happening with the situation as much as anyone else and I can’t side with any of the sides. But the thing that bothers me the most is the fact that the Palestinians seem to think that by having huge families they will breed their way out of their situation. So basically they live in a concentration camp and they think by having ten kids, they will somehow win this. When the Spainish took over parts of South America they had to import slaves because the natives would commit suicide before letting their future progeny be born into slavery. This is’nt the solution either, but in my eyes they died with honor rather than live in dishonor. The rest of the world should have resettled the Palestinians a long time ago, now they have become the tinderbox that will blow up the whole world…

  
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