state, believing-- by definition-- it is racist or theocratic. In my opinion, this mistake results from the (somewhat understandable) confusion between the Jewish 'People' and the religion of Judaism. The PEOPLE Israel (Jews) is a shared ethnicity, heritage, memory and culture--and for some--religion. The original word 'Jew' (Yehudim) simply referred to a native of the ancient kingdom of Judah (Yehudah) Israel, is the result of the Jewish people engaging in a successful national liberation movement. I don't think it is possible to doubt that the Jews are a people and not only members and practitioners of the Jewish religion. You can and do have atheist Jews (such as myself), but no one speaks about atheist Muslims or atheist Christians. If you are an atheist you are no longer identified as a Muslim, or a Christian, whatever your original heritage. However, Trotsky, Einstein, Freud, Karl Marx, etc are all considered members of the Jewish people even though they did not practice, or believe in, the religion of Judaism.
The Jews are a people every bit as much as Slovaks or Kurds. Granted there is tension between Jews as 'people' and the Jewish religion. There is ambiguity. But exactly in the way that Slovakia is a Slavic nation, a nation expressly originated as a home and haven to a majority Slavic people, Israel is a Jewish nation, expressly originated as a home and haven to a majority Jewish people. If Israel is racist, so is 'Slovakia' and many others. I could agree that if 'Jewish' refers only to a religious practice, a 'Jewish' state presents a problem. (In this sense, what is one to make of Iran and Saudi Arabia as self-identified and self-proclaimed 'Islamic' states--where are the charges of racism here?)
Modern Zionism, the movement for a Jewish nation-state, resulted from endemic anti-Semitism, not religious belief. (Theodore Herzl). The fact that many Jews emigrated to Palestine from religious motivations going back to the Old Testament and the centrality of the land of Israel within the Jewish faith, does not change this fact. Today, from everything I have read and heard, the majority of Israelis are secular, not orthodox. Apparently, large numbers of Israelis, like large percentages of Jews worldwide, are agnostics or atheists.
Slovakia is a self-proclaimed Slavic state. Israel is a self-proclaimed Jewish state. Period. No difference.
Note that the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is a different issue and is not addressed by this post.
snip> "In many Arab states, the middle class is disappearing. The rich get richer and the poor get still poorer. Look at the schools in Jordan, Egypt or Morocco: You have up to 70 youngsters crammed together in a single classroom. How can a teacher do his job in such circumstances? The public hospitals are also in a hopeless condition. These are just examples. They show how hopeless the situation is for us in the Middle East.
Who is responsible for the situation?
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most important reasons why these crises and problems continue to simmer. The day when Israel was founded created the basis for our problems. The West should finally come to understand this. Everything would be much calmer if the Palestinians were given their rights.
Do you mean to say that if Israel did not exist, there would suddenly be democracy in Egypt, that the schools in Morocco would be better, that the public clinics in Jordan would function better?
I think so.
Can you please explain to me what the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has to do with these problems?
The Palestinian cause is central for Arab thinking.
In the end, is it a matter of feelings of self-esteem?
Exactly. It's because we always lose to Israel. It gnaws at the people in the Middle East that such a small country as Israel, with only about 7 million inhabitants, can defeat the Arab nation with its 350 million. That hurts our collective ego. The Palestinian problem is in the genes of every Arab. The West's problem is that it does not understand this."<snip
Of course it is true that the latest kidnappings are not the sole reason for Israelís reaction. The continuous Hezbollah provocations on the northern borders eroded Israelís patience. There were constant hostile incidents on Israelís northern border with Lebanon, initiated by Hezbollah since Israelís unilateral pullout from Lebanon in 2000. Hezbollah did not invent kidnappings on 12 July 2006. There had been previous kidnappings over the years and negotiations for release. This latest kidnapping was the last straw that broke the camelís back. As for the invasion being 'pre-planned', thats called 'contingency planning' which is a legitimate responsibility of the militaries of all nations, especially democratic nations.
Your assertion that Israel's existential dilemma is due to the occupation beginning in 1967 ('39 year occupation') is also false. In your words a 'red herring'. The repeated rejection by the grand mufti, the PLO, the Arab world, and the Palestinian people of the existence of a Jewish state lies at the heart of the conflict. The reason for the rejection has been that most Arab and Muslim leaders cared more about denying the Jews the right of self-determination, in ANY areas of the Middle East, than in exercising their own rights of self-determination. This sad reality is demonstrated by words and actions of many, many Palestinian and Arab leaders over a 70+ year period.
In recent years, the mainstream Palestinian leadership finally said that they accepted the existence of Israel, so long as it returns to the boundaries that the Palestinians had previously rejected by violence--and so long as millions of Palestinians have the right to re-locate in Israel, thus effectively destroying Israel's raison d' etre as a safe haven for world-wide Jewry. Now, with the election victory of Hamas, even this limited, grudging and unworkable commitment has disappeared. Israel is now expected to return land to the Palestinian people even as they claim the right to 'liberate' Tel-Aviv from Jewish control.
The Palestinians have been offered a homeland on three separate occasions--in 1937, 1947, and 2000-1--and each time have rejected the offer and responded with increased terrorism. It is quite remarkable that the Palestinians were offered anything after WWII, considering that their leadership (the Grand Mufti) actively sided with the losing Nazis. I know of no situation in history where a people has twice rejected offers of statehood, responded with the massacring of civilians, then been rewarded for its crimes against humanity by still another offer of statehood. In 2000, the Palestinians were again offered statehood, this time quite understandably with a reduction in territory. For the third time the Palestinians responded with violence.
Israel has offered statehood to the Palestinians in exchange for a commitment to end terrorism, and the Palestinian response has been an escalation of terrorism. The Palestinians will eventually have a state, but not until terrorism is genuinely renounced.
I will be happy to continue this dialog providing your response is courteous and civil as was mine to you. Please refrain from words such as 'dimwit' or I will not respond.
do not even deserve a response. But I can't help myself. Please explain exactly how and in what way Israel is less 'democratic' than any other Parliamentary democracy.
Regarding 'Apartheid' you are talking in the case of S. Africa about a state which was entirely based on race, and upon the oppression of one race by another. This was codified in law. The ONLY distinctions under Israeli law between Jews and non-Jews are:
1) Jews may claim immediate citizenship under the 1948 'Law of Return'. Non-Jews may still become Israeli citizens but they must first satisfy a 3 year residency and procedural requirement. All Arabs and their decendants living in Israel as of 1949 were granted Israeli citizenship.
2) Only Jews are subject to a draft in the IDF. Non-Jews may serve in the army as volunteers, but are not drafted.
Of course, as is true of minorities in virtually every other nation including the U.S., there has been discrimination against Arab Israelis by the majority Jewish population. Until recently Arabs could not buy homes in certain Jewish areas just as Jews cannot buy homes in Arab villages. However a decision by the Israeli Supreme Court in 2002 ruled that, in the words of Chief Justice Aharon Barak: "...the principle of equality prohibits the state from distinguishing between its citizens on the basis of religion or nationality.....The Jewish character of the state does not permit Israel to discriminate between its citizens." It is fair to say that Israel, led by its progressive Supreme Court, is making considerable progress in eliminating the vestiges of anti-Arab discrimination that were largely a product of the refusal of the Arab world to accept a Jewish state. It is also fair to say that despite some lingering inequalities there is far less discrimination against minorities in Israel than in any other Middle Eastern nation.
Israel is a democratic state, created by the United Nations, in which its Arab citizens are full citizens. Respect for the rights of others is an express part of Israel's charter. Calling Israel an 'apartheid' state is a pure canard.
But what is really interesting to me is the fact that Israel takes an action that-- presumably--you approve of (the conviction of the Israeli terrorist) and your response is.....more violent and hysterical criticism of Israel. Obviously any and all Israeli actions, even those actions you agree with, merit disaproval in your book.
But enough. You may have the last word if you wish.
amputee, flying is a real burden for me since 9/11 as I am unable to take off my (prosthetic leg) shoe (still required for amputees) without taking off the entire leg. So I have to go to a dressing room blah blah blah, for an extra 45-60 minutes of BS befoe I can board. Since this is all very public and the the airport employees are usually complete idiots, there are often public scenes which are embarassing.
However, I have never objected or felt that my inconvenience was the fault of anyone outside of the fucking terrorists.
I feel the same way about the new rules on liquids, etc (which is far less intrusive for YOU then the shoe situation is for me.) And now, since ALL passengers have to remove shoes for every flight, I will go thru this on every flight I take instead of some of them.
Again, I blame those fuckers in the U.K.--who wanted to kill me if I was unfortunate enough to be on a flight with them-- for what I have to go thru at airports. Noone else.
has handed over power to his brother, the Prince? Well,if His Majesty, (May God Preserve Him) after 47 years of blessed rule, were to depart this realm at least the Cuban people can be sure that the Monarchy will continue. LONG LIVE THE KING!
Israel as a self-proclaimed 'Jewish' state and Iran and Saudi Arabia as self-proclaimed 'Islamic' states. The 'Jewish' state has no right to exist but 'Islamic' states do? (In Saudi Arabia non-muslims are not even allowed to live in certain cities. In Iran most Jews were expelled in 1948 and almost all of the balance in 1957.)
The nonsense that Israel is in any way similar to Apartheid South Africa, which defined ones ENTIRE legal and non-legal status and rights based on BIRTH is wholly incorrect. The ONLY distinctions under Israeli law between Jews and non-Jews are:
1) Jews may claim immediate citizenship under the 1948 'Law of Return'. Non-Jews may still become Israeli citizens but they must first satisfy a 3 year residency and procedural requirement.
2) Only Jews are subject to a draft in the IDF. Non-Jews may serve in the army as volunteers, but are not drafted.
Thats it, folks.
The basis for the founding of modern Israel was never 'divine right'. (Of course it is true that SOME religious Jews --and even more religious non-Jews-- did and do believe in the 'divine right' of Israel.) Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism and of the Zionist movement wrote explicitly what was the basis for the establishment of modern Israel--anti-Semitism. Herzl wrote in the founding document of modern Zionism, "The Jewish State" (Der Judenstatt) published in 1896.
"...Vain to seek obscurity. They say the coward, he is creeping into hiding driven by his evil conscience. Vain to go among them and offer them one's hand. They say: why does he take such liberties with his Jewish pushfulness? Vain to keep faith with them as a comrade-in-arms or a fellow citizen. They say: he is Proteus, he can assume any shape or form. Vain to help them strip off the chains of slavery. They say: no doubt he found it profitable. Vain to counteract the poison.....
We are a PEOPLE, ONE people. We have everywhere tried honestly to integrate with the national communities surrounding us and to retain only our faith. We are not permitted to do so. In vain do we exert ourselves to increase the glory of our fatherlands by achievemts in art and science and their wealth by our contributions to commerce. We are denounced as strangers. If only they would leave us in peace. But they will not. THEY WILL NOT.....Over the centuries, over the millenia, everything has been tried. There is only one solution left. The Jewish state must be reborn....."
You are confusing the concept of a 'Jewish' state with the religion of Judaism. The Jews, based upon thousands of years of self-identification and thousands of years of identification by others are a PEOPLE, most of whom, but not all, practice the religion of Judaism. There are Jewish atheists. There are even Jewish Christians. (What do you think 'Jews for Jesus' are?) The Jews have as much right to a state as the French or the English or the Americans. Or explain exactly why they don't?
Israel and Israelis is objectively anti-semitic (all its effects are anti-semitic) even if the propounders are not themselves subjectively anti-semitic. (i.e. they don't feel any personal bigotry or hatred against Jews per se.) This form of anti-semitism was applied by many 'good' Germans against Jews in the 1930s who--genuinely-- did not feel the race hatred of the Nazis, or the religious hatred of the European peasants of old, but none-the-less used the excuse that criticism of Jews was justified in some instances. ("Well, one can't denty that 'they' ARE 'rich', 'unduly influential', 'clannish' etc.") The substitution of Zionist or Israeli for Jew, even if its sincere, does not exempt the user from anti-semitism.
It should not need to be said that I am NOT saying that criticism of Israel, in itself, is anti-semitic. Even a cursory review of Israeli opinion shows constant public criticism, by Israelis, of almost EVERY aspect of Israeli culture and society, most expecially including foreign affairs. I venture to say there is more open criticism of Israel by Israelis than of the U.S. by Americans. (In great contrast to Israel's neighbors where public criticism of their own societies is, to say the least, limited.)
However, what IS anti-semitic is the constant double standards applied against Israel, the use of vicious, factually ridiculous tropes like comparing Israel, a nation of refugees who were the supreme victims of Nazi terror (2 million Jewish children under the age of 14 gassed) to Nazis; talk of Jewish 'cabals' (neocons?) Jewish 'power'; statements that Israel, alone among the nations of the world, has no right to exist, etc. Yes, some Jews make these statements and they are anti-semites. (By the way, the word 'anti-semitism' was first coined in the late 19th century by a German bigot who used the word only to denote hatred of Jews. It has nothing to do with Arabs or 'semitic' peoples in general.)
For a leftist perspective on left anti-semitism and double standars: snip>
"Exactly a year ago my trade union the AUT, voted to exclude Israelis at two universities from the global academic community (the campaigners saw this as a step to excluding everyone connected to an Israeli university). We were not supposed to include research or ideas from these blacklisted academics in our journals. These banned persons were not to be invited to conferences. We were not supposed to visit these universities. These punitive measures were proposed against Israeli academics but not against academics that worked in any other country that had a bad human rights record.
We were to continue dealing as normal with academics from the US, even though their state was responsible for the illegal prison camps at Guantanamo, even though their forces had been involved in the assault on Falluja, even though American soldiers were involved in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Nobody called for an international boycott of UK universities because of Britain's collaboration with these US projects. Nobody currently wants to boycott British and American academics because their states are turning a blind eye to genocide in Darfur.
Nobody asked us to exclude any other academics from the international community; not scholars from North Korea, Zimbabwe, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Russia, China, Sudan - or any of the many other states with human rights records worse than that of Israel"<snip
>snip "Aha! I hear you say. There is the slippage. This was not a boycott of Jews but a boycott of Israelis, of Zionists. If we say "Zionist" rather than "Jew" then its not anti-semitic is it?"<snip
>snip" Nobody in the campaign to ban Israeli artists, thinkers, writers, teachers, students and musicians hates Jews. But they nevertheless support a policy that is anti-semitic in effect."
Read the whole article. Its quite good. http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/david_...
I can speak as someone who can be identified as an "Israeli supporter". For myself, there is no middle ground because I am utterly convinced that Arab and Palestinan leadership, whether secular (the PA, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt) or fundamentalist (Hamas, Saudi Arabia, Iran) have zero desire or intention to live peacefully next to a Jewish state under ANY borders. The Palestinians would today be celebrating their 58th birthday as an independent state, side by side with Israel, if they had accepted the 1947 U.N. partition plan. War was chosen because a Jewish state, of any size and within any borders, was considered intolerable. I don't believe that attitude has changed. The Gaza pullout, and subsequent actions by the Palestinians in their attacks from Gaza on Israel, corroborate this view. Of course, I could be wrong. But then why the attacks from Gaza? (And the attacks on the Lebanese border AFTER Israel withdrew ALL its forces from Lebanon.) And note, I said the Arab and Palestinian 'leadership', not 'people'. I am not sure whether the majority of the Palestinian people prefer the extermination of Israel to peaceful coexistence. I suspect they do and the election of Hamas sadly seems to confirm this.
However, IF I am correct, there truly can be no middle ground. None at all. Israel is not going to voluntarily disband its existence. So they have to fight. And fight. And......separate.
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