Thursday, June 12, 2008

Misdirection

It's been said that the most important step in problem solving is defining what the problem is. This is even more true in politics when the terms in which a problem is originally cast often determines how it is approached in the future. Martin Kramer asks, at Middle East Strategy at Harvard, why every Middle Eastern crisis is necessarily linked to Israel. Kramer argues that Israel is placed at the center of every problem in the region not because it is true; but because things have been set up that way. The result he says, is a distortion in which otherwise tractable problems are twisted out of shape and made dependent on the resolution of its "linkage".

The last time I counted papers at the Middle East Studies Association annual conference, about two years ago, there were 85 papers on Palestine-Israel, 30 on Iraq, 27 on Iran, and only 4 on Saudi Arabia ... And it isn’t just the specialists. They would be seconded by Jimmy Carter, who was recently asked: “Is the Israel-Palestine conflict still the key to peace in the whole region? Is the linkage policy right?” Carter’s answer: “I don’t think it’s about a linkage policy, but a linkage fact…. Without doubt, the path to peace in the Middle East goes through Jerusalem.” ...

But the bottom line is this ... it is obvious that conflict involving Israel is not the longest, or the bloodiest, or the most widespread of the region’s conflicts. In large part, these many conflicts are symptoms of the same malaise: the absence of a Middle Eastern order, to replace the old Islamic and European empires. But they are independent symptoms; one conflict does not cause another, and its “resolution” cannot resolve another.

Kramer may well be right; and diplomats may be missing opportunity after opportunity in the Middle East because of slavish adherence to a "linkage" model that is largely illusory. But irrational approaches seldom survive for many decades without some underlying logic. There is probably a reason for the popularity of the "linkage" theory that posits Israel as the cause of every disturbance in the region. The obvious candidate is politics. The "linkage" theory retains its currency because it is good politics and not because it has any utility in fixing the problems in the Middle East.

Political movements often need a narrative to justify acts which would otherwise plainly be seen to be driven by expediency and self interest. The "linkage" with Israel provides an admirable pretext to excuse misgovernance, terrorism and outright thievery. "God's Army to Combat Zionism and Free Al-Quds" sounds a heck of a lot more noble than Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. (With apologies to Ali Baba, who really wasn't part of the Forty Thieves, but I digress) Without "linkage" perfume to deodorize his despicable deeds, the late and unlamented Yasser Arafat would have graced the FBI Most Wanted Poster rather than the cover Time Magazine's 1993 Person of the Year issue. Tom Gross called Yasser Araft "the great con man of modern politics". Even while Araft was still alive, CBS News reported that "Jim Prince and a team of American accountants - hired by Arafat's own finance ministry" found he had probably stolen a billion dollars for his own use.

So far, Prince's team has determined that part of the Palestinian leader's wealth was in a secret portfolio worth close to $1 billion -- with investments in companies like a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Ramallah, a Tunisian cell phone company and venture capital funds in the U.S. and the Cayman Islands.

Although the money for the portfolio came from public funds like Palestinian taxes, virtually none of it was used for the Palestinian people; it was all controlled by Arafat. And, Prince says, none of these dealings were made public.

What ultimately prevented the detection of Arafat's obvious knavery, what made it feasible for Arafat to become the "great con man of modern politics" was the "linkage" myth. As long as he could convince people that he was "struggling" against Israel, Arafat would be given a pass -- and more than a pass -- he would be accorded adulation. Today Arafat's signature keffiyeh has taken the fashion world by storm; like a kind of latter-day Mao cap or Che Guevara t-shirt.

Martin Kramer is right in saying that in most cases "linkage" doesn't make much sense as a framwork within which to view Middle Eastern problems. But the point is that it doesn't have to. It is really all about blinding us to a regional tragedy which, if we could but see clearly through the veil of misdirection, would darken our eyes with tears.





The Belmont Club is supported largely by donations from its readers.

59 Comments:

Blogger druu222 said...

Well, this Middle East pardigm is to the greater narrative what North Africa was to World War II. Not at all insignificant, but merely one piece of a much larger picture.

That picture is the one of the "arrogant groveling" that is the cancer of post-modern Western ideals. Namely that WE (Western civilization, of which Israel most assuredly is ideologically a part of) are simultaneously the hinge upon which all the world evolves, and are hopelessly and monstrously corrupt to the DNA of our very souls, for which the opposite of and opposition to is the only possible moral choice.

This is of course, one the most colossal and evil lies in the history of human civilization. But it's propogation is the only possible explanation for that fact that a group like QUIT (Queers Undermining Israeli Terror, a Berkley group) can exist, a group that looks at Party A, which holds gay rights parades, puts gay people in it's legislature, and addresses gay rights in it's law, and Party B, which is basically a terror organization that executes homosexuals..... and QUIT will choose.... *B* .... as the side that they will decide to support.

To call this madness is of course to insult the insane. Yet not only is QUIT real, but so to is the logic by which they exist, a logic infinitely more widespread and powerful then they themselves ever will be.

Others may be able to figure this out. I have no doubt I will go to my grave before I ever do.

6/12/2008 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Davis said...

The Middle East should be seen and treated as international adolescents. They are fully mature, but they do nothing productive. All the major decisions are made for them by the world's adults, the West. It set their borders, installed their rulers, keeps their peace, pays for their food, and it created Israel. Like any other adolescent, they deeply resent this adult to whom they owe so much and whose productivity reflects how little they contribute. But they can't confront the adult about their resentment directly because they are so dependent on the adult. So they find a minor issue that they know will irritate the adult and they pick and they pick and they pick.

Unfortunately, they have chosen not to go to college; like the adolescents whose parents never kick them out of the house they've got a good gig going. But when oil has been replaced by whatever comes next, they will be in for a rude awakening. And it couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of punks.

6/12/2008 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Wretchard unwittingly answers his own question.

He writes: ``The "linkage" with Israel provides an admirable pretext to excuse misgovernance, terrorism and outright thievery.''

I have to assume Wretchard doesn't really believe this, but is merely repeating unexamined talking points from the conservative mainstream media. But his comment is nonetheless true in another way he doesn't intend.

The ``admirable pretext" is interpreted as such primarily within the Arab world. The pretext gains no respect, regard or support whatsoever in American news media or mainstream politics.

As such, removing the extremists' "admirable pretext'' is the surest, quickest way to progress toward a less violent, more stable Middle East.

The occupation of the West Bank is the silver bullet in every Arab despot's six-shooter. Denying them that excuse would be a giant step toward disarming them.

No one I'm aware of, and certainly not Jimmy Carter, suggests Israel is the SOURCE of ALL that is wrong in the Middle East.

Israel, as an ally and a quasi-democracy with a relatively healthy economy arrayed against a weak, near-helpless enemy, offers the best chance for settling a key conflict in the region through negotiations, rather than terror. That is the main reason so many professional diplomats and observers focus there.

6/12/2008 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

Until about five years ago, before I got serious about the learning of Islamic scriptures, theology, and the history of jihad conquest, I too pretty much worked within the lines laid down by the community of geopolitical poly sci experts. They were drawn towards linkage, I think, out of hubris and intellectual sloth. Plus they projected on to the Muslim mind the templates of motivation that we extrapolate from ourselves and our culture.

Long before the creation of the State of Israel, the Arabs were engaging in terrorist raids upon the Jewish settlements. This was even before WWI. In between WWI and WWII you had the appearance of the Muslim Brotherhood on the scene. There was also a personage named Hajj Amin al Husseini, whom Westerners dumbly seem to have no knowledge of, who was waging war ON RELIGIOUS GROUNDS against the Jewish settlers. This man was very prominent and frequent at Hitler's headquarters, wherever they happened to be, throughout the war. Anyone notice this? Very few of the political science crowd are aware of his jihad against the unbelievers.

If there is a link, it exists because the Muslim world objects to the presence of kafirs having an independent country on land that is supposed to be the Ummah's. The illusion that Western intellectual sloths cling to without letup is the fallacy that once Israel is destroyed for good the Muslims will leave the rest of us alone.

Whatever narcotic gets you through the night.

Of course there are other conflicts in the Muslim/Arab world. It was very rare in the entire history of the Islamic empire for there to be no intra-Ummah fighting and contesting of power. Throw in, too, the varying degrees of persecution of dhimmi peoples and the violence visited upon them, even if they did pay the jizya. Military aggression was in Muhammad's veins. It was his passion, when he was not engaging in his dalliances with many women (and a girl child!); he was almost always on military campaigns after moving to Yathrib (Medina), even if he was not personally on the battlefield going mano-a-mano.

The Muslim peoples fight each other, in part, because booty and power are primed into their perceptions of reality. And they certainly are encouraged to push the envelope against us unbelievers.

Islam is the linkage.

6/12/2008 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger druu222 said...

McDaddyo, I'm wary of engaging this simply because the Middle East Argument will just go around the mulberry bush for the 157,489th time, saying the same thing that's been said 157,488 times before.

But one must note that Israel did not have the West Bank until 1967. That why all was peace and roses before that (not). One could also note the number of territories Israel has evacuated (Gaza, much of West Bank, East Jerusalem, South Lebanon) to little effect toward "progress toward a less violent, more stable Middle East".
One could further note that that very process and aim WAS achieved with the Sanai Peninsula. All it took was one Arab leader who truly and sincerely wanted peace with Israel, wanted it enough to pay with his life for it.

In a nutshell, "remove the irritant (that is the occupied West Bank) say you, and peace will follow." There's not a lot of evidence for that, I'm afraid, and much to the contrary.

Wretchard is quite right. Israel is an Arab excuse to avoid the political modernization that will threaten the entrenched powersof the Arab world. This is the ONLY explanation that fits the reality that, so far, it matters very little what Israel does. The result is always the same. Get someone like Sadat in there, and the whole dynamic changes radically.

And the rabid Left hates Sadat and anyone who thinks like him.


(I actually think Israel should divest themselves of much of the West Bank and Gaza, but be then prepared to raze them to the earth if they do not get the peace they are entitled to. But that's just me bloviating.)

6/12/2008 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Lilith said...

Druu222: But it's propogation is the only possible explanation for that fact that a group like QUIT (Queers Undermining Israeli Terror, a Berkley group) can exist, a group that looks at Party A, which holds gay rights parades, puts gay people in it's legislature, and addresses gay rights in it's law, and Party B, which is basically a terror organization that executes homosexuals..... and QUIT will choose.... *B* .... as the side that they will decide to support.

Are you sure you are identifying Party A with Israel?
In June of 2007 the Knesset passed two preliminary bills aimed at circumventing gay parades in Israel. The first bill was to have authorized the Jerusalem Municipality to ban parades which "hurt the public order, public feeling or for religious sensitivity." A second proposed measure was designed to prohibit all homosexual parades anywhere in Israel. The two bills passed the first reading by wide margins. Both were expected to have gone through required second and third readings and hopefully become law before June 2008 unleashed more homosexual cavorting through the nation’s streets.

6/12/2008 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

McDaddyo -- it is the EXISTENCE of Israel that is the "silver bullet" for every Muslim. As long as Israel exists, in any form, Muslims will forgive anything and everything to kill the last remnant.

One of the more lucrative past-times of the "Blind Sheik" Abdul Rahman was issuing fatwas allowing Muslims to rob Copts of property in Egypt.

This is what the ME is -- a bunch of tribes thinly united in a desire to wipe out (and rob in the process) anyone with a different religion. If Iran nuked Israel out of existence tomorrow as they repeatedly promise, Muslims would simply fight among themselves, decrying that the other group are not really Muslims, and so deserving of death and looting.

6/12/2008 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Let me add, Osama bin Laden has 57 brothers and sisters. His father had 22 wives (he married them, divorced them and then married them off to subordinates in his company). Mohammed bin Laden operated essentially on the crony basis of the Saudi Royal Family.

By no means was bin Laden's family unusual. Over half the women/girls married in Yemen are 15 or under. The TFR of women there is 8.

The fundamental problem of Muslims is Islam, and among it's ills is Polygamy. You can't expect to live in peace on the same interconnected planet as people like that. It will never happen.

6/12/2008 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger druu222 said...

OK Lillith, good catch. But I would certainly reiterate the difference between putting such proposals through the process of the Knesset, and arbitrarily choosing execution and systematic oppression based upon Quaranic mandate or local fatwah or Allah knows what-all.

One is called "civilized behavior", the other is not. And there are all too many fat and happy Westerners who specifically choose the anti-civilized, because of, not despite, it's nature.

6/12/2008 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

The occupation of the West Bank is the silver bullet in every Arab despot's six-shooter. Denying them that excuse would be a giant step toward disarming them.
//////////////
No, this is not the case.

If you look anywhere along boundary of the moslem world with their neighbors-relations are uneasy at best and warlike at worst. It doesn't matter whether the moslems are top dog as in africa middle dog as in pakistan India or bottom dog as in the entire boundary of europe from britain to the caucases. It is the same.

Every day we import more moslems we import to the new world more trouble.

6/12/2008 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

I think Charles is exactly right on that.

6/12/2008 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

I note that no one has challenged my point that Israel is the logical starting point for geopolitical maneuvering in the Middle East because it is a close ally of the U.S., a quasi-democracy and a viable economy not tied to oil.

Many have responded predictably with binary platitudes re-asserting the moral superiority of one side over the other, as if that will somehow miraculously provide an impetus for resolution.

Of course it's not Israel's fault that the Arab world is so deeply divided, economically underdeveloped and hostile.

But that fact is of very little use in trying to resolve conflicts in a world where cheap, accessible explosives and communications technology allow even the weakest parties to pose a serious public safety threat to democracies like Israel, the U.S. and Europe.

Neither I, nor anyone on this blog so far, has suggested that ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank would bring peace to the entire region. It would be a step toward it and the reason people focus there is because the U.S. has far more leverage and legitimacy in motivating Israel to seek compromise than it does with any other party in the region.

The claim that Israel has "given up" Gaza and parts of the West Bank is risible.

The Israeli military evacuated Gaza but maintained attacks the area from the air at will or simply rolls tanks across the ``border'' it exclusively controls, while its client, the U.S., provided weapons and funding to Fatah, in its attempt to prevent democratically elected Hamas from assuming the power it won at the ballot box. At the same time, Israeli enclaves were being expanded in the West Bank, an undeniable sign that Israel has no intention whatsoever to end its occupation.

Again, no one is asserting that Israel doesn't have a legitimate security interest in defeating Arab extremists arrayed against it. But to pretend that it should do so exclusively at the expense of Palestinian rights and land is moronic, even if it is a mainstream stance in American politics.

Binary thinking just won't do here. Blaming everything on the Arabs and leaving it at that has been tried and failed. We can all agree that Israel's occupation is unsustainable long-term. Eventually, there will have to be a solution.

6/12/2008 09:03:00 PM  
Blogger randian said...

I have to assume Wretchard doesn't really believe this

On what basis? I agree with him.

The occupation of the West Bank is the silver bullet in every Arab despot's six-shooter. Denying them that excuse would be a giant step toward disarming them.

I can't tell if you're a willful fool or simply an ignorant one. The Arabs want to kill the Jews because the Quran tells them to. The West Bank is mere pretext for avoiding responsibility and blaming the victim. They will not disarm or obey the substance of any treaty with Jews. All treaties between Muslims and unbelievers are hudna: temporary truces that last only as long as the Muslims perceive an advantage to obeying them (such as extra time to regroup and rearm).

6/12/2008 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger Brian H said...

Mrs. Davis;
your evicting-the-adolescents analogy is pretty good. And here's something out of left field that might do it:
FocusFusion.org is a small American group pushing to complete and refine a method of making p-B11 'burst' fusion work. The projections are that small, cheap, 5MW generators would result (probably by about 2015), with power being made at 0.2¢/kwh. This would cut the entire global Oil Economy off at the knees, or maybe the ankles. The ME would get maybe 10¢ on the dollar compared to now for its oil. That would be an eviction from parental pampering, don't you think?

6/12/2008 09:20:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

druu22 wrote :

". . . WE (Western civilization, of which Israel most assuredly is ideologically a part of) are simultaneously the hinge upon which all the world evolves, and are hopelessly and monstrously corrupt to the DNA of our very souls, for which the opposite of and opposition to is the only possible moral choice."

To test this thesis, one may look at the response of South Africa, not to mention other African leaders, to Robert Mugabe's thuggery. The problem, of course cannot be Mugabe and his corruption; no, the root cause must be European imperialism.

Western original sin expresses itself in slavery, imperialism,Zionism . . . in anything that has the taint of white privilege.

Pol Pot declared the Year One. Many of the children of 1968 will oppose any cultural institution/accomplishment of corrupt Westernism to pursue some vague millenialism.

The radical political parties in Iran found out in 1979 and thereafter what their reward for siding with the Islamists would be.

6/12/2008 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Lilith,

While this is a peripheral issue:

Tel Aviv: Gay Pride Parade begins

MK Gal-On: Pride Parade will take place despite opposition

Homosexuality isn’t perversion
Our attitude to gays shouldn’t be any different than to people who don’t eat kosher


All published within the past two weeks.

Yes, gay rights is a sensitive issue among the religious in Israel but they've had the gay rights parade for many years.

I noticed you only posted half of the note from that link. Here's most of the rest:

Here it is almost mid-June again and nothing more has been heard of those two bills in the past 12 months. Meanwhile last Friday more than a thousand people pitched up at the Gan Meir Park in Tel Aviv to participate in the 10th Gay Pride Parade and to launch the new municipal center for the gay community located there. The Tel Aviv municipality even donated NIS 250,000 (close to USD 75,000) of taxpayers’ money for the event. Information booths were set up, condoms were passed out and according to one participant, the time had come for two males kissing on the streets to be normal even beyond Tel Aviv. A Japanese tourist deemed it amazing that even though homosexuality is prohibited in Judaism, so many people are participating and even the mayor is highly supportive. It could never happen in Japan, he said. Organizers and supporters of the event promised “to be back next year.” And what’s to stop them?

6/12/2008 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger j- said...

*The fundamental problem of Muslims is Islam, and among it's ills is Polygamy. You can't expect to live in peace on the same interconnected planet as people like that. It will never happen.*

I'm not going to argue the opposite, but what kept the states of Europe fighting each other for 500 years or so and what made it finally stop?

The Middle East is long overdue for its own World War-type bloodletting. I would say let them kill each other off in the millions in some regional replay of the Iran-Iraq war, but I suspect they have neither the military capacity nor the ability to plan such large-scale operations. Sadly, they will have to goad the Israelis or the Americans or, at some far later date, the Chinese to do it for them.

And when they do nuke J'lem or Baltimore or London or Hong Kong, finish the job this time, no whining to the UN for time outs after the first 500,000 die from saturation bombing.

6/12/2008 09:38:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

randian,

You are spot on with your analysis. Even Arafat, in his Arabic speeches, referred to any treaties with the Jews as hudna. He said entirely different things to the credulous leaders of the West. It is one of the wonders of the world that today this kind of idiocy still obtains among the elites.

In Egypt, Sadat was killed for, among many reasons but chiefly because of this one, making a permanent treaty with the unbelievers (kafirs). The Brotherhood decided he had to go, and go he went in a most sanguinary fashion.

Quite frankly, I am amazed that the Left and its useful idiots among the policy elites still fall for that shuck and jive litany of grievances and excuses that are so 1960's and 1970's (when that kefiyya-wearing was all the rage, radical chic). Condi Rice's sly analogy of the Pali's being kind of like the blacks in the Jim Crow South is abhorrent, nonsensical, and insulting to both blacks and the Jews.

How can we trust our policy elites when they are so lazy and dishonest?

6/12/2008 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

McDaddyo -- I have disputed your assertion that Israel is the center of the disputes.

It is not -- when Israel gave up Gaza totally, Hamas responded by increasing rocket attacks. And looting the place of what infrastructure was left in a lord of the flies mode.

More to the point, Israel's existence is the main point. There is no desire or ability to allow Israel ANY existence.

And there are sound reasons for this. If Israel ceased to exist the internal contradictions of Arab regimes would create internal wars for succession.

6/12/2008 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Randian says:

``The West Bank is mere pretext for avoiding responsibility and blaming the victim.''

He's correct on that, but contradicts himself.

He claims the conflict is simply an extension of Islam's demands. But if that were the case, Muslims would require no pretext.

My point, yet again, is that the pretext is more easily eliminated that the other key impediments to a peaceful resolution -- which is why diplomats, politicians and others focus on it.

Whiskey: read my post again. You've misunderstood what I wrote.

6/12/2008 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

McDaddyo, if it's going to be so great for everything if Israel evacuates the West Bank and Gaza (oops they already got out of Gaza, never mind), then will you explain to the class why the Arabs were loudly proclaiming they would "drive Israel into the sea" and "finish what Hitler started" *before* Israel ever occupied those areas?

Lilith, if you are claiming that the status and rights of homosexuals is not better in Israel than in its enemies (e. g. Iran and Saudi Arabia) by many orders of magnitude, I would like to politely and humbly inform you that you are packed so tightly full of horseshit it's spurting out your ears in jet streams.

6/12/2008 10:26:00 PM  
Blogger randian said...

He claims the conflict is simply an extension of Islam's demands. But if that were the case, Muslims would require no pretext.

Pretext is for infidel consumption. Muslims are quite open about the religious dimensions of murdering Jews when they write or speak in Arabic or Urdu. Further, you forget the purposes of pretext.

1) Propaganda for their own people.

2) Lull observers into doing nothing, and not inquiring into the true nature of the conflict.

3) Muslims have an intense psychological need to not be responsible for anything. Nothing is ever their fault. Just listen to them sometime. Their speech about the west is thickly laden with projection and paranoia.

6/12/2008 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

With the exception of an 87 year stretch after the 1st Crusade, Muslims ruled Palestine continuously from about 635AD until Israel was carved out in 1948.

Just another blow to Muslim pride. A long string of defeats starting 400 years ago culminating in the formation of Israel. GWB didn't make them feel any better when he stomped mighty Saadam in a week.

Mohammend killed the Medina Jews and set a pattern carried on to this day.

The Jews have risen while the Muslims have fallen.

By the way, it helps to remember that America has been battling Muslim thugs for a long, long time. "Barbary pirates" and "shores of Tripoli".

6/12/2008 11:20:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Until about five years ago, before I got serious about the learning of Islamic scriptures, theology, and the history of jihad conquest, I too pretty much worked within the lines laid down by the community of geopolitical poly sci experts. They were drawn towards linkage, I think, out of hubris and intellectual sloth.

Yes, and your "intellectual advancement" is such that now you have progressed to spouting drivel that any who oppose Eretz Yisrael hate their own God.

Gary Rosen, the Zionist, manipulates dupes like Fred follow like drooling happy dumb puppy dogs:

then will you explain to the class why the Arabs were loudly proclaiming they would "drive Israel into the sea" and "finish what Hitler started" *before* Israel ever occupied those areas?

Might have something to do with Arabd who fought and died alongside Brit soldiers and promised independence as a reward for toppling the Ottomans betrayed by the Brits in favor of the Empire's Jewish bankers, then betrayed again at Partition by UN and US officials corrupted by Zionist bribes and by Soviets grateful for Jewish contributions to espionage, Soviet Party politics and economic advancement.

Screw 700,000 people out of land, homes, and saved wealth without compensation, and you can expect long-lasting hostility in return.

6/13/2008 01:17:00 AM  
Blogger Stephen Renico said...

Wretchard,

Stop trying to make sense of all of this; you already answered your own question a few days ago.

The ME is like a 3 Stooges routine: no matter what's going on, hit Larry.

6/13/2008 03:02:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Gary Rosen's big, flaming straw man:

``if it's going to be so great for everything if Israel evacuates the West Bank.''

Yet again I find myself having to repeat that neither me, nor anyone on this blog, has asserted that "it's going to be so great for everything" if Israel withdraws.

To repeat, now for a third time, it will not solve anything in fell swoop. It will, however, be a positive step forward. And the reason to take it isn't that it's a panacea or the most urgent moral task at hand, but that it's the most achievable. That's because Israel's extremists can be forced to allow it by its more moderate polity and client state, the U.S., not because Palestinian extremists demand it.

Why does every commenter who's challenged my view immediately distort it into me claiming that ending the occupation would solve all the problems or make everything wonderful and so on.

I've been clear and emphatic that problems would probably remain throughout the region and that that would be only a start, but probably the best, surest one.

6/13/2008 03:08:00 AM  
Blogger ADE said...

C4
Screw 700,000 people out of land, homes, and saved wealth without compensation, and you can expect long-lasting hostility in return.

You're absolutely right.

But that is not the point of W's post. The question is - why do so many in the Islamic world state that they care, but do nothing practical about it?

Ans - Arab culture.

Why the violence, and why now?

Ans - Arab culture is dying, it's over, their way of life is exposed as the most apalling culture the planet has ever seen. They are dying, and if not from emabrrassment, they'll do suicide.

The violence is it's death throes. Islam, and its hatred of the Westare honour-saving devices, as is Israel hatred.

The tragedy for some of the Palestinians is that they have forgone some legitimate grievences through shame at belonging to the Arab world.


ADE

6/13/2008 03:41:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

That's because Israel's extremists can be forced to allow it by its more moderate polity and client state, the U.S.

Calling the US the client of Israel is one of the hoary old anti-semitic chestnuts that hearkens back to the Protocols of Elders of Zion. Yes, the Joos control the world. Oh brother.

Is that really your intent? Is troll your middle name?

6/13/2008 05:04:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Might have something to do with Arabd who fought and died alongside Brit soldiers and promised independence as a reward for toppling the Ottomans betrayed by the Brits

Just to be clear, the Arabs got Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the gulf states and probably more from the remains of the Ottoman empire after WWI.

in favor of the Empire's Jewish bankers,

Yes the Balfour declaration was made in part because of financial support by of the war by Britain's Jews during WWI. That has nothing to do with any alleged betrayal, of course.

then betrayed again at Partition by UN and US officials corrupted by Zionist bribes

Now you're just foaming at the mouth, as usual. Zionist bribes, gimme a break. What about Arab oil?

and by Soviets grateful for Jewish contributions to espionage, Soviet Party politics and economic advancement.

Sheer fantasy. In fact there was a general consensus at the time that the Jews deserved a national homeland in Palestine. It had nothing to do with Jewish bankers or bribes.

Screw 700,000 people out of land, homes, and saved wealth without compensation, and you can expect long-lasting hostility in return.

Now if a great Arab leader like Saddam Hussein hadn't been responsible for the deaths of over 1 million Arabs without so much as a peep from the rest of those Arabs one might believe that the Arabs cared about their Palastinian "brothers." Or if the Kuwaitis hadn't kicked out all of their Palastinian "brothers." Or the Iraqis too by now.

This idea that the Palastinians have a great grievance against Israel and that's the reason for this continued conflict is an exaggeration. The Arabs lost the wars, all of them. They had their widdle pwide hurt in '48 and '67 and haven't gotten over it.

In fact today most Arabs today couldn't care less if the Pals faded away. Egypt and Jordan realize that the economies of their countries are hurt by the conflict. The gulf states want to move into the future and can't with this conflict hanging over their necks. The big conflict now is with Iran, and Hamas is seen as an Iranian client.

6/13/2008 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

``Calling the US the client of Israel is one of the hoary old anti-semitic chestnuts that hearkens back to the Protocols of Elders of Zion.''

Perhaps that is true. My point isn't that Israel is literally in control of the U.S. but that, American politics being what they are, the U.S. behaves as if it can only do what Israel tells it to.

Barack Obama is portrayed on this blog variously as a secret communist/Muslim, a radical Islamist and a Chicago underground operative.

Yet even he asserts categorical support for Israel.

There is simply no viable political opposition in America to Zionism.

That's certainly not the end of the world, nor even, totally without rationale. There a many good reasons to maintain the alliance with Israel, but a few bad ones too.

6/13/2008 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

``The Arabs lost the wars, all of them. They had their widdle pwide hurt in '48 and '67 and haven't gotten over it.''

It's lamentable to realize that so many Americans get their geopolitical ideas from Hollywood. I'm beginning to think many on the right, in particular some of the regulars here, get theirs from video games.

It is telling how unabashedly some American militarists portray war as one big psychodrama.

As if the Palestinian grade schooler who's parents are "collateral damage" in an Israeli "air strike" proceed to sit around and lament the failed strategies of '67 and '73, rather than simply grieve over their mother and father and vow to avenge them.

Why do people who so admire Karl Rove, for example, fail to understand that many Palestinians think just like him.

When they are attacked, they, just as Rove recommends, do not counsel understanding, moderation or restraint. They ``summon will'' and "brandish steel.''

6/13/2008 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

If you fly over Israel in a helicopter you'll see dozens of mosques. You'll meet Muslims who are in the IDF uniform just walking around looking for a Coca-cola. A pair of them were pulling security duty when I went to visit the Wailing Wall. If you walk around Jerusalem before dawn you'll hear the call to prayer from al-Aqsa Mosque.

How many synagogues in Saudi Arabia? How many churches in Saudi Arabia? Wrong question.

I'm sure many Israelis will disagree with me, but personally, without its historical and religious connotations, I think the physical country itself is relatively worthless.

I keep wondering why the happiness of a billion Muslims, flush with trillions of dollars worth of oil, possessed of practically limitless potential human resources should depend on the possession of that miserable pile of rocks. What's in it?

Then sometimes it occurs to me that it isn't that wretched, arid piece of land they are after. It's the Jews or rather the absence of the Jews that is of utmost importance. Any damned fool can see that it can't be the land itself that's causing all this commotion. There isn't enough of it to be worth anyone's bother.

6/13/2008 07:00:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

My point isn't that Israel is literally in control of the U.S. but that, American politics being what they are, the U.S. behaves as if it can only do what Israel tells it to.

Oh come on. Jimmy Carter, Bush Senior, Nixon,Henry Kissinger, all put much pressure on Israel to make it do things that they wanted. Condi Rice has been visiting Israel and forcing it to do things for as long as she's been in power. Either you have a very short memory or you are deliberately misrepresenting the facts.

You represent a point of view popular in the left that the only way to a solution is for the US to force Israel to make sufficient concessions for the Arabs to agree to peace. The problem of course is that there's no one to force the Pals to make concessions.

There a many good reasons to maintain the alliance with Israel, but a few bad ones too.

You can say the same about France. The US has an alliance with countries like Israel, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan for many reasons that benefit the US.

When they are attacked

You mean like in 48, 67, 73? Do you mean like after Israel withdrew from Gaza and they kept firing rockets at Israel's civilians?

Isreal has made and kept peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan. It has proven that it can and will make peace if it's possible. It is the Pals who are attacking Israel. If they ever decide that they want peace and that they want their own country it will happen. Not before.

6/13/2008 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

"Screw 700,000 people out of land"

Inadvertently, C-fudd tells the truth. Palestinians were "screwed" out of land - by their Arab brothers of course who refused to set up a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza but rather kept it for themselves. The rest of course is his usual compulsive lying about "Zionist bribes" bla bla etc. Thanks a again, Fudd, for proving what a nitwit, loser and misfuck you are. Always enjoyable.

McDaddyo, by the way, despite his pious blarney is just C-fudd in drag, with the same "blame it all on the Jooooos" message.

6/13/2008 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

"It's lamentable to realize that so many Americans get their geopolitical ideas from Hollywood."

Despite which you couldn't contradict the assertion you were responding to. Here's some "geopolitics" for ya, buddy - have you ever even looked at a map of the Middle East? Israel, with or without the West Bank, is a tiny sliver of land with no oil surreounded by huge oil potentates and outnumbered 40 or 50 to 1. Chew on that for a while.

6/13/2008 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

What is the West Bank?

If the West Bank were just a patch of land then Israel would be foolish to hold on to it. But Israel is a unique country that is the site of the Jews' unique history and Covenant, and of the new Covenant brought by Christ. Israel is the source and the center of the world for Judaism and Christianity. Islam's claim on Israel is comparatively weak, being based on a single unspecific dream of Mohammed's that was later turned into an excuse for the conquest of Jerusalem. Israel is to both Judaism and Christianity what Mecca is to Islam. And the West Bank is indisputably part of Israel, not of neighboring lands.

Judea is the west bank. Say it out loud. Draw out the first syllable. "Jew." This is the land from which the Jews got their name. It is the archetypal Jewish land.

Samaria is the west bank. The Samaritans lived there, and some still live there. Besides figuring in some important bible stories, the Samaritans are a branch of the Jews who follow a variant practice of Judaism.

Both Judea and Samaria are chock full of historical sites that are important to Jews and Christians, and that are in peril from history-erasing Muslims. Look at what is being done under the al-Aqsar mosque where the Solomon's Temple is being secretly excavated and its artifacts shattered and thrown into trash dumps. Look at the stone buddhas in Afghanistan. Or look at what the Saudis are doing to their own historical and religious sites in Arabia. Physical history will get destroyed if it proves something that a Muslim doesn't like.

Not only the lives of the Jews but the physical testament to what happened in Israel are at stake.

Never again!

6/13/2008 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

No one wants the Palestinians, No one wants to deal with them no one wants to care for them, no one wants them in their homes, or even camping out in their back yards? Why is that?

It is almost like they are Jewish, only without any generally recognized redeeming value. They are treated like Arabian Gypsies and used for whatever lurid or sordid gains that can be had then tossed aside if they make waves.

Their behavior en mass invites it, their own leaders delight in it. If only they could pull their head out and figure out the only way to resolve their problems is for them the resolve their own problems, and realize that they are their own biggest problem.

It is not with Israel that is the root of their troubles, but with Saudi Arabian and Iranian deep pockets. Arafat was an anomaly only insofar as he was a Palestinian and not a Persian, or member of the house of Saud.
A successful Lebanon and Iraq are dangers to Islamist hubris.

So in that way, Dr. Rice is correct in her suggestion about the result of the neglect of the Palestinians. I would suggest that the root cause is with themselves and not with anyone else. There is no such a thing as seduction without a willingness to be seduced, but shame on those who take advantage of their plight and create even greater misery.

The Palestinians have been too willing in seduction, too willingly seduced. They ought not to be throwing any stones.

6/13/2008 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

"Screw 700,000 people out of land, homes, and saved wealth without compensation, and you can expect long-lasting hostility in return."

Hajj Amin al Husseini conspiring with hitler against the jews, whose goal was no doubt the eventual deportation of jews from their homeland to the ovens of germany, had they not been stopped, could be a sore spot for jews without having to stretch ones imagination.

"The same document states that the Mufti, “was fully reassured and satisfied by the words which he had heard from the Chief of the German State.” That is, he was “fully reassured and satisfied” that Hitler would (1) help him carry out the destruction of all Jews living in the Arab sphere and, (2) based on that Final Solution, make him “the most authoritative spokesman in the Arab world.” Once again, this shows that Hajj Amin al Husseini was not interested in defending any Arabs, but rather interested in killing Jews. Hajj Amin would now demonstrate his special predilection with a vengeance by leading Adolf Hitler’s extermination program against the European Jews."

“The Mufti [Hajj Amin] is a sworn enemy of the Jews and has always fought for the idea of annihilating the Jews. He sticks to this idea always, also in his talks with [Adolf] Eichmann ... The Mufti is one of the originators of the systematic destruction of European Jewry by the Germans, and he has become a permanent colleague, partner and adviser to Eichmann...in the implementation of this programme.”[56]"

[56] Transcription of the Adolf Eichmann trial in Jerusalem; Session 50; 9 Sivan 5721 (24 May 1961); p.915; Published online by The Nizkor Project.

6/13/2008 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

More eloquence and learned perspective from "mcdaddyo."

"It's lamentable to realize that so many Americans get their geopolitical ideas from Hollywood. I'm beginning to think many on the right, in particular some of the regulars here, get theirs from video games.

It is telling how unabashedly some American militarists portray war as one big psychodrama."

"mcdaddyo" is practiced in the art of kafir-baiting. He'll try to say anything outrageous to see if he can get attention. Fortunately, most people do not use fiction and mythology as a substitute for real historical fact prior to policy thinking. Which means most of us here reject Jimmy Carter's views of "the linkage" outright.

You know, "mcdaddyo," the people here are not college students who can be impressed with the thin fare such as you bring to the table. We're grownups with some experience of the real world.

6/13/2008 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Misdirection, indeed.

The West Bank is occupied territory.

That much is not in dispute, not even by the government of Israel itself, which knows it cannot annex the territory, because the country’s population would then be in danger of being a non-Jewish majority.

So here you have every excuse under the sun and much bobbing and weaving around the issue, but not one word explaining why Israel is never even asked to recognize Palestine’s right to exist. Nor why withdrawal from occupied territories is considered some kind of reward for Palestinian behavior, rather than a precondition for negotiations.

Wretchard shovels out the misdirection from the great big barrel of mainstream media clichés:

``If you fly over Israel in a helicopter you'll see dozens of mosques.’’

True, and you’ll see even more synagogues in New York, L.A. or Paris. But that isn’t relevant, is it, because Israeli Jews don’t want to move their capital from Tel Aviv to Brooklyn. Residents of the imperial Jewish enclaves in Jerusalem want to keep their subsidized villas, just as the law-abiding doctors and ditch-diggers in Tel Aviv want to keep theirs. The difference is rather simple, though: Tel Aviv is part of Israel and half of Jerusalem, or thereabouts, isn’t.

Likewise, the Palestinian people who’s homes and land have been taken by Israeli Jews do not want to live in the “Bantustans’’ Israel has left for them. They simply want their land back, as anyone would. And some, adopting the Karl Rove approach to life, are quite ready to “summon will” and “brandish steel” to achieve that.

Wretchard, shifting from misdirection to straw men, asks:

``I keep wondering why the happiness of a billion Muslims, flush with trillions of dollars worth of oil, possessed of practically limitless potential human resources should depend on the possession of that miserable pile of rocks. What's in it?’’

This would be the fourth time I have to burn down this same straw man. That Wretchard regurgitates it is a good demonstration of a poverty of ideas and, more important, a willful disconnection from the facts at issue.

No one is saying the happiness of a billion Muslims “depends” on ending the occupation of the West Bank. Most of the world’s billion Muslims are already quite happy and look at politics, global or local, as an annoyance or, at best, something only tangentially relevant to their life. But I think Wretchard is referring yet again to a video-game version of the global psychodrama that animates much neoconservative thinking.

Let’s repeat:

Israel’s recognition of Palestine’s right to exist is not a panacea for the Middle East. More important, no significant party in the discussions says it is. Israeli acknowledgment of Palestine’s right to exist is rather an important, especially achievable step toward resolution. It is achievable not because the Palestinian case is without any weaknesses, but because Israel is a liberal quasi-democracy based mostly on progressive, enlightened ideals and because it depends almost exclusively on the U.S. for military and economic aid and diplomatic cover at the U.N.

It is telling that while Wretchard and others find time to throw up the straw men and scatter misdirection, they offer no vision whatsoever, not one word, about a potential solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. They seem to believe that merely condemning the Palestinians and pointing to problems in the Arab world or Islam at large somehow relieves them from the task of even making the case for the superiority of military aggression as a solution.

Wretchard writes:
``Then sometimes it occurs to me that it isn't that wretched, arid piece of land they are after. It's the Jews or rather the absence of the Jews that is of utmost importance.’’

Yet again, he confuses Arab propaganda with reality. A Palestinian who looks over the hill and sees Israeli-subsidized Jewish-only apartments going up on land his family owned for generations thinks first and foremost that he’s got to get the land back. He may also be of a Karl Rove bent, and feel like ``brandishing steel,’’ but his grievance has nothing whatsoever to do with religion. Sure, he’s bound to be more vulnerable to bigoted demogogues, much in the same way some undereducated, underpaid, resentment-driven Americans are vulnerable to Rove’s appeals.

Sure, there is no doubt that Arab tyrants and monarchs use the occupation as PR crutch to redirect resentment toward Jews and away from their own shortcomings. But this is a PR crutch we can take right out from under them and there would be nothing any terrorist, WMD or no, could do to stop that removal.

Lastly, at least one poster here has suggested that the West Bank is actually part of Israel. A sizable minority within Israel – and perhaps a majority of the nation’s elected officials and military hierarchy – agree with this view. This presents a difficult problem in that it undermines Israel’s claim that it “only wants peace.’’ As long as the Palestinians can see Israel’s leaders making the claim that the West Bank is part of Israel, how can anyone expect them to believe that Israel intends to make peace?

6/13/2008 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

"but not one word explaining why Israel is never even asked to recognize Palestine’s right to exist."

Earth to McDaddyo: Israel was involved in negotiations that would have led to a Palestinian state, Arafat refused a very reasonable compromise and chose instead to start the second intifada, causing the collapse of the Israeli peace movement. But it's still the fault of the Jooos, right?

"Nor why withdrawal from occupied territories is considered some kind of reward for Palestinian behavior, rather than a precondition for negotiations."

Withdrawal would leave Israel in the exact same position it was in in 1967, when the Arab world promoted a war fot the expressly stated purpose of "finish[ing] what Hitler started". And since you are clearly completely ignorant of the history of the matter, it was that war instigated by the Arabs that led to the occupation. My friendly suggestion is to keep your piehole shut since you're accomplishing nothing but displaying your ignorance.

6/14/2008 12:05:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

We can all agree that Israel's occupation is unsustainable long-term.
//////////////

no one agrees with you.


The actual situation in the middle east is changing just as europe is changing--and heaven help us--the USA is changing.

6/14/2008 01:05:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Gary writes:
‘’Earth to McDaddyo: Israel was involved in negotiations that would have led to a Palestinian state.’’

``Involved” they were. But so were the Palestinians and you don’t seem to think that gives them the right to assume control of Israeli lands, do you?
You refer to the negotiations arranged by Bill Clinton between Yassir Arafat and Ehud Barak.

Barak never made any specific offers but rather presented general proposals through the U.S. that were carefully explained as not being formal offers, but talking points. The key proposal, for Arafat, was that Israel be allowed to continue ignore previous it had made under the Oslo process and the Wye agreement of 1998. Israel had never, for example, redeployed its troops away from three West Bank villages as agreed under Oslo and Wye, and now Barak was asking, as a starting point, for Arafat to accept that not as part of a bargain, but as a pre-condition to a promise of a broader solution.
The offer Barak made was this:
Palestine would have sovereignty over 91 percent of the West Bank; Israel would annex 9 percent it in exchange for parts of pre-1967 Israel equivalent to 1 percent of the West Bank, but with no indication of where either would be.
On refugees, the key point of contention, the proposal spoke only of a "satisfactory solution."
Even on Jerusalem, where the most detail was provided, many blanks remained to be filled in. Arafat was told that Palestine would have sovereignty over the Muslim and Christian quarters of the Old City, but only a loosely defined "permanent custodianship" over the Haram al-Sharif, the third holiest site in Islam.
The status of the rest of the city would fluctuate between Palestinian sovereignty and functional autonomy. Finally, Barak was careful not to accept anything. His statements about positions he could support were conditional, couched as a willingness to negotiate on the basis of the US proposals so long as Arafat did the same.

Gary somehow interprets this as:
``Arafat refused a very reasonable compromise and chose instead to start the second intifada, causing the collapse of the Israeli peace movement. But it's still the fault of the Jooos, right?’’

Not exactly. I think even Gary would accept that his idea of what is ``very reasonable’’ may deviate from the ordinary citizen’s and the facts show without dispute is that Barak’s offer was unreasonable and unacceptable to Arafat, which is what really matters.

But there are clearer paths to establishing what Gary really thinks and feels about the West bank. He writes:

``Withdrawal would leave Israel in the exact same position it was in in 1967, when the Arab world promoted a war for the expressly stated purpose of "finish[ing] what Hitler started".’’

That’s more than a little fanciful. The war in 1967 was aimed at forcing the Jewish state out of Palestine. Killing German Jews or, indeed, of killing all Jews was never part of the picture, the facts clearly show. But let’s give Gary some leeway with wild exaggerations and assume that he just feels entitled to them and really is just pointing out that Arabs started the war in 1967.

That still wouldn’t give Israel the right to occupy the West Bank, nor would it mean that such a settlement would put Israel “in the exact same position’’ it was in 1967.

Much has changed in the past four decades and, unfortunately, Israel has squandered much of the post WWII geopolitical capital it had in the form of sympathy for Jews having gone through the Holocaust. The prospect that Israel an assure its security through military aggression alone has faded considerably and it is now much more likely to be forced to seek diplomatic solutions. This is probably more a function of the end of the Cold War and a much more free flow of information about what’s going on in and around Israel.

Given that, it would seem to make sense for Israel to be more aggressive in using diplomacy to leverage its waning geopolitical capital.

6/14/2008 02:04:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Given that, it would seem to make sense for Israel to be more aggressive in using diplomacy to leverage its waning geopolitical capital.
///////////
compared to who?

the syrians? the iranians?

6/14/2008 03:05:00 AM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

"even Gary would accept that his idea of what is ``very reasonable’’ may deviate from the ordinary citizen’s"

Apparently you're saying I'm not an "ordinary citzen" because I'm a Jew and a supporter of Israel. Not surprising to hear this kind of crap from McDaddyo, but the fact (a concept completely foreing to McD) is that American citizens are overwhelmingly sympathetic to Israel vs. the Palestinians. Most Americans recognize terrorists when they see them.

6/14/2008 04:41:00 PM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Gary:
The fact that you are a Jew and a supporter of Israel neither entitles you to make things up, nor to speak for others.

I'm a supporter of Israel as well and like many people of Jewish heritage, I'm an atheist.

I simply disagree with your approach on how to support Israel and while I would agree that most Americans are probably closer to your views than mine, I'm confident that most Israelis and most Palestinians are closer to mine.

Both Israel and the Palestinians are being held hostage by extremists in their midst. Israel's extremists, many in high positions of government, insist on a supernatural right to land that has belonged to Palestinians for generations. They contradict Israel's official policy, and the one most ordinary Israelis support, which is that the country only seeks peace and coexistence with the Palestinians.

As long as these extremists remain in positions of power in Israel, it's impossible for any Palestinian to say to themselves or to their fellow citizens that Israel is prepared to acknowledge their right to exist as a people. In fact, many extremists directly take the position that Palestinians do not even exist as a people.

The Palestinians face similar problems. They are being led now mostly by extremists who believe they have a supernatural right to land Jews have lived on for centuries. As long as they remain in positions of power, no Jew can honestly say to himself or his fellow citizens that the Palestinians are prepared to acknowledge their right to exist as a nation.

Given the intractability of those positions, the only hope would seem to reside within the moderates on both sides.

Were it possible for the use to coerce or even outright force a moderate leadership to win power over the Palestinians, that would be an excellent first step.

But the U.S. has squandered its ability to influence Palestinian affairs by helping Israel expand imperial enclaves in the West Bank and so on. Moreover, the U.S. put the lie to the idea that it supports democracy by directly aiding and abetting the political faction that lost a fair, internationally supervised election for Palestinian Authority leadership.

That leaves the U.S. with far more leverage over Israel than over Palestine. Israel, by comparison a stable democracy with a strong economy, has far more to lose than do the Palestinians -- another fact that adds to diplomatic leverage that can be used to compel Israel to moderate its behavior.

I get a sense that Gary has spent a lifetime "winning" arguments about Israel by shouting insults. Given that Wretchard appears to be willing to keep this forum open, I hope Gary will come to recognize that tactic won't work here.

6/14/2008 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger JDM_Car said...

This suv is suitable in middle east, review it

GMC YUKON DENALI

6/14/2008 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

"I'm a supporter of Israel"

Horseshit. I hear this all the time from Stormfront types, they slam Jews and Israel and then conclude by saying "I'm a great supporter of Israel".

"I get a sense that Gary has spent a lifetime "winning" arguments about Israel by shouting insults."

No, by stating the facts which you resolutely refuse to recognize.

6/14/2008 11:45:00 PM  
Blogger Barry Meislin said...

One rather minor quibble is that while an Israeli government supported by its electorate has offered (and continues to offer) conditions for a Palestinian state, Palestinian leaders (both moderate and less moderate) insist that Israel must cease existing before this can happen.

(And no, one doesn't even have to read between the lines.)

But as I said, it's only a minor quibble.

Now, it has been claimed by many earnest folks (and lovers, moreover, of peace and justice, not to mention those that know precisely what are the interests of the USA, at least as far as the Middle East is concerned) that what Israel offered the Palestinians in 2000/2001, and what it continues to offer the Palestinians, was (and is) simply unacceptable to the Palestinians.

Now this happens, of course, to be indisputably true, given that the only acceptable offer Israel might have given (and might give) the Palestinians would have been (or would be) to agree to voluntarily disestablish itself (or weaken itself sufficiently to invite that possibility).

And while for many of these earnest types, "weakness is strength" (among other things), Israel, alas, is not quite ready to do that.

At least not yet.

6/15/2008 04:44:00 AM  
Blogger wswindrem said...

Here's another metaphorical take on the subject"

Let's say I'm pro-choice. Somebody wants to outlaw partial birth abortions. If I believe that the people pushing this consider this to be the final, bilaterally accepte consensus, opposed only by die hard extremists on both sides, I probably would go along with it. "Hey, if this will bring peace and quiet, and stop the culture wars, Great! I'm all for it!"
But if I think the people pushing the outlawing of partial birth abortions covertly, or not so covertly, consider this to be the first step twards rolling back abortion all the way to total prohibition, and are whispering "Hudna" to others on their side, I wouldn't bite.
Same thing with "the Occupied Territories". If this "land for peace" operation, or that one would lead to a widely accepted concensus, which the other side wasn't intending to subvert as quickly as possible, I would support it.
But (I) never get reassurances that, "yes, this is more or less the final compromise, and we (the opposition) are okay with this new concensus", and no sotto voce whispering "it's cool! It's just a hudna!", so Israelis are right to distrust land for peace deals.

6/15/2008 05:48:00 AM  
Blogger wswindrem said...

I turned 60 3 months ago, and I've been living in the Pro Choice vs Pro Life culture wars for AT LEAST half my life. I would enjoy finally getting some peace an quiet on that front. But if the only acceptible outcome for some of the Pro-live people is a total ban for every situation, well, I've toughed it out for at least 30 years, and I can tough it out another 30 years.

I would suspect that your average Israeli's position would be, "Hey, if giving up the West Bank would get us some final peace and quiet, yeah, sure, why not!" But if this looks like just one more hudna, well, we've waited 60 years already; we can wait another 60 years. Trading our incursions into Gaza for their Katyusha rockets sucks, but we can do it for another 60 years.
Meanwhile, we'll go on enjoying our twice as high standard of living, our Marc Chagall museums, and our cherished culture, just like we've been doing for the last 60 years. If they want to live in shanty town shacks, poisoning the minds of their children with hate for another 60 years, well, okay, that's their choice.

6/15/2008 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Levy said...

McDaddyo said:
"...But that isn’t relevant, is it, because Israeli Jews don’t want to move their capital from Tel Aviv to Brooklyn..."

McDaddyo - The reason Israeli Jews do not want to move their capital from "Tel Aviv to Brooklyn" is because Israel's capital is Jerusalem, and has always been Jerusalem. The fact that you are not aware of this says much about your sources of information.

As for the main point you are trying to make (as I have understood it):

"...As such, removing the extremists' "admirable pretext" is the surest, quickest way to progress toward a less violent, more stable Middle East..."

I must also disagree. After losing their "admirable pretext", the Arabs will waste all of 5 minutes in finding another, equally "admirable pretext". This will, in fact, be the rational response, as the technique of "admirable pretexts" will have proven itself as the best way forward. Who ever heard of the Sha'aba farms, or knew Nasrallah was so solicitous of Samir Kuntar's fate, before Israel withdrew from Lebanon? Once that pretext was gone, there were plenty of new ones to use. The crocodile's hunger is never sated - he must always have one more meal.

Appeasement always looks like it's just one more concession. But it never is. And when you live in the region, rather than thousands of miles away, you pay with blood for each mistake.

6/15/2008 08:32:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

‘‘While an Israeli government supported by its electorate has offered (and continues to offer) conditions for a Palestinian state, Palestinian leaders (both moderate and less moderate) insist that Israel must cease existing before this can happen.''

Let's try some facts:

The Palestian Authority, Mahumoud Abbas and Yasser Arafat have explicitly recognized Israel's right to exist within its pre-1967 borders.

Israel, on the other hand, has never under any circumstances acknowledged Palestine's right to exist.

Barry's analysis is absurd anywhere outside a logic bubble wherein Palestinian existence is negotiable, while Israeli existence is a precondition for negotiations.

If Israel were committed to recognizing Palestine's right to exist, it wouldn't be expanding Jewish-only enclaves in the West Bank. If Israel were willing to negotiate, as Barry insists, it would join the Palestinians in welcoming an international peacekeeping force.

But Israel rejects international peacekeeping and continues to pay Israelis, many of them recent immigrants from Russia, to live in recently built Jewish-only housing projects in the West Bank.

Whatever "offer" Barry thinks Israel has the the table for Palestinians, anyone can see that the ``facts on the ground'' shows Israel hasn't recognized Palestine's right to exist.

Many moderates among the Palestinian people, just like the moderate Israelis, have shown they are quite willing and even intend to co-exist with Israel.

There has been no settlement because extremists on both sides insist they cannot co-exist.

Extremist Jews insist the West Bank is part of Israel, extremist Palestinians insist all of Israel is Palestine.

6/15/2008 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Fen said...

Israel, on the other hand, has never under any circumstances acknowledged Palestine's right to exist.

Cute propaganda. As if Israel ever needed to reaffirm that Pali's have a right to exist.

America has never acknowledged Islam's right to exist, so by your logic, we don't believe they have that right.

6/15/2008 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Barry Meislin said...

Actually, Palestininans haven't recognized Palestine's right to exist (i.e., alongside Israel).

Not in 1948. Not between 1949 and 1967. Not in 1967. Not between 1967 and 1999. Not in 2000. Not in 2001. Not since 2001.

I.e., a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Yes, we are talking about a very principled group of people.

(But whatever gets you through the night.)

6/16/2008 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

Fen, you sound a little confused.

Islam has never sought recognition as a state, so it simply isn't an issue.

Israel, on the other hand, has sought recognition and some states, such as the U.S. have granted it, while others, have not.

The same goes for Palestine. It has sought recognition, specifically from Israel.

But you do give an accurate recitation the Israeli extremist attitude when you write:

``As if Israel ever needed to reaffirm that Pali's have a right to exist.''

With an attitude like that, who can argue Palestine's recognition of Israel is a legitimate pre-condition?

6/16/2008 01:59:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

There is no such a people as "Palestinians." They are Arabs, and were formerly citizens of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. Because those states, at the very moment it was created by the U.N., rejected the Jewish State in 1948 and immediately commenced war against the Jews, their Arab citizens who left Israel and the surrounding areas under the incentives and disincentives offered prior to the offensive were not taken into their mother countries. In the '48 war and in the '67 war the Jewish state, under attack, held on and went on the offensive, adding to its state borderlands which created a more defensible boundary with the hostile nations. LAND TAKEN IN WAR IS FAIRLY WON. The Jews are under no moral obligation to give it back. Also, the give-backs bought them neither peace nor security. Instead, they were interpreted as weakness and the jihad pressed on.

The facts of history are out there for anyone to find. The persistent denial of those facts and the motives of the Islamic enemy changes nothing. Fortunately, most of the participants of this forum are wise enough to understand this. Constantly hectoring about the alleged cruelty of the Jewish state falls on deaf ears here because we're grownups and we've studied this history. The pro-Palestinian myths may work with undergraduate and high school students. Not so here.

The "Palestinians" are Islamic terrorists and murderers. They deserve their fate and I have absolutely no pity for them. These Arabs were attacking the Jews long before the Jewish state was declared and this has not let up at all since that time. The "Palestinians" can go to hell for all I care - and I'm sure Allah, Muhammad's sock puppet deity, will be revealed in all his Satanic glory when they get there.

6/16/2008 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger McDaddyo said...

``LAND TAKEN IN WAR IS FAIRLY WON. The Jews are under no moral obligation to give it back.''

Thanks Fred, for helping us clarify the historical fact that the land was, indeed, taken in war, and that the issue is whether Israel, which you describe as "The Jews" should give it back.

Palestinian extremists would agree with Fred wholeheartedly and cite exactly that opinion in justifying their intent to "liberate" Israel. They also use Fred's formulation that describes Israel as "The Jews."

6/16/2008 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

mcdaddyo,

You sure are a thick one. Because if you were familiar with Islamic scriptures and the Sira you would know that Muhammad's sock puppet deity, "Allah," commanded that the Jews be killed.

Let me repeat for the thick one: the land which the Jews took during the 1948 War and the 1967 War was land FAIRLY TAKEN IN WAR. The original boundaries of the Jewish state in 1948 left many narrow corridors which could be easily cut off from the rest of Israel, which itself was a tiny state. A very tiny state such a horrible threat to the Arabs! And how about Hajj Amin al Husseini (know who he is, duh?)and his campaign before and during WWII to wipe out the Jewish settlements. And his incessant lobbying with Hitler to get the Afrika Corps hence past the Nile into Husseini's neighborhood to wipe out the Jews. Or how about al Husseini's lobbying Hitler to make sure the SS interdicted any ships loaded with Jews leaving Europe.

From the get-go the Arabs wanted the Jews exterminated like rats and vermin.

Now, get back to the swill and slop bucket you eat from to get your versions of this conflict. Make sure you send your financial contributions to Hamas and Hizb'allah, on behalf of your pet victims the Paleosimians, so they can buy more rockets to lob at the Jews.

I'll bet you make a homage up to Olympia, WA to the shrine of St. Pancake, Rachel Corrie.

6/16/2008 06:00:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Powered by Blogger