Sunday, September 18, 2011

שמע ישראל

In case you don't read Hebrew, the title above translates as something like "Listen up, Israel".It is the first line from the fundamental Jewish profession of faith, the words of Moses as written in Deuteronomy Chapter 6, Verse 4: שמע ישראל יהוה אלהינו יהוה אחד which can be translated as some version or other as "Listen, Israel: The LORD is our God. The LORD is the only God."

Speaking of Deuteronomy, it's been a while since I looked at the "Israel Rules" books of the Bible (Leviticus, Numbers, and The Deut) and I had almost forgotten how truly odd some of the contents are.Here's a good example, from Chapter 25, Verses 11 and 12 (from the King James version, just because I like the Jacobean English):
11: When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets:
12: Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her.
For those of you who don't speak Jacobean, "secrets" means the guy's package; wedding tackle, junk, manbits, y'know, his genitals. So if you're a-fightin' down at the Jug and the Little Woman tries to help out by giving the other fella's...secrets...a li'l twist, it's off to the chopping block for the soon-to-be-nicknamed-Lefty.

Hunh. Love to know the history of the actual incident that cause the patriarchs of ancient Israel to throw THAT little gem into Holy Scripture. Had to be a good story there.There's lots more stuff like that, too. The Deut is where you come across the still-kinda-skeevy notion that a widow becomes the property of her dead husband's brother, who gets in all sort of theological trouble if he has reservations about shtupping his dead brother's bride.

Plus building a wall around your roof so people don't fall off it and raising animals fallen in the road. The Deut is a real page-turner.

Why bring this up now?

Because we just went to a bar mitzvah.It was one of the better - maybe the best - I've ever attended. The service was endless for five- and eight-years-old, so there was some difficulty there, and it was mostly in Hebrew, so I had a lot of time to kill skimming the juicier parts of the Torah readings.

But I like the rabbi at our friends' temple; he's the very embodiment of the rabbinical traditions of humanity and learning, the cantor there has a rich, full voice, and - since this wasn't just any service, the most important bit - the bar mitzvah himself did a terrific job.

The trickiest part of these is where the new adult has to make a brief statement to the congregation. I've been to several where the young man (or woman) tries to be very Talmudic, or mistakes the day for a middle school speech assignment, or just mumbles through some perfunctory semi-religious boilerplate.

But last weekend's bar mitzvah had a very witty little speech that managed to talk about the week's Torah reading and incorporated it into his life - he's a broth of a boy, and hasn't been the most dutiful of sons, and he talked about how disobedient sons are discussed in the scripture versus how they were, and are, typically dealt with in history - and he did terrific work with the readings. And the kiddush afterwards was good, as always (what's the point in being Jewish if you don't lay out a good spread?) as was the unusual but entertaining party at the local archery store and indoor bow-and-arrow range.It was mostly just fun, but it got me thinking about religion in general and Judaism in particular.

And reminded me again why, of all the three big monotheistic religions I tend to have more respect for the god (and the adherents) of the Torah relative to the Bible or the Koran.Most of this is because of the three Judaism is perhaps the most reflective, the most scholarly, and the most self-critical.

This isn't to say that there are no religious scholars in Islam, or Christianity. But, frankly, I tend to judge a religion more by its average schmoe than by its leaders. Leaders can posture and prate all they want, but it's the way that the average Jew, the typical Muslim, or the rank-and-file Christian lives that determines the nature of the religion and its effects on everything around it.And I find many more Jews willing to look hard at their religion, to examine its foundations, and to apply its tenets in ways that are inconvenient and even hardships in their lives than I do the other two. Perhaps because for many centuries Judaism was so divorced from political power and the expedient, self-justifying, self-deluding nonsense that because of the demands of overlordship has permeated the others.

A Christian or a Muslim has to either explain how an Islamic or a Christian state must do things that Islam or Christ forbade them, things like taking innocent lives, punishing the weak, or ignoring the helpless.

A Jew hasn't had that impossible task until recently; his or her struggle was within, with their own conscience, and while that is the toughest thing in the world it is less corrupting to the soul than trying to justify a massive defense budget with commandments to live a poor and humble life, or using might and force to beat down the defenseless civilians of an enemy nation.The second reason is that unlike Christianity, the Jews have never pretended that their God is anything but what he was from the days of Abraham; a desert patriarch. Loving dispenser of largesse to those who revere and obey him, merciless enemy of anyone or anything who looks at his family sideways...the God of Israel is a stone killer, a real bad-ass, both to the stranger as well as to those in his own tribe who have problems with his rules.

The God of the Koran is a similar guy - which may go a long way towards explaining the recent animosity between the adherents of the two faiths in the Levant

It's the Jesus-sweetened God of Christianity that has real personality problems. He wants it both ways - turn the other cheek, but beware Divine Wrath - and that's the same problem as it always is when you want two incompatible things.

The God of the Torah is a less conflicted guy, and it shows.The thing is...this brings me back to the modern State of Israel, and the problem it both faces and represents.

Several people here have observed that I seem to have a problem with Israel, when in fact I have no real problem with Israel that it doesn't have with itself. Because it seems to me - as well as to many people, including many Israelis - that you can either be a democratic state, or a religious state, but not both. And you can have peace as a egalitarian monoreligious state (where everyone is equal in the state faith) or you have to be an elitist multireligious theocracy where one religion is more equal than all the others, but you can't have both.

Because a state is defined in large part by it's institutions, laws, and rules. And in a democracy those are defined by the people as in "We, the People"; they must, or the state is not really a democracy - mere elections don't make a genuine democracy any more than good looks make a good actor.But religion is not an opinion poll. It doesn't matter if a popular vote says that women are the civic equals of men, or that blacks are the civic equals of whites; if the Holy Writ tells the uppity Negroes or ladies their place, and that place is not in the public square...well...how do you change that? Does God want you to vote on it?

Or is he more likely to cut your damn hand off?

So it seems that a nation can be a secular democracy...or a theocracy. But not both.

The original Israel, the one founded in the Forties by the largely-European Zionists, elided the issue by making its Jewishness official rather than sectarian. An Israeli was a Hebrew-speaking secularist rather than a Talmudic scholar, and Israel was a secular nation that made special place for Jews in its borders but not in its laws.Then.

But much has changed since then, and Israel has been riven, as its ancient predecessor was, with tribal divisions largely driven by the incompatibility of religion and democracy. Seculars versus orthodox Ashkenazim versus orthodox Sephardim versus Russians versus non-orthodox religious versus Arabs (both secular and devout), all fighting for control of the state, its laws and rules, and its largesse. And it has absorbed the lands of many people who are not Jewish, and must deal with the problem that these people must either be treated equally (and thus eliding the point of a "jewish state") or not and thus eliding the point of sound government.

It's a hell of a problem.

And through all of that, Israel, like Napoleon's France, has had to deal with the physical reality of being surrounded by enemies. Her response has been, as his was, to fight, and, again like the First Empire, while she has never lost a battle she has never conclusively won the war, either.

One of the most significant results has been to discredit the old secular Arab regimes and empower the Islamists - surely not a result that any Israeli (or American) would have wanted. The great Arab and, now, Islamic, Coalition that surrounds them still remains, waiting, hostile, unblinking. Neither the Israelis nor their enemies have ever found a way to solve this political dilemma. Perhaps because there is nothing TO find.

And on the way Judaism has finally been presented with the conqueror's dilemma; can a polity that is founded on a creed rule others outside that creed - or, indeed, rule at all - without bending the tenets of that creed to that breaking point. Fortunately for Israel the God of Abraham was a pretty tough guy. But even He might blench at what is being done to maintain the country's hold on the eastern edge of the Levant.Now generally speaking I like Israel. It's a nice little country, very Western, and I like the no-nonsense toughness of the secular and non-orthodox Israelis I've met. The orthodox? Enh, not so much. But then, they feel the same way about me, the damned meshugana goy.

I've always felt that the best solution Harry Truman had was to offer the European Jews a state right here in 1945. Utah is kind of deserty and not very populous. We might have avoided a pack of troubles right there. Okay, the Mormons might have had some issues. But, still...

But right now it seems to me that we've dealt ourselves an ugly hand and lots of nice kids, like the bar mitzvah who sat grinning and eating pizza with his cronies the shabbas before last, are going to be the ones who have to make the change for the money we're putting down on that particular yarborough.

And that just makes me feel old, tired, and sad.

Because a faith is supposed to bring us closer to God and ourselves, and - as, I think, was the case for the young man whose coming of age we just celebrated - a religion can bring maturity and a deeper, more farseeing understanding.Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.

Or not.

25 comments:

Ael said...

Israel has always made a special place in its laws for jews. The law of return being the shining example.

Any jew could come to Israel and claim instant citizenship. As opposed to non-jews who actually been born there and wanted to return to their homes.

Ben Gurion just did propaganda better than the current rulers of Israel.

FDChief said...

I'm reading an entertaining little book (Ben Cramer's "How Israel Lost") that talks about that, and it lays a lot of the load on B-G because of the deal he cut with the orthodox to keep their skin in the game.

Cramer says that B-G was worried about the many orthodox already in Palestine who were vocally anti-Zionist and who, he thought, would be a real problem for the propaganda for the new state with them getting all Old School Hebrew and all. So he thought he was being real slick when he gave them a bunch of what he considered to be small-time concessions - stuff like national service exemptions for yeshiva students, control over things like social laws (marriages, divorces, education, dietary and shabbas regulations).

He was a hard-core secularist, and figured that the orthodox would be happy fiddling with what he considered this trivial stuff whilst he and his Labor pals went about building this muscular jewish (small-j) state.

He completely missed how this was going to put the orthodox in charge of huge chunks of Israeli life, and his mistake has gone a LONG way to producing the messy tensions in Israeli society and the conflicts with the Arabs we're seeing today.

So while there were definitely built-in special places for jews versus gentiles in '48, they've really metastasized since then. Add in the Ashkenazim-Sephardim and the Russian-non-Russian tensions and a lot of Israelis, including the several I met back in the Eighties (and it's gotten worse since then, I understand) feel/felt that the orthodox are as big a problem as the Arabs...

Lisa said...

Chief,

I agree that more Jewish people I know are more aware of and contemplative of moral issues and the need for service in their world than are Christians, who, if they are motivated, usually serve only their own and often in the proselytizing way.


Ael,

Israel must have laws of return for Jews -- that is part of the reason there even is an Israel. Countries like Libya, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco expropriated the properties of their Jewish citizens, and so those deracinated Jews made a new life as refugees in Israel (and other countries.)

No one ever talks about those atrocities, however; all the good liberals only have sympathy for the Palestinians. Oh that their Arabs neighbors felt the same love for their fellows. Nope, only at the cost/benefit of driving Israel into the sea.

The Palestinians were offered half of the new land of Israel at its inception by the UN, but unfortunately, they had no honest broker, and still do not.

I find it odd that all good liberals support Palestinians and feel Israel should be cut off from U.S. alliance with a vengeance. They have some notion that the animated Muslim populations will just leave us alone if we throw Israel to the wolves. That is a cowardly and I believe mistaken notion.

FDChief said...

Lisa: No question that the Pals have never missed an opportunity to miss and opportunity. OTOH, it's hard to see how they get to get slammed for being asked to be happy about being "offered" half of what was largely theirs at the time based on a cynical deal cut by a Brit trying to win WW1.

While I tend to agree that they would have been sensible to take the deal (and am sympathetic to the original Zionists, who knew that the only real "right" any nation has to exist is the right it wins with it's strong arms) the "deal" was a joke for them and still is.

As far as "who screwed who", I don't think there IS a "good guy" here. For every Tunisian Jew who got reamed their was a Deir Yassin. Both sides are bloody to the elbows. It's just that we've picked one side and determined to call them "good" and the other side "evil", and that's our problem, not theirs.

Re: the "liberals love Pals" thing, I think you forget that good liberals were all about Israel until after '67; "plucky little Israel" and bronzed sabras forging a brave new nation and all that. It was only after the beginning of the Occupied Territories that the current political re-alignment began. And that re-alignment has occurred in Israel as well as outside it; Israelis who dislike much of what Israel has become (the armed-camp, besieged, Napoleonic-style Israel) would like to be shut of the Pals, too. And, realistically, there's no way to do that without some sort of giveaway on Israel's part...

Unmentioned in my post (because it's about the U.S. and Israeli side of the fence) is the cynical and wretched parts that Jordan and Egypt have played in this. Any real solution to the "problem" of Israel (that involves Israel staying where it is) would include Jordanian absorption of the West Bank and Egyptian annexation of Gaza. But both nations would rather continue to use the poor Arab bastards in the Territories as political pawns than swallow the hard medicine that taking responsibilities for them.

Like I say; there are no "good guys" here.

But what saddens me is that I remember being a huge "fan" of Israel as 10-year-old, and being so proud of our friends in the Middle East as they fought so bravely in '67. I think as much as anything it's the erosion of Israeli morals and mores that have come with being a perforce-ruthless occupier since than that have made me mourn for the moral clarity I knew more than forty years ago.

FDChief said...

Oh, and I have no illusions that even if we cut Israel dead tomorrow that we'd be spared the calvary of the Middle East. That well is thoroughly poisoned - now not just from our unquestioning support of Israel but from Iraq, Yemen...the mess we've made there over the past decade. We've tied that fucking can firmly to our tails.

But I do believe that if we're going to EVER have any sensible policy there we need to stop kidding ourselves. Israel is NOT the fifty-first state, and to treat it with kid gloves as we have does it, and us, no favors. We need to make decisions based on the practical costs and benefits of Israeli actions, not whether the Israelis are "good guys" or whether we "like" them better than the Arabs (who are, honestly, many of them a pretty scurvy bunch).

George Washington warned us about the dangers of making foreign policy based on sentiment, and Israel should fall under that rubric as well, both for its welfare, and ours...

FDChief said...

And to emphasize both how pernicious and how widely accepted the U.S.-Israel joined-at-the-hip trope is and how it affects both countries, here's Glenn Greenwald discussing the upcoming U.N. Pal statehood vote:

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/09/18/friedman/index.html

As Greenwald notes: Obama officials recognize how vital it is to improve how the U.S. is perceived in the Muslim world and go to great lengths to achieve that goal -- including, supposedly, just fighting a war in Libya in part to accomplish that -- yet (predictably egged on by Democratic Congressional leaders) are prepared/required to throw all of that away because of the imperative of honoring the Netanyahu government's obsession with denying Palestinian statehood."

Ael said...

Lisa:

I understand that zionists feel a need to have a jewish homeland and that the palestinians got it up the backside. "A land without people for a people without a land".

Two evils do not make a right. Tunisian jews being unable to go back to Tunisia does not justify preventing a Palestinian from going to their home.

Note that Israel had internal refugee camps (where Palestinian *citizens* of Israel, living inside of Israel but displaced in the fighting were prevented from returning to their homes. Recall that this is *before* 1967 and these are citizens of Israel, just not Israeli nationals.

Hardly a shining beacon of democracy - they just had better press agents.

Lisa said...

The US need not treat Israel with "Kid gloves", just treat them as we do every other country: Sell 'em all arms and be done with it.

Palestinians and Israelis enjoyed a "healthy" relationship, inasmuch as that is possible, prior to the '67 invasion. What does any country do after repeated invasions? They appropriate land. The U.S. did and got themselves a fine nation as result.

Israelis have always contributed to the Palestinians existence (a term used intentionally, for it is the Isrealis who made that desert bloom.) They provide water, hospitals, and prior to the created "Intifadas", both worked amiably alongside the other.

The wars were never begun by the Israelis. The dismal state of the Palestinians results from their own choices, and their animation by agitators who do not have their better interests in mind, only a solid hatred of Israel.


AEL,

The plight of the Tunisian Jews is the least of it.

We all know what a sliver of land is Israel. We all know a nation's need for defense, esp. when surrounded by enemies. We would all champion Israel's capture of the Golan Height after their attack, were we on their side.

It seems now only the Evangicals are pro-Israel, as they need the Jewish people to be wiped out before their Rapture may be ushered in. Pity.

rangeragainstwar said...

to all,
why not set up reservations for the Pals , and give them tax free cigarettes and casinos and call it a square deal?
jim

rangeragainstwar said...

Chief,
ISTM that the gift of the Jews is their view of time which is their greatest achievement. This affects everything that we do in politics/religion or society.
Prior to the 1 god everything was circular and therefore primitive and the Jews changed this.
We in western society have adopted their linear view of time with all it's attendant benefits and consequences.
Possibly the fault line is that we, like the Arabs, revert to circular thinking which is not constructive.
I believe our PWOT is a circular view of reality.
jim

FDChief said...

Lisa: If it were only that easy. The "land" came with people, Arab people, that the Israelis neither needed nor wanted. We expropriated land and wiped out the inhabitants or, as jim says, shoved 'em in ghettos to starve and drink themselves to death. At the time that was acceptable behavior for a nation. Now? Not so much. You can mourn that, but it's the fact.

Hmmm...and shoving people in ghettos. Sound familiar? One of the big reasons the Israelis trying to pull back within the Green Line are doing that is for that very reason. When you've been IN the ghetto you think twice about becoming the ghettoizers.

IF we just sold them arms and left them alone that'd be one thing. But our unwillingness to play honest broker either in the UN or in the Middle East, in our unwillingness to confront the Likudniks about the settlements...it makes it very obvious that we're NOT just "selling them arms and leaving them alone". We're actively taking their side and making the Pals and their arab allies the Bed Guys.

If that was helping us in the Middle East, fine. But the present situation isn't healthy for Israel. Being held hostage to the settlers isn't healthy for Israel. Being run by the right-wing "Greater Israel" crew isn't healthy for Israel. The hell with the Pals; being jailer for a hostile population is doing some truly fucked up things to Israel, and they - and we should be pushing them - need to get rid of the Pals into a seperate nation fast or it's just going to get worse.

FDChief said...

"Israelis have always contributed to the Palestinians existence (a term used intentionally, for it is the Israelis who made that desert bloom.) They provide water, hospitals, and prior to the created "Intifadas", both worked amiably alongside the other."

Well, that's the Israeli line.

I've read other sources that talk about how the Pals get wrung out paying for those Israeli hospitals, that checkpoints and roadblocks force Pals to travel miles to get to their own homes, Israeli permits force Arab farmers to pay for water from Israel rather than drill their own wells, and that prior to the intifadas the Pals were exactly what they are today; second-class citizens in their own lands, people under occupation.

Clearly we aren't going to ever agree on this.

But I think we should be able to agree that Israel's good is NOT our good, that we need to identify when the two diverge, and that we need to act in our own best interests even when it diverges from, or even harms, Israel's.

Yes?

FDChief said...

jim: Bit hard on the arabs, no?

Their science and philosophy was influenced by Judeo-Christian notions at the time of Muhammad and was way the hell ahead of ours in the 11th Century. So far as I know they are not ignorant savages with a "circular" concept of time.

Their politics are still fucked up with religion, and IMO what they need is an Enlightenment; a RELEASE from religion. The early Zionists were - and secular/reform Jewish Israelis still are - products of that Enlightenment tradition. The religious/orthodox Israelis and the islamists?

Not so much.

I would say, rather, that our recent problems stem as much from the re-introduction (in the form of the Christian Right) of religious/magical thinking into our political process. And when that links up with the religious "Greater Israel" crowd in Israel it becomes a truly toxic mindfuck.

WASSF...

FDChief said...

"The wars were never begun by the Israelis."

Sorry, Lisa - I feel like I'm beating up on you here - but I'm going to have to call you on this one.

Let's look at the record.

1948: True, with a caveat. Look at Palestine, 1917. Jews there, also Arabs, Christians, Druze. Everybody pretty much gets along because they all hate the fucking Turks.

But starting in 1918 one thing changes; Zionists begin arriving, buying up land. Fine, as such. But by the Forties they're making it clear that they don't just want to live in "Palestine" as "Palestine the ex-Ottoman province" but they want their own state, a Jewish state, that, by definition, has no real place for anyone else.

I agree that the Arabs should have accepted the UN partition plan. But when has anyone ever gone along quietly with a ballot-stuffing scheme. As far as the Arabs were concerned, the Brits should have adhered to their mandate and kept the newcomers out. So they were the bad guys in '48, but I can understand WHY they were pissed.

Mind you, the story of '48 is a hell of a story, and the victors are still pretty heroic, IMO.

1956: Israel starts this one, along with the Brits and French. Ike has to pimpslap them and sends them to bed without their supper.

1967: Technically this one, too, is started by Israel, though we pretty much know that Nasser was planning his own attack. But let's give Israel the benefit of the bigger picture on this one. Arabs = bad guys.

1973: Bad, BAD Arabs! They started it. Yep.

1982: No way around this; Lebanon and Operation "Cast Lead" was an Israeli show from start to finish, and a total goatscrew at that. When you invade somewhere to get rid of the PLO and end up instead with Hezbollah? You fucked up big time.

The Intifadas: I can't really pick a side here. The Pals, with their gift for goofy idiocy, made the wrong decision and went with suicidal violence rather than putting together a March on Selma-style March on Tel Aviv, forcing Israel to go all Bull Connor on their ass. But the Occupation is a crime, really it is, and both sides come in for a slapping here.

So: Israel gets 1948, 1967, and 1973, while the Arabs get 1956 and 1982, and both sides split the intifadas.

Looks like Israel wins on points...but it DOESN'T look like the wars were "never" begun by the Israelis.

Ael said...

Well, as for 1948, zionist extremists were involved in active ethnic cleansing at least 6 months before the declaration of independence. The "war" was already raging before it got officially started in May.

As for 1967, it *isn't* clear that Nasser intended to attack first(or at least not attack that week). Granted, he was playing a stupid game of brinksmanship.

Furthermore, don't forget the attack on the USS Liberty because the Israeli's didn't want the Americans to know that they were shipping most of their tanks up north to have a swing at the Syrians - They didn't want a cease fire imposed until after they won.

The Israeli leadership were in an aggressive mood that month and I would not take their word that 1967 was a "defensive" war.

Like I said before, better press agents make all the difference.

FDChief said...

Ael: Note my caveat for '48 and '67. I'm trying to give Israel the benefit of the doubt, here.

For me the real bottom line is that the U.S. needs three things from the Middle East; petroleum, passage through Suez and the Red Sea, and relative placidity/prosperity to prevent the emergence of groups just like Hezbollah and AQ.

The Arabs have two of the three, and the third...well, let's just say that having a new crusader-type state there doesn't help.

Like I said, I personally LIKE Israel, both the people and the idea. But a nation is supposed to base its acts on the best interests of the majority of its people, not what it likes or doesn't. We've dealt with some truly foul scum in the past (Stalin? Pinochet?) when we needed to, and we've ignored some truly heartrending tragedies (Rwanda? Bosnia?).

The way we treat Israel, to me, makes no sense - or, rather, makes less than no sense, since we lose a great deal of influence in the Arab Middle East catering to her and get...what? Good feelings? Jaffa oranges?...in return.

rangeragainstwar said...

Chief,
I'm not banging the Arabs.
I think all religions utilize circular thinking and remain tied to the cycles of nature while the world operates on TULSA TIME.
We try to be rational and mystical at the same time. I include us in that equation.
In my hometown Quincy there's a sign on the church that says GOD CAN'T BE CAJOLLED.A nice thought but then why do they pray???!
Isn't prayer an attempt to get god to back your play?
It's a fight that logic will lose every time. Look at Texas/creationism/Perry, etc...
Maybe the Arabs are ahead on points.
jim

Lisa said...

Dear Chief,

You know I hold you in very high esteem, but this may be one of those issue upon which we will have to agree to disagree.

Would you agree to give the Native Americans back the Willamette Valley? Are casinos, tax-free ciggies and commodities like cling peaces in heavy syrup a fair trade? (Talk about projecting the collective sins of a nation onto someone else.)

The creation of Israel by that august, anti-Semitic body, the UN, came after a shocking moment in history -- the extermination of a large portion of the world's jewry. The Jewish people were given back their land. They do not seek to exterminate the Palestinians (as the US did with the Indians.)

Were it not for the agitators who always animate the marginal elements, life in Israel might be quite different today.

I mostly agree with Friedman in Israel, Adrift at Sea Alone. There is nothing good about Israel's plight, and no one seeking to make it any better. When Arafat rejected 98% of the Occupied Territories, it was clear that negotiation was not the goal.

You can't shake a clenched fist.

Out.

Ael said...

Lisa:

I suggest that you read some histories of Israel by the new Israeli historians (Benny Morris is a good place to start, even if he has gone slightly wonky in his old age). A lot of your facts are simply recycled hasbara.

There is no credible case to be made that "The Jewish people were given back their land".

Chief is correct in calling it a crusader state. I would call it the last gasp of western colonialism. The Palestinians were not responsible for the Shoah, but they have paid the price.

Doesn't seem quite right to me and I am not surprised that there were agitators mobilizing marginal elements!

Lisa said...

Ael,

I haven't much use for revisionist historians, thanks, regardless of Jewish surnames.

As for, "The last gasp of western colonialism", I'd suggest you look to your own nation's behavior in the Middle East at to moment.

rangeragainstwar said...

AEL,
Are you saying that the Bible is not credible evidence?
jim

Ael said...

Ranger:

I claim that the Bible does not make a credible land title. Especially since the people thumping it have only a tenuous legal relationship to those who wrote it.

Lisa:

To my shame, the park established on the remains of several Palestinian villages which were "depopulated" in 1948 or 1967 is known as "Canada Park". My current Prime Minister is an embarrassment concerning Israel.

If you don't like Benny Morris, read Ilan Pappé, Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev, Hillel Cohen or Baruch Kimmerling.

If you don't want to dig up old history, I suggest that you investigate the current state of Hebron and then think about its implications.

Personally, I think in a democracy that everyone subject to that country's laws should get the vote

One person, one vote.

Otherwise, it isn't much of a democracy. I note that the Palestinians who live in the annexed east Jerusalem don't have the vote, much less those who live in the rest of the West Bank.

If it quacks like Apartheid...

rangeragainstwar said...

ael,
Are you saying that aparteid being destroyed in Rhodesia/Zim and South Africa have made them more democratic?
What are Indian reservations?
jim

rangeragainstwar said...

Chief,
A brief cmt to bring us back to present reality.
I notice the bows that you are all using are made in Korea.
Remember when America dominated that industry?
BTW , your wife should lock her left elbow while drawing the bow.
Just my thot for the day.
jim

Lisa said...

Ael,


Arab women can vote and drive in Israel, and belong to the Knesset. a right not allowed by our friends the Saudis.

I don't put much truck in pieces written by self-loathing Jews for anti-Semites.

Next year in Jerusalem!