LIVE STREAM at 9:00 am: Eyal Press on Israel’s Holy Warriors

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Bernard Schwartz Fellow Eyal Press has published an in depth look at the explosive issue of settler religious nationalism in Israel’s army in the current issue of the New York Review of Books. “The refuseniks making noise today come from Israel’s religious right, and they want to preserve the occupation, not end it,” he writes.
Press continues, writing that the make-up of today’s IDF, with “30 percent of officers openly orthodox but an estimated 50 percent of soldiers in officer training colleges…now religious,” mirrors how Israel itself has changed over the last 63 years.
Wednesday morning from 9:00 am to 10:30 am, the New America Foundation/ Middle East Task Force will host a conversation with Press and Yoram Peri, who directs the Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland. Task Force Director Daniel Levy will moderate.
Please tune in live to The Washington Note for what promises to be an enlightening discussion on the right-ward shift in Israel, the growing strength of the religious settler movement, how it is being reflected in Israel’s security establishment — and what it means for the prospects of regional peace.
– Jonathan Guyer

Comments

70 comments on “LIVE STREAM at 9:00 am: Eyal Press on Israel’s Holy Warriors

  1. Jerry says:

    MIKEY WEINSTEIN, JESUS-BASHER
    What kind of wine has Mikey Weinstein been drinking?
    As an anti-Christian Jewish supremacist and as the president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, he’s doing all he can to create an anti-Jewish backlash and help bring about the predicted endtime Holocaust of Jews that’ll be worse than Hitler’s.
    Neither Falwell, Hagee nor any other Christian initiated this prediction. But Weinstein’s ancient Hebrew prophets did.
    In the 13th and 14th chapters of his Old Testament book, Zechariah predicted that after Israel’s rebirth ALL nations will eventually be against Israel and that TWO-THIRDS of all Jews will be killed!
    Malachi revealed the reasons: “Judah hath dealt treacherously” and “the Lord will cut off the man that doeth this.”
    Haven’t evangelicals generally been the best friends of Israel and persons perceived to be Jewish? Then please explain the hate-filled back-stabbing by David Letterman (and Sandra Bernhard, Kathy Griffin, Bill Maher etc.) against followers of Jesus such as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann.
    Weinstein wouldn’t dare assert that citizens on government property don’t have freedom of speech or press freedom or freedom to assemble or to petition the government.
    But God-hater Weinstein maliciously wants to eliminate from government property the “free exercise” of religion – especially by evangelicals – a freedom found in the same First Amendment. Significantly, this freedom was purposely listed FIRST by America’s founders!
    And Weinstein wouldn’t try to foist “separation of church and state” on strongly-Jewish Israel, but he does try to foist this non-Constitution-mentioned phrase on strongly-Christian America.
    In light of Weinstein’s Jewish protectionism and violently anti-Christian obsession, Christians in these endtimes should be reminded of Jesus’ warning in Mark 13:9 (see also Luke 21:12) that “in the synagogues ye shall be beaten.”
    Maybe it’s time for some modern Paul Reveres to saddle up and shout “The Yiddish are Coming!”
    PS – Some, like Weinstein, are so treacherously anti-Christian they will even join hands at times with enemies, including Muslims, in order to silence evangelicals. It was Weinstein, BTW, who put pressure on the Pentagon to dis-invite Franklin Graham from speaking there on the National Day of Prayer!
    PPS – Weinstein is an echo of the anti-Christian, anti-American Hollywood which for a century has dangled every known vice before young people. We seriously wonder how soon the lethal worldwide “flood of filth” (global harming!) that Hollywood has created will engulf and destroy itself and help to bring to power the endtime Antichrist (a.k.a. the Man of Sin and the Wicked One)!

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  2. Jerry says:

    Its a matter of U.S. national interest:
    “It would allow our partners in the region to focus on building their states and institutions.” (James L. Jones)
    Israel is of secondary importance to the U.S. in the region, so it little matters what the makeup of Israel’s military is.
    This is not to say that Israel should be forsaken, rather to say, a Palestinian State is coming regardless of what Israel thinks as Israel cannot survive without U.S. support.
    Israel is of no national interest to the U.S. It gets the empathy vote, not the national security vote.
    Train Palestinian military and police forces in Jordan and help establish an interim government representing all Palestinian groups. Once this is done, show Israel the boundaries of the Palestinian State, then bring the Palestinian institutions on board and resettle all displaced persons.
    Its just one small piece of the puzzle; that’s all.

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  3. jdledell says:

    Nadine – Show me links to the details of Olmert’s offer. Can you describe it’s details?

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  4. nadine says:

    “The problem is none of these “peace plans” gets written down and codified so that both sides can spin to their hearts content. Camp David, Taba, and Olmert’s plans are all just figments of imagination.”
    jd, it’s not true that nothing gets written down in the offers — unless you chose to take Arafat as your sole credible source (with Agha and Malley his best apologists) and consider Dennis Ross, Aaron Miller, Bill Clinton and all the Israelis as liars, a most peculiar position. They did have to adjust to Arafat’s habit of pocketing maps as concessions – “okay, you already gave that, now I demand more” – but that was basically a symptom of Arafat’s bottom line unwillingness to ever sign a deal, any deal. So if Olmert’s offer was a “fiction”, let’s look at Abu Mazen’s? Oh, that’s right, there has never been a Palestinian counter-offer. That’s because they don’t want a deal.
    Um, don’t you think that Tzipi Livni’s appraisals of Ehud Olmert might just have a bit of political motives?
    “Also please knock off the BS that arab nations need the Palestinian conflict to keep their streets quiet. If that was the case why did Egypt and Jordan take the huge risks of signing peace with Israel. ”
    At that moment, Egypt needed something else more, a dramatic gesture and they couldn’t afford a war. The $2 billion in American aid per year came in handy too. Sadat got killed (a disencentive to further peace-making) and Egypt has kept up the incitement as much as ever. Jordan is a special case as the Hasemites come from a slightly different place; King Hussein signed a peace when he could risk it; it brought him American favor after he had lost it for siding with Saddam in the First Gulf War.
    So each had their reasons. But saying Arab regimes don’t use the conflict is outlandish, indeed. It doesn’t keep their street quiet, the contrary, it keeps their street agitated, but not at them! that’s the point.
    The “world” is not tired of the conflict. The “Left” is just making alliance with the radical Islamists and hoping to throw Israel to the wolves. More and more the Left is moving into the Arab conspiracy-minded view of the wold; there indeed is the real danger.
    I don’t think the Arabs are tired of the conflict either. Some hope to win it and destroy Israel; others are more worried about Iran. Mostly it’s not top priority for them right now. Nobody cares about the status of Palestinians but the Israelis, that’s the irony.

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  5. jdledell says:

    Nadine – Sometimes you make statements that are so outlandish, they defy the intellect to process them. Let’s take Olmert’s Peace proposal of 2007. What is it? Where are the borders, what is the status of Jerusalem? Who controls the borders and water and airspace etc.etc.etc.?
    The answer is you don’t know and no one besides Olmert does know (and maybe not even him). He suppossedly waved a map in front of Abbas’ nose and said sign this and there will be peace. I know what Livni said it included and it involved leasing land in the Jordan Valley for Israeli border control as well as the roads leading all the way out to Shilo and to Kiryat Arba. This means Palestine would be carved up into little sections without any sovereignty at all. She said that Israel would retain control of the water resources. Whether she was spouting political BS for the election or it was the truth, no one knows.
    The problem is none of these “peace plans” gets written down and codified so that both sides can spin to their hearts content. Camp David, Taba, and Olmert’s plans are all just figments of imagination. As I’ve said before – beware of what the large print offers and the small print takes away.
    Also please knock off the BS that arab nations need the Palestinian conflict to keep their streets quiet. If that was the case why did Egypt and Jordan take the huge risks of signing peace with Israel. Egypt was even kicked out of the Arab League for doing it. Now even Saudia Arabia has taken the step of offering peace and recognition to Israel.
    The reason the the status quo cannot last is the world is getting increasingly tired of this conflict and more of the world is blaming Israel. That may be unfair but it is reality. It will only get worse until the BDS movement takes hold in a crippling way. If that comes about emigration from Israel will become a flood, especially of the best and brightest. Did you notice the latest JMCC poll of Palestinians where now 34% (and growing)are in favor of a one state solution.
    Nadine – get your blinders off and get behind a reasonable two state solution as the only way for us to maintain a Jewish homeland. The Palestinians, Egyptians, Lebanese, Syrians and Jordanians, Hamas,and Hezballah individually and collectively do not represent an existential risk for Israel. We are simply too strong militarily. The real risk is a one state solution or apartheid, both will spell the end of Israel.

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  6. questions says:

    The way you put it makes it sound almost like the Republicans and their ties to the tea end of things. Incite the fringe and you cannot govern, can you? Very interesting.
    By the way, no response to the stuff I dumped in the Edwards thread? Greenspan’s recanting in bits and pieces, and all?!

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  7. nadine says:

    “Iran uses the conflict to keep others in the region on the defensive and to try to limit its own isolation. Ending this conflict, achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians and establishing a sovereign Palestinian state would therefore take such an evocative issue away from Iran, Hizballah, and Hamas” (Gen. Jones)
    Jerry, doesn’t that sound like a strong motive to prevent the conflict from being solved? And so the radicals do prevent it from being solved, by waging bombing campaigns to derail talks, assassinating and intimidating moderates who enter into talks, accusing groups who are slowing down on “resistance” of being cowards or Jew-lovers, etc. This has been a standing pattern in Arab politics for 80 years; the only newish factor is Iran’s entry into the game. Remember how Hamas’ bus-bombing campaign derailed Oslo in the 90s?
    questions, this also ties into your LA Times article. The trouble with being a ruling Islamist theocrat of the Salafi school is that you are tied to a lot of non-negotiable radical “jihad/resistance” theology that always leaves you open to attack from the more radical groups if you ever pause in trying to kill the infidels.

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  8. Jerry says:

    “Of course, one of the ways that Iran exerts influence in the Middle East is by exploiting the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict. Iran uses the conflict to keep others in the region on the defensive and to try to limit its own isolation. Ending this conflict, achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians and establishing a sovereign Palestinian state would therefore take such an evocative issue away from Iran, Hizballah, and Hamas. It would allow our partners in the region to focus on building their states and institutions. And peace between Israel and Syria, if it is possible, could have a transformative effect on the region.” (James L. Jones)

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  9. questions says:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fg-gaza-hamas-20100423,0,3952857.story
    An interesting read of Hamas’s dilemma as it tries to figure out how to be a revolutionary GOVERNMENT. This is either heartening or the beginning of more fighting.
    If they try to govern, there’s room for Palestinian rapprochement because governing really does require skills that revolution does not. They might see that they have something in common and in the name of governing, they might cooperate and, ummm, govern.
    A thing to watch, at any rate.
    ***
    Working on Claude Steele’s book length essay “Whistling Vivaldi” — recommend it as a nice way to see how stereotypes of all sorts interfere in interpersonal relations. When you are in a situation in which you might confirm a stereotype about your group, you tense up and have significant performance problems. Applies to athletics, school performance, testing, and I’d guess the I/P situation as well. The stereotyping assumptions we make about how the other is making them about us makes the whole thing worth thinking through as an IR issue. I would guess that a range of traumas would increase the interference level.

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  10. nadine says:

    “As entertaining as it is to read the various factions go at each other on this board, the facts on the (holy) ground are what they are. How long can they stay this way?”
    Good question, Maw. As often as the ritual line “the status quo is unsustainable” gets repeated, it’s not easy to see what will break apart the intractable status quo, and it looks more likely to be a war than a peace. The Palestinians may try a third intifada (Obama is unwittingly encouraging them to do so), but they will need some new tactic, for the Israelis have developed answers to suicide bombers and snipers and missiles. Rather nasty but effective answers, but then suicide bombers and snipers and missiles are rather nasty tactics. You don’t often hear the Palestinians admit it, but it’s true, and this kind of development is what really shapes the form of conflict.

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  11. Maw of America says:

    So, what is the endgame? Do the Palestinians have another intifada and return to suicide bombers, if not in Israel proper, in the new settlements? Does Israel simply assume control of Gaza and the West Bank? Or do they let them fend for themselves, except where the settlers are? And does that portend an Iranian response, or an Israeli attack on Iran? And where does the UN and the US come down?
    I don’t know… As entertaining as it is to read the various factions go at each other on this board, the facts on the (holy) ground are what they are. How long can they stay this way?

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  12. Carroll says:

    O.K. ATTENTION ALL. I am not soliciting but..
    Those who want to do something toward non violence and the right thing can support our college students who are at the forefront of “Making a Statement” about I/P. Berkerly students are nearing agreement on the university divesting from US companies that do business in maintaining the occupation…like selling bulldozers and etc..
    Of course this won’t stop it, it’s a small step, but students/young people have always been the real doers, mover and shakers, it seems in human right movements.
    So get behind them…please.
    Go to http://www.StandwithStudents.org.
    It is the campaign section of the Jewish Voices for Peace website that has organized this effort.
    Just sign the damn petition and hit submit.
    You can also contribute to help this group, anywhere from $5.00 up…takes 5 minutes or less…Just do it.

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  13. nadine says:

    JD, Yaacov Lozowick, who from his writings used to be a member of the Peace Camp, has some good comments on Aaron David Miller’s loss of faith in Mideast Peace Processing:
    “Remember how last August Robert Malley and Hussain Agha, the world’s two most effective apologists for the Palestinians, came out and said explicitly that peace between Israel and Palestinians was not realistic? At the time I noted that while they still weren’t exactly Zionists, they were essentially admitting the truth of what most Israelis have been saying for a decade.
    Now it’s the turn of Aaron Miller, a professional peace-processor rather high in all American administrations since the 1980s, and not famous for his warmth towards Israel. Well, he now admits not only that peace can’t be had, but also that the dogmas that motivated him, his bosses and colleagues, and the current president, were only that: dogmas. Articles of faith. And false ones, to boot.
    He never manages to come out and say: peace is impossible because the Palestinians won’t accept it in any form any rational Israelis can offer. He’s not that far gone yet. Short of that, however, he basically says what a majority of Israelis have been saying for a decade (and a minority, myself not included, said even earlier). Which of course begs the question: OK, so you’ve been wrong all along and only now admit it. What would have happened if we’d listened to you and your bosses, various presidents of the United States, only later to learn that you’d been wrong? Why should we take the current one any more seriously?
    Read the whole article. It’s a humdinger.”
    http://yaacovlozowick.blogspot.com/2010/04/another-one-bites-dust.html
    Miller article http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/04/19/the_false_religion_of_mideast_peace?page=full

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  14. nadine says:

    “I think we need to start thinking of Belgium as a model for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Belgium was once the place where the tectonic plates of European nationalisms collided. Now Flemish and Walloons live side by side, not totally comfortably, but peacefully.” (JohnH)
    John, did the Belgians manage this transformation by themselves, or were alterations to the internal structures of Germany and France also required?
    Your analogy is better than you know. Your myopic focus on Israel is indeed like looking at the history of Europe as if the Belgians alone had control of their fate, instead of being caught on the fault line between bigger powers.

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  15. nadine says:

    “Any peace proposal that reflected something close to the arab proposal (without a meaningful right of return) ie the 67 borders with land swaps, leaving Jewish Jerusalem with Israel and the arab parts to Palestine, compensation for 95% of the refugees, allowing Jewish settlers the option to stay under Palestinian jurisdiction would immediately garner enormous political pressure from the UN, US, EU, Quartet, and at least some arab countries like Egypt and Jordan for all parties to accept and agree. ”
    JD, didn’t Olmert offer this in 2007? Really, you are living in a dream world. Who backed Olmert’s proposal? Either the Arab world would ignore such a proposal — did you see anybody in the Arab world pressure Abu Mazen to reply to Olmert’s offer? Even one person? — or they would declare it was not nearly enough, Israel had to give all of that FIRST before real negotiations even started. And allowing Jewish settlers to stay in Palestine? Are you nuts? Who would support that? As Bogie Yaalon just reiterated, it is a standing non-negotiable demand of the Arabs that Palestine be delivered Jew-free, while a million Arabs remain citizens of Israel.
    The Arabs need the I/P conflict. They see it as a pillar of their regimes’ stability. Under the threat of Iran, they might be willing to back off stirring the pot a little, but not one of them will go out on a limb to press for a settlement, especially not while the Palestinians are having a civil war and settlement is impossible.
    What Egypt and Saudi Arabia have tried to do is mediate between Hamas and Fatah, but all their efforts have come to nothing and they seem to have given up for the moment. The Arabs know this is not a good time for diplomacy.
    As for Israel’s supposed dominance, so far it’s enough to keep Israel from being destroyed, but not enough to even get Israel’s existence recognized, apart from Egypt and Jordan, and just the barest minimum there. That is not very dominant and doesn’t suggest that unilateral Israeli offers are what is lacking to make progress in the ‘matzav’.
    If Israel really were dominant, it could issue orders, not make offers. People who have to make offers are not dominant. People whose offers always get refused are especially not dominant.

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  16. nadine says:

    questions, interesting take on Palestinians in Lebanon, which you don’t often see:
    “Their spirits were soaring as they expressed the hope that could no longer be arbitrarily arrested and jailed for not having ID. It also would mean that for some of them they could now exit the Camp without fear.
    Unfortunately, the euphoria was short lived ”
    Geeze, stuck in slummy refugee camps, not allowed out without ID cards the Government won’t issue? Sounds like — what’s the word? — apartheid, and much worse than is Israel. (The Lebanese camps are far worse places than the Israeli/WB camps by every account) Also sounds like Hizbullah is courting this Sunni population to expand their base, which must be terrifying to the already intimidated Sunni and Christian Lebanese.
    Of course, since it’s Arab-on-Arab nobody gives a damn.

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  17. Pahlavan says:

    “A smaller and weaker Israel is good for Iran A strong Iran is bad for America, believe it !”
    It doesn

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  18. ... says:

    “Posted by JohnH, Apr 21 2010, 10:24PM – Link
    Well, it WAS a good thread…”
    indeed, but the ongoing vendetta with poa and questions can never end, just like peace in the mid east seems to be illusive…
    marcus – male version of nadine… interesting…lets hope he doesn’t type as much!!

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  19. jdledell says:

    Marcus – No I did not serve in either the US or Israeli military. I am not a pacifist, but unfortunately polio at age 2 has left me dependent on crutches for mobility – hardly the specimen armies are looking for. But my sister and two brothers all served in the IDF and my father fought for the US in Europe during WWII and as mentioned before my Grandfather was Irgun. I hope that is enough military service for you.
    Nadine – Israel has overwhelming military dominence. There is no one who can invade Israel successfully – not Egypt, Saudia Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria or all of them put together who could defeat Israel. Air dominance is the primary factor. However, Israel does not have overwhelming diplomatic dominance and that is the reason for it’s caution in dealing with it’s adversaries.
    As far as a peace proposal that “left Israel standing” you are making a meaningless generalization. Any peace proposal that reflected something close to the arab proposal (without a meaningful right of return) ie the 67 borders with land swaps, leaving Jewish Jerusalem with Israel and the arab parts to Palestine, compensation for 95% of the refugees, allowing Jewish settlers the option to stay under Palestinian jurisdiction would immediately garner enormous political pressure from the UN, US, EU, Quartet, and at least some arab countries like Egypt and Jordan for all parties to accept and agree.

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  20. JohnH says:

    Maybe Marcus and Nadine could explain why most Americans should care about Israel’s survival any more than the survival of, say, East Timor. Christians have long since grown accustomed to the fact that there is no Christian homeland in the Middle East. Most Jews lead secure, prosperous lives outside Israel. Even 15% of Israelis do so! The conditions that once theoretically justified Zionist nationalism have largely disappeared.
    When I think of Israel, I think mostly of a 60 year ruckus that has contributed little if anything to anyone’s well being. Of course, the New York Times would have a lot of pages to fill without Israeli ruckus coverage, but they’re downsizing anyway.
    I think we need to start thinking of Belgium as a model for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Belgium was once the place where the tectonic plates of European nationalisms collided. Now Flemish and Walloons live side by side, not totally comfortably, but peacefully.
    Let’s face it. In the overall scope of things, Israel is just not that important. It is only the constant ruckus that has brought it prominence.

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  21. SqueakyRat says:

    How long will Israel be able to go on considering itself part of “the
    West”?

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  22. nadine says:

    Returning to the whole “holy warrior” theme — it should not astonish anyone that if the secular elites of a country teach the next generation that countries are not worth fighting for and you are a chump if you do, that the next generation of the officer corps will be made up of people with more old-fashioned values, who do still believe in God and honor and country all that stuff. It’s not just happening in Israel.

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  23. nadine says:

    “- I will grant Nadine far more than .05% validity on her comments. Something on the order of 20% to 25% is more accurate. In no way shape or form do I want to minimize the Palestinian contribution to this fiasco….However, Israel is the one with the power in this equation. Their dominance is overwhelming and with that kind of power advantage comes the responsibility of leadership….As I have stated before Israel should take the lead and announce to the world a fair and just peace proposal and take it to the Palestinians, arabs and the rest of the world to sell it’s merits. ”
    That was a higher percentage than I expected from you, jd. I just cannot fathom how you think Israel has an “overwhelming dominance” as if the Palestinians were the only people they had to deal with, as if I/P existed in a vacuum instead of the Middle East.
    Sheesh, if Israel ever had overwhelming dominance, you’d have thought they could have pushed the Allon plan through or insisted the Palestinian refugees be resettled in the countries where they were, or split the WB with Jordan or any number of other arrangements that would have suited them better.
    But as it happens, they live the Middle East, so any proposal that left Israel standing would not be accepted as either fair or just. This was Ben Ami’s belated discovery at Taba.

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  24. marcus says:

    Seriously folks,israel and the jewish people have some terriblly commited enemies ,not only on this blog(see maniac above) but I`m talking about Obama and his a ilk,all those who want to carve up israel like a thanksgiving turkey,and then feed the bits to the arabs.
    US jews have to start getting alout madder alot louder You helped elect him now you have a resposibility to israel and America to stop him
    A smaller and weaker Israel is good for Iran
    A strong Iran is bad for America , believe it !

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  25. Carroll says:

    Posted by marcus, Apr 22 2010, 12:00AM – Link
    Sweetness writes ” Personally,I`m proud of what the US did do and has done for the Jews as a people,before,during and after the war ”
    How about being proud of what the jews did do and have done for the US as a nation,before , during,and after the war ????
    US jews are unique I think in the world,(in their fear of being accused of dual loyalty)they certainly proved it with their silience during WW11 perhaps it`s just plain old fear>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I am really loath to even address such a cockroach ….but hey you cockroach!….
    You are incredibly ignorant. It was a US Jew that took a letter smuggled out of Germany to the US President and press that alerted the US and Europe that something might be going on in the German labor camps.
    I know you enjoy your ignorance but really you should go to Roosevelt’s and Truman’s libraries and actually learn something about the war and the Jewish genocides. There you can see in correspondence the timeline of when and how the allies found out about it and the efforts made in relation to trying to ascertain the facts and what if anything they could do about it.
    They are numerous letters from US Jews regarding the Jewish situation in Germany in those libraries.

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  26. marcus says:

    Israel is in many ways the most successful country in the world. Is it because God loves Israel and the jews are his/her chosen people–I do not think so –but their are many millions of people around the world who do think exactly that.
    Perhaps it`s true. What do you think carroll,is it true ? now don`t hold back,tell us what you really think.

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  27. Carroll says:

    We have seen Israel’s attitude and behavior ‘explained” a dozen different ways.
    Two years it was popular to explain Israeli aggression as the ‘acting out’ of holocaust traumatized people. As victim hood paranoia, as justifiable self protection because of world discrimination, as religious fanaticism, dozens of different things to ‘explain’ it.
    So, it’s time for my true monkey story again to bring all this back to earth.
    My father had a associate when I was a youngster who had rescued an abused monkey from some circus or traveling animal show.
    The man was absolutely besotted with this cute monkey. He took him everywhere he went, every day.
    Into offices, stores, into restaurants where pets were not normally allowed but an exception was made for the monkey because everyone knew the story of his abuse and rescue and were sympathetic and entranced by the monkey. This man treated the monkey like a favored child. All the monkey had to do was point and chatter and the man would get him anything that struck his fancy. The man had taught the monkey to do things like use eating utensils and fetch and open car doors and things a human child could do. He even dressed him in children’s clothing.
    One day my father remarked that he thought the monkey was becoming dangerous. The man had brought him into his office and the monkey was wild, jumping on people and desks, creating havoc, and the man seemingly had no control over him.
    Some time later we learned the man was in the hospital. He had a habit of letting the monkey get things from the fridge at home. So one afternoon he told the monkey to go them two cokes from the fridge and bring them back to him on the porch. The monkey went and got two cokes, but when he brought them to the man the monkey didn’t want to give one to the man, he wanted to keep both bottles. The man tried to take the bottle from the monkey and the monkey attacked him with the coke bottle, bit his ear almost off, cut and scratched him and damaged one of his eyes.
    A neighbor heard the racket on the porch and got help to get the monkey off the man and contain him.
    I don’t remember if I ever heard what happened to the monkey after that but the man wasn’t able to keep him any longer.
    The monkey in this true story is Israel. And it is a story of unintended consequences. A good deed that has gone totally wrong. An example of how whether it’s monkey, people, countries…when allowed to have no limits to their behavior, no punishment for bad acts, no restrictions, no discipline …can be ‘spoiled dangerous’ to everyone… even the people who rescued and empowered it. And of course the man in the story is the US. And that’s where we and Israel and the ME all stand now and why.

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  28. JohnH says:

    I think Sweetness should also be enormously proud of what Jews have contributed to America in so many fields.
    On the other hand, America has contributed enormously to the survival of Israel, but I have to wonder what Israel has given in return, besides problems.

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  29. marcus says:

    Sweetness writes ” Personally,I`m proud of what the US did do and has done for the Jews as a people,before,during and after the war ”
    How about being proud of what the jews did do and have done for the US as a nation,before , during,and after the war ????
    US jews are unique I think in the world,(in their fear of being accused of dual loyalty)they certainly proved it with their silience during WW11 perhaps it`s just plain old fear.
    Fear of those “reformed skin-heads” who live next door ?
    Talking about fear….Jdledell; ” all my relatives did mandatory service ” what about you? are you too good for it ? too moral ?

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  30. Carroll says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican, Apr 21 2010, 7:24PM – Link >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Sweetness.
    POA’s and John’s comments about your commment are right.
    You always refer “back to” what happened to the Jews..as if it is..who’s fault?..ours?, gentiles?, America’s?, Europes?
    You have the idea that the world “let” the Jews die (on purpose) because the world didn’t like Jews. That they ‘deliberately’ turned a blind eye.
    That’s not correct as you would know if you read the actual official US government reports and letters and actions concerning the rumors of death camps in Germany.
    Try to fix this in your mind…it was the nazis who did it to the Jews, and the German’s who ignored the rumors because they had no power to stop it.
    The nazis are all long dead. They can’t hear you.
    What is being done TODAY can be stopped.

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  31. JohnH says:

    Well, it WAS a good thread…

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  32. questions says:

    Well, I’m a little surprised to see you worrying about dicklessness and dick-size accusations in the same post!
    Enjoy nurturing, feeding, and ummm, boning (?) or not your confrontational manner of posting. You sure do elicit all sorts of things.
    Please note by the way that when someone complains that he or she doesn’t understand something, it might not be the something’s fault. Funny, that.
    So just cuz you, multiple times and whoever else (I honesetly don’t remember this charge from anyone but you) have accused me of purposeful obfuscation doesn’t make it so.
    I believe Dan noted once that he finds my posts hard to read. Is that purposeful obfuscation, or something else?
    As for concrete moral stand — if I knew what this meant, that might be nice. Moral stands are generally abstract and are based on moral principles which are really abstract. Policy suggestions are concrete, but are based on abstract moral commands, moral preferences, or immoral ones I guess.
    I have all sorts of moral preferences based on abstract principles. I don’t kill. I don’t eat meat. I think a wide range of prejudices are really dumbfuck.
    I have a wide range of policy preferences, as well. I’d like to act on all my preferences, but I realize that not everyone agrees with me and I’m stuck living with a bunch of retrograde meat eaters on the same planet. And hunters. And truck drivers. And people who hurl insults because they think they’re doing something. I can’t stop it though I’d like to. And there are people who deny global warming, conspiracy theorists of all sorts, people who think Plato isn’t worth reading, people who are overly self-certain. I’d like to stop this stuff too!
    And I have some policy understanding. And that understanding informs me that policy is far more complex and far more, ummm, far-reaching than what you seem to suggest. When complex systems are altered, there is a lot of room for major fuck ups and I do indeed have a policy preference for taking care when major fuck ups might occur. I’ve already noted multiple times that I am very much a policy incrementalist.
    My moral principles tell me to stop the killing. Fine. My policy background tells me that direct action to stop killing can cause killing. It’s kind of funny in a sad way that this is the case. Think “blowback.” It’s a useful notion. When you think you’re moving one way, suddenly there’s an equal and opposite reaction to the stuff you were doing. Blowback doesn’t come only when the US invades a territory or stations troops somewhere. It’s a far broader term. Altering the geostrategic balance in the ME might have consequences you won’t like.
    Now if you think it’s immoral to point out that there are complications in policy shifts, well, tough. There are complications in policy shifts. Deal with it.
    If it’s immoral to say, whoa, when you enforce the law (see the Arizona immigration law change), sometimes you cause problems, then, again, deal. Sometimes enforcing the law is a bad idea, and Arizona is starting to think about this problem.
    Things are complicated all around and you want simplicity. Deal.

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Or you could read more carefully and realize that nothing I write “muddies the debate”….”
    Thats not only a comical statement, but it is disingenuous as well. How many commenters have accused you of purposeful obsfucation, questions? Certainly, if honest, or if you have engaged in any retrospection whatsomever, you must answer ALMOST ALL OF THEM, except those of Nadine’s ilk. Are all these people mistaken? Lacking in reading skills?? Misunderstanding you?
    Yes, I have an abrasive, insulting, and confrontive manner of posting. I realize it, nurture it, and have made it my personal “style”. I make no bones about it, and make no apologies for it, except on the few occassions I have realized I overstepped, and apologized for specific comments when guilt prompted hindsight. Its not my desire to hurt people, but it can be quite enlightening to piss them off. You never know what you may find behind the anonymity of the keyboard when you rattle a blogosphere cage or two. Note Wig-wag’s fascination with using implied penis size as an intellectual dagger. What a lady, eh? Or Marcus’s extremely revealing comments to Carroll, exposing the fact a small and filthy minded little bigot was pecking away at his keyboard while accusing Carroll of bigotry.
    I’m not anything other than the obnoxious and insulting loudmouth at TWN that has found a soapbox for his pet peeve, one that he feels may well cause future disaster to our nation of EPIC proportion.
    And in so honestly describing myself, I am not at all abashed about being honest about my opinion of you and your endless stream of spineless horsehit, convoluted thinking, over-complication, and your dickless inability to take a concrete moral stand on any issue.

    Reply

  34. questions says:

    Oh, and what’s the deal with personal activism and me?
    I don’t think I said anything about that. Go ahead and advocate a boycott — Naomi Klein is into this one. And I believe Mandela gave permission to people to boycott Israel because it helped S. Africa.
    Go ahead and chain yourself to a fence the way that the gay soldiers did earlier today or yesterday.
    Go ahead and post all you want here — you do anyway.
    Learn a little html, pay 5 bucks for a domain name and start a website. Write you MC, post all over the place in your own inimitable style.
    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any of this.
    What I hope is that in DC, cooler heads prevail because I really think that there are some serious consequences to certain kinds of destabilization and I think that those consequences could be far worse than the situation that the change was supposed to address. Systems are complex this way. Think Toyota, Microsoft Windows, problems kids have when their schools are shut down and reorganized — all sorts of situations seem to have quick and morally satisfying fixes, or quick tech fixes, but the fixes introduce a new set of problems.
    It just isn’t simple. There are weapons, peoples, borders, lives all at stake.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/lamb04202010.html
    Here’s an interesting thing about the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Lots of complications.

    Reply

  35. questions says:

    Gee, POA, how long did the US take to do all that evolving stuff? And how much damage and killing was there in the very violent process of social evolution? And where are we at this moment? How much backlash has there been? Yes there are improvements over time. And the improvements are likely to “stick” when they occur without outside force.
    As for your final question to questions about my use of obfuscation, straw, and spineless equivocation to muddy the debate — well, you seem to have answered your own question. I do all this to muddy the debate! And I want to muddy the debate because…well you’ve answered that yourself plenty of times. The great state of Israel pays me lots o’ new Israeli shekels just to post here! Woohoo.
    Or you could read more carefully and realize that nothing I write “muddies the debate”; rather, what I write engages in debate. You don’t debate. You assert. You mock. You condemn. You insult. Then you condemn some more. That’s not a debate.
    A debate has different view points, defenses of those views, disagreements amongst the participants, and the hope is that out of all that debating something like truth will emerge. You’re incapable of debate, it seems, because you already have the truth. So you sit on your high moral throne and attack everyone here who disagrees with your party line. You fantasize about eliminating the posters whose views you dislike. You are self-righteous, self-certain, and utterly unable therefore to “debate.”
    So please don’t accuse me of muddying the debate as you are not at all a participant in it. For you, there is no debate to muddy.
    By the way, re Palin, please remember that it was Bill Kristol’s crush on her that started her national career. Of course there are few who love her. I don’t see why, but she’s not going anywhere anyway. The woman was created to make money. She loves money. She’s made something like 12 million bucks since her time as half-term gov ended. Cashing in all the way. Politics doesn’t pay anywhere near enough and she can’t speak a coherent sentence or think a coherent idea on her own. She’s through before she started. So don’t worry that some folks of one or another religion are looking to cash in on her numbers as well. Best to start with Murdoch and Fox and Discovery TV. And, of course, Bill Kristol himself. Who is not over his crush yet. Amazing fact, that.

    Reply

  36. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “As far as “who gave Israel the right, etc., etc.,”…who gave the US the right to endanger the entire world for the last 40-50 years
    with thousands of nuclear warheads on hair trigger alert on planes, subs, and in the ground”
    Actually, considering MAD, I would say our arsenal SAVED the world from nuclear disaster. As did Russia’s, probably. But these crazy racist fanatics steering the ship in Israel, and their arsenal, may well do the opposite.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    American policies in regards to the human rights of blacks and Native Americans EVOLVED towards more compassionate and democratic treatment. Israel’s treatment of Palestinians IS NOT EVOLVING CONSTRUCTIVELY, it is in fact getting worse. When will this spineless equivicating coward “questions” actually take a stand? After Israel fries a thousand more women and children in white phoshporous? Ten thousand more evictions? Mass deportations out of the West Bank? War with Iran??? The jackass’s whole argument is “give it time to work”, when each passing day demonstrates that it is “working” less and less.
    Yeah, just sit on it. Piss billions more into unfounded optimism and foolish complacency. Send these murderous racist sacks of shit more white phosphorous and more arms and technology. Maybe this time they won’t use it to commit war crimes or sell to the highest bidder. Stand idly by while they steal more Palestinian land. Maybe they’ll stop some day, eh?
    What a crock of shit. Such moral cowardice and intellectual apathy is pathetic.
    And screw “questions” for his implication that personal activism from the individual cannot bear fruit, no matter how small or large. We ALL need to speak out. Encourage those around us to dig beyond the status quo narrative.
    Thats what scares these people; The truth. We ALL need to look for it, to dig deep. To not accept the marketed version, and to widen our sources of information. AND TO SPEAK OUT.
    It is the narrative that has allowed Israel to become what it is without dissent from American citizens. And it is the narrative that will put the brakes on our support of what Israel has become. Why do you think they are working to silence APN a B’Tselem??? Because these two entities threaten the narrative, thats why. Why do you think these assholes like Birnbaum use the accusation of “anti-semite” against Steve and his comment contibuters?? Because they threaten the narrative, thats why.
    And why does Questions use obsfucation, straw, and spineless equivication to muddy the debate??? Well….

    Reply

  38. Sweetness says:

    Sam writes: “hey sweetness the difference is that the second
    world war is in the past and nothing can be done about it now
    and the poor helpless european jews were victims.”
    I agree with you, Sam, and the present is my focus. However,
    the world doesn’t operate in an ahistorical vacuum.
    POA writes: “Sweetness, your question shows a lack of gratitude
    and a selfishness that is truly pathetic. How long are you people
    going to cling to a perpetual state of victimhood in order to
    justify your own moral decay?”
    First of all, my father fought in WWII for the US, as yours no
    doubt did. So your point is silly and ignorant. My cousin’s son is
    going to West Point, and my niece is joining the Navy–as we
    speak.
    Second, the US didn’t enter the war to save the Jews, nor was
    that the focus of the war effort. And frankly, they didn’t save all
    that many, all things considered. But PERSONALLY, I’m proud of
    what the US did do and has done for the Jews as a people,
    before, during, and after the war.
    Third, I don’t think it SHOULD or COULD have been the focus of
    the war effort. There were a lot of other things happening.
    So I’m not resentful, ungrateful, or selfish…or any of the other
    nonsense you like to throw around.
    I was answering Sam’s question: “if the jews were the
    palestinians would the cries of foul be heard round the world?”
    When the Jews WERE in that position, the world didn’t cry foul.
    That’s one reason we’re in the position we’re in and the Jewish
    community is in the position it’s in. And ONE reason Israel is as
    it’s become.
    As far as “who gave Israel the right, etc., etc.,”…who gave the US
    the right to endanger the entire world for the last 40-50 years
    with thousands of nuclear warheads on hair trigger alert on
    planes, subs, and in the ground.
    Who gave us the right? The answer is, no one did. We’re big;
    we’re bad; we were filled with this ideology that communism was
    the devil incarnate which justified all our actions; and we took it.
    And we conducted all kinds of proxy wars any one of which
    could have led to larger wars. And now we have all these
    countries who want to be as bad as us.
    PS–Whole lot more of YOUR people are for Sarah than are my
    people.

    Reply

  39. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Good lord. Read through this absolute crap. I’m telling you, its as if these people WANT Americans to cast Israel to the wind….
    http://jewsforsarah.com/

    Reply

  40. PissedOffAmerican says:

    04-21-2010 11:43 AM
    JewsForSarah.com: Palin is the new American-Zionist darling
    As US President Obama and Israeli PM Netanyahu continue to bandy demands back and forth with no result over the stalled peace process, some Jews in America are looking for a better politician to stand behind, Talking Points Memo reports.
    That politician is former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
    http://palestinenote.com/cs/blogs/news/archive/2010/04/21/jewsforsarah-com-palin-is-the-new-american-zionist-darling.aspx
    Actually, this is quite hilarious. Are the American zionists becoming so desperate that they have to seek out politicians that are ignorant to the degree that they are willing to support continue to support Israel’s crimes and attrocities?????? Palin is perfect for the role. She’s like an empty tape recorder. Tell her anything, and if she thinks it will help her politically, she’ll write it on her palm, and recite it by rote.
    I see a problem, though. She can’t see Israel from her back yard, so how the hell is she supposed to know where it is?

    Reply

  41. samuelburke says:

    hey sweetness the difference is that the second world war is in the past and nothing can be done about it now and the poor helpless european jews were victims.
    whereas the present israel palestine crime is happening in real time…now, today and everyday.
    tikun olam and start in israel.

    Reply

  42. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “When the Jews WERE the Palestinians–actually in a worse position–were the cries of foul heard round the world?”
    How many American soldiers died defeating Nazi Germany?
    Your question is despicable, Sweetness.
    Personally, I want it all back. How long are we going to piss it away, lives and money, supporting actions and policies that are becoming on a par with what Hitler did?
    And now we are going to have EVEN MORE american soldiers die when these racist fanatics in Israel start a war with Iran?
    ( In actuality, a war with Iran will endanger FAR MORE than just our soldiers. The potential for escalation is very real, and could involve both China AND Russia, which ENDANGERS ME AND MINE. Who the fuck gave Israel the right, the sanction, to endanger our nation and its people???)
    Sweetness, your question shows a lack of gratitude and a selfishness that is truly pathetic. How long are you people going to cling to a perpetual state of victimhood in order to justify your own moral decay?

    Reply

  43. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I think, JohnH, that it’s harder to be certain of your view than you realize”
    I swear, I had no idea that Rubbermaid manufactured backbones. Someone oughta throw away the mold.

    Reply

  44. Sweetness says:

    Hey Sam…I was just answering YOUR question.
    Retribution is hardly my goal, not that you know me.
    Actually, perusing the list above, I see a few good friends of mine,
    including the rabbi who married me.

    Reply

  45. samuelburke says:

    When the Jews WERE the Palestinians–actually in a worse
    position–were the cries of foul heard round the world?
    sweetness, if retribution is your goal then go pick on a stronger nation. and stop pretending like you want to heal to world with tikun olam.
    the zionist israelies are cowards beating up baby seals.

    Reply

  46. samuelburke says:

    Rabbinic Letter to Goldstone:

    Reply

  47. Sweetness says:

    Samuelburke asks: “if the jews were the palestinians would the
    cries of foul be heard round the world?”
    When the Jews WERE the Palestinians–actually in a worse
    position–were the cries of foul heard round the world?

    Reply

  48. samuelburke says:

    Steve, Thank you for making this presentation available on your blog, it was informative in some odd kind of way…while rome burns (the palestinians suffer the indignities and wrath of the zionist, the zionist discuss how proper it is to be doing what they are doing and what powers and interest within israel need to be appeased to stop the crimes being commited by the zionist against the palestinians.
    what i dislike most about israels zionism is the immoral attitude they have toward the palestinians/
    if the jews were the palestinians would the cries of foul be heard round the world?
    thanks again for allowing access to this presentation.

    Reply

  49. JohnH says:

    As jdledell said, it would be nice if Israel, which has overwhelming power in its relationship with the Palestinian side, would take the lead.
    But if you read Avi Shlaim, you get the impression that the root of the problem is that the Israeli cabinet is a back stabbing bunch, constantly seeking political advantage, full of recrimination and constantly alert to the slightest opportunity to gain advantage by trashing anyone who has the audacity to make the slightest positive suggestion. (I can’t say that the US Congress is behaving that much differently these days, but at least there are only two parties to contend with.)
    Of course, every proposal has its disadvantages, and the vultures are always ready to swoop down and strike at almost anything. This is why it’s almost impossible for the government to make the slightest peace offering, and why sticks rain down with no carrots. The Palestinian side fully understands this and realizes it is pointless to talk, any “peace offer” almost certainly consisting of nothing more than Indian giving.
    That’s why Carter had to get the sides together in the isolation of Camp David and knock their heads together until they finally cried ‘uncle’ and agreed to a deal. Once the whole deal was exposed and blessed by the international community, it became a lot harder to kill the individual components one by one because the huge benefits were clear for all to see.
    After Netanyahu’s latest visit, I read that Obama spent some of his time with Netanyahu laying out the likely consequences of his actions and the dead end they were heading into. I found this encouraging. It’s what I used to do with my son when he started misbehaving, and he quickly saw that it was best not to go there.
    Unfortunately, there’s enormous pent up denial resulting from years of kicking the can down the road, postponing the day of reckoning with reality that any third party must deal with when talking to the Israeli leadership. Though most of the leadership must harbor doubts about the current path, the trick is to get them to finally confide them to a trusted third party, something they will never do in the presence of a political rival.
    Then maybe the time will finally come for the sides to go off into isolation and get their heads knocked together again.

    Reply

  50. questions says:

    Sweetness, if you have a title or link, I’d be very interested. I know people whose views have mellowed with age, with shock, with immersion. But for every person I know who’s mellowed, I feel like I know many more who have a death grip on a set of views and simply take in no information that alters anything. No data, no facts, no changes. Every fact to the contrary seems to strengthen the views.
    So, perhaps for every ex-skinhead, there are plenty of self-affirming skin-heads and new recruits.
    Looking at the Republic, Cephalus, the old guy, can’t change. His son Polemarchus sort of tries, but still doesn’t quite. Glaucon and Adiemantus do better still, but need a lot of concrete images to guide them along. And Thrasymachus? He’s the biggest threat and the least changed of all.
    I feel like I know a bunch of Cephali, a rare G or A, and a number of Thrasymachi. And so I tend to put a lot of stock in generational change, and the current mitigation of some of the dumber and nastier things we humans do.
    If the tide shifts and the response isn’t as bad as I feel it could be, I’ll be relieved to be wrong. If the tide shifts and the shifting is done oh so carefully and my caution has been rightly placed and has been rightly used, we will make some slow headway in institution building, border setting, resource division, social cooperation, economy building and whatever else is necessary. And if all of this is done in ways that keep social organization organized enough to stop the backlash before it happens, I will be a happy camper indeed.
    It’s not that I want no action for no action’s sake. It’s that I know what happens under moments of great social upheaval. It ain’t pretty. All the small groups that make up societies need bridges between where they are and where things are going. Basic family and local group structures, trust from each lower level to the next one up — this is really important to keep things going.
    (Watch out for suggesting that nadine has such a large percentage of things right. I foresee terrible invective!)

    Reply

  51. Paul Norheim says:

    What Tony C. said.

    Reply

  52. Tony C. says:

    jdledell

    Reply

  53. The Pessimist says:

    The American administrations of the past 60-plus years have never been arbitrators, they have always been enforcers.
    The Zionists of today are not innocent victims, they are conquering invaders.
    Changing the narrative to reflect the realities of history would be a radical departure from the status quo. Let’s just start with that first simple step, being honest.
    Who will be the first to dismiss me as na

    Reply

  54. jdledell says:

    Questions – I will grant Nadine far more than .05% validity on her comments. Something on the order of 20% to 25% is more accurate. In no way shape or form do I want to minimize the Palestinian contribution to this fiasco. They do so many stupid and counter-productive things it makes my head spin.
    However, Israel is the one with the power in this equation. Their dominance is overwhelming and with that kind of power advantage comes the responsibility of leadership. As long as I have known Israeli politics, it’s always been a reactive one. From 1967 to 1987, I witnessed many a Palestinian demonstration and plea for statehood. There was no violence, but Israel ignored and mocked these efforts. It was Israel reacting to the first infitada that got some peace efforts moving. Ever since, concessions are like pulling teeth and only when there is no alternative.
    As I have stated before Israel should take the lead and announce to the world a fair and just peace proposal and take it to the Palestinians, arabs and the rest of the world to sell it’s merits. The sooner they release themselves from the burdens of occupation, the sooner they can get back to the true foundations of our faith.
    It is truly sad for me to see how the occupation and all of it’s angst is subverting our morality. I don’t really care if other people and countries in the world are worse(which is true). Israel and its’ Jews are my family. When my own children were growing up, they were not allowed to get away with bad behavior on the basis of Johnny accross the street did it and was even worse. I take the same attitude toward Israel. I would not excuse my own children for bullying behavior nor will I excuse Israel.

    Reply

  55. JohnH says:

    “I think Obama more than anything else had hoped to create a moment of impeccable timing…”
    If you listen to Mitchell, I think he sees his role as being there to seize the moment when the sides finally come to their senses. This is very different from the Bush administration, which just left them to their own devices until Condi’s lame efforts of 2007.
    I think Americans can help by convincing Israelis that their position is morally bankrupt. They have lost the moral high ground. Now is the time for them to salvage the best deal they can before American public opinion crumbles even further.

    Reply

  56. Sweetness says:

    Questions writes: “There’s a slog, we need patience.”
    …and actual action.
    I like the news I’ve heard about a US final status plan with actual
    borders and perhaps an international peacekeeping force with
    teeth. I can hear the objections already, but I think we need to rise
    above what happened before and achieve a new reality all around.

    Reply

  57. Sweetness says:

    JohnH writes: “I largely agree. However, that won’t happen as
    long as the US continues showering one side with military
    goodies and protects it from the just outrage of the international
    community. US complicity simply allows one side to get away
    with murder, literally.”
    If you read MJ Rosenberg today, his Media Matters column, not
    his tpm stuff, you’ll see that this is beginning to happen, I think,
    with Obama and those ads on Jerusalem by Wiesel and others.
    One reason I still like Obama a lot and can’t understand puerile
    calls to “write in” a “candidate,” withhold money and other such
    suggestions. He came to play.
    Questions writes: “I have no idea what gets people out of this
    kind of thinking.” Worth reading about ex-skinheads and what
    turned them around.

    Reply

  58. questions says:

    I think, JohnH, that it’s harder to be certain of your view than you realize.
    What US showers do is keep the situation as is in one particular dimension. Both sides have already taken into account the US position and so, in economic terms (after a fashion), the price reflects the information available.
    If we change the scheme, the prices have to be reset. The resetting process is volatile, uncertain, destabilizing. The US economy is in the midst of precisely this pattern and it’s led to huge unemployment, some perhaps significant political violence and suggestions that more might be on the way, and disruption in a wide range of normal interactions. And we’re not in a major internal military dispute.
    Take that same level of upheaval and apply it to military issues and you maybe begin to see what worries me about altering the “price” structure in the ME. There are guns in them thar hills.
    We give excuses to all sides to restart the killing machine. And if you think the Palestinians are suffering horribly now, wait til a real war machine gets going. The US is something of a force for restraint, I think, on all sides. Escalation is really limited. Doesn’t mean it’s a beautiful situation. Doesn’t mean I want it just like this for forever and a day regardless of what POA indicates.
    Right now there’s a system. When you make changes in systems, you run a real risk of fucking up other parts of the system without meaning to.
    It all must be done with care, with regard to stability, with a realization that much has to move in parallel with the best of timing.
    Many individuals with many conflicting goals must want to work together, or must be served despite the conflicts.
    It’s tough to admit complicity in such a mess, infinitely preferable to cleanse one’s hands of the bloody deeds. But there’s nothing clean about cleaning hands. There’s a slog, we need patience.

    Reply

  59. JohnH says:

    “If Israel and neighbors are to be part of a stable set up, they need to come to their solution in “organic” fashion.”
    I largely agree. However, that won’t happen as long as the US continues showering one side with military goodies and protects it from the just outrage of the international community. US complicity simply allows one side to get away with murder, literally.

    Reply

  60. questions says:

    JDLedell, you describe something akin to what I have suspected is lurking in some of my Israeli relatives. We don’t communicate often, and we avoid a range of topics when we do get in touch because the tension and worldviews are so different.
    I think that the kind of viciousness that plays through the border guards is both a kind of natural response to power plays and a cultured response designed to deal with the anxiety and discomfort that should be hand in glove with dehumanization. That is, there’s something of the guy/power thing, and something of the “I don’t feel right about this but if I get nastier I’ll cope better” all happening simultaneously.
    I think the US has a huge amount of this same kind of weird doubling of psyches in the gun rallies and tea party gatherings (I guess the two even come together sometimes.)
    There’s a feeling of loss of power or potential loss of power, a need to express hormonal rage, some occasional moral compunction that is dealt with through anger rather than through compassion because of the fear. The cognitive dissonance that has to be tolerated as people work through this is really something.
    What I worry about is that US pressure on Israel done the wrong way increases the fear and rage responses and makes the border guards even more barbaric. If the US cracked down on all the open carry rallies, if Obama just “forced” the nation to bend to his preferences, we’d get a variety of insurrections that would go further than talk on tv.
    (Just watch the lone wolf military guys refusing to deploy or whatever…. There’s some serious spots of willingness to disobey in order to bolster private fantasies of survivalism or insurrection.)
    There’s really a delicate dance to do here. Grant nadine .05% of the truth about the Palestinians. Some corruption and bad leadership, some unwillingness to negotiate in good faith, some preference for maintaining the right of return. It doesn’t take much in this direction at all to show that Israel’s position has at least a teensy bit of vulnerability. Add to this the success of the wall — no suicide bombers in a while. And what you get is just enough legitimacy in the tough talk and tough action, just enough worry about loss of power to justify in many people’s minds the security/humanity tradeoff.
    Now, think about all those guys in VA and on the mall who were worried about being “protected” — from what???? How many white guys get shot on the mall in a given year? What is the fear? Well, they are afraid of something. And there are some crimes sometimes in the US. There are some shootings. Just enough to make it seem that the guns they wear all over their bodies are protective, rational, necessary. The readiness to fight, the fear of loss of honor, the desire for someone to launch at them so they can launch back and PROVE that they survived the scariest thing, that they thrive on the battlefield — well, it’s crazy from my point of view, but it makes sense as a narrative to those whose narrative it is.
    I have no idea what gets people out of this kind of thinking. I think there are economic, generational, gendered, and cascading causal chains. Interrupting these chains is a risky business because when you do it wrong, you get a series of consequences that is all the harder to deal with. (like all those state constitutional amendments banning gay marriage.)
    My guess is that Israelis will eventually, and individually, look/see and get disgusted. There are people who do. Just as some evangelicals in the US actually see the not-so-Christian notion of me-first, fuck-youism, my guess is that some Israelis will see themselves in all the horror. But until they see themselves, they won’t stop the ugliness. And until they stop the ugliness, it won’t stop.
    And again, if nadine has even .05% of the truth, the Israelis aren’t the only ones who have to do some serious look/see. And the timing needs to be impeccable. I think Obama more than anything else had hoped to create a moment of impeccable timing when everyone would feel all at the same time like something needed to change. He has perhaps mistimed it, and perhaps planted some seeds that will help. I have no idea, but I am hopeful that there are some seeds.

    Reply

  61. questions says:

    POA,
    Countering revulsion? No such intent. Rather, countering a bad policy and its outcome.
    If Israel and neighbors are to be part of a stable set up, they need to come to their solution in “organic” fashion.
    The US took its sweet time figuring out how to set up a workable system. Had France or England forced some particular land deal on us, there would have been plenty of fighting and killing still. There were land grabs until the borders stabilized. I’m sure that if we could get away with it, we’d be grabbing more land. We certainly have military and commercial involvement all over the place, and we certainly benefit from all that subtle and overt incursion.
    Further, your endless harping on one deeply awful situation and demanding endlessly that it be fixed right this second stands in reasonable comparison to your acceptance of the result of other deeply awful situations. You accept some results and attack others. The situations are parallel. So why is your response so varied?
    So, what’s a poster to think?
    The ME is a system and it needs a systemic solution, not an isolated solution. It needs more patience than you’re capable of, it needs better and wiser rulers than either side has.
    Eventually, maybe it will get there. I can hope that somehow the US can find ways to encourage positive developments, but in the end, the people most directly involved need to work out their hierarchies. Imposed solutions don’t necessarily solve things.
    Note that the US has made illegal a lot of conduct that still goes on. We “ended” school segregation, and then people resegregated by moving to new neighborhoods. We legalized abortion — read all about the soon-to-be-required vaginal ultrasounds in Oklahoma to see how that’s going. Obama is not pushing the end of DADT for exactly the same set of reasons. The culture MUST be past where the law is, and the law MUST be a lagging indicator of justice. It’s sad, but when the law is in front of the culture, people find ways to be vengeful and do what they think is just. We keep justice and the law in separate parts of our brains, it would seem.
    But, whatever. You’ll keep on exploding the way you explode. You’ll keep on insulting, figuring that somehow you’ve done something important in the world. Nothing like hurling a few “jackass”es before breakfast. Makes your appetite healthier! And it doesn’t require any careful though, policy analysis, or reading anything harder than See Spot Run and ingaza dot com or whatever.

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  62. jdledell says:

    Before Nadine drops in with her “Israel is wonderful” diatribe, I thought I would get a word in early. As most of you know I am a dual citizen with long standing ties to Israel. From my grandfather’s Irgun days to my bar mitzvah in Haifa in 1956. I lived in Israel in the early 80′s and have visited twice a year for 5 decades.
    I have seen the changes in Israel and they are not for the better. When my grandfather arrived in Israel in 1943, escaping occupied France, the religious Jews were the majority, living out their lives in Torah studies primarily around Jerusalem. These Jews were the opposite of nationalists. Then came the great influx of secular Jews from Europe who built Israel, especially the kibbutzim.
    The arab Israeli wars built the Nahal movement by the military which were highjacked by the religious community, especially after 1967 to dot Judea and Samaria with Jewish settlements. This was the real start of the merger of religious and nationalists and this movement has grown in size and influence ever since.
    From the initial dominance of Mapai/Labor, the growth of religious nationalism gave rise to the Likud and related parties. In 1978 the Likud and nationalism was not so embedded that Begin would have been unable to execute the peace treaty with Egypt. Today, those same terms would be impossible to sell in Israel, even for Begin.
    From the days when the religious would avoid IDF duty if possible to it’s enthusiastic embrace today is a stunning change. One has to go visit some of the West Bank yeshivas to understand the vitrol these young people are indoctrinated in. Squashing Palestinians as bugs is the kind of language used.
    It is thus unsurprising that west bank military has become much, much, much more brutal in enforcing things like roadblocks. Activities like arrests, ID checks, roadblocks, harassment of travel and movement of goods and people has always been part of the occupation. However, I have watch it get more callous, demeaning and brutal as each year passed. Episodes of soldiers pissing on the shoes of Palestinians as they stood in line at a checkpoint have become more common. Gratuitous slaps with hands, feet or gun butts have increased. Humiliating Palestinians by making them sing, bark like a dog, or walk on 4 limbs like a gorilla. Most offensive is soldiers who know enough arabic who tell the wives of husnads standing in line, “lets F@#K” knowing full well it is humiliating the man who can do nothing or else be arrested or beaten for talking back.
    All of this has gotten worse over the years and I am a first hand witness. On my recent visits there is no question that there are somewhat fewer roadblocks but those that remain are just as brutal. I have numerous relatives who have all done mandatory service in the IDF and who are now reserves. They actually look forward to their annual duty time, if they can serve in the west bank. They brag about their activities. However, my gung ho nephew, a captain in the Golani, with 18 years of service wants out over the changes he has seen in the IDF as a result of the influx of religious bigots(his words).
    From my perspective, Israel is going down the wrong and very dangerous path. We are abandoning the core of our faith to worship the “Idol” of land. We should keep in mind what G-D does when we turn to idols. This is the path Israel is currently pursuing.

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  63. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Yo POA…you know that’s not what Questions means”
    Yeah???
    Seems to me thats EXACTLY what you two yahoos have been saying. If I have it wrong, perhaps you can explain the relevence or logic of invoking past American attrocities, (such as slavery), as an argument countering my revulsion towards modern day Israeli attrocities?

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  64. Sweetness says:

    JohnH writes: “Personally I think it’s suicidal for a small group of people to abandon their religious ideals and make war the purest expression of their identity. Such a struggle is simply not winnable over the longer term.
    The US can get away with militarism because of its size. Israel can get away with it as long as the US remains its protector, a tenuous and fragile position at best.
    Instead of embracing exceptionalism and militarism, it would be much better for Zionists to embrace universal values and create laws and institutions that protect the rights of all, including Palestinians in conquered lands. Strong laws and institutions are the only thing that can possibly protect small identity groups over the longer term. Banding together with other small groups instead of alienating the world increases the odds of survival.”
    I say, well put JohnH. Some of this is about majority/minority and sheer size and power status. Not the right or wrong of it–but the ability to get away with it. I agree.
    Yo POA…you know that’s not what Questions means. Take the bite or bone out of your mouth.

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  65. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Settlers attack Arab home in Jaffa
    Sunday settlers from Keryat Arba’ Yeshiva in Jaffa broke into an Arab home, physically assaulted its residents, and told her “[we] will force all Arabs out of Jaffa,” Arab48 reports via IMEMC.
    Settlers hit the home’s resident Zeinab Raheel, telling her than and Arab presence in Jaffa is only “temporary.”
    The settlers encamped in front of the home, praying, chanting racists slogans about Arabs and Palestinians, and marching with Israeli flags.
    This attack is only the most recent in a string of harassment incidences in Jaffa, IMEMC says, as settlers attempt to create a settlement outpost in the center of the largest Palestinian neighborhood in Jaffa, al-Ajamy.
    The Arab neighborhood has responded to the attack on the Raheel house Wednesday, holding a protest against vigilante settler behavior. Raheel, along with other Arab leaders in Jaffa and across the territories will meet to discuss necessary steps to curbing attacks like these.
    http://palestinenote.com/cs/blogs/news/archive/2010/04/21/settlers-attack-arab-home-in-jaffa.aspx
    We are beginning to see the apologists and hasbarists, (filthy liars), trying to separate the IDF from the racist and NAZI-LIKE behaviour of the settlers, because the blatant racism that fuels the actions of the settlers can no longer be denied. But the FACTS do not allow a separation. The IDF regularly conducts operations that are equally as egregious and racially motivated, and regularly stands idly by while observing settler’s in the act of harrassing, attacking, and hazing Palestinians and defacing and vandalizing Palestinian property. Further, the racially biased Israeli Justice System seldom prosecutes or convicts settlers who commit crimes against Palestinians, and constantly whitewashes and ignores the crimes of IDF jackboots. Observing all these dynamics can ONLY lead to the conclusiuon that racism PERMEATES Israeli government and society from the top down, and that the comparisons to Nazi Germany are becoming not only LOGICAL, but NECCESARY if we are going to stop another holocaust and shameful chapter in mankind’s history that will rival the horrendous policies of Nazi Germany.

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  66. JohnH says:

    Personally I think it’s suicidal for a small group of people to abandon their religious ideals and make war the purest expression of their identity. Such a struggle is simply not winnable over the longer term.
    The US can get away with militarism because of its size. Israel can get away with it as long as the US remains its protector, a tenuous and fragile position at best.
    Instead of embracing exceptionalism and militarism, it would be much better for Zionists to embrace universal values and create laws and institutions that protect the rights of all, including Palestinians in conquered lands. Strong laws and institutions are the only thing that can possibly protect small identity groups over the longer term. Banding together with other small groups instead of alienating the world increases the odds of survival.

    Reply

  67. PissedOffAmerican says:

    And are we to ignore scripture being engraved on the scopes of United States Army sniper rifles??? There is a movement to turn our OWN servicemen into God’s warriors as well. With these fuckin’ wackjobs like Huckabee in positions of power, we certainly can’t claim the Jews or the Muslims have a monopoly on Religiweirdity Batshitomaniazation of fighting forces. There’s powerful people in DC that are just as eager to commit mass murder in the name of God and religion as the most radical Muslim of Jew.
    But thats OK, according to Questions’ brilliant deductions, its just a cycle, and we’ve been doing it forever, so why stop now? After all, did’t we keep slaves? Kill Native Americans? Steal land from Mexico? So what right do we have to try to put an end to this kind of murderous national behaviour? Its not like we should evolve as societies or anything, or learn from our past mistakes.
    So hey, you wanna kill a Jew, shoot a Muslim, hang a black, have at it. Who am I to protest? After all, my great great grandfather did it, so why can’t you? Its just human nature, after all.
    Group wants evangelist’s Pentagon event canceled
    By DAN ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writer Dan Elliott, Associated Press Writer

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  68. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see the pro-Israel nazis are trying to get APN and B’Tselem registered as “foreign agencies”.
    Now just what Israeli organization actually influences politics, policies, and politicians to act against our own interests?? And bribes, coerces, blackmails, and indimidates our politicians into supporting the attrocities crimes, espionages, and human rights abuses of a foreign government?
    If you doubted what hypocritical lying sacks of shit the pro-isreal/zionist forces are in the United States, this should remove your reservations.

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  69. questions says:

    And Pakistan’s “holy” “warriors” as well:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/21/world/asia/21university.html?hp
    What an interesting dynamic this piece demonstrates. Interesting and familiar.

    Reply

  70. JohnH says:

    An enlightening discussion indeed! Intransigent, militarist ideology has come to dominate the body politic.
    “Since the beginning of Zionism, its leaders accentuated the movement’s commitment to universal values. Ben Gurion, for example, argued that ‘Two basic aspirations underlie all our work in this country: to be like all nations, and to be different from all nations.’ To Laborites and other mainstream Zionists, Zionism was the national movement of the Jewish people, yet at the same time, they envisioned it as a movement in the spirit of the Enlightenment, committed to universal ideals. The Revisionist monists, on the other hand, rejected the notion that the Jewish national idea could be in any way compromised by bowing to universal principles…
    Under the leadership of Menachem Begin, the Revisionist rejection of universalism evolved into an ideology of suspicion (and rejection) of the non-Jewish world: a view of history as a continual battle between the Jewish nation and the gentiles. Begin and his supporters viewed Israel as separated from the rest of the world and presented Israeli and Jewish history as the tale of a chosen people who are constantly experiencing catastrophic events of destruction and redemption. To Begin, the Jews were in a constant battle against Amalek, the tribe who came to symbolize the archetypical enemy of the Jewish people in each generation. And after the Holocaust, it was the Arabs who were the modern-day Amalekites

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