Why I No Longer Support Israel

Mar 18, 2015

By Herb Silverman

My family shed “tears of joy” on May 14, 1948, when the Jewish State of Israel was established as a safe haven for Jews. I was five at the time and didn’t quite understand its significance, but I had been taught that an integral part of Judaism was anti anti-Semitism. A number of Jewish displaced persons (DPs) lived in my neighborhood, some of whom had been in concentration camps. I also had relatives who had died in the Holocaust, and my parents warned me to never trust the Goyim (Gentiles).

When I grew up and evolved from Orthodox to secular Jew, I still felt a non-religious affinity to my Jewish “homeland.” I had no desire to make Israel my home, but I viewed it as a prophylactic against future Holocausts. I later learned that the establishment of Israel was not a day of unadulterated joy for everyone — because Jews settled in a country inhabited by other people and forced many of them to leave. In other words, Israel created Palestinian DPs. Nevertheless, I continued to support Israel, focusing mostly on the anti-Semitism of countries in the Middle East that denied Israel’s right to exist. However, I had a more nuanced view that required balancing security for Israelis with human rights for Palestinians.

I also began to think that the Right of Return had outlived its usefulness. I’m fine with Israel taking in Jews who live in danger elsewhere, but not for giving immediate citizenship to Jews like me solely because my mother happened to be Jewish. Aren’t displaced Palestinians more deserving of the right to return than I am? Most Diaspora Jews (Jews living outside of Israel) disagree with me and support the Jewish right of return, even though you can’t literally “return” to a place you’ve never been.

Much has been written about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to President Obama’s diplomatic initiatives with Iran and whether House Speaker John Boehner should have invited Netanyahu to speak to Congress without consulting the president. However, I want to focus on Netanyahu’s Zionist notion that all Jews living outside of Israel are in exile and should become Israeli citizens. In arecent piece, I described my view that patriotism involves pointing out your country’s faults and working to make it better. As a patriotic American, I resent Netanyahu telling me that I’m living in exile. I live in Charleston, South Carolina, home of the oldest synagogue in continuous use in the United States. I prefer the words of its rabbi at a dedication ceremony in 1841: “This country is our Palestine, this city our Jerusalem….”


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109 comments on “Why I No Longer Support Israel

  • I haven’t supported Israel since I saw a picture of the Palestinians behind barbed wire in my Junior Scholastic magazine. That was 1970, and I was in grade school.
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  • Why I No Longer Support Israel

    Actually studying the history of Zionist terrorists’ involvement in the Israeli government, rather than uncritically swallowing the media hype, is a common reason for people seeing Zionism for what it is!
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  • ” Aren’t displaced Palestinians more deserving of the right to return ”

    Possible. Still many just left.

    The ” why I still support Israel ” is quite simple. As a Parliamentary democracy things swing from liberal to conservative as in any democratic country and the hardliners of today ( that Jewish state bill ) will yield to the less conservative governments of tomorrow.

    Many things may be wrong with Israel and it is chic to bash Israel over the Palestinian issue and other matters, but, comparatively speaking, Israel is an oasis in a desert of insanity.

    I know where I would live if I had to live anywhere in that area and being Italian-Irish means I haven’t a dog in this race, excepting the dog of liberal democracy.
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  • Khrushchev, former USSR dictator, used to refer to Britain as “America’s aircraft carrier” and it was to be sunk on the first day of the next war. Luckily that war didn’t happen. His description wasn’t far off.

    Israel is America’s aircraft carrier in the middle east, carrying out US foreign policy in that area of the world. What with the Americans and the Jews, there’s just no more room for any more of God’s “chosen people”.
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  • Neodarwinian Mar 18, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Many things may be wrong with Israel and it is chic to bash Israel over the Palestinian issue and other matters, but, comparatively speaking, Israel is an oasis in a desert of insanity.

    Not so much if you were a Palestinian Arab or UN mediator, facing the Irgun and Stern Gangs in the 1940s or 1950s before their leaders progressed into the Israeli government!

    http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/kd.html
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  • As far as I can remember, Israel is one of the most aggressive, war-like and disrespectful countries on this poor Planet. It may have a certain degree of internal democracy, but that doesn’t stop them bombing the Palestinians as if they were worth less than dirt. It may have a certain degree of internal freedom, but that never stopped them doing nice deeds like this. It may have universities where some science is done and studied, but that doesn’t prevent it engaging in a “holy occupation” of someone else’s land. And this list could go on quite a while.

    Israel should have never been -but, of course, it’s way too late now: a solution to keep the peace with Israel there where it has been placed must be found.
    Of course, it would help if our dear State would start behaving civilized. I understand the ICC in Aja is investigating Israel’s behavior in the most recent bombings of Gaza for human right violations. Such as bombing hospitals and schools; of course, the official claim is that there were some Hamas’ weapons hidden inside those structures… so f****ing what? Bombing schools and hospitals is a heinous crime. Full stop.
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  • As the Palestinians are totally innocent of all wrongdoing here?

    When did it become fashionable to support the delusional? In Israel the delusional are controlled to an extent not seen elsewhere in the region. Other Arab countries treat the Palestinians as they were less than dirt. The Palestinians may have their state one day but what is to prevent the descent into barbarism that is so endemic in the region?
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  • This subject always descends into the Israeli’s are bad because…. and the Palestinians are bad because…. And each poster tries to trump the other with references to more and more atrocities on both sides. e.g. Lorenzo and Neodarwinian above.

    I’ve gone from being a supporter of Israel to a person who says its time. Enough already. It is as obvious as a cocked dogs hind leg that a two state solution is not only possible, it should be immediate.

    The problem is extremist on both sides. Kids in the sand pit saying, “It’s all your fault.” etc etc.

    America is also has to share a lot of the blame. The fundamentalist christians, who should be enemies of Israel given what they did to their messiah, are rabid supporters, because there are some interpretations of an obscure text written by human men, that suggests they can’t get to heaven until a full on middle east war begins that ends in the destruction of Israel. The rapture. These rabid fundamentalist American christians have had US foreign policy by the gonads for years and have prevented the US from pulling Israel’s nose and leading them to a just land and peace settlement. ENOUGH. Enough.

    And right there in the middle are the gods and books, each cited as justification for crimes against humanity. God gave us this land. Mohammed rode to heaven on a horse… Stupid, stupid people. Like misbehaving kids in a sandpit, I’d send all drooling mouth rabids to time out, talk to moderates on both sides and have a peace solution in a week.

    What really irks me is that the Israeli’s and Palenstinians are actually one tribe genetically.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/epiphenom/2009/01/shared-genetic-heritage-of-jews-and.html

    They looked at Y-chromosome haplotypes – this is the genetic material passed from father to son down the generations. What they revealed was that Arabs and Jews are essentially a single population, and that Palestinians are slap bang in the middle of the different Jewish populations

    Religion is truly the root of all evil.
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  • ” I’ve gone from being a supporter of Israel to a person who says its time. Enough already. It is as obvious as a cocked dogs hind leg that a two state solution is not only possible, it should be immediate. ”

    That obvious? Extremists are on both sides but my concern with this solution, the two state solution, is that the Palestinian state will descend into the usual Mid East madness.

    The original plan.

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

    If like Alan we wish to go into the past, here we are. Things could have been different, but hey are not.

    What we have is three states, Hamas, The Palestinian authority and Israel. That is my concern and that above all may block any two state solution.
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  • In the UN Partition plan for Palestine it contains the following paragraph.

    The resolution recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem.

    If I had the power, I would implement the International Regime for the City of Jerusalem. I would declare it an international holy site governed by a UN authority. List it on the World Heritage Register. Your both squabbling in the sand pit over it. I’m taking it away. I would remove it as a source of conflict in the development of a two state solution. The parties to the dispute will never agree on Jerusalem. Remove it from the equation. I would dedicate the city of Jerusalem solely for religious practice. It would not be a political capital of either state.
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  • I find Americans hold some odd views about Israel. Bill Mahr blamed Hamas for starting the conflict in the first place. The Jewish population makes up 6,186,100 (75%); 1,709,900 (20.7%) are Arabs; It was originally all Arab. They have been expelled, murdered and diluted by manic Jewish immigration. Reading the newspapers you would assume it was the Jews suffering genocide. The Arabs are not permitted to vote. Yet never once did this come up in reporting the recent election. The Berlin wall everyone knew about. But the 8 meter wall in Israel few people have ever heard a word. Israel has a severe apartheid scheme, but almost nobody outside Israel knows anything about it. About the only reporter who gives a balanced account that makes sense is Gwynne Dyer.
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  • I support Israel in that I support the right of the people living there to live in peace, without threat of attack. I don’t support the policies that the government of Israel (supported by a majority of the poulace it must be said)has pursued in recent decades. The fact that they have just reelected a man who declared that he will never allow a Palestinian state and who is actively trying to start a war between the US and Iran depresses me greatly.
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  • 15
    Lorenzo says:

    As the Palestinians are totally innocent of all wrongdoing here?

    No. But that doesn’t make Israel’s behavior any more excusable. Have you ever considered that two wrongs don’t make a right?

    In Israel the delusional are controlled to an extent not seen elsewhere in the region.

    Yeah right. Let’s talk about the colonists, then. Imagine to have someone taking over your living room because a god gave her right to do so. Comments?

    Other Arab countries treat the Palestinians as they were less than dirt.

    Oh yes, so Israel is not only justified but also fashionable! What was I thinking.
    Also, Israeli people don’t have a very long history of rejection and persecution, do they? They really don’t know how it feels to get locked in a ghetto and be raided, poor babies, they lack experience.

    The Palestinians may have their state one day but what is to prevent the descent into barbarism that is so endemic in the region?

    So now “barbarism”, which I suppose is referred to islamic fundamentalism, is now not a cultural phenomenon but a geographical one. Nice thinking.
    Also, that cultural phenomenon didn’t come out of thin air: it has it’s historical reasons, which have a lot to do with Western’s politics in the region.

    As for “what is to prevent it”: the recipe is basically a mixture of aknowledgment if existence, fairness and secular education -the latter, I’m given to understand, is a bit lacking in Israel as well.
    Bombing schools ain’t gonna help for sure, my dear: that’s just fuel for further hatred and that’s the last thing the Palestinians and the Israeli Jews need.
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  • Mr. Silverman, You have written a beautiful article. When I read first few sentences a very famous motto came to my mind. It is from Karl Marx and says: History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. And he was right. I have never supported Israel, its nationalism is too obvious – as You noticed: All citizens are equal, but some citizens are more equal than others. Unfortunately, nationalism is becoming stronger everywhere on this planet due to unstable economy,… and patriotic views are suddenly highly regarded. Regarded more than it should.

    Most Diaspora Jews disagree with me and support the Jewish right of return, even though
    you can’t literally “return” to a place you’ve never been.

    You are right. How can generations that are born outside of Israel call themselves Israelis? Nationality is not a genetically inherited characteristic.

    Netanyahu’s Zionist notion that all Jews living outside of Israel are
    in exile and should become Israeli citizens. In a recent piece, I
    described my view that patriotism involves pointing out your country’s
    faults and working to make it better. As a patriotic American, I
    resent Netanyahu telling me that I’m living in exile.

    Terrible, terrible. I can identified with Your way of thinking because the same nationalism is present in Croatia. I live in this stupid totalitarian country full with terror, nationalism, xenophobia, corruption, etc. And all thanks to so called diaspora croatians who have the right to vote, and 99% of this diaspora croats are children of people who were on the side of Hitler and Nazism in the WW2 and still nurture nationalism and nazism, and they are doing their best to take revenge. They are allowed to call themselves croats although they have never been in croatia, and they have the right to vote, to direct politics in country they have never been into. Madness.

    Israeli law forces secular and non-Orthodox Jews to comply with the
    religious monopoly of the Orthodox in matters of conversion, marriage,
    and other intrusions on behavior. I married Sharon in South Carolina
    with no religious test required, but Jews in Israel may only have an
    Orthodox wedding regardless of their religious beliefs.

    Horrible. Yes, nationalism and religiousness are brothers-in-arms,…they support each other, they both seek to manage population with fear. I am not surprised that You do not support or respect Israel or nationalism, who in their right mind, would.
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  • They have been expelled, murdered and diluted by manic Jewish
    immigration.

    I can relate with this statement. Immigration is stuck with unsolved situations from history. They are manic, all right. For example, croatian immigration (diaspora) rules politics in croatia. They fled after WW2 to South America, Australia, USA and Canada because they supported Hitler and Nazi regime. They have nurtured these views through generations and now they seek revenge – they have managed with their right to vote and with heaps of money to turn croatia into a totalitarian state, highly corrupted and morally failed with a help from religion. I dare to say (based on my experience) that ALL immigration are maniacs if they fled they countries because of political reasons. They have unresolved history and emotional situations and they are very dangerous.
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  • So now it’s even worse. The weapons of murder, home made weapons and letter bombs, employed by the Irgun and the Stern gang, have been replaced by sophisticated armoured vehicles, jet fighter/bombers, state of the art surveillance….not to mention nuclear weapons in the event of an emergency.

    Then was then, and history does not stop, the terrorising and dispossession of the Palestinian people continues without interruption. As Brendan Behan famously remarked; you can always tell a terrorist, he’s the fellow with the small weapon.
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  • Neodarwinian Mar 18, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    As the Palestinians are totally innocent of all wrongdoing here?

    When did it become fashionable to support the delusional?

    Right throughout the decades!

    In Israel the delusional are controlled to an extent not seen elsewhere in the region.

    Nope! – Only the Arab delusional are controlled. The Zionist delusional, are given free reign to seize “their-OT-god-given-land” from the Arab Moslem and Xtian families owning it for decades or centuries. They also (with foreign help), attack and destabilise any Arab neighbouring countries which support the dispossessed and steal their land too!

    Neodarwinian Mar 18, 2015 at 8:20 pm – 40’s or 50’s?!? – This is now.

    OK – so now the terrorist gang leaders have been elected to government by a large immigrant population, have stronger political friends blocking UN action, continue ignoring UN resolutions, and are being supplied with better modern weapons. –
    Same gangsters – better PR and weaponry!
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  • paulmcuk Mar 19, 2015 at 4:12 am

    I don’t support the policies that the government of Israel (supported by a majority of the poulace it must be said) has pursued in recent decades.

    Did you mean: “Supported by the majority of the Zionist/Jewish elite who are allowed to vote”?
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  • 22
    Stephen says:

    These articles are always a good excuse for the anti-Semites to vent. The Irgun, the Stern Gang and the other such organizations which pre-dated Israel were groups who attacked the British and often worked with the Arab population to expel the UK from the region. No one is saying that these groups were saints, but their attacks on Arabs came after the the 1 million Muslims attacked Israel that day after the country was formed. However, many of those Israeli Arab people still live in Israel, do not consider themselves Palestinians (what is a Palestinian is another discussion) and have the same rights as the Jews in Israel. They have seats in the Kenesset and are the farthest thing from living in an Apartheid state. Now, someone like you who distorts history will come up with made up facts and ideas and will never believe what I am saying in spite the fact that you can look this up on sites not promulgated by hate groups. But hopefully someone with an open mind will read it, too.
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  • 23
    Stephen says:

    “doesn’t stop them bombing the Palestinians as if they were worth less than dirt” How come Israel is the only country that is vilified for defending itself. They never fire missiles except in defense.

    An Israeli leader said it best…If tomorrow the Muslims laid down their weapons there would be peace, but if tomorrow Israel laid down their weapons, there would be no Israel.

    Of course for Lorenzo, that latter solution seems to sound best.
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  • 26
    Stephen says:

    There are multiple issues with that. First, what country would allow the UN to take over one of its most important cities? We allegedly have human rights issues with a lot of South and Central American immigrants coming to the US through the Texas border and into South Florida. This leads to lots of human misery, so should we hand over Miami and Galveston to the UN? I do not think that will happen nor would anyone suggest it. So, why is it OK to expect that of Israel? Secondly, logical solutions will not work in a religious disagreement. People who propose solutions based upon reason seem to conveniently forget that the majority (yes, majority) of people from Jordan, Egypt, Syria etc who now call themselves Palestinians do not want to co-exist with Israel, they want to “push Israel into the sea.” So every time someone like Jimmy Carter requests Israel give a little more land away, this is only a brief solution. Within a short period of time, the Palestinians are back to bombing and terrorism. Then along comes another misinformed helper who asks Israel to give away more land. Whether it is through war or appeasement, the result is the same…no more Israel.

    Some of the problems here are based upon factors such as the age of Israel and the fact that many people just do not like the Jews…whether openly, behind closed doors or even subconsciously. With regard to the age of the state, there are people who can remember when there was no Israel. So, that seems to color their opinion as to whether this is a legitimate state. So, they say that Israel should give land back to the people that owned it before…and assume that was the Arabs. In fact, Jews and Muslims lived there together before Israel was formed. And if Israel was to give the land back, it would go to Britain. Or before Britain, the Turks. So, how far back should they. I fear for most, it is just far back enough so that it gets rid of the Jews. Which leads to the other point.
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  • When I read an article like this I have to say I have more than one opinion about it. I could say what Israel? Israel the country that right now is existing in the Middle East? What’s wrong with it? A lot? Anti-semitic? Anti-Arab? Yes, yes. Israel has a lot of problems. But at the very least it is undoubtedly the beacon of freedom in ME. From women’s rights to gay rights to even Muslim rights. Israel has mosques and Arab representative while all its neighbors have zero tolerance to synagogue and read a book that they consider holy saying Jews are monkeys. I sympathize with all victims whatever their backgrounds, no buts here. I have met Palestinians and Israelis. I remember one time I met a Bosnian-American and a Jewish-American girls in Borobudur, I said to Jewish girl that I support Israel. The Bosnian girl overheard that and got pissed off. She said she’s agnostic but I remember Bosnian tragedies by Serbians and I think she might be from Muslim family who may not be devout but still. At that time I’m strongly pro-Israel and anti-Arab. Eventhough I have half-Arab cousins who treated me good and have Arab friends. But now I realize the problem is not Arab, it’s the fundamentalism of Islam. Secular Islam, no problem, just look at those hot girls gracing the cover of Indonesia men’s magazines, look at Bunga Citra Lestari and other Indonesian idols. No problem.

    For being the most (or only?) secular-led quite democratic quite modern in that region, I still strongly pro-Israel. The lesser of two evils. Jewish state vs Islamic fundamentalist.

    Side note humor: Dubai is Islam in name only, they look like an extension of the Jewish State. Which is good.
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  • 28
    Stephen says:

    Do you support America…or did your Junior Scholastic magazine omit pictures of Japanese behind barbed wire during WW2? Did your Junior Scholastic magazine feature pictures or stories of the slaughter of Native Americans? How about the atrocities of slavery? I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that this barbed wire picture in you Junior Scholastic magazine is not the only reason you do not support Israel.
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  • Herb, the title of your article implies that you no longer support Israels’ right to exist when, as I read your article, actually you do not support the current government and policies of Israel. It is one thing to be critical of Israel and another to advocate its demise. I think the distinction is crucial and needs to be made clear. I don’t support many of Israels’ actions and policies and I am especially disturbed by the outcome of this week’s election. I don’t disagree with many of your points and concerns, but I do support Israel’s continued existence and, toward that end, I support organizations that are working toward a two state solution (J Street) and in opposition to the policies of the right wing and ultra-orthodox. This week’s election results make it ever more important to voice opposition to Israels’ bad acts and policies, not because we oppose Israel’s existence but because Israel’s continued existence requires us – particularly American, liberal, secular Jews – to speak out.
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  • So if there is something bad in the past, we can’t care about what is going on in the present? Also, if we don’t agree with you about Israel, we have a secret reason for it? Are you a theist here trolling, because you seem to lack the ability to use reason?
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  • Not to be confused with EOKA B.

    These are the people that Israel support because of a similar past and use the euphemism above to separate the distant past from the past to the present. Hilarious….not!
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  • Really?

    When I see both you and Lorenzo in Palestine, working along with either Palestinian group (Hamas and the Authority ) for their homeland then I might take more notice of your verbosity. A verbosity right out of the fashionable playbook of the time.

    The truth? The Palestinians are no more ready for modern statehood than any of their neighbors while Israel is a modern state. A state you would go to and be able to say what you would, such as what you have said above. Try saying anything in opposition to the fashionable line in the Palestinian territories.

    ” So now “barbarism”, which I suppose is referred to islamic fundamentalism, is now not a cultural phenomenon but a geographical one. Nice thinking.
    Also, that cultural phenomenon didn’t come out of thin air: it has it’s historical reasons, which have a lot to do with Western’s politics in the region. ”

    Fallacy of the excluded middle. Instead of having your head in the leftist sand perhaps think religious problem next time.

    As usual, verbosity obscuring some ideological point for the above posters. Is the state of Israel without past, present and future stain? No, but having relatively sane people in the area makes for a obvious contrast.
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  • Stephen Mar 19, 2015 at 8:31 am

    An Israeli leader said it best…If tomorrow the Muslims laid down their weapons there would be peace,

    So Where do the Christian Arabs who have had their land stolen by Zionists fit into this??

    Well peace of a the sort slave races accept from exploitative master-races of colonisers! Do what de massa says and you can have peace when you keep him happy and he does not whip you!

    but if tomorrow Israel laid down their weapons, there would be no Israel.

    A bit like the Vichy French, when the WW2 German army of occupation was kicked out of France!

    Those who live by the sword, die by the sword –
    so yes those armed Zionist settlers who took land from local Arabs and had the Israeli army “keep the peace” when the disposessed (who were given no legal redress) ambushed them in attempts to force them to leave, – may well be forced off the land they have stolen using the armed force, which seems to be the only thing such fundamentalists understand! Even if the Bible does say all the land in that area belongs to Zionists!!
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  • Stephen Mar 19, 2015 at 8:49 am

    There are multiple issues with that. First, what country would allow the UN to take over one of its most important cities? We allegedly have human rights issues with a lot of South and Central American immigrants coming to the US through the Texas border and into South Florida. This leads to lots of human misery, so should we hand over Miami and Galveston to the UN?

    This is a very poor analogy! These South American immigrants, have not taken over the southern US states by armed terrorism, walled out the local Americans and denied many of them the vote!

    http://972mag.com/who-gets-to-vote-in-israels-democracy/58756/
    If we exclude Gaza, one in every 4.5 people living under Israeli rule doesn’t have the right to vote in the coming elections; that one person is (almost) always Palestinian. If Gaza is included, it’s one in three who is not represented.
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  • The thing is….land that hadn’t belonged to the Jews for nearly two thousand years, suddenly became the property of the Jews again. Pretty well every country, state and ethnicity has its roots in dispossession of other people, and moreover more recently than two thousand years. Does the right of return mean that all groups who feel that they were unfairly ousted from their patrimony, have the right to return? That would spell the end of Australia, the US, Turkey, the whole of North Africa, most of Spain, Latin America, England. But then, Israel is a different case, God gave that to the Jews.

    I have met few Jews, those I met I have usually liked. I am well aware of the tremendous contribution that Jews have made to European, Muslim and New World culture. Stephen has no right to insinuate that I am an anti-Semite.
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  • Stephen Mar 19, 2015 at 8:26 am

    and are the farthest thing from living in an Apartheid state. Now, someone like you who distorts history will come up with made up facts and ideas

    Gazzzzoingggg!!!

    These articles are always a good excuse for the anti-Semites to vent.

    Ah! The equating of anti-Zionism and anti-terrorism, with anti-semititism as a diversion from history!

    The Irgun, the Stern Gang and the other such organizations which pre-dated Israel

    . . .until they later became leading figures – such as (Prime Minister) in the Israeli parliament!

    Menachem Begin (; 16 August 1913 – 9 March 1992) was an Israeli politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before the creation of the state of Israel, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944, against the British mandatory government, which was opposed by the Jewish Agency. As head of the Irgun, he targeted the British in Palestine.[1] During his leadership Irgun targeted the Arabs in the Deir Yassin massacre.

    Begin was elected to the first Knesset, as head of Herut, the party he founded,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menachem_Begin
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  • A little taster from a list of clearly anti semitic jews. (Or maybe their self respect runs just a little bit deeper?)

    Primo Levi, writer and Auschwitz survivor:

    “Everyone has their Jews. For the Israelis they are the Palestinians.”

    Henry Siegman, Rabbi and director of the U.S./Middle East Project:

    “Israel has crossed the threshold from ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ to the only apartheid regime in the Western world.”

    Isaac Asimov, novelist:

    “I find myself in the odd position of not being a Zionist … I think it is wrong for anyone to feel that there is anything special about any one heritage of whatever kind. It is delightful to have the human heritage exist in a thousand varieties, for it makes for greater interest, but as soon as one variety is thought to be more important than another, the groundwork is laid for destroying them all.”

    Its a very long and very august list.
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  • 40
    Ted Foureagles says:

    Israel today is somewhat analogous to the US in the latter half of the 19th century — not entirely of course, but in some points. By 1868 the US had largely eliminated, corralled and subdued the native population. Pockets of resistance remained, and there was violence committed by both factions, usually with hugely asymmetric result. Our Zionism was Manifest Destiny, and it succeeded symbolically in the Massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890.

    Native American communities were concentrated on militarily maintained reservations with some degree of managed sovereignty and eventually achieved full US citizenship. But it has not always been equal citizenship. Reservations are still under the purview of the US Department of the Interior, and have much of their finances and systems of government under US control.

    An example of inequality is my own Grandfather, born in 1888 in North Carolina with the profound disadvantage of looking for all the world like a full-blood Cherokee (though he was no more full blood than I am). He was listed on county rolls as “colored”, and so couldn’t attend “decent white Christian school” His racist father wouldn’t let him attend the negro school, so the brilliant man grew up with no formal education at all.

    What does this have to do with Israel? I’d posit that Manifest Destiny and Zionism are equivalent. The Zionists imagine a Greater Israel that is solidly Jewish and democratic, embracing non-Jews with full, if not entirely equal, status. The main problem with a single state solution is that incorporating everyone in the lands occupied since 1967, calling it all Israel and giving them truly equal status, threatens the status of Israel as a “Jewish Nation” — just too many Muslims remaining to accommodate politically.

    Then we enter a new era in Israel that resembles the Jim Crow South in the US. Marginalized ethnicities technically have full rights, but institutions of government array to effectively thwart them. This could be seen in Bibi’s comments about Arab voters in the recent election in which he basically played the George Wallace role.

    Israel wears the banner of a liberal democracy and that illusion has so far been supported by the US, if almost no one else. In reality it is a kinder-gentler (except when it isn’t) sort of apartheid theocracy.

    Whether Israel or the US have a right to exist is irrelevant, because they do. Whether they have a special right to continue to expand and exploit others is a question for the international community. What I see as a major failure of society in our time is the failure of so many major and minor powers to accept the concept of international law.

    }}}}
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  • 41
    Lorenzo says:

    > while Israel is a modern state.

    Do you have any evidence to support that? And, while you're at it, don't forget to define what a modern state is. Because, if you ask me, a state engaging and endorsing a holy occupation is not modern. What is in essence a confessional state does really not qualify as modern. Nor all that sane, considering what they have been up to.

    > The truth? The Palestinians are no more ready for modern statehood than any of their neighbors

    The whole story originated, ultimately, in the frame of European colonialism, which used to stem exactly from the same line of thinking "they are not able to look after themselves". It has been applied to the Palestinians, it has been applied to the Afro-Americans. History demonstrated how wrong and inhumane such concept is: in 2015 you should really not still indulge in that sort of nonsense. Especially since millions of people are still suffering because of that past idiocy.

    > having your head in the leftist sand verbosity

    You know, these phrase are symptoms of severe atrophy of the argument. What Alan, Olgun and I have been posting is rooted in facts -either linked or very obvious since they have been in the news too recently to be forgotten. You've just been postulating that Israel is "relatively sane"… having some evidence of that might help.

    Edited by moderator to bring within Terms of Use – see Moderator Message posted earlier.

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  • What is truly a tragedy is the average gentile sonewhat lije an ostrich with their head in the sand does nit realize that Israel has a blank check from the United States in a nutshell. The treatment of the Palestinians is absolutely deplorable. Having ancesters that survived the Holocaust I am deeply and personally disgusted and disgusted of the government of Israel and that is not an anti semite vent.
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  • 44
    Lorenzo says:

    Of course for Lorenzo, that latter solution seems to sound best.

    Read what I write. What I said is -with a little more elaboration, since it seems necessary:
    a) Creating the State of Israel was a bad idea, in practicality: never in history happened that occupation -in some cases, not even immigration!- was tolerated by the residents. A bloodshed should have been predicted.
    b) Since Israel has been there for decades, even thinking of removing it is idiotic -and, before that, wildly inhumane. A two-state solution is the only viable option.
    I then added that engaging in holy occupations and aerial raids if there happen to be even the slightest reaction is probably not the way to achieve a peaceful, two-state solution.

    That said, and taking into account the colonists and the “self defense reactions” of Israel, I’d love to read your answer to Olgun’s question. If Israel is peaceful at heart, there ought to be some evidence of that: let’s look at them.
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  • Lorenzo Mar 19, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    a) Creating the State of Israel was a bad idea, in practicality: never in history happened that occupation -in some cases, not even immigration!- was tolerated by the residents. A bloodshed should have been predicted.

    I might add that half-baked ideological bad ideas from Western colonialists and imperialists, seem to proliferate!

    Creating Israel, creating the Saudi dynasty, destabilising Libya, and Syria in the so called “Arab Spring”, the Iraq wars .. . . . . . With the media cheer-leading the disasters as they unfold!
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  • 47
    Lorenzo says:

    I might add that half-baked ideological bad ideas from Western colonialists and imperialists, seem to proliferate!

    Very much so…

    It’s also interesting to see how much of this actually uses religion as a tool, and how it uses that tool.
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  • This problem, like a lot of problems around the world is the product of the edges of the bell curve. If you are out on the edge of a bell curve, with an extreme view, your not lethargic or indifferent. You are motivated and inspired by your one true god to do everything in your power to achieve your extreme belief, even if this means killing. These bell curve edges are not huge populations. Most populations fit safely and quietly in the middle of the bell curve. These people are not extremists. They’ve not motivated with meth amphetamine intensity to do much at all. The problem is the edges of the bell curve tend to run things. They have political influence far in excess of their populations. Because they are motivated they can and do, often, bring enormous political pressure on politicians to do their bidding.

    In Australia, the Australian Christian Lobby, fundamentalists christians, have prevented same sex marriage, euthanasia and abortion from even getting to the parliament even though polls put support in the 60% and 70% on all these issues.. They control parishioner voting blocks, that can and do unseat politicians in what would normally be safe seats. They can provide the swing necessary to change elections. You only need a small swing to win an election. So their power is enormous. Their numbers are small. And their views are extreme. No politician except an ethical one will go against them.

    The problem is getting the majority of the people at the centre of the bell curve to give a damn. Sadly, they’re watching the Biggest Loser, manufactured sport or unreality TV and don’t care really much, as long as they’ve got a beer and a pizza.

    The Israel / Palestinian problem is a product of the extremes of the bell curve. Crazy Israeli’s waving a man written book claiming the greater middle east from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean sea as the Jewish state because a non existent god gave it to them. These extremist settler Israeli’s can decide who gets into parliament, as they have just done. Netanyahu did a deal with the extremists for support which meant no peace. No two state solution. More killing. On the other side, you have Hamas which if it could, would wipe out Israel and all Jews. Both as evil as each other. But the vast majority of Palestinian and Israeli’s are going to work. Living a normal life and would have little problem with a two state solution.

    How do we sideline the edges of the Bell curve and get those gentle folk into the middle to sign the deal. How do you motivate a sloth to sprint.
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  • The way I see it David is that the people with real brains are not interested in politics. Scientist cannot accept the illogical way politics works and therefore stay away. Doctors of science leave the politics to politicians and wonder why the decisions that are made make no sense. Climate control would be top of the list for scientist politicians but all they can do is explain it all to politicians who don’t really understand the science. It is time for scientists to step up and make an attempt to understand politics and become active. Of course the politicians hold the purse strings that keep the scientists going so it’s a bit of a catch twenty two but it has to be like with like not expecting the normal person to do the footwork. IMHO.
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  • I wonder if Dawkins ever reads these comments and thinks, “We’re doomed, every #^%@*!ing ape one of us – doomed. Because I certainly read most of these comments and that’s all I could come up with.
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  • Scientist cannot accept the illogical way politics works and therefore stay away.

    Politics is all about compromise; loosening one’s principles, accepting other points of view and working with people one doesn’t necessarily agree with to make things possible. It requires a deal of tolerance and humility. It’s a challenging life which would be too much for a lot of us.
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  • Humility is not a word that I would use Ewan. Nearly all the politicians I’ve met have a great deal of arrogance and self importance. There is a lot of nodding on a face to face basis but that soon turns to disappointment if there is not enough gain for them. Party politics rules and there is very little room for manoeuvre for the individual. The challenging life, you describe, is of their own making of double talk and tolerance can be replaced with ability to lie and keep a straight face. I have sat in the House of Lords with a couple of lords who disappear to vote on subjects I KNOW they have no clue on but is the party line.
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  • I see there are second thoughts about employing closet Catholic, Bush-buddy, war-monger, Tony Blair, as a “Peace Envoy”!!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-31903653
    .Tony Blair could get a new role in the Middle East amid reports that he is preparing to step back from his job as a peace envoy in the region.

    The ex-prime minister has represented the Quartet – the US, EU, UN and Russia – since 2007 in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

    The Financial Times said Mr Blair hoped to “reconfigure” the role but wanted to remain involved in the peace process.

    The paper quoted US sources saying his current role was “no longer viable”.

    . . . . . and it has taken all these years to work that out???

    One possibility, it suggested, was that he might take on a more regional role focused on liaising with countries such as Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia where he is regarded as having the most influence.

    I wonder why the Palestinians, would not trust a word he says??
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  • It is a dilemma. We need the adults to be in charge, but they don’t want to be, because to get elected, you have to revert to primitive stone age tactics. You have to become tribalistic. You have to be a politician. Scientists and most quietly rational people will never get elected. They will campaign with statements like,

    “The evidence suggests we need to reduce carbon emissions. That involves putting a price signal on carbon, to make it pay for its future consequences.”

    The Politician says,

    “Voters, we have this under control. We’ll keep your petrol cheap and your airconditioners running”.

    The voters will vote for the politician, because they don’t have the intellectual rigour to make choices based on evidence.

    If the adults in the room took over the Palestinian / Israeli problem, it would take about a week to sort out. Obviously, there must be two states. The states must be fair. You can’t both have Jerusalem so we will administer that. And the extremist crazies on both sides will be sidelined and will never have any future influence.

    So our political problems, are insoluble if you use political solutions. You can only use political solutions because that’s all democracy bowls up. Sometimes, I wish the aliens who are running this simulation would step in and take our ball away. We don’t deserve the title “Civilized.”
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  • Another few facts known but never mentioned in the western press in this fuss over stopping Iraq from getting nukes:

    () Israel has nukes, but refuses inspection, or to reveal anything about them including how many they have.
    () Israel sometimes threatens its neighbours with nukes.
    () Iran got its nuclear electric generation when the west pressured them to go nuclear. Iran has abundant
    uranium. It somewhat amusing we are so panicked over their power generation when we forced it on them in the first place.
    () Israel has no compunction about making first strike preemptive attacks

    Personally I would like to make the middle east a nuclear-weapon free zone. People who believe they cannot die or kill should not be entrusted with nukes.
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  • 60
    jim.price.wa says:

    Imagine what would happen if Hamas had the same military superiority over Israel that Israel has over the Palestinians. They would exterminate the Jews in about 20 minutes. Israel is an island of secular democracy in a sea of backward, theocratic dictatorships.

    Yes, they sometimes overreact to provocations by Hamas, but Hamas carefully stage-manages their military actions to cause the maximum number of civilian casualties (by firing from residential buildings, hospitals, etc.). Their main goal is to raise funds from wealthy Arabs, who have their hands full repressing their own citizens, so each war must bring ever greater “atrocities”.
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  • 61
    jim.price.wa says:

    They were behind barbed wire because they had a habit of killing innocent Israelis. You should outgrow your grade-school attitudes and actually read the news.
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  • 63
    jim.price.wa says:

    Hamas purposely fights from civilian structures in order to maximize Palestinian casualties. They do this to cause an outcry in Arab countries, so that they can demand more “donations”.

    The latest fighting was, as usual, started by Hamas. You may recall they fired missiles into Israel FIRST. How would you react if a neighboring country was lobbing missiles into your neighborhood? What would you demand of your government?

    You are being manipulated by Hamas, the opinion you are spouting was hand-crafted for you by Islamic terrorists.

    If the roles were reversed, Hamas would have exterminated the Jews long ago. Israel has shown remarkable restraint.
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  • @Jim

    They were behind barbed wire because they had a habit of killing innocent Israelis.

    Would they be doing this if they had a just two state solution. No seriously Jim. See below where I’ve argued that both sides are as bad as each other.

    David R Allen Mar 18, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    But if Israel had acted like a civilized citizen of the world, made some compromises. Embraced and support the moderate Palestinians. Grew and support the Palestinian economy. In other words, behaved as an ethical and moral citizen of the planet, would the rockets still fly.

    There’s a saying, As you sow, so shall you reap. Look in the mirror Israel and you will find the solution to your problems.
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  • Excellent analogy, Ted. For a long time I have seen a parallel between Israel’s policy of ‘justified’ expansionism / expulsion of the native Palestinians and the white European’s “manifest destiny” to eradicate the native Americans. I wonder if one day, perhaps a hundred years from now, after Israel has succeeded in its ethnic cleansing of Palestine, that people will make movies of tragically heroic Palestinians, in the same way someone made “Dances with Wolves” and people will sigh and say “what a shame, but it had to be that way.”

    The parallel breaks down, however, insofar as the native Americans, being pre-industrial, would have had to give way in one way or another to the industrialized whites, and the tragedy is that it was done by slaughter and corruption rather than by meaningful treaties and genuine attempts at integration. The Palestinians, however, had a productive, working society, with business, agricultural, intellectual and political classes, and a two state solution would have been quite possible if the early Jewish settlers (Irgun, Hagannah, Stern Gang) had not immediately embarked on a program of destruction.
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  • Points like ‘I know Israel overreacts sometimes?’ I ask again as to what Israel does for peace. There are many more videos that show land grabbing and abuse of Palestinians on a daily if not hourly basis. These actions speak louder than any words here.
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  • Olgun: the people with real brains are not interested in politics.
    Scientist cannot accept the illogical way politics works and therefore
    stay away.

    David R Allen: We need the adults to be in charge, but they don’t want
    to be, because to get elected, you have to revert to primitive stone
    age tactics. You have to become tribalistic. You have to be a
    politician. Scientists and most quietly rational people…

    I agree with both. My view is in that, that adulthood does not imply taking responsibility for other people. What makes someone an adult, is the fact that an adult is responsible for their own actions and not for someone else. An adult is firstly an individualist and free person, and knows the boundaries of hers/his responsibilities and never takes responsibility for others and they never play social roles or identifies with them. An adult does not belong to any organisation, religious, political or similar since they resists hierarchical structure. When someone takes the position that should be held responsible for the actions of another party, then it is no longer adulthood. Adults will hardly leave their individuality and maturity in order to fight for someone else’s adulthood because it presupposes the abandonment of own freedom (adulthood). Tolerance and humility of which Ewan speaks are characteristics of an immature person that has her/his freedom submitted to hierarchy and collective. This are not qualities of free and adult person.

    Politicians are not adults because they are unfree, unpredictable, hypocritical, with at least two attitudes (private and public, while free and adult person have no two faces), they have hidden motifs and thoughts,never relies on their own opinion but on the opinion of the authority,they identify themselves with social roles and respect titles rather than persons, they are fond of uniforms, etc.

    To scientist to get involved (or an adult) it would require a rejection of their freedom and adulthood, because adult persons by their personality (by default) do not take responsibilities for others. Their life (job) is science, not politics. Someone has mentioned that atheists only exist because of theists. Yes, atheists are forced into this mess of atheists and theists. So in order to prevent and defend someone’s freedom one have to leave their own. Sadly. I would like to see world free of hierarchical structures and divisions that arise from them.

    We don’t deserve the title “Civilized.”

    No we do not. For now it is utopia. And it will be as long as we do not have adults on right places.
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  • Yes, great piece Ted. International law bends with the big guns Turkish Cypriots disappearing off the face of the earth with hardly a shot fired.
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  • This one always amuses me:

    Larry Miller With Thoughts on the Middle East’s Israel and Palestine:

    The Palestinians want their own country. There’s just one thing about that: There are no Palestinians . It’s a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years. Like ‘Wiccan,’ ‘Palestinian’ sounds ancient but is really a modern invention. Before the Israelis won the land in the 1967 war, Gaza was Owned by Egypt , the West Bank was owned by Jordan , and there were no Palestinians.’

    As soon as the Jews took over and started growing oranges as big as basketballs, what do you know, say hello to the ‘Palestinians,’ weeping for their deep bond with their lost ‘land’ and ‘nation.

    So for the sake of honesty, let’s not use the word ‘Palestinian’ any more to describe these delightful folks, who dance for joy at our deaths until someone Points out they’re being taped. Instead, let’s call them what they are: ‘Other Arabs Who Can’t Accomplish Anything In Life And Would Rather Wrap Themselves In The Seductive Melodrama Of Eternal Struggle And Death. ‘ I know that’s a bit unwieldy to expect to see on CNN. How about this, then: ‘Adjacent Jew-Haters .’ Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing: No, they don’t . They could’ve had their own country. Anytime in the last thirty years, especially several years ago at Camp David . But If you have your own country, you have to have traffic lights and garbage trucks. And Chambers of Commerce, and, worse, you actually have to figure out some way to make a living.

    That’s no fun. No, they want what all the other Jew-Haters in the region want: Israel . They also want a big pile of dead Jews, of course that’s where the Real fun is — but mostly they want Israel .

    Why? For one thing, trying to destroy Israel – or ‘The Zionist Entity’ as their Textbooks call it — for the last fifty years has allowed the rulers of Arab Countries to divert the attention of their own people away from the fact that they’re the blue-ribbon most illiterate, poorest, and tribally backward on God’s Earth, and if you’ve ever been around God’s Earth, you know that’s really saying something.

    It makes me roll my eyes every time one of our pundits waxes poetic about the great history and culture of the Muslim Mid east. Unless I’m missing something, the Arabs haven’t given anything to the world since Algebra, and, by the way, thanks a hell of a lot for that one.

    Chew this around and spit it out: Five hundred million Arabs; five Million Jews.
    Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it. And now these same folks swear that if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, everyone will be pals..
    Really? Wow, what neat news.

    Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive very Jew into the sea? Oh, that? We were just kidding.

    My friend, Kevin Rooney, made a gorgeous point the other day: Just reverse the Numbers. Imagine five hundred million Jews and five million Arabs. I was stunned at the simple brilliance of it. Can anyone picture the Jews strapping belts of razor blades and dynamite to themselves? Of course not.

    Or marshaling every fiber and force at their disposal for generations to drive a tiny Arab State into the sea? Nonsense.
    Or dancing for joy at the murder of Innocents? Impossible.
    Or spreading and believing horrible lies about the Arabs baking their bread with the blood of children? Disgusting.

    No, as you know, left to themselves in a world of peace, the worst Jews would ever do to people is debate them to death.

    However, in any big-picture strategy, there’s always a danger of losing moral weight. We’ve already lost some. After September 11th our president told us and the world he was going to root out all terrorists and the countries that supported them. Beautiful. Then the Israelis, after months and months of having the equivalent of an Oklahoma City every week (and then every day) start to do the same thing we did, and we tell them to show restraint.

    If America were being attacked with an Oklahoma City every day, we would all very shortly be screaming for the administration to just be done with it and kill everything south of the Mediterranean and east of the Jordan .
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  • Done for peace?

    Israel has the power to destroy all it’s enemies yet has not done so. Negative peace is better than no peace at all.

    I would not like to see the videos showing the barbarity loosed if the Palestinians were in power.
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  • I feel this all the time Carey, and so far on every single article I have read here.

    My only positive note might be that this site is better than most?

    Some sites have comment interchanges that degenerate so quickly I wonder how the people involved cope with living in a society of humans. When I see these terrible, nasty things that those people put out on the internet; I despair all over again.

    How Richard keeps his cool with some of the… polite words fail me … I just do not know. Keep up the great work Richard.
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  • That does not seem an adequate response from Israel to me Neo.

    After all the years of turmoil in the area, all the strange and asymmetric elements that make up this land, all the deaths, surely “not destroying all it’s enemies” is a bit on the inadequate side?

    To follow up some of the other comments here; just opening up the elections to all the people in the borders of Israel might be a step? There are surely other ones that do not violate their own concept of governance? Anything that showed some active interest in peace, rather than the apparent piecemeal genocide that seems to be happening?
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  • “(Palestinians)… never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”

    Let me fix that for you.

    “(Palestinian leaders)… never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”

    This is a quite separate and subsequent problem. It magnifies an existing tragedy the origins of which are simple and unequivocal.
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  • I do not understand if you are laughing at this diatribe or supporting it Steven?

    The middle east is a complex place, and the situation does not seem to be improved by a post like that.
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  • 81
    Gourd Almighty says:

    I just wonder what the reaction would have been all those years ago to an attitude of “No state for the Jews”, similar to Netanyahu’s “No Palestinian state”?
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  • The Middle East is a complex place? Thanks, Captain Obvious. There are no black and white solutions to a problem that is infinitely grey. I was adding some levity. And for your info, none of these posts are going to improve or worsen the situation in the Middle East.
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  • I can’t really see how the forming of the State of Israel would not cause endless strife.

    I don’t back the Jewish/Zionist or the Palestinian/Arab/Semite/Muslim (call it what you will) cause.

    Appropriate countries should have offered them return/citizenship.
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  • Steven007 Mar 20, 2015 at 10:26 am

    This one always amuses me:

    I don’t see why anyone should think an occupying army is amusing!

    Larry Miller With Thoughts on the Middle East’s Israel and Palestine:

    The Palestinians want their own country. There’s just one thing about that: There are no Palestinians . It’s a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years. Like ‘Wiccan,’ ‘Palestinian’ sounds ancient but is really a modern invention. Before the Israelis won the land in the 1967 war, Gaza was Owned by Egypt , the West Bank was owned by Jordan , and there were no Palestinians.’

    As soon as the Jews took over and started growing oranges as big as basketballs, what do you know, say hello to the ‘Palestinians,’ weeping for their deep bond with their lost ‘land’ and ‘nation.

    Much as you may be amused by this fantasy, history says otherwise!

    HISTORICAL PALESTINE – http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/mapstellstory.html
    Another claim that Israel likes to make is that Palestine never really existed to start with.

    .the maps tell a different story. – see link!!
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  • See previous post, Alan. Merely adding some levity:

    lev•i•ty
    ˈlevədē/
    noun
    1. humor or frivolity, especially the treatment of a serious matter with humor

    I didn’t say I agreed with this very generous Zionist view.
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  • 87
    Lorenzo says:

    the piece made good points.

    No it doesn’t.
    It’s written by a theist Jew who claims a support percentage that even Castro was ashamed of claiming and substantially states that the other should stop behaving badly -and, until they don’t do so, they are like the nazis-don’t-be-antisemitic!!!-

    The post you reported doesn’t make any point: it is “the usual whine”, nothing more. With the even more usual screaming silence over the relentless occupation of the colonists.
    We are still waiting for proof that Israel is a “modern state” and that’s working for peace.

    ~~~

    Also, something that’s worth noting: since the post has been written, Hamas became willing to accept a two-state solution. Nothing in the conflict has changed, though.
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  • 89
    Lorenzo says:

    Interesting line of thought: refraining from killing ’em all is working for peace now.

    Negative peace

    Peace means the absence, definitive or temporary, of a conflict. So what is now “negative” peace?
    Peace doesn’t seem to be electrically charged, so that’s not it.
    The negation of peace? That is conflict -mostly, an armed one. And then, yes, you are right: there is a big armed conflict going on in that region. Pitting those armed with pretty massive weaponry against those armed with slingshots by comparison.
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  • 90
    Lorenzo says:

    Put it in a book, call it holy and you’ll have people killing each other even over a dustbin… That’s what religion has been designed and refined to do.
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  • Neodarwinian Mar 20, 2015 at 10:48 am

    I would not like to see the videos showing the barbarity loosed if the Palestinians were in power.

    That’s the thing about armies of occupation who commit atrocities while hiding behind superior weapons: – there are reprisals if they are shifted from power – as the WW2 Germans found in the retreat from Russia!

    Have a look at the maps I linked!
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  • Neither side can lay claim to any moral rectitude.

    The Palestinians of the Occupied Territories have a right to be set free from the prison camps in which they have been incarcerated by the Israelis. The World Community is supported by the International Court of Justice in demanding that Israel remove the Wall from Palestinian territory and stop moving Jewish immigrants into the territory by the hundreds of thousands. This is not a question of ‘sides’ but of law and morality.
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  • Aldous, I agree with you. But I don’t think that touches on the issue of moral rectitude when the situation is considered in totality. I really don’t even think it’s an arguable point. It’s simply not a black and white issue. Some things come close though, like what you mentioned in your post.
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  • The initial ambition to create a Jewish Homeland later to become the Jewish state of Israel was planned with good but misguided intentions on the part of Zionists who convinced Arthur Balfour and other British Mandate-of-Palestine leaders to cooperate in achieving that goal after WWI. (I will omit details of the history for sake of brevity.) In 1947 the partition was drawn up without regard to the inevitable “civil wars” that would follow, wars that Israelis would call the war[s] of independence. Inevitable in such conflicts would be the dispossession and displacement of Arabs from their lands after Israeli victories. The greater Israel that evolved into existence today was inevitable since the benign wish for the two peoples to live in peaceful coexistence side by side was never in the cards. Despite the ugly realities that resulted from Israeli victories, I believe that Israelies would have been far more cooperative in making coexistence possible at any point in this tragic succession of wars and violent conflicts.

    We secular humanist are left today along with Herb Siverman with an impossible dilemma. Israel has morphed into a de facto conqueror and occupier ironically trapped under siege by the barbaric political leadership of the people they have oppressed. Jews were plopped down in a land owned by Palestinian Arabs. They were structurally determined to commit “atrocities” against the people who would fight them tooth and nail appearing to be the innocent victims of malevolent colonizers from Europe.

    The “peace process” has been a charade from the outset. The Jews as victors have emerged as the bad guys. All those who rightly sympathize with the Palestinian plight can do is criticize this or that Israeli Prime Minister for being more or less hardline on the status quo.

    Nothing will change until both sides accept a territorial compromise. Israel will have to give back some conquered territory and abandon some settlements. Palestinians face a much more intractable challenge. They will have to recognize the right of Israel to exist and refrain as a sovereign state from concerted terrorist attacks planned to drive Israel from the land.

    The Jews, a tiny minority, disproportionately represent the most progressive, high achieving and humane people in human history. Jews among all people have disproportionately affirmed and pursued the ideals of secular humanism. They have had to face off against one of the most retrograde, intolerant and terrorist cultures in recent history. I have no solution to the currently irreconcilable tragedy engulfing Israelis and Palestinians. (For the record, I am a gentile.)
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  • The Jews, a tiny minority, disproportionately represent the most progressive, high achieving and humane people in human history.

    The contribution of the Ashkenazim to civilization is not the issue. We are faced with the perfectly straightforward question of Israel’s criminal activities in building a Wall and towns for half-a-million Israelis, with the accompanying infrastructure, on Occupied Palestinian Territory. This has been condemned by the International Court of Justice and overwhelming votes in the UN General Assembly. These are not the only matters at issue but, on this specific and crucial point, there is no excuse for equivocation.
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  • Melvin Mar 21, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    The initial ambition to create a Jewish Homeland later to become the Jewish state of Israel was planned with good but misguided intentions on the part of Zionists who convinced Arthur Balfour and other British Mandate-of-Palestine leaders to cooperate in achieving that goal after WWI.

    This looks very like wish thinking based on fairy stories!!
    Balfour simply bottled out when faced with fanatics and left the Arabs to their fate.

    http://iamthewitness.com/doc/Bunche.Report.on.Zionist.Terrorism.in.the.Near.East.htm

    A Summary of Zionist Terrorism in the Near East — 1944-1948
    Prepared for Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, UN Mediator for Palestine

    Foreword: In view of the tragic assassination of Count Folke Bernadotte by identified Jewish terrorists on September 17 of this year, the following report has been prepared for the use of Dr. Bunche, Count Bernadotte’s immediate replacement.

    The report is a compilation of all identified terrorist attacks on British, American and Arab individuals and entities from the assassination of the British Resident Minister in the Middle East on November 6, 1944 by members of the terrorist Jewish Stern gang to the assassination of Count Bernadotte on September 17, 1948 by members of this same gang of fanatics.

    .August 12, 1946, London. The British Government announced that it will allow no more unscheduled immigration into Palestine and that those seeking entry into that country will be sent to Cyprus and other areas under detention. Declaring that such immigration threatens a civil war with the Arab population, it charges a “minority of Zionist extremists” with attempting to force an unacceptable solution of the Palestine problem.

    October 2, 1946, Tel Aviv. British military units and police seized 50 Jews in a Tel Aviv cafe after a Jewish home was blown up. This home belonged to a Jewish woman who had refused to pay extortion money to the Irgun terrorist gang.

    November 3, 1946, Palestine. Two Jews and two Arabs were killed in clashes between Arabs and a group of Jews attempting to establish a settlement at Lake Hula in northern Palestine.

    November 9 through November 13, 1946, Palestine. Nineteen persons, eleven British soldiers and policemen and eight Arab constables, were killed in Palestine during this period as Jewish terrorists, using land mines and suitcase bombs, increased their attacks on railroad stations, trains and even streetcars.

    November 14, 1946, London. The Board of Deputies of British Jews condemned Jewish terrorist groups who threatened to export their terrorism to England.

    January 2, 1947, Palestine. A wave of terror swept Palestine as Jewish terrorists staged bombings and machine gun attacks in five cities. Casualties were low. Homemade flamethrowers were used in several cases. Pamphlets seized warned that the Irgun had again declared war against the British and Arabs of Palestine.

    The present situation of terrorism with Hamas in Palestine, reflects much of this early history from a reverse perspective.

    You will note that Zionist terrorists, had previously assassinated the UN mediator!
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  • 102
    bonnie says:

    Real estate is only made ugly by humans.

    Must be my Born Free♪ upbringing, but I can only think about the environmental aspects. Biologists, et.al., are in war torn areas, valiantly observing wildlife for conservation news. E.g., long fences that block the flow / migration of animals (think U.S. – Mexico border,also).
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  • Steven007 Mar 20, 2015 at 10:26 am

    If America were being attacked with an Oklahoma City every day, we would all very shortly be screaming for the administration to just be done with it and kill everything south of the Mediterranean and east of the Jordan .

    That US tribalist attitude is part of the problem. The Palestinians have been attacked an dispossessed nearly every day for decades, as my various linked maps and reports show, but usually nobody bothers to report it in the West.

    The people with big weapons also have big PR budgets and lots of dedicated fundamentalist propagandists, whose own tribe can do no wrong.
    They have been murdering anyone who opposed them, or failed to support their bigoted positions, since before modern Israel existed!
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  • The larger purpose of my comment was to show that civil war preceded by acts of terrorism on both sides was inevitable when the British Mandate planned to carve out a Jewish Homeland in Palestine. All stakeholders who believed Jews and Palestinian Arabs could forge cooperative arrangements for living side by side in peace were tragically mistaken and foolish. Nonetheless an authority no less august than the United Nations partitioned Palestine and recognized Israel as a sovereign entity. Inevitably Israel expanded its initial “land grant” through a succession of wars principally with Egypt allied with Syria. The theft of Palestinian land, the ethnic cleansing, the oppressive occupation and the building of settlements on the West bank, and the Border Wall have been judged illegal under international law. The authority that condemns Israel associates with the same authority that created Israel back in 1947 setting in motion the inevitably tragic march of events. Despite the fog of the past, the civilized community of nations has justifiably recognized the state of Israel to this day.

    In 1948, the armies of Egypt and Syria allied with Palestinian fighters and amended with smaller forces from Jordan and Iraq attacked Israel with the sole purpose of eradicating the Jewish Homeland. No truce; no negotiation. Eradication. The subsequent wars in 1967 and 1973 also pursued the no-quarter foreign policy of the regional Arab powers still practiced on the ground today by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Destroy Israel, drive the Jews into the sea, send them fleeing back to infidel Europe, those who stand and try to resist (or stay), kill them, kill them all.

    In the absence of Arab wars of aggression, terrorists attacks and refusal to recognize the right of Israel to exist, (Sadat’s Egyptian Treaty stands as an exemplary exception), the democratic, relatively tolerant and progressive state of Israel would likely have negotiated territorial compromises with the Palestinians from its inception. The region could have had a peace process and created an environment more amenable to ecumenicalism and secular humanism than to Jihad punctuated with infidel beheadings and mass murder of heretics. (Yes, I am choosing a side while reserving ambivalence.)

    Because Israel threw back the assaults, won territory, built settlements and a border security wall, occupied and/or fragmented Palestinian communities pathetically stewing in poverty, some observers are inclined to put the onus on Israel seeing only the disproportionate damage that the victors have inflicted on the vanquished. Outsiders see Israeli cruelty and oppression. Israelis see self-defense. The feud has spilled too much blood for bi-lateral negotiations. Responsible members of the international community, led by the United states with cooperation from Europe, the Arab League and other regional stakeholders will have to bring the antagonists to the negotiating table and foot the bill for the cost of enforcing the territorial-political compromise ultimately reached.
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  • Responsible members of the international community, led by the United states

    I’d question your understanding of the issue if you claim that the United States should ‘lead’ the international community. Whether or not the US is ‘responsible’ is one thing but it’s certainly not impartial. It’s one of half-a-dozen countries, out of the 193 members of the UN, that always votes in support of Israel. In the Security Council it acts as a proxy for Israel. Israel is such a close ally that its Prime Minister was invited to address the US Congress on the policy that the US should follow towards Iran. The United States can’t possibly be considered an ‘honest broker’ on this issue.

    Besides, building Israeli towns and infrastructure, including the Wall, on Occupied Palestinian Territory, are criminal activities which should be addressed independently of, or as a prerequisite to, the wider peace process.
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  • Bill Mahr blamed Hamas for starting the conflict in the first place.

    I’ve always been a fan of Bill Maher and have overlooked his loopy antivaxer views and general ignorance on all matters biological, but in light of the dire situation in the Middle East in the past couple of years I can’t seem to watch even one of his shows now without ending it in a state of profound disappointment over his caustically cruel zionism. Aside from a few jabs at Netanyahu, Maher comes off as a cruel Muslim hater. I want to support Maher as one of the only public atheists that we have here and I am biased strongly toward him but there are now too many cringe-worthy moments in that show and I guess I really need to jump ship and be done with it. Sad.

    Both Herb Silverman and the Atheist Camel (Hump) have written lately about their disappointment with the State of Israel, why can’t Maher get his ethical shit together and make a statement loud and clear? I want to hear statements of support for Jews from our public intellectuals just the same as we support Muslims and Christians as people but when it comes to their nasty old oppressive religions that’s where the support ends. We have the right and obligation to criticize the hell out of harmful ideologies and to block human rights abuse where ever it rears its ugly head. Throwing the imagery of the horrible holocaust at us and shrieking accusations of anti-semitism as soon as the conversation starts is a dishonest and conniving tactic.

    What I want to see in my lifetime (not hopeful) is for people to surrender their oppressive tribal thinking and assimilate into their societies while working to improve human rights across the board. What’s happening in the Middle East is headed in the opposite direction. They are dividing up into the old tribal groups with Israel in pursuit of an ethnically pure Jewish state. This is not in the best interests of anyone, including the Jews!

    Come on Bill Maher!- I know you read this site. Do some homework and stand up straight and be a leader with the guts to say what’s right. Ethical leadership requires doing more than just the bare minimum, it requires going above and beyond the call of duty. You are slacking and I’m calling you out on this here and now.
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  • “you can’t literally “return” to a place you’ve never been.”

    You mean, “a place you weren’t born in, and didn’t grow up in.”

    Correct?

    Because lots of Jews have visited Israel, even though they weren’t born there, and didn’t grow there. Such Jews are obviously included amongst the people who you assert don’t deserve a right of return.

    Correct? Report abuse

  • If your position is that contemporary Jews don’t have a right of return to a place they weren’t born in and didn’t grow up in,
    then likewise contemporary Palestinians don’t have a right of return to a place they weren’t born in and didn’t grow up in. Report abuse

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