I have a feeling that the article sharon’s eastern front | next exile of the jews | Q & A will have me tarred as an antisemite. This is not a fair charge. I have many Jewish friends and colleagues. I both have employed Jews and have been employed by Jews. Frankly, until today I was somewhat concerned with expressing my concerns as I had seen how lightly the ADL or the Canadian Jewish Congress bandy the label of anti-Semite.
At this point those bastards can call me whatever they want, I will not stand by and applaud the persecution and gradual genocide and Palestinians and other Middle Eastern peoples, anymore than I would have stood by to applaud the genocidal persecution of the Third Reich against the Jewish, Slavic and Romany peoples during the Second Great War of this century.
I was quiet until today in the hope that eventually the madness would subside and saner heads would prevail, both in Israel and in the United States. Before it is too late, we must all spring into action and especially the secular Jews of North America. This is our last stand before a war which will last forever and destroy many.
And I am just one. But I think a representative one.
There is a rascally method at work. All Jews are one. A strike against a single Jew is a strike at all Jewry. On the other hand, if the Jewish state commits great crimes, this is niether the affair of nor the responsibility of individual Jews. Take for example Stephen Spielberg and his Schindler’s List – a great Jewish filmmaker honoured by the state of Israel. On the other hand Spielberg bears no responsibility for any of Israel’s actions nor is Israel responsible for their own actions, thanks partly to sympathetic works such as Schindler’s Lists.
The same tendency to elude civic responsibility has taken root in the american soul. hey man, i’m just somebody who doesn’t believe in politics. it’s not my fault bush is an asshole. hey man, i didn’t vote for bush [translation: i didn’t vote at all].
There are saner Jewish voices who understand the peril Bush and Sharon run when pitting people against people and army against people. The Neturei Karta are a group of anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews who have been driven from Israel themselves by the Israeli government and do not support the current occupation of Palestine and remember recent history. They issued the following statement:
- The State of “Israel” does not represent the voice of Judaism and/or the Jewish people. The Torah clearly forbids the formation of a State, for the Jewish people, in their time of exile.
- The Torah forbids stealing land, subjugating and oppressing a people etc.
- sThe root cause for the continual rise of worldwide anti-Semitism is Zionism and the State of “Israel”.
- The Jewish people have been living in Muslim countries, including Palestine, in peace and harmony with their Arab neighbors, until the advent of Zionism.
- True to the above and for many other reasons, the rabbinic authorities universally, have vehemently opposed the State of “Israel” since the time of its inception.
The root cause of the endless bloodshed and suffering in the Holy Land is Zionism and the State of “Israel”.
There is another group Righteous Jews who are asking hard questions.
In March 2002 a Tel Aviv University poll found that 46 percent of Israeli Jews support the transfer of 3.5 million Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza and 31 percent say the same for 1.3 million Palestinians citizens living in Israel. Such Jews, from both the right and the left, want to finish the job they started in 1948. Who will stop this ethnic cleansing? Who will stop the daily killing of Palestinians, the destruction of their homes, the apartheid wall, and all the other “security measures” taken to achieve the Zionist goal of “pumping out” most of the Palestinians?
But asking the odd question is not enough at this point.
It is time that the Jews of North America woke up to the ill that their Israeli cousins are creating and about to worsen – and themselves cut off the funding and policies which are about to bring this catastrophe down on all and especially their heads.
Sadly, any Jew who objects to any Israeli actions is immediately tarred with another trite epithet, “self-hating Jew”.
Men and women of good faith we must join together, regardless of denomination or creed, and together put a stop to this conflagration.
And quite frankly that epithet of anti-Semitism doesn’t mean much at this point. The currency has been debased.
In fact one might say I am writing now as I care for my Jewish friends and cousins and don’t want them to stand by in a time for action, as the Germans stood by during the Nazi ascension in the 1930’s. And then it was too late. The blood was on their hands.
I am sure most Jewish people, don’t want such things to happen to either Palestinians or Iraqis any more than most Germans wanted to put German Jews into cattle cars and imprison and kill them.
The responsibility is particularly heavy on North American Jews, who have enabled and sometimes encouraged this extreme and absurd situation to develop.
Now is the time to stand up and be counted.
As a secular American Jew, I must agree. We are witnessing folly of a global magnitude. It is imperative at ths point that all statehood for the area must be abandoned in favor of an internationally-policed zone of peace and freedom. It is clear that both Israelis and Palestinians cannot rule themselves or solve their mortal tribal rivalry. It’s time for the world to step in, disarm all inhabitants, and take charge of the situation.
I think it’s great that you are so concerned with the liberties of Arabs in the Middle East. I too support the fight for individual liberty. Let’s liberate Saudi Arabia. Let’s liberate Sudan. Even the “moderate” Arab states such as Egypt are not free — let’s liberate them. Let’s liberate the Arabs of Israel from the PLO, for crying out loud.
It’s strange that, when you talk about liberation, you begin the conversation with the most free country in the region. Shouldn’t we talk about all the ruthless dictatorships first?
Somehow, many people think it’s OK for a dictator to kill “his own people”. But the people are not “his”. People are people. Let’s first liberate the regions that are the most oppressed.
Interesting perspective. I would like to think that it ( a UN type protectorate in the mideast without state affiliaton) were possible.
My own background is Jewish on my mother’s side and I have been pained like most of my Jewish friends by the excesses of the Likudist/Zionist thrust of Israel.
Writing letters, talking it up, doing what I can, but it seems like all is for naught, at least for the foreseeable future. No doubt the longer term may hold some real suprises. I, like many (Billmon included) am stunned by the recent events perpetrated by Bush. Trying to move the AIPAC affected American politcal machine is like pushing againstwater. A no brainer for most politicians to roll over for everything Zionist.
I’ve visited Europe several times over the past decade, mostly eastern europe. My mother was born in Vienna, though identified herself as Hungarian. I will return again as soon as I can for the flavor of humanity I have found and that is now missing in America. Last summer we went through Vienna on our way to Krakow for a neice’s wedding to a Polish fellow – then on to Slovakia. Wonderful adventures as usual.
I will keep speaking out, perhaps to no avail.
And, Ami, what is your problem? Perhaps you are very young. There is a higher standard to hold oneself to than the least common denominator. Many Jews, I think, know this. It is pretty sorry to compare oneself and one’s behavior to those one considers deficient. Just because you are slightly more ethical and moral than those who disrespect human rights, out of their own cultural heritage, gives no basis to claim righteousness.
What exactly is the point?
If the point is to liberate as many people as possible, then why not start with the whole Arab / Muslim world? Why this fixation on Israel?
If the point is to hold yourself to a higher standard, then go ahead. You are not holding *yourself* to a higher standard, you are holding Israel to a higher standard: a standard to which no one is or has ever been held. You are putting the lives of *others* in mortal danger because of *your* twisted sense of morality.
If the point is to end the war, the suffering, the destruction, and the deaths on *both* sides as quickly as possible, then let Israel separate itself from the Arabs. Every time Israel tries to do that, you people (yes, I said “you people”) cry about human rights. Do you actually care about anyone’s human rights? What of the human rights of dead Israelis? What of the human rights of the Arabs who cooperate with Israel and are then murdered by the PLO? The war has to be ended as quickly as possible so that everyone can start to rebuild.
A UN protectorate? I hear that “militants” in Spain disagree with some government policies. Let’s first dissolve Spain and have a UN protectorate there.
The phrase “no peace without justice” comes to mind. If Sharon and co showed the least inkling to work for justice I would say fine — and have — for decades. I see no repect for Palestinians. Why would one expect respect in return? Face it, the Israelis hold the upper hand in most ways, with US backing. They have an obligation to make efforts for peace, not tactical moves aimed to forstall the day when they must give up the west bank.
“The war has to be ended as quickly as possible. . ” What a concept — I presume you me on Israel’s term’s?
Who is this “you people” you refer to? You could not categorize me if you tried.
I have asked you what specifically you want: liberation, higher moral standards, end of war; you do not respond. I pointed out that, contrary to what you say, you do not hold yourself to a higher standard; again, no response. You have a fixation with Israel, hold it to a ridiculous standard, and you see nothing wrong with this.
*Justice*: what specific violations of justice are you talking about? What is unjust about Israel defending itself? What standard of justice are you using? Has any society in human history actually lived by this standard?
*Respect*: respect? Arabs don’t feel “respected”, so they murder Jews and Westerners (and other Arabs)? Makes sense.
Arab dictators don’t respect life itself. Why would they expect respect in return?
*US backing*: you make it sound as if it is unfair that the US is backing the party that is fighting for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
*Obligations*: 1. The government of Israel is only obligated to the people of Israel.
2. Their only obligation is to bring about peace as quickly as possible and / or minimize the number of Israeli dead.
*Israel’s terms*: on which other terms can the war be ended? The Arab terms for the end of the war is the complete destruction of the State of Israel and the murder of as many Jews as possible.
*you people*: You sense that there is something wrong with the world and want to fix it. Unfortunately, your ethical system is ambiguous, not well thought out, and based on knee-jerk feel-good reactions. You end up swallowing the propaganda of those who wish to destroy the very Free World that you live in; and you lash out against the Free World. Am I close? :)
Finish your degree (assuming your are this young). Have a nice glass of wine. And try not to drown in your self-righteousness. I wish that your eyes may open and your heart soften.
A tout a l’heure.
In March 2002 a Tel Aviv University poll found that 46 percent of Israeli Jews support the transfer of 3.5 million Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza and 31 percent say the same for 1.3 million Palestinians citizens living in Israel. Such Jews, from both the right and the left, want to finish the job they started in 1948.
Now what could possibly have been happening in spring of 2002 to have made these people feel that way? Hint: you, personally, would not have put up with one-tenth of the anguish that you so blithely expect the Israelis to swallow. If the Palestinians quit their bombing, there would be no war. If the Israelis quit retaliating, there would be no Jews.
If you’re appealing to secular Jews, then why are you trotting out arguments from Torah?
No to jihad.
No to dhimmitude.
No to the 8th century and all its evil fruit.
?? Once again, you talk past me, ignoring everything I say, and instead attempting to insult me. Way to go. …
The Sanity Inspector- amen!
I learned a long time ago that it is impossible to have a discussion where minds are closed. No intention to insult. I wish you all the best.
You prefer to discuss the dissolution of a state than the creation of one? Past the peace proposals and onto invasions? How much else do you know about the beliefs of Neturei Karta? In what light do you understand the first of their points as raised by you? Personally I prefer to see terrorism thwarted and then a Palestinian state set up. Why have you invited people to come up with quotes that might represent Israel as the Cowboys vs Indians if you are not aware of such quotes? Kind of project is this? You do not think this makes you a suspect pundit?
So you feel that Jews aren’t entitled to a national homeland? Or (maybe?) at least, not in Israel – where Jews have been living since the time of Joshua. The city of Jerusalem was founded by King David, and the kingdoms of Judah and Israel existed after the days of his successor, King Solomon – and well before any pretensions to ownership by the “Palestinians”.
When the UN decided that the British mandate should be divided into three parts (a Jewish, an Arab and an international part), all the neighbouring Arab countries rejected this decision and invaded the declared State of Israel with the avowed aim of wiping it (and its Jewish inhabitants) from the face of the earth.
They didn’t succeed then, they didn’t succeed with the many murderous incursions up till now and, notwithstanding the lopsided arguments of moral equivalence from “friends of the Jews” like you, the resolve of Israel and its true friends will ensure they won’t succeed in the future.
Not only should the Arabs realise that peaceful relations is the way to a successful future, but they must disown the terrorists in their midst.
An answer to any of my points would have done. I will take your silence for a repetition of what you said to Ami, yes?
“I learned a long time ago that it is impossible to have a discussion where minds are closed. No intention to insult. I wish you all the best.”
And I too will take away this lesson. You have malice.
I was talking to Ami.
Your comments seem more directed to Alec, not
me, since he posted the article you seem to be responding to.
Hard to see how you attribute “malice” to me; that seems like a stretch from the evidence at hand.
Yes, certainly, do not spend too much of your time in discussions simply for the sake of arguing — unless you enjoy that.
Alec, my apologies, I mistook you for DonS. My earlier post is for you. If I’m going to learn anything from you, I need you to explain the inconsistencies I mentioned. If you aren’t worried about it I quite understand.
hello dom and don, thank you for your comments. and to ami too, as you seem sincere in your apprehensions.
i’ve been a bit of a sloppy barkeep (we are all missing billmon). thanks for the prod, dom.
tony, you seem totally disingenuous. let’s face it – the people in palestine never had any intention of doing jews past or present any harm. they were simple folk who were sold down the river by the british under whose protection they were supposed to live. your 2000 year old claim is entirely specious, as it would result in the wholesale resettlement of england (anglo-saxons and normans and celts), france (everyone), spain (moors), italy (romans and germanic tribes), hungary (magyars), russia (lithuanians, slavs, mongols).
and last but not least, would result in the removal of every single european from north american shores. or perhaps the north americans could all be herded down into new mexico.
and that my friends is what has happened to the palestinians. there must have been a better way to create the israeli state than took place. documents are still coming to light which reveal what actually took place.
to me the most important statement made here is this:
“There is a higher standard to hold oneself to than the least common denominator. Many Jews, I think, know this. It is pretty sorry to compare oneself and one’s behavior to those one considers deficient.”
thanks, DonS. that is exactly how it is i feel. who cares how different arab countries prosecute their laws and live their lives. those countries are those countries. they live under a different religion and with a different history.
israel is mainly made up of european jews, raised with a similar set of philosophical precepts as the rest of the western world.
to step back 2000 years to the biblical bloodletting between peoples (a train of thought which could serve to legitimise the abominations of the third reich ) is an astonishing leap.
and like SG and DonS, i had a much higher view of the jews and judaism than to anticipate that they would cruelly and cynically perpetrate these crimes on the palestinian people, rather than in some way reach out to them in a compromise which would save much bloodshed and decades of grief for all.
the short answer. yes to a wall now but at the 1967 boundaries. and yes the palestinians can have ports and control their own borders.
one can judge the character of a man or a people not by how he conducts himself when he is weak but by how he conducts himself when he is strong.
sadly, sharon and the current israeli government have let down jews everywhere (together with the american jewish lobby by their blind support of sharon’s actions).
they are conducting themselves like thieves and bullies and cutthroats.
under the circumstance it is no wonder that the suicide bombers keep coming.
what other choice to the palestinians have faced with such a dishonest partner?
israel has the guns and the tanks and the helicopters. use them, yes. but use them to enforce a fair solution and to give the palestinians something to lose.
people with something to lose and people with something to live for make lousy suicide bombers.
Thanks for your comments. I used to think I was missing something by having a common sense attitude, perhaps generalized, with regard to the apparent complexities of the Israli-Palestinian and Israeli-U.S. relationships. Kind of feeling I had no place tripping around in meta statements and the like. But I see, over and over again, that our (US) government policy, which should understand all the nuances of such relationships, rather, seems driven by simplistic, and I might say misguided and even crass motives of its own (from Bush on down). And I would dare say the same of the Israeli government, particularly under Sharon, a sad truth that hardly gains notice outside Israel. Neocon/AIPAC rhetoric and “theory”, with all its self-righteous and absolutist jargon is stil, IMHO, a disaster. Amazingly, my own opinions, however contrary to others, could not have less weight!
Along these lines, I must sadly echo your wish that Israel could have chosen a more moderate course. The current one has been a disaster.
There is a surreal character to the Israeli government’s behavior. On the one hand it has its hand out for American aid and political backing. Yet, whenever it chooses, vis a vis American disapproval of its actions, less and less necessary of late, it totally disavows any respect, much less obeisance to US opinion, and falls back on the shibboleth that Israel looks after itself and broaches no outside interference in its “defense” posture. To complee the absurdity, this seems acceptable to the US government.
This interesting but fallacious syllogism is implied in the declaration upthread that the only obligation Isreal has is to the citizens of Israel:
— Bush says Sharon is a “man of peace, worthy of mucho polictal/financial support, a partner in the roadmap
— Israel uses disproportionate force against Palestinians — states that Israel will act in its own interets and is not influenced by anyone else, creating patina of deniability for U.S.
— U.S./Bush says that it gives no green lights, that Israel has the right of self defense; that it has no influence on Israel; that the Palestinians should shape up and that Sharon is a “man of peace”, ad nauseaum.
thanks for your detailed comment. your point about the artificial distance between the military and financial support on one hand and responsibility for actions is well made and well taken.
that’s the problem with the whole situation. america only need put its foot down and the whole israeli-palestinian scenario could be resolved (somewhat) fairly, overnight.
so what to they do instead? invade iraq.
the end game is a big one. control all of the middle east – including europe’s oil supply apart from russia. hire african legions with no loyalty to persians/arabs/various europeans (only to the hand that pays them).
as oil gets tighter two countries have a stranglehold on supply. with the world bank and IMF, a freedom oil cartel and the world’s best equipped army and expendable foot soldiers, you would seem to have the world by the tail.
a plutocracy for perpetuity. or so it would seem.
almost as inalienable the divine right of kings they were flogging a few hundred years ago.
these things usually have a way of not working out though.
the would-be plutocrats are no more secure than the ancienne regime of france. already the american lower middle class becomes restive as each employment avenue is closed to it.
strangely enough the iraqis in the cradle of civilisation are perhaps the world’s best ally in guarding plurality and national freedoms before the military and corporate hegemony the PNAC maniacs are intent on installing.
they’ve seen enough tyranny to bite hard early.
a huge question in my mind is at what point and under what pretext does the american military switch over into full annihalation mode (dresden | hiroshima | nagasaki).
and how is the rest of the world react to that?
which is why your effort to educate and speak out is so important. people must gradually made conscious of the ill-conscience of their leaders.
the time will come where we all must act.
of course, the americans and their israeli client (vice-versa?) could have chosen to just settle with the palestinians, mended some bridges in the middle east, let the state department do some diplomatic work for the major corporations, focus on creating and selling technological innovation and won the peace in an ever more prosperous world.
but the zero sum game is more exciting. easier to understand – a classic board game, just like risk.
“that’s the problem with the whole situation. america only need put its foot down and the whole israeli-palestinian scenario could be resolved (somewhat) fairly, overnight.”
I believe this too.
“a huge question in my mind is at what point and under what pretext does the american military switch over into full annihalation mode (dresden | hiroshima | nagasaki).”
I think pretexts will be found to abound if needed; manipulation of public opinion seems relatively easy these days, especially when both main US parties have few distinctions in the foreign policy area; and its hard to see what impact independent journalism, assuming there was much of that around, would have given that mass media is so overwhemling.
It is still quite easy for the administration to manipulate virtually any bad news in Iraq into a surrogate argument for fighting the “war on terror”. And mass American opinion, when it senses that America’s back is against the wall, figuratively, is equally easily led to demonize virtually anyone. Yesterdays’s friend is today’s enemy based on short term judgment as to how they line up with the administration’s latest litmus test. It seems we can count little on the storied decency of the American populace to assure fair behavior whether with regard to Iraq policy, or Israeli policy. Rather I am afraid, as an observer of the scene for quite a long time, the American public is led around by the nose. Really, to be honest, the vast majority of people are virtually uninformed, and are swayed, if they voice an opinion at all, by the last or strongest sound bite. We are not in an enviable postion. Reason is having an increasingly tough time. Propaganda rules the day.
One hopes for a miracle.