Sunday, February 16, 2014

Clueless in LA


Rabbi Sharon Brous of Los Angeles is widely hailed in the US for being a brilliant and creative personality who has inspired countless people to increase their engagement with Judaism. Growing up with no Jewish education herself, she decided to devote herself to Judaism and become a rabbi. She has led her community to grow by hundreds of families. From an Orthodox perspective, it's hard to value a radical reformation of bein adam l'Makom. But at least we can value someone's efforts at teaching people bein adam l'chavero, right?

Well, I'm not so sure.

Rabbi Brous first rubbed people the wrong way in a letter to her community during the Gaza war of 2013. She made sure to "balance" any expression of support for Israel with an equivalent message of sympathy for the Palestinians, and included such choice expressions as "We are deeply entrenched in our narratives of good and evil, victim and perpetrator." As a result, Daniel Gordis - a former teacher of Brous - issued a scathing rebuke, in an article entitled "When Balance Becomes Betrayal." Brous responded by misrepresenting the rebuke as a criticism of her for showing any sympathy at all for the Palestinians. Of course, the rebuke was nothing of the sort. Rather, Gordis was criticizing her for failing to clearly articulate that Gaza was at fault, and for failing to demonstrate more empathy for the innocent lives lost amongst her own people than for the lives of the enemy. Did Brous truly not understanding the criticism, or was she reluctant to make her position clear? I don't know.

Rabbi Brous has now stepped into Israeli-Arab politics again, with an article entitled "Let's Bet On Peace." In this article, she urges people to pressure Israel (and the Palestinians too, I guess, though one senses that this is not her focus) to show "courage, compassion and faith" and heed John Kerry's call to "bet on peace."

Brous rejects out of hand those who would say that she is "driven by a reckless combination of naivete and arrogance." (Hey, she described me perfectly!) Her reason for rejecting this accusation is that she "believes that peace is possible."

Yet how on earth is she so sure that peace is possible? Surely from an objective standpoint, one has to be at least open to the possibility that peace is impossible! After all, perhaps the maximum that Israel can safely concede from a security standpoint is less than what the Palestinian people are willing to settle for. That is something that all the political pressure in the world cannot change. How can Brous be so sure that this is not a possible scenario? In fact, all the evidence points to it being a very likely scenario!

Brous certainly has no grounds to know that peace is possible. What she offers instead is her "belief" that it is possible. Faith like this means refusing to ever accept the fact of impossibility. In practical terms, this means putting no limits on the pressure that must be exerted upon Israel.

Brous writes that "If Kerry fails, it will be because the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships could not summon the courage to take the painful steps required for peace, security and dignity." Note that the blame for failure is placed on both sides. What is the basis for such a judgment? Maybe one side is willing to take the most painful steps that it can safely take, and the other side is not willing to do likewise? Isn't that a possibility?

(Nor does it help matters for Brous to approve Kerry "honoring the narratives" of "both Israelis and Palestinians." After all, the Palestinian narrative is that there was never any Jewish presence in the Land of Israel. If that narrative is honored, then the Jews are nothing more than European colonists who have no right to live in any part of it.)

Astonishingly, then, Brous's rejection of the charge of naivete demonstrates the very naivete that she is attempting to deny. But she also demonstrates a remarkable lack of self-awareness. Predictably, in the comments to her article, residents of Israel were infuriated by her blithe talk about "betting" on peace. After all, in a bet, there is the possibility of losing. And the losers here would not be Brous, sitting in sunny LaLa-Land, but rather the residents of Israel. I am not saying that living in LA means that she is not entitled to an opinion. But where is her sensitivity to the fact that she is demanding that other people gamble their lives?! Couldn't she at least have said, "I know that this is all too easy for me to say, but still..."?

I'm sure that Rabbi Brous is a much nicer person than me. I'm sure that she does a lot of very valuable work. I'm sure that she is a deeply compassionate Jew with the best of intentions. But there comes a point where someone is so disconnected from reality, so lacking in self-awareness of how their words are offensive to others, so presumptuous in their declarations, and so refusing to face up to harmful consequences of their positions, that their good heart leads to very bad consequences.

160 comments:

  1. Very simply: "beautifully written."

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  2. I'm sure that readers of this blog know that Professor Barry Rubin recently passed away. His brilliant, insightful, and realistic analysis of Israel and the Middle east will be deeply missed, as will his humanity.

    I think Rabbi Slifkin's brilliant commentary on Sharon Blaus would have found Professor Rubin in complete agreement.

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  3. I would refer to her as Ms. rather than Rabbi.

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  4. "I'm sure that Rabbi Brous is a much nicer person than me"

    Well then you must be one very big A-hole. Okay just kidding.

    I wonder if these people will be reading the Megillah in the upcoming Purim and perhaps skipping the part where Jews slaughtered their enemies. Over 75,000 of them.
    But I guess its people like her who take the phrase of "not knowing the difference between cursing Haman and Blessing Mordechai" literally and in fact very often confuse the 2, and real Jewish values (which includes destroying Amalek whomever they may be, or any other people or group that arises to destroy you. Its literally all over the Torah. How long will some people completely ignore or distort the real Jewish ideas and the Halacha?

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  5. The woman is not a legitimate Rabbi and should not be addressed as such. She is not Orthodox. People like that tend to have an inferiority complex about their faith. So is it a surprise that she sides with Israel's enemies after falling for their propaganda?

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  6. One can be clueless anywhere.

    "Rather, Gordis was criticizing her for failing to clearly articulate that Gaza was at fault, and for failing to demonstrate more empathy for the innocent lives lost amongst her own people than for the lives of the enemy."

    I agree. It would seem to me that her position is that we should get past our "We're the angelic victim, they're the evil perpetrator mentality." Clearly, some aren't ready for that.

    " In this article, she urges people to pressure Israel (and the Palestinians too, I guess, though one senses that this is not her focus)"

    I didn't get that sense at all, although it would make sense as there's no Palestinian AIPAC to work against the peace process and she's not an Imam.

    "Yet how on earth is she so sure that peace is possible?"

    I think she said she believes it's possible, not she is 100% certain it's possible. You believe many things with much poorer evidence.

    "Brous writes that "If Kerry fails, it will be because the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships could not summon the courage to take the painful steps required for peace, security and dignity." Note that the blame for failure is placed on both sides. What is the basis for such a judgment? Maybe one side is willing to take the most painful steps that it can safely take, and the other side is not willing to do likewise? Isn't that a possibility?"

    Since you're clearly a linguistic nitpicker, I will point out that strictly speaking the word "and" is a logical conjunction. To be true, both of its operands must be true. In our case, she may well mean that if _either_ the Palestinian or Israeli leadership cannot summon the courage, Kerry will fail.

    I wonder why you are so obsessed with possibilities. You disagree with her; we get it. You're not catching her in any logical trap by continually harping on the possibility she could be wrong, a possibility she obviously views as remote. In addition, she makes it clear that she views the possibility of Israel not making peace as more problematic for its security than the concessions it might make. I know; you disagree. We get it.

    "Nor does it help matters for Brous to approve Kerry "honoring the narratives" of "both Israelis and Palestinians." After all, the Palestinian narrative is that there was never any Jewish presence in the Land of Israel. If that narrative is honored, then the Jews are nothing more than European colonists who have no right to live in any part of it."

    And the Jewish narrative is that there are no Palestinians. There are plenty of fools to go around on both sides. Do we hold title to the land because we continued to comprise 5% of the population for hundreds of years?

    "Predictably, in the comments to her article, residents of Israel were infuriated by her blithe talk about "betting" on peace. After all, in a bet, there is the possibility of losing. And the losers here would not be Brous, sitting in sunny LaLa-Land, but rather the residents of Israel. I am not saying that living in LA means that she is not entitled to an opinion."

    Okay, she's entitled to an opinion then, and her opinion is that making peace will be better for Israel. I know; you disagree.

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  7. This is a good example of the increasing gulf between American Jewry (including significant parts of the Orthodox community!) and us here in Israel. The recent PEW report has shown that there is a massive fall-off in Jewish identity among American Jews, leading to large-scale intermarriage. American Jews OVERWHELMINGLY have bought into the American "liberal/progressive" value system. This emphasizes that any sort of "particularism", "nationalism",and "drawing distinctions between people" is abhorrent. In addition, modern American values view the ultimate definition of "freedom" is expressed in the sexual realm, as opposed to things like freedom of speech, the right to eat meat, drink cola the such which are under attack by the same 'liberal/progresives'). At the same time, there is great interest in "spirituality" and New Age philosophies. People like Brous and others like her have plugged into this and are having a certain amount of success in drawing some Jews in by mixing these trends.
    A recent article in Makor Rishon described her congregation and its success but it pointed out that a lot of the members of her congregation come from what the writer defined as "unconventional families". I am not sure what the writer meant, but I assume they mean homosexuals, intermarried couples, perhaps also unofficial polygamous and polyandrous relationships.
    Thus, people like Brous are simply going to be, at best, ambivalent about Zionism, Israel and main-line Orthodox Judaism, because they represent particularism, nationalism, drawing disctinctions between people. Orthodox Judaism emphasizes tzniut, controlling and regulating the sexual urge.
    I once asked a Reform rabbi about what he says about Israel in his congregation. His answer was "they don't want to hear about it". And don't forget that his congregation consists of the minority of American Jews who are affiliated in some way. There are 3 Reconstructionist rabbis in North America who are among the most extreme anti-Israel, anti-Zionist propagandists in that part of the world (Brant Rosen, David Mivasair and Brian Walt).
    The majority are even more alienated.
    This is the reality. We have to understant it. American Jewry is simply going to drift away from Israel and Jewish identity. Even the Birthright/Taglit program which brings unaffiliated young American Jews to Israel and has succeeded in turning at least some of them into enthusiastic Jews and Zionists is having increasing difficulty in recruiting new people.

    What do we do about this?Unfortunately, our Orthodox community is badly divided and in such a condition will have difficulty in providing a real alternative to alienated galut Jewry. I believe the current liberal/progressive American value system is degenarate and destrucitve. I believe the US is in terminal econonic, social and most importantly spritual decline. I believe Orthodox Jews, and particularly the leadership are making a terrible mistake in trying to hitch on to this American bandwagon. We must provice a clear alternative, we must say that we do no accept those values and that the American liberal/progressive system is leading to a dead end.
    At the same time, we have to try to keep links with all Jews so that at least some can be saved. Can we maintain a dialogue with leaders like Brous, or Rosen for the sake of the Jewish people?

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  8. "A recent article in Makor Rishon described her congregation and its success but it pointed out that a lot of the members of her congregation come from what the writer defined as "unconventional families". I am not sure what the writer meant, but I assume they mean homosexuals, intermarried couples, perhaps also unofficial polygamous and polyandrous relationships."

    I heard they do it with donkeys, but I could be wrong.

    Despite your strange sexual theories and over-generalization, there's a lot of truth in what you write. It's ironic, because in America, Orthodox Jewish zionists like to talk about Israel as a beacon of liberal demoractic values, in contradistinction to Israel's nefarious and irrational fundamentalist religious neighbors. Like you say, though, the times are a-changing.

    You'd think that after all we've experienced as a people, "particularism" and "nationalism" would have lost their appeal. I guess it all depends who's on top.

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  9. It would seem to me that her position is that we should get past our "We're the angelic victim, they're the evil perpetrator mentality." Clearly, some aren't ready for that.

    Strawman. Nobody is saying that Israel is perfect.

    I think she said she believes it's possible, not she is 100% certain it's possible.

    Her article indicates the latter. But even if it's the former - what exactly is this "belief" based on, that she's demanding other people to gamble their lives on it?

    strictly speaking the word "and" is a logical conjunction.

    Strictly speaking, you may well be correct. But that's not how her article reads.

    she makes it clear that she views the possibility of Israel not making peace as more problematic for its security than the concessions it might make.... she's entitled to an opinion then, and her opinion is that making peace will be better for Israel.

    But it's more than that. She demands that others gamble their lives. But she gives absolutely no indication that she is remotely sensitive to the risks involved. (She had lunch with Kerry? Whoop-de-do! I had lunch with Peres!) She doesn't even attempt to give any reasons as to why her demand is viable. She gives us nothing other than fluffy messages about the importance of love and compassion and courage.

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  10. I love the expression "Bet on peace" - as with every bet you may win, but you may loose.

    What is the potential "loss" on that bet? we already know that we took such a bet in Oslo over 10 years ago and the cost was thousands of dead, massive damage to the Israeli economy (particularly the tourism sector), and Israel lost a lot of support in the International Community.

    Today the odds of peace are much lower, so why anyone would want to take the same bet with higher potential loss and lower odds is beyond me.

    Maybe the good Rabbi should take her bet to Vegas, instead of betting with the lives of me and my children.

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  11. On one hand, Vlad Lenin, y"sh, had a term for people like this: useful idiots.
    On the other we have to remember that this person is American. America was built through two methods: one was overwhelming force when necessary and the other was negotiation. Americans love to negotiate. They solve so many problems by sitting down, hammering out deals and compromising. If anything the bipartisan behaviour of the government in the last few presidential terms is a departure from this American style.
    So when they look at the Middle East they don't see an intractable foe bent on destroying Israel no matter what. They see two sides and figure that if there's just enough negotiation and compromise there will be a deal. They can't conceive that this is a non-starter.

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  12. Michael Sedley wrote,"Today the odds of peace are much lower, so why anyone would want to take the same bet with higher potential loss and lower odds is beyond me."

    Most gamblers delude themselves, no matter how many times that they've lost, that they can win back their losses if they continue gambling.

    What is unfortunate is that there is not a single political party left in Israel that can come out directly against a Palestinian state--even though they know full well that it will compromise Israel's security.

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  13. Rabbi Slifkin your piece echoes similar sentiments once said by G.K. Chesterton about George Bernard Shaw. "he has a heroically large and generous heart; but not a heart in the right place"

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  14. ""We're the angelic victim, they're the evil perpetrator mentality." Clearly, some aren't ready for that. "

    Well, aren't you special for being one of the select few who are "ready" for that. For my part, I prefer to continue to consider a three-month old whose head has been sawn off as an angelic victim, and the perpetrator of that act as evil. Some people clearly aren't ready to admit that there is both purity and evil in this world, and that which side falls where in Israel is pretty clear.

    "AIPAC to work against the peace process"

    Halevai AIPAC worked against the peace process. You've really bought into all the tropes, haven't you?

    "Do we hold title to the land because we continued to comprise 5% of the population for hundreds of years?"

    No, we hold title because God gave us the whole land in perpetuity, and has stated that He wants us to be sovereign in it. Do you dispute that point?

    "You'd think that after all we've experienced as a people, "particularism" and "nationalism" would have lost their appeal."

    Yes, being liberal internationalists really helped defend us against Nazis and Communists. And I guess anyone's allowed to be "nationalist" so long as they belong to the right groups, eh? Are you similarly opposed to Palestinian nationalism? Somehow I doubt it.

    "it all depends who's on top."

    Considering your defense of sexual immorality (or, to be precise, your blithe dismissal of those opposed to it), I must keep from making the obvious joke.

    "America was built through two methods: one was overwhelming force when necessary and the other was negotiation."

    Americans like to think that negotiation has gotten them places. I don't think they've ever won a single war because of it.

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  15. You should write more posts along these lines.

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  16. Wishing, hoping, and praying for peace is the Hallmark of the Jewish people.
    We pray for peace more then we pray for sustenance as laid out in our siddurs.

    The more our Leaders and Rabbis advocate for peace, the less our enemies will be able to criticized us.

    Rabbi Sharon Brous has no negotiating power per se, and we all are aware that peace is for the Palestinians to gain or to lose.
    It is all up to them. We can have peace before the end of the day if the Palestinians really want peace.

    We have nothing to fear, for our leaders will not put our people in harms way.
    Israel has faced far greater pressures before and has triumphed through them all.

    As for our female Rabbis, they put their male counterparts to shame. If you don't believe me, compare and see for yourselves.
    Rabbi Sharon Brous has earned and deserves the respect to be addressed as Rabbi. Her being a woman and non-orthodox does not diminish her status not one iota.
    You can Google her name to see the achievements she has made as Rabbi. She truly out shines them all.

    Perhaps when praying for peace we should include it for all nations as well as for the people of Israel.
    If our enemies were endowed with a Godly peace would they not wish to continue to remain so and therefore refrain from hostilities and become civilized and content with peace. Because prayer works, it is a worthy attempt.
    o

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  17. Strawman. Nobody is saying that Israel is perfect.

    You said, "Gordis was criticizing her for failing to clearly articulate that Gaza was at fault, and for failing to demonstrate more empathy for the innocent lives lost amongst her own people than for the lives of the enemy."

    When your wish is for her to assign blame and consider one side "the enemy" then you're asking her to think using your angel/devil paradigm.

    Her article indicates the latter. But even if it's the former - what exactly is this "belief" based on, that she's demanding other people to gamble their lives on it?

    Not sure where in the article you see that. In any case, you have a fair question but not a fair criticism. That she didn't decide to focus her op-ed piece on your question is more than reasonable.

    But she gives absolutely no indication that she is remotely sensitive to the risks involved."

    Again, I'm not sure she has to focus her op-ed on the topic of your choice. The risks she does mention are Israel's marginalization which has begun and will only accelerate if and when the peace talks fail. You may believe in some imagined terrorist nightmare scenario if the Palestinians have a state; obviously she disagrees. I'm not sure she's required to get into that discussion in her piece. Maybe you can send her a list of recommendations for future pieces?

    (She had lunch with Kerry? Whoop-de-do! I had lunch with Peres!)

    The fact that she discussed the process with Kerry is very related to her op-ed. You're letting your personal anger color your judgement. It would be like my accusing you now of being egotistical, mentioning your lunch with Peres.

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  18. There are many movements within Judaism that see it as "just a religion" and not a nation and people connected to its land.

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  19. "For my part, I prefer to continue to consider a three-month old whose head has been sawn off as an angelic victim, and the perpetrator of that act as evil. Some people clearly aren't ready to admit that there is both purity and evil in this world, and that which side falls where in Israel is pretty clear."

    Okay, and they'll continue to see the perpetrators of civilian massacres in Deir Yassin, Qibya, Abu Shusha, Al-Dawayima, Safsaf, Kafr Qasim, Khan Yunis, Hebron, and a dozen other location as evil. But don't worry, you can consider yourself pure if you'd like.

    The Brigade commander in the Kafr Qasim massacre was ordered to pay ten prutos for his massacre. I suspect you put a similar value on the life of a Palestinian.

    "No, we hold title because God gave us the whole land in perpetuity, and has stated that He wants us to be sovereign in it. Do you dispute that point?"

    No; it's a great religious belief. Keep fighting, jihadi.

    "Yes, being liberal internationalists really helped defend us against Nazis and Communists."

    No, but a world of nationalism and colonization exposed us to nazism.

    "And I guess anyone's allowed to be "nationalist" so long as they belong to the right groups, eh? Are you similarly opposed to Palestinian nationalism? Somehow I doubt it.""

    To the extent that either infringes upon the other, I'm opposed to both.

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  20. "I'm sure that Rabbi Brous is a much nicer person than me. I'm sure that she does a lot of very valuable work. I'm sure that she is a deeply compassionate Jew with the best of intentions."

    I'm sure she's not a nice person at all. She's narcissistic and self-important. I'm sure she is not deeply compassionate at all. I'm sure in her heart of hearts she is fairly detached, emotionally, from the fate of her fellow Jews in Israel.

    She just wants to look like somebody who is important. She wants to curry favor with a certain kind of pseudo-intellectual mildly anti-Semitic elite -- the people who run the NY Times, Harvard, the White House, et al. She may have political ambitions, or maybe she wants to be invited onto the Sunday talk shows as the official Jew du jour. They're always looking for Jews who are willing to throw their fellow Jews to the wolves.

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  21. When your wish is for her to assign blame and consider one side "the enemy" then you're asking her to think using your angel/devil paradigm.

    My goodness. So for you the only thing that's acceptable is an equal assignment of blame. Anything else is an unacceptable "angelic victim vs. evil perpetrator mentality"

    I'm not sure she has to focus her op-ed on the topic of your choice.

    If her op-ed is a demand for other people to risk their lives, then she ought to demonstrate that she understands what she is asking people to risk, and why it makes sense for them to risk it.

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  22. Sleepless in SeattleFebruary 16, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    There's also Brous' comments after the MaviMara incident, when she called on people to mourn the tragic loss of life (http://www.jewishjournal.com/flotilla_crisis/article/a_narrowing_of_heart_and_mind_the_american_jewish_response_to_the_flotilla_/). Usually, when you manage to kill terrorists trying to hurt you, you are not expected to mourn the tragic loss of life!

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  23. You may believe in some imagined terrorist nightmare scenario if the Palestinians have a state;

    the last time the palestinians had an election they voted for the genocidal hamas.

    until the palestinians go through an extensive de-nazification program as did the germans any land concessions will be throwing petrol on the flames.

    this is a palestinian interest just as much an israeli one. when the palestinians tried to push the jews in the sea in 1948 it did not work out very well for them did it.

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  24. "I didn't get that sense at all, although it would make sense as there's no Palestinian AIPAC to work against the peace process. "

    I don't know how you could possibly say there is no Palestinian movement working against the peace process, when there is an unprecedented effort to demonize and punish and ostracize one party CURRENTLY ENGAGED IN NEGOTIATIONS for supposedly oppressing the other side. How can you claim a country refuses to end an occupation, when it is in talks to do just that. Unless you want those talks to fail...


    The BDS movement and all the European MPs in their hand have also clearly written off any peace process. Even more so than AIPAC, I would say.

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  25. My own opinion is that anybody who says ` Pressure Israel, a friend would do that` should put their money where there mouth is and live there, face the consequences . I`m afraid that our country will have some very painful choices to make soon.

    On a side issue, I remember reading, back in the second intifada, when bombs were going off everywhere, a group of Americans did just that. They went on their own, despite everything, and visited israel in those dangerous times. That was real friendship.

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  26. Shimon said, "Okay, and they'll continue to see the perpetrators of civilian massacres in Deir Yassin, Qibya, Abu Shusha, Al-Dawayima, Safsaf, Kafr Qasim, Khan Yunis, Hebron, and a dozen other location as evil."

    Well, at least we don't name streets and institutions after the people who committed those massacres.

    Every concession we have made so far in this "peace process" has only made the Arabs more belligerent. Why should giving them 40% of our land and 50% of our water finally make them peaceful?

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  27. Shimon,
    If not for "Palestinian" nationalism, there would be absolutely zero impetus to change anything about the status quo. The whole notion of giving an arab ethnicity statehood within territories possesed by Israel and/or subsequently lent to the sovereign control of the terrorist PLO organization imported from Tunisia, is based on the premise of nationalism, and in particular, "Palestinian" nationalism which is laregly an invention of the 1960's and 70's but retains its nazi and antisemitic origins from the Mufti Husseini. So by supporting this process you are in essence declaring allegiance to "P" nationalism. Considering how racist and hateful this brand of nationalism is against Jews, it's extremely sickening that you would support it. You are supporting a new holocaust.
    Since despite your claims you do accept some forms of nationalism (but not the Jewish variety), let's do a moral assessment. Your claim is that "Palestinian" nationalism is justified and good while Israeli/Jewish nationalism is evil and something to discard. I accept the premise that some forms of nationalism are good or acceptable and some are not. Those based on nazism are evil. The Jewish nationalism is not racist or hateful (neither is today's american or french nationalism IMO) and therefore not objectionable. Meanwhile "palestinian" nationalism is racist, hateful, murderous, evil and of origins in nazism. A sane morality easily determines which nationalism in this equation should be outright rejected.
    You are on the wrong side of history and the amazing thing is that you think you are standing up for justice.

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  28. She demonstrates well what happens when Western values are allowed to trump true Torah values. At least to the extent that Western values are understood to demand the application of democracy at all costs even when the result will be the destruction of Israel.

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  29. Shimon, you forgot to mention Baruch Goldstein. Everyone always mentions Baruch Goldstein whenever Itamar comes up, very neglectful of you.

    A citizen of the United States, which just spent over 10 years in several foreign countries, fighting wars with no clear objective, and killing civilians with little compunction, has no business lecturing us on moral equivalency.

    Deir Yassin, oh please. Take any Western country and open its history books anywhere at random, and you will see the blood that was shed in their founding. Your own included.

    If Israel wanted this problem to go away, if we were to act like any other country in the history of the world, EVER, with a clear and present threat to our citizens, and the power to make it go away, do you know what we would do?

    It would take about half a day.

    Please stop accusing us doing the things that other nations would do if they were in our place. We are not doing them. The Jewish People prefer to take casualties than to destroy lives that threaten us. And not because we care what you think, or what anyone else thinks.

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  30. This piece raises many important questions as to how the Orthodox/religious community, particularly here in Israel, should relate to non-Orthodox Jews in America.
    First, it is important to recall what I stated above...that American Jews overwhelmingly identify with the modern American "liberal/progressive" value system. As I said, it is anti-nationalist, anti-particularlist, anti-ideological, universalist, opposes any distinctions between people, and is non-judgmental. Most Americans, including many who consider themselves part of a specific religion, reject any concept of demands being made of them. Everything has to be optional. A Jew may find it "meaningful" to eat only kosher food, but the idea that it is "prohibited" is alien to them.
    A good example was an article which said a Muslim in an Oregon High School was convincing Christian students to perform the Ramadan fast by using the argument that "it allows one to identify with the hungry and oppressed people around the world". Of course, that is not the reason Muhammed gave, and it was not the real movitve the one who was doing the persuading really had, actually it was a divine injunction as Islam teaches it, but I doubt any of the Christiand students would have responded to that.
    Brous is no doubt tuned into this thinking and is succeeding in getting at least a few alienated Jews interested on this basis. The problem is that this is not how we really view the Torah. So how should we relate to this? Do we say "Yes, we should conduct dialogue with her and her followers in order to give them some link, however tenuous, with the Torah, the Jewish people and Eretz Israel, or do we make clear the differences we have with this approach and avoid contact with these people"?
    Do we present Torah in a "me too" mode in order to draw people in, or do we present "authenticity" as a alternative, pointing out that the Torah opposes many (but not all) of the values of the modern American "liberal/progressive" agenda?

    All I can say is that regarding myself, when I was growing up in a Conservative Jewish environment in California in the 1960's and 1970's, I always felt at odds with the dominant surrounding culture, I felt alienated from the "lowest common denominator" Judaism I found in our Conservative congregation and I was searching for "authenticity" which I found among Orthodox Jews.
    However, I don't know if this is how other Jews relate to things.
    What is the answer?

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  31. Kadish Goldberg said Dear Rabbi Slifkin,

    Every day that a Rationalist blog appears is, for me and many others who are fed up with much of what is considered “Torah-true Judaism”, a day of joy.

    Having studied Torah U’Mada at YU and liberal studies at Tulane (New Orleans), and having grown up in the pre-ultranationalist Bnei Akiva- Hashomer Hadati of the ‘40’s and ‘50” - then informed not by Mercaz Harav messianic dreams but by pragmatic Torah Va’Avoda ideology - I am extremely disturbed by the distortions of Torah thought and life perpetrated by our Gedoilim and their askonim.

    It’s a refreshing relief to find someone with the competence and gumption to take on those who misrepresent true Judaism
    .
    The blog on Rabbi Brous, however, left me somewhat uncomfortable. (By the way, even though I am an Orthodox Jew, I applaud your courageous decision to refer to her as Rabbi Brous. You’ll probably get it on the head for that, too, but derech eretz kodma l’Torah, and it’s not for us to decide for others whom they accept as their religious mentors).

    I know that it’s very difficult to draw a clear line between political and religious views. Is settlement in Yesha a political or a religious issue? Depends on whom you ask.

    But even so, I would suggest that your critique of Rabbi Brous’s article leans strongly towards the political. You are certainly entitled to your political reading of current issues – but I would hope that your blog would continue to deal with more clearly religious issues.

    As to the content of your critique. There’s much truth in many of your statements, but I would suggest that what is valid criticism for Rabbi Brous is just as valid for her ideological opponents. Let’s replace “Rabbi Brous” with “Israeli right-wing politicians and ideologues”, and change some positives to negatives.
    Then we would have:

    Yet how on earth are they [right-wing ideologues and politicians] so sure that peace is impossible? Surely from an objective standpoint, one has to be at least open to the possibility that peace is possible.


    They certainly have no grounds to know that peace is impossible. What they offer instead is their "belief" that it is impossible. Faith like this means refusing to ever accept the fact of possibility. In practical terms, this means putting no limits on the pressure that must be exerted upon Israel.

    I would make another change in the second paraphrase. The right wing – especially the religious right wing – does not “believe” -- it “knows”. It is this ideological infallibility (which you so eloquently attack in your anti Ultra-Orthodox blogs) which, together with Palestinian inflexibility on some issues, may well lead to total impasse and possible shattering of the Zionist dream.

    You close your article with the following reference to Rabbi Brous:
    But there comes a point where someone is so disconnected from reality, so lacking in self-awareness of how their words are offensive to others, so presumptuous in their declarations, and so refusing to face up to harmful consequences of their positions, that their good heart leads to very bad consequences.

    May I suggest that these words of wisdom are no less applicable to Israel’s current leaders . They are even more applicable – because their decisions have life and death ramifications.

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  32. Kadish Goldberg said, "What they offer instead is their "belief" that it is impossible. Faith like this means refusing to ever accept the fact of possibility."

    This is not "faith", or "belief", but an empirical fact. Evelyn Gordon of the Jerusalem Post once wrote, "For the Palestinians, 'no' means 'no'. For the Israelis, 'no' means 'not now'"--i.e., eventually, Israel will cave into the pressure and make the "painful concessions" (after thoroughly brainwashing the Israeli public that they're taking a chance for peace), while the Palestinians have not budged on a single issue. Every concession of ours has not led to peace, but only to more pressure for a further concession.

    It is impossible to have peace in the present scenario, until we see some concrete concessions on the Palestinian side.

    Furthermore, this is not only a political issue, but a halachic one as well, with pikuach nefesh ramifications.

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  33. You're spending time reckoning with a reform woman rabbi? It's your blog, but, I mean, a twelve year old could have written this. I come here to read intelligent and informative Torah-based articles on rationalist Judaism, not attacks on semi-literate liberals. That's just a waste of time.

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  34. > May I suggest that these words of wisdom are no less applicable to Israel’s current leaders . They are even more applicable – because their decisions have life and death ramifications.

    I think we have a problem when an educated Torah Jew buys into the "Israel's leaders are intransigent right-wing fanatics" narrative.

    Since we're on a blog called "Rationalist Judaism", let me ask: Do you have any evidence of this?

    Because in reality, they are discussing throwing 40,000 people out of their homes, as a serious option.

    I am not going to say my opinion if such an action can potentially be justified based on the overall gain to the nation, but we should consider the weight of an act like that. If it were a natural disaster that destroyed 40,000 homes in Israel, it would be considered horrific. And our leadership is contemplating it seriously because there is a possibility that the cost is worth it.

    And it is them that you're calling "presumptuous" and "intransigent"?

    Or perhaps those are the ones that oppose such actions, and believe that it would be ridiculous to pay such a price for so little potential gain? As if their opinion is not supported by any evidence or recent history ?! ...

    This blog is about intellectual honesty in all things related to the Jewish People.

    And intellectual honesty demands that the complexity of the situation be given its proper place and full weight.

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  35. Temujin would like to opine that many inadvertently accept the language and mythology of the opposition. It doesn't help when Zionists, friends of Israel, pro-Israel organizations and even the Israeli government itself does this. Things like, the concocted nationality of "Palestinians," the Jordanian term "West Bank" or the legally fictitious and politically biased "Occupied Territories."

    Debating the usual "narratives" with fellows like Shimon is pointless unless it's to illustrate their falsehoods to people who matter. But if they must be debated, a slam-dunk with facts is the better way. Thus:

    "Do we hold title to the land because we continued to comprise 5% of the population for hundreds of years?"

    To a loaded question like this a simple "yes" should suffice. Alas, many Jews need the reminder that Israel holds title to the land because, well, come on, let's not be shy, God deeded it to the Jews. If they won't accept it, on what basis to they accept their Jewishness and so, what gives them the right to lecture to "real Jews"? But a quick answer for our secular times, the shutter-upper, would be that Israel holds a clear, legal and never abrogated title to its land which includes all of Judea and Samaria. It's a legal deed enshrined in the still valid treaty of San Remo. Google it. End of discussion.

    "Okay, and they'll continue to see the perpetrators of civilian massacres in Deir Yassin, Qibya, Abu Shusha, Al-Dawayima, Safsaf, Kafr Qasim, Khan Yunis, Hebron, and a dozen other location as evil." A common attempt to justify popular Arab hatred and open support for murder of Jews. The dears are upset and a tad vengeful. Here we are asked to believe that dubious claims of massacres sixty or more years ago matter to Arabs in the midst of recent and ongoing Muslim-on-Muslim carnage. Shimon's is a much-used copied and pasted list of disputed and outright manufactured claims which he thought needs to be topped with the charge of "dozens of others" to lend it credibility. There is no point in discussing this topic with people like that and "evidence" like that.

    In short, given the deluge of political neologisms, lies and propaganda, one should never accept an established or new word, a charge or a claim unless it's been proven by sources we deem credible. Just a few remembered points from the hasbarah days long ago in one's past.

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  36. Well, at least we don't name streets and institutions after the people who committed those massacres.

    "Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat… First and foremost, terrorism is for us a part of the political battle being conducted under the present circumstances, and it has a great part to play… in our war against the occupier."

    - Yitzhak Shamir, democratically elected prime-minister of the state of Israel, leader of the terrorist group Lehi who count Deir Yassin among their many acts of terror, and architect of the assassinations of Lord Moyne and Folke Bernadotte (who, by the way, saved Jews during the Holocaust while lehi offered to fight FOR the nazis).

    Who else don't we celebrate?

    Ariel Sharon, democratically elected prime-minister of Israel, founder and commander of unit 101 which conducted terrorist reprisal raids, including the Qibya massacre.

    Menachem Begin, democratically elected prime-minister of Israel, as leader of the terrorist group Irgun ordered the bombing of the King David hotel. See here for a list of the numerous irgun terror attacks:

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

    The IDF awards ribbons to members of both Lehi and Etzel (Irgun), for their service, but of course we don't celebrate terror.

    We don't name streets "Lehi?" Simply wrong.

    Sorry for not responding earlier to each person. The bottom line is that now that we control the land and have fighter jets equipped with laser-guided missiles, it's easy for us to target individuals (with more or less care as to who else might get hurt) and feel some moral superiority villifying "terrorists." When times were different, there were plenty of terrorists among us.

    R' Slifkin,

    See above. Also see numerous academic works on the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (not the stories we were taught in elementary school). Not blaming the Palestinians has nothing to do with an inability to assign blame, it has to do with the fact that there's more than enough blame to go around. If you happened to be born a Palestinian you would be worrying my inability to assign blame entirely on the Israelis.

    Kira,

    It's not a contest; both the US and Israel can have stupid wars. And yes, many countries were founded with blood and genocide; you'll have to excuse some people for trying to end that. Fortunately, it's much less acceptable these days. Finally, you're right that Israel could kill off the Palestinians quickly, but let's not pretend it's (only) their conscience which prevents them.





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  37. Shimon says, We don't name streets "Lehi?"

    One should hope there are streets in Israel named after some of its heroes. The ever-historically sensitive Temujin has an old, cracked leather jacket with a huge self-painted white-on-blue LEHI ("Stern Gang")sign on the back. It's a guaranteed ice-breaker, a conversation starter; divides the sheep from the goats, as it were.

    Shimon, don't bother with the rest. The issue here and now is not about battling versions of history as post-historical "narratives," but why so many Jews are collaborating with antisemites and current political forces bent on weakening or destroying Israel by further chopping up its already partially occupied and reduced homeland. There is no middle road, no "honest broker" in this latest battle for Jewish survival. You've chosen sides, others have chosen theirs.

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  38. There is a street named "LEHI" in the town in I live in which is a suburb of Tel Aviv.

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  39. "One should hope there are streets in Israel named after some of its heroes. The ever-historically sensitive Temujin has an old, cracked leather jacket with a huge self-painted white-on-blue LEHI ("Stern Gang")sign on the back."

    Agreed; one man's terrorist is another country's prime-minister. Your writing style, which I like, reminds me of some character in a sci-fi book I can't remember. Any idea?

    "The issue here and now is not about battling versions of history as post-historical "narratives," but why so many Jews are collaborating with antisemites and current political forces bent on weakening or destroying Israel by further chopping up its already partially occupied and reduced homeland. "

    Again, I mostly agree with you. Rehashing the past is counterproductive. It's only that when a liberal says it, some people start insisting on some requirement that they first assign blame. If, as a lehi-lover, you say it, that's fine. On the flip side, enough historical knowledge is necessary to know that the second half of your paragraph is utter nonsense and that if Israel were to give away the entire West Bank and Gaza, which it won't, it would still be sitting on 78% of what the UN originally alloted it.

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  40. "it would still be sitting on 78% of what the UN originally alloted it."

    Sorry, that should read 78% of the entire territory the UN partitioned, leaving, at a very unlikely maximum, 22% for the Palestinians.

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  41. Agreed; one man's terrorist is another country's prime-minister.

    No, not agreed.

    Your writing style, which I like, reminds me of some character in a sci-fi book I can't remember. Any idea?

    One is flattered, but no, no clue. Dr Schweitzer's Garnel Ironheart is taken. Temujin is a Dunie and is partial to Paul Atreides, Mu'ad Dib, ruler of Arakis and later the known Universe.

    "...if Israel were to give away the entire West Bank and Gaza, which it won't, it would still be sitting on 78% of what the UN originally alloted it."

    Makes no sense. The UN didn't allot anything: San Remo did and the UN has never abrogated that document. Israel surrendered what is now "Jordan," foolishly gave away Gaza and is trying to negotiate over Judea and Samaria...which you of course call it by its Arab moniker...to which it has full title. How many "Palestinian" states do the Arabs need before they stop killing Jews?

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  42. Putting up a white flag is not securing the peace.

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  43. Temujin asks, "How many "Palestinian" states do the Arabs need before they stop killing Jews?"

    If we consult the premise of "Palestinian" nationalism, the answer is: As many states as the Arabs deem necessary to enable them to finish killing the Jews (and achieve erasing Jewish statehood from the middle east). That is the goal of a "Palestinian" state, no matter what the reform woman rabbis of the world tell us.

    And on those grounds, the "peace process" should be opposed in every possible way by someone with an ounce of human decency and/or a Jew with an ounce of self-respect.

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  44. Makes no sense. The UN didn't allot anything: San Remo did and the UN has never abrogated that document. Israel surrendered what is now "Jordan," foolishly gave away Gaza and is trying to negotiate over Judea and Samaria...which you of course call it by its Arab moniker...to which it has full title. How many "Palestinian" states do the Arabs need before they stop killing Jews?

    Temujin, have you considered that some of the things that you oppose as left-wing idealist fantasy, might be considered reasonable from a realist perspective? And that possibly you also are succumbing to a religious ideology that is also divorced from reality, but in different ways than the left-wing.

    To take Gaza, as an example, what realist purpose is served by trying to support small civilian settlements in a sea of enemy territory? Did Sharon suddenly become a left-wing ideologue, or did he realize that no purpose was being served by trying to "settle" the area. And that supporting these settlements at great cost of Jewish money, sweat and blood might simply not be worth it.

    If your goal is to "re-establish" a unified Jewish state based on a specific set of borders determined by rules that you infer based on ancient texts, then it makes some sense to try to do so despite that fact that the territory will then be minority Jewish (or despite the fact that changing this fact would require an ethnic cleansing, if you are "ideological" enough). But understand that you are being driven by ideology, not practicality.

    If on the other hand, you are looking to establish a Jewish state with some ideal combination of security and freedom, then you realize a number of constraints:

    1) You need to pick your battles.

    2) In the long run, you are a small island 6 million Jews among large sea of non-Jews measured in 100's of millions. Basing your long term strategy on an assumption of continued military superiority over the course of the next hundreds of years, is a strategy with real risk that needs to be managed.

    3) I think that everyone agrees that the separation fences seem to be having a very good effect on security. Yet there are over 1.5 million Israeli Arab citizens living inside those fences. Can you draw any conclusions from this fact?

    4) It is well established that as populations become more affluent and educated, their birth rates go down. Given the potential, demographic threat, this must be a consideration in how the Arab population is incorporated into society.

    I think that the fact that you make a big deal about the names by which various territories are described indicates a possible over-emphasis on ideology over realism.

    BTW, I'm not in any way condoning efforts on the part of American Jews to induce the US government to pressure Israel into "taking risks". This is something that should be driven by Israeli domestic decisions, IMO. However, I do believe that that there is truly no "risk-free" strategy here, and that not all those who favor some form of settlement over the West Bank have their heads in clouds, while some of the "hardline" right-wing need to come back down from the Pardes to the real world.

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  45. And on those grounds, the "peace process" should be opposed in every possible way by someone with an ounce of human decency and/or a Jew with an ounce of self-respect.

    Student V, it is possible to have an ounce of human decency and still think that the indefinite subjugation of a group of people under a foreign government, with no voting rights, is factor to consider from both a practical and moral standpoint. And that removing that situation would be desirable if it did not severely impair the Israel's security or might even help.

    If your answer is no, could one have an ounce of human decency and consider that there is at last a factual and strategic question to discussed, or is that also outside the realm of discourse for decent human beings.

    If not, did Begin have a ounce of human decency? Sharon? Rabin? Rav Ovadia Yosef? None of them?

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  46. "The UN didn't allot anything: San Remo did and the UN has never abrogated that document. Israel surrendered what is now "Jordan," foolishly gave away Gaza and is trying to negotiate over Judea and Samaria...which you of course call it by its Arab moniker...to which it has full title."

    One apologizes as apparently the great Temujin takes greater pleasure in historical fiction than science fiction.

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    Replies
    1. Shimon between 1948 and 1967 what is now referred to as the West Bank was a part of Jordan. And there was no one calling for an end to "the occupation". This is historical fact not fiction. Actually there were people calling and fighting for an end to the occupation: the occupation by 1948 Israel.

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  47. David Ohsie-

    You said: "To take Gaza, as an example, what realist purpose is served by trying to support small civilian settlements in a sea of enemy territory?".

    What do you think the state of Israel is? A small settlement of Jews smack dab in the middle of the Muslim Middle East. What do you think the pre-state Yishuv was? A small group of Jewish settlements inside a sea of Arabs. How did Tel Aviv start? A small Jewish enclave outside of large Arab Yafo. At the time of independence, Jews were only 1/3 of the population of British Palestine. The idea, when Sharon and Rabin first supported Gush Katif, was that it would eventually blossom into a large Jewish community, just like Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. That is the whole idea of Zionism, building up something wonderful from small beginnings.

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  48. Even if I were convinced that we have committed atrocities against the Palestinians, and therefore to rectify the situation, we "must" give them statehood--can someone explain to me: why should there be such a spike in Arab terror since Oslo, when we finally have formally agreed to some form of Palestinian state?
    If after "Gaza and Jericho first", there weren't buses exploding in all our major cities, the plan was to cede all of Judea and Samaria within something like five years.

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  49. I'm truly saddened by this conversation. It is a disgusting display of religious fanaticism, and on a blog that claims rationalism as an ideal.

    You justifiably ridicule haredi fundamentalism and anti-rationalism. Yet your attitude towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is filled with the same logical errors, emotional, us vs them thinking and outright immorality. The only difference is that the outcome of their beliefs are banned books. The outcome of yours is a lot worse.

    Hopefully I will forget this post was ever written.

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  50. Yes indeed, David O, Temujin has run the full spectrum of positions, as many of his friends have through the years of hope, fantasies and the Oslo farce. And then, reality came back in the form of blown-up discos and the return of global antisemitism, this time led by the Left.

    One has to say it; so, what can we learn from that? That situations change. Demographics change, economies rise and collapse, political alliances reshuffle, the future is open to many possibilities. And yet not only Israel, but Jews in the Galut as well are again being urged to commit to dead and deadly ideas which seemed realistic in the 70s and 80s and which people still peddle as if they are viable. Jews are again asked to dismiss their internationally established rights, to not even mention them "for the sake of peace" and to accept the harmful assessments, the biased language and deadly advice of a World which would like to see Israel go away.

    None of the familiar warnings and dire projections about Arab demographics, the costs of holding onto disputed territories, issues of citizenship and so on are worth a farthing anymore. They have failed once, twice, thrice...how many times? Based on scare-mongering, iffy theories from dubious sources, unrealistic and doctored population numbers and estimates and sloppy, simplistic trajectories.

    Look at how radically the situation has changed; the oil glut is over, the attempt to stop the West from developing its own fossil fuel reserves is flopping, Israel sits on top of fabulous energy resources. Meanwhile, the Islamic world has squandered its wealth on wars and shiny baubles and is running out of funds. Europe and the West will not support this artificial "palestinianism," nor put its rights ahead of others forever. It will not be able to do so financially, as money is tight and not politically, as it's of decreasing benefit. The oil sheikhs and the modern version of Muslim corsairs threatening the energy routes are becoming less relevant by the day. It is this reality that is behind the panicked rush right now to force Israel to give away land again, to end its strategic depth, to ignore its rights as a nation state, and as if we were all back in the stupid 70s, 80s and 90s, to sign utterly useless peace deals with pretend governments. Under such conditions, do you think it wrong for some to caution the Israeli government about negotiating and giving away Jewish-owned land which belong to the entire Jewish people for nothing? Land which will determine Israel's long-term strategic, economic and demographic future and from the wider perspective, land which will ensure a viable Israel whose state of health "coincides" with how Jews are treated throughout the world?

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  51. shimon

    if you watch this video, you may learn something about san remo and international law

    http://bbcwatch.org/2013/11/23/dr-jacques-gauthier-the-jewish-claim-to-jerusalem-the-case-under-international-law/

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  52. This is not Rabbi Slifkin's finest or fairest piece.
    Apparently, Rabbi Sharon Brous has committed the sin of thinking that peace is possible between Israel and the Palestinians, to which Rabbi Slifkin argues that she has "no grounds" to "know" that it is. He suggests that the evidence points to a "very likely scenario" that peace is not possible. OK. But "very likely" is not impossible. Therefore, Rabbi Brous must be granted her possibility.
    Rabbi Slifkin then makes much of her "blithe talk" about betting on peace. Maybe I missed it, but the only talk I can recall in her article about betting is in the title to the piece, and that is a reference to a line from John Kerry.
    And the there is "disconnected from reality," "lacking in self-awareness," and "presumptious." My goodnesss, talk about lack of evidence. I seem to recall a kinder, gentler Rabbi Slifkin pointing out how others should be mindful of the words they use.
    Full disclosure, I have never shared a meal with Sharon Brous (or John Kerry, Shimon Peres or Natan Slifkin, for that matter). But she is a good and decent rabbi (notwithstanding those who think her chromosomes disqualify her) who is taking a stand on principle for peace. I may not agree with her evaluation, and I agree with the sentiments expressed that those who live in Israel, not those thousands of miles away, must make the crucial decisions for the future. Nevertheless, she deserves better in this forum.

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  53. I'm truly saddened by this conversation. It is a disgusting display of religious fanaticism, and on a blog that claims rationalism as an ideal.
    You justifiably ridicule haredi fundamentalism and anti-rationalism. Yet your attitude towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is filled with the same logical errors, emotional, us vs them thinking and outright immorality.


    I'm sorry that this post made you sad. But if rational discourse is important to you, then surely you realize that merely asserting that something is is illogical and immoral does not make it so. If you would like to offer some arguments to back up your accusations, please go ahead and do so.

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  54. But "very likely" is not impossible. Therefore, Rabbi Brous must be granted her possibility.

    She wasn't using the word "possible" in the sense of "possible but not certain." She was using it in the sense of "attainable." To which my response is, What makes her so sure? How can she insist that if this does not happen, that it's Israel's fault?

    the only talk I can recall in her article about betting is in the title to the piece

    The title is the most significant sentence in an article.

    And the there is "disconnected from reality," "lacking in self-awareness," and "presumptious." My goodnesss, talk about lack of evidence.

    I presented evidence for all those charges!

    But she is a good and decent rabbi (notwithstanding those who think her chromosomes disqualify her) who is taking a stand on principle for peace

    I never said otherwise. My objection is that her stand is illogical and presumptuous to the point of gross insensitivity.

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  55. The title is the most significant sentence in an article.

    It is best to tread cautiously here. Headlines are most often not written by the writer of the article, but by a headline writer. I don't know how it works with a JTA op-ed, but as a general rule, you can't hold the writer responsible for the headline.

    This is not a defense of her article.

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  56. "Shimon between 1948 and 1967 what is now referred to as the West Bank was a part of Jordan. And there was no one calling for an end to "the occupation". This is historical fact not fiction."

    First, that's not entirely correct.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-Palestine_Government

    Second, surrounding Arab countries each preferred to take the land themselves and Palestinians didn't live in an environment where they felt they could work for autonomy, what does that prove?

    Third, eventually Palestinians did seek autonomy in Jordan, leading to civil war.

    Fourth, and most importantly, all this talk of Palestinians not wanting independence and Israel having legal right to the land (aside from simply being factually incorrect) misses the main point:

    IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO RULE OVER ANOTHER PEOPLE WITHOUT GRANTING THEM RIGHTS IN THE MODERN WORLD.

    You want the land? You may very well get it, but you'll be getting people along with it.

    Ah, but we're too smart for that, aren't we? So we play this game: It's not ours, but it's not theirs. It's "disputed." Ours to build on. Ours to take natural resources. Ours to use as a military training ground. Theirs to "administer" as we see fit. As Shlomo hamelech said, "אַל-תִּתְחַכַּם יוֹתֵר: לָמָּה, תִּשּׁוֹמֵם." One day our games will catch up with us.

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  57. Temujin, back then, I was younger and even more right-wing (as I've mentioned, I'm only a lefty in a forum like this) and was not expecting anything good from Oslo. Oslo definitely proved something. But arguing by analogy only gets you so far.

    There is and was a cautious conservative realist case to strengthen the borders of contiguous Israeli land with a supermajority of Jews. Gaza, in retrospect, was simply was never worth it. This is what Sharon eventually came around to. And despite the fact that a lot of international politics is driven by anti-semitism, international politics does matter. This is why Begin settled with Egypt (although there are pie-in-the-sky idealists that will tell that this was a mistake).

    It turns out that in the modern day and age, it is not acceptable to keep a population against its will as a subordinate territory without political rights. The West Bank is considered occupied territory because it is a territory and it is occupied by Israel against the will of its inhabitants. Israel has a colorable argument about Jerusalem and the Golan, because Israel annexed those territories to Israel and offered citizenship to all the occupants, but not the rest of the West Bank. If Israel needs to hold all that territory for security, then the occupation is a necessary evil. If we are holding it because the whole land is "ours" and the inhabitants just have to "suck it up", then we've jumped off the realist bandwagon, and then the rest of the world is justified in its skepticism, even if you eliminated all the anti-semitism (which I agree is impossible).

    To repeat myself, I don't think any of this justified American Jews lobbying Washington to pressure Israel to "take risks".

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  58. David Ohsie-
    The Oslo Agreements gave the Arab population of Judea/Samaria/Gaza autonomy. They are not living "without political rights". Just remember the people of Washington DC, Guam, Puerto Rico also are part of the United States yet have no vote for Congress, and none had a vote for President until 1960 when the District of Columbia got it, but the others I mention still have no vote for President.
    Yes, the Arabs in Judea/Samaria/Gaza resent what power we still have there, just like they resent our presence in Tel Aviv. THIS IS NOT AN ARGUMENT OVER TERRITORY or "political rights". The Arabs completely reject Israel's presence here with any borders. It is abhorrent to them because it flies completely in the face of their triumphalist view of Islam's right to dominate the entire world (not just the Middle East) and their belief that the Arabs are some sort of chosen race destined to lead Islam (this is part of the major conflict between the Arabs and the non-Arab Iranian state which is also trying to dominate Islam).

    The best we can hope for is a modus-vivendi, not contractual peace. Even the states that have a contractual peace with us (Jordan, Egypt) view it as merely a temporary cease-fire and say so openly to their own people.
    That is not to say there is no hope. I believe a modus-vivendi is possible and, in fact, is being fashioned right now. As politcial Islam delegitimizes itself (just as political Christianity was delegitimized by the 30 Years War in the 17th cetury) with the fratricidal slaughter it has ignited, even among pious Muslims, they will come to look at Israel in a more pragmatic, if not friendly way. The only way to achieve this modus-vivendi is by NOT MAKING TERRITORIAL concessions and by continuing to build the settlemetns in Judea/Samaria. They show our committment to stay here. To destroy a settlement is to show the most radical elements that we have no staying power and if we run away from Gush Katif, we will run away from Tel Aviv in the end. Note how HIZBULLAH and HAMAS became much strengthened by the flight of Israsel from southern Lebanon and Gaza. The settlments are the best long-term investment in peace we can make.

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  59. Y. Ben-David said...
    David Ohsie-

    You said: "To take Gaza, as an example, what realist purpose is served by trying to support small civilian settlements in a sea of enemy territory?".

    What do you think the state of Israel is? A small settlement of Jews smack dab in the middle of the Muslim Middle East. What do you think the pre-state Yishuv was? A small group of Jewish settlements inside a sea of Arabs. How did Tel Aviv start? A small Jewish enclave outside of large Arab Yafo. At the time of independence, Jews were only 1/3 of the population of British Palestine.


    First off, I stand in admiration of those that sacrificed to establish the state, even if I disagree with the ideology of all of the Zionist groups (actually, given the diversity of views; no one could agree with all the Zionist groups).

    To address your argument, at the time, there was no Jewish state to live in, nor any place that was going to accept an unlimited number of Jews, so the bar was much lower to get started and take risks. Moreover, it was never the idea to establish a Jewish state with a minority of Jews and a majority of Arabs living without political rights within it. The idea was to get enough Jews there to establish a viable Jewish state (or "home") somewhere within the British mandate. Which eventually happened, with God's help, through sacrifice and a succession of circumstances including a war.

    You're absolutely correct, that Israel is in a sea of enemies or at least potential enemies. Which is why (from my right-wing realist PoV) it is essential to have a contiguous and defensible border and avoid repeating the colonial misadventures of our European brethren on a smaller scale. The state has been established; the fact that it took risks by idealists in order to get it established doesn't imply that the similar risks should be continuously taken again in order to establish some other ideal.

    The idea, when Sharon and Rabin first supported Gush Katif, was that it would eventually blossom into a large Jewish community, just like Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. That is the whole idea of Zionism, building up something wonderful from small beginnings.

    And in retrospect, this was a mistake. We don't need Gush Katif to establish something wonderful; we've got that going already. We need to preserve what we have and not "take risks" with the basics of Zionism (a secure Jewish state in Israel) for some secondary ideological vision, not widely shared and not necessary for Jewish survival, and risking the core.

    And from a demographic PoV, it just doesn't compute, unless you want permanent occupation by the minority of the majority as a long term plan. This is hard to defend morally, but even harder to defend along realist lines, as occupation is both costly and puts Israel in a bad position internationally, which is very, very important.

    My argument, which you don't have to accept, is that the right-wing Zionist vision of Israeli domain over all territory promised to Abraham is as ideological and impractical as the left wing vision of universal peace now. Against both extremes, let's be conservative on what we sacrifice the blood of Israel youth for; today, IMO, Gaza ain't it worth a drop of it, and Sharon, in his later years, had it right.

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  61. My earlier comment that "I would refer to her as Ms. rather than Rabbi" was degrading and for that I am sorry. I am ashamed to be such a raging misogynist. Back on my meds, Lazar

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  62. Yoni said...
    Shimon between 1948 and 1967 what is now referred to as the West Bank was a part of Jordan. And there was no one calling for an end to "the occupation". This is historical fact not fiction.


    Actually, that isn't true. Various Arab states opposed the annexation of the West Bank by Jordan. I don't know what the Palestinian position was.

    Actually there were people calling and fighting for an end to the occupation: the occupation by 1948 Israel.

    Yes, "there were people". The problem is not those "people" but others who supported and support the existence of Israel, but who don't support indefinite political subjugation of one group by another against the will of the subjugated group. Occupation may be defensible as a "necessary evil" under current circumstances, but not as an ideology based on a basic right of the people in power.

    Some of the opposition to occupation is hypocrisy and antisemitism, and some left-wing "peace is easy" silliness, but not all of it.

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    1. By occupation, I meant in order to create a Palestinian state. I understand that the annexation of the WB was not recognized by anyone except Pakistan (and Britain I believe). But it wasn't based on subjugation or occupation of a Palestinian state or people, a fiction created to destroy Israel. There was no Palestinian position because there were no Palestinians. The PLO was founded in 1964 for example, 3 years before Israel captured the WB. To this day the insignia of many Palestinian organizations include a map of all of Israel.

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    2. I am aware that the annexation was not recognized (except by Britain and Pakistan I believe) but it wasn't opposed on the basis of an occupation of Palestinian land. The PLO was founded in 1964, 3 years before Israel captured the WB, and they attacked 1948 Israel from bases in Jordan and other surrounding Arab countries. The Palestinians are a recent invention, and Israel isn't subjugating them because they don't exist: they're raison d'être is the abolition of Israel.

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  63. Anonymous gershon said...
    shimon

    if you watch this video, you may learn something about san remo and international law

    http://bbcwatch.org/2013/11/23/dr-jacques-gauthier-the-jewish-claim-to-jerusalem-the-case-under-international-law/


    Is he defending the legal validity of the annexation of Jerusalem or the ongoing occupation of the West Bank territories? From the intro, it sounded like the former.

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  64. Shame shame. Rationalist Judaism -- really? These bile filled and officially approved comments reflect the true misogyny, bigotry, and close-mindedness of your readers. Where are the sensible thinkers?...Not on this blog.

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  65. David Ohsie-
    You are missing the elephant in the room. That is "the nakba". You are repeating the bizarre claim by the Israeli Left that says they are supposedly moral since they claim they don't want to rule over Arabs so they want to stay within the pre-67 lines. But the problem is that those lines had a nice majority after the 1948 war because of the nakba-=-the flight or expulsion of the Arabs living within those lines. It is THIS that the Arabs insisting on reversing, not the "1967 occupation" that you and the Left are fixating on. 1948 is the problem, not 1967 which is why no Palestinian can EVER give up the demand for an UNLIMITED right of return of the refugees. That is why I say a contractual peace is not attainable. Since there will not be a contractual peace, we must keep building in all the territories we control because there are still 6 million Jews in North America and another million in Europe who will eventually be coming. (I mean what I am saying with all seriousness-go back and read what Temujin said about about the prognostications and assumptions about the passt).

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  66. Can we get real here.

    The Palestinians want a state, every case of Israel "oppressing" the Palestinians really amounts to the fact that they are preventing them from having their own state. We know perfectly well what a Palestinian state will look like: a poor, violent dump alternating between periods of brutal tyranny and brutal anarchy. We know this because this is what other Arab states are like. The exceptions (e.g. Dubai) all have features (huge oil reserves, tiny Arab population, huge armies of foreign workers to do everything) that Palestine will not have. Indeed Palestine will not even have the features that account for modest exceptions like Jordan (e.g. a reasonably ancient royal family to provide a locus for legitimate power, lower population density). Indeed, given the nature of Fatah and Hamas, and the unusually large population bulge over the last 20 years, it is reasonable to assume that Palestine will actually be significantly worse than the regional average.

    So that's what it really comes down to: the Palestinians want a state do they can trash it up and butcher each other in the streets. All things being equal, Israel would be happy to give it to them, but, as it happens, such an outcome threatens Israeli security and happens, for what its worth, to be completely contrary to halacha.

    Supporting a Palestinian state is like believing the world is 6,000 years old, or, more pertinently, denying evolution. It involves wantonly ignoring all empirical evidence and the human sciences. Accepting the forced and, often, simply ludicrous halachic "arguments" for giving away land is like accepting the halachic arguments for "tehillim kollels" (yes they exist) and davening at the shrine in Meron.

    So, yes, "rationalism" (if we must call it that) is pertinent here.

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  67. but even harder to defend along realist lines, as occupation is both costly and puts Israel in a bad position internationally, which is very, very important.

    I don't see you weighing up the cost of the alternative. That may be even more costly, and Israel's response would put it in an even worse position internationally - look what happened in the Gaza war! Israel is never able to defend itself against missiles without incurring international condemnation.

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  68. Against both extremes, let's be conservative on what we sacrifice the blood of Israel youth for; today, IMO, Gaza ain't it worth a drop of it, and Sharon, in his later years, had it right.

    would you say that if you lived in ashdod or sderot. or should they be scarificed for the greater good

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  69. Occupation may be defensible as a "necessary evil" under current circumstances, but not as an ideology based on a basic right of the people in power. ,

    what about a compromise as the current generation of palestinians have been radicalised and will never accept the 2 states for 2 peoples comromise, running counter to the palestinian narrative that there is no such thing as the Jewish people. Occupation is essential in the forseable future to defend Israel from a terror palestinian state

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  70. I would like to add that there is much hypocrisy amongs the humanitarians and "democrats" such as Brous who believe that it is perfectly legitimate and even praiseworthy to expel Jewish populations as a method of achieving a settlement,when the Jews have only one homeland, whereas transferring Arab populations to another Arab country is deemed fascistic. It is important to recall that we can not generalize and make the claim that population transfers are never moral. Such things have often been done, and sometimes it was a ncecessary thing. Not many people condemn or condemned the expulsion of the ethnic German population from Poland at the end of World War II.

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  71. David,

    In the rush of his rant, Temujin forgot to address some important questions you asked a number of posts ago. In bits and pieces, if you’ll forgive, as one is busy with this and that:

    ”Temujin, have you considered that some of the things that you oppose as left-wing idealist fantasy, might be considered reasonable from a realist perspective?”

    Uh-h, Temujin does not accept these assumptions. The Left-wing fantasies are the red herring we chase after and waste time on. In the bumbling ideology and the language of fluffy piffle by political half-wits like Sharon Brous they may look like reasonable and humane solutions, but what they are, are well thought-out, carefully conceived strategic plans, many going back to the brilliant strategists in the Kremlin of the 50s and 60s. The prime example is the creation of a new nationality, the “Palestinian,” whose job it is to salvage Arab pride from its serial failures and to create an indigenous minority around whose cause the international Left and its militants could rally. That these are now enshrined as ideals, truths and policies in the UN and among governments and media is a bonus one doubts the Kremlin chaps ever hoped for in their most optimistic, vodka-fueled moments. “Reasonable” and “realistic”? Define your terms, please. No, really, one is not being cute here, David. Just a making a point how utterly useless these two words can be in a discussion like this. In the context of the World’s treatment of Israel they don’t mean the pragmatism you seem to mean by them; they mean willingness to comply and willingness to accept pressure by parties with their own agendas. While it may seam “reasonable” and “realistic” to comply with the wishes of hostile or indifferent parties at times, the long-term effect of such an approach may be disastrous.

    ”And that possibly you also are succumbing to a religious ideology that is also divorced from reality, but in different ways than the left-wing.

    Well, this is a first, David. Temujin is flattered but chortles with amusement, as he is usually chastised for favouring fundamentally secular Zionist ideologies. That he treats “religious idealism” as a political commodity, Heavens forfend. But what you call “religious ideology,” is what provides the strongest justification for seeking a homeland in Eretz Israel as opposed to trying to make a go of tings in Uganda or Birobidzhan. This ideology, though, happens to be the only variant which treats all of Israel, especially its historical heartland in Yuda and Shomron as inseparable parts of the Jewish homeland. If parts of the historic homeland can be given away for political reasons like squares on a game board, what possible justification would you have for hanging onto Tel Aviv or Haifa or any other parts of the medinat? What possible arguments would you muster up against further territorial demands? Those fellows have bottomless appetites, you know, a strong urge to cleanse the region of the descendants of apes and pigs while they dream of their Thousand Year Umma Reich, to put it bluntly.

    Bbl...

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  72. David,

    To plow on:

    To take Gaza, as an example, what realist purpose is served by trying to support small civilian settlements in a sea of enemy territory?”

    How about to maintain the territorial and legal integrity of Israel? Did giving away of Gaza prove realistic or less costly than holding on to it would have? With porous borders and tunnels, ruled by a terror organization, the arming with thousands of ballistic weapons which can now reach most of Israel and the predictable pressures exerted on Israel not to retaliate or attempt to control, Gaza is now an internationally protected hostile military base. Come on now, is that an example of realism?

    ”Did Sharon suddenly become a left-wing ideologue, or did he realize that no purpose was being served by trying to "settle" the area. And that supporting these settlements at great cost of Jewish money, sweat and blood might simply not be worth it.” No clue why Sharon did what he did. You assume wisdom and pragmatic thinking, Temujin suspects party politics, international pressure, political expedience, backroom deals and the well-known phenomenon of ideological fatigue that bedevils some of the toughest and most brilliant military men who suddenly decide to put flowers in their hair. Was it rational? Obviously not. Gaza is now a serious long-term strategic and tactical threat.

    If your goal is to "re-establish" a unified Jewish state based on a specific set of borders determined by rules that you infer based on ancient texts, then it makes some sense to try to do so despite that fact that the territory will then be minority Jewish (or despite the fact that changing this fact would require an ethnic cleansing, if you are "ideological" enough). But understand that you are being driven by ideology, not practicality. No, Temujin does not accept your assessment. He is unsure of what the scriptural borders of a unified Jewish state are and has spent little to no time in seriously examining religious Zionism. But he is certain of the validity of the San Remo deed and the forgotten fact that the only way to abrogate it, partially or completely, is for Israel to voluntarily do so...which is exactly what Israel has been pressed on about for decades. And this is what must not happen; this is what hasbarah should focus on. Conceding a “Jordan” was enough. Allowing a semi-state in the form of the PA was a mistake. Conceding to yet another "Palestinian" state was an ideology-driven error. Giving away Gaza was a disaster. One also does not accept your false-choice fallacy that Israel’s options are limited to territorial concessions, being drowned in a sea of hostile Muslims or a forced ethnic cleansing for reasons one gave in a post above, namely that the World situation is changing rapidly and we cannot continue to draw straight trajectories from decades-old assumptions.

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  73. David Ohsie

    "Student V, it is possible to have an ounce of human decency and still think that the indefinite subjugation of a group of people under a foreign government, with no voting rights, is factor to consider from both a practical and moral standpoint. "

    It is plain BS to use the word "Subjugation."
    "Palestinian" nationalism is NOT about voting rights, so why do you play dumb in such a manner?

    As to your other question, I understand Begin's intentions even if I disagree with his about-face on his principles when he became prime minister, but your question is an illogical one because his entire career predated the Oslo accords and he never gave credence to "Palestinian" nationalism. Unfortunately the changes he initiated to the status of arabs in the territories set the whole thing in motion leading to today's travesty. I think he was misguided and had good intentions. But others took it farther than he ever dreamed, and they more than crossed the line. Begin was not involved in the science project which imported an enemy terrorist group to be the de facto government of arabs in occupied areas.

    As for the rest, the damage they have done is unforgivable IMO. Are you really asking me if Sharon had human decency?

    Keep in mind, this equation is an either/or involving human decency and self-respect. In my estimation, a person will possibly side with evil if they lack either of these.

    How else to make sense of Jews who side with a nazi program such as "Palestinian" nationalism.

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  74. "The Palestinians are a recent invention, and Israel isn't subjugating them because they don't exist: they're raison d'être is the abolition of Israel."

    You keep harping on the same nonsensical point (not entirely your fault, even American presidential aspirants are now apparently forced to regurgitate the same nonsense). Aside from the fact that the concept of Palestinians predates the state of Israel, it doesn't matter. By most accounts, excepting readers of this blog and similar people, Palestinians have been people (if not a people) since ancient times. You can call them joojoo beans instead of Palestinians if you want, but you can't rule over them without granting them rights.

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  75. Y. Ben David: You are absolutely correct about the right of return being a huge obstacle and I have made the exact same argument to those on my left. Those that characterize the Palestinian position as only wanting independence are not seeing the whole picture. Nevertheless, your prognostication that this can never be settled is a self-fulfilling one, and also a bit convenient if your real goal is to re-establish the borders as promised to Avraham (not saying that is yours). Nixon went to China, Begin settled with Egypt and Sharon gave up Gaza. Abbas has already crossed this line and said that he would negotiate on the right of return which has a political cost to him. Does that mean that it is possible? The answer is that no one knows.

    Your notion that Israel needs clear out room to repatriate the rest of the Jews in the world is utopian, not supported by facts, and, while you don't intend it, sounds dangerously close to a policy of "Lebensraum". This is how the world would look at it, and not just the "left-wingers".

    Rabbi Slifkin: I don't have a perfect solution (no one does). But having settlements in Gaza does not protect from missiles and settling civilians in the middle of your enemy's territory is not a practical security solution. As much flak as Israel gets, the withdrawal gave tangible diplomatic benefits, and walling off Gaza may simply be the best that it gets. My point is that this is how it should be evaluated. Sharon did not withdraw because he viewed Hamas favorably. He was the one that finally took them seriously and initiated the policy of assassinating its leaders.

    nachman: Gush Katif was not protecting Sderot from missiles, and that is what is not worth the blood of Jewish youth (and I agree that the inhabitants of Gush Katif got the short end of the stick because of the policy change). The withdrawal had costs and benefits and if I lived in Sderot, I'm sure I might have a different view of the tradeoffs. Sharon did not lose his mind; he made a tradeoff.

    Yoni: There are a bunch of people living under occupation of a country of which they are not citizens, whatever you decide to call them and the place that they live. This may be a necessary evil for security, but it if so, it is a necessary evil. If it can be eliminated, it should be for completely realist reasons, and the occupation comes at a cost. Focusing on labels (West Bank, Palestinians) is a sign of weakness in your argument.

    Gavriel M: Yes, the Palestinians want a state, and that is reasonable given that they are under occupation; you would want one too. Hence the two state solution. Yes, this would have to be done in a way that leaves Israel secure. I think that the Rav's formulation of the halacha is the correct one. Trying to divine the right path here from halacha is like trying to settle the brain-death issue using Talmudic medicine.

    Levi: You may be right or you may be wrong, but certainly continued occupation continues that cycle. Germany and Japan were pacified (yes, not through the same methods). Abbas != Arafat.

    Temujin: Perhaps I misunderstand you, but if you think that Jordan was conceded by Israel, then I think you are getting bogged down in some odd legal formalisms recognized by no one else except people in the same bubble. There is no legal principle that gives a country the right to hold on to a territory indefinitely and avoid giving political rights to its inhabitants. The correct argument is that this is a necessary evil until a secure peace can be settled. I get that establishing Israel in Uganda would not have worked, and getting Jerusalem was very important, but we're way past that and have a wonderful country. Insisting that the borders extend to arbitrary fixed points regardless of the cost is not rational, IMO.

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  76. David Ohsie: when Israel withdrew fro Gaza, Fatah was in charge not Hamas. Hamas came to power *following* the withdrawal. Think about that.

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  77. Is he defending the legal validity of the annexation of Jerusalem or the ongoing occupation of the West Bank territories? From the intro, it sounded like the former.

    no. the latter.

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  78. You can call them joojoo beans instead of Palestinians if you want, but you can't rule over them without granting them rights.

    so if the joojoo beans were formed to destroy the jews. you have to give them rights, before they even reform ?

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  79. You may be right or you may be wrong, but certainly continued occupation continues that cycle. Germany and Japan were pacified (yes, not through the same methods). Abbas != Arafat

    if I may be right, then how can one take the risk of supporting a palestinian state when a failure will mean an exponential rise in Israeli casualties. the onus should be on the palestinians that they can reform without blaming the ocupation of which they were the cause.

    there is a german precedent allies only withdraw occpation after de-nazification.

    as for abbas his heroes are arabs who murder innocent jews. he has the highest of praise for the nazi haj amin.

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  80. Gush Katif was not protecting Sderot from missiles, and that is what is not worth the blood of Jewish youth

    so how come missile fire increased 10 fold after the gaza evacuation. ?

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  81. David Ohsie:


    I don't know whether you are deliberately ignoring my point, or missed it. Anyway, I will spell it out again:

    Any Palestinian State is likely to be violence ridden hellhole. There is no rational reason to think it will be any better than the regional average and a great deal of reason to think it will be worse. It follows that the Palestinian demand for a state is tantamount to a Palestinian demand to have a piece of land they can trash up and murder each other in.

    Now, in principle we might be willing to give them such a thing, after all what business is it of ours if Arabs want another state to gas each other and whatnot. However, we certainly don't have any moral duty to give them such a thing, any more than one has moral duty to give a crackhead crack. If, as is patently the case, giving them a state will place us in more danger and, as is also patently the case, it violates our religion, then there is no reason to do so. It's totally senseless.

    Of all the possible options, creating a Palestinian state is the worst. Leaving things as they are is not the best option, but it is a far better one.

    If you want a realist solution, here it is. Offer every Palestinian roughly $25,000 to leave, arrest all Palestinians involved in terrorist activities indefinitely, and annex the whole thing. Make it quite clear to the rest that, whilst they have full civil rights, they are living in a Jewish country, run by and in the interests of Jews and if they wish to pursue Arab nationalist aspirations they can do so elsewhere. Around 50% of Palestinians when polled say they would take up this offer (leaving for money) and it would be significantly cheaper than the permanent military-industrial complex needed to cope with all the "peace" deals Israel has been making since 1973.

    ***
    Sharon was a crook, who raised his sons to be crooks and who founded a party of crooks to pursue a policy that has resulted in two wars and which he said himself, only months before, would be a disaster. It's hardly wise to cite him.

    ****
    The main factor impelling Israel to give away land is ideological. Specifically to blame is white ethnomasochism, which dictates that Israel (as a supposedly white country) is morally obligated to give Palestinians (a non white people) a country. This ideology is the official belief of the ruling classes in America and Europe who in turn pressurise Israel into making decisions that, without such pressure, it would never make.

    However, America is broke and Europe is broke. At the very least we are facing a world in which China is as powerful as the U.S. China may choose to favour the Arabs for economic reasons, in which case we are basically done, but one thing you can be sure about is that they really don't believe in one world racial utopianism and they really don't care about the right of national self-determination. Creating a Palestinian state to appease world opinion in a world that is about to become Chinese dominated is purely a waste of time.

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  82. Yoni: You are making Post Hoc argument. Hamas came to power in part through an election and in part through a coup. By what path of the causation would settlers in Gush Katif have protected against that? And, the fact that they are "in charge" is actually in part to Israel's benefit, since both the US and EU consider them a terrorist organization which helps justify the complete blockade that also helps to prevent the terrorist attack that were prevalent before; although it does not prevent the rocket attacks.

    Nachman: Same issue: are they firing rockets from Gush Katif? Are you arguing for the IDF to be patrolling around inside the fence or to take down the fence? Is anyone in any camp actually arguing for that now?

    Levi: that is why the experts (as expert as anyone can be) need to assess and make the best deal possible. I'm not arguing for "a deal or bust". But a deal with a proper level of demilitarization may reduce, not increase, the risk of violence. I don't know why you see an exponential rise in Israeli casualties. And the moral dimension and international law are all real factors. I want us to deal with the real world and not some idealized one where we based life and death decisions on an idealized view of Jewish sovereignty over the entire promised land. That is something for God to deal with.

    Denazification was quite half-hearted. I don't want to equate the Germans or the Japanese, but they changed in large part because they were convinced that the previous path had led them to complete ruin and because we did not try to exact revenge, but to build them back up as democracies. I am not claiming that this precise method will work here, but there is a degree to which the complete failure of the second intifada has discredited those horrific and evil tactics among the Palestinians themselves. My main point is that assigning permanent natures to groups of people is not a correct methodology.

    Gershon: I didn't listen to the lecture except for the very beginning, but there is simply no "land ownership" that gives lawful sovereignty over other people without citizenship.

    Temujin: I apologize for lumping you in with the wrong group. I'll try to lump more carefully next time :). I would add one other thing about Oslo. It didn't work, but the status quo was also not good. The First Intifada, unlike the Second, was a very effective strategy.

    Gavriel M: It is not that I missed your point; I just don't agree.

    To all how are arguing the inherent nature of Palestinian hatred and evil: there are 1.5 million Israeli Arab citizens inside of any fences and with freedom of movement. A) How can this be? B) Do you see the value in keeping them from being radicalized?

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  83. David Ohsie-
    You have really surprised me with your opinions here. First of all, the destruction of Gush Katif contributed directly to bringing HAMAS to power because it proved in their eyes what HAMAS has always been saying, the Jews are cowards as is written in the Qur'an and Jews will run away when faced with a determined, violent enemy. It was this that gave HAMAS the popularity to win that election.

    Secondly, I am also surprised that you use the terms "utopian" and "messianic" as epithets. I don't need to tell you that belief in the Mashiach and a golden future is basic to Torah Judaism, so why is dreaming big dreams a bad thing. A lot of people said the same thing to Ben Gurion (an anti-religious atheist) when he came to Eretz Israel around 1905 when there were 600,000 Arabs and only 80,000 Jews in the country...they said he was "wasting his time", "no Jews are going to go live in that desert", "there are too many Arabs there", etc, etc. Yet he had EMUNAH! I wish more Jews had that kind of faith. (BTW-when the Netziv of Volozhin and the Vilna Gaon got involved in organizing direct support of settlement in E"Y they were also told they were wasting people's time and money).

    In the past I was an admirer of Rabbi Meir Kahane (although never a JDL or Kachnik). However, I gave up on him because of his tragically misguided policy of "throwing the Arabs out of the country". I heard him debate someone and he kept going on and on about the Arab demographic threat. When his opponent said (this was the pre-Gorbachev 1980's) that a million Jews would come to Israel from the USSR, Kahane replied "the Jews there will never come to Israel, they will go to the US". Yet they did come in the end, just as the American Jews will. There was no emunah in that response of his.

    You comment about "lebensraum" struck a bad chord in me. The Balfour Declaration, was made by non-Jews anticipating a mass aliyah of Jews not only to Eretz Israel west of the Jordan River, but also to Eastern Eretz Israel, i.e. Transjordan which was also part of the Palestine Mandate of the Balfour Declaration until Churhill tore it off in 1922. If non-Jews (even Obama!) view Israel as the place of Kibbutz Galuyot, we should anticipate it as well, and not view it as "messianism" or "utopianism" in the negative sense you used those terms.

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  84. Gershon: I didn't listen to the lecture except for the very beginning, but there is simply no "land ownership" that gives lawful sovereignty over other people without citizenship.

    if israel is soverign there is no reason why it cannot annex large parts of the west bank where there are few palestinians eg jordan valley

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  85. David Ohsie: the Palestinians were emboldened by the Gaza withdrawal, which is why they elected Hamas. To say that the election of Hamas was a good thing because now we can have a blockade seems difficult to accept as a rational line of argument. The situation is worse now than before. Since Israel left Gaza there has been two wars there and thousands of rockets, Gilad Shalit, etc. The idea of a Palestinian state is to gain territory from which to expand the war against Israel, whether in Gaza or the West Bank. As long as this remains the case, giving the Palestinians a state, rights, citizenship, etc and issues of ruling over another people" etc are irrelevant. Israel must prevent a Palestinian state from arising. The status quo is unfortunately the best situation for now, and trying to "don something"' just gets more people killed.

    Regarding radicalization you are completely mistaken. The Palestinians were radicalized *because* we gave them more "rights"! You have it backwards! The creation of the PA led directly to the Second Intifada and a further emboldening of Palestinian opinion against Israel. Taking more steps to allow the creation of a Palestinian state, whose raison d'être is the negation of Israel and the Jewish historical connection to the land, is what will lead to further radicalization including of Israeli
    Arabs!

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  86. ,Nachman: Same issue: are they firing rockets from Gush Katif? Are you arguing for the IDF to be patrolling around inside the fence or to take down the fence? Is anyone in any camp actually arguing for that now? ,

    the gazans fire from all over the gaza strip including Gush Katif.

    had israel not evacuated the gaza and lost control,there would be very few rockets currently landing on israel.

    hence the evacuation of gaza strip worsened israel's security

    hence it was a mistake.

    how to rectify a bad (irreversable ?)mistake is a separate question

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  87. Levi: that is why the experts (as expert as anyone can be) need to assess and make the best deal possible. I'm not arguing for "a deal or bust". But a deal with a proper level of demilitarization may reduce, not increase, the risk of violence. I don't know why you see an exponential rise in Israeli casualties

    see http://www.marklangfan.com/

    for exponential rise in Israeli casualties

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  88. Nachman: There are plenty of places to fire rockets from (I think that they fire them from as close to the fence as possible). Having settlers in Gush Katif provided no protection against rockets or anything else; however it was an expensive and risky burden to defend.

    Having the army occupy and patrol Gaza is one solution to providing security, one which comes with a high cost. Withdrawing and sealing the border is another. If you think that unsealing the border and re-occupying is a good military strategy, then I can't argue because I don't have any expertise, but I don't think that the experts will agree. You don't need settlements for that; they make the security situation more risky.

    Yoni: There was also the widespread corruption of the PA and the perceived more efficient functioning of Hamas in providing social services. There has also been "rightward" shift towards religious fundamentalism in all the Arab lands. Hamas is explicitly religious while Fatah/PLO are secular. There was also Hamas's use of violence (countered by Fatah violence) and an eventual coup. Israel setting their policy to try to influence PA election results or to influence the course of internal violence seems to me to be a fool's errand.

    Regarding radicalization: the "successful" first intifada is what forced Israel into Oslo. Once the Palestinians realized they could fight back, the cat was out of the bag. Has giving political rights to Israeli Arabs radicalized them? Did giving the Sinai back to Egypt embolden them on further adventures? Peace with Jordan? Was the withdrawal from Lebanon also a mistake? These things are entirely not predicable and certainly don't fit the simple narrative of "don't give the bad guys an inch". You are trying to fit this into a simple formula that conveniently leaves you with your otherwise preferred outcome of Israeli sovereignty over the lands promised to Avraham.

    Y. Ben David: Maybe withdrawal helped bring Hamas to power and maybe it didn't (see above). The widrawal had its own benefits. The situation is much better than during the Second Intifada.

    My point about the "utopian" plan is that is therefore not realist. My main point here is that there is a "meme" that the left-winger peace now people live in an ivory tower away from reality, and that is the only reason that anyone will strive for a settlement. My claim is that the realist practical position may include a settlement (as it did with Egypt) and that indefinite continued occupation is sometimes based on greater optimism than the peace now folks.

    I apologize for using the word "lebensraum"; I said that I don't think that this was your intention, but I can say with some confidence that this is how third parties would view such a plan and its justification. And the notion that it would be good for Israel to control Jordan and its people is even more divorced from reality.

    I cannot agree with Rabbi Kahane's version of morality to start with. Perhaps, this makes me a left-wing peace now type here.

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  89. The disengagement was just one of many steps Israel took to strengthen Abbas' popularity among the Palestinians, by trying to show what can be achieved by peaceful negotiations instead of violence.

    Nonetheless, when we performed the disengagement, Ismail Haniayah bragged that Hamas (not negotiations) "ended the occupation in Gaza" --which just whetted their appetite that they'll be able to end the "occupation" altogether, in all of what they call "Palestine".

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  90. Nachman: There are plenty of places to fire rockets from (I think that they fire them from as close to the fence as possible). Having settlers in Gush Katif provided no protection against rockets or anything else; however it was an expensive and risky burden to defend.


    please could you explain why there was an exponential rise in rocket fire post gaza withdrawal.

    israel strategically positioned the settlements so that gaza would be split in 3 weakening it and preventing gaza becoming one big terro zone as it is today

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=gaza+settlements&sa=X&tbm=isch&imgil=zEmLzmn_wJvv4M%253A%253Bhttps%253A%252F%252Fencrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcR3_J3d0U59F4t2sp9G0PXiS3ierWKAkW_n5oVZQHabp_SkKDNsxQ%253B416%253B422%253Bkg-EqwddgBqQ4M%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fnews.bbc.co.uk%25252F2%25252Fhi%25252Fmiddle_east%25252F4170302.stm&source=iu&usg=__6HBTFI5zKa4hPV2JsZsR4ZqbUe0%3D&ei=BhsFU66uLtPn7AbsvICwCQ&ved=0CEoQ9QEwBA&biw=800&bih=458#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=zEmLzmn_wJvv4M%253A%3Bkg-EqwddgBqQ4M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fnewsimg.bbc.co.uk%252Fmedia%252Fimages%252F40699000%252Fgif%252F_40699840_israeli_settlements_416.gif%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fnews.bbc.co.uk%252F2%252Fhi%252Fmiddle_east%252F4170302.stm%3B416%3B422

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  91. David Ohsie: there is a dynamic here that you are not appreciating. The Palestinian narrative is *based* on the negation of the Zionist (and Jewish) one. If Israel cedes territory to such an entity, it furthers the deligimization of itself. An equivalent would be Israel apologizing and engaging in reparations on a large scale for the Mavi Marmara. Doing so is an admission of guilt, and serves to embolden the enemies of Israel by validating lies about it. It would even be similar to the Jews apologizing for using Christian blood to make matzo. To do that would legimtize myth and prejudice, not improve people's perceptions of Jews!!!

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  92. David Olshe - Your defense of the disengagement also leaves out the fact that it was entirely undemocratic. Sharon completely betrayed the people who elected him, fired Ministers who wouldn't tag the party line, and created his own party instead of respecting the likud referendum. If Sharon thought it was the best decision he should have had the decency of calling for new elections and try winning the mandate to carry out his plans.

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  93. David Ohsie, with which bit do you disagree, that the likely result of giving the Palestinians a state is that they will trash it up, or that we do not have a moral responsibility to give people areas of land that they can trash up?

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  94. Nachman: There are plenty of places to fire rockets from (I think that they fire them from as close to the fence as possible). Having settlers in Gush Katif provided no protection against rockets or anything else; however it was an expensive and risky burden to defend.

    please could you explain why there was an exponential rise in rocket fire post gaza withdrawal.

    I'm not an expert, nor can anyone know for sure all the factors, but here are guesses based on a little research:

    1) Continuation of the pre-withdrawal exponential increase. See http://www.idfblog.com/facts-figures/rocket-attacks-toward-israel/

    2) Increasing technological capability in producing the rockets (overlaps with #1).

    3) Substitution for the prior strategy of using suicide bombers.

    4) Breaches in the Gaza-Egypt border allowing for import of more advanced rockets.

    5) Changes in strategy by Hamas/Gaza population over time based on other forms of deterrence (invasions by Israel) and whatever strategy that they have. E.g. the spike in 2012 and dropoff in 2013.

    None of those have anything to do with settlers. The withdrawal of a military presence along with sealing of the border and handing over of the border with Egypt contributed to both a decrease in suicide bombing and likely an increase in rocket attacks due to #3 and #4. #1 and #2 were going to happen no matter what and #3 is to some degree a "success", although you might not agree if you live near the border.

    In other words, tradeoffs, both military and diplomatic. The settlers being there adds no flexibility or advantage.

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  95. re Kahane: "There was no emunah in that response"

    Emunah is not a policy.

    Banking on Jews from Russia to pick Israel over America at some future time and arrive in droves, doesn't solve the Arab demographic threat. Even when many came from Russia (including many non-Jews in reality), it still didn't do anything to combat the demographic threat. We are still dealing with that threat today, and it's one of the primary motivations for the insane Oslo suicide policies which strengthen the PLO and endanger Israeli Jews. The Kahane policy could have prevented the oslo atrocity. Instead we are still mired in it going on 2 decades even despite the fact that it is a proven failure and deadly.

    Let's go back in time and consider the alternatives:

    1. Population exchange (which is a continuation of what has already gone down in the arab countries wrt Jews). Now the enemy populations rebelling inside Israel and its territories (ie first intifada) will instead reside outside Israel and its territories. Gee.

    2. Stop fighting our primary organizational terrorist enemy (arafat and the PLO, whom literally we bombed in lebanon at one point), invite the organization and its top thugs, operatives, and footsoldiers into Israel's heartland from Tunisia, provide them limited sovereignty over disputed lands, which shall progress to total sovereignty, arm them, fund them ($$$$$!), and expect and trust that they will appease the enemy population in those lands of their avowed Jew hatred, trust -even though they never committed to doing so, showed willingness to do so, or tried to do so - that this organization will stop murdering Jews in terror operations - HOPE (with lots of emunah of course. Emunah in what, exactly, I'm not sure) that this organization drops the nazism that served as its founding ethos and operational principles for years, eventually unite the areas they control into a contiguous land-mass and anoint it with statehood and international legitimacy, affording it the basic rights of all sovereign states (a "disarmed" state is NEVER going to happen you delusional dreamers) and hope hope hope that nothing can possibly go wrong from this, and that state would never dare make war against Israel (even though today gaza does routinely, and if not for IDF patrol over Judea and Samaria, the westbankians would too, we're continuing with this plan). And in this way, we never have to worry about giving Arabs in the territories voting rights to procreate and vote us out of existence. Yes, Genius, genius, GENIUS! A genius plan.

    Because denying enemy groups the right to vote is such an evil evil evil policy that does such horrible things to a person's mind body and soul. Mob democracy, where all people vote, is the only just existence. Anything else is fundamentally EVIL, damaging, and wrong. No other place in the world doesn't allow all people to vote. Or, if they do, well, they are wrong. Like modern-day slave owners or something.

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  96. Yehuda P.: Leaders will always "brag" about anything they can. You can't drive your strategy off what others will claim credit for. We didn't "just whet their appetite". Other objectives were accomplished.

    Yoni: I deplore the narrative of Israeli illegitimacy as you do. Hamas is openly based on this ideology which is why Sharon started taking them seriously and assassinating their leaders. The withdrawal was not a concession to Hamas, but a military and diplomatic strategy. You can't base your entire strategy on how your enemies will spin it. You can't drive everything off of symbolism, although it is obviously important.

    In addition, this narrative was embraced other Arab nations, but we were able to make peace with Egypt and Jordan, and to come to a defacto peace with Syria and to a great degree Lebanon/Syria.

    Finally, the "palestinians" are not a decision-making unit. There are also people who would like to be apolitical and live out their lives in peace and who could be convinced to do so if an accommodation was made with their leaders.

    Avraham: Don't confuse democratic with "my preferred policy position". Sharon was poised to win the next election, and his party won it after he was incapacitated. I believe that Netanyahu tried to get Sharon deposed as party leader, but failed. Firing ministers who don't toe the party line is part of the Israeli political system. As much as you find this mind-boggling, Sharon had a mandate to do what he did.

    Gavriel M: I disagree in that I don't believe that the most Palestinians want a independence in order to shoot each other. They want it for the same reason that most other human beings want to be out from under occupation by a government in which they don't have representation. I agree that self-determination can have good or bad results, but it is too convenient to say that we know that they are better of under our occupation than under their own self-government. If the result ends up being bad for them, then it is becomes the moral culpability of the Palestinians themselves. The ideal result, if possible, would be a negotiated withdrawal with proper support of a functioning demilitarized state. Which is the official position of the Israeli government, no matter how halfheartedly they pursue this.

    Y. Ben-David: You wrote: You have really surprised me with your opinions here.. I'll take that as a compliment. Perhaps you can consider that you don't have to be a crazy left-wing idealist to support some of the policies that you associate with the left. There are real strategic and diplomatic considerations.

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  97. Student V:

    Population exchange, in your usage, is a euphemism for ethnic cleansing. No, it is not moral to kick millions of people out their homes. Kahane's views were perhaps understandable as a result of religious fundamentalism, but were reprehensible, nonetheless. I'll take the Rav and Rav Ovadia Yosef's position here as my religious guides.

    Gavriel M: A few more points. I don't think that your plan to pay the Palestinians to move out will work. And while you reduce Sharon to a mere "crook", he did not push his policies as a result of left-wing ideology, nor do I think anyone else believes this. He was a very significant figure, crook or not.

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  98. The withdrawal of a military presence along with sealing of the border and handing over of the border with Egypt contributed to both a decrease in suicide bombing and likely an increase in rocket attacks due to #3 and #4.
    ..
    In other words, tradeoffs, both military and diplomatic. The settlers being there adds no flexibility or advantage.


    (1) in 2005 it had started to slow down. it was the hard to move settlers that allowed the easy to move military presence. without the settlers the usa would have pushed for the army to move out the first time there was a lull. giving the gazans a chance to rearm and make the next entry of the idf far more deadly.

    But if you concede that the evacuation of the military presence lead to the exponential rise in rocket fire.

    it would follow that the evacuation of israel's military presence from much of the west bank would also lead to the exponential rise in rocket fire. except this time the consequences would be much more serious. 80% of israel's population would be in the firing range.

    anybody who could would leave.

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  99. David Ohsie said: " We didn't "just whet their appetite. Other objectives were accomplished."

    Still, given the results of elections in the West Bank, it's clear the majority support Hamas, and embrace Haniyah's version of "ending the occupation".
    In any event, Ariel Sharon wrote once in the Jerusalem Post, when Oslo was signed, why he opposed it. He wrote something to the effect that, although there will be "peace", the situation can change. For example, Iran went from an ally to a mortal enemy overnight. If Israel creates a Palestinian state, what can Israel do if Hamas takes over, not by a coup, as in Gaza, but by democratic elections (as it seems will be the case)?
    A rav of mine explained to me once that the formation of Israel was intended so that, if another Hitler would come along somewhere, Israel would be a safe haven for the Jews of that country, and Israel would be able to attack that country militarily.
    In this case, it would be quite ironic that Israel would have aided that "Hitler" in coming to power.

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  100. As for the position of Rav Ovadiah Yosef zt"l on "territories for peace", this Sichat HaShavua quotes Rav Ovadiah from 2003, where he says that his previous psak is not applicable--it is clear that giving territory only endangers Jewish lives, and that this has not led to the peace that we anticipated:
    אדרבה מסירת שטחים מארצנו הקדושה גורמת לסכנת נפשות

    www.chabad.org.il/Magazines/Article.asp?ArticleID=9989&CategoryID=1789

    It is therefore incorrect to cite Rav Ovadiah as in favor of land for peace--that doctrine might obtain with Jordan or Egypt, but at present giving land in the form of a Palestinian state has proven to lead to anything but peace.

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  101. David Ohsie said: "They want it for the same reason that most other human beings want to be out from under occupation by a government in which they don't have representation."

    This is delusional. How can you believe this? This is pure projection, extreme naïveté, and devoid of analysis based on the realities on the ground: opinion polls, likely election of Hamas in wake of any withdrawal, suicide bombers and child murderes being celebrated as heroes, even by Abbas! These people want to *kill us*.
    Do you not see this?

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  102. David Ohsie writes:

    "Student V:

    Population exchange, in your usage, is a euphemism for ethnic cleansing. "

    LOL, what? How Orwellian of you. The reality is that "ethnic cleansing" is a euphemism for population exchange. You are using it as such!
    When I refer to population exchange, I refer to the extensive history of this process between Jews and Arabs which began with hundreds of thousands of Jews being expelled from Arab countries. This is a reciprocal measure to complete the process. Send Arabs into the arab countries. Nothing is being "cleansed" except maybe a cow's colon when you use the term ethnic cleansing to describe this process. They are an enemy population who cheers when foreign entities (such as Hezbollah) bomb the country and who want Israeli sovereignty wiped away. Those people should not be allowed to reside in the country.
    For an american example, it would be like Americans expelling al qaeda members. NOT Americans expelling ethnic Irish (or whatever race you want to pick on). It is not "ethnic cleansing" to expel al qaeda from America, even if all the al qaeda people they can find were hypothetically of the same skin tone.

    " No, it is not moral to kick millions of people out their homes."

    Says you.

    But you do believe it is moral to kick hundreds of thousands of Jews out of their homes in Judea and Samaria to make this "Peace" deal happen. 'Cuz we just gotta do it, right?

    Personally, when I have a choice between kicking Jews out of their homes and kicking Jews' enemies out of their homes, that's an easy choice, and the morality is clear. Especially when those enemies adhere to nazi doctrines and have already revolted nationally several times, riot routinely in many places, and routinely attack Jewish motorists. It makes it an easy choice for me.

    " Kahane's views were perhaps understandable as a result of religious fundamentalism, but were reprehensible, nonetheless. I'll take the Rav and Rav Ovadia Yosef's position here as my religious guides."

    Says you.

    But when the alternative is Oslo, I don't have to be religious to prefer Kahane's plan. In fact, I view it as a completely "areligious" point of view. I am sick and tired of these so-called "religious" approaches to these questions which almost without exception are merely acquiescence to the Likud policy or the Labor policy (for Rabbi Yosef, that simply depended on who was currently in power!) and offer nothing novel at all. Giving the idea religious veneer makes it any smarter? No. If Kahane was an atheist his view still made sense.

    Oslo fails the logic and self-preservation test 100% of the time no matter if Hashem raised Moshe from the dead temporarily and Moshe got on a pulpit proclaiming it kosher mehadrin. (that's the most extremely religious support I could think of). Does every idea need a hechsher? A hechsher on Oslo is kashering a pig. A really demented pig.

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  103. I would like to thank Gershon for If you watch this video, you may learn something about San Remo and international law Dr Jacques Gauthier – The Jewish Claim to Jerusalem: The Case Under International Law .

    I watched the presentation (1:04) it was very convincing. I highly recommend it. If you just want the conclusion, watch the last 10 minutes.

    Basically the Jews have the legal right to all of historic Israel, not just Jerusalem

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  104. Yehuda P.: While I respect Rav Yosef in his vast knowledge of Halacha, I would not appeal to him as an authority on foreign and military policy. His halachic position was that negotiating borders was not prohibited by Halacha if it was sound military and foreign policy. His opinions on which path would save lives are not as important, IMO, since he has no authority in this area (see my paper on P'sak in Hashkafa :).

    Voting for Hamas has many possible motivations. See below. Even if really do prefer the Hamas alternative right now, that doesn't mean that they can't settle for a better vision of co-existence of states under the right leadership.

    Yoni: On the contrary, it delusional to believe that residents of a territory occupied by an authority over which they have little or no legal influence are not going to have extremely resentful and rebellious attitude towards that authority and do whatever they can to rid themselves of that authority. Again, compare the attitudes and activities of Israeli Arabs and Palestinian Arabs. I'm not in any way justifying the suicide bombing tactics which are both horribly immoral and completely ineffective in securing additional freedom, but the election of Hamas and celebration of martyrs are not a proof that "they want to kill all of us".

    Hamas being elected means that they were preferable (to the majority) the Fatah alternative, which was simultaneously corrupt, ineffective, probably too secular, and in power for too long to avoid being blamed for the status quo. That doesn't imply permanent unchangeable endorsement of any Hamas policy. In addition, while destruction of Israel (the Zionist Entity) is on the Hamas todo list, genocide is not. Of course, it would be a horrible result if they could achieve their objectives, but a vote for Hamas is simply not an endorsement of the liquidation of the Jews; this would not fit into their religious worldview of toleration and subjugation of the followers of other Abrahamic religions, IIUC. Cf. the Iranians who tolerate, if subjugate, their Jewish Citizens while using Nazi rhetoric.

    The Germans themselves went in a short time from endorsers of true Genocide to extreme embarrassment and repudiation of such. I'm not predicting the same change of attitude here, but don't confuse politics and policies with some inherent and unchangeable nature of the inhabitants. If the Palestinians had decent leaders, they could go in a different acceptable direction, even if not matching our ideal. Egypt and Jordan did it.

    Celebration of suicide bombers is completely understandable as a celebration of the resisters to occupation, as immoral and self-destructive as that celebration is.

    In any case, the two attitudes of resentment of occupation and anti-semitism are not contradictory. They can both be powerful drivers.

    Nachman: Your theory that Israel should keep settlement in enemy territory in order to force it to keep troops there seems backward. Israel didn't and doesn't want its troops there and removing the settlements gave it the flexibility to do so as well as enabling a better sealing of the border and various diplomatic benefits, which are very important, and not just to seek approval of others, as some argue here. The rocket fire has gone up and down over time for probably for a variety of factors as I mentioned, including factors which resulted in an "exponential" increase before the withdrawal. It is up the to expert in Israel to try to fathom what would happen with the West Bank; your reasoning is basically speculation.

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  105. "
    Gavriel M: I disagree in that I don't believe that the most Palestinians want a independence in order to shoot each other. They want it for the same reason that most other human beings want to be out from under occupation by a government in which they don't have representation. I agree that self-determination can have good or bad results, but it is too convenient to say that we know that they are better of under our occupation than under their own self-government. If the result ends up being bad for them, then it is becomes the moral culpability of the Palestinians themselves. The ideal result, if possible, would be a negotiated withdrawal with proper support of a functioning demilitarized state. Which is the official position of the Israeli government, no matter how halfheartedly they pursue this."

    Can I get a yes or no answer here? Is the likely result of giving the Palestinians a state that they will make a big mess of it? If so, why do we have a moral responsibility to give it to them? If not, why not?

    I don't imagine most black Zimbabweans wanted independence so they could starve to death in the streets amidst %1,000,000 inflation. But that's what they got and it was perfectly obvious that's what they were going to get. I can understand why we might say "OK, FU, if you want a state to be miserable in, take it, what do I care", but I don't understand why we have a moral responsibility to give it to them.

    And again Sharon was a criminal and at the time of the Gaza withdrawal he should already have been in prison, like most prominent Kadima politicans. If you want an explanation why he made his decisions I would suggest the words "America" and "bribe" will need to be in there somewhere.

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  106. David Ohsie said: " it delusional to believe that residents of a territory occupied by an authority over which they have little or no legal influence are not going to have extremely resentful and rebellious attitude towards that authority and do whatever they can to rid themselves of that authority."

    So why did the Palestinians elect Hamas, which has explicitly on a number of occasions repudiated the concept of a Palestinian state, calling it a Zionist invention, while calling for an Islamic caliphate run by oppressive sharia law? And Hamas does explicitly call for the slaughter of the Jews in its charter, which is consistent with Islamist ideology which permits this, at least until the reestablishment of the Caliphate. Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood which was formed after the fall of the Ottoman Empire and whose founders were genocidally anti-Semitic.

    If the Palestinians elected Hamas, it means they seek the annihilation of the Jews, and that many of them are
    NOT driven by a desire for independence, but by genocidal imperialism. And this violent opposition began even before the State was founded, carried out by Arabs who were not driven by a desire for "liberty" and "independence" and "freedom" but by terrorists from the throughout Arab world who wanted to crush the Jews. It had nothing to do with wanting to make their own state.

    In other words, if Israel lost the 1948 War, Palestine wouldn't exist. Where Israel is today would be the juncture of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. No Israel, no Palestine.

    I can't fathom how you are able to so casually dismiss the celebration of the killers of Jews. It also doesn't explain why these murderers are also feted throughout the Muslim world. Sadden Hussein would reward families of suicide bombers with 20K. Do you think he was interested in human rights and resistance to occupation?

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  107. David, things got a tad busy, so apologies if one seems like he left the field of battle.

    First of all, you have made a number of assumptions that need to be addressed:

    1) Insistence on retaining Eretz Israel is some kind of an impractical fundamentalist religious ideology;

    3) There is an urgent need to address Arab requests and international pressure;

    3) The political and financial, global and regional situation will remain the same;

    4) The Arabs are attached to their homes and are chomping at the bit for independence and national sovereignty.

    Without getting into too much detail as Temujin and others have offered quite a few rebuttals already, none of your assumptions actually hold out in the real world. They are in effect political mantras and memes that have been repeated over and over again regardless of how many times reality disproved them.

    The biblical promise of a Jewish homeland is relevant mostly to Jews, it may provide the ideological fuel, but one does not need it for a rational argument for territorial integrity. On a secular level, Israel has territorial rights and rights of self-defense established under secular international laws and principles of natural justice. These need to be explored, understood and promoted by Israel, Jews in the Diaspora and their friends. It is your scenario of only one option, of granting territory and political independence to Arabs (actually, their clan and mafia bosses masquerading as "governments") on Israeli lands is what is utterly unrealistic and lethal. What will collapse the current scenario, which you believe to be set in stone, is a shift of political attention, reduction or absence of funding for terror groups (P.A. included). Such a major strategic shift will open up many possibilities, such as peaceful means of population exchange, buying up Arab lands, paying off families generously to emigrate and options we can't know about yet.

    But most importantly, one has to object to the big rush and big panic initiated by your president and his EU buddies. There is no rush. There is no emergency. The Arab and Muslim world is spiraling into a decline which promises endless civil wars, horrors, religious and political fragmentation among them; they are running out of fuel, which was their historically brief monopoly on the World's energy source, so down is the only diredction they can go on. Israel is financially and socially sound, militarily in control of the region and so, maintaining the status quo, for decades, if needed, is far preferable to surrendering territory yet again and creating yet another fascistic terrorist-governed state which will immediately and seriously endanger all of Israel. Temujin salutes your resistance in the face of so many opponents here, admires your attempts to promote what you think are moral positions, but wants to remind you that you are fighting with incorrect information, obsolete assumptions and old ideals which are no longer anchored in present day realities and will be of no relevance to future scenarios.

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  108. "Yoni: On the contrary, it delusional to believe that residents of a territory occupied by an authority over which they have little or no legal influence are not going to have extremely resentful and rebellious attitude towards that authority and do whatever they can to rid themselves of that authority."

    Umm, you do realise that this describes the situation of the vast majority of human beings who have ever lived?(In reality it also describes 99% of the inhabitants of democracies, but that is another issue). It is simply not remotely true that all these people have sought to overthrow their rulers all the time.

    What makes them do this is being constantly told that they are up to the job of governing themselves even when they plainly, incontrovertibly aren't because all groups of people are equal even though mountains of scientific and historical evidence shows they aren't. When the inevitable post-independence nightmare happens again, and again, and again, and again, the people who fed them these silly dreams just shrug and move on to the next place. There might be mountains of corpses in the streets, but at least it's fair.


    It's all a bit like if we decided the highest moral duty of all was to dress up and invite babies as full participants in dinner parties and then try our best not to notice when they defecate in their tuxedo and jump on the table.

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  109. David Ohsie said: "It is up the to expert in Israel to try to fathom what would happen with the West Bank; your reasoning is basically speculation."

    This is not speculation. Furthermore, the IDF is actively preventing the spread of rocket technology to the West Bank. Israel leaving would lead to rocket attacks on Tel-Aviv.

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  110. Student V:

    " No, it is not moral to kick millions of people out their homes."

    Says you.

    Student V, if you think that this is just a personal opinion of mine, you are living in a bubble. I'm a bit horrified to hear people think that this is OK, but even if you are not convinced, think of the following: Everyone else in the world will find this to be an atrocity. As such, it is not a practical strategy.

    It is not possible to prove moral axioms, although the mourning over our own exiles might be relevant to you.

    As far as you argument over America and Al Qaeda members, your facts are wrong. Non-citizens can be deported back to their home countries. Naturalized Citizens can be deported only if they were proved to have committed fraud during the naturalization process and their citizenship revoked. Anyone born in the US can never stripped of their citizenship and deported. So to the degree that you took your own argument seriously, it proves the opposite.

    But you do believe it is moral to kick hundreds of thousands of Jews out of their homes in Judea and Samaria to make this "Peace" deal happen. 'Cuz we just gotta do it, right?

    Personally, when I have a choice between kicking Jews out of their homes and kicking Jews' enemies out of their homes, that's an easy choice, and the morality is clear. Especially when those enemies adhere to nazi doctrines and have already revolted nationally several times, riot routinely in many places, and routinely attack Jewish motorists. It makes it an easy choice for me.


    This argument is a bit like the apocryphal patricidal murderer pleading for mercy as an orphan. You occupy a segment of land and then justify your occupation by the negative reaction of the occupied. Based on this reasoning, the Romans were justified in their activities. After all, the Jews revolted nationally several times.

    I didn't argue for the removal of all the settlements. The plans that have been discussed involve adjustment to the border. But yes, to to degree that some settlements needs to be abandoned, there is a moral difference between a democracy making a decision to abandon their own settlements in their own national interest and compensating the victims and forcing another groups off the their own land. There is also a difference between an occupier purposely adding settlements with the idea of creating "facts on the ground" and then changing their policy vs. people who were already living there.

    My worthless endorsement of Rav Ovadia Yosef's and the Rav's views are of their views on halacha: it is permissible to negotiate borders. I agree that their views on what is the best plan is not compelling, because they were experts on halacha, not foreign or military policy. Your choice between Oslo and forced population transfer is a false dichotomy.

    In any case, Kahane's views, besides being immoral, were also completely impractical given the world-wide opposition which they would create. Thus they were only possible under some kind of dystopian religious world-view where we do the "right thing" religiously by Kahane's eyes and the God bails us out of the ensuing mess.

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  111. The Germans themselves went in a short time from endorsers of true Genocide to extreme embarrassment and repudiation of such
    this has nothing to do with allied guns ?

    had germany won why should they change theri mind

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  112. This argument is a bit like the apocryphal patricidal murderer pleading for mercy as an orphan. You occupy a segment of land and then justify your occupation by the negative reaction of the occupied...

    David, for all the claims about rational and practical approaches, your counter-argument here begins with a faulty "null hypothesis," the default assumption that Israel is an "occupier." Temujin will repeat the plain fact over and over again if need be: Israel is not an occupier; it has an inviolable, un-abrogated legal deed to the territory. The occupier, for 19 ears, was Jordan, and neither the Arab world nor any "Palestinians" even suggested making it into an independent state. So, no reason for Israel to do so. Facts do matter; narratives and dipplo-babble don't.

    Also, if you're going to generously abrogate San Remo, on wha appears to be an assumption that "something must be done and fast," then don't make it cheap, but at least insist that the agreement be ripped-up in its totality, for the sake of justice and consistency, of course. Then, whole former Ottoman world can be politically re-drawn again, this time with the same lofty ideals applied to the fictitious "Palestinians." Thus the Kurds (actual ethnic people with their own language) straddling four countries, Greek Cypriots, ethnic Greeks in Turkey, Turks in Greece and Bulgaria, Bulgarians in Greece and Turkey, Slavic Macedonians in Greece, Albania and Bulgaria, the Copts in Egypt, the dozens of minorities in Iraq and Syria, the Bedouin, the Armenians here and there, etc., all these get a shot at national independence and new borders now,. Imagine that.

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  113. David Ohsie said: "They want it for the same reason that most other human beings want to be out from under occupation by a government in which they don't have representation."

    Jerusalem Arabs, despite being full citizens of Israel--receiving Social Security benefits, being able to vote, etc.--has not made them peace-loving. Quite the contrary: numerous terror attacks have been perpetrated by inhabitants of the Arab neighborhoods, since they have easy access to the city center.
    When the second intifada started, Israeli Arabs in the north of the country were stopping traffic, and beating up drivers that they perceived to be Jewish. It's pure hatred--having democratic rights doesn't mollify them in the least.
    Arab children are not presently being educated in their schools for peaceful coexistence, so there is no reason to expect them to change their opinion if they'll be granted democratic rights.

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  114. , In addition, while destruction of Israel (the Zionist Entity) is on the Hamas todo list, genocide is not. ,

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp

    "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).

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  117. David Ohsie: the Palestinians don't want rights. They want Israel destroyed. And in its wake, a dictatorship or theocracy where no one will have any rights.

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  118. (Reposted to fix a bad typo)

    Yoni: If it turns out that no agreement is possible, then no agreement is possible. My point is simply that Israel is really occupying another people at a great cost, and those people are not going to give up pursuing their rights, nor is the world going to buy the line of "we own it; tough luck for them". If it turns out that no deal is possible, then no deal is possible. And to the degree that no deal is possible (as with Gaza), then we need to consider how to best draw a wall around our enemies, and to *avoid* doing militarily absurd things like putting Israeli civilian populations in the midst of the enemy as if halacha can compel such an absurd strategy.

    Gavriel M: I'm well aware that for most of human history that it was OK to conquer other nations and take their people as slaves and vassal states. That is no longer acceptable.

    Your characterization of post-colonialism is a bit slanted. As much as I would not like to live in Egypt, it is a functioning country I don't think that anyone believes that continued control by the British would have been a good idea. India is also an example, and there are many others. Taking the worst example which bears little relation to the Palestians anyhow, and making it your prediction for what might happen is not convincing. North Korea, as mentioned, is completely messed up while South Korea is fine, undercutting your "theories" such as they are.

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  119. David Ohsie.

    1) 1,000,000 people dies in the Indian civil war immediately following independence. Do you even know what you are talking about, or do you not care?


    2) North Korea, despite, having a nationwide system of death camps, being governed by people who are literally insane and basing economic policy on a theory that contradicts all logic and reason, has figures for life expectancy about 2/3rds of the way down the global table (as it happens 20 places above India). This because Koreans are very smart and even when they try, so to speak, as hard as they can to destroy their country, they still don't do as good a job of it as someone like Nelson Mandela who had, for the sake of argument, the best intentions in the world.

    3) I predict Palestine will turn out like Lebanon, Syria or Iraq. This seems a reasonable estimate to me. Do you disagree? If so why?

    4) The following statement is libel
    "If you agree with Gavriel M that kicking millions of people out of their homes is OK "

    I have suggested no such thing. You have suggested kicking hundreds of thousands of Jews out of their homes. All I have suggested is that Palestinians be paid to leave and those who are involved in violent actions to be exiled.

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  120. Temujin: You summary of my assumptions isn't correct. I don't say that there is "an urgent need". True, you don't say so directly, Dave, but you are making suggestions for concessions at a time when no such concessions need to be made and when the party to whom the concessions are to be made doesn't even have a stable, representative and legitimate government (how many years are they late with elections?).

    I also do not assume that the situation will remain static. In fact, this is the fantasy of those who insist that we hold out for our full rights to control of all of Gaza and the West Bank. But you are. Your assumption that there is demographic threat (which is challenged), that the Arabs will continue to seek independence, and that the "international community" will always support palestinianism and not tolerate this or that all reflect an assumption that things will either remain static or follow in a straight line trajectory.

    It took approximately twenty years of the status quo before the Palestinians launched the first intifada, which was successful in pushing Israel into Oslo.

    It took twenty years of Israeli governments to hand the Arabs all they need: Letting the PLO return, ceding control and policing, arming them, never attempting to defend Israel's position on international forums, etc.

    In addition, as I mentioned, given the population differences, we have to realize that military superiority of the kind that exists today may not last forever, nor can we necessarily count on US support for all eternity, and it thus behooves us to come to an accommodation with our enemies, if possible, as we did with Egypt and Jordan. And you want to improve the situation by formally surrendering territory to a political entity which doesn't even have a leadership and allowing an international force (perhaps the courageous UNIFIL?) to protect Israel? Neither Jordan nor Egypt had any viable options as threy themselves were threatened by palestinianist terrorism, and you saw how close Egypt came to ripping up the peace treaty.

    "...it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine" And where has Israel failed in that, other than in conceding power to a terrorist organization which was allowed formed a "government" and oppresses its own people?

    Also, Gavriel M did not propose kicking Arabs out, but buying up their land and paying them to leave, a possibility if or when the geopolitical and financial situation changes.

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  121. Aaand another thing, David. You criticized what you consider religious idealism in the insistence that not an inch of Israeli land be given away on the grounds of what you think is rational realpolitik. Yet, under the rationalist interpretation of a miracle, Israel is a miracle. The emergence of political Zionism was a miracle. San Remo was a miracle. The Yishuv was a miracle. The carving up of Israel in spite of the face of the mighty British Empire and the whole of the Muslim world by Shoah survivors was a miracle. The UN vote which gave it statehood was a miracle. Israel's current military and financial might are miracles. Does it then make sense to reject such gifts without any compelling need and to surrender hard-won successes to fears about what might or most likely might not happen in the future?

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  122. 4) The following statement is libel
    "If you agree with Gavriel M that kicking millions of people out of their homes is OK "

    I have suggested no such thing. You have suggested kicking hundreds of thousands of Jews out of their homes. All I have suggested is that Palestinians be paid to leave and those who are involved in violent actions to be exiled.


    Gavriel M, I apologize and ask forgiveness. It was Student V that was taking that position. I wrote in unwarranted haste.

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  123. Updated to remove false attribution of a position to Gavriel M

    Temujin: You summary of my assumptions isn't correct. I don't say that there is "an urgent need". I agree with you that the repeating rhetoric that this the "last chance" for a two state solution that comes up every few years is silly.

    I also do not assume that the situation will remain static. In fact, this is the fantasy of those who insist that we hold out for our full rights to control of all of Gaza and the West Bank. It took approximately twenty years of the status quo before the Palestinians launched the first intifada, which was successful in pushing Israel into Oslo. A little consideration that they might not remain cowed forever would have helped (not that I claim any such foresight).

    In addition, as I mentioned, given the population differences, we have to realize that military superiority of the kind that exists today may not last forever, nor can we necessarily count on US support for all eternity, and it thus behooves us to come to an accommodation with our enemies, if possible, as we did with Egypt and Jordan.

    You are correct that I believe that all people resent foreign occupiers and no people likes to be dispossessed. This is not a Chiddush,

    If, arguendo, San Remo is even relevant, here is a selection from it:

    The Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the declaration originally made on November 8, 1917, by the British Government, and adopted by the other Allied Powers, in favour of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine

    If you agree with Student V that kicking millions of people out of their homes is OK and not a violation of civil rights, then nothing I say here is going to convince you. I've long been resigned to the understanding that "never again" is wishful thinking and not a description of the real world, as there have been many "agains" including the ongoing "again" in North Korea.

    You also seem to be confusing basic civil rights with self-determination. I think that it would completely defensible for Israel to annex all of the West Bank. This is the so-called one-state solution dreamed of by those to the left, which I think we can agree would not be a good result. The two-state solution is merely one way of giving the Palestinians their rights without destroying Israel as a Jewish state.

    Benny: My point is simply to counter the argument that the Palestinians as a whole are, by nature, Nazi murderers forevermore. Even the actual Nazi murderers were not like that. An actual Palestinian leadership making a compromise might or might not work; I'll leave it to the experts.

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  124. Ah, yes, one must be ever on the alert for that troublesome "unwarranted haste" business David. It may lead to being overwhelmed by the manufactured urgency in latest cycle of pro-palestinianist convulsions initiated by such characters like your current president and Baroness Ashton ;)

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  125. Gavriel M: And over 600,000 died in the American Civil war, and much, much higher percentage of the population. I guess that colonies could not be trusted with independence. More importantly, over 60 million died in WWII, and 16 million in WWI, and up to 94 million under communist regimes around the world. The nation-state responsible still exist. Should other nations have tried to colonize or hold on to their occupations of Germany, China, Cambodia, Korea, and Japan just to name a few. Would that have helped? Is it really your position that the British should have tried to hold onto what is now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh?

    Your admiration for Korea is interesting. Do you also hold out admiration for China? It seems that you think that the crime rates in South Africa are worse than 65 million killed in China and 2 million killed in Korea because of their level of "intelligence"? I really don't know where you are going with this.

    You ask whether a Palestinian state will turn out like Iraq, Syria, or Lebanon or more like any of Egypt, Jordan, Saudia Arabia, Qatar, Kuiwait, Iran (moslem but not arab), etc. My answer is that I don't know and, for the purposes of Israeli policy, I don't care.

    Israel is simply too small of a country to be worried about world justice. That is the kind of thing that is in the province of the US or the EU. What Israel has to be concerned about is getting rid of this huge problem where they, a nation of 8 million (with only 6 million Jews) are responsible for over 3.5 million Arabs in the West Bank. Any way that Israel can get this responsibility off it's hands without endangering it's own security should be pursued. If it is not the most ideal solution for the Palestinian population themselves, that is a problem that Israel simply can't take on itself. If the result is what we have with Syria (a defacto peace) while they fight their civil war, then, yes, I am realist enough to live with that, although that is not the ideal. Trying to do what is best for Israel while also being best for the Palestinians is just too much responsibility to take.

    BTW, I did not advocate moving hundreds of thousands of Jews (although this would not be the moral equivalent of forcibly moving Palestinians). Any practical peace treaty will allow keeping the larger settlements in exchange for some adjustment to the border.

    And I apologize again for falsely attributing to you a position that you don't hold.

    Temujin: If you admit that your plan relies on miracles, then I think that we can end the discussion. That is all I'm really trying to prove.

    Yes, I think that Israel is a miracle, but so what? When you are down 5 points with 5 seconds on the clock, then you throw the "hail mary" pass and hope for the miracle touchdown (worth 6 or more points, for the uninitiated) because this is your only chance to win the game. When you are up by 5 with 5 seconds left, you run the clock out and take the victory. We have a wonderful homeland for Jews including access to Jerusalem. It's time to run out the clock, not risk everything for some other goal attainable only through a miracle.

    Also, I'm not suggesting "concessions". Responsibility for the West Bank and it's inhabitants is a burden that Israel should remove as soon as possible; it is not a concession, but a desideratum. The only concern is that whoever takes over does not pose a threat to Israel.

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  126. Yehuda P.: I'm not claiming a syllogism of "give rights to person A, person A is pacified". I'm pointing out that the notion that all Palestinians (and/or other Arabs) are irrevocably intent on Israel's destruction and is not correlated in any way with their own civil rights or agreements with them is patently false. We have peace with Egypt, Jordan and the almost 2 million Israeli Arabs living in Israel.


    David Ohsie: the Palestinians don't want rights. They want Israel destroyed. And in its wake, a dictatorship or theocracy where no one will have any rights.

    Yoni: Palestinians and other Arabs want rights *and* Arab/Moslem sovereignty over what they consider Palestine, and thus the destruction of Israel as a sovereign state. The question is whether we can settle with them so that they get some of what they want (in fact the part that ideally they should have anyhow). We managed to settle with Egypt, Jordan formally, defacto with Syria, and we also have the Israeli Arabs cooperating. Settling with the West Bank Palestinians would be the next step and also take a lot of wind out of the sails of other Israel haters including Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. If the Palestinians settle, it is much harder to motivate other Arabs to get as excited about the situation.

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    1. David Ohsie: Palestinians do not distinguish between the territories and Israel. It is all Palestine. Settling with them will have the opposite effect, in that it will legitimize their narrative of 1948 Nakba/Occupation and therefore lead to a spike in terrorism against Israel, the ultimate goal being the liberation of Palestine, which is Israel (this will also lead to increased radicalization of Israeli Arabs). All official Palestinian insignia which depict Palestinian territory depict a map of what is now Israel. I'm afraid your views on this David are the precise opposite of reality.

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  127. "It's time to run out the clock, not risk everything for some other goal attainable only through a miracle."

    Continuing your football analogy, giving the Palestinians a state is like turning over the ball on downs, deep in your own territory.
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OK3pa51v-Q

    Also, this struggle of theirs has no time limit--they patiently wait for more concessions, until they achieve their ultimate goal--and the goal isn't peaceful coexistence between two peoples (we offered them that already, and it was rejected).

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  128. Temujin: If you admit that your plan relies on miracles, then I think that we can end the discussion. That is all I'm really trying to prove.

    O, for goodness' sake, David, where did you fish that out from? The point is that if you recognize that not one, but dozens of miracles may have been handed to several generations, turning around and passing them off to your enemies may be a tad rude, even if only to those who gave their lives in the process. Where, in anything Temujin wrote here, do you see the slightest expectation of further miracles?

    The irony is, though that it is you who is waiting for an unlikely miracle, which in its condensed and unembellished form looks like this: "If we give them what they want, ASP, the Arabs and the World will finally leave us alone." How do you put it, in your supposedly non-ideological, reality-based way? That time has "run out on the clock" and so, the best option is to give away...no, surrender really... your hard-won legal possession which had to be clawed back militarily, your historic and religious heartland, your water sources and your vital strategic depth and buffer in the high lands and that this would not only be just and proper but a smart and practical thing to do because then everyone will let Israel and the Jews be in their remaining little corner of the World. That it will even take the "wind out of the sails of other Israel haters including Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood"!!! And this hypothesis, this desperate wish for a miracle really, you base on the empirical evidence of two defeated and pauperized states, Egypt and Jordan, who were bribed to sign a few documents for a cold and clearly very provisional peace with Israel!

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  129. "Gavriel M: And over 600,000 died in the American Civil war, and much, much higher percentage of the population. I guess that colonies could not be trusted with independence. More importantly, over 60 million died in WWII, and 16 million in WWI, and up to 94 million under communist regimes around the world. The nation-state responsible still exist. Should other nations have tried to colonize or hold on to their occupations of Germany, China, Cambodia, Korea, and Japan just to name a few. Would that have helped? Is it really your position that the British should have tried to hold onto what is now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh?"

    Yes, on balance it would have been better had the American revolution not happened, and it would certainly have been better if Bismark have been unsuccessful in unifying Germany, and it certainly should have been dismembered in 1919 and it would have been better for Indians if they had not unwisely sought independence from Britain. In general the formation of new polities is almost always a bad idea, because they almost always suffer from chronic political instability, even in the best of circumstances. As a general rule, if you are lucky enough to have a reasonably ancient royal family in charge, who are not insane and rule in a fairly constitutional manner, you should not under any circumstances change it. But we are getting off topic.

    "Your admiration for Korea is interesting. Do you also hold out admiration for China? It seems that you think that the crime rates in South Africa are worse than 65 million killed in China and 2 million killed in Korea because of their level of "intelligence"? I really don't know where you are going with this."

    Where I am going with this is quite obvious. Despite North Korea having the worst possible system of government, people there still have a longer life expectancy than almost all African countries. This is a simply stunning fact that according to the ideology of pious anti-racism defies all explanation. To spell matters out: if Usain Bolt was to spend the next five years lounging in front of the TV eating ice-cream, he would no longer be able to compete in world class athletics, but he would still be healthier than many people born with Diabetes. Conversely, even if I trained for five years without a break I would still not be able to compete in the Olympics. The point being that whilst genetics are not the only determinant of the success of a country, they are an important restraining factor.

    Anyway, this is all perhaps beside the point. All I seek to deny is that there is any moral value to giving the Palestinians a state because whilst they undoubtedly want one, they will just mess it up once given one. However, your real case seems to be that it is in Israel's interest to give up land to people who hate it so that they can fire rockets with impunity at Tel Aviv and we are prevented by the international community from making effective retaliation. All things considered you make a pretty good fist of defending such an evidently implausible argument. Except....

    The following statement is delusional, perhaps even indicative of insanity. It certainly bears no relation to anything that I would recognise as realist:
    "If the Palestinians settle, it is much harder to motivate other Arabs to get as excited about the situation.".

    There is no need for an apology.


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  130. Gavriel M, a quibble: There is actually no reason to assume that the "Palestinians" want a state and independence. Plenty of their leaders have openly discussed how Palestinian nationalism itself is a temporary tactical position, most see themselves as Muslims first and as clans who are really part of a Greater Syria, and at least one posh offer for statehood has been rejected on pretend objections. The bottom line is that with what is going on among the Arabs of Yesha, who have been given to the tender mercies of terror groups, "the sole representatives of the Palestinian people" and who have no legitimate and representative government as we understand such things, no one has the means to accurately ascertain their wishes. The notion that there is a desire for independence may simply be a weak conjecture based on nothing other than our projections and popular political talking points.

    David O, you would actually have a more convincing argument (although not as far as Temujin is concerned) if you were to suggest hard-nosed, realistic trade-offs. Yet, nowhere do you ask for concessions from the real powers behind this, the Arab the Muslim block, the World powers, the UN. How about demanding that Southern Lebanon be demilitarized, that Hamas at the proposed state be disarmed; that the Arab nations not only recognize Israel but make substantial domestic policy changes and form long-lasting commercial and political ties with Israel; that the EU and UN recognize the finality of such an agreement and clarify their positions in binding agreements; that Israel be officially lauded and appreciated for its great sacrifice; that it be given guarantees of military assistance in case of problems; that strategically placed Arab forces near Israel be moved; that Israel retain a military presence with at least a delaying capacity in the Jordan Valley, etc., etc.,...

    The is no hint of such in your "realistic" position; all you have proposed so far is that we accept the old palestinianist paradigm of an oppressed population with an urgent need for independence, a discredited land-for-a-peace-of-paper formula, the assumed threat of a "demographic bomb" and an unrealistic wish that this time, for real, Arab and Islamic appetites will be sated. Talk about miracles.

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  131. O, and one forgot to add, David, that if San Remo is effectively abrogated...and you don't seem to lay much importance on it anyway...all current borders in the old Ottoman Empire be put under review and that other minorities, starting with the Kurds perhaps, also get their chance for that much-wanted national independence. Nothing like consistency to seal a deal.

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  132. Yoni said...
    David Ohsie: Palestinians do not distinguish between the territories and Israel. It is all Palestine.


    This is a general Arab and Moslem belief. And yet Egypt and Jordan settled and Israeli Arabs live with it. Jews for the most part believe that we own the Temple mount. For practical and moral reasons, we leave it under the authority of another group. If no deal can be done, then no deal can be done.

    Yehuda P.: I wasn't arguing by analogy, which doesn't prove anything. I was bringing a concrete example of the fact that the a strategy with low probability of success sometimes is rational (as in the "hail mary") and sometimes is irrational. So the fact that Israel's existence is miraculous doesn't mean we bet on further miracles.

    FWIW, your example is a bad one :) Belichick made a rational decision based on the numbers, even though it turned out badly: http://www.advancednflstats.com/2009/11/belichicks-4th-down-decision-vs-colts.html

    Temujin: I probably misinterpreted your argument as similar to that given by someone above that it is OK to bet on a miracle given that Israel is a miracle.

    If I understand your argument now, I would say that giving up control of land with largely Arab populations is not giving up at all what was fought for: an independent Jewish state in the location of Israel. Having been bequeathed this, we should be very careful with this and not make it subservient to any other objective like keeping "borders" up to a certain line.

    What gives the sovereignty of various countries legitimacy is what gives paper currency value: people consider it to be legitimate. I don't know much about San Remo, but it seems to have as much relevance to the existence of Israel today as the Articles of Confederation do to the legitimacy of United States Constitution today. Yes, the current Constitution can arguably be legitimated under the powers of the Congress under the articles, but that was actually in dispute at the time. The current US Constitution is valid because it was accepted by the people as valid; showing that somehow the Constitutional Convention went beyond it's delegated authority is an interesting historical issue, but completely irrelevant to the current legitimacy of the the Constitution. Your arguments sound similar to the tax protesters in the US who claim that you don't have to pay income tax due to this or that historical circumstance.

    I'll let the negotiators decide what to demand and in what timeframe. Usually it's best to demand something realistic. I'm not in any rush (I think that perhaps you misinterpreted "run out the clock") and I'm not a "Democrat" or "liberal" in the US political sense so the associations that you make don't hold up.

    Gavriel M, your racial theories are truly silly. Civil war deaths by your dispreferred "race" prove something about that "race" while countless civil war deaths, international war deaths, and over 100 million murdered for no reason at all by your preferred races are due to some odd circumstances like the Revolutionary War. I can easily see some why people regret enabling Israel's independence if they see the world the way that you do; by your reasoning it was just something that was going to cause conflict.

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  133. David Ohsie said, "FWIW, your example is a bad one :) Belichick made a rational decision based on the numbers."

    That's exactly why I think it's a good example--the view of Monday-morning quarterbacking experts saying that he had no other choice in the situation is no consolation, in face of the fact that the gamble didn't pay off.

    The same thing in our situation: If there will be rocket fire from Judea and Samaria on all of Israel's major cities, chas v'sholom, due to us forming a Palestinian state, the experts saying that we had no choice in the matter (due to the demographics, world opinion, etc. etc.), will be of little consolation.

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  134. David, Temujin thinks you spend too much energy trying to define his position... somewhat poorly, one regrets to say... rather than defending your own. To sum up, like its regional neighbours, Israel's territorial integrity and its national existence are formally ratified by a document which has a recognized and unchallenged legal standing no matter how yellow the paper it's written on may be, and no matter what the current ethnic distribution is and political situation may be. While you and others may trust the old and failed "negotiators," they have...as you have...started off by handing the victory to the opponent by ignoring or giving away cheaply Israel's existential and territorial rights under international laws and have unnecessarily adopted the language and narratives of its opponents as a staring point in discussions. This is the old paradigm which is now being reviewed and challenged in Israel and in the Diaspora.

    To illustrate this point, if, God forbid, Israel should agree to another "Palestinian" state, it should be clear that it is a tremendous gift, a sacrifice, not a recognition of imagined "rights" and it should shake up the region with tough demands and bind the international community to fail-safe guarantees. One expects at least these minimal expectations from those who (wrongly) think Israel needs to hand over territories to its enemies for temporary political and strategic reasons.

    But this is not Temujin's position, of course. He knows that on the morning after such a give-away there will be riots and rockets and impassioned demands for more lands and more money, for access to this and that, to a corridor between the split terror states, to a return of the Golan to the new Iranian province of Syria and eventually for a bi-national state with "international guarantees" to the rights of Jews now living in underground bunkers. That, to use your football analogy is the end game for the folks on the other side of the negotiations table, all perfectly and repeatedly spelled out in the very proclamations and constitutions of your enemies. So, one regrets to put it this way, but since realism is your thing, David, here is the unpleasant dilemma: It is impossible for two independent states to function in such a ridiculously small area, especially when one side controls the resource-poor strategic highlands and the other the vulnerable rich lowlands and the coast. Only one, not both peoples, can have the kind of control and independence which makes a nation state in that space and location viable; the other must either find a better place or be satisfied to live with fewer political rights and depend on the goodwill of the other. Ideals, wishes and illusions aside, what we are ultimately debating and negotiating is who gets to have that state. All else is fluff and distractions. One would think that you would have reluctantly stumbled onto that realization by now.

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  135. David Ohsie said, "FWIW, your example is a bad one :) Belichick made a rational decision based on the numbers."

    That's exactly why I think it's a good example--the view of Monday-morning quarterbacking experts saying that he had no other choice in the situation is no consolation, in face of the fact that the gamble didn't pay off.

    Exactly, you are falling for the same cognitive bias as the monday morning quarterbacks: it is called "hindsight bias": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindsight_bias. When people worry about making what they think is the right decision because they will be blamed for the results of the decision if the result is bad (or a good result has bad aspects to it), then they will make suboptimal decisions.

    So to summarize:

    Bad decision making (aka MMQ): I believe that a settlement is likely to give the best outcome and will cost the fewest Israeli lives. However since I will then be blamed for any bad results, I'll leave the status quo and take a suboptimal decision to avoid being blamed afterwards for anything bad that happens.

    Good decision making (aka Belechick): I'll make the optimal decision that results in the lowest risk of lives lost. Since I will be associated with this decision, I'll end up with the blame for any bad outcomes or bad elements of good outcomes. I'll make that decision anyhow because my job is not to promote my own popularity, but the good of the people that I lead.

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  136. The following statement is delusional, perhaps even indicative of insanity. It certainly bears no relation to anything that I would recognise as realist:
    "If the Palestinians settle, it is much harder to motivate other Arabs to get as excited about the situation.".


    So you think that if the Palestinians come to an agreement with Israel and say "here are the borders, we recognize Israel as a country, here is the settlement on the right of return" that will have no influence on the position of the Arab League or Muslims or Arabs worldwide towards Israel.

    Yes, we agree that there is delusion here.

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  137. David Oshie:

    IQ testing is a theory? In the sense that evolution is also a theory?

    All I am pointing out is that the overwhelming likelihood is that a Palestinian state will be poor, ill governed and riddled with chronic violence. Some of the factors that make this likely are genetic, some are cultural, some are climate/goegraphy-related, some are political. All reasonable people know that this is the case. You yourself sort of admit when you are not going off on tangents. I am still waiting for an answer as to why it is morally valuable to give groups of people countries when the likelihood is that they will ruin them.

    "So you think that if the Palestinians come to an agreement with Israel and say "here are the borders, we recognize Israel as a country, here is the settlement on the right of return" that will have no influence on the position of the Arab League or Muslims or Arabs worldwide towards Israel."

    Uhuh. Let's discuss what the impact on the Arab League might be if pigs do the conga or if the Honey Monster leads a successful coup in Nepal. Evidently you've got all day for this sort of thing. Meanwhile, in the real world, Muslim children from Colorado to Malaysia are singing as we speak about the glory of killing Jews. Seriously, get a grip.

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  138. David I don't know much about San Remo

    This is a repeat from an earlier post but the presentation is both edifying and convincing.

    I would like to thank Gershon for If you watch this video, you may learn something about San Remo and international law Dr Jacques Gauthier – The Jewish Claim to Jerusalem: The Case Under International Law .

    I watched the presentation (1:04) it was very convincing. I highly recommend it. If you just want the conclusion, watch the last 10 minutes.

    Basically the Jews have the legal right to all of historic Israel, not just Jerusalem. We just have to claim it.

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  139. Supporting Gavriel M.'s position: Yesterday's Yated Ne'eman (the freebie they distribute on Tuesdays here in Israel) had an article how no one among the Palestinians really think that Abbas is doing all this negotiating for their best interests. The average Palestinian in the street:
    1) principally wants a secure livelihood, and this independence is good only if it will improve their economic situation,
    2) thinks that talk of statehood is from Europeans projecting onto the Arabs what they should want,
    3) and thinks that statehood will only undermine the growth that they have seen in their economy of late.

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  140. Yehuda P.: I don't know if there is any validity to the information that you gave, but it completely contradictions Gavriel M.'s narrative. He says that *he* and all other rational actors think that the Palestinians are better off under the status quo (and the US under UK sovereignty), since IQ tests exist. The Palestinians themselves and all Muslims everywhere want to kill all Jews and wipe Israel off the map.

    Avraham: I listened to a few minutes of the conclusion. These are arguments sound valid only to people inside the echo chamber. Everyone else realizes that they have no relevance today. I'm not being fair, because I'm not making an argument, but as I said before, these arguments have all the validity of the various tax protest movements. But understand if that if Israel "claims" the West Bank and Gaza, Jews are a minority in Israel. I don't think that you want this result.

    Gavriel M.: Arguendo, the Palestinian polity is likely to remain relatively poor, violent and ill-governed whether or not they remain occupied. Even if a settlement makes them a worse off (not a given), this is not something that Israel can afford to worry about. What is a goal is to get rid of responsibility for >2.5 million non-citizens and settle the last valid claims that they have against Israel, as it did with Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon (unilaterally). US and EU have the werewithal to try to help them out further; Israel can't be as philanthropic as you would like.

    You seem to be agreeing that an agreement with the Palestinians would be helpful; you doubt it will happen based the supposed behavior of people in Colorado. Of course your arguments also "prove" that peace with Egypt, Jordan, and the alliance with Turkey were also impossible, so please don't be offended if I don't accept your arguments.

    Temujin: I apologize for not making my positions clear enough to you. Briefly: establishing control over the Gaza and West Bank are not, in and of themselves, of importance or value to Israel; control over a foreign non-citizen population (colonization) is costly and should be avoided and is also viewed with justification as immoral, which introduces its own heavy costs; maintaining civilian settlements in the midst of enemy territory is absurd and costly, both militarily and diplomatically; I'll leave it to foreign policy and military experts of Israel how to best work with this difficult situation and avoid invoking halacha to try to make these decisions (meaning that the halacha actually puts the decisions in their hands).

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  141. What I doubt will happen is the following:

    "If the Palestinians settle, it is much harder to motivate other Arabs to get as excited about the situation."

    The fact that Muslims all around the world, most of whom have precisely zero connection to the Palestinians whatsoever exult in Jew-murder, is relevant to my assessment that this belief is delusional.

    As regards Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Egypt and Jordan made peace with Israel because a) they were repeatedly humiliated in battle and b) because they had been forced by bankruptcy to become American puppet states. If either state had a government remotely representative of their peoples' wishes they would declare war tomorrow, the fact that they would then be humiliated again, notwithstanding. Theoretically an American puppet government in Palestine would also be able to make such a peace, but, even were uch a thing possible, we are unlikely to see it since the American Right and Left are dominated by utopian democracy fanatics.

    Turkey's historic relationship with Israel was forged by figures that were not only non-Muslim, but actually anti-Islamic in their personal beliefs. They also despised Arabs for various obvious reasons. The idea that this can be replicated across the Islamic or Arab world is, again, delusional. Indeed, it probably won't last the decade in Turkey.

    Anyway, my concern is not with the welfare of Palestinians. I have limited reservoirs of sympathy and none of it goes to them. In any case, they have no good options available. The only good one would have been to petition to be a minority in a civilized Jew run state, but they have already screwed that one up by breeding so much.

    My argument is simple:
    1) We have no moral obligation to give the Palestinians a state.
    2) Giving the Palestinians a state places us in danger, removes from being able to walk in our homeland, and loses us valuable economic resources.
    3) Therefore we should start paying Palestinians to leave, which we happen to know about 50% want to do.

    The main problem with this plan, is that all the most enterprising and work-orientated Palestinians will leave, leaving behind most of the low IQ violent males between 16-35, which are the group that make all the Arab states such non-starters in the first place. However, no plan is perfect and it's certainly better than giving these males the ability to rocket Tel Aviv with impunity.

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  142. David, no need to apologize; you have made your position clear. Temujin has a lot of respect for your thoughts, but on this one ...hoo-boy... even though one can admire your tenacity in duking it out as the lone contrarian here, he thinks you're dead-wrong, incongruously hanging on to ideas and beliefs which are irrational and proven failures.

    This man undertook to lead a hasbara seminar a couple of months from now and was overwhelmed with the choices and the multitude of issues. Your arguments and those of others here, and especially the areas where you do a lot of hand-waving, have helped one tremendously by pointing out the weak spots where pressure needs to be applied, not to mention in narrowing and slimming down one's notes. To wit:

    1) Continuing to move the legal challenge relating to the San Remo agreement into the mainstream;

    2) Focusing on the strategic and political existential threat a surrender of Yesha would pose; and

    3) Focusing on the Jewish communities of Yesha and their human and political rights to remain in and continue to settle places to which they have a legal right.

    One must say that your hand-waving was very helpful in indicating the weak spots in your position. These include the "metaphysics" of the blind trust in supposed "experts" and "great leaders" who somehow divined wise solutions even though all evidence shows that they were costly flops; the near-messianic hope that appeasement and surrender of territory will work this time; the reliance on old and wrong assumptions about future geopolitical and regional demographic trends and; the assumption that Arab rights must always come before those of the Jewish communities in the Yesha.

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  143. On the subject of Gavriel M's "pay them off to split" argument, there is no reason to assume it's wrong. Indeed a huge number of "Palestinians" have expressed to leave the area and if they can be convinced to blow themselves and their children up for the price of a house, a street name or $ 20,000 from old Saddam, imagine what an arranged visa to a South American country, free relocation and $2 million per family would accomplish. A bargoon for Israel too. Given the freezing weather in Temujin's neck of the woods and the lure of tax-free cash, he just might declare himself "Palestinian" and lead first wave....

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  144. Gavriel M said...
    What I doubt will happen is the following:

    "If the Palestinians settle, it is much harder to motivate other Arabs to get as excited about the situation."

    The fact that Muslims all around the world, most of whom have precisely zero connection to the Palestinians whatsoever exult in Jew-murder, is relevant to my assessment that this belief is delusional.


    Believe it or not, Jews are not the only group with world-wide solidarity. Your assertion that they exult in Jew-murder is unfounded. They likely care less about Israeli lives than they do about Muslim lives and rights just as you do the opposite, because they feel that the Israelis bear responsibility, just as you feel the Palestinians bear responsibility. Right or wrong, this is all understandable and rational and Palestinian agreement to a compromise can have an influence. Americans do not exult in "Japanese-murder" despite the extremely negative view of Japanese including Japanese-Americans during WWII, and the approval of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    As regards Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Egypt and Jordan made peace with Israel because a) they were repeatedly humiliated in battle and b) because they had been forced by bankruptcy to become American puppet states

    Now you are resorting to special pleading; these examples disprove your general principle. In any case, 1973 was a humiliation, but not for Egypt. You are partially right that US foreign aid, like all good foreign aid, is a form of bribery and such foreign aid would undoubtedly be part of a settlement with the Palestinians. The notion that a country with a GDP of over 257 billion would be bankrupted by a cut of 1.5 billion is not well-supported. Nevertheless, I support continued foreign aid/bribery, and similar bribery to the Palestinians.

    Again, my point is not that we can "replicate" Turkey. Only, that given the right circumstances, leaders can make deals, despite your theories about the beliefs of Muslims in Colorado.

    I don't disagree that the minority Israeli Arab population in Israel is probably better off there than in a Palestinian state and some of them have protested plans to trade Arab towns in Israel for Jewish settlements in the West Bank. That just isn't feasible for the Gaza and the West Bank. Your plan to bribe people to leave is not realistic. They would have nowhere to go, and if such a plan and its purpose was made public, it would not be possible to get them to accept it. If someone offered me 1 million dollar for my home, I would take it. If they offered 1 million to all Jews in order to rid my neighborhood of Jews, it would be a different thing. I also doubt what polls tell you about this; you can say "yes" or "no" to a pollster without any cost.

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  145. David, no need to apologize; you have made your position clear. Temujin has a lot of respect for your thoughts, but on this one ...hoo-boy... even though one can admire your tenacity in duking it out as the lone contrarian here,

    What is a contrarian on a contrarian website? Mainstream, I guess :).

    he thinks you're dead-wrong, incongruously hanging on to ideas and beliefs which are irrational and proven failures.

    This man undertook to lead a hasbara seminar a couple of months from now and was overwhelmed with the choices and the multitude of issues. Your arguments and those of others here, and especially the areas where you do a lot of hand-waving, have helped one tremendously by pointing out the weak spots where pressure needs to be applied, not to mention in narrowing and slimming down one's notes. To wit:

    1) Continuing to move the legal challenge relating to the San Remo agreement into the mainstream;


    If I could convince you of one thing, it would be that this line of reasoning is so far removed from reality that it makes hasbara efforts look foolish.

    My Hasbara is much better and can be accepted by almost anyone: Israel would like to give Palestinians their rights as they have done to 1.5 million Israeli Arabs living in Israel in peace and as they did by giving the Sinai back to Egypt. Unfortunately, the security situation, as proven by post-Oslo second intifada and the continuing Gaza rocket fire after the pullout from Gaza, as well as Hamas's reneging on prior agreements, means that such deals need to be done carefully and slowly and with assurances that Israel's security can be maintained. In addition, the Palestinian demand for an unlimited right of return would destroy Israel as a Jewish state, so the Palestinians and surrounding Arab nations will have to make significant concessions for peace.

    One must say that your hand-waving was very helpful in indicating the weak spots in your position. These include the "metaphysics" of the blind trust in supposed "experts" and "great leaders" who somehow divined wise solutions even though all evidence shows that they were costly flops;

    I have no such illusions. I only say that they are better than trying to derive policy from halacha itself. It is because of the impossibility of expertise and man's evil nature that the results of the Egyptian and Jordanian peace treaties are so exceptionally good. Gaza is merely about as good as one could have hoped for, given the starting point.

    the near-messianic hope that appeasement and surrender of territory will work this time;

    I think of it as "ridding of harmful baggage" rather than surrender, but it has worked in the past.

    the reliance on old and wrong assumptions about future geopolitical and regional demographic trends and;

    I don't believe is any such trends. The current numbers are the problem.

    the assumption that Arab rights must always come before those of the Jewish communities in the Yesha.

    They are both important and so is ridding ourselves of unwanted colonies.

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  146. imagine what an arranged visa to a South American country, free relocation and $2 million per family would accomplish

    $2 million x 500,000 = $1 trillion



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  147. David Everyone else realizes that they have no relevance today … If I could convince you of one thing, it would be that this line of reasoning is so far removed from reality that it makes hasbara efforts look foolish.

    Thank you for at least looking at the video (but think you should watch more of it). We see from recent history and present politicians that the big lie works. So al achas kama v’kama the truth will also work. As Temujin points out we have to repeat it until it becomes mainstream. And let us not forget, we have the truth on our side.

    …if Israel "claims" the West Bank and Gaza, Jews are a minority in Israel. I don't think that you want this result.

    You think correctly. However, I do not think that will be the result for numerous reasons already mentioned in these comments.

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  148. Another consideration that came to mind: After the Fogel family was massacred in Itamar, the Palestinian Authority said that the crime was probably committed by "disgruntled Thai workers" that the Fogel family didn't pay! Needless to say, the IDF had to apprehend the murderers.

    This is just one of many examples where the PA refuses to assume any responsibility for anything that goes wrong--they always deflect the blame onto Israel (they said the Hamas takeover in Gaza was because Israel didn't provide the PA with enough weapons to defend themselves). How can they be expected to ensure our security?

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  149. David Ohsie
    1) If Muslims all around the world only hated Jews because of our oppression of Arabs, they would really hate Syrians, they would detest Iraqis, they would have conniptions at the very word "Algerian", but, in fact, Muslim children in Sweden are not brought up to hate Algerians, they are brought up to hate Jews. Now, it is perfectly true that this is largely down to hatred of Israel rather than Jews per se, but it has precious little to do with Palestinians who they don't give a flying barnacle about. Indeed, if they really cared about avenging Palestinians it would be Jordan or Lebanon that they would set their sights on. They hate Israel because it's a crusader state on their land, which regularly shows them up, economically, militarily and civilizationally. They will continue to hate it *if* the Palestinians make a the sort of fantasy deal you dream about. In the more likely event that the Palestinians make a deal, but conspicuously do not renounce claims to all of Israel and the refuge problem, there will be no budging.
    Again, to make an analogy. People didn't hate South Africa and Rhodesia because they were oppressing blacks, if they did it would have been pretty far down the list of countries to hate. They hated South Africa and Rhodesia because they were white countries on black land. Likewise they hate Israel because it is white + Jewish country on Arab land and the only thing they will accept, as in South Africa and Rhodesia, is self detonation.

    2) The budget of the Egyptian government is not 257.3 billion. I just worked out 1.5 bill as 6% of Egyptian government expenditure, more than enough to bankrupt it.

    3) The plans have been worked out. All the math has been done. $50,000 a head would end up costing about half of what the post Oslo security state costs, Of course this would not please the Israeli military-industrial complex who benefit from "peace deals" that lead to recurrent minor wars, an endlessly expanding security state and nice little earners like the Iron Dome. If Palestians can place rockets 10 miles from Tel Aviv, then they're really in the money.

    As for where they would go. Obama wants to give citizenship to double that number of Mexicans for no particularly obvious reason (or at least no obviously good one). He should offer to house all the Palestinians. That way he could actually solve the Middle East problem, rather than generate further wars, as every single Israel concession since Oslo has done.

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  150. Here's some "rational and understandable" Muslims described by David Ohsie. I think we can all see how territorial compromise will take the wind right out of their sails.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1fWRn_e57w

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  151. Let’s see if Temujin has this right, David:

    1) You casually dismiss San Remo, the document which still actively justifies and maintains around 30 borders and nation states because, well, you think it’s somehow crazy. Your source for that jdgement is not precedents in international law, but that it just doesn’t sit right, that it reminds you of pseudo-legalistic shenanigans by American back-woods tax protesters. And San Remo is apparently crazy only where Israel is concerned.

    2) You recognize that the Aza give-away wasn’t a good thing, but that it doesn’t really portent much as it can be solved with better negotiations. Yet even though there are concrete steps which can be taken (e.g., disarmament of terror groups, moving strategic forces, etc.) there is nary a sign of such even being considered, much less discussed seriously. Our betters know better and they’ll do better on the next round?

    3) You avoid the crucial strategic value of Yesha which seriously challenges any idea that giving it away Israel’s highlands which serve as its defensive barrier and its main water reservoir will, thanks to what looks like faith in the goodwill of Arabs, improve Israel’s safety. Will more signatures by insecure governments and security guarantees by a US which is currently withdrawing from the world scene with its tail between its legs do the job?

    4) While one did not argue from halachah, you do keep bringing it up, if only to dismiss it. Fine, perhaps you can clarify to others who understand the issue of halakhah far better than Temujin on what grounds you selectively dismiss parts of Eretz Israel deeded in the Torah, calling it, in your words, "ridding of harmful baggage."

    You call all this rational and a "beter hasbarah," David; Temujin calls it voluntary and preemptive terms of surrender.

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  152. 1) You casually dismiss San Remo, the document which still actively justifies and maintains around 30 borders and nation states because, well, you think it’s somehow crazy. Your source for that jdgement is not precedents in international law, but that it just doesn’t sit right, that it reminds you of pseudo-legalistic shenanigans by American back-woods tax protesters. And San Remo is apparently crazy only where Israel is concerned.

    Anyone can invent their own legal interpretations, as the tax protesters do. There simply no document that is going to justify a permanent West Bank colony in international law.

    2) You recognize that the Aza give-away wasn’t a good thing, but that it doesn’t really portent much as it can be solved with better negotiations. Yet even though there are concrete steps which can be taken (e.g., disarmament of terror groups, moving strategic forces, etc.) there is nary a sign of such even being considered, much less discussed seriously. Our betters know better and they’ll do better on the next round?

    (As an aside, Aza is not more accurate than Gaza. The Ayin used to have an even more guttural version.) Removing the settlements from Gaza was a good thing. I'm inclined to believe that removing the soldiers and locking up Gaza was also worth it, but it's hard to play out all the alternatives. But Gaza was not a settlement; it was a unilateral action by Israel. The settlement with Egypt and Jordan was a good thing.

    3) You avoid the crucial strategic value of Yesha which seriously challenges any idea that giving it away Israel’s highlands which serve as its defensive barrier and its main water reservoir will, thanks to what looks like faith in the goodwill of Arabs, improve Israel’s safety. Will more signatures by insecure governments and security guarantees by a US which is currently withdrawing from the world scene with its tail between its legs do the job

    I'll leave this to the experts, but Israel controls the modern highlands with the IAF. Israel withdrew from Lebanon with tail between its legs. This was a good thing. But a West Bank settlement would not be that anyhow. It would settle recognition of the border and settle the right of return and be recognized internationally as a settlement. If they don't get that, then they won't settle.

    4) While one did not argue from halachah, you do keep bringing it up, if only to dismiss it. Fine, perhaps you can clarify to others who understand the issue of halakhah far better than Temujin on what grounds you selectively dismiss parts of Eretz Israel deeded in the Torah, calling it, in your words, "ridding of harmful baggage."

    A lot of religious people argue this from halacha. Both Rav and Rav Ovadiah Yosef have said that giving up control of land to the Arabs can be justified to save lives. The Rav was explicit about delegating this decision making power to the Israeli military and foreign policy experts. The West Bank is not harmful baggage per se, but a West Bank "colony" is.

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  153. David, seems like that on most issues you and this man have reached an impasse. But our positions are hardly unique or original anyway, and what remains is the ongoing battle for public opinion. Temujin takes comfort in the fact that in Israel, the Diaspora and even among conservative non-Jewish thinkers opinions are shifting away from the position you have been defending. Reality is also a relief: the Yesha is unlikely to be surrendered as the Arabs will not be able to reach an agreement they can ever fulfill before they slide off the geopolitical radar into relative obscurity and that after the last debacle, no Israeli government will want to attempt to effectively ethnically cleanse Jews by force from their homes again.

    On the halacha issue Temujin is the least knowledgeable among his peers here, but courteously submits that while Rav Yosef Ovadia did at one time rule that it is halachically permissible (not compulsory) to give territory from the Land of Israel if a genuine peace were possible, he did apparently retract his opinion after the Oslo Accords terror attacks. Also he clearly and repeatedly condemned the Aza/Gaza disengagement.

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  154. Temujin: Rav Yosef did not change his P'sak AFAIK; he judged that it would not bring peace, which is not a judgement of halacha, but of geopolitics.

    Gavriel M:

    I think we can all see how territorial compromise will take the wind right out of their sails.

    I said that a settlement with the Palestinians would take the wind out of their sails. It is much harder to argue the justice of a cause when those most affected have settled. Undoubtedly, there will always be fanatics, just as there are still Nazis in Germany and Communists in Russia.

    Iraqis are Arabs and Muslims and there is much hatred and violence between Shia and Sunni inside and outside of Iraq, so I don't understand your argument.

    I can agree with you that your argument should easily be accepted by those who want to reinstate Apartheid. What about the other 98% of humanity?

    Yehuda P.: I'm not vouching for the responsibility of the PA. Undoubtedly they are beset by lots of corruption and not particularly motivated to protect the Jewish lives of those who in their view are their colonizers.

    Avraham: Do you really want to reduce your arguments to propaganda that you repeat in the hopes that someone will believe?

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  155. Rav Yosef did not change his P'sak AFAIK...

    One was rather of the impression that the Rav did so, but no matter, David O, as you have already argued halachic considerations come second to presumed "realpolitik" scenarios by infallible experts.

    And speaking of such, it appears your president is in an inexplicable rush of panic to get Israel to sign onto yet another surrender-for-promises, with muttered prophesies about international boycotts and intifadas. The chap likes to put ideas into the minds of Israel's enemies, but usually does so through his Imperial Fool, the vice president. What is the rush and panic to create yet another geopolitical crisis just now, one wonders? Rome burns from one end of the world to the other, while the Emperor fiddles over Iudaea....

    One notes with amusement we seem to be playing the game of "who will have the last word," which Temujin plays with his wife, Börte Üjin of the Olkhunut Clan. Temujin typically concedes, for the sake of shalom yurt, but he need not do so in this case :)

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