Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Israeli-Arab Politics and Rationalist Judaism

The previous post, Clueless in LA, upset many people. One person asked why a website titled "Rationalist Judaism" was dealing with politics. I agree that it's usually a good idea to keep religion and politics separate; during the last Bet Shemesh elections, I was very upset with a local Anglo rabbi who replaced his parashah column in the weekly newspaper with a politic diatribe. However, this website has somewhat of a broader purview. In addition, while "rationalist" is not identical to "rational," there is an overlap between the two, and that's what I'd like to focus upon in this post.

There is a question - actually, two related questions: Should Israel give the Palestinians a state? And if so, under what circumstances? The answer to these questions should involve a rational analysis of the pros and cons of all options. Some of the many factors to consider are: Is it moral to keep land captured in a defensive war? Is it dangerously compromising Israel's security to give it away? Is it moral to rule over people without giving them full political rights? Can Israel withstand international condemnation if it does not give the Palestinians a state? Will there be significantly less international condemnation if Israel does give the Palestinians a state, but is then forced to defend itself against missiles in the same way as happened with Gaza and Lebanon? How much land can Israel withdraw from, without making the security risk too high? Is it fair to agree to "Two States" in which one state comprises Jews and Arabs, and the other is Judenrein? How will any agreement be enforced? There are many, many such questions, and working out the answer is not at all easy.

Now, there are some people for whom the question of whether to give land to the Palestinians is solely a religious question, for which the answer is an automatic "no," because it is forbidden to give away the Holy Land under any circumstances. I'm not going to explain why I believe this position to be wrong; suffice it to say that in such cases, the question has a predetermined answer, and does not involve rational analysis of the pros and cons.

But there are also people at the other end of the religious-political spectrum, for whom the question likewise does not involve a rational analysis of the pros and cons. For them, the answer is an automatic "yes." Not just "yes, the Palestinians ideally should have a state," but "yes, Israel must come to an agreement with them, and is accountable if no agreement is reached." Once you insist that Israel must come to an agreement and is accountable for not doing so, then this means that if an agreement has not yet been reached, Israel must ipso facto concede even more. And if the other side still does not agree, Israel must concede yet more. And so on, and so on. At this point, there is no longer a rational analysis of the pros and cons of the agreement under discussion. If ending the occupation is worth doing even at the cost of grossly undermining national security, then this is a fundamentalist doctrine, not a rational evaluation. Conversely, if one is interested in rationally evaluating the pros and cons of an agreement, then one must be open to the possibility that an agreement is not possible at this time, depending on the other side.

This is one of the points that I was getting at in the previous post, and frankly, I don't see how it can be argued. A rational approach to Israel-Palestinian question recognizes that it is a serious matter that must be weighed carefully, and any potential solutions must be evaluated for their pros and cons, vis-a-vis the current situation. Those who refuse to accept this are either religious fundamentalists or liberal fundamentalists - either way, they are not making a rational evaluation of the issue.

(If you wish to post a comment, please ensure that it makes a point, that it is on the point, that it is not too long, and that you use either your real name or a pseudonym. Otherwise, it will not be allowed through. I also ban comments that are full of raging, violent rhetoric. Please read the comments policy for more details.)

141 comments:

  1. R Slifkin please keep in mind that even the term "occupation" itself is problematic; there are studies of the relevant laws (for example at jcpa.org ) that argue that the term is not even applicable in this case for a variety of reasons, such as the fact that Israel captured the territory from Jordan (who's control of the WB was not recognized) and that the still applicable deeds and conventions actually grant the land to the Jews. Perhaps using the term "disputed territories" is more accurate and appropriate.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was the guy wondering why a rationalist Judaism blog was dealing with this. So I am glad to see your opening paragraph acknowledging the inconsistency. Your blog may have a broader purview, but still I hope you keep such digressions to a minimum. Again, for these types of discussions there are plenty of forums. It's not what I read yours for. I don't come away learning anything from reading political debates.

    Once on the subject, you are, of course, correct that both the liberal and the (as it were) conservative viewpoints can be irrational. But they are not necessarily so. I will tell you that I personally know a number of men who hold the conservative view, that not one inch of land should be surrendered, much less a state. These men are extremely intelligent, and understand very well the many questions you speak about in your second paragraph. [These are, after all, old questions, it doesn't take a genius to ask them.] Still, they hold that in view of history and the nature of the conflict, the hard line approach is the rational position to adopt.

    I would assume, though I've never personally met such a creature, that there are liberals who espouse their view for what they think are equally rational reasons, not emotional ones. They may be foolish and naïve, but that is not the same as irrational.

    Bekitzur - a fundamentalist position can also be a rational one.



    ReplyDelete
  3. The question is, what if you believe we're talking about egregious human rights violations - people who are being systematically oppressed, who lack basic freedoms, are subject to continual abuse, unjustly persecuted and incarcerated, living under apartheid? If you see something that you deem to be "evil", then isn't it reasonable and rational to say it "MUST" end, that it's not a question of "whether" it ends, but "how" - and "how soon"?

    Yes, it may well be a position arrived at via exposure to propaganda, misinformation and half-truths, but that's not "fundamentalism" - it's a reasonable position based on incorrect assumptions.

    The best thing to do for people on the Left then is to redress the false claims which underlie their position, while at the same time showing empathy for people who are suffering, and the willingness to find a solution that takes into account the reality on the ground.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I personally have long been persuaded that a straightforward understanding of the mitzvot related to settling and conquering the Land Of Israel militates against giving away land under almost any circumstances (unless for example a war is literally about to be lost and there is no choice.)It does an injustice to use the adjective "fundamentalist" regarding such a position. Unless one believes that the only non-fundamentalist halakhic positions pertain to halachot pertaining only to the individual and not the nation.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The not one inch philosophy can be rational when it is meant to say that we must show strength. The Arab countries have historically taken advantage of compromise. That said, brilliant people are NOT always rational.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "In addition, while "rationalist" is not identical to "rational," there is an overlap between the two, and that's what I'd like to focus upon in this post."

    Not sure exactly what you're getting at, but may I recommend, "Rationalish Judaism" or, perhaps more accurately, "Rationalish Right-wing Zionism?" As you recognize, your views on science and Torah are not entirely rational (there's still a lot of "faith" involved) yet you are at least rational enough to know the difference between the consensus of experts and lunatic fringe opinions in the science world. In the legal-political world, your blog is dominated by the opinion that Israel has a legal right to the "disputed" territories against all recognized international legal bodies including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the UN General Assembly and Security Council, and the International Court of Justice. Even the Israeli Supreme Court recognizes this ("The general point of departure of all parties – which is also our point of departure – is that Israel holds the area in belligerent occupation"). It's only a slight exaggeration to say you believe in political spontaneous generation.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Last comment was me - wouldn't want it rejected as anonymous.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "is solely a religious question, for which the answer is an automatic "no," because it is forbidden to give away the Holy Land under any circumstances. "

    Why is their a separation between the "Religious" and the "Rational" ? They don't need to be separated. Saying an automatic NO is rational as well because by saying, well maybe etc. etc. one is opening the possibility of having such disasters (as seen already with OSLO and other "agreements").
    Also when the Torah warns of not doing something, its automaticall rational or perhaps one can say "super, or "post-rational" way of thinking, which involves acknowledging that following G-D's Misswoth brings upon Reward while going against G-D's Misswoth always brings tragedy.
    This understanding is partially how and why Mordechai specifically went to the Palace and didn't bow down to Haman. Why did he have to appear their? Couldn't he just lay low? The Megillah and Chazal teach otherwise, the Megillah is spread to show the beginning to end, the beginning was the party that the Jews at the time attended, seeking "security" and friendship with the other nations. THAT was the cause, although in a certain "rational" sense people could have blamed Mordechai for the warrant of destruction.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Shimon- the "international" court. So what? Or the "Israeli-courts" so what? I don't understand how and why, *IF some man made court says something that makes it correct. Imagine at the time of Joshuah their being "international" courts, or even the (leftist, hellish) "Israeli court" in existence. Would be submit to them or would, and should we submit to G-D's laws and judgments which come from HKBH and not a bunch of Jew-haters.
    So what is it, which is more important, man made "laws" that are against G-D OR G-D's laws that are eternal?

    ReplyDelete
  10. 1. It would be difficult to host a rationalist view of the situation here bec you get a security/military expert who can explain the pros, cons, and acceptable risk. There is probably more than one view on these issues as well.
    2. As for the moral and spiritual issues, as you wrote, there are those that take the hard right wing pov and there isn't room for discussion. And then there are those who disagree. ROY allowed land for peace exchanges if security can be maintained. (Lest some accuse him of playing Shas politics for this one, his teshuva was originally a speech given at yad maimon in 1979 when he was chief rabbi, way before shas - published in Torah Shebaal Peh of that year). He says to rely on educated advice of military experts. We must also acknowledge that expert advice is not perfect. Very few would say today that the Oslo Accords worked. And few would disagree that Begin's peace with Egypt didn't work.
    3. The morality of annexing captured land will fall under the discussion of whether there is room for moral relativism in Judaism. Navi is pretty clear that captured land can be annexed. Still one can accept that perhaps accept that moral relativism is acceptable and make exceptions for a clear commandment to capture Eretz Yisrael.
    4. The sugya of the mitzva of kivush Eretz Yisrael must be analyzed. Does it apply nowadays? Are we fulfilling it? And if not, the sugya of pikuach nefesh comes into play (If one must conquer land then obviously people can and will die along the way, so Torah obviously commanded it at the expense of life).

    ReplyDelete
  11. "Is it moral to keep land captured in a defensive war? "

    It would be even more rational to first determine whether 1967 was a "defensive war." A surprising percentage of people I know don't realize that Israel attacked first in this war. Hard to blame them, as Israel ironically claimed Egypt had perpetrated a "cowardly and treacherous" surprise attack, and the Israeli government doesn't lie. Now we were all taught that Egypt was about to attack Israel and so Israel had no choice but to attack first, Unfortunately, US and Israeli observations indicated that Egyptian troop movements were defensive in nature. As Menachem Begin noted, "The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us... We decided to attack him." As Haim Bar-lev, deputy Chief of staff to General Rabin noted, the threat of Egyptian attack was "invented of whole cloth and exaggerated after the fact to justify the annexation of new Arab territories." As General Matityahu Peled said, "The thesis, according
    to which the danger of genocide
    hung over us in June, 1967, and according to which Israel was fighting for her very physical urvival, was nothing but a bluff
    which was born and bred after the
    war.” and "To pretend that the Egyptian forces concentrated on
    our borders were capable of threatening Israel’s existence not only insults the intelligence of any person capable of analyzing this kind of situation, but is primarily an insult to Zahal." As General Ezer Weizman noted, "There never was a danger of extermination”
    and this possibility “had never been considered in any serious meeting."

    On the contrary, it seems very possible that Israel was not simply over-reacting but actively attempted to provoke war. The US Secretary of State was so convinced of Israel's security, he suspected that her nervousness was feigned and that they were laying the groundwork for a planned attack. General Peled seems to have believed this was the case, and presciently argued that settling these new territories would decrease security for Israel as it found itself needing more and more wars to defends it new territories.

    As long as we're being rational.

    ReplyDelete
  12. you are at least rational enough to know the difference between the consensus of experts and lunatic fringe opinions in the science world. In the legal-political world...

    The concept of "expert consensus" has no relevance to politics, especially where Israel is concerned. Or would you conclude from the UN that Israel is by far the most evil country in the world?

    ReplyDelete
  13. "But there are also people at the other end of the religious-political spectrum,"

    Is that a spectrum? Are Satmar hardcore Zionists? Was Rabbi Menachem Froman zt"l irreligious? Or is there for some inexplicable reason a general correlation between these two variables for some other reason? Rational minds want to know....

    ReplyDelete
  14. My apologies. What I quoted as Haim Bar-lev (who did express similar sentiments) was actually from Mordechai Bentov.

    ReplyDelete
  15. John G
    Shimon,
    Why not look at Michael Oren's very balanced and carefully researched account of the six day war to dispel any notion that Israel started the conflict as a land grab instead of relying on cherry-picked personal opinions and the United States Secretary of state who was more often wrong than right.

    ReplyDelete
  16. "The previous post, Clueless in LA, upset many people. One person asked why a website titled "Rationalist Judaism" was dealing with politics."

    Yes, but there was another reason for why many people were upset. Many of us saw it as the messenger Rabbi Sharon Brous rather then the message i.e. her opinion that was being attacked, [and] by some of the commentators for the wrong reasons. E.g. being a woman and non-orthodox.

    "There is a question - actually, two related questions: Should Israel give the Palestinians a state? And if so, under what circumstances? The answer to these questions should involve a rational analysis of the pros and cons of all options."

    A two state solution will more likely guaranty Israel retaining its Jewish identity. Which should be Israel's foremost concern.

    The main problem as I see it is world opinion, for it encourages the Palestinians for their stubborn insistence for unreasonable demands and puts undeserving pressure on and unwarranted criticisms against Israel.

    Too much of world opinion is that the Palestinians are the victims. Most people have a tendency to root for the underdog.

    These unreasonable demands of the Palestinians and the reasonable concerns of Israel in the granting of these demands should be made very well known to the world public. More so then it is.

    Without knowing all the details and facts, we do not truly know what the devil we are talking about and what criticisms Israel is undeserving of and not.

    If anyone has a right to give Israel any constructive criticism it should be its own people.

    Furthermore by making their demands known to the world would compel the Palestinians to explain such unreasonable terms, perhaps forcing them to recede.
    In all likelihood it should expose their true intentions.
    o

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think your rationalist analysis is somewhat unfair in that it assumes that a religious or nationalist objection to handing over land is irrational.

    It's not. All it does is move over the rationalist debate to religion and nationalism (i.e. is religion rational, is nationalism rational, etc.).

    In other words being a nationalist (which I am), and therefore automatically objecting to giving land to anyone (kal vachomer an enemy) does not make me irrational unless one considers nationalism itself irrational.

    ReplyDelete
  18. "Why not look at Michael Oren's very balanced and carefully researched account of the six day war to dispel any notion that Israel started the conflict as a land grab instead of relying on cherry-picked personal opinions and the United States Secretary of state who was more often wrong than right."

    Yes, why not look at the Israeli ambassador and J street basher's very balanced book and not cherry pick the opinion of numerous Israeli generals involved in the war? Amazing you guys actually believe yourselves.

    Do you want more?

    Chief of Staff Rabin: “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent into Sinai on 14 May would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”

    General Chaim Herzog: “There was no danger of annihilation. Neither Israeli headquarters nor the Pentagon – as the memoirs of President Johnson proved – believed in this danger.”

    US General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff "had no information of any Egyptian intention to attack and declared that if anything,
    it was the Israeli amy that was pressing to begin hostilities. He repeated that in the Pentagon’s view Israel had nothing to fear."

    Of course, the numerous Israeli generals were advised to be quiet.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Shimon: You seem to be peddling a conspiracy theory now. Whether there was an existential threat to Israel in 1967 is beside the point. Israel had to go to a state of alert and could not remain there indefinitely. Furthermore, in history, we rarely get to play "what if", but in this case, we do. A scant 6 years later, the experiment was run again, and Israel was indeed existentially threatened.

    Rabbi Slifkin: Please continue to post whatever you want. Anyone old enough to read this blog is old enough to decide what to read and what to agree with.

    HaRazieli: The Torah is not a suicide pact. There are many authorities who take a realistic position that political and military experts need to make these decisions. It is one thing to say that the halacha demands not trading land for E"Y for oil rights in some other location. It is another to try to divine the right foreign and military policy by paskening them.

    Hodo Hashem: How far do you take this? Is slavery OK? Selling your daughter into marriage? Polygamy? Teachers hitting their pupils? What was OK at one period of time may no longer be OK because we have voluntarily adopted a different stricter standard.

    Kollel Nick said: And few would disagree that Begin's peace with Egypt didn't work. It's worked quite well. After 4 wars in 25 years, we have 0 in 35 and cooperation on Gaza and Sinai terrorism. (Perhaps I'm misreading the double negative).

    ReplyDelete
  20. The questions are quite simple:
    1) Does Israel need to sign a peace agreement at all costs?
    2) What would Israel want from such an agreement?
    3) Is it likely Israel would get it?
    The answers as they are now are:
    1) No.
    2) Peace
    3) No.

    ReplyDelete
  21. A surprising percentage of people I know don't realize that Israel attacked first in this war. Hard to blame them, as Israel ironically claimed Egypt had perpetrated a "cowardly and treacherous" surprise attack, and the Israeli government doesn't lie.

    before june '67 egptians were shelling israel. an act of war . so there.

    http://www.sixdaywar.co.uk/crucial_quotes.htm

    "We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand, we shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood" - President of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser [20]

    All Egypt is now prepared to plunge into total war which will put an end to Israel” - Cairo Radio


    "Taking over Sharm el Sheikh meant confrontation with Israel (and) also meant that we were ready to enter a general war with Israel. The battle will be a general one and our basic objective will be to destroy Israel” - Gamal Abdel Nasser speech to the General Council of the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions

    ReplyDelete
  22. "Should Israel give the Palestinians a state?".

    If you think Israel has a right to choose whether to "give" a people their human rights, that is evidence of how far off your thinking is on this issue.

    ReplyDelete
  23. "Shimon: You seem to be peddling a conspiracy theory now."

    If you consider the theory of the US government and the plain attestation of numerous Israeli generals a "conspiracy theory," that's your business. To me, the conspiracy theory has won in our community, and that's the idea that we were about to be attacked.

    As Dayan noted with regard to the tensions with Syria which led up to the 1967 war, "Along the Syria border there were no farms and no refugee camps — there was only the Syrian army... The kibbutzim saw the good agricultural land ... and they dreamed about it... They didn't even try to hide their greed for the land... We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn't possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn't shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance further, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that's how it was...The Syrians, on the fourth day of the war, were not a threat to us. "

    My goal here is not to vilify Israel (I'm sure many Arab countries would be happy to take land from Israel) but simply to put to rest this idea that we're pure and they're evil. We can be trusted but they can't. We want peace and they'll never rest until we are destroyed. Nonsense. All of us are pretty practical and self-interested.

    "Whether there was an existential threat to Israel in 1967 is beside the point."

    It's not beside the point at all; it's important for two reasons. The first is that, as RNS demonstrates, it's used as some quasi legal/moral justification for Israel to keep the territories. Second, and more important, it feeds into our paranoia as constantly under some existential threat.

    "Furthermore, in history, we rarely get to play "what if", but in this case, we do. A scant 6 years later, the experiment was run again, and Israel was indeed existentially threatened."

    A scant 17 years after we attacked Egypt clearly and unquestionably for territorial gain and a scant 6 years after we surprise attacked Egypt and took land from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria they had the audacity to launch an attack of their own? Crazy SOBs! Only, ask RNS, you have an imprecise conception of an experiment, because the conditions are supposed to be the same, and here we were, in your experiment, sitting on their land.

    How about you play this "what-if"
    game:

    What if, after we won if '48, we agreed to retreat to our borders in return for peace as the Arab countries proposed?

    What if, after we won in '67, we agreed to retreat to our borders in return for peace as the Arab countries proposed?


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shimon
      Why should israel have retreated? A victor has won something. and a defensive victor at that.Tell me if someone wagers and loses do we cancel the wager? In 48 the arab nations decided to get involved in a civil war!!! it was their fault they lost. In 67 egypt should not have closed off the waterways for israeli shipping that automatically gave Israel a casus belli and makes israels war a defensive and justified war from the outset even if israel attacked first. But go ahead cherry pick and rewrite history and reality.

      Delete
  24. “Not just "yes, the Palestinians ideally should have a state," but "yes, Israel must come to an agreement with them, and is accountable if no agreement is reached." Once you insist that Israel must come to an agreement and is accountable for not doing so, then this means that if an agreement has not yet been reached, Israel must ipso facto concede even more. And if the other side still does not agree, Israel must concede yet more. And so on, and so on. At this point, there is no longer a rational analysis of the pros and cons of the agreement under discussion. If ending the occupation is worth doing even at the cost of grossly undermining national security, then this is a fundamentalist doctrine, not a rational evaluation.”

    This is thoroughly silly. Even if Brous was arguing that at any state of negotiations Israel must concede more (and she clearly isn’t), you read that in context. Let me give you an example.

    Suppose I say (from an Iranian perspective) “Iran must come to an agreement with the P5+1.” Now you can respond “Must? So no matter how much Iran concedes, it must concede more? It has to overthrow Assad, it has to disband Hezbollah, it has to overthrow the theocracy and become an American satellite state?”

    No. That’s silly. Overthrowing Khamenei is not on the table. The subject of the negotiations is Iran’s nuclear program and the maximalist position is that it needs to dismantle it entirely, if necessary. Now Iran can almost certainly come out of an agreement with at least some capacity to generate nuclear power, but I would not be unreasonable to state that it should go all the way if necessary.

    There are understood parameters for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations too. Abbas has already accepted, that it will not be a militarized state. He has accepted that there will be some kind of international presence in the Jordan Valley. The things up for discussion are which settlements Israel will withdraw from, the extent of the token number of refugees it will allow to return to Israel, whether the Palestinians will explicitly recognize that Israel had a Jewish mother and attends its Bar Mitzvahs. And it is perfectly reasonable for somebody to conclude that the concessions Abbas has already shown he will accept for Israeli security are sufficient and that he has demonstrated time and again his willingness and ability to fight terrorism, and that frankly Ariel is not worth the price of an endless conflict.

    That’s your maximalist position. It is eminently reasonable.

    ReplyDelete
  25. DF, was Yeshayahu Leibowitz was rational?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Your credibility as "rational" here is in question for 2 reasons:

    1. U r clearly an interested party - bias.
    2. U quote no consensus of experts and have no personal expertise in the subject.

    Contrast this with ur posts on say accepting evolution as a solid theory. In that case u have experts behind u and less personal interest in the outcome.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Yehudah said...
    I think your rationalist analysis is somewhat unfair in that it assumes that a religious or nationalist objection to handing over land is irrational.


    That wasn't my intent. As you point out, it shifts the issue over to whether religious beliefs are rational. My point was just that with regard to the issue of giving over land, there is no weighing up of options going on.

    ReplyDelete
  28. "Should Israel give the Palestinians a state?".

    If you think Israel has a right to choose whether to "give" a people their human rights, that is evidence of how far off your thinking is on this issue.


    If you think that Israel has to AUTOMATICALLY enable the full rights of a people EVEN IF they will use those rights to destroy Israel, that is evidence of how far off your thinking is on this issue.

    (Note: The above paragraph makes no claims about what Israel should or should not do in this case.)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Your credibility as "rational" here is in question for 2 reasons:
    1. U r clearly an interested party - bias.


    Eh? I'm not claiming personal credibility as being unbiased. I am claiming to be outlining the parameters of a rational analysis. You can object to the content of what I say, but it makes no sense to disqualify it on the grounds that I'm biased.

    2. U quote no consensus of experts and have no personal expertise in the subject.

    Which claim do you think I made, for which a consensus of experts is required?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Shimon: you're latest arguments are not backup up your claims. I never said that "we're pure and they're evil" nor do I believe that. That doesn't erase the fact that Egypt's actions consisted of clear acts of war that Israel was justified in responding to under the normal "rules" of war, such as they are. I'm sure there were provocations on both sides.

    You think that the Yom Kippur war justified. I obviously disagree, but that doesn't change the fact that Egypt showed did pose an existential threat to Israel in 1973. Which means that the hindsight over 1967 is kind of absurd. Beside that fact that responses to acts of war which are not existential threats are also justified.

    You are also taking the moral equivalence too far. Yes, our inclination is evil from our youth just like everyone else's. But whether it is Jewish culture or Western culture or whatever, Israel is a democracy with 1.5 million Arab citizens which guarantees the rights of it's citizens to a much greater degree than the surrounding cultures. The respective rights of Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem were not simply reversed under Jewish sovereignty; instead the Waqf is given over to administer the Temple Mount. That doesn't justify indefinite occupation, but equating the Nasser government and the Eshkol government is also ludicrous.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Kollelnick-
    You quoted the famous statements of Rav Ovadiah Yosef and Rav Soloveitchik saying that parts of Eretz Israel can be given up "for security reasons" and this will be determined by impartial heads of military experts.
    THERE ARE NO "IMPARTIAL" MILITARY EXPERTS IN ISRAEL. The Israel army and security services are hyperpoliticized in Israel. A colonel in the US army told me once that in the US Armed forces an officer keeps his political opinions to himself. In Israel, those promoted to the top have to have been vetted by the Leftist establishment before having any chance of getting to the top. That is why virtually all the senior people that come out of the IDF, MOSSAD and SHABAK end up on the political Left. It is NOT because "being at the top they understand the situation", they are chosen because they already have those Leftist positions.
    You may have heard about the "Gatekeeprs" film which is interviews with several former heads of the SHABAK, all of whom espouse hard-core Leftist, even defeatist views. They same men oversaw the worst deterioration in Israel's security in its history. The bloodiest attacks on Israel's civilian population occurred on their watch. They are failures. Same with the Leftist generals, Rabin , Barak and Sharon (yes, I am including him on this list because during his term as Prime Minister he was spouting all the same things the Left has been saying for years). During there terms Israel faced several wars and outbreaks of terrorism. The "general-politicians" have been the worst Prime Ministers in history. I think this is why Ben-Gurion always held the Defense portfolio for himself...maybe he didn't trust the military people. Maybe that is why there is a law in the US which forbids ex-generals being appointed as Defense Secretary. Know how to move troops on a battlefield is not correlated with larger strategic insight, or with any ability to understand the "Risks" for peace the Left is always insisting we take. How many civilians is it "reasonable" to sacrifice for a piece of paper called a "peace agreement"?
    The IDF and security services were once sacrosanct in Israel but they have lost a lot of credibility with Israeli society in general.
    Rav Soloveitchik said consulting with a general about the security implications of territorial concessions is like asking a physician for his opinion if an ill person can fast on Yom Kippur. But what if the doctor was brought in by the sick person's son-in-law who hates him and is waiting to get his hands on the inheritance he is expecting from the ill person? Same with Israel's generals, unforunately.

    ReplyDelete
  32. "I never said that "we're pure and they're evil" nor do I believe that. "

    Sorry if I gave the intention that I meant you in particular. Halevai your political views represented the average reader of this blog.

    "That doesn't erase the fact that Egypt's actions consisted of clear acts of war that Israel was justified in responding to under the normal "rules" of war, such as they are...You think that the Yom Kippur war justified. I obviously disagree"

    So to clarify your position, closing the Straits of Tiran is justification for Israel to attack Egypt but Israeli occupation of Egyptian territory is not justification for Egypt to attack Israel. Are you sure there's no cognitive dissonance involved in your position? The legal status of the Straits is considerably more ambiguous than the territory captured in 1967. In fact, Nasser offered to bring the case to the International Court of Justice although Israel rejected this option. On the flip side, Sadat several times offered peace if Israel would return the Sinai peninsula and Gaza; Israel refused.

    You seem like an intelligent thinking individual so I'm interested in hearing whether you have thought about this.

    ReplyDelete
  33. "But whether it is Jewish culture or Western culture or whatever, Israel is a democracy with 1.5 million Arab citizens which guarantees the rights of it's citizens to a much greater degree than the surrounding cultures. The respective rights of Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem were not simply reversed under Jewish sovereignty; instead the Waqf is given over to administer the Temple Mount. That doesn't justify indefinite occupation, but equating the Nasser government and the Eshkol government is also ludicrous."

    Sorry, I seem to have lost track of what point you're responding to. That won't stop me from responding. ;) For better or worse, the modern world considers racism a particular evil. Our own people's experiences likely had something to do with that. Being a jerk to your citizens is better tolerated than being democratic to one ethnicity and not another. I know you spoke about within Israel, but even there Israel has a sketchy record. Palestinians were under martial law for decades and their condition has gradually improved to their contemporary not-quite-equal status. Obviously the criticism stems much more from the occupied territories.

    ReplyDelete
  34. David Ohsie - I mean to say that Begin's peace with Egypt has worked so far.
    Y. Ben-David - You're pushing a very cynical approach. It is ridiculous to say that they get to the top of the military command bec of their politics.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Shimon, Nasser signed a war pact with King Hussein to put the Jordanian army under his control, moved forces into the Sinai, and spoke openly about his plan to destroy Israel. Now, even if he was bluffing, that is enough to consider him the aggressor. And even if Israel knew that he wouldn't be able to annihilate them entirely, Israel was still legitimately very afraid - they were preparing to turn city parks into mass cemeteries. To say that "we attacked Egypt clearly and unquestionably for territorial gain" is nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
  36. My point about accepting an approach that forbids giving away land according to the Torah (more or less since that is doing the very opposite of that which we are commanded to do, which is take possession of the land)is not that we need not consult with military experts in carrying out foreign policy. My point is that foreign policy must be carried out in a way which does not violate Torah principles.

    I also claim that those who say that such halachot need to wait for "mashiach" have a fundamentally non-rationalist approach to halacha. Halacha applies whether a given eschatological reality has ensued or not.

    I would put those who defend "land for peace" on the defensive. Who ever heard of such an absurd political doctrine, and even if it has been used under rare circumstances, why would one consider applying it when the battle is with a nation which believes that ALL of your land belongs to them, with a nation whose raison d'etre is to destroy you?

    ReplyDelete
  37. "If you think Israel has a right to choose whether to "give" a people their human rights"

    Since when is having a state a "human right"?

    ReplyDelete
  38. "Along the Syria border there were no farms and no refugee camps — there was only the Syrian army... The kibbutzim saw the good agricultural land ... and they dreamed about it... They didn't even try to hide their greed for the land


    at the time of these incidents syria's policy was that Israel had to be destroyed.

    israel was no longer prepared to be passive victims and if taking syrian land made syria's ultimate objectives harder to achieve, it would have been criminally irresponsible not to do so.

    ReplyDelete
  39. What if, after we won if '48, we agreed to retreat to our borders in return for peace as the Arab countries proposed?

    somewhat hypothetical as in '48 the arabs nver proposed peace with the jewish state.

    and in '67 they said no 3 times in succession. nooooooooooooooooooooooooo

    ReplyDelete
  40. I have three things to say on this:

    1) Those of us in the diaspora may see this issue as politics. In fact -- and most Israelis I know understand this -- it is not merely politics but a matter of personal and national survival.

    2) Therefore it is not for us in the diaspora to second guess Israel's elected leaders in this matter -- either from the right or the left. The last five Israeli Prime Ministers have supported a Palestinian State, so I support a Palestinian State. However, should Israel's leaders support the only real alternative -- full annexation of the occupied territories with Israeli citizenship for the non-Jews living there, I would support that instead.

    3) In any case, as long as a substantial fraction of the Palestinian Arabs continue to reject a Jewish state in the region, it doesn't matter what Israel or its leaders do.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Concerning Shimon's description of the Six Day war.
    You seem to be saying that in order to acquire land, Israel somehow induced Nasser to send forces into the Sinai, expel the UN forces, and close the Straits of Eilat in order to provide a legitimate excuse for starting the war. Israel's generals are clearly more brilliant than I thought! In addition, Israel initiated a war against three neighboring countries whose armed forced far exceeded Israel's – talk about confidence! And they even succeeded in convincing millions of people in Israel and outside, Jews and non-Jews that the war was only defensive and a last resort! Wow, those Jews really are smart.
    I am perplexed at your statement that the Arabs offered peace in exchange for a return of the captured territories after the war. What about the three No's at Khartoum?

    ReplyDelete
  42. "Shimon, Nasser signed a war pact with King Hussein to put the Jordanian army under his control, moved forces into the Sinai, and spoke openly about his plan to destroy Israel. Now, even if he was bluffing, that is enough to consider him the aggressor."

    Maybe in your mind. Using the same logic, I assume you'll find Israel at least as responsible as they first spoke openly about attacking Syria, with which Egypt had a mutual defense pact.

    "To say that "we attacked Egypt clearly and unquestionably for territorial gain" is nonsense."

    That was a reference to 1956.

    ReplyDelete
  43. >"Along the Syria border there were no farms and no refugee camps — there was only the Syrian army... The kibbutzim saw the good agricultural land ... and they dreamed about it... They didn't even try to hide their greed for the land

    Greed??? It is, after all, our birthright. So the other side does not see it, fine. But the longing for it can never be characterized as greed and doing so simply betrays your own bias. You are basically proposing a conspiracy theory that Gobbles would have been proud of.

    Fact is, that the kibbutzim in the Hula valley were subject to constant attacks either from artillery or from Fatah ground insurgents. Israel went to the UN in October 1966 to demand a halt to the Fatah attacks. The response from Damascus was defiant. "It is not our duty to stop them, but to encourage and strengthen them," the Syrian ambassador responded. Nothing was done to stop Syria's aggression. A mild Security Council resolution expressing "regret" for such incidents was vetoed by the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, Israel was condemned by the UN when it retaliated. "As far as the Security Council was officially concerned," historian Netanel Lorch wrote, "there was an open season for killing Israelis on their own territory."

    But you, my self hating friend, prefer the antisemitic arab narrative which has Israel responsible for all the problems in the ME and which always understates Jewish pain while overstating Arab suffering.

    >"If you think Israel has a right to choose whether to "give" a people their human rights"

    I know this is lost on you since you consider Jewish concerns regarding Arab intentions to be mere paranoia , but the fact of the matter, is that for Jews, paranoia is a far more rational attitude than the belief that our enemies would become friendly if we just accepted their position. An Arab state puts 6 million Jewish lives at risk. Giving 3 million Arabs the vote or free access to our small land puts our lives at risk. So yes, we have a right to choose which rights to give the Arabs because choosing to give them too many rights, puts at risk our own right to life and liberty. Liberals such as yourself believe that Israel should sacrifice itself for some sense of western christian morality of the underdog. I would rather live and be derided by amoral a-holes such as yourself than put at risk my family's life and be considered moral by a person who has no conception of the stakes at hand.

    ReplyDelete
  44. "israel was no longer prepared to be passive victims and if taking syrian land made syria's ultimate objectives harder to achieve, it would have been criminally irresponsible not to do so."

    You win the official award for best ability to warp reason in a hasbarah effort. Yes, we had a moral responsibility to take their land.

    ReplyDelete
  45. >Yes, we had a moral responsibility to take their land.

    It's NOT their land. They were given it by the brits who conquered it from the ottomans who conquered it from the Mamluks who conquered it from the Ayyubids who conquered it from the crusaders who conquered it from the shia muslims who conquered it from the sunni muslims who conquered it from the byzantines who inherited it after the fall of the Roman empire who conquered it from Us who liberated it from the Greeks who conquered it from the Persians who conquered it from the Babylonians who conquered it from Us who conquered it from the canaanites. We don't know who they conquered it from.

    So if you find any canaanites, you may have an argument. Until then, we will continue to consider the land in question as our land and those who would want it as invaders.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Kollelnick-
    I am not being cynical. Do you remember "korbanot hashalom" (Victims of peace)? They were all telling the public that making peace means increasing violence. Just like Orwell's slogan "war is peace" from his book "1984". Rabin stated once that the job of the government is "to protect the state", not protect the citizens.
    Funny how Rabin was saying that the citizenry has no right to demand security from the gov't, but Rabin had the right to go into our pockets and take our tax money but it was chutzpa for us to demand security in return.
    Do you remmember all the suicide bombings that killed or wounded thousands of Israelis and the constant refrain from the gov't and the generals that we couldn't do anything about it? Do you remeber Sharon's infamous statement after the Dolphinarium massacre that "restrain was strength"?
    I repeat that during the tenures of the SHABAK "Gatekeepers" there was the worst period of civilian bloodshed in Israel's history. Their job was to protect us, not to be spokesmen for a government that didn't want to do anything about it in order to protect their chances for a Nobel "Peace" Prize, making excuses why they can't do anything about it.

    I read somewhere once (I think it was a book by Len Deighton) where former President Truman was asked why he fired the popular General MacArthur during the Korean War. Truman replied "I fired him because he was insubordinate. It wasn't because he was stupid...if that was the case I would have to fire ALL the generals". (Truman was an artillery captain in World War I so he knew a little about these things).
    Remember that in history, most soldiers were mercenaries. Patriotism had little to do with the motivations of soldiers and officers. The modern ideal of the army being the embodiement of the national spirit and the gernals being the supposedly non-political bearers of the national interest was a 19th century European concept. Many, of not most of the officers who reach high rank do not do so out of "Patriotism". It is because they enjoy the army and the challenges of conducting combat operations. Maybe you saw the scene in the movie "Patton" whree is standing amongst a bunch of dead soldiers and burning tanks and he says "I love this so much". I heard Moshe Dayan say "there is nothing more fun than war".
    To me, the real patriot is the conscript soldier who is not doing this as a career, but who is doing his job, endangering his life, out of a sense of duty.
    Fortunately, there are no more Israeli war heroes in politics. Those who were, Dayan, Rabin, Sharon, Barak and others did immense damage to Israel. I believe the country is growing up and taking a more mature look at what the army is and what its role should be. Of course we need an army, it is a necessary evil, but a proper perspective should always be kept on those who serve in it, for good and for bad.

    ReplyDelete
  47. With respect to the right wing, Yehuda hits it on the head. Unless you assume religion itself is irrational, no one opposed to giving back land for religious reasons is irrational. And, contra your response, no one has failed to weigh the options. They have, and have concluded that their opposition is the best course. That is not irrational.

    Again, same with the left wing. For such people, their brand of liberalism IS their religion. Thus, if their belief in "its a human right to have a state" and "Zionism = facism" is what is motivating them, they too are not irrational. Incredibly stupid - but not irrational.

    ReplyDelete
  48. If you think that Israel has to AUTOMATICALLY enable the full rights of a people EVEN IF they will use those rights to destroy Israel, that is evidence of how far off your thinking is on this issue.

    First of all, as I said before, human rights are not "enabled". They are inborn.

    Second of all, you're basically saying that the existence of Israel is dependent on denying the human rights of an entire people. That leaves Israel in a very precarious moral place.

    Third of all, how will "enabling" the human rights of Palestinians lead to the destruction of Israel? do you not think Israel has the capability to deal militarily with threats to its existence?

    ReplyDelete
  49. First of all, as I said before, human rights are not "enabled". They are inborn.

    But they can be denied or enabled.

    you're basically saying that the existence of Israel is dependent on denying the human rights of an entire people. That leaves Israel in a very precarious moral place.

    First, I didn't say that this is definitely the situation, just that it is possibly the situation.
    Second, if the equation is SAFETY and LIVES of my people verses POLITICAL RIGHTS of others, I feel very comfortable with this moral place.

    how will "enabling" the human rights of Palestinians lead to the destruction of Israel? do you not think Israel has the capability to deal militarily with threats to its existence?

    That depends on how serious the threat is. Also, it doesn't need to go as far as the destruction of Israel to be very bad for Israel. A constant barrage of rockets is also very bad.

    You initially stated that Israel has no right whether to choose to give or deny the Palestinians a state. This implies no matter what the costs are to Israel. I find your position to be immoral and untenable.

    ReplyDelete
  50. A simple thought experiment, for Shimon and LastYear. Please indulge me rather than fighting the hypothetical:

    Assume, for a moment, that the Palestinians plan to launch a full scale military and terror assault on Israel within a year of the foundation of a Palestinian state. Assume that such an assault will at least destroy (kill or maim) tens of thousands of Israeli lives.

    On those assumptions, does Israel still have a moral obligation to grant the Palestinians a state?

    Again, please don't fight the hypothetical. My question is not whether that is the reality, but whether you truly believe (as you've expressed) that the moral obligation is unconditional (i.e. regardless of consequences, Israel must agree to a Palestinian state) or if your argument is practical (OK, it's true that Israel does not need to grant the Palestinians a state in all circumstances, but in the circumstances as they exist in reality, they do.)

    If it's the former, then further discussion is pointless.

    If it's the latter, then discussion should focus on assessing the realities of the risks to Israel and its citizens.

    Which was R' Slifkin's point in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  51. "You seem to be saying that in order to acquire land, Israel somehow induced Nasser to send forces into the Sinai, expel the UN forces, and close the Straits of Eilat in order to provide a legitimate excuse for starting the war. Israel's generals are clearly more brilliant than I thought! "

    Did they orchestrate every little move Nasser made? Obviously not. Maybe they originally intended to go to war just with Syria and Egypt happened to fall into their lap. Who knows?

    " In addition, Israel initiated a war against three neighboring countries whose armed forced far exceeded Israel's – talk about confidence! "

    Do we have to keep rehashing the same misinformation? The Israeli army was considered superior to all three by both Israeli and American intelligence estimates. Indeed President Johnson told Israel that even if attacked, "You'll whip the hell out of them." David and Goliath stories are great mythology, but you can't go on believing them forever when it impacts current decision making. We have freaking second-strike nuclear armed submarines, not slingshots.

    "And they even succeeded in convincing millions of people in Israel and outside, Jews and non-Jews that the war was only defensive and a last resort! Wow, those Jews really are smart. "

    No; those people are really gullible. Israel started by claiming that Egypt launched a surprise attack against them. This was way too obvious a lie, so they went with their next best option. Is there anything Israel could say which you wouldn't believe? Do you think that if they were perfectly happy with a war for territorial gain they would just come right out and say it?

    "I am perplexed at your statement that the Arabs offered peace in exchange for a return of the captured territories after the war. What about the three No's at Khartoum?"

    I may be misremembering the offers as more explicit than what I can currently find. UN mediated efforts led by Gunnar Jarring proposed peace for a return of the land. This was accepted by Egypt and rejected by Israel in 1971. A similar proposal by the US, the Rogers plan, was accepted by both Jordan and Egypt in 1970 and rejected by Israel. Again, this is not as explicit as I recall, and I may be wrong on this point.

    ReplyDelete
  52. "Greed??? It is, after all, our birthright. So the other side does not see it, fine. But the longing for it can never be characterized as greed and doing so simply betrays your own bias. You are basically proposing a conspiracy theory that Gobbles would have been proud of...But you, my self hating friend, prefer the antisemitic arab narrative which has Israel responsible for all the problems in the ME and which always understates Jewish pain while overstating Arab suffering."

    You are responding to a quote from Moshe Dayan, but thanks for playing.

    " the fact of the matter, is that for Jews, paranoia is a far more rational attitude than the belief that our enemies would become friendly if we just accepted their position. "

    For Jews, paranoia is not rational, but it is understandable. I don't mean to belittle it, but it has come time to recognize and deal with it. By continuing to repeat the little-sheep-in-a-land-of-wolves story we do ourselves and our future, not to mention that of the Palestinians, a disservice.

    ReplyDelete
  53. "Assume, for a moment, that the Palestinians plan to launch a full scale military and terror assault on Israel within a year of the foundation of a Palestinian state. Assume that such an assault will at least destroy (kill or maim) tens of thousands of Israeli lives.

    On those assumptions, does Israel still have a moral obligation to grant the Palestinians a state?

    Again, please don't fight the hypothetical. "

    Frankly, your question poses a conflict between two moral principles, and I don't have a clear response to your hypothetical. Questions such as these are intimately connected to realities. Yes, my belief that the current occupation is not benign (none can be, much less a 45 year occupation) and my confidence that Israel would not be seriously threatened by a Palestinian state determine my conclusion with regard to the reality, if not your hypothetical.

    "If it's the latter, then discussion should focus on assessing the realities of the risks to Israel and its citizens."

    Discuss what you want. The conversation started with a criticism of Rabbi Brous for not sharing sharing Rabbi Slifkin's right-wing views. They may be couched in some "explore all the possibilities" rhetoric, but when I see him get upset with right-wingers for not further exploring the peace option then I'll believe it.

    ReplyDelete
  54. "Do we have to keep rehashing the same misinformation? The Israeli army was considered superior to all three by both Israeli and American intelligence estimates."

    Shimon, this reasoning is quite specious. 1973 showed that such "estimates" are completely unreliable, besides the inherent uncertainty involved. So did 1940 for that matter.

    ReplyDelete
  55. "Shimon, this reasoning is quite specious. 1973 showed that such "estimates" are completely unreliable, besides the inherent uncertainty involved. "

    Yes; 1973 showed Israel they weren't invincible and may well have paved the way for peace with Egypt. Does that somehow turn 1967 into a defensive war? I'm not denying there may have been real fear in the country; when war doesn't make people nervous there's a problem. Israel certainly had options besides war in 1967, if it wanted to pursue them.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Yes; 1973 showed Israel they weren't invincible and may well have paved the way for peace with Egypt. Does that somehow turn 1967 into a defensive war? I'm not denying there may have been real fear in the country; when war doesn't make people nervous there's a problem. Israel certainly had options besides war in 1967, if it wanted to pursue them.

    What made it defensive were acts of war on the part of Egypt and others.

    It is *your* counter-argument that such acts should be disregarded as meaningless acts with no threat at all to Israel, given it's overwhelming military superiority. Which is difficult to argue, since it was likely false, given 1973.

    You are also disregarding the asymmetry. The costs to Egypt to keep up a state of alert and mobilization was much, much lower than those to Israel. A status quo with both countries mobilized would have been crippling to Israel.

    ReplyDelete
  57. "What made it defensive were acts of war on the part of Egypt and others. "

    I'm still waiting to hear how you rationalize closing the Straits to be an "act of war" but sitting on another country's land not.

    "It is *your* counter-argument that such acts should be disregarded as meaningless acts with no threat at all to Israel, given it's overwhelming military superiority."

    It's not my argument. Egypt's posture was defensive, as recognized by Israel at the time. If Israel wasn't looking for war, it wouldn't have escalated with Syria, and it would have taken Nasser to the International Court of Justice as he offered, and it would have pursued a diplomatic resolution as guaranteed by Johnson.

    "Which is difficult to argue, since it was likely false, given 1973."

    I've never heard of proof from the future. As Zev Shiff wrote after the war in 1973, "Israel's military supremacy has been placed in doubt ... and she cannot forsee the future to the degree that was possible in and after the Six Day War," Not, "As we all knew all along, Israel never had a military supremacy."

    "You are also disregarding the asymmetry. The costs to Egypt to keep up a state of alert and mobilization was much, much lower than those to Israel."

    To be honest, I know little about the respective costs of maintaining high alert (do you really?). I'm quite skeptical that the defensively oriented egyptian troops would cause a problem for Israel, unless it planned on directing its own troops into Syria. I do know Israel 1) Could have avoided war if it wanted to and 2) Difficulty maintaining alert, even in the highly unlikely event this is true, doesn't translate into Israel being "attacked" in the sense of granting it any moral right to the lands it seized.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Shimon, I'll rest my case here as I've already gobbled up enough commenting space. Your view seems to me to be about as reasonable and as ideology driven as the denial of the existence of Palestinians, which you decry, but to each his own.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Egypt's posture was defensive, as recognized by Israel at the time.

    Baloney.
    Regarding the first point, see "Arab Politics, Palestinian Nationalism and the Six Day War: The Crystallization of Arab Strategy and Nasir's Descent to War."
    Regarding the second point, see "The Prime Ministers."

    ReplyDelete
  60. ,UN mediated efforts led by Gunnar Jarring proposed peace for a return of the land. This was accepted by Egypt and rejected by Israel in 1971. ,

    shimon

    (1)jarring was not proposing peace only end to hostilities. (2) egypt conditioned the jarring proposal on israel accepting the right of return. so egypt's aceptance of jarring was conditional not absolute. (3) nasser publicly stated that the arab right of return means the destruction of Israel. so in effect egypt said we accept jarring if Israel destroys itself. such peaceful guys

    ReplyDelete
  61. pissed off said, "We don't know who [the Canaanites] conquered it from."

    Rashi on Bereshis 12:6 says the Canaanites conquered it from the children of Shem. Avraham is being promised that his children will get it back.

    It's amazing how many generations of Jews have read that Rashi--as well as the Rashi on the first verse in Bereshis:
    שאם יאמרו אומות העולם לישראל, ליסטים אתם
    --when it wasn't even close to being a reality.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Yes; 1973 showed Israel they weren't invincible and may well have paved the way for peace with Egypt. Does that somehow turn 1967 into a defensive war?

    strawman his argument was how much credence you can give to intelligence estimates

    ReplyDelete
  63. "To say that "we attacked Egypt clearly and unquestionably for territorial gain" is nonsense."

    That was a reference to 1956


    1956 was for defensive purposes. the erabs were using sinai to launch terror attacks against Israel

    ReplyDelete
  64. Maybe in your mind. Using the same logic, I assume you'll find Israel at least as responsible as they first spoke openly about attacking Syria, with which Egypt had a mutual defense pact.
    syria had just been condemned by the un secretay general for sponsoring terror attacks against israel. so what ever victim israel did was self defence againts syrian aggression

    ReplyDelete
  65. if the equation is SAFETY and LIVES of my people verses POLITICAL RIGHTS of others, I feel very comfortable with this moral place.

    You don't think the military occupation endangers the safety and lives of Palestinians?

    When marauding gangs of settlers--accompanied and protected by the IDF--terrorize Palestinian farmers on an almost daily basis, do you not consider that a threat to the lives and safety of Palestinians?

    The question is not whether Political rights of Palestinians outweigh the lives of Jews. The question is whether a country can invade and conquer a land with an indigenous population, indefinitely call those people "others" because they don't have the right genes, and decide on that basis that the their lives and their rights are not as important as "ours".

    ReplyDelete
  66. Yes, my belief that the current occupation is not benign (none can be, much less a 45 year occupation)

    shimon
    so even if hamas/ alquaeda were to take power tomorrow in west bank. israel's occupation would be malign no matter how many innocent lives it saves ?

    ReplyDelete
  67. I'm still waiting to hear how you rationalize closing the Straits to be an "act of war" but sitting on another country's land not

    palestine is not a country and they are not soverign there

    ReplyDelete
  68. To be honest, I know little about the respective costs of maintaining high alert (do you really?)

    do you really think the israeli economy would be viable if all its men were serving in the army and not working

    ReplyDelete
  69. ,I'm quite skeptical that the defensively oriented egyptian troops would cause a problem for Israel,,

    egypt was pouring more and more troops into sinai making the cost of war to israel greater the whole time. what is defensive today can easily become offensive tomorrow.

    had israel pre-empted earlier, it would have suffered less casualties. It is tragic that israeli lives had to be wasted because of an apathetic johnson.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I previously wrote,

    "Therefore it is not for us in the diaspora to second guess Israel's elected leaders in this matter"

    That goes for Rabbi Sharon Brous as well as all the commenters here. These decisions must be made by Israelis. They are there and must deal with the direct consequences of any decision; we in the diaspora are not.

    ReplyDelete
  71. The part that I find irrational is the following:

    The basic human rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence are those granted by the government of a nation.

    How would creating a Palestinian state, which, given past history and current behavior, deny those rights to their people, count as Israel giving them their political rights?

    It would absolve us of responsibility, I suppose, but it would not give them any rights.

    They are already in position to grant them political liberty and freedom of speech, and they choose not to.

    Another things is, if there is a fully separate state, that would mean that they could not work in Israel without a visa. There would still be border control, they would still have to present documents to get in and out, assuming we do grant visas. This would not make it any easier for people to get work, or to get to work.

    From the perspective of the average non-extremist Palestinian, how is this going to help them at all? How will they get any more human rights than they have now?

    Note that I do wish them a much better life, as long as they don't try to kill me or my children. (Tiny little condition, you know, from the paranoid Jew in me)

    Perhaps someone can explain. Because I really am puzzled. Especially when it comes to Arabs in Jerusalem, who are currently free to go to work anywhere in the city, and if there were a partition, they would have to go through a border crossing, assuming they were able to keep their jobs in the first place. How is this going to be good for them?


    ReplyDelete
  72. Akiva,
    In your hypothetical, if Israel knew that 10,000 of its citizens would be killed in the near future, then it would be morally obligated to prevent that from happening, even if it meant continued military occupation.

    In the real world, no one can predict the future with certainty. However it's pretty uncontroversial that denying the human rights of millions of people on the land they grew up in isn't going to make Israel more secure in the long run.

    ReplyDelete
  73. You don't think the military occupation endangers the safety and lives of Palestinians?

    Not to even a fraction of the degree that a Palestinian state could POTENTIALLY endanger the safety and lives of Israelis.

    Anyway, I'm glad that you agreed to Akiva's hypothetical. This means that your first comment on this thread, saying that there is no place to ask "Should Israel give the Palestinians a state?", was itself out of place. You agree that there is a legitimate question to be deliberated. It's just that you feel that there is no significant safety risk involved. Others, however, consider it pretty uncontroversial that giving a state to millions of people who deeply desire Israel's destruction isn't going to make Israel more secure in the long run.

    ReplyDelete
  74. Kira said...
    ... How would creating a Palestinian state, which, given past history and current behavior, deny those rights to their people, count as Israel giving them their political rights?
    ...if there is a fully separate state, that would mean that they could not work in Israel without a visa. ... This would not make it any easier for people to get work, or to get to work.
    From the perspective of the average non-extremist Palestinian, how is this going to help them at all?
    ...Especially when it comes to Arabs in Jerusalem, who are currently free to go to work anywhere in the city, and if there were a partition, they would have to go through a border crossing, assuming they were able to keep their jobs in the first place. How is this going to be good for them?


    Excellent points, Kira. This demonstrates that for most people, it's not about giving the Palestinians a better life. It's about putting Israel in its place.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Lastyear,

    You do realize that calling Israel's presence in the West Bank an "occupation" assumes that the West Bank is Palestinian territory. I'm curious what you base this assumption on. From a historical perspective (to say nothing of a biblical one), you're standing on very shaky ground.

    ReplyDelete
  76. >You are responding to a quote from Moshe Dayan, but thanks for playing.


    Yes, the same Moshe Dayan who led Israel to near disaster in 73. Stop quoting mapai generals. They all consistently and arrogantly overestimated Israeli strength after the war was over. which led to the fiasco of the yom kippur war. For goodness sake, the entire country was in terror prior to 67. Every person I ever met who lived through it remembers it. Eshkol almost stopped functioning normally and Rabin, the ramatkal had a complete nervous breakdown. Sure in hindsight, we had the best army blah blah blah...

    >For Jews, paranoia is not rational, but it is understandable. I don't mean to belittle it, but it has come time to recognize and deal with it. By continuing to repeat the little-sheep-in-a-land-of-wolves story we do ourselves and our future, not to mention that of the Palestinians, a disservice.

    It is entirely rational for a nation with such a small amount of land and such a small population which is surrounded by genocidal enemies that consider their very existence to be illegitimate to be paranoid. It is entirely irrational to treat the various Arab populations that are around us as if they were western European civilizations. Of course, this is not only Israel's problem but the entire problem of western attitudes towards Arab and Muslim civilization.

    >but when I see him get upset with right-wingers for not further exploring the peace option then I'll believe it.

    We were forced to "explore" such possibilities over the last 20 years since the crime that was Oslo was inflicted upon us.

    >I'm still waiting to hear how you rationalize closing the Straits to be an "act of war" but sitting on another country's land not.


    It is not another country's land. It is our land, and we may or may not be powerful enough in any given point in history to liberate it.

    >It's not my argument. Egypt's posture was defensive, as recognized by Israel at the time

    Wrong. Nassar was warmongering left and right.

    >If Israel wasn't looking for war, it wouldn't have escalated with Syria, and it would have taken Nasser to the International Court of Justice as he offered, and it would have pursued a diplomatic resolution as guaranteed by Johnson.

    Israel did not at that time consider the USA a reliable broker and for good reason, after they sold out on us, the french and British in 56.

    >To be honest, I know little about the respective costs of maintaining high alert (do you really?).

    Are you kidding me??? Do you have any clue what calling up the reserves does to the fabric of our small country???? You try supporting a family while being called to service for an open-ended period or running a business while more than half your workers are away with their units.

    ReplyDelete

  77. >I'm quite skeptical that the defensively oriented Egyptian troops would cause a problem for Israel

    repeating this lie does not make it true. Yes, we took them by surprise before they could attack. But their intentions were quite clear.

    >I do know Israel 1) Could have avoided war if it wanted to

    And your antisemitism becomes clear. Now you can predict what would have happened if Israel had taken a different course?? Yes, its very easy to always blame the Jews.

    >Difficulty maintaining alert, even in the highly unlikely event this is true, doesn't translate into Israel being "attacked" in the sense of granting it any moral right to the lands it seized.

    A blockade is an act of war. The insurgencies over all borders were acts of war. The war technically never stopped after 48. And our moral right to this land is historical. Just because they got it from people who conquered it from people who conquered it ... does not give them a moral right to it.

    >You don't think the military occupation endangers the safety and lives of Palestinians?

    No. If they would behave peacefully, not a hair on their head would be harmed. In fact, before Oslo, their situation was in many ways superior.

    >When marauding gangs of settlers--accompanied and protected by the IDF--terrorize Palestinian farmers on an almost daily basis

    keep drinking the left wing cool aid buddy.

    >The question is whether a country can invade and conquer a land with an indigenous population

    They are not an indigenous population. They are invaders who got their land the same exact way we liberated it from them.

    >indefinitely call those people "others" because they don't have the right genes, and decide on that basis that the their lives and their rights are not as important as "ours".

    It have nothing to do with their genes. But rather with their genocidal tendencies and the fact that their very self identity is born out of opposition to Jewish rights. You are right that I have no desire to rule over them. I would have greatly preferred that Israel would have created a refugee wave in 67 like it did in 48. However, our leaders, who shimon accuses of implementing a vast Jewish conspiracy to start a war and pin the blame on the poor peaceful Arabs, did not have the same foresight that the leaders of 48 had.

    It is true that criticism of Israel is not necessarily antisemitic in nature. But as the various pro-Arab commentators on this thread show, there is a significant overlap between the two groups.

    ReplyDelete
  78. ,The question is not whether Political rights of Palestinians outweigh the lives of Jews. The question is whether a country can invade and conquer a land with an indigenous population, indefinitely call those people "others" because they don't have the right genes, and decide on that basis that the their lives and their rights are not as important as "ours".,

    libellous atttack against Israel. find where netanyahu said the occupation is because arab lives are not important as "ours"

    ReplyDelete
  79. If I thought an answer to any of the last twenty specious comments here would change anyone's mind, I would continue. As it is, I'll end by quoting the prophetic words of the US ambassador to Damascus, after Israel rebuffed peace offers from Jordan, Egypt and Syria in 1949:

    "Unless Israel can be brought to understand that it cannot have all of its cake (partition boundaries) and gravy as well (area captured in violation of truce, Jerusalem, and resettlement of [Palestinian] Arab refugees elsewhere) it may find that it has won Pal[estine] war but lost peace. It should be evident that Israel's continued insistence upon her pound of flesh and more is driving Arab states (and perhaps surely) to gird their lions (politically and economically if not yet militarily) for long range struggle."

    ReplyDelete
  80. If I thought an answer to any of the last twenty specious comments here would change anyone's mind, I would continue.

    If your answers were predicated on something other than your owned acknowledged faulty memories and your wilful ignorance of Israel's cost-benefit analyses, you might change someone's mind. Probably your own. But instead, you've simply adopted a perspective as unfair and as biased as those you criticise.

    ReplyDelete
  81. If I thought an answer to any of the last twenty specious comments here would change anyone's mind, I would continue.

    If your answers were based on something other than your acknowledged faulty memory and a willfully ignorant assessment of Israel's cost-benefit analyses, you might change someone's mind - probably your own.

    But clearly you're as committed to your own one-sided perspective as those you criticise.

    ReplyDelete
  82. Not to even a fraction of the degree that a Palestinian state could POTENTIALLY endanger the safety and lives of Israelis

    First: Any potential Palestinian state would represent almost zero threat against the security of Israel. Even if we grant the assumption here that a new Palestinian state would immediately try to destroy Israel.

    Second: Your assumption that all Palestinians want to do is destroy Israel is contradicted by the facts. Yes, sure there are extremists that want Israel free of Jews (just as there are extremists on our side that want the West bank free of non-Jews). But the Arabs states and the Palestinian people have accepted that Israel is here to stay, and have been pushing for a two state solution since the mid 70's.

    Third: If, despite all common sense and evidence to the contrary, Israel continues to believe that the entire Palestinian people are ONLY interested in destroying Israel, and that somehow allowing them a state will lead to Israel's destruction. And that therefore it is going to keep the West Bank. Then by definition, the inhabitants of the West Bank are Israelis. And we cannot morally defend a policy that denies them citizenship and civil rights simply because of their ethnicity.

    ReplyDelete
  83. Charlie Hall: "These decisions must be made by Israelis. They are there and must deal with the direct consequences of any decision; we in the diaspora are not."

    A-ha. I see. So I guess you, an old fashioned liberal, would also agree that politicians cannot vote on affirmative action unless they too are ready to give up their own jobs to someone less qualified? That no one can vote on Title IX unless they are prepared to have their own sons lose sporting programs? That no one can vote on any employment legislation, unless they personally have a business that will be affected by it?

    And those examples, out of countless others, concern actual voting. You are saying even more, no one should even OPINE on a subject, unless it directly impacts them. [And in your view, we in the diaspora are not impacted by Israeli decisions simply because we currently do not live there full time.]

    That position, professor, with all due respect, is nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
  84. "In your hypothetical, if Israel knew that 10,000 of its citizens would be killed in the near future, then it would be morally obligated to prevent that from happening, even if it meant continued military occupation.

    In the real world, no one can predict the future with certainty. However it's pretty uncontroversial that denying the human rights of millions of people on the land they grew up in isn't going to make Israel more secure in the long run."

    LastYear,

    In the real world, the Palestinians elected and still support Hamas, Palestinian public figures compete for the honor of being most militant, Palestinians celebrate the murder and murderers of civilians, Palestinians talk endlessly of the need to repeal not only 1967 but 1948, and Palestinians educate their children for war, not peace. In the real world, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and the Palestinians promptly destroyed the infrastructure left in tact for them and used the territory as a base for further attacks on Israel.

    Given that reality, the casual dismissal of the very high likelihood that, absent some significant deterrent factor a Palestinian state would become a base for future attacks on Israel is completely unjustified.

    Personally, I've always favored a structural disincentive, on the concept that there is a minimum that the Israelis would be willing to give up even for a mere formal peace (areas like Ramallah and Jenin) even if terror attacks continued and a maximum Israelis would give up if they were certain there would be a full peace (perhaps up to and including joint sovereignty over Jerusalem).

    In which case, a peace deal could be structured with simple "Claw Back" clauses: For the first terror attack after the deal is signed, Palestinians lose sovereignty over Jerusalem. For the second, parts of the west bank get ceded to Israel, irrevocably. Etc. - with the Palestinian residents of those areas remaining Palestinian, not Israeli citizens.

    That would provide the Palestinians with an active disincentive to future attacks, and would be a potentially viable "bet" on peace, since Israel would not simply be left holding the bag if, as seems likely, "peace" with the Palestinians just means "slightly less war conducted entirely by non-governmental entities".

    ReplyDelete
  85. RSS - This conversation became a discussion about what happened in 67. Far from the original discussion of the idea of the moral correctness of a 2 state solution.
    Perhaps a series of posts each with narrower parameters.

    ReplyDelete
  86. It should be evident that Israel's continued insistence upon her pound of flesh

    yes quite prophetic how his anti-semitic theme he uses in regard
    to the Jewish state of Israel, would be taken up with vigour by the arab states.

    ReplyDelete
  87. That Shimon chooses to conclude his comments with a quote from an Arab ambassador, with anti-semitic overtones from the Merchant of Venice, no less, is all one needs to know about that warped way of thinking. Unbelievable.

    Shakespeare

    ReplyDelete
  88. "That Shimon chooses to conclude his comments with a quote from an Arab ambassador, with anti-semitic overtones from the Merchant of Venice, no less, is all one needs to know about that warped way of thinking."

    To be quite honest, the anti-semitic overtones were lost on me.

    Did you mean to imply that US Ambassador James Hugh Keeley, Jr was an Arab or would the simple fact of having associated with Arabs invalidate his prediction?

    I am always amazed at how the most-sensitive to "anti-semitism" (or "self-hatred" when it's a Jew whose opinion they don't like) tend to be the most racist. No one can generalize about a Jew, but all those Arabs want nothing more than to kill you.

    ReplyDelete
  89. This sentence is the crux of your argument:

    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.

    You are bias on the issue, lack expertise, and quote no consensus of experts to back you up.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Why would I need specific expertise or a consensus of experts in order to raise a non-definitive suggestion that is simply a logical possibility?

    ReplyDelete
  91. shimon

    a quote from wikipedia:

    "James Hugh Keeley, Jr. (1898–1975) was an American diplomat. He graduated from the American University of Beirut in 1931. He served in the United States Foreign Service from 1920 until his retirement in the early 1960s, most notably as the United States' second envoy to the newly independent nation of Syria."

    do you think his sojourn in Lebanon biased his analysis or opinions on Israel??

    ReplyDelete
  92. Regarding the discussion of the ’67 war, I would like to convey my personal experiences.

    I was a yeshiva student in Brooklyn at the time. Everyone I knew, Jewish and not, believed that Egypt will attack Israel and that Israel will be wiped out. That was the tenor of newspaper reports and statements out of Egypt.

    Egypt issued a postage stamp that I purchased then and have still. It shows Nasser standing next to a map of Israel. The map is red and dripping blood. A dagger pierces the center of the map.

    Our English teacher (Catholic, Italian heritage) devoted an entire class to preparing us, his students, for the Egyptian attack. He felt we needed to be emotionally ready for the holocaust that was about to come.

    So, forgive me, but I have one word for those here arguing for Egypt’s defensive stance, etc. etc.: Bull…..t

    ReplyDelete
  93. Rabbi Slifkin, Please.

    Please don't argue that as long as there's a "logical possibility" of Israel's destruction, that's enough justification to permanently repress millions of people.

    Rabbi Brous said that peace is a logical possibility, and you criticized her for it. You said it was just her "belief". I certainly think it's much more possible than a powerless Palestinian state destroying Israel. Regardless, I believe that as long as peace is possible, we are morally bound to pursue it.

    By the way, is it just me, or are the CAPTCHAs getting harder and harder.

    ReplyDelete
  94. No one can generalize about a Jew, but all those Arabs want nothing more than to kill you.

    did the palestinians vote for hamas in the last election ? yes.
    does hamas call for the genocide of the jews. yes ?

    it follows that the palestinians wanted at the last elections to kill all the jews.

    have they exprtesed remorse for their crime. no.

    not rocket science

    ReplyDelete
  95. or would the simple fact of having associated with Arabs invalidate his prediction?

    syria is a racist country which repeats the blood libel in the un.

    something seems to have rubbed off on the ambasador while he was associating with racists

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_libel#20th_century_and_beyond

    The Matzah Of Zion was written by the Syrian Defense Minister, Mustafa Tlass in 1986. The book concentrates on two issues: renewed ritual murder accusations against the Jews in the Damascus affair of 1840, and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.[37] The book was cited at a United Nations conference in 1991 by a Syrian delegate. On October 21, 2002, the London-based Arabic paper Al-Hayat reported that the book The Matzah of Zion was undergoing its eighth reprint and was being translated into English, French and Italian.[citation needed] Egyptian filmmaker Munir Radhi has announced plans to adapt the book into a film.[38]

    ReplyDelete
  96. I don't understand why rabbi Slifkin is giving so much leeway to an anti-Israel propagandist as Shimon. Shimon, you certainly have the gift of spewing out a lot words, but they are a kind of fantasy propaganda, a completely distorted and fake view of history.

    ReplyDelete
  97. "Rabbi Brous said that peace is a logical possibility"

    You are (willfully?) misrepresenting what she wrote. There are two meanings of "possible" - potential, and attainable. She meant the latter, and said that Israel (as well as the Palestinians) is responsible if this doesn't happen.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Shimon:

    To be quite honest, the anti-semitic overtones were lost on me.

    The "pound of flesh" quote is quite famously associated with Shylock, as well known an anti-semetic character and trope as exists in literature. Your failure to recognize it should cause you to reevaluate whether you have the skills and cultural sensitivity needed to make accurate judgments in this area more generally.

    ReplyDelete
  99. Please don't argue that as long as there's a "logical possibility" of Israel's destruction, that's enough justification to permanently repress millions of people.

    You're missing his point entirely.

    It's not that a mere possibility is a "justification to permanently repress millions of people" (even adopting that incorrect frame).

    It's that the possibility demands a clear-headed assessment of the risks and cost-benefit analysis in order to determine whether a particular course of action is worthwhile.

    Your approach, and that of your rabbi who you are here to defend, shows no recognition of or engagement with the need for such analysis.

    ReplyDelete
  100. Akiva, thanks for articulating my thoughts better than I can!

    ReplyDelete
  101. R' Slifkin:

    Any time :)

    LastYear:

    This is the problem:

    Regardless, I believe that as long as peace is possible, we are morally bound to pursue it.

    Being "morally bound" to a course of action means it must be undertaken regardless of the costs.

    We are morally bound not to murder - thus, if given the choice between allowing ourselves to be killed or saving ourselves by murdering another ("shoot him or I shoot you"), we are morally obligated to allow ourselves to be killed. (That is the halacha, though one who is not strong enough to follow it is not punished for murder)

    We are morally bound to be Jewish, so given the option "convert or die", we are morally required to choose death.

    In other words, when you are "morally bound", you don't count costs or assess risks. You simply do.

    That is the attitude Sharon Brous displayed by implication in her article. That is the attitude you've now expressed, after first denying it, in your post. "So long as peace is 'possible'" - and query what facts could ever make you conclude that peace was "impossible" - "Israel must bear any burden, accept any risk, and pay any cost it takes to obtain it. And if Israel does not do so, it is acting immorally, and should be censured and pressured into changing its ways, because it is morally bound to do so."

    That is - as you've acknowledged when asked the direct question about potential risks - a skewed moral viewpoint. It's one I don't think you - or your rabbi - even recognize underlays your positions here, but nevertheless it does just that.

    Enter the discussion with an analysis of risks and benefits, downsides as well as upsides, and argue that the upside outweighs the downside? Terrific. You'll be taken seriously and your arguments assessed and addressed.

    Eschew that and instead argue Israel is "morally bound" to accept any deal no matter the risks or downside? You'll be rightly ignored by the Israelis.

    ReplyDelete
  102. Here is an interesting video produced by Tora Nation Machon Shilo.

    The Palestinian People: One of History's Great Lies

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iheid3DYZxQ&list=UUqk83uZegoML7cEnXlXYZ4A

    Knowing the facts will reveal the true intentions of our enemies.
    o

    ReplyDelete
  103. Akiva,
    Pursuing peace as long as there's a possibility does not mean blindly taking any course of action regardless of consequences (I'm not sure where in my comments you read that). It means recognizing that the alternative to peace is always worse in human costs.

    I agree that you need a cost-benefit analysis. But unlike you and Rabbi Slifkin (from what I'm reading in this post), I think in terms of human cost, not just Jewish cost, because I don't think Jewish lives are inherently more valuable than other lives.

    I think that if a country annexes a land, it is morally obligated to consider its inhabitants citizens. If the West Bank is part of Israel (which is what perpetual occupation means), then Palestinians are Israelis, and there is no "us" vs "them".

    And unlike you, I don't confuse halacha with morality. So, for example, I wouldn't consider someone who converts to another religion under gunpoint to be acting immorally. And I do consider someone who would kill a Gentile under gunpoint, but not a Jew (which is the actual halacha) to be acting immorally.

    ReplyDelete
  104. , I think that if a country annexes a land, it is morally obligated to consider its inhabitants citizens.,

    lastcentury

    so if country b with 10 million citizens wants to destroy country A with 5 million, the way to do this is to terrorise country a until it can only defend itself by permanently occpying country b, then demanding coubtry A accept country B's citizens as citizens of country A, then finish off defenseless citizens of country A who are a minority.

    what does this have to do with morality ?

    ReplyDelete
  105. "Land for peace" is illogical on a halakhic level as well.If you want to hear an excellent refutation of the "land for peace" position of HaRav Ovadia Yosef ztz"l, watch this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCejK6D0M0s

    ReplyDelete
  106. > I don't think Jewish lives are inherently more valuable than other lives.

    If Israelis did not agree with you, they would have taken the very simple expedient used by every other conquering nation in the history of the world.

    But it is not their lives vs our lives. It is their dignity vs our lives.

    And while I sympathize, I really do, with having to be searched at crossings in your own land by a foreign army, our lives are more important to us than their dignity.

    We do not want to send our sons to man crossings, or to do house-to-house searches for terrorists in Jenin.

    But what are we supposed to do when they send terrorists through those crossings, with medical papers to go to our hospitals and suicide belts strapped on?

    Do you know what the United States of America would do in that case? Yes, you do.

    I especially love how we are called racist for acknowledging that they will fight for their beliefs with every means of their disposal.

    Yet those who assume that they hold exactly the same values as themselves, and would behave exactly as they would, they're not racist, not condescending?

    They are entitled to their beliefs, including the belief that all Muslim land must remain in Muslim hands. Including the belief that Muslim dignity is worth killing for.

    Forgive us for respecting them and taking them at their word.

    Forgive us for not allowing them to kill us.

    ReplyDelete
  107. On the discussion thread on the previous blog post, I cited Rav Ovadiah where he clearly repeals his earlier psak about "land 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

    ReplyDelete
  108. >Did you mean to imply that US Ambassador James Hugh Keeley, Jr was an Arab or would the simple fact of having associated with Arabs invalidate his prediction?

    I don't know much about him. But it seems that he was, like most of the US state department and Arabist. As you well know, there were plenty of American and European diplomats who were opposed to the interests of the Jews.

    Your presentation of history is so one-sided that it is hard to understand your motives outside of the paradigm of self-hate and antisemitism.

    ReplyDelete
  109. But unlike you and Rabbi Slifkin (from what I'm reading in this post), I think in terms of human cost, not just Jewish cost, because I don't think Jewish lives are inherently more valuable than other lives.

    do you have a problem with just israel valuing the lives of its citizens more than the lives of citizens of neigbouring countries,
    or every country that does. ie whole world.

    ReplyDelete
  110. A mere 10 verses into Exodus, Pharoah conducts a hard headed national security review of the status of the Israelites in his land. They posed an economic, millitary, and cultural threat. He acted after consultation, deliberation, and thought. The measures he put in place were targeted, and proportionate to the threat he faced.

    The lesson of the Exodus, which is a lesson written on page after page of history, in the Boston Tea Party, in the expulsion of the English from Southern Ireland - the lesson is that if enough people feel and behave like a nation seeking independence - then opposing them is both inhumane and ineffective.

    So yes we can have a conversation about borders, and security details, and perhaps we may never agree. But to keep a nation in subjugation because of our perceived self interest regardless of justice? Why is "self interest" a more rational measuring stick than "Justice"? Is Justice irrational?

    The thrust of this post shows how fanatics have swung from the call of the Torah to the call of the jungle.

    ReplyDelete
  111. Stupid Moniker said: "The thrust of this post shows how fanatics have swung from the call of the Torah to the call of the jungle."

    Your statement reminds me of how Yitzchak Rabin z"l lumped all the people opposed to Oslo as "enemies of the peace process", when in truth we just were of the opinion that Oslo wasn't going to work.
    We have tried the path of having the "Palestinian police" help us fight terror, "without B'tzelem and without בג"ץ", as Shimon Peres tried to tell us. We see that the only way to stop terror is to have a constant IDF presence in the West Bank, like it is now. Don't be deluded that the lull in terror is because the "Palestinian police" are doing such a good job fighting terror. If giving them a Palestinian state means relying on the "Palestinian police" to protect us, with no IDF presence (which is what Abbas demands), we have already witnessed how successful that is.

    ReplyDelete
  112. HaRazieli - That video is not a very good refutation. Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli's dissent is far better. Though after studying both opinions carefully, I found that ROY is on better halachic ground.

    Yehuda P - You are confusing a theoretical psak with a practical psak. ROY didn't change his decision. He conditioned his decision teshuva on security experts.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Stupid Moniker said: "The lesson of the Exodus, which is a lesson written on page after page of history, in the Boston Tea Party, in the expulsion of the English from Southern Ireland - the lesson is that if enough people feel and behave like a nation seeking independence - then opposing them is both inhumane and ineffective."

    That's the first time Temujin has come across this odd interpretation of Exodus. Scripture as a Rorschach blot?

    There is no evidence that Arabs in the Yesha consider themselves a nation or that they are seeking independence. These claims emerge from the terror organizations, their supporters and governments and organizations with anti-Jewish and anti-Israel bias...assuming it's possible to separate the two. None of these "representatives" of the Yesha meet any standard of fair representation of their people. Every act and plenty of political and religious rhetoric shows that the claim to peoplehood originated and remains as a PR strategy for Western consumption and every "representative" of the "Palestinians" has followed the demands of Arab governments and terror organizations, while rejecting statehood under various pretenses and by moving goalposts. What is clearly evident, though, is the intention to eradicate Israel on religious grounds.

    ReplyDelete
  114. Corrigendum: None of these "representatives" of the Yesha... should read, None of these "representatives" of the Yesha Arabs...

    ReplyDelete
  115. LastYear,

    It's nice that you think in "human cost, not Jewish cost". (Well, not really; thinking in "human cost not Jewish cost" is as moral as "thinking in human cost, not family cost". We have a responsibility to our families before our communities, our communities before our fellow citizens, our fellow citizens before the rest of the world. But that's a separate argument).

    And it's nice that you think "the alternative to peace is always worse".

    But it's also completely irrelevant.

    Because the issue isn't "would peace be a good" - it is "would there be peace"? And "given the non-zero chance that there would not in fact be peace, do the negative consequences of that outcome outweigh the positive consequences of the possibility of peace"?

    And the analysis of those issues - which you are showing no inclination to consider, and instead falling back on platitudes about peace always being better - depends on a solid analysis of the probabilities of peace.

    To put it in crude mathematics, if peace is a 50-50 shot in the event of a deal, and 100 people will die in "world with a deal but no peace" but only 10 in "world with no deal and no peace", then it would be immoral to conclude a deal on the hopes of peace, since on average, taking a deal saves 5 lives while killing 50 people.

    Again: saying "peace is possible" tells you nothing about how one should act, morally and rationally speaking.

    As an aside, I note you didn't identify any fact or circumstance that would lead you to conclude peace is impossible

    ReplyDelete
  116. A mere 10 verses into Exodus, Pharoah conducts a hard headed national security review of the status of the Israelites in his land. They posed an economic, millitary, and cultural threat. He acted after consultation, deliberation, and thought. The measures he put in place were targeted, and proportionate to the threat he faced.

    The comment is far stupider than the moniker. Please identify for me the triggering behavior of the Jews in Egypt that rendered Paraoh's analysis rational.

    I'll wait . . .

    ReplyDelete
  117. @Yehuda P: No, I attacked the thrust of the blog post. I had originally written "Zionist" but edited to "fanatic" because Zionist means different things for different people, and on many definitions I am a Zionist. For me, whoever thinks that Israel's rational self interest is the single most important factor in the discussion about the nationhood of the Palestinian people has implicitly embraced the call of the darkest jungle - MIGHT IS RIGHT.

    @Temujin: What message do you (or, as you seem to prefer, does Temujin) take out of Exodus?. There are many messages to Yetzias Mitzraim but national Ge'ulah must surely be one of them.

    @Akiva. In 1948 Arab forces and civilians massacred the civilians and surrendering armed Jewish forces of Etzion after fighting had ceased. About a month earlier, in 1948 the Jews massacred the Arabs of De'ir Yassin, as Har Nof used to be called. There's blame to go around on both sides. A small example. I'm sure you wouldn't feel quite so strongly the logical inevitability of the occupying forces deeming that there be no 3G mobile signal for security reasons if it were you living the other side of the M16 barrel.

    But history is irrelevant; the future is what matters. That's what motivated Pharaoh, for he was a calculating and not a punitive king. Pharaoh had every reason to be concerned for the future, and in the end every one of his concerns was proved to be well founded. Indeed, he exacerbated the issue by his carefully thought out actions.

    My point was that it is wrong to act as a Pharaoh and stand in the way of the destiny and dignity of the Palestinian nation. I object on both on moral and on pragmatic grounds. I am convinced that the two state solution, with a Jewish state of Israel, and an Arab state of Palestine is both a moral and geopolitical inevitability.

    For if there is one lesson which expresses the spirit of our Torah succinctly is is this: -

    "Love your neighbor as yourself".

    ReplyDelete
  118. @Akiva - sorry, I didn't address your question properly in my passionate discourse.

    Pharaoh was worried by the demographic (sound familiar?) of the immigrant population.

    "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come on, let us deal wisely with them ; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land."

    ReplyDelete
  119. @Temujin,regarding your (Temujin's)second paragraph in which you (Temujin) suggest the Palestinians really are happy under the suzerainty of the Israelis, and feel no need for their own nation state, it's just the natives getting restless for the TV cameras.. The more honest question is to ask you(Temujin) how the Palestinian people could possibly assert their collective desire for national sovereignty any stronger?

    ReplyDelete
  120. All talk about the 6 day war and its motivations are colored by politics of various interested parties, posturing for power AFTER the fact. Those poo-pooing the war or suggesting desire for conquest as the motivation for it were ascribing these motives to their political enemies currently in power because they sought to denigrate them in the eyes of the public and to personally replace them. All events and non-events get politicized in Israel.

    And of course the US State dept, who demands that Isarel Never, Ever strike an enemy first (but instead, demands, as in the Yom Kippur War, that Israel allows itself to be invaded/attacked first before fighting back) will obviously and predictably assert that there was no danger of attack from other countries and that Israel brought war upon itself by going against US advice and striking first. That is their way of insisting they were correct in their own myopic view. The state dept is probably still angry to this day that Israel struck first in 67. They are much happier with the dead Israelis caused by Golda Meir's obedience and restraint in 1973.

    Who really cares? It's ancient history. These countries were at odds with one another, Israel swept them up and took care of its enemies. We need to relive what Levi Eshkol had for breakfast that day? None of it changes the justice of the current situation and the final "solutions" people are currently proposing to give Israel's enemies additional strength and sovereignty. None of it adds any justice or righteousness to the cause of so-called "Palestinians"

    ReplyDelete
  121. Good news: There already is at least one Palestinian state, so we don't have to keep arguing about whether there should be one.

    Bad news: its run by Hamas!

    ReplyDelete
  122. Moniker:

    Pharaoh was worried by the demographic (sound familiar?) of the immigrant population.

    Are you being willfully obtuse? Israeli checkpoints don't exist because of Israeli "demographic concerns"; they exist because Palestinian terrorists are quite openly and assiduously attempting to cross into Israel and murder Israelis. If the Israeli government were imposing security restrictions on Palestinians purely for demographic reasons, I'd agree with you. As it stands, equating the Palestinians (they of the denial of Israel's right to exist, demand for "return", blood libel, incitement, murder and celebration of murder) with the Jews in Egypt (who are not identified as having engaged in any act against the Egyptians or Egyptian state) is absurd on its face.

    You need to do better at this whole propaganda thing; it should be at least remotely plausible.

    I'm sure you wouldn't feel quite so strongly the logical inevitability of the occupying forces deeming that there be no 3G mobile signal for security reasons if it were you living the other side of the M16 barrel.

    Actually, I'd be plenty damned pissed at Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, and the rest of the folks who took a situation trending upwards in the 90s and turned it into the situation as it exists today. Much though you might wish to ignore it, Palestinian terrorism, rejectionism, and anti-semitism is a defining reality that must be accounted for outside of the realm of wishful thinking.

    ReplyDelete
  123. My point was that it is wrong to act as a Pharaoh and stand in the way of the destiny and dignity of the Palestinian nation. I object on both on moral and on pragmatic grounds. I am convinced that the two state solution, with a Jewish state of Israel, and an Arab state of Palestine is both a moral and geopolitical inevitability.

    That's nice. Are you convinced that establishing such a state will end Palestinian attacks on Jews/Israel/Israelis? If so, on what basis?

    ReplyDelete
  124. Hello @akiva. No I'm not convinced that a Palestinian state will initiatially have peaceful relationships with Israel. It will take time. I am however convinced, like Sharon and Lieberman became convinced, that the alternative will be far more toxic.

    More to the point; just as it is wrong to silence dissenting political voices despite the fact that they represent a national security challenge (freedom of speech) so to is it wrong to repress nationhood on security grounds (freedom).

    Frustrated nationalism yields hatred and terrorism. Think lechi; think the Jews who wanted a deal with Hitler; think boruch Goldstein; all of whom I am pissed off with.

    Pharoah was not right; but he certainly luxuriated in self righteousness.

    ReplyDelete
  125. "You are saying even more, no one should even OPINE on a subject, unless it directly impacts them. [And in your view, we in the diaspora are not impacted by Israeli decisions simply because we currently do not live there full time.]"

    In this case, yes, I am saying that you should shut your mouth. You are safe here in the diaspora, as am I. If you really feel so strongly about this, make aliyah and join an Israeli political movement. Your words and actions put the Jews of Israel at risk, with no risk to yourself.

    I say this both to the folks on the Right and the Left.

    ReplyDelete
  126. Steven (David's brother) OhsieFebruary 24, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    Charlie Hall said "In this case, yes, I am saying that you should shut your mouth. You are safe here in the diaspora, as am I. If you really feel so strongly about this, make aliyah and join an Israeli political movement. Your words and actions put the Jews of Israel at risk, with no risk to yourself.

    I say this both to the folks on the Right and the Left."

    I have seen/heard this type of sentiment before and I wholeheartedly disagree. Israel is not just a country of majority Jews completely separate as an entity from World Jewry. Israel is the national manifestation of World Jewry. This is clear when Israel courts the Jewish Appeal, JNF, etc. to solicit funds from World Jewry for needs in Israel. This is clear when Israeli leaders counsel European Jews to leave and come to Israel (I think that was Sharon who did that). It is manifest when Israel undertakes to manage and negotiate the return of Jews from other countries such as Ethiopia, Russia, Yemen, etc. to Israel.

    Most profoundly, Israel takes on the mantle of the representative of World Jewry when it brings former Nazis to justice such as Eichmann. If Israel was just a country distinct from diaspora Jews, then what right did they have to kidnap Eichmann and put him on trial? Israel didn't exist as a country at the time of his crimes. Israel as a separate entity has no grievance against Eichmann. It would be akin to the US kidnapping someone in England and putting them on trial in America for a crime committed against Pilgrims in England before the Mayflower.

    However, Israel as the representative of World Jewry does have that right. World Jewry existed during the Nazi regime as now and Eichmann's crimes were carried out against it. Only in the name of World Jewry does Israel have that right.

    Once Israel has accepted this mantle, as it has, then it can't turn around and claim that Jews have no right to criticize Israel if they don't live there. This isn't a one way street. If you don't want to hear my criticism, then don't speak or act in my name.

    ReplyDelete
  127. >More to the point; just as it is wrong to silence dissenting political voices despite the fact that they represent a national security challenge (freedom of speech) so to is it wrong to repress nationhood on security grounds (freedom).

    false choice. security in Israel's case is an existential concern. This is now some secure emotion versus their nationhood. It is our right to self determination vs. theirs. It is possible (likely) that both can not exist at the same time. The left does not mind risking the destruction of Israel. It is valid to disagree with the analysis that leads one to such a conclusion. It is invalid to say that we should commit suicide to fulfill Arab political ambitions.

    >Frustrated nationalism yields hatred and terrorism.

    You are, of course, correct. However, it is a very bad model to use for the Palestinian Arabs since it is clear that their penchant for terror preceded any nationalistic feelings, movement, or instincts.

    Overall, the left has bought into the Arab narrative, which is one that comes directly out of traditional Arab and Muslim antisemitic attitudes towards Jews.

    ReplyDelete
  128. Its undoubtedly true that Israel faces an existential threat. Iran is an unstable theocracy with nuclear capability. The Americans are tired of projecting their ruinously expensive power in the middle east. The Arab dictatorships seek a scapegoat for their failure to deliver freedom to their people.

    A Palestinian state could pose a deadly, missile armed threat to Israel; but not an existential threat.

    It is an unfortunate side effect of mccarthyist paranoia that the very strategic reserves of goodwill that Israel needs to meet its very real existential threats are being squandered on a tangential issue of Palestine. Israel would be better able to join a coalition opposed to iran if we made peace with Palestine.

    Racist stereotypery aside, I see no evidence that the Palestinians are more inclined to embrace the evil of terrorism in their struggle for nationhood than the Jews were in theirs.

    ReplyDelete
  129. The Moniker said:

    @Temujin,regarding your (Temujin's)second paragraph in which you (Temujin) suggest the Palestinians really are happy under the suzerainty of the Israelis, and feel no need for their own nation state, it's just the natives getting restless for the TV cameras...

    Temujin never "suggested" anything like that, you silly man.

    The more honest question is to ask you(Temujin) how the Palestinian people could possibly assert their collective desire for national sovereignty any stronger?

    An honest answer to an honest question? Ok. How about by actually doing something, anything, that is required for a state? Never mind the hard stuff, like developing an actual culture or a sense of national solidarity, as opposed to perfecting death cults, turning psychopathic killers into heroes and engaging in clan wars. How about just tidying up their filthy streets for starters, or bathing their urchin gangs loitering around the rubble and putting them in schools? They've been handed the trappings of a pseudo-government with all the institutions, um-pa-pahs, flags, symbols, uniforms and suits, fancy courts and offices and whatnots, yet can't properly feed, educate and raise their own children even with the gazillions Israel and the "international community" has wasted on them. That's not a people thirsting for independence. That's a people shuffling through a tired circus act, comfy in their role as the World's favourite mendicant clowns. No wonder every time they are threatened with a state, usually with every US president, they find any excuse to toss a spanner into the works.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Most people would interpret terrorism as evidence of a wider desire for self government - not last the terrorists. I don't quite understand how you interpret it. Your ugly suggestion that the Palestinians are too dirty to rule themselves would imply my mother in law be granted sovereignty over a continent.

    ReplyDelete
  131. Most people would interpret terrorism as evidence of a wider desire for self government

    Why? Why not interpret it as evidence of a desire to commit terror attacks on Jews?

    ReplyDelete

  132. Your ugly suggestion that the Palestinians are too dirty to rule themselves

    How about this: When Israel pulled out of Gaza, it left the factory infrastructure for hydroponics, purchased by American Jewish philanthropists for $14 million on behalf of the Gazans to help them build up their economy. The Arabs, instead of using the factories, looted and destroyed them.

    ReplyDelete
  133. Moniker, Temujin apologizes for being vague, for merely "suggesting" things. So, in plain speak, yes, your heroes have received more money and help than anyone else in the World and their kingdom is a huge, toxic garbage dump ruled by kleptocratic thugs in posh villas whose private gangs of murderers need checkpoints, fences and walls to keep them from sneaking out and killing ordinary Jewish civilians. One is genuinely baffled as to how you or anyone can interpret this as evidence for a "wider desire for self-government." Unless you're jesting, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  134. >Racist stereotypery aside, I see no evidence that the Palestinians are more inclined to embrace the evil of terrorism in their struggle for nationhood than the Jews were in theirs.

    Are you actually comparing the quality and quantity of terrorism that was exercised by the pre-state Jews to the unprecedented culture of death that is exercised by the Palestinian Arabs???

    You are truly sick my friend. It is not racism biasing us on the right but rather the fear of being accused of racism that is blinding the left to the fact that cultures should be judged based in the choices they make and the values they encourage. Judging a society based o. Such criteria is not racist but rather an exercise is trying to see the world in terms of real ethical standards. The fact the the jews are the bad guys in your narrative and the Arab thugs are the good guys let's me know everything I need about your twisted value system.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Hello Rabbi Slifkin and Temujin.

    It's undeniable that the quality of government of the current mixed Israeli / PA administration is poor. That's not something you should conflate with either racial or national inferiority of the Palestinian people. It's not relevant to the principal of whether Palestinians desire to govern themselves can be resisted in good conscience. Ultimately it’s primarily their problem, in the same way that the failed governments of Egypt and Syria are primarily their problem. All three do pose issues for Israel; but the only sensible course in all three cases is to minimise involvement.

    It's also undeniable that the vicissitudes, self-interests, and uncertainties of occupation are not conducive to good government. An example is the absence of a 3G network at a time when the global retail economy is being transformed my mobile internet. There are also governance issues in every country, including Israel. That's not a sufficient excuse for the poor performance of the PA, but it needs to be taken into account.

    The destruction of the Katif greenhouses was an uncouth act born of years of repressed anger. This anger poses a serious challenge. Were I elected prime minister of Israel in some glorious parallel universe, would have no hesitation about visiting a Cast Lead 2 upon a future Palestinian state should the circumstances require it.

    But repressing statehood indefinitely is corrosive to Israel's international interests, humanity, and economy. Having the soldiery of a foreign country policing the transport links will have that effect. I imagine even Mr Temujin’s third party insouciance would wilt a little in the mid-afternoon heat haze, were he to face the bureaucratic indifference of a Palestinian occupation force setting up a checkpoint on Kevish Echad to protect their legitimate security interests. He may even embarrass himself with the I word.

    I have to ask the Rabbi and Mr Temujin about their apparently mutually intelligible theory of terrorist motivations. The terrorists and Palestinian moderates cite their goals as opposing a Jewish or Israeli presence in what they see as their land. You seem to believe they are lying - that they really are actually entirely satisfied with the political status quo - but have a bizarre cultural, religious or ethno-racial attachment to killing others and themselves? Part of said cultural phenomenon would involve lying about one's true motivations? Please correct me if I have misunderstood - you must concede that it's a rather complicated theory...

    As for my peeved friend; I fear primal rage doesn't constitute evidence (although it is very bracing on a grey Wednesday in February). I am far too lazy to bother but I would be grateful if you could research metrics of terror inflicted by Jewish groups in say, 1947 and Palestinian groups in, say 2013. The obvious metric which comes to mind is deaths in attacks targeted at civilians; but I am open to other reasonable metrics.

    I acknowledge that there will be confounding factors; the enhanced security arrangements and asymmetry of military strength prevailing today. None the less the numbers would not be meaningless in assessing whether a paradigm shift in my non-particularist understanding of the nature of Palestinian terrorism is required.

    ReplyDelete
  136. From the hamas charter:

    "Allah is its goal, the Prophet is the model, the Qur'an its constitution, jihad its path, and death for the sake of Allah its most sublime belief."

    Land is important to this particular subgroup only to the extent that it fulfills a religious goal. Unfortunately for us, their stated religious goal is the destruction of the state of Israel and the genocide of its people. It is to this end that they exercise terror, not for any pragmatic secular political desire for land. As it says explicitly in the charter "Nationalism, from the point of view of the Islamic Resistance Movement, is part of the religious creed"

    Or look at the end of this document which now represents the platform of the most popular political group among Palestinian Arabs where classic antisemitic claims are made including the mandatory citation of the protocols of the elders of zion.

    Or just look at the preamble which is really not about land: ″Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it″

    The destruction of Israel is what they are fighting for. Not for their own self determenation - which they see as a western concept that has little relevence to islam. Whatever, Jewish groups did before the state, and some of the things were not so wonderful, they did with a positive goal in mind. For this aram Muslim culture, IN THEIR OWN WORDS, the main goal is not state building but the distraction of Israel as a religious goal.

    So you will say, they are the extreme party. You are right, but the plo, which claims that self determination is the goal and the destruction of Israel through terror merely a tactic, as you claim. Also considers all of Israel to be illegal and any compromise with the Zionist entity is only part of their stated phased plan for the "liberation" of Palestine. In both charters and parties, the unchanged final solution is the genocide of the Jews. The plo charter goes as far as to deny the existence of a Jewish nation.

    You may think that giving them some land will bring peace. I think it will only make them more hungry to fulfill their ultimate goal which is the destruction of israel and genocide or subjugation of its people.

    ReplyDelete
  137. And so, after trying this and that, the Moniker tries again:

    It's undeniable that the quality of government of the current mixed Israeli / PA administration is poor.

    No, what's objectively undeniable is the fact that inviting the PLO back into Israel, arming it and giving it the legitimacy of a "government" over the Arab population in the Yesha and in the international community was an act of idiocy thanks to which generations of Jews and Arabs will likely continue to suffer.

    That's not something you should conflate with either racial or national inferiority of the Palestinian people.

    Neither Temujin nor the Rabbi have suggested (your favourite sneaky word) racial inferiority, thou wicked slanderer, thou. Neither have they explained Yesha Arab behavior to a "national character." Speaking for himself alone, Temujin refuses to concede that there is such a thing as a "Palestinian" national character, primarily because there is no such thing as a "Palestinian nation"...decades of KGB machinations and billions-worth of UN propaganda notwithstanding.

    ...the absence of a 3G network at a time when the global retail economy is being transformed my mobile internet.

    Ha ha ha! The absence of another deadly weapon in the hands of terrorists is your greatest concern? And what involvement can a population living on the international dole, one which is ruled by mafias which have actively stopped the development of any free enterprise under their watch actually make to "the global retail economy"? Will putting up over-priced olive oil and Arabic translations of The Protocols and Mein Kampf on eBay make such a difference?

    The destruction of the Katif greenhouses was an uncouth act born of years of repressed anger.

    Ah, a "repressed anger"...repressed well enough to organize the looting so that the Gaza mafia elites could profit from the use and sale of the stripped equipment and raw materials. Other than that, the "optics" of the destruction of the greenhouses fit well with standard Hamas policy and attitude statements. One in the league of attacking Israeli trucks bringing goods and food to an idle population, attacking Israeli electrical workers hooking up the mendicants to free electrical power, or sending sick women to bomb their charitable physicians in Israeli hospitals. None of this makes sense to us because most of us are not psychopaths or Islamists.

    The rest of Moniker's text appears to be a hodgepodge of incomprehensible arguments and psychobabble which Temujin leaves to anyone who has the time or the stomach to forensically analyze.

    ReplyDelete
  138. @Pissed - I find terror as abhorrent as you do. I simply find it untenable to suggest that Palestinian terrorism is a religious or cultural phenomenon without underlying political goals. So did Moshe Dayan, who famously commented about Palestinian terrorism that if we were in their position we would do the same.

    Were it you sweltering in the heat with Temujin at the hypothetical Palestinian road block on the Tel Aviv road, would your arms not burn for a knife to stab the uniformed officious foreigner telling you what to do?

    @Temujin - it is rather deliciously ironic of you when you are called out for indulging in vague meaningless sophistry around terrorist motivations to accuse my exposure of this tactic as "psychobabble". One has to be very clever to be so very stupid.

    Your denial of Palestinian nationhood reminds me of Pharoahs denial of the existence of a Jewish deity "who is this God that I should listen to him... let the work be increased and let the people not engage in matters of nonsense." It's a digging your head in the sands mentality with very limited mileage.

    If I have shifted from issue to issue it is because I have been dragged there by others. On the self righteousness of imagining logic and national security calculations to be on the side of repression; on the self indulgence of conflating existential threats with the Palestinians; on Biblical teachings on repression; on the inhumanity and counterproducitivty of occupation; on the wisdom of leaving the Palestianians to sort out their own failures in government; on the non exceptionalism of Palestinian terror - I stand uncorrected.

    A friend of mine - a sniper in Nahl Haredi - wondered how the Palestinians had the time to be up at 4 in the morning throwing concrete slabs at his jeep as he patrolled around Jenin. He and I grew to share the belief that a revived Palestinian economy is an essential step towards peace - unemployment is a major driver of extremism.

    Your litany of failures in Palestinian government is one echoed around the developing world. It's depressing but not exceptional.

    To the same extent that you have sneakily suggested that Palestinians were too dirty, psycopathic and incapable of self government I sneakily suggested that you were sneakily racist.

    One of the earlier contributors asked when the right to nationhood became a human right. I would like to end my contribution to this blog with the thought that surely the 5th of Iyyar 1948 must be seared on the world's conscience as the day when after two thousand years of subjugation the world came to see the importance of "being a free people in our land."

    ReplyDelete
  139. "I simply find it untenable to suggest that Palestinian terrorism is a religious or cultural phenomenon without underlying political goals."

    What, pray tell, is untenable about it? jihad is a major theme of Islam and the subjugation of others can be considered a political goal. This is what the Hama's charter, the most popular group in the territories claims. And just to employ Godwin's law, do you think that other murderous terrorists of the past only killed Jews for political goals? Did the crusaders? The cossacks? The Nazis? What would have had the Jews bargain with in those situations? So now we have a state and something to bargain with ... So there for, the genocidal rage of Arab antisemites are our fault?!?

    Do you at least concede that MAYBE the majority who voted for Hama's believe what it says in their charter?

    You do realize that many Palestinian Arabs, such as azmi bashara, as well as the pan Arab plo national charter itself deny the existence of a distinct Palestinian national identity, since it is virtually indistinguishable from that of the greater Arab nation which already has self determination in the form of 20 or so pathetic dictatorships and oligarchies. You want to give this nation another states, the main purpose of which will be to take our land and use it for the ultimate goal of killing more Jews until we either all dead or dhimmis. You do realize, as well, that the "moderate" Arabs deny the existance of a Jewish nation and consider every inch of this land to be rightly Arab. So that giving them a country is only a first step in their eventual goal of destroying Israel.

    Lastly, stop quoting mapai generals, especially dayan. Their misunderstanding if the nature of this conflict has been a thorn in our side for too long and it does not help your argument for invoke them.

    ReplyDelete
  140. Don't you mean "being a free people in a tiny fraction of our land with the rest given over to the invaders that are occupying it". Because that is what actually happened on the 5th of iyyar. You see the UN was willing to transfer a population of 3 million Germans to make European nations geographically viable, but they were not willing to do the same to the German's Arab collaborators. Instead, they gave them a state on our doorstep. A state which they rejected in favor of the first of many attempted genocidal wars they waged against but he Jews.

    ReplyDelete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.