Monday, December 13, 2010

Daily Kos Comment of the Day: Stealing Jewish Identity Edition

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Israel (4+ / 0-)

has dispossessed the Palestinian people and forced them into exile. Call it annihilation if you will. Palestinians do not have a homeland, do not have a state, and the majority of them are exiles and refugees. They are the new Jews of the Middle East and the world, thanks to Israel.

That's what I was saying.

by sortalikenathan on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 06:09:46 PM PST

sortalikenathan is one of my all-time favorite Arab-American Israel-Haters on Daily Kos. Nathan, much like his friend, unspeakable, simply despises Israel and therefore probably despises Jews, as well, according to a recent sociological study by Edward H. Kaplan and Charles A. Small of Yale.

His every word drips contempt, as you can see above.

It's not surprising, really, given the fact that Nathan wants Hezbollah to have nukes.

I advocate Iranian nukes in the hands of Hizballah to neutralize the capacity of Israel to commit its massacres against Arabs.

Good God, what a vicious moron.

Anyway, strictly for the hell of it, let's fisk this thing bit by bit, shall we?

Israel has dispossessed the Palestinian people and forced them into exile.

The first thing to notice, of course, is the total inability of the anti-Israel delegitimizer to give any responsibility for anything to the Palestinians. It's always, and forever, Israel's fault. Whatever it is, Israel done it.

In this case, obviously, he's talking about that little thing that we like to call "the refugee problem." It is true, obviously, that many Arabs of the mandate were displaced and became refugees during the '48 war.  About 700,000, in fact.  What he doesn't tell you is that about an equal number of Jews were likewise displaced from Arab countries and that the Arabs of mandated Palestine launched a genocidal civil war against the Jews directly after UN 181, the partition plan, at the end of November '47, right after the Holocaust.

A war fought, in part, by Jewish women and Holocaust survivors.

I suppose he forgot that part.

Benny Morris, one of the foremost historians of the I-P conflict, cleared this up in his now famous letter to the Irish Times:

ISRAEL-HATERS are fond of citing my work in support of their arguments. Let me offer some corrections. In defiance of the will of the international community, as embodied in the UN General Assembly resolution of November 29, 1947, (Palestinian Arabs) launched hostilities against the Jewish community in Palestine in the hope of aborting the emergence of the Jewish state and perhaps destroying that community. But they lost; and one of the results was the displacement of 700,000 of them from their homes.

Nathan continues with:

Call it annihilation if you will.

I think that I will call it a hot pastrami sandwich, actually.



Palestinians do not have a homeland, do not have a state...

That's right. They do not have a state, now do they?  I wonder why?

Could it be because wild horses couldn't get the Palestinians to actually accept a state for themselves in peace next to the Jewish one if their lives depended on it?... which is why they do not have a state to begin with?

The truth is that  until they are willing to accept a state in peace next to Israel than they will continue to live in self-inflicted poverty, misery, and squalor... except for the ones who don't.

It's entirely up to them.

and the majority of them are exiles and refugees.

They certainly are, but whose fault is that? They launched a civil war, got beat, and then their Arab brothers locked them into camps in Lebanon and Syria and Jordan and, in many places, are keeping them there forever... while blaming the Jews. It's fucking horrendous, actually.

They are the new Jews of the Middle East and the world, thanks to Israel.

And this is why this entire comment grabbed my attention. What interests me about it is that it represents an example of Palestinian appropriation of Jewish identity. The nonsensical, ahistorical gibbering about victimhood is old hat, but more and more we are seeing the denial of Jewish history or the appropriation of that history by Palestinians.

Arafat, for example, claimed that Jesus was a "Palestinian."

{Ho. Ho. Ho.}

A PA official, just the other day, put out a "study," all of five pages long, claiming that Jews have no connection to the Western Wall.

During the Camp David Accords Arafat shocked Bill Clinton by claiming that the Second Temple was not in Jerusalem, the City of David.

According to Gold and Dennis Ross, at the 2000 Camp David Summit, Yasser Arafat insisted that the Jewish Temple existed in Nablus, not on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

This is what former Israeli ambassador, Dore Gold, calls Temple Denial.

It is this very creepy inclination among some Palestinians to either deny Jewish history, for the purpose of severing any Jewish connection to the land of Israel, or to usurp Jewish history and identity for the purpose of claiming that connection for themselves.

The problem is that when they do this kind of thing it draws attention to their own history and identity.

Jewish history and culture, if I may say so, is rich, deep, and old. Along with the ancient Greeks, the Jewish tradition is one of the great pillars of the western tradition.

The West draws its provenance from Athens and Jerusalem.

But whenever I read about Palestinians trying to deny Jewish history, or to appropriate it for themselves, it simply calls to mind Palestinian history... and its many contributions to humanity.

Radical Islam: From Right to Left

When I think about Radical Islam and the chopping off of Daniel Pearl's head and the taking down of the Twin Towers and the various Islamist attacks throughout Europe and India and Israel and throughout the Middle East, I realize that... oh... we have a little problem here.

And then when I think about American and western politics and the various approaches, from Right to Left, taken by westerners toward Radical Islam I realize that the problem becomes even more complex than the problem of Radical Islam, itself.

In a nutshell, both the Right and Left suck when it comes to Radical Islam.

Here's why:

The Right tends to think that the problem is not just Radical Islam, or Islamism, but Islam, if not Muslims, in general. Not everyone on the Right feels that way, but plenty of them do or use language that leans in that direction. For example, this is why Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar stormed off the set of The View when conservative / libertarian political commentator, Bill O'Reilly, claimed that "Muslims killed us on 9/11."

On the one hand, of course, O'Reilly is correct. The people who attacked the World Trade Center were Muslims. Thus it is more or less correct to say that "Muslims killed us on 9/11." Or, really, Muslims attacked us on 9/11.

The problem, obviously, is that by saying "Muslims killed us on 9/11" O'Reilly makes it sound like it was Muslims, as a group, as a whole, who did the killing. As I often say, the vast majority of Muslims, here, there, and everywhere, are simply not in the Jihadi Business. Most Muslims are too busy putting bread on the table to bother themselves with hatin' on Jews and the West.

Therefore, to lay the blame for Islamist violence at the feet of Muslims, in general, or Islam, in its entirety, is not only false, and not only entirely unjust to both Muslims and Islam, but it sets up a situation in which America and the West must be in conflict with 1.5 billion Muslims. Those on the Right who finger Islam, rather than Radical Islam, drag us into a fight that we cannot possibly win and that we should not want to have to begin with.

We cannot fight 1.5 billion Muslims and we shouldn't want to, anyway. Would it be nice if more moderate Muslims came out against Radical Islam? Certainly. Radical Islam's foremost enemies are not westerners, but moderate Muslims. Radical Muslims think of regular Muslims as "hypocrites" or the "near enemy." And it is the near enemy that is the foremost foe of the Islamists.

So, this is primarily a fight within Islam, not between Islam and the West. The solution will come primarily from the Islamic world, because we cannot impose a solution on a problem as massive as this. Or, if we can, no one has yet put forward a practicable way of doing so.

In this way the Right tends to have their heads almost entirely up their asses when it comes to the problem of Radical Islam. The only people on the planet who are even more screwed up when it comes to Radical Islam than the political right-wing in the West is the political left-wing in the West.

If the Right often views the problem as a problem with Islam, the Left tends to go all Ostrich on us, sticking their heads in the sand. The Left sees no evil and it hears no evil. The Left is not whistling past the graveyard, it seems not even to realize that the graveyard actually exists. The Left is even more worthless than the Right when it comes to the problem of Radical Islam because they refuse to really acknowledge that Radical Islam is a genuine problem and then when people who do recognize this problem speak up, the Left starts screaming their heads off about "Racism!" and "Islamophobia!"

Taken as a whole, this is why we cannot even begin to reasonably approach the problem, because the Right tends to misdiagnose and the Left is in denial.

Thus to my friends on the Right, I say:

Calm down. The problem is emphatically NOT 1.5 billion Muslims.

And to my friends on the Left, I say:

Snap out of your coma, your vegetable torpor, and, yes, Wake the Fuck Up.

{That is all.}

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Should Israel Take Out Iranian Nukes?

This is a question that I have gone and back and forth over during the last few years and I very definitely believe that it is a question that people of good will can disagree upon.

If you had asked me this question, say, a year and a half ago, I would have said "No, Israel should not attack the Iranian nuclear program." At the time I probably would have argued that the downside to an attack on Iran would exceed the downside of an Iran with nukes. After all, if Iran has nuclear weaponry there is no way that they would use those nukes any more than the Soviet Union was inclined to use its nukes.

The mullahs may be hard-line, right-wing theocrats but they are neither crazy, nor stupid. Any Iranian nuclear attack on Israel or the West would mean that Tehran gets turned into a parking lot. Despite the horrendous Islamist rhetoric about "loving death" I do not believe for one minute that the mullahs are intent on suicide.

That privilege is strictly for others, not the people in power.

Slowly, slowly, however, I am changing my mind on this matter. It was probably Daniel Gordis, more than anyone else, who gave me pause on the question.

{If you're not familiar with Gordis, you should definitely check him out. He has any number of lectures on Google Video, or his own site, that are very interesting.}

Heck, I'll just post one:

It's lengthy, but well worth it.  Very inspiring.

{And for those of you who would dismiss Gordis as a "right-winger," he voted for Jesse Jackson.  FYI.}

What Gordis argues, although not in the above video, is that if Israel means anything it means freedom from non-Jews deciding the fate of the Jewish people. No longer would Jews live or die according to the whims of non-Jews.

The problem with Iranian nukes, of course, is that it means that Jewish self-determination becomes moot. If Iran gets nuclear weaponry it means that Tehran can take out Israel at a moment's notice. Even if they did not do it, they would always have the option. And while it may be true that Tehran would never commit suicide by attacking Tel Aviv, we can never be fully sure of that. But even if they never used those weapons, the Ayatollahs would still hold the fate of Israel in their palms.

One might argue that other countries, including Pakistan, already have nuclear weaponry and so the fate of Israel is already in the hands of non-Jews. Pakistan, for example, could shoot a weapon at Israel at any time.

While this is true, the difference is that Pakistan is not threatening Israel. Hamas and Hezbollah are not the proxies of Pakistan, but of Iran. Furthermore, if the Jewish people have learned anything in the last half century it is that when the leaders of foreign capitals declare their genocidal animosity toward us, as Ahmadinejad has done, we must assume that they mean every word.

{Oh, and btw, Juan Cole does not get to credibly declare Ahmadinejad's benevolence even as Ahmadinejad, himself, declares his animosity.  Cole can whisper all the sweet nothings that he wants, but no one with a level head is buying it.}

For these reasons, and others, I do not see where Israel is in any position to allow Iranian nukes. The American administration will likely do nothing under Obama to prevent those nukes, so Israel may very well have to do what is necessary.

Also understand, of course, that if Iran goes nuclear the entire balance of power in the Middle East will shift in their direction. The main tension in the Middle East, at least according to analysts such as Barry Rubin, is between nationalist governments and Islamist governments. Essentially, Cairo versus Tehran. If Iran goes nuclear, this will be a huge boon for the Islamist movement. It will mean a strengthened and emboldened Hamas and Hez and will bring Turkey further into the Iranian orbit.

This strengthening of the Islamist regime in Iran would also mean that the chances of the Iranian people overthrowing that regime, as they seem to want to do, would greatly diminish even as the regime's ability to direct terrorism toward the west without consequence would greatly increase.  If Iran has nukes there will be no way of stopping them from directing terrorism in any direction that they wish.

Finally, if the Iranian regime goes nuclear this will touch off a Middle East arms race in which every country in the region will step up efforts to likewise go nuclear.  In short order we will see Cairo and Damascus and Riyadh building arsenals, as well.

So, where does all this leave us?


Israel Should Take Out Iranian Nukes. 

When Israel does so... if it does so... the Arab capitals will breathe a sigh of relief, as we've learned from Wikileaks, even as they condemn the Jewish state and further seek to delegitimize it.  It's a grotesque scenario, but there it is.  Just as the Palestinian Authority egged Israel on with Operation Cast Lead and then condemned the operation at the United Nations, so the Arab governments will egg on an attack against Iran's nuclear program and then turn around and condemn Israel for doing precisely what they asked the United States to do.  The hypocrisy is rank, but this is nothing new.

The western left, of course, will also excoriate Israel, but the left always excoriates Israel.  Whether on the blogs or within the NGOs or in the left press, they will scream to the heavens about Israeli militarism.

And I guess we'll just have to live with that.

{Oh, and for those of you who doubt that Iran will use its nuclear technology to create weaponry, what can I say? You are not living in anything that even remotely resembles a reality-based universe.}

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Back to the 'Ol Drawing Board

Washington looks for new direction in peace process - Jerusalem Post

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Apparently this means that Barack Obama may stop harassing the Jews about where some of us live. I, for one, want to thank Barack for the truly bang-up job he's been doing on the Arab-Israel conflict. Tossing up a roadblock to any possible negotiated settlement by demanding that Jews stop building swimming pools and community centers and day care centers and, yes, second bathrooms in the West Bank was shear brilliance.

It meant that Abbas couldn't negotiate even if he wanted to and there is precious little to suggest that he did, in fact, want to. What Obama basically did was throw a monkey wrench into the gears of the process and then blamed the Israelis for his own unconscionably stupid screw-up.

And so now where are we?

The goal is two-states for two peoples. One people, the Jews, have a thriving country along the Mediterranean. Good for them. The other people, the Palestinians, have no state for themselves and live under a combination of Israeli military rule and non-democratic Hamas / Fatah control.

The only way to actually resolve this miserable situation is for the Palestinians to at-long-last... dear God... accept a state for themselves.

Yet, for some reason they just cannot bring themselves to do so.

According to some of my friends on the left, in fact, peace-loving Jihadis are fully justified in their never ending quest to slaughter the Jews. They were right to try to kill Jews in the 1920s and they were right to try to kill Jews now. {Heck, they were probably right to try to kill the Jews in the early 7th century when Muhammad was so pissed off.}

This is because those Jews are perpetually doing bad things to the indigenous population.

See, it's like this. The racist Jewish imperialists marched out of Eastern Europe en masse in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for the sole purpose of stealing land... the Land of the Sacred Olive Groves, no less... from the innocent Palestinian people and brutalized them strictly for the fun of it.

This is why there were suicide bombings during the second intifada, of course.

This is why there were anti-Jewish riots in Palestine throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

Because the Jews were mean. That's always the reason. Decade after decade. Generation after generation. Century upon century.

Millenia upon millenia.

The Jews are, in fact, still very mean. They are collectively punishing the good people of Gaza merely because Gazans shot a few rockets at them. They weren't even very big rockets. They were "bottle rockets" according to some of the more compassionate humanists on Daily Kos. Why those Jews should get so persnickity merely because Gazans were trying to kill them is anyone's guess.

Same thing on the West Bank. That's where we have all those check points that so inconvenience people. The check points and the security fence... or, really, Apartheid Wall.

{Or why not, say, Racist Apartheid ZioNaziWall?}

And, yet, despite the enormous suffering of the Palestinian people at the hands of the vicious Jews, they simply cannot accept a state for themselves.

They never have, now have they?

And they still don't.

{And who gets the blame?}

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Jewish Blood and the Palestinian Narrative

I want to thank an anonymous poster, perhaps a Daily Kos person, for putting forth an excellent example of what we call, 'round these parts, "the Palestinian Narrative." It's pretty fascinating, actually, because it has implications not only for Jews and Palestinians, but for anyone interested in history.

When we talk about the "Palestinian narrative" we mean any discussion of I-P which is framed as a manichean struggle between Good and Evil, in which the Israelis are Evil and the Palestinians are Good.

That's the essence of the narrative.  Israeli, if not Jewish, detestation is almost always the tone.

It's a classic morality play of the Righteous overcoming the Insidious... the Weak overcoming the Strong... the Red Sox overcoming the Yankees... the proletariat overcoming the bourgeoisie... the Palestinians overcoming the Israels.

The Good Guys overcoming Bad Guys.

And the Left thus roots for the Good Guys.  The good Palestinians in opposition to the insidious Zionists.

And my people, the Jews, are (ta-da!) the Bad Guys in this fictional-religious narrative that gets repeated again and again and again.

The notion of narrative, in the sense that we are discussing it, derives from academic post-structuralism. It comes from people like Foucault and Derrida and, naturally, Edward Said, who view knowledge as not having inherent structure, but as a function of power politics. For the field of history, this means that there is no such thing as historical truth, merely political narratives in competition with one another. 

All history, in this way of thinking, is reduced to a political power struggle and truth becomes irrelevant, because it is seen as impossible.

Thus there are no historical truths, only plot lines... only competing narratives... only stories that we tell one another in a rhetorical competition.

{But it still results in real blood.}

Ilan Pappé, one of the central figures within anti-Zionist / anti-Israel historiography, wrote The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

A central work within anti-Zionism.

The problem is that Pappé simply does not care about the truth.

He writes:

Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers. 

Truth is bullshit, in other words. It's power and politics that count according to people like Pappé and people like Edward Said.

So, in a recent post I asked the following question:

Why is it OK for Muslims to live in Israel, but not OK for Jews to live in a future Palestinian state?

Seems like a pretty straight-forward question to me.

Anonymous, in an amazingly self-righteous way, says this:

Because most of the settlements are built on stolen land acquired through military conflict, in contravention of international law.

It's very easy mr. Karmadipshit. Those settlers are not from the West Bank. They really aren't. They are from Europe. Nobody cares that 2000 years ago they think they may have been there.

"Muslims" in Israel live there because they are Palestinians indigenous to the land. Not just any Muslims live in Israel, Palestinian Muslims and Christians do, because unlike most Jewish israelis, they can actually trace their families being on the land for centuries.

Get it yet?

November 30, 2010 6:31 PM

The reason that I like this comment is that it is a pristine example of "the narrative." It has virtually no truth to it whatsoever, yet I am certain that the writer believes every word.

Let's take it piece by piece.

the settlements are built on stolen land acquired through military conflict

It is true that the West Bank was acquired when Jordan attacked Israel in June of 1967. Is it really necessary for me to link? This is not disputed history. This is fact. Israel begged Jordan not to get into the fight, but they did, anyway.

They attacked the tiny Jewish nation because they were afraid that Egypt would gobble it right up.

{Look it up.}

But they got beat and the Jews took back the West Bank, what religious Jews call Judea and Samaria, as well as the heart of Jerusalem... after 2,000 years.  This can hardly be considered theft unless you believe that Israel's neighbors should be allowed to attack that country at will without fear of reprisal.

in contravention of international law.

Took the land in contravention of international law. Really? What law? UN 242? That was precisely what the Arab League gave its famous 3 Noes to.

No negotiation.

No recognition.

No peace.


Those settlers are not from the West Bank. They really aren't. They are from Europe.

So, anonymous is implying that European Jews are not real Jews and therefore do not belong in Israel. Is that it? Aside from the fact that recent genetic studies have demonstrated that, yes, Ashkenazi Jews are, well, Jews, I am simply dumbfounded that "liberals" feel so free to tell Jews where they may or may not live.  Furthermore, anonymous's comment ignores the fact that many, many Israeli Jews are not European Ashkenazi Jews, but native Middle Easterners.

unlike most Jewish israelis, they can actually trace their families being on the land for centuries.

This is just sad.

There has been a continuous Jewish presence in Israel for... what?... 3,500 years?

We only represent .02 percent of the world population, about 13 million people.

We are a tiny minority and yet this westerner, who knows virtually nothing of our history, wants to deny the Jewish people self-determination and self-defense in our historic homeland.

I honestly believe that this kind of sentiment reflects terribly on the progressive-left.

{We will fight back, dontcha know.}

Jews may be small, but we're wiry!

And we've also been around for a very long time.