Saturday, August 18, 2012

To a valley in Wales


The Joint occasionally comments at connexions the blog of Richard Hall, a Methodist minister in Wales, to do my bit to help lift the tone of the place a little and to knock off some of the rough edges especially when the language gets a bit choice. 

You will be surprised how foul mouthed these British Methodists can get when the subject turns to Israel, Jews, Palestine and the poor suffering permanently oppressed Palestinians ...

Then the air can get pretty blue in the green valleys of Wales and on that subject the Joint knows what it's talking about. The Joint has had to throw out people for language not much worse and that was years before the internet was even invented.

This has been going on for years and has now reached a crisis point for European Protestantism . Curse and hate words and phrases thrown about with gay abandon  like supersessionism, one state solution, Jewish exceptionalism, thrice promised land, colonial enterprise, Antony Loewenstein  .... it gets even dirtier.    

The feeling is mutual. Richard has a pal, Kim, also a Methodist minister, who  mistook me for an orc and wanted me banned on sight from the start. I'm not sure he's still unconvinced. Maybe he's right.

Richard nearly complied but so far has allowed me to stay on as a commenter on account of my outstanding singing voice and world class double dummy switch and swivel to fifteen.

This conversation was in play when it abruptly stopped.

Richard 08.03.12 at 7:31 am

 ...   It’s not like I support violence or holocaust denial. But, to my mind at least, the wrongs done by Hamas don’t justify the wrongs which are done by Israel. There’s an old cliche which continues to be true: two wrongs don’t make a right. Someone needs to break the cycle, and since Israel is the more powerful actor in the Holy Land, it should be Israel which takes the initiative.
Daphne - in response to your specific question - Don’t assume that because I link something it necessarily reflects my view. It does mean that it represents a view I think should be heard. In an ideal world, if we were starting from scratch, I would argue for a one state solution with equal rights for all. Israel’s claim to be the only democracy in the region is fatally undermined by what is happening in the West Bank. Unfortunately, we’re not in an ideal world and I don’t believe such a solution would be acceptable to either side. So, reluctantly, I’m left with some version of a two state solution, but in order for that to work Israel is going to have to give up the West Bank and find some way in which sharing Jerusalem can be shared. It’s a long way from ideal, but it’s probably the best that can be hoped for.
I don’t believe that the current situation is beyond hope, with the only long term solution being one side grinding the other into grovelling surrender. Reconciliation is possible, but it takes time, patience and determination. South Africa and Northern Ireland may not be there yet, but they’re on the road. What has been possible there must be possible for Israel too.

To which I budded in

I cannot believe there is still a tiny remote corner of the world in some foreign land where Antony Loewenstein is taken seriously. How quaint.

Let me ask you a question, Richard. Would you take Antony Loewenstein so seriously if he was just another British Methodist?

“Don’t assume that because I link something it necessarily reflects my view. It does mean that it represents a view I think should be heard.”

OK Richard. I’ll match your Jew and up you one. In fact I’ll do better than that. I’ll match your Australian as well.

I feel exactly the same about Pamela Geller.

and also

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I realise now that I could have worded that more gracefully but I guess that shows how much I know about card games.

The thing is Richard, your idea of an ideal world and starting from scratch is entirely different from mine. In my ideal world, starting from scratch, there is also a one state solution. That is because the British would have kept their promise of 1917 made at a time of terrible war and pledged again in peace before the whole world under the only lawful authority the British had any right to be in occupation at all.

A war ... that included substantial Australian operations that took from the Ottoman Empire big chunks of the region including the Sinai, Palestine/Jordan, Syria and Lebanon and includes even the spectacular charge of the Light Horse at Beersheba in October 1917 which is just as much a part of Australian mythology as the charge of the Light Brigade is for the British except for diametrically opposing reasons.

In this ideal world the British have kept their promise on the blood of all those brave men and allowed a part of a part of a part of what they called Palestine to become the Jewish homeland. In this world there would have been an independent sovereign and strong Jewish state by 1925. Why the wait?

At the very least the British would not have slammed the door shut on the homeland they promised on the very eve of another war and every Jewish person who was able to get there would have been safe at least for the time being. But the British did that as well.

Even after the war in my now far from ideal world the British would have realised that this was still a golden opportunity to finally honour the promise the need for which had just been shown in a way that should have chilled them to their souls.

They would not have kept the door still shut tight on the people we now call the survivors and they would not have forced the Jews in Palestine to fight a civil war for their homeland and their lives. But the British did that too.

That’s the problem with starting points and ideal worlds. Everyone has their own starting point.

Here is a starting point for the twenty first century. The promise of 1917 is  honoured not just in truth and the law as it finally and irrevocably is but in heart and spirit as well. Israel is the Jewish homeland and Israel is thriving and strong. Western liberals and especially the British accept this as not only good and proper but to be celebrated. Palestinians can have another state if they want it and they can call it what they like but they must accept the Jewish state.

I call this the one state solution. The one that is already there and flourishing. Is recognition by the British too much to ask in an ideal world? Say by 2017?

If the enemies of Israel do not accept that then there is nothing to discuss. If they choose violence and grievance instead then while I can understand your sympathy for the Palestinian people I can not understand your hostility to Israel for doing what it must do to protect herself.

What would you have Israel do Richard? Unilaterally withdraw to borders drawn up by the British? Sorry been there. Done that. Border drawing will never be remembered as part of the British genius.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement, 1916

This is pre emptive but please do not lay that land promised too many times stuff on me that Brits sometimes do. No sale. There was nothing in any “promises” to the various Arab chieftains, kings and princes that clashed with the legally binding commitment of a Jewish homeland in part or even all of Palestine. Besides ending up with enough wealth in the ground to splash on every luxury imaginable while influencing the geo politics of the world in a real and very malign way must have met any promise by now.


My comment is still awaiting moderation.

That's cool. Richard hasn't up dated his blog for a while. I hope all is well with him and his.

The League of Nations Mandates, 1920

cross posted Geoffff's Joint


  1. I wonder how he thinks Israel can "take the initiative," against the perverse hatred and antisemitism of the Arabs/Muslims of that neighborhood? After all, that is what drives most of this stuff.

    1. Yeah, I mean... we all know the only 'initiative' that Israel can take which would be acceptable to its enemies would be to commit national suicide, and I'm going to go ahead and say that's a non-starter. To still refuse to acknowledge, at this late stage, that one side is incapable of 'settling' for anything less than one Palestine or two Palestines, is to be blind. Or to be a liar. Which is not to say that there is no hope, but it sure doesn't help get things moving in the right direction when Western antisemites and their useful idiot friends do nothing but make excuses for the enemies of Israel.