Monday, March 23, 2015

A Further Response to Volleyboy1

Michael L.

volleyballI took Volleboy1 up on his offer to read one of his previous articles, Going Left to Center – A personal journey, published at his blog in the Times of Israel in November, 2013, in order to get a closer look at where he stands in recent years on the Arab-Israel conflict.

It is important to engage with those who disagree with your positions in order to outline and understand precisely what those differences are.  Far too often we simply assume that because someone is in a different political party, or because they disagree on certain issues, that they are hopelessly backward or malevolent or stupid or what-have-you and, therefore, should simply be dismissed.

I do not feel this way.

That being the case, let us compare and contrast our differences on the key issues that Volleyboy1 raises in his article.

1 - VB no longer favors a division of Jerusalem, but is willing to see a measure of Arab autonomy within a united Jerusalem. - (I agree.)

2 - VB favors Israeli military control over the Jordan River Valley. - (I agree.)

3 - VB believes that the security fence needs to remain, at least for the time being, and even expanded, if necessary. - (I agree.)

4 - VB believes that the Golan above the Kinneret is non-negotiable. - (I agree.)

5 - VB believes that upon the emergence of a "Palestinian State" such a state needs to be de-militarized. - (I agree.)

6 - VB believes that upon the emergence of a "Palestinian State" if state fighters attack Israel, then Israel has the right to strike back. - (I agree.)

7 - VB hopes for a negotiated two-state solution with strong security arrangements for Israel and is thereby opposed to settlement construction as an obstacle to peace. - (This was precisely my position up until, maybe, two years ago.  Now I favor a unilateral declaration of final borders.)

The first thing to notice is that Volleyboy1 and I agree on almost all the significant points.  We fully agree on points 1 through 6.  So, what is the nitty-gritty on the disagreement within the main point, point # 7?

Volleyboy1 wants to see a negotiated conclusion of hostilities under a two-state solution that would leave Israel in peace and security as a democratic and Jewish state.  He therefore believes, along with Barack Obama and many other people, that the development of Jewish townships beyond the green line is an impediment to the conclusion of a negotiated settlement.

The problem is that a negotiated agreement on the terms that Volleyboy1 offers is a non-starter for pretty much the entire Arab and Muslim world no matter where Jewish people choose to live.

Arabs insist upon the division of Jerusalem.  They oppose Israeli forces in the Jordan River Valley.  They think that the security fence needs to be dismantled, despite the fact that it has spared innumerable Jewish lives.  They insist that the Golan must go back to Syria.  And they will never accept "Palestine" as a demilitarized state and even if they were to agree to any such provision, does anyone honestly think that they would abide by it?

Finally, Abbas continues to insist upon the non-existent "right of return" as one condition, among others, for the implementation of a final status agreement... to the negligible extent that he may even believe in a final status agreement.

What all this means is that there can be no negotiated conclusion of hostilities with a Palestinian-Arab state in peace and security next to Israel anytime in the foreseeable future... which is pretty much what Netanyahu meant when he said there would probably be no "Palestinian" state during his tenure.  A mere gander at the history of negotiations between Arabs and Jews between 1937 and the present reveals a consistent pattern of Arab rejection of a two-state solution.  Furthermore, the never-ending genocidal incitement toward Jews coming from so much of the Arab-Muslim Middle East demonstrates very clearly that these people are not ready to end the long war.

This being the case, the only possible solution would have to be a unilateral one grounded in Jewish autonomy.  And that being the case, it renders the question of building within Jewish townships over the green line entirely irrelevant.

What difference does it make if Jews build in Judea if the Arabs have no intention of ever accepting Israel even within the green line?

Furthermore, it is deeply prejudicial (or "racist") to insist that Jews should be allowed to live in certain places, but not others.  By agreeing that Jews should only be allowed to live, within Israel, where Mahmoud Abbas finds it acceptable, western politicians justify the very Arab-Muslim anti-Jewish racism that resides at the core of the conflict to begin with.

What is needed is not for the EU or the UN or the Obama administration to push around the Jews of the Middle East according to the racist whims of the PLO, but for Israel to declare its final borders and remove the IDF to behind those borders.

In any case, as for the issues above, the primary thing separating VB and myself is that after 80 years since the Peel Commission I have come to take the Arabs at their word when they tell us that they will never allow Israel a moment's peace so long as it remains the national homeland of the Jewish people.

Volleyboy1 seems to have not taken them at their word.

I wonder why?


  1. "[The Palestinian-Arabs] think that the security fence needs to be dismantled, because it has spared innumerable Jewish lives."

    Fixed that for ya. ;)

    The difference between the two sides of the A-I conflict can be summed up by the fact that interested Western negotiators, like the US, know they'll get much further in encouraging / pressuring Israel to stop building across the 1949 armistice lines, than they will in attempting to get the Palestinian-Arabs to cut the crap with their nonexistent, so-called 'right of return.'

    Despite the rhetoric of those who claim otherwise, it's an implicit acknowledgment by those who matter, that the Israelis are clearly the reasonable party who do in fact accept a two state solution; while the Palestinian-Arabs, at best, are by far the more obstinate side, or at worst, are not seriously expected to ever accept any negotiated resolution.

  2. Hey Mike - Good piece. I have my disagreements and I will respond. But I have to say, I like the picture much more than the Ostrich ;-)

    I will get back when I have a break later.

    1. Take your time and thank you for engaging, VB.

    2. Ok Mike so here we go:

      The problem is that a negotiated agreement on the terms that Volleyboy1 offers is a non-starter for pretty much the entire Arab and Muslim world no matter where Jewish people choose to live.

      I do know this and I know it is a problem, BUT... I also think rather than have the Palestinians dictate terms to the Israelis, as they have done in the past, I think it is time that the Israelis open with their terms. Can things I stated be negotiated... maybe - I don't say "yes" because I have not seen enough "good will" from the Palestinians to justify changes there but I do think that if some kind of timeline were built into the negotiations based on good faith, I can see a compromise.

      I will say this.... IF the Arabs / Palestinians walk away from this.. then I agree with you that it would be my recommendation that Israel simply does what it needs to do in terms of security and say "Here's the keys... See ya". That would be the simple alternative. It could be put to them, negotiate within that framework or enjoy your time watching your leaders turn your life to crap.

      But you are right when you talk about the Arabs / Palestinians stated positions. I don't think you have misrepresented them at all.

      And here is where we come to a jam:

      This being the case, the only possible solution would have to be a unilateral one grounded in Jewish autonomy. And that being the case, it renders the question of building within Jewish townships over the green line entirely irrelevant.

      What difference does it make if Jews build in Judea if the Arabs have no intention of ever accepting Israel even within the green line?

      While I may agree with your first sentence... I don't think the second one follows it. I think it does indeed make a difference even if the Palestinians don't accept Israel for it. It is very relevant regarding Israeli building over the Green Line. NOW, notice I said "Israeli" and not "Jewish". Why did I make that distinction?

      Well because I believe in theory that Jews should be able to live anywhere they want in the world. HOWEVER, theory and reality are not oftentimes friends. But let's stick to the issue of building over the Green Line. Israel has done that in the past, the neighborhood I lived in there was over the Green Line. What has been done, has been done. and those neighborhoods are 40-50 years old. I think with fair "land swaps" that is a reasonable solution.

      SO... the thing is that, Israel has never annexed the West Bank nor have they officially gone to the world community and even stated that the territory beyond the Green Line is theirs. No administration be they Democratic or Republican administration in the U.S. has recognized that either. SO.. when Israelis are out in the Territories building, having citizens moving in and creating a de facto living situation and being treated as Israeli citizens even though they are really doing so outside of Israel and at least it's recognized territory, that is problematic to me.

      It's not prejudicial to say that Israeli Jews should not build there because ethnicity is not part of my reasoning. They shouldn't be building there in my mind because that's not Israel. Citizens from one nation shouldn't be able to just jump borders (or armistice lines) and just start building wherever they please. It's a national issue not an issue of ethnicity.

      Now, if Israel does what Caroline Glick and the Right says and annex the territory. Then sure, build settlements, BUT then I think they have to offer full citizenship and rights to all of the people living there right off the bat. Those Palestinians would then have to be made full Israeli citizens in my mind. Personally, I think that will cause the downfall of Israel as a Jewish, Democratic State but that is just my preference and I don't think I could support an Israel that was not a democracy. (1/2)

    3. (2/2) You say:

      In any case, as for the issues above, the primary thing separating VB and myself is that after 80 years since the Peel Commission I have come to take the Arabs at their word when they tell us that they will never allow Israel a moment's peace so long as it remains the national homeland of the Jewish people.

      Volleyboy1 seems to have not taken them at their word.

      I wonder why?

      Pardon me for saying this, but, I do take them at their word. Please don't assume what I am saying means I think they have changed and want to be peaceful little lambs living side by side with Israeli Jews. I don't.

      But I am not them. I trust them when they tell me right now that they want to destroy the homes and lives of my family and friends. But the Palestinian polity is not a "monolith". What they say in the papers and what they say to pollsters is not always what they feel or what they will act on. My experience tells me that there are Arabs / Palestinians who can live in peace with Jews. Did you know in Iraq before the Farhud the Jewish community had a strong presence. Even as part of the leadership of the country. But more to that, I had Arab friends in Israel who were pretty reasonable guys but were occasionally swayed by misinformation from one sided commentary (which is their news - since their polity does NOT tolerate dissent).

      Moreover, I suggest what I suggest because I support a Western Style Democratic approach to living and Government. So I don't really care what they think, I care what my side thinks and how my side acts. Of course one has to keep all actions in context of a broader picture. I think it foolish not too, but that said, I think Israel has a responsibility to live up to those standards (at least they do in my mind).

      I am not a believer in the saying "Well the other side does it, so why shouldn't I?" I don't think that is productive from my P.O.V. I try to do better for just myself.

      It's just the way I look at the world I guess.

    4. Israel lives up to, and surpasses, those standards. Imagine what would happen to the Palestinians if Israel did it like the other side does it.

      In Iraq, as in all the other Muslim lands where Jews lived (before there were Muslims), Jews were still treated as dhimmis.

      As was provided at Elder of Ziyon several days ago:

      From, "Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petræa, and the Holy Land" (1849), by John Lloyd Stephens:

      I cannot leave this place, however, without a word or two more. I had spent a long evening with my Jewish friends. The old rabbi talked to me of their prospects and condition, and told me how he had left his country in Europe many years before, and come with his wife and children to lay their bones in the Holy Land. He was now eighty years old; and for thirty years, he said, he had lived with the sword suspended over his head; had been reviled, buffeted, and spit upon; and, though sometimes enjoying a respite from persecution, he never knew at what moment the bloodhounds might not be let loose upon him; that, since the country had been wrested from the sultan by the Pacha of Egypt, they had been comparatively safe and tranquil; though some idea may be formed of this comparative security from the fact that, during the revolution two years before, when Ibrahim Pacha, after having been pent up several months in Jerusalem, burst out like a roaring lion, the first place upon which his wrath descended was the unhappy Hebron; and while their guilty brethren were sometimes spared, the unhappy Jews, never offending but always suffering, received the full weight of Arab vengeance. Their houses were ransacked and plundered; their gold and silver, and all things valuable, carried away; and their wives and daughters violated before their eyes by a brutal soldiery.

    5. VB's suggestion that Israel offer an affirmative version of what it can do rather than simply negative responses to suggested concessions is a valid one.

      An analogy would be from an experience I once had when having Shabbos lunch with a neighbor. During lunch, my host was asking his sons if they could learn (that is, study Torah) with him at a particular time. When they said no, he asked about a different time, to which they also responded no. After a bit of back and forth, my host said, "I don't want to know when you can't learn, I want to know when you can learn." Such is what I guess is the feeling of the international community.

      Where I would diverge is that instead of focusing on what concessions Israel can make in the context of an agreement, the focus should be on what the Palestinians must do before they get anything. Among those Palestinian prerequisites for any concessions would be an end to describing the Jews as "interlopers" in the region and prominently promulgating that the blood libel is a hoax and that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a forgery.

    6. VB,

      thank you for taking the time for laying out your thoughts.

      One idea that I find intriguing that you mentioned, and that School has mentioned, as well, is the idea that Israel bring its own terms to the table. I definitely favor a forward leaning policy. It seems to me that Israel is almost always reactive. Sometimes it needs to be proactive. Even a little pugnacious, when necessary.

      The thing is, I do not see where you really got at the final question, tho.

      The question that divides us, in this particular discussion, is whether or not the Arabs are willing to come to a negotiated conclusion of hostilities with peace and security for both sides.

      That is the key point.

      Everything hinges on that, because if they are not - which is my contention - then building over the green line does not matter.

      Your argument, which is absolutely correct on its face, is that no nation or country can simply snatch land from another adjacent nation or country. And who could possibly disagree?

      I certainly do not.

      And that brings us to the nitty-gritty, I think.

      In your Nov 2013 piece, you wrote:

      "Honestly unlike the Rightists, I simply don’t care about the theoretical what is “our land” and what is 'their land'."

      I have to say, that is a very contemporary and enlightened outlook. I mean that in all sincerety. Nature does not have ethnicity, now does it? I mean, the fishes that swim in the rivers and lakes of Israel do not wear little kippas on their heads. They are not Jewish fish, we would both agree.

      What I would ask you to consider, I suppose, is the fact that of all the nations on the planet only the Jewish nation is somehow thought of as wrong from the outset for claiming its own historical homeland.

      No one denies that the French have every right to their own land, yet we deny ourselves that right.

      As soon as we do so, we lose the argument.

      If we cannot make a claim on the land of our ancestors, then what right have we to any of it?

      In any case, VB, thank you so much for the conversation and, as far as I am concerned, you are more than welcome to challenge us here, anytime.

    7. BTW... Here is a strong analysis of the election from a friend of mine from college who was also a classmate at Hebrew U. Jerusalem. After school he made Aliyah and currently lives in Israel..

      Israeli 2015 Election: Results and Analysis -- Richard Hoch, PhD

      March 20, 2015 at 2:23am

      First, the basic results: Likud (Netanyahu) 30, Zionist Camp (Herzog/Livni) 24, United Arab List (Odeh) 13, Yesh Atid (Lapid) 11, Kulanu (Kahlon) HaBayit HaYehudi (Bennett) 8, Shas, (Deri) 7, United Torah Judaism (Litzman) 6, Yisrael Beitanu (Lieberman) 6, Meretz (Galon), 5

      I: Analysis by bloc:
      By blocs, following Matti Friedman’s post, adjusted for final count with last time’s results (in parentheses) :
      Right [Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, HaBayit HaYehudi]: 44 (43)
      Left [Zionist Camp, Meretz]: 29 (27)
      Center [Yesh Atid, Kulanu] 21 (19)
      Haredim [Shas, United Torah Judaism] 13 (18)
      Arabs 13 (11)

      Note that this arrangement puts Lieberman in the right, not the center. I should have done this earlier. Might be correct to call Kulanu “mild right” and Yesh Atid “mild left” but let’s leave that alone.

      In short, the Zionist blocs did not change much: Gains for right (1), left (2), center (2). The haredim lost 5 seats and the Arabs gained 2. In terms of blocs among the Zionist parties, 2015 was more or less the same as 2013.

      II: Bigger gets Better
      Things get more interesting when you look inside the right and left blocs. In 2013, the combined Likud-Yisrael Beitenu list got 31 seats, 20 Likud and 11 Yisrael Beitenu. This time Likud went from 20 to 30. On the left, Labor went from 15 to 24. Livni, much as I want her to be Prime Minister and Peretz, much as I think the country owes him one for Iron Dome, probably bought 2 mandates total, not all 6, so I'd say 17 to 24. In short BOTH BIG PARTIES GAINED (Likud by 50%, ZC by 14% strictly speaking, but 40% or so if you use my modified figures). The smaller Zionist parties (Yesh Atid, Beit Yehudi, and Meretz) all lost ground, as did the haredim.

      III: Irony is alive and kicking: Lieberman and the Arabs
      During the last Knesset, Avigdor Lieberman (and others) spearheaded a move to raise the percentage needed to enter the Knesset. A major target of this was the small Arab parties. So, they did what he and Netanyhu had done – joined lists and did better (well actually, this backfired for Likud/Yisrael Beitenu). Lieberman’s party tanked this time but this is no doubt due to a corruption investigation launched shortly before the election. I remind all readers that everyone is presumed innocent.

      Part 1/2


      PART (2/3)

      IV: The Surveys were basically correct
      The surveys (not the network projections) had the right leading from the start and pretty much by the correct margin/numbers. As I said more than once, Netanyahu was the odds-on favorite to be re-elected from the start. Although I understand the value of positive thinking and can wish as well as the best of them, I urge all of you to look very critically at any source that suggested Herzog had a serious chance to unseat Netanyahu. The trend was 100% clear from the beginning of surveys showing party preference. G-d help any country or organization whose analysts said otherwise.

      V: Money, money changes … nothing
      One side issue was the question of foreign money and advisors. I think everyone knows the charges – Adelson and friends pumped money into Netanyahu’s campaign, Obama and others did likewise for Herzog. For the sake of argument, let’s say it’s all true and dirty. Judging by the results, the money changed absolutely nothing. The right had about 37 seats and the left 29, give or take, for the last month of the campaign. I’m happy for the ad people who fed their families but sad because of all the anger around the charges.

    9. Part 3/3

      VI: Bibi took charge and a lot of people should be happier than they are
      I’ve said this on a few friends’ pages so a few of you know what’s coming. From what I’ve gathered, Bibi [and yes the shift in name is deliberate to point to a more aggressive side of his personality, not necessarily a bad thing among leaders] saw the Likud was in trouble and he was concerned that if Herzog and co. had a big lead over Likud (polls showed a 3-7 seat gap between the parties), it might be enough to neutralize the right’s lead over the left (that lead never changed). He went on the offensive, apparently repudiating the idea of a two-state solution and calling his supporters to vote because (he claimed) outsiders were encouraging Israeli Arabs to vote. Interestingly enough, the second issue got more attention in America (judging from what I have read) although the first had the greater import (in my opinion).

      Let’s take a look at the call to voters – note that this kind of “us against them” call is used worldwide. As a friend of a friend pointed out, it was used by the Marriage Equality supporters in the fight over California’s Prop. 8. Hang on folks, I believe that all adults should be able to marry another adult, barring incest, etc. Just realize that this is basically a standard election ploy. I'll get the the "but this is different" issue in a second because it IS important.

      Racist? Only if you believe that Israeli Jews and Arabs are different races, which I do not. Divisive? Yes. Ugly? I think so. Something I wouldn’t say? Yep. But did he attempt to stop Arabs from voting? No. Did he ever suggest voter ID laws or the like? No. Was he talking to people who are not thrilled with Arabs to start with? Yes, indeedy. And this is where it gets interesting, from a political science point of view.

      If you look at the latest surveys published before the election, you see that Likud was expected to win 24 seats, Habayit hayehudi 12, and Yahad 4. Both of the latter two parties explicately reject a two state solution, each more determined than Bibi to thwart it. At one point, Habayit hayehudi had reached 15 in the polls and there was talk Bennett would demand to be defense minister. When the dust cleared, Likud had 30, Habayit hayehudi 8, and Yahad 0. It’s fair to assume that much of the shift to the Likud came at the expense of the smaller right-wing parties, who -- to paraphrase Geula Cohen’s famous remark about her and Shamir – “just wanted to help Bibi stay true to himself” In other words, Bibi’s tough talk convinced many people to his right to vote for him. Frankly, that was against their ‘interests” and to a large extent their past experience with him. And note that he has already backtracked a bit on his statement on a 2-state solution (which was, in retrospect, exaggerated willingly by both sides of the issue to get more votes). In short Bibi engineereed a victory for a right that was more moderate than was projected. if Bibi bothers you, bear in mind that he just kept Baruch Marzel out of the Knesset.

      Note that before the general election, Netanyahu succeeded in blunting and more or less driving Moshe Feiglin out of the Likud. Feiglin made no bones about trying to wrest control (democratically) of the Likud party to make it more religious and right-wing. Netanyahu used him against Sharon but made it clear that his policies and his person were too much for the Likud. So, once again, King Bibi not only ate the further right’s lunch, he even talked to them into serving it to him.

    10. Wait Mike.... one other thing. In your very gracious comment above, I believe you left out something that was very important.

      You only quoted HALF of my comment about not caring like Rightists do about religious demands on the land. If you only read that and not the following sentences it could look like I am saying that I see no historical connection of Jews to the Land of Israel. But that is NOT what I said. What I did say was:

      Honestly unlike the Rightists, I simply don’t care about the theoretical what is “our land” and what is “their land”. I am not overly religious. I personally don’t let my religion dictate my politics. I care that an independent Israel exists as part of the historical area that was once “Jewish land”.

    11. An observation, not intended as an act of aggression, follows.

      Adelson and friends pumped money into Netanyahu’s campaign, Obama and others did likewise for Herzog.

      It must be stated that Adelson=private party; Obama=US Govt.

      The former, though perhaps distasteful, is permissible. The latter is plain wrong. It is not an Israeli matter, but an American one.

      It would not surprise me to learn there is more that was done to interfere. Obama still seems on a mission. Will Israel pay because it fails to adopt his solution and its premise that Palestinians want peace?

      There are also reports that it's just a diversion from Iran. Would not be surprising if that was true as well. The mutual spying episode shows a potential deception from the Congress. It is not just "Likudniks" showing concern about what's going on here.

      To imagine the US actually punishing Israel at the UN would be severe, and have far reaching consequences that even Obama should understand.

    12. I think the Obama administration will go on to punish Israel at the UN. It will have very far reaching consequences. And I think he understands that perfectly well.

  3. Israels' 20% Arab population has equal rights with the Jews. Even if you support the idea of having a 23 Arab state created on historic Jewish lands, why should Jews be barred from living there? And if the argument is that they'll be slaughtered if left to tender mercies of the peaceful palestinians (likely true), then existence of such a state is undesirable both for survival and 'moral' reasons.

  4. As suggested recently in another thread, perhaps Israel should offer its own plan to the UN, in which it declares the borders of Israel and an effective date.

    Then, as the state responsible for the administration of the disputed territories, Israel may voluntarily place them under UN trusteeship system, to be administered by a new authority of one or more states or the UN itself.

    1. That is a possible reasonable solution. I definitely agree with you when you say this:

      perhaps Israel should offer its own plan to the UN, in which it declares the borders of Israel and an effective date.

    2. If there is a trusteeship, then Israel can no longer be said to occupy the territory.

      Plus, if the trusteeship is to be true to UN principles, then Jews could and should have full freedom of movement in the territory and all other rights set forth in the ICCPR.

    3. I do agree that Israel should be proactive vis a vis the UN and such.

    4. I'd agree that Israel should be proactive with the international community. However, I disagree with the notion that Israel should specify a date certain for withdrawal and specific borders.

      What Israel should do instead is specify the conditions for which any concessions would be made. These conditions should provide as little excuse as possible for the international community to refuse to demand that the Palestinians fulfill them.

      Instead of specifying final borders, outline principles on which those borders would be drawn. They should be based on the San Remo Declaration that the land should be dedicated for close settlement by the Jews without prejudicing the rights of those living there. Further, Resolution 242 calls for a demilitarized zone to guarantee Israel's safety, which Israel should declare must mean that all land Israel would withdraw from should be demilitarized.

    5. They should be based on the San Remo Declaration that the land should be dedicated for close settlement by the Jews without prejudicing the rights of those living there. Further, Resolution 242 calls for a demilitarized zone to guarantee Israel's safety, which Israel should declare must mean that all land Israel would withdraw from should be demilitarized.

      The conditions and concessions approach goes nowhere.

      These laws and principles should be used as a basis for the trusteeship proposal and to justify Israel's right to declare borders and call for demilitarization as a fundamental purpose of any trusteeship.

      The idea itself allows Israel to change the dynamic at the UN from obsession over occupation to actually having to administer the Palestinians in the trust territory. Walk a mile in my shoes. When things go wrong, it will not be Israel's fault.

      Israel should announce it intends to exercise its rights on a specified date, absent a negotiated settlement. It should allow a sufficient time for the trust to be created, including the purposes.

      A trust would also address Abbas's call for a UN protectorate from Israeli aggression, a tacit admission by the PA that it would permit sovereignty by another authority.

      It would mean the end of any settement construction beyond the borders.

      This should be presented in a draft resolution, and a coalition of states should step forward to administer the trust, with money, technical assistance to aid development, and strategic assistance for security.

      One can assume the Palestinians would reject such help. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. At minimum, the exercise would send a message about the actual intentions toward Israel, and allow a more forceful argument that Palestinians are usurping aid from those in greater need.

  5. When the left says 'negotiate' they mean 'agree to whatever the Arabs demand'

  6. "Netanyahu apologizes to Israeli Arabs for Election Day comments

    Israeli Arabs refused to accept apology after Netanyahu warned rightwing voters that 'US and foreign funds' were getting the Arab voters in 'droves', ",7340,L-4640212,00.html

    Both actions are not unexpected. Who's the bigger person?

  7. Mike,
    I am inclined to agree with you, but where would those borders be drawn, and wouldn't that leave the importation of weaponry into the territories left to the Arabs a significant problem?

    1. I think in any scenario, negotiated or otherwise, Israel will maintain a security presence in the Jordan Valley to negate that concern.

    2. Jeff, Israel's borders should be determined by Israel's security requirements.

      I am in no position to make those decisions.

  8. VB believes that upon the emergence of a "Palestinian State" if STATE fighters attack Israel, then Israel has the right to strike back. - (I agree.)

    I'm afraid I have to disagree with you Mike. Does the formulation "if state fighters attack ..." mean that if the attackers are not officially affiliated with the state that the terms for Israel responding are no longer valid?

    This is not to say that every hothead equivalent to the murderers of the Arab teen in Jerusalem in revenge for the abduction and murder of the three Israeli teens provides a casus belli for an Israeli response. However, immunity to response has to be based on something more than plausible deniability. The exact line could be established later.

    1. Sar Shalom... that is an excellent catch.

      Mike - I have to say that I think this point is not a true representation of what I said. This is what I actually said:

      But it also means that the Palestinians have to have real responsibility for managing their own territory. That means that they have to take responsibility for the actions of militants within their State. If they can’t control the actions of their populace then those actions should be given all of the considerations of international incidents. For example, IF Palestinian militants decide that they want to shell Israel, then Israel has the right to now to strike back at the offending State.

      Meaning that any strikes coming from a new Palestinian State would be "fair game" for response. SO that means that if a PIJ Mortar team strikes Israel, unless the authorities are not hunting down and catching these guys... then Israel needs to be able to respond.

      Just wanted to clear that up. Thanks.

  9. The rhetoric from the 'pro Israel' left reached the point of no return today at the J-Street conference. Jan Schakowsky's comments about 'the Orthodox Jew Republicans' is ripped straight from Iranian and Islamist media. For the 67% of American Jews who still no matter what clutch their Democratic party membership, all I can say is I hope you're happy with being Chaim Rumkowsky.

    1. Sorry Trudy but you are mis-representing Schakowsky's comments.

      I just watched the film of the exact quote and she is not talking about "Orthodox Jew Republicans" in the manner you mention.

      Instead Schakowsky (who is Jewish) was pointing out that the election between her and Pollack was an election between Jewish candidates and that Pollak was an Orthodox Jewish Republican - she is using that only as an identifier NOT a slam. Watch the tape it's right there.

      That is hardly the same as some commentary in the Iranian or Islamist media.

      And this is what I am talking about.

      BTW, for information sake... I used to support J Street, and then publicly denounced them as I think they are problematic in their positions and while they say they support Israel, and their rhetoric supports Israel, their actions do not match their rhetoric. Having James Baker and Saeb Erekat speak at their convention gives proof of that, not too mention many more things.

      That said, THIS is simply garbage time. It is not what Schakowsky is saying and is more just a cynical attempt to further divide the Jewish community along partisan lines.

    2. It was not a direct slam, true, but there was a purpose behind the identifier she made in that particular environment, and there was a value judgment being made between those in the hall.

      The other guests of J Street, and stuff like the J Street U stunt at Hillel's headquarters, were tangible acts to be divisive. Schakowsky, in passing, reinforced the general perception, and her previous rhetoric cannot be discounted as a cynical attempt to further divide the Jewish community along partisan lines.

      It's not as if she is sitting on the sidelines.

    3. Well oldscshool I don't agree with your assessment, BUT, whether I do or not is immaterial to this thread.

      Trudy stated that Schakowsky was going full on "Iran / Islamist" and calling out Pollack as an "Orthodox Jew Republican" in the same manner they do.

      That is clearly not true and she got called on it. That's all. No biggie, it's just the way things are. So no matter what you think of Schakowsky, what Trudy said was nothing repetition of a cynical meme to further divide the American Jewish Polity.

      That was my only point. Now if you are arguing that Trudy is right and Schakowsky is straight out of the Iran / Islamist playbook well that is one thing, but, I think we both know that, that accusation is just plain (and provably) wrong.

    4. It's important to not lose sight of being in a forest by focusing on one tree.

      The "accusation" was not literal, and whether she is "right" does not matter to me. I understand the point being made about Schakowsky, and J Street.

      The divide between the Jewish polity is and was already there, and Schakowsky, at J Street and elsewhere, helps promote it far more than a snarky remark here ever could. That is the context. She helped identify the "other" at J Street, to approval, and in that there is no unity, irrespective of what's in the Iranian playbook.

      I'll leave it there. As an aside, I see a diary thread as organic, and am loathe to place limitations on where it may go.

    5. And I generally like to stay strictly on topic. It tends to make for clearer communication.

      So good, we agree that Trudy's characterization of Schakowsky's speech was both hyperbolic and unhelpful, not too mention simply not true. Unless again, you are going to tell me that you believe that Schakowsky's comment IS something that you think would be straight out of the "Iran/Islamist playbook"

      Anyway, I will leave you with the last word, so please enjoy your evening.

      Just my preference I suppose.

    6. Cannot say if it was untrue unless one reads and understand Farsi, but I would not be surprised to discover it was true.

      I assume you are not trying to say Iran has no problems in this regard when it comes to opposition.

      What Schakowsky has said, here and before, is more unhelpful and divisive, by far, as I have spelled out. The hyperbole here is harmless in comparison.

  10. And Pollack hasn't been IN politics for TWO YEARS. So what the hell is she dragging up. I hope her 'largely Jewish' constituency in Obama's Chicago burns her in effigy and throws her sorry ass out of office and into the garbage.

  11. Wow... Trudy... Okay then. I can't even really make sense of this so... I will leave this thread by saying, that I hope you have a nice day.

  12. run away then. maybe the far left will take you in, behead you last.

  13. VB, I do appreciate you taking the time to write out these answers, but I don't quite think that we are there, yet.

    The main thing is that I fail to understand how one can have a negotiated agreement when one of the parties absolutely refuses to come to that agreement?

    It's been almost 80 years since the Peel Commission and the Arabs still have yet to agree to a two-state solution.

    Are we supposed to bang our head against the wall forever, while continually getting European blame for Arabs racism and intransigence?

    Wherever you think that Jewish Israelis should be allowed to live, this is the question that is in need of answering.

    1. Mike... I think I answered this question:

      Wherever you think that Jewish Israelis should be allowed to live, this is the question that is in need of answering.

      I think Jewish Israelis should be allowed to live in Israel or really anywhere else they want to live as long as they emigrate legally. In the case of the West Bank, Judea/Samaria, or Occupied Territories (however you want to call the area), I think that until Israel establishes borders with regard to that, they need to be in Israel. Whether they are Jewish or not... they are Israeli citizens and Israeli law covers only certain areas UNLESS one is saying that The Territories ARE Israeli territory. Then you are talking about annexation and Israel has not done that. SO... I am not really sure how I can be any clearer but if I am not being clear or there is an answer you need me to give just let me know.

      One caveat.. if you are talking theoretically about where Jewish people should be allowed to live... They should be allowed to live anywhere and everywhere - just as I think anyone else should be allowed to live as long as their emigration is legal. However, as I said before (up above) theory and reality are not oftentimes good friends.

      The main thing is that I fail to understand how one can have a negotiated agreement when one of the parties absolutely refuses to come to that agreement?

      That is a problem and I don't have an answer other than to say to keep trying. As you know from reading what I have written here and other places that I believe that unless they keep trying (and in good faith) then a solution most likely will be forced (as I wrote at PZ and TOI over two years ago). And look what is happening in the U.N. now.

      But of course, I think Israel has to be specific and put a plan in place that guarantees an Palestinian State. It may be a "non-starter" plan but it would be an important step.

      Mike, If I had an answer to your question that would be the ultimate answer then I would be a very important person. But I simply don't. All I do know is to keep trying. I believe there has to be a way.

  14. Re European blame...

    It is difficult to describe the enormity of the impact of Obama's words about Netanyahu, and his proposals to punish Israel at the UN, here in Europe.
    In the UK, our parliament has already recognised the State of Palestine. Only about half the House voted, and it is non- binding. It has, therefore, little impact on government policy. The Labour party leader insisted on a three- line whip for the vote. Meaning all his MPs had to vote along party lines, and could not vote freely. Because of that, some chose to abstain. Including some shadow cabinet members. Ed Miliband knew there would be enough MPs from the other parties to get the vote through.
    We are looking at a very close election, judging by the polls. With a high probability of some form of coalition - formal or otherwise. We are already seeing Labour ministers jockeying for the leadership position ( in the scenario that they fail to be able to form a government), by announcing how much more support they would want to give the Palestinians. This has been directly affected by what has come from the White House.
    If Labour win the election, then it will be very likely that Ed Miliband ( whose political idol is Barack Obama) will eagerly take his cues from the White House.
    That might also be true if the Conservatives win. It is less clear.
    What Obama has said has reverberated through our political / cultural landscape. When/ if he acts, that will give permission to the very worst feelings, ideas, and beliefs that are in our country. There are many people who have been waiting for this.
    It will have an immeasurable effect. On our politics. On our streets. In our schools etc.
    Even if the next US president remade the relationship with Israel, the damage would be done.
    It is not just about America's relationship with Israel. It is not just about Israel's relationship with the world. It is about setting into motion, in an unprecedented way, a reshaping of the world's relationship with all things Jewish. All Jewish people. Jewish history. Jewish culture. And, very likely, will have consequences that will be tragic. In all sorts of ways.

  15. Trudy,

    I am formally warning you away from Jon Stewart.

    You can pick a fight with whomever you please. If you want to fight Andres the Giant, you go right ahead. Or, perhaps, you would like to share a bit of your mind with Eleanor Roosevelt, eh? Have at it! Or maybe Ellen DeGeneres could use a good talking to.

    But Jon Stewart is sancrosanct.

    The guy is personally responsible for getting me through much of the joyous Bush II years.

    I don't owe him any money, but I owe him a debt.

    So, you just watch your ass... lady!

  16. What with his Protestant name his shiksa wife and his goyishe kids. He's running out of road upon which to claim his 'Jewishness', isn't he?

  17. I'm not the only one calling out Schakowsky. The OU is as well.

  18. Mike,
    I can well imagine Jon Stewart got you
    ( and many, many, others ) through the Bush years.
    There's no question he can be very funny.

    However, am including this link because it contains some important points. And things worth thinking about.
    Also, as everything is so depressing, it's fun just to wind you up a bit!

    Hope you don't expel me from IT due to ' blasphemy '.

  19. Nothing makes me cringe more than seeing stories titled "somebody-or-other-DESTROYS-something-or-other!"

    It's not quite as bad as those "You Won't Believe These 20 Pictures... Make Sure You've Gone to the Bathroom Before Clicking on Number 14!" click-bait things, but almost.

    For whatever it's worth, I never liked Jon Stewart or President Bush, myself.

  20. To be perfectly honest, I simply no longer care about Jon Stewart.

    The Daily Show was terrific back in the day, as was SNL, but we move on.

    I certainly have nothing against the guy, but he's a sort-of mainstream Jewish Left not-sure-about-Israel kinda guy.

    Let's not forget, btw, that he single-handedly destroyed Crossfire.