Wednesday, February 08, 2006

More arguments about Israel/Palestine

This post is based on one of those comments of mine that grew and grew until I realized I'd written what almost amounted to an article. So, why not make it one?

Well, one reason is that arguments about Israel and Palestine are rather like a circle dance, round and round and round, and in the end, people usually end up pretty much where they began. I've read many such discussions on other blogs, and listened to many in person (even participated in a few at times, as you might imagine).

The same arguments, over and over. The information is out there, but it takes time to read and sift through, and few are willing to do so. Even fewer are willing to do so with open minds. In this, perhaps it's not all that different from many other issues.

Without getting too far ahead of my own "change" story, I want to say that until a few years ago I was one of those "cycle of violence" folks on the topic of Isreal. As part of my post-9/11 education, I spent an incredible number of hours reading about the topic online: pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian sites in fairly equal measure. And I came to the conclusion that Israel--which, like any nation, is imperfect and flawed--has the stronger case.

I'm not going to devote this blog to arguing that issue. The information is out there; you can do your own research. So don't expect any sort of exhaustive point-by-point discussion here, or tons of links.

However, in the comments section of my post discussing the Irgun/Hamas comparison, an anonymous commenter offered some of the classic anti-Israel arguments here. I responded to some of them in a comment of my own, and I'd like to repeat and discuss a few of my remarks (follow the links if you want the full text of anon's comment and my response; I'm only dealing with some of the points here).

First, an observation: I've noticed that commenters who disagree with me sometimes misunderstand what I've written. I've wondered about this quite a bit--surely there's enough to disagree with in what I've actually written; there's no need to twist it or misunderstand it to find fault. But I've become convinced that (and this probably happens on both sides) when a person is emotionally incensed about a discussion, and is engaged in reading something on the "other side," it's especially easy to fall into the trap of misunderstanding what has been said. I'd really like my critics (and even my defenders!) to be aware of this potential problem, and to try to stop misreading or putting words into my mouth, or into the mouths of others.

An example is the following, from the comments in the Irgun/Hamas thread:

Commenter "anonymous" writes:

Neo-neocon: "I'll even go so far as to speculate, for the sake of argument, that the Irgun actually intended to kill British soldiers".

A most stunning intellectual leap. Imagine that, "even go so far" as to "speculate" Irgun intended to kill an English soldier? I certainly stumbled onto a cutting edge site here.

..You're damned right they intended to kill British soldiers, I know, my father (Irgun) was one of them (again so did Palmach, the Stern Gang and Haganah).


But in fact, when I wrote, "I'll even go so far as to speculate, for the sake of argument, that the Irgun actually intended to kill British soldiers"" I was writing about the King David Hotel incident only. In the very next sentence, I wrote: "in fact, if you read the Irgun links, you will see that there were definitely other Irgun operations that had the explicit purpose of killing British soldiers and which did accomplish that end, as well as killing some others into the bargain," thus explicitly saying that, whether or not the Irgun intended to kill British soldiers at the King David, they most definitely targeted them in other operations.

So, commenter anonymous did not understand (or pretended not to understand) my point, and I wanted to clear that up.

But more importantly (and this is really why I'm highlighting anon's comments here), I think that he/she offers an excellent example of what have become the standard arguments against Israel. As such, anon (although he/she no doubt has his/her own special history and agenda) is an excellent example of a certain approach to the issues involved.

Once again, to refute the comments point by point would take years. The arguments about the unfairness/fairness of Israel's offers at Camp David are a case in point. One can go to countless websites online and read the pro-con. As stated before, I spent many long hours reading both sides carefully and tried to do so with as open a mind as possible. I became convinced that Arafat was offered a decent (not perfect, but pretty decent) deal but refused it because he was an utterly corrupt "leader" who most definitely could not change. He sold his people down the river, and had been doing so for decades. Subsequent events and revelations certainly bore that out; anyone who thinks Arafat had his people in mind is ignoring the preponderance of the evidence against the man (here's an excellent article on the subject from the Atlantic Monthly, by the way, if you're interested in reading more).

I believe that anonymous's bias was revealed in this statement of her/his:

There are many reasons why Israel didn't write down it's true aims on paper, as Hamas has, foremost being the necessary illusion that Israel, and it's western backers, stand for something decent.

So, Hamas gets points for honestly stating its desire to obliterate Israel, whereas Israel is hiding its true aim--which I can only conclude that anon believes is an analogous desire to obliterate the Palestinians and all its Arab neighbors? And, indeed, there is a group in Israel which believes that Israel should take over all of historical Palestine (although not all the Arab countries). But they are a minority and do not represent what Israel stands for, which is indeed something "decent." My guess is that anonymous knows that, and chooses to ignore it for purposes of sophistry.

Anonymous also writes: "The Palestinians on the other hand have, well, ..nothing, do they? Only hate, and who can blame them. Perhaps a reason for their 'terrorism'?"

This is the classic excuse for Palestinian suicide bombers, which I've discussed at some length previously, here.

Indeed, however, the Palestinians have been misused and shunted around by their Arab "friends," and kept isolated and as second-class citizens in "camps" administered by a corrupt UN and "leaders" such as Arafat who've rob them blind and reign through terror. Yes, it's unfortunate, but don't blame Israel for that.

Anonymous also offers the following as the explanation for the Palestinians' refusal in 1947 to accept the state that was offered them by the UN partition:

In 1947 the U.N. "offered" the Palestinians to be ruled under a non-Palestinian, the Hashemite King of Jordan (more malable to western interests then the troublesome Mufti of Jerusalem). I wonder if the Jews would have accepted the State of Israel ruled by ..the Pope? In other words the Palestinians were offered nothing. No homeland anyway.

My response:

I am relatively certain you are quite aware that the objections to the formation of the Palesinian state in 1947 did not rest on problems with a Hashemite king, although that may have not been to their liking, either. You no doubt know that the entire kingdom of Jordan was carved from Palestine, also, and that early in the game the Palestinians did not consider themselves to be a distinct people from the Jordanians. That came later. The Jordanians managed to accept their king, somehow. The objection to the creation of Palestine was that it coincided with the creation of Israel. Israel was unhappy with many elements of the deal, also, but they accepted it. The Palestinians did not. It is a great tragedy.

And ah, yes, that "troublesome" Mufti of Palestine, less malleable to Western interests. It would be helpful if you would level as to the truth about that troublesome Mufti (see this and this). No doubt the Mufti would have made a completely acceptable head of a Palestinian state at its creation--acceptable to Hitler, that is, had he still been alive.

Anonymous also writes the following:

As for "the goals of Israeli's" and Jews it's worth mentioning that prior to the creation of Israel, many, if not a majority of Jews were against a solely Jewish State. They (Jews at the time) were predominantly socialist and communist, and saw such a State, based solely on race and religion, as inherently undemocratic, "the Siamese twin" of that other purely despised racist State, facist Germany. That nothing fruitful could come out of something so unjust was clear to them. They were right.

I have no doubt whatsoever that many Jewish residents of the area prior to the creation of Israel were in fact Socialist and Communists, and no doubt many didn't want Israel to have a solely Jewish identity. But anonymous must know that he/she is distorting the facts about Israel's identity and its so-called racism. In fact, the shoe is on the other foot. Jews are not allowed to be residents of Israel's Arab neighbors, whereas Arabs constitute one-fifth of the population of the country of Israel. I am fairly certain that anonymous knows that fact, but chooses to ignore it for his/her own purposes, and instead to use the despicable comparison to its "Siamese twin," fascist (ie, Nazi) Germany.

In an interesting irony, that is a comparison worthy of Goebbels (and I don't care who made it, even if those persons are Jews; it is still worthy of Goebbels to call Israel a Siamese twin of Nazi Germany). I don't mean this as sophistry, either; I mean it as the literal truth: it is a statement worthy of Goebbels in its use of the Big Lie. But of course, as Goebbels himself said, if a lie is repeated often enough it becomes the truth.

Once again, let me reiterate that this post is not meant to be any sort of definitive and exhaustive discussion of Israel and Palestine. My purpose is merely to highlight a few points. My arguments here are not to convince those such as anonymous (an impossible task, anyway). I am simply attempting to respond relatively briefly, in an effort to clear up some things in the record.

For further information, I refer you once again to the following website (and, believe me, this is just the tip of the iceberg): Mideast Web. You can do a search and find countless other pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian sites that offer information. My guess is that many of you have already done so, and have formed your own opinions.

62 Comments:

At 4:19 PM, February 08, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

neo

As a refugee from Nazi Austria, I understand the Zionist dream formulated by Herzl, correspondent for a Vienna paper after the Dreyfus trial.
Problem was, the Europeans and Americans at the UN, in a brief and fleeting attack of guilt, gave the Jews a piece of land to which their "right" has what--a legal foundation? A moral one? A historic kind? This has been debated ad nauseam. There'll never be agreement.
Everything after that became a set of bloody footnotes and footprints. Jews and Palestinians became, in the phrase of Israeli historian Benny Morris, "righteous victims."
As in a tragedy, both protagonist and antagonist have "right" on their side. Too much blood, too many years and lives lost for a "solution." At least, now.
I would have given the Jews Austria. Right size, a great orchestra for all their Odessa violinists, and many literary and cultural figures (Schnitzler, von Hofmannsthal, Freud et al.) And great coffee houses. The Austrians could have had their final Anschluss to Germany. (Bad joke intended.)
But the Jews wanted to get the hell out of Europe, which had become hell for them.
So here we are.

 
At 4:48 PM, February 08, 2006, Anonymous nittypig said...

In 1948 the Europeans and Americans at the UN also gave a piece of land to the Palestinians, to which they had pretty much the same rights as the Jews did.

Zionism had been around for a long time before 1947, and there were a large number of Jews in Mandatory Palestine in 1947. And the Palestinian/Israeli conflict was well established in the Mandatory era. The UN solution in 1948 failed, but that's hardly the core of the problem

 
At 5:12 PM, February 08, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

nittypig

Yeah, yeah, but the European/American arrogance was stunning: The Germans/Austrians slaughter around 5.2-5.7 million Jews (with the help of and to the delight of Croations, Poles, French...). and four years later a Palestinian olive grower near Haifa finds himself a minority in a Jewish homeland. "What did I do?" Put yourself in his sandals.
I want Israel to survive and hope. someday, thrive next to a Palestinian state.
But the Allies and the occupied Europeans did not want those Jews, before the war (think of the St. Louis sitting in NY harbor before its passengers were doomed to return), during the war and pretty much after the war.
Between the treatment of the Jews among the "civilized" nations of the world and their treatment at the hands of hostile Arabs--maybe a dime's worth of difference. Maybe.

 
At 5:26 PM, February 08, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

Addendum:
I'm NOT referring (above)to the assimilation of Jews into American society. An example of American exceptionalism.
But it's worthwhile to remember that, at the outbreak of WWI, Germany's Jews were splendidly integrated. France was the #1 antisemitic civilized nation. Things can change quickly.

 
At 5:28 PM, February 08, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

It's not the UN nation's fault the Jews didn't want to settle for anything but Israel in the Mid East. They weren't in a fortified moral position to tell the Jews that living in Palestine was not a good idea.

Safety, prosperity, and equality under the laws were available in America. And many concentration camp rescued Jews went to the nation of the soldiers that freed them. But many didn't.

Problem was, the Jews wanted from the Americans and Europeans, a nation called Israel in their Holy Land, which was unhistoric yet the US and the UN did not set up roadblocks to it. The Nazis that were left unpurged in Palestine, did setup roadblocks however. And here we are, with their war. All the World Wars are connected, all four of them, to experienced historians.

Righteous victims can get whatever they ask for and is considered fair.

That power of propaganda and morality is not something that can be limited by the words of nations. Neither then nor here.

The only difference between the Palis now and the Jews back then, was that the plight of the Jewish was real and the plight of the Palis here is fabricated.

But fabricated victimology is even more powerful and everlasting than real Holocausts.

It has an elegance to it, that neat and gritty reality will never have.

As to Goebbels, I do believe he said English Propaganda was built around the Big Lie. Suggesting perhaps that his propaganda is a lot more elegant and subtle than the English method of keeping telling lies until they are believed.

Which, if you look at the BBC, the CBC, and the Democrats in the US, you might see a resemblance to the Big Lie technique.

One of Goebbel's masterpiece was pumping up the casualty list from Dresden, from an actual 23,000 to a 230,000. See, he just took the real documents and reports, and just added in another zero. Isn't that elegant? He didn't make up the numbers, the deaths, the graves, and the personal testimonies. He just added another zero to the tally.

That is elegance in propaganda. To build upon something that is already truth, and to have it be self-sustaining until you can no longer tell the truth from the lies.

The transparent propaganda that the internet has unmasked, is obviously lies. Palestine and the Arabs, however, have had 50 years to build their foundations of myths, half-truths, and legends of fluff.

It has gained a life of its own. And to end it, requires a lethal mentality that the Jews and the State Department do not have and never have had.

Everything is made consistent in the fabric of the constructed propaganda reality that is Palestine. The actions of the Jews, Americans, suicide bombers, Nazi backed Saddam and Baath parties, and theological clerics and Iran. All is consistent in the framework of the Palestinian and Arab myth.

Such an endeavor did not spring up overnight, Hitler himself had to construct his propaganda base from the ground up. While the Arabs in the Middle East, learned from Hitler's lessons directly under his knee, it still took them 50 years of unrelenting indoctrination to produce the flower of Jihad that is Palestine and Arab culture.

It is a wondrous work of propaganda, full of depth and creativity. It does not remove the depravity and the destruction, it simply highlights it and adds to it. Because true evil has a tint of beauty to it, a greatness and an everlasting elegance and grace.

And there is nothing greater in this world than the American-Zionist-Palestinian-Arab-Nazi propaganda construct.

Western democracy runs a close 2nd, but it still takes second place. It is catching up, but it is 50 years behind in the making.

Western democracy cannot inflame the passions of millions into a killing frenzy devoid of mirth and mercy, as Arab-Palestinian-Nazi rhetoric and propaganda can do. Much of that has to do with the peaceful nature of democracy, its focuse on life instead of death, but still, most of the practictioners of Western democracy don't find it so valuable they would kill or die for it.

And that's just the plain truth. How is something great in the minds of man, if that man is not willing to kill or to die for it?

Flight 93 is special and unique, only in America would that happen. Only in America would people kill and risk being killed, to protect their freedoms, lives, and the lives of others. You don't see it in France on the part of pro-frenchmen, nor do you see it anywhere else. Except Afghanistan and Iraq.

Australia and Japan comes a close second, but Australia has their 2nd Ammendment problems and Japan has their peace enforced Constitution to get rid of first, before they can join the club.

In some parts, Israel is too decent. How they can take suicide bombings, and not obliterate the Arabian peninsula of all life with as many nukes as they can manufacture, steal, buy, and acquire from loans, is something that I don't really understand.

The power and the prosperity of America is backed by the ruthlessness in which we enforce and protect our privileges and rights on this earth. If it takes the obliteration of Japan through nukes, the assassination of guerrila parties via the Phoenix Program, or any number of what is known as "getting blood on your hands" projects, America has always stood ready to be the last nation standing.

It is one of the reasons why our enemies resort to terrorism. Because they all remember that there are no safe sancturies in the world, if you kill enough Americans. The 1,000 is probably the genkai limit, the critical reaction mass redline.

Terrorism usually doesn't kill more than hundreds, let alone thousands. It focuses on the terror brought about by a few isolated incidents of destruction, mayhem, and head chopping goodness.

As a proportion of Israel's population, thousands have died to suicide bombing. Yet the Israelis have been more than decent... that puzzles me. And perhaps it is the sole explanation for why the Jews are still picked on by the same enemies they have always had. Egyptians, Nazis, and people of other religions, etc.

The Palestinians, being terroists, know that Israeli isn't willing to kill all of them. This is a perfect component to their greatest and grandest propaganda project. Terroists being what they are, pick on the weakest people they can find.

And while the Jews cannot be considered militarily the "weakest" nation, they are surely one of the smallest.

The Jews are forced to fight back against terrorism, giving the propagandists reading their Nazi script in Palestine, great material to highlight the "Zionist conspiracy to take over the world". But the propagandists know the Jews are going to limit their fighting potential to skirmishes and short wars.

Even now, the Israelis do not want a tough "Right wing" leader like Benjamin Netanyahu. Why? Why, because, he is too Right Wing.

Kill the same amount of people in America, in proportion to those that have died in Israel in proportion to their population, and it would be a miracle if you could stop the American people from supporting a war of annihilation, to the death.

It's an interesting illusion, that America stands for something decent, and that this is why our enemies still live. It's an illusion, but not for the reasons the people that believe in Nazi-Pali propaganda believes. Oh no, America isn't using our full power because we fear terrorism or because somehow terrorism is fighting the good fight and preventing us from going Total Annihilation on people, it is simply that the veneer of civilization most Americans live under is something Americans keep hold of and in tact. We don't tend to imitate the tiger often, to stiffen our sinews and call up the blood. There's always the danger of becoming the tiger, but most Americans would agree that a real tiger is better than a paper one. If your intent is to kill people, that is.

Both America and Israel choose not to use their full power, simply because we don't like fighting fire with fire. But unlike Israel, Americans have shown an amazing ability to fight fire with fire, and get away with our souls in tact. An amazing regenerative ability, that I truly do not think the world wants to see in action once again.

But perhaps the Nazis in Palestine will miscalculate, perhaps HAMAS will treat the US as clones of the Jews they fight with all the time. Or perhaps they will be like Bin laden, take things a step too far, and get burned.

I am, perhaps among many, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

All this rearranging of the chess board in Palestine, Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan gets tiresome. There comes a point when things will just dissolve, for better or for worse. This illusion, this fantasy, this propaganda construct of powerful yet powerless Americans cannot live forever.

Either the Zionists are bent on taking control of the world, and they don't care who they kill in the process. Or the Zionists are not taking over control of the world, and this is why they care about life and civilians.

Truly, it can be either. The propaganda would not Feel true, were there not a basic underlying truth to the matter.

 
At 6:03 PM, February 08, 2006, Blogger neo-neocon said...

erasmus: To put myself in that olive-grower's sandals: he had a country he could have gone to--the new Palestinian one. Not the exact same olive grove, granted, but one just a few miles away. And many (certainly not all, but a sizeable number) of those Palestinian olive-growers were relatively recent arrivals to the land that ended up becoming Israel. A century earlier, the population in general had been rather sparse.

Just as in other partitions of the same post-WWII period (for example, India and Pakistan), two countries were created, and an exchange of populations was envisioned. In India and Pakistan, this exchange was accompanied, by the way, by terrible violence, and the region of Kashmir is still disputed. The two countries are at loggerheads to this day (although not to the same extent as Israel/Palestine). Few, however, who weep for that Palestinian olive-grower also weep for the Hindu ex-Pakistini or the Moslem ex-Indian who left their homes for their new countries.

So I'm not making light of the difficulties of partition nor of transfer. My only point is that the reason it did not happen in the Middle East is because the Palestinians and other Arabs would not accept the presence of Israel, despite its tiny size. The fact that those Arabs had received control of the vast majority of the old Ottomon terrorities there did not seem to matter; Israel could not have its tiny little space.

Furthermore, another transfer did in fact occur: that of Jews from their homes in Arab lands in which Jews had lived there for millenia. Those weeping for the Palestinian olive-grower rarely seem to shed a tear for them, either. (For more information, see this blog).

The tears shed for Palestinians are real--their fate is a terrible one so far. But that is the fault of the Arab nations who encouraged them to reject the formation of their own state in '47, promising them that if they joined forces, they could drive the Jews out of the area and have it all to themselves. Once that didn't happen, the Palestinians were purposely kept in a state of non-assimilation by their Arab brothers (as opposed to the Jews from Arab lands who were assimiliated into Israel). The Palestinians were kept as examples of Jewish/Israel perfidy, as a purposely festering wound and propaganda point for the Arab nations. I think the lion's share of the anger should be directed at those Arab nations who have used the Palestinians as pawns in their own game.

And this is not new; it's an old story. Take a look at this Atlantic Monthly article from 1961.

 
At 6:17 PM, February 08, 2006, Anonymous strcpy said...

"But I've become convinced that (and this probably happens on both sides) when a person is emotionally incensed about a discussion, and is engaged in reading something on the "other side," it's especially easy to fall into the trap of misunderstanding what has been said."

After about 10 or so years of discussion with many many anonymouses I've come to the conlusion that it is intentional and wilfull "misunderstanding".

I do not think people are that stupid, that they can read stuff such as what you post and still say what they do without it being intentional. More than likely, give it a few more years before you become jaded about it too.

"Yeah, yeah, but the European/American arrogance was stunning: The Germans/Austrians slaughter around 5.2-5.7 million Jews (with the help of and to the delight of Croations, Poles, French...). "

That's a pretty provocative statement there - I need some evidence of that. Or do you want to reduce that to "with the help of and to the delight of a few..."?

"and four years later a Palestinian olive grower near Haifa finds himself a minority in a Jewish homeland. "What did I do?" Put yourself in his sandals."

Probably not too happy, however that is a far cry from "Kill 'em all, I'm going to go blow myself up to get some!". Put yourself in these shoes "My mother was allowed to die by Jewish people and our econonmy ruined by them" - how would you feel? Wouldn't you want to get them out of your country too (of course, there is a large gap between that and Hitlers Final Solution also - especially if you gloss over what they actually believe you can make anything sound reasonable)?

"But the Allies and the occupied Europeans did not want those Jews, before the war (think of the St. Louis sitting in NY harbor before its passengers were doomed to return), during the war and pretty much after the war."

That's just plain stupid there. Did you ever even bother to *read* what happened? We (the US) have always had quotas on immigration and they were full. It wasn't "No to Jews" - Jewish had *nothing* what so ever to do with it (you may argue we should have done something - but there was no anti-jew stuff in that law, it was well before then that they were put into place). In fact, the US strongly petitioned Cuba to allow them to stay. And, as far as I can find, the SS St. Luis was in Havan harbor, not the NY harbor (nor does a map of thier path come anywhere close to NY - straight to Cuba). Though the fact they were jews was why Cuba turned them away so feel free to blame them.

"Between the treatment of the Jews among the "civilized" nations of the world and their treatment at the hands of hostile Arabs--maybe a dime's worth of difference. Maybe."

I rather suspect that if you are Jewish you would find a great deal more than a dime between living in the US and living in Syria. Just a guess here, as I'm not a jew and never lived in Syria - your mileage may vary. Samething during WWII - last I checked allowing 100,000 refugees from Germany and sending thousands of people to die in their defense is a lot better than helping to kill them.

 
At 6:33 PM, February 08, 2006, Anonymous MI said...

I think what is really amazing about Neo-Neocon's discussion of the Israeli-Palestine conflict is that only an American could write it. Any israeli who read or heard such things would - and, indeed, they often do - laugh their heads off.

Every Israeli will tell you that it's the Occuppation which causes suicide bombings.

Every Israeli freely admits that the local Palestinians were a national group who were violently expelled in 1948. And they're fully prepared to talk about how this is the main source of the conflict.

Every Israeli knows that good relations with the Arab world will come when the Palestinians have a solution they can accept.

Every Israeli is fully prepared to admit that Hamas is popular because it provides social services without corruption.

The only times you see Israelis contradicting those above assertions (with rare extremist exceptions) is when they speak to an American audience, because they know what we want to hear.

 
At 6:48 PM, February 08, 2006, Blogger neo-neocon said...

Oh yes, "mi," every single Israeli laughs in just that very manner, at just those very things. How foolish of me to have not noticed it! But of course, that's because I'm an American.

One of the most amusing things about your comment is the idea that every Israeli could agree on anything, much less the points you list.

I knew when I wrote this post that I'd get some "interesting" responses, but I never envisioned one quite like yours.

 
At 6:51 PM, February 08, 2006, Blogger neo-neocon said...

strcpy: Actually, I'm aware that many people willfully distort the words of writers with whom they disagree. But in this post I chose to ignore those folks, and to give "anonymous" the benefit of the doubt, because I'm convinced that the more interesting--and perhaps more common--phenomenon is the person whose "reading incomprehension" is done unconsciously.

 
At 7:21 PM, February 08, 2006, Blogger Tom Grey said...

Along with my TAKE land for war idea, I have a new one Israel could pursue.

Repatriation expenses against the Arab regimes that discriminated against Jews -- in the form of ex-Jewish property being returned to Palestinians willing to leave Jerusalem or the West Bank.

Imagine a conference on Iraq's state crimes against Jews, fixing a certain number (some 100 000?), and allowing that number of Palestinians to go to Iraq.

 
At 9:05 PM, February 08, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

strcpy

1. The anti-Semitism among Europeans is so well documented I can't believce you raise the issue. Their cooperation with the Germans is depicted in every WWII/Holocaust book (Gilbert to Goldhagen) and in the Holocaust Museum.
2. America;s indifference was described first by Wyman, "While Six Million Died," subsequently in other studies. Start with Wyman.
3. As I recall, the St. Louis was denied entry into NY--you are technically correct there. But still, nobody, nobody was willing to take in those few hundred Jews. FDR refused to lift a finger.
4. None of that changes the fact that no country has been as "good" to the Jews as the USA.
5. Anti-Semitism still runs high in Europe today, as recent polls reveal. Let the Muslims eat their lunch, for all I care. When Sharia governs their lives, they'll (briefly) wish they had those quirky and cosmopolitan Jews back. Nothing changes.

 
At 10:02 PM, February 08, 2006, Blogger Harry Mallory said...

MI:
"The only times you see Israelis contradicting those above assertions (with rare extremist exceptions) is when they speak to an American audience, because they know what we want to hear."

Oh, I can guess the next part. They tell us what they think we want to hear to keep US aid dollars rolling in their coffers, right? Israeli's tell us these things then sit back and laugh at us while they receive money and political support from us. They are so evil.

I dont think MI even believes this. As a matter of fact, I'm sure that MI knows what he/she has posted is not true, but tells the Neo-neocon audience what MI wants them to hear.

So where is MI to answer to this? Another drive by poster attempting to convince somebody, maybe itself, that maybe if we plant this lie early and often we can affect the type of change in the world MI finds acceptable?

I dont think this works much outside of Berkley.

 
At 10:40 PM, February 08, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

M1
When you keep citing this mythic "Every Israeli," it reminds of the Europeans who used to start a conversation with "You Americans..."
These conversations lasted no more than 30 seconds.
As Al Pcono said "You talking to me?"
Clearly not.
"Every Israeli" and "You Americans" come from the same pile of bullshit.

 
At 10:41 PM, February 08, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

Sorry, that of course is Al Pacino.

 
At 10:52 PM, February 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the last five years, I as a white man have found myself a minority in a city full of blacks.

Does anyone shed a tear for me? Hell, I don't even shed one for myself.

I'm pretty sure the smart Palestinian olive growers didn't give a fig when they suddenly found themselves surrounded by Jews. When all was said and done, they ended up with modern hospitals, indoor plumbing, and electricity, while the ones who decided they could not bear to live among the Jews would up spending generations in canvas tents.

Hear that? That's the world's smallest violin, wailing for their hardship.

 
At 12:01 AM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous MI said...

I see no one here has spent five minutes in Israel or talking to an israeli. I've spent my whole life around Israelis of all political stripes, and the subjects I mentioned before are not even considered worth debating about because the understanding on them is so universal.

Everyone in the world has a home to live in. Everyone, that is, except the Palestinians. All they've got is a home that lives in them.

You can't destroy the Palestinian people, no matter how much you want to and how much you try. I know it is hard for you to accept, but you must begin to understand that they are human too, and will demand their rights until they get them.

You can argue yourself sick about historical rights and who's in the moral right. You can bring up the Nazis as often as you want. Reality, however, does not listen, and sooner rather then later Israel will find that its Jewish majority is gone. What then?

 
At 1:09 AM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Judith said...

"I see no one here has spent five minutes in Israel or talking to an israeli. . . . the subjects I mentioned before are not even considered worth debating about because the understanding on them is so universal."

I know Israelis and read Israeli blogs and newspapers and know Americans living in Israel and you're full of shit.

 
At 1:33 AM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous Ruth said...

MI

I am Israeli and I have been living for the last 12 years without interruptions in Israel.

Since I disagree with your position that Hamas got elected exclusively because of its welfare service, your statement "every Israeli" is already false.

BTW, Don Radlauer who posted above is Israeli as well.

Your assumption that nobody hear knows Israel and Israelis as well as you is false as well.

 
At 1:38 AM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Judith said...

Jews have been living in Israel since 3500 BCE. There have been maybe 50-100 years since then when there weren't at least a few villages full of Jews there. To whatever extent Jews did not have continuous obvious ownership of the land was due to repeated brutal ethnic cleansing, by Romans, Arabs, Crusaders . . . .

To whatever extent Jews did return repeatedly after the destruction of the 2nd Temple, it was due to the magnanimity of some Muslim or Christian ruler and it was always temporary, until 1949.

Israel is the Jewish homeland because Israel has always been the Jewish homeland. If Holocaust refugees were repatriated to Uganda or one of the other suggested places, Israel would still be the Jewish homeland and many Jews would still move there if they could.

The clearest sign that the Muslims take the Jews' claim to the Temple Mount very seriously is that they built not one, but two mosques on top of it.

If the "Palestinians" want to declare themselves a national group instead of identifying as Egyptians or Jordanians, fine, but their claim is younger and more tentative than Israel's by far, and by any objective standard, erasing Israel and replacing it with a state for a very recent identity group would be a travesty of justice and historical truth.

I am not talking about individual refugees who lost homes. Many Palestinians were displaced, as have been many Jews from Arab countries and Gaza and the West Bank, where Jews lived since Biblical times. Many deserve compensation and there are established ways of handling these things.

The Palestinians have a right to their own country like every other identity group, but they have been much nastier in trying to get theirs than any other group I can think of. I mean, assassinating presidential candidates of neutral countries (Sirhan Sirhan), slaughtering Olympic athletes, becoming the world's masters at airplane hijackings and suicide bombings (neither of which they invented but both of which they perfected), wasting billions of dollars from NGOs with nothing to show for it, baldly lying about their opponents' history. . . . Every other identity group in the world is more deserving.

I think apologists for the Palestinians have to make Israel look like Nazis to justify the Palestinian behavior. The irony is that Israel is the least Nazi-like country in the world. But if everyone acknowledges that then the Palestinians look like murderous maniacs. Er....

 
At 3:02 AM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous strcpy said...

"Any israeli who read or heard such things would - and, indeed, they often do - laugh their heads off."

I've known many Israelies. The High School I went too had quite a few, my best friend was from Rosh Hanikra. Even knew a few palestenians. Of course, my sample wasn't that large - three families from Israel and one Palestenian, but *none* of them agree with what you said. And I heard plenty about it.

"because I'm convinced that the more interesting--and perhaps more common--phenomenon is the person whose "reading incomprehension" is done unconsciously."

Interesting, maybe (I find the ones who truly have drunk the kool-aid to be more interesting, but that is a personal thing), but I don't think more common. Very few of the people I know on the far right that do the same thing actually mean it. I don't think the Left is any less able to see it. Now, they may convince themselfs by rationalisation, but that convincing tends to be VERY shallow - hence why they react the way they do.

"1. The anti-Semitism among Europeans is so well documented I can't believce you raise the issue. Their cooperation with the Germans is depicted in every WWII/Holocaust book (Gilbert to Goldhagen) and in the Holocaust Museum."

I'll answer this in two parts. First If my memory is correct there were many Auropeans and European countries that did *not* do this (ahem: Britain, French underground, etc).

The second part is a quote from you, same idea:"When you keep citing this mythic "Every Israeli," it reminds of the Europeans who used to start a conversation with "You Americans...". You do seem to understand generalisations when applied to groups you like, it's no more fair to do it against those you do not.

"2. America;s indifference was described first by Wyman, "While Six Million Died," subsequently in other studies. Start with Wyman."

Haha, OK, I conced. We did nothing, invading entire other countries, spearheading the formation of Israel, giving refuge to hundreds of thousands, all that is what a country that is "indifferent" does. This seems to be the typical leftist meme: "You don't care because you didn't do as I would have liked". That's a far cry from "indifferent", "not lifting a finger", and the other stuff accused of.

"3. As I recall, the St. Louis was denied entry into NY--you are technically correct there. But still, nobody, nobody was willing to take in those few hundred Jews. FDR refused to lift a finger."

As I said, we were at full immegration with existing laws and no real way to change it. It would still happen to this day (see Cuban refugees) and would have happened to White Anglo Saxon Protestants fleeing Europe (and, in fact, did from that point on out). To construe that as being indifferent to Jews your going to need evidence that it was at *jews*, not just everyone (or that the main motivation was Jews). I bet you also consider the MSM right wing because they don't attack the right enough and give the left a little bit here and there - all or nothing.

Fleeing death is fleeing death and we could only take so many - there has never been a reason to take Jews over other groups that were going to be killed. Ever see someone who takes in all stray animals because they are hungry? They did no animal favors when they have 150 cats in thier house. You have to have limits on what you can do and I don't think we should have maintained the Jews were more important than any other.

"4. None of that changes the fact that no country has been as "good" to the Jews as the USA."

But only at a dimes worth of difference, right? (that is what you said).

"5. Anti-Semitism still runs high in Europe today, as recent polls reveal. "

Same thing I said over the other "Europe hate Jews" stuff.

 
At 3:40 AM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

Erasmus: "...Germany's Jews were splendidly integrated. France was the #1 antisemitic civilized nation. Things can change quickly."
France changed? When?
Strcpy, Certainly not all europeans are anti-semitic, but there are MANY more there than in the U.S. My wife's family left Hungary in 1973 more because of anti-semitism than because of communism (though that also contributed). I'm asian in appearance (I'm actually mixed) and in recent years, when we traveled in Europe, people looked at us in ways we did not experience here at home. Europe still has a big problem with prejudice.

 
At 4:00 AM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Bezuhov said...

"To whatever extent Jews did not have continuous obvious ownership of the land was due to repeated brutal ethnic cleansing, by Romans, Arabs, Crusaders . . . ."

And Persians, Babylonians, Assyrians. Of course the original brutal ethnic cleansing was by the Hebrews themselves. Shouldn't the land rightly belong to the Canaanites?

Its come down to a game of moral musical chairs. The music stopped a while back, however, but the Palestinian band plays on. Or rather, the band of Mid-East autocrats who needs Palestinian grievance to distract from the legitimate grievances of their own people.

 
At 4:38 AM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

Oh, and for all you weepy about the palestinian olive grower, where are your tears for the MILLIONS of displaced ethnic Germans forced out of East Prussia? What, if they are white europeans, it's all good?

 
At 8:29 AM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

douglas:
1. France didn't change much , Germany did. The "typical" exclusionist or "country-club" anti-Semitism changed into a violent, eliminationist (Goldhagen's term) one.
2.Not "weepy" over the Palestinian olive grower, but seeing his position, as understanding the Sudetendeutsche who had to leave his farm, whether he was pro-Hitler, apolitical, or anti-Hitler. "Germans raus" was the motto in Prague. Understandable, if not just, after WWII. Not quite the same as "Palestnians raus" in 1948. Certainly, a segment of Israelis always wanted cooperation and ties with the Palestinian population (many of the early, idealistic, East European socialist/labor types...others), but in the heat of Arab hostility and aggression...

strcpy

Read the books (Wyman, others).
Read "AntiSemitism without Jews" to get the picture of East-European Jew hatred.
And after two trips to Israel, one of which included long conversations with IDF people and longer ones with people on buses,in coffee places, in homes..."Every Israeli" might make it as a joke into Freud's collection of (mostly bad) Jewish jokes. ("Jokes and the Unconscious.")

Also, American attitudes toward Jews today are not what they were in the 1930s, across the country and in the halls of the State Department, where old WASP Princeton types shared a visceral distaste for those unwashed Jews from Poland with the German-Jewish bankers from the Upper East Side. Read about that too.

 
At 10:04 AM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous nittypig said...

"Everyone in the world has a home to live in. Everyone, that is, except the Palestinians. All they've got is a home that lives in them."

This is an outrageous statement. How about the Cherokee or the Cheyenne? How about the Kurds or the Tibetans? How about the Roma? The Achenese? The Quebecois? The Tamils?

All of these, and many other groups have at least some claim to having no "home" to call their own. All have suffered at hands of alien ethinic groups.

I have plenty of sympathy for the arab olive grower from Haifa who found himself in the minority in 1948. But I can also feel sympathy for the a Jewish merchant from East Jerusulem who found himself in the same boat at exactly the same time. What happened in 1948 in mandatory palestine was a huge mess. But the idea that the Jews should shoulder most of the blame for that situation, let alone the Americans is absurd. First and foremost the blame lies with the British who, just like in India at the same time left without trying to find a solution. But equally blame has to be assigned to the principals, the Jews AND the Arabs of Mandatory Palestine.

 
At 11:28 AM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Goesh said...

somehow I just can't weep for the 40,000 - 70,000 palis that were killed in the Jordanian expulsion of the PLO....

 
At 12:09 PM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous Big WEVS 1 said...

MI,

Just about any time you use the qualifier "every" you will be wrong, as you are on this issue. I can not claim to know every Israeli, but I know a few. I've been to Israel, I keep in contact with people in Israel. All I can say is you need to get out of your ideological bubble and talk to people with a different political perspective. I do--both here in the U.S. and in Israel--and it is a never ending source of fascination that intelligent, caring, human beings can have such *different* perspectives of the same phenomenon. That's called appreciating human and political diversity, something the left often claims a monopoly on but seldom practices. I know, I'm a recovering leftist.

 
At 1:34 PM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Any israeli who read or heard such things would - and, indeed, they often do - laugh their heads off.

Whether that is true or not, it is part of the reason why the Jews are not blood brothers to America. Unlike Iraq and Afghanistan, they are unwilling and unreceptive to following us to hell, and taking out the arch demon in the pits of depravity through combined arms.

Every Israeli will tell you that it's the Occuppation which causes suicide bombings.

Most Israelis do not have the bloodthirstiness nor the ruthlessness it takes to stay alive in this quaint world of ours. It's nothing to admire.

Every Israeli freely admits that the local Palestinians were a national group who were violently expelled in 1948. And they're fully prepared to talk about how this is the main source of the conflict.

Which is probably why their women and children are still dieing. If they prefer to keep on talking over their famly's graves, most of the world wouldn't really care one way or another.

2. America;s indifference was described first by Wyman, "While Six Million Died," subsequently in other studies. Start with Wyman.

I'll give points for European indifference, along with credit where credit is due to those who did help to save the Jews. But the idea that America did nothing while six million died is an insult to our blood brothers and treasure sacrifices in World War II. There needs to be context and timelines, because without them, it's just propaganda points in the cause of a personal belief.

FDR refused to lift a finger.

History has judged people on their total actions. Segmenting a piece of history and pronouncing a statement of judgement isn't accurate, regardless of how the facts are massaged to fit into a consistent whole. It's not really about consistency, it's about accuracy.

I dont think MI even believes this. As a matter of fact, I'm sure that MI knows what he/she has posted is not true, but tells the Neo-neocon audience what MI wants them to hear.

In any propaganda project, probably only the top 10% of the people know the truth compared to the lies. I don't think most of the foot troopers of the Zionist counter-movement, gets it really. The great majority of people who spout the propaganda, believe in the propaganda. That is due to the effectiveness of the propaganda and the well crafted illusion that is the reality.

As for Pales olive growers, I find it hard to believe that they could grow anything in the desert except scorpions. Maybe they can now, if they don't destroy the israeli irrigation and green houses... then again, maybe that already happened if you watch the news.

I've spent my whole life around Israelis of all political stripes, and the subjects I mentioned before are not even considered worth debating about because the understanding on them is so universal.

This is why Israel is so different from America. But I don't usually buy the "of all political stripes" because Israel cannot exist without the bloodthirsty and the violent and the militaristically capable. I doubt they were represented at all in the little clique that MI mentions.

You can't destroy the Palestinian people, no matter how much you want to and how much you try.

Destroying the Palestinian people is easier than drilling in ANWAR. Everyone knows that. It's as easy as Rwanda 3, 2, 1. And they didn't even have nukes. Of course, crafting the necessary propaganda support for racial genocide without nuclear weapons, is bothersome, but hey if the Palestinian Nazis can do it, so can we. And with much less time as well.

People who don't recognize that, are crafting their strategies in a very dangerous void.

I know it is hard for you to accept this, but humans are very easily killed, especially by any world power if they wanted to. Humans are fragile, slogans don't make people invulnerable, and reality has a bite propaganda cannot emulate.

You can argue yourself sick about historical rights and who's in the moral right.

Most Jacksonians aren't arguing who has the historical right or the moral right, but who's going to be left standing at the end of the day. We're the ones that are like, don't pick your fight, but make sure to finish it if you get in one. We don't like posturing. If the Pales annihilate the Jews, I'll go with they were just better than the Jews. It is not quite a gamble as the Social Darwinians make it out to seem. Since historically, Americans have been much better at war than the evil dudes. The good guys usually win, if they deserve to win. Most historians knows this, in one fashion or another. While there are a lot of bad luck for individual men and women, in the greater realm of possibility, civilizations usually get one up on barbarians. Even if they fall, civilization will come again, after a new Dark Age that is.

What, if they are white europeans, it's all good?

It's not that people don't care. With the proper propaganda techniques and tools, I could make the white Prussians as sympathetic as the Palis, and without the need to cover up their craziness at the same time. The Palestinians and the Arabs, just have a much better propaganda network than the Prussians had. And even better than Stalin and Hitler's, for that matter. They learned from the best, after all.

 
At 2:27 PM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Neo-neocon:

A lot was already said, I'll try to be brief in my response-

"..I came to the conclusion that Israel--which, like any nation, is imperfect and flawed--has the stronger case."

Care to offer any information why?

"But in fact, when I wrote, "I'll even go so far as to speculate, for the sake of argument, that the Irgun actually intended to kill British soldiers"" I was writing about the King David Hotel incident only. In the very next sentence, I wrote: "in fact, if you read the Irgun links, you will see that there were definitely other Irgun operations that had the explicit purpose of killing British soldiers and which did accomplish that end, as well as killing some others into the bargain," thus explicitly saying that, whether or not the Irgun intended to kill British soldiers at the King David, they most definitely targeted them in other operations."

I believe my response was, I questioned the purpose or motivation for "speculating" about something you already knew to be true, the purpose of soley focusing on the King David Hotel in the first place, and for that matter Irgun, not the only Jewish terrorist organisation.

"Once again, to refute the comments point by point would take years. The arguments about the unfairness/fairness of Israel's offers at Camp David are a case in point."

Years? I said it was really quite simple: Post the Camp David map on your site so everyone can take a look at what a "generous" offer it was. Tiny, cordoned off bhantustans, with Israels right to station troops in all of them, no Jerusalem, and no right of return. Unacceptable to a people who only 100 years ago practically had it all.

"So, Hamas gets points for honestly stating its desire to obliterate Israel, whereas Israel is hiding its true aim"

If you're collecting honesty points go ahead.

"..I can only conclude that anon believes is an analogous desire to obliterate the Palestinians and all its Arab neighbors?"

You admit yourselves there are Israeli's that do. If their hate of Arabs is not reciprocal, maybe because it wassn't their land that was taken, and they have a very rich , western banrolled and protected state to raise their kids in. As for killing ALL Arabs, I don't think so. As for Arabs wanting to destroy Israel, maybe because it's another brutal, western construct they never approved of IN THE FIRST PLACE. After all, they were there thousands of years, Israel only 60. To exclude a State under the Mufti, the leader of the majority of inhabitants in the region, was ..a calculated "mistake" everyone's still paying for.

"..however, the Palestinians have been misused and shunted around by their Arab "friends,""

You failed to inject my response, that many of those "friends" are American backed allies, Jordan, Saudia Arabia, Egypt. And no doubt others can be bought off too. Again America's hand is present, but you refuse to see it.

"I am relatively certain you are quite aware that the objections to the formation of the Palesinian state in 1947 did not rest on problems with a Hashemite king,"

I said the problem was Palestinian's got nothing out the deal. Not rocket science.

"..Israel was unhappy with many elements of the deal, also, but they accepted it. The Palestinians did not. It is a great tragedy."

Israel got a State out of it. Again, what were the Palestinians offered? Nothing. Where's their State?

"And ah, yes, that "troublesome" Mufti of Palestine, less malleable to Western interests. It would be helpful if you would level as to the truth about that troublesome Mufti (see this and this). No doubt the Mufti would have made a completely acceptable head of a Palestinian state at its creation--acceptable to Hitler, that is, had he still been alive."

We had no problem allying ourselves with ex-Nazi's after W.W.II, as they were virently anti-communist. The fact is Colonialists always installed a minority ruler behind when they left. Being a minority (the Jordanian King was flown in from somewhere) he would always need western protection, so the "west" could maintain control. "We" didn't like the Mufti because we couldn't control him, not because of Hitler.

"I have no doubt whatsoever that many Jewish residents of the area prior to the creation of Israel were in fact Socialist and Communists, and no doubt many didn't want Israel to have a solely Jewish identity."

Many still don't. Google Orthodox Anti-Zionists for starters.

"But anonymous must know that he/she is distorting the facts about Israel's identity and its so-called racism. In fact, the shoe is on the other foot. Jews are not allowed to be residents of Israel's Arab neighbors"

I said this was nonsense before. It is you who is distorting the facts. Jews live peacfully in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Egypt. Saudi Arabia probably not (our big ally and bastion of democracy). Can you name some others that don't allow Jews?

"Arabs constitute one-fifth of the population of the country of Israel."

Down from over 90% 100 years ago, before the land grab, entirely irrelevant to someone who's already made up their mind.

"I am fairly certain that anonymous knows that fact, but chooses to ignore it for his/her own purposes, and instead to use the despicable comparison to its "Siamese twin," fascist (ie, Nazi) Germany."

Are you saying that Palestinian/Arabs did not, not so long ago, account for over 90% of Palestine, while the Jews were for thousands of years an outright, small minority? Or that Jews don't live in Arab countries? I'm afraid it's you who are ignoring the facts. As for the "Siamese (Nazi) Twin" thing, I wrote it wasn't my comparison, rather from a Zionist leader against a Jewish State, later shot dead by Irgun. And he wasn't the only one.

"..it is still worthy of Goebbels to call Israel a Siamese twin of Nazi Germany)."

We were talking in the context of the Jews who saw the political and social injustice of creating a State soley based on race, the undemocratic aspects of it, and the trouble it would cause, not the literal comparisons to Nazi crimes, although there are some. Israel is a State based on race, inherently democratic in that sense, with second class citizens denied equal rights and privlidges.

Speaking about Nazi's, how did you feel when you heard the Israeli Military was studying Nazi urban pacification tactics in their academy, to be used in the occupied terroritories? I'm a Jew, and I can tell you, I was quite upset. And you?

 
At 2:50 PM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Unacceptable to a people who only 100 years ago practically had it all.

Man, that's really good. The ability of Palestinian-Arab-Nazi propaganda to erase the fact that the British owned everything the Pales stepped on, the past 100 years.

You failed to inject my response, that many of those "friends" are American backed allies, Jordan, Saudia Arabia, Egypt. And no doubt others can be bought off too. Again America's hand is present, but you refuse to see it.

I see the hands of the people who like to paint themselves as Americans, but are actually the anti-Americans. Cause real Americans would have wiped these Arab countries off the map except we were prevented from doing so by the quote unquote "Americans".

The only people that actually support Jordan and Egypt are those allied with the enemies of America.

It's an amazing feature of the illusion the Arabs craft, and the West smokes up like crack.

Speaking about Nazi's, how did you feel when you heard the Israeli Military was studying Nazi urban pacification tactics in their academy, to be used in the occupied terroritories?

Jews wouldn't know how to genocide if America sent them 1,000 of our nukes and told them to use them, or we'd remote detonate them in Israel.

This play acting as if the Jews are a threat is ridiculous.

Maybe the Jews don't realize this, but the Jewish culture couldn't committ genocide/police tactics/Gestapo/SS even if every Jew feared that this would happen.

Which is kind of the point.

 
At 3:43 PM, February 09, 2006, Blogger neo-neocon said...

anonymous, I'm afraid you've jumped the shark. Actually, in my opinion, you were there to begin with, although so far I've done my best to engage with you as though you were not.

A point by point refutation of what you write is a waste of time--sort of like debating with a Holocaust denier. It would take several years. I'm not writing a book on the subject; the links and the information are/is out there. Anyone can take a look and decide.

But I'm still waiting for that link backing up your assertion that Marshall was assassinated by the Irgun. Or was your claim not based on information that is in the public domain?

 
At 6:14 PM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, in my busy life, I don't have time to run down these answers. So, because so many of you are obviously well informed, please answer a couple questions for me.

1) Now I know that Arab-Israeli's are full citizens. What about the 'Palestinians', are they or aren't they?

2) Is it true that anyone who is of Jewish ancestry is allowed to immigrate to Israel and that the 'Palestinian' refugees aren't allowed to return to Israel? If this is true, why?

Thank you in advance!

 
At 6:56 PM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous erasmus said...

Anon

1. Citizens of what? They're not in Israel. Many of them want to destroy it. Maybe soon they'll be citizens of Palestine.

2. If 3 million mostly hostile Palestinians were to "return" to Israel, good bye Jewish state. And that was the point of the whole kerfluffle back in 1947/48.

 
At 7:09 PM, February 09, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now this is what I find so confusing. They aren't in Israel, but Israel controls the borders and the land?

 
At 8:27 PM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Bryan J Weitzel said...

By the way, many of you have a misunderstanding of the creation of Palestine.

In 1919 the League of Nations transferred control of Palestine from the Ottoman Empire to the United Kingdom as a mandate. A declaration passed by the League of Nations in 1922 effectively divided the mandated territory into two parts. The eastern portion, called Transjordan, became the Arab state of Jordan in 1946. The other portion, comprising the territory west of the Jordan River, was administered as "Palestine" under provisions that called for the establishment of a Jewish homeland.

In 1937, following the Great Arab Revolt, the partition plan proposed by the Peel Commission was rejected by the Palestinian Arab leadership, but accepted tentatively by Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion. This was notable, as Ben-Gurion showed a willingness to essentially accept about 1/3 of the land that would ultimately be won by Israel in the 1948-1949 Arab-Israeli War.

In 1947, following increasing levels of violence by militant groups, alongside unsuccessful efforts to reconcile the Jewish and Arab populations, the British government decided to withdraw from the Palestine Mandate. Fulfillment of the 1947 UN Partition Plan would have divided the mandated territory into two states, Jewish and Arab, giving about half the land area to each state. Under this plan, Jerusalem was intended to be an international region under UN administration to avoid conflict over its status. Immediately following the adoption of the Partition Plan by the United Nations General Assembly, the Palestinian Arab leadership rejected the plan to create the as-yet-unnamed Jewish state and launched a guerilla war.

On May 14, 1948, the State of Israel was proclaimed.

With regard to the Palestinian race, the following quote is noteworthy:

The First Congress of Muslim-Christian Associations (Jerusalem, 1919), which met for the purpose of selecting a Palestinian Arab representative for the Paris Peace Conference, adopted the following resolution: "We consider Palestine as part of Arab Syria, as it has never been separated from it at any time. We are connected with it by national, religious, linguistic, natural, economic and geographical bonds."

Of course, with the French conquest of Syria in 1920, the Palestinians no longer viewed things in the same light. By 1937, only one of the many Arab political parties in Palestine (the Istiqlal party) promoted political absorption into a greater Arab nation as its main agenda.

Zuhair Mohsen, head of the Military Department of the PLO, said in an interview with the Dutch daily Trouw in March 1977: "There is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. It is for political reasons only that we carefully emphasize our Palestinian identity, because it is in the national interest of the Arabs to encourage the existence of Palestinians against Zionism, the establishment of a Palestinian state is a new expedient to continue the fight against Zionism and for Arab unity... For tactical reasons, Jordan, which has defined borders, cannot claim Haifa or Jaffa; but a Palestinian can claim Haifa, Jaffa, Beersheba and Jerusalem."

 
At 8:35 PM, February 09, 2006, Blogger Bryan J Weitzel said...

With regard to the right of Palestinian return:

Following the establishment of Israel in 1948, promising to annihilate the new Jewish state (though their actual motivation was more complex), the armies of six Arab nations attacked the fledgling state. Over the next 15 months Israel captured an additional 26% of the Mandate territory west of the Jordan river and annexed it to the new state. Jordan captured about 21% of the Mandate territory (which became known as the West Bank). The Gaza Strip was captured by Egypt and came under its control.

Additionally, the war created about 750,000 refugees. In 1949, Israel offered to allow families that had been separated during the war to return, to release refugee accounts frozen in Israeli banks (these were eventually released in 1953), to pay compensation for abandoned lands, and to repatriate 100,000 refugees (about 15% of those who had fled). This number would have included some 35,000 refugees whose return had already been negotiated and was underway. The Arabs rejected this compromise, at least in part because they were unwilling to take any action that might be construed as recognition of Israel. They made repatriation a precondition for negotiations, which Israel rejected.

In the face of this impasse, Israel didn't allow any of the Arabs who fled to return and, with the exception of Transjordan, the host countries where they ended up did not grant them or their descendants citizenship. About 900,000 Jews either were expelled from or voluntarily left their Arab homelands in the Middle East and North Africa. Roughly two thirds of these went to Israel.

During the Six Day War (1967 AD) Israel conquered the West Bank from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai from Egypt, and the Golan Heights from Syria. Sinai has since been returned to Egypt in a phased withdrawal but the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are still occupied. The war created a new wave of 200,000 to 300,000 refugees. These refugees have also not been allowed to return nor granted citizenship in their host countries.

And this brings us to one of the interesting things about the Palestinian question. None of the Arab countries wants Palestinians in their country. Why? Because they cause trouble no matter where they live. To wit:

Jordanian policy since 1949 had been to avoid border incidents and terrorism that would generate Israeli reprisals. Al Fatah and the PLO, however, carried out raids and sabotage against Israel without clearance from either the United Arab Command or Jordan. These attacks, although planned in Syria, most often were launched into Israel by infiltration through Lebanon or Jordan. Israeli reprisals against selected West Bank targets became harsher and more frequent from May 1965 onward. Meanwhile, Syrian propaganda against Hussein became increasingly strident. In July 1966, when Hussein severed official endorsement and support for the PLO, both that organization and the Syrian government turned against him. In reprisal for the terrorist attacks by the fedayeen (Palestinian guerrillas), in November Israel assaulted the West Bank village of As Samu. Israel was censured by the UN, but public rioting against the Jordanian government broke out among the inhabitants of the West Bank. The levels of rioting exceeded any previous experience. King Hussein had little choice but the use of the army to restore public order.

 
At 12:55 AM, February 10, 2006, Blogger Ataturk said...

Ahh neo-cons. You should spot the logic truth of facts going around in circles. These ill natured beasts are merely fait-accompli, reality that is created. In the 1990's this debate was truely static, because the status-quo was all that either side could deal with. Israel wouldn't give up the land, and Palestine refused to recongnize the Jews had come home. You might say that while their was alot of talking, nobody did any listening. Reality was ignored.

Today, however, the world is changing. Israel has finally faced reality. No matter how much the preach of Judea and Samaria, they can't hold Palestine. Palestinians are still living in a dream world- hold out just a bit longer and Israel will disapper. Where this ends- I have no answer, nobody does (despite the posturing).

On a final note- The post 9/11 world in the middle east offers us two possible paths. The path of Turkey- with the impowerment of a liberal movement (shocking) will provide us with what we seek. Liberals in the middle east outside of Turkey and Lebanon are an extinct species. The more likely path will feature Islamic nationalism- but directed against what nobody can guess. Israel is a target and Russia and China's breakaway muslim republics are targets. I possiblity I would pose to an aspiring neo-con. Islamic fundamentalism targeting Russia and China- terrorists or freedom fighters? This seems to be a true question you should ask yourself!

 
At 3:41 AM, February 10, 2006, Blogger Bezuhov said...

"Islamic fundamentalism targeting Russia and China- terrorists or freedom fighters? This seems to be a true question you should ask yourself!"

For the time being, both, but if we take steps to make sure terrorism is less effective than the alternatives, then they'll take a different tack.

Submit to terror, you get more. It's not complicated.

 
At 10:38 AM, February 10, 2006, Anonymous Tranq said...

I learned a long time ago to not interject myself into the Israel-Palestine debate. I'd love to read about it, to learn about it more, but, alas, I have a job and family.

I will say this: Palestinians lost any moral high ground with me with the bombing of a discotheque that targeted teenage girls. For that sin alone, they deserve another fifty years of limbo.

 
At 11:14 AM, February 10, 2006, Anonymous TalkinKamel said...

And Trang, let's not forget the horrible Palestinian tradition of urging one's own children to go out and blow themselves up, so they can kill some Israelis, and bring "honor" to their thoroughly evil families.

A culture that destroys its own children doesn't deserve a state.

And those who murder women and children and unarmed civilians are terrorists, each and every time---not freedom fighters.

 
At 11:38 AM, February 10, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Ataturk wondered: possiblity I would pose to an aspiring neo-con. Islamic fundamentalism targeting Russia and China- terrorists or freedom fighters?

The purposeful targeting of non-military targets(a la Hamas organized suicide terrorism) is terrorism, whether in Russia, China or Israel. It is the murdering of civilians in the absence of a military objective which is the defining characteristic of terrorism – not the particular regime the terrorists may terrorize.

 
At 11:44 AM, February 10, 2006, Anonymous grackle said...

Anonymous 7:09 is baffled & asks: Now this is what I find so confusing. They aren't in Israel, but Israel controls the borders and the land?

Anon, sorry but I don’t get your point. Care to be a bit less obtuse?

 
At 12:14 PM, February 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had hoped for answers to my quesetions, because my perception of the situation hinges on the understanding that these people aren't citizens anywhere. What I hate about all these discussions is they quickly descend to arguments about history, religious claims, and which side is more moral. As far as I am concerned, those things are somewhat relevant, but not the fundamental issue. The fundamental issue is structural. Israel has a large population of discontented, stateless individuals within and just outside of their borders who have no place else to go, and that is simply unsustainable. The fact they are in the middle of a civil war is not at all surprising.

True, Israel's Arab neighbors should be condemned for their role in the refugee issue and other negative influences. However, they are gaining from the situation. Having those people parked on the borders waiting to return makes Israel look bad to other Arabs. Plus, if those other Arabs are focusing on Israel, they aren't focusing on their own sad governments. The situation won't change unless Israel changes it.

It would be great if everyone could just get along, but that will never happen. The Jews want a Jewish state, and won't accept anything less. The Palestinians want a Palestinian state, and also won't accept anything less.

Given that reality, the Palestinians have 3 choices. They can give up and live as miserable stateless people. They can get their sh*t together and negotiate. They can continue to fight.

The Israelis have more choices. They can keep things the same and deal with intermittant civil war and terrorism. They can unilaterally divide the country up, give the Palestinians who are caught on the Israel side of the border a choice of becoming an Israeli or a Palestinian citizen, and be completely done the with Palestinians. They can wait around until the Palestinians get their act together and negotiate. The problem with the last option is that both sides have a history of undermining negotiations, so I think that route is pretty dead (ie, Arafat talking out of both sides of his mouth, negotiating one minute and calling for the destruction of Israel the next. Israeli prime ministers expanding the settlement building while they are negotiating.)

And yes, all of you who refuse to see this in structural terms, I think terrorism is immoral. But it won't go away magically just because its bad. IMHO, the entire structure of the situation has to change.

Z

 
At 12:49 PM, February 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I had hoped for answers to my quesetions, because my perception of the situation hinges on the understanding that these people aren't citizens anywhere."

I call bullshit. You came here to preach moral equivalence, because too many people are waking up to the fact that all sides in a conflict do not have to be morally equivalent, and you hoped to win some new converts to replace the flock that is leaving the postmodernist fold.

Begone, preacher. We need none of your lies.

 
At 2:08 PM, February 10, 2006, Anonymous douglas said...

"Anon: Now this is what I find so confusing. They aren't in Israel, but Israel controls the borders and the land?"
The fact that this baffles you is the problem here. You mean like Germany after WWII? That's what happens when you launch a war and lose.
"Given that reality, the Palestinians have 3 choices. They can give up and live as miserable stateless people."
Wow, I guess we see what you think of the Palis. Even I think, if they would just give up the martyrdom lie, they might be able to build a half-decent life for themselves, lord knows they get enough money from the west...Also, if they gave up, wouldn't they get the (admittedly divided) west bank and gaza territories. Not good enough? Losers can't make that complaint and be taken seriously.

 
At 3:33 PM, February 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll start with Anon.

Oh whatever. I am NOT a post-modernist. I have heard plenty of bickering back and forth about who did what historically and who deserves what and blah blah blah, without a lot of talk about what to ACTUALLY DO about it. From my perspective, Sharon started with the approach that he could use the military to force them into good behavior, and it didn't work. Negotiation hasn't worked. The status quo clearly isn't working. Then Sharon started unilateral disengagement, and I think that is the right track. (It is really terrible that he had the stroke.) So.. do you actually have an opinion about how to SOLVE the problem?

Now to Douglas.

Germany and Israel are not comparable. The Germans were temporarily occupied by outsiders.

Douglas, it would be really, really wonderful if they gave up the martyrdom thing. I see no signs of that, do you?

Z

 
At 12:46 AM, February 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Palestinians are utterly, fanatically devoted to killing all Israelis, and the Israelis are just as utterly, fanatically devoted to staying alive.

The only solution is for one or the other to be annihilated. No other action will bring peace, as the two are forever at cross purposes.

 
At 7:23 AM, February 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Neo-neocon,

You'll be happy to hear I don't have much time for this post :-), I have to run to work.

I'm sure you'll also enjoy hearing I got my wires crossed, it was not Louis Marshall, head of the Jewish Agency assassinated by Zionist terrorists, it was Count Folke Bernadotte, head of the U.N. commission and special envoy to Palestine.

Also, Robert Malley, Clinton's Special Assistant at Camp David, and American Middle East expert has written alot about the myth of Arafat's refusal of a generous Camp David offer. You can Google him.

Before we leave this subject I'd just like to say, what bothers me most about U.S.-Israeli-Palestinian relations and what's going on right now is the lopsided support the U.S. gives Israel, a country with just as much a terrorist past as the Arabs, and a country with radical elements (some in government) that mirror the most radical Arabs. Crime (terrorism) paid for Israel, but not for the Palestinians.

If the most powerful, influential country on earth is going to be seen as an impartial, honest broker for peace (and not just an imperial, Macheviavellian land grabber), then we should be more impartial and shouldn't take sides.

But America does. And so do you.

To Ymarsakar (or is it Ymassacre):

Britain did not gain control of Palestine until 1917. I was referring to the well established fact that until that point, 1917, for a few thousand years anyway, the Palestinian-Arab population accounted for well over 90% of Palestine. Having said that it should not be difficult to understand their discontment in 1948 with ..nothing.

"I see the hands of the people who like to paint themselves as Americans, but are actually the anti-Americans. Cause real Americans would have wiped these Arab countries off the map except we were prevented from doing so by the quote unquote "Americans"."

Who's the Nazi here?

"It's an amazing feature of the illusion the Arabs craft, and the West smokes up like crack."

Egypt and Jordan recieve billions of dollars of U.S. aid every year. Egypt in fact almost ties Israel for first place in aid. Both are our staunch military allies in the region. ..What are you on?

To another Anonymous.

(There's getting to be too many Anon's here, I should adopt a name.
Any suggestions? (Can't wait to hear this :-)

To answer your question Palestinain's are proported to have equal rights in Israel, but due to the obvious security threats, and no doubt to some racism too, are not treated equally, in jobs, housing, the roads and delapidated schools, building permission, you get the picture. There's been alot of internal criticism about this in Israel lately.

Your other question about Jewish immigration, yes, any Jew can immigrate to Israel, recieve aid and housing. If you can prove you have no money Lufthansa will fly you there for free.

Are you Jewish? :-)

 
At 3:15 PM, February 11, 2006, Blogger LTEC said...

I sympathize with neo-neocon's intellectual struggle to understand who is on the right side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I have also spent a good many years in a similar effort to understand who was on the right side in the German-Polish struggle that led to World War II.

Sure, when looked at from a distance the Germans look pretty awful, but if we look at things up close and bring all our intellectual powers to bear, the situation becomes much less clear-cut. After all, the German request for the Danzig Corridor was perfectly reasonable. And pre-war Poland was anything but a liberal democracy: the government
was extremely anti-Semitic, and many political parties that the government didn't like (such as the Communist Party) were outlawed. England and France used the situation as an excuse for Germanophopic excesses, thereby starting a world war. And during the war, Poland and its allies committed atrocities on a scale that had not been seen before. After the war, Poland took a large piece of land from Germany (Silesia) after first expelling the German nationals who had been living there for many generations. And Poland continues to occupy that land to this day.

I would write more on this topic, but it is very tiring to do so because of my straitjacket. And in any case, it is time for my medication.

 
At 7:50 PM, February 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem, then, is that the Israelis cannot both survive and be annihilated. So, assuming that it is vital to end the Israel / Palestine wars, either the Palestinians must be satisfied that every Israeli is dead, or every Palestinian must no longer be able to continue the war on Israel.

Of the two possible outcomes, the first is far easier. It is the only option that could be performed by an outside power without committing any act of violence at all. Simply use propaganda campaigns, similar to but more sophisticated than the methods pioneered by Adolf Hitler to herd the Jews into concentration camps. Once the Israelis either lose their will to survive or are tricked into putting themselves at a sufficient disadvantage, the Palestinians will be eager to exterminate them, and the only issue then is preventing any Israelis from escaping this resolution to the conflict.

Our hands would maintain their cleanliness, just as they did following the fall of Saigon. There is some risk that the Palestinians would continue to demand Israeli blood, even after they had spilled it all, but this risk is small compared to the value of taking the civilized and diplomatic approach.

 
At 6:26 AM, February 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To LTEC:

Don't let them beat you down with their conventional wisdom. You're doin' fine.

To Anon:

"The problem, then, is that the Israelis cannot both survive and be annihilated."

Neither can the Palestinian's.

"Simply use propaganda campaigns, similar to but more sophisticated than the methods pioneered by Adolf Hitler to herd the Jews into concentration camps."

It is a testament to American propoganda that you don't recognise or care to concern yourself with the camps and ghetto's that exist right now, namely the plight of the Palestinian.

"Our hands would maintain their cleanliness, just as they did following the fall of Saigon."

To you maybe, an American propoganda junky.

"There is some risk that the Palestinians would continue to demand Israeli blood, even after they had spilled it all, but this risk is small compared to the value of taking the civilized and diplomatic approach."

The Arabs have been saying from the beginning they don't hate Jews, they hate Zionists, Zionism (although there are certainly exceptions, on both sides). That Jewish communities exist in many Islamic countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria etc.)
attest to that.

 
At 7:28 AM, February 12, 2006, Anonymous Ruth said...

One of these Anon's wrote:

"Germany and Israel are not comparable. The Germans were temporarily occupied by outsiders."

Temporarily translates into something like 44 years. Full suzerainity was retaken by the German government only with the fall of the Berlin wall 1989 and after some deliberation from the formier allies.

The Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip was shorter: 1967 to 2005 = 38 years.

 
At 11:08 AM, February 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When people say 'Zionists,' what they really mean is Jews."

- Martin Luther King Jr.

 
At 5:56 PM, February 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO ANONYMOUS-

A lot more Jews were against the creation of a Jewish state (Zionist) then you know. Now that it's there that margin has dropped, but there numbers are considerable, particularly in the orthodox sector. Google orthodox Jew's against zionism, you'll see what I mean.

 
At 1:47 AM, February 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A lot more Jews were against the creation of a Jewish state (Zionist) then you know."

A lot of Jews collaborated with the Nazis to have other Jews shipped off to Auschwitz. What's your point?

 
At 5:24 PM, February 13, 2006, Blogger bataween said...

"The Arabs have been saying from the beginning they don't hate Jews, they hate Zionists, Zionism (although there are certainly exceptions, on both sides). That Jewish communities exist in many Islamic countries (Iran, Iraq, Syria etc.)
attest to that."
Both your assertions are false. From a community of 150,000 Jews there are now fewer than 10 left in Iraq. There are a few score elderly Jews left in Egypt and Syria (80,000 and 30, 000 respectively in 1948). There is not a single Jew left in Libya. These ancient communities have been virtually wiped out. The Iranian Jews will be next. See
www.jewishrefugees.blogspot.com

The Arab states have all along conflated Jews and Zionists - and that is why their Jewish citizens understood early on that they were not wanted.

 
At 2:54 AM, February 15, 2006, Anonymous Gary Rosen said...

"The Arabs have been saying from the beginning they don't hate Jews, they hate Zionists, Zionism "

The Arab press has been spewing out antisemitic - not "antizionist" or "antiIsrael" propaganda - for decades. "Mein Kampf" and "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" are big sellers in the Arab world. A prominent leader of Hamas calls himself "Hitler". And the Saudis publish antisemitic propaganda in their state-run newspapers that would make a Nazi blush, such as the assertion that Jews use the blood of children in their religious rituals. So I'm not really all that impressed by the above statement from "anonymous", who is very even-handed (just ask him) but somehow ends up blaming it all on the Jews (even though he is Jewish himself, or so he claims).

Being "antizionist" may not automatically make you antisemitic, but boy they sure do hang around together a lot. I'm not really inclined to give "antizionists" the benefit of the doubt any more.

 
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At 12:40 PM, April 07, 2006, Anonymous big wevs 1 said...

"As for Arabs wanting to destroy Israel, maybe because it's another brutal, western construct they never approved of IN THE FIRST PLACE. After all, they were there thousands of years, Israel only 60."

This is a common Arabist, Islamist and leftist contention but it is not historically accurate. Israel--a Jewish state in the Holy Land--is not a "western construct." The Jewish people lived in that part of the world for thousands of years until most of us we were kicked out by Roman imperialists and forced into Diaspora. Some remained behind in what became known as Palestine. Palestine is a Roman word, it is neither indigenous nor Arabic.

Zionism--the political movement for Jewish self-determination and a homeland--started in the 19th century. But Jews have been praying for the return to our homeland ever since we were forcibly removed by the Romans. We pray every year at Pesach (Passover) that next year we will be in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem).

Lastly, as Brian noted, Palesintian ethnic identity was forged *after* the founding of the state of Israel. Prior to that, they were Syrian, Egyptian or Transjordanian Arabs. While always supporting terrorism against Zionists in Palestine, it was only after Israel was founded that the Arab regimes (reluctantly) started funding the Palestinian nationalist movement. For more on this have a look at Efraim Karsh's "Islamic Imperialism: A History" (Yale University Press, 2006).

 
At 12:50 PM, April 07, 2006, Anonymous big wevs 1 said...

And it is nonsense that Jewish communities in Iran, Syria and Iraq are vibrant or thriving. Far from it. Most of the Jewish residents of these countires left shortly after the foundation of the state of Israel due to increasing repression and persecution. The communities that remain today are small, marginalized and under constant government surveillance.

Two Examples:

Egypt
http://www.hsje.org/jews_kicked_out_of_arab_countrie.htm

"By 1957 it [the Jewish population] had fallen to 15,000. In 1967, after the Six-Day War, there was a renewed wave of persecution, and the community dropped to 2,500. By the 1970s, after the remaining Jews were given permission to leave the country, the community dwindled to a few families. Jewish rights were finally restored in 1979 after President Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David Accords with Israel. Only then was the community allowed to establish ties with Israel and with world Jewry. The majority of Jews reside in Cairo, but there are still a handful in Alexandria. In addition there are about 15 Karaites in the community. Nearly all the Jews are elderly, and the community is on the verge of extinction."

Iraq

"Additional outbreaks of anti-Jewish rioting occurred between 1946-49. After the establishment of Israel in 1948, Zionism became a capital crime.

In 1950, Iraqi Jews were permitted to leave the country within a year provided they forfeited their citizenship. A year later, however, the property of Jews who emigrated was frozen and economic restrictions were placed on Jews who chose to remain in the country. From 1949 to 1951, 104,000 Jews were evacuated from Iraq in Operations Ezra and Nehemiah; another 20,000 were smuggled out through Iran. In 1952, Iraq's government barred Jews from emigrating and publicly hanged two Jews after falsely charging them with hurling a bomb at the Baghdad office of the U.S. Information Agency.

With the rise of competing Ba'ath factions in 1963, additional restrictions were placed on the remaining Iraqi Jews. The sale of property was forbidden and all Jews were forced to carry yellow identity cards. After the Six-Day War, more repressive measures were imposed: Jewish property was expropriated; Jewish bank accounts were frozen; Jews were dismissed from public posts; businesses were shut; trading permits were cancelled; telephones were disconnected. Jews were placed under house arrest for long periods of time or restricted to the cities.

Persecution was at its worst at the end of 1968. Scores were jailed upon the discovery of a local "spy ring" composed of Jewish businessmen. Fourteen men-eleven of them Jews-were sentenced to death in staged trials and hanged in the public squares of Baghdad; others died of torture. On January 27, 1969, Baghdad Radio called upon Iraqis to "come and enjoy the feast." Some 500,000 men, women and children paraded and danced past the scaffolds where the bodies of the hanged Jews swung; the mob rhythmically chanted "Death to Israel" and "Death to all traitors." This display brought a world-wide public outcry that Radio Baghdad dismissed by declaring: "We hanged spies, but the Jews crucified Christ."

Jews remained under constant surveillance by the Iraqi government. Max Sawadayee, in "All Waiting to be Hanged" writes a testimony of an Iraqi Jew (who later escaped): "The dehumanization of the Jewish personality resulting from continuous humiliation and torment...have dragged us down to the lowest level of our physical and mental faculties, and deprived us of the power to recover.".

In response to international pressure, the Baghdad government quietly allowed most of the remaining Jews to emigrate in the early 1970's, even while leaving other restrictions in force. Most of Iraq's remaining Jews are now too old to leave. They have been pressured by the government to turn over title, without compensation, to more than $200 million worth of Jewish community property. (New York Times, February 18, 1973).

Only one synagogue continues to function in Iraq, "a crumbling buff-colored building tucked away in an alleyway" in Baghdad. According to the synagogue's administrator, "there are few children to be bar-mitzvahed, or couples to be married. Jews can practice their religion but are not allowed to hold jobs in state enterprises or join the army." (New York Times Magazine, February 3,1985).

Persecutions continued, especially after the Six-Day War in 1967, when many of the remaining 3,000 Jews were arrested and dismissed from their jobs.

Finally In Iraq all the Jews were forced to leave between 1948 and 1952 and leave everything behind. Jews were publicly hanged in the center of Baghdad with enthusiastic mob as audience.

The Jews were persecuted throughout the centuries in all the Arabic speaking countries. One time, Baghdad was one-fifth Jewish and other communities had first been established 2,500 years ago. Today, approximately 61 Jews are left in Baghdad and another 200 or so are in Kurdish areas in the north."

 

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