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I'm Jewish.  I belong to a synagogue, where my involvement ebbs and flows, and though we just recently got a full-time cantor, we still have a parttime rabbi who lives in the other desert that is such a problem, in Jerusalem, whose politics are 180 degrees from mine.  I talk politics with some friends, and scrupulously avoid doing so with others.  Being Jewish is a big part of my identity.  So is working for social justice.

The situation - the escalation into war that is going on between Israel and Gaza - is coming to me via e-mails from various Jewish political groups.  Here in Tucson, the Jewish Federation (a philanthropic group which includes Israel in their philanthropic deeds) sent me one on Monday urging me to support Israel's right to defend itself, and help in whatever way I can.

But I had also received messages from Jewish Voice for Peace and End the Occupation, and the story they told was so different from the Federation's.  It became a matter of whom I believed, and I have stopped believing the Israel-right-or-wrong Zionists (the old meaning of the word).

I disagreed for many years with Israeli policy - as I think of it, it came from its years of war and occupation.  But one of the ways I have changed in the four years I have been at Daily Kos is that I have gotten to know some Palestinians and other Arabs, and since knowing some here, have also met some here in Tucson, where there is an active interfaith community.  For ten years there has been an annual Peace Walk that in alternate years is either Jewish-Muslim or Muslim-Jewish, which includes learning activities.  I attended a few, but I didn't know about one that was held the Sunday before this fighting started (diaried here.  In March 2008 I was in a discussion group with a Gazan-American and an Egyptian-American with whom I have had occasional contact since then.  

So I learned the story of the Nakba, and of some of the other side of what has happened to the Palestinian people, and met online some Israelis who work for peace and for justice for Palestinians.  My world has become larger.

And I remember some of the reasons I was not going to work for Obama this time around, though of course I had to, and one big one was his backing off involvement in any kind of peace process in Israel/Palestine.  I actually had hopes after his Egyptian speech before he was president.  Instead he acceded to all of Israel's preconditions, none of which could possibly be met before negotiations.  And he acceded to the ignoring of Gaza and of Hamas.  And Israel has been attacking the government buildings in Gaza, including police, essentially destroying any sort of organization for the public good in Gaza.

So my position is taken.  It was actually taken four years ago, but I haven't written an Israel/Palestine diary since what feels like forever, and I could not let this escalating war go any further without saying my piece.  Thanks to those who have been writing about it here; you have increased my knowledge.

UPDATE:  Assaf sent me this message that I wanted to pass on.

The "time to take a stand" message might lead some readers to want to do something.

For example, there is this online petition started by a group of Israelis and Palestinians living in and around Gaza. It is nearing 100k signatures.

http://www.causes.com/...

Or this FB group: https://www.facebook.com/...

Even if symbolic, liking a group like this will connect Kossacks to direct unfiltered information from anti-war israelis and Palestinians on the ground.

Or events coordinated or tracked by JVP. http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/...

Originally posted to ramara on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:39 PM PST.

Also republished by Adalah β€” A Just Middle East.

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Comment Preferences

  •  doesn't it all boil down to the settlements? (8+ / 0-)

    Israel seems to have a plan that no matter what else goes on, wars, peace and stalemate they will continue the settlements until they completely control the land and stiffle any chance for two states.

    imo, the present mess will stop after a bunch of killing and some sort of status quo will ensue. But no matter what the settlement building will go on and on. After a while some other crisis will kick off and the world will get in a tizzy again but all the while more settlements will be built on Palistinian lands until none are left. Arabs will be removed from Jeruslem by settlements, they'll be kicked off their farms by settlements. It never stops.

    Of course the Jewish lobby is much to strong for Obama to stand against. He has to toe the line as do almost all national politicians in America. So there's no chance the USA can do anything about settlements even though we supposedly oppose them.

    America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

    by cacamp on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:59:08 PM PST

    •  it's not the Jewish lobby--it's the Christian (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ramara, David54, native

      lobby that's the problem--they exploit Jewish interests to further their aims.

      AIPAC is one of many influential special interest groups.  They don't define policy.  They yell and scream and contribute, but that's the extent of it.

      If Obama showed some spine on the I/P issue and at least tried to be even-handed in his dealings, he wouldn't lose ANY Jewish support (except among the far right where they don't like him anyway.)  He may actually GAIN among the largely reform/secular American Jewish community if he were to actually make a move towards a legimate peace in the M.E.

      Unfortunately, his treatment remains consistently one-sided (and I'm speaking from the 'pro-I' side of things)

    •  I found it disturbing (11+ / 0-)

      to read recently that people who have been moving to Siderot and other nearby places tend to be the ultra-religious, whose purpose openly is to make life so miserable to Palestinians in and out of Israel that they will leave and fulfill the prophesy.  

      What disturbs me more is Americans commiserating with the people of Siderot (who do live with great fear) without mentioning the suffering inside Gaza.

      So I would say keeping things as they are is Israel's main purpose as far as peace negotiations go.

      Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

      by ramara on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:34:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh boy. The Greater Israel lobby (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ramara, mahakali overdrive, AoT

      is not Jewish. Some of them are Jews, but most are nutty evangelical Christians. That is why people like Michele Bachmann are the most ardent pro-Israel politicians in America, even more than the Jewish Congressmen. While people like Sheldon Adelson make headlines, the American Jewish community is by and large to the left of the current Israeli electorate, while Christianists are fanatically devoted to Jewish expansion (though they believe that when Jesus returns, all the Jews will burn alive and then go to hell, so they are not exactly good friends of the Jewish people).

    •  that is the thorniest issue, but not everything (9+ / 0-)

      there's also theft and crimes during Nakba and of course the Palestinian right of return.

      But it is an undeniable fact, that any Israeli who supports the settlements (like almost all Israeli leaders) is not interested in peace. Say whatever else you want, but expanding settlements does not move us close to peace. That is undeniable.

  •  Every voice counts (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ramara, bluedust, AoT

    Only the people of Israel can force the Israeli government to ease the siege on Gaza. Israel controls the water supply and electricity in Gaza. Israel collects taxes for the Palestinians and decide what their daily caloric intake will be.

    Maybe president Obama wants things to get worse.

    We enjoy freedom of speech. All we can do is speak out against injustice. For most Palestinians in Gaza, I am sure that being killed by bombardment is a welcome fate.

    Romney, just another rich guy suffering from "Master of the Universe"syndrome.

    by ARCADIA on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:00:04 PM PST

    •  they won't. Conflict strengthens the incumbent. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ramara, SolarMom

      Contrary to the belief of some around here, they actually DO fear the rocket attacks and feel legitimately threatened by it.  Hence Netanyahu retains support.  The only way for this cycle to cease is for those firing weapons on both sides to stop, Hamas to modify its charter, and Israel to get rid of the settlements.  That's it.  Nothing else.

  •  You have been getting most of your information (6+ / 0-)

    from very biased sources. I speak as a Jewish educator who has studied all this deeply. Jewish Voice for Peace is just as likely to distort the truth for their end objectives as the Jewish Federation is.

    Just because there is a naarative that many people believe does not mean that it is entirely true, nor does it mean it is entirely false.

    Many people tend to have what is both a narrow and binary view at the same time - narrow, because they only look at Israel and Palestinians and not at all the other state and non-state actors who get involved. Binary because the entire story is viewed through the lens that one side must be right, and one side must be wrong.

    Life is much more complex.

    For example - different waves of Jewish immigration to Palestine argued with each other over whether or not it was a good idea to hire Arab laborers to work on Jewish towns and communes. Some wanted good relations with Palestinian Arabs, others wanted nothing to do with them.

    Another example of how things are so complex is that history itself has become malleable - to all the involved parties - for the sake of telling the best story. Read the Wikipedia discussion behind the Nakba/Palestinian Exodus page, for example, to see just how difficult it even is for scholars to agree on what happened in 1948-1949 with regards to the Palestinian Arab population in Mandatory Palestine.

    While I do not believe in a moral equivalency approach to what goes on in and around Israel (it is silly to assume that in every situation both sides are equally "wrong") I also reject any argument that paints any side with the same brush all the time. I also reject over-convoluted conspiracy theories about the actions of one state/group or another when simple will suffice.

    The only way that calm and, eventually, peace will come in the region is if everyone lets go of their narratives begins to deal with the realities on the ground today instead of feudin' and a fightin' over insults from the past. I am pretty sure that only an outside third party can make that happen.
     would say that Shalom Achshav (Peace Now) and J-Street are the most level headed groups, the least likely to play with facts on the way to their objectives. I know significantly less about the Palestinian world but I am sure they have their own versions of these types of groups.

    If you believe that ALL criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're an idiot.
    If you believe that NONE of the criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're a fool.
    If you call EVERYONE who criticizes Israel antisemitic, you're just an a$$hole

    by A Gutin Daf on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:20:08 PM PST

    •  J Street seems pretty biased to me. (3+ / 0-)

      Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

      by ZenTrainer on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:40:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  To me (3+ / 0-)

        they sound naive, but that is only because of where I get my news.

        Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

        by ramara on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:49:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  They are biased (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bevenro, bluedust, ramara, SolarMom, native, AoT

        in that they have a specific perspective on what should happen in the Peace process. They are also not really a source of information. However, I do think they often have the most level headed things to say about what is going on in a pretty hyperbole-free style. From a post today on their blog:

        Now with Israeli forces poised for a possible ground invasion and rockets flying closer to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, we must ask whether actions being taken today advance long-term security and stop the cycle of suffering. Do they bring us closer to ending this conflict in two states for two peoples, or do they leave us farther away?

        Four years ago, those of us who critiqued Operation Cast Lead asked whether massive military action would end the rockets and make Israel more secure.

        Clearly, we have our answer. Today, rockets are more numerous and powerful. Israel is more isolated in its region and more ostracized around the world.

        And now the cycle begins again – and we must not be silent.

        If you believe that ALL criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're an idiot.
        If you believe that NONE of the criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're a fool.
        If you call EVERYONE who criticizes Israel antisemitic, you're just an a$$hole

        by A Gutin Daf on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:57:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It is more complex (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Gutin Daf

      The problem is that both the story of the Nakba and the story of the Holocaust making a Jewish homeland necessary are true.  But there has been a Eurocentric way of looking at the Arabs (e.g. civilized vs. uncivilized).

      Both sides have suffered.  Both sides have caused suffering.  But the politicians have got hold of the narratives and use them to their own advantage.

      Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

      by ramara on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:45:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Reccd - one point on the Holocaust (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bluedust, ramara, JNEREBEL

        There is only one aspect of Israel's existence that I see as being an essential response to the Holocaust - the law of return, that anyone with one Jewish grandparent (the Nazis standard for being a Jew) can be granted instant citizenship and protection.

        Zionism was a strong idea close to a century before the world learned the truth about the horrors of the camps and ghettos, and had picked up real steam in the years since WW 1.

        There is a very good chance Israel would have gained independence even without the Holocaust (if only it could have been); it just would have taken longer.

        On the flip side, some of the more bullying behaviors of Israel towards Palestinians can probably be traced back to a national history of being bullied by others over and over again.

        If you believe that ALL criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're an idiot.
        If you believe that NONE of the criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're a fool.
        If you call EVERYONE who criticizes Israel antisemitic, you're just an a$$hole

        by A Gutin Daf on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:54:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  you have good posts in these threads. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ramara, mahakali overdrive

      Hard to do.  Nice job :)

      •  It has been one (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mahakali overdrive, bluedust, Brecht, poco

        of my missions in life to get civility into I/P threads.  But comments may still come in...  : )

        Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

        by ramara on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:25:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think if the diary is well written/fair, then (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ramara, A Gutin Daf, AoT

          even if people don't agree w/the viewpoint, most of the initial comments will also be well-written/fair, so hijacks only come much later and with fewer responses :)

          Whereas things meant to rile up one side or another draw immediate one-sided support or criticism early on.

          (as evidenced by my wars in 1 or 2 other diaries today and yesterday..)

      •  The most level-headed and reality-based (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ramara, bevenro, bluedust

        I'm appreciating hearing from this poster, FWIW.

        I think, like me, he is advocating for peace and saying it's possible to achieve that, he is denouncing violence and extremist leadership, and he is advocating for a two-state solution that includes reparations and, hopefully, healing. His knowledge of the history is very impressive. He is saying one of the most important things to move toward this process: that we must let go of "blame" because it is an infinitely moving game which extends far back through history and does not move anyone forward to solutions rather than just continued arguments.

    •  What do you think JVP has distorted? (0+ / 0-)

      I'm curious.

      •  OK, distorted is the wrong word (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ramara, bevenro, JNEREBEL

        Perhaps it is more that their arguments place them so much on the fringe of the Jewish community that engages with Israel that their voice and perspective just is not that helpful.

        Anyone advocating for peace needs to avoid language that makes the party they are speaking to want to put their fingers in their ears and go "na na na na na" until the attempt to communicate stops.

        Here are examples of both fringe arguments and some, lets say, misunderstandings of history from their website's FAQ on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (in order that things appear):

        Q: What is the Palestinian-Israeli conflict really about?
        A: The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is, in essence, a conflict over territory. Although religion plays a role in defining the identities of the parties to the conflict, and for some Jews, in justifying their claims to the land, the conflict is not, fundamentally, a religious conflict.  
        I know plenty of Jews and Palestinians who would disagree. While Fatah is, overall, not religiously motivated in their quest for Palestinian sovereignty Hamas and Islamic Jihad certainly are. Baruch Goldstein and Yigal Amir were both motivated by things their rabbis said to them as are many of the settlers who are in the West Bank in order to preserve the Biblical Land Of Israel for the coming of the Messiah.

        From their section explaining what the occupation is:

        In addition, Israel has settled hundreds of thousands of its own citizens in these lands, in defiance of international law.
        Here is where things get interesting. By automatically accepting that international law is more important than Israel's sovereignty as a state JVP has just turned off a whole bunch of its potential listeners.

        It is also worth pointing out that this FAQ page only identifies Israeli actions as possibly violating international law. This is not a moral equivalency argument - if we were to make a checklist of all the Intl' law violations since 1967 perpetrated by Israel, Hamas, the PLO and Fatah I have no idea who would come out on "top". However, to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within the context of international law and only mention Israeli violations reveals an agenda to make Israel look bad, which also turns off many of JVP's intended audience.

        The next section is Are Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel treated equally?. Here they include answers that, without coming out and saying it directly, question whether Israel should really be an overtly Jewish State:

        ...the 1950 Law of Return grants automatic citizenship rights to Jews from anywhere in the world upon request, while denying that same right to Palestinians.
        There are two things going on in this answer. First, it assumes a Palestinian right of return that is considered to be part of final status agreements. Second, it mentions the Law of Return without context. I mentioned it in another comment somewhere today, but the Law of Return uses the same standard for being  a Jew that the Nazis did (one Jewish grandparent); the law was a direct response to the plight of Jews who had nowhere to flee during the Holocaust because no one would take them. Without the context the law comes off as much more prejudicial than it is (it is at least a bit prejudicial, BTW). Also, this answer fails to mention that other people can get citizenship through a set naturalization process. (source)

        From the same answer:

        The Basic Law of Human Dignity and Freedom ensures that Israel is the state of the "Jewish people," not its citizens. This law was passed in 1992 to serve as a "bill of rights," as Israel does not have a written constitution.
        This is a gross distortion of the law as written, making it look much more malignant than it is. The law is meant to preserve Israel as both a Jewish AND a democratic state. It then goes on to list rights that every citizen of Israel is granted without making a distinction between Jews and non Jews. One of the rights? Something missing from our own constitution without  a liveral interpretation of the 14th ammendment - a right to privacy and to intimacy. (source)

        Speaking of sources, there are lots of factual statements made on JVP's page that have very well sourced Wikipedia articles related to them, yet the only links on the page are to their own publications. At this point in political discourse on the internet I have concerns about any site that makes general factual assertions without backing them up with a single outside link.

        Onward, still the same question:

        Israel's flag and other national symbols are Jewish religious symbols, not neutral or national ones that represent all the citizens of the state. Government resources, meanwhile, are disproportionately directed to Jews and not to Arabs, one factor in causing the Palestinians of Israel to suffer the lowest living standards in Israeli society by all economic indicators.
        The statement about the Israeli flag once again challenges whether or not a Jewish State should have a Jewish character. It is kind of like challenging the statement "In God We Trust" on US currency - there might be a good intellectual argument there, but bringing it up pretty much automatically labels you as a left wing fringe group. Even Meretz, the only party that used to complain about the flag and anthem, barely mentions it anymore because of how much even bringing it up hurt their "cred" with the Israeli public (I know they used to bring it up in the mid 1990s when I was there but it is not even on there 'pedia page).

        As for the second half of this statement, it is 100% true, and one of the most frustrating aspects of being someone who is a Zionist but who also cares about equal rights and knows that segregation generally does not work out.

        Q: Did the PLO reject a "generous offer" for peace at Camp David in 2000?
        A: No. In fact, there was no Israeli "offer" at all, in the sense of a comprehensive plan to resolve all outstanding differences between the parties. To the extent that Israeli positions on discrete issues could be discerned, they were not "generous." Finally, while Palestinian negotiators did not agree to Israeli demands, they did not "reject" them, but sought to continue negotiations, and offered solutions based on long-accepted principles of international law and justice.
        Here is the relevant section of the Wikipedia page about this summit. Note that this Wikipedia page has none of the usual tags warning about possible bias or inaccuracies on the page. It is impossible to read this section of the page and come to the same conclusion as JVP without ignoring a lot of the available information that was used by Wikipedia's editors. Instead, the JVP answer in this FAQ essentially parrots what is usually said about the summit by Fatah's own spokespeople.
        Q: Haven't Jews and Arabs been fighting for thousands of years? Is there really an answer?
        A: In fact, Jews and Arabs have been fighting for only about a century. While Jews were facing repeated expulsion and persecution in Europe, Jews in the Muslim world, though still facing some problems, were faring much better.
        A very selective reading of the history. There were times when Jews in Arab lands did quite well, and other times when Muslim Arabs were trying to convert us by the sword. While this particular version of the tensions between Arabs and Jews is just over a century old (probably goes back to mid-19th) it is not as if we have always been friendly. Jewish Virtual Library has a pretty well sources piece on this.

        The next question, Q: What do Palestinians seek? appears to have a pretty accurate answer for most Palestinians. It (sensibly) leaves out the fringe elements, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who currently dominate in Gaza. Also, once again, no links to support the statements made.

        Next question is Q: What was the Gaza disengagement, and how has it affected Palestinians? which, interestingly enough, spends no time discussing the direct effects of the disengagement and resulting blockade on the lives of individual Palestinians. It only discusses that the blockade and outside control exist, and that they are bad.

        There is also a tone to the first paragraph that is meant to make the disengagement look like something other than what it was:

        A: The Gaza disengagement was part of a unilateral plan adopted by the Israeli government without consultation with the Palestinians, although with the approval of the U.S. government. The disengagement began in August 2005, when Israel evacuated approximately 8,500 civilians from 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip, and 500 more from four small settlements in the northern part of the West Bank - about 2% of the total number of Israeli settlers in the Palestinian territories.
        Emphasis mine. There is no reason to quote the percentage except if one wants to demonstrate that the disengagement was a cynical Israeli attempt to pretend they were giving Palestinians what they want in the hopes that they would look good (I may be reading too much into the paragraph)

        The thing is, if they were to use the available information about the disengagement they would see that land for peace was never the point of the disengagement. Instead, Sharon decided that it was in Israel's best security interests to move out of Gaza:

        I would like to emphasize: the Disengagement Plan is a security measure and not a political one.
        The next question is all about the West Bank Wall for which there is a very accurate and comprehensive Wikipedia page.  
        Much of the wall will be built on lands confiscated from Palestinian landowners within the West Bank - not within Israel's own territory. Many Palestinian homes, business, orchards, and other valuable assets in the route of the wall have been destroyed.
        This is unfortunately true, even though it is unsourced by JVP.
        The wall was also the subject of a case before the International Court of Justice. The ICJ ruling, announced in July 2004, held that the wall is illegal, must be dismantled, and ordered Israel to compensate Palestinians damaged by the wall's construction. It also called upon third-party states to ensure Israel's compliance with the judgment. Although an advisory opinion, and therefore not binding on the parties, the ICJ judgment is an authoritative statement of the status of the wall in international law. In the course of the opinion, all fifteen judges of the court found Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem, to violate international law.
        Here, again, we have international law used as a tool to make Israel look bad without spending any time discussing Israel's own perspective, as a sovereign state, on international law. Israel chose not to sign onto the International Court of Justice due to a distrust of the ability of the world to treat Israel fairly. There are some good reasons for this. Since international law is on the whole unenforced the main reason for a group to invoke it is in order to make the party that has violated the law look bad. See above in this long reply how JVP never mentions any Palestinian issues with international law, only Israeli ones. Israel did not even show up to defend the wall before the IJC because of their belief that the courthas no standing to tell Israel what to do.

        The final question on the page concerns 2008's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The entire answer focuses on the Goldstone Report and its findings about war crimes. Here is a key passage:

        While the report condemned violations by both sides, it clearly differentiated between the moral and legal severity of the violations of the Israeli forces compared to those of Hamas and other less culpable Palestinian armed groups. "The following grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention were committed by Israeli forces in Gaza: wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. As grave breaches these acts give rise to individual criminal responsibility."
        There is a clear anti-Israel bias in the selective quoting of the report itself. While war crimes are mentioned as being comitted by both sides only a quote with specifics about Israel is included. However, the reportlisted specifics about Palestinian actions as well.

        Finally, the JVP account of the report fails to mention that (a) Israel refused to cooperate in the preparation of the report, providing no officers to interview and (b) Goldstone later, after viewing more evidence, stated publicly that there were things the report accused Israel of that he no longer believed to be true.

        Not only are a lot of these half-truths and biased statements not helpful in getting parties to sit down with each other, they also mean that JVP is virtually guaranteed a deaf ear from the normative Jewish community.

        If you believe that ALL criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're an idiot.
        If you believe that NONE of the criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're a fool.
        If you call EVERYONE who criticizes Israel antisemitic, you're just an a$$hole

        by A Gutin Daf on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:35:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just a thought (5+ / 0-)

          Your comments are thoughtful, but some of them, including this, are more like a diary, not only in length, but also in scope.  I make it a habit to read every word of every comment in my diaries, but I stopped about halfway through this one and will have to come back to it.

          As to the content, JVP says what a number of Jews find helpful.  I know I feel at home there even more than at Meretz in its old or new incarnation.  They say what is real as far as I can tell, and if they don't appeal to a wider Jewish audience, so be it.

          Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

          by ramara on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:53:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I want to say one thing very quickly, (6+ / 0-)

          and I want to preface it by saying that I'm doing exactly what I don't like when other people do it, which is to enter a conversation to make a comment and then leave, but unfortunately I've been otherwise engaged.  So take this as you will.

          I think your claim that JVP is just not that helpful because it's fringe is, frankly, just not that helpful.  Yes, JVP is not in the Jewish mainstream, but that doesn't mean that their voice is not helpful.  The abolitionist movement was not in the mainstream in the 18th century, and look what happened.  The Mattachine Society was not in the mainstream in the 1950s, and look what happened.  The Seneca Falls women were not in the mainstream in the mid-19th century, and look what happened.  That doesn't mean that JVP's viewpoint will, over the longer arc of history, become more mainstream, but it does mean, as far as I'm concerned, that to dismiss it because it is not in the mainstream really just doesn't hold water.

    •  Are you suggesting a UN peacekeeping force? (0+ / 0-)

      As an outside third party?

      •  More in favor of NATO plus Turkey and Egypt (4+ / 0-)

        Neither Israel nor the Palestinians trust the UN to protect their interests, and with pretty good historic reasons.

        However, Israel can trust NATO because of US involvement, and there are a number of countries in the org. that have shown official sympathy to and support for the Palestinians. Add in Turkey and Egypt who have a good relationship with the Palestinians and not much worse than a cold one with Israel and you've got a coalition.

        However, it is not about peacekeeping. Those countries should be rebuilding the infrastructure and economy of Gaza like the US did in Japan after WW 2. The money should not go through Hamas - they have wasted millions already on graft and corruption - but through someone who can make sure it gets spent for its intended purpose.

        There was actually a column in Jerusalem Post on Friday that made some similar suggestions about the need to completely rebuild Gaza if this cycle is ever going to stop.

        If you believe that ALL criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're an idiot.
        If you believe that NONE of the criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're a fool.
        If you call EVERYONE who criticizes Israel antisemitic, you're just an a$$hole

        by A Gutin Daf on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:03:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  do you know if peacekeeping/monitoring was (0+ / 0-)

          part of the Oslo Accords, or any subsequent tentative agreements?

          I've heard things like international monitoring of holy sites, etc...

          •  I am not sure the Oslo Accords are relevant (0+ / 0-)

            anymore.

            In any case, every version of an accord, agreement, or road map has taken a "kick the can" view on Jerusalem.

            If you believe that ALL criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're an idiot.
            If you believe that NONE of the criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're a fool.
            If you call EVERYONE who criticizes Israel antisemitic, you're just an a$$hole

            by A Gutin Daf on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:37:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Hmm (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ramara, poco, native, callmecassandra

      You begin with an appeal to authority (your own) and then go to the 'it's complicated' talking point and then go on to flay a few strawmen. And after that, we get you telling Palestinians that they should forget the past and the injustices done to them and that all this would be solved by some Jewish deus ex machina third party (which has somehow not been able to exert any deus for the last 60 years).

      Seems to me you would be should spend a lot more time looking at this from the point of view of the 'Palestinian world'. Not just that but you should also explore how the current situation which you wish both sides to start from actually favors one side over another and thus your 'reasonable' point becomes a lot less reasonable. You may also wish to consider that Palestinians have been in weaker positions in the past than now and still have not given up their struggle. While for some Jews your position appears to be a rational one, to the occupied, to the refugee, to the second-class citizens within Israel, what is rational for them is their human rights and their right to self-determination.

      We have a body of international law out there that has been affirmed many times over the decades about how this could be solved. Israel ignores it and has for years. It may not have that option soon if the UNGA votes for recognition of Palestinian statehood. Then Israel will feel the weight of the ICC and other international institutions that enforce international law. That'll go some way to shifting the power balance in the current situation, no?

      •  in most pro-Palestinian threads, FBTP-- (5+ / 0-)

        there similarly seems to be little or no recognition of Jewish/Israeli history, how that played into the development of and need for an Israeli state, and how constant persecution (yes, after WWII as well--even today) has contributed to an overwhelming sense of insecurity, and fear.  While I agree that it is wrong for these sentiments to be taken out on the Palestinian population via oppression, continuous settlement, etc. it is also undeniable that constant guerilla-style tactics (rockets, bombings, etc.) from more militant Palestinian groups simply perpetuate--on a different scale--the danger that grew out of persecution and inter-regional war.

        No one is trying to ignore things via false equivalence.  However, this is not only a two-sided issue--but a multi-lateral issue in which all powers, pre-and post-Cold War, bear responsibility as well.  The situation in the occupied territories is one glaring scale of all this--but not the only one.

        I believe that the posters who reference these sorts of things are trying to point out that complexity--rather than absolve one side or the other.

        •  Still (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poco, native, mahakali overdrive

          while we have very deep ties to the land, for hundreds of years it was home to them and not to us.  I don't think Jews take this into account anywhere near enough, myself included some of the time.

          Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

          by ramara on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:32:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  the region has always been home to both groups. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            native, mahakali overdrive, JNEREBEL

            Despite the Jewish diaspora, there were always Jews living in relative peace in the region.  Jewish-Muslim wars at this level are a relatively recent development in history.... (not counting antiquity)

            Here

            So the idea that the Jews may have biblical ties to the land but had nothing to do with it for a thousand years isn't historically accurate.

        •  You (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poco, ramara, native

          haven't been around I/P long enough to know that. In fact, if you go back a few years you'll see lots of discussion here from lots of people from the P side about Jewish history and suffering. You'll also see a lot of compassion for that as well, even from the Arabs who inhabit these threads. You will also note that all the a huge chunk of the Adalah group are Jews themselves, several with significant ties to Israel.

          All those who bear responsibility for Palestinian oppression and occupation should have a hand in this. But the problem with your position is that the tool that inflicts this oppression is Israeli - even if the weapons are provided by the US and the money to ease the costs of the occupation is provided by the European Community. Americans and Europeans won't lose much by equality and justice in Mandate Palestine but Jews will lose their ethno-religious privilege. That's probably gonna hurt a lot.

          •  been around I/P for a long time. I only posted (0+ / 0-)

            more regularly after '09 or so.  Yes, there are lots of Jews who post in there.  I also find much of the discussion on I/P history in those threads to be completely one-sided.  You're welcome to disagree.

          •  I have been around long enough to see exactly that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ramara

            happen time and again.

            The statement is indeed accurate.

            •  Do you really think (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ramara

              that Adalah could keep a coalition of Jews (whether Israeli or other) and Muslim/Christian Arabs if we did not have compassion and empathy for each other?

              •  Easily. (0+ / 0-)

                All it requires is to perceive a common opponent.

                •  Then you really are speaking (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ramara

                  from a position of ignorance. It saddens me that you must make this personal and that you feel that Jews, Muslims, Christians, Arabs, Israelis and Americans (and all the mixtures thereof that comprise Adalah) cannot form positive bonds but only negative ones.

                  •  I did not say that now did I? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ramara

                    I said I could see a path for your group to bond that way.

                    That obviously does not preclude others from doing so.

                    Your attempt to overgeneralize my comment is inaccurate at best.

                    •  In this group (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Fire bad tree pretty

                      We learn to see each other as people we can have relationships with.  And we couldn't do that it our sole purpose was a negative one.

                      Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

                      by ramara on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 12:38:09 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The purpose would not be viewed as a (0+ / 0-)

                        negative one as the opponent's defeat would certainly be seen as a positive within the group dynamic.

                        •  Okay (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Fire bad tree pretty

                          The settlement, greater-Israel, movement is doing more to defeat Israel than we could possibly do.  They are making a two-state solution more difficult every day, and soon will kill either the Jewish state or the democracy, and either of those things will mean the end of Israel.

                          Self-determination for the Palestinian people does not have to be the defeat of Israel; continuation of the current settlement policy does.

                          Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

                          by ramara on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 02:29:25 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  The status quo is indeed unacceptable and I am (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ramara

                            for negotiations for peace to begin without preconditions so as to bring the violence to an end.

                            I have no sympathy for the greater Israel movement nor do I have for those firing rockets into civilian areas.

                            There are people of peace on both sides, they must be allowed to bring it about for everyone's sake.

                          •  Sadly (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            JNEREBEL

                            the sentiment in Israel seems to be against it.  The leadership of Israel and the leadership of Hamas seem to be getting more and more popular, so once again it is both peoples that will suffer.

                            Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

                            by ramara on Tue Nov 20, 2012 at 07:01:22 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I grieve due to the accuracy of your comment. n/t (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ramara
                        •  The fact that you characterise (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          ramara

                          this situation as having an opponent that must be defeated is not the way I view this situation. While I abhor Israeli govt policy towards Palestinians, I don't see Israelis as opponents to be defeated. I see them as allies (which some are) and people to be reached out to so that we can coexist. Even in all my anger about how Israel treats Palestinians, I cannot forget that we all share a common humanity and that the victory/defeat binary is not a useful one in that common humanity.

                          •  I am only characterizing that to the extent of (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            ramara

                            postulating it could be a reason for the cohesion of your group.  

                            I also hope for the best for both sides as each does share a common humanity and applaud you for that shared vision.

      •  I've recced both comments (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        poco, bluedust, mahakali overdrive

        not positing what is a false equivalency, but appreciating both the points you make and the tone you both take, and the thoughtfulness.

        Nice to see you here.

        Republicans want to make government small enough to fit in your vagina..

        by ramara on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:29:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Point by point, if that's alright (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JNEREBEL
        You begin with an appeal to authority (your own) and then go to the 'it's complicated' talking point and then go on to flay a few strawmen.
        Not authority - just providing some background. I am not an expert, just someone who has read a lot and questioned  what I was taught growing up (lies and half truths in Orthodox Jewish private schools and, to a lesser degree, in Zionist camps). I now approach every bit of news from a cynical perspective.

        As for "straw men", that was not my intention. I felt like I was making valid points about the approach taken by the diarist which seems to be that he was once all for one side but is now all for the other. I may have misread the diarist, but not purposefully.

        And after that, we get you telling Palestinians that they should forget the past and the injustices done to them and that all this would be solved by some Jewish deus ex machina third party
        I say that everyone has to let go of their naaratives because I have come to the conclusion that the naaratives (a) prevent us from discussing factual historic accounts that disagree with our naaratives and, even more importantly (b) more often serve as an excuse to continue hating the others than to actually make progress.

        Also, letting go of narratives is not the same as forgetting history. Instead it is about holding up recorded history next to the narrative and looking at where they do not match and why. Strong narratives have a habit of getting in the way of critical thought; critical thought is needed to solve problems.

        I actually have this argument with others in the Jewish community all the time including where I work and teach. The normative Jewish approach is to teach every attack on Israelis, every slight, and every failed agreement as being because of something Palestinians or other Arabs did wrong with no sense of communal accountability. At the same time we teach about the innocent pioneers in the pre state era. What I have read and heard that comes out of the Palestinian world is pretty similar. If this is the way each of our peoples is teaching history then history itself has become an impediment to peace. Better to stop telling the stories and lose a bit of our historical perspective for the sake of peace. This is something both Jews and Palestinians at some point will have to do.

        Seems to me you would be should spend a lot more time looking at this from the point of view of the 'Palestinian world'. Not just that but you should also explore how the current situation which you wish both sides to start from actually favors one side over another and thus your 'reasonable' point becomes a lot less reasonable.
        I am not certain what you mean here. Are you assuming that, from my perspective, giving up narratives would somehow make Palestinians look bad? I think that us Jews abandoning some of our naaratives will open our eyes to the necessity for advancing Palestinian statehood and independence as quickly as possible, but perhaps I am naive.
        You may also wish to consider that Palestinians have been in weaker positions in the past than now and still have not given up their struggle. While for some Jews your position appears to be a rational one, to the occupied, to the refugee, to the second-class citizens within Israel, what is rational for them is their human rights and their right to self-determination.
        In what way have I challenged the Palestinian right to self determination in what I wrote? Of course they have a right to self determination! All the Jewish naaratives that attempt to use historic proof to somehow take away the very identity of being a "Palestinian" are something that we need to give up as they are useless and irrelevant.

        I do, though, challenge your placing the refugee and the second-class Israeli Arab citizen side by side. The Arab Israeli citizen at least has a court system that they can appeal to and a sovereign government that they can vote for. Their status in the world is much better than the refugee who is subject to the whims of whatever country their "camp" happens to be based in.

        We have a body of international law out there that has been affirmed many times over the decades about how this could be solved. Israel ignores it and has for years.
        I have a kind of radical view of international law - I think it is pretty worthless because:
        • It is selectively enforced
        • Those against whom it is enforced often have no social compact with the enforcing body
        • "Winners" in conflicts never stand trial - only "losers"

        In Israel's case it is especially worthless because of the makeup and practices of the main source of international law, the UN:
        • Since the UN is like the US Senate, every country has an equal voice in the GA regardless of population, Israel is heavily outclassed withint the GA by people who just don't like her very much and never have
        • As a result, Israel gets more scrutiny than any other country whenever the UN is discussing hot topics such as racism.
          • I do not deny that Israel has a number of practices that are racist; however, I would argue that the UN shows its anti-Israel bias when two conferences ostensibly about racism ended up seemingly obsessed with Israel.
        • As for your final statement, as long as the US uses its veto power to protect Israel's interests (for better or for worse - I have mixed feelings here) there is little chance that the UN will do any lasting damage to Israel even with a Palestinian State sitting in the General Assembly.

        If you believe that ALL criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're an idiot.
        If you believe that NONE of the criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're a fool.
        If you call EVERYONE who criticizes Israel antisemitic, you're just an a$$hole

        by A Gutin Daf on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 10:14:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What you have done in your analysis (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          poco, ramara, callmecassandra

          is strip the power dynamic out of it. By  not acknowledging that there is an imbalance of power in this, an oppressor and an oppressed, you are creating an equivalence which is not valid. It is either right or wrong that the Zionist desire for a homeland was built upon the alienation and dispossession of another people who still exist and want redress yet are prevented from that by Israeli military power and whomever supports those structures/systems of oppression. That is not a 'narrative' to be thrown out. What should be thrown out are the false narratives.

          You can object to me placing the Israeli Palestinians (which is what they prefer to be called rather than Israeli Arabs) side by side with refugees or even occupied Palestinians but they place themselves that way. The three pillars of the BDS movement are justice for all 3 groups of Palestinians, recognizing that all groups suffer from Jewish ethno-supremacy and privilege (do I even need to list the several dozen laws that exist with the Green Line that discriminate against Palestinians as well as the severe disparities in funding for Palestinian municipalities, schools etc?).

          It's interesting how you one of the reasons you use to justify separating out Israeli Palestinians from others is their access to the legal system in Israel yet you juxtapose that with what you call your 'radical' view of international law. I don't find it so radical since I actually share a lot of your views on it. After all, the Palestinians have learnt better than most just how selectively it is enforced (and why - power!). My point, though, was not that about the consistency of the application of law, it was about the fact that an international consensus exists, has existed for a long time, and that Israel does not wish to implement that consensus.

          •  you're overstating poster's point. The essence is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JNEREBEL

            that relying on historical narrative to shape policy (e.g. Holocaust/Nakba) doesn't accomplish anything, since the starting point is historical injustice (seen from each side as one-sided) rather than a mutually collaborative approach to peaceful co-existence.  Hence the 'who started it' narratives that continue.  These things don't get 'started'--there were Jews in Palestine living in relative peace with Palestinians, however European Jewish immigrants post 1880s did not live in relative peace with the Palestinians, a situation for both sides bear immeasurable responsibility (as well as external powers)

            No one's saying to throw the narratives out the window--just to lessen the reliance on them as starting points for negotiation.

            •  This ^ (0+ / 0-)

              If you believe that ALL criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're an idiot.
              If you believe that NONE of the criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're a fool.
              If you call EVERYONE who criticizes Israel antisemitic, you're just an a$$hole

              by A Gutin Daf on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 11:50:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

              the commenter in his first post did explicitly say that narratives needed to be thrown out. Go read it again if yo doubt my word.

              Additionally, if there is no acknowledgement of the injustices done to Palestinians, there will never be reconciliation of the type you speak since the trust necessary for that will not exist. Israelis are the oppressors here and there is no reason why the oppressed should make it Israelis feel more comfortable about being the oppressors.

          •  We may have to agree to disagree (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JNEREBEL

            On:

            (a) How relevant the power dynamic should be in figuring out where to go next; I do not deny the imbalance of power I am just not certain what its role is.

            (b) The idea that international law either represents a consensus or, if it does, whether that consensus is relevant.

            It is interesting that Israelis and Palestinians each have reasons to feel real frustration with international law. In the case of Israel it feels singled out all the time in a tyranny of the majority sort of way (a bunch of Christian and Muslim countries telling the only Jewish country what it can and can't do). Palestinians have a legitimate beef because, as you point out, they have learned that these laws are unenforced.

            Thank you for a great discussion, I am not certain we can go too much further.

            If you believe that ALL criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're an idiot.
            If you believe that NONE of the criticism of Israel is antisemitic, you're a fool.
            If you call EVERYONE who criticizes Israel antisemitic, you're just an a$$hole

            by A Gutin Daf on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 11:54:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  A Jewish Politician (5+ / 0-)

      Many years ago I was in Jerusalem and met a couple of politicians from the Knesset.  I had a private conversation with one of them who impressed me greatly--he seemed kind and intelligent and an advocate for peace.

      He and I had a conversation about the situation in Israel.  I asked him about the situation and the solution.  He said that the easiest answer was to burn all the history books.  There were plenty of reasons for each side to hate the other and only by forgetting the history could they all start anew.

      The politician's name was Shimon Peres.

  •  Thank you for writing about this again ramara (5+ / 0-)

    β€œThe modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:46:00 PM PST

  •  With all due respects to every other opinion (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, ramara, Lefty Coaster

    expressed here, I think it boils down to Netanyahu's urge to stay in power. Although all the other issues are part of the total picture, and must be part of the ultimate solution, right now, I think the current Israeli aggression is about Netanyahu and the election.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:07:48 PM PST

  •  Ramara, I'm sorry to be late to this (6+ / 0-)

    and that I have no time to engage you at the moment.  This is such a beautiful diary and while the particulars are different, you've stated the arc of my own transformation, and I thank for that as well.

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