Does Israel have a case? (columbus & cnorman18)

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Does Israel have a case? (columbus & cnorman18)

Post by Redshirt » Wed Aug 10, 2011 1:56 am

Welcome to an Exclusive Engagement!

Columbus and cnorman18 will engage in an informal discussion on the political controversies regarding the state of Israel. Specifically, the discussion will revolve around an assessment of the arguments presented in the book The Case For Israel, by Alan Dershowitz.

The discussion employs no formal structure and will continue until the participants no longer wish to.

All members can comment on this discussion (except for the participants) in the Peanut Gallery set up in the Politics & World Events forum.

Enjoy the discussion! :)
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Post by columbus » Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:32 pm

My thanks to the staff who helped set up this dicussion for Charles and me. Especially Redshirt who came back just to help with this :notworthy:


A few weeks back Charles and I were having a rather heated argument concerning Israel. He recommended a book, which I got out of the library. It is called "The Case For Israel", by Alan Dershowitz.

I was very impressed with the book. It did not fundamentally change my opinion, but it is an excellent way to come to understand the Israeli position. It is clear and accessable, anybody on this forum could easily understand Dershowitz's arguments. (unlike many books on political subjects)

Alan Dershowitz does not pretend that it is an even handed overview on the subject. It is literally, "The Case for Israel". It reads more like the closing aguments in a trial than personal reflections. That is exactly what D set out to do. The opening sentences of the introduction are "The Jewish nation of Israel stands accused in the dock of international justice. The charges include being a criminal state, the prime violator of human rights, the mirror image of Nazism, and the most intransigent barrier to peace in the Middle East." He proceeds to build a solid argument for the world-view of Zionists, in the same way a top flight lawyer would build a case for his client. Whether you agree with his conclusions or not, you will understand why people do hold them. I think this book a "must read", in particular for people who oppose Israeli policies. I have never seen such a clear and comprehensive look at a Zionist world-view.
It is also important to point out that the book was published eight years ago and much has happened since then. Dershowitz wrote the book largely in response to the failure of the Camp David Accords a couple of years prior.


Along the way, Dershowitz makes many excellent points that are often overlooked by Israel's detractors. For instance, the Israeli human rights violations pale in comparison to the violations of their most vehement critics. The irony of Israel being criticized by high ranking members of Syria or Saudi Arabia is revolting. Also, the quality of life for Arab Muslims in Israel is far higher than that in almost any Muslim country. From political and religious freedom to nutrition and infant mortality rates, by any objective standard Israel is the best thing to happen to Arab Muslims in centuries(for those who still live there). When Israel has made grievous errors, which he clearly admits they have, it was while "under fire", as opposed to the systematic everyday human rights abuses going on every day around the world.

The book has an unusual format which will influence how Charles and I discuss it. Charles is going to explain that in another post, probably later today. It was obviously written by a high powered lawyer, unsurprising given Dershowitz is a law professor at Harvard Law School. Both D and the book have Wikipedia entries that are interesting background.

Charles and I decided to have this discussion in an exclusive discussion format mainly to avoid, in Bree's words, "grenade lobbing". To me, the exclusivity is no absolute. If anyone else reads the book and convinces the mod that they will maintain the tone that Charles and I are planning I would have no objection to their being included, personally. This is not a debate, but a discussion. Charles and I are aiming at a civil discussion of what is, at least on Secular Cafe, "the other side of the story". Obviously there is already a Peanut Gallery where things can get a little rougher.

I find the title of this thread a bit misleading. Of course there is a case for Israel. One might find it weak and morally wrong, or strong and obviously true or something inbetween, but there is one. D lays it out where it can be examined and that is what Charles and I intend to do.

Tom
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Post by cnorman18 » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:17 pm

Thanks to Tom for an excellent opening post. Here, as promised, are a few words about the structure of the book:

The chapters are arranged by topic. Here is the Table of Contents; I would be surprised if we take the time to discuss ALL of these, but that's up to Tom. Some, I feel sure, will be dealt with rather summarily.

Chapter 1 -- Is Israel a Colonial, Imperialist State?

Chapter 2 -- Did European Jews Displace Palestinians?

Chapter 3 -- Was the Zionist Movement a Plot to Colonize All of Palestine?

Chapter 4 -- Was the Balfour Declaration Binding International Law?

Chapter 5 -- Were the Jews Unwilling to Share Palestine?

Chapter 6 -- Have the Jews Always Rejected the Two-State Solution?

Chapter 7 -- Have the Jews Exploited the Holocaust?

Chapter 8 -- Was the U.N. Partition Plan Unfair to Palestinians?

Chapter 9 -- Were Jews a Minority in What Became Israel?

Chapter 10 -- Has Israel's Victimization of the Palestinians Been the Primary Cause of the Arab-Israeli Conflict?

Chapter 11 -- Was the Israeli War of Independence Expansionist Aggression?

Chapter 12 -- Did Israel Create the Arab Refugee Problem?

Chapter 13 -- Did Israel Start the 6-Day War?

Chapter 14 -- Was the Israeli Occupation Without Justification?

Chapter 15 -- Was the Yom Kippur War Israel's Fault?

Chapter 16 -- Has Israel Made Serious Efforts at Peace?

Chapter 17 -- Was Arafat Right in Turning Down the Clinton-Barak Peace Proposal?

Chapter 18 -- Why Have More Palestinians than Israelis Been Killed?

Chapter 19 -- Does Israel Torture Palestinians?

Chapter 20 -- Does Israel Engage in Genocide Against Palestinian Civilians?

Chapter 21 -- Is Israel a Racist State?

Chapter 22 -- Is the Israeli Occupation the Cause of All the Problems?

Chapter 23 -- Has Israel Denied the Palestinians Statehood?

Chapter 24 -- Is Israel's Policy of House Destruction Collective Punishment?

Chapter 25 -- Is Targeted Assassination of Terrorist Leaders Unlawful?

Chapter 26 -- Is Settlement in the West Bank and Gaza a Major Barrier to Peace?

Chapter 27 -- Is Terrorism Merely Part of a Cycle of Violence?

Chapter 28 -- Is Israel the Prime Human Rights Violator in the World?

Chapter 29 -- Is There Moral Equivalence Between Palestinian Terrorists and Israeli Responses?

Chapter 30 -- Should Universities Divest from Israel and Boycott Israeli Scholars?

Chapter 31 -- Are Critics of Israel Anti- Semitic?

Chapter 32 -- Why Do So Many Jews and Even Israelis Side with the Palestinians?

Each chapter contains four parts:

The Accusation -- a brief statement of the claim, usually a direct reflection of the chapter title, but not always.

The Accusers -- Quotations, with sources, from those who make the accusations, giving the details of those claims.

The Reality -- A brief refutation of the accusation in question, usually a single paragraph.

The Proof -- Detailed evidence intended to establish the truth and accuracy of the refutation, also including direct quotations and sources.

The book concludes with conclusions, notes and an index.

I think I can speak for Columbus when I say that we intend this discussion to be civil, calm and rational, without rancor or personal hostility. I think we are both looking forward to it, and speaking for myself only now, I am open to learning and having my mind changed as a result of this discussion. We'll see where it leads.

I would counsel patience on everyone's part; both Columbus and I have other commitments, and much of this discussion may occur in "slow motion." I will make nothing of replies that take a day or two (or more), and I trust that Columbus will take the same approach. Careful, measured debate can take time and sometimes research.

Onward to the discussion!
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Post by columbus » Wed Aug 10, 2011 3:58 pm

Charles and I plan to start at the beginning and work our way through to the Conclusion. Some of the chapters are much stronger than others, so we probably won't spend much if any time on them. But it isn't like there is any particular order to them beyond a vague chronology, discussing 19th century history before the Balfour Declaration, which is before Camp David, etc. So we might wind up skipping around some.
Since, once again, I'm getting late to work perhaps Charles would like to discuss the Introduction some. I probably can't post any more until this evening.

Tom
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Post by columbus » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:22 pm

There are several points in the Introduction that I would take issue with.

The most important, IMO, is D's dismissal of any one state solution. He describes the concept as :"a pretext to turn Israel into a de facto Palestinian state".

I do not think a "single bi-national secular state" is necessarily a pretext for anything. I see it as the only way to peace. The place is too small and too well mixed up to carve states, based on religious persuation, that will live side by side in peace, any time in the foreseeable future. When I say, as I have, "Israel must be swept into the sea", what I mean is that the state of Israel is unsustainable, given everything, and there will never be peace as long as the Zionists insist on a sovereign state from which they can exclude non-Jews.

I agree completely that people who are Jewish have as much right to live anywhere they want, in peace and security, enjoying the fruits of their labors, as anybody else. What I do not agree with is the right of anybody to exclude people because their religion or ethnicity makes them seem dangerous. That is the fundamental problem I have with Israel as a sovereign state. People with the right background, Jewish, have more rights than the people who hold title deeds to property in what is now Israel. Russian people who have never left their homeland have the right to immigrate to Israel, when Palestinians who owned property there for generations aren't allowed to. This is the kind of huge and fundamental injustice that is the root cause of the violence.




Another point in the Introduction I will take issue with is D's opinion about "a statute of limitations for ancient grievances." As he said, both sides start their narrative at different points. The point most convenient for their biases. But then he goes on thoughout the book to explain why Palestine is the only reasonable place for Jewish people to take over some real-estate for their homeland because that is where ancient Jewish people lived, 2000 years ago.
He implies that this isn't an ancient grievance. But he also claims that it isn't a religious thing. It is a cultural affinity. I'm not buying that argument at all. If Palestine hadn't been an unimportant backwater, with no real government, I do not believe that Zionists would have been so convinced that they could take it away from the people who already lived there.


That is two of the points upon which I disagree with D in the Introduction. I've got notes concerning the first three chapters, which I consider unimportant, and am mainly considering Chapter 4(The Balfour Declaration).

En Garde, mon Ami!

Tom
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Post by columbus » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:35 pm

[quote=""columbus""] Some of the chapters are much stronger than others, so we probably won't spend much if any time on them.
Tom[/quote]
I would also like to correct a typo I made here. I meant we probably won't spend much time on the weaker chapters.

Of course, maybe Charles and I disagree on which chapters are strong and which aren't. I find Chapters 4, 7, 18, and 27 much more important/relevant than Chapters like 9 and 31. Charles may have a different opinion about what is important. I also find the Conclusion the most important section of all.

Tom
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Post by cnorman18 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:35 am

Apologies for not getting to a post about the Introduction this afternoon. That would have taken a lot of typing, and I was confined to my iPhone at the time. I'm on my laptop now; much easier.

Anyway, this is as good a place as any to begin.

[quote=""columbus""]There are several points in the Introduction that I would take issue with.

The most important, IMO, is D's dismissal of any one state solution. He describes the concept as :"a pretext to turn Israel into a de facto Palestinian state".

I do not think a "single bi-national secular state" is necessarily a pretext for anything.
[/quote]
I think that statement is probably accurate; I doubt that ALL of those, at least, who advocate such a solution do so deceptively, which seems to be the subtext there with the use of the word "pretext." Some, though, certainly do. Not worth an argument.
I see it as the only way to peace. The place is too small and too well mixed up to carve states, based on religious persuation, that will live side by side in peace, any time in the foreseeable future.
Since the Israelis live in peace with the 20% of their population which is Arab today, I think that's a doubtful premise; and I think the government- and religion-sponsored indoctrination into outright hatred of Jews and Israelis that has been force-fed to the Palestinians for generations simply makes the one-state idea unworkable from the get-go. From the Jewish point of view, it's simply national suicide. Whether or not the one-state solution is presented as a "pretext" is irrelevant; the fact is, it WOULD turn Israel into a "de facto Palestinian state." This isn't an insignificant objection or a quibble. If all of Palestine, that is, all of Israel proper together with the West Bank and Gaza, were to become a single state tomorrow, that would immediately make the Jews a minority among people who hate them, whatever the reason or the history behind that hatred. I think that's a bit much to ask.
When I say, as I have, "Israel must be swept into the sea", what I mean is that the state of Israel is unsustainable, given everything, and there will never be peace as long as the Zionists insist on a sovereign state from which they can exclude non-Jews. I agree completely that people who are Jewish have as much right to live anywhere they want, in peace and security, enjoying the fruits of their labors, as anybody else. What I do not agree with is the right of anybody to exclude people because their religion or ethnicity makes them seem dangerous. That is the fundamental problem I have with Israel as a sovereign state. People with the right background, Jewish, have more rights than the people who hold title deeds to property in what is now Israel. Russian people who have never left their homeland have the right to immigrate to Israel, when Palestinians who owned property there for generations aren't allowed to. This is the kind of huge and fundamental injustice that is the root cause of the violence.
I think I'm going to table all that for the moment; there are a very great many assumptions there that badly need examination, from where I sit, and I'm not going to try to identify and counter all of them at once. We'll look at these things in detail, one by one, as we go through the book.
Another point in the Introduction I will take issue with is D's opinion about "a statute of limitations for ancient grievances." As he said, both sides start their narrative at different points. The point most convenient for their biases. But then he goes on thoughout the book to explain why Palestine is the only reasonable place for Jewish people to take over some real-estate for their homeland because that is where ancient Jewish people lived, 2000 years ago.
He implies that this isn't an ancient grievance. But he also claims that it isn't a religious thing. It is a cultural affinity. I'm not buying that argument at all. If Palestine hadn't been an unimportant backwater, with no real government, I do not believe that Zionists would have been so convinced that they could take it away from the people who already lived there.
Once again, there are some more claims and assumptions there that badly need examination. This is why I wonder why you say below that you don't think the first three chapters need discussing; is that because you think they are simply false, or because you grant that Dershowitz is largely right? If the latter, what you just said in some ways doesn't make a lot of sense. We'll find out as the discussion continues.
That is two of the points upon which I disagree with D in the Introduction. I've got notes concerning the first three chapters, which I consider unimportant, and am mainly considering Chapter 4(The Balfour Declaration).

En Garde, mon Ami!

Tom
I'm ready to go, but I suggest we start with Chapter 1. Since the Introduction is more or less a synopsis of the entire book, it will be VERY difficult to discuss so many of these assumptions and claims all at once, which is what would be happening here if I tried to respond directly to everything you've said.

Odd; I think Balfour is relatively unimportant at this late date, but then I'm more oriented toward figuring out what to do NOW, as opposed to turning the clock back and undoing things that were done three generations in the past. As Dershowitz says, I don't think the conflicting historical narratives are reconcilable today; but I also don't think that one only should be considered definitive, which -- it appears to me, at least -- you are doing here.

Let's start with Chapter One. "Is Israel a Colonial, Imperialist State?" That allegation has, after all, appeared on our forum. If we agree on the answer and the reasons for it, let's go on; but if we're going to do this, we should at least examine the claim and its truth or falsity.

I think we can agree that this entire issue, of Israel and Palestine, is not a simple one with obvious answers. That idea is, to me, the mark of the ideologue, in that it necessarily ignores the needs and the understanding of the other side. So let's take this one issue at a time, and see what common ground we CAN find.

I feel sure we will agree to disagree on some points, or perhaps even change our views, or their priorities or emphasis, a bit... I'm willing to consider the possibility that I might be wrong, and on more than one point; I have enough faith in your intellectual integrity to assume that you are, too.

Onward!

Oh, and as for en garde -- I think fencing is only a little less pessimistic an image than sumo wrestling, which is what some discussions on this subject have resembled. I prefer the image of -- a conference table. This doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. I'm trying for just such an approach on another thread here.

So; as opposed to swords, or loincloths and talcum, shall we get out our legal pads and pens?

Charles
"The Torah is true, and some of it may even have happened."
-- Rabbi William Gershon
"Faith is hope, not fact."
-- Herman Wouk

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Post by columbus » Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:34 am

Hey Charles.

OK, Chapter 1

THE ACCUSATION: Israel is a colonial, imperialist, settler state, comparable to apatheid South Africa.


The accusation is ridiculous. Nobody important thinks Israel is exactly like South Africa. The fact is that a significant minority of Israeli citizens are indigenous Arab Muslims.

But that doesn't change the similarities. Outsiders(mostly Europeans) moved in and encouraged more immigration with no regard for the indigenous people, eventually establishing a state where immigrants of the correct background were accorded a far superior position to the weak and disorganized indigenes.

Even today you could move there and get rights unavailable to people who hold title deeds to property in Israel.

Israel is not a colony like Europeans established all around the world. It isn't the colony of a particular state. But the similarities are profound.

THE ACCUSERS: "A Jewish state in Palestine could only emerge as the bastard child of imperialist powers, and it could only come into existence by displacing the greater part of the Palestinian population, by incorporating them into an apartheid state, or through some combination of the two. In addition, once created, Israel could only survive as a militarist, expansionist, and hegemonic state, constantly at war with its neighbors." (M. Shahid Alam, professor of economics at Northeastern University."
(curiously, D isn't quoting Alam, he is quoting Thomas Friedman in the New York Times)

This is not the same as the "accusation". While I think the accusation itself is obviously wrong, this is just as obviously(to me) correct. Dershowitz is just moving the goalposts. Israel isn't the same as South Africa, but that doesn't mean that the people who point out the similarities are mistaken either.

Tom
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Post by cnorman18 » Thu Aug 11, 2011 2:47 pm

[quote=""columbus""]
THE ACCUSATION: Israel is a colonial, imperialist, settler state, comparable to apatheid South Africa.

The accusation is ridiculous. Nobody important thinks Israel is exactly like South Africa. The fact is that a significant minority of Israeli citizens are indigenous Arab Muslims.

But that doesn't change the similarities….
[/quote]
The accusation doesn’t say “EXACTLY” like South Africa. It says ”comparable to” South Africa, and you are inarguably agreeing with that accusation by saying that there are “similarities,” are you not? We obviously need to go into these "similarities" in a bit more detail, and we will. Once again, you are assuming things and making claims that will be dealt with more completely in later chapters. For instance…
Outsiders(mostly Europeans) moved in and encouraged more immigration with no regard for the indigenous people…
Wait a minute.

From “The Proof” in that same chapter:
The land they cultivated was not taken away from its rightful owners by force or confiscated by colonial law. It was purchased, primarily from absentee landlords and real estate speculators, at fair or often exorbitant prices….
That doesn’t sound like “no regard” to me. There is more, but that will do for the moment; this issue will be more fully dealt with in the next chapter, “Did European Jews Displace Palestinians?” and in other, later chapters as well.
...eventually establishing a state where immigrants of the correct background were accorded a far superior position to the weak and disorganized indigenes. Even today you could move there and get rights unavailable to people who hold title deeds to property in Israel.
And we’ll get to those further, and separate, assumptions -- or claims, or facts if you like -- in chapters 5, 9, 10, 12, etc. The whole story is a bit more complex than is being implicitly assumed here, and we aren't going to deal with all these assertions at once.
Israel is not a colony like Europeans established all around the world. It isn't the colony of a particular state. But the similarities are profound.

THE ACCUSERS: "A Jewish state in Palestine could only emerge as the bastard child of imperialist powers…”
That’s the “colonial” part, and it just isn’t so; as Dershowitz points out, “the colonial powers did everything possible to thwart the establishment of a Jewish homeland.”

We seem to be in agreement on that point.
“…and it could only come into existence by displacing the greater part of the Palestinian population, by incorporating them into an apartheid state, or through some combination of the two. In addition, once created, Israel could only survive as a militarist, expansionist, and hegemonic state, constantly at war with its neighbors." (M. Shahid Alam, professor of economics at Northeastern University."
(curiously, D isn't quoting Alam, he is quoting Thomas Friedman in the New York Times)
You’re looking at footnote #1 in the Introduction section, not the footnote for this quote in Chapter 1. The Alam quote is properly footnoted there, and the entire article is available here, as Dershowitz says.

No harm, no foul. It was an insignificant error, and I'll probably make similar ones as we go on.
This is not the same as the "accusation". While I think the accusation itself is obviously wrong, this is just as obviously(to me) correct. Dershowitz is just moving the goalposts. Israel isn't the same as South Africa, but that doesn't mean that the people who point out the similarities are mistaken either.
I think “moving the goalposts” is a bit much. As I said, the accusation, as stated by Dershowitz, is that Israel is comparable to South Africa, which is exactly what Professor Alam is saying here; note his use of the term "apartheid."

I don't think it's going to be helpful to nitpick here. In “The Accusers” sections, some of the accusers quoted will refer to other matters that are more fully dealt with in other sections of the book. For instance, in the present chapter, the next accuser, one Imam Achmed Cassiem, of South Africa, be it noted, says, “Occupied Palestine [which includes all of Israel] must be decolonized, deracialized and restored to the Palestinian people as a single sovereign state. In plain English, the Zionist State must be dismantled.” This rather obviously goes beyond the “colonialist” claim as well -- to say the least; it addressed the conclusion of the entire book -- and it, too, addresses the alleged similarities between South Africa and Israel, just as Aram is. These matters are complex, and it’s inevitable that different aspects of the conflict will be mentioned in regard to others; that’s not “moving the goalposts,” that’s just the nature of the problem.

I think we’ve established that Israel is not a colony of anybody, and that “colonialism” is not an appropriate claim to apply to the Jewish state; so on that point, we’re in agreement. For the rest, these alleged "similarities" between SA and Israel -- well, those topics have yet to be addressed in our discussion, and we'll get to them.

Let’s move on to Chapter 2.

Charles
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Post by columbus » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:02 pm

Sorry to be scarce lately, it has been a busy week and today isn't much different, although the weekend probably will be.

Let me sum up why I think that accusation is more heated rhetoric from extremeists than an accurate analysis. Israel is not a colony in the usual sense of the word. It certainly isn't an empire, the entire landmass and population of Palestine would qualify as a small state here in the USA. At most it is the result of the colonialist imperialist presumption that other powers have license to dispose of their "possessions".

Much closer is the settler state part. But still, it isn't like, say, Australia where the British sent their own people to colonize an "empty" continent they had claimed for the crown.

Israel certainly is not an apartheid state the way South Africa was.

In a way, I see this chapter as a bit of a red herring. By framing the accusation in the most extreme terms D has no trouble pointing out that it is wrong. Then he can skip over some rather more valid criticism of Israel.

You’re looking at footnote #1 in the Introduction section, not the footnote for this quote in Chapter 1. The Alam quote is properly footnoted there, and the entire article is available here, as Dershowitz says.
Whoops! :o


Sorry to be so short, but I'm out of time again. See ya later :)

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Post by columbus » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:27 pm

Again, very briefly.

In the PG, Arctish does a good job of summing up my view of the way to peace, in response to FTB's quite valid points.

The problem seems quite obvious to me. While both sides say they want peace, in actuality the leadership on both sides want something else more.

Unfortunately, the only way this impasse is likely to be broken is some ugly, violent, game-changing event. Maybe a deranged person or group will blow up the Temple Mount. Maybe a "free and democratic" Egypt will send a battalion of tanks to beef up Gazan "security". :d unno: I just don't see a good outcome likely here :(

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Post by cnorman18 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:50 pm

[quote=""columbus""]Sorry to be scarce lately, it has been a busy week and today isn't much different, although the weekend probably will be.
[/quote]
S'OK. I expect a busy weekend, so I'll need your patience in return.
Let me sum up why I think that accusation is more heated rhetoric from extremeists than an accurate analysis. Israel is not a colony in the usual sense of the word. It certainly isn't an empire, the entire landmass and population of Palestine would qualify as a small state here in the USA. At most it is the result of the colonialist imperialist presumption that other powers have license to dispose of their "possessions".
I'd question that too, and we'll get into it in the next chapter. One problem is the perception of the beginning of modern Israel; speaking as if it suddenly appeared in 1948 and was forced upon an unwilling people by the Powers That Be at that time is simply and plainly factually wrong, as we will see.
Much closer is the settler state part. But still, it isn't like, say, Australia where the British sent their own people to colonize an "empty" continent they had claimed for the crown.
And on that point we are in agreement; the Jews who settled in Palestine were not "sent" by anybody, and that point will be important in Chapter 2 as well.
Israel certainly is not an apartheid state the way South Africa was.
And again we agree.
In a way, I see this chapter as a bit of a red herring. By framing the accusation in the most extreme terms D has no trouble pointing out that it is wrong. Then he can skip over some rather more valid criticism of Israel.
To be fair, Dershowitz is not addressing this book to the fair-minded and impartial alone: it is also intended to counter the extreme claims and charges that come from rabid ideologues as well. Those claims were and are out there -- they have even appeared on this very forum -- and it's hardly a "red herring" to address them. If D had not, he would no doubt have been accused of "dodging" those charges, even as extreme as they are.

If you think that there are valid criticisms of Israel that D "skips over" in the rest of the book, by all means bring them up and we'll kick them around. Other than matters related to things that have occurred since it was written, I can think of none.
You&#146;re looking at footnote #1 in the Introduction section, not the footnote for this quote in Chapter 1. The Alam quote is properly footnoted there, and the entire article is available here, as Dershowitz says.
Whoops! :o
Like I said, no harm, no foul. Shit happens. Just cut me the same slack when I screw up, too.
Sorry to be so short, but I'm out of time again. See ya later :)
No problem -- I thought you were formulating some commentary on Chapter 2. Take your time -- it's not like we're on a deadline.

Oh, yeah; fair warning. If this discussion goes on past 3 weeks or so, we will definitely be putting it on hold for a couple of weeks at that time. I have a little matter of a wedding and honeymoon to attend to...
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Post by cnorman18 » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:12 pm

[quote=""columbus""]Again, very briefly.

In the PG, Arctish does a good job of summing up my view of the way to peace, in response to FTB's quite valid points.
[/quote]
But no one has addressed mine; a "one-state solution," however tempered by "cantons" or whatever, would still leave the Israelis a minority in a nation dominated by people who, by and large, hate them -- which is, of course, the very situation which the Jewish refugees from Europe were fleeing in the First Aliyah of 1882-1903. Ignoring or discounting that very obvious and very relevant fact is hardly a fair or evenhanded "solution." It entails completely excluding the point of view of the Jews of Israel, and if we purport to be fairly considering and taking into account the views of both sides here, it's a non-starter.
The problem seems quite obvious to me. While both sides say they want peace, in actuality the leadership on both sides want something else more.
I don't know that that's true; seems to me that a discussion of that "obvious problem" would require an analysis of what, specifically, that "something else more" IS, on both sides, and the evidence for it. Allusions and innuendo will get us nowhere here. Let's deal with verifiable facts, not vague charges and unspecified claims.
Unfortunately, the only way this impasse is likely to be broken is some ugly, violent, game-changing event. Maybe a deranged person or group will blow up the Temple Mount. Maybe a "free and democratic" Egypt will send a battalion of tanks to beef up Gazan "security". :d unno: I just don't see a good outcome likely here :(
I can't imagine a positive outcome, by any standard, coming out of either of those scenarios. Area-wide war, and perhaps a war spreading even wider. If that's the best "hope" we have, we'll be in much worse trouble than we are now.
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Post by columbus » Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:02 pm

[quote=""cnorman18""] Oh, yeah; fair warning. If this discussion goes on past 3 weeks or so, we will definitely be putting it on hold for a couple of weeks at that time. I have a little matter of a wedding and honeymoon to attend to...[/quote]

This may become a very long discussion, which is perfectly fine by me. I have a tighter deadline than that, my book is due back at the library on August 23rd. I will have to take it back, and can't check it out until the next day. I'm banking on it being available, although someone might have a hold on it. If that is the case I won't have it for three weeks. I think it unlikely that anyone will, given that it is eight years old, but I don't know. I would find it hard to discuss if I didn't have a copy in front of me.

I suppose I could photocopy a few pages, maybe the Conclusion. To me the title of the conclusion sorta sums up the problem I have with Dershowitz. He titled it, "Israel--The Jew Among Nations". To me, what this signifies is "Jewish people are unique in the world(which I would agree with) and so therefore the rules should be different for them(which I do not agree with).

Congrats on the domestic front! That is far more important than any cyber anything. Give'r a kiss from me. ;)

Tom
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Post by columbus » Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:53 pm

[quote=""cnorman18""]
columbus;247427 wrote: THE ACCUSATION: Israel is a colonial, imperialist, settler state, comparable to apatheid South Africa.

The accusation is ridiculous. Nobody important thinks Israel is exactly like South Africa. The fact is that a significant minority of Israeli citizens are indigenous Arab Muslims.

But that doesn't change the similarities….
The accusation doesn’t say “EXACTLY” like South Africa. It says ”comparable to” South Africa, and you are inarguably agreeing with that accusation by saying that there are “similarities,” are you not? We obviously need to go into these "similarities" in a bit more detail, and we will. Charles[/QUOTE]



I agree that Israel isn't exactly like South Africa. But like many EuroChristian colonialist states the similarities to SA are striking. The USA is the one I'm most familiar with so that's the example I usually use. From slavery to Dredd-Scott to Jim Crow to the Birthers, the USA is famous for using whatever means necessary to deny justice to some people. Sometimes it's social pressure, sometimes economic pressure, sometimes it's brute military force.

Dershowitz carefully avoids discussing the issues where Israeli policy is very similar to that of other colonialist states. Israel clearly discriminates on the basis ethnicity and culture. You, a Texan cultural Christian in no danger of a pogrom, could more easily move to Israel than Palestinians who still have title deeds to property in Israel. That is because you are Jewish and do not endanger Jewish domination. If you had converted to Islam instead, you wouldn't be welcome in Israel.

Describing this discrimination as racism is a red herring. It isn't racial discrimination. I can't tell the difference between an arab and a jew, as opposed to a dutch and a nigerian. But there isn't a word for cultural discrimination quite as clear as "racism", so that's what gets used.

Left to my own devices, I tend to use the word "bigotry". But from Israel to the USA to Haiti to Tibet to Sudan, the issues are too complicated to be summed up in one word.

Tom
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Post by cnorman18 » Sun Aug 14, 2011 7:58 pm

Edits coming -- I'm working...

[quote=""columbus""]
cnorman18;247880 wrote: Oh, yeah; fair warning. If this discussion goes on past 3 weeks or so, we will definitely be putting it on hold for a couple of weeks at that time. I have a little matter of a wedding and honeymoon to attend to...
This may become a very long discussion, which is perfectly fine by me. I have a tighter deadline than that, my book is due back at the library on August 23rd. I will have to take it back, and can't check it out until the next day. I'm banking on it being available, although someone might have a hold on it. If that is the case I won't have it for three weeks. I think it unlikely that anyone will, given that it is eight years old, but I don't know. I would find it hard to discuss if I didn't have a copy in front of me.
[/quote]
Like I said -- we're under no deadline. Better a long, deep discussion than a quick-and-dirty one -- there's enough of that sort of thing around already.
I suppose I could photocopy a few pages, maybe the Conclusion. To me the title of the conclusion sorta sums up the problem I have with Dershowitz. He titled it, "Israel--The Jew Among Nations". To me, what this signifies is "Jewish people are unique in the world(which I would agree with) and so therefore the rules should be different for them(which I do not agree with).
180 degrees wrong. It signifies that the rules for Jews ought NOT be different. From the Conclusion:
"...no civilized nation in the history of the world, including totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, has ever been as repeatedly, unfairly, and hypocritically condemned and criticized by the international community as Israel has been over the years....

....Whenever Israel or any nation deviates from perfection, it should be criticized by its own citizens and by outsiders. But no nation ... should be subjected to the kind of double-standard, unique condemnation to which the Jewish nation is now being unfairly subjected....
Dershowitz's very point is that Israel should be judged by the SAME standards as other nations, and not condemned for transgressions which, by any meaningful standard, other nations have also committed -- and to a much greater degree, affecting more people with much worse results, and over a far longer period of time, and for which offenses those other nations are given free passes, excuses, and rationalizations, when they are noticed at all.

It is the "rules" NOW, and since the foundation of Israel, that are not fair. ALL nations ought to be judged by the same standards -- not Israel by a special one and all the rest by another.

Really, and seriously, and without rancor, your statement above is so far off the mark from what Dershowitz is trying to say that I have to wonder if you have read more of the Conclusion than the title. Perhaps another reason to work our way through the book one chapter arcade time.
Congrats on the domestic front! That is far more important than any cyber anything. Give'r a kiss from me. ;)
:D
Last edited by cnorman18 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by columbus » Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:20 pm

[quote=""cnorman18""]THE ACCUSERS: "A Jewish state in Palestine could only emerge as the bastard child of imperialist powers…”
[/quote]
That’s the “colonial” part, and it just isn’t so; as Dershowitz points out, “the colonial powers did everything possible to thwart the establishment of a Jewish homeland.”

We seem to be in agreement on that point.
Charles
"the colonial powers did everything possible to thwart the establishment of a Jewish homeland"

This is the kind of obviously wrong statement that qualifies as "the big lie" to me. From the Balfour declaration to UN recognition of Israel to US billion$ and heavy duty military hardware, colonial powers have consistently and powerfully supported Zionists.

If "colonial powers" treated both sides equally, this conflict would be over in a month. If the USA stopped supplying Israel with war paraphenalia, or supplied Palestine with an equal amount, this would be over by Christmas. But instead, the USA will keep stoking the fires of war. That is why I find this issue more important than, say, Tibet or Sudan. My tax dollars are fueling the injustice and war and that makes me very unhappy! :mad:

Tom
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Post by cnorman18 » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:23 pm

[quote=""columbus""]
cnorman18;247545 wrote:
columbus;247427 wrote: THE ACCUSATION: Israel is a colonial, imperialist, settler state, comparable to apatheid South Africa.

The accusation is ridiculous. Nobody important thinks Israel is exactly like South Africa. The fact is that a significant minority of Israeli citizens are indigenous Arab Muslims.

But that doesn't change the similarities&#133;.
The accusation doesn&#146;t say &#147;EXACTLY&#148; like South Africa. It says &#148;comparable to&#148; South Africa, and you are inarguably agreeing with that accusation by saying that there are &#147;similarities,&#148; are you not? We obviously need to go into these "similarities" in a bit more detail, and we will. Charles
I agree that Israel isn't exactly like South Africa. But like many EuroChristian colonialist states the similarities to SA are striking. The USA is the one I'm most familiar with so that's the example I usually use. From slavery to Dredd-Scott to Jim Crow to the Birthers, the USA is famous for using whatever means necessary to deny justice to some people. Sometimes it's social pressure, sometimes economic pressure, sometimes it's brute military force.

Dershowitz carefully avoids discussing the issuesA where Israeli policy is very similar to that of other colonialist states. Israel clearly discriminates on the basis ethnicity and culture. You, a Texan cultural Christian in no danger of a pogrom, could more easily move to Israel than Palestinians who still have title deeds to property in Israel. That is because you are Jewish and do not endanger Jewish domination. If you had converted to Islam instead, you wouldn't be welcome in Israel.
[/quote]
That is one issue. You said "issues," as I bolded above. Do you have any others? See below.
Describing this discrimination as racism is a red herring. It isn't racial discrimination. I can't tell the difference between an arab and a jew, as opposed to a dutch and a nigerian. But there isn't a word for cultural discrimination quite as clear as "racism", so that's what gets used.

Left to my own devices, I tend to use the word "bigotry". But from Israel to the USA to Haiti to Tibet to Sudan, the issues are too complicated to be summed up in one word.
You seem to be referring to the "right of return" claimed by Palestinian refugees. That is a more complex issue than simple discrimination, as you keep implying. We will get to that in Chapters 10, 12, 13 and 21; but in the meantime, you seem to be using that one issue -- access to property once owned by Palestinians -- to support a more general claim of cultural and ethnic discrimination. I think it wil be shown later that that is NOT the case with that one issue; but before we get there, do you have any other evidence of such discrimination in Israeli law or policy? You have mentioned that one several times now, but no others.

For the moment, here are a few of the reasons I say that your characterization of that one issue is oversimplified and facile:
(1) Palestinians who were willing to live in the new nation of Israel in peace were allowed, even encouraged, to return to their homes and do so, OR receive just compensation for their losses, in 1948. That was part of the original peace agreement; this was rejected by the Arab governments involved, which governments also advised against, and even prevented, the Palestinian refugees from doing so. I'm on my iPhone at the moment, but I'll post links tonight, if you like.
(2) Even so, many Palestinians DID return, or STAYED, in Israel after the War of Independence. That's not hard to prove; they're still there.
(3) NO nation is required to allow immigration, never mind honoring land claims or any other claims, from people who are openly and actively committed to making war against it.
(4) The Palestinians are the only "refugees" in the history of the world to be do designated after living in a place for only two years; they are also the only refugees in the world to have their own special agency at the UN. Both of those are examples of the special rules which are applied to Israel and to no other nation, as mentioned in my last.
(5) There were at least as many Jewish refugees driven from their homes in Arab lands, some from communities literally thousands of years old, during 1947 and 1948: their money and possessions, as well as their real property, was confiscated (unlike those of the Palestinian refugees), no compensation for any of that has ever been offered, and those Jews can't immigrate back to Jordan or Iraq or Egypt or Saudi Arabia or Lebanon, etc., and reclaim THEIR property either. Once again; the complaints against Israelis are taken very seriously indeed; the complaints OF Israelis -- most of those Jewish refugees ended up Israelis -- are dismissed and/or ignored.
Which brings us to
(6) Whereas the Jewish refugees from Arab lands were welcomed and absorbed into Israel, and are today indistinguishable from other Israelis, the Palestinian refugees are kept in camps -- not by Israel, be it noted, but by other Arabs. After more than 60 years. Is there another group of people on Earth who are still considered "refugees" after that long? How about half that long? Why is this not even a topic of discussion?

You don't need to answer all these observations and objections now. I think they should be taken up as we discuss the relevant chapters; but this is what this discussion will look like if we do otherwise -- five or six, or more, topics at once. Perhaps taking up these issues in turn strikes some as "excruciating," but I for one prefer a discussion that is an orderly exchange of ideas, as opposed to a series of exchanged shotgun blasts covering a half-dozen assumptions and "facts not in evidence" at once.

I say again; let's go on to Chapter 2. If we depart from the book and jump to the Conclusion -- no pun intended -- with every exchange, this is going to revert to the usual talking-past-each-other slugfest in very short order.

I think Chapter 2 -- wherein the accusation is that "European Jews who came to Palestine displaced Palestinians who had lived there for centuries" -- is key to many of the criticisms of Israel that you and others have made here, and that have appeared in books, articles and interviews from critics of Israel for decades. I have to wonder why you think it "unimportant." Is that accusation so clearly and unambiguously true that Dershowitz's arguments are not even worth considering? Or do you agree that that accusation is false, in which case some of your earlier statements are -- puzzling?
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Post by cnorman18 » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:55 pm

[quote=""columbus""]
cnorman18;247545 wrote:THE ACCUSERS: "A Jewish state in Palestine could only emerge as the bastard child of imperialist powers&#133;&#148;
That&#146;s the &#147;colonial&#148; part, and it just isn&#146;t so; as Dershowitz points out, &#147;the colonial powers did everything possible to thwart the establishment of a Jewish homeland.&#148;

We seem to be in agreement on that point.
Charles
"the colonial powers did everything possible to thwart the establishment of a Jewish homeland"

This is the kind of obviously wrong statement that qualifies as "the big lie" to me. From the Balfour declaration to UN recognition of Israel to US billion$ and heavy duty military hardware, colonial powers have consistently and powerfully supported Zionists.
[/quote]
As I observed in a PM to another member yesterday, it's pretty hard to make the case that "colonial powers have consistently and powerfully supported Zionists" when the British, supposedly the most ardent supporters of Zionism, severely limited the immigration of refugee Jews into Palestine -- even during and immediately after the Holocaust. Call that a "Big Lie" if you like; it's undisputed historical fact. The book and movie Exodus were fictional, but there WAS such a ship, the Exodus 1947, bearing Jewish refugees from Europe bound for Palestine -- and it was forced, by the "supportive" British, to return to Germany.
If "colonial powers" treated both sides equally, this conflict would be over in a month.
I quite agree, but not in the same way. If the world community judged Israel's neighbors and enemies by the same standards as Israel...
If the USA stopped supplying Israel with war paraphenalia, or supplied Palestine with an equal amount, this would be over by Christmas. But instead, the USA will keep stoking the fires of war.
That statement doesn't require much analysis to show that it's hardly an "equitable solution that takes the points of view and needs of both sides into account." Plus, characterizing US aid to Israel as "stoking the fires of war" as opposed to, say, "helping an ally defend itself against implacable enemies" betrays a certain bias as well, does it not?

I thought you were interested in exploring the Israeli/Zionist point of view, and less interested in simply dismissing it and enshrining the Palestinian view as the only one worth considering.
That is why I find this issue more important than, say, Tibet or Sudan. My tax dollars are fueling the injustice and war and that makes me very unhappy! :mad:
Actually, the fact that people are so much more upset about the supposed "injustice" in Israel than in Tibet or Sudan rather goes back to my earlier point -- that Israel is subjected to "special treatment" and not judged by the same standards as other nations.

I suggest we return to discussing the book, as opposed to whatever this is.

Are you willing to discuss Chapter 2, or are we going to continue with assumptions, facts not in evidence, and slanted characterizations of the matters we're supposed to be discussing? Where I come from, that's called "begging the question" -- assuming that Israel Is Wrong is one of the given parameters of the discussion. Don't remarks like "stoking the fires of war" and "obviously wrong" rather prove my point about that?

Chapter 2?
Last edited by cnorman18 on Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:30 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Post by columbus » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:13 am

[quote=""cnorman18""] I suggest we return to discussing the book, as opposed to whatever this is.

Are you willing to discuss Chapter 2, or are we going to continue with assumptions, facts not in evidence, and slanted characterizations of the matters we're supposed to be discussing? Where I come from, that's called "begging the question" -- assuming that Israel Is Wrong is one of the given parameters of the discussion. Don't remarks like "stoking the fires of war" and "obviously wrong" rather prove my point about that?

Chapter 2?[/quote]

Well, I think we are leaving an awful lot of unresolved issues. I'll come back to them later, when I have more time.

Chapter 2, like 1 and 3, has as an accusation a totally unnuanced statement. The only why to give an unnuanced response, such as "true or false", is to take the strictest possible interpretation. So strict as to become irrelevant to the situation in 2011 CE. This is why I thought them unimportant chapters.

While the accusation in 1 was clearly false, the accusations in 2 and 3 are clearly true. The accusation is "The European Jews who came to Palestine displaced Palestinians who had lived there for centuries." If even a few European Jews now live on land that used to be occupied by indigenous people, who did not leave happily, then the accusation is true. It is obvious that this did happen.

The question is how much did this happen and how relevant is it? Like almost everything else about this situation it's largely a matter of interpreting the words and opinions.

D quoted Noam Chomsky: "So there are two national groups which claim national self-determination. One group is the indigenous population, or what's left of it--a lot of it's been expelled or driven out or fled. The other group is the Jewish settlers who came in, originally from Europe, later from other places. So there are two groups, the indigenous population and the immigrants and their descendants".

Aside from calling the indigenes a "national group", which is problematic since there has never been a nation of Palestine, Chomsky is dead on. Of course, the Jews weren't either, prior to colonial intervention. The fundamental problem I see with all of this is that neither the Jews nor the Palestinians have been a nation in living memory, and their only important differences(prior to a few decades of war) were religious and cultural. They were both peoples that did their own thing outside of arbitrary boundaries. It is unfortunate that their cultures and religions clashed so much.

Tom

PS~ did you happen to see the top BBC story right now? Palestinian refugees are fleeing Syrian government bombardment in Latakia as Assad moves to crush his enemies. ~
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Post by cnorman18 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:54 am

[quote=""columbus""]
cnorman18;248706 wrote: I suggest we return to discussing the book, as opposed to whatever this is.

Are you willing to discuss Chapter 2, or are we going to continue with assumptions, facts not in evidence, and slanted characterizations of the matters we're supposed to be discussing? Where I come from, that's called "begging the question" -- assuming that Israel Is Wrong is one of the given parameters of the discussion. Don't remarks like "stoking the fires of war" and "obviously wrong" rather prove my point about that?

Chapter 2?
Well, I think we are leaving an awful lot of unresolved issues. I'll come back to them later, when I have more time.
[/quote]
I would agree with that, but that’s sort of my point -- these issues SHOULD remain unresolved until we CAN deal with them later, one at a time and not all at once.
Chapter 2, like 1 and 3, has as an accusation a totally unnuanced statement. The only why to give an unnuanced response, such as "true or false", is to take the strictest possible interpretation. So strict as to become irrelevant to the situation in 2011 CE. This is why I thought them unimportant chapters.
Uh, not so fast. The “accusation” in EVERY chapter is given in one sentence; that’s the structure of the book. But -- to judge it fairly -- the “nuances,” etc., are given in the lengthier following section, called “The Accusers,” from which you have quoted twice now. THOSE are the statements which are rebutted by Dershowitz’s arguments.

In the present case, as long as critics of Israel -- yourself, for example -- are going to keep bringing up the initial foundation of Israel in discussions like this one, those events are not “irrelevant to the situation in 2011 CE.”
While the accusation in 1 was clearly false, the accusations in 2 and 3 are clearly true.
Ah, so now I have my answer; you regard those chapters as not worth discussing because Dershowitz is obviously wrong. In that case, it should be easy for you to analyze, dissect and counter his arguments. Let’s see how you do:
The accusation is "The European Jews who came to Palestine displaced Palestinians who had lived there for centuries." If even a few European Jews now live on land that used to be occupied by indigenous people, who did not leave happily, then the accusation is true. It is obvious that this did happen. The question is how much did this happen and how relevant is it? Like almost everything else about this situation it's largely a matter of interpreting the words and opinions.
Note my italics again. Note, too, the part of the accusation which reads, “…who had lived there for centuries.” We’ll get back to that presently.

Let’s back up and take a look at the statements you do NOT quote in “The Accusers,” and see if they are talking about “even a few European Jews”:

First quote:
“The Jews stole our land. What else do you want us to do, just go away?”
Hmm. No nuance there -- no qualifications of any kind, no recognition that ANY Jews obtained ANY land in Palestine in any way other than “stole” it. Unqualified statements -- "The Jews" -- can be read in no other way. There's nothing about "a few Jews" or even "some Jews" here.

Second quote:
The Jews hate the Arabs. They hate the Palestinians because the Jews stole the land of the Arabs and Palestine. A thief hates the owner of the right.”
Not much nuance there either; again, ALL Jews are alleged to have stolen ALL the land that they occupy.

Third quote:
“Zionists… conceived their plan for a colonial-settler state in Palestine, as they went about executing this plan on the backs of imperialist powers -- with wars, massacres, and ethnic cleansing -- and, later, as they have persisted in their plans to dispossess the Palestinians of the last fragments of of their rights and legacy whose Canaanite roots were more ancient than Isaiah, Ezekiel, David and Moses.”
And more of the same. In NONE of these are land purchases even alluded to or acknowledged to exist. No sign of “in a few cases” or even “in some cases.” These are blanket accusations, and are intended to be.

The fourth quote is about the “thousands and thousands of years” that the Palestinians inhabited this land (an aspect of the accusation that you did not address, and to which we shall return in a moment) and makes no direct reference to the Jews stealing it. And the fifth quote you have already posted, below.

I ask you; is it either fair or accurate to take quotes and accusations which very clearly indicate that all or nearly all of the land which Jews occupy today was ”stolen” -- and you know and I know that that is exactly the way that that accusation is normally phrased, and exactly the meaning that it is usually intended to convey, as it indisputably was in these quoted accusations -- and say that it is “TRUE” if “even a few” Jews now live on land that was once occupied by Palestinians?

“Blacks are criminals.” Is that true if even a few are? That would be equally fair, would it not?

It’s one thing to claim that an accusation is extreme and given without nuance, even though nuances are clearly indicated a few lines later -- and I object to that; but it’s another, and much more problematic, thing to go on to claim that that very extreme and unnuanced argument is totally valid -- in your words, "clearly true" -- if it is valid in only very small part, and I object to that very much more.

Now, before we go on, I must remark upon somehing that is becoming a pattern: in both Chapter 1 and Chapter 2, you have quoted from “The Accusers,” but have said nothing -- nothing at all -- about Dershowitz’s arguments to counter those charges; you have not quoted them, nor even alluded to them, never mind rebutted them or explained why you reject them. It appears as if the only things you have read were the accusations, with which you agreed, and read no farther. From reading your posts, I can see no evidence that you have done anything else.

Now I know that is not what you have done; so I have to ask -- I mean, I HAVE to ask -- why do you have nothing to say about Dershowitz’s responses to these accusations, when the very point of this thread, I thought, was to give a fair hearing to the Israeli side of these issues?

(Parenthetically, I would add that you have not yet commented or responded in any way to my repeated objection to the "one-state solution," to wit, that it would leave the Jews a minority in a state numerically dominated by a hostile and largely antisemitic population -- much the same situation that the original Jewish refugees from Europe were fleeing. If some of these issues are being left unresolved, I'm not the only one leaving them that way. I just didn't want you to think I hadn't noticed.)

Let’s continue with another quote from “The Accusers,” the one chosen by you:
D quoted Noam Chomsky: "So there are two national groups which claim national self-determination. One group is the indigenous population, or what's left of it--a lot of it's been expelled or driven out or fled. The other group is the Jewish settlers who came in, originally from Europe, later from other places. So there are two groups, the indigenous population and the immigrants and their descendants".

Aside from calling the indigenes a "national group", which is problematic since there has never been a nation of Palestine, Chomsky is dead on.
Yes, he is, at least in part. He says that both sides claim national self-determination, and that, at least, is perfectly true.

To what extent the Palestinians can be said to be any more the “indigenous” population than the Jews -- and, another issue that’s rarely even acknowledged in this sort of discussion, to what extent it can be correct to say that there were only two groups -- is rather another matter.
Of course, the Jews weren't either, prior to colonial intervention. The fundamental problem I see with all of this is that neither the Jews nor the Palestinians have been a nation in living memory, and their only important differences(prior to a few decades of war) were religious and cultural. They were both peoples that did their own thing outside of arbitrary boundaries. It is unfortunate that their cultures and religions clashed so much.
Well, they didn’t always, and they don’t have to now; but that’s another matter. Let’s get back to the accusations at the head of Chapter 2, and Dershowitz’s arguments against them.

Briefly -- I don’t really see why I should have to retype pages and pages of material -- his arguments are these, and he supplies references and footnotes aplenty to prove them:

“The Palestine to which the European Jews of the First Aliyah immigrated was vastly under populated, and the land onto which the Jews moved was, in fact, bought primarily from absentee landlords and real estate speculators.” The land was not empty, but the areas where the Jews bought (not “stole”) land largely was, and very few Arabs indeed, if any, were “displaced.” David Ben-Gurion, former Prime Minister of Israel (and former “terrorist,” if you like) “instructed the Jewish refugees never to buy land belonging to ‘local fellahs or worked by them.”

In many places, Arabs and Jews worked the land side by side; in fact, one reason that the Arab population of what is now Israel expanded AFTER the Jews began to move in was that the Jews, in developing the land and building towns and infrastructure, provided jobs and a higher standard of living for the Arabs of the region; there was more water, better medical care, and better sanitation, all of which was introduced by the Jews from Europe. In other words, most of the Arabs in what is now Israel were immigrants too, who moved there at about the same time!

Moreover, the inhabitants of the land who WERE there when the Jews came were not only Arabs; the local population, sparse as it was, was also made up of Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Kurds, Germans, Persians, Sudanese, Samaritans, Tatars, Georgians, many people of mixed ethnicity -- and Jews. As is mentioned in later chapters, there were ancient Jewish communities in Jerusalem, Safed, Hebron, and many other places in Palestine -- villages where Jews had lived since Roman times.

The idea that the Palestinians had “lived there for thousands of years,” and that the Jews displaced people who “had lived there for centuries,” are simply -- shall we say -- hugely exaggerated, and to a very large extent simply false. This isn’t Zionist fantasy; it’s historical fact, established by demographic studies and writings of the time.

There is much, much more in this chapter; I don’t have the time or the inclination to type it all. Again, I have to wonder why you only quoted Chomsky, agreed with him, and had nothing to say in the way of rebuttal, reply, response, or indeed any comment at all, on the rest of this chapter.

Once again; this material is not “irrelevant.“ The usual narrative that is assumed to be true when criticism of Israel appears -- that Palestine, empty of Jews and filled with happy, peaceful Palestinians, was suddenly and violently invaded in 1948 by European Jews who massacred them, stole their land, and established a nation based on “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” and military aggression -- is not even a caricature; it is an antisemitic cartoon with no relation to the truth at all. Jews had ALWAYS lived in Palestine; Jews were BUYING land, legally and from legal Arab landowners, from 1882 and earlier; and whereas SOME Palestinians WERE driven off their land by force, virtually all of that happened during the War of Independence, which took place AFTER partition. We shall get to that later; but for the moment, the beginnings of Israel had nothing whatever to do with “stolen land” or “foreign invaders.” It had to do with peaceful immigrants, purchasing land legally and working it with their own hands.

The accusations at the head of this chapter are false, in general and in detail.
PS~ did you happen to see the top BBC story right now? Palestinian refugees are fleeing Syrian government bombardment in Latakia as Assad moves to crush his enemies. ~
Yes, I did, but I don’t see how it’s relevant to this discussion. Assad is almost properly named; the last two letters of his name should be replaced with “-hole.”
"The Torah is true, and some of it may even have happened."
-- Rabbi William Gershon
"Faith is hope, not fact."
-- Herman Wouk

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Post by columbus » Tue Aug 16, 2011 3:12 pm

[quote=""cnorman18""]
PS~ did you happen to see the top BBC story right now? Palestinian refugees are fleeing Syrian government bombardment in Latakia as Assad moves to crush his enemies. ~
Yes, I did, but I don’t see how it’s relevant to this discussion. Assad is almost properly named; the last two letters of his name should be replaced with “-hole.”[/quote]

This was just bit of an ironic aside. Some of the harshest critics of Israeli human rights problems concerning Palestinians are currently shelling both their own people and also Palestinian refugees :bang:

My computer took a bit of a dump, I am currently posting from the library. I'm likely to be spotty for the next few days :(

Tom
I am remarkably conservative and judgemental for a queer atheist.

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Post by columbus » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:01 pm

[quote=""cnorman18""]
I ask you; is it either fair or accurate to take quotes and accusations which very clearly indicate that all or nearly all of the land which Jews occupy today was ”stolen” -- and you know and I know that that is exactly the way that that accusation is normally phrased, and exactly the meaning that it is usually intended to convey, as it indisputably was in these quoted accusations -- and say that it is “TRUE” if “even a few” Jews now live on land that was once occupied by Palestinians?

“Blacks are criminals.” Is that true if even a few are? That would be equally fair, would it not?
[/quote]
Your example illustrates why I didn't see these first chapters as so important. Whether they are strictly true or not, they aren't fair. They are so unfair they aren't even particularly relevant.
Like in your illustration, it is true that blacks are criminals. So are whites. So are women, Brits, Christians, etc. Whether it's fair or not might be a matter of opinion, but it isn't relevant except in some unusual circumstances.

One big problem is that almost everything about this conflict is unusual to the point of unique. The tangled web this chapter refers to is one of the worst. The first Aliyah was pretty clearly a peaceful migration. The second probably started producing more cultural clashes and planted the seed of Zionism. But it was the flood that followed the horrors in Europe that really set the stage for the violence and war. So while EuroJews did not start out intending what eventually happened, indigenous people still have legitimate grievances and bitter resentments which are relevant now. And the indigenes themselves have a fair number of problems making their claims. As D pointed out, no doubt many of the indigenes in what became Israel moved there from elsewhere because the Jews were there. They were bringing all kinds of modern stuff with them. Capital for one thing, but also roads and hospitals and water management techniques etc. etc. And many of the ones that left did so at the behest of Muslim leaders, they weren't forced out at gunpoint by Zionists. The convoluted tangle of competing senses of entitlement and grievances(both old and new, legitimate and not), just aren't ever going to be sorted to everybody's satisfaction.

Which brings me to my basic position:
(Parenthetically, I would add that you have not yet commented or responded in any way to my repeated objection to the "one-state solution," to wit, that it would leave the Jews a minority in a state numerically dominated by a hostile and largely antisemitic population -- much the same situation that the original Jewish refugees from Europe were fleeing. If some of these issues are being left unresolved, I'm not the only one leaving them that way. I just didn't want you to think I hadn't noticed.)
A two state solution isn't likely to ever work because Israel will never be able to fortify itself sufficiently well to live in peace. My fundamental moral principle is "What is best for humanity as a whole is what is moral", and I don't see a sovereign state of Israel as currently constituted as "best for humanity". What I think, even after having read Dershowitz' book, is closer to what Arctish described.

Part of the reason for that is the fact that the world itself has changed so much. The nasty and pervasive anti-semitism that Christendom used to be rife with isn't any longer the problem it was in the 30's. Weapons technology has "improved" to the point where suicide bombers will never be completely stopped as long as there is a large pool of desperate people, especially when they taught about afterlife.

My time on this computer is about up, so I will stop here, for now.

See Ya,

Tom

Tom
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Post by cnorman18 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 4:07 pm

[quote=""columbus""]
cnorman18;249189 wrote:
PS~ did you happen to see the top BBC story right now? Palestinian refugees are fleeing Syrian government bombardment in Latakia as Assad moves to crush his enemies. ~
Yes, I did, but I don&#146;t see how it&#146;s relevant to this discussion. Assad is almost properly named; the last two letters of his name should be replaced with &#147;-hole.&#148;
This was just bit of an ironic aside. Some of the harshest critics of Israeli human rights problems concerning Palestinians are currently shelling both their own people and also Palestinian refugees :bang:
[/quote]
Thanks. I wasn't going to comment to that effect -- it would have felt too much like gloating, and I don't go there. Those people are suffering, and even though it exposes hypocrisy on many sides, it brings me no joy.

I say "on many sides" because the oppression of Arab peoples on many nations has been, till the Arab Spring began, invisible to the "human rights advocates" who spent all their ink and energy criticizing and attacking Israel. Take a look at the archives of the websites of some of those organizations -- DemocracyNow!, TruthOut, even Human Rights Watch, and see how much comment and criticism about oppressive Arab governments you see before the current year. They're all scrambling to get their licks in NOW, but prior to 2011, apparently only Israel was worth their time. Like I said; it's not that supporters of Israel want a double standard -- we want the one that's been used up to now to be abandoned and fairness to take its place.
My computer took a bit of a dump, I am currently posting from the library. I'm likely to be spotty for the next few days :(

Tom
Condolences -- I've survived the total decease of a computer, and it was a far bigger hassle than wrecking a car.
"The Torah is true, and some of it may even have happened."
-- Rabbi William Gershon
"Faith is hope, not fact."
-- Herman Wouk

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Post by cnorman18 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 2:49 am

[quote=""columbus""]
cnorman18;249189 wrote:
I ask you; is it either fair or accurate to take quotes and accusations which very clearly indicate that all or nearly all of the land which Jews occupy today was ”stolen” -- and you know and I know that that is exactly the way that that accusation is normally phrased, and exactly the meaning that it is usually intended to convey, as it indisputably was in these quoted accusations -- and say that it is “TRUE” if “even a few” Jews now live on land that was once occupied by Palestinians?

“Blacks are criminals.” Is that true if even a few are? That would be equally fair, would it not?
Your example illustrates why I didn't see these first chapters as so important. Whether they are strictly true or not, they aren't fair. They are so unfair they aren't even particularly relevant.
[/quote]
Again, wait a minute…

Are you reversing your position now? Last time I looked, you said that the accusation that “the Jews stole the Palestinians’ land” was “clearly true.” Now you’re saying it’s so unfair, it isn’t relevant. If that’s not a contradiction and a reversal, I don’t know what one would look like. “Kinda true, but unfair” seems to be to be a little -- no offense -- weaselly?

Let me be clear; there’s certainly nothing wrong with changing your mind and conceding a point. I do it all the time, and it hasn’t left any blood on me yet. My respect for you would only grow. I've experienced that firsthand.
Like in your illustration, it is true that blacks are criminals. So are whites. So are women, Brits, Christians, etc. Whether it's fair or not might be a matter of opinion, but it isn't relevant except in some unusual circumstances.
Sophistry, where is thy sting?

Why can’t you just admit that the accusation is almost wholly false? THAT would be true, AND fair. What’s WRONG with that simple statement? Are you under the impression that conceding a single point here constitutes some sort of defeat? You DO concede several points below; what's wrong with conceding this one, as opposed to rather obviously dancing around it?
One big problem is that almost everything about this conflict is unusual to the point of unique. The tangled web this chapter refers to is one of the worst. The first Aliyah was pretty clearly a peaceful migration. The second probably started producing more cultural clashes and planted the seed of Zionism. But it was the flood that followed the horrors in Europe that really set the stage for the violence and war.
Wait a minute, again…

What flood? Jewish immigration was severely restricted almost until the day of partition. Exodus 1947, remember? We’ll get to that later, but unless you have some facts and reference to back that up, I’m not buying it.
So while EuroJews did not start out intending what eventually happened, indigenous people still have legitimate grievances and bitter resentments which are relevant now. And the indigenes themselves have a fair number of problems making their claims. As D pointed out, no doubt many of the indigenes in what became Israel moved there from elsewhere because the Jews were there. They were bringing all kinds of modern stuff with them. Capital for one thing, but also roads and hospitals and water management techniques etc. etc. And many of the ones that left did so at the behest of Muslim leaders, they weren't forced out at gunpoint by Zionists. The convoluted tangle of competing senses of entitlement and grievances(both old and new, legitimate and not), just aren't ever going to be sorted to everybody's satisfaction.
So why is the best and fairest solution -- NO ISRAEL? "Both sides have a case, both sides have legitimate complaints, so let's completely cave to the demands of one side and erase the other."
Which brings me to my basic position:
(Parenthetically, I would add that you have not yet commented or responded in any way to my repeated objection to the "one-state solution," to wit, that it would leave the Jews a minority in a state numerically dominated by a hostile and largely antisemitic population -- much the same situation that the original Jewish refugees from Europe were fleeing. If some of these issues are being left unresolved, I'm not the only one leaving them that way. I just didn't want you to think I hadn't noticed.)
A two state solution isn't likely to ever work because Israel will never be able to fortify itself sufficiently well to live in peace. My fundamental moral principle is "What is best for humanity as a whole is what is moral", and I don't see a sovereign state of Israel as currently constituted as "best for humanity". What I think, even after having read Dershowitz' book, is closer to what Arctish described.
Do I HAVE to point out that explaining why a two-state solution won’t work -- not that I agree with your analysis -- is NOT explaining why a one-state solution WILL?

Why it is either fair or reasonable? How does it have a snowball’s hope in Hell of being successful from the Israeli point of view, which is supposed to count here? How is it "best for humanity" when it is absolutely the end for the Israelis?

The above does not BEGIN to address my basic objection, repeated here for the third time, that a one-state solution would leave the Jews a minority in a state numerically dominated by a hostile and largely antisemitic population -- much the same situation that the original Jewish refugees from Europe were fleeing???

"Best for humanity," my hind foot. Only if you explicitly subtract the Israelis from "humanity." You have not, to date, taken my objection, which is very clear, very cogent, very relevant, and very much on point, into account at all. Not - at - all.
Part of the reason for that is the fact that the world itself has changed so much. The nasty and pervasive anti-semitism that Christendom used to be rife with isn't any longer the problem it was in the 30's.
Not in Europe, no. But it certainly is in the Middle East, and in some ways is even more vicious there than it was in prewar Europe. The Poles did not send suicide bombers into Bar Mitzvahs and Passover seders.

There it is again; the vicious antisemitism that reigns uncontested over the Arab world does not get onto your radar screen at all, and is apparently of no account whatever.

All of which of course refers back to my still-unanswered point about the basic, ludicrous unfairness and, to put it plainly, cruelty of the “one-state solution” from an Israeli point of view. And yes, I WILL keep harping on this till you address it. So far, you haven't.
Weapons technology has "improved" to the point where suicide bombers will never be completely stopped as long as there is a large pool of desperate people, especially when they taught about afterlife.
Tell me this: How would tearing down the wall, declaring all of the West Bank, Gaza and Israel a single state, and allowing the suicide bombers completely free access to all Israeli homes, businesses, schools, places of worship, and public areas -- how would that help?

The infamous Wall has reduced those attacks to a level that is unpleasant, but certainly more manageable than it was before it was built. Plus, ANTI-weapons technology is growing even faster than that for weapons. The Israelis are among the world’s leaders in technological development; they have the scientists, the labs, the hardware, and they certainly have the motivation. Remote explosive detection is already a reality. And, of course, the Israelis are free to ramp up their security measures to whatever extent is necessary as long as the terror campaign continues. The status quo is terrible, but it beats what you're proposing.

Now, try again: explain to me why antisemitism isn't going to be a problem in the One State, and how turning Palestine into Poland is "best for humanity."
"The Torah is true, and some of it may even have happened."
-- Rabbi William Gershon
"Faith is hope, not fact."
-- Herman Wouk

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