pageok
pageok
pageok
A Real "Likudnik":

[NOTE: Given that we probably have a lot of new visitors to this blog, I thought I'd add this preface linking to some of my other posts about tendentious, dishonest uses of the word Likudnik, a pet peeve of mine. Start with this one. FWIW, I sometimes get called a "Likudnik," even though I have no ties to Likud, would not vote for Likud if I were an Israeli, and have never expressed support for Likud here or anywhere else.]

Haaretz: "[Rahm Emanuel] is the son of a Jerusalem-born pediatrician who was a member of the Irgun (Etzel or IZL), a militant Zionist group that operated in Palestine between 1931 and 1948." Etzel, of course, was the predecessor to the Herut party led my Menachem Begin, which became the dominant member of the coalition of parties that became "Likud." Just imagine the outrage of Juan Cole, Joe Klein, etc. if such an individual had been made chief of staff in a Republican administration! [UPDATE: Not because this actually tells us anything much about Emanuel, but just because they like to throw around accusations about "Likudniks" with "dual loyalties" for the flimsiest of reasons.] But remember, it's only Republican Jews who get accused of being dual loyalty "Likudniks", (and this is key), regardless of whether they have any ideological or other connections to Likud.

UPDATE: M.J. Rosenberg helpfully informs us that "Rahm Emanuel is no Likudnik." He also speculates that Emanuel's father is no longer "right-wing," or he wouldn't have produced liberal kids. Putting aside the issue of whether the apple sometimes falls far from the tree, Rosenberg should know better than to assume that being "right-wing" on the Israel-Palestine question has any bearing on whether one would have "left-wing" views on a host of other issues, ranging from income redistribution to civil rights to whatever. Even in Israel, some elements of the Likud coalition have traditionally been far further left on economic policy than some of the peacenik parties. For that matter, some American Jews like Paul Wolfowitz who are generally hawkish on foreign policy are more dovish on Israel-related issues. Hence, the idiocy of hurling the "Likudnik" label at people with no ties to Likud other than that they are seen as "right-wing Jews". And, as Rosenberg's post suggests, liberal Jews will be presumptively exempt from being called "Likudniks," because the real purpose of using the term is not to elucidate anything, but to not-so-subtly raise issues of "foreigness" and "dual loyalty" for conservative Jews by suggesting that they are literally motivated by a foreign ideology in support of a foreign power.

FURTHER UPDATE: The point is not to criticize Emanuel, which I thought was obvious but the comments suggest is not, nor to suggest that he's really a "Likudnik," whatever that means. Rather, since the Iraq War, critics of the Bush Administration's policies have been promiscuously throwing the term "Likudnik" around to describe any person of Jewish origin who happens to disagree with their views and is generally perceived as "right-wing." This has included plenty of "dual loyalty by association" arguments, including, for example discussing which Bush Administration Jewish officials married women of Israeli origin, have Israeli relatives, or other Israeli connections. By contrast, liberals who ave such connections will be exempted from such arguments because they are liberals, and certainly won't be called "Likudniks." The fact that Rosenberg has to reassure his fellow trave that Emanuel isn't a "Likudnik," though, shows that some of his fellow travelers didn't understand that this was a phrase used to try to silence "right-wing" American Jews only, and not to be devolved into general anti-Jewish presumptions.

The point in the first update, meanwhile, is that there is virtually no overlap between American political categories and Israeli political categories. The American group most often called "Likudniks," the "neocons", is considered hopelessly naive about the Arab world by the actual leaders of Likud. The only Israeli leader whose worldview remotely approaches the neocons is Natan Sharansky, who gets virtually no respect or audience in Israel. The most "American" of Israeli politicians, Binyamnin Netanyahu, spent his formative years in the U.S., and then served as Israeli ambassador to the U.N., living in NYC. That's a case of American conservatism (especially on economics) influencing an Israeli, not vice-versa.

ONE MORE UPDATE: According to this story, Emanuel goes to an Orthodox synagogue, sends his kids to a Jewish day school, and volunteered on an Israeli army base during the 1991 Gulf War. All signs of a "Likudnik" if you ask me! Oh, wait, he's not a Republican!

And Philip Weiss, the "white nationalists'" favorite Jewish blogger, was already accusing Emanuel of "neocon" sympathies yesterday. (No link, because I'm not going to link to anyone who favorably links to openly anti-Semitic websites.)

And from the comments to Rosenberg's post: "Well, anyone who says 'ef the Republicans' in public can't be a Likudnik by definition."

JB:
When have the Democrats cared about who someone's father was? As far as I know, their hackish ideological Borking of people is restricted to the actual people, not their families. Do you have specific examples in mind?
11.6.2008 4:25pm
frankcross (mail):
A little defensive. I wouldn't say that this blog is perfectly evenhanded in its criticisms.
11.6.2008 4:28pm
Adam J:
And so continues Bernsteins guilt by association meme...
11.6.2008 4:28pm
Happyshooter:
The Irgun were some fairly evil people.

However, the democrat party has actual KKK members in the senate, so why would they care who the guy's father was? So long as he is in the correct party it is all fun and games.

Of course, a GOP member with a retarded baby is herself evil by family blood tie, but that is just a dem rule about GOPers.
11.6.2008 4:33pm
Matthew K:
Those ideological blinders can be a real problem for you when you try to imagine what the other side would think in a hypothetical case. You might want to take them off.

Family level guilt by association isn't all that common in either party, at least not that I can recall.
11.6.2008 4:34pm
DG:
What guilt by association? If Rahm was a republican appointee, even to a minor position, the netroots would be going crazy. Lets be honest, here. Oh, sorry, they aren't anti-Semitic, just anti-Israel. That works.
11.6.2008 4:34pm
DG:
The Irgun was the most aggressive of the Jewish resistance movements. Some of their members did nasty stuff. But members of all militaries and resistance units do nasty stuff - such is the nature of war. They were pikers compared to say, Hamas or Hezbolah. You can call Irgun terrorists, but they were minor leaguers compared to what we have today.
11.6.2008 4:36pm
Adam J:
DG- Did you read his post- he's talking about Emanuel's father, not Emanuel himself. And you trivialize anti-semitism when you refuse to distinguish between it and being anti-Israeli.
11.6.2008 4:40pm
PLR:
Juan Cole and Joe Klein are ideological soulmates? Are we supposed to call Emanuel a Likudnik in order to be even-handedly inaccurate? Should Haaretz and the NYT vet their articles on Israel with DB? So many questions.

The left and the paleocons are not fans of Emanuel for packing the freshman class of 2006 with hawks. Then again, Obama was pretty much a hawk on the campaign trail, and it remains to be seen whether that was just a veneer of necessity.
11.6.2008 4:43pm
CJColucci:
When did Joe Lieberman become a Republican?
11.6.2008 4:44pm
Pendulum (mail):
DB,

I think you're mistaken. The same elements of the progressive movement who would criticize pro-Israel Republicans will likely criticize pro-Israel Democrats. If they don't it's because they perceive them as 'not as bad'. If they're wrong on that score, it would't be the first time a group hashad ideological blinders on. That's not malicious.

What guilt by association? If Rahm was a republican appointee, even to a minor position, the netroots would be going crazy. Lets be honest, here. Oh, sorry, they aren't anti-Semitic, just anti-Israel. That works.

Aren't you undermining your own argument? If they were anti-Semitic, presumably they'd not give Emmanuel a pass. Isn't this indicative that the "netroots", as DB calls them, are anti-Republican, not anti-Semitic?
11.6.2008 4:45pm
Pendulum (mail):
When did Joe Lieberman become a Republican?

Elegantly put.
11.6.2008 4:48pm
Steve:
Oh, right. Joe Lieberman never got called a Likudnik, because he's not a Republican. Tom Lantos (may he rest in peace) never got called a Likudnik. Give me a break, the people on the far left are more than happy to accuse both parties of being pawns of Israel.

It's kind of humorous how Prof. Bernstein spent the run-up to the election going on about how Obama didn't seem to have a single pro-Israel associate. Now Obama's very first appointment is a staunch Israel supporter and it's like whoops, forget all that, time to go hunting for a hypocrisy argument or something.
11.6.2008 4:49pm
John M. Perkins (mail):
David Bernstein is to anti-semitism as Cynthia McKinney is to anti-racism.
11.6.2008 4:52pm
Robert Farrell (mail):
The Irgun were some fairly evil people.

However, the democrat party has actual KKK members in the senate, so why would they care who the guy's father was? So long as he is in the correct party it is all fun and games.


Since when? Do you mean there used to be democrats who were members of the KKK and in the Senate? Or are you referencing some weird Internet rumor?

With regards to the Irgun, it is not considered an even slightly embarrassing connection in Israel. Quite the opposite; both it and the Stern Gang, an even more thuggish bunch of guys, gave rise to future prime ministers of Israel.

There they joined the ranks of prime ministers who ordered ethnic cleansing (Ben-Gurion) and those that carried it out (Rabin) those that massacred entire communities (Sharon) and those that crippled Palestinian detainees as a matter of policy (Rabin again).

If you don't like murdering innocent people, you don't like Zionism. The American political establishment has given it's full-throated endorsement Zionism in all its perversions, so it's pointless to be up in arms about someone's relation by blood to the atrocities Americans cheerfully support with their tax dollars to the tune of several billion dollars a year.
11.6.2008 4:55pm
Anderson (mail):
David Bernstein is to anti-semitism as Cynthia McKinney is to anti-racism.

McKinney tempts the tolerant to change their spots?
11.6.2008 4:56pm
Anderson (mail):
If you don't like murdering innocent people, you don't like Zionism.

Good lord. I guess "you" don't like America, either, on that theory.

In fact, what *do* you like, politically speaking? Who are the pure of heart in the history of the world?
11.6.2008 4:59pm
PabloF:
"Etzel, of course, was the predecessor to the Herut party led by Menachem Begin...."

Of course.
11.6.2008 5:02pm
Steve:
Do you mean there used to be democrats who were members of the KKK and in the Senate?

Robert Byrd was a member of the KKK, like 120 years ago or something. Now that Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms are dead, this is the standard trope deployed by Republicans who seek the moral high ground.
11.6.2008 5:03pm
davidbernstein (mail):
"It's kind of humorous how Prof. Bernstein spent the run-up to the election going on about how Obama didn't seem to have a single pro-Israel associate."


I never said anything of the kind.
11.6.2008 5:07pm
deathsinger:
Robert Farrell wrote


Since when? Do you mean there used to be democrats who were members of the KKK and in the Senate? Or are you referencing some weird Internet rumor?

Robert Byrd President pro tempore of the Senate, currently serving. Former clan member.
11.6.2008 5:07pm
Hoosier:
So he comes from a family of terrorists?

Wowsers!

Yesterday Ayers. Today this. Tomorrow Robespierre.
11.6.2008 5:08pm
Happyshooter:
Byrd wasn't just a member, he was grand kleagle for WV.
11.6.2008 5:09pm
Hoosier:
davidbernstein
"It's kind of humorous how Prof. Bernstein spent the run-up to the election going on about how Obama didn't seem to have a single pro-Israel associate."


I never said anything of the kind.


Shh. We now have a 'narrative' about you. Don't mess it up!
11.6.2008 5:10pm
cvt:
Rosenberg's post is a good indication that there are people who are concerned that Emanuel is an "AIPAC stooge, Likudnic, or whatever," even if he is a Democrat. There are plenty of those in the Democratic Party too. Contrary to your update, however, nothing in Rosenberg's piece suggests that he confuses being hawkish on Israel with being rightwing on other issues. His reference to "rightwing Jews" at the end of his piece is just another way of saying "AIPAC stooge" and is clear in context.

I'm curious though, is there any unambiguous but completely inoffensive way of referring to someone who supports Israel on almost every issue no matter what?
11.6.2008 5:10pm
davidbernstein (mail):
"And so continues Bernsteins guilt by association meme..."

And so goes another commentator who completely misconstrues the point of the post.
11.6.2008 5:10pm
Hoosier:
Happyshooter:

Thanks for making the point. One might say that Andrew Jackson "was a member" of the Democratic Party for a while. It's accurate. But quite an understatement.
11.6.2008 5:12pm
davidbernstein (mail):
Rosenberg's post is a good indication that there are people who are concerned that Emanuel is an "AIPAC stooge, Likudnic, or whatever," even if he is a Democrat.
Right. And his response is, don't worry he's a liberal who wants peace, so he's not a Likudnik, don't worry about his family background. On the other had, a non-liberal Jew who wants peace, and who has no ties whatsoever to Likud, still gets called a "Likudnik" if he happens to disagree with MJ Rosenberg and fellow travelers.
11.6.2008 5:13pm
Robert Farrell (mail):
Robert Byrd President pro tempore of the Senate, currently serving. Former clan member.

Thanks for the clarification. To avoid confusion, Happy, use the past tense when talking about a past state of affairs.

Good lord. I guess "you" don't like America, either, on that theory.

In fact, what *do* you like, politically speaking? Who are the pure of heart in the history of the world?


Ah, yes, the powerful "everybody does it" riposte. I suppose this is just what you said when people were all up in arms about that 9/11 thing?
11.6.2008 5:15pm
wfjag:

David Bernstein is to anti-semitism as Cynthia McKinney is to anti-racism.

When did Prof. Bernstein start beating up cops?
11.6.2008 5:18pm
Happyshooter:
With regards to the Irgun, it is not considered an even slightly embarrassing connection in Israel. Quite the opposite; both it and the Stern Gang, an even more thuggish bunch of guys, gave rise to future prime ministers of Israel.

That is why I was once very close to opposing Israel's right to exist. That, and the attack on the Liberty.

The King David Hotel bombing where they went after officer's families, the village massacre where residents in a captured village were killed for being the wrong race, the kidnapping and murder by slow hanging of british NCOs.

I tell myself the same people are not in charge anymore, and I mostly believe it. I also think Johnson should have nuked Israel for the attack on a US warship.
11.6.2008 5:18pm
Jonathan David:
"is there any unambiguous but completely inoffensive way of referring to someone who supports Israel on almost every issue no matter what?"

Zionist?
11.6.2008 5:22pm
MarkField (mail):

I also think Johnson should have nuked Israel for the attack on a US warship.


Thereby suggesting that you acquired your posting name honestly.
11.6.2008 5:25pm
Steve:
I never said anything of the kind.

You are quite right. I was thinking of your post where you said that Obama didn't seem to have any conservative friends. Please accept my apologies.
11.6.2008 5:25pm
Jonathan David:
"I also think Johnson should have nuked Israel for the attack on a US warship"

Is that your view on all friendly fire incidents or just when committed by Jews?
11.6.2008 5:25pm
Adam J:
"And so goes another commentator who completely misconstrues the point of the post." Forgive me, but then perhaps you could give me a little guidance regarding the point of the post.

I thought you were saying that Democrats are hypocrites because they're not up in arms about Emmanuel's dad being a ultraconservative Israeli once upon a time. Yet that would require us to think we should hold Emanuel's fathers beliefs against him... which is simply guilt by association.
11.6.2008 5:28pm
davidbernstein (mail):
"is there any unambiguous but completely inoffensive way of referring to someone who supports Israel on almost every issue no matter what?"
"uncritically pro-Israel" would do. But if you want historical precedent, the uncritically pro-English were called Anglophiles, the pro-French Francophiles, so Isrophile would work, but won't be used because it's not innately pejorative.
11.6.2008 5:32pm
Hoosier:
Robert Farrell

For one brief, shining moment, I thought one of my heroes had joined the fray. Alas!

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_H._Ferrell

Happyshooter

The King David Hotel bombing where they went after officer's families,

You mean the one where they warned the British to get out ahead of time? I called Irgun "terrorists" above. But one still has to get the story right.

I also think Johnson should have nuked Israel for the attack on a US warship.

Because you have read about the Liberty debacle only on 'nti-Zionist,' conspiracist websites? Or just to kill people?
11.6.2008 5:37pm
Hoosier:
Adam J:

I think his point is that it is dishonest and foolish to throw around charges like that. And the fact that Emanuel is being treated differently by the likes of John "Juan" Cole, since he's on their partisan side, indicates that this accusation is dishonest when thrown at the right by those same people.
11.6.2008 5:41pm
Hoosier:
If you don't like murdering innocent people, you don't like Zionism.

Oh DAMN!

No wonder Zionism seemed too good to be true!
11.6.2008 5:43pm
LM (mail):
David Bernstein,

This is just silly. My dad helped smuggle guns to the Irgun. I know many people of both political extremes who are aware of this, and not one of them has ever assumed it indicated a thing about my own views.
11.6.2008 5:46pm
Adam J:
Hoosier- Ah I see, so if some liberals unjustly call some conservative jews Likud, they should also unjustly call some liberal jews Likud or else their hypocrits...
11.6.2008 5:50pm
Yankev (mail):

The King David Hotel bombing where they went after officer's families,
Which you omit to mention was British Army HQ, just as you omit that Irgun called in advance and warned the Brits to evacuate the hotel because a bomb was about to go off, and the Brits thought the Jews were just bluffing.

the village massacre where residents in a captured village were killed for being the wrong race,
If you mean Deir Yassin, they fired on the Israelis, who then allowed the women and children to evacuate, and invited the men to surrender. The men who remained behind were well armed and the Israelis suffered substantial casualties.

the kidnapping and murder by slow hanging of british NCOs.
Which I won't justify, but will point out that it was in retaliation for the hanging of Irgun members.
11.6.2008 5:56pm
Hoosier:
Adam J:
Hoosier- Ah I see, so if some liberals unjustly call some conservative jews Likud, they should also unjustly call some liberal jews Likud or else their hypocrits...

Is this a put-on? Am I on hidden camera or something?
11.6.2008 6:00pm
lesser ajax:
It is informative that the author of this post not provided a single link to any instance of any critic of the Bush administration calling a Republican Jew a likudnik or accusing Republican Jews of having dual loyalty. Do such links not exist or is the author too lazy to support his claims?
11.6.2008 6:04pm
Robert Farrell (mail):
Yankev, you seem to be having some problems with denial as to the nature of the Irgun. I recommend the following list of sixty — six-zero — terrorist attacks committed by the Irgun in the 1930s alone. These included market bombings, drive-by shootings, and executions:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Irgun_attacks_during_the_1930s

Apologists are welcome to try and excuse the King David hotel bombing or the Deir Yassin massacre. But, to keep our facts straight, let's remember that these were only a couple of the famous headliner attacks in a decades-long record of terrorism.
11.6.2008 6:10pm
Joey32 (mail):
"Rather, since the Iraq War, critics of the Bush Administration's policies have been promiscuously throwing the term "Likudnik" around..."

I'm guessing that if we invade Syria or Iran you might start hearing it again. I'm also guessing that if President Bush had never invaded Iraq it would not have come up.

It's not the background (Rahm), it's the policies (Bush, Wolfowitz, Neo-cons). Though I suppose that you have a strong incentive to whip people up into believing otherwise.
11.6.2008 6:18pm
lpc (mail):
Robert Farrell, if Israel may be illegitimate because of the Irgun, (which was hated by the Laborites that actually formed Israel's governemnts for the first 30 years), what do you think should be England's punishment, for closing the doors to Jewish refugees who sought to go to Palestine, when England knew the alternative was likely death. And I'm sure Germany is already wiped off the face of your cognitive map for its crimes.
11.6.2008 6:19pm
Adam J:
Hoosier- No put on... isn't that the gist of Bernstein's argument? Liberals are hypocritical because they make spurious charges at conservative Jews but not liberal Jews. I just don't get the point... obviously all "dishonest and foolish accusations" are made for ulterior motives... be it partisanship or whatnot. Bernstein is not being particular clear or even clever by pointing out another dishonest and foolish accusation that partisan liberals could have made if Emanuel were conservative. It's just a really silly argument compared instead explaining why these liberals are wrong. Basically he's slandering Emanuel just to make a point that this slander is wrong.
11.6.2008 6:19pm
cvt:

Right. And his response is, don't worry he's a liberal who wants peace, so he's not a Likudnik, don't worry about his family background. On the other had, a non-liberal Jew who wants peace, and who has no ties whatsoever to Likud, still gets called a "Likudnik" if he happens to disagree with MJ Rosenberg and fellow travelers.

I think that mischaracterizes MJ Rosenberg's short piece, but I have to admit that what he said was not very convincing. As a threshold issue, I'd like to know how much influence the chief of staff is likely to have on Israeli/Palestinian issues. Assuming that's alot, I'd like to know whether Emanuel is the type of person who would (1) be uncritically pro-Israel and (2) advocate a war against Iran just because it's a threat to Israel.
11.6.2008 6:20pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Jonah Goldberg at the National Review points out that Emanuel served in the Israeli Defense Forces during the 1991 Gulf War:
Interesting Take [Jonah Goldberg]

From a longtime liberal reader:

His very first appointment? Rahm Emmanuel. Modern Orthodox, spoke Hebrew in his household growing up, wife converted before marriage, volunteered as a civilian for the IDF during the 1991 Gulf War. This guy has every bit the Jewish chops of a Joe Lieberman, an Alan Dershowitz, a Debbie Wasserman Schultz. He is Jewish and pro-Israel through and through and wears it on the outside for everyone to see.

I am hopeful that if, as and when Obama sends out conciliatory feelers to Fatah and even perhaps Hamas, they will get the point that they have in Obama no patsy.


The Jewish angle completely escaped me, and I have to wonder whether it escaped Obama as well. I certainly think that if Emmanuel were an Epsicopalian but in all other ways the same guy, Obama would still want him. But, it's an interesting point.

Emanuel's appointment is a message to more than Hamas. It's a message to Hezbollah and Iran.

I feel better about the chances of Israel surviving Obama's administration.
11.6.2008 6:23pm
Adam J:
Preview is my friend... I meant it's a really silly argument compared to explaining why liberals are wrong to make these accusations.
11.6.2008 6:23pm
DG:
Farrell:

Does slavery and our treatment of Native Americans invalidate the US's right to exist? Name a country and I can come up with an atrocity.
11.6.2008 6:24pm
davidbernstein (mail):
Assuming that's alot, I'd like to know whether Emanuel is the type of person who would (1) be uncritically pro-Israel and (2) advocate a war against Iran just because it's a threat to Israel.
I'd say that's a null set, so you don't have to worry.
11.6.2008 6:28pm
josh:
Yankev:

"If you mean Deir Yassin, they fired on the Israelis, who then allowed the women and children to evacuate, and invited the men to surrender. The men who remained behind were well armed and the Israelis suffered substantial casualties. "

You're correct that the Irgun gets its terrorist label from the massacre at Deir Yassin, but as to the facts of what happened, well ... even Israeli historian Benny Morris (hardly a raving leftist) would agree with you. (See "Righteous Victims," at 208)

("'Deir Yassin is remembered… for the atrocities committed by the IZL and LHI troops during and immediately after the drawn-out battle: Whole families were riddled with bullets… men, women, and children were mowed down as they emerged from houses; individuals were taken aside and shot." Haganah intelligence reported "there were piles of dead. Some of the prisoners moved to places of incarceration, including women and children, were murdered viciously by their captors… LHI members… relate that the IZL men raped a number of Arab girls and murdered them afterward (we don't know if this is true).' Another intelligence operative (who visited the site hours after the event) reported the 'adult males were taken to town Jerusalem in trucks and paraded in the city streets, then taken back to the site and killed… Before they were put on the trucks, the IZL and LHI men searched the women, men, and children [and] took from them all the jewelry and stole their money.' Finally, the 'Haganah made great efforts to hide its part in the operation.'")
11.6.2008 6:31pm
Hoosier:
Apologists are welcome to try and excuse the King David hotel bombing or the Deir Yassin massacre. But, to keep our facts straight, let's remember that these were only a couple of the famous headliner attacks in a decades-long record of terrorism.

They happen to be "a couple" of attacks that Happyshooter named. So some of us responded to them. Why are you shifting ground now?

Look, I will state here and now that I do not blame Amherst for the "smallpox-blanket plan." because there's no evidence that he actually DID that. Does that make me an "apologist" for Anglo-American treatment of Indians? Or does it just make me factually correct? (Not a rhetorical question.)
11.6.2008 6:31pm
Hoosier:
even Israeli historian Benny Morris (hardly a raving leftist) would agree with you. (See "Righteous Victims," at 208)

To cite Morris, and call him "no raving leftist" avoids the changes to his thinking that have occured in the years since he wrote those words.
11.6.2008 6:34pm
winstontwo (mail):

But remember, it's only Republican Jews who get accused of being dual loyalty "Likudniks", (and this is key), regardless of whether they have any ideological or other connections to Likud.

This, folks, is a truly sad case of Obama derangement syndrome.

Bernstein is so entrenched in his knee-jerk thinking that he cannot even conceive that others mental process is any different.
11.6.2008 6:41pm
Robert Farrell (mail):
Why are you shifting ground now?

I'm not "shifting ground." I didn't bring up either of those acts. The attempt -- a futile attempt, in any case -- to justify or excuse those acts of mass murder implies that perhaps the Irgun are not really mass-murdering terrorists, but have been misrepresented. This is a false belief.

I could, indeed, respond to the attempt to whitewash those acts. The real facts of the case are well-known. But the history of Zionism is not to the point; the nature of the Irgun is the point, and there is no need to debate the morality of their most famous acts of slaughter in order to known what that nature is. The broader record of their crimes makes the point decisively.
11.6.2008 6:46pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
cvt,

I don't think you could find an Israeli who s "uncritically pro-Israel", let alone a non-Israeli, so you have nothing to worry about.
11.6.2008 6:47pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Personally, looking at the actual negotiation record, I think the Likud party has actually been a better negotiating partner for the Palestinians than the Labor or Meretz parties (aside from Rabin, who was unusual).

Normally Likud talks tough but also negotiates well. Labor talks nice, but the negotiations tend to be underhanded because they are afraid of public perception if they actually deliver on their promises....
11.6.2008 6:57pm
Turk Turon (mail):
Can I just duck in here under the flying rhetorical ordnance and ask a question? I read the Haaretz article and also in the Jerusalem Post, and I thought I saw a link that said "Obama Taps Israeli For Chief Of Staff".

Does Emanuel hold dual citizenship? Where was he born?

I don't want to start a ridiculous internet rumor, but if I saw this, others did, too.
11.6.2008 7:02pm
Steve:
Emanuel was born in Chicago. They are probably referring to the fact that his father was an immigrant from Israel.
11.6.2008 7:18pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
I doubt Emmanuel holds dual citizenship due to his oath of office as a Congressman, but it would not be surprising if he had held it before then. I've known a number of people who did.
11.6.2008 7:18pm
Derrick (mail):
This post was a true disaster from the very beginning. Not a shred of evidential basis, poor reasoning and an illogical conclusion based upon a hypothetical. Hopefully, people will refuse to comment as to not engage in a needless debate based upon the ridiculous point that Mr. Bernstein was failing to make.
11.6.2008 7:21pm
cvt:

I don't think you could find an Israeli who is "uncritically pro-Israel", let alone a non-Israeli, so you have nothing to worry about.

I was trying to use a non-pejorative synonym for what MJ Rosenberg would call an "AIPAC stooge" and others would call Likudnik. AIPAC has members and follows, and I would consider them uncritically pro-Israel. Also, there are others, Sarah Palin is an example, who believe one should never second guess Israel.
11.6.2008 7:21pm
Katl L (mail):
Do you mean there used to be democrats who were members of the KKK and in the Senate?

Perhaps no, but Al Gore Denior opposed the Civil Rights act.
and THE filibuster was a democrat
11.6.2008 7:33pm
Pitman (mail) (www):
The Irgun is a good example of a group that at one time used terrorism, and was eventually incorporated into the political process. It wasn't pretty, nor did it happen overnight. Many people in Israel to this day haven't forgiven the other side, i.e. Herut/Labor for what went on sixty years ago. Begin as PM upheld the law more than Ben-Gurion, Rabin and Peres combined, whose Labor Party was notorious for ignoring the law when it didn't suit them. The use of "Likudnik" shows that someone doesn't really know Israeli politics. "Herutnik" is the real name for Begin, Tzipi Livni's parents, etc. Ben-Gurion once said that he would form a government coalition with anyone except Herut and Maki (the communists).
11.6.2008 7:34pm
Yankev (mail):

I was trying to use a non-pejorative synonym for what MJ Rosenberg would call an "AIPAC stooge" and others would call Likudnik. AIPAC has members and follows
Which shows the absurdity of the whole Likkudnik label. AIPAC tends to take its cues from whichever party is in power in Israel at the time. To paraphrase whoever it was, when someone says "Joe Shmo is a Likkudnik", he usually means "I don't think much of Joe Sho and I don't think much of the Likkud either."

As to Mr. Ferrell's complaints, which have been well ansered by others, I have not attempted to whitewash or apologize for anything. I have simply tried to add perspective to a post that omitted a number of crucial facts.
11.6.2008 7:37pm
LM (mail):
einhverfr,

Normally Likud talks tough but also negotiates well. Labor talks nice, but the negotiations tend to be underhanded because they are afraid of public perception if they actually deliver on their promises...

I agree, except for 2000. I just don't buy that Arafat's account was the only honest one, while Barak, Bill Clinton and Dennis Ross are all telling the same lie. And according to all of the latter, Barak didn't shy away from offering concessions that would have guaranteed him plenty of domestic grief if Arafat hadn't reneged.
11.6.2008 7:48pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

I just don't buy that Arafat's account was the only honest one, while Barak, Bill Clinton and Dennis Ross are all telling the same lie.


I do (except for the idea that Arafat was honest-- maybe a credible negotiator, but not honest), base on the fact that:

1) Barak sabotaged negotiations with Assad of Syria aimed at returning Golan to Syria in exchange for peace. Barak was insisting that Golan be handed back essentially without water rights an without access to the Sea of Galilee.

2) Looking at the propose maps endorsed by Clinton, it was security boundaries all across the West Bank. Everyone was saying at the time "this is the best Israel will ever offer." It was wrong then.

3) Barak was criticized by Ha'aretz for floating the idea of making a portion of the Arab Triangle part of the PA and stripping many Arab Israelis of Israeli citizenship.

4) Barak's characterization of the Arab Israelis has been far more negative than *any* Likud president in memory.
11.6.2008 8:14pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

The Irgun is a good example of a group that at one time used terrorism, and was eventually incorporated into the political process.


And Irgun was hardly terrorist compared to the Stern Gang (which later-PM Yitzack Shamir would help to run at the time when they were seeking aid from the Nazis and claiming ideological parallels with the NSDAP in Germany....).
11.6.2008 8:17pm
a knight (mail) (www):
How dare anyone question the loyalty of Douglas Feith or Michael Ledeen?
11.6.2008 8:21pm
cvt:
From the Jerusalum Post, not the best endorsement for Rahm Emanuel that I have have heard:

In an interview with Ma'ariv, Emanuel's father, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, said he was convinced that his son's appointment would be good for Israel. "Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel," he was quoted as saying. "Why wouldn't he be? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House."
11.6.2008 8:24pm
Latinist:
There's something a little bizarre about this whole discussion: does anyone know anything about Emanuel's actual opinions about Israel, the Middle East, anything related? Has he ever said anything relevant? Voted on anything? It seems unlikely that he wouldn't have, but has no one here yet thought it might be relevant?
11.6.2008 8:37pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
You realize that you're quoting a four-year-old article about an investigation of Feith's office that in the ensuing four years has come up with nothing, right?
11.6.2008 8:39pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Oh, and I'm not going to read all the Ledeen links, you want to tell us which one states that he's disloyal and provides evidence?
11.6.2008 8:40pm
Latinist:
All right, I find that Rosenberg claims Emanuel was involved in Oslo (and got emotional about it), and says that he supports peace, though he doesn't give any specifics.

So here's a test for this post's claim: are there a lot of Republican politicians who have been called "Likudniks," etc., even though they supported the Oslo agreement? If not, I don't think you can make accusations of inconsistency (though the name "Likudnik" still might be used unfairly).
11.6.2008 8:41pm
Latinist:
Also, hold on: if Weiss is accusing Emanuel of being a neocon, doesn't that undermine the claim that only Republicans are subject to these accusations? Perplexed. Explain.
11.6.2008 8:43pm
Mike S.:
David--If you don't want to be called a Likudnik, may I suggest saying "led by Menachem Begin" rather than "led my [sic]Menachem Begin" Some might imagine that to be a Freudian slip :)
11.6.2008 8:44pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Because Wiess's blog isn't for leftists, it's for "white nationalists" and other assorted "right-wing" anti-Semitic loons. (Yes, I know it's sick, given that Weiss is Jewish and apparently somewhat left-wing himself, but it's the only audience he can get for his ravings).
11.6.2008 8:52pm
Latinist:
All right, but then it's just irrelevant to this post, right?

In any case, I still have my previous question: are there actual examples of Republicans whose actual Israel-related credentials are similar to, or to the "left" of, Emanuel's, but have nevertheless been tagged as "Likudniks"?
11.6.2008 8:58pm
Bleepless:
Anti-Semites always have had their favorite Jews. I call your attention to Benjamin Freedman, the major financier of the "Common Sense" hate sheet, and Henry H. Klein, a writer of anti-Semitic pamphlets and defense attorney in the 1944 mass sedition trial.
11.6.2008 9:05pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
Latinist,

It can safely be said that an American who spoke Hebrew at home in his youth, and who as an adult went to Israel for the specific purpose of serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, when Israel was under attack by an Arab country, and did in fact serve in an Israeli uniform, has clear and definite opinions about the continued existence of Israel.

And I don't think this point is unknown to President-elect Obama.
11.6.2008 9:18pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
I think a better question would be whether there are any Republican Jews who have been called "Likudniks" whose views re Israel are more bellicose than their views on foreign policy in general. Wolfowitz, for one, is the opposite, and he's certainly been called a Likudnik. But if someone generally has bellicose views on foreign policy, it's hardly surprising they'd be skeptical of deals with someone like Arafat, and thus ridiculous to attribute this to being a "likudnik" as opposed to just being consistent. And, as I've pointed out, "Likudnik" is sometimes just used against any Jew whose "right-wing" views on any given subject you don't like. Both Eugene and I have been called "Likudniks," for example.
11.6.2008 9:22pm
MarkField (mail):
It seems to me that the more relevant post in response to this appointment would be one criticizing all those who suggested during the campaign that Obama would not protect Israel, that he was a secret Muslim, that Obama would have trouble getting the votes of Jewish voters, etc.
11.6.2008 9:42pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
MarkField,

My concern there was about Obama protecting anyone, including us, because he is an extreme leftist for a major Democratic elected official.
11.6.2008 9:46pm
Latinist:
David Bernstein:
I think a better question would be whether there are any Republican Jews who have been called "Likudniks" whose views re Israel are more bellicose than their views on foreign policy in general.

I really fail to understand why that would be a better question.

Look, I take the point (and I think it's right, though I admit I don't know much about this issue) that "Likudnik" is a term used unfairly, with no real reference to Likud, and maybe sometimes anti-Semitically. But your post was making a different claim: that Republicans and Democrats are held to different standards of "Likudnik-ness," where Republicans are accused of it based on totally irrelevant factors (Judaism, hawkishness in other areas of foreign policy, etc.), and Democrats or not.

Rosenberg et al. would presumably reply: "no, I call people 'Likudniks' without regard to party affiliation, based on their opinions on matters related to Israel. David Bernstein is a stronger supporter of Israel than Rahm Emanuel, and that's why I call him, and not Emanuel, a Likudnik." If that's true, the claim that the name was unfair and deceptive might stand, but the claim of a double standard would not.

There are two obvious ways to give evidence that the relevant criterion is party (or broader politics) rather than position on Israel: give an example of (1) a Republican who is not much of a supporter of Israel, but still gets tarred as a Likudnik; or (2) a Democrat who is strongly pro-Israel, but doesn't get so tarred. So far I haven't seen an example of either of those. (Unless you're saying Wolfowitz is one, in which case I misunderstood -- what are his views on Israel?)
11.6.2008 9:58pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
There are two obvious ways to give evidence that the relevant criterion is party (or broader politics) rather than position on Israel: give an example of (1) a Republican who is not much of a supporter of Israel, but still gets tarred as a Likudnik; or (2) a Democrat who is strongly pro-Israel, but doesn't get so tarred. So far I haven't seen an example of either of those. (Unless you're saying Wolfowitz is one, in which case I misunderstood -- what are his views on Israel?)
There were LOTS of very pro-Israel Democrats in the Clinton administration, none called Likudniks, but that was before the term was coined. Wolfowitz is pretty dovish on Israel, I don't know about his specific position on Israel. Rosenberg himself claims to be pro-Israel, but dovishly.

So, the question is, if you are pro-Israel, to Rosenberg's right on Israel, and a liberal Democrat, are you a Likudnik? Emanuel apparently is not. But he supported Oslo, Rosenberg says! He even got Rabin to shake Arafat's hand! Whatever, he was working for Clinton, what choice did he have?

Anyway, my key point is that Republican Jews who have nothing to do with Likud are often called Likudniks just based on the fact that they are Jewish, Republican, and pro-Israel. If they are Jewish, Democrats, and pro-Israel, there is at least a presumption of "good will".
11.6.2008 10:08pm
Joey33 (mail):
I gotta question if you are really jewish. I always hear that jews have this tremendous sense of guilt and remorse. But you, you spend the last year trying to link Barack Obama and other democrats to anti-semitic nut jobs, and when you're proven wrong, all you can do is snark. I'm guessing you're a closet Methodist.
11.6.2008 10:10pm
sbron:
My quarrel with Rahm Emmanuel is on the "National Question", i.e. is the United States a country with well-defined borders and a common culture. Rep. Emmanuel has an F-grade from Americans for Better Immigration due to his support for amnesty and votes against laws cracking down on illegal immigration. This is where I am sad to say the "white nationalists" have a point -- they criticize Jewish politicians who on one hand favor the wall along the pre-67 border, but oppose the fence on the Mexican border. I suspect Rep. Emmanuel supports the idea of Israel as a country with secure borders and a common language, but he gives no indication of granting the U.S. the same privilege. As the President-elect says, our children must learn Spanish.
11.6.2008 10:24pm
PC:
But you, you spend the last year trying to link Barack Obama and other democrats to anti-semitic nut jobs, and when you're proven wrong, all you can do is snark.

c|n>m

Is Prof. Bernstein a Snarkundnik?
11.6.2008 10:25pm
sbron:
It should also be emphasized that Irgun and the youth wing Betar saved the lives of thousands of Jews in the late 30s by sending refugee ships to Palestine. I think most people do not understand how awful the situation in central Europe and the Baltic states was for Jews even before the German invasion -- Irgun and Betar offered one of the few ways out.

Perhaps politicians like Rahm Emmanuel who favor amnesty and an open border with Mexico should also recall that the latter country closed its borders to Jewish refugees in 1937. Mexico could have saved tens of thousands of Jews and chose not to.
11.6.2008 10:30pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
But you, you spend the last year trying to link Barack Obama and other democrats to anti-semitic nut jobs
Barack Obama is, in fact, closely linked to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who is a nutjob, though I've never claimed he is anti-Semitic, just that he is tolerant of it (as his award to Farrakahn shows). I don't recall linking Obama to anyone else that would raise questions of anti-Semtism, except pointing out that he was chummier with Al Sharpton than any reasonable person should be. As for Wright, pointing out the links is not the same as "trying to link," given that Obama himself doesn't deny the link.

I'm also quite aware that Obama's campaign manager Axelrod is Jewish, as were most of his biggest donors.

But if you want to provide links showing that I actually tried to tie Obama and "other Democrats" to "anti-Semitic nutjobs," I'm all eyes. But I suspect you're either confusing me with someone else, or you've edited what I wrote to fit your own narrative.
11.6.2008 11:01pm
DG:
{As the President-elect says, our children must learn Spanish.}

Our president-elect is correct, at least in that matter. My daughter is learning spanish and wants to learn french. That will make her more competitive in the global job market and she thinks its cool. I'm as American as it comes, but I remember part of being American is being a leader in the global economy.
11.6.2008 11:16pm
DG:
{3) Barak was criticized by Ha'aretz for floating the idea of making a portion of the Arab Triangle part of the PA and stripping many Arab Israelis of Israeli citizenship. }

What's wrong with a territorial swap? If there are a bunch of Jews on one side of the green line and a bunch of Arabs on the other why not adjust the borders so that people can stay in their homes? I'm not saying to strip citizenship, but an oath of loyalty is appropriate.

The green line was a cease-fire line, not a reasonable or sensible internationally recognized boundary. If everyone ends up whole, why insist on a line whose only justification was where the bullets stopped flying?
11.6.2008 11:22pm
winstontwo (mail):
Yep, Obama derangement syndrome in full bloom.
11.6.2008 11:31pm
MarkField (mail):

My concern there was about Obama protecting anyone, including us, because he is an extreme leftist for a major Democratic elected official.


I didn't have you in mind. While I don't agree with you, I don't recall you making any posts of the type I mentioned. I actually had in mind things like the PA GOP stuff.

Off memory, though, I think Prof. Bernstein did predict last spring that Obama would get a lower percentage of the Jewish vote than Kerry. Not so -- he got higher.
11.6.2008 11:59pm
Robert Farrell (mail):
The green line was a cease-fire line, not a reasonable or sensible internationally recognized boundary. If everyone ends up whole, why insist on a line whose only justification was where the bullets stopped flying?

Here, here. We can divide the land equally -- fifty-fifty. Or go back to the partition plan of 1947. There's nothing sacred about the Green Line except that it is the only shread of an excuse the Jewish minority has for claiming control over 78% percent of the land. And yet they can't even agree on leaving the 22%! Truly, "Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make blind."

Getting back to the point of the original post, it is indeed unfair -- even absurd -- to accuse neoconservatives of dual loyality while giving rabid Zionists on the left a pass. If this has happened -- the author does not cite examples -- it's wrong. It also misses the point, because the real problem is not that a few members of the foreign policy establishment are in the tank for Israel (although clearly, there are such people). It is that the entire political establishment is absolutely reflexive in its fawning over our little South Africa on the Levant (see Obama's speech to AIPAC -- the one where he endorses a "United Jerusalem" -- he also shakes hands and plays dead). Singling out a few Jews who speak Hebrew makes no sense.

It's like finding out somebody's Dad supports ethanol subsidies, on the embargo on Cuba. 'Cause the point is, everybody's on board with this particular bad idea. Zionists don't need insiders working for them while the entire political establishment will lick their boots on command.
11.7.2008 12:08am
Robert Farrell (mail):
Or to put it another way: people who denounce "Likudniks" are, in their implication, confusing cause and effect. They want us to conclude that "Likudniks" are distorting American policy. But it's the other way around -- our distorted policy and uncritical acceptance of Israeli hasbara are what produces "Likudniks."

Truly, it is passing strange that people who are so strongly identified by religion, language and even military service to a foreign nation are readily accepted into the highest counsels of the foreign policy elite. Wouldn't happen with Chinese Americans -- heck, it wouldn't happen with the French.

As a result you have absurd situations, as when Clinton's chief negotiator in making peace between Israelis and Palestinians, Dennis Ross, is a passionate Zionist who went to work for the Lobby at the end of the administration. Does having someone so clearly identified with one side as a lead mediator make any sort of sense at all from a purely practical perspective?

But here's the thing. We tolerate this -- both the Washington elites and the voters tolerate it -- because we have sided with the Jewish colonists and accepted them at their own valuation -- as peace-loving Westerners besieged by irrational, evil brown hordes. Ridiculously Israel-centric people are in positions of power in our government BECAUSE our government is ridiculously Israel-centric AND NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
11.7.2008 12:37am
LM (mail):
einhverfr:

I just don't buy that Arafat's account was the only honest one, while Barak, Bill Clinton and Dennis Ross are all telling the same lie.

I do (except for the idea that Arafat was honest-- maybe a credible negotiator, but not honest), base on the fact that:

1) Barak sabotaged negotiations with Assad of Syria aimed at returning Golan to Syria in exchange for peace. Barak was insisting that Golan be handed back essentially without water rights an without access to the Sea of Galilee.

2) Looking at the propose maps endorsed by Clinton, it was security boundaries all across the West Bank. Everyone was saying at the time "this is the best Israel will ever offer." It was wrong then.

3) Barak was criticized by Ha'aretz for floating the idea of making a portion of the Arab Triangle part of the PA and stripping many Arab Israelis of Israeli citizenship.

4) Barak's characterization of the Arab Israelis has been far more negative than *any* Likud president in memory.


Even assuming all that is correct, I don't see how it addresses my point. If you believe what Barak, Ross and Clinton say, Barak offered Arafat 90+% of the WB, including East Jerusalem, 100% of Gaza, a piece of Israeli Negev, a more or less token-scale right of physical return and a process and fund to be determined for compensating dispossessed Palestinians not offered return. Arafat didn't counter-offer. He simply rejected Barak's offer and the 2d Intifada ensued.

You can argue that Barak's offer was inadequate, unfair, whatever. You can say all four of the things on your list. But you can't say Barak didn't make a serious, credible offer which, especially since it anticipated an even more generous (to the Palestinians) counter-offer by Arafat, was at least approaching the limits of what could have been sold domestically in Isreal. In other words, there was no better offer Likud could have made that would have changed the result, and it's unlikely Likud would have made a better offer at all.
11.7.2008 12:41am
Robert Farrell (mail):
LM, one of the many problems with the standard Zionist history, which you ably summarize, is that it completely ignores the Taba talks, which followed the Camp David talks you are describing and which Barak, not Arafat, pulled the plug on.

Also Barak did not offer "east Jerusalem" but rather partial controlled over some East Jerusalem neighborhoods. That "90% of the West Bank" was split into three isolated cantons surrounded by Israel territory. Israel, under the proposal, would have retained control of the airspace, the borders, and the right to send military forces into the Palestinian area at their sole discertion.

That's not an independant state; it's Bantustans. And I agree with you, as it happens, that the Likud would not have offered anything better, because the Bantustan model is the only form of Palestinian "statehood" that a working majority of Israeli jews are willing to accept. A truly independent Palestinian state is reguarded as an intolerable security risk. Hence the continued conflict, which is based not in Palestinian rejection of the two-state solution, but rather in Israeli rejectionism.
11.7.2008 1:35am
einhverfr (mail) (www):

Even assuming all that is correct, I don't see how it addresses my point. If you believe what Barak, Ross and Clinton say, Barak offered Arafat 90+% of the WB, including East Jerusalem, 100% of Gaza, a piece of Israeli Negev, a more or less token-scale right of physical return and a process and fund to be determined for compensating dispossessed Palestinians not offered return. Arafat didn't counter-offer. He simply rejected Barak's offer and the 2d Intifada ensued.

Look at the maps. The remaining 10% of the WB did not include security zones consisting of:

1) Buffer zones around the West Bank

2) internal security control zones which more or less allowed Israel to continually lock down the WB at their will under the agreement.

Also the Negev was the part occupied by Beduin Arabs holding Israeli citizenship, and this was part of Barak's plan to revoke Israeli citizenship of Arabs. I think Turkish PM Erdogan (generally friendly towards Israel) has characterized all such plans fairly by comparing them to some very negative experiences the Jews had in Europe (Spain, 1492).
11.7.2008 2:38am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Besides, the core idea of Bush's plan really is a legitimate 2-state solution including a fully independent Palestinian State, governing its own borders, with its own military and police force, including essentially all of the WB and Gaza. It might only go to 90% but that still means the difference with the Clinton plan is independence rather than occupation.

The other problem was the settlement expansion which has continued to this day (though substantially slowed by Sharon).
11.7.2008 2:41am
davidddf (mail):

We tolerate this -- both the Washington elites and the voters tolerate it


How horrible that our policies reflect the will of the majority.
11.7.2008 5:19am
davidddf (mail):
Haim Saban is a major target of Israel-haters in liberal blogs.

More so than than Sheldon Adelson.
11.7.2008 5:23am
Robert Farrell (mail):
How horrible that our policies reflect the will of the majority.

Straw man alert. I did not say that it was horrible that our policies reflected the will of the majority. I implied that it was unfortunate that this stupid policy in favored by the majority (in the course of saying that it is favored because of how it is framed in voter's minds, not because certain insiders have a bias).

By your logic, we can never disapprove of any policy approved by the voters, since "the will of the majority" cannot be seriously wrong. I very much doubt you have the same regard for the wisdom of the crowd when you happen to be in disagreement with it.
11.7.2008 7:02am
davidddf (mail):
So who would should an average American feel sympathy for and a sense of shared values ?

Hamas ? Fatah ? Hizbullah ? Assad ? The House of Saud ? The clerical junta of Tehran ?

Must be some strong propaganda that clouds our perceptions of these enlightened humanitarian elements.
11.7.2008 9:09am
sbron:
These complaints about Jewish settlements on the West Bank as an obstacle to "peace" really bother me. American Jews who support secure Israeli borders but an open border with Mexico are certainly hypocrites. But domestic open-borders Leftists who complain about Israeli settlements are equally at fault. Cities like Santa Ana in California (perhapt 50% illegal alien residents) and many parts of Los Angeles are de-facto Mexican settlements. A recent LA Times article even bemoaned that Salvadorans and Guatemalans are forced to adopt Mexican accents and culture in order to fit in. That's right libertarians, assimilation in LA means assimilation to Mexico.

But while Hamas and their American Leftist fellow travellers condone violent means to remove Jewish settlements, not even the staunchest immigration restrictionist in the U.S. advocate violence towards the residents of Santa Ana. The strongest measures proposed by people like Mark Krikorian and Tom Tancredo is attrition through enforcement of hiring laws. The Mexican residents of Santa Ana claim a blood right to California based on 26 years of Mexican ownership, but Jews whose history goes back thousands of years on the West Bank are given no such allowance by the Left.
11.7.2008 9:32am
Yankev (mail):

Truly, it is passing strange that people who are so strongly identified by religion, language and even military service to a foreign nation are readily accepted into the highest counsels of the foreign policy elite. Wouldn't happen with Chinese Americans -- heck, it wouldn't happen with the French.
Am I the only one who smells something here?

For what it's worth, Mr. Farell, the average Israeli is Jewish ethnically but does not subscribe to the Jewish religion, and in many cases is hostile toward or resentful of those who do.
11.7.2008 9:41am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Here, here. We can divide the land equally -- fifty-fifty. Or go back to the partition plan of 1947. There's nothing sacred about the Green Line except that it is the only shread of an excuse the Jewish minority has for claiming control over 78% percent of the land. And yet they can't even agree on leaving the 22%! Truly, "Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make blind."
78% of which land, exactly? If we're going to revive old debates, might as well point out that Israel exists on about 19% of "Palestine," not 78%.
11.7.2008 11:42am
Robert Farrell (mail):
If we're going to revive old debates, might as well point out that Israel exists on about 19% of "Palestine," not 78%.

No, David, that's a myth. Transjordan was never a part of Palestine. That's pure Revisionist propaganda based on the fact that Britian administered both territories on behalf of the UN for a while.
11.7.2008 12:52pm
Robert Farrell (mail):
For what it's worth, Mr. Farell, the average Israeli is Jewish ethnically but does not subscribe to the Jewish religion, and in many cases is hostile toward or resentful of those who do.

What is your point, exactly? Your comment doesn't seem to relate to what I said or to support your assertion that it "smells." It's also doubly false: first, there is no such thing as an "average Israeli" in a society divided between religious and secular, Ashkenazi and non-Ashkenazi, olim and sabras. There are a million Russian Jews and a half a million ultra-Orthodox. And let's not forget the quarter of Israelis who are not Jewish. So spare me your sterotype of the "average Israeli."

Secondly, while most American Jews are not religiously observant, most Israeli Jews are. And while the fading secular Ashkenazi elite may resent people who impose religion on them, no one thinks they have the firmness of conviction to actually stand up to the Jewish fundmentalists who grow in numbers, power and confidence day by day.
11.7.2008 1:02pm
DG:
The lovely thing about Mr. Farrell, like all of his ilk, is that the longer he speaks, the more his inner motivations come to the surface. In about ten comments, he'll be calling for gas chambers in Kansas.
11.7.2008 1:27pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

These complaints about Jewish settlements on the West Bank as an obstacle to "peace" really bother me. American Jews who support secure Israeli borders but an open border with Mexico are certainly hypocrites. But domestic open-borders Leftists who complain about Israeli settlements are equally at fault.


The difference is we aren't going into Mexico, claiming land and building settlements there by force. If we were, I would be opposed to that as well.

If the land was bought on the open market, that would be one thing. For land to be confiscated and built upon is a different matter. Open borders do not mean that we extend US eminent domain to areas in Mexico....
11.7.2008 1:41pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

What's wrong with a territorial swap? If there are a bunch of Jews on one side of the green line and a bunch of Arabs on the other why not adjust the borders so that people can stay in their homes? I'm not saying to strip citizenship, but an oath of loyalty is appropriate.


it is not a matter of the territory swap.

It was a matter of the implication that the residents of the territory swapped would be stripped of their citizenship on the basis of ethnicity.
11.7.2008 1:43pm
DG:
{The difference is we aren't going into Mexico, claiming land and building settlements there by force. If we were, I would be opposed to that as well. }

Many Mexicans strongly disagree with you on that, as I suspect you know. They see little difference between the west bank and the "American" southwest. And, from an international law POV, I am not sure they are wrong.
11.7.2008 2:51pm
LM (mail):
einhverfr and Farrell,

You're both debating a straw man. Putting aside such ongoing controversies as which maps accurately describe what was proposed at Camp David, I never said I thought Barak's offer was fair or that Arafat should have accepted it as is. For one thing, "fair" is too subjective a concept to be useful. Whatever terms the parties agree to are the ones I'll support. As for Taba, yes Barak pulled the plug because by that point, so close to Israeli elections and without the prestige of Clinton's direct participation as a backstop, Barak's negotiating authority was untenable. At least he believed so, and the election results seem to bear that out. Clinton, Ross, Saudi Arabia, and many Europeans sympathetic to the Palestinians held Arafat responsible for the Camp David breakdown because they recognized he squandered a fleeting opportunity. By letting the moment pass without a counter-proposal, he disregarded that the political environments in Israel and the US would soon be materially different and less conducive to the concessions Israel would have to make. And such it was by the time discussions were picked up at Taba.

But again, all that is commentary. I was only responding to einhverfr's assertion about Labor and Likud's track records negotiating with Arabs. And I stand by my statement that Barak went as far or further at Camp David than Sharon would have, especially when you consider that his proposal was an offer, not a final take it or leave it position. It has to be viewed as anticipating further concessions in response to the counter-offer that never came, and possibly adjustments in response to reactions from other quarters (e.g., the Bedouins).
11.7.2008 4:44pm
Robert Farrell (mail):
The lovely thing about Mr. Farrell, like all of his ilk, is that the longer he speaks, the more his inner motivations come to the surface.

And then he says:

In about ten comments, he'll be calling for gas chambers in Kansas.

Your first statement would seem to be what in psychology they call "projection." Hater, heal thyself.
11.7.2008 8:19pm
Robert Farrell (mail):
No, LM, I am not arguing with a straw man. You said this:

If you believe what Barak, Ross and Clinton say, Barak offered Arafat 90+% of the WB, including East Jerusalem, 100% of Gaza, a piece of Israeli Negev, a more or less token-scale right of physical return and a process and fund to be determined for compensating dispossessed Palestinians not offered return. Arafat didn't counter-offer. He simply rejected Barak's offer and the 2d Intifada ensued.

First, the claim that "He simply rejected Barak's offer and the 2d Intifada ensued" is demonstrably false, given that the talks continued at Taba and Barak broke them off.

Second, you ignore the fact that I agree with you -- Likud would have done no better (one does not usually set up straw men in order to agree with them). I also agree with you that Barak was cut off by the Israeli electorate's revulsion at his peace moves.

Where we disagree is that you want to say that no Israeli could have made peace with Arafat, whereas I think the record shows that no Israeli would have made peace with Arafat, because only a tiny minority of Israelis favored (or favors) a peace of equals from which two completely soverign nations would emerge.

For the record, let me add that many people have disputed the Ross-Barak-Clinton stories, which, if you read their accounts, even in their self-serving recollections drip with arrogance, condesion, and an ahistorical, hypocritical outrage coupled with misplaced self-regard.
11.7.2008 8:36pm
LM (mail):
Robert Farrell:

First, the claim that "He simply rejected Barak's offer and the 2d Intifada ensued" is demonstrably false, given that the talks continued at Taba and Barak broke them off.

They didn't continue. They were re-started after the intervening event of Arafat's rejection. And it was that rejection, as Arafat was warned by Prince Bandar, that swept Sharon into office and doomed any subsequent attempt to re-start talks before Barak left office, e.g., Taba.

only a tiny minority of Israelis favored (or favors) a peace of equals from which two completely soverign nations would emerge.

I'd appreciate seeing your basis for this claim. But let's assume you have such a basis. It can only depend on how one defines the terms. Because as I understand "peace of equals" and "sovereign nation," the opinion polling of Israelis has long and consistently said otherwise.

For the record, let me add that many people have disputed the Ross-Barak-Clinton stories, which, if you read their accounts, even in their self-serving recollections drip with arrogance, condesion, and an ahistorical, hypocritical outrage coupled with misplaced self-regard.

Smearing the messenger is thin gruel. Anyway, yes, many dispute the consistent reports of Barak, Clinton and Ross, and most who do, e.g., Chomsky and Finkelstein, weren't there. Barack, Clinton and Ross were. Nabil Amr, in a classic statement against interest (he was subsequently "mysteriously" shot) agreed with Barak, Clinton and Ross. As did Prince Bandar, whose country does not officially recognize the State of Israel. For the record.
11.8.2008 12:02am
neurodoc:
Since when? Do you mean there used to be democrats who were members of the KKK and in the Senate? Or are you referencing some weird Internet rumor?
Robert Farrell, you broadcast your ignorance right out of the box with that one. (I see others have educated you to the fact that Senator Byrd [D-WV], former Senate majority leader, was an enthusiastic, unabashed KKKer back when he could get away with it. In recent years, there have been fewer expressions of racist thinking by him, but still some on occasion.) Then, lest anyone think you are only uninformed about KKKers in the Senate, you make unequivocally clear who/what you are with that "anti-Zionist" rant. Thanks for being so frank with us.
11.8.2008 10:46am
neurodoc:
Steve, Senator Byrd is well along in years, but it wasn't that long ago that he was a Klan recruiter and complaining about integration of the military. As recently as 2001, he was going on about "white niggers," and since that time he has published an autobiography that plays loose with the truth of his racist record.
11.8.2008 10:51am
neurodoc:
I also think Johnson should have nuked Israel for the attack on a US warship.
So Happyshooter, were you calling for the nuking of Iraq when it hit the USS Stark with two Exocet missiles while it was in international waters? Or is it only the Jewish state that you would have had us nuke?

Since that is what you would have had Johnson do, I think it a tad disingenuous for you to say as you do now, "I was once very close to opposing Israel's right to exist." It sounds like you would be quite willing to have it cease to exist, and might support those who would actually make it happen.

Assure us, if you will, that you are only "anti-Zionist," not antisemitic. It is so hard to tell the difference sometimes.
11.8.2008 11:09am
neurodoc:
...Emanuel served in the Israeli Defense Forces during the 1991 Gulf War...volunteered as a civilian for the IDF during the 1991 Gulf War.
Within the US Department of Defense there are hundreds of thousands who work for the military, but not serving in the military. That is, I think, an important distinction, though I accept (gladly) that it says something about what sort of person Emanuel is.

Those who might like to emulate Emanuel should have a look at www.vfi-usa.org. (Sorry, have never been able to create links here using the "link" function. Don't know why either.)
11.8.2008 11:23am
neurodoc:
...those that crippled Palestinian detainees as a matter of policy (Rabin again).
Robert Farrell, what do you have in support of that canard, a new one to me?

Also, so we may get some perspective on your "anti-Zionism," would you tell us what you think of Israel's Arab enemies, starting with the Mufti of Jerusalem and continuing up to the present with Haniyeh, Nasralleh, and others in the pantheon of their heroes.
11.8.2008 11:35am
neurodoc:
what MJ Rosenberg would call an "AIPAC stooge"
It should be noted that 20 years ago, before he had a on-the-road-to-Damascus experience, MJ Rosenberg was an AIPAC stalwart himself, editing the Near East Report. And as an aside, let it be noted that MJ has had more banal letters-to-the-editor published in a greater number of newspapers and magazines then anyone else I can think of.

(Oops, I see that I misspelled "Nasrallah." Would want to see any of the credit for evil he is due go to the wrong person.)
11.8.2008 11:41am
neurodoc:
This is where I am sad to say the "white nationalists" have a point -- they criticize Jewish politicians who on one hand favor the wall along the pre-67 border, but oppose the fence on the Mexican border. I suspect Rep. Emmanuel supports the idea of Israel as a country with secure borders and a common language, but he gives no indication of granting the U.S. the same privilege.
Remind us, if you would, when the last suicide bombing or other terrorist attack on the US was carried out by those crossing our border with Mexico. Not saying there is no reason for concern about our porous southern border, but am saying that there isn't much in common between our own border issues with pacific neighbors and Israel's with anything but pacific ones.


This is where I am sad to say the "white nationalists" have a point -- they criticize Jewish politicians who on one hand favor the wall along the pre-67 border, but oppose the fence on the Mexican border. I suspect Rep. Emmanuel supports the idea of Israel as a country with secure borders and a common language, but he gives no indication of granting the U.S. the same privilege.
11.8.2008 5:24pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

Remind us, if you would, when the last suicide bombing or other terrorist attack on the US was carried out by those crossing our border with Mexico. Not saying there is no reason for concern about our porous southern border, but am saying that there isn't much in common between our own border issues with pacific neighbors and Israel's with anything but pacific ones.


I, for one, am very concerned about the rise of military-like drug gangs just off our southern border.

The only real issue with the fence in Israel is that it is prejudicial with regard to what a final peace settlement will look like. Personally, I think that a good compromise would be to give Israeli citizenship to any people whose land was confiscated to build the fence, but that isn't going to happen. Otherwise, it isn't comparable in the sense that Israel isnt building the fence on their own territory....
11.9.2008 4:26pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

So Happyshooter, were you calling for the nuking of Iraq when it hit the USS Stark with two Exocet missiles while it was in international waters? Or is it only the Jewish state that you would have had us nuke?


You know, it is funny that you mention the Stark in relationship to the Liberty.... After all our reaction to the Stark was the same, which was to bolster aid to those who attacked us. I don't think military responses would have been necessary in either cases, but really we should have had a more robust condemnation than "Oops, you hit us by 'accident,' so here is a bunch more foreign aid...."

I do think these are morally equivalent. In the first case, it helped us support the eventual occupation of the West bank and Gaza, and in the second, it made our relationship with Saddam considerably closer....
11.9.2008 4:31pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Robert Farrel wrote:


Where we disagree is that you want to say that no Israeli could have made peace with Arafat, whereas I think the record shows that no Israeli would have made peace with Arafat, because only a tiny minority of Israelis favored (or favors) a peace of equals from which two completely soverign nations would emerge.


I think that if you follow the Israeli press you will see that there is a shift in the direction of two completely sovereign nations. As much as I like to pick on Bush, I think he should be given a great deal of credit for helping to shift the discussion in this direction.
11.9.2008 4:35pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

They didn't continue. They were re-started after the intervening event of Arafat's rejection. And it was that rejection, as Arafat was warned by Prince Bandar, that swept Sharon into office and doomed any subsequent attempt to re-start talks before Barak left office, e.g., Taba.


This doesn't change the fact that even Sharon's administration eventually shifted its rhetoric to support a two-state solution which wasn't even on the table during the Clinton years. You will say this is why Sharon lost the Likud party to Netenyahu, but there is a great deal of irony in this.

After all Netenyahu lost the Likud party to Sharon for negotiations aimed at returning Golan to Syria....
11.9.2008 4:38pm
LM (mail):

This doesn't change the fact that even Sharon's administration eventually shifted its rhetoric to support a two-state solution which wasn't even on the table during the Clinton years.

I'm not sure I'm understanding you correctly. Are you saying Barak (i.e., Israel) didn't offer a two state solution at Camp David (i.e., during the Clinton administration)?
11.9.2008 5:15pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

Are you saying Barak (i.e., Israel) didn't offer a two state solution at Camp David (i.e., during the Clinton administration)?


That is what I am saying. The Camp David proposal was for limited autonomy, but Israel would have still had security control over borders, and a number of other important areas.
11.9.2008 5:23pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
BTW, this seems to be a fairly fair overview of some of the issues in Camp David 2. However here is a different take. It all depends on how you read the maps.

Note, even in the first article, a number of restrictions on border control, foreign policy, and self-defence that were to be placed on the Palestinians. The Palestinians may have, at least by some arguments, mischaracterized some of the land proposals, but the fact is that the proposals did not remove Israeli occupation or allow for substantive sovereignty on the part of the Palestinians.
11.9.2008 5:35pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
In particular, whether Camp David offered the Palestinians a sort of subordinate state of 90% of the territory, or whether it offered them nothing but continued occupation depends on how you treat Area B (Palestinian civil control, Israeli security control). After evaluating the maps, personally, I think the Palestinian characterization of the proposal was relatively accurate.

The key issue is the light-green area (Area B) which would have been under the control of the Israeli military for security purposes, but governed by the PA. Bush's proposals for a 2-state solution with sovereignty over its own territory are inconsistent with this sort of map.
11.9.2008 5:53pm
LM (mail):

That is what I am saying. The Camp David proposal was for limited autonomy, but Israel would have still had security control over borders, and a number of other important areas.

The US and UN imposed some pretty draconian border, security and trade controls over Iraq for about a decade between Gulf wars I and II. That doesn't mean Iraq wasn't a state.
11.9.2008 6:57pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

The US and UN imposed some pretty draconian border, security and trade controls over Iraq for about a decade between Gulf wars I and II. That doesn't mean Iraq wasn't a state.


Iraq didn't need the UN or the US's permission to talk to other countries. The PA would have. And Israel reserved the right to close off West Bank cities for whatever reasons they chose.

It woud be like Iraq between the gulf wars but:
1) No-fly zones PERMANENT and not relating to any specific current policy.
2) Right of the US to come in and decide arbitrarily to cut traffic in and out of Bagdad.
3) No right of Iraq to have an army
4) Right of US military to operate on the ground anywhere outside of heavily populated cities.

At that point, we can't really see Iraq as a state exercising any real sovereignty over its territory.
11.9.2008 8:05pm
Robert Farrell (mail):
They didn't continue. They were re-started after the intervening event of Arafat's rejection.

The talks continued prior to the outbreak of the Second Intifada. Arafat received a poor offer and he turned it down; this was a successful negotiating tactic in that he got a better offer shortly thereafter in Taba. Barak then fled the talks and ignited the Second Intifida, firing (by the IDF's own account) a million bullets over three days at unarmed crowds and stone-throwers.

Because as I understand "peace of equals" and "sovereign nation," the opinion polling of Israelis has long and consistently said otherwise.

Only a tiny minority of Israelis supports a Palestinian state in control of its own borders and airspace, with the same rights to independent armed forces that the state of Israel demands for itself. (Indeed, even the "fantasy" agreement drafted in Geneva by Israeli doves and opposed by the vast majority of Israelis denies the Palestinian state these basic rights.) Israelis would never tolerate a peace treaty that left a hostile state in control of its borders and themselves with the right to a military capable of defending the country.

Two notes to this: one, I sure many Israelis don't perceive that these demands make a peace of equals impossible. This is because they do not think of Palestinians as a people with the same rights as Jews. Their bias prevents them from seeing that the conditions they are demanding make real freedom impossible and further violent conflict inevitable.

Second: the Israelis understandably want a Palestinian state that could not possibly threaten them -- without wanting, naturally, to give up their power to threaten such a state. It's reasonable to be nervous about what the people you have been violently subjugating for the last forty years are going to do with an army on your borders. That's one of the reasons partition didn't work in South Africa -- or America, for that matter:

Physically speaking, we can not separate. We can not remove our respective sections from each other nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other, but the different parts of our country can not do this. They can not but remain face to face, and intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory after separation than before? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war, you can not fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions, as to terms of intercourse, are again upon you.

Partition, in other words, is not the panacea it's being sold as, which is one of the reasons two-state negotiations tend to fall apart


Smearing the messenger is thin gruel.

Actually, I didn't smear the messenger, but rather described the accounts, which I have read.


Anyway, yes, many dispute the consistent reports of Barak, Clinton and Ross.


Thank you for acknowledging that. But three violently pro-Zionist politicians would never ever mischaracterize such a negotiation, would they?

You miss my point. The facts of the case are virtually undisputed. What people debate is the significance of those facts. Ross et al describe the Clinton Administration's effort to shove a one-sided agreement down the Palestinians' throats with threats and whining. Then they blame the Palestinians for the failure of the talks.

Their facts do not support the conclusions they drew.

This is an interesting dispute and historians will have the final word on it. I don't think it as central as you do, however. For the last thirty years, the Palestinians have repeatedly sought talks with the Israelis and been refused, or been granted talks in which the Israeli side refused all efforts to reach a settlement. Sharon's adviser once promised to "bury Oslo" by refusing talks "until the Palestinians become Finns." This expression rather effectively summarizes the Israeli strategy over the last eight years.

Presently you have Hamas saying it will accept the 1967 borders, Fatah under Abbas doing literally everything the israeli government has ever asked it to do, the virtual extinction of suiciding bombing as a tactic, and a three-and-a-half month truce in Gaza which Hamas has honored even after Israel has violated it, killing six.

The point is, on any given day over the past several years the Israelis could have sat down and made the two-state solution a reality. They chose not do. Whomever was to blame for the failure of the talks and the outbreak of the Second Intifada (the Israelis, as a matter of fact) it was not any kind of a turning point. You have fixated on one day when Arafat said no (which lead immediately to a more fruitful back-and-forth) and are ignoring the hundreds of times Israeli leaders have said "no" to the peace they claim to want.
11.10.2008 1:04am
neurodoc:
You know, it is funny that you mention the Stark in relationship to the Liberty.... After all our reaction to the Stark was the same, which was to bolster aid to those who attacked us. I don't think military responses would have been necessary in either cases, but really we should have had a more robust condemnation than "Oops, you hit us by 'accident,' so here is a bunch more foreign aid...."

I do think these are morally equivalent. In the first case, it helped us support the eventual occupation of the West bank and Gaza, and in the second, it made our relationship with Saddam considerably closer.... [einhverfr]


So, you belief that neither the strafing attack on the USS Liberty in '67, nor the missles fired at the USS Stark in '87 were not "accidents?" And you see "moral equivalence" between Israel and Iraq at those respective times? Have you, like Happyshooter, ever been "very close to opposing Israel's right to exist" and/or thought Israel ought to have been "nuked" after the Liberty incident were it not for countervailing strategic considerations?

How did the Liberty incident "help() us support the eventual occupation of the West bank and Gaza"? How did the Stark incident "ma(k)e our relationship with Saddam considerably closer"? I can't begin to imagine an answer to either of those questions, and I don't know what you would cite as evidence that "our relationship with Saddam" was "considerably closer" after the attack Stark. We were giving Saddam considerable help at an earlier time, and the tide of the Iran-Iraq war had by then turned in Iraq's favor with that help. How was our relationship with Saddam "considerably closer" afterwards. And what are the struts of your "moral equivalency" argument, especially the factual ones?
11.10.2008 1:10am
Robert Farrell (mail):
...those that crippled Palestinian detainees as a matter of policy (Rabin again).

Robert Farrell, what do you have in support of that canard, a new one to me?


Google the phrase "break their bones" and see what you get.

Also, so we may get some perspective on your "anti-Zionism,"

Who is "we" and why is "anti-Zionism" in quotation marks? I don't believe I've used the term.


would you tell us what you think of Israel's Arab enemies,


Why should I? I'd say they are people, some worse, some better, some with good reasons to be Israel's enemies, some less so. What is your point? That they are evil and Israel is good? That the region is full of anti-Semites who somehow tricked those nice Jewish people into invading and ethnically cleansing Palestine so they whould have an excuse to attack them (and would be conveniently nearby!)

You don't have an argument here. If you think that the people you mentioned are bad, provide evidence, and tell me what you think the badness means. Then I'll tell you if I agree or not. Of course, however bad they are, it doesn't follow that Zionism is good. Mussolini and Stalin were enemies -- who was the "good" one, do you think?
11.10.2008 1:18am
Robert Farrell (mail):
Robert Farrell, you broadcast your ignorance right out of the box with that one. (I see others have educated you to the fact that Senator Byrd [D-WV], former Senate majority leader, was an enthusiastic, unabashed KKKer back when he could get away with it.

I suggest you avoid broadcasting your own ignorance of what's been said -- and consider toning down your responses, at last until you have something substantive to wave in someone's face.

The original claim was that a member of the Senate was a member of the KKK today. Which is, of course, not true. Of course it's interesting to know that Senator Byrd was once a member of the KKK. I didn't know that. I like to learn stuff on the Internet.

You may be interested to know that you can actually learn things in the course of a discussion, rather than focusing all your energy on picking (and in your case, losing) fights with people. Try it sometime.
11.10.2008 1:31am
LM (mail):
einhverfr,

It woud be like Iraq between the gulf wars but:
1) No-fly zones PERMANENT and not relating to any specific current policy.
2) Right of the US to come in and decide arbitrarily to cut traffic in and out of Bagdad.
3) No right of Iraq to have an army
4) Right of US military to operate on the ground anywhere outside of heavily populated cities.

At that point, we can't really see Iraq as a state exercising any real sovereignty over its territory.

I disagree. Iraq's effective sovereignty would be restricted, but not eliminated. Regardless, the question was whether Palestinians were offered statehood, not whether there were strings attached. And even if we stipulate to your at least arguable characterization of limitations on the proposed state (e.g., "permanence" is a somewhat fantastical notion in geo-political affairs), those limitations would still be empirical only. Juridically, Palestine's statehood would depend only on other states recognizing it as such. And there's no doubt there'd be near universal recognition of Palestinian statehood, the Palestinians' observer seat at the U.N. would convert to member status, etc. In other words, for all legal and diplomatic purposes, Palestine would indeed be a state.
11.10.2008 6:13am
Robert Farrell (mail):
LM,

The thought experiment who recommend to you is this: Palestinians want an independent state. The goal of the Zionist movement prior is/was the establishment of the state of Israel and now maintaining that state (as well as Jewish control of it.) Would the conditions proposed for the Palestinian "state" be accepted by Zionists, either at the time of the state's founding, or today? Would they accept a disarmed state without control of its own airspace or borders?

Clearly not. That's not real sovereignty, regardless of whether other states recognize a Palestinian state de jure.

Indeed this would not be a permanent arrangement; Palestinians would seek to smuggle weapons and perhaps troops into such a state, and ally themselves with other states in the pursuit of real independence. Israel would respond by closing the borders, cutting off the flow of critical supplies and launching raids into Palestinian territory.

It would, in other words, be a reply of the withdrawal from Gaza, in which the removal of the Jewish settlements and troops was followed by an even more petty, cruel, and arbitrary form of occupation.
11.10.2008 8:22am
Robert Farrell (mail):
Should be "I would recommend" not "who recommend" in the first sentence.
11.10.2008 8:24am
Robert Farrell (mail):
Last sentence should read "replay of the withdrawal" not "reply of the withdrawal." I'm going for coffee.
11.10.2008 8:26am
LM (mail):
Robert Farrell

Would the conditions proposed for the Palestinian "state" be accepted by Zionists, either at the time of the state's founding, or today?

Today, no. At the time of its founding we can only speculate. We do know that the 1947 partition accepted by the Zionists and rejected by the Palestinians would have relegated Israel to the dreaded "Bantustans." But what do old narratives accomplish? I'm sure you could recite mine and I yours. I think history vindicates my view. You think the opposite. I blame Arabs for creating the Hebron settlers, and you probably hold Israel responsible for Islamic Jihad. If I claimed I'm more reasonable because I admit your argument actually has some merit, you'd no doubt point out what's wrong with that reasoning and make your own questionable claim of moral superiority. I won't even ask whether you oppose or support the violent extremists on your side, because that would just be another transparent stab at one-upsmanship. Right? :)

Look, when both peoples and their leaders want a solution more than they want vindication and revenge, peace may happen, assuming they're allowed to compromise by everyone else with an agenda. Until then, I'll be convinced the Arabs are preventing peace, and you the Israelis.
11.10.2008 6:25pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
LM wrote:

disagree. Iraq's effective sovereignty would be restricted, but not eliminated. Regardless, the question was whether Palestinians were offered statehood, not whether there were strings attached.


Perhaps. However, I don't think it is statehood in a meaningful sense because the IDF would have been responsible for police work over most of the WB. It certainly was not statehood in the sense that Bush proposed.
11.10.2008 8:29pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
LM also wrote:

Look, when both peoples and their leaders want a solution more than they want vindication and revenge, peace may happen, assuming they're allowed to compromise by everyone else with an agenda. Until then, I'll be convinced the Arabs are preventing peace, and you the Israelis.


Were it that simple. What is really happening is that "The Arabs" mostly want peace, but they also don't want the corruption that Fatah has stood for, and they don't want the Israeli Settlements to continue their forced expansion. This lets the right-wing groups like Hamas build their power.

Similarly, the Israelis want peace by and large, but Israeli politics is really screwed up, and the way the Knesset is structured, one generally needs support from the 2% fringe. This means that for a long time the National Religious Party and the National Union Party (both of which opposed peace in all forms, advocated forced expulsion of Palestinians from the WB and Gaza, and forced expulsion of Arab Israelis from Israel proper. In short, they wanted to do to the Arabs what the Spaniards did to the Jews.) had undue influence. The NRP and NUP eventually merged, and then merged again with Likud, effectively ending their presence in politics, so now maybe there is hope.

So it isn't one side or the other so much as a few extremists on each side. Over 95% of the Israelis I have met have been quite peaceable. Though I did meet this one Israeli terrorist once (she identified with the Kahanists)... If you want a chilling experience, take a four hour flight sitting next to a terrorist... I have done so (sitting next to a Kahanist on a flight from New York to San Juan, Costa Rica)....

Anyway, with the exit of the NRP from Israeli politics, I think there is hope. There is even some reason to give Ariel Sharon credit for this though certainly his first few years in office did not represent a step forward in the peace process.

The death of the settler movement here is perhaps the most important development in this area and this has been stimulated by three things as far as I can tell:

1) The articulation of a two-state solution with the Palestinians having sovereignty over their own territory.
2) The understanding in Israel that the economic costs of occupation are getting out of hand, and that the settlements are big part of this cost.
3) The recognition by the Israeli National Security Council that Israel's image in the EU (Israel's largest trading partner) is suffering because of the occupation and this is causing concern that a PR problem could result in massive economic damage to Israel.

On the third one, shortly after the NSC's paper was published, Operation Defensive Shield entered full swing, and the NSC's predictions were shown to be quite prescient. As a result of European governments and individuals cancelling orders from Israel, the economy fell to unprecedented depths. Every week, the Shekel was hitting a new low. At the same time, the Bush Administration started throwing up administrative roadblocks to delay Israeli foreign aid. After the operation concluded, the Sharon administration changed policy....

I think that things have developed in a way that now peace is possible and progress towards it demanded. I think that Sharon and Bush deserve a lot of the credit for this. Unfortunately things as always seemed to take a few steps back under Olmert (whose makes Bush look competent at choosing and prosecuting wars and in furthering diplomacy).

I am actually hoping Likud wins the next set of elections. I think that Likud and Hamas will be able to negotiate reasonably well. I don't have a great deal of faith that Kadima will go in any direction other than the direction Ehud Barak went, nor will Labor. In the end, a nationalist party like Likud is best positioned to understand the interests of the Palestinians and work towards that goal. And as in all other elements of Israeli politics, nobody lives up to their own rhetoric.
11.10.2008 8:53pm
Robert Farrell (mail):
LM:

Let my start with where I disagree with you:

1. We can do more than "speculate" as to what the Zionist movement would have said to the conditions offered the Palestinians, given their paper trail.

2. Zionists "acceptance" of partition is part of your mythology; they did not accept it as offered, nor did they intend to honor any part of it when they had the power to "adjust" their borders.

3. The 55% of Palestine offered to the Jewish colonists were not "Bantustans." Both it and the minority of the land assigned to the native majority were fragmented, but a fragmented homeland does not a Bantustan make.

4. The problem is not people who want "vindication and revenge." That has never been the problem. The problem is that the Zionist movement set out to take a land that didn't belong to them and the people the land belongs to fought back. The violence is not a cycle of revenge. It's not a failure of moderates to control extremists. It is the direct result of the forcible seizure and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Anywhere Europeans seized the native's land, you see the same struggle.

Where I agree with you:

1. Rehashing old narratives is not necessary. If we leave them behind, we are left with a single state, its borders basically stable except for a brief period between 1949-1967, in which a minority enjoys the rights of citizenship in a Western democracy, while the majority is in one degree or another treated as inferior and denied equal rights. History left completely to one side, that is a problem with a well-recognized solution. But are you truly able to leave those narratives behind?
11.10.2008 9:13pm
LM (mail):
einhverfr,

Perhaps. However, I don't think it is statehood in a meaningful sense because the IDF would have been responsible for police work over most of the WB.

Far from ideal to be sure, but to repeat, it was also only an offer. That's what counter-offers are for.

What is really happening is that "The Arabs" mostly want peace, but they also don't want the corruption that Fatah has stood for, and they don't want the Israeli Settlements to continue their forced expansion.

I think we're talking about different people. When I referred to "the Arabs" (as opposed to the Palestinians), I meant the Palestinians, their leaders, and the people and leaders of the surrounding countries. By that definition, I doubt your first point, I agree with the second, except significantly for the leaders of the neighboring countries, and I agree with the third point.

So it isn't one side or the other so much as a few extremists on each side. Over 95% of the Israelis I have met have been quite peaceable. Though I did meet this one Israeli terrorist once (she identified with the Kahanists)... If you want a chilling experience, take a four hour flight sitting next to a terrorist... I have done so (sitting next to a Kahanist on a flight from New York to San Juan, Costa Rica)....

I strongly doubt that anything like 95% of either side wants peace and is willing to make the compromises necessary to get it. The Israelis from Russia and Brooklyn alone I suspect include enough extremists to take you below 95%. And the high rate of polled Palestinian support for suicide bombings suggests it's quite unlikely there's a convincing majority committed to peace. That said, I believe a clear majority of Israelis support it, and I'm cautiously hopeful there's at least a critical mass of support for it among the Palestinians. I believe Abbas would make peace if he could, but that doesn't mean much in light of Fatah's tenuous grip on power.

As for the remnants of Koch-like exclusionist Israeli factions, listen to Israel National Radio sometime. It's the 24/7 voice of Borough Park (Brooklyn) via the West Bank, and Kahan is held in high reverence. (The most reliably psycho is Tovia Singer.) It's pretty vile stuff. Of course it pales in its scope and viciousness next to the anti-Semitism coming from the other side, but it's more than bad enough, and very much the stuff of true believers who don't fade away gracefully. I wouldn't be too quick to write their political epitaph.

I don't disagree that Likud may be the best shot right now for gathering the public support necessary to make real concessions, and Netenyahu is both ambitious and smart enough to see the wisdom in a serious attempt at seizing the day. But I doubt there's much anyone can do so long as Fatah and Hamas is each willing to undermine whatever it has to in order to deprive the other of the rewards for negotiating statehood.
11.11.2008 3:48am
LM (mail):
Robert Farrell,

I don't mean this personally, as I don't doubt your views are honestly held, but frankly life's too short.
11.11.2008 3:50am