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Only 6% of Jewish Israelis think Obama is Pro-Israel,

while 50% think he favors the Palestinians.

This is bad news for Obama's Middle East plans, regardless of whether the poll results are objectively justified. If Israelis think that a pro-Israel president is putting justified pressure on a recalcitrant Israeli prime minister, that prime minister will have to yield or leave office. But if they think the prime minister is standing up for vital Israeli interests against a president who is hostile or indifferent to Israel, they will back the prime minister. Obama might want to invest some of his charm and charisma in wooing the Israeli public.

cynical:
The Israeli public already indicated what they think of peace by voting in Netanyahu and Lieberman, so I'm not sure it's worth Obama's time. Not that the Hamas-voting Palestinians are any better, of course.
6.24.2009 3:04pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):
Hmm there appears to be 44% missing. Where could it be? Oh yeah ...

Another 50% of those sampled consider the policies of Obama's administration more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli, and 36% said the policies were neutral. The remaining 8% did not express an opinion.

And further

The poll, which has a margin of error of 4.5%

In other words there's not even a majority who thinks he's pro-Palestinian.

And suppose 70% of J-Is think he is pro-Israel. What do the Palestinians take away from that?
6.24.2009 3:09pm
mcbain:

And further


The poll, which has a margin of error of 4.5%


In other words there's not even a majority who thinks he's pro-Palestinian.


Thats not how statistics work.
6.24.2009 3:18pm
PLR:
Obama might want to invest some of his charm and charisma in wooing the Israeli public.

Hard to say if that would be conducive to the desired outcome.
6.24.2009 3:23pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

In other words there's not even a majority who thinks he's pro-Palestinian.



Thats not how statistics work.

Best case assuming 0% error, 50% is not a majority, 50%+1 is.
6.24.2009 3:27pm
mcbain:

Thats not how statistics work.


Ruffles, i should prbably qualify. The poll estabilishes that between 45 and 55 percent of Israeli jews think that obama is pro-palestinian. Your statement that "there's not even a majority who thinks he's pro-Palestinian." is invalid since you have no way of knowing that from the poll.
6.24.2009 3:29pm
PLR:
Just a quick note that I appreciate DB's leaving comments open, even if it winds up being for a limited time.

There would be no reason for me to traffic here if all threads were simply absurd blog postings like the following whopper from Lindgren:
Obama's non-confrontational stance on the Iran crisis obliges him to apply muscle to the Security Council's sanctions against Pyongyang [or he looks wimpy]...
6.24.2009 3:31pm
mcbain:

Best case assuming 0% error, 50% is not a majority, 50%+1 is.


Best case (whatever you intend that to mean) is +4.5% which puts the percentage at 54.5%.
6.24.2009 3:32pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
The 36% of Israeli Jews who think Obama is neutral aren't paying him a compliment, they expect an American president to favor the allied liberal democracy.
6.24.2009 3:33pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
So basically the israelis think:
5% Obama pro israel
36% Obama neutral
50% Obama pro palestinian

There's just no way you can spin that positively. Some Israelis apparently believe Obama is merely being neutral towards one of our oldest and most faithful allies. The more realistic scenario is that Obama is actively betraying them to our mutual enemies, a bunch of proudly self-proclaimed Muslim terrorists.
6.24.2009 3:41pm
Dan Hamilton:
I didn't know that 36% of Israeli Jews were that uninformed that they didn't know that Obama is pro-muslim. I expected Israeli Jews to be better informed then that. But then again they may have just been listening to the MSM and not to what Obama has actually said.

"Peace in our time" Obama, Terrorists are just misunderstood and will become peacefull if we just say the right things.
6.24.2009 3:46pm
Blue:
Well, to paraphrase John Roberts, the way to stop being perceived as being pro-Palestinian is to stop being pro-Palestinian.

Sadly, I think this president is getting exactly the perception in Israel that he desires.
6.24.2009 3:46pm
Preferred Customer:
DavidBernstein:

Presumably the reason for the precipitous drop in the perception of the "pro-Israelness" of the Obama administration is its attempt to put pressure on the Israeli government to change its behavior.

I am not sure how an American president could put any pressure on an Israeli prime minister and still be perceived as "pro Israel;" I would think, in the simplistic world of a poll question such as this that if the American president is putting pressure on the Israeli prime minister to change policies that is almost by definition not "pro Israel."
6.24.2009 3:47pm
Gabriel McCall (mail):
This is bad news for Obama's Middle East plans

I'm not at all convinced this is a bad thing, seeing as how even our most successful "Middle East plans" have been spectacular failures. Maybe the President of the United States should focus on a "United States plan" for a while.

On second thought, no, that's a pretty bad idea too.
6.24.2009 3:47pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

But then again they may have just been listening to the MSM and not to what Obama has actually said.

I had no idea that J-Is watch MSNBC, or that the Israeli media is pro-Palestinian.
6.24.2009 3:47pm
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
DB,
Well, of course Israeli Jews *want* a USA president who favors them. But they are not stupid (in the same sense that most people of the world are not stupid), and I am sure that the Israeli Jews understand that this issue is really some sort of zero-sum game. Obama can favor Israel; he can favor Palestine; he can be neutral (or some other place along that continuum).

I am trying to put myself in the mind of a Jew living in Israel, and while I might be disappointed at Obama's neutrality (or favoring Palestine), I also would have to acknowledge that this makes it *much* more likely that Palestine will be willing to listen to the U.S. on the issue of creating a lasting peace. So, I think it's likely that at least some Jews are saying, "He's not fully in our corner. But the most important thing to me is a real Peace solution, and this sort of U.S. president is our best chance for that."

(Note: I personally do think Obama may be the region's best chance for an agreement in quite a while. Which means, the 1 chance in 2000 for peace now has ticked upwards to 1 chance in 1,750. sigh.)
6.24.2009 3:47pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

Best case (whatever you intend that to mean) is +4.5% which puts the percentage at 54.5%.

It was obvious that "best case" meant no error, so 50%.

And I thought you said that's not how statistics work.
6.24.2009 3:49pm
ruuffles (mail) (www):

Well, to paraphrase John Roberts, the way to stop being perceived as being pro-Palestinian is to stop being pro-Palestinian.

Roberts would want 100% neutrality, not 100% pro-Israel.
6.24.2009 3:50pm
Thales (mail) (www):
I'm a little baffled by this poll--is the measured sentiment because Obama condemned the settlements? I have yet to hear anyone make a defensible case for them, and Israel did agree to dismantle them. Maybe because he used the word "Palestine" in his Cairo speech? What other action of Israel has Obama not sided with our ally on?
6.24.2009 3:54pm
rosetta's stones:
"What other action of Israel has Obama not sided with our ally on?"

Offering unconditional negotiations to the guy that wants them wiped off the map, is building the nukes to do it, and is shooting his own citizens in the heart on the streets right now to protect the primacy of all these wonderful ideas?
6.24.2009 3:58pm
Pyrrho:

If Israelis think that a pro-Israel president is putting justified pressure on a recalcitrant Israeli prime minister, that prime minister will have to yield or leave office. But if they think the prime minister is standing up for vital Israeli interests against a president who is hostile or indifferent to Israel, they will back the prime minister.

I think this vastly over-simplifies the way democracy works. The political pressures on a prime minister to respond in a certain way to a foreign power do not depend on such narrow views as whether the populace generally views the power as "pro-Israel" or "pro-Palestine" (as if, as one poster noted, the issue is so simple). If and when Obama decides to get serious about devoting serious effort to a peace process, I am not overly concerned with results of such a vague poll as this one. His effort will be judged on the specific effort he puts forth, as well as the carrots and sticks he offers to each side. The pressue on Israeli political leadership will pertain to the policy it pursues in response to the specific plan put forth, not whether the population generally views Obama as hostile to Israeli interests.
6.24.2009 3:59pm
Oren:

I am not sure how an American president could put any pressure on an Israeli prime minister and still be perceived as "pro Israel"

By pushing the government of Israel to take steps that will improve their security in the face of domestic political opposition?

God knows I wish someone would push Obama to confront some of the domestic forces pushing agendas that benefit their localities at great cost to the country as a whole (e.g. agricultural subsidies).
6.24.2009 4:06pm
neurodoc:
PLR: Just a quick note that I appreciate DB's leaving comments open, even if it winds up being for a limited time.
No indication upfront how long the thread will remain open to comments, is there? (IIRC, DB has on occasion announced at the outset that he will only keep thread open for 24 hours. I assume he does that because he does not want to keep watch over it for more time, wanting instead to be able to move on to other things, including serious professional pursuits.) A recent DB thread about Obama's "victimhood" theme remained open for 5 days, which was surprisingly long.

About this poll...it seems that just one Obama speech had a huge impact on the results. Was the speech all that significant from the Israeli perspective, or does that dramatic shift in polling results bespeak how labile it all is and suggest that opinions may change again?
6.24.2009 4:07pm
Thales (mail) (www):
RS: I believe the President said he would *meet* with Iran's leaders without precondition, but said nothing about what if anything he would offer to Iran or expect in return. And of course that would include meeting with the successor of MA if there is one. I don't see anything in a mere diplomatic meeting that is contrary to Israel's interests, especially if the goal is to get Iran to dismantle its putative nuclear weapons program and defuse tensions. Many foreign policy wonks with expertise in the region think Iran is demographically Israel's natural ally against more screwy Sunni states, notwithstanding crazy man's rhetoric.
6.24.2009 4:07pm
Oren:

I have yet to hear anyone make a defensible case for them, and Israel did agree to dismantle them.

A previous Israeli government agreed to that -- they had no right to speak for the current government.

Of course, the same goes for each successive Palestinian promise to dismantle militant organizations and control attacks from their territory too.

Leaders on both sides routinely repudiate promises made by the predecessors.
6.24.2009 4:08pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

If Israelis think that a pro-Israel president is putting justified pressure on a recalcitrant Israeli prime minister

But Israel wants a recalcitrant prime minister right now.

We haven't had middle east peace since the Ottoman Empire, so I hope Obama is not going to spend much time or effort to achieve it.
6.24.2009 4:10pm
mcbain:

It was obvious that "best case" meant no error, so 50%.


That is ridiculous, statistics do not work that way because every value you are given is a range. The poll makes it clear that an extreme plurality to majority of those polled thinks that the US president favors the enemy of the only liberal democracy in the ME.

Your silly "its not a majority" argument is pointless because 1) who cares and 2) it may be the majority anyway.
6.24.2009 4:10pm
Oren:

Was the speech all that significant from the Israeli perspective

It was a significant in relative terms, not in absolute terms -- it made such a splash because it was a large change from W's position.
6.24.2009 4:12pm
Jonathan6:
"I'm a little baffled by this poll--is the measured sentiment because Obama condemned the settlements?"

In part it's probably due to his staements regarding natural growth of the setlements. The settlements near Jerusalem are realy suburbs and no major Israeli politician will ever give them up or limit their natural growth. Even Carter recently said that Israel would keep them forever.
6.24.2009 4:12pm
Oren:
Incidentally, the poll's wording omits two very important options:

(1) Obama is pursuing policies that are both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian (after all, ultimately, what's good for one is good for the other).

(2) Obama is pursuing policies that are both anti-Israeli and anti-Palestinian (after all, both are harmed by unending conflict).
6.24.2009 4:13pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

the only liberal democracy in the ME.

Did Lieberman give up his plans to strip the vote from Israeli Arabs?
6.24.2009 4:13pm
interruptus:

I didn't know that 36% of Israeli Jews were that uninformed that they didn't know that Obama is pro-muslim. I expected Israeli Jews to be better informed then that. But then again they may have just been listening to the MSM and not to what Obama has actually said.

You seem to have an odd view of Israeli Jews as some sort of monolithic Likudnik bloc. Israeli Jewish parties with views considerably more pro-Palestinian than Obama's sit in the Knesset, and had dominant roles in the government not that long ago (even Meretz has had ministerial portfolios!).
6.24.2009 4:15pm
Oren:

The settlements near Jerusalem are realy suburbs and no major Israeli politician will ever give them up or limit their natural growth. Even Carter recently said that Israel would keep them forever.

That doesn't mean that a temporary freeze is not a good diplomatic move. In fact, quite the opposite -- many Palestinians think that Israelis are growing them in order to claim more land in any final disposition (since it's known in advance that they will keep them forever). Once the boundaries of Israeli/Palestinian land are demarcated, then there is no problem allowing unlimited growth.

Also, I should add that more than half the "natural growth" of the settlements is not population growth but immigration from other parts of Israel.
6.24.2009 4:16pm
mcbain:

Did Lieberman give up his plans to strip the vote from Israeli Arabs?


Did he strip the vote from the Israeli Arabs?
6.24.2009 4:17pm
Oren:

Did he strip the vote from the Israeli Arabs?

No. That whole thing is a dead letter.

I think he knew that it wouldn't fly and only proposed it as a sop to his base and to make his future antics look less wacky by comparison.
6.24.2009 4:19pm
q:

The poll makes it clear that an extreme plurality to majority of those polled

Actually, the poll makes it clear that a near, if not out-right, majority (depends if they rounded up or down to get to 50%) of those polled thinks Obama favors Palestinians. The +/- 4.5% range indicates how well the poll fits the overall population they're trying to measure.

But you're right that arbitrary goals like "majority" have no relevancy in this discussion. It's like saying, "Candidate A only got 50% over Candidate B's 5%??? That's not even a majority!"
6.24.2009 4:20pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"A previous Israeli government agreed to that -- they had no right to speak for the current government."

Well, okay, parliamentary supremacy and all that. But it's kind of a step backward and makes Israel not look like it has the moral high(er) ground (as I believe it has in most matters) to renege.

What about the treatment of Israeli Arabs? It is pretty disgraceful by the standards of a liberal democracy from what I have read (I'm open to correction if I am misinformed), and the fringe party just barely giving Netanyahu his coalition would basically completely disenfranchise them and expressly tie Israel to one religion and ethnic background. Obama didn't even condemn that ideology, and stopping it would be a much easier step than doing something with land.
6.24.2009 4:23pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):

Leaders on both sides routinely repudiate promises made by the predecessors.


Hard to negotiate with someone you can't trust.
6.24.2009 4:26pm
CJColucci:
Well what did you expect? He is a Muslim, after all.
6.24.2009 4:30pm
Oren:

Hard to negotiate with someone you can't trust.

A lot of the time, it's not trust (in the sense of honesty) of the partner but rather trust in his ability to deliver what he promises. That is, the internal politics plays a large external role. Abbas and Barak could promise each other whatever they want but Bibi and Haniyeh might not let that happen.

Ultimately, it is a battle not between Israelis and Palestinians (as the poll casts it, which is ridiculous on its face) but two parallel internal battles between the forces of conciliation and those that benefit from the conflict.
6.24.2009 4:37pm
rosetta's stones:

I don't see anything in a mere diplomatic meeting that is contrary to Israel's interests, especially if the goal is to get Iran to dismantle its putative nuclear weapons program and defuse tensions. Many foreign policy wonks with expertise in the region think Iran is demographically Israel's natural ally against more screwy Sunni states, notwithstanding crazy man's rhetoric.


Thales, it's more than wonks who think that, Netanyahu said that same thing the other day, that Israel has had a strong relationship with Iran years ago, and can again, if the mullahs chill.

Problem is, they're not chilling. They've been building up Hamas and Hizbollah and the other frat boys, in addition to the nuke drive and inflamed rhetoric. Israelis are aware of all this, and demographics or no, a potentially bright future means nothing if devastation comes in the present.

That's why there's even talk of cooperation with the Saudis and some other Sunni types. If the mullahs keep all this up, then their interests and Israel's are in alignment, no? I highly doubt Israel ever assists them with nukes... but other cooperation? If you find Israel bombing Iran at some point, you can assume that they crossed Saudi air space to do it... maybe even refueled there. Think about it.

And again, Obama's unconditioned overtures to the mullahs, in the face of all this, are troublesome.
6.24.2009 4:38pm
SecurityGeek:
It would be interesting to see a similar poll of Muslim Palestinians. If >50% of them feel that Obama is pro-Israel, which is likely, then perhaps we're closer to the possibility of an American-imposed settlement than we have been in a long time.

The majorities of both sides don't need to love the guy. It's in America's security interests for this conflict to end on terms acceptable to the moderates in the area, and that has a lot more to do with the recognition of rational self-interest than an American president being seen as "pro" either side.
6.24.2009 4:41pm
rosetta's stones:

It would be interesting to see a similar poll of Muslim Palestinians.


No value in that, imo, or in any poll in nearly any nation in the ME, where free speech and assembly is not even a rumor.

"Would you care to tell us whether you're on Israel's side or the Hamas, or would you rather we just kneecap you right now?"
6.24.2009 4:52pm
Baseballhead (mail):
It's in America's security interests for this conflict to end on terms acceptable to the moderates in the area, and that has a lot more to do with the recognition of rational self-interest than an American president being seen as "pro" either side.
There it is. Obama's approval rating among Israelis only matter if he happens to be the President of Israel.
6.24.2009 4:53pm
MTJ:
In a recent Gallup poll, just 7% of Palestinians said they approved of the performance of U.S. leadership, down from 13% in the last poll during the Bush Administration. This is not the same question posed to Jewish Israelis, but gives some indication of how Palestinians might answer the question.
6.24.2009 5:10pm
SecurityGeek:
So Obama is polling 6% with Israelis, 7% with Palestinians, and 60% (RCP Avg) with Americans? Sounds about right to me.
6.24.2009 5:16pm
Pyrrho:

Obama's approval rating among Israelis only matter if he happens to be the President of Israel.

It is also worth noting that this poll did not ask whether those polled approved of Obama. I would imagine it is a fair inference that an Israeli who sees Obama as "pro-Palestinian" is unlikely to approve of him. But that may not necessarily be the case. Those portions of the Israeli populace that see their government as too hard-line may not necessarily disapprove of what they view as a pro-Palestinian stance by Obama. And, of course, the "neutrals" are anybody's guess. I would be curious to see what Obama's approval rating is among Israelis, but I would wager it is much higher than 6%.
6.24.2009 5:18pm
Tom G (mail):
"Some Israelis apparently believe Obama is merely being neutral towards one of our oldest and most faithful allies."

Can you explain how Israel has been faithful to the United States? I know how we have been faithful to them: we give them more a tremendous amount of aid, diplomatic support, and cover at the UN. Israel has traditionally done what it perceives is in its own interest regardless of what the US wants (ie expanding the settlements for decade). They certainly have a right to do as they wish, but to say we owe them something rather than the other way around is rather grotesque.
6.24.2009 5:29pm
Stash:
The poll is a result of the precipitous drop in Obama's pro-Israel bona fides after his demand for a settlement freeze. As Professor Bernstein notes, whether there is an objective basis for this is irrelevant. But the fact that this has been the consistent official position of the U.S. since LBJ does suggest the profound effect that Obama's rhetoric has on the situation. If it has had this profound an effect on Israeli public perceptions, it seems more than likely that it has had some effect on Arab and Muslim perceptions. This in turn suggests that Obama's rhetoric may have been an important contributing factor to the victory over Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the extent of the uprising, which the arabs are calling an intifada, in Iran. In the long run these developments are, in my view, good for Israel. In addition, the percipitous drop in Israeli views of Obama, suggests that a percipitious rise is possible, if and when Obama puts the screws to the Palestinians on another issue.

While people have focused on Obama's background as a community organizer, I view him as drawing at least as much on his background as a litigator. As his critics have pointed out, there really were neither any new policies, nor a particularly accurate depiction of history or reality in Obama's Cairo speech, but if one views it as brief in favor of America filed before the Arab/Muslim public it becomes an excellent piece of work. Each argument was firmly grounded in "the evidence" even if that evidence could be refuted by other sources and omitted other evidence. When it comes time to argue in the Israeli forum, there is nothing in that brief that would "judicially estop" him from investing "some of his charm and charisma in wooing the Israeli public."

As I pointed out during the campaign in response to some of Professor Bernstein's posts questioning the extent of ultimate Jewish support for Obama in the election, in the "long game" Obama has plenty of opportunities and resources to woo, reassure and make converts of those with pro-Israeli viewpoints.

I have found it very useful to view Obama as a litigating for his policies. His approach seem to be that of many competent litigators. The notion is to cast yourself as the reasonable side in the conflict, without giving up any of your positions or goals. The more strident and unmoving the other side gets, the more rational and reasonable you sound. This is a long-term strategy that tends to mean you get the close calls from the judge.

(This is not to say that other strategies cannot be effective. There are successful litigators whose stock-in-trade is invective and reflexive opposition. This strategy seeks to taint the other side through repeated accusation and depiction of the other side as dishonest or corrupt. I think an example of this is the battle between Clinton and the impeachment forces in the 90s, or the OJ trial.)

Clients, of course, often prefer a more strident approach and want their positions articulated with force, and sometimes vitriol. So there is often a tension between pleasing the client and obtaining a favorable result. I find that attorneys are the most strident in front of a judge when they know they are about to lose and their client is present.

In the end, however, the client wants a good result. It is the advocate's job to decide how to get that, as opposed to merely repeating his client's views. If that were not so, the old saw that a man who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer and a jackass for a client would be foolishness itself.

Bush had the admirable quality of calling 'em as he saw 'em. But, as his ending polls showed, he was a poor advocate for his policies. I think, in the case of Obama, his positions and statements should be viewed as strategic, at least as much as reflecting policy. I would differentiate his positioning from Clintonian triangulation in terms of the goal. Triangulation was a political strategy to bolster popularity. Obama's strategic positioning is to implement policy. In other words, I think Clinton was focused on pleasing the client, while Obama is focused on obtaining the result. This of course, says nothing about whether the result sought is good or bad. But in my opinion it seems to provide a better framework for parsing his statments and positions.
6.24.2009 5:33pm
Kevil Hill (www):
It is not exactly clear why the perception of such a small group of people should matter with regards to the broader US policy initiatives anyway.
6.24.2009 5:37pm
Tom G (mail):
I think its rather amusing that whenever a poll comes out showing that the United States is unpopular in a Muslim country, the reaction from conservatives is that the country is full of anti-american terrorist sympathizers. During Obama's Middle East tour, Fox News commentators used polling from Arab countries showing a low approval rating for the US as a reason that Obama shouldn't even GO to those countries since "they don't like us very much".

When our approvals are low in European countries, it is because they are elitists who are jealous of us.

Yet if the President is unpopular in Israel, it must be because WE are doing something wrong.

Maybe Israel is just full of anti-american freedom haters and we should stop giving them money since "they don't like us very much".
6.24.2009 5:41pm
rosetta's stones:

"...we should stop giving them money..."


You can attach anything or anybody to your statement, and I'm down with it.

I'll be sure to let you know, if you come to any exceptions, but I can't think of any offhand. ;-)
6.24.2009 5:47pm
mcbain:
Tom G, perhaps it will be useful to remember that Obama is not the United States.

I assure you the Israelis still love the US, the broader Arab world still hates us and the Europeans still think that we are backwards barbarians, the Articulate One's image abroad notwithstanding.
6.24.2009 5:48pm
Tom G (mail):
"Tom G, perhaps it will be useful to remember that Obama is not the United States. "

Yes but the more even-handed approach to the conflict is broadly popular among the American public. He is doing what needs to be done to advance America's interests. Opposing the settlements has been American policy for decades, it simply went un-enforced.

Perhaps we should poll the American public: What would you rather Obama do; advance America's interests, or make sure he is well liked in Israel?
6.24.2009 5:57pm
yankev (mail):

The Israeli public already indicated what they think of peace by voting in Netanyahu and Lieberman.



Yes, they have indicated that they have learned that peace cannot be achieved by making unilateral concessions to an enemy who has never shown the least interest in the mechanisms of governance or economy, whose acknowledged goal is to end the existence of your country, and that is dominated by a faction whose additional acknowledged goal is religiously inspired genocide and that is funded, armed and trained by a vicious theocratic thuggocracy who has announced a similar goal.


Presumably the reason for the precipitous drop in the perception of the "pro-Israelness" of the Obama administration is its attempt to put pressure on the Israeli government to change its behavior.


It might also have something to do with a few other things, including the absence of any demand that the Arabs change their behavior, his equating the expansion of apartment buidlings on legally purchased land with the launching of thousands of missiles, his insistence on allowing Israel's miliatry enemy to refortify, his adopting the Arab narrative that Israel is the price that innocent Arabs have borne for the West's Holocaust, and that the hardships undergone by Palestinians are more a cause than a result of their and the Arab world's opposition to the existence of a Jewish state, his reneging on US commitments to Israel, and his insistence that Judea and Samaria be rendered Judenrein. There are more, but that will do for now.
6.24.2009 6:02pm
PlugInMonster:
I can see the antisemitic types are popping up now that Obama is President. That didn't take long.
6.24.2009 6:04pm
mcbain:

What would you rather Obama do; advance America's interests, or make sure he is well liked in Israel?


And why do you think that these are mutually exclusive?

Now I am not saying that Obama's policies are wrong, however, they are not automatically right because Israeli's don't like them.
6.24.2009 6:06pm
Gerhard2014 (mail):
All that matters is when Israel knocks out the nuclear capacity of Iran. The US will stand with Israel regardless of the popularity or not of Obama.
6.24.2009 6:10pm
justwatching666 (mail):
Who are you talking about, PlugInMonster?


I can see the antisemitic types are popping up now that Obama is President. That didn't take long.
6.24.2009 6:12pm
josh bornstein (mail) (www):
mcbain,
With all due respect, you really don't know what you're talking about. The broader Arab world does not hate the US. Actually, just about all the regular folks you meet are huge fans of the U.S., even if they may not like certain policies, may hate certain U.S. politicians, etc.. When I did extensive travel through the Middle East (although, never in SA, Iran, or Iraq), I found this attitude over-and-over.

This was initially a surprise to me. I thought of myself as, well, sophisticated and nuanced ("I hate the policies of N. Korea, China, Iran, etc, but I know that the regular people there are not equal to their governments or governmental policies."). I expected to find that--while I thought I'd be meeting nice, kind, and generous people--they'd all hate me instinctively as a symbol of America. Nope . . . they were just as open-minded as me, and I met wonderful people where-ever I went.

If your comment was actually intended to be short-hand for: "the broader Arab world still hates U.S. policies.", then I would generally agree with you on that point. (Although that too is a gross generalization, of course.)
6.24.2009 6:15pm
Tom G (mail):
"And why do you think that these are mutually exclusive? "

I actually don't think that, I think there is a good deal of overlap. However, I think most Americans prefer a more even handed approach to the conflict, whereas the Israelis would prefer that we favor them (which is completely natural of course).

My point was that if this unpopularity is due to Obama insisting on a settlement freeze, than the Israeli public opinion is in conflict not just with Obama, but with longstanding American policy and with the opinion of the American people/
6.24.2009 6:16pm
mcbain:

I think most Americans prefer a more even handed approach to the conflict


I don't think that's a fact, but I admit that I don't know.


if this unpopularity is due to Obama insisting on a settlement freeze, than the Israeli public opinion is in conflict not just with Obama, but with longstanding American policy


If US did not insist on this policy then it was not actual US policy, but rather a "just saying". Obama changed actual US policy by insisting on the settlement freeze, rather than saying one thing and doing another.
6.24.2009 6:27pm
DavidBernstein (mail):
Given that 52% of Israeli Jews support a settlement freeze (though not including Jerusalem and the close-in neighborhoods over the Green Line, which the vast majority of Israelis don't consider "settlements" but an integral part of the State), I don't think that's it.
6.24.2009 6:29pm
Tom G (mail):

I don't think that's a fact, but I admit that I don't know.



The University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes released a survey in mid 2008 showing that 71% of the American Public take no side in the conflict.

The survey, which polled 18 countries, furthermore showed that NO country favors taking Israel's side in the conflict. If Obama is going to make policy based on foreign opinion, shouldn't he care more about currying favor with the entire world then with one small country?


If US did not insist on this policy then it was not actual US policy, but rather a "just saying". Obama changed actual US policy by insisting on the settlement freeze, rather than saying one thing and doing another.


According to the Foundation for Middle East Peace:


The United States supported the applicability of the Geneva Convention and the unlawful character of settlements until February 1981 when President Ronald Reagan disavowed this policy by asserting that settlements are "not illegal." President Reagan's policy has been sustained, implicitly, by subsequent U.S. administrations, all of whom have declined to address the legal issue, although they have all opposed, with varying emphasis, settlements or settlement expansion.
6.24.2009 6:49pm
Tom G (mail):
"Given that 52% of Israeli Jews support a settlement freeze (though not including Jerusalem and the close-in neighborhoods over the Green Line, which the vast majority of Israelis don't consider "settlements" but an integral part of the State), I don't think that's it."

Then what do you think it is? What other policy has he announced towards Israel that could rationally be perceived as anti-Israeli (or "not Pro-Israeli")?
6.24.2009 6:58pm
Sammy Finkelman (mail):
The question apparently was whether the policies of Obama's administration were more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli, not whether or not Obama is pro-Palestinian or pro-Israel.

Now, that's not the same question. And it wouldn't take too much to put them on the other wide of the line in that question. People also weren't given much a chance with that question to indicate any nuance.

Also of course, Obama said a lot of things that were wrong in huis speech, but he;s no Jimmy Carter.
6.24.2009 7:14pm
donaldk2 (mail):
Over a period of 60 years, the Arabs have made it crystal clear, with commendable frankness, what it is they want.

A substantial number of people pretend not to believe them.

Mr. Obama, it seems to me, is setting his course toward washing his hands of the whole matter.

Maybe that will be good for his politics, maybe good for his country; but one should not expect that Israelis will be deceived. They understand that their disappearance would be greeted by a vast sigh of relief. But Jews have always been a troublesome people.

Also: the arguments over statistics are worthy of Lewis Carroll.
6.24.2009 7:15pm
DG:
Tom G:

Israel agreed to freeze settlements as part of a larger deal. The PA and, especially Hamas, has never lived up to that deal. Obama paid lip service to the PA's failure to stop incitement, but he knows it won't stop. On the other hand, he clearly expects the settlement building to stop. Teaching the next generation to be ignorant Jew-haters is a big deal to Israelis and the PA are champs at it. They are precluding the very idea of peace by teaching their children that their enemies are subhuman.
6.24.2009 7:19pm
Tom G (mail):
"Over a period of 60 years, the Arabs have made it crystal clear, with commendable frankness, what it is they want.

A substantial number of people pretend not to believe them. "

You may not be able to change what people want, but isn't possible to force them to settle for less? Fidel Castro probably wants America to disappear, but I'm sure he realizes that such a thing is not going to happen and therefore does not pursue it.

I'd imagine there are many Palestinians who would prefer that Israel not exist at all, but grudingly accept its existence and would rather have a two state solution now then continue to suffer in the hopes of some ephemeral "Greater Palestine" some day.

Isn't the entire point of any negotiation to get people to accept less than want they really want?

"Mr. Obama, it seems to me, is setting his course toward washing his hands of the whole matter. "

Really? I can understand some thinking he is shifting to be more (relatively) pro-palestinian, but how has he indicated that he would like to withdraw from the conflict altogether?
6.24.2009 7:27pm
TheGrandMufti:
Hopefully American Jews will realize what the Israelis know: Obama is no friend to the Jews.

Keeping some Jew from building an extension onto his house is not the sine qua non to solving the woes of the Middle East.
6.24.2009 7:47pm
Tom G (mail):
DG:

This isn't really the issue I was talking about. I was simply trying to establish that opposing settlement expansion is an established American policy, not something Obama pulled out of his hat. But anyway, your topic is actually more important imo:

I

srael agreed to freeze settlements as part of a larger deal. The PA and, especially Hamas, has never lived up to that deal.


Ok, lets put aside the morality of the issue. Let's forget about whether giving up the settlements is the "right thing to do" or if Palestinians have forfeited that land because of past transgressions.

Heres' the thing: Israel must dismantle those settlements because it is in Israel's interest to do so. The continued expansion of the settlements are making a two state solution impossible by integrating Israel with the land that is supposed to become Palestine.

If two states become impossible, then Israel will have only two options: force the Palestinians into semi-autonomous cantons, which will look a lot like apartheid to the rest of the world (and which will not be a sustainable solution anyway), or grant the Palestinians democratic rights in Israel, which will mean the end of the Jewish state.

Do you agree or disagree with my analysis? If not what am I missing?
6.24.2009 7:48pm
Please stop banning TtheCO:
Maybe he should look out for American interests instead of Israili.
6.24.2009 7:58pm
Leo Marvin (mail):
TheGrandMufti:

Hopefully American Jews will realize what the Israelis know: Obama is no friend to the Jews.

Right. Start by telling those naifs, Axelrod, Emanuel, Summers, Kagan and Orszag, what you know that they don't.
6.24.2009 8:29pm
DG:
{Do you agree or disagree with my analysis? If not what am I missing?}

I agree with you in the larger sense. However, the devil is in the details. There is no question that distant and small settlements must be dismantled. There is, however, a much bigger question about East Jerusalem and the settlement blocks that are right on the green line. Any deal would logically include swapping those for equivalent land or Arab villages.

The Green Line isn't sacred. Its just where the bullets stopped flying, 60 years ago. There can be a reasonable two state solution that incorporates some settlements, yet abjures the ridiculous and unworkable idea of cantons.

The problem is that I don't think Abbas is really into making that kind of solution work - he is happy with the status quo in the West Bank for now. He could be convinced with sufficient pressure, but that would take the Europeans, and i don't think their hearts are in it. Hamas also needs to be resolved and there is no viable way to make that happen.

Obama thinks the solution is in the hands of Israel. In part it is. But he has fallen for the delusion that the PA and Hamas want peace and will give it if Israel follows an internationally approved formula, as coerced by Obama. I think he forgets the lessons of Madeine Albright, begging Arafat to come back to the negotiating table.
6.24.2009 8:44pm
The Drill SGT:

Israelis' views of Obama's predecessor in the White House, George W. Bush, are nearly the opposite. According to last month's poll, 88% of Israelis considered his administration pro-Israel, 7% said Bush was neutral and just 2% labeled him pro-Palestinian.


The shift in views from Bush to Obama is quite stark
6.24.2009 8:59pm
Borris (mail):
Don't these J-Is understand that lacking faith in Obama is an "straight up" act of racism?

[Slowly shakes head]
6.24.2009 9:09pm
Borris (mail):

The Israeli public already indicated what they think of peace by voting in Netanyahu and Lieberman, so I'm not sure it's worth Obama's time.


Really?
So, the Jews are the road block to "Peace"?

Let us engage in a little dinner theater ...
and now for a preview of the Israeli/Palestinian negotiations ...

UN: To understand things, let us have both of you say what you want.

Israel: We want to live in peace. Watch our children grow up. Watch them enjoy their lives and be happy.

Palestinians: We want to kill all the Jews.

UN: Well, I think we can find a compromise. What if we just kill half the Jews?

Israel: What ?!? You can't be serious?

Palestinians: We want to kill the left half of every Jew!

UN: That seems reasonable.

Israel: Are you mad you can't kill 1/2 of a person? This is insane and totally unacceptable. We thought this would be an honest negotiation.

UN: Now we see what the real problem is. We see the unreasonableness of the Jews.

EU: Psst, Palestinians. If you kill off the Jews the Holocaust won't be our fault. If you can't live with them either, it must be their fault.

UN: Look, you hook-noses, how you thwart every attempt at peace, and lie and complain about the Holocaust. And, I feel the Palestinians were honest in their desires. You seem not to have been honest in wanting a compromise.

And the EU, the Democrats and Academia nod their heads in agreement.
6.24.2009 9:16pm
iolanthe (mail):
Following on from TomG's excellent comment/question, I'd be very interested to hear from Mr Bernstein what his solution would be (and I am well aware from previous posts that it's his blog and he'll write what he bloody well wants to).

I gather he is opposed to withdrawl from Jerusalem and (most? all?) of the West Bank. What then does he see as the solution? What would he see as an acceptable outcome - this would of course have to be acceptable to the Palestinians and world opinion as represented by the West?
6.24.2009 9:25pm
Oren:

Over a period of 60 years, the Arabs have made it crystal clear, with commendable frankness, what it is they want.

You mean the entire ethnic Arab population (stretching, roughly from Morocco to Turkey and then through Western China) wants the same thing? That's a feat of collective action unrivaled in human history!
6.24.2009 9:30pm
JK:

Given that 52% of Israeli Jews support a settlement freeze (though not including Jerusalem and the close-in neighborhoods over the Green Line, which the vast majority of Israelis don't consider "settlements" but an integral part of the State), I don't think that's it.

So 50% of Israelis think Obama is more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli, and 48% oppose a settlement freeze (or maybe more given Obama's exact position), and we are rejecting any causal relationship here?
6.24.2009 10:15pm
Alexia:
I really wish he was 100% committed to American interests. Of course, none of them are any more.
6.24.2009 10:17pm
Alexia:

But if they think the prime minister is standing up for vital Israeli interests against a president who is hostile or indifferent to Israel, they will back the prime minister. Obama might want to invest some of his charm and charisma in wooing the Israeli public.


Change "Isreal / Israeli" to "Iran/Iranian" and I think you'll see a common sentiment.
6.24.2009 10:20pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

But he has fallen for the delusion that the PA and Hamas want peace and will give it if Israel follows an internationally approved formula, as coerced by Obama.

The Arabs want Israel back, and it will take some fancy footwork on Israel's part to prevent it. Frankly, I don't see how a majority Jewish state is sustainable over the next fifty years. Maybe if everyone moves to Tel Aviv and they build the Simpsons' movie dome over the city.
6.24.2009 10:34pm
Tom G (mail):

I agree with you in the larger sense. However, the devil is in the details. There is no question that distant and small settlements must be dismantled. There is, however, a much bigger question about East Jerusalem and the settlement blocks that are right on the green line. Any deal would logically include swapping those for equivalent land or Arab villages.



If there is no question that the distant settlements be dismantled, that what exactly is Israel waiting for? They may be small, but they are supplied by "Jewish Only" roads which cut through Palestinian land, in many cases through towns. Not only is Israeli tax money being used to sustain and guard them, they are fueling Palestinian rage. The longer they are there, the more established they become and the more difficult it will be dissolve them in the future.

These settlements are a security threat to Israel, yet they are waiting for a further incentive to do something that is in their own interest.

It just seems to me like the settlers (not the Israelis in general) are saying "The Palestinians are deceptive, violent people; incorrigibly so. Therefore, we insist on living among them."


Obama thinks the solution is in the hands of Israel. In part it is. But he has fallen for the delusion that the PA and Hamas want peace and will give it if Israel follows an internationally approved formula, as coerced by Obama. I think he forgets the lessons of Madeine Albright, begging Arafat to come back to the negotiating table.


That isn't what I got from his speech. He told the Israelis to freeze the settlements-not to dismantle them, to freeze further construction. In other words, to stop making things worse. And he told the Palestinians to renounce violence. He is putting pressure on both sides.
6.24.2009 11:36pm
Leo Marvin (mail):

He is putting pressure on both sides.

No, I'm quite sure I only heard him putting pressure on my side.
6.25.2009 12:03am
josil (mail):
Obama saying that Palestinians should renounce violence will have what effect? On the ground, and for 60 years, there has not been an Israeli partner for peace within the Palestinian camp(s);i.e., a Palestinian party/militia which could enforce peace on its own people.
6.25.2009 12:04am
Tom G (mail):

Obama saying that Palestinians should renounce violence will have what effect? On the ground, and for 60 years, there has not been an Israeli partner for peace within the Palestinian camp(s);i.e., a Palestinian party/militia which could enforce peace on its own people.


hmmm ok well:

1) What would you like Obama to say to the Palestinians?

2) If the Palestinians need a militia to enforce peace, do you disagree with the demand that the Palestinian state be demilitarized?
6.25.2009 12:21am
RK (www):
Obama was not elected to the Knesset, nor is Tel Aviv the capital of the United States.
6.25.2009 1:08am
DG:
{2) If the Palestinians need a militia to enforce peace, do you disagree with the demand that the Palestinian state be demilitarized?}

We all know that is a fiction of sorts. In theory, they are demilitarized now, but they have a huge number of men under arms. Demilitarization is code for not letting them get accurate artillery, missiles, or warplanes. You know that, so why even pose the question?

One of they key requirements of a nation-state is a monopoly on violence. From the earliest days the PA was set up to make that almost impossible. Establishment of such a monopoly was key to the establishment of Israel, and so it will be for the Palestinians, if they have the desire to do it.

Many of the current concerns and objections from the Israeli side would evaporate if the PA could simply be strong enough to consolidate armed power under its sole and unitary umbrella.

As far as your settlement question - if the Gaza pullout had not led to Hamisistan, the Israelis would have pulled out of most of the West Bank by now. It was a confidence building measure for the Israeli public, which failed. The Israelis don't care about Palestinian resentment. They care about safety and security. Pulling out of Gaza didn't help with the resentment and eroded safety and security.

The mood in Israel, even on the left, is that the Palestinians are not serious about peace. That left wing is pretty darn dovish, and they've lost faith. Maybe they're right.

Do you think East Timor would be independent now if they had gangs continually lobbing missiles and mortars into Indonesian towns? The Palestinians must grow up as a people if they want to achieve their goals. The collective acceptance of immaturity is simply soft racism towards arabs.
6.25.2009 1:11am
Soronel Haetir (mail):

Many of the current concerns and objections from the Israeli side would evaporate if the PA could simply be strong enough to consolidate armed power under
its sole and unitary umbrella.


So you reject the contention that Israel has over the years systematically denied the PA the ability to monopolize force even amongst Palestinians? That Israelis have had significant concerns that any organization powerful enough to perform that task would also be an unacceptable security threat to Israel itself?
6.25.2009 1:25am
Tom G (mail):


We all know that is a fiction of sorts. In theory, they are demilitarized now, but they have a huge number of men under arms. Demilitarization is code for not letting them get accurate artillery, missiles, or warplanes. You know that, so why even pose the question?


I cannot put my response better than Soronel above. In any event, I don't understand the use of such a code, because this "code" sounds worse then what you actually want, apparently. So you agree to a military/militia/security force as long as it doesn't have missiles and planes? I don't see how you could deprive them of artillery and expect them to do anything at all.


As far as your settlement question - if the Gaza pullout had not led to Hamisistan, the Israelis would have pulled out of most of the West Bank by now. It was a confidence building measure for the Israeli public, which failed.


I thought the election of hamas was due to the corruption of fatah. You think the partial withdrawal pushed the Palestinians more towards hamas?


The Israelis don't care about Palestinian resentment. They care about safety and security. Pulling out of Gaza didn't help with the resentment and eroded safety and security.


Don't you think that seething Palestinian resentment compromises Israeli safety and security? Doesn't more resentment equal more missiles?

Again, if these distant settlements are of no benefit Israel, what is the benefit of keeping them there? Why do you want Israelis living in "Hamasistan"?

If everything you say is true, that the Palestinians don't want peace, then why don't you want to begin disentangling yourself from them? What negative consequences could flow from dismantling these settlements?
6.25.2009 1:52am
hattio1:
Josil says;

Obama saying that Palestinians should renounce violence will have what effect? On the ground, and for 60 years, there has not been an Israeli partner for peace within the Palestinian camp(s);i.e., a Palestinian party/militia which could enforce peace on its own people.


And for most of that time, there has not been an Israeli party willing to stop illegal settlements. The Palestinian leaders have neither the will nor the ability to stop rocket attacks and other violent attacks. Israeli governments have the ability but not the will.
6.25.2009 2:35am
Oren:

Pulling out of Gaza didn't help with the resentment and eroded safety and security.

Nonsense. There were ~2000 troops securing the interior of Gaza so the way I see it, we are now 2000 troops more secure in case of invasion by a hostile army.
6.25.2009 2:46am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Obama was not elected to the Knesset, nor is Tel Aviv the capital of the United States.
It's not the capital of Israel, either, but who's counting?
6.25.2009 4:43am
11-B/2O.B4:
Look, the "settlements" are not a serious part of the debate. They are a red herring used as a policy lever and publicity tool by the Palestinians precisely because they are one of the least defensible things that Israel is doing at the moment. By the way, I think that they are entirely defensible, but they are on shakier ground than the rest of the debate, which is the real issue, which is Israel's right to exist and safety and security. I have little doubt that any agreement which gave the Jews a reasonable amount of certainty of peace would be accepted, no matter the geographical wrangling. It's harder to placate the Palestinians. See, they still have not given up their constitutions calling for the eradication of Israel, and they still demand the ludicrous "Right of Return". As a previous poster noted, they are pretty open about what they want, and while I'm sure they do want the settlements back, that is only a sideshow to the much vaunted second Holocaust (though the first one, according to Palestinian government, schools, and imams, didn't happen).

In dealing with this situation, you have to take into account both the goals and the practical roadblocks.

Israel: fully functioning state, capable of enforcing any agreement on its population.

Goal: Survival, peace.

Palestine: Loose web of terror organizations masquerading as government, completely dependent on foreign aid, completely incapable of enforcing traffic laws, much less a major peace agreement. Plus, there are two "governments", so any negotiations with one have no effect on the other.

Goal: The eradication of the state of Israel and the death of every Jew.



Hmm......I'm having a hard time finding the moral and practical high ground here.....Oh wait, no I'm not. The Israelis are willing and capable of cutting a peace deal, because that is all they really want. The Palestinians are both unwilling (see Arafat and the many failed negotiation attempts) and unable to enforce such an agreement.
6.25.2009 9:00am
rosetta's stones:
That post is the thread winner, 11-B/2O.B4 .

Of critical importance is your statement that the Palestinians are "completely dependent on foreign aid".

That is a disgrace, and a further disgrace that much of that foreign aid goes directly into murderous terrorism.
6.25.2009 9:11am
Tony Tutins (mail):

See, they still have not given up their constitutions calling for the eradication of Israel, and they still demand the ludicrous "Right of Return".

The Palestinian right of return is essentially a copy of the Jewish right of return. Most of the Holy Land's Jews left before the middle of the second century. Most of the Holy Land's Palestinians left before the middle of the twentieth century. Whose right of return is objectively more ludicrous?

But the continuing presence of "refugee" camps adds pressure to eradicate Israel. Now that Israel is self-sustaining, it should offer cash to resettle the refugees -- anywhere but in Israel.
6.25.2009 9:23am
Tony Tutins (mail):

Palestine: Loose web of terror organizations masquerading as government, completely dependent on foreign aid

But Palestinian terrorists such as Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin later became respected Prime Ministers. And with time, the country became self-supporting.

Oh, you didn't mean that Palestine?
6.25.2009 9:34am
Yankev (mail):

If two states become impossible, then Israel will have only two options: force the Palestinians into semi-autonomous cantons, which will look a lot like apartheid to the rest of the world (and which will not be a sustainable solution anyway), or grant the Palestinians democratic rights in Israel, which will mean the end of the Jewish state.


Not the only options. Given the willingness of all concerned, areas that Israel withdraws from could be placed under the legal rule of the relevant adjoining Arab nations. According to the Palestine National Covenant, written in 1964, Gaza is part of Egypt, the Golan is part of Syria and Judea and Samaria are part of Jordan -- all of whom unlawfully invaded those lands in 1948. Culturally and linguistically, a Gazan Arab has more in common with an Egyptian, and a Judean Arab has more in common with a Jordanian, than they have with each other. As Walid Shoebat explained, he was a Jordanian until Israel won the six day war, and suddenly he was told he was now a Palestinian.


UN: Look, you hook-noses racist-Zionists, how you thwart every attempt at peace, and lie and complain about the Holocaust. And, I feel the Palestinians were honest in their desires. You seem not to have been honest in wanting a compromise.

And the EU, the Democrats and Academia nod their heads in agreement.

Borris, edited in the interest of accuracy, but Gut gezacht!

- this would of course have to be acceptable to the Palestinians


Iolanthe, the actions of the Palestinians over the last 60 years and more show what they want, and it is not a state of their own, it is an end to a Jewish state and a Jewish presence in the area, with the possible exception of a handful of Jews who would be permitted to remain as second class non-citizens subject to being murdered, raped and robbed without access to the courts, as they are in Syria.


They may be small, but they are supplied by "Jewish Only" roads


A frequently repeated misconception. (And in some cases, a frequently repeated deliberate lie that has been swallowed by folks of good will who don't know any better, such as you.) The roads are open to all citizens of Israel, whether Jewish or Arab. They are not open to residents of the Palestinian Administered areas, because of frequent terror attacks by residents of those areas against Israelis.

If there is no question that the distant settlements be dismantled, that what exactly is Israel waiting for?

Many of the settlements were built on strategic hilltop points overlooking roads, in order to prevent attacks on civilan motorists -- amazingly easy to do from a high vantage point using a rifle, petrol bombs or even rocks.


1) What would you like Obama to say to the Palestinians?

Your own economic misery is a direct result of your refusal to live in peace with Israel. If you keep trying to murder Jews, we will not interfere with Israel's attempt to protect itself, and we will not cooperate with others who do. If that means continued misery, you will have to live with the consequences of your own choice, and we will not enable your attempts at genocide by giving you "humanitarian" aid that is diverted to military use, nor will we permit other nations to do so. If you choose peace, you will find a willing partner. If you continue to choose war, the US will no longer shield you from the consequences of that choice, and will not allow others to do so.

nor is Tel Aviv the capital of the United States.

Nor has it ever been the capital of Israel, for that matter.


And for most of that time, there has not been an Israeli party willing to stop illegal settlements.

ROFL. There were no "settlements" for the first 19 years of Israel's existence. Did the settlements trigger the 1948 war? The blockade of Israeli shipping in 1956? The 19 years of fedayeen attacks on Israeli civilians 1948 through 1967? The ban on Israeli and Jewish travel to Jewish holy sites in Jordan during those same years? The blockade of Israeli shipping and attacks by 5 Arab nations in June, 1967? The founding of the terrorist gropu Fatah in the late 1940s or early 1950s and the PLO terrorist umbrella group in 1964? The settlements are a response to Arab aggression, not the cause, even though they may be used as an excuse. Read the Palestine National Covenant, written 4 years before Israel acquired jurisdiction over the territories.
6.25.2009 10:01am
Tom G (mail):



Israel: fully functioning state, capable of enforcing any agreement on its population.


Well since Israel is no further need of foreign aid, I can't wait to see what great uses we can put the $3 billion a year that we have been giving to Israel to domestically.

I really give up. I have made so many good faith attempts to understand the Israeli point of view and find it so hopelessly myopic. I look at Israel and it is as plain as day to me that its actions are suicidal...but hey, if they are bound and determined to destroy themselves I guess that is their decision.

What I don't understand is why this conflict is America's problem. Yes I know Israel is a democracy; but no country should be put above the vital interests of the United States. Why should we allow Israel to jeopardize our relations with Iran and the larger Muslim world when the latter is so much more important strategically? Do we allow sympathy for Tibet to interfere with our relationship with China, although Tibet is clearly the more sympathetic country?

I am so ready to wash my hands of this whole thing.
6.25.2009 10:41am
Yankev (mail):
Only slightly OT, from the Palestinian reporter by Khaled Abu Toameh

The leaders of the Palestinian Authority do not want the international community to hear anything about massive abuse of human rights and intimidation of journalists that its security forces are practicing almost on a daily basis in the West Bank.


They do not want the world to see that, with the help of the Americans and some Europeans, they are building more prisons and security forces than hospitals and housing projects for the needy.


They want the US and the rest of the world to continue believing that peace will prevail tomorrow morning only if Israel stops construction in the settlements and removes a number of empty caravans from remote and isolated hilltops in the West Bank.
"Caravan", by the way, is a mobile home.

The Palestinians do not need additional security forces, militias and armed gangs. In fact, there are too many of them, both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

As for the international media, it's time to abandon the policy of double standards in covering the Israeli-Arab conflict. For many years, the mainstream media in the US and Europe turned a blind eye to stories about financial corruption under Yasser Arafat. The result was that Arafat and his cronies got away with stealing billions of dollars that had been donated to the Palestinians by the Americans and Europeans.


Try as I may, I can never get the paste link function to work but you can read more at http://www.hudsonny.org/2009/06
/how-to-help-the-palestinian-people.php
6.25.2009 10:58am
Yankev (mail):
TomG, if Israel is at the root of our problems with Iran, why does Iran call the US the Great Satan and Israel only the Little Satan? Doesn't that suggest to you there may be much more behind our disagreements with Iran than US refusal to let Israel be destroyed?

As far as your question of what the US gets from the relationship, benefits include access to intelligence that US intelligence agencies were unable to get (this was particularly true during the cold war, when e.g. Israel got the US the US's first look at a complete, functioning latest model MiG, but remains true today), a consistent supporting vote in the UN (more votes in support of the US than any counrty except Micronesia), a foil to dictatorships in the region, testing grounds for US weapons (which btw Israel buys with cash), a market for US goods, a source of technicology innovation (including cellular phones, instant messaging, text messaging), a source of medical knowledge (including advances in prosthetics, trauma care and pharmaceuticals), aid in resettling refugees (did you know that Israel took in more boat people than any country except the US, and has been a refuge for people fleeing Darfur)? Much of the aid you complain about was promised to Israel in order to induce Israel to take serious risks to its security. Some is in the form of loan guaranties, which costs the US nothing. Some is required to be spent on buying weapons from the US, which aids the domestic US economy.

Tell me what the US gets -- other than dead Israelis and dead US diplomats -- for all the money we give to the Palestinians. For that matter tell me what the US gets for all the money we give Egypt.
6.25.2009 11:08am
Ryan Waxx (mail):

Read the Palestine National Covenant, written 4 years before Israel acquired jurisdiction over the territories.



Asking him to read what the Palestinians have to say when they are talking to each other instead of a press willing to accept any statement at face value?

Don't you think that a bit unfair? He might actually learn something, after all.
6.25.2009 12:25pm
Yankev (mail):

Don't you think that a bit unfair? He might actually learn something, after all.

Ryan, because of my abiding faith in human nature, I don't think it's a bit unfair. First, there's very little chance he will actually read it. Second, if he does read it, there is very little chance he will actually learn something instead of rationalizing it away.
6.25.2009 1:30pm
neurodoc:
Oren: You mean the entire ethnic Arab population (stretching, roughly from Morocco to Turkey and then through Western China) wants the same thing? That's a feat of collective action unrivaled in human history!
When you say "to Turkey," you really mean "up to Turkey's borders," because Turks are not Arabs, right? Where exactly in Western China are "ethnic Arabs" found?

Oren, if donaldk2 had said, "Over a period of 60 years, the Arabs have made it crystal clear, with commendable frankness, what it is they want, that being no sovereign Jewish state in their midst," would you have quarreled with his assertion because he could not show that every single Arab man, woman and child was of that mind?

If you could point to an Arab country in which the majority, or even a sizeable portion of the populace, was not firmly opposed to the existence of Israel as a sovereign Jewish state in their midst, then I think you would have a point. If you can't and are only objecting because you there must be 100% unanimity of opinion among Arabs with regard to their thinking about Israel, then I think your point is a silly one.

(Note: I'm not sure what exactly donaldk2 had in mind when he said, "...the Arabs have made it crystal clear, with commendable frankness, what it is they want." Hence, I can't say that I either agree or disagree with him.)
6.25.2009 5:32pm
Paul A'Barge (mail):

Obama might want to invest some of his charm and charisma in wooing the Israeli public.


With all due respect sir, why?

Clearly many if not most Jews in America are going to vote for Obama anyway, no matter how Obama panders to the Palestinians and knifes in the back Israel.

What in the world would Obama have to gain from reaching out to Israel?
6.25.2009 5:35pm
Oren:

When you say "to Turkey," you really mean "up to Turkey's borders," because Turks are not Arabs, right? Where exactly in Western China are "ethnic Arabs" found?

Turkey has a sizable (minority) ethnic Arab population.

Western China also has a sizable (minority) ethnic Arab population.

You are right, those are the fringes. Morocco to Iraq will suffice for my purposes here.



If you can't and are only objecting because you there must be 100% unanimity of opinion among Arabs with regard to their thinking about Israel, then I think your point is a silly one.

It's not silly because once you recognize that countries are not homogeneous (look at the break between Rasafjani and Kahmanei in Iran) you start to think of them as human beings with divergent viewpoints. Even more to the point, you start to realize that your actions can change the balance of power between those viewpoints in the domestic sphere and start to adjust your actions to shore up those that support you and to weaken those that oppose you.

Look at the election in Lebanon -- Hezbollah lost because, for once, being aligned with the US was not a huge liability. We need to position ourselves to create support for the moderates.
6.25.2009 6:03pm
neurodoc:
Oren: Turkey has a sizable (minority) ethnic Arab population.

Western China also has a sizable (minority) ethnic Arab population.
If we can rely on Wikipedia, it seems that there are a relatively small number of Arabs living in Turkey along its border with Syria. They are a smaller % of Turkey's overall population than Arabs are of France's population.

Don't know where those Arabs are found in Western China. Would you please tell us. (You don't mean the Uighurs, do you, because they aren't ethnic Arabs and don't speak Arabic.)

As for your point about non-homogeneity - do you jump up to object every time you hear someone talk about the outlook of the Chinese, or the Russians, or Italians, or any other nationality, since it is doubtful that 100% of those populations are ever of one mind about anything?
6.25.2009 6:44pm
neurodoc:
Tony Tutins: But Palestinian terrorists such as Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin later became respected Prime Ministers. And with time, the country became self-supporting.
Tell us, if you will, what were the most barbarous acts of terrorism (targeting non-combatants) that Shamir and Begin or those they directed ever committed. Did they direct anyone to break into nurseries and kill the toddlers there?; or, send suicide bombers to kill as many people as possible among those engaged in religious observance, eating with their families in a pizza parlor, waiting with other teenagers to get into a nightclub, riding on city buses?; or, try to plant bombs to blow up civilian aircraft in the air?; or,...

I look forward to your answer.
6.25.2009 6:50pm
Oren:

As for your point about non-homogeneity - do you jump up to object every time you hear someone talk about the outlook of the Chinese, or the Russians, or Italians, or any other nationality, since it is doubtful that 100% of those populations are ever of one mind about anything?

I do, because it's a sign of weak thinking. It's a sign that aren't willing (or able) to ascribe to that group a basic element of humanity: a diverse set of opinions.

In the case of Palestinains and Iranians it's especially harmful because we forget that our actions can change the balance of power between the various centers of power.
6.25.2009 9:18pm
Oren:

what were the most barbarous acts of terrorism (targeting non-combatants) that Shamir and Begin or those they directed ever committed.

Deir Yassin
Al-Dawayima (itself retaliation for Kfar Etzion)
Lydda
Tantura

Both of the last two were retaliation for Arab massacres ...
6.25.2009 9:24pm
neurodoc:
Oren: (a) Deir Yassin; (b) Al-Dawayima (itself retaliation for Kfar Etzion); (c) Lydda; (d) Tantura
I asked Tony Tutins, on whose behalf it seems you are answering, did Shamir and/or Begin "ever direct anyone to break into nurseries and kill the toddlers there?; or, send suicide bombers to kill as many people as possible among those engaged in religious observance, eating with their families in a pizza parlor, waiting with other teenagers to get into a nightclub, riding on city buses?; or, try to plant bombs to blow up civilian aircraft in the air?; or,..." So we may understand your response, please say:

(i) what role Shamir and/or Begin played in each of your (a), (b), (c) and (d). If they can't be directly linked to those, then your response must be rejected as non-responsive to the question asked.

(ii) what each of your (a) through (d) equated with of mine ("break into nurseries and kill the toddlers there...send suicide bombers to kill as many people as possible among those engaged in religious observance, eating with their families in a pizza parlor, waiting with other teenagers to get into a nightclub, riding on city buses...try to plant bombs to blow up civilian aircraft in the air..."). If there is no close correspondence, then again your response must be struck as non-responsive. The question, originally to Tony Tutins, was what acts of "terrorism" could be attributed to Shamir and/or Begin. When armies engage, as they did in the '48 fighting, what happens is not "terrorism" unless there was no tactical/strategic war objective in sight and the objective was the terrorization of non-combatants.
Oren: I do, because it's a sign of weak thinking. It's a sign that aren't willing (or able) to ascribe to that group a basic element of humanity: a diverse set of opinions.
Someone who would, like you, "jump up to object every time you hear someone talk about the outlook of the Chinese, or the Russians, or Italians, or any other nationality, since it is doubtful that 100% of those populations are ever of one mind about anything" is just too silly to include in adult conversation. And sorry, but it's just plain stupid to say that its a matter of "ascrib(ing) to that group a basic element of humanity: a diverse set of opinions." Too silly and too stupid to continue this part of the conversation.
6.26.2009 1:06am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Neurodoc argues that Lehi and Irgun were kinder, gentler terrorists than the Palestinians can muster today. To me that is a pointless argument, like trying to decide which of Hitler, Pol Pot, or Stalin was worse.

But Lehi has a legacy independent of Israel. Their assassination of U.N. diplomat Count Bernadotte led to the ICJ's ruling in 1949 that the U.N. had international legal personality, and could proceed to bring a claim (for reparations for the death or injury of its employee) against countries even those which were not members of the UN, and even those that had no recognized government.
6.26.2009 2:26am
yankev (mail):

Neurodoc argues that Lehi and Irgun were kinder, gentler terrorists than the Palestinians can muster today.
Not at all what he argued. But nice way to duck the question. Also nice way to overlook the difference in goals -- in the case of Lehi and Etzel (not that I would defend every act of either group), the immediate goals were an end to terror attacks against Jews, an end to British toleration of terror acts against Jews, an end to British interference with Jewish self defense and with efforts at Jewsih independence, and the longer term goal was an indepenent Jewish state with citizenship and full legal rights for any Arabs who cared to stay. Slaughter for the sake of slaughter was never part of the plan. Hence no rapes, no kidnapping of children and young girls, no acts of the type neurodoc asked about.

In the case of the PLO and its constituent groups, and the PA, the immediate goal is an end to the Jewish state and to Jewish presence in the area, and the long term goal varies -- the PLO once advocated a secular Judenrein state, Hamas advocates an Islamic Judenrein caliphate, and some groups propose that Jews who can show they lived in the area pre-1917 could stay as non-citizens with no legal rights. Slaughter of Jews for the sake of slaughter is therefore part of the plan, with home invasions, armed attacks on schools (remember Maalot?), religious events, pedestrians, motorists, and the deliberate targeting of pregnant women, young children, and targets of opportunity.
6.26.2009 9:31am
Oren:

And sorry, but it's just plain stupid to say that its a matter of "ascrib(ing) to that group a basic element of humanity: a diverse set of opinions." Too silly and too stupid to continue this part of the conversation.

Is it that hard to be precise in your language that you have to resort to "silly" and "stupid" to characterize a fairly minor request?

"The Chinese government believes that Taiwan is a part of China"

"The majority of the Chinese population believes that Taiwan is a part of China"

"The Palestinaian authority has accepted the right of Israel to exist"

"Hamas refuses to acknowledge Israel's right to exist"

"The Red Crescent has supported Palestinian disinformation"

It really wouldn't kill you to think for 5 seconds about exactly to whom you are ascribing complex political views. I promise.
6.26.2009 1:25pm
Oren:

Also nice way to overlook the difference in goals -- in the case of Lehi and Etzel (not that I would defend every act of either group), the immediate goals were an end to terror attacks against Jews

I believe neurodoc asked a question about means, not ends. I might be mistaken though.

Of course, I don't condemn or defend the Irgun (my favorite understated quote was from Alan Dershowitz in his book The Case for Israel that "Removing Arabs certainly seems to have been the policy of the Irgun".) but it's foolish to believe in the "purity of arms" story told about the war. It was a bloody war, in which there is no purity.
6.26.2009 1:29pm
yankev (mail):

The Palestinaian authority has accepted the right of Israel to exist
Not as a Jewish state they haven't. They recently reiterated that refusal. The "moderate" leader of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas, has also said on more than one occassion that establishment of a Palestinian state is just a step in the strugg against the existence of Israel. And officials of the PA have reiterated that any concessions about Israel's existence that the PA has made or may make in future are not binding on Fatah or other members of the PLO.
6.26.2009 4:07pm
yankev (mail):

it's foolish to believe in the "purity of arms" story told about the war. It was a bloody war, in which there is no purity.
No, war is never pure. But if you have evidence that Shamir or Begin did

ever direct anyone to break into nurseries and kill the toddlers there?; or, send suicide bombers to kill as many people as possible among those engaged in religious observance, eating with their families in a pizza parlor, waiting with other teenagers to get into a nightclub, riding on city buses?; or, try to plant bombs to blow up civilian aircraft in the air?

you have not cited it. If the armed conflict at Dair Yassin is the best you can do, you haven't even come close.
6.26.2009 4:11pm
neurodoc:
I see no need for me to respond further to Tony Tutins or Oren. yankev has done a good job of rebuttal, noting as he did how the questions I put were ducked.
6.26.2009 5:25pm
Oren:
Deir Yassin was not an armed conflict, the village had surrendered any meaningful resistance well before the majority of casualties. Incidentally, the killing stopped when the Haredim from a nearby Jewish village (who had lived in peace with the residents of DY for some time now) physically interceded between the Irgun and the villagers.

[A] crowd of people from Givat Shaul, with peyot (earlocks), most of them religious (Haredi), came into the village and started yelling "gazlanim" "rozchim"—(thieves, murderers) "we had an agreement with this village. It was quiet. Why are you murdering them?"


Oh, and Begin was head of the Irgun at the time, so you can infer whatever the absolute minimum he knew or should have known or should have directed.
6.26.2009 5:57pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
Yankev,

A right to exist does not equate to any sort of right to exist as you currently are. I fear that realization is going to come as a very rude shock to Israelis over the next 75-100 years.

What will you say when the Jewish nature of the state is demolished through legitimate democratic means?
6.26.2009 8:47pm
neurodoc:
Oren: Deir Yassin was not an armed conflict, the village had surrendered any meaningful resistance well before the majority of casualties. Incidentally, the killing stopped when the Haredim from a nearby Jewish village (who had lived in peace with the residents of DY for some time now) physically interceded between the Irgun and the villagers...
I take it that your answer to the question I posed Tony Tutins earlier (6/25 @ 6:50PM).

So, to be clear, are you saying that: (1) Begin bore responsibility for whatever happened at Deir Yassin; (2) whatever happened at Deir Yassin was the most barbarous act of terrorism (targeting non-combatants) that Begin or those he directed committed; and, (3) in your mind, whatever happened at Deir Yassin equates with break(ing) into nurseries and kill(ing) the toddlers there; send(ing) suicide bombers to kill as many people as possible among those engaged in religious observance, eating with their families in a pizza parlor, waiting with other teenagers to get into a nightclub, riding on city buses; try(ing) to plant bombs to blow up civilian aircraft in the air; etc.? If that is what you are saying, please tell us what
source(s) you rely on for the facts of what happened at Deir Yassin and the surrounding circumstances, since as you must know that is hotly disputed.

If I get your answer(s) before this thread closes, I will try respond.

[BTW, did you ever say where in Western China that "ethnic Arab population" is located?]
6.26.2009 10:37pm
Tom G (mail):

TomG, if Israel is at the root of our problems with Iran, why does Iran call the US the Great Satan and Israel only the Little Satan? Doesn't that suggest to you there may be much more behind our disagreements with Iran than US refusal to let Israel be destroyed?


I am not suggesting that the US sever its ties Israel, that we cease to be its ally and that we not guarantee its existence. I just don't think we need to be so thoroughly invested in all of its conflicts or help underwrite its illegal settlements activities.

How is this any different than, say, the French-Algerian conflict? France was an allied democracy fighting a war against "terorists" (aka nationalists). We remained their ally throughout but we did not become involved in this affair because it had nothing to do with us.


As far as your question of what the US gets from the relationship, benefits include access to intelligence that US intelligence agencies were unable to get (this was particularly true during the cold war, when e.g. Israel got the US the US's first look at a complete, functioning latest model MiG, but remains true today), a consistent supporting vote in the UN (more votes in support of the US than any counrty except Micronesia), a foil to dictatorships in the region, testing grounds for US weapons (which btw Israel buys with cash),



Again, we can continue to share intelligence and support each other where we can, but we don't need to be involved in this conflict. I really don't care who controls this all or that village, or what Arafat said in 1985 that hurt your feelings.


a market for US goods, a source of technicology innovation (including cellular phones, instant messaging, text messaging), a source of medical knowledge (including advances in prosthetics, trauma care and pharmaceuticals), aid in resettling refugees (did you know that Israel took in more boat people than any country except the US, and has been a refuge for people fleeing Darfur)? Much of the aid you complain about was promised to Israel in order to induce Israel to take serious risks to its security. Some is in the form of loan guaranties, which costs the US nothing. Some is required to be spent on buying weapons from the US, which aids the domestic US economy.


Ummmm ok. I assure, we have plenty of markets for our goods besides your tiny country. And I didn't realize that your technological innovation was occurring as a favor to the United States. And its very nice of you to take in refugees. But again, I have no idea what this has to do with becoming embroiled in all of your conflicts. Why can't we just be regular allies, where we cooperate where we can but we also have our own problems? Kind of like how we don't expect Israel to handle North Korea for us?
6.26.2009 11:09pm
Oren:
Neuro -- this an old thread, but read this.
6.27.2009 7:13pm
Oren:

(1) Begin bore responsibility for whatever happened at Deir Yassin; (2) whatever happened at Deir Yassin was the most barbarous act of terrorism (targeting non-combatants) that Begin or those he directed committed; and, (3) in your mind, whatever happened at Deir Yassin equates to [ parade of horribles]

(1) Impossible to tell whether he bore direct responsibility, but at the minimum he bore command responsibility as the leader of the Irgun at the time.

(2) No, it's just a particularly well-researched example.

(3) I don't think one ought (or even logically can) to "equate" one barbarous act with another -- they are not mathematical entities that can be added or subtracted in such a fashion. One barbarous act made in revenge for another do not "cancel". Each such act stands alone to be judged on its merits.

The Irgun forces murdered the men, women and children of Deir Yassin in cold blood. As an Israeli citizen, I am deeply saddened that this was done in the name of founding my country and that is the sum total of it.
6.27.2009 7:19pm
yankev (mail):

I just don't think we need to be so thoroughly invested in all of its conflicts or help underwrite its illegal settlements activities.

If by "illegal settlement activities" you mean the establishment of settlements that the Israeli government has not approved, the US does not underwrite them. If you mean the building of apartments, homes or towns on land legally purchased by Jews in areas where people don't want Jews to live, then I take issue with your definition of the term "illegal." If you can show me that there has been forcible transfer of Israel's Jewish population to areas outside the green line, we may have something to discuss, but you can't, for the simple reason that it hasn't happened.

How is this any different than, say, the French-Algerian conflict?
For one thing, Algeria was a French colony. What foreign power did Israel "colonize" Israel on behalf of?

but we don't need to be involved in this conflict.
That's just plain silly. Apart from selling Israel arms and voting in accordance with US interests in the UN, which sometimes coincides with Israeli interests, the US has never been "involved in this conflict." The one exception was South Lebanon in 1982, when the US talked Israel into withdrawing in return for certain US guaranties. The US immediately broke its guaranty that the PLO militia would be disarmed before release, and broke the others (a watch on Israel's northern border, which Israel would have preferred to do itself anyway) as soon as 300 US Marines died when the inexcusable negligence of their CO allowed the PLO to bomb their barracks.

or what Arafat said in 1985 that hurt your feelings
That one is too silly to even reply to.

I assure, we have plenty of markets for our goods besides your tiny country. And I didn't realize that your technological innovation was occurring as a favor to the United States.

My country is the US, thank you very much. But US business has made plenty of profit by licensing Israeli innovations.

I have no idea what this has to do with becoming embroiled in all of your conflicts. Why can't we just be regular allies, where we cooperate where we can but we also have our own problems?
That is exactly the relationship we do have with Israel. We have not become "I embroiled in all of" Israel's conlficts, other than having arrogated to ourselves the delusion that we have the right, the power and the wisdom to tell Israel how to manage its conflicts.
6.28.2009 11:20am
neurodoc:
Oren: Neuro -- this an old thread, but read this.
Oh, you meant "ethnic Arabs" in western China in some ancient time, not the present. I thought you were talking about modern times, since you were challenging as overbroad a generalization about the Arab world over the past 60 years. ("You mean the entire ethnic Arab population [stretching, roughly from Morocco to Turkey and then through Western China] wants the same thing?")
6.28.2009 11:30am
neurodoc:
Oren, I asked for the most barbarous act of "terrorism" that Begin (or Shamir) could be held responsible for. You don't say Deir Yassin is "the most barbarous act of 'terrorism'", rather you say, "it's just a particularly well-researched example." Are you going to come forward with other examples to support Tony Tutin's characterization (caricature?) of Begin and Shamir as "Palestinian terrorists"? (I want to engage with your strongest case, and will assume that is what you are making.)

Also, I asked you to "tell us what source(s) you rely on for the facts of what happened at Deir Yassin and the surrounding circumstances, since as you must know that is hotly disputed." You haven't, saying only, "it's just a particularly well-researched example." Yes, "well-researched" and hotly disputed. (Earlier, you cited Tantura as another of your examples. So you think Teddy Katz can be relied on?)

Not knowing what exactly you are asserting as the "facts" of Deir Yassin ("The Irgun forces murdered the men, women and children of Deir Yassin in cold blood"), and what sources you believe show those to be the "facts," I don't know how to respond except en arguendo, that is saying, "If we were to accept your "facts"/argument, then..."

So, en arguendo, Deir Yassin was something like Lidice, the Czech village whose men, women and children the Nazis slaughtered in reprisal for the assassination of Reinhart Heydrich, though the Lidice villagers had nothing to do with that act? Deir Yassin didn't happen in the context of war, with Jews fighting for their lives? Those involved in the attack on Deir Yassin, some of whom died, were lionized in the manner that Palestinians have lionized their "martyrs," those who have died blowing themselves up so as to kill as many Israeli civilians as they could?

Oren, some believe that about 2000 years ago, a man entered this world the product of a virgin birth, free of all sin. I trust you don't imagine yours to have been a virgin birth, nor that you spend much time fretting over the fact that yours was not a virgin birth. It seems, however, that you are very much troubled by the fact that Israel was not the product of a virgin birth, citing as you do incidents that occurred when it came into being as a state. Do you know any country, most especially one in that part of the world, that were the product of a divine conception and a virgin birth, with absolutely clean hands since? If so, which. Or, the Palestinians vis-a-vis Israel?

I doubt that you concur in Tony Tutin's black and white narrative, with Israel always the black, but please correct me if I am wrong about that.
6.29.2009 8:54am

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