Friday, March 18, 2011

Israel/Palestine Update

I spent the last post mostly criticizing Muslims, so I think it’s only fair I share my views on the Israel/Palestine… let’s call it a “situation.”

I’m married to a woman who was raised Jewish and she has many friends and family who live in Israel, so my Facebook feed blew up this past week regarding the death of 5 Israelis. After almost a week of it, I finally commented on the feed of someone who had been particularly obsessive with the calls for violent retaliation, and I commented back and forth with people the entire day.

I don’t think Israel has a right to exist. Period, the end. There isn’t any more about the situation that I need to know. The Jews who forced out hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were in the wrong from the beginning, they were in the wrong when they expanded their borders in 1967, and they’ve been wrong in their violent retaliation for perceived threats or acts against Israeli occupiers. I couldn’t have any less sympathy for the Jews living there, and the only basic right I would afford them is the right to leave with their lives.

This pretty much puts me at odds with every Jew I have ever met, and in their mind it aligns me with terrorists. I was called a “rabid Jew hater” by an asshole who was at my wedding, and I was told by another wedding invitee that I was unable to understand the situation because I didn’t have friends and family in Israel (though I do, if you count in-laws, and my wife is an Israeli citizen).

This is basically the problem faced by anyone in the West who tries to evaluate this “situation” (which is just a euphemism for “on-going war crime”). If you don’t fawn over the poor victimized Jews who kill 10 Palestinians for every dead Israeli, you’re an anti-Semite Nazi terrorist sympathizer. What’s more, they’re say that by virtue of not being Jewish, I can’t really understand what’s going on.

News flash: when you’re too close to a “situation,” you are going to be completely and utterly unable to view it without bias. What’s more, just simply siding with a group because they share your ethnic background is basically the most racist thing you can do, especially considering the loss of life involved here. If Israelis were being slaughtered left and right while being walled in by Muslim communities and cut off from medicine and basic amenities, I would say they’re the victims, but this is the situation of the Palestinians, not the Israelis.

What’s more, the US has sent billions of dollars to Israel, not to mention undeclared nuclear weapons. If you pay taxes in the US, you are an accessory to a brutal massacre at the hands of Israeli “allies.” I don’t see what makes them an ally, by the way, because it’s not as though Israel ever chipped in and helped the US. Israel even accidently sunk a US ship (the USS Liberty) during the Six Day War in 1967, but all was forgiven, despite 34 deaths.

Israel couldn’t be a more racist country. It is a nation founded on racism and one whose entire policy is based on racism. The formation of Israel was largely pushed through by European nations in the UN that were sick of Jews being in Europe and they didn’t want them to return to their homes after WWII. It’s sort of like the white supremacist movement to ship all the black people in America back to Africa.

There’s also a crazy religious component, as it is argued that most of the support for Israel in the US comes from evangelical Christians who believe Jews have to be in control of Jerusalem in order for Big Daddy Jesus to return. US support for Israel is essentially a multi-billion dollar attempt to help a prophecy along.

Meanwhile, millions of Palestinians have been displaced and oppressed at the hands of Israelis, while the US pays the bill. We can’t afford to pay teachers a decent salary, our roads are full of pot-holes, bridges are crumbling, dams are eroding, and we’re sending billions of dollars to a bunch of Jews to oppress and kill Muslims. Brilliant.

Perhaps the most important lesson one can take from this is that no race is any better than another, and that people don’t learn. Who would have ever guessed the Jewish people would go from how they were treated in the Holocaust to being an oppressor using the same tactics just a decade later?

“Never forget” indeed; Jews clearly remember how it’s done.


  1. Nice final line, there.

    I'm curious as to what you think should actually happen with the 'situation' now. Since the self-dissolution of the state of Israel is never going to happen, do you believe it should be forcibly dissolved? I agree that they have no right to be there, but they are now, and I don't think they should be removed. I think there needs to be another solution.

    Your post brings to mind a beautiful speech called 'Come September' by my favourite author, Arundhati Roy. You should check it out if you haven't read it.

    "Israel's staunchest political and military ally is and always has been the U.S. The U.S. government has blocked, along with Israel, almost every U.N. resolution that sought a peaceful, equitable solution to the conflict. It has supported almost every war that Israel has fought. When Israel attacks Palestine, it is American missiles that smash through Palestinian homes. And every year Israel receives several billion dollars from the United States - taxpayers money.

    What lessons should we draw from this tragic conflict? Is it really impossible for Jewish people who suffered so cruelly themselves - more cruelly perhaps than any other people in history - to understand the vulnerability and the yearning of those whom they have displaced? Does extreme suffering always kindle cruelty? What hope does this leave the human race with? What will happen to the Palestinian people in the event of a victory? When a nation without a state eventually proclaims a state, what kind of state will it be? What horrors will be perpetrated under its flag? Is it a separate state that we should be fighting for or, the rights to a life of liberty and dignity for everyone regardless of their ethnicity or religion?"

  2. the self-dissolution of the state of Israel is never going to happen

    Never say never. I think it would be an interesting social experiment if all foreign aid were cut to Israel and they had to fend for themselves. Then, if they're the targets of oppression, the US can rush in to facilitate a peaceful retreat. Or maybe they'll find a way to live peacefully once Israelis no longer have disproportionate military might. When one side holds all the cards and has everything to lose by negotiating, there will be no negotiation.

    Regarding your questions: I don't think a majority of any people have the capacity to recognize they are oppressing another people, despite their history. I don't think extreme suffering causes cruelty, but it does provide a road map... and if you're given tanks, they'll be well on their way towards doing so.

    The lesson about humanity from this is a positive one to me, which is that all people everywhere are essentially the same: capable of harrowing perserverence and horrorific oppression. I'm not sure what a victory for the Palestinians would be at this point, but I imagine it can't get much worse.

    Regarding nation forming, any people who think they're entitled to that which is owned by others will always result in violence. I don't even like the idea of nations in general, because every border drawn today is a war fought tomorrow.

    For the billions of dollars we blew on Israel, we could have built an exact replica of the Holy Land somewhere that wasn't occupied and then allowed the Jews to live there. I sometimes wonder if the best solution would be to set an arbitrary date sometime in the future (maybe a year) and tell everyone involved that they have until that day to either live peacefully or leave. If there is still fighting going on, the entire area should be nuked so no one can live there. If it wasn't for the potential for fallout to spread to innocent nations nearby, this would be my preferred solution, because the solution is so simple even a child can understand it: if you can't share it, no one can have it at all.

  3. “Never forget” indeed; Jews clearly remember how it’s done.

    Few populations in the world - or world history - have increased at the rate of the Palestinians in the past 70 or so years.

  4. Brian, that is a disgustingly typical argument made by racists everywhere, the old, "They're breeding like rabbits" claim. You have no actual statistics to back this up, because your incredibly racist view is incorrect. You know who is breeding like rabbits in the Middle East? Jews, who have higher than average birth rates and access to medicine.

    Please actually try to bring something to the table besides your prejudice.

  5. You are pretty stupid.

    Over a thousand murdered Israeli civilians in the space of 10 years is so being slaughtered left and right(and it was way worse in the 70's, look it up).

    Israel developed it's own nukes and kept it secret from the US.

    The creation of Israel was because of Britain, who controlled Palestine and was pro Jewish. It was the German's and Poles mainly that were massacring Jews. They had nothing to do with Israel's formation.

    Finally, you seem to think that the Palestinian population is plummeting on account of the Israeli massacres, you obviously don't know shit. Shut the fuck up.

  6. I think that you make some very valid points.

    The concern on this side of the pond is where do we see the Israeli/Palestinian problem in 50 years time ?

    Israel has wasted some valuable opportunities and instead relied on prevarication hoping that the problem will simply go away.

    Unfortunately the world is changing and it's not the same as it was in 1949. The balance of economic power is shifting away from the USA. Israel needs to prepare for what follows from that ie the rest of the world will want the Israeli/Palestinian conflict resolved - period.

  7. Its ballsy of you to come out with such a position. Especially in this country, being the USA is so pro-Israel. I don't think Israel is our friend at all and the only reason we support them is the Jeebus' homeland, Jerusalem bullshit that permeates our country.

    Flame suit on.

  8. Anonymous (if that is your real name...): No, my friend, you are the one who is clearly pretty stupid.

    Since 2000, just over 1,000 Israelis have been killed, compared to over 6,000 Palestinians. Of these, 124 of the dead Israelis were children, while 1,452 of the dead Palestinians were children. Even when looking at the injured, the numbers don't support your case: 9,226 Isralis injured, compared to 45,041 Palestinians. (source)

    We don't know anything about Israel's nuclear program because they keep it secret, which would be impetus for bloody cries for war from Republicans (as they do for Iran or North Korea) if it was any other nation. I have read reports that the nuclear material for Israel's nuclear weapons came from the US and France, but that is merely speculation and not something I or anyone can confirm publicly at this point because their nuclear programs is completely clandestine, illegal, and not monitored by the IAEA.

    The land Israel is on was controlled by Britain as a colony since the fall of the Ottoman empire, but that does not give Britain license as a foreign occupier to displace Arab people in order to move Jews in by UN order. If you don't understand the role that anti-Semitism played in Israel's formation, you are missing a fundamental part of why it was formed. Countries like Germany and Poland did not roll out the red carpet for Jews to return (they didn't even allow them to retain ownership of property seized during the Holocaust in most cases), and rather than force these nations to do the right thing, it was seen as easier to just move a bunch of Muslims out of the Holy Land and stick the Jews there.

    I said nothing about the Palestinian population plummeting (it is rising at a rate slightly higher than global averages). What is a fact, however, is that Israel's fertility rate and population growth are both higher than that of Palestinians.

    You, sir, should shut the fuck up and go hang yourself, for the good of humanity.

  9. Haha, Bret. From what I've seen so far, you're really eloquent and intelligent and perceptive, but every now and then you slip over into either extremism or an outburst that cheapens your argument. That last statement is such a childish way to end a sophisticated post; it really does bring you down to your critics' level in a way. I wonder if that's why you seem to get a lot of flak from people. And the whole 'the entire area should be nuked' thing is something I would expect to hear, and in fact often do hear, from uneducated right-wing idiots. Although I think you might have been being a little bit facetious in that case. Not sure. I agree with the sentiment of 'if you can't share no one can have it' but if it came down to it I would never support that plan actually occurring.

    Just a friendly observation.

  10. I think there's a fundamental difference between why I write and why other people write. I can't be sure, because I'm not psychic, but I get the impression that people blog, comment, reply, etc. because they are trying to change people's minds. My primary evidence for this is that people are always telling me that I'm not being persuaive, and I find that one can learn a lot about someone's views based on what the things which they criticize me for doing. Ergo, if someone says, "You're not being very convincing," or the like, I take from that the notion that they're out trying to ideologically evangelize.

    I don't care what people believe. There are people in this world who have no interest in evidence based arguments, and trying to argue with someone who has made their decision based on an emotionally driven bias is pointless. If I was utterly polite and acted like a nice, little, declawed liberal, I would be ignored.

    Instead, I want people to know that if they want to try to insult me, I'd be happy verbally bitch slap them. Liberals have spent too much time trying to fix stupid, attempting to debate with the insane, and basically failing to do anything but let the right-wing hijack the argument and drag it kicking and screaming further and further into the current Retardican dystopia we find ourselves living in, where the "debate" is controlled by the one who is most extreme and is able to move the "negotiation" from the middle to their side.

    The goal of changing people's minds is pointless. You need to verbally beat them into no longer wanting to engage you. I can't make that anonymous poster any smarter, but I can make him rethink whether he'll just let my argument go unopposed in the future, which is ultimately the goal. If the other side just shuts up and lets you do what you want, that is winning.

    I understand that most liberals are drawn to the attractive ideas of "honor" or "virtue." The truth is, I don't buy that. There are no honor points, and I'm not more virtuous than anyone. I just want to get my way, like anyone else, and winning imaginary brownie points that no one is keeping track of for the sake of civility is not a game I'm interested in anymore.

    People who have no evidence for their opinions should take a long walk off a short pier.

    I write for entertainment, and ultimately for no one but myself. Besides, do you honestly think I have the power to influence whether nuclear weapons are ever used? If so, I'm flattered, but I should inform you I'm not that important.

    Should do a post about this...

  11. I believe the US should cut foreign aid to most nations, Israel included.

    Sink or swim, let them decide their own fate.

  12. I dunno. Looks like after reading my comment you went and did some research to back up what are still, in my mind, totally ridiculous assertions, but maybe you're not an idiot after all.

  13. I dunno.

    That's the first intelligent thing you've said. If only you had stopped there.

  14. "Brian, that is a disgustingly typical argument made by racists everywhere, the old, "They're breeding like rabbits" claim."

    You misinterpreted my argument very badly. Hint: it would be refuted if they were breeding like rabbits.

    "You have no actual statistics to back this up, because your incredibly racist view is incorrect."


    "You know who is breeding like rabbits in the Middle East? Jews, who have higher than average birth rates and access to medicine."'re making a racist argument similar to one you accused me of making, but that I didn't actually make? OK...

  15. Yeah, you should do a post about that. It's interesting.

    I wouldn't say my personal goal in posting/commenting etc is to persuade people, but I guess it is partially. And I think a lot of people's goal is to persuade. My aim would be more along the lines of accurately representing my feelings and opinions, and explaining why I feel that way. Because I'm not an idiot, that often means giving evidence.

    I write for myself too, but I also write for my peers, for people like me. You can't make the anonymous poster smarter, but you can make me smarter. I think discussion is one of the best tools for the refinement of intellect, and in representing your position eloquently, you've made me consider something I wouldn't have otherwise - my own motivations for writing, and the possibility that other people have different ones. Notably, you did succeed in making that poster back off, but I think it's obvious from what s/he says that it was the soundness of the argument that did it, not the fierceness of its delivery.

    I still feel like those kinds of comments don't achieve much. Your aversion to censorship suggests a different position to discussion than 'I don't care what other people think', but it probably comes down to context. I can see how a freethinking liberal like yourself living in the American South might develop that habit, and not without reason. The situation, thankfully, is not as extreme in Australia. Of course, you're entitled to write out of whatever motivations you want. I just find it curious.

    And finally, obviously I don't think you have that kind of power, but posing questions in such a way helps to get a clearer sense of your opinion, which is what I wanted to know. There's a big difference between a vague sentiment, a throwaway comment that 'the whole are should be nuked' and the belief in that idea to the extent that, if you had it your way, you would support the implementation of that plan.

    Mac, definitely I think the US should minimise or cease its financial support for Israel, but I wouldn't advocate a total cut-off of foreign aid, although I notice you said only to 'most nations'. I think a geopolitical view of the world is a poor one. There can't be very many more completely unfounded, useless and damaging notions than patriotism (religion also springs to mind). The reality is that there are people born into suffering who can't help it, and I can't see how wealthy people helping those people is a bad thing. It's only easy to dismiss when you think about it politically: 'if those nations can't look after themselves, why should we?'

  16. [First off, Luke, sorry about your comment being sent to my spam folder and not being posted, no clue how that happened... I don't see "viagra" or "cam" anywhere in your comment, so I have no clue how that happened.]

    Honestly, that exchange with the anonymous guy was the weirdest ever in three years of blogging (and 27 years of being a real life prick). I've never actually had someone come back and say (even back-handedly) that I might not be as foolish as they thought, so in that regard I was frankly shocked. Notice they still didn't change their view.

    And I'm positive it wasn't how I said it that got the reply. Generally, a successful insult doesn't get the person to come back at all, they just leave me alone after. Also want to point out I'm not Southern, I just moved down here, and that Southerners are verbally polite (they'll say "please" and "thank you" as they beat a gay person to death or drag a black man behind their truck). I picked up my jackassery from living in Philadelphia and Detroit.

    Finally, regarding my "nuke" solution: like I said, not feasible due to the loss of innocent lives outside the targetted area, so I got creative and thought of two other, even better solutions. One would be to again give advanced warning so that people can leave if they want or work towards true peace, then if the ultimatum is ignored, drop an enormous dome over the area so that no one can get in or out, a la "The Simpsons Movie." The other option (which I think is my favorite so far) is to kick everyone out of Israel/Palestine and give the land to Tibetans.

  17. I posted a long response to this post as a series of comments (blogger has hidden limitations on comment length) on "History Lessons from idiots":

    I originally tried posting it as a great big comment here. That failed so I e-mailed it to Bret. Then he wrote a blog post in response but didn't actually include my "history lesson" so I figured that would be the most appropriate location for it.

    Of course, I'm the chief idiot Bret is referring to.


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