Israel’s forgotten citizens


by Sunny
24th January, 2006 at 3:26 pm    

Robert Sharp makes an important point with relevance to the upcoming Palestinian elections.

One group of people who get very little attention in the Middle-East are the Arab citizens of Israel. One in five Israelis are Arabs, but as either Muslims or Christians they are effectively second-class citizens in what is, after all, a Jewish State. Even if a utopian reconciliation between the Israelis and the Palestinians were to take place, a two-state solution would still leave discrimmination of Arab Israelis unaddressed.

They say a democracy is judged by how it treats its most vunerable minorities. What does this say about Israel’s continuing claim to be a strong democracy when it continues to harass journalists and arbitarily hands out injunctions?

David T points to a more encouraging article in Ha’aretz today which asks the British left to be more nuanced in its approach to Middle Eastern politics.

We need a movement in the U.K. for a just peace, one that campaigns in solidarity with the Palestinian and Israeli peace camps. Such a movement has to be conscious of where the boundaries lie between reasonable criticism of Israeli and Palestinian actions on the one hand, and the demonization of Israel, Jews, Palestinians and Muslims on the other. We need to resist those who try to force us to choose between one camp and the other. We need to work for the politics of peace and reconciliation within both Israel and Palestine.

While I agree that the British left has been reactionary, it isn’t as bad as the defensiveness and completely lack of empathy shown by British Muslims and Jews to the other side. Many on the left are caught in the middle between wanting justice for Palestinians yet sympathise with the Israelis when Muslim suicide terrorists kill innocents or when the President of Iran opens his mouth. Rock and a hard place, anyone?


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  1. Opinionated Voice

    [...] Al Jazeera reports that with the Palestinian legislative elections upon us, voters and candidates are hoping that the polls will be fair, free, and above all peaceful. With the ruling Fatah Party facing an unprecedented challenge from the resistance group Hamas causing discontent and fear by Israel, thousands of Palestinian security men have been deployed . Lets hope that the result starts a chain reaction for peace and that the forgotten citizens are not further left behind, as Pickled Politics highlights. «« Previous: Gay and Muslim Just Sounds Wrong… Comments » [...]




  1. Siddharth — on 24th January, 2006 at 4:20 pm  

    Yeah, no doubt we read the same blogs. Both the Robert Sharp post and the Ha’aretz article (highlighted by the well endowed David T – he be one of the good guys) have both given me a warm fuzzy glow and have got the endorphines flowing again in an otherwise slow blog week. However, I do take issue with your conclusion, as if to suggest that the Left’s expectations of Israel and the need to empathise with the Israel’s side of the burden is also not also marred by its actions, which include its record of ethnic cleansing and its own racism – which is as bad as any poison spewing forth from Ahmadinejad’s lips.

    You’re right when you say that the Muslim voice in Britain in regard to Palestine has been visceral, to say the least, but its impossible for a Muslim, or indeed any sensory person who eats and sleeps, not to view the plight of Palestinian men and women and not say to themselves ‘there but for the grace of God go I’.

  2. Siddharth — on 24th January, 2006 at 4:24 pm  

    How come whenever David T posts something on Harry’s Place which calls for equanimity between Jews and Muslims, he feels the need to turn comments off?

  3. Sunny — on 24th January, 2006 at 4:46 pm  

    Probably from experience.

    With regards to Palestine, I also keep saying “Oh for the grace of God”, but to me there is also the inescapable conclusion that the second intafada, which has been pushed and sustained by the global Muslim community, has been more detrimental to the Palestinian cause than helpful. But the global Muslim community doesn’t want to accept that, neither do Hamas, so I don’t absolve them of blame entirely.

    The whole situation is a moral maze.

  4. Jay Singh — on 24th January, 2006 at 5:11 pm  

    Siddhartha

    I think some Muslims have fetishized the Palestinian cause beyond hysteria. The constant invoking of it as evidence as a universal plot against Islam everywhere is completely out of perspective and not healthy for a rational approach. It becomes like a festering sore that some Muslims pick to fill up their victimhood complex.

    The situation is bad but it is essentially a land dispute which can be resolved without invocations of the Islamic world being oppressed. ‘There but for the grace of God go I’ applies to many situations – Darfur and other places like that, for a start. Manking it the crux of Islamic existence in the UK has lead to a discourse that has lead to a radicalised and politicised Islam in this country that I think is unhealthy.

  5. Steve M — on 24th January, 2006 at 5:17 pm  

    As the dust settles after the forthcoming Palestinain elections (if it settles), I wonder whether there will be more Palestinians wanting to become Israeli Arabs or more Israeli Arabs wanting to become citizens of Gaza or the West Bank. It’s not exactly a bed of roses on either side of the fence.

    I say this because I’m curious – not to deny that prejudice exists and certainly not to excuse or justify such prejudice. I have previously made it quite clear on PP that I view all prejudice as anti-humanity.

    its record of ethnic cleansing and its own racism which is as bad as any poison spewing forth from Ahmadinejad’s lips

    Is this really true, Siddharth? Would you as soon be an Israeli or Jew in Iranian hands than an Arab in Israel?

  6. El Cid — on 24th January, 2006 at 6:39 pm  

    I’m not surprised David T doesn’t allow comments. I’ve written, rewritten, then thought better about commenting on this issue on many occasions. For example, I agree with Sid’s comment re Israel’s track record and Ahmadinejad’s odious rhetoric, but it’s a debating dead end. Moral maze ain’t the half of it. I think even the most ardent libertarian and self-interested electorate in the West would vote for increased taxes if that’s what it took to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.
    If only.
    Sorry to chill your warm fuzzy glow but I can’t see a solution in my lifetime — not while religion plays such a prominent role in that part of the world.
    Bringing Hamas to the negotiating table is what it will take, I suspect, but that’s years away, if at all possible. Maybe a successful Gaza ‘state’ would help.
    In the meantime, yeah, I agree, there’s no justfication for coming down on one side or the other.

  7. Shaul — on 24th January, 2006 at 8:14 pm  

    Keep in mind, that Arab Israelis are paid very little attention by the ‘other’ side as well, because most will prefer to continue to live as ‘second class citizens’ in a Jewish state long after a Palestinian state (baruch hashem) is erected. And ask yourself, are non-Jews living in a Jewish state deprived of rights in a way that is any different from non-French living in France?

    Does an Algerian living in France have to apply for French citizenship to get full rights in France? (Just curious.)

    One could just as easily ask what that says about the nature of any future Palestinian state.

  8. Al_Mujahid_for_debauchery — on 24th January, 2006 at 9:22 pm  

    Lets not pretend that Israel is some kind of a democracy. Democracies dont occupy West Bank and Gaza because little Moses told them so on Mount Sinai. Btw if all this God thing is so important, why did they give back Sinai?

    The Palestinians in this election dont really have a sane choice. They can either chose Hamas murderers or PLO thugs.
    Hamas murderers do a far better job of providing social services and are less corrupt, so they will probably win hands down in Gaza and come close to matching the PLO performance in West Bank where there presence is more limited. Neither the corrupt PLO nor the genocidal Hamas has the ability to either bring order to the occupied territories or bring some kind of economic stability for their people.

  9. Jay Singh — on 25th January, 2006 at 12:02 am  

    Lets not pretend that Israel is some kind of a democracy

    It is a compromised democracy because of those actions but it still is a democracy in as much as it has universal enfranchisment, elections, a free press, freedom of speech, including a rigorous anti-occupation movement, equal rights for women etc etc

    So yes, Israel is a democracy. It’s occupation of those territories compromise this – but surely you are not suggesting that Israel does not have a democratic culture at least to some extent?

  10. Al_Mujahid_for_debauchery — on 25th January, 2006 at 12:54 am  

    “but surely you are not suggesting that Israel does not have a democratic culture at least to some extent?”

    No, I am not.
    Israel has some democratic institutions and thats great. In my book you cant be a full democracy when you are occupying and denying millions of people their democratic rights.

  11. Jay Singh — on 25th January, 2006 at 1:03 am  

    But the characterisation of it as not being a democracy is wrong then. After all, there is no pure democracy, but there are degrees and definite credentials, practices and institutions, and the existence of organised opposition to the occupation proves to me the fact that Israel demonstrably is a democracy. It may not be perfect, but it is a democracy, and it is working to disengage from its current status as occupier of those territories.

  12. Bikhair — on 25th January, 2006 at 4:35 am  

    Those Muslim Arabs in Isreal need to stop complaining. They can move to any Muslim country in the area provided they have taken advantage of the economic and educational oppurtunities in Isreal. Muslims should know that if you make hijrah- migration to a Muslim country from Darul kufr, all your sins before have been forgiven. You gotta do it for the sake of Allah, as with any act of worship. Why not take advantage of such a great oppurtunity?

  13. Intifada Kid — on 25th January, 2006 at 9:45 am  

    I’d like to take issue with two ideas expressed above: 1) That the content of the David Hirsh and John Pike article in Ha’aretz should warm the hearts of anyone genuinely seeking a peaceful resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and 2) That Israel can legitimately be designated a ‘democracy’.

    1) The movement with which Hirsh and Pike are affiliated is designed to protect Israel from peaceful civil society protest at its policies of occupation and ethnic discrimination intended to end that occupation and ethnic discrimination. Anyone familiar with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict knows that the central obstacles to the achievement of peace are:
    a)The asymetric nature of the conflict – Israel is a nuclear power with one of the strongest militaries in the world while the Palestinians are still a displaced, dispossessed, stateless people living under the boot of Israeli occupation, or as third class citizens within the borders of the state of Israel or as refugees in surrounding countries and scattered throughout the diaspora – and:

    b) Israel’s guiding policy of taking as much Palestinian land as possible with as many Palestinian resources as possible, with as few Palestinians as possible, which continues to colour this conflict as a colonial one.

    For a two-state solution to be realised (including a viable Palestinian state), Palestinians must achieve statehood on 22% of historic Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza Strip) which means international pressure desperately needs to be applied to Israel to end its occupation of that terrritory, stop building and remove illegal settlements (colonies) on Pal land, tear down the illegal Wall it is building (80% of which runs inside occupied Pal territory) and lift the closure regime which severely restricts the freedom of movement of approx 3.8million Pals in the oPt to facilitate the movement of approx 400,000 Israeli colonists/settlers. The Apartheid road system within the West Bank, critisized by Israeli Human Rights org B’Tselem is a classic example of this racist regime.

    For various reasons, currently the requisite pressure to resolve the conflict isn’t coming from the world governments with the power to apply it (particularly the US and EU states). So peaceful civil society initiatives within those societies are critical and a boycott is one important peaceful tool with which to apply that pressure. Incidentally – for a response to the anti- boycott lobby’s arguments (of which Hirsh and Pike played a celebrated role) see ‘One Hand Clapping: Applauding Tolerance and Pluralism in Israeli Academia: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article3891.shtml

    2) For anyone interested in discussions surrounding Israel’s characterisation as a democracy, I would urge reading Prof. Oren Yiftachel’s article ‘Democracy of Ethnocracy: Territory and Settler Politics in Israel/Palestine’ available here:

    As Prof. Yiftachel writes:
    “Israel is a state and a polity without clear boundaries; and the country’s organization of social space is based on pervasive and uneven ethnic segregation. This leads to a necessary questioning of Israel’s ostensibly democratic status. I argue that the Israeli polity is governed not by a democratic regime, but rather by an “ethnocracy,” which denotes a non-democratic rule for and by a dominant ethnic group, within the state and beyond its borders.”

    Israel’s democratic status is utterly compromised by two factors: its lack of defined boundaries and the high status attributed to international Jewish organizations, like the Jewish National Fund, in the administration of state resources, not least, of course, land. Hence, Israel is an ethnocracy, which privileges the Jewish majority of its citizenry at the expense of the indigenous Palestinians – including Palestinian citizens of Israel, those without Israeli citizenship living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip and those living in the diaspora, many of whom live in refugee camps and are denied their Right of Return to homes in what became Israel simply because they aren’t Jewish. Sounds a bit more racist than democratic, doesn’t it?

  14. Intifada Kid — on 25th January, 2006 at 9:50 am  

    Sorry, forgot to link to Oren Yiftahel’s article:

    http://www.merip.org/mer/mer207/yift.htm

  15. Jay Singh — on 25th January, 2006 at 11:16 am  

    Intifada Kid

    No – it sounds like a democracy to me still – sorry! ;-)

  16. Siddharth — on 25th January, 2006 at 11:23 am  

    Hitler was democratically elected to power in Germany in March 1932. Does democracy legitimise Nazism?

  17. Jay Singh — on 25th January, 2006 at 11:27 am  

    Yeah that’s right – Israel is Nazi Germany!

  18. Siddharth — on 25th January, 2006 at 11:31 am  

    Thats your non-sequitur Jay, not mine.

  19. Jay Singh — on 25th January, 2006 at 11:59 am  

    hmmm – you introduce Nazi Germany into the equation and it’s my non-sequiter?? *scratches head* ;-)

  20. Siddharth — on 25th January, 2006 at 12:06 pm  

    Yeah, your non-sequitur is to suggest that Israel is Nazi Germany to follow on the premise that democracy does not legitimise Nazism.

  21. Jay Singh — on 25th January, 2006 at 12:19 pm  

    Right – and the comparison is in no way loaded or meant to imply any equivalence between Israel or Nazi Germany, come on Sid, you may not mean it but I’ve heard exactly that said ten thousand times before.

  22. Siddharth — on 25th January, 2006 at 12:53 pm  

    I wasn’t comparing Israel to Nazi Germany – that wasn’t my inference, it was years. Possibly because you have heard it a said ten thousand times before.

    My point is, to drop the democracy argument as a defence argumennt for Israel’s transgressions because in my mind a democracy can be just as capable of crimes against humanity as any other autocracy or theocracy. Bangladesh and India are democratic countries but their treatment of minorities can be inhuman, as you know. So what? They’re less culpable of these crimes because they’re democracies? South Africa was a democracy during the apartheid years yet I never heard that as defence for segegration. Why should Israel be allowed to use democracy as a panacea for its crimes?

  23. j0nz — on 25th January, 2006 at 12:56 pm  

    I think it’s terrible that the democratically elected governmental security forces in Israel interview are suspicious of people with links to known terrorists. I mean WTF? That’s just racist…Just because they have terorrist friends doesn’t mean they’re a terrorist too. Anyway we must remember terrorists have feelings too, you know.

  24. Jay Singh — on 25th January, 2006 at 1:00 pm  

    Sid

    Who says that Israel being a democracy absolves it of its obligations towards the Palestinians? Not me. Not most people.

  25. Siddharth — on 25th January, 2006 at 1:02 pm  

    I’ve heard ultra-right Bangladeshi politicians say to me over tea and cakes that Hindu minorities are anti-Bangladesh and anti-democracy and therefore its alright to ethnically cleanse them and deport them to India. Followed by pleasant smiles. Of course they feel they’re justified to do that because they were democratically elected and the Hindus are ‘terrorists’.

  26. j0nz — on 25th January, 2006 at 1:05 pm  

    Arabs have nothing to fear (apart from Arab Suicide bombers) on Israeli streets.

    Though an Israeli on an Arab street that’s a different matter. Occasionally they parade said Israeli’s internal organs around in a joyous frenzy.

    Please, please, somebody show me the evidence for the inhuman treatment of innocent Arabs in Israel. Of course Muslim Arabs in Israel are going to be targetted, it would be pretty dumb if they was monitoring 80- year old Jewish ladies for Jihadi Terrorist activites. And of course mistakes will be made.

    As a footnote, has anybody heard of any Palestinian peace organistions? There must be some, I’ve just never came across any, ever.

  27. Siddharth — on 25th January, 2006 at 1:06 pm  

    oh no, its straw dog j3rkz again.

  28. j0nz — on 25th January, 2006 at 1:09 pm  

    Siddarth you still haven’t managed to answer any of my questions on Interpal. Siddarth 0, j0nz 2.

  29. Jay Singh — on 25th January, 2006 at 1:19 pm  

    Sid

    That is their twisted majoritarian perspective – not mine. It does not take away from the fact that Bangladesh is a functioning democracy. But if someone jumped up and down and said that because of that Bangladesh was not a democracy (and said it with complete unblinking hostile intent invoking, I dont know, the Taliban, Nazi Germany) you would at least say, hey, well, nobody is perfect, lets do something about it – but what’s your agenda?

  30. Siddharth — on 25th January, 2006 at 1:33 pm  

    That is their twisted majoritarian perspective – not mine.

    Exactly. And if one who defends Israel’s transgressions on account of being a democracy were not “generous” enough to extend the same latitude to these Bangladeshi menaces, since they too operate in a democracy, I’d say they were being hypocritical.

  31. Al_Mujahid_for_debauchery — on 25th January, 2006 at 1:36 pm  

    Jay Singh,

    My problem with ‘but Israel is a democracy argument’ is that its irrelevent.

    Israel has occupied West Bank and Gaza. It either needs to make these people citizens of Israel or let them go. Whether Israel is a democracy or whether there are peace movements allowed to flourish in Israel does not take away the fact that the people in West Bank/Gaza are still occupied.

    Israel has 6 million odd people and is colonizing another 4 million in its Eastern and Southern border. It is also actively grabbing land in West Bank and the settlements have not stopped. The fact that Israel also happens to be a democracy is as relevent as the fact that Israel has a rich country.

    What difference does it make?

    We can come up with 15 different definitions of how to define a democracy. I once took a grad class in Political Science and we spent 3 months discussing various definitions of what constitutes a democracy.

    You see existence of organized resistance to occupation within Israel as evidence of (I am presuming) free speech which I am further extrapolating you believe is a characteristic of a democracy.

    In my opinion you cannot be a democracy if you are denying rights to people over whose lives you have complete control. They already have settlements all over West Bank. Those people for all practical purposes are at the complete mercy of the Israeli government. So I am not sure how can you be a democracy if you deny any democratic rights to 1/2 of the people whose lives you control.

  32. Jay Singh — on 25th January, 2006 at 1:40 pm  

    Sid

    I’m not sure I follow your reasoning but, ummm…..yeah alright – I agree with you!

  33. Jay Singh — on 25th January, 2006 at 1:43 pm  

    Al Mujahid

    Yes – and? So because of the occupation Israel itself ceases to be a democracy – that is what you believe. I disagree.

    Curiously, you also made the Nazi – Israel analongy yourself in another thread yesterday.

  34. Sunny — on 25th January, 2006 at 1:57 pm  

    Just because they have terorrist friends doesn’t mean they’re a terrorist too.
    j0nz – to you every Arab Muslim is a terrorist, so there is little point in even trying to debate. It’s as bad as the Mpac view that every Jew is a killer.

  35. Al_Mujahid_for_debauchery — on 25th January, 2006 at 2:03 pm  

    “Yes – and? So because of the occupation Israel itself ceases to be a democracy – that is what you believe. I disagree”.

    Do you think Israel would still continue to be a democracy if Israel stips away all rights of women in Israel?

    At what stage do you stop being a democracy. If you deny all democratic rights to half of your population, you stop being a democracy. Gazans and people living in the West Bank constitute almost half of Israels population and they have no rights whatsoever.

  36. j0nz — on 25th January, 2006 at 2:16 pm  

    j0nz – to you every Arab Muslim is a terrorist

    Really? Thanks for letting me know, Sunny. I wish you’d have told me that in the beginning.

    BTW you know full well that is not my viewpoint. You’re just being silly now…

    Although if you were to count the number of Arab Terrorists in the world against, say, Asian Buddhist, I think there might, just might, be inky winky lickle contrast… But obviously that makes me anti-arab ant-muslim right wing hysterical ranterer.

    Ah… The truth to lefties – it’s like sunshine to vampires!

  37. Jay Singh — on 25th January, 2006 at 2:23 pm  

    Al Mujahid

    But you think Israel and Nazi Germany are analagous, right?

    It seems to cause great trauma to some people that despite the moral toll of the wrongful occupation of the Palestinian territories and many years of targetted suicide bombings, the focussed wrath of swathes of the world, and the head of at least one state expressing his desire to wipe it off the face of the Earth, Israel has been robust in defending the integrity of its democratic institutions, its academia, rights for women, freedom of speech, constitutional rights for minorities within the borders of Israel mainland, freedom for women, gay rights etc etc etc

  38. Jay Singh — on 25th January, 2006 at 2:24 pm  

    Black and White Black and White everything has to be in Black and White…..

  39. Siddharth — on 25th January, 2006 at 2:32 pm  

    But obviously that makes me anti-arab ant-muslim right wing hysterical ranterer.

    a ‘ranterer’? Is that someone who posts specious, knee-jerk arguments to a blog with their computeriser?

  40. El Cid — on 25th January, 2006 at 2:49 pm  

    In no particular order:
    1) Bringing up Nazi Germany as an example to highlight a point about the Israeli state is thoughtless at best, provocative at worst. It’s a discourse killer and it isn’t going to make you any Jewish friends. Why not use, say, Mussolini next time to make your point.
    2) Can anyone provide any figures about the rights and obligations of Israeli Arabs and how they differ from the rest of the population? It would help provide some substance to the sweeping statements being made.
    3) Please, please, somebody show me the evidence for the inhuman treatment of innocent Arabs in Israel. How about we start with all those who are exiled.
    4) Are you saying Buddhists are incapable of violence? Hmmmm. Maybe you should run that thought past a Thai, Sri Lankan, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, etc, first before giving it the big’un. True, there’s nothing in Buddhist scripture that supports the use of violence, but then it also says “Forgive your enemy” in the New Testament. Go figure.
    Or maybe you are talking about terrorism as a method of war? I suspect not, coz you’d know all about the guerrillera during the Napoleonic Wars, the explicit targetting of civilian targets in WW2, and, of course, the original suicide bombers — the buddhist kamikaze pilots of Imperial Japan..
    5) Ah.. The big wide world to righties. It’s like sunshine to vampires!

  41. Al_Mujahid_for_debauchery — on 25th January, 2006 at 2:51 pm  

    “But you think Israel and Nazi Germany are analagous, right?”

    No, I dont believe so. The Nazis killed over 6 million Jews while the Israelis have killed over a few thousand Palestinians.
    The comparison is obviously ridiculous and I dont subscribe to it.

    You keep talking of democratic institutions. If the democratic institutions are beyond the reach of half of the population under the control of Israel, they dont have much worth in my eyes.

    I am presuming you are comparing Israel with its thuggish neighbors. I dont particularly care about Arab nations in general and I think making them a point of reference is setting the bar abysmally low.

  42. Al_Mujahid_for_debauchery — on 25th January, 2006 at 2:54 pm  

    Jay:
    Do you also post at the Mutineers?

  43. Jay Singh — on 25th January, 2006 at 3:04 pm  

    Al Mujahid

    I dont feel comfortable with the corner I am being backed into here – the suggestion that I am trying to mitigate in any way the need for Israel to settle this issue with the Palestinians in a just way. But I read and hear the most hysterical and irresponsible rhetoric against Israel very often, and in keeping with the meaning of this original post by Sunny, make these points in the spirit of providing perspective and balance.

    Do you also post at the Mutineers?

    Yes! I just discovered that blog :-)

  44. Al_Mujahid_for_debauchery — on 25th January, 2006 at 3:08 pm  

    “But I read and hear the most hysterical and irresponsible rhetoric against Israel very often”.

    I do agree on the hyperbolic nature of the vitriol directed at Israel sometimes.

  45. j0nz — on 25th January, 2006 at 3:09 pm  

    Are you saying Buddhists are incapable of violence?

    Nope! I just thoroughly enjoy pointing out that most (modern day) terrorists describe themselves as Muslim. I don’t understand why it seems to be such a bitter pill to swallow by some (well unless you’re a reactionary Muslim, que Siddartha/Al-Hack).

    Absolutely agree with you on point 1, though. I understand the point your making about Dresden etc.. but I’m talking about modern day tactics. All civlised human beings completely renounce the killing of innocents.

  46. Al_Mujahid_for_debauchery — on 25th January, 2006 at 3:12 pm  

    “All civlised human beings completely renounce the killing of innocents”

    unless its collateral damage and that gets peppered with provisos and exceptions…..

  47. j0nz — on 25th January, 2006 at 3:14 pm  

    Well I do agree with your point Al-Muj, like the ‘targetted’ killing of Al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan that managed to kill 18 people. When will America learn? They probably just created 100 more Al-Qaeda operatives with that single act…

  48. Sunny — on 25th January, 2006 at 3:24 pm  

    I just thoroughly enjoy pointing out that most (modern day) terrorists describe themselves as Muslim.

    You don’t think that could be anything to do with western interference in the Middle East or Israel’s actions against the Palestinians could you? I know its chicken and egg j0nz, but at least try and get some perspective sometimes, will ya?

    The comparison with Asian buddhists is ludicrous. Do you know how many people have been killed in Sri Lanka in the fighting between Asian buddhists and Asian Hindus? Nearly 100,000 just in the last 10 years. Plus you’re not even going into how many people the Chinese govt imprisons, tortures and harasses.

    But with your euro-centric view, I’m not surprised you keep making absurd comparisons.

  49. j0nz — on 25th January, 2006 at 3:43 pm  

    But with your euro-centric view, I’m not surprised you keep making absurd comparisons.

    Well yes, you are absolutely right… I’ll be honest – I don’t know about the 100,000 deaths in Sri Lanka. I’m quite surprised actually. But surely thats a war over territory rather than belief systems? And I’d be amazed to learn if those deaths were justified from Buddhist or Hindu holy texts. But I digress…

    I’m referring to Western targets only I’m afraid, like here in UK… I don’t think any Buddhists have made a religious decree that says killing upto 4 million non-believers is ok.

    Agree there’s a certain chicken and egg situation going on, but Islamists don’t need Western aggression as pretext for Jihad. They can selectively quote the Qu’ran and (in their mind) sanction slaughter of inncoents. Many Islamists believe that Islam will dominate the world. Like Nick Cohen pointed out after July 7th, Islamism has reasons in and of itself for it’s agression.

  50. Siddharth — on 25th January, 2006 at 3:47 pm  

    (well unless you’re a reactionary Muslim, que Siddartha/Al-Hack).

    I love the specious attacks this guy comes up with. Then that makes you what, lets see, BNP bully boy with the obligitaory tattooed tear drops?

  51. Sunny — on 25th January, 2006 at 4:14 pm  

    Agreed Islamists don’t need western aggression for a pretext for Jihad, and they do selectively quote texts for Jihad. But then, given a situation, anyone can do that. Sikhs actually have historically religious precedents for going into suicide style battles. Moral of the story – don’t fuck with the Sikhs :)

    But western aggression allows Islamists to recruit more easily, that is the crux of the problem, and strengthens their hands when it comes to talking about how to deal with problems.

    While most Palestinians have never and still won’t vote for Hamas, they’re given a choice between suicide bombers and an organisation that has become corrupt and lazy. Hardly a great choice. On top of that, constant Israeli aggression makes them angry and Hamas is the one that offers them an easy channel for that aggression.

    This isn’t about Islamists, this is about the vast majority of Muslims stuck in the middle. Do you want them to turn to the terrorists for answers or would you rather say that they can fight injustice together with the west? Because the more we legitimise Israeli aggression against Arabs, the more we say the west does not care about you and Hamas is the only alternative.

  52. El Cid — on 25th January, 2006 at 5:18 pm  

    Do my eyes deceive me, or is this turning into a civilised discussion? (Voice inside my head: “Probably because there are no Israelis/Palestinians involved”).

  53. Intifada Kid — on 25th January, 2006 at 5:41 pm  

    1) On Buddhist agression, it is certainly worth noting that the (Buddhist) Tamil TIgers were the first group to employ suicide bombing on a wide scale.

    2) On suicide bombing generally, it is also worth noting that Samson (of Samson and Delila fame) is honoured in Jewish and Christian literature for committing suicide by bringing a Philistine temple crashing down on himself and several others. Shouldn’t we de-link the way this tactic is exploited by groups of various faiths and political leanings from the faiths and peoples themselves? It’s just one tactic of political struggle, albeit a bloody and (in my view) counterproductive and immoral one. It would be a lot less effective if the governments of the states targetted didn’t value the lives of their own citizens so much more than those of the civilians from the societies in whose interests the suicide bombers claim to act.

    3) The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is both a war over ‘belief systems’ and a war over territory. We Palestinians reject the belief system that one ethnic group deserves extra rights at the expense of the indigenous population by dint of its ethnicity. I call that racism. We also insist that a Palestinian state be created on 22% of historic Palestine, which is why Israeli colonialism and occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip must end now. If it doesn’t end soon, the two-state solution will truly be dead and we will be struggling for equal rights in a single state.

    4)It was suggested that Palestinians on Israeli streets have nothing to fear. Tell that to the 13 citizens of Israel killed by state ‘security forces’ in October 2000. Tell it also to the families affected by the settler who opened fire on a bus in the Palestinian town of Shafa’amr located in northern Israel last year. It was also suggested that Israelis risk losing their lives by visiting the oPt. Tell that to the Israeli journalists who covered the Palestinian elections today and who travel regularly to the oPt to cover our politics. Tell it to the Israeli peace activists working against the occupation in joint struggle with the Palestinians in places like Bil’in. If you’re still convinced we’re all a bunch of terrorist bloodthirsty animals, come visit us in Ramallah yourself. I’d be happy to host you.

    5) The problem of discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel is structural, not simply accidental, as one person above inferred. For lots of up-to-date information on how Pal citizens of Israel are discriminated against, visit Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights here: http://www.adalah.org/eng

    6) It is inaccurate to characterise the choice for Palestinians in the oPt today as one between ‘suicide bombers and an organisation that has become corrupt and lazy’. Several parties and many independents are competing in these elections. Moreover, Hamas is not an attractive choice here for its suicide bombs (the last of which was in August 2004, by the way) but for its social services, perceived honesty and grass-roots appeal. Fateh on the other hand continues to be considered the premier guardian of the national project for liberation and is a predominantly secular organisation.

  54. El Cid — on 25th January, 2006 at 5:48 pm  

    My apologies Intifada Kid. You sound like the real deal. Maybe there is hope after all.

  55. Siddharth — on 25th January, 2006 at 5:58 pm  

    Intifada Kid:

    Agree with your points. Just one correction, the Tamil Tigers, the Sri Lankan terrorist group are Hindu. Their animus is with the majority ethnic group, the Sinhalese, who are Buddhist. But your point about Buddhist violence is correct, since it has been claimed that the Sinhalese have been just as brutal as the Tamils.

  56. Sunny — on 25th January, 2006 at 6:00 pm  

    I understand that Hamas has been good with its social services, but its still a terrorist organisation which wants nothing less than the violent destruction of Israel. Driving around a few ambulance vans doesn’t make them fluffy bunnies in my eyes.

    I generally agree with the rest of your points though.

  57. Intifada Kid — on 25th January, 2006 at 6:51 pm  

    Siddharth – thanks for your correction. That is an embarassing error.

    Sunny – I wouldn’t claim that Hamas are fluffy bunnies, but labelling them a terrorist organisation is meaningless. The PLO were labelled a terrorist organisation by Israel before it was understood that in order to reach a peace agreement with Palestinians, Israel needed to negotiate with its legitimate representatives. All political groups that use political violence are called terrorists by their political opponents. Much more interesting for those following Palestinian politics is that Hamas is making very pragmatic noises now that it appears to be on the brink of joining the PLC. They want to end the conflict on the basis of the two state solution, they just won’t say so publically until a final agreement is reached. After all they are today competing in PLC elections – an institution created by the Oslo Agreements. Hamas also understand that they will need to act under the national umbrella, unlike, say Islamic Jihad, which called for a boycott of the elections, and which claimed responsibility for the last few suicide bombings in Israel.

    I also think suggesting that Hamas are committed to ‘the violent destruction of Israel’ is misleading. They do reserve what they perceive as their right to use political violence to achieve their aim which is the destruction of a political system that discriminates against Palestinians on a grotesque scale. Personally, I’m also committed to destroying that system (though not through violent means), just as I’m committed to attacking racism and discrimination throughout the world. Whether that means the rebirth of a single state (called ‘Israel’, ‘Palestine’ or something else) in which all citizens of every religious and ethnic are accorded equal rights, or whether that comes about through the creation of an independent Palestinians state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the end to ethno-religious discrimination in Israel itself, is another matter. But by using the rhetoric of destruction you imply Hamas supporters are genocidal anti-Semites. In fact most support peace for both Israelis and Palestinians, and they are divided about how to achieve it.

    Incidentally, it is worth remembering that Israel used violent means to bring about the destruction of Palestine in 1948, which I would submit started the modern conflict between the two peoples. What has followed has taken place within the context of Palestinians attempting to redeem their national rights and free themselves of Israeli occupation and systematic discrimination.

  58. j0nz — on 25th January, 2006 at 7:01 pm  

    Kid, you obviously haven’t been listening to the message of Hamas;

    “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

    All this nice fluffy stuff is a waste of time, apparently. If the Palestinians vote in a Hamas government, it will be detrimental to say the least for all sides involved. Palestinians will loose millions in aid from the EU, Israel will be ready to pummel the government into the ground..

    I know you’re not all a bunch of blood thirsty terrorists, but voting in a terrorist organsisation is a recipe for disaster, and what message does this send the world? Already we hear that one of the candidates nickname is Hitler

  59. Don — on 25th January, 2006 at 7:14 pm  

    Intifada Kid,

    May I join the other voices in welcoming an informative and reasoned voice to this debate.? As Jay remarked earlier, the Israel/Palestine issue has become ‘fetishised’ in many quarters, with routine accusations of racial and religious bigotry thrown at any who take an opposing position. I look forward to hearing more from you this and other posts.

  60. Don — on 25th January, 2006 at 7:30 pm  

    J0nz,

    You make a valid point with ‘Palestinians will lose millions in aid from the EU, Israel will be ready to pummel the government into the ground.’ but to say;
    ‘you obviously haven’t been listening to the message of Hamas’ is out of order. Intifada Kid is a Palestinian in Ramallah (unless you are calling him a liar, which I am sure you are not) so it is safe to assume that he is more informed than you suggest.

    I share some of your concerns about militant Islam, but you do tend to use a broad brush. If work committments allowed (and I wasn’t so chickenshit) I’d be tempted to take up the offer of a visit. Maybe you could consider it? Seriously, man, confound your critics and raise your standing at a stroke.

  61. j0nz — on 25th January, 2006 at 7:53 pm  

    “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

    “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. ”

    “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

    “After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.”

    http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm

    I just state the facts, Don. So out of order!

  62. Don — on 25th January, 2006 at 8:43 pm  

    J0nz,

    The ‘out of order’ did not refer to your characterisation of Hamas as a terrorist organisation, with which I agree, but to your suggestion that the Kid was less informed than those of us (like me) who get most of our information from the media or the net.

    Yes, the rhetoric you quote is compelling. Talking of Judgement Day and citing the protocols does rather limit one’s credibility. But then Israeli rhetoric with references to cockroaches is often no better. I agree that a Hamas win, if they maintain a policy of violently ending the state of Israel, would be a disaster. But sometimes the rhetoric does not match the reality (consider Northern Ireland and the rhodomontade which preceded painful but eventually real accord.)

    Personally, I welcome a perspective from the ground, as it were. I’d particularly welcome yours. Come on, J0nz, spend a few weeks in Palestine, report back. With that kind of cred you could blow Sid out of the water. ;)

  63. Jay Singh — on 25th January, 2006 at 8:47 pm  

    On Buddhist agression, it is certainly worth noting that the (Buddhist) Tamil TIgers were the first group to employ suicide bombing on a wide scale.

    Tamil Tigers are Hindu not Buddhist. Singhala are Buddhist.

    I wouldn’t claim that Hamas are fluffy bunnies, but labelling them a terrorist organisation is meaningless.

    Go and tell that to the children and women and men whose brains and bodies they scrape off the pavement and in pizza bars, to the two lads from Housnlow and Derby who blew themselves for Hamas, presumably to ‘liberate’ Zionist occupied Derby and Zionist occupied Hounslow.

    Hamas are terrorists.

  64. Siddharth — on 25th January, 2006 at 8:49 pm  

    The thought of getting ‘blowed’ by j0nz is quite compelling.
    ;-)

  65. Shaul — on 25th January, 2006 at 9:48 pm  

    “I’m committed to attacking racism and discrimination throughout the world.”

    Note you say “the world.”

    ” Whether that means the rebirth of a single state (called ‘Israel’, ‘Palestine’ or something else) in which all citizens of every religious and ethnic are accorded equal rights”

    All one state solutions are entirely disingenous as they would result in the practical destrucution of a Jewish state.

    “or whether that comes about through the creation of an independent Palestinians state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital, and the end to ethno-religious discrimination in Israel itself, is another matter.”

    So you would accept a two state solution if Israel cleaned up it’s racist act. So really you’re not against racism in “the world” but just in Israel (and apparently blind to it in Palestinian society, the rest of the world, and possibly, yourself.

  66. Pablo — on 25th January, 2006 at 10:54 pm  

    I am prepared to take Intifada Kid’s statement about wanting to fight discrimination in Israel in good faith – but please, please, please, spare us the pompous bromides about fighting racism around the world – as if you could really give a damn about Arab and Muslim discriminatory states and societies. Just focus on one place, and allow the ‘save the world’ complex.

  67. Intifada Kid — on 25th January, 2006 at 11:53 pm  

    Shaul- why should a one state solution be disingenuous? Yes, it would end the privileges provided to the Jewish citizens of the state of Israel, (and the discrimination against Palestinians) but why would anyone fear equality with other human beings in a democratic state with a constitution that guaratees equal rights for all? Were the calls for the destruction of Apartheid South Africa also disingenuous? Eventually, the political leadership of the whites in S Africa managed to get over their qualms and share their state with the indigenous majority. I would suggest that Jewish Israelis learn from that lesson.

    For the record, I still favour a two-state solution, but let’s be realistic. The Israeli government is doing its utmost to ensure that a two-state solution will not materialise by building its Wall deep inside occupied Palestinian territory and making room for 30,000 new Jewish settlers in the West Bank (especially in and around E Jerusalem) last year alone. (A Palestinian state will not be viable without the 9.5% of West Bank territory that on the ‘Israeli side’ of the Wall, and especially not without E Jerusalem). So if you want to save the two-state solution – and if you aren’t already – start pressuring Israel to end its occupation and evacuate its colonies in the West Bank.

    Moreover, Israel continues to tell the world that it has no partner for peace. This despite the fact that President Abbas stood on a platform of peace and the resumption of negotiations with Israel a year ago. An overwhelming majority of Palestinians in the oPt voted for that platform, but what difference did it make? The Israeli government continued to argue there was no partner for peace and continued with its policy of unilateralism. No doubt after yesterday’s PLC elections, they will cite the presence of Hamas in the parliament as further evidence that there is no partner for peace, even though all recent polls indicate that the majority of Palestinians continue to support Abbas, a two-state solution and the resumption of negotiations with Israel.

    Pablo – what makes you think I care less about Arab and Muslim discriminatory states and societies? My interest is in ending discrimination wherever it exists. Victims do not always turn into abusers. I think the fact that you question my sincerity tells us more about your own prejudices than it does about mine.

    That said, I do think that solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict should be an international priority. It is very clear to anyone who cares to notice that the conflict is being exploited by groups who believe the lack of international intervention in defense of Palestinian rights is indicative of a broader agenda pursued by Western interests that is intent on oppressing the Arab, Muslim and/or Third World.
    If the US and European states can summon the political will to enforce UN resolutions vis-a-vis Iraq, why not with Israel? That is the real hypocrisy and the rest of the world knows it. End the hypocrisy and the project of transforming the Middle East into a free and democratic region might actually resonate with its peoples. This would neutralise the Al Qaida movement and its sympathisers and help us all to lead lives in peace and security (in London, Tel Aviv and Ramallah alike), which I firmly believe we all deserve, regardless of our religious, ethnic or national affiliation.

  68. Pablo — on 26th January, 2006 at 12:14 am  

    Pablo – what makes you think I care less about Arab and Muslim discriminatory states and societies? My interest is in ending discrimination wherever it exists. Victims do not always turn into abusers. I think the fact that you question my sincerity tells us more about your own prejudices than it does about mine.

    No sorry mate – it doesnt tell you anything about me whatesoever – it just means what it says, allow all the pompous messiah complex about saving the world – dont be so defensive or sensitive. Any man who says that calling Hamas a terrorist organisation is ‘meaningless’ should be a little less sensitive.

    Your last paragraph has the whiff of semtex about it by the way, behind the platitude and rhetoric.

  69. Pablo — on 26th January, 2006 at 12:17 am  

    Addendum to last post and last sentence…

    …In as much as it accepts the terms of Al Qaedist psychosis – “You shall die in London because of Palestine”

  70. El Cid — on 26th January, 2006 at 2:10 pm  

    Pablo/Shaul,
    You seem to be missing the bigger picture.
    What Intifada Kid is highlighting is that Hamas is probably key to delivering real peace. It might (will) take years (decades) but sooner or later Israel will probably have to talk to them, because they can prove that they have a mandate.
    Conflict resolution is a messy business but once it becomes clear that a military victory is impossible, you have to bite the bullet and negotiate with those who would murder your children. When Intifada Kid says calling them terrorists is meaningless, he is not trying to be insensitive to your feelings.
    He is just pointing out that yesterday’s terrorists are sometimes tomorrows politicians. Take Menachem Begin, the head of terrorist group Irgun and a future Israeli prime minister, a little over a year after Britain helped to defeat Nazi Germany.
    And take Sinn Fein/IRA. It was difficutl — after all these people left bombs in train stations, shopping centres, rememberence day services, toilets, pubs….and yet, and yet.
    From the outside looking in it seems — I may be wrong — that you have strong prejudices because you jumped on Intifada Kid as soon as he opened his virtual mouth, picking on individual points rather than assessing the full weight of his argument.
    So I ask you, what do you bring to the table in terms of finding a way out for the Israeli and Palestinian people? What view do you represent? Are you Jewish, Jewish-American, Jewish-Israeli, or just anti-Arab? I’d be interested to know.

  71. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 4:58 pm  

    “You seem to be missing the bigger picture.”

    The big picture here is that the “Intifada Kid” does not think that a Jewish state in Israel has the right to exist.

    There is no negotiating with such a person.

  72. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 5:01 pm  

    “Are you Jewish, Jewish-American, Jewish-Israeli, or just anti-Arab?’

    Did you ask every supporter of a Palestinian state if they are just antisemitic?

    “Just curious”

  73. Sunny — on 26th January, 2006 at 5:08 pm  

    The big picture here is that the “Intifada Kid” does not think that a Jewish state in Israel has the right to exist.

    Shaul – you’re not negotiating but having a discussion to understand each other’s viewpoints. This ain’t the Oslo Accords.

    Secondly, I don’t see how you’ve come to the above conclusion reading what Intafada Kid has said. You seem to be trying to fit your understanding into a narrow definition of black or white.

  74. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 5:14 pm  

    Sunny, any person that compares Israel to apartheid South Africa, to suggest that a Jewish state is just another common example of unjust western colonialism, misses the big picture. Any person that argues in favor of a one-state solution, as a plan for peace rather than as the destruction of the Jewish state, because that’s what it means practically, is being deceitful. Therefore I don’t discuss matters of Middle East politics with such people because we share no common ground.

    Why don’t you ask the person who asked me if I was just “anti-Arab” how he came ot that conclusion. Why doesn’t that equally pique your interest?

  75. Siddharth — on 26th January, 2006 at 5:18 pm  

    Did you ask every supporter of a Palestinian state if they are just antisemitic?

    I’ve heard the oft-quoted defence/attack argument that being anti-Zionist is anti-Semitic. But this has got to be the first time I’ve heard that supporting a Palestinian state too is anti-Semitic.

    Perhaps we should ask Shaul to clarify what the boundaries of anti-Semitism are.

  76. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 5:25 pm  

    Siddharth you miss the point. Somebody said this to me:

    “Are you Jewish, Jewish-American, Jewish-Israeli, or just anti-Arab? I’d be interested to know.”

    As if one couldn’t be a pro-Israel without being any of the above! Or worse, as if Zionism was motivated by racism!

    And I commented that this statement was analogous to:

    “Did you ask every supporter of a Palestinian state if they are just antisemitic?”

    Get it?

  77. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 5:36 pm  

    “But this has got to be the first time I’ve heard that supporting a Palestinian state too is anti-Semitic.”

    I wonder why.

    (not really)

  78. Kay — on 26th January, 2006 at 5:41 pm  

    Everyone gets sooo wrapped up in the palenstian-israeli politics to even care of what the masses ‘real people’ think.

    The consensus amongst the palestinians and israils is not of hate or love but real ambivilance.

  79. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 6:04 pm  

    If some says something like this:

    “why would anyone fear equality with other human beings in a democratic state with a constitution that guaratees equal rights for all”

    regarding a one-state solution, while acting nonplussed by accusations of disingenousness, then a better description of that person might be “completely full fo shit”.

  80. Sunny — on 26th January, 2006 at 6:47 pm  

    Shaul – once again you’re trying to miss the point IK makes.

    any person that compares Israel to apartheid South Africa,
    The point is made on the basis of the treatment of Israel’s own Arab citizens, and the continuous Israeli worry about retaining a Jewish majority in its territory as if its impossible for them to live with anyone non-Jewish. I think the comparison is quite apt.

    Any person that argues in favor of a one-state solution, as a plan for peace rather than as the destruction of the Jewish state, because that’s what it means practically, is being deceitful.

    Rubbish. If you read properly, IK is saying that he/she would prefer a solution whereby Jews and Arabs can co-exist peacefully in a single state, where the discussion does not revolve around what the percentages are of each ethnic group, or what their religions are. In an ideal world, I think that is not a bad utopian plan.

    But he/she also states that if that utopian ideal is unattainable then they would be happy to settle for a two-state solution.

    I don’t understand where your problem is with reading or understanding. Or maybe you just don’t want to hear it.

  81. j0nz — on 26th January, 2006 at 7:07 pm  

    Jews were persecuted in Arab lands, this is well documented. Millions have fled their ‘homelands’ since 1948 due to racism.

    Jews have been the victims of Fascism and Islamofascism.

    Jews were nearly exterminated. They have a right to their own homeland.

  82. j0nz — on 26th January, 2006 at 7:09 pm  

    New York Times, 1948

    Jews in Grave Danger in Moslem Lands

    Yeah fuck it, Lets say Israel you don’t have control over your borders any more! Please let all these people in. Lets just hope they don’t persecute you again, eh?!

  83. j0nz — on 26th January, 2006 at 7:14 pm  

    Anyone care to comment on the utter jew–hatred prevalent in the Arab world? You think Israel doesn’t have right to self-determination?

    The Palestinians are refugees because it’s Arab neighbours have consistently denied them asylum within their lands, thus perputating this terrible scenario.

  84. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 7:30 pm  

    RE: Apartheid:

    “The point is made on the basis of the treatment of Israel’s own Arab citizens, and the continuous Israeli worry about retaining a Jewish majority in its territory as if its impossible for them to live with anyone non-Jewish. I think the comparison is quite apt. ”

    If any nation state that has internal problems with racism and would prefer to keep a majority of nationals within it’s soverign borders is an aparthied state, then every state is an apartheid state.

    RE: One-stae solution

    “Rubbish. If you read properly, IK is saying that he/she would prefer a solution whereby Jews and Arabs can co-exist peacefully in a single state, where the discussion does not revolve around what the percentages are of each ethnic group, or what their religions are. In an ideal world, I think that is not a bad utopian plan.”

    As utopian idealists, I would then assume both you and the Intifada Kid supported the war in Iraq.

    And I’m assuming in a two state solution Jewish settlers will be permitted to retain their land in the future Palestinian state according to your ideals.

  85. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 7:32 pm  

    p.s. Judaism is not a race. So the apartheid comparisons are pretty dumb for that reason as well.

  86. Sunny — on 26th January, 2006 at 7:35 pm  

    j0nz – what the hell are you on about? when did i actually deny the jewish claim to self-determination? interesting you post about jews being driven out of muslim lands when the biggest persecutor of jews have been christians in the past, not muslims. and you also fail to mention the driving outof palestinians from their lands also in 1948. But don’t let facts stand in the way of your rhetoric.

    Shaul:
    If any nation state that has internal problems with racism and would prefer to keep a majority of nationals within it’s soverign borders is an aparthied state, then every state is an apartheid state.

    What utter rubbish. Does this state openly discriminate on the basis or race or religion? Does it legitimise the opression of any minority? Does America? I think not. So please don’t come up with such stupid statements.

    I would then assume both you and the Intifada Kid supported the war in Iraq.
    I opposed Saddam Hussain but did not support America raining down bombs in Iraq. How is that for a utopian ideal?

  87. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 7:37 pm  

    jOnz ,

    Are you a Jew or do you just hate Arabs?

  88. Siddharth — on 26th January, 2006 at 7:41 pm  

    The latter.

  89. j0nz — on 26th January, 2006 at 7:45 pm  

    Sunny I wasn’t referring to you…

    I just sense a general feeling of well you know Hamas can’t be all that bad, and maybe Israel should just let go of their borders. I just wanted to make a counter argument based on humanitarian grounds.

    If the Arab states felt so much compassion for the Palestinians they would have given them refuge within their borders.

    Two state solution is the only solution. If you don’t understand why then maybe you need to do a bit more research on the racial and religious tensions in the area!

  90. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 7:46 pm  

    Sunny, Judaism is tribal.

    It is a race. It is a religion. It is a culture. And in Israel it is also a nationality.

    I know this is difficult for you understand, but the Jews are different from many other social groups. And your facile comparisons are not very useful. So although the concept of a Jewish state is complex in the modern world, the idea of Jews wanting a national homeland is not intrinsically racist or evil despite some of the difficult comprises Jews must make to retain a national identity. It’s not merely enough to say “rubbish.” I will not spend any more of my time trying to educate you. I hope you are not content with your “rubbish” defense forever.

    Cheers

    p.s. Israel is more racially diverse and affords more rights to minorities than Japan.

    Is Japan an apartied state? And if you’re not sure, why not spend the next 2 years of your life educating yourself on the matter?

  91. Siddharth — on 26th January, 2006 at 7:46 pm  

    A bit like you I expect, given your unhinged, but dismally predictable, ranting towards IK on this thread.

    The light went out in the “Holy Land” back in 1917.

  92. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 7:53 pm  

    “What utter rubbish. Does this state openly discriminate on the basis or race or religion? Does it legitimise the opression of any minority?”

    I’m sorry I just can’t resist. (You are so glib!)

    Besides Japan, what about Saudi Arabia (and the rest of the Arab statesfor that matter)? Iran? Turkey?

  93. j0nz — on 26th January, 2006 at 7:53 pm  

    That wasn’t aimed at anyone in particular.

  94. Siddharth — on 26th January, 2006 at 8:04 pm  

    I think you have completely misunderstood the point Shaul. Israel’s apartheid is analogous to South African apartheid where the ethnically blatantly disenfranchised, marginalised and racially segregated people are the Palestinians who are analogous to the South African Black peoples of SA aparthied.

  95. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 8:09 pm  

    I think the Jews are the “Black peoples” and the entire Arab world are the South Africaaners.

    Are Jews permitted to travel to Saudi Arabia Siddarth?

    How’s that analogy!

  96. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 8:11 pm  

    Jews are the “Black peoples” of the World!

    Yeah!

  97. Siddharth — on 26th January, 2006 at 8:19 pm  

    Is Saudi Arabia the bastion of progressiveness Shaul? Why do you insist on comparing Israel with KSA? Does you no favours – because KSA’s record is disgusting.

    Also, here on PP, such lamentable notions of identifying yourselves with “Black peoples” of the world gets short shrift – since most people who post here have been recipients of racism first hand and know what it is. So that muddle-headed wank about Jews are the black peoples of the world – sounds like a silly John Lennon song about Yoko Ono. And he was an idiot as well.

  98. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 8:41 pm  

    Sorry Siddarth, I didn’t know that the people who post here have a monoply on identiying with victims of racism. Thanks for the tip!

  99. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 8:43 pm  

    So when those Pakistani kids beat me up for wearing a yarmulke, it was like they were the victims rising up against their Nazi slavemasters! Now I “get the point.”

    Finally, right?

  100. Siddharth — on 26th January, 2006 at 8:46 pm  

    Not a monopoly Shaul – but they’re wise to trite exclamations of identifying with black peoples.

  101. Siddharth — on 26th January, 2006 at 8:51 pm  

    hmmm, sounds like a bad case of non-closure.

  102. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 9:03 pm  

    “Not a monopoly Shaul – but they’re wise to trite exclamations of identifying with black peoples.”

    Except with concern to Palestinians as you have been doing over the last hour or so!

    Do you really fail to see the hypocracy? Is this a joke of some sort?

  103. Shaul — on 26th January, 2006 at 9:04 pm  

    “hmmm, sounds like a bad case of non-closure. ”

    I will never get over the humiliation.

  104. El Cid — on 27th January, 2006 at 10:40 am  

    Are you Jewish, Jewish-American, Jewish-Israeli, or just anti-Arab? I’d be interested to know.

    My my, I have touched a raw nerve. The barely suppressed and Pavlovian cries of “Nazi!” and “anti-semite!” can’t be too far behind, along with understandable yet ultimately pointless wallowing in victimhood.
    Look, the reason I asked what I asked was because I was trying to put your views into some kind of context. I was struggling — like many others participating on this thread — to understand your intransigence. I was trying to work out whether you were in fact on the ground, as Intifada Kid claims to be, or not, or whether you were some U.S. and non-Jewish Republican nutter.
    Why don’t you address the central points made in post #71, eh, which is how best to end this shitty little conflict that is dragging the rest of the world down with it? Do you still believe in a military victory? Yes, no? If not, why don’t you try to win the argument then and seek a common ground.

    I will never get over the humiliation Ah didums. Maybe you should go chat to your rabbi. You seemed filled with hate and blind with anger. A bit of spiritual guidance might help.

  105. Intifada Kid — on 27th January, 2006 at 11:07 am  

    I have two points to make in reference to the above: one on the justification of Zionism and one on racism in the Middle East.

    1) Shaul cites the terrible experience of racist (and sometimes even genocidal) agression that Jewish communities have experienced in the Diaspora as justification for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. As he writes: “So although the concept of a Jewish state is complex in the modern world, the idea of Jews wanting a national homeland is not intrinsically racist or evil despite some of the difficult comprises Jews must make to retain a national identity.”

    Of course “the idea of Jews wanting a national homeland” is not intrinsically racist or evil”. I think we can all appreciate that the history of persecution that Jewish communities have experienced led to the birth of Jewish nationalism in the form of the Zionist movement. The problem is that by attempting to create an exclusivist Jewish state in pluralistic Palestine, “the difficult compromises” were forced upon the indigenous Palestinian peoples, not “the Jews”. (Incidentally, I think it is dangerous to elide the Jewish peoples generally with those who carry out or support the Zionist project). I have discussed some of these ‘compromises’ above, so I won’t repeat them here. The point now is how best to resolve the conflict between the ethnic, religious and national groups who claim a right to the land in all or part of historic Palestine. My own experience of racism in Israeli society and at the hands of the Israeli occupying army makes me sympathetic to the two-state solution, the implementation of which is the official position of th PLO. But I think people in Israel and abroad fail to recognize how damaging Israel’s continued colonization and settlement of our land is to that project. A viable Palestinian state is being very speedly eroded by the “facts on the ground” – includind the route of the Wall and the accelerated colonization and settlement in and around East Jerusalem. Anyone who wants a two-state solution to materialise should focus their efforts on tactics and strategies aimed at getting that message through to the Israeli leadership. I think boycotts, for example, serve that purpose.

    2) Of course Jews have been persecuted in Arab lands – although as Sunny points out their persecution in Europe was far more despicable. It is also worth noting that the Ashkenazi (European) Jewish elite who spearheaded (and continue to be at the forefront of ) the Zionist movement encouraged and sometimes even initiated anti-Jewish sentiment and anti-Jewish crimes in an effort to encourage them to immigrate from places like Iraq and Morocco where there were historically proud communities of Jewish Arabs. Moreover- when these ‘Mizrahi’ Jews arrived in Israel in the 50′s they were treated by European Jews with overt racism, (they were even sprayed with DDT because they were considered ‘unclean’) and discrimination continues to be practised against them today, by virtue of their Middle Eastern looks and cultural practices. There is also now overt racism against the Ethiopian Jewish community, but Israel’s non-Jewish Palestinian citizens continue to be structurally disciminated against, and are thus are the worst off in this regard in Israeli society. (Below them, of course are the Palestinians who live under Israeli occupation and who do not have Israeli citizenship.)

    But just as eliding all Jews with all Zionists is misleading, so too is eliding Palestinians with other Arabs. I reject Arab (and European) discrimination against Jews wherever it is practised just as I reject Jewish discrimination against my own people. But we Palestinian refugees are not refugees because we weren’t granted asylum in Arab countries (many of us, in Jordan for example, even enjoy citizenship) but because successive Israeli governments since 1948 have refused to recognize our internationally-recognized right to return to our homes in what is now Israel and live at peace with our neighbours. Actually, there are creative solutions to the resolution of the refugee issue which would not threaten Israel’s (racist) demographic preoccupation with maintaining a clear majority of Jews within its state. But the important thing is that any resolution to the conflict on a two-state solution must include Israel’s recognition of the rights of Pal refugees to return, even if they choose not to implement that right but to immigrate to a Palestinian state, or to assume citizenship in another state (In addition to the Arab states, the US Canada and the EU states have been proposed).

  106. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 12:33 pm  

    El Cid:

    “Are you Jewish, Jewish-American, Jewish-Israeli, or just anti-Arab? I’d be interested to know.

    My my, I have touched a raw nerve. The barely suppressed and Pavlovian cries of “Nazi!” and “anti-semite!” can’t be too far behind, along with understandable yet ultimately pointless wallowing in victimhood.”

    Ha! Some stranger asks me if I’m “just anti-Arab” and I get accused of crying antisemite! I’m glad to be cynical enough to find this sort of hypocracy amusing. Ultimately though it’srather tragic and pathetic when “progressives” become the mirror image of the people they claim to oppose. It’s quite sad actually.

    IK:

    “Shaul cites the terrible experience of racist (and sometimes even genocidal) agression that Jewish communities have experienced in the Diaspora as justification for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.”

    No I didn’t. Where?

    “but because successive Israeli governments since 1948 have refused to recognize our internationally-recognized right to return to our homes in what is now Israel and live at peace with our neighbours”

    Again that sounds very nice, but you fail to mention that Arabs fired the first shots in 1948. Perhaps Jews would have “lived at peace” with their neighbors if given the chance to do so in the first place.

  107. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 12:36 pm  

    And IK, let’s avoid talking about internal Israeli politics and social failings, lest we need bring up the same issues in Palestinian society. It’s not really the point, but you realize that the Palestinians just democractically elected a fascist organization to power, right?

  108. Col. Mustafa — on 27th January, 2006 at 12:53 pm  

    On both sides here Palestinian and Israeli; there needs to be level headed people trying to gain peace.

    You would think that would be quite easy; but clearly not.
    With Hamas now in power; i can only wait and see, but for anyone to take them seriously means some changes in policies. i.e Don’t bomb people.

  109. El Cid — on 27th January, 2006 at 12:56 pm  

    Look on the bright side. They (Hamas) are more likely to deliver a lasting peace, assuming they too, eventually, have a Clause IV moment and accept Israel’s permanence. Here’s hoping.
    Glad too see you continue to duck and weave, duck and weave. How about addressing my central point and bringing something positive to the table. Are you capable? Come back to me when you’ve had that chat with the rabbi.

  110. El Cid — on 27th January, 2006 at 12:57 pm  

    That last post was aimed at Shaul.

  111. Sunny — on 27th January, 2006 at 1:09 pm  

    Shaul – funny man.

    First you say.:
    Judaism is tribal.
    It is a race. It is a religion. It is a culture. And in Israel it is also a nationality.

    Then you say Israel is very ethnically diverse.

    What’s it going to be? Do you see yourself as special or something that its impossible for you to integrate with others? Is that the Israeli version of a nightmare? Having to rub shoulders with non-Jews? I’d hope not, but it certainly sounds like it from your posts.

    Israel is multhi-ethnic and multi-racial – there it is not one race. I don’t know why people keep repeating that fallacy. Race is something you can’t change, religion is a set of beliefs. Remember?

    And it’s funny that you’re reduced to comparing yourself to the racist Japanese society and the KSA. Shows what category Israel belongs to and makes my point perfectly. Thanks.

  112. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 1:16 pm  

    El Cid your repeated comments uging me to consult my “rabbi”, your hypocritical refernces to phantom cries of “anti-semitism” ,accusations of “wallowing in victimhood” all ostenisbly in the context of this “shitty little conflict that is dragging the rest of the world down with it” are rather classic tropes. I’d like to think you were aware of the profile you were building for yourself (just because I prefer to think of people as responsible and self-aware) but of this I can’t be sure.

    I’m really sure what “points” of yours I keep “ducking” but I figure if I can keep you “on the line” a little longer, I can still extract a few more juicy quotables from your nasty little personal attacks.

  113. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 1:23 pm  

    Sunny I brought up Japan and KSA because *you* said there were *no* other countries with discriminatory policies like Israel. I’d just like to start talking more concretely, rather than making abstract statements. What policies are you talking about exactly? Is Israle really as unique as you claim?

    “Is that the Israeli version of a nightmare? Having to rub shoulders with non-Jews?”

    No it’s not and I resent the accusation. Why is wanting a predominantly Jewish state racism? Why is wanting a predominately French state not racism?

    It’s amazing how much hostility I’ve experienced here. I came because I heard this was where liberal Muslim voices could be heard. I’m very disappointed.

  114. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 1:28 pm  

    “Race is something you can’t change, religion is a set of beliefs. Remember?”

    Actually this isn’t quite the case with Judaism. I think a lot of confusion arises because people assume that all religions are like their own.

    A Jew need not believe in anything and he or she is still a Jew. This is the case as long as the mother of the individual is Jewish.

    On the other hand, a person may convert to Judaism.
    So Judaism is not a race.

    I know it’s complicated.

  115. Sunny — on 27th January, 2006 at 1:37 pm  

    I didn’t say there were no other racist countries. You’re conjuring that up. I compared Israel to the UK and USA since you said every country discriminated on the basis of race.
    That led, you, farcically, to compare yourself to the supremely screwed up regime of the KSA. Great call.

    Wanting a predominantly Jewish state isn’t racist I guess, if you can say the KKK’s demand for wanting a pure white aryan race in America isn’t racist. After all, I’m sure they’ll treat other minorities with respect and full democractic rights… a bit like the state of Israel. Right?

    I came because I heard this was where liberal Muslim voices could be heard
    The whole point of liberalism and progressive thought is to stand up against racism and opression. It’s not so we can say something you want to hear.

    A Jew need not believe in anything and he or she is still a Jew. This is the case as long as the mother of the individual is Jewish.
    On the other hand, a person may convert to Judaism.

    It’s not complicated… the same applies to Hinduism. In fact you can be an atheist (in the western sense) and still be a Hindu. In many ways it also applies to Sikhism and Buddhism. I hope that didn’t come as a big surprise to you pal.
    I never said Judaism was a race. That’s what you said. I said it was a set of beliefs.

  116. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 1:43 pm  

    “And it’s funny that you’re reduced to comparing yourself to the racist Japanese society and the KSA. Shows what category Israel belongs to and makes my point perfectly.”

    So what “category” does Palestine belong in now that they have democratically elected an openly antisemtic fascist Islamist government? What does it say that Israel made a similar party (Kahane Chai) illegal and barred from politics?

    Maybe you just think Judaism is racist?

  117. El Cid — on 27th January, 2006 at 1:47 pm  

    And are you aware of the profile you are building for yourself? Of this I too cannot be sure. All I know is that I keep leaving the door open and you keep refusing to go in. Duck and weave, duck and weave.
    Thing is Shaul if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
    And tut tut for assuming that we are all Moslems. Bit of a Freudian slip there perhaps? I think you’ll find that Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, Atheists and Agnostics have also participated on this thread.
    I would suggest that if you really want to engage with liberal moslems that you engage with Intifada Kid. QED

  118. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 1:51 pm  

    You said:

    “Wanting a predominantly Jewish state isn’t racist I guess, if you can say the KKK’s demand for wanting a pure white aryan race in America isn’t racist”

    and:

    “I never said Judaism was a race.”

    Besides being totally inflamatory, your logic is incoherent.

    And yes I know you never said Israel was he only racist state, just implied it is the only aparthied state (and you gave reasons that I said could be applied to many other countries). So I’m just asking you to use your terms fairly. Japan is an aparthied state according to your prior arguments.

  119. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 1:53 pm  

    “And are you aware of the profile you are building for yourself? Of this I too cannot be sure. All I know is that I keep leaving the door open and you keep refusing to go in. Duck and weave, duck and weave.”

    No please tell me because I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Sincerely.

  120. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 1:57 pm  

    “It’s not complicated… the same applies to Hinduism.In fact you can be an atheist (in the western sense) and still be a Hindu.”

    That’s interesting.

    In many ways it also applies to Sikhism and Buddhism.

    I don’t know about Sikhism, but can you really be born a Buddhist or be a Buddhist with out believing in any aspect of Buddhism?

  121. raz — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:01 pm  

    “I came because I heard this was where liberal Muslim voices could be heard”

    LOL most of the people you are arguing with on this thread aren’t even Muslims :)

  122. Col. Mustafa — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:06 pm  

    Is the basic jist of this that muslims aren’t capable of peace.
    Cos i know loads of muslims that think the same way about jews.

    Middle ground Shaul, thats what i would say PP is about.

  123. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:07 pm  

    And for the record, I never said anything anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, anti-Palestinian statehood, but have been at least tacitly accused of each. (I never even said anything anti-intifada which is one thing I actually am against as I think it has done more harm to the Palestinian people than any of Israel’s official policies.)

    But there is certainly a whiff of antisemitism in here. It’s indisputable. While anti-Zionism is not anti-semitism, some kinds of anti-Zionism become indistinguishable from antisemtism. If one really thinks Israelis are like KKK members because they would prefer to live in a Jewish state, then it is clear one has negative feelings about the Jewish people. (Unless Jews unlike other people are undeserving of statehood.)

  124. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:08 pm  

    “LOL most of the people you are arguing with on this thread aren’t even Muslims ”

    Actually that makes more sense than anything I’ve heard so far.

  125. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:10 pm  

    “Is the basic jist of this that muslims aren’t capable of peace.”

    Where do I say anything about Muslims?

    The basic jist of this, I think, is that people presume I have all sorts of prejudices because I am pro-Israel. Or because I am assumed to be Jewish. This is a kind of bigotry in my opinion.

  126. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:11 pm  

    “Middle ground Shaul, thats what i would say PP is about.”

    Comparing Israel to a white supremicist KKK aparthied state is middle ground? That is disturbing!

  127. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

    Perhaps it might be useful for people to know that my wife is a convert to Judaism.

    Now, if one thinks that my belief in the right of Jewish statehood is inherently racist, he or she must explain why the fact that my own home is not “racially pure” is not an issue for me!

  128. Col. Mustafa — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:25 pm  

    I don’t think he was comparing literally.

    But i have to say there 2 very different cases.
    In the case of Israelis i would say it is fine for them to want something of thier own.
    Whereas the KKK live in a very large country and have freedom and peace but choose to see differently, and also basically because of prejudice don’t want any other religion or coloured people around them.

    Israel aren’t quite there yet.
    But i would say many Israelis hold prejudiced views towards Palestinians as well as Palestinian for Israelis.
    Im saying that needs to change; and the only way is for level headed people from both sides negotiating peace.

    Now with Hamas getting into power, that could look very unlikely. But it also might not be; with a new sense of power and leadership Hamas might want to change thier policies and actually do something constructive.
    Obviously thats a big if, we can only wait.
    But just because Hamas are in power, it doesn’t mean that all the Palestinians want Israel to not exist; it just means that theres alot of misinformed people there.

  129. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:34 pm  

    “Whereas the KKK live in a very large country and have freedom and peace but choose to see differently”

    The difference is that the KKK is a racial supremicist organization whose entire being is the hatred for those who look differently and preaching hatred. Israel has neither a racial or supremicist agenda. Comaprisons between Israel and the KKK or Nazis is inflammatory, repulsive and even more, inaccurate.

  130. Sunny — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:37 pm  

    Whiff of anti-semitism? Is that the only way you can have a debate Shaul? By accusing others of bigotry so you can feel better about your stance and look down on our points?

    How very nice and conducive.

    You make points justifying how the Israeli states behave. We’ve given examples that show other states who use a similar logic… the KKK, South Africa, even Japan and KSA.

    You seem to think that implying that Palestinians and Muslims cannot live in peace is not bigoted, but implying that Israelies should be able to live peacefully with them means that we are against the state of Israel and therefore anti-semitic.

    Start with the beginning first. I want you to justify Israel’s stance against its non-Jewish minorities, and compare that to other western democractic states. Then we have something to begin with.

  131. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:39 pm  

    “But i would say many Israelis hold prejudiced views towards Palestinians as well as Palestinian for Israelis.”

    They have been at war for 50 years.

    I”m saying that needs to change; and the only way is for level headed people from both sides negotiating peace.”

    Yes. Unfortunately, the Palestinians just elected a government ideologically opposed to negotiation and committed to the destruction of Israel. It’s very sad really. Hamas may change, like the PLO did…at least on the surface…but it’s like the Palestinians voted to go back to year zero in terms of the conflict. Maybe that was better than what they had with Fatah, but it’s a huge step back.

  132. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:43 pm  

    “Whiff of anti-semitism? Is that the only way you can have a debate Shaul? By accusing others of bigotry so you can feel better about your stance and look down on our points?

    Oy vey. The moment I started posting people accused me of bigotry. Because they assumed I was a Jew. I can’t compete with the twisted nature of your reasoning.

    I’ll start at the beginning when you do. Explain this:

    You said:

    “Wanting a predominantly Jewish state isn’t racist I guess, if you can say the KKK’s demand for wanting a pure white aryan race in America isn’t racist”

    and:

    “I never said Judaism was a race.”

  133. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:48 pm  

    “Start with the beginning first. I want you to justify Israel’s stance against its non-Jewish minorities, and compare that to other western democractic states.”

    OK. Israel has had a longer period of uninterupted democracy than almost every Western European nation.

    Israel’s “stance” against it’s non-Jewish minorities is similar to the “stance” of other Western nations towards their own minority groups. Until you bring up specific points, I can only answer abstractly. But please answer my question above before this one.

  134. El Cid — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:51 pm  

    “Anti-Semite!!” See, what did I tell you. Shaul, I didn’t assume that you were Jewish, I asked if you were in order give your words some context, as I explained in post #105 (*rolls eyes*). I think Don and Jay also foresaw this in #60.
    By the way, I am assuming that you are British and not Israeli or American. God, I’m such a bigot.
    Ultimately I return to my original point, way back in time, at #6.

    Look, if I was to strip away all the rhetoric, point scoring, and pisstaking and boil everything down into one point, it would be this Shaul: when someone like Intifada Kid comes along why don’t you try to engage him more reasonably and try to accentuate the positive, rather than going on the offensive from the off. Because if you can’t have a productive conversation with a moderate, there’s no point complaining about the extremists that will inevitably take their place. Ooops, looks like we’re there already.

  135. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 2:58 pm  

    “You seem to think that implying that Palestinians and Muslims cannot live in peace is not bigoted, but implying that Israelies should be able to live peacefully with them means that we are against the state of Israel and therefore anti-semitic.”

    Another strange sentence. I don’t think there is anything intrinsically belligerant about Palestinians and Muslims. In fact, during the Middle Ages Jews had much more freedom in the Arab world than in Christina Europe. Th epoint is that it should not be incumbent on Israel to accept a single state of cohabitation with an Arab population that currently want them destroyed. Arab states and groups and individuals, say this kind of stuff over and over. So why not focus on asking them to stop, rather than what you perceive as Israeli racism? It’s an intersting choice on your part. And quite revealing in my opinion. Such a perspective implies that the very concept of a Jewish state is illegitimate. It is truly anti-Zionist in the most fundamental sense. You believe Jews have no right to statehood and I am curious why.

  136. Jai — on 27th January, 2006 at 3:12 pm  

    Shaun,

    =>”In many ways it also applies to Sikhism and Buddhism.

    I don’t know about Sikhism, but can you really be born a Buddhist or be a Buddhist with out believing in any aspect of Buddhism?”

    I’ll let the Buddhists answer for themselves, but the above statement is not true for Sikhism. One cannot be an “atheist Sikh”. Of course there are gradations with regards to how strictly one practices Sikhism (that’s a whole different argument), but there are some fundamentals that one is required to believe in in order to be a Sikh even in the most basic sense (ie. believing in one universal God, the 10 historical human Sikh Gurus and the scriptures as being the ultimate source of spiritual authority, the humanitarian principles of the faith, and so on).

    Apologies for going off-topic but I felt that your question deserved a proper answer.

    With regards to the question of Israel, personally I don’t think it’s racist at all for Jews to desire their own state (especially considering the Holocaust), governed according to Jewish principles, as long as the population is not intended to be solely Jewish and non-Jews are not discriminated against.

  137. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 3:32 pm  

    Thanks Jai! Your sobriety is enormously appreciated.

  138. Sunny — on 27th January, 2006 at 3:45 pm  

    Well, I have a different understanding of Sikhism to Jai, which is why I made my assertion. If you ask various Hindu groups, they will also dispute whether you can be an atheist Hindu, but these groups fundamentally mis-understand the religions in my own view, relegating them to the western way of looking, definining and codifying their beliefs.

    That apart, Judaism is a set of beliefs that people can take upon themselves or reject, is it not? Thous Muslims also say everyone is born a Muslim (and are therefore “reverts”) and you can’t really leave the religion, I assume you are saying the same?

    As for your point:
    . Such a perspective implies that the very concept of a Jewish state is illegitimate. It is truly anti-Zionist in the most fundamental sense. You believe Jews have no right to statehood and I am curious why.

    I’ve never stated my opposition to the right of Israel to exist. In fact I stated its right to exist above, you just chose to ignore it like most of my other points.

    Th epoint is that it should not be incumbent on Israel to accept a single state of cohabitation with an Arab population that currently want them destroyed. Arab states and groups and individuals, say this kind of stuff over and over.

    Right – so how do you make the distinction? As we can currently see, Israel sees any non-Jew Arab as a potential threat and therefore treats them arbitarily, as is the point of this article and Robert Sharp’s initial post.

  139. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 3:49 pm  

    When you can explain what you wrote below, we can talk:

    You said:

    “Wanting a predominantly Jewish state isn’t racist I guess, if you can say the KKK’s demand for wanting a pure white aryan race in America isn’t racist”

    and:

    “I never said Judaism was a race.”

  140. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 3:55 pm  

    “If you ask various Hindu groups, they will also dispute whether you can be an atheist Hindu, but these groups fundamentally mis-understand the religions in my own view, relegating them to the western way of looking, definining and codifying their beliefs.”

    Yes interstingly there are many assimilated and fundamentalist Jews have similar beliefs. I too think such thinking suggests the leakage of primarily Christian thinking into Jewish theology.

    “That apart, Judaism is a set of beliefs that people can take upon themselves or reject, is it not?”

    There is no dogmatic set of beliefs Jews must accept in order to be Jewish. So no.

    “Thous Muslims also say everyone is born a Muslim (and are therefore “reverts”) and you can’t really leave the religion, I assume you are saying the same?”

    No it’s different as that bit of Muslim theology is interpreted by me as an assertion of it’s claim to inclusivity and supremacy. Whereas Jewish laws are meant to define exclusivity and separateness (but not supremacy).

  141. Jai — on 27th January, 2006 at 3:59 pm  

    Shaun,

    Glad to help — thank you for your kind words. I think Sunny is wrong in his perception of Sikhs misinterpreting their religion in this regard, but in order to keep this friendly I’m just going to have to “agree to disagree” with him ;)

    Apparently some sections of the Hindu community do believe that they can be Hindu and atheist simultaneously, but that’s to some degree because they view being Hindu as a cultural and ethnic/nationalist matter as well as something focused on religion.

    Anyway, back to your debate about Israel…..

  142. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 4:16 pm  

    “Anyway, back to your debate about Israel….. ”

    If I was debating with people as honest and intelligent as you, I have a feeling it would be a much more productive endevour. I think it’s time to move on.

    Cheers

  143. El Cid — on 27th January, 2006 at 6:06 pm  

    Praise indeed from Tory Boy. Jai, your chest must be swelling up with pride.
    Do me a lemon Shaul. You’re only lying to yourself. You are no Einstein, more like Uri Geller. You remind me of that knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail whose limbs have been chopped off one by one –”Come back here and fight. It’s only a flesh wound!”
    Shame some of PP’s other occasional Jewish commentators weren’t here to provide some rational counterbalance to your preposterous, caviling and pig-headed nonsense.
    The thread was getting interesting until you piled in with your zealot size 9s. Oh, and you can quote me on that.

  144. Sunny — on 27th January, 2006 at 6:54 pm  

    There is no dogmatic set of beliefs Jews must accept in order to be Jewish. So no.
    Then its a cultural tradition no different to many aspects of Hinduism. Funnily enough Sikhs are the only other group marked as an ethnic religious minority in the UK, though for a different reason to what I think Sikhism is about.

    I made the point about the KKK because you’re talking about establishing a state based on racial grounds. This is what you said:
    Why is wanting a predominantly Jewish state racism?

    Judaism is not a race, it is a religion, or a cultural practice according to you. Therefore, wanting exclusivity for a religion or race would still be ethnic cleansing if you opress people to achieve it. In the same way the govt of Saudi Arabia’s behaviour is bigoted, you are admitting that so is the state of Israel’s because it wants only people of a certain religion.

    You also didn’t answer my point about how it claims to be a democracy when it wants to promote and sustain only people of one religion, and takes away the rights of outsiders. A democracy isn’t just about voting, it is also about civil liberties.

  145. Shaul — on 27th January, 2006 at 8:32 pm  

    “I made the point about the KKK because you’re talking about establishing a state based on racial grounds. This is what you said:
    Why is wanting a predominantly Jewish state racism?”

    OK I’m sorry you are retarded.

  146. Kay — on 27th January, 2006 at 10:29 pm  

    I thought that globalisation and mass media were promoting hybridity and cosmopolitan environments.
    Why racial segregation? Surely such a radical concept is a thing of the past?!

  147. Sunny — on 27th January, 2006 at 10:38 pm  

    That was meant to be “you’re talking about establishing a state based on racial or religious grounds”.

    Either way, I’m getting tired of your selective reading. You want segregation, go for it. Just don’t expect true liberals to support it.

  148. Shaul — on 28th January, 2006 at 12:32 pm  

    Like all those French segregated from all those Germans on religous, racial, historical and cultural grounds in Europe. Nations are so passe. Whatever. Mix the Jews with the “true liberals” of Hamas, the PLO, Hizbollah etc. I’m sure they’ll all get along.

  149. Shaul — on 28th January, 2006 at 12:34 pm  

    As long as you don’t have to live there of course.

  150. Shaul — on 28th January, 2006 at 12:44 pm  

    And BTW no one has given one single concrete example of how Israeli Arabs “are effectively second-class citizens in what is, after all, a Jewish State.”

    I’ll help: They can’t serve in the military. That is indeed controversial in my opinion. Everything else I’ve heard is just abstract emotional ranting.

    Find some more if you actually want to try and learn about the situation rather than make bogus, alarmist claims of ‘racial segregation’ and ‘religous supremism’.

    If you want to discuss something real, I’m willing. But the truth is, you guys know absolutely nothing about Israel or Judaism.

  151. El Cid — on 28th January, 2006 at 12:53 pm  

    Nations are not entirely passe but with the advent of supra-national institutions such as the EU, they’re certainly not what they once were. I tell you what else is increasingly passe in Europe; ideas such as these.

  152. Al_Mujahid_for_debauchery — on 28th January, 2006 at 2:23 pm  

    Israeli style democracy:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/comment/0,,1694815,00.html

  153. Intifada Kid — on 28th January, 2006 at 4:47 pm  

    Shaul, you ask for concrete examples of how Palestinian (‘Arab’) citizens of Israel are effectively second-class citizens of their own state. For a dramatic example, I would suggest that if you do happen to travel to Israel sometime soon, make the effort of visiting the Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel who live in 40 odd unrecognized villages in the Naqab (Negev). The scene is very dramatic: Bedouin encampments with no social services or water next to Jewish communities in plush villas with swimming pools. It’s very similar to the differences between the Israeli settlements (colonies) and Palestinian towns and villages in the occupied West Bank. I’m sorry to say it, but it looks like Apartheid.

    In the meantime, perhaps spend some time perusing the website of Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in israel. Here’s some of what they have to say:

    “Discriminatory laws

    Adalah’s report to the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, issued August/September 2001 and entitled Institutionalized Discrimination Against Palestinian Citizens of Israel, identifies more than 20 laws that discriminate against the Palestinian minority in Israel. The report shows that the Jewish character of the state is evident in numerous Israeli laws. The most important immigration laws, The Law of Return (1950) and The Citizenship Law (1952), allow Jews to freely immigrate to Israel and gain citizenship, but excludes Arabs who were forced to flee their homes in 1947 and 1967. Israeli law also confers special quasi-governmental standing on the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency, the Jewish National Fund and other Zionist bodies, which by their own charters cater only to Jews. Various other laws such as The Chief Rabbinate of Israel Law (1980), The Flag and Emblem Law (1949), and The State Education Law (1953) and its 2000 amendment give recognition to Jewish educational, religious, and cultural practices and institutions, and define their aims and objectives strictly in Jewish terms.

    Government discrimination

    Further, the discretionary powers entrusted to various government ministries and institutions – including budget policies, the allocation of resources, and the implementation of laws – results in significant de facto discrimination between Jewish and Palestinian citizens. For example, a report issued by the Ministry of Interior confirmed that Arab municipalities received a fraction of the total funds allocated by the national government per resident to Jewish settlements in the Occupied Territories and to development towns populated exclusively by Jews. Moreover, the Ministry of Religious Affairs affords a small percentage of its budget to the Arab Muslim, Christian, and Druze religious communities. Funds for special projects such as the renewal and development of neighborhoods and improvements in educational programs, services, and facilities are also disproportionately allocated to Jewish communities. To date, Israeli authorities have rarely used their discretionary powers to benefit the Palestinians minority.

    Land expropriation

    Most importantly, the Israeli government has maintained an aggressive policy of land expropriation, adversely affecting Palestinian land and housing rights. For example, the National Planning and Building Law (1965), retroactively re-zoned the lands on which many Arab villages sit as “non-residential.” The consequence of this is that despite the existence of these villages prior to the establishment of the state, they have been afforded no official status. These “unrecognized Arab villages” receive no government services, and residents are denied the ability to build homes and other public buildings. The authorities use a combination of house demolitions, land confiscation, denial of basic services, and restrictions on infrastructure development to dislodge residents from these villages. The situation is severely acute for the Arab Bedouin community living in these unrecognized villages in the Naqab.”

    Source: http://www.adalah.org/eng/backgroundlegalsystem.php

    That is the main problem with racism in Israel. The discrimination is structural, institutionalised and state-sponsored, not incidental or accidental or limited to civil society. I know that you wouldn’t accept this if you experienced it (or perhaps if you yourself were better informed about it). So why not join those who are working to end it? There are many patriotic Israelis who are doing just that today – because they recognize the paradox of the self-procrlaimed “Jewish” and “democratic” state and want to see Israel tranformed into a state for all its citizens.

  154. Shaul — on 29th January, 2006 at 10:40 pm  

    “The report shows that the Jewish character of the state is evident in numerous Israeli laws”

    Is that a joke? It’s *the* Jewish state. I bet the French character of the state is present in many French laws. And the Cherokee character of the Cherokee nation is present in many Cherokee laws.

    “de facto discrimination between Jewish and Palestinian citizens.”

    You know what “de facto” means right? What nation does not have de facto racism against minority citizens. How does this disqualify Israel as a democracy?

    “Most importantly, the Israeli government has maintained an aggressive policy of land expropriation, adversely affecting Palestinian land and housing rights.”

    Really? You think land has something to do with the conflict? I am shocked.

    But not convinced at all. Sure there are ‘paradoxes’ inherent to a secular democratic Jewish state. There are many paradoxes inherent to Judaism…and this may be why we make many people uncomfortable. But I am not at all convinced that Israel not a democracy. And if all these Israeli Arabs (who do have representation in government the freedom to make websites like the one you cite) are so miserable, why don’t they move to any number of the wonderful Arab Muslim states surrounding them? (Hint: they are happier in Israel!)

  155. Shaul — on 29th January, 2006 at 10:43 pm  

    “There are many patriotic Israelis…”

    Too bad there isn’t a single similarly patriotic Palestinian of any prominence.

  156. Shaul — on 29th January, 2006 at 10:51 pm  

    That means stop demonizing Israel for a few minutes and look in the mirror. Your people just elected an openly antisemtic Islamic fascist party to power.

  157. Intifada Kid — on 30th January, 2006 at 2:53 pm  

    Shaul,

    1) If you want to pretend Israel is no more racist than France, be my guest. It shows a profound lack of knowledge about the predicament of the Palestinian citizens of Israel and it won’t get us closer to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

    2) Only anti-Semites are made uncomfortable by Jews. I don’t feel uncomfortable about Judaism or Jewish peoplehood. But I find the concept of an exclusivist Jewish state on historic, pluralistic Palestine as disturbing as an Apartheid South African state that privileges the ‘White’ settlers at the expense of the indigenous population.

    3) You imply that because Palestinian citizens of Israel haven’t volunteered to leave their homes and land in what became Israel, they must appreciate Israeli ‘democracy’. Actually, Palestinian steadfastness (sumud) is a national characteristic and some inside Israel have spoken of citizenship as a form of resistance. Many Palestinians feel that the greatest mistake they made was allowing themselves to be forced into fleeing their homes and land in 1948 and 1967. Those who remained are not likely to leave now. But in asking why they don’t move to other Arab states you miss the entire point. As citizens of Israel, Israel ought to be the state of its non-Jewish Palestinian citizens as much as it is the state of its Jewish citizens. Unfortunately, this is not the case (unlike in France – where rights are accorded citizens based on their citizenship not on the basis of their ethno-religious identity). Those who call for Palestinian citizens of Israel to move if they don’t like the way they are treated by ‘their’ government sound like the ‘white’ Americans who called on African- Americans to leave the United States and ‘return’ to Africa if they took exception to their treatment by the US government before the civil rights movement became successful. I trust that equal rights will one day be obtained for all of Israel’s citizens.

    4) Suggesting that there isn’t “a single similarly patriotic Palestinian of any prominence” who wants to turn either Israel or Palestine (or both) into a state for all its citizens only betrays your ignorance of Palestinian politics. But remember that we Palestinians do not have our own state, and that Israel’s current policies are speedily eroding the possibility of us ever obtaining independence in a viable state. Hence the problem.

    5) If you want to have a (sensible) discussion about the recent Palestinian elections, I suggest you visit a thread with an appropriate title. I can personally recommend: http://www.robertsharp.co.uk/2006/01/30/letter-from-ramallah/

  158. Shaul — on 30th January, 2006 at 5:09 pm  

    “Israel ought to be the state of its non-Jewish Palestinian citizens as much as it is the state of its Jewish citizens. Unfortunately, this is not the case ”

    Umm, it could have happened. In 1948 Palestinians (Arabs) refused this plan, “shooting first” and have been suffering ever since.

    Let’s start at the beginning.

  159. Siddharth — on 30th January, 2006 at 5:14 pm  

    How many trolls does it take to fuck up one comments thread?

  160. Shaul — on 30th January, 2006 at 6:57 pm  

    One apparently if no one is capable of giving straight answers to simple questions.

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