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Old 10-05-2002, 10:03 AM   #1
DanielR
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Israeli-Palestinian conflict

(this is a continuation of a discussion started in this thread )

Quote:
Paul Clark wrote:
However, as we agree there remains some amount of plain power relationships in international affairs, what is it about Israel that would constrain the US from making the above decision (OK, you're on your own) before first ensuring Israeli demands for security are satisfied?
I see two parts in this question: what prevents the US from cutting Israel off, and why the US [i]shouldn't[i] do that. I'm going to try and list some of the things I can think of, in either category:

First, I don't think it would fly with the US public opinion. Although we might agree that there's no real similarity between the Al Qaeda terrorism and the Palestinian terrorism when it comes to the motivation and legitimacy, the commonality and brutality of the employed methods, create this similarity, at least on the emotional level. So the US politicians would have to work really hard to convince the public that the Palestinian struggle is a liberation movement and, being such, is more legitimate and deserves the American political support.

Second, I don't know how powerful the American Jewish lobby really is, but from what I've heard, it is. There are references to its influence on the American policy in the Middle East all along the history of the conflict. Assuming it's still there, I don't see how it is going to allow the US government to one-sidedly demand Israeli withdrawal.

Third (although I'm not sure how real this one is) is the Israeli intelligence, and maybe military, support. As long as the US is fighting its war against terror, Israeli intelligence, and maybe even military assistance (special ops or something of that nature) might be useful. Several organizations regarded by the US as terrorist ones, are based and operate in or around Israel. It seems not too unreasonable to assume that some sort of cooperation between the designated enemies of the US and Hamas/Islamic Jihad/Hezbollah might take place. In this case Israel might provide a very tangible help in the campaign against terrorism. This sort of cooperation between Israel and the US would probably be kept secret as not to angry the Arab countries, but it still might happen. I agree with your claim that it's unlikely that there could be a war in which the US and the Israeli military will openly fight together, but a collaboration iof a more subtle kind seems not too unlikely to me.

Fourth, it might have an unpredictable effect on the Israeli internal situation. Maybe it's the timing issue, as in when exactly the US should "pull the plug". Doing this while there's a rightist government seems to be not such a good idea. There are voices in Israel that call for more drastic measures agains Palestinians, and the fact that Israel has to look at the US before doing anything is probably one of the restraining factors in this context. If the US pulls its support, the more radical elements in the Israeli politics might interpret it as a carte blanche.

Quote:
It's a fact that Israel is the biggest offender we have when it comes to illicit transfer of US technologies, mostly to China, which hurts US interests in an important way.
I don't have enough information to agree or disagree with this, although it feels like if the US interests were in a real danger, the US would find ways to make Israel stop.

Quote:
"The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, who's only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kindom. Sun Tzu

I wonder if Mr. Sharon has studied the old Chinese master?
Probably not. I do believe however that Mr. Sharon knows a thing or two about fighting wars, both in the military and in the political sense. Anyhow, until we agree on the meaning of the word "protect" in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we can't realy figure out how to apply this wisdom, can we?

Daniel
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Old 10-07-2002, 01:11 AM   #2
Abasan
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'Probably not. I do believe however that Mr. Sharon knows a thing or two about fighting wars, both in the military and in the political sense. '

Saying this is like saying the elephant is a little bit on the heavy side.

A man like Sharon earned his nicknamed as the Butcher not because of his expertise with the meat cleaver. More so when that nickname was given to him by his own parliament. To this day, the world (US) is recognising a war criminal as the Prime Minister of Israel.

PM of a country who has the 4th largest nuclear weapons stockpile (read... weapons of mass destruction). So how come, Bush is all gung ho about whacking Saddam. Why not whack Sharon? Since he's been terrorising neigbouring states for years. Killing civilians? Yep, done that as well.

The reason why US still sends billions of dollars in aid to Isreal every year, why it ignores Israel's terrorism, provides it with world class weapons of destruction and so on... is simple. The Jews pressure group is very very strong in US.

Thats all ok too. Since if the Jews really believe in God and heaven and hell... they know what they're doing is wrong. No God will condone bloodshed in His name. Only the so called 'religious leaders' have called their people to arms to oppress people. So let the Jews destroy themselves in God's eyes. Everyone dies in the end.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 10-07-2002, 09:07 AM   #3
DanielR
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Ahmad,

I'm not sure whether the goal of your post was to participate in the discussion or just to post an anti-Israeli, borderline anti-Semitic, slogan. Assuming the first:

In my comment about Mr. Sharon I was trying to convey the idea that, despite the controversy surrounding Mr. Sharon's military and political career, he's indeed trying "to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign". Now, how he does that is again a controversial issue, and is one of the subjects of this discussion.

I tried to address the question of why the US shouldn't "whack" or withdraw its support for Israel in my previous post. The power of the Jewish lobby is one of the reasons, but I think claiming it's the only one is very simplistic.

Let me also say that the manner in which you spoke about the Jewish people is extremely offensive, let alone irrational.

Daniel
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Old 10-07-2002, 12:13 PM   #4
Paul Clark
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Ahmad and Daniel,

Assalamu alaykum/shalom. Nobody appointed me referee, but I'd hope we could keep this discussion at the level we'd had previously. Ahmad, Have you read our last 3 or 4 pages on the "Invasion of Iraq" thread?

Daniel,
Quote:
Second, I don't know how powerful the American Jewish lobby really is, but from what I've heard, it is. There are references to its influence on the American policy in the Middle East all along the history of the conflict. Assuming it's still there, I don't see how it is going to allow the US government to one-sidedly demand Israeli withdrawal
Well, you hit the target I was looking for, but never count out serendipity, either. Last night I was channel surfing and stumbled on 60 Minutes while they were in the midst of a piece on US support for Israel. Turns out that Jerry Falwell and his ilk claim to speak for 70 million American evangelical Christians who are probably more virulently pro-Israel than most Israelis are. That compared to the estimated 5-6 million Jews in the United States.

The evangelical story is pretty scary, and Ahmad will probably be as aghast as either of us. Turns out this bunch is eager for the Second Coming, believes that the reestablishment of the Kingdom of Israel is a pre-requisite, and so are intent on hastening that event by whatever means necessary, hence their support for Israel. This support is financial in the form of direct contributions from various churches to Israeli organizations, moral, and most importantly, political. The latter takes the form of lobbying on behalf of their beliefs and agenda with Congress and the Executive branch, Falwell allegedly fired off a letter the President the day after his speech protesting his call for a Palestinian state in 3 years; this was followed up by 100,000 + emails received by the White House with the same protest message.

For what it's worth, the guys doing the interviews for 60 Minutes did a pretty good job of making Falwell look like a whacko, the scary part is that Falwell didn't look uncomfortable about that. Meanwhile, the Falwell message is that at this end of the world, all the Jews either become Christians or die off, so the Jews are not real enamored of this "support" either, and there were at least two people interviewed that said so. They'd rather have a peace settlement with the Palestinians and live with that for another couple of thousand years.

Now, no offense to anyone who reads this and may subscribe to similar beliefs, but as an American, I find it offensive that a religious group is trying to insinuate its beliefs into US foreign policy, although I'm not surprised (the Jewish Lobby does it, obviously, as well, and others do, too. Abortion comes to mind.). I also find it a little scary that these people are busily trying to bring about the end of the world. Makes one wonder who's more dangerous--American evangelicals or Saddam (back to the other thread, Daniel?)?

I suspect Falwell overstates his supporters' numbers, but even if there are 70 million, that leaves 220 million Americans who are not fervently praying, much less actively working, for the end of the world as we know it. I refer to one of my posts on the original thread in which I say the problem for American policy in the Middle East is one of education. Four hours in 12 years is not enough. I gave a 1- hour presentation to 2 5th grade classes a week ago that makes one small dent, but it's a long haul.

I doubt the President intends to listen too hard to Falwell et. al.; there are too many other voters to worry about, and the idea of ending the world sometime in the next decade, on purpose, won't sit well with most of them. We more moderate Americans have some work to do, though.

There is some good news. Falwell is so badly informed, or so blinded by his own "faith", that he's completely unaware of Islam. He said that after close study of the Q'uran, he'd concluded that the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was "a terrorist". Unbelievable! The reason that's good news is that in my opinion, that makes him look like a real whacko, and I suspect there'll be plenty of lively response in the press, and maybe on American television over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, I doubt that kind of bald assessment will do much for this guy's credibility with the average American.

Ahmad--I am not a Muslim, but if you'll permit me:

(29:46)

And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, "We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God and your God is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam)."

Paul
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Old 10-07-2002, 12:56 PM   #5
DanielR
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Quote:
Jerry Falwell and his ilk claim to speak for 70 million American evangelical Christians who are probably more virulently pro-Israel than most Israelis are.
This guy is scary, isn't he?

It's an interesting situation for the Israelis and Jews in general -- to get such a passionate support from representatives of the church, which historically has been, well, not very nice to Jews. I think most Israelis are either unaware of this, don't give it too much thought, or consider this phenomenon very cautiously. I've read some articles in the Israeli left-wing press that call for complete dissociation from the Christian religious support, since it doesn't do much good to Israel's PR. I for one completely agree with this -- having Mr. Falwell for a supporter doesn't look very attractive.

OTOH, Israel has had some pretty strange alliances during the history of the conflict. The Lebanese Maronites, for instance. Heck, at some point Israelis and Syrians were practically allies (indirectly of course) when they both were trying to disable the PLO in Lebanon. Israel also supported the Islamic fundamentalists in West Bank and Gaza, as an alternative to the much hated PLO. In my view, this is how the world politics works. An enemy of your enemy is your friend. There are countless examples of such weird collaborations, so Falwell, as obnoxious as he is, doesn't come as much of a shock.

The most disgusting thing about falwells is that they're playing on the most basic human emotions and cynically exploit the current situation in the Middle East to sell their Second Coming nonsense.

I too hope that Falwell and the like do not determine the US policy, in the Middle East or elsewhere, and I'd like to believe that the American support for Israel has a more stable basis. I also believe that Americans and Israelis share the same values of freedom, democracy and sanctity of a human life, and this should be the true spirit of the US-Israeli alliance.

Daniel
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Old 10-07-2002, 02:57 PM   #6
opherdonchin
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Hey, didn't mean to go missing on you guys for too long. There's a bunch of stuff that I want to add a quip or two about, but before I start, I recommend checking out the following article in Ha'aretz Holy Deadlock. I found it very interesting. My sense is that the author, Danny Rubinstein, leans to the right, but I'm not sure of that, and in any case the article is still an interesting perspective that highlights aspects of the issue that I hadn't really been thinking about.

Ahmad, if you haven't been chased off, I'm really interested to hear what you have to say about the article. I have consistently found your posts to be very interesting in these forums and I would love it if we could have more voices in this particular discussion. I have to say, though, that I also felt like your earlier post was a little bit 'in my face.' I think that the relationship of diaspora judaism to judaism (as a religion) in Israel to the politics of Israel is an amazingly interesting and complicated issue. It's a hard one to talk about without upsetting somebody, but maybe it would be worth our time.

On a similar point, perhaps there are no fundamentalist christian AiKiDoka, or at least none around here, but I'd still really appreciate it if we didn't use words like 'disgusting,' 'whacko,' and so on to discuss any group. I certainly have fears associated with the Christian right, alhtough they are not as strong as the fears I associate with the Orthodox parties in Israel, but I just think that it is the kind of thing which is really likely to offend some chance reader of the forum, or even some regular readers.

It seems to me that Israel has actively cultivated its ties with the United States over many years in both open and covert ways. It's not easy to be so consistently seen as a 'friend' to such a notoriously fickle partner, and Israel's willingness to focus on that and put energy into it is not something to overlook, I think.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 10-07-2002, 03:10 PM   #7
DanielR
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Opher,

Thanks for putting out the flames, as always.

I'll try to be more careful with words.

Ahmad,

It was certainly not my intention to chase you off this thread; I was indeed upset by your post, but I do hope that we can continue this discussion in a calm and constructive way.

Daniel
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Old 10-07-2002, 04:08 PM   #8
DanielR
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Quote:
I recommend checking out the following article in Ha'aretz Holy Deadlock.
An interesting perspective indeed, and not at all surprising. I see this in line with the argument we had on how certain governments choose to support or condemn Israel when they feel it can be useful. Religion has always been about politics, and during the Israeli-Palestinian conflict both sides used, and continue to use, religious issues to advance their cause.

Even if we know that the religious significance of Jerusalem was artificially pumped, today this fact is a given and it seems pointless to ignore it or, worse yet, act against it. However, ruling out any compromise on Jerusalem is not a very workable stance, on either side. If this conflict is ever going to be settled, some sort of compromise over the religious sites, like assigning them a special status so that neither side has sovereignty over them, will have to take place.

The current position of the Arab states towards Jerusalem is understandable. Although when the prospect of a permanent settlement becomes more real, I believe most governments will assume a more pragmatic position, as it was the case several times during the history of the conflict. Egypt and Jordan forsook the religious and militaristic rhetoric for the sake of normalization with Israel that allowed them to cut military spending, improve relations with the US and thus attempt to improve the domestic situation.

Daniel
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Old 10-08-2002, 03:19 AM   #9
Abasan
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First off, I would like to apologise for the misunderstanding my earlier post may have caused among the readers, especially to Daniel. It is not my intention to be anti semitic or anti jew. Please excuse me, because my english being a second language is not as good as it should be.

My goal was actually to say out what many people dare not say out loud for fear of being accused as anti semitic. Just because a dictator is one religion or another, doesn't mean he represents that religion or the entire race. e.g. don't blame the Germans for having Hitler as their leader at one time (or was he really a German?), don't blame the Jews for having Sharon as their leader right now, don't blame the Iraqi's for having Saddam and don't blame the Americans for having Bush.

Each of these aforementioned nations have produced/ and continued producing excellant people. Almost half of Islam's prophets preceeding Mohammad pbuh was a Jew, so please believe me when I say I have nothing against the Jews in that sense. But what I wonder is how can the leaders of such great countries go out there and create war and strife?

It doesn't make sense for people to kill each other for property/treasure/money/oil/relics but that's what is happening today and yesterday. Remember the crusades that started the massacre of Muslims and Jews in Jerusalem? That started because the Christians who were fighting in europe at the time ganged up under the leadership of the pope to 'free' Jesus's birthplace. In the end, they managed to do it but they ended up not knowing how to run the city once they had it. Does this mean Christians are bad? I don't think so. It meant there was one bad apple that incited some greedy people to pillage and plunder and get away from it in the eyes of 'God'.

I read that link Opher posted and yes I did read those last pages of the Iraq thread. I didn't post there again, because I must admit that I'm not in the same league as you guys when churning out the facts. Just when I thought that the world is terribly one sided in the Israel-Palestinians-Iraq issue, I read posts like this and it changes my mind. That's why I continue to post here in Aikiweb, because I have great respect for the people here and the maturity they bring in these highly sensitive issues.

With regards to Opher's link. I'm no expert, but I believe I represent the majority of young muslims in my country in my opinion (I hope) that Islam has never asked us to fight over worldly matters. To defend our rights and that of our brethren yes, not for gaining power and wealth. To fight for relics? I don't think so, because I doubt that killing innocent people for Jerusalem is going to get you to heaven. God ask muslims to

Swear fealty to Him

pray 5 times a day

Fast in the month of ramadhan

Give alms (zakat)

Go to hajj if you can

No where does it say, go kill people and fight for the world. As for the prophet and jerusalem... in my limited knowledge I believe that Jerusalem wasn't mentioned as the place where he ascended to heaven. In fact the place it self wasn't clearly mentioned. There is a reference to a rock that wanted to follow his ascension but the angel gabriel stopped it halfway, so its out there floating to this day... but again I'm not terribly clear about this. I have to check.

You know, there are millions of people out there in the world who want to live peacefully with each other. I'm one of those hopefulls. Why is that among these millions, none of them managed to become the rulers of those warlike and troubled countries? Wouldn't the world be a better place when we have nicer people as our leaders?

Opher thanks for being the peacekeeper of sorts, although I must stress again, I've no intention of arguing with people for the sake of arguing. To me it is all about moderation or wassatiah in Islam.

Paul, you are right. We believe in the people of the book (zabur, torah and bible). We never sought any war with the three. If you check the history of Islam, it has always sought peace. In the recent years, I have no idea why its been made so perverse. These wars are not Islamic to me exactly. But then, if you judge the Isreal-palestinian conflict, I don't really think its religion. Its more about land, water, oil. Palestinians are going to lose anyway, with the death toll at nearly 2000 since Intifada, 1600 are palestinians and 300+ Isrealites.

Daniel, sorry again if I offended you.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 10-08-2002, 03:32 AM   #10
Abasan
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Btw, saying that there are no direct flights to heaven except from Jerusalem sounds like a joke to me. I don't know if anyone should take that or the 'islamic scholar' seriously.

As for the quote, the 'many Arab rulers consider the Islamic holy places in Jerusalem the property of the entire nation of Islam', that's true I suppose in the sense that in Islam we are all brothers. But trying telling those Arab rulers about Mekkah being ours as well, and possibly all those oil fields being the property of the entire nation of Islam and see how they respond. If you adopt consistent non-consistency in your application of law and action, your words count for nothing.

Draw strength from stillness. Learn to act without acting. And never underestimate a samurai cat.
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Old 10-08-2002, 09:45 AM   #11
DanielR
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Quote:
My goal was actually to say out what many people dare not say out loud for fear of being accused as anti semitic.
This is an interesting and important issue - the difference between an anti-Israeli and an anti-Semitic opinion, or an anti-PLO vs. an anti-Arab or anti-Muslim thought. I think I saw a similar discussion on some other thread around here.

There're two completely different panes here: the personal level, and the free speech level. On the personal level, you're always running the risk of offending someone's ethnic sentiments, especially while debating such a controversial issue. Many Jewish people have very little tolerance to anti-Israeli rhetoric. They interpret it as anti-Semitism and, many of them being victims of Nazi persecution or just of plain old "domestic" flavor of anti-Semitism, react in an exaggerated, but understandable, way.

On the other hand, there's a clear and objective connection between the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the rise of anti-Semitic acts, and the rising one-sidedness in the opinions on the conflict. Harvard University President, Lawrence Summers, spoke about this recently (http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles...le.asp?ID=3299)

As Ahmad says, some critics of Israel are afraid of voicing their opinions for fear of being perceived as anti-Semitic. All I can say to this is that as long as the criticism is directed at concrete people or actions rather than at the whole ethnic group, and is based on facts and sound reason, it should be accepted and taken into consideration.
Quote:
I didn't post there again, because I must admit that I'm not in the same league as you guys when churning out the facts.
I'm with you on this one, Ahmad - sometimes I need to get help from my bookshelf or from Google in order to catch up with Opher and Paul, probably with not too much success

Last edited by DanielR : 10-08-2002 at 09:51 AM.

Daniel
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Old 10-08-2002, 10:15 AM   #12
opherdonchin
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Quote:
Ahmad wrote:
First off, I would like to apologise for the misunderstanding my earlier post may have caused among the readers, especially to Daniel. It is not my intention to be anti semitic or anti jew. Please excuse me, because my english being a second language is not as good as it should be.
Ahmad, I really appreciate that.

I actually have sort of an interesting story to tell about the probelms of communication and miscommunication across the divide. I grew up in the United States in a small mid-western city. Our next door neighbors were very nice people with three daughters and me and my sister played with them regularly when we were growing up. Some years after I'd moved to Israel, I learned that the family's eldest daughter had met a Palestinian man in graduate school, married him, and was currently living with him in Gaza.

I acquired their phone number through their parents and called her up. (This was, I believe, before the Oslo accords). We were both fairly excited about the idea of getting together. It took some negotiation to figure out a place that would be mutually comfortable. For instance, the first time we were to meet at a hotel in East Jerusalem there were some major riots in East Jerusalem and I was not sure I was comfortable crossing over that day.

In the end, we met in a small coffee shop on the West side of Jerusalem. It was clear that we both thought of ourselves as very moderate and open minded. It was clear that the pleasure of meeting someone from the past was what had really brought us together. We both made efforts to stay off of political issues, or to broach them in a way that we felt expressed our respect and understanding of the complexities of both sides. It took about 10 minutes before we were both yelling and angry. We talked for about half an hour, getting angrier and angrier until eventually we just decided to call it a night and never tried again.

This conversation accompanies me as the consistent metaphor that I bring to trying to understand the emotions and intentions of people involved in this conflict.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 10-08-2002, 10:20 AM   #13
opherdonchin
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By the way, Ahmad, I honestly think that the question of how, and with what legitimacy, the Jewish lobby affects American policy is a worthwhile topic. It's particularly interesting as the Muslim population and political activism has grown in both Europe and the United States. If the U.S. is supporting Israel primarily because of the Jewish lobby (which I'm not sure I believe) than this is likely to be a temporary situation. Of course, similar charges are leveled by the other side: European identification with the Palestinians is blamed variously on the power of the Muslim lobby in a number of European countries as well as on anti-semitism. It seems to me that there is no question that Europeans are anti-semitic (some, of course, more than others). I understand, though, that they are also often anti-arab.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 10-08-2002, 10:52 AM   #14
DanielR
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I have a more optimistic story to tell.

One day a Tunisian student started bombarding me with ICQ messages of the kind "Sharon is a killer, Sharon is a criminal" and other nice stuff like that. I sat there for a while, trying to decide how to react - ignore, bombard him back? I finally decided to politely ask him why he thought that information would be of any interest to me. He responded that I'm one of those nasty Israelis how only dream of killing all Arabs and taking over the Middle East. I asked him again how did he reach this conclusion, and then asked him how he, being a reasonable university student, thought it to be appropriate to insult people he didn't know over the internet. He responded with a question how do Israelis find it appropriate to kill innocent Palestinians... Long story short, we managed to agree that the majority of Israelis are not at all like that, that for all he knew I could be a very active member of the "Peace Now" movement, and it was very unreasonable to attack me the way he did. He told me he wasn't anti-Semitic, he was just frustrated and disappointed that the Israeli people didn't do more to stop the violence. We both agreed that the two sides needed to do more in this direction.

His last message to me was "Peace be on you".

I regret I couldn't maintain the same calmness when Ahmad joined our discussion. Bottom line is, it's easy and convenient to hate a nation, but once you get to know real people, it's a completely different story.

Daniel
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Old 10-08-2002, 12:43 PM   #15
Jim ashby
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Opher. What a generalisation. "it seems to me that there is no question that europeans are anti semitic...". As a scientist you should know better, as a European I feel insulted.

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Old 10-08-2002, 01:06 PM   #16
DanielR
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Hi Jim,

Maybe it's not my place to defend Opher here, but I'd suggest that you take this phrase in the context of the discussion and in the context of all other Opher's posts, which consistently have been far above the average correctness level around here.

My take on Opher's comment was that statistically and historically, the amount of anti-Semitism in Europe has been high, probably more so in the Eastern Europe, and I think you would agree that lately it's been on the rise again.

Daniel
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Old 10-08-2002, 01:13 PM   #17
opherdonchin
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Yeah, Jim, I wondered if someone was going to call me on that. I probably should have said something more along the lines of 'anti-semitism is a serious force in European society and politics.' Perhaps I didn't phrase it better because I'm not sure exactly what would constitute an accurate statement. Can you help me out?

For the record, it is vanishingly rare that any European has given me an impression -- even the mildest one -- that he or she harbors any hostility towards me for my judaism or, for that matter, for my nationality.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 10-08-2002, 02:04 PM   #18
DGLinden
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I agree with Opher. My last visit to Europe last spring left me with no impressions of any anti Jewish sentiment at all. Though I am a couple generations away, I am fairly aware of it.

Daniel G. Linden
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Old 10-08-2002, 02:18 PM   #19
opherdonchin
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I rooted around a little on the web trying to find a page I'd once come across of wildly anti-semitic articles in the recent Italian press. I didn't find it right away, but what I found instead was a study commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League (a Jewish watchdog group that has worked very succesfully against anti-semitism in the U.S.) from an independent agency on anti-semitic attitudes in Europe. The url is here ADL European survey. The text on this page reads a little like a diatribe, but a brief look at the report (a link in the upper right hand corner) makes it seem reasonably professional. Here are some of their major findings:[list=1][*]The data indicates that nearly a third of European respondents, 30 percent, harbor some traditional anti-Jewish views.[*]A plurality of Europeans, 45 percent, responded that it is ?probably true? to characterize Jews as being more loyal to Israel than to their own country.[*]30 percent of the respondents believe that Jews have too much power in the business world.[*]19 percent believe that Jews do not care what happens to anyone but their own kind.[*]16 percent say that Jews are more willing than others to use shady practices to get what they want.[*]Among those in the five countries surveyed, Belgian, German, and French respondents are the most likely to hold a prejudiced view of Jews while British and Danish respondents are the least likely.[/list=1]Of course, I have no idea what would be comparable figures in the U.S. or regarding European attitudes towards muslims or even regarding Israeli attitudes towards jews. It is a timeless joke in Israel that in order to really understand anti-semitism, you just need to go live in Israel for a while.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 10-09-2002, 03:36 AM   #20
Jim ashby
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Hi Opher. The survey was probably correct in its way. As with all surveys, the demographics of the respondents should be taken into account. Turning the idea on its head (and I'm probably going to get flamed for this) it could be said that America is heavily pro-Zionist, particularly taking into account the heavy financial support that the government gives Israel.

For the record I am an atheist and I have no axe to grind either way.

Have fun.

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 10-09-2002, 07:48 AM   #21
opherdonchin
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Yes, I think what you say about the survey and demographics is absolutely correct. For the record, a similar survey commissioned by the ADL but (or course) performed by an American organization found levels of 'anti-semitic attitudes' that are about 1/2 to 2/3 of the European levels (this is me comparing across the surveys, not them).
Quote:
Jim wrote:
Turning the idea on its head (and I'm probably going to get flamed for this) it could be said that America is heavily pro-Zionist, particularly taking into account the heavy financial support that the government gives Israel.
Actually, that idea (expressed in this thread by Ahmad) was what got us on the issue of European anti-semitism.

America has been a supporter of Israel (and also a supporter of Zionism, although these, again, are two different things). Ahmad suggested that the reason America supports Israel is because of the political influence of Jewish Americans. Now, there is almost no question that that is at least partially true. There are, however, interesting questions about how much influence Jewish Americans can legitimately have on American policy. There is a separate question regarding whether or not this represents some sort of violation of church and state. That is: is it more like Catholic American opposition to abortion or is it more like Cuban American opposition to normalization of relations with Cuba (neither is a cause I'm particularly comfortable being associated with although it's worth pointing out that both are seen as legitimate exercises of democratic power).

However, leaving all those interesting questions aside what Daniel and I did was to bring up a different sort of comparison. We suggested that even if American support of Israel represents some sort of weird 'love of the jews,' that is not much different than the claim that European support of the Palestinians is influenced by some sort of weird 'dislike of the jews.' I guess we're running an argument that says, 'some people like you and some people hate you, and the important thing is to know who your friends are.' (a very Israeli philosophy in many ways).

I'm sure there is more to the European leaning than anti-semitism, just as I'm sure there is more to the American position than the Jewish lobby or a strange love of the jews.

Yours in Aiki
Opher
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Old 10-09-2002, 08:22 AM   #22
DanielR
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I just read that during the peace negotiations with Egypt, the Carter administration was pushing for a deal that would include the fate of the West Bank and Gaza, and this was unacceptable to Begin, so Dayan (the minister of defence?) threatened Carter to complain to the Jewish lobby unless Carter backed off. Carter was very concerned about his chances of being reelected, so he did back off. This didn't help him, of course.

Later, Reagan's position of Israel being the only true friend of the US in the Middle East in the battle against the Soviet expansion, was sort of a carte blanche for Israel.

In the absence of the Soviet bloc, it seems that the American support for Israel becomes less and less "automatic", and Israel has to rely more on the supporters of Israel in the American politics to obtain a favorable disposition from the US.

Daniel
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Old 10-09-2002, 08:30 AM   #23
DanielR
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Going back to the argument about the water resources - this article suggests Syria will have Lebanon divert water sources to provoke Israel and disrupt the attempts of normalization on the Israel-Lebanon border. The goal being - no normalization until the Golan Heights are returned.

Daniel
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Old 10-09-2002, 09:37 AM   #24
opherdonchin
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Here's an impassioned opinion piece in Ha'aretz that's worth reading: Greater Sodom and its Daughters

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Opher
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Old 10-09-2002, 09:56 AM   #25
DanielR
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Quote:
Greater Sodom and its Daughters
Agree with every word. Sarid disappointed me in the past for not holding his promise not to join the coalition with religious parties, but when it comes to the settlers, I share his opinion.

Daniel
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