Monday, September 1, 2014

Jews are active citizens

Regulars of my discussion group didn't at all agree with the idea the Israel promoted the Muslim Brotherhood, in order to keep it's neighboring states weak.  Weak is one thing, they already were weak, collapsing chaos is another, and that's not what a settler colonial states need.

I didn't find that argument very believable either, and, btw, I employ the least amount of self censorship here, in order to cover the deepest depths, though sometimes off target, and I apologize for some clearly anti-semitic concepts in earlier posts.

One idea approaching anti-semitism, is a sort of superiority concept.  Jews culturally teach their children to be active citizens, resisting oppression (and the deepest judiasm also calls on Jews to fight the oppression of others…the basic deep rule of Judiasm is to do more for others than self…but I digress), and so on.  That makes them more politically effective than their numbers would suggest.  In the US they are 2% of the population, but most people believe they collectively have much more influence than that.  Maybe more like 10%.  And that's enough to have great impact on a centrist majoritarian government such as the USA.  And of course the military giveaways to Israel are really giveaways to US military equipment makers.

Is it anti-semitic to say that Jews are excellent citizens?  The above argument doesn't relate to shadowy underground mafias and the like…just the ordinary rules of democratic political participation, which, sadly, many minorities and the poor generally don't take advantage of--though I am not saying that all the problems of the poor can be laid on their own doorstep for this or any other reason…but active political participation and better organization could help them.

This also means that a fair settlement of the future of Palestine--including full right of return for all Palestinian refugees--wouldn't necessarily make IP (Israel/Palestine) unlivable for the Jews.  I think much Israeli/Jewish fear about this is unwarranted…I believe the Jews would ensure at minimum an IP state fair to them but probably even more profitable than the current one…as has happened in South Africa…though one does imagine in the wake of a Fair Settlement (which itself can be hardly imagined) many Jews would choose to leave IP, not necessarily allowing this fair multicultural state to be tested.  But in fact Jews, Muslims, and Christians lived in peace together under Muslim rule in Palestine for most of more than a millennium, notably the Ottoman empire.  So in fact the belief that this is impossible, that Arabs can't run a reasonable multicultural state is itself antisemitism toward arabs.

My discussion friends don't believe the full Chomsky argument, that Israel is main a US project, and it's incredible history of support in the USA stems from its importance to military planners, and he discounts the usual conspiracy arguments and "unbelievable" effectiveness of Zionist lobbying on that.

My retired military friend didn't agree with that at all.  He said the US State Department has long been hostile to Israel, as have probably a majority of the US military establishment.  US Military do not see Israel as a dependable ally or client.  Previous Israeli actions, such as attacking a US ship, have reinforced that feeling.  He felt that Israel's success in maintaining US support had to come entirely from Zionist success in politics, as well as military industrial self-interest.

I think there may be more going on in the military than my friend concedes, but largely it is Zionist effectiveness in politics which has led to their success, as he says.  And it is not antisemitic to say that Jews are active citizens, as more others should be.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

ISIS--created by Saudi Arabia

Article in The Atlantic explains how the Saudis created ISIS and Qatar funded Jabhat al-Nusra with encouragement from the US while it supported the soon-to-be-doomed Free Syrian Army.  The reporter here, Steve Clemons, is a totally reliable source.

But why oh why was the US so committed to destroying the Assad regime in Syria?

One word: Israel.

And it gets crazier still in less substantiated but still believable comments.  Though it has predictably gotten out of hand, this was the US-Israel plan all along, to destabilize secular nationalist governments in the Arab peninsula with balkanized weak war lord states. As blogger Sarastro92 says in the comments to the article, this was part of Operation Clean Break to secure the realm for Israel by burning down the Arab neighborhood. Other comments go farther back, claiming Israel secretly promoted the Muslim Brotherhood to destabilize Arab states, as well as promoting Hamas to destabilize the PLO (which has been very well established).  It was the Assad regime's dedication to destroying the Brotherhood (Israel's secret weapon) which made Israel so dedicated to destroying Assad.  Further, Israel has long had secret cooperation with Saudi Arabia to foster radical Islam.  From Israel's standpoint, this serves to discredit and weaken all its neighboring Arab states.  Elsewhere I've heard that Israel wanted Iraq broken up into 3 states all along, and has long promoted a largely untrue narrative about Iraq's Maliki being a terrible sectarian.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Nobody says this

And for good reason.  We don't discount human lives lost.

But Israel's brutal Protective Edge assault on Gaza has destroyed far more homes than lives.  Something like 10,000 homes so far.

So here we have Jewish Efficiency, as contrasted with the Nazi version of Efficiency in which the number of lives lost were maximized.

(This is not to deny the deliberate inefficiencies either…shooting down children on the beach and so on.  Still, in a War (which this hardly is), more homes than lives lost is at one end of the spectrum.)

If the end achieved is genocide and dispossession, that matters more than the means.  We are not supposed to say this either.

 But is it genocide yet?  Have the Zionists and Israeli's killed enough for us to call this genocide?

What's their ultimate vision?  It's at best the total dispossession of a national homeland for the originals and the destruction of their society.  Social genocide.

And, incidentally, lives will continue to be lost until resistance is crushed.

It's at minimum an intent to commit genocide if necessary and likely.  Therefore: Intent to commit genocide, while struggling to convince oneself one is not doing this, is just as much intent to commit genocide.  The failure of people to resist the theft of their homeland is not to be presumed in determining one's innocence.

It's certainly more genocidal in character than South African Apartheid.

So Genocide is a pretty high bar for moral inequity, and Israel/US are at least at Intent.  There are many others huge crimes already committed and being committed by Israel/US.


That's my new name for Israel-Palestine, the state that finally grants full right of return to 1948 and since Palestinian refugees and their families and restoration of their property and full rights and citizenship.  We know the State of Israel has chosen that goal, the beginning of justice, to be inimical to it's existence.  So be it.  IP is an optimistic outcome for Israelis.

Both Israel and Palestine are three syllable words.  IP is like UK, US.

Of course, it might well just be Palestine.  Should there be protected religious rights for present Israelis?  Should there even be, as I suggested previously, a unique continued "right of return" for Jews to the "Land of Israel"?  Clever ideas, I have mostly thought, but I can't say they are the correct ones, nor what the people most involved would choose.

Many would say, in view of the facts, all the participants in Israel should face war crimes trials, and pay reparations for damages, and permanently lose right-to-citizenship in Palestine forever.

So IP is an optimistic future, from a Israeli perspective, and some Jews elsewhere.  I think I'm an optimist sometimes, maybe more than that.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Judiasm against Zionism

Reading the commentary on Finkelstein's calling the BDS movement a cult, I came across an astounding comment by Hadassah Borreman of Judiasm against Zionism.

Validating what I said about Orthodox Rabbis being opposed to Zionism, Borreman's website has a gallery of Orthodox Rabbis with their own words.  Borreman echoes that with on his websites:

His own words as a strict observing Jew are quite blunt also.

A Jewish domination (a fortiori a Zionist domination which is the highest physical achievement of the Zionist heresy) is prohibited everywhere, especially in the Holy Land. The Zionist entity was founded against the Torah; this Zionist entity isn’t a Jewish State. The question of Palestine can’t be solved only politically, she responds to spiritual laws.
The first Zionist settlers have captured Palestine, an Arabic land that was inhabited by the Palestinians that also the Zionists of today continue to disregard and ignore. This is injustice! Much worse, the Zionists are acting in our name, in the name of the Jews, since the beginning. The two-States solution is nonsense; it doesn’t solve any problem, because the root of the problem is the application of the Zionist ideology. We must uproot this root, not just cut the dead leaves of the weeds.
Zionists must give back everything they have stolen, they must leave Palestine and they have to be tried as war criminals.
The Palestinians have the right, and above all, they have the duty to defend themselves, the duty to protect their property and identity according to the rules they decide. Everything is permitted to end this Evil.
The Palestinians deserve our support, BDS and other actions will help to the disappearance of their misery that’s also ours. Yes to a Palestinian Islamic rule with only the Palestinian flag!

Finkelstein's Critique of "BDS Movement"

Finkelstein credits his political analysis to Gandhi.

But it seems to me a very shallow political/psychological analysis to me.

The first step in reaching people is honesty and openness.  So when someone asks what you think, the worst thing to do is to deflect the question.

I think the right thing would be for Palestinians to have their stolen country returned.  The whole thing, going back to before any zionist violence and aggression occurred.  That's obvious and the minimum degree of fairness because it's not even counting the death, pain, and suffering that has occurred as a result of zionist and Israeli violence and aggression.

Most people can understand and sympathize with people getting their land back.  It's the knowledge that it happened that's been delayed by cold war fears and hasbara distortions, including the basic distortion that somehow it was and is illegal and immoral for Palestinians to resist the original and continuing dispossession.

Now that those distortions are being debunked, and often by people like Finkelstein and Chomsky, it becomes apparent what happened and is still happening, and the fundamentally cruel and murderous character of the whole Zionist project.

If and when Palestinian lands are returned to their rightful owners, I don't care if that means a Jewish State couldn't exist there anymore.  I'm fine with a Jewish state existing or not, I don't care much about that specific fact, though I think all (including Jews) are better off without a Jewish supremacy State, and I especially don't think a Jewish State should exist on stolen land needing endless death (or worse) with USA military backing and deceit to continue existing

That's a dangerous and murderous business for my state--the USA--to be in…militarily and diplomatically defending both the morally indefensible theft of a country, and to be doing so to the hatred of a large fraction of the world's population, if not more.  I rue the day Truman got us into this mess by making the U.S. the first state to recognize the State of Israel on 78% of a stolen country.

So I support BDS.  Others can have their own reasons, like the notion that UN law must be applied.  Generally I think that's a good idea, but one can argue about the details, and here I can argue with all of them, going at least back to the unfair preallocation of 55% of the land (which grew to 78% and now more by aggression) including most of the coastline to a minority Jewish population by the UN in 1947.    That doesn't represent any fundamental notion of fairness.  It happened because of the power politics of the day.  Today the power politics occurs more exclusively in the Security Council, which has kept Israel free of UN sanction and peacekeepers.

Maybe because I know so much about this whole situation, the actual law has been far more fair to Jews than Palestinians.  Let alone the fact that none of what would have been good for Palestinians has actually been done (and maybe that would be correctible with existing states…or maybe not--I think.)

But even if you're not some kind of junkie on this issue, as I am, I honestly don't think that "International Law must be applied" resonates as much as all the various notions of fundamental justice, like that theft is wrong and what is stolen should be returned.

If there's an organization or proto-organization which wants to promote the International Law aspect differently than existing BDS organizations, I'm fine with them existing, in fact I'd love to see that too.  They could consider themselves part of the existing BDS movement or not.  Maybe they'd grow much bigger and ultimately win.

The fact they don't suggests that maybe the International Law aspect doesn't resonate with people as much as the fundamental justice one.

Now what actual Palestinians decide they are willing to accept is not up to me anyway.  The BDS movement creates the pressure for change, not the change itself.  No one should expect anything like fundamental justice can be achieved.

Many have felt that radical thinking and ideas make reforms possible.  Many of Marx's ideas did get adopted in 20th century USA.  Hardly all, of course.  Many credit the New Deal reforms to political success achieved by US Socialists and Communists as well as opportunists like Huey Long.  That created the need for the mainstream FDR to respond with mainstream reform.  If the pressure from the further left hadn't appeared, FDR's achievements would likely have been far less.

Chomsky seems to completely follow Finkelstein in his critique of the BDS movement.  But strangely in most other areas outside the Israel/Palistine war…Chomsky has been reluctant to tell people what to do.  He says something like there are many obvious things to do.

That is actually the correct thing to say, in every case I'd say.

So why is Chomsky himself, at one time at least believer in the one state with equality for all Jews and Palestinians (including when he lived there), so much fine tuning the required goal for action here?  Action occurs as people are moved, not as we would intend them to.

He does tell the compelling story of how once the 2 state settlement became possible, when Arafat of the PLO accepted the outlines of a 2 state settlement according to UN law in 1975…Israel and the US worked to make it impossible.  But it's still not entirely impossible, he says.  Others are not so sure.

Chomsky goes beyond just mentioning international law, but the international community, leading Palestinian authorities, etc.  Pretty much the main thing blocking UN direct action is the vote of USA in the Security Council.  No nation should have veto, and especially the USA.

Anyway, it does seem to me that Chomsky becomes uncharacteristically directing in his response to this issue for the same reason as Finkelstein.  He cares a lot about it, perhaps even personally, for Palestinians to have peace now, and not 100 years from now.  Strangely, however, Chomsky often suggests other issues in the world may be much more important, or at least involve greater death and suffering.

Friday, August 8, 2014

2 state settlement is existing and enforceable international law

According to blogger named Hostage at Mondoweiss, in a comment to this thread at Mondoweiss.

Hostage says:
i would support two states if israel would start by defining those borders. it won’t.
Israel did that when it signed the Armistice Agreements as a provisional measure under Article 40, Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The ICJ cited Security Council resolution 62 and the other relevant resolutions in determining the legal status of the territory. I’ve noted elsewhere that Israel admitted the status of the territory is unchallengeable in the absence of a new round of negotiations and mutual consent. Palestine is not under any obligation to accept any changes. link to
The international community adopted a consensus definition of the crime of aggression which included any military occupation that violates the UN Charter – and it has long-since applied it to the on-going occupation of the Arab territories captured by Israel in 1967. See for example UN General Assembly resolution 39/146 link to The ICC Assembly of State Parties adopted the consensus definition into the recent amendments to the Rome Statute. So Norman is actually correct. There is an enforceable consensus solution under existing Security Council resolutions 62 & 73 and international law.