Thursday, July 31, 2014

Israel over and over

Jewish Orthodox Rabbis, as well as many others, were opposed to Zionism.  They saw it as secular nationalism overtaking their historic theology.  According to Jewish theology, it was no accident that the Romans drove the Jews out of Israel in the first century CE.  It was God's will.  And it was God who must decide when they return, not men.  Orthodox Rabbis made dire predictions of what would happen if Israel were reconstituted prematurely by Jews acting without God's will.  They said nationalism would overtake religion, other nations would be angered, and a new anti-Semitism would arise.  Very prescient, and I think I like these guys.

Strangely, this is the 3rd time Israel has been established, and the first two times led to its disestablishment by a large empire.  What might happen this time?

The second time it was established, it was established on behest of one empire, with bags of money from Cyrus, then 600 years later, was disestablished by another empire, the Roman empire, which found Israel not to be an obedient vassal state, and tending to generate chaos.  100 years earlier, the Jews had invited the Romans in, because the Jews had been having internal chaos.

Secular observers don't have good stories for the first establishment of Israel.  Here we have as practically our only history the Torah, with very little independent corroboration.  The Torah was written down in the style of religious myth 500 years after the purported events happened.  So we can't really accept the stories about Moses, King David, and Solomon, as established facts at face value, rather only as religious myths--which might have some connection to the facts.

According to the Torah, Moses organized slaves who revolted from Egypt and escaped to set up their own state in Canaan.  There is no independent evidence of any of this.  But one very peculiar thing is that these "slaves" had weapons and knew how to use them.

My interpretation is that these "slaves" were not exactly slaves, and they did not exactly conquer Canaan, there is no evidence for the Battle of Jericho or that kind of thing either.  Instead, the Jews may have been mercenaries for the Egyptian empire, situated in Canaan to protect the Egyptian frontier from Assyria.  Mercenaries aren't generally slaves, but may be under contract.  Perhaps they didn't like their contract, and got out of it to become independent operators, do their own trade and security for cash.  And this was the first Israel.

One way or another, the first time Israel was "established," it at least had an imperial connection even according to the Torah story, though in the Torah version the imperial connection was looser than in my guess.

So initially, there was a mercenary culture.  The women didn't like where things were going with that.  So they sought out holy men in the area and got them involved to make the culture more civilized.  So when the rules were written, they were written so that it was the children of the women who were the chosen.  That's the mark that this religion was established for the women, in order to civilize the men.

So we see today, the descendants of the mercenaries and the holy men, which to me aptly describes the polarities we see among Jews from right to left.  The mercenaries are men and women like the Prime Ministers of Israel…a cadre of state terrorists, some with considerable previous terrorist achievements.  The holy men are like the unending battalions of Jewish peace organizers and leftist writers.  The Jews produced Jesus, who had many ideas that still resonate with leftists today.

Israel exists now because it was convenient to Imperial planners in Europe and the USA to have a battleship in the oil rich middle east manned by local operators who would rather die than see pan arab democracy--which the Empire doesn't want either because it would loosen their grip.

We know that twice when Israel was established (now and after the first exile) it was with imperial cash for imperial ends.  And perhaps this is actually the third time Israel has been established for imperial ends with imperial cash.  Which strengthens the suggestion that the outcome may be similar as well.

The orthodox rabbis were right, time had just not come for an Israel yet.  Israel needs to be established by God, not by empires.  Empires come and go.  And being an imperial mercenary is not a good thing to live for, even if the pay is pretty good.   Israel gives the worst of Jews the upper hand.


Finkelstein defending Right of Return (Great!)

Finkelstein defending Palestinian Right of Return (2010).

This is the best I've ever heard Finkelstein.  I can see from this he is a great teacher.

Funny his latest thing is that advocating the One-State-For-Palestinians-And-Jews is "historically criminal".  And full RoR makes many Israelis fear that they will be outnumbered…so no more Jewish supremacist state.  So then where is RoR

Finkelstein in this video does fully not address this issue.  Or he assumes that Palestinians can easily be compensated for lost property inside the 78% of the original Palestinian territory that Israel retains under existing law.  (What disconnected percentage do the Palestinians actually have now?  Nobody says, but on maps it's disconnected bantustans.  The UN, which had no rights to do this, gave Israel 55% even though Jews were 1/3 of the population, and owned less than 10% of the land.  Then by 1948 Israel had militarily taken 78%.)

I think he's right.  I think the Palestinians would mostly accept what conservative judges would consider reasonable compensation, even if it doesn't fully capture the actual hedonic loss as I might calculate it.  I think Israel under exceptionally leadership, the equivalent of FDR for USA, could accept and pay it, allowing a modest number to return, but retain Israel's desired Jewish majority.  And I think they will still retain the control they need if a small Arab majority arises in the distant future.  Jews have considerable impact in the USA with 2% of the population.  In South Africa rich whites are still rich whites who control everything, with a few rich blacks.

Of course as he says, it's not ours to say.  We both agree this fundamental rights including RoR must not be disclaimed before negotiation can start, as Israel has been doing for RoR, as well as the fake issue about recognizing Israel's "Right to Exist" (a nonexistent right for states…all states exist only conditionally to serve the rights of their populations and outsiders, if they fail to do those things, those populations may deserve to have the states remade differently).  All these things that Israel insists the Palestinians must do before negotiation will start are really just Israel deferring a diplomatic solution and seeking a military one: the physical and human destruction of non-Jewish Palestine.  Nobody should be fooled anymore.  BDS (if we ever get the S we need) is what Israel needs, not more US military hardware to crush Palestine.  Without BDS, they'll just keep doing what they are doing, and claiming it's "Self Defense."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Move along, the Hasbarats say

In one way or another, the defenders of Greater Israel, usually come to a conclusion saying that we could all live in peace if only the Palestinians were able to move along, forget the past, forget the minor detail that we stole their pretty country between the river and the sea brutally and illegally 66 years ago, and be happy with the subhuman status we have left them with in a decreasingly sized and increasingly dry and brutal refugee prison, which is for their own good, and from which they could rise again, if only they renounce ill will toward their dispossessor.
A commenter on a blog about Finkelstein's accusation that the insistence on Right of Return is historically criminal (I very respectfully believe the good doctor who knows and has done far more than me is nevertheless at least partly wrong, but a properly nuanced response warrants at least another post) has posted this wonderful reply:

I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by all possible means – except by getting off his back. — Lev Tolstoi 
I also don’t view them as passive actors or just as a victims whose fates rests solely on my (my country ) decisions, this game has two sides and they have made plenty of blunders on their own just as we did. — OlegR [the hasbarat being responded to]
In other words: I sit on a man’s back and make him carry me for 62 years and going, and I agree that the wounds and misery he sustains, and the times he has fainted sending me tipping over into a thorn bush or the avoidable rages he has felt at times and expressed after I pricked him to soldier on, are of the wounds we both share. 
If they insist on pursuing their dream of undoing my country i can only sadly shake my head an get ready for the next cycle of violence. – OlegR 
In other words – If he insists on rising up to the height that all human beings have a right to, to till his land, to bake his bread, and to live in freedom, I am afraid this would hurt my privilege because I don’t want to share this space. His presence will grow larger, and that makes me very uncomfortable even as people grow closer in many other countries. I am afraid of his passions, his mind, his poverty. I boast of my own liberal institutions that we built because it was a miracle, whether or not God exists, and not because I had room to produce knowledge. To even grant him a different space is too much to ask, he must earn it. I have not set a price yet.
Another commenter give a more concise reply to the Hasbarat:
My personal feelings towards the Palestinians are mixed Daniel
i don’t think that them living a shitty life benefits me in any way
and if that situation would change i would be glad. -- OlegR
 Of course it does. Your precious state is built on massive theft of land and property. Reparations will cost, a lot. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Israel: Bad Idea, born with war crimes, and continuing unrepentant war criminal

The idea of a Jewish State harkens back to the time of Moses.  Modern states are, for better or arguably worse, multi-ethnic.  That's what's happened, and the Jews themselves used to be a higher proportion of Europe, once a big and famous part of the multi-ethnicities, often the most enlightened part, actually.  I think the reality of diaspora focused not so much on the tribe, the branding, the defense team, and so on, but with the power of the religion and the complex society it creates and ideas it engenders.

Zionism is a step backward from modernity, back to the tribe, the branding, and the defense team uber al, the religion being about traditional support for such things (though initially many Orthodox were anti Zionist).  But this is progress, ,according to the PR "hasbarats", the religion is becoming "stronger."

Progress so strong that modern Zionists scrawl "Arab" and "Death to Arabs" on buildings in the same ways as Nazis scrawled those things about Jews.  The whole West Bank Occupation seems more farse, perhaps, though sometimes deadly.  But what is the long range plan?

Israel was born in the war crime of a minority taking over 78% of the land initially by force and displacement of the once majority, some 750,000 Palestinians were sent to refugee camps in different countries, in 1948.  Palestinians owned 90% of the land.  The earlier UN plan, rejected by all Arab nations, was to have 55% of the land for the Jewish State.  All Arabs preferred a single state for all in the original Palestine.

I have seen posts suggesting that Israel was doing no harm in 1967.  But that ignores the still unsettled issues related to its criminal birth.

Chomsky suggests the peace effort focus on the Green Line internationally recognized borders.  People think of him as anti-Israel but he actually does seem to have some fondness for the Israel he once lived in.

As for me, I think we'd be better off without a Jewish State, and especially Israel in it's current incarnation.  I'd love to see the Chomsky solution but even that, I feel, is unfair to the Palestinians.  A start towards fairness, as I have argued previously, is the right of return.  I had also been thinking that the UN plan was more fair also--but even that was really unfair.  It is beginning to seem to me that a fully democratic and equitable state of all it's original citizens and their descendants is the best solution, and as much as possible a full right of return and restoration of property.  That would likely be an arab majority state, and not a Jewish state.

But we do have an Israel.  I recognize that it exists merely by talking about it.  It has developed endless pretexts as to why it can't negotiate with anyone, why it must ignore world opinion for security reasons, and so on.  The security arguments have been debunked by many people.  At least Israel could have complete security on the Green Line.  But it refuses to go back to there.

What should we do?  Stop giving any preferential treatment to Israel!  No more military subsidies, no 
more military support, no more special UNSC vetoes.  Let them pay their own way and fight their own battles on every level, including with the UN.  The State of Israel continues to a useless thug and liar, unable to deal with anyone.  For decades they've exposed Americans to security risks--as the supporter of an inhuman regime that continues the war crime of 1948 we deserve to be hated by all Arabs.

Treat it's oppressed Palestinian people as their own country and let them defend themselves, by freely importing what they need for all purposes, including military.  If there is any country we should attempt to be blocking military hardware and support to, it would be Israel.

Morally, anyway.  Even enlightened US leadership would talk to outlaw Israel.  Only Israel invents endless oaths (such as that you must first swear Israel has the right to exist) that counter parties must swear before they will consider talking, if they don't have to.  Well they are simply taking, over a slow process.  No need to talk about it with the takees.

I've heard the argument that Jews are special, they need their own state, etc.  There are many places Jews can live respectably now.  Including many parts of the USA.  The best solution to discrimination is fight it, and there has been considerable improvement since the 1800's when Zionism was formulated.  A secular multiethnic state may be even less possible than a Green Line state, but it would be a better solution.

Monday, July 28, 2014

High Time for Palestinians to be Free

An excellent post by Irish Moses outlines the history of the creation of Israel and the oppression of the original Palestinian majority.  At the end of World War I, Palestine, which had been a colony of the Ottoman Empire, was occupied by the British army and became the Palestinian Mandate with the intention of becoming an independent state.  Palestine's population was then 93 percent indigenous Palestinians and 7 percent zionist Jews.  The British never converted their Palestinian Mandate into an independent state, as was done for other Mandates in the Middle East.  In 1947 the UN drew up a plan to grant 56 percent of the land for a Jewish state and 43 percent for a Palestinian state even though the Palestinians still represented 2/3 of the population and owned over 90% of the land.  The plan gave most of the coastline and prime agricultural areas to the Jewish state.  The Zionists accepted the plan but the Palestinians (as well as the neighboring Arab states) rejected it.  Still it passed the UN General Assembly which was then dominated by American, European, and Russian influence.

Fighting between Jews and Palestinians broke out, and the US and the UN started exploring binational solutions, but by 1948 Zionists had conquered 78 percent of Palestine and had ethnically cleansed 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, giving that 78 percent of the land a Jewish majority.  Zionists declared their independence under the UN plan and their new state was first recognized by the USA, making it a fait accompli.

Palestinian refugees were forced into camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan, as well as the West Bank and Gaza.  The West Bank was then a colony of Jordan.

In the 1967 Six Day War, Israel conquered the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza.  Legally it had a duty to give up those territories gained through war.  But instead it began treating the Occupied Territories as colonies, transferring Jewish citizens into new settlements while evicting more and more Palestinians from their homes, confiscating their lands, and subjecting them to harsh military rule.

During the past 47 years, the Palestinians have tried both violent and non-violent resistance with little success and much failure.  Now there are 750,000 Israeli Jews living on settlements on Palestinian land and that number is expected to grow by 50% by 2019.  Leaders of major political parties say that Israel has no intention of withdrawing from Palestinian territories which it considers to be part of a Greater Israel it inherited from Biblical times.

It's time we started looking at Palestinian terrorists as freedom fighters, struggling for their independence.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Satellite Photos

At great fanfare, the US releases satellite photos implicating Russian involvement in the war in Eastern Ukraine.  It has long been said, and likely true, that Russia has been arming separatists defending themselves from an illegally instituted government in Kiev.

However, everyone talks about MH17.  Here the story is unclear.  The US can clearly take photos, and show them, but doesn't show us anything on the day of shooting.  I have heard the US has a geostationary satellite over the region by a commenter in the comments to the above, so could be expected to have very relevant photos of the shooting.

I still believe the BUK theory, that ill trained Separatists fired off at a commercial jetliner by mistake.  This implicates Russia only in the supply of the weapons.  But other theories say that Kiev deliberately directed the jetliner into warring airspace to create an incident.  And some go further, when that failed the plane may have been shot down by a ground based missile on orders of Kiev.  I would doubt that, but the lack of photos brings up the tails of my probability estimation.

The satellite photos don't clarify the situation at all, in fact they make it murkier.  Funny this seems to be advertised as the proof we have been waiting for, or as if that's what it's supposed to be, even though it doesn't say that at all.

Lift the Blockade on Gaza

My latest congressional letter.

First step to peace should be lifting the blockade on Gaza.

There is a false narrative saying that "Hamas should not be rewarded for violence."  That is completely wrong.  Hamas was following the previous cease fire and did not order the kidnapping of three Israelis in the West Bank.  It is well known now that Hamas did not order this, and it likely had no way of stopping it either.  Indeed, Hamas had just proposed a unification with the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas only started launching small rockets into Israel after it was attacked brutally with heavy shelling by Israel.

Further, the blockade itself is an act of war against the State of Palestine, which is recognized by 134 nations in the UN.  Palestine has full legal rights to arm itself, even militarize itself, and attack Israel to end the illegal occupation which has persisted for many decades now.  That occupation is another continuing act of aggression, for which Palestine is legally entitled to self defense using violence directed at its occupier.

Israel has no legal right to de-militarize or block military hardware from any region of Palestine.  In so doing, it is blocking the legal right of another State to defend itself.

[I didn't think of adding this: Of course the correct narrative is that Netanyahu should be punished for uncalled for and excessive violence.  And the perfect remedy is to lift the blockade under international diplomacy and sanctions if required.]

The Nakba

The Nakba described.

In 1947-1948 750,000 Palestinians were fled in panic or were forcibly expelled from their homes by Jewish forces.  Their majority presence and ownership of the land were obstacles to the creation of the Jewish State.  Jews had owned 7 percent of the land and constituted 33 percent of the population.  Nevertheless, Israel was established on 78 percent of the land and made into a Jewish state, which does not permit the return of Arab refugees, but does permit the admission of Jews born anywhere.  And Israel is still an occupying force in the remaining 22%, and Arab refugees are not allowed to return there either.

Gaza has a legal right to attack an Occupying Power over any Palestinian Territory

A great quotation from Talknic in this thread here:

Gaza has a legal right to be militarized and a legal right to attack the Occupying Power over any Palestinian territory.
Israel has no legal right to illegally acquire ANY territory by war, illegally annex any territory, illegally settle any territory. Israel has no legal right to demand recognition, no legal right to demand other folks territory for its defense, no legal right to have more defensible borders than its neighbours. No legal right to demand the Palestinians be demilitarized.
Why should Israel expect peace if it refuses to withdraw from ALL non-Israeli territory, taking its illegal settlers when it goes, as required by law.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

134 UN States recognize the State of Palestine

That's 134 out of 194 total states, and accounting for a majority of the world's population.  Not including US, Israel, western Europe, Austrailia, and Central America.

Palestine has had "entity observer status" with the UN for quite awhile and recently got upgraded to "state observer status" and UN protocol now uses the phrase "State of Palestine" to refer to Palestine.  So administratively Palestinian statehood is recognized by the UN.  But Palestine cannot become a member state with any security council vetoes, and the US could be expected to provide that veto.

Israel: The Millstone Around Our Necks

Israeli Military Strategies in Gaza

Friday, July 25, 2014

Stop Sending Military Aid to Israel! (My letter to Congress)

We must stop sending military aid to Israel until it honors its obligations under international law, including not attacking hospitals, UN refugee centers, and civilians in Gaza.  Israel must  lift the blockade on Gaza--itself a brutal act of war, and remove all settlements, walls, checkpoints, water theft projects, and all other structures past the internationally recognized border in the West Bank.

Until Israel honors its obligations, it must be considered a military aggressor, and all puny rockets and other violent actions by Palestinians should be considered justifiable self-defense.

From 1948 when Harry Truman mistakenly made the USA the first country to recognize the State of Israel without seeking Arab approval as FDR had committed himself to, Israel has continued to block fair negotiations over final status with Palestine, and when it has negotiated, it has negotiated in bad faith, continuing to expand settlements in Palestine and brutalize the Palestinians under its control.  I have spoken with Zionists, and have heard Netanyahu, and it is clear that the end they seek is Greater Israel all the way to the Jordan River and the dispersion if not annihilation of what once was a majority arab population in the original area.

This is not a project that the USA should ever have been a part of.  The brutality and bad faith of Israel has become our brutality and bad faith, and as Israel's military and political backer, and it will continue to make US citizens and lands targets for the justifiable asymmetric warfare frequently called terrorism.

Long overdue, the USA should recognize the state of Palestine in the West Bank and Gaza.  Whatever illegal actions they have taken pale in comparison with what Israel has done and continues doing.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chomsky on BDS and right of return,0

Among other things, he dismisses the Right of Return:

"The opening call of the BDS movement…demanded that Israel fully comply with international law by ""…(3) Respecting, protecting, and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194."" "


"While there is universal support for for (1), there is virtually no meaningful support for (3) beyond the the BDS movement itself.  Nor is (3) dictated by international law.  The text of UN General Assembly Resolution 194 is conditional, and in any event it is a recommendation, without the legal force of the Security Council resolutions that Israel regularly violates.  Insistence on (3) is a virtual guarantee of failure."

I suspect Chomsky's assessment of the international support, law, possibility of success and optimal strategy (see first paragraph of my congressional letter in later post following Chomsky's advice) here for the liberation of the State of Palestine may be accurate (though misleading on the "only support coming from BDS movement"…the causality is rather that supporters of Right of Return support BDS also…and Right of Return has had huge popular support in the world).  On the law, I think it depends on the judge.  Wikipedia makes interesting reading on the Right of Return, there does appear to be a lot of support for it, but then also, just as Chomsky says, the support is advisory.

However the Right of Return is an obvious ethical standard for illegal dispossession, and if not a non-negotiable demand, it should not be excluded from negotiation--since it most clearly is the obvious ethical standard, it should be the starting point.  True, given that starting point, it's not easy to negotiate something else acceptable.  But that is and should be the way it is…national dispossession is a huge loss to the dispossessed!  A loss comparable to the output of many generations!  How much would your
people sacrifice to hold on to their lovely homeland between the Sea and the River!  That is the loss that has been imposed, and likely the only remotely just outcome would in fact be right of return.  And that wouldn't even be counting the generations of suffering that has been caused by the Zionist project.

[Which was also not done as Herzl said.  If only the Zionists of the 1940's had created a state with mutual respect, occupancy and fair deals at the time rather than terrorist operations and imperialist manipulation and collaboration, decades of suffering and perhaps ultimate failure could have been avoided.  Modern Zionism betrayed its founders.  It also betrayed and corrupted its alleged religion, Judaism.  In Judaism, respect for the other is mandatory.  Failure to respect others was the crime of Sodom.  I don't know if the modern Zionist project will fail.  Many terrible things have succeeded to the present.  Sometimes things get better.]

I find that many people unfamiliar with how Israel was created--by non-regional dictates (such a UN vote, but no Arab states voting yes or self determination of the locals), violent Zionist ethnic cleansing*, and war--when the first hear about the ethnic cleansing--neighborhoods being driven out--they find the Right of Return is intuitively the right and moral thing to require in a just peace settlement.  And I think intuition would be shared with many people already fully familiar with how Israel was created as well.

{Zionists point out that Jews had been ethnically cleansed from arabic countries.  True, but the crimes of other states should not be used to justify ethnic cleansing done on Palestinians.  I would favor civil settlement--even right of return--for involuntary Jewish resettlement from arabic countries.)

Furthermore, the pre-recognition that the Right of Return be ruled out gives Israel another opportunity to forestall negotiation indefinitely and continue the annexation of Greater Israel with ethnic cleansing and war.  Just as Zionists in the 1970's created the trumped up claim that Palestinians wouldn't pre-recognize a "Right of Israel to Exist" (a right no state has, as I quoted Chomsky as aptly arguing in an earlier post) and therefore they just couldn't even talk to them because of that, now they might (? perhaps they explicitly insist on this already ?) a pre-recognition that there can be no Right of Return as well?

Even if you accept, as I do, that a universal right of return would be practically impossible, it hardly seems to be the thing that must be pre-disavowed prior to negotiation would be the very thing that would be most ethical to do under the circumstances.  It would seem rather that should be The starting point of negotiation, and if the Israelis can't make a compensation offer high enough to satisfy each displaced Palestinian family, they should give up possession of such properties which were "ethnically cleansed."  That was in fact prescribed by UN Resolution 194, which said displaced persons get their property back, unless they chose compensation instead.

Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.

Now about here any Zionist and perhaps many others as well would say that Israel cannot accept self-destruction, and that would mean a state such as Israel could not exist, as the land would become majority Arab and they would not accept a "Jewish State" as Jews need and Israel is intended to be.

So here it becomes clear that "The Right of Israel to Exist" as Zionists and many others insist is in direct contradiction of the "Right of Return," which seems the obviously ethical thing to require.

Since no state should have a "right to exist" but rather exist to serve it's population, region, and world, and since people should have a right to reclaim property which was taken by force, it's pretty clear to me which right should prevail ethically.

Now lets consider the question of what kind of compensation for losing one's fine life, work, possessions, village, community, and society.  Only 66 years or so later being able to restart somewhere else with compensation for the loss (if not the time lost suffering, and deaths).

We're certainly talking about generations of income, at least seven.  That's not even considering the suffering, but the key property, society, etc., which might take generations to rebuild somewhere else, if it wouldn't be fundamentally inferior somehow even after many generations.

So anyone thinking about this problem would realize, widespread "compensation" to a standard of justice is just unthinkable.  I wouldn't propose people being made slaves for seven generations.

So return is and can be the only answer, unless the individual chooses otherwise, just as Res 194 says.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chomsky: States have no "right to exist"

Beautiful, concise, and correct analysis by Chomsky, discussed at Mondoweiss.

[…] No state demands a ‘right to exist,’ nor is any such right accorded to any state, nor should it be.  Mexico recognizes the US, but not its ‘right to exist’ sitting on half of Mexico, acquired by aggression. The same generalizes. 
To my knowledge, the concept ‘right to exist’ was invented by US-Israeli propaganda in the 1970s, when the Arab states (with the support of the PLO) formally recognized Israel’s right to exist within secure and recognized borders (citing the wording of UN 242). It was therefore necessary to raise the bars to prevent the negotiations that the US and Israel alone (among significant actors) were blocking, as they still are.  They understood, of course, that there is no reason why Palestinians should recognize the legitimacy of their dispossession — and the point generalizes, as noted, to just about every state; maybe not Andorra. 
Noam Chomsky
Now I can see that many Americans might find part of this hard to swallow…the fact that it was US and Israel who were blocking negotiations.  Certainly the view portrayed in US media during the 1970's (and since) was that it was the Palestinians who were blocking negotiations by their silly refusal not to recognize Israel's "right to exist," as of course they had to be expected to.  And their allegedly mindless terrorist violence, along with a strong racist suggestion that Arabs were just like that.  Palestinian violence was always portrayed as mindless terrorism while the much more successful Israeli violence was, of course, self defense.

But Chomsky, who has long bypassed the corrupt US media by reading directly from the more honest Israeli media, as well as official documents, is correct.  It was and has been the US and Israel all along who have been blocking honest negotiation.  And the claim that Palestinians must first recognize Israel's "right to exist," a "right" which no state actually has, was part of how they did it.  Blocking negotiation has made it possible for Israel to continue annexing more and more of Palestine by state violence, continuing the ethnic cleansing which created Israel in the first place.

Indeed, it has been by putting the focus on this desired "right to exist" which has taken the focus off of the original and continuing ethnic cleansing done by Israel, and kept it off.  If honest negotiations were ever to have started, more people might have become aware of how many Palestinians lost their homes and neighborhoods to make the State of Israel possible.  If those Palestinians and their descendants were to return to their homes and neighborhoods, Israel would become a minority Jewish state.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Capitalism Falls Over

Traveling the Massachusetts Turpike, looking at traffic and rusty bridges,  brought this to mind.  The bicycle effct was recently described by Paul Krugman.  But he didn't say this... Unless it can keep destroying the planet at accelerating rate, capitalism falls over.
So I wouldn't look to a capitalist model, as neoliberalism always does,  as a way to make anything better, as was claimed by some in a recent debate I participated in regarding how to make education better. All the assumptions of classical economics, and all of its successors, are fundamentally wrong because they take too narrow a focus, among other things.
What is the correct way to finance infraatructure and everything else?  From each according to their ability of course.