Thursday, June 3, 2010

Well now. Israel, the Palestinians, and Gaza. It's a sad story, and we're terribly sorry about it all, of course, feeling pronounced Official Regret in our pronounced Official Regretbones, and we feel compelled at this juncture to demand a request for an investigation into the possibility of an inquiry into the formation of a select bipartisan panel looking into whether or not to request an investigation. Which would be conducted by Israel, of course. No need to get too pushy here.

Now, you might say this week's events represent an atrocity, a massacre, a savage and criminal slaughter of humanitarian aid workers by a paranoid, murder-happy police state to further prolong the suffering of a million and a half refugees penned up in an open-air concentration camp. And you'd be right. But what you'd be overlooking is the fact that Israel has a right to defend itself. In particular, Israel has the right to defend itself from the millions of non-Israelis stubbornly living on land seized from them by Israel. Indeed, every day the Middle East's Only Democracy finds itself surrounded by a deadly horde of beggars, children and amputees who would stop at nothing to live next to it, with nothing to defend itself but two hundred nuclear warheads and one of the best-financed militaries in the world. Who in that position wouldn't attack a flotilla of aid ships attempting to smuggle contraband food and terrorist medicine to the stockpile of potentially rogue humans in Palestine?

Indeed, it's only at times like this that we can fully appreciate the Special Relationship between Israel and the United States. For is there any other country in the world that can so fully appreciate Israel's dilemma? To be hobbled by money, power, and privilege, menaced on all sides in a world in which there are too many Palestinians in Palestine, an overflow of Afghans in Afghanistan, a dangerous surplus of Iranians in Iran, a grave and growing stockpile of Pakistanis in Pakistan, and only we - we! - have to courage and conviction to do something about it.

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posted by the Medium Lobster at 12:57 PM

Did you know that South Africa had the same problem with all those "bored black people who are tired of living in a country with too many lions"?

Man impoverished people in suffering can be total buzzkills sometimes. Mebbe if they got like Hamas Idol or something. inorite
True enough, the U.S. is especially qualified to appreciate Israel's predicament. After all, most of the threats as defined by the U.S. national security community involve the possibility that some other country might be able to defend itself effectively when attacked by the U.S. "I had to hit him in self-defense, because he was threatening to hit me back!"
Israel represents an angry people backed into a corner. That was the inevitable outcome of forming a new state based on religious affiliation, in a region where a historically competitive religion overwhelmingly predominates. The formation of the new Jewish state was, of course, a reaction to the massacre of millions of Jews by Germany, whose second attack on Europe was empowered by the punitive terms of settlement of its first attack on Europe. That first attack, in turn, resulted from... and so forth. And so on.

Letting all this history slide by, as I would advocate letting the history of Palestinian displacement by the state of Israel slide by, because what can you do anyway, I suggest that looking to the future is the only meaningful point of current discussion.

And for the future, I believe the only way out of Israel's lethal corner is for that nation to convert itself into a democratic, non-religious, non-ethnic state.

This will happen anyway. There remains only the question of how it will happens, and when. If Israelis want their country to survive as a place where Jews can have a stake -- not a 100% stake -- in the country, the transformation must happen sooner rather than later.

If such a resolution sounds impossible -- and of course it does sound impossible -- consider that when the alternative is dissolution and death, sometimes people's behavior can change.

This Jew hopes that Israelis find the wisdom and the strength to change course before their horrible game is played out, and their country is gone.
Ralphie, no!
by Anonymous Anonymous, at June 03, 2010 8:44 PM
Anonymous, yes!
Ralph: I agree there's too much water under the bridge for a generalized Palestinian "right of return" to properties they were evicted from in 1948. But I think there ought to be unrestricted immigration by Palestinians who want to acquire available property, and Palestinian refugees should have dibs on any vacant Israeli government land.

Re the secular state, I think the best solution might be something like Lebanon's canton system, which worked pretty well before the ingress of Palestinian refugees post-1970 destabilized it. Israel/Palestine should be a loose federation of self-governing communities, communes, kibbutzes, etc., perhaps with two or more parallel franchised "virtual governments" providing services to participating localities.
Kevin: your proposal sounds good, but I really don't know enough specifics about Israeli and Palestinian lives and territories to have useful opinions on such matters.

I can only say, from a purely personal standpoint, that what Israel is doing now to the inhabitants of Gaza reminds me painfully of what the Germans did to Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. Maybe that comparison is unfair (certainly it's not a perfect analogy) but to me the underlying intent in both cases appears homicidal.

I find I cannot assent silently to murderous, racist, fundamentally wrong actions carried out by citizens of Israel, by Jewish people like myself, with whom I feel both sympathy and kinship.
Odd you should mention the Warsaw Ghetto, Ralph. I vaguely recall an "I am a Palestinian" ad campaign that showed oppressed people in various situations (e.g. a black man in Mississippi ca. 1964) saying "I am a Palestinian." One of the ads had a Jew in the Warsaw Ghetto using the line.
Remember to keep this all in perspective, what are the deaths of a few troublemakers compared to the importance of preventing Palestinian woman from being able to purchase Kotex?
Friends don't let friends blockade drunk.
ML, I share your regret.

Ralph, what you suggest is so crazy it just might work. I don't expect to see it tried in my lifetime, but then, I'm older than most people.
I was born in that God-forsaken place today called Israel, then called British Palestine. In Tel Aviv, 1944, so I guess I'm a Palestinian, though my parents, who ran away from the European Holocaust Naqba called themselves Jews and Israelis and Zionnists and survivors.

After reading Shlomo Sand's book on The Invention of the Jewish People, I'm much less sure about what it means to to call yourself "Jewish". Maybe I should be a proud Khazar.

Or a Jewish Palestinian; anything to assuage the deep pain I feel at the Meduim Lobster's apt characterization of my homeland as a "paranoid, murder-happy police state to further prolong the suffering of a million and a half refugees penned up in an open-air concentration camp."
by Anonymous Weniger Gottquatsch, at June 04, 2010 3:02 PM
Weniger Gottquatsch:"After reading Shlomo Sand's book on The Invention of the Jewish People, I'm much less sure about what it means to to call yourself 'Jewish'."

Naturally I went over to Amazon to have a look at the Shlomo Sands book, and what do you suppose I found? The following sentence in a review:

"[Sand’s] conclusions, which are prudently formulated, nonetheless lead one towards a sole solution: the construction of a secular and democratic Israel. (Jacques Julliard - Le Nouvel Observateur )"

How else can Israelis move beyond the past?
How do you ensure a secular and democratic Israel when many of the political parties are generally aligned with religious factions?

Given freedom of association and a tendency towards religiopolitical self-identification, the electorate will gravitate towards a polarized state where the natural dynamics of politics will favor the use of this polarization to define the issues and coalesce voters into factions.

There is no easy path towards a secular Israel as long as there are so many voters who associate their politics with their religion.
by Anonymous Nile, at June 06, 2010 2:54 PM
quick quote:

The international response is based on the assumption that more forthcoming Palestinian concessions and a continued dialogue with the Israeli political elite will produce a new reality on the ground. The official discourse in the West is that a very reasonable and attainable solution is just around the corner if all sides would make one final effort: the two-state solution.

Nothing is further from the truth than this optimistic scenario. The only version of this solution that is acceptable to Israel is the one that both the tamed Palestine Authority in Ramallah and the more assertive Hamas in Gaza could never ever accept. It is an offer to imprison the Palestinians in stateless enclaves in return for ending their struggle.

Thus even before one discusses either an alternative solution – a single democratic state for all, which I support – or explores a more plausible, two-state settlement, one has to transform fundamentally the Israeli official and public mindset. This mentality is the principal barrier to a peaceful reconciliation in the torn land of Israel and Palestine.

Professor Ilan Pappé directs the European Centre for Palestine Studies at Exeter University and is the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

read the whole story here:
B-b-b-b-but... Mauisurfer! Don't you know the Israelis and Palestinians were closer than ever to a sweetheart two-state deal in 2000--and the Palestinians blew it? Why, the deal would have given the Palestinians nearly a majority of what part of the West Bank wasn't chewed off after 1967--broken up of course into a handful of homelands separated by the lines of settlements along all the major highways, and with an internal passport system controlling their communication with each other and the Gaza Strip. They could have had nominal sovereignty over the slums the Palestinian migrant workers went home to every night after picking tomatoes and cotton on the Israeli's farms! What else could they want? And they threw it all away! You'd know this stuff if you read FrontPage and The Weekly Standard.
I regret that Michigan's Upper Peninsula was not offered for the formation of the Jewish state at the time. That doesn't mean it isn't too late to offer it up to the Palestinians now. Admittedly it's a bit colder in the UP but on the plus side there is a lot of water unlike the stinking desert of old Palestine. It's never too late to make a new start.

The only potential problem I see is trying to end drinking up there. Good luck with that. Currently the economy there is based upon the 10cent bottle deposit.

Price, paid to the State of Michigan by the UN or whoever, $500 billion.

Say ya to the UP, eh.
by Anonymous rapier, at June 06, 2010 7:40 PM
"There is no easy path towards a secular Israel as long as there are so many voters who associate their politics with their religion."

Nile, I'm sure you're right. But at least there would be some eventual hope of healing the religious split if Israel stopped explicitly characterizing itself as a Jewish state.

By analogy, American Civil Rights legislation would have been impossible in the 1960s if the U.S. had been defined as a white country!

Some racism will probably always exist, both in the U.S. and elsewhere, but as long as our law forbids open discrimination, a post-racist state is within the realm of hope.
Queen Rania (really, Queen of Jordan, the one that used to be a banker at Citi)says:

"What do chocolate, cookies, A4 paper, potato chips, cumin, toys, jelly, nuts, dried fruit, nutmeg, and goats have in common? It's a tricky one. If you're a moderate, they have nothing in common. But if you are a hard-line Israeli politician, they are all potentially dangerous goods that could threaten Israel's security. It seems that side of the political spectrum has won the argument, as all the above are items that the Israeli government has prohibited from entering Gaza."

"It's understandable. I mean, you can inflict a lot of damage on your oppressors with a chocolate biscuit. And those paper cuts, boy, they can really hurt."

maybe you could get her to do a column now and then?

read the whole story here:
Meanwhile, back in Afghanistan,
Milo Minderbinder LIVES!

the officials suspect that at least some of these security companies — many of which have ties to top Afghan officials — are using American money to bribe the Taliban. The officials suspect that the security companies may also engage in fake fighting to increase the sense of risk on the roads, and that they may sometimes stage attacks against competitors.

“We’re funding both sides of the war,” a NATO official in Kabul said.

Afghan and NATO officials say that anecdotal evidence suggests that in order to keep their trucks moving — and to keep up their business — some companies may sometimes pay Taliban fighters not to attack, to sometimes mount attacks on competitors, or, as is suspected in the case in Maidan Shahr, to attack NATO forces.

“It would be my expectation that people might create their own demand,” said Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, the commander of NATO forces in southern Afghanistan.
Well Helen Thomas said something nasty so we can fuggetaboutit.
I don't know about the too much water under the bridge for a compensation for Palestinians. After all Jewish organizations are still suing for compensations for WWII.
by Anonymous angryrat, at June 09, 2010 10:28 AM
Sigh. I used to love, love, love Fafblog, and all the great funnies you wrote. Now, however, you have become boring and tedious with your senseless Obama-bashing and Israel-hating. It’s almost as though there is no war crime or atrocity that could be committed in the world that would satisfy you. Why I suppose in your little froo-froo fantasy world you'd just let aid workers into Gaza without shooting them or anything? Grow up!
by Anonymous Strangefate, at June 09, 2010 7:28 PM
Wow, this Anonymous person has some serious multiple personality issues.
by Anonymous Bill, at June 10, 2010 10:17 PM
Yeah. And Anonymous can disappear - just like that *

It wasn't any loss.
History confirms that the only result of invading Afghanistan is failure. How long do we gotta pay for stayin the course before we can take our course and go home?
I want friends that going up to millions. That's cool huh!
Kittens in Afghanistan rescued by Marines
Are the fabulous threesome at this very moment in deep cover somewhere in the Middle East preparing to cover the coming war. Risking all in order to reveal the true story behind the story. Ready to count the bodies as they pile up and up. Or are they lounging in the Hamptons again this summer? Preparing for the high season with the glittering parties and glittering hotties, amateur and pro alike? Flying from pillar to post, beach to mansion in a fiery red Ferrari?
by Anonymous Curious, at July 17, 2010 11:26 PM
"Threesome?" Oh, my dear GOD! Just what are you implying?!!


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