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Carter’s Middle East blind spot
Posted by: McQ on Monday, December 11, 2006

After reading an editorial in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Jimmy Carter, I sit here a little stunned at the thoughts expressed.

Full disclosure, I've not read Carter's latest book, so I'll not attempt to pass judgement on that. Instead I prefer to concentrate on what he has written in this editorial.

It begins a claim that the Israeli-Palestinian question is intensely debated everywhere but the United States, where, per Carter, only the Israeli side holds forth. In essence, Carter claims that we're simply resistant to hearing both sides of the issue and his book was an attempt to right that wrong.

However, he says, his book has not been well received by the main-stream media. Why?
Book reviews in the mainstream media have been written mostly by representatives of Jewish organizations who would be unlikely to visit the occupied territories, and their primary criticism is that the book is anti-Israel. Two members of Congress have been publicly critical. Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, for instance, issued a statement (before the book was published) saying that "he does not speak for the Democratic Party on Israel." Some reviews posted on Amazon.com call me "anti-Semitic," and others accuse the book of "lies" and "distortions." A former Carter Center fellow has taken issue with it, and Alan Dershowitz called the book's title "indecent."
But, Carter says, in the "real world" (uh, that would be the world of book tours where people who agree with you and want to read your book show up while those who don't agree with you and don't want your book don't show up):
Out in the real world, however, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I've signed books in five stores, with more than 1,000 buyers at each site. I've had one negative remark —- that I should be tried for treason —- and one caller on C-SPAN said that I was an anti-Semite. My most troubling experience has been the rejection of my offers to speak, for free, about the book on university campuses with high Jewish enrollment and to answer questions from students and professors. I have been most encouraged by prominent Jewish citizens and members of Congress who have thanked me privately for presenting the facts and some new ideas.
It's the Jews, folks. It's the Jews. The irony is amazing.

Even more stunning is the fact that not once in Carter's piece does he ever even allude to the level of violence precipitated as a matter of course and policy by Palestinian terrorist groups:
The book describes the abominable oppression and persecution in the occupied Palestinian territories, with a rigid system of required passes and strict segregation between Palestine's citizens and Jewish settlers in the West Bank. An enormous imprisonment wall is now under construction, snaking through what is left of Palestine to encompass more and more land for Israeli settlers. In many ways, this is more oppressive than what blacks lived under in South Africa during apartheid. I have made it clear that the motivation is not racism but the desire of a minority of Israelis to confiscate and colonize choice sites in Palestine, and then to forcefully suppress any objections from the displaced citizens. Obviously, I condemn any acts of terrorism or violence against innocent civilians, and I present information about the terrible casualties on both sides.
To pretend that "in many ways, this is more oppressive than what blacks lived under in South Africa during apartheid" completely misrepresents the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians as well as apartheid. And while he denies it, it is a cheap appeal to racisim as well as a call to the world, by recalling how apartheid was defeated, to apply the same pressure on Israel (and again ignoring the Palestinian role in the conflict).

He concludes:
The ultimate purpose of my book is to present facts about the Middle East that are largely unknown in America, to precipitate discussion and to help restart peace talks (now absent for six years) that can lead to permanent peace for Israel and its neighbors. Another hope is that Jews and other Americans who share this same goal might be motivated to express their views, even publicly, and perhaps in concert. I would be glad to help with that effort.
It has certainly stimulated discussion - most of it negative. And it appears he doesn't understand why the charges of racism and anti-semitism are being leveled.

Kenneth Stein, a long time advisor to Jimmy Carter has resigned his position at the Carter Center in protest over the contents of the book:
"President Carter's book on the Middle East, a title too inflammatory to even print, is not based on unvarnished analysis; it is replete with factual errors, copied materials not cited, superficialities, glaring omissions, and simply invented segments," Stein wrote. "Aside from the one-sided nature of the book, meant to provoke, there are recollections cited from meetings where I was the third person in the room, and my notes of those meetings show little similarity to points claimed in the book."
Of course this isn't the first time Stein and Carter have clashed as presidential historian Douglas Brinkley notes:
Brinkley writes of a visit by Carter to Syria in the late 1980s in which the former president criticized alleged Israeli human rights abuses.

"Ken Stein questioned the former president's tactic in a candid letter to his boss on March 23: 'If you continue on the course of only criticizing, or minimizing Israel in your public presentations, you will be doing yourself a potentially devastating disservice, particularly if you want to be re-engaged in any capacity in future Middle East diplomacy. The American and Israeli press have made you the bogey man.' "
Given his op/ed, it seems that Carter hasn't so much been made the 'bogey man' as willingly sought out the role. Incredible.
 
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Carter (and now Clinton)is living proof that the age for Presidential candidates should be raised by about twenty years. When it was initially set, the life expectancy of the average American meant that a person of Presidential age could serve two terms then, most likely, retire, live a quiet life and die within ten years or so. The office was meant for an older/borderline elderly person to occupy since, in theory, they would have a lifetime of knowledge, experience, wisdom, and maturity. Their age would also add to the grandeur of the office and command further respect.

Since life expectancy is so much greater today than it was when this nation was established, we are regularly producing Presidents who live for twenty or more years past their leaving office. With the kind of leaders that we elect today, can we honestly expect them to putter around and play golf for thirty or more years, post-White House? I don’t think so. These guys are out for power and fame and they will not give up the hunt to become elder statesmen who do goodwill tours and charity golf matches. Instead, they fight tooth-and-claw to stay in the game and continue to influence world events. Carter is simply the worst example of the pack, but can anyone imagine what Clinton will be like in another ten or twenty years? Or W?

Our greatest Presidents have, as a rule, been older men (post 55). Examine this chart and look at the relative ages of the most successful Presidents (who, for arguments sake, I’ll call Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR [and let’s remember that FDR’s greatness comes from things he accomplished in his third and fourth terms, when he was well over 55], and Reagan, although I daresay everyone has their own list).
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Carter is right. The bottom line is that both sides of the dispute have really strong arguments to support their position; that is why the despute is so hard to solve. Both sides have committed atrocities and are to blame for the inability to solve the problem. Both sides have majorities who want peace, but minorities who use fear and emotion to keep the peace out of reach. The only solution is a SECURE Israel alongside a VIABLE Palestine. No one can win if it’s a war. America’s see almost only the pro-Israel anti-Palestinian side, and have a warped perspective on the conflict.

America’s foreign policy establishment has a distinct pro-Israel bias to the point that people are attacked if they show too much sympathy with the plight of the Palestinians. Israeli killing of civilians (including incidents of soldiers goading children to throw rocks and then shooting them, among the more common bommbing going astray) is rationalized and excused, while Palestinian violence is seen as absolute evil. More Palestinian innocents are killed than Israeli. Moreover, the Palestinians have been living in inhumane conditions, their economy controlled by Israel, with Israeli settlements enjoying water and food while Palestinians are in poverty (water shortages in a Palestinian village while the Israeli settlement next door has swimming pools).

The humiliation of almost 40 years of occupation without real political rights has yielded a desparate people increasingly willing to use fanatical means to achieve their goals. We rightly condemn that terrorism, but we don’t understand why it exists, and how Israeli policies have helped fuel that problem.

Attacking Carter, like so many are doing, is par for the course when people try to give the American people both sides of the picture. I just wish he’d had that kind of wisdom and courage he’s been displaying in the past few years when he was President; perhaps we’re getting our Presidents too young.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
So much for this thread.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Blah blah blah Scott, How funny you calling McQ and people who criticize the "Peace Maker" as one sided!! Back to grading those papers about syriana.
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
including incidents of soldiers goading children to throw rocks and then shooting them
I would be interested if you could point me out a reference to such incidents as you claim the Israeli soldiers have done.
 
Written By: Twizz
URL: http://
including incidents of soldiers goading children to throw rocks and then shooting them
I would be interested if you could point me out a reference to such incidents as you claim the Israeli soldiers have done.

The very EXISTENCE of Israel was a goad to them Twizz, can’t you SEE that? So the fact that those Jooos were even there caused the Palestinians to throw rocks! Had only the Israelis simply joined with Fatah in the 1960’s to create the Unitary State from the River to the Sea, there would have been no need for all that violence...MAN DUDE, you ARE suffering from Zionism.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Attacking Carter, like so many are doing, is par for the course when people try to give the American people both sides of the picture.
If only he was doing that, then fine, great. But unfortunately, he is just engaging in his anti semitic prejudice.

It is and has been pointed out that Carter is not only misrepresenting meetings and dialogues but making things up out of whole cloth.

Just the other day he wrote of Stein as not having worked at the Carter center for the last 13 years, when in fact his web bio and page have identified him as a current and active member of that center.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
More Palestinian innocents are killed than Israeli.
In actuality, more Palestinian innocents are killed by Palestinian terrorists than the Israeli army. Go, look it up.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
including incidents of soldiers goading children to throw rocks and then shooting them
I would be interested if you could point me out a reference to such incidents as you claim the Israeli soldiers have done.
This incident was in Chris Hedges’ book War is a Force Which Gives us Meaning. Hedges was a war correspondent for the NYT for over 20 years, spending time covering a variety of conflicts.

He also talks about an interview with a Palestinian family whose parents are proud of the fact their three year old wants to be a martyr/suicide bomber. He is one o fthe few who refreshingly looks at both sides fairly. Personally, I think you can’t be pro-Israel without being pro-Palestinian, and you can’t be pro-Palestinian without being pro-Israel. That’s because Israel will never be secure until there is a viable Palestine, and there will never be a viable Palestine until Israel can be guaranteed security. That’s the tragedy, the Israeli and Palestinian destinies are linked, they’ll either keep killing each other or find a way to settle the issue.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
At least Mel Gibson was drunk when he made his rant. I think Carter is going from idiocy to senility. He didn’t actually plagiarize, he just forgot where he got the material.

Perhaps the Palestinians would have clean water, etc., if they spent their money on digging wells and building infrastructure instead of guns and rockets. But then they have only had 50 years or so to lift themselves out of poverty. Oh, right, I forgot; they were all rich until the Jews stole it.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Thank you for the related information Scott.
 
Written By: Twizz
URL: http://
Carter is right. The bottom line is that both sides of the dispute have really strong arguments to support their position; that is why the despute is so hard to solve. Both sides have committed atrocities and are to blame for the inability to solve the problem. Both sides have majorities who want peace, but minorities who use fear and emotion to keep the peace out of reach
Really? Last time I checked the Palestidiots voted for a terror organization to lead them.

OOOOPS!

Really Scott, you dip into the same moral equivilance playbook every time. It’s a highly immoral (almost evil) position, but quite expected for someone of your ilk.
America’s foreign policy establishment has a distinct pro-Israel bias
It’s not good policy to side with those who seek to blow up pizzerias with dynamite vests and whatnot.
Israeli killing of civilians (including incidents of soldiers goading children to throw rocks and then shooting them, among the more common bommbing going astray) is rationalized and excused, while Palestinian violence is seen as absolute evil
1) Evidence of this sort of thing?
2) Gee, accidental wartime killings vs deliberate murder bombings? Why gee whiz, I sure can’t figure out why one is seen as more evil than the other one. Maybe if your kids ever got blown up in an Israeli bus or store you’d have a different take on it.
More Palestinian innocents are killed than Israeli.


So?
Moreover, the Palestinians have been living in inhumane conditions,


So? It’s not Israel’s fault.

with Israeli settlements enjoying water and food while Palestinians are in poverty (water shortages in a Palestinian village while the Israeli settlement next door has swimming pools).
So what? Maybe if Arafat and Hamas and the rest of their gang didn’t steal untold millions of aid and engage in endless guerilla warfare against their neighbor, maybe the Palis could also cool off in a nice pool at the end of the day. I’m not sure why Olmert and the Jews have to be responsible for the Palis being able to take a nice afternoon dip though.
The humiliation of almost 40 years of occupation without real political rights has yielded a desparate people increasingly willing to use fanatical means to achieve their goals. We rightly condemn that terrorism, but we don’t understand why it exists, and how Israeli policies have helped fuel that problem.
Yeah, because Bin Laden and AQ are really oppressed poor Palis....

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
This is what it’s come to. An alleged professor at an American University is citing swimming pools as a cause of the Palestinian/Israeli confilct. *SIGH* Oh the inanity!

PS Scott:
including incidents of soldiers goading children to throw rocks and then shooting them
This incident was in Chris Hedges’ book War is a Force Which Gives us Meaning. Hedges was a war correspondent for the NYT for over 20 years, spending time covering a variety of conflicts
One (unverified) instance does not all of sudden equal "incidents" or the pattern of recurrence that you seek to imply there.

Watch what you write and how you write it next time
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I should work on my reading comprehension. Thanks Shark for pointing out incidents, v. incident.
 
Written By: Twizz
URL: http://
In actuality, more Palestinian innocents are killed by Palestinian terrorists than the Israeli army. Go, look it up.

This is a ridiculous statement. Palestinian casualties outnumber Israeli casualties in the events of the past six years by a factor of three to one or more. Plenty of Israeli civilians are killed by terrorists, but the number of Palestinian civilians killed by politically motivated violent acts committed by Palestinians is a rather small number. Please try again.

I’ll defend Carter’s book, though I haven’t read it. It’s a provocative title, but to the extent he’s describing living conditions for Palestinians as they actually are, he is performing a service, and he’s one hundred percent right that few Americans know or care what those conditions are. The Israeli system in the occupied territories - a two-tier legal system to begin, coupled with very large amounts of informal, extra-judicial punishment by Israeli settlers, resembles the South African system in many ways. Not as much brutality, but similar principles. For another point of comparison, it’s less unequal and hazardous than conditions for African-Americans during the slavery era, but more so than life in many states under Jim Crow.

Of course, this being America, anyone killing terrorists gets essentially a free pass. You can’t criticize anyone killing terrorists. You can’t even describe actions they undertake if those actions suggest uncomfortable comparisons. And yes, Israel’s had a change of heart, yes, everyone would love a Palestinian state if only Hamas would stop blowing up falafel stands, yada, yada, yada. Folks, the two-tier (like that better than apartheid?) system existed for decades before the first local Palestinian strapped on a bomb. They made a mess, and they have yet to finish fixing it. It won’t get better just because they end the colonial stuff, no it won’t. Modern Africa demonstrates that pretty clearly. But it doesn’t matter, they need to end it anyway. It has no future.



 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Palestinian casualties outnumber Israeli casualties in the events of the past six years by a factor of three to one or more.
Which, in the big scheme of things, is irrelevant.

What is relevant, and what I imagine you’d find, is that in the vast majority of all those incidents it was the Palestinians who initiated the action which led to the deaths.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
So what? Maybe if Arafat and Hamas and the rest of their gang didn’t steal untold millions of aid and engage in endless guerilla warfare against their neighbor, maybe the Palis could also cool off in a nice pool at the end of the day. I’m not sure why Olmert and the Jews have to be responsible for the Palis being able to take a nice afternoon dip though.
Clearly there is blame on all sides, especially Arafat’s corruption. The mistake Americans make is to look to one side as good and the other side as bad, and then condemn with the old ’moral equivalence’ canard any effort to understand the true complexity and shared blame each side has for the circumstances.

Again: there is only one viable solution: a secure Israel and a viable Palestine. The destinies of the two sides are linked, yet each side sees their perspective well, and is incapable of seeing the other. Yet most people in each side want peace — including Palestinians. It’s dishonest to suggest that Hamas victory means that Palestinians don’t want peace — Hamas downplayed to the point of near silence their views on terrorism and Israel in the election, and focused on the corruption of the PA. It’s easy to ’choose a side,’ and then defend that side and condemn the other side. But that leads to a caricatured understanding of reality.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
What is relevant, and what I imagine you’d find, is that in the vast majority of all those incidents it was the Palestinians who initiated the action which led to the deaths.
Your imagination is leading you into absurd statements. Of course in a conflict with so much action by each side one can always interpret every act as a response to something the other side did.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Call me crazy but if the palestenians concentrated on improving their own lot in life instead of trying to drive out the Israelies maybe they wouldn’t be living in such harsh conditions.

You could cut off all communication and interaction between Israel and Palestine and palestine would still be a s%#$ hole because the palenstinians would be too busy talking about how the Jew is keeping them down to build anything or create any kind of order.
 
Written By: Mac
URL: http://
"I’ll defend Carter’s book, though I haven’t read it."
Now there’s some intellectual integrity.

 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
I’ll defend Carter’s book, though I haven’t read it.
Then on what basis do you defend it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Then on what basis do you defend it?



Defending the viability of the general subject area of the book, which is what my post focused on. How many people bashing it, have, do you think, read it? Have you?
What is relevant, and what I imagine you’d find, is that in the vast majority of all those incidents it was the Palestinians who initiated the action which led to the deaths.
All depends on what you consider to be "initiate", don’t it? I mean, on one end, you could say that since the Arabs invaded Israel in 1967, they "initated" the action that led to all these Palestinian deaths, and all of Israeli behavior since then has just been one security-neccesitated defensive action. Many people, do, in fact, say that. It’s pretty clear to me that defensive measures have been far from the only motivator, but whatever.

So, in that spirit, if a suicide bomber blows up in June and kills ten people, followed by the IDF launching twenty-four raids on fifteen different targets over three months and killed one hundred and seventy five people, you could argue that they were all "initiated" by the suicide bombing... right?

Or, if you were an Arab, you could claim that the last fifteen suicide bombing were initiated to avenge the last leader targeted for assassination, or the last civilian killed in the last raid... and so on.

Thus we call it the cycle of violence. Who starts anything is hard to pin down, but I think plenty of casual observers conflate the rhetorical aggressiveness of the Islamic fundamentalists to the sanitized words of Israel, or ourselves, and make widespread assumptions that we’re always provoked, reacting, defending, etc etc etc. Most cultures nowadays do the same thing. It’s usually worth a closer look.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
It has certainly stimulated discussion - most of it negative. And it appears he doesn’t understand why the charges of racism and anti-semitism are being leveled.
Yes, Bruce... well, nothing shocking about that, is there, really? After all, he’s a LIBERAL... he couldn’t POSSIBLY be making judgements based on race, now could he? Saints don’t sin, after all.
Carter is right.
Is this called "taking one for the team", Scott?
Was there any doubt in anyone’s mind you’d leap up in defense of Carter, with a somewhat more sophisticated version of glasnost?

Comon....





 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Looking for whom to blame in this heart-breaking situation will only lead you to a chicken/egg conundrum.

Both sides have legitimate gripes, and I support the position that we should deal with both sides, not just one.

It’s true that the Palestinians themselves have done their position tremendous harm by supporting the corrupt leaderership of Arafat (sort of like what’s going on in Iraq) which did nothing to improve living conditions. Today, Hamas concentrates on lobbing blame at the US and Israel, instead of looking for realistic solutions.

But if one side is wrong, that doesn’t make the other side right in all things. Talk to people who live in Israel, and you will hear an ardent debate about the situation and how to proceed. I’ve heard complaints about the religious groups,who claim a God given right to most of the land of Palestine, holding the whole nation hostage, for example. It is remarkable that what can be debated in Israel, can not be discussed in the US.

The wall is an example. While it undoubtedly reduces casualties of terrorism, it undoubtedly imposes great hardship on Palestinians. There are TWO angles from which to look at the wall.

Carter is right in proposing that some sort of compromise or trade-off is essential, and soon.
The longer it gets put off, the more explosive the situation beocmes. As the Palestinians are increasingly supported by outside groups, there is no time to waste. If the US is to be of help, it must be an honest broker, not just an agent for one side.

We are reaping the harvest of a unilateral appraoch in Iraq, one which we undertook without understanding the dynamics and complexities of the communities involved. We should not make the same mistake re Israel.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
///Folks, the two-tier (like that better than apartheid?) system existed for decades before the first local Palestinian strapped on a bomb.///

Except that terrorism against Israel began before 1967, no?

//Thus we call it the cycle of violence.//
How does this jibe with Israel vacating all of Gaza, yet more and more rockets being fired into Israel?

//There are TWO angles from which to look at the wall. //
But not necessarily two equal angles, no? How do you balance the very real fact that the wall has saved so many lives?
 
Written By: odd2
URL: http://
Clearly there is blame on all sides, especially Arafat’s corruption. The mistake Americans make is to look to one side as good and the other side as bad, and then condemn with the old ’moral equivalence’ canard any effort to understand the true complexity and shared blame each side has for the circumstances.
Scott, I wonder how you sit there and type that with a straight face. It really isn’t complicated. One side blows up busses and pizzerias, wants to use the elderly and children as human bombs blow stuff up. Is that not something we should look upon as evil? How’s life in the Ivory Tower?

The situation really isn’t complex. If the Palis’ terror groups would knock it off, there would be no trouble at all. It really is that simple.

Maybe too simple for an academic to understand.


 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
If Carter wrote this in an attempt to persuade his "fellow Evangelicals" to drop their obvious pro-Israel stance (a reason which I have seen elsewhere), then Jimmy has a problem.

He lost all influence with them several books ago.
 
Written By: David R. Block
URL: http://
Defending the viability of the general subject area of the book, which is what my post focused on. How many people bashing it, have, do you think, read it? Have you?
What did I say in the post, glasnost ... or did you bother actually reading it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Carter is right in proposing that some sort of compromise or trade-off is essential, and soon.
Really? Well speaking of chicken and egg, who do you "compromise" or "trade off" with when the other side refuses to admit to your right to exist and has done so consistently for 58 years, Laime?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
A quick search turned up a list of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

I find it interesting that 48.4% are 19-29 years old, 93.4% are male, 60.1% are killed by "live ammunition" (I assume they mean small arms), and
88.7% are killed by soldiers.

Now, I just need to find a count of Palestinians killed by other Palestinians. Somehow, I expect, a Palestinian’s life is more valuable when its loss can be used to attack Israel.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
The wall is an example. While it undoubtedly reduces casualties of terrorism, it undoubtedly imposes great hardship on Palestinians. There are TWO angles from which to look at the wall.
I believe that in Israel, there was once debate on the wall. But the hardships imposed on the Palestinians can be traced to the Palestinians themselves.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I love your mock ’Incredible’ attitude, McQ, as if it shocks you that Carter did something you disagree with.

Jimmy Carter = boy who cried "The Emperor Wears no Clothes!"

Methinks ya’ll all do protesteth a bit too much; but I am not surprised.

I’ve never heard one positive thing about Carter on this Republican, er, "libertarian" blog. Why would I expect anything but vitrol towards one of the honest presidents our country has had?

Given his age and staus, he no longer has to give the ’appearance’ of cow-towing to the Zionist lackeys who now control this once-free country. Or to spooge flinging commentators like McQ.

At least Carter is out contribuing to society. More than that crook Nixon, drool bucket Gerald Ford or the bucket drooler Ronald Reagan did after his retirement, combined. Even "whats a bar code?" 41 can’t make a cultural contribution without the hated Clinton at his side.

One goofy Carter trumps 4 do-nothing except draw pensions ex-presidents
 
Written By: Rick Day
URL: http://goplobby.org
"including incidents of soldiers goading children to throw rocks and then shooting them"

"This incident was in Chris Hedges’ book"

I take it the "s" on the end of "incidents" in the first quote was a typo.

******************************
"2) Gee, accidental wartime killings vs deliberate murder bombings?"

There you go, rationalizing again. Don’t you know, there are no accidents?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
MDQ:
You seem to have the answer even before you’ve considered the question.
For Israel, it’s much the same question as Bush faces. How far do you go in defending your security? That road led to adopting torture as a legitimate tactic. As I remember, you backed off that one. Israel, also, has to ask the hard questions to find which measures are unacceptable or just plain counterproductive.

Between war and peace there can be incremental steps. No one assumes that signing a piece of paper will bring instant peace. It’s a question of laying the proper groundwork.

A truce can be negotiated, for example, without addressing hot topics like the recognition of Israel and the final status of Jerusalme.

Sharon made a mistake in evacuating Gaza, in my view. He made it very plain that this was Israel’s decision alone. By sidelining Abbas, he missed an opportunity to raise Abbas in the eyes of the Palestinians. He missed the opportunity to give Abbas, who is eager to negotiate and would recognize Israel, more leverage to deal with the situaion.

Being right is not enough. You have to be effective. And Israel is not doing a good job of defusing the anger that feeds the terrorism. My Israeli friend (very nationalistic, but clear-headed) tells me more about the hardships of Palestinian villagers than any pundit in the US. Settling on who to blame will not make those hardships, nor the anger they cause, go away.

The underlying theme in Arab anger is lack of respect. "You don’t respect our religion, our culture". You hear that over and over again.
Armies and governments wield power over them withot bothering to look how power tramples on their sense of dignity. Without resolving whether respect is merited or their reactions to perceived insults justified, we could recognize that the longing for respect is common to all men, preachers and sinners alike.

We could begin by acknowledging that Palestinians suffer, too, not just the Israelis. Putting the whole convoluted situation into black and white boxes eviscerates the hope for peace somewhere down the road.



 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
I love your mock ’Incredible’ attitude, McQ, as if it shocks you that Carter did something you disagree with.
One thing I do enjoy about seeing you show up in any thread in opposition to on one of my posts is it validates the fact that I’m headed in right direction. And if not you, MK will do.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
For Israel, it’s much the same question as Bush faces. How far do you go in defending your security? That road led to adopting torture as a legitimate tactic. As I remember, you backed off that one. Israel, also, has to ask the hard questions to find which measures are unacceptable or just plain counterproductive.
Wha?

There are lots of roads and nothing says all of them lead to torture, for heaven sake.
A truce can be negotiated, for example, without addressing hot topics like the recognition of Israel and the final status of Jerusalme
Really? How does that work when a) the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel as a legal state and b) the Palestinian militants have stated they’ll not only not recognize Israel but will never negotiate with them.

Explain that to me will you? If those who are engaged in violence won’t recognize or negotiate with you, with whom do you make a truce?

Negotiations and truces work two ways. Why isn’t anyone asking why the Palestinians aren’t asking for a truce?

See "a" and "b" above. In the face of such intransigence, how about telling us the "effective" way to handle it, ok?
We could begin by acknowledging that Palestinians suffer, too, not just the Israelis.
Oh for heaven sake ... you need to quit watching Oprah so much. Of course they suffer, but most rational people understand that most of their suffering is a direct consequence of their own actions. It’s hard to hold a whole lot of sympathy for a people so bent on their own and others death and destruction.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Oh for heaven sake ... you need to quit watching Oprah so much. Of course they suffer, but most rational people understand that most of their suffering is a direct consequence of their own actions
That is typical — deny responsibility of one side and blame everything on the other side. That does not show much thought, and tends to be the approach taken by those who do not want to challenge their biases.

Anti-Israeli types would blame the Israelis for causing their own suffering through their humiliation of and mistreatment of Palestinians. On and on it goes, with both sides pointing fingers like little children who want to insist they are completely right and the other side is completely wrong.

That kind of mentality leads to more killing and more suffering. And it is fundamentally misguided and wrong; educated people should learn to overcome such classic bias. The reality is both share responsibility, both have had innocents suffer, and both have contributed to this situation. Moreover, it’s minorities of extremists on each side that don’t want peace and reconiliation that use violence to prevent a solution. You don’t create an occupation like that of the West Bank and Gaza without having the kind of response the Palestinians engage in. You don’t use terrorism like the Palestinians without having the kind of response the Israelis engage in. Both sides have to together find a better way.

Or they can keep pointing fingers and blame the other side for all that is wrong, thereby insuring more death and suffering.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott, I wonder how you sit there and type that with a straight face. It really isn’t complicated. One side blows up busses and pizzerias, wants to use the elderly and children as human bombs blow stuff up. Is that not something we should look upon as evil? How’s life in the Ivory Tower?

The situation really isn’t complex. If the Palis’ terror groups would knock it off, there would be no trouble at all. It really is that simple.

Maybe too simple for an academic to understand.
How can you sit there and type that with a straight face? What causes people to get to the point where they see no choice but suicide bombing to try to end an occupation? Look at how the Palestinians have been humiliated and oppressed for almost 40 years. See? Both sides can play that game and do.

A moral, honest person would recognize that there are two sides to this story, and instead of playing "two legs bad, four legs good" would do the hard work of thinking about the complexity.

Nah, better to keep the simplistic bias. You’re the one divorced from reality, hiding behind a bias and an emotional attachment to a ’them vs. us’ mentality. Oh well, at least you inspire me to try to do what I can do prevent others from falling into that trap.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Why isn’t anyone asking why the Palestinians aren’t asking for a truce?
Um, we’re currently in a truce. For which I give Olmert at least one thumb up. He’s the first Israeli leader since 1998 to even mouth the words about actually being interested in reconciling the conflict.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Really? How does that work when a) the Palestinians refuse to recognize Israel as a legal state and b) the Palestinian militants have stated they’ll not only not recognize Israel but will never negotiate with them.

Explain that to me will you? If those who are engaged in violence won’t recognize or negotiate with you, with whom do you make a truce?
The Palestinians agreed in the Oslo Accords that Israel has a right to exist. Hamas now states they do not. Sadat did not recognize Israel’s right to exist until he negotiated with the Israelis and struck a deal that has created peace between Israel and Egypt. The Palestinian militants do not represent the majority will of the Palestinian people; Hamas was elected on domestic grounds — anger at PA corruption and not having another viable option. But the extremists can be undercut. Instead, by demonizing all Palestinians due to the actions of extremists (which is what they want) and not trying to engage, no solution is possible.

Negotiation is not capitulation. Negotiations may not succeed. But Israel and Palestine are locked in a battle neither can win by military means. The key: undercut and marginalize the extremists (they can’t be defeated by military means — attacks only generate more anger and more civilian deaths), and at the very least recognize legitimate Palestinian complaints.

The policy winds are starting to change; I’m actually becoming optimistic that there can be progress in Iraq and with Israel/Palestine. I think the militarists are losing their credibility.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
MCQ: "It’s hard to hold a whole lot of sympathy for a people so bent on their own and others death and destruction. "
—————————————————————————
So, you have neatly assigned the blame. And what does that get you? Is Israel any more secure because you know who’s to blame?
Is Lebanon in better shape because we know to blame Hezbollah?

Brute force and subjugation alone can not defeat terrorism. We have to look at alternative avenues, whether you like it or not. Forcing your will on the world without regard to methods or consequences is just not in the cards, not for the US, not for Israel, and not for you.

If you can’t deal with the complexities of assigning blame, at least deal with the complexities of seeking peace. The US has been taken down a peg or two by its macho approach to world politics. I would hope that Israel can learn from our misadventures.



 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Erb and others in our society show an interesting tendency (Editorial Note: NOT an original thought I just can’t remember where I read this), that even when it’s "MY" fault "YOU" have to deal with it, in fact the WORSE I make things thru my own efforts the MORE you have to pick up the pieces. And I don’t mean that in a Realpolitik way, as a neighbor is going to HAVE to pick up the pieces because they live next door, but as in a MORAL obligation!

"You HAVE to help me. I’m in desperate straits."
"Well you ARE an illiterate crack-ho with 4 children"
"OF COURSE! That’s WHY you have to help me!"
"How about giving up the crack!?"
"NO give me your money and a Federal Program, I’M A VICTIM, you OWE ME!"

Yeah there’s no doubt that the Palestinians ARE in a pickle. But it’s a pickle of THEIR OWN MAKING. From 1968 on the Palestinians have made disastrous choices. Caught up in the fantasies of "People’s War" and Socialism the PLO adopted it’s tactics and strategy of Terror. In the 1970’s they adopted the No Recognition No Negotiation No Peace platform. As the Israeli Foreign Minister said, "The Palestinians have never missed an opprotunity to miss an opportunity."

Dr Erb the Palestinians are in the boat they’re in because they CHOSE to place themselves there. They suffer, undoubtedly but their sufferings are SELF-INFLICTED (90%). They made themselves ungovernable, they remained loyal to an authoritarian kleptocrat, they undertook a vicious and failed wave of suicide bombings, and now thye’ve elected Hamas. These are the CONSEQUENCES of their actions, come home to roost.

WE have no moral obligation to "He’p" them because they’ve put themselves in a hole. Recognize Israel’s Right to Exist. Forego the Right of Return, see if you can parley THAT "Concession" into increased US/EU aid. See that the aid be distributed in the form of INDIVIDUAL loans and grants or given to small local investment co-ops (micro-lending). Send your kids to school. Pay your taxes. Stop firing Kassem rockets into Israel in hopes of provoking some response that will solidify the "Haters" positions. In fact, tell the Haters to "GET A FREAK’N JOB FOR ALLAH’S SAKE!" THESE are things that will MATERIALLY aid the Palestinians, and NOTE not ONE of them requries that Israel give up anything.

Once Palestine is a more normal place, you know with jobs, and schools and only a few crazies that still want to keep the Revolution alive, Man...THEN I think Israel can be persuaded to enter into some kind of meaningful negotiations thta will produce 2-States, no Wall, and at least access to Jerusalem-Personally having seen the "Oil for Palaces Program" and seen how well UN "Peacekeeprs" can do their job even as a Palestinian I’d have some fears about Jerusalem as an "International City." Can you IMAGINE those Sons of Shaitan of the UN running Jerusalem, Thieves, there woudn’t be spit left inside two years...Let the Joos have it before THEM. IF I were a Palestinian.

So the misery of the Palestinians imposes no moral burden on me. Just like my imaginary Crack-ho neighbor. SHE needs to change and until she does there’s NOTHING I can do that is going to fundamentally change her circumstances. And the depths of the hole she has placed herself in does NOT obligate me to help her and neither does the plight of Palestinian People. Some of the things you write reminds me of the Menendez Brothers Trial, "Oh those poor boys. They’re Orphans" "Well they’re orphans because they SHOT Mom and Pop." "I know, but I feel for them...." I’m sorry Palestine is a mess, but it is a mess because Palestinians would, seemingly, rather wage a fruitless war on Israel than make a go of their own country. The Palestinains are "Orphans" because they ahve shot their Mom and Dad and that doesn’t mean I or anyone has to feel their pain.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
So, you have neatly assigned the blame.
Heh.

I’ve watched this for 58 years ... as long as I’ve been alive.

And yes, I have assigned blame based on those observations.

That’s how it works.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Brute force and subjugation alone can not defeat terrorism. We have to look at alternative avenues, whether you like it or not. Forcing your will on the world without regard to methods or consequences is just not in the cards, not for the US, not for Israel, and not for you.
Bob says Death to Laime. Bob actively seeks to kill Laime. Laime says, rather than defend myself and kill Bob I’ll negotiate with Bob. Laime feels that this is NOT reqwarding violence, but a RATIONAL belief? So unrelenting hate is to be REWARDED? So in the case of Britain the answeer was in the 1940’s to realize that violence was going to settle nothing and that the best course was to negotiate a deal with the Nazi’s?
If you can’t deal with the complexities of assigning blame, at least deal with the complexities of seeking peace. The US has been taken down a peg or two by its macho approach to world politics. I would hope that Israel can learn from our misadventures.
Oh yes, HOORAY for our Saigon Moment in Baghdad, it hasn’t come YET but soon it will! And THEN the US will be MUCH nicer...The 1970’s passed you by right Laime or you just don’t remember them right, you were born in the 1980’s? Because the 1970’s were NOT a good generation, even thought he US had been "taught a lesson." Words fail me in describing the contempt I feel for those sentiments...Macho that is it... I mean when CARTER talked about Human Rights as a focus of US Foreign Policy that was good. When the Progressive talk about Justice, Freedom, Democracy and the like that’s OK, but Heaven Forfend we actually DO something about spreading them, because then it’s just MACHO! So to you and yours restoring a kleptocrat to office Port au Prince is OK, but don’t try to help 28 million Arabs and Kurds? As I say words fail me...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
What causes people to get to the point where they see no choice but suicide bombing to try to end an occupation?
Mostly, they do so because they think they’ll get somewhere with it. because there are always people out there who are going to try to remove the blame from the terrorists.

Look in the mirror.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
MCQ,
The thing about a truce is, everyone stops shooting. No precondtions need apply.

While not shooting, other issues can be resolved, like prisoner exchange, for example. If the turce holds long enough, people on both sides can begin to like not shooting. If not, at least a few steps of progress would have been achieved.

Hamas has committed so much to a position of not recognizing Israel, that a sudden reverse would make them lose face and credibility. It is presently impossible.
Meanwhile, if a truce of some length of time could be achieved, there could, indeed, be negotiations. All Hamas would need to do is rename them, calling them ’victories’, for all I care. If they negotiate, there would be a de-facto recognition. Not good enought for you, I’m sure, but a lot better than what we have now.

The question of recognizing Israel, is in itself more complicated than you present. The problems did not start after the establishemtn of Israel, but with events that occurred in the process of doing so. The Palestinians have a different time-table for assigning blame.

Instead of playing judge in the blame game, the US and the world should play a conflict-resolution role. That would greatly benefit everybody, most especially Israel.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Brute force and subjugation alone can not defeat terrorism. We have to look at alternative avenues, whether you like it or not. Forcing your will on the world without regard to methods or consequences is just not in the cards, not for the US, not for Israel, and not for you.
Brute force could work, but we would have to use it first. It certainly has a long history of working.
The Palestinians agreed in the Oslo Accords that Israel has a right to exist. Hamas now states they do not.
Guess Oslo didn’t count for much.
Sadat did not recognize Israel’s right to exist until he negotiated with the Israelis and struck a deal that has created peace between Israel and Egypt.
Prior to the "peace", most Egyptions didn’t much care about Israel. Now they tend to hate Israel. The "peace" may not count for much.
How can you sit there and type that with a straight face? What causes people to get to the point where they see no choice but suicide bombing to try to end an occupation? Look at how the Palestinians have been humiliated and oppressed for almost 40 years. See? Both sides can play that game and do.
Are the bombings really intended to end the occupation?

If the Palestinians want to end the occupation, they can. But they have to stop murdering Isrealis. And they won’t:
The Palestinian cause is central for Arab thinking.

In the end, is it a matter of feelings of self-esteem?

Exactly. It’s because we always lose to Israel. It gnaws at the people in the Middle East that such a small country as Israel, with only about 7 million inhabitants, can defeat the Arab nation with its 350 million. That hurts our collective ego. The Palestinian problem is in the genes of every Arab. The West’s problem is that it does not understand this.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Take a breath, JOE,
and keep a cool head.

First of all, separate goals from tactics. The US wants to spread democracy and freedom? Those are admirable goals, and I’m all for it.

It’s the tactics that are much in doubt. And the reason we employ poor tactics of late is largeley due to the fact that we don’t bother to understand with whom we are dealing or the situation in which the dealing is to take place.

Any boxer will tell you that a major part of winning is undersanding the opponent, how he thinks and how he reacts. Psychological maneuvers are as important as physical ones.

If you know the opponent is sensitive about his mother, by denegrating her, you only encourage him to fight you harder. Maybe his mother really is a slut; it’s not a question of being right. It’s bad tactics.

What we all want is a peaceful Middle East. We won’t hasten the day of that possibility by sticking to blaming while ignoring other perspectives.





 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Dr Erb the Palestinians are in the boat they’re in because they CHOSE to place themselves there. They suffer, undoubtedly but their sufferings are SELF-INFLICTED (90%). They made themselves ungovernable, they remained loyal to an authoritarian kleptocrat, they undertook a vicious and failed wave of suicide bombings, and now thye’ve elected Hamas. These are the CONSEQUENCES of their actions, come home to roost.
You are ignorant of history, and you are engaged in the fallacy of collectivism: you are treating the Palestinians as a collectively resonsible for the acts of a few.

Gaza and the West Bank were occupied in 1967, and Israel’s occupation denied the poeple there basic economic and political rights. They also started to form Jewish settlements in the region, and diverted resources and wealth to those settlements, further pushing the Palestinians into a second class lifestyle. That festered for twenty years until they did what any group wanting to get out from under the thumb of a power that was controlling their lives (how could a libertarian continence how Israel treated the Palestinians?), they started the intifada. It was rock throwing against tanks, but that’s all they had. They weren’t suicide bombing, they were angry over having no hope, no future, and being denied basic rights.

Israel realized that their tactics couldn’t work — you can’t subjugate a people and deny them basic economic and political rights for a generation without causing a backlash.

Yitzak Rabin bravely and brilliantly tried to forge a path out of it. He was killed by a Jewish extremist, a mirror image of the extremists on the other side. Most Israelis understood they had to find a way for a peaceful settlement, that trying to exterminate or ethnically cleanse the Arabs from those lands would be tantamount to crimes against humanity of the sort that the Jews had experienced. They also couldn’t annex those lands, since that would allow Arabs to vote out the Jewish state (unless they had apartheid).

Arafat (not the Palestinian people!) was not up to the task. Corrupt, and fearful of backlash, he couldn’t govern effectively or negotiate a settlement. The Palestinians suffered from that too, and that certainly is part of the problem. The suicide bombings and current violence really got going when Sharon visited the Dome of the Rock/Temple Mount as a provocation. Hamas, which grew strong by providing social services and not being corrupt, gained more favor; as Israeli responses became more violent, many Palestinians decided that Israel could not make peace, and believed only in keeping them under control.

Only someone utterly ignorant of history could possibly claim that the Palestinians are suffering self-inflicted wounds alone. Sure, the Arabs two generations ago should have accepted the UNSCOP plan, and they are to blame for that, but the current dynamic is a result of the 1967 war.

And it is utterly inhumane to somehow accept the suffering of innocents just because they happen to be of an ethnic group who has members who are not innocent. Humans are individuals — that’s what libertarianism is supposedly about isn’t it, avoiding collectivization and collective guilt?

All that said, if I were arguing with people who take the "Israel is evil" argument (and I’ve argued with many of those), I’d be pointing out the Palestinian and Arab errors, and how they share the blame. It’s frustrating when rather than analyze honestly people pick sides and look for evidence to support their side in a two dimensional world where cooperation and compromise are considered weakness.

That kind of thinking leads to situations like what we have now.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The thing about a truce is, everyone stops shooting. No precondtions need apply.
Laime, for heaven sake, of course preconditions apply.

For instance, on precondition is both sides have to agree, whether formally or informally, not to shoot. Without that very important precondition, no truce, huh?
Instead of playing judge in the blame game, the US and the world should play a conflict-resolution role.
With whom?! Who on the Palestinian side can speak for all of them and make it stick?

Name him (or them) please. I know who can do it on the Israeli side. Name the equivalent on the Palestinian side.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
How can you sit there and type that with a straight face? What causes people to get to the point where they see no choice but suicide bombing to try to end an occupation? Look at how the Palestinians have been humiliated and oppressed for almost 40 years. See? Both sides can play that game and do.
You sound dangerously close to those bleeding hearts back in the 70’s and 80’s who always wanted to excuse any criminals because of their social condition.

How’d that turn out again Scott?

So your basic position Scott, is this: Because the Israelis have swimming pools and the Pali’s don’t, it’s acceptable and understandable for them to throw dynamite vests on kids and blow up busses and pizzerias?

Your position is that if someone gets to a point where they feel they have no other options, it’s acceptable to blow their kids away? What do you care, you still have YOUR kids I guess.

Scott, where was this "occupation" that caused Hamas to perpetuate a deliberate act of war by kidnapping that soldier? Just wondering.

OOOOPS!

When Arafat was offered 99% of what he wanted at Camp David, and instead of taking the deal sold his people down the river by starting his intifada, was that because Israel humiliated them for 40 years?

OOOOPS!

Look, the bottom line is that you excuse the most evil, immoral acts under the guise of....I don’t even know what your reason is. Period. There is no getting around it. You knowingly and actively aid and abet evil.

I feel shame for you, because you cannot feel any for yourself
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
emotional attachment to a ’them vs. us’ mentality
Wake up pal. This world certainly is THEM vs US. And they believe it, even if you don’t.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
You are ignorant of history,


A Ph D you may have but a MONOPOLY on Mid-East History you do not.
and you are engaged in the fallacy of collectivism: you are treating the Palestinians as a collectively resonsible for the acts of a few.

Oh really so the PLO and then Hamas and Al-Aqsa represent only a FEW of the Palestinians, even though polling data shows most Palestinians support the Suicide Bombings? And oh of course Dr Erb only 34% of Germans voted Nazi in 1932, and yet we ahd to punish ALL of them for the actions that their leaders took. Sorry can’t just say "Bob you’re bad, you’ve gotta go." Or rather when the Israelis DO just that, you know assassinate selected individuals that’s not good either. So yeah, Dr. Erb COLLECTIVE consequences are sometimes the unfortunate side effect of bad decisions made by many even if they don’t represent all. And whne the Israelis DO hold individuals responsible, well they don’t get no cred either do they?


and they are to blame for that, but the current dynamic is a result of the 1967 war.
Uh you mean the war provoked by the EGYPTIANS, by the ILLEGAL closure of an International Waterway and then the deployment of the Egyptian Army to the Sinai and the removal of the Peacekeeping forces from the 1956 war and the bellicose statements about driving the Jews into the SEA? You mean THAT war, right? The war the Arabs brought on themselves? You mean that war, the war that at a MINIMUM was designed to produce a crisis in Israel by forcing a total mobilization of Tzahal? You mean THAT war? So you’re saying that becasue the Arabs started a crisis and that ended in their utter defeat somehow STILL the Israelis are to blame?

And then the PLO/Fatah adopts the People’s War Strtegy and the tactics of terror, and then adopts the three no’s, but STILL that dynamic is the Israelis fault? Doctor you may ahve a PhD and you may teach, but you are awfully silly.
And it is utterly inhumane to somehow accept the suffering of innocents just because they happen to be of an ethnic group who has members who are not innocent.



You mean like Israelis at a Sbarro’s Pizza or at a Seder right? You mean like those folks that Hizb’Allah rained Katyushas ddown on in Galilee, right? You mean like the people of Galilee in 1982 that were shot at by the PLO, right? You mean the kibbutzim in the Golan area, pre-’67 who the Syrians shot at, right? Or do you mean the Israeli athletes at Munich or Leon Klinghoffer or Robert Steadham, right? Those INNOCENT folks are covered by this too, RIGHT? The Palestinains, THEEIR RECOGNIZED REPRESENTATIVES, CONSCIOUSLY adopted a policy that targeted Israelis and Europeans, irrespective of their "guilt" or "innocence" in re: the Palestinian issue, but you got a case of the @rse with the Israelis?!?! I’m sorry I’m having difficulty understanding your point when one group DELIBERATELY targets civilians and one side doesn’t....
Humans are individuals — that’s what libertarianism is supposedly about isn’t it, avoiding collectivization and collective guilt?
Sadly enough Dr. Erb in case you haven’t grasped it yet, I’m NOT a L/libertarian.
All that said, if I were arguing with people who take the "Israel is evil" argument (and I’ve argued with many of those), I’d be pointing out the Palestinian and Arab errors, and how they share the blame. It’s frustrating when rather than analyze honestly people pick sides and look for evidence to support their side in a two dimensional world where cooperation and compromise are considered weakness.

That kind of thinking leads to situations like what we have now.


Or brutal authoritarian kleptocrats targetting civilians leads to where we are now. People so blinded by their ideology that rather than take 90% of SOMETHING, they’d rather launch a fruitless, brutal, futile war that kills their own people whilst killing innocent civilians leads us to where we are. That and silly folk trying to be "nice" and "even-handed" leads us to the point where we are now...or Realists who want a second chance to influence policy after their time has come and gone leads us to where we are now...
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
You mean like Israelis at a Sbarro’s Pizza or at a Seder right?
And Palestinians can sight a lot of examples to innocents being shot down too. Your appeal to emotion and attempt to only acknowledge the suffering of one side reeks of bigotry and irrationality. Both sides suffer, both sides have had horrible things done to them, both sides share blame. If you can’t accept or understand that, then you’re going through life with blinders. Oh well, some people choose to be ignorant.

And one can certainly pick and choose historical facts and interpretations and find fault with both sides as well.

Yet my main points remain totally unrefuted. All you did was go on a rant that didn’t address the fundamental issue. Both sides share blame for this mess, both sides have to learn to accept the reality that neither can win. The only solution is a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestine. The road ahead to get that is tough, but when both sides act like spoiled little children and simply blame the other side and turn a blind eye to the perspective of the other side, then they’ll just keep killing each other.
So your basic position Scott, is this: Because the Israelis have swimming pools and the Pali’s don’t, it’s acceptable and understandable for them to throw dynamite vests on kids and blow up busses and pizzerias?
You just don’t get it. I’m the one condemning that kind of violence no matter which side perpetrates it. I’m the one who refuses to take sides, I condemn Palestinian and Israeli acts of violence which kill innocents. I’m the one who recognizes that the only solution is a SECURE Israel alongside a viable Palestine. You are caught up in the rather ignorant mindset of "one side good, the other side evil, the evil must be defeated." Sorry, that’s not reality. It’s not only an absurd view, but one doomed to failure as neither side can win if this is a military conflict.

So pick and choose. Ignore innocent deaths when caused by "your" side, feel them intensely and use them for emotional proganda if caused by "their" side. Some of us led by principle will criticize and condemn acts of BOTH sides when appropriate, and understand the causes for hatred and mistrust on BOTH sides. Only then can one truly understand the situation.

But that’s too hard for some people I guess, and complexity isn’t as emotionally satisfying as treating this like a game where you root for "your team."
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And Palestinians can sight a lot of examples to innocents being shot down too. Your appeal to emotion and attempt to only acknowledge the suffering of one side reeks of bigotry and irrationality. Both sides suffer, both sides have had horrible things done to them, both sides share blame. If you can’t accept or understand that, then you’re going through life with blinders. Oh well, some people choose to be ignorant.
Do you say the same thing about the Germans and Japanese in WWII? After all THEY suffered too...and for the same reasons, they started a conflict which ended badly for them. You know I quote some facts to you, you know that whole "1967 war" dynamic but I don’t hear much response on that. I’m not ignorant, I just say that when a people refuses to acknowledge the right of the existence of their much more powerful neighbor they bring consequences down on themselves.

You ARE arguing the point I made aren’t you? The Palestinians are in a hole of their own making, but because THEY MADE it they deserve even more of our sympathy, right?

When I quote to you some of the acts of the PLO/Fatah/Arabs surrounding the Israelis I get some line about appeals to emotion. You are a sad moral relativist. Rather than assessing and weighing you just want "everyone" to be guilty, so that way you don’t have to own up that one group has been a WHOLE LOT WORSE than another group, because for some reason that causes you pain...

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I used to be more pro-Palestinians than pro-Israeli, but the Palestinians have converted me...into a far more pro-Israel stance.

Whats the number 1 stumbling block to peace in Israel/Palestine? The settlements? The wall? NO.

The No. 1 impediment to peace is a lack on the Palestinian side of a state monopoly on the use of violence. Until they fix that, why should Israel negotiate anything? It’s pointless.

The wall is working, so the wall will stay. The Palestinians lost their chance before to take a deal. Now they can enjoy their Hamas lifestyle.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
This is the sorriest exchange I’ve read - ever.
It boiled down to personal insults and an argument about who is suffering more. My God, how do you rate suffering? If you’ve lost one arm, it doesn’t count because someone else lost two?

My parents suffered greatly from the Communist takeover of the country of my birth. Until the day he died, a person who had said hello on the street to someone who’s uncle had had a drink with someone who lived next door to a Communist was labeled as ’the enemy’ by my father. His hatred and suspicions sucked the air out of any possibility of him having a happy life. My mother suffered no less, but she didn’t resort to hating whole countries or peoples or their relatives. She was a much happier person, who did what good she could for whoever needed her, not asking for their ideological certificate of worthiness.
I learned a lot from my two, different, parents.

Carter is right about this: there is somehting wrong when there is a topic in this country which can’t be discussed in a rational manner.

No one cares more about the future of Israel than I. There are families living there, spanning three generations, that I care deeply about. When they are afraid, I’m afraid. I want the grandchildren to live in a safer Israel than the grandparents.

But we talk and discuss. They don’t think their government is always right. They see the situation more realistically than most champions of Israel in the US. They, sometimes, feel as trapped by the ideologues there as I do by ours here. They understand the difference between loving your country and being blindly obedient to its powerful.

And most of all, they understand the dangers in stopping to see Palestinians as individual people, with their cares and their sorrows and their joys. It would be easier not to bother, to just label them all ’terrorists’ and turn away.
But they fight against the temptation, not for the Palestinians, but for the sake of their own souls.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
I used to be more pro-Palestinians than pro-Israeli, but the Palestinians have converted me...into a far more pro-Israel stance.
I think that kind of collectivist thinking is the problem. Jewish and Palestinian extremists are the problem: those who oppose peace, hate the other side, and want to "push the Arabs into the desert" or "push the Jews into the sea." The innocents on each side are caught up in a mix of fear and suffering, with arguably the Palestinians living much more difficult lives, in much more danger than the Israelis. Yet I remain pro-Israel: Israel deserves a state with security, since regardless of whether or not it was right to create Israel, it exists and has identity now. I am also pro-Palestinian: the Palestinians have suffered, believe their land was taken by European colonists who had a bizarre argument that since people of their religion lived there 2000 years ago they had a right to create a state, and have been under occupation. They lost land by not accepting the UNSCOP plan in 1948, but that was generations ago. Now they deserve a viable state containing the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem.

The key is how to get a secure Israel and a viable Palestine. That’s the only solution. The only way to be truly pro-Israel is to also be pro-Palestine. Not pro-extremist or pro-terrorist or pro-militarist, but focus on the people. Humans are humans.

It is interesting that the responses to my arguments tend to either be personal insults or crude assertions (’it is them vs. us’, ’the Palestinians are to blame for everything bad that happens to them’, or bizarre attempts to involke the Nazis and the Japenses - eyes rolling -). The intellectual vacuity of such responses suggests they are emotion-driven and not really thought out or based on any rational assessment of the situation. Alas, a lot of political discourse is that way these days, but I think the tide is turning in foreign policy. Perhaps a little frustration is seeping out of those against whom the tide is turning.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And most of all, they understand the dangers in stopping to see Palestinians as individual people, with their cares and their sorrows and their joys. It would be easier not to bother, to just label them all ’terrorists’ and turn away.
But they fight against the temptation, not for the Palestinians, but for the sake of their own souls.
Very well put (the whole post). I think the dynamic of commenting back and forth on the internet lends itself to emotional exchanges rather than rational discussion, especially since people react to what they think the other person means, or even a caricature of how they imagine the other person to be. Then responses from each side reinforce that caricature (sort of like road rage — people don’t know the drivers personally so its easier to see them as some kind of idiot enemy) and its hard to have a good discussion. This seems especially true with thorny issues like this one. Unfortunately, this is becoming typical of American political discourse, though the last elections give me hope: not because the Democrats won, but because the message seemed to be that the public wanted cooperation not yelling.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
//Now they deserve a viable state containing the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. //

Why?

//a bizarre argument that since people of their religion lived there 2000 years ago they had a right to create a state//
"People of their religion" had lived there for much more than 2000 years, but the bigger point is that they had continued to live there throughout that time despite persecution and violence.

//The key is how to get a secure Israel and a viable Palestine. That’s the only solution.///
Scott, what do you do when the other side won’t take yes for an answer?
 
Written By: odd2
URL: http://
I’m the one condemning that kind of violence no matter which side perpetrates it. I’m the one who refuses to take sides, I condemn Palestinian and Israeli acts of violence which kill innocents
Congratulations. You’re basically useless, just stand there hand wringing and biting your lower lip as you show off your percieved moral superiority like a preening peacock.

It is the most childish and simplistic statement to sit there and condemn both sides. In fact, it’s the most pathetic kind of copout. It involves you making no judgements, no moral determinations, on asessment of values. Instead, it allows you to sit there and coo like a pigeon, allows you to wallow in self-righteousness and self-satisfied smugness with yourself as you stay above it all. Get out of the ivory tower Erb, and stop living the delusion that the ability to see several "shades of gray" as opposed to black and white is the height of moral sophistication.

You keep talking about the solution. That’s nice, now be a good boy and explain HOW do we get there?

Not in platitudes mind you.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Perhaps a little frustration is seeping out of those against whom the tide is turning.
So if they get frustrated enough with you to blow up your kids in a pizzeria....you would understand, as per your earlier posts, correct?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
And 1 more post if I may:

Scott, you certainly have chosen sides in this thread, despite your prostets to the contrary.

You have made it very clear that you hold Israel responsible for what they have done/do:
including incidents of soldiers goading children to throw rocks and then shooting them
You have also made it clear that you hold Israel responsible for what the Palis do also:
The humiliation of almost 40 years of occupation without real political rights has yielded a desparate people increasingly willing to use fanatical means to achieve their goals
What causes people to get to the point where they see no choice but suicide bombing to try to end an occupation? Look at how the Palestinians have been humiliated and oppressed for almost 40 years
Care to explain?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
A viable Palestine is a chimera. Of course that depends on whatever your definition of "viable" is.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Scott, you certainly have chosen sides in this thread, despite your prostets to the contrary.

You have made it very clear that you hold Israel responsible for what they have done/do:
Israel is responsible for their choices, the Palestinians are responsible for their choices. That’s how life works. I can also explain why Israel chooses to do the things they do, and you cite an explanation about why the Palestinians act the way they do. Both sides can be understood, that, as I noted was the problem, each perspective easily justifies what each side does. Only by going beyond that and recognizing the mutual responsibility for both the situation and the outcome can they achieve the only possible solution: a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestine.
It is the most childish and simplistic statement to sit there and condemn both sides.
No, it’s the only honest position. To pretend either side is blameless and blame only one side is pathetic. If you see an issue like the life and death of innocents as some kind of team sport, I just hope you’re not in a position of any responsibility.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I like Michael Kinsley’s thoughts
Jimmy Carter’s moronic new book about Israel.
And yes, it is moronic.


 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Israel is responsible for their choices, the Palestinians are responsible for their choices
Then why in the quotes I show above, do you clearly blame Israel?

Don’t go changing your story because you were caught out.
No, it’s the only honest position. To pretend either side is blameless and blame only one side is pathetic. If you see an issue like the life and death of innocents as some kind of team sport, I just hope you’re not in a position of any responsibility
As opposed to someone like you who makes excuses for some of the lowest and most vile acts of murder? Your hand wringing is simply for show, another "look at me" preening peacock display
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Then why in the quotes I show above, do you clearly blame Israel?
I blame both Israel and the Palestinians/Arabs. What you cited was a response to someone who said ONLY the Palestinians were to blame. Unlike those who make excuses for one side and just blame the other, I understand both sides, condemn the strategies used, and call on each to change. Why do you keep refusing to understand that? Their destinies are linked, neither side can "win."

Why do you cut out the portion of the post where I said I can explain why each side does what they do, and noted that the part you cited was the explanation of why the Palestinians get angry enough to use terror. You cut that part out because, well, it makes your whole point obviously wrong.

I could also talk about the initial attacks on Israel from the Arab states, the radical rhetoric from Hamas and others saying Israel should not exist, the fact that Israel isn’t even on the maps of most of the Arab world, the difficulty defending Israel if a Palestinian state cut it in half with some kind of attack, anger at terrorism attacking civilians, etc., to explain why Israel does what it does.

In fact, I pointed out many times that from each sides’ perspective there are strong reasons to rationalize all they do. That is precisely the kind of thinking they have to break out of. But they can only do it together, one side cannot fix this alone.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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