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Xavier_Onassis

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Debunking myths about Israel
« on: May 26, 2011, 02:17:14 PM »
Debunking our myths about Israel
By Ira Chernus

    *

Debunking our myths about Israel
AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov
An Israeli tank advances near an army base on the Israel Gaza border in southern Israel, Sunday, May 8, 2011.
This originally appeared on TomDispatch.

Tuches aufn tish: Buttocks on the table. That's the colorful way my Yiddish-speaking ancestors said, "Let's cut the BS and talk about honest truth." It seems like a particularly apt expression after a week watching the shadow-boxing between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that brought no tangible progress toward an Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The truth, like the table, is usually hard and uncomfortable. President Obama's carefully hedged public call for a two-state solution along Israel's 1967 borders may indeed represent a new step. Maybe it will even prove part of some long-range game plan that will eventually pay off. But here's the problem: as of now, Obama shows no inclination to back his words with the power the U.S. government could wield. Until he does, those words won't provoke any change in Israel's domination of the Palestinians.

And there's a deeper issue. The influential Israeli columnist Sever Plocker pointed to the heart of the matter: the American president has "unequivocally adopted the essence of the Israeli-Zionist narrative." Plocker might have said the same about all top American political leaders and the U.S. media as well. The American conversation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is dominated by the story that most Israelis tell.

Ass-Backward Realities

Tuches aufn tish. Let's be honest. The Israeli story doesn't merely distort the truth, it turns the truth ass-backwards. Eerily enough, its basic claims about the Palestinians more accurately describe the Israelis themselves.

    * Continue reading

The Israelis might as well be looking in the mirror and talking about themselves when they say things like "They are the aggressors; we're the victims just defending ourselves." That's part of an Israeli-generated myth of insecurity whose premise is that Israel bears all the risk in the conflict with the Palestinians. Obama fed into that myth in his recent "Arab Spring" speech when he called, in effect, for an even swap: the Palestinians would get a state and the Israelis would get security, as if the massively stronger Israelis are the main ones suffering from insecurity.

In the process, he repeated a familiar mantra, "Our commitment to Israel's security is unshakeable," and offered a vague warning that "technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself." Perhaps that was a coded way of hinting that someday some other Mideast nation might have a handful of nuclear weapons -- as if any of them could threaten Israel, which already has as many as 200 nukes and can surely build more.

Obama did make one reference to what he called "the assumption of Palestinian security." That's how the Israelis typically phrase their long-standing hope that the Palestinian police will become what Netanyahu once called Israel's "sub-contractors," taking over from Israeli soldiers the job of quashing resistance to Israel and its policies. Again, the premise is that Israel bears all the risk.

Yet the Palestinians are far more insecure than the Israelis. Like any victims of colonial military occupation, they're constantly subject to the threat of death and destruction without notice, at the whim of the Israeli military, and increasingly from Israeli settlers as well. Over the last quarter-century, the conflict has killed roughly eleven Palestinians for every Israeli who died. And yet you'll never find this line in the speech of an American politician: "Our commitment to Palestine's security is unshakeable."

Obama did declare that "every state has the right to self-defense." In the next breath, however, he demanded that a new Palestinian state must have no army. Would any sovereign nation accept such a demand, especially if its closest neighbor had dominated and pummeled its people for years and possessed by far the most powerful military in the region? Yet the idea of a "demilitarized" Palestinian state is a given in the U.S. and Israel, as if the only conceivable future threat could come from those occupied, not from the former occupier.

The staggering power imbalance between occupier and occupied points to another looking-glass-style distortion that dominates America's conversation about the issue: the absurd idea that the two parties could negotiate as equals, that the weaker of the two, which has already given up approximately 78 percent of its territory, must be the one to make the major compromises, and then operate as a nation from a position of utter weakness.

Obama told a meeting of Jewish leaders in private that he knows the truth of the situation: "Israel is the stronger party here… And Israel needs to create the context for [peace] to happen." But as long as his public words reinforce the myth of Israel's insecurity, the Israelis can safely resist any demands for change.

Staring into the Mirror

The Israelis justify their intransigence with yet another looking-glass claim: "We want peace more than anything, but they have no interest in peace." Israelis love to repeat a phrase coined decades ago by their foreign minister Abba Eban, speaking about Arab leaders: "They never miss a chance to miss a chance for peace."

In reality, it's the Palestinians who should lodge that complaint against Israel."Israel's right needs perpetual war" is the way the eminent Israeli intellectual Zeev Sternhell sums up the situation. Netanyahu, like all right-wing Israeli leaders, has in fact built his career on his image as the toughest of hawks when it comes to the Palestinians. With the Israeli electorate shifting steadily rightward in the twenty-first century, that image serves him better than ever. So, even as he pleads his devotion to peace, he shows no interest in actually ending the conflict -- and the creeping Israeli program of ongoing settlement-building in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank only guarantees that the conflict will continue.

As it happens, however, the need for an enemy, and so for an ongoing conflict, isn't restricted to the political right or the settlers. "Our enemies have made us one, and, thus united, we suddenly discover our strength" Theodore Herzl wrote in Zionism's founding tract, "The Jews' State." And perceptive Israeli commentators have been asking for years what would hold Israeli Jews together if they had no common Arab or Palestinian enemy. That is still "the defining question" for all Israelis, according to Avraham Burg, former speaker of the Israeli Knesset: "Can we continue to exist without a perennial adversary, without being victims of persecution?"

Sadly, the answer for most Israelis seems to be: no. A prominent Jewish columnist in the Jerusalem Post said it best: "Israelis get mad when you tell them we don't have to keep going to war, that we're strong enough to deter our enemies… People don't want to hear anything about possibilities for peace… All they want to hear is ein breira, we have no choice, it's either fight or die."

Israeli political life suffers from "a real obsession," according to the editors of Israel's most respected newspaper, Haaretz, "a sense that we are constantly under attack.. an insanity of persecution."

That's an old story, of course. "Israel's position today is similar to its position after the wars of 1948 and of 1967," an editorial in Haaretz noted: "The potential for negotiations was there, but the [political] cost was considered too high. Now, too, maintaining the status quo appears to be preferable to making changes that Israelis perceive as threatening, even if they do not necessarily pose a genuine danger."

The recent Hamas-Fatah reconciliation gave Israelis a new imaginary danger to worry about. The news of Palestinian unity launched a verbal tsunami in Israel, a flood of warnings that a far-right theocratic ideology might easily take control of a Palestinian state. President Obama fed that fear when he said "Hamas has been and is an organization that has resorted to terror; that has refused to acknowledge Israel's right to exist. It is not a partner for a significant, realistic peace process."

"Israel obviously cannot be asked to negotiate with a government that is backed by the Palestinian version of al Qaeda," Netanyahu responded.

It's just another case of Israelis staring into that mirror. Hamas has, in fact, been moving steadily toward a form of secular nationalism and greater political moderation. Its government in Gaza is busy fending off threats from the true theocrats of the Muslim right, who despise Hamas. The rare volleys of Hamas rockets that now come into Israel are triggered by and responses to Israeli attacks.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has been saying for years that he and his party are absolutely willing to accept a two-state solution -- implicitly accepting the permanent existence of Israel -- as long as a majority of Palestinians approve it. Meshaal now speaks of "peace" rather than merely "truce" and views the infamous Hamas charter, calling for the destruction of Israel, as no longer relevant.

When it comes to the all-important question of recognition, it's Israel that refuses to recognize Hamas as a legitimate party or the Palestinians' right to be a democratic state and choose their own government. Meanwhile, the Israeli government has been doing exactly what it accuses Hamas of doing -- opening the door to increasingly reactionary, racist, and theocratic laws. "Public opinion polls point to increasing extremism, bordering on racism, in Jews' opinion of Arabs," as Haaretz has noted, so "it's no wonder there is no public pressure on the government to advance the peace process."

Israel is fast coming under the sway of far-right theocrats, and "ever more Israelis are infected by the symptoms of Messianic thinking: ‘We are right, and the whole world is wrong; hence we must no longer listen to anybody,'" as one Israeli Jewish columnist observed.

Then there's the upcoming vote in the U.N. General Assembly in September, when Palestine is expected to be granted full status as a nation. In his speech, Obama echoed the Israeli line that the Palestinian push for recognition there will harm chances for peace. In fact the vote would promote the peace process by pushing a nay-saying Israel closer to what it now fears most: finally being forced by irresistible world opinion to negotiate peace rather than become a pariah state.

There's one last point that Obama and American public discourse get absolutely backwards: the idea that being a friend of Israel's means endorsing its popular narrative, which offers no more truth than Alice's looking-glass. Real friends don't enable their friends to engage in self-destructive behavior. Real friends wouldn't let them get so drunk on a delusional story that they have no compunctions about driving what might otherwise be a peace process off a cliff.

The U.S. has the power to push the Israelis away from that cliff and head them in a new direction. There's real truth in the common Israeli joke that the U.S. is "the eight-ton elephant that can sit down anywhere it wishes."

Yes, Obama can put his tuches anywhere he wants. If he ever feels politically safe enough, he just might put it on the table. Then, Israel might have to leave the looking-glass world and agree to start genuine peace negotiations.
"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

Plane

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Re: Debunking myths about Israel
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2011, 06:30:15 PM »
Quote
Obama fed into that myth in his recent "Arab Spring" speech when he called, in effect, for an even swap: the Palestinians would get a state and the Israelis would get security, as if the massively stronger Israelis are the main ones suffering from insecurity.


  The Palistinians have nothing to offer to Isreal but good behavior, which Isreal can get by building better fenses and more barriers between Palistinian workers and work.

  What elese have the Palestinians got to put on the table at all?

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: Debunking myths about Israel
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2011, 08:17:59 PM »
Israel's occupation of the WB is illegitimate. The Israelis living are not doing so with the consent of the legitimate  citizens of that territory do not belong. Fences and walls are also illegitimate unless they are built only on Israeli territory, and many of these are built on WB land.

Jews will eventually be outnumbered by Palestinian citizens of Israel, and at that time, Israel will cease to be democratic, or cease to be a Jewish state.
"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

sirs

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Re: Debunking myths about Israel
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2011, 08:28:41 PM »
Israel's occupation of the WB is illegitimate.

Actually, it's not.....War 101.....that myth now debunked......next



"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Plane

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Re: Debunking myths about Israel
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2011, 08:50:06 PM »

Jews will eventually be outnumbered by Palestinian citizens of Israel, and at that time, Israel will cease to be democratic, or cease to be a Jewish state.

Which of these would be good news?

Quote
Israel's occupation of the WB is illegitimate. The Israelis living are not doing so with the consent of the legitimate  citizens of that territory do not belong. Fences and walls are also illegitimate unless they are built only on Israeli territory, and many of these are built on WB land.

People generally consider legitamate , whatever they need to for staying alive.

If Palestinians outreproduce their meas of support they will be miserably poor no matter what elese they do, this is a singleness of purpose that garruntees all victorys will be Pyrric.

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: Debunking myths about Israel
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2011, 10:19:33 PM »
Israel is among the most hated countries on the planet due to their persecution and apartheid treatment of the Palestinians. The more they are hated, the more likely a boycott of the sort that brought South Africa down will happen. Everyone knows that they will not be exterminated or pushed into the sea: they will end up in the US, Canada or Australia for the most part.

Not being hated and boycotted would be a really good reason for them to get their butts seriously to the negotiation table. There are a lot of Jews who are sick of Netanyahu.

"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

Plane

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Re: Debunking myths about Israel
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2011, 11:03:22 PM »
  Jews caught a lot of hatred before there was any excuse for it.

  I am sorry for them all , but there isn't hope for Palestine.

This is the one country on the planet that thinks of overpopulation as a good thing, if they are handed everything they are asking for and a half , Palestine will become a nation , and it will become a nation that will make Hati look prosperous.

sirs

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Re: Debunking myths about Israel
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2011, 02:20:33 AM »
And that's the Plane truth      8)      (for Xo's edification, pun intended)
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: Debunking myths about Israel
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2011, 09:55:42 AM »
If Jews were hated elsewhere for some reason or no reason, the reason they were hated in Palestine is and has always been their theft of land on the assumption that God gave it to them.

Israel is not the Payback for the Holocaust.

That would involve giving the Jews a chunk of Germany and Austria.

Israel subsidizes huge families of Ultra-Orthodox, who contribute NOTHING to the economy, unless you count Torah studies. Israel says that anyone who claims to be a Jew is an automatic citizen the moment they get off the plane. That is overpopulation as well. The Israelis are just not as good at it.

"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

sirs

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Re: Debunking myths with truths about Israel
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2011, 07:34:12 PM »
Five Simple Truths about the Mideast Conflict

Is there any subject more controversial than the question of the legitimacy of the modern State of Israel?
Is it the eternal home of the Jewish people, promised to them by God Himself?
Or is it the illegitimate home of violent Jewish occupiers, an apartheid state guilty of ethnic cleansing?
Or is it something in between?

In the midst of the often emotional arguments on both sides, it is helpful to review five simple truths about the Mideast conflict.

1. There is no such thing as a historic "Palestinian people" living in the Middle East. To be sure, there have been Arabs living in the land of Palestine for centuries. (The land of Israel was derisively renamed "Palestine" by the Romans in the second century A.D.). And it is true that some of these families have lived in Palestine without interruption for many generations. But at no time before 1967 did these Arabs identify themselves as "Palestinians," nor did they seek to achieve any kind of statehood there.

As expressed by former terrorist Walid Shoebat, "Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian?"

Before 1967, there was no such thing as Arab, Palestinian nationalism and no attempt to develop the territory as a homeland for the Arabs who lived there, and in 1936, when the Palestine Orchestra was formed, it was a Jewish orchestra. In fact, the original name of the Jerusalem Post, the flagship Jewish newspaper, was the Palestine Post.

There is no question that there are several million people who identify themselves as Palestinians today, and many of these people have suffered great hardship in recent years. Nonetheless, the concept of a Palestinian people is a modern invention, and it is part of the anti-Israel propaganda machine without any basis in fact. The recent comments of Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, claiming a 9,000 year Palestinian pedigree, are purely fictional: "Oh, Netanyahu, you are incidental in history; we are the people of history. We are the owners of history."


2. There were anti-Jewish intifadas in Palestine two decades before the founding of the State of Israel in 1948. We are often told that Jews and Arabs coexisted peacefully in Palestine prior to the formation of the Jewish state in 1948, or at least, prior to the rise of strong Jewish nationalism. In reality, as Jews began to return to their one and only ancestral homeland in the late 19th century, hostilities began to rise among their Arab neighbors, despite the fact that there was more than enough room for both.

By the 1920's, radical Muslim leaders like Haj Amin Al-Husseini, later a confidant of Adolph Hitler, were organizing intifadas against the Jewish population, with many Jewish lives lost. And what helped fuel Al-Husseini's Jew-hatred was the anti-Jewish sentiment found in the Koran and early Muslim traditions. Post-1948 Jew-hatred simply built on centuries of Islamic anti-Semitism.

3. Jewish refugees fleeing from Muslim and Arab countries were absorbed by Israel after 1948; Arab refugees fleeing from Israel after 1948 were not absorbed by Muslim and Arab countries. Despite the fact that the Muslim nations surrounding Israel are 650 times the size of this tiny state, they made no effort to absorb the approximately 600,000 Arab refugees who fled Israel in 1948 when war was declared on Israel by five neighboring Arab nations.

To this day, these refugees are not welcomed by other Arab states.

As expressed more than 20 years ago by Ralph Galloway, former head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, "The Arab States do want to solve the refugee problem. They want to keep it as an open sore, as an affront to the United Nations and as a weapon against Israel." Yet Israel absorbed roughly 800,000 Jewish refugees that had to flee from Muslim nations after 1948.


4. Only one side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is truly committed to peaceful co-existence. It is often stated that if the Palestinians put down their weapons, there would be no more war but if the Israelis put down their weapons, there would be no more Israel.

This is not to say that all Palestinians are warmongers and all Israelis are doves. But the vast majority of Israelis are not driven by a radical ideology that calls for the extermination of their Arab neighbors, nor are they teaching their children songs about the virtues of religious martyrdom.

Israel does not relish spending a major portion of its budget on defense, nor does it relish sending its sons and daughters into military service. It simply will not surrender Jerusalem, its historic and religious capital, and it will not commit regional suicide by retreating to indefensible borders. In return it simply asks the Palestinians to say, "We embrace your right to exist."


5. The current uprisings throughout the Muslim and Arab world today remind us that Israel cannot fairly be blamed for all the tension and conflicts in the region.

The nation of Israel is obviously not faultless in the current conflict, but it is ludicrous to think that without the presence of this supposed evil nation in the Middle East, all would be well. There have been constant disputes between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, and in 1980, Abd Alhalim Khaddam, then Syria?s Foreign Minister, admitted, "If we look at a map of the Arab Homeland, we can hardly find two countries without conflict. . . . We can hardly find two countries which are not either in a state of war or on the road to war."


Certainly, there are many obstacles that stand in the way of a true peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, and the road ahead is fraught with uncertainty, but it would be a good starting point if we replaced myths and emotional arguments with facts.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2011, 07:48:59 PM by sirs »
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Christians4LessGvt

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Re: Debunking myths about Israel
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2011, 07:51:41 PM »
If Jews were hated elsewhere for some reason or no reason, the reason they were hated in Palestine is and has always been their theft of land

And almost all of the haters sit on land "stolen" from someone else.
I say "F" 'em....
Israel should not give an inch to an enemy that wants to destroy them
That is called insanity!
I don't give a rats ass who the haters hate...bunch of hypocrites
"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" - Ronald Reagan - June 12, 1987

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: Debunking myths about Israel
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2011, 09:02:10 PM »
Whether you give a rat's ass or not and about what will not change one damn thing.

Other than you have a chance to not look like an idiot.

The Romans renamed Judea "Palestine" after the Palestinian people, known in Biblical times as Philistines. Archaeologists believe that the Philistines were refugees from Mycenean Greece around 400 BCE. They were said to have introduced pigs into the area.

Closely related to Jews, Palestinians represent "descendants of a core population that lived in the area since prehistoric times."[17] Since the time of the Muslim conquests in the 7th century, Palestinians have been predominantly Muslim by religious affiliation and linguistically and culturally Arab.[13] Most Palestinians are Sunni Muslims, but there is a significant Palestinian Christian minority of various Christian denominations, as well as Druze Palestinians and a small Samaritan community. Palestinian Jews made up part of the population of Palestine prior to the creation of the State of Israel, but very few identify as "Palestinian" today. The vernacular of Palestinians, irrespective of religion, is the Palestinian dialect of Arabic. For those who are Arab citizens of Israel, many are bilingual and fluent in Modern Hebrew. Those in the diaspora speak the languages of their host countries in addition to Arabic or to its exclusion.
=====================

Not all Jews are descendants of the Hebrews, either. Many Russian and Polish Jews are descendants of the Khazars, a Turkic people who converted to Judaism around 800 AD.

There are people who believe themselves to be Palestinians, no matter what some right wing Orthodox clowns claim, just as the descendants of the Khazars consider themselves to be Jews.

What you are quoting here is a right wing bunch of crap that most Jews themselves do not believe. Spew it elsewhere, no one sane believes this.

There were Palestinians Arabs in Israel before the Zionists came, and they were driven out by the Israeli Army. Others left at the instructions of the various Arab countries, who said there would be a 'free fire" zone established,and they left to avoid be caught in a battle. Then they were prevented from returning home.
 
"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

sirs

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Re: Debunking myths about Israel
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2011, 02:34:33 PM »
What you are quoting here is a right wing bunch of crap that most Jews themselves do not believe. Spew it elsewhere, no one sane believes this.

thank you for the unsubstantiated opinion (facts to hard core liberals is like Kryptonite to Superman.  They just wilt into slurs and demagoguery)

But by all means, refute those 5 truths posed...WITH FACTS, vs the ongoing unsubstantiated claims you keep persevering on.  I dare you to refute #3, in fact:

Jewish refugees fleeing from Muslim and Arab countries were absorbed by Israel after 1948; Arab refugees fleeing from Israel after 1948 were not absorbed by Muslim and Arab countries...To this day, these refugees are not welcomed by other Arab states


There were Palestinians Arabs in Israel before the Zionists came, and they were driven out by the Israeli Army. Others left at the instructions of the various Arab countries, who said there would be a 'free fire" zone established,and they left to avoid be caught in a battle. Then they were prevented from returning home.

A) Driven out only AFTER Israel was attacked
B) Arab countries REFUSED to absorb them, unlike Israel who being exponentially smaller, absorbed all their Jewish refugees
C) The damage was done...BY THE ARABS..in facilitating the current status-quo.  Ball in their court, if they actually want peace
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Xavier_Onassis

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Re: Debunking myths about Israel
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2011, 02:44:57 PM »
Jordan has accepted Palestinians as citizens. About half the population of Jordan are Palestinians.

Israel has the most to lose by not making a deal, although a deal would clearly benefit everyone.

"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana."

sirs

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Re: Debunking myths about Israel
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2011, 03:09:06 PM »
Finally, you got something right...Israel has the most to lose...their very existance.  And since the other state of this supposed "2 state arrangement", has on its governing charter the death of the other state, Israel needs to do squat, as it relates to negotiations, until that situation changes.  Just hunker down, and defend, with the best lands positions you have.
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle