Re: Obama And Jerusalem

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I've noticed the same thing about Tapper lately. Now if only he were right occasionally...


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 10:42 PM
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2!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 10:45 PM
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Insofar as Jerusalem is a "final status" issue, Obama left room for a UN-administered Jerusalem, didn't he? And isn't this one of the ideas being floated around?

(Caveat: I don't really keep up with these issues as much as I should, if I'm going to comment about it.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 11:02 PM
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i always thought that Israeli and Palestinians could have dual sitizenship, that way both nations can coexist on the same territory in the frame of the equal union with equal rights and priviliges for all sitizens, otherwise how do you divide Jerusalem, impossible


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:10 AM
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Obama's formulation seems designed to leave open the possibility of an eternal, undivided Jerusalem being the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state.

As panders go, I don't think this one is particularly harmful, since every Presidential candidate promises to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, and the State Department always puts the kibosh on it.

Also, it's painfully obvious that, whatever the outcome of final settlement talks, the Israelis are never going to budge on having Jerusalem as their capital, and anyway, you can kick that issue down the road for a long, long time while more substantive issues (with a non-symbolic impact on the lives of Palestinians) take precedence.

For example, I would much rather see Obama challenge the Israeli government (and AIPAC) on rolling back post-Oslo settlements in the West Bank or on border crossings than on the status of Jerusalem.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:38 AM
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For example, I would much rather see Obama challenge the Israeli government (and AIPAC) on rolling back post-Oslo settlements in the West Bank or on border crossings than on the status of Jerusalem.

You realize that there's a bunch of those settlements in Jerusalem, right?

Also, why stop at "post-Oslo" settlements? All the settlements have to go if you're serious about creating a viable Palestinian state. Of course, no one in the Israeli government wants an actually viable, independent Palestinian state, which is part of the reason those West Bank colonies are so useful. And there's no indication that Obama, or any other prominent American leader, really gives more than lip service to the idea of a Palestinian state at this point either.

As many, many people have noted before, the two-state solution is dead, and has been dead for a while. Those who want peace would be better off aiming for Palestinian citizenship in a binational state, as more and more Palestinian activists are beginning to do, than stringing along a dead peace process.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:03 AM
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no one in the Israeli government wants an actually viable, independent Palestinian state

Exactly. Nor is the Israeli government going to be willing to give Palestinians citizenship and make Jews a minority in Israel. Which is why I don't expect any solution to happen within my lifetime.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:17 AM
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This is harsh, but by now I basically think that I/P will stay about the same unless the US totally disengages from Israel and Israel suffers a frightening defeat, is forced to accept the loss of territory, has a complete change of government, and returns to the world community hat in hand to beg for protection of the new, diminished nation.

Not very likely to happen. More likely is continued US support for Israel at some high level, and continued Israeli intransigence and expansionism. Militarily they can do that without much help, up to a point. The Israelis seem to have adopted a go-for-broke strategy. Olmert isn't that great, but Netanyahu just hired Karl Rove.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:18 AM
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Netanyahu just hired Karl Rove

Sigh. We're going to have to fill Rove's mouth with garlic and drive a stake through his heart, aren't we?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:20 AM
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Also, 8 may be harsh, but I believe it's correct in every detail.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:21 AM
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Netanyahu just hired Karl Rove

Upside: if he's busy in western Asia during the American campaign, it'll reduce the amount of direct mischief he can make back home.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:23 AM
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Trivia: Netanyahu has an idiot stoner (distant) cousin in Portland OR. I know him.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:28 AM
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Is he a close enough cousin for unprincipled black propaganda?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:30 AM
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Unfortunately not.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:31 AM
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Yeah, I've been appreciating Tapper's blog lately, too. It takes me back to college, also, when he drew the newspaper's cartoon strip.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:34 AM
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This is harsh, but by now I basically think that I/P will stay about the same

It really can't; there's too many unsustainable elements in the mix. At some point Palestinians are going to actually outnumber Israelis within Israel, and Israel won't even be able to pretend to be a democracy. The increasingly popular Palestinian solution, as I mentioned, is citizenship; the increasingly popular Israeli solution is ethnic cleansing. Sorry, "transfer." One of those is going to happen, and probably in our lifetime (or mine, at least).


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:55 AM
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Israel won't even be able to pretend to be a democracy

I don't get the feeling that bothers them much.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:57 AM
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17: yeah, I mean, do they do that now in any kind of convincing way?

That said, I'm optimistic because... well, not for any reason, really. Just naturally optimistic. I could spout a lot of hooey about various unrelated events and "we never thought we'd see in our lifetime" and so on, but yeah, I have no reason for it.

Least convincing argument ever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:00 AM
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Israel won't even be able to pretend to be a democracy

If you talked to defenders of the ancien regime in South Africa before 1989, they would wax lyrical about how it was a functional democracy unlike all the tin pot dictatorships in the rest of Africa. If you pointed out that 85% of the population was disenfranchised, they would essentially argue that this didn't alter the basically democratic character of the regime because the black population were going to be able to run the Bantustans how they liked. I predict a re-run of this reasoning.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:05 AM
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In what I said, "transfer" would count as "staying the same". So would "The US continuing to give blanket support to increasingly harsh Israeli policies."

What I don't think will happen is any kind of peaceful, voluntary change for the better in Israeli policy without a majot Israeli defeat. Another thing that I don't think will happen is any refusal of American support to Israel. The tail will continue to wag the dog. And I suspect that as long as it has the level of American support it has, Israel will win militarily.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:08 AM
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yeah, I mean, do they do that now in any kind of convincing way?

The tagline "only democracy in the mideast" certainly seems to have a lot of currency in Congress.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:08 AM
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21: I wasn't talking about Congress. Congress is not well placed to recognize Democracy when it sees it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:11 AM
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The tagline "only democracy in the mideast"certainly seems to have a lot of currency in Congress

Despite the fact that Israel is arguably less democratic than, say, Iran.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:11 AM
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In what I said, "transfer" would count as "staying the same".

Except that it's not the same, any more than the Native American population was the same after the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:12 AM
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22: So this is an argument along the lines of, "Everyone recognizes this is the truth, except for, you know, everyone in America but us"?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:13 AM
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18.last to 25. I don't really have convincing arguments to make on this topic. I just -- given the real problems with every possible alternative -- choose to be mindlessly optimistic. I mean, what, am I going to vote for people with solidly worked out plans for how to resolve the situation? Like who?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:18 AM
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aiming for Palestinian citizenship in a binational state

How have people proposed setting this up? I must admit that I don't pay too much attention to the developments in the Israeli-Palestinian mutual-pain-in-the-ass-ery very often, since there's been little cause for hope lately and the developments always seem to be the same.

If they actually offered proper citizenship to Palestinians, that would be perfect, but it seems even less likely to me than a viable two-state solution. What conditions have people proposed for the Palestinian "citizenship"? Would they still get freedom to live and work anywhere in the Israeli lands? Do they get to vote? How is it meant to improve the situation over the current "here, take this section of the desert and be happy. Oh wait, not that good bit, we need that."?

And just to be sure, I am entirely earnest, asking this with eyes as wide as they can possibly get without exacerbating my ensuing hangover.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:22 AM
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26: And more importantly, even if by some miracle the US government were to become empathetic to the Palestinian plight and to use some soft power to try and persuade Israel, do you really think we could pull it off? It seems to me that the change really has to come from within the Israeli political system itself.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:25 AM
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24: You can be really insistent on missing the point, Stras. We basically agree, except you're going to fight me until I express our agreement exactly the way you would. I'll leave it at that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:30 AM
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Brand now! Brand new! I have the current talking points for all of you, from a letter in the new issue of the Atlantic Monthly. To be fair, it is only one of four letters on this issue, the others of which are much better.

Jeffrey Goldberg correctly notes that the Palestinian national movement "is perhaps the least successful national liberation movement of the 20th century." Ironically, this has been as much a problem for Israel as for the Palestinian Arabs. Had the Palestinians at any time from 1948 on achieved statehood, Israel would likely not be at its present unfortunate pass.

What are we to make of this failure? It is certainly not for want of money, arms or international political sympathy and support, which the Palestinians have reaped to an extraordinary extent. (What would a Kurdish nationalist give for a mere slice of the Palestinian pie?) Nor is it for want of territory. The Palestinians were offered half of the Palestinian Mandate in 1948 but refused it; and Arabs controlled the West Bank and Gaza from 1948 to 1967, yet no Palestinian political entity arose in either place, not even provisionally. Now Palestinians completely control Gaza, but rather than building a state there, they claim that they are under Israeli occupation.

The common explanation is that the Palestinians want a state encompassing the entire former Palestinian Mandate. But a more likely explanation is that the Palestinian national movement is not and has never been a national movement in the ordinary sense of the term. It was for a long time the vanguard of the Arab nationalist movement and is today the front line of aggressive Islamism. The establishment of a state is not the goal. The elimination of a foreign, non-Arab, non-Muslim entity in the Levant is.

Jnthn Klr
Bw, Md.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:31 AM
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We basically agree, except you're going to fight me until I express our agreement exactly the way you would. I'll leave it at that.

That's a fucking lie, John, and you know it.

</stras>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:31 AM
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In defense of stras, transfer is NOT the policy of the current Israeli government, or any other. Yeah, you get jerks like Lieberman brought into the governing coalition, but they've never done anything like transfer (or at least not since '48). As much as it pains me to say it, stras is right here.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:41 AM
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Continued intransigence, expansionism and aggression, with occasianal tactical shifts and pauses, counts to me as "the same". Perhaps I was not completely clear.

Israeli policy will change only with a major defeat; American support for Israel will probably continue indefinitely; with American support a major Israeli defeat is unlikely, and even without American support Israel will probably win. That was what I was trying to say.

I didn't factor in the possibility of some new outside power intervening.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 8:57 AM
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Okay, I'm about to put myself in the incredibly uncomfortable and totally unfamiliar position of defending Israel. And I'm only doing this because a lot of this thread is reading like a pretty ill-informed circle jerk (a weird image, if you think about it).

All the settlements have to go if you're serious about creating a viable Palestinian state.

Really, every single one? Why? And what do you mean here by settlements? Some of the communities in the suburbs of Tel Aviv?

As many, many people have noted before, the two-state solution is dead, and has been dead for a while. Those who want peace would be better off aiming for Palestinian citizenship in a binational state, as more and more Palestinian activists are beginning to do, than stringing along a dead peace process.

I know there are people who say this. But why should we listen to them? The process is only dead in this moment. Why can't it be revived? Why can't the United States, under the right leadership, exert real pressure on its client state? More to point, how is the prospect of a two-state solution any more farfetched than a binational Israeli/Palestinian state?

Also, 8 may be harsh, but I believe it's correct in every detail.

Not only is 8 harsh, Apo, but it seems to ignore the potentially hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of people, Arabs and Israelis, who will be killed or maimed in such a scenario. And that's before we consider the world war that well might ensue. Do you think that Israel will suffer a "frightening defeat" without exhausting its nuclear arsenal?

The increasingly popular Palestinian solution, as I mentioned, is citizenship; the increasingly popular Israeli solution is ethnic cleansing.

Where's your opinion polling, Stras? The last figures I saw, which, I should admit, are two or three years out of date, showed a significant majority of Israelis opposed to the idea of transfer/ethnic cleansing. But, as is always the case, those numbers, along with support for a two-state solution, fluctuate wildly and hinge on geo-political events. Things have been very bad in Israel for a very long time. Almost all of the wounds have been self-inflicted. But things change. Often very quickly.

I don't get the feeling that bothers them much.

Who, Apo? Who's "them"? This kind of statement, in the context of this thread, makes me pretty uneasy. Seriously, when you start reducing an entire nation, which actually has a large and vibrant peace movement, in this way, I wonder just what you mean.

I predict a re-run of this reasoning.

Why? The worst and most racist impulses of many Israelis have been systematically enabled, encouraged even, for seven years -- in large measure because those impulses have served the interests of a crazed band of American foreign policy villains. You don't think that the competing impulses have to chance to flourish if there's real pressure put on Israel by the United States? So much really does depend on whether Obama wins and is even a little committed to a peace process for Israel/Palestine.

What I don't think will happen is any kind of peaceful, voluntary change for the better in Israeli policy without a majot Israeli defeat. Another thing that I don't think will happen is any refusal of American support to Israel.

Again, why? Because Israelis are fundamentally irrational and can't see that their current situation is totally unsustainable? It seems to me that you'd need to think that's true in order to make the kinds of end-stage predictions you're making above -- and almost everyone else in this thread is clapping you on the back for making.

Despite the fact that Israel is arguably less democratic than, say, Iran.

Make the argument, please.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:01 AM
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I agree with Ari on all accounts. I knew I was vaguely, queasily optimistic for some reason or other.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:03 AM
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35: Great. You and I can stand, face west, and sing HaTikvah, for all the good it'll do us.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:09 AM
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The dynamic in Israel is the same as in the US. 10% of Americans support an attack on Iran, but the attack might still happen. Even Begin may not have supported Sharon's Lebanon invasion, but it happened. It isn't about Israeli psychology, but just the dynamic of the situation. "Facts on the ground" is something Bush learned from Sharon.

At the present moment, the Israelis seem to be egging America on (in Iran), as much as the other way around.

I am not praying for a major Israeli defeat. I'm just saying that I don't really see any peaceful or even favorable outcome.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:11 AM
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26 to 36.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:11 AM
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it seems to ignore the potentially hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of people, Arabs and Israelis, who will be killed or maimed in such a scenario

I didn't say it was a scenario to hope for, Ari. I agreed that it was the only thing that would lead to resolution. My oft-stated position is that I'll go to my grave without seeing any resolution.

Who, Apo? Who's "them"?

The Israeli government. They've been running an apartheid state for nearly 60 years.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:11 AM
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Continued intransigence, expansionism and aggression, with occasianal tactical shifts and pauses, counts to me as "the same". Perhaps I was not completely clear.

In that case we disagree. I don't think you understand what "tranferists" are aiming for. There's a broad understanding in the Israeli political class that the occupation is unsustainable, and that something fundamental has to change. The US/EU position - or at least, the stated US/EU position - is advocacy of a "two-state" solution that would more or less end the occupation. More and more Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists, however, actually see a two-state solution as being less likely than a binational state, and are starting to argue for citizenship.

But - and this is where I don't think you're getting the picture - the Israeli far right also sees the occupation as unsustainable, and their solution is to get rid of the Palestinians. And if the "transferists" win, things would not "be the same," because there wouldn't be an occupation any more, and there wouldn't be "continued intransigence, expansionism and aggression, with occasional tactical shifts and pauses." There'd just be the Israelis, hunkered down with Judea and Samaria in their little bunker with no more Palestinians to chuck rocks at them.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:11 AM
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Forget I said anything, Stras. No two things are exactly the same. I think that everyone else here knows what I was trying to say. To me transferism would be a tactical change consistent with the various other forms past expansionism has taken. Don't call me, I'll call you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:16 AM
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Make the argument, please.

2.6 million Palestinians have no vote for the government that controls the land on which they live. That comes to about a quarter of the people living in the Palestinian mandate. I don't believe there is any equivalent constituency in Iran.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:16 AM
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how is the prospect of a two-state solution any more farfetched than a binational Israeli/Palestinian state

More and more Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists, however, actually see a two-state solution as being less likely than a binational state

Sorry to repeat my 27, but Ari, stras, could either of you tell me or point me to something that covers the details of these binational proposals? I mean, it sounds like depending on the details it could either be too good to be true, or just a semi-formalization of the current apartheid state.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:23 AM
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Really, every single one?

Every single one in the West Bank, yes, and most of them around Jerusalem. If you're serious about a two-state solution, you have to be serious about creating a strong, viable, contiguous Palestinian state, and that Palestinian state can't be carved up by colonies of well-armed Israeli settlers and the various IDF-guarded roads and highways connecting them. And if you're serious about addressing the injustices of forty years of occupation, you're going to have to take down those settlements, so as not to give the impression that you're ratifying the Israeli strategy of stringing out the peace process as long as possible in order to grab more land. If it's the two-state solution you want, it's the '67 borders or bust.

I know there are people who say [the two-state solution is dead]. But why should we listen to them?

Because, as noted above, Israel is still building settlements and roadblocks at a frenzied pace in order to alter "facts on the ground." And in fact, at no point in the lengthy and tortured "peace process" has Israel really stopped colonizing the West Bank. And if the United States isn't willing to force Israel to remove those colonies, you're never going to have a viable Palestinian state. That's even putting aside the problem of whether or not a Palestinian state along even the '67 borders is viable, given how easily Israel can shut down and starve Gaza at a moment's notice. From the perspective of pro-Palestinian activists, it's looking more and more pragmatic to give up on independence and demand citizenship.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:28 AM
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39: Okay, I appreciate the clarifications. That said, I'm still confused about how Iran is arguably more democratic than Israel. I'm not saying that's wrong; I just can't quite see how it's right.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:32 AM
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45: I would assume Apo's argument would be something along the lines of: Israel is run by its elected leaders, but only a minority (or maybe a slim majority, but anyhow no kind of plurality) of the inhabitants of the territory it controls have a say. Iran is only sort-of run by its elected leaders, and they certainly aren't the supreme authority, but all of its inhabitants get to vote.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:34 AM
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41: John, I honestly don't know what you were trying to say. The first paragraph of 8 certainly reads as though you're saying that the status quo of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation is going to continue indefinitely; we certainly disagree on that point, since "transfer" is a euphemism for ethnic cleansing and is explicitly a strategy to end the occupation by removing the Palestinians entirely, and not merely another tactic to prolong the occupation.

If I was misreading your 8, feel free to clarify; if you're just being pissy because of your weird hard-on for me, we can just chalk this up as yet another bewildering exchange in the one-sided Emerson-Stras family feud.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:35 AM
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Yeah, I'm drawing a distinction between democratic and liberal.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:35 AM
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You're such a fucking whiner, Stras. And passive-aggressive, too. I'm so mean to you.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:37 AM
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And Stras, sorry to interrupt your monologue. Proceed as before.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:39 AM
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Dude, get a grip.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:43 AM
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42: Yes, that's right. But it's such a silly comparison, which ignores so much nuance -- and not -- that I don't even know what to say. Plus, I really have exhausted the tiny fraction of support for Israel that lurks within me. Except to say this, the comparison you made was designed for maximum heat and minimum light, no? As with so much else in this thread. I'm not trying to be a dick. But this topic makes me both sad and ornery, in something like equal measure.

44: Fine. So long as we can agree that's not what you said above. Every single settlement, with a few possible exceptions, is not every single settlement, full stop. What you've granted in 44.1 allows for some possibility of negotiation, taking into account that not all settlements are created equal, and not all of them mean the same thing to the mainstream of the Israeli population or government.

Also: And if the United States isn't willing to force Israel to remove those colonies, you're never going to have a viable Palestinian state.

That's true. But it's not what you said above. There is hope for peace, hope that's probably predicated, as hope for peace usually is, on the reality that endless war is a lousy alternative. This is what I was trying to say to Emerson above. It happens that, for seven years, endless war in the Middle East has suited the eschatological fever dreams and foreign policy fantasies of the people in power in this country. That really might change. For the Israelis who crave peace more than anything else, and for their Palestinian brothers and sisters, let's hope so.

From the perspective of pro-Palestinian activists, it's looking more and more pragmatic to give up on independence and demand citizenship.

If that's what passes for pragmatism among Palestinian activists, then yes, I'll agree that there's no hope for peace.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:45 AM
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Fuck you, Stras. I made several good-faith attempts to communicate with you. That was my mistake, I guess. You're not that kind of guy.

This isn't any one-way feud, jerk.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:47 AM
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I'd like to recant 52.1. Upon re-reading your explanation, Apo, it's actually pretty enlightening, even if it does paper over a lot of nuance. Such is the way with analogies, I suppose.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:49 AM
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John, I honestly don't know what you were trying to say. The first paragraph of 8 certainly reads as though you're saying that the status quo of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation is going to continue indefinitely; we certainly disagree on that point, since "transfer" is a euphemism for ethnic cleansing and is explicitly a strategy to end the occupation by removing the Palestinians entirely, and not merely another tactic to prolong the occupation.

Come on, this is obvious. You're saying "transfer" is something that is not currently happening. He is saying "transfer" is something that is currently happening. This is a dispute over the meaning of the word "transfer". You agree on everything else.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:51 AM
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No, I'm saying that the overall aggressive, expansionist policy will not change, though transfer might become the method. Transfer and, for example, the invasion of Labanon are not exactly the same, but both are part of an aggressive, expansionist policy. And that is what would have to change in order to make progress, but I don't expect that. It may be that that was not clear, but wen I explained further Stras still had to disagree. Because I was interrupting his monolog.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 9:56 AM
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56: We're apparently using different definitions of status quo, apparently. I see the status quo as the Israeli domination of Palestinians through occupation, which at some point will come to an end, possibly through a peaceful solution, possibly through ethnic cleansing. You seem to think the status quo as defined as something much more vague and expansive ("an aggressive, expansionist policy" in 56) which could conceivably continue even after, say, there are no more Palestinians to occupy. It's kind of silly to continue arguing if we're not going using the same reference points.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:07 AM
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42: and yet, I bet you don't regard the pre-19th amendment U.S. as less democratic than Iran. Or maybe you do, but it's not a commonly held view & not in line with the standard def'n of "democratic". Actual meaningful elections that actually determine the person who actually runs the country are normally thought to be a prerequisite for a democracy, & the concept existed for a very, very long time before any actually exisiting government gave all adult citizenship & the franchise.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:13 AM
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52: Ari, it's not just about generic hopes for peace; it's also about the conditions of that peace. I'm not saying "stop working for peace, it's pointless." I'm saying we need to change the goals here. I don't think a two-state solution is a realistic goal, because I don't think the Israeli political class is committed to the establishment of a strong, viable, contiguous Palestinian state; quite the opposite, in fact. All of the actions taken by the Israeli government over the last decade indicate a desire to claim as much land as possible in the West Bank, and a desire to keep the Palestinians as weak as possible. I think a better strategy for peace is to work for Palestinian citizenship, because Israel has no incentive to help establish an independent Palestinian state that can actually stand on its own.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:17 AM
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Stras, I've been trying to say that. We weren't disagreeing, you were misreading me, even after I explained. I said "stay the same", meaning "not get better", meaning "Israel would remain intransigent". No concrete situation ever stays the same, and I wasn't saying that.

And I have a different argument with Ari, who thinks that I've overstated the case. The depressing thing for me is the ability of the aggressive minority in both the US and in Israel to dominate the situation, and under Obama we cannot assume that that will change, though we can home.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:20 AM
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Or maybe you do, but it's not a commonly held view

It's not a commonly held view because Americans are notoriously reluctant to admit that our laughably ridiculous "democracy" only started allowing everyone to vote around forty years ago.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:20 AM
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58: Good point, but I think suffrage in the pre Civil War U.S. was more universal than in any other country on earth at the time (basically because there weren't any strong property qualifications...Ari can correct me if I'm wrong). These things have a certain relative component to them.

I usually disagree with Stras, but he's making lots of good points here. The ME is a political environment that suits his brand of hectoring absolutism. Two things, though:

--devil's advocate here, but if you can broker some kind of bargain where other ME countries accept Palestinians as citizens, then is transfer worse in a humanitarian sense than how the Palestinians are living now? Personally, I think Israel is moving toward a de facto transfer situation where life in the territories is so miserable the Palestinians voluntarily try to go. But as I understand it no one will accept them.

--I think a two state solution could work if the U.S. basically joins the international community and the U.N. in bringing the hammer down on Israel -- an outright ultimatum to scrap the settlements, define the borders, tell everybody this is how it's going to be. The area and population is small enough and the significance great enough that you could imagine a solution being imposed from without. Hard to see the U.S. ever doing that, though.

The region has real economic potential if peace could be achieved. It would be one of the major tourist areas on earth, plus lots of capital and brainpower there.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:25 AM
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not in line with the standard def'n of "democratic"

Not in line with the definition as used in the United States, which basically means "pro-American," true.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:33 AM
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if you can broker some kind of bargain where other ME countries accept Palestinians as citizens

From what I can tell, other ME countries are willing to accept Palestinians as migrant workers, and that's about it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:40 AM
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64 is right. But it's also never been clear to me why other countries in the region should take on an (apparently, though probably not really) radicalized and overwhelmingly poor (through no fault of their own) population. Unless, that is, there's some huge incentive for those countries to do so.

Which isn't to say that I don't still think Apo is an antisemite.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:45 AM
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Or pro-Ancient Athens, which is where the word actually comes from. The concept of democracy predates the practice of universal adult suffrage. An unelected Supreme Leader with more power than any elected official does not fit with it real well. Of course, there is something relative to it, and I don't think a country that systematically & permanently denies citizenship & representation to 1/4 of its adult population is truly democratic, and I wish I could actually get anyone to take seriously the point that pre-13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, & pre-Warren Court enforcing the civil rights amendments the United States was not a legitimate democratic government when originalists get on their high horse about "supermajorities" and democratic legitimacy & unelected judges, instead of campus-lefty-anti-Israel-point scoring.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:47 AM
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Or pro-Ancient Athens, which is where the word actually comes from. The concept of democracy predates the practice of universal adult suffrage. An unelected Supreme Leader with more power than any elected official does not fit with it real well. Of course, there is something relative to it, and I don't think a country that systematically & permanently denies citizenship & representation to 1/4 of its adult population is truly democratic, and I wish I could actually get anyone to take seriously the point that pre-13th, 14th, 15th, 19th, & pre-Warren Court enforcing the civil rights amendments the United States was not a legitimate democratic government when originalists get on their high horse about "supermajorities" and democratic legitimacy & unelected judges, instead of campus-lefty-anti-Israel-point scoring.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:47 AM
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I'd also like to be clear on one point: I've been commenting this whole time with my baby sleeping on my chest, pinning my right arm to my side. I have, in other words, been typing with only one hand. My off hand! I just want you all to appreciate my talents -- even as you curse me as a Zionist and defender of torture.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:47 AM
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even if it does paper over a lot of nuance

Well, sure. My only point was that for "the only democracy in the Middle East," Israel isn't particularly democratic. At least by the dictionary definition of the word.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:48 AM
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66: Every student who takes a class with me, especially the first half of the US history survey, hears this argument repeated over and over again throughout the quarter. I embed it in the idea of the American irony: that as opportunity and rights -- economic and political -- expand in this nation for some people (usually property-holding white men), they contract for others (usually black people, Indians, and those without property). Though it's not a zero-sum game.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:50 AM
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Or pro-Ancient Athens, which is where the word actually comes from. The concept of democracy predates the practice of universal adult suffrage.

I'm not sure of the point, here. That means we have a different understanding of democracy, now, and presumably we prefer the modern one.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:51 AM
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baby sleeping on my chest

That's the thing I will miss the very most once the last of my babies is no longer a baby.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:54 AM
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I thought Katherine's point was that if apostropher was claiming that Iran was more of democracy than Israel, and that his argument depended on equating democracy with universal suffrage, he was wrong.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:54 AM
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73: But doesn't that still depend on fixing our understanding of democracy first? And I think the standard modern definition is geared much more towards universality of adult suffrage.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 10:58 AM
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It generally also includes the government leader with power actually being elected, too.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:00 AM
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72: That's why god invented grandchildren. Or you can borrow or steal someone else's kid. But yes, it really is the very best thing in the entire world.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:03 AM
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75: I don't disagree with that, or with the idea that Israel is more democratic, in the standard sense, than Iran. (That's my assumption; I don't really know enough about either govt. to make an issue of it.) I just don't like solemnizing the aberrations from the current ideals by pointing out that it's better than what was had when the word was first used. Or suggesting that there is some broad flexibility about what the ideal is.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:03 AM
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Real world democracies are never pure "democracies" in any ideal sense. They are always a mix of different types of institutions and various compromises. In the U.S. today, the Senate and the Supreme Court qualify. Countries like Britain historically evolved in a more democratic direction through power-sharing arrangement with traditional elites. The Iranian Supreme Leader *is* elected, but by a council of Islamic scholars who are wired in with the government.

It's not unrealistic that Islamic countries would develop their own form of democracy based on power-sharing with the religious authorities. Maybe this will suit their society better. Refusing to recognize how other societies values and histories affect their form of government can be a form of cultural imperialism. Especially when ignoring your own allies violations of democratic values.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:03 AM
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You can slice these questions in lots of ways. One very powerful branch of the American government isn't elected and its members serve for life. Crazy!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:04 AM
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Maybe I'm not paying close enough attention to recent developments, but the idea of a binational state strikes me as crazy? The Israelis would have to be mad to agree to that. The stated goal of Hamas is to turn such a state into an Islamic Republic.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:04 AM
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Don't pwn me, PGD. Especially not with more detail and nuance, jerkface.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:06 AM
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, but the idea of a binational state strikes me as crazy? The Israelis would have to be mad to agree to that.

I totally agree.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:06 AM
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The Israelis would have to be mad to agree to that.

Not to mention.

This is why the "something's got to give" argument doesn't strike me as particularly sound. The current situation is horrible, but every potential alternative has a poison pill for one side or the other.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:10 AM
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83: Right, but the possible future for the Palestinians, assuming that the Israelis would return to a Camp-David-era compromise plus a bit more, is far brighter than what they have now. As it is, I'd argue, for the Israelis, though the warmongers, racists, and ultra-Orthodox would disagree. That's why there really is hope.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:16 AM
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81: but you were more pithy. It's all in how you look at it.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:17 AM
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"The Iranian Supreme Leader *is* elected, but by a council of Islamic scholars who are wired in with the government."

This arrangement has its own special word: theocracy. You know, it's really easy to criticize Israeli self-congratulation about being the "Middle East's only democracy"--it's either illegitimately denying citizenship to 1/4 of its residents in violation of human rights law, or illegitimately occupying territory in violation of international law, or both--without whitewashing Iran.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:17 AM
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Hope unless, I suppose, you really think that the warmongers, racists, and ultra-Orthodox form a permanent majority in Israel, which I think is clearly wrong.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:17 AM
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I don't think, in retrospect, that the goal was to whitewash Iran so much as unmask the absurdity of calling Israel a democracy.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:20 AM
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And if the clerics are so very popular that it's "cultural imperialism" contra to Muslim people's wishes to deny their place in gov't, they ought to be able to get themselves elected. In any case, the moral legitimacy of a gov't is not synonymous with the word "democracy." It has a specific meaning which applies even less well to Iran than to Israel.

Iran's Supreme leader is not, for God's sake, comparable to the Supreme Court. Do I have to review the differences between the power of the executive & the judiciary for everyone?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:20 AM
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88: I know. I think it was poorly executed.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:21 AM
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Oh my god, I think we accidentally trolled Katherine.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:21 AM
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not hard to do.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:22 AM
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Ari, the reason for my extreme pessimism isn't the Israelis. It's the same as with the US -- the war faction is institutionalized and has enormous ability and willingness to manipulate events.

The idea that American military policy is internally decided and elections only have a small influence has been around for a long time, and I've gone back and forth on it, but I've been trending in the fatalistic direction recently. I know much less about Israel, but guys like Sharon and Dayan seem to play their cards very boldly.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:23 AM
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83: Huh, so Arabs would still be less than 50% of the population? They clearly wouldn't be able to impose any sort of radicalized government then, especially since a lot of Palestinians support more moderate parties anyway, or support Hamas mostly due to the aid it distributes in the communities.

I think the Palestinians would be deradicalized pretty quickly if they were brought into the Israeli citizenship.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:25 AM
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Hope unless, I suppose, you really think that the warmongers, racists, and ultra-Orthodox form a permanent majority in Israel, which I think is clearly wrong.

I'm not sure that's true (though I probably wouldn't go with quite that description). I can imagine a fair number of people with relatively dovish views emigrating over the next forty years.

Do I have to review the differences between the power of the executive & the judiciary for everyone?

In Iran? Sure, if you have the background in it. As I said, I know very little about the Iranian government and how it functions.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:25 AM
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Iran is the most democratic government in the world. Only a Parsee would say otherwise.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:27 AM
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96: like that bastard Freddie Mercury!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:30 AM
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So, here's how right apo was: he said that Iran was "arguably" more democratic than Israel, and what happens? People argue about it!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:35 AM
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This arrangement has its own special word: theocracy.

You can be a democracy and a theocracy at the same time. England was a democracy / aristocracy hybrid in the 19th century. Islamic countries will likely evolve their own forms of democracy that are more religiously inflected than ours, if we give them space to do it.

The issue isn't whitewashing Iran, it's resisting the demonization of Iran that's all too common in the U.S., the portrayal of Iran as alien and off-the-charts. I actually do support Israel's right to tie citizenship closely to religious/ethnic background, so I'm not disposed to demonize other countries seeking their own forms of national identity.

Iran has some very deep human rights problems, but on net and overall I'm not sure we should be holding out Israel as an obviously more decent country.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:36 AM
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93: I get that, John, or at least I do now. And I'm not sure you're wrong -- about either here or there. But I wasn't kidding around upthread when I said there would be hundreds of thousands or even millions left dead if Israel really feels like its back is up against the wall in a regional war. And I worry that if that if Isreal deploys its nuclear weapons in that scenario, because it's in the process of losing quite a bit of territory (or whatever it was that you said), we're looking at a world war. Then my suggestion of millions dead would almost certainly be too cautious. At that point, the notion that the End Days will be triggered by conflict in the Middle East seems more likely than I'd like to admit. Which is why I think peace is the more likely solution. Also, Israel is a democracy for its citizens. And they, at various times, have expressed a real desire for peace. Unfogged: Where Ari Seems Relatively Optimistic.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:37 AM
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I usually disagree with Stras, but he's making lots of good points here. The ME is a political environment that suits his brand of hectoring absolutism.

I like how "arguing with people" becomes "hectoring," and "viewpoints to my left" becomes "absolutism."


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:41 AM
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I like how "arguing with people" becomes "hectoring," and "viewpoints to my left" becomes "absolutism."

That's why we like you!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:44 AM
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He's only mean to you because you're a woman, stras.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:44 AM
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Trying arguing with people instead of hectoring before you try to generalize like that.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:49 AM
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104 to 102, and Walt you are just as wrong on this as you are on every topic ever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:53 AM
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Arabs would still be less than 50% of the population?

Not necessarily. They were from 44% in 1995 to 49% in 2005. Given the respective birth rates, they're probably even or larger after the last three years.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:55 AM
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Maybe I'm not paying close enough attention to recent developments, but the idea of a binational state strikes me as crazy?

How is it any crazier than the belief that (1) Israel will suddenly decide, after decades of colonial expansion within the West Bank, to dismantle its settlements, that (2) Israel will allow an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza to develop unmolested, and (3) such a Palestinian state, deeply impoverished and broken up into non-contiguous enclaves in the West Bank and Gaza, has a chance at viability anyway?

The Israelis would have to be mad to agree to that.

And whites would have to be mad to give up their rule over apartheid-era South Africa, but in the end they had to.

The stated goal of Hamas is to turn such a state into an Islamic Republic.

Hamas says a lot of things. Hamas's popularity doesn't derive from Islamic fundamentalism, but from being the only effective outlet for Palestinian nationalism. The Palestinians who voted for and continue to support Hamas aren't doing so because they're crazed jihadists wanting to impose sharia law, they do so because they're poor and they're miserable and they're tired of being powerless. As for Hamas itself, they showed promising signs of moderation in the (very brief) span of time between when they won the PA elections and when the West started screeching for everyone to cut off aid to Palestine, as one would expect a governing party to do. It's almost as if they're not irrational religious crazies intent on Driving The Jews Into The Sea, but nationalist politicians who recognize the constraints they have to operate under.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:58 AM
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Not at all wrong? Possibly.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 11:58 AM
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108: Walt I don't understand why you can't fathom my point. It's fucking simple, but you refuse to listen to me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:00 PM
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And whites would have to be mad to give up their rule over apartheid-era South Africa, but in the end they had to.

To get the right demographic mix, the Palestinians need to have a lot more kids.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:01 PM
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How many times have I broken the analogy ban in this thread? A lot, I'm guessing.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:01 PM
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111: the analogy ban has been lying crippled on the floor for a few years now, stras. No harm you giving it a couple swift kicks.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:02 PM
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I think binational citizenship is a non-starter. It's an invitation to civil war. Just too dangerous. It doesn't take 51% of the population to make a country unlivable.

Besides that Israel is the Jewish homeland. That's its purpose for existing. Giving that up is equivalent to national surrender (which might eventually happen, but not willingly). The South Africa comparison is a good one. Israeli Jews will never accept the role for themselves in national life that SA whites have now.

How is it any crazier than the belief that (1) Israel will suddenly decide, after decades of colonial expansion within the West Bank, to dismantle its settlements, that (2) Israel will allow an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza to develop unmolested, and (3) such a Palestinian state, deeply impoverished and broken up into non-contiguous enclaves in the West Bank and Gaza,

You're absolutist not because you're to my left, but because you always refuse to recognize options to your right as in any way practical or viable. Everybody here has been talking about the U.S. forcing Israel to dismantle its settlements and create a contiguous Palestinian state. I agree that's unlikely but less so than unilateral surrender on Israel's part.

There are many ways to handle the poverty problem (such as by giving money). And obviously both Israel and the Palestinians are going to be molesting each other till the end of time, both sides realizing that is pretty important. But bumping up against each other doesn't have to mean the kind of massive and systematic denial of human rights that's happening now.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:05 PM
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Crippled and lying on the floor like a dead rat.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:05 PM
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Sorry, that's just a simile, but a simile is like an analogy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:08 PM
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How is it any crazier

Crazy is a hard thing to measure quantitatively, but I'd say the two options lie pretty close to one another on the plausibility spectrum.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:08 PM
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You know why I'm so long-winded and sententious today? Because I really should be doing something else . The more I'm procrastinating, the longer my Unfogged posts get.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:10 PM
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109: No, I get your point, that I'm right on this as on most things. I guess modestly just precludes me from agreeing.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:12 PM
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I'm going to join Sifu and Ari in guarded optimism about the future of I/P, for a couple of reasons:

As recently as the beginning of this century, the belief in the desireability of a Palestinian state was a minority opinion among Jewish Israelis, and the option of annexation was still strong enough to command a the agreement of a significant minority of the electorate. The emergent consensus, both in the electorate and among political elites, that Israeli democracy cannot survive the indefinite military rule over millions of Palestinians, is quite remarkable.

Both Israel and the U.S. have, at various times since the 1990s, elected the most disastrous leaders who could conceivably sneak into office by democratic means. That the result was anything less than a total conflagration in the region is cause for hope, in my opinion. If the hope of peace can survive Bush 43, Netanyahu, and Sharon--even as a faint, faint glimmer--it can survive the worst that American and Israeli democracy can throw at it.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:12 PM
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Crazy is a hard thing to measure quantitatively, but I'd say the two options lie pretty close to one another on the plausibility spectrum.

This is probably the nut of this particular disagreement. At some point, those two options may be the available two options, at which point, you'll get the necessary concessions. Maybe not in my lifetime, but my assumption is that it will happen not long after that day.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:12 PM
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stras, if you write the Jews and their preferences out of the equation, the whole thing gets very easy to solve.

Absent the sort of upheaval Emerson describes, however, there's no evidence that a one-state solution would gain more than fringe support in Israel because, as others have pointed out, the Jews aren't crazy.

Even Emerson's unlikely scenario in 8 is a two-state scenario.

It's almost as if they're not irrational religious crazies intent on Driving The Jews Into The Sea, but nationalist politicians who recognize the constraints they have to operate under. are intent on Driving The Jews Into The Sea.

The desire of many Palestinians to drive the Jews into the sea is an entirely rational one - whether or not that desire is driven by nationalistic motives or religious ones.

Not content with writing the Jews and their motivations out of the equation, you seem intent here to take Palestinian political imperatives out of the equation, too.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:12 PM
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107: It's funny how the Palestinians/Hamas here are righteous, or at least reasonable and rational actors, but the Israelis and their government are incapable of recognizing that the future viability of their state hinges on peace rather than accepting bi-nationalism. This formulation has been a problem for me throughout much of this thread. And only John has explained to me why he thinks militarism is the only possible future for Israel.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:12 PM
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You're absolutist not because you're to my left, but because you always refuse to recognize options to your right as in any way practical or viable. Everybody here has been talking about the U.S. forcing Israel to dismantle its settlements and create a contiguous Palestinian state.

Dude, look at a map. It's not "absolutist" to note that even with settlements removed, nothing is connecting Gaza to the West Bank, and that Israel, even without settlements, is able to effectively shut down Gaza at a moment's notice. How does that make for a viable Palestinian state? And that's even if you accomplish the miracle of getting Israel to dismantle its West Bank colonies.

Besides that Israel is the Jewish homeland. That's its purpose for existing.

And it's a completely stupid purpose. I'm sorry, this might have seemed like a totally brilliant idea back in the late nineteenth century, but it's fairly clear in 2008 that Jews are a lot safer and more secure in the United States and Europe than they are in Israel. There's no point maintaining an apartheid regime for the sake of keeping an artificially Jewish-majority homeland that the majority of the world's Jews have decided they don't want to live in.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:14 PM
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And they, at various times, have expressed a real desire for peace.

I believe that most people on both sides have a real desire for peace. Similarly, I have a real desire for Scarlett Johansson to oil herself up and dance for me on nights that Roberta's out of town. I haven't, however, seen any arrangement that could lead to either lovely outcome that doesn't have at least one condition that's flatly unacceptable to one of the parties.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:17 PM
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but it's fairly clear in 2008 that Jews are a lot safer and more secure in the United States and Europe than they are in Israel.

Don't agree with that, either. But it's nice to see that you've come to view the US and Europe as such bastions of rectitude that neither would ever roll over on their commitments to various rights that protect minority populations.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:17 PM
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Also: pwned by pf. Did I mention that I'm typing one-handed? pf hates cripples!


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:18 PM
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I agree with Ari. (It hurts me a little bit to say it.) Israeli has clearly acted in ways that are irrational to their own self-interest, which has led to the intractable situation they find themselves in. I don't see what would lead me to believe that the Palestinians are not capable of the same. Hamas says they want to turn a unified state into an Islamic Republic. When given actual power, they showed some capacity for flexibility. Surely both of these are relevant information, and not just the latter.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:18 PM
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I think that a lot of people are underestimating the power of the Avocado of Death here, but perhaps I'm overestimating it.

The Book of Revelation has some good ideas too, you know. You have to read it literally, though. The symbolic interpretations are secular, unbiblical, and Satanic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:18 PM
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The Book of Revelation may be one of the few texts in the world that require drug use to read literally.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:20 PM
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It's funny how the Palestinians/Hamas here are righteous, or at least reasonable and rational actors, but the Israelis and their government are incapable of recognizing

I'm only speaking for myself here, but the issue is that both sides are rational actors, but acting from completely incompatible sets of imperatives. Irrationality isn't the problem; circumstance is.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:21 PM
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Similarly, I have a real desire for Scarlett Johansson to oil herself up and dance for me

Let's start a process to make this happen! Draw up a road map!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:21 PM
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Apo, you'll find that Scarlett is a real disappointment in the flesh. (At least, I hope it wasn't just me.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:21 PM
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Absent the sort of upheaval Emerson describes, however, there's no evidence that a one-state solution would gain more than fringe support in Israel because, as others have pointed out, the Jews aren't crazy.

And yet, there's no actual substantive support for a two-state solution among Israeli elites, either. If there were, you'd see movement to dismantle settlements in the West Bank, when in fact you don't even see movement to stop the building of more settlements.

Am I saying that a binational solution is really likely? No. I'm saying, however, that it's actually more likely than the two-state solution everyone's fixed on in the US. It could well be that no solution is coming, except for the possibility of ethnic cleansing. But to treat the one-state solution as some kind of crazy pipe dream and the two-state solution as relatively pragmatic is, I think, missing the picture entirely, and falling for a line that's allowed Israeli hardliners and their backers in the US to endlessly string out a peace process while grabbing more and more land.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:22 PM
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I would add to my grounds for optimism that supposedly intractable conflicts have been resolved before. In retrospect, it's always obvious that the supposedly inextinguishable hatreds were not congenital and self-sustaining, but had to be stoked by powerful actors that had an interest in sustaining them.

When those interests come to recognize that conflict no longer serves them, or that the tiger has become too dangerous to ride, things can change with startling rapidity.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:22 PM
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Yeah, Apo. Reach for the stars. A journey of a thousand miles. Be all you can be.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:22 PM
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132: As with the Middle East, John, it's all about the oil.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:23 PM
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pf hates cripples!

Just Krauthammer.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:24 PM
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131: She'll have to agree to my settlements in her territory. IYKWIM.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:25 PM
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Let's start a process to make this happen! Draw up a road map!

I think Apo could start purchasing the oil as a confidence-building measure. The thorniest issues of Roberta's and Scarlett's consent can be deferred to the final status negotiations.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:25 PM
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Unless there is a radical change in the nature of the Palestinian opposition (say, mass conversion to Buddhism), I don't see any chance the Israelis would ever agree to a one-state solution. I don't think they would agree to it even if the US threatened to provide directly military aid to the Palestinians to make it happen. I'm not sure they would agree to it even if the US threatened direct nuclear attack. I think the Israelis could be pressured into a two-state solution well short of that. Maybe that sort of pressure is unlikely, but it's a lot more likely than the other sort.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:27 PM
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When those interests come to recognize that conflict no longer serves them

The problem, though, is that there seems to always be at least a couple interests served by continuing the conflict, and they've proven over and over how easy it is to provoke everybody else back into the cycle of violence.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:28 PM
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121: if you write the Jews and their preferences

So who exactly are these Jews, and what are their preferences? Seems to me that we've seen ample evidence over the years that:
1. Most Jews don't want to live in Israel
2. Most Jews who do live in Israel do not consistently favor the Likud/AIPAC hardline
3. A significant plurality of Jews in Israel and elsewhere would prefer the kind of engagement with the Palestinians and respect for their preferences that the US political and media elites have declared to be anathema
4. A significant plurality of Likud/AIPAC supporters are racists and religious zealots who do not have the best interests of anyone, Jewish, Muslim, Christian or non-believing, at heart, and are in fact working to prevent any progress from being made

A No-State Solution is the only viable permanent option.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:29 PM
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Moderating my pessimism, I think that a solution might be findable if an Israeli government accepted it and it was internationally enforced (with US involvement) on succeeding Israeli governments. I really think that the US is the weak link in that.

Ari, the reason I worry less about Palestinian cooperation is because they've always been the weakest party and always will be. Given a good deal I don't think that they'd ruin it. The alternative will always be a return to Israeli attacks.

This cues a discussion about Oslo, which I've hear a lot about but don't claim to understand.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:29 PM
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142's conclusion does not follow from its premises.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:32 PM
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Apo, from reading the movie magazines it's clear that step two of your careful plan should be finding out where she spends her time and showing up at those places. The grocery, the laundromat, the coffee shop. What time does she take out the trash? Where does she park her car.

See, it takes planning. And you ought to have your pickup line memorized and practiced.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:32 PM
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And you ought to have your pickup line memorized and practiced.

Ol' Reliable has never let me down before.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 12:35 PM
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Y'all are forgetting the ultimate McManus Dallas Peace Plan Accord:Import 5 million Filippinos and call it Paraguay.

A No-State Solution is the only viable permanent option.

Anarcho-Post-National-Liberal-International-Pluralism. I'll move to I/P, West Bank, revert to my Irish Catholicism, invite a Thai to be my Mayor for a trifling sum, much less that the cost of an F-22.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 1:31 PM
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Import 5 million Filippinos and call it Paraguay

Ha! You're right, I had forgotten that option.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 1:37 PM
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131: She'll have to agree to my settlements in her territory. IYKWIM.

the harder part is getting the permit to open her wetlands to drilling.

[stolen from The Onion]


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 1:39 PM
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148:It wasn't completely a joke. 150 comments in a thread about the hopelessness of either a 1-state or 2-state solution might be enlivened with some thought about a no-state solution. Does the concept/goal/actuality of the state in I/P really serve the interest of Jews and Arabs, or is it in the way?

Labor must as free as Capital.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 1:47 PM
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As many of you probably just did, I just got an email from MoveOn with the subject line "Free Obama Sticker," and for a brief moment I thought he had been arrested.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 1:51 PM
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Racist.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 1:52 PM
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search for any racist thing you can think of combined with "Obama" and there will be a response.

"Obama Abu-Jamal", the string, gave me two responses.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 1:53 PM
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Racist.

We're not all racist; some of us just think Bill Stickers would make a better president, that's all.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 1:54 PM
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Longest unfogged I/P thread ever! P.S.: My inner fifteen-year-old supports the extension of the no-state-solution from the occupied territories to Israel as a whole. From the Jordan to the sea!


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 2:07 PM
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155:Of course, that is what I meant, although with the Jordanian and Lebanese political entities also ceasing to exist, who knows what would happen.
...
I won't hijack the thread, except to say that since I wrote I have been considering how a "no-state" solution partially adopted could alleviate the American problem of disproportional represention of small states in the Senate. Rather than force a loss of power onto small states, which won't happen, how about an "Senator for Ethanol" a "Senator for GLBTs" and a "Military-Industrial Senator?" I mean, in what sense is there a unitary California for Boxer to represent, anyway? She, like all our representatives, represent interests inside and outside the state already.

We are mostly post-geographical already.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 2:25 PM
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So the senate would just consist of lobbyists directly writing laws and negotiating with each other, instead of doing so indirectly through senators?

Interesting idea.


Posted by: Ardent reader | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 2:28 PM
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151: Free Obama!*

*With oil change and fluids top-up


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 2:38 PM
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I know y'all are drop-jawed at the usual McManus insanity with a rational veneer, so let me try to steer the thread back to topic, somewhat repetitively, before slinking away.

The question is "How can we arrange states that will satisfy the interests, fears, aspirations of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples?"


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 2:45 PM
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One gets the moon, the other gets Mars.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 2:46 PM
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Dibs on Mars.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 2:49 PM
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160: Decided by coin toss, in the interest of fairness.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 2:49 PM
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When I read "A Peace to End All Peace' the thing that struck me the most was that the whole Zionist idea was a subset of a pseudoscientific concept very specific to that era, of an ethnic group having to have a physical homeland in a certain place on the globe in order to avoid becoming the servants of the majority wherever else they might roam. That's what I said here yesterday.

This idea makes no sense nowadays, and it was said earlier in the thread that most Jews don't want to live in Israel, there are many countries where Jews qua Jews have a zero percent chance of being persecuted by the government in the next few decades, et cetera. The ethnic groups nowadays who are persecuted and stateless are only seen as needing a state because they are persecuted in the places where they currently live. Not because having a state of one's own, where you can be a majority, is inherently a good thing.

Howevever, my comment yesterday was responding to someone who was pointing out that Obama specifically cited the "need for an ethnic group to have a physical homeland" as what he understood about Zionism. But...Zionism is the only manifestation of that idea that still exists.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 2:52 PM
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159: It's easy -- we just have to teach them to understand that the differences between them are trivial and that they are all brothers and sisters,and they should love each other.

And they can all ride ponies into the sunset....


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 2:54 PM
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we just have to teach them to understand that the differences between them are trivial and that they are all brothers and sisters, and they should love each other. should beat the crap out of each other like siblings actually do


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 2:58 PM
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"Zionism is the only manifestation of that idea that still exists."

False. Bob's new constitution will face resistance from Texans who kinda like the idea of having a Senator of our own. Even though I am much more accurately represented by Dick Durbin than John Cornyn.

The West Bank settlements exist because there is a state to protect them. The Israelis fear a Palerstianian State because if the organization on concentration of resources it could bring against them. A binational state is feared because states usually work on majority rule, and place like Lebanon where they don't are unstable and ineffctive. The Palestinians want a state because no one else is offering them what a state provides.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 3:05 PM
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165: I knew there had to be flaw in my plan.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 3:08 PM
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163 so totally trivializes modern European and Jewish history, as well as the history of Zionism (hardly a singular ideology), that it boggles the mind. Only if Zionism had been frozen in time in its earliest iterations, with Birnbaum and Weizmann, would you maybe have a point.

But of course that's not the case. Zionism evolved across the twentieth century in many different directions, as did rationales for the existence of a Jewish state/state for the Jews (not a small difference there). That evolution got supercharged in the wake of WWII, when the existence of Israel became partly responsible for the post-war safety of the Jewish people. More recently, Ethiopian Jews and Russian Jews both have found a safe harbor there. But hey, let's spend our time talking about Herzl, his connections to scientific racism, and his spurious land claims. Because this other stuff just stands in the way of simplistic arguments.

Beyond that, try to remember that your certitdue that Jews are safe here and in Europe carries precisely no weight with me. Just three weeks ago, the Republican nominee for president had as his trusted friends not one but two religious leaders who deal in eliminationist rhetoric when talking about Jews. Fortunately, AIPAC and Abraham Foxman have my back, right? And those lobbies are so powerful that I should never worry that my kids might face existential threats in the future.

All of which might even be possible for me to believe, had my family not believed exactly the same thing, with even more conviction, in the interwar years in Europe. Of course, we know how that turned out. But hey, it's a new day! The past is the past. Let's let bygones be bygones.

Really, in the end, none of that is why I think Israel has a right to exist. And the Jews, in my view, certainly have no more moral authority than do the Palestinians. Actually, given Israel's ongoing crimes against humanity and apartheid regime, I sometimes have grave doubts about its future. Still, I'm much more confident that peace and a two-state solution are possible than most pople here. And I prefer to push for that rather than a stateless Middle East or whatever it is that you're peddling.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 3:23 PM
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And I'm sorry if I seem to be getting a bit frustrated, but the conversation here has devolved from, "Hey, Obama is pandering, but less so than we thought," to "A two-state solution really can't work, so how about a bi-national single state," to "Well, we could just get rid of Israel, right?" It's that last part, absent any justification that doesn't depend on eliding a century's worth of history, that makes me sit up and take notice.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 3:26 PM
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Bob's 166 is correct -- states bring you lots of real protection, and there are many states around that are informally associated with an ethnicity (Texas is not the only one). Israel stands out because there were recent (as opposed to long-past) acts of displacement involved, and there might yet be more. Also because it represents an explicitly non-Islamic, European colonization of what were Islamic lands for over a thousand years.

But I think Ari's 168-169 is problematic too. If you look at Israel as a pragmatic response to a need for ethnic protection in the face of continued European anti-semitism, it's showing signs of becoming not just morally but practically counter-productive. Israel is going to have to seriously give some stuff up and take some real short-run risks to become anything more than an isolated and precarious fortress enclave in the ME. I'm not sure whether that can happen unless both Israeli and American Jews reexamine the Holocaust justification for the founding of the state (with its implicit claim to moral superiority, and the terror of risk it entails).

I'm Jewish and used to feel more like Ari. But communicating with many of my Jewish friends and acquaintances after 9/11, as well as spending some time in Israel, made me believe that there is a serious problem with racism toward Arabs on the part of Jews. I finally had to break with some people over disagreements Israel's behavior in the Lebanon war of 2006.

I don't know the answer. One way or another, Israel cannot hold the Palestinian population prisoner any more. It will probably require some external intervention to make this happen, whether it's forcing other ME states to accept transfer of the Palestinian population, or forcing Israel to genuinely return to pre-67 borders.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 3:50 PM
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fourth para in 170 is badly stated -- certainly not meaning to say Ari is racist (although his unreasoning hostility to Hillary Clinton indicates a problem with sexism). What I'm getting at is that I kept running into this stuff about Israel's obvious virtue and the incomprehensible, vicious evil of the Palestinians and other Arabs. I came to feel that those beliefs were tied up with the habit of always seeing Israel through the lens of the Holocaust, the Jewish people as historically unique victims, and the central duty of Jews today as preventing our victimization again at all costs.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 3:56 PM
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170: Just to clarify, you've fundamentally misread me on a variety of issues. If you look upthread, and in other threads, I have serious reservations not merely about Israeli racism but even about the state's future. I just don't think that it's possible or productive to talk about doing away with Israel, or, more subtly, its right to exist, without also talking about history. Pointing only to the earliest Zionists and the foundations for their land claims strikes me as spurious.

Beyond that, I was trying to decouple the discussion of whether Jews are or are not safe in the United States and Europe from the other questions. Even standing alone, though, the answer is, we don't know.

I say all of this, because I'm not interested in becoming a stand-in for Abraham Foxman or Alan Dershowitz. And your comment, PGD, comes pretty close to caricaturing my views. Though I don't think that was your intent. At least I hope not.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 3:59 PM
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172 crossed with 171. Please note, though, that I said that the Jews have no more moral authority, because of the Holocaust or any other episode of persecution, than do the Palestinians. Again, I'm wary of becoming a cartoon (though, if the art is good, that could be cool -- can I have a cape in my role as JewMan?)


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 4:00 PM
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Yeah, I was groping toward something and using you to do it, certainly not trying to use you as a stand-in for Abe Foxman or the like. The truth is you're serving as a stand-in for me here; the movement over your comment 168 to reach the last paragraph (which reaches a strongly left position) feels particularly familiar to me.

Anyway, I'm very accustomed to this double role of defending Israel's existence against non-Jews who in a sense don't understand it, while at the same time criticizing Israel's behavior, especially within the Jewish community.

What I started to realize after 9/11, and the failure of Oslo, was that the very same arguments I was using to defend Israel's existence were part of the mental barrier other Jews had about making genuine concessions to the Palestinians for the sake of peace. Also, from the perspective of the Jews I was arguing with, I was being hypocritical -- either I let Jewish history and identity induce me to basically value Jewish lives over Arab, or for all intents and purposes I *was* denying Israel's right to exist. From their perspective, this was the choice Israel had made in coming into existence -- stop being a chump, be like other nations and fight for yourself above others.

Not saying there isn't a middle ground -- Israel isn't like other nations, because most other nations have figured out the tricks and made the compromises necessary to actually live with your neighbors -- but it can be a tricky and unstable one in many ways.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 4:20 PM
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Eh, lots of words to say not much. Part of this is that I was dealing with American Jews; the broad center-left discussion within Israel is I think pretty self-aware about most all the things I said above. Not as invested in defense mechanisms and more realistic.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 4:33 PM
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It's a complicated issue. I just prefer conversations that damn Israel for its horrible conduct while also recognizing that, if one wants to argue that the state doesn't have a right to exist, one had better have a good reason for saying so. Simply pointing to the earliest claims of Zionist pioneers as evidence that the current state might not need to be, well, that's just stilly. Some things happened between then and now, things that have had a pretty big impact on modern Zionism and Israel's existential rationales, not to mention world history.

Again, I was fine with the conversation when it was critical of Israel -- though I wanted more nuance. I was fine with it when it moved on to talk of a bi-national state -- though I think that such a thing is no more or less likely than flying ponies. But I stopped being fine when it moved on to casual discussions of eradicating the state. And not because of the eradicating the state part. It was the casual tone that got me. Honestly, I'm all for having a serious discussion about whether Israel should exist. Because I'm not totally convinced myself. But nonsense talk about early Zionism, absent other deeper discussion, got under my skin.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 4:41 PM
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I'll link again to Tony Karon's long post about this.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 4:45 PM
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Ari, am I in trouble and should I go away. I do not consider myself anti-Zionist and I usually avoid I/P threads


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 4:48 PM
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170: states bring you lots of real protection
176: if one wants to argue that the state doesn't have a right to exist, one had better have a good reason for saying so

How many people were murdered by the state in the 20th century? ~100 million? Did the state protect them? Did it fuck.

No state has the "right to exist". Don't believe me? Read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. States are artificial entities, created by groups of people for specific political purposes. I dunno why I have to explain this to people who should know better, but there you have it. If a state is not serving the interests of the people who are subject to it (and I would argue that this is true of every state) then the people have a perfect right to abolish it.

Why are we mystifying states and their construction? Israel exists because and only because it served and continues to serve the interests of specific powerful groups and individuals. Same with the USA, same with Norway, same with Burundi. If we want to have a meaningful discourse about the situation in the Levant, then conflating some people's idea of a nation with the actual political constitution of a state is a pretty lousy way to start.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:03 PM
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Fucking whimper, whimper. Let's play.

I am not denying Israel's right to exist, but I would prefer Israel not need to exist, as determined of course by Jews and Israelis.Could this need be described as an autonomous Independent Jewish presence in Palestine? Whatever, it is not my place as a non-Jew, to say the diaspora should be accepted. States & other collectives have long been a powerful source of Jewish oppression, but unfortunately not the only source. So the end of state power to oppress may not end the threat to Jews. I have no way to offer you the security you might feel you need, save the one you have created for yourselves, Israel. There are no circumstances that I can imagine where I would acquiesce in removing that refuge or identity.
Pretty much a Zonist.

I don't feel I have a identity, although as a white male heterosexual American, that's easy for me to say. Not easy to talk about the end of ethnic identity in the prescence of Armenians, Blacks, women, GLBTs, or Jews. They don't have the choice.

And I really don't want to end identity anyway, just move somewhere where it isn't used to keep hurting and killing each other.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:12 PM
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and the central duty of Jews today as preventing our victimization again at all costs.

I'm not Jewish, but I gotta say: that seems like a pretty good mission plan. (My disagreement tends to be over the assessment of risk.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:13 PM
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I don't feel I have a identity,

Bob, I don't want to dredge up the past, but you spent the last couple of months arguing that Obama couldn't connect with your people, and that the inability was a sufficient reason to oppose him.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:15 PM
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As soon as we get rid of states, I'm stealing minneapolitan's stuff.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:15 PM
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183 wins the thread.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:22 PM
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MN, maybe I could try to tell the Kurds they really don't need a independent state; or try to tell American blacks they don't need a centralized state to protect them, but my heart can't do it. All I can do is try to create a climate where they feel they can make that choice on their own.

Turkey on the Brink

The old elite sees itself being squeezed; this caste of guardians of the republic, which has considered the state its possession since its foundation and considers the people as merely an ignorant mass to be led. ... The members of this class call themselves "secular" ... but internally they are authoritarian and deeply illiberal, who mistrust the minorities in their own country as much as they distrust foreigners.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:24 PM
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182:I claim my new post-primary unilaterally-disarming Ghandism as a reason to run away from that argument.

My background is Irish-German working-class, Midwest with roots in rural Pennsylvania. Ain't a one of them is openly gay, lives in a metroplex, or would read Joyce or Mann.

I do have an Asian cousin-in-law.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:31 PM
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183: If it gets rid of the state, you can totally have my stuff, Walt.

185: Exactly my point, the Kurds are ill-served by their current state. What evidence, from all the history of kingdom, empire, unions of soviet socialists and bourgeois republic, do we have that they'll be better off with a state of their own? So the jackals will be exploiting them instead of the wolves -- big deal. How many Kurdish kids are going to be led to their death fighting for a state, and then, if a formal, independent Kurdistan was established, how many more will die guarding its frontiers or protecting its interests abroad? Dulce et decorum est, pro patria mori?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:34 PM
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No, Bob, I was reacting to Fatman's comment. Your comments, by contrast, seemed in keeping with your broader orientation toward anarchism, which is justification enough for wanting to end states -- at least in my view. Again, it was the casual juxtaposition of the end of Israel with the whacked-out arguments of the early Zionists and the idea that Jews have nothing left to fear that caused me to react.

And Ogged, I really don't know what the Karon piece has to do with this discussion, other than to help me make one of my points: that Zionism has next to nothing to do with Israel today or likely in the future. Beyond that, I don't recall whether you liked the piece. I didn't. Because it's filled with flawed logic to me and what seem like silly assumptions.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:41 PM
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187: So, is your point that Israelis would be better off without Israel? And if so, could you explain how that is? As in, just to start, where they'd all go?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:44 PM
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As in, just to start, where they'd all go?

Read the archives, noob.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:47 PM
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I'd rewrite the last sentence in 188, but this thread has sucked out what little life-force I had left.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:47 PM
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190: Fuck Wyoming. That's Cheney country. Anyway, I thought we were getting Uganda, which is supposed to be beautiful, or parts of Canada, where we'd at least have Montreal bagels.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:50 PM
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Well, I know I'd be better off without the US. I don't care what happens to Olmert and Netanyahu and Sharon's corrupt expat kids. I care about what happens to Miriam the customer service rep and Mohammed the olive-grove worker. Are their lives so much better for all the bullets fired and bombs exploded and walls built in their names? The state is violence. And not only that, but violence in the service of elites, to the detriment of the common people. Would you argue that the Syrians and the Egyptians are better off submitting to the tender mercies of their respective states?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:51 PM
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I think the question is not better off?, but better off than they would be under other plausible alternatives.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 5:54 PM
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194: under other plausible alternatives

Plausible, schmausible.

Right now pretty much the only plausible outcome for everyone is a soft apocalypse, where things get shittier and shittier for 75% of the world's population, remain boring and crummy for another 23%, while the remainder lives it up until some kind of dramatic collapse eventually resets the clock on this civilization. That's plausible. All this flim-flam and folderol about states and empires suddenly, out of the blue, just deciding to be nice and rational and care for everybody and protect the planet and usher in some kind of procedural liberal golden age is what's most implausible.

The only plausible, statist outcome I can figure for Israel is that the oil runs out, the empire loses its interest in the region, and the whole place collapses into all-out war for awhile, leaving a bunch of weak states that struggle along under the constant threat of civil war and mass starvation. I'd prefer to work for something implausible, when that's the plausible alternative.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:08 PM
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195.2: I confess that I love it when Minneapolitan talks this way. Even though it is upsetting. Unproductive, I believe is the preferred term.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:14 PM
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First the Turks, then the Kurds?

My anarchist plan is bi-directional. Local units as independent and small as possible, preferably city-states, covered by as global a security umbrella as possible. Until we can protect Goa I will leave Goa to arrange for its own protection as best it can to the degree it has a choice.

In places where people are killing each other now, an Int'l Peace-keeping force re Kosovo. I would move the US Defense Dep't over to UN control. Unilaterally.

From here we get to Iraq and the "limits of humanitarian intervention" and "imperialism" and the inevitable fact of taking a side in a civil war, and Rwanda, and Southern Lebanon, and etc etc etc. I ain't Yglesias. Pass.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:15 PM
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Good to know I have one fan at least.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:15 PM
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195 really is great. See? That's the kind of eliminationist rhetoric I can get behind.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:18 PM
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It's not clear to me that in general people don't yearn to be led, don't yearn to yoke themselves to a whole greater than themselves. It's not clear to me that people do not, in the final analysis, live for their nation. That, to me, has a much greater ability to explain history than any narrative of "elites". Elites exist because there is a void in the human heart that they can fill to their benefit.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:20 PM
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199: Who are you calling eliminationist? Elimi-nationalist, maybe.

It's not "rhetoric", it's just what's gonna go down. If you think for a second that Israel exists for some other reason than as a club for the Euro-American corporate Axis to protect its oil supply, and for the despotic kleptocracies in the Middle East to use when anybody questions their "right to exist," then you are sadly mistaken. Once the oil is gone, then Israel goes too. See if I ain't right.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:23 PM
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leaving a bunch of weak states that struggle along under the constant threat of civil war and mass starvation

Ten years ago I thought like that. Ten years ago Dubai wasn't the growth center of the world.

Now I think the oilarchies are looking toward sustainability, and Neo-Angellism is rearing is ugly head even in the Middle East. War will be bad for business, and I have said here often enough that I think SA and Israel have a covert arrangement.

The oil will run out even faster, as the ME uses it for internal development. And we will all be Chinese wage-labor.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:23 PM
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Dubai isn't in the Levant. Assuming the rising tide doesn't drown them, some of those little Gulf satrapies may well be able to count themselves amongst the fortunate ones for the next 100 years or so. Audoghast had a great run there for awhile too, but where are they now?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:27 PM
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SA has the holy sites (as does Israel). Tourism.

If heavy manufacturing moves to Africa, the the ME is centrally located between Africa, Europe, and Central/South Asia. It will rule as finance and services.

As it was a thousand years ago, as it was three thousand years, so it will be again.

America's fucked. Location, location, location.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:35 PM
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Once the oil is gone, then Israel goes too. See if I ain't right.

I think this is broadly correct, or at least that a lot of interested parties think this way. Which is what drives a lot of Israel's "no, fuck you" attitude.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:37 PM
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Of course, Israel is unlikely to go quietly, which I think is fair enough.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:39 PM
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Israel is unlikely to go quietly

No way. It has nukes. Nukes restrain their possessor as much if not more than they empower it. The Arab states made their play, starting with Sadat and ending in Gulf War I & II. By largely demilitarizing, they made Israel impotent.

If it goes, it will fade away

But I should go read Six Day War etc


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 6:56 PM
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159: The question is "How can we satisfy the interests, fears, aspirations of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples?"

Mexicoization. Establish a two state solution, with the US investing heavily in Palestine and in Israeli industries that themselves invest in Palestine. Temporary guest worker programs. Give Palestinians something to lose.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 06- 6-08 7:25 PM
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