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Can liberal American Jews still support Modern Israel? - the country has changed and is not what you think it is anymore.


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Showing 26-50 of 938 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 9:50:04 AM PST
Smallchief,

I respect your opinion, and I think that you are among the more reasonable people, in these discussions.

I'm a little skeptical about your right to impose your values, on another nation. I'm also a little skeptical of requiring another nation to conform to American values, in exchange for money.

Israel has no obligation to seperate religion from state. In America, we have this obligation, but not in other lands. And from a Jewish perspective, what's the point of having a Jewish nation, if it's not going to operate in accordance with Jewish law?

However, I am mostly interested in keeping this discussion 'on topic'. DarthRad wants to have a discussion about whether, or not, American Jews, with western values, should support Israel, because Orthodox Jews wield influence over Israel's government. According to him, Orthodox Jews are no better than Muslims. That's interesting. I am mostly interested in why he believes that he has the right to impose his western values on Islamic and Jewish cultures.

And that's why I'm a little puzzled by you. I would think that you would be among the last people, to advocate for what is clearly a modern form of western imperialist thought.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 9:54:09 AM PST
anne says:
Iscah: Israel has no obligation to seperate religion from state.

anne: And the U.S. has no obligation to give Israel money.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 9:57:39 AM PST
Sixties fan says:
And the US and the EU have no obligation to give money to Egypt, Gaza, and the PA. But they do.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 10:13:35 AM PST
Thanks, Sixties. I have anne on ignore, but made a mistake, and opened her post. If her reading comprehension were a little better, she might have noticed that I told Smallchief that I am a little skeptical of westerners expecting easterners to change their values, in exchange for money. But typical of anne, she's only capable of responding to one, out of context, sentence.

Posted on Nov 14, 2011 10:40:29 AM PST
William Yate says:
Hi DarthRad,

Thanks for your interesting posts on this topic. I was unaware of all of this. It's sad that this has declined into yet another forum for swapping badly argued opinions about the Israeli-"Palestinian" conflict (I adopt Robert Fisk's quotation marks). In a doomed attempt to get the discussion back on the informed and fact-based track you set out, I'd like to ask you if you could elaborate a bit on a topic you only touched on in passing:

"I would note the many Israeli government high officials who are now in jail or about to go to jail."

Which officials? What are they in jail for? And from Netanyahu's administration or previous ones?

Also, there's one historical claim you made that I'm not convinced holds water. You talk about Bush II's subservience to Israel as a turning point in the presidency's relationship to Israel. Is this really the case? I don't know the history as well as you do, but I've thought about when this change could have occurred, and the era I've always zoned in on as most likely is LBJ-Nixon. Eisenhower stood up to Israel-England-France in 1956, and JFK opposed the Israeli push to get nukes, but it seems like by the time of the 1967 and 1973 wars American neutrality was a thing of the past. (I'm hoping Robert Caro will eventually weigh in will some fresh research on LBJ and Israel; though it may get drowned out in Vietnam.)

Thanks again for your interesting posts. It's easy to spot someone who knows what they're talking about, especially against the backdrop of internet forum lunacy.

Best,
Will

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 10:55:01 AM PST
"It's easy to spot someone who knows what they're talking about"

Apparently, not. DarthRad has mostly regurgitated stuff from books that present information from a particular angle. And his presentation of 'current events', in Israel, is also made up of selective sources. This does not 'a person who knows what they are talking about' make.

However, it is easy to spot a person who decides who knows what they are talking about, by whether, or not, the person talking, supports their worldview.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 10:57:12 AM PST
Susanna says:
LOL, too true Iscah.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 10:57:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2011 1:56:37 PM PST
Rachel says:
B A dilger:
Good afternoon>
The reason that haredim do not serve in the army was a compromise that Ben Gurion made so as to be able to have a union and proclaim Israel.
In the existence of Israel this has changed, a younger generation of religious Jews either serves in the army completely as I did- not being haredi but religious- or accompany the army to the front with the Torah and their prayers.
Like in any country with Parliamentary coalitions it must make compromise and Ben Gurion thought it was worth making that compromise to have a country to declare.

Of course,there are economic disparities, and of course we also have illegals, and of course depends on what neighborhood you live and what amenities you have. Israel is a country like all countries and must do what it must do.

American Liberal Jews, are liberal obviously and they have a right to their opinion,but that is from afar it is not a matter of loving Israel but understanding Israel and your post demonstrates that you do grasp where is is at.

American Liberal Jews do not want to stand with Israel, they should do as they want. Actually, this is historical. When Israel was fighting the Greek -Syrians in the and of Israel and the result is Hanukkah, The Maccabees asked help from diaspora Jews, The Jews who lived in Parthia said no. Their choice, the Maccabees had to do what they had to do...... and they won despite the lack of participation of Parthian Jews.

Sadly, this is specific problem of American Jews, The Jewish education here with afternoon schools is quite defective. The Day -schools are better, but still teach little about Israel as a subject not just the day of Independence. I know this because of my children's education in Day -schools. One day I told my daughter about an incident that I had to defend re Israel , and my daughter said I did not know those incidents and added: I would not have been to do what you did.

In Latin- America this is NOT so. Israel is a subject and Hebrew is a language that is taught, not half baked. Except Cuba of course, we have only a small community there.

Yes,there was a movement toward greater Israel,but those ideas have died and died for sure.
The : disputed territories" were won legally in a war.
Why nobody complained when the Arabs of Gaza where in the Hands of Egypt until 1967, no electricity, no gas, not jobs. Nobody talked about this then or NOW?

Suddenly Israel has it after 1967, and it put water connections electricity connections and hopes rose. If Arafat had not been allowed to return from Tunis, quite possible we might have had peace.

That is a turning point and the rest is history, and Israel is force to do many things that the early Zionists never dreamed they would happen, like bombing the Sbarro Pizzeria in the middle of the day with lots of kids there. Of course kids; of course the Russian kids too. If you kill the youth of a country....... you kill the country. This was done within the sovereignty of a country, just like 9/11.
Not "fun" at all.



Not really, Arabs who have Israeli citizenship stay as Israelis, those who would love to feel Arab and not Israeli can move if that is their choice.

True, Meir Kahane wanted that because he saw no solution,but they didn't even listen to him and there is NO Greater Israel and no kicking Israeli Arabs and just being careful that those who don't love Israel do not do damage. It is a hard task. Similar to the USA in which we have elements that would love to destroy America and we must be vigilant.

American Jews in the left have all the right to criticize Israel, but with knowledge and a least a visit to the land to see with their own eyes what is truly going on. Otherwise, they are swept by the ill- informed propaganda of the Left and attack Israel.

To me this is very uncomfortable, that American Jews who feel they in order to love Israel, Israel should be above all countries and be even better morally, economically and socially. Well when it possible Israel does it, when it is isn't just like America, America doesn't. Israel is a country like all countries.

I truly feel I don't need you to love Israel, nobody is putting a gun on you to "love" it. Leave it alone and fix Tibet, Kashmir and North Korea and other problems that should also be an interest to the left and fix those.

If you feel that Israel is not doing what you want move there, then you can vote and try to make a difference. From afar, in your computer, please leave Israel alone.

I am sorry you decided firmly not get out of the USA. I know Israel like the palm of my hand from the Galilee to Beersheva. The invitation stands.
Thank you for your thoughtful answer.

Rachel

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 11:02:26 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2011 11:25:34 AM PST
Rachel says:
You don't have to support Israel, Israel will thrive without you.

As i said in my post B A. Dilger, if any American Jew would like to improve Jewish politics in Israel go and live there and don't sit in your computer criticizing only! There you can vote and make a difference.

IN the final analysis Israel stand on its own either you love it or not!

Don't love it, fix other problems that you might love: Tibet, Kashmir, North Korea.

You just went Orthodox, I can imagine a 180 degree turnaround and what was you former background?

I find this interesting>

Rachel

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 11:03:25 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2011 11:26:10 AM PST
Rachel says:
Nonsense!

There you are showing that your coins are cooper not gold and that you are ready to swallow all of the Left propaganda. Moderate? Ahem.

Rachel

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 11:08:00 AM PST
Rachel says:
Thank You Surfing!

Rachel

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 11:12:52 AM PST
Rachel says:
Iscah:

* No country tell is all. We as historians have to wait close to 50 years to have archives open in terms of contemporary issues,

* Israel's life doesn't depend on anyone of the them. I am tired to have to explain everything from Adam and Eve.

*I am totally surprised at Surfing because I have not called him anything, I like him actually a lot. Yet, I disagree with the fact that he wants his money back!

Rachel

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 11:14:30 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2012 11:08:39 AM PST
Rachel says:
Absolutely right annie:

Israel and the USA have arrangements why the money is there. Are you privy to everything the USA government does and why?

None of your business since you love Jews so much.

Rachel

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 11:52:13 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2011 1:25:06 PM PST
Smallchief says:
Iscah says: I'm a little skeptical about your right to impose your values, on another country.

Smallchief replies. I don't have the right to impose my values on another country -- but I have a right to attempt to persuade them to change and to complain about their violations of human rights, international law, etc. That's what diplomats do for a living. Surely a citizen has the same right

And I also have the right to advocate withholding aid, trade, etc. from any country of which I disapprove.

What would you do with the 25 percent of Israeli citizens who are not Jewish? Would you allow them to drive cars on the sabbath? What would you do with the sizable number of Israeli citizens who are secular Jews? Do they have to obey dietary laws, marriage laws, etc.? How much control would you give to the religious leaders in the interest of making Israel a "Jewish nation."

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 12:10:04 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2011 1:00:35 PM PST
Rachel says:
They do drive cars in the Sabbath.

There are just certain neighbors that declare their blocks not drivable on the sabbath, you must respect that.

Everything else is privately decided- not the government, and they can do whatever they want. There are including pork stores. It is called Basar Lavan. Those who don't eat Kosher, including Jews, can buy their stuff there!

We don't impose anything on anybody. The only control is marriages, and in that I am in agreement. We are a small people and marrying Jewish and continuing traditions is paramount. Conversion possible so this is not a closed circle.
Yes, there are buses in which women accept to go in the back. I just don't take those buses.

It is like in the USA, the Amish behave one way, and the punks another way and we should be able to let live.

Rachel

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 1:14:25 PM PST
Smallchief,

I don't live in Israel. I live in America. Consequently, I have no say in what Israel's policies should be, in regard to being a Jewish state. But I do acknowledge that there seems to be little point in having a Jewish state, if it's not going to be a state with Jewish values.

It is up to the Israelis, to decide what laws non-Jews and secular Jews must conform with. It is true, that I generally believe that religious leaders make poor statesmen. However, I worship HaShem, and believe that He wants Jews to return to Him. Therefore, an Israel that encourages religious observance, is nothing but good, in my eyes.

Now I can foresee the howls of derision that my last statement is going to invite, but this laughter is not justified. Just because most of these guys think that nations should be secular, doesn't mean that they have any justification for their beliefs. They also believe that nations should have sovereignty, and the choice of whether to be secular, or religious, is an issue of national sovereignty. So if DarthRad wants America to withdraw from its alliance, because Israel is choosing a more religious course, then he simply doesn't respect Israel's sovereignty.

I, for one, certainly don't dispute an Islamic nation's right to be an Islamic nation. There are many supporters of Israel, who do just exactly that, and I frequently try to explain what a blunder of tactics and reason, that this is. I accept that different cultures, have different values. I don't accept the western point of view, that dictates that different cultures must adopt western values. I think that it's very amusing, when a westerner blah, blahs about how 'accepting' they are, and then badmouths other cultures, for not sharing their values.

In general, a liberal is just a liar, who claims to be very accepting of others, while being completely allergic to them. So much for wonderful western culture.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 1:25:43 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2011 4:32:52 PM PST
Good post, Rachel. I sometimes hear stories, of very 'observant' Jews doing things, in Israel, that are clearly not acceptable, from a Torah-keeping point of view. Then these guys, in these discussions, act like this is typical Jewish behavior.

Of course, we could play the same game, and attack men, women, Democrats, Republicans, liberals, gays, straights, or any other demographic, with exactly the same type reasoning, but what would be the point, other than to disparage a particular group of people, right? And then they wonder why we respond with certain choice words. :)

Posted on Nov 14, 2011 9:43:28 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2011 2:06:05 AM PST
DarthRad says:
William Yate,

"I would note the many Israeli government high officials who are now in jail or about to go to jail."

Which officials? What are they in jail for? And from Netanyahu's administration or previous ones?

------------------------------

Well, the list is quite long, and can be found with a Google search, or a search through the files of Wikipedia and various Israeli news media such as H'aaretz and Jerusalem Post. Here is a partial compilation:

Ehud Olmert - former Prime Minister - currently on trial for taking bribes and a multitude of other crimes of corruption, too many to list here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehud_Olmert#Corruption_and_bribery_criminal_investigations

Moshe Katsav - former President - convicted of rape of a Tourism Ministry employee, sentenced to 7 years in prison.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moshe_Katsav#Rape_and_sexual_harassment_case

Benjamin Netanyahu - accused of corruption in 1997 and 1999, both times recommended for prosecution by Israeli Police, both times charges were dropped for lack of sufficient evidence to convict; the Attorney General pointedly stated that was not the same thing as saying that Netanyahu was innocent.

http://articles.latimes.com/2000/sep/28/news/mn-28109

Avigdor Lieberman - Foreign Minister, awaiting indictment for fraud, money laundering, breach of trust, and witness tampering

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avigdor_Lieberman#Corruption

The entire Likud Central Committee - accused of accepting bribes, and ties to organized crime

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2583675.stm (although a BBC article, it quotes entirely from Israeli news sources)

Aryeh Deri - former Interior Minister and head of the Shas Party (ultra-Orthodox political party) convicted of taking $155,000 in bribes in 2000

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryeh_Deri

Shlomo Benizri - Member of Knesset, Shas Party, convicted of bribery, etc. in 2008.

Benny Regev, former mayor of Lod, convicted of accepting bribes.

Zamir Ben-Ari, former mayor of Givat Shmuel, accused of accepting bribes, not charged.

Oded Tal, official in Israel Lands Adminstration, convicted of accepting bribes

David Vanunu - former director of Tax Authority investigation dept. convicted of accepting bribes

Jacky Matza - former chief of Tax Authority, convicted of accepting bribes

Zvi Bar - mayor of Ramat Gan, indicted in April 2011 for bribery and money laundering.

Shimon Gapso - mayor of Upper Nazareth - recommended for indictment by Police for fraud and bribery

Atta Marai - senior border policeman, convicted for accepting bribes to allow Palestinian trucks to pass through without security checks.

A selection of articles from Israeli news media about the level of corruption and organized crime in Israel:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/poll-four-percent-of-israelis-say-they-ve-paid-bribes-in-last-year-1.206489

http://www.haaretz.com/news/state-prosecutor-israel-s-civil-service-is-plagued-by-corruption-1.241015

http://www.jpost.com/Business/Globes/Article.aspx?id=198197

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 11:18:34 PM PST
William Yate says:
Darthrad,

Many thanks for the list and the links. I find wikipedia generally reliable in my own field, philosophy, but on hot-button topics like Israel I'm a little more skeptical. Haaretz is a different story though. Not to sound ungrateful, as I plan on looking into all the names on the list you provided, but if you have time, I would appreciate your thoughts on the relation of the US presidency and Israel, my other question. Bush II may have upped the game, but I find it very hard to believe he was the watershed in US-Israeli relations.

One other question has been bugging me in my attempts to understand US Middle East policy. I have always taken Walt and Mearsheimer as the sine qua non in hard-headed but essentially fair-minded realism when it comes to our (meaning America's) position. But I came across some Chomsky lectures in which he suggests that the Israel lobby, while far from negligible, is not the all-consuming power that W&M paint it as. His basic argument is that the Israel lobby pales in comparison to the strength of the domestic lobbies, and that the real reason for our ceding to every Israeli demand is a genuine coincidence of geopolitical imperatives. I think this is worth investigating since Chomsky seems to me far more level-headed than his critics' portrayal of him, so his motive can't be attributed to anything but sincere conviction. I am generally convinced by W&M's argument, so I find the opposition of so intelligent and realistic a critic meaningful.

In any event, I appreciate your taking the time to compile this list for me to look into.

Best,
Will

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 11:27:26 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2011 11:36:13 PM PST
William Yate says:
Also, I came across multiple articles today about how Avigdor Lieberman says that Jordan is not Palestine. My knowledge of these things is minimal, but that claim surprised me. Assuming, as seems only rational, that the end-point of current Israeli policy is a Greater Israel, wouldn't Lieberman wish to say that Jordan sounds like a swell place for the Palestinians to set up shop? I assume I must be missing something...

Apologies for continuing the trend of talking about Israel-Palestine; but since there's no danger of demagoguery between rational people I figure the spirit rather than the letter of the injunction is maintained.

Posted on Nov 15, 2011 1:03:18 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2011 1:54:56 AM PST
DarthRad says:
William Yate,

"Also, there's one historical claim you made that I'm not convinced holds water. You talk about Bush II's subservience to Israel as a turning point in the presidency's relationship to Israel. Is this really the case? I don't know the history as well as you do, but I've thought about when this change could have occurred, and the era I've always zoned in on as most likely is LBJ-Nixon. Eisenhower stood up to Israel-England-France in 1956, and JFK opposed the Israeli push to get nukes, but it seems like by the time of the 1967 and 1973 wars American neutrality was a thing of the past. (I'm hoping Robert Caro will eventually weigh in will some fresh research on LBJ and Israel; though it may get drowned out in Vietnam.)"

--------------------

It is only fair to say that what Bush Jr. did was to escalate the level of subservience of America to the Israel Lobby to the maximum possible levels. The change in behavior of American politicians during the Bush era was so dramatically obvious that it was what precipitated Mearsheimer and Walt's study of the affects of the Israel Lobby on American Foreign Policy.

Bush Jr. for the first time made support for Israel a central pillar of American politics, adding it to the list of "Third Rail" issues that American politicians now could not touch without annihilating themselves.

This is what made his administration stand out.

Previously, American Presidents were free to pursue their own policies in regards to Israel, based on their own perceptions of what was right or wrong, what was politically advantageous, and what was not. Support for Israel was not considered to be an major part of the American political discussion. And so different presidents treated Israel differently.

Truman was heavily lobbied by Jewish support groups, who went through his old Army buddy and partner in the haberdashery business, Eddie Jacobson, to convince him to recognize Israel, over the sharp objections of George Marshall, the State Department, and almost all the professional advisers of his administration.

Eisenhower, the great hero of WWII and hugely popular with Americans, was his own man and probably the last American President able to do the right thing and say "NO" to both the U.S. military and to Israel. In the combined British-French-Israel invasion and seizure of the Suez Canal of 1956, he forced all parties to withdraw so as to not provoke the Soviets into a wider conflict.

JFK opposed the Israeli development of nuclear weapons and wanted US inspections of the Dimona nuclear power plant. Some conspiracy nuts think the Mossad was involved in JFK's assassination as a result. But then so was the Easter Bunny and everybody else and his brother.

LBJ was known to be a passionate supporter of Israel - his most well known act in this regard was to effectively quash any investigation of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty during the 1967 Six Day War.

The story of the USS Liberty and the subsequent cover-up is a whole topic all by itself. Enough to say here that to this day, every one of the survivors of the USS Liberty attack believe that the Israeli attack was deliberate and premeditated and that the US government covered this up. A reference:

http://www.gtr5.com/

LBJ was nevertheless too preoccupied with Vietnam and his social programs to do much for Israel. Israel also at the time was still very much in the mode of fending for itself rather than calling on the US for help.

As a result of the Six Day War, the French turned against the Israelis, specifically deGaulle imposed an arms embargo on the Israelis. And so the Israelis, who previously had been flying French Mirages, started their military purchases from the U.S., first purchasing/licensing the General Electric J79 jet engines in 1968 to power the Kfir, the Israeli version of the Mirage, and then in 1969 purchasing US made F4 Phantoms.

Yes, Nixon/Kissinger were the ones who really opened up the US military arsenal to the Israelis. Military aid especially accelerated during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Israel started taking very heavy losses for the first time. Nixon/Kissinger then took the first fateful steps to begin America's current entanglement with Israel by essentially guaranteeing Israel's survival and for the first time ever, pouring in massive military aid to Israel, including the latest in smart bomb technology.

Whereas from 1949 to 1973, total US aid to Israel only amounted to an average of S122 million a year (most of it in loans), starting in 1974, US aid skyrocketed into the $3 billion a year range, almost all of it in outright grants. Here's a reference:

http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~hireview/content.php?type=article&issue=spring04/&name=feith

During the Gerald Ford era, the transfer of the latest military technology continued, with delivery of the latest F-15 fighters to Israel in 1976.

The loss of Vietnam in 1975 had set US prestige to a low point, and the Soviets were becoming ever more adventurous, sponsoring terrorist groups and Communist liberation movements worldwide, as well as providing arms to a number of Arab countries. It was during this era that Israel's claim to be a bulwark against Communism and Soviet domination of the Middle East came to be accepted at full value.

At the same time, the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the massive US support for Israel made Egypt's Anwar Sadat realize that Soviet support would not get him what he wanted, and so he flipped to the US side, since the US had more goodies to offer. In 1979, as a reward for signing the peace treaty with Israel, the US began the billion dollar military funding of Egypt which continues today. That was all under President Carter's watch.

Reagan, despite being widely perceived as highly pro-Israel, was in reality his own man also, secure enough in his own popularity to not be afraid of the Israel lobby. There were many moments where Reagan criticized the actions of the Israeli government, and Reagan saw the PLO as important to the peace process in the Middle East and moved to engage with the PLO, all of which displeased the Israeli government.

http://www.mitchellbard.com/articles/reagan.html

And, as this article points out, Reagan finished his administration with a purge of the pro-Israeli neo-cons, and many of Reagan's most trusted advisers had long standing business ties to the oil-producing Arab countries. Which explains why the Israeli government all but boycotted his funeral in 2004.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/06/12/top-israelis-boycott-reagan-s-state-funeral/

George H.W. Bush, what to say except that I always thought of him as an unfairly maligned and one of the most underrated Presidents of our time. He rallied the Arab nations together in the first Iraq War. He oversaw the fall of the Soviet Empire, and ensured that this would happen with minimal conflict with the U.S. He pushed Israel to sign the Oslo Peace treaty. He pushed Israel to suspend settlement building in the Occupied Territories.

And he was punished for all of that. I never could understand why in 1992, during the Presidential campaign, the Mainstream Media of the US kept talking about a "malaise' and high unemployment. Unemployment in 1992 in the U.S. was only 7.5%, which was lower than it was for the first half of the Reagan years. To the bitter end, both Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. saw a conspiracy in the US news media against him. No wonder that Bush Jr. took this home as an object lesson about messing with Israel and its Lobby.

Clinton watched over the hopeful beginnings of the Oslo Peace Accords, and in the last days of his administration tried to finalize the loose ends into a two state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians. Clinton, secure in the knowledge of being a Democrat and having the full support of the vast majority of American Jews, pushed Ehud Barak hard for concessions, concessions which were opposed by Ariel Sharon (who later stated that had the treaty actually been signed, he would have abrogated the treaty terms).

Although Clinton would later blame Arafat for not taking the prize when it was there for the taking - the best terms the Palestinians would ever be able to get from the Israelis - the truth was that the hard right wing of Israeli politics was waiting at that very moment to take over the Israeli government, and by this point all the right wing Israeli ultra-nationalist forces, the settlers, the Ultra-Orthodox, the proponents of Greater Israel, were too entrenched and too powerful for any such peace treaty to last, much less even take hold.

And in 2000, Bush Jr. was elected president and became the lapdog for the Israel Lobby. I voted for Bush Jr. because I truly considered Bush Sr. to be a great statesman, and hoped for much the same from Jr. For 8 years, I followed every one of his pronouncements about Israel and Middle East Peace. It was only towards the end of that period that I finally realized what Bush Jr.'s strategy was all along, to cynically turn the Israel Lobby into a major new campaign funding source and a political advantage and wedge issue for the Republican Party in its never-ending battle with the Democrats. Bush Jr. knew that making peace between Israel and the Palestinians was hopeless, and so he didn't even bother to try.

Posted on Nov 15, 2011 2:22:48 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 15, 2011 2:41:30 AM PST
DarthRad says:
William Yate,

Regarding Chomsky's viewpoint about Mearsheimer and Walt's study on the Israel Lobby -

If there is a theme in my summary of past American presidents it is this - Bush Jr. perceived and treated the Israel Lobby as something powerful that needed to be feared and cultivated, and since perception equals reality in politics, that is how American politicians have come to regard the Israel Lobby.

As we have seen with Reagan and Eisenhower, truly powerful American Presidents, with a secure base of popularity, have not been afraid to go against the wishes of the Israel Lobby.

Obama undoubtedly would wish he were in that league, and when he started his presidency, he walked the walk and talked the talk of somebody who was his own man. But his popularity is suffering now, and so he has reeled himself back into the pro-Israel camp again.

So my version of Chomsky's view on the true strength of the Israel Lobby is that the Israel Lobby is whatever the current American president makes it to be. Can the Israel Lobby derail the career of a politician who opposes it? Absolutely. Can a highly charismatic and popular American politician survive butting heads with the Israel Lobby? Absolutely.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 6:07:11 AM PST
W.T. says:
Israel is closer to American-style freedom that you can find anywhere in Europe. After Canada and Australia, it's probably the most in-line with our ideals. It reflects very well on them that, in spite of the Palestinian venom that they are targeted with daily, the Palestinians who are Israeli citizens have the best lives of any of their race on the planet, mainly because they are the only free Palestinians on the planet.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 6:18:47 AM PST
anne says:
W K: . . . the Palestinians who are Israeli citizens . . .

anne: You may want to do more research, as mine concludes there is no such thing as a Palestinian who is an Israeli citizen. Not only does Israel not allow Palestinians to be Israeli citizens, Palestinians reject Israel--kinda like polar opposites. Interestingly, Israel wants the land on which some Palestinians live (West Bank but not Gaza), but they don't want the Palestinians themselves.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 6:38:48 AM PST
Nice job of making Israel seem like a terribly lawless and corrupt place, DarthRad.

Oh, wait a minute! These guys are being prosecuted, or have been convicted. There must be law and order there, after all, right?

We could probably put together a similar list of corrupt politicians, for in given country, including the U.S. But what would be the point, other than to disparage a particular nation, right?
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Discussion in:  History forum
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Initial post:  Nov 13, 2011
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