Columns Jeffrey Salkin: Martini Judaism Opinion

Eyeless in Gaza

Palestinian protesters chant slogans as they burn tires during a protest on the Gaza Strip's border with Israel on May 14, 2018. Thousands of Palestinians are protesting near Gaza's border with Israel, as Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

The quote refers to Samson — the powerful Israelite judge, whose strength lay in his unshorn hair — whose eyes were put out by the Philistines, and who pulled the temple of Dagan down upon his captors, and upon himself.

Ever since those distant biblical days, Gaza has been a place that has teased people into blindness.

The Palestinians. You would think that, by now, they would have gotten the blood-stained memo: your so-called leaders whip you into a frenzy; they send you into battle; you (and, horrifically, your children) die. Your leaders have done nothing to help you; you are simply fodder for their fantasies.

To the Palestinians of Gaza: You realize, don’t you, that there are many Israelis and Jews around the world who sympathize and empathize with your suffering; that there are many Israelis and Jews around the world who, like you, long for a two state solution to the morass in  which we find ourselves.

You realize, don’t you, that the more your leaders push you into violent confrontation with Israel; the more you speak of killing Jews — the less comfortable with a two state solution some of those sympathizers are becoming.

As Yossi Klein Halevi writes in his stunning new book, Letters To My Palestinian Neighbor (which will be the best book about Israel that you will read this year):

We need to challenge the stories we tell about each other, which have taken hold in our societies. We have imposed our worst historical nightmares on the other. To you we are colonialists, Crusaders. And to us you are the latest genocidal enemy seeking to destroy the Jewish people.

Can we, instead, see each other as two traumatized peoples, each clinging to the same sliver of land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, neither of whom will find peace or justice until we make our peace with the other’s claim to justice? I don’t believe that peace without at least some attempt at mutual understanding can endure…

What right do I have as a conqueror to ask you for a reciprocal gesture of recognition? Perhaps because I am a peculiar conqueror: I fear that withdrawal to the nine-mile-wide borders that defined Israel before the 1967 war could fatally undermine my ability to defend myself in a disintegrating Middle East. I fear that withdrawal might not merely diminish but destroy me.

The Palestinians are blind to the effects of their behavior, and their leaders’ manipulations.

Israel. My file folders are bulging with articles that illustrate this cruel, cynical pattern of Israeli history: Israel’s incursions in Lebanon. Past incursions into Gaza. Israel’s incursions into problematic areas in the West Bank.

Here is the pattern. The Palestinians provoke Israel. Israel fights back. When insurgents threaten your citizenry, there is very little time to make sure that the response is proportionate — though that is precisely what the ethics code of the Israel Defense Forces demands.

And then, the hasbara (PR, interpretation) machine kicks in. The same old lines — from the same old battles, repeated over and over again.

Then, comes the predictable War of Rabbinic Quotes.

  • The left throws out the one about God rebuking the angels, who are singing as the Egyptians are drowning in the sea (be compassionate towards our enemies).
  • The right hits back with: If someone comes to kill you, kill them first (don’t be a sucker regarding your enemies).

Yes, Israel needs to fight back against such an incursion from hostile neighbors.

And yes, I wish that there was a better way for Israel to do so.

Israel seems blind to how its actions appear to the world.

Ah, but truly — perhaps it is time for just a little bit of humility.

Like my friend and teacher, Donniel Hartman, I am forced into an uncharacteristic silence.

Gaza paralyzes me into silence, for I am like most Israelis. I am not only saddened by the choices they have made and by the paths that they have chosen not to take, I am angry.

I am a devout two-statist, who believes in the right of the Palestinian people to sovereignty in their own state, living side-by-side with Israel in peace and security for both of us.

I am angry, because I believe that the hatred and violence spewing out of Gaza has possibly buried Israelis’ belief in the viability of the two-state solution in our lifetime. Any discourse about a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria is immediately rejected under the counter-argument: “It will just become another Gaza.”

And this Gaza will be able to shut down all of Israel with mere mortar fire.

The world is blind as well. The world refuses to see what is happening, because it has a vested interest in its blindness.

US News got it right:

May 14 is the 70th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel in the western calendar. The following day is when Palestinians traditionally commemorate the events of 1948 as the Nakba, or Catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were dispossessed.

The protest campaign, dubbed The Great March of Return, began on March 30 and has revived a longstanding demand for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their former towns and villages.

Get it? These are people — many of them Hamas, others along for the deadly ride — who are marching into Israel are not demonstrating. Well, yes, they are demonstrating — their hatred for Israel; their eagerness to kill Israelis; their willingness to send fiery kites into Israel to burn crops and fields.

They want the land back.

This is not about the aftermath of the Six Day War in 1967.

This is about turning the historical clock back — to 1948, to the very dawn of Israel’s history.

Israel is the only country in the world — whose very birth is still being debated.

Back to blindness.

Somewhere, in rabbinic literature, there is a list of types of people who were ineligible to bring a sacrifice to the ancient Temple.

Among them, the person who is blind in one eye.

Because that person can only see part of the reality.

May it not be too late. May it not be too late for our eyes to be opened.

May it not be too late for us to utter the blessing:

“Blessed are You, God, Who opens the eyes of the blind.”

About the author

Jeffrey Salkin

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla., and the author of numerous books on Jewish spirituality and ethics, published by Jewish Lights Publishing and Jewish Publication Society.

35 Comments

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  • If the Bible is to be believed, Jerusalem was the home of the Jebusites, and King David took it from them. That was ok, because David was loved by Yahweh. Evidently, the claim that Jerusalem belongs to Israel today is based on one of Yahweh’s most important commandments – Once stolen, always stolen.

  • Take a rest, Rabbi, go read a novel for a bit. This thing is over. The NYT front page doesn’t even have the word Gaza on it anymore. The pro forma denunciations have been recited and the world’s attention has turned back to Korean détente and the new Italian governments plan to rid Italy of mosques. Nobody gives a poop about Palestine anymore.

    Do the goyim still want us dead? Of course they do. Goyim are goyim. But they don’t want to break a sweat doing it. They’re hoping Iran will do the heavy lifting for them.

    Cheer up, rabbi. We’re safe for another week. That’s a whole week to figure out how we’ll stay alive the week after that. Week by week, staying one step ahead of the goyim. It’s worked for four thousand years.

    As the Psalmist said, “Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Neither will the IDF.

  • Such a sad situation. If a two-state solution could be found, then conflicts would fade and stability, prosperity and happiness would increase. But that would require Muslims to recognize Isreal’s right to exist, and would require Israel to allow at least some former inhabitants of their country to return. Neither side seems willing to budge.

  • As much as I like many of Salkin’s articles, I have to strongly disagree with his analysis of the dynamics of what happens in Gaza. For he describes Palestinian strikes as if they are first strikes and Israeli actions as response. That is often not the case.

    Now the above does not whitewash all Palestinian responses. Any attacks on civilian populations are immoral and must be dealt with. But a moral standard applies to all. The Israeli Occupation takes a different form in Gaza. And if one wants to blame the Palestinians for being too whipped up by Hamas, then one is turning a blind eye to the effects of how the Occupation is implemented in Gaza.

    For to many people, especially those who ride on the coattails of those who oppress, those who are oppressed must act like saints in all situations and all of the time before their complaints are considered. Why? It is because people are reluctant to change. So while the oppressed live on a short leash, the oppressors are granted leniency. And that is what has been occurring since the beginning of the Occupation.

    If the Palestinians have become blind to the results of their actions, those who have the most power and rely on the rule of force were born blind. And part of the problem is that some rely on the two-state solution in order to maintain inequality at home. But the two-state solution has been a non-starter from the beginning because Israel quest for suprmeacy. For if Israel prohibits Iran and others in the region from enjoying their legal right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes, think about what kind of state Israel would allow the Palestinians to become. It could never become equal to Israel because Israel must maintain control. And that perceived need for control not only prohibits an equal Palestinian state, it prohibits equality for non-Jewish citizens of Israel.

    The Modern Zionist venture must share the stage with true equality for all regardless of ethnicity. Otherwise, Israel faces either eventual military defeat or moral suicide. And the recent murders of unarmed Gaza protesters indicates Israel’s current choice.

  • Arbustin,
    I believe in taking one step at a time. And the first step is to make all sides accountable to the same standards. So for right now, we haven’t a clue as to where we can go until the US, Israel, and the Palestinians are under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

    Once that occurs, we can start talking. But until that occurs, the rule of force will continue.

  • Bang on, Curt. A voice of reason.
    As a LTE said in today’s paper, the Trump move on the embassy simply emboldened the hard liners on both sides.

  • Unless the Palestinians obtain a well-trained modern army, a modern air force, develop agricultural self-sufficiency, and sever ties with various terrorist organizations, there is zero chance that all sides will be accountable to the same standards.

  • Israel only faces eventual military defeat if one of its opponents develops nuclear weapons.

  • Since that is not going to happen after 70 years, since the UN has zero troops or other means of enforcing anything, and since both Israel and the US have written off the UN when it comes to the Middle East, what’s your back-up position?

  • Bob,
    We always have multiple realityies to juggle rather than just having one to hold on to. And our ability to survive depends on our willingness to learn how to juggle.

    History says what I have suggested will never happen. But history, as well as logic, tells us what will happen if we don’t do something that is similar to what I have suggested.

    Israel does not exist without US funding.. We don’t need troops here. We simply need the political willingness to say ‘no mas’ to funding for the military and the Occupation. That means that we, here, must exert the necessary political pressure on our government to change its course.

    What is in it for us? The continued reliance on the rule of force in an age where the proliferation of WMDs can only result in the mass suicide of the human race. And the people’s willingness to exert that political pressure on its elected officials depends on our society becoming more concerned about people than about gadgets, profits, and property rights.

    Yes, the odds don’t look good for us but it is that future reality that should direct our steps, not the past and present realities with which we are so familiar.

  • The moment the US says “no mas” to Israel, Iran sharpens it knives, the Saudis and any other allies we have that depend on our support in nasty neighborhoods like Korea start looking to bail out (which happened with the Saudis when Obama inked the Iran “deal”), and we increase the odds of a war.

    I don’t think that’s a wise approach and would not exert ANY effort on our government to change its course.

    It would also INCREASE the proliferation of WMDs since both the Saudis and the Iranians would immediately seek nuclear arms, and the technology is readily available.

    A simpler solution is to erect a wall between Israel and Palestine, inform the Palestinians that Hamas is not their friend, and step away from this bad situation that was never realistically workable and now impossible.

  • Bob,
    Saying ‘no mas’ to further military funding doesn’t cut ties with Israel as an ally. Any attack on Israel would be answered not only by current Israeli military power, but by American military power as well.

    In addition, us curbing Israel’s power would have no effect on the seeking of WMDs by iran or Saudi Arabia–the latter of which is highly dependent on us for military aid and other benefits as well.

    While trying to get the Palestinians to shun Hamas would show ignorance of history. I don’t like Hamas, but then again, I am have experienced the disillusionment with the other groups that Palestinians have. Do you want the Palestinians to cut ties with Hamas, then create the peaceful conditions that would make Hamas irrelevant. And those peaceful conditions includes putting everybody under the same standards such as putting the US, Israel, and the Palestinians under the jurisdiction of the ICC. Only the insistence on the rule of force could object to that.

  • You sure have a lot of guesswork there.

    Saudi Arabia, based ONLY on the Iran deal, has already made preliminary steps towards a nuclear program.

    Since they don’t have the luxury of sitting in the USA and musing on this, that, or the other but face Iran which is a known existential threat.

    You can’t “create the peaceful conditions that would make Hamas irrelevant”.

    That would require eliminating ISIS, Iran, certain schools of Islam, undoing 70 years of history, planting American boots on the ground, and establishing a Pax Americana.

    That is simply not going to fly.

    Based on its history, I wouldn’t place myself under the jurisdiction of the ICC, and I guarantee no one else in the area would be willing to do it.

  • Bob,
    Saudi Arabia’s nuclear weapons plans are contingent on Iran. In addition, with the royal family in charge, Saudi Arabia is under the US control. and has acted in an allied partnership with Israel and the US. Saudi Arabia’s beef with Iran is religious. Ironically, Iran’s Shia religion opposes the base version of Islam for terrorist groups lik Al Qaeda and ISIS and yet the US allies itself with Saudi Arabia and against Iran. In addition, what if either Iran or Saudi Arabia obtained nuclear weapons. Could either nation use them on Israel with out mass U.S. retaliation?

    Let me ask what Israel’s reaction would be to any nation that attacked its bases that were located in other countries. Wouldn’t Israel consider such attacks as an act of war? And yet, if Iran retaliates against the Israeli attacks on Iranian bases in Syria, wouldn’t Israel consider that retaliation as an act of war?

    The more that Israel acts with impunity to further its own interests, the more enemies it creates. That is the real danger here. The primary objection to Iran’s nuclear program is mover over development first than over weapons. Secondary to that is the concern over weapons even nuclear ones that would give Iran a deterrent against foreign aggression. Please note that Israel already attacked a nuclear facility in Iraq in around 1981 and upon post-attack inspection, that facility was found to have no capabilities for producing weapons grade material for a nuclear device.

    Again, Israel’s insistence that it can act with impunity to further its own interests is the real danger here. ICC jurisdiction adds a level of control and accountability to Israel’s policies. Otherwise, one is condemned to rely on the rule of force. And since no nation is able to rely on the rule of force forever, such a reliance spells catastrophic consequences sometime in the future.

  • The Saudis are not “under US control”.

    They have numerous contacts with Russia, with which they coordinate on oil production and sales, and buy military gear from Western Europe.

    If the Saudis develop nuclear weapons, it will be to thwart Iran.

    Since Iran is the sworn enemy of Israel, and has fired missiles from Syria into Israel, it is no shock that Israeli attacked Iranian bases in Syria.

    While you suggest that the more that Israel acts with impunity to further its own interests, the more enemies it creates, the facts and history say otherwise.

    Egypt and Jordan, for example, are and have been out of the fight for some time.

    They did not make that decision because Israel stopped defending itself.

    As to your assessment of Operation Opera, the jury is still out.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Opera#Assessment

    Unless the ICC has some magical powers heretofore undiscovered, the fact that none of the participants in the area will voluntarily submit to its jurisdiction looks like the elephant in the room.

  • Bob,
    They are most definitely under our control. We provide quite a few weapons for them as well as we benefit from their oil production even though we are also competitors. Without our permission, they would never be able to perform the military operations they do in Yemen and Bahrain. And even though it people would like tobe enemies with Israel, Saudi Arabia is in a semi-allied position with Israel because of us. And we do them the favor of opposing the Shiites in Iran even though our biggest terrorist enemy comes from the Sunnies. You noted how Egypt and Jordan have been out of the fight with Israel. So has Saudi Arabia and what is the common link there?

    Now tell me, what facts state otherwise that Israel acts with impunity? Which ones? Is it their constant disregard for UN resolutions? Is it their continual stealing of Palestinian land or of their constant brutalization of the Palestinian people. Or take the latest example. The US scuttled the attempted UN condemnation of Israel’s actions in Gaza. So tell me, which facts state that Israel doesn’t act with impunity?

    Iran is a sworn enemy of Israel. But why? It is a sworn enemy of Zionism because it sees how the Palestinians are treated. Eliminate political Zionism in Israel and see how Iran responds. Or create a viable Palestinian state according to the ’67 borders except for mutually agreed upon land exchanges and then examine Iran’s stance toward Israel. And Iran isn’t firing missiles into Israel. It is firing missiles into occupied territory. It is firing missiles into territory that belongs to Syria. Israel takes and doesn’t return.

    Finally, no the ICC doesn’t have magical enforcement powers. But that is why submitting to its jurisdiction would be the first step in bringing peace. For submitting to the jurisdiction of the ICC would show some self-control that is missing especially among the most powerful. And then with submission to the same set of standards, we could actually start to build trust. But without that self-control, you have the continued reliance on the rule of force with one’s own military capabilities providing the only limits for what either party takes for itself . And with the eventual proliferation of WMDs due to technology, reliance on the rule of force eventually produces vast mutually assisted suicide. Should note that moral suicide precedes that and that how a government treats others eventually becomes the standard for how that government treats its own.

    The attack on the
    Osirak reactor was based solely on suspicion. It was examined and was found unsuitable for producing weapons grade materials. But something else occurred. Not long after the attack, Saddam Hussein started to initiate a nuclear weapons program (http://users.physics.harvard.edu/~wilson/publications/pp896.html ).

    But let me ask this, suppose Iraq was going to use the Osirak reactor to make nuclear weapons, what could he have done with those weapons without facing massive retaliation? At best, they could be used as a deterrent.

    Now we can argue resources, but the point is that Israel acted with impunity. The condemnation they received from the US and others amounted to nothing more than a slap on the wrist, In the meantime, Israel took military action without having to prove anything so they were not held accountable for their actions. And, as the evidence supplied by the document I cited, Israel’s actions initiated Saddam’s nuclear weapon program.

  • “They are most definitely under our control.”

    You’re confusing the United States of America with the Roman Empire.

    “Without our permission, they would never be able to perform the military operations they do in Yemen and Bahrain.”

    Really?

    The Saudi military is second only to Israel’s in the Middle East.

    Its Air Force has eighty-six F-15C/D Eagle air superiority fighters, seventy F-15S Strike Eagle multirole fighter-bombers – which are in the process of being upgraded to F-15SA configuration with APG-63 (v) 3 active electronically scanned array radars, new electronic warfare systems, new sensors, and a fly-by-wire control system.

    It has seventy-two Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role air-to-air and air-to-ground fighters.

    It has the same air surveillance capacity as the US and Israel. It has eighty-two Boeing AH-64D Apache attack helicopters.

    Saudi ground forces are equipped with 442 M1A2S Abrams main battle tanks configured like the U.S. Army’s M1A2 SEP standard with advanced information and networking systems.

    It has thee Al Riyadh-class frigates designed to for anti-air warfare, about twenty-five percent larger than the French La Fayette-class on which they’re based.

    And the Saudis have developed the capacity to repair and maintain all of this and more to a very high level.

    Saudi Arabia is in a semi-allied position with Israel because of Iran.

    Israel acts as it does because in its opinion that best preserves Israel. While Neville Chamberlain, John Kerry’s spiritual forerunner, negotiated with “Mr. Hitler”, Jews died.

    “Never again” means something existential to Israel.

    “Iran is a sworn enemy of Israel. But why?”

    I can tell you one reason that has zero purchase: “It is a sworn enemy of Zionism because it sees how the Palestinians are treated.” Iran could care less about Palestinians except as a pretext for something else it has in mind.

    Iran is determined to assert its control over the Middle East. And, yes, Iran is firing missiles into Israel, whether you call it “occupied territory” or not. If the territory belongs to Syria, what has Syria done to reassert itself?

    After Israel entered into the Camp David Accords with Egypt in 1978, it completed a staged withdrawal from the Sinai in 1982. Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994 and Jordan gave up any claims to the occupied territory.

    The Israeli settlements in Gaza were evacuated and destroyed in August, 2005, as a part of Israeli disengagement from Gaza.

    Where is the peace agreement with Syria? There is none. Israel would be insane to hand back territory from which Syria shelled Israel for years.

    There is not a chance of a snowball in hell that Israel, the Palestinians, Syria, or the United States will submit to the jurisdiction of the ICC.

    The jury is still out on whether the Osirak reactor was unsuitable for producing weapons grade materials.

    Israel, btw, is hardly acting with impunity.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_casualties_of_war

    When its safety and sovereignty is insured, then the battles will end.

  • Bob,
    I believe that you are the one who is confused. For you seem to think that Rome’s rule and imperialism is synonymous. Though while Rome’s rule was imperial, empires can take multiple forms. So just because we aren’t Rome, doesn’t mean that we don’t have an empire.

    BTW, how many military bases did Rome have around its area of the world at the height of its power? Currently, the US has over 900. How many proxy leaders did Rome put into power or bought? With the US, we can start counting those leaders whom the US used to replace democratic regimes or processes. From there, one needs to see if the current regime is in place because of those past regimes.

    As for the Saudis, they don’t act outside of US permission. And in return, they get military toys and business for their oil industries. Whether we look to the past to see how the Saudis and the U.S. funded terrorists like Osama bin Laden to both overthrow a soviet-backed, but liberal government and induce the soviets into their own Vietnam to its military operations in Yemen and Bahrain with American weapons to its opposition to Iraq but being an ally to Israel. Do you honestly think that the royal family’s treatment of Israel reflects the sentiments of the citizens of Saudi Arabia?

    Do you really think that the US would sell so much military equipment to Saudi Arabia if it didn’t think that it had enough control over the government so as to ensure that equipment would not be used on Israel?

    Our ties to Saudi Arabia and our opposition to Iran contradict the war terror. For the major threats to the U.S. and its interests are from extremist Sunni, not Shiite, Muslims. Iran mourned the 9/11 attacks and may have provided some intelligence on some of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan early in the war on terror. And yet, there is something the US gets from its ties to Saudi Arabia so that the US overlooks the sins of Saudi Arabia. IN exchange, the US provides weapons and business and gains a degree of control over the foreign policies pursued by the Saudis.

    As for Israel, its settlers left Gaza in 2005, but its military didn’t. It often uses drones and aircraft to monitor and attack Gaza. Military troops located around Gaza have a habit of firing at Palestinians living there. Gaza is granted limited space of its shores. And then there are the invasions. For which of those invasions has Israel been punished?

    And if you want to list military casualties as proving Israel acts with impunity, what you are implying is that anytime a nation suffers a military casualty in its operations, then that nation has acted with impunity regardless of the success of that operation and the repercussions that follow. For example, suppose after Iraq had invade Kuwait, the world didn’t respond. By your logic, Iraq didn’t escape with impunity because it suffered minor military casualties during its invasion.

    Finally, your defense of Israel is similar to the defense some offer for the Palestinians. It’s simply based on tribalism. If Israel was acting purely in self-defense, it wouldn’t continue to take land, continue to seize control over water resources, it would so tightly ration electricity to Gaza, it, in short, would not continue the occupation. But while it continues the occupation, it can continue to take more and more land from the Palestinians and it can continue to brutally oppress them. For such actions only invite retaliation and that retaliation makes Israel less secure..

    Israel is an aggressor in the region. That doesn’t make the Palestinians innocent in ll that they do, but it certainly shows that Israel is not acting primarily out of self-defense.

  • A three state solution. With Gaza and West Bank states responsibly run as peaceful neighbors with Israel.

    Gaza and West Bank are irrevocably split and impossible to administrate as one unit just due to physical separation let alone political ones

  • In this particular situation if we have an empire, the American people did not choose to attain it, and the President ran on disassembling it.

    As for the Saudis, they certainly act “outside of US permission”.

    Saudi Arabia is a sovereign state, just like Israel.

    Since it is not a democratic republic, and there are no polls on what if anything its populace believes, we’ll cast that red herring aside.

    The major threats to the U.S. and its interests include Iranian Shiites.

    Since the Gaza was for decades the point of origin for shelling Israel, it did not withdraw its military, monitors it, and if a threat is found, attacks.

    My assessment, not defense, of Israel is based on reality. It has not expanded since the Six-Day War and holds territory under belligerent occupation unless and until a peace treaty is signed with the claimant to the land in question. Given both the track record and the statements of the claimants, Israel would be suicidal to turn anything over without the sort of accord it reached with Egypt.

    That’s reality, like it or not, and no one in the area is going to accept jawboning and high-minded suppositions after 70 years of constant conflict.

  • I read today, but have not verified, that the opening land-for-peace offer from Israel to Egypt in 1978 included the Gaza Strip along with the rest of Sinai. Sadat said thanks but no thanks. I have an inkling Abbas feels the same way.

  • That is a true story. Israel didn’t want it.

    For those who blame Israel entirely for the blockade on Gaza usually fail to note that Egypt is on the other side of it doing the same.

  • Egypt has been acting as an intermediary in the past few days between Israel and Hamas. They had offered to re-open the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Sinai in exchange for a cancellation of Monday’s protests. Hamas refused. After the deaths, Hamas apparently has taken them up on the offer and the past 24 hours have been mostly quiet.

  • Bob,
    We have an empire. And whether the American people took an active role in obtaining it is irrelevant.

    As for Saudis, which of their foreign policies act outside of American permission? An d yes, there are polls taken of the Saudi public. That can be verified simply by googling it.

    And no, you can’t blame shelling from the Palestinians for Israeli actions. For Israeli actions have occurred both without the shelling occurring and disproportionately. In addition, much of the antagonism against Israel has to do with Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.

    As for the rest of your comment, you’ve only shown that you are not dealing either seriously or realistically. Your tribalism is more than apparent. Below is a link to some maps that show the stolen land from the Palestinians. Both parties have faults here.

    http://epfnational.org/map-palestine-years/

    Now of course, if Israel is acting only defensively, then they would have everything to gain and nothing to lose if the US, Israel, and the Palestinians subjected themselves to the jurisdiction of the ICC.

    When you are ready to engage in a serious discussion about the realities Israelis and Palestinians must face, let me know. Until then, enjoy the article linked to below:

    https://icahd.org/get-the-facts/matrix-control/

  • Whether the Americans want an empire is rather relevant to your proposed course of action.

    For starters, the agreement between the Saudis and the Russians on oil production and sales were reached without “American permission”.

    Saudi polls are rare indeed, officially sponsored, government-monitored, opposition-oriented, or self-selected sampling.

    http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/fikraforum/view/unique-saudi-poll-shows-moderate-majority-but-sectarian-split

    And yes I can blame Palestinians for Israeli actions. Yes, Palestinians hate Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. They’re going to continue to hate them until they acquiesce to the existence of Israel or are made completely inert as far as acting on them.

    But thank you for sharing your pious platitudes and unrealistic proposals, plus your admonition that the US not only maintain an imperial attitude toward the sovereignty of its allies but ratchet it up a couple of notches.

  • bob,
    But you cannot blame Israel for any Palestinian actions. Sounds one-sided to me.

    When you are ready for a serious discussion based in reality, let me know

  • I didn’t blame Israel for any “Palestinian” (really provocateurs in Palestine rather than Palestinians) actions.

    Since you’ve already demonstrated a tenuous connection to the history and realities of the situation, it seems a “serious discussion” is unlikely.

  • Bob,
    You didn’t even read the link I provided, did you. When you are ready for a serious discussion, one that is based in reality. let me know. Just realize that all you are exhibiting here is tribalism.

  • Today’s word is “tribalism”.

    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/tribalism

    noun (mass noun)

    1 The state or fact of being organized in a tribe or tribes.

    1.1derogatory The behaviour and attitudes that stem from strong loyalty to one’s own tribe or social group.

    ‘a society motivated by cultural tribalism’

    In tomorrow’s lesson Curt will name the tribe.

  • Bob,
    Your set of definitions for the word tribalism seems limited. For example, the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition (see https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tribalism ) states the following:


    1: tribal consciousness and loyalty; especially: exaltation of the tribe above other groups

    2: strong in-group loyalty

    Please note that second definition, for strong group loyalty can be based on any number of reasons for group identity including family, ethnicity, language, national identity, religion, race, ideology, and so on.

    But then note the more current use of the word by sociologists (see http://sociology.iresearchnet.com/sociology-of-race/tribalism/ ):


    Since the 1990s there has been a resurgent use of tribalism in terms
    similar to those found in the period of colonialism and in the 1950s. In
    political science and in public rhetoric, Huntington (1993, 1996) has
    argued that tribalism based on ethnicity, religion, and/or language is
    the dangerous result of the end of the bipolar enmity of the Cold War.
    From this standpoint, tribalism is a negative reference to groups seen
    as inferior and insular that resist and oppose other forms of
    organization and political authority claimed as legitimate and found in
    nation states and global systems.

    When I say that you are exhibiting tribalism, I am referring to that 2nd dictionary definition and part of a recent sociological use of the term. The stronger loyalty one has to a group, regardless of how that group is based or identified, the weaker commitment there is to absolute moral values until finally strong group loyalty trumps commitment to absolute moral values. A result of that is what determines right and wrong depends on who does what to whom. Such is a description of moral relativity and a gang mentality. Also, included in tribalism is group authoritarianism where hostility and aggression are shown to those who don’t recognize the pedestal on which a group has placed itself.

    So my use of tribalism fits both a recognized dictionary definition and a current use of the term by sociologists.

    And now that you kind of want to mock or insult, I will leave the conversation entirely rather than wait for you to be ready for a serious discussion.

  • You may wish to take it up with authors of the Oxford Dictionary. I might mention, though, that they have something of a reputation for accuracy in precising English usage.

    However, I did get the impression, which you confirmed with:

    “…. tribalism is a negative reference to groups seen as inferior and insular that resist and oppose other forms of organization and political authority claimed as legitimate and found in nation states and global systems.”

    that you meant it as an epithet, shorthand for “the views of people who disagree with Curt”.

    That can be your only meaning since I am not an Israeli or a Palestinian or a Syrian or an Iranian.

    I think that puts “serious discussion” in its proper framework.

  • Again, Orthodox Jews- 12.5 million lost “souls” still suffering from childhood brainwashing via the myths of the OT/Torah and causing havoc in the process to include costing us $4 billion/yr. in US tax dollars. They should give up their foolish claims to Israel and all move to Canada and the USA. We can always use talented people. If the Muslims of the USA and Canada want to move to the “Allah-forsaken” land of Palestine, we wish them well.

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