Tactics – Metaphors

19 Dec

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Tactics

For the first time, I’m stacked up with two promised essays. This one closes off the discussion of tactics from last week. And Sandy – I promise some thoughts before the holidays on your situation regarding what to do when you feel you must do something about problems in the Middle East.

So wrapping up a discussion of tactics, one thing that makes tactical decisions easier is when there is a model or metaphor within which to envision your choices.

In the case of BDS, their metaphor is clearly “Apartheid,” or more specifically the struggle against Apartheid in the 1980s. While Israel’s defenders would strongly object to this characterization for a variety of legitimate reasons, this does not diminish the Apartheid metaphor’s power to frame debate. Such a metaphor also simplifies the selection of language (use terminology from previous Apartheid campaigns) and tactics (do similar things to what was done in the 1980s). As an aside, the Apartheid metaphor also provides BDS activist a framework for social bonding (a topic for another time).

I’ve talked about the metaphor of the siege, largely as a way to help Israel’s defenders (Jew and non-Jew alike) think past the stale debate of “offense vs. defense” which frequently adds up to nothing more than the argument between compromise and zealotry that has characterized Jewish politics for centuries. I won’t repeat the significance of the siege metaphor except to point out that while it gives Israel’s defenders a useful framework to select effective strategies and tactics, it does not supply the content needed to counter the Apartheid metaphor that is the basis of BDS.

For an additional metaphor, I am indebted to Charles Jacobs whose recent thoughts on Jewish susceptibility to any sort of accusation can be found here. But I am particularly purloining from Professor Ruth Wisse whose recent work brings up an image that has been stuck with me since hearing her speak some months ago: the metaphor of The Trial.

I capitalize those words not just to highlight the Kafkaesque nature of Israel’s experience in the dock over the last several decades, but to also point out that “The Trial” like “Apartheid” are both real and metaphorical concepts. Apartheid, as noted above, has been at the heart of the BDS project for its entire existence, but so has the nature of the trial, with Israel as the defendant and her accusers acting as both prosecutor and judge.

But in a real trial, one side does not get to hog the stage for day after day, year after year, decade after decade with the other side limited simply to object here and there until a decision is ultimately made. In any trial, eventually, the other side gets to take center stage and present its case while the first side is forced to sit and listen. (You’ll see in a minute why I’m avoiding the terms “prosecution” and “defense.”)

Now Israel’s accusers have had the floor for over six decades now, and have certainly refused to yield the stage during the BDS decade. And thus it is more than fair to say that the time has finally come for them to grab a chair, sit down and let someone else make their case.

In other words, it is now our turn to turn from defendant to prosecutor and force Israel’s foes to answer our questions for once, not simply dismiss any issues we bring up with a scoffing laugh or an insistence that they are a distraction from “the real issues” which consist solely of the accusations they want taken at face value. These critics have had years, decades, to make their case stick and if they have not succeeded in doing so yet (testified by the failure of BDS over the last ten years), that does not entitle them to continue their case for another six decades until they finally have their way.

So now, finally, it is our turn as prosecutor and someone else’s turn to be in the dock. Fairness, the underpinning behind both real court justice and the trial as a metaphor, demands nothing less.

As exchanges in my last posting’s comments section will attest, Israel’s critics will fight tooth and nail to resist relinquishing the prosecutor/judge role they demand for themselves, but this is their problem not ours. For after 60+ years, the time has finally come us to say: “Good point, Mr. BDSer, but you’ve been making the same point for decades. We’re all familiar with it, you’ve made yourself clear, we get it. And now is the time for you to answer our questions for a change.”

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31 Responses to “Tactics – Metaphors”

  1. Jen December 19, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    OK. Good. Which questions? I'm not a good wordsmith or sloganeer, but I know there are fair questions to be asked.

    I was just reading a Matt Yglesias column in which he wrote “Palestinians will never accept anything less than full equality between Jews and Arabs in all the land west of the Jordan River.”

    My first question: Why would Arabs expect equality in a Jewish state? Can Jews expect equality in Jordan or any Arab country?

  2. Anonymous December 19, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    Wow! The Wisse article is fantastic.

    The lefties who latch on to BDS buy into the narrative of oppressor vs. oppressed. But when you show that the “oppressed” actually oppose settlement that is fair to Jews, that acknowledges their rights as well, you change the nature of the discussion. IOW, appeal to someones sense of fairness and humanism.

    Two more things to point out. 1) Regarding the Apartheid analogy – the ANC was not a terrorist organization and did not have as it's goals the annihilation of the Afrikaaners. Even though the Afrikaaners had no historical connection to South Africa, they never called for Afrikaaners to leave South Africa and go back to Europe. The ANC's goals was equality. In contrast, the the major Palestinian National Movements are terrorist organizations, deny the connection of Jews to the Land, and call for the annihilation and/or removal Jews from the Land. Nor do they recognize Jews as deserving the same civil and human rights.

    2) I think we should constantly keep in our talking points the Fascist/Nazi influences on Arab Nationalism, in particular on Palestinian Nationalism. Jeff Herf and Paul Berman treat this subject in recent works. This is the rebuttal to the ZioNazi accusation.

    Nycerbarb

  3. Bella December 20, 2010 at 2:48 am #

    The Reut Blog has an interesting set of tactics for tackling delegitimization:

    http://reut-blog.org/2010/12/19/reut-institutethe-assault-on-israels-legitimacy-london-as-a-case-study/

  4. Anonymous December 20, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

    Some of Israel's supporters here in the US feel this support should be unconditional and blind, even though it will surely hurt Israel in the long run.

    From Haaretz:
    America's self-loving Jews aren't helping Israel

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/america-s-self-loving-jews-aren-t-helping-israel-1.331564

  5. Jon December 21, 2010 at 1:27 am #

    I’ve been hearing for years (decades really) that American Jews support for Israel will eventually spell its doom (implying that we should stop providing this support immediately, lest we hurt or even kill the one we purport to love).

    But let’s step back and do a little comparative analysis to see if this is true. First, for the sake of this argument, let’s put aside the whole notion that the support you and your friends give to the Palestinians or the support people like I provide to Israel as being “unconditional” or “blind.” After all, it’s been my experience that just as “My Side” always represents a grassroots movement and the “Other Guy” represents a conspiracy, it is always the other person’s love that is blind.

    Now the support American Jews have provided to Israel over the decades has come in many forms, from financial support during its difficult early years, moral support during times of conflict, and political support to ensure American friendship holds firm. No doubt there is some good in this mix as well as bad, but generally the support Israel has received from its American friends over the years has been focused on keeping the country independent and strong, even as it’s swung between asking (or supporting) Israel taking risks for peace and defending its decisions to defend itself against attack. And, despite all of the problems that have befallen Israel in the last six decades, the country is monumentally more successful than its founders could have imagined.

    In contrast, friends of the Palestinian people such as yourself seem to have focused your support on urging the Palestinians to stand firm. “There’s no need to compromise,” the message coming from these supporters seems to say. “Hold your ground and give nothing for eventually our efforts (be they BDS or something else) will eventually force Israel to give you everything you want without any need for you to give up anything.”

    And how’s that been working out? Well just as Israel’s condition has continued to improve over the decades, so the position of the Palestinians continues to deteriorate as they wait for their friends to deliver the goods.

    And so I ask, whose love (unconditional or not) has helped vs. hurt the ones it is directed towards?

  6. Anonymous December 21, 2010 at 7:48 pm #

    Very interesting article on the AIPAC sponsored HS 1765 and the inner workings of the congress.

    The Haaretz link above and the current link from Mondoweiss both outline the one sided and unconditional support the US congress provides to Israel and is not about the support (or lack of support) “American Jews” give to Israel.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/12/house-vote-against-palestinian-statehood-actually-showed-that-israel-lobby-is-losing-its-grip.html

  7. Jon December 21, 2010 at 10:09 pm #

    I see you have chosen to skip over discussion once again in favor of posting links to stories with which you are already in 100% agreement. Why you feel this constitutes some sort of proof is beyond me, but to each his own.

    This information you provide does pose the question as to why you feel that lopsided votes in favor of your positions (such as those in the UN) must be immediately taken at face value as representing the conscience of the world, but lopsided votes that go against you (such as in Congress) must be seen as proof of a conspiracy (or, at least, dominance of AIPAC over the US government).

    Putting aside the fact that votes in Congress are taken by elected representatives (something that cannot be said about the UN), this entire episode demonstrates an interesting dynamic regarding votes taken at international bodies. For these votes (like votes in any organization) are political in nature. At the UN, in particular, large voting blocs like the OIC and Arab League routinely demand (and routinely get) votes taken against their political enemy (Israel) while assuring that no similar scrutiny is ever put onto them. At the same time, some countries join in this condemnation or abstain knowing full well that the US will veto any resolution that is more than symbolic. In other words, this whole thing is a political game in which each country plays in part as if in a Noh drama.

    Sadly, this game has negative consequences, particularly for the Palestinians who are continually convinced by their friends (such as you) that this posing represents an inching towards victory, meaning they do not have to enter into any serious negotiations that would ever require compromise. And so they hold out, watching their situation deteriorate, hoping against hope that an alternative to compromise (such as BDS) will free them from having to take responsibility for their own actions.

    With friends such as these…

  8. Anonymous December 21, 2010 at 10:38 pm #

    Definition of “serious negotiations” according to this blog: “one side will build on the land that is the subject of the negotiations between 2 parties”.

    This is not merely an unfortunate consequence of the failure of the 2 sides to reach an agreement, but a conscious, systematic and documented plan, enabled and funded by the government of Israel, to create “facts on the ground” that will render a viable, contiguous Palestinian state impossible.

  9. Jon December 22, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    What’s the old saying: “When all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail?”

    In your case, since the only argument you have ever been able to muster is the incantation of “Settlements, Settlements, Settlements,” that seems (at least to you) to be the answer to every challenge.

    But “Settlements” did not cause the 1948 War since they did not exist. That war was started when Israel’s neighbors refused to live with a Jewish “entity” on any size in their midst. “Settlements” did not prevent the Palestinians from having their state when the land they claim to have been dreaming of for centuries was entirely under Arab control and entirely Jew (i.e., “Settlement”) free between 1948-1967.

    “Settlements” came into being after the 1967 War and thus (given the linear nature of time) could not have been the cause of that war. And since 1967, multiple offers of peace that would have left the West Bank as free of Jews as Gaza is today were rejected (even though they would have ended the dreaded “Settlements” if accepted).

    No, those negotiations have foundered because the Palestinians (at the urging of friends like you) have been told to hold tight, stand firm and accept nothing unless they get everything they want (including “Right of Return,” i.e, the right to dictate who can live on both sides of a settle borders: no Jews on one side, millions of Palestinians “refugees” on the other) with no recognition of the Jewish state or its defense needs to be accepted or honored.

    And so we are left at a place where an honest negotiation will require Arab settlement and Jewish settlement to be negotiated. You will no doubt object violently to my use of the term “settlement” to describe where Arabs vs. where Jews live, but this is just one more example of Israel’s critics desire to control the language of debate. After all, under the “settlement” mantra you constantly chant, there again is no need for the Palestinians to compromise, just the requirement (which you insist – incorrectly – is a legal one) for Jews to abandon their “settlements” (i.e., get out of the West Bank entirely, despite their presence in that region for Millennia) to make room for Arab settlers (whoops! I mean “villagers”).

    I will admit this manipulation of language has been successful, at least in terms of scuttling any hopes for true negotiations. And it has also been successful in convincing a generation of Palestinian supporters such as yourself that they are doing God’s work when they have, in fact, built an idol to which they are ready to sacrifice the last Palestinian man, woman and child.

  10. Anonymous December 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    In the meantime the Jewish settlements continue. What is that old saying? Build baby build?

    I wonder why and how the war of 1948 started? Would that be the war that resulted in the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homes to pave the way for the creation of an Israeli state? I must be making this up Jon, why don't you give me the correct historical version? After all don't the victors in any war “write” the history?

  11. Jon December 22, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

    You know, you could save yourself some time by just posting the words “Settlements, Settlements, Settlements” in different fonts and colors each time you leave a comment, rather than pretending to participate in a dialog.

    And just to save you further time, let's all assume that any point I make that you refuse to acknowledge, much less deal with is either one in which you are in full agreement with or have no answer to.

    And just to add to the pile, the War in 1948 started when five Arab armies attacked the newborn state of Israel (nothing unknown or complicated there). And the refugee crisis was the result of the war which, (again given the linear nature of time) means it could not possibly have been its cause.

    Another outcome of the war was the creation of a million Jewish refugees, although these were not participants in any conflict but were simply expelled from the Arab states in revenge for having been defeated by other Jews elsewhere.

    Of all the facts provided herein, I am guessing that the Jewish refugees (otherwise known as “The Forgotten Refugees”) is the subject you will be most anxious to ignore or dismiss with one more chant of “settlements, settlements, settlements”, especially since it explodes the image of unique victimization that is at the heart of Palestinan hasbarah.

  12. Anonymous December 22, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    “the War in 1948 started when five Arab armies attacked the newborn state of Israel (nothing unknown or complicated there)”

    And so we are to assume that an unfortunate consequence of this “war” was that 750,000 Palestinians, who had lived in their homes for generations, were kicked out? Sounds more like ethnic cleansing to me when not only entire villages were destroyed but more tragically, all trace of Palestinians living in these areas completely erased by the Zionist rewriting of history.

    There is more than one version of what happened in 1948. At least you have not echoed (yet) one of my favorites myths that the “Palestinians left voluntarily on the orders of the Arab leaders and in the expectation that the combined Arab armies would snuff out the fledging Jewish state in a bloodbath.”

    http://www.jkcook.net/Articles3/0516.htm#Top

  13. E-man December 22, 2010 at 8:05 pm #

    Jon, why waste your time speaking with an ignoramus? He clearly rewrites history himself.

    First, the UN granted the land to the Israelis. The only reason any Arabs were removed from their homes was because of an all out war with the Jews. Had the Arabs never attacked then the arabs that lived in the land promised to Israel would have been Israelis themselves. They would not be refugees at all. In fact, the Palestinians would have their own state that was given to them by the UN. But, the Jordanians annexed the west bank and Egypt took gaza and NOTHING was left for the Palestinians. Whose fault was that? Why don;t we blame Israel. Yeah, they must have started that war (sarcasm).

    Also, what is the whole big deal with settlements? So, if Israel gives the west bank to a future palestinian state, why can;t Jews be living in the state? Unless you are a racist and demand that ll Jews live in ISrael and CAN NOT live in an Arab country. Is that what you are saying? Settlements are only a problem if you are a racist anti-semite.

  14. Jon December 22, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    Actually, I've mostly been interacting with our Anonymous friend in order to illustrate some of the topics I've been discussing over the last two weeks regarding tactics (ours and the other side'). And, point of fact, I don't think central casting could have provided a better example of what I've been talking about, especially with regard to the desperate desire to control the language of debate nomatter what the cost.

    Notice the stubborn refusal to acknowledge anyone else's point of view or answers to his own questions in favor of the next broadside of accusations (coupled with a refusal to ackowledge that the previous set of charges now lies in ruins at his feet).

    One may ask how this ablity to do nothing but spew cliches and half-truths can pass for argument, to which I have one answer: because some people are foolish enough to fall for it.

  15. Sandy O. December 24, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    I see how apartheid could be a metaphor, when it's used as shorthand for “apartheid as it was practiced in South Africa”. But it also has a legal definition.

    Citizens of the world can bicker about whether Israel is committing this particular crime until they're blue in the face (and obviously they will), but in the end, it's up to the international courts to decide on the matter if/when there is sufficient evidence to bring it to trial.

    In the meantime, I think Israel's “accusers” need to to stop playing judge & jury. And on the other hand, Israel's government needs to honor the decision of the courts if/when they're made.

    @E-man: “Settlements are only a problem if you are a racist anti-semite.” Ugh, c'mon. Please don't shut down the dialogue with this sort of blanket statement. It's not fair and ultimately counter-productive.

  16. Anonymous December 25, 2010 at 4:09 am #

    Settlements are only a problem if you are a racist anti-semite.” Ugh, c'mon. Please don't shut down the dialogue with this sort of blanket statement. It's not fair and ultimately counter-productive.

    ****

    There have been border disputes as long as there have been countries. In the past when border disputes arose, for a variety of reasons, after the disputes were resolved, and new lines drawn, the residents became new citizens of a different country, based on the new demarcations. If they became unhappy, they were free to relocate. The Polish Czechoslovak dispute of 1919 comes to mind.

    But, as often is the case, all rules that have settled thousands of disputes over the years, are thrown out the window when it comes to Israel.

    Regarding Israel, it is now accepted wisdom, that not only is Israel obliged to create another islamic state in her heartland, but that this state be Judenrein, or Jew free. Conversely, Israel is expected to allow any muslims that live in the new state to travel in and out of Israel freely.

    This is somehow found acceptable by those who think a two-state solution in the only solution. Israel is supposed to provide free passage to people whose life goals are to destroy her. But the ‘settlers’ or long time residents of Judea and Samaria, who number in the thousands, are supposed move without complaint. They are also not to received any compensation from the PLO, while any muslims that are relocated, are expected to receive full compensation from the State of Israel.

    So, to recap, if a new state is created, Israel is obligated to compensate both the muslims and her own citizens.

    Conversely, the thousands of muslims living in Israel proper get the choice to stay or leave. A multitude of polls show what they were prefer to stay in Israel. ‘Settlers’ will be given no choice.

    So what does this come down to? Israel , as a democratic state is expected to let all and sundry live within her borders, unmolested and unchallenged, no matter who they are or what their agenda is. But the new state of palestine can pick and choose, as do all the muslim countries. They feel free to kick out perceived enemies or people they do not like. But heaven forbid that Israel exercise this same right.

    These reasons, among a thousand others, are the reasons that there will be no new islamic state in Judea and Samaria.

    And it is also the reason I feel comfortable in echoing Jon, ‘Settlements are only a problem if you are a racist anti-semite.’

    SarahSue

  17. Jon December 27, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    Sandy – I can appreciate your concern that use of the term “anti-Semitism” as an accusation targeting Israel's accusers can be counter-productive to conversation. It's an issue that also applies to terms such as “racism,” “bigotry,” “illegal” (as in “illegal Isreali settlements”) or “Apartheid.”

    In fact, the entire BDS project (which only wants to discuss which punishment is most suitable for a Jewish state they demand we all assume to be guilty) represents the ultimate conversation crusher, a gun pointed at the head of just one party to a debate.

    Now this is not to say that the role of anti-Semitism, racism, international law and even the merits of the Apartheid anology cannot or should not be discussed in the context of the Middle East. But given the inflamatory uses that these terms have been been put to over the last several years (decades really), these are the very terms we need to be the most cautious about.

    They cannot simply be assumed (as they are when used as the basis of accusation), but must at the very least be used as the basis for a discussion that is especially open to other opinions and challenges.

  18. Jon December 27, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Sarah Sue – Just a quickie, that wasn't me who claimed settlements are a problem only to anti-Semities. In fact, I've been cautions to avoid claims of anti-Semtism directed at BDSers or other critics of Israel for the very reasons noted to Sandy in my previous comments.

    Your analysis is a good example of what I'm talking about. Point of fact, I've never seen it laid out so clearly how the Arab-Israel land dispute bears no resemblance to any land dispute in human history. And the conclusions you draw provide an excellent case for why negotiations based on absurd premises have failed to achieve results (other than more conflict).

    Given the strength of your argument, further assumption of the motives of those supporting such warped premises (such as anti-Semitism) are not necessary to make your case. For the absurd double standard being applied to Israel is no less of an absurd double standard if those holding such a stance are motivated by hatred, politics or naivite.

  19. Jon December 27, 2010 at 12:41 pm #

    Sandy – One last item, your point about international courts being the place where matters regarding the Arab-Israel dispute can be ultimately arbitrated is one that requires a posting-length treatment, which I'll try to do before the end of the year after taking care of a few news-related loose ends.

    Jon

  20. Anonymous December 27, 2010 at 11:50 pm #

    ” These reasons, among a thousand others, are the reasons that there will be no new islamic state in Judea and Samaria.” SarahSue

    What is to happen to the millions of Palestinians living in the WB? They either live in a state of their own called Palestine, become citizens of Israel or the current (totally unacceptable) system continues.

    I am so tired of reading garbage like SarahSue's posted here and have no one (including people who are supposedly pro Israel) take a stand.

    This is disgusting and shameful. These are NOT Jewish values folks.

    Jon: Judging by what I read here, your site is either completely ignored by the BDSers or makes their case stronger.

  21. Anonymous December 28, 2010 at 1:14 am #

    Jon,

    I should have checked to see who made the quote before writing my post. It was sloppy of me, and I apologize.

    I also agree that one can use a whole host of arguments without resorting to using the term ‘anti-Semite’.

    One can make the case that making the West Bank Jew free, is a classic case of antisemitism, but one can also point out that is will be Christian free. In fact, it will be free of all religions except islam.

    It is also true that overusing a term makes the term meaningless. How often are we accused of being racist, fascist, bigoted and prejudiced. Most of us are nothing of the kind and the accusations, have for the most part, lost their power to convict or convince. New descriptions of bad behavior need to introduced into the narrative. When I think of some, I will use them.

    SarahSue

  22. Sandy O. December 28, 2010 at 3:40 am #

    “One can make the case that making the West Bank Jew free, is a classic case of antisemitism, but one can also point out that is will be Christian free. In fact, it will be free of all religions except islam.”

    The Palestinian Christians should probably be given a heads up on this!

    I'm joking of course but it also underscores something quite interesting that I'm realizing might be missing in my understanding of the discourse. I've never thought this was about religion or race. For me, it's about human rights and secondarily, about politics.

    It's more like how I would like to see international pressure applied to China. Whether or not I support Tibetans' desire for independence, it has less than nothing to do with how I feel about Chinese people or communism or Buddhism or whatever.

    Also: We all get very wrapped up in defending a viewpoint. I think that's natural. But along with it comes selective filtering of information skewed to fit one's thesis. I don't see how any of us can hope to find new answers if we've already decided in advance that there aren't any.

  23. Sandy O. December 28, 2010 at 4:09 am #

    @Nycerbarb: I think you may be misremembering some things about the ANC. While they were not technically a terrorist organization, in 1961 they formed a militant branch called the MK, at Nelson Mandela's urging. (This is all fresh in my mind because I recently read his autobiography.)

    The MK was to be trained/responsible for acts of terrorism, guerrilla fighting, sabotage and even open rebellion. To these ends, Mandela trained in Ethiopia for guerrilla combat, bomb-making, etc.

    Mandela's justification for this was that “Non-violent passive resistance is effective as long as your opposition adheres to the same rules as you do. But if peaceful protest is met with violence, its efficacy is at an end.”

    Reading his biography put into context for me why he is such a vocal critic of Israel's policies. And although I will wait for international courts to decide, it's difficult not to listen when he clearly accuses Israel of the crime of Apartheid.

  24. Anonymous December 28, 2010 at 4:17 am #

    What is to happen to the millions of Palestinians living in the WB? They either live in a state of their own called Palestine, become citizens of Israel or the current (totally unacceptable) system continues.

    There is a forth option for the muslims erroneously called ‘palestinians’.

    The muslims the world over have shown themselves to be the enemies of democracy. Everywhere they reside, they are a blight and a drain on their new country. Appeasement has not worked even though it has worked with all other cultures. Multiculturalism has not worked even though it works with all other cultures. The muslims have shown themselves to be implacable to all attempts pacify them or integrate them. We want to build them up, they are more interested in tearing us down. Israel is a prefect example.

    Therefore there is only one answer. When every approach has been met with failure, we must try something new. The muslims must go. They must be shown the door and sent to islamic countries.

    Is this racist? No, islam is not a race. Is this fair? Yes, because it is the muslims themselves that have left us no other options.

    To those that sympathize with the muslims in Israel and the West and refuse to see the truth should join them in those islamic countries. They should see first hand, what it is like to live among those that want to kill you and themselves. The West would be a much better place without muslims and appeasers alike.

    BTW, BDSers hate this site because it debunks them and shows them to be the foolish failures they are.

    SarahSue

  25. Anonymous December 28, 2010 at 4:54 am #

    The Palestinian Christians should probably be given a heads up on this!

    There is no such group as Palestinian Christians. That would be the same as saying muslim Christians.

    Christians do live in the West Bank along with the muslims. They are in as much danger as the Jews and the victims of constant harassment.

    I've never thought this was about religion or race.

    It is an issue between the cult of islam and all other beliefs and cultures. Politicians and pundits try to muddy the water by claiming otherwise. If it was about land, the muslims would have accepted the offer made by former PM Ehud Olmert. If it was about refugees, then islamic countries would have offered them a new home. If it was about bad economic conditions, then the billions given in aid would have used to build infrastructure. If it was about human rights, then they would have become Israeli citizens living in harmony and peace and enjoying all the largess that Israel has to offer.

    The fact that they have rejected all these offers shows that none of these things are what the muslims want.

    The bottom line is that they want to destroy Israel and the West, and nothing short of our annihilation will do.

    SarahSue

  26. Sandy O. December 28, 2010 at 6:31 am #

    “There is no such group as Palestinian Christians. That would be the same as saying muslim Christians.”

    Quick note for future reference: Palestinian does not mean Muslim, it means people from Palestine. There are both Muslim and Christian Palestinians. About 10% of the Palestinian population in the West Bank is Christian.

    Talk about muddying the waters, right?! I really don't think this is be about Islam vs. Judaism.

    Here's a story about “Israeli Mayor Bans Christmas Trees” that would be funny if it weren't so sad.

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/features/view/feature/Israeli-Mayor-Bans-Christmas-Trees-2823/

  27. Anonymous December 28, 2010 at 6:59 pm #

    “Quick note for future reference: Palestinian does not mean Muslim, it means people from Palestine. There are both Muslim and Christian Palestinians. About 10% of the Palestinian population in the West Bank is Christian.”

    Ok, so then there are Jewish Palestinians too, right? There are, after all, Jews from Palestine Then, since Israel has Jews, Christians and Muslims that are all Palestinians, doesn't that already make Israel a Palestinian state?

  28. Sandy O. December 28, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    Interesting question. I don't know how that would be parsed out, but maybe Jews who were living in Palestine prior to 1948?

  29. Fred December 29, 2010 at 4:33 am #

    Sandy my hat off to you! You show incredible composure and intellect in the face of outright bigotry and hatred. Bravo.

  30. Anonymous December 29, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    UNRWA, the UN organization in charge of the Palestinian refugee problem, defines a Palestinian refugee as follows:

    “Under UNRWA's operational definition, Palestine refugees are persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict. UNRWA's services are available to all those living in its area of operations who meet this definition, who are registered with the Agency and who need assistance. UNRWA's definition of a refugee also covers the descendants of persons who became refugees in 1948. The number of registered Palestine refugees has subsequently grown from 914,000 in 1950 to more than 4.6 million in 2008, and continues to rise due to natural population growth.”

    http://www.un.org/unrwa/refugees/whois.html

    The UN does not even claim that Palestinians are indigeneous to the land- they just needed to be in the area in 1946. And the classification of “refugee” extends to third and fourth generation descendants who may never have stepped foot in the land.

    The vast majority of Palestinians are recent immigrants to this land. In Caesaria, the mosque is called the “Bosnian Mosque”- the Northern Coastal residents of Israel are descended from Bosnian Slavs who settled there during the last part of the Ottoman empire. In contrast, there are Jewish families in the area that have been there thousands of years

    Thats why its so difficult to frame this as “Indigeneous vs Colonialist”

  31. Anonymous January 21, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    A metaphor I like is blood libel. Much of what Palestinians and anti-Israel groups say turns out to be completely fabricated, grossly distorted or completely out of context, and usually it involves claiming Jews are doing some awful act like killing babies on purpose or oppressing people just for the sake of being cruel. This is very similar to the historical blood libels.

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