Olympia Redux – Conspiracy

While I made mention of debates I’ve had with members of the Olympia Co-op regarding the procedural violations that have since become the subject of a member lawsuit against the organization, articles produced by BDS supporters since the suit was initiated spend almost no time discussing these matters, beyond insisting (without any elaboration) that everything done by the co-op board was completely on the up-and-up.

Rather, their focus seems to be on the fact that Jewish organizations (well, one anyway) might be helping local Olympians with their effort to reverse the boycott. This charge was breathlessly announced on The Electronic Intifada (a web site with a global readership dedicated to supporting BDS campaigns), as well as on the Olympia BDS site where it was picked up by some of the dozens of organizations they list as their supporters (and, no doubt, read by some of the many individuals from outside Olympia who signed their petitions, joined their Facebook page and mailing list).

Now I would never describe BDS advocate’s reaching out for support from around the globe as some kind of conspiracy. They are, after all, political individuals with rights of assembly, free to draw in allies from wherever they wish. But given that Olympia BDSers have historically reached out around the planet for friends to celebrate their boycott and condemn their critics (i.e., their neighbors), their rage over support opponents may receive from the wider Jewish community seems like a rock fight taking place in the world’s biggest glass house.

This situation is even more hypocritical when you realize that Olympia BDSers, as part of a wider BDS “movement,” immediately used their success to try to convince other food co-operatives around the country (including in my hometown of Boston) to also boycott Israeli products. In other words, a group which has no problem trying to inspire imitation on the other side of the country cries foul when anyone from outside Olympia (including me) tries to “interfere” with local politics by supporting boycott opponents.

Fantasies of dark, mysterious moves by the Israeli government (which began when the local Consulate sent a representative to address a meeting of the Port Townsend Food Co-op, which eventually rejected BDS) also litter BDS stories regarding the Olympia lawsuit. This recalled for me similar condemnations that rained down on the New England Israeli Consul when he “dared” speak at an open meeting in Somerville, MA regarding an early municipal divestment motion that also failed. As usual, the BDSers like to place their opponents (including Israeli government spokespeople) in the lose-lose situation of: stay silent and let us do whatever we please (at your expense) or speak up and be condemned for being conspiratorial interlopers in local politics.

At the political level, this tactic by the Olympia boycotters and their many supporters (most of them “outsiders” themselves) makes perfect sense. Like most militant efforts, BDS would like to have as many allies as possible by its’ side while simultaneously trying to minimize the allies of its opponents (in this case by getting them to question their right to have any).

But there is another element to the X-Files like tone of dark conspiracy that permeates their description of “outside involvement” by boycott opponents: our old friend fantasy.

Remember that the biggest impact of the Olympia boycott has had to date is to inspire other co-ops around the country to avoid similar moves at all cost, given the mayhem the boycott unleashed Olympia. But for local BDSers, this reality never enters their frame of reference. For in their eyes, they are noble knights, fighting against insurmountable odds, against a ruthless foe that will stop at nothing to end a BDS crusade inspired only by courage and virtue.

This is why local Israel haters will testify in co-op meetings of having personally witnessed Israeli soldiers shoot infants in the head (without evidence, naturally). It is also why they routinely claim to have been the subject of hundreds of death threats which has forced boycott-supporting Jews to go underground for fear of murderous retribution by boycott critics (again, meaning, their neighbors).

The same motivation that causes them to spin BDS&M fantasies about Israeli villainy and to portray themselves as the victims of non-existent murder threats also causes them to look at third-party involvement with their opponents not as a mirror images of the alliance building they do themselves (at a much larger scale), but as part of a global conspiracy against their noble project

So at the end of the day it is fantasy that drives local Olympians to continue their efforts, regardless of the negative impact the boycott has had on their own community (which they clearly don’t care about). And despite the fact that the Olympia boycott (and the way it was brought about) has become the chief weapon in the arsenal of those of us successfully ensuring that such a boycott never be enacted anywhere else.

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31 Responses to Olympia Redux – Conspiracy

  1. DrMike September 18, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    Why should you expect that BDSers should not apply double standards in this respect when that's one of the essential pillars on which their movement (and, for that matter, the anti-Israel movement in general) rests?
    When the Oakland (CA) Museum of Children's Art (MOCHA) reconsidered its initially ill-advised decision to show a collection of what was purportedly “children's art” from Gaza (in reality, a propaganda show aimed at schoolchildren), the outcry and overt hate speech on MOCHA's Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/mocha-museum-of-childrens-art/353137473222) came more from people quite far away from Oakland–such as Australia.

  2. Berd September 19, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    I am someone who lives in Olympia who cares about negative effects. I don't know anyone in Olympia who doesn't care about negative effects.

    And what of negative effects: how can we be sure that these negative effects aren't somehow (at least in part) a product of the kind of thinking demonstrated on this very own Divest This blog?

    Really. Jon. Maybe you can start to begin to believe that people who oppose what Israel is doing to Arabs might just care about how Arabs are treated, rather than that they have some inner angst against Israel.

  3. Anonymous September 19, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    “…rather than that they have some inner angst against Israel.”

    Perhaps that's because the inner angst isn't really against Israel. Bashing Israel lets them strike a pseudo-moral pose that they feel diffuses some of the angst of their shame for their rich white privilege.

    BTW, if they actually cared “how Arabs are treated,” might they be up in arms about Arabs slaughtered recently (or not so recently!) in Syria by its army, 100s of millions of Arab females who are both bagged and snipped, Arab Christians anywhere. How about millions of non-Arabs e.g. of Sudan, among others, etc?

    Condemning *those* wouldn't provide the all-important angst-relieving moral outrage feelings. It's never whom they “care about” but whom they condemn that drives them.

    To strike a pose of being “too moral” for their corrupt rich society (oooooh, the privilege shame!), they must condemn something at least vaguely identifiable with their own society, that is, something vaguely western, vaguely white, and/or sort-of Christian. In other words, the young lefty must condemn their own society, or a “stand in” for it (which is Israel) in very conspicuous “defense” of something non-western non-white and non-Christian, (and extra points for having enmity to the USA) so they can pose as being “too good” for their corrupt society.

    Amazingly, Israel actually stands in for “Western” “White” and “Christian” for the expiation process needs of morally insecure privilege-burdened lefty kids. Since supporting victims of Arabs wouldn't confer that relief, they don't care about them.

    Remember, for this lot, it's not whom you “support” but whom you condemn that makes your drama.


  4. Berd September 19, 2011 at 6:48 am #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Berd September 19, 2011 at 6:49 am #

    There is a big difference between what Syria does and what Israel does, for one, because of the immense amount of support that the government of the USA lends to Israel.

    The situation is extreme. Ideologies seemingly irreconcilable…

    I just don't understand why Israel can't abide by the 1967 borders as defined by the Oslo accords.

    It seems that would be better for everyone. Because the native Arabs of the area do not deserve to be so maligned.

    Just because the USA adopted policies of brutality toward indigenous peoples, does not make it okay for Israel to do the same.

    The situation in Syria, or Turkey, or Egypt, or Iraq, or wherever, is different.

    Which came first, fundamental Islam in Palestine, or Israel taking without asking from Palestinians?

    How can we get Israel to stop beating up on Muslims and Arabs?

    What do you think is the best solution?

  6. Jon September 19, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    The situations in Syria, Turkey, Egypt and even Gaza are indeed different as you say, Berd.

    For in these places, thousands of the Arabs (including the Palestinians you claim to care so much about) are killed and maimed, and yet we hear not a boycott call, not a word, in fact barely a peep (other than incoherent warbling) by brave, noble knights such as youself who claim concern for the downtrodden (particularly the Palestinian downtrodden) as the Alpha and Omega of your moral life.

    I appreciate that this might sound like an alien language to you Berd, but have you considered the possibility that you and your fellow boycott supports have not been acting nobly and bravely, but selfishly and cowardly? Have you given a moment of thought to the possibility that your political actions might actually INCREASE the chance for violence, might INCREASE the possibility of death and suffering, among the very people you claim to care so much about?

    No doubt fantasy of boundless virtue and bravery on the part of you and your fellow BDSers insulate you from having to think about the possible unintended consequences of your actions. But before you start blaming others (including me) for the mayhem you have unleashed in your own backyard, perhaps you will stop morally preening for one brief moment to consider the fact that you have tormented your neighbors for a cause most likely to increase, rather than decrease the amount of suffering in the world.

  7. Anonymous September 19, 2011 at 8:21 pm #

    The reason Olympia is different than anywhere else is because of the tragic death of Rachel Corrie.

    Rafah's sons and daughters have been brutally slaughtered by Israeli soldiers and so have ours.

  8. Jon September 19, 2011 at 9:35 pm #

    To paraphrase one of my favorite writers: “every person’s death diminishes me,” and thus the death of Rachel Corrie is one I find painful, even more so as a parent who can only imagine the torture endured by a mother or father who must come to grips with their child perishing under a piece of industrial machinery in a faraway land.

    I do, however, have difficulty making the leap from sympathy to requirement that I must embrace the political positions of Rachel Corrie, her parents and friends or (at the very least) in the name of sympathy, allow them to do whatever they want without complaint.

    For if tragic death dictates compliance, can I count on you and your fellow Olympians to do what I say in the name of Rachel Levy (only 19 years of age), who (along with five others) died when a Palestinian rammed a bus into a crowded bus stop where she was standing? Or Rachel Thaler (16 and a daughter of American and Israeli parents) blown up in an Israeli pizzeria? Or a second Rachel Levy who died in a bombing of an Israeli supermarket? Or Rachel Gavish (shot dead in a terror attack in her home)? Or Rachel Charhi (killed in a bombing attack, leaving her three children orphaned)? Or Rachel Shabo (who left fewer orphans since terrorists killed both her and three of her sons simultaneously)?

    So if I were to see your tragic Rachel and raise you five, what are you obliged to do and say to demonstrate the sympathy you are demanding from others? If I were to open up a “Six Rachels Foundation” in downtown Olympia, would you try to bring the two Rachel foundations together to work jointly towards peace? Or would you accuse me of being appallingly cynical and manipulative (mirror, mirror) or (failing that) simply ignore these six Rachels, as so many before you have done and continue to do?

  9. Berd September 19, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    Jon, it seems to me that white South Africans probably used many of the same lines of argument against international calls for sanctions against their racist regime (e.g. sanctions will only increase violence against those we purport to support.)

    That kind of thinking is abusive and totalitarian.

    The reason that Arabs are being mistreated by Israel is because of racism. That's what we need to stop. People need to come down and to learn how to share, people need to learn how to live alongside each other in peace.

  10. Jon September 20, 2011 at 12:25 am #

    Actually, Berd, when the South Africans were “using those lines,” they were burning oil they received from the Arab world to fuel their machinery of repression, oil sold for South African gold that was used to pay for a campaign to declare Israel an “Apartheid State.” So, by an ironic twist of fate, you – yes YOU, Berd, the most noble, anti-racist human who has ever existed, a lilly-white knight who – with your BDS buddies –dedicate yourselves to battling bigotry in all its forms, are actually the INHERITOR of the Apartheid’s ill-gotten gain (kind of makes you think, doesn’t it – presuming you have ever thought about anything).

    Honestly, do these mindless accusations of “racism” and “Apartheid,” issued from the mouth of BDS partisans allied with the world’s most racist, sexist, homophobic, reactionary regimes, actually work in Oly? Perhaps that is why such a town exists: to allow moral clods a home where they can wallow in the spoils of bigotry while all the time declaring themselves to be the most virtuous souls who have ever existed.

    I’ll tell you what, Berd. If and when you and your friends stop making stuff up about Israel (and practically everything else), I promise to stop telling the truth about you.


  11. DrMike September 20, 2011 at 3:40 am #

    Berd, if there is such racism in Israel, why are there Arabs at all levels of government there? Granted that they are not socially or economically equal to the Jewish majority, but that situation is reflected in virtually every society in the world (including Washington State, right?). I'm sure you had the chance to meet Ishmail Khaldi, a Muslim Arab who served for several years as Deputy Consul General for the State of Israel to the Pacific Northwest. Though you probably wouldn't have had the chance to meet Judge George Karra, a Christian Arab who presided over the trial of former Israeli President Katsav.

    If there is such racism in Israel, why do Arab NGO's that openly call for eradication of Israel's Jewish character get to operate freely?

    If there is such racism in Israel, why do anti-Zionist Arabs get to serve in the Knesset?

    If there is such racism in Israel, why did Arabs in the eastern part of the Jerusalem municipality rush to sign up for Israeli citizenship when they feared that their villages might come under the jurisdiction of the PA?

    Yes Berd there is racism in Israel. And in Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, and everywhere else in between. Yet none of those other countries, some with human rights records that would make legendary dictators proud, face an organized international lobby dedicated to its elimination and justifying wholesale murder of its civilians as “resistance”.

    Double standards, anyone?

  12. Berd September 20, 2011 at 5:35 am #

    I just don't like to see the same sorts of colonialism happening in Israel that have happened here in the USA.

    It's so unholy!

  13. Anonymous September 20, 2011 at 7:27 am #

    Colonialism in Israel. Berd, somebody has filled your head with nonsense. I doubt this will make a difference with you, but here are some facts I'm sure you have never heard.

    Jews have a 3,000 year history in the land of Israel. Everybody from the Mongols to the English has traipsed through and colonized the region including the Arabs, but the only constant has been the presence of Jews.

    The land is called Palestine because the Romans renamed it that after they destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and expelled the Jews. The Romans hoped by changing the name of the land, it would break the Jewish connection to their home. (By the way, we have Roman records that show so many Jews were forced into slavery that the price of slaves in the Mediterranean actually dropped.)

    The Philistines you read about in the Bible had already disappeared six or seven hundred years before all this happened. And the Philistines weren't from the Levant anyway, but from Greece or Crete.

    The region was probably never called Palestine after the Romans left by anybody other than Europeans, except perhaps for a few years after the Arabs colonized the region in the 7th century of the current era.

    For the next couple thousand years, Jews kept moving back to their home and the Jews that moved to Israel found Jewish communities that had existed on the land forever. Each accepted the other as Jews.

    How exactly is that like the colonialism in the U.S.? Do you mean to tell there have always been English and Spanish and French living in North America? Did they teach you that at Evergreen?

    You can do a little experiment. Go find a Native American around Olympia and ask him or her what his/her people call themselves. Ask what that name means. Then ask where their homeland is and how his/her people came to live there. The person you talk to, if they are at all connected to their people will be able to answer all those questions.

    Next go find a Palestinian and ask those same questions. They can't answer any of them. Or if they do, they will tell you a story appropriated from the Jews or research by archeologists. Here's a hint for you: real indigenous people don't need archeologists or another culture to tell them their history, colonizers do.

    The funny thing is, I can tell you what Palestinian means. The root for Philistine means to penetrate or come into in Hebrew. So Philistine roughly means invader. So your indigenous Palestinians have decided to call themselves the Invaders and want to call their country Invader Land.

    Just so you know, Jew comes from Judea, the place you would call the West Bank. It's where the tribe of Judah settled. But Jew probably came from the Romans. Jews have always called themselves Am Israel, the people of Israel.

    Israel comes from a story in Genesis, a story written in Hebrew and set in the land of Israel, and Israel means struggle with God. This is the kind of collective connection indigenous people have to their land.

    The Jews are the indigenous people of Israel or Palestine or whatever you want to call the land. To call the land's original inhabitants colonist is shameful. To repeat the charge as a slogan without thinking just to make yourself feel better, as you have done, now that's unholy!!!!

  14. Jon September 20, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    Hi Berd – I share you concern that Islamic imperialism is attempting the same kind of endless warfare and limitless expansionism in the Middle East as it has practiced for centuries, at the expense of the region's only democracy: Israel. But if we all stand with Israel against this new imperialist threat, it too can be resisted.

    That is what you meant, isn't it?

  15. Berd September 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    Jon, You will have to explain Islamic imperialism to me. I have never heard of that before.

    As far as what is going on in Israel, don't you think it would have gone better if the establishment of the state of Israel were to have been done in a way that was nonviolent and cooperative, instead of in a way that was militaristic and destructive?

  16. Rebecca September 21, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Berd – how could the state of Israel have been founded peacefully? If the Arabs had accepted the UN partition plan in 1947, then an Arab state and a Jewish state would have been founded side by side. The Arabs rejected the partition plan, and war began, first between Jews and Arabs living in mandatory Palestine in late 1947, and then between the new Israeli state and its Arab neighbors after May 15, 1948. I agree that it would have been better if it had been established peacefully – but the Arabs would have had to behave differently for that to happen.

  17. Jon September 21, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    >>Jon, You will have to explain Islamic imperialism to me. I have never heard of that before.

    I believe you Berd, after all this Empire only existed for 1300 years (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_empire), but knowing this would require you to know that things happened before you were born (which I know can be a challenge).

    And yes, it would have been much preferable if the birth of Israel had not required a clash of arms. But, unfortunately, the five Arab armies that invaded the Jewish state at the moment of it's birth (again, and event that happened before you were born, so you may not have heard of it) prevented peace then, just as you and your militant friends and allies prevent peace now.

    BTW – You made the front page: http://www.divestthis.com/2011/09/olympia-redux-weve-got-mail-well.html

    Your pal,


  18. Berd September 22, 2011 at 2:56 am #

    Do you think the USA is engaged in imperialism?

    Do you think that Anglo-American imperialism (i.e. “manifest “”destiny””, et al.) has anything to do with the behavior of the USA (and UK) toward Israel?

    Do you think this imperialism has had any influence on, and/or has had anything to do with the behavior of, the State of Israel?

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  20. Jon September 22, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Happy to discuss imperialism, Berd. But just so we're sure we're both talking about the same thing, there is “imperialism,” the actual historic phenomenon with a history and scholarship behind studying it, and then there is “imperialism” the slur that lame patisan attack dogs use to accuse their enemies while excusing imperialistic behavior practiced by their allies.

    Just so we're certain that we're talking about the first definition and not the second, are you now comfortable accepting the existence of “Islamic Imperialism” (a phenomenon with 1300 years of documented history behind it), something you claimed you never heard of just a few posts back?

  21. Berd September 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm #

    Here is one dictionary definition of imperialism: Imperialism is “a policy of extending power and influence through diplomacy or military force.”

    Jon, it would sure be troubling to run into a “lame partisan attack dog” don't you think?

    As far as “Islamic Imperialism”, maybe it was around 1300 years ago, as you claim according to scholarly research.

    But do you really think that there is “Islamic Imperialism” in the world today? I don't see any nations, nations that are primarily Islamic, engaging in policies “to extend power and influence.”

    ——At the very least when compared to the United States and its allies (i.e. Israel in the Middle East.)

    No other nation in the world today is on par with the imperialism as practiced by the USA!

  22. Berd September 22, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    re: imperialism, this is from Wikipedia:

    Imperialism, as defined by The Dictionary of Human Geography, is “the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationship, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination.”

  23. Anonymous September 22, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Berd, if you want to talk about imperialism, you should look first at Arab actions.

    Instead of accepting that Jews have a right to live in their historic homeland, the Arabs in 1948 set out to destroy Israel. In the areas that came under Arab control after that war, every Jew was killed or expelled.

    Many of those Jews had lived in their homes for thousands of years. Undoubtedly the same fate awaited all the Jews if the Arabs had one the war. That's imperialism.

    In the eastern section of Jerusalem, where the Jews had historically lived, the Arabs destroyed all but one synagogue — 48 of 49 I think. They used the headstones from the ancient cemetery on the Mount of Olives to build latrines for the Jordanian army. And they banned Jews, Jews not Israelis, form the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. An Arab general said those action would prevent the Jews, Jews not Israelis, from ever returning to Jerusalem. That's imperialism.

    The Palestinian leader was Haj Amin al-Husayni, the grand mufti of Jerusalem. The mufti was also a Nazi. He organized SS units to murder Balkan Jews, insured that thousands, maybe tens of thousands of Jewish children went to the gas chambers, met with Hitler, toured death camps, and broadcast Nazi propaganda.

    Recently released German archival records show that the Nazis had struck a deal with al-Husayni. He would support them and after the Germans captured the Middle East, they would kill all the Jews in Palestine and make al-Husayni the leader.

    al-Husayni went on to lead the Arabs agianst Israel in 1948, when five regular Arab armies attacked the new state, and head the Arab League. Yasser Arafat called al-Husayni his mentor.

    Many Nazi war criminal found refuge in Arab countries and helped those in their wars against Israel. Current Palestinian president Abbas wrote a book denying the Holocaust.

    All Palestinian factions today, and many Arab factions, from Hams through “Palestinian civil society” are the direct political descendants of the mufti. You should ask if Arab imperialism and Arab ties to the Nazis have influenced or have anything to do with Arab attitudes towards Israel.

    The true irony here is that somebody like you, who I'm sure sees yourself as a person of the left, either doesn't know this or chooses to ignore these facts.

    Your comment on on the establishment of Israel reveals true ignorance. You ask wouldn't it have gone better “if the establishment of the state of Israel were to have been done in a way that was nonviolent and cooperative.”

    There were in fact Palestinians willing to work with Jews to resolve problems early on. Many of these were progressive Arab labor leaders. Unfortunately, al-Husayni, the Nazi mufti, had them all murdered. That ended any chance of of cooperation or nonviolence.

    You claim to be against racism and violence and yet you embrace the most racist, violent and reactionary elements of Palestinian and Arab society and so fuel the conflict all the while ignoring the legacy of progressives who might have actually helped resolve that conflict.

  24. Berd September 22, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    Let's look at the Arabs first. Many Arabs have lived in the land that Jews claim as their ancestral homeland. Many Arabs lived there in peace, alongside some Jews, for hundreds if not thousands of years.

    And then the modern State of Israel was created, and a great many Arabs were dominated by military force. Forced to move out of their homes.

    Neighboring Arab states opposed to the creation of Israel does not constitute imperialism.

    The modern State of Israel was established in militarism. It was an aggressive effort.

    Maybe the truth is closer to this: opposition to the establishment of the modern state Israel by neighboring states amounted to opposition against Aggression.

  25. Berd September 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    I am not partisan (nor an attacker, nor a dog.) I support peace, and truth, on all sides.

    I want to see Jews and Arabs and Muslims live in peace, along with all people.

    If Israel was supposed to be a haven for Jews against anti-Jewish oppression. Yet you say that there are many anti-Jewish sentiments amongst Muslims, then it would seem like the creation of a Jewish homeland in the Middle East, would be like out of the frying pan and into the fire.

    Compared to its neighbors, Israel has overwhelming military, political, and economic power.

    You seem to say that Israel is being bullied.

    I say Israel is bullying.

    Interesting difference of opinion.

  26. Jon September 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    >As far as “Islamic Imperialism”, maybe it was around 1300 years ago, as you claim according to scholarly research.

    Good God Berd, don't you even read the stuff you're quoting from? If an Islamic Empire existed *for* 1300 years, that means it existed more recently than 1300 years ago (given that Islam was born in the 7th Century AD – another fact you may not be aware of). And, indeed, this Islamic Empire existed until the 20th century when the Ottomon Empire (a name of its own choosing, by the way) ended after World War I.

    I don't expect you to know all this history (although knowing a little of it would be useful for someone making historic claims), but couldn't you at least master the fundamentals of grammar and math before you start apologizing for someone else's imperialist streak?

  27. Anonymous September 22, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    oooh grammer! ouch! got'em for sure.

  28. Ben September 22, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    Dear Berd,
    If you want people who don't relfexively agree with you to take your views seriously, it would help if you acknowledged that the Arab nations STARTED the War of 1948 because they wanted the total number of Jews in Palestine to be zero, and the fact that their militarism completely blew up in their faces does not make Israel's kicking of their collective asses into “militarism” by default. Of course, taking invalid Arab claims as gospel and valid Israeli ones as trash is your right; it just doesn't do a lot for your credibility.

  29. Berd September 22, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    Oh, I didn't realize that the 1948 war was started by Arabs. Oops!

  30. Jon September 23, 2011 at 12:04 am #

    Well I guess we can add that to the increasingly long list of things you don't know (but are willing to pronounce on anyway).

    Here's a hint in case you need it: when five Arab armies march across your borders (as they did in Israel in 1948) promising a “war of annihilation,” that counts as “starting a war.”

    Just wondering, but has anyone ever given you advice about what not to do when you find yourself at the bottom of a big pit you have just dug, holding a shovel?

  31. DrMike September 23, 2011 at 5:53 am #

    Berd, an excellent source for learning about the 1948 war is Benny Morris' book “1948”. Extensively documented and detailed history, including the varied reasons that 700,000 Palestinians became refugees (including some who were expelled by Israeli troops). But the overarching truth is that starting the day after the UN vote in 1947, Palestinian militias increased their attacks on Jewish convoys, towns and kibbutzim; Palestinian elites left early on their own; Palestinian militiamen sent their wives and children out of the area, knowing they were planning war; and the Palestinian leadership completely rejected the idea of a Palestinian state, preferring instead to try to eradicate the Jews.

    As far as not understanding Islamic imperialism, do you understand that both al Qaeda and Shiite Iran openly call for re-establishing the caliphate that once stretched from Spain in Western Europe, across North Africa, up through the Middle East into the Balkans, and eastward through Arabia, Persia, Afghanistan and Pakistan? Do you understand the Islamists' references to al-Andalus? That's Andalusia– in Spain, from which they were expelled in 1492 by Ferdinand and Isabella. That's not the historic homeland of Muslims. But radical Islam believes that it has as much right to that area as it does to Mecca.

    Here's the bottom line: Israel has called for the establishment of an Arab state of Palestine, when the Palestinian leadership agrees to live in peace alongside a Jewish state of Israel. The Palestinian leadership has refused this. They have even stated that in a Palestinian state, the generations of descendants of the 1948 refugees must remain locked in refugee camps and cannot become citizens. And such a Palestinian state, they say, must be Jew-free by law. (and gay-free by whatever means necessary…). Is this the state you are supporting?

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