I / P

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Re: I / P

Postby Keirador » 06 Nov 2015, 05:51

ExiledAtHome wrote:Ah, yes, I saw that post, but no, I did not respond. You gave a number of examples of blatant anti-Semitism, and some examples of open anti-Semitic violence. Some of this I was aware of, some of it not as much. Your response was to my question as to whether you'd stand by your comment that I need only look at any newspaper outside of North America to see "what a movement to kill all of the Jews would look like." You've demonstrated that anti-Semitism is a reality, and that it sometimes leads toward prejudicial violence against Jews. I don't, nor have I ever disputed that. The issue, for me, is not whether such intolerance, bigotry, and violence exists. It absolutely does. My concern is whether it actually influences the mentality of Israeli voters. The examples you cited all have something in common, and that is they involve fairly isolated, minority communities of Jews facing discrimination, inflammatory rhetoric and treatment, and sometimes violence. Jewish Israeli voters constitute a majority demographic in a country that claims a Jewish identity and to be a homeland for Jews.

You've hit on something important here. This bit that I've underlined is, in my opinion, the key to understanding the fortress mentality some Jewish people hold toward Israel. Before Israel, every single community of Jews in the world was a fairly isolated minority community of Jews facing discrimination, inflammatory rhetoric and treatment, and sometimes violence. Israel is unique for the Jewish people because it's the only place in the world (theoretically) where Jews don't have to be fearful just because they're Jews. Seriously, you're describing the French and German Jewish communities as isolated minorities. These have historically been the largest and most influential Jewish communities in the world, and if even these Jews aren't safe, the thinking goes, where can a Jew be safe except Israel?

It creates a sort of sacrosanct loyalty to Israel that's impossible to explain without understanding the history of the Jewish people. I've heard otherwise radically progressive people, who participate in rallies and hunger strikes for human rights worldwide, who in some cases dedicate their careers to fighting injustice, tell me point-blank, "I'm sorry, I will never speak ill of Israel, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't do it in my presence." There's an instinctual fear that lurking behind critiques of Israel's human rights record is resentment at the idea that there's a country where Jews can feel safe (again, theoretically). That sounds paranoid as all get-out, but to paraphrase Joseph Heller, just because they're paranoid doesn't mean somebody's not out to get you. As I mentioned in that big post, perhaps most relevantly I think it's hard to understand Iran's interest in the Israel / Palestine conflict without supporting the idea that Iran's leadership just really hates that Jews have a state.

So I think amongst a lot of people, there's recognition that Israel isn't perfect, but it's still the best option for Jews and undermining Israel is undermining Jews. These people, I think, are persuadable that Israel would be more secure and more legitimate if it changed course as regards Palestinians, but Israeli security needs to be front and center in that conversation. There's another group of people that are not persuadable: they're not going to make any concessions and intend to present the world with a fait accompli of dispossessed Palestinians and Israeli settlers living in the territories. It's these people I regard as my ideological opponents at best and as war criminals at worst, but even there. . . I sort of get it. I think perhaps in the same way that you denounce Palestinian violent terrorism, but still kinda think "eh, I don't approve, but I see where you're coming from." Why shouldn't Jews get a state of their own in which they don't have to be isolated, persecuted minorities anymore? Why should they have to be a minority in all places and all times? Every nation on earth was The answer, of course, is that you can't be accepted as a legitimate member of the international community as an apartheid state implementing a brutal regime of depopulation, but I do "get" the feeling of "fuck this, fuck everyone, it's our turn, better to be the oppressor than the oppressed for once."

Exiled wrote:While the average Jewish Israeli may have fears and anxieties, whether rational or not, about Palestinian violence, I'm skeptical about the extent to which they have fears and anxieties about worldwide anti-Semitism when it comes to how they approach the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.
So we could argue about the extent to which Jewish Israelis and their supporters in the diaspora have fears and anxieties about worldwide anti-Semitism; there's clearly disagreement here. However, you're not disputing the reality of worldwide anti-Semitic violence, so we're just guessing how much people care about its existence. Short of a telepathic poll, I'm not sure how you'd get to the truth of that. Much more importantly, I'm not sure why it matters that you are skeptical. Like, even to you. Does it make a difference to the argument you want to make if you also just grant that Israeli security concerns are valid? Granting that doesn't make the occupation acceptable.

Exiled wrote:This is why I found Antigonos' response to be appropriate, because I could just as easily point out a multitude of examples of Islamophobia in the world which have produced a backlash of discriminatory legislation, inflammatory rhetoric, and violence (probably more so than worldwide Anti-Semitism if we're being honest)

So now we're getting into Suffering Olympics, and I really don't think one group's grievances need to compete with another group's grievances unless they're actually mutually exclusive.

Exiled wrote:and could then continually urge that you take this into consideration in how you view Palestinian behavior. You could say Islamophobia is irrelevant, but then I just say that you're dismissing actual, genuine anxieties Palestinians have. I could say that if you want Palestinians to behave less violently, you must first accept that Islamophobia is a major concern and that they will not cease to resist the occupation violently if they believe that pressures on them to do so are driven by Islamophobia, and so you need to prove to them that you're not driven by Islamophobia. That's sort of what we're talking about here, and I do think it's a distraction. It's not a matter of rejecting that Anti-Semitism is a major concern, both for Jews worldwide and all people of conscience, it's a matter of whether fear of Anti-Semitism motives Israeli Jewish sentiment toward the Palestinians in any significant manner, and whether we need to treat that sentiment sensitively if it is a factor.

There's another confusion of normative and pragmatic questions here. The reason that Israeli fears and concerns are more relevant than those of Palestinians is not because the Israeli position is more legitimate or morally justifiable, it's because they're the ones with the power.

But I do agree that if you're trying to convince the Palestinians to play ball violence, you similarly need to be able to address their concerns in a way that you're credible enough for most people to believe the commitments and promises you make. In this case I think that takes the form of demonstrating concretely that a renunciation of violence would offer some tangible benefit. To your specific example, I've never actually seen Palestinians express the idea that fears of Islamophobia were part of the reason they refused to renounce violence, and I'm not sure how that idea even makes sense. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I'm not then the problem with the comparison is that on the Jewish side, the question is whether to take an expressed fear seriously or to dismiss it, but with your example it's whether to take seriously a concern that nobody is claiming to hold. Again, let me know if I'm wrong about this.


Exiled wrote:I actually do appreciate the perspective you're trying to bring here, and there is some merit to the philosophy that we should gain Israeli trust if we're to incentivize them to alter their behavior. I understand what you're trying to say here, and while it may seem like such a simple thing, I'm having a really hard time finding much empathy for Israeli security concerns while this is going on.

I'm serious. This is appalling. And, despite the "suspension," this is actually fucking as routine as it gets for Israeli conduct in the Occupied Territories. If it's not those horrifying threats, it's hosing down Palestinian neighborhoods with "skunk" water, arresting and detaining Palestinian children, or Israeli mainstream politicians calling for ethnic cleansing and genocide and bragging about how many Arabs they've killed. This is terrorism, pure and simple.

These are all horrible. The occupation is horrible. Horrible things are happening worldwide; horribleness is more or less a constant. I hope you don't think that means I'm minimizing Palestine, or ANY of the horrible ongoing tragedies. At some point, everybody has to be sanguine about most of the horribility going on, elsewise we'd just be paralyzed all day long with grief and fear and rage and helplessness.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, again it's funny for me to be on this side of the argument. What I'm more accustomed to is moderate Israeli nationalists being outraged, rightly, over Palestinian terrorists murdering random Israeli civilians, and me trying to say "yes, it was horrible that old woman got stabbed to death, buuuuuuut. . . lots of things are horrible and some of the horrible things are being perpetrated by the state of Israel against innocent Palestinian civilians."

It's not just a matter of political strategy, I also think it's a moral prerogative to acknowledge and respect injustice wherever it occurs, even if the perpetrators are on "your side" and the victim is on "the other side." Part of why I don't think there should be sides.

Exiled wrote:How am I supposed to feel about this? Am I really to take a step back and consider insecurities and anxieties Israelis may have over anti-Semitism before I roundly condemn this sort of inhumanity and demand world-wide attention for this sort of everyday occurrence?

I can't tell you how you're supposed to feel, and I doubt you'd take kindly to it if I tried. Disgust and shock and outrage are understandable responses, even laudable, but there are limitations to outrage. Outrage can be blinding, which can compromise both a strategic point of view as well as a coherent morality.
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Re: I / P

Postby Antigonos » 06 Nov 2015, 06:57

Keirador wrote:
Antigonos wrote:Keirador, It seems that you believe that there is a virus or entity called anti-semitism that exists outside of time and place and history and even belief. It is the same in a Christian hating a "Christ Killer" and a Muslim who takes his belief from passages in the Quran or an atheist whatever his or her political persuasion. I suppose it is this virus and not the Israeli occupation, land seizures and past history that makes Palestinians, Muslim and Christian, "anti-semitic".

Is it your understanding that I believe anti-Semitism to be a literal virus? If so, why are you spending time talking to a crazy person? If not, what is the purpose of this paragraph?

You talk of the attacks on Jews in Europe resulting in a flight not seem since the WWII period. Perhaps but this is certainly not what the article you linked to actually said so please give a proper cite for your assertion..

OK.

Sorry but I am not impressed by what I read (I have printed it at the bottom of the post. How about this? In fact I have seen no proof that the numbers of Jews leaving Europe currently exceeds the number of Jews leaving Israel.

In 2012, a new Global Religion and Migration Database constructed by the Pew Research Center showed that there were a total of 330,000 native-born Israelis, including 230,000 Jews, living abroad, approximately 4% of Israel's native-born Jewish population. Immigrants to Israel who later left were not counted. Danny Gadot of the Israeli consulate in Los Angeles claimed that although some 600,000-750,000 Israelis were estimated to living in the United States, many were not native-born and in fact the children of Israeli expatriates, as the children of Israelis born abroad are counted as Israeli citizens


I read this article and I see increased rates of Jewish immigration to Israel especially from France, Italy and the Ukraine with Italy not seeing a significant increase in anti-semitic incidents or rhetoric. But to compare the numbers or even the per capita percentages with the Thirties and Forties pre to immediate post WWII period seems at best absurd and at worst irresponsible. But of course you also ignore the different historical contexts. The WWII period was one which saw vast population movements and transfers within Europe. Something similar but on a smaller and more local scale took place in the 1990s in the territories of Old Yugoslavia. It did not involve Jews. Even now the number of Jews leaving France is insignificant in comparison to the number of other European groups seeking to move within Europe including a significant number of Romani who unlike Jews are targets of truly widespread discrimination, legal harassment and even violence.

Czech Republic: Systematic discrimination against Romani children ...
Amnesty International-Apr 23, 2015
Romani children face daily discrimination and segregation in schools


Amnesty International reports continued instances of Antizigan discrimination during the 20th Century, particularly in Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Kosovo.

The Romanis of Kosovo have been severely persecuted by ethnic Albanians since the end of the Kosovo War, and the region's Romani community is, for the most part, annihilated.

Czechoslovakia carried out a policy of sterilization of Romani women, starting in 1973. The dissidents of the Charter 77 denounced it in 1977–78 as a genocide, but the practice continued through the Velvet Revolution of 1989. A 2005 report by the Czech government's independent ombudsman, Otakar Motejl, identified dozens of cases of coercive sterilization between 1979 and 2001, and called for criminal investigations and possible prosecution against several health care workers and administrators


Nearly 40% of applications filed in Germany last month came from people arriving from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro.



But I would be curious to see the figures for attacks against Jews compared to attacks on Muslims and indeed Romney in Eastern Europe especially. How about legislative hostility? Have there been calls for or attempts to legislate or act by executive action against Jews in the same way that has occured with Romney in Europe and Muslims in Europe, the US and recently Canada? Much of what you cite about political parties is about groups on the extreme right and these parties are, as far as I can determine, all or nearly all more hostile to Muslims than to Jews so once again you are cherry picking.

Why? If your purpose is to compare the attacks so you can declare one side or the other "the winner," that would be an example of a mindset that I like to call this mindset "the Suffering Olympics." It's a neat way of shutting down one group's grievance by making the totally irrelevant observation that another a grievance, and then pitting those grievances against each other and setting up a framework in which only the winner of the Suffering Olympics is entitled to a legitimate grievance, and all other grievances are dismissed. It seems to work well in a couple of contexts: comparing the religious persecution of Jews and Muslims, and comparing the immigrant experience in the US to slavery in the US. I think it seems to work in these contexts because there's an idea that since these things are demonstrably related to each other, it perhaps makes sense to compare them. . . and the weird elision to choosing a winner goes unremarked.

Picking less related grievances, it's easier to see how absurd this idea is:
"Women in the US make less money than men for doing the same job."
"Interesting that you say that, I'd be curious to see those figures compared to the pay received by Southeast Asian men who have been kidnapped and enslaved on fishing boats. I bet the slaves have it worse off."
"Wait, what does that-"
"So you see, there's no use in even talking about women's wages. You've lost the Suffering Olympics."

So yeah, let me know why you're interested in comparing attacks on Muslims and Romneys (your concern for the Romneys, despite your political differences, is touching). If it's just to minimize attacks on Jews, I find the line of argument ridiculous on its face.

I concede that I mispelled Romany or Romani. Now that you have brought up this significant item in two posts I hope you will considered it a closed matter.

Antigonos wrote:How about the attacks against Muslims in India, Burma and parts of Africa. Or the number of military campaigns conducted in Muslim nations by the US and it's allies? Or attacks on Christians and other groups in so many places around the world. Your focus seems at best myopic and at worst knowingly cherry picking to support a case you wish to make. In any case to invoke a potential Second Holocaust to support the actions of The State of The Jewish People with its IDF and nukes is merely to act as a spokesman for the Israeli Occupation.

I'm sorry, if you'd like to start a new thread about attacks against Muslims in India, I'm sure I'll agree with much of what you have to say. You accuse me of "cherrypicking" because I responded to Exiled's request for information about persecution Jews faced with information about persecution Jews faced. I should instead have started a new conversation about Islamophobia instead of answering the question? That's not a myopic focus, that's sustaining a conversation.

You also bring up comments by political figures in Argentina and Venezuela. I suspect that there are many elements behind these remarks. One could be that they appeal to the not insignificant population of Middle Eastern immigrants and their descendants.

But definitely not anti-Semitism, right? Anything but that. They must be trying to appeal to Middle Eastern immigrants and their descendants. . . how exactly? The comments I pointed out weren't about Israel or Israeli policy, they were about Jews. The attacks on synagogues weren't attacks on embassies or political targets, they were attacks on domestic religious institutions frequented by fellow citizens. So these leaders are appealing to "not insignificant" Middle Eastern populations who don't like Jews? And that's not anti-Semitism?

It is a sad thing for a politician to do. Thank God that we know that in the US political figures never do this in an attempt to curry favor with Jewish doners and voters. Thank God we don't see widespread expression of racist anti-Arab (and Iranian) and anti-Muslim feeling among Jews in the US, Europe, Israel and elsewhere (I must have been imagining all the things that I have heard fellow Jews say and write throughout my life).

And those poor Southeast Asian fishing boat slaves!

I am capable of having sympathy for more than one group at a time. Therefore, your expressions of sympathy for other victims of persecution doesn't register as a counter-argument to me, just a somewhat unrelated point that I agree with. Exiled and I were talking about the legitimacy of Jewish security concerns, the extent to which Muslims also have security concerns is not germane to that particular point.

You seem to discount the importance if the vast amount of history that Exiled has provided but you insist on giving a valid centrality to the Holocaust to justify no end of sensitivity to Jewish fears.

Sorry, you've confused me with someone you would prefer to be arguing with. I have questioned the relevancy of the history at all to actually improving the situation. What I discounted was a selective reading of history that focused only on a particular set of grievances. If the history is germane, which I have questioned, then it is all germane.

Ignoring history is also useful in that one can ignore the possibility that feeling about Israel in many places around the world might have some history behind it. There is the long history of the Israel acting as the "Little Satan" in the Middle East to the US's "Great Satan". But look further. Israel was shipping weapons to Somoza until the very day he fled Nicaragua. Israel gave not so secret support to Rhodesia. Israel was the staunch ally of Apartheid South Africa until the very end. Just last week the UN voted 191-2 to condemn the US Embargo of Cuba. Voting with the US was one nation...Israel.

So that, what, justifies the murder of French citizens who happen to be Jewish?

When did I justify the murder of French citizens? You seem to conflate any attempt to explore why reasons other than anti-semitism that explain why there is a great deal of hostility to Israel and it's Jewish supports around the world with anti-semitism or support for random killing of Jewish civilians.

In the end our discussion here counts for very little and is most interesting in what we each learn of the attitudes of others and what we can explore and learn about the past and what is possible in the future. I recently twice quoted an Israeli opposed to current Israeli policy because I felt that as someone who also had experience of Rhodesia and South Africa I thought it interesting that he felt that it would require international pressure especially in the West to force a majority of Israeli voters to possibly change course. I agree with him. I also think that continued Palestinian diplomatic efforts are necessary. But I also recognize that continued opposition to the Israeli Occupation is needed.

Agree

Non-violent resistance should be at the core of the effort but I refuse to give a blanket condemnation to all forms of violence. My only argument with use of force in the Occupied Territory is over it's effectiveness. I supported the Vietnamese against the US, the ANC against Apartheid South Africa and even the Algerians against the French so why do the Jews of Israel get to be treated differently?

So far I believe you're the only participant not to offer a blanket condemnation of all forms of violence. What's your moral framework for what kinds of violence and what kinds of targets are legitimate? Just armed Israeli combatants? Settlers? Settler children? Non-Israeli citizens who are of Jewish descent? Anybody an armed and angry Palestinian can find?

Interesting that you say this. Are you offering a blanket condemnation of all violence by Israeli soldiers during the most recent Gaza War and during the current spate of violence between Israeli Jews and Palestinians? I am willing to explore this in more detail and be honest about my position. I can and do deplore violence in all forms but I am not going to pretend that I never consider it justified or even necessary. Let me give you one example. I think WWI was an unnecessary and unjustified war that should not have been fought and that those who refused to fight in it and opposed the war in every way possible thought and acted correctly. One result of the war was the conditions and events that led to WWII. In this case while I understand and sympathize with those who opposed fighting the war I think it had to be fought (though I also support the actions those like Gandhi and the Congress Party of India who refused for local reasons to support the war effort). Another obvious example is the violence that is often involved in reasonable police actions in civil society.

I continue to be supportive of a two state solution but I do not support the concept of a Jewish State with special rights for Jews and if if comes down to it and Israeli Jewish intransigence leads to a one state solution so be it.

Agreed, though I'm a pessimist and also countenance that the third option of mass expulsion and a slow-burning genocide could also be a result of intransigence in the Israeli right.

I agree that this is a possibility.

It is clear that there are numerous Palestinian leaders who would love to play Mandela and even have tried to but it is equally clear that there has been no Israeli leader who will play the role of de Klerk. Rabin might have in time if he had lived but nobody else has come even remotely close.

Agreed, with the caveat that I'm not aware of a Palestinian leader who would love to play Mandela who also enjoyed Mandela's democratic mandate for non-violence.

I suspect that the longer the solution is delayed the more likely the outcome will be like Algeria. If that happens no doubt afterwards many, even most Jews worldwide will blame that eternal virus of anti-semitism and the inscrutable will of God.

The major difference in the examples you're pointing out is that throughout post-colonial Africa, the ruling elite were a small demographic minority who couldn't feasibly hope to maintain power indefinitely. In Israel, Jews remain a demographic majority even if you count Palestinians in the occupied territories. They may lose that edge over time, but it probably won't be within my lifetime to see Jews become as small a minority as whites were in Algeria or South Africa. I think it's much easier for Israeli Jews to maintain power.

Here are the current demographic facts which I already provided in a prior post: "In Israel proper and the occupied territories there are aprox 6.1 million Jews, 6.2 million Arabs and .35 million others. But 4.4 million Arabs have no voting rights in the state that controls their destiny." I do not see a Jewish majority here. Do you? I agree that the demographics not what they were in Algeria or in South Africa and that the dynamic is not identical to either but I think it is less of a difference than you think it is both because of differences in communal reproduction rates and also in part because there are already signs that not insignificant numbers of Israelis may talk the talk of needing to stay safe in the Jewish State but walk the walk of moving overseas to the US and that hotbed of anti-semitism Europe. I do think an exploration of possible scenarios would be interesting and that differences and similarities with what happened in Algeria and South Africa can usefully inform such a discussion especially if attention is given to the very specific interactions that occured in both places.

By the way Keirador I was amused to see you ask Crunkus to give his views on the I/P question. I read his reply several times and my only comment is that he did an admirable job of not answering the question. I notice that after his non-response you let the matter drop or did I miss the post where you took apart his evasions?

He said he felt what was needed in the short-term was de-escalation on both sides, that international pressure should be brought to bear to bring that about, and that he didn't feel sufficiently well-informed to know how exactly that might happen. He said he'd rather focus on what would be productive in easing human suffering than talking about philosophical concepts of justice, but again, doesn't feel sufficiently informed to have a sweeping platform on what would be productive. I don't consider it an "evasion" to say "I'm still learning about this and I don't come down on anybody's 'side.'" And I'm not going to try to force a strong opinion from somebody who has claimed not to have one.

I am sorry but I do not buy the "Crunkus" is too uninformed to express a concrete opinion on this issue and how to resolve it.

One last thing. As far as I am concerned you closing words in your last post gives away your game.
Threatening Israeli security doesn't seem, to me, like a good way of improving life for the Palestinians under Israeli rule
.

Sorry but for me and for many others the question is most definitely not one of "improving life for Palestinians under Israeli rule" it is about removing Israeli rule over Palestinians. I believe this is also what they seek. Or do you think that only Israelis get to vote on this.

Literally only Israelis get to vote on this. I mean, Palestinians got to vote in 2005 and 2006, but Israel didn't like the result and pretty much voided it in the West Bank. And even the elected representatives of Palestinians have close to no power to actually implement meaningful change.

Again, it seems we're talking past each other. You seem to have construed my comment as an endorsement of the moral right of Israelis to rule over Palestinians. It was actually a recognition of the current reality that Israel rules the Palestinian territory. And absent a foreign invasion and occupation, only Israeli votes have a meaningful impact on the situation.

Finally, I have no idea what you mean by my last post "gives away my game." It gives me the impression you believe me to have a secret agenda that I've left unspoken. Could you clarify this?


As Exilled said:

I actually do appreciate the perspective you're trying to bring here, and there is some merit to the philosophy that we should gain Israeli trust if we're to incentivize them to alter their behavior. I understand what you're trying to say here, but while it may seem like such a simple thing, I'm having a really hard time finding much empathy for Israeli security concerns while this is going on.

I'm serious. This is appalling. And, despite the "suspension," this is actually fucking as routine as it gets for Israeli conduct in the Occupied Territories. If it's not those horrifying threats, it's hosing down Palestinian neighborhoods with "skunk" water, arresting and detaining Palestinian children, or Israeli mainstream politicians calling for ethnic cleansing and genocide and bragging about how many Arabs they've killed. This is terrorism, pure and simple.

How am I supposed to feel about this? Am I really to take a step back and consider insecurities and anxieties Israelis may have over anti-Semitism before I roundly condemn this sort of inhumanity and demand world-wide attention for this sort of everyday occurrence?


On the other hand you say:


I would expect the next stage to last decades. While non-violence is being enforced by both sides, and Palestinian civil society is being built up, it is time to decide on a one-state or a two-state solution. That is not for outside parties to decide. If basic human rights and basic human needs are being respected, this negotiation can play out past my lifetime as far as I'm concerned.

The key elements are a firm and credible pledge of support to each side. . . as well as a firm and credible threat to walk away, which is particularly relevant to the Israeli side. To take our demands seriously, they need to both understand that we are willing to invest in their security, and also understand that we may well refuse to do so out of opposition to their policies.


Here is what I mean when I say that you give the game away. You do so again when you talk of a process lasting for decades. Perhaps you believe that this may be what happens. I do not believe that the Palestinians or for that matter much or most of the world will wait for decades for the Israelis to somehow evolve to a point of agreeing to an acceptable resolution to the ongoing crisis or to even allow Palestine the freedom, political space and actual land to create what you will judge to be an acceptable civil society. I believe that what you seem to advocate is precisely the sort of "let's talk and move or perhaps not move towards a solution in an indeterminate future" that will lead to continued crisis and confrontation until the situation is resolved by the usual combination of violence leading to a resolution with or without political settlement.

By the way I found it interesting that you use the language of colonialism and neo-colonialism when you say, in effect, that the Palestinians should be patient (you poor benighted savages)while we civilized people of the West guide you to a level of development and civil society where we will allow you to rule yourselves. You might not have noticed but Palestine does have a civil society.




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Thursday 5 February 2015 02.00 EST Last modified on Monday 9 February 2015 03.58 EST

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According to the Jewish Agency, 8,636 Jews left west European countries to make “Aliyah” - what the Israeli government term Jewish immigration - during 2014. This was a rise of 88% on 2013, and far higher than any year for the previous two decades.


This undoubtedly fuels speculation that Jews are reacting to rising levels of antisemitism in the west - whether anti “Jewification” rallies in north London, far-right marches in Germanic countries or fatal attacks on the community in France. But there may be other motives for Jewish emigration, such as economic factors.

In 2014, more than twice as many Jews left France as left the US, despite the former having a population 11 times smaller (478,000) than the latter (5.4m) according to the Berman Jewish DataBank.

In fact, the vast majority of western European migration to Israel is coming from French Jews. Out of the 8,636 that left this part of the continent, 7,086 - or 82% - were coming from France.

France saw a 115% rise in the number of its Jews leaving between 2013 and 2014. Figures such as these prompted Jewish Chronicle editor Stephen Pollard to say that within a few years the number of Jews in the country could drop to as low as 400,000.

But France is one of the few western European countries that has seen a sizeable escalation in the number of Jews the Agency recorded as making Aliyah, and has largely driven the overall trend for western Europe.


Although the 617 that left Great Britain was a rise of nearly 20% on 2013, it was fewer than the 700 that left in 2012 and far fewer than the 853 in 2009.

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In other countries with a sizeable Jewish population such as Belgium and the Netherlands, the number of Jews leaving actually dropped between 2013 and 2014 - although there are so few each year that the variation is not particularly significant.

The only place which shares a similar rise in Jewish emigration to France is Italy. There were 339 that left in 2014, which, though a small fraction of the French number, is a huge rise in proportional terms: 124% on 2013.

The indication that this is currently a trend limited to France and Italy as far as western Europe goes is given further backing if you cross-reference the numbers with the estimated core Jewish population in each country from the Berman data.

For every 10,000 Jews in France, 148 were emigrating to Israel while the same is true of 121 in Italy (it is worth point out here that these numbers are all estimates). The comparable ratio is 81 in Belgium and around 20 in the UK and the Netherlands. Of those living in the US, just 5 per 10,000 made Aliyah according to the Agency.


Other evidence suggests that beyond France, Jewish emigration is much more pronounced in eastern Europe. The migration rate in Ukraine and Russia, for example, is notably high. According to analysis by Channel 4 of Israeli migration figures, nearly one in 10 Ukrainian Jews left the country last year.

There are a few limitations with this analysis though. We do not, for example, know how many Jews have decided to leave European countries for places other than Israel - the UK and America for example. A robust source simply does not exist.

Neither is there the evidence to suggest a single cause behind these trends. Although there have been repeated high profile antisemitic attacks in France and evidence points to a rise in hate crimes, there may be other reasons to move. Israel’s GDP grew by 3.3% in 2013, compared to France’s relatively meagre 0.2%.

All this aside, the trend is clear - in Italy and France the number of Jews emigrating has grown at some pace over the last couple of years.
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Re: I / P

Postby ExiledAtHome » 06 Nov 2015, 09:34

Keirador wrote:
ExiledAtHome wrote:Ah, yes, I saw that post, but no, I did not respond. You gave a number of examples of blatant anti-Semitism, and some examples of open anti-Semitic violence. Some of this I was aware of, some of it not as much. Your response was to my question as to whether you'd stand by your comment that I need only look at any newspaper outside of North America to see "what a movement to kill all of the Jews would look like." You've demonstrated that anti-Semitism is a reality, and that it sometimes leads toward prejudicial violence against Jews. I don't, nor have I ever disputed that. The issue, for me, is not whether such intolerance, bigotry, and violence exists. It absolutely does. My concern is whether it actually influences the mentality of Israeli voters. The examples you cited all have something in common, and that is they involve fairly isolated, minority communities of Jews facing discrimination, inflammatory rhetoric and treatment, and sometimes violence. Jewish Israeli voters constitute a majority demographic in a country that claims a Jewish identity and to be a homeland for Jews.

You've hit on something important here. This bit that I've underlined is, in my opinion, the key to understanding the fortress mentality some Jewish people hold toward Israel. Before Israel, every single community of Jews in the world was a fairly isolated minority community of Jews facing discrimination, inflammatory rhetoric and treatment, and sometimes violence. Israel is unique for the Jewish people because it's the only place in the world (theoretically) where Jews don't have to be fearful just because they're Jews. Seriously, you're describing the French and German Jewish communities as isolated minorities. These have historically been the largest and most influential Jewish communities in the world, and if even these Jews aren't safe, the thinking goes, where can a Jew be safe except Israel?

Are you describing the mentality that drove immigration to Palestine in the early 1900s? In that sense, then, yes, German and French Jewish populations were probably the most influential, with Russia coming in third at that point in time. Certainly European anti-Semitism drove immigration to Palestine en masse, and served as the foundation for the Zionist mission of establishing a Jewish state. I think we can agree on this as a matter of historical record. But, we're in 2015 now and discussing Israel's sustained fortress mentality. At this time, the largest and most influential Jewish populations reside in Israel, the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia, where there is very little anti-Semitism and hardly any associated violence, with sizeable communities in France, Russia, and Argentina as well, where anti-Semitism and associated violence is admittedly more of a concern, though hardly genocidal by any stretch of the imagination. So, is it your view that historical levels of anti-Semitism drive Israel's fortress mentality or is it a contemporary concern? We can agree that speaking of the immediate environment, of the 13,000,000+ Jews worldwide, approximately 12.5 million reside in Israel, the US, and Canada, right? So, with the exception of some isolated pockets of small minority Jewish populations, violent or exclusionary hostility towards Jewish populations is not a realistic concern for the overwhelming majority of Jews worldwide, yes?

It creates a sort of sacrosanct loyalty to Israel that's impossible to explain without understanding the history of the Jewish people. I've heard otherwise radically progressive people, who participate in rallies and hunger strikes for human rights worldwide, who in some cases dedicate their careers to fighting injustice, tell me point-blank, "I'm sorry, I will never speak ill of Israel, and I'd appreciate it if you didn't do it in my presence." There's an instinctual fear that lurking behind critiques of Israel's human rights record is resentment at the idea that there's a country where Jews can feel safe (again, theoretically). That sounds paranoid as all get-out, but to paraphrase Joseph Heller, just because they're paranoid doesn't mean somebody's not out to get you. As I mentioned in that big post, perhaps most relevantly I think it's hard to understand Iran's interest in the Israel / Palestine conflict without supporting the idea that Iran's leadership just really hates that Jews have a state.

Do you mean it's difficult to understand Iran's interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if you strip away factors such as the doctrinal importance of Al-Quds in Islam, or the concern of the Muslim ummah(of which Iran is party) in oppression of their fellow Muslims, or the fact that Israel is a nuclear armed state that routinely issues bellicose rhetoric toward Iran and has engaged in mass cyber attacks, targeted strikes, and assassinations within Iran? Stripping away all of those obvious issues which explain Iran's vested interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is also the small matter of regional hegemony, an area in which Israel, Iran, and Saudi Arabia each seek to dominate. I don't think it's at all ambiguous why Iran has taken an interest. And, I'd add, the Jewish Forward magazine had a recent article dispelling much of the myth of an anti-Semitic Iran anxious to annihilate Israel.

So I think amongst a lot of people, there's recognition that Israel isn't perfect, but it's still the best option for Jews and undermining Israel is undermining Jews. These people, I think, are persuadable that Israel would be more secure and more legitimate if it changed course as regards Palestinians, but Israeli security needs to be front and center in that conversation. There's another group of people that are not persuadable: they're not going to make any concessions and intend to present the world with a fait accompli of dispossessed Palestinians and Israeli settlers living in the territories. It's these people I regard as my ideological opponents at best and as war criminals at worst, but even there. . . I sort of get it. I think perhaps in the same way that you denounce Palestinian violent terrorism, but still kinda think "eh, I don't approve, but I see where you're coming from." Why shouldn't Jews get a state of their own in which they don't have to be isolated, persecuted minorities anymore? Why should they have to be a minority in all places and all times? Every nation on earth was The answer, of course, is that you can't be accepted as a legitimate member of the international community as an apartheid state implementing a brutal regime of depopulation, but I do "get" the feeling of "fuck this, fuck everyone, it's our turn, better to be the oppressor than the oppressed for once."

Israel is certainly not the obvious best option for Jews, which is why Jewish immigration to the United States has pretty much always outpaced Jewish immigration to Israel, and why historically three-times as many Israeli Jews immigrate to the US as American Jews immigrate to Israel. As for your latter point of why shouldn't the Jews have their own state, I'd prefer not to have that conversation as they do have their own state now, but I'd like to think the world is moving away from ethnic-religious based statehood. I can think of a whole litany of reasons why a religious or ethnic demographic as minuscule as that of the Jews isn't necessarily entitled to a state of their own. The Kurds and Uyghurs have comparable, though slightly higher, populations than Jews worldwide. There is no Kurdish or Uyghur state, despite parallel histories of immense oppression and discrimination. The Tamils have a demographic of nearly 100 million, and have yet to achieve separatist aspirations of statehood in either India or Sri Lanka. Do you feel that the Kurds, Uyghurs, and Tamils deserve their own independent states where they no longer must exist as isolated, persecuted minorities? And if so, should we treat their history of disenfranchisement and mistreatment with the utmost sensitivity were their new states to become responsible for 70 years of military occupation of other indigenous people's in their hypothetical new states?

Exiled wrote:While the average Jewish Israeli may have fears and anxieties, whether rational or not, about Palestinian violence, I'm skeptical about the extent to which they have fears and anxieties about worldwide anti-Semitism when it comes to how they approach the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.
So we could argue about the extent to which Jewish Israelis and their supporters in the diaspora have fears and anxieties about worldwide anti-Semitism; there's clearly disagreement here. However, you're not disputing the reality of worldwide anti-Semitic violence, so we're just guessing how much people care about its existence. Short of a telepathic poll, I'm not sure how you'd get to the truth of that. Much more importantly, I'm not sure why it matters that you are skeptical. Like, even to you. Does it make a difference to the argument you want to make if you also just grant that Israeli security concerns are valid? Granting that doesn't make the occupation acceptable.

What Israeli security concerns, specifically, do you find so valid? Threat of rocket attacks? Absolutely. Threat of suicide bombings? Eh, fairly dated concern. Random individual attacks. Sure. Mass civil disobedience, stubbornness, and overall indignation by their Palestinian subjects? You bet. So, what security concerns, specifically, do you feel I am not granting as valid?

Exiled wrote:This is why I found Antigonos' response to be appropriate, because I could just as easily point out a multitude of examples of Islamophobia in the world which have produced a backlash of discriminatory legislation, inflammatory rhetoric, and violence (probably more so than worldwide Anti-Semitism if we're being honest)

So now we're getting into Suffering Olympics, and I really don't think one group's grievances need to compete with another group's grievances unless they're actually mutually exclusive.

No, we're not getting into Suffering Olympics, as I'm not actually arguing for the introduction of the Islamophobia narrative as a counter-weight to the anti-Semitism narrative. I'm demonstrating how troublesome it is to introduce global issues that are important concerns to a particular community globally as something we need to treat extra sensitively in discussing a localized conflict largely outside that concern. Anti-Semitism played an instrumental role in the desire to create a Jewish state, and it is an issue important to the Jewish community globally, but I do not accept that it is central to Israeli intransigence on the issue of occupation. Islamophobia is also a major issue to the Muslim community globally, but it's not a valid excuse for Palestinian intransigence on the issue of violent resistance to occupation.

Exiled wrote:and could then continually urge that you take this into consideration in how you view Palestinian behavior. You could say Islamophobia is irrelevant, but then I just say that you're dismissing actual, genuine anxieties Palestinians have. I could say that if you want Palestinians to behave less violently, you must first accept that Islamophobia is a major concern and that they will not cease to resist the occupation violently if they believe that pressures on them to do so are driven by Islamophobia, and so you need to prove to them that you're not driven by Islamophobia. That's sort of what we're talking about here, and I do think it's a distraction. It's not a matter of rejecting that Anti-Semitism is a major concern, both for Jews worldwide and all people of conscience, it's a matter of whether fear of Anti-Semitism motives Israeli Jewish sentiment toward the Palestinians in any significant manner, and whether we need to treat that sentiment sensitively if it is a factor.

There's another confusion of normative and pragmatic questions here. The reason that Israeli fears and concerns are more relevant than those of Palestinians is not because the Israeli position is more legitimate or morally justifiable, it's because they're the ones with the power.

But I do agree that if you're trying to convince the Palestinians to play ball violence, you similarly need to be able to address their concerns in a way that you're credible enough for most people to believe the commitments and promises you make. In this case I think that takes the form of demonstrating concretely that a renunciation of violence would offer some tangible benefit. To your specific example, I've never actually seen Palestinians express the idea that fears of Islamophobia were part of the reason they refused to renounce violence, and I'm not sure how that idea even makes sense. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I'm not then the problem with the comparison is that on the Jewish side, the question is whether to take an expressed fear seriously or to dismiss it, but with your example it's whether to take seriously a concern that nobody is claiming to hold. Again, let me know if I'm wrong about this.

Yes, I think you're wrong on this. It certainly does not get nearly as much play in mainstream discourse of the conflict, but there is absolutely a strong view within the Palestinian community that their plight is ignored because they are Muslim, and that their resistance to oppression is framed through the reductionist and Orientalist view of a backward, barbaric culture. They absolutely feel abandoned by the world because they are Muslim and Arab.


Exiled wrote:I actually do appreciate the perspective you're trying to bring here, and there is some merit to the philosophy that we should gain Israeli trust if we're to incentivize them to alter their behavior. I understand what you're trying to say here, and while it may seem like such a simple thing, I'm having a really hard time finding much empathy for Israeli security concerns while this is going on.

I'm serious. This is appalling. And, despite the "suspension," this is actually fucking as routine as it gets for Israeli conduct in the Occupied Territories. If it's not those horrifying threats, it's hosing down Palestinian neighborhoods with "skunk" water, arresting and detaining Palestinian children, or Israeli mainstream politicians calling for ethnic cleansing and genocide and bragging about how many Arabs they've killed. This is terrorism, pure and simple.

These are all horrible. The occupation is horrible. Horrible things are happening worldwide; horribleness is more or less a constant. I hope you don't think that means I'm minimizing Palestine, or ANY of the horrible ongoing tragedies. At some point, everybody has to be sanguine about most of the horribility going on, elsewise we'd just be paralyzed all day long with grief and fear and rage and helplessness.

I'm encouraged that you recognize the Palestinian condition. But I think it's far more urgent than you seem to acknowledge. 10 year-old Palestinians of Gaza have now endured four massively devastating military operations in their lifetime, have seen their communities ravaged by indiscriminate artillery shelling, aerial and seaborne bombardment, and ground incursions resulting in over ten thousand civilian deaths in that time, and tens of thousands of injured, entire families eviscerated, entire neighborhoods flattened, and all semblance of modern society crippled. What sort of future can we hope for these psychologically traumatized children? We're literally talking about 2 million people here that are emotionally broken. Moving to the West Bank, where another 3 million Palestinians reside, we're dealing with a population that lives in constant terror of their homes being destroyed, their lands confiscated, and their basic human rights violated. They face constant harassment and humiliation and detention by Israeli soldiers for the most trivial of alleged offenses, they face savage attacks by heavily armed Israeli settlers who operate with impunity backed by the Israeli military, they face complete inequality in terms of the rule of law, freedom of movement, and access to resources. This is another 3 million people who are emotionally broken and have lived the entirety of their lives under a regime that socially, systemically, and even legally dismisses the value of their well-being, their security, and even their lives. Palestine is a broken nation, and unless a radical alteration of the current trajectory is urgently realized, I fear there isn't much hope for the future of Palestinians, they will merely go the way of other beleaguered, and ultimately annihilated indigenous peoples.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, again it's funny for me to be on this side of the argument. What I'm more accustomed to is moderate Israeli nationalists being outraged, rightly, over Palestinian terrorists murdering random Israeli civilians, and me trying to say "yes, it was horrible that old woman got stabbed to death, buuuuuuut. . . lots of things are horrible and some of the horrible things are being perpetrated by the state of Israel against innocent Palestinian civilians."

It's not just a matter of political strategy, I also think it's a moral prerogative to acknowledge and respect injustice wherever it occurs, even if the perpetrators are on "your side" and the victim is on "the other side." Part of why I don't think there should be sides.

Of course.

Exiled wrote:How am I supposed to feel about this? Am I really to take a step back and consider insecurities and anxieties Israelis may have over anti-Semitism before I roundly condemn this sort of inhumanity and demand world-wide attention for this sort of everyday occurrence?

I can't tell you how you're supposed to feel, and I doubt you'd take kindly to it if I tried. Disgust and shock and outrage are understandable responses, even laudable, but there are limitations to outrage. Outrage can be blinding, which can compromise both a strategic point of view as well as a coherent morality.


Yea, you keep saying things like we must recognize injustice from all parties, or call out violence from all parties, or not let our outrage compromise coherent morality. It's a great way to position yourself as having reached a level of impartial and moral clarity, but I don't think it has bearing on our current discourse, as I've denounced all forms of Palestinian violence so I'm not sure if you're speaking broadly here or suggesting that I've somehow not recognized specific Palestinian perpetration of injustice and violence, or that I'm lacking in moral coherence on this issue. I think I've made my positions on all of this clear. The only real point of contention between us seems to be the extent to which Israeli anxieties of global anti-Semitism should factor into how we evaluate their behaviors and conduct and how we position our critiques. We'll have to agree to disagree there.

So, what say we have that conversation now on where we each stand on carving out a possible future for Israelis and Palestinians?
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Re: I / P

Postby Keirador » 06 Nov 2015, 21:18

@Antigonos, you and I are not having a conversation with each other, we're having different conversations at each other. I asked why you wanted to compare Romany and Jewish suffering and explained why I thought the Suffering Olympics was not a helpful framework, you responded by ignoring that and quoting sad statistics about the Romany. I said Jewish emigration from Europe was at high levels not seen since the Holocaust and its aftermath, you "responded" that it was "absurd" and "irresponsible" for me to compare Jewish emigration with the 30s and 40s, when my comparison very specifically compared emigration in the post-Holocaust era.

It's just not clear to me I actually need to participate at all for you to have the debate you want to have. You seem most focused on hosting a Suffering Olympics and declaring the Jews to be the losers so they can't have any grievances. I have said why I don't think that's either useful or morally justifiable. If you want to ignore that and spectate on the Suffering Olympics anyway, I don't really need to be a participant for you to do that.


@Exiled, it'll take me a bit to get together a thoughtful response to you, but in terms of talking about actual solutions, did you see the thing I wrote to beowulf about J - Street? If change in Israeli policy is to come, I think it comes down to diplomacy and persuasion between three key groups: the American left, American Jews (obviously plenty of overlap there), and Israeli moderates. I think the Israeli hardliners have a winning coalition of unpersuadable nationalists who are basically going down a genocidal path and are OK with that, as well as security-voters who for various reasons believe people like Netanyahu are the ones who can best keep Israel safe. So the task is to amplify the platform held by the late Mr. Rabin, that concessions and peace is a more secure future, not less. I think that involves considerable diplomatic efforts by the United States in offering both credible carrots and credible sticks. I think our credibility comes from getting the buy-in and support of the sizeable American Jewish community, and I think that happens at the granular scale with members of the American left having this exact conversation with people who grant that the occupation is immoral, but whose concerns for Israel's safety outweigh their moral condemnation.

I think the most important development in recent years has been the emergence of, and widespread credibility of, J - Street, a Jewish interest lobbying firm that supports peace and reconciliation with Palestine and an immediate end to settlement. I think they're helping to create the space necessary for American politicians to demand results from Israeli leaders.
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Re: I / P

Postby ExiledAtHome » 06 Nov 2015, 21:44

If change in Israeli policy is to come, I think it comes down to diplomacy and persuasion between three key groups: the American left, American Jews (obviously plenty of overlap there), and Israeli moderates.


Just a quick question before we advance: do you truly think these are the only important players?
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Re: I / P

Postby Keirador » 06 Nov 2015, 22:06

ExiledAtHome wrote:
If change in Israeli policy is to come, I think it comes down to diplomacy and persuasion between three key groups: the American left, American Jews (obviously plenty of overlap there), and Israeli moderates.


Just a quick question before we advance: do you truly think these are the only important players?

No, I think Palestinians also need their Mandela and their ANC. A leader and an institution who can claim significant democratic legitimacy, who can not only represent a majority of Palestinians but actually hold together a majority of Palestinians, and who is dedicated to resolving the conflict. I don't know what levers to pull to make that happen, but Israel can do many things unilaterally to take the boot off the neck of the Palestinian body politic, and create a bit more peace and prosperity for civil society to grow.

As far as other interest groups within Israel or the international community, I see fewer possibilities for change. The Zionist nationalist agenda is all realpolitik and has no room for the human rights of non-Jews; many settlers literally believe the land was given to them by God and won't give it up, etc. I don't see changing these people's minds, I see their countrymen compelling them to comply. Internationally, the UN is already ready and willing to sanction Israel, but the diplomatic support of the US thwarts anything with teeth.
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Re: I / P

Postby ExiledAtHome » 01 Dec 2017, 09:51

Well, wasn't this a hoot?
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Re: I / P

Postby ExiledAtHome » 01 Dec 2017, 10:01

Keirador wrote:
ExiledAtHome wrote:
If change in Israeli policy is to come, I think it comes down to diplomacy and persuasion between three key groups: the American left, American Jews (obviously plenty of overlap there), and Israeli moderates.


Just a quick question before we advance: do you truly think these are the only important players?

No, I think Palestinians also need their Mandela and their ANC. A leader and an institution who can claim significant democratic legitimacy, who can not only represent a majority of Palestinians but actually hold together a majority of Palestinians, and who is dedicated to resolving the conflict. I don't know what levers to pull to make that happen, but Israel can do many things unilaterally to take the boot off the neck of the Palestinian body politic, and create a bit more peace and prosperity for civil society to grow.

As far as other interest groups within Israel or the international community, I see fewer possibilities for change. The Zionist nationalist agenda is all realpolitik and has no room for the human rights of non-Jews; many settlers literally believe the land was given to them by God and won't give it up, etc. I don't see changing these people's minds, I see their countrymen compelling them to comply. Internationally, the UN is already ready and willing to sanction Israel, but the diplomatic support of the US thwarts anything with teeth.


What do you see as the primary mechanism for encouraging Israelis to compel their fellow countrymen (among the national-religious right and settler communities) to comply?

You've hit on precisely why I started this whole thread to begin with. The UN doesn't have the teeth to implement adherence to international norms insofar as they relate to the occupation. It doesn't have the teeth to do so because of US obstruction.

The only thing that can chip away at that obstruction is fierce public opinion on the topic. That sort of groundswell comes from changing the hearts and minds of the American voting public. Hence, my participation in this thread.

Crunkus has dismissed my method as counterproductive, but it seems to me to be the only method worth pursuing as an individual with no power over policy.
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Re: I / P

Postby ExiledAtHome » 07 Dec 2017, 06:50

Very sad to see the US provocatively align itself on one of the conflict's most intractable issues: Jerusalem.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... iddle-east
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