I / P

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I / P

Postby ExiledAtHome » 16 Sep 2014, 18:42

Raworahi,

I've moved the discussion over to this thread, though I'm really not confident that anything constructive will come from it.

Your position, as I understand it, is that:

A) Israel (which, I must stress, unilaterally declared independence in Palestine in direct violation of the 1947 UN partition proposal) has a legitimate right to exist in its current form as a Jewish state;
B) Israel has been besieged from all sides by hostile state and non-state actors, and has acted with considerable restraint given the existential threat to its very existence;
C) The International community, through diplomacy, public opinion, and short-sighted emphasis on international law, has constrained Israel such that it has been unable to deal a decisive enough blow to its neighbors to impose regional peace and security.

If I've misconstrued these positions, please do clarify.

My position, conversely, is that:

A) The state of Israel's claim to be both Jewish and democratic is a paradox that cannot be reconciled, and that, having been built upon the displacement of the overwhelming majority indigenous population of Palestine, it simply has no right to exist in its current form, which is not to say that its Jewish population has no right to exist, or that they do not have the right to security and civil equality in the land of Palestine;
B) Far from being the beleaguered underdog it is so often portrayed as, Israel has been a regional Goliath, even prior its formal inception in May 1948, and has, at nearly every step of the way, distorted historical, religious, and political realities to suit its aims of regional domination and has been the primary catalyst to much of the tumultuous modern history of its neighbors;
C) The international community has utterly failed to act upon its own mandates and carry through on its own rhetoric in such a manner that would and should constrain Israel, which has increasingly tested the limits of unethical conduct in war, progressively marching toward its aims of ultimate obliteration of the Palestinian presence in historic Palestine, a policy of slow genocide that, in my estimation, is the single most disturbing phenomenon of the late 20th and 21st century.

I shall flesh these positions out much more deeply in the coming hours, but I first give you the opportunity to briefly respond to the general framework above.
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Re: I / P

Postby raworahi » 16 Sep 2014, 19:16

Yeah no - in the other thread - you made a long list of baseless assertions (or at the very least, assertions for which you provided no basis) and I responded with detailed and specific facts which directly contravened your assertions.

I am happy to have this conversation with you but before I do - I expect that you will respond, point by point, to the facts I've presented and demonstrate how the assertions you made have any leg left to stand on given those facts.

Either we are having a constructive argument, where you respond directly and specifically to the points I made (As I did with you in the other thread) or there is little point because if you can do so, why not? if you choose to take a different tack and simply vomit up more partisan rhetoric then I will be forced to accept that as a concession that I am correct and that you are unable to counter my argument.

Warmly,

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Re: I / P

Postby ExiledAtHome » 16 Sep 2014, 19:31

As I said, the point of going back and forth on the historiographical narratives related to specific events is non-constructive unless we have a framework to operate within, otherwise it's just debate ad infinitum with no confines. That's why I posted this introductory post, to give the discussion some general context and form.

What I also said was that I was going to respond to your points from yesterday, but simply wanted to cede you the space to respond to the introduction first. So I'm not sure why you're entering this thread already presupposing that I've skirted those topics. Trust me, I want to respond as much as you'd like me to, because you've clearly succumb to a disturbing revisionist view of Israeli history, and you must be corrected.

I'll respond as soon as I am able today.
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Re: I / P

Postby raworahi » 16 Sep 2014, 20:10

ExiledAtHome wrote:As I said, the point of going back and forth on the historiographical narratives related to specific events is non-constructive unless we have a framework to operate within, otherwise it's just debate ad infinitum with no confines. That's why I posted this introductory post, to give the discussion some general context and form.

What I also said was that I was going to respond to your points from yesterday, but simply wanted to cede you the space to respond to the introduction first. So I'm not sure why you're entering this thread already presupposing that I've skirted those topics. Trust me, I want to respond as much as you'd like me to, because you've clearly succumb to a disturbing revisionist view of Israeli history, and you must be corrected.

I'll respond as soon as I am able today.


I'd rather focus initially on the points raised in the beginning, then we can expand the discussion from those points into the greater principle.

I look forward to your point by point rebuttal of the facts I presented.
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Re: I / P

Postby ExiledAtHome » 16 Sep 2014, 20:16

From yesterday's thread:
ExiledAtHome wrote:
Your position, raworahi, is that Israel, having exhibited exceptional restraint under the constraints imposed by the international community, has fallen short of imposing regional peace vis-à-vis total, uncompromising wars on her enemies. The rather obvious implication of such a statement being that Israel should or would otherwise obliterate her enemies in the name of peace if only allowed to do so, a lesson that "the West," or at least the United States, should follow in regard to its dealings with ISIS.

That is, quite frankly, a contemptible view, not only for its reductionist approach to violence as a maximalist and paradoxical apparatus of peace, but also in its blatant revisionist scope, for there simply has been nothing restrained about Israel's conduct since 1947, or the prior conduct of the ideological paramilitaries that unilaterally carved her into existence.


To which you responded:
raworahi wrote:
There is a difference between forcing an enemy into an unconditional surrender (such as what the allies did with Germany & Japan in WW2) and "Obliterating" them. I was not and did not advocate for the latter - I was however arguing for the former.

In 1973, after significant initial setbacks, Israel regained the upper hand and was on the brink of a truly decisive victory that would have forced an unconditional surrender on the part of Egypt and Syria.

The 2nd Egyptian army was surrounded and trapped on the eastern bank of the Suez Canal, where it could have been destroyed as Israel's pleasure, and Ariel Sharon was commanding mechanized armor units within 45 miles of Cairo and there were no Egyptian military units between his position and the Egyptian capital. In the north, Israeli troops advanced to within 25 miles of Damascus.

At which point, the international community forced a ceasefire and a negotiated (rather than unconditional surrender) truce.

Those are the facts, now the question is what am I advancing as an argument.


And:
raworahi wrote:
However, had Israel been allowed to conquer the capitals (even more likely envelop them and hold until a surrender was issued), there would be no question, no excuse, no rhetoric that could have allowed the Arab countries to save face and claim victory.

The argument I am making, is that the very minimal cost of life that it would have cost to push for the unconditional surrenders (measured at most in a few hundred lives - Egypt had no forces to resist with and Syrian forces were running with their tails between their legs) could have changed the climate in the entire region as both Egypt and Syria would have been forced to sue for peace and their leaders admit that they had been totally defeated.


And:
raworahi wrote:
We would probably live today in a world where Beirut was still considered "Paris in the Levant" and we would never have seen the rise of the Hezbollah - which also means that the Lebanese civil war would not have happen, nor the first or second Lebanon wars, nor the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, nor the recent 2006 conflict in Lebanon.


To which my response was:
This view - point belies the fact that since 1973, despite your lamentations of an incomplete Israeli victory, there has been peace between Israel and Egypt, as there has been peace between Israel and Jordan, and defacto peace with Syria. It didnt take the sort or total war that you speak of to accomplish this. Sure, you can point to the war by proxy that rages on, or the financing of resistance groups, but then you'll have to speak also of Israel's targeted killings, sectarian manipulations, espionage, airstrikes (in Syria, Iraq, and Iran), and assassinations of political leaders and scientists that shatters any hopes you may have of regional calm.

But beyond all that, and more importantly, your analysis lacks an appreciation for the Palestinian condition. Peace with Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon does not change the fact that Israel's military occupation of nearly 4 million Palestinian civilians shocks the conscience of the 21st century world community and is the primary point of contention for the "Arab street." Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria do not oppose Israel, however timidly and mutely they do these days, because they are somehow emboldened by the ambiguous finale to the 1973 war, but rather because their citizens demand it. Your symmetrical understanding of state-to-state regional relations completely fails to recognize the asymmetrical underpinnings of regional hostility to Israel: it's the occupation, stupid!


For the purposes of brevity, I will consider this segment of our discussion currently closed, and I shall move on to the latter segment of our discourse, the question of restraint in Israeli actions on a case-by-case basis.
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Re: I / P

Postby Antigonos » 16 Sep 2014, 20:27

I made a post on the Suez Crisis in the IS thread but will make future posts on this broad topic here. For the moment I will state my basic position (elements of which have appeared in the Gaza thread) by commenting on the three points stated by ExiledAtHome.

A) The state of Israel's claim to be both Jewish and democratic is a paradox that cannot be reconciled, and that, having been built upon the displacement of the overwhelming majority indigenous population of Palestine, it simply has no right to exist in its current form, which is not to say that its Jewish population has no right to exist, or that they do not have the right to security and civil equality in the land of Palestine; With minor differences I agree with this statement.

B) Far from being the beleaguered underdog it is so often portrayed as, Israel has been a regional Goliath, even prior its formal inception in May 1948, and has, at nearly every step of the way, distorted historical, religious, and political realities to suit its aims of regional domination and has been the primary catalyst to much of the tumultuous modern history of its neighbors; I agree strongly with the first part of this statement regarding the myth of Israel as a military underdog. I think that the second portion of the statement is...an overstatement that risks falsifying itself by it's excessive claims even though it contains an essential truth.

C) The international community has utterly failed to act upon its own mandates and carry through on its own rhetoric in such a manner that would and should constrain Israel, which has increasingly tested the limits of unethical conduct in war, progressively marching toward its aims of ultimate obliteration of the Palestinian presence in historic Palestine, a policy of slow genocide that, in my estimation, is the single most disturbing phenomenon of the late 20th and 21st century.

Here again I agree with the first part of the statement, largely agree with the second section of the statement though I would phrase it in less absolute terms and disagree with the final section - as I regard other things such as the US war in Vietnam where over 2,000,000 Vietnamese were killed and which led to the horrific events in Cambodia as a far more disturbing and evil act or series of acts than what has and is occurring between Israel and the Palestinians (and other Arab and Muslim peoples) where there is wrongful behavior and destructive excess on both sides however much I may conclude that the greater "wrongdoing" lies with Israel and that this imbalance is increasing with time.
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Re: I / P

Postby raworahi » 16 Sep 2014, 20:28

Dear Sir,

I would prefer that you address the specific and detail point by point listings that I provided in response to your list of supposed acts of aggression by the Israeli state.

If that is what you meant in your closing statement (I wasn't entirely clear but wanted to spare you any additional work if that wasn't your intent), then you can disregard this message.

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Re: I / P

Postby ExiledAtHome » 16 Sep 2014, 21:00

raworahi wrote:
I would prefer that you address the specific and detail point by point listings that I provided in response to your list of supposed acts of aggression by the Israeli state.

If that is what you meant in your closing statement (I wasn't entirely clear but wanted to spare you any additional work if that wasn't your intent), then you can disregard this message.


Yes, that is my intention.

Antigonos wrote:
Here again I agree with the first part of the statement, largely agree with the second section of the statement though I would phrase it in less absolute terms and disagree with the final section - as I regard other things such as the US war in Vietnam where over 2,000,000 Vietnamese were killed and which led to the horrific events in Cambodia as a far more disturbing and evil act or series of acts than what has and is occurring between Israel and the Palestinians (and other Arab and Muslim peoples) where there is wrongful behavior and destructive excess on both sides however much I may conclude that the greater "wrongdoing" lies with Israel and that this imbalance is increasing with time.


While I do appreciate this perspective --and have, in the past, questioned myself as to why Israel/Palestine elicits such a vociferously emotional response from me in ways that far more catastrophic warfare does not-- my conclusion has been based on intent, and the distinction between acute and chronic crises. The intent, for example, of the United States in entering into war in Vietnam was not, so far as I can tell, meant to result in such catastrophic loss of civilian life, or to enable the manifestation of the subsequent Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. And, while the duration of the Vietnam War was appalling, it was ultimately deemed necessary that it be resolved, even if the resolution --iconically immortalized in the images of the fall of Saigon-- was immensely inadequate. While Vietnam is probably the least apt example, I feel the overwhelming majority of 20th and 21st century conflict has been acute in nature. Quick, relatively speaking, outbursts of violence, often with appalling brutality and loss of life, followed by generally adhered to frameworks of resolution. No conflict has come close to I/P in terms of duration, and the notion that the world community would allow a state to militarily occupy 4 million indigenous civilians for over 40 years under harsh and oppressive conditions is beyond comprehension (not to mention the military occupation of Israeli Arabs from 1948 -1967). It is a deeply entrenched, chronic crisis, which is further normalized by generations of intent. The idea that this system of injustice has been sustained not only for my entire lifetime, but the entire lifetime of my parents, while Israel sits comfortably, happy to perpetuate and further entrench the status quo indefinitely is heart-wrenching, infuriating, and terrifying. I also speak as someone who has been to Palestine, and who has witnessed both its suffering and its inspiring spirit, whereas I have not so tangibly been touched by any other conflict.
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Re: I / P

Postby ExiledAtHome » 16 Sep 2014, 22:46

To carry on the discussion with raworahi, here is more from yesterday:

ExiledAtHome wrote:
To view as restrained the 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel, or the 1947-48 ethnic cleansing of 700,000 Palestinians (which actually provoked the 1948 War), or the 1948 assassination of UN envoy Folke Bernadotte, or the 1956 invasion of the Suez Canal with British and French collusion, or the 1967 unilateral offensive war, or the 1967 bombing of the USS Liberty, or the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, or the horrific 2006 bombings of Lebanon, the 40+ years of military occupation, land appropriation, and the litanies of Geneva violations, or any of the other ghastly and shocking wars Israel has waged against Palestinian populations, using dense civilian areas as test-grounds for new technologies and strategies of urban warfare, is to present yourself in unserious terms.


The response to this passage was for raworahi to claim that it demonstrated my "absolute lack of knowledge or understanding of any of the situations."

To wit:
raworahi wrote:
1) The 1946 bombing of the King David hotel was:
A) An act of guerrilla warfare against a legitimate military target (the hotel had been taken over by the British Military High Command for it's headquarters.
B) An act which for which ample warning was provided and ignored by the British Authorities - had they acted to evacuate the building, there would have been very few if any casualties.
C) Carried out by the Irgun - a Zionist militia which had to be violently subdued by the newly formed Israeli Defense Forces on (and in the days following) September 20th 1948.
D) Not an act of the state of Israel

In other words, a legitimate attack against a legitimate military target - with repeated attempts to minimize the loss of life by warning the intended target - warnings which were ignored. An act committed by a non-state actor, not the state of Israel.


First of all, the notion that as a non-state actor, pre-dating Israel, the actions of Irgun are irrelevant to the present topic is unusual, considering I initiated the topic and I specifically included the actions of Israel's preceding ideological paramilitaries as part of my viewpoint that there has been nothing restrained about the conduct of Israel or its founding militias. One cannot extricate modern Israel from its origins. The actions of Irgun, Haganah, Stern Gang, and the Palmach fit squarely within the origins of Israel, as the leaders of these groups --David Ben Gurion, Levi Eshkol, Menachem Begin, Yitzak Shamir, Yitzak Rabin, Yigal Allon, and Moshe Sharett, to name but a few-- all went on to hold prominent roles at the highest levels of the Israeli government.

Further, your assessment on the specifics surrounding the bombing of the King David Hotel is duplicitly insufficient. A hotel, in British Mandate Palestine, housing the British Mandatory governing offices, cannot be viewed so quickly as a legitimate target when the hotel was also operating as a normal hotel, with hundreds of international civilian guests. Further, the idea that Jewish nationalist militias, comprised entirely of recent immigrants to Palestine from Europe, have any legitimacy in targeting the governing officials or their military forces there to secure their own ideological vision of a Jewish state in a region to which they have no moral, legal, or practical claim is a repulsive display of destructive Jewish exceptionalism that continues to plague Palestine to this day. Would you be so quick to view the target as legitimate if, instead of British Mandate office, the hotel housed offices of the Israeli Prime Minister, and if the belligerent involved were Hamas, as opposed to Irgun?

I'd add, before closing, that the warnings you mention were delivered to the hotel switchboard operators --not to British Mandate officials directly-- and it is believed that the hotel staff dismissed the threat, not the British officials. Not that dismissing a warning gives radical, nationalist militias cart blanche to carry out bombings of locales packed with civilians. Additionally, the dismantlement of Irgun was finalized by September 1948, nearly a year after the Jewish Agency began its coordinated efforts to secure as much territory by force as possible before the May 1948 withdrawal of British forces in Palestine, and almost 6-months after the war with neighboring Arab states commenced. Up until this point, Irgun operated, although often tensely and in conflict, as an extension of the Jewish Agency and subsequently the state of Israel. Its forces were entirely integrated into the IDF by September, along with other militant groups, following the assassination of UN envoy Folke Bernadotte.
Last edited by ExiledAtHome on 17 Sep 2014, 04:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I / P

Postby raworahi » 16 Sep 2014, 23:23

ExiledAtHome wrote: First of all, the notion that as a non-state actor, pre-dating Israel, the actions of Irgun are irrelevant to the present topic is unusual, considering I initiated the topic and I specifically included the actions of Israel's preceding ideological paramilitaries as part of my viewpoint that there has been nothing restrained about the conduct of Israel or its founding militias.


You did nothing of the sort - you may have intended to include the actions of Israel's preceding ideological paramilitaries but you failed to include wording to that effect in your allegation.

ExiledAtHome wrote: One cannot extricate modern Israel from its origins. The actions of Irgun, Haganah, Stern Gang, and the Palmach fit squarely within the origins of Israel, as the leaders of these groups --David Ben Gurion, Levi Eshkol, Menachem Begin, Yitzak Shamir, Yitzak Rabin, Yigal Allon, and Moshe Sharett, to name but a few-- all went on to hold prominent roles at the highest levels of the Israeli government.


It was was Begin, who specifically ordered the use of force to prevent the Irgun from smuggling more weapons into the country, which included several days of fighting between the Irgun and the IDF and ended with the arrest of many Irgun members, the forcible disarming of the group, and the integration of the remaining members into disparate groups in the IDF to ensure that they could not act in concert.

Sure, the Irgun had some dirty hands, but you're also ignoring the reason why the Irgun was formed and their reasons for attacking the British - The Irgun was formed as a response to Palestinian violence and attacked the British because of laws which prevented Jews from arming in self-defense. I'm not saying that there were not bad actions on all sides, nor excusing the actions of the Jewish militias, but to paint a picture which only characterizes the Jews as engaging in this behavior or in having blood on their hands, is not just misleading, it is disingenuous.

ExiledAtHome wrote: Further, your assessment on the specifics surrounding the bombing of the King David Hotel is duplicity insufficient. A hotel, in British Mandate Palestine, housing the British Mandatory governing offices, cannot be viewed so quickly as a legitimate target when the hotel was also operating as a normal hotel, with hundreds of international civilian guests.


The wing which was targeted, was exclusively housing the British Mandate Palestine and the British High Command, sorry.

ExiledAtHome wrote: Further, the idea that Jewish nationalist militias, comprised entirely of recent immigrants to Palestine from Europe, have any legitimacy in targeting the governing officials or their military forces there to secure their own ideological vision of a Jewish state in a region to which they have no moral, legal, or practical claim is a repulsive display of destructive Jewish exceptionalism that continues to plague Palestine to this day.


That is purely opinion and highly contestable at that. The Balfour Declaration, the Peel report and the '47 partition plan - all recognized not only the right of Jews to return from exile to a Jewish homeland in the British Mandate, but that there were substantive existing and long resident populations within the territory, and numerous areas which were currently and traditionally populated primarily by Jews.

ExiledAtHome wrote:Would you be so quick to view the target as legitimate if, instead of British Mandate office, the hotel housed offices of the Israeli Prime Minister, and if the belligerent involved were Hamas, as opposed to Irgun?


If Hamas attacked the Knesset, I would absolutely support categorizing that as a valid act of war, not a terrorist act.

ExiledAtHome wrote:I'd add, before closing, that the warnings you mention were delivered to the hotel switchboard operators --not to British Mandate officials directly-- and it is believed that the hotel staff dismissed the threat, not the British officials. Not that dismissing a warning gives radical, nationalist militias cart blanche to carry out bombings of locales packed with civilians.


The initial warning (there were several) was indeed given to the hotel operator, however it is a matter of record that at least one British official received the warning shortly before the blast (but still with enough time to evacuate) and chose to disregard it.

Does that excuse or wash the blood off the hands of the Irgun? Obviously not, they committed a violent act of war and as a result many people died - while a great number of them may have been valid military targets, a large number of them also were not. However, what I object to is the characterization of it as naked aggression when they took multiple steps to reduce or prevent entirely the loss of life. It is tragic that their warnings went unheeded and they still bear the responsibility for those deaths, but it is clear that their intent and actions were to perform an act of property damage, not mass murder.

I look forward to your responses to each of the other sections and points that I made - although I suspect we should merge any discussion of Folke Bernadotte into this section as the core question is whether or not it should be considered an act of the state of Israel, which is already covered here.
Last edited by raworahi on 16 Sep 2014, 23:24, edited 1 time in total.
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