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The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by IcyPatriot, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey

    Not my opinion...but I think this paper is a huge discussion piece and so I post it. Just because my family is 1/2 Jewish does not mean I should steer clear of this topic...it's politics and politics is fair game

    http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cach... U.S. Foreign Policy&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=2



    GOOD SUPPORTING LINKS:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Israel_Lobby_and_U.S._Foreign_Policy

    http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0409-29.htm

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/19/o...&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

    http://www.dbdebunk.com/page/page/3433496.htm

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...RAEL LOBBY AND US FOREIGN POLICY &btnG=Search






    I wanted to post this the other day. But i hesitated because there is always someone ready to yell anti-semitism...I have yelled it myself to be honest.

    Politically, there is a huge difference between anti-semitism and reality. Anti-semitism is being racist against the Jewish people with opinionated bias. But discussing Jewish policy/politics can make anti-semitism rear it's ugly head....it should not. NEM questioned my Jewish sentiment in another post today...sorry NEM...but i feel this issue needs to be discussed. Discussing it does not make one biased or racist...so please...no offense to anyone here...just some facts used to make an opinion. How do you see it?
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2006
  2. Turk

    Turk Rookie

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    82 pages.
    It is going to take a little time to get back to you on this one, but I thank you in advance for sharing.
  3. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey


    2/3's of it is footnotes...so it's not bad. I read it rwice and I go over the footnotes now when I have time.
  4. Mainefan

    Mainefan Rookie

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    I absolutely agree that it is fair game to discuss Israeli policy and US policy toward Israel without being in the least anti-Semitic. I've criticized both myself and I'm Jewish and many Jews have done the same...

    That said, it's worth putting yourself in Israel's shoes for a bit. Israel is paranoid and with good reason. First, many of its citizens have first hand seen the genocidal aspects of anti-Semitism. Second, Israel is a very tiny country. In the early years, if the Arabs could ever have gotten their act together, they could have overrun the entire country in a matter of hours.

    Now, as for the US position. What is the right attitude toward Israel? Toward the Palestinians? Does any American doubt that we'd like to see peace in the region, and two separate states, living in peace, if not harmony? I think it's pretty obvious and it should be obvious to the Arab nations as well.

    Do we favor Israel? Yes. But we do not favor an Israeli victory in the Middle East, only Israeli prosperity and survival. The Arab and Islamic nations neighboring Israel have populations of tens of millions and they sit on incalculable wealth.

    Israel has a population of 6.2 million, including more than a million Arabs. It has no oil wells, in fact, no natural wealth except for the talents of its citizens. It is also the Middle East's only Democracy. But given the hostility of its neighbors, it could not survive without our military help.

    So we give the necessary military aid and Israel sometimes uses it in ways we don't approve of. But Israel is not the 51st state. It is a sovereign country, governed not by us but by its own people, and they act in the interests of their country as they see those interests.

    Their interests do not always coincide with ours. But then, can't that be said of all of our allies? We agree on a great deal, and disagree as well. However, even single individuals can contain conflicted opinions within their own skulls--so it should be no surprise that nations, even friends, don't always agree.

    We could, I suppose, tell Israel no more arms if you don't sit down and sign what we think is a good peace treaty with the Palestinians. After all, Israel is not in a position to defy us. We are its only significant source of arms. But to what extent does that give us the right to dictate its foreign policy?

    The bottom line is, we are heavily invested in Israel in just about every way you can name: militarily, politically, economically, historically, psychologically, and even emotionally. It is not just our single ally in the region, it is our protégé, almost our offspring.

    And so the consequences of allowing it to be defeated and overrun would bee far-reaching, and not just in the Middle East. That event would have a profound effect on how we (and the rest of the world) view us as a nation. In my opinion, it would be an indelible stain on our integrity and our moral stature. We would have trouble claiming to be the world's beacon of freedom, and convincing anyone that our word mattered.

    The current generation of Americans did not volunteer to be part of this situation. We inherited it, as we have inherited so much else--our values, our form of government, our image of ourselves as a country. Our support of Israel has become, for better or worse, an integral part of who we are as a nation. In my opinion, supporting Israel is an admirable act, despite the troubles that come with it.

    Is our support for Israel the most far-reaching bone of contention between us and the Muslim states? I don't think so. It's true that thousands of Palestinians were forced to (or chose to) leave Israel when it was founded, and they have a legitimate complaint, a complaint which, by the way, the rest of the Muslim world has not addressed.

    But how far back in history should we go to address the complaints of people who got a bad deal? After all, Israel was the Jewish homeland for thousands of years before they were forced to leave it. Which claim to this pathetic little strip of land is more valid? Before we answer that question, we'd better give some thought to the claims of the Native Americans and the African slaves.

    But as I said, I don't think Israel is the precipitating factor in our current conflict with the Muslim world. I think that Western culture is the real battleground. It's bad enough, from the standpoint of the traditional Muslim, that Western countries thrive despite the fact that they don't worship Allah and indeed have written into law a thousand doctrines that conflict with Muslim law, even mock it.

    What is really unbearable is that Western culture is highly contagious. It spreads easily, overwhelming whatever other cultures it contacts--including traditional Muslim culture, and it does so on the doorsteps of these cultures. It crosses the oceans with alacrity. It flies through the skies on the wings of our technology and our business dominance.

    Fundamentalist Muslims aren't blind or stupid. They have seen the danger to their own values, their own way of life, their own religious beliefs, and they have accurately assessed it. They have concluded that if not fought with everything they have, it will destroy them. Utterly and forever. Indeed, the process is already far advanced. I would guess most know it is a losing battle.

    So what we are facing is a wounded animal on the verge of extinction, fighting for its life as though it has nothing to lose, which is an accurate assessment. It wants us--not just the US, but the West--out of Muslim territory and it wants us to take our culture with us. (And it hates Israel, because, in addition to everything else, Israel is an outpost of that culture.)

    It is a horrendous reality, from the Muslim point of view, that the rest of the world is filled with prospering unbelievers. But it is absolutely intolerable that these unbelievers come to the Muslim world, to enchant and mislead the people so that they abandon their traditional beliefs.

    And the solution? The real solution is time. All you have to do is skim through history to see that in 20 or 30 years, everything in the Middle East will have changed--evolved--into something entirely different. It's happened a hundred times in that very place.

    But for now, we're doing just about the only thing we can, which is to make sure Israel is never seriously threatened and to bend our efforts toward a peace everyone can live with. The best way to deal with people who think they have nothing to lose is to give them something to lose and make sure they don't want to lose it.

    We're seeing that right now in Palestine, even with the sworn enemy of Israel, Hamas. Yes, it wants to liquidate Israel--but not as much as it wants to have a country of its own, to govern it successfully and to provide for its people. In that sense, it was very useful that Hamas won the Palestinian election, because the victory saddled it with the responsibility for a nation, a responsibility it must exercise with reasonable wisdom or lose office.
  5. Turk

    Turk Rookie

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    NEM, you are a man who stands up for fairness and righteousness which is more the reason why you should not advocate people having to live like animals in refugee camps, people losing their homes and homelands after having lived there for generations, just because of something that may or may not have happened (the way you are describing it) 60 years ago.
  6. glecco

    glecco Rookie

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    Palestine in 1948

    "
    I , also, pointed out that the Palestinians were offered a comple state of their own, just like Israel, in 1948 by the UN, but the Palestinians refused, saying they would drive the Israelis to the sea....
    "

    This may be true, but is it material two generations later?

    Also in 1948:
    - Television was new and in few homes
    - Today’s $10 pocket calculator was more powerful than a digital computer which costs 100’s of thousands and could only operate for a few hours before a tube would burn out.
    - The transistor was a laboratory curiosity
    - $6000/Yr was a good salary
    - Stalin was alive and so was Einstein
    - It would be a year until the Soviet Union tested the A-bomb
    - It would be a year before there existed the Peoples Republic of China
    - Havana Cuba was Sin City and Castro was a child
    - There were no Jet liners
    - and so on and so forth…
  7. glecco

    glecco Rookie

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    I had seen the authors interviewed on CSPAN last week (it’s the off-season and sometimes I succumb to these temptations). They made the comment that the Israel Lobby favored a more aggressive policy in Iraq than American Jews in general. Jewish-Americans were 10 percentage points less favorable to the administration policy towards Iraq than the American public at large.
  8. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey


    That is one of the very best posts I've ever seen in this forum. You gave the reality of the situation...more information in your post than 20 links could provide... posts like that I could read all day long...thanks.
  9. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey


    A valid point NEM...interesting how close and yet far this situation is to being resolved. If the past could be remembered and forgiven at the same time we might see something. Religion seems to be the biggest obstacle to forgetting the past...unfortunate how Religion which is all about faith, love, sacrifice and devotion gets in the way too many times.
  10. IcyPatriot

    IcyPatriot ------------- PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey


    Our leaders and button pushers don't seem to be representing our wishes and desires anymore....politics throughout the world better be prepared for a total shakeup by the people...thanks for the input.
  11. glecco

    glecco Rookie

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    This is a good post and the article you reference is revealing to be sure. I have been musing over this notion for some time and made a post in April approaching this question from another angle. I was hoping to wring this out of this group. But there were no takers.

    http://www.patsfans.com/new-england-patriots/messageboard/showthread.php?t=34594

    I read the article after seeing the authors interviewed last week. They deserve much credit for their integrity. The text is not that long – mostly footnotes.

    By the way, I don’t believe the Israeli government is acting in an unscrupulous or even devious manner. It is doing what is expected of good government. Acting in what it perceives is the best interest of the governed.
  12. Turk

    Turk Rookie

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    MaineFan,
    That was a well written post. Obviously, you have knowledge and passion concerning the subject matter.
    The fact that you honestly distinguish between anti-semitism and criticizing Israeli policies is further proof of your honesty.
    With that said, there are a few points that I disagree with you on.
    Israel, not being the 51st state, has more than just a favorable standing with the US. Though we have many allies, this one has special priviliges, unlike any other. So, comparing our alliance with Israel to any other, and claiming that they are a sovereign nation, though true on paper, is not exactly accurate.
    Just as you have stated, we do have differences with most all allies, but when was the last time we were stern with Israel?
    Israel has violated more UN resolutions than Iraq, no other ally has done that.
    No other ally of this magnitude, is home to the kind of refugee camps that Israel hosts.
    Our media do not write, televise or speak about Israel doing any wrong whereas all over Europe, she keeps losing credibility, because they are not afraid to do what we do not.
    Claiming that even though we are in a position to, that we should not try to influence Israel's foreign policy because we just don't have the right to, does not sit right with me.
    Why? Because we do that very thing everywhere else in the world. But, God forbid we take a tough stand with Israel and force them to make peace.
    Israel is the precipitating factor in our current conflict with the Muslim world because it is where we have taken a side and not budged an inch even after losing moral superiority. More and more Americans are realizing that and Europe already has.

    Islam is not facing extinction any more than Christianity or Judism, claiming that it is, is simply wrong.

    Now, I know that a dimwit or two will take what I have stated as anti-semitic or as terrorist sympathizing, but I hope you see that it is not.
    What it is, is longing for peace and prosperity for all the children of God, and not just a chosen few. War comes second in ugliness only to those who profit from it.

    I don't know how we can possibly achieve that with Israel's untouchable status, but unless we do, nothing will change.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2006
  13. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    America is fighting and killing "Muslim Fanatics" in Iraq and Afganistan.

    "Muslim Fanatics" would like to cut the head off every Jewish Person on the planet.

    GW Bush and the War On Terror are Killing the enemy of Israel, "Muslim Fanatics"

    Why Does Barbara Streisand HATE G Bush so much?

    HOW LONG HAVE WE BEEN IN KOSOVO?

    PIG SLOP GUT, WALRUS MURTHA ISN'T AT ALL LIKE THE MARINES I KNOW.

    THE NY TIMES KEEPS TELLING US THAT PIG SLOP GUT MURTHA IS A HERO, JUST WHAT IS IT THAT MURTHA DID THAT PUTS HIM IN THE "HERO CLASS"
    DID THE FAT TRAITOROUS HOG TAKE OUT A MACHINE GUN NEST SINGLE HANDIDLY, DID HE WADDLE INTO A BOMBED OUT BUILDING AND SAVE A HUNDRED LIVES, YOU LIBERALS ARE GOOD AT DIGGING ALL KINDS OF STUFF UP WITH ALL YOUR ANTI BUSH SH!T, CAN ANY OF YOU FIND OUT WHAT THE DEMOCRATS "NEW WAR HERO" DID THAT EARNED HIM SOME MEDALS.

    Democrat Medals:
    "Mommy"
    "Yes Dear"
    "Whats that big fat slob doing"
    "Thats Mr Murtha dear, he's throwing his medals over the White House Fence"
    "Oh, Mommy didn't some other bastard do that once"
    "Yes dear, that was John Fonda Kerry, but when no one was looking the son of a b!tch climbed the fence and took them back home, he wears them on his tee shirt when he has sex with teresa"
    "Oh, John Fonda Kerry's a sh!thead right Mom"?
    "Yes dear, his wife gives him an allowance, and buys him Surfboards"
    "Oh"
    Fonda Kerry Speech:
    My fellow Americans, yesterday while visiting Nantuket Island I had sex with Teresa before I didn't have sex with Teresa.
    :rocker: "your right Harry"
  14. Blue Collar

    Blue Collar Rookie

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  15. PatsFanInVa

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    Whoops, double post.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2006
  16. PatsFanInVa

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    1. In re: the links themselves, what we're framing here as the main thrust, is fine: that aid to Israel is, of course, as open to debate as any other topic of political debate.

    2. In re: the debate itself, as noted by NEM and others, the difficulty is it's a non-starter, as anybody who knows and studies Israel seriously and dispassionately [sic] should be able to ascertain. Israel has shown herself time and again to be prepared to talk peace, and to take actions toward peace (see Taba, mid-90s, and other such talks before and since) . There's a reason Egypt and Israel are not fighting wars against one another anymore. However, Israel will never accept her own non-existence as a condition of peace. That's called "surrender." ("The only conflict in history in which the winners sue for peace, and the losers demand unconditional surrender.") Hamas' current position is that Israel does not exist, but they'll sign a truce of convenience, until such time as they can inflict more serious damage. Would the U.S. negotiate such a "truce" with Al Qaeda? We didn't (it was offered,) we shouldn't, and we won't. Turn over Iraq to Iraqis? Sure. Negotiate with Al Qaeda? Forget it.

    3. In the past, Israel has sat at the table with the PLO, partnered with them to create the Palestinian Authority, and engaged in round after round of talks. This would be the equivalent of the U.S. entering into peace talks with Al Qaeda about American troops vacating all Arab and Muslim territory (including allies who allow us bases of operations.) (the PLO got active in the the mid-60s, and launched attacks for many years; they even continue today through Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades -- and these are the "moderates.")

    The idea that the Israelis are the party perpetuating the Palestinian crisis is specious, if Israel's sovereignty is considered anywhere near parallel to American sovereignty. We know, however, this is not the case. This is why Israel considers her sovereignty her own responsibility. American aid, though much wanted and much ballyhoed in the European press, is not the sine qua non of Israel's existence.

    4. I hold that it is an indefensible position, to claim our own nation is fighting a global war on terror, and simultaneously press for the world's foremost experts (by necessity) on fighting terror, to buckle to terrorist groups' demands. This is particularly true if one's own nation does not feel any obligation to negotiate with Al Qaeda for America's right to exist.

    5. But the topic of debate has shifted: We no longer want to know whether Israel is behaving rightly or wrongly. We want to know whether Israel's actions are in American interests.
    (a) Israel is guilty as charged of continuing to exist. However, radical elements in many Arab nations have shifted their focus away from antisemitism and anti-Israelism, and toward anti-Americanism, since the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. I do not think Israel's selfish decision to not disappear is hurting America anywhere near the amount that invading Iraq has.
    (b) America's foremost stated enemy in the "war on terror," Al Qaeda, concerns itself first and foremost with ridding the Middle East of Americans. Delusions of destroying Israel are a secondary concern to them. We in the U.S. have taken our own actions in the Middle East, and this wonderful idea that "if it weren't for Israel they'd love and embrace us" is a fallacy. For the record, I applaud the Afghanistan invasion, because it falls into the category of "hot pursuit" of OBL, and the Taliban were complicit at the time with Al Qaeda. Iraq was where this "war on terror" jumped the shark, where it became the war within the Republican imagination, as foisted on America proper.
    (c) Through March, we've spent north of $300 billion on the Iraq invasion and occupation, according to conservative estimates. Other estimates go as high as one trillion dollars. (http://costofwar.com/numbers.html - by the way, I like this page for its quantification emphasis. We often debate these numbers in a vacuum, and it's good to see them tied in a rational way to other expenditures.) $300B would be 100 years of aid to Israel, if you're counting, spent over the last three years. To claim we "cannot afford" aid to Israel is, again, specious.

    6. To the claim that the U.S. maintains a carte blanche attitude toward action taken by Israelis, it was the U.S. that slapped down the British/French/Israeli reach for the Suez in 1956. Since that time, Israel's foreign policy has been constrained by American expectations, as much as American foreign policy shapers have been "lenient" on Israeli actions. The only real departure from this was during Israel's bombing of the Iraqi nuclear facility at Osirak (Tammuz I), in 1981 -- a time when the U.S. was more concerned with strengthening Iraq's secularist Saddam Hussein against the Islamist Iranians, than with WMDs in Iraq. The U.S., along with the U.N., condemned Israel's action. So yes, at times, Israel acts in her own interests rather than as a satellite of Washington; but no, Israel does not "turn on America" and take actions in which long term interests cannot possibly coincide.

    7. As to "what we get for our money," Israel's been an ally in the cold war and in subsequent American actions in the Middle East. During the first Iraq war, Israel did not strike back although Iraq was lobbing SCUDs into Israeli cities, sending the civilian populace scurrying into bomb shelters - at Washington's request. Washington has a lot more to do with setting the Israeli agenda than vice versa.

    Summary: I think the only remaining question is whether it's now time to reevaluate the U.S.'s long-held belief that it needs at least one consistent ally in the Middle East, given the power vacuum left by the departed Soviet Union. The question is framed as one of realpolitik, as opposed to justice, loyalty, or other "antiquated" sentiments, so it must be addressed on those terms.

    I maintain that it is in American interests to have one sole stable ally in the Middle East, which has been unflinching in its pro-Western stance since winning its independence in 1948-1949. I further maintain that it is specifically in the Middle East where a new ideological system - radical Islam - is emerging to challenge the region's nation states, as the "red tide" continues to recede. Finally, the blunt instruments of U.S. projection of power may be less effective, in the final analysis, than operations emphasizing cooperation with forces on the ground in the region, to conduct targeted strikes at known terrorist enclaves.

    These stable allies do include (at times) Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, and Turkey, certainly. In Iraq and Afghanistan, those soldiers and police who do not become militiamen in their off-hours also contribute to our objectives. But beyond all of these, the one nation least likely to abandon a pro-American point of view because of internal divisions, or simply for expediency, is the State of Israel.

    The thesis is that one hundred years of such allegiance is not worth the tab the U.S. has paid for three years of open warfare.

    I maintain that it is.

    PFnV
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2006
  17. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thank you Collar, I couldn't understand why the Democrats keep refering to this guy as a "Hero", he isn't like any Marine I have ever known.
    He has served his country that is to his credit, as he climbs the ladder and trys to keep himself in the spotlight to boost his political ambitions then his whole past will come out, he was mixed up in the Ab-Scam thing, I can't understand what he is doing though in a time of war, there are many Marines that now consider him a Traitor.

    I would like to hear his "Purple Heart Story's" he won't release his service record.

    I guess it's like Kerry, some believe, some don't, all Murtha has to do is give the media his service records. Here's another link.
    http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewSpecialR...alReports//archive//200601//SPE20060113a.html
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2006
  18. Mainefan

    Mainefan Rookie

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    PFnV, I agree with almost everything you said and I think your post helps me a great deal in answering Turk...

    Turk, I agree with you that Israel has a special place among our allies. One of the reasons is that we were its midwife. The recent situation goes back to 1917.

    At that time, the British, which, along with the Ottoman Empire, controlled most of what we call the Middle East, promised the Jews a "national home" in Palestine. At the time, the population of the area was much smaller than it is today and less than 100,000 Jews lived there--the original Israelis, one might say. The British promise, announced by Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, was made in response to a movement among European Jews, lead by Theodore Hertzl, to create a haven for the Jewish people in what had historically been the Jewish homeland. The movement was called Zionism.

    During World War II and especially just afterward, many of the European Jews who had escaped the Holocaust tried to emigrate to Palestine, or Israel (same place at the time). The world didn't make it easy for them, despite what they had suffered, but eventually, many thousands made the trip.

    Among them were Freedom Fighters who had fought the Nazis in the ghettos of Warsaw, one of them being Menachem Begin, a future Prime Minister of Israel. These Freedom Fighters organized themselves into a terrorist organization called the Irgun. The Irgun had a single aim: to force Britain to keep its 1917 promise. They were just as ruthless and violent as Hamas or Hezbollah.

    In 1947, Britain decided, wisely, that its best course of action was to get out of Palestine and turn the mess over to the newly formed United Nations. It was a mess not simply because of the Irgun terrorists, but also because of the indigenous Arabs, who had no desire to cede their lands to the Jews.

    The United Nations looked at the situation and decided to partition the area, giving the Jews that part of Palestine in which they were majority, and the Arabs the part where they outnumbered the Jews.

    The United States supported the UN decision for many reasons, not the least of which was the expiation of its own sins during WW II, when it refused to take more than a handful of Jews refugees from Nazi Germany, condemning the rest to the gas chambers.

    It was a rare moment in history, as far as the Jewish people were concerned. After 2000 years of persecution and murder, they'd arrived at a brief window when the world generally felt sympathetic toward them, and perhaps a little guilty. They were underdogs. They deserved a little special treatment, and giving them a homeland in Israel made historical sense and it seemed a small enough favor. After all, Israel is tiny and most of it is desert.

    As for the Arabs--well, they were, at the time, a disorganized, third world rabble, a remnant of the Middle Ages, of no particular significance. They were the Native Americans--and the Jews who wanted Israel were mainly Europeans, educated and civilized, scientists, authors and musicians, that part of the Jewish intelligensia that had survived Hitler. Even Gentiles saw them as worth preserving.

    Harry Truman was President at the time. You may remember that before he'd entered politics, he was a haberdasher--partner in a men's clothing store. Turns out his partner had been Jewish. The partner visited the White House and he--and many other influential Americans, Jews and Gentiles--convinced Truman to support Israel.

    On May 14, the Jews declared that Israel--the territory given to them in the UN partition--was a sovereign state. On the same day, all of Israel's Arab neighbors declared war on the new state and attacked it from the North, the West and the South, confident they could overrun it.

    But these Jews did not act like the professors and rabbis Hitler had sent to the gas chamber. They had armed themselves, mostly with military surplus weapons purchased from Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European countries.

    A series of wars has followed, all of them with more or less the same scenario. Some combination of Arab forces--mainly Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian, although Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq also participated--attempted to wipe out Israel. They failed.

    In the process, many of the Arabs indigenous to the area fled--assuming they could come back as soon as Israel was beaten. Some were ousted by Israeli forces, dispossessed of their homelands. These were the parents and grandparents of the current occupants of the Arab refugee camps, which, by the way, are not in Israel, but in Jordan and Lebanon.

    In the process of fighting these wars, Israel acquired some additional lands, primarily the Sinai Desert, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights (where Syria borders and looks down on Israel) and most importantly, the sections of Jerusalem which had not been given to them by the UN partition.

    Since then, in an apparently endless series of peace negotiation, Israel has given back most of the it was not granted by the UN in 1948, with the particular exception of the old part of Jerusalem, which contains the remnants of Solomon's Temple, the Dome of the Rock (where Mohammed alighted to Heaven, and which is built on top of Solomon's Temple), the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, etc.

    While fighting these wars, Israel violated a number of UN resolutions, primarily those forbidding it to acquire new land, but also resolutions expressing outrage at its attacks on various Arab countries, especially Lebanon.
    In a way, this is like the boy in the playground who gets punished for hitting another boy. He's guilty, all right, but the teacher didn't notice that he didn't start the fight.

    Were/are all of Israel's actions defensible? In my opinion, no. Ariel Sharon, who led an Israeli incursion into Lebanon has been accused of being a war criminal, and it's hard to see his actions otherwise, except from his point of view.

    Israel is paranoid, and I think it has earned the right to be paranoid. Having faced for more than 50 years a vast number of enemies who have pledged to drive it into the sea, it was bound to be paranoid. Personally, I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a country surrounded by enemies, whose destruction could be accomplished in hours.

    Now, let me address some of your other points, Turk:

    1. Our media do not write about Israel doing on wrong. Really? Then how did you find out about it? Do you have special sources? Of course Israel's bad acts are covered in our media. Think of the TV time given to the Arab family killed on the Gaza Beach (probably by a buried Arab mine, not by an Israeli shell--but that information has rarely been noted.)

    2. We don't try to influence Israel's foreign policy. Of course we do. We have influenced Israeli foreign policy ever since it was founded, and forced it to talk peace with its Arab neighbors, even supervised the peace talks when the Arabs were willing to participate. By the way, to my knowledge, Israel has never refused to talk peace or negotiate with the Arabs. Many of the Arabs, however, refuse even to recognize Israel--they refer to it as "the Zionist entity"--and to this day, swear to see Israel blotted out of existence.

    3. We don't take a tough stand against Israel to force it to make peace. What would that "tough stand" consist of--a withdrawal of military aid? How far would our own consciences let us go in our threats?

    4. Islam is not facing extinction. I didn't make my point clear, Turk. It isn't Islam that's facing extinction, you're absolutely right. It's Muslim Fundamentalism, especially of the wahabbi variety.

    5. Europe realizes that, so far as Israel is concerned, the US has lost its moral superiority. No. What we have is a Europe--particularly France, but also Germany--with heavy influxes of Muslim immigrants, so we're hearing two sides to the story in Europe and watching politicians trying to appease their own populations.

    6. You refer to Israel's untouchable status, but history--including recent history--contradicts that notion. What other nation has voluntarily given back conquered territory in an effort achieve peace with its enemies? Do you think the US has had any influence here? Do you recall the US road maps which the Israelis have adopted (but not the Palestinians)?

    I do not take anything you have said as anti-Semitic, Turk. In fact, I think your consciousness of Israel as a Jewish state is low. You see it as just another country. But as I have tried to explain, it is not "just another country," although I don't think any country fits that description.

    Imagine the geographic positions of Israel and Great Britain were reversed. Imagine that its Arab neighbors had sworn to throw "the Anglo-Saxon entity" into the sea. Would we not react in much the same way we react to Israel?

    One more point. We all know that Israel has the atomic bomb. Yet neither we nor any Arab nation fears that Israel will use it for any reason other than extreme self defense, if then. Why?

    The answer is pretty simple, I think, and obvious even to the Muslim world. All Israel really wants is to live in peace with its neighbors. It doesn't want to destroy them or wipe them off the face of the Earth. It merely wants to be allowed to continue to exist.

    It's obvious, I am sure, that I am rooting for Israel. I'm an American Jew--in that order. I think that in general, America is behaving toward Israel according to American values and I admire that. Israel is not a perfect nation, by a long shot, but many of its imperfections are the result of the situation in which it finds itself. Israel itself debates this, on a daily basis.

    This does not mean that I would like to see the Palestinians wiped out. On the contrary, I encourage the formation of a Palestinian nation. I believe that Israel and Palestine could even be good neighbors, to the benefit of both. And I believe this will happen--no conflict lasts forever.
  19. Mainefan

    Mainefan Rookie

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    PFnV, I agree with almost everything you said and I think your post helps me a great deal in answering Turk...

    Turk, I agree with you that Israel has a special place among our allies. The explanation begins in 1917.

    At that time, the British, which, along with the Ottoman Empire, controlled most of what we call the Middle East, promised the Jews a "national home" in Palestine. At the time, the population of the area was much smaller than it is today and less than 100,000 Jews lived there--the original Israelis, one might say. The British promise, announced by Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, was made in response to a movement among European Jews, lead by Theodore Hertzl, to create a haven for the Jewish people in what had historically been the Jewish homeland. The movement was called Zionism.

    During World War II and especially just afterward, many of the European Jews who had escaped the Holocaust tried to emigrate to Palestine, or Israel (same place at the time). The world didn't make it easy for them, despite what they had suffered, but eventually, many thousands made the trip.

    Among them were Freedom Fighters who had fought the Nazis in the ghettos of Warsaw, one of them being Menachem Begin, a future Prime Minister of Israel. These Freedom Fighters organized themselves into a terrorist organization called the Irgun. The Irgun had a single aim: to force Britain to keep its 1917 promise. They were just as ruthless and violent as Hamas or Hezbollah.

    In 1947, Britain decided, wisely, that its best course of action was to get out of Palestine and turn the mess over to the newly formed United Nations. It was a mess not simply because of the Irgun terrorists, but also because of the indigenous Arabs, who had no desire to cede their lands to the Jews.

    The United Nations looked at the situation and decided to partition the area, giving the Jews that part of Palestine in which they were majority, and the Arabs the part where they outnumbered the Jews.

    The United States supported the UN decision for many reasons, not the least of which was the expiation of its own sins during WW II, when it refused to take more than a handful of Jews refugees from Nazi Germany, condemning the rest to the gas chambers.

    It was a rare moment in history, as far as the Jewish people were concerned. After 2000 years of persecution and murder, they'd arrived at a brief window when the world generally felt sympathetic toward them, and perhaps a little guilty. They were underdogs. They deserved a little special treatment, and giving them a homeland in Israel made historical sense and it seemed a small enough favor. After all, Israel is tiny and most of it is desert.

    As for the Arabs--well, they were, at the time, a disorganized, third world rabble, a remnant of the Middle Ages, of no particular significance. They were the Native Americans--and the Jews who wanted Israel were mainly Europeans, educated and civilized, scientists, authors and musicians, that part of the Jewish intelligensia that had survived Hitler. Even Gentiles saw them as worth preserving.

    Harry Truman was President at the time. You may remember that before he'd entered politics, he was a haberdasher--partner in a men's clothing store. Turns out his partner had been Jewish. The partner visited the White House and he--and many other influential Americans, Jews and Gentiles--convinced Truman to support Israel.

    On May 14, the Jews declared that Israel--the territory given to them in the UN partition--was a sovereign state. On the same day, all of Israel's Arab neighbors declared war on the new state and attacked it from the North, the West and the South, confident they could overrun it.

    But these Jews did not act like the professors and rabbis Hitler had sent to the gas chamber. They had armed themselves, mostly with military surplus weapons purchased from Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European countries.

    A series of wars has followed, all of them with more or less the same scenario. Some combination of Arab forces--mainly Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian, although Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Iraq also participated--attempted to wipe out Israel. They failed.

    In the process, many of the Arabs indigenous to the area fled--assuming they could come back as soon as Israel was beaten. Some were ousted by Israeli forces, dispossessed of their homelands. These were the parents and grandparents of the current occupants of the Arab refugee camps, which, by the way, are not in Israel, but in Jordan and Lebanon.

    In the process of fighting these wars, Israel acquired some additional lands, primarily the Sinai Desert, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights (where Syria borders and looks down on Israel) and most importantly, the sections of Jerusalem which had not been given to them by the UN partition.

    Since then, in an apparently endless series of peace negotiation, Israel has given back most of the it was not granted by the UN in 1948, with the particular exception of the old part of Jerusalem, which contains the remnants of Solomon's Temple, the Dome of the Rock (where Mohammed alighted to Heaven, and which is built on top of Solomon's Temple), the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, etc.

    While fighting these wars, Israel violated a number of UN resolutions, primarily those forbidding it to acquire new land, but also resolutions expressing outrage at its attacks on various Arab countries, especially Lebanon.
    In a way, this is like the boy in the playground who gets punished for hitting another boy. He's guilty, all right, but the teacher didn't notice that he didn't start the fight.

    Were/are all of Israel's actions defensible? In my opinion, no. Ariel Sharon, who led an Israeli incursion into Lebanon has been accused of being a war criminal, and it's hard to see his actions otherwise, except from his point of view.

    Israel is paranoid, and I think it has earned the right to be paranoid. Having faced for more than 50 years a vast number of enemies who have pledged to drive it into the sea, it was bound to be paranoid. Personally, I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a country surrounded by enemies, whose destruction could be accomplished in hours.

    Now, let me address some of your other points, Turk:

    1. Our media do not write about Israel doing on wrong. Really? Then how did you find out about it? Do you have special sources? Of course Israel's bad acts are covered in our media. Think of the TV time given to the Arab family killed on the Gaza Beach (probably by a buried Arab mine, not by an Israeli shell--but that information has rarely been noted.)

    2. We don't try to influence Israel's foreign policy. Of course we do. We have influenced Israeli foreign policy ever since it was founded, and forced it to talk peace with its Arab neighbors, even supervised the peace talks when the Arabs were willing to participate. By the way, to my knowledge, Israel has never refused to talk peace or negotiate with the Arabs. Many of the Arabs, however, refuse even to recognize Israel--they refer to it as "the Zionist entity"--and to this day, swear to see Israel blotted out of existence.

    3. We don't take a tough stand against Israel to force it to make peace. What would that "tough stand" consist of--a withdrawal of military aid? How far would our own consciences let us go in our threats?

    4. Islam is not facing extinction. I didn't make my point clear, Turk. It isn't Islam that's facing extinction, you're absolutely right. It's Muslim Fundamentalism, especially of the wahabbi variety.

    5. Europe realizes that, so far as Israel is concerned, the US has lost its moral superiority. No. What we have is a Europe--particularly France, but also Germany--with heavy influxes of Muslim immigrants, so we're hearing two sides to the story in Europe and watching politicians trying to appease their own populations.

    6. You refer to Israel's untouchable status, but history--including recent history--contradicts that notion. What other nation has voluntarily given back conquered territory in an effort achieve peace with its enemies? Do you think the US has had any influence here? Do you recall the US road maps which the Israelis have adopted (but not the Palestinians)?

    I do not take anything you have said as anti-Semitic, Turk. In fact, I think your consciousness of Israel as a Jewish state is low. You see it as just another country. But as I have tried to explain, it is not "just another country," although I don't think any country fits that description.

    Imagine the geographic positions of Israel and Great Britain were reversed. Imagine that its Arab neighbors had sworn to throw "the Anglo-Saxon entity" into the sea. Would we not react in much the same way we react to Israel?

    One more point. We all know that Israel has the atomic bomb. Yet neither we nor any Arab nation fears that Israel will use it for any reason other than extreme self defense, if then. Why?

    The answer is pretty simple, I think, and obvious even to the Muslim world. All Israel really wants is to live in peace with its neighbors. It doesn't want to destroy them or wipe them off the face of the Earth. It merely wants to be allowed to continue to exist.

    It's obvious, I am sure, that I am rooting for Israel. I'm an American Jew--in that order. I think that in general, America is behaving toward Israel according to American values and I admire that. Israel is not a perfect nation, by a long shot, but many of its imperfections are the result of the situation in which it finds itself. Israel itself debates this, on a daily basis.

    This does not mean that I would like to see the Palestinians wiped out. On the contrary, I encourage the formation of a Palestinian nation. I believe that Israel and Palestine could even be good neighbors, to the benefit of both. And I believe this will happen--no conflict lasts forever.
  20. Patters

    Patters Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    My view is that Israel was a Colonial creation, with Germany and Britain being primarily responsible. While it's true that Zionists had wanted a Jewish state for many years before WWII, the only reason that happened was because Europe had so terrorized the Jews they were prepared to leave in large numbers (and fight) and Britain was more than happy to wash its hands of Palestine. Germany probably felt a lot of relief, too, because surely someone must have been thinking of the far fairer solution of putting Israel in a part of Germany.

    Though I haven't always had this view, it's now clear to me that in 1948, the world should have opposed the establishment of Israel in Palestine, since that land was truly owned by Palestinians, at least as much as we own are national parks, for instance. Israel's right to exist came about after, roughly, its fiftieth year, because at that point a large number of the people who lived in Israel were actually born there.

    The Palestinians were clearly victims of the establishment of Israel, but the Arabs in the region have been victims of western aggression for hundreds of years.

    I don't think Israel will have security until the Palestinian problem is solved, which Israel is lately doing a good job on, and until Israel distances itself from the United States and tries to integrate itself into the Middle East. While the paper (of which I read about 20 pages) is on target, the reality is that the west has made such a mess of the region that simply distancing ourselves from Israel won't accomplish anything. I think we continue to ally ourselves so strongly with Israel to keep the region destabilized.

    The rise of terrorism has forced us to rethink that strategy, but there are real dangers that if we become truly fair, our oil interests and military interests will be jeopardized as the Arab countries begin to unite. Let's not forget that the Baathists believed in a greater Arab state, one that encompasses a huge swatch of the Middle East and North Africa. They argue that the creation of separate countries was forced upon them by the west. We have always feared that philosophy, because then the region could become a true superpower that would rival our own.

    So, while the paper is correct that the Israel lobby has had undue influence, it's not completely true that our policy is against our self-interest. Our policy is to use Israel as a means of keeping region somewhat destabilized and keeping Arab enmity focused away from us. With the rise of Al Qaeda we may have to rethink this, since they perceive us, even more than Israel, as the enemy.

    I think we need to get Israel into NAT, as a way of saying that Israel will be protected if it is attacked. But, beyond that, we should have a much more even-handed policy. Clinton actually took important steps in that direction, and that's why the Middle East was more peaceful during his term. Bush has made a mess of everything that's going to take years to untangle.

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