Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Go to Aussie Dave's website today!

Greetings, all! Aussie Dave is live blogging the election, and is taking your questions and comments. He will have experts on hand to answer your questions as well! So, what are you waiting for? Go to his site and ask the questions on your mind!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Arab Israeli acknowledges the Arab Israeli radicalism

As readers of this blog might know, Arab Israelis have become increasingly and troublingly radical over the years. I covered this topic a few days ago in my discussion of the "Future Vision" document. However, please read the link below, which is a new take on the subject. It is an Arab Israeli asking the Arab Israelis to vote in 'moderates,' so as to avoid the resulting bigotry which will befall Arab Israelis, should they vote in radical Arab parties who seek the destruction of the state. His claim is that the Arab Israeli support for extremism has caused the rise of the 'racist' Israel Beitenu party, led by Avigdor Lieberman.

His words:

The Arab-Israeli leadership is increasing pushing us into anti-Israel radicalism. This extremism climaxed with the “Death to the Jews” chants during Operation Cast Lead. Here is what I have to say to those leaders: Look at what you’ve done.

We did not cry out in the face of rocket attacks on southern residents that went on for years. We did not cry out in the face of the suffering of our brethren, Gaza residents, who have been brutally repressed by Hamas. Yet we cried out, of all things, in the face of an onslaught against the most radical element in the Arab world.

The Arab-Israeli leadership won’t connect, heaven forbid, to the moderate Arab elements such as Egypt, Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, or Jordan. These are of no interest to it. We saw Azmi Bishara, who left, and we saw where he went to.

I don’t need to explain what Hamas is all about. The Egyptians and Palestinian Authority officials are doing it better than me. They ask Hamas how it can talk about victory when the war against Israel – which it sought and advanced – was managed on the backs and blood of thousands of Palestinians that were killed, wounded, or lost their property, while Hamas’ leadership stayed at fortified bunkers or in Damascus.

So now we can accurately measure the result of this conduct: 18. Why 18? Because this is the number of Knesset seats that the polls predict for Avigdor Lieberman’s party, Yisrael Beiteinu.

Apparently, we got what we deserve. If we, citizens of the State of Israel, which has a Jewish majority, connect to the worst enemies of the State, why are we surprised that this is what we get?

Anyway. My thought is that Avigdor Lieberman may or may not be a racist, but it is a terrible idea for Jews to vote for his Israel Beitenu party, regardless. He plans on dividing Jerusalem, and casting out parts of the Galilee (which have large blocks of Arab Israelis) in exchange for a 'territory exchange' within the West Bank. It is true that Lieberman has said rather incendiary things about Arabs and Arab Israelis, but that does not mean he is necessarily acting in the best interests of Jews. One does not mean the other.

I just think it is interesting to see the strange dynamics of politics in Israel and beyond. Lieberman is branded as anti-Arab, but that does not mean he is pro-Jew. One should not imply the other. On election day, I personally am rooting against Lieberman, as I believe he represents the worst of all worlds. Given I am not Israeli, it is not my place to be advocating for any politician on this blog. but please - do not vote for Lieberman, thinking he will be a true 'hawk' on security issues! He has openly said things to contradict such sentiments!

The Armenian genocide of 1914-15

I have been in communique with a Turkish diplomat concerning the recent deplorable actions of President Erdogan, as well as the treatment of the Israeli basketball team, and general Turkish antisemitism. Out of the blue - unprompted by me - he sent me a long article which denied the Armenian genocide. I sent his letter to a friend, who post a Bernard Lewis video, which similarly engaged in a form of denialism. This is my response to her, and to anyone who uses Bernard Lewis as justification for the offensive denial of the Armenian genocide of 1914-15.

I understand and know Bernard Lewis's statements vis a vis the Armenian genocide. (link which discusses Lewis's opinion - please note it is a very leftist site, but it accurately depicts Lewis's positions, which I have read in books he has written) He believes that many people died, but the goal was not genocide, rather, it was protecting the Turks from the Armenians who were fifth columnists. He also claims that it was not planned on the state level, but rather was initiated on the individual level, i.e., individual Turks took it upon themselves to engage in a sort of mob mentality of killing Armenians - but no genocide was planned. Anyway, his statements have been since proven false. It has since been uncovered that Hitler actually thought of of the gas chambers at Aushwitz from the model of the more primative gas chambers during the Armenian genocide. Recent documents have been unearthed which show the actual planning that went on at the state level to engage in a Final Solution of Armenians. Now, it is true that Armenians as a people were trying to form their own state and had been fighting against the Turks. However, none of that can ever justify what was done during the Armenian genocide of 1914-15. The fact that Turkey continues to deny the simple facts of history is simply revolting. The US has acknowledged its crimes against Native Americans, and against African Americans. It is what makes us a more moral and better country than Turkey. Only by acknowledging and learning from the past can you ever hope to not repeat it.

Here are documents concerning the Armenian genocide. Another document.

I happen to find Lewis's statements abhorrent, and blaming the victim. Lewis is a good source for some things, but not everything. He also was and remains an absurd proponent for the Oslo 'peace' process, and is a denialist for the extensive amounts of historical Islamic antisemitism. He has written whole books which deny the very well documented historic Islamic antisemitism, and as such, I look at him as someone who cannot fully be trusted in his writings. He is good as a source up to a limited point only. The fact that Bernard Lewis denies the Armenian genocide is not evidence that it is acceptable for others to do so.

He is a denialist of historical Islamic antisemitism and the Armenian genocide. Please look at his works with a rather jaundiced eye, as I do.

One note to add: I believe Bernard Lewis is sadly a far better historian than the vast majority of 'Middle Eastern studies scholars.' This fact alone should send shudders down the spines of anyone who fancies majoring in 'Middle Eastern Studies' at a major university.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Future vision: what the Arab Israeli leadership is calling for in Israel

FYI, this is an old article (from 2007), but within it is information which is vital to understanding the dynamic between Jews and Arabs within Israel. The mainstream leadership of Arab Israelis have united around a "Future Vision" document which does the following:
  • Ellimination of the Jewish character of Israel
  • Ellimination of the Law of return
  • Ellimination of the Magen David as Israel's national symbol
  • Making Israel an officially bi-national state
  • An apparent call for right of return for Palestinians (end of the Law of return for Jews, but implementation of 'right of return' for Palestinians)

More equal distribution of government aid and benefits (this is a tricky subject; aid is not distributed equally in part because Arab Israelis do not serve in the IDF, nor do they vote in the same percentages Jews vote; much of the aid is distributed based upon voting numbers as well as status as an IDF veteran)

The "Future Vision" document calls the creation of Israel a "Nakba" (catastrophe in Arabic) Ending any Jewish control over the Arab schools - teaching Arab Israelis a "Nakba education" (please note that already Arab Israelis learn a "nakba education")

Here are more articles discussing the 'future vision,' which came out around the time I first was in Israel...



The document itself

Please note a few background facts. Firstly, as you may or may not be aware, there are 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Conference. This means 57 states in the world define themselves as explicitly Muslim in character. There are numerous states which also explicitly call themselves Christian in character. In neighboring Jordan, Jews are not allowed citizenship, nor can they own land. In Saudi Arabia, non-Muslims are not even allowed to enter the city of Mecca, nor can non-Muslims get citizenship or even be allowed to openly practice their religion. Furthermore, any Palestinian state would most likely be defined as Islamic in character.

As far as the Law of Return goes; it is important to note that the Arab Israeli document does not mention the more than 750,000 Jews who were kicked out of Arab countries after 1948, without compensation, and for the mere crime of being Jewish. It is also important to note that while the Arab Israeli document calls for the end of the Jewish Law of Return, it calls for an explicitly Arab return to Israel, thereby reducing Jews in the one state they are a majority to a minority within Israel. This document also fails to note the fact that the 'Palestinian' refugees exist because they declared war upon the nascent state of Israel in 1948; there would be no refugee problem if there was no war which was declared upon Israel.

Thus far, no major Arab Israeli leader I am aware of has disavowed the "Future Vision" document. In fact, it appears that, though the document itself may not have been read by Arab Israelis, the concepts within them are certainly widely accepted.

In my opinion, it is harmful for Arab Israelis to learn a different history than Jewish Israelis, and have a separate education system. This means they become a separate people, and a state-within-a-state. It is problematic enough that Arab Israelis are exempt from the IDF and rarely serve in National Service. What the "Future Vision" document is calling for is essentially a "two state solution," wherein there is a 'Palestine' in the West Bank, and an Israel-of-Arab-character-possibly-to-be-renamed-an-Arab-name to the West. So really two Arab states.

Food for thought when considering what should be done re: the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Defining RIGHT and WRONG.

I was reading over old posts, and I came upon a gem of a comment I wrote back in 2006. I still adhere to this ideology, and so I thought I would post it for you kind C4A folks: This was written back in 2006 in response to someone who claimed "nonviolence is always possible," and that "sin is only a religious concept."

You said again and again that 'nonviolence is always possible.'

Please point to a single case of nonviolent peaceful resistence against the Nazis by the Jews that resulted in the saving of Jewish life.

Obviously, I am aware that many Jews simply fled Nazi Germany and were able to live because of this. I also know that, prior to Nazi Germany starting the Holocaust, some Jews were saved out of Germany. That is not my question.

I want to know of a single case of Jews saving Jews in the middle of the Holocaust that was done in a nonviolent manner. One single case.

You flat out said on multiple occasions that 'nonviolence is always possible' and 'killing leads to more death.'

So point to one single case of this. You would certainly have half a leg to stand on if you could point to a single case of this.

The concept of sin has been linked to religion, but also is linked to secular humanism. I am referring to crimes against humanity, and NOT against God. Many secular humanists absolutely believe in morality and right and wrong.

The fact that you lump together what Israel is doing to the 'Palestinians' and what was done to the Jews during the Holocaust is the essence of BOTH moral absolutism AND moral relativism.

All killing is wrong, according to you. This is moral absolutism.

Hence, according to your very words: I don't see violence as being any more acceptable because it wasn't indiscriminate.

That means that aiming for Bin Laden is the same as aiming for a crowd.

Both involves killing. And killing is always wrong.

Your extreme stance on killing results in presenting equivalencies between very different scenarios.

Correct me if I am wrong, but according to you, there are two choices: die or fight back. Those are the only two choices if one wants to be ethically sound. Should someone fight back, they are no longer ethically sound to you, as killing is always wrong, regardless of why it is going on.

I already presented the most extreme examples of gunmen going into your home and hoping to annhiliate your family, and you still said that killing would be wrong EVEN THEN.

I realize you are being consistent, and certainly I cannot criticize you for that! I also realize you do not give Jews a double standard that you would not apply to yourself. What you are saying does not stem from antisemitism - I see that very clearly.

What I don't get if why you insist on these logical extremes. The 'choice' between killing and being slaughtered oneself is hardly a choice at all. If what you are saying is that you are hoping to avoid a slaughter, then isn't a slaughter going to happen if Israel does not and accepts 'Palestinians' coming in and massacring Jews? And is it ethical of a nation to allow the mass slaughter of its citizens because it refuses to fight back? What is the point of nationhood if NOT to get some measure of protection against the world?

You also said the following: In case you haven't read it enough times, my view is that genocides are always wrong because they entail the killing of innocent people. I don't make exceptions for those who wish to kill Jews any more than I make exceptions for those who wish to kill those of any other particular ethnicity or nation.

This assumes that Israeli Jews are actually trying to genocide 'Palestinians' when they fight back. This is absolutely untrue. The Israelis have the firepower such that if they wanted to, they could kill every 'Palestinian' in a matter of days. Yet they do not do this. Why? Because they take the time to only kill those who are terrorists and take great pains to avoid civilian death. This is never 100% - but the intent is not to kill civilians. As I said, this is equivalent to a robber coming into your home, shooting at you, and when you shoot back, you kill a civilian. The legal responsibility for that death is on the robber. Same applies here.

Where is there an intent to genocide? If there was such an intent, the 'Palestinians' would have ceased to exist long ago. I already showed you a link to an extensive archive of 'Palestinian textbooks' and media, showing a clear intent to wipe Israelis off the face of the earth. We know the 'Palestinians' are attempting a genocide (not all are, but at least the leadership is). This is definitively proven. If they had the firepower, they would kill every Israeli today. What do you point to when you claim that Israelis are genociding the 'Palestinians'? What shred of evidence can you even claims supports this?

The bottom line is that your claims of Israelis genociding the 'Palestinians' are as spurious as your claims of Israel being an apartheid state.

My words were as important then as they are now. My only quibble would be that I now do believe it is extraordinarily difficult to define 'sin' and 'right' and 'wrong' without religion. Unless there is a fixed star to define what is good and what is bad, I do fear moral relativism. This moral relativism can also occur with religion, and it is ultimately one of the greatest enemies of our times. It is why I have been studying Judaism now for about two years, and continue to study it weekly.

Why am I reposting this? Because of comments that have been posted on C4A in response to a post I wrote a year and a half ago concerning my night at the theater to see 'Masked' the play. The responses are not substantive, but center upon some idea that I do not believe in 'peace.' (Of course their version of 'peace' is ultimately the 'peaceful' destruction of Israel; they claim to love Jews, but they only appear to love the Jews of the Holocaust who walked peacefully to the gallows.)

I believe that these commentators believe what they believe because they fail to appreciate the difference between right and wrong, and fail to comprehend that you have to stand up for your rights. There is also a dynamic similar to the battered wife syndrome which I already commented upon in my original 'Masked' post. But I believe, in addition to the battered wife syndrome concept, these commentators simply fail to appreciate the difference between right and wrong. That is why I am posting the comment I wrote about 2 1/2 years ago.

Jews such as the ones who replied to that post will often be seen pouring over books on Yiddish and think this is an example of their 'love' of Jewry. This makes perfect sense to me. Such Jews believe in the weak and ghetto Jew as epitimized by the Jews of Europe during the 19th and early 20th centuries. And so "J-Street" Jews and their ilk will profess a love of Yiddish culture...only it really is a love of Jews of the Holocaust, who [mostly] walked meakly to the gallows.

This is not real love, it is ultimately hatred, despite the protestations to the contrary often witnessed by such leftist Jews. This is the sort of 'love' that the Neturei Karta engage in. They too claim to truly 'love' Jews - as long as they are the meek Jews of the Holocaust.

I was not diplomatic in my original post on the topic (and could have phrased things better), but I do stand by the sentiment I expressed concerning my encounter at 'Masked' the play.