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America and Israel - a match made in heaven?

Discussion in 'Alley of Lingering Sighs' started by Ragusa, Mar 24, 2010.

  1. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Equester,
    don't use the term genocide so lightly. Israel doesn't do that. You might have a point were you talking about ethnic cleansing, or about their brutal siege of Gaza - neither of which is genocide - but alas, you don't.

    Israel as a democracy is still something neighbouring countries ought to strive to replicate, but that doesn't make the Israelis angels. Israel certainly allows for some decidedly illiberal streaks. But then, democracy is a broad term. Jim Crow law era America was a democratic Republic, only not a fair one. Apartheid South Africa was a democracy, if you were white.

    In that sense, labelling Israel as not being democratic (or in reverse: praising how superior its democracy is when compared to the Arab neighbouring countries) isn't getting us anywhere. The point I am trying to make is that Israel is neither universally flawless and saintly, pitted against universally evil enemies, as it's apologists are trying to tell us - nor is Israel the epitome of evil. Israel is a normal country with normal flaws; in Israel's case these flaws are about territorial expansion and ethnic nationalism. Seen that way Israel's situation isn't even unique.

    I agree that Israel is having a crisis as far as their own self conception is concerned. Are they a liberal democracy? Are they a state for Jews only? What will be the role for the Muslim Palestinians? For the Christian Palestinians? The Bedouin? If one asks Liebermann there isn't much of a role for anyone not Jewish. That are all important questions for which Israel yet has to find answers. Point is, if they go down the Liebermann route, that will be a bad development for everyone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2010
  2. Equester Gems: 18/31
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    actively destroying a peoples way of life or removing them from their land is considered genocide.

    ...any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
    – Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article II

    this is the international law defining genocide, tell me again Isreal doesn't do any of that
     
  3. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Equester,
    you leap to conclusions when you assume that Israel does have the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group - the Palestinians that is. Even though I don't know about what goes on in Liebermann's mind, as a state Israel does not pursue such a goal systematically.

    Specific intent to destroy is the key. Lack thereof doesn't make any of the things any better, but it makes the difference between genocide and ordinary crimes. That means, Israel may well do all those things you listed, and it's bad that they do them, but it is still not genocide.

    I can easily imagine that there are Israelis who want to expel Palestinians, that would then be ethnic cleansing, and Israel has done that in the past, but certainly Israel does not want, to use a graphic example, kill the Palestinians as a group and turn them into soap.
     
  4. Equester Gems: 18/31
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    you don't have to kill them to make it genocide by the definition I have already qouted. I honestly think the living conditions forced upon the palestine in Gaza and near the settlers are living up to the definition of genocide, as per my prior post, you apparently don't.

    Just to make it clear, I think Isreal is (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. That is by international law genocide.
     
  5. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Equester,
    you still miss my point. For genocide you don't need to kill them (all) but the intent to eliminate is nevertheless necessary. So far I can't see that Israel does have that intent. That doesn't mean I like what they do or make excuses for it.

    What Israel does in Gaza, successfully, is to try to make life for Palestinian so miserable that they either give up fighting or move away. That's cruel and brutal (and probably won't work), and it violates human rights of every civilian caught in Gaza, as siege warfare inevitably must do, but it still isn't genocide. It also amounts to collective punishment, another serious crime, but it still isn't genocide.

    In light of the extraordinary nature of the crime, one ought to not use the label promiscuously.
     
  6. Equester Gems: 18/31
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    that is where we disagree, as already identified and honestly because I label this crime genocide and you don't I am using the label promiscuously? cute Ragusa, really cute.
     
  7. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    Good point. Thanks.

    ... I'm looking at you, Iraq! Historically, they've even gone at each other with Israel present, but not nearly as violently as before Israel was there.

    Wait, wait, wait. They're still human, right?:p Seriously, though, I think a great many of them are and do, because a great many humans are and do. And the ones who aren't are usually the power-hungry despots who realize that they can get more power by making the stupid, one-track-minded humans hate each other.

    :lol: Those two are pretty funny, yeah. To the first I say: if God wants it to happen, it's gonna happen, don't worry. :D To the second, I respond much the same way you do.

    Oh, I understand that. I wasn't challenging that at all.

    Yeah, that one's just waiting to go off. I think Christianity has largely given up on it, but just because God seperated Himself from locality. We don't have any singlular sacred temples at which God resides. Anywhere. Well, short of us, but, you know, wherever we go, there we are. :D Judaism and Islam are still definitely at each other's throats over it, and Christianity may still be circling the two looking for an opening or something.

    Equester, I think Ragusa's point is that there is no intent to destroy a way of life, in any way. The only intent is to get them out of the area in question. As I understand it, far more have been displaced into neighboring nations than have been killed or remain in the areas in question. As far as I know, Israel has done nothing to strike at those who fled. I'm not saying what Israel did was right, just that it wasn't genocide.
     
  8. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    NOG,
    I am stunned at so much agreement.

    Equester,
    you're entitled your opinion, but you're wrong.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2010
  9. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    I like the way Ragusa can go from criticizing Israel to defending it when it is unfairly attacked -- that speaks volumes as to his fairness, and I is impressed.

    I'm not sure what Israel's critics want it to do, realistically. I mean, beyond withdrawing from territories that are not theirs*, how are they to respond to the serious hostility and violence they are subjected to by their neighbours?

    I agree that they should withdraw, but what happens then? It's not like the withdrawal will suddenly make the Arab nations love them and stop the violence. I can just hear people like Ahmenijad (sic)** saying "we've pushed them back and now we'll roll them all the way to hell!" or other such nonsense, and given the Islamic world's proven willingness to attack Israel militarily, such talk is not empty rhetoric. How should Israel keep its citizens safe?

    * Which is what they should do, no argument from me there, it's provocative, arrogant, and if Ragusa is right, illegal to boot.

    ** Yes, I know that the Iranians are not Arabs, but in this matter they are pretty well in lockstep with their Arab friends.
     
  10. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I must concede that I have not researched this extensively, but surely some percetage of Irainians must also be Arabs, no? The borders were drawn long after people settled in to various localities, and I'm sure there was no great effort applied to making national boundaries ethnically pure. Probably not a ton, but something like 5%* or so must be ethnically Arab?

    And yes, I pulled 5% directly from my arse. I'm just thinking it has to be some single-digit, non-zero percentage.
     
  11. Equester Gems: 18/31
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    And what serious violence is that? Isreal haven't been under serious attacks for decades, hell they lost a whole wooping 13 soldiers in the last offensive, compared to the 1400 palestines who died.
     
  12. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Look, Israel has some pretty good PR out there. As Ragusa more then adequately points out, there's no way that the arabs are going to drive the Israelis into the sea, so the concept that giving back illegally taken land is going to let the arabs steamroll Israel is just so much tripe and not worth discussing.

    The really intriguing question here concerns Israel's internal strife and problems. It has an extremely conservative government and its orthodox religious types pretty much call the shots right now. As we have seen elsewhere, when orthodox religious types call the shots, it rarely leads to anything good.

    So, the government not-so-tacitly supports the land grabs that do nothing but piss off the neighbors and further empower a group of semi-rogue settlers. This is just bad for the Israelis, but the nationalism overrides any good sense and hard lines are drawn in the sand (I guess we can almost say that literally in this case, heh).

    Does anyone really think that if the Israelis reined in their settlers, gave back the disputed land and basically said to the Palestinians -- "Take it, make it productive, enjoy, clean your house and when you're ready to talk, we'll be here" that the Palestinians and other arabs would then declare war on Israel? Highly doubtful.

    The likely result, however, is that there will be bombs sent into Israel, because just as the Israelis have little control over their settlers, the Palestinians have little control over many of the groups that send bombs into Israel.

    It may seem harsh, but Israel may want to add a sentence to the line I wrote above -- "And, by the way, we're going to bomb the crap out of any area that bombs us. So, if you people want to harbor terrorists who use your village as a place to shoot missiles, we're going to raze the village -- no hard feelings and you'll have time to move before we do it, but we're not in charge of your maniacs, you are. If you can't control them, we'll just have to create a buffer zone of razed villages until you do."

    It's simple and it won't work very well, IMO, but if Israel stick to its word and the Palestinians see that, it might be a start to some real negotiations.

    Just my :2c:
     
  13. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    :lol:
     
  14. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    The Iranians are mostly Persians and mostly Shiite. In Iran, I doubt Arabs or Sunnis would get much political or social power. They may even have some Chirstians, but I doubt if they count for much either.

    I found this:

    ...And I thought they were more conservative than we are. I guess as long as you are not gay, or a woman, life can be pretty good there....politically.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2010
  15. LKD Gems: 31/31
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    Perhaps I was not clear -- I know that the Israeli's have the backing of the US and thus they won't be steamrolled -- by conventional means, that is -- into the sea. I know that, I hope it didn't sound like I thought that was a possibility. What I was aiming at was the constant influx of suicide bombers, assassins, and RPG type missiles being launched into Israel. dmc touched on this quite nicely, and while his "buffer zone of flattened cities" idea may sound draconic, I don't see much of another option. I cannot imagine any country in the world just sitting idly by and doing nothing while criminals in another country attack them.

    I know it has been said (possibly by Ragusa, but I'm not sure) that even if the enemy nations get nuclear capability they won't use it on Israel for fear of being wiped out. I'm not sure I believe that -- all it takes is one maniacal whackjob to start something that would end badly for everyone living there. In an atomic sense, I do see the possibility of Israel being wiped off the map just as the Arab states have been yammering about for years.
     
  16. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    We've talked about all this before, and I think the general consensus was that both sides are being completely unreasonable and one side has to take a step of faith for any progress to be made. Israel is in the more stable position. If Israel gave back these lands, the worst their enemies could really do is what they're already doing, only in different territory.
     
  17. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Update

    +++ More on Netanyahu's DC visit +++

    More news is coming on regarding Bibi Netanyahu's visit to Washington. So he visited DC. It was not a state visit. He wasn't invited for talks by the US administration; they merely gave him a visa. This was a 'self invited visit', provocatively primarily to meet Israel's lobby, and after equally provocative tough talk about Israel wanting to continue building new settlements, no matter what the US says.

    It was a striking to watch the unrestrained adulation showed to a visibly delighted Bibi Netanyahu at the AIPAC conference. Except for that fleeting moment, Netanyahu's Washington visit was an unmitigated disaster. Remarkably, and despite previous statements, he did privately meet with Obama. Obama showed him the cold shoulder because Netanyahu didn't offer anything new. Netanyahu was essentially told to call again when he is serious.

    I have to say I have underestimated Obama. He is far tougher and persistent than he appeared in the last couple of months.

    +++ Vile Obama ... +++

    The superheated rhetoric against Obama on Israel continues: The Zionist Organization of America regards Obama's Israel stance 'an insult' to all Jews:
    John Hagee's Americans for Armageddon in their recent e-mail alert inform their audience that it was Obama who for no apparent reason created a crisis vis a vis Israel. Others complained that Bibi received in the White House the treatment reserved for the president of Equatorial Guinea. Taking up the line, Instahack Glenn Reynolds writes, in sleazy Glenn Beck fashion:
    That, and that he is a secret Muslim *sarcasm alert* -- "Not saying anything, just wondering ... (OF COURSE I am saying it)!" :rolleyes:

    So to these people the only conceivable explanation for being tough with Netanyahu is ... anti-semitism. Aside from the smear inherent in and intended with the allegation, this trope is getting stale as much as it is preposterously false.

    +++ ... cruelly victimised Israel +++

    In this narrative Netanyahu and Israel have been cruelly victimised by Obama. I think that Glenn Greenwald is very much correct when he points out that that very much is not the case:
    +++ The matter of Dennis Ross +++

    My hunch about Dennis Ross proved to be largely right. Ross is reportedly unhappy with Obama's decision to confront Netanyahu:
    i.e he is not on board with the policy of the administration. That is not surprising. In a sense, Ross is the living embodiment of the Israel lobby. And the Israel lobby is in its current constellation, with the exception of the new group J-Street, aligned with Israel's right wing Likud party.

    Speaking of right wing - the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute that Ross led, opposes intermarriage between Jewish women and gentiles. Intermarriage appears to be a thing that the current Israeli government also concerns itself with. I think it is a disturbing sign of tribalist tendencies when intermarriage (and by extension breeding) becomes a political issue.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2010
  18. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    The marriage ads are a bit disturbing. Sort of in a Muslim fundamental 'mock funeral for family members who convert to Christianity' kind of way. An interesting parallel, really.
     
  19. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Intermarriage, breeding and demographics

    That's just for trivia: The former Bush administration's point man for Israel/Palestine and Iran-Contra alumnus Elliot Abrahms also opposes intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews. His reasoning:
    The Jewish State might one day run out of Jews and lose its exclusively Jewish character (i.e. might have to grant rights and political role to non Jews (read: Christian or Muslim Arabs etc.) as well). Thus intermarriage is tantamount to a "strategic national threat". These people are obsessed with demographics. Originally from Haaretz:
    Presumably it is in this context of this obsession with demographics that the recent utterances by Harvard scholar Kramer are to be interpreted. At this year's Israel's Herzliya Conference (Israel's top national security conference that draws a who's who of Israeli national security figures) last month Kramer said this, as commented on by Stephen Walt:
    And overcoming radicalism aside, thanks to the menopause, it would also solve the threat of Israel being out-bred by the Palestinians, and in time, say three generations, Israelis could settle in Gaza. A clear win-win-win for the likes of Kramer. While what Kramer said is not representative for the Herzliya Conference, his utterance didn't cause an outcry either.

    While extreme, his remarks and the lack of outcry at Herzliya about them, are indicative of a spirit that sees criticism about Israeli actions and policies, however justified, or humanitarian aid to Palestinians, as 'aiding the enemy', as an essentially hostile act, and as taking sides against Israel in the conflict: Either you're unconditionally with Israel, or against Israel.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  20. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    A concern for the continuity of the Jewish people and society is fine for private groups and individuals, and I can even see such an ad campaign being done by some PETA-esque extremists over there (pretty mild for that area, really), but the gov't shouldn't get involved in stuff like that.
     
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