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The Palestinian Bid for Statehood 2012
November 28, 2012 6:17 AM   Subscribe

On the 15th November 1988, the Palestine National Council under Yasser Arafat made a Declaration of Independence. The declaration was supported by more than 100 countries, and recognised a two state solution. It led to a UN vote, which was supported by 104 states and voted against by two. Twenty four years later, on the 29th November, and 65 years to the day after the UN adopted the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas is making a renewed bid for Palestinian statehood.

It follows a failed bid to upgrade its status in 2011 that was unsupported by the UN Security Council. However, in October 2011 the Palestinians were voted membership of UNESCO, by a margin of 107 were in favour, 14 opposed and 52 abstentions. The move led to Washington cutting its funding of UNESCO and retaliatory action from Israel.

France supports the new bid, which also has support from 12 other members of the EU, including Spain, Malta, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Portugal. Russia and China may also vote in favour of the bid. The UK plans to abstain but could support the bid with significant caveats. Australia and Germany will also abstain. Canada is reportedly pressuring the Palestinian Authority to drop the bid and will vote against it. The US and Israel oppose it, and believe it will negatively impact future negotiations.

The Palestinians hope to use their upgraded status to join additional U.N. bodies, such as the International Criminal Court, although the resolution is likely to make no overt mention of this. In April, the chief prosecutor of the ICC rejected a Palestinian declaration unilaterally recognising the court's jurisdiction. The prosecutor said the ICC could not act because only a "state" could confer jurisdiction on the court and deposit an instrument of accession with the UN.

The Israeli response to a successful vote is unclear, and subject to disagreements between the main political players. It has said that the bid would be a blow to any peace process.

The outcome of a successful bid will, short term, be limited. But a large symbolic step for the Palestinians. Consequences include a possible restriction of US aid, but also greater legitimacy in the international community on issues such as land rights and possible war crimes. There are also potential negative consequences for Israeli-Egyptian relations and US standing in the Middle East.
posted by MuffinMan (138 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Can someone explain how this proposed partitioned state was supposed to work?

They seem to have been drawing the boundaries based on Jewish-majority areas and Arab-majority areas. Presumably even three months after the partition of India and Pakistan it was apparent that it was probably a good idea to draw your boundaries in such a way that you don't get massive movements of people. However, it seems like having two countries with higgledy-piggledy borders that don't particularly like each other isn't the most practical. But... it was somehow supposed to be technically one country?
posted by hoyland at 6:34 AM on November 28, 2012


voted against by two.

"the United States and Israel - voted against". Good to see Israel kowtowing to the United States after all the money the United States spends to buy Israeli support. I assume the US can again count on Israeli support and this bid - like the last one - will go nowhere.

It has said that the bid would be a blow to any peace process.

Is it fair to call beating a dead (and well-rotten) horse a "blow"? For chrissake what could be worse for all the parties involved (save the Israeli settlers) than the present "peace process"? It is neither peace, nor process.

It seems to me that anything that legitimizes Abbas would be something Israel might prefer considering Mr. Abbas' political rivals in Gaza and given that the principle of "divide and conquer" is being so literally applied by the Israelis.
posted by three blind mice at 6:53 AM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


[Hi. Early threadshitting along the lines of "I am going to make a joke about how X people involved in this are subhuman to point out that treating people as subhuman is wrong" considered harmful to touchy threads. Act like you want to have a discussion about this topic here and not just say "This situation still makes me angry"]
posted by jessamyn at 7:04 AM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


And such a well developed and concise FPP, too..
posted by mikelieman at 7:07 AM on November 28, 2012


Hmm - I had never thought about the potentiality of the ICC being involved if Palestine becomes a state. How does Israel's stance on ICC compare to the US?
posted by symbioid at 7:34 AM on November 28, 2012


Pace jessamyn, this situation still makes me angry.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:38 AM on November 28, 2012


It seems to me that anything that legitimizes Abbas would be something Israel might prefer considering Mr. Abbas' political rivals in Gaza and given that the principle of "divide and conquer" is being so literally applied by the Israelis.

This is a comprehensive post, but the missing part of it is how this is in what ways this is actually as much a move about internal Palestinian politics as it is about Palestinian politics on the world stage.
posted by OmieWise at 7:39 AM on November 28, 2012


How does Israel's stance on ICC compare to the US?

They're in approximately the same boat, I believe, of being signatories who have officially declined to participate. Wikipedia says Sudan is in the same position. Israel probably has more to worry about with the ICC than the US, in terms of both legitimate and purely political prosecutions.
posted by hoyland at 7:43 AM on November 28, 2012


Israel, like the USA, "un-signed" the Rome Statute. It therefore has no obligations with respect to the mission of the ICC, and (excepting Security Counsel referrals or allegations of crimes committed on the soil of a state party other than the crime of aggression) its nationals won't go before the ICC.

It's worth noting here that UN membership isn't the magic box that turns a non-state into a state. The most relevant instrument for making that determination is the Montevideo Convention, which describes what a state's attributes are. Among them are the capacity to engage in relations with other states. This doesn't even require that the entity engage in those relations, just that it can if it chooses to do so.
posted by 1adam12 at 7:44 AM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


The outcome of a successful bid... also [has] potential negative consequences for... US standing in the Middle East

This is a bit like saying that the liberation of France had negative consequences for Germany's standing in Poland.
posted by Egg Shen at 7:46 AM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hoyland: as conceived in 1947, the partitioned state doesn't obviously look anything like the Gaza/West Bank territories we see today. Some more info on it is here. It's a crappy split for the Palestinians because of how much land was given over to a small (at the time) Jewish population and it's crappy for the Jews because of the strategic pinch point in the middle of their land.

In the Jewish territories, there was a large Arab minority. In the Arab territories, a small Jewish minority. It was failure from the outset, in that Resolution 181 was rejected by close neighbours Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Iraq as well as Arab nations such Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

The extent to which it was destined to fail can be seen in how quickly it did fail: civil war by November the 30th (bearing in mind the UN resolution was November 15th) and full scale international war by May 1948. The partition plan was actually never fully implemented. The British Mandate ended May 14th 1948 and with it came Israel's declaration of independence. The Arab-Israel War started the next day. Israeli gains reset the boundaries of Resolution 181. The rest is history.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:51 AM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


One secular state with full citizenship for all is the only way to go.

Yes, I do live in a nice fantasy.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:51 AM on November 28, 2012 [16 favorites]


One secular state with full citizenship for all is the only way to go.

This is seen by many people, myself included, as basically meaning the destruction Of Israel. I. That respect, it seems like a less than optimal solution.
posted by OmieWise at 8:01 AM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


The whole modern era of the "Peace Process" in Palestine has been built on the Camp David accords. The fall of Mubarak has set a timer for the collapse of Camp David, which has little popular support in Egypt.

I think the only reason the recent mini-war in Gaza didn't set off a larger confrontation with Egypt (and then Turkey and then...) is that Morsi has an unstable political situation at home. I'm sure the Israelis pursued this in full knowledge of the weak position Morsi was in. Israel would much rather negotiate with Morsi over Gaza than Hamas, Egypt has a lot more to lose in a confrontation. But it's a fantasy to think that the Muslim Brotherhood will accept forcing Israeli demands on the Palestinians as the status-quo.

The problem with having non-corrupt governments in the middle east is that they will be subject to popular opinion, and popular opinion is not too good for peace with Israel.

One secular state with full citizenship for all is the only way to go.

This is seen by many people, myself included, as basically meaning the destruction Of Israel. I. That respect, it seems like a less than optimal solution.


The idea of a "Jewish state" has always been at odds with reality in Palestine. The alternative to a secular state, in the long term, is either an Islamic state or a permanent military occupation of the Arab Palestinians. How long do you think Israel can stand as a permanent militarized society?
posted by ennui.bz at 8:07 AM on November 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


> This is seen by many people, myself included, as basically meaning the destruction Of Israel

I said it was a nice fantasy, didn't I?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:17 AM on November 28, 2012


All I know is that most Palestinians AND most Israelis are more like me than not like me. That is, struggling to get along from day to day, love their families and want the best for them, have friends, hobbies, dreams, favorite foods and favorite music.

Perhaps when it is truly down to two states against the rest of the world, those two will finally have to budge. Otherwise what? Things stay as they are, or some other country suddenly offers up a large portion of land (which may not be acceptable to many, though it hardly matters since it's unlikely to happen)?
posted by Glinn at 8:18 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Further, with less snark, the idea that any state ideal needs preservation above the rights of the human inhabitants is frankly antiquated and rather brutish.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:21 AM on November 28, 2012 [16 favorites]


How long do you think Israel can stand as a permanent militarized society?

As long as it continues to receive unstinting economic, military, and legislative support from this permanently militarized society.
posted by Egg Shen at 8:22 AM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is seen by many people, myself included, as basically meaning the destruction Of Israel.

How is a country where you must be of X religion to be a citizen a viable option?
posted by odinsdream at 8:31 AM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is seen by many people, myself included, as basically meaning the destruction Of Israel

I said it was a nice fantasy, didn't I?


It's useful to see the mask slip off every once in a while.
posted by Behemoth at 8:32 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Canada is reportedly pressuring the Palestinian Authority to drop the bid and will vote against it.

Well, fuck.

Sorry, everyone.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:32 AM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


China may also vote in favour of the bid.

What? You don't support Taiwan for statehood, but you're good with giving it to Palestine?

This kind of irks me a little. I mean, best of luck to Palestine, but screw you China. We're taking away your Bubble Milk Tea and Jay Chou.
posted by FJT at 8:34 AM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


There was a lively and interesting IQ2 debate on this a few months ago:

- The U.N. Should Admit Palestine as a Full Member State

- Alt link, for those who want to skip to specific sections in the almost 2 hour debate
posted by Panjandrum at 8:35 AM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sorry, everyone.

Well, it's really not "Canada" per se -- it's the Conservative Party, right?

Neophyte observer of Canadian politics disclaimer here.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:36 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is seen by many people, myself included, as basically meaning the destruction Of Israel.

If there's a basis for this opinion that isn't grounded in fear of the "browns" outbreeding the "whites" - the kind that inspires "English only" legislation here - I don't understand it.
posted by Egg Shen at 8:37 AM on November 28, 2012 [13 favorites]


What is the logic that says it hurts the peace process to recognize Palestine as a political state that can do things like join the UN? Isn't a coherent, recognized political body necessary for Palestine to negotiate and instantiate a peace agreement? Isn't anything that supports Palestinian statehood helpful to the process rather than harmful?
posted by jsturgill at 8:39 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


jsturgill: Hanan Ashrawi's piece in Haaretz from last year riffs on that idea.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:44 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is seen by many people, myself included, as basically meaning the destruction Of Israel. I. That respect, it seems like a less than optimal solution.

How so? Either Israel is a secular democracy, or a religious state.

Currently about 25% of Israelis are non-Jewish.

15 out of 120 members in the Knesset are not Jewish.

If you consider Israel to be a religious state, then what's with the presence of non-Jewish Israelis within Israel? The natural conclusion would be for Israel to legislate the eradication and exportation of these "immigrants" and to cease being a democracy.

If you consider Israel to be a secular democracy, and consider Palestine as part of the "Territories" or as "Judea and Samaria", then a one-state solution ostensibly exists already; it's just incredibly conflicted and in the process of imposing horrendous conditions of apartheid on part of its own denizens, arbitrarily withdrawing citizenship for certain denizens.
posted by suedehead at 8:46 AM on November 28, 2012 [14 favorites]


I'd be interested in the Jordanian opinion on this matter. Seems like it would affect them also...
posted by Renoroc at 8:48 AM on November 28, 2012


The idea of a "Jewish state" has always been at odds with reality in Palestine.

Doesn't a statement like that depend on how broad of a time frame you are looking at? Because I think a statement like that says both too much and too little.

For 5 centuries (roughly 1000 BCE - 500 BCE) the Kingdom of Israel--a "Jewish state"--flourished until it was conquered. It was not until a millennium later that Islam even existed. The Kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians and Babylonians who fell themselves to multiple Persian empires, Romans, the Islamic Caliphs, Ottomans, Crusaders, and on and on. On a broad scale, the idea of any lasting "state" in the area is at odds with history. The history of the region shows continual conquering and changing of hands. So, in one sense, it is not he "Jewish" aspect that is determinative; it is that the states themselves in the area rise and fall. However, the idea of one of the states being Jewish has not "always been at odds with reality in Palestine." The Kingdom of Israel is a counter-example. There is nothing about Palestine--the land--per se that precludes the existence of a Jewish state vis-a-vis statecraft.

The problem is of one of religious intolerance and misplaced claims of rights on both sides of the equation. The only solution seems to be one that recognizes the rights of mutual autonomy. That really won't work if we make conclusory statements that one part has some greater or more natural rights to the land or that the problems resides in something inherent in one side or the other. Unfortunately, the inconsistent and mutually exclusive religious aspects of the equation prevent any recognition of the other sides' claims. Until the religious doctrines permit tolerance and mutual autonomy, it seems to me that concerns about statecraft are largely irrelevant and ultimately ineffective. From a statecraft perspective, a two state solution would work, as history shows, and is the obvious solution if the people will get their religious objections out of the way and just accept it.
posted by dios at 8:49 AM on November 28, 2012 [10 favorites]


> It's useful to see the mask slip off every once in a while.

Not sure what you mean by that, but I'm not advocating rocket attacks by Hamas, nor repatriation of the Jewish people who emigrated there. What mask are you talking about?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:51 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


dios, how many other arguments for statecraft in 2012 have to begin in 1000BCE?

I fully support a two state solution, but the Israeli government is eventually going to have to move in the direction of a fully realized Palestinian state if they want peace. Right now the basic logical argument from the Israeli government is, "If you make any move towards having your own state, you will never have your own state."

So what have the Palestinians got to lose?
posted by tripping daisy at 9:04 AM on November 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


dios, how many other arguments for statecraft in 2012 have to begin in 1000BCE?

I don't know. I'm not an expert on all the arguments made everywhere.

But if you think I was asserting that what happened in 1000 BCE was an argument for either side, then you did not read my entire post in which I made it clear that "That really won't work if we make conclusory statements that one party has some greater or more natural rights to the land or that the problems resides in something inherent in one side or the other." It's a fool's errand to try to define who has superior claims to the land, and it is destructive. It's also irrelevant to the question of statecraft. Getting people to stop making demands because of their religious & historical claims is the only way forward to adoption of the obvious solution of separate states with respect for mutual autonomy. Don't ask me how to accomplish that task; I don't know.
posted by dios at 9:17 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you consider Israel to be a religious state, then what's with the presence of non-Jewish Israelis within Israel? The natural conclusion would be for Israel to legislate the eradication and exportation of these "immigrants" and to cease being a democracy.

Palestinian Exodus: 1948, 1949-1956, 1967.

The Israeli "Law of Return" policy conveniently omits the right of these people to return to their actual homeland, in favour of allowing in foreign nationals just because they happen to be nominally Jewish, even if their Jewishness is not at all tied to any distant ancestor ever having set foot in the territory currently known as Israel.

And if world history has taught us anything, it's that the more you displace the natives, the harder it is for them to reclaim their territory. So, yeah, Israel's gonna allow non-Jewish people in too. Certain non-Jewish people, anyway.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:50 AM on November 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


If there's a basis for this opinion that isn't grounded in fear of the "browns" outbreeding the "whites" - the kind that inspires "English only" legislation here - I don't understand it.

That seems like a particularly inflammatory way to describe it. I may as well say that fantasizing about the destruction of Israel seems clearly anti-Semitic to me, and I don't understand it.

Similarly, the talk about whether or not Israel is "a secular democracy" is begging the question. Israel was established as a Jewish state for geopolitical reasons that are compelling to a lot of people (Israelis among them). It's form of government beyond that is beside the point. A one state solution is also a solution where Israel as a Jewish state will cease to exist. Proponents of a one state solution need to explain why that is ok. I mean, it may be, but I don't understand why it would be, any more than I would understand folks who argued that Pakistan and India should become one state, or the Balkans should all become one state, or none of this matters anyway because Palestinians make up the majority population of Jordan and they should all be happy there. It's one thing to have an anti-Statist critique, but this is not that. This seems specifically to be about finding a way to destroy Israel without saying (although sometimes the mask slips) that you want to destroy Israel.

None of which is an argument for accepting how Israel deals with it's minority populations, or those it oppresses through occupation.
posted by OmieWise at 10:00 AM on November 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


How long do you think Israel can stand as a permanent militarized society?

Two hundred years or so. That's assuming another Saladin comes along, followed by a new iteration of the Mamluks, and the Jewish diaspora in the US and Europe loses interest, or those actors wane in terms of financial and military power.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:04 AM on November 28, 2012


> I may as well say that fantasizing about the destruction of Israel seems clearly anti-Semitic to me, and I don't understand it.

Well, good on you for reading inflammatory comments where there weren't any. I wasn't advocating violence or actual destruction, just the silly ideas people have. I suppose some won't ever get past that membrane, however.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:10 AM on November 28, 2012


[[If there's a basis for this opinion that isn't grounded in fear of the "browns" outbreeding the "whites" - the kind that inspires "English only" legislation here - I don't understand it.]]

That seems like a particularly inflammatory way to describe it.


Either it's a demographics based objection or it isn't.

If it is - and if that puts you in embarrassing company - you'll have to make the best of it.
posted by Egg Shen at 10:36 AM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


the destruction of Israel seems clearly anti-Semitic to me, and I don't understand it.

OMG! Ahmadinejad has crept into the thread disguised as Burhanistan and is calling for the destruction of Israel (because Israel must be a religiously bigoted theocracy or else you're literally murdering it--don't you see?).

I'm sorry for the hamburger, but I honestly think that's what OmieWise and others are arguing: To suggest a secular Israel is to suggest the destruction of Israel--and that's all it takes to be accused of wanting to destroy it, which you'd better be careful about, because that can potentially lead to war being declared on you.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:41 AM on November 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


If there's a basis for this opinion that isn't grounded in fear of the "browns" outbreeding the "whites"

Nearly half the Jewish population in Israel is as "brown" as the Palestinians (Mizrahim-- Middle Eastern Jews--and Sephardim).
posted by thomas j wise at 10:45 AM on November 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Either it's a demographics based objection or it isn't.

If it is - and if that puts you in embarrassing company - you'll have to make the best of it.


Oh, c'mon, bullshit. You haven't addressed my objection, and are instead choosing to keep the conversation at the level of shitty rhetoric. It may make you feel better, but it's unlikely to change any minds.

I'm sorry for the hamburger, but I honestly think that's what OmieWise and others are arguing: To suggest a secular Israel is to suggest the destruction of Israel--and that's all it takes to be accused of wanting to destroy it, which you'd better be careful about, because that can potentially lead to war being declared on you.

Bullshit. You're eliding the issue rhetorically. You aren't talking about a secular Israel, you're talking about a non-ethnic Israel, and you seem to be unable to understand that there are overlaps between ethnicity and religion in the case of Jews. Hitler understood this well, which is why he gassed Jewish converts to other religions as readily as he gassed others, and it's pretty widely understood. If you keep using the word secular, and not addressing the loss of a specifically Jewish state as a result of a "one state solution," then I really think you're arguing in bad faith. I'm not saying we have to agree, I'm saying we have to talk about the real issue, and not cloak that issue in rhetoric that makes it seem like it doesn't exist. It's classic question begging as you've framed it.

And, I think you must already know this, but I didn't accuse Burhanistan of fantasizing about the destruction of Israel because he talked about a one state solution, I was responding to his comment that indicated that the destruction of Israel is "a nice fantasy."

This is seen by many people, myself included, as basically meaning the destruction Of Israel

I said it was a nice fantasy, didn't I?


I'm not interested in pushing too hard on that, because I don't actually think it represents his troubled anti-Semitic mind, but it sure as shit doesn't help the conversation. And I don't think I'm wrong to say "Whoa!"
posted by OmieWise at 10:57 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Look at my original comment. You said destruction, not me. Carp away.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:00 AM on November 28, 2012


The 'two state solution' is passe. It is impossible given what the Israelis have done on the ground in the West Bank, with the Bantustanization of the Palestinians, the security roads, the encirclements. Effectively it is a series of camps, and not a state, that the 'Two State Solution' proposes for the Palestinians. This "solution" also implicitly accepts the idea of Israel as a 'Jewish State', which is by its nature a racist state. I can think of few other countries in the world, and certainly no democracies, which define themselves in racial terms. Israel as a 'Jewish State' is a perverse outcome of the Holocaust, and certainly not something worth preserving in the long term. Look what it has turned the Israeli people into.

No, the "One State Solution" is the way things are headed. It'll probably take another generation for the Palestinians to achieve citizenship in what will still be called Israel, and maybe another generation after that before they achieve something like equality.
posted by jackbrown at 11:13 AM on November 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


You aren't talking about a secular Israel, you're talking about a non-ethnic Israel, and you seem to be unable to understand that there are overlaps between ethnicity and religion in the case of Jews.

Look, I'm not personally talking about a non-ethnic Israel (although, as someone whose own family roots probably contain a healthy sprinkling of the ashkernazic variety of jewish background I can appreciate that being Jewish doesn't necessarily describe subscribing to a particular religious belief system). Although, I think if this is about keeping Israel ethnically pure, or maintaining the dominance of a particular ethnicity, that veers into some pretty scary mental-territory, too, from my point of view.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:13 AM on November 28, 2012


I was responding to his comment that indicated that the destruction of Israel is "a nice fantasy."

Ah! I didn't read it that way. Now I see. Except that someone accused him of letting the mask slip off for merely suggesting a one-state, secular solution.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:15 AM on November 28, 2012


I don't think a one-state solution is realistic, but I wish it was possible to raise serious objections to the nature of the formation of Israel and its current societal structures without being accused of anti-Semitism. Objecting to China's behavior in Tibet does not mean I'm anti-Chinese, and objecting to the United States' treatment of its native populations does not mean I'm anti-American.
posted by schroedinger at 11:28 AM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


raise serious objections to the nature of the formation of Israel

objecting to the United States' treatment of its native populations

These strike me as roughly equivalent.

If you feel the resolution of the issue should be informed by your "objection to the nature of the formation of Israel" (assuming you mean the events of '47-'48) then that strikes me as useful as discussing "US's treatment of its native populations" in arguing whether the US should continue to be a country. Israel exists. It's not going to not exist. Complaining about its creation and the way it was created 3 generations ago is wasted breath and unhelpful. The issue is how to go forward.

Arguing about which side has a right to what is not part of the solution; it is the problem. The solution requires moving beyond such unhelpful dialogue and learning mutual co-existence and respect.
posted by dios at 11:49 AM on November 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


You haven't addressed my objection

It's not clear to me what your objection is.

As best I can tell, it concerns preserving "a Jewish state". By which is apparently meant a nation in which Jews will be the dominant power despite being a minority.

That would be an apartheid state which I had no interest in preserving.

If this constitutes for you a desire to "destroy Israel", so be it.
posted by Egg Shen at 12:12 PM on November 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


As best I can tell, it concerns preserving "a Jewish state". By which is apparently meant a nation in which Jews will be the dominant power despite being a minority.

Yes to the first, no to the second. Jews are not the minority in Israel right now, they make up over 70% of the population. "Solutions" to this problem that lead to them becoming the minority are exactly what I am suggesting are problematic solutions that are either disingenuous or have a lot of unexamined assumptions. Many nation-states, and the desire therefor, are predicated on providing a national home to particular ethnic groups. Do you object to all of them? It's certainly possible to object to all of them, in which case, there is a much larger discussion to be had about how to solve this problem, given the number of, e.g, Palestinian's living in Jordan (where Palestinian's are a larger percentage of the population than they are in Israel).

Honestly, I think the argument that ethnicity does not matter gets harder to make when there are many solutions to the Palestinian issue in the region if discreet ethnicity as a people is not a necessary precondition for righting the wrong done to Palestinians.
posted by OmieWise at 12:30 PM on November 28, 2012


I wish it was possible to raise serious objections to the nature of the formation of Israel and its current societal structures without being accused of anti-Semitism.

I haven't seen those sentiments remotely expressed here. I'm the only person who has used the term anti-Semitic in this thread (aside from you and those responding to me), and I certainly never said it or implied it. Trotting it out as something that is stifling conversation is actually the thing that stifles conversation.

If your solution to this problem is that Israel will cease to exist as a Jewish state, and yet you fail to admit that this might be a problem for all kinds of geo-political reasons, you aren't necessarily an anti-Semite, but you aren't engaging in the conversation in good faith either. If you want to suggest that kind of radical solution, pony up with the arguments and the admissions about the costs involved in that. We can all be pissed as shit about the horrible treatment of Palestinians by Israel, but that doesn't really solve any problems.
posted by OmieWise at 12:41 PM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


> We can all be pissed as shit about the horrible treatment of Palestinians by Israel, but that doesn't really solve any problems.

Please get off your horse. No one is solving problems here, and that sort of presumptuous dialogue you insist of others seems insincere and marmish.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:48 PM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


At the risk of threadsitting, might I venture an opinion on an angle I find interesting about tomorrow's vote and which departs from more apocalyptic talk of the destruction of Israel: that the notion of international legitimacy of Palestine sits very uncomfortably - if I'm reading current diplomatic positions correctly - with Israel and the US and why that is.

These conversations often tend to drag the long shadow of the holocaust or Ahmedinejad's grandstanding with them as it regards the future of Israel as a Jewish state. But for me, the more relevant angle is how an international platform for Palestine could isolate the US and Israel and force Israel to the negotiating table.

Against the backdrop internationally of a creeping transfer of power from the US to new superpowers such as China and India and domestically in the US with significant demographic changes that arguably weaken support for Israel, the diplomatic, economic and military cover the US has given Israel is not a given long term. I.e. international legitimacy for Palestine provides a platform for others through which to drive a wedge between Israel and the US's geopolitical and economic interests and ultimately bring Israel to the negotiating table on terms not of its choosing.

Arguably, rather than the destruction of Israel, the fear is the voluntary dissolution of Israel as it is currently through political and economic pressure. To perhaps use an inadequate, but well-trodden, analogy: South Africa.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:52 PM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


in the US with significant demographic changes that arguably weaken support for Israel

Israel's current support from the US has nothing to do with demographics. It derives from its lobbying power with both wings of the Money Party.

As such, that support is not vulnerable to any demographic shift.
posted by Egg Shen at 1:01 PM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Look at my original comment. You said destruction, not me. Carp away.

And you were the one who implied that destruction was a pleasing idea to you, but backpedal away.

Now, firstly, let's please drop the pretense that proposing a "secular, one-state solution" is anything other than a) malicious or b) mind-numbingly stupid. Attempting to cram two populations with such a history as we have here is an invitation to violence, in the case of an almost inevitable civil war, or an invitation to oppression if civil war is forestalled long enough for one group to demographically exceed or otherwise prevail over the other. This secular single state will not remain secular, or a single state, for very long, no matter how much thought you put into its organization.

Secondly, it seems many people find the idea of a Jewish state, or its preservation, distasteful. Many Jews, however, have found the Holocaust, the Inquisition, and numerous other anti-Semitic atrocities over the last two thousand years to be in rather poor taste. One of the core ideas behind a Jewish state is to prevent such things from happening again. So, maybe cram a sock in it for another couple thousand years or so, and then, if we see that the rest of the world has finally gotten over its Jew-murdering impulses, we can talk about the dissolution of Israel.
posted by Behemoth at 1:01 PM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


> And you were the one who implied that destruction was a pleasing idea to you, but backpedal away.

It was a silly joke that I shouldn't have posted in response to the notion that a one state solution would actually destroy anything other than someone's ideas of statehood.

But then you go mention the Holocaust and I see you're biased. I'm out; this is pointless. Have a good day.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:06 PM on November 28, 2012


One of the core ideas behind a Jewish state is to prevent such things from happening again.

Can someone please explain to me (in modern language) how this is supposed to work exactly? Since when does having a nation that's explicitly identified with your ethnicity protect you from persecution? By this reasoning, white people the world over should have started being persecuted the instant the USA stopped having an expressly white (whatever that even means) ethnic identity. What other nations are you thinking of that are founded on the basis of ethnic identity that are still around today?

This particular argument always seems like some kind of weird magical thinking left over from a bygone era to me...
posted by saulgoodman at 1:07 PM on November 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


Please get off your horse. No one is solving problems here, and that sort of presumptuous dialogue you insist of others seems insincere and marmish.

Burhanistan, what is your point here? You've been quite inflammatory in this thread, have failed to contribute substantively, and now seem to want to suggest that when I call for substantive dialogue I'm somehow being "marmish?" How should I be conducting myself? You made the equivalent of a rape joke, except it was about a whole country, and yet seem surprised that anyone would object to it. I objected once, and would have dropped it there had you had the grace to either apologize or leave things be.

On preview: It was a silly joke that I shouldn't have posted in response to the notion that a one state solution would actually destroy anything other than someone's ideas of statehood.

But then you go mention the Holocaust and I see you're biased. I'm out; this is pointless. Have a good day.


At least now you've admitted it was a silly joke. I hope you have a better day elsewhere.
posted by OmieWise at 1:11 PM on November 28, 2012


Many Jews, however, have found the Holocaust, the Inquisition, and numerous other anti-Semitic atrocities over the last two thousand years to be in rather poor taste. One of the core ideas behind a Jewish state is to prevent such things from happening again.

This Jew considers Israel's record of human rights abuses the likeliest stimulant to violent anti-Semitism.

And if my only choice is confinement in a ghetto in Łódź or administering a ghetto in Gaza, I will take the former.

In such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, not to be on the side of the executioners. - Camus
posted by Egg Shen at 1:15 PM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can someone please explain to me (in modern language) how this is supposed to work exactly? Since when does having a nation that's explicitly identified with your ethnicity protect you from persecution? By this reasoning, white people the world over should have started being persecuted the instant the USA stopped having an expressly white (whatever that even means) ethnic identity. What other nations are you thinking of that are founded on the basis of ethnic identity that are still around today?

This particular argument always seems like some kind of weird magical thinking left over from a bygone era to me...


It's left over from the age of ethnic nationalism, which is still very much alive today. Don't you remember the discussions about Kurdistan and whether the War on Iraq meant that the Kurds would finally get their own state? Ethnic nationalism is not much in vogue in the US, or in many democracies (but not all) in Western Europe, but that doesn't mean it isn't a serious and legitimate geopolitical worldview. Can you honestly not imagine how people living in a diaspora, who have been systematically slaughtered throughout history, would find the notion of a "home base," one armed with nuclear weapons, comforting? Can you imagine why a Palestinian would want a country but not why an Israeli would want one?

And if my only choice is confinement in a ghetto in Łódź or administering a ghetto in Gaza, I will take the former.


It is not your only choice, and I'm not sure why you keep insisting that it is. (Seriously, I'm not sure. You may have some reason that you think a two state solution, e.g., is completely unworkable and an offense to all reasonable justice, but you haven't articulated it here.)
posted by OmieWise at 1:20 PM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


And if my only choice is confinement in a ghetto in Łódź or administering a ghetto in Gaza, I will take the former.

This is a hard statement to defend, for a number of reasons. But you also are presenting a disingenuous argument. Those, of course, are not the only two options -- to guard the walls of a ghetto, or to live in one -- and we can talk about a number of different possible approaches to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- we do not have to agree with you precisely or generally, or face accusations of a wish to conduct another porajmos.
posted by samofidelis at 1:21 PM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Would a legit Palestinian state lead to anything else but a Hamas/Fatah civil war? I don't think Hamas is going to stop lobbing rockets into southern Israel any time soon and it would then be the responsibility of the Palestinian government (run by Fatah I assume) to stop them or have Israel just formally declare war and do it for them.
posted by PenDevil at 1:25 PM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


This Jew considers Israel's record of human rights abuses the likeliest stimulant to violent anti-Semitism.

You've got a pretty poor grasp of Jewish history, then. Historically, the Jews have never been killed because of something they've actually done - they were killed because they were a prosperous but politically powerless minority. Israel is an attempt to create a nation where they are in the majority with real political power over their own fate. Dismissing this as racism or colonialism is a cheap shot that does zilch to address the real historical, political and socio-economic forces in play. I'm pretty disappointed in how this thread is going, to be honest.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:37 PM on November 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


Would a legit Palestinian state lead to anything else but a Hamas/Fatah civil war? I don't think Hamas is going to stop lobbing rockets into southern Israel any time soon and it would then be the responsibility of the Palestinian government (run by Fatah I assume) to stop them or have Israel just formally declare war and do it for them.

Can someone enlighten us on the role that internal Palestinian politics may play regarding the Hamas charter? Hamas still formally calls for the destruction of Israel, though they have alluded to the fact that this portion of the charter has not been re-ratified since their election, and therefore is not a position held by Hamas-qua-government. Nonetheless, they have argued that they cannot remove the relevant text from their charter -- is it because leadership fears they may lose support of more radical factions? I don't suppose such elements would swing to Fatah, but perhaps it's Hamas's concern that another hawkish group may win over Palestinians who would feel disaffected if they were to remove this language?
posted by samofidelis at 1:39 PM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can you honestly not imagine how people living in a diaspora, who have been systematically slaughtered throughout history, would find the notion of a "home base," one armed with nuclear weapons, comforting? Can you imagine why a Palestinian would want a country but not why an Israeli would want one?

Honestly, no, I can't imagine why people under any circumstances would find the notion of any country armed with nuclear weapons "comforting." But to be fair, my own Jewish ancestors seem to have already been pretty well settled here in the US when the Holocaust occurred; the only diaspora I've got any personal connection to (as far as I know) took place in the 17th and 18th centuries, and those folks (The Hugenots) just assimilated into German society.

On second thought, maybe with a stretch I could imagine it, if I tried, but then, I could imagine my way into all sorts of mindsets that might not be particularly helpful or valid.

But is the point to "comfort" certain members of the diaspora or to actually keep them safe? I thought the idea was they would actually be kept safer by the existence of an ethnically Jewish nation, I'm still not sure I understand the argument for that result being achieved by this method. I won't belabor the point though. I agree the discussion of the internal politics is more interesting.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:44 PM on November 28, 2012


Secondly, it seems many people find the idea of a Jewish state, or its preservation, distasteful. Many Jews, however, have found the Holocaust, the Inquisition, and numerous other anti-Semitic atrocities over the last two thousand years to be in rather poor taste. One of the core ideas behind a Jewish state is to prevent such things from happening again.

Sure. And, honestly, I think pretty much everyone would agree that that is a worthy goal.

But, you know, if the goal is self-preservation, barging into some place and taking it over by force is probably not the greatest strategy.

Historically, the Jews have never been killed because of something they've actually done - they were killed because they were a prosperous but politically powerless minority. Israel is an attempt to create a nation where they are in the majority with real political power over their own fate. Dismissing this as racism or colonialism is a cheap shot that does zilch to address the real historical, political and socio-economic forces in play.

Dismissing the fact that it is racism and colonialism doesn't do much, either.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:50 PM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't suppose such elements would swing to Fatah, but perhaps it's Hamas's concern that another hawkish group may win over Palestinians who would feel disaffected if they were to remove this language?

That and if all the major Palestinian groups are now at peace with Israel's existence it would be much harder for Mid-East nations (Iran and Syria most notably), which have fund Hamas and similar groups, to focus internal civilian pressure onto the continued existence of Israel rather than their own populations political and economic circumstance.
posted by PenDevil at 1:51 PM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you feel the resolution of the issue should be informed by your "objection to the nature of the formation of Israel" (assuming you mean the events of '47-'48) then that strikes me as useful as discussing "US's treatment of its native populations" in arguing whether the US should continue to be a country. Israel exists. It's not going to not exist. Complaining about its creation and the way it was created 3 generations ago is wasted breath and unhelpful. The issue is how to go forward.

I never suggested Israel shouldn't exist. I believe earlier I stated a one-state solution is unrealistic, and it's not one I'm in favor of. If we were to use the situation 50, 60, 70 years ago as a basis for our decisions today the Palestinians wouldn't have a claim to their own state as the concept of "Palestinians" as a central, self-identified people didn't exist. The formation of the Palestinian people was not so much a long-held identification as a reaction to the massive forced exodus imposed on the native populations. That doesn't mean the Palestinian people do not exist today. Anyway the point is if we're to find a realistic solution we can't be focused on rewinding the clock half a century.

What I'm saying is somebody should be allowed to suggest a one-state solution or criticize Israel's actions without the anti-Semitism argument. And if that is not the argument anyone is making here than that's good.


Historically, the Jews have never been killed because of something they've actually done - they were killed because they were a prosperous but politically powerless minority. Israel is an attempt to create a nation where they are in the majority with real political power over their own fate. Dismissing this as racism or colonialism is a cheap shot that does zilch to address the real historical, political and socio-economic forces in play.

You can point out racism and colonialism is an element without dismissing the rest of it. To bring back the US comparison, there were immigrants to the US who migrated here because they felt they were a persecuted minority, but it doesn't change the fact they engaged in racist and colonialist behaviors once here. You can both be convinced you're protecting your heritage and people and still be persecuting others.
posted by schroedinger at 1:59 PM on November 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


At the risk of threadsitting, might I venture an opinion on an angle I find interesting about tomorrow's vote and which departs from more apocalyptic talk of the destruction of Israel: that the notion of international legitimacy of Palestine sits very uncomfortably - if I'm reading current diplomatic positions correctly - with Israel and the US and why that is.

Honestly, I think it's mainly about Abbas trying to stay relevant. I think Fatah is entirely spent as a political movement and survives by patronage and guns at this point. When Arafat signed on to the Osla process he tied Fatah's continuing survival to Israel's willingness to negotiate a two-state solution in good faith. The assasination of Rabin showed that Israeli politics couldn't actually abide an Arab Palestinian state. Without an Israeli partner, Fatah is doomed.

The idea that Netanyahu has any interest in a viable Palestinian state is just laughable.

Again, the fall of Mubarak changes everything in the Middle East. The old paradigms there are dead.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:10 PM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Under Abbas's proposal, who controls Jerusalem? All my discussions with Israelis and Palestinians living here in the US says ultimately the whole conflict all comes down to that. (Forgive me if that's covered in the FPP; there's a lot to read there and I'm at work.)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:14 PM on November 28, 2012


I can think of few other countries in the world, and certainly no democracies, which define themselves in racial terms.

Perhaps you should start by taking a look at every single one of the other countries in Israel's neighborhood, which either define themselves as specifically Arab, Islamic, or both. Israel was created in an environment where the Arab states were expelling their entire Jewish populations and expropriating all of their property, something that many people today forget. And then we should take a look at many of the countries of Europe, where access to citizenship is dependent either on "blood" or on wide-ranging acceptance and integration into the host country's language and culture. And many of those enlightened states have official state religions too, something that Israel (contrary to some of the claims made here) does not have.
posted by 1adam12 at 2:23 PM on November 28, 2012 [11 favorites]


The assasination of Rabin showed that Israeli politics couldn't actually abide an Arab Palestinian state. Without an Israeli partner, Fatah is doomed.

[...]
posted by ennui.bz at 16:10 on November 28 [+] [!]


Rabin's assassination by Yigal Amir is hardly an act you ought attribute to the entire state of Israel, though?
posted by samofidelis at 2:28 PM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


But for me, the more relevant angle is how an international platform for Palestine could isolate the US and Israel and force Israel to the negotiating table.

Indeed. It's very interesting to me how powerful legitimacy is on an international stage. People - especially in the US - decry the UN, but it didn't stop Bush from bending over backwards trying scare up some approval for war in Iraq - to the point of fabricating evidence in pursuit of resolutions, despite the fact that nothing would have happened if he just went to war anyway. Legitimacy remains very powerful.

I, too, would love a one state solution - it seems to be the only just solution that would treat Palestinians and Jews alike as equal. Though by time that's practicable, areas at that latitude may well be effectively uninhabitable due to climate change.

For those claiming the impossibility of it, I would point to Northern Ireland and South Africa. It can, and has, been done. It can be very difficult, very messy, and cannot address decades of war, inequality etc. But it can be done.

As the world continues to shift away from a US-based power axis, I think development is inevitable. Israel in its current form and its international supporters will find themselves international pariahs - an increasingly uncomfortable position in a very interlaced world. I feel like Israel and the US are trying to freeze the region in amber (well, if one disregards the settlements etc). Better to aspire to change than have it thrust upon you, I say. And doing so will give you legitimacy. Heck, even the De Klerk could recognise the writing on the wall.

I must say, I find opposition to this bid quite distasteful and immoral, as it seems to rest almost entirely on slippery slope arguments and the prospect of being tried for war crimes and more in the international criminal court.

If a bureaucratic status is all that's keeping you from the international criminal court, I would suggest you probably belong there. I would love to see Israeli support for the bid, with the concomitant insistence that Hamas and friends could end up in the ICC, as well.
posted by smoke at 4:50 PM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


smoke: "Heck, even the De Klerk could recognise the writing on the wall. "

Subtle.
posted by gertzedek at 5:12 PM on November 28, 2012


He could recognise the writing on the wall. And if the NP could recognise that being part of the change was a better idea - with such an incredibly powerful vested interest in institutionalised, separation, racism and inequality; and the tiny minority status of whites in SA; and the seismic shifts such a reorganisation would mean for a lot of whites, especially Afrikaaners and what it would "do" to their culture, lifestyles, and businesses - it should be easier for the Israeli govt.
posted by smoke at 5:25 PM on November 28, 2012


You may have some reason that you think a two state solution, e.g., is completely unworkable and an offense to all reasonable justice, but you haven't articulated it here.)

it's because neither one of the two proposed states is willing to grant statehood on terms acceptable to the other state

of course, one could make the same argument against a one state solution, that neither one of the two identities is willing to tolerate the other on terms that are acceptable to both

and the world at large isn't willing to impose a solution, even though that just might be the only thing that could really work

i'm afraid that what will happen is either an all out war or a fracturing of the political structures in that section of the middle east - it's effectively happened in lebanon and palestine, it's on the verge of happening in syria, and it could happen in israel, too

division breeds division, danger and weakness - in unity, all people could find safety and strength, if only they would give up their greed and hatred and truly strive for it

it's not happening and so chaos will grow - inside and outside of israel - and we could see a no state solution that would be no solution at all
posted by pyramid termite at 5:59 PM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Israel is an attempt to create a nation where they are in the majority with real political power over their own fate.

Major geo-political powers found the idea of Israel appealing at the time it was created for a number of practical and logistical reasons, providing a safe haven for the Jewish diaspora seems to have been, at best, very low on the list of priorities, and at worst, a shameless exploitation of the results of the Holocaust in concert with a deep understanding of the inherent ethnic and religious tensions that would inevitably result from the design of the country's borders.
posted by odinsdream at 6:04 PM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


State of Confusion: Why Mahmoud Abbas’s U.N. statehood bid is great for Israel -- and the United States.
posted by homunculus at 6:26 PM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Raising Israel's Altalena ship 'a lesson for the future'
posted by homunculus at 6:27 PM on November 28, 2012


Israel was created in an environment where the Arab states were expelling their entire Jewish populations and expropriating all of their property, something that many people today forget.

Yeah, but to be fair, didn't the mass expulsions start in response to new Jewish settlers pushing their way into property owned by other people in pursuit of establishing Israel? At least, as far as I understand it, those states didn't start expelling the Jewish populations until European Jews started setting up shop in other people's houses and on their land. Please clarify if I'm mistaken about the order of events, and I don't mean to suggest there's ever a good justification for expelling other people from their homes on the basis of ethnic identification, but isn't that right? (Also don't mean to play the "who started it?" game here, as that seems like a pretty clear marker of childish, emotionally clouded thinking. But none of this happened without a context.)
posted by saulgoodman at 6:48 PM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


And then we should take a look at many of the countries of Europe, where access to citizenship is dependent either on "blood" or on wide-ranging acceptance and integration into the host country's language and culture.

I'm curious about this claim. Please, name one country in Europe that currently requires you to prove you have the "blood" of a particular ethnic group in order to attain citizenship. And apart from having pro forma "official religions," even European countries that do still have official religions technically don't prohibit immigration by non-adherents or impose special requirements on them. For the most part, the official religions are just a hold over from the era before secularism, and most people aren't particularly religiously minded. There are actually more self-identified Athiests in the UK than there are self-identifying Christians, despite the UK's having an official religion and (in the case of England) a state church.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:57 PM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps you should start by taking a look at every single one of the other countries in Israel's neighborhood, which either define themselves as specifically Arab, Islamic, or both.

Largely because they were invented by European powers (every bit as much as Israel was), which the locals came to resent, hence Arab Nationalism.

Israel was created in an environment where the Arab states were expelling their entire Jewish populations and expropriating all of their property, something that many people today forget.

Source?

And then we should take a look at many of the countries of Europe, where access to citizenship is dependent [...] on "blood"

Which ones?

And many of those enlightened states have official state religions too, something that Israel (contrary to some of the claims made here) does not have.

1. The official churches of Europe haven't meant anything in two hundred years.

2. Israel doesn't have an official religion because it contains some of the holiest sites of a couple other religions that outnumber Judaism by a pretty wide margin. The reason there's not an official religion there is because there can't be.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:05 PM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you are can prove descent, in many cases one grandparent is sufficient, from a citizen, you can get citizenship in many countries by right. Germany/UK/Hungary are countries where I know for sure that this works but I believe it is so for many others as well. If you cannot prove descent from a national, there are other ways to obtain citizenship but it is not by right. There are processes/tests/requirements, etc.

If you have one Jewish grandparent, you can acquire Israeli citizenship by right. Otherwise, you have to go through a process.

Why is that so different? Both depend on accidents of birth that for generations people had very little control over. Both depend on the forces in history and power writing borders and making rules about who's in and who's out. Both depend on paperwork and identity.
posted by Salamandrous at 7:27 PM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


But you don't have to be ethnically German to become a German citizen with full rights. There are, for example, black German nationals and even Muslim German nationals (1.9 million of them, in fact).
posted by saulgoodman at 7:30 PM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


But you don't have to be ethnically German to become a German citizen with full rights. There are, for example, black German nationals and even Muslim German nationals (1.9 million of them, in fact).

It is also possible to have Israeli citizenship, with full rights, without any Jewish grandparents. I'm not sure what you are getting at. Just as with Germany, descent is one route to citizenship but it is not the only route.
posted by Salamandrous at 7:38 PM on November 28, 2012


Why is that so different?

Because your Jewish grandparent has no connection to that country. Meanwhile, those who do are kept out.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:39 PM on November 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Salamandrous: Then I guess I don't understand what people mean when they talk about how it would be equivalent to the destruction of Israel if it lost its ethnic identity or became a secular state.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:57 PM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because your Jewish grandparent has no connection to that country. Meanwhile, those who do are kept out.

Where is your problem, primarily?

Modern day national citizenship is either based on geographical or hereditary accident of birth. In certain countries, like the USA and Canada, if you are born here, you are a citizen. It doesn't matter whether your family was here long before the pilgrims set foot or whether they were passing through on a ski vacation. In other countries, you can have three generations of people born there and still not attain citizenship through birth unless somewhere along the line there was a 'legitimate' national (I believe this is an issue for Turks in Germany), of which there is often an implicit ethnic component. How many Arab nations offer citizenship to the descendants of the Jews who were exiled in 1949? Even among European nations, I don't believe all of them offer citizenship to descendants of Jews who fled from Nazi and Czarist persecution - regardless of the centuries that those communities spent 'sojourning' there.

If your problem is that there is no national homeland for the Palestinians to which they have a right of return, I agree with you, they should have it. So should Jews. If your problem is that citizenship in the modern world is unfair and arbitrary and accident of birth decides your fate way too much, I agree with you there too. If you believe that all other states have fair and decent systems for citizenships for those who are born there and not born there regardless of ethnic or religious identity but that Israel is uniquely unfair, well I disagree with you.

Israel may be far from perfect, but it is not out of line with other nations in this respect. It is worse than some and better than some, worse in some ways and better in other ways.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:05 PM on November 28, 2012


Germany/UK/Hungary are countries where I know for sure that this works but I believe it is so for many others as well.

This is not actually true of the UK, coincidentally. British citizenship (generally) fails to descend to the second generation born abroad.

German (and Italian, coincidentally, see a recent AskMe) citizenship doesn't have a generational limit, but Germany has traditionally not been particularly receptive to people retaining citizenship upon acquiring another (other than by birth), which means it's functionally not as inheritable as it might seem at first. (People who left Germany as children are liable to have been naturalized somewhere else before having children.)
posted by hoyland at 8:11 PM on November 28, 2012


When I was taking Middle East Studies courses way back when, this is what I gleaned from the formation of Israel:

- Israel did horrible shit to the people living on the land to get them off
- The people already living there did horrible shit back
- Israel managed to expel them on the basis of superior military forces
- Later, surrounding Arabic countries jumped on the "Hate on Israel" train partly out of the burgeoning Arab nationalism movement and partly because Israel was viewed as a proxy for all colonialist powers in the area ever
- Support from these other countries for the Palestinians was mostly lip service
- Once Israel had it over the Palestinians, they had a nasty habit of grinding in the boot-heels
- Palestinians retaliated with violence

etc

Which is to say there is such a long history of violence on both sides that the peace process would not be aided by trying to figure out who are the True Owners and who gets the badge of #1 Sufferer. It is a irrefutable fact that Israel's policies are directly or indirectly responsible for the ongoing impoverishment, mutilation, and death of thousands and thousands of Palestinians. It is also an irrefutable fact that the militarization of Israel and public support for the efforts that lead to the impoverishment, mutilation, and death of Palestinians are in response to the terrorist acts that come in retaliation for said impoverishment, mutilation, and death. As long as Israel is willing to sacrifice Palestinian kids to bomb the shit out of Hamas, Hamas will keep trying to bomb the shit out of Israel. There is no fucking point in trying to prove who has done what military action because if you dig deep enough everyone has blood on their hands. You have to figure out a way to acknowledge that everyone's hands are covered in shit and find a way for both sides to feel they can survive and prosper together. God knows how that will happen.
posted by schroedinger at 8:11 PM on November 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


The point is that Israel's right of return includes people with no tie whatsoever to Israel except being a member of the right religion, and excludes people with significant hereditary ties because they're not part of that religion.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:11 PM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Salamandrous: Then I guess I don't understand what people mean when they talk about how it would be equivalent to the destruction of Israel if it lost its ethnic identity or became a secular state.


Can we make this a bit more concrete?

By secular state, do you mean not recognizing a special right of return for those of Jewish descent? Do you mean not keeping the government and business (more or less) on the Jewish calendar instead of the Christian one? Do you mean getting rid of the silly (imho) religion-based regulation of personal status? Do you mean opening citizenship for anybody who was born there, like the USA or Canada, or do you mean for anybody who can prove descent, like other European nations, but not Jews in particular?

I find this hard to talk about it in such abstract terms. I also don't want to inadvertently argue for things that I don't actually agree with.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:13 PM on November 28, 2012


The point is that Israel's right of return includes people with no tie whatsoever to Israel except being a member of the right religion, and excludes people with significant hereditary ties because they're not part of that religion.


That's not quite right. You can be a devout Seventh Day Adventist, Bahai, Muslim, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, Rastafarian, Catholic, Baptist, Buddhist, Hindu, athiest, agnostic, Deist, etc, and return based on a Jewish grandparent.

And again, you're mixing up two points. Is your problem that there is a Jewish homeland in Israel to which Jews and their descendants can participate as citizens (in which case, based on history and ideals of self-rule, I vehemently disagree with you), or is your problem that there is no homeland for Palestinians, in which case I deeply agree with you.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:17 PM on November 28, 2012


[Reminder: touchy subject, be respectful of other commenters or go elsewhere for a bit.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:43 PM on November 28, 2012


Hmm. I don't like the "homeland" construct when it's applied to America either, so I think my raised hackles are making it hard for me to be objective here. In my ideal world, everyone could find a home somewhere if they needed one, and no one would have a right to remove people from their homes for any reason that wasn't morally just, I suppose, and issues of national identity are just so much aggravating nonsense (things like those "Stand Up for America, Be an American" bumper stickers with their implication that some of us are doing it wrong are also vexing to me). I guess I'd hoped we (in the US, in particular) would be setting a better example for the world, and helping to unwind these antiquated, colonial-era ideas about national/ethnic identity, rather than encouraging them. I don't have a right of return anywhere, as far as I know, if the US's experiment in secular Democracy fails, or becomes dominated by right wing extremists or anti-Semites. Well, maybe Germany would take me back. But even though my own Jewish ancestry is likely too far removed to make me eligible for Israeli citizenship (and I wouldn't know how to go about demonstrating it anyway), it seems probable any frothing anti-Semites who took America over would still put me on whatever lists they might care to draft. So at least for me, Israel's "strength" isn't much comfort, when it seems to inspire so much hatred.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:55 PM on November 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Act like you want to have a discussion about this topic here and not just say "This situation still makes me angry"]
posted by jessamyn at 7:04 AM on November 28 [+] [!]

Canada is reportedly pressuring the Palestinian Authority to drop the bid


This situation makes me angry.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:51 PM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I think it's mainly about Abbas trying to stay relevant. I think Fatah is entirely spent as a political movement and survives by patronage and guns at this point

Maybe. There's quite an interesting selection of survey questions from last year which deal with some of this.

As at December last year, they suggested a 60% approval rating for Abbas (47% Gaza/67% West Bank), Hamas is viewed poorly in regards to the UN bid for statehood and as at December last year, Fatah was still the preferred option for voters (surveyed for intention) in Gaza and the West Bank, by a margin of 43% to 29%.

I have no idea how that has shifted in the past twelve months. But 6 days ago, Fatah and Hamas staged a public show of unity and Hamas has indicated qualified support for the UN bid.

It is part of the Israeli narrative that Abbas is committing political suicide, and also part of that narrative to portray the bid as fundamentally dividing Fatah and Hamas.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:48 AM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


saulgoodman and Sys Rq, I understand that this is a piece of history that most people who aren't connected to the region know next-to-nothing about. But starting as early as the 1930s, Jewish populations in the Arab world started experiencing terrifying anti-Jewish violence, theft of property, restriction of movement, dismissal from government jobs and bans from working in many, many fields. While I don't like to point to Wikipedia in general, this article is a good starting discussion of the issue. The article talks about the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 as being the spark, but (in Iraq for instance) violence against Jews started in the 1930s with the "Golden Square." And in any case, the people expelled were not Israelis and in most cases had no interest in Zionism. They were collectively blamed for the actions of people who were, to them, strangers.

I know that the popular myth is that Jews never had problems in Muslim lands until the Zionists came, but this is a simple falsehood. There were six anti-Jewish pogroms in Egypt in the second half of the 19th century alone. In Yemen, any Jewish child in a household without a father could be taken away as illegitimate to be raised in a Muslim home, and casual violence (along with destruction of homes and synagogues) was common. This leaves aside things like the jizyah, which was still in force and actively collected from Jews (often coupled with violence) in North Africa and Persia right through the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
posted by 1adam12 at 2:41 AM on November 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


1adam12, are you seriously trying to suggest that Zionist immigration to the area postdates the 30's?
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:32 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because your Jewish grandparent has no connection to that country.

I keep thinking about this and I just want to say I think that's a really problematic statement. My Jewish ancestors have consistently thought of Israel as their ancestral homeland, thinking about it, talking about, praying about it (and towards it). There have always been Jews there that they have considered themselves connected to and they have always looked at Israel as the place that was left under duress. They have maintained this tradition for thousands of years, not forgetting where they came from. If you say they have no connection, basically you are saying that the connection to a place of origin expires after a certain amount of time despite communal memory and historical (and present) connections. How much time is that? Can a connection be passed from a parent to a child, even if the child has never set foot in the place their parent left? If not, then second generation refugees from anywhere would have no claim. From grandparent to grandchild, if they maintain the language and ties? How many generations of dispossession does it take to 'legitimately' disconnect people from their ancestral homeland? Is there a certain amount of time by which you would say that regardless of the fact that Palestinian families maintained emotional and relational ties to Palestine, they have 'no connection'? How many generations is that?

Look, I could get into a discussion about what that connection means, whether that connection is a legitimate basis for moving back and establishing a state even in the face of the suffering/oppression it has entailed for others who also have a connection or who have a much more immediate connection, but to deny the connection itself just feels like denying basic truths about me and my grandparents' and their grandparents' lives.
posted by Salamandrous at 6:08 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq: "Because your Jewish grandparent has no connection to that country."

In these types of threads, people normally ask what kinds of criticism of Israel can be considered antisemitic. This is a great example, where in one sentence:

1) Lineage-related citizenship rights given to other peoples are denied to the Jews
2) Jewish connection to an ancestral homeland is denied as a hoax or a myth

By extension, the whole state of Israel is depicted as an alien construct - therefore transient, therefore dismantling it through political/military action becomes an acceptable outcome.
posted by gertzedek at 6:36 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


1) Lineage-related citizenship rights given to other peoples are denied to the Jews

The best part is how Israel's right of return doesn't require lineage and in fact is denied to people who have actual lineage to the area but have committed the unspeakable faux pas of being descended from the wrong ancestors who lived there for centuries.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:53 AM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pope Guilty: "The best part is how Israel's right of return doesn't require lineage"

Yes, it doesn't, and that is indeed the best part. Because instead of catering to the Orthodox and having a very narrow definition of who is a Jew, it seeked to define Jewishness by the standards of the persecutor. That's why the eligibility under the Law of Return is based on the 1935 Nuremberg Laws. In principle, anyone who is bound to be persecuted because of his/her association with Judaism is technically protected by the Israeli Law of Return.

The rest of your snarky comment is not worthy of a response.
posted by gertzedek at 7:16 AM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


The best part...

Yes, yes, those pesky Jews are once again changing the rules. If only they would play by the rules everyone who hates them so much might like them instead!

-----

I didn't see this article posted here, although it was in the recent Gaza thread: Hamas and the Two-State solution. It basically argues that Hamas would like a two-state solution diplomatically arrived at.

I had dinner with a close friend, an expert on Palestinian history and politics, and an activist for Palestinian rights, last night, and ran by her my own feeling that the Gaza conflict, putting aside the role of Israel, was a bid by Hamas to remain relevant in re Abbas's UN vote attempt, and she basically said that while the situation between Hamas and Fatah is convoluted and crazy, the UN bid is so widely supported by Palestinians, and the push is so much for getting something concrete done, that Hamas supports it. She said she felt strongly that my take was wrong.
posted by OmieWise at 7:18 AM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


[Seriously, knock the snarky shit off if you want to have this conversation on MetaFilter. There are plenty of other places to argue about I/P on the internet.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:24 AM on November 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks for this post, MuffinMan.
posted by zarq at 8:47 AM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pope Guilty, that's not what I said. What I am saying is that the history of mass violence against Jews in the Arab world predates the beginning of Zionist immigration to what is now Israel, which didn't really start in a major way until the very end of the 19th century. Israel emerged in an environment when "Arab Jews" (a term no one uses today) were being collectively punished for a Zionism that had nothing to do with them. Those "Arab Jews" lived through persecution ranging from simple forms of unequal treatment before the law to outright mass murder for centuries before Zionism ever existed.

Why do I care? Blaming Arab attitudes toward Jews on Zionism and Israel is ahistorical. I've heard people claim that Jews were well-treated in the Arab world before Zionism, and that we can "know" this because the Koran says that Jews and Christians must be treated a certain way (something akin to the USA claiming that no torture occurs there because there's a law against it). The claimants usually go on to say that it's only because of Israel that Jews are viewed the way they are today, but this is most emphatically not true. Jews were a despised minority in Arab lands, and paid a heavy price for having the nerve to continue existing.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:02 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


1adam12: "The claimants usually go on to say that it's only because of Israel that Jews are viewed the way they are today, but this is most emphatically not true."

"Antisemitism is caused by the actions of the state of Israel" is the new "antisemitism is caused by the Jews having killed Jesus Christ".
posted by gertzedek at 9:07 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pope Guilty, that's not what I said. What I am saying is that the history of mass violence against Jews in the Arab world predates the beginning of Zionist immigration to what is now Israel, which didn't really start in a major way until the very end of the 19th century.

That's not what you said, though. You specifically talked about the situation of Jews in the Middle East deteriorating in the 1930s, not centuries before. You don't mention anything that predates Zionism until this comment. I don't know a whole lot about the early history of Zionism, but you probably have a good argument even with events in the 19th century--just because Zionism existed in Europe doesn't mean it instantly mattered much in Iraq, say.
posted by hoyland at 9:14 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq: "Because your Jewish grandparent has no connection to that country."

In these types of threads, people normally ask what kinds of criticism of Israel can be considered antisemitic. This is a great example, where in one sentence:

1) Lineage-related citizenship rights given to other peoples are denied to the Jews
2) Jewish connection to an ancestral homeland is denied as a hoax or a myth


That one sentence does exactly neither of those things.

Here's what I'm saying: 2000 years is a long time. 60 years is not a long time. People who lived there 60 years ago should have more right than people who lived there 2000 years ago. Also, belonging to the same religion as the people who lived there 2000 years ago (or having relatives who did) is not the same as being descended from those people. That is the full extent of my opinion on the matter.

This has nothing at all to do with the fact that the people who lived there 2000 years ago were Jewish, or that the people who live there now are Jewish, or that anyone anywhere is Jewish. I'd feel exactly the same if it were any other group. I don't care that they're Jewish, I care that they're doing shitty things. This is not a subtle difference.

Oh, and incidentally, Arabs are Semites too.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:02 AM on November 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


In Rebuke to Obama, Netanyahu– Much of Western Europe to Support Palestine as UN Observer State
posted by homunculus at 12:19 PM on November 29, 2012


Oh, and incidentally, Arabs are Semites too.

While that is technically true, the word "antisemitism" does specifically refer to Jew-hating and not to hating Arabs.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:31 PM on November 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


It is interesting to me, how much these discussion inevitably seem to centre themselves around Israel.

Tell me, gertzedek, - and forgive me if I've missed it - are you actually against this vote, and why?
posted by smoke at 1:04 PM on November 29, 2012


BBC BREAKING NEWS: Motion to make Palestine 'non-member observer state' at UN passes by 138 votes to 9
posted by oulipian at 2:07 PM on November 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


1) Lineage-related citizenship rights given to other peoples are denied to the Jews
Where is this happening, exactly?

If you go back to the 1930s/40s yes lots of countries, including the US wouldn't let Jews immigrate with the same rights as Christians. As far as I know that isn't happening in any western country today. A Jewish person who's ancestors fled the holocaust have the same rights to return to Germany that anyone else who's parents were German does.
Modern day national citizenship is either based on geographical or hereditary accident of birth. In certain countries, like the USA and Canada, if you are born here, you are a citizen. It doesn't matter whether your family was here long before the pilgrims set foot or whether they were passing through on a ski vacation. In other countries, you can have three generations of people born there and still not attain citizenship through birth unless somewhere along the line there was a 'legitimate' national ... Israel may be far from perfect, but it is not out of line with other nations in this respect. It is worse than some and better than some, worse in some ways and better in other ways.
The idea that it's just an "Accident of birth" to be born a Palestinian and thus treating them as a second class citizen is no different then the "accident of birth" of being born in Thailand means you are not a citizen of the US. Someone born in Thailand is a Thai citizen, whereas a Palestinian is a citizen of nowhere - with no rights over the government that actually runs their lives.

To argue that "accidents of birth" are an acceptably moral way to limit rights in the country you were born in is kind of gross.

The slight of hand here is the idea that people who born in the west bank/Gaza are not "born in Israel" - they were born in land that Israel controls, but are not consider citizens, while Israeli settlers who are born on the same land are.

Obviously a "two state" solution is more likely and more practical then a "one state" solution, but it needs to be a 'real' two state solution, one where Palestinians control their own borders and are secure against attack (perhaps with a third party keeping peace between the two countries)
posted by delmoi at 5:19 PM on November 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Smoke, thanks for asking.

The short answer is I don't know.

I support a two-state solution and I'd like to see it happen. The occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza blockade takes a huge toll on Israel and I believe a majority of Israelis would just like to move on.

In 1948 the partition plan was approved, and Israelis and Arabs had the opportunity to create two states to live side by side in relative harmony. The Arabs unfortunately had a different idea and decided to invade the newly created state of Israel. It wasn't until the 70s that the idea of creating an Arab state became an idea worth pursuing again. When the PLO was created in the 60s, it didn't mention statehood, it was just about kicking out the Jews. Statehood started being discussed in the mid-seventies, after three wars (Independence, Six Days, Yom Kippur), when the Arab states pretty much got tired of getting their asses kicked by Israel whenever they tried to invade the country. Time for plan B - let's ask for the state that was promised to the Arabs in 1948. But by then it was too late.

People forget that even the small level of Palestinian self-governance we have today is a somewhat recent thing - the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994. Before that, the territories were completely under Israeli rule, as a security buffer occupied after the 1967 war. Before that, under Jordan and Egyptian rule since 1948. Before that it was ruled by the Brits since WWI. Before WWI it was a part the Ottoman Empire.

From 1994 until now, that experiment, from the point of view of Israeli security, has pretty much failed. We had the intifada. A suicide bombing campaign that was only stopped because of the security barrier. We had Hamas come to power, go into a full civil war with Fatah and divide the Palestinian Territories in two politically. We had Israel disengage from Gaza only to have it become a launch pad for terrorist rocket attacks into the south, forcing Israel to go back in and fight two wars against Hamas.

So now the PA has a bid for statehood. What has changed? What have the Palestinians done to abide by the agreements they also have signed? What has the PA done to curb Hamas and other terrorist groups? What do they expect will happen? They will become a state and Israel will disengage from the West Bank too, just so they can more conveniently fire rockets into Tel Aviv?

I understand why Palestinians are seeking statehood and I sympathize. But I don't see what is the benefit for Israel. Any solution to the current situation requires mutually beneficial arrangements, not unilateral actions (and that's valid for both sides).
posted by gertzedek at 6:49 PM on November 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


delmoi: "Where is this happening, exactly? "

Read the comment by SysRq I was responding to. By saying someone's Jewish grandparent has "no connection to Israel", he was denying citizenship rights to Jews based on similar rules in effect in many other countries.
posted by gertzedek at 6:55 PM on November 29, 2012


he was denying citizenship rights to Jews

I can do that? Huh. Who knew I was so powerful?

Again, no I wasn't doing anything remotely like that, nor would I want to. (Though, admittedly, for clarity's sake, I really should have said not necessarily connected rather than putting it in absolute terms like that. Obviously, if the grandparent is Israeli, that's a completely different issue.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:06 PM on November 29, 2012


By saying someone's Jewish grandparent has "no connection to Israel", he was denying citizenship rights to Jews based on similar rules in effect in many other countries.

The problem is that the "connection to Isreal" is materially different then the connection that other people are talking about, in that they didn't actually live in that country.

If you go back 10 generations, you have a million ancestors. For pretty much every person living now, it's extremely unlikely that out of those million people, there wasn't both a Jewish person and a Muslim person.

Every Palestinian Muslim or christian undoubtedly had Jewish ancestors.

The argument you are making isn't that lineage going back forever should decide who gets to live where, but rather having the same religion as some of the people who lived there long ago, but not other people who also lived there long ago, in different time periods. That makes no sense at all.
posted by delmoi at 11:22 PM on November 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Motion to make Palestine 'non-member observer state' at UN passes by 138 votes to 9

I'm disgusted to say that this was featured on Page A7 of the Washington Post. Above the fold headlines were: Right: Fiscal Cliff Left: Syrian Internet Blackout Center just above fold: Regulation of guardians for the elderly.
posted by OmieWise at 4:45 AM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hamas still calling for the eradication of Israel:
Izzat Al-Rashq, a member of the Hamas' political bureau, welcomed the decision but made demands reflecting Hamas' unwillingness to recognize the state of Israel.

"We need to put this in its normal context as a part of the National Strategic vision based upon the rights and national principles without compromising an ounce of soil from our Palestinian lands extending from the Ocean to the (Jordan) river," he posted to his Facebook page.

He called for the establishment of a Palestinian state "with Jerusalem being its capital" on land that includes what is Israel.

posted by zarq at 6:35 AM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Israel to build 3,000 settler homes after UN vote
Israel has authorised the construction of 3,000 more housing units in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to Israeli officials.

It is also speeding up the processing of 1,000 planning permissions.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:10 AM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hamas still calling for the eradication of Israel
Israel to build 3,000 settler homes after UN vote


I see that both sides are still operating on the "let's be as inflammatory as possible" plan.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:30 AM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hamas didn't use the word eradication, as far as I understand it. It is, in my view, a peculiarity of hasbara that Palestinian one state viewpoints are typically framed with quite loaded terms while the fragmentation, appropriation and exclusion of Palestinian land is euphemistically termed as security zones or settlements.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:51 AM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hamas didn't use the word eradication, as far as I understand it.

They didn't have to. It should be obvious to even the most casual observer of the history of Hamas and the region that was what he meant.

It is, in my view, a peculiarity of hasbara that Palestinian one state viewpoints are typically framed with quite loaded terms while the fragmentation, appropriation and exclusion of Palestinian land is euphemistically termed as security zones or settlements.


Personally, I find the settlements and the Israeli fundamentalist right wing "Greater Israel" philosophy infuriating. The Israelis are attempting a land grab, and I think they need abandon support of the Settlements and pull their people out of the West Bank entirely -- just as they did in Gaza.

But the language used by Hamas and is in their charter isn't merely about land (re-)appropriation. It's been about struggling against and slaughtering Jews, and obliterating the state of Israel.
posted by zarq at 9:49 AM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hamas still calling for the eradication of Israel:
Izzat Al-Rashq, a member of the Hamas' political bureau, welcomed the decision but made demands reflecting Hamas' unwillingness to recognize the state of Israel.
Since when is "unwillingness to recognize" the same as "calling for the eradication of"

One of the most disingenuous aspects of this "debate" is the claim that not wanting to see Israel as a "jewish" state is the same as "destroying" or "eradicating" it - normally when people say "destroy" or "eradicate" they mean physical destruction - destroying buildings, killing people, and so on.

I see no evidence that Hamas wants to physically destroy or eradicate Israel given the normal meaning of those words.

The US refused to recognize the communist Chinese government for decades, preferring to consider Taiwan the legitimate government of all of China.

Does that mean the US had a policy of wanting to "destroy" China? Should china have had the right to bomb the US and kill Americans because of that policy?

Whether or not Hamas recognizes Israel is a purely symbolic issue, and furthermore, how does it make sense to say that you won't negotiate with them because they refuse to recognize Israel? That's something that you could try to get in negotiations.
They didn't have to. It should be obvious to even the most casual observer of the history of Hamas and the region that was what he meant.
Yes, let's ignore what they actually say and just go by what we imagine they really mean. It's totally reasonable to kill people on the basis of what you imagine them doing or thinking, whether or not you have any evidence.
But the language used by Hamas and is in their charter isn't merely about land (re-)appropriation. It's been about struggling against and slaughtering Jews, and obliterating the state of Israel.
From wikipedia:
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal indicated to Robert Pastor, senior adviser to the Carter Center, that the Charter is "a piece of history and no longer relevant, but cannot be changed for internal reasons."[76] Hamas do not use the Charter on their website and prefer to use their election manifesto to put forth their agenda.[77][78] Pastor states that those who quote the charter rather than more recent Hamas statements may be using the Charter as an excuse to ignore Hamas.[76]

British diplomat and former British ambassador to the UN Sir Jeremy Greenstock stated in early 2009 that the Hamas charter was "drawn up by a Hamas-linked imam some [twenty] years ago and has never been adopted since Hamas was elected as the Palestinian government in 2006".[79] Mohammed Nimer of American University comments on the Charter, "It's a tract meant to mobilize support and it should be amended... It projects anger, not vision."[80] Ahmed Yousef, an adviser to Ismail Haniyeh, has questioned the use of the charter by Israel and its supporters to brand Hamas as a fundamentalist, terrorist, racist, anti-Semitic organization and claims that they have taken parts of the charter out of context for propaganda purposes. He claims that they dwell on the charter and ignore that Hamas has changed its views with time.[81]
The problem here is that people are ascribing motivations to Hamas, and then saying that because they have those motivations they are terrible people who can't be negotiated with.

But the obvious problem with that is that you can ascribe anything you want to anyone. There is no objective way to know what someone "really" thinks or what "really" motivates them.

It's a totally logically incoherent position to take, because if you are allowed take actions based on what you imagine other people might think, then you can justify anything simply by making up motivations based on what would be convenient at the moment.

---
Beyond that, though, so what? In the end the goal of peace should be to stop the bloodshed How members of Hamas "feel" about Israel or what they are willing to symbolically say about Israel is totally irrelevant to actual material peace in the real world.

Again, if you want an example of two countries living in peace without recognizing each-other, just look at the US and China after WWII. Or Taiwan and China today. The Chinese government still doesn't recognize Taiwan as an independent country. But the two countries engage in massive trade, Taiwanese businesses own factories in China, Taiwanese people travel there all the time, and mainland Chinese tourists are now going to Taiwan. No one is getting killed and in fact the two countries have a massive amount of economic integration.

Yes, there is a risk for Taiwan, but it's fairly remote. And Taiwan needs to maintain a military capable of defending itself. But no one is getting killed.

So anyway, if China and Taiwan can have peace without 'formal' recognition, why can't Israel and Palestine do the same thing?

Arguing that people should be killed by the hundreds or thousands over some purely symbolic issue is absolutely insane.

Also, has Israel ever agreed that Palestine has a right to exist, as a real independent country?
posted by delmoi at 10:59 AM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I see no evidence that Hamas wants to physically destroy or eradicate Israel given the normal meaning of those words.

Hello delmoi. I had a conversation with you about a similar, related topic this past June. Back then, you ignored presented evidence, took my words out of context and used selective editing to twist my meaning. When I called on it, you did not reply. Now you're doing so once again, by ignoring the full text in favor of a cherry-picked interpretation.

Your bad faith arguing is a waste time for both of us. Sorry, I won't bite again. Feel free to have the last word, though.
posted by zarq at 11:32 AM on November 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hello delmoi. I had a conversation with you about a similar, related topic this past June. Back then, you ignored presented evidence, took my words out of context and used selective editing to twist my meaning.
*shrug* I don't really remember it. If you linked then people could see the discussion and judge for themselves.

Anyway, you said Hamas wanted to eradicate or destroy Israel, and you linked to something that does not quote them saying that at all. I don't think that's "bad faith" on your part - but it in order to for it to be true you have to accept that "not recognizing" Israel is the same thing as wanting to physically destroy it (meaning through death and destruction).

And again I would point to Taiwan and China, which get along fine, have trade relations, tourism, deep economic integration and so on without China "recognizing" the government in Taipei.

Anyway, I'm certainly not saying that Hamas are good people. They are obviously not. But achieving peace means working with your enemies. It means forgiving people, or at least tolerating people, who you hate, and who hate you. That goes for both sides.

Again, the issue here is that the fact that Hamas are bad people does not mean they can't be negotiated with. Perhaps recognition of Israel can be traded for some other symbolic thing that the Palestinians want. You can only find that out through negotiating.

Finally, why exactly should we leave it up to these two sides to try to work things out between themselves? The international community should step in and come up with something and have it enforced by some third party. That way, you wouldn't need to trust that Hamas wouldn't fire rockets into Israel, they would only need to agree to have international people come in to prevent it from happening, in exchange for a lifting of the blockade and.

Part of the problem is the idea that these two people live in a vacuum where no outside group can come in and enforce a peace agreement.
posted by delmoi at 12:07 PM on November 30, 2012


Palestinian Legal strategy against Israel: The Real Prize is Europe
posted by homunculus at 12:49 PM on November 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


delmoi: "Also, has Israel ever agreed that Palestine has a right to exist, as a real independent country?"

Most recently, and very officially, in 2007.
posted by gertzedek at 1:20 PM on November 30, 2012


gertzedeck: how much credibility does that declaration really have in the light on Israel's strenuous lobbying to prevent Palestinians getting a foothold at the UN and Israel's apparent negotiating position that Palestinian independence - unlike its own - is something that should be bestowed upon the Palestinians once it has subscribed to conditions heavily favourable to Israel, rather than something they have a right to declare unilaterally.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:37 AM on December 1, 2012


MuffinMan - after the multiple attempts to invade and destroy Israel in the past 60+ years, you can't expect Israelis to give Palestinians the benefit of the doubt. Any move towards independence must come with guarantees of Israeli security. Or else everything falls apart (see Gaza post disengagement). You can call that "conditions heavily favourable to Israel", I call that the minimum baseline for negotiation.

Having said that, I agree Netanyahu is probably not the best partner to negotiate with the Palestinians now, and yesterday's authorization to build settlements was not a good move.

P.S. Can you explain what you mean with "unlike its own" on your comment? Israeli independence was declared in 1948 and was immediately followed by a massive invasion by Arab forces, with no intention of creating an independent Palestinian state (something that was not discussed by the Arabs until the mid-seventies) but rather just kick the Jews out.
posted by falameufilho at 7:50 PM on December 1, 2012


Any move towards independence must come with guarantees of Israeli security. Or else everything falls apart

One would think security would be easy to define, but in reality it isn't. For example, Israel has lobbied hard that upgraded Palestinian status at the UN be dependent on immunity from prosecution. Land rights would be another area where "security" can be defined both broadly and prejudicially.

By unlike its own I meant that Israel declared independence unilaterally. It would have been a complete anathema to its leadership to ask permission and subject itself to the whims of its opponents and their sponsors.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:49 PM on December 1, 2012


Yes, I agree that security is hard to define. For example, there's a quite mainstream view that any Palestinian state must be demilitarized. I tend to agree with that.

I don't think the comparison with Israeli independence is fair. When Israel declared independence, it was under completely different circumstances. The Brits were leaving and there was a UN partition plan in place to replace the mandate, providing for two states, side by side. The Arabs decided to reject the plan and invade. The rest is history.
posted by gertzedek at 5:10 AM on December 2, 2012


BBC News: Israeli settlement plans in a strategically sensitive area of occupied land near East Jerusalem would deal "an almost fatal blow" to peace hopes, UN head Ban Ki-moon has warned. [...]

In a statement on Sunday, Mr Ban expressed "grave concern and disappointment" over the 3,000 newly authorised Israeli settlement units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

But he was most adamant that any plans to build in the so-called E1 area - between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim - should be rescinded. An Israeli official has described the proposals in the E1 zone as "preliminary zoning and planning work".

"It would represent an almost fatal blow to remaining chances of securing a two-state solution," Mr Ban said. [Emphasis mine]
posted by MuffinMan at 11:56 PM on December 2, 2012


According to a new report from Haaretz, that's exactly what the diplomats from France and Britain are thinking. More specifically, the Haaretz report cites senior European diplomats who say that the two countries are considering "the unprecedented step of recalling their ambassadors." One told the paper, "This time it won't just be a condemnation, there will be real action taken against Israel."
posted by barnacles at 6:07 AM on December 3, 2012


The Chutzpah of Bibi Netanyahu: Israel’s prime minister says diplomacy is war, criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism, and West Bank settlements aren’t unilateral.
posted by homunculus at 1:49 PM on December 7, 2012


Picasso in Palestine: Displaced Art and the Borders of Community
The act of the displacement of the Picasso prefigures a number of problems relating to how the Picasso in Palestine project may or may not have succeeded in imagining a Palestinian community to come. Several of those problems had to do with the security of the work: the insurance, climatic conditions during transport, paper work, how to deal with the road blocks, and many other aspects that would normally not be considered a problem when a work of art goes to a foreign exhibition in a fully developed nation state. One could say that the displacement of the work showed the underlying conditions of both the nation state and the modern art world, and their complicity when invaluable pieces of art become object of global transportation.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:14 PM on December 9, 2012


Choose Your Own Israeli/Palestinian Peace Deal, with interactive partition drawing exercise.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:22 PM on December 12, 2012


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