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Shock Waves

The renewed violence in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict may be tied to the wave of unrest in the Arab world—as a distraction meant to lure the U.S. back to a failed peace process

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After the bus bombing in Jerusalem last week. (Marina Passos/AFP/Getty Images)
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Syriana

Bashar al-Assad has maintained his country’s key position in Mideast politics by drawing out the peace process and turning it into warfare by other means

It’s unclear who is behind the recent bus bombing in Jerusalem and the waves of rockets coming from Gaza. Yet the intent of these attacks is obvious—to change the subject from massive popular discontent with Arab regimes to one that both the region’s endangered rulers and the world’s political and intellectual elite are more comfortable with: the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The fact that a wave of revolutions has shaken the foundations of Arab politics without the slightest apparent connection to popular outrage against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians should be surprising to most experts and politicians in the West. For over four decades, the driving idea behind the West’s approach to the Middle East has been the supposed centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to Arab popular anger at the West and its key to ensuring the stability of the West’s favored regimes. That the price tag for this American diplomatic instrument has been thousands of dead Jews and several lost generations of Arabs has, in the upside-down world of Mideast policymakers, made the achievement of an ever-elusive peace deal seem all the more important with every passing year.

This idea was a convenient point of agreement between Washington policymakers and Arab regimes. For Washington, the peace process was a good source of photo ops and a chance to show concern for human rights in the region without interfering with the propensity of America’s Arab allies to torture and murder their political opponents. As for the regimes, they were happy to escape criticism of their own failures—rampant corruption, lack of basic human rights and freedoms, and violence against the Arabs they rule—by blaming Israel.

Now the notion that the genie of revolution in the Arab world can be put back in the bottle by blaming Israel is laughable. Even Arab populations with no special love for the Jewish state know that the regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and now Syria were not loved or hated by their people because of their adherence or opposition to the Palestinian cause. In fact, one of the most baffling things about the current wave of Arab revolutions to professional Middle East watchers must be the complete absence of any mention of the Palestinians in popular demonstrations and regime counter-propaganda alike.

However there is a clear connection between the Palestinian cause and the wave of popular discontent that has upended the foundations of Arab politics. By pushing the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the past four decades, the West has helped to underwrite Arab repression at home. The rationale behind the emergency laws in places like Syria and Egypt (even now after Cairo’s “revolution”) is that because of the war with Israel, the Arab security states must be ever-vigilant and therefore forbid their people from exercising basic rights like freedom of speech—or, in the words of Gamal Abdel Nasser, “no voice louder than the cry of battle”—diktats that they enforce through torture and murder.

If the recent wave of revolutions in Arab countries has proven anything it is that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process isn’t even a convenient fiction by which Washington can make nice to the Arabs. Rather, it has been a recipe for failure on a grand scale—social, political, and economic—that has now been laid bare. While the Arab regimes are being held responsible for their failures by their fed-up populations, Washington seems to feel no need to hold itself accountable for the collapse of a set of enabling fictions that has greatly diminished our position in a region that is of crucial strategic importance for the United States both militarily and economically.

***

So, who might have an interest in the sort of disruption and realignments the Jerusalem bus bombing has caused? Maybe it was the Syrians tapping a few of their Palestinian assets to heat things up in Israel. With so many people on the streets of Syrian cities burning pictures of President Bashar al-Assad and toppling statues of his father, Hafez, from whom he inherited this authoritarian Baathist regime, the leadership in Damascus could sure use a lifeline. And the U.S. administration, always on the prowl for another go at the peace process, is happy to throw it one.

Or perhaps it was the Islamic Republic of Iran, attacking Israel through proxies in order to signal to Washington that maybe they’re ready to come to the table at last. If this turns out to be the case, it will be worth remembering that President Barack Obama failed to support the protesters who took to the streets for Iran’s Green Revolution in June 2009—because he wanted to engage an Iranian regime he thought was ready to deal on a host of Israel-related matters, such as Hezbollah and Iran’s nuclear program.

Of course even then the blame couldn’t fall exclusively on Obama. It’s all a matter of perspective, for in reality everyone plays the same vicious hand, from U.S. presidents to Arab regimes, as well as Arab “liberals,” and even the government of Israel itself.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, for example, reached out to Syria when he embarked on a quiet round of negotiations with Damascus under Turkey’s supervision in 2007. Up until then, President George W. Bush’s administration had put the Syrians in isolation after their suspected involvement in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. But Olmert was facing a domestic crisis, including charges of corruption, and he knows how the game works—as soon as the international community gets a whiff of the peace process, everything else is put aside: The Arab regimes get a free pass for killing Arabs if they say they’re willing to talk to the Jews.

Still, Olmert’s opening freed the Syrians from their separation and brought the rest of an international community back to Damascus on bended knee—with France in the forefront. So what if the Syrians tortured their own people, murdered Lebanese journalists and political figures, and helped kill U.S. soldiers and American allies in Iraq, as well as Palestinians and Israelis? Olmert needed some breathing space, and the rest of the world was happy to comply.

***

Whoever attacked Israel last week knows how the game works, too, and sure enough in short order the U.S. policy community jumped to attention. Instead of pushing to cut off the regime in Damascus as the Syrian people braved death to go the streets, American policymakers like Sen. John Kerry and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered their bona fides. “There is a different leader in Syria now,” Clinton said of the man believed responsible for ordering the murder of Hariri. “Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.” Never mind that her own State department says rather that Syria is a state sponsor of terror; Washington will do nothing to help the Syrians who’ve come out against their own government, because the U.S. president is going to make good on his word to engage dictators, no matter how many Arabs have to die as he proves his point.

The pro-Israel community in the United States must also share in the blame, or at least that large segment of it that has invested its energy and money in backing the peace process. Some say peace talks have to bring in the hardliners, like Hamas and Hezbollah—even as that means empowering those who have most to gain through murder. Those who want to keep the terrorist outfits out of negotiations are less stupid than they are cynical, for they know that in truth any agreement without Hamas and Hezbollah isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Others say that the peace process is phony, but it’s a diplomatic tool that Washington uses to keep our Muslim allies off our back.

And finally there are the Arab “liberals,” those Western-educated intellectuals who fill the editorial pages of the U.S. press with pleas to push harder on the peace process lest we empower the radicals. But at this stage the peace process does nothing except empower radicals by providing them with a staging ground.

The peace process wasn’t so bad when it started. Sure, President Jimmy Carter nearly undermined the prospects for an Egyptian-Israeli treaty when he tried to bring in the Palestinians and Syrians, but Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was savvy enough to escape the American president’s grand plans. And surely Sadat’s idea of reorienting Egypt from the Soviet Union toward the United States was a good thing for the Egyptian people. There’s also a Jordanian-Israeli deal on the books. But we’re just now beginning to see how high the price is.

There are the thousands of Israelis who were killed and injured when Hezbollah, Hamas, and other Palestinian factions negotiated on behalf of Syria, Iran, and others through the use of terror. And there are the thousands of Arabs killed and injured when the Israelis responded. But this is no “meaningless” cycle of violence; rather, it is the product of a deliberate diplomatic process overseen by the world’s oldest democracy. It was the United States that kept going back to the well over and over, with U.S. policymakers telling themselves that anything was worth the chance of peace.

Suicide bombing and the attacks of Sept. 11 were the logical conclusions to a strategy that started with a fund of surplus Arab youth that the regimes could dispose of as they saw fit. It is that same disposable youth that have taken to the streets these last three months—Arab men under the age of 30 who have no prospects because their regimes turned their countries into economic basket-cases and physical torture chambers, with Washington’s blessing. What they got in return for their suffering were the other-worldly fictions of a peace process that have now been laid bare.

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Excellent. Lee Smith does it again although I don’t necessarily agree with all that he says. This is an intelligent analysis at a time when silly, foolish words come out of the White House, the State Dept and the wordmill of the NYTimes.

And why is Israel above suspicion for the recent bombing and 9/11? It received an inordinate amount of support and attention (which is what the passive-aggressive state needs), and gave itself the right to expand and/or continue west bank settlements in the wake of both. How can you ignore these facts when laying blame?

james says:

“That the price tag for this American diplomatic instrument has been thousands of dead Jews and several lost generations of Arabs”

Why the omission of the thousands of dead Palestinians, their number is far greater.

hello says:

He mentions those numbers later. Read through before posting. It is still misleading, however, to suggest that the death tolls are anything but lopsided and that it was beyond Israel’s control (just happens, you know?) when they killed those thousands of Palestinians.

I have no love for the muslim leadership, but these passive-aggressive tendencies of Israel need to be addressed if they are to be taken seriously as anything but a bunch of entitled cry babies complaining that their neighbors are mean to them. It represents .05% of the world’s population yet somehow garners an ENORMOUS amount of its political resources…all because the modern Jew has decided that he is of the original tribe and so is entitled to this land. Such a deal! I wish I could do the same in Maui.

Steve says:

Gene Sharp inspired young people to fight for freedom without violence.
In the complicated real world, Lee Smith is the expert.
We need all ideas to save our civilization.
Without demonization, we need to guide Israeli leaders to modern thinking.
Without apologizing, we need to guide members of Hamas, Hezbollah to peaceful behavior.
The task is to discard the traditional glorified claims and insults, and use the ideas of the Enlightenment to live in a well regulated peaceful world.

hello says:

Nothing changes until people change. And so long as they hang on to tradition and superstitions, people will not change. In the meantime, it is fun to point these things out to people so deluded by their fractured and self-serving ideals that they will kill over them.

Ken Besig, Israel says:

The idea that somehow Palestinian violence against Israel is due to a breakdown in the Israeli Arab peace negotiations is ridiculous, uninformed, and hysterically out of touch with reality thus making it worthy of Israel’s greatest nemesis, President Barack Hussein Obama.
Only a fool still thinks that the Palestinians will or ever intended to settle peacefully with Israel.
The only goal the Palestinians have ever had, and it was stated explicitly in 1964 by the PLO, is the pyhsical destruction of Israel and the genocide of every Jew here.

Washington;s blessing? One would think that it is the US that created all the horrors of these dysfunctional and ruthless Arab regimes. Is Lee suggesting that we should have gone in with our legions and saved the Arab youth from their corrupt and power mad rulers? Does anyone think America is ready to risk their sons and daughters again and again to correct the evils perpetrated by these corrupt monsters. Isn’t it time we stop apologizing for America?

asherZ says:

With rockets from Gaza and a bus bombing in Jerusalem breaking the recent calm, see the YouTube response below from an IDF officer to Al Jazeera on the Israeli response to the attacks. Those who continue to use the obtuse phrase of ” a cycle of violence” have their heads in the sand, as some of the respondants above. (I don’t know if the link works).

Click here: YouTube – IDF Spokesman, Capt. Avichai Adraee Interviewed on Hamas Rocket Fire

hello says:

The land was settled violently and against the will of its population by violent men… and so it will exist in violence until the ideals of those men have not been thoroughly debunked, as they should be. Get used to it, Ashkenazis.

hello says:

The land was settled violently and against the will of its population by violent men… and so it will exist in violence until the ideals of those men have been thoroughly debunked, as they should be. Get used to it, Ashkenazis.

Gene says:

“The fact that a wave of revolutions has shaken the foundations of Arab politics without the slightest apparent connection to popular outrage against Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians should be surprising to most experts and politicians in the West. For over four decades, the driving idea behind the West’s approach to the Middle East has been the supposed centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to Arab popular anger at the West…”
Western “experts” and particularly western media does not care. There are peole who develop their ideas based on the all known facts (scientific aproach) and there are others who accept as facts only those things that fit their idea. Western media belongs to the second class.

Lars says:

Lee Smith’s assertion that there was no reference whatsoever to the Israel-Palestine conflict is flat out false. One of the more popular chants in Tahrir Square was Ya Mubarak ya Mubarak, Tel Abib bi intizarak (Oh Mubarak oh Mubarak Tel Aviv is waiting for you). I also saw references to the conflict on signs waved at the protests in Tunis.
A minimal competence in Arabic would be of great use to someone who claims to have something to say about the region.

Binyamin in O says:

This should be re-headlined “Mr. Smith Goes To Jerusalem.” In effect, he is whining that Obama is putting too much pressure on the Israelis to compromise. As proof, he offers the tired flip side of Bashir Assad’s conspiracy theories: It is actually the hand of Iran that is controlling the Palestinians. Baloney. Israel has one central problem, and it ain’t the mullahs in Tehran: it cannot maintain the fiction that it is the “only democracy in the Middle East” while it consolidates the de facto annexation of the West Bank and maintains the siege of Gaza. There is more democracy now in Cairo than in the apartheid city of Jerusalem. Ehud Barak is absolutely correct when he says that Israel faces a “diplomatic tsunami.” What Smith and these other Fox News meat puppets are trying to do is no different than Assad in Syria, desperately shift the focus away from the facts on the ground to “outside agitators.” But Smith is right about one thing, the “peace negotiations” are a sham, although not for the reasons he asserts. The truth is that the two-state solution left the station a long time ago. Whose “fault” that is a sterile debate. There is no excuse for, and there is no democratic defense of, Jewish apartheid.

Jerome says:

Smith is likely right that the wave of Arab revolutions has little to do the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that the “peace process” has been cynically used by all parties to the conflict. However, the fact that Israel is not the real source of rot at the heart of the Arab world should not mean that the status quo is sustainable or that a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians is not desirable.

David Szonyi says:

No nuances, please, for Lee Smith. He joins the chorus of neo-conservative conventional wisdom in arguing that “the Israeli-Palestinian peace process…has been a recipe for fasilure on a grand scale.” Never mind the decline in Palestinian violence against Israel, except for recent episodes, the emergence of a relatively moderate PA Palestinian leadership, the growth of civil society on the West Bank, the joint Israeli-Palestiniann security patrols; for Mr. Smith, none of this matters because the cup is all empty. And who is responsible for “thousands of dead Jews and several lost generations of Arabs”? Apparently, it is not the Arab and Israeli leaders in the region, but Washington’s policies (as if that policy has been consistent over the past few decades and as if it is only focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict). If you focus on only one player (the Americans), as Mr. Smith’s stick-figure look at U.S.-Israeli-Arab dynamics does, you can only identify one responsible party. Mr. Smith’s piece is as rhetorically focused as it is geo-politically simplistic.

Craig says:

Its not Israel that’s the problem, its Islam. When Palestinians stop using the Qur’an to teach their children that killing innocent people is justified as long as their Jewish, then they might have a case. But as long as they choose to send snipers to kill newborns, and slit the throats of 10-month-old Jewish children, I really don’t see the point in even considering them at the peace table.

Mike says:

“Palestinian Territories” and Israel’s security: See why Samaria is indespensible to Israel’s future –

http://shomroncentral.blogspot.com/

Pinchas from Boston says:

I’m always amazed how many leftist Jews, not to mention occasional hardcore antisemites, there are among Tablet’s talkbackers. Lee Smith is a very astute observer who knows the nuances of the Middle East and the mindset of beltway D.C., and those who deride him are ignoramuses who know neither. His main point is rocksolid and indisputable, namely, that the obsession with “peace” between Israel and the Palestinians has been counterproductive and a classic case of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Personally, I blame most of all what I consider the enemy within– the post-Zionist, liberal, progressive “intellectual” new york jewish types, here and in Israel, who have no real Jewish background (or loyalty) to begin with, who as well lack manliness,spine and common sense. Such “jews” would happily make concessions galore (giving up the Golan, smashing the occupation so Israel’s waist is again 8 miles wide, opposing an Israeli version of the pledge of allegiance, calling patriots like Lieberman a fascist and labeling Zionists and rabbis as racists)— all in the name of utopian peace and ethnic diversity.

A related point: That Judea and Samaria are as important as Jerusalem in the Bible and Jewish history, or as important to the U.S. as say, the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol, is a fact that is totally foreign to the thinking of such jews (basically, apostates),let alone beltway anti-Zionists, Arabists, oil lobbyists, Xian missionaries and educators. Even people who profess sympathy for Israel (e.g., Julian Schnabel, movie director of “Miral”)have no feeling for the miracle that, like the kotel in J’lem, Judea and Samaria are again “in our hands.” Give it back,it’s not ours, we stole it!– these jews lie and shout, and of course Washington and the Arabs love to hear this…

Binyamin says:

Your rant, Pinchas, fails to address one question: What should be done with (to) the Palestinians (on both sides of the Green Line)? A little ethnic cleansing, perhaps? Or just garden variety apartheid? Or maybe, just maybe, if the pretext is there, a full on final solution.

BH in Iowa says:

Benyamin, what do you think would happen to the Jews if Israel hands over J&S to the PLO? A little ethnic cleansing, perhaps? Or just garden variety apartheid? Genocide?

Or does what happens to Jews not concern you?

michiganruth says:

this is my first time on this site. tell me, are anti-Semites like “hello” typical here? I’ll hope not, because I thought this article was excellent.

the self-hating Jews and other liberal enablers of the Palestinians don’t use words like we do. they talk of the Palestinian “genocide,” when in fact the birth rate in Gaza is sky-high (5:1). even though they know this, they can still talk idiocy about a genocide.

the “siege of Gaza” is another tired trope. the “siege” could have been over in 2005, when Israel UNILATERALLY LEFT GAZA–the Israeli army forcibly evicted Jewish settlers, leaving the Pals to their own devices. and what did the Pals do? did they begin building hospitals or schools, or feeding their people? why, no. they immediately started firing rockets at Israel. they’ve been doing it ever since.

want to know why there will never be peace? because the Palestinians have no desire for peace. they only desire dead Jews, and their enablers like “hello” (really, is that you Ms. Power-Sunstein?) don’t mind that one bit.

Moses says:

One of the most ignorant analyses of the Middle East I’ve ever read. Mr. Lee should spend more time heeding the facts and less time heeding The Weekly Standard’s party line.

Nechama says:

Too many think the Israeli/palestinian problem began after the Six Day War when Israel acquired Judea and Samaria. Guess what – the problems began long before that war, long before settlements, even long before Israeli statehood. Arabs were butchering Jews in the 1920′s – and it even goes back further than that. Check your koran – mohammed and his band were butchering Jews for having the audacity of not accepting islam. That’s when islamic hatred of Jews began. They don’t hate Christians with the same intensity because there weren’t many Christians on the land way back then. It’s never been about a palestinian homeland, it was never about borders – they have not even hidden their true intentions – to destroy Israel and annihilate all the Jews.

Binyamin in O says:

Dear BH: If there were a genuine Palestinian state in “J&S”, that is, as the “PLO” (actually the PA) has long agreed, demilitarized, I think that Jews who wish to live there under Palestinian law, would (and should) be free to do so. In fact, that is exactly what the PA proposed in the last round of negotiations. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12266139
Would there continue to be friction? Sure. But what do you think you have now, and what does the future hold? When Black South Africans got their political and human rights, they did not use them for retribution. Neither did the IRA in Northern Ireland. Do you really think the world will permit Israel to subjugate the Palestinians on the pretext that this unarmed nation smaller than the island of Puerto Rico, if allowed freedom, would out do Hitler?

asherZ says:

Mr. Binyamin in O:
The BBC site you present says at the end quoting the chief Palestinian negotiator that “it is a pack of lies”. For what the racist Palestinian leadership really beliebe see article below.

Mahmoud Abbas ,Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and President of the Palestinian National Authority was quoted by the official Egyptian Maan News Agency :
“I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land”

Almost no notice was taken of another pre talks decision that the PA chairman revealed, as he announced clearly that if a Palestinian Authority state is created in Judea and Samaria, no Israeli citizen will be allowed to set foot inside.The PA chairman also stated that he would block any Jewish soldiers from serving with an international force stationed on PA-controlled land.

Abbas also reiterated his support for the “right of return” ,the demand by Arabs who fled Israel during the War of Independence when their leaders promised them a quick return after the Jews’ annihilation, to come back to the country along with the hundreds of thousands of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren born since. That demand is the reason they remained in squalid refugee camps as opposed to the larger number of Jewish refugees expelled from Arab lands in 1948 who became productive citizens of Israel.

so what Abbas say here? Palestine will have a “no jews allowed ” policy but yet he still demands the “right of return” for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and their decedents into israel ,while Israel is already home to a sizable proportion of Arab citizens, who have the vote right and are represented by Arab parties in the Knesset .

so who’s the real racist here ?

Ayman says:

Teh descendents of Amalek will never accept us….

No matter what they say…….

WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT!!!

And deal with it accordingly…..

JORDAN IS PALESTINE…….

Binyamin in O says:

Far from saying the Palestine Papers are a “pack of lies”, Said Erekat confined their authenticity last month (in english on the BBC). http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/hardtalk/9391525.stm.

Here is the one of many links available on he internet confirming Palestinian policy that Jews who are willing to live under Palestinian law (not settlers who are sworn to defy it and stole he land in the first place), will be welcomed in democratic Palestine.
http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/135325

Binyamin in O says:

Far from saying the Palestine Papers are a “pack of lies”, Said Erekat confined their authenticity last month (in english on the BBC). http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/hardtalk/9391525.stm.

Binyamin in O says:

Here is the one of many links available on he internet confirming Palestinian policy that Jews who are willing to live under Palestinian law (not settlers who are sworn to defy it and stole the land in the first place), will be welcomed in democratic Palestine. 
http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/135325

Binyamin in O says:

I note, asherZ, that your post contains no citations to the sources of these purported quotes. I believe that is because there are none.

You also fail to distinguish between settlers, who took land unjustly and hold it by force, and Jews generally, who throughout history, have stood on the side of the oppressed.

To Ayman: your post is a least honest. If the Palestinians (on both sides of the Green Line) are indeed “Amalek”, they must be forced out or exterminated. I salute you for not bowing to political correctness, and I suspect that your views are not at all on the fringe of the Jewish community, both in the U.S. and Israel.

Jerome says:

Wow! If the voices of the right-winger respondents is representative of the majority of Israelis, I genuinely fear for her future. Unless all Jews in the disaspora suddenly decide to throw in their lot with their brethren and make aliyah, Israel will soon face a demographic reality of Palestianians outnumbering Jews between the Jordan and the Mediterrnean. Israel can choose to become an increasingly un-democratic place imposing restrictions on Israeli Arabs and continuing the settlements, or it could try to disengage and reach a settlement with the Palestinians. Most commenters here seem to have concluded that peace is a fool’s game, the Palestinians do not have any legitimate grievances and that they should either accept Israeli overlordship or go to Jordan. Most would probably say compared to other states in the region, Palestinians and Arab Israelis have much more freedom. That is true, but does Israel really want to be compared to tyrannies? It also begs the question: what happens when these straw dogs burn?

benj says:

Jerome – Palestinian will not be the majority any time soon and in fact never. Jews in Israel and Judea and Samaria/West Bank are some 65% of the population.
In Israel proper, the fertility rate in 2009 was 2.9 for Jews and 3.4 for Arabs when the Jewish rate is rising (probably 3 this year) and the Arab rate is falling – this does not include Aliyah.
In the West Bank, the fertility rate among Arabs is even lower than in Israel – 3.1 – coupled with a strong emigration.

There will never be any Arab majority.

benj says:

Of course – I forgot to say that my numbers are from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics for Israel – and a number of studies from 2004-2009 for the West Bank as the official numbers from the PA are notouriously cooked and false. According to them they are over 2.5 millions Palestinians in the West Banl when the real number is closer to 1.5.

manny says:

THIS ABSURDITY FROM ME:
DEAR ME, IN THIS CASE JUST TO BE CLEAR (as obama would say) YOU,
ISRAEL COMMITTED THE ATROCITY OF THE BOMBING IN JERUSALEM.
LISTEN TO ME CAREFULLY AND READ THIS CAREFULLY.
THERE IS SUCH A THING AS FREEDOM OF SPEECH, PRESS, ETC AND THE FREEDOM TO EXPRESS IDEAS, BUT THE THERE IS NOT SUCH CONCEPT AS
FREEDOM OF STUPIDITY. AND THE ONLY ANSWER TO THIS KIND OF REMARK IS TO TAKE A 2 X 4 TO YOUR STINKING HEAD AND LET ME POUND IT TWICE. THIS MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE WILL STRAIGHTEN OUT ALL OF YOUR PROBLEMS.

Relax, manny. Facts are facts. But I didn’t say Israel did it- just asked why are they above suspicion when the resumption of their illegal activities is an upshot of these attacks? Your threats against me seem to lend at least anecdotal credence to that suspicion.

manny says:

1 ME – 2 HELLOs – AND A FEW OTHER GLOATERS WHO JUST CANNOT SEEM TO GET ENOUGH JEWISH DEATHS TO EVER BE SATISFIED.

It would seem that TABLE MAGAZINE has been invaded by an platoon of total idiots. Well, as much as i hate to admit it, idiots to have a right to live their own life, but not too well.

I want no deaths. You are completely and violently insane. Go with god.

Beatrix says:

Israel is an established, successful country that’s here to stay, and people who can’t see that are like the inhabitants of Venice that Browning writes about, who are “merely born to bloom and drop.”

Peace between Israel and Egypt happened when we had the most inept President we’ve ever had, before Obama, and that was Carter. But that didn’t matter. America had a great if imperfect statesman in Kissinger and Egypt had a great leader in Sadat and Israel had a leader in Begin with a perfect sense of historical timing.

If the Palestinians had a leader less protective of his neck than Abbas, we might have a new confluence of events that would lead to peace. Hamas has the strength of leadership, but not the willingness. Obama has dipped his toes in the forbidden vat of bribery, but he bribes the wrong people—the Israelis—when he should be focusing on the Palestinians.

All three nations need more cynical, more perceptive, and more experienced leadership.

Jed Brandt says:

Israel is hardly an established country. It has no constitution and no declared borders, and is entirely dependent on sponsorship from Europe and the USA.

Nor is Israel “here to stay”. The last time the Europeans sponsored a state on the Eastern bank of the Mediterranean it lasted for a over a century. But who mourns the end of the Crusades except the nostalgics of the far right?

It is hard not to notice that Israel’s greatest friends in the USA, the Christian Zionists, also think all Jews who refuse to convert to Christianity will be condemned to death and hell. And that they fervently wish all Jews leave and move to Israel, where they predict nuclear wars will be fought — which they actually look forward to. See Hagee, et al.

No. Ethno-states built by colonial settlement and maintained by systems of apartheid — like South Africa and the former French Algeria — are vestiges of a colonial era that has passed. That Israel maintains it’s outpost at the cost of continual war means it is not (and cannot be) “firmly established.”

Let us all redouble our efforts to bring secular democracy to those lands, from the river to the sea.

Jed Brandt says:

The demand for demographic majority is a call for ethnic cleansing, permanent war, even genocide (as defined by the Geneva Conventions).

Any state which proudly proclaims it is not for the actual people, but some “birthright”, is a horrorshow.

Jed Brandt says:

It’s hard not to notice that racists think everyone else shares their pathology.

Beatrix says:

You have taken every evil action committed by predominately Christian nations and you accuse the Jews of the same crimes because you are racist. Of course Israel is established and successful. We in Anerica have a constitution, but that doesn’t mean that every nation needs one.

Jewish is a religion and it’s also a nationality. Israel is predominately Jewish, and will remain so, just as America is predominately Christian and will remain so. As long as no one is forcing me to change my religion, what difference does it make?

And Jewish is also a nationality. (When people ask my nationality, as they do in America, I say Jewish). Just as Irish, Swedish, and English are nationalities. These countries have peoples of all races, religions and national backgrounds, and there is nothing racist about saying that once people become citizens of Sweden, for example, they become Swedish, whatever their background. The same is true for becoming Israeli. There is nothing racist about it.

Israel survived for almost 20 years before she established a “special relationship” with America. How long do you think England, France and Italy would survive in today’s world without America’s friendship? How long do you think they would have survived the Nazis without America? America was there when our allies were threatened, and she’s there for Israel, although she doesn’t fight for her. She doesn’t need to.

Israel, a small country, allies herself with a bigger power, just as all small countries do. (She should have done that with Rome).

Israel was attacked (a couple of times) and won, and so she now occupies a “country” equal in size and population to her own, whom she beat in war. When Abbas (or whoever follows him) negotiates a peace treaty, Palestine will have the first Palestinian country in the history of the world. It’s not apartheid, the Palestinians want a nation of their own.

You can’t imagine the Jews winning anything and so you’re preparing for the worst.

It is very discouraging to read so many of the responses that demonstrate such ignorance of the situation between Israel and the Palestinians. I am at a loss as to what Lee Smith, in his well reasoned piece these responders take issue with. Their hyperbole comes right out of the delegitimize Israel playbook and really has nothing to do with what the essay proposes. Because these “opinions” by these responders are not based on reasoned arguments, I doubt reasoned arguments could enlighten them. One can only hope they find another cause du jour sooner rather than later.

Jed Brandt says:

It is impossible to advocate Zionism without dehumanizing the indigenous inhabitants of Palestine, or claiming the “right” to ethnically cleanse the lands and maintain a legal apartheid system.

That is apparent not because I say so, but from any scan of the comments from Israel’s most ardent defenders.

Again, believing that free people do not require apartheid is not “racism” — it’s exactly the opposite. The idea that European Jews have a unique right to steal someone else’s land and maintain generations of occupation, mass arrests, systematic torture and permanent war is not “Jewish” — except in the fevered mind of anti-Semites, Zionists and other “blood and soil” nationalists.

Secular democracy has worked just fine for Jewish people’s religious and social freedom (as Jews) in the United States. This isn’t a Christian country. It’s a secular democracy that has overcome (legal) race laws. Israel is a shame, and dishonors the people who’s name it acts in.

Learn about Israel’s most important strategic asset – Samaria.

Read all about it here:

http://shomroncentral.blogspot.com/

Would you be interested by exchanging hyperlinks? Gucci Hats

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