pro-Palestinian thread, part 2

Eight years ago, in the full heat of 9/11’s aftermath, I started a pro-Palestinian thread. The arguments were great, albeit emotional, but what was missing was the element of hope. Naturally; it was just after 9/11.

These days, things seem to be much calmer, both here and in Israel/Palestine, so I think this may be a good time for cooler heads to revive the issue. The issue is no less urgent and no less deserving of a fair and permanent solution simply because there’s less killing going on now.

Firstly: “pro-Palestinian” does not, not, NOT mean “anti-Israeli.” In my logic, it is impossible for a truly “pro-people” position to be interpreted as “anti-some-other-people.” If you support human rights for all, you can’t be either anti-Palestinian or anti-Israeli.

“OK, smart guy, if you’re pro-people and pro-human rights, why didn’t you title your thread pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli thread?”

To draw attention to the asymmetrical injustice that is going on. Palestinians have suffered more and been displaced, wounded, humiliated and killed more than Israelis. Most Israelis live in relative comfort and security; most Palestinians do not; and the one may be a contributing factor to the other. (I’m talking principally about the settlements and the military protection, exclusive access roads, and often stolen land and water resources that each settlement requires.)

You often hear careless or emotional arguments which quickly become racist. It seems that Palestinians are among the last people in the world against whom you can be racist without fear of censure or ostracism. But the inconvenient fact remains that they are human beings, and all humans have the right to live in viable communities, to practice self-determination, to practice their language, religion and cultural heritage, and to “pursue happiness” by utilizing their economic resources – specifically by farming, digging wells, building new homes, starting new industry, getting an education, and being able to freely move from one part of their community to another – etc., etc., etc.

Sure – the Palestinians have had bad leaders, they have not received sufficient support from other Muslims and Arabs, and some individuals among them have done terrible things – all of which does not negate the entire community’s basic human and civil rights! And yes, they have collectively made bad decisions in the voting booth – what democratic people hasn’t? – but they are collectively still deserving of the respect and dignity due to every human being! In fact, the strife and bad decisions are never going to end until they get that respect and dignity. The best security is respecting others.

Palestinians have been oppressed and they have the right to struggle ethically for their rights. So did the Irish and the South Africans. Some Irish and South Africans committed atrocities in pursuit of that goal, but that did not take away the legitimacy of their cause overall. And what about America? Were no heinous acts ever committed by Americans in the name of America’s ideology of liberty and justice for all?

And of course Israelis have all the rights enumerated above, same as everybody else. Israel has the right to exist, and Israelis have the right to live in peace and security. But they are very unlikely to get any permanent security by oppressing others.

I believe most Israelis are basically good people with a social conscience, but too many of them have learned to selectively turn off that social conscience when it comes to Palestinians, preferring comfortable apathy and an unquestioning attitude towards government. I regard Uri Avnery and the Peace Now folks as heroes taking a moral stand.

For centuries, the Jewish people were the conscience of the world. Jews were always in the forefront when it came to labor organizing, reform movements and social consciousness, and they still are – except when it comes to Israel. (This is a sweeping statement, which, like every such statement, can become inaccurate under many circumstances. The statement refers to mainstream Jewish institutions and spokesmen such as AIPAC and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, but there are many American and Israeli Jews who have not turned off their consciences where Palestinians are concerned. In Los Angeles, the principal advocates for Palestinian rights are mainly Jewish.)

Now here’s the part where both Israelis and Palestinians may become angry with me: I think the possibility of a one-state solution should be explored. A multi-ethnic, multi-creed secular democracy which does not favor or oppress anyone based on ethnicity or religion. Now, this may turn out to be totally unworkable – it may be the worst idea ever – but I think the idea should at least be seriously talked about.

What’s your solution to the situation? I trust the SDMB community to use its creativity and reasoning power to come up with something that is humane, fair and permanent. The only unacceptable responses as far as I’m concerned would be:

-“Drive the Jews back into the sea.”

-“Expel the Palestinians.”

-“Nothing – the situation can’t be solved, so we shouldn’t even try.”

People’s lives, probably including American lives, depend on us trying. While there’s hope, there’s life.

Fire away!

I’m just curious how you think you can get a reasoned debate when you use such slanted and explosive language as that in your OP. You seem to be unaware that there are two sides to this debate, and that far from being the simple punch bunnies and passively oppressed (under the jackboots of those evil Israeli’s of course) folks, the Palestinians have been active participants in the current fucked up situation, and bear at least as much responsibility for how things have worked out as the Israeli’s and their Arab neighbors (in fact, I think they bear MORE responsibility for how things have worked out than Israel, if less than their friendly Arab neighbors).

I don’t see this debate going any where good though…this has been hashed out numerous times on this board, and any time someone starts from so obviously prejudiced a position as you’ve taken in the OP it generally doesn’t end well.


Xtisme – you are the classic pot calling the cattle black, and you are also using the classic “straw man” technique, mischaracterizing my arguments in a way that seems blatant and obvious to anyone actually reading them.

It’s hilarious that you would call my OP “slanted and explosive.” Have you read your own post??? At least I didn’t use the F-word, nor did I mock or twist the words of the opposition.

As for “prejudicial,” I think you did not read the following words of mine, which acknowledge bad things done by Palestinians and support Israel’s right to exist:



Now, does sound to you like I would characterize the Israelis as “evil”??? Your words, not mine. The straw man tactic strikes again.

I think what you are principally objecting to is that I have a point of view which is not identical to yours. Your response post is extremely dishonest, and I would say almost troll-like. I’m trying to add to the debate, and you’re trying to shut it down prematurely.

If you have genuine, honest arguments to make, then make them. But don’t use deceitful rhetorical techniques. People on the SDMB can read for themselves and are too smart to fall for that.

I have just read SDMB’s policy concerning accusations of trolldom, and I therefore apologize for the use of the term “troll-like.”

Which does not change the fact that xtisme’s post mischaracterized my argument and twisted my words, Straw Man-style.

I mean… “punch bunnies and passively oppressed.” Sheesh. Read the OP already.

It’s the pot calling the kettle black, not the cattle…though it’s funny that way too. Also, have you noticed that the smart folks on the SD haven’t exactly flocked to respond to your OP as yet. Have you considered why that might be?

Here are some of the parts I found slanted in your OP and why:

The problem here is how you skew the language. The Palestinian’s have suffered, no doubt…but much of their suffering is self inflicted. Yes, the Israeli’s have more security…how not, when they have a state but the Palestinian’s don’t. But this begs the question you don’t seem prepared to ask or answer…WHY don’t the Palestinian’s have a state? Who is to blame for this? The Israeli’s? They certainly played their part. The other Arab powers? Yeah, their part and more. The Palestinian’s themselves? Bingo.

Using words like ‘stolen land and water resources’ is inflammatory and highly charged and it’s not really accurate.

Uhuh…so, it boils down to racism. The last bastion of acceptable racism in the world no less. And you figure this is calm and reasoned arguments? Again, you attempt to paint one side as good and one as bad…hell, those damn Israeli’s don’t even consider their Palestinian brethren and sistren HUMAN, if the above is to be believed.

Of course this is not exactly accurate. Palestinian’s living (peacefully) in Israel have the same rights as other ethnic groups in Israel (save they can’t be in the armed forces).

But of course, the Israeli’s only get security by ‘oppressing others’, right? And, again, you think this is calm and reasoned arguments here? You think you are being fair, unbiased and context accurate?

Perhaps, to put it in exaggerated terms that you seem to favor, Israeli’s are tired of being blown up in shopping malls and on buses by crazy assholes wearing explosive garments? Perhaps they are tired of being invaded by people bent on killing them all and destroying their country and they want a bit of security between them and all the folks out there who want to kill them?

I mean, it’s just a thought.

I don’t see the straw, to be honest. Your OP was highly skewed, just as I said. That you can’t see it pretty much shows that your mind is closed on this subject. I can at least see that, in my own case, I AM a bit prejudiced on this subject, and it’s a struggle for me to keep an open mind, knowing something of the actual history and context behind this fucked up situation. I freely admit that Israel is not blameless in all this, and that any solution is going to need to have them seriously making concessions that won’t be popular with the majority of their own population. And I at least TRY to keep as open a mind as I can when this discussion comes up (again, and again, and again on this board). Which puts me at least marginally ahead of you…at least ahead of what you’ve shown so far.


FWIW, I don’t mind…I’ve been called worse. I doubt the Mods will even take note, or if they do it will be a mild slap on the wrist.

I dinna thin’ that word means what you thin’ it means.

I read it…and stand by my interpretation of what you were saying. If you want to prove me wrong then try less biased language and more balance. There IS a lot that can be said on the Palestinian’s side…but the hyperbole you use really doesn’t help your case. IMHO and FWIW and all that.


Personally, I favour a three-state solution, then foster a spirit of competition between the newly-formed states of West Bank and Gaza over who can acheive wealth and comfort and stability faster. Since the easiest way to do this will be cozying up to Isreal, I figure it’ll foster peace, at least in the short term.

Frankly, the whole area is a timebomb given the reproduction rate.

Maybe you could clarify this statement. they receive a great deal of military support from regional countries (you can’t call Iranians “Arabs”). In this light, Palestinians are being used to wage a proxy war against Israel. If this support were redirected to the recapitalization of the area it would put Palestinians back to work and allow them to create their own stable economy.

My only other suggestion would be to give up either the West Bank or Gaza and swap land with Israel to create a contiguous land mass. This way the West Bank isn’t cut off from a seaport and neither is a postage stamp of land cut off from the other.

Actually, my take on your OP is pretty much the same as XT’s – It’s a perfectly worthwhile statement of your opinions on the matter, but you are clearly not coming from sort of objective, neutral stance, and it’s certainly not anything that hasn’t said before.

If anyone is engaging in straw-manning, I’d say it’s you, when you imply that people do not think Palestinians deserve respect, dignity, human rights, etc. I do not know of anyone who has said otherwise.

But part of respecting someone is holding them responsible for their actions; this is something we do to everyone except small children and the mentally ill. In the case of the Palestinians, every single time they have given the opportunity to improve their situation, they have instead chosen to focus on attacking Isreal. Saying they’ve had a few bad leaders or made some poor choices doesn’t begin to cover it.

Actually, according to the Palestinians, Isreal does not have the right to exist. They have had several elections now, and the parties advocating peaceful coexitistance with Israel never get more than a sliver of the vote. Both Hamas and Fatah/PLO have the eventual destruction of Israel by violent means as part of their official platform.

I believe most Isrealis would do fucking anything if it meant they could be sure their kids would grow up free and safe. Unfortunately, every single time they’ve made concessions for peace, they’ve been attacked.

The Isrealis aren’t the one teaching children about how glorious it is to grow up to be a suicide bomber. They aren’t the ones with school curriculum spreading blood libel. You’ve got your social consciences reversed.

The solution will take care of itself. In the short and medium terms Israel will continue to block any attempts at peace while continuing their slow-motion ethnic cleansing of the 22% of Palestine that they originally ethnically cleansed Palestinians into. Their political situation will continue to deteriorate, allowing fascist and religious groups to increasingly run the show. Educated Israelis will continue to flee as fast as they can get passports to go elsewhere. In the longer term, two or three decades, Israel will be left as a nasty little fascist state with very little international support, subject to boycotts etc., and gradually dwindle away like other colonial states over the ages, to be once again subsumed by the Palestinians, peace be upon them.

You sure about that? I know quite a few engineers who have moved TO Israel over the last decade or so.

Yes, anybody with a US or European passport is getting out. Not everybody, but enough to make the British Zionist board erupt into civil war over whether they should start a campaign to publicly call for the Israeli government to open good-faith peace negotiations. (They’re already doing that privately.) Official immigration figures show everything is peachy, the real ones show demographic suicide, the country expected to be majority Arab/Haredim in about a decade.

Really? That’s interesting, if true and can be cited.

Can you show us some of these suicidal demographic indications? Not that I’d doubt the word of someone who uses such mild and obviously accurate language as ‘Israel will continue to block any attempts at peace while continuing their slow-motion ethnic cleansing of the 22% of Palestine that they originally ethnically cleansed Palestinians into’ and ‘Their political situation will continue to deteriorate, allowing fascist and religious groups to increasingly run the show’. I mean, who could doubt your unbiased assessment and clear eyed understanding of this complex situation, ehe?

But, just for drill, do you have a cite?


No, but a relative of mine is a fairly senior figure in the British Zionist movement, or what passes for it these days. The reality-based members of it are intensely worried about Israel’s future prospects. Amazingly, vast mumbers of educated Israelis don’t want to live in a colonial state that’s constantly at war with its neighbours and continuing to do the things it’s doing. They’re off as fast as they can go but still officially counted as Israeli citizens. It’s impossible to run a functioning state if enough of the smart people bugger off, and the projections of numbers leaving are now starting to terrify even the Zionists.

My language is entirely accurate.

I hope you’re not offended if we can’t just take your word for that. Nothing personal.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East with any semblance of a democracy or any kind of progressive culture; it’s the only place where you can have a gay pride parade down a major street in a major city (try doing that in Riyadh or Tehran) and hell, they have Arabs on the Israeli parliament (is there any Arab country that has Jews in its parliament?) For the life of me I don’t understand why everyone bashes it so much.

Furthermore there are so many Jews who are against Israel; I have never even seen Muslims in America protesting against the abuses of Muslims in Islamic countries, let alone the abuse of anyone else. The Muslims, to their credit, never break ranks when it comes to being against Israel. The Jews, on the other hand, do nothing but break ranks. There are so many “Jews Against the Occupation” type groups around here, on colleges, on Facebook, etc - where are the equivalent of these for any other ethnic or religious group? Are there any “Irish Catholics Against the IRA” groups? Are there “Serbs for Kosovo” groups? Fuck no. Everyone else sticks up for the collective, never breaks rank, and presents a unified front. Everyone except Jews.

███** SIT NOMINE DIGNA **███ Here is info from Micha Kurz, an Israeli combat soldier who fought in the 2nd Infitada. He has a booklet 'Breaking the Silence", with 54 soldiers writing about the horrors they perpetrated on the civilians. They talk of destroying houses, shooting civilians, shooting anywhere they felt like, of acting with out moral restrictions and operating in an air of anything goes. They felt guilty and decided to air what they did.
He has a site " Grassroots Jerusalem" , if you want to read what they have done.
On the Grit TV show he says that they would declare a curfew and keep it is place for weeks. During that time they would take over peoples homes and businesses.

Turkey, also. Istanbul and Ankara have hosted some gay pride marches,

Is this the part where we discuss it amongst ourselves? Is the author of the thread a cicada? What’s the deal here?