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Author Topic: The Apartheid State of Israel
ag
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Not bad, RickyB, not bad at all. Actually, very good. I like it.
Thanks.

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RickyB
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Hannibal and ag, thanks for your kind words.

Kamikasi - I'm an American citizen, and also an Israeli one. I currently live in Israel. I've lived almost half my life in NYC. 8.5 years from birth, and another 5.5 in my early to mid 20's. (I'm 33 now)

I edit the American Elections section at the news portal where I work, and have always been a politics and history junkie [Smile] I have a BA in history and poli-sci from SUNY. One of these days, when I win the lottery, or find the oil everyone but us seems to have around here, I'll go back to school and get the damn PhD...

Edited to add my age

[ April 10, 2004, 06:34 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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Kamisaki
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Thanks for the info, Ricky, and excellent last post. I'm 100% in agreement with you on all of that.
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Hannibal
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10x ricky
i must say that your second post is even better.

drewmie, if what ricky wrote cant make you change your mind i really dont think that you will ever change your mind.

you know besides that St louis ship that ricky brings up every time i want to add another story.
in 1938 right before the start of the war, several free countries (canada, australia, south america, england etc,) including the USA ofcourse convined in avian ,france,(i need to read my hi-school books now) in order to decide about the "jewish problem" and they set to decide : how many jews can each country take, they couldnt decide to take even a few tousands . infact the usa has closed its gates for imegrants completley those years.

in our Dire Straits (heh, the band is the greatest) even the greatest country of all times with the grandest ideas of freedom didnt do jack s*** to help the jews. if at that time the state of israel existed, i am sure that those jews whould have fled here. so no, we dont want to rely on a foriegn country/army to defend us, no matter how friendly to us they are, just like i am sure, you whouldnt want israel to defend your country.

( by the way,if we are in the buisness of bible stories, ricky remmember the one where Judea relays on egypt to save them from the babylonians. and the babylonian general says to the judean king quite mockingly that he shouldnt "lean on a broken stick" -- a very loose translation [Smile] )
we have learned from our mistakes of the past and we want to defend our selves by ourselves. and even with all the terrorism in israel, i feel much safer here then i feel every where.

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RickyB
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It seems I mangled some of the details about the St. Louis. Turns out four countries did eventually agree to let our people in (after a long journey and many refusals, including the US which had the coast guard fire a warning shot across the bow of the ship as it approached Florida). Uruguay was not one of them, and I dunno why I thought so (too much ganja, maybe). Anyway, Respect demands that these countries be mentioned by name.

quote:
They were Belgium, Holland, France, and England. Within a year, however, the Nazis occupied the first three of these countries and most of the passengers eventually perished in concentration camps. Only those in England were saved. Thus, this incident has received the moniker, “The Voyage of the Damned.”
Even France, which in the 30's was pretty antisemitic itself. I never would have guessed.

This link contains the story.

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drewmie
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quote:
RickyB wrote: Sorry, but we ARE different. We don't insist on feeling this way in order to offend or annoy you, but we choose not to lose our distinction. We do not require YOU to acknowledge this distinction in any way, but we do insist on our right to do so ourselves, between ourselves.

As I said in a previous post, every persecutor except the nazis has given us this alternative: "Just stop behaving like you're special, be like the rest of us, stop treating each other differently than you treat the rest of us, and we'll leave you alone".

We feel that it's our right to gratefully and respectfully decline this invitation. It is precisely so that this right may be exercised, that we not be forced to choose between our identity and our lives, that we must have a room of our own....

So you understand, this is about our life. This is too important for us to rely on you to take care of us. We don't want to be safe because you like us. We want to be safe even if you don't . And if not absolutely safe, at least as safe as WE can arrange for ourselves to be. We don't want it to be up to you to save us or neglect to do so. Wherever and however we live, we want it to be not as a boon. Not because whatever notion you may have about who we are. But the same as any other people - on our own.

I quoted these parts because I think I've made a very important part of my position unclear, given Everard's response and yours here.

I believe in the right of Jews to self-determination. I believe in the right of the Jews to a safe have. AND I believe that the desire of the Jews to return to their ancestral and spiritual homeland should be given the greatest of respect.

But there is one big weakness in your quotes above. You consistently talk about the Jews doing this FOR THEMSELVES. I agree. If someone has a religious agenda that cannot be justified on an objective, secular basis alone, they should take care of it themselves. Why? Because America should make its decisions, both domestic and international, on objective criteria. Giving billions to Israel every year is simply not objective. It is religiously-driven, for the very reasons you have laid out so well.

So I'm really of two minds here. From a religious perspective, I love the idea of the Jews rebuilding Israel as a Jewish homeland, effectively restoring the Holy Land given to them by God. This is a wonderful and exciting prospect to me personally.

Then there's the American government policy side of me. FROM YOUR VERY ARGUMENTS of self-sufficiency (and my previous arguments), I see no objective basis for the extent of diplomatic, financial, and military support America has given Israel. I think I have made a good case that the reasons are because of a religious kinship WHICH I ALSO SHARE. And this reason is simply not allowed within our Constitutional framework. My critiques are made from this standpoint. I am, in effect, criticizing AMERICAN policy more than Israeli policy. My critiques of Israeli policy are simply the basis on which I think American policy should be changed, since they don't fall within our Constitutional principles.

In other words, I think personally that Israel should be able to allow ONLY Jews as citizens if it pleases. But America's financial support should, to remain Constitutionally consistent and fair, be more removed from Israel if they were to implement such a policy. A perfect example is religious schools in the U.S. To the extent they fulfill objectively useful public education criteria, they should receive the same government support as other schools that fulfill that same criteria. But to the extent they go in directions that are NOT objective and secularly fair, that support should be withdrawn.

So here's my question: Given what you stated above regarding the Jews doing this "on our own," how do you justify such blatant American support? Wouldn't it ruin the story if Abraham were taking yearly subsidies from Efron?

P.S.- Thank you for being so understanding in this potentially heated discussion. It is rare that I can be so frank and know that you will assume I mean well. I hope I have given you the same respect.

[ April 12, 2004, 01:17 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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Hannibal
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hey drewmie.

first of all, israel is not the only country in the middle east(or in the world) being helped by the USA. america is also giving alot of aid to the egyptians. and other countries why arent you critisizing them?

second as i told you. you as a person might lose a dime for israel. but as i said so many times here, israel can only buy american goods/products with the aid america gives us. so basically all the money is returning to american companies. plus, israel has to pay the money aid as a debt to america, so money also returns back to the US goverment(so you get the money twice... even though the debt is returned in payments [Smile] ). further more, american companies knows that the money we (israelis) have can only be used in america, so they charge us 400% of the original price no matter what we buy.
in addition since it costs israel "nothing" to buy stuff from america, the goverment (the army mainly) buys almost anything you can think of from america thus making a lot of factories in israel job less, so we even become MORE dependent on america.
basically your goverment monitary aid makes israel more and more dependent of america. it looks like this is the main goal here, to make us dependent on you. so you better ask your goverment officials what exactly are they planning.

any how, i am sure that once we will have peace with all the arab nations around us. we will need a much smalled army and wont require your money aid any more. so when we will have that peace, the situation will be a lot better.

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RickyB
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Jeez, I'm beginning to remind myself of the guy who can only explain how to fix a burnt fuse with a dissertation on electricity. This is long again, but I hope it's thorough too.

quote:
I see no objective basis for the extent of diplomatic, financial, and military support America has given Israel
Ah, but that is a completely different matter. This does not offend me at all. Once we turn the suject from "is it morally justified for y'all to create and defned your state over there" to "why shuld I pay for it?" , we are DRAMATICALLY reducing the emotional level of the debate as far as I'm concerned, though not necessarilly the intellectual interest.

but questioning the scope of America's support for Israel is 100 google percent legitimate. This has nothing inherently to do with antisemitism (though many questionable people, totally not you, use that argument to mask their antisemitism. They do so because it's an effective argument, and rings true, or at least totally legit (which, again, it is)). I hope I make myself clear.

I'll get to an argument for your question in a bit.

First, as for some of your assertions:

I think you insist too much on speaking of religious basis and so on, but maybe that's because you're a religious person (no offense towards that). It's just that I've already explained to you that Zionism, for the most part was conceived of by people who did not think of things in terms of religion.

I've also explained that by and large, the country is not run on the basis of religion. Most any religious person, including those who are hip and cool enough for me to actually hang with in real life <wry grin> will explain to you that Israel is shockingly secular and permissive. I even agree with them about certain narrow instances of this, though not about the general philosophy of what the public realm in Israel should look like.

It's important that you understand this. The original drive for Zionism, as a solution of the problem of the Jews, was mostly secular, and those founders of Zionism that were religious (rabbis like Alkalay, Kalisher and Mohliver, plus a few of the founders of Tel Aviv) were all liberal enough to accept the fact that Zionism was by no means an attempt to found a state based on the precepts of judaism as such. They probably had hopes for a more religious approach than hwat actually happened, but none wrote of the Torah (5 first books of OT) and the Halacha (accepted religious law) becoming the law of the land.

Any religious laws that do exist in Israel, are mostly the legacy of some pretty shortsighted, politically motiviated deals Ben Gurion made with the anti-Zionist orthodox, and partly because after the founding, the majority of the people who arrived into the new state, especially from the muslim world, was more religious on average than the Socialist-dominated Zionist establishment.

Back to the minority religious father of Zionism: They arrived at their support for Zionism through their religious beliefs, but Zionism in fact was a huge rebellion against the religious establishment and its very claim to guide our behavior.

Those who believe in total obedience to religion above all else tend to hate Zionism as disobedience to God, who supposedly wants us to wait for the Messiah and not "scale the walls" of the end days on our own.

Some like to say that if that's the case, David ben Gurion WAS the damn messiah ( [Big Grin] ). I think that gives him too much credit, great as he was, and anyway I'm a proud believer in The Church Of Here and Now (We get together on moonless nights and chant to evoke the spirit of Gilda Radner, among other rituals), so I really don't care what the Jewish RELIGION has to say about the political life of the nation. The State of Israel, by and large, cares less and less every year. A mostly good thing, though it drives our orthodox nuts [Big Grin]

As for justifying foreign aid by obedience of recepient to US constitution - you would be giving almost no foreign aid at all if that were the case. Nowhere does the constitution forbid the US to award any kind of aid to a foreign country based on its compliance with the US constitution. That would be a religious crusader's approach to the constitution - turning it into holy scripture that must be imposed on others <shivers>. All that's required is that Congress approve. This is 535 people from all over the country, not a cabal in the shadows of the whitehouse, watching over eternally changing figureheads. Apparently, US legislators through the ages have found this to be wise. Most of them have no electoral concerns regarding the Jewish vote.

Do you have any clue whatsoever how many outright dictatorships, some with really strong religious overtones, recieve foreign aid from the US? I suggest you look into it. Hannibal mentioned Egypt - which is far from the worst. Iraq's new interim constitution is blatantly "unconstitutional", citing as it does Islam as a major source of "inspiration" for legislation. Whoa, nelly!

You get so bent out of shape (nothing personal) because we use "religious criteria" to decide who gets a free pass in. But don't you get it? It's because we didn't have a state system of records. The congregation scrolls were the only member lists we had, and they were run by rabbis and centered around the synagogue.

this, in turn, is because up until the age of enlightenment, when Jews began to recieve permission to participate in (general) gentile intellectual life without renouncing their Jewish identities, whoever left the religion left the community (there were exceptions, but by and large that was the case). It was thus in many places throughout Europe. Nt just Jewish communities. Back then, religion and community were intertwined.

You think the US never used parish records for census purposes? I would bet they did in the late 1700's and early 1800's.

Back to foreign aid: foreign aid is not about strict adherance to the constitution, since then even aid to western European Democracies might very easily be classified as unconstitutional (after all, since the constitution doesn't hold sway in their countries, they can easily have practices that are actionable in the land o' the free).

It's about interest. Hannibal has already touched upon some of the more cynical benefits the US derives (a captive market to a large degree, veto power over significant parts of our exports, including almost anything military). This is not unadulterated philanthropy here. America's money buys it a client state with the GDP of a western country. That's not something to sneeze at.

But even if you assume only the purest of motives for the US, then I do infact have ananswer for you. Whether you'll accept it remains to be seen.

Why should the US give Israel military and economic aid? Because just look how it hard it has to work to plant the seed of democracy elsewhere in this region (which no-one thinks the US can just ignore, anymore). How much it was worth for you to have an ally like us here? And I'm not talking just about stuff like a safe place for the 6th fleet to anchor, for example.

I'm talking even in the abstract sense of having a foothold for your side, in this global war for the soul of the world.

We are what you are so desparately (and unsuccessfully, thus far) trying to achieve elsewhere in the Middle East: a functioning, literate, by and large secular democracy.

Now, the problem with many administrations, but particularly the current one, is that from being our friends and benefactors, the US has turned into our enabler in our addiction to the territories. The US is reaping the results of not being a real friend to us - not making us face up to hard choices.

Carter did, and thanks to him not a single Israeli soldier has died at the hands of an Egyptian one in a quarter century, through vast doifferences of opinion like the Lebanon war and both intifadahs. (there have been a handful of individual terorist-type attacks, that have all been swiftly and severely punished), and Israel has had the priceless asset of not being totally isolated in the region. The difference between "everyone in the school boycots you" to "everyone but one", then two (Jordan), is huge. Carter told Begin: If you do this (sign camp david, give back Sinai), you'll have all kinds of aid and help and good things to help y'all really build for the future. If not, "you'll have to go it alone". (Actual quote).

(Thanks, Jimmy. We love you, man)

I personally believe that Israel has come to rely way to much on American aid. Quite a few people think so. Bibi Netanyahu (ex PM, currently minister of treasury) does, and he's on the other side of the fence from me on most things (but like myself, perhaps even more so, American raised, trained and influenced).

That doesn't change the fact that it very much in America's naked self interest to have Israel not only safe, but flourishing. Not only for mercantile reasons, but just as much as a constant threat to really corrupt regimes in the region, and reminder to their peoples, that there is an alternative. You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time.

Finally, as for Abraham:
* First of all, we bought most of the land, same as he did.
* Second, we, as a pragmatic secular state, are not beholden to divine principles of utter self reliance at all cost in order to prove that we are divinely blessed. That's the whole point of Zionism. We take care of ourselves, and those of us who care assume that Jehovah approves, but we do it based on necessity, as we see it, here on earth.
* Third, neither was he. After all, the man prostituted his wife on two separate ocassions in order to stay alive. You do what you gots to do. [Cool]

If there's anything in you last post I didn't reply to, please point it out.

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drewmie
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quote:
RickyB wrote: The original drive for Zionism, as a solution of the problem of the Jews, was mostly secular...
I agree. I think I'm using the term in a very broad sense, including the traditional/cultural aspects. You've talked about these things, and how they have driven very non-religious Jews to return to their spiritual/cultural homeland.
quote:
RickyB wrote: Nowhere does the constitution forbid the US to award any kind of aid to a foreign country based on its compliance with the US constitution.
Oh, I absolutely agree. I'm not talking about Israeli compliance. I'm talking about U.S. compliance. It's not that Israel's actions "violate" the Constitution. They couldn't really do that, since they aren't covered by the Constitution. It is more that America's action in funding Israel violate Constitutional principles, because the funding is based on a religious/traditional relationship, rather than an objective basis that would justify it so highly above other priorities.

In other words, Israel's religious/traditional actions should not keep America from funding them. But they should not be the basis for it, as in the present situation.
quote:
RickyB wrote: Now, the problem with many administrations, but particularly the current one, is that from being our friends and benefactors, the US has turned into our enabler in our addiction to the territories. The US is reaping the results of not being a real friend to us - not making us face up to hard choices.... Carter told Begin: If you do this (sign camp david, give back Sinai), you'll have all kinds of aid and help and good things to help y'all really build for the future. If not, "you'll have to go it alone". (Actual quote). (Thanks, Jimmy. We love you, man)
Exactly the kind of thing I wish we'd do more. I love Jimmy Carter for it (and the other great stuff he's done).

"Enabler" is the perfect word for the U.S. in this case. So the question is: Why does America NOT demand actions for every penny it spends on Israel? Why do we keep paying when even the President's criticism is met with a defensive attitude that Israel has "the right to defend itself" or "is sovereign," so we should just keep our nose out of its decisions... THAT WE PAY FOR! That's what really chaps my hide. If we give money, we have a say. There's no getting around the fact that those with the cash are the ones who should make the decisions on how it's used.

So again, why doesn't the U.S. demand the settlements removed within six months? Why don't we demand that the wall be removed within the year? Etc., etc., etc.? Frankly, because there is too much blind support for Israel based on religious "brotherhood" rather than the very legitimate funding purposes you mentioned (and with which I agree).

Of course, it sounds like I'm preaching to the converted on this. But I also wonder if Carter's threat could even be made today. Given the overwhelming support for funding Israel, wouldn't it be political suicide to make such a promise? Maybe that's exactly what guys like Sharone have figured out. They can do what they want, and the money train won't stop. Any Presidential "admonitions" can be effectively blown off without fear of any real change in U.S. support. Do you think this might be the case?

[ April 13, 2004, 12:14 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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Hannibal
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drewmie, i can give you a couple of reasons why america doesnt demand of israel to remove the settlments in 6 momths or such demands.

how about unity?, if the united states will demand, i repeat DEMAND israel to withraw or israel wont get money, then it will be the biggest victory TERRORISM ever had. it will give the terrorists such a great boost that, we can might aswell go back to live in exile. it is the equivalent of the palestinian religous leaders demanding the Hamas to stop using suicide bombers and stop killing civilians.

one sidness : america cant make an equivalent demand from the palestinians. because so far the palestinians didnt come true in any agreement they have made, and didnt follow any thing. and as i said before maybe when the americans will be able to put equal demands to the palestinians (whom also get paid u know...) i dont think that israel should be demanded of any thing.

plus i honestly believe that the US goverment want to make israel more and more dependent.

(by the way i am starting to think that you dont pay much attentionto my posts here....)

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drewmie
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quote:
Hannibal wrote: how about unity?, if the united states will demand, i repeat DEMAND israel to withraw or israel wont get money, then it will be the biggest victory TERRORISM ever had.
Please. Basing our decisions on what the terrorists DON'T want is just as stupid as basing it on what they DO want. What they want is irrelevant to what the best decision is. When the settlements are removed, when we get out of Iraq,... all of these things will be touted as victory by the terrorists. That shouldn't make the slightest difference in our decision-making process. To do so would show that we care what they think.

I've studied terrorism extensively, and to respond in a way they want OR in a way they don't want BOTH validate their position in their minds. RESPONSE ITSELF is validation to them, because they are always philosophically juvenile in their need for attention, i.e. their philosophy incorporates a life purpose wrapped up in antagonism. If the antagonist is gone, their life has no purpose, making the philosophy dependent, i.e. juvenile.

Allowing the Iraqi regime to remain in power the first time was touted as a victory over the U.S., and taking it out the second time was touted as proof of U.S. imperialism. They tout the settlements as Israeli injustice and Zionist evil. They will tout their removal as a victory over it. None of this should make any difference to us. The settlements should be removed because they are wrong. Retaining an unjust strategy or foothold as a "bargaining chip" adopts a philosophically amoral decision-making process, something the terrorists themselves do.

One last note: The "the Palestinians only understand force" mantra harped by Sharon and others is pathetic wishful thinking. I have no delusions regarding some altruistic Palestinian cause. But this attitude shows an Israel driven more by fear and retribution than practicality, which feeds right into the terrorist mindset. If Israel (and the U.S. for that matter) were to act in ways that DENIED terrorists the satisfaction of making us afraid, they would have a lot less motivation, and far fewer recruits.

[ April 13, 2004, 02:00 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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Kamisaki
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drewmie, did you do that on purpose (completely switching the topic of your argument)? Or do you have some other explanation? You were arguing before that Israel shouldn't automatically grant citizenship to Jews, and now you're arguing the US shouldn't blindly support Israel. Completely different. If you accept Ricky's explanation on the earlier topic then say so, don't just change the subject.

Or am I missing something? I'm kinda confused, because bait and switch isn't your usual posting style.

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drewmie
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That's a fair question. My position is that American government policy should look at such Israeli policies critically when evaluating our funding priorities. But PERSONALLY, I do not think there is anything wrong with some of those so-called bigoted policies if Israel chooses to keep them. There are good reasons for some of them (as explained by RickyB), but they are not the kind of objective, non-religious, non-racial reasons for which our Constitution allows in government funding. Should these principles only be applied to domestic funding, but not to international funding? So when I'm criticizing Israel's racial policies, I am doing so from a U.S. government funding basis, not my personal beliefs basis (which should be irrelevant to government funding). Does that make more sense?

[ April 13, 2004, 02:12 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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Kamisaki
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Yeah, that wasn't clear from your first posts. Thanks for the explanation.
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drewmie
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Another perfect example of this is Native American funding. If Native Americans choose to live their traditions, they should be allowed to do so. But to fund that chosen lifestyle is against the very basics of our Constitutional principles. Native Americans should choose either their traditions without subsidies, or government funding with some serious requirements and restrictions regarding their responsibilities.

Ironically, in both cases (Israel and Native Americans), I believe both would prosper better if my ideas were applied. Our current funding practices intensify hatred toward Israelis and keep Native Americans in destitute circumstances. We should care more about what is best for these people, and care less about what they want.

(edited for clarity)

[ April 13, 2004, 02:17 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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RickyB
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Once again, you mistake government funding with foreign aid. Again: If you applied constitutional principles to foreign aid, you'd find there's almost no-one who's eligible.

The government may not spend money on entitities within its jurisdiction that violate the contitution. Foreign aid has nothing to do with that, and to argue that it should wouyld be, as I pointed out, a missionary approach to the constitution. Not just to the idea of a contitutionary democracy, but to the specific constitution of the US. Is that what you want?

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RickyB
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drewmie, I got news for you: Those who hate Israel wouldn't hate her less if she didn't get a dime from the US.

As for Native Americans, that's an expenditure inside the US, on US citizens, not foreign aid. Do you really fail to see the difference?

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drewmie
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I don't believe that the U.S. should require other nations to comply with our Constitution. I DO believe that our government is required, in ALL its funding (including foreign), to do so on basis that are within our Constitution's principles, something we aren't currently doing. In other words, Israel does not have to stay within our Constitutional framework. But our government does have to justify the funding on non-religious bases. I don't think we're doing that currently, even though those bases exist. The proof is that the funding is not conditional on the objective bases.
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RickyB
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quote:
So again, why doesn't the U.S. demand the settlements removed within six months? Why don't we demand that the wall be removed within the year? Etc., etc., etc.? Frankly, because there is too much blind support for Israel based on religious "brotherhood" rather than the very legitimate funding purposes you mentioned (and with which I agree).
Well, the wall is a good thing. I told you, it's the route that sucks in some parts. Therefore, the wall needs to be changed, not taken down. As for settlers - six months may be difficult, but I'm with you on that in general. At the moment, the main problem is that there really is no one sane to hand over to, but at this point we should get out anyway, and the US should help us by pushing and withholding favors if we don't. I agree. And there's a small number of congressmen and women who do to. Make sure to vote for them.

As for what you said about Sharon - I couldn't agree more. Would it shock you to learn that I didn't vote for his fat corrupt ass? [Big Grin]

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drewmie
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quote:
RickyB wrote: drewmie, I got news for you: Those who hate Israel wouldn't hate her less if she didn't get a dime from the US.
I agree. Terrorists are not going to change their mind based on U.S. funding. But a very good case can be made that THEY would have much less funding, since it DOES make a difference to much more pragmatic interests that sympathize with them, and fund them accordingly. And an obvious consequence to that is less recruits and publicity. Consequently, less overall animosity. But not because the terrorists themselves have changed their minds and become peaceful, friendly pals.

quote:
RickyB wrote: As for Native Americans, that's an expenditure inside the US, on US citizens, not foreign aid. Do you really fail to see the difference?
There is a difference when it comes to the requirements the Constitution makes on the fundee. But there is not a difference in the requirements the Constitution makes on the U.S., the funder.
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RickyB
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drewmie, you don't have a constituional leg to stand on. Foreign aid is a major part of A,erica's foreign relations. Unless you're calling for a sweeping prohibition on 90+% of US foreign aid, then the discussion about foreign aid and constituional compliance is moot.

Most countries don't have the 2nd amendment. Some (including a few democracies) don't have the 5th. No foreign aid for them? Or just for those that cross the line at a point that seems important to you personally? America is giving Israel money regardless of its constitutional compliance. It simply isn't part of the equation.

When administrations ask congress to approve foreign aid for Israel, it doesn't say "they are our judeo-christian soulmates, and we must support zionism". They say "this is the only democracy in the mideast, a staunch ally, a strategically important square on the chess board, and it is in our strategic interest to support it". Nothing to do with religion.

Which reminds me of a true-life joke. My father once asked an Irish drinking buddy: "Tell me Tommy, why do you guys have to keep fighting over religion?" The answer came promptly: "Ya doan' unnerstand, Jacob. It has nothing to do wi' religion - it's just those damn catholics causin' all the fuss!"

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drewmie
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quote:
RickyB wrote: Well, the wall is a good thing. I told you, it's the route that sucks in some parts. Therefore, the wall needs to be changed, not taken down.
I'd like to amend my position. I agree with you. The wall COULD be a good thing if it were placed in very clearly agreed-upon places that didn't leverage Israel's geographic position.
quote:
...at this point we should get out anyway, and the US should help us by pushing and withholding favors if we don't. I agree. And there's a small number of congressmen and women who do to. Make sure to vote for them.
Absolutely. But they are the minority, because placing requirements on Israeli funding is about as politically safe as cutting Social Security (the old people will kill you), or making nice with Cuba (Florida Cubans will kill you). In this case, Jewish Americans are so overwhelmingly, blindly for the funding that they consider it anti-Jewish to insert any prerequisites.
quote:
As for what you said about Sharon - I couldn't agree more. Would it shock you to learn that I didn't vote for his fat corrupt ass?
Doesn't surprise me. The very fact that you haven't yet called me anti-semetic means you probably didn't support him. [Wink] You guys haven't elected a decent PM there since Rabin. Looks to me like his assassination accomplished its purpose.
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drewmie
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RickyB, I think your joke is telling. There are the reasons we SAY we're funding Israel (legitimate) and the reasons we ACTUALLY are funding Israel (unconstitutional). See above for why I'm confident we're using the wrong reasons. The proof is in the prerequisites.

As I said before, there is a difference (as you say) between domestic and foreign spending when it comes to the requirements the Constitution makes on the fundee. I agree with you there. But there is not a difference in the requirements the Constitution makes on the U.S., the funder.

[ April 13, 2004, 03:10 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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Hannibal
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the US just sold the egyptians whole flights of F-15E's and M1A2 MBT's and other high tech millitary equipment. that completley changed to power struggle in the middle east. how exatcly did giving the egyptians (who stil practice israel as their enemy...) a dictatorship all those weapons?

sad truth drewmie is that since Rabin we didnt have a worthy PM, i really think that israel reached its peak at 1995 and since then it is down hill for us. problem is there is no one from the "leaders pool" who is even quarter the man Rabin was.

I have an honest question, say dont you think that what you are suggesting IS sort of imperialism? i mean, true Israel cant exist as it is without US help, but what you are basically saying is that because you give us money we have to act according to your agenda. you are making israel your vassal state.

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RickyB
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Wrong yet again. There's a major difference. You're simply insisisting on a constitutional fallacy. many institutions in the US are non-constitutional, and they're allowed to be. The governemnt is simply not allowed to fund them.

Remember the discussion about the Catholic charity that wouldn't finance birth control as part of health care? Remember what the "verdict" was? They can do it, but not if they get federal funds.

So what, they is a US based charity just like a foreign country in how the constitution applies to them? Of course not. Federal funding for a US entity and foreign aid are two totally separate issues. To equate them is as invalid as division by zero. the US constitution simply does not enter the equation of foreign aid.

Besides, you still haven't answered: should the vast majority of foreign aid be rescinded? Yes or No please.

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RickyB
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Yes there is a difference in the requirements the constitution places on the giver. Just because you say there isn't, that doesn't mean there isn't. Nowhere does the constitution prohibit foreign aid based on non-compliance with itself. Maybe you think this should be so, but as of now it is not so.

Hannibal, your example is not very good. The US sold Egypt those planes. Not gave. However, Egypt is second pnly to Israel in reception of foreign aid, so a bit of digging should yeild plenty of good examples.

[B]drewmie[/B}, what are you saying, that the stated reasons for foreign aid to Israel are not valid? That each and every US legislator voting in favor doesn't actually believe in them, but uses them cynically to cover his or her bias? That they're all religious ideologues?

Is that the reason for foreign aid to Egypt as well? Stop already. Yes, a lot of people have a soft spot for Israel that goes beyond cold calculation of interest. I know that popularity is inherently unfair, but what are ya gonna do?

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drewmie
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quote:
RickyB wrote: drewmie, what are you saying, that the stated reasons for foreign aid to Israel are not valid? That each and every US legislator voting in favor doesn't actually believe in them, but uses them cynically to cover his or her bias? That they're all religious ideologues?
No, let me try to clarify. I think it is the same as capital punishment. There is a great deal of support of capital punishment in the U.S. based on retribution. However, the stated reason that politicians support it is deterrence. Are they lying? No. In a democracy, people vote for the guy who agrees with them, even if he agrees for a different reason. The bottom line for the people is results. In the case of Israel, the politicians who win are the ones who are most likely to fund Israel (and usually, fund it unquestioningly). That doesn't change the fact that the reason they got the votes in the first place, and consequently the reason we are funding Israel the way we do, is because of unconstitutional criteria. Just like the reason we use the death penalty is retribution, regardless of what the politicians' stated reasons are.

Now back to your question. Do I think most foreign aid should be stopped? Not necessarily. I think there are very good reasons foreign aid can be both helpful in giving us influence, and helpful from an altruistic standpoint. Both of these motives are reasonable. However, as in the case of Israel, I believe our aid needs to carry conditions more often than it does. I would LOVE it if the standard agreement for foreign aid showed the aid as a loan that would be forgiven if very specific things were done on a very specific timetable. If all our foreign aid was done this way, the actual reasons we give aid would be implicit in the prerequisites for forgiving the debt.

Naturally, there are many nations that wouldn't be willing to agree to our conditions, however reasonable. If such is the case, aren't we wasting our money anyway? But to answer your question clearly, I would prefer to attach conditions and keep the aid going rather than stop the aid, for Israel and for all other nations.

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drewmie
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quote:
RickyB wrote: Nowhere does the constitution prohibit foreign aid based on non-compliance with itself. Maybe you think this should be so, but as of now it is not so.
quote:
Bill of Rights, Amendment I: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...
Just one example of what the Supreme Court has consistently applied to all government spending. There is no legal exception for money just because it is spent outside our borders. The Constitution applies to the spender (i.e. "Congress shall make no law regarding") regardless of the expense. The receiver is not mentioned.

[ April 13, 2004, 04:51 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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Everard
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Interesting argument, Drewmie... I'm curious how far you'd be willing to take it, though.

Not that I necessarily disagree with you here, because I'd never thought of this. Just a couple consequences...

We couldn't make treaties with any middle eastern nation, many european, or south american nations either, as these are all at least as much religions governments as Israel.

We couldn't send foreign aid to any of the above nations.

We couldn't send government humanitarian aid to any of these countries.

We couldn't engage in treaties to which these nations are signatories.

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RickyB
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a foreign aid grant is not a law respecting the establishment of religion. The state of Israel is not an establishment of religion. The vast moajority of states recieving foreign aid aren't either. If you'd be giving money to the Vatican (who don't need it, of course) that would be different.

As for Capital punishment - not quite the same thing, since the numbers prove amply that it does not in fact achieve that goal. Quantifying the strategic benefit of the State of Israel to the US is not nearly as easy.

As for you desire to see more conditions on foreign aid to Israel or anyone else - I already said I'm with you on that. I think you needlessly get wrapped up in irrelevant "fundamental" arguments, like the "religious bias" of Israel or the constitutional requirements for awarding foreign aid. Show me that any serious constitutional law scholar ever made that argument, and that any peers ever took him or her seriously, and I'll change my mind. I don't know for certain, since I'm no legal expert myself, but I still say you have no constitutional leg to stand on.

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drewmie
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Do I think that it could win in the courts? Nope, not even close. But that's because when there are no distinct conditions on aid, they can always argue another reason like the ones you and I agree on. There is no proof that their motives are otherwise, because they aren't. But there is tremendous evidence that the people who vote for them carry that as the primary motive. Otherwise, the aid would look quite different.
quote:
Everard wrote: Just a couple consequences...

We couldn't make treaties with any middle eastern nation, many european, or south american nations either, as these are all at least as much religions governments as Israel.

We couldn't send foreign aid to any of the above nations.

We couldn't send government humanitarian aid to any of these countries.

We couldn't engage in treaties to which these nations are signatories.

Not true. I think I'm explaining this badly. The restrictions on aid have nothing to do with the nature of the recipient. They have to do with the purpose of the aid as implied by the conditions set forth in the aid. We could Constitutionally give aid to the Vatican, as long as that aid were going to pay for something non-religiously based. I disagree with decisions that stop federal funding of religious schools. All aid, with its restrictions and its judicial review, should consider the PURPOSE of the aid, i.e. what is it paying for? (not Who is it going to?) That the recipient is religious is circumstancial, and should be irrelevant to both the decision to give it, and the judgement on its Constitutionality.

[ April 13, 2004, 06:48 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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RickyB
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So how is the aid to Israel going specifically for something unconstitutional? I mean, if you're saying that it preserves or aids in the existence of Israel as a state, which then does unconstitutional things, then the same can besaid of EVERY recepient of foreign aid.

If that's not what you're saying, what are you saying? That too many legisltors buy into the mystic bond of the US and Israel and don't bother to take a hard look at the facts? Maybe so, but again: In light of how important it is percieved to be, and how difficult it is to achieve, I find it quite understandable that us being the only democracy around the region arouses feelings of great affinity towards us. Britain and the US are also thought to have such a close, "emotional" relationship. You against that too?

And finally, I return to my recommendation: If you think that US legislators aren't doing their job improperly, pressure them to stop. This is how the system works.

[ April 14, 2004, 01:14 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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LetterRip
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I think it is worth mentioning that a lot of our 'aid' to foreign countries is 'military aid', as both a subsidy to our military hardware producing corporations and to drive future military sales.

I haven't read most of the rest of this thread, so I won't comment further right now.

LetterRip

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carmachu
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quote:

I disagree with this. Others have been persecuted and didn't need a homeland. Catholics, protestants, Hindu's, Muslems, you name it have all been at one time or another, at one place or another been persecuted for their believes. Some still are today. The same laws on freedom of expression and religion that protect me, also protect you, in the nations that have such laws.

I disagree with your disagreement. The rise in anti-semetic behavior is Europe shows that, yes, they might just need a safe place. Laws only protect if they are enforced.

carmachu

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RickyB
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You oppose denying federal money to religious schools, but support the first amendment? I don't really see how that's possible.

Financing something is making a law towards it. A religious school is a religious establishment par excellance (but a country, like the State of Israel, isn't). If the federal governement were to finance a religious establishment, it would constitute discrimination towrds every other religion.

If America were to grant financial aid, which would be used specifically in the mainatainance of the general Rabbinate of Israel - that would be unconstitutional. But it's not used for that, see?

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drewmie
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The first amendment's restrictions are regarding purpose, not recipient. If we fund a religious school's educational programs that are held to the same standards as everyone else, why is that bad? It's not funding religion as long as the prerequisites for that money are based on public education requirements and criteria.

Now take Israel. What prerequisites do we have? Effectively none. So the only way to judge the funding's purpose to review for Constitutionality is to look at why the money is actually going there on a practical, public pressure basis. And I think I've made a good case that the very lack of prerequisites proves that our reasons are not the objective, Constitutional ones that would naturally include such prerequisites. The religious affinity reasons would not, and do not.

[ April 14, 2004, 03:14 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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RickyB
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Your wrong. Much of the aid does have strings attached, and speciifes exactly what we may and what we indeed must buy with it. It's kinda like having to spend your sharecropping gains at the company store.

As for a religious school - sure ,if you can prove that the money is spent only on math class, and not on catechism. How are you going to determine that? and how are you gonna make sure that the math teacher doesn't serve a bit of religious indoctrination between equations?

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drewmie
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Indoctrination is not unconstitutional. Funding going to people who indoctrinate is not unconstitutional. Funding indoctrination is unconstitutional, and the burden of proof is on the complaint to show that such a thing is being funded.

This is precisely why I can say I'm confident that our funding of Israel is unconstitutional, but admit that it wouldn't be able to be proven in court, because there are no unconstitutional prerequisites to prove it. But the lack of prerequisites itself shows that the implied prerequisite is "you're a Jewish nation." Even democratic prerequisites would expect certain democratic action.

Regarding your "strings attached," we're talking about two different things. You're mentioning limiting the particular items they buy with the aid and from whom. I'm talking about pre-conditions for the funding in the first place, something our aid to Israel lacks. Israel may be limited in what they buy with it, but they will get the money regardless of their actions.

[ April 14, 2004, 04:37 PM: Message edited by: drewmie ]

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dana
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message i only read the first letter so i have no idea who this person said.i do believe that israelis is a very peacefull country if not for the arabs,i give israelis alot of support as to do what every they do for all the killing that is being done to there country.i also believe that all our young people should be taught in school about the holocaust in world war 2.i am not jewish.dana
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Benedict
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So that in the end is Israel: a freehaven for jews. Ruled by Jews for Jews. That, by your own admission means that any non-jew can never be a full citizen, is at best tolerated. Ergo Israel, like South-Africa once was, is a state of apartheid. Don't be surprised when people use the same means (boycot of Isreali products) as they used against SA.

Another interesting fact: Israel never much cared about other nation's rights when their interests were at stake. Point in case: Mordechai Vanunu, who should be released next week, if i'm not misstaken. After keeping him in near solitary confinement for 20 years, will Israel let him speak freely?

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