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Author Topic: Palestine/Israel - I expected the writer of Speaker to Understand
Sayeed
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PALESTINE/ISRAEL - Of All people, I expected the writer of Speaker to Understand
-----------------------------

I just read Orson Scott Card's discussion of his trip to Israel, and it saddened me greatly. I guess I'm a bit naive. I have read his essays on writing, politics, and some of his science fiction and greatly respect the conclusions he has come to. It seemed to me that someone who came to the conclusions I have come to only after so much work must either be very smart or a very hard worker. After seeing his body of work, I am guessing he is both. I did not someone of such rigor to so limit his thought
processes as he did in his essay "A Visit to Israel."

It is left for me to ask "Why did he do it?" I don't understand. The issue is simple, his mistakes are so simple, it seems to me they would be made only willfully, or through willful blindness, but why would a man like
him make choices like this?

I expected something different from the writer of "The Speaker for the Dead. "In my naivete, I thought that... the author of Hive Queen and the Hegemon would come." (-Speaker, OSC)

I want to know why Orson Scott Card wrote what he wrote in “A Trip to Israel,” but I do not live in his head, and so that would be impossible. So in the following,
I am going to analyze what he has written in "A Visit to Israel" in light of the facts as I see them, and try to voice exactly WHY I am shocked by the essay. I am not perfect, but like many I strive for it, and the best way to do this is to have others point the way, so I welcome any criticisms.

Before I begin, however, I want to help limit the focus on me and direct it towards my writing. To this end I would like to preface what I will say by saying that, despite my name, I am no longer a muslim. I hope noonne reading will be biased by a muslim name. Nine years ago I gave up Islam and eight years ago I moved from the Middle East to the country of my birth, Canada. Though I respect many aspects of Arab and Muslim culture, I do not consider it mine.
-----------------------------

"Don't you just hate those people who visit some hot-spot country on a three-day junket and when they come back, suddenly they're experts?"

I respect that those people went to those countries to learn, and obviously did learn one perspective, but I do not have much respect for
their greater intellect. To think that a 0hysical visit to a "hot-spot" justifies an entire perspective is problematic, since often there are things going on that cannot be seen with the naked eye.

When I meet people like this, however, I do rejoice that they have learned something. One way or another, they have learned something, they have changed, and they have usually gained a greater interest in political issues that affect us all. When I discover a new or stronger perspective, however, I usually make it a chore to hear from as many people as I can
with completely opposite views so I can better understand the validity of my own.

What is worse than someone who goes to far in his opinion of quick, "hot-spot" learning, is someone who wastes a trip, someone who goes to a place and looks only for the things he thinks he already knows. That is a waste of a trip, and saddening.

I hope, after reading what I write, someone can prove to me that Orson Scott Card did not do this.
---------------------------------

One thing I took from "Speaker for the Dead" was an appreciation that

when you do not treat people as equals, when through cultural
imperialism or through some other bias which deifies oneself and
disregards others, for their immaturity or perceived immaturity, you
dehumanize. *NOT* judging the "piggies," in Orson Scot Card's novel, by
moral standards, saying they were too unsophisticated to
understand, following the "Starways" Congressional rules, this was what
dehumanized them. I appreciate, therefore, when people understand that
Palestinians are responsible for their actions. That they should be held
accountable.

Deifying oneself, however, is only one aspect of the issue. To say that
one should "treat everyone the same" is not something I took from "Speaker
for the Dead." The piggies are different, true, but to treat them like
everyone else, allowing them to travel the world with the virus which,
unbeknownst to them, traveled with them, destroying ecosystem after
ecosystem, this, too, was not called for.

We must not be arrogant about ourselves and treat people as morally
inferior, but nor should we be arrogant about our principles and treat
everyone the same. So where IS moral humility found?

It is found in situation. In INFORMATION. The proper reaction to the
piggies was only found in finding out about the virus, finding out about
piggie consciousness, finding out about their biology and their rituals.
Similarly, to achieve moral humility, every situation and every people
must be considered for their own specific fact patterns. The "why" of
their actions must be found before a reaction can be formed. Through this,

we learn also about ourselves.

Such humility, however, cannot be abandoned when the going gets tough.
The piggies did not WANT to murder humans, merely to help them grow, but
this is not always the case. If it is right to consider the "why" when
you assume a person's intentions are good, it is right to consider the
"why" when the going gets tough. When you assume the person's intentions
are bad.
-----------------------------------

In his essay "A Visit to Israel," Orson Scott Card did not live up to this
ideal. While the situations which cause the feelings of Israelis towards
Palestinians were examined, the situations which cause the feelings of
Palestinians toward Israelis were not. Their feelings towards their
allegedly corrupt government? Yes. The extent of their hostility? Yes.
How they blow up babies? Yes. The situations which cause all those, the
all important intentions and surroundings? No.

Why would Orson Scott Card research and focus on one side so and merely
attack another side without first attempting to understand it? Why would
he do this to a people who have been so maligned and barbarized, does this
not dehumanize them as the piggies were never so dehumanized? And if the
piggies had heard about the Weapons being sent toward them, had massacred
every man, woman, and child in the Lusitanian colonies, should the
Starwars Congress ignore their reasons for doing so, and send even more
weapons their way, waiting patiently for a fictional time when they "yearn
for peace and freedom" and "risk their own lives" in a fight against their
own government, instead of a great outside threat?
------------------------------------

The language with which this essay barbarized the Palestinians was beyond
crude. Grouping all "Palestianian Arabs" into an all-inclusive "They" the
author proclaimed that "They might blow up Jewish babies whenever they get
a chance..." Is this a way to promote understanding of a terrible plight?
Will the type of view this encourages in readers, in the world, encourage
Palestinians to ignore a world which holds this view and "risk their own
lives in the effort to overthrow the truly awful leaders who rule them" ?
The answer seems to me to be obvious, No. All this language serves to do
is incite hatred against Palestians, and hatred is always harmful.
Always.
-------------------------------------

Orson Scott Card talked discussed how Israel does not seem like a War
Zone. How "they are... going about their daily lives. Pretty much as
we are in America." As an introduction, I'd like to first say that I
think that calling the fight against terrorism a "War" has always seemed
misleading to me. A war occurs against equals, and I do not doubt that if
we had ever seen equality between Israel and its neighbors that we would
see true war (Yes, it is a minor point, but I do not consider that at any
time in the past there was military equality even between the Arabs and
Israel.) There is no equality between a side that fights with Apaches,
aircraft, a fully-equipped military, and much more equipment against a
side with only household chemicals and a few rifles. Is it any surprise
that the casualties are so low and that the land does not look like a
warzone? If there was a "true" war in Israel, between the two sides, it
would be over in less than a few days, it would be over in hours, in
minutes. Think of the Palestinian terrorists massively outgunned, fighting
in their few hundred yards of trenches against Apaches making quick work
of them. That would not be what I call a war, and neither is this. A
fight against terrorism is not properly labeled by the word "war."

Apart from labels, however, this convinces me even more that only one
civilization was looked at by Orson Scott Card. Did he mention the
economic difference between the two civilizations? Did he notice the
economic problems caused by the segregation of the infrastructure? Did he
notice the legal discrimination between the races? (One of those afore
mentioned unseen things that merely a walk through a hot-spot will not
reveal.) Did he notice the legal apartheid? No, he did not, and if I had
a way to find out I would be asking 'why'? Why show one side in such a
prosperous light and not point out the degradation of the other side? Did
he mention even one bull-dozer? No, because he did not see even one. Is
that because there were none or because he was not looking for them or
because he avoided them? Some of you have read the news, I'm sure some of
you have done even better and gone to other reliable sources. What do you
think?

This does not help anyone. It does not help peace, ignoring the factual
situation, avoiding one side's plight, it does not help negotiation, it
does not help bargaining, it does not help create an accurate worldview.
If someone truly wants peace, then he or she wants ALL the facts, on both
sides, to be released, publicized. If you want peace, you will do the
same. Why would he do this? Why would he cause such harm?

I have loved Orson Scott Card's writings, and appreciated so many
of his conclusions, someone who has provided me with so much pleasure, so
much understanding, it hurts me to be left only with the negative answers I
have to these questions. Please, if I have missed something, somebody
tell me, give me an answer I can better stomach. Please.
-----------------------------------------

If Orson Scott Card had talked about the plight of Palestinians, *IF* he
had showed us that side of the struggle, then the next passage makes it
even worse. If he had, then the next passage would be
*justifying* it. As it is, he compares something he has not talked about as
if comparisons make it OK. Somewhat as if I said

"The situation of 400 years of slavery for Africans in the United States
is OK because they are treated BETTER than Africans in Africa."

Comparisons are irrelevant from my point of view for justifying
inequality, am I wrong? To illustrate even further, if Orson Scott Card
had actually described the situation of Palestinian people, homes,
businesses and then ended as he did, it would have to include the word
“BUT.”

For instance, "The Palestinian situation is 'X,' they are far, far, worse off than the
Israelis in the same region, BUT they have "more freedom... than the
citizens of any of the nearby Muslim Arab states."

Having MORE than someone else does not mean that you have ENOUGH. Does

Not mean that the level you have I JUST. Especially if you are

Discriminated against.
------------------------------------------

In the section he writes entitled "Who Hates Whom," I do not understand
the Israeli commander's pride. He talks about a bottling plant, which
must have been used for commercial purposes, and which he claims (and I
believe) was also used for the purpose of attack. He claims that he could
have destroyed the factory. It seems as if he is voicing a justification
for destroying it. If that is the case then by the same logic can I not
go burn down the Toshiba building, because their computers were used to
hack into my own? Do I have a justification to go burn down Sportcheck,
because a bat from there was used when my cousin was severely beaten in
one of the more violent neighborhoods in Toronto? How about American
citizens and gun companies? How about American citizens and whoever
manufactured the jets which flew into the World Trade Centers? How about
the people who manufactured the parts for those jets, whether they be in
the US, the UK, China, or Singapore? Is there no better solution than
blowing up an Indonesian company that makes engine valves for jets?
Perhaps the fact that *enough* of the bottles produced were used, say 20%
instead of 19.5% after legitimate use, for attack that made it a good decision

to blow it up.

Is that plausible, that Palestianians would use all those bottles, that
only a .5% difference means that destruction is the best solution?

Does anyone think that the Israeli commander actually knew the % of

how many bottles were being used in that fashion? What is the
Israeli casualty rate for Molotov cocktails? Is it the same casualty rate
for killed Palestinian civilians? Would you like to guess? I don't have
to ask whether the Palestian casualties are greater than Israeli
casualties, I have to ask how many TIMES greater. I wonder how many of
those Israelis that have died have died from Molotov cocktails.

So either that is a justification for blowing up the plant, that is a
*reason* for blowing up the plant, and there should be a lot more Molotov
cocktails being thrown at most major businesses, or he had no reason to blow up the

plant, and he is proud of NOT doing something wrong, for NOT destroying a factory...

For not killing civilians.

Neither one nor the other seems to be good situation for pride. I’m not proud

that I don’t murder civilians. I is just *expected.*

Orson Scott Card tells us about the one commander who took him aside, but
I would definitely like to ask if he knows how many commanders were
ashamed of their actions and so DID NOT take him aside. He doesn't know.
Again I see only one side of the equation. I think it is important to remember, it is

likely that he only saw one side. I will believe that before I believe that he

intentionally did not mention it.
-----------------------------------------

"If the Palestinians would let them alone in their own lands, most
Israelis would sigh with relief and end the fighting without a breath of
hatred, without a thirst for vengeance."

I am sure I could say the same as above for the guerillas in Micronesia.
Most Micronesians would let it ago, in fact, almost nobody likes war, so
most people would let it go. The fact is, however, I know NOTHING about
guerillas in Micronesia, so what use is saying that, except
differentiating the moral standards of Micronesians from Micronesian
guerrillas, it gives me no tool to understand and fix the conflict, just a
reason to love one side. Just gives me a sense of moral superiority for
favoring it.

-----------------------------------------

I think Orson Scott Card's next section is predicated on a
misunderstanding of history. The tragedy is that it has been “unnecessary?”
I think it would be useful if Card told us exactly why either side THOUGHT it
was necessary. There "could have been a nation of Palestine in which Jews
and Muslims shared citizenship"? It seems incomprehensible to me (and I
don't believe) that Orson Scott Card does not know that there WAS a nation
of Palestine (Pronounced Phillistine) where they shared citizenship.
Before the migration, there was a community in Palestine of Jews, the
Yishuv community, and they lived peacefully there and until a certain
period in many Arab countries. I have been to a Middle Eastern nation
where there still is such a community! (though the situation has changed of course for
most Arab countries). Is it possible that this was not known before the
article was written? It's hard to believe. Perhaps I am misreading this?
Anyways, the *reason* this was resisted in Palestine Orson Scott Card did
not go into for some reason. He did not talk about absentee landowners
and the system of title registration altered by the Ottomans. He did not
say that people who had lived on land for centuries and whose parents
parents had lived there could one day see a Jewish family who had "bought"
their land appear on their doorstep. He lets his readers think it was
because they were selfish or racists. Does this humanize Palestinians? Or
DEhumanize them? Where is the author of the Hive Queen and Hegemon? He
doesn't exist, I know, but I thought that the author of Speaker, where all
those beautiful ideas came from would understand. I hope I have made a
great mistake in saying all this, because of all people, I thought he
would understand.
-------------------------------------------

Talking about the prior situation of the Golan and of Jerusalem, Orson
Scott card treats 1967 as if it is 2003, and I do not understand how he
can think that the situation has not changed since then. How a
compromise which was unavailable then may be available now, but this is a
complex issue. He sets it up as if a simple one, one between "the people
who use it as a tool for punishment and exclusion, or the people who keep
it open to everyone." It is not so simple because obviously things have
changed since 1967, and it is not a choice between one side, or another,
the international option is also available. Again, talking about a people
who keep things open to everyone raises a lot of questions about the
apartheid within Israel, which I question why Card does not delve into.
-------------------------------------------

The borders of 1967 cannot return, says Card, because they were used to
wreak death and destruction. The same could be said about the borders of
innumerable states, including the United States of America, and going
father-back and farther-forward than 1967. The fact is that borders do not
cause peace, and saying that Palestinian aggression is caused or allowed in
main because of the borders, in the way that keeping more territory from them
will cause more aggression than giving them more territory...? How does
that make sense? I do not think I even need to say more about that,
though I would welcome other opinions.

As Card says, the wall does not make sense, but I do not think he focuses
on the main reasons for this. A continuing provocation to the
Palestinians which endangers Israeli security is a rather narrow way to
view the problems caused by the wall. The wall as it is currently planned
is more than a provocation, considering the lands it excises from
Palestine, the use of those lands, and the complete division of Palestine
through the wall, an impediment to economics and infrastructure within
Palestine, it eliminates the chance for an independent, self-governing
Palestine. It is much like what the result of Oslo or the Camp David Accords

Would have been. The wall isn't simply a provocation, though that is a part of
it, it is a deprivation; it insures that the Palestinian people will
remain in a position where they may be provoked. Most often, it is the
poor that react violently, not the rich, and this wall will help to insure
that Palestine and the Palestinians will remain poor, economically,
politically, and in many other ways. It helps to insure that they remain
a people who can BE provoked, and acts as a constant provocation as well.
Built in a different configuration, this would not be the case. I agree
that "The trouble with Ariel Sharon's wall is not that it's being built,
but where he's building it."

"If Israel will not abandon the West Bank settlements, then why should the
Muslims of Palestine abandon their land claims inside Israel?"

I'm afraid that it is a bit more complicated than this, too. If peace is
truly the objective, then boundaries should not be drawn based on what
"the other side" will give up, but on the realities of the situation. And
the realities of this situation include the effect of any boundaries on
the Palestinian people. The fact of the wall will have one of the
greatest effects on whether there IS peace, not for security reasons, but
because of the effect it has on the Palestinian people, in terms of its
provocation, but more importantly in terms of their lifestlye.

-----------------------------------------

In the section of his essay entitled "Palestine's Future Leaders," Orson
Scott Card places great emphasis on the effect of the borders on the
leaders of Palestine. Either disregarding its possible acceptance by
them as a gesture of peace or suggesting it be drawn on lines to which the
successors to Arafat can acquiesce. He posited that "Israel can wait"
because Arafat will die, and eventually they might choose a decent
leader.

I think the emphasis that Card put on the leaders of Palestine, future or
present, is far far less important the emphasis he could have put on its
*people.* Ultimately, no matter how charismatic the leader, if whoever he
or she is commands his people to blow themselves up, he won't create a Palestine.
No matter how powerful, or charismatic a leader, if he tells them to stop
doing it, he alone cannot stop the conflict. So drawing borders on what
*he* can agree to, whether present or future leader, is less important
than drawing borders which are good for the People of Palestine and
Israel. Borders which *allow* peace.

"Israel can't force the issue, however. All they can do is hide behind
their well-drawn wall and watch intently."

Perhaps Israel cannot force peace, but at the same time, with Apaches and
tanks, (instead of police and investigators) it is trying. It cannot force peace,

but at the same time but it can *allow* it, and as it's policies and actions create a

desperate and depraved Palestine, it has NOT so far done so. If tomorrow Arafat
ordered a complete ceasefire, in the strongest terms possible to his
organization, those associated with it, and all aggressive ones
within Palestine, then for a VERY brief time, perhaps, there would be peace. Ask

yourselves if it is Arafat that waves his hands and makes normal people into

fanatics? As it is not Arafat that creates these terrorists, it is not him that can
stop them, and if the ceasefire could ever begin, then immediately the
conditions existing within Palestine would renew and renvigorate terrorism,
and there would again be conflict. Only much time, and a new situation,
economically, politically, culturally, and in all other ways, *for the
Palestinian people* could stop the violence, by creating a situation, a PEOPLE

who will not approve of violence, have little reasons to be so violent, and have

MANY REASONS TO BE PEACEFUL.

-----------------------------------------

So the strategy Orson Scott Card suggests, in "How Muslims Can Win," is as
equally one-sided as the majority of his essay. "the only hope for peace: To do whatever

it takes to continue to exist, and then wait."

There hasn't been an existential threat to Israel for decades, there was
hardly one in 1967, and there is beyond a doubt, not one now. The forces
are hopelessly unbalanced. So to focus on how they must "continue to
exist," puts Israel in the light that it can be threatened. That they are
the underdogs. They are not. Militarily, politically, economically, in
so many other ways, they are not. Why would Card portray them in such a
light? It only hurts those who are already so hurt. It is an inaccuracy
that confuses the situation and prevents people from realizing the best
course of action.
------------------------------------------

I could, of course, go on. I could talk more about his version of what
Muslim thinking about Israel *should* be, how *HIS* experience of Israel
may be one of "open borders and free trade and travel between Israel and
its neighbors, with peace and democracy," but that NONE of those things
exist for the average Palestinian.

Certainly, as he says, Orson Scott Card may not explicitly be prophesizing a
"pro-Western Muslim peacemaker," but it is very telling that the only
Palestinian character in his essay wants Palestine to be part of the
United States. Is it possible that a Palestinian can want peace but not
want to be part of the United States?

I could go on about his version of Israeli history, but what matters most
is the situation now in Israel, and the ways in which we can help.
------------------------------------------

It is easy to be a Speaker for the Dead when your subjects are obviously
compassionate, understanding, hard-working, and more. When they are like
the "piggies" were in most parts of "Speaker for the Dead," good, polite,
kind, only good-intentioned, then it is easy to be a Speaker for the Dead.

But why would you WANT to be, for everyone would already know the sweet

truth, and the only things you could reveal would perhaps be better left under the rug.

I think Orson Scott Card said it best, in "Speaker for the Dead," when
Ender Wiggin says that if all he said was what everyone already knew, why
would it make anyone sad? If Marcos was an angry wife-beater, a dirty
drunk, if Ender validated the opinion of the majority of the town about this man, why

would this make anyone sad?

“You’re quite right that the truth about him will cause nothing but pain, but

not because he was a miserable man,” said the Speaker. “If I told nothing but

what everyone already knows – that he hated his children and beat up his wife and

raged drunkenly from bar to bar until the constables sent him home – then I would

not cause pain, would I? I’d cause a great deal of satisfaction, because then

everyone would be reassured that their view of him was correct all along. He was

scum, and so it was all right that they treated him like scum.” – Orson Scott Card, “Speak for the Dead”

One must be a Speaker not only when it is easy, but when it is hard. It
is easy to look at murder and terrorism and say "Look! There are the
dirty terrorists, drunk on rage! Look at that atrocious murder! They
will only find peace when they accept Peace. It is there fault, and all the people’s fault

who surround them and do not IMMEDIATELY attack them!" It is very easy to call
Marcos a wife-beater and be done with it. True Speakers emerge when they
can look beyond this, when they can look behind a wife-beater, a
terrorist, and see the good that is a part of them, the things which
redeem their lives. In the case of the living, the things which can heal
them.

“No human being, when you understand his desires, is worthless. No one’s life

is nothing. Even the most evil of men and women, if you understand their

hearts, had some generous act that redeems them, at a least a little, from their

sins.” – Orson Scott Card, “Speaker for the Dead”

\It hurts me that Orson Scott Card has not done so, that he has stopped at
the surface. I thought that from the person who such grandeur, such
ethical complexity and moral intelligence that was “Speaker for the Dead”
came, there could only come such. It is a naive hope, I suppose, but
everyone wants their knights, their kings and queens, their Heroes, to be
real. I hope I have misunderstood, that a Speaker does live in Orson
Scott Card, that his writing was not just mere words, but his life and mind.

That he is the man I always conceived he would have to be, to write what

he writes. I hope I have completely misunderstood the situation of Palestine and
Israel, and that someone here will point it out to me, because then I will
soon learn something valuable. And then I will not have to believe that Orson Scott

Card is not the man I thought. But from this essay, it seems to me that Orson Scott Card
Speaks for the Living as if all they are is what everyone thinks they are.
Perhaps when they are dead, more dead then the whole nation of Palestine
already is, he will speak differently. Perhaps his skill, and his grace,
comes from speaking for the dead, for the fictional. No, I cannot believe
that, a Speaker for the Dead, to do so, must intimately understand the
Living, but he also must have the strength to speak for them. I hope, if that
is what Orson Scott Card needs, that he finds it.

Peace,
'Sayeed.

[ November 20, 2003, 02:46 PM: Message edited by: Sayeed ]

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TomDavidson
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Sayeed, perhaps you should E-mail this to Scott. He doesn't always read the site, and I can't help wondering how he'd feel about your reply.
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Falken224
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Ditto. I know he feels quite strongly about this particular issue, and despite surface appearances, he is not uninformed about the history. From what I've seen, he has a fairly heavy bias, though I must admit, his viewpoint has always made sense to me.

But this post is the best summary of the other side I've ever seen. It has just the right amount of bite without resorting to outright displays of temper or name calling. I am also curious to see what his response will be.

-Nate

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Everard
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Yeah, that post seems more directed to OSC then any of us. Please email it to him. I hope he responds.
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kelcimer
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welcome Sayeed
Great post.

I got just a few points here:

quote:
A war occurs against equals, and I do not doubt that if we had ever seen equality between Israel and its neighbors that we would see true war

If there was a "true" war in Israel, between the two sides, it would be over in less than a few days,

war    n.
1.
a. A state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties.
b. The period of such conflict.
c. The techniques and procedures of war; military science.

They are in a war. Perhaps not the archtype of war but war none the less.

quote:
There "could have been a nation of Palestine in which Jews and Muslims shared citizenship"? It seems incomprehensible to me (and I don't believe) that Orson Scott Card does not know that there WAS a nation of Palestine (Pronounced Phillistine) where they shared citizenship.
OSC meant that the immigrent Jew population and the existing population of the area could have had a nation like that. Not that it wasn't done before, just that it was a possibility for those groups in that timethat never happened.

quote:
"the only hope for peace: To do whatever it takes to continue to exist, and then wait."

There hasn't been an existential threat to Israel for decades, there was hardly one in 1967, and there is beyond a doubt, not one now. The forces are hopelessly unbalanced. So to focus on how they must "continue to exist," puts Israel in the light that it can be threatened. That they are the underdogs.

Not that they are the underdogs, but that they are not the aggressors. Palistinians are on the offensive; Israel is on the defensive. Any military action on Israels part is a reaction to suicide bombers. The palistinians have not demonstrated anywhere near the desire for peace the Israeli's have.In order to have a war all you need is for one side to want to fight. As long as the palistinian side still wants to fight there won't be a peace. This involves waiting around for them to figure it out. And it involves continued existence. Duh.

quote:
It hurts me that Orson Scott Card has not done so,
This does not have so much to do with him failing as it does with your expectations. You're angry and dissappointed at having to reconcile assumptions with reality. You seem to be working from the premise that OSC has taken it upon himself to be an Ultimate Speaker of Truth and must be consistent with the philosophies put forth by characters in his books. He is not obligated to perform as such. The best you can expect is for him to put forth his best effort. From all I can tell I think he is doing quite well, all things considered.
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Standback
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Sayeed,

First of all - thank you for writing. As you saw from the above posts (who are all from far more serious and knowledgable posters then myself), your post was certainly well recieved.

Two comments.

One is - OSC's essay here was not intended to be a full analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was a description of Israeli society as OSC saw it in his trip here (I'm Israeli, I met him, I heard him, it was a great experience [Smile] ) - how the average Israeli is coping with the "Situation" and thinking about it. Please realize that this is but one of a long line of essays OSC has written, and in some of them, he does focus on the Palestinian society. You might want to look at "What Causes People to Become Terrorists?", at http://www.ornery.org/essays/warwatch/2002-04-08-1.html , and he discusses the subject in other essays as well (which I don't quite have the time to search for at the moment, because their names aren't quite as self-evident as that onewas. [Wink] )

And secondly - I think you are misinterpreting OSC's purpose in his essay - and in his columns in general.

A Speaker for the Dead's purpose is to tell a man's life, what he did, why he did it. It is an attempt to understand someone as fully as possible - to find ourselves justifying the horrific, our at least sympathizing with it, as with Marcos beating his wife.

The War Watch column, as do political and opinion columns in general, has a different and even opposite purpose. They look towards the future. They try and predict what will happen, point out what is being done wrong, and suggest ways it can be done right. The "why" question, asking how things got to be this way, is important only insofar as it pertains to "what do we do next."

In a way, OSC is "past" the Speaker stage. With his understanding of character, I'm sure he has a lot of sympathy for the Palestians as a people (and he says as much, in several of his essays). I'm certain that he could write the character of a Palestinian terrorist and make it just as truthful and understandable as does the Speaking for Marcos. However - and this is key, in "Speaker" just as much as in real life - the fact that you can sympathize with the person doesn't mean that what he does is OK. When Ender speaks for Marcos, the point isn't "it's all right to beat your wife if your life really sucks." Marcos is condemned for who he is, even though we understand exactly how he got there. In the same way, OSC condemns the Palestian terrorists and those who aid them. He's weighed the situation, and decided that the Israelis are the one on the high moral ground, and the Palestinians are the ones in the wrong.

Given that judgement, from that point on he takes the viewpoint of the Israelis. The Israelis, he says, are the Good Guys, and it's in our interest as moral, ethical and concerned people to support them and do whatever we can to see that they're the ones who win this struggle.

That's where I think he's coming from. Not that he doesn't understand the Palestinian side, not that he doesn't care about them - he does. But he cares about the Israeli side too, and has chosen the side he believes to be right and just. From that point on, there is no need for constant qualification of statements and weighing both sides equally - it's already been done. What you're looking for is a Speaking for the Palestinian people, an explanation of the primary decision - not for the Israelis, but against the Palestinians. I must say, such an essay is one of the things I'd most like to see from OSC.

I hope Orson does read your post, either here or by mail. And if he does write an essay focusing on the Palestinian side, I will certainly be thrilled - and some of your questions will, I hope, be answered.

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Tom Bailey
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I believe it is simply that Card identifies with the jews and just as he is incapable of seeing his own faults so is he incapable of seeing the faults of those he identifies with.

He can excuse Clintons surprise attacks on Sudan and Afganistan but can not excuse Arab attacks on the World Trade Center.

I am impressed that with each attack by the palestinians the attacker is willing to give his life. Sayeed said they were willing to risk their lives but if you strap a bomb to your chest and set it off you are doing more than risking your life you are giving it up.

Compare that with Clintons attack. He presses a button or makes a call and unmanned missles begin falling. No risk. Look at the utter fear of such risk demopublican henchmen show. The example in that high school is perfect.

Those SWAT team members were taking no chances. The high school kids were lucky no one made a sudden move. If anyone was going to die that day the police were making damned sure it would not be one of them.

I would prefer police who were more willing to take the risk on themselves than shift it to children. The Palestinians are willing to pay in blood for the blood they take.

Tom Bailey

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Sayeed
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Hello,

Thanks all for your comments on the post. I was wondering, if I wanted to email this to OSC, what email address would I use?

Kelcimer, good point, that *is* the dictionary definition of the word, and you are right, in my own definition of the word, I rely more on the common archtype and common usage then the dictionary definition. I suppose the meaning of the word is changing to encompass smaller conflicts between two parties. The spirit behind what I wrote was to point out the difference between the those conflicts and conflicts which actually threaten the existence/government of nations, states, or parties. Threatening lives, though a sad situation, does not directly threaten a party's existence unless it threatens a great quantity of lives, and in this case that has not happened. I suppose that underlying this as well is the theme that this conflict (or "war" if it fits your definition) is not an existential threat, at least to Israel, and should not carry the same pull when it comes to justification of actions done because of it.

Another good point is that this could have been OSC's intention, to say that the immigrant Jewish population could have been in a nation like this. I think the rest of the paragraph goes far beyond this, however. It places the blame for the tragedy of the conflict greatly on the shoulders of the Arabs who resisted immigration, which, as I have referred to, is inaccurate considering the history and process of land acquisition. To be fair and open-minded, to prevent himself from further dehumanizing the Palestinians, placing blame as he did was uncalled for, and reinforces the view that Muslims cannot live with Jews. The reality, of course, is that they can, and they *have*, for many years, and not referring to this but only to what "could have been," makes one think, perhaps, "it's those damn Moslems again, hating Jews..." instead of, "it's that damn Humankind again, reacting to harsh situations with harsh emotions."

As to who is the aggressor, I would say that suicide bombing is an aggressive act. However, I would also say that enforcing an apartheid is also an aggressive act. Differentiating between people based on race is a different form of aggression, but one nonetheless. I know it may not seem that way, but I would like to demonstrate how they should be considered equivalent.
-------------------------------------------

I happen to be a bit familiar with land titles fraud in Canada. When the Land Titles Act was enacted in, for example, Ontario, there occurred a lot of title fraud. Someone would register someone else's property in their name and court would uphold this. Luckily, Canada is a civilized enough country that when the fraud was discovered, the fraudster would have to run. Usually he or she would be smart enough to keep their profits, but they could not "stick around" with them. What would the situation be if we lived in a country that did NOT punish this sort of behavior? Would someone's registration of my title be considered aggressive? If he could then LIVE in my property, would that be considered aggressive? I think that with knowledge of the land reforms in the Ottoman Empire the comparisons between this and the founding of the state of Israel should become apparent.

This is, however, old history. Working again on the fraudster analogy, let us say that after living in my castle for decades, the fraudster has gained a sort of ex post facto claim to the land. What I mean by this is that he now has a wife, children, grand-children, and they constitute a sort of "moral weight" to his ownership. To the "refugee," the one who has lost his castle, this means that to attempt to gain ownership by force would be morally insupportable. It's not that he hasn't been wronged, it's not that he hasn't lost everything, it's just that there are now complete innocents involved. They would be collateral victims. This is the guiding principle behind many forms of land title registration, the protection of the innocent, (though the innocent they are concerned with is that of an innocent registrar.) Let us get back to the original victim. Similarly ex post facto, despite the fact that I now live in a shack (having upgraded from the gutter outside my castle) my gains in terms of lifestyle have until this date been very modest. Would you say a society that did not correct this sort of wrong and the lack of justice from it would give the man freezing in his one-room wooden shack the moral justification for attacking the fraudster, nevermind the collateral victims? Unless there was no other way to CREATE a society with justice, I wouldn't. So does that mean that having wife and children, bringing over my innocent uncles and aunts, immigration if you will, is a sort of moral protection for the fraudster? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Wouldn't you call this a sort of "moral aggression?" The fraudster is directly attacking any claim that the now-pauper once had. I am sure that if you know the pattern of immigration and settlement that has gone on and is going on in Israel you understand how this is relevant.

Let us set even this aside, however, and come to and even clearer analogy. Let us suppose that if after the expropriation of all my lands and movable property, the fraudster, now living a lavish life with his innocent wife and daughters, his innocent aunts and uncles, his innocent extended family, comes over to my side of the town. He tells me of a great tragedy which has befallen. His uncle has been killed by my impoverished, mal-nourished son. He then brings the police over to my shack to ensure that I never leave my shack again. He takes away my well to use for himself, he takes away the little garden I had in the back of my shack and tells his daughters and cousins, twice-removed, to slowly build their own home on that land, and he puts a curfew on me and my entire family. He also tells me that from now on, he will run my household. My children ask the fraudster if they can build their own house on the garden land, but he rebuffs them and tells them maybe in twenty years, after they've worked for him. Maybe. Raised in poverty, uneducated, violent, one of my sons kills his aunt. He abducts (or arrests, depending on how you see the situation) my son and puts him in the dungeons in my former castle, and keeps him there. I do not speak to my son again. Knowing my position, being an old man, and seeing how angry and impoverished my children are, I ask him to negotiate.

"Give me just a bit more land," I ask. Some place where my children can build another shack. My children are screaming for blood in the backroom, but I shush them and close the door. He says, we'll talk, and draws up a plan for me to build on the same land (albeit a smaller plot), where his daughters are already building. We shake on it, and I tell my kids. Three months go by and the plans are a bit more complete. Two years go by and the plans are a bit more complete, and there is a sign on their part of the garden. My kids still don't have food on their table. Another year goes by, and the tin walls and roof of my children's shack to be is put on the land, right next to the fraudster's daughter's mansions. But my kids still don't have food on the table, and they're maniacs. The next day plans to deliver the hammer and nails for the shack are deliverd to me. But my kids are still dehydrated, most of the water from the well goes to the daughter's gardens. And the next day the fraudster's dog is poisoned. The fraudster, living in my castle, scraps the plans and tells me to get a rein on my kids. The next day something worse happens. He executes my son. He tells me to kick my kids who are criminals out, but there are so many of them, and it is hard. My look at me with dangerous eyes when I talk about it. He tells my daughters to throw their brothers out, but when they try, they are looked down on by their brothers. Their brothers are strong. So now and then he throws a Molotov cocktail through my door, because he knows that one of my kids is hiding in there. He is right, and often kills one of the perpetrators, though my daughters die too. My innocent daughters. So my sons kill again. So he throws in another Molotov Cocktail. Sometimes he sits on the fence and just sprays the windows of my children's room with bullets. He's right, a few of the criminals die. Too.

To control me, he says, he lets his daughters have the keys to my house and sometimes they forget to let me out to go to work. My employment, my way of providing sustenance for my children, is endangered. The next day the fraudster starts building a wall around my shack. He calls it a fence. I can see, soon the free space in the garden will be all gone, filled with his innocent daughters' mansions.

Perhaps, however, I could have been a better father. I didn't have time, or money, to raise my kids right, but it's possible. Perhaps I die with that sort of regret on my lips, but chances are I die cursing the fraudster. It doesn't matter, because my kids don't have the money or time to raise their kids right either, and soon they are digging under the "fence" to kill the fraudster's grandchildren.
-------------------------------------------

Who is the aggressor in this situation? Who "wants to fight"? Well the family living in the shack in the shanty-town, of course, they are the ones who murder "first." Do you really think that if I called the fraudster's family or the other family the "aggressors" it would help to describe, morally or in any other way, the situation? If I said something like, "one aggressor family is attacked by another family, and so they punish the family that attacked them," it would really give a clear picture of the above story? How about of the Palestine/Israeli situation? To clearly elucidate it so logical decisions can be made? Does saying one side is the aggressor give a proper "moral weight" to the situation? To go even further, do you think that "waiting around for them to figure it out," will really help the situation, while the fraudster in his castle tries terribly valiantly "to exist"?

Slightly off-topic. Rarely is there a person nwho "wants to fight," People want want fighting brings. Sometimes people know nothing else. If they educated, smart, strong, rich enough to recognize another way, they would use it, but if they are not, then they fight.

Kelcimer, true, I have expectations of Orson Scott Card, but I do not expect him to be the "Ultimate Speaker" that you posit. I am not angry, Kelicimer, but I *am* disappointed, and sad. In "Speaker for the Dead," we aren't just TOLD that his characters are ethically complex, have moral intelligence, we are SHOWN it. In their dialogue we hear them talk about it, and to write their dialogue, I believe he must understand it himself. I appreciate his intelligence in many of his writings and essays. With such understanding, why does he choose to do what he does in "A Visit to Israel?" I did not consider it "quite well," I considered it one-sided, and very harmful to the cause of peace. He is a human being, and human beings make mistakes, even big ones, but I did not expect one so big from him. So I hope that the mistake was mine, and that someone will show that to me.

Your welcome Standback, and thank you in turn. I have to say that in general this board seems to attract a very high quality of membership.

Standback, I would have been fine with a description of the Israeli society and of their view, clearly stated as such, but this essay was more than this, it was a derogation and a dehumanization of Palestinians. I read that column a long time ago, but thank you for pointing it out to me again, perhaps, at some later time, I will respond to it as well.

I must say, though, that I disagree with how you characterize the task of a Speaker for the dead as "justifying/sympathizing with the horrific," unless your definition for "justifying" is far different from mine. I think it has more to do with that quote from the end of Speaker I included in my initial post,

"...even the most evil of men and women, if u understand their hearts, had some generous act that redeems them, at least a little, from their sins..."

I think it is the task of the Speaker for the Dead to help people understand that, that everyone, even the one who died, had redeeming traits, whether hidden or obvious.

I think you are right that the War Watch colum "looks toward the future," but I believe it is evident that Orson Scott Card also talks a LOT about "what we do next." I think you will agree with me, what else could you mean by "suggest ways it can be done right"? The 'Why' of the matter, however, is relevant to all. Without understanding why someone does something, without even putting it into context, how can one understand exactly WHAT is being done? Wrong, right, or otherwise? Legally, any criminal act, any "wrong" act so-to-speak, requires two elements, an "actus reus" and a "mens rea," which summarized are the forbidden act and the forbidden thought. I would say that without knowing the "why" behind someone's act, their intent, you cannot fully know if it is right or wrong. Without knowing it's content, you cannot truly know it's nature. It is the difference between murder and punishment. And without knowing the intention, the context, and the *cause*, you cannot fully "suggest ways it can be done right."

As I see it, and I think many others, true sympathy requires action. You can feel that you love someone all you want, but if you won't call out when he is walking into a ditch, then your love is empty. I feel the same way with sympathy. If Orson Scott Card truly sympathizes with the Palestinians, then why would he have written something that so obviously dehumanized and harmed them? On a side note, I think that the concepts of "high moral ground" and "low moral ground" sometimes obscure what are the pragmatic solutions to a problem. If you take a binary approach such as this, then when there is a problem, and someone helps the "low moral ground," then it might be seen as wrong. Practically, however, it is possible that helping the "low moral ground," is actually the best course of action for the "high moral ground" as well.

In reading what you wrote, Standback, it occurs to me that perhaps Orson Scott card, HAS tried to "speak" for the Palestinians. Not against anyone, but FOR everybody, because I firmly believe that the truth helps all. Do you know of any essays in which has tried this? I would love to read them. But wait, I just read the end of your post, and so, I suppose, we will be waiting together.

Peace,

'Sayeed.

[ November 21, 2003, 12:24 PM: Message edited by: Sayeed ]

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Animist
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(staying out of the main topic due to extreme underqualification)

Tom: Actually, I'm pretty sure OSC doesn't excuse Clinton's terrorist bombings in Sudan and Afghanistan. I recall him being exceptionally critical of the Kosovo war. This is one of the things that infuriates me about him (and many conservatives): When it was a liberal comitting the attrocities they were willing to see them for what they were; but when it's a conservative seeing is unpatriotic and those of us who do hate America.

Of course, with the liberals it's the same in reverse - with the exception that, to their credit, no Democrat ever called me unpatriotic for criticizing Clinton.

Perhaps I will comment on the main topic of this thread: Too often this is exactly what goes on in terms of debate re. Israel/Palestine. Either the Palestinians are brutally oppressed freedomfighters, or the Israelies are desperately defending themselves against genocidal madmen.

After September 11th there was an article written by a Sri Lankan, applying decades of experience of war between the Tamil Tiger guerrillas and the Sri Lankan government to the current situation in the United States, suggesting strategies which might lead to peace. Two of the most important points the article made were these: 1. The two sides are fighting vastly different wars based on vastly different views of reality, and 2. What each side says about the other is true; what they say about themselves is a life. I think that this is correct, and I think we see it demonstrated every single day - again, not just in the case of wars between governments and terrorists, but even in the debate between our own political parties.

(That article can be found here: http://www.commonway.org/CWI911-17.html#avoidingtop )

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WarrsawPact
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Hold on now, there are many conservatives, myself included, who never called someone unpatriotic for criticizing Bush. In fact, doing my usual thing in school (somehow ending up turning all sides against my own), I criticized those of my classmates who tried to make that very argument for being the least patriotic among us. For trying to tell someone else to just accept the actions of their leaders and shut up.
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velcro
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Standback-

Excellent response. I haven't had a chance to read all of Sayeed's post, but I think you adressed his major conceptual concerns.

Sayeed,

As I said, I have not had time to read all of your post yet. I can not adress your feelings of unfairness. I definitely see the tragedy of the plight of the Palestinian people.

But some of your conclusions are drawn from incorrect facts. At the risk of going off on numerous tangents, I feel the need to set the record straight on some of them. I won't demand that you change your conclusions, just ask that you reexamine them.

Just a couple, more will follow when time allows

  • There is no [legalized] racism in Israel. There are some laws that favor Jews over Gentiles but there are Jews of all races, in Israel and all over the world.
  • There is no apartheid either. Arab citizens vote and hold office. Arab non-citizens can vote in municipal elections. I believe Arabs can own land, although most of the land is government owned and only leased. I also believe that any Arab in the West Bank or Gaza can request to be an Israeli citizen.
    Please compare with Jordan, that has a law that allows any resident as of 1948 of what is now Israel to be a citizen- except if they are a Jew. Not Israeli, but Jew. I think Jews are not allowed to own land. And in Saudi Arabia, Jews (and all non-Muslims) can not even enter certain cities. Non-Muslims can visit the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, but cannot pray there.
    This does not justify the perceived wrongs of Israel, but it does make it appear one-sided.
  • Could you tell me when this nation of Phillistine existed? Was this during the Ottoman empire? Because I don't think there was a specific administrative entity called Phillistine. If there was one,it was not a nation per se, anymore than New Jersey is a nation with a distinct culture and ethnicity.
    I hope I am not being too confrontational. I have seen facts misused often enough that I feel compelled to correct them. If I got anything wrong, let me know.

    I will try to read more of your post and respond.

    V
edited to include [legalized] after racism. Of course there is racism just about everywhere.

[ November 22, 2003, 08:53 AM: Message edited by: velcro ]

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jedilaw
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quote:
He can excuse Clintons surprise attacks on Sudan and Afganistan but can not excuse Arab attacks on the World Trade Center
No, that's incorrect. Card has written very strongly against those attacks on Sudan and Afghanistan. See "Why I would sooner write in my dog than voet for Gore." It's on this site somewhere.

[ November 22, 2003, 02:07 PM: Message edited by: jedilaw ]

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Sayeed
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Hello,

Velcro. No, you are not at all being too confrontational and I applaud your desire for an investigation the into factual grounds for discussion. I find that many disagreements posing as political are actually disagreements over facts. Similarly, much debate is debate over definitions, and paradoxically the only way to escape definitions is to rigourously define and speak with precision.

--------------------------------------

In response to your comments, (and I would appreciate it if you could tell me how to create those impressive bullet points [Wink] )

-
1.) I was under the impression that the Jewish identity was more racial than even religious. Thus, though there are of course many different races of jews (I hear their social intercourse within Israel is quite interesting to study), mostly all of them identify with being a part of a jewish "race," and thus laws that favor jewish people are favoring a race more than a religion.

This, of course, turns on or definition of "race." I would like to ask, however, that if your definition of "race" characterizes what is going on in Israel as "religionism" versus "racism," whether you feel that discriminating based on religion is morally supportable?

--
2.) Given that there IS discrimination (whether you call it religionism or racism, I take it that is the gist of your comment on laws differentiating between Jews and Gentiles), would you not call that an apartheid?

Though the Declaration establishing Israel was in some ways idealistically written (I think it assured equal rights), the practical facts on the ground are rather shameful. One MAJOR way is of course in the issue of land permits. While it is relatively simple for a jewish person to gain a land permit within Israel, Arabs are denied such permits, or the practical difficulty in obtaining them is discriminatory for them. The same goes with citizenship, I am sure you know how easy it is for a jewish person to gain citizenship, and have heard of the "law of return" and the "law of citizenship." Forgetting about the West Bank and Gaza, the difference in budgetary allocation between Arab towns and Israeli towns in Israel-proper is quite high. While Arab neighborhoods may not have water or electricity, Israel towns are guaranteed the standards of any well-off first-world nation. With governmental and quasi-governmental organizations determining the allocation of vital services (the "Jewish Agency" and "World Zionist Organization" being two examples), is that any doubt? I believe the Jewish National Fund STILL determines land allocation SOLELY for Jewish settlements. You may wish to read further about the ISL, the Jewish agency, and the town of Katzir if you want to learn more about discirminatory land-allocation within Israel proper. This 3 years after a Supreme Court decision confirming it! That makes me skeptical that even the MINIMUM requirement of equality legislation within Israel would effect a change in discriminatory conditions. Land-allocation is allocation is bad enough, but if you want to go further, you might want to research about "administrative" house demolition within Israel. Ask yourself if it fulfils the basic rules of fundamental justice in administrative law established in any common law state? On a different note, I heard recently about a RETROACTIVE amendment to the "law of citizenship" which prevents Isaeli-Arabs from bringing Palestinian spouses into the country, leaving the only options open to them as exile or breaking up their family. If I had time, I would go on. So can there be any doubt of apartheid conditions? Please, look beyond the Declaration of Independence and unenforced legalities and recognize the practical realities of oppression and apartheid against Arabs within Israel.

---
3.) As to Phillistine, the place that is now Israel was internationally recognized as Palestine since long before 1948. Among Arabs it was so recongized for far, far, longer. But you are right, it was administered by the Ottoman Empire, and despite the nationalist Arabs within Palestine, and the promise of statehood from British authorities during the second world war (somewhat equivalent to promises to jews), there was no corresponding nationhood to accompany the palestinian identity. I do not believe the label accorded to the region, however, distracts from the physical fact of Orson Scott card that I was responding to, that in the region which was called Phillistine, then Palestine, then Israel, there WAS a pre-Israel community of Arabs and Jews living together in peace.
----------------------------------

I hope this resolved some issues, if not, I look forward to further clarifications and comments from you, Velcro, thank you for your though-provoking post.

'Sayeed.

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OldMountainGoat
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Sayeed, you aren’t the first to be dismayed by Card’s views. Many faithful readers come expecting to be validated and leave disappointed. Some vow to never read another book. But Card is still Card. He hasn’t slipped and cracked his head as some disillusioned readers have speculated. He will continue to write complex and insightful treatments of the human condition. He is still a person who loves the truth and actively seeks it out. I bet that you and he have more views in common than you think. But it is just one of those strange facts of life that two honest and intelligent people can have diametrically opposed views.
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jasonr
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"2.) Given that there IS discrimination (whether you call it religionism or racism, I take it that is the gist of your comment on laws differentiating between Jews and Gentiles), would you not call that an apartheid?"

No, I wouldn't, anymore than I'd call common street mugging a terrorist attack, or a lynching in the south an example of National Socialism. Do me a favor: if you want to argue that Israel has discriminatory laws, then do so. But do not bandy about the term "apartheid" like some catch-all synonym for discrimination and racism. It doesn't mean whatever the heck you want it to mean; it refers to a specific segregationist policy established in South Africa, nothing more, nothing less. I think people should be more careful with the language they use.

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GlobalDemocrat
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Phew, this Canadian is surely well versed and highly analytical! You rightwingers surely have to come up with good stuff to beat this guy with arguments. [Smile]

Okay my take, which nicely unbalanced: [Wink]

OSC says:
quote:

Allah sent our brothers and sisters, the Jews, back to Palestine. People who had learned all the secrets of the West ...

This presupposes that there are secrets of the West valuable to learn? Hmmm, this is Eurocentrism, oh sorry, Americanocentrism or (God forbid!) Utah-centrism at it's best. After all, aren't Westerners the 'folks' who invented the world city, the car and the nuclear bomb? But, sigh, this is probably beside the point ....

OSC:
quote:
... much of what Islamicists oppose about the West is well worth opposing, and they would be fools to embrace our modern Western contempt for marriage, family, religion, courtesy, and decency.
Obviously, the big losers here in his view, or the should-be-losers are the non-fundamentalists: we are in an era of religious fundamentalism, from christians as well as muslims. But you will not win, the forces of western non-religiousm are too strong. Fuggedaboudid.

quote:
(...) the Palestinian Arab in Galilee who joked with me that someday America would turn the whole world into more states in the United States. I get a little prickly about ridiculous ideas like that. "America doesn't want to turn other countries into parts of America." He put a hand on my shoulder and drew me close and whispered, "I wish you would. Life would be so much better here."
I think he meant it.

Oh my God! Could you believe OSC's ignorance!? Of course that old guy meant it! Everybody wants to be a part of a prosperous country which is also void of open violence. What's so strange about that!? Oe could argue, since the US is a big part of the problem, in making Palestine the way that it is now, that old guy has a RIGHT to live in the US, at that.

quote:

But look at the facts. So far, at least, the Palestinian terrorists have been careful not to target tourists.
Why? Because a huge source of income for Palestinian Arabs is Christian tourism to the Holy Land. Already, because of the violence of the Intifada, tourism is down to a tiny fraction of what it used to be. It's absolutely crippling to Arab businessfolk in Jerusalem and other Christian pilgrimage sites.

Again: Oh my God!!! Can this guy only see from his own narrow world?! The fact that maybe, just maybe the Palestinians decided that their beef is NOT with the tourists doesn't even occur to him. It's f...ing amazing.

Sayeed says, talking about the OSC's talk with an Izzy commander, feeling good about himself for not destroying a bottle plant:
quote:
I will believe that before I believe that he intentionally did not mention it.
Sayeed, you're too good for this world. I really do believe he intentionally did not mention it, because of his "Palestinians are babykillers" view. Is this narrowminded on my part? So be it.

to jasonr:
quote:

anymore than I'd call common street mugging a terrorist attack, or a lynching in the south an example of National Socialism.

I agree with the first, but I would certainly call a lynching Nazistic. A mugging has the purpose to get material things, where a terrorist attack has the goal to instill fear. A lynching has the goal to confirm or install white supremacy, just as National Socialism did. Really, the difference is so little as to be hardly noticable.
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DonaldD
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Sayeed, you have provided us with a lot to think about – however (and as jasonr stated), you need to get past the “apartheid” word. The policies of the Israeli government are not apartheid. By using the word, you devalue the rest of your posts. Discrimination is institutionalized in Israel, but the difference between what exists today and apartheid is not just a matter of degree.

GD, a lynching may be “Nazistic” but is not necessarily so. I believe jasonr’s point was that there is a difference between personal actions and those perpetrated (or even permitted or encouraged) by the state. Of course, back in the day, most such lynchings were tacitly approved of by the state, but it still wasn’t “National Socialism” – there is more than just one flavour of evil in the world, after all.

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Standback
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Sayeed - regarding your land/palace/shanty analogy. It is extremely one-sided. There are many details you leave out - for example, mentioning that your fraudster has been persecuted and his family members killed horribly in just about every place he's tried to settle. The fact that when the fraudster came, what he found was far less a palace and far more a whole lot of inhospitible dirt. The fact that the friends of the owner lived all around with plenty of land for him, while the fraudster had nowhere. The fact that it wasn't the fraudster's dog that was killed.

I'd write the analogy more like this. A refugee, whose family has been hounded and persecuted for centuries (and most of them are now dead), comes to a cave. Now, another man is also living in the cave, but the refugee is willing to deal with that.

However, the two don't get along at all. The other man wanted the cave all to himself; he doesn't care what will happen to the refugee if he's forced to leave again. And the refugee is not careful not to disturb things of the dweller's - he takes his things without asking, moves stuff around, monopolizes some areas. Several times, the dweller tries to kill the refugee, but the refugee is able to defend himself. Finally, the refugee offers that they split the cave, with clearly defined borders, and neither bothers the other, ever again. The dweller refuses adamantly. The refugee tries to keep to his borders, but the dweller tries to kill him again, and again, until finally the refugee chases him out of the cave.

The refugee and the dweller both start their families. The refugee knows he can't leave the cave, but he and his friends and family are determined to make the best they can out of their situation. They build, they learn, they create, they build an entire underground city, right inside that little cave of theirs. The dweller comes back, with his family and friends, and keeps control of some parts of the cave and other niches that the refugees aren't using as much as others. They don't build, or learn, or create. They are here solely in order to get rid of the refugees. No matter that there are hundreds of other caves they can get to (that the refugees can't). As a result, they stagnate, they devote their energy solely towards opposing the refugees and make no effort to do anything for themselves.

Finally, war is declared. The dwellers strike at the refugees, from their niches and nooks. They can't do any serious damage, because the refugees are by now strong and powerful, but they *can* make the refugees suffer. So the refugees fight back. They're strong and they're powerful, so they do a lot of damage - likely a lot more than they really need to, just in order to stay alive, but the purpose is self-defense, not aggressiveness.

Oh, heck. This isn't much of an analogy, I'm really just putting other names on the Israeli viewpoint. But there it is for you. Us Israelis, refugees after the Holocaust, with nowhere else to go and a strong determination never to let such a tragedy befall us again. Mistakes were made, and I do believe we did take land that wasn't ours, because we desperately needed that land. Arab population, and later the Palestinians, offered compromises time and again, but they were not willing to settle for anything less than the whole pie - the attacks, stabbings, killings, far before the State of Israel was founded, and the refusal of all offers of their own state. The Palestinian's entire culture seems to have no other purpose but to get rid of Israel. In conflict, radical leaders have emerged on both sides, but "radical" on one side and "radical" on the other are two very different things.

{edit - I just want to point out, since this was the basis of the thread - this does not mean I'm indifferent to the suffering of the pain of the Palestinian people. I can only begin to imagine how miserable their lives must be, and I wish there was a clear way to help them without threatening Israeli security. I *am* saying that they seem rather indifferent to our suffering - or, indeed, our complete and total anhilation.}

If you see anything else the Jewish people could have done, could have tried to do, I would be very interested to hear it. I do not see that we had many other options. The Palestinians, on the other hand, have so many other places they can go, and in addition have received so many opportunities for some compromise - and they have rejected them.

To be objective, you cannot demand the land back on the basis of "we want" without considering they other side's "we need."

[ November 23, 2003, 10:01 AM: Message edited by: Standback ]

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jasonr
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I guess I should clarify my earlier point. It is not about personal versus state action persay. My problem is that 'Nazism' or 'apartheid' are huge constructs of ideas and policies that go well beyond simple 'discrimination' or 'racism'. There may very well be some aspects of Israeli policy that are shared in common with some aspects of Nazism or apartheid, but to conclude from this that Israeli policy IS apartheid is wrong. It's like deciding that because your dessert contains chocolate, flour, and baking powder, it must be a 'chocolate chip cookie', because chocolate chip cookies are made with flour, baking powder, and chocolate too. Never mind that THOUSANDS of desserts of every shape and size have these very common components, and yet look/taste nothing like a chocolate chip cookie! So, if you want to declare that Israeli policy and Apartheid have flour and baking powder in common, that's fine, but don't equate the two as if they're the same! (Sorry, I've been baking alot recently)

Oh btw Standback, nice post. I didn't mean to ignore you, but you posted while I was writing my post [Frown] I think you illustrate the flaws in the original analogy well. Sayeed believes he is being balanced and fair, but he isn't; he is presenting an image of the situation that excludes all reference to Israeli motivations while fully exploring those of the Palestinians. In effect, he is doing precisely what he accused Orson Scott Card of doing: failing to understand them, in effects, dehumanizing them by turning them into nothing more than 'the fraudster'. I wish I had gotten into this discussion three or four years ago, because I was so much more open-minded and sympathetic generally to the Palestinians and their plight; nowadays, all I can see are the suicide bombings.

[ November 23, 2003, 10:10 AM: Message edited by: jasonr ]

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Sayeed
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Hello,

OldMountainGoat, thank you for your insight, it was good to read. Perhaps it's a childish idiosyncrisy I never grew out of, but I have to keep asking 'Why,' and hope someone finds me an answer. I hope, in the end, you are right and I find that we agree on more than I might think.

***Jasonr.*** I'm not sure why you wrote "do me a favor," because precision in language is something that does the person speaking/writing a favor. I actually tried to find the origin of the word "apartheid" before I wrote, but was unsuccessful, when I get a chance I'll head down to a library and find it's proper use and evolution. Thank you for caring enough to insure that I don't miscommunicate by using inappropriate words. I think you will agree with me, though, that it is important to keep in mind how language is always evolving. Whether it is a place specific word or not, however, "A rose by any other name...?" I think that the situations of apartheid South Africa and Israel are quite similar.

------------------------------------------

***GlobaDemocrat.*** thank you for the compliments, but while we're on the topic of language, I don't think that people are trying to "beat" me. In general, on this post, I have been impressed with the maturity of the posters and think they are trying to teach me. There is joy in giving and receiving, and in teaching and in learning, and if point out things to them or not, it is only to my greater joy and understanding that I learn something back from them.

I think you are right in pointing out that there are a lot of dangerous and a lot of harmful things that can be learned from the West, and that nobody should take an attitude that the East has nothing to teach the West, but it also works in reverse. Some knowledge in the West is dangerous, but it is certainly valuable, and something I believe the East strives for regardless of its danger. What did you mean by non-fundamentalists being the losers? I did not understand.

I fully agree, GlobalDemocrat, that the United States is in a great part responsible for the tragedy of Palestine. It is their helicopters, their weapons, their tactics being used against the Palestinians now. I often use the metaphor of a card game to illustrate how it affects negotiations. If you come to a table with a billion dollars, can you play with someone who comes with two? No. Because of the U.S. subsidies, Israel really has very little to gain from the Palestinians, and I believe that imbalance is a very important reason why negoations have come to tragic conclusions.

-------------------------------------------

***Standback***

First of all I'd like to point out something I see a lot in a reaction to media. One side or another will accuse the media of being one-sided in a particular feature of expose, and I believe that is true in some situations and to some extent, but I also think that often the SITUATION is so one-sided, that any accurate representation may seem one-sided. The question is, whether it is USEFUL or not to overly focus on certain facts. To sensationalize them and blow them out of proportion.

I was merely trying to accurately represent the facts in my analogy. I have read your analogy and I think there are four major differences between our two analogies.

1.) The "new residents" found uninhabited space.

2.) The old resident arbitrarily lays claim to the entirety of that uninhabited space.

3.) The old resident significantly attacks the "new resident" enough to be forced out of the cave by him.

4.) The old resident don't make any use of their space.

So would you agree that our analogies would be substantially the same if in my analogy the castle was next to a lot of empty and unused land to which the old resident laid claim, if the old resident attacked the "new resident" when started building on that land enough to be thrown out of his castle, and if the old resident never made any use of any land he received? Would you agree with the whole analogy if the these facts were changed?

As many discussions of this topic often do, we're going back into a lot of history, history which is almost completely irrelevant to the current situation. As I said in my analogy, the innocents have moved in, and now we're in a completely new moral ball-game. However, in the interests of accuracy, I'll go into those major points. What I am about to relate, however, means very little to my current opinion on the conflict, and is almost solely history to me, tragic, but somewhat useless to know (except for those people whose purpose is to let it rile them up). Let me deal with the first two points together.

1.) The "new residents" found uninhabited space.
&
2.) The old resident arbitrarily lays claim to the entirety of that uninhabited space.

That comes from Lord Shaftebury's (sp?) "a land without a people for a people without a land" catchphrase. I heard it was originally more a political than a physical reference, in any case it BECAME a supposed physical reference over time.

A reference which was categorically untrue. Palestine was fully inhabited before the arrival of the Israelis. I think it was in 1967 that a former Israeli Defense minister said "There is not one single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population." If you research into the founders of Israel and Zionism, you'll find lots of reference to "the Arab Problem." I think you should research that furhter. Ask why it was a problem, and you'll find that it was a problem because the Arabs were on land which those leaders wanted for Jewish settlement. A lot of this was solved by absentee land purchases, through the travesty of the changes made in the Ottoman Land Codes. So suddently peasants who had farmed their land for generations were being kicked off in favor of a sale from a sometimes fictional (but almost always unrelated to land) registered owner to a jewish immigrant. This is quintessential land fraud. Very common when land registration schemes are first implemented. If you want to know further, read up on Ahad Ha'am, and Theodore Herz, and what they said about spiriting the "penniless population across the border," and denying them land and employment in what they dreamt would one day be Israel. Palestine was occupied, and the "land without a people", in its physical sense, is one of the greatest myths of former Palestine. Read up on the words of Menahem Ussishkin, a very respected Zionist leader. I believe he said talked also about the problem of the Arabs, and how Israel could not survive if they were so numerous.

As you're probably beginning to suspect, the claim of the Arabs to that land was not arbitrary, it was because they lived there for generations, and they were "transferred" (another key term you might want to look up the history of) from their land. What was the extent of this? I think you need only look at the population growth of the jewish segment of the population and of land ownership before and after the immigration to find an answer. These were not voluntary sales, in the main, they were fraudulous.

3.) The old resident significantly attacks the "new resident" enough to be forced out of the cave by him.

As I hope I made clear in section 1&2, it was the intent of the Zionists to transfer Arabs long before any Palestinian civil unrest, to take over the land on which generations of Arabs had settled. To solve the "Arab Problem" by expulsion and a denial of basic rights. It was not in reaction to aggression. I think if you'll research into the history of negotiations for asylum for the jewish population after World War II, you'll find that the negotiations were in many ways SABOTAGED by the Jewish leaders. Acceptance and immigration into other lands which they could have received were denied them by the frauds of the their leaders. Thus, the jewish population was in many ways tricked by their own leaders. The innocent aunts and uncles, innocents sons and daughters, filling the house, tricked by the fraudster in my earlier analogy.

4.) The old resident don't make any use of their space.

Why would you mention this Standback? The only reason I can think of is because you think them not using their space gives the moral victory to whoever uses it. Not building, learning, or creating means others have moral superiority in taking from them so they may do this. Firstly, as I have said the "land without a people" belief is a myth, so they definitely owned and farmed the land. Nextly, because I raise my family, I take care of my kids, I feed only us and perhaps make a few bottles of olive oil on the side, does that mean that I am not learning or building? Isn't that a bit culturally imperialistic? Is a rural life less significant than an urban one? The logical result of this is that people should be able to take over farmers land whenever they want. Have I misunderstood you? Whether I have or not, I can see no justification in expelling farmers or anyone else, and then burning down their homes and villages after they leave. I think the number of the villages burned was in the hundreds. After this, knowing that the land belonged to Arabs and knowing they are living in tiny, overcrowded, refugee camps, more immigration to TAKE OVER the land is being encouraged, and it is being SOLD and GIVEN to others. Can that be justified in any way?

In light of this, Standback, how can you say "I do believe we did take land that wasn't ours, because we desperately needed that land." The TAKING is a very small part of your analogy and your explanation of history. Don't you think it was a rather LARGE part?

"I *am* saying that they seem rather indifferent to our suffering - or, indeed, our complete and total anhilation."

For one, the annihilation of Israel was almost never possible, not with the British aided them, not when the Americans aided them, not when the armies of the Arabs were an unequipped and disorganized mess (not to forget untrained) with the possible exception of the Legion. Since annihilation of Nasser's airforce, do you think there has been a genuine threat to Israel? But all this, again, is useless history. TODAY, Standback, do you think that the "complete and total annihilation" of Israel is possible? And nobody can compare suffering, perhaps the girl next door suffered more breaking a nail than I do when I lose someone, I cannot see how she suffers inside. But given that you cannot compare sufferings, you CAN compare circumstances, and are the Palestinian and Israeli circumstances comparable? Are they even CLOSE? On the same level?

"To be objective, you cannot demand the land back on the basis of "we want" without considering they other side's 'we need.'"

When did I demand land back? I agree completely, "We Want" is rather irrelevant, what is more important is what "we need." What is needed for peace, not what is wanted for justice.

-----------------------------------

***JasonR.*** Please read my original analogy, and then the clarifications I made to Standback. I think it was far more fair analogy before I spoke I made those clarifications about Israeli motivations. I think it was accurate and fair, the truth about Zionist leaders is rather ugly, and so I didn't want to go into that, why risk inciting hatred against Jews or Palestinians when all this is just history. Why explain further what I meant by "fraudster" and about land titles and how the land was acquired when that is an ugly truth which will only dehumanize the founders of Israel, and when people may think I am applying this to Israel today? Was it unbalanced of me in my analogy to skip this out? And to say that Palestinians are killing because they are starved, uneducated, angry, "maniacs?" I think I was being unfair to Palestinians there.while the entire family except for the fraudster are innocents who are being killed? A family of of innocents with a fraudster founder vs. a family of containing maniacs? Do you really think I was being unfair to the Isralis? I think was being accurate and fair, but the facts may be unbalanced in many areas, and one of those is the tragic and reprehensible expulsion of the Palestinians, the history. So I didn't go into it much, except to say that it was fraud, and that once innocents came into the picture, it didn't matter.

What matters is the CURRENT situation. What did you think of my analogy when it came down to the modern situation?

------------------------------------

Again, thank you all for your responses. You have been very reasonable and mature, and that is hard to find nowadayds on the web. I hope we continue to converse and learn.

Salaam,

'Sayeed.

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kelcimer
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Sayeed

Standback does not say that "The "new residents" found uninhabited space."

I don't think Standback meant that there was uninhabited space at all . The jist from the analogy is that the current resident considered the entire cave his space.

The closest Standback comes to saying "The "new residents" found uninhabited space." is:
quote:
Now, another man is also living in the cave, but the refugee is willing to deal with that.
"Also" can imply that not all space was being used, but just change that to "already" and add that the refugee had lived there many moons ago and I think the analogy is back on track and valid.

Or is the source of the misunderstanding?
quote:
The dweller comes back, with his family and friends, and keeps control of some parts of the cave and other niches that the refugees aren't using as much as others.
Or is it this line?
quote:
The Palestinians, on the other hand, have so many other places they can go
If it is this line then his meaning is that in neighboring caves there are dwellers just like him who can accomodate the dweller there.
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LetterRip
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Sayeed,

the quote is from Moshe Dayan who was indeed a Minister of Defence for Israel

http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/biography/Dayan.html

quote:
I think you need only look at the population growth of the jewish segment of the population and of land ownership before and after the immigration to find an answer. These were not voluntary sales, in the main, they were fraudulous.
It is dificult to find good information on this aspect. It is clear that at least some of the land purchases were fraudulent. It is unclear how great an extent this was, nor whether the Israelis who made the purchases could have been expected to realize it (or were actually aware of it).

LetterRip

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potemkyn
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Sayeed,

Belated woelcome to you. I just what you have written and I am impressed. You obviously are articulate and emphatic about this issue. Several things which I have noticed disturb me, though. Please understand that I am relatvely moderate on Israel/Palistine and that I mean no offence.

quote:
The borders of 1967 cannot return, says Card, because they were used to
wreak death and destruction. The same could be said about the borders of
innumerable states, including the United States of America, and going
father-back and farther-forward than 1967. The fact is that borders do not
cause peace, and saying that Palestinian aggression is caused or allowed in
main because of the borders, in the way that keeping more territory from them
will cause more aggression than giving them more territory...? How does
that make sense? I do not think I even need to say more about that,
though I would welcome other opinions.

I was under the impression that Syria controlled Golan before 1967 and that they regurally shelled Israeli territory. Not only this, but Golan allowed for Israel's destruction in days quite possible. Why should Israel return Golan to a country that is still ocuppying Lebanon and supports terrorists? Perhaps I misunderstand, but I cannot see why Israel should give up such an important piece of land which's value is that its owner can destroy Israel?

quote:
If Orson Scott Card had talked about the plight of Palestinians, *IF* he
had showed us that side of the struggle, then the next passage makes it
even worse. If he had, then the next passage would be
*justifying* it. As it is, he compares something he has not talked about as
if comparisons make it OK. Somewhat as if I said

"The situation of 400 years of slavery for Africans in the United States
is OK because they are treated BETTER than Africans in Africa."

Comparisons are irrelevant from my point of view for justifying
inequality, am I wrong? To illustrate even further, if Orson Scott Card
had actually described the situation of Palestinian people, homes,
businesses and then ended as he did, it would have to include the word
“BUT.”

For instance, "The Palestinian situation is 'X,' they are far, far, worse off than the
Israelis in the same region, BUT they have "more freedom... than the
citizens of any of the nearby Muslim Arab states."

Having MORE than someone else does not mean that you have ENOUGH. Does

Not mean that the level you have I JUST. Especially if you are

Discriminated against.

I agree, I think comparisons are not the way to resolve this situation, but I would warn you as well of avoiding this. In your responses you have regurally misunderstood (I think) what the point was and responded with a comparison. Be careful about this.
quote:
3.) The old resident significantly attacks the "new resident" enough to be forced out of the cave by him.

As I hope I made clear in section 1&2, it was the intent of the Zionists to transfer Arabs long before any Palestinian civil unrest, to take over the land on which generations of Arabs had settled. To solve the "Arab Problem" by expulsion and a denial of basic rights. It was not in reaction to aggression. I think if you'll research into the history of negotiations for asylum for the jewish population after World War II, you'll find that the negotiations were in many ways SABOTAGED by the Jewish leaders. Acceptance and immigration into other lands which they could have received were denied them by the frauds of the their leaders. Thus, the jewish population was in many ways tricked by their own leaders. The innocent aunts and uncles, innocents sons and daughters, filling the house, tricked by the fraudster in my earlier analogy.

You ignored the fact that it WAS the Palestinians who attacked. That was his point, you justify it by saying that the Israelis "stole" the land, but failed to address the fact that the Palestinians still attacked.

Just curious, did you space out your sentences like that on purpose? I like it.

Personally I'd like to put all these criticisms behind and actually solve this problem. You have been the initiator of this cyber conversation, do you have any ideas? I'm interested.

One more thing, how do you propose that Palestine unite to the point where a single authority CAN stop the terrorism? I would put that as high on my list of things required for peace. It seems to me as long as a single leader can over ride the central gov't then no government exists in Israel and dealing with that "government" will only play into the hands of those who can strong arm that government.
Just me, though. I'm willing to hear your proposals.

"There can be no justice without peace and peace without justice" -MLK

Potemkyn

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GlobalDemocrat
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Sayeed, others,
on being accurate: I said about the issy commander and OSC:
"I really do believe he intentionally did not mention it, because of his "Palestinians are babykillers" view. "

Of course i meant to say:
" I really do believe he intentionally DID mention it, because of his "Palestinians are babykillers" view."

Not that anybody seems to have noticed or cared or misinterpreted ... [Wink]

And where i said "beat in an argument" i should have used 'beat' in stead of just plain beat. I'm not a native speaker, so it's difficult to be nuanced and subtle sometimes.
(Unbalanced views are a different thing althogether ....)

DonaldD:
I'm glad that you yourself stated that these lynchings were tacitly approved by the state. I admit that the official position of the Federal govt. was IMO always against lynchings (although it seems that Roosevelt didn't seem to care that much)
But the State Govts' where officially 'in favor'-ish of oppression by whites of blacks: the govr. of Arkansas? Fabius? Or whatever his name was. This went beyond 'tacitly approving' don't you think???

Lynchings were little 'Kristall nachts'. Besides, it is not only I who sees the 'nazi = lynching' thing. Extreme-rightwing-groups themselves employ swastika's!!! so ...???

I find this whole "you're killing the discussion if you make the Nazi/Apartheid comparison" a little distasteful.

It is a comparison made in fiction as early as 1968
(in Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner) and it's out there. Accept it.

Apartheid is an Afrikaander word, litterally translated it would be 'Apartness' or some such.

Edit:
Okay, jason, i agree, there are equal in part, not in whole. But i disagree with any implication that therefor the parts of Israeli policy which is equal to Apartheid is 'better' than apartheid. Or that the victims of this suffer less.

To all:
Try this (dicey) comparison:
In a parent-child conflict who would you hold most responsible? the parent or the child?
I'm going for the analogy in power, not in wisdom (although some might like just that aspect in the analogy)

It's the occupation, the landgrabbing by sharon's wall, (the wall on the 1967 borders, now THAT would mean something) and the inequality in Issy law.
I readily admit an exception should be the Golan heights. Syria shouldn't expect this back. BTW, does Israel have the same tactical advantage over Syria as if Syria would own it? If not, Israel surely should keep it.

For those who say what about the suicide bombers, i ask: how many suicide bombers were there, BEFORE the collapse of the Swiss Cheese peace talks? I mean Oslo? I think very little to none, but correct me ...

[ November 24, 2003, 03:25 PM: Message edited by: GlobalDemocrat ]

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Standback
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Sayeed,

Are you aware of the Arab riots as early as 1920? Far before the founding of a Jewish state - let alone the *single* state in Palastine/Israel - the local Arabs held several massacres of Jews, which rather prompted the creation the Jew's armed organizations (Hagana, Etzel, Lehi and so on) which made Israel what it is today.

This was when the Jews were waaaaaaay in the minority.

http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_mandate_riots_1920-21.php

http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_mandate_riots_1929.php

http://www.multied.com/Israel/1920ArabRiotsYaffo.html

http://www.multied.com/Israel/1929HebronMassacre.html

http://www.multied.com/Israel/1936ArabRiots.html

(these links are from pro-Israel webpages... but you'll find them trustworthy enough. Your standard encyclopedia should back this up as well.)

As for the analogy. Kelcimer got it right - I wasn't intending to imply that the Palestinians weren't there first. They were, I agree. All right.

My point was this - the Jews desperately needed somewhere. The Holocaust proved rather conclusively that the Jewish people could not hope to live in peace and safety under the control of other nations.

It is - maybe - possible that some other piece of land could have been found. It wouldn't have had any of Israel's drawing power as the Jewish People's Holy Land and long-ago home, and wouldn't seem nearly as much a Jewish center and focus point. Quite likely the attmept would have failed, and there would be no home for the Jews whatsoever. But even if we go beyond that, there aren't very many stretches of land out there which happen to be both habitable and uninhabited. We'd have been encroaching on somebody. Is it particularly unjust that it happened to be the Palestinians? Or should the Jews have quietly died out rather than commit any land fraud?

Given that the Jews did need Israel, the Palestinians and other local residents could have chosen one of three options:
a) leave, to any one of the other dozen arab countries.
b) attempt to reach some sort of compromise, in which the land is shared between the two peoples
c) stick steadfastedly to their ownership of the land, and try to kill any trespassers.

The Palestinians chose C) - and continue to do so. You could say it's their legal right, yes, but again - you're comparing genocide with land fraud.

quote:
For one, the annihilation of Israel was almost never possible, not with the British aided them, not when the Americans aided them, not when the armies of the Arabs were an unequipped and disorganized mess (not to forget untrained) with the possible exception of the Legion.
From the 1948 War of Independance (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt) to the Yom Kippur War in 1973 (the combined armies of Egypt and Syria, aided by numerous other arab countries), the annihilation of Israel was extremely possible.

quote:
But all this, again, is useless history. TODAY, Standback, do you think that the "complete and total annihilation" of Israel is possible?
First of all - it's not useless history, because I didn't say that the Palestinians could actually bring about the annihilation of Israel. But I *do* believe that they very much would like to.

And secondly, yes, I do belive that the state of Israel is very far from being secure. We have no lack of enemies, and the whole intifada has been one long string of provocations. As world opinion slips... well... Not to speak of other details. The demands from Hamas all include the Right of Return - and that will bring Jewish Israel down in no time. Or the way there will be more Arabs than Jews in Israel within less than a generation... ("demographic trends predict that by 2020 there will be an overall Arab majority in the combined Israeli and Arab territories." -- http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1001/dailyUpdate.html , and you'll find it plenty of other places as well)

I assure you, none of us are resting very easy about our future.

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LetterRip
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Standback,

quote:
Are you aware of the Arab riots as early as 1920? Far before the founding of a Jewish state - let alone the *single* state in Palastine/Israel - the local Arabs held several massacres of Jews, which rather prompted the creation the Jew's armed organizations (Hagana, Etzel, Lehi and so on) which made Israel what it is today.
The 1920 riot was organized, prepared, and actively encouraged by the British.

Hagana actually formed prior to the riot of 1920, so I don't see how you can claim it was formed in reaction to the riot.

LetterRip

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GlobalDemocrat
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yeah, exactly how is israel gonna use their nukes other than against Europe? (extremist in Israel have claimed to do this if we piss 'em off 'nuff)
sooner or later radiation will come back to eretz itself, no?

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mv
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quote:
The 1920 riot was organized, prepared, and actively encouraged by the British
Perhaps. But also by one Amin Al Husseini -- the Pals leader before Yasser. The picture linked below is of Mr. Al Husseini inciting the riots.
Amin Al Husseini, Jerusalem, 1920

Three more Al Husseini pics:
AL Husseini with Himmler
Al Husseini with Hitler
Arafat attending Al Husseini's funerals (1974)

Continuity.

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jasonr
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"yeah, exactly how is israel gonna use their nukes other than against Europe?"

Huh?

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LetterRip
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Standback,

quote:
My point was this - the Jews desperately needed somewhere.
Agreed.

quote:
My point was this - the Jews desperately needed somewhere. The Holocaust proved rather conclusively that the Jewish people could not hope to live in peace and safety under the control of other nations.
How so? Mass killings of Christians in some nations has not 'conclusively proved' that Christians '[can]not hope to live in peace and safety under the control of other nations.' (Indeed a large percentage of those killed during the holocaust were Christians and Catholics - The Poles had a nation of their own - Poland, and had a fifth of their population killed in the holocaust (half Christians half Jews)). Also, many Jews live quite freely, peacefully and safely in some nations, for instance the US.

quote:
It is - maybe - possible that some other piece of land could have been found.
No 'maybe' about it - other options were made available, but certain elements in the Zionist movement refused anything but Israel.

quote:
But even if we go beyond that, there aren't very many stretches of land out there which happen to be both habitable and uninhabited.
The land wasn't uninhabited. That was the problem. It was as densely populated as most of the worlds farmland.

quote:
Is it particularly unjust that it happened to be the Palestinians? Or should the Jews have quietly died out rather than commit any land fraud?
No the Jews should not have died out. However, it is not an either or option.

quote:
the Palestinians and other local residents could have chosen one of three options.
Hmmm.. why not additional options for the Palestinians? Or alternatively why didn't you list the options for the Jewish people.

quote:
You could say it's their legal right, yes, but again - you're comparing genocide with land fraud.
Just about every nation in the world allows killing in defense of ones property. My moral worldview does allow stealing as a last resort, however, it is also moral for the individual who is being stole from to defend their property. Also, my moral worldview requires the resorting to other means first, namely buying, asking, begging, etc. The problem as I see it, is that it appears that using the political process to take the land was a first resort. Buying was a second resort, and other options were never even considered.

For the cave example, if I am occupying a cave, and someone asks me to share it there is a good chance that I might. If however, someone attempts to occupy part of my cave without permission I may well resort to force to prevent them.

LetterRip

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Everard
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Letterip-
CHeck your email.

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GlobalDemocrat
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tssss,
Email? ev employs the 'secondly ' tactic:
The firstly that he leaves out might've gone like this:
"Firstly, Jews have gone 2000 years ago, why do they want MY land? People live here!

It's appalling to see certain people deny certain facts:
1. the land wasn't empty
2. any emptiness has been caused by you yourself, so we end up at 1. again."

Standback:
your basic premisse is that you're sorta defenseless: This make your posts kinda ridiculous, since you're the strongest nation in the region, with the exception of the US, who is at your side.

This victimization of the strongest side, it's kind of sickening. I can just see you, holding out a 'Help us poor Israeli's'-sign with your left hand, while shooting a Palestinian kid with your right hand.
This could be a sad but accurate caricature of a tipical israeli. Without much carictural value to it, though.

GlobDem

[ November 24, 2003, 11:00 PM: Message edited by: GlobalDemocrat ]

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Everard
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Yes, I'm using email. Read my thread from the other day.
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LetterRip
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mv,

quote:
Perhaps. But also by one Amin Al Husseini
Yep,

and if you read some history on Husseini, you'll find that it was with the encouragement and active assistance of the British that the riot happened and had the impact it did,

quote:
Haj Amin took the Colonel’s advice and instigated a riot. The British withdrew their troops and the Jewish police from Jerusalem, allowing the Arab mob to attack Jews and loot their shops. Because of his overt role in instigating the pogrom, the British decided to arrest him.
http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haj_Amin_Al-Husseini
http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/History/mufti.html

LetterRip

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LetterRip
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I've done some more research to try and determine the land ownership, and degree of farming in Palestine/Israel prior to the establishment of Israel, and who was doing the farming.

http://www.palestineremembered.com/Acre/Palestine-Remembered/Story664.html

This site gives current agriculutural usage in Israel

http://www.israel-embassy.org.uk/web/pages/agrisrel.htm

and here is a source for square kilometerage to determine percentages of utilization

http://www.palestinefacts.org/pf_mandate_overview.php

I'll try and extract the raw data into useful facts later.

LetterRip

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mv
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LetterRip,

One should distinguish between the roles of instigators (British, or various leftists today) and direct participants (Al Huseini, or PA policemen/Hamas today).

Direct participants are at least as important; so in essense Standback was correct.

[ November 25, 2003, 01:08 AM: Message edited by: mv ]

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LetterRip
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mv,

quote:
One should distinguish between the roles of instigators (British, or various leftists today) and direct participants (Al Huseini, or PA policemen/Hamas today).
the point I was making is that without major facilitation on the part of the British government (or at least those acting on its behalf), that the riot never would have happened. I agree that AL Huseini, is certainly culpable, since he acted as the government official suggested and used his influence to give credence to lies and encourage the arabs to rioting.

LetterRip

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Standback
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quote:
The 1920 riot was organized, prepared, and actively encouraged by the British.
Even if that's true - what's your point? "The snake told me to eat it." Are you maybe saying the State of Israel should have been founded in Great Britain? And I recall somebody mentioning how the Arabs couldn't do anything, due to that unfortunate overwhelming British support of Israel...

quote:

Hagana actually formed prior to the riot of 1920, so I don't see how you can claim it was formed in reaction to the riot.

The 1920 riot was the first time they actually took action ( http://www.multied.com/Israel/1920HaganahFounded.html ). Let's rephrase that, then, to, "threats of Arab riots, such as the one in 1920, were what made necessary groups such as the Hagana."

quote:

How so? Mass killings of Christians in some nations has not 'conclusively proved' that Christians '[can]not hope to live in peace and safety under the control of other nations.'

You can't compare the 33% of the world with .2% (first link I found - http://www.religioustolerance.org/worldrel.htm ). One is obviously in a position of strength the other can't quite attain. I'll leave you to guess which one.

quote:
Also, many Jews live quite freely, peacefully and safely in some nations, for instance the US.
But that's very recent. Certainly at the time, Europe was the center of worldwide Judaism, and that's where we were massacred. America also wasn't exactly helpful in accepting refugees. We needed our own place, desperately.

quote:
quote:

But even if we go beyond that, there aren't very many stretches of land out there which happen to be both habitable and uninhabited.

The land wasn't uninhabited. That was the problem. It was as densely populated as most of the worlds farmland.
I didn't say it was, dammit. The next sentence was:

quote:
We'd have been encroaching on somebody. Is it particularly unjust that it happened to be the Palestinians?
I didn't say it was uninhabited. I said everywhere else was too.

quote:
quote:
It is - maybe - possible that some other piece of land could have been found.
No 'maybe' about it - other options were made available, but certain elements in the Zionist movement refused anything but Israel.
I assume you're talking about the Uganda proposal here, which was the main serious alternative. Many of the Jewish leaders did take exception to this and insist on Israel, for religious and spiritual reasons as well as the ones I mentioned as to why these other places wouldn't draw enough Jews to serve its purpose. But even so, the Uganda proposal was dismissed in any case because it was judged unsuitable for settlement:

quote:
After the rejection of the Uganda scheme on the grounds of impracticability by the British...
-- http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Zionism/Uganda.html

What other offers?

quote:
No the Jews should not have died out. However, it is not an either or option.
One might venture that it certainly seemed like one at the time.

quote:
Just about every nation in the world allows killing in defense of ones property. My moral worldview does allow stealing as a last resort, however, it is also moral for the individual who is being stole from to defend their property.
But those are two seperate issues. In order to judge the case morally, you must be an outsider in the following case: Man A has a magic pill, which is quite likely the only thing that will save Man B's life. Certainly Man A has a right to the pill, and certainly you can see Man B's justification in trying to take it. But if it's up to you - who do you give the pill to?

quote:
Also, my moral worldview requires the resorting to other means first, namely buying, asking, begging, etc. The problem as I see it, is that it appears that using the political process to take the land was a first resort. Buying was a second resort, and other options were never even considered.
This I'm willing to agree with. Yes, the Jews would have been "righter" to ask the Arabs, buy the land from the Arabs, etc. There are, however, mitigating circumstances. One is, asking was rather difficult, because the people in charge (the Ottomans and then the British) weren't the same people who were actually living in the land (the Palestinians and other Arabs). So they went to the people in charge - not to the people they were actually hurting. It makes sense, but it would have been much better to do both.
As for buying - they did not have it within their means to buy the entire country (and I don't believe every landowner was inclined to sell). The buying was done piece by piece. So they asked (the wrong people). And they bought (what they could). And they stole. Yes.

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TS Elliot
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The problem with the buying seems to have been that when an Arab sold land to another Arab he took over the arab workers which worked the land.
The jews did not seem to that but kicked the arab landworkers out, which left a lot of arabs homeless and jobless. Naturally they weren't too happy about that.
The problem with the stealing ... oh well.

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Sayeed
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Hello,

------------------------------

***Kelcimer. ***

Standback called it "a whole lot of inhospitable dirt," which is pretty much the same thing as saying uninhabited space.

Letterrip, the percentage of Palestine "bought" by Israel was relatively little, but of that percentage over 90% was had from large landowners. This was claimed by the director of the Keren Kayameth. If you remember, an organization that was heavily involved in the uprooting of Arabs, which was a factor in the riots in the 1920's.

Certainly we cannot find EXACT figures on the nature of the fraud, but we do know that organizations such as the Jewish Agency and KerenK were heavily involved with the purchasing of land for Jewish settlement, and we do know the interaction with Zionist leaders who were obviously in favor of transfer of the Arabs were involved with those associations, so even if we had no figures, we could make educated guesses. Again, even if they came in, kicked out 100% of the Arabs and took all the land for total strangers who were never persecuted and did not emigrate from Germany, even that would mean relatively little to me. What matters is that there are facts on the ground now. Was that planned? Yes. Was it a form of moral aggression? Yes. Does that matter? No, since, not to oversimplify, two wrongs does not make a right, and the fact that the land was taken wrongly does not necessarily mean it should be again taken from relative innocents. (Of course Letterrip, I know you did not suggest this, I'm just adding it because I think it's relevant.)

------------------------------

***Potemkyn***

Thank you for your compliements, and it is unlikely I will be offended. You are right in that the Golan was used for attacking Israel, but at the same time, it has massive superiority of training and equipment and less frequently soldiers insured that it was never any significant threat. In addition, please do not make assumptions about my beliefs or associate me with a group with certain beliefs, but read what I write and from those specific facts decide on my opinions. I say this because though you did not say it, I feel you implied in your writing that I suggested that Israel give up the Golan, when I do not remember ever saying this. Thus I will not reply to the question "why should Israel givce up such an important piece of land which's value is that its owner can destroy ?" except to say that no Arab nation could destroy Israel and that I never suggested Israel give it up.

You are right, comparisons are dangerous. They are useful for finding out the integrity of someone's reasoning, but not as a grounds for justifying oppression or creating standards of behavior. I believe that in those things, there are certain absolute moral minimums. If you discuss which sections I "regularly misunderstood" the point I would be grateful.

Again, Potemkyn, I have to remind you not to group my opinions and argue against that group, because you are minimizing me and my opinions in doing this. You used quotes around the word 'stole' as if I said it, but I don't believe I ever did.

As to this specific point, I think you misunderstood. I interpreted the former poster's point to be "the old resident forced them out of the cave *BECAUSE* they were attacked." "BECAUSE" being the keyword that implies a cause-effect relationship. That section of my writing was to point out that the plan of expulsion was not an effect, it predated the attacks and thus the attacks could not have been the cause of it. Of course, the riots were relatively minor atrocities in the history of Palestine and Israel unless one blames the founding of various organizations on them.

Yep, did space my sentences like that on purpose. You like? I preferred the bulleting system of the one of the former posters, but he wouldn't let me in on the little secret [Frown] .

------------------------------------

***GlobalDemocrat***

Interesting post. I will try to keep in mind that you are not a native speaker in the future when I read your posts. May I ask what language you speak natively.

As to your second post, I can't tell you what to do, but I might suggest against using the word "you" in such an aggressive fashion. True or not, aggressive posts that seem like accusations put people on the defensive and I don't think that is productive for discussion.

-------------------------------------

***StandBack***

Standback, I am aware of those riots. I do not think that the majority or the minority of Jews was really a factor in them do you? It was more the usurpation of lands, the perceived impending results of the Balfour declaration, the increased immigration and claims by the immigrants, and other factors which created the perception among Arabs that they would be disinherited by the immigrants that caused those riots.

You mention choice "C"

c) stick steadfastedly to their ownership of the land, and try to kill any trespassers.

which you claim the Arabs chose, as if they should have stuck steadfastedly to their shelter and livelihood. They were being kicked off their land. Should they havemetaphorically, heard the doorbell ring, packed up their things, then moved out in the street while the strangers in the street moved into their house? True, that metaphor is a bit inaccurate. As far as I know, there was no knock at the door, no doorbell, no request for negotiation or offer to share the land they had held, or rather if there was it was that of the local officer evicting them. (I've heard that was how that Act introduced in 1921 to prevent landowners from making their supposed tenants homeless was counteracted, eviction before sale.)

I think later, posters, Standback, pointed out something you may have missed in your analysis and options. It was not a black and white choice for the Jewish people between genocide and occupation. I have more respect for the Jewish people than to think they would die out when they are homeless. As much as I have for the Palestinians who are now in refugee camps. If they came into Palestine without displacing Arabs, there would have been less land, and fewer of them would have come, or if they had, they would be living in far more modest conditions and far overcrowded conditions than some of them now live. Essentially, they would be in the position of the Palestinians, though possibly better. Given that they had not chosen to displace Palestinians, that they had entered the native Yishuv community by buying and renting in a manner more friendly to the Palestinians, do you think the riots would have started?

I guess what we arrive at is that it is not so much the fact that the Jewish people chose to come to Palestine that is controversial, it is the manner in which they did it, and what they did after they were entrenched.

So why not ask me, do I blame the Jewish people? Israel? Is it THEIR fault, these atrocities which happened back then, and are they devils incarnate? Should we forever castigate all Jewish people and Israelis for their grevious sins? I cannot deny that many Jewish immigrants supported certain terrible things, but with respect to my political opinions *I* *DO* *NOT* *CARE.*

It is history. Good reading in a book, interesting story, tragic, but in the end just dusty history. What does it have to do with the current political situation, current compromises? The only reason it is relevant is an arbitrary principle I think most people would hold of compensation. Many people were deprived of the land which is now called Israel, their children are deprived of an economic situation, the value they lost is somewhat present there. So there is a good place to start to compensate them for that loss of value. They have a claim to value in the place which is now the nation of Israel. Why? Because of history and ethical norms. How are the warcrimes and moral lapses relevant otherwise? I really don't think they are, unless perhaps specific crimes can be traced back to specific people who currently exist or whose estates exist.

Standback you say the annhilation of Israel was extremely possible from 1948 to 1973. Remembering the exception I made for the Legion (who did not participate) or Nasser's airforce (which was preemptively bombed), I ask you to go back and at the equipment and training received by the Israeli forces. Now look at the disorganized unequpipped mess which were their opponents. Occasionally numerous, but a shambles. Can you say the same thing in light of those facts?

I am almost completely positive that you will agree with me, Standback, that enemies and intifada does not mean annhilation if the power of both are limited.

When I spoke of threats and annilation, I meant military in a military sense. As to the right of return and the soon to be arab majority, that is a very complex point I did not think you would raise. Both very important issues, that deserve much discussion, but I do not think there is space for that here. I would love to discuss it however. Lots of important questions, like is there really a threat of annihilation of Israel, or is it just change? SHOULD change occur? Would Jewish people be safe in a country which was majority Arab? Is there any such thing as a "right" to a religious state? Which is more important, the right for Arabs to vote or the right to a jewish Israel?

----------------------------------

***LetterRip***

The 1920 riots had heavy British involvement? I was under the impression it was mainly Arab dissatisfaction with dispossession.

Interesting second post.

-----------------------------------

Again, history is old and dead. There are facts on the ground, and if they are unjust, and if it was a cruel plot by people who KNEW what they were doing was wrong but also knew that, Ex POST FACTO, they would be able to claim the moral high ground, so what of it? The villages are already burned to the ground. Many have left their homes behind and immigrated from far off countries. They succeeded and it is done. Israel stands before us. And now what matters is what is happening today, the facts on the ground as they stand. Can we grasp those facts enough to find the cause of the problems, the violence? To find not the historical causes, not some long-past due injustice, but the CURRENT causes. If we can, then perhaps we can find a CURRENT solution.

Ma Salaam,

'Sayeed.

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