Virtual Talmud

Virtual Talmud


What Are We to Make of Gaza?

Commenting on the violence in Gaza, Jon Stewart quipped that those who hate Jews were overthrown by those who HATE Jews. So why should we care? The people in Sederot care, because they have suffered unrelenting rocket attacks since Israel left Gaza. The rest of us should also care because chaos anywhere threatens chaos everywhere.
Fouad Ajami’s Op-Ed in the New York Times last week blames the situation on Arafat for staying with the political myths of his people that they could have it all “from the river to the sea” rather than accept a decent and generous compromise offered by then Prime Minister Barak during the Clinton Administration. As someone once said, the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
However, there is certainly enough blame to go around for what is happening.
Some blame goes to the Arab countries for funding families of suicide bombers and other “martyrs,” rather than adequately investing in businesses, schools and other institutions that would have created jobs and hope. Last time I was on the West Bank two years ago, a Palestinian cab driver explained to me as we drove through a refugee camp that all he wanted for his children was to have a better life than he had. Most parents would agree. Arab investment in the West Bank and Gaza would have given the Palestinians the economic opportunities and real quality of life improvements that would have made peace, rather than terror, attractive.
Some of the blame falls on former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Three years ago, I met an Israeli journalist who just came from a gun fight between Gazan factions. He predicted that unless an Israeli pullout was orchestrated to give Abbas the credit, Hamas would claim victory due to their violence, as did Hezbollah when Israel pulled out of Lebanon. That would lead to Hamas winning control of Gaza. Sharon could have used the pull out to bolster Abbas, even though Abbas seemed incapable of collecting weapons or stopping rocket attacks on Israeli cities.
Much more of the blame goes to President Bush for forcing elections in Gaza over the objections of PA and Israeli leaders. Abbas said he needed more time otherwise a Hamas victory was likely. Why the press is not slamming the Bush administration for again claiming “no one saw it coming” is beyond me.
However, most of the blame falls on the Palestinians themselves. They have gotten the leadership they deserved, for they–not President Bush–ultimately elected Hamas. They followed a corrupt and manipulative leader, Arafat, who, for years, was more concerned with maintaining his own power than leading his people to peace. He lined his pockets and suppressed the small group of intellectuals who sought to (ironically) bring an Israeli-style democracy to their fledgling nation. When Abbas failed to quickly deliver on his promises for transparency and reorganization (bread and roses), the people turned to Hamas, who, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, had spent years building its reputation for honesty through its social service programs (which were funded by donations from well meaning Americans as well as others).
So what do we do now? Thinking Gaza can be contained as a separate entity and not spill over into the West Bank is the kind of wishful thinking that got us into this mess there (and in Iraq).
As a rabbi, when all else fails, I turn to prayer. I pray God softens the hearts of our enemies and guides our political leaders to make wide decisions. I pray for the Palestinians caught in the crossfire who want a better life for their children. Is that a sign of my sense of helplessness in the face of such madness? I am not sure. I also believe God helps those who help themselves. Perhaps our politicians would do well to seek the advice of the journalists who have been covering the fractured West Bank and Gaza for years. if they had listened to them to begin with, we may not be in this mess.



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Donald

posted June 25, 2007 at 6:28 pm


Any chance God might also soften the hearts of Israeli leaders? They are in the lead when it comes to the killing of innocent people, so there’s a strong need for softening of hearts on all sides. They could pull out of the settlements in the West Bank and still take whatever security measures are legitimately necessary while agreeing to a final status solution along the lines of the Geneva Initiative. Not Barak’s “generous offer” at Camp David–it’s an indicator that people have been reading propaganda when they talk about that “generous offer” and don’t distinguish between that summer 2000 offer and what was later discussed at Taba in early 2001. All sides were responsible in different ways for the failure of the peace process then, but it’s become an article of faith that Barak made a generous offer in the summer of 2000 that the Palestinians turned down.
Personally, I’d blame Clinton more than either Barak or Arafat for the Camp David debacle. The Americans were supposed to be fair-minded mediators, but they took the viewpoint that the Israelis were being generous for their willingness to return so much stolen land and would get angry because the Palestinians wanted 100 percent of the 22 percent of the land they originally lived in and would talk about their rights under international law, when the Americans were more concerned about what Barak could sell to the Israelis. Clinton behaved like an arrogant bully. Charles Enderlin’s book is a good one to read on all this, much better than the schlock you usually find in the American press.



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Scott R.

posted June 25, 2007 at 7:47 pm


Well, here we have yet another example that, mnot matter what happens, just blame the Jews.



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Julie

posted June 25, 2007 at 9:08 pm


Rabbi, why do you wait until “all else fails”? I am by far not a religious leader of any sort nor do I follow politics that closely, but I do know that we are to pray and turst God all the time. Even when things don’t look so good. “God handed the Hagrites and all their allies over to them, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him.” 1 Chronicles 5:20



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Scott R.

posted June 25, 2007 at 10:12 pm


Judaism is a religion of “doing”. God entrusted the world to us, and it is our job, not his, to fix it. We have the means to do it, because is the task he gave us. He no longer intervenes.



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Julie

posted June 25, 2007 at 10:51 pm


God’s entire point in creating us, was to involve us in His life. We are to seek His Word daily in all that we do. We cannot fix the world because we are not perfect, only God is perfect. We were assigned by God to glorify Him!



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Scott R.

posted June 26, 2007 at 7:41 am


Julie,
That’s Xian theology. We don’t think like that and we don’t speak like that.
One does not have to be perfect to fix the world.



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Tzvi

posted June 26, 2007 at 4:26 pm


we should have asked the Palestinians to leave the Territories, not had the Israeli gov’t leave. Inder rules of Engagement, that land was “lawfully” conquored, and taken fairly.



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Marion

posted June 26, 2007 at 5:33 pm


It is the comments of Rabbi Goodman which has continued to make the Jewish people appear weak and not united. To state that the Israelis must soften their hearts when they continue to release terrorists hundreds at a time from their jails, hoping to exchange them for a little peace or the life of one of their soldiers is done nowhere else in the world. Israel continues to give and give and give, until there will be nothing left to give. The land and the spirit of the people are being chiseled away by blind, childlike statements of many American Jews who continue to believe that the Arabs want peace with Israel….but only if Israel gives up……something else. I believe that Israel should take Gaza back, and I am not the only one. They have succeeeded, in their naivete and self destructive behavior, to assist the terrorists in coming that much closer to the heart of Israel.



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Marion

posted June 26, 2007 at 5:36 pm


Correction: I am responding to Rabbi Susan Grossman….and all others who believe Israel should GIVE anything else and soften their hearts any further.



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Rick Abrams

posted June 26, 2007 at 5:38 pm


So what’s the big deal about Gaza? We leave and they murder each other — since when is that news?



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laura t mushkat

posted June 26, 2007 at 6:41 pm


If it were not Gaza it would be something else. For some reason the Palestinians thrive on drama. For who knows how many years all of the middleastern states have had problems with each other. In many cases it seems to be dislike of democracy and Israel that is the only thing that binds them. I say that we can try to be peace makers there but I think the idea of peace in the mid east in a futile one.
Especially since oil and wealth divides them so deeply. I think jealousy has a lot to do with it along with lack of sophistication making it a breeding ground for those who want to die for their cause. If you do not care about living what is to stop you? Add democracy and Israel to the mix and its a hotbed.
It is unfortunate that due to oil the West tries to keep the peace and ends up involving their own people. Often I think that those who claim they want to help democracy and Israel are using that as an excuse to stop the various fighting that goes on and can hurt the oil from flowing to us.
What a mess!!
Laura



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Donald

posted June 26, 2007 at 7:50 pm


Blaming? I didn’t even get around to blaming anyone for the Gaza situation, but since that is the question, obviously there are several factions responsible–
1. The power-hungry Palestinian factions
2. The US and Israel. The US has been trying to overthrow Hamas since Jan 06 and was supporting Muhammad Dahlan’s faction, who is arguably the most corrupt and brutal of the Fatah warlords and therefore, by standard US thinking, the perfect puppet to be used against Hamas. It didn’t work.
Unless, of course, the whole idea was for it not to work. You never know with the geniuses we’ve got in Washington these days. A divided Palestine might be what they want.
One of numerous sources below. I could have picked a lefty, but decided to use this conservative former Green Beret instead–
pat lang



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Dave

posted June 26, 2007 at 7:53 pm


1/ I trust G-d all the time.
As to the whole fixing/repairing the world stuff, this is just modern Kalifornia Kabbalah (all rights reserved (C) the Berg family) stuff. You would be hard-pressed to find any mention of ‘Tikkun Olam’ 25 years ago. Its just something a minor Jewish mystic (Luria?) thought up in the middle ages and was quickly forgotten. Since I’m too smart to hand over a lot of money for expensive tap water or red string for somebody’s idea of Jewish Scientology I’ll stick to the Tikkunless Torah of my ancestors.
2/ The situation in Gaza is similar to many other aid-rich everything else-poor areas where no one includes economic matters in their voting decisions-because other than aid they have no economy.
3/ The people of Hong Kong who have never lived under a democratic government are infinitely better off than Gazans, even though they have ‘endured’ western racism/capitalism/colonialism/oppression/imperialism/occupation/McDonalds/Starbucks, live in overcrowded conditions, import all their water and virtually all their food, blah, blah blah
4/ Look on the bright side. a/ for about 2 minutes the Gazans will be saved from internicine conflict; b/ Hamas will ban that awful high-pitched music everyone in the Middle-East loves so much; c/Hamas will ban watching that boring ‘football’ (‘What an exciting nil-nil scoring game!’)non-North Americans watch; d/ With nothing to do Abbas can work on giving up smoking; e/ A desperate Hamas may put Arafat’s Nobel on Ebay



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Julie

posted June 26, 2007 at 8:42 pm


I do not know what Xian theology is.



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Scott R.

posted June 26, 2007 at 8:49 pm


Julie,
Sure you do. It’s the name of your religion, what the “C” stands for in JC. Some of us hold to the belief that we are not to say or write the name of foreign gods. And therefore, we use the “X” – which, actually, was popularized by Greek Xians millenia ago.



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Yechiel

posted June 27, 2007 at 12:40 am


Julie,
Some people are so hypnotized by words that they believe they should not say “Christian.”
This belief is not shared by most Jews, and is held only by the most fanatical.
Please do not believe we all look down on you in this way.



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Scott R.

posted June 27, 2007 at 9:42 am


Are we so PC, so desperate for diversity, that we ahould be forced to violate the teachings of our faith and write the name of another god that is not our own?
No one is looking down on anyone. Judaism is strictly monotheistic. J is not our god. You could say we were looking down on Xians by not worshipping him also. Should we do that to make them happy?
If you come to the Judaism boards, you will find that most do this.



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Melissa

posted June 27, 2007 at 12:11 pm


Violence begets violence. Make gentle the life of this world.



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kevin

posted June 27, 2007 at 12:15 pm


until Israel is granted the right to exist, they should not attempt to make ‘peace treaties’. Islamic extremists seem to like killing all the good Muslims (keep in mind there is such thing as ‘good Muslims’, it is just that they are not very good at their religion!).
Israel should take it all back. these people’s hearts will not simply ‘soften’.



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Yechiel

posted June 27, 2007 at 2:20 pm


MELISSA Your words, reminiscent of the Buddha, are well-needed here, as you must have seen from comments that preceeded you.
ISRAEL’s RIGHT TO EXIST There is no such right under the law as a “right to exist.” Is it found as a subject heading or term of art in any text of international law?
MAGICAL THINKING There is no danger in saying the word “Christ” or the word “Christian” or in spelling the word “God.” These are only words and have no magical power. We might as well refer to God as Allah or Makom or The Father or The Great Mother or even “Quagma Quilly” or any other random assortment of letters. These words are mere arbitrary designations used for convenience, like any other word.



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Bruce Ramsey

posted June 27, 2007 at 2:33 pm


The only way Palestinians can accept Israel’s right to exist and live better in peace, is for the Palestinians to quit believing in a religion that has the prophecy of Sahih Bukhari 4:52:177 (look it up on the net). I mean, as LONG as Jews and Christians are seen as “People of the Book”, who can’t be trusted and will be thrown into hell by Jesus Christ with the Mahdi in the Islamic “Day of Judgement”, MOST Palestinians are going to think it’s a sin against Allah to allow Jews in “Palestine”.



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Bruce Ramsey

posted June 27, 2007 at 2:39 pm


Oh, do they still have “Muslim Mouse” (Butterfly) indoctrinating Palestinian children on TV to accept Jihad against Jews and “infidels”, or, are they only preaching that back in their maddrasses again?



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Yechiel

posted June 27, 2007 at 2:43 pm


Repeat: There is no such thing as a “right to exist.”



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james f mitchell jr

posted June 27, 2007 at 4:02 pm


the lord tells me dont kill! heap good things on your enemies as it will put coals of fire on there heads. i have no anser for unreasonable hate all that i know is thay belive in 1 god as do i i dont git the real truth in the united states i get what thay want me to know i wish i could help in some way but where do i start?



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Esther

posted June 27, 2007 at 4:08 pm


The blame goes to:
1. Palestinian terrorist murderers of all factions.
2. Ariel Sharon for pulling out of Gaza, leaving the innocent citizens of Sderot and Ashkelon to be constantly attacked by terrorist rockets from Gaza.
3. Olmert for assisting Sharon in the Gaza pullout, and for not protecting Israeli citizens, and for not going back into Gaza now to wipe out the terrorists who threaten Israel. The first duty of a government is to protect its own citizens! Olmert has utterly failed at this. Also, building up Abbas now is an even worse mistake. Whatever Abbas receives will be used against Israeli citizens. Abbas is just as much a terrorist as Hamas. (“Dr.” Abbas even did his “PhD” on Holocaust denial.)
4. Anyone who urges Israel to “soften its heart” towards murdering Palestinian terrorists.



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Donald

posted June 27, 2007 at 5:11 pm


It’s easy to see why the conflict continues, when people can only see the atrocities of the other side and not their own.
I hang out sometimes at Arab sites and you can see the mirror image phenomenon there among some of the commenters. Though usually what you have are both Arab-haters and antisemites competing to see who can be the most morally obtuse.
Morally equivalent? Yep.



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Yechiel

posted June 27, 2007 at 5:44 pm


Take a look at the Beliefnet section on Islam. The topic is: In
Allah’s Name: Denouncing Terror.



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Scott R.

posted June 27, 2007 at 7:53 pm


MAGICAL THINKING There is no danger in saying the word “Christ” or the word “Christian”
Obviously your parents or your Hebrew school never bothered to learn even a few rules regarding the religon.



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Dave

posted June 27, 2007 at 8:12 pm


“Violence begets violence. Make gentle the life of this world”
Well I think coffee-cup cliches beget violence. But that’s just me.
But if ‘Violence begets violence’ then we’re in trouble since that means violence has learned to clone itself. Help!
If violence has sex with Paris Hilton does that mean ‘Violence begets Violence in Paris’ (Yuck, yuck, yuck)
I always thought ‘Poverty begets violence’ and ‘ Injustice begets violence’. Does that mean that Poverty and Injustice are married or are they just good friends?
You would think that after reading the Torah you would be tired of talking about ‘begat’ing. Oh well.



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Tom

posted June 27, 2007 at 9:42 pm


I take issue with blaming President Bush or Ariel Sharon for what you describe. I do place blame on all, because everyone is dealing with people and entities that have no creditability.
If someone went to contract to buy your house at a great price than called 5 days later and offered to double the price to move in a week what would you do? You would pull out all the stops to get it done.
10 Minutes later your attorney calls to tell you the check bounced. Would you be busy packing? Or would you be focusing on making sure the check is going to clear. I don’t think you would pack another item till you were positive all the money would clear.
What is Israel and the world doing? They are still packing and moving. does that make sense?



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Yechiel

posted June 27, 2007 at 10:56 pm


Now, to the person who just dissed my parents and teachers: You are correct that my parents did not know much about Judaism. They were concerned to provide me with a decent education, though, so they sent me to a Jewish Day School where the courses in Judaism were taught by graduates of Yeshiva University. While they did not ask me to believe in magic, they did, however, believe in providing me with scholarships on both the undergraduate and law school levels. Wait — don’t tell me: my Orthodox rabbis were anti-semites, right?
It appears from this blog that some apologists for Israeli state violence and terror — euphemistically called “Supporters of Israel” — do not like facts, but prefer to take cover in nonsense statements or accusations unsupported by facts.
Here is another fact they may not like: State Worship was forbidden by Maimonides, who considered it a form of idol worship. Wait — don’t tell me: Maimonides was an anti-semite, right?



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Yechiel

posted June 27, 2007 at 11:48 pm


I’ve said that The Rambam — known in English as Maimonides — condemned the worship of any earthly state as Avodah Zarrah — Idol Worship. All you have to do is investigate his writings or talk with people who have done so. You can discover, by using your own mind, whether I am telling you the truth about this. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that I am lying or that I am simply wrong; all you have to do is look at the evidence.
And Scott, here’s another example you can check easily: You say that Israel does not commit acts of terror and that no Jew could think they do. At least this is how I interpret your comments.
So, why don’t you do this: Take a look at Menachem Begin’s autobiography, entitled The Revolt. Take a look and see whether Mr. Begin refers to his actions, the actions of the Irgun, or related groups as terrorism. My memory tells me he does. But, here’s the thing: All you have to do is look at the book to see whether I’m accurate or not.
One last example for now: I seem to recall that David Ben-Gurion called Ariel Sharon many names, and that some of them meant something akin to “terrorist.” Why don’t you take a look, tell me what you find, and then we can discuss the results?



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Len

posted June 28, 2007 at 12:43 am


There’s no such thing as a right to return either. Otherwise the Germans can give my father’s house back to him and we can all give American land back to the Native Americans. The Palestinians need to get over that. Most other displaced people don’t react with jihad. Stop blowing things up – that my idea of a peace plan.



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Yechiel

posted June 28, 2007 at 1:32 am


You’re absolutely right, Len. When Jewish people were displaced, they never blew anything up. They simply waited patiently for somebody to hand them a country. Count Folk Bernadotte is still alive and the Irgun was a charitable organization that raised money by having bake sales.



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Scott R.

posted June 28, 2007 at 7:52 am


Again – A few incidents compared to TENS OF THOUSANDS of acts of terror my Muslims in the name of Islam.
No comparison.



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Donald

posted June 28, 2007 at 8:13 pm


The Israelis massacred Arabs to get the state they wanted. Many nationalist movements are like that, for better or worse. They’re ruthless and murderous.
Israel, of course, has supported mass murder in other countries (Guatemala, for one) that had absolutely nothing to do with achieving any sensible goal. They’re no different from a great many other countries in that regard (such as the US, which of course has done it on a much larger scale, not because America is a more evil country, but because it’s bigger.)
There’s hardly an ideology or religion in existence which people can’t use to justify atrocities and it happens all the time. For a little more on that point, see this LINK



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Tom

posted June 29, 2007 at 11:55 am


To Donald and Yeciel – please refer to my prior entry 6/27/07 at 9:42PM. It seems that you have all the explanation and excuse but ignore what the Palestinians are not doing for themselves. All these explanations do nothing for everyone.
The explanation reminds me of someone that wont take a job because he said I will buy lottery tickets instead. He rattles off 2 dozen winners and says look how successful they are, that will be me.
Why don’t you focus on reality and what could realistically be done? Does dealing with liars and giving them something based on their unreliable promises really work?



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Yechiel

posted June 29, 2007 at 4:47 pm


Hi Tom,
I’ve just read again the entry from 9/27 you’ve asked Donald and me to re-read. It contains no statements of fact beyond your opinions, so there is very little that can be said in response to it.
I am sorry that you have not found the factual responses provided by Donald and myself — complete with many sourced references — to be persuasive to you. Please feel free to let me know what sorts of evidence you are looking for that might persuade you one way or the other.



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Yechiel

posted June 29, 2007 at 4:55 pm


Sorry — I meant to include this in post a minute ago:
Len, you say that there is no such thing as a Right of Return, but you perhaps have not had a chance to read Resolution 194 on the Question of Palestine, passsed by the UN Genereal Assembly.
It specifically “resolves that refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return…”
This resolution was passed recently, in 1948, so perhaps you have been too busy to read it.



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Tom

posted July 2, 2007 at 10:43 pm


Hi Yechiel:
I appreciate your respectful response. There is no doubt you are more knowledgeable in Mideast history that is not the issue. The issue is the integrity of Israel’s negotiating partners. You don’t negotiate with liars.
In response to what evidence you could supply me, when you have a problem you fix it not point to some other issue. Example: If you have a flat tire on the right front you don’t fix the left front. If you want to talk peace, you don’t talk peace until the other side proves themselves as trust worthy, that means no more teaching children to hate and kill.



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kevin s.

posted July 2, 2007 at 11:13 pm


“Any chance God might also soften the hearts of Israeli leaders? They are in the lead when it comes to the killing of innocent people,”
I read the comments. I got this far. What the hell is wrong with people? What else can I say? How do you contend with this? My word. Over and over, history repeats itself. Over and over…



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Yechiel

posted July 3, 2007 at 2:26 am


Hi Tom,
I agree that the issues we’re talking about are much more important than some kind of an online Middle East Trivial Pursuit competition.
With this in mind, I would respectfully ask you to say specifically whom you are talking about when you mention liars with whom one should not negotiate. To understand exactly what you mean, it will help me to know the names of the people and the lies they told.
Thanks.



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Tom

posted July 4, 2007 at 11:45 am


Yechiel,
I don’t want to be drawn into irrelevant issues and don’t want to ignore your request for specifics.
The issue is how could anything good come out of a group of people who say that want peace just take land, give nothing in return, and teach their children to hate and kill?
I assume you are aware of children being taught to become murdering suicide bombers of innocent women and children. If, for some reason, you think that might be some sort of legitimate resistance than we need to have a whole different discussion first.



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Yechiel

posted July 4, 2007 at 7:52 pm


Hi Tom,
I agree that we should not be drawn into irrelevant issues. That’s what I’m trying to avoid — successfully or not, I don’t know.
The fact that Israel’s leaders claim to want peace and yet continue to take land illegally while giving nothing in return, is, as you point out, exactly what we should be focusing on. As Americans, we are the ones paying for Israel’s self-destructive actions — about $23,000 per taxpayer last time I checked — and that’s what makes it even more important for us to do the right thing, to take our stands for democracy and international law.
With regard to suicide bombings: I don’t regard suicide bombings as legitimate acts of resistance, but as murderous acts.
Having said that, I can say that suicide bombings seem to me predictable results of Israel’s current policies. After all, the State of Israel is holding between two and three million people prisoner in its Occupied Territories. As long as Israel continues to imprison so many people, some of them are going to respond with violence. More than 22,000 of these people, according to reputable Israeli sources, have been tortured while held in detention in recent years. Altogether, that’s a good prescription, as it seems to me, for retribution.
These are not happy facts, but I think they are things we truly need to look at.
I look forward to hearing back from you.



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Tom

posted July 6, 2007 at 12:53 am


You state I agree that Israeli leaders take land illegally is factually incorrect. I never said it, never meant and is just not true, I was referring to the arabs. I don’t even understand how you could interrupt what I said and attributed to Israelis.
You further state that each taxpayer contributes $23,000 for Israelis self distructive actions. I’m curious to know where that figure came from because it can’t possibly be true. I didn’t research it but Israel gets 2 – 3 billion dollars a year from the US. There are approximately 75,000,000 taxpayers at $23,000 each which if multiplied would be a sum total of 1.725 trillion dollars approximately 1 ½ the USA’s budget. Respectfully speaking I don’t know if you are dealing earnestly so I will give you the benefit of the doubt or tend to exaggerate and are fooling yourself and doing harm by not being accurate.
At least we are on the right track with how you regard murderous bombers.
I can’t believe you state that these bombings are predictable and don’t agree with them. By stating they are predictable I sense that somehow you empathize with these murderers. Either way they are wrong and don’t you dear rationalize it for a moment.
You state Israel is holding 2 -3 million people in occupied land. First, I agree they are occupied to the same level of my family occupying our home which I paid for. Do you know where the phrase occupied territories originated? It is nothing more than propaganda meant to mislead public opinion. Secondly no one is forcing them to remain. Finally, Israeli arabs live better than arabs in arab countries. I know you could show me antidotal examples of the opposite. I could tell you from personal experience that arabs are treated better in Israel.
I agree if whether you look at it your way I or my way these are not happy facts. Going back to my example of having a flat, it is not a happy fact. However, if you fix the wrong tire, you remain unhappy if you fix the right one you go on with your journey. Your facts are obviously not accurate so how could you figure out what tire to fix.
If I wrote anything that was too harsh please forgive me but sometimes the truth is hard to accept.



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Yechiel

posted July 6, 2007 at 3:26 am


Hi Tom,
Your response has a lot of heart and I appreciate that. I like very much the fact that you are clearly interesting in acually communicating rather than cheering on people whose views you accept or insulting those whose you do not. That seems to me to be different from some other approaches I’ve seen here. I hope to show you the same maturity and courtesy as we continue. (Though courtesy has never been my strong point, by any means.)
For reasons of space, I’d like to focus for the moment on the “Occupation.” The modern meaning, as I understand it, of the term “occupation” derives from the Hague Convention of 1907. According to the Hague regulations, “a territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.”
As far as I knokw, I have been using the term Occupied Territories in the same sense, then, that it is used by the World Court, which referred quite explicitly to the Hague Conventions in its recent decision related to this matter; the same sense as it is used by the United Nations Security Council, including the United States; and the same sense as it was used by the Israeli High Court in a recent decision of its own.
So, here’s where I’m at: It seems to me that there is an international consensus, not only of anti-semites or propagandists, that the Occupied Territories are truly occupied. Having said that, I want to allow space for the fact that “international consensus” does not necessarily equate with the truth. So, please feel free to point out things I’ve missed or misunderstood, or whatever. If there is a propaganda component I’m missing here, I’d like to learn about it.
For reasons of space, I’ll stop here, but will also ask you to respond when you get a chance. I want to acknowledge, too, that I have not come anywhere close to responding yet to many of your statements, questions, etc.



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Yechiel

posted July 6, 2007 at 3:41 am


Tom, you are absolutely correct that my figures for US subsidies to Israel were wrong. Your calculations demonstrated quite well (!) that I was off the mark when I said that each US taxpayer contributes $23,000 per year to the State of Israel. What I should have said was that each Israeli receives, on average, about $23,000 from the US each year.



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Tom

posted July 6, 2007 at 2:54 pm


Yechiel,
While you state maturity hasn’t been your strong point, to me communicating with you for a short while, I think that has changed and you should be proud of it.
Regarding occupied territories, if what you say is correct, I suspect it isn’t fully accurate. I am of the understanding that disputed is a better adjective. It has been centuries that when a country wins wars the losing side loses what was captured. I understand occupied might be based on what you state going back to the early 1900′s and than branded with the New York Times (NYT) bias. I could go into the NYT but wont now. You mentioned that “international consensus” does not necessarily equate with the truth. This is my whole point when you don’t know the truth which tire is no good you can’t move on. Again, the arabs are being lied to by their own leader. Children are being lied too and taught to hate and kill. Please, I mentioned this issue a few times and it has been ignored. I respectfully believe that you are avoiding dealing with true facts and that is why you have been ignoring this point.
Finally, you acknowledged you were not accurate with the $23,000 per person and now you state $23,000 per Israeli, that is inaccurate to the tune of 4 or 5 to 1. It is also unfair and not true to say all that money is used for self destructive actions. Again, my point is if you accept the word of a mechanic that hasn’t properly inspected the four tires to see which one is bad, you have a 4 to 1 chance of repairing or replacing the wrong tire and getting poor results. Just so you are aware, Israel is working very hard in not having to take resources from the US. Israel also contributes to the US.
I want to point out you are always going to find an imperfection. I use to clean blinds the whole blind is cleaned but where does the eyes of a particular critical customers eyes focus is the one spot missed. There is no such thing as perfection however the closer you get the more resources need to be applied. If you take a rough diamond it is used industrially and relatively inexpensive. The same size as it gets cleaner and cleaner price goes up vertically and this goes with all truths.
I have a background in engineering you need to spend more time in research before you put out a new product because the untruth eventually hits the fan. So let’s focus on getting to the truth.



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Yechiel

posted July 6, 2007 at 7:15 pm


Hi Tom,
What I attempted to do in my last note to you was provide some of the sources I used for introducing the historical usage of the term Occupied Territories. Here are some more sources that people can check at leisure. When you have a chance, please let me know whether you’ve had time to look at them.
On the international consensus: Israeli news sources call the Israeli occupation an “occupation.” One example is Haim Yavin, whom you may know as the founder of Israeli Channel One and its news anchor for thirty years. He has said publicly that, “Since 1967, we have been brutal conquerors, occupiers, suppressing another people.”
The Israeli High Court (essentially the Israeli equivalent of the US Supreme Court) calls the occupied territories Occupied Territories. The International Court of Justice calls the occupied territories Occupied Territories.
1948: UN General Assembly Resolution 194 — passed by UN after Israelis murdered ambassador Count Folke Bernadotte — resolved in Section 11 that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;”
1967: The UN Security Council, in Resolution 242, called unanimously for “withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict.” The Security Council identified the principle underlying its view as, “the inadmissablility of the acquisition of territory by means of war.” The United States joined the Security Council in its unanimous decision.
I am sorry not to have gotten until now to the subject of people being taught to hate and kill. I guess I’ll get to that now.
People in Israel and the Occupied Territories are, first and foremost, taught to kill by their day-today experiences under occupation. Israel frequently arrests Palestinians without charging them with a crime. The Israeli government calls this Arrest Without Charge
“administrative detention.”
Israel, according to former Irgun combatant and Israeli Knesset member Uri Avnery, holds 10,000 Palestinians in prison at any given time. Once held, many are tortured — more than 22,000, some of them teeanagers – according to Israel-based B’Tselem and 1997 Nobel co-Laureate Physicians for Human Rights. Unless you’re the Dalai Lama or one of his students – Dan Brown at Harvard has done the significant research on this – you tend to hate people who have tortured you.
A third way of teaching hatred: Israel may be helping George Bush’s “War on Terror” by helping the Pentagon torture Iraqi civilians. Wayne Madsen, a National Security Agency official under Ronald Reagan, writes recently about “mounting evidence that a shadowy group of former Israeli Defense Force and General Security Service (Shin Bet) Arabic-speaking interrogators were hired by the Pentagon under a classified “carve out” sub-contract to brutally interrogate Iraqi prisoners at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison…” This report awaits verification, but does not sound ulikely given Israel’s reputation for training of the Shah’s SAVAK internal police and other similar groups.
It is hard to fight against terrorism when your own government will not take a stand against it; We had a chance in December 1987, when the UN General Assembly passed its strongest condemnation of terrorism. The resolution called on all states to destroy this “plague of the modern age.” The resolution passed 153 to 2. Unfortunately, the United States and Israel voted against the resolution, and have not yet retracted their original vote.
Tom, as I await your response, I will take some time to find you budget figures and sources on US military aid to Israel.



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Tom

posted July 7, 2007 at 11:20 pm


Yechiel,
I want to first state that I strongly disagree with you conclusions and how you arrived at it. I also, while not knowing you, let you know I respect your right to your opinion no matter how far they are from mine provided you don’t personally impose on my rights. However you do have a right to impose it on me through a political system (not violence) because that will change my rights. I also fully recognize that gives you a lot to seize on. Please don’t because I don’t want to go down side issues.
I would be willing to drill down on one issue only which is resolution 242 because I remember more or less how biased the vote was. Why don’t you do some research on how the vote



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Yechiel

posted July 8, 2007 at 6:32 am


Hi Tom,
You said in your first paragraph that I have a right to impose my views on you through a political system. Is this what you meant, or was it a typo? I don’t see any reason I should have a right to impose any of my views on you.
In your last paragraph you asked about the first step to peace. The answer to your question in that regard is embarrassing obvious, but is an answer we are forbidden to suggest. Israel should renounce its Sacred Terrorism. It should stop rejecting offers of negotiated peace. It should return the Occupied Territories to the rightful owners, the Palestinians. That’s the first step to peace.
Israel, as you know, has since its inception intended on taking Palestinian land. Until Israel renounces its plans of conquest, constant fighting is inevitable.
As American citizens paying for the Israeli occupation — the US has provided about $135,000,000,000 in aid to Israel since 1949 — our responsibilites are clear: Tell our elected representatives to stop funding the Occupation. The principle here is elementary: if you don’t like terror, stop participating in it.
On the issue of suicide bombers: Robert Pape created the first complete database on suicide bombings around the world. He studied suicide bombings extensively, over a twenty year period, and he came to a predictable conclusion. It is a conclusion the Bush Administration does not want us to think about: Suicide bombings are not related to Islam. They are not related to fundamentalism. They are responses to occupation.
I don’t think we should be diverted for too long by the issue of retail terrorism committed by the weak, however. Instead, we would do better to understand the policies of wholesale slaughter carried out by my our own government and its favored client state. That’s what I focus on as a US citizen.
I grew up holding views similar to the ones which, as far as I can tell, you presently hold. It was very comforting to me to consider myself a member of a chosen people, a victimized people unique in its adherence to God, to democracy to decency. In my college years and just afterwards I began to speak at universities and religious conferences about Israel and the Middle East.
I considered it my task to explain to the world Israel’s status as a unique democracy, beleaguered on all sides by hostile enemies, yet always a light to the nations. Yes, we provided logistical support to South Africa, but we were good at heart. Yes, we provided weapons to the contras, but we were good at heart. Yes, we introduced weapons of mass destruction to the Middle East, but we were good at heart.
As various religious organizations learned that I was willing to meet with people who had been tortured by American and Israeli clients in Central American, I began to be invited to attend more and more meetings about the Middle East. I was shocked to hear Americans who had lived in Lebanon during the siege of Beirut — 20,000 civilians were massacred by the Israeli air force as they fled — criticize my sacred State.
I was sure these well-meaning people were wrong in their assessments, and eagerly sought the evidence to prove them wrong. I spent hours and hours in Harvard’s Widener library, devoting myself to demolishing the arguments of these people who had the nerve to say that Israel was doing bad things for bad reasons. The more I searched, the less I found to contradict them.
Over time I learned to my absolute horror that my rabbis and many other official representatives of the Jewish community had been lying to me about myself, about Israel and its history. The first step for me was to reject the lies I had been taught to believe.



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Susan

posted July 8, 2007 at 10:02 am


…”do they still have “Muslim Mouse” (Butterfly) indoctrinating Palestinian children on TV to accept Jihad against Jews and “infidels”, or, are they only preaching that back in their maddrasses again?”
The Mickey Mouse lookalike was killed off by an evil Israeli.



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Dave

posted July 8, 2007 at 11:16 am


1/ The Palestinians consider Tel Aviv to be Palestinian land, so how can Israel exist without in the view of Palestinians, being on their land?
2/ Would I consider and anchorman an authority on anything besides teleprompter reading?
3/ Avnery was never part of the Irgun, except maybe in his head. He also believes Ben Gurion plotted to kill him.
4/ Somebody who was a minor functionary 25 years ago is an expert on things today?
5/ Israel has withdrawn from territories taken in 1967 (Sinai, Gaza) So it is in compliance with 242.
6/ How can anyone say Jews ‘worship’ Israel when so many have clear disdain for its leaders.



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Tom

posted July 8, 2007 at 11:38 am


Susan, thank you



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Tom

posted July 8, 2007 at 11:41 am


Hi Yechiel,
Even though I still believe what I have seen and been taught I still respect your right to your opinion. I am not as well educated as you are however, I deal with reality and what I see on the groung. All the pieces you describe I don’t know them to be true or not. I don’t have any idea of their level of integrity. I base my ideas on my own experiences or my family’s experiences. I respectfully state that since you have not been directly responding to many points I greatly lower your level of integrity of your facts not you as a person. Please understand that is nothing I would ordinarily state but since I need to express how my decisions are made in order on how I believe what I do. Don’t get me wrong I believe you mean well, at the same time I see how you were easily swayed as a youth. If any of the things you were taught were a lie you are building your arguments on the lies (that goes for me too). I really want to deal with truths so I will now respond almost legally by responding to each and every paragraph by numbers and I will number mine so that you will respond to all my points as mine to yours.
1. To your first paragraph – I believe in the voting process and to that is what I am referring too.
2. To your paragraph two – I disagree. The solution is very complicated which needs further discussion.
3. I disagree and don’t know. Please don’t put words in my mouth. These type of inaccurate statements completely undermine an argument and lowers the level of believability. I believe Israel and Jews have been persecuted and Israel was born out of the Holocaust.
3a. What plans for conquest?
4. While I don’t know where you got you number from I still used it and it turns out that each Israeli citizen is getting $381.36 per year. I suspect it is even less than that. Again, using your numbers that translate the cost to each and very American $7.62 per year – not all of that for military purposes.
5. I don’t know Robert Pape but completely disagree. We could drill down on this another time.
6. When someone has cancer sometimes health cells have to be removed. When arab leaders behave the way they do (such as hiding behind women and children, suicide bombings, etc.) unfortunately innocent people get killed. When I say unfortunately, I say it with a heavy heart.
7. I don’t know what swayed you. You might not know yourself but I would be interested to focusing at that time and issue. If you take a number and just put in a negative sign that would turn upside down your results.
8. I believe that and believe Israel is good at heart and could make arguments, antidotally, the opposite – that doesn’t make it true. The evidence I see is that Israeli arabs live better than arabs in their own country. I see arabs being saved in Israeli hospitals. I also see arabs beheading people, killing them and than completely disrespecting their bodies by stringing them up for public view – this is disgusting – no excuses.
9. I don’t know what you are referring too. I do know of mistakes in war. If true, it is very sad and would want to know what happened.
10. I can’t fully respond but based on the evidence that you presented I could see where you took unreliable information, internalized it, believed it, and that changed you. Psychologically speaking, sometimes we make ourselves comfortable and don’t want change. I once read of this power where an Navy or air force pilot’s plane was shot and went down rather than ejecting into the cold sea.
11. Again if your rabbi taught you something and one piece of information was wrong that shouldn’t turn you around and now say to yourself everything they say were lies. I remember the six-day war. I was young and in Yeshiva and I didn’t know very much about Israel until my rabbi explained on a map how Israel was surrounded and being choked by closing certain waterways. They were so outnumbered I was frightened having relatives living in Israel.
12. How do you explain Susan’s remark without looking for an excuse. This teaching are lies – I think, you and I know it. Think of the impact to future generations – these are the beginnings of cancer cells.
Yechiel, please go over my previous response and answer the way I just did you response. Please do it as a separate answer and refer back to the date so others might follow.
I might have pushed a few buttons, please understand while I disagree with many points I still have respect to your right to believe what you do. If I hurt your feelings with a statement or two please except my apology.
Looking forward to your response to see if you respond point by point on point.



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Tom

posted July 8, 2007 at 11:44 am


Dave, thank you too.



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Yechiel

posted July 8, 2007 at 6:53 pm


Hi Tom,
I wish to thank you for your decision to continue to maintain a respectful tone as we discuss these issues. Not having face-to-face contact and having limitations of space means, it is sometimes difficult to demonstrate respect for one’s “opponent” in discussion.
Responding, in order to your thoughts:
1)I think you are saying that in a democratic society, one must sometimes go along with a majority with which one does not agree. This is of course true. Yet I see no basis in this for my having a right to impose my views on another person.
Regarding majority rule: It’s true that about 58% of Americans support Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories, but US policies run directly counter to this position. See Zogby International polls, 2002 and subsequent.
2) You say you disagree with my position that Israel should renounce terrorism. This is perhaps the crux of the matter, and I agree it requires further discussion.
3) I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying here — what you’re disagreeing with, if anything. Please feel free to clarify or otherwise help me out.
4)You are correct that my math was wrong regarding US aid to Israel. Here is a review of the figures and my conclusions, which are supported by USAID and others.
The US has provided Israel with more than $135,000,000,000 (135 Billion Dollars) in aid since 1949. Israel census figures show a civilian population of about 6,000,000 (6 million). That comes to about 23,000 per Israeli, though not per year as I had previously stated. Please review the numbers and see if this is what you get.
5) You say we can get into the suicide bomber issue another time. Sounds reasonable.
In the meantime, to learn who Robert Pape is and what he says, see the interview with him in the July 18, 2005 issue of The American Conservative. For more extended investigation consult Papes book Dying to Win is the gold standard in its field.
6)I have no reason to think that you desire harm to Palestinians or other Arabs. You impress me as interested in these many issues precisely because you do not like people getting killed regardless of ethnicity or religion.
7) Not sure what you mean here.
8) You say that Israeli Arabs live well, better than they do in Arab countries. Are you talking about Arab citizens of Israel, or Palestinian inhabitants of the Occupied Territories? Or both?
9)I think you are proposing the idea that the 1982 invasion of Lebanon was somehow unintentional?
Operation Peace for Galilee is what the Israeli government called the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. The operation and its coordinated campaigns were planned quite carefully; Ariel Sharon ran the aerial bombing campaign.
The invasion and bombing plan were created to implement David Ben-Gurion’s long-admired grand strategy as presented to the General Staff, namely that, “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.”
Journalist Dan Connell described the situation on the ground.” The Israeli strategy was obvious. They were hitting a broad belt, and they kept moving the belt up toward the populated area and pushing the people in front of it. The Israelis forced an increasing concentration of people into a smaller space, so that the casualties increased geometrically with every single shell or bomb that landed.”
10)I think you are saying that I made myself more comfortable by learning about Israeli atrocities in Lebanon, Israeli provision of Galil assault rifles to central american death squads, and torture- training to the Shah’s internal terror police — which was modelled partly on the Gestapo. I don’t see why this information would make someone feel comfortable. It should, in fact, make us feel profoundly uncomfortable, as you and I are complicit in these crimes.
11)In 1967 it made some sense to be concerned about Israeli security. In the ensuing years, Israel has established itself as the predominant military power in the region and is supported by the US, the most powerful military force in history.
In addition to these obvious facts, Israel long ago began introducing weapons of mass destruction in the form of nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, and biological weapons into the Middle East. It requires a large dose of hysteria to believe there is any possibility that Israel can be destroyed. See Matthew Meselson and the Harvard-Sussex Program for the massive documentation in this area.
12)I don’t know who the Susan you refer to is. Please remind me or clarify.
Don’t worry about hurting my feelings. Instead, please accept my appreciation once again for your ability to discuss issues and disagree without getting into insult or personal attacks. You will probably never be mistaken for Alan Dershowitz.
I’ll look forward to hearing from you next.



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Tom

posted July 8, 2007 at 11:51 pm


Yechiel,
You’re welcome. I too look forward to I our correspondence – although we are far apart. I do not consider you an opponent more of an exploring partner.
1. I am happy we are on the same page for the first part. Regarding imposing of views the very nature of a democracy is imposing majority rules (with exceptions).
The exception is here. It is not possible to have a successful war or any machine where everything is done by committee. Presidents are more qualified to make decision for us even though some decisions will be wrong. The President has information we are not privy too, even though sometimes they may be wrong. The president was elected as commander and chief for a good reason.
2) I disagree that Israel is responsible for terrorism. I don’t agree that Israel behaves like the terrorists that bomb school buses. Israel doesn’t indiscriminately target innocent women and children but the arabs do.
3) You state “as you know” I take issue with “as you know,” I don’t know and that is putting words in my mouth. Not only do I not know I don’t believe any of what you stated is accurate. For further discussion I would need to know why you are saying what you did.
4) While I don’t think I am very well prepared for these type discussions but this I know. I know that you misrepresented and now you acknowledge (credit to you) that what you stated was inaccurate. This becomes dangerous.
4a. Based on what you state you are correct (actually $22,500), where is this information coming from? Are you agreeing that your first statement was inaccurate? I question you wanting to stop at $22,500. It than becomes a statement of fact to be used in a very biased manor. Let me give you 2 reasons I question you; A. It is over a period of about 59 years. Setting up the State of Israel is very expensive which was not militarily. B. Why aren’t you emphasizing the $7.62 figure? I believe the reason is it doesn’t give the impact of wow that you want but in truth it is more accurate. Am I correct? If not, let me know why you didn’t mention it.
4c. You also stated Israel shouldn’t participate in terrorism, PLEASE RESPOND, How does Israel not respond when arab murdering terrorists kill and maim people around the world. Are you saying just ignore it?
5) I did a little research and am not impressed with the obvious. Firstly suicide terrorists are murderers when they target innocent people -women, children, civilians, journalists. Based on the little research it seems to me this is just an excuse. When I read of a father and his son being blown up at Ben Yehudah Mall and the child being three years old and the father hears his son say father father help me and the father can’t, I cried like a baby. Don’t get me wrong, I feel bad the other way too. When the arabs elected Hamas that tells me their society is being over run by cancer because they allowed it. I feel bad when I hear there is no electricity, no air conditioning, no food but they are not helping themselves when they pick their heros to be murderers. They were offered so much and keep choosing violence. Violence against women and children have no room at a conference table!
6) Correct and thank you and that is precisely why I am discussing this matter with you. Don’t give them excuses – we all do it in our daily lives but the ones who take responsibility are more successful.
7) What I am trying to say here is, I believe, originally you were taught correct by your teachers, something happened and you became rebellious. All it takes is the removal of the vertical line on a plus sign to turn the facts around which I believe you have done to yourself. Before you disagree I need you to try it on, give me the benefit of the doubt and see if it is possible. Please let me know the extend of your soul searching.
8) I don’t know. If you think, the specifics are important let me know why and I will ask.
9) I was not referring to what you stated. I didn’t respond to what you stated it was just too much for me to digest.
I was responding to 20,000 innocent civilians, that you state, were massacred by the Israeli Air force.
10) You stated you were looking for evidence in support of Israel’s actions. I was saying for some reason you were really looking not to support Israel. I am thinking that maybe because you take such a strong point against Israel that if you are wrong you can’t face being wrong, it is just too painful. I want to clarify that this is an opinion not a fact.
I gave the polit. scenario to highlight that sometimes dealing with the truth people, well-trained pilots, would rather die than deal with reality.
This point is so direct I am afraid of you being angry with me – please don’t – nothing bad was meant just something to be honest with yourself about.
11) You use the words “some sense to be concerned” that is a very unfair biased statement. Do you know the arabs were set to butcher all the Jews? I’m wondering what your take of the holocaust is? Do you have an excuse for Germany? Again I’m sorry for the hard words. Just to let you know I never knew my grandparents as well as many other relatives. Israel is fighting for their lives and you use the words “some sense to be concerned.”
11a) What’s Israel going to do drop a nuclear weapon 1,000 miles from where they live? They might only as a very last resort.
12) I was referring to Susan who wrote about the whole Mickey Mouse incident which is very serious to the future (next few generations) of the middle east.
13) I do worry about hurting your feelings. I believe in order to get through to each other we have to listen to each other, look at some very hard facts that will shatter our beliefs. I believe that someone did hurt you and turned you around than you built a hard shell which you have to be willing to pass through. I hope I haven’t crossed the line – I am extending my hand and hope that you could help me get through to others.
I also look forward to hearing from you again.



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Tom

posted July 9, 2007 at 12:24 am


Yachiel,
One more very important point. I believe terrorism is an acting out of frustrations. If I kept cursing out my bosses and got fired one week after getting every job I would be frustrated. Would I have the right to go postal? Would I have that right even if I was right? Anyone negotiating for the arabs must be able to control their people, be professional not emotional (I know we are only human), and be able to complete the best deal they can and go on with life. At the end everyone will be better off.



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Yechiel

posted July 9, 2007 at 12:58 am


Hi Tom,
Just a couple things right now, because I don’t want to hog up more column space today.
1) I don’t see that the President is more capable than us in most areas. In the case of George Bush we have a man who has spent his entire life working to make wealthy people wealthier and poor people poorer. His adult life has been spent deterring democracy in the US and creating bloodshed abroad. His illegal attack on his father’s old friend Saddamm Hussein and on Iraq has so far cost more than 500,000 lives. (A relevant aside: After Hussein gassed the Kurds, the US decided to increase exports to the dictator.) As such, Mr. Bush is emminently unqualified to respresent the citizens of democracy.
2) Terrorism as defined by the the US Army Manual is “the calculated use of violence or the threat of violence to attain political or religious ideological goals through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear.” That definition is comformable to the definitions found in the US Code, in British law, etc. This is the definition I use when assessing whether an act counts as terror or not.
Regarding the targeting of civilians, Israeli sources show the state has been targeting civilian populations since the inception of the State. Even before that, Zionist organizations such as the Irgun and LEHI carried out massacres against civilian targets. It would take hours to mention them all, so I’ll stick to a couple of the better known examples, though they have been sanitized from most history books we’re likely to come across as Americans.
In July of 1946 the Irgun bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Ninety-one people were killed, forty-five or so injured. The attack was planned by Menachem Begin, who later became Prime Minister of Israel. This atttack used “the calculated use of violence to attain political goals,” and was therefore an act of terror. All or almost all of the victims were deliberately-targeted civilians.
In July of 2006 the Menachem Begin Center sponsored a 60th anniversary celebration of the bombing; former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was one of the celebrants. The British Ambassador in Tel Aviv said, “We do not think that it is right for an act of terrorism, which led to the loss of many lives, to be commemorated.”
In October of 1953 Israeli Defense Unit 101 raided the West Bank village of Qibya. Forty-five villagers’ houses were demolished along with a mosque, school, and reservoir. Sixty-six people were killed, all of them civilians. The massacre was engineered by Ariel Sharon, who later became Prime Minister of Israel. Because the Qibya massacre involved “the calculated us of violence to attain political ends” it was an act of terror. “The orders were utterly clear,” said Sharon. “Qibya was to be an example for everyone.”
The diaries of Israel’s second prime minister, Moshe Sharett, are perhaps the best source on the early development of Israel’s sacred terrorism — Sharett’s term. The Israeli government sought to suppress publication of the diaries a few years ago, but was unsuccessful.
Tom, That’s all for now. I’ll get back with you later. Again, thanks for your courtesy and what Ali G calls “Respek.” Take a look at some of the exchanges on Beliefnet pages; you’ll see what an unusually sane person you are.



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Tom

posted July 10, 2007 at 12:01 am


Hi Yechiel,
I appreciate you wanting not to hog up more space. Psychologically speaking I don’t buy it, in cyberspace you have all the room you need. I believe you are not comfortable responding to my points on point. I want to remind you this is only my opinion.
1) I find your response very interesting. I state that President Bush is more privy to important information as well as having more resources than we have, you go on to explain why President Bush is no good. Why just not acknowledge and stick to my point. If you are truly interested in coming to common ground you will DIRECTLY RESPOND TO THAT POINT ONLY.
2) Here again I point out terrorism as perpetrated by the arabs (purposefully blowing themselves up) and you go on a dissertation on how, you believe, Israel wronged others. Try this one on for size HOW MANY CASES OF ISRAELIS HAVE STRAPPED ON BELTS WITH BOMBS, BALL BEARINGS, NAILS WHICH ARE POISONED THAN GO INTO A MALL AND BLOW THEMSELVES UP. I AM EAGERLY WAITING FOR A RESPONSE FOR THIS ONE. NOW GIVE ME A LIST.
Ali G calls “Respek.” – I’m not sure what you are referring too.
Thanks for the sane compliment. Let me explain more from where I come from. This whole situation is being run by emotions – emotions which cause terror hate, pain, fear, etc. It would be great if we could roll back time and redo everything from the first day man set foot on earth. If we could do this, it is a no brain er. The situation is where it stands. Let’s do this in reverse we have peace because people were willing to look at the other side. We showed each other respect we come from a mind set of we have to share this planet (ex. we are in the same car but want to go to different locations) we make it work. We don’t continue to destroy, we build and rebuild. Please don’t respond to this, just think about it.
Looking forward to you responding only to the points I made here and the unfinished parts, parts 3-13. If you feel a need to respond and vent – please do so, but do it separately. First respond to the point and than acknowledge you are going off point, I am more than willing to hear you out.



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Tom

posted July 22, 2007 at 11:25 pm


Yechiel,
You’re welcome. I too look forward to I our correspondence – although we are far apart. I do not consider you an opponent more of an exploring partner.
1. I am happy we are on the same page for the first part. Regarding imposing of views the very nature of a democracy is imposing majority rules (with exceptions).
The exception is here. It is not possible to have a successful war or any machine where everything is done by committee. Presidents are more qualified to make decision for us even though some decisions will be wrong. The President has information we are not privy too, even though sometimes they may be wrong. The president was elected as commander and chief for a good reason.
2) I disagree that Israel is responsible for terrorism. I don’t agree that Israel behaves like the terrorists that bomb school buses. Israel doesn’t indiscriminately target innocent women and children but the arabs do.
3) You state “as you know” I take issue with “as you know,” I don’t know and that is putting words in my mouth. Not only do I not know I don’t believe any of what you stated is accurate. For further discussion I would need to know why you are saying what you did.
4) While I don’t think I am very well prepared for these type discussions but this I know. I know that you misrepresented and now you acknowledge (credit to you) that what you stated was inaccurate. This becomes dangerous.
4a. Based on what you state you are correct (actually $22,500), where is this information coming from? Are you agreeing that your first statement was inaccurate? I question you wanting to stop at $22,500. It than becomes a statement of fact to be used in a very biased manor. Let me give you 2 reasons I question you; A. It is over a period of about 59 years. Setting up the State of Israel is very expensive which was not militarily. B. Why aren’t you emphasizing the $7.62 figure? I believe the reason is it doesn’t give the impact of wow that you want but in truth it is more accurate. Am I correct? If not, let me know why you didn’t mention it.
4c. You also stated Israel shouldn’t participate in terrorism, PLEASE RESPOND, How does Israel not respond when arab murdering terrorists kill and maim people around the world. Are you saying just ignore it?
5) I did a little research and am not impressed with the obvious. Firstly suicide terrorists are murderers when they target innocent people -women, children, civilians, journalists. Based on the little research it seems to me this is just an excuse. When I read of a father and his son being blown up at Ben Yehudah Mall and the child being three years old and the father hears his son say father father help me and the father can’t, I cried like a baby. Don’t get me wrong, I feel bad the other way too. When the arabs elected Hamas that tells me their society is being over run by cancer because they allowed it. I feel bad when I hear there is no electricity, no air conditioning, no food but they are not helping themselves when they pick their heros to be murderers. They were offered so much and keep choosing violence. Violence against women and children have no room at a conference table!
6) Correct and thank you and that is precisely why I am discussing this matter with you. Don’t give them excuses – we all do it in our daily lives but the ones who take responsibility are more successful.
7) What I am trying to say here is, I believe, originally you were taught correct by your teachers, something happened and you became rebellious. All it takes is the removal of the vertical line on a plus sign to turn the facts around which I believe you have done to yourself. Before you disagree I need you to try it on, give me the benefit of the doubt and see if it is possible. Please let me know the extend of your soul searching.
8) I don’t know. If you think, the specifics are important let me know why and I will ask.
9) I was not referring to what you stated. I didn’t respond to what you stated it was just too much for me to digest.
I was responding to 20,000 innocent civilians, that you state, were massacred by the Israeli Air force.
10) You stated you were looking for evidence in support of Israel’s actions. I was saying for some reason you were really looking not to support Israel. I am thinking that maybe because you take such a strong point against Israel that if you are wrong you can’t face being wrong, it is just too painful. I want to clarify that this is an opinion not a fact.
I gave the polit. scenario to highlight that sometimes dealing with the truth people, well-trained pilots, would rather die than deal with reality.
This point is so direct I am afraid of you being angry with me – please don’t – nothing bad was meant just something to be honest with yourself about.
11) You use the words “some sense to be concerned” that is a very unfair biased statement. Do you know the arabs were set to butcher all the Jews? I’m wondering what your take of the holocaust is? Do you have an excuse for Germany? Again I’m sorry for the hard words. Just to let you know I never knew my grandparents as well as many other relatives. Israel is fighting for their lives and you use the words “some sense to be concerned.”
11a) What’s Israel going to do drop a nuclear weapon 1,000 miles from where they live? They might only as a very last resort.
12) I was referring to Susan who wrote about the whole Mickey Mouse incident which is very serious to the future (next few generations) of the middle east.
13) I do worry about hurting your feelings. I believe in order to get through to each other we have to listen to each other, look at some very hard facts that will shatter our beliefs. I believe that someone did hurt you and turned you around than you built a hard shell which you have to be willing to pass through. I hope I haven’t crossed the line – I am extending my hand and hope that you could help me get through to others.
I also look forward to hearing from you again.



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Tom

posted July 22, 2007 at 11:27 pm


Hi Yechiel,
I appreciate you wanting not to hog up more space. Psychologically speaking I don’t buy it, in cyberspace you have all the room you need. I believe you are not comfortable responding to my points on point. I want to remind you this is only my opinion.
1) I find your response very interesting. I state that President Bush is more privy to important information as well as having more resources than we have, you go on to explain why President Bush is no good. Why just not acknowledge and stick to my point. If you are truly interested in coming to common ground you will DIRECTLY RESPOND TO THAT POINT ONLY.
2) Here again I point out terrorism as perpetrated by the arabs (purposefully blowing themselves up) and you go on a dissertation on how, you believe, Israel wronged others. Try this one on for size HOW MANY CASES OF ISRAELIS HAVE STRAPPED ON BELTS WITH BOMBS, BALL BEARINGS, NAILS WHICH ARE POISONED THAN GO INTO A MALL AND BLOW THEMSELVES UP. I AM EAGERLY WAITING FOR A RESPONSE FOR THIS ONE. NOW GIVE ME A LIST.
Ali G calls “Respek.” – I’m not sure what you are referring too.
Thanks for the sane compliment. Let me explain more from where I come from. This whole situation is being run by emotions – emotions which cause terror hate, pain, fear, etc. It would be great if we could roll back time and redo everything from the first day man set foot on earth. If we could do this, it is a no brain er. The situation is where it stands. Let’s do this in reverse we have peace because people were willing to look at the other side. We showed each other respect we come from a mind set of we have to share this planet (ex. we are in the same car but want to go to different locations) we make it work. We don’t continue to destroy, we build and rebuild. Please don’t respond to this, just think about it.
Looking forward to you responding only to the points I made here and the unfinished parts, parts 3-13. If you feel a need to respond and vent – please do so, but do it separately. First respond to the point and than acknowledge you are going off point, I am more than willing to hear you out.



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