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Opinion

Opinion

Israel sees choice as ‘bombing or bomb’

July 2, 2012

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— A popular new slogan making the rounds among government ministers here is that in dealing with Iran, Israel faces a decision between “bombing or the bomb.” In other words, if Israel doesn’t attack, Iran will eventually obtain nuclear weapons.

This stark choice sums up the mood among top officials of the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: It’s clear that Israel’s military option is still very much on the table, despite the success of economic sanctions in forcing Iran into negotiations.

“It’s not a bluff, they’re serious about it,” says Efraim Halevy, a former head of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service. A half-dozen other experts and officials made the same point in interviews last week: The world shouldn’t relax and assume that a showdown with Iran has been postponed until next year. Here, the alarm light is still flashing red.

Israeli leaders have been warning the Obama administration that the heat isn’t off for 2012. When a senior Israeli politician visited Washington recently and was advised that the mood was calmer than in the spring, the Israeli cautioned that the Netanyahu government hadn’t changed its position “one iota.”

The negotiations with Iran by the group of leading nations known as the “P5+1,” rather than easing Israel’s anxieties, may actually have deepened them. That’s not just because Netanyahu thinks the Iranians are stalling. He fears that even if negotiators won their demand that Iran stop enriching uranium to 20 percent, and export its stockpile of fuel already enriched to that level, this would still leave more than 6,000 kilograms of low-enriched uranium that, within a year or less, could be augmented to bomb-grade material.

Netanyahu wants to turn back the Iranian nuclear clock, by shipping out all the enriched uranium. And if negotiations can’t achieve this, he may be ready to try by military means.

The numbers game on enrichment reveals a deeper difference: For President Obama, the trigger for military action would be a “breakout” decision by Iran’s supreme leader to go for a bomb, something he hasn’t yet done. For Netanyahu, the red line is preventing Iran from ever reaching “threshold” capability where it could contemplate a breakout. He isn’t comfortable with letting Tehran have the enrichment capability that could be used to make a bomb, even under a nominally peaceful program.

Netanyahu sees his country’s very existence at stake, and he’s prepared for Israel to go it alone because he’s unwilling to entrust the survival of the Jewish state to others. But some Israeli experts, including several key supporters of his government, don’t like this “existential” rhetoric warning of another Holocaust, arguing that it nullifies Israel’s defense capabilities and deterrence.

Though most members of Netanyahu’s government would probably support him, there are some subtle nuances of opinion. U.S. officials say Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s focus is stopping Iran before it enters a “zone of immunity” when it begins full operation of centrifuges buried under a mountain near Qom. Iran probably will enter this zone sometime later this year. As Israeli officials have put it, the deadline for action “is not a matter of weeks, but it’s not a matter of years, either.”

American officials think Barak may also be more willing than Netanyahu to accept a deal in which Iran retains some modest enrichment capability — and can save face by saying it hasn’t compromised its rights as a signatory of the non-proliferation treaty — but can’t accumulate enough material to make a bomb.

While I understand Netanyahu’s concerns, I think an Israeli attack could be counterproductive. It would shatter the international coalition against Iran, collapse the sanctions program when it is starting to bite, and trigger consequences that cannot be predicted, especially during a time of sweeping change in the Middle East.

Before he rolls the dice, Netanyahu should recall the shattering experience of Menachem Begin, a prime minister no less devoted to Israel, who was haunted in his final days in office by the sense that his invasion of Lebanon in 1982, intended to protect Israel’s security, had been a mistake. The potential costs and benefits of an attack on Iran are unknowable, but for better or worse, it would be, as Halevy says, “an event that would affect the course of this century.”

— David Ignatius is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.    

Comments

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 5 months ago

Osirak, June 7, 1981.

"American and coalition forces may have faced a nuclear-armed Iraq during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, and again during the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, had Israel not destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981.

The attack, codenamed “Operation Opera,” surprised the Iraqis and the rest of the world, though for Israel it had long been in planning. It was only after the failures on the diplomatic front, and the consultation of military and intelligence experts with Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s cabinet, that Israel chose to go ahead with the attack on the Iraqi reactor."

Clipped from: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/Osirak.html

"History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce."

  • Karl Marx

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 5 months ago

Remember the USS Liberty! "At 0800 hrs, 8 June, 1967, eight Israeli recon flights flew over 'Liberty,' which was flying a large American flag. At 1400 hrs, waves of low-flying Israeli Mystere and Mirage-III fighter-bombers repeatedly attacked the American vessel with rockets, napalm, and cannon. The air attacks lasted 20 minutes, concentrating on the ship's electronic antennas and dishes. The 'Liberty' was left afire, listing sharply. Eight of her crew lay dead, a hundred seriously wounded, including the captain, Commander William McGonagle."

Keep in mind, Israel, the queen of false flag attacks, has nuclear weapons. "kee betachbulot ta'ase lecha milchama" Translation: "With clandestine terrorism we will conduct war." Mossad's old motto.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

On May 7, 1999, 5 U.S. warplanes, while conducting bombings in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, bombed the sovereign embassy of the People's Republic of China.

Why do you suppose the U.S., with the best military, the best satellites, the best intelligence would bomb the Chinese embassy? I'll give you a hint. The reason is exactly the same as the reason Israel attacked the U.S.S. Liberty.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 5 months ago

Because our country's government is in the hands of the Military Industrial Complex and everyone knows war is good for the economy.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 5 months ago

And, the following year the United States of America clearly demonstrated its noble intentions thusly:

The My Lai Massacre was the Vietnam War mass murder of between 347 and 504 unarmed civilians in South Vietnam on March 16, 1968, by United States Army soldiers of "Charlie" Company of 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, 11th Brigade of the Americal Division. Most of the victims were women, children, infants, and elderly people. Some of the bodies were later found to be mutilated and many women allegedly raped prior to the killings.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 5 months ago

And then, just in case anyone had forgotten about the absolute power, morality, and righteousness of the United States of America in the previous twenty years, the armed forces were put into action again:

Iran Air Flight 655 was a civilian jet airliner shot down by U.S. missiles on July 3, 1988 as it flew over the Strait of Hormuz at the end of the Iran–Iraq War. The aircraft, an Airbus A300B2-203 operated by Iran Air, was flying from Bandar Abbas, Iran to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. While flying in Iranian airspace over Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf on its usual flight path, it was destroyed by the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes (CG-49). All 290 onboard including 66 children and 16 crew perished. The incident is ranked ninth among the deadliest disasters in aviation history. It was the highest death toll of any aviation incident in the Indian Ocean and the highest death toll of any incident involving an Airbus A300 anywhere in the world.

The death toll caused by the United States of America from those two incidents cannot be accurately determined, but it was between 637 and 794. They were all civilians. Infants, children, women, and men.

But at least, the women aboard the civilian aircraft that the United States of America shot down were not raped.

"He who lives in a glass house, should never begin throwing stones."

  • old Spanish proverb

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 5 months ago

Nice distraction tactic. Why do you think the Zionists bombed the Liberty? Because they wanted it to seem that it was perpetrated by Egypt, maybe? Because they wanted a powerful ally to join in their war with the Arabs, maybe? Too bad they couldn't sink the ship and kill all survivors, eh? Zionist "tourists" watch bombs drop on Gaza. www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u-y13LCqSA
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jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

Your post lacks logic and has all the characteristics of conspiracy theorists. According to your theory, the U.S. bombed the Chinese embassy so they would enter the war. The U.S. took down an Iranian passenger airliner so Iran would enter that war. Really? It only makes sense if you're "crazy", Larry.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 5 months ago

I'm not speaking to the distractions put forward by you and the other shill. We can discuss the those incidents and the reasons behind them at a later date.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

The article was about a possible attack on Iran's nuclear facility. Why wouldn't you equally condemn the mention of the Liberty as a distraction? Of course, because it was your distraction.

And you say we discuss our distractions at a later time, but your distraction now. I was unaware that you and you alone set the agenda for this forum. Congratulations on you promotion to forum "King".

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

"Netanyahu sees his country’s very existence at stake, and he’s prepared for Israel to go it alone because he’s unwilling to entrust the survival of the Jewish state to others."

Does that mean he'll be rejecting the $3 billion in aid that he gets from US taxpayers every year?

(and the true amount is almost certainly much greater than that.)

Abdu Omar 2 years, 5 months ago

What threats does Israel feel? A few off handed remarks made by an incompetent leader? This is a foolish article when you consider that if any country in the world uses atomic weapons, against another, it will be blown off the map. It isn't reasonable that Iran would attack Israel. What would be the purpose? To retaliate for the Palestinians? To get zionism gone? Don't you think that if Iran attacks Israel, their existence is in the balance. This notion of nuclear armed Iran deals with one issue and it is the foolishness of the Israelis that make it so:

Israel is not finished acquiring land. They want to make their empire what their flag represents, the land between the Nile and the Euphrates. This encompasses all of Lebanon, all of Syria, most of Iraq, Egypt and Jordan. First are there that many Jews to fill that much land. And what need do they have of that land? They took Palestine, let them be at peace and remain in what they have.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 5 months ago

Wow. Explain this: Why did Israel give the Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt, if what you're saying is true? And, why did Israel hand over the Gaza Strip? Do you think Israel did that so that the Palestinians could fire over 11,000 rockets at them since then?

Do you understand Arabic? These videos are all in Arabic, and they are all from the Middle East. But, if you don't understand Arabic, don't worry, they are subtitled.

Palestinians are a myth says Hamas member: "They are just Saudis and Egyptians"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwBSWN4s9JU&feature=player_embedded

Arabs for Israel - Muslims for Israel - Hamas leader's son:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHbCGC6amdk&feature=related

Arabs Have Nothing to Offer Others:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zxuMKP_kqg

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 5 months ago

This is another good one, also from the Middle East, and in Arabic with subtitles:

Former Dean of Islamic Law at Qatar University Abd Al-Hamid Al-Ansari Speaks Out in Support of US Presence in the Middle East:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=KAPKYKhTp8U&NR=1

But, none of those links comply with revisionist history.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 5 months ago

"What threats does Israel feel?..." For examples see the history of the Middle East for the past 70 years or so.

Abdu Omar 2 years, 5 months ago

The treats Israel feels was created by their own acts. DO see the last 70 years with clear glasses.

Abdu Omar 2 years, 5 months ago

If it felt some kind of threat they are projecting it themselves. They have the best military support in the world, they are armed by the USA. the are aggressive in protecting their borders, What threat do they have? This is only a means to gain more land and it is obvious to many that this is their primary goal.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

Wounded, you say the Israelis have the best military, and that certainly seems true. The same was true in Vietnam, when our forces were far superior to anything the other side could throw at us. How did that work out?

Since 1967, the Israeli forces have indeed looked invincible. But are they. You have to ask yourself, why did the Egyptians begin that war in 1967 against such an invincible army. Were they stupid? Suicidal? The answer is neither. They conducted the war badly and paid the price. But if they had conducted that war differently, a very different result might have happened and Israel's invincibility would not be something we would be talking about today. And who doubts that if the result of that war had been different, if the Arabs had won, we wouldn't be talking about Israel today, other than in the past tense, as they wouldn't exist today.

Israel is no more invincible today that the U.S. was in Vietnam. They are surrounded by many countries who, at various times, want nothing more than to wipe Israel off the face of the planet. Will the new Muslim Brotherhood keep the peace in Egypt? Will the Syrian civil war spill over into Israel? Can a nuclear power like Iran, should they complete their nuclear ambitions unite the region against Israel? Israel's existence depends on those questions, questions no one has an answer to. So Israel must be vigilant. Israel must be ready to answer those questions, because you and I in Lawrence, Kansas won't have to answer them. Our existence doesn't depend on it. Their existence does.

oldbaldguy 2 years, 5 months ago

I have worked with Israeli military and intel types in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Very competent and first class a-holes as in arrogant. Iran is not going to bomb Israel. Attacking Iran will be the dumbest thing they or we can do. Continue the covert operation and let the Iranian pople take care of this, which they will do eventually.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

"Iran is not going to bomb Israel" - Would you bet your life on that? Would you bet the lives of your children and grandchildren? And their children and grandchildren? Because that's what you're asking Israelis to do. There is no way to put the genie back in the bottle once that one gets out.

Pakistan, once they became a nuclear power sold that technology to N. Korea and tried to assist Syria in it's nuclear ambitions. What will Iran do? After all, their leaders seem just as rational as the Pakistani leadership. They are supporters of Assad in Syria. Perhaps a little dirty bomb sent over the border into Israel to take Syria's mind off the atrocities Assad is currently engaged in. Maybe a dirty bomb given to Hamas, Hezbollah or maybe to some untraceable lone wolf. And if that happens, what do you suppose Israel do with the several hundred nuclear weapons they now have?

Maybe you're correct. Maybe the Iranian people will take care of this, eventually. Maybe you're not correct. And if you're not correct, millions of lives will be in jeopardy, but not your life and not the lives of your children and grandchildren.

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 5 months ago

Sometimes it's difficult for me to believe the news that I hear about what is happening in Iran, because every Iranian person that I have known, and that's quite a few, seemed to be a very rational person.

But, it is true that one of them wasn't very good at Calculus.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

There are currently nine countries that have nuclear weapons right now and at least one of them, us, did become a nuclear power with the intention of using it. So that's 11% that have, and questions remain regarding a couple of others. Should N. Korea, Pakistan, India, Israel use their weapons, that 11% might go much higher. If the chances Iran would use their weapons, should they acquire them, be roughly 25%, would you feel comfortable with that? Would your comfort level change if their weapons were a lot closer than they would be now? Would your comfort level change if they vowed to end your existence, rather than the existence of some other people far, far away?

Abdu Omar 2 years, 5 months ago

The best way for Israel to go is to ask themselves why so many countries have it in for them. Why would a country or a bunch of people risk so much to move into an area that hates that concept more than anything. The basic point here is that Israel doesn't belong there and because they have such paranoia it is obvious. They are aggressive because they are paranoid. Let life happen, don't cause wars and take away people's peace, their land, their living and life will be good. How can a people live in constant fear and aggression their whole lives and not end up being paranoid and totally in fear everyday? This is crazy!

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

What's crazy, wounded, is for you to not recognize that people move around the planet all the time. Jews were there for a time, left, came back. It happens. It's how you and I got here. They have just as much right to be where they are as you and I have a right to be here. Or conversely, if they don't have a right to be there, then neither you nor I have a right to be here. So, which is it, wounded?

Paranoia may be a normal response to some unusual circumstances. If, say, a group of people repeatedly killed your friends and family, then paranoia might be a perfectly normal response. If that killing culminated in the mass killings of your people, then paranoia might be a perfectly normal response. If you were lucky enough to survive such a holocaust, and you fled to a region where you were met with hostility, then paranoia might be a perfectly normal response. And if having overcome that hostility, threats are made to your existence, year after year, until it became decade after decade, then paranoia might be a perfectly normal response.

Look to the recently departed former Israeli Prime Minister, Shamir. Fled the pograms in the land of his birth, fled to British Palestine, just in time to be greeted by the Palestinian uprisings. A man flees for his life and is greeted with threats of death. In short order, he loses all his family that remained in Europe, parents, grandparents, siblings, everyone. If he becomes a little paranoid, enough so that he chooses to take his destiny in his own hands rather than leave his protection to the discretion of others, is that paranoia somewhat justified. He becomes an uncompromising soul. He never talks peace with those that threatened him with death. Paranoia justified? He never makes peace with those that made war against him. Paranoia justified. Maybe if he were a bigger man. If only he were a Nelson Mandela or a Martin Luther King. But he wasn't. He was a rather ordinary man who had some very extra-ordinary crimes committed against him. Those crimes against him began in Europe and continued in the Middle East. He could never rise above it. Yes, he was ordinary, maybe like you and I. And I suspect he was somewhat paranoid. Just as I suspect you or I would be if we walked in his shoes for 90+ years.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

"Land of the free and home of the brave" may be an equally glib way of describing land theft and ethnic cleansing. I assume you're equally appalled, so much so that you're unwilling to continue to participate so you've decided to leave. Right?

jafs 2 years, 5 months ago

It is equally horrifying and inaccurate.

If we were engaged in a continuing conflict with Native Americans, I certainly might choose to leave if I felt that they had the better claim.

Unfortunately, of course, we were very successful at eliminating them almost entirely, and decimating their culture - nothing to be proud of, I would say.

And, I use "we" historically - neither I nor my ancestors were involved in that tragedy.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

What you're saying then is that because our ethnic cleansing was so successful, as opposed to that committed by Israel, that my statement becomes inaccurate. Perhaps the inaccuracy lies in characterizing Israel's actions as ethnic cleansing at all. According to U.N. stats., 700,000 Palestinians were displaced from Palestine while 750,000 Jews were displaced from Arab countries. As painful as it was for both sides, it might better to call it a land transfer, much like happened between Pakistan and India when the British colonial powers left.

BTW - If you're 51 years old, you just missed being around for the annexation of both Alaska and Hawaii, both of which happened after the creation of Israel. American imperialism and Israeli imperialism have more in common than most critics of Israel care to admit.

jafs 2 years, 5 months ago

I agree, and find American imperialism also distasteful and problematic.

So, I criticize both countries for doing it.

jafs 2 years, 5 months ago

And, from what I've heard, many who criticize Israel also criticize similar policies and activities of this country.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

Here's the deal. Everyone has to be somewhere. Unless you're advocating for entire peoples to commit suicide, we all have to be somewhere. When looking at entire peoples though, can their existence in any particular place be justified? Look around the world and you'll see country after country that was built upon the taking of lands from others, some in brutal ways, some by simple demographics. All of North America, Central America and South America is now dominated by those of European ancestors. But it's happened in Europe, Africa, Asia as well. It happens all the time. And it can't be undone. When I look at how these things happened, some were done for greed. Some for power. Some were done as people fled other places. I know you're loathe to make value judgements on people, Jafs, but in my opinion, this is an instance where we can say that those who took lands for greed were less noble than those who took land because they were in need of a place to live in safety. Those who took land for greed, Jafs, is you and me (and our ancestors). Those who took land for sanctuary were the Israelis of 1947. Our greed continues to this day as does our exploitation of lands that were seized. But while that may be disturbing, the main point is that we all have to be somewhere. So even though it's distasteful, we rationalize it by saying that. And it's true, we all have to be somewhere. No one is making a reasonable argument that we all should return to Europe, Africa or Asia. No one expects the Jews of Israel to go back to Europe or scatter themselves around the Middle East as they were prior to 1947, right? Wrong. Many do make that expectation of the Jews of Israel. They do it in this forum and they do it around the world. Not us, just them. Not Canada and Mexico, just them. Not all the countries around the world, just them. We may be guilty of ethnic cleansing, it may be continuing, our exploitation of resources certainly continues, our wealth gathering continues. But because we have to be somewhere, we get to stay. But they have to move. They need to cede land and resources. They need to make concessions to make peace, even though peace is just a hope. Real peace hasn't really been offered. There is a very real double standard at play here, Jafs. We are expecting things of "them" that we are unwilling to do ourselves. We can rationalize it all we want. Our ethnic cleansing was different, more complete or it took place longer ago. Their takeover was different. Yes, it was more recent, but it was less complete and their motives were more noble than out own as they did need a place, we were greedy. We can nitpick it all we want. It's all rationalization and it's all a double standard. I've long cautioned us all not to say history began on a certain date. In the Middle East, it didn't begin in 1947 or 1967. it didn't begin the day we were born. Things happened before and after that motivated us then and now.

jafs 2 years, 5 months ago

No rationalization here - I find all of the brutality that you describe disturbing.

Just a note - my ancestors had nothing to do with it - they were in Europe.

If we can't find a way to live more peacefully and co-exist, we will almost certainly destroy ourselves and the planet, or much of it.

The distinction between us and Israel is significant - we're not engaged in violent conflicts with Native Americans, and we've substantially destroyed them and their culture. Our leaving now wouldn't help reverse that - it would still be the case.

On the other hand, if one or the other side in the ME went somewhere else, it would stop the violence and killing of people on both sides.

Do you really think that because people have engaged in violence over time, that we should just keep doing so indiscriminately?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

There is such a thing as legacy, Jafs. It's balanced with individual responsibility, but it doesn't disappear entirely. My family was also in Europe, but I'm an American and I'm responsible for those things that are done in my name as well as things done prior to my birth, though to a lesser degree. I'm responsible for today's exploitation of resources, but I'm also responsible for slavery, though obviously that happened prior to my birth and prior to my family coming here. If that were not the case, then I'd have zero responsibility for the poverty that exists in America, I'm making no one poor. You don't get off that easy.

But if you do, note that the overwhelming majority of those who created Israel surely must be dead by now. Whatever you feel about what happened, are you saying that those alive today are not the inheritors of that legacy? They bear zero responsibility? if true, then what's all this talk of Israel doing this or that. It's a fait accompli. Just as you bear no responsibility, so do they. And should they wait another generation, then the 1967 expansion will also be set in stone, just as our land grabs were. Is that correct?

I can't believe you would suggest that if one or the other went somewhere else ... You're talking millions of people, going where? That's akin to asking everyone to leave the southwestern part of the U.S., giving it back to Native Americans. That might sound like the proper thing to do, considering what we've done to them, but where do you suppose those tens of millions of people would go. And you're asking them to leave all the wealth they've accumulated behind, houses, land, businesses, etc.

What I really believe is that many in forum expect things of Israel that they don't expect of themselves. To some degree, you're guilty of that as well (though not to the extremes of others). You expect them to bear the mantle of responsibility for actions taken decades ago, but you say your ancestors were in Europe or you're only so old. There are many 20 somethings living in the West bank. There are many 40 somethings living there. Everyone of them not born in 1967. Israel is now 64 years old. Is every single one of them younger than say 84 completely not responsible (I picked that age, assuming we wouldn't hold children responsible). What percentage of Israelis today do you think are older than that?

jafs 2 years, 5 months ago

I disagree - you're not responsible for slavery if you or your ancestors didn't participate in it.

And, neither am I.

There may be a number of things that we benefit from in some ways because of it, but there are also a number of ways that we suffer from the legacy of slavery as well.

Your leap from slavery to poverty is strange - current actions contribute to poverty as well as previous ones.

I'm more concerned with current actions than previous ones, in the case of Israel - they're engaged in an ongoing violent conflict with their neighbors. I'd like for that to stop, and for peace to emerge. If one side relocating would bring that about, I'm all for it.

I don't hold individuals responsible for anything other than their own actions, primarily, although if my father owned slaves and then passed his plantation down to me when he died, I think I'd bear some responsibility if I accepted it and benefited financially.

You didn't answer my question - does the fact that human beings have engaged in violence for many years mean we should just accept that, and continue the practice of violently removing people from land that we want? When will it stop?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

It's interesting that you look at responsibility in terms of current or past, while I'm looking at it from the perspective of individual vs. collective. Let me give you an example. Do the German people of today bear any responsibility for the holocaust? That would be an example of collective responsibility. They believe they do, in some ways. While Germany paid reparations to individuals, they also make it against the law to deny the holocaust. They deny neo-Nazi parties from even existing. Either those are extreme examples of an infringement of freedom of speech and freedom to participate in the political party of your choosing (at which point we might not describe them as a democracy at all) or we may say that they have some sense of collective guilt. I would argue the latter. Your argument would favor the former, but I'm not sure what purpose the limits of freedom of speech serves other than as a recognition of collective guilt. Surely, the overwhelming number of Germans today bear no individual guilt as they were either not yet born or were children.

Finally, you've come around to my way of thinking when you say you're not concerned with past actions. There are many I wish had happened differently, but history can't be undone. That's why I don't want to go back in time. Not to the Palestinian Uprisings of the early part of the last century. Not to the Grand Mufti's support of Hitler. Not to 1947. Not to 1967. We start from today, this minute. We forget the missiles that have rained into Israel from Gaza while we forget the Palestinians expelled in '47. We forget the offers of peace that were denied while we forget those keys that some have held onto for decades. Or we remember it all. But surely we can't agree that we will remember some and forget others. That's way too self serving. So make up your mind (everyone who posts here, everyone who thinks about this issue). Remember or forget.

When will the violence stop? Today, I hope. In Israel and Palestine, in Syria, and in Chicago, where I suspect there have been more murders this year than deaths between Israel and the Palestinians. But if you're asking how we get from here to there, I have my ideas, though none would be accepted and I have little confidence my ideas would produce something better. But in the absence of progress, perhaps movement is a better option than staying in place.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

BTW - When you say "if we were engaged in a continuing conflict with Native Americans ... ", when would you say that conflict ended? And I wonder if Native Americans might disagree with you, both as to the date hostilities ended as well if hostilities have ended.

jafs 2 years, 5 months ago

I have no idea.

But, I know we're not engaged in the kind of violent conflicts that Israel is involved in currently.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 5 months ago

Why is Israel there in the first place? Oh yeah, because of a fairytale. http://i.imgur.com/f1XFu.jpg

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

"Why is Israel there in the first place?" - Because they were there in the first place?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

If there was an actual threat against your life, you may flee to whatever country you can, and there is an expectation you will receive sanctuary upon arrival. It called being a political refugee. It's the expectation of the United Nations and it's member countries. So, Gotland, should there come a time in the U.S. where pograms against either those of Dutch ancestry or against Christians you may flee to the Netherlands and there will be an expectation that they will receive you and provide sanctuary. If those pograms should escalate into a full blown holocaust, you may flee and expect sanctuary.

And as to being chosen, I'd bet they wish God would choose someone else for a change.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

I'd say their status as victims was well documented when Israel was created. Or are you also a holocaust denier?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

It's one thing to seek sanctuary, but that doesn't include ethnically cleansing the whole region in which "sanctuary" is sought in order to set up a theocracy.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

We'll never know, since sanctuary was never given. Not before WW II and not after. What was offered by both political and religious leaders was an offer to Hitler to assist in a Middle East final solution after he was finished in Europe. Maybe that's why after the war, those fleeing into the region decided not to sit and break bread with those same leaders.

jafs 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't believe that Germans who weren't born yet during the Holocaust bear any guilt for it.

And, yes, disallowing various sorts of political groups and affiliations is a limitation on several rights that we hold to be important in this country. It's being done in an attempt to prevent another Holocaust, I would imagine.

Unfortunately, stopping people from saying things doesn't stop them from believing them.

And, the same forces that operated during HItler's reign in Germany continue to operate around the world today, in a number of places, including this country. You can see it easily in our own political arena, where demonizing one's opponent has become the norm.

I mention the present when discussing responsibility and the possibility of solutions, since we can't go back and undo the past. That doesn't mean that the past should just be ignored, since it's often part of how the present situation developed, and solutions may need to include some sort of understanding of that.

For example, it's unlikely that we could improve relations between black and white folks in this country without understanding how slavery affected both of those communities, and continues to affect them today.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 5 months ago

The reason I mentioned the past vs. present is that many have suggested we return to the status of a certain date, as if that would solve problems. I don't think that's true. Many say go back to the pre-1967 borders, as if that will solve all the problems. You, Jafs, have said in the past that we should go back as far as Israel's creation as a starting point to fix all the problems that have happened since then. But starting on that date eliminates all the reasons people were behaving as they were, what motivated them to do what they did. It eliminates what everyone did prior to that. I can think of several reasons why 1948 is not a good starting point. People who advocate on the other side can find fault with whatever date I might choose. I can find fault with whatever date they choose. We can play that "pick a date in history game" for another 60 years and accomplish nothing.

Eventually, things will work themselves out. Maybe Israel will become so entrenched in certain areas that it will be impossible for them to ever give up that land. Maybe because the Palestinians have a higher birth rate, perhaps they will become an overwhelming majority and Israel will cease to exist as a Jewish state. And maybe some combination will happen, where Jews become a majority on the West Bank and a minority somewhere else and another land transfer will settle it and bring peace.

Or, and what I would prefer, is that they talk and try to solve the problem now. And if no good solution can be agreed upon, then settle for a bad solution. Sometimes, in the absence of a real solution, movement is the best that can be offered. And movement might be better than waiting another many decades.

jafs 2 years, 5 months ago

Looking at the creation of Israel to help understand current problems isn't "going back" to that time, it's trying to understand the problems so as to help solve them, for me.

"Eventually, things will work themselves out" - it's been quite a while, and there's little evidence of that. Perhaps, Israel will use their nuclear weapons, or another nation will, and one group will be wiped out - if you call that "working themselves out", I'd disagree.

Change in and of itself has no value, and things can change for the worse.

For example, Israel could use that nuclear capacity - that would certainly be a "change", right?

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