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« The Cloak of Democracy | Main | Peace »

December 07, 2004

Comments

John

Hi,

I have a number of long term (since school) Jewish friends and they all agree with me on this.

More Russians nationals (which could have included Jews) died during the ghastly World War II than Jews (estimates I have seen put the low end at 6.1m ranging to high end of 26.4m and average at 10m, see http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/ww2stats.htm). The thing is, you don't see them bitching and going off. They get along with their lives, and remain are thankful that they are here.

Exactly what good is there in crying about spilt milk? What positive could come out of it? Life goes on for Pete's sake!!!!

And getting closer to this post - do you know any Germans (who have lived for a long time in Germany or are living in Germany)? My experience with them is that they are very (or over) sensitive to things like this as a result of their own history. Even today they get nailed for the past all the time - ask a German who has visited a bar in Southern France recently how he was treated. Odds are that he was treated like shit - in other words they have constant reminders of what their fathers/grandfathers did and are sensitive to the parallels between Nazi Germany and Israel. And I tend to agree with what the Germans say.

John

Evidence of what I say about the Germans is here:
http://www.norc.uchicago.edu/new/part1.pdf

War Guilt

Five countries might be supposed to have national pride depressed by war guilt: West
and East Germany, Austria, Italy, and Japan. Each were aggressor states (or parts
thereof) in World War II and to a greater or lesser extent involved in war crimes. We
take as possible indications of war guilt the following: 1) low overall ranking on
Specific Achievements and General Pride, 2) a lower ranking on General Pride than
Specific Achievements, 3) a relatively low ranking on the Military and History
compared to other domains, and 4) a larger than average age/cohort effect.
First, Table 8 indicates that West and East Germany have the clearest signs that
national pride is reduced because of war guilt. Their overall Specific Achievement
scores are moderate with absolutely and relatively low rankings of History and the
Military - the two domains most closely linked to war guilt. Moreover, their ranking
on the more nationalistic, General Pride scale is well below their rank on Specific Achievements. Finally, both countries show larger than average age/cohort declines
in pride on the two scales.

Steve

Well John, given that you have a number of long term (since school) Jewish friends, then you must be the authority on this.

You completely miss the point and it's not worth my while debating with you on this matter.

And I tend to agree with what the Germans say.

Which Germans? The 51% that believe Israel's behaviour is reminiscent of the Nazis, or the 49% that disagree?

I think I already know the answer.


John

I am certainly not an expert on this topic (even with all my long term school friends), however, what I was trying to point out is that some people keep on opening ~50 year old wounds. The Nazi's are gone. Hitler is dead. Nothing good can come from harping on the horrendous, evil sins of the past. And the past sins of others does not mean that the Israeli (or Palestinian) state has a right to do bad to those that share their history and land.

And if you are not yet ready to talk about it, I suggest you find a good therapist so that you begin dealing with the past and move on with your life.

Steve
And the past sins of others does not mean that the Israeli (or Palestinian) state has a right to do bad to those that share their history and land.

Yes...Israel just does bad to the Palestinians because of the Nazi's.

Believe what you want.

There are too many intelligent people out there with logical and well reasoned arguments for me to worry about your "Israel does bad to the Palestinians" incoherent babble.

You don't even notice the bald faced hypocrisy that you have fallen victim to.

But then...you do have a number of long term (since school) Jewish friends and I suppose that if they agree with you on this then you can't be wrong.



John

Steve,

Peace will only come about once people with attitudes like yours on both sides of the issue are long gone and buried (by this I mean in many many generations time, NOT that I wish you dead).

Take a break dude!

PS. There is no "real" reality. There is only "your" reality. Thus, in "your" reality, I have fallen into bald faced hypocrisy, however, in "my" reality, I see it differently. Very differently. And that's fine!

John

Bronwyn

Hi Steve and John,

Interesting debate you are having, and a typical example of how emotions get stirred up over the issue. Here is my 2 cents worth.

Concerning the German poll - statistics in any poll as I imagine this one to be are easily manipulated. I would want to know how many people were sampled, what their political leaning was, educational background etc before deciding how seriously to take it. I would certainly be surprised if this poll was correct. Bringing up the friend thing, what do you know, a very good friend of mine, who also happens to be jewish came back to SA recently after living in Germany for two years and he commented that the Germans are extremely sensitive about their past and bend over backwards not to be anti-semetic. On one occation he witnessed a neo-nazi protest and a huge crowd of Germans came out in counter-protest. The German govt also serously prosecutes cases of anti-semitic vandalism. There is a huge body of German literature and philosophical thought about the nations attempt to come to terms with their sordid and brutal past, I for one donnot believe that the sins of the father etc

Having said that, any comparison between the actions of the Nazi's and those of the Israeli army is clearly ludicrous and anyone who thinks the situation is the same has no understanding of the historical context of the creation of Israel or the reality of the intifada.

On forgetting the holocaust and the past, my grandmother's entire family was wiped out, and most of my grandfather's family. Sometimes I look at the old photo's and think about the cousins and family that I might have had. To this day my gran cannot talk about her murdered family. Entire towns, parts of cities, communities that existed in Eastern Europe since the 1400's have been completely erased off the face of the earth. That's my past,my history, and my culture. So John, you go ahead and forget the holocaust, I entirely understand, but for me, it's something that I'll never forget, and what's more, it's something I will teach my hypothetical children about one day so that they too will never forget. And the reason we jews will never forget, is to prevent it from happening again. That aside, I find the notion of forgetting the past rather absurd, just as South Africa will never forget apartheid because it's part of our history, your history is part of what defines you as a person, an ethnic group and a country.

Finally, concerning Steve's political blogging, I think it has a space in that it counters the anti-Israel propaganda, but I tend to agree with John that "Peace will only come about once people with attitudes like yours on both sides of the issue" are overtaken by moderate voices in the middle. Voices that are able to face the complete reality of the situation and admit to culpability.

andrew r

Die vollständige Ausgabe an, ob Israel alles wie Nazi Deutschland
ist, lächerlich.

Nazi Deutschland wurde auf die körperliche Ausrottung verbogen undoder enslavement von jedermann nicht deutsch.

Apartheid Südafrika war ein rassistisches Regime, das Genozid
nicht gegen die entrechteten Leute versuchte, aber tat alle, die es Land und Betriebsmittel auf Kosten von einem anderen ' Rennen, ' stehlen könnte hoffend sie beiseite stehen würden. Das Apartheid regime tötete das meiste jeder, das zurück kämpfteund zum nicht-heftigen widerstand gleichgültig blieb.

Die ist eine passendere beschreibung von Israel

Steve

Bronwyn,
I dont see what debate you referring to. I didn't debate John at all, I merely humored him.

I totally accept your comments on the poll - all legitimate remarks. I dont really have an opinion on it. I dont need to enter into a discussion on whether or not Germans feel bad or not, the Germans of today are not at all responsible and i no rational voice would ever hold them responsible.

Germany does indeed bend over backwards to fight anti-Semitism, in fact, its virtually the only place in the world where Holocaust denial is illegal.

My post didnt criticise Germany. It pointed out a worrying trend throughout Europe where people believe that the actions of the IDF can be compared to the Nazis. I can't be bothered with how john has tried to divert focus away from this issue by complaining that we Jews just cant move on.

The issue he brought up was that we should forget about the Holocaust and move_on.org

I will not debate whether the Holocaust should be forgotten. I have my redlines and that is way below the redlines.

but I tend to agree with John that "Peace will only come about once people with attitudes like yours on both sides of the issue" are overtaken by moderate voices in the middle.

Frankly, you really disappoint me here. But its your point of view, and thanks for sharing it.

I support the creation of a Palestinan state based on what the Clinton parameters proposed in Dec 2000. Saeb Erakat, Mohammed Dahlan, Mohammed Rashid, and Abu Ala'a also supported that. The majority of Palestinians would have supported it had they known at the time what was really offered.

But peace will only come when people like me on both sides of the issue are gone????

What is more moderate than what Barak agreed to? What Rabin agreed to? Do you know that Rabin only ever spoke of withdrawing from 60-70% of the West Bank? But it is fashionable to dream of him as the brave peace man (which he was). But Barak agreed to withdraw from 97% of the territories, and you suggest that I need to be more moderate, even though I would have campaigned for people to vote yes to the idea?

Frankly, I would gladly meet people like me on the 'other side' who accept that there should be two secure states - accepting that there should be an Israel. People who are willing to confront reality and debunk mythologies, giving up their absolute dreams, showing a willingness to accept concessions in order to reach compromise.

Peace will no longer be a dream when BOTH sides are willing to concede on what they believe are there absolute "rights", and focus rather on what their essential needs are.

Anti-UN

Wow Steve...i hadnt visted AS for this week yet (ADSL problems), and return to find you under fire.

brownyn you are way off...
This doesnt sound extreme. Sound smoderate, and driven towards finding solutions.

"Moreover, Israel understands that the Palestinian leadership would be unable to deliver on any moves, if made public at this stage. The leadership needs to take steady steps to condition the public. Private back channel discussions are the way to move forward, and are probably taking place right now. This allows the leadership to intentionally leak information to the media in steady streams. Following this, a conference can be held where moves can be made public. This reduces the shock factor – the leaks to the media would have conditioned the public about what moves will be made, making it easier for both sides to deliver."

As Steve says, I would love to see more people like him on "t'other side". He may not be a pro-Palestinian activist, but he still makes sense.

from the discussion you had with steve here...(http://supernatural.blogs.com/weblog/2004/11/memorable_quote.html)

how can you accuse him of being a problem??

John

Bronwyn: Please don't take Steve nor Anti-UN too seriously. They are unfair and unwilling to accept your opinion. Well done! I accept that you will tell your children about the past history - which is _very_ important in understanding their culture and context - but I feel that to keep on rubbing it in, to keep on filling their minds with it (NOT that I am saying you will do this) is a potential mechanism of building hatred.

Andrew: Ich bin sehr viel mit Ihrem Punkt betreffend ist die Ähnlichkeiten zwischen Apartheid Südafrika und Israel einverstanden. Was ist Ihre Meinung, welche die Aussage betrachtet, daß Deutsche für Israel's Tätigkeiten infolge von ihrer Geschichte sehr empfindlich sind?

Wer interessiert sich? Es gibt einen Grund, warum Hitler alle Juden töten wollte. Israel erinnert mich warum.

Anti-UN

http://supernatural.blogs.com/weblog/2004/09/the_simple_thin.html

Not a moderate???

John

Anon: Das ist ein wenig rauhes!

Steve, Anti-UN: Hope you don't speak German.

Steve

Thanks Anti,

But you shouldn't bother. If people see me as a character that impedes peace, then so be it.

I dont know Bronwyn, but she seems to be a genuine, caring and intelligent person. We invariably disagree on things from time to time, but I still respect whatever opinions she has and I suspect that she respects mine.

I actually expect most people to disagree with me on these issues. Thats the whole point of putting in all this time to do this site.

Bronwyn

"People who are willing to confront reality and debunk mythologies, giving up their absolute dreams, showing a willingness to accept concessions in order to reach compromise." Steve, I agree with you on this, and this is more of what I was talking about about when I said moderate voices are needed if there is ever to be peace.I wasn't referring to your political analysis of the peace process and agreements, accords and so on. To be perfectly honest I don't know enough about them to risk an opinion at this stage, although what you have said makes sense - I would have to read up more about it myself before making up my mind. I most certainly didn't mean to imply that people like you should drop off the face of the earth and I would't bother reading your blog and commenting on it if I didn't respect your opinions or think it added value to the Middle East question.

What I was trying to say, and please forgive me if I've got it wrong, but judging from your blog it seems like you take a right of centre viewpoint. For example you once had a post about how Arabs in Israel are treated with the same equality as jewish citizens, and I don't think this is completely true. Sure maybe on paper, but in reality the govt spends far more on jewish schools than on Arab education, and less on service delivery to Arab areas/villages. Arab citizens do the more menial jobs.

"The Government does not provide Israeli Arabs, who constitute approximately 20 percent of the population, with the same quality of education, housing, employment, and social services as Jews. In addition, government spending is proportionally far lower in predominantly Arab areas than in Jewish areas; on a per capita basis, the Government spends two-thirds as much for Arabs than for Jews. According to the National Insurance Institute, 42 percent of Israeli Arabs live below the poverty line, compared with 20 percent of the total population. The Government also follows a disproportionately restrictive policy on issuing building permits to Arab citizens, resulting in the issuance of proportionately more building demolition orders against Arab-built structures. Relative to their numbers, Israeli Arabs are underrepresented in the student bodies and faculties of most universities and in higher level professional and business ranks. Arabs constitute only 8.7 percent of the students at major universities in the country. Well-educated Arabs often are unable to find jobs commensurate with their level of education.Israeli Arab groups allege that many employers use the prerequisite of military service to avoid hiring non-Jews. For example, a September 1999 survey revealed that 40 percent of employment ads in one weekend newspaper listed "army service necessary." Jobs included ice cream sales, typist, bus driver, and customer service." Feb 2001/US Dept of State report
(http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2000/nea/index.cfm?docid=794)

The stats are a little out of date, and Israel may have passed new legislation concerning Arab employment etc but I suspect that in reality not much has changed. A recent report from Human Rights Watch has more on the discrepancies in Childrens education:http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2004/08/12/isrlpa9228.htm

So I guess this is what I'm talking about when it comes to being "willing to confront reality and debunk mythologies" Another example, and not one that I've seen on your blog - so I'm not accusing you of anything, just trying to clarify my feelings on this and get an understanding of the issue. Take the creation of Israel, and here I will quote from Jonathan at the Head Heeb because he says it better than I can "One of the opinions most fundamental to my view of the Middle East is that it's a multi-party screw-up, and that there's plenty of blame to go around - the Israelis, the Palestinians, the Arab world and the international community all have to accept their share. Nobody starts with a moral credit. Some of the Yishuv leaders were inflammatory and intolerant - but no more so, and for the most part less so, than the Mufti. Ethnic cleansing on a major scale took place during 1947-49, but it worked both ways - East Jerusalem wasn't called the "Jewish Quarter" before the war for nothing. Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, but it did so during a defensive war, and the "Four No" resolution at Khartoum a year later played a part in making sure it continued. The Irgun committed a massacre at Deir Yassin, but the Arab Legion committed one at Kfar Etzion. There are plenty of other parallels, but I think my point is made; in the Middle East tit-for-tat, nobody can claim to be on the side of the angels, and nobody can claim to be the one who didn't start it. Nor can anyone claim to be the one who didn't keep it going;right now, the Palestinians are driving the conflict, but there have been plenty of times when it was the other way."
(http://headheeb.blogmosis.com/archives/cat_israelipalestinian_conflict.html)

I feel that if there is ever going to be peace it will come from moderates on both sides who are both prepared to admit they have at times been wrong and who can see past all the nationalist mythology that is perpetuated by both sides to form two very different versions of history. I will try to make my opinions more clear in future and I think your blog is a great space to discuss and debate the issues. Ultimately, at the end of the day, it's about gaining insight and understanding of an extremely complex situation that I care very deeply about, and just like you, I hope that the creation of two independent secure states will become a reality.

Steve

That's a great response.

I believe that in any democracy, the minority groups face some form of discrimination. In the States, can you honestly tell me that Mexicans are treated the same as the general americans? What about the native Americans? Right here in SA, foreigners who now live here are discriminated against. Also, in a 4 your old war, the day to day practice of democracy will suffer.

I accept that in practice it is tougher to be an Arab in Israel than a Jew. But the charge I try counter is apartheid. And even what you describe can not be compared to apartheid.

I only ask, if Israel were a racist state why would Israeli Arabs have equal rights by law, be fully represented in Parliament (10 Arab MP's),be represented in the supreme court of Israel, have freedom of expression, movement, religion (as do all other religious groups) the press, attend any school or university and live wherever they wish. Arab women have the vote (like other Muslim countries ?), there are established Druze army units while Israeli Arabs may volunteer for the army - though, understandably, few do.

The question I try and address is: Is Israel, under these very unique circumstances judged by the same standards that would be applied to all other countries ? I doubt it.

I realise that I dont highlight Israeli ills on this blog but their is enough of it in the msm. I use the limited time I have to go against the general msm grain. I will continue to take a one sided perspective and highlight Palestinian ills bc I am trying to counter something that is invariably one sided.

The mythologies I speak of, are far grander than what you illustrate. No serious Israeli advocate will deny what happened at Deir Yassin. It is not a mythology. The mythologies I speak of are more in terms of the future and not the past. One such future mythology is the "right of return". It will never happen. It is a demand that Israel cannot fulfill. Ever. Not by Labour, not by Yachad, and not by Likud. The Head Heeb is way left of center, and extremely intelligent. He would NEVER concede on the "right of return", for he realises it is only a mechanism with which to eventually destroy Israel. (His views are brilliantly rational, but being to the left makes him no more noble than my being to the right. Both of us fall way short of the radical left and radical right respectively. None of us pose a threat to an envorionment of tolerance and compromise.)

Barak did face up to mythologies on the Jewish side. He consented that the IDF will not remain in the Jordan valley. He realised that they will not control the eastern border. He realised that the Palestinians will eventually have sovereignty over the temple mount. He conceded that they will have sovereignty over the whole of east jerusalem with contiguity to the Haram.

But Arafat could not do the same. In the negotiations, Arafat only created new myths. He refused to allow Israeli sovereignty over the western wall (consenting onlyt to the wailing wall). He said they cant have it and that everyone knows that the jewish temple stood in nablus, and not jerusalem.

In any negotiations, both sides HAVE TO accept the other sides claims w.r.t their religious beliefs. Jews may not believe the connection between Mohammed and Jerusalem, but the Israeli negotiators must accept that the Muslims believe it. and they DARE NOT challenge this in a negotiation. In the same manner, the Palestinians should have accepted the Jewish claim about the temple. Disputingthe claim challenged the core of Judasisms claim to Jerusalem.

The right approach is to accept both claims, and work out a compromise based on absolute needs, and not perceived "rights".

In the face of this, I will not stand in the centre just to please people who dont know what happened.

Radicals from both sides need to be removed. Being slightly to the right or slightly to the left does not infer radicalism. So you dont need to apoligise for thinking I am to the right of center, bc in my mind, it is no sin.

I read your blogs every update, and have formed an opinion of you from it - being someone I really like and respect, and dare I say it, would enjoy meeting.

John

Hi,

My final two cents on this matter,

Firstly, I very very strongly agree with both Steve and Bronwyn that two separate states would probably be the best solution. Secondly, I am also relieved that Arafat is out of the way - he caused far, far more trouble than good. I really hope that Israel can now find a moderate Palestinian leadership with whom a lasting solution can be found.

Finally, Steve - you have a great site and keep on posting!

Regards,

John

Steve

John,
Im glad you have put your differences with me aside on this. Thanks.

No doubt I will irritate you again - but its not personal.

Randall

seaitig rcuaovtwou.

eddi

Du spinnst. We need to support those factions that want true peace in the Middle East, nothing more.

one has to come to the believe , that pal´s are nothing less than UNTERMENSCHEN for the jews ....... grow up , desert-kiddos , or you´ll face the same fate like we ( you know , those evil germans ) did ;)

you guys should stop debating senseless stuff - admit the truth , and don´t spread half-assed lies ( for example "The terriible! ghastly! evil! soldiers yesterday saved the life of an 8 year old Palestinian boy" ...... who are we kidding here , i can even show you such stories from germans in ww2 :p

fucking goners , change your behavior , or the often so called towel-heads will drive you sooner than later in the ocean ; you can´t win this ridiculous "fight"

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