2018-05-14

Jerusalem and savagery

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

by Neil Godfrey

Palestinians who got shot to death yesterday have a lot to answer for. Those who killed them cannot be blamed.

Or maybe those killed cannot be held truly responsible. After all, those who went out and got themselves killed obviously were not like us, normal people who can think and act for ourselves and have our own experiences and self-directed intentions. Someone only has to say to them, “Go” and they all like crazed mindless hate-filled creatures get up and go to kill — obviously they only planned to kill — those who have tried so hard to be so good to them and give up so much to make peace with them.

It is impossible for normal people like us to ever truly understand such sub-human creatures. If only they had a religion that taught love then they would live happily and in peace.

And I used to believe progress was inevitable over the years. How naive I was.

93 Comments

  • Lowen Gartner
    2018-05-14 23:47:04 UTC - 23:47 | Permalink

    How is it possible that the world didn’t learn from South Africa!

  • Bob Jase
    2018-05-15 01:02:11 UTC - 01:02 | Permalink

    I’d say the Jews learned a lot about genocide from the Holocaust but I’ve read the OT and genocide is a proud old tradition for them.

    • Bob de Jong
      2018-05-15 21:44:53 UTC - 21:44 | Permalink

      I object to this remark of Bob Jase. Say what you think about the incidents at the border of Gaza, fine. But to say that Jews are inclined towards genocide because of their religion sounds like anti-semitism to me.

      • Neil Godfrey
        2018-05-15 21:53:25 UTC - 21:53 | Permalink

        I was struggling with the comment, too. I trust and hope Bob did not mean it the way it came out.

      • Yam
        2018-05-16 04:32:18 UTC - 04:32 | Permalink

        To me sounds like that he read the O.T.

        • Bob Jase
          2018-05-16 12:15:54 UTC - 12:15 | Permalink

          Yep. And the whole present situation is based on that bronze age mythology, there never was a ‘great’ kingdom of Israel.

          • Yam
            2018-05-17 05:02:19 UTC - 05:02 | Permalink

            This mythology is a hellenistic creation, with settings on bronze age and iron age. Treating the jewish pseudohistory as more ancient, damages all the studies about the spread of dogmatisms. It must be studied along with communism and nazism.

          • Bob de Jong
            2018-05-17 09:50:07 UTC - 09:50 | Permalink

            There is solid archeological evidence for the existence of the kingdom of Israel in the ninth century BCE. See the ‘Mesha stele’, which recounts the battle of a Moabite king against the king of Israel; or Assyrian documrents talking about the house of Israel.

            • Bob Jase
              2018-05-17 12:41:42 UTC - 12:41 | Permalink

              Technically the stone doesn’t mention Israel – the biblical stories are read into it by believers.

              • Bob de Jong
                2018-05-17 21:58:19 UTC - 21:58 | Permalink

                Translation of line 3-5 of the Mesha stele: ‘[3] Omri was the king of Israel, and he oppressed Moab for many days, for Kemoš was angry with his land. ’ So clearly mentions Israel.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-05-17 23:52:05 UTC - 23:52 | Permalink

                Archaeology has confirmed the existence of an ancient kingdom of Israel in the northern part of Palestine centred around Samaria. See http://vridar.info/bibarch/arch/davies5.htm for a list of the relevant finds.

  • 2018-05-15 04:40:03 UTC - 04:40 | Permalink

    What is that quote from?

    • Neil Godfrey
      2018-05-15 06:04:53 UTC - 06:04 | Permalink

      Me. I started out sarcastically setting out all the tired excuses and apologies but decided to turn them into “quoted thoughts” lest someone took my words as a serious statement of what I thought.

  • JoeFormerlyofBKLYN
    2018-05-15 10:59:00 UTC - 10:59 | Permalink

    In my opinion — which has changed over a 64-year-long life — human beings have not really evolved.

    There’s not much you can expect from humans, is there?

    In groups, they are frightening (see: Charlottesville VA).

    As countries, they are idiotic (see: Western powers make a mess out of Libya, seemingly just for the hell of it).

    As individuals, they are incredibly untrustworthy. I still can’t get over the fact that — after listening to his debates with Hillary in 2008 — I voted enthusiastically (twice) for Barack Obama. He claimed he was for PEACE. He got a Nobel Prize for Peace. And then: He left office after having enthusiastically entered us into SEVEN WARS.

    I come to this blog (daily — and, by the way, Thank You!) to read up on how the heck we all got this way. I have come to think religion IS a huge part of the problem. I didn’t always believe this; at one point I was a silent atheist.

    No longer.

    Yes, the Old Test. profiles a lot of genocide and a violent, miserable “God” — but it’s thousands of years old. It’s telling on the US of A that I live in a state called Virginia, where one heavily travelled local highway carries the name “Jefferson Davis.”

    You can listen to the radio and hear (regularly) commercials telling you to come to this doctor or that restaurant — and giving the location as “Jefferson Davis Highway.” My stomach routinely turned as a resuilt.

    It’s tradition for humans to act in this ignorant manner. Jesus, Paul, and the guy who wrote the book of Revelation expected the end to come soon. It didn’t. You would think people would stay away from their “religion” in droves!

    In any realistic assessment of these guys and their thinking — perhaps a Tweet from Donald J. Trump? — they are a bunch of Losers! Or, at the very least, they were very, very, very wrong.

    Ditto Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and their compadres. They fought to keep in place the enslavement of millions of people. How is this not discussed in every single paragraph of Civil War History?

    Yet where I live, there is all kinds of crap named for them. Please do not overlook this. Religion and “The Lose Cause” of the US Civil War GO TOGETHER like peanut butter and jelly.

    SO: Losing and Being Very Wrong are not disqualifications — for the religious.

    [And if you want a heavy dose of religious insanity, go learn about Stonewall Jackson! Admired because he fought well. For what? For keeping millions in chains!!!]

    It is disappointing to me, as I make my way out of this life, to see that progress is not only NOT being made on important fronts — but is actively resisted. Would it be that way if religion was given — by the billions — exactly the credibility it deserves?

    We now have indoor plumbing, cars that drive themselves, and Beyonce. You might think we could have already gotten beyond superstition.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2018-05-15 21:57:38 UTC - 21:57 | Permalink

      “You know, I’ve known a long time that if you want to understand.human nature the best objects for study are the apes and the other mammals. I now add a third group, the very old.”

      Spoken by “Vridar” in Vardis Fisher’s The Great Confession, book 2 of Orphans of Gethsemane (p. 488f)

  • 2018-05-15 11:20:07 UTC - 11:20 | Permalink

    Is it too obvious to point out the irony that the right-wing Fundamentalists who base their spiritual life around an anti-occupationalist executed in Palestine on a Roman torture device 2,000 years ago now support torture and the summary execution of anti-occupationalist Palestinians?

  • Vinny
    2018-05-15 15:58:09 UTC - 15:58 | Permalink

    If you are going to claim someone else’s country for yourself, it’s best if you carry diseases to which they have no immunities. The fewer of them that you need to kill by military action, the better. In addition, doing it before the advent of electronic communication is a plus.

  • The Bomb
    2018-05-15 20:50:26 UTC - 20:50 | Permalink

    I wonder what would happen if Israel would allow the Return Home March to happen on its soil. I think hundreds of thousands of Palestinians would follow the protesters and haphazardly settle themselves in Israel. Hamas and other groups will try to make use of the situation to attack Israelis. For Israel, removing them forcibly again from Israel would cause an international outcry.

    This is a very difficult situation for Israel, either way it shoots at civilians, or it will be the end of Israel as a Jewish state, and possibly the end of the Jewish presence in Israel in the long term.

    Hamas knows this. I think it hopes that the international outcry is so big, that Israel is put under heavy pressure to allow the protesters in.

    Maybe Israel could try to use water cannons instead of guns.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2018-05-15 21:43:30 UTC - 21:43 | Permalink

      Israel has been known to use legal crowd control technologies when their authorities confront Jewish protestors. I seem to recall them doing so when they forcibly evacuated settlers from Gaza years back. Their choice to kill Arab protestors is not forced on them by dilemma.

      But you are right about them facing a dilemma if they want to preserve a state for one religion and one race. Once again, the lessons of South Africa are ignored. Democracy is incompatible with a race-based state.

      • The Bomb
        2018-05-15 21:57:12 UTC - 21:57 | Permalink

        Were the Jewish protesters so violent? I remember videos of Jewish settlers being taken away, literally being lifted up and carried away. Person per person. Settlers screaming and struggling. In that case, Israeli soldiers should go into Gaza and arrest Palestinian protesters the same way. But the Palestinians will fight back. I wonder if the Jewish settlers ever fought back so ferociously.

        If Israel allows the return of Palestinian refugees, israel will turn from a Jewish apartheid state into an Islamic apartheid state. I am certain of that. Sharia is now all the hype for Palestinians.

        • Neil Godfrey
          2018-05-15 22:02:02 UTC - 22:02 | Permalink

          I am not aware that Islamist clerics have won the hearts of most Palestinians.

        • The Bomb
          2018-05-15 22:14:40 UTC - 22:14 | Permalink

          Hamas won the elections. Hamas wants the establishment of sharia law. And the proposed constitution of Palestine is based on sharia law. Sharia shall be the main source of legislation:

          https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_law

          • Neil Godfrey
            2018-05-15 23:06:21 UTC - 23:06 | Permalink

            Your apparent interpretation of such things is at odds with mine. I think we need to learn as much as we can about the history and current situation before drawing certain conclusions from mass media reports of decontextualized details.

          • The Bomb
            2018-05-16 05:45:04 UTC - 05:45 | Permalink

            Here is some information from the Pew Research Center: http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-beliefs-about-sharia/

            89 percent of Palestinian Muslims wants to make Sharia the law of the land. 84 percent of those Palestinian Muslims who support Sharia law supports stoning as a punishment for theft and 66 supports the death penalty for leaving Islam.

            But I understand you believe this might be the result of Western colonialism, Western support of Arab dictatorships and Israeli policy. Otherwise Palestine and other Islamic nations would be healthy democracies such as Sweden or Danmark.

            • The Bomb
              2018-05-16 05:46:07 UTC - 05:46 | Permalink

              Theft should be adultery.

            • Neil Godfrey
              2018-05-18 12:22:20 UTC - 12:22 | Permalink

              I have discussed such misleading and unjustifiable extrapolations from polling data a number of times. My point is all the more necessary to address the ignorance that misused polling data supports. Please read more widely, read about the studies of Palestine and Israel, read the research into Hamas, read the current studies and accounts of Hamas and Palestinians.

            • The Bomb
              2018-05-18 18:45:17 UTC - 18:45 | Permalink

              I think you mean that the fundamentalism of the Palestinians is a reaction to Israeli policies and past Western colonialism. If it is true, it will take several decades before this fundamentalism wanes away. If Israel respects international law and allows all refugees to return right now, Israel will turn into an Islamic theocracy with all non-Muslims and women being second class citizens. There are more than 5 million Palestinian refugees under the UNRWA mandate. There are roughly 1,6 million Israeli Arabs, and 6,5 Israeli Jews. Add the 5 million Palestinian refugees to the Israeli population and Israel will become an Arab-majority state. Keeping in mind that Arabs have a higher birthrate, their majority will grow even further. Furthermore, terrorist organizations such as the Fatah (PLO), Hamas and Islamic Jihad would be able to settle themselves right into Israel, which will make terrorist attacks against Jews very easy.

              I have read your posts about Islamic fundamentalism being a reaction to Western imperialism. If that is true, why was there Islamic fundamentalism before the rise of the West? How did Islam spread? How can you explain the rise of religious fundamentalism in the world in general? Why are there so many Jewish and Christian fundamentalists right now? The orthodox Jews right now have so many kids that it is expected that they will become a majority in Israel by 2050. If oppression causes fundamentalism, are the orthodox Jews angry at being oppressed and that is the reason why they are fundamentalists? If so, by whom are they oppressed? How can you explain the rise of anti-immigration parties in the rich Western countries? Are the voters of those parties oppressed? How can you explain the right-wing extremist Likud winning the elections in Israel?

              Why the Hamas exists? The Hamas has branched off from the Muslim Brotherhood. At first the Muslims Brotherhood was a terrorist group, but they have changed their strategy. Hamas was a social aid organization at first, but started to commit terrorist attacks later on. The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas both aim at establishing Sharia Law worldwide. Hamas wants to focus on the destruction of Israel for the time being, but once that has been accomplished, is planning to join other radical Islamic groups and try to conquer the world.

              Sorry, I have laid low for a while, discussing about Islamic fundamentalism and Muslims with you.

              We talked about me meeting Muslims. I actually have met an Iraqi young woman. I asked her if she knew about the writers Ibn Ishaq and Bukhari. She said that Bukhari is a very delicious dish, and asked if I liked it too!!!! She had never read to Quran, and asked me where she could read it and how to understand it. I referred her to some Sunni websites and Sunni Quranic commentators. She turned out to be a Shiite. She knows nothing of Islam.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-05-30 08:34:35 UTC - 08:34 | Permalink

                I don’t know what you mean by “fundamentalism of the Palestinians”. Are you saying that Palestinians as a whole are Islamists (as distinct from Islamic)?

                How Islam spread in the seventh century is open to debate. See, for example, the work of Tom Holland and related ideas he espouses. The Islamic religion may well have taken shape after the Arab takeovers (conquests seems too strong a term when we look closely at the details of the collapses of Byzantine and Persian powers for economic, military and “biological” reasons.)

                I don’t know if (or where) I have actually said that “oppression causes fundamentalism”. The first Arab response (by peoples of the Islamic religion) to Western imperialism was through socialist-secular-democratic and nationalist liberation movements. It was the Western backed liquidation of those movements that opened the door to certain radical Islamists — who actually (as against the Russians in Afghanistan and as with Hamas in Israel) had been funded and trained by the Western powers in their efforts to get rid of the secular nationalist movements.

                I don’t know where you get your information about Hamas. It is quite different from the sources I have turned to for information.

                (I didn’t mean that talking to a nonreligious and purely nominal Muslim would give anyone an idea of what the average “man in the street” Muslim thinks. Though as you can suspect, there are many we call Muslims but are merely nominal Muslims as are many who go by the label of Christian in censuses etc.)

                Some of your points are addressed in the recent blog post I pointed to in https://vridar.org/2018/05/29/sam-harriss-immoral-arguments-for-israels-treatment-of-palestinians/

              • The Bomb
                2018-05-30 17:16:00 UTC - 17:16 | Permalink

                I think it is very clear from the opinion polls from the Pew Research Center and the election results, that the vast majority of Palestinians are in fact Islamic fundamentalists who want to establish a state based on Sharia Law.

                I am aware of the issue of Islam’s origins. I am the guy who reports about this issue in the comment section of this post:

                https://vridar.org/2015/03/26/did-muhammad-exist-a-revisionist-look-at-islams-origins/

                I find the Muhammad-as-Jesus hypothesis very compelling. But, if it is true that Islam was developed by al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, Urwah ibn Zubayr, al Zuhri, Ibn Ishaq, Abu Hanifa, Zayd ibn Ali and others, and Islam’s origins could actually be found in the eight century instead of the seventh, you must take into account that the Arabs and other Muslims fought wars of conquest after this period. al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, the alleged writer of the Quran, for instance, already attacked India. The attacks on India lasted well into the sixteenth century. Don’t forget the conquest of the Islamic Turks, who penetrated deep into Europe.

                Don’t forget that the revisionist theories are not popular. Muslims don’t believe it, and many Western professors don’t either. For them, the traditional Islamic account is reliable. I think the most honest answer is that we don’t know. There is little information of the seventh century about the Arabian world. Some Christian documents, some Jewish, no Arab documents, some inscriptions. We can’t prove the traditional account, or disprove it.

                You said: ‘I don’t know if (or where) I have actually said that “oppression causes fundamentalism”‘. I thought you said something like that, anyway, Islamic fundamentalism as a reaction to colonialism. The closest thing is here:

                https://vridar.org/2016/10/06/islam-and-the-rise-of-barbarism/

                You said: “Trying to cope with the humiliation that came with European conquest and hegemony some Muslims found refuge in a conviction that their ancient texts, ways, beliefs had from the beginning of time been superior and well in advance of anything associated with their new rulers.”

                And you said:

                “If the Muslim peoples are under the boot of the aliens, unable to match the Westerners in political and military might and so liberate themselves, it is because Muslims are not faithful and devout enough.”

                I’m searching to your many blog posts about it, I thought you literally said it, and I interpreted it as such. You believe there was no Islamism, and jihad before the Western invasion of the Islamic world. You believe the principle that Muslims should fight and subjugate the infidels was developed by persons such as Said Qutb:

                https://vridar.org/2016/09/01/the-founder-of-islamist-extremism-and-terrorism/

                Quote: “Nazi ideology was set out by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, Communism was explained for all by Karl Marx in The Communist Manifesto, and radical Islamism was planted with Sayyid Qutb‘s Milestones.”

                As a matter of fact, about Israel, I think Jews could better leave this place. It is the most dangerous place in the world for Jews.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-05-31 11:45:06 UTC - 11:45 | Permalink

                Of all the posts I have written about terrorism and radicalism, and the many explanations for why people become radicalized in today’s worlds (both Islamic and Western worlds), I find it somewhat depressing that anyone could think I have presented a simplistic picture that western imperialism is to blame, full stop.

                Yes, western imperialism has created the conditions that did become the fertile ground for violent extremists. But those Islamists were and remain a small minority within the Muslim worlds, both in the Middle East and in the West.

                To blanket all Muslims with some sort of extremist mentality is to dehumanize them and to defy the facts of history.

                Qutb’s Milestones by no means represents “Islam” today. By no means. Yet you seem to equate Sharia law with the sort of extremism expressed in Milestones.

                I am opposed to Sharia laws of all hues and varieties (it is not a monolithic set of rules, by the way, that allows only one interpretation and application) just as I am opposed to any and all cultural laws where and whenever they violate international humanitarian law. But that is a separate question from the problem of suicide terrorism or any kind of terrorism against civilians. A Muslim can subscribe to a form of Sharia law and still oppose terrorism.

                My point about the historical conquests was that there is much we don’t know and that is one reason that we cannot extrapolate arguments and images about the whole of Islam through the generations and up to today from them.

                I have met and befriended many Muslims over the years, and have had the fortune of getting to know personally several young Palestinian activists from the West Bank. I think we will be better informed on how to interpret Pew data and the wording of the questions if we see those surveys in the context of what we learn about the Palestinians by getting to know them as well as we can as human beings. Many Palestinians have written and continue to write about their world and themselves if we cannot meet them personally.

                The majority of Palestinians despise the terrorist side of Hamas (including many who voted for the political wing of Hamas in Gaza at the last elections and Hamas leaders know this!) and their struggle began long before the West (or most Israelis) ever heard of “Islamist” movements or Islamic extremists. (The first time I think the Israelis heard about them was when they read about Hamas that the Israeli government helped establish in order to help fight the secular nationalist Palestinian movements.)

                (I am aware of polling that says most Muslims etc say suicide bombing attacks are sometimes justified…. That’s a far cry from saying that most Muslims support or agree with terrorist attacks on civilian targets as a rule or even any time. Liberation movements of all types have commonly found justification at some time for attacks on certain types of targets important to their occupiers.)

              • The Bomb
                2018-05-31 18:14:53 UTC - 18:14 | Permalink

                “My point about the historical conquests was that there is much we don’t know and that is one reason that we cannot extrapolate arguments and images about the whole of Islam through the generations and up to today from them.”

                But that is beside the point. Tell a Muslim that Islam actually formed a century after the Arab conquest begun, and they will look at you with surprise (I did that once!). To them the traditional story is very real.

                Also Fred McGraw Donner has pointed out in his book “Narratives of Islamic Origins: The Beginnings of Islamic Historical Writing” (1998) that the different Muslim sects are remarkably similar concerning their beliefs about Islamic origins. I quote him: “The disagreements are considerable in this instance, but we must note that they are, for the most part, disagreements over the interpretation or significance of particular events and actions, rather than disagreements over the actual events and actions themselves, about which there is surprising unanimity. All agree on the sequence of Abū Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthmān, and ‘Alī as the first four caliphs (whether legitimate or not), on the manner of succession of each, on the main events taking place during their reign. All agree that ‘Uthmān was murdered in office, that Mu’āwiya and his family raised the banner of vengeance for the murdered caliph, that Talha and al-Zubayr fought against ‘Ali and died at the battle of the Camel near al-Basra, that Mu’āwiya and ‘Alī faced one another in a military encounter at Siffīn (although they may be suspect on the outcome of the battle), that the two sides agreed to arbitrate their dispute (although they disagree on the results of the arbitration). Similarly, all confirm the general outlines of Muhammad’s career: revelation, first preaching in Mecca, persecution by Qurash, emigration to Medina, struggle against the Qurash (Badr, Uhud, Trench, Hudaybīya) and internal consolidation in Medina (Jewish clans), the conquest of Mecca, etc. These interpretations reveal many differences in emphasis, and especially differences in the perceived moral legitimacy of various actors on the stage of early Islamic history, but surprising consensus on the actual course of events.”

                It is indeed remarkable. On the other hand, and I am looking into this issue. I notice that the Sunni and the Shia were at first not so separated from each other at all. They often copied each other’s materials (the Sunni scholar al-Tabari copying from the Shia scholar Abu Mikhnaf), and even cooperated together (the Shia rebel leader Zayd ibn Ali working together with the Sunni Scholar Abu Hanifah). Some Islamic scholars are revered by both sects (such as Sa’id bin Jubayr).

                What really happened in the past is not so important. Muslims believe Muhammad was a peaceful preacher in Mecca, who then migrated to Medina and became a warlord, who then conquered a big swat of land and then died, and then four righteous caliphs succeeded him and they conquered an even bigger swat of land, and they subjugated many non-Muslims. (and they all lived together in peace and happiness, but that is not really true because the non-Muslims have to pay a discriminatory poll tax to the Muslims).

                About the Palestinians. If you look at street photos or videos in Palestinian areas, I notice lots of headscarves and veils. That the vast majority of Palestinians are orthodox Muslims doesn’t seem a strange idea to me. The Palestinian media in the West Bank and Gaza, glorifies terrorist attacks, Palestinian textbooks for school children glorify martyrdom.

                I am not dehumanizing Palestinians, I am just pointing out the truth.

                I have to acknowledge that Israel is doing, and did very evil things. Israel did expel Palestinians, and the settler movement (along with the Israeli military) is not nice to Palestinians. The Israeli military should show more restraint, and approach demonstrators more carefully.

                Actually, I can quite understand that the Palestinians feel that they are robbed of their land. I would feel the same if Turks would see the Netherlands as the promised land and then throw out the Dutch population. I think many Dutch people would want to return to the Netherlands, and kick out those evil Turks!!!! But it also means in reality, that it will likely be the end of Turkish presence in the Netherlands.

                Another example why the expulsion of Jews from Palestine, in a free Palestine, is not such a strange idea. Look at what happened after the establishment of the state of Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Jews in Arab countries had to flee. The West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem, which had Jewish communities were completely cleansed of Jews, synagogues destroyed. Why couldn’t it happen again? And those Jews who fled the West Bank have no right to return!!!! All Jews in the West Bank are considered illegal aliens under international law!!!! And the funny thing is many human right organizations support it. Do they support ethnic cleansing? This completely baffles me.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-06-01 08:59:40 UTC - 08:59 | Permalink

                “My point about the historical conquests was that there is much we don’t know and that is one reason that we cannot extrapolate arguments and images about the whole of Islam through the generations and up to today from them.”

                But that is beside the point. Tell a Muslim that Islam actually formed a century after the Arab conquest begun, and they will look at you with surprise (I did that once!). To them the traditional story is very real.

                We are approaching the question from different perspectives. What believers themselves believe about the historical roots of their religion is not necessarily an indicator of what they believe they should be doing today. Few Christians believe they should travel the streets calling on people to be healed, or selling all their property and sharing all things in common. Relatively few Jews believe they should kill all non-Jews in their land as per the original commands for the settlement of their country.

                About the Palestinians. If you look at street photos or videos in Palestinian areas, I notice lots of headscarves and veils. That the vast majority of Palestinians are orthodox Muslims doesn’t seem a strange idea to me.

                A head covering is by no means a declaration of orthodox religious convictions. (I know that for a fact from my time in Muslim countries and regions.) Cultural trappings are not reliable indicators of religious beliefs and sincerity. Some Muslim countries require identity cards for all citizens which state that the person is a Muslim. That does not mean that every person carrying an identity card is a practicing (or believing) religious Muslim. And wearing a head covering certainly does not indicate the woman sympathizes with extremism or violence.

                The Palestinian media in the West Bank and Gaza, glorifies terrorist attacks, Palestinian textbooks for school children glorify martyrdom.

                All societies glorify their martyrs, especially heroes of resistance/liberation struggles against occupiers. Among the victors many of the acts of such heroes are whitewashed to remove the criminal elements and in public discourse they are always depicted as the good guys in the white hats. They are held up as examples for citizens to emulate if ever in similar situations again.

                It is also probably universal that each side demonizes the martyrs of their enemies and portrays sympathy with them as a sign of pernicious evil.

                I am not dehumanizing Palestinians, I am just pointing out the truth.

                Your “truth” seems to me to suggest that Palestinians, in general, are brainwashed as if by a cult, with desires of blood-lust — anything but normal persons like us.

                Another example why the expulsion of Jews from Palestine, in a free Palestine, is not such a strange idea. Look at what happened after the establishment of the state of Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Jews in Arab countries had to flee. The West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem, which had Jewish communities were completely cleansed of Jews, synagogues destroyed. Why couldn’t it happen again? And those Jews who fled the West Bank have no right to return!!!! All Jews in the West Bank are considered illegal aliens under international law!!!! And the funny thing is many human right organizations support it. Do they support ethnic cleansing? This completely baffles me.

                The political situation at that time — the tit for tat expulsions — is not comparable to the political situation today or anything that could possibly exist again. (How could Palestinians possibly expel Israelis anyway given the military strength is on the side of the Israelis?) The situation has changed considerably since then. Today Arab states and the Palestinians have agreed to accepting the 1967 borders. What is meant today when we talk about a single state solution, however, is a democratic state that is not ethnically or religiously based. A secular democracy. That is the only guarantee for religious freedom of both Jews and Muslims (– though history shows that Jews have historically done relatively well in Muslim societies on the whole, too.) Of course Israel political leadership and probably most of the population are at the moment flatly opposed to any such society. They have the upper hand and have nothing to lose in the short term by continuing as they are doing now. It is in the long term (with demographic shifts) that many foresee they will reap the whirlwind.

              • The Bomb
                2018-06-02 06:56:03 UTC - 06:56 | Permalink

                The Hamas and PLO only accept the 1967 borders for the time being. They want to destroy Israel in stages.

                That women wear veils and headscarves is a sign of devoutness. They want to show the world they are good Muslims who follow the rules to the letter.

                Palestinian media and textbooks support suicide bombers.

                In a democracy the majority rules. The majority will be theocratic, not secular.

                I think that when Israelis accept the return of Arab refugees and allows full democracy, they have been put so much under pressure by the international community (arms embargos and economic boycots etc…) that they will have voluntarily relinquished their weapons. I think it will be one of the deals in such a scenario. Israel disarms and allows the refugees back, in return for ending the international boycotts.

                I have seen some statistics which show Hamas is still popular. You don’t believe it. What kind of Palestinians you have contact with? I am curious. What do they tell? Could you write a blog post about it?

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-06-02 08:30:09 UTC - 08:30 | Permalink

                The Hamas and PLO only accept the 1967 borders for the time being. They want to destroy Israel in stages.

                That women wear veils and headscarves is a sign of devoutness. They want to show the world they are good Muslims who follow the rules to the letter.

                How do you know are motivated by these thoughts? You seem to rely upon powers of mind-reading and fortune telling. I prefer to study the investigative journalism and scholarly research and personal biographies and accounts by both Palestinians and Israelis for my information.

                We are getting into hypotheticals. There is simply no way in the present world or foreseeable future that Israel will ever bow to any form of international pressure to give up its military. That’s such an unreal fantasy. That’s not what is envisaged by those who (including Palestinians) who propose a single state solution.

              • The Bomb
                2018-06-02 08:47:29 UTC - 08:47 | Permalink

                Another possibility: the Israeli army will be under the control of the majority Islamic government. The government fires all Jews from the military, and strips all Jews of their weapons. Then it expels all Jews.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-06-06 09:59:01 UTC - 09:59 | Permalink

                “Possibility”? It sounds more like a surreal hallucination than a possibility. Muslims do live in democratic societies according to democratic principles. And even throughout most of history Jews have lived safely in Muslim countries. Muslims, including Palestinians, are just like anyone else. They want a peaceful society with a promising future for their kids.

                You once said that the head covering was worn because of personal devotion but I should have reminded us at the time that we have seen the clearest evidence that that is not so. Most women in Iraq were Muslim before the overthrow of Saddam but did not wear the head covering. Ditto in Afghanistan before the violent Taliban takeover. Ditto in Iran before the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. Most people simply do not support religious extremists.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-06-06 10:27:43 UTC - 10:27 | Permalink

                What I mean to say is that the scenario you describe is unrealistic. It could not happen. The mere attempt would be enough to bring on outright rebellion, mutiny, civil war, a total breakdown of society. Jews are just like us, too, just as are the Arabs. Once we attempt to put ourselves in the shoes of the respective parties and imagine such a scenario from their different perspectives, along with the real limits of how power is enforced, we can see how fanciful and impossible it is.

              • The Bomb
                2018-06-06 18:38:32 UTC - 18:38 | Permalink

                It is an unlikely scenario right now. That’s because Israel has the unwavering support of the United States of America. At this moment Israel won’t allow back all refugees, won’t allow a single democratic Arab/Jewish, won’t hand over control of its army to the leadership of that single state, and it won’t withdraw from the West Bank.

                For all these things to happen something extraordinary must happen. It is all “what ifs”. It is difficult to envision a scenario in which the Israeli Jews respect international law. At least the U.S.A. has to swing around (unlikely) and together with other countries launch a boycott campaign against Israel, demand to Israel to allow all refugees back, demand to Israel to give all Palestinians equal voting rights, demand that all Jewish areas to be annexed into a single Palestinian state, demand that the Jewish army must be taken over by a Palestinian majority government. It is a surreal hallucination indeed. But that is what you want to happen.

                What do you think? If Israel allowed in all Palestinian refugees? Won’t Hamas, Fatah and other terrorist groups make use of the opportunity to attack Jews within the state of Israel? What will the refugees do who want to go to the houses and villages where their parents and grandparents lived? What if Jews happen to live in these exact places? I could see fistfights happening, Palestinian civilians trying to kick out Jews out of their homes. Won’t the Palestinians try to confiscate stolen land? Then again, the Israeli army will likely fight back, but Israel won’t be so stupid to allow all refugees to return in the first place.

                You said “The mere attempt would be enough to bring on outright rebellion, mutiny, civil war, a total breakdown of society.” That a single ethnic or religious (majority) group wants to grab all power is not unique in history. A good example is the Jews in Israel themselves.

                You said “And even throughout most of history Jews have lived safely in Muslim countries”, but this is as Dhimmis. The Jews had to pay a discriminatory poll tax. They were not allowed to repair their religious buildings, had to wear special clothes, etc…

                You said “Muslims, including Palestinians, are just like anyone else. They want a peaceful society with a promising future for their kids”. The Palestinians maybe want to live in peace, but under sharia law. The Jews will be second-class citizens in such a state. And it doesn’t exclude the possibility of kicking out all Jews altogether, while living in peace after that event. They may want to live in peace in Palestine, without the Jews. The United States has a democratic government. Why do many peaceful Americans support America’s military adventures? Why do many Jews support Israel’s violent policy?

                You said “You once said that the head covering was worn because of personal devotion but I should have reminded us at the time that we have seen the clearest evidence that that is not so. Most women in Iraq were Muslim before the overthrow of Saddam but did not wear the head covering. Ditto in Afghanistan before the violent Taliban takeover. Ditto in Iran before the overthrow of the Shah in 1979. Most people simply do not support religious extremists.”

                The vast majority of Iraqis and Iranians support Sharia Law. (see Pew Research Center) Supporting Sharia is a religious extremist point of view, in my opinion. Not all fundamentalist women and men wear distinctive religious clothing.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-06-07 09:12:47 UTC - 09:12 | Permalink

                For all these things to happen something extraordinary must happen. It is all “what ifs”. It is difficult to envision a scenario in which the Israeli Jews respect international law. At least the U.S.A. has to swing around (unlikely) and together with other countries launch a boycott campaign against Israel, demand to Israel to allow all refugees back, demand to Israel to give all Palestinians equal voting rights, demand that all Jewish areas to be annexed into a single Palestinian state, demand that the Jewish army must be taken over by a Palestinian majority government. It is a surreal hallucination indeed. But that is what you want to happen.

                I don’t know why you are saying that I want such a scenario. I don’t recall ever saying anything like that and cannot imagine myself saying it.

                What do you think? If Israel allowed in all Palestinian refugees? Won’t Hamas, Fatah and other terrorist groups make use of the opportunity to attack Jews within the state of Israel?

                I don’t see the connection. First of all, countries have pretty good methods of screening out would-be terrorists from immigrants seeking citizenship. Secondly, why would someone who is fighting you in order to let refugees back in to your country continue to fight you after you let them back in? That makes no sense. And why would the refugees even tolerate or support any group that jeopardized their return? If I was being let back in to a country my father had to flee from then I would do my best to stop some group from taking advantage of me to kill those who were letting me back in. Such groups would be opposed by the returnees, obviously. Terrorists would be isolated if they continued to terrorize after their demands were met. But we know from historical record that terrorists stop terrorism after their demands are won, anyway, so what’s the problem?

                What will the refugees do who want to go to the houses and villages where their parents and grandparents lived? What if Jews happen to live in these exact places? I could see fistfights happening, Palestinian civilians trying to kick out Jews out of their homes.

                Obviously such details are all part of a return settlement. No-one is suggesting that everything return to exactly the way things were in 1948 with grandchildren living in the same exact lots as grandparents had once lived. That is not what “return” means. It means sitting down and nutting out such problems that have been created since the Nakba.

                Won’t the Palestinians try to confiscate stolen land? Then again, the Israeli army will likely fight back, but Israel won’t be so stupid to allow all refugees to return in the first place.

                Woah here. Let’s pick up a book or article by a Palestinian refugee, or watch a youtube video by some of them, or read some of the studies into the situation by the UN, etc. Let’s understand that they are People, just like you and me, and that they understand the problems ahead and that they are prepared to support efforts to sort out resettlement issues in good faith. Why assume that Palestinians (always the Arabs or Muslims) are not going to be reasonable but always resort to violence and theft as the first option? We know that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians, refugees included, oppose the violent methods of terrorist groups so why do we think they are all somehow naturally violent and thieving?

                The Jews had to pay a discriminatory poll tax. They were not allowed to repair their religious buildings, had to wear special clothes, etc…

                So we agree that Muslims are not predisposed to expel all Jews — as per Jews in Muslim countries up to and prior to 1948.

                You said “Muslims, including Palestinians, are just like anyone else. They want a peaceful society with a promising future for their kids”. The Palestinians maybe want to live in peace, but under sharia law.

                Please engage with Palestinians themselves on this question. You will discover, as I have tried to point out a number of times, that poll questions can so easily by misinterpreted and sharia has many different meanings and interpretations. Forget Pew. Read what the Palestinian people themselves say. Then return to Pew and understand the nuances in the questions and replies.

                The vast majority of Iraqis and Iranians support Sharia Law. (see Pew Research Center) Supporting Sharia is a religious extremist point of view, in my opinion. Not all fundamentalist women and men wear distinctive religious clothing.

                I would like to encourage you to learn about the meaning of sharia (I have posted about it here but there are many sources to consult). If the “vast majority” of Iraqis and Iranian women thought the way you seem to imply then how do you explain that they evidently had no such thoughts until the moment the extremists took power and had the power to cruelly punish them for not conforming?

              • The Bomb
                2018-06-07 18:38:44 UTC - 18:38 | Permalink

                You said: “I don’t know why you are saying that I want such a scenario. I don’t recall ever saying anything like that and cannot imagine myself saying it.”

                You explain in the rest of your comment that Israel should allow all refugees to return, and you said somewhere else in the comment section of this post: “And that if the demographic changed we could expect to see a majority Arab knesset there?”. The video you linked to shows Palestine in 1896, with a clear Arab majority. You linked to it before, and you said “back to the future”. That was here: https://vridar.org/2017/12/07/woe-to-those-who-love-jerusalem/#comment-83375

                You said: “First of all, countries have pretty good methods of screening out would-be terrorists from immigrants seeking citizenship. Secondly, why would someone who is fighting you in order to let refugees back in to your country continue to fight you after you let them back in? That makes no sense. … Obviously such details are all part of a return settlement. No-one is suggesting that everything return to exactly the way things were in 1948 with grandchildren living in the same exact lots as grandparents had once lived. That is not what “return” means. It means sitting down and nutting out such problems that have been created since the Nakba.”

                It won’t happen, Israel, Hamas and Fatah will never negotiate such an agreement. But, “war is deceit” according to a hadith. It wouldn’t surprise me if such an agreement is made, Hamas, Fatah and other terrorist groups keep up appearances for a while, and then suddenly strike. Furthermore, Hamas and Fatah have many supporters, and this would mean Israel wouldn’t allow most Palestinians through their screening process. Palestinians see the Jews as illegal occupiers, they want them to leave. The problem won’t be solved if all refugees return. The Palestinian returnees will still have a problem, that is the presence of more than 6 million Jews in a tiny country. They hate Jews to the bone.

                You said: “Why assume that Palestinians (always the Arabs or Muslims) are not going to be reasonable but always resort to violence and theft as the first option?”

                They might wait and strike later. “War is deceit”.

                You said: “Please engage with Palestinians themselves on this question. You will discover, as I have tried to point out a number of times, that poll questions can so easily by misinterpreted and sharia has many different meanings and interpretations. Forget Pew.”

                Which Palestinians do you have contact with? Do you have contact with Hamas members and Fatah members? I want to know. Don’t trust them, they speak with two mouths. They have different messages when they speak to Western audiences and when they speak to Arab audiences.

                The meaning of Sharia is “Islamic canonical law based on the teachings of the Koran and the traditions of the Prophet” (from a dictionary). The sharia manuals of the Sunni schools of law (Hanbali, Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki) and the Shia (Jafari) prescribe the jizya tax for dhimmis. The Quran (9:29) says: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.”

                Mahmoud Abbas has said: “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli — civilian or soldier — on our lands”. That is not only the West Bank and Gaza. Look literally what he said. He doesn’t want any Jews on Palestinian land. Many will interpret this as meaning he doesn’t want any Jew on the West Bank and Gaza. If that is true, wouldn’t the next logical step be, if Palestine is completely liberated, to remove all “Israelis”? Why is the thought of the ethnic cleansing of all Jews so strange? This is idea is generally supported for the West Bank and Gaza. It is even supported by human rights organizations. Just take it one step further, and apply it to all historical Palestine.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-06-12 21:07:42 UTC - 21:07 | Permalink

                I will reply more fully later. For now, no, I do not have contact with Hamas persons. But I have had personal discussions with Palestinians who have expressed loathing for Hamas for the way they have used their children as suicide bombers but who have supported their political and humanitarian wing primarily because of the corruption of the alternatives and the necessary community services provided.

                I have read many books about Hamas specifically and Palestine and Israel more generally, detailed scholarly works and those by respected investigative journalists — as well as works on terrorism and the Arab world. You say you fear that certain Arabs speak with two mouths. Everyone does — including Israelis. We all have one voice for our families and another for foreigners. It is important for all of us to understand and recognize the different voices on all sides.

                But especially it is important to know the people and their relations with various political wings.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-06-13 01:25:43 UTC - 01:25 | Permalink

                What I think should or should not happen about the refugees is irrelevant and I don’t believe I have ever tried to argue what “I think should or should not” be done by anyone — except to refrain from violence and to abide by international law.

                Again, your comments come across as expressing a two-dimensional view of Palestinians, both the population as a whole and selected political/military representatives. I don’t know your source for claiming that “Palestinian refugees ….. hate Jews to the bone” with the implication that they would seek to kill or expel or in other ways cruelly mistreat Jews if they ever had a chance.

                I would not rely upon a hadith to inform me what Palestinians will or will not do in different circumstances but I would prefer to seek out what the Palestinians themselves say. Even what key persons in Hamas say and have said. And I would also attempt to understand the perspectives of both sides from an in-depth investigation of the stories of both sides. I would certainly not rely upon media bites. Media bites are an invitation to track down their sources and to explore further.

              • The Bomb
                2018-06-13 20:08:42 UTC - 20:08 | Permalink

                We are going around in circles. I believe that in a unified Arab/Jewish state the Islamic fundamentalists will win a landslide victory in a democratic election, just like what happened in Algeria, Iran and Egypt. The result will be a civil war like in Algeria, a coup d’état by the army like in Egypt, or a complete Islamic takeover just like in Iran.

                One other point I like to make. Look at how the Palestinian territories are governed. Gaza is ruled theocratically by Hamas, no democratic elections. Hamas tortures and executes Palestinians. The West Bank is ruled by Fatah/PLO, no elections. People who criticize the Fatah have to report to the local police station. And the Fatah tortures people. No freedom of speech in both territories.

                There was a short civil war between Fatah and Hamas after the elections in 2006. How can you guarantee it doesn’t happen in Israel when all the more than 5 million Arab refugees return (or get voting rights one kind a way or the other in Israel)? Or when Israel and the Palestinian territories are unified into one Jewish/Arab state? Isn’t there the possibility that multiple groups like the Israeli Jewish army, Fatah, Hamas will start to fight each other for the control of the entire territory? Say, the Algerian scenario?

                Maybe in a far future, when I hope religious fundamentalism has largely disappeared, will it be possible for Jews to live as a minority in a democratic Arab state in Palestine.

        • mrquestioner
          2018-05-16 15:18:18 UTC - 15:18 | Permalink

          “the bomb” did moses exist? are you jewish believer in the torah?

          • The Bomb
            2018-05-16 15:27:22 UTC - 15:27 | Permalink

            I believe Moses didn’t exist. But I think King David did exist. There is the so-called Tel Dan Stele. I think Jewish history actually begins under King David’s leadership. He united several local tribes under one nation. Later story tellers concocted up a fake history about Adam, Abraham and Moses.

            • Yam
              2018-05-17 04:55:42 UTC - 04:55 | Permalink

              The so-called Tel Dan Stele does not prove that the tall tales of the OT are historical, in reality does not prove anything at all. Also the books of kings claim that the validity of their claims in several passages, comes from the use of the chronicles of Israel (Samaria) and Judea. In fact the books of the Kings expose that it was written in a time when they were able to claim the land. So David is like Moses, fictional character.

            • The Bomb
              2018-05-17 05:52:34 UTC - 05:52 | Permalink

              Yam, who do you think is the first real historical (Jewish) character in the bible? It must have started somewhere? Was it Simon Thassi of the Hasmonean kingdom? Surely that kingdom is historical. Or did Judaism start during the Babylonian exile, a group of people starting to long back to a nation they never came from?

              • Yam
                2018-05-17 06:19:16 UTC - 06:19 | Permalink

                The problem is that we confuse historical names with historical characters. Cause a name existed this does not means that the depicted character is accurate.
                As I said, in the books of Kings is stated clearly that the chronicles of Israel (Samaria) and Judea were used. This means that many of the names in the tales may be accurate, but this does not prove the tales.
                Judaism is a proselytizing religion and they used the conversion of slaves for their expansion, this means a quick spread of this religion, this is a very crucial fact to examine when this religion created, and in my opinion it was created around the Maccabees.

              • The Bomb
                2018-05-17 06:41:03 UTC - 06:41 | Permalink

                So king David and the house of Israel could have existed but have nothing to do with Judaism. Maybe the Jews hijacked the historical David and historical Israel and co-opted these into their religion.

      • Roger Lambert
        2018-05-16 13:17:36 UTC - 13:17 | Permalink

        ” a state for one religion and one race”

        You know that there have always been plenty of Muslim Arab Israelis? That they have representation in the Knesset? That they are full citizens? That they are almost 21% of the population?

        That there are about 170,000 Christian Israelis, about 2% of the population?

        • Neil Godfrey
          2018-05-30 08:38:25 UTC - 08:38 | Permalink

          Are you saying that Muslim Arabs in Israel have equal rights and opportunities as all other Jewish Israelis? No discrimination at any level? And that if the demographic changed we could expect to see a majority Arab knesset there?

  • Neil Godfrey
    2018-05-15 23:32:56 UTC - 23:32 | Permalink

    Interview with Amnesty International representative Magda Mughrabi in Jerusalem: https://iview.abc.net.au/programs/7-30/NC1801H078S00#playing

    At 4.20

    Under international law the use of live ammunition should only be used as a means of last resort in order to protect life when there is an imminent threat. What we have seen yesterday is not a situation where Palestinian protestors have been posing an imminent threat to life.

    At 4:50

    Under international law the use of live ammunition is only permitted when there is an imminent threat. It is hard to imagine how Israel can justify that people who were on the other side of the fence could be posing an imminent threat to the lives of the Israeli soldiers who were well protected, wearing full protective gear, as well as being protected with drones, arms and military vehicles.

    At 6:10

    This is really a turning point and we have to all stand up. People, ordinary people, like you and I and your viewers, have to stand up and pressure their governments to take some form of action and pressure Israel to stop its violation against Palestinian people.

    • Roger Lambert
      2018-05-16 13:25:42 UTC - 13:25 | Permalink

      Protesters? On a single day, over about a ninety minute span, there were six detonations of explosive devices.

      This is not a protest. It is a deliberate riot taking place outside the Gaza border, past a buffer zone, against a security fence. They are trying to kill Jews (what a shock), and have been doing it now for month. I have not seen data from the last few weeks, but in the first couple of weeks, most of the Palestinians shot dead were known terrorists.

      There are two sides to this story, not one.

      • Grabrich
        2018-05-16 17:15:06 UTC - 17:15 | Permalink

        Roger, with all due respect, how could you possibly know that “most of the Palestinians shot dead were known terrorists”? Where is this “data”, and who put it out?

        If it was put out by the Israeli gov’t (or a pro-Israeli person/group), then I would suggest that people take those claims/allegations with a huge grain of salt. Where is the evidence? What about the persons shot who weren’t “known terrorists”?

        The alleged terrorists could have been captured and put on trial, rather than shot & killed by snipers. But instead, the IDF exacerbated the situation, resulting in even more violence.

        Richard G.

        • Gilbert Schwarz
          2018-05-17 10:25:52 UTC - 10:25 | Permalink

          It’s 50 oft oft 62 people killed on Monday and Tuesday. This was confirmed by a Hamas spokesperson to counter the claim that Hamas was only leading people (esp. children) into death without suffering themselves.

          But that‘s really only hairsplitting. It‘s not important whether 50 or 20 or even no Hamas guys were killed. What‘s important is that Hamas orchestrated the whole thing: the riots, the attacks, the number of people participating, etc. They must have known what would happen and did it to get exactly these results – dead people and Western „Israel critics“ in outrage.

          Israel is not to blame. Hamas is to blame, first and foremost. And certain people in the West are to blame too, as the whole thing was done specifically to trigger them. Think about it. Don‘t turn yourself into a Hamas sock puppet.

          • Bob Jase
            2018-05-17 12:35:09 UTC - 12:35 | Permalink

            And women who were raped were asking for it, right?

            • Gilbert Schwarz
              2018-05-17 13:35:30 UTC - 13:35 | Permalink

              That’s a very strange leap, right there, Bob. Strawman, whataboutism, insinuation, association fallacy, all in one. So in your imagination, the Hamas is equivalent to women wearing miniskirts?

              Meanwhile, the riots – and the killing – have stopped after Egypt summoned a Hamas leader.

          • Neil Godfrey
            2018-05-18 12:26:25 UTC - 12:26 | Permalink

            This is dehumanizing the Palestinians, turning them into mindless puppets whose strings are being pulled to make them go out and provoke the good guys into killing them. Who organized the march is irrelevant to how the Israeli soldiers responded.

            • Grabrich
              2018-05-18 19:49:30 UTC - 19:49 | Permalink

              Ditto Neil’s comment.

              Richard G.

            • Gilbert Schwarz
              2018-05-19 22:27:21 UTC - 22:27 | Permalink

              I strongly disagree. It’s not dehumanizing to point out that if you go to war – voluntarily! – you might die. On the contrary, it’s patronizing to assume that Palestinians are some kind of innocent children of the Wild that don’t know what they are doing and what they are risking.

              And please, don’t give us the “unarmed and marching peacefully”. Sure, there were plenty of people protesting peacefully, even at the Israel/Gaza border. But these were not the people killed. There are plenty of videos and accounts from both sides of the conflict that show clearly what was going on at the border fence. There were no deaths at the demonstrations in Israel, there were no deaths at the protests in the West Bank. The only deaths occured where people were attacking Israel and its army with violence and terror, at the order/instigation of Hamas.

              And concerning the amount of people killed: please bear in mind that all these numbers might stem from Hamas controlled sources. We should be careful basing any arguments on these numbers.

              • Gilbert Schwarz
                2018-05-19 22:54:19 UTC - 22:54 | Permalink

                PS: One more thing. Wherever is war, there is brutalization, there are atrocities, there are civilians killed, there are innocent people harmed. I won’t try to justify each and every killing done by the Israeli army and I’m not arguing that every Israeli soldier behaved ideally. That’s why I think – contrary to what you say, Neil – that it’s of the utmost importance who started these acts of war, and why. And it’s known who did: Hamas. I’m really perplexed how you have avoided mentioning them even once, in all your posts here. Ignoring something won’t make it disappear, you know.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-05-31 12:02:50 UTC - 12:02 | Permalink

                Gilbert, it appears you have not seen the video footage that most of the rest of the world has seen.

                No, I have not mentioned Hamas because they are irrelevant. Israeli soldiers had no justification for killing civilians who posed no threat to the lives of the well-protected Israeli forces.

                I have seen no reports from Hamas but I have seen many reports from the Israeli media. It is Israeli and Western media sources that I have relied upon. Not those of Hamas or the Palestinians.

                You seem to think I am suggesting that the “Palestinians are some kind of innocent children of the Wild that don’t know what they are doing and what they are risking.” That is an utterly absurd insinuation. I have been saying the very opposite. They are not pawns of Hamas as Israeli propaganda wants us to believe.

                They know damn well the risks they are taking and for that I truly admire them. It is unspeakably tragic, though, that they feel they have nothing to live for unless they do take those risks.

      • Neil Godfrey
        2018-05-18 12:32:20 UTC - 12:32 | Permalink

        It is simply absurd to assert that most of the Palestinians shot were “known terrorists”. That is patently untrue.

        How do 6 explosions justify killing so many Palestinians? 6 explosions sounds like there were some exceptions to the general mass of people we can all see were unarmed and marching peacefully towards the fence.

  • Gilbert Schwarz
    2018-05-16 10:26:15 UTC - 10:26 | Permalink

    Did she have something to say about the cause of all this – Hamas willingly leading their own people into death?

    • Neil Godfrey
      2018-05-30 08:47:36 UTC - 08:47 | Permalink

      Hamas actually asked Israel for a ceasefire before the demonstrations. See https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/05/israel-egypt-gaza-palestine-hamas-long-term-truce-hudna.html Notice that Israel responded by saying that they had “no reason to conduct a dialogue with a bruised and beaten movement.” In other words, Palestinians and Hamas are very weak therefore Israel can continue to treat them cruelly with impunity.

      I have more respect for the Palestinians. I do not believe they are mindless zombies who go to their deaths purely on the command of Hamas. In fact many despise Hamas. The circumstances of their election was testimony to the widespread corruption among most parties in Palestinian politics. Palestinians are human beings. They did not like Hamas recruiting their children to become suicide bombers for some reason, and they do not risk death themselves today for Hamas. They have being doing that before Hamas came on the scene (1987) and before the emergence of Islamist fundamentalism. They were joined by Christian, socialist and atheist Palestinians in their life-risking struggle.

  • Neil Godfrey
    2018-05-17 09:25:36 UTC - 09:25 | Permalink
  • Grabrich
    2018-05-20 02:37:55 UTC - 02:37 | Permalink

    For readers interested in a perspective differing from the Israeli gov’t/IDF, I recommend checking out the following groups/websites. And no, none of them are Hamas linked. They are all primarily Jewish and/or (non-gov’t) Israeli:

    https://www.btselem.org/

    https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/

    http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/

    http://mondoweiss.net/

    Richard G.

    • Gilbert Schwarz
      2018-05-20 10:12:20 UTC - 10:12 | Permalink

      Do you recommend these websites? Would you say that – by and large – they are right in their views?

      • Grabrich
        2018-05-20 17:24:13 UTC - 17:24 | Permalink

        Going by the “About” statements, and the articles that I’ve read, I do find myself agreeing with their views (by and large). I’ve also seen some of their videos and interviews, and again, I can’t find much that I disagree with.

        I think that these specific groups/organizations are more “Left”-leaning (though I could be wrong), which is interesting, because I don’t consider myself leftist/liberal (nor rightist/conservative, for that matter).

        Richard G.

        • Gilbert Schwarz
          2018-05-20 21:18:28 UTC - 21:18 | Permalink

          Thanks. I think B’tselem and BTS are important, yet not unbiased voices. The two American websites though are openly hostile to Israel as a whole. One endorses BDS (“kauft nicht beim Juden”), the other one demands the “return” of all “refugees” (which would effectively destroy Israel as a Jewish state).

          • Lowen Gartner
            2018-05-20 21:27:00 UTC - 21:27 | Permalink

            “which would effectively destroy Israel as a Jewish state”

            Why is it important to sustain a Jewish state? Especially when the means is not allowing refugees to return home?

            • Gilbert Schwarz
              2018-05-20 23:44:03 UTC - 23:44 | Permalink

              I‘m sorry, I can‘t help you.

            • The Bomb
              2018-05-21 04:55:04 UTC - 04:55 | Permalink

              If all Arab refugees return, Israel will become an Arab majority state, Sharia will be established, Jews and women will become second-class citizens, and terrorist groups such as Hamas can freely establish themselves among the Jews, making attacks on Jews very easy. Possibly there also will be a new holocaust, and/or all Jews will simply be expelled.

          • Neil Godfrey
            2018-05-30 08:53:18 UTC - 08:53 | Permalink

            If Israel allowed Palestinians to return according to international law then Israel would indeed cease to exist as a Jewish state just as South Africa ceased to exist as a white state.

            (Fears of a new holocaust or the expulsion of all Jews are groundless. Similar fears circulated on the eve of the disbanding of the apartheid state in South Africa. Blacks would rise up and kill all the whites, many warned.)

            • The Bomb
              2018-05-30 14:11:25 UTC - 14:11 | Permalink

              It is not a groundless idea! The Hamas charter has the text “The Day of Judgment will not come until Muslims fight the Jews, when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, ‘O Muslim, O servant of God, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’ Only the Gharkad tree would not do that, because it is one of the trees of the Jews.”

              Apparently the Hamas believes it could speed up the end of time by killing all the Jews. It is not clear however when they plan to do this. In principle they could also perform ethnic cleansing or allow the Jews to live in Israel under the Dhimmi status, for the time being.

              A Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar said in March 2017 that “removing the Jews from the land they occupied in 1948 is an immutable principle” appearing in the Quran. And he said “Allah says (in the Quran): ‘And drive them out from wherever they have driven you out.’ How do the linguists interpret the word ‘from’? The Quran talks about driving you out ‘from where they have driven you out.’ From where did the Jews drives us out? From within the 1967 borders or the 1948 borders? From within the 1948 borders. So you should drive them out from within the 1948 borders, like they drove you out.” I hope you tolerate this link: https://unitedwithisrael.org/hamas-leader-islam-teaches-us-to-drive-the-jews-out/

              The PLO has this in their charter: “Article 6. The Palestinians are those Arab citizens who were living normally in Palestine up to 1947, whether they remained or were expelled. Every child who was born to a Palestinian parent after this date whether in Palestine or outside is a Palestinian. Article 7. Jews of Palestinian origin are considered Palestinians if they are willing to live peacefully and loyally in Palestine.”

              In other words, all the Jews who migrated to Israel after 1947 or to children born from the latter are not considered Palestinians, and thus illegal aliens. (This would ironically mean that some Jews who were expelled from the West Bank by the Jordanian army, are allowed to live in the West Bank).

              South Africa is not a good example. Nelson Mandela was a terrorist at first but later spread a peaceful message. The leading resistance movement of the black South Africans, the ANC, didn’t want the whites to be expelled.

              There are other examples in world history where oppressed populations did expel the population of the oppressor. Such things happened in Poland and Czechoslovakia where millions of Germans were expelled and several hundreds of thousands were murdered by the local population. This is a very plausible scenario in Israel, if the Jews were stripped off their weapons and can’t fight back.

              Above all, many Palestinian refugees want to return to the villages of their ancestors, to their houses, but often Jews live in these places. (That’s what Benny Morris has said, I am frantically looking for a link). That means these Jews will have to leave.

              If the Jews are allowed to stay in Israel, they will become Dhimmis, second-class citizens in an Islamic state. Not only non-Muslims but also women will be oppressed. Under Sharia law the voice of women is half worth that of men in court, and they will get half of the inheritance that a man will receive. All women will be forced to wear the veil. Also Jewish women. No more bikinis allowed on the beach! It is highly likely that the Palestinians will let the non-Muslims pay more taxes, a sort of jizya poll tax, a discriminatory tax law. Homosexuality and trans-sexuality will be forbidden. This will be a highly intolerant nation.

              The Jewish Israelis have three choices: oppress the Palestinians, be oppressed by the Palestinians, or to leave Israel.

              • The Bomb
                2018-05-30 14:21:02 UTC - 14:21 | Permalink

                Found the link!!!!!

                https://www.questia.com/magazine/1P3-592442201/the-right-of-return-i-an-interview-with-benny-morris

                Quote from Benny Morris: “At the present moment, if you speak to most of these refugees who live in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan you will find that they have a wish to return to their villages, their towns, and their houses. But those villages were destroyed, the towns have been repopulated with Jews, the homes have been transformed in the past fifty-two years. There is no place to bring them back to. What happened in 1948 is irreversible.”

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-05-31 11:19:53 UTC - 11:19 | Permalink

                I would encourage you to read about the Palestinians themselves, and the relationships between them and Hamas as part of that information-seeking. Also follow up many of the good books on Hamas that have been published in recent years and see what a wide range of Hamas figures in different areas of that body are themselves saying.

                In all the discussions that become so heated and hopeless one thing is missing: an appreciation and understanding of the Palestinians as human beings first and foremost.

              • Gilbert Schwarz
                2018-06-01 08:01:02 UTC - 08:01 | Permalink

                Oh no. Now you’re starting to defend Hamas. I have to admit that I had a looming suspicion that you would at some point, given your strange muteness about Hamas’s part in the whole conflict. Your recent posts have been progressingly worrysome. You sure have the right to express these views, but that’s the end of my willingness to engage in a debate about the whole thing. I am truly saddened, as I value your insight in so many other things.

                Please take this as a sympathetic advice: Step back and take a good look at what you’re defending (Jew-killing terror organisations; constant violent attacks), what you’re denying (the right of the Jews for an own country), what you’re dismissing (the mortal danger for the Jews in Israel once they give in to the threats; the civil rights of the Arab/Muslim minority in Israel; the existence of Israel as the only democracy in the whole Near East), what you’re opposing (the right of the Jews to defend themselves), what you’re insinuating (Jewish Apartheid against the Arabs/Muslims in Israel). Here in Germany we consider people that hold your current views as anti-semites. And believe me, we know what we’re talking about (we also know how it works when you lose a war you started, when you have to give up parts of your country and when you have to integrate refugees who had to leave these areas).

                Please, please reconsider.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-06-01 09:17:06 UTC - 09:17 | Permalink

                Gilbert, please re-read my comment and tell me where on earth I ever “defended Hamas”.

                I did not “defend Hamas”.

                Do you equate understanding others with defending the evil they do? Do you equate acknowledging the good a political wing does with defending the terrorism of the military wing of an organization?

                Have you read any serious scholarly research into Hamas? You should. Understanding Hamas is important. Understanding others is always important.

                (I am appalled that you can think anything I said supports terrorist rocket attacks into civilian areas. I sympathize with Palestinian parents who loathe Hamas because of how they recruited their children in the past to become suicide bombers. But Hamas is also a political organization. It needs to be understood. It is no different from the situation as it was once in Ireland — with the terrorist and political wings of the struggles. Only talking with the enemy managed to bring peace. It is always thus. Unless you opt for the genocide solution.)

              • Gilbert Schwarz
                2018-06-01 17:51:27 UTC - 17:51 | Permalink

                Oh, but you did, Neil. You wanted to have the one without the other. That’s falling into their trap of divided responsibilities. Again, as a German I know what I’m talking about – we tried the same tactics several times in the last century.

                As for the terrorist attacks: that’s the first time I hear you mention them by that term, until now you only showed outrage at Israel defending itself against “peaceful protests”.

                Yet, this is only one of all the troubling views of yours that I listed. Picking this one and being appalled, does not dissolve the others. And it’s all of them together that paint a very unappealing picture. Once more, please take a step back and look at what you’ve been saying and what this means.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-06-01 22:59:45 UTC - 22:59 | Permalink

                Again, why do you object to the idea that we should learn about and understand Hamas? (Your implication that Hamas — and even the early Sinn Fein since I was comparing Hamas to them — is to be compared with the Nazi party of mid last century demonstrates to me just how much you do need to educate yourself about Hamas!)

                As for my focus on Israel — yes. You say you speak as a German conscious of your history over the last century: then you will understand why it is more appropriate to speak of the invading occupier than it is to focus on condemning the national resistance movements, however criminal some of them are. (Should I give equal time to a movement that sends rockets randomly into civilian areas causing terror but rarely if ever killing anyone with a power that retaliates by killing many hundreds of innocent civilians in response? I think we should speak with some sense of proportion.)

                You are speaking in vague generalities. I would appreciate it if you focus on what I actually say and address my words, not your emotional impressions as you read views that find disturbing.

              • Gilbert Schwarz
                2018-06-02 07:46:45 UTC - 07:46 | Permalink

                Israel is definitely not the aggressor here, but the defensor, and has been since its foundation. It has been invaded and attacked multiple times, but so far has been able to stand its ground. It has even given up land again that it had occupied for a time after being attacked.

                Hamas is not a national freedom movement, Neil, don’t kid yourself. It’s a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and should be opposed by any sensible person. Talking with them? Dealing with them? Accepting them as a current force? Sure. As soon as they stop killing people.

                By the way, I’m not only speaking of the Nazi regime as a comparison, but of the Communist regime in East Germany as well. The same tactics of self-vindication apply there.

                Now as for what you actually said.

                You deny Israel’s right to defend itself against violent attackers and dismiss the violence aimed at Israel as unconfirmed: “Their choice to kill Arab protestors is not forced on them by dilemma.” – “Who organized the march is irrelevant to how the Israeli soldiers responded.” – “Israeli soldiers had no justification for killing civilians who posed no threat to the lives of the well-protected Israeli forces.” – “[…] mass media reports of decontextualized details.” – “Fears of a new holocaust or the expulsion of all Jews are groundless.”

                You call Israel an Aparteid state with no or little rights for its minorities: “But you are right about them facing a dilemma if they want to preserve a state for one religion and one race. Once again, the lessons of South Africa are ignored. Democracy is incompatible with a race-based state.” – “Are you saying that Muslim Arabs in Israel have equal rights and opportunities as all other Jewish Israelis? No discrimination at any level?”

                You oppose the idea of a state where Jews are the majority: “If Israel allowed Palestinians to return according to international law then Israel would indeed cease to exist as a Jewish state just as South Africa ceased to exist as a white state.”

              • Neil Godfrey
                2018-06-02 08:24:54 UTC - 08:24 | Permalink

                Gilbert. Please calm down and take a moment to read what I write.

                I have never denied Israel’s right to defend itself against violent attackers as you accuse me. Why do you blatantly lie about what I have written?

                I have never “dismissed the violence aimed at Israel as unconfirmed”. I have questioned some statements about the recent Gaza demonstrations but you know very well I have never denied that much violence has been directed against Israel. Again, why are you so blatantly misrepresenting what I have written?

                The quotation you use from my posts do not in a million years support your wildly false accusations of what you seem to assume I have said.

                You blatantly exaggerate when you accuse me of suggesting that Israel gives “no rights” to its minorities. I did say that certain minorities do not have equal citizenship rights. Otherwise Israel would not be a Jewish state as you know.

                You have completely made up the accusation that I “oppose the idea of a state where Jews are the majority”. Your quotation of mine in no way says that I oppose the idea of a state where Jews are a majority. Do please go back and read the words of mine that you quoted.

                But again, I see you refuse to answer my question when I ask you if you believe it is a good thing for us to learn about and understand Hamas.

                I also see that you not only compare Hamas (but by extension even the earlier Irish liberation movement as per previous comments) with not only Nazism but Stalinism. Why are you unable to bring yourself to learn about both sides you have such strong feelings about?

  • robert spencer
    2018-05-23 12:16:41 UTC - 12:16 | Permalink

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/05/22/israel-becomes-first-country-deploy-worlds-advanced-fighter/

    Bear this bragging in mind when the media refer to their genocide of Palestinians as “clashes”… one side has the most advanced military fighter jets in existence. The other side has rocks, kites and flags.

    Could there be any greater discrepancy??

    • Bob Jase
      2018-05-23 16:18:27 UTC - 16:18 | Permalink

      The Israelis claim to have an omnipotent god on their side, they shouldn’t even need any weapons if that was true.

      • James D. Williams
        2018-05-28 01:54:53 UTC - 01:54 | Permalink

        The Hebrew People have a contractual relationship with The Omnipotent God.
        But the State of Israel graciously includes many Hebrews who may not be meeting the obligations of that contract.
        As ever, the non-observant need weapons.

  • James D. Williams
    2018-05-30 20:29:23 UTC - 20:29 | Permalink

    The Bomb (2018-05-30 17:16:00 UTC) quoting Godfrey:

    ….You said: “Trying to cope with the humiliation that came with European conquest and hegemony some Muslims found refuge in a conviction that their ancient texts, ways, beliefs had from the beginning of time been superior and well in advance of anything associated with their new rulers.”…

    I would blame the origin of the “humiliation” on the Ottoman Turks. Long story…

  • The Bomb
    2018-06-13 20:27:10 UTC - 20:27 | Permalink

    Maybe a bit off-topic, I want to point something out about Amnesty International. It supports ethnic cleansing!

    Look at what they say here (AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL – PUBLIC STATEMENT, 7 June 2017, Index No: MDE 15/6296/2017, “Israel/OPT: A Call to States to Stop Sustaining Illegal settlements”):

    https://www.amnesty.nl/content/uploads/2017/06/Public-Rationale-English.pdf?x41591

    Quote: “Amnesty International has long opposed settlements as a violation of international humanitarian law and the cause of mass violations of human rights. It continues to call on Israel to dismantle all settlements and to remove its nationals from occupied territory into Israel proper.”

    That, itself is a violation of the Geneva convention which prohibits states from transferring or deporting people into or out of occupied territories. Article 49 of the fourth Geneva convention says this: “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive…. The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

    Therefore, Amnesty International (a human rights organization) advocates the forcible transfer of Jews from the Palestinian territories to Israel. That is a human rights violation.

    • The Bomb
      2018-06-14 17:28:12 UTC - 17:28 | Permalink

      Eugene Kontorovich has written an article about why the demand to remove all Jews from the Palestinian territories is ridiculous.

      Read it here (A Palestinian State Free of Jews? – A legal view into Netanyahu’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ speech, September 15, 2016, Eugene Kontorovich):

      http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/213597/a-palestinian-state-free-of-jews

      He points out that in other cases where civilians of a state moved into occupied territories (such as Vietnamese moving into Cambodia, or Turks moving into North Cyprus, or Indonesians moving into East Timor) settlers were never required to leave. He says: “In internationally-brokered efforts to resolve these conflicts, the question of the fate of the settlers naturally arose. The answer, across all these very different situations, has always been the same: the settlers stay. Indeed, the only point of dispute has typically been what proportion of settlers receive automatic citizenship in any newly-created state and what proportion merely gets residence status. Thus, when East Timor, for example, received independence in an internationally-approved process, none of the Indonesian settlers were required to leave. The current U.N.-mediated peace plan for Western Sahara and Cyprus not only presupposes the demographically dominant settler population can remain, it also gives it a right to vote in referenda on potential deal.”

      He says: “In short, the Palestinians couching their objection as one about removing “settlers” rather than Jews does not change the harsh reality. There is simply no precedent in international practice for the demand”

      He also points out that Jordan expelled all Jews from the West Bank. He says: “Assume that the presence of settlers is illegal. The only reason these people were “settlers” was the Jordanian expulsion of 1949, and their subsequent 19 year enforcement of a Jew-free territory. International law scholars like to say that Israel, as an occupying power, must maintain the prior status quo. Even assuming that is true, pointing out that the status quo was itself a result of recent, complete to-the-last Jew ethnic cleansing should hardly be bad form.”

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