Reflections--Somewhat Belated--on Israel's 70th Anniversary

    The debate about the events in Israel/Palestine in 1948 will be going on at least until there is an Arab-Israeli peace, and maybe longer than that.  But I think humane, reasonable people who know the history will agree that what Jews did to Arabs in 1948 was very bad indeed. There were about a dozen massacres, many expulsions, and 700,000 people exiled and dispossessed.(If you need sources, check Benny Morris' The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem and Walid Khalidi's All That Remains).

     But I'll still say a word for Zionism pre-1948. Zionists had a case, the case that Jews needed a state of their own to protect them from being persecuted or massacred. After the Holocaust, this was increasingly hard to deny. This, not the fact that Jews had owned Palestine 2000 years ago, gave Jews a claim to the land, a claim perhaps as strong as that of the indigenous Arab population. This was not an argument for expelling the Arabs. It was an argument for the United Nations partition plan of 1947, which would have divided the country into Jewish and Arab states.

    The plan was hard for Palestinians to accept. Their cry was "why do we have to give up part our country to these people who came--or whose parents came--from Europe? (note: yes, I know there was a Jewish community that had been there since Biblical times).  The reason was that it was the lesser injustice.  Arabs would not have suffered much actual harm from giving up control of part of the country. Jews in Palestine would have suffered great harm from living in an Arab-majority state run by the Mufti of Jerusalem, and many diaspora Jews would have been in a precarious situation without a state to look out for them. The quarter of a million Holocaust survivors in Europe's DP camps were in particular need of a place to take them in.

    Some people who were willing to consider partition in principle objected to the plan because it gave Jews fifty-five percent of Palestine when Jews were a third of the population. But the Jews were a majority in the part of Palestine that would have been awarded to them. Also, a viable Jewish state would have had to be of substantial size, if it was to absorb immigrants.

    So while this might  annoy some people, I'm going on record as saying that on the basis of the situation as it was known then, splitting Palestine between Jews and Arabs would have been  the best solution. If we had known everything that would happen from 1948-2018, it might have looked different. But that's a subject for another post.


    Jews who were living in Europe felt unsafe. Why was this automatically the responsibility of Arabs rather than a case for European countries to create a safe space for Jewish people?


    It wasn't just in Europe that Jews felt unsafe. The long persecution of Jews in Muslim countries arguably got worse in the 20th century, with pogroms in Morrocco in 1908 and 1912,  Baghdad in 1941, and Libya in 1945, besides a lot of killing in Palestine. After 1945 it would have been more just to set up a Jewish homeland in Germany. But in the real world that wasn't an option. It was Palestine or nothing. The Zionists were realists.

    A 2000 year old claim is ridiculous. The land you live on now could be claimed by some Native American tribe a few hundred years ago. That seems to be more valid than a 2,000 year old claim. When you and every other person who argues that 2,000 year old claim return all their land to the Native Americans I'll consider your argument. Until than you're just another hypocrite stealing land from those to weak to resist. As for Jews feeling unsafe in the land of their birth. That's not a good reason to steal the land of other people to create a safe space for yourself.

    Ocean-Kat obviously didn't read a word I said.  I said that Jews DID NOT have a claim based on their ancestors residing there 2000 years ago.  I encountered an Israeli guy online who said that America should be given back to the Indians; he was at least more consistent than the American Zionists who base the claim on prior residence. I explained why I think Jews had good reason to ask for a piece of Palestine; I don't think Ocean-Kat has refuted it.

    I read it and though you deny it it was the 2000 year old claim that made it Palestine or nothing. There was and is thousands of unpopulated square miles of land in Canada and had Jews wanted a homeland anywhere it could have happened there. Once again being oppressed in the lands of your birth doesn't give you the right to steal the land of other people. Thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are being killed so if Palestine is the go to place to house people experiencing genocide how about the Jews give up some of that land to move them there. The Rohingya claim would be just as valid as the Jews.

    Face it, the Jews got Palestine because that's the only country they wanted and it was to weak to resist. There were many weak countries with a low density population that Europe and the US could have bulllied just as effectively as they bullied Palestine. They bullied Palestine because that's the only option the Jews would accept based on that 2000 year old claim. Go ahead and pretend otherwise but don't think we're stupid enough to believe it.

    It shouldn't have been done and it's caused problems ever since. History is littered with injustice and being the victim of a grave injustice doesn't give someone the right to treat other people with injustice. There is simply no way the theft of Palestine by the Jews can be defended by any reasonable ethical standard.

      Do you really think Canada would have agreed to hand over land to the Jews? Zionism would have been opposed by the indigenous population anywhere the Jews tried to set up a state. They chose Palestine because of the historical Jewish connection, but morally that is irrelevant.  It would have been as just as legitimate or just as illegitimate to do it anywhere.  Anyway, if you read what I wrote, why did you accuse me of arguing that Jews had a right to the land because of past residence 2000 years ago? Any literate person could see that I argued the opposite.

      I say that if the only choice is between a small injustice and a great injustice, it makes sense to go with the small injustice.  Dividing Palestine into two states would not have done Arabs much harm. Jews in Palestine would have suffered persecution and possible massacre if they had been left in an Arab dominated state. Things also would have been bad for Jews outside Palestine. I'm not sure it is a reasonable ethical standard to say "better continued outrages and the possibility of a second genocide than for Arabs to have to split the country".  If the Palestinians could have brought themselves to accept partition--which wasn't easy for them--they would have been spared all the bad stuff that has happened.

      I'm not convinced that the only option for Rohingya Muslims is to leave the country and set up a state somewhere else.  The situation of the Jews in 1948 was different.

    I'm arguing that the Jewish push for Palestine was obviously driven by that 2000 year old claim and to deny it is sophistry. I think you know it but you're trying to come up with some reason to justify Jewish theft of the land. Jews wanted Palestine and European guilt over the holocaust gave it to them.

    There were other options and a piece of Canada is just one. The total population of the Yukon Territory today is just 35,800 and it's 20 times larger than Israel. That's considerably less than " 700,000 people exiled and dispossessed." It surely was less in 1948. Some how it's possible to dispossess 700,000 but not separate out 1/10 of the smallest province in Canada and move significantly less than 1/5 that amount of people. Wouldn't that have been a much smaller injustice?

    The Jews wanted Palestine. They guilt tripped Europe into giving it to them. They parleyed their suffering into a huge theft of land they had no right to. They've continued to steal land in bits and pieces ever since. Because they want it all. Every bit of what they consider the historic Jewish homeland. You want to make some excuse for that atrocious behavior. If that's what you need to do to salve your conscience you can play that game. But I don't buy it. It was immoral. It was criminal. It was unjust.


    Apparently the Dominican Republic offered to settle 100,000 Jewish refugees in 1938 (though no one else at the conference did, including Canada)

    That may not have been enough for a long-term sustainable state, but it would have put a stake in the ground, an example.

    Amazing truth is that a group of Jews did take up the Dominican Republic on their offer. Ever since I read this story @ WaPo in Oct about that settlement it has stuck in my mind: I thought I knew how my family escaped the Holocaust. The truth was hidden in a Dominican town by Emily Codik. (Note that This story was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.) I should say straight out I don't really know what it might offer as to Aaron's topic and don't care to address that, what attracted me, of course, were the cross-cultural and assimilation issues. But maybe someone else will see something in it that does.

    Once again, Canada wasn't going to give Jews any land. The proof that you aren't paying attention to what I've written is that you claim that I am justifying the dispossession of 700,000 people. I made it clear that I am justifying the United Nations partition plan, which wouldn't have dispossessed anyone. Nor would it have given Jews "every bit" of Palestine. You like knocking down straw men, don't you?

      Once more, it doesn't matter why they chose Palestine over Uganda. The project would have been as legitimate--or as illegitimate-- anywhere. The moral case I have made for the partition plan is that the needs of the Jews, not ancient history, was the justification. You keep harping on something that is irrelevant to my argument.

    No one was going to give up their land to the Jews. Not Canada, not Palestine. That's a weasel word you use as you attempt to defend the theft. The Palestinians had to be forced. Every argument that disagrees with your's is irrelevant to you. They are relevant arguments to me.

    Just like PP I don't want to be involved in this discussion. Some historic injustices can't be overturned, or healed, so there is little point in rerunning the story line. But I can't sit here silent while you distort moral concepts to justify Jewish theft of Palestine. A theft that's been going of every year since 1948. From my point of view you're the equivalent of those that attempt to justify slavery in the context of the time. Or Jefferson's rape of his child slave girl. Or the genocide of the Native Americans.

    Dividing Palestine into Arab and Jewish states  would have been the equivalent of slavery and genocide? That is ridiculous. Or are you still under the delusion that I am justifying the ethnic cleansing? Do you understand that ethnic cleansing and the United Nations partition plan are two entirely different things? Because if you don't, you really have a problem.]

      The reason I think that harping on the reason why the Jews choose Palestine instead of Canada or Malaya is irrelevant is that it has nothing to do with the moral case for partition. The moral case is that dividing the country into two states was better than leaving Jews to be persecuted and perhaps slaughtered--in Palestine, but not only in Palestine. I don't think you have answered that argument. Certainly ranting about slavery and genocide isn't an answer.

    There are always sycophants and apologists who defend their tribes ethical lapses but stop pretending we're having a dialog. You simply discount every point I bring up as irrelevant. While I think they are foundational issues pertinent to the discussion. Convenient for you. I haven't addressed your alternative history argument because I dislike alternative history fantasies. They're impossible to prove, challenge, or defend.  In your fantasy the theft of Palestine was the only option to a second genocide of the Jews. I don't accept that premise. I don't believe the world would have tolerated a second genocide of the Jews so soon after the Holocaust. And I believe there were other workable options to protect the Jews. Another option was to offer unrestricted immigration to America to any person of Jewish descent. A different set of unprovable premises would have resulted in a different moral calculation. You choose the premises that lead to the most defensible position for the Jews to steal the land of Palestine. Again that's quite convenient for you.

    You make your personal denial that the 2000 year old claim to was a valid moral argument but to deny it's effect is a denial of historical truth. The historical reality is there was no other solution but the theft of Palestine because the Jewish activists would accept no other solution. You deny it's validity but use it's effect as part of your argument. In any honest discussion of the theft of the land of Palestine that historical reality must be part of the discussion.

    I think Jews could be excused for not believing that the gentiles were going to change thousands of years of behavior and start being nice to them. Why do you think they would have? Do you think the persecution of Jews in Arab countries would have just stopped?  And a single Arab majority state in Palestine, run by Hitler's chum Haj Amin Husseini would have treated the Jews well? I think that is incredibly naive.  It would have been nice if the United States had decided to let Jews in, but the United States wasn't doing that. In 1945-48 the United States let in only a thin trickle of Jewish DPs. The rest were left to rot in camps. What evidence is there that, after everything that had happened, Jews could now rely on the good will of gentiles? 

     If you insist on calling the United Nations partition plan theft, okay. It would have been the theft of a loaf of bread by a starving man, from someone who could afford to give it.

    I don't "deny" the reason why Jews chose Palestine instead of Uganda or Scotland. I say it has nothing to do with the moral case I've presented for partition. They would have encountered opposition in Uganda and Scotland too.

    White countries got off scot-free. People of color were the scapegoats. Now we have Palestinians who are abandoned by everybody. We want them to starve and die in silence. The Israelis elected a man who is willing to slaughter Palestinians. Citizens of the United States are being asked to sanction the actions of an apartheid state. There will not be a happy solution.

    Israel's moral record is terrible. However, it is a problem that a lot of Palestinians still want to destroy Israel. Both sides are intransigent; only one side is dispossessed and oppressed.

    Israel has become apartheid South Africa. Israel is going to have to pick a Palestinian elected official and negotiate. The citizens of the United States are not going to support an apartheid state. Israel is going to extend the olive branch. This may have to wait until Netanyahu is in prison.

    Let's put in a bit of perspectuve. The French killed 1 million Algerians on the way out of African. Belgium acted atrociously inthe Congo and left an ex-colonial mess. The UK butchered Iraqis in the 20's and left us the Cecil Rhodes bullshit in 1/3 of Africa that the Dutch Boers managed to make even worse. Iraq and Iran killed off 1 million of each other for no good reason. Saudis are busy killing civilians in Yemen. east Libya's still fighting west Libya. Sudan spun off South Sudan after decades of fighting and now South Sudan is fighting among themselves. The Congo meanwhile killed 5 million in its latest war. Assad pere et fils have killed a large number of civilians and forced many more to flee. Turkey id waging more attacks against Kurds, messing with Syria, plus has shut down formerly democratic institutions as Erdogan solidifies power. Iran's revolution was a reaction to the Shah/Savak's excesses but Khomeini killed many more in his purges. Serbia and Croats butchered each other, and Bosnia and Kosovo were immoral killing grounds, while Russia's meddling from Georgia to the Baltics to Ukraine to Syria has been criminal. Slovakia's still living down its pro-Nazi fascism in wwii and pro-Meciar and Fico undemocratic fascist politics since communism fell. Italy wanted Qaddafi overthrown for its oil, leaving the country in cuvil war. Then there are all the 'stans, etc. We're all fuckers, but we do have to try to improve.

    The world has improved. There have been big improvements in the last five centuries, and some improvements since the end of the cold war although we may be regressing a bit right now. Alistair Horne says the toll in Algeria wasn't a million.

    From my point of view you're the equivalent of those that attempt to justify slavery in the context of the time. Or Jefferson's rape of his child slave girl. Or the genocide of the Native Americans.

    I'm not a moderator, so my opinion is simply that - but ocean-kat, you're better than this.

    With the help of Europe and America a fairly large number of the jewish people stole a huge amount of Palestine then in a series of war crimes stole bits and pieces more for the next 70 years. I think we should face that reality. Aaron wants to claim that was moral. So I stand by my characterization. You're welcome to disagree.

    No, I do NOT say that what Israel has done to the Palestinians since 1948 is moral. I am talking about one thing, the United Nations partition plan.  That plan was not about driving out Palestinians,committing war crimes, or setting up apartheid. I have made it clear, multiple times, that I am talking about the partition plan, not about what was done in 1948(in a war that wasn't solely the fault of the Jews, BTW) or about the outrages that have been perpetrated against Palestinians since then. What will it take to get that simple fact into your head?

    Your take on the overall situation may well be correct.  That was not my point - which you may disregard at will.

    Not really wanting to get involved in this, but I presume you've heard the expression "give 'em a finger, they'll take the whole hand"? What specifically makes you presume that partition at X point in the past would have been end of story? Even now, illegal settlements in the West Bank continue largely with impunity, large sections of the Gaza Strip have been lopped off for "security", and the latest embassy move likely signals an end game on swallowing East Jerusalem officially, not just in practice. Yet somehow Palestinians should presume there was an agreement that could have been placed on the table that would have been final. Go ask the Sioux or Navajo or Chickasaws how this kind of thing works out. And as for the Brits in the Palestine Mandate, you can ask the Rohingya how the guaranteed referendum in Burma worked out on independence - i.e. never happened. Post-war, the Brits largely got up & left, with whatever remained left to its own devices - India, Burma, Palestine.... the largest strategic retreat in history. A few poor Bedouins & farmers in the Levant could do nothing to stem this tide, and even discussing this as if they had equal agency to the great powers of Europe that had already carved up the Mideast and Asia and Africa is a bit insulting to their intelligence, especially since they weren't even emerged from several hundred years of Ottoman occupation. Sure, if they'd been key to the British Empire like India was, they might have held forth and protested and succeeded. But look at South Africa and Rhodesia - that path to basic freedoms took 40 years, and this was far away from US & European attentions.

    Golda Meir was American from 5 years old. The Arabs had no one at her level, someone who could sit down with US presidents, who could raise $50 million for weapons for Israel, who could sway public opinion over decades. The Arabs were always The Other, like the figures in Camus' The Stranger. Jews may have been treated poorly in America, but not much moreso than any other oppressed minority (and certainly better than blacks and natives and hispanics and Asians out west). As the US inherited many of Britain's contentious positions around the world, small players like the Palestinians didn't stand a chance - they were the receiver of tough terms, and even those "guarantees" were written in erasable ink. I don't know too much about the coulda shoulda woulda, but I think I can fairly well suss out the "what was". [much is made over the actions of the Arab world over this time period, but again, most of these were emerging from centuries of Ottoman rule, backwards, divided, corrupt & paid-off in Western dollars in a Faustian bargain made with whoever was willing to sell out & follow along with their western masters. The US-Israeli-Saudi triumvirate should make this more than clear - whatever idealism there was in 1948 or in Herzl's time is long gone. It's all about $$$ and real estate and controlling the future now, including the transition from oil to a sustainable diversified hegemony. All this post-colonial looking back in the mirror seems an activity that's passed its due date.

    Since we're dealing in counterfactuals, I can't prove beyond doubt that Israel wouldn't have been expansionist if the Arabs had accepted partition. But it isn't an obvious truth. A state created in a war with Arabs is a different proposition from a state created through a compromise. I wish the Palestinians had accepted partition.  The United Nations partition plan isn't relevant to today's world, but it is relevant to the (historical) question of what moral case, if any, Zionism had.

    Well, the "compromise" is a funny horse - were they compromising with Ted Herzl, Golda Meir, FDR, the Brits, ???  The goal of the Zionists were there since before Hitler was born, and land purchase, partition, blowing up British Mandate troops or waging war with neighbors all seem like variants & parallel paths towards that goal, not an either/or situation. Once a kind of de facto claim on the land appeared, the expansion of a state past 8 million wouldn't be met with just "oh, we'll have to stop growing".

    Again, forget the past and look at the future - 20 million by 2065? (others say more) Where are these people going to live? There will be more lebensraum needed, and it's not going to be pretty. The West thinks the Palestinians are the problem, but the ultra-Orthodox are significantly outbreeding them, not taking into account immigration.

    The post was about the past, not the future  I don't know if it would be impossible for Israel to ever support twenty million people.  Maybe with the means that will be available after 47 years of scientific advancement it would be possible. 

    Hello Peracles,thanks for sharing such sweet and educative comment.

    Thanks - of course down column I'm arguing something of the opposing team's point, or tomorrow will be digging into 3 other angles how this can be looked at. Harder to be fair and balanced, esp. topics that defy easy explanations.

    "The events of 1948" and the declaration of the Jewish State need some context as to the times starting after the First World War.

    The international Lausanne Conference of 1923:

    Aside from the redrawing of geographic borders, Robert Gerwarth states that the conference sanctioned relocation of ethnic and religious populations had inauspicious consequences and: "had a significance that went well beyond the Greek and Turkish context to which it ostensibly applied. The Convention effectively established the legal right of state governments to expel large parts of their citizens on the grounds of 'otherness'. It fatally undermined cultural, ethnic and religious plurality as an ideal to which to aspire and a reality with which - for all their contestations - most people in the European land empires had dealt with fairly well for centuries." [38]

    The ethnic cleansing and evacuation of Christian Greeks from  Turkey of those years include massacres, rapes and looting across the former Ottoman regions of Turkey, and particularly at Smyrna:

    The evacuation was difficult despite the efforts of British and American sailors to maintain order, as tens of thousands of refugees pushed and shoved towards the shore.[54] Attempts to organize relief were made by the American officials from the YMCA and YWCA, who were reportedly robbed and later shot at by Turkish soldiers.

    In 1938 delegates from 32 countries, including the US and Britain, refuse to admit Jews trying to leave German controlled territory, the Evian Conference. Books I have read said even some prominent politcally sensitive Jews in Britain wanted to limit Jewish immigration as they thought eastern Jews might excite anti-Semitism and threaten them.

    Responding to Evian, the German government was able to state with great pleasure how "astounding" it was that foreign countries criticized Germany for their treatment of the Jews, but none of them wanted to open the doors to them when "the opportunity offer[ed]."

    World War Two, violent and deadly ethnic cleansing across the Bloodlands of Europe, as Nazi forces sweep east, then Soviet forces sweep west. Jews, Polish leadership, others victims, totaling millions of dead.

    Jews trying to escape fascists across Europe are denied entry by the British, to the growing since WW1 Zionist community in Palestine. Refugees delayed or denied often die in route, see Struma disaster.

    Palestine Jews form brigade of thousands to fight the Nazi's in 1944-45 under British command, in an effort to save still living Jews in Europe.

    Jews parachute into the Balkans to aid the resistance fighters.

    Post World War 2, late 40's, chaos and killings across much of Europe, see Savage Continent, Europe in the Aftermath of World War II:

    “A graphic and chilling account of the murderous vengeance, terroristic reprisals, and ferocious ethnic cleansing that gripped Europe following--and often as a direct continuation of--the Second World War. Keith Lowe's excellent book paints a little-known and frightening picture of a continent in the embrace of lawlessness, chaos, and unconstrained violence.” ―Ian Kershaw

    And Anti-Jewish violence in Poland, 1944–1946

    The Jewish Insurgency in Palestine which began in 1939:

    ..The tensions between Jewish militant underground organizations and the British mandatory authorities rose from 1938 and intensified with the publication of the White Paper of 1939, which outlined new government policies which placed further restrictions on Jewish immigration and land purchases and declared the intention of giving independence to Palestine, with an Arab majority...

    Familiarity with the history of the first half of the 20th century makes the violent founding of the State of Israel less shocking and less 'criminal', and more 'business as usual' in the light of regional events of the period, and creating a state where Jews would not be under the authority of other nations or ethnic groups.

    Personally I think the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by an extremist Jewish assassin marked to descent of the region into a realm where the extremes on both sides became more powerful, and peace unlikely. An unfortunate situation for those on both sides who seek their rights, and peace.

    Having no cultural skin in this game I like to think big picture. Say, another 70 years, to the close of the 21st century. Really just one lifetime.

    Israel and the West Bank and Gaza are about the size of New Jersey.

    Syria next door is about 10 times as big and now has been conveniently razed to the ground for new ownership and construction. New ownership as to what will be constructed there is now a point of contention currently among world powers.

    In addition there is a big ancient Persian homeland next door which can never make up its mind whether it wants to be a global trading entity or a theocratic protectorate of the Shiite religion.

    I foresee this when the millennial internet generation eventually rules, a totally different nightmare: everybody quit this little New Jersey place, nobody gets it as a homeland, it's going to be taken over by the U.N. a U.N. who contracts with a 21st century version of Disney corporation to run all the ancient and historic and religious sites on the property for your vacation of a lifetime!

    Oh I forgot about Iraq. How come nobody talks about Iraq anymore?

    Ah, Dismaland 2.0 - Banksy sent you.

    We stopped talking about Iraq cuz it's spelled too close to Iran, and we're trting to get them to nuke Iran, so we can't risk confusing them. Like IsIs - for the first year everyone polled thought it was a reference to Clinton's "depends on what the meaning of isis", and only when they started beheading people did it start to sink in, but then they were confused between syria and iraq and a bit of Kurds and Turkey and Russia, and them refugees in Europe. Well, now it's calmed down a bit so we can get jerseys and nametags put on again.

    Yeah, you got a great idea. Just call Israel +West Bank+Gaza "New New Jersey" and no one will ever want to live there again - they'll be fighting to get out. It won't be too much more corrupt than is now. Springsteen and Paul Simon can play there again and no one will even know who Pink Floyd is. Yep, thinking out of the box.

    I'm kinda serious. I can't see the next generation putting up with this forever. In the end, it's a pretty ridiculous situation on such a small piece of land. Look, the reason why it was once so important is: it's the oil stupid. But the whole world-dependent-on-oil situation is changing so rapidly! So what I foresee is either the world gets tough with all of them to just quit this stupid shtick or forget about them and let them kill each other.

    Who gets the nukes is currently the key but I am not convinced that that will last for a real long time either.  Because it will become clearer in an increasingly globalized world that setting off a nuke would be to cut off one's nose to spite one's face and then the threat of using them will just have less oomph.

    I was pseudo-serious myself. As we turn more atheist, Jerusalem loses its pull. If Turkey returns to sanity or the Berber countries become more hospitable, Israel loses any uniqueness, and fracking + solar have changed the energy equation - the Mideast will fade - too resource intensive for what comes out.

    And yes, our nukes have lost their "oomph". Maybe some ballistic viagra can help us with this rut.

    I'm drifting toward the one state solution for Israelis and Palestinians i.e. one state between the Jordan and Mediterranean where everyone has equal rights. There may be a better chance for it working than there was in 1947.

    Interesting that the IMF basically warns them, among other things, learn to integrate better, or else:

    Israel’s economy is thriving, enjoying solid growth and unemployment declining to historic lows. Near‑term prospects are for further robust growth in the next few years and inflation is expected to rise although the pace of that increase is uncertain. But relative poverty is the highest among OECD countries, partly owing to wide gaps between the employment and productivity of the Israeli‑Arab and Haredi subgroups relative to non-Haredi Jews. Unless these gaps are narrowed, the substantial shifts in population composition that will unfold in coming decades could undermine growth and stability.

    Israel should seize this opportunity to implement further reforms, especially in education and training, product markets, and the business environment, to sustain strong and inclusive growth. The effectiveness of such reforms in raising productivity, narrowing gaps, and reducing living costs, would be bolstered by addressing Israel’s infrastructure needs in parallel [....]

    I read it like sotto voce hint hint: baby steps to one state. Other things include: fix that housing thing and become more densely urban with better transportation. It doesn't say get more land, it says open up the transactional processes on land. Basically: grow up, stop acting like a theocracy uber alles or you'll be sorry.

    p.s. interesting to see China working at being a uniter. not a divider, as to an old problematic supposed two-state "solution" (that didn't solve much at all without massive horrific death violenct and displacement)

    Is China doing this out of the goodness of its heart? I doubt that very much, I think like we used to, they are trying to "capitalize" on the situation.

    Ah, but how many next generations have we all depended upon to change the world?  Only to find that while the issues shift the sand is still gritty and deep.  As for nukes, I hope your prophesy proves correct; otherwise we won't be around to correct you.

    I hope that Ocean Kat now finally understands what I am saying. If she continues accusing me of supporting what Israel has done to Palestinians since 1948, after I have explained over and over again that I do not, it will be astonishing.

    Aaron, I appreciate your efforts to present the nuances of this debate. Too many see black-and-white: one side belittling the colonial oppression and expulsion of the Palestinians; the other dismissing the predicament of terrorized Holocaust survivors fleeing Europe.

    But I don't think it's possible to pronounce a moral judgment on the partition of Palestine by measuring one group's pain against the other's like weights on a scale. The complexity and nebulousness of mass-suffering defy comparison. What we can clearly say is that decisions by western powers to carve up nations as they see fit violates the principle of self-determination. That should not be the role of the Security Council.

    That said, it's an academic question; this history has been written. Most nation states in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Americas were delineated by European powers. Those decisions, however cruel and arbitrary, created our global reality, and we cannot unmake them. If the creation of Israel violated the principle of self-determination in 1947, a UN-determined dissolution of Israel would violate it to an even greater extent today.

    What we must do today is to help modern-day Palestinians enjoy the same blessing of self-determination that Israelis do. The principle barrier to achieving this goal is the Israeli occupation, so we must put pressure on the Israelis to end it.

    I agree with just about everything Michael says. However, we could argue that letting Jews have a state in the part of Palestine in which they were the majority was within the principle of self-determination. Maybe not though. I do think that if it was an injustice, it would have been the "lesser injustice".

     I certainly don't belittle the expulsion/oppression of Palestinians. Israel's moral record is terrible. But I think Zionism could have been a lot more liberal if Arabs and Jews could have come to an agreement in 1948.  I'm moving towards the one state solution: Israel and Palestine becomes one state where everyone has equal rights. Self-determination for two peoples in one state. There wasn't much chance of this working in 1947-48, but it might work now.

    If Israelis and Palestinians choose to create a single state, that's their right, but I'm skeptical that either side wants that, and no one else has the right to impose it on them.

    I doubt that an agreement in 1948 was really possible. The Zionists were committed to creating a state where all Jews are welcome, and Jewish refugees were defying the British blockade to reach Palestine, whereas the Palestinian Arabs were deeply opposed to any increase in the Jewish population. But I do think there were missed opportunities to reach a two-state agreement after partition.

    Zionism used to be a lot more liberal than it is today. One of the saddest things to me, as an American Jew with family in Israel, has been to witness the growing conservatism, intolerance, and militancy of the Israel majority.

    Wow nice comment, Israel has become apartheid South Africa. Israel is going to have to pick a Palestinian elected official and negotiate. The citizens of the United States are not going to support an apartheid state. Israel is going to extend the olive branch. This may have to wait until Netanyahu is in prison.

    Maybe someday they could come around to a one state solution.

    I want to mention that Hanan Ashrawi and Mahmoud Abbas have said that Palestinians should have accepted the United Nations partition resolution. So Ocean Kat should also be accusing them of supporting "the theft of Palestine" and everything else Israel has done to Palestinians for 70 years.

    jeez Aaron. I said my piece and let you have the last word. Having taken the last word you feel some sort of desperate need to call me out by name not once but twice. Wtf is your problem? There's no point in me repeating myself when your stock response is to claim my comments are irrelevant and not respond. If you're really this desperate to continue this phony dialog make it real by addressing my previous posts that imo are important parts of the issue you refuse to consider.

    My problem is that you are misrepresenting what I say, saying that I support the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and everything that Israel has done to Palestinians since. Support for the United Nations partition plan doesn't mean supporting any of that, or Abbas and Ashrawi would be supporting it.  I think I have addressed your points.  Some people may think Jews had a claim to Palestine because their ancestors owned it 2000 years ago, but that isn't my argument, and I don't think it has anything to do with my argument for the partition plan.

    And I've explained why I think your personal denial ignores the historical reality in which that claim was the driving force. It had effects that you use to boost your argument but deny and ignore the cause. For example, as I posted above, when I suggest there were other options, like unrestricted immigration to the US, you claim they weren't viable because the US didn't advocate for it's implementation. No one was pushing for other alternatives  because the Jews would only accept a homeland in Palestine because they believed in that 2000 year old claim. It took years of hard work to get the world's leaders behind the partition plan. The same amount of work might have produced a better solution that was more just. Your personal denial cannot obliterate the fact that the 2000 year old claim was the motivating factor for the Jews and it's effects must be part of the discussion. This isn't a theoretical discussion. There were real people out there who had real beliefs that took real actions that resulted in historical facts on the ground that are part of a real discussion.

    To repeat my self ad nauseam. One of your basic premises is that the partition plan was the only viable option. Was it the only viable option and if so why? It may have been the only viable option because the Jews would accept no other option. They would accept no other option because they believed in that 2000 year old claim. But no no no we can't talk about that because you made a personal denial. It's a  fucking bullshit argument you use to avoid a honest discussion of the historical facts

    And again, what would have happened if the world had told the Jewish activists pushing for partition that their 2000 year old claim was complete and total bullshit, the world leaders would never support it, and if they wanted protection they had to come up with a different plan? An equivalent amount of hard work on a different solution might have produced a solution that wasn't a "small injustice" to avoid a "larger injustice" but could have produced a plan with no injustice. And again I don't agree with your premise that the "larger injustice" was inevitable. So no, I don't see the partition plan as moral. Especially considering the fact that for many of the Jews the plan was only a stepping stone to greater theft. Because they believed they had a right to greater Israel based on the 2000 year old claim that we can't discuss because you made your personal denial.


    " the Jews would only accept a homeland in Palestine because they believed in that 2000 year old claim."

    The ideological founders of Zionism may have believed that claim, the most influential, Herzl, having died in 1904. The collapse of the 3 land empires after the First World War,  the ethnic partition of Europe at Versailles which included no Jewish entity in Europe, the 1917 British Balfour Declaration supporting a Jewish homeland in Palestine, and then the Nazi takeover of Europe and the refusal of nations to accept Jewish refugees meant:

    That most of the 1930s-50s European Jews who went to Israel went as it was a known viable option for survival in a Europe with vast upheavals and movements of populations, wholesale ethnic cleansing, mass murder, looting, border changes and chaos. The 2000 year business being largely irrelevant history for them at that stage.

    Without the post WW1 collapse of empires, the 2 world wars, and most of all the Third Reich genocide, and the apathy of the world to taking in refugees during the 30s depression era, Herzl's Zionist dream would have never been realized.  A lucky minority took risks to illegally break British Mandate law and seek refuge in Palestine,  far more stayed and met their dismal fate in Europe.

    You haven't acknowledged that you have been falsely accusing me of supporting the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and everything Israel has done to Palestinians since then.

    However, you are finally offering a serious argument here, and I welcome the chance to address it. I have doubts as to whether  the world's Jews could have gone to the United States if they had wanted to do so. In the 1930s the United States turned away many Jewish refugees. Even after World War II, Congress passed a law restricting the entry of DPs, particularly Jewish ones, into the country.              I don't know if it was absolutely impossible for Jewish activists to get the United States to take in a million or more Jews, but the record indicates that chances weren't promising.

      I'm having trouble seeing what the "2000 year old claim" has to do with my moral argument for partition.  The argument would be as valid or invalid if Zionism had focused on Uganda or Massachusetts instead of Palestine. I'm not clear on why the reasons the Zionists chose a particular country make the case stronger or weaker.

    Anyway, the case you present here will be convincing to many readers.  But I still think that honor requires you to retract your false accusations.

    Everything I said in this post I said in the comments in our original discussion. Apparently I have to say the same thing over and over several times in several slightly different ways in the same post to "finally" be offering a serious argument. Even now you're still ignoring parts of my post and asking me to repeat myself again. I'm not interested in doing that with every point I made that you misunderstood, misinterpreted, and dismissed without reason.

    What parts have I ignored? I addressed the point about the United States taking in a lot of Jews. While I don't know for certain that it couldn't have come about, I provided evidence that the obstacle to it wasn't that Jews wouldn't accept it.  The United States wasn't willing, and neither was any other country. So if there was another plan that was feasible, that would be good, but I'm not sure what it would be.  

      We can discuss the "2000 year old argument", but since I reject the argument, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to say about it.  And I don't "deny' that it was the reason Zionists chose Palestine over Switzerland or some other place. But they would have encountered the same opposition in Switzerland or any other place. But I'll talk about it if you make clear what other aspect of it you want me to address.

      I don't know for certain what would have happened, but it didn't look like persecution of Jews was about to stop. A single Palestinian state would presumably have been dominated by the most important Palestinian leader, Haj Amin Husseini, who was a Jew hater and a friend of Hitler. A second genocide wasn't very likely, but the prospects for a happy situation weren't good. And while again, I'm no psychic,  I don't think that if partition had gone through, the Jewish state would have tried to conquer the Arab state. Ben-Gurion had been two faced about partition in 1937, but to my knowledge, in 1947-48 none of the Labor Zionists made expansionist statements until the Arab states invaded.

      I don't think that equating the division of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states with "genocide" is a serious argument, and neither is falsely accusing me of supporting "war crimes" and the other bad stuff that Israel has done to Palestinians over the past 70 years. Can't you just admit that you made a false accusation?  If you did, we could just agree to disagree.

    This has been a remarkably civil IP discussion and Aaron should get credit for that!

    And nothing wrong with discussing big picture, except that it should be pointed out that doing that is just like the grand game diplomats did in creating the whole situation. And that in this day and age of instant communication where everyone can be privvy to what the overlords are up to, it might not be so easy anymore to just like: change borders and stuff like that.

    Here's an alternative view I just read that impressed me and I recommend: up close and personal, reality, person-to-person, boots on the ground exercise in reporting:

    A Muslim Among Israeli Settlers

    What happens when a Pakistani American writer goes deep into the West Bank?

    By Wajahat Ali for The Atlantic June issue (and free online; also with a podcast and video, neither of which I can vouch for)

    I was here to report on jewish settlers, the 600,000 citizens of Israel living beyond its pre-1967 borders. My main concern was whether the normally guarded and cautious settler community would open up and talk to me: a brown-skinned, practicing Muslim from the United States.....

     If it's important, I'll talk about the 2000 year thing, but I need clarification. I'm not clear on what aspect of it still needs to be addressed.  We have agreement that it was the reason Zionists chose Palestine rather than another place, and agreement that it wasn't a legitimate claim.  I want to resolve this matter, but I need to know what it is we are talking about. Help me out.

    At a certain point in every conversation there comes a time when each party has said everything they want to say. I reached that point some time ago. Had you not called me out by name, twice, I would have let you have the final word and moved on. My tendency when called out by name is to respond but this time I decided not to when you called me out the first time. I felt I had said all I had to say and further attempts would be futile.

    I'm just repeating myself now and you're not getting it. It's not like you're disagreeing and making counter arguments. You're not even seeing the argument I'm making. From my point of view my last post answered your question in this post. Each of the three paragraphs was a slightly different way of saying the same thing. Essentially I repeated myself three times in one post. Deliberately since you didn't seem to see what I was saying. Not just that but the post was a repetition of the same argument I made in the original discussion.

    This isn't going to be resolved. It's time to let it go. I can't think of another way to say the same thing I've said several times before. All I can do is repeat myself. Take as little or as much as you can from this discussion and let us move on.

    Perhaps there is nothing more to say, but I think I did address Ocean-Kat's arguments, although I can't decisively refute them, because no one knows what would have happened. I did address the question of alternatives, and whether the failure to find alternatives was due to intransigence on the part of Jews or of the gentiles.  

      If the 2000 year thing was about the problem of alternatives, then I guess we've covered that. These aren't questions that can be definitely proved or disproved, because its about counterfactuals.

       However, I don't think I'm being unreasonable in asking for a retraction of the slanders i.e. that I support Israel's war crimes and the other things she has done to Palestinians over the last 70 years, or that support for the partition plan is tantamount to support for genocide.

    I don't accept your interpretation of my comments.

    "You're the equivalent of those that attempt to  justify slavery...or the genocide of Native Americans".  "(the Jews) stole a huge amount of Palestine, then in a series of war crimes stole bits and pieces for the next 70 years. Aaron wants to claim that was moral".

    I stated my opinion earlier on this, ocean, and did not plan to repeat myself.  But I feel that if I took a stance once I should take it again if the same issue arises.  I think you crossed a line between making a point and attacking your perceived opponent unfairly.

    As a footnote, I am pondering whether the Western democracies could have been induced to give refuge to a much larger number of Jews from Eastern Europe and the Arab world. The United States did belatedly adopt a more generous attitude towards the DPs. Counterfactuals are difficult; we just don't know.

    I'm indebted to Ocean-Kat--despite her slanders--because she has compelled me to look at the situation in new ways. The fact is, the U.S. did adopt a more generous policy towards Jewish refugees in 1950, and proved eager to admit Jews from the Soviet bloc and former Soviet bloc. So yes, the possibility of the United States serving as the solution to "the Jewish question"--if the world had waited a little longer--was a real one.

    After doing some reading and pondering, I've come up with a fresh and more flexible take.  Ocean Kat doesn't what to talk about it, but does anyone else?

    I don’t want to talk about it, but just FYI Ocean Kat is a guy.  You aren’t the first one to make that mistake.  

    and he lives in the desert, not by or in the ocean. The guy/girl's a real fraud - chicken of the sea.

    anyway, carry on, Aaron - the worst that'll happen is we'll make fun of you. or maybe that's the best that'll happen. whatever. let's hear it.

    Some people were making changes to a wikipedia page I cared about. The Rainbow Gathering. I wanted to debate them on it but didn't want a name that was associated with any other name I use anywhere else. Ocean-kat is a name so out of style for me. There are some people on the other side that will sign you up for all sorts of spam if you cross them as well as other nefarious activity to shut you up. Even sending info to your employer if they can find them. The plan was to discard the account when the battle was over. I did end up discarding the account but I got used to the name so I began using it in other places.

    By the way I won on every point and the wiki page was edited to my preferences. I'm very proud of that but only one person  knows I did it. Even though Rainbow is a large "organization" and many people know what Ocean-kat did on the Rainbow Gathering wiki page. At the time there was a huge amount of speculation as to who Ocean-kat was and an effort to out me at the gathering. If only they could identify me. But I don't care about cudos from strangers and never bragged about my accomplishment, until now.

    Well it's disgraceful to hide behind a name that has nothing to do with who you are. I hope you take umbrage.

    So I looked at the wikipedia page in question and as per your story, it looks to be finely edited, but then I was looking over the headings and I see 

    Cultural misappropriation

    and go: oh nooooooooooooooooooo

    ​and then I click on it and read it and even though it is clearly factual, it makes me get my knickers all in a twist! oh nooooooo again:

    In 2015, a group of Native American academics and writers issued a statement against the Rainbow Family members who are "appropriating and practicing faux Native ceremonies and beliefs. These actions, although Rainbows may not realize, dehumanize us as an indigenous Nation because they imply our culture and humanity, like our land, is anyone’s for the taking." The signatories specifically named this misappropriation as "cultural exploitation."[64]

    I calmed down and then thought: well, the globalist capitalist way of dealing with this would be to launch an intellectual property law suit which might then go to the Supreme Court (yes, the very same one which just ruled on the power of wedding cake metaphors.)

    I guess it just makes me wanna yell: do we really always have to have in an encyclopedia entry every single fact that might be related to something?! Cause if so, in the end, everything is related to everything else and we might just as well have run on for a gazillion pages.

    End of primal scream.

    Edit to add: no, not the end. Maybe the Roman Catholic Church should try an intellectual property "misappropriation" lawsuit against all Protestant faiths? Oh so many examples run through my man's inspiration is another man's mis-appropriation....the ownership of thought being ridiculous in itself, but we still sell it.

    The issue of Native American ceremonies is a big controversy at Rainbow gatherings so it must be in the article. Of course I couldn't change everything and don't endorse everything in the article 100%. But there was some outrageously wrong information put in by a group of people who decided that if a Forest Service permit was signed it wasn't a "real" rainbow gathering. My main focus was stopping that. Signing the permit is a big controversy withing the rainbow family. They started a new "real" rainbow gathering, that no one went to, and lied about on the wiki page to try to fool people into going to their gathering. It really is an intergroup argument that most people here aren't interested in so no sense in getting into it too deeply

    eta: For those who don't know the Rainbow Gathering is huge, 5,000 to 25,000 people show up in a National Forest with almost no organization and set up kitchens in the woods. Anyone can go to any kitchen and get food. There is one massive circle that kitchens bring food to once a day and thousands get feed there. Every night there's a bonfire and drumming circle that goes on for hours. In the early years during the anti-war and civil rights protests there were non violent resistance workshops and many activist were trained there. And so much more. Though lately it's deteriorated it was and still somewhat is an incredibly interesting sociological phenomenon.

    Arguably much less commercial than Burning Man and I think longer lasting (and more nomadic)

    Cultural misappropriation is a constant argument. A set of values that was not previously challenged is now being challenged. Black NFL players kneel to protest police killings. White society deems that unpatriotic. A team who did not kneel during the NFL season is no longer invited to the White House. Trump fumbles the words to “God Bless America”. The meaning of the kneeling gesture is redefined. A major reason we have battles about cultural misappropriation is that one group wants to have the final word on culture.

    Oops. I thought Kat was a feminine name.

    Also, Peracles is a carnivorous pond scallop

    Michael, you're starting to warm to me kiss (though technically vegetarian)

    Most likely the kind and gentle nature of my debate style is so decidedly feminine that some people just assume I'm female.

    Okay, the United States might have been induced to take in the Jews of Palestine, Europe, and other places, if they wanted to go.  The Displaced Persons Acts of 1948 and 1950 would have allowed the Jewish DPs to get in pretty quickly.  The 1952 immigration law(McCarran-Walter) would have theoretically allowed most of Palestine's Jews(the Yishuv) to get in. There might still have been a problem, namely the time factor.

      It would take some time for the 600,000 Jews of the Yishuv to get in. The Jews in Arab countries--the Mizrahi--would probably have had to wait for the repeal of the national quota system in 1965, as not many of  them would have qualified for the exemptions enacted in 1952,  After 1965 Jews wouldn't haven't gotten all the annual slots, since the point of the 1965 law was to prevent favoritism. It would take a considerable amount of time for all the Jews who wanted  to go to be gathered to America. During the interim, a number of bad things could happen, such as pogroms. There might still have been an argument for the partition plan, that it was quicker.  The Jews of Palestine wouldn't have to budge, and the ones who went to the Jewish state would have benefited from the state's "Jews only, and get 'em in as fast as we can" policy.

      I spoke of the partition plan as a "small injustice", but its justice is actually arguable.

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