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View Diary: OIL SPILL rivalling Exxon-Valdez, 30K tons est. so far (252 comments)

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  •  I've always erred (12+ / 0-)

    on the side of common sense, therefore I've never been one to blindly support Israel, but in answer to your question: yes.  Israel has played perfectly into Hezbollah's hand, and while they have most certainly damaged their standing in the world, I do believe that there are many American Jews who are beginning to, at least privately, question their support for Israel's most recent actions.

    The problem is, anti-semitism is still rampant in the world and I suspect that many diaspora Jews feel that to openly criticize Israel emboldens our enemies. So, I think it is unlikely that any US policy that is critical of Israel will find much open support from Jews.

    •  Most sensible comment, (4+ / 0-)

      thank you.  I don't really think we need "any US policy that is critical of Israel".  A reasonable amount of reining in will do.  If we ever get any diplomats again.

    •  That is too bad (6+ / 0-)
      Thanks very much for your response.

      I just wish that Jewish Americans would try to learn more from Jewish "dissenters" such as Uri Avnery and treat with more suspicion the policies of the Israeli government. After all, we know that politicians everywhere will engage in perfidy if not kept in check; why should Israel be any different?

      An analogy strikes me: Jewish Americans are like Democrats. Each makes it a tabboo to question whether what has been apparently been decided by the state can be an error. That is why Democrats refuse to challenge the Republicans when they steal an election from them: that could undermine people's faith in America's democracy. Similarly, apparently, Jewish Americans refuse to pose the question of whether successive Israeli governments wisely pursue an effective policy for the self-preservation of Israel.

      Liberalism is the origin and center of American politics. Thus, to reject liberalism is to reject America.

      by Alexander on Tue Aug 08, 2006 at 10:23:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I understand your analogy (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Darksyde888, epcraig, tovan, JohnB47, Opakapaka

        but it is a little different.  Most Jews still carry a chip on their shoulder from the holocaust.  When Jews say "Never again," they mean it. There is unfortunately the assumption that any compromise by Jews will be interpreted as weakness--a philosophy which doesn't exactly lend itself to diplomacy. Hence the reason why you'll rarely hear open dissent from Jews when it comes to Israel.  Certainly my family came to this country as a direct result of WWII, but I think it's time for Jews to move beyond the past and accept the fact that Israel is in a difficult if not impossible situation and will be forced to make some hard decisions soon.

        •  I thought the Holocaust had something... (9+ / 0-)
          to do with it. (My parents also came to this country as a direct result of WW II—refugees from Soviet power. Their class was exterminated, but for some reason exterminating a class does not count as bad as exterminating an ethnic group.)

          Since you were expecting a flame anyway, I'll put forward the following suggestion, so as not to disappoint you. ;-) My suspicion for a long time has been that invocation of the Holocaust as an explanation for the psychology underlying Israel's actions really is a cover for a cultural factor which plays a far more important determining role: the Jewish religion. According to the Jewish Bible, the Jews are the chosen people (although it is considered bad form to bring up this simple textual fact), and the Bible is full of episodes in which God eradicated or ordered the Jews to eradicate people simply because they belonged to a group that was other than the Jews. Couldn't that have something to do with the mindset under which Israeli leaders are operating? (There is an expat Israeli who posts occasionally at Counterpunch who thinks so.)

          No one has ever accused Judaism of being a universalistic religion, in the way that Christianity and Islam are. (The problem with Islam is not that it is universalistic. It is that it equates righteousness with submission to an imaginary entity.)

          You say that it "is time for Jews to move beyond the past". I would also suggest that it is time for them to engage in the interpretive process of updating their religion to modern conditions, i.e., the secular, multi-ethnic state.

          A main tragedy here is that German Jews had essentially completed that process, but it did them no good in the end—other than producing some texts for posterity (which American Jews don't seem to be very interested in, incidentally). But that brings up your point about the Holocaust. I suppose that Jews could be framing the situation thus: we took the idea of adapting to European modernity seriously once, and look where it got us—Dachau.

          All right. But what, in the 21st century, is the closest equivalent to Nazi Germany, in its feeling of smug superiority and for its contempt for the views of other nations or, indeed, for any means of persuasion other than power and violence? The Bush regime. Strange bedfellows indeed.

          Liberalism is the origin and center of American politics. Thus, to reject liberalism is to reject America.

          by Alexander on Tue Aug 08, 2006 at 11:35:35 PM PDT

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          •  The problem with Israel... (0+ / 0-)

            is its inability to compromise, "move beyond the past."  But I posit that this inability to compromise is rooted in Judaism itself, a religion whose very foundation embraces tradition and encourages separateness as a way to maintain a strong cultural identity.  Most practicing Jews couldn't tell you why they're kosher, wear tzitzit, or yarmulkes, but it doesn't matter, it's part of a tradition.  And while it's true that much of the Israeli government is populated by so-called secular Jews, these non-practicing Jews still maintain a strong cultural identity. The point is, change isn't a big part of Judaism, and I don't suspect it ever will be.  Not embracing change, not assimilating is an essential part of the Jewish experience.  

            Expecting Israel to evolve because current circumstances require it, is unrealistic.  As Golda Meir once said, "Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us." Nothing has changed in the past 50 years since those words were uttered to alter that philosophy, and I don't expect it ever will.  

            The situation in Israel is untenable, and I fully expect that any peace in the region will only follow something catastrophic.

            •  'Catastrophe' is losing its meaning (0+ / 0-)

              In the last year or so, tsunami, Katrina, Iraq, Darfur, the Middle East, Bush...

              What will it take to put us in a state of shock after all that?

              This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

              by Agathena on Wed Aug 09, 2006 at 02:28:47 PM PDT

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        •  So what would it take? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          epcraig, anonymousredvest18

          Do they have to drop a nuke on an arab city?

          At what point should we expect the decendants of the survivors of genocide to stand up and DEMAND that their compatriots stop committing genocide?

          I say it's NOW.

          The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has limits. - Albert Einstein

          by racerx on Wed Aug 09, 2006 at 02:51:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Israel has played perfectly into Hezbollah's hand (5+ / 0-)

      Yes, this is what it boils down to.

      They transformed a moderate border skirmish/provocation by Hezbollah into a full blown war that drives Sunnis into the arms of the Iranian-supported Shiites. Israel should get a Nobel Prize for uniting traditional enemies. Hezbollah now has 90% support in Lebanon, in a population that is just 40% Shiite. Nice going, guys.

      There was an commentary in the NYT that claimed that even Sharon was muted in his response to Hezbollah provocations from Lebanon, knowing what a quagmire Lebanon was. But Olmert had to prove that he was a Sharon, so he did exactly what Sharon was too smart to do.

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