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stephinrome Donating Member (494 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 02:45 AM
Original message
Questioning Our Special Relationship with Israel
Published at http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/50097
(note to mods, this is my article so no probs with copyright)

Questioning Our Special Relationship with Israel
By Stephanie Westbrook

A "regional economic power." That's how ANIMA, the Euro-Mediterranean Network of Investment Promotion Agencies encompassing 70 governmental agencies and international networks, described Israel in its January 2010 Mediterranean Investment Map. The report analyzed the economies of the 27 European Union countries as well as 9 "partner countries."

And who can argue. Touting an annual GDP growth rate around 5% for the years 2004 to 2008, Israel was also ranked 27 out of 132 countries in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report last fall. It ranked 9th for innovative capacity.

In the 2008 World Competitiveness Yearbook by IMD, Israel comes in 2nd for the number of scientists and engineers in the workforce. No other country in the world spends more on research and development as a percentage of GDP than Israel. Since the year 2000 it has hovered around 4.5%, or twice the average of OECD member countries.

I am not an economist, but I have to wonder why US taxpayers are doling out $3 billion a year in direct military aid to a "regional economic power." In August 2007, a Memorandum of Understanding between the US and Israel was signed committing the US to give, not loan, $30 billion to Israel over 10 years. US taxpayers are directly funding close to 20% of Israel's annual defense budget. No wonder Israel is able to invest in R&D!

To help put these figures into perspective, a new web site was launched last week that illustrates how your state is contributing to the Israeli defense budget, and what could have instead been done with the money. At http://www.aidtoisrael.org I learned that my home state of Texas will give more than $2.5 billion over the ten year period. For the same amount, over 2 million people could have been provided with primary health care.

At the 2007 signing ceremony for the $30 billion giveaway, then Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, stated, "We consider this 30 billion dollars in assistance to Israel to be an investment in peace." But peace isn't exactly what we've gotten for our money.

Instead our tax dollars continue to pay for advanced weaponry used to maintain an illegal occupation, culminating a year ago in the Israeli attack on Gaza with US-made F-16 fighter jets, US-made Apache helicopter gunships, US-made naval combat ships, US-made hellfire missiles, US-made tanks and armored personnel carriers, and US-made white phosphorus shells.

Every cent we give Israel is in violation of the Foreign Assistance Act, which specifically prohibits aid to countries that "engage in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights." Sales of US weaponry made to Israel are in violation of the Arms Export Control Act, which restrict their use to legitimate self-defense.

But weapons we do continue to sell, and aid we do continue to give. And if that weren't enough, we also provide Israel with special conditions. Unlike all other countries receiving military aid from the US, Israel receives its entire bundle in a lump sum during the first 30 days of the fiscal year. The money sits in an interest bearing account at the Federal Reserve, the interest going to Israel, of course, until 74% of it is funneled back to US weapons manufacturers in the way of purchases for the Israeli Defense ministry. Israel is free to use the remaining 24% to purchase "in house" weapons systems, an arrangement afforded to no other recipient of US military aid.

While we may hear some calls to freeze (or limit or curb) settlement construction, and as of late, for an end to the siege of Gaza, one subject no one on Capitol Hill dares to touch is this massive military aid package given to Israel. The new self-proclaimed "pro-peace pro-Israel" lobby, J-street, has said the subject is not up for discussion.

But some are starting to question our "special relationship" with Israel.

On February 9, Intelligence Squared, the British debate forum, held a debate in New York City home to the country's largest Jewish community asking if the "US should step back from its special relationship with Israel." Prior to the start of the debate, audience members cast their votes electronically, with 39% in favor, 42% against and 25% undecided.

Arguing for the motion were British author and New York Times columnist Roger Cohen and Colombia professor and author Rashid Khalidi. Former US ambassador to the EU Stuart Eizenstat and former Israeli ambassador to the US Itamar Rabinovich argued against. Cohen spoke of US aid to Israel:

"What also makes the relationship special is the incredible largess that the United States shows towards Israel, over the past decade, $28.9 billion in economic aid. And on top of that, another $30 billion in military aid, that's almost $60 billion. That's 10 times the GNP of Haiti that is being gifted to a small country. Now, I ask you, to what end is this money being used. Ladies and gentlemen, we would submit that it ends often inimical to the American interest."

Following the debate, the audience once again voted on the resolution, this time with a slight majority in favor, 49% for, 47% against and 4% undecided.

The "special relationship" is hereby up for discussion. Pass the word.


Stephanie Westbrook is a U.S. citizen who has been living in Rome, Italy since 1991. She is active in the peace and social justice movements in Italy.

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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 03:08 AM
Response to Original message
1. Deleted sub-thread
Sub-thread removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 03:22 AM
Response to Original message
2. I don't understand why Israel needs all that money from the US...
If it was a struggling country, then I'd totally understand, but using Australia as an example of another country with close ties to the US, we don't get any financial aid from the US. At a guess, the US probably doesn't even pay rent on Pine Gap...

Anyway, yr article was well-written. Thanks for posting it and my apologies if you read the nasty comments of the troll that replied to yr OP...
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17breezes Donating Member (33 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 09:29 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Maybe because you aren't surrounded
by countries which want to disappear you. It ain't rocket science you know.
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-15-10 04:07 AM
Response to Reply #4
11. Israel isn't surrounded by them either. ...
I'd suggest for yr next post, you invoke the Holocaust like you have in yr other 'contributions', but I see the mods caught up with you so we won't be hearing from you again. what a shame...
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TomClash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. The Lobby says they "need" it
Both US political parties need to keep giving aid to get campaign contributions from wealthy Jewish contributors (mostly Dems) and evangelical maniacs (mostly Repukes). It is a very weird dynamic.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 05:09 AM
Response to Original message
3. excellent article
Edited on Sun Feb-14-10 05:26 AM by Douglas Carpenter
Even aside from the issue of he Israel/Palestine conflict, it is simply hard to imagine a justification for the U.S. having for its largest recepient of foreign aid - a prosperous first world country with a small population receiving aid with fewer strings attached and conditions than any other recipient.
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Easy way to get a little more money to the US military industrial complex
Most of the aid money to Israel is used for Israel to buy weapons from the United States.

Same, incidentally, goes for Egypt, which gets a little less than Israel.

Of course the aid to both countries is a minuscule amount of money compared to what the US spends on defense.

Hundreds of billions of additional defense dollars have been spent just to fund the two wars that the US has embarked on over the past decade.

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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #6
26. Agree with all your points.
What the world needs - but is most unlikely to get - is a change in economic priorities, so that more is spent on preventing poverty and disease and on inventions that improve the quality of life, and less on ever-more-sophisticated ways of killing each other. Beating swords into plowshares, in other words. And ending or reducing the runaway worldwide arms trade.

Focusing on military aid to just *one* country, while ignoring the broad context of the dangerous dominance of the military industrial complex in the world economy, will not deal with the basic problem.
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Dick Dastardly Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 08:33 PM
Response to Reply #3
40. Israel is not the biggest recipient of aid in reality. Not by a long shot.

There are many different forms and types of aid other than what we give Israel, and what we give Israel is a drop in the ocean compared to what many others get. We constantly hear whining from the anti Israel crowd about the military aid given to Israel but little on the aid to Egypt which is almost as much. We hear nothing from them about other countries like S. Korea and Japan who have cost us 15 billion to as much as 45 billion a year for each of them or Europe who has cost us at times as much as 150 billion a year(not including WW2 or The Marshall Plan).This is besides the fact that American blood was risked, is risked and or has been spilled for defending and fighting for Europe, Japan, S Korea and others but Israel has fought and fights its own wars/battles and never had American troops risking themselves or fighting for it. Despite the fact that these and other allies/countries cost us much much more, only Israel is constantly whined about ad nauseum with scarcely a mention about anyone else. Why is it only with Israel that some(not directed at you) insinuate some nefarious influence occuring because of the support and money we give them but not with others who get much more?
Why is Israel singled out exclusivly for all this and more? Something doesnt add up, why?



On a side note
Aside from most of the aid coming back to the US as mentioned, we have received many benefits over the years from our relationship with Israel. Israel sent a commando team and captured the latest Soviet air defense system technology and sent it to us.They arranged for a Arab pilot to defect an fly the latest Soviet MIG to Israel. This MIG was a guarded Soviet secret that no one in the west had seen up close let alone posses one to study. There were many such ops.
We also use their Port in Haifa for our Naval ships to base out of. Having such a modern safe strategically located naval port to use as a base is an invaluable asset. We have various bases in Israel to store weapons for quick logistics if and when needed. We use them to test and report on the effectiveness of various weapons. We develop a wide variety of weapons with them. We also have used them to do things we didn't want our fingerprints on. There are many other benefits too numerous to list and contrary to the usual anti Israel propaganda full of omissions and double standards, they have been a great value and comparatively cheap.
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-19-10 12:28 AM
Response to Reply #40
42. at the cost of poisoning America's relationships with a very large and vitally important portion
of the world. Whether one thinks it is fair or not, the entire Arab and Islamic world - more than 1.3 billion people - puts a lot of emotional and religious value into the area that comprises most of Israel and the Palestinian territories. That is what they fought the crusades over almost a thousand years ago.

Of course the 22 countries of the Arab League and the 57 countries of the Organization of The Islamic Conference now recognizes that it is a good idea and mutually beneficial to comes to terms with Israel and negotiate a peace based on the international consensus for a two-state solution. That is why they have endorsed a peace proposal supporting the two-state solution and leading to establishing full diplomatic relations.

But as long as America is perceived as continually siding with Israel - something which is obviously compounded by the amount of primarily military aid which the U.S. government, not anti-Israeli propagandist, claims to be a larger than that provided any other country (with the exception currently of Iraq) - ill will toward America will be further facilitated and relationships that are in America's vital national interest will be further strained and further complicated while more misunderstandings contribute in no small way to watering the seed bed of of extremism.
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-20-10 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #42
50. Your post and Dick's make it clear what most of the considerations in the circles of power are about
Economic and military interests of America and other countries. Pro-Israel policies have little to do with sympathy for Jews, and a lot to do with the military industrial complex. Pro-Arab (and some anti-Arab!) policies have little to do with sympathy for the Palestinians, and a lot to do with who has got most of the oil.

Not saying that either you or Dick is only interested in bottom-line considerations; just that this *is* what concerns most nations, far more than solidarity with Jews or Palestinians; or ideological pressures from 'Zionists' or 'Islamofascists'.

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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-21-10 12:48 AM
Response to Reply #50
51.  Personally, I am an anti-Imperialist and would like America to wean itself out of the empire
Edited on Sun Feb-21-10 01:43 AM by Douglas Carpenter
business all together. But I recognize that this view is absolutely no where on the radar screen of mainstream political debate in America and American imperium will continue for the foreseeable future. Nonetheless, it is of value to try to grasp the thinking within the corridors of power where my anti-imperialist views on this matter have no input whatsoever.

During a certain stage of the cold war, staunch American support for Israel fit in well with cold war ideology. The 1967 devastating military defeat of the center of Pan-Arab nationalism that was lead by a prominent allie of the Soviet Union was no doubt hailed by cold warriors throughout the West as a proxy victory over the Soviet Union, the weakening of Soviet influence in the Middle East and the strengthening of American-backed Western power in the region.

Israeli arm sales to Latin American militaries and Israel's military alliance with the Republic of South African during the cold war also served as means where the United States could see that its allies against Soviet influence were well armed while reducing domestic and international scrutiny and criticism. Israel even played a key role in insuring that the Mujahideen in Afghanistan were well armed in their fight against Soviet occupation.

However, at this point and time with Soviet influence and power as a thing of the past - it is hard for me to see where America being seen as Israel's best friend does anything but complicate matters. Current foreign policy doctrine views the security of the Persian Gulf and steady flow of oil to the United States and elsewhere as the gravest security matter that faces potential threats. This is hardly a secret.

American politicians of both parties will talk about ending dependency on Middle Eastern oil. But anyone with even the most cursory understanding of the realities, all know perfectly well that this talk of ending dependency on Middle Eastern oil is nothing but electioneering rubbish that no knowledgeable person seriously believes. Modern economy is absolutely oil dependent at every level. It will take a lot more than running a small handful of cars on alternative fuels and tax credits for putting in solar panels to end dependency on Middle Eastern oil. Even if there was Green Party style ecological revolution in the Western World, the need for oil is so great and the demand comes from so many sources - it is ludicrous to imagine that even this would end dependency on Middle Eastern oil to anyone at all living in the world of reality and thinking about it. And it is fair to say that no matter who wins what elections in the United States and in the rest of the world - this dependency will not significantly reduce and will most likely only increase. If the supply of Middle Eastern oil was to be seriously disrupted for a prolonged period of time, the American and the world economies would be deeply imperiled and would almost certainly face collapse.

There is simply no question that strident support for Israel by the United States is a major contributing factor that elicits the appeal of anti-Western political movements that would threaten and compromise the supply of oil to a very oil-dependent America and world. Military power has simply no possibility whatsoever of reducing the resentment and anger elicited by the Israeli/Palestinian conflict among the word's 1.3 billion Muslims and Arab people who comprise the majorities in 57 countries and significant minorities in many, many more. Of course the U.S. has plenty of other problems in dealing with the Arab/Islamic world. But this is a very big one; not the only one - but a very, very big one.

Given that the facts of the situation is so obvious, in my humble opinion, America's almost blind support for Israel is primarily a combination of outdated cold war ideology and the influence of a militant and ruthless domestic political lobby that is not only pro-Israel, but pro-right wing Israeli. No member of Congress or candidate for the U.S. Congress of either party fears any significant political consequences for publicly and vociferously condemning Saudi Arabia. Conversely, most in fact all but a few members of Congress and candidates for Congress feel hesitant about even fairly mild public criticism of Israel. Even when they do, they inevitably open with a phrase something like this; "First of all, I am a friend of Israel." Even though in real concrete terms Saudi Arabia's security is far more important to America's national interest, I have yet to hear any member of Congress or candidate for Congress open with the phrase, "First of all, I am a friend of Saudi Arabia."

There are those who would say America's interest with Israel is rooted in shared values of democracy and human rights. Well clearly, Israel's treatment of the Palestinians make those words ring rather hollow, to say the least - especially in the region. As Phil Weiss once put it, "When I was young, Israel was proclaimed as 'A light unto the nations' - now it is is, 'well we're better than Syria'.

Let me say though, this strident support is not unlimited. If it were the case, Iran would have probably already been bombed and Jonathan Pollard would have been freed a long time ago.
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 10:51 PM
Response to Reply #3
41. top six recepients of U.S. Foreign aid
Edited on Thu Feb-18-10 11:07 PM by Douglas Carpenter


Who Gets U.S. Foreign Aid

The U.S. will give an estimated $26 billion in foreign aid in 200870% more than when President George W. Bush took office (the figure doesnt include funds related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). More than 150 countries get financial assistance from the U.S. Here are the six that received the most this year.

COUNTRY AID PURPOSE
1. Israel $2.4 billion Virtually all of this money is used to buy weapons (up to 75% made in the U.S.). Beginning in 2009, the U.S. plans to give $30 billion over 10 years.
2. Egypt $1.7 billion $1.3 billion to buy weapons; $103 million for education; $74 million for health care; $45 million to promote civic participation and human rights.
3. Pakistan $798 million $330 million for security efforts, including military-equipment upgrades and border security; $20 million for infrastructure.
4. Jordan $688 million $326 million to fight terrorism and promote regional stability through equipment upgrades and training; $163 million cash payment to the Jordanian government.
5. Kenya $586 million $501 million to fight HIV/AIDS through drug treatment and abstinence education and to combat malaria; $15 million for agricultural development; $5.4 million for programs that promote government accountability.
6. South Africa $574 million $557 million to fight TB and HIV/AIDS; $3 million for education.

http://www.parade.com/news/intelligence-report/archive/...





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Sal Minella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 09:35 AM
Response to Original message
5. Have been looking for exactly this information.
And we hold our mouths in little round o's and wonder aloud why the Muslim countries don't like us.

Replying mostly so I can find this to re-read tomorrow when time allows. Great post. Thanks for posting, SW.
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TomClash Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 10:21 AM
Response to Original message
8. Good luck
It's a long way from engaging in debate to implementing policy.

The article is quite well done though.
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stephinrome Donating Member (494 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-15-10 02:18 AM
Response to Original message
10. thanks for comments n/t
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aranthus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-15-10 06:49 PM
Response to Original message
12. I have a few questions.
I hope you don't mind, since this is your article.

First, your site is linked to "End the Occupation". In looking at that site I noticed that it supports the right of return, although it doesn't say what it means by that. Are you affiliated with that site? If so, does that site support what has come to be known as the "full right of return? (that is that any person who is a considered a Palestinian refugee on UN refugee rolls would have the right to return to what is now Israel, or at their option, to be paid compensation if they chose not to return). If you aren't affiliated with that site, do you support that version of the right of return? do you know the people who run that site and is that their position?

Second, and somewhat related to the first question. Do you think that there are other countries that get too much in aid from the US? Egypt for example? If so, is your position that Israel should be singled out because of what it is doing or not doing? If so, then specifically what do you want Israel to do? Do you think that the Palestinians need to do anything to achieve peace? If so, what evidence is there that they are likely to do those things if pressure is put on Israel?

I hope that you will answer these questions. If you think that some of them are inaccurate, unclear, or unfair, please tell me which ones, and why, and I will correct them. I am not trying to argue with you or paint you into a corner. I'm simply trying to figure out where you stand on these issues. Thanks.
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-16-10 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Excellent questions. I look forward to the author of the OP answering them.
Edited on Tue Feb-16-10 08:33 AM by shira
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-16-10 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Take a look at the numbers
In the below table, the first column is US aid in 2006, taken from http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/politics/us-foreign-aid...
(I have no idea how reliable this is, but it came near the top on google), in millions of dollars.

The second column is population in thousands, taken from wikipedia (N.B. that this figure is often not from 2006, but I think the error from this will be smallish, and I'm not writing for publication...).

The third column is US aid per capita, in dollars. Note that Israel got about 4 times as much as Jordan, and coming on for 10 times as much as anywhere else. Note also that Israeli GDP per capita is $29,000, to Jordan's $5,000; I haven't checked any of the others but I suspect nearly all of them are lower still, many of them much, much lower. Note also that 2006 is the year covered when Israel received the *least* aid.

So, if you're looking at "countries that receive too much US aid" then Israel is way out front in a league entirely of its own, and the (very distant) second-runner is probably Jordan, not Egypt.


Israel: 2520 7465 337.58
Egypt: 1795 77420 23.19
Columbia: 558 45274 12.32
Jordan: 461 6316 72.99
Pakistan: 698 168747 4.14
Peru: 133 29132 4.57
Indonesia 158 240271 0.66
Kenya 213 39002 5.46
Bolivia 122 9775 12.48
Ukraine 115 46011 2.5
India 94 1177128 0.08
Haiti 163 9035 18.04
Russia 52 141927 0.37
Ethiopia 145 79221 1.83
West Bank/Gaza 150 3900 38.46 (N.B. this population worked out by hand, may be wrong).
Liberia 89 3955 22.5
Bangladesh 49 162221 0.3
Bosnia 51 4613 11.06 (N.B. this population for Bosnia & Herzegovina, may be wrong).




P.S. For what it's worth, I wholeheartedly support the right of return for all Palestinian refugees and all their descendants, and the transformation of Israel from a Jewish state into a non-racist state. I think it's an impossible pipe dream that the Palestinians have no chance of achieving, but that in any final settlement that were reached it should be acknowledged that by giving up on it they are making an *enormous* concession, and doing so purely in the face of might rather than right.
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Mosby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-16-10 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. could you clarify your statement?
Do you consider all countries with official state religions racist/bigoted or do you apply this standard of yours only to Israel?
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-16-10 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. Only those that discriminate on grounds of race are racist, many more than that are bigotted.
To pick an obvious example, the government of Saudi Arabia is immeasurably more bigotted than that of Israel, but not - so far as I know, I'm far from an expert on Saudi politics - racist.

Israel is unusual, however, in that it discriminates not on grounds of religion but on grounds of race. I'm an atheist, but I would be allowed to "make Aliyah" (a really disgusting phrase, given that it refers to the right of people to emigrate to a country they have no meaningful ancestral connection for millenia or more to, in preference to the right of people whose home it really is inasmuch as that they and generations of their ancestors were born there).

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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 03:40 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. I am confused.
Edited on Thu Feb-18-10 03:48 AM by Shaktimaan
According to your description here Israel determines eligibility for Aliyah according to race... ie: Judaism is a kind of racial designation?

The issue of ROR for Palestinians is a very different issue than what you're talking about here. (Meaning that the issue of Aliyah and Israel's right to extend preferential immigration status to whomever it chooses is a totally separate issue from whether or not Palestinian refugees should be granted a right of return. It is not an either/or situation.) The idea that individual culture/ethnicity can form the basis of nationalism and statehood, (and that states have the right to give preferential treatment to members of their specific tribes) has been consistently upheld over and over again. It's not really one of those issues that's currently under debate.

But aside from that I'm seriously perturbed by your understanding of Aliyah (and thus Judaism) as it pertains to race. Judaism is not a race, by even the widest possible definition of the term.

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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 07:33 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. Go tell that to a breast cancer specialist.
(Although, to be fair, that's specifically Sephardi jews rather than Jews as a whole).
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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 10:44 AM
Response to Reply #20
22. Dude, give me a break.
You can't honestly be suggesting that Sephardic Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Keralan Jews, and so on and so forth all comprise a single, distinguishable race.

Or that Israeli policy recognizes and judges it as such.
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. Genetic liability to certain disorders hardly constitutes 'race'
For example: it is fairly well known that Ashkenazi (but not other) Jews are at risk for Tay-Sachs disease. What is perhaps less well known is that French Canadians (but not the French) are similarly vulnerable to that genetic disease. Does that make French Canadians a 'race'?

Quite a number of countries have immigration policies which favour descendents of people who originated from that country. I suppose most countries could be said to have racist immigration policies to some degree.

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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 12:34 PM
Response to Reply #25
29. Quite possibly.
I don't know anything about Tay-Sachs and French Canadians, but it's certainly evidence in favour of classing French-Canadian or some subset thereof as a race/racial group/ethnicity or similar.

Discriminating on grounds of ancestral origin is one thing. Discriminating on grounds of ethnicity, especially when you're discriminating *against* the people who orginated from that country, is quite different. And probably sharing an ethnicity with the people who lived there 2000 years ago does *not* make somewhere your place of origin in any meaningful sense, or else we'd all have a right to take over most of the world.
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-16-10 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. wow, Donald!
Edited on Tue Feb-16-10 02:17 PM by shira
Full RoR means the end of the Jewish State, meaning no self-determination for Jews. That's bigoted in itself, as only Jews are denied self-determination.

As we all know such a situation will come at great cost to the cause of democracy and human rights in that region. Meaning there won't be any once Israel is destroyed by a flood of refugees who make Jews the minority. Look around in that region outside of Israel. There's civil/human rights for you when full RoR to Israel guaranteed. And all along, I thought human/civil rights were #1 with you. :eyes: Guess not.

It would also mean wholesale death and destruction of the Jews in that region, who'd never agree to those terms for reasons given and would fight against it.

==========

Question wrt refugees...

Do you NOW support giving all Palestinians the choice to become full citizens of any Arab country they desire, according to the existing naturalization rules that exist for other Arabs?
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azurnoir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 08:03 AM
Response to Reply #16
21. Why only Arab countries ?
this not the first time I have seen you state this Palestinians being given citizenship in Arab countries seems a rather narrow view IMO, why not any country
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Ken Burch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-19-10 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #21
44. Because the "the other Arabs could take them" meme serves two purposes
Edited on Fri Feb-19-10 01:23 PM by Ken Burch
1)To perpetuate the slur that Palestinians had no real connection to the land of Palestine(and were thus nothing but "generic Arabs" since as this view sees it all Arabs are exactly alike)as well as to imply that Palestinians were simply "Arab troublemakers" bussed in from Cairo or Damascus in the spring of 1948 just to cause trouble;

2)To imply that Palestinians(as well as Arabs in general)are subhuman scum unfit to live anywhere except "the Arab world".

In other words, know your place, Abdul. :sarcasm:
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-19-10 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #44
45. says a lot when some DU'ers would rather see Palestinian refugees rot in camps another 60 years
Edited on Fri Feb-19-10 01:38 PM by shira
....rather than have the choice of applying for membership in any Arab nation of their choosing according to naturalization laws available to all other Arabs.

If it were up to me, western nations would agree to take in a certain amount of refugees who choose to leave their camps.
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aranthus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #14
24. First, thank you for stating your position honestly.
Second, much of it is insanely out of touch with reality.

You seem to believe that Jewish is a race. That is an idea which no believing Jew I know (including myself) would ever believe. Jews are not a race, which is something that you would know if you had any reasonable Jewish education. Jews do not conceive of themselves as a race. We are a nation, and at that, a nation of ideas and values. My next door neighbor is Black and a Jew. I have know many others of different races who converted or were born Jewish. The idea that Jews a racial identity is a lie.

As far as your belief in the right of return. Enjoy the war. That is all that that supposed right will buy.
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. The one thing Jews are *not* is a nation.
Jewish is a word with at least three meanings - there is a Jewish religion, a definition of Jewish under halachic law, a Jewish ethnicity, and the above overlap considerably but non-perfectly (and there are subdivisions within each of them, of course). It's entirely possible to meet some but not all of those definitions, as both I and your neighbour do.

But the one thing there emphatically and explicitly is *not* is a Jewish nation. Being Jewish is orthogonal to nationality - I am a British Jew; my nation is Britain, my race/ethnicity is Jewish (half Sephardi Jewish, half gentile, to be precise). If you're saying that that's a lie, can you suggest what my race actually is?

Israel defines itself as "A Jewish nation", but it is very careful not to say what it means by that - it doesn't mean just "a nation whose state religion is Judaism", as proved by the fact that I would be allowed to "make Aliyah"; in practice Israel appears to attempt to discriminate in favour of anyone who meets any of the three definitions.

I think your point about "reasonable Jewish education" is telling - many Jews, especially religious ones, do their utmost to blur the distinction between the various possible meanings of Jewish I list in my first paragraph, for a variety of reasons, primarily because they can see that it would mean having to abandon many cherished shiboleths to face up to it.

Ideally, what I would like to see is the word "Jewish" being replaced with three separate words, and both you and the Israeli government being forced to face up to which one or ones you are talking about.





I quite agree that holding out for the right of return would lead to ongoing war, incidentally. But please don't conflate "this is not attainable without an unacceptably high price" with "this would not be a good thing in itself, and opposing it is morally wrong".
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Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. The Jews are, in fact, a nation.
Learn the meaning of the word "nation."
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. No, you learn the meaning of the word "nation".
From googledefine:

nations plural
1.A nation is an individual country considered together with its social and political structures. N-COUNT
■Such policies would require unprecedented cooperation between nations.
■The Arab nations agreed to meet in Baghdad. nation; government
2.The nation is sometimes used to refer to all the people who live in a particular country. N-SING journalistic
■It was a story that touched the nation's heart. nation; @; people


It's sometimes also used to refer to a group of people who aren't a nation in the usual sense but do share a common identity for some other reason, as a way of claiming common heritage, but this is a figure of speech, not a claim that they are literally a nation in the usual sense.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #27
32. Nation: a group of people with a shared history and a sense of a group identity
As opposed to a territorial or political entity (i.e. country, state).

That is the sense in which the Jewish people are often thought of as a nation.

One can think of (for example) the "Romani nation" in a similar way. Although they live in many different countries, they have a shared history and sense of group identity.

A more recent example of the term "nation" being used in this fashion would be "Red Sox Nation"- that term has been used to describe the fans of a particular baseball team in the United States since the mid 1980s.

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Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 12:52 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. Of course, there is also the Cherokee Nation, Iroquois Nation, First People Nation...
...even the "Who Dat" nation.
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. Historically, all those were genuine nation states or approximations thereof, I believe?
Well, except the last one, which I've never heard of...
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Behind the Aegis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. And they are still nations today even though they don't have political/geographical boundries.
They are all examples of nations. Just as the Jews are a nation of people.
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #32
38. Do you believe the Palestinians are a nation?
It's just that I'm noticing that people who rush to argue Jews are a nation are usually the ones who are the first in there to argue that the Palestinians aren't a nation, so I'd be interested to hear yr thoughts....
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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-20-10 03:20 AM
Response to Reply #38
47. Well, isn't one of the basic cornerstones of nationality that...
it is self-actualizing? If a people see themselves as a separate nationality, then they are. The idea that someone else is more qualified to determine any group's identity than the group itself is kind of absurd.

I think the whole thing about denying the nationality of Palestinians is more about them not self-identifying as such until relatively recently, ie: AFTER the state of Israel was already established; the argument being that it's an identity born of political convenience rather than some more "legitimate" method. For the record, I don't think this argument holds any water. It would be similar to arguing that Pakistan isn't a legitimate nation because it wasn't established until the mirror state of India created a perceived need.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-20-10 05:26 AM
Response to Reply #47
49. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
OllieLotte Donating Member (495 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #32
39. I learned something today.
I always thought nation and country were the same.
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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-20-10 03:57 AM
Response to Reply #27
48. OK, this is getting absurd.
First of all, the whole idea of race, like ethnicity and nationality, is a social construct. No objective bright line exists that separates one race from another. All we have to go on are generally recognized guidelines that have as much to do with the hazy politics of self-identification as anything else.

That said, one thing that is easily provable, (as provable as anything can be in regards to this subject), is that Jews do NOT constitute a race according to its accepted definition. I would argue that there are two simple reasons for this. First, there are representative examples of Jews in practically every racial category on the planet. There are white Jews, black Jews, Arab Jews, ("Arab" being a complex and problematic designation itself), East Asian Jews, South Asian Jews, and so on. None of these groups is considered more "real" as Jews than any other. If there is a kind of identity that so many different races are all members of then that identity can not be a race. Secondly, it is generally held that someone can not change their race. If you're white, then nothing you can do will ever make you anything but. However, since anyone can become Jewish by taking certain actions, then that also probably means Judaism isn't a race.

Judaism can have certain qualities of an ethnicity. That's totally different however. And it isn't a hard and fast rule. Judaism, like many identities, transcends any simple definition. It can have aspects of an ethnicity at times, but not always. There is a religion attached to it, but adhering to the religion isn't necessary to be Jewish. (Though it is a huge part of what kept Jews united as a group throughout the diaspora.) It has its own language, but speaking it also isn't necessary.

There is one definition that manages to fit most of the requirements though. And, like it or not, this is a definition that's pretty widely accepted. Obviously I'm talking about the concept of Nationality. Nothing about this means that you wouldn't qualify as being British anymore. Many Americans have a "home" nation that they identify with in addition to considering themselves American. For instance Irish-Americans, or Italian-Americans. Nationality is a concept that welcomes duality in this way.

You also seem to think that a physical state is required for this kind of nationality, which I find confusing. If the state of Russia were to disappear tomorrow, would all Russians living in America also cease to exist as Russian? Of course not because there is a culture and a history that binds those people together on a level that supercedes mere control of land. It is all of these things that allow a people to consider themselves a nation.

Most importantly, the process of declaring oneself as a nation is really all the proof that's needed. Once a people consider themselves to be a nation then any argument to the contrary is extremely problematic. By definition that's what a nation is, after all. And there is plenty of historical, religious and political evidence to support the fact that Judaism considers itself to be a nationality.
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kayecy Donating Member (931 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 02:08 AM
Response to Reply #12
18. For an answer to your questions on right-of-return, see the following JP Op-Ed.........
"Rightist Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely came out in support of granting Israeli citizenship to the Arab population of Judea and Samaria."

Jerusalem Post 18-02-2010.

http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=168904


Not a bad proposal for someone on the right......It just needs one or two changes!

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aranthus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #18
23. There is no mention of the right of return
in either the article or the comments to it. What makes you think that it provides any answers to my questions? More important, what makes you think that the article answers my questions about the views of the original poster and the web sites I mentioned?
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kayecy Donating Member (931 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #23
36. Not explicitly, but a one-state solution, by implication, gives Palestinians a right-of-return.....
1. Quote from the JP article:
>>But Hotovely made news when she said Israel should apply Israeli law to Judea and Samaria and that the best option available regarding what to do with the Arabs living there was to make them part of Israel.<<
.
If, as proposed by the JP article, West Bank Palestinians are made citizens of israel, does that not provide one solution to the Palestinian refugee (right-of-return) problem?
.
I thought you might just be interested in this right-wing answer to the right-of-return problem!
.
.
2. I never claimed the article answered your questions about the views of the original poster.
.


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aranthus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-18-10 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. No it doesn't.
They are two different issues. Apperently the minister thinks that a one state solution could exist without a right of return. She expects that Israel would still be a majority Jewish state, which would mean no right of return.
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kayecy Donating Member (931 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Feb-19-10 05:52 AM
Response to Reply #37
43. Right-of-return for Palestinians in refuge or full rightof-return for every ex-part Palestinian?
Apperently the minister thinks that a one state solution could exist without a right of return


The 200,000 Palestinians refugees in the West Bank would automatically have the right-of-return under the minister's proposal (Unless he was also condidering population transfer)...

Full Israeli citizenship means the present West-Bank refugees could reside anywhere.
.





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Shaktimaan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-20-10 03:11 AM
Response to Reply #43
46. Well, the WB Palestinians wouldn't need any ROR in that case.
They would already be citizens, if I'm understanding this correctly. Sure, they could move into different sections of Israel, but that isn't the important part of this issue.

The Palestinian refugees living OUTSIDE of the OPT wouldn't have Right of Return in this scenario.
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