Archive through November 08, 2004

raphaelfreeman's picture

You're right. You won't convince me because you don't know the complete picture and when making judgements, the whole picture is necessary. Israel is not a murderous nation (even though you have the right to believe what you will). Incidents will and do occur that are wrong (this happens in all countries) and just in the same way that I don't accuse the entire Palestinian population of being murderous just because a few thousand of that population choose to kill innocent civilian, then I expect the same in return.

Let's make a deal, let the Palestinian minority (whomever they are, I am not interested) stop killing civilians, and I think you'll see the number of tragic incidents like in this story (however few are still way too many) diminish. One girl was shot dead, this is absolutely inexcusable, for her, for her family, friends, neighbours school etc. This has a terrible effect. I'm sure there was a genuine concern that she could pose a security risk (after all she was somewhere where she really shouldn't have been), but still there is no excuse. She should be alive today, playing with her friends at school and doing her homework.

But let me ask you this? What about the 1,000+ Israeli men, women and children (civilians of course) that have been murdered this year alone? They were where they were supposed to be, at a cafe enjoying a cup of coffee, at a disco having fun, on a bus going to school... They were blown to pieces! What did they do wrong? Were they a potential security risk to the Palestinian people? Did they look as though they were about to possibly blow up some Palestinians? What about the thousands of maimed children who are missing an arm or a leg because they decided to go to a disco or step on a bus? What did they do wrong?

I bet if that happened in the gold 'ol USA nobody would care about one little girl. Witness the aftermath of September 11! Everyone wanted blood. Muslims were being attacked in the street by the brawl (and what did they do wrong exactly?). Let's look at the source of the problem, you blow us up, you kill us, you murder us, and we will clamp down and rout out those that do. And yes, unfortunately in a war, civilians do get killed. It is an unfortunate part of war.

My suggestion. Let's stop the war. Let's put a stop to the suicide bombings where 15-year-old girls (yes two whole years older than that poor 13-year-old schoolgirl) get on buses and kill everyone on them. Let's live in peace as Israel proclaimed in 1948 and was rejected by all the Arab nations whose response to the offer of a peaceful existence with our neighbours was all out war on a tiny nation.

The hand is in their court.

John Hudson's picture

I've avoided getting involved in this discussion, but I will jump in to second what William has just said. Genuine conversation between people who are willing to listen to each other is a blessed thing.

I will also add a couple of facts to the discussion because I know, from my friends who live in Arab countries, that it is something about which most supporters of Palestinian right of return are unaware. In 1948, at the same time as Palestinians were fleeing or being driven from their land, a similarly large number of oriental Jews were driven from their homes in Arab countries. Unlike the Palestinians, though, these Jewish refugees were all offered a new home in Israel, while the Arab nations refused to do the same for the Palestinians. Very sadly, the Palestinian people have, for half a century, been used as pawns in a proxy war against Israel by Arab states who know they cannot win that war. But still these states fund organisations like Hamas, who are sworn to nothing less than the destruction of Israel, and which have also threated terrorist attacks against my country if we dared to accept Palestinian refugees and give them new homes in Canada. These bastards want the Palestinians to be in misery in the refugee camps, because it suits their goal.

jfp's picture

Thanks to Nadine Chahine for her post.

I tried also to avoid this discussion, but some facts need to be corrected.

To answer to Raphael Freeman:
"the rate of Immigration of French Jews to Israel has soured in recent months due to the antisemitism currently in recent months. So if Jews are leaving their native France for Israel, then why should anyone want to go to France..."

Sorry to said that its not true, in a sense that the percentage of jews going from France to Israel is very low and its a minority. Its another tool created by politician. France with 600 000 jews is the biggest community in Europe.

2002, around 2500 French moved to Israel. 2003, around 2300.

Note also that jews are paid by Israel gov to came and that a quantity of them back to France at some point. So, the figures are not complete.

What I can't accept and found scandalous, as French with jew origin among many others origins, is to listen Mr Sharon asking French Jews to leave France. I can't disconnect "Sabra and Shatila" and Mr Sharon. To see Israel jews doing against others what jews has sudden themselves during the 2nd WW give me very bad mood.

(its not my intention to be agressive against anyone here, forgive me my low vocabulary when we are outside of type related discussion).

hrant's picture

> the Palestinian people have, for half a century, been used as pawns

Everybody who knows anything about the Middle East knows that already.
But the whole point of this is not to lay blame, but to improve the future.

The key thing to realize is that the Arabs who use the Palestinians don't do it because they want to get rid of Israel. They're pragmatic -and it must be admitted materialistic- enough to know that's not possible now. They do it as a pressure point, because they want Israel to give them things, things which most people agree were taken illegally and immorally. How do you blunt the tool of corrupt Arabs to foster Palestinian hate? Make the Palestinians -your neighbors- happy by sharing just a small part of the wealth and land; the fundamentalism will simply evaporate. But of course that would put war criminals out of jobs...

The key thing to realize remains that the JudeoWestern party has more power to fix this. That makes it more their responsability. And if we must speak of "justice", maybe we should speak about: who helps corrupt Arabs stay in power; who conducted a Stalinist partitioning of Arab states (like Kuwait versus Iraq, Lebanon versus Syria, spreading the wealth and maritime access unevenly to foster hate and instability so you can control them better), and who gives Israel one hundred times more monetary aid than countries like Armenia.

John, although you speak in measured tones, and you use the rhetoric of reconciliation, it remains that you are firmly in one camp - and this is probably due to your great devotion to your faith, which is strongly connected to Judaism. JF's voice however -coming from a European Jew- is highly significant (even though I'm sure we don't agree on many aspects of this issue).

When you look at world opinion (as opposed to the severly western brand of opinion that's only natural in an internet forum) and you think pragmatically, the way forward is obvious; and the Jewish persecution syndrome (which causes an extreme stance towards a meek enemy) is the main obstacle to it.

hhp

raphaelfreeman's picture

My comment about the increase of French immigrating to Israel was solely based on my wife's observation in the real estate market where every day more and more people are coming from France to buy property here, that's all. Not very scientific and could be out of proportion to the overall immigration, if so, I stand corrected.

steve_p's picture

>>In response to Steve, I don't think that the statements of either Raphael or Nadine are balanced, but they are authentic statements of rational people on both sides of the divide who want to see a solution.

The point I was making was that Raphael's statements are at least as unbalanced as anyone here from 'the other side'. But whereas you berate others for their bias you welcome his views. Does this say something about your own idea of what is balanced?

dan_reynolds's picture

>>and who gives Israel one hundred times more monetary aid than countries like Armenia.

Uh huh. Now we see where your "objective" point of view

hrant's picture

Riiight.
Now your little box of a world makes sense again.

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Everybody who knows anything about the Middle East knows that already.
But the whole point of this is not to lay blame, but to improve the future.


Whenever Hrant and I agree about something, such as this statement, I always want to draw attention to the fact, but then he goes and says something disagreeable before I get the chance:

John, although you speak in measured tones, and you use the rhetoric of reconciliation, it remains that you are firmly in one camp - and this is probably due to your great devotion to your faith, which is strongly connected to Judaism.

I freely admit that, in discussions of this topic on Typophile, the points I tend to make tend to 'favour' the Israeli point of view. But I am not firmly in any camp, and my intent in making such points is to balance the discussion. I have friends who are quite definitely and unapologetically Zionist, and in discussions with them you are much more likely to hear me trying to ensure that the Palestinian side of the topic is adequately represented.

Perhaps some background on my personal opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian situation may clarify my position. When I was in university and for many years afterwards, I was very pro-Palestinian, as were most of my friends. Then, in the late-1990s I began to gradually become more pro-Israeli. There were a number of reasons for this. One was that I saw much anti-Israeli rhetoric and propaganda becoming openly antisemitic, and I reacted against this. I also saw a huge amount of historical distortion being accepted, even -- and in some cases especially -- in the academic world. When I was in university, we were pro-Palestinian even while acknowledging that the Arab states were consistently the aggressors in the Arab-Israeli conflicts, because that was accepted, well documented historical fact. I became bothered by the fact that being pro-Palestinian now seemed to require wholesale historical revisionism to match the anti-Israeli propaganda of repressive Arab regimes. In reaction to this, I spent a lot more time looking at the history of the creation of the state of Israel, beginning with the Zionist immigration, and from this developed an-at-first grudging respect for what the Jews have been able to achieve in Palestine, in terms of land reclamation, agriculture and industry, creation of a civil society in the midst of continuous aggression from their neighbours (among other things, the creation of the only state in the Middle East in which an Arab can sue his government).

More recently, I have resolved to be neither pro-Palestinian nor pro-Israeli, except insofar as I may be both, i.e. insofar as I am able to love both. I continue to think that Israel, as a state, is more admirable in its structures of governance, judiciary and civil society than any other country in the Middle East, which is all the more reason to deplore aspects of its security policies -- even as I wonder what my own country might be like if it had spent its entire existence fending off repeated attacks from people sworn to destroy it. I really do hope that the success of Israel, becomes linked to the success of the Arabs -- which must mean more than oil if it is to last more than a few decades longer; that is, my hope is not only for peace but for mutual prosperity. One should never underestimate the role of simple poverty in the Middle East conflict.

I have friends who are Israeli Jews. I have friends who are Israeli Arabs. I have friends who are Arabs from Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. I have friends who are Canadians living in Arab countries. I talk with all of them, and I listen to all of them, and when one of them tells me something I don't know about the situation in the Middle East, I am always interested and try to find out the truth of it. Why? Because having been pro-Palestinian and having been pro-Israeli, I'm now convinced that was is necessary is to create as large and as true a picture as possible, and that this means abandoning partisanship. Partisanship has only produced distortions and lies, so I hope I am not, indeed, 'firmly in one camp'.


Regarding the role of my religion in my views on the Arab-Israeli conflict, I'm afraid you are wrong there too, Hrant. For a start, I'll note that almost all my Arab friends are Christians, and I do not view the Jewish-Arab conflict along religious lines. However, I do have a strong opinion on one religious aspect of the conflict -- or an aspect which is used by those who do not want the conflict to end --, and that is the question of the sacredness of Jerusalem to Islam. There seems to me to be very little evidence to support the claim that Jerusalam was ever considered a sacred site of Islam before the Moslem conquest. It is very telling that the word Jerusalem does not appear even once in the Qur'an, while it appears many hundreds of times in both the Jewish Bible and the Christian New Testament. The sacredness of Jerusalem to both the Jewish and Christian religions is based on historically verifiable events: as royal capital of the ancient Jewish kingdom and site of the Temple, and as the place of Christ's passion and crucifixion. The identification of Jerusalem as a sacred site of Islam is based on a extra-Qur'anic association of the Temple Mount as the base of Mohamed's flight into Heaven, and it is difficult for me to see this as anything other than a justification, post facto, for the Moslem occupation of the sacred places of Judaism and Christianity. But the very effectiveness of this justification over time -- and the material, architectural expression of it in Al-Haram al-Sharif -- means that Jerusalem has become a sacred site for Moslems.

But the sacredness of Jerusalem to Islam would only form part of my view on the modern Arab-Israeli conflict if I believed that the right or wrong of who occupies what square mile of the Middle East was determined by appeal to scripture or other religious grounds and, as I hope my brief recounting of the evolution of my views on the situation makes clear, this is not the case. I know that there are some Christians -- notably American and Protestant -- who are ardently pro-Israeli for religious reasons, but I'm certainly not among them. In the time when I used to consider myself clearly pro-Israeli, my reasons were never religious.

Now I just try to keep myself honest and encourage others to do the same.

John Hudson's picture

As often seems to happen when I turn my thoughts to this topic, something comes to my attention that helps me further past the rhetoric and propaganda. Rather than saying anything more in this thread, I'm simply going to recommend to everyone this deeply humane portrait of the Israeli novelist Amoz Oz. It is one of those rare pieces of writing about Israel, Zionism and the Palestinians that doesn't call forth opinion, but reminds one how to sit back and look at another human.

b's picture

hello, i know this is an old thread, and reading through some of it i realize the conflict, i will leave it to that, but i will only comment on this or add an info on this quote which i feel must be corrected:

i really admire james hudson for his comments.. but i have to correct on this one:

"It is very telling that the word Jerusalem does not appear even once in the Qur'an, while it appears many hundreds of times in both the Jewish Bible and the Christian New Testament."

1. Al-Aqsa Mosque is the second oldest mosque in Islam after the Ka'ba in Mecca, and is third in holiness and importance after the mosques in Mecca and Medina.
research on it..

2. where it is mentioned in english translation:
Glory to (Allah) Who did take His Servant for a Journey by night
from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque,
whose precincts We did bless,
- in order that We might show him some of Our Signs:
for He is the One Who heareth and seeth (all things). [Qur'an 17:1]

Al-Masjid El-Aqsa is an Arabic name which means the Farthest Mosque. which is in jerusalem..

3. It was the place at which Prophet Mohammad, PBUH, made his Miraj- ascending to skies- during Al Isra and Miraj (Night Journey). research on it if you want more..

4. God wanted Al Aqsa to receive Mohammad, PBUH, in his Isra, because Jerusalem was a common ground for Jewish and Christian faiths. It is a gesture that Islam has been a universal massage for all faiths and peoples.

i understand this is not a discussion about religion, just replying, i usually wouldnt care..

quran is the miracle of islam as mohammad was illetirate and everyone at the time knew that, it was told to him by gabriel...
and after that, that was the last connection between the angels and the humans done until this date... this is why they say islam is the last [book] religion,

totally free we all are what we believe.. im just adding some info!!!

back to topic:
in my honest opinion:
WE HAVE TO LEARN FROM THIS CONFLICT AS >>>>HUMANS<<<<.... not as muslims, nor as jews, nor as zionists, nor as christians, but as HUMANS, on the spiritual evolution of man...

there is a point in all this, which is to hear each other's points, what matters most, is not the wars, not the conflict, nor the egos of neither sides, but to know that we have to pass this one to reach the next level...

every faith has one message... take it, and collect them all together... to see the bigger picture...

war is war, it means nothing, people dieing its happening, what can we do, on both sides, now we should think of our spiritual evolution before its too late, and what we can do about it, for our children... maybe by stopping wars i dunno ;p its a snow ball this war issue, ..

really sorry to revive such a topic after all these times, i was just tempted to correct the last info!!! thank you !!!!!

b.

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