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strange happenings « Previous | |Next »
July 1, 2004

As I understand it, Zionism maintains that Jews could not truly be at home outside of Israel and that anti-Semitism would always catch up with them,asit did with the Nazi's. The Zionist theorists in the 20th century were mostly European Jews who associated anti-Semitism with Christian anti-Semitism. These Zionist thinkers represented the Jewish state as a haven from Jewish insecurity in the Diaspora in Europe. Those who immigrated to Israel did so in order to be able to live authentic Jewish lives.

That background---the tragic and horrific deaths of the six million Jews who perished in the evil of the Nazi Holocaust ----is the basis for Australian sympathy and support for the Israeli nation-state, including those on the left who are now routinely denounced as anti-Semitic. Fissures have developed.

If we cut to the present we find strange things have happened. American Jews who immigrated to Israel now see their former homeland as sacrificing Israel. Liberalism is regarded with suspicion. The settlers regard their occupation of Palestinian land as their homeland and say they will fight the disengagement proposed by the Israeli state. They say that:


"... it is legal, moral and ethical to defend one's self, one's family, one's property, one's land. Anyone arriving to expel men, women and children from their homes must be willing to accept the consequences of their actions. People will not sit quietly by, as sheep being led to slaughter."


There is little recognition here that these settlers represent the survival of colonialism in the 21st century. The words "settlements" and "settlers" signify a process of occupation based on soldiers and armed civilian groups taking over hilltops, uprooting trees and crops, stealing water reserves, and blocking access to an indigenous population's freedom of movement and right to earn a living, go to school, get to the doctor, or visit family and friends. They accept that Israel is, and should be, an occupying force in Gaza and the West Bank.

What has happened is that Zionism has become an ideology that states that one group has, and should have, more value, rights, and opportunities than another group. Israel is a democracy for its Jewish citizens, but its Palestinian citizens who now comprise 20% of the Jewish State's population) are discriminated against. Around one million Palestinians in Israel and nearly three million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza are, on the receiving end of legally codified and militarily backed discrimination that justifies the current dehumanizing treatment of Palestinians.

What we have in Israel and the diaspora in Australia is a deep shift to a conservatism that highlights security and says that it is equivalent to, and identical with, the nation and the state of Israel. Liberalism is deemed to be traitorous.

In the light of this it is refreshing to see the Israel High Court of Justice order the defense establishment to re-examine the route of part of the separation wall. The court upheld the army's right to build the fence for security reasons - though not for political ones. The fence, it said, could not be used to annex territory to Israel. It ordered changes to 30 kilometers of the fence route northwest of Jerusalem. The court ruled that everything must be done to minimize hardship to Palestinians living in the area.

No doubt various members of the conservative Likud will call for the Knesset to bar judicial review of the fence's route, thereby showing their lack of commitment to the institutions that underpin liberal democracy. For them one of the pillars of democracy (the independence of the judiciary in this case) should be sacrificed to defend the interests of the national security state.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:27 AM | | Comments (35)
Comments

Comments

Indeed to issue with Israel is that many people, Jewish, Israeli or otherwise, is that they do not see a distinct difference with being critical of Israel, and being critical of Judaism.

In other words, to question Israel and Israeli actions is to question Judaism as a faith, in other words to be anti-semetic.

I ran into all kinds of trouble when I condemed many of the Israeli reactions to protests in the Gaza Strip, or when I pointed out the flaws in the Israeli settlements.

I was labelled as Anti-Semetic, Grand Dragon of the KKK, and a left-wing bigot.

Once you realise the distinction between Judaism and Israel, then you can think clearly on the whole issue.

"The words "settlements" and "settlers" signify a process of occupation"

Yes well thats because they are the terms YOU use to describe them. Israeli's just use words like "Jews" living in "Communities".

The tragedy is many of the settlers were encouraged to settle by subsidies from the Israeli government. Their descendants now have legitimate expectations too. My utopian solution
(1) dismantle all settlements, reutrn Israel to its 1940s borders.
(2) compensate each settler and compensate all 'right of return' Palestians. Surely this can't cost more than the millions already spent on arms, etc?
(3) settlers have choice to take money and go elsewhere or take money and go back to Israel proper. no compromise on this.I'm sure they would have no problem going to other countries if they wanted to, but it would probably be in their better interests to return to the Jewish State,
(4) Palestinians will probably need to be resettled into Western countries as it's doubtful israel will want them back (in part because of demographic considerations, goes against the Jewish State idea, etc)
(5) Australia should do its part and happily. A bunch of enterprising Palestinian families, freed from ancient tribalistic hatreds with monetary compensation, bringing with them the trading skills of the Levant. Catallaxy!

PS when I refer to Palestians I of course mean the 'right of return' Palestinians now currently brooding away in refugee camps and turned into suicide bomber fodder by opportunistic Saudi-funded theocratic terrorists. Palestinians already in Israel propert should be entitled to full civil and political rights.

Unknown Israeli,

Re my phrase 'The words "settlements" and "settlers" signify a process of occupation'.

These are not just my words as you say. They are quite common in the public discourse within Israel.

You are being too cute. There is such a thing as public reason that is not a collection of individual opinions.

It is better to acknowledge the occupation of Palestinian homeland through the instrument of the settlements than deny it, is it not?

The really interesting question here is why Gary is so obsessed with the Jews. He devotes an amount of space on this blog to Israel that is completely disproprtionate to the size of the Jewish state. Israel is a little country of 6 million people half a world away from Adelaide.

I am MOT (member of tribe), and thus, as a Jew, I have a natural, and even personal interest in the fate of my kin in my ancestral homeland. As far as I can divine, Gary is not. So what's his excuse?

Why are the Jews such news to you, Gar?

Vos,
the long and short answer is deliberative democracy.

That signifies a dissatisfaction with the dominant schools of liberal political thought and its concept of public reason

That means too many significant moral and political issues are taken off the political agenda.

Deliberative democracy is about widening the agenda of political discussion beyond what liberalism allows.

'The really interesting question here is why Gary is so obsessed with the Jews. He devotes an amount of space on this blog to Israel that is completely disproprtionate to the size of the Jewish state. Israel is a little country of 6 million people half a world away from Adelaide.'

So there ought to be a rule for foreign affairs commentary which limits the amount of comment according to the size of the country? That's a bit programmatic, even Leninist, for a freedom loving wingnut like you VOS.

You're being too cute by half as well. Concern about Israel rises in direct proportion to the unacceptable nature of it's actions and attitudes, which we, by virtue of our blind allegiance to the US, ostensibly support. Many of us are appalled by that fact, but even more worried about the effect Israeli and US behaviour is having on the people who may or may not grow up to become our nightmare, the terrorist committed to killing our children. Israel is a clear and present danger to Australian security in ways that much larger nations like say Poland or India will never be. All this is prosaically obvious to anyone with balance on the issue.

'I am MOT (member of tribe), and thus, as a Jew, I have a natural, and even personal interest in the fate of my kin in my ancestral homeland.'

This shouldn't blind you to the realities, the consequences of your kin's intransigence and cruelty. Lots of MOTs seem to manage this distinction, but you, despite your hectoring pretence of ivory tower detachment, can't separate your opinions from your feelings. It's entirely understandable, but that doesn't make it any more acceptable.

'As far as I can divine, Gary is not. So what's his excuse?'

Oh he must be antisemitic, eh? Come on VOS, that approach must surely be approaching it's use-by date, even for you. Gary's excuse is the same as mine; a genuine, and informed concern for the future. A knowledge of how fragile the roads to a decent future are, what with extremist partisans on both sides of what is, as you point out, a smallish ethno-religious feud of long-standing, but one which has dire implications for us all.

I think we ought to be looking at breaking off, or at least downgrading diplomatic relations with Israel. Our alignment with them has become too dangerous for us to sustain. A change of government which led to serious Israeli peace overtures would reverse that, but right now, it is not a nation with which I want my country to be associated with.

'Why are the Jews such news to you, Gar?'

The answer doesn't lie on Gary's side of the equation, despite your efforts to suggest this. Look a little closer to home VOS.

Sorry Glenn,

But that dog just won't hunt. Australia is not a provider of foreign aid to Israel. So, there's no connection that would warrant Gary's Jewish obsession there. As for your postulate that Australia's relationship to the US somehow makes Oz complicit in what you erroneously portray as Jewish sin, that's a 6 degrees of separation argument that is simply fatuous.

You call for Australia to sever diplomatic ties with Israel. Yet, you seem quite happy to maintain bi-lateral relations with such paragons of democratic virtue as North Korea, Iran and Cuba. You seem remarkably unperturbed by the posting of Australian ambassadors to these nations where political dissent is punished by imprisonment, or worse. But, when it comes to the only country in the Middle East with free elections and a free press - off with those ties!!!

And, when the focus of that inconsistency; of that disproportionate bile happens to be the only
Jewish state in the world... hmmm... now isn't that curious? And, of course, Israel isn't the only ethnically defined nation in the world. The Federal Republic of Germany gives preferential immigration rights to ethnic Germans. The ARAB Republic of Egypt is a quintessential ethnic state, so defined in its national title. But, I see no calls on your part to shut down the embassy in Cairo.

And, what about the Islamic Republic of Iran, where ethnic and religous minorities are subjected to the harshest of persecution? It's AOK to keep an Aussie ambassador in Teheran, right?

But, what is it called when the Jewish state is subjected to standards and expectations that are not imposed on others? What is it called when the only Jewish state is castigated for imaginary sins that, even if true, would pale by comparison with happenings right across her borders that curiously don't elicit the same sort of criticism and animus? What is it called when the criticism is so one-sided, unbalanced and virulent that it calls into question the legitimacy of the only Jewish state to exist?

Indeed, what is it called when Jews are subjected to such bias and discrimination? Hmmm, Glenn. You figure it out.


And, as for your assertion that Israel is a "clear and present danger to Australian security," I don't think the Golani Brigade will be storming ashore at Boni Beach any time soon. A nuclear armed kleptocratic regime with an erratic madman at the helm in Pyongyang is less of a danger than those evil Yids in Tel Aviv, you say?

Pure unadulterated crap.

Gary:

Given its incomprehensibility, I can only regard your last post as an example of the sort of post-modernist jargon that passes for discourse in the contemporary academy.

So, the reason for your utterly disproportionate focus on the Jews is:

"deliberative democracy."

Huh? What the hell does that mean? But, when you try to elaborate, the turbidity of your prose becomes even more opaque:

"That signifies a dissatisfaction with the dominant schools of liberal political thought and its concept of public reason"

What tha?

What on earth does that have to do with your Jewish obsession? "Dominant schools of liberal political thought?" Huh?

I posed a simple and direct question: To recapitulate:

"The really interesting question here is why Gary is so obsessed with the Jews. He devotes an amount of space on this blog to Israel that is completely disproprtionate to the size of the Jewish state. Israel is a little country of 6 million people half a world away from Adelaide.

I am MOT (member of tribe), and thus, as a Jew, I have a natural, and even personal interest in the fate of my kin in my ancestral homeland. As far as I can divine, Gary is not. So what's his excuse?

Why are the Jews such news to you, Gar?"

The question still stands unanswered. At least comprehensibly so.

Deliberative democracy is about public reasoning on public issues of importance.

It places importance on public debate within the broader public realm, and not just within the political institutions of parliamentary liberalism.

It seeks and fosters a vibrant civil society of associational life as a way to contest the hegemonic discourses within the nation state.

The aim is bring more issues and areas of public life under democratic control; rather than leave then in the hands of the wise few---as held by Burkean conservatives.

And what does this in any way have to do with your obsessive focus on the Jews?

That is the question on the table, not a regurgitation of material from a first year political science theory text.

Why write about Iraq so much? I don't hear you getting on your soapbox about that.

The reason that jews are written about so much is because they engage in activites that are rather controversial.

Israel is a state that is committing genocide against the palestinians. Whether it is 'TO PROTECT' the jewish people or not.

Although the very idea of creating Israel was stupid to begin with, the world cannot be indina givers. So what's the solution?

Well Israel has setup settlements inside the palestinians land ILLEGALLY. So remove said settlements. Seems like a good idea to me.

I admit that the Palestinians have a lot to answer to, certain individuals and groups have committed serious crimes against humanity. But remember that Israel isn't squeaky clean.

It is a cycle where both enter the arena and step up the violence in what seems to be an attempt that one will surrender. Neither will.

Israel has got away with murder, literally, time and time again. THAT IS ISRAEL THE STATE. Shoot first (at little children with stones) and then ask questions. Why? To save the poor Israeli families that might have been killed when these children grew up (which they wont now because they are dead) and became suicide bombers right?

Don't you see how stupid this is? Australia doesn't give foreign aid to Israel for a very good reason.

1. they already have enough money to deal with social issues.
2. Australia doesn't want it's tax payers money contributing to the escalating violence in that area of the middle east.

So what solutions does Israel have to this little 'problem'?

Well their replica of the Final Solution didn't quite work (irony if I have ever seen it), and that wall doesn't solve the issue, it just tries to ignore it in the hope that it will go away.

Israel will NEVER have to answer to any of it's war crimes on par with many Arab Nations you would call a disgrace, because it is a Jewish State, and we are suppose to be nice and feel sorry for the jews right?

Nick:

Your posting is rife with mistatements and factual errors.

It's obvious why Iraq is legitimately in the news. You have American troops directly involved in a war. America is the world's sole superpower. Ergo, it's newsworthy. Duh.

As for your assertion that Israel is committing genocide against the Arabs, you have your players reversed. There is no policy of genocide by Israel towards the Palestinians. Sure, the Palestinians are suffering the economic ill-effects of yet another war they themselves started. But, genocide? Not even close.

By contrast, the Palestinians and Arabs have repeatedly embarked upon conflicts with Israel that have overtly genocidal war aims. Take for example the promise by the head of the Arab League that followed the Arab rejection of the UN Partition Plan in 1947 - "this will be a war of momentous massacre that will be spoken of like the crusades or the Mongol massacres." The Aras have repeatedly attempted to commit genocide against the Jews. They failed. Tough titty.

Your assertion that Israel's creation was "stupid to begin with" is illustrative of your skewed perspective on this issue. I think that Jewish holocaust survivors who continued to be persecuted throughout post-war Europe would disagree with your assessment.

There is no "cycle of violence." There is repeated instances of Arab/Palestinian resort to war after rejecting compromise proposals, and Israel defending itself from Arab/Palestinian aggression.

As far as Israel getting away with murder, not true. The Palestinian habit of using kids to shield armed fighters has been copiously documented by objective sources. So when the Israelis return fire aimed at them by AK-47 wielding gunmen who are in the midst of a crowd of stone throwing teenagers, some times those teenagers are hit.

But, check what international law has to say on the subject. It is a war crime to use civilians to shield military activity. The Hague convention and Geneva Protocol stipulate this quite clearly. By contrast, Israeli soldiers are well within their rights to return fire against those who are shooting at them.

And, when a particular Israeli soldier violates his rules of engagement, he is courtmartialled, as we see in the case of the soldier who apparently shot British pro-Palestinian agitator Tom Hurndell without sufficient justification.

Moreover, you state, in bold letters, that Israel's settlements in the occupied territories are ILLEGAL! Sorry, but that's not true, either. International law is a notoriously murky and politicized business. But, some things are clear beyond dispute. General Asembly resolutions have no force of international law. They are merely a means by which the majority of the UN can express its views in a non-binding manner. And, given that the Assembly has long been dominated by a bunch of non-democratic third world regimes that prefer to use Israel as a scapegoat to divert public attention from their own domestic crimes, little wonder that the GA has passed many a resolution denouncing Isarel. But, these UN General Assembly resolutions that make this assertion have no force of international law, and it's even questionable whether the 4th Geneva Convention can be applied to the West Bank and Gaza.

Sorry, just because you and a majority of 3rd world dictators say the settlements are illegal doesn't make it so. They may be, in some instances, politically unwise, but that's something else entirely.

Your claim that Israel is trying to replicate the Final Solution is simply imbecilic. It only highlights your historical ignorance and your political intemperance.

You might want to crack open a history book or two before you embarass yourself again with such an asinine pseudo-analogy.

'Your assertion that Israel's creation was "stupid to begin with" is illustrative of your skewed perspective on this issue.'

You've got the skew. The rest aren't MOT of either side and can judge the issue with more balance than you're able to muster, not that you try very hard. Had an Arab state been imposed on you and yours, your behaviour would be a very close analogue of those you hate with every fibre of your being.

There are more and more people like us and less and less of you and at some point you lot will have to cry uncle and start seeing sense or you'll have to cop the consequences of abandonment by the civilised world, a world Israel is a long way from entering. At some point you may have to make the calculation I keep asking you about and you keep avoiding - 'is my primary allegiance to Australia or Israel'?

You're welcome to stay if it's the former, but you have our best wishes for your own jihad (providing you can keep it over there) should you decide to go. We'll do a whip round to defray the costs so that you can leave all us morally relative lefties behind and live in the eye of the storm where you belong.

How about it?

Eh, an Arab state WAS imposed on me and mine. And a Roman state, and a Byzantine State, and an Ottoman State, and a British protectorate. There was always a healthy Jewish population in the Land of Israel throughout the ages.

As for your dual loyalty charge, I am loyal to Australia, and I have much affection for Israel. I see no conflict between these two sentiments. The lion's share of the Australian public and politicians share this view.

By the way, are you going to make similar "love it or leave it" demands of the thousands of Australians of Greek extraction who were recently seen frolicking in the streets bedecked with Hellenic flags?

Are you going to make similar accusations of dual loyalty to those celebrating their Greek patriotism in Sydney and Melbourne? After all, if they barrack for the Greek soccer team, you never know where their true loyalties lie, eh?

Or, are such implications of putatitive treason only applied to the Jews?

On a grammatical note, let me express the hope that you don't have any role in marking those exams at Sydney Uni that you arrange. Especially those from Department of English.

In your last post you wrote:

"There are more and more people like us and less and less of you..."

Putting aside for a moment this silly assumption of a rising lefty political tide, your assertion should read:

"... fewer and fewer of you..."

Ah, how standards have declined in the groves of academe.

Vos
You write:
"And what does this [deliberative democracy]in any way have to do with your obsessive focus on the Jews?"

Here I am trying working my butt off to interest folks in the geopolitics of the Middle East and you reduce it down the Jews.Reduce geopolitics down to race.
My my.

Crap, Gary:

You are working your butt off to try and purvey your leftie vision of the Middle East that exudes hypercriticism of Israel and an uncritical sympathy towards the Arabs.

But, once again you duck the question. Why the Middle East? Or, to be more specific, why that aspect of the Middle East that focuses upon the Arab Israeli conflict?

You can call it "the geopolitics of the Middle East" until you are blue in the face. But, the fact is that you are hurling all sorts of unwarranted shit directly at Israel, which happens to be the world's only Jewish state. Hence the "reduction of geopolitics into race."

The only issue is that you're the one doing it, bubba.

If anything good for cultural conservatism has come out of the post-2000 chaos in the Levant, it would have to be the sudden fashionable concern on the Left with "dual loyalties".

I've been banging on about the evils of multiculturalism and dual loyalties for some time now, with the Left prattling on about how dual loyalties are wonderful. Happily, with the Likud amen corner issue in the United States, suddenly the Left is beginning to argue itself out of the multiculturalist quagmire it led the rest of us into.

As a fan of Norman Tebbit and his "cricket test" for immigrants ("which side do you bat for?"), I must say it is heartening that dual loyalty has been raised as an issue.

As for Jason Soon's call for Australia to be flooded with Palestinians, I'm sure it sounds wonderful in a luvvies paradise... I don't know where to start quite frankly. What the hell is he thinking? Hey Jason! I thought you were a libertarian. Why the heck do you want to import people from an authoritarian social structure mired in religious bigotry?

The last thing Australia needs is to accelerate it's already booming Muslim population growth just to make the luvvies feel good about themselves.

Glenn Condell has demonstrated the dangers of allowing the liberal-left anywhere near foreign policy (that means my Left-wing quarantine list now includes DFAT, Immigration and Indigenous Affairs).

"I think we ought to be looking at breaking off, or at least downgrading diplomatic relations with Israel. Our alignment with them has become too dangerous for us to sustain. A change of government which led to serious Israeli peace overtures would reverse that, but right now, it is not a nation with which I want my country to be associated with."

This is a very bad idea. How the heck are you supposed to bring people to their senses if you are going to cut off all dialogue with them? Crikey! The more I think about the implications, the more bonkers it sounds. I'll get back to this later.

Greater Israel is a very bad thing, not only for the Palestinians, but for Israelis too. It is based on a spurious implication that Jordan poses a conventional threat to Israel. Despite the oft-stated concern of many Israelis that they don't want a "demographic timebomb", their actions are leading to this situation precisely.

I'd like someone to explain how increasing Israeli settlements among non-Israeli West Bank inhabitants is going to be achieved without importing a demographic "timebomb", integrated in an Israeli economy now reliant on cheap labour. Well, there are only two possibilities - 1. making the Palestinians part of Israel, which will lead to civil war. 2. endlessly extending the "security fence" in an ever-complicating maze of looping, weaving and threading in a desperate attempt to keep the Palestinians close but at arms length.

There's your time-bomb. If the Israelis find themselves too closely tied and populated within the West Bank, the demographic balance of power will eventually call for the dismantling of the "Bantustans" and the holding of elections in a united Palestine. You might not like to think you're in 1980's South Africa, but you'll be there if you're not careful.

It's a paradox, seeing a society that both hates and needs an increasingly bitter and persecuted neighbouring people. However, it is always the way - the richer society relies on the neighbouring poorer society for its chores, while maintaining that the poor are a threat to national security.

I hope Likud has thought all this through before they think they can get away with their encroaching population transfer.

Now, back to Glenn's loony ideas. No, we can't break off diplomatic relations with Israel. That is an offensive idea. We are talking conventional diplomacy here, and to suggest that Israel should be kicked out of Canberra, and China, Russia, North Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Syria, Iran et al kept in, is a devilish idea.

Glenn has shown before his secret desire to shift the regional balance of power from Israel to Iran/Syria and Jordan/Egypt, as if it were a self-evidently "progressive" thing to do. It's a monstrous action to take, and I hope our Dear Leader doesn't dream of it.

There is no case at all for cutting people off on human rights, and, might I add, it is completely hypcritical that only "white" countries like Israel and pre-1990 South Africa are ever targeted, while "coloured" countries are given a pass.

This all comes down to the ethnic obsessions of the Left, which I don't need to go into much further, however if there was a case for cutting diplomatic ties on human rights grounds, then the Left has certainly never made it in good faith.

'Eh, an Arab state WAS imposed on me and mine. And a Roman state, and a Byzantine State, and an Ottoman State, and a British protectorate'

If you're so familiar with what it's like, then why are you so keen to do it to another people?A reasonable person might wonder why no lesson was learned.

'I am loyal to Australia, and I have much affection for Israel. I see no conflict between these two sentiments.'

Can you ever imagine such a scenario? If you can't, you don't have the balance required to make an informed judgement. When your loyalty to Aust and your 'affection' for Israel come together, as they may well do at some stage, which will yield?

'The lion's share of the Australian public and politicians share this view'

Balls. Done your own survey have you? Among those that know the first thing about what's happening over there, I guarantee you the majority oppose Israel's illegal occupation, extra judicial killings, the fence etc.

'By the way, are you going to make similar "love it or leave it" demands of the thousands of Australians of Greek extraction who were recently seen frolicking in the streets bedecked with Hellenic flags?'

Gawd, I've seen you clutch some straws during our little jousts, but that takes the biscuit. Have the Greeks stolen land from their neighbours and killed vast numbers of them, thereby turning half the world against everyone associated with them? I must have missed something; I thought those people you refer to were celebrating a rare sporting success? Can you delineate the correspondences I can't see?

'After all, if they barrack for the Greek soccer team, you never know where their true loyalties lie, eh?'

Desperation. I almost feel sorry for you. Almost.

'Ah, how standards have declined in the groves of academe.'

That's all you've got isn't it? If it keeps you warm at night to imagine that at least your grammar is superior to mine, even if your 'arguments' aren't, then you're welcome to that delusion. It certainly won't be lonely.

'with the Left prattling on about how dual loyalties are wonderful'

Examples please.

'This is a very bad idea. How the heck are you supposed to bring people to their senses if you are going to cut off all dialogue with them'

Do we have diplomatic relations with the PLO? If not, why not? Surely if we want to bring them to their senses we have to foster dialogue with them, no? Do we have dip/rels with Mugabe? Should we have had diplomatic rels with Hitler on the grounds that we had to maintain dialogue in order to help bring change about?

You see how silly this formulation is. In effect, you're saying there is never any circumstance to warrant breaking or downgrading dip/rels. Which of course ignores the fact that, just as maintaining rels may be the most appropriate way to help foster change in some cases, breaking them off may be the best bet in others.

I can sort of imagine what your response to this will be, but I'll just hang fire and see if I'm right.

'make the luvvies feel good about themselves'

and the use of a word like 'luvvies' makes you feel good about yourself too, doesn't it?

'No, we can't break off diplomatic relations with Israel. That is an offensive idea'

Your bias is showing. I just can't imagine you summoning that sort of outrage at a suggestion that we downgrade ties with say Iran. Oh that'd be alright, they're a theocracy doncha know! A Muslim one to boot. You seem to think that no matter what Israel does it's entitled to sup at the top table because it's more like us. A democracy doncha know. When some of think what Israel really needs is a strong message - we don't want to be associated with you while you behave like this. Pull your socks up or you're out in the cold. That sort of thing.

But no, we apparently have to keep talking to them no matter what depths they plumb. I can't see you extensing the same courtesy to their opponents.

'to suggest that Israel should be kicked out of Canberra, and China, Russia, North Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Syria, Iran et al kept in, is a devilish idea'

Are any of those countries currently engaging in activities which increase the chances of my family being affected by terrorists, now and especially into the future? If they are, out they go.

'Glenn has shown before his secret desire to shift the regional balance of power from Israel to Iran/Syria and Jordan/Egypt'

In your dreams. Again, examples please.

'There is no case at all for cutting people off on human rights,'

Are you serious? No case ever? Stalin? Rwanda? You'd have kept talking, shaking hands, trading?

'and, might I add, it is completely hypcritical that only "white" countries like Israel and pre-1990 South Africa are ever targeted, while "coloured" countries are given a pass. This all comes down to the ethnic obsessions of the Left,'

How many left govts were in power when all these terrible juddgements were made? Was the UN left wing too? A bit of a stretch Steve. And it bothers me that your subtext appears to be that the anti-apartheid campaign was wrong, woolly-headed leftishness run amok. Were you a supporter of pre-90 Sth African govts? I guess that might explain your instinctive support for Israel. But it's not a good look.

Vos,
Note that it is you throwing around the racism slur through equating criticism with racism --(ie anti-semitism).

The criticism of the Israeli national security state in the post comes from within Israel. It was made by the Israel High Court of Justice.

Does that criticism make the High Court leftie? Is my post about that decision purveying a leftie vision of the Middle East.

Are you nuts? I've NEVER called for a downgrading of relations with Iran or even North Korea. There is no case for downgrading relations unless you have declared war against a country. Even on human rights. The only country being isolated is your own.

That doesn't preclude a human rights foreign policy, of course.

Now, we don't have diplomatic relations with the PLO because they are not a state. They are supposed to be some kind of autonomous interim administration. That's not to say we shouldn't have an envoy somewhere in the West Bank with a few staffers, but it would be ridiculous to put an embassy there.

As I've said - the only grounds for cutting relations can be based on a formal declaration of war.

Now, I've picked up Glenn on his desire to shift the ME BOP away from Israel and towards a group of Arab despotisms in previous GST postings. One was when he said we should cut all military aid to Israel, backed up by gloating over how the Israelis were really just little boys shit-scared about all those big tough Arabs.

That was disturbing because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a bilateral issue between the parties. Why we would seek to drag the issue back to the 1970s and 80s by making it a multilateral issue is beyond me. That's called "escallation".

I'll also point out that with Joseph Stalin, we DID continue shaking hands and talking. We had diplomatic relations with the Soviets. And a good thing too.

But finally, the subtext of my previous posting was not that the anti-Apartheid campaign was completely wrong indeed black South Africans should have been properly incorporated into the state much earlier. And I'll leave aside the likely notion that many of the anti-Apartheid campaigners were motivated by a desire to create a Soviet ally on the Cape of Good Hope right where western oil supplies traveled from the Middle East.

My point is that the "international community" consisting of wet liberals in the US and a bunch of third world despotisms, is only interested in white oppressors. They never have a bad word to say against black or coloured oppressors. That's because they are complete hypocrites.

Idi Amin eats and kills a few hundred thousand people - nothing happens. Slobodan Milosevic kills 2000 people, many in self-defence - Serbia gets bombed, maimed and dismembered, it's economy destroyed, and a Taliban-statelet is created on it's cultural homeland. It's disgusting, but not surprising.

Gary:

The Israeli Supreme Court is an extremely activist institution from a judicial perspective. It is also dominated by leftl-leaning judges. But, if you read the decision closely, even they recognize that Israel has legitimate security concerns that warrant the building of the security obstacle. And, that's more than can be said for you.


The justices ordered a few minor alterations to the route of the fence. That's all.

'That doesn't preclude a human rights foreign policy, of course.'

he said, as an afterthought. What in God's name would be the point of having one if you didn't really mean it, if there were no circumstances in which you would use it? What you're really saying is 'being utterly selfish and weak in the face of atrocity as a matter of policy doesn't mean you can't have a window dressing human rights policy full of motherhood statements and hot air'. A policy of well meaning intent that could never translate into action. You do take realpolitik too far Steve.

'Now, we don't have diplomatic relations with the PLO because they are not a state.'

That was what I was waiting for. Why is there no Palestinian state? There is a Palestinian people, but what you infer is that they don't deserve our full attention like their oppressive neighbours because, poor fools, they don't have a STATE! Perhaps it is time for the world to do for the Palestinians now what it did for the Jews afer the war. High time.

Does the fact that one side of this mess is so shattered by the other that they haven't the tools to build a state and that any national structure needs to be approved by their oppressors - does this dreadfully one-sided state of affairs mean that the people most affected in this conflict, crushed really, by 40 years of murder and occupation, are condemned to invisibility because so far as you're concerned, they have not evolved into the worthiness implicit in a people who haved managed to cobble together a STATE!

It's the sort of thing that sounds all right on paper Steve, particularly if, happily, you don't belong to a people sidelined by your nostrums.

'Now, I've picked up Glenn on his desire to shift the ME BOP away from Israel and towards a group of Arab despotisms in previous GST postings'

Oh bullshit. You'll have to do some homework if you want to try and make that stick and even then it will be a misinterpretation of whatever I said. I don't hold and have never held that opinion. BOPs are more your line Steve, people are mine.

'we should cut all military aid to Israel,'

Well I'd advocate that if I thought we actually did supply military aid. We don't, do we? Jesus, not that.

'backed up by gloating over how the Israelis were really just little boys shit-scared about all those big tough Arabs'

All ethnic groups in a position of domination over rival groups (normally, as in this case, boosted by it's role as local satrapy for a great power) will at some point confront the temptation to abuse that position. Much of Israel has succumbed sad to say, with regular chest beating declamations of how brave and tough this little democracy is, beating back the forces of evil on it;s own when any fool can tell you that without US support, Israel would be an idea or a memory only. Call it gloating if you will (which is a bit emotional coming from so painstakingly detached an observer, betraying perhaps a visceral preference or distaste?) but it's just a prosaic probability for me.

I always try to imagine the shoe on the other foot, the crowing triumphalists beaten and cowed, and vice versa. If you can't do the same, or won't, then I think your balance needs some work.

'That was disturbing because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a bilateral issue between the parties.

Sorry, cut off midstream..

'That was disturbing because the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a bilateral issue between the parties. '

You don't say? And if China and the US headed to war, would that too be a 'bilateral issue between the parties'? If China decided to trump up some reason to invade us, how would you react to an American President declaring that it was a 'bilateral issue between the parties'? Fine and dandy?

Virtually all of your hard-headed, no nonsense policy prescriptions are based exclusively on what you shortsightedly perceive as self-interest. You'd make a decent tactician, but a poor strategist. At some point, win/lose scenarios where we are always the winners, will come back and bite us on the arse, with interest. You sometimes make sense in a narrow, micro sense, but never in the macro, or big picture sense, handicapped as you are by this over-riding notion of politics as combat between eternal enemies rather than as a means of gradually making enemies friends. It's an attitude you share with the neocons; I hope that, like them, it's on it's way out.

'Idi Amin eats and kills a few hundred thousand people - nothing happens. Slobodan Milosevic kills 2000 people, many in self-defence - Serbia gets bombed, maimed and dismembered, it's economy destroyed, and a Taliban-statelet is created on it's cultural homeland. It's disgusting, but not surprising.'

I agree there's a lot of imbalance in the attention paid to problems according to geography. But you, the high priest of primarily self-interested policy, surely can see that while a few thousand dead Ugandans was terrible, it posed no security threat to Europe, Russia or the US, whereas the events in the Balkans 15 years ago were potentially destabilising for the first two, and embarrassing to the rhetoric of the freedom-lovin' third.

I know you have a connection to that conflict, but surely you can see that a hands off attitude could have led to a situation worse than the admittedly poor one that obtains today. Certainly it would have been far worse for some.

Of course, what Glenn conveniently neglects to mention is the fact that the Palestinians have repeatedly been given the opportunity to have their own sovereign state. But, all of these proposals encompassed the principle of territorial compromise that would permit the existance of a Jewish state, as well. And, without exception, the Arabs/Palestinians rejected these proposals, choosing instead to try and gain the whole pie through military means, rather than to accept a deal that would share it.


The Peel Partition Plan (1937) Rejected by the Arabs while accepted by the Jews

The UN Partition Plan (1947) Rejected by the ARabs while accepted by the Jews

Peace talks concluding the Israeli War of Independence (1949) The Arabs refuse to make peace with Israel because that would involve recognition of the Jewish state. Instead, a mere ceasefire agreement is signed (this is why the 1967 "Green Line" between Jordan and Israel never attained the legal status of an international border

Israeli proposals to return 90%+ of the land captured during the Six Day War in return for peace (1967) The Arabs assemble in Khartoum and enunciate their famous "Three Noes" policy - No peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel

Camp David/Taba 200/01 President Clinton and Israeli PM Barak offer Arafat a sovereign state including all of Gaza and 95%+ of the WB within continguous borders.
Rejected by Arafat who chooses once again a war he cannot win

'Of course, what Glenn conveniently neglects to mention is the fact that the Palestinians have repeatedly been given the opportunity to have their own sovereign state'

On terms that you wouldn't consider for Israel for one nanosecond.

eh, Glenn ... on terms that the Jews both considered and accepted on repeated occasions.

Vos
You write:

"Gary's Jewish obsession"."Why the Middle East?" "you [Gary] are hurling all sorts of unwarranted shit directly at Israel, which happens to be the world's only Jewish state."

etc etc etc.

Your way of "arguing" is to abuse and attack the person. It is soapbox polemics that dismisses the ethos of deliberative democracy.

Australia is involved in the occupation of Iraq on the side of the US. The US strategy is supported by Israel and the Howard Government supports the Israeli position in the Middle East. The conflictual relationships beween Israel and the Arab states has a big impact on the geopolitics of the region.Hence Australians should be interested.

I'm interested in the geopolitics of the region its blowback in the Asia-Pacific Rim and the Australian response whichis to become the deputy sheriff of the US.

Whatis geopolitics to me is anti-semitism to you. I suggest that start reading a few American 9conservative-- think tanks so that you can understand the geopolitics of empire.

eh, Gary, democracy involves the acceptance of, and tolerance for arguments from the other side that you might find personally offensive. Freedom of speech means nothing unless you are willing to defend its extension to those whose views you despise.

So, let me go on record as stating I am unimpressed by your whinging about my polemical tactics. As Harry Truman once said: "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

You contend that your Jewish obsession with the Jews is justified because the US supports Israel, Israel supports the US, and Australia supports the both. Sorry, Gary, but that "6 degrees of separation" argument is lame and won't wash. Australia supports South Korea's policy of defending itself against North Korean aggression, but I don't hear you obsessing ad nauseum about the goings on in Seoul and Pyongyang.

As they say in Alabama, Gary, that dog just won't hunt.

And, by the way, there is no such word in the English language as "conflictual." "Conflict-ridden," perhaps. Conflicted, definitely. But "conflictual?" No way, no how.

And, on a final note, I lived for several years in DC, and am quite familiar with AEI, Heritage, Cato, Lexington, Hudson, Hoover, Manhattan, et al. So, I don't need any lectures from you about exposure to "conservative think tanks." I'll warrant that my contacts with such institutions are a helluva lot deeper and more personal than yours.

But, you and I have danced the dance around your delusions of American "imperialism." I rather conclusively demonstrated a few months that you willfully misrepresented a piece by Max Boot on the subject by citing the subeditor's headline that said something directly contravening the message in the body of the piece.

Quite convenient. But, also quite intellectually dishonest. But, I suppose all's fair in love, war and the campaign to malign Israel and America.

Australia is not at war in the Korean Peninsula. Nor is occupying any territory in the region.

Australia was at war in the Middle East and is a part fo the US occupation of Iraq and is a part of, and supports, the US imperial strategy in that region.

Australia should never have got involved. There was no substative threat to its national interest from the old Baarthist regime in Iraq.

But iis involved know and actively involved in the US imperial (global) strategy.

That strategy includes support for right-wing wing, nuclear-armed Israeli government that is aiming to become a dominant regional power. A regional power that is deeply involved in the geopolitics of the region.

Understanding the geopolitics is important because of the blowback effect of the war on terrorism on Australia in the Pacific Rim.

If you are up there with all your neo-con strategic thinkers, then start using your extensive knowledge to addressing the geopolitical issues of the region instead of hurling abuse.

Holy Shit, Gary!

This is is paranoid stuff, even for you. So, the Jewish state is a:

"right-wing wing [sic], nuclear-armed Israeli government that is aiming to become a dominant regional power,,,"

So, please explain this to me, for the intricate strategems of those evil Zionists are far too complicated for lil' ol' me to comprehend. Years ago Israel returned the Sinai penninsula to Egypt, which constituted over 90% of the territory captured by the Jewish state in its defensive war of 1967. And, now, the Israelis are going to withdraw unilaterally from Gaza, giving up yet more of its Six Day War booty.

I guess these progressive pullbacks are all part of a sophisticated Machiavellian plot to dominate the Arab Middle East by controlling less and less of it.

Ah, those crafty Jews! Only they would be able to come up with a plan so devilishly devious and ingenious. No wonder they run all the banks.... and all the media... and the government in Washington... and - is there anything I've forgotten? I must consult my Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I wouldn't want to omit any facet of Jewry's insidious global influence.

Vos,
you do not think geopolitically at all.

Behind Israel stands the US.

Together they are reshaping the Middle East to their geo-political interests. I accept the view that the US occupation of Iraq is part of an overall Israeli-American policy to redraw the political map of the Middle East.

Those interests involve increasing involvement of Israel in Iraq, eg. the Israeli-Kurdish link in Iraq. A strong independent federal democracy in Iraq would not be in Israel's interests.

Those geopolitical interests involve regime change in Syria and Iran.

Israel is the only nuclear power in the region. The US and Israel will take out any nuclear facilities being built in Syria or Iran. Israel will do it if the US backs away since Iran is the big threat for Israel.

It would seem to me that the balance of power lies with the US/Israeli axis at the moment , even with the disorder in Iraq.