Introduction to Bob Simon: Criticism welcome

Here’s the text of remarks I plan to make introducing Simon’s 60-Minutes piece. Suggestions welcome.

We’re about to examine Bob Simon’s lamely titled piece: “Is Time Running out for the Two-State Solution?”

Scientists would consider repeating failed experiments without learning from their mistakes irrational, and repeating experiments that blow up in your face, folly. Alas, that’s precisely what Simon invites us to do by restating all the failed assumptions that guided the previous peace-making experiemnts as if they were axiomatic truths:

• that to achieve a peaceful 2-state solution, Israel must retreat to the 1967 border
• that a Palestinian state has to be free of Jews and therefore Israel must dismantle all the settlements
• that the Palestinians would accept this withdrawl as sufficient for a real peace
• that the settlers are religious fanatics, the primary obsactle to peace
• that the “humiliating” checkpoints and separate roads are the product of Israeli land greed rather than a response to Palestinian terror
• that one can safely ignore the fanatic terrorism of the Palestinian camp, including the teaching of hatred that pervades their media
• that Israel has only three choices: full retreat, apartheid occupation or ethnic cleansing

In so doing he repeatedly misrepresents reality, disguises critical dimensions of the problem, exaggerates those that support his argument, and in the end, creates a perception that endangers:

• Israel, to whom he advises concessions that have consistently resulted in violence

• Palestinians, who will remain in the grip of a self-destructive fanatic leadership which he refuses to expose

• And, ultimately, the West, which, so badly misled, is likely to pursue policies that will benefit global Jihad and paralyze democratic defenses.

Inevitably, one must ask, is this intellectually dishonest, and if so, is it deliberate. We invite you to make up your own mind as we fisk this remarkable piece of “investigative journalism.”

72 Responses to Introduction to Bob Simon: Criticism welcome

  1. oao says:

    Palestinians, who will remain in the grip of a self-destructive fanatic leadership which he refuses to expose

    I am not sure this is just a leadership problem: this is a problem of arab culture and religion and the leadership is a reflection of that: it is representative of the palestinian public. it produces the same leadership that all arabs states produce.

    it is also a sort of vicious cycle: the leadership indoctrinates with the naqba myth, hatred and jihad, the population chooses leaders accordingly (when they cn choose) and the leaders are trapped in what they indoctrinated.

    no other kind of leadership can be produced.

  2. obsy says:

    oao: “I am not sure this is just a leadership problem”

    Leadership is one of the problems. Not the only one, but still a problem.

  3. Ak Khazar says:

    Simon has a long history of anti-Israel reporting, For a brief time–after he was captured during the first Gulf War, and had Iraqi captors call him, “Yahud,” and spit in his mouth–it seemed that he might have learned something, but evidently the lesson did not take.

  4. Richard Landes says:

    or… it did take, alas!

  5. Asher Pat says:

    Richard,

    the mistaken assumption that is not exposed here is that there ARE in existence people on the side opposite to Israel that are ready to accept Israel.

    Not millions, i challenge anyone to find a SINGLE one, even before the “taqiyya” principle…

    Even you, Richard, fall into the trap and mention from time to time the “moderates” and the fact that “most of the Arabs are law abiding and want to live in peace” – this is naive and surprising when YOU Richard say it.

    can you give me an example. i just put up two long essays on the false moderation of much of the arab/muslim world. i am unaware of making that statement. it’s not that i don’t believe it, it’s just that the definition of law-abiding, and peace, are quite fungible.

    Not “peace”, “fair solution” – these niceties always end in a little matter of the “right of return”.

    I think that these points (ie (i) that there are nil Arabs that trully and openly accept Israel, even on condition of territorial compromise; and, consequently (ii) that this conflict is existential) are not made strongly enough, cos any fair person will agree that under such conditions, Israel has no choice but to defend itself.

    well, “nil” is as much a stereotype as “most”; i suspect there are many arabs/muslims who wish their peer group weren’t so foolishly attached to dumping on the jews for honor’s sake. they just can’t speak. taqqiya works in many ways.

    I hope that you can incorporate it too.

  6. Cynic says:

    or… it did take, alas!

    Yes. It’s that Swedish disease – Stockholm Syndrome – which basically consists of scaring the heebies out of one and causing said one to become a nutter.

    Or.

    He’s on the take.

  7. SE says:

    Had this piece been titled something like, “This is the viewpoint of the Palestinians” (and leave out the interview with Weiss) it would have been easier to swallow, closer to the truth.

    actually not, because it presents a completely unrealistic (moderate) view of the conflict which doesn’t even correspond to Mustafa Barghouti’s other statements rl.

    “Returning to 1967 borders” is a linguistic coup of the Left. What is really meant is, “a return to the 1948 borders.” What we have now is (more or less) the 1967 borders.

    excellent point. i will now refer to them as the 1948 borders… or shd it be 1949? rl

    The axioms you list basically fall under the heading of: the Arabs are peaceful, peace-seeking victims, and Israel is a warlike aggressor.
    (And why should the Palestinian state be free of Jews any more than Israel should be free of Arabs?)

  8. Michelle Schatzman says:

    What do you think of the fact that lots of implantations in Judea-Samaria are in fact built on private arab land (see a recent report documented on Haaretz)? Is it such a great argument to defend settlers, knowing this fact? I understand the argument that the Palestinians want a judenrein state for themselves, while Israel contains 20% of non-Jews in its population. On the other hand, the implantation process is not precisely a clean process…

  9. Cynic says:

    Michelle,

    What is the link to the Haaretz piece?

    Haaretz is also able to neglect context and maybe some of that land was Jewish land bought before partition and then became private arab land when Jordan and Egypt took it away in the spoils of war in 48/49?

    Certainly parts of Gaza was Jewish owned before 48 and there are British Colonial Office records attesting to the deeds.

  10. Cynic says:

    One should not forget Hebron where the Jewish community was forcibly removed by the British after the 1929 massacre by the Arabs and lost their property to “private arab land”.

  11. oao says:

    or… it did take, alas!

    you got it. stockholm syndrome.

    Even you, Richard, fall into the trap and mention from time to time the “moderates” and the fact that “most of the Arabs are law abiding and want to live in peace” – this is naive and surprising when YOU Richard say it.

    there might be one or two, but they are invisible, they won’t raise their head and won’t admit it, and they have no political representation. the vast majority believe in the naqba, hate the jews and dream about getting everything they have. if the israeli arabs are like that, can the non-israeli be better?

    which basically consists of scaring the heebies out of one and causing said one to become a nutter.

    typical of the assimilating diaspora jew.

    And why should the Palestinian state be free of Jews any more than Israel should be free of Arabs?)

    the position of israel should have been from the start: the settlements are only part of the arab jewish refugees; if you want no jews in your state, then we want no arabs in our state — the india/pakistan solution. and they should have insisted oon it and repeated it as many times as the arabs complained about the settlements.

    What do you think of the fact that lots of implantations in Judea-Samaria are in fact built on private arab land (see a recent report documented on Haaretz)? Is it such a great argument to defend settlers, knowing this fact?

    i don’t find it a great argument, the one I suggest above is much better. cynuc’s comments only reinforce it.

  12. oao says:

    incidentally, there is a piece about the US jews who have invested in all the good causes–civil rights, you name it–yet have nothing to show for it except hate.

    they never learn.

    one of the proverbs of the hell of envy is: “no good turn goes unpunished.” rl

  13. obsy says:

    Michelle,

    I don’t think that this video will be about defending settlers, but about demonstrating lies in big media.

    Also, you shouldn’t blame all settlers for the doings of some.
    (Does that Haaretz article say that Mrs. Weiss is living on private Arab land?)

  14. Michelle Schatzman says:

    My apologies: the source

    and it reports on a leak from the map of the Civil Administration to Shalom Achshav. I have no idea of the worth of this information. I am going to look for other sources on the same subject.

    this is a nortoriously dishonest study.

    It’s OK to prove lies by MSM – I was objecting to the following headlines:
    (a) that a Palestinian state has to be free of Jews and therefore Israel must dismantle all the settlements
    (b) that the settlers are religious fanatics, the primary obstacle to peace

    which could be turned into a self-defeating explanation. I am well aware that the Palestinian want a judenrein state; I am also well aware that a significant proportion of the people living in the settlements are strictly non ideological: they just get a better deal. A (much) cheaper apartment or house, and larger quarters are pretty good arguments.

    However, there are indeed religious fanatics among the settlers, they are loud and they are heard ; moreover, there are quite a few fishy issues: not only the possible use of private arab land but also the way people settled in Hebron initially. Remember that Rabbi Levinger and friends wanted to spend Pessach in a hotel in Hebron, and they just stayed on.

    OK, one could (maybe) argue that land and houses belonged to the jews in Hebron, before the 1929 pogrom. Right. But what does that prove? Just after independence, the state of Israel appropriated private arab land belonging to absentee landlords. Perfectly understandable in 1948. But quite another matter in the context of Hebron property, in occupied Judea-Samaria.

    I am curious, Richard : how are you going to avoid these difficulties? The rest seems easier (??!!!).

    see below, independent comment.

    If I were to do the fisking, I would say simple things: the Palestinians want no jews in their state, while Israel has close to 20% muslim population – and this should be compared to the situation in most muslim countries : there are no Jews there, or almost none, with the exception of Morocco and Iran, which have small communities.

    Some Palestinians try to say that they would accept jews and christians as dhimmis. We should not believe them, since the Hamas persecutes christians in Gaza, though it pretends that it accepts christians as dhimmis.

    I would also say that there are religious fanatics among the settlers, but they are a minority, and in any case, a number of peace plans envision border rectification : a land exchange would be performed so as to attach the largest implantation blocks to Israel and give up equivalent land to the future state of Palestine. I would also say that there are quite a few religious fanatics on the other side.

    good points all.

    For a long time, I was very much opposed to the occupation of the west bank and Gaza (as long as Gaza was occupied). The perspective of having the Hamas in power in the west bank is so frightening that I do not know now what to think.

  15. oao says:

    The perspective of having the Hamas in power in the west bank is so frightening that I do not know now what to think.

    the alibama administration is now encouraging unity between hamas and fatah, which forces egypt to arrange it and fatah to accept it. fatah has just released WB hams prisoners.

    the former NSC adviser claims iran is pushing hamas to take over in the WB. the only thing that prevents this is IDF. but once the unity govt happens, fatah will be finished. some will become irrelevant, some will be eliminated and some will join hamas.

    once that happens, iran will make sure that the WB will become a 2nd gaza and it’ll be increasingly for IDF to control it, rockets will start flying into central israel.

    and this time the US will do nothing. the idiots it has in charge are busy destroying their allies and empowering their enemies.

    the US and the west are on their way to follow rome in crmbling before the barbarians.

  16. oao says:

    think what carter would do if he were in power and you pretty much know what obama will do.

  17. Eliyahu says:

    oao, maybe they want the barbarians to take over. Maybe some things don’t just happen. Maybe they are planned.

    Michelle, in English we use settlement rather than the French “implantation” or “colonie.” Cynic is right about Jewish land that was taken by the Arabs in 1947-48. Actually, when the Arabs and the British played their respective roles in driving out the Jews from Hebron in 1929, Jewish-owned real estate was taken then. On the Hebron massacre, see inter alia, Albert Londres, Le Juif Errant est arrive [circa 1930; reprinted by 10/18] and Pierre van Paassen, Forgotten Ally & Days of Our Years, etc. Likewise in and around Jerusalem in the pogroms of 1929 and 1936-39.

    Jews were allowed to buy land in the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th century. Jews bought much real estate in and around Jerusalem. Much of this land was not developed or built on by Jews, especially since security deteriorated in the British period due to British policy. After the 1947-49 war, Arab squatters built on or took over Jewish-owned real estate in Judea-Samaria and Gaza, the areas taken by Jordan and Egypt respectively. An Arab living in Silwan village [the original ancient Jerusalem of David's time, now outside and south of the Old City] went to the Jordanian land registry office and registered in his own name real estate in Silwan belonging to a Rothchild family beneficial trust, the PICA [I think that's the acronym for it]. He had been a caretaker for the property for the PICA before 1948. There were Jewish families living in Silwan up to the 1936 pogrom, if I am not mistaken. Their property was separate from the PICA lands. All the Jewish houses were taken over by Arabs.

    There is a lot of history that is not told. In Israel too, the “Left” or “peace camp” or anti-national camp does a good job of distorting history by commission and omission. Meanwhile, much of the “right” or “national camp” is dumb and disinterested in many important issues.

  18. oao says:

    oao, maybe they want the barbarians to take over. Maybe some things don’t just happen. Maybe they are planned.

    i do not doubt that there have always been those in the western establishment who tried their best to plan for such an outcome. but i think that mostly is ignorance, stupidity, cowardice and decadence.

    the western elites are used to affluence and power. when those disappear they become confused, scared, scapegoat those whom they perceive weak and appease those they perceive strong.

    the west is lost.

  19. E.G. says:

    Without Israel there would never have been a “Palestinian” people or problem.

    What settlements were there before 1968? Tel-Aviv? Rishon LeZion? Petah-Tikvah? Deganya?

    “Is Time Running out for the Two-State Solution?”
    Yes and no.
    No, it’s run out. In 1947 the 2-state solution was refused – not by Israel/ the Yishuv, in 1967 again, proposed by Israel and rejected by the Arabs in Khartum. Oslo and Barak’s Camp David offer was de facto rejected.

    Yes, it’s running out because the “Palestinian people” are fragmented into more than just Fatah-Hamas. It’s a clan-based society and the relation to the land is experience-based. Hardly all Arab West-bank or Gaza residents are refugees- there are many non-displaced people there: they were, like the Jewish population, under British Mandate over Palestine, and only the borders/ceasefire lines and regime changed for them. At the same time, millions of other refugees in Asia and in Europe got transferred and resettled or found themselves behind new borders and regimes. Often oppressive regimes. So where is the TLO – Transylvania Liberation Organization?

    When and why did most of the checkpoints appear? Not before the 1990′s and the terror campaigns named Intifadas.
    The settlements are not the problem. Terrorism is.

  20. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Eliyahu, thanks for the language correction. I believe you when you say that privately owned jewish land was registered to arabs after 1948. I argued that the symmetric situation occurred in Israel after 1948 : privately owned arab land was appropriated by the state of Israel or one of its agencies, if the owners were considered absentee.

    After a war, which was not concluded by a peace agreement, but a cease-fire, all this makes sense.

    Arguing that jewish properties were seized by A in 1948 is not a justification for seizing arab properties belonging to B after 1967.

    I just think that the settlement process is dirty. Not as dirty as terrorism, far from it. But basically dirty, and not to be justified.

  21. Sophia says:

    I do think there should be a system whereby people are compensated if in fact their lands have been appropriated.

    No doubt this should include the Jews who fled Muslim lands.

    I don’t think even that suffice however, if the idea is religious rather than territorial.

    Probably the Left and even the West in general has been misunderstanding the Arab/Israeli conflict as one essentially territorial in nature. I’m beginning to think that’s the least of it.

    It’s senseless to discuss “peace” if the underlying issues aren’t understood.

    Also, it’s critical to find a way – somehow – of undoing all the generations of hate and incitement. How is this possible when rage against Jews is global at this point and Israeli athletes can’t play in Sweden due to threats on their lives?

  22. oao says:

    Arguing that jewish properties were seized by A in 1948 is not a justification for seizing arab properties belonging to B after 1967.

    in principle, agreed.

    however, this principle would require investigating the scope and nature of the seizing on both sides and compensate accordingly. and for some strange reason I don’t believe that (1) one’s side’s claims will be believable and (2) even if they are compensated they will sign a peace treaty. care to guess which side?

    I don’t think even that suffice however, if the idea is religious rather than territorial.

    IF?????? IF?????? are you serious?

  23. E.G. says:

    Here’s another point of view about The Future of the Two-State Solution

  24. Eliyahu says:

    Michelle, Arabs began driving Jews out of their homes in various parts of the country as early as 1920 when Jews living in the Old City were attacked, especially Jews living outside the Jewish Quarter. In the late 19th century, many Jews were living in the Muslim and Christian quarters. With British encouragement, Arabs drove out of their homes in parts of Jerusalem, in Hebron, Jaffa, etc. in a series of pogroms starting in 1920 and continuing in 1921, 1929, 1936-39. Please bear in mind that Hebron is considered a Jewish holy city with the Tomb of the Patriarchs. Jews were excluded by Muslims from that Jewish holy site starting about 1263 at the order of the Mamluk ruler Baybars. That is a humiliation for Jews. That may be the reason that the British were so eager to get the Jews out of Hebron. Why shouldn’t Jews go back there to live, after having defeated the Arabs in the second genocidal war that the Arabs had declared against the Jews?

    by the way, I still recommend Albert Londres’ book, Le Juif érrant est arrivé.

  25. diana says:

    I feel that all interpretations and discussions on the subject are useless.

    There is never going to be peace in the ME until the Muslim culture stops the daily incitement against non-Muslims in the educational system, press, mosques,etc.etc.

  26. Michelle Schatzman says:

    Eliyahu, as Arabs drove Jews out of their homes in some parts of Eretz Yisrael, Jews did drive out Arabs out of their jobs at the same time (and maybe also out of their homes, I do not know). What happened is that Jews bought land from absentee landlords, with philanthropic money or money collected in the jewish communities over the world (yes, the little KKL blue box).

    The absentee landlord had peasants working the land, and they would give him part of the fruit of their work. This status resembles more what is called a “métayer” in french, than a “fermier”. Some of the jews decided to work the land by themselves, and so they had to drive the peasants out of their jobs. By the way, it was probably perfectly legal, provided that the new owners paid whatever severance penalty was in the contracts of the peasants.

    I can happily acknowledge that the story of Eretz Yisrael between 1882 (the first alyah) and 1948 has lots of instances of people being driven out of their jobs and/or their homes. On both sides. I have no idea of the respective magnitudes of these expulsions. I guess that we simply do not have yet a reliable historical account of this aspect of events.

    It is not easy to build something solid on this kind of ground, where there are on both sides lots of claims, some of which have value and some don’t.

    The settling operations are of two kinds: those managed since 1967 by the Israeli government for security’s sake and those managed by the settler movement helped by lower prices of housing. The settlers’ movement resembles bike riding: as long as you push the pedals, you keep your balance, and should you be tired and stop moving forward, you fall.

    This was pretty obvious from the start, and is the main reason why I do not like very much the settlers’ movement. Somehow, it must keep growing, or it will fall and take down much more that itself. The security settlements (moshavim and kibbutzim, particularly in the Jordan valley) did not need to syphon out so many israeli resources.

    Somebody, somewhere, has to pay for the settlements. For instance, at some point, the people who agreed to live in settlements could get much better mortgages than the people who lived inside the green line. So it meant that the people inside the green line paid for the nice mortgages of people inside the settlements. If I remember correctly, the nice mortgages benefited from government subsidies. So taxes kept the bicycle going.

    There are lots of unfulfilled needs in Israel. Shoveling state money to the settlers means not giving it to other people. I am pretty sure that it is psychologically easier to think that you are repropriating land from which your ancestors were droven out than to try to repair the social structure in desocialized environments. However, I tend to believe that the second activity is more important, and that making children into good jews and good citizens is much more important than repropriating land. When I give tsedaka, I have no doubt about who should receive it: people are more important than land. Even than very holy land. There is a rather simple reason for this. A very holy land populated by thugs is desecrated. A rather ordinary land populated by good people with good institutions is hallowed.

  27. Dimitry Papkov says:

    Michelle, it could be an interesting debate, but I fail to see the relevance. Richard hadn’t advocated settlement activity at any point. At this point in history settlements are a reality. All Richard criticised is the notion that in order for peace to be it is absolutely necessary for Israel to remove all settlements and retreat fully to ’67 borders. This is absolute nonsense and ignores reality.

  28. E.G. says:

    I echo Dimitry Papkov’s comment. The settlements are not the problem: finding a settlement is.

  29. E.G. says:

    A counterpoint to Dr. Mustafa Barghouti. How many expelled Jews can visit their birthplaces?

    Also, how many Jews who had to abandon their property in their native land can claim and recover it?

  30. Cynic says:

    I can happily acknowledge that the story of Eretz Yisrael between 1882 (the first alyah) and 1948 has lots of instances of people being driven out of their jobs and/or their homes

    Please take into account the British habit during the period between the end of the 1st WW and 1948 of moving “Syrian” and “Egyptian” Arabs into the area to “squat”.
    And these are not the peasants on the absentee landlord’s ground.
    In conflict with the League of Nations Mandate the British were deliberately populating the land set aside for a Jewish national Home, with Arabs.

  31. Michelle Schatzman says:

    OK, Dimitry and E. G., as I said above, I would answer the question of settlements by saying that the large blocks can be taken care of by land exchange in the final negotiation. But I would not spend much energy into this issue, because its foundations are so fragile. I believe that they represent a very weak point when arguing against the Palestinian narrative.

    I believe that the issue of Jews expelled from arab countries and stripped of all their belongings is a much better line. This argument can and must be used as much as possible. Together with the decision by the Arab countries not to assimilate and naturalize the Palestinians so as to keep the wound open. With the help of special financing through UNRWA.

  32. Michelle Schatzman says:

    @ Cynic : I know the story of Arabs being moved or moving into Palestine during the British mandate (or maybe even after the first alyah, possibly attracted by the increased economic activity due to jewish immigration). But what are the sources? I never found one I could rely on.

  33. Cynic says:

    So it meant that the people inside the green line paid for the nice mortgages of people inside the settlements. If I remember correctly, the nice mortgages benefited from government subsidies. So taxes kept the bicycle going.

    Of course, and as there is “no free meal” as the Americans say those people sitting comfortably and relatively securely in Tel Aviv and elsewhere had to pay for that security provided them by those willing to give up the pleasures and comforts.
    As it was those who chose nice mortgages would have posed a far more expensive problem, social with regards to housing etc. Either they subsidised mortgages where the land was cheaper or they needed more taxes to subsidise in the already crowded urban areas. The govt., had learned from earlier times of the problems of the ma’abarot and the slums that developed.

    Notice that once the Oslo accords were signed and put into practice many of those settlers ended up abandoning everything that they built into those cheap mortgages.

    Shoveling state money to the settlers means not giving it to other people.

    Like whom for example?
    Security is not only maintained with guns but also with a fierce demeanor which sadly has been losing face (excuse the pun) recently.
    So to maintain a presence without those settlers they would have had to add to their astronomically high defense expenditure and get those comfortably good people of the cities to do far more reserve duty at greater cost to the economy (the govt., still has to pay their salaries for the service) and the private firms lose out on production.

  34. Dimitry Papkov says:

    Michelle, I agree that debating whether settlments are legal or not is not the best way. I was just noting that Richard’s point was about the need for total disbandment of settlements and how they are accepted as “the roadblock to peace”.

  35. Cynic says:

    Michelle,

    I have no sites where one can access British Archives.

    Many years ago before the internet and personal computers the news papers published articles relating to some papers in the Government Archives that had been closed to public viewing for whatever the excuse was and was being released for general consumption.
    Among many of those papers were those relating to the Mandate era.
    Maybe a University has copies for their History department.
    There was some very interesting stuff on how the British used the Arabs to clear explosives in 1938 Palestine at the time of the riots, among other things.
    Way back in 2002/3, this was discussed on a New Zealand blog.

    Maybe search the writings of Ephraim Karsh, Emanuelle Ottolenghi.

  36. Cynic says:

    Dimitry Papkov

    It is Simon’s need
    for total disbandment of settlements and how they are accepted as “the roadblock to peace”.

    Well for the Islamic world that means the settlements of Tel Aviv, Netanya ……………

    The roadblock to peace is in the minds of those who accept and use specious arguments in a cultural divide bigger than the Grand Canyon.

  37. Cynic says:

    I believe that they represent a very weak point when arguing against the Palestinian narrative.

    So it is only the Palestinian narrative that holds water?

  38. Cynic says:

    More to the point I should have added: How much of the Palestinian narrative is factual?

    One should only be present in dealings they have not just with Jews but their own kind as well.

    Taqyia reigns supreme.

  39. Dimitry Papkov says:

    Cynic, I know.
    This was exactly Richard’s point and I just reiterated it for Michelle.

  40. Michelle Schatzman says:

    @ Cynic: Most of the Palestinian narrative is leaking from everywhere and unreliable. I will not board that boat, this is clear. Is it a reason to show them our own leaks? Methinks no.

    Definitely, the dealings between Palestinians can be quite barbaric. This should be emphasized.

    I understand what you said about (some) settlers showing a fierce face and (maybe) saving defense money. However, the non ideological settlers (including one of my cousins and his family at a time) did not show a fierce face at all… and they are the majority. So I’m not sure that the settlers are an asset. Anyway, this was a very good discussion and I thank you very much for responding with rational and interesting arguments.

  41. obsy says:

    E.G., I would not use this counterargument.
    At least not isolated. Could be interpreted as “Eye for an eye?

    The phrase that most Palestinians are not allowed to go to the city that they were born in is a simple lie.
    The best counterargument to that is the truth.

    It probably isn’t true even for East Jerusalem, which is the only place with special (but mild) conditions that can in some cases exclude people – if they did not care to set a food into that area for years.

  42. E.G. says:

    Michelle Schatzman,

    I join your thanks, including you in them.
    Just wanted to remind you that before Ariel et Co., the “settlement” policy was similar – though less democratic: think of Dimona, Ofakim, Carmiel, Or-Yehuda… immigrants arriving with no means were sent there.

    And, more relevant to the peace-process mantra, have you seen today’s appeal?

    For non-French readers, it’s a manifesto titled “Israel-Palestine: the urgency of a new deal”, calling for the renewal of the peace process by inviting all the “concerned parties” – Israel, the PA and the Hamas – to negotiate. The signatories consider that dismantling the colonies, eliminating the IDF checkpoints, and tearing down the “wall” are indispensable. They further expect Obama to exert pressure on the participants and to offer an impartial US mediation.

  43. E.G. says:

    obsy,

    Indeed. It’s an example of reversed narrative – pretending to go through events that actually happened to another.
    So either Dr. Mustafa Barghouti is lying or he’s one of a few exceptions. Simon’s sin is making the singular case seem general, whereas the general case in the opposite side is not even mentioned.
    Here’s for even-handed treatment.

  44. Richard Landes says:

    response to MS on settlements.

    many have spoken well for me on this issue. i’d just like to put the issue in the framework of demopathy. for the arabs to complain about israeli behavior in conquered territory is ridiculous hypocrisy. they follow none of the rules which they complain about the israelis breaking. and for someone in the west like bob simon to buy this argument is being a useful fool on a major scale. so no matter what complaints jews might have about how israelis/settlers have violated their high moral values, they have to be careful whose demopathic arguments they support in crying out loudly about the immorality of it.

    it’s a terrible moral dilemma, but simon doesn’t even make it onto the screen or serious moral debate.

  45. oao says:

    There is never going to be peace in the ME until the Muslim culture stops the daily incitement against non-Muslims in the educational system, press, mosques,etc.etc.

    precisely.

    and why should that happen now, when the west is bankrupt and undermined from within by its own useful idiots and islam has been using the kuffar’s technology to achieve nukes?

    just whatch what’ll happen once iran starts blackmailing the cowards.

  46. oao says:

    Richard hadn’t advocated settlement activity at any point. At this point in history settlements are a reality. All Richard criticised is the notion that in order for peace to be it is absolutely necessary for Israel to remove all settlements and retreat fully to ‘67 borders. This is absolute nonsense and ignores reality.

    reality on the ground is not a justification for arabs to accept it.

    israel’s full right to hold them as spoils of defensive war which they won is. in no other war I can recall was the defensive winner expected and forced to return the land. what has usually happened is that political negotiations followed in which the winner has agreed to return them in some sort of compromise. this is precisely what the arabs don’t want to do. they claim that it’s THEIR land, but when they attacked 3 times they forfitted it.

    as to the reality on the ground: had the settlements not been created, or removed as in gaza, the utter incompetent israeli elite would have returned the land to the arabs and you would have had rockets on lydda and tel aviv, not sderot and ashkelon.

  47. oao says:

    Also, how many Jews who had to abandon their property in their native land can claim and recover it?

    this is the biggest mistake that israel did (among other big ones): had they from the start raised this issue as intensively as the arabs, today we might have had a better situation.

    that’s because the right of return is essentially the main arab demand by which they intend to eliminate israel. the jewish refugees could have in the 6 decades neutralized to a large degree the right of return, at least in the minds of the west,

  48. oao says:

    cynic,

    Taqyia reigns supreme.

    yes, but you must also remember that the naqba is a myth created at the time to obscure the shame of having ran away at the prompt of their leaders — who ran away first — as well as the arab states, who promised them to return and failed. this was a HUGE stain of gullibility and cowardice of which, to be in denial, they invented for both others AND THEMSELVES.

    all generations in the 6 decades since then were indoctrinated with the myth, know nothing else and BELIEVE in it. in fact, their entire identity and honor is wrapped up in it. therefore, this is probably an area where taqiyya is much less used; rather it is applied fully to current reality.

  49. oao says:

    and for someone in the west like bob simon to buy this argument is being a useful fool on a major scale.

    we have masticated to death many of the factors driving western useful idiocy, one of which i would like to invoke here: there is nothing we can do about the pals, they are the “other” and we are utterly ignored by them, so we would be fools to criticize/demand anything from them. jews, otoh, are part of us, them we can pressure to the hilt, because they depend on us and will yield, so we will be seen effective.

    they have convinced themselves that in order to stop the western jihad, the conflict must be resolved. and the only way to solve it is to put the screws on the jews.

    iow, they don’t look for lost keys where they were lost (that’s hard), but where there is light. the sad thing is that they won’t find the keys this way, but they are likely to solve the conflict by obliterating israel.

  50. Cynic says:

    oao,

    also remember that the naqba is a myth

    I have to smile everytime I read that the Arabs are citing the naqba and blaming the Jews for their tragic situation, while all the time they preach that whatever happens is the will of Allah.

    So then Allah was responsible for the naqba?
    Unless of course those all powerful descendents of apes and pigs ……………..aaagh!

  51. oao says:

    So then Allah was responsible for the naqba?
    Unless of course those all powerful descendents of apes and pigs ……………..aaagh!

    i referred here a few times to the article i once wrote about the american “escape from the tyranny of knowledge and reason”. if you don’t have to contend with logic and consistency, you’re free like a bird in a tree, you don’t have to think much and can come up with anything, it’s so much easier.

    well, the arabs/muslims never had logic and consistency, not even causality in their background, but allah’s will, so they DO come up with nonsense quite easily. that’s one explanation of their inexistent science.

    the tragic thing is that the american public has arrived at the same level, and in the conflict with jihad they have no rational advantage and emotional drawbacks.

  52. E.G. says:

    Cynic,

    Fabricated tale for a fabricated people.

  53. E.G. says:

    oao,

    This is the first time I see you refer to an article of your own. Published? Link?
    Please.

  54. israeli says:

    I am very late to this, so i am not sure RL will even see my comment but here it goes anyway…

    RL, the points you bring up are valid, but there is one or two things you are not taking into consideration… I worked in the policy world for a while, on military matters… The main thing I leanred was that critiques are no good if you cannot offer a better solution. In Israel today the situation is as follows: If there is no peace deal between Israel and the palestinians, the settlements will gradualy expand to the point that a two state solution will become imposible. At that point the palestinians will demand citizenship and Israel will have the choice of apatheid or a democracy that is dominated by the soon to be arab majority. So yes, all of your critiques are valid, but what is the alternative? It is either peace or the end of Israel as a jewish and democratic state. this is what arafat was refering to when he said palestinian victory is in the arab womb. The palestinians understand this and that is why they are so reluctant to make peace. All the palestinians need to do is keep the conflict on a low simmer for the next two decades and they will end up with one palestinian state dominated by arabs between the jordan and the sea. Sharon eventually understood this dynamic and that is how we ened up with the diengagement. we can sit here and critisize the peace process all we want but in the end we will be facilitating the distruction of Israel as a jewish state. Instead we should be focusing our efforts on figureing out a way to seperate from the palestinians. As hard as it is to swallow the future of israel depends on two states, one with as many jews and as few palestinians as possible, and the other with as many palestinians and as few jews as possible.

  55. oao says:

    This is the first time I see you refer to an article of your own. Published? Link? Please.

    because my writings are usually in a technical domain (IT), even though given my background i treat it in a social context. no area of life has escaped the collapse of the western culture and education.

    http://www.dbdebunk.com/page/page/1282191.htm

    you will have to ignore the IT part at the beginning.

  56. oao says:

    whoops, not at the beginning, but close to the end.

    btw, you gotta read it very carefully, or you may misinterpret it, particularly the sources/quotes.

    it may require some clarifications on my part, but not here.

  57. Richard Landes says:

    response to israeli (#55) rl in italics

    I am very late to this, so i am not sure RL will even see my comment but here it goes anyway…

    RL, the points you bring up are valid, but there is one or two things you are not taking into consideration… I worked in the policy world for a while, on military matters… The main thing I learned was that critiques are no good if you cannot offer a better solution.

    i understand, and have been told that many times. i think, however, that in our current situation, demanding solutions is a luxury we can’t afford. first we have to think seriously about the situation before we can come up with solutions.

    indeed, it’s precisely this demand for solutions that contributed so much to getting us into our current predicament. rushing to solutions that we hoped would work (positive-sum, marshall-plan, land-for-peace type solutions), we systematically ignored all evidence that they wouldn’t, then didn’t work, indeed even ignoring that they’ve blown up in our face — in this conflict, right now, concession produces violence.

    so we won’t find real solutions if we don’t do more reality testing (ie shed our liberal cognitive egocentrism, pay real attention to what’s going on on the other side, and learn to identify and isolate demopaths).

    what solutions will emerge for clearly seeing and acknowledging the realities (which in good post-modern style, i will grant you are mutliple and variegated), will only emerge over time. if you won’t move off your current paradigm till you have a solution in sight for this problem, you will go nowhere.

    In Israel today the situation is as follows: If there is no peace deal between Israel and the palestinians, the settlements will gradualy expand to the point that a two state solution will become impossible.

    i don’t know why you say that. i really doubt any serious settlements are going up in the middle of clearly palestinian areas. most activity (as far as i know — and i’ll accept correction/rectification on this — are areas that a reasonable palestinian negotiating team will agree belongs under israeli sovereignty (e.g., maale adumim, gush etzion).

    in any case, this is not what i would call an axiom, so much as it is an acceptance of the current palestinian negotiating stance as immutable — ie the settlements are the reason why there’s not been a 2-state solution yet (eg why Oslo failed), and they all have to go. so if the settlements grow, it’s all over. i don’t accept any of these positions or suppositions as either “fact” or justified.

    At that point the palestinians will demand citizenship and Israel will have the choice of apatheid or a democracy that is dominated by the soon to be arab majority.

    your very language suggests the degree to which your thinking has been taken over by others. by any sane rules of the democratic game, the “palestinians” have no right to demand citizenship and the israelis are under no moral obligation to grant either to them.

    over the last 60 years, the palestinian leadership has pursued policies, both internal and external, that are so profoundly anti-democratic that the current palestinian population, especially the generation raised by the post-Oslo leadership (Fatah and Hamas), are radically incapable of sustaining a democracy among themselves much less participating in one created and maintained with great energy and immense risk, by the israelis.

    the only reasoning that this kind of idiotic thinking — the israelis have to grant citizenship to the palestinians if they don’t “give them” their own state — is so fashionable is that incredibly superficial political thinking (along the lines of “hamas was elected, so it must be a democracy/israel if it wants to be a democracy, can’t insist on being a jewish state”) and really nasty anti-zionism (make them swallow the indigestible and watch them die a long and painful death) have combined.

    (i know some of my commentators here will point out that i’ve just “combined” two expressions of the same thing. i must confess that the superficiality of political science right now is so breath-taking that it demands explanation, but i’d like to at least allow the possibility that not every intelligent idiot is a scoundrel.)

    So yes, all of your critiques are valid, but what is the alternative? It is either peace or the end of Israel as a jewish and democratic state. this is what arafat was refering to when he said palestinian victory is in the arab womb. The palestinians understand this and that is why they are so reluctant to make peace.

    you speak about this reluctance as if, with the current palestinian leadership, peace is even an option. this demographic victory is their backup. it’s a successful but not very glorious way of getting back at israel for the humiliating naqbas they’ve experienced at your hands. but why you, a democracy, have to commit suicide by granting citizenship to people motivated by such malevolence, is completley beyond me. why do you think you israelis have to do that? because the (currently insanely self-destructive) western community tells you you have to?

    All the palestinians need to do is keep the conflict on a low simmer for the next two decades and they will end up with one palestinian state dominated by arabs between the jordan and the sea.

    much can and will happen in 20 years. it’s always a mistake to project demographic (and other) trends linearly into the future. i gather that there’s serious debate over this demographic argument, and i certainly know that given how untrustworthy statistics can be and how intense the political meaning of any of these statistics (as well as the long-standing palestinian practice of inflating them), that it wd be unwise to make decisions, or imagine the options, constrained by such figures. that doesn’t mean i’d ignore them, just that i wouldn’t assume them or let them dictate decisions.

    Sharon eventually understood this dynamic and that is how we ened up with the diengagement.

    which blew up in your face. and sharon said to sharansky before the disengagement, “at least it will prove our bona fides and get the west off our necks for a decade or so.” sorry, just as the concession whet the palestinian appetite for violence, it whet the western appetite for israeli concessions. so even if he read the future right, sharon read the present wrong and made a policy error.

    granted, staying in was also a problem, but at least, given how obvious the coming failure of the disengagement was to anyone who’s been paying attention (esp since oslo), at least the period after the disengagement could have been better prepared and handled. like bush in iraq, if you know a move of yours is going to open up a new round of hostilities, you better get ready for it, rather than assume it’ll quiet things down.

    we can sit here and critisize the peace process all we want but in the end we will be facilitating the destruction of Israel as a jewish state.

    presumably here you meant to end the sentence if we don’t try and do something now. i agree we should do something. but right now, i’d argue heavily against making concessions. i’d say we need to make some clear and serious demands, first of which is an end to hate-mongering.

    israel should not have to make concessions to a culture that rivals the nazis for genocidal desires. on the contrary, israel should be making a clear set of demands about the nature of any neighbor they should have to live with, an argument that makes clear what the demands on a population are, before they have a right to ask the international community for statehood. not every 20-year old gets the keys to a tank loaded with ammunition. if there’s anyone on the planet not worthy of statehood right now, it’s “palestine.”

    now granted, you can say to me, “but even if you’re right, no one will listen to this argument. no one will go anywhere with these demands.” and in the current scene, i agree with you.

    on the other hand, these arguments are really common sense, based on an appreciation of how valuable and rare civil polities are. since we face a decade of failing states and collapsing democratic experiments, it’s just possible that people will begin to acknowledge these “self-evident” truths drowned out by the current politically correct discourse.

    in any case, they stand a far greater chance of getting people to think, if, on the one hand, the israelis articulate them firmly and clearly; and on the other, she doesn’t participate in her own self-destruction by making concessions that will back fire, based on assumptions that come from malevolent-minded analysts like jimmy carter.

    israel is probably the least racist society in the world, and the very notion that they are racist apartheiders if they refuse to either incorporate or empower a population brainwashed with a vicious hatred of them and a profound incapacity to even govern themselves well, is moral sadism on the part of people like carter, and masochism on the part of any israeli so lacking in perspective that he believes that accusation.

    Instead we should be focusing our efforts on figuring out a way to separate from the palestinians.

    yeh. and anything you do short of establish a weaponized enemy in your bosom, will be viewed as apartheid.

    As hard as it is to swallow the future of israel depends on two states, one with as many jews and as few palestinians as possible, and the other with as many palestinians and as few jews as possible.

    that’s one way to look at it. actually two civil polities — which is what israel should hold out for and the “left” should insist on for the sake of the palestinian people, and which reflects a real confidence in the possibilities of the palestinians overcoming their unfortunate legacies — should have a fair ability to tolerate such minorities.

    think of it, under the most trying circumstances, israel is the civil polity (democracy) with the largest percentage of muslims in the world. quite an accomplishment i’d say, no matter what criticisms one might want to add. israel has a right to demand reciprocity at even a heavily diminished level, say, the right to incorporate the major settlements into israel since the palestinians are incapable of protecting the rights of christians, much less jews, in the areas they rule.

    i think it’s important not to make up your mind about the future. maybe it’s time for the israelis to get zen, get “don’t-know-mind” and start with the now. so much of israeli policy decision (including their semi-conscious “hasbarah” policies) are based on a profoundly faulty analysis of what motivates the palestinian/arab/muslim world, and what motivates various elements (political spectrum) and areas (academia, media) in the west.

    we can’t find the solution till we first find out what alternative sources of leverage we have. i for one am really big on embarrassment. the arabs/palestinians are deeply susceptible to public rebuke. it’s time for the west to start getting tough verbally. and that’s a truth with a future. otherwise, it’ll be terrible violence. since that’s what the worst of them want, we would be advised to start talking intelligently and courageously sooner rather than later.

  58. E.G. says:

    israeli,

    One thing has been intriguing me. Why is it that you (Israelis, plural, yourself included) postulate that you must do the thinking on behalf of both parties?
    Not that I don’t believe you shouldn’t be thinking, making scenarios, anticipating etc., but I observe a lot of alternative-generation, solutions, acceptability considerations and so on by Israelis, and a set of quite constant “Palestinian” demands plus one or two Arab “initiatives”, hardly accompanied by acceptability meditations.

  59. oao says:

    many years ago there was an israeli politicians and member of knesset named shmuel tamir. he was a likudnik who split and formed his own splinter party. he was a constant criticizer of the govt, then in the hands of labor and its left partners. at one point he was asked in the knesset by a govt rep (PM?): it’s easy to criticize, do you have better ideas? I remember his answer because, even though it sounds like a smartass one, it is actually a serious one:

    “you’ve done so much harm throughout the years that it may well be that I don’t have better ideas anymore.

    it is applicable too: the world has fucked up so much, that there is a good chance that it eliminated the possibility of a solution.

    it’s been the core arab strategy to let the pals fester in crappy conditions in camps in order to be used as a weapon in the destruction of israel. this would have failed had the world refused to accept it. instead not only it accepted it, but it actually funded and supported it. the consequence is

    well, you see, the arabs have employed strategy and tactics to precisely eliminate all possible solutions and arrive at the situation today. they had no way of knowing that the whole world will be so cowardly, gullible and stupid to support and fund that strategy.
    and when israel dragged arafat from tunis, it more or less sealed its fate.

    now if i were the arabs, why would I accept any solution short of the elimination of israel? when finally the strategy has born fruit?

    there won’t be a solution as long as the world won’t decide that it wants one and implement policies conducive to it. at this point it has decided it wants a solution which will result in the destruction of israel and as long as it sticks to it, there is little israel can do, short of defend itself as best it can for as long as it can.

  60. oao says:

    One thing has been intriguing me. Why is it that you (Israelis, plural, yourself included) postulate that you must do the thinking on behalf of both parties?

    because the pressure is on israel. it pays a heavy cost which it cares about, while the other side does not care
    about any cost and has a very long term timeframe.

  61. E.G. says:

    oao,

    That’s half an answer. There is pressure to come up with one or more offers. Not to do the thinking for the negotiating opposite side.

    Or, if this is what’s happening, it means (a) that those who put the pressure on Israel are infantilising the “palestinians”, as if they’re incapable of thinking for themselves, and (b) as RL states above, perhaps it’s about time Israel clearly exposed such unprecedented demands are made, and even try to resist the temptation to pursue in this direction.

  62. [...] a previous post on Bob Simon’s 60-minutes piece, I got a long comment from someone with the tag [...]

  63. Cynic says:

    i for one am really big on embarrassment. the arabs/palestinians are deeply susceptible to public rebuke.

    RL,

    I posted somewhere that I’m amused when the Palestinians come with “the Jews being responsible for the nakba” and then in their next breath that “what happens is the will of Allah”.
    Now this type of idiocy should be thrown back at them by the shovel full but it seems that those who can get the message out are not interested or don’t know how to play poker or are accessories.
    As for the West well it seems that after 60 years of fudging attempts at resolving the conflict they are not interested in it going away.

    As for israeli’s:

    The main thing I learned was that critiques are no good if you cannot offer a better solution.

    Maybe,just maybe, in cases like this the problem was not correctly defined (it seems that the definition arrived at today is a distortion of historical facts and there’s no compunction to insist on them). Redefine it and see what solutions come to mind. Of course that requires calling a spade a spade and sufficient integrity to see it through.

  64. oao says:

    e.g.,

    of course.

    cynic,

    As for the West well it seems that after 60 years of fudging attempts at resolving the conflict they are not interested in it going away.

    i disagree. they decided to abandon israel.

    rl,

    embarassing the pals? the only way is to mock their allah. now who exactly in the west is gonna do that, you think?

  65. Eliyahu says:

    “israeli”, you ought to know that Arabs who were formerly Jordanian citizens have been allowed to apply for Israeli citizenship since 1967. In the 1990s, when Arabs and Jews began to fear that Israel was going to give up Jerusalem, besides the areas around Jerusalem [Ramallah and Bethlehem, etc] that it did surrender, long lines used to form outside the Interior Ministry offices in east Jerusalem. These were Arabs applying for Israeli citizenship. They did not want to come under arafat’s govt. They preferred Israel to arafat, although a more civilized, more attractive Arab govt might have been their real preference. But they knew that in the existing reality since Oslo, arafat was the only alternative to Israel. Arabs with such opinions have been interviewed by the foreign press in Israel.

    And arafat was the West’s choice to lead the Arabs in Judea-Samaria and Gaza. They wanted him to get part of the “West Bank” to govern. Further, UNRWA and the rest of the 1948 refugee succour operation has always been mainly funded by Western powers, including the USA. Even today, the Obominable One wants to send 900 million more bucks to the palestinian authority. It doesn’t matter how much suffering Americans need the money. The interest in building up the Palestinian Arabs is paramount. Western policy too is an obstacle to peace.

  66. oao says:

    They preferred Israel to arafat, although a more civilized, more attractive Arab govt might have been their real preference.

    they probably would prefer their own country in which the jews are their dhimmis. little do they realize that this would turn to be yet another dysfunctional arab state, with some thug ruling it.

    And arafat was the West’s choice to lead the Arabs in Judea-Samaria and Gaza. They wanted him to get part of the “West Bank” to govern.

    well, yeah, but so did rabin and peres. and the idea was that this would terminate the conflict for israel and the terror in the west. an illusion, just like the current one about hamas and the push for them to unite with fatah.

    mental illness.

  67. Eliyahu says:

    oao, maybe peres & beilin –the real architects of Oslo on the Israeli side, not Rabin– really wanted to please the West as the emotional-cultural-political reference group. Didn’t peres & beilin know that arafat was not going to stop making war, that things would get worse, that the West would get to be almost as bad as the Arabs, as they both smelled blood as Israel retreated??

  68. oao says:

    maybe peres & beilin –the real architects of Oslo on the Israeli side, not Rabin– really wanted to please the West as the emotional-cultural-political reference group. Didn’t peres & beilin know that arafat was not going to stop making war, that things would get worse, that the West would get to be almost as bad as the Arabs, as they both smelled blood as Israel retreated??

    that was probably one of the factors.

    but i think the core factor was their desire to believe that they could get peace with arafat. and when people desire peace so badly, they keep in denial by ignoring or dismissing or distorting any facts inconsistent with that desire. in short, they get war.

    i remember that when arafat was brought to the wb and ghaza saying “now that they SEE israel in the distance, what are the chances that they’ll give it up?” they might have given it up in tunis, if they were left to rot there enough time.

    the israelis have learned a bit from the experience and have less wishful thinking (except idiots like meretz and livni), but the sickness has caught the west and the US. now it is they who are desperate for peace and will ignore, disregard and distort anything to be in denial. and that israel cannot do anything about, particularly with the current leadership.

  69. oao says:

    the side who wants peace more than the other is vulnerable and will get war or lose everything no matter how much it appeases. it’s both logical and true in history.

    but humanity never learns.

  70. Cynic says:

    but the sickness has caught the west and the US.

    Had Baker & co., not gone along with pulling Arafat out of retirement there would have been a complete new ball game in town. Not necessarily one of peace but certainly not with the bestiality that came to pass.
    Israel was coming to some agreement with those in Gaza and the WB but Arafat had them killed off.
    Pity there is no power that could sit in judgment of the politicians who were accessories to murder.

  71. oao says:

    Had Baker & co., not gone along with pulling Arafat out of retirement there would have been a complete new ball game in town. Not necessarily one of peace but certainly not with the bestiality that came to pass.

    which is why I said that dragging arafat out of tunis sealed israel’s fate.

    baker may have a lot to answer for, but i think the israeli idiots — peres and others — have their own responsibility. recall his walking hand in hand with arafat on the beach? at least rabin had to be pushed to touch him.

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