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May 17, 2010


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Ian Thal

You do realize, Isaac, that every mainstream Jewish-American organization that has a position on the matter (including AIPAC) explicitly endorses a sovereign Palestinian state, and the ADL has often criticized efforts on the Israeli far-right to abridge the rights of both Palestinians, and Israel Arabs.

You're setting up (or rather, replicating) a false dichotomy here.


Ian, did you read the Beinert piece? He makes a point of talking about the shifts in rhetoric for the Avigdor Liebermans and Netanyahus to more conciliatory terms, but how that's not necessarily inconsistent with their actions. Endorsing a sovereign Palestinian state is not the same as working towards a functioning Palestinian state or not supporting those who are abridging the rights of Palestinians and Arabs.

Ian Thal

Lieberman and Netanyahu really have no choice. Ultimately both the Israeli electorate and the Jewish-American community support the establishment a functioning Palestinian state. Whether they do so out of pragmatic necessity or moral principle is not at issue: this is the policy that mainstream Zionism supports: Palestinian statehood. Netanyahu and Lieberman are certainly not the best choices to be leading Israel right now, but even they see the writing on the wall.

So the whole notion of "American-Jewish liberalism versus American-Jewish support for Israel" is a false dichotomy. The closest thing to a consensus position in American Jewry is a liberal democratic Israel peacefully coexisting next to a functional Palestinian state.

That said, the biggest obstacles to Palestinian statehood has been Palestinian politicians and neighboring Arab governments, just as the worst oppressors of Palestinian human rights have been their own leaders and those of neighboring Arab governments.


I was going to go with a snappy comeback about how blaming a government without any real sovereignty or neighboring countries without votes and who are all militarily weaker and ignoring the politics of the occupying country, the rhetoric and action of their leaders and the political climate of its largest backer is a reasonable and sensible position that's not at all propagandistic, one-sided or simple-minded, but, really, why bother? It's not like you're listening to what anyone else has to say.

Ian Thal

Yeah, I sort of wish you did have a snappy come-back.

Arafat rejected the 2000 Camp David treaty that would have secured statehood, land and foreign aid, and instead started the intifada, expecting that violence would secure a better deal-- and ten years later you can see how that worked out for his constituency. He also rejected the conditions of the 2001 Taba summit. This swing towards violence led to a right-ward shift in Israeli politics and thus made further negotiations harder.

"It's not like you're listening to what anyone else has to say."

You really need to get your pronouns straight.

You see when I talk about human rights: like whether women (or gays) are considered to be full human beings, or whether people have the right to freely express their political opinions or practice religion in their own way, I have to look squarely at Hamas as the worst offender against human rights in this area.

No one makes Hamas murder its political opponents.

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