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Rand Clark, Cheri Gurse, and Barb Parmet, organizers of the newly formed Santa Barbara chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Rand Clark, Cheri Gurse, and Barb Parmet, organizers of the newly formed Santa Barbara chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace.


Trying to Bring Peace to the Table

Group Disinvited to Participate in Jewish Festival


Thursday, March 22, 2012
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Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a national organization which opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression now has a chapter in Santa Barbara, formed just this month. One of our first actions was to purchase a booth at the upcoming Jewish Festival, taking place in Oak Park, April 29, so that we could bring to the Jewish community JVP-SB’s message of “Israelis and Palestinians. Two peoples. One Future.” We were very pleased to be accepted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, the festival’s sponsor.

We’re not naïve. We know that JVP’s perspective on U.S. policy toward Israel isn’t embraced by all Jews. But we also know that many in our community do wish for a change and welcome conversations about more than one way to think about Israel.

Unfortunately, we won’t have the opportunity to bring this conversation “to the Jewish table,” because the Federation has withdrawn our invitation to participate in the Jewish Festival. Some of the reasons given to us include: “JVP is too controversial”; “There is no occupation in Israel”; and “The Federation retains the right to not have organizations we do not like.” Which is exactly why we should be at the metaphorical table.

Click to enlarge photo

southpaw.org

The Federation does a great deal of good in Santa Barbara. Of that, there is no doubt. “However, many of us in the Jewish community have been silenced because we criticize Israel for maintaining its 45-year Occupation, allowing Jewish-only settlements to grow, and discriminating against Palestinian Israeli citizens. JVP and other critical voices are marginalized because it is preferable to maintain silence rather than engage in uncomfortable discussions.

Those of us with dissenting viewpoints are growing in numbers daily because the injustices in the Occupied Territories, and persistent discrimination within Israel, are too great to ignore, and because the Palestinian/Israeli issue is not just about Jews. It is also about stability and security for the world.

There are certainly other unjust regimes in the Middle East, but Israel claims to be a democracy, and can continue its behavior only with strong U.S. financial and political support. JVP asks the question, is it democratic to destroy more than 400 Palestinian villages with their olive groves, as was done, beginning in 1948, during the Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”)? Is it democratic to evict Palestinians and demolish their homes under the pretense of security, or in the service of ethnic purity, practices that continue to this day? In short, is it democratic to discriminate against the Palestinian people?

It is in the Jewish tradition to pursue justice and fairness. We are acting in that tradition by asking disquieting questions. We are asking the mainstream Jewish community to open its heart and mind so that there can be frank and open discourse about Israeli and American policy, both among Jews and within the larger American public. Judging by the response to our chapter formation we know there are other Jews, and allies, in our community who want to hear and discuss multiple perspectives, not just one. It hasn’t been easy for us to come out as Jews who criticize Israeli and U.S. policy, but it is our Jewishness that makes it possible, and we would be untrue to ourselves and our culture if we didn’t take action.

Forty percent of the Jews in the world live in the U.S. If we are denigrated as “self-hating Jews” and if non-Jewish critics are tarred as anti-semites, then where is the robust democratic debate on this issue? As Hillel the Elder said, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” These are questions that force us to look inside ourselves. We at Jewish Voice for Peace are offering the Jewish community an opportunity to look within and ask some difficult questions. There is no better time to ask than now.

This op-ed has been amended slightly since its original publication. The Santa Barbara Independent apologizes for any confusion.

Rand Clark, Cheri Gurse, and Barb Parmet are organizers of Jewish Voice for Peace, Santa Barbara.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Also see http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.c... and http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles... on attempts to silence and discredit U.S. opponents of the current right-wing Israeli government

pk (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2012 at 11:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Israel claims to be a democracy, and can continue its behavior only with strong U.S. financial and political support."

Israel, a country w/ an elected Knesset that has Israeli Arab members IS a democracy.
How many Arab countries have Jews in their parliement or government?
Oops, that's right, they're monarchies or dictatorships w/ a hatred for Jews.
As for US support of Israel, the surrounding hostile Arab countries that wanted to wipe Israel out during the 6 Day War had the support of the USSR, a country who's main industry went toward the production of weapons & happily armed the hostile Arab nations to the teeth w/ said weapons.

"Is it democratic to destroy more than 400 Palestinian villages with their olive groves, as was done, beginning in 1948, during the Nakba?"

Under "normal" premises, absolutely NOT democratic. But the situation there is anything but "normal.".
During WWII the Palestinian Authority sided w/ the 3rd reich (nazis) & upon the defeat of the axis powers the Palestinian Authority sought to wreak havoc on Jews in that area.
Along came the UN Partition Act to form the State of Israel to create a safe homeland for Jews in a territory occupied by those who sided w/ the nazis & guess what? To the victor go the spoils, the sad truth about war.

"Is it democratic to evict Palestinians and demolish their homes under the pretense of security, or in the service of ethnic purity, practices that continue to this day?"

Is it "democratic" for a group like hezbollah to call for the complete destruction of a state (Israel) simply because of their religion (Jewish)?
Is it "democratic" to allow groups like hezbollah to continue their assault on ISRAELI people (this includes Israeli Arabs)?
It would be foolish to allow lapses in security that would allow groups such as hezbollah to practice their brand of ethnic purity based on their backer's (Iran & Syria) point of view & given the Palestinian Authority's past cuddling w/ the nazis.

“Israelis and Palestinians. Two peoples. One Future.”

Actually the Israelis wanted a dual state system from the get go. Guess who didn't? The Palestinian Authority.
By the way, there are Israeli Arabs that are Muslim & live in peace within that country.
Why? Well, they see the turmoil, corruption & backwardness of their neighbors under monarchies or dictatorships & know that Israel offers better.
Ask ANY Israeli Arab if he/she would rather live in the neighboring states & the answer you'll get is NO! They ain't fools.

"Unfortunately, we won’t have the opportunity to bring this conversation “to the Jewish table,” because the Federation has withdrawn our invitation to participate in the Jewish Festival."

This situation is something that I do definitely disagree w/, JVP should be allowed to participate as well as offer it's discussion to the Jewish community & it is unfortunate that the decision to ban JVP has been made. Maybe, hopefully, this mandate will be rescinded :) henry

hank (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2012 at 6:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The JVP is a most welcome breath of fresh air in this centuries-long feud between two disinherited peoples who have been fighting one another over an imaginary land title.

The world is sick to death of it. Two unruly children who BOTH need their behinds spanked and sent to their rooms without supper and have for a long long long time. Both have a right to exist and if you can't share the land your alleged "gods" ceded to you, then neither of you should get it.

The rest of us are truly and utterly sick to death of both of you. Get along or move along. Your choice.

Draxor (anonymous profile)
March 23, 2012 at 7:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The principle of free speech may entitle local leaders of Jewish Voice of Peace to exploit The Independent in an effort to defame and embarrass the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. But it does not entitle them to distort facts that do not conform to their spurious narrative.

Yes, JVP has been denied representation at this year's Santa Barbara Jewish Festival. But so has every other organization with a partisan political agenda—from extreme right to extreme left. The Jewish Festival is a cultural/religious celebration of our history and traditions. It's a time when political agendas are set aside so that all Jews, together with our non-Jewish friends and neighbors, can rejoice as one.

Michael S. Rassler, Federation's executive director, explained this to JVP's leaders. That they proceeded to write their letter, publishing it in a highly-regarded online vehicle that reaches the entire community, says much about their motives.

The JVP's complaint that it has been denied a place in the Jewish communal conversation is, frankly, ridiculous. The local "chapter" has been in existence for less than a month. And, as noted above, a political conversation has no place at the Jewish Festival. Contrary to JVP's claim, a robust dialogue on critical issues is on-going, with all shades of opinion represented. Nobody is silenced or marginalized. As Jews, we long for peace, not only between Israelis and Palestinians, but everywhere throughout the world, and spend long hours debating how best to pursue this sacred goal.

Finally, we want to invite everyone—Jew and non-Jew, alike—to join us at the Jewish Festival, April 29, 11 am-4 pm, in Oak Park. There will be singing, folk dancing, games and great food in an environment that is blessedly free from the toxic acrimony of political dispute, and filled with simcha (the Hebrew word for joy.)

Sincerely,

Lauren Katz, President
Rabbi Ira Youdovin, Chair, Jewish Community Relations Council
Michael S. Rassler, Executive Director

jfgsb (anonymous profile)
March 23, 2012 at 11:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

JVP-Your stance IS NAIVE and Israel IS A DEMOCRACY.
Your letter is disingenuous as well since you did not address the actual reason that you and other political groups were denied a booth.
Is it too much to ask to not politicize every damn thing in this world?
Your idiotic letter has given me the impetus to show up at Oak Park and support the festival.
Hey Draxor, I think it was the "U.N. Gods" that eked out the only stable democracy in the middle east...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 24, 2012 at 8:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If Lois Capps can speak at the Jewish Festival, why can't JVP?

revisionist (anonymous profile)
March 24, 2012 at 2:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Congratulations on getting the JVP chapter up and running, Rand, Cheri and Barb, and thanks for having the courage to stand up and let your views be known to make a difference.

JohnDouglas (anonymous profile)
March 24, 2012 at 4:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Under the Federation's stated policy, Rep. Capps is not eligible to speak at the event..

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 24, 2012 at 6 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No country can speak for the individual, and an individual does not spoil a whole culture.

We're all just people when it comes down to it. How nice it would be to get rid of labels.

fivedolphins (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2012 at 1:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

President Lauren Katz of the Jewish Federation of Santa Barbara states of the discourse within the Jewish community that "Nobody is silenced or marginalized." However, the Jewish Federations of North America have made a concerted effort to silence or marginalize political dissent regarding Israel's policies of occupation. The Jewish Federation of San Francisco has explicit guidelines which do not allow any Jewish group to receive funding for an event if Jewish Voice for Peace participates in the event. And recently JVP's Deputy Director, Cecilie Surasky, had a similar yanking from a JFNA event:

http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/6...

There are other examples.

Also, Ms. Katz states of the Festival that "a political conversation has no place at the Jewish Festival" (why??--isn't healthy, rigorous debate over moral issues at the heart of Talmudic tradition?), and that "It's a time when political agendas are set aside so that all Jews, together with our non-Jewish friends and neighbors, can rejoice as one."

Yet the web page for the Festival (http://www.jewishsantabarbara.org/pag...) on the Jewish Federation of Santa Barbara's web site shows that this isn't so. The top of the page states that the Festival celebrates "Israel's 64th Independence Day", and include a special address from the Israeli Consul's office in Los Angeles. These things are inherently political. The history of Israeli independence--the real history rather than idealized versions--poses deeply problematic questions for Jews that have yet to be resolved, as the ongoing decades-long occupation of Palestinian territories shows.

Given the dispossession of over 700,000 Palestinians in 1948 to create the state of Israel, one might ask, in Talmudic fasion, whether Palestinian or other Arab or Muslim "non-Jewish friends and neighbors" of the Santa Barbara community would feel welcome, given that the discourse over Israel's independence will undoubtedly omit this narrative. At JVP, we see inclusion of this narrative as a way to promote healing and political progress towards real, meaningful peace. It is regrettable that only the political narrative which omits this will be allowed (showcased, even) at the Festival.

michaelb (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2012 at 4:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How come the apologists always omit the fact that hezbollah still calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. Kinda' puts a damper on your peaceful Palestine argument I guess...

Here's one good reason to not have the JVP at the festival: it's a friggin party!
Why the hell does everything have to be a forum for settling problems that are hundreds of years old? How about we just let a bunch of Jews celebrate their heritage, culture, and food?

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2012 at 9:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@italiansurg:

Hezbollah is a Lebanese organization composed mainly Shiite Muslims. Palestinians are not not Shiite Muslims, not Lebanese (though there is a significant Palestinian refugee population in Lebanon, but this is not Hezbollah's base of support) and the two peoples have limited to zero interaction on a political level.

So bringing in Hezbollah to a discussion of Palestinians has little bearing on reality. Lumping "them" (meaning Arabs) all together as a single homogenous group whose individuals all behave according to stereotypes is treading close to racism. Jews are not all alike-- we disagree about the Israeli Occupation for example. We don't all act according to stereotypes of Jews and dislike the imposition of those stereotypes. In the words attributed to Rabbi Hillel the Elder: "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow."

Beyond that, I'm not sure what you mean when you call JVP "a party". We're not a registered political party in any way.

But more importantly... as I stated in my first comment, the Festival itself is making a political statement, not just celebrating heritage, culture and food. If the Festival were truly keeping all politics out of the Festival in order to avoid "toxic acrimony" (Ms. Katz's words), we could debate the wisdom of that (or whether its even possible to be completely apolitical), but it would at least be fair.

But leaving out all politics is not what the Festival organizers are doing. They're avoiding so-called controversy by having only one political point of view and excluding others, specifically a perspective of some Santa Barbara Jews, which limits the rest of the community from hearing that perspective.

And this rationale of avoiding controversy implies that the community is incapable of having a non-acrimonious conversation about important topics. JVP strives to have rational, respectful dialogue with all, and I'm sure the folks in the Santa Barbara chapter would have upheld that standard had they been allowed to present their side. If the Festival organizers think that people opposed to JVP's perspective are the ones who'd be acrimonious, there are ways to address that which don't punish the innocent. But the Federation chose not to do this, which leads back the main point of my previous post, and what Ms. Katz didn't say: the Jewish Federation is actively blacklisting JVP from any event they sponsor.

michaelb (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2012 at 2:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

GAZA | Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:56am EDT

(Reuters) - The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas rejected on Monday criticism by al Qaeda's second-in-command and said it was still committed to Israel's destruction despite a power-sharing deal with the Fatah faction.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2012 at 8:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Michaelb: "Beyond that, I'm not sure what you mean when you call JVP "a party". We're not a registered political party in any way.

You got it wrong there dude, italiansurg was NOT referring to JVP as a political party.
What he said was the Jewish Festival is a party, you know, 1 of those things fun loving people throw to celebrate something or other? Aah semantics!

Michaelb: "Given the dispossession of over 700,000 Palestinians in 1948 to create the state of Israel..."

Given the horrific & sadistic deaths of over 6,000,000 Jews in the nazi death camps & the Palestinian Authority's backing of the nazis it goes w/out saying that the formation of the State of Israel is a result of the Palestinian Authority siding w/ the wrong team (nazis) in WWII.
It was also a necessity to provide Jews w/ a safe haven, given the historical persecution @ the hands of just about everyone on the Earth.

Michaelb: "Lumping "them" (meaning Arabs) all together as a single homogenous group whose individuals all behave according to stereotypes is treading close to racism."

Nobody (gentiles included) has to do that, the Arabs did it to themselves PERFECTLY by banding together prior to the 6 Day War to invade Israel w/ help from other countries such as the USSR & even my birth country of Cuba (they sent 1,000 helicopter & tank crews to assist their "Arab brothers" & they all got ZAPPED). Bottom line: It is hard to call reality racism.

Michaelb: "Hezbollah is a Lebanese organization composed mainly Shiite Muslims."
&
"So bringing in Hezbollah to a discussion of Palestinians has little bearing on reality."

Little bearing on reality? POR FAVOR! (Espanol for PULEEZE!, hoodspeak for PLEASE!)

Supported by Iran & Syria (both SWORN ENEMIES OF ISRAEL COMMITTED TO THE DESTRUCTION OF SAID STATE) as a destabilizing agent in the region, hezbollah is a terrorist group COMMITTED TO THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL, a legitimately formed state.

Then there's hamas, a follow-through carbon copy of hezbollah for the Palestinian campaign & like italiansurg said, COMMITTED TO THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL.

So, what CAN'T be seen here? Here's a clue: It is in CAPS. There, hope that helps you :) henry

hank (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2012 at 9:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

By the way, had to correct this fact, the Cuban involvement w/ the hostile Arab countries was during the Yom Kippur War (1973), not the 6 Day War (1967).
Regardless, a lot of hatred toward Jews from supposed "peace loving nations" all fueled by the destruction of Israel. Gotta love it! :) henry

hank (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2012 at 11:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

KenV: "If Lois Capps can speak at the Jewish Festival, why can't JVP?
&
"Under the Federation's stated policy, Rep. Capps is not eligible to speak at the event."

Actually there is a hugemongous difference between a local dignitary (political or not) presenting an opening speech to open an event versus a political organization intent on expounding a political point of view in a non-political event, which is what the Jewish Festival is: NON-POLITICAL.
Besides, Lois Capps is not asking for a booth & she was asked by the Jewsih Federation, as a local dignitary, to speak in the opening, a right the Jewish Federation reserves (kind of like a restaurant's "no shoes, no shirt, no service" policy).
JVP, a political organization, was asking for a booth & as a political organization, which goes against the Jewish Federation's guidelines for the festival. Yet another hugemongous difference.
There, hope that settles that bit of confusion, Shalom :) henry

hank (anonymous profile)
March 26, 2012 at 10:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Since when is supporting peace a "partisan political agenda"? Hey Hank. You must be a mindreader since you seem to know exactly what JVP was going to do at the event. I certainly don't. To be fair, I hope the festival is not raising funds for any groups in Israel that support aggression as the only solution nor will there be any booths that support hard right positions, as has been stated by Ms. Katz.

Hang in there Jews for Peace. Your cause is a noble one. I hope the festival is a lot of fun. Always loved the Oak Park Festivals

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
March 26, 2012 at 4:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Beach Fan: "Since when is supporting peace a "partisan political agenda"? "

Supporting peace is NOT a political agenda. It only becomes political when you're using untruths, misinformation, omissions & rhetoric to arrive @ said peace @ the expense of an established state's security & future. Both sides do it though.
As for being a mind reader, nah, not really, just seen it all before, know how to read trends, patterns & behaviors.
Don't have to be a mind reader to do that, just know the left or right historical patterns & it'll all fall into place.
You should try that approach sometime, it'll reduce the headaches of trying to be psychic & get rid of the frustration when you ffind out you ain't psychic :) henry

hank (anonymous profile)
March 26, 2012 at 5:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@italiansurg: The current Israeli government is headed by a party, Likud, whose official position states that "The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan River."

The Hamas goal is replacing an existing state. The Likud (and most other major Israeli parties) goal is preventing one that should exist (and in so doing subjecting those lacking the state to tremendous violence and repression). I don't see the Israeli side having the moral high ground, here.

michaelb (anonymous profile)
March 27, 2012 at 9:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Michaelb: "I don't see the Israeli side having the moral high ground, here."

A legitimate government (Israel & her varied parties) are for the defense of Israel.
The hamas & hezbollah ilk, unlike Fatah, are only seeking the destruction of Israel & the enslavement of anyone they deem as a collaborator w/ the Jews.
By the way, you're (possibly conveniently) forgetting to mention the fact that the Likud party IS & ARE willing to work w/ the Abbas led Fatah party. Just a friendly reminder :) henry

hank (anonymous profile)
March 27, 2012 at 11:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

JVP should be allowed to participate in the festival, and asked not to rant about their specific agenda... But the festival organizers don't quite live up their comment about excluding "every other organization with a partisan political agenda—from extreme right to extreme left. The Jewish Festival is a cultural/religious celebration of our history and traditions" What other groups have they excluded I wonder...?
The State of Israel and political Zionism did not imagine or actively call for Jerusalem and the West Bank Palestinian area to be part of the new political State until after winning the 1967 6-day War. In a postcolonial era Israel is colonizing territory that does not belong to them. How long can Israel remain a democracy with so many second-class Arab citizens in their expanding country, what happens when the Arab-Israeli citizens democratically take over the Knesset? How is it that the USA is so very firm against nuclear proliferation [N. Korea, Iran] yet blithely accepts the fact of Israel's possession of these nuclear weapons?
I have been to Israel three times, once working there as an archaeologist, what a wonderful land and people. USA must protect Israel, but we don't need to be led into war with Iran because of a trigger-happy Foreign Minister like Lieberman.
The Jewish Festival organizers need to reconsider and invite the new group.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 27, 2012 at 1:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan: "The Jewish Festival organizers need to reconsider and invite the new group."

I agree. Maybe the organizers could put JVP's booth right alongside the Jewish Defense League booth, ought to be a real hootenanny :) henry

hank (anonymous profile)
March 27, 2012 at 7:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

THIS IS A CREDIBLE SOURCE - http://www.standwithus.com/ - Not a coddled group of far-too-comfortable Santa Barbarian (Jews?) who have NO IDEA what it's like to have BOMBS landing on their rooftops! How freely you speak (in a country where you will not be killed for your views...) It boggles the mind how naive (and frankly dangerous) your "viewpoints" truly are. Good for the Jewish Federation!

maximum (anonymous profile)
March 28, 2012 at 12:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hank:

Since you mention the JDL you do know a former leader of that group and other members were arrested by the FBi in the months after 9/11 for plotting to bomb the offices and kill a member of Congress from California, as well as bomb a southern California Mosque?

http://www.start.umd.edu/start/data_c...

As for the Palestinian Authority backing the Nazis, there was no Palestinian Authority before or after the Nazi's as the region was under the authority of the British Mandate.

The Festival has the right to invite anyone they want and keep politics out if they choose. The festival should be a good time I am looking forward to checking it out. My only regret is that I wish we had the even bigger lineup of ethnic festivals that there used to be at Oak Park.

pointssouth (anonymous profile)
March 28, 2012 at 1:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Pointssouth: Per the JDL I would assume that you might be referring to Irv Rubin, who according to official reports committed suicide but believed by some to have been murdered.

fivedolphins (anonymous profile)
March 28, 2012 at 2:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@hank: Whatever standard you place upon Palestinians should be placed on Israel. (And on the US, who is not a neutral broker of peace but an essential partner in abetting Israeli crimes.)

> A legitimate government

Hamas, whatever you think of their politics, is a legitimate government by any meaningful standard you use to define legitimacy. They were elected in 2006 under a system that was largely crafted by Fateh (with Israeli/US direction) to enable continued dominance by Fateh. Yet said system failed to produce the results the US/Israel/Fateh wanted, and Hamas won in elections that were deemed fair and democratic by the majority of participants and by official international observers and others.

They then formed a government with leadership which, despite propaganda to the contrary, was largely a collection of moderates, including American-educated cabinet members who earned PhD's at Ivy League schools. Israel imprisoned a large number of these leaders shortly after the elections in 2006, with the obvious consequence that more conservative people took their places.

And despite Israel's mass arrest of their leadership, targeted assassinations and not-so-targeted assassinations, a grotesque blockade and a failed US/Israeli financed/armed/trained coup attempt in 2007 which armed Fateh members in Egypt under the command of Fateh warlord Muhammad Dahlan, and caused a civil war until Hamas eventually won... Hamas has maintained about as functional a government in Gaza as could be expected under such extreme circumstances.

> (Israel & her varied parties)

With the exception of the Arab parties like Balad that are marginalized and the Arab/Jewish Communist Party, Hadash, the main (i.e. Jewish) parties in Israel are largely of one mind with regard to the Palestinians. Tonight I just came from a lecture given by the head of a small Israeli political party that would be considered leftist-to-far-left, depending on your perspective. His take on the issue of Palestine isn't fundamentally different from that of Bibi Netanyahu. There's little real variation among Israeli Jewish parties, except going to the extreme right, which is willing to ethnically cleanse Palestinians in more rapid and brutal ways that are currently used.

> are for the defense of Israel.

The Israeli Occupation isn't for self-defense. It's for protecting settlements, which are illegal and immoral. There are rules governing what is and isn't legitimate in the name of self-defense. Israel violates these rules daily. See the decision by the International Court of Justice in July, 2004, which ruled unanimously that all settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem violate international law. Governments that routinely, severely violate the law and human rights--that sounds like a good standard for declaring a government to be illegitimate.

michaelb (anonymous profile)
March 28, 2012 at 2:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

(cont'd)

> The hamas & hezbollah ilk, unlike Fatah, are
> only seeking the destruction of Israel

You seem to see those who resist Israeli force with force as the perpetrators. Israel has invaded Lebanon 5 times since 1978, occupying southern Lebanon brutally from 1982 to 2000. Hezbollah was a reaction to these invasions. Why give Israel, which creates far more destruction, a free pass?

And were you happy when the USSR ceased to exist? Didn't many millions of people wish for the destruction of the Soviet Union? Do you consider that an immoral wish?

> the enslavement of anyone they deem as a
> collaborator w/ the Jews.

I don't know what "enslavement" means, in real terms. You'd need to give examples, otherwise it just sounds like boogeyman-ism to me.

Beyond that... What does our country do with collaborators during wartime? Check the Constitution, Art. 3. The only crime for which the penalty is explicitly stated in the Constitution is treason. The penalty is death.

But if you are talking about Hamas treatment of Palestinian collaborators with Israel (which exist in significant numbers--Israeli security services like the Shin Beit are quite ruthless in forcing Palestinians into collaborating)... I don't see how you can complain unless you're also unhappy that the US kills people it convicts as traitors. (Lucky ones do a life sentence in a not particularly fun prison. Sounds about the same as enslavement to me.)

> By the way, you're (possibly conveniently) forgetting
> to mention the fact that the Likud party IS & ARE
> willing to work w/ the Abbas led Fatah party.

I'm very aware of the current and past history of so-called peace process. Two groups of leaders who personally stand to gain little and lose much by achieving peace. It's a joke.

For the broader Israeli body politic, peace means ending settlements--something Likud and the even more extremist pro-settler parties (Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, etc.) in the current government would never tolerate. Peace means not having a legal state of wartime emergency which grants them authoritarian powers such as the right of complete censorship of any media outlet or individual's work. Peace means having to deal with difficult domestic issues such as those raised by the tent protests this past summer, rather than distracting the voters with fear mongering. Peace means the leader who signs the treaty gets demonized by political opponents for being an appeaser of terrorists and a betrayer of Israel, regardless of the terms of the peace.

In contrast to what happens if they make peace, Israeli leaders are generally happy with the status quo, and are happy to pretend to be making efforts at peace, with the help of their Fateh counterparts. It's a good PR facade for those who care about keeping up meaningless appearances.

OK--I think I've made my point--have a look at both sides equally through your lens.

Have the last word, if you are so inclined.

michaelb (anonymous profile)
March 28, 2012 at 2:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Pointssouth: "As for the Palestinian Authority backing the Nazis, there was no Palestinian Authority before or after the Nazi's as the region was under the authority of the British Mandate."

Not "officially" the PA, but the founding father was Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini (Arabic: محمد أمين الحسيني‎, Muhammad Amin al-Husayni), the voice of the later PA & shot caller for the Palestinians. He would later become overshadowed by the PLO.
There's a ton of material on this & always interesting :) henry

hank (anonymous profile)
March 28, 2012 at 7:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"The best way to advance Peace for Jews is to help distinguish Jews from Zionists."

That's what these folks are doing. We could take this to another level and point out that nobody should have to bear the guilt of what others of their race/ethnicity have done if they themselves haven't done this.

It's good that this discussion is taking place, and more such dialogue is needed.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 28, 2012 at 8:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"It was also a necessity to provide Jews w/ a safe haven, given the historical persecution @ the hands of just about everyone on the Earth."

Didn't they get Hollywood?
.
.
.
.
While the above is a joke, I find it incredibly ironic how many Americans support the continued establishment that is Israel, but don't seem to care that the Amerindians (Native American) continue to get the shaft! And, why is it that the Jewish Holocaust is more important than any other genocidal event, is it just because there was a "world war" about it?

equus_posteriori (anonymous profile)
March 29, 2012 at 12:31 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To learn more about how Israel came to be, I recommend:

"The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe:

http://www.amazon.com/Ethnic-Cleansin...

It's a challenging book to read, but even if only partly accurate, it's an eye opener.

A more palatable format is Peter Kosminsky's historical drama "The Promise" which was broadcast by the UK's public service TV station, Channel 4. You can watch it here:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/th...

While The Promise is an entertaining drama with interesting characters, Kosminsky (who is Jewish) invested heavily in pre-production historical research to provide an authentic backdrop. Kosminsky even interviewed the few remaining British Soldiers who served in the British Mandate that are still living today. Those same soldiers have said The Promise is an accurate portrayal of those times.

There are always more than one side to an issue and Hezbollah bombs are only a small part of the bigger picture.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
March 29, 2012 at 2:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gershom Gorenberg's THE ACCIDENTAL EMPIRE (2006) is helpful in understanding this exceedingly complex issue, and Michael Oren's POWER, FAITH, AND FANTASY (Norton 2007) also gives a huge amount of detail. At one time, Theodor Herzl, founder of political Zionism (DER JUDENSTAAT), was quite willing to accept Uganda or Cyprus Island as the future homeland for diaspora Jews.
Timothy Snyder's controversial BLOODLANDS does show that far more Jews were worked to death than were actually gassed with the Zyklon B -- the issue isn't how they died, and of course the Shoah should indeed never be forgotten, but rather how to integrate the state of Israel into the Near Eastern configuration of states.
Showing flexibility and pulling back on the illegal West Bank settlements [read 'colonies'] would be a start. Israel has its own sort of fundamentalism to deal with, and when extreme religion is mixed into politics it's often pretty sad. I say hurrah for JVP!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
March 29, 2012 at 4:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There is 1 thing I haven't commented on & that is the settlements, which I am vehemently against. What my comments have more to do w/ is the existence & survival of Israel. As for the settlemnts, nope, strictly against those, they ARE a problem & need to stop :) henry

hank (anonymous profile)
March 29, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

OMG.
Let's review:

1. Israel is a democracy surrounded by Arab states led be deadly totalitarian regimes.

2. Israel was and is repeatedly attacked, provoked, shelled and invaded by militant and often suicidal bombers, militant guerrilla fighters and madmen. Meanwhile, before any counter attack, Israel txt msgs Palestinians, drops leaflets, etc. only in order to defend itself.

3. After leaving Gaza, Israel is reward by: constant shelling and rocket attacks, suicide bombings and people like Rand, Cheri and Barb who hand-wring themselves into pretzels about Israeli intentions and actions as they defend their country.

4. In the Arab countries surrounding them, women are jailed for reporting rape and abuse. Women are not allowed to drive cars, shop or travel without a male escort. Many are not allowed to vote. Arab citizens of these surrounding countries are regularly executed or dismembered (fingers or hands cut off) for stealing or other non-lethal crimes. In Israel, there is a fully transparent, open and representative justice system (civil and criminal) modeled on the U.S. and European systems.

Hmmmm...

willy88 (anonymous profile)
April 1, 2012 at 6:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

No settlements, no shelling
Two states, one world
One God, many perceptions

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 1, 2012 at 6:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

House by house, village by village, the Palestinians have been losing their homes since 1947/1948. As if the West Bank weren't bad enough ... now conservative Israeli's are accelerating their efforts to take all of Jerusalem. Once that happens, a two-state solution will really be difficult:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/...

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
April 3, 2012 at 2:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)