“Giving Back the Golan Will Not Be Easy,” by Shai

Golan by Shai

Golan by Shai (Click to enlarge photo)

 

Giving Back the Golan Will Not Be Easy
By Shai, Nov. 30, 2008;

*Shai is an Israeli Advocate of Peace who frequently writes on Syria Comment

This weekend my wife and I, and some friends, decided to head up north for a short holiday.  This is a beautiful time of year, when everything is green outside, but not too much rain.  After spending a day in Tzfat (Safed), a spiritual center for Jewish Kabblah, and a serene town with a thriving artist colony, we decided to go visit the Golan.  We drove up through the northern part of the Heights, passing by Kal’at Namrud (Nimrod Fortress), Majdal Shams, Mas’ade, very nice Druze villages, at the foothills of the awe-inspiring Hermon mountain.  For Israelis, this is the tallest mountain in the country, and the only place we can go skiing.  We then headed south along the Heights, and ascended Mt. Bental, which overlooks Quneitra.

There is a cafe up there, on Mt. Bental, which is run by Kibbutz Merom Golan, just underneath.  The cafe is called, oddly enough, “Coffee Anan”.  Probably as some tribute to the previous UN secretary general, but more specifically because of its Hebrew meaning, “Cafe in the Cloud”.  The view is tremendous.  All of Syria, it seems, lies beneath the mountain and stretches endlessly to the east and to the north.   One can see the UN station in the neutral-zone, separating the Israeli-controlled Golan from the Syrian plateau.  Also in view are old and new Quneitra.  One cannot, of course, visit the old one, but its ruins are clearly visible to all – a historic reminder to the terrible battles that ensued here in 1967 and 1973.  When we were there it was quite misty, and as the cafe name suggested, we befittingly often found ourselves above the clouds.  It was almost an enchanted feeling, and very beautiful and relaxing.

It was also quite surreal.  Here we were, sipping nice warm coffee, while contemplating what has, is, and will be happening on these very hills.  The cafe, funny enough, has on its walls framed pictures of different tourist sites in Syria, with articles and information written below it in Hebrew, English, and Arabic.  It wasn’t clear to me whether the owners were hopeful about peace with Syria with, or without, returning the Golan. There are people up there, after all, who believe in “peace-for-peace”.

I took the opportunity to ask some of the young men and women who were running the place what they thought will happen with the Golan, whether they believed it will be returned to Syria.  One or two shied away from a direct answer, but one girl, probably 22 or 23 years old, said quite confidently “It’ll never happen”.  Hoping to better understand her, I reminded her of the ongoing indirect talks over the past 5 years, as well as very clear suggestions made by previous Prime Ministers in Israel as to that effect.  But she remained resolute, and repeated “It’ll never happen”.  At the risk of pushing the limit, I tried another approach – my pseduo-psychologist one…  “But surely,” I said, “even if you are absolutely certain that the Golan will remain Israeli forever, isn’t there any part of you, on the conscious or subconscious level, that questions it?”  “No,” the nice girl responded, “I believe that what I think is what will happen, so I don’t allow myself to think anything else…”  That summarized it for me quite well.  And in a way, it made sense.

This young girl was born and raised on the Golan.  This is the only home she knows.  Israel annexed the Heights in 1981, so she was born in a place her country considered its own (unlike the West Bank or Gaza, which were never annexed).  This girl knows the Golan better than she does Tel-Aviv or Jerusalem.  To her, the “courageous” pro-peace and anti-peace activists matter less than the land she and her parents have been working over the past forty years.  Talks of peace, when accompanied by land giveaways, her-land giveaways, are a bigger threat than the enemy himself.  To this girl, giving back the Golan is as foreign a notion as, say, giving Florida back to the Indians would be for the average Floridian.  History is irrelevant, when facts-on-the-ground are not only well established, but indeed well personal.  Could I blame her for feeling this way?  Would I feel any different, were I in her shoes?  Probably not.

We do know that there are also Golan residents that have voiced different opinions.  Some are ready to move “back” into Israel, should peace ever become a real-possibility.  They are ready to pay the personal price, in return for a safer future for their children, and for those of all of Israel.  While still a minority, it seems they are a growing one.  What will make it easier for Israel to give back the Golan one day are two facts about its Jewish residents:  First, there are only some 16,500 of them, unlike the 260,000 living in the West Bank.  Second, most have not moved to the Golan for the same religiously-motivated reasons as have the settlers in the Palestinian territories.  Ending the physical occupation of the Golan will not entail, quite likely, overwhelming religious interference by leaders and Rabbis across the country.  In fact, the religious party Shas has herself suggested in the past a readiness to give back land territories, in return for peace.  It never exhibited this “flexibility” when it came to matters of Jerusalem.  But the Golan has been, and will be, different.

Personally, I must admit giving back the Golan will not be easy for me either.  Though I do not feel nearly the same kind of attachment to this land as its residents do, I too have managed to fall in love with it, as anyone who has ever been up there would.  On this visit, I told my wife and our friends that although I will be saddened the day we return the Heights back its owners, I will be happy to return here again and again, even if I first have to obtain a Syrian visa…  On the emotional level, and we must come to understand this (whether we agree with it, or not), giving back the Golan will be, to most if not all of its residents, like the severing of an important limb in their body.  The fact that some politician may one day suggest that this limb was actually “transplanted” into their body, and was never theirs in the first place, will not help their personal trauma nor their pain.

But before this is possible, before Syria can peacefully attain control of the Golan, most Israelis will have to believe it is worth it.  History lessons, and UN resolutions, will not convince the people who are still fearful of Syrian tanks rolling off the Heights, on their way to Tel-Aviv.  That it was always Syrian territory, also before 1967, will not encourage Israelis to vote for a peace agreement, if they remain suspicious of Syria’s alliances with Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas.  It is this emotional realm, that Syrians and Israelis will have to traverse, and it is here that the “battle for peace” will have to take place.  The sooner we understand this, the sooner the nice young girl we met up at “Coffee Anan” will begin to question her innate and understandable reluctance to leave her home, for the sake of peace.

Comments (100)


Pages: « 1 [2] Show All

51. SimoHurtta said:

Sim –

Where are you? How is your investigation into Western Jewish reporters going? Have you found them to be “disproportionate”? Show us the numbers as you as you’re able.

Well Akbar the only thing I can say to you is an old Finnish saying “Sinä saat mitä kylvät” (= you get what you seed in the field). Naturally what happens and has happened for a long time in Israel/Palestine reflects also to all Jews around the world when Israel is the self-proclaimed “representative” of all Jews. Israel, like you also, doesn’t waste a single opportunity to emphasis that the problem is Muslim extremism. Not the Jewish extremism which is becoming more and more visible, but which Israel has managed to hide so far rather good. Look at the Hebron settlers, if they are not religious extremists who are.

You Akbar could ask yourself that would Jews in Mumbai been targeted if there would not have been the wars you started in 1956 and 1967 (then there would also not been the war of 1973) and you had made an fair settlement along the UN division plans and created working ties with the local “system”. I suppose the answer is no.

What I see a bit disturbing is how “you” demand Germans to bear a collective quilt for generations of Nazi time but you are completely avoiding the reality what “you” do in Middle East has equal consequences to the Jewish “image”.

Surely this Mumbai was a tragic and unnecessary event but on the same time we should remember that these events get their “motive” from larger international imbalances and from a circle of revenge. In Kashmir have 80.000 been killed during the past decades and in Palestine / Israel thousands. And there will be never peace before the core problems are solved. Akbar you use religion in your extreme ideology, Zionism, and in your propaganda, so does the other side.

PS
Akbar not even all Israelis do not take the Syrian reactor so seriously as your “team” does .
http://shum.huji.ac.il/~agay/blog.cgi?boe

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 2nd, 2008, 11:49 pm

 

52. SimoHurtta said:

India Is Pointing in the Right Direction

By Claus Christian Malzahn

(Sim – is Claus Jewish?)

Can be Akbar. Though the middle name Christian doesn’t indicate that. Maybe his mother converted to Christianity and left your tribe and now Claus wants to join again your “nation” or simply he gets enough sheqels for the article. 🙂 Though I do not so easily believe in Claus’s Al Qaida and Holy War theories. Do extremely religious Muslims drink beer before they begin to shoot innocent people – as some of the terrorists were reported doing? What about the tragic “coincident” that all the numerous terrorist’s faces are beyond recognition as some sources report? There are also several other details which make the attack somewhat suspicious. One doesn’t have to be conspiracy theorist to think that the official “truth” is not necessary so simple as “they” want us to believe.

What I know Akbar is that Menachem Livni (a convicted terrorist for killing 4 Palestinians) is Jewish but what I have not managed to find out is he related to Tzipora Malka “Tzipi” Livni. Can be because the guy has good connections, considering how president Chaim Herzog gave him and his fellows a special treatment. Life sentence in prison became a couple years. And now the guy who was planing to destroy the Dome of Rock and Al Aqsa mosque was back in “business” in the West Bank.

Hmmmm Akbar it seems that your “club” wants more a “holy war” between religions more than average Muslims do. So eager you are in spreading that Holy Was – Islam terrorist propaganda. Well we all know why you want and need that war. Have you Akbar ever thought what happens if the Christians do not participate in your “Holy War”. Surely 12 – 15 million are no match against a billion, even if they have nukes.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 1:19 am

 

53. why-discuss said:

Rumyal

I was quite shocked by the article on poverty in Israel! When we listen to AIG and Akbar it seems that the country is not only democratic but also a economical success story. This article shows that the country is socially fragmented beyond what I thought and that the arab threat may just be the cement that hold this society together. Without it, fight against injustices and corruption will take a more proeminent importance in the mind of Israelis.
Thanks for showing us that Israel is a country like many others and that the claim of the higher standard of living maybe only a facade.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 2:11 am

 

54. Rumyal said:

Why-Discuss,

Hi again, hope you had a good day 🙂

Don’t be so gleeful just yet—AIG wasn’t misrepresenting the facts—Israel can be considered an economic success story by many parameters. It ranks at about #30 in the world in terms of GDP per capita, at $27,000 per capita per year (according to the all-knowing Wikipedia). That’s 10% lower than Spain and 20% lower than France. The economy is fairly diversified and robust. Since the 90’s Israel has been undergoing an accelerated shift to free market economy which has brought great wealth to some but has also deepened the gaps in the society and eroded the middle class. Today about 90% of the wealth of the country is in the hands of about a dozen families. You see, we have our own Makhlufs!

So yes, Israel is just like any other country with similar parameters and is no Club Med as much as Spain is no Club Med. You can go to a Club Med vacation in Spain but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t millions of poor and disenfranchised Spaniards.

You hit the nail right on the head: the Israeli society is a “recruited society” and the army and conflict experience consist of much of the glue that holds the society together. But, these things are changing fast and new generations are not willing to put on hold other considerations of their society, so there is a blossoming of activism for varied societal goals. Overall, I wouldn’t worry that the society would fracture, other than on the topic of the settlements in the West bank.

What you said reminded me of a hilarious sketch by a group of Israeli comedians that operated in the 90’s under the name “HaKhamishia HaKamerit” shortly after the signing of the Oslo accords. The sketch was about a former Shin-Bet agent whose services are no longer required now that peace broke so he tries to take up job as a barber. However every now and then he relapses and starts bullying his customers. This just caricatures a true fact that on the day after peace is obtained there will be lots of adjustment difficulties and soul-searching to do.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 7:17 am

 

55. Shai said:

Ghat Albird,

You said: “The overly sensitive Shai needs to be asked if the shoe was on the other foot and Syria controlled a large part of Israel will it be “not as easy to giving it back?””

Look, I apologize for sounding “overly sensitive” (though my wife would argue describing me as such). But would you rather I sounded “tougher”, say, like AIG does? Would you prefer I said to Syria “You lost the Golan in war, fair-and-square, and now it’s ours. So get used to it already.” Would this better fit your character of Israelis? Is this the language you want to hear, when negotiating peace? Or is “sensitivity” precisely what has been missing for over 60 years, and now needs to be reintroduced between what we sometimes forget we are, namely, human beings. Isn’t it time to start replacing the “toughness” with something more beneficial to a better future for our children?

Of course if the shoe was on the other foot and Syria controlled a large part of Israel, it would be the same, from your end. And again, please read my words carefully, I clearly stated that I’m in no way whatsoever even hinting at a justification for continued Israeli occupation of the Golan. Because it may be “hard” for Israelis to leave it, does not give us a right to stay.

Ghat, I spent a good part of my life in the South, and I happened to be quite fond of Southern sayings (but even more so sweetened ice-tea). I think the sayings you chose fit more the “neocon-lexicon” than the political reality on the ground here in the Middle East. Let’s try to find, together, a solution to our problems, and not a problem to our solutions.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 9:40 am

 

56. Alia said:

Nations sign cluster-bomb ban,US and Russia refuse

OSLO, Norway –

Nations began signing a treaty banning cluster bombs Wednesday in a move that supporters hope will shame the U.S., Russia and China and other non-signers into abandoning weapons blamed for maiming and killing civilians.

Norway, which began the drive to ban cluster bombs 18 months ago, was to be first to sign, followed by Laos and Lebanon, both hard-hit by the weapons.

Organizers said 88 countries were expected to sign on Wednesday and around 100 out of the world’s 192 U.N. member nations will have signed by Thursday.

Cluster bomblets are packed by the hundreds into artillery shells, bombs or missiles that scatter them over vast areas. Some fail to explode immediately. The unexploded bomblets can then lie dormant for years until they are disturbed, often by children attracted by their small size and bright colors.

“Banning cluster bombs took too long. Too many people lost arms and legs,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said as he opened the conference.

Washington, Moscow and other non-signers say cluster bombs have legitimate military uses such as repelling advancing troop columns. But according to the group Handicap International, 98 percent of cluster-bomb victims are civilians, and 27 percent are children.

The Bush administration has said that a comprehensive ban would hurt world security and endanger U.S. military cooperation on humanitarian work with countries that sign the accord.

Activists said ahead of the signing that they hope the treaty will nonetheless shame non-signers into shelving the weapons, as many did with land mines after a 1997 treaty banning them.

“Once you get half the world on board, its hard to ignore a ban,” said Australian anti-cluster bomb campaigner Daniel Barty. “One of the things that really worked well with the land-mine treaty was stigmatization. No one really uses land mines,” he said.

The anti-cluster bomb campaign gathered momentum after Israel’s monthlong war against Hezbollah in 2006, when it scattered up to 4 million bomblets across Lebanon, according to U.N. figures.

“In southern Lebanon, for more than two years, children and the elderly have been victimized (by cluster munitions),” Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Saloukh said.

Norway called a conference to ban cluster bombs in February 2007. In May, more than 100 countries agreed to ban cluster bombs within eight years.

The treaty must be ratified by 30 countries before it takes effect.

“I think it’s awesome that 100 countries are coming to Oslo to sign (the new cluster bomb treaty),” said American Jody Williams, who won the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to ban land mines.

___

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 11:43 am

 

57. Akbar palace said:

Have you Akbar ever thought what happens if the Christians do not participate in your “Holy War”. Surely 12 – 15 million are no match against a billion, even if they have nukes.

Sim –

What Christian participate in my “holy war”? Please provide a short list or a website.

Of course, my “holy war” doesn’t take me or my people to foreign captials to hijack commercial airliners and ram them into skyscrapers, nor does my holy war take me to Spain, London, or Mumbai to bomb rail stations. Nevertheless, I consider my holy war a war of self-defence, as unbelievable as that might seem to you.

As Alia, mentioned our “holy war” has killed far many more non-Jews like you. I guess we’re winning.

Sim – just as a suggestion (take it or leave it), I would spend more time accepting Israel as a legitimate state. In othe words, since there are more Jews in Israel than there are Finns in Finland, don’t you think it’s time to come to terms with your anti-Israel feelings?

BTW – You didn’t present your data regarding the “Jewish dominated western media”. When will this be available so we can comment on your hypothesis? Also did you find out Mr. Claus Christian Malzahn’s faith? Did you want me to find his email address or phone number?

Thanks.;)

Nations sign cluster-bomb ban

Alia,

What do you think about a “terrorism ban”? It seems to me more innocent people are dying of terrorism than they are of cluster bombs.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 12:32 pm

 

58. Akbar Palace said:

You Akbar could ask yourself that would Jews in Mumbai been targeted if there would not have been the wars you started in 1956 and 1967 (then there would also not been the war of 1973) and you had made an fair settlement along the UN division plans and created working ties with the local “system”. I suppose the answer is no.

Sim –

Fistly, Israel’s wars have all been in self-defence, which I know, Jews and Israel aren’t allowed to do in your warped mind.

Secondly, Jews have been targeted for centuries before there ever was an Israel. As long as there are people who blame Jews for all the world’s ills, Jews will be targeted – Israel or not.

Thank you for the opportunity to highlight a phenomenon called “anti-semitism”. I think it is important for people to learn about it.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 12:54 pm

 

59. Chris said:

Simohurrta:
You wrote: “Do extremely religious Muslims drink beer before they begin to shoot innocent people – as some of the terrorists were reported doing? What about the tragic “coincident” that all the numerous terrorist’s faces are beyond recognition as some sources report? There are also several other details which make the attack somewhat suspicious. One doesn’t have to be conspiracy theorist to think that the official “truth” is not necessary so simple as “they” want us to believe.”

This is interesting. I’d like to learn more about your ideas regarding the attack. What other details make the attack somewhat suspicious? In what way is the truth not so simple? Who are the “they” to which you are referring?

Oh yeah, I’m also curious: I’ve heard that the Jews did not show up for work on 9/11. Is this true?

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 1:01 pm

 

60. Chris said:

This is amazing. People on this blog have found a way to blame Israel for the murders in the Chabad House in Mumbai. It’s not political Islam, it’s not Pakistan, it’s not a product of Indian-Pakistani relations, it’s not anti-semitism, but Israel.

“If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.”
Abba Eban

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 1:14 pm

 

61. Alia said:

A.P.

[Alia,

What do you think about a “terrorism ban”? It seems to me more innocent people are dying of terrorism than they are of cluster bombs.]

Several issues with this question:

1. We would have to agree on a definition of terrorism- individual versus state terrorism, both are recognized and in practice.

2. When the terrorists are non-state agents, who do not represent ” a democracy” like the U.S., Israel etc…you cannot really involve them in humanitarian conventions. Go ahead Akbar! Call up bin Laden for me so that I talk to him about my thoughts about his actions and invite him to sign a treaty.

3. In this post and in the one before it addressed to me, you seem to imply that only death is an outrage – the maiming of children and adults from cluster bombs, the starving of a population in the dark in Gaza do not appear to be “a big deal” for you but the psychology of the nice girl in the occupied Golan is of delicate importance for us to appreciate.

4. Give me the statistics that show that terrorist attacks have killed more people than cluster bombs worldwide. I am waiting.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 2:24 pm

 

62. Akbar Palace said:

This is amazing. People on this blog have found a way to blame Israel for the murders in the Chabad House in Mumbai.

Chris –

Not only that, but we have our token Israeli here, Shai, to make sense of it all!

Alia –

1. The definition is in the dictionary.

2. Why would you need to call bin Laden? This issue isn’t the terrorists. There will always be terrorists. The issue is the governments and organizations that SUPPORT and GIVE AID to terrorists or do not do enough to curtail their activities within their own country.

3. It’s all an outrage Alia: dead and wounded. I wish we could outlaw war. But it seems we can’t. A country that is attacked is allowed to defend itself, and believe it or not, there are “rules of war”.

4. Feel free to google the statistics. I’ll see what I can find during my lunch break.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 3:44 pm

 

63. jad said:

Dear Alia
May I suggest to you and any other Syrian not to waste your time on an Israel apologist, American and ‘Syrian hater’ ’ Chris’; and a Zionist Israeli who is pretending to be an American, ‘neocon’ and ‘war lover’ ‘AB’.
Those two do not worth to waste a minute writing back to them, especially from a respected person as yourself.
‘Darou sufahaakom’

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 4:09 pm

 

64. Shai said:

Akbar,

Chris said: “People on this blog have found a way to blame Israel for the murders in the Chabad House in Mumbai.”

Your response: “… but we have our token Israeli here, Shai, to make sense of it all!”

Akbar, have you a personal agenda against me? Are you so desperate that you now have to make up things as you go?

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 4:15 pm

 

65. AKbar Palace said:

Alia,

Here’s what I found. I’m pretty sure terrorism is a worse phenomenon than cluster bombs:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluster_bomb

http://www.hrw.org/en/node/62428/section/7

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/27/AR2005042702096.html

I would like to see HRW to make the issue of terrorism at least as important as the issue of cluster bombs.

Shai said:

Akbar, have you a personal agenda against me? Are you so desperate that you now have to make up things as you go?

Shai,

No Shai, I have no personal agenda against you. I only disagree with much of your world-view. And what did I “make up”? All I said was that you were here to “make sense of it all”. Isn’t it true you feel you have explain the misdeeds of Israelis to many of the participants here? Haven’t I shown you enough examples of you putting yourself in that (strange) role?

Regards,

AP

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 5:42 pm

 

66. Chris said:

JAD:

I don’t know where you got the idea that I am a “Syrian hater.” I may not be in love with Bashar and his entourage, in fact, I’m actually quite critical of the regime (as you may have noticed). I’m also quite critical of various aspects of the foreign policy of my own country, the US.

Being critical certainly doesn’t imply hatred, right? After all, aren’t discerning people able to be critical? Just as being critical of U.S. foreign policy isn’t an indication of hatred for American, being critical of Syrian policy also isn’t an indication of hatred for Syria. After all, I don’t think someone who criticizes Israeli policy is necessarily and “Israel hater
or anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. If that were the case, much of Israeli society could be branded as anti-Semitic of anti-Israel.

It’s a bit too easy to dismiss criticism by labelling the critics as those who hate Syria or whatever country/people/policy is in question.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 6:06 pm

 

67. norman said:

Shai,

I want your vision of end game peace in the Mideast.

can you do that ?.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 6:24 pm

 

68. Shai said:

Akbar,

I haven’t said a single word regarding the Mumbai attack, yet your response to Chris’s comment about Israel being blamed for the Chabad murders was: “… but we have our token Israeli here, Shai, to make sense of it all!”.

This accusation, which suggests I’m one to find justification (sense) in this murderous attack on innocent Jews and non-Jews, is a clear indication that you AP have no boundaries whatsoever. Perhaps next you’ll accuse me of “making sense” out of the Holocaust? Or out of the shuttle disaster that killed Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut in space? Or of Israel’s horrific car-accident rates, which kill far more than any of our wars have, put together?

Where will it stop, AP? And do me a favor, as I’ve told you before, when you’ve given a tenth of what I have, for the State of Israel, then you can criticize me, my love for Israel, my hatred for Israel, or my “making sense” of anything anti-Israel. But until then, try looking in the mirror every now and then, before mentioning my name.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 6:42 pm

 

69. Shai said:

Norman,

That’s a tough question to answer, without further clarification. What do you mean by “end game peace”? Do you mean “real” peace? Where reconciliation has taken place? Because that, I’m afraid, is at least 2-3 decades away. If you mean the cessation of war or hostilities, then I do have an idea in mind, and its chronology is something along the line of my comment #43 above.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 6:47 pm

 

70. SimoHurtta said:

Oh yeah, I’m also curious: I’ve heard that the Jews did not show up for work on 9/11. Is this true?

What you heard is true. The story about the text message warning was in Haaretz just after 911.
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=77744

The big and unanswered question is who and how (surely it is not in Israel’s interest to find that out). Tell me Chris from where did that message came. Surely not from Muslim terrorists or from “bin Laden” in the the international Jihad command centre. Two hour before the attack means that “you” did know about the attack. Why not pass that message to all? Hmmmmm….

——
Sim – just as a suggestion (take it or leave it), I would spend more time accepting Israel as a legitimate state. In othe words, since there are more Jews in Israel than there are Finns in Finland, don’t you think it’s time to come to terms with your anti-Israel feelings?

Well Akbar that is the naivest comment I have read for a long time. There are more Muslims in the world than Jews. There are even more Syrians as Israelis. Shouldn’t you think it’s time to come to terms with your anti-Islamic feelings and stop the genocide in your country?

—-
Sim –

Fistly, Israel’s wars have all been in self-defence, which I know, Jews and Israel aren’t allowed to do in your warped mind.

Secondly, Jews have been targeted for centuries before there ever was an Israel. As long as there are people who blame Jews for all the world’s ills, Jews will be targeted – Israel or not

Firstly you did attack in 1956 and 1967. Attack is no self defence. Surely 1956 was a purely opportunist attack (nothing to do with self defence), for which you were rewarded with the nukes you now have and money. Your self defence wars are pure Israeli folklore. As the Gaza siege for “defence” is.

Secondly I do not straight believe in the theory of Jews targeted for centuries. Jews had managed to become extremely prosperous and well educated and successful in Europe. Jews have hardly been the Roma people of Europe, who have stayed in the bottom of the society for centuries. Look at the Nobel price winners or the names Europe’s leading banks in the past centuries, not to mention the recent Russian oligarchs. Surely there had occasional “explosions” with the relations between Jews and the main populations in several countries with tragic consequences. As there have been with many other religious and ethnic minorities. Minorities and different religions have been and are convenient tools for the leaders around the world. Your Zionist leaders use this “favourite tools” presently in the “democratic” Israel.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 3rd, 2008, 10:38 pm

 

71. Enlightened said:

Been away a few weeks:

(1) Shai nice post. We know the hurdles, which are far more numerous than simply giving up The Sinai. Yet Israel has set a precedent. Time will tell how and when The Golan will be given back, my memory if it serves me correctly in the last negotiations was a few hundred meters. Slowly but surely a deal will be reached “whereby we can all dip our stinky feet in the reservoir” and everyone will be happy.

(2) Akbar why don’t you ask to submit a post arguing why Israel should keep the Golan? I would only ask that you don’t use Wikipedia as a reference point, it might give your writing some credibility.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 3:05 am

 

72. Alex said:

ELLE magazine picked Asma Assad as most elegant first lady.

أسماء الأسد … الأكثر أناقة

باريس الحياة – 04/12/08//

اختارت المجلة الأسبوعية النسائية الفرنسية «ايل» Elle، السيدة السورية الأولى أسماء الأسد، الأكثر أناقة في فئة «السيدات الأُوَل».

واعتبرت لجنة التحكيم التي ترأستها مصممة الأزياء الفرنسية سونيا ريكييل وضمت المصممة ايزابيل ماران والمصوّرة سيلفي لانكرنون والكاتبة صوفي فونتانيل ورئيسة تحرير «ايل» فاليري تورانيان، ان الأسد جديرة بالمرتبة الأولى قبل السيدة الأولى الفرنسية كارلا بروني ساركوزي (المصنفة الثانية) وميشيل أوباما زوجة الرئيس الأميركي المنتخب باراك أوباما (الثالثة) ووزيرة العدل الفرنسية رشيدة داتي (الرابعة) والوزيرة الشابة راما ياد والزعيمة الاشتراكية الفرنسية سيغولين رويال.

وتعلن المجلة الأسبوعية الفرنسية فــي شهر كانـون الثــاني (يــناير) مـن كل عام، تصــنيفها للنساء الأكثر أناقة للعام المنصرم، وتقدمهن ضمن فئات مختلفة مثل «السـجادة الحمراء» و«العارضات» و«الفرنسيات» و«ضحايا الموضة» و«البريطانيات» و«السيدات الأوَل».

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 4:57 am

 

73. Rumyal said:

Alex,

It’s the first time I see Asma’s name written in Arabic and I now understand it is a “lofty” name. I wanted to check what it meant beforehand but was lazy… I somehow suspected it was related to Ausama, ya3ni another Assad 🙂 Condi and Tzipi still have a chance to make it into one of the lists, maybe “most elegantly dressed unfulfilled political promises” or something like that 🙂

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 6:27 am

 

74. Alex said:

Rumyal,

Condy looks very elegant playing classical music on a grand Piano.

Tzipi did not lose yet .. we’ll wait and see : )

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 6:34 am

 

75. MSK* said:

Dear Josh and the rest,

What is your take on Hillary Clinton as SecState, especially in regard to the Middle East?

Cheers,

–MSK*

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 11:35 am

 

76. Akbar Palace said:

Englightened said:

Akbar why don’t you ask to submit a post arguing why Israel should keep the Golan? I would only ask that you don’t use Wikipedia as a reference point, it might give your writing some credibility.

Enlightened,

As far as I’m concerned there is no “arguement” for “why Israel should keep the Golan”. Who am I supposed to argue with?

I someone wants my car, I ask them, “How much are you willing to pay?”. If someone wants part of my country, I tell them to take a hike or propose a generous offer.

As yet, I haven’t heard Syria’s offer. Maybe you can find that for us, and then we can “pick it apart” …

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 11:45 am

 

77. Akbar Palace said:

The big and unanswered question is who and how …

Sim,

Yes, this “big and unanswered question” still remains for people like you who still have “Your Holy War™” against Israel and the Jewish people.

For most of us, however, the questions have been answered:

http://www.9-11heroes.us/victims-world-trade-center.php

http://www.america.gov/st/pubs-english/2006/August/20060828133846esnamfuaK0.2676355.html

http://www.gpoaccess.gov/911/pdf/fullreport.pdf

“Your Holy War™” Sim was perpetrated by 19 fanatical, mostly upper middle class, Saudi-born jihadists who were members of al-Queda. They killed a “disproportionate” number of Jews, but most were gentiles like yourself, and many were muslim.

Attack is no self defence.

Sim,

That sounds like a one-sided argument fostered by “Your Holy War™” Sim. Of course an “attack is no self defence” if you ignore the attacks and terrorism of the neighboring country.

Take Gaza for example. If you ignore the missiles coming out of Gaza (almost daily), then, I suppose, any attack on Gaza is “no self defense”. Sorry Sim, Israel has a right to defend itself just like Finland or any other country.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 12:43 pm

 

78. Akbar Palace said:

Looks like Saddam Hussein at least paid better than the Pakistani jihadists. I guess the economy was better back then:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,461566,00.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2846365.stm

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 1:04 pm

 

79. SimoHurtta said:

I someone wants my car, I ask them, “How much are you willing to pay?”. If someone wants part of my country, I tell them to take a hike or propose a generous offer.

Depends Akbar what is the “my” with the car. If your car is a stolen one, which you still call my car, you hardly can demand much money from the real owner. Akbar the problem is that only you Israelis and not even all of them see Golan as “yours”.

If “loosing” Golan “will hurt”, how Shai describes it, it will be only a fragment of the pain of loosing West Bank and part of Jerusalem. Will Israeli Jews be able to tolerate that bigger pain? Well they have eventually. Hebron is a good exercise for what is waiting in the future.

What can Israel demand from Syria besides normal relations between “normal” countries and some minor things with the water rights etc. If Israel demands security guaranties Syria has much more reasons to demand equal guaranties. If Israel demands ending support for Palestinian groups Syria can demand that Israel solves finally the Palestinian problem. If Israel demands money for the infrastructure build in Golan Syria can demand money for the destroyed infrastructure. If Israel demands Syria to end its relations with Iran Syria can demand Israel to end its special relations with USA.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 2:00 pm

 

80. Shai said:

Simo,

But the absurd in Israel is, that currently while the majority of Israelis are FOR returning the West Bank to the Palestinians (and creating a state of Palestine), still 70% are AGAINST a return of the Golan to Syria. And this is why I claim that we have to traverse the “emotional realm” with our enemy Syria now. Those 70% of Israelis (of whom we only need 20% to come back to the peace camp), are suspicious of Syria and her alliances with our (even worse) enemies. And if our leaders cannot explain to those 70% that a nation can have alliances with whomever they want, and STILL make peace with us, then perhaps the Syrian leadership can…

I know Syria doesn’t want to become a 2nd Egypt (and certainly Bashar doesn’t want to be a Sadat), but Israeli hearts and minds ARE ready to be changed by such unexpected measures. If Assad can’t come to Jerusalem, let him at least allow 1-2 Israeli journalists interview him, at his palace in Damascus!

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 2:16 pm

 

81. Alia said:

A.P.

None of the references you provided shows that “terrorism” has caused more victims than cluster bombs- saying: “I bet, it seems to me” is just expressing your point of view…Handicap Intl. has published the number of 100.000 victims of cluster bombs so far since 1965 and it is not over.

As for banning the support of terrorism by states, my understanding is that the ban is already in effect. However, it really depends on who is calling the terrorists and which country is doing the support. When the U.S. under Reagan supported the Contras against the Sandinista government, they were supporting “terrorists” as defined by the Sandinistas.

The Apartheid regime of South Africa referred to the ANC as terrorists and President Mandela remained a terrorist on the U.S. list until recently.

When the U.S, ships its prisoners that “need torture” to governments that practice torture and who are part of the Axis of Evil, this is not called supporting terrorism.

It is not as black and white as you would like it all to be.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 2:45 pm

 

82. Alia said:

Dear Alex,

Are we supposed to be thrilled that Ms Asad is the chiccest first lady? Sometimes I think you put those pictures and statements just out of provocation..Shame on our country. Whose money is that that Ms. Asad is spending on her clothes?

How pathetic for all of us. Next time I am in Damascus and I see the hordes of women who are begging on the streets with a child on their arm, I will try to remember to give them this comforting news.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 2:51 pm

 

83. Alia said:

Dear Jad,

Sometimes we have to respond with facts and without anger. Otherwise, there will be only one narrative in the world and it will not be ours.

I am reading A.P. amateurish views on the matter and I am proud to know that my “little” 23 year old niece, a docotoral student in biomedical engineering is inventing a prosthetic limb that children who have lost their limbs to land mines or cluster bombs can use, with the advantage that the limb can be adjusted as they grow so that there is no need for several prostheses over the life cycle which would increase the cost for the countries who are receiving those prosthesis. She has been to Laos to work with the victims of cluster bombs and examine their needs. It is always best to talk about things you know.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 3:05 pm

 

84. Shai said:

Dear Alia,

Regarding terrorism, I fully agree with you. It has ALWAYS depended on who defined them as terrorists, and who didn’t. According to the Webster dictionary, “terrorism” is: “violent or destructive acts (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands…” Now if I’m Israel, and I want to justify using 1,000 pound bombs dropped on Hamas leadership in Gaza (and the corresponding “collateral damage” in the form of innocent men, women, and children) by defining this action as fighting a terrorist group, I have to consider that according to the same definition, my own violent action could itself be viewed as terrorism. All of a sudden, referring to Hamas as a national-resistance group (and a political party), may seem more “convenient”…

We can call them what we like, but in the end, we’ll be negotiating with them all – Hamas, Hezbollah, you name it. And the same vice-versa. They call us state-terrorists, and they’ll negotiate peace with us…

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 3:06 pm

 

85. Akbar Palace said:

None of the references you provided shows that “terrorism” has caused more victims than cluster bombs- saying: “I bet, it seems to me” is just expressing your point of view…Handicap Intl. has published the number of 100.000 victims of cluster bombs so far since 1965 and it is not over.

Alia,

Feel free to post a link showing the 100,000 victims since 1965.

Meanwhile here are some more links for you to ponder. The last link is from the US State Department website. Apparently over 58,000 terrorist deaths were reported for the 3 years: 2005, 2006 and 2007.

You may think my views are “amateurish”, but the fact of the matter is terrorism kills a helluva lot more people than cluster bombs. Unfortunately, there are a great many ways to kill people that doesn’t include a cluster bomb. Semtex, katyushas, Scuds, kalashnikovs, commercial airliners, knives and sarin gas come to mind.

And as far as your niece is concerned, “more power to her”. I am glad to know she is working to help people. You should be proud.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5889435/

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2000/1/Terrorism%20deaths%20in%20Israel%20-%201920-1999

http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2007/103716.htm

It is not as black and white as you would like it all to be.

Alia,

Smearing terrorism into war and war into terrorism is just what the murderers want. The next time you see a celebration of the most recent “martyr” (Samir Kuntar?) on Syrian TV, you may want to place a call to the TV station that aired it.

Good Luck…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samir_Kuntar

Thanks,

AP

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 5:24 pm

 

86. jad said:

Dear Alia

I’m glad to hear about your niece. That is something to be very proud about.

With due respect, I don’t think Alex story is provocative, I like to be fair, so I don’t hold Ms Asad accountable for the authorities mistakes or the poverty in Syria.
She is not part of the problem, she is doing her best to do something good and I give her lots of credits for that, she is trying to improve women and youth lives not only in cities but also in the country side.

Regarding your comments about responding; I would’ve agree with you if I’m debating with two open minded adults who have any point to talk about, but writing anything back to an ignorant teenager and a bad experienced foreign student is a big waste of my time. I don’t bother to read what they are writing anymore knowing in advance that there is nothing with a value is coming out of all the argument they are going through so the best way is to ignore them.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 5:26 pm

 

87. Alex said:

Dear Alia,

If you would like to know how I felt after reading that ELLE selected Asma Al-Assad as the most elegantly dressed first lady in the world, I will tell you that I was … amused.

I am not proud, and I am not appalled.

I am amused because I was in Egypt when Sadat “did the right thing” … when he visited Israel.

Suddenly, he was selected as “the best”, “the most”, the highest” … everything.

For example, he was the most popular foreign leader in the United States, according to one poll …

So I am amused when I see ELLE voting for our first lady to top their list.

It simply gives me the impression that we might be getting close to a settlement.

As for the way I feel about Asma wearing expensive items … I agree with Jad, I think she is doing a wonderful job being Syria’s first lady. She is also acting as a senior adviser to the president (in Finance, technology, and public relations) … she made it fashionable in Syria to work in charities, including those caring for the mentally handicapped, and she impressed everyone who worked with her.

I don’t know who else (or waht else) we can invest in that can prove to be that successful.

It is some of the other, classic, mas’2ouleen (“responsible”) who are openly corrupt and who don’t contribute anything to Syria anymore (if they ever did) that I can not understand.

One last thing, Asma’s family is quite wealthy. It might be the case that she is paying for what she is wearing from her personal account (sometimes, at least).

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 6:13 pm

 

88. Alia said:

Dear Alex,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, they do clarify your position a bit.

On the issue of ladies doing charitable work in Syria, I do not agree that it is Ms Asad’s influence. I have very close contacts with several women of the upper midlle-class who have been working for several decades in charitable organizations, in fact leading them entirely on their own. I will be happy to provide you with names and dates starting from the 1960s.

I don’t know why the President needs the advice of Ms. Asad who was after all a young employee in an investment company before she married him, when he could have at his disposition the best minds in economy and finances anywhere in the world!!

One has really to make an effort to see Ms Assad’s agenda as separate from that of her husband- in the sense of power and privilege that are not legitimately acquired.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 6:44 pm

 

89. Shai said:

Dear Alex,

Your amusement with ELLE is exactly how I feel each time Israel won the Eurovision music contest. Never mind that last time I checked Israel wasn’t on the European continent, but we only win when some political development has either happened, or just about to. After Sadat came to Israel, and after we signed the peace agreement, we won the Eurovision twice (’78 and ’79), with the songs “A-Ba-Ni-Bi” and “Hallelulja”… 🙂

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 6:45 pm

 

90. Alia said:

For A.P.n

On numbers.

Cluster bomb ban signed in Oslo, big powers absent
Wed Dec 3, 2008 10:46am EST
By John Acher

OSLO, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Nearly 100 nations began signing a treaty on Wednesday to ban cluster bombs responsible for killing and maiming thousands, but powerful arms producers including the United States, Russia and China remain outside the pact.

Despite those and other military powers not signing, 18 of 26 NATO members, including Britain, France and Germany, are expected to ink the pact, which was hailed by hosts Norway.

“Today we confirm that cluster munitions are banned forever,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, the first to sign in a process that will extend over two days.

“This convention will make the world a safer and better place to live.”
It was unclear how many of the 125 states that registered for the conference would take part in the signing ceremony at the Oslo city hall, site of the annual Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony.

“If we say there will be plus or minus 100 (signatories), that will be a good start,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference. “We hope to see more signing in the weeks and months and years ahead.”

UP TO 100,000 KILLED OR WOUNDED

Cluster bombs contain scores or even hundreds of submunitions — or “bomblets” — that blanket wide areas.

Campaigners say this makes them indiscriminate killers. Since not all the bomblets explode upon impact, duds on the ground can pose lethal dangers to civilians, particularly children, for decades after they are used in combat.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted by 107 states in Dublin in May, bans the use, production, stockpiling and trade of such weapons.

The treaty requires nations to destroy stockpiles within eight years and to clear contaminated areas within 10 years of the date it comes into force, which will be six months after 30 states ratify the pact.

Signing states must also provide assistance to cluster bomb victims, their families and affected communities.

Norway, Ireland, the Holy See and Sierra Leone will deposit their ratifications immediately upon signing, an official said.

Handicap International, an advocacy group for the maimed and disabled that helps clear deadly ordnance, estimates some 100,000 have been killed or injured by cluster munitions over the decades, based on surveys of affected countries.

“This treaty is a restoration of the spirit and the letter of humanitarian rights,” Jean-Baptiste Richardier, co-founder and director-general of Handicap International, told Reuters.

Laos, which was heavily bombed with cluster bombs during the Vietnam War, causing what Handicap International says were 15,000 deaths and injuries, signed just after host Norway.

Laotian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Thongloun Sisoulith told the conference the treaty “deserves full global support”.
Following the Oslo ceremony, the treaty will go to the United Nations in New York where more states may sign.

©

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 6:50 pm

 

91. Jad said:

Dear Alia,

I agree that the first lady didn’t invent charity, actually my mother has been working with a charity group for the last 30 years and my grandmother before her and they tell us that there is always a way to make people’s life better so why don’t we be part of that, however, we can’t deny that Ms. Asma is trying to improve the lives of the forgotten Syrians of our society on many levels and I personally can see her agenda as an advanced and new to Syria and I wouldn’t think twice of supporting her work.
It also happened that I have 3 friends working in her organization, therefore I have huge problem to shrink all that hard work just because I don’t agree with some members of her family or the corrupted political system I have.

We have couple of organization in Syria deals with Handicapped but they do need lots of donation and a push forward to do better so they can try to integrate our handicapped or physically challenged Syrians to become productive parts of our social fabric and her organization is helping in that by making the whole society aware of the issue on a higher and more public level.
Her organization is supporting women in the country side to learn how to improve their family lives; they also have programs in education and supporting youth. I’m not sure if there is a website for her organization.

There is something good is going on there and if we don’t see it, we are unfair.

I’m personally very proud of having such young and intelligent woman to be the first lady of my country and when you listen to her you know how much she is humble and productive woman, why should I feel ashamed of such Syrian?

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 7:55 pm

 

92. Enlightened said:

Akbar Said:

Enlightened,

As far as I’m concerned there is no “arguement” for “why Israel should keep the Golan”. Who am I supposed to argue with?

I someone wants my car, I ask them, “How much are you willing to pay?”. If someone wants part of my country, I tell them to take a hike or propose a generous offer.

As yet, I haven’t heard Syria’s offer. Maybe you can find that for us, and then we can “pick it apart”

—————————————————————–

I think Simo responded to you fairly adequately. But allow me to retort.

There is one important fallacy in your argument. The Golan was never formally given to Israel as part of the partition, it was acquired by force, and annexed. IT is not even recognized as part of Israel’s original territory.

So when you equate your “ownership” of the heights it has no legal or moral standing.

I am not privy to what “Syria’s offer” for the Golan might be, but let me give the Israelis a tip. We will let you claim ownership of all the Hummus , Baba Ghanoouj , Falafel that you desire and even persuade the Lebanese to forfeit their rights to you about their taboulli, in exchange for the Golan.

Now thats “my offer”, I know, I know I am being generous, and lets face it, it is better than your beat up old car offer . Thats my ambit claim.

Now lets pick this “offer apart”

I hope you respond with the same “generosity of Spirit” I have.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 4th, 2008, 11:09 pm

 

93. Akbar Palace said:

Enlightened,

Yes I know, Simo is still waging his jihad against Israel. Unfortuantely, he isn’t making very good progress. Of course, I keep trying to persuade him to stop his jihad and recognize Israel. Afterall, I told him there are more Jews in Israel than Finns in Finland. He’s very stiffnecked…

Enlightened,

Why do you suddenly envoke “The Partition”? The Arabs REJECTED that years ago and instead instigated war.

How convenient!

Anyway, there is nothing to pick apart.  Not from you, and not from the Syrian government. So in the meantime, I will plan my trip to Israel, and I look forward to visiting Katzrin, the Banias, Hamat Gader, skiing on the slopes of the Hermon, boating on the Dan river, and a nice swin in the Sea of Galilee.

You should try it sometime.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 6th, 2008, 9:46 pm

 

94. Enlightened said:

Akbar:

The beaches in Sydney are much better, Care to join me?

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 7th, 2008, 12:42 am

 

95. Shai said:

Akbar Palace,

While you’re planning your upcoming visit to my country, to see “… Katzrin, the Banias, Hamat Gader, skiing on the slopes of the Hermon, boating on the Dan river, and a nice swin in the Sea of Galilee.”, I would suggest you also find the time to meet one or two Arab-Israelis, to learn a few things about them.

I don’t know if you can read Hebrew, but your buddy AIG and my buddy Rumyal can. This morning Ynet published a report about Discrimination in Israel in 2008. It is even more shocking than I imagined it previously. It talks about continued discrimination against Arabs inside Israel, against Palestinians in the Territories, against women, and against Spharadi Jews. It also reminds Israelis that since 1948, 600 Jewish towns were created. And, for the 20% population of Israel, the Arabs, the number is… zero!

I’m actually posting this link not for our viewers to have “more fuel” against Israel (I don’t think they need more, they have plenty), but to actually help build confidence that at least Israel is still an open society that allows self-criticism to be heard. What we do with this criticism is something else. But it is a precondition to a free and democratic society, that occasionally also corrects itself, or has the potential to. For you, AP, I hope this is a tiny “eye-opener” that may lead to some humility when talking about Israel’s greatness, and perhaps even a tiny feeling of shame. Those two are also preconditions to changing the terrible ills of society. Not that I expect you to do it. It is us Israelis that have to.

Here’s the Hebrew article in Ynet (hopefully the English version will come soon): http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3633317,00.html

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 7th, 2008, 5:47 am

 

96. AIG said:

Shai,
Yes, in fact as the article notes “Israeli women are 10% less represented in academia than their European counterparts”. What is the percentage in Arab countries?

I’d like to see the same kind of report freely written about Syria so we can compare. Saying that a country is not perfect means nothing. Of course Israel is far from perfect. But everything is relative. The only important question is given its circumstances, how well did Israel do relative to others in the same circumstances? Everybody should be judged by the same standards. Judging Jews by different standards is antisemitism at its finest, and it does not matter who does it. Given what Israel has achieved in 60 years compared to what the Arabs have achieved, what Israel has achieved is a real miracle. That does not mean we do not need to improve, but it puts things in prespective. But how can I convince someone who thinks Asad is better than Shimon Peres? Someone who finds tons of bad things to say about Peres but understands all the actions of Asad (including the meeting with Kuntar)?

Oh, and by the way, you forgot to mention that Israel gets good grades for how it treats its gay population.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 7th, 2008, 7:28 am

 

97. Shai said:

AIG,

I didn’t expect you to highlight the parts in the article about anti-Arab discrimination, anti-Palestinian discrimination, or anti-Spharadic-discrimination. I knew you’d point to the “Israeli women are 10% less represented in academia than their European counterparts.” one.

You can pat yourself on the back all you want AIG, indeed almost feel “pride” in Israel’s achievements over the past 60 years, also in its levels of discrimination. Personally, I’m proud of our achievements in the fields of agriculture, medicine, high-tech, research and development, but I’m disgusted by our “achievements” that are reported on yearly, as in the Ynet article of this morning. You see, I don’t try to find soft-excuses, by looking to compare us to others. I don’t need a litmus test to my conscience, I can gauge it against my own beliefs of what’s right and wrong. If an Israeli soldier beats up a Palestinian kid, I don’t look sideways to see if an Jordanian soldier does the same to a Jordanian kid in Amman, or if a Finnish soldier does it in Finland. If Jewish-Israelis look down at Arab-Israelis, I don’t need to compare other 60 year-old nations to Israel, and see if they do the same, or not. I know it is wrong, and I am ashamed of it.

I don’t spend my time looking for ways to tell the world “It’s no worse in Israel than it is elsewhere.” – Instead I try to find ways to change my country. Your knee-jerk reaction to such horrific reporting is always of the type that would seek to minimize White discrimination against Blacks in the South, by suggesting Blacks in Africa have far worse lives than Blacks in Alabama.

I see you’re continuing along AP’s tactics of putting words in my mouth, when never uttered by me. This time, you bring Kuntar’s meeting with Assad, to suggest I “understood”, or “justified”, or perhaps even “enjoyed” it. Well, I never said a word about it. And I find it rather amusing that you, AIG, should now be defending Shimon Peres… don’t you? 🙂

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 7th, 2008, 11:20 am

 

98. SimoHurtta said:

Of course Israel is far from perfect. But everything is relative. The only important question is given its circumstances, how well did Israel do relative to others in the same circumstances? Everybody should be judged by the same standards. Judging Jews by different standards is antisemitism at its finest, and it does not matter who does it. Given what Israel has achieved in 60 years compared to what the Arabs have achieved, what Israel has achieved is a real miracle.

Well AIG the reality is that no other country in the world has been in the same “situation” as Israel. No other country has got such wast donations as Israel has got constantly. No other country has got so much of its active workforce fully trained and educated. If Israel should be compared with some countries it should be compared with that “group” Israel says to belong. European and North American countries. Israel is only a Middle Eastern country defined by the geography. Culturally and economically “you” have very little past and present contacts with the region.

In 1968 Finland’s GDP per person was 8093 and Israel’s 7033 (figures in 1990 International Geary-Khamis dollars). So Finland’s GDP per person in 1968 was 15 % higher as Israel’s. In 2006 the same figures were FI 23241 and IL 18374. “Astonishingly” in 2006 Finland’s GDP per person 1968 was 26 % higher as Israel’s. So much for the “miracle”. Finland did not get those wast capital “shipments” from USA. Nor did we have a million Palestinian slave workforce to be exploited.

Surely the Arab countries economical development during Israel’s “lifetime” has been disappointing considered what would the reality now be if the oil money had been invested in the region instead of investing the petrodollars to back the “west”. But the “west” is also politically responsible for that poor development by supporting and keeping up the present “order”. Let us hope that this time oil producing Arab countries have learned from their biggest mistake they have done and put in future the petro dollars in use in the region instead of buying useless weapons and investing in western estates. Surely the new guy in the White House would not like to see such a reality.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 7th, 2008, 12:22 pm

 

99. SimoHurtta said:

, I don’t look sideways to see if an Jordanian soldier does the same to a Jordanian kid in Amman, or if a Finnish soldier does it in Finland.

Shai Finnish soldiers have during the last 60 years beaten only other Finnish soldiers. 😀

We have a compulsory military service (6 months to 1 year). No occupied areas, no check points, no settlements, no second grade citizens. When I was in the army two decades ago the only contact I had with the civil population as a soldier in service was helping (commanded) in some big international skiing tournaments and once when I was in the garrison’s fire brigade duty in a big farm fire (sadly the professional firemen did not allow us eager but untrained “firemen” to do anything). In army we did not have any training in controlling civil population. But we had several lectures how to behave when we are on the leaves and wear the uniform. Making “stupid” things “outside in civil world” in uniform caused certain conviction in military prison. Some guys during my service time had stolen from a bar, where was held their under officer course party, a quarter full bottle of whiskey got two weeks in military prison and drop in the rank.

By the way thousands of Finnish soldiers have served in Sinai, Lebanon and Golan for almost as long Israel has existed. How many Jews or Arabs have they beaten? I suppose the most serious could have been would have been a bar fight with the UN soldiers on leave and local population, though I could find with Google no stories of such events. I know that in Cyprus there were a few of bar fights with locals but the Finnish UN soldiers went fast back “home”.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 7th, 2008, 2:11 pm

 

100. Shai said:

Simo,

I wish I could say the same about Israeli soldiers but, unfortunately, there has been mandatory service here for the past 60 years, and we are very much being trained for war, not for bar fights. I have some friends that moved to Israel from the U.S., only to watch their children serve as Apartheid policemen in the West Bank and Gaza during their 3 year service, and every year afterwards on Reserves duty. We are also not taught how to police a civilian population in the army – because Israel still hasn’t accepted that its sole role in the Territories has been that of a policeman – protecting the Settlers, at the expense of the Palestinians.

Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

December 7th, 2008, 2:24 pm

 

Pages: « 1 [2] Show All

Post a comment