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Author Topic: Ha'aretz :Jewish world in crisis
Mishei
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posted 29 May 2003 05:55 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
David Landau is the editor of Ha'aretz English edition. This Israeli newspaper is considered to be left of center and David is widely known as dovish and a committed leftist.

Here he is in a facinating Q and A.

Landau and the new crisis facing the Jewish world


From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 29 May 2003 06:53 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
My own rule of thumb, which I offer with diffidence, is that the line is crossed when Israel's right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state is challenged. I feel that when people argue against the very validity of the basic Zionist premise - that the Jews have the same right as any nation to a homeland of their own - then one is veering into anti-Semitic territory.

I stopped resading here.
Without getting into another nasty argument, my reasons are as follows: It is perfectly logical to believe that a) Jews are entitled to a homeland and that B) that homeland could be Israel but that C) the separation of church and state is non-negotiable without being antisemitic so long as the opinion is consistent.

That Jews have the same right as any nation is not disputed. The nature of the state is and must be open to debate or any pretext for a claim to democracy is lost.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
verbatim
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posted 29 May 2003 07:13 PM      Profile for verbatim   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
WingNut, I'm not sure I got that out of Mr. Landau's remarks. He's commenting on the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign state. He doesn't mention the nature of that state's government at all. What does this have to do with the seperation of church and state?
From: The People's Republic of Cook Street | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Smith
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posted 29 May 2003 07:14 PM      Profile for Smith     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think, a few questionable statements aside, he's generally on the ball.

quote:

Don't you think that many Israeli officials and many leaders in the Jewish diaspora use the charge of anti-Semitism to stifle legitimate debate on Israel and its policies?
Balint Molnar
Ottowa, Canada

David Landau:
I do think so. And I think, moreover, that your accusation is generally more validly levelled at Israelis of the right than of the left. The cry "The whole world is against us," is too often harnessed to serve an agenda of evading or blurring tough, but legitimate questions levelled at Israel itself. The purported rationale is this: since the whole world is against us there is no point, indeed no need, to defend ourselves or justify ourselves in the face of such questions. However, there often is a real need to do so and resorting to the anti-Semitism "cop-out" is a time hallowed way of dodging the issues.

Ahem. Mishei.


From: Muddy York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
tyoung
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posted 29 May 2003 07:20 PM      Profile for tyoung        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by verbatim:
WingNut, I'm not sure I got that out of Mr. Landau's remarks. He's commenting on the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign state. He doesn't mention the nature of that state's government at all. What does this have to do with the seperation of church and state?

Be specific, Landau's words are "sovereign Jewish state"-- would anyone argue that Canada must be a sovereign christian state?

[ 29 May 2003: Message edited by: tyoung ]


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 29 May 2003 07:23 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes, thank you. That is what I read too.

Also, after re-reading my initial post I might be giving the wrong impression. It should read I paused not stopped reading.


From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
verbatim
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posted 29 May 2003 07:24 PM      Profile for verbatim   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
OIC. So there is no such thing as a secular Jew, then? Does a secular Jew become a Semite? I read "Jewish" to be a reference to a culture that developed around a belief system, rather than just the belief system.
From: The People's Republic of Cook Street | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
WingNut
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posted 29 May 2003 07:25 PM      Profile for WingNut   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
How so? Canada has often been considered a "Christian" state. But woulod you speak of Canada as a "sovereigin christian state?"
From: Out There | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
josh
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posted 29 May 2003 07:35 PM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The statement highlighted by Wingnut is very revealing. It shows the extent to which Zionism has replaced Judaism. By that I mean Zionism has attempted to transform a religion into an ethnic, or national, group. However, Judaism remains a religion. Hence, the dilemma. If I, for one, believe it is wrong for a state to be based on religion, Landau would call me an anti-semite. But what he really means, based on his own statement, is that I am anti-semitic not because I am against Jews as members of a religious group, or Judaism as a religion, but merely because I do not believe Jews are an ethnic group.
From: the twilight zone between the U.S. and Canada | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
verbatim
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posted 29 May 2003 08:05 PM      Profile for verbatim   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Canada has often been considered a "Christian" state. But woulod you speak of Canada as a "sovereigin christian state?"
I would never refer to Canada as a christian state, but it would be foolish to argue that it was not originally founded as one.

As for my definition of Jewish -- I suppose it's based on a rather secular, westernized view, since I see identity as self-defined. However, other people are now telling me that I am Jewish because of who my great-grandmother was. Thus, my personal experience of what constitutes Judaism suggests it is broader than your religious convictions. I would argue that it is an ethnicity, precisely because of it's cultural aspects.

I see where you're going though. Without freedom of religion or equality for all religions Israel not a secular state. I personally think that Israel is presently a racist state, based on its treatment of the indigenous Arabs who also deserve to be considered and treated as equal to Jewish Israelis.


From: The People's Republic of Cook Street | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mishei
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posted 30 May 2003 12:09 AM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I think, a few questionable statements aside, he's generally on the ball.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Don't you think that many Israeli officials and many leaders in the Jewish diaspora use the charge of anti-Semitism to stifle legitimate debate on Israel and its policies?
Balint Molnar
Ottowa, Canada

David Landau:
I do think so. And I think, moreover, that your accusation is generally more validly levelled at Israelis of the right than of the left. The cry "The whole world is against us," is too often harnessed to serve an agenda of evading or blurring tough, but legitimate questions levelled at Israel itself. The purported rationale is this: since the whole world is against us there is no point, indeed no need, to defend ourselves or justify ourselves in the face of such questions. However, there often is a real need to do so and resorting to the anti-Semitism "cop-out" is a time hallowed way of dodging the issues.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ahem. Mishei.


Smith, I have no problem with this. None at all!!

From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Maggot
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posted 30 May 2003 07:01 PM      Profile for Maggot   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
I disagree with David Landau's definition of anti-Semitism -- that if one questions the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign Jewish state, that, ipso facto, is perhaps proof of anti-Semitism.

That said, he did qualify his remarks by saying he offered them diffendently.

"Right to exist" implies there is a moral underpining to a nation's creation. If the fledgling state of Israel had remained within its original, UN-conceived borders, it would be extremely difficult to make a case against that right. In my opinion Israel, as it was originally conceived, absolutely had a right to exist as a sovereign state, with the character of that state to be determined by its people.

However, the territorial expansion of Israel in the wake of the first Arab-Israeli War and the resulting displacement of at least 750,000 Arabs from their indiginous land (and the refusal by Israel, on security grounds, to allow them back to their homes) makes hash of any moral claim to the land acquired after partition.

[ 30 May 2003: Message edited by: Maggot ]

[ 30 May 2003: Message edited by: Maggot ]


From: BC | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mishei
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posted 30 May 2003 10:09 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
However, the territorial expansion of Israel in the wake of the first Arab-Israeli War and the resulting displacement of at least 750,000 Arabs from their indiginous land (and the refusal by Israel, on security grounds, to allow them back to their homes) makes hash of any moral claim to the land acquired after partition.


This is too simplistic. Surely Jordan's refusal from 1948-67 to do anything for the Plaestinians when it had an opportunity to do so plays a role here. But like so many others here the fault, ALL THE FAULT, it seems lies solely with israel. This is unfair, untrue and a dialectic that smells.

From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 30 May 2003 11:20 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Them that has the land today has to deal with the problem.

And them that has the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is Israel, today, the Palestinian "Authority" notwithstanding - hell, the PA is a joke. If Israel didn't want to deal with the Palestinian-Arab "problem", then if TransJordan didn't want the West Bank back and Egypt didn't want the Gaza Strip back, then Israel should have hived them out into an independent, Arab-controlled entity (and I don't mean the joke of a PA that exists today - Arafat's office has been under siege what, twice in the last three years, and the IDF has been trashing PA government offices, rendering the PA almost incapable of functioning).

Boom.

But Israel does currently hold the land, which it swiped from CisJordan and Egypt, and has refused to take its troops off in the name of national security as well as for reasons of fundamentalist Jewish doctrine relating to Eretz Yisrael. Like it or not, but it CAN be translated as "Greater Israel" and I make no bones about my dislike of people who want "Greater (insert nation here)". Remember Milosevic and his Greater Yugoslavia? That sure went down swimmingly.

Hell, I could wave a book that says that the Big Potato Chip in the sky said I could own "Greater Saskatchewan" encompassing Saskatchewan, the Dakotas, and parts of Manitoba.

Now any person with a brain would hoot with amusement at my claims, and if I were Premier of Saskatchewan making those lunatic claims I'd be voted out so fast it wouldn't even be funny.

So what makes a 2000-year-old book a valid mystical basis for a claim to a piece of land that the Romans, Egyptians, Turks, and Arabs have sat on since 2000-plus years ago?


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Maggot
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posted 31 May 2003 05:10 PM      Profile for Maggot   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
Mishei, look at what I posted before you wade in with your "smelly dialectic" nonsense.

I did not question the right of Israel to exist. In fact, I believe, especially in light of the incomparable horrors of the Holocaust, that its creation was noble and necessary. But almost from its inception, Israel's expanionist policies have subverted that moral foundation.

Today, Israel is largely comprised of the conquered territory of another, vanquished people. This significantly diminishes its moral foundation. So when some Palestinians hesitate to ackowledge Israel's RIGHT to exist, they are witholding implicit sanction of the borders of Greater Israel -- a country which exists largely on appropriated Palestinian lands.

On the other hand Mishei, I will grant you this: Some Arabs are rabidly anti-Semitic, and would also oppose any Jewish state in the region, regardless. Just as some Jews are rabidly anti-Arab, and would oppose any Palestinian state in the region, regardless.

Cheers.


From: BC | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mishei
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posted 31 May 2003 05:54 PM      Profile for Mishei     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Today, Israel is largely comprised of the conquered territory of another, vanquished people.
Maggot many present day democracies are comprised of such territory. Now as far as the Middle East is concerned the territory has been in so many hands that can you really say who should have actual ownership?

Bottom line...there must be a 2 state solution that is negotiated in dignity with the worth of both Israelis and Palestinians acknowledged.

While there remains much chatter here about "right of return" in realpolitic that will not happen so why waste your time?

Let's look at real possibilities which includes the dismantling of most of the WB settlements especially those deep in the WB and the development of a Palestinian state with real contiguous borders. That is doable and I believe will lead to a peace that can only benefit economically both Israelis and Plaestinians.

When peace was a breath away in May 2000, the economies of both the PA and Israel were flourishing. There is much popular acknowledgement of that today with a hope that it will return.

So let's work with what is real. We can of course continue to discuss dreams here but lets work with reality.


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Maggot
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posted 31 May 2003 06:17 PM      Profile for Maggot   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Bottom line...there must be a 2 state solution that is negotiated in dignity with the worth of both Israelis and Palestinians acknowledged.

While there remains much chatter here about "right of return" in realpolitic that will not happen so why waste your time?


I agree with you about the two-state solution. That is one of the sadder things about the current impasse; most people, on either side of the isssue, have come to see this as the only way to a lasting peace. That said, although the two sides are in some ways much closer than they've ever been, they have also never been as far apart as they are today.

But I take umbrage at your facile dismissal of all talk of the right of return as a "waste of time." The right of refugees to return to their lands is a fundemental human right, and a cornerstone of the Pali diaspora's struggle. For you to dismiss it out of hand is as frustrating for Arabs as it is for Jews to see their (valid) concerns about security simply dismissed by others. Don't be so quick; try and see the parallels to your own stance.

Any solution will have to address the right of return -- it will have to be dealt with, in some way. Whether it's a limited right of return, or reparations in lieu of return, that remains to be seen. But it will be addressed.

That said, the Palestinians are dreaming if they think they'll be able to negotiate a solution that demographically threatens the Jewish character of the state of Israel. Are Israelis are dreaming of they think they can escape the fact that they can simply demand that the Palestinians give up a fundemental right without compensation...

...or, an apology/acknowledgement of historic wrongs, from both sides. That too, as you know, is part of the emerging equation. And part of any realpolitik approach, too.


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skdadl
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posted 31 May 2003 06:22 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Most eloquent, Maggot.
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Courage
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posted 31 May 2003 06:28 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mishei:
Maggot many present day democracies are comprised of such territory. Now as far as the Middle East is concerned the territory has been in so many hands that can you really say who should have actual ownership?

Yup, and that was flat out imperialism and colonialism. When will you admit that Israel is part and parcel?


quote:
While there remains much chatter here about "right of return" in realpolitic that will not happen so why waste your time?

Your conceptual framework, in trying to appear 'objective' and 'reality-based' - as opposed to 'dreams' - is a thinly veiled ideological mechanism functioning to support the results of Israeli colonialism. It simply privileges the territorial fait accomplis currently in place - the concrete result of ethnic cleansing and colonial expansion. A set of concrete results which are supported and justified through a particular ideology which is no more based in 'reality' than anything the Palestinians may claim. It is always about differing conceptions of 'reality' and you are trying to pass off a move whereby the fundamental activities of Zionist colonialism are never actually touched; never actually altered or questioned (though you will rhetorically excoriate them in ironic distance) while Palestinians are expected to simply give up their moral claim - their questioning of the Zionist colonial practice as 'dreams'.


quote:
Let's look at real possibilities which includes the dismantling of most of the WB settlements especially those deep in the WB and the development of a Palestinian state with real contiguous borders.

Again, this delineation of 'real' and 'fiction' which is nothing but an ideological justification of the processes which brought about the current situation. But is this very process that is in question from the Palestinian side. You offer no actual answer to their claim against the Israeli state, you simply ask them to 'forgive and forget' and negotiate from a status-quo largely determined, prefigured, and controlled by Israeli state power.

quote:
That is doable and I believe will lead to a peace that can only benefit economically both Israelis and Plaestinians.

As though economic well-being were all the Palestinians (or anyone else, requires). This is a narrow view of human wants, needs and dignity. It is actually on the basis of an expanded moral underpinning - a broader conception of what people need and want; justice, dignity, etc. - that the Palestinian claim is based. Again, your ideology simply sweeps all this under the rug. It is as hollow as Sharon's reasoning for creating a Palestinian state - that Israel just can't afford it - not morally, spiritually, or politically, but a simple question of economics. Sad, really.


quote:
So let's work with what is real. We can of course continue to discuss dreams here but lets work with reality.[/QB]

You keep repeating it, but it doesn't make it any more 'true' or a good argument. This 'pragmatism' privileges the Israeli position, and treats the Palestinian grievance at having been deliberately removed from their homes and livelihoods as 'fantasy' - a kind of unfortunate delusion that they should just get over now that they've been effectively pressed into a corner by Israeli colonial practice. This is actually the fulfillment of Jabotinsky's fascist programme, otherwise known as 'The Iron Wall' strategy. It goes something like this:

From the horse's mouth:

quote:
"All this does not mean that any kind of agreement is impossible, only a voluntary agreement is impossible. As long as there is a spark of hope that they can get rid of us, they will not sell these hopes, not for any kind of sweet words or tasty morsels, because they are not a rabble but a nation, perhaps somewhat tattered, but still living. A living people makes such enormous concessions on such fateful questions only when there is no hope left. Only when not a single breach is visible in the iron wall, only then do extreme groups lose their sway, and influence transfers to moderate groups. Only then would these moderate groups come to us with proposals for mutual concessions. And only then will moderates offer suggestions for compromise on practical questions like a guarantee against expulsion, or equality and national autonomy."

"I am optimistic that they will indeed be granted satisfactory assurances and that both peoples, like good neighbors, can then live in peace. But the only path to such an agreement is the iron wall, that is to say the strengthening in Palestine of a government without any kind of Arab influence, that is to say one against which the Arabs will fight. In other words, for us the only path to an agreement in the future is an absolute refusal of any attempts at an agreement now."


In other words - back them up against a wall so far that they have to come to 'agree' with you because they have no other choice - or to put it in your ideological terms Mishei - until they come to see 'reality' and give up their 'dream' of not being ethnically cleansed from their homeland.


From: Earth | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 31 May 2003 08:14 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Maggot many present day democracies are comprised of such territory. Now as far as the Middle East is concerned the territory has been in so many hands that can you really say who should have actual ownership?

Yes, under colonial masters, not in the control of the inhabitants (dispossessed or otherwise).

After World War One, many new countries emerged that had once been part of various empires. The Arabs whose lands that had been controlled by the Ottomans were promised national self determination by the British in exchange for their participation in the fight against the Turks. The Arabs fought the Turks, the British gave them the Balfour Declaration and "mandated" territories.

Why can't the Palestinians be allowed to have the same right to national self-determination as the Europeans who had lived under the pre-1914 empires? Let the Wilsonian ideals that were used in Europe determine "ownership" of the land.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged

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