I guest-posted about it on Dovbear's blog.http://dovbear.blogspot.com/2006/07/that-israel-thing.html
[Note: the Dovbear blog is here: http://dovbear.blogspot.com/
And you should probably drop by there more often.]
Monday, July 03, 2006
THAT...... ISRAEL THING
I don't get it.
I don't get the problem people have with the Israel issue. I don't get the howls of outrage that support for Israel engenders among otherwise sane and good people.
In a few minutes I'll be at a counter-demonstration, where we few will be facing the a multitude who do not wish well for Israel. And I expect to be howled at.
And once more I'll have to wonder why I don't get it. Why don't I get the heartfelt yearning of an ancient people to be free in their own land? Why don't I get the well-meaning support of thoughtfull educated people for a nation that has for so long been denied it's own home? Why don't I get the feeling of solidarity for and sympathy with a tribe of outcastes that rightfully demands a place at the table?
Actually, let me rephrase the question.
Why do I support one tribe that wants to live in their ancient home, while opposing another tribe that wants to drive them out of their ancient home and exterminate them?
After all, I'm a screaming liberal -- and nowadays liberals are supposed to wholeheartedly support the Palestinians, until the moment when it looks like the Palestinians will cease to be the underdog and might actually start driving out the Jews and exterminating them, at which point the Western Europeans and the United Nations will call upon them to stop doing that (and pass resolutions).
I am so much a liberal that I really do believe that the Palestinians have a right to their own homeland (I believe it used to be called the Hashemite kingdom of the TransJordan).
I am NOT enough of a liberal to support any of the Palestinian political groupings however. And I actually oppose any of them ever having any power, in any part of the TransJordan.
For two reasons:
1. Israel would not be safe if the Palestinians had actual control over any territory.
2. All Palestinian political groups include murderous thugs.
So while I do support a partial withdrawal from the 'liberated territories', I do not support Palestinian aspirations to statehood in that area.
The flaw in most people's view of the Middle east is that statehood and stable government are assumed to be natural and desirable for the entire area. But until recent times there was no such critter there. There were powerful polities with well-defined heartlands which had spheres of influence, and frontier areas in between the heartlands where state control was neither firm nor unchallenged. Most of the Middle east consists of frontier. Wild lands. Zones of no control, into which the nearest government would send troops whenever the locals committed another outrage.
So yes, I support partial withdrawal. Let the Palestinians mismanage themselves. Large portions of the Shomron are filled with them, and there is no reason for anybody to live among them. There is no reason why Jews should be responsible for them. There is no reason for Israel to administer them and be obligated to provide services in their areas.
Besides, a Zionist presence on the ground in those areas will complicate the inevitable military expeditions into the frontier zone. It is better to have no responsibilities there, but only strategic objectives. And, inevitably, targets.
Oh, sorry, I hear you asking about that counter-demonstration I mentioned earlier: Several pro-Palestinian groups (al-Awda, A.N.S.W.E.R., MECA, and ISM) will demonstrate in front of the Israeli Consulate in downtown San Francisco against the IDF actions in Gaza. This is scheduled for four thirty, Left-Coast time.
As is usual, they will be on the west side of Montgomery street, opposite the consulate.
On the consulate side of the street there wil be a much smaller group of people, comprising several elderly Russian speakers, a Chabadnik or two, Jews and Christians of the entire gamut of conviction and ideology, some Rednecks and knee-jerk right-wingers, and some generally decent well-informed people.And a screaming liberal who just doesn't get it.Sorry.I guess I'm defective.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
7:01 PM - UPDATE:Well, it was both worse and better than I expected. The pro-Palestinians were more numerous than I expected (probably about a thousand), the pro-Israeli side were far less numerous (about thirty people in all - the elderly Russians did not come, nor did the Chabadnikim).
The pro-Palestinians were the usual three groups, in roughly equal proportion: cheerful fresh faced Arab-American college kids and their kin, useful idiots, and the 'not-strictly-functional'. In which last grouping of course the ones who at the tale end of the event started yelling 'kill the Jews'. Charming.
Please note two things:
1. Opinions are not formed at these events - everybody who shows up already has opinions, and many of the more rational people will not show up, having better things to do than making fools of themselves in public.
2. I dislike both the far left and the far right. Both were represented on both sides. But the pro-Israel side has, percentage-wise, more moderates of either stripe. We're more balanced, and more sane.
And we're cleaner.