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Post Jewish Opposition to Embassy Move
Created by John Eipper on 05/16/18 4:38 AM

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Jewish Opposition to Embassy Move (Henry Levin, USA, 05/16/18 4:38 am)

Regarding the transfer of the US embassy to Jerusalem, Pilar and I were appalled by the ceremony, the provocation, and the killings at the Gaza fence.

Lest any WAISers believe that all Jews cheered, you should check on the facts. It appears that most Jews, the reform movement, oppose the movement of the embassy to Jerusalem as a unilateral act, the handling of Gaza and the border conflict, and the settlements. Perhaps I am surrounded only by Jewish persons who share this view, but today was a day of mourning for my colleagues. Most were angry and depressed. Most belong to a growing movement called JStreet which is a serious opponent of AIPAC in values, goals, and strategies. It is also a young movement in comparison to the old-line members of AIPAC.

JE comments:  Hank, do you believe that Trump's move was primarily a sop to his Protestant Evangelical base, or part of his general "strategy" of sowing diplomatic chaos?  The latter interpretation is Ric Mauricio's view, next.


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  • Jerusalem: Thoughts on Embassy Move (Istvan Simon, USA 05/17/18 2:48 PM)
    I do agree with some of what Hank Levin (16 May) is saying about the ceremony of the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem. I disagree with his description of the violence in Gaza, and who is responsible for that violence and the resulting deaths.

    Regarding this matter I divide the issue in several parts:


    1. The inauguration's timing was unfortunate and unnecessary. It should have been held a month ago or a month from now, so it would not coincide with several dates that are important for the Palestinians, and therefore reinforced their willingness to riot.


    2. The participation of the pastors that had made provocative statements about Islam was stupid and an unnecessary provocation. They should never have taken part of the ceremony, and if they were it was because Trump wanted to reap political dividends with his right-wing Evangelical base.


    3. As I have said in a previous post I think the decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem was the correct one and will be followed in due time by many other countries. It is absurd that Israel cannot choose where its capital should be. This is an intolerable intrusion on the sovereignty of Israel, and the weak spineless reaction of governments that do not want to offend anyone, and so bowed to sensibilities of Palestinian propaganda, rather than take a more courageous and dignified position. I applaud the decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem.


    4. The Gaza violence was a disgrace and it was an irresponsible violent riot orchestrated and organized by Hamas. The portrayal of this by Palestinian propaganda as "peaceful protest" is absurd. This was no peaceful protest. This was an organized attempt for more than 10 thousand people to storm Israel's borders and "retake their land." It involved thousands of people using catapults to throw stones at the Israeli soldiers, and it included armed Hamas operatives as well. In my opinion it had one objective, which was achieved by Hamas. That the Israeli reaction to defend Israel's borders would produce numerous deaths that could be exploited to increase hatred against Jews and Israel, and much of the International Community gave lip service to this ignoble goal, criticizing Israel rather than Hamas as they should have. Shame on them all.


    5. Whether Israel could have reacted with less lethal force is debatable, and perhaps they could have. But the sanctimonious condemnations are from people that did not have to ever defend their borders from any similar violent invasion. The refugee crisis in Europe that provoked such strong political reactions all over Europe were not similar. It did not involve violence by the refugees, whereas the Gaza "protesters" employed violence. Even so, many countries took very strong measures to keep them out, including Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, the UK, and the countries that received them with relatively open arms had strong reactions of their populations against such an invasion. Angela Merkel nearly lost her position in elections since. So all of the condemnation by some of these countries of Israel is at a minimum hypocritical, and unacceptable, morally repugnant "holier than thou" double talk.


    6. The deaths of teenagers and others are regrettable. But it was predictable that Israel would have to defend its borders, and that therefore that these deaths would occur. So their deaths were planned by Hamas. Teenagers are not innocent victims if they employ violence. They should never have been were they were in the first place.


    JE comments:  But how about not moving the Embassy, knowing full well that to do so would provoke a violent reaction?  I'll leave aside the moral question of using Uzis to respond to rock-throwers. 


    Who ultimately is to blame for the Palestinian deaths, now at 59?  I'm going to go out on a limb and say Donald Trump.

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    • Six Preconditions for Peace in the Middle East (John Heelan, UK 05/18/18 3:23 AM)
      Regrettably--in my opinion--there will never be peace in the Middle East until:

      1. The US, Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia stop using the region for their proxy wars.

      2. Hamas abandons its call for Israel's destruction.

      3. Israel abandons its principle of Eretz Yisrael based on debatable religious beliefs.

      4. Western capitalists stop profiting from the water, gas and petroleum reserves of the region.

      5. The IDF stops promulgating Palestinian/Israeli tensions with "black ops," giving it the excuse for punitive reprisals.

      6. Trump starts to understand the importance of timing in the role of a statesman.


      The probability of all six coinciding is remote, especially the last one. I suspect the Middle East will therefore continue to be a running sore for the foreseeable future, adding to the profits of arms manufacturers.


      JE comments:  Trump #6 could be gone in less than 3 years, but 1, 2, and 3 remain.  It's hard to have peace when so many parties benefit from non-peace.

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  • Jewish Opposition to Embassy Move (Tor Guimaraes, USA 05/17/18 3:15 PM)
    As a great admirer of Jewish culture because of what it historically has accomplished for all of humanity, its emphasis on family and education, I add my non-Jewish opinion in complete agreement with Henry Levin's opinion expressed in his posting of May 16th.

    The diversity of opinion about many important issues among my Jewish friends and associates is refreshingly amazing. To me it is in fact a monument to freedom of thought and expression. It is unfortunate that a person with Nazi-like tendencies, denounced informally by several supposedly friendly world leaders as a liar, has become the political leader of the Jewish state. But, that goes with the times: right wing, lying for your cause is OK. Watch our for fake news, next come faking evidence, and open lying with a straight face while swearing to be telling the truth.


    JE comments:  Tor, do you mean Netanyahu?  I just received this FP article (by Prem Kumar) on Trump's reckless move.  If you register, you can read for free.  The main argument is that by moving the Embassy, Trump has gained nothing but given up something valuable:  it has forfeited any US mediator role in a brokered peace for the Middle East.


    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/05/17/trumps-jerusalem-theatrics-have-dealt-a-blow-to-peace/


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    • Netanyahu is Not "Nazi-Like" (Alan Levine, USA 05/18/18 3:43 AM)
      I appreciate the gist of Tor Guimaraes's comments of May 17th, but his equation of Netanyahu with "Nazi-like" is beyond the pale.

      Tor cites foreign leaders calling Netanyahu a liar (what politicians don't lie?) but that doesn't equate to systematic mass murder of innocents, does it?


      JE comments:  I believe I shared this story once before on WAIS, but it bears repeating.  When I studied in Granada, Spain in the 1980s, each day I walked past a crudely painted graffitti that depicted a Star of David, an equal sign, and a Swastika.  Politics aside, to my American sensibilities the formula simply made no sense, especially given the collective beam in Spain's eye concerning its Jewish population and not-so-distant fascist past.


      But many in the world see no contradiction.  Tor Guimaraes may have been swept away by Godwinian exuberance, or perhaps he had a larger point to make.  Netanyahu is the proverbial Tough Guy, but we're in a benighted era that fetishizes this "quality" in its leaders.  (Call it swagger?)


      Tor, care to comment?


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      • Netanyahu's "Nazi-Like" Tendencies? (Tor Guimaraes, USA 05/19/18 3:47 AM)
        In response to Alan Levine (18 May), what I mean by "Nazi-like tendencies" is some people's ability to have no distinction between right and wrong in pursuit of immediate goals. Thus, over the years mankind has produced numerous leaders sharing that characteristic. As always, we also must account for circumstances moderating the extent to which the specific leader is willing to go doing evil.

        Attila was happy to rape, pillage, and burn when leading his warriors throughout the world they wanted to conquer. Stalin and Mao were perfectly willing to murder millions of their own people for their political security. Hitler, after killing his political opposition, was perfectly willing to exterminate millions of innocent people deemed to be undesirable for a wide variety of reasons.


        Donald Trump so far seems only to be willing to make fake news, make wealthy private interests wealthier, destroy the environment by destroying the only federal government protections we have, etc. To me he is beginning to show some Nazi-like tendencies but only time will tell which other important American values will be trampled.


        Netanyahu is the leader of the Likud Party which has murdered Yitzhak Rabin for proposing a peace plan, stolen land and water from Palestinian families, used overwhelming force against any Palestinian acts of aggression or demonstrations, murdered an innocent American girl (Rachel Corrie) demonstrating against the destruction of Palestinian homes, etc.. That is clearly a little beyond Nazi-like tendencies; it is crossing into Nazi-like behavior. That is bad enough but imagine how much more that Nazi-like tendency could produce if he did not have the eyes of the entire world on him, if he had the more favorable circumstances for wrong doing that Hitler did?


        JE comments:  Like most of the world this morning, I'm watching the royal wedding, but I should intervene on the Rabin assassination.  Yigal Amir may have been sympathetic to Likud, but that party did not "murder" the prime minister.


        A warm congratulations to Harry and Meghan.  It's another spectacular Anglo-American union!


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      • B F Skinner on the Arab-Israeli conflict (Timothy Brown, USA 05/19/18 4:46 AM)
        The discussion of the clash between Israel and its neighbors reminds me of a comment once made by B.F. Skinner. When he was asked between the Arabs and the Israelis: "Which side is right?" Skinner answered: "Both sides are right. And that both are right is the essence of tragedy."

        I began several undergrad courses in international relations by challenging my students to acquaint themselves with the Arab-Israeli confrontation and then come up with ideas about how it could be resolved.


        JE comments:  Tim, were any of your students' proposals truly innovative?  A half-century of "in-the-box" thinking hasn't been very successful.

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        • A (Water) Solution for the Middle East? (Timothy Brown, USA 05/20/18 6:12 AM)
          John E asked for some of my students' ideas on how to solve the Israel-Palestine crisis. On that night have been potentially more doable then than now involved a mutual dependence on water.

          Both Israel and its Muslim neighbors, especially Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and further south, depend primarily on irrigation to grow basic food crops.


          Turkey has several freshwater streams that flow into the Mediterranean that could be captured and supplied to all of them, creating a strong motive to cooperate.


          But that was before Gaza, when Turkey was perhaps more interested in peace to its south than it is today, and the emergence of Iranian involvement.


          Would it have worked? Quién sabe. But better something positive than today's confrontations.


          My objective was to get my students to expand their minds beyond the narrow and think more broadly.


          JE comments:  Yes, alas, that ship has sailed.  Now Erdogan is calling for a united Muslim front to condemn Israel.  His latest, "We will never allow Jerusalem to be stolen by Israel."  In the same speech he also dabbled in Godwinism.  See below:


          http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/246201


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