IEET > GlobalDemocracySecurity > Vision > Staff > Hank Pellissier > Futurism > Military
Anne Frank, Risk Assessment, and Israel’s Foreign Policy
Hank Pellissier   Apr 2, 2012   Ethical Technology  

“Daddy, why did the bad guys kill Anne Frank?” asks my eight-year-old daughter. I hesitate, then I tell her about Nazis and the Holocaust: Kristallnacht, the trains, the camps, head-shaving, tattooing, starvation, disease, digging one’s own grave, the gassings, the ovens. “Daddy,” she asks when my gruesome chronology is complete, “will it happen again?”

“Never Again,” would be an optimistic response, an answer that’s the motto of the Jewish Defense League.  “Never Again,” would assert that Jews are now eternally safe, especially in the homeland of Israel.

“I don’t know,” I tell my daughter. “It’s complicated.”

“Why, Daddy, why?”

My daughter, like me, is mesmerized by historical narratives of abhorrent evil; she’s fascinated by the psychosis of slaughter. She already knows Genghis Khan murdered 40 million and stacked their skulls in pyramids; she knows 20-40 million Africans were ripped from their homes, one-third dying in the Middle Passage, crammed sadistically into slave ships. Her curiosity is insatiable for stories of cruelty, especially injustice against girls: orphans, small sweatshop workers, the current “witch children” of Nigeria.

Anne Frank tops this list. My daughter’s obsessed with the Jewess who hid in the Amsterdam attic. She identifies with Anne’s affection for books and cinema, she admires the dark, curly hair shorn off in Bergen-Belsen; she’s astounded that the precious life was brutalized into extinction.

Later that night, we drive to the local Jewish Community Center, where her big sister is performing in a talent show. A burly security guard examines our Subaru for suspicious objects, before we’re allowed into the underground garage. “Why did he do that?” My daughter pesters me. When I mutter that he might be looking for bombs, she explodes, “Why? Do some people still want to kill Jews?”

The next morning, she wants to watch - on NetFlix - the 1959 film, “Diary of Anne Frank.” My wife forbids this because a rating system says its disturbing for children under 14. “Of course it’s disturbing!” shrieks my stymied child. “It’s supposed to be disturbing!  It’ll give me… nightmares? SO WHAT?! ” She throws a lengthy tantrum until I promise her, secretly, that we’ll watch it together as soon as her Mother leaves for an out-of-town conference.

We talk about Israel then, and Iran. I pull out an atlas and show her the tiny ancestral homeland of Anne Frank, dwarfed by unfriendly neighbors. Israel is minuscule, like Anne Frank in a cramped attic in a big city monitored by omnipotent Nazis. Or is it? Israel, today, is armed to the teeth. My metaphor is only accurate if Anne Frank has Uzis, 450 fighter aircraft, 209 helicopters, and 75-400 nuclear warheads.

Is Israel actually safe? A recent IEET article by piero scaruffi is entitled, “Israel Will Strike Iran Before November.” In the opening sentence the author insists, “First of all, I do not believe for a second that Iran ever had any intention of destroying Israel.” Not.. for a second…? IMO, scaruffi’s over-confidence in his predictive abilities is dangerous and useless. Why? Jewish history, and the mind-set that’s evolved from the tragedies, supplies my answer.

Futurists, when positing forecasts, are expected to provide several potential scenarios, ranging from what seems to be the most obvious, to “outlier” possibilities, that include “best-case” and “worst-case.” Optimistic nationalities, like the USA populace, might regard pessimistic fears as paranoiac. Americans - viewed en toto - have received only minor injuries since the Civil War. USA casualties in the two world wars (less than 1 million) are piddling compared to the behemoth suffering of the Soviet Union (26.0 million fatalities in WW2, 6.65 million in WW1). Other nations have also absorbed ghastly punishment (Germany: 14 million, China: 20 million).

All numbers pale proportionately though, compared to the Jews. Approximately 6 million were gassed, shot, starved and sickened unto death, the majority at Auschwitz-Birkenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Treblinka and other factories of the Final Solution. The chance of being a surviving European Jew was only 33%; Polish Jew survival odds decreased to 10%; German Jews a microscopic 2%.

The Holocaust was a worst-of-the-worst case scenario - or was it? Truth is, it was preceded by 2,500 years of pogroms, exiles, massacres, diasporas, military defeats, ghettos, and routine humiliations. “Worst case scenarios” occur with such consistent regularity in Jewish history that they deserve, perhaps, reclassification as “probabilities.”

Moving into the present era, we witness the leadership of Iran threatening Israel with vows to: “eliminate this disgraceful stain,” “the stinking corpse of the usurping and fake Israeli regime,” “this germ of corruption will be wiped off,” “like a cancer cell that spreads… [Israel]must be removed from the body.” Many observers laugh off these genocidal howls as mere “posturing,” but is their dismissal just an optimist’s desire for positive scenarios? Remember Neville Chamberlain. His optimism was an ostrich-head-in-the-sand aversion to evil’s potentiality.

Perhaps that’s why the foreign policy of Israel seems compelled to elevate “worst-case scenarios” into the categories of “distinct possibility” or “probable likelihood.” Scaruffi’s opinion that Iran never “had any intention of destroying Israel” isn’t convincing to concentration camp survivors because they’ve already endured unforeseen attacks on their existence, with the most ruthless machinery.

Anne Frank was a smart little girl, living in one of the world’s most tolerant cities, with well-connected parents. Her future? Hiding, hunted, transported, weakened, emaciated, slain by epidemic typhus at 15.

Scaruffi’s prediction could be Chamberlain-esque in it’s naivete. No one knows the future. History has dealt surprising calamities to the people of Israel, and it’s logical they’d be alarmed by a nuclear Iran. Would Iran seek to annihilate Israel? Scaruffi says no. But in Israel there are numbers tattooed on forearms that remind us… the most horrible scenarios are possible.

 

 

Hank Pellissier serves as IEET Managing Director and is an IEET Affiliate Scholar.



COMMENTS

Yes good article I like it. Funny about telling your daughter to wait until mommy is away. Hilarious. Touching.

USA invaded Afghanistan to hunt down a few hundred terrorists threatening the US with box cutters.

Israel is more than justified to do the same or worse to Iran who funds a twin towers attack - proportional to its population— virtually every year.

Rocket and mortar attacks into Israel running about one thousand per year. Why do they only count rocket attacks in the news and not mortar? Israel should issue ultimatum to Iran stop funding terror attacks or will declare war. If Iran was funding attacks across our boarder we would declare war in a New York minute

Israel is showing far more restraint than that great enlightened and tolerant country Great Britain: when their civilian population was repeatedly attacked with V-2 rockets they fire bombed Dresden.

Until Israel ends conscription, the ‘draft’, I wont accept its Defense policies- no matter how ‘Just War’ the argument is. You have your agendas, the rest of us have ours.
I want OWS thinking to permeate all nations- including Israel.

Great piece Hank, and I agree with every word !

Ps. Except.. don’t watch that film with your courageous daughter without telling your wife ! - You should all watch it together : )

By the way.. should anyone think to themselves: And who cares about PALESTINIAN children, - I - for one - do, and you are welcome to check out my solution to the refugee problem, - (all 5 million of them !)

http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/pallensen20120312

“Israel is showing far more restraint than that great enlightened and tolerant country Great Britain: when their civilian population was repeatedly attacked with V-2 rockets they fire bombed Dresden.”


No, the main reason Dresden was firebombed was: Britain wanted to show the Soviets that though Britain was taking far fewer casualties than Russia, it was serious about terrorizing the Germans. Other reasons too: Dresden had been relatively unscathed up to then.
At any rate, OWS has demonstrated that excessive authoritarianism and totalism are not to be tolerated in any nation- including Israel. Israel’s military conscription is unacceptable, IMO.
From now on one can fight his own Just Wars, and not draft cannon fodder to do it.

Many thanks for the pieces, and also for sharing your personal, emotional perspective.

I agree with the spirit of the article. We always need to be very vigilant, especially when history provides so many, recurring examples. Every person, every living being have the right (and sometimes the duty) to respond vigorously, maybe even with lethal force, to any “realistic” threat of his or her own life.

In the end, our possibility to honestly justify a preemptive attack - depends on how realistic are our preoccupations. And, for now, I do not think that Iran poses any realistic threat for Israel, for several reasons.

First, Iran cannot attack Israel effectively. Even assuming that Russia and China managed to smuggle to Iran the best military technology available (to them), it would be nearly useless. Long-range missiles and aircrafts would be spotted well in advance - and therefore intercepted. There are the whole Syria and Iraq in the middle - and no air-jet can be so fast to fly over half of the Arabic Peninsula and strike Israel before being detected soon enough.
The idea of a land invasion, on the other hand, is not even worth considering, for obvious reasons.

Second, Iran have no interest in attacking Israel. Its economy is already under pressure, and they are trying desperately to make oil deals with China and India to keep money flowing in. The consequences of the smallest military enterprise against Israel would be absolutely disastrous for Iran - they simply cannot afford it. Their officials must know this. Yes, there is a lot of anti-Israel talk in public speeches of Ahmadinejad. But this is mainly about pleasing his electoral base.

Yes, there is the remote possibility of an attack from Iran. But it is unlikely, and anyway it would not be effective, given the military structure of Israel and its allies. Hamas and local terrorists are much more dangerous to Israel, than far Iran.

So, concluding, I believe that it would not be right, nor wise for Israel to attack Iran first, at least now.

@ Andre - I do not dispute your conclusion. It’s a complex issue for sure however I would like to point out that Iran currently is attacking Israel virtually every day.
Hezbollah has an estimated stockpile of 40,000 rockets supplied by Iran and shipped through Syria.
Hamas gets their weapons from the same source.
Even last month I note this incident: “JERUSALEM — Israel said Tuesday it seized a cargo ship loaded with weapons sent by Iran to Palestinian militants in Gaza, including sophisticated land-to-sea missiles that officials said could change the balance of power in the area.”
Israel’s concern is not to prevent an attack from Iran next month - it is concerned with it’s survival in the coming decades and not only from direct attack but from attack by proxy. A nuke from Hezbollah is still a nuke. Iran’s leadership has stated that they believe Iran could absorb a nuclear conflict noting that their population is ten times greater than Israel and their land area is 80 times greater. Their hatred of Israel is religiously based and not rational in my opinion. While you contemplate this you can enjoy this clip of one of Ahmadinejad’s eloquent and moving speeches. Here’s the transcript: “Death to Israel! Death to Israel!”
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_KfstCcywo&feature=related

Great article Hank,

Sadly the Jews have been mistreated for millenia, unfortunately in the last century the church has made it as bad or worse then ever. Islam has inherited much of that hate. It is a family fight as Jews are descended from Isaac and the Arabs from Ishmael. There are many wrongs on both sides and no easy solutions.

This is neither a family fight nor primarily about religion. It’s about history, psychology, and our animal nature.

We can dismiss the “family fight” hypothesis immediately by noting that only a small fraction of Iranians are Arabs.

As for religion, it is true that the conflicting religious stories that some Jews and some Muslims tell themselves help to fuel the conflict (and that the fictional characters Isaac and Ishmael loom large in these competing narratives, and thus in the collective psyches of the respective peoples. But there have been countless examples of Jews and Muslims living peacefully together. The big conflict in the Middle Ages was between Christendom and Islam, not Judaism.

Starting with history, then, this conflict has its immediate roots in the resettlement of Jews in Palestine, to the detriment of the Palestinians, and to the rise of the virulent, hate- and resentment-fuelled brand of religion that is known as Wahabbism and is massively bankrolled by Saudi Arabia. Much more can be said, of course, but if we’re looking for one sentence explanations this certainly beats “family fight” or “it’s all about religion”.

But if we want a truly science-based (i.e. accurate) explanation for the current conflict, we need to complement this historical context with a clear-eyed knowledge of human psychology, and the basic animal nature that underpins it. To use Jonathan Haidt’s classification of moral instincts, this is a case of in-group loyalty having got out of hand.

As far as solutions are concerned, I see Northern Ireland as the most promising role model. In this case, the sponsors of each side (respectively Britain and Ireland) took the initiative in coming together and getting rid of sacred cows (such as Ireland’s irritating territorial claim, or Westminster’s autistic focus on “not talking to terrorists”). Effective pressure was then brought to bear on both sides to pursue peace. Crucially, peace talks did not stop indefinitely once more belligerent powers (Sinn Fein and DUP respectively) took power. They catered to their respective constituencies’ craving for in-group loyalty better than the moderates, and we’re therefore trusted with peace and compromise. Today Northern Ireland is peaceful, and gradually recovering from it’s conflict.

Which brings me back to Piero Scaruffi’s original article. The main point of this article was not to say that Iran poses no credible threat to Israel, though it did contain this assertion, and Hank is perhaps right to denounce its complacency. Its main point was to make the case that an Israeli strike on Iran is likely before November, since Israel’s chief sponsor - the U.S. - will be in election mode, and in-group loyalty will once again be in the ascendency.

And that scares me.

@Josh Kyle

You have a point, that is sure.  Iran is likely funding Palestinian insurgents against Israel. However, I still do not think declaring war would be an appropriate answer. For example, Israel could (and probably is already doing it) fund Iranian anti-regime movements in return. Another strategy (which I do not endorse for moral reasons, but which sure is less painful than a full-scale war) is to keep on blowing atomic engineers up in Tehran. Even if, I really do not think Hezbollah would ever nuke in Israel, in spite of their taste for martyrdom. Palestinian people would be directly harmed by that. From their perspective, it is much better to use rockets.

@Peter Wicks
I agree with you analysis, completely. All those talks about the Abrahamitic family never persuaded me much. Cultural and historical differences separated the three brothers long ago - and profoundly too. Christians are no more brothers with Muslims than they are with Masai people. And we cannot hope to persuade any member of one of the two conflicting tribes by saying - look, you and your enemy were brothers many, many years ago. A better strategy would be - as once I heard from a wise diplomat - that a third party should step in, offering a solution that both sides consider almost unacceptable. The idea of harming the counterpart by making it accept a painful solution - would be enough to make them both sign the deal. Israel, however, has still too much to lose, and still got the muscles to keep its territories. So, I realistically think that such diplomatic solutions are not likely to be seen for a while - until the economic conditions of Palestinian people first improve dramatically (which probably would if they invested more in productive economic activities, instead of explosives and other weaponry).

@André

Indeed. One of the difficulties with pursuing the N. Ireland solution is that the Arab / Iranian / Muslim / Palestinian “side” lacks both coherence and a credible sponsor. Israel has the US, of course. Europe, sadly, is too weak and obsessed with our internecine squabbling to play much of a helpful role (we’ve managed to more or less stabilised S.E. Europe, but the Middle East seems beyond us).

In reality, the Middle Eastern powderkeg is just one manifestation of the basic problems causes by anger-fuelled (and anger-inducing) hypertrophy of the “in-group loyalty” moral instinct. And more generally, it’s just one of the risks towards which we should be channelling our fear, our survival instinct, and above all our creativity.

For example, China and Russia both have considerable influence in the region, but the relationship between the West and those powers is a long way from being as benign as that between UK and Ireland in the early 1990s.

As far as IEET readership is concerned perhaps the main message needs to be that these are real-world problems that require pragmatic, real-world solutions now. We can fantasise all we want about the Singularity and Humanity2.0, but it will all be for nothing if we’ve nuked each other to death - and the planet into inhospitability to humans - in the mean time. So less ideology, and more creative thinking?

Cross-Posted from the IEET FB Page:

https://www.facebook.com/ieet.org/posts/270793319671104

Thanks for acknowledging the Russians’ contributions and the sacrifice of 26 million of her people towards the winning WW II, Hank, that their losses were 50x greater than ours in that conflict were is a rather neglected part of the story.

I won’t speak to the specifics of your thesis on the ongoing back and forth between Israel and Iran but I’d rather speak to the broader question of whether or not the world can go through this sort of horror again.

Little background on me, I’m more than familiar with this subject since when I was growing up in NYC the work that my mother did was to take Depositions from Holocaust survivors and and she also represented them in securing for then Restitution Claims from the then government of West Germany.

This wasn’t the sort of thing that ended at the close of business each day and since she took her work home with her my knowing of this history on a personal level, (many of her Clients were frequent visitors to our home, I’ve seen and touched the tattoos), was a part of my life since I was a child.

The answer to this question sadly is yes.

One of the more startling moments I had when moving back to Germany several years ago was seeing the abominable book of Herr Mister Thilo Sarrazin - Deutschland schafft sich ab, (Published in the USA under the Nom de Plume of “Pat Buchanan” with the title of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive…?”), which was essentially a full throated xenophobic attack on Germany’s immigrant Turkish population, not only find a publisher, but reach the #1 Spot on Germany’s Best Seller List.

http://bit.ly/HfECea

Good Lourdes, after all we’ve been through here, this was the *last* thing I had ever expected to see in my lifetime.

Yet there it is.

The only thing that I can attribute this to is that it is a vivid of what I believe to be a case of “Generational Amnesia.”

We can say “Never Forget” but in order for that to be effective and more than just a turn of phrase it also needs to be done vigilantly and concretely as well.

I have my own analysis of anti-Semitism in the Middle East - although it is “flammable” it is likely correct. The reason is envy at Israeli success in building a modern, economically-successful democracy.

Plus… do I need to add this? This is certainly not the first time Jews have been harassed for being too wealthy, too entrepreneurially successful…

Here’s an excerpt from my essay, “Why is the IQ of Ashkenazi Jews so High?”

“Ashkenazim [in Hungary] were 6% of the population, but they comprised 55.7% of physicians, 49.2% of attorneys, 30.4% of engineers, and 59.4% of bank officers; plus, they owned 49.4% of the metallurgy industry, 41.6% of machine manufacturing, 72.8% of clothing manufacturing, and, as housing owners, they received 45.1% of Budapest rental income. Jews were similarly successful in nearby nations, like Poland and Germany.”

“Starting in 1938, a series of anti-Jewish laws were passed in Hungary, limiting the amount of Jews allowed in various professions - physicians, engineers and lawyers to 20%. Later, their government employment in government was forbidden, they could not be editors at newspapers, their numbers were restricted to 6% among actors, physicians, lawyers and engineers. 250,000 Hungarian Jews lost their income and most of them lost their right to vote. Eventually, Jews were deported to Auschwitz; more Hungarian Jews died during WWII than the total American fatalities in all theaters.” [from Wikipedia]

Throw out religion, family-feuds, history, Gaza situation, etc. Jealousy has been a primary enraging emotion since Cain killed Abel.

Mark Twain explained anti-Semitism as “the swollen envy of pygmy minds.”

Caroline Glick, “anti-semitism is envy in the raw.”

George Gilder, “antisemitism: ignorance of economics and envy”

Egyptian intellectual to the New Yorker, “Talent gives rise to jealousy in the hearts of the untalented.”

I think that’s part of it, Hank, I don’t think it’s all of it. I think there’s also a sense that it’s not a fair fight. Did the Israelis succeed in building a modern, economically-successful democracy because they are more intelligent? I don’t think so. They came with cultural moeurs from Europe and a large helping hand from the West, in particular the US.

Iranians are not (primarily) Wahhabists, of course, but the Islamic fundamentalist, anti-Western and anti-Israel memes sprang not only from jealousy per se but also from the (more justified) resentment (of Arabs/Muslims especially) at not having been give a fair chance. First they were colonised, then they were fed dreams of self-determination and Western secular development, then when it became clear that wasn’t going to happen they took comfort in virulent strains of their own religion.

To understand is not to justify, and it’s not to make excuses: there is no excuse for saying one wants to wipe a country or a people off the map, for whatever reason. There is no excuse for taking comfort in hate-speech as a balm for our personal or collective frustrations. We have enough of that kind of thing in US and Europe, right? (And I’m not talking about our Muslim minorities.) But it happens, and we need to try and understand why, not least because this can shed light on some of the other, even more serious problems we face (and also on problems that we can actually do something about).

I (once more) agree with Peter. I really do not think that envy is playing a particularly important role. I mean, we are talking about a high militarized state that occupies a territory where another population has been living for a rather decent amount of time. That land has been occupied only relatively recently, and the Palestinian people perceive this occupation as something unacceptable. This is the most important - and quite obvious - reason of the conflict. It is not because hypotrophic Arab brains cannot stand the view of successful, smart Jews. It is rather because they have been dispossessed of a land that they considered theirs. It is because they cannot even move within the territories without being harassed, or worse, by Israeli soldiers.

Then of course there is the other side of the coin. There is Hamas, Hezbollah, their horrible terrorism, their tendency to cope with this situation but in one, violent (and often vile) way. Yet, we should not lose sight of the real reasons behind this endless conflict. Ideological antisemitism cannot fuel such a long-lasting tension. There are precise, historical reasons, the settlements, the British agenda, and the role of UN after WWII. Antisemitism is but an effect, not a cause of terrorist acts in Israel, and of Iranian hostility.

If we fail to understand the most obvious motives, we risk to miss possible, viable solutions. Envy for Jews play an important role in western populism, extreme right-wing movements, and such. Not in Palestine, I guess.

Andre, Peter - my “envy theory” regarding Israel is not my own, as I said, it’s been widely discussed, and I’m sticking with it. Truth is, I regard most other theories as pseudo-intellectual obfuscation and evasiveness.

here’s another quote for you -

“http://www.usmessageboard.com/israel-and-palestine/208673-arab-muslim-hatred-rooted-in-envy-of-israel.html

To the dismay of Arabs around the world, Jewish people turned an ancient piece of real estate in the Middle East into a thriving oasis of intellectual, political, religious, and commercial activity, where people are free to do as they please. One of the oldest places on earth — a place where Abraham walked — Israel is as thoroughly modern as any place on earth, with a functioning government that respects religious and economic freedom.

A young person in Israel can choose to work in some of the best high-tech companies in the world, or can pursue a life dedicated to Talmudic studies. A woman has an equal right to pursue any career she likes, and people of different sexual orientations are not driven underground — or worse.

The fact is, the talents of the people of Israel are allowed to flourish in ways Arabs should want to emulate, and replicate.

Despising Israel in much of the Arab world is all about anti-Semitism. And most anti-Semitism anywhere in the world has its origins in envy.”

———-

Envy as a source of regional hatred isn’t limited to the Middle East. Chinese have experienced the same resentment in Indonesia and Malaysia.

Andre—Palestine was a sparsely populated, swamp and desert land before the Jewish return. Here’s the demographic facts from wiki:

“In 1920, there were 700,000 people living in Palestine. Four-fifths of the whole population are Moslems.  The Jewish element of the population numbers 76,000… By 1948, the population had risen to 1,900,000, of whom 68% were Arabs, and 32% were Jews…”

Today Israel has over 7 million in population. The Arab population is 1,573,000, representing 20.4%.

@Hank - I agree that envy might have been an historical part of the picture but not sure if it’s a major component in Israeli-Arab-Iranian equation.

I’m an outsider but it seems to me the main motivation was the Muslim recoil at having another crusader State in their midst. The Crusades were a great shock and a bloody episode in their history that believe it or not, is still raw and the wound was salted with Israel. Note that they always call Israel a “Crusader State.”

This is even more offensive to Muslims in that part of the Muslim narrative is the superiority of their religion.  Similarly part of the Christian Narrative is that Jews are inherantly obstinate for not accepting Christ.

If you look at a map and outline the high tide of Islamic control, the “Caliphate” you will see conflict on almost every boarder with the exception of Spain ie Sudan, Israel, Chechnya, Afghanistan, China (Ughirs), India. There is also conflict internally in many Muslim countries as well.

IMO the Israeli conflict is highlighted because there is a 2000 year old body of anti-Semitic thought and propaganda which was very highly developed by European Christians. The Muslim propagandist had a great reservoir to draw from.

There is also, of course the Palestinian victim card and that issue is brilliantly dealt with here:  http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/pallensen20120312.

Curiously when 500,000 Palestinians are evicted from Kuwait in 1991 no one makes a peep. If Israel builds a few hundred houses in the Palestinian section of Jerusalem the wolves of divestment start to howl across Europe and the college campuses of the US.

@Hank
Well I’ve never known you to mince your words 😊

But really: pseudo-intellectual obfuscation and evasiveness?

I echo the following from André: “If we fail to understand the most obvious motives, we risk to miss possible, viable solutions.” I don’t say envy plays no role at all - in fact I would say André downplays it more than I would want to, and especially I don’t for a moment believe this is ONLY about the Palestinians being dispossessed.

Earlier this evening I heard that a 70-year-old pharmacist committed suicide very publicly in central Athens because austerity measures had driven him to economic ruin and he didn’t want to become one of those elderly, respectable, middle-class people, whom I have seen personally in downtown Athens, scavenging in rubbish bins for food. I mention this because, Greece being a country I know and love, I can empathise more easily and directly with those people than with, say Palistinians.

But the parallels are there. It’s not just envy, it’s also hopelessness, and humiliation. It was the same in 1930s Germany: it wasn’t just envy of the Jews, it was hopelessness, hyperinflation and humiliation. We cannot afford to ignore this aspect.

By the way, suppose we do go with the envy hypothesis: what would be the practical consequences for policy?

André, - you wrote:

“we are talking about a high militarized state that occupies a territory where another population has been living for a rather decent amount of time”.

- giving the impression that Jews have NOT “lived there for a rather decent amount of time”..

As Hank points out, this “other population” numbered thousands of Jews,

Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority since 1848, - (disputed figures) - but to give you something to think about, AND for your entertainment:

In 1854 Karl Marx, – (yes, that Karl Marx), – was a reporter for the New York Daily Tribune. His article of 15 April 1854 reported the population as follows:

“…the sedentary population of Jerusalem numbers about 15,500 souls, of whom 4,000 are Mussulmans [Muslims] and 8,000 Jews.”

As of 31. dec. 1946, the population of the un-divided city of Jerusalem was 99.320 Jews, 31.330 Christians, 33.680 Muslims. ( Supplement to a Survey of Palestine ) (p. 12-13)

On “why do people so despise Jews” I’d love to comment, but time does not allow me. - It would be an extremely interesting, fascinating and EXPLOSIVE subject to write about..

On “should Israel take nuclear Iran seriously”: A survivor was asked what the primary lesson was from the Holocaust. His answer: When someone say they intend to annihilate you, BELIEVE them ! - And: Why should Israel listen to ANY “wise” outsider, whether spoiled Europeans or ditto Americans..

I studied under Professor David Nasaw at CUNY in NYC who taught that the Quota System, (which, ironically enough, decades later is what Affirmative Action was keyed on), was first designed, cultivated, developed and implemented at Harvard University in the 1920s.

Primarily as a means to keep High Achieving Jewish kids *out* of Harvard, since, well, because of the emphasis on education that their parents placed on them in their homes from the moment that they were in the cradle there was a veritable flood of qualified Applicants of the children from the wave of turn of the century Jewish Immigrants; which threatened to simply swamp the Scions of the Blue-Blooded NY Social Regster WASPs right out of the Hallowed Halls of that Institution of Higher Learning.

Something simply had to be done to stem the tide and that was the route that Harvard chose to take to address that pressing and dire issue, because that way they could ‘plausibly deny’ that it had anything to do with Anti-Semitism.

It seems to me that a lot of things are getting mixed up here.

First of all, take this wonderful word “anti-Semitism”. This has become ingrained in our consciousness, essentially because of the holocaust. Before that, it was just Jews being mistreated much as so many other ethnic minorities get persecuted from time to time. Once again, it’s human nature at its animalistic worst, and we will have to live with it, and mitigate it as best we can, until such time that we can (safely) genetically engineer it away. As I said above, it’s the in-group loyalty instinct run amok. And that’s not pseudo-scientific obfuscation, it’s an attempt to be scientific about what’s really going on.

So let’s not raise up “anti-Semitism” as if it’s some special, separate and monolithic entity. People hate Jews, as people hate all sorts of ethnic groups, for all sorts of bad reasons. Envy is one of them; there are others.

Then there’s a conflation of question such as, “How seriously should we take Iran’s threats against Israel?”, “Is an Israeli strike on Iran (as Scaruffi predicts) justified / a good idea?”, “How likely is this all to happen?”, “Do Westerners have anything legitimate to say about any of this anyway?”

To the last question I say (in response to Joern) an unequivocal,“Yes!”, for the simple reasons that what happens in the Middle East has the potential to affect us. But before we accuse Scaruffi of being “Chamberlain-esque”, I think we need to first understand what if anything, he was trying to dissuade us from advocating, and what we would want to do should we wish to take Iran’s rhetoric more seriously than he does. On the first point, the answer (having re-read his article) is “nothing” - he was talking about the probability of Israel striking Iran, he didn’t explicitly denounce it.

How about we come up with some positive visions here. What would we LIKE to happen?

Sorry Peter—for any rudeness, and there’s no Comment Moderator to stop me! I am of the opinion that
people often use intellectual reasons to cover up what is essentially wounded pride. People are ashamed to
admit to feelings of envy, so instead of doing that, they invent other reasons for hating.

Regarding your excellent notion of what should be done, if envy is indeed the reason, that’s a tough one. Israel’s regional enemies have used anti-Israeli rhetoric to inflame the population and build a base for their popularity. What they should have been doing is building friendship, i.e., economic alliances with Israel - that would have prospered the entire region.

I found your dismissal of the word - and thus the results - of “anti-Semitism” quite upsetting. And completely inaccurate, historically.

I get frustrated talking about Israel because I see events there as a obvious perpetuation of the very long anti-Semitic history. Here’s a list of nations that Jews have been evicted from, it’s 109 nations:  http://www.eretzyisroel.org/~jkatz/expulsions.html

I thought the UN vote granting the Jews a small sliver of property in 1948 would end this repulsive scenario,
but no, I hear all the time in “progressive” circles that Israel never should have been given to Jews. Oh, they have their “reasons.” Just like the previous 109 nations had their “reasons” too?

The notion advanced by you - and Andre? - that Muslims treated Jews peaceably until recent injustices against them is also… not remotely true. Muhammed himself slaughtered 600-700 Jews in Medina. There were massacres of Jews in Muslim Granada in 1066 and Hebron in 1929 and too many other places to mention
before and after. Of course, it wasn’t just the Muslims - you’re English, where Jews were massacred in London and York and then, expelled in 1290, allowed only to take what they could carry - they weren’t allowed back
until the 1600’s.

One historian has calculated that the Jewish population in Roman times was 10% of the empire; by today it should have been expected to grow to 200 million but it is only 13.4 million.

Germany, to its credit, has paid billions in reparations funds to Holocaust victims, for seized assets, etc.
Lithuania announced recently that it intends to pay reparations to Holocaust victims. What was called a “trivial amount” was given to Hungarian survivors. I find no record of reparations paid to Jews evicted from England in 1290.

When I observe the present situation, I primarily see a reoccurrence of ugly past events.

Peter, - my answer to “Do Westerners have anything legitimate to say about any of this anyway”? is also YES, YES, YES, - and I for one have said A LOT, - I even wrote a complete peace plan proposal. My question is this: Why should Israel listen to us, take us seriously, trust us ? - Will Europe lift a finger to defend Israel any time soon..

I admire you a lot for your always CONSTRUCTIVE proposals and for cutting through the fog, so here’s what I would like to happen:

I am hoping for an Iranian spring, - a new regime. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be just around the corner - but you never know.. - so.. I hope Scaruffi is right: that Israel will strike sometime this year !
The whole world will condemn Israel, but PRIVATELY they will say: Thank God / Allah they did it ! - Who exactly is going to do something about it ? - Iranians will seek revenge, - but how ? - Truth is they are a paper-tiger. They will likely sponsor terror here and there, but it’s not going to be WW3 or something, and Arabs, - in particular Saudi Arabia - will be relieved Israel “did” it. - Iranian regime HAS no friends, or is there something I am missing.. - (Forget about Assad) - but the Iranian PEOPLE have got LOTS of friends.
Besides, it should not be seen only in an Israeli perspetive. Preventing Iran from going nuclear is the best thing we can do for the Iranian PEOPLE ! With a nuclear Iran, a regime change will be much harder.
—-
I forgot to mention earlier, that in 1948, the population of BAGHDAD was 1/4 Jewish ! - Other estimates talk about 1/3 at the time of WW1. I am mentioning these figures because of the all too frequent “meme”, that “the (evil) Jews then came from out of nowhere and took over everything”..

Something I see rarely gets mentioned in discussions about Israel’s current problems, is the origin of the Ashkenazi Jews.

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

Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim (Hebrew: אַשְׁכֲּנָזִים, pronounced [ˌaʃkəˈnazim], singular: [ˌaʃkəˈnazi]; also יְהוּדֵי אַשְׁכֲּנָז, Y’hudey Ashkenaz, “the Jews of Ashkenaz”), are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north.[citation needed]
The name Ashkenazi derives from the bibilical figure of Ashkenaz, the first son of Gomer, and a Japhetic patriarch in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10). In the Rabbinic literature, Ashkenaz’s kingdom was first associated with the Scythian region, then later on with the Slavic territories,[5] and from the 11th century onwards with Northern Europe and Germany.[6] The Jews living in the northern regions, associated with Ashkenaz’s kingdom, thus came to call themselves the Ashkenazi Jews.[6] Later, Jews from Western and Central Europe also came to be called “Ashkenazi” because the main centers of Jewish learning were located in Germany.

_______

I would like to go much further into this than just a Wiki article, but few people engage me on this.

My pet theory is that the Arabs aren’t pissed so much that Jews are invading their land, they are pissed that WHITE GERMANS (Jewish or not) are invading their lands.

The Ashkenazi also appear to have some connection to the ancient Scythians, which were a highly aggressive people.

And let’s not forget the Holocaust of Canaan.

Now, I also know that genealogies are complicated (oy vey!), but I’m also having a hard time figuring out how the Ashkenazi lay claim to the Semitic distinction in the first place.

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

In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic (from the Biblical “Shem”, Hebrew: שם, translated as “name”, Arabic: ساميّ) was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages. This family includes the ancient and modern forms of; Akkadian, Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic, Ge’ez, Maltese, Canaanite/Phoenician, Amorite, Eblaite, Ugaritic, Sutean, Chaldean, Mandaic, Ahlamu, Amharic, Tigre and Tigrinya among others.
As language studies are interwoven with cultural studies, the term also came to describe the extended cultures and ethnicities, as well as the history of these varied peoples as associated by close geographic and linguistic distribution.

Hence, when Ashkenazi claim their opponents are “anti-Semitic”, what the hell do they even mean?

And what about their own oppression of the Sephardic Jews in Israel? If Israel is simply, pro-Jewish, then why does it appear that they are really pro-Ashkenazi?

Some see Israel as simply another European intrusion, disguised as a religious war between Jews and Muslims.

As far as war between Israel and Iran goes, it’s not going to happen.

Neither Israel nor Iran will risk it.

We Love You - Israel and Iran
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYjuUoEivbE

The worst that may happen, is the continued exchange of cyberattacks (Stuxnet and the like), continued espionage, and “terrorism” (including from Mossad - one of the worst terrorist organizations on Earth).

Nice to see iPan back here!

@Hank
First of all no offence taken - of course - and I agree that people DO use intellectual reasons to cover up what is essentially wounded pride. Very, very often.

And yes, of course anti-Semitism has a very, very long history, and it’s interesting to speculate why. I find it very difficult to believe that envy has been THE major factor, I think it’s mostly fear of the “other”. Judaism has remained a very distinct culture, as well as successful one, and that is often a recipe for conflict and persecution, sadly. I didn’t say that Muslims have always lived peacefully with Jews, only that alongside the long history of anti-Semitism (also including Moslems) there is also a long history of Jews and others, including Moslems, loving peacefully alongside each other. It’s important to remember that also, particularly if we are being told to see the current conflict as some kind of “family feud” between Jews and Arabs.

So is the current conflict primarily the latest chapter in the ugly history of anti-Semitism? I suppose it depends what you mean by “primarily”. If it’s really the case that Jews have inspired envy simply by being better (i.e. more successful) than the rest of us, and that this is basically what is happening again now, then yes, this would be a fair assessment. But I don’t believe it is, I think it’s way more complicated than that. I think that if we want to sum up what this conflict is about in one sentence, it’s one more case of in-group loyalty run amok. Haidt makes a good case that we need such mechanisms to maintain the sub-structures that makes overall society function, but in-group loyalty also has a tendency to get out of hand and kill the patient. We need to try to avoid this.

@Joern I don’t hope for an Israeli strike on Iran, but I see your point, and ironically it’s similar to the one Scaruffi was making. He also said that Iran was essentially (for now) a paper tiger, which is why it resorts so frequently and easily to inflammatory bluster. So a strike will not have catastrophic consequences, hopefully. Israel know this, which is one of the reasons why Scaruffi thinks a strike is likely to happen.

@ Joern Pallensen
“- giving the impression that Jews have NOT “lived there for a rather decent amount of time”. As Hank points out, this “other population” numbered thousands of Jews,”
I should clarify myself. Of course Jews have also been there for quite some time, it is rather obvious. Their rightful desire to spend their lives in the land we call Israel has clear historical justifications and very ancient roots. Not differently from the Palestinian side, I might add. The important difference - is that, now, you do not see Palestinian soldiers, armed to their teeth, guarding check-points. There is but one side in control of that land - the very same land that both ethnic groups want to possess and control almost exclusively.
I read your proposal, your possible solution of the conflict, and - even if I have some criticism - I believe is a really a good one. It makes a lot of sense, and - most importantly - is essentially peaceful. But I do not follow your reasoning anymore when you say that somehow we should stop Iran from building nuclear weapons (how? by asking “please, stop”?). On which grounds can a group of nations armed with atomic weapons ask a sovereign state not to build atomic weapons? I remind you that nukes, like all other WMD, have the main purpose of preventing OTHERS from using nukes against you. Their existence prevent wars, even if it sounds paradoxical. In fact, it is even more important that everybody else in the world thinks that you have nukes - it is cheaper and safer. The concept of hidden WMD is a contradiction in terms, a joke from a strategic perspective. In fact, nobody ever used them in conflict (but the US, of course, and just once).

@hankpellissier
I am really not trying to obfuscate the obvious with intellectual sophistications. Pardon me, but I would like to read more solid confirmations of the envy-theory you defend - and especially from someone more authoritative than the unknown guy posting on the forum you linked me above. I have also to confess that such explanation reminds me a lot of the typical conservative, populist theory about socialism/communism - which says that they are merely about lazy, people expressing their envy for what hard-working, productive individuals achieve. 
It seems to me that your envy-theory becomes particularly hard to defend if we consider the fact that hostilities against a Jewish state begun well before Israel turned into the great, modern country that it now. How can you explain Palestinian riots in 1920, when certainly there was no prosperous Jewish state yet? Back then, as it is now, it was mainly about preventing the institutionalization of Zionist settlements (which hosted, mostly, orthodox Jews, not particularly rich or successful, I might add). It is fight for a land - like we have seen so many in our history.

Andre - The “envy theory” - as you have defined it - is very widely discussed and has been for long time and I could provide you with hundreds of url links, but if you really want to know more about it, you can easily research it yourself.

I have mentioned that Jews were evicted over 100 times from different nations. After their eviction, their properties and assets were seized by those who evicted them, i.e., the envious.

There are of course other reasons for conflict in Israel, but oftentimes Envy of Jewish and/or Israeli Success is not mentioned, so I thought it was important to interject it.

Cornel West has also mentioned envy and resentment as a reason for African-American animosity against Jews. That link is: http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1216&context=twlj

It is interesting to me that China and Korea are very admiring of Jewish success - this link http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2010/12/china-asks-why-are-jews-excellent/18108/, entitled, “China Asks: Why Are Jews Excellent?”  says that the Talmud is widely read in China, in a search for economic secrets. The Talmud is also widely read in South Korea.

@Hank
To be somewhat pedantic (as is my wont), you don’t have to be envious to loot someone else’s properties and assets, just unscrupulous and opportunistic. But you’re right: envy is almost certainly a factor, and if it’s being overlooked then indeed it’s good to consider this dimension also. And yes that is fascinating about China and Korea.

That being said, I still think patience on the part of Israel will pay dividends more than a strike. I read an article in the NYT (global edition) to the effect that Hezbollah is now torn between its traditional loyalty to Assad (and dependence on Syria as transit route for Iranian weapons) and popular Arab feeling. This would seem to be a good time for Israel to watch, wait, and keep a relatively low profile.

@Peter, the proper word to use in this particular context is:

“Pedant”

Please make a note of it.

Thank you, and please, kindly, have a great day.

André, - very pleased to hear you find my proposals reasonable ! - You then go on to say:

“On which grounds can a group of nations armed with atomic weapons ask a sovereign state not to build atomic weapons”?

I think you are being very naive even to ask, and the answer is simple: A group of nations can do that - and have every right to do that - when confronted with crazy, racist, hatefilled, occult, maniacal, acopalyptic, messianic regimes like the Iranian. I hear you and others saying Israel has nothing to worry about, - that the Iranian regime is “rational”, - and you could be right, - but what if you are wrong ? - Israel can not risk that, - it’s that simple, - and it is a matter of their own survival. That is what all “wise” and “rational” outsiders tend to forget.

What all you wise guys are also forgetting, is the race to be the first to get the bomb during WW2. Do you mean to say we had no right to prevent the Third Reich from getting it ? - And don’t you think the Nazis were crazy enough to use it ?

And how about Israel ?? - I believe the nuclear option was on the table in 1973, when they were very nearly run over by the combined Egyptian and Syrian forces.

Then imagine nuclear weapons in the hands of Gaddafi, of Saddam Hussein..

Soo.. maybe you are right, and I am paranoid, but I wouldn’t count on these lunatics being “rational”, - and it should be absolutely clear to everyone, that ISRAEL has every right - and every reason - not to count on it.

I should add perhaps, that there are also a number of crazy, apocalyptic, Messianic, etc. Jews and Christians. The difference is they are not in power, - THANK **** !

With regard to what we should be hoping for - and advocating, to the extent that we can reasonably be said to have any influence at all on what will actually happen - I think it hinges in part on the validity or otherwise (from Joern): “Arabs - in particular Saudi Arabia - will be relieved Israel “did” it.” Maybe we should ask them?

Correction: “validity or otherwise of the following (from Joern):...”

Peter, - I am just an ordinary guy who puts two and two together from reading polls, reports, articles, analysis etc. - I have no time just now to provide any links, but you may check with Pew Research Institute, Pechter Polls, released Wiki-Leaks documents and lots of newspaper articles, all - if not concluding - then clearly suggesting that “Arabs - in particular Saudi Arabia - will be relieved Israel “did” it.”

They’ve been asked alright, but keep in mind that Arabs in general are more than reluctant to state openly that they are on Israel’s side against Iran..

@hankpellissier
I had already made a couple of searches before asking you (I admit I did not try for more than 15 minutes). And - as I expected - I did not find even one serious scholar articulating that concept beyond an occasional aphorism. I am sure such ideas come to one’s mind at time - I also thought about it, not once. But it is, at best, a rather superficial explanation, good when you make an easy chat in front of a glass of something. Seriously it cannot be defended, counterexamples can be found everywhere. Or should we also say that black people fighting against apartheid in South Africa were in fact just envious of white, successful farmers? Or that feminists are just envious of the obvious male superiority. And so on. The conflict in the Middle East is something more complicated than that.

@Joern Pallensen
So, what are we talking about here? Are you advocating a preemptive attack based on your personal risk perception? Do you realize that the intervention you are here promoting would probably mean the beginning of WWIII? Be careful of the words you use when you are talking about murdering crowds of people (this is what an attack would mean).

Your comparison with Germany of WWII says it all. Germany was already aggressively expanding itself. That is why was more than appropriate to intervene to stop Hitler quickly. They invaded Poland, remember? Which territories did Ahmadinejad invaded so far? Let us be serious. He might well be on his toes, and rightly so, because of the US invasion of half of the Arabic Peninsula around Iran, and because of the funds flowing from West into rebels’ pockets in Syria. I would get a bit nervous myself if I was in the position of an Iranian leader. Do you realize that if Iran was half crazy as maintain, they would have already blown the Hormuz strait? They can do it, they have the technology for that - as they wanted to show. It would be preemptive move, based on a reasonable risk perception - he just needs to give credit to all the incessant war-talks going on from Israel and US. All the arguments you defended, that kind of reasoning can be turned upside down against Israel. Luckily Iranian leaders do not see things that way, and appear to be more cold and rational indeed.

I just ask you, please, to be careful before playing the war drums - the consequences of these aggressive talks are tremendous. These ideas replicate and diffuse like viruses into highly emotional minds. They do have consequences. And, please, do not let war rhetorics shape your judgment. There is always someone else profiting for these events, someone profiting from growing support of interventionism in the population. At least, consider that there might be another way. There always is.

@André

Yes, - I am advocating a preemptive attack based on personal risk perception, - but at the end of the day - and this is my main point - any “outsider” risk assesment is irrelevant, - only Israeli risk perception counts. It would be great if you were right in YOUR perception, and maybe you are, but who are we to tell Israel to wait passively and find out? - I see that as extremely arrogant.

The entire international community - ok, - maybe not quite - have pursued “another way”, but time is running out, it’s that simple, and how long do you expect Israel to wait ?

WW3 ? - Seriously ?

And you are saying also - with a straight face.. - that “Iranian leaders appear to be more cold and rational indeed” - Sorry, but I just don’t get it. - Say they are “cold and rational”.. - to me that could only mean cold and rational like suppressing their own people with the kind of brutality we are now witnessing in Syria. Of course they are on their toes, and they have only themselves to blame, AND I would not count on them being “rational” should they be allowed to go nuclear. That is what it all comes down to.

@Joern
You’re not being entirely consistent here. On the one hand you say to me that Westerners DO have something legitimate to say about all this, on the other hand you tell Andre that it’s only Israeli risk perception that matters. It certainly isn’t the only thing that matters to me. I’m also interested in global security.

Furthermore, André is not “telling Israel to wait passively and find out”, he’s suggesting that there are better ways to address the risk than a preemptive attack. I really don’t see any arrogance there.

In fact, what really interests me here is André‘s claim that “aggressive talks…replicate and diffuse like viruses into highly emotional minds”. I think this is an important point, which is worth considering. I generally take the view that the kind of influence we can have by posting comments here is mainly of the long-term, indirect kind - we are trying to put some clarity into these ethical discussions and, hopefully, do some good as a result - but I don’t totally dismiss the idea that we could do more immediate harm by promulgating warlike rhetoric.

Something to think about?

@Peter yes it is a complex equation regards global security. Are we safer striking Iran now or are we safer to wait and hope Ajad will be responsible with nukes. I vote strike but of course as Joern notes, I’m not on the front line.

Israel has executed two of these limited strikes before - first with Iraq and then with Syria. Both were very good things in retrospect.

The larger issue here is that the simplistic equations are not always true ie war = bad peace= good.

I believe I read speculation that Obama was bargaining with Israelis to wait until after election and in exchange gave them access to our bunker buster bombs and several re-fueling planes. Not sure if that was hard news or not.

Results of strike will be Harmuz closed, US Navy engages Iranian speed boats, gas prices spike, 10000 more rockets into Israel and probably some terror attacks in the US. Iran’s reliable allies are Syria and Venezuela as far as I can see. I doubt Russia or China will go to war to protect Iran so will not trigger WWIII.

Moreover Iran can not afford a long war as their currency is already in shambles and they have no other export than their oil.

Peter, -
when I say only Israeli risk perception matters, you should of course understand that in an Israeli perspective. In a Western - and Global - perspective, it is another story, so no inconsistency there.

You have written about empathy.. and you are clearly a highly empathetic human being, so you should have no problem considering risk assesment with Israeli / Jewish eyes. So - again: Who are we to tell Israelis they have nothing to worry about ? - That is what I find arrogant. - Sure, if you believe - like André - a strike could be the beginning of WWIII, it makes sense that global security matters !
Again, from an Israeli perspective: Given they really take nuclear Iran seriously,  they are not likely to say “We better sacrifice ourselves, lest we become guilty of starting WWIII” ?! - We can’t risk that, - better listen to those wise Europeans, after all they are the more rational..

Same old story you know: WWIII - Let’s blame the Jews !

To make a long story short: The arrogance lies in demanding of Israel that they take OUR risk assesment as their own.

Apart from that, I agree with you in that “aggressive talks…replicate and diffuse like viruses into highly emotional minds”. However, you really think Israelis are that stupid ? - Their risk assesment is based on a whole lot more than “simple” rhetoric and / or unfounded paranoia, you can bet on that.

Joern, nobody (at leaat not André or I) is demanding that Israelis take our risk assessment as our own. What we are questioning is whether we, here, on this site, should be actively advocating preemptive action.

First of all, how much and what kind of influence do we really have here? Normally I don’t ask this kind of question because I just enjoy having fascinating discussions about fascinating topics, but it’s a good one to ask from time to time. As noted above I tend to take the view that the influence we can have is mainly long-term and indirect, but of course one can’t exclude that someone takes something one of us has said and does something with it. So some caution doesn’t hurt.

Secondly, I think it’s at least important to consider what we expect such preemptive action to achieve, if we want to advocate such action. (Once again, this is in any case not about making “demands” on Israel,, merely about expressing our own opinion.)

I want to stress that Scaruffi wasn’t actually saying that Israel shouldn’t strike, only that they were likely to. He didn’t think it would lead to WWIII either, and he didn’t think the Israelis we’re that stupid either. The fact that he didn’t think it would have very catastrophic results was one of the reasons he thought it was likely to happen.

My initial reaction, as noted above, was to find such a scenario scary. But on reflection, the world is quite a scary place already. And this will probably not make it significantly scarier for us here in Europe. But the ease with which some of us advocate such violent remedies IS something I find a bit worrying. It’s not that I think we should be sitting on our hands praying to the Buddha (as some others on this site seem to advocate), but it seems to me that we are more likely to do good by promoting more peaceful remedies.

Andre—you are making me work way too hard at this. The concept that anti—Semitism is largely about envy is a well-known meme. I have provided you with plenty of info already - naming Cornel West, Mark Twain, and about 4 others -  and here is some more -

On Yahoo Answers Envy was chosen as the #1 reason for Anti-Semitism -
link: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100715234852AATiiAl

here are some other links - Christopher Hitchen’s opinion is included:

http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/HistoryOther/CulturalHistory/?view=usa&ci=9780195158120

http://www.jewishjournal.com/thegodblog/item/anti_semitism_jealousy_born_of_envy/

http://quotes.lucywho.com/allan-schweyer-quotes-t348919.html

beyond that, I have my own anecdotal observations. Growing up in a Los Angeles business-oriented family, every anti-Semite I ever met had a background where he - or she - was out-played in business by a Jewish competitor.

——
but this is all rather off-topic

My essay was actually about what Joern and You and Peter Wicks and Josh Kyle are all discussing, and it seems to me Joern has either read what I wrote most carefully, and/or he agrees with what I conclude. 

Which is, Israel’s risk assessment of an Iranian nuclear threat is perhaps different than the rest of the world’s given their past of experiencing “worst case” scenarios.

There were undoubtedly numerous know-it-all nothing-at-risk Europeans who told Jews not to worry in the late 1930’s - that Hitler wasn’t really a threat to them.

And there are today certainly plenty of know-it-all nothing-at-risk Europeans (and Americans) who are eager to assure Israel not to worry about a nuclear Iran.

Listening to outsider’s advice is something I would not advise Israelis to do. Joern has also said this quite well, and Peter Wicks agrees.

First am going to be ontopic, and then go off.
The risk to Israel probably isn’t Iran, it is some as yet unknown enemy; which demonstrates the limits of futurism- who long ago predicted today’s situation in the Mideast? and no one knows what is going to happen, whether Iran will attack Israel or vice versa, or whether neither will attack each other, or whether or not someday there will be another war in the region (if anyone could actually substantially predict anything, we could play the stock market and make a killing).
Offtopic: envy is the #1 reason for antisemitism, however what in PC used to be called ‘lookism’ plays a role as well. Remember the late ‘50s film about Anne Frank? the actress performing Anne’s role was pretty, while, frankly, Anne in real life was rather plain. I have overheared many conversations concerning black and Jewish women being unattractive, and the realisation dawned that looks are indeed a large part of it and this ought to be mentioned, as what we don’t discuss is what we are hiding to a greater or lesser degree. You cannot write “looks are irrelevent” because that is not quite accurate—it merely means looks ought to be irrelevant, that’s all. The Nazis often went by “Aryan” appearances and were willing to cut some Jews and other ethnicities slack if the would-be victim in question looked “Aryan” enough. There’s a Wayans Brothers film where the black brothers change their appearances to white women’s (!) looks to go on an underground assignment.
This is a fruitless tangent, so will stop there; yet it does indicate how complicated these matters are and how you can’t just write “envy” and a few other rather obvious factors (Nietzsche said antisemitic jealousy derived from money as well as brains).
What we don’t say about something says something about us.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/06/dear-israel-this-is-why-i-left.html

by Emily L. Hauser

I lived in Tel Aviv for 14 years, and having been back in America for almost as long, still miss it every day. At Passover, that longing becomes an almost physical weight in my chest.

The smells of springtime Chicago aren’t right, and neither is the culture. I want to be surrounded by people who know why I’m frantic in the lead-up to the Seder, bus drivers wishing me a hag sameah, and neighbors asking “where are you for the holiday?” I want to be home.

But I’m not home. Instead I’m in the gentle exile of American suburbia—a self-imposed, political exile that I undertook for the sake of my children.

When the second intifada broke out, my Jerusalemite husband and I were temporarily in the US as I worked toward my Masters degree at the University of Chicago. We assured everyone (over and over) that we would be back in Israel by the time our just-born son went to kindergarten—it would be easier, we figured, if he started school in the country where he’d be growing up.

But then the intifada ground on. And Israel responded with increasing violence, and a steadfast refusal to admit any culpability, or need to make good on past promises, or understanding that the Palestinians were reacting as we would, had we been occupied for decades on end.

For a year my husband and I wrestled with our fears, not even sharing them with each other—then one day, when home for a visit with our son, we began to talk, and realized: We didn’t want to raise children in that place. The Jewish State was no longer a place in which we wanted to build a family—“for the time being.”

In the meantime, “the time being” has become our lives. The boy was joined by a girl, birthdays have come and gone, and nothing about Israel in the past decade has convinced us that our Israeli children should leave the galut.
On the contrary: As Israel has become more deeply entrenched in the settlement enterprise, more dedicated to an increasingly violent and dehumanizing occupation, and indeed, increasingly less democratic toward even those with the good fortune to be Jewish, we’ve come to realize that we’re not likely to ever move back.

I don’t know if our children are any physically safer here than there, but I do know this: They’re not being groomed for service in a military now devoted less to the defense of the state, than to the oppression of another people. They’re not caught in an educational system made small and narrow by lack of funds, even as the government pours funds into settlements built illegally on stolen land. They’re not being lied to daily by leaders who mouth platitudes about peace, even as their actions do nothing but undermine the possibility of peace.

They think of Israel as home, too. We speak Hebrew in our house, are active members of our Conservative shul, and visit about once a year.

And when we’re there, between laughter on the beach and overnights on their cousins’ kibbutz, we teach them things they don’t learn about in Hebrew school: We show them road blocks, strewn across the West Bank. We gaze at the Separation Barrier snaking through Palestinian land, and ask how they would feel if soldiers came and threw them out of their home. We march in East Jerusalem.

And if I ever doubted the wisdom of our decision, a video emerged from Israeli television this week to wipe any doubts away: Asked for reactions to the recent traffic accident deaths of a group of Palestinian children, teenager after teenager responded with nauseating levels of animosity: “They’re whores, not people, and they don’t deserve to live,” one young man said. “They can be the future of terrorist attacks.” When the reporter pointed out that the dead were but 4 or 5 years old, the boy responded: “Little kids, so what?”

Lest we be tempted to think that these kids are simply bad apples – in 2010, nearly half of Israeli teens surveyed said they didn’t support equal rights for Israel’s Arab citizens. More than half would deny them the right to be elected to the Knesset.

A society that has become centered on protecting, maintaining and furthering the oppression of another people produces and indeed rewards hate. This is not unique to Israel or Israelis—it’s human.

But I will not raise the two humans who matter most to me in such an atmosphere. I will protect them from what Israel has become, and I will raise them to know the Jewish values of human dignity and the sanctity of life.

And every year at this time, my heart will ache as I say “Next year in Jerusalem.” Because I know that next year, I’ll be right here.

I don’t think that the Ashkenazi have as much claim on the term “Semite” as most people, and especially Israel, gives them.

Whether they are “Jewish” or not, is another question, but it leads me to one of the biggest questions I’ve had:

What does “anti-Semitism” mean, if the Ashkenazi are not a Semitic people, and why does Israel promote this idea of anti-Semitism so much?

“why does Israel promote this idea of anti-Semitism so much?”


Paranoia stemming from the years 1938- ‘45?;
especially 1942- ‘44? it’s difficult to fault them on that one.

@Hank
Just as a point of clarification, I don’t recall saying that I would not advise Israelis to listen to the advice of outsiders. Apart from anything else, I believe that one of the main challenges for humanity today is to get ourselves to talk less, and listen more…to each other, and to what the universe is actually telling us.

No, my point was rather that nobody on this thread - and that includes André - has been “demanding” that Israel refrain taking the Iranian threat seriously. What we’ve been doing is to question how seriously it should be taken, and whether a preemptive strike would be a good way to deal with it. Expressing opinions is not the same thing as making demands; but not making demands is also not the same thing as advising Israelis not to listen.

So what IS my advice to any Israelis that might be reading this thread, or might be in communication with someone who does? Honestly, I’m not sure. I guess André would advise them caution, and to explore more peaceful ways (than a preemptive strike) to address the threat. Some other suggestions might be: think about the implications of the Arab spring; do listen to outside advice, but take it all with a pinch of salt; have the confidence of your convictions, whatever they are, but also be willing to question your assumptions from time to time. I know that’s all a bit generic, but indeed I think that’s better than giving definitive advice (in either direction) on the basis of poor information.

@IPan
Thanks for the link you posted. It has been very interesting to read about the personal, human struggle, the emotional tensions inside the conscience of a honest, compassionate woman. It is important to keep a complex perspective on these matters, and not just join the tribal faction we feel closer to our identity.

@hankpellissier
I really appreciate your efforts, sincerely, and your patience with my attitude. I will definitely look into Epstein’s work. However, I still cannot logically accept the causal link between envy and antisemitism. I agree that modern and contemporary antisemitism have much to do with envy - as I said, since the beginning. Probably it’s even the main factor after the Medieval era. There is an obvious, macroscopic connection between conspiratorial conservative thinking and envy for smart, successful Jews. But this came only few centuries ago, when the intellectual and economical talents of Jews became apparent. I remind you that antisemitism was already there, in ancient times, during the Roman Empire, and even before. At those times, Jews did not manage big hedge funds, or won a heap of Nobel prizes. They were one of the many peoples of the Mediterranean region, with their rituals, beliefs, and dressing codes. Yet, they were persecuted already. Remember the massacre of Alexandria, about 2000 years ago? It was not a matter of business competition, back then, I suppose. At least historians refer to other “justifications”.
However, let us say for a moment that you’re right. The conflict in Israel depends mainly on Arab envy for successful, smart Jews. What can be a concrete solution then? Medicate all Arabs, so that the emotional circuits triggering envy in their brains dissolve? And if that is not possible, should we send all Jews with IQ above 110 on an Island, and leave the rest with the Arabs - which won’t feel envious anymore? Or maybe we should just sterilize all Palestinian women, since they breed inferior, envious future terrorists? I mean, I really do not know how can we use this envy-theory to produce a realistic solution for the conflict in Palestine. If it’s about land, on the other hand, we can negotiate on areas of a Cartesian plan - it might be easier. Of course, easier only “on paper”. But it seems to me at least a more logical solution.

@Joern Pallensen
I just think your reasoning here, when you emotionally advocate a preemptive attack, is nothing more then tribalism. And I cannot really interact with that in a discussion. It is surprising, because the solution you outlined before was very wise, peaceful, and equilibrate. You keep on repeating about Israeli perspective, attributing all the possible mental deficiencies to the Iranian leadership. Your Arab alter-ego might just be writing the same concepts about the Iranian perspective, from the Iranian perspective. You should remember, no matter how idiotic is Ahmadinejad, an attack on Iran would mean death for the local population (and probably for a decent amount of Israeli soldiers). Does it sound like a bright scenario to you? Even if the conflict won’t escalate into WWIII (which I doubt).

“However, let us say for a moment that you’re right. The conflict in Israel depends mainly on Arab envy for successful, smart Jews. What can be a concrete solution then?”

Yes, this is a question I’ve been asking myself. Since I haven’t really received a reply, I’ll try to concoct a more constructive and less rhetorical response than André. And let’s see where it leads. One of my motivations is that, as I’ve noted above, and as André has also noted, we do agree that envy is PART of the problem.

I start by noting, at the risk of irritating people with my apparent pedantry, that the capacity for envy is pretty much inscribed in the human genome. I really don’t believe there is a significant difference between Arabs, Iranians, or anyone else in this regard, and if there is I don’t think it’s useful to focus on it. We all tend to get envious (some more than others of course) when we are outcompeted by others. We are even envious of people who are envious of us, since the grass is always greener on the other side.

So let’s indeed start by noting that this isn’t a uniquely Arab or Moslem trait. Then we can think about what might make them less envious, and in particular what WE - those of us who are commenting here, and those who are reading our comment - can do to make this happen. My first answer to this last question is “not a lot”, since as I’ve already noted our direct, short-term influence is somewhat “limited”, to say the least. And that’s important,, because I think some of our irritation (on both sides of this debate) stems from a certain sense of impotence.

In my previous comment I tried to think about what advice I might want to give to Israelis who are reading this thread or communicating with people who do. We could do the same thing with Arabs, Iranians and Moslems generally.

Let’s see. One of my best friends is a Moslem, but I don’t particularly want to drag her into this. Apart from anything else I don’t think she really has a dog in this fight. I certainly don’t believe she’s particularly envious of Jews. But what advice would I give to someone who IS envious of Jews?

Well, one thing I’ve noticed since becoming far more aware of my own emotional states is just how unaware most other people are of theirs, ,and that is especially the case when they have been brought up to believe it is wrong to feel a certain way. So maybe our advice to the envious should be: it’s OK to feel envious. It’s OK to feel humiliated. It’s OK to have wounded pride. It’s not pleasant, and you might not want to admit it, but it’s OK to feel it. And if you’re Moslem, then I don’t have a huge problem with your religion either (at least no more than I have a problem with religion generally). Whatever floats your boat. I do have a problem with rhetoric that involves wiping entire countries off the map.

Another piece of advice I would give to people who staunchly take the Arab / Palestinian / Moslem side in this conflict is that it is totally unreasonable to expect an entire people (that is to say the Israelis, whatever their religion and ethnicity) to up and leave, however resentful you might feel about the fact that they are there. On the other hand, I would also understand if you are disgusted with the hypocrisy of the West - of the “know-it-all Europeans (and Americans), as Hank puts it - on both sides of this debate. Maybe you wish we’d just stay out of it. And maybe we should. But we probably won’t, so you’d better get used to it.

Hi Andre - Jews have been successful for a very long time and envied for it. In graduate school, I wrote an essay on the founding of Islam (600 A.D.) I believe it was primarily created to give Arabians a stronger cultural identity and an improved moral code, so they could improve their condition and rival wealthy Jews in their communities.

Here’s a link on Jewish wealth of that era, from an Islamic site - with an excerpt -

http://www.al-islam.org/restatement/3.htm

“Economically, the Jews were the leaders of Arabia. They were the owners of the best arable lands in Hijaz, and they were the best farmers in the country. They were also the entrepreneurs of such industries as existed in Arabia in those days, and they enjoyed a monopoly of the armaments [metallurgy] industry.”

I also recommend this site:

http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/the_rise_of_islam/

Scholars have noted that whole tribes in Arabia were converting to Judaism, and one scholar posits that the entire peninsula could have become Jewish. If one examines religion’s use as a secular tool, the rise of Muhammed and Islam can be regarded as an Arab nationalist movement.  The success of Muhammed as a military leader wiped out the Jewish eminence in Arabia.

Peter, - you said:

“we are more likely to do good by promoting more peaceful remedies”.

You are British, and you know exactly why I am saying the following: What if I sign that statement with Chamberlain ? - It is not a kind thing for me to say - please forgive - but my point is of course, that whereas that is true in most cases, - sometimes it is not.., and it is my guess that you agree.

Believe me, it is not an easy thing for me to be actively advocating preemptive action, and believe me also: it is something I’ve given a lot of thought. To some extent emotions are involved, - and I don’t see anything wrong with that, as long as emotions don’t overrule your rational mind, and - André - I can assure you that this is not the case. And tribalism ? - come on !
André, - you are absolutely right in saying that I attribute all the possible mental deficiencies to the Iranian leadership, and in my opinion it is far out to say we might as well turn it all upside down, but I guess that is the essense of our disagreement.

Believe me: An attack on Iran does NOT sound like a bright scenario to me, - of course not, - it’s “just” that I fear far worse scenarios, and unlike you, - I totally understand if Israel chooses the first scenaro ! - By the way, I think the Israelis are divided about 50/50 on the question..

@Joern
Yes I certainly agree that it is not ALWAYS best to advocate peaceful remedies. Remember, I’m a utilitarian, and this means that I believe that, yes, the means does justify the ends. Some people on this site find this view repugnant, but ruling out violence in all circumstances is a counsel of perfection. It is often repeated that utilitarianism is just an excuse for people to do evil in the name of good, and yes, that can also happen, but we live in a violent world, and if the only ones prepared to use violence are those who don’t care about making a better world then we are truly doomed.

I also agree it’s not bad for emotions to be involved. This another area where I disagree with one or two regular commenters here, who seem to “negative” emotions (such as fear and anger) as something to be avoided at all costs. Once again, this is a counsel of perfection. On fact, I think such emotions are most dangerous when we try to deny that they exist (as so many people do, especially when they’ve been brought up to believe it is wrong to feel, or to express in any way, such emotions).

Indeed, you yourself have used the word “fear”: while an attack on Iran is indeed not “a bright scenario”, you “fear far worse scenarios”...and I understand you believe such scenarios to be more likely in the absence of such an attack (or at least the credible threat that one will happen) than if it happens. You might be right; I certainly don’t feel sufficiently informed to judge.

What I will say, though, is that it is VERY VERY easy for negative emotions such as fear and anger to get out of hand, so even if we do believe there is a need to promote violent action, we should at least bear this in mind.

I also want to insist on my earlier point that for many Iranians/Arabs/Palestinians/Moslems (sorry for lumping these altogether, but it’s important to remind ourselves that we’re not actually dealing with a monolithic entity here, yet there are memes that are very pervasive within those overlapping groups) the problem here is not JUST one of envy but also a sense that this is not a fair fight. I’ve read your earlier article about Palestinian refugees, and I very much applaud it (missed it the first time round), but they can be forgiven for not taking it too seriously, because what, seriously, are the chances of such a proposal being carried out?

By the way, if we’re going to talk about envy, we might as well talk about envy directed at the West, and not only at Israel/Jews. For many Moslems, Israel is just a satellite of a hostile and overbearing (U.S.-led) Western civilisation, which they associated with brash consumerism, decadence and atheism (which, for many of them, is still a dirty word). We don’t need to agree with them, but we do need to understand that they think this way, without IMMEDIATELY jumping up and condemning them.

One thing is clear: there will be further violence in the Middle East before this is resolved.

{i}Pan~
[b“why does Israel promote this idea of anti-Semitism so much?”

Intomorrow
Paranoia stemming from the years 1938- ‘45?;
especially 1942- ‘44? it’s difficult to fault them on that one.

Most people continue to overlook the point I try to bring up. It’s a strange one, and required me to look more extensively at the history of the Jews, and particularly the Ashkenazi, to figure it out.

Here are the relevant excerpts from Wikipedia (I quote Wiki to show I’m not making this up):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashkenazi
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim (Hebrew: אַשְׁכֲּנָזִים, pronounced [ˌaʃkəˈnazim], singular: [ˌaʃkəˈnazi]; also יְהוּדֵי אַשְׁכֲּנָז, Y’hudey Ashkenaz, “the Jews of Ashkenaz”), are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north.[citation needed]
The name Ashkenazi derives from the bibilical figure of Ashkenaz, the first son of Gomer, and a Japhetic patriarch in the Table of Nations (Genesis 10).

____

I insert a break in my Wiki quotes here, to point out this:

The Ashkenazi lived along the Rhine in GERMANY.
They are descended from Gomer, a JAPHETIC patriarch.

Continuing along, this is what Wiki has to say about Japhetic:

______

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japhetic
Japhetic is a term that refers to the supposed descendants of Japheth, one of the three sons of Noah in the Bible. It corresponds to Semitic (descendants of Shem) and Hamitic (descendants of Ham). Variations of the term include Japhetite and Japhethitic.

______

And now Semitic:

_______

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semite
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic (from the Biblical “Shem”, Hebrew: שם, translated as “name”, Arabic: ساميّ) was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages. This family includes the ancient and modern forms of; Akkadian, Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic, Ge’ez, Maltese, Canaanite/Phoenician, Amorite, Eblaite, Ugaritic, Sutean, Chaldean, Mandaic, Ahlamu, Amharic, Tigre and Tigrinya among others.

______

The Ashkenazi are NOT a semitic people (descended from Shem), they are a Japhetic people (descended from Japheth) - at least according to a cursory examination of what these terms mean in Wiki.

SO

People keep using this term, “anti-Semitic” (and so does Israel - they push this anti-Semetism thing as a witchhunt against anyone that disagrees with Israel’s policies) and yet, the Ashkenazi, the most populous kind of Jew, and the majority of Jews in Israel, aren’t even a Semitic people.

The Israelites MUST know this, and yet they do not correct this distinction.

If I were biased or bigoted towards Ashkenazi, it would make more sense to call me anti-Japhite, NOT anti-Semite.

The fact that Israel perpetuates this confusion is indicative of intentional manipulation and propaganda.

The question is WHY? And WHAT does this have to do with the animosity between Arabs and Israelites.

Hank wants to insist that it’s some kind of cock waving contest.

I find this explanation infantile and shallow in the extreme.

It continues the idea that the conflict in Israel is about Muslims and Jews, which couldn’t be further from the truth, in my opinion.

It’s really about race.

The Ashkenazi are a bunch of white dudes from EUROPE. From GERMANY.

The Arabs see Israel as a WHITE incursion from the WEST, from EUROPE.

Or in other words, another Crusade, another invasion from the West/Europe/Whites.

This is the real source of the conflict, and why it is so hard to resolve.

The Arabs want white people out of their countries and they want Europe out of their countries and they want the West out of their countries.

As far as I can tell, the only historical claim the Ashkenazi have to any land is along the Rhine, not Palestine.

Maybe if Israel admitted that they were invaders from the beginning, then the Palestinian people might allow them in their country as refugees and attempt to integrate them into their country.

Until then, nothing will change, and Israel will continue to attempt to eradicate the Canaanites….ahem…cough…cough…the Palestinians…coughcough….brown people.

@iPan
I’m not sure how seriously you want us to take the suggestion that Israel’s admit they were invaders from the beginningso that Palestinians “allow them in their country as refugees and attempt to integrate them into their country. At any rate I don’t find it particularly helpful and given that it is obviously not going to happen, the alternative “nothing will change” is defeatist.

That being said, the point you make about Arabs seeing Israel as a white incursion from e West is basically the same as one of the points I made in my previous comment, and I agree: I think a lot of Arabs do see it in this way. And as I said then, we should at least understand this without immediately rushing to condemn or contradict them.

Well, Peter, part of the problem here is that Israel lies to the entire world.

They lie about who they are (using terms like anti-Semetism when they don’t make sense and don’t apply).

I don’t think that the Israelites are going anywhere either.

I also don’t particularly like the Arabs government structure.

Feudalism is so dead, it’s ridiculous that the Arab world clings to it.

However, I don’t think that Israeli manipulation of the truth is going to help things.

I think they ought to come clean and tell the truth, stop spreading lies and propaganda.

And then perhaps make reparations, just like we have done here in the US with Native Amerinds.

That would be a start, and I don’t know if it would be enough.

But I do know that no progress will be made until Israel expresses remorse towards the indigenous people they have displaced, and attempt some kind of apology and integration with them.

So, part of this issue is the original claim made by the occupiers of Israel, that their people historically owned this land.

But as far as I can tell, the Ashkenazi people specifically may be descended more closely from the Scythians - if you go back far enough.

This invalidates the very reason they created Israel to begin with - it highlights the fact that modern Israel is a lie to the whole world.

The Ashkenazi probably aren’t descended from middle eastern people that lived in Palestine for thousands of years.

Thus invalidating the claim they used for this land from the very beginning.

Let’s face it.

A bunch of Jews dies in WWII.

The UN decided to give them Palestine, a land that didn’t actually belong to them historically, at least not from a racial/ethnic standpoint.

It was merely expedient.

It’s like someone said, hey there’s just a bunch of savages living there now, why not pack all these German Jews off to that desolate land.

And so they did.

And the Palestinians got pissed off. And all the other Arab countries got paranoid that white people were (once again) invading the middle east.

And so it goes.

But through it all, Israel has twisted and warped the truth over what happened.

I don’t really like Muslim culture myself, and had I to make a hard choice between the two (I don’t - I’m an American) I’d choose Israel.

However, I also think it’s important for Israel to fess up. To lay it all bare and tell the truth.

Admit that they are in fact colonizers from Europe, who displaced and invaded an indigenous population, and then begin to make amends with that population.

Go back far enough, and this whole story gets stranger and murkier.

The point I’m trying to make, is that the usual reason given for the Ashkenazi/Israeli occupation of the holy land is that the Ashkenazis ancestors had the first pink slip there.

Well, it’s possible that some of them did. After all, many people’s have lived there at one time or another.

But it’s a terrible reason for one people to move in and kick out a bunch of other people.

Did the palestinians (current) have any more right, based upon historical precedence, to own that land? Probably not. As far as I know, they were just the dregs of the Ottoman Empire at the time.

What gets me every time though, is that the Israeli ancestral claim is just as much bullshit as any other claim.

Which brings us back to the old excuse they give every time for even being there in the first place: that their ancestors owned it.

The Ashkenazi ancestry in particular is very strange, and you can find odd connections to Scythians, Cimmerians, and possibly even Aryans. It’s a twisted history.

But all the official positions about it are total crap.

I just want Israel to admit they colonized the place.

Yeah, it’s too late to send everyone home, just like it’s too late to send every North American back to Europe.

Colonization happens. Seems to be part of evolution. Every human, every animal, every plant, at some point in history is an “invasive species”.

Just don’t expect me to buy this lie about how the Ashkenazi have some God-given right to that land.

They’re there now, and they are not leaving. That much is apparent.

Maybe they could grow up and learn to share.

“The Ashkenazi lived along the Rhine in GERMANY.”

Then Germany ought to provide a homeland for Israelis along the Rhine; however preposterous this sounds, it is more valid than to think Israel can make peace with its enemies anytime soon. Reading about the Russian arms merchant who was arrested—the ‘Merchant of Death’—was a reminder of how arms merchants contribute to the situation in the Mideast.

@ iPan - we have policy at IEET that stipulates that all comments are to be polite, civil, not aggressively personal, etc.

My opinion, and I am the moderator, is that when you say:
“Hank wants to insist that it’s some kind of cock waving contest. I find this explanation infantile and shallow in the extreme.”

you have crossed the line of acceptability.

I am not going to delete your post this time, because it is long and you put a lot of work into it, but consider this a warning. Your future posts need to be more polite, or I will delete them.

@iPan
On the issue of Israel “lying to the whole world”......iPan, do you know of a single country or ethnic grouping that doesn’t?

I didn’t respond previously to your point about the word “anti-Semitic” because, while fascinating from a historical perspective, it seemed to me to be of only marginal relevance to the discussion at hand. I just don’t think it’s a very serious point. Let the Ashkenazis consider themselves as Semites if they want, why shouldn’t they? To even talk about the historical origins is giving undue importance to elements of history that really don’t matter very much. It’s like Greeks and Slavs arguing over whether the ancient Macedonians were Greek. Why should anyone care, except for reasons of curiosity? History can be a source of learning and inspiration, but it can also be a trap.

Admittedly, I made a somewhat similar point about the ease with which we throw around the word “anti-Semitic” earlier in this thread, but it was to emphasise that what we call “anti-Semitism” was only an example of the wider problem of out-of-control in-group loyalty. I don’t really care to what extent people who regard themselves as Jews are actually Semitic in a historical sense or not. This is IMO an issue of cultural identity, not of genes or historical truth.

@ Peter

You now have me wondering: Am I also a utilitarian myself ? - I am going to take a closer look at the concept..

I also intend to - if possible - make up my mind about why people hate Jews. So far, allow me to quote myself, from an article I wrote a couple of years ago:

“The mother-of-all-conspiracy theories is perhaps the myth of a shadowy Jewish elite, manipulating the masses from behind the scenes , seeking world dominion, as suggested in “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, a notorious fraud, exposed by The London Times already in 1921, – but none-the-less still widespread, and endorsed as authentic throughout the Arab world.
Anti-Semitism, – or, more to the point: Jew-hatred, is deep-rooted and multi-faceted, but this idea of a Jewish elite conspiring for world dominion plays a major role”.

@Joern

Looks like I’m winning converts 😊

I guess I agree that the Jewish elite conspiracy theory plays,well some kind of role. Major? Not sure. I prefer the “deep-rooted and multi-faceted”: boring and cautious, but has the tremendous benefit of being accurate.

I also think it’s important to bear in mind, as I keep repeating, that lots of people hate lots of other people. Of course anti-Semitism has a long history: Jews have a long history.

In any case it’s a remarkable culture. It never had an empire, was never anything like a world power. Yet it has been remarkably resilient and also itinerant. I suppose form the destruction of the Temple until the establishment of the Jewish state they never really had a place they could call their own. Yet they’ve done remarkably well as an ethnic minority. I guess that does make people envious, but they’ve also, through most of their history, been a terribly easy target.

I wonder, though, what all these historical cultures really mean now that we move headlong either towards an apocalypse or towards a bright post-human future (or something in between).

[blockquoteI also intend to - if possible - make up my mind about why people hate Jews. So far, allow me to quote myself, from an article I wrote a couple of years ago:

“The mother-of-all-conspiracy theories is perhaps the myth of a shadowy Jewish elite, manipulating the masses from behind the scenes , seeking world dominion, as suggested in “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, a notorious fraud, exposed by The London Times already in 1921, – but none-the-less still widespread, and endorsed as authentic throughout the Arab world.
Anti-Semitism, – or, more to the point: Jew-hatred, is deep-rooted and multi-faceted, but this idea of a Jewish elite conspiring for world dominion plays a major role”.

It seems as if these kinds of comments always come from Israel Firsters.

Personally, I don’t have much thought or concern at all for Jews. That is, from a metaphysics perspective, I find Judaism more or less on par with other religions: equally non-sensical.

It seems that every time someone disagrees with Israel’s policies, they instantly become an “anti-Semite”.

It’s this unusual knee jerk reaction to label every dissenter to Israel’s draconian, racist, apartheid regime as an anti-Semite that led me to investigate this issue in the first place.

I have no problem with Jews, or Judaism (at least no more of a problem than I have with religion in general, in that I find all religions to be equally non-sensical).

But I find Israel, and their US supporters, to be a particular kind of ugly hypocrisy.

What I think is really going on here is an East vs. West clash of civilizations.

Israel is a wedge driven into the middle east, to spread Western civilization.

It’s not really about Jews vs. Muslims, and it has nothing to with envy.

It’s imperialism and colonization.

There’s nothing more to it. The West is belligerent.

To be fair, I have indicated that I don’t particularly like the feudal system that most of the middle east uses either. Seriously, to me it’s not a matter of preferring the Arabs system of governance.

If there were only two choices, Israel or Arab government, I’d be forced to choose Israel, as I think living under an Arab government would be even worse.

However, that doesn’t mean I condone what Israel does either. Israel is run by white supremacists. It’s not about the Jews, but about the white europeans invading the countries of brown skinned people.

@iPan
Judaism is not just a religion: it is also a culture and an ethnicity, far more so than the other religions. Christianity, for example, is unmistakably a religion. It has links to culture and ethnicity, obviously, but by now it has become largely decoupled from them. I may consider myself Western, European, British, or English, but I don’t consider myself “Christian” just because I was brought up as one. Whereas a Jewish atheist still tends to see him or herself (and be seen by others) as a Jew. This is an important point of you are going to dismiss Judaism as “nonsensical” on the grounds that it is a religion.

I’m not sure why you insist so strongly on emphasing the hypocrisy of “Israel, and their US supporters”. I find it interesting. Nor do I fully understand why you insist that this has “nothing to do with envy”. Do you really believe this, or are you just being polemic?

Curious.

[quoteJudaism is not just a religion: it is also a culture and an ethnicity, far more so than the other religions.

And which ethnicity might that be?

Your use of “an”, in the statement “it is also a culture and an ethnicity” implies the singular. As in, their is a singular Jewish ethnicity.

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

Mizrahi Jews or Mizrahiyim, (Hebrew: מזרחיים, Modern Mizraẖiyyim Tiberian Mizrāḥiyyîm ; “Easterners”), also referred to as Adot HaMizrach (עֲדוֹת-הַמִּזְרָח) (Communities of the East; Mizrahi Hebrew: ʿAdot(h) Ha(m)Mizraḥ) are Jews descended from the Jewish communities of the Middle East, North Africa and the Caucasus. The term Mizrahi is used in Israel in the language of politics, media and some social scientists for Jews from mostly Arab-ruled geographies and adjacent, primarily Muslim-majority countries. This includes Jews from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Iran/Persia, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kurdish areas, , India, Northern and Eastern Sudan, as well as Ethiopia, and within and nearby Israel. Sometimes, Sephardi Jews such as Jews from Morocco, Algeria, or Turkey are erroneously grouped into the Mizrahi category for some historical reasons.
Despite their heterogeneous origins, Mizrahi Jews generally practice rites identical or similar to traditional Sephardic Judaism, although with some differences among the minhagim of the particular communities. This has resulted in a conflation of terms, particularly in Israel, and in religious usage, where “Sephardi” is used in a broad sense to include Mizrahi Jews as well as Sephardim proper. Indeed, from the point of view of the official Israeli rabbinate, the Mizrahi rabbis in Israel are under the jurisdiction of the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel who, in most cases, is a Mizrahi Jew. Today they make up more than half of Israel’s Jewish population, but before the mass immigration of 1,000,000 mostly Ashkenazi immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s they made up over 70% of Israel’s Jewish population.

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

Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim (Hebrew: אַשְׁכֲּנָזִים, pronounced [ˌaʃkəˈnazim], singular: [ˌaʃkəˈnazi]; also יְהוּדֵי אַשְׁכֲּנָז, Y’hudey Ashkenaz, “the Jews of Ashkenaz”), are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north.

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

Sephardi Jews (Hebrew: סְפָרַדִּי, Modern Sfaraddi Tiberian Səp̄āraddî) is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and traditions which originated in the Iberian Peninsula.

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

Indian Jews are a religious minority of India. Judaism was one of the first foreign religions to arrive in India in recorded history. The better-established ancient communities have assimilated a large number of local traditions through cultural diffusion. The Jewish population in India is hard to estimate since each Jewish community is distinct with different origins; some arrived during the time of the Kingdom of Judah, others are seen by some as descendants of Israel’s mythical Ten Lost Tribes. Of the total Jewish population in India, about half live in Manipur and Mizoram and a quarter live in the city of Mumbai.
Unlike many parts of the world, Jews have historically lived in India without any instances of antisemitism from the local majority populace, the Hindus. However, Jews were persecuted by the Portuguese during their control of Goa.[1]
The Jews settled in Kodungallur (Cranganore) on the Malabar Coast, where they traded peacefully, until 1524. Jews have held important positions under Indian (Hindu) princes in the past and even after independence from British Rule, have risen to very high positions in government, military and industry.
In addition to Jewish expatriates and recent immigrants, there are five native Jewish communities in India:
The Cochin Jews arrived in India 2,500 years ago and settled down in Kerala as traders.
The Bene Israel arrived in the state of Maharashtra 2,100 years ago.
The Baghdadi Jews arrived in the city Mumbai from Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, and Arab countries about 250 years ago.
The Bnei Menashe are Mizo and Kuki tribesmen in Manipur and Mizoram who claim descent from the tribe of Manasseh.
The Bene Ephraim (also called “Telugu Jews”) are a small group who speak Telugu; their observance of Judaism dates to 1981.

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

The Romaniotes or Romaniots (Greek: Ρωμανιῶτες, Rōmaniōtes) are a Jewish population who have lived in the territory of today’s Greece and neighboring areas with large Greek populations for more than 2,000 years. Their languages were Yevanic, a Greek dialect, and Greek. They derived their name from the old name for the people of the Byzantine Empire, Romaioi. Large communities were located in Thebes, Ioannina, Chalcis, Corfu, Arta, Corinth and on the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Rhodes and Cyprus, among others. The Romaniotes are historically distinct from the Sephardim, who settled in Greece after the 1492 expulsion of the Jews from Spain.
A majority of the Jewish population was killed in the Holocaust after Axis powers occupied Greece during World War II. They deported most of the Jews to concentration camps, where they were killed. After the war, a majority of the few surviving Jews emigrated to Israel, the United States and western Europe. Today a total of only 4,500 to 6,000 Jews, of both Romaniotes and Sephardic descent, remain in Greece.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Jews#Italian_rite_Jews

Italian Jews can be used in a broad sense to mean all Jews living or with roots in Italy or in a narrower sense to mean the ancient community who use the Italian rite, as distinct from the communities dating from medieval or modern times who use the Sephardi or Ashkenazi rite.

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

Yemenite Jews (Hebrew: תֵּימָנִים, Standard Temanim Tiberian Têmānîm; singular תֵּימָנִי, Standard Temani Tiberian Têmānî) are those Jews who live, or whose recent ancestors lived, in Yemen (תֵּימָן, Standard Teman Tiberian Têmān; “far south”). Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen’s Jewish population was transported to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet. Most Yemenite Jews now live in Israel, with some others in the United States, and fewer elsewhere. Only a handful remain in Yemen, mostly elderly.
Yemenite Jews have a unique religious tradition that marks them out as separate from Ashkenazi, Sephardi and other Jewish groups. It is debatable whether they should be described as “Mizrahi Jews”, as most other Mizrahi groups have over the last few centuries undergone a process of total or partial assimilation to Sephardic culture and liturgy. (While the Shami sub-group of Yemenite Jews did adopt a Sephardic-influenced rite, this was for theological reasons and did not reflect a demographic or cultural shift.)

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

Ancient communities

The most ancient communities of African Jews known to the Western world are the Ethiopian Jews, Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews of North and Middle Africa.
Largely unknown in the West until quite recently are communities of the African Jews such as the Lemba (Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Northern South Africa). Some among the Igbo of Nigeria, the Annang/Efik/Ibibio of Akwa Ibom State and Cross River State of Nigeria, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea) claim descent from East Africa and Jews in Algeria and Jews in Tunisia and Jews in Morocco,Jews in Libya and Jews in Egypt Jewish communities.
In the seventh century, many Spanish Jews fled persecution under the Visigoths to North Africa, where they made their homes in the Byzantine-dominated cities along the Mediterranean coast. Some, however, moved further inland and actively proselytized among the Berber tribes. A number of tribes, including the Jarawa, Uled Jari, and some tribes of the Daggatun people, converted to Judaism.[1] Ibn Khaldun reported that Kahina, a female Berber warlord who led the resistance against the Arab invaders of North Africa in the 680’s and 690’s, was a Jew of the Jarawa tribe. With the defeat of the Berber resistance, none of the Jewish tribes were initially forced to convert to Islam.[2] Remnants of longstanding Jewish communities remain in Morocco, Tunisia and the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla. There is a much-diminished but still vibrant community on the island of Djerba in Tunisia. Many Jews emigrated to North America in the early 20th century. Most other Jews emigrated to Israel, France and Spain, since 1948.

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

Kaifeng Jews today

 

Earth Market Street, Kaifeng, 1910. The synagogue lay beyond the row of stores on the right


Kaifeng city map, 1910. It shows the exact placement of the Kaifeng synagogue on the site now occupied by Number 4 People’s Hospital
Since their “rediscovery” in the 19th century, overseas Jewish communities generally have been indifferent toward the descendants of the Kaifeng Jews. In China, due to the political situation, research on the Kaifeng Jews and Judaism in China came to a standstill until the beginning of the 1980s, when political and economic reforms were implemented. In the 1980s, the Sino-Judaic Institute was founded by an international group of scholars to further research the history of the Jewish communities in China, promote educational projects related to the history of the Jews in China and assist the extant Jews of Kaifeng.[16] The establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Israel in 1992 rekindled interest in Judaism and the Jewish experience, especially in light of the fact that 25,000 Jewish refugees fled to Shanghai during the Nazi period.[17]
It is difficult to estimate the number of Jews in China. Numbers may change simply because of a change in official attitudes. The last census revealed about 400 official Jews in Kaifeng, now estimated at some 100 families totalling approximately 500 people.[18] Up to 1,000 residents have ties to Jewish ancestry,[13] though only 40 to 50 individuals partake in Jewish activities.[19]
Some descendants of Kaifeng’s Jewish community say their parents and grandparents told them that they were Jewish and would one day “return to their land”[13], others are only vaguely aware of their ancestry.[20]
The Kaifeng Jews intermarried with local Chinese, and are thus indistinguishable in appearance from their non-Jewish neighbors.[21] The one trait that differentiated them from their neighbors was not eating pork.[13] Within the framework of contemporary rabbinical Judaism, matrilineal transmission of Jewishness is predominant, while Chinese Jews based their Jewishness on patrilineal descent. As a result, in Israel they are required to undergo conversion in order to receive Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return.
After contact with Jewish tourists, the Jews of Kaifeng have reconnected to mainstream Jewry.[22] Recently a family of Kaifeng Jewish descendants formally converted to Judaism and accepted Israeli citizenship.[23] Their experiences are described in the documentary film, Kaifeng, Jerusalem.[24] On October 20, 2009, the first group of Kaifeng Jews arrived in Israel, in an aliyah operation coordinated by Shavei Israel.[25][26][27]

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

Modern divisions

Smaller Jewish groups include the Georgian Jews and Mountain Jews from the Caucasus; Indian Jews including the Bene Israel, Bnei Menashe, Cochin Jews and Bene Ephraim; the Romaniotes of Greece; the ancient Italian Jewish community; the Teimanim from the Yemen and Oman; various African Jews, including most numerously the Beta Israel of Ethiopia; the Bukharan Jews of Central Asia; and Chinese Jews, most notably the Kaifeng Jews, as well as various other distinct but now extinct communities.
The divisions between all these groups are rough and their boundaries aren’t solid. The Mizrahim for example, are a heterogeneous collection of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish communities which are often as unrelated to each other as they are to any of the earlier mentioned Jewish groups. In modern usage, however, the Mizrahim are also termed Sephardi due to similar styles of liturgy, despite independent evolutions from Sephardim proper. Thus, among Mizrahim there are Iranian Jews, Iraqi Jews, Egyptian Jews, Tunisian Jews, Algerian Jews, Moroccan Jews, Lebanese Jews, Kurdish Jews, Libyan Jews, Syrian Jews, and various others. The Yemenite Jews (“Teimanim”) from Yemen and Oman are sometimes included, although their style of liturgy is unique and they differ in respect to the admixture found among them to that found in Mizrahim. Additionally, there is a difference between the pre-existing Middle Eastern and North African Jewish communities as distinct from the descendants of those Sephardi migrants who established themselves in the Middle East and North Africa after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain by the Catholic Monarchs in 1492, and a few years later from the expulsion decreed in Portugal.

______________________________

Israel doesn’t own Judaism.

This territorialization of “Jewishness” that Israel attempts is part of the problem.

Most of the western world simply accepts that what Israel wants, Jews wants.

I’m trying to point out that Israel is far from representing Judaism in it’s entirety.

Because Israel != Jew.

Because Ashkenazi != Jew.

And, because when I say I have problems with Israel’s policies, that does not mean that I hate, or envy Jews.

When I said I have no more problem with Judaism then any other religion, I merely meant, in the spirit of being thorough, that I find no particular exception for Judaism from any other religion that I find non-sensical - that I do not target Judaism for any special reason, any more so than I would any other religion.

When you say stuff like “it is also a culture and an ethnicity”, WHICH culture and ethnicity exactly are you talking about?

The reason I emphasize the hypocrisy of Israel and the US is because I find it so strange.

Maybe it’s just because I am an American, and all our politicians are pro-Israel (at least publicly - disagreeing with anything Israel says is political suicide).

Maybe because I find it strange that another country exerts such undue influence over my countries politics.

I am not an Israelite. And yet they dictate our foreign policy.

What AIPAC wants, AIPAC gets.

Maybe it’s just because I find the entire thing so strange, and mysterious, and convoluted.

But I want to make one thing clear: my issue isn’t with Jews, or Judaism.

It’s with the State of Israel, and their apartheid. Their violence. And their manipulation of American politics and media. Whether they are “Jewish” or not is irrelevant to me.

@Hank
I wanted to thank you one more time. You made me keep my big nose between books (Talmud included) and historic sources for quite a decent amount of time in the last weekend. I tried to make a small research on the topic we discussed. And - contrarily from what my wife remarked - it was a good thing to do. I still cannot agree with you, and I have many questions buzzing in my head - especially considering the motivations of the earliest antisemitic authors, which were all talking about the typical “unsociability” and “misanthropy” of Jews. I admit that it might just be a rhetorical camouflage of real motives (since, apparently the “invidia auri Judaici” was already there, during the Roman Empire - I did not know that before last Saturday evening), but it is anyway impossible to establish what was on the mind of those ancient antisemites, so we must try to make sense also of their explanations. I also cannot really make sense of the special privileges (in particular, the tax exemptions) granted by Roman and Hellenistic authorities to local Jewish communities. Why would they do that, no matter how functional to their power structures were certain members of those bizarre congregations of circumcised men? Many pieces of the puzzle do not fit - but, I do believe it is important to understand and elaborate more in depth these matters, to allow us today to spot real, dangerous threats over the constant, usual antisemitic background noise.

Back on more urgent matters, I still think spineless, armchair-philosophers far from Jerusalem have all the right to advocate peaceful solutions of the Iranian crisis. It might be, apparently, only Israeli’s business. But, when Iran will retaliate, are we supposed only to stay here and watch? All the world would suffer severe consequences because of a conflict involving Iran. More terrorism around the globe, retaliations, higher gasoline prices - just to say a few. So, yes, this is none of our business - but only as long as Israel bears all the possible costs of its military aggressiveness. Of course that is impossible. So, in the end, it is our business indeed. And it is also a duty for every compassionate third-party speaker (someone who wants to avoid the loss of Israeli and Iranian lives) to relentlessly defend peaceful options.

@ Andre - congratulations on all your research and apologize to your wife for me. I am happy to report that your historical knowledge on the topic now far exceeds mine, I am way behind you, I don’t know enough to comment on your history points, well done.

Regarding the present, of course you are right, we are all involved in Israel’s decision.

Thanks again for engaging in the discussion, by the way, I recommend the movie “Agora” - it is about the riots between various religions in Alexandria, through the eyes of the atheist Hypatia. It is one of my favorite films.

@iPan I don’t think anyone on this thread has said that anyone who criticises Israel’s policy does so out of envy. Hank posited envy as a reason for anti-Semitism (which in practice means hatred of the Jewish state i.e. Israel) in the Middle East.

I take your point about multiple Jewish ethnicities, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t, to some extent at least, a single Jewish consciousness, which is only partially religious in nature. That this single consciousness has multiple (genetic, cultural, historical) origins doesn’t really change this. I also take your point about opposition to Israel being political taboo in the US, which is jarring also from a European, and not only your “dissident American” (as one might call it)l perspective. But I think it’s important also to recognise that there is hypocrisy on both sides of this debate. And also that envy does play a role (can you seriously believe it doesn’t?), and that calls to “wipe Israel off the map” are deplorable and deserve to be taken seriously, even if some of us doubt that they are much more than empty rhetoric. And that a nuclear Iran is something of a nightmare scenario, even if one can understand why they would want one.

to some extent at least, a single Jewish consciousness”

But Peter, it is precisely this sentiment that I think is dangerous - for any culture.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/us/politics/mitt-romney-and-benjamin-netanyahu-are-old-friends.html?_r=1

The two young men had woefully little in common: one was a wealthy Mormon from Michigan, the other a middle-class Jew from Israel.

But in 1976, the lives of Mitt Romney and Benjamin Netanyahu intersected, briefly but indelibly, in the 16th-floor offices of the Boston Consulting Group, where both had been recruited as corporate advisers. At the most formative time of their careers, they sized each other up during the firm’s weekly brainstorming sessions, absorbing the same profoundly analytical view of the world.

That shared experience decades ago led to a warm friendship, little known to outsiders, that is now rich with political intrigue. Mr. Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, is making the case for military action against Iran as Mr. Romney, the likely Republican presidential nominee, is attacking the Obama administration for not supporting Mr. Netanyahu more robustly.

The relationship between Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Romney — nurtured over meals in Boston, New York and Jerusalem, strengthened by a network of mutual friends and heightened by their conservative ideologies — has resulted in an unusually frank exchange of advice and insights on topics like politics, economics and the Middle East.

When Mr. Romney was the governor of Massachusetts, Mr. Netanyahu offered him firsthand pointers on how to shrink the size of government. When Mr. Netanyahu wanted to encourage pension funds to divest from businesses tied to Iran, Mr. Romney counseled him on which American officials to meet with. And when Mr. Romney first ran for president, Mr. Netanyahu presciently asked him whether he thought Newt Gingrich would ever jump into the race.

Only a few weeks ago, on Super Tuesday, Mr. Netanyahu delivered a personal briefing by telephone to Mr. Romney about the situation in Iran.

“We can almost speak in shorthand,” Mr. Romney said in an interview. “We share common experiences and have a perspective and underpinning which is similar.”

Mr. Netanyahu attributed their “easy communication” to what he called “B.C.G.’s intellectually rigorous boot camp.”

“So despite our very different backgrounds,” he said through an aide, “my sense is that we employ similar methods in analyzing problems and coming up with solutions for them.”

The ties between Mr. Romney and Mr. Netanyahu stand out because there is little precedent for two politicians of their stature to have such a history together that predates their entry into government. And that history could well influence decision-making at a time when the United States may face crucial questions about whether to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities or support Israel in such an action.

Mr. Romney has suggested that he would not make any significant policy decisions about Israel without consulting Mr. Netanyahu — a level of deference that could raise eyebrows given Mr. Netanyahu’s polarizing reputation, even as it appeals to the neoconservatives and evangelical Christians who are fiercely protective of Israel.

In a telling exchange during a debate in December, Mr. Romney criticized Mr. Gingrich for making a disparaging remark about Palestinians, declaring: “Before I made a statement of that nature, I’d get on the phone to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and say: ‘Would it help if I say this? What would you like me to do?’ “

Martin S. Indyk, a United States ambassador to Israel in the Clinton administration, said that whether intentional or not, Mr. Romney’s statement implied that he would “subcontract Middle East policy to Israel.”

“That, of course, would be inappropriate,” he added.

Mr. Netanyahu insists that he is neutral in the presidential election, but he has at best a fraught relationship with President Obama. For years, the prime minister has skillfully mobilized many Jewish groups and Congressional Republicans to pressure the Obama administration into taking a more confrontational approach against Iran.

“To the extent that their personal relationship would give Netanyahu entree to the Romney White House in a way that he doesn’t now have to the Obama White House,” Mr. Indyk said, “the prime minister would certainly consider that to be a significant advantage.”

It’s also my feeling that these right wing warhawks are INCREASING feelings of anti-Semetism around the world.

Israel’s problem is Netanyahu and it’s ultra right wing, hard line government.

Get some moderates in there.

This is what Gunter Grass has to say:

“…weil ich der Heuchelei des Westens
Uberdrussig bin; zuden ist zu hoffen,
Es mogen sich viele vom Schweigen befreien …
dass eine unbehinderte und permanente Kontrolle
des israelischen atomaren Potentials
und der iranischen Atomanlagen
durch eine internationale Instanz
von den Regiereungen beider Lander augelassen wird.”

... try to get it straight, ipan:
both sides have been killing and maiming each other for generations; it will continue for decades—you either do not comprehend irreconcilable hostility, or do not comprehend it well enough. Look back at all the comments you have posted on this.

Re: Günter Grass’ poem: “What must be said”

According to this prototype of a European leftist intellectual, there is moral equivalence between Israel and Iran, and it is Israel, not Iran, that poses a threat.. to world peace, no less.

Congratulation Günter, for brushing aside the responsibility of the Islamists for the current nuclear crises, and instead blame their intended target.

Moral equivalence ?? - LOL ! - Tell that to tortured, raped, stoned, hanged Iranian leftists/Marxists, apostates, converts, blasphemers, adulterous (women only !), Baha’is, gays, infidels, writers, artists, etc. in the thousands !

I have read the complete poem, and apart from the absurdity of comparing democratic Israel with Iran, I actually don’t find it so terrible. Günter Grass suggests unhindered international control - (whatever that means..) - with Iranian AND Israeli nuclear sites..

Again, I find it utterly “religulous” to suggest that nuclear weapons are no safer in the hands of Israel, BUT: his poem nevertheless gave me this idea: In return for unhindered international inspection of Iranian sites, Israel could offer to give up on their nuclear secrecy. The whole world damn well knows Israel is armed to her teeth with nuclear weapons, so what have they got to lose..

Ok, - I may be just a naive Dane with no understanding of military complexities, and Israelis might respond: Our SURVIVAL, stupid !, - but.. up to a point, I can go along with Günter’s words about double-standards and hypocracy of the West..

Still, - I totally understand why this arrogant, overrated German Nobel-prize winning writer-poet with a dubious youth is unwelcome in Israel..

” - but.. up to a point, I can go along with Günter’s words about double-standards and hypocracy of the West..”


Ja, and the main point is the irreconcilable hostility on both sides. As for Iran, 4-5 years ago in a reply to a charge that Iran mistreated gays, Ahmadinejad said:
“there are no gays in Iran”.
Yeah, because they were driven deep underground.

Hostility on both sides, yes; irreconcilable, no. The latter would be a limiting belief.

That is encouraging.
It isn’t right to demonise Ahmadinejad, not after what Iran went through with the Shah we propped up; unfortunately it cannot be denied Ahmadinejad knows about dissidence being little trouble in Iran- he ought to know, as he ‘took care of it’; ‘removed the source of the difficulty’.. troublesome youthful protesters are ‘kept in line’. They are ‘dealt with’.
Malcontented youth who protest Iranian election results are to be ‘reckoned with’, because they ‘disturb the peace’. Malcontented youth ‘threaten the established order’, the ‘social cohesion that the Iranian Revolution brought to Iran’. Such ‘undesirable elements threaten the social fabric’ with treason, sedition, libel and slander and must be nipped in the bud before the bad apples affect the rest of the apples in the barrel. Undesirables must be removed as quickly and cleanly as possible before the rot spreads like a cancer through the host, sapping the Life’s Blood of the Glorious Iranian Revolution. Hotheaded malcontent youths protesting very minor, quite inconsequential, election irregularities must be dealt with harshly because as Stalin said:

“no person, no problem.”

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