35 thoughts on “Break It Down Like This

  1. Looks like the same recycled progressive tripe from the last some 57 years. Perhaps in next week’s essay Bill Clinton will become a tool of the “neoncons” as well?
    As one who has no problem poking holes in right wing blather, I’m surprised you enjoyed this one so much Mobius. It’s chock full of leftist kool-aid that offers nothing new other than further apologies for Palestinian rejectionism and more blanket “everything right-of-left is wrong” statements.
    Maybe I’ll just click on the ISM link on that guy’s page and get some real edumacation!

  2. Ditto to IAOF, Mobius– for you to call that an astute assessment of a [two sided] conflict, when it is clearly written from only one point of view, is a little dumbfounding. I would consider an astute assessment to be one that incorporates multiple angles and refrains from clichéd mouth foaming statements like “brutal Israeli military dictatorship” (which, in the wake of *elections* seems just a tad over-the-top… just a tad).
    It’s amazing how many times he puts the word “terror” in quotation marks (like that… except that was appropriate). And how he scoffs at the notion that the Palestinians should be held accountable for those among them who choose to kill Israeli civilians.
    Really– this is just another uberLeft propaganda blog with lots of facts but no big picture. I’m a little disappointed.

  3. you know what i love about both your comments? neither of you contest a single point he raises. instead you just dismiss him as being a crazy leftist. good stuff.

  4. The point made *in the article* was that Sharon does not want to negotiate for two states based on the 1967 borders, and thus that it is in his interest to propose “conditions” for negotiations which ensure that this does not come to pass. I am, sadly, quite confident that this point will stand in the coming years unless Abbas proves himself to be much more of a political genius than anyone currently gives him credit for.

  5. welp, you can’t contest that it’s astute by simply stating that it’s left-wing rhetoric. that’s just a dimissal tactic that fails to deal with any of the assessments made in the article itself. could his language have been less provocative? surely. but that doesn’t make his facts or his assesments incorrect.

  6. The analysis is wrong because it presumes that:
    1. Palestinians have a stronger negotiating position than actually exists,
    2. Abbas and the Palestinians would prefer misery in the pursuit of some hopeless concept of “justice,” than properity that accompanies a smaller-than-hoped-for independent state, and
    3. the Gaza withdrawal is either a hoax or an illusion.
    Shaorn’s committment to a two-state solution is evidenced by the Gaza withdrawal. It may not be “enough” for the left , but if Sharon were utterly opposed to Palestinian statehood, he would not propose withdrawal.
    Abbas understands point one, and will accede to reduced demands because of the logic in point two. Those on the left, and some in between will still find injustice, but peace for the living is more important than justice for the deceased. The living know this and have no desire to merely become one of the deceased.

  7. “Shaorn’s committment to a two-state solution is evidenced by the Gaza withdrawal.”
    You mean he didn’t get Bush to agree that Israel could have large chunks of the West Bank in return?

  8. Has this ever happened to you folks…
    You visit your fave weblog about Israel, and suddenly, without any warning, you just simply lose interest in debating this way or that. You just stop caring…caring to debate that is.
    So Mobius, I glanced at the article. I glanced at some of the photos on his site, and I glanced at a few articles. And hence I have to chuckle when you use the term “most astute assessment of the current state of the conflict”.
    When you’re a therapist, a marriage therapist especially, you learn that both parties contribute to the mess they are in. Moreover, the mess they are in is often the very thing that will push them towards greater interdependance, and maturity. To take one side over the other is to damage the growth both parites are currently engaged in. However at times, one party is clearly violent, abusive and, at times, sociopathic. And fairl play ends when that is the case.
    I believe the “myths” (according to the Left) that Arabs/Muslims in the ME spent 50 + years in a state of rejection and war against a country they thought they could beat, and hence restore their previous position of power before the Ottomans, etc., etc. I don’t believe anything has changed…I don’t believe it has occured in Egypt, Syria, Jordan…anywhere. I believe that they’d go to war tomorrow if they believed they could defeat Israel. I do believe it would be a pogrom/Holocaust and they’d slaughter every last Jew living in the area. And hence, I believe that Sharon is looking out for the security and viability of Jews to live in Israel. And if the Palis don’t get the perfect state that they’re hoping for, they can thank many of their past errors, and campaigns of murder, for their current predicament.
    There’s my assessment of the current state of affairs.

  9. I never said how much Sharon would give Palestinian state, just that he would allow its creation. It is much easier to have a state as an opponent than a mix of independently operating and unaccountable terrorists. Sharon knows this. Just look at Lebanon.

  10. “I never said how much Sharon would give Palestinian state”
    I can tell you exactly how much the Palestinians are willing to accept…….
    Is peace wanted, or not?

  11. Hey Shtreimel, I hear ya. I also just looked at that long, long, long, and completely flawed article and just can’t be bothered.
    If nothing changes now, it’ll be because Abu Mazen is mini-Arafat, or at least has to play mini-Arafat because he’s a drab, uncharismatic apparatchik who suckled at Arafat’s teat for 40 years.
    Did I mention that this article is one of the least astute observations I’ve seen of the current situation?

  12. Ditto.
    Sometimes you feel that you’re getting somewhere in the argument, not winning but getting deeper and past the emotional prejudices and superficial propaganda to really understand each other and at least agree to disagree. But Daniel, IMO, posting this crap full of holes is like taking the entire dialogue back to the beginning and I agree with everyone before me, we’ve been through it already, why rehash it all?
    You want to put everything on the table again and then nit-pick about it?
    -living under a brutal Israeli military dictatorship in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip?Brutal, like what? Russia in Chechnya?
    – Israel still keeps…in violation of international law? Judge, and jury in a blog – cool.
    – Millions of Palestinians still live in enforced exile? Our fault that Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt treat them like black sheep Arabs?
    -accusing others for ‘sidelining Arafat’? – A nobel peace price winner for Christ’s sake!
    – the Arabs will accept a ‘Palestinian’ state with pre-’67 borders as final? Only stated by pro-Arab Jews, not by Arabs themselves.
    – The US and Israel are to blame for everything
    and it goes on, and on, and on… You check out the ‘resources’ on the leftside of this other blog, you look up at the ceiling , and then you become really disappointed that the great Mobius posted this, especially after being in Israel for a few months and not just blabbing from the sidelines in the galut.
    I expected this from that new ‘meretzUSA’ blogger, not you or even Asaf or JohnBrown.
    Maybe this is a sign that Jewschool is static, or rather regressive?

  13. “you know what i love about both your comments? neither of you contest a single point he raises.”
    Mob, ill tell you exactly where i stopped reading that sad article you posted.
    Towards the beginning of the article, where he was trying to explain how the Clinton peace talk collapse was not the fault of Arafat, he wrote:
    “Arafat’s death will not change any of the essential underpinnings of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There are still 3.5 million Palestinians living under a brutal Israeli military dictatorship in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel still keeps tens of thousands of heavily armed troops …..in these territories ”
    This may be true today, but this was simply not the case at the time of the camp david peace talks, nor at the break of this intifada. Yet he insists on calling it the “essential underpinnings” of the conflict.
    I have no idea how you could even post a link to this article, let alone praise it.

  14. Has anyone else noticed Mobius’ posting pattern. It’s almost like he feels he’s losing brownie points after posting one or two posts that are “pro-Israel” in nature, and then responds with a general posting that would do Chomsky proud. Then a flood of nasty posts, insults come flying in, Mobius completely loses it, then issues a threat of censorship, and the pattern begins again. Is it just me that notices this?

  15. you know what i love about both your comments? neither of you contest a single point he raises. instead you just dismiss him as being a crazy leftist. good stuff.
    Yes, I really didn’t want to get into debating the specifics of the article because it’s all been said! How often should I be repeating myself on this site? I don’t have time or patience to reiterate my viewpoint every time there is another Israel-bashing “analysis” posted on the web!
    I did note that it was blatantly one sided (again, I did not go into specifics, but I don’t think anyone can really disagree on that). The analysis is 100% focused on injustices against Palestinians, and does not even give lip service to the importance of Israeli security, fair means of dealing with settlers/settlements, etc… Furthermore it makes grandiose and unproven assumptions about Sharon’s positions. People like to assume, but I don’t think we know every wrinkle in his policy yet– we’ll have to wait and see! in other words, this analysis is propoganda.
    So rather than attacking my disappointment in your characterization of this bit of propoganda as “astute,” which is all I was expressing, why don’t you explain to me how an article that leaves out so much while assuming so much more is indeed astute. That’s what I’m interested in… because as someone who is living with the “matzav” on a daily basis, I was very surprised that your opinion was not more rounded.

  16. I suppose it would make sense if Labor was not in the current government. But, I couldn’t get too deep into the posted article, either. Are we allowed to lose patience with hyperbolic rhetoric in lieu of political and historical integrity?
    And speaking of hyperbole, shtreimel: “…a general posting that would do Chomsky proud.”
    What is the infatuation with Chomsky for so many of us? Who even knows who he is, except for undergrads playing cops’n’hippies at antiglobalization demos? And us.

  17. “I don’t have time or patience to reiterate my viewpoint every time there is another Israel-bashing ‘analysis’ posted on the web!”
    Vigilance, Ronen. Vigilance.

  18. I wonder, if I linked to an article on AIPAC for support of my claim, should I be taken seriously by the pro-Palestinian left? No, I should rely on more widely accepted and objective sources. Should one who links to electronic intifada be taken seriously by the pro-Israel right? No, he should rely on more widely accepted and objective sources. Such bases of support are only appropriate when preaching to the choir. I’m not a member of his choir. Apparently Mobius is.

  19. “I should rely on more widely accepted and objective sources”
    For us Canucks, I highly suggest Norman Spector as an alternative to the kooks on both sides of the issue. His analysis of the ME situation, understanding of how/why politics work and professional experience (1992 – Ambassador of Canada to Israel and the Palestinian Authority) provides, IMHO, a balanced point of view.
    Plus he tried to rip Neil Macdonald (CBC) a new one. So the guy is obviously cool.

  20. Well, what about that interview Weisglass gave to Ha’Aretz? Lawrence of Cyberia didn’t cite it, but in it he stated explicitly that Sharon had taken the Palestinian state in the West Bank off the table.
    Doesn’t anyone remember that? Doesn’t it seem to support this writer’s position?

  21. Sharon distanced himself from the Weisglass interview, I believe. It was also before Arafat died. Things are malleable.
    Madge: right now us Jews need to be incredibly concerned with the settlers, as it appears we are rapidly descending into a civil war. So, we need to find a way to preserve the settlers’ passion and love of Judaism and Israel and refocus it into communities within the green line (mostly). I’m probably being naive and idealistic, but I do want to find a way to reign in extremism and bring that segment of the population back within the fold. Their values are misaligned and misprioritized– I really don’t have any good proposals, but I know it’s something we need to deal with and not bark at.

  22. Madge Loon:
    I would suggest treating the settlers humanely, with dignity and respect. Else, what are we really about? Hatred and prejudice.
    I am no fan of the settlers. What do you suggest, madge?
    Theres no justice like angry mob justice, after all.

  23. I don’t have any ideas about how the settler issue can be resolved. In light of that I strongly question the wisdom and the intention of the settlement expansion that is taking place in the West Bank at the moment.

  24. The expansion is as much an ideological problem as a political one. That seems to get glossed-over. If the settlers don’t believe that occupying the land is a God given right and a biblically determined Jewish destiny, the problem will be much less severe. I don’t really know how to sway them towards a model of Judaism focused on social justice, loving your neighbor, spirituality and stewardship (not domination) of the earth and away from a messianistic model. Many of us have a deep and spiritual connection with the land of Israel, but we have to accept that the state of Israel is not designed to bring the mashiach but rather to provide those Jews who need or choose to live there with self-determination and normalcy. If there is a way to open their minds to a different form of Jewish living, perhaps we don’t need to resort to degrading and humiliiating them by forcing them to leave their homes (compensated though they would be). But maybe it’s too late for that.

  25. Ronen wrote: ” Sharon distanced himself from the Weisglass interview, I believe. “
    On Sharon:
    “You should never believe a word he says. He has never uttered a word of truth except by mistake. His aims have not changed, only his tactics have. Don’t look at what he says, look at what he does.”
    — Uri Avnery
    [Avnery has closely followed the career of Sharon for four decades. Over the years, he has written three extensive biographical essays about him, two (1973, 1981) with his cooperation.]

  26. Well JB, I’m glad you take someone else’s word at face value. But, if you had read my comments more carefully, you’ll realize that what I said was, precisely, we have to wait to see the wrinkles in his policy and what his plans are.

  27. Sam
    Not to mention that if you read Weisglass’ interview carefully, you’ll see that what he in fact said was that disengagement would allow Israel to freeze the process in the absence of Palestinian moves – IOW, to remove the pressure on Israel to make concessions without parallel Palestinian actions.

  28. I read the whole article, and a fair amount of the responses (before I got bored of them) and I noticed one thing. Mobius is right, no one has addressed the issue preposed in the article. Sure there has been some quibbling over minutia, but did no one get to the actual point.
    If not, let me clarrify. Lawrence argues that: Israel wants to create Palestinian Bhantustans in order to maintain power in the region.
    Lawrence is wrong.
    Bhantustans exhist in order to provide cheap labor for the dominant society. Israel does not need palistinian labor. Hence the problems with immigrants from the South East who CONTINUE WORKING WITHOUT PERMITS. Israel does not stand to gain from bhantustans in any significant way.

  29. Whoa Erez. I was with you for the first paragraph..!
    “Bantustan refers to any of the territories designated as tribal “homelands” for black South Africans during the Apartheid era.”
    The advantage of such areas is that you can divide and rule a people who, not being able to be a whole, cannot offer any reistance and remain subjugated.
    Actually just read the wikipedia thingybob and understand what the purpose of them was in SA and see if you can make it fit with any plans the current government might have.

  30. I agree with Erez though no-one has really battered down any of the arguments made by L.O.C just dismissed him becasue he ‘links to ISM’ and they are ‘all of them wackos’
    I’m listening to everyone but Im still more convinced by L.O.C’s argument than I am by the wackos argument 🙂

  31. Thanks to Eyal for the clarification about Weisglass; I tend to think, though, that Arafat’s being alive at the time of the interview only deepens my sense that freezing the process in the absence of Palestinian moves meant, in Sharonian language, simply freezing the process.
    I still agree with Elliot that the original article was more convincing and more well-thought out than the posts which have disagreed with it, largely by blanket dismissals. My problems with the article included stridency of language and overemphasis on the “legal” dimension of discussion, but I thought its grasp of where the conflict stands now was basically correct.

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