41 thoughts on “Hope for the Future

  1. I’ve called Brown out for being too one sided, too overly critical of Israel, but he proves me wrong with this post. I also hope that Abbas/Sharon can do what many have tried, but failed to do in the past. At bare minumum, perhaps Abbas can share some of his dieting secrets with Sharon.

  2. Y’know, I like Brown’s optimism. I mean hell, how can one buy into Messianic visions, Tikun Olam, but yet choose when and where to apply it. Still, J has a point. However, the difference b/w Rabin/Barak/Netanyahu/Peres is:
    No Arafat
    Targeted Killings
    Invastion of Iraq
    Things are different. How much so? We’ll find out soon enough.

  3. Exactly prodly. The left sees and glimse of possible peace and they jump on it like wild dogs. When palestinians start arresting leaders of Hamas instead of taking orders from them….then we’ll talk. Talk is cheap i want action!! Am israel chai!!!

  4. “The left is just so patheticly naive.”
    The left, at times, can be dangerous (conspiracy theories…anti-Israel rhetoric morphing into anti-Semitism) but their hope for something better i.e. human, peaceful, cooperation, etc., is needed. If the left is naive, what is the right? Ignorantly selfish?

  5. Yisrael,
    Is it just me, or do you also feel like a lone middle voice amongst a sea of radicals? At least that’s how I feel when I’m surrounded by Jews.
    If you’re in Jerusalem, try to schedule a meeting/study session with Rabbi Ross Singer. He’s an Ortho rabbi who’s able to discuss politics, theology, history with humility and honesty.

  6. If the left is naive, what is the right?
    1) No less hopeful than the left – after all, we’re always being branded as messianists – I guess that means we also believe in peace and harmony.
    2) Able to distinguish between uplifting moral and spiritual visions, and the practical responsibilities of self-governance – and self-defence.
    3) Realistic, cautious, and skeptical as is required by the situation.
    It’s wonderful to conceive of a time when the lion will lie down with the lamb.
    It’s stupid and irresponsible to go ahead and stick your head in the present-day lion’s mouth in the name of that vision.
    Judaism is distinguished among religions primarily by the mitzvah system – which is a practical, clear-eyed application of Grand Ideas into this messy, imperfect world. This system is largely responsible for the world’s progress towards those rosy humanistic goals the lefties talk about – in fact, it has done more to further these concepts than socialism or communism themselves – both of which have wound up debasing and oppressing many wherever they have been applied.
    I’ll take clear, eyed, skeptical, show-me-the-money realism. Especially in dealing with our Arab cousins.

  7. shtreimel, sometimes it feels that way, but online, people are much less likely to moderate their views.
    Unfortunately, I am not in Jerusalem. I live in Iowa. The relatively small Jewish community here helps me focus on bringing Jews of different perspectives together. When there are only a few of us it builds unity. I think that explains atleast some of my perspective.

  8. “I’ll take clear, eyed, skeptical, show-me-the-money realism. Especially in dealing with our Arab cousins.”
    We agree.

  9. Who knows? Maybe pigs can fly… but who is this person Fredrick Toben???
    Over the past month, the official Iranian news agency MEHR has published a series of antisemitic articles, including interviews with two leading European Holocaust deniers. On December 29, 2004, Dr. Fredrick Toben of the Adelaide Institute in Australia claimed that ” the state of Israel is founded on the ‘Holocaust’ lie ” and that “exposing this lie” would help ” dismantle the Zionist entity. ” In his interview on December 18, 2004, French Professor Robert Faurisson spoke about the ” alleged ‘Holocaust’ of the Jews.”

  10. In Beirut, Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdaneh said the ceasefire pledge “does not commit the Palestinian resistance.”
    Who the fuck are we bargaining with? Didn’t Hamas just get “elected” to a ton of seats in the parliament? How can we negotiate when words mean nothing?
    This is part of the same rhythm. Arabs launch a guerilla war on the Israeli populace. Israel buckles down in self-defense. Arabs call “hudna” and talk peace. The world arms the Arabs to police themselves. Israel doesn’t want to give up Jerusalem or give up 1,000 thugs. Start from the beginning.

  11. I want to be pathetically naive, but then I read stuff like this (which I found on Israelly Cool):
    The Hamas representative in Lebanon said shortly after the summit that his group will not be bound by the cease-fire declarations.
    “The talk about what the leader of the Palestinian Authority called a cessation of acts of violence is not binding on the resistance because this is a unilateral stand and was not the result of the outcome of an intra-Palestinian dialogue as has been agreed previously,” Hamdan told The Associated Press.

  12. At a recent shiva house, I met a relative from marriage who works in customs/duties. He claims that every famous ‘Palestinian’ and their cousin are somewhat regulars in his office and that a certain famous one of them (he refused to say) told him frankly once that the Jews are so weak and buckle with the slightest pressure. These were very comforting words.
    Anyways, been to Sharem, took some pictures, ‘exchanged the pennants at centre ice’, and went back to the showers…again. No need to be optimistic because the same crap unfolded like the last times. Sharon: we will be your partner and give you concessions for peace. Mazen: Here is our list.
    Over ten years, and our leadership and media is still refusing to call the kettle black. Sharon wants to release prisoners, and then we go into negotiations to decide which ones they’ll accept. Plain pathetic.

  13. shtremel wrote: “how can one buy into Messianic visions, Tikun Olam, but yet choose when and where to apply it
    Well neither messianic lunacy nor tikkun olam apply to Sharon. Sharon’s about as religious as I am, as far as I know .. i.e. not at all

  14. Dennis Ross came to speak at my school last Friday and gave a bunch of good reasons why releasing 900 prisoners is a bad idea. First: Israel has about 11,000 prisoners and 900 doesn’t seem like a lot to the Pals. Second: doing it all at once disappoints the families of those who weren’t released, and you know they’re going to leave many who are in for basically the same things as those who are released — which is to say, it will be in some sense arbitrary. So, the disappointment will create demand for more releases and piss off those who don’t get it. If they instead released a trickle of prisoners, say 15 a week, the system could be tested better, and more of the prisoners would retain the hope that they were about to be released, so fewer people on all sides would be pissed off.

  15. just to note– it doesn’t matter whether or not Hamas “agrees” to the cease fire. What matters is Abu Mazen’s will and ability to reign Hamas in.
    Many of us who spent much of the 90’s in a state of optimism felt that the rug was being pulled out from under our feet when the violence broke out again. But the geopolitical situation is not the same as it was 4 years ago, and we can never lose sight of our Hope.
    So, for those who can be cautiously optimistic, great. Those of you who can’t be optimistic at all– please try to understand the difference between distrusting the enemy and thwarting the peace.

  16. “Those of you who can’t be optimistic at all– please try to understand the difference between distrusting the enemy and thwarting the peace.”
    Thanks for the tip. And those of you unable to learn from the past or draw the relevant inferences from the present should please try to understand the difference between fantasizing about peace, which is pleasant, and making the necessary moves to achieve peace, which is not.
    For the record, although I think that the death of Arafat, the success of Israel’s defensive measures against terrorism, and President Bush’s strong backing of Israel offer the best chance to at least begin improving the situation in many years, I’m none too optimistic because I see Israel sliding into the same old habit of offering unreciprocated concessions. This should be a time to demonstrate to the Palestinians that their goals are unachievable, but already this message is being diluted with actions on the part of Israel that will only appear to the Palestinians as weakness.

  17. A factual question.
    If Sharon promised a ceasefire, I understand what this means — he is in a position to impose it.
    But what is Abbas promising when he promises a ceasefire? The terrorist violence was pretty explicitly not the P.A. acting. Does the ceasefire mean that he is guaranteeing no military action against israel originating on Palestinian territory — or only no military action against Israel originating in the Palestinian Authority?
    There’s quite a difference. If the latter, isn’t he basically promising something that wasn’t a problem to begin with? And, if so, what is John Brown so excited about?

  18. This should be a time to demonstrate to the Palestinians that their goals are unachievable
    Which goals are those? That’s kind of a narrow-minded comment. If peace is to be attained, there will undoubtedly be compromise. It does not show weakness to display a willingness to make peace– quite the opposite. Sharon has already proven his willingness to protect Israel at all costs, and I don’t think any Palestinian is so naive as to think that he will not come down with an iron fist if he must.
    8opus: my understanding is that this is essentially a commitment to reign in the terrorists and to halt PA funding for terrorism (which indeed was a problem)

  19. “Which goals are those? That’s kind of a narrow-minded comment. ”
    I should have specified. I believe those goals are NOT the creation of an independent Palestinian state, even if such state included the entire West Bank and Gaza, all of Jerusalem, and even Herzliya thrown in. They are not peace or prosperity, and certainly not democracy. I don’t think these ever were the goals of anything close to a majority of the Palestinians. Not before Oslo, not during, and not now. Which is why I opposed Oslo from the start. The only goal is the complete destruction of Israel (and for many, even exiling the Jews wouldn’t be first choice).
    It would be nice to believe that the Palestinians are essentially like us, just disgruntled and temporarily radicalized. Nice, but unrealistic. The reality is, I admit, extremely depressing. But I think the consequences of denying reality are too severe to ignore.
    Narrow-minded? I don’t know what you mean.
    “If peace is to be attained, there will undoubtedly be compromise.”
    Undoubtedly? Strong statement. No, if peace is to be achieved, the Palestinians must be convinced that they can’t win at the game theyr’e playing, that they have to find new goals. Before this stage is reached, compromise is dangerous. Compromise is effective only when the parties deal in good faith. As you saw with Oslo, without good faith, dealing is worse than pointless, it’s destructive.
    “It does not show weakness to display a willingness to make peace– quite the opposite.”
    Nothing wrong with the willingness, as long as it’s backed up with the ability and the will to use force.
    “Sharon has already proven his willingness to protect Israel at all costs, and I don’t think any Palestinian is so naive as to think that he will not come down with an iron fist if he must. ”
    I can think of some Jews who think he’s retired the iron fist. While I personally (largely) agree with your assessment of Sharon, I’m not convinced that all of the Palestinians do. I think it’s going to take years of convincing, often in a brutal form. (And Oslo, which only encouraged the Palestinians to persist in their goals, not only failed to achieve peace, but set the cause of peace back years.)

  20. “2 JEWS! 3 OPINIONS!”?
    I’ve been wondering how many people comment here with only two positions presented (or one if you count the idea that things are either black or white).
    I like the grey-zones in this thread.

  21. Pretty funny to see these right-wingers referring to Sharon as “the left.”
    On messianism – I find the dream of peace a lot more appealing than the phantasmagoria of living in Gaza settlements forever and ever.

  22. Unfortunately J, I find your comments rooted essentially in racism. Sure there are Palestinians who want to throw the Jews into the sea, but I think Abu Mazen genuinely wants an independent state next to Israel.

  23. Actually, J, I think you’ll find that the majority of Palestinians want an independent state next to Israel. Your characterization of their position might have been correct at one time, but by the mid-90’s it wasn’t true for most Palestinians. A state in basically all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, with territorial swaps around certain settlements, East Jerusalem as a capital, and some token solution for the refugees will end the conflict as we know it today. Denying this, it seems to me, only aids the settlement project, which puts off peace indefinitely. Which, in turn, was the real function of characterizing the Palestinian position so maximally in the first place.

  24. Oh, and also, I love the renewed Oslo-like worldviews that are re-emerging. Where for some people, the problem now emerging is that “Israel will make unreciprocated concessions,” I see the problem as Sharon being unrestrained to continue going about his own plans for the West Bank, which will result in a breaking of the hudna eventually as extremists lose patience with Abbas’ ability to achieve anything, which will result in Israeli retaliation and the end of this fledgling “process” without strong U.S. intervention.
    As George Lindbeck says, though, comprehensive worldviews each set their own criteria for the relevance of evidence that would support or deny their claims. I’ve never made much headway with someone who thought like J, and no one like him has ever made much headway with me.

  25. Sorry if this is reprinted.
    I read something interesting today about Gaza which is called Gerar in the bible.
    One expalnation that Hashem made Abraham do the akeidah with Isaac (instead of the common reason given that it was a test) is that Abraham gave Gerar away to the Philistines. Hashem was pissed since Gerar was part of ‘eretz yisrael’. In the end, a midrash even claims that Abraham killed Isaac, and that Hashem brought him back. Anyway, the thing is that tikkun means getting tested over and over and one kabbalist believes that the whole situation now is related to that issue back then. We are being tested if we will give away parts of Israel, again.
    you’re analysis is naive. ‘You think’ is not good enough for us, Israel or the Palestinians that think otherwise. Peace will occur when they truly accept our right to exist. Only then will we sincerely be able to negotiate living together. The Palestinians have never claimed or wanted a state based on the 67 borders. They really do see that objective as another step in their quest for ALL. A state based on 67 borders, even Judenrhein, is a natural resourceless artificial entity. They have nothing to contribute except olives, rocks, and workers and will continue the conflict until either they have everything, or like I said, accept our right to exist.
    Doesn’t anyone remember about six months into this stupid Oslo war. The media and politicians were frothing at each other about the need to strengthen Arafat, to give him more time to reign in the ‘militants’, that our temporary encursions into area ‘A’ was harming his ability to counter Hamas, Islamic Jihad, his own Fatah, the Tanzim, blah, blah, blah as opposed to toppling him for once and for all. But we were optimistic then that Arafat would fight the ‘militants’ and I’m trying to restrain myself and will just call the current optimists on our side in Abu Mazen and his ‘need to reign in militants’ as blind fools who never learn.

  26. josh wrote: “The Palestinians have never claimed or wanted a state based on the 67 borders.
    Two-thirds support the Saudi initiative (defined as two states, 1967 borders, full normalization and peace) 70% support reconciliation between the two peoples after peace and statehood
    Some 54 percent of the Palestinians support a two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 lines
    the problem now seems to be, rather than just accepting a 2 state solution, Sharon wants to negotiate how much of the west bank Israel will keep

  27. I see the problem as Sharon being unrestrained.
    These are really separate issues. You’re talking about whether promises will be kept. We’ve been talking about whether promises are relevant in the first place — even if they are kept.
    If Sharon implements a ceasefire, then we can expect a ceasefire. If Abbas implements a ceasefire, we can’t — his military wasn’t doing the firing in the first place.

  28. (Sam if you intend to respond from before do it here because I don’t want to have to search for it in so many different posts.)
    Let me explain something:
    All of these handshakes are doomed to failure because they ignore the fundamental issue.
    That is the ABSOLUTE LOGICAL CONTRADICTION between having a Jewish state and also granting equality to any sizeable other group that does not share that goal.
    History and logic show that the ones in power decide the culture, the morality everything of the host country.
    The only time there is temporarily any peace is when the other group is a SMALL minority. The reason for that is simple. Since they are small they can be ignored and the violent ones can be jailed. Ones their numbers grow all the problems that we see come out.
    I wish it weren’t so but unfortunately clear thinking forces me to realize that.
    Its time to think clearly and extract ourselves from the confusion taht afflicts so many including those in power in Israel.
    Our life depends on it.

  29. That is the ABSOLUTE LOGICAL CONTRADICTION between having a Jewish state and also granting equality to any sizeable other group that does not share that goal.
    Not so much. Yeah, it can be tricky. So it goes.

  30. like my cousin said, this is Intifada III
    Abu Mamzer’s January 10 victory speech calls for a new Jihad.
    The”little Jihad [holy war] had ended, and now the big Jihad is beginning.”

  31. I don’t suppose this will matter to you, Holy Terror, since you haven’t ever shown any propensity to care about logic, but I explained to someone else who brought this up that “lesser jihad” and “greater jihad” are specific Islamic religious terms. Lesser jihad refers to physical defence of the umma from outside threat, and greater jihad refers to personal purging of evil from one’s own soul. So, actually, Abbas’ statement should probably be read the exact opposite way from the way you read it. That’s how his fellow Muslims would have heart it themselves.

  32. Whenever you see an Israeli Prime Misister shaking hands on a “peace aggreement, cease-fire etc with a Palestinian pharoh, it’s not long till Jewish blood is shed…

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