Culture, Global, Israel, Politics

The Right Way to Criticize Israel

It is here in the Palestinian territories that you see the worst side of Israel . . . Yet it is also here that you see the very best side of Israel.

Alright, there’s nothing Earth shattering here. No brand new observation that we haven’t seen before, but Nicholas Kristoff does it right today. Too often our friends on the right laud Israel’s greatness while ignoring the underbelly, and too often our friends on the left scourge Israel for its mistakes, while missing it’s beauty. If you want a balanced opinion, read Mr. Kristoff’s essay. It’s an easy read, and it’s good for the soul.

15 thoughts on “The Right Way to Criticize Israel

  1. I have to agree with Yael, here. I mean, I agree with everything he said, and he could have gone further. I find it interesting that “what is beautiful” about Israel is how some Israelis support the Palestinians. German women, SS officers wives nonetheless, protested the Nazi death machine on a daily basis; does that make WWII Germany a beautiful place?
    My question is, when can we recognize that no matter how many technological advancements there are, no matter how many human rights groups there are, what happens in the territories is tantamount to war crimes, it is done in the the name of the collective Jewish people, and it needs to stop.
    There is no more room for “balance.” Let Israel try peace, instead of land grabbing, mass imprisoning and starving, maybe the Palestinians will give it a shot, too.

  2. There is no with whom to try peace. The so called Arab Palestinians are not ready to have their second state in Palestine. The have already Trans Jordan and they want more. Why the Arabs have the right that is denied from Jews?
    In the minute the Jews will put aside their guns the Arabs will slaughter them, but when the Arabs will spare their fire there will be peace.

  3. Yeah, because a piece of land given wholesale to a Hijazi monarch was SO meant for the Palestinians.

  4. And why should ANYONE “try” a unilateral peace in hopes that the violence would stop? To do so without actually aiming to solve the roots of the problem (i.e. occupation) would only lead to the empty ceasefires we’ve had in the past.

  5. Holy Crud.
    In one brief article Kristoff has done the following
    Called the “West Bank”(tr.. Yuda ve Shomron)and Gaza-“Israeli colonies” preffering to think of them that way than as Settlements, which might point to the fact that Jews have paid for that land in blood, sweat, & currency many times over. He almost admits this later when he states
    “It is here in the Palestinian territories that you see the worst side of Israel: Jewish settlers stealing land from Palestinians (ALMOST one-third of settlement land is ACTUALLY privately owned by Palestinians)”
    Yada Yada… a tip of the hat to B’tselem the mostly naive Jewish group with mostly anti-semitic supporters outside of Israel who give video cameras to terrorists to monitor Jews. I wish they would give video cameras to Jewish cemeteries and synagogues that get desecrated & burned down (please note recent activity in Miami, Paris, etc.) outside of Israel out of sympathy(sic).
    But who pays attention to those details when you think that all you need is half a nice view of the Mediteranean.
    160,000 is not such a high number of people. If each of these people got $18,750 (with the rapid decline of the dollar thats still more than most of them will earn in 5 years time) and agreed to go live in Kurdistan (imaginary country #2) for example, the $3 billion that America sent last year (in mostly outdated gear as usual) would do a lot more for peace and security. The 1st capital of the Kingdom of Israel would once again be safe for Jews.
    And reporters like Kristoff can go “wiz around” the new highways in some imaginary country where he won’t feel disgust, because the Jews have their own roads. Perhaps he feels the same way when he visits the Catskills.

  6. So Israel is best when it’s anti-Israel? What garbage.
    Israel is best when it’s innovating technology, and leading the way in agriculture, sending rescue teams across the world, and so many other examples….. It’s dishonest to pretend the beauty in Israel is supporting blood libels, describing Jews as outsiders, and fighting for Arab controlled land contingent on delivering it Jewish free.
    I really used to enjoy Jewschool even when I didn’t agree with it, but now it just makes me sick.

  7. Whoever is right or wrong, if we don’t extract ourselves from Judea and Samaria ASAP, we will have destroyed everything that has been built here over the past century.

  8. Forward Forum
    The Kind of Friend Israel Needs
    by Yossi Beilin / The Forward / Thu. Jun 19, 2008
    President Bush was in this part of the world last month, and I had the opportunity to attend two of his speeches, one at the Knesset, the other at the World Economic Forum in Sharm el Sheikh. On both occasions I found myself standing up and clapping for a president whose feelings of friendship for Israel cannot be doubted — but both times I got up so as not to be the only person in the room to remain seated.
    Read more

  9. Hmmmm…. the “best side of Israel” is that side of Israel which is pro-Palestinian…. Not exactly ground breaking or “balanced”! (On one basic fact Kristoff should surely know that the only reason certain roads have been designated for Israeli citizens is because Palestinians couldn’t stand to have Jews driving through their pristine towns.)
    “no matter how many human rights groups there are, what happens in the territories is tantamount to war crimes…Let Israel try peace, instead of land grabbing, mass imprisoning and starving, maybe the Palestinians will give it a shot, too.”
    Oh please. This is part of the clownish rhetoric that continually dominates discussions about Israeli-Arab relations. “War crimes”? “Starving”? “Mass imprisoning”? Give me a break. Israel’s under no obligation to let a hostile population inside its borders. Neither is any other country. (Considering that Palestinians are the largest per capita recipients of foreign cash in the world you’d think the PLO might be able to provide a paying job or two…or at least procure fresh avocados from its brotherly Egyptian neighbor.)
    Arab violence against Jews started long before Israel took possession of the West Bank. Arab violence against Jews increased substantially after Israel made Gaza 100% Jew-free. Those are facts that will need to dealt with in crafting policy.
    Both Jews and Arabs have legitimate civil rights in the West Bank. Labeling Jewish presence there a “war crime”–or slathering that chic term onto Israel’s obligations, moral and legal, to prevent terrorist action–betrays an ignorance of both international law and the definitions of the words “war” and “crime”.
    “Whoever is right or wrong, if we don’t extract ourselves from Judea and Samaria ASAP, we will have destroyed everything that has been built here over the past century.”
    Another “Oh please!” coming your way. Is it ever possible to discuss Israeli-Arab relations without descending into these kinds of hysterics? Instead of playing “Visions of Apocalypse” we could ask a slightly more empirical question: Given recent experience what is most likely to occur should Israel remove all Jews from Judea and Samaria?

  10. Eric,
    You are damn right that we should all be in hysterics. If you want to speak about empirical evidence: We are more or less at a point where there are more Arabs than Jews between the River and the Sea. BUT, that is not the worst of it. Look at the empirical evidence–the state of Israel was 13% Arab in 1967. Today it is 20% Arab! How do you think that happened? We annexed the territories, and “flooded” Israel with Palestinians, who “intermarried” with Israeli Palestinians. Even more, ideas such as “Jewish” labor and socialism, ethos of Zionism before 1967, are now virtually defunct. If we continue along the path we have chosen, we will have turned ourselves into a South Africa (at best,) or a Bosnia (at worst.)
    If we remove most (all) Jews from Judea and Samaria, we can start the process of setting up clear borders, that will help us maintain a vast Jewish majority for generations. And we can return to building a vibrant, morally strong society, that can take on the whole world if need be, like before 1967.
    We are indeed stronger now that we no longer sit in southern Lebanon, losing soldiers every week. And we are indeed stronger now that 8,000 Jews are not living in the midst of Gaza. If you don’t belive me, we can take a poll of how many Israelis want to rebuild Gush Katif, or take back southern Lebanon.
    We need to keep going. The settlement movement today is the PLO and Hamas’s dream come true.

  11. Thanks for posting this article. As an american who is neither Jewish nor Palestinian, I feel I cannot discuss this issue with my jewish friends without fear that the discussion will errupt into some crazy rant about Anti-Semitism. (Since when is sympathy for a woman in labor, unable to cross a check point, an anti-semitic sentiment??) It’s really good to be reminded that there are many jews and israelis who are equally horrified by what is going on in the occupied territories (just as I am horrified by what Bush has done, in the name of my country, in the last 8 years.) Anyone who tries to justify what is happening is, in my opinion, in total denial. I also think that Israel has the right to exist without fear of missles and other attacks, and understand that the people living there have suffered their own traumas (which is likely impacting their ability to be rational). There is so much post traumatic stress on both sides, I agree that even if Israel gets out of the occupied territories, there will STILL be problems (case in point: Gaza). But regardless, Israel has to get out b/c unless they do, people like me will feel that we cannot get behind Israel and support it because doing so will sanction the terrible abuses in the territories. Until Israel removes the settlements and allows the Palestinians living in the occupied territories to rebuild their lives (whether the palestinians actually do so or not, is irrelevant), I feel very uneasy about US support of Israel.

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