How can this be justified?

Jeff Bone jbone@jump.net
Tue, 02 Oct 2001 16:23:04 -0500


Paul Prescod wrote:

> > This only underscores my point:  the notion of segregated homelands is a dangerous
> > concept.
>
> No one disagrees. But we have no ability to wish the concept away.

Nor did I say we have such ability.  We do have (civilized) tools at our disposal, for
instance complete economic and social isolation.

> All
> we can do is try to minimize damage. Now we're stuck with Israel, which
> is a relatively culturally-homogenous place, in the middle of the Middle
> East which also has some contradictory cutural baggage. Let's talk about
> cultures, not ethnicities, or religions, because culture is really what
> matters.

"Culture" is even more abstract and vague than "ethnicity" or "religion."

> We could argue that the two people should be able to share the same land
> and create a merged, democractic, color/culture-blind
> Israeli/Palestinian state. Only that's not what anyone wants. So why
> offer it to them?

Guess what?  The purpose of "law" in the large --- systems of government, etc. --- isn't
to give everyone what they want.  This is a complete myth propagated by demagogues in
promotion of *all* systems of gov't:  communism, fascism, democracy.  The purpose of any
legal and governmental framework is or should be to encourage coexistance while
maximizing personal choice.  Those are, IMO, the universally-shared desired results.
Where you start getting into trouble is when people band together behind the
"legitimacy" of law to enforce their will and averse interest on others.

> We could claim that the original idea was bad and thus merely "dissolve"
> the state of Israel through a choice not to recognize it as a state. We
> could stand back and watch the war that ensues after we give up any
> leverage on them, knowing that we did the Right Thing from a principled
> point of view.

Perhaps this is the pragmatic solution --- i.e., if it can be determined that there will
*never* be peace in the Middle East (and possibly the world) until one or the other side
has completely dominated the region, then perhaps we should let regional geopolitics run
its course rather than continuing to artificially support either side.

> Both people want separate states based on their cultural backgrounds.
> Maybe 100 years from now they will think this was a silly idea but in
> the meantime it is more productive to figure out how we can get from
> here to there rather than arguing that they "shouldn't" want what they
> want.

"Action, not words!"

Feh.  We need to figure out where "here" and "there" are before we act.  And given how
abysmally we've failed in our policies in this regard all along --- always supporting
bad guys against temporarily even-badder guys until they're gone, at which point the bad
guys we supported turn around and bite the hand that feeds them --- I think the
discussion has a ways to go, yet.

jb