US war, libertarianism, FoRK, and voices in opposition

John Hall johnhall@evergo.net
Sun, 28 Apr 2002 21:10:16 -0700


I held off, partially because I didn't have complete information on some
of the subjects in this email.  So I threw it out somewhere else to see
if I could get some better responses.

Some of the people I was hoping would comment didn't, but there was at
least one long commentary.  The hit most of the points I'd have made on
my own, plus some.

Before I list those responses, here is what I'd add:

I'm a libertarian within my country.  I turn into Machiavelli once I hit
the waters edge.  Libertarianism is mostly anarchy with a constable.  In
international relations, however, there is no constable.  Hence, I have
a Machiavellian response to a Hobbesian universe.

I have little sympathy for non-owning tenants who thought they had
rights to land they didn't own.  A more interesting point would be the
fallout of the Turkish land reform (about 1859 IIRC) and how that wound
up effecting things.

I've been told the Arabs were killing people who tried to sell Jews land
in the early 20th century.  That puts the Israeli trust disbursing lands
in a better context.

Emminent domain to build an airport, especially in a country that is
only 8 miles while (using the '67 "borders" or cease fire line) looks
sensible to me.  That assumes the former owners were compensated.

Arab countries collectively receive the same order of aid as Israel.

And now for other comments: 

====================================
>From Shaulie Halberstam 
John,

Quite a bit of this is accurate, some of it is B******T, and some I am
not qualified to comment on (meaning, I don't know).

However, there are some massive inaccuracies in this piece, so much so,
that you have to wonder about the rest:
a - He says, 
>Palestinians make no claim on
>this land. (Nor do
>they make a claim on land
>owned by Palestinian
>Jews who had lived there for
>centuries). 
Untrue. For example, in 1947, the all Jews in the Jewish Quarter of the
Old City of Jerusalem were evicted and the Jewish Quarter was destroyed.
The community of the Old Cit was referred to as the 'Alta Yishuv', which
means the Ancient Settlement. It was hundreds of years old. Palestinians
still claim all of East Jerusalem - including the Jewish Quarter, for
Palestine only. Another example would be the Jewish Quarter of Hebron,
one of the most contentious spots in the West Bank. The Hebron Jewish
community went back hundreds of years, before it was destroyed in the
Anti-Jewish pogroms in the 1930's. 
There may be some Palestinians who hold these positions, but they are
not the ones who speak for the Palestinians.
As for HAMAS and Islamic Jihad, etc., they openly call for the
destruction of Israel and the murder of the Jewish population.

b->These
>disgruntled peasants moved to
>the cities to become
>day laborers, only to find a
>campaign in place by
>the Histradut to force Jewish
>employers to fire
>their cheap Palestinian
>laborers and hire the more
>expensive European immigrants.
There may very well be truth to the claim that local Palestinians where
thrown off their land and ended up as laborers in the cities. However,
the local population of Palestine was actually quite small. (Read
contemporary travelers accounts, such as the one by Mark Twain, to get a
decent picture.) The bulk of the 'Palestinians' in the cities were
migrant labor from other areas, such as Syria and Egypt. The campaign to
hire Jewish labor was partially a response to this Arab immigration.

c->The Deir
>Yassin massacre, which
>took place in what was
>supposed to be the
>international Jerusalem zone,
>was one such
>incident. This was a village
>not involved in
>combat. After the massacre,
>led by Manehim Begin,
>other armed Israeli factions
>used loudspeakers and
>some very insidious
>psychological methods to panic
>the majority of the
>Palestinian inhabitants into
>leaving. Every town had its
>own story. Some were
>massacred, some were allowed
>to remain if they
>surrendered, some surrendered
>and were evicted,
>and some fled on the strength
>of the rumors about
>what was about to happen to
>them. Israeli
>propaganda will portray those
>who defended their
>homes as being terrorists
>deserving of eviction,
>while at the same time
>portraying those who tried
>to get out of the way of
>combat as having proven
>that they didn't really care
>for their homes and
>hence forfeited them.
All kinds of interesting statements here, mixed in with some very
accurate reporting. Of course, the accurate reporting is the work of
Israeli scholars, who have spent the last decade trying to clear up the
picture of those days in an effort to promote peace and understanding
between Israelis' and Palestinians' by showing that there was blame on
both sides. Unfortunately, the Palestinians had no equivalent movement,
or at least not a very successful one. 
Deir Yassin, for example, which was indeed a massacre, and not something
Israel should be proud of, is one of the only ones you will ever here
mentioned by name. Why, well probably because it was one of the only
ones, period. Also, you will rarely here it, but the few massacres like
this that did occur, did not just happen. They were general a response
to other atrocities (such as rapes of women, etc.) committed by people
in those communities. This is not to excuse the massacre as an
acceptable response (that would be kind of like saying suicide bombing
is OK, because it's the only way we have to fight.), but horrible things
do happen in conflicts like that and it does not indicate an organized
attempt to perpetuate a massive operational plan.
This fellow also fails to mention that the local Arab population had
(dis)organized its own armed forces, backed by the call of the Mufti of
Jerusalem, to destroy the Jews, etc., long before the outbreak of open
hostilities and the Israeli declaration of independence. If your
neighbors are calling for your murder, is it really such a terrible
thing to use psychological warfare to get him to run away?
Also, the stories about the great Israeli ethnic cleansing operation all
miss two important points. The first is, that indeed, the Israeli's were
willing to accept the Partition Plan, and that had it been implemented,
there would not have been any major creation of refugees. The second is
more important. If the Israeli's had some great ethnic cleansing plan,
what was the deal with all those Arabs (about 20%)that stayed behind?
What where they thinking? Why weren't they killed or expelled? And why
were they given full citizenship?

d->The total number of towns and
>villages completely
>depopulated in 1948 is about
>four hundred and the
>people ethnically cleansed
>numbered about 750,000.
This one is really good, but I can't really blame the guy for the bad
numbers. After all, the NY Times has quoted the same bad numbers. For
the record, a 1948 report of the U.N. Mediator on Palestine put the
number of Arab refugees at 472,000. (www.smartertimes.com has called the
NY Times on this one multiple times. See this link, for an example: 
http://www.smartertimes.com/archive/2000/12/001227.html
,but don't expect anyone to bother changing their figures anytime soon.)
You also don't see this guy mentioning the 800,000+ Jewish refugees
kicked out of the Arab states at this point either. 

e - >In the conquests of
>1967 there was
>relatively less ethnic
>cleansing except for the
>Syrian Golan heights which
>were depopulated of
>their inhabitants - Bedu,
>Palestinian refugee,
>Circassian, and Syrian
>Christian and Moslem
>communities. Druse villagers
>were allowed to stay
>along with one Alawi village.
At this point he starts to get absurd. So, we are supposed to believe
that the Israeli's decided to ethnically cleans the Golan Heights, a
sparsely populated piece of territory by all accounts, but had no
problem with the 2,000,000 odd residents of the other territories? And I
suppose that wars in general never produce refugees UNLESS there is
active ethnic cleansing? Is it not at least possible that the people ran
away because they were afraid, but that the Druise residents stayed,
because they knew that the Israelis' would NOT massacre anyone? 

f - >When
>I served in the
>Armed Forces the alliance with
>the State of Israel
>took precedence over the oath
>to support and defend
>the Constitution - one of the
>reasons I resigned.
Really. And yet our other alliances, such as NATO, Egypt, Taiwan, the
Philippians and the one with Japan don't bother him. Somehow, the being
allied with Israel forces him to abandon the Constitution..... Hmmm..
Starting to smell a little bit here.

g->The libertarian movement
>does not believe in
>foreign aid. Israel receives
>the bulk of it.
OK, this is crap, and you have to figure the guy knows it. He also
stated something about how Israel gets between a half and a third of
total US foreign aid, depending how you count it. This is total crap.
Let's count the numbers:
Israel gets 3 billion a year. I guess if that was the whole foreign aid
budget he might have a point. But of course, it isn't. The total foreign
aid budget bill passed by congress in 2002 was actually 15.4 billion
dollars. But wait, some groups add other items into Israel's share (like
the value of certain loan guarantees, which don't actually cost the US a
dime, or money invested by the US in joint US-Israeli military research,
like the Arrow missile project). OK, if you add that stuff in you might
get a number closer to 4 billion a year for Israel. All right, 4 billion
out of 15.4 billion is about 25%, NOT even a third. But of course, the
number is much lower, because if you are including the extra billion in
Israel's tally, you have to include it, and spending like it for other
countries, into the total foreign aid budget. And when you get through
with contributions to the World Bank and IMF and defense and space
projects with the Russians, the Japanese and the Europeans, not to
mention debt relief for various nations, you are going to get a slightly
smaller figure. Say, in the single digits. Of course, how small depends
on what is included.

h - >Israel is an "ally"
>much as a tapeworm
>is ally to its host.
So true. Unlike our wonderful Arab friends, whom we can really depend on
in the crunch. 

END Shaulie
================================================

>From Frank Luxem:
The following puts lie to the statement that the Palestinians do not
want to take anything way from the Jews. Arab writing on the matter -- I
don't read Arabic, but the folks at http://www.memri.org do -- is
awfully clear, when it's Palestinians speaking to their own people.

One sample, from a speech by Sheikh Ibrahim Madhi last September,
broadcast on the PA state TV. (Just in passing, nothing gets broadcast
on the PA state TV unless it's acceptable to Arafat's quasi-government.)
"Our belief is that this war, between us and the Jews, will continue to
escalate until we vanquish the Jews and enter Jerusalem as conquerors,
[and] enter Jaffa as conquerors. We are not merely expecting a
Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital; we are heralding [the
creation of] an Islamic caliphate with Jerusalem as its capital."

Again, from the late Faisel al-Husseini: See
http://memri.info/bin/articles.cgi?
Page=subjects&Area=conflict&ID=SP19701. "... our eyes will continue to
aspire to the strategic goal, namely, to Palestine from the river to the
sea. Whatever we get now cannot make us forget this supreme truth."

The Palestinians want a state stolen from the hard work the Israelis
have done for over a century to build the land. They want their state
built on the bodies of dead Jews. They say this themselves. They said
this LONG before any settlements on the West Bank were begun. To deny
this and ONLY blame Israel for this war is deluded at best, lying at
worst.
End Frank
David Zube (who started posting on this board talking about the plight
of the Palestinians, and has now moved into the expel the Palestinian
crowd).
I read that memri.org stuff too. And a more focused set of
rationalizations for disturbing behavior will be hard to find. At the
urging of some of the folks that post to this board, I read the charter
for the PA. And you, and the people who agree with you, are right. The
Arabs do not want peace, they do not want an accord, they want nothing
less than the destruction of the Jewish State, and the death of its
people. And they are more than willing to resort to any level of
barbarism to that end.

So, we support Israeli policies and provide aid to help them defend
their land. Fine.

But can we also admit that Israel is not pure as the driven snow on this
issue? There have been massacres, and property seizures, and poor
treatment of Palestinians, that have produced hatreds of the Israelis
that come from a far more personal source than the nebulous desire for a
homeland. 

Let me make this last part very clear. This is not to say that Israel
should not defend itself, to the best of its ability. This is not to say
that Israel is some great villain, undeserving of support in its effort
to eradicate terrorists. This is to say that, as in any conflict, there
is culpability on both sides.

End David Zube
Frank Luxem:
Certainly. Re read my last line...ONLY blame Israel. But the prevailing
theme of the thread (and this is NOT a flame), indeed of most of the
media is that the Palestinians are some sort of innocent victims of
Israeli aggression. Not true. The fact is that the Palestinians WERE
given their own country, in 1947. They were NOT driven out by the
Israelis, they ran away. Then the West Bank was annexed by Jordan and
Gaza was annexed by Egypt. Why did the arabs NOT establish a Palestinian
state in 1948? Because it interfered with their goal of finishing the
job Hitler started. They have stated this quite explicitly. Palestinians
were blowing up Israeli school buses and kindergartens LONG before any
settlements on the West Bank. In fact, the Irgun and the Stern Gang
(cited by the Palestinian murder apologists as the proof of Jewish
aggression and perfidity) were actually formed in Response to Arab
terrorism in the '30s and 40's. Does that make them right? No. But to
tell one side of any story and tout it as the ONLY story is a great way
to LIE. And that makes the people who do that LIARS.
End Frank
Start Byran Croft:
David,

I agree 100%. There are gripes on both sides. The PA is predominantly a
terrorist organization. Sharon isn't helping peace, or even attempting
to
find it.

I don't know how to solve it. Right now, I'm just a horrified
bystanders.

I just read a summary of Prince Abdullah's peace proposal, presented
over
the weekend. It looks reasonable on its face, until you realize that it
only places controls and obligations on Israel -- if the agreement were
implemented as proposed, the PA would slaughter a whole bunch more
people,
then the diplomats could s**t all over Israel for breaking the latest
agreement. It's just PR, but some of the media will buy it!
End Bryan Croft
=================================================