I have been off this board for several weeks because: 1) I am preparing to return to the USA because it is getting to be so dangerous in Lebanon and, what with Syria reeling, Iran is sure to do whatever is in its power to divert attention to Israel. It will not be long now before the Syrian troops, Hezbollah and Hamas and, perhaps, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists in Egypt will join in an enterprise to attack the State of Israel. The outcome will be a catastrophe for our people. Devastation will reign. 2) Due to my own views, I am facing personal danger in the land of my birth. 3) As to mepeace, I have awaited intelligent and balanced responses to my original comments but have been disappointed. 4) I have also used the time to continue doing research and conversing with my many friends, acquaintances and business associates in the Mideast. Following are my own comments:
In spite of what is referred to as the "Arab Spring" in Libya, Egypt, Bahrain and now Syria, it appears that the ugly but stable dictatorships of one man or family is being replaced by Islamic organizations whose cruelty and their hatred of the West as well as Israel is implacable. Mepeace members, being "liberal" in their orientation and unfamiliar with the the actual living conditions of the Mideast, appear to be unaware of what these events portend and how they will affect the average citizen within their borders. What mepeace members do not realize is that the particular Islamic perspective taken on by such entities takes on the worst aspects of the Koran to justify militant Jihad. The major aspect of their "philosophies" is to destroy not only Israel but western democracies as well. Death, as opposed to life, is celebrated. One can see this clearly in the once dynamic city of Beirut. My associates tell me that Alexandria in Egypt, a once liberal city which gladly harbored people of many different ethnic origins, is now poor, lifeless and smitten with threats against any creative endeavor. Those associates are also preparing to leave.
Mideastern countries, influenced by the Nazi regime, have taken on their methods of propaganda, threats and early education, especially against Jews but Christians as well. The Jew is depicted much as he was depicted in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, rapacious, dirty, disloyal, stingy and a drinker of childrens' blood, etc. These characteristics are taught not only in schools but in mosques as well. They are bred in deeply and the mostly illiterate masses believe these attributes unquestioningly. Few members on this forum read Arabic. I would suggest you turn to MEMRI for educating yourselves about the real Arab response to the modern world. A while back, the Haj al-Husseini, former Arab leader of Jerusalem, was mentioned. He spent the war years as a friend of Hitler's. There was an agreement to exterminate all the Jews in the Mideast after Europe capitulated to the Third Reich. This did not occur but the Haj brought with him German soldiers and military experts to fight the Jews of the region. Much more, he brought the philosophy, strategies and political methods of the Nazi regime. It has been very effective in its evil influence on the Arab peoples.
I'd also like to make some responses to members' commentaries. Starting off with Stewart, I am appalled that he so blithly dismisses the criticism that he focuses only on Israel to the exclusion of the enormous problems of the Mideast including, but not limited to, the Palestinian people under the stranglehold of Hamas and formerly under Yasser Arafat as well as the Lebanese under Hezbollah. Stewart, like most people who pretend to have a "liberal" orientation, sees nothing but the supposed inequities and "crimes" expedited by the State of Israel. His rationale lacks even a smidgen of self-reflection. How can someone put himself up as a "peacekeeper" when his orientation is so distorted? He speaks of his sympathy for the Palestinian people who have been effected by the (very disputable) crime of colonialism much as his own country (Australia) originated. Of course, the English had no presence in Australia. Jews always had a presence in what the Romans termed the region of Palestine. Furthermore, and most important, historical events and incredible myths regarding the land of Judea, Samaria and the rest of the nation always permeated Jewish memory. It can be found in the Bible (Torah). It is one of the forceful ingredients which binds all Jewish people in association with one another. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, similar to the English invasion of foreign lands nor with the Arab peoples who populate, or once populated, the region of Palestine. The Jewish religion is land based much as the myths and stories of American Indians binds them to the lands of the Americas. In my mind, Stewart belongs on an antiJewish website. He does, and continues to do, mepeace a dishonor.
As to Sussan, she shows up so consistently on mepeace with her narrow interpretations in spite of so many responses that it's beyond my ability to influence anything she may write. For the record, her interpretations of the "Nakba" is preposterous and comes right out of the worst anti-Israeli propaganda possible. For the record, evidence can be found that Jewish administrators tried to convince Arabs from fleeing but to practically no effect. Those who remained, of course, are now full-fledged citizens of the State of Israel. By contrast, those Arabs who did flee are not full-fledged citizens of their new countries with the exception of Jordan and now, recently, my own country, Lebanon. On the other hand, Arab countries advised that Arabs flee only to return and confiscate Jewish property after the war was won. You may find some of these newspaper advertisements in the website, "Stand By Us". Arabs fled out of fear that Jews would do to them what Arabs would have done to Jews had Jews lost the war (see Hebron Massacre 1929). First the business classes, the professionals and administrators left, then the Arab peasants and small tradesmen stampeded. It's true, of course, that Israeli soldiers moved some Arabs for strategic reasons and I don't doubt that some atrocities also occurred (see Benny Morris' account although as a historian he has proved to be quite inaccurate). It was Ben Gurion's intent to allow all Arabs to remain (see the full notes in his comments in the JAE) but to populate the new state with Jews so that they would become the majority. contrast this with the 900,000 Sephardic Jews who had to leave their homes in North Africa and the Mideast for fear of being slaughtered, miserable and propertyless, settling in Israel. Within ten years, they were integrated. Golda Meir was quoted as saying: "We were almost too successful". she meant that the refugees could not be held up as sacrifices much as Arab refugees have been. It is obvious that it has been to the advantage of Arab regimes to keep refugees in camps, in squalor. Why? In order to divert the attention of the international community away from their own injustices and corruption in order to "blame the Jews". Sussan fits with their ideology. Besides, the funding of Palestinian refugees has been a good source of income for these corrupt regimes.
As to Basil, in his softsoaping way, he, too, distorts facts in order to blame Jews (Israel), all the while pretending that he is a "peacemaker". He isn't. I might remind him that Jews always populated the region of Palestine. When, in 1880, they began moving to the region in force, it was barely populated. Not only Mark Twain but other writers expressed how desolate it was. I admit, from my readings, that there was one commercially pulsating area, Jaffa, where oranges and lemons were grown in abundance and exported. Jews bought land from absentee landlords. They worked the land, the swamps and deserts. Many died, became sick, some gave up, but they persisted. By 1920, they had become 10% of the population. The Ottoman Empire did not even characterize Palestine as an independent region; it was administered in part from Syria, in part from Jerusalem. In another forum, the population growth of Palestine was measured on a graph. As the Jewish population increased, so did the Arab. Why? It was due to Jewish achievements, the provision of work and a better life. People emigrated into the region from Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Kurdistan and Iraq but also non-Muslims from Greece. There was never a "Palestinian" nation, however. The only myth and historical event which binds the non-Jewish people of this region together is the "Naqba" and it is largely falsified. Were there to have been a genuine "Palestinian" people, folks like Bastian would have returned to build the nation. Unlike Jews, who possess a strong strong bond, they don't. So Bastian keeps sniping at the Jewish presence from his home in Virginia. He will never return. Neither will his children. He calls himself a "peacekeeper"; I call him a "sniper".
When will mepeace live up to its declarations as a community which actually proposes solutions to situations which will, inevitably, involve war and horrible sacrifice? I am desolate. Mepeace will not do this. It is frequented by people who very politely (and not so politely) despise the State of Israel and, as with so many other detractors, despise Jews. These people use this website to perpetrate their ugly attitudes. I suppose that after this diatribe, I will be dropped from membership. There have been others who have criticized the ruling cliques here only not to be heard from again. I, myself, would like to see established a new organization if mepeace cannot be re-invigorated, one that truly seeks peaceful resolutions to serious problems by confronting the real and genuine evil which exists, and has existed for decades, in the mideastern world. I am, frankly, tired of the Israeli demonisers and Jew haters which appear on this forum under the guise of liberals. As to hatred, I'm afraid I've been confronting enough of this in Lebanon and in my various forays into other mideastern countries.
Sussan. You know there is another option.70% of Jordan is made up by Palestinians and it is 78% land mass of Palestine. So why not in gather the dispersed Palestinian diaspora into the 78% of Palestine and call the people there whatever you like and call the country aptly Palestine?
If Jordan was that desirable, Israel would have taken a hunk, long ago.
Sussan - I think it's comments like this that help you paint yourself in a bad light. This comment is not factual or even an intelligent response to the previous comment. It simply shows a pregidous and hate for Israel. In the future, I think if you do not agree to the comments made. Try to articulate a fact based answer to refute them. Your comments in general, are the equivlent to "well your dumb dumb face" but, in a more hateful way.
Think about Golan Heights.
The EU, the UN and even the US all say that the Golan Heights does not belong to Israel.
What am I supposed to think about it? Israel was in a definsive war with Syria in 1967 and 1973. I hardly think being attacked by another country can define you as a bully.
Ghazi - salam, shalom, peace, friend.
I respectfully disagree with your assessment of the 3 members of mepeace you decided to name.
I invite you to view an example of the many Jewish peace activists out there who have been working (or are working) for a fair outcome for the people of Israel and Palestine.
There is much that we can learn from each other. There is much that we can learn from the experiences in Israel, Jordan, the Occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Turkey and beyond. No one human community has all the answers to peace.
What can we learn from history and the present to prevent future tragedies?
How can human beings see how rich our commonalities are rather than our differences?
And yes, I clearly am concerned by the situation in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia etc etc
But that does not excuse my concern for the people in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian territories.
We can agree to disagree on historical analogies. I for one see plenty of connections between tactics used by Europeans who colonised land in various parts of the world from the 1500s until this day. The colonisation of Israel is not an exception. Yes, every country colonised has its own unique story, but the end result is still the same group A conquers and dominates group B. Democratic processes may be put into place afterwards. But democratic processes were not used to allow the local population of the day to decide their future.
Human beings throughout history use symbols and stories to justify to fellow human beings to do certain acts to control other human beings. This has occurred regardless of religion (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu etc etc.) and regardless of irreligion (ie atheism).
The question for us today is what stories are we teaching our children that are being used to control another people?
You sound "nice", Stewart, in the usual (faux) liberal way. Why don't you work hard for the Australian aboriginals whom you really dispossessed? You had no historical precedent to be there, Stewart. The Jewish people, whom you term "occupiers", had every historical justification, genetic, religious and a continuous population lineage to return to their homeland. You just don't seem to be able to make an intelligent argument because you prefer not to deal with the self-evident facts set before you. I call it "cognitive distortion". And I do, indeed, learn from you, Stewart; I learn about one of the means that socalled (western) intellectuals consistently turn against the Jewish state while calling what they do "justice" and "peace negotiations". Stewart, I am much too old and have been around too long to be convinced by your sophmoric craft.
The Ashkenazi Jews (who now control historical Palestine) do not have a continuous lineage in the Holy Land. It was Arab Jews who had continuous residency in the Holy Land, and even then, they were only 2% to 4% of the overall population. So how on earth did the Ashkenazi Jews of Europe take control of Palestine, and then claim they had continuous lineage ?? Through ruthless military offensives and the successful use of propaganda.
I know it's useless to reply to you, Sussan, as your views are crystallized no matter how many facts and researched studies are brought to your attention. Neither will I bother to repeat what has already been articulated about the nonsense about "Palestine" being a nation or Jews as "occupiers" but, for the education of the casual Reader, the results of Ostrer et al 2010 genetic studies, quite huge, in fact, shows that Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews are related at a significant level of probability. They are one people. And, yes, ruthless military procedures required to survive the onslaught of five Mideast nations plus their Palestinian Arab neighbours of the region. Yes, Sussan, after the Holocaust there was a saying: "Never Again"! But you turn things on their head and write that it was the Jews who did the offending when they were attacked. And then you have the audacity (another post) to write that you are "spiritual" when every post is a hate-filled screed. And that Mepeace not only attracts people like you but also permits your frenzied hatful messages is, as I've formerly suggested, an indication of its failure as well.
We are ALL one people – you and I and everyone else. We are all part of this same human race. We are equal, and genetics are nothing more nor less than a passing fascination; about as relevant as whether or not you are left-handed or right-handed. No individual group is more, or less, entitled to be privileged, than any other group of people.
This is why we so urgently need to talk peace instead of specialness, or separateness.
This is one of the reasons why we will end up with a One State solution in the Holy Land, with the return of all the refugees, who were so shockingly treated by the Zionists.
The Holy Land is the birth-right of the Palestinians, more so than it is of the Ashkenazi Jews, who have a European heritage – even though it be a troubled heritage, it is their heritage. Jews are not the only people to have experienced serious problems with acceptance in Europe.
Israel has become an adopted heritage for European Jews – for better or for worse, it is the new reality, for all those who no longer have dual citizenship. None of the Palestinian refugees have dual citizenship, thus they will have to return.
This is the way forward. This is likely to be the only way to peace, stability and a future for those already in Israel.
This passage is full of very important and relevant information concerning Palestine/Israel, especially its demographic history. Thank you for including it.