Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Israel: Flourishing or Suicidal?

There's a fellow in Israel who sits more or less at the center of the so-called human-rights corner of Israeli society, the far-left folks who can find almost nothing good to say about Israel while talking endlessly about all the things it does wrong. As I've often estimated, there aren't more than 2-3,000 of these people, from close to 6 million Jews. Anyway, the fellow has an e-mail list, and he offers daily updates about the good and the bad. While I've never investigated, it's reasonable most of the activists in this radical corner of Israeli society are on his list. Today he announced that he'd just added readers 1000, 1001 and 1002.

Apparently my estimate isn't that far off.

Yet that tiny corner of our society has an enormous impact. How so? Well, look at a post by Andrew Sullivan yesterday, talking about his respect for Jeffrey Goldberg who has been uncomfortably critical of him (Andrew) recently.
I understand what Jeffrey endures on a regular basis and admire his courage in tackling difficult subjects nonetheless. Because he loves Israel; and Israel is committing a slow suicide. It is tough to watch. (my italics).
Israel is actually thriving. Economically, of course, but also demographically, culturally, and its politics is informed by a deep consensus of purpose the Americans (or Europeans) can only dream of. The list of things to kvetch about is longer than any imaginable arm, of course, but this shouldn't hide the fact that compared to any given moment over the past 2,000 years, what we've got right now is about as good as it gets.

Suicide? I think not. But if you're on that e-mail list or listen regularly to the people who are on it, it's not hard to see why you might think otherwise.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow, Sullivan really makes even me long for a return of the times when men were proud to sport stiff upper lips and less proud of parading their emotions/sufferings

- here is Wieseltier's latest, commenting also on Sullivan's emotions.
http://www.tnr.com/article/the-trouble-south-park
I am a bit disappointed though that even somebody like Wieseltier doesn't seem to know or remember that deeply pious Christians used to hurl the accusation of polytheism at eachother quite often when they had one of their regular goes at disputing the nature of Christ
- it really seems like the whole history/culture/influence of Byzantium/Orthodoxy has been forgotten or probably being made so and that while it maybe about to become a major player again via Moscow
Silke

David Boxenhorn said...

Israel has entered an era of good feelings. I know, it's hard to tell when you're in the thick of things, but just think back to what our politics was like between Oslo and Cast Lead. This last election was really our first of post-Oslo era.

Barry Meislin said...

As a feisty supporter of an American president whose policy at home and abroad focuses on the absolute need to protect the USA from itself and to protect the world from the USA, it should come as no surprise that Andrew Sullivan has joined (along with the current American administration and other progressive lovers of humanity) the "Israel-Must-Be-Saved-From-Itsef-Before-It-Is-Too-Late" League.

Inc.

(After all, we tried Bush and found him wanting. Ergo....)

Act now! If you really, really love Israel, read, absorb, buy W&M's eye-opening expose of AIPAC's nefarious control of US foreign policy; defend the thesis that holds that support for Israel is de facto against the interests of the US! (And, in for a penny, in a for a pound, join the current US administration in holding that support for the US is de facto against the interests of the US and the world at large,....etc.)

Anonymous said...

Barry
I object to spending money on M&W when you may read the gist of it for free on the LONDON Review of Books of March 23, 2006 (I dimly remember that they have softened up some of the stuff in there) It also has the advantage that via copy and paste you can create your own RufMord (reputation murder) out of it

Silke
to me at the time it felt like time travel back to an earlier more direct version of the same cruel and hateful crap

Barry Meislin said...

You really ought to buy it.

If one gets something for free, one tends not to value it all that much.

(That is, if you really, really want to save Israel, etc., etc.)

And as long as you're buying the English version, you may as well buy the Arabic translation. (Yes, one of those rare books to be honored with an Arabic translation---W&M really have certain segments of the global population really, really excited....and hopeful, if not exactly changeful....)

Anonymous said...

Barry
if I put in my own labour to print and read the dirt I am not getting it for free - I value my own time and labour very highly - even though I enjoyed threading it to pieces a lot ...
but if you want to see real dirt look at the German dust cover - we'll probably never learn
Silke

jacob alain said...

People like Sullivan are trying to implent the idea that Israel is committing suicide so that if another Holocause were to occur they can pretend that it was the Jews' own fault.

They weren't murdered, they "committed suicide."

Ilya said...

The fact is that Israel is thriving and beautiful in many respects is precisely why the slow decline of its security position and moral standards is so painful to watch for Sullivan and. for that matter, me. Not because we are part of an irrelevant left-wing e-mail list but because our judgment of situation tells us that Israel's policies towards the Palestinian question are unsustainable. While the other side of the ledger (the cultural and economic thriving) may look positive, it does not bear an existential character. Palestine does.

Anonymous said...

Ilya, Sullivan isn't left wing and he is wrong about Israel and so are you.


People have been making predictions about Israel's demise since there has been an Israel.

In fact, people have been writing off Israel since before there was an Israel.


This isn't to say that Israel like most countries have a lot of problems.

However, the main porblem is the fact the hostility of the Arab and Muslim world and of many people like you.


This isn't going to change and the country will prevail inspite of it.

Victor said...

Ilya, you touched on something I've thought about at length - the sustainability of a Palestinian people. Palestinian culture is very much tied to the land, to traditions suited for village life, not metropolitan Ramallah. Without land culture, Palestinians are just another Muslim Arab, in a sea of other Muslim Arabs.

In fact, you see this increasingly reflected in polling. Young Palestinians identify first as Muslims, then as Arabs, then as Palestinians. For the young generation, to be a Palestinian is a dual failure - the incompatibility of traditional Palestinian culture with modernity, and the disgrace of defeat at the hands of the Jews.

Will Palestinians continue to self-identify? Yes, for the forseable future. Will they do so with more or less resolve in two or three generations? That remains to be seen.

Barry Meislin said...

...the slow decline of its security position and moral standards is so painful to watch....

This is one reason why the Palestinians are in no hurry to agree to anything that Israel proposes (in the way of "peace deals"), and are quite pleased, even ecstatic, about the status quo.

...our judgment of situation tells us that Israel's policies towards the Palestinian question are unsustainable.

Another reason why the Palestinians are in no hurry to agree to anything that Israel proposes (in the way of "peace deals").

Unless you're in the habit of believing that the Palestinians really do wish to help Israel out of its dilemma....

Ilya said...

Anon: I was not referring to Sullivan as a left-winger but to the e-mail list Yaacov cites (and the relevance of which to the debate and Sullivan's point I am still struggling to see). Andrew is not a left-winger, no. As for hostility, let us just agree that if I were hostile to Israel, witnessing what I (rightly or wrongly) think is its decline wouldn't be as painful as it is. We don't know each other, so let's agree not to enter into personal judgements.

Victor: well, I was referring to the sustainability of Israel's policies but you make an interesting point. I disagree for the following reason. Peoples, including the Palestinian people, change, mutate, develop. National identity is not a fixed concept. Two hundreds years ago village life was part of the identity of most Europeans. Today it is not, occassional atavisms aside.

My premise here is that as the Palestinians' economic position improves (which seems to be the aim of Netanyahu's and Fayyad's policies), their national cohesion will harden rather than dissolve. If these policies succeed, ten years from now, Israel will face a more cohesive, better armed, capable opponent than it is facing today. If they don't, we are facing a prolonged, spirit-crushing occupation. This alone is enough to support a two-state solution along 1967 border now, rather than later.

The second part of the argument is of course what I (and Sullivan) think is Israel's slow collapse into inwardness and, I am sorry to say, moral relativism. Seeing 18 year old kids with guns on the street every morning and day would not fit the 'thriving' description Yaakov uses. There are many other examples. Yaakov's failure to note the underbelly of the cultural and economic success in his post is typical and provides an insight into Israeli thinking in itself. No visitor would fail to note it. I came away from Israel in September, thinking it was a mind-blowing, beautiful, vibrant place, and the only country I would consider living for a long period, other than my now native Australia. It is a big word, but, yes, I fell in love with the place. I also thought it was a heart-breaking place.

The overwhelming sense of the locals' attitude I had was one of refusal to accept their fair share of responsibility for the mess that the Palestinian situation is. This carelessness, irresponsiblity will slowly choke Israel and make it what Ehud Barak referred to the other day. And that is the suicide Sullivan is referring to.

Barry Meislin said...

The tragedy of the Palestinian people is that Israel was not destroyed in 1948 or 1967 or 1973, or 2000 or...whenever, up until today.

It is truly heartwrenching.

Israel could help out by committing suicide.

Otherwise, the Palestinians will continue to suffer.

Though, certainly, the Iranians are doing their best---or, to give them credit, what they think is their best---to alleviate the situation.

(Actually, if Israel disappears, the Palestinians, after a brief moment of pure euphoria, will either tear themselves apart or be torn apart by the neighbors. But with Israel out of the picture, nobody will give a damn.)

Victor said...

Ilya, I have spent six years in close friendship with fierce Palestinian nationalists. The cohesion you speak of doesn't exist. Resistance to Israel is holding the Palestinians together today, more than any other force, idea or movement, just short of geography itself. Some would say Palestinian Arab identity itself is a response to Zionism, including some of my Palestinian friends.

I'm not sure this is the argument you or Sullivan would have with me about Palestinian identity, however. I am not attempting to will the Palestinians out of existance.

I think that what you meant, is that, no matter what happens to Palestinian identity, at the end of the day, Israel is 6 million Jews surrounded by 300 million Arabs who largely want those Jews dead. This - I think you meant - is not sustainable.

Which brings us to the part that makes it sustainable - weapons. I suppose we have different values on the issue of guns visibly displayed in society - I view this pragmatically. Excluding geopolitical conflict, Israel has remarkably low rates of gun violence.

In any case, it's good to meet an Aussie. Your name - Ilya - are you from the Soviet Union originally?

Yaacov said...

Hi Ilya,

I assume you arrived via Goldblog. Welcome.

A disadvantage to blogging as that people can fall into the middle of a long discussion without realizing how long it's been going on and what has been said in it. That's the nature of the beast, I suppose.

In this case, you seem to be misreading me. First, about the two state solution et.al. I have been consistently and openly for it since the mid 1970s, at least a decade before the majority of Israeli society accepted the idea. I would go for it in 2 minutes if the Palestinians ever decided they want it. The reason they have no state is because they don't want it, not because Israel doesn't want it.

Which brings me to the second, more fundamental matter. Since the Palestinians (backed by large segments of the Arab world) think we're a renewed version of Crusaders, who won't last more than a century or two, we're condemned to living at war or near-war for the next century or so, as we've been already for a century. This requires of us all the adaptations necessary to be eternally at war and also as moral as possible. My thesis is that by and large, we succeed, though it's a permanent effort. The thesis of those lefties is that we're always failing. The Andrews of this world chose to believe them. They're wrong.

Anonymous said...

18 year olds with guns on the streets ...

... living in a country almost free from visible weapons I shudder knee-jerk-style but then I remember the two incidents of bulldozers or rather their drivers starting on a killing spree in Jerusalem not so long ago
- what a blessing that there were people with weapons and the know-how to fight around and stop the murderers sooner than any of us more "well-behaved" Europeans could even imagine.
To object to weapons being ubiquitous after that is denying facts on the ground
Silke

Gavin said...

Ilya, I'm curious. What makes you think that withdrawing to the 1967 borders will bring any kind of peaceful resolution? The Palestinians have never made a peace offer in any shape or form so why do you think the 1967 idea will solve anything?

Ilya said...

Yaacov, thank you. Indeed, I have arrived via Goldblog originally a few months ago and visit from time to time. Let me say how much I appreciate this blog and your work. Informative (and informed) opinion about and from Israel directly is worth its weight in, uhm, gold. Thank you.

I should also say that having spent some time on the site, I fully expected our gracious host to express a solid measure of support for a two-state solution. I do not mean to imply otherwise.

What worries me is the second matter, deemed more fundamental by Yaacov: that despite the general support for the above solution, the Israeli society appears (to an outsider, however pro-Israel they may be) agreed on a direct and unapologetic acceptance of the status quo, coupled with sometimes subtle and sometimes not so much denial of responsibility. The permanent effort you refer to is not solely due to the Palestinians and their perceptions. Israel is not blameless here. Sullivan et al. are making the observation that in the long run this attitude is going to catch up with Israel in the form I referred in my earlier comment: externally, a more powerful threat and internally loss of the moral foundations of Israel. This is an emotional charge, of course, but one made in full seriousness.

This may be misreading the Israeli national psyche as outsiders are by the nature of things at risk of doing. I accept that I may have gained the wrong impression during my (short) time in Israel but to re-emphasise: no outsider, having observed the guns on the street, the fractious national identity, or the checkpoints on the way to the West Bank, could conclude that Israel is a healthy, thriving society. This conclusion is simply not available.

In short, we, the Andrew Sullivans of this world, fear that Israel is involved in a severe case of self-hypnosis: things are not well at all and certainly not thriving.

Ilya said...

Victor, thank you. Yes, I am from Kazakhstan, but in Sydney for many years now. My family is originally from Harbin, and after all the fortunes and misfortunes 20th century history implies, re-gathered safely in Australia. So, G'day, etc.

I will have to accept your point with regard to the Palestinian identity as I do not have enough direct knowledge on the topic, although my instinct would be to argue that there is a greater degree cohesion than you imply among the people, if not the 'elites'.

Anon, I got used to the guns after a while and it made me feel safer than otherwise. I am not suggesting security measures are not a practical necessity they are. My point is as per the post above is that this is not normal, not sustainable and cannot possibly be a sign of a thriving society.

Gavin, nothing. I am as cynical about the immediate prospects for peace and security as anyone. It is a long, tough, painful path. The alternative however is exactly what Sullivan calls 'slow suicide': a morally, financially, and ultimately militarily unsustainable maintenance of the occupation in the face of an increasingly hostile outside world and with some likelihood an increasingly more powerful adversary. At the risk of repeating myself again: Israel cannot afford to lull itself into thinking it is thriving.

Anonymous said...

Ilya from Silke

would you please explain why Israel is in need of a moral foundation?

The international community has once decided that there is a state of Israel. Did they make a reservation that that state has to have a moral foundation?
In all my reading of history from all sources I have never ever read that a state needs that. A specific action may need a moral foundation but that's a totally different item.

and your latest argument about the guns smacks more than quite a bit of blaming the victim for defending itself and as long as Israel is successful at that she has any right in the world to claim that she is thriving and may besides skill and determination luck be with them all the time forever and ever.

BTW Germany still exists and if any state has ever lost its moral foundation - assuming that there is such a thing - it is my country but do you read anybody anywhere admonishing us about our moral FOUNDATION.

Silke

Gavin said...

I'm not sure you're evaluating the world view that accurately Ilya. I speak only for myself but I certainly don't hold the view that Israelis want to keep the status quo. I'd go as far as to say that anyone genuinely informed on the issue holds the opinion that the overwhelming majority of Iraelis want peace behind secure secure borders and will accept any deal which gives them that as an absolute guarantee.

Everyone blames Israel but the real problem lies with the Arabs. They don't want peace. In the entire history of the conflict going back over a hundred years the Arabs have never made a meaningful peace offer towards the Jews. When one of the parties to a conflict refuses to name their terms for peace then there simply cannot be peace.

Any kind of withdrawal by Israel, without an accompanying cast-iron guarantee of peace, will merely make matters worse. The 1967 borders are militarily indefensible, Israel would end up with sniper & mortar attacks on Ben Gurion airport and the economy would crash. The existing route may well be slow suicide, but all the other alternatives proposed to date are quick suicide.

This is the real problem. Certain factions complain loudly & bitterly about Israels present actions but they come up with no viable alternative. I daresay that most informed & reasonable people view the present scenario as the least worst of many unpalatable options.

Cheers, Gavin

Barry Meislin said...

OK.

So it is not thriving, if you prefer.

But it does (still) exist, which is an achievement.

And it punches above its weight in many field (some of which one would rather not have it punch above its weight).

Here's the deal. Israel pulls back to the 1967 (though this is politically impossible). But let's assume it happens. Unilaterally, because there will be no reciprocity by its neighbors in peace, who will continue to insist on repatriation of the Palestinians to within pre-1967 Israel ("Right of Return", these comedians call it---and no, it is not a bargaining position)---or whatever might be their demand of the month at that particular (speculative) time.

(But at least, Jeffrey Goldberg will once again have the pleasure of complaining that Israel withdrew "unilaterally", so someone will be happy....)

OK, so Israel is back to May 1967, the Palestinians insist on their demands, and also that if their demands are not met, they will insist they have the right to continue to resist militarily "the occupation" (But what occupation? you might ask....).

OK, so using what happened when Israel withdrew---unilaterally---from South Lebanon, and also from Gaza, one might be justified (though I understand that this is "Zionist" thinking here) that the same arms build-up will take place in the West Bank, even if before that happens, Hamas will attempt a bloody takeover. (There are plenty of tallish buildings in the West Bank from which to throw any PA supporters.)

The same arms build up and the same result of that arms build up.

In such a situation, Israel, one might conclude would feel threatened. (If you have trouble with this one, then I think I've lost you---my fault, probably.)

So we have just created a situation where there will be an awful lot of dead Palestinians.

And a lot of dead Israelis. Maybe a whole lot of dead Israelis, in addition to massive destruction.

Now, all of this might be worthwhile if---and this is the important if---if Israel is destroyed in the carnage.

But even if Israel is not destroyed amidst the carnage, we will have the pleasure of knowing that Israel didn't try enough to meet its partners in peace halfway, and alas, poor Israel, we knew her once...., eh?

One must admire the good intentions, however....

Seriously.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

compared to any given moment over the past 2,000 years, what we've got right now is about as good as it gets

I think what you had in the 70s and early 80s was better than the current situation.

The number of religious nuts has increased exponentially. Mehadrin bus lines have been created, modesty patrols have been formed, enforcement of the halakhah is continually threatened. The ultra-Orthodox enjoy a state within the state that they didn't have 30 years ago. It is openly declared in the Knesset that gays are to blame for the occurrence of earthquakes. There is now a critical mass of Haredim that is making mainstream Jews flee Jerusalem with their rioting and harassment. Ultra-Orthodox soldiers are refusing to follow their commanders' orders. Secular soldiers are beaten and harassed by settlers -- a Jew-on-Jew violence you don't see elsewhere in the world. Self-seggregation between ultra-Orthodox and secular Jews is at an all-time high.

A national suicide? Hardly. But Israel now has an obscurantist component that wields increasing power, and which was not in place until a fairly recent time.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Fake
to add to your list of terribles
- for a number of years there are a number of mostly elderly German male journalists who never forget to mention how satisfying it is to ogle the local women on the beach and in the caf├Ęs in Tel Aviv. That is certainly another indicator of something declining going on, isn't it?
Silke

Ilya said...

Ibrahim has a point there.

Now, the original thesis espoused by any number of people, me including, was that Israelis despite their general support for peace, in the end duck out of hard choices. Gavin's and Barry's comments are ample demonstration of this attitude: I am sorry but I cannot possibly accept the 'current reality is terrible but there is nothing else to do and not our fault anyway' argument.

The current situation is not sustainable. There are things that can be done. It is our fault too.

Israel needs to accept these basic truths and move on. Now. Before it gets a whole lot harder again.

P.S. Yes, the Arab side never 'passed an opportunity to pass an opportunity'. Yes, a good part of the Palestinian society are terrorist sympathisers, and a smaller portion actual terrorists. Yes, Israel is morally preferable to Hamas. Yes, we should have any illusions. Yes. None of it however absolves Israel from its own responsibility. Not for a moment.

Ilya said...

Anon/Silke, thank you for your comments. They are thoughtful and challenging for me. Let me explain.

To start with the obivous, each nation, by the nature of things, over time acquires a certain identity. Germans have one, Russians have one, despite Victor's assertions Palestians have one. The Jewish and the Israeli national identity is a more complicated case. The old joke is that in Israel you have Jews of 80 different nationalities. And there are Jews outside of Israel. Etc.

Suffice it to say however that a part of this national indentity is the Jewish faith and - and this is not necessarily the same thing - a collection of certain values. This is true for both religous and secular Jews, with the emphasis placed upon the former or the latter aspect accordingly. The moral values espoused in Judaism or in the Jewish way of life do not have to be seen as a 'light unto other nations' and they are not. But they are what attract many of us (doubtless to different degrees) to Judaism, Jewishness and, in the end, Israel. This is, whether we like or not, part of the Israel project.

There are two other arguments: that Israel is a safe home for Jews and, that it is simply a country populated by a nation now called Israelis and who can get by without nosy Australians telling them about their higher duties. I am not interested in the former: as a people, we need to move on from the persecution complex. I understand and sympathise with the second argument, if I were Israeli I would not feel in need of outside advice either, it is a perfectly reasonable point to make I think.

However, that is not an argument about what Israel means to me. I am an outsider. As a Russian and Australian half-caste who came to Jewishness late in life, my investment into Israel is inextricably linked with its moral significance and a reinforcement of the views and values I find in Jewish life. So, in the end, yes, it is emotional and personal. Perhaps, it is even selfish and at some level slightly mystical, I don't know.

The politics follow. I'd like Israel to have a moral foundation, to stand up and take responsibility for its actions, to stop oppressing other people for no good reason any more, stop splintering internally into a myraid of ethnic, religious, economic groups, and stop thinking that a measure of economic success equates thriving. Not because I am a leftie, or 'hostile to Israel' or 'well-intentioned', but because the status quo is not the Israel I love and believe in and because I worry that it is indeed a path to 'slow suicide'.

All of that should be obvious really.

By the way, Tel Aviv girls are amazing!

Anonymous said...

Ilya
"we need to move on from the persecution complex"

to the best of my knowledge Jews have moved on from the "persecution complex" again and again making themselves believe "this time it's different" - last time they convinced themselves they felt they had found Shangri-La in Germany and I assume how that tale crumbled and especially how it UNFOLDED in all its grisly details is well known to you.

as to the rest of your argument anything mythical is way beyond my mental capabilities except that I object to it strongly when attempts are made to superimpose it on such simple realities like that I do not want toddlers to be trained to obey sirens.

That the state of Israel has chosen to be a Jewish state is her decision and her decision alone and if I would aspire to pass judgement on that I would consider that to be a very impolite attempt at meddling ... and that holds true even if I were a Jew which I am not
All that is exclusively for Israeli Jews to decide within the framework of their SOVEREIGN STATE and it is also exclusively for them to decide how much they want the morals and traditions of their faith let influence their policy or politics. I look at them from the middle of Europe and am extremely grateful to them for being obviously the last to resort to submissive drivel and thus provide a role model for all of us to aspire to.

And if a Jew somewhere in the world wants a state with a "moral foundation" that meets his standards, let him go out and look for one but refrain from lecturing people doing amazingly well with their daily life in a difficult area.

and as to Andrew Sullivan's constantly bringing up his problems with the Catholic Church - they are meaningless even though Catholics still do have the remnants of some kind of state - other than that they are nothing but a hugely ambitious club - ambitions BTW I have as yet to find anything comparable with Jews - they don't even have a Pope for which I admire them of course.

Silke

Barry Meislin said...

Sounds like just another perfectionist, control freak doomed to be disappointed.

Must be our fault. It's in our power to change reality. It's really in our power. If we can't change reality, then it must be our fault. Must be. Gotta try harder.... It's our responsibility to find that solution.

...Except that, alas, sometimes it's not in one's power. Sometimes reality really sucks. And sometimes your neighbor/family/spouse/children/friend/enemy specialize in offering you choices where the one option is worse than the next.

So what do you do when the choices a country is given are: either agree to dismantle itself or agree to be destroyed?

Blame yourself no doubt....

(Though one could "go fundamentalist," somewhat, and argue that God is punishing the State of Israel for severe moral lapses within Israeli society, for killing its political leader, etc., for forgetting to protect its poor and defenseless. I'm actually quite partial to such an argument and would argue that a "solution" lies in that particular direction.)

Metternich said...

@Victor:
Palestinian culture and identity are 2 different things. The idea of Palestinian identity was created in the 1960's, as a response to Zionism. The Arab culture goes back much further.

Victor said...

@Metternich, agreed. If we go into the culture, however, Palestinian tribal culture is quite diverse as well (as Jewish cultures can be, across oceans). It is also savagely under assault by both Islam and modernity. I'm reading a book on Palestinian culture now.

@Ilya, I'm glad to get your perspective. We won't solve all the problems of the world in one conversation, so keep reading. As an aside, how old were you when you left Kazakhstan and what brought you to yiddishkeit?

Gavin said...

Ilya. It's not that I don't appreciate your comments but that you seem to typify those who criticise israel. You don't offer any alternative. It's all very well to complain but unless you can proffer a suggested solution then all you're doing is moaning. So you don't like what you see... well who the hell does?

You've written a lot here but it's all carping & criticism. Not a word suggesting or promoting a practical path to resolving the problems. That seems to be the signature of the Israel critics. They moan, carp, criticise, complain and yet not a one of them can come up with an alternative course of action that has even the remotest chance of improving the situation.

Gavin

Barry Meislin said...

Speaking of suicidal....

Anonymous said...

when I first came across Dalrymple he was in an equally gloomy mood and convinced that "it" would be in France - I knew he was wrong then because "it" is a very volatile thing - but he was so eloquent about it, that I still love to read him and if he is in one of his more desperate moods feel with him because no matter how much he lashes out at human stupidity when all is said and done he is a loving man.
Silke

David said...

Forget Hamas, the PA, Hezbollah and Iran. Israel’s demographics strictly within its Jewish population present a very real threat to its ability to survive. Specifically, while some diaspora Jews trickle into Israel each year, far more Israeli Jews emigrate to other countries and the Jews leaving Israel tend to the most educated and ambitious part of Israel’s population.

Add to that the fact that the fastest growing segment of the Israeli population is Haredis, who generally are ambivalent or hostile toward Zionism, shun military services and for the male segment of the population, live off of welfare rather than work. If the current rate of population growth persists, Haredis will comprise the majority of Israeli Jews in a couple of generations. As a Zionist who strongly supports Israel’s right to exist as Jewish state and defend itself, I fear for the country’s future and this is to say nothing of Hamas, the PA, Hezbollah and Iran.