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Sunday, December 04, 2011

More discussion of Israel

We didn't have any guests this time, and the group was missing several members, but we stayed on the same theme - that the Palestinians have no legitimate claim to the land, and generally they suck.  This time we began by focusing our attention on an extremist religious sect of Jews who live in Israel, but don't recognize the government, because Israel can only be re-established as the homeland of the Jews when God arranges it, so the current political entity has no authority as far as they're concerned.  We apparently agree that we "despise" this group because they've been used as "pawns" by anti-semites.  However, our own arguments regarding the Palestinians play into the hands of our enemies as well.  The assertion that "we were there first" isn't considered credible on playgrounds, but we still want to use it in this conversation.  The fact that it's not true - read the book of Numbers* - doesn't bother us in the least. Similarly, the argument that we've made the land "thrive" more than any other group that's been in control of it (most specifically, the Palestinians) implies that they don't deserve it as much as we do.  Which is exactly the sort of reasoning that leads to the UN calling Zionism "racist."

The whole conversation makes me ill.  Why are we so unable to make the case for our legitimate claim to the land without dismissing the other people who also feel connected to it?  Indigeous people have always been ignored when lands are conquered - apparently it's a natural human tendency.  But that doesn't mean we have to succumb to it, let alone make it the cornerstone of our argument.  I don't think American Jews realize just how incredibly unpopular Israel has become after 60+ years of this untenable arrangement.  Our arrogant and narrow-minded, and frankly inhumane, approach to it is not helping Israel, America, or the situation in general.

*Numbers 13:28 - "The people who live there are strong, the cities are fortified and large. . . "
Numbers 13:29 - "Amalek is living in the land of the Negev, and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and the side of the Jordan."
Numbers 14:9 - "They shall be our prey . . . do not fear them."



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