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Understanding The Israeli Palestinian Conflict For The Average American

Israel bars any candidate from holding office who thinks Israel should be a secular, democratic state with equal rights for all.

Defining Democracy
By Tim Wise

Webster's New World Dictionary defines democracy as, among other things, "the principle of equality of rights, opportunity and treatment, or the practice of this principle." Keep this in mind, as we'll be coming back to it shortly.

Now, imagine that the United States were to abolish our Constitution, or perhaps had never had one to begin with. No Bill of Rights. No guarantees of things like free speech, freedom of assembly and due process of law.

And imagine that Congress were to pass a law stating that the U.S. was from this point forward to be legally defined as a Christian nation. As such, Christians would be given special privileges for jobs, loans, and land ownership. Furthermore, political candidates espousing certain beliefs--especially those who might argue that we should be a nation with equal rights for all, and not a "Christian nation"--were no longer allowed to hold office.

And imagine that next month, new laws were passed that restricted certain ethnic and religious groups from acquiring land in particular parts of the country, and made it impossible for members of ethnic minorities to hold certain jobs, or live in particular communities.

And imagine that in response to perceived threats to our nation's internal security, new laws sailed through the House and Senate, providing for torture of those detained for suspected subversion. This, on top of still other laws providing for the detention of such suspects for long periods of time without trial or even a formal charge against them.

In such a scenario, would anyone with an appreciation of the English language, and with the above definition in mind, dare suggest that we would be justified in calling ourselves a democracy?

Of course not: and yet the term is repeatedly used to describe Israel--as in "the only democracy in the Middle East."

This, despite the fact that said nation has no constitution.

This, despite the fact that said nation is defined as the state of the Jewish people, providing special rights and privileges to anyone in the world who is Jewish and seeks to live there, over and above longtime Arab residents.

This, despite the fact that said nation bars any candidate from holding office who thinks Israel should be a secular, democratic state with equal rights for all.

This, despite the fact that non-Jews are restricted in terms of how much land they can own, and in which places they can own land at all.

This, despite that fact that even the Israeli Supreme Court has acknowledged the use of torture against suspected "terrorists" and other "enemies" of the Jewish state.

For some, it is apparently sufficient that Israel has an electoral system, and that Arabs have the right to vote in those elections (though just how equally this right is protected is of course a different matter). The fact that one can't vote for a candidate who questions the special Jewish nature of the state, because such candidates can't run for or hold office, strikes most as irrelevant: hardly enough to call into question their democratic credentials.

But of course, the Soviet Union also had elections, of a sort. And in those elections, most people could vote, though candidates who espoused an end to the communist system were barred from participation. Voters got to choose between communists. In Israel, voters get to choose between Zionists. In the former case, we recognize such truncated freedom as authoritarianism. In the latter case, we call it democracy.

If it was not already obvious that the English language was dead--what with the inanities introduced to it by the business-speak of corporate capitalism, such as "thinking outside the box," "managing one's human assets," and "planned shrinkage"--this should pretty well prove the point. If what we see in Israel is indeed democracy, then what does fascism look like?

I'm sorry, but I am over it. As a Jew--hear me now--I am over it. And if my language seems too harsh here, that's tough. Because it's nothing compared to the sickening things said by Israeli leaders throughout the years. Like Menachem Begin, former Prime Minister who told the Knesset in 1982 that the Palestinians were "beasts walking on two legs." Or former P.M. Ehud Barak, who offered a more precise form of dehumanization when he referred to the Palestinians as "crocodiles."

And speaking of Barak, for more confirmation on the death of language, one should examine his April 14 op-ed in the New York Times. Therein, Barak insisted that democracy in Israel could be "maintained" (ahem), so long as the Jewish state was willing to set up security fences to separate itself from the Palestinians, and keep the Palestinians in their place.

Calling the process "unilateral disengagement," Barak opined that limiting access by Arabs to Israel is the key to maintaining a Jewish majority, and thus the Jewish nature of the state. That the Jewish nature of the state is inimical to democracy as defined by every dictionary in the world matters not, one supposes.

Barak even went so far as to warn that in the absence of such security fences, Israel might actually become an apartheid state. Imagine that: unless they institute separation they might become an apartheid state. The irony of such a statement is nearly perfect, and once again signals that words no longer have meaning. They are but the sounds that emanate from one's throat and are accompanied by breath and occasionally spittle. They mean nothing. Define them as you choose.

Interestingly, amidst the subterfuge, other elements of Barak's essay struck me as surprisingly honest: much more honest, in fact, than when he had been Prime Minister and supposedly made that "generous offer" to Arafat about which we keep hearing.

You know, the one that would have allowed the maintenance of most Jewish settlements in the territories, and would have restricted the Palestinian state to the worst land, devoid of its own water supply, and cutoff at numerous chokepoints by Israeli security. Yeah that one. The one that has been described variously (without any acknowledgement of the inconsistency) as having offered the Palestinians either 93%, or is it 95%, or maybe 96%, or perhaps 98% of the West Bank and Gaza.

Well, in the Times piece, Barak finally came clean, admitting that Israel would need to erect the fences in such a manner as to incorporate at least one-quarter of the territories into Israel, so as to subsume the settlements. So not 93 percent, or 96%, or 98%, but at best 75%, and still on the worst land.

Furthermore, the fences would slice up Jerusalem and restrict Arab access to the Holy Basin and the Old City: a direct swipe at Muslims who seek access on a par with their fellow descendants of Abraham.

That this was Barak's idea all along should surprise no one. And that such a "solution" would mean the final loss for the Palestinians of all but 17% of their pre-Israel territory will likely not strike many in the U.S. media or political elite as being terribly unfair.

If anything, we will continue to hear about the intransigence of the Arabs, and their unwillingness to accept these "generous offers," which can only be seen as generous to a people who have become so inured to human suffering that their very souls are in jeopardy.

Or to those who have never consulted a dictionary. For once again, it defines generous as: "willing to give or share; unselfish; large; ample; rich in yield; fertile." In a world such as this, where words have lost all meaning, we might as well just burn all the dictionaries.

Sometimes, the linguistic obfuscation goes beyond single words, and begins to encompass entire phrases. One such example is the oft-repeated statement to the effect that "Jews should be able to live anywhere in the world, and to say otherwise is to endorse anti-Semitism." Thus, it is asked, why shouldn't Jews be able to settle in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem?

Of course, whoever says such a thing must know of its absurdity beforehand. After all, the right to live wherever one chooses has never included the right to live in someone else's house, after taking it by force or fraud.

Nor does it include the right to set up house in territories that are conquered and occupied as the result of military conflict: indeed, international law expressly forbids such a thing.

And furthermore, those who insist on the right of Jews to live wherever they choose, by definition deny the same right to Palestinians, who cannot live in the place of their choosing, or even in the homes that were once theirs.

Needless to say, many Palestinians would like to live inside Israel's pre-1948 borders, and exercise a right of return in order to do so. But don't expect those who demand the right for Jews to plant stakes anywhere we choose to offer the same right to Arabs.

Many of these are among the voices that insist Jordan is "the Palestinian state," and thus, Palestinians should be perfectly happy living there. Since Palestinians are Semites, one could properly call such an attitude "anti-Semitic"--seeing as how it limits the rights of Semitic peoples to live wherever they wish--but given the transmogrification of the term "anti-Semitism" into something that can only apply to Jew-hatred, such a usage would seem bizarre to many, one suspects.

The rhetorical shenanigans even extend to the world of statistics. Witness the full-page advertisement in the New York Times placed by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which ran the same day as the Barak op-ed.

Therein, these supposed spokespersons for American Judaism stated their unyielding support for Israel, and claimed that the 450 Israeli deaths caused by terrorism since the beginning of the second intifada, were equal to 21,000 deaths in the U.S. from terrorism, as a comparable percentage of each nation's overall population.

Playing upon fears and outrage over the attacks of 9/11, the intent was quite transparent: get U.S. readers to envision 9/11 all over again, only with seven times more casualties! A brilliant move, indeed.

But of course, honesty--an intellectual commodity in short supply these days, and altogether missing from the rhetorical shelves of the Conference of Presidents--would require one to point out that the numbers of Palestinian non-combatant (that is to say civilian) deaths, at the hands of Israel in that same time period, is much higher, and indeed would be "equal to" far more than 21,000 in the U.S., as a comparable share of respective populations.

To be honest to a fault would be to note that the 900 or so Palestinians slaughtered with Israeli support in the Sabra and Shatilla camps during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, would be equal to over 40,000 Americans. Even more, the 17,500 Arabs killed overall by Israel during that invasion would be roughly equivalent to over 800,000 Americans today: the size of many large cities.

In the dictionary such a thing might fall under the heading of terrorism. But remember, words no longer have any meaning.

Sounding eerily like Adolph Hitler, Ariel Sharon once said, "a lie should be tried in a place where it will attract the attention of the world." And so it has been: throughout the media and the U.S. political scene, on CNN in the personage of Benjamin Netanyahu, and in the pages of the New York Times.

And in my Hebrew School, where we were taught that Jews were to be "a light unto the nations," instead of this dim bulb, this flickering nightlight, this barely visible spark, whose radiance is only sufficient to make visible the death-rattle of the more noble aspects of the Jewish tradition.

Unless we who are Jews insist on a return to honest language, and an end to the hijacking of our culture and faith by madmen, racists and liars, I fear that the light may be extinguished forever.

Really? 21.May.2002 09:24

The Truth

To start, please explain the following

1. Please state the law that you claim prevents candidates from running if they favor a secular nation. Please explain how Hadash seats members in the Knesset every year. Is Hadash a Zionist party? Also, please explain the recent success of Shinui among Israeli Jewish voters. Israel has over 20 parties in the Knesset that range from the far left from the far right, from secular to religious. Furthermore, explain how Meir Kahane was banned from running for the Knesset.

2. Please state what source you are using to contend that the target of anti-Semitism truly encompasses Palestinians. Please explain the transmogrification of the term anti-Semitism. It seems to have a pretty clear meaning.

3. Is the United Kingdom a democratic country? Do they have a constitution? It's funny, I think they have been holding democratic elections for over a century. But I guess according to you, they would be anti-democratic

4. Please explain the land ownership rules in Israel. Explain why neither Israeli Jews or Arabs own land. Stop speaking in half truths.

More on Israeli State Terrorism here 21.May.2002 13:44

Marcia Braddock

For more on Israeli atrocities and violations of international law visit

More on Israeli State Terrorism here
More on Israeli State Terrorism here

Forgetting these ones? 21.May.2002 13:53

coming right back at you

Forgetting these ones?
Forgetting these ones?

more 21.May.2002 14:00


more on arab terrorism

Letter to anti-Zionists 21.May.2002 14:04

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Letter to an Anti-Zionist friend

". . . You declare, my friend, that you do not hate the Jews, you are
'anti-Zionist.' And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high
tops, let it echo through the valleys of God's green earth: When people
criticize Zionism, they mean Jews--this is God's own truth.

"Antisemitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and remains a
on the soul of mankind. In this we are in full agreement. So know also
anti-Zionist is inherently antisemitic, and ever will be so.

"Why is this? You know that Zionism is nothing less than the dream and
of the Jewish people returning to live in their own land. The Jewish
the Scriptures tell us, once enjoyed a flourishing Commonwealth in the
Land. From this they were expelled by the Roman tyrant, the same Romans
cruelly murdered Our Lord. Driven from their homeland, their nation in
ashes, forced to wander the globe, the Jewish people time and again
the lash of whichever tyrant happened to rule over them.

"The Negro people, my friend, know what it is to suffer the torment of
tyranny under rulers not of our choosing. Our brothers in Africa have
begged, pleaded, requested--DEMANDED the recognition and realization of
inborn right to live in peace under our own sovereignty in our own

"How easy it should be, for anyone who holds dear this inalienable right
all mankind, to understand and support the right of the Jewish People to

live in their ancient Land of Israel. All men of good will exult in the
fulfilment of God's promise, that his People should return in joy to
their plundered land.

This is Zionism, nothing more, nothing less.

"And what is anti-Zionist? It is the denial to the Jewish people of a
fundamental right that we justly claim for the people of Africa and
accord all other nations of the Globe. It is discrimination against
Jews, my
friend, because they are Jews. In short, it is antisemitism.

"The antisemite rejoices at any opportunity to vent his malice. The
have made it unpopular, in the West, to proclaim openly a hatred of the
Jews. This being the case, the antisemite must constantly seek new forms
forums for his poison. How he must revel in the new masquerade! He does
hate the Jews, he is just 'anti-Zionist'!

"My friend, I do not accuse you of deliberate antisemitism. I know you
as I do, a deep love of truth and justice and a revulsion for racism,
prejudice, and discrimination. But I know you have been misled--as
have been--into thinking you can be 'anti-Zionist' and yet remain true
these heartfelt principles that you and I share.

Let my words echo in the depths of your soul: When people criticize
they mean Jews--make no mistake about it."

From M.L. King Jr., "Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend," Saturday
Review_XLVII (Aug. 1967), p. 76.
Reprinted in M.L. King Jr., "This I Believe: Selections from the
Writings of
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

Proof 21.May.2002 15:35


that even MLK can be wrong.

More on Islamic extremism here 21.May.2002 18:16


Islamic Reason for the Holy War (Jihad)
Terrorism... Suicide Bombers...

The "Holy War" ("Jihad")... most "un-holy"!... Terrorism... Suicide Bombers... have its roots in Islamic teaching, this teaching is based upon the Quran and Hadith.

Every Muslim claims that Islam is the religion of peace... however, here is another opinion by The Hadith of Muhammed: "Fighting and Sacred Rage in the Cause of Allah (Jihad): War, killing, and rage were the foundation of Islam, and it is the same to this hour in the heart of Ghadaffi, Saddam Hussein, and Osama Bin Laden. Islam is a religion of death and killing for their god."

Many Muslims claim Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. It may well become part of all our lives. Some may well ask, "Does it matter, for some in Islam are gentle people?" The truth is that while the sensitive Muslim is disturbed by some of the things done in the name of Islam, the expansionists uphold extremes:

"One Muslim extremist of the Islamic Liberation party reminded his interlocutors just before the scheduled opening of the party's international rally in London in August, 1994, that 'there are 123 verses in the Quran about killing and fighting.' And he added, quite unnecessarily, 'Ours is not a passive religion.' Quoted from Fregosi, P. (1998, p.18).

Here are four of the 123 verses referred to above. [Note: the numbering of these varies slightly between translations.]

1- "O believers, fight the unbelievers who are near to you, and let them find in you a harshness; and know that Allah is with the godfearing" (Sura al-Tawba 9:123).

2- "Fight against those who believe not in Allah and the Last Day and do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger, have forbidden -- such men as practice not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book -- until they pay tribute out of hand and have been humbled" (Sura al-Tawba 9:29).

3- "The punishment of those who wage war against God and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;" (Sura Al Ma idah 5:33).

The Quran encourages Muslims to fight, even when they would rather seek peace with those who do not wish to adopt Islam.

4- "Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not." (Sura AL-BAQARA 2:16) The Quran

Most Muslims would say that these verses are misunderstood, but misunderstood or not, the history of Islam shows that many Muslim leaders have used those verses to spread terror. Islam, according to the Quran, can be spread by force.

Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was quoted as saying,
1- "Invitation first" (that is, call them first to embrace Islam).
2- "If they refuse, then war." "The sword", said Mohammed, "is the key of heaven and hell; a drop of blood shed in the cause of Allah, a night spent in arms, is of more avail than two months of fasting or prayer: whosoever falls in battle, his sins are forgiven, and at the day of judgment his limbs shall be supplied by the wings of angels and cherubim."

This is a good reason for a Muslim to be a Suicide Bomber, or a Terrorist willing to die... because Muslims wish to have their sins forgiven. But every Muslim lacks this certainty, and some are willing to do anything to gain it. Thus, fighting for Allah (a form Jihad) is the way of many... a sure way to go to Paradise.

Much of the Islamic world is constantly in a state of confusion and violence, warring against itself... Many assassinations of Caliphs and other rulers have been made in the name of God by fellow Muslims:

Here is an explanation of these assassinations among brother Muslims by The Hadith of Muhammed:
"Allah's Apostle said, "Allah welcomes two men with a smile; one of whom kills the other and both of them enter Paradise. One fights in Allah's Cause and gets killed. Later on Allah forgives the 'killer who also get martyred (In Allah's Cause)."... Here is a very important matter. We often wonder how Muslims kill each other and both parties scream "Jihad" as they kill each other. Muhammed says that Allah is happy to see them BOTH killing each other. The cause is not the point-- just kill, kill, kill."

"Foreign Correspondent" (Australian TV) has screened some of the atrocities committed publicly by Muslims against Muslims. These acts were approved by the religious leaders of those communities. Sounds a bit far fetched? Some things have to be seen to be believed. Murder in Purdha , License to Kill (both of these programs and many others are available on video)

In The Name of Allah
My Grace is Sufficient for You by G.M. Naaman. It is about his life as a Muslim, the crimes he committed towards Hindu's, and why he left Islam and became a peace-maker. Such stories are more common than you would think.

And the crimes of the recent past Massacres of the Khilafah

What will happen if most of the Islamic world is united under one leader (as in times of old), having the wealth and military might to challenge western nations? If the world is forced to accept Islamic Law, the world will not be a more peaceful place. Instead, the result of a world under the rule of Islam would be disaster. Consider that the few countries that have adopted Islamic Sharia Law are all disasters. Since it has been adopted by Sudan (1983), 2 million unnecessary deaths have occurred in that country, all due to Islamic oppression. This is the story of Islam.

We note also that while Islam is supposed to bring equality, in practice this has never occurred. The super rich are able to avoid many of the harsh punishments that poor people cannot escape from.

The Quran hardly mentions love, and does not encourage love toward non-Muslims. Love for example is only shown toward the Muslim widow and orphan. Other widows and orphans (eg.Hindus, Christians, Jews) have to convert if they wish to receive the same treatment from the Muslim community.

Sadly, every Muslim dreams of a world under Islam because he believes Islam is the solution to the problems that plague humanity.

Islam is a state religion by nature; consequently Muslims are automatically involved in the affairs of the state (politics). However, history has shown that ordinary Muslims will never have a real choice when it comes to the laws they are going to live under, as the majority of them are decided by their religious leaders. God, they say, has given his laws in the Quran and Hadiths (although the many conflicting opinions result in conflicts within Islam over these).

Islam or Freedom? Your Choice

Mostly taken from:
The Hadith of Muhammed (the Sayings of Muhammed)
Offensive War to Spread Islam.
Lying for Allah
Slavery in Sudan
One Arabic Quran, A 'Perfect' Quran, Islamic Hoaxes

 http://www.submission.org/Frame1.html: Terrorism, war... a Muslim Web Site.

Middle East for Dummies 21.May.2002 18:21

Dennis Miller

"A brief overview of the situation is always valuable, so as a service to all Americans who still don't get it, I now offer you the story of the Middle East in just a few paragraphs, which is all you really

Don't thank me. I'm a giver. Here we go:

The Palestinians want their own country. There's just one thing about that:

There are no Palestinians. It's a made up word. Israel was called Palestine for two thousand years.

Like "Wiccan," "Palestinian" sounds ancient but is really a modern invention.

Before the Israelis won the land in war:

Gaza was owned by Egypt, and there were no
"Palestinians" then,

and the West Bank was owned by Jordan, and there were no "Palestinians" then.

As soon as the Jews took over and started growing oranges as big as basketballs, what do you know,

say hello to the "Palestinians," weeping for their deep bond with their lost "land" and "nation."

So for the sake of honesty, let's not use the word "Palestinian" any more to describe these delightful folks, who dance for joy at our deaths until someone points out they're being taped.

Instead, let's call them what they are:

"Other Arabs Accomplish Anything In Life And Would
Rather Wrap Themselves In The Seductive Melodrama Of Eternal Struggle And Death."

I know that's a bit unwieldy to expect to see
on CNN. How about this, then: "Adjacent Jew-Haters."

Okay, so the Adjacent Jew-Haters want their own country. Oops, just one more thing.

No, they don't. They could've had their own
country any time in the last thirty years, especially two years ago at Camp David.

But if you have your own country, you have to
have traffic lights and garbage trucks and Chambers of Commerce, and, worse, you actually have to figure out some way to make a living.

That's no fun.

No, they want what all the other Jew-Haters in
the region want: Israel.

They also want a big pile of dead Jews, of course-that's where the real fun is-but mostly they want Israel.


For one thing, trying to destroy Israel-or "The Zionist Entity" as their textbooks call it-for the last fifty years ,

has allowed the rulers of Arab countries to divert the attention of their own people away from the fact that
they're the blue-ribbon most illiterate, poorest, and
tribally backward on God's Earth,

and if you've ever been around God's Earth, you know that's really saying something.

It makes me roll my eyes every time one of our pundits waxes poetic about the great history and culture of the Muslim Mideast.

Unless I'm missing something, the Arabs haven't given anything to the world since Algebra, and, by the way, thanks a hell of a lot for that one.

Chew this around and spit it out:

Five hundred million Arabs; five million Jews. Think of all the Arab countries as a football field, and
Israel as a pack of matches sitting in the middle of it.

And now these same folks swear that if Israel gives them half of that pack of matches, everyone will be pals.


Wow, what neat news. Hey, but what about the string of wars to obliterate the tiny country and the constant din of rabid blood oaths to drive every Jew into the

Oh, that? We were just kidding.

My friend Kevin Rooney made a gorgeous point the other day:

Just reverse the numbers.

Imagine five hundred million Jews and five million Arabs. I was stunned at the simple brilliance of it.

Can anyone picture the Jews strapping belts of razor blades and dynamite to themselves?

Of course not.

Or marshalling every fiber and force at their disposal for generations to drive a tiny Arab state into the


Or dancing for joy at the murder of innocents?

Or spreading and believing horrible lies about the Arabs baking their bread with the blood of children?


No, as you know, left to themselves in a world of peace, the worst Jews would ever do to people is debate them to death.

Mr. Bush, God bless him, is walking a tightrope.

I understand that with vital operations coming up against Iraq and others, it's in our interest, as Americans, to try to stabilize our Arab allies as much as possible,

and, after all, that can't be much harder than
stabilizing a roomful of supermodels who've just had their drugs taken away.

However, in any big-picture strategy, there's always a
danger of losing moral weight. We've already lost some.

After September 11 our president told us and the world he was going to root out all terrorists and the countries that supported them.


Then the Israelis, after months and months of having the equivalent of an Oklahoma City every week (and then every day) start to do the same thing we did, and we tell them to show restraint.

If America were being attacked with an Oklahoma City every day, we would all very shortly be screaming for the administration to just be done with it and kill everything south of the Mediterranean and east
of the Jordan.

(Hey, wait a minute, that's actually not such a