The Problem With Israel

I have a problem with Israel. No, not jews, but the state of Israel itself. My problem with Israel, which hasn’t changed much since I first formulated my opinion, is that the policies of their government, hijacked by the extreme right settlers is to treat all of Palestine as an occupied land, treat Palestinians as second class citizens undeserving of equality, make it as unbearable as possible for Palestinians to live in their homes, and to take as much land as is possible while simultaneously painting the Palestinians as the aggressors , and their own actions inevitable in the face of such aggression. In my opinion, every reason they give is complete and utter bullshit.

First, a little history. Jews and Arabs have been like family for thousands of years. There has never been any animosity between them except for a few points in history. Before the 1920s in Palestine, they lived next door to each other, were friends and treated each other as family. Why wouldn’t they, they believe in the same God, live by a lot of the same rules and their prophets share the same bloodline.

It was not until the 1920’s that tensions started to rise. As jews faced increasing difficulty and obstacles in Europe. Then the Third Reich rose to power, and Hitler started aggressively enacting new laws that made it impossible for a jew to live in peace in Germany. Then come WWII and the concentration camps, and 6 million jews were killed by the Nazi’s. Jews started immigrating to Palestine en masse, their promised land according to the Bible, and Britain helped up until 1939. This happened without regard to the Palestinian nation and people who have been there since the 7th century. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have done nothing, but there were better ways to do it. I understand how fleeing Jews would have felt coming into another country, and that the concerns of the natives aren’t really on your mind.

This created huge tensions, as a flood of immigrants in such a small nation would create huge distortions, and make land, homes, water, food, and finding a job an increasingly difficult proposition. This forced society into a polarised ‘Us vs Them’ mentality and it has never recovered. Since the two groups couldn’t get along, hostilities started and never stopped.

When Israel declared an independent state within Palestine, the Arab nations invaded. The West rushed to Israel’s aid and the Arabs were defeated, and the tiny nation survived its first obstacle, and continued expanding by stealing land from Palestinians.

Shortly thereafter, Britain lobbied the United Nations to give Israel 55% of Palestine, and the Palestinians just 45%. I don’t know about you, but that is one of the most ridiculous political ideas I have ever heard. Think about the seriousness of the situation, a foreign group of people arrive en masse into a new country, and instead of trying to assimilate into the nation, they just take their own piece and continue taking ever more pieces as it suits them, and the United Nations, formed to promote peace, prosperity and mutual co-existence allowed one group of people to outright steal from another group of people. What a way to promote peace right? The core tenet of the United Nations, at its very inception was tossed aside.

This is still not the biggest problem I have with Israel, which I will get into later on. In the next 50 years, there were yet more wars; the Six Day War, 1982 Invasion of Lebanon, the occupation of Gaza in the 90s et al. Some instigated by the Arabs, others by Israel.

Israel, by its very aggression has created the very terrorist organisations that now seek to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ in their own words. But seriously, what do you expect when you occupy a people? Resistance is a legitimate right of any occupied people. This is international law, and ignoring the fact that is law, it’s the right thing to do anyway to protect your family, your own life and your property. It’s ironic even, the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) was the first major freedom / terrorist group to crop up, and Israel invaded Lebanon and funded Hamas and Hezbollah to replace them with more moderate voices in the peace debate. Look where that got them.

For most of Israel’s existence, the plight of Palestinians has been ignored. They have been painted as terrorists, or terrorist sympathizers. You always hear soundbites, especially during the Bush-era about ‘Israel’s right to exist’, yet they always seem to neglect Palestinians right to exist also, and the right that they should have, as should all human beings, the right of self-determination, to freedom.

Could you imagine being occupied, terrorized, having your land stolen from you for 60+ years, and your pleas to your neighbours, to the world being constantly ignored? To live your whole life in squalor, without any right to self-determination, no freedom, no economic prospects. What would you do?

I read ‘The Religion War’, and in it is said that terrorism is just another form of communication. If you think about that seriously, and don’t get emotional about it, you’ll realise that it is true. I’m not saying that terrorism is right, nor am I trying to justifying it, far from it, I think the loss of life is despicable, all life is sacred. But look at it from a rational perspective. For 60 years, nothing they have done has made any progress, including thousands upon thousands of non-violent protests, which continue to this day. Yet each year, Israel gets bigger, steals more land, kills or imprisons any Palestinians who stay and fight for their property and country, and ask yourself. What else can they do? Just lay down and take it, give up their land, their families, their lives because Israel’s right to exist outweighs their right to breathe, eat, drink and live life to its fullest?

We all secretly know that the human spirit is a powerful thing. We all know deep down that the human spirit will resist to the bitter end, that good prevails over bad. How else can the French Resistance be explained in WWII? Or ordinary Italians risking life and limb to protect their jewish brethren against Hitler’s Nazi’s even though their own government was allied with Germany. Or the Russians who despite losses in the millions (2 million alone in Stalingrad) never ever gave up hope, and kept fighting until the bitter end against a ruthless enemy devoid of any morality. Ask yourself that question and think deeply about it. It’s not black or white as the media will have you believe.

Everything they have tried has failed. The West Bank is now the most heavily populated squalid area on the face of the Earth, the Palestinians are the most displaced people in the World. They have no self-determination, no self-control and Palestine isn’t even recognised as a country.

On the other hand, the problem with the West and its support of Israel is that the media ends up viewing an attack on Israel as an attack on us (Can’t figure out why) and that forces us to perceive the battle from only one side. Information from the Palestinian side is never shown in an unbiased way, and only in a biased way from the Israeli side. This is pathetic news coverage. A neutral 3rd party perspective is never ever discussed on the news, in politics or anywhere and those that do take such a stance are labelled anti-Semites, jew haters, nazi’s etc. I thought we lived in a democracy, a place where freedom of speech is sacred, where all viewpoints are considered and evaluated. How corrupted has our democracy become to allow such a travesty to happen.

But, my single biggest problem with Israel is that they should know better. They should be the moral guardians of the world, standing out against injustice on all people’s. For they felt the bitter, horrible effects that such injustice eventually results in. 11 million people were exterminated in WWII, 6 million of them Jews. There are still people alive today who lived through that most devastating period, the lowest point in our Human History. There have been hundreds, maybe even thousands of holocausts throughout our 7,000 year civilised history, but the word all on its own refers to the 11 million people mercilessly robbed of life between 1939-45.

Yet, here they still are, after 60 years continuing the legacy of dictatorship, ruthlessness, and imprisonment. In the 2000’s, 6 Palestinians were killed for every Israeli that was killed. When Israel gave back 24 settlements to the Palestinians, they expanded their other settlements resulting in no land loss for Israel.

Palestine to this day remains a prison where food/water/goods/people can not enter or leave without Israeli approval, and if you have been denied you have no recourse of any kind. Everyday, tens of thousands of Palestinians are forced to cross humiliating Israeli checkpoints designed to frustrate and break their wills, forced to show their ‘papers’ that can be revoked or turned down at the whim of any a soldier because he feels like it. Israeli’s jets routinely flew just a few hundred feet above the homes of Palestinians creating sonic booms to terrify the population, creating psychological scars in the minds of children who will grow up for the rest of their lives terrified. If a suicide bomber killed Israelis, then the Israeli military would destroy his family’s home and force them onto the street, despite the fact that they almost never know what he was doing or that he was even dead sometimes. I thought collective punishment was something we did away with in the Dark Ages.

There is no reason Israel should act the way it does, other than the fact that their leaders are power-hungry hypocritical douchebags who use a 2,000 year old book to justify their continued immorality. From what I have read, most Israeli’s don’t agree with their leaders stance when it comes to Palestine, and for that I am glad. But that just exposes the flaw of democracy, and how eventually, democracy is corrupted and the will of the people is ignored.

6 thoughts on “The Problem With Israel”

  1. While I appreciate that it’s your opinion, and that I didn’t have to read the article as a whole (which, eventually I couldn’t…I skimmed the latter half), I couldn’t help but notice that you are missing some key facts.
    As an outsider who is living in Jerusalem right now in the thick of things, learning from an impartial professor about the entire Palestinian/Israeli conflict, there is much more at play here than just what you mentioned in your post.

    I’m not going to tell you how to write your blog. That’s not my job. But I do feel like if you’re going to offer an opinion on something, that you get all the facts first.
    I’m only going to address one…because A) I don’t have time to address more than that and B) I really only feel comfortable defending what I 100% know to be true.

    “Britain started evacuating Jews to Palestine, their promised land according to the Bible.” Complete and total falsehood. Throughout the course of WWII, misplaced Jews had to make their way into Israel illegally. Britain wouldn’t let them in, so they were smuggled. These 100,000+ illegal immigrants then had to try to assimilate with the older-generation that was already there…in order to do so, they’d have to drop everything about their culture, their heritage.

    Understandably, this was difficult. Instead of assimilating, they formed their own groups such as kibbutzim or other communal living areas around the country.

    It had NOTHING to do with the government. In fact, the British didn’t even open up the borders until much later.

    I’m not here claiming that you are wrong…just that your facts are a little skewed.
    Thanks for offering your opinion, but I will find a more factual and less bias one elsewhere.

    1. Hey, well at first, the British government was very supportive of Jewish immigration, evidenced by this quote from the British Foreign Secretary in 1917 (16 years before Hitler)

      “His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

      It was not until 1936, several years after Hitler came to power, did Arabs start their revolt due to increasing immigration, and then 1939 when Britain started restricting Jews from entry (They had started entering from 1881 so almost 60 years of unrestricted entry), until Britain finally stopped trying in 1947, then the 1st war started some time there after between the Arab States and Israel.

      I’m not saying Jewish people should not have been let in, or helped. Of course they should have been. What Hitler did was atrocious, and the Arabs should have been more receptive especially during the 30’s. The nation shaping that took place after, left no room for the original inhabitats. With each new war, Israel took more and more land, and then continued to do so in times of peace to this day at the expense of Palestinians. Most Israeli’s don’t really agree with their government, from what I hear, but the government now caters to settlers who are extremists, and that is damn shame.

      Thank you for the comment, and for starting a good discourse. I would have preferred you read the whole thing, instead of just a part here or there to better understand what I wrote. I did use my memory to fill in some blanks, ie. I had forgotten Britain reversed their policy and started keeping Jews out, then quitting altogether, so the reminder helped. Thanks. 🙂

    2. Thank you for your wonderful insight. You are truly blessed with the spirit of Jewmanity. I would like to offer you an honorary Jewish citizenship. This comes complete with absurd interest rates and a sizeable block of unoccupied (well now it is. There were some peasants living in their that claimed they owned it but we eradicated that minor inconvenience) Palestinian land.

  2. “Rabbi Damian” is offensive — if he has to ask why then he is being disingenuous,
    Now, as to Random Rationality’s points:

    It is not quite true that Jews and Arabs lived in perfect harmony until the 1920s. If you read the history of the dhimmi (Jews and Christians under Muslim rule) you will see that lengthy periods of peaceful co-existence were punctuated by pogroms and riots and murder. In many historical periods the Pact of Omar was applied strictly (jews and christians not allowed to ride horses or build new churches or synagogues, not allowed to bear arms). It was, in a word, not a consistently peaceful existence for Jews in the Arab world, even if it never got as bad as it did in Europe.

    Finally, it is not true that the Jews were accorded 55% of Palestine and the Palestinians only 45%. Firstly, it was the UN and not the UK which divided the land. Secondly, “Palestine” included most of “Transjordan”, which is now Jordan. The jews got 22% of Palestine.

    So many distortions…..the WB is by no means the most densely populated squalid place on earth. Have you not seen Bangladesh? Or Hong Kong? I have driven through the WB and it is not densely populated. I agree entirely that the conditions of occupation are demeaning and difficult, but had the Arabs accepted the UN decision for partition, rather than going to war in 1948 in an attempt to destroy the state of Israel, you must know things would have played out differently.

    It is ridiculous to talk about the Holocaust as if it somehow required Jews to give up their rights of survival as a people in their homeland. They are not obliged to be the world’s moral custodians. They are a people in many ways like others. I hope the occupation comes to an end and the settlements are dismantled, but you depart very far from a sensible position when you say that “There is no reason Israel should act the way it does, other than the fact that their leaders are power-hungry hypocritical douchebags who use a 2,000 year old book to justify their continued immorality.” They were attacked in 1948 and repeatedly since then — in an attempt to drive them into the sea. Who wouldn’t become somewhat paranoid in such circumstances! But your analysis is far to casual and divorced from political reality.

    1. Hi Zhoa,

      Thanks for your comment. To address your points on a case-by-case basis. It was actually Palestine that received 22% of the land in 1988 with their declaration of a Palestinian state. And originally, as part of the UN plan in the late 40s, they were granted just over 55%, enshrined in UN General Assembly Resolution 181:

      “The territory of Palestine should be divided as follows:
      A Jewish State covering 56.47% of Mandatory Palestine (excluding Jerusalem) with a population of 498,000 Jews and 325,000 Arabs.”

      So your facts are a bit mixed-up. Also, a bit naively, I didn’t go into too much detail relating to their inter-relationship prior too, but like you say, it was relative harmony with a few violent outbreaks (which could be said of every society in history).

      In regards to the points I make on the squalid conditions, it is in reference to population density and prosperity (I wrote this at the beginning of my writing career so it was very amateur as you can see). Several years ago, the per-capita GDP is $1,036 (or $3 a day) with serious unemployment. Recently, it has started getting better, and I hope it continues to do so.

      As for your cavalier remark that the people of Palestine should have simply accepted their fate of giving away half their country (the jew’s hadn’t controlled it for thousands of years, and it has been Palestine since the 7th century). It is folly and naive to expect any country, or people to allow itself to be walked over. The jews would have done no different. The jews could have simply assimilated into the country, instead of trying to take it over. You are no one to tell them they should have, nor am I. It was the moral imperative of the guests to play according the rules, and effect change from the inside gradually as is normal of overall societal change. Nobody, nor I, nor many others, have ever said the jews needed to give up their rights to live. That is a straw-man argument designed to circumvent the argument at hand. Again, they could have simply assimilated into the nation. The fact that the bible says it is their homeland is nonsense. This is no longer the -1st BCE, 1st or 2nd millenium where the rights of conquest was paramount and even revered. It is the civilized world now, we are global citizens, and forcibly taking over another country is (and always has been) wrong.

      Yes, Israel was attacked, they had invaded and taken over (and wanted to take even more) parts of a country that wasn’t theirs, and that initial aggression has never stopped. Keep in mind who the instigator was. In a court-of-law (in sensible countries), when an intruder comes into your home, you have every right to defend yourself and your family. It is no different here, just replace ‘home’ with ‘country’. The instigating factor was Israel, not Palestine. The Jewish people had 60 years of uninterrupted legal migration into Palestine, and they repaid that by slowly taking over the country with forceful imposition from the UN, and their armies. I believe the only solution is a 1-state solution (not two), but that doesn’t undo or forgive the immoral implications of what happened. Yes, the Palestinians (some amongst them) committed immoral acts also, but the instigating factor was always Israel, and a naive viewpoint such as yours cannot undo that.

      Thank you for pointing out the few flaws in my argument, but the overall case you make is likewise flawed, and also naive (much as my own might be in regards to justice). At least, we both agree and hope that the settlements and occupation will eventually end, and I sincerely hope so.

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