U.S.-Israel Row Intensifies
Folks, I’m about to let you in on a dirty, little secret: I actually agree with Tom Friedman’s N.Y. Times column today, because it contains an uncharacteristically blunt attack on the latest scandal in Israel’s relations with the U.S.:
…On his recent trip to Israel…the vice president missed a chance to send a powerful public signal: He should have snapped his notebook shut, gotten right back on Air Force Two, flown home and left the following scribbled note behind: “Message from America to the Israeli government: Friends don’t let friends drive drunk. And right now, you’re driving drunk. You think you can embarrass your only true ally in the world, to satisfy some domestic political need, with no consequences? You have lost total contact with reality. Call us when you’re serious. We need to focus on building our country.”
That’s what I said to myself when I first heard about the housing construction. This is classic Israeli blunderbuss tactics. They’ve done precisely this many times in the past. That the Obama administration didn’t anticipate such a provocation as this and immediately act in the sort of strong and deliberate manner, depressed and disappointed me. That a usually pro-Israel supporter like Friedman had almost precisely my point of view frankly amazed me.
But the fact of the matter is that Obama didn’t act when he should have. He steamed and the anger and resentment grew. Though it doesn’t matter that much when the U.S. got angry, it would’ve made a far stronger and more effective statement to have acted immediately. I hate to say this but it’s like disciplining your pet. If he eats the Thanksgiving turkey (as my dog has done) and you come home to find a carcass sitting on the floor, whacking him on the nose with a newspaper will be a lot less effective than if you catch him in the act and make sure that all hell breaks loose. Then he knows precisely what he did wrong and not to do it again.
This goes to the ongoing weakness and equivocation of the administration in so many areas. You simply can’t beat a poker player like Bibi (or virtually any Israeli PM) by vacillating. And that’s what Obama has done. He stakes out a position and gradually whittles it down so that after a few months you hardly remember what the opening position was.
Friends of mine I respect like M.J. Rosenberg and Sol Salbe are practically breaking out their Obama buttons again. I’m not so sure it’s that time yet. The president’s got a long way to go.
Let’s start by seeing how he handles Aipac’s upcoming national policy conference at which virtually every DC political player is expected to pay their obeisance to the Lobby. I read one blogger wag say he expected Biden to come on all fours–perhaps a bit harsh but not terribly so. Aipac has made its deep displeasure known regarding the Obama meltdown on the housing controversy. Joe Lieberman reacted with typically annoying dismissiveness:
“Let’s cut the family fighting. It’s unnecessary; it’s destructive of our shared national interest. It’s time to lower voices, to get over the family feud between the U.S. and Israel. It just doesn’t serve anybody’s interests but our enemies.”
Notice how Lieberman ellides our enemies and Israel’s and they become one, as if there is no difference between our national interests and Israel’s. And who might that “enemy” be? Well, since the row concerns the theft of Palestinian land and building illegal settlements on it, we can safely assume that Lieberman includes the Palestinians among Israel’s and the U.S.’ enemies. Perhaps he might’ve been alluding to Iran, but that nation is a lot less interested in the issue of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem than the Palestinians are. So I think it’s interesting just whose side Joe is on and whose side he’s not on. And frankly, Joe Lieberman is on Israeli’s side and not on America’s side. Of course, as I wrote above he sees them as being one and the same. But they’re not.
Speaking of provocations, Israel has dropped another bomb on the Palestinians with the rededication of the gleaming Hurva Synagogue in the contested Jewish Quarter of the Old City. This follows an earlier provocation by which Bibi named two religious sites in Hebron as “national heritage sites.” After he did so, Palestinians began streaming to the Temple Mount in the hundreds and thousands to protest. Israel then closed off the area to Muslim worshipers and protesters. Now Israel has added insult to injury in such a way that it is meant either as a deliberate poke in the eye or the height of cluelessness (and what’s the difference ultimately?). Hamas has reacted by calling for a “day of rage,” which has brought out protesters in full force. This tit for tat could easily escalate into a Third Intifada if Israel isn’t careful (and when has it been?).
The Jewish Quarter government development authority has the nerve to proclaim that there is no political subtext to the rededication. Of course there is a political subtext. There always is when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians. Precisely when one sides claims it is acting without premeditation is when the other side suspects their motives most (and often rightly so).
Then there is this further gobbledygook from Bibi himself in his speech marking the synagogue ceremony:
“I know many are moved by this moment, and rightly so. But we’re not the only ones moved by our faith. We have enabled adherents of other religions to restore their places of worship as well. We proudly uphold our heritage, we have returned to our cities, and we also give the same freedom of worship to other religions. The people of Israel maintain their heritage and through that maintain the heritage of others.”
The PM really doesn’t give a crap about the Palestinians. This statement was intended for an international audience, especially Christians. It was meant to reassure them that even though we’re sticking it to the Muslims in Jerusalem, we remember with affection those of other religions who know there place in the Israeli scheme of things.
39 thoughts on “U.S.-Israel Row Intensifies – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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C’mon, Richard. A lot of smoke and no fire, just to make things look interesting. There is no way the US is going to change it’s relationship with Israel, because, as Lieberman points out, their goals are identical: Rid Palestine of all Arabs, bring Iran to heel, either by frightening, or bombing them. The goal is absolute hegemony in the area, the people be damned. There will never be a two state solution, thus there will never be peace. It’s not Netanyahu, nor Obama, nor Clinton, nor Biden, nor Congress that decides. It is the Zionist Lobby, along with the rest of oil-military-industrial-banking oligarchy, which controls all of the foregoing.
All your MSM columnists like Friedman, Cohen, et al, are a bunch of hot wind.
There may be some hot wind around here but it ain’t from Roger Cohen and at least in this one particular column it’s not from Tom Friedman. But it could be emanating from someone else.
That was a bit rude of me & I apologize.
No need to apologize, friend. I was just letting you know that i caught your irony. No offense taken.
BTW, read Friedman today. His big mistake is that he still assumes (or pretends to) that the goal is to “shape a stable Middle East.”
Mary, below, has it right.
Actually, if the US did what Friedman wanted, it would be just fine with Netanyahu.
“You think you can embarrass your only true ally in the world, to satisfy some domestic political need, with no consequences?”
That’s exactly what they think – and they are correct, since Friedman of course does not suggest there should be actual consequences, such as a cut of US military aid. In his opinion, the US should just leave Israel alone. Yep, that must be a scary thought to Netanyahu – keep colonizing without US meddling, while the arms dollars are still going to roll. That’ll show ’em, really.
That’s why I displayed the cartoon which does intimate that there should be consequences such as sanctions against Israel–and this from an Israeli cartoonist making it especially pertinent.
This is a very important point, and one that emphasizes the need to change the rhetoric. Those pushing for alternatives to what Lieberman and his friends in AIPAC are pushing for need to emphasize the differences between the US and Israel on these issues, and make some of the people supporting the AIPAC agenda (because they believe that Israel’s and America’s interests are synonymous) balk a bit.
“That a usually pro-Israel supporter like Friedman had almost precisely my point of view frankly amazed me.”
My theory about Friedman, based on time wasted on his columns and a couple of his books, is that he identifies with the powerful in any situation. So he worships at the feet of CEO’s when he talks about economics and tells the rest of us to fall in line with what the financial markets in their wisdom dictate, calling it (approvingly) the golden straitjacket in one of his books. And in foreign policy he’s always writing imaginary letters dictated by some powerful person laying down the law for some uppity foreigner. He relishes the notion of bombing people in extreme cases. The US and Israel are rarely at odds, but when they are he sides with the US.
As for what is actually going on here, I go back and forth between my usually justified cynicism on the one hand an on the other wondering if maybe enlightened self-interest will lead the US to take a serious position in favor of peace. (Though depressingly, this may only be so we’ll have more support for wars elsewhere).
Friedman shows his true colors in a story today. Yeah, he’s critical of Netanyahu and the settlers, but he wants to split the West Bank off (minus the Israeli settlement blocs) and negotiate about final borders later. He’s big on Fayyad, of course. And he cites some Israeli hack as the final authority, who in turn says the campaign to “delegitimize” Israel is a plot by Iran and includes such elements as accusing Israel of war crimes when they fight Hamas and Hezbollah (using civilians as shields) and when they hope Israel will be stuck in a West Bank quagmire. Those fiendish Iranians.
So Judge Goldstone, HRW, Amnesty International, and blogger critics of Israeli war crimes like you are all unwitting participants in a nefarious plot by Iranian mullahs to make Israel look bad, and the fact that Israel has been practicing apartheid for decades is really Iran’s plan as well.
On the other side of the op ed page Maureen Dowd takes time away from her usual gossip column ways to cite her great authority on the I/P conflict–Jeffrey Goldberg.
This little melodrama is cleverly staged by both Obama and Netanyahu, both of whom are aware that the “peace process” is dead and that the only way to shake the impasse is to provoke a Third Intifada, which, if my sources are correct, is a definitely strong possibility. It’s an amazingly effective diversion for Israel while it continues to work to steal Palestinian land, and is convenient for clearing the West Bank of superfluous young men.
You’re one of the few who gets it right, Mary. I am in full agreement with you. (see above – my reply to Richard)
I’m surprised that the news media, and the public, are so clueless after all these years. Besides, who the hell can believe anything Netanyahu says, he’s done nothing but peddle bullsh*t since the day he took office? He’s a reptile.
The “peace process” has always been sham, a stalling tactic for Israel to gobble up more land (not like they ever needed an intifada for this) and for Fatah bigwigs to consolidate power. I’m not convinced the current impasse means it’s dead for good, but if it is, I won’t break out in tears. IMO the Palestinians have more to gain from a shift of the objective from peace to justice, which is the condition of a lasting peace anyway.
They used to tell a joke at MIT that Arrogance 101 was a required course for graduation.
Netanyahu graduated from MIT.
70 Palestinians hurt, 90 arrested. It goes on.
I agree a strong reaction was warranted, and frankly something stronger than a stern call from Hillary Clinton. Perhaps something actually in the policy realm? Well, that would obviously be asking too much. And I agree that the overall approach has obviously been nothing but dithering.
However, I think dwelling on the failure to make Biden ostentatiously about-face is pretty much making up an imaginary possibility. First of all, it just would have been hard to make happen — simply confirming the facts and putting them in context fast enough would have been almost impossible before the trip was essentially underway. Second, unless it is Biden’s impulse, the president should let him be his own man on an issue he has extensive experience with. Third, it would have made us look childish and petulant, what with Netanyahu insisting he meant no disrespect. (This would have lessened the impact of the p.r. disaster for Israel that is continuing to raise consciousness over here). And fourth, since we still would have taken no concrete steps to follow it up, our petulance would have lapsed into a profoundly humiliating episode of childish impotence — we’d have been portrayed as tantrum-throwers, etc. It really could have been a disaster.
Absent an actual policy response, the approach taken was the best that could be done. And the results so far aren’t nothing.
Oh, you mean it wasn’t a disaster the way it worked out? C’mon. It was a disaster personified. And your imagination is being hyperactive about what might’ve happened had Biden & Obama had the balls to do the right thing in that situation. The fact is no American president has really challenged the Israelis since 1981. It’s about time it happened. Somebody’s got to really yank their chain & hard.
Don’t disagree that a serious challenge is obviously needed, and policy continuity dwarfs these optical concerns. However within that constraint, I continue to differ with you on whether the mere gesture from Biden you are suggesting would have worked out better. At best it would be a wash, at worst it could have seriously damaged Washington’s standing to make such empty gestures. IF there is not to be a substantive response (we both agree that is what is needed), then let the ill deed mostly speak for itself and let your displeasure be known in a calm way.
You don’t get it, Michael – they’re ALL empty gestures. It’s a lot of noise, nothing more, it’s really a dog and pony show for the benefit of the audience, who are gulled into believing these empty suits actually give a damn about reaching any agreements. Both Obama and Netanyahu have one concern, and one concern only – to maintain political capital. Netanyahu needs to keep his coalition in one piece, and Obama has the midterm elections to worry about, and keeping his Democrat friends close to him and happy. Many of these said Democrats are ardent Zionists. Clinton may have scolded Israel a little, but nothing will come of it. Nothing ever does.
I never said anything that’s been done isn’t an empty gesture. I’m saying a more ostentatious empty gesture could have negated whatever silver lining this row might have.
Excuse me, but what’s wrong with the rededication of the Hurva synagogue which dates back to Ottoman times and was destroyed in 1948 by the Jordanian army? The Palestinians and Arabs have no right to claim it. They all know its history. Saying that’s its rededication is against International Law is a perversion of the values and rights it seeks to protect.
The synagogue is in the Jewish quarter. How can you accept the legitimacy of any contest to the Hurva synagogue? All peace plans included Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem to Israel proper. I doubt the UN will condemn this.
Isabel Kershner wrote that the Hurva dates back to 1860, which is just barely Ottoman times if you’re trying to make it out to be an ancient relic. The Arabs do NOT claim it. But since you seem to be clueless about these nuances, rededicating a synagogue whose height towers over the Dome of the Rock is a very touchy issue in the midst of Arab rioting over related matters. The rededication ceremony was a provocation as is much of Israel’s behavior towards the Palestinians.
“The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns … the inauguration of a synagogue in the old city.” http://imra.org.il/story.php3?id=47502
From the link: “PCHR strongly condemns all forms of settlement activities in East Jerusalem, including the inauguration of a synagogue”.
Richard, what authority do you recognize as having the right to rebuild this synagogue? The Palestinians? Hamas? PA? Or the previous occupier of the Old City, Jordan?
“rededicating a synagogue whose height towers over the Dome of the Rock is a very touchy issue in the midst of Arab rioting over related matters”
In the article, Kershner writes “The restoration hewed closely to the original design, with the architects working mostly off black and white photographs, old texts and souvenirs.” What are they now, little school girls? Apart from Palestinian objection, what legal and moral objection do you have to this? I think you are being a little racist here, not towards Jews but towards Palestinians. You think that they are so childish that they can’t accept synagogues near “Islams’s third holiest shrine”. Case in point – FTL: “The synagogue is located 300 meters to the west of al-Aqsa Mosque”.
From another source:
“A joint Palestinian factions’ statement read by Hamas’ Politburo Chief Khaled Meshaal in Damascus on Monday, described the synagogue opening as “a declaration of war” because of its direct threat to the holy site. “It is part of a project to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque” and replace it with Israel’s so-called “Solomon’s Temple.” ”
“Mashaal slammed Tel Aviv’s “falsification of history and Jerusalem’s religious and historic monuments”. “Israel is playing with fire and touching off the first spark to make the region explode,” he said.”
“Head of al-Quds international institution, Dr. Ahmed Abu Halabiya, warned the opening of the synagogue in al-Quds was part of an Israeli plan “to build a Jewish temple on al-Aqsa ruins.” ”
“Senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahhar leveled scathing criticism to the occupation government saying: “You who are opening Hurva are heading towards ruin. Wherever you have been you’ve been sent to your destruction. You’ve killed and murdered your prophets and you have always dealt in loan-sharking and destruction,” he said Monday, during a conference of Palestinian groups in Gaza. ”
Did this Hamas official just invoke the “Jesus killer” canard?
I think that you think so little of the Palestinians that you can’t expect from them any recognition of history.
They claim all of the Old City as Palestinian. If they don’t claim the synagogue, they definetly claim the ground that it stands on. Since they (or the previous Jordanian occupier) have shown no interest in protecting Jewish places of worship, or having any Jewish residents, regardless of their interpretation of international law, Israel has the right to rebuild this synagogue.
1860 isn’t just barely Ottoman times. The Ottoman empire lasted at least another 50 years. I’m not making it to be the ancient High Temple.
Why am I not surprised that you’re quoting from IRMA, one of the most odious anti-Arab propaganda sites out there.
Yr formulation is a red herring argument. When Israel is prepared to share Jerusalem, then there can be a proper adjudication of who should be restoring which religious shrines in various parts of the city. Until then, any event like the rededication of a synagogue is a dangerous destablizing force. So if you want to provoke Intifada 3, be my guest. But if Israel continues along this path we will be in that territory & I assure you that the world isn’t going to stand by & watch Israel slaughter Palestinians in the streets as it did during Intifada 2.
You mean, other than opposing deliberate provocations aimed to promote bloodletting bet. Israelis and Palestinians?
Look, you can oppose my views. But when you start talking like a raving idiot, that’s where I draw the line. I’d suggest if you don’t want my other readers to think you’ve completely lost yr mind, that you at least stick to a somewhat rational frame of argument. This one is somewhere out there in the cosmos east of Pluto or Neptune.
No, I don’t think Palestinians are childish, that would be the view advanced by those on yr side of the political spectrum. Though more likely they think Palestinians are animals & terrorists than childish.
Well, Gee, I don’t know. Has any Israeli political leader said anything equally odious about Israeli Palestinians citizens?? Shall we have a pissing contest to determine which side has made the most odious racist slur on the other??
You mean you’re seriously arguing that PALESTINIANS have ever been in a position to protect or not protect Jewish places of worship or in allowing or forbidding Jewish residents of Jerusalem? You wouldn’t want to make that argument because it would be historically false. So instead what you really mean to argue is that if Palestinians did have sovereignty in East Jerusalem that they wouldn’t protect Jewish places of worship or allow Jewish residents. But now you’ve got another problem. We’re talking about SHARING Jerusalem so that in all likelihood primarily Jewish neigbhorhoods would be under Israeli sovereignty & primarily Arab neighborhoods would be under Palestinian sovereignty. So neither side would be able to prevent the other fr. protecting places of worship or allowing their own to reside in such places. O well, there goes yr argument. Sorry to see it go. It was such a good straw man.
I’ve never heard of IRMA or been to their site before today. I believe I got there through a link from Commentary, which I don’t visit often. Regardless, IRMA didn’t add any commentary, just the text, which was published by many other Palestinian websites. Just google it, you’ll see.
Don’t pretend like you know where I’m coming from or what my position is. If you must know, I’m left of center (in the Israeli and American spheres of politics) and I agree with Thomas Friedman and with the American response. I just don’t see how any liberal can accept Hamas’ reason for a “day of rage”, specifically with the Hurva synagogue.
Tell me, how does this “provocation” harm the Palestinians?
If the Palestinians decide to throw rocks again (or blow up buses), it is not because the rededication of the Hurva synagogue harmed the Palestinians. It is because they find insult with a Jewish presence in Jerusalem. This is basic Hamas policy. Hamas is the ultimate anti-liberal party. You shouldn’t accept them as the voice of reason.
“that would be the view advanced by those on yr side of the political spectrum. Though more likely they think Palestinians are animals & terrorists than childish.”
Tell me, how has Amos Oz and Avraham Burg slurred Palestinians?
I have no problem with your vision of “SHARING Jerusalem”. I think any peace deal will be very much like that, which I support. Though only if Fayyad and Co. (or someone like him) were in charge. I’m sure you are aware that the Jews of Hebron were killed and expelled in 1929. This is only one example of the removal of Jews by Palestinian Arabs from places spiritually important to Jews. Today, you only have to look at the daily comments by Hamas officials to what they think of any Jewish presence in their “Palestine”.
So, what is my argument again? I believe you are the one who made a “straw man”. You haven’t actually responded to my argument, that the Hamas objection of the rededication of the Hurva synagogue is morally baseless.
So you’ve never visited IRMA before & don’t visit Commentary often, but those just happened to be the 2 sources you chose to highlight in this comment. That’s OK, whether or not this is true, the sources you chose to highlight tell us a good deal about who you are politically.
Why sure you are, & you’re only the 50th commenter supporting rightist Israeli politics views who claims he’s actually “left of center.” You see, if Bibi Netanyahu or Avigdor Lieberman is “the ctr” then being to the left of them sure covers a lot of ground that is right wing in my book, but may be “left of ctr” in yrs. And I’ve got news for you, if you don’t understand the incredible provocation that the Hurva Synagogue poses then you probably also thought Ariel Sharon had every right to walk on the Temple Mount & provoke the first (or was it 2nd?) Intifada.
To answer that we’ve got to consider the context of this act as it doesn’t happen in isolation. Consider the evictions of Palestinians fr. traditionally Arab neighborhoods of E. Jerusalem, consider the 50,000 new housing units proposed for construction on Arab land in E. Jerusalem. Consider the designation of 2 shrines in Hebron as “national heritage sites.” So in that context, does the rebuilding of a Jewish synagogue only a few hundred feet from the Temple Mount & which towers above it in height “harm” the Palestinians? I guess it depends whose ox is being gored, doesn’t it? If you’re Jewish then maybe you don’t understand how it might enrage a Palestinian. But if you’re a Palestinian, then perhaps you’d see it differently.
Where did you ever get the gumption to call yrself “left of ctr?” These views are standard right wing fare in Israel. And absolutely false. Palestinians want their own state. And they will throw rocks & resist the 42 yr Occupation till they get it. Now, you can try to make this into a religious war bet. Jews & Muslims all you want. But it ain’t gonna work. This is a political struggle for national rights. The only thing that will settle it is Israel dismantling the Occupation & compromising.
Hamas is an Muslim nationalist movement. Liberalism or anti-liberalism has nothing to do w. it. These are alien western terms. I certainly don’t accept Hamas as the voice of reason just as I don’t accept Bibi as the voice of reason.
This is Friedmanism, which I’m sorry won’t sell in the real world. No serious Palestinian nationalist will accept Salaam Fayyad as a legitimate representative of their movement. He is a placeholder till a real leader takes the reins. So if yr dream is to make peace w. Fayyad, give it up baby. It ain’t gonna happen.
Oh, please. What is this? Tit for tat Middle Eastern history? Do you want to go over every killing of Arabs or Palestinians that Israel has perpetrated during the same period? Where does this get you? Do Israelis have a grievance? Sure. Do Arabs? Sure.
Richard, don’t be cynical. I consider Livni/Kadima to be centrist. Did you actually look at the link from IRMA? All it was a reproduction of a statement by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. No midrash what so ever.
You are far left, so even you don’t recognize who is left of center. You are moving closer to the other end towards Hamas on the far right.
The Hurva synagogue is not the Temple Mount. It is just some old ruin that held a synagogue and was destroyed by the Jordanian army. It has nothing to do with Jewish apartments in East Jerusalem or the Dome of the Rock. If Hamas, and not Fatah, find offense to it, then I see no reason in not rebuilding that synagogue. I understand the provocation, and I still find it morally baseless. Just because it is going to provoke Hamas to a “day of rage”, it doesn’t mean that its wrong. Hamas does not decide what is right or wrong.
How are my views right wing? I agree with Friedman with his support of Biden’s condemnation of the settlement plan proposed. It’s no secret that Hamas finds insult with Jewish claim to holy sites in Jerusalem.
I know Fayyad has little support. But at least he has the backing of Abbas and America. Like it or not, Fayyad is the only one who has brought real improvement to Palestinian life, and that is why he makes a good statesman.
I highlighted Hebron 1929 to show you an example of Arab elimination of long standing Jewish presence. Contrast that with Hurva, which was never “Arab land” or an Islamic shrine, still finds insult from Hamas.
Richard, you constantly surprise me with the things you come up with. There certainly aren’t many Jews beside you who oppose the rebuilding of the Hurva Synagogue. It’s dome is higher than the Dome on the Rock BECAUSE IT IS BUILT ON A HIGHER PIECE OF LAND. It does not “tower” over it. It isn’t even close to the Temple Mount. It was first built in 1700, not 1860, but the Arabs burned this original building down. I have been following the work on it from the beginning and I notice a lot of ARAB WORKERS at the site. Its presence didn’t seem to bother them as much as it bothers you. Even far Left Israelis accept the Israeli presence in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. And yet you keep claiming you represent “mainline” Israeli opinion?
And you know this because of what actual survey you’ve done of sources?? What’s that? You didn’t do any research? You just based it on yr own right wing views of what Jews do or don’t believe? Why am I not surprised.
BTW, I’m not opposed to the rebuilding of the synagogue in the context of an overall agreement on the sharing of Jerusalem. I also wouldn’t be in favor of any major Muslim changes to the Temple Mount for the same reason.
So let’s see, the dome of rebuilt Hurva is taller than the Dome of the Rock, yet it doesn’t “tower” over it. I’m missing something here.
I was basing this information on something I read. It’s in the Jewish Quarter which is close to the general area of the Temple Mount & is certainly visible from it, which is how people know it “towers” above it.
A lot of Jewish workers built armaments for the Nazi war machine. Does that mean they approved of what they did? Arab workers are paid a living wage for their work. They care little about what they’re building since there are so few jobs to be found for them in Palestine. I wonder if this is sacred work why don’t you find Jews to do it?
Are you sloppy or just lying. I don’t have a problem with an Israeli presence in the Jewish Quarter as long as there is no subterfuge to gain access (i.e. steal) to property there (which has happened quite often). I have a problem with provocation & destablization of the status quo.
Richard, the synagogue isn’t across the street from the Temple Mount. There is a black and white picture over Jerusalem showing where it was and how it looked like before it was destroyed. I don’t remember where I saw it.
Where did you even get the word “towers”?
Arab workers also are building illegal settlements. It has nothing to do with religious or political indifference; it has everything to do with economic necessity, thanks to the stranglehold of the occupation on the ability of Arab workers to make a living.
The ONLY people who ever use this term to describe my views are those who are quite far to the right who don’t recognize anyone to the left of them as being anything other than extreme or far left. My views are far more mainstream than yours. And btw, if you claim my views are anywhere close to Hamas I’ll ban you here as this violates my comment rules. You better be careful & precise when you characterize my views. If you mischaracterize them you’ll lose yr privileges.
What do you know about Jerusalem? Very little apparently esp. if you can call a religious shrine a few hundred feet from the Temple Mouunt “some old ruin.” Every square inch of ground in the Old City is contested by all sides. Any change of any kind destablizes the status quo. Israel understands that which is why it deliberately does so on a regular basis. But apologists like you attempt to piss on our back & make us think it’s rain by refusing to understand what even your nationalist Israeli pro settler friends understand.
Once again you prove that you have absolutely no clue what Palestinians believe. You don’t care. That’s fine. But don’t tell us you give a fig about peace in this region. YOu’d rather argue (baselessly I might add) about the moral purity of Israel’s position while all around you goes up in flames. You are clueless, hopeless, impossible. And what an absolute disaster yr views represent for Israel & the Palestinians.
You can’t bifurcate yr moral/political views & claim you’re left of center because you oppose building 1,600 new housing units in E. Jerusalem while you refuse to understand the tinderbox nature of the Old City & how ANY material change in the status quo acts as a match in a tinderbox. You never answered my question about Ariel Sharon’s little stroll on the Temple Mount. Was that “morally justified” too? Of course you believe it was. If you didn’t yr so called argument about Hurva would go up in flames.
Palestinians don’t consider him a stateman. Only Americans and Israelis on the center right do. So who does this “statesman” represent? No one. Certainly no one within what should be his own constituency. Do you not see the bankruptcy of yr position?
Richard, you are so out of touch with the Israeli and American Left. How long have you actually lived in Israel? 5-10 years? Don’t tell Sabras what they know or don’t know about Israel.
If you are as knowledgeable as you profess, please tell me on what legitimate basis (morally, legally, historically) the Palestinians have to object to the rebuilding of the Hurva synagogue?
Yes, Israel is and always broke the status quo. Look around, its surrounded by a bunch of tyrants.
[You can’t bifurcate yr moral/political views & claim …]
One sign of intelligence is the ability to hold two conflicting ideas at the same time. Yes, I oppose the settlement movement, but still believe Israel and Jews have a right to Hurva Synagogue which is in East Jerusalem. I wish they would have invited Muslim and Christians to the opening ceremony.
As for the Sharon stroll, I think it was unwise, though not warranting the second intifada. The Muslims have at least some legitimate claim to the Temple Mount. I have no objection with the Waqf administering it. But the Muslims have not claimed the Hurva synagogue as spiritually important to them, hence the destruction of it twice before.
We accepted Sadat (and currently Mubarak) and the Jordanian monarch as the legitimate representatives of Egypt and Jordan respectively. We accept Assad as the representative of Syria. Yet they have no democracy and hence, are not morally legitimate rulers. I accept Fayyad because he’s a has improved the lives of Palestinians and is the current PM of the PA. He has also described a vision for a good and just Palestine, like many liberal Palestinian and non-liberal activists have described to me.
You don’t understand what started the Second Intifada.
You think the Palestinians approve of Fayyad and that he is “good for Palestine,” because he conforms to your ideas of a Palestinian leader, precisely because he does not push for the end of the occupation and Palestinian national rights. He doesn’t present any strong challenges to Israel. You like him because he’s like Abbas, only a little smarter.
You should also know that most Palestinians see through Fayyad. So put him out of your mind, he’s not taken seriously.
What you call “the Israeli & American left” & what I do are 2 diff things. Labor party? That’s left for you. Benny MOrris? ANother leftist. Tzipi Livni? A little pink around the edges. Barack Obama? A flaming leftist. We know your type my friend…PEP. Look it up.
I’ll tell you what, when Israel permits Israeli Palestinians citizens & non-citizens the right to build homes and other infrastructure on their own land then I’ll concede Palestinians should allow Israelis to rebuild in the Jewish Quarter. When Israel stops stealing Palestinian homes & evicting residents from them & replacing them w. settler theives, then the Palestinians should allow Israeli Jews to rebuild in the Jewish Quarter. Till then, you’re the pot calling the kettle…
You’re just a typical liberal willing to tell a people suffering under 42 yrs. of Occupation & theft of their property & patrimony what resistance is justified & what isn’t. You’re completely obtuse & don’t have the right to tell a Palestinian a single thing. “Unwise?” Really.
But you don’t accept Syria’s legitimate claim to return of its conquered territory, do you? You don’t call for negotiations with Syria & return of the GOlan in return for peace, do you?
I see. So every king & queen of England was not a “morally legitimate ruler.” Is that what you claim? Do you know how recent a development democracy is? Was every form a government that preceded it morally illegitimate? By what God given right does anyone have to pay any attention to anything you say? Who gave you the right to call anyone morally illegitimate. When I see you screaming from the barricades at Naalin & Bilin or Sheikh Jarrah about the moral illegitimacy of the Israeli Occupation & demanding that it end immediately & that Israel return to 67 borders, then you’ll have an ounce of moral authority. Till then, spare us yr nattering.
You’re a flamin’ hypocrite. By what democratic process was he made PM of the PA? What election put him there? Fatah in a putsch, actually took over the PA & Abbas put him in his position. The Palestinian people did not & Fatah has not had an election since. YOu forgot about that didn’t you?
Actually, the last election made Hamas the dominant democratically elected force in the PA. What happened to yr belief in democracy? Or do you only believe it when people elect those you approve of? I thought so.
I take Hamas much more seriously as a political presence than I do the PA, simply because I respect the Palestinian peoples’ right to decide who represents them. I do not buy into the “terrorist organization” rhetoric which has been peddled so successfully by the US and Israeli hasbara. I have come to know far too many Palestinians to swallow that nonsense. The Palestinians know that the PA will not bring down the occupation; it is merely a puppet regime.
“I know Fayyad has little support. But at least he has the backing of Abbas and America. Like it or not, Fayyad is the only one who has brought real improvement to Palestinian life, and that is why he makes a good statesman.”
That’s circular reasoning. Fayyad is liked by America (and Israel), so Palestinians under his authority don’t suffer from an economy that has been destroyed by an Israeli blockade (in Gaza). You’re a good statesman if you do what you’re told. Not that there is nothing good to be said about Fayyad, but if he doesn’t have the support of his own people it’s ridiculous to say it doesn’t matter, because Abbas and the Americans like him. Some liberal you are.
That is, of course, the Friedman style of liberalism, very popular in the US. A Friedman liberal picks the leaders of other countries for them, imposes economic policies on them (blockades or aid, depending on whether they do what they’re told), and bombs them as a means of education when they get too far out of line.
Correct. And occasionally there is a dog and phony show between Israel and the US, just enough disagreement to let the gullible public know that the US is still an “honest broker.”