Taking their inspiration from the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, a group calling themselves the 18 calls for political action against the amorphous notion of a two state solution. Two states in their view (see their manifesto) entails the following:

Once two-state is tipped over into irreversibility the deluge will leave Judea and Samaria bulldozed flat as surely as disengagement flattened Gush Katif; a divided Jerusalem a fait accompli; an internationalized Jerusalem a possibility; the Temple Mount in the possession of the Waqf in perpetuity; and the image of a bifurcated, ethnically neutral Israel looming on the horizon. Peace Now will be driving the bus.

And we must always factor in Arab propaganda. Holocaust denial has been joined by “Temple denial” as part of the ongoing Arab strategy to delegitimize Jewish claims to holy sites and to Jerusalem itself.

There’s not a lot of evidence on the site (though the video attempts to point out a connection between Mumbai and a potential palestinean state). Muffti in particular is confused on how separating the two leads to an ethnically neutral Israel.

Their plan of action is equally sketchy:

But first, we must do what all rebels do. Throw up roadblocks, slow down the momentum toward two-state inevitability. Keep the damn thing from tipping over.

The urgency is spurred on, according to them, by an Obama administration coupled with democrats in congress and the senate. Of course, Bush was himself a two-stater – as he said (according to Ynet) recently:

“I was the first American President to call for a Palestinian state, and building support for the two-state solution has been one of the highest priorities of my Presidency. To earn the trust of Israeli leaders, we made it clear that no Palestinian state would be born of terror.

Bush also was a leader with a mandate and control of both houses. And we see not a whole lot of evidence for there being 2 states.

You can probably guess where Muffti stands w/r/t the 18, but as usual he’s happy to be edumacated by y’all. Thoughts and feelings?

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  • thoughts are that there will be a palestinian state once the palestinians mature to the point where they develop leadership that’s serious enough to pursue it. until then, i’m not convinced that most palestinians see it in their interest to declare and maintain a state in the west bank and gaza, the whims of armchair diplomats notwithstanding.

    bush is right that he’s the first president to call for a palestinian state. he also had his good friend ariel sharon breathing down his neck every time he tried to “restrain” israel from committing actions that would “prejudge” against such an outcome (or prevent it from defending itself), over and above the instructions he gave to whichever secretary of state was waiting outside his ranch to deliver a different policy. but the israelis are good at doing this and american presidents are good at dancing to their kabuki, whether they do so for religious reasons, cultural reasons or military reasons. however, whether or not livni will continue in this vein is not yet clear to me.

    so now you have clinton, with a reputation for toughness (which traditionally means hawkish for israel), serving obama – whose reputation for dovishness is somewhat strange given that he’s the only major american politician to actually go to ramallah and tell the palestinians that they can forget about statehood until they graduate en masse from a terrorism 12-step program generally, or from intifadaholics anonymous in particular. but then again, for people who prefer the “obama the appeaser” narrative, we have the convenient hagiography which declares that he’ll say anything and means nothing.

    my own take is that he’ll do something politically useful, once the time is right, and it just might end up working for all parties involved. sound vague? it is. but then again, what’s the track record for people who commit to a crystal ball such things that they have no control over? not a very compelling one.

  • I don’t know but I kinda get the idea that they want people to think. For themselves. You know, about things like; Is it peace because a lot of people say it is?, Is it likely to be peace after a couple, or a few years?, If it doesn’t work out, what’s the worst that could happen? Should we really just dismiss what some apparently thoughtful people say because they ask questions like the previous ones? You know – think – for yourself. Who knows, maybe the friends you’ve been hanging with – maybe the people who do the thinking for them – maybe they aren’t all that smart. Who knows, maybe you could have an idea all your own for once. Hey, if you’re afraid your friends won’t like it, don’t tell them. But you have to know before you try it – it’s addicting. You’ve been warned.

  • MUL:
    thoughts are that there will be a palestinian state once the palestinians mature to the point where they develop leadership thatรขโ‚ฌโ„ขs serious enough to pursue it.
    – – – – – – – – –
    … well, those were the thoughts of Bush – to that extent he supported a “two state solution”.

    And because the Palis were clearly, uhh, not yet fielding a mature leadership – he did not push the Israelis to make more “concessions for peace” – seeing how Clinton;s Oslo-era version of such pressure resulted in Hamastan.

    The concern now is that Obama’s “experts” are talking about imposing a two-state solution without any preconditions – that is, without requiring the Palis to clean up their act.

    Radical left Obama advisors like Samantha Power want to force a Palestinian state on Israel NOW – including cutting Israeli military aid and giving that money/arms to Hamas. She talks openly about the necessity to “stand up to an important domestic constituency”.

    That means all you smelly Joos.

    That is the cause for concern.

  • All due respect, B-D, Sam Power said that quote in 2002. You kow, at the same time Prez Bush was still basically a roadmapper. According to Haaretz (November 24th):

    All advisers and potential cabinet members are known to be supporters of a two-state solution and of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, though they are all on the record saying that they will not pressure Israel, and indicating the need for change on the Palestinian side before an independent state can emerge. All the names mentioned so far for top foreign policy positions oppose opening a dialogue with Hamas and advocate a tough approach toward Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    Muffti knows Ha’aretz is pretty left wing for your taste but Muffti would like to see some non-2002 evidence to support your claim.

  • muffti –

    1) Search youtube for “brzezinski israel” and watch just about anything.

    2) Regarding Samantha Power – try this from a 2007 interview:

    Another longstanding foreign policy flaw is the degree to which special interests dictate the way in which the ‘national interest’ as a whole is defined and pursued…. America’s important historic relationship with Israel has often led foreign policy decision-makers to defer reflexively to Israeli security assessments, and to replicate Israeli tactics, which, as the war in Lebanon last summer demonstrated, can turn out to be counter-productive.

    So greater regard for international institutions along with less automatic deference to special interests – especially when it comes to matters of life and death and war and peace – seem to be two take-aways from the war in Iraq.
    – – – – – – – –
    … in other words, she wants foreign policy to be less responsive to “special interests” like the Joos and more closely follow the line of international NGOs – all of which are anti-Israel.

    She – like others on Obama’s team – is a Walt-Mearshimer leftie.

    At a conference in 2003 (sponsored by George Soros) she actually objected to the NY Times correcting its coverage to indicate that no “Jenin Massacre” actually took place.

  • B-D,

    That’s helpful. Thank you. Maybe you could clarify your views on one issue for Muffti to help him out. One the one hand, there is the question of a two state solution (and the subsidiary, though no less important question, of how, when and under what conditions it could reasonably be expected to be implemented). Another one is a question regarding whether or not US interests are subverted by (1) special interest groups and (2) esp by the special interests particularly affiliated with Israel.

    How do you see the connection between those 2 issues going? Are they one in the same or divorcable (i.e. does anhone think that AIPAC et al control too much of american politics but at the same time think taht two state solutions are untenable? Or vice versa?)

  • Ben David,

    I think the oversimplification that many (here and elsewhere) make is one where they define US Mideast priorities only in the (falsely) dichotomous terms of:

    1. left-wing “dovishness” versus right-wing “hawkishness”

    2. Palestinian statehood versus Israeli concessions

    3. a mythical “peace” versus continued conflict

    4. anti-semitism versus a moral regard for Israel’s security

    People can prattle on and on about Power’s statements and a left-wing/anti-Israel nexus that has crystallized in the ossified minds of her detractors. The fact that Hillary (and anyone else who) places as much emphasis as we can expect on their legacy, leads us to rightly worry that the road to Oslo (or hell) is the more tempting reward for her now, especially given that her constituency is no longer restricted to New York. And her “hawkishness” could be equally employed in the service of strongarming the Israelis.

    You should be careful what you wish for. Don’t be so foolish as to restrict your considerations here to oversimplified exercises in stereotypical left-right/pro-Israel-anti-Israel fearmongering. I doubt it will end up well for anyone.

  • And how on earth is the assessment that the War in Lebanon was counter-productive indicative of any of the other conclusions you draw from that assessment?! You find that simple-minded tautology “helpful,” Muffti? You guys must know a whole lot more about Israel’s satisfaction with the War in Lebanon than I thought I did, apparently. I never realized they found it to be the greatly successful assertion of Israel’s interests that Ben David implies that it is.

    We might as well determine what is and is not good for Israel through ouija boards, the examination of chicken entrails and games of paper, rock, scissors. How ridiculous!

  • I figured that the other possibility might have been what you were referring to, and I’m glad that turned out to be the case.

    You’ll have to forgive my creative use of metaphors. As a professional philosopher, what’s your suggested description for a reductionist foreign policy strategy which posits that your support for Israel’s interests rests on whether or not you agree that the War in Lebanon was productive and assume that those of international NGOs are, by definition, mutually exclusive of Israel’s? I’m sure there are at least a couple fallacies in there, but it didn’t seem to be too much of a reach to use the label I did. At least, it doesn’t seem like it was more of a reach than that required by all of the premature assumptions and hasty conclusions in Ben David’s reasoning.

  • MUL – why are you trying to pin Powers’ opinion about Lebanon on Muffti? It’s a quote from Powers.

    Muffti –

    1) I don’t think Israel’s “special relationship” with the US is the result of American Jewish lobbying. Most foreign policy is set by the executive branch and by Pentagon bureaucrats relatively unaffected by lobbying.

    If there were no strategic benefit for America, the relationship would not exist.

    2) All the lefties wringing their hands about “undue influence” on government policy usually seek to replace that influence with the Deus ex machina of supra-governmental agencies and NGOs.

    Which is far less savory, natural, or democratic than lobbying by constituents.

    Follow the lines of money and power, muffti.

    3) I have a set of questions that I use to diagnose the extent to which interlocutors are grounded in reality (vs. floating in liberal la-la-land). Questions about the proven history of socialism’s failure, about the points at which affirmative action and victim-class politics break down, about what tolerance and diversity really mean. With Jews, the questions include the obvious historical failures of Reform and Conservative Judaism, and the ethnic/cultural/religious/moral nature of the Jewish identity.

    A question about the two state solution has been recently added to this list.

    Anyone looking at reality has to admit that the 2 state solution is at best pie-in-the-sky, at worst a covert/unwitting call for Israel’s destruction.

    Oslo has imploded – spectacularly. The failure of Oslo is unmistakable to those paying attention to reality. It is unlikely that the Palestinians will come around to coexistence before internecine violence and desperate emigration decimate them. At some point Israel will retake and annex the territories liberated in 1967 – either in stages, or in response to major attack.

    Why retread discussions about the 2 state solution now – when the mask has been stripped from Palestinian intentions, and Hamas does not even pretend to talk about coexistence.

    Polliticians do it because they have to have something to say, and none of them have the balls to call a spade a spade when it comes to Hamastan.

    Others people do it because they are far enough away from the conflict to still keep their illusion-balloons inflated, and are emotionally/ideologically invested in those illusions.

  • I’d appreciate it if you’d follow the discussion more closely before making accusations like this, B-D.

    You used a quote from Powers to claim a whole host of things that don’t follow from that quote, a tactic that you justify with the no-less-flawed heuristic you now outline above.

    If you want to divide thoughts on Israel into camps of “left” versus “right”, and say that the left-wing one is bad, evil, delusional, unwise, wrong, what have you, because of other things you want to associate with everyone on the left en masse, go ahead and do so. I could do the same thing to people on the right if I were as beholden to sloppy reasoning. But I prefer accuracy. My criticisms of the right are specific to when they use magical thinking to perpetuate and spark the end times scenario of a Mid East war that most Jews will not survive. My criticisms of the right are specific to when they assume a morally superior framework to their approach that can somehow preclude inconvenient strategic considerations. My criticisms of the right are specific to when they assume that the self-interest of any one nation can’t be merged with that of that of another, or with a series of others. And so on. I certainly try to avoid concocting a conspiracy theory to it all and prefer to point out when a particular right wing politician is making use of one of those particular tropes, rather than lumping them all into a cybernetic bogeyman with a constantly mutating philosophy. And I’m not going to add one questionably flawed idea to that rather comprehensive and justified list just because I felt like it.

    Now, whether Muffti endorsed your approach was all I tried to see if he was being “pinned” into.

  • Muffti doesn’t find lobbying particularly democratic – especially not on the scale it is done these days. But let’s be honest – AIPAC spends millions and millions and has announced goals that involve foreign policy. Are you really trying to tell Muffti that all that is just money thrown into the wind without hope of causing influence? That seems unbelievable. But Muffti agrees that NGO influence is no better really.

    As for 2 state solutions, Muffti thinks they keep being revisited because no one has much else by way of ‘solution’.

  • Of course Jewish ‘special interests’ a la AIPAC help mold US policy toward Israel. So what?

  • Obviously the logical way to break this down is to accept that objections to lobbying can be made on the basis of criticism against the activity itself or criticism against the interest of a particular lobby. I think Tom has it right in that Jews do themselves no favors by whining when people point out that they actually have interests; there’s nothing wrong with that and behaving as if there is makes one look devious and cowardly. And it is. And while Muffti’s complaint against lobbying in general I can appreciate up to a point, it’s not going anywhere in the American system. The best you can hope for is a politician who has principles that go beyond payola or their own individual, financial self-interest and is big enough to demonstrate that – as Obama did. It allows them to focus on speaking to their own, independently thought-out purposes for pursuing public life and should reveal a larger, more intelligent and more selfless agenda. But to say “NGO influence is no better really” is a disappointing thing to hear because it sounds like a cop-out from arguing the merits of the position of this NGO or that NGO or the interests pursued by any particular country.

  • Muffti was thinking that in a democracy, which the US purports to be, the government is supposed to be doing the will of the people, albeit from a position of greater information and expertise than the people have themselves. As such, they shouldn’t be taking their direction from lobbyists and NGOs at all — since lobbying is disproportionately skewed from population to sheer financial power (i.e. the richest are the smallest numbers).

    Morrissey, Muffti agrees … he was registering some skepticism towards B-D’s claim that:
    Most foreign policy is set by the executive branch and by Pentagon bureaucrats relatively unaffected by lobbying.

  • Muffti might want to keep in mind that while republics run by presidents are less democratic than those run by prime ministers, they are still as democratic as they purport to be in that the people decide to invest a large amount of power into a singular figure of their choosing, with relatively few strictures on what he or she should do afterward. That figure may govern according to sympathies that are international in scope or provincial, corporate or macroeconomic, narcissistic or altruistic. But the only apparent way to ensure a non-lobbyist oriented administration is by funding its campaign in a non-lobbyist dominated fashion, as has just happened.

  • Ben-David and MUL both seem to think a revived ‘peace process’ will amount to a return to Oslo, but in that respect, they may be proverbial generals fighting the last war. Why assume Obama/Clinton have nothing more to offer than that?

    Bush learned from Oslo’s failure, as Ben-David observes. I suspect Clinton has as well.

  • Despite the many cautions I’ve extended today and yesterday regarding the dangers of overgeneralizing, let me offer what some might consider a generalization of my own.

    I don’t see how the idea of a “peace process” amounts to anything other than a return to Oslo, insofar as Oslo implies that outside powers can somehow gift wrap a political resolution onto two parties to a conflict that the latter can’t devise and agree to on their own. If one happens to believe that there is no absence of will on the part of either party to accomodate concessions seen by the US as requisite to peace, that’s one thing. But the Palestinians have a much bigger problem getting their population and leadership to acquiesce to rescinding things like their half-baked demand for a right of return, for instance, than Israel does getting its population and leadership to agree to any and all of the general principles of a peaceful framework for resolution.

    The time for the usefulness of tools like Clinton, whose principal strength was in the application of pop psychology to, among other things, getting one scuffling leader to “feel the pain” of the other, is long passed. Thank the deity for that. And the cold war that exacerbated these conflicts, already in decline by the time Clinton picked up the gentle scraps from it, has been over for some time. We need leaders now who understand the arguments presented and who can make principled and persuasive (and successful) appeals for precisely what needs to be done to resolve them. We don’t need protracted “processes” of extended political kabuki in order to arrive at an obvious endpoint that only becomes increasingly mythical the longer you coddle the patrons and beneficiaries of the process itself.

  • If all forms of Palestinian irridentism– right of return, Hamas, etc.– comprehensively lost international support, would the Palestinians pose a threat to Israel?

  • I’m not sure I fully understand the gist of your question, Tom. But I’m inclined to answer “yes” on account of prudence and precaution alone. That is not the question in my mind so much as whether or not they would agree to all the required principles of an agreement and whether there is enough will and political stability among the Palestinians to support those things. I see these constant references to whither the “international community” as a distracting bogeyman. The international community is as concerned with appearances as any of the mass of men Machiavelli referred to as if they were realities, and we shouldn’t assume that their input means as much as the finer sticking points of an agreement that they are too glib to seriously understand.

  • So in other words, the whims of any international community as such have little if any bearing on whether or not the Palestinians remain irredentists or become pacifists. The international community is not going to prosecute some kind of war on Palestinian irredentism a la the war on terror and get the Arab world to wake up and smell the moral and political norms of life in the 21st century.

    So short answer to your question: Yes. They still could and assuming any absence of changed attitudes, etc. on their part alone we should assume that they will continue to pose that threat.

  • Muffti:
    AIPAC spends millions and millions and has announced goals that involve foreign policy. Are you really trying to tell Muffti that all that is just money thrown into the wind without hope of causing influence?
    – – – – – – – –
    Oh, I’m sure they *hope* to influence policy.

    I just don’t think decades-long patterns of decisions taken, confirmed, and re-taken by successive administrations in various situations can be said to be primarily caused by lobbying.

    The underlying implication of Walt-Mearshimery critics of AIPAC is that pro-Israel lobbyists have either distorted the facts or obscured America’s real interests. That claim is refuted when one sees the same conclusions being reached again and again by administrations with different preconceptions, information sources, policies, strategic goals, and immediate challenges.

    It is more likely that all these administrations rationally identify strategic value in the relationship with Israel, when it comes down to realpolitik.

    More Muffti:
    in a democracy, which the US purports to be, the government is supposed to be doing the will of the people, albeit from a position of greater information and expertise than the people have themselves. As such, they shouldnรขโ‚ฌโ„ขt be taking their direction from lobbyists and NGOs at all รขโ‚ฌโ€ since lobbying is disproportionately skewed from population to sheer financial power (i.e. the richest are the smallest numbers).
    – – – – – – – – – – –

    … and newspaper publishers are and even smaller group (and usually rich) – yet they wield “disproportional” power in setting the national agenda.

    That fact that you need a press to exercise your right to freedom of the press doesn’t mean America’s claim to democracy is a sham, or that freedom of the press is “undemocratic”.

    Some aspects of reality cannot be fixed through legislation. Any government attempt to “correct” the imbalance of media power would lead ultimately to corruption and even worse silencing of voices.

    The solution to these “inequalities” in American democracy is to insure maximum choice and transparency.

    Similarly, lobbying is – like that famous description of democracy itself – the “least worst” system around.

    At least the people doing the lobbying are citizens. The notion of abdicating authority to NGOs is even more odious and undemocratic.

    It’s important to see that point – that the folks decrying lobbying (and specifically pro-Israel lobbying) use the language of “fairness” proffer a much less open and fair alternative – one that tends to give them and their ideas more monopolistic sway. This is a common trope of PC left-liberal rhetoric.

  • oh, and Muffti – practically, the influence of AIPAC money in presidential elections is muted by the huge sums involved, and by nationwide voting.

    AIPAC money – and fact finding trips, and Jewish votes sometimes – make much more of a difference to Congressmen.

    That was my point.

    Obviously unelected Pentagon officials are even less subject to AIPAC money, although there may be influence in AIPAC’s presentation of the facts (which is a more valid, less objectionable side of lobbying).

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