Monday, March 24, 2008

Beyond Stupid

I was having a discussion with one of my friends about Israel. I will not repeat the entire discussion because it is long, bland and stupid. I do not know why I wasted my time on it. But I will repeat one part, the dumbest of it all...

I mentioned how Israel has the best human rights policy of all the countries in the area. And while there are countries that recognize "Palestine" as a legitimate soveriegn government, it doesn't really matter, because those countries are antisemitic and don't really give a crap about Israel, just want the Jews expelled. And I mentioned how those countries treat Jews as second class citizens.

So she responded that my point was invalid because Israeli's treat Arabs unequally as well.

I responded that if anything Israeli Arabs probably had it better than the Jews. They weren't drafted or required to serve in the military, yet they had all the same benefits (voting, Knesset, etc).

So here's the stupid part...

She says "You contradicted yourself. If the Arabs have it equal in Israel than they'd be drafted. 'separate but equal' doesn't really work!"

Yea...I knew before I was dealing with an idiot. But that argument was something I expected from a mental retard (no offense to anyone that really cares about being PC)

33 comments:

Jewish Sceptic said...

I do a little bit of propaganda - I mean, uhh, debating - about Israel and am familiar with the mindset your friend seems to be coming from.

She sees going to the army as an honour afforded to full citizens, not as something to be avoided. Therefore in her mind, you cannot claim that Arabs are equal citizens whilst they cannot go to the army. Besdies, what if someone WANTS to go to the army and yet they cannot? That's basing what you can/cannot do on race and is racist, right?

To that I'd argue it's a security risk as it would be easier for terrorists to inflitrate the army. Not that all arabs are terrorists, but youre unnecessarily increasing the risk of danger.i's also explain that not being conscripted is a good thing, and if anything, it's conscription which is a Bad Thing for civil liberties.

I'd also point out the plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon - hands down far worse than those in Israel/Gaza/West Bank. Also point out the person who shot those 8 kids in the yeshiva was a full israeli citizen.

That's just me though...

Orthoprax said...

JS,

"Besdies, what if someone WANTS to go to the army and yet they cannot?"

Isaeli-Arabs are free to volunteer. Very few do so.

The truth is that although the State bans discrimination, it does occur. Clearly not as badly as, say, Saudi Arabia, but it nevertheless is present in Israeli society.

http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2004/41723.htm

frumskeptic said...

Orthoprax: I did admit to her that inequality does exist. and I actually made a point similar to yours, that while inequality does exist its not on the same level as in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanan etc,

JS: seriously I do not know too many Israeli's that are as proud to be in the army as they are scared and wish they didn't have to be.

Orthoprax said...

"I'd also point out the plight of the Palestinians in Lebanon - hands down far worse than those in Israel/Gaza/West Bank. Also point out the person who shot those 8 kids in the yeshiva was a full israeli citizen."

Also, just as a matter of record, I don't think there are many *Palestinians* in Lebanon - those whould be the Lebanese. Additionally, Abu Dhein was only a permanent resident of Israel, but chose not to take Israeli citizenship.

Dave said...

Orthoprax: There are actually a large number of Palestinians in Lebannon -- part of the problem is that although Israel granted citizenship to the Jews expelled from surrounding Arab nations in 1948, the Palestinians who left/were expelled (there were some of each, the ratio is subject to argument) Israel in 1948 were generally not granted citizenship and exist as a displaced people in the surrounding countries.

The bigger issue is that the demographic trend is such that if a two-state solution isn't found soon, the Palestinians in the occupied territories will start demanding citizenship rather than a separate state. That will leave Israel in the position of choosing to be either a Democracy or a primarily Jewish nation.

Orthoprax said...

Dave,

"There are actually a large number of Palestinians in Lebannon.."

Ah, yeah. I knew that. Skipped my mind for some reason.

"The bigger issue is that the demographic trend is such that if a two-state solution isn't found soon, the Palestinians in the occupied territories will start demanding citizenship rather than a separate state."

Yes, that is a concern.

Jessica said...

lol. This person sounds like a philosophy major. :-P

Jewish Sceptic said...

Dave,

"The bigger issue is that the demographic trend is such that if a two-state solution isn't found soon, the Palestinians in the occupied territories will start demanding citizenship rather than a separate state."
--------
I don't think that will ever happen.

1) the terrorist groups will ensure it.
2) religious leaders will ensure they do not mix with the Israeli scum.
3) secular groups such as Fatah will urge the Palestinians not to capitulate to Israel and forget their identities.
4) The Palestinian leaders receive millions and millions from Arab states and the west in support/humanitarian reasons respectively. They will not want to give that up, because they like the money (which they obviously don't spend on their people).
5) Too-vocal opposition tends to be killed off. Why have we never heard of a Palestinian in Gaza/west bank expressing anything other than disdain for Israel? In fact, I don't really hear anything from them at all, it's usually all Hamas spokespeople in the news.

All those things work in concert. There's an amazing amount of pressure on the Palestinians to stay as they are. They don't want peace. If they did, it would be resolved by now. But then, I don't know how much the Top People in the Israeli government want peace either...

If the Palestinian leadership don't want peace, then it's unlikely anything good will come of a two state solution either, if that happens. where would the Palestinian state go anyway? West Bank? We've had that once and it ended in tears for everyone (primarily the Palestinians). I don't think Israel is so willing to give up the west bank, hence their demand that the settlements be part of Israeli territory (which is reasonable. They don't really have the resources to move all those settlers out and can't just leave them unprotected to die at the hands of the Arabs).

Anyway...that's my ramblings for today.

Jewish Sceptic said...

FrumSkeptic:

"and I actually made a point similar...that while inequality does exist its not on the same level as in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanan etc"

It's important to remind people inequality lives on everywhere around the world, even (ha) in the US. I also tend to remind people that inequality stems from the fact that Israeli Arabs don't go to the army, or do any other national help work which isn't army related - e.g. domestic ambulances.

Basically, to some extent, Arabs living in Israel have chosen to live apart. As Orthoprax corrected me, they have the choice to do any of these things and don't. In a country where conscription is the norm, and where they're security is under constant threat, it's understandable Israelis are resentful for the apartness of arabs. That doesn't mean to say it's acceptable, but it does mean to say Israelis aren't bigots and racists, which is generally the implication of 'the opposition.'

"seriously I do not know too many Israeli's that are as proud to be in the army as they are scared and wish they didn't have to be."

We both know that, but I find when debating people, you're not fighting facts, but their own perceptions - usually helped along by the media. All I try to do is point out the reality to them, so in this case, I'd just say what you said here, and mention army avoidance is a concern for Israelis.

Dave said...

JS:

Within about a generation, based on current demographic trends, the total population of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and Israeli Arabs will be greater than the population of Israeli Jews.

At that point, if the Palestinians choose to demand a one state solution (that is to say, the occupied territories are fully annexed into Israel, and they have the option of becoming citizens), and Israel will either cease to be a Democracy, or cease to be primarily Jewish.

Some Palestinian politicians, who are aware of this, are already starting to bring up the issue of going with a one state solution.

Lubab No More said...

> I mentioned how Israel has the best human rights policy of all the countries in the area.

Is that like being the smartest in the "dumb" class?

Israel should be a "Light unto the nations" not a "Light unto the nations [of the immediate surrounding region]".

Israel should do better.

mlevin said...

"Within about a generation, based on current demographic trends, the total population of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and Israeli Arabs will be greater than the population of Israeli Jews."

Dave - I heard a similar argument before, in High School, back in the '80s, but then Soviet Union collapsed and Israel had more Jews than they had room for.

My point is that as long as Hashem is on our side we don't have to worry about Arabs taking over, there is always something to tilt the scales our way be it another mass migration, high birth defect rate among arabs, shortage of women, civil war or anything else...

Of course with the current corruption scandals coming out of Israeli government I'm not sure how long Hashem will be on our side.

Yehudi Hilchati said...

My point is that as long as Hashem is on our side we don't have to worry about Arabs taking over, there is always something to tilt the scales our way be it another mass migration, high birth defect rate among arabs, shortage of women, civil war or anything else...

So your solution is to depend on a miracle? There were very frum Jews in Europe in the late 1930's who assumed that there would be a miracle. There wasn't.

Furthermore, you actually wish a civl war upon the Palestinians?

mlevin said...

Yehudi - ever since 1948, the sole reason Israel existed as an idepended state was a 69 year long miracle.

In the late 1930s Jews in Germany were praying for a miracle, which wasn't coming, rather then getting as far from Europe as possible.

You see the difference? Today we have an ongoing miracle, than we were hoping for a miracle.

What is wrong if Palestinians have a civil war among themselves? While men are busy killing each other they will forget about abusing their women, brainwashing children, and killing neighboring Jews.

Orthoprax said...

"ever since 1948, the sole reason Israel existed as an idepended state was a 69 year long miracle."

I suspect it had more to do with conventional military superiority, but that's just me. Or do you think Israel can start disassembling its tanks? Does it still require a universal draft?

And although Israel's upcoming 70th anniversary sounds great, we still have a decade until we get there.


YH,

"Furthermore, you actually wish a civl war upon the Palestinians?"

Enemy of my enemy, right?

In any case, I think there's something grossly wrong with being stuck in a festering conflict for decades when our moral ideals won't let us finish it. That Israel seems to have to make peace on the Palestinians' terms amazes me. If they want to fight then bring out the big stick.

mlevin said...

Sorry - I meant 60 years, not 69. It was a typo.

Ask any military expert and he will tell you that Israeli existance is unexplainable. There were way too many "lucky" accidents in Israeli favor to dismiss them in mere human terms.

Orthopax - I do agree that Israel should stop babying Arabs and treat them as equal. ie retaliate for each and everyone injustice done to Israel or her citizen. Do not show mercy until they (not UN, not USA, not Russia...) yell uncle.

Dave said...

I've heard the same argument "Nation X was chosen by God, look at how unlikely..." from those who insist that America must be a religious nation, because it defeated the British.

(The same people never like to explain Vietnam's equivalent defeat of America)

Military history (and history in general) is full of unlikely events. A bullet here, a sword thrust there. For that matter, the whole shape of the modern world changed when Ogedai Khan died thousands of miles away, preventing the likely Mongol conquest of Western Europe.

So, no, I don't find your argument that the only way Israel could exist as a nation is a continuing miracle. The purely secular explanations are more than enough to explain it.

Dave said...

There was a "compelling" missing in the last paragraph.

But, I'll throw in an extra compelling, to make up for the inconvenience.

the opinion said...

They can't be drafted they have their own army.

Jewish Sceptic said...

mlevin,
"In the late 1930s Jews in Germany were praying for a miracle, which wasn't coming, rather then getting as far from Europe as possible.You see the difference? Today we have an ongoing miracle, than we were hoping for a miracle."

The difference is hindsight. You know now that a miracle wasn't coming in the 1930s, but Israel is still here, what could it be other than a miracle?

Why is Israel still here? I'd probably go with conventional military might, bad tactics on the arab side, and israel's bomb. But we all know that's no help against guerilla tactics - not because hashem is on the side of the arabs, or not on our side, or punishing anyone, but because that's just sound military tactics: big army against small army, don't fight head on. The maccabees did it, the British did it in WW1 against Germany very successfully...and now it's basically the standard terrorist tactic.

mlevin said...

“The difference is hindsight. You know now that a miracle wasn't coming in the 1930s, ”

No, I do not know that. I know that there was no miracle on the national scale, aside from the fact that Jews were not completely exterminated. What makes you think that there wasn’t supposed to be one, but it just never arrived. We heard plenty of stories from 1930s and 1940s about survival that could not be attributed to anything less of a miracle. So, miracles were still happening, but on individual level rather than national.

“Why is Israel still here?”

I couldn’t answer it, except for G-d wants it that way. For anything I would say there are million counter points. So, this discussion is mute.

“I'd probably go with conventional military might, bad tactics on the Arab side, and Israel’s bomb. But we all know that's no help against guerilla tactics - not because hashem is on the side of the Arabs, or not on our side, or punishing anyone, but because that's just sound military tactics: big army against small army, don't fight head on.”

Israel was on both sides in this conflict. Israel was a super small military group with few weapons (mostly outdate), at some point they were of equal strength and then she progressed to being a strong and impressive military might with a Bomb. And through it all Arabs, who were backed by the latest technology from British, Soviets and etc could not wipe them out. The only times Guerilla tactics against large military works is when controlling group’s objective is to conquer and control the land. Arabs never wanted to conquer and control, they wanted to destroy and remove all life from the area. It’s a simple objective, yet they are unable to succeed.

Maccabees did it because Greeks did not want that land destroyed and become unlivable. Same goes for British and Germans, or for British and Colonies. That is why Romans succeeded, because they literally destroyed everything in their path. That is why British failed during revolutionary war. That is why north succeeded over South. See the pattern? If your objective is to destroy then you will succeed, with one exception Israel.

I dare you to find another instance in history where one military has set on completely destroying the opponent and failed.

Dave said...

Your summary of Rome is simply incorrect.

Far from being interested in destruction, Romes wars were fought for both gain (slaves, treasure) and land, and it was through conquest that Rome expanded from a city state into a vast empire.

The British failed in the American Revolutionary War for a number of reasons, including some truly incompetent military decisions, but primarily because the colonists were able to win the support of France. Without that support (and honestly, even with it, had things gone not that differently), the rebellion would have failed.

For that matter, the reasons the North succeeded over the South in the American Civil War are primarily due to logistics. By your standards, the North should have failed (since to win, it needed to conquer and hold the South).

mlevin said...

Dave – I wasn’t speaking about Rome as a whole, but about specific Rome/Israel war. It was not until total devastation of Israel that the war between Rome and Israel was over.

The main reason Britain wanted to hold on to the colonies was income. Total destruction was not their goal; otherwise they would have handled things differently. Had British won that particular conflict, Colonists would have regrouped and began another assault, until they would have regained independence.

The only reason North won was because they completely destroyed the South. Let me remind about Sherman march, which left southerners homeless and starving to death. They freed slaves = undermined the whole economic structure of the South and even after the official end of war North proceeded to send its representatives to overlook the reconstruction of the country according to the Northern decrees, not South’s. They totally undermined Southern economy and social structure.

Dave said...

Rome didn't totally destroy Israel (the location). The Jews were exiled and a great many (around 600,000 according to secular accounts) were killed, but the province remained.

The Jews were barred from Jerusalem, but a great many lived in Gallilee.

Had Britain defeated the rebellion, it is unlikely there would have been another such rebellion in the near term. Remember that only about a third of the populace were in favor of the revolution.

While Sherman's March to the Sea wreaked great devastation along its path, it left the overwhelming majority of the Confederate South untouched.

Moreover, while Reconstruction did shift Southern structure for a while, it is simply incorrect to state that the Southern economy was completely undermined. As Northern interest in Reconstruction faded, sharecropping, Jim Crow, and other evils worked to bring things as close as possible to the antebellum South.

Orthoprax said...

"I dare you to find another instance in history where one military has set on completely destroying the opponent and failed."

Nazis failed to take the British. Persians vs Greeks. Every single failed war by a native people fighting against imperials. And every time in history when there were two militaries that wanted to equally destroy one another, it usually ended with at least one failure.

The truth of the matter is that the Arab armies were largely poorly equipped and poorly trained.

mlevin said...

NAZIs did not want to destroy England, they wanted to control England. NAZIs wanted to control the world, not to be left alone in the world. They looked at everyone as inferior to them to justify control. For example, when they conquered Poland they left the infostructure alone. Took some people to work camps, but let others be. They instituted their own laws to be obeyed, but those who obeyed these laws and weren't taken to camps continued on.

Now, lets discuss Arab objective. They want to rid the land of each and every Jew. They want to pillage and destroy everything that Jews had build there. Erase as completely as possible any sign of Jewish inhabitance.

Dave said...

It boggles the mind that you would sit there and claim that the conflict isn't primarily about land.

Both groups want the same piece of land. That is the essence of the conflict.

Orthoprax said...

"NAZIs did not want to destroy England, they wanted to control England."

Heh, ok. What part of the English infrastructure do you think they were intentionally leaving intact?

Since your defintion of a properly analogous war is so flexible and arbitrary, it makes your point weak and meaningless.

"Now, lets discuss Arab objective. They want to rid the land of each and every Jew."

Supposing that is even true, how does that change the signifigance of warfare? If they were only fighting for land then can Israel's existence can be explained fully without divine intervention?

mlevin said...

Dave - no the conflict is not about land per say, but about anti-semitism. Arabs do not want Jews on that land. They did not object to English being there. They did not object to Turks being there. But Jews there is a problem.

Orthopax - they are not fighting for the land, they are fighting to remove Jews from the said land. When English were in control did they try to overthrow the English? NO!!! But at the same time (English controlled time) they attacked Jewish villages. Same goes for when Turks were in control.

Dave said...

Really?

What about the Arab Revolt against the Turks in 1916 (see also Lawrence, T.E.), or the Revolt in 1936 under the British Mandate?

Orthoprax said...

ML,

"they are not fighting for the land, they are fighting to remove Jews from the said land. When English were in control did they try to overthrow the English? NO!!!"

Well, no, but you're giving a misrepresentation of the circumstances. Arabs did rebel against British rule and were basically fighting to end Jewish immigration and retain political control. They weren't attempting to *overthrow* the British because they knew that as only a mandate, the British weren't going to be there forever. They also simply did not have the power to successfully overthrow the British mandate anyhow.

I do not believe they sought wholesale slaughter or expulsion of the Jews. Not that they would've necessarily minded if it happened, but those weren't their goals politically.

Of course though, this is all tangential to the point that your understanding of military miracles appears to be entirely contrived.

mlevin said...

Orthopax - here is a gist of things. You think that the only problem Arabs have with Israel, is the fact that Jews rule Israel. So, according to you, if Arabs ruled Israel and Jews lived there, just as many Jews and just as freely, these same Arabs would not have a problem with it. Do I get you right?

Anyway, our conversation is going in circles. You will not recorgnize a miracle if it was staring you in the eyes. There are many like you. I'm ok with it. Our conversation is over.

Orthoprax said...

ML,

"You think that the only problem Arabs have with Israel, is the fact that Jews rule Israel. So, according to you, if Arabs ruled Israel and Jews lived there, just as many Jews and just as freely, these same Arabs would not have a problem with it. Do I get you right?"

Would they "have a problem with it"? Probably. Would they resort to mass murder just because Jews lived in "Palestine" under Arab rule - probably not.

But in any case, I was talking about the Arabs pre-1948 which were generally much more secularly oriented and weren't as heavy with fierce antisemitism, hate of Israel and fanatical religious zealotry. Today with the views of Hamas being popular I would fear for the Jewish population if they gained political control.

But I guess it serves your purposes to make unclear what I said.

"Anyway, our conversation is going in circles."

Going in circles? It hasn't started. I asked you a question and you haven't answered it. If the Arabs were only fighting for land could the military victories be fully explained without divine intervention? Your whole construct of what gets "miracle status" is patently contrived.

"You will not recorgnize a miracle if it was staring you in the eyes. There are many like you. I'm ok with it. Our conversation is over."

There are many people like you who see what they want to see. But since you're basing your political views and the future of Israel on what may very well be purely illusion - you might want to reconsider and at least hold a reasonable "real world" plan, y'know, just in case. Believe what you want, but don't wait on miracles.