Friday, January 27, 2006

Old Canards In New Technologies

One New Republic piece is entitled Silver Lining . It's money quote:

"Finally, and contrary to another widely accepted myth, there is no fundamental difference between the ultimate goals of Hamas and Fatah vis-a-vis Israel: Neither accepts the Jewish state's right to exist and both are committed to its eventual destruction. The only difference between the two groups lies in their preferred strategies for the attainment of this goal. Whereas Hamas concentrates exclusively on "armed struggle," as its murderous terror campaign is conveniently euphemized, the PLO has adopted since the early 1990s a more subtle strategy, combining intricate political and diplomatic maneuvering with sustained terror attacks (mainly under the auspices of Tanzim, Fatah's military arm)"

Pat Robertson said that Ariel Sharon's stroke was God's response to Sharon giving up lands in Israel to the Palestinians. Andrew Sullivan responded by saying, in essence -- "What else is a man in Pat Robertson's position supposed to say? What is his whole religious doctrine about if not the unification of Israel in anticipation of the day when He returns?"

Andrew Sullivan wasn't agreeing with Pat Robertson's conclusion (nor am I), just stating that, unlike most of Pat's foreign policy pronouncements (c.f. the assassination of South American politicians), Robertson's statements on Sharon was the conventional result of a mainstream religious thought. (I can't find Sullivan's exact post -- he takes them down rather quickly.)

I don't know whether you should negotiate with terrorists or not. My understanding is that the meals at these negotiating sessions (if you can get out of the conference room) are quite tasty, and you normally don't have to pay for them yourself.

However, if the very act of negotiating is seen as conferring legitimacy on the group's baseline grievance, then how can you negotiate with someone whose baseline grievance is that they are forced to live on a planet where some of the people are still Jewish? And where some other people tolerate it?

I don't know how a view as mainstream in so-much of the world as the complete destruction of the Jewish people can possibly be seen as a terrorist position, anyway.

What were they thinking when they danced in the streets when the World Trade Center fell?

What was the high British military official thinking, when he blamed all the problems of the modern world, on that "shitty little country?" What was Tony Blair saying in 2003 when he told Parliament that we have to stand together with the United States in the Middle East because Great Britain needed a seat at the table when negotiating the real issue -- the Israeli/ Palestinian problem? And that's Great Britain. I can take these things coming out of Great Britain because I understand the context in which these statements are made. Trying to read what comes out of the rest of Europe burns my eyes.

According to millions of people -- some of whom are no longer with us because they blew themselves up reinforcing the point -- the only reason that Jews exist, the only reason Israel exists, is because the United States gives a haven to Jews to live -- and laugh. And laugh and sing. The United States has also, in the past 60 years especially, made it far more difficult for other countries to put Jews in "their proper place."

It must be particularly galling to some that the Europeans were able to successfully "solve their Jewish Question" by in essence, exporting the "problem" -- the remnant of the Jews who were not exteminated by the Nazis -- to the Middle East and to a lesser extent, the United States.

To these people, if you bomb the World Trade Center, if you do what you can to increase the United States' cost of doing business with Jews, if you put enough pressure to bear on those who believe in freedom for "minorities", then it is possible that at some not too distant point, the United States will give up the game.

I'm in favor of those who want the United States to continue, basically in its current form.

That is why I maintain the increasingly lonely position that you have to fight the people abroad who want to challenge our safety, and the way of life that encourges freedom -- and you also have to fight the people here who think that the only way to be more safe is to cut back on such "luxury" items as the slow moving rule of law.

Eventually, maybe even by Monday, Hamas will reach the same conclusion that Fatah and the PLO did. You can talk the talk without walking the walk. You can say you are for a "two-state" solution in the Middle East for a long time before anyone forces you to admit that the two states you are in favor of is a Palestinian state, and a Palestinian state right next to it.

How could it be otherwise? How could the Arab World really make a deal to live with the Jews in peace after all this time? How do you face your people? How do you face your ancestors?

How could Israel really make a deal to accept Arab rule over Israel? Over Jerusalem? What would you say to your ancestors? What would you say to the writer of Psalm 137? What would you say to Pat Robertson?