Israel to World: "Suck It."

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If I posted every time Sullivan said something stupid I would never get anything done but I had to share this:

Matt Duss reports on how Israel's border restrictions have reshaped society in the Palestinian enclave:

The result of the policy of closure ... has been the development of a sizable black market economy based upon illegal tunnel trade. This has been accompanied by the growth of influential constituencies in both Egypt and Gaza that oppose any effort to shut down the tunnels, and will lobby hard against the creation of a more open, regulated border. By empowering a large new merchant class that profits from the tunnels, the closure policy has effectively created another stumbling block to normalization of relations between Israel and the Palestinians.

And that wasn't the point?

Sullivan believes that Israel instituted a policy of closure in order to create a new black market merchant class so as to make normalization of Israel/Palestinian relations more impossible. It's like there's something wrong in his brain where if X leads to Y, it must be that Y was the intended result of X. He must believe the Israelis responsible for the policy are genius psychohistorians who could somehow predict exactly what would happen years down the line.

Mordy, Friday, 2 March 2012 15:13 (five years ago) Permalink

I believe he was implying less possible, Mordy, but I'm with you on the whole improbable stretch of logic there.

Morning becomes apopleptic (Michael White), Friday, 2 March 2012 15:34 (five years ago) Permalink

What do you mean he was implying less possible?

Mordy, Friday, 2 March 2012 15:39 (five years ago) Permalink

i think all sullivan is saying is that the intent of the closure policy was to make normalization more difficult in general, not that it was intended to create a black market in specific

goole, Friday, 2 March 2012 15:42 (five years ago) Permalink

Bibi Netanyahu presented President Obama with a scroll version of the Book of Esther from the Hebrew Scriptures.

Maybe it’s just a favorite of Bibi’s (though I don’t know that he’s renowned for personal piety). Maybe it’s an allusion to the Jewish Feast of Purim (which began tonight), commemorating Queen Esther’s success in foiling a plot by a Persian schemer to exterminate Jews. Or maybe it’s something else, as Jeffrey Goldberg (among others) has suggested:

The prime minister of Israel is many things, but subtle is not one of them. The message of Purim is: When the Jews see a murderous conspiracy forming against them, they will act to disrupt the plot. A further refinement of the message is: When the Jews see a plot forming against them in Persia, they will act to disrupt the plot, even if Barack Obama wishes that they would wait for permission.

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 7 March 2012 20:51 (five years ago) Permalink

fuck a netanyahu

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Wednesday, 7 March 2012 20:53 (five years ago) Permalink

obv with his meeting coinciding with purim there's no way bibi could resist the allusion.

Mordy, Wednesday, 7 March 2012 20:53 (five years ago) Permalink

Commence operation Trojan Hamentashen

simulation and similac (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 7 March 2012 20:54 (five years ago) Permalink

I don't know why they refined it further tho. In the Purim narrative the Jews get permission from the King to kill Haman and his sons.

Mordy, Wednesday, 7 March 2012 20:54 (five years ago) Permalink

Everything has gotta be 300% more salacious tho, I guess. Ramp it up.

Mordy, Wednesday, 7 March 2012 20:54 (five years ago) Permalink

I don't know why they refined it further tho. In the Purim narrative the Jews get permission from the King to kill Haman and his sons.

― Mordy, Wednesday, March 7, 2012 2:54 PM (1 hour ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

right and the jews have friends in high places -- the king has a jewish wife. let the conspiracy theories begin.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Wednesday, 7 March 2012 22:34 (five years ago) Permalink


curmudgeon, Tuesday, 13 March 2012 16:21 (five years ago) Permalink

Saw some of the interivew with the ex-Mossad guy on "60 Minutes" Sunday

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 13 March 2012 16:23 (five years ago) Permalink

I have had a hunch all along about an Israeli bluff tactic here, and if so this guy is not helping their bluff. Although maybe he has his own agenda to advance, who knows.

the prurient pinterest (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 13 March 2012 16:26 (five years ago) Permalink

60 Minutes touched on the allegations why he was forced out of the Mossad (but I missed most of that part). He insists that he's not trying to just push his own agenda in retaliation.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 13 March 2012 16:31 (five years ago) Permalink

no discussion on ilx yet about beinart boycott proposal but it seems ridiculous to me for following reasons:

1. humanitarian crisis is in gaza, not west bank, but boycotting settlements will do absolutely nothing for gaza
2. even if it helped (or even if we said it didn't matter), dead sea cosmetics and gush wine are not large enough industries that a boycott would have any impact on settlement economies and that's primarily bc
3. settlements exist bc the real estate is very cheap + affordable, and bc it is in close proximity to jerusalem. unless the boycott includes a provision to airlift the westbank somewhere else, it won't solve those issues. even if it bankrupts the few settlement companies, they'll continue to settle and just commute to work in israel proper.
4. everyone agrees that some of these settlements (particularly the established ones that would be most targeted by a boycott) will be a part of a final land swap! the settlements you want to impact are the small, new, hilltop ones that have no industry to speak of and can't be effected by a boycott.

putting aside all the other discussions about beinart and the boycott, i think that unless i'm missing something, the above points should pretty much disqualify his plan from serious conversation. it's just fantasyland absurd.

Mordy, Thursday, 22 March 2012 18:48 (five years ago) Permalink

Do the settlements export much outside Israel? My impression was this boycott would be mainly something for anti-occupation Israelis.

o. nate, Thursday, 22 March 2012 20:56 (five years ago) Permalink

They don't even export a lot to Israel, but even if they did, the entire op-ed was explicitly speaking to American Jews and what they can do to impact the settlements.

Mordy, Thursday, 22 March 2012 21:03 (five years ago) Permalink

I remember when there was a big stink at my local co-op about whether or not they should sell Israeli products (this was back during the second intifadeh iirc) and all I could think of was "uh, what Israeli products...?"

the sir edmund hillary of sitting through pauly shore films (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 22 March 2012 21:06 (five years ago) Permalink

There are substantial Israeli fruit exports to Europe, but aside from cut diamonds (not a big co-op category) there's very little consumer input on their main exports to the U.S. (figures from 2007):

Gem diamonds … US$9.5 billion
Dental, medical and pharmaceutical preparations … $2.7 billion
Telecommunications equipment … $746.8 million
Complete civilian aircraft … $685.9 million
Other hospital, medical and scientific equipment … $655 million
Electric apparatus and parts … $385.6 billion
Civilian aircraft engines … $370.5 million
Measuring, testing and control instruments … $337.1 million
Other military equipment … $271.3 million
Computer accessories, peripherals and parts … $254.6 billion

Pauper Management Improved (Sanpaku), Thursday, 22 March 2012 21:18 (five years ago) Permalink

Those numbers are from Israel, fyi. We are discussing specifically settlement exports.

Mordy, Thursday, 22 March 2012 21:21 (five years ago) Permalink

If Israel's uncritical supporters are so against the settlement boycott then there must be something to it.

The New Dirty Vicar, Friday, 23 March 2012 12:16 (five years ago) Permalink

You might want to double-check that heuristic. I can think of about a dozen reasons why it doesn't work.

Mordy, Friday, 23 March 2012 12:52 (five years ago) Permalink

Obv more symbolic than anything else.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Friday, 23 March 2012 13:47 (five years ago) Permalink

I do find it funny that some people "supposedly" opposed to the settlements are like "this will never work", but don't seem to be too invested in finding any other alternatives.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Friday, 23 March 2012 13:50 (five years ago) Permalink

I think we should start by boycotting American goods

L'ennui, cette maladie de tous les (Michael White), Friday, 23 March 2012 13:56 (five years ago) Permalink

Yeah, because if you can't think of a workable alternative you should definitely just go with the shitty idea already on the table. xp

I do understand, though, that people get frustrated when they want to do something but don't know what they can do. So here are some ideas for individuals who must do something, and wouldn't mind making that something productive too: Volunteer your time to one of the many humanitarian missions to Gaza, take a trip to the West Bank and spend some tourism dollars, push for Netanyahu and Fayyad to come back to the negotiating table and come up with an agreeable land swap (really the only option that will make any difference), or just hang out and wait for the settlements to stretch over all the West Bank so that we are left with a de facto one state solution (probably the ultimate endgame no matter what you do).

Mordy, Friday, 23 March 2012 16:07 (five years ago) Permalink

"Yeah, because if you can't think of a workable alternative you should definitely just go with the shitty idea already on the table. xp"

If said shitty idea is better than wringing your hands and doing fuck all, yeah, I'm inclined to say why not go with it. Esp. since I don't see this causing much harm really.

As for your options: I have zero interest in visiting Israel, engaging in humanitarian missions that might result in me getting killed aren't my thing either, when I am on the phone with Bibi I push for him to return to the negotiating table all the time, but he just doesn't seem to listen, and see hand wringing above...

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Saturday, 24 March 2012 15:21 (five years ago) Permalink

Also not really clear how except for the actual negotiating table idea (which no one posting here can actually ya know influence) those ideas aren't even shittier and more futile than the boycott Beinhart is proposing.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Saturday, 24 March 2012 15:27 (five years ago) Permalink

You know the shittiest thing about Beinart's proposal? All the ppl who are going to continue to never buy AHAVA products and think that it discharges their responsibility to improving the matzif. Tbh, it makes me think it's intentional - that he's designed this clever way to make no impact whatsoever while letting ppl feel good about themselves. Guess what? In life there are no easy ways to change complicated political/geographic situations while sitting at home posting on ilx. Sad but true.

Mordy, Saturday, 24 March 2012 15:29 (five years ago) Permalink

a review of beinart's new book:

not so much enamored with the review, but holy shit these statistics i've never seen before:

A whopping 82 percent of American Jews feel that U.S. support for Israel is either “just about right” or “not supportive enough”—and that’s just among those Jews who describe themselves as “liberal” or “very liberal.” Among those calling themselves “middle of the road,” the figure rises to 94 percent. Regarding the settlements, just 26 percent of even liberal Jews think Israel should dismantle all of them; among moderates, the figure drops to 10 percent. Generationally speaking, there even seems to be a rightward tilt among younger Jews. Consider Jerusalem: 58 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 oppose re-dividing it. Just 51 percent of their parents and grandparents feel the same way.

“Political differences on the liberal-to-conservative continuum were unrelated to measures of attachment to Israel,” Sasson and his colleagues noted dryly, adding that these attitudes have pretty much held steady over 24 years of polling. Liberal as American Jews might be when it comes to domestic U.S. politics, on Israel their views tend to be fairly conservative.

Mordy, Wednesday, 28 March 2012 01:37 (five years ago) Permalink

tell me something i don't know. no wonder i break out in hives whenever i go to synagogue.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Wednesday, 28 March 2012 02:01 (five years ago) Permalink

i had no idea! when beinart claimed in 2010 that american jews had an all-time low engagement w/ israeli, i believed him!

Mordy, Wednesday, 28 March 2012 02:02 (five years ago) Permalink

yeah i admit the statistics are more extreme than i would've guessed. but = "liberal on domestic issues but crazy reactionary when it comes to israel" basically defines my entire extended family.

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Wednesday, 28 March 2012 02:04 (five years ago) Permalink

israel didn't have any problem moving settlers from gaza (sometimes even by force) so i don't know why they couldn't do it here. i don't know that i believe in the two state solution anymore anyway, tho, and as-of-late i find the futurological demographic arguments kinda full of shit.

Mordy, Friday, 6 April 2012 14:43 (five years ago) Permalink

Uh because there is a big difference between the moving 7-8,000 Gaza settlers and 125,000.

Fig On A Plate Cart (Alex in SF), Friday, 6 April 2012 14:50 (five years ago) Permalink

gaza isn't the jerusalem suburbs (scarequote that if you like) either

goole, Friday, 6 April 2012 16:29 (five years ago) Permalink

the point from that piece was that the 125,000 were from settlements that aren't jerusalem suburbs fyi (which will presumably be land-swapped in the case of a 2 state negotiation)

Mordy, Friday, 6 April 2012 16:34 (five years ago) Permalink

Where's the suggest-ban button for religion?

improvised explosive advice (WmC), Friday, 6 April 2012 16:49 (five years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

i just started reading this, but it's really good:

Mordy, Sunday, 29 April 2012 02:57 (five years ago) Permalink

on Israel their views tend to be fairly conservative.

In what sense? As far as I can tell, the views ascribed to liberal American Jews are that U.S. support for Israel is just about right and that not every settlement should be dismantled; on the question of division of Jerusalem they are ambivalent. As far as I can tell, this exactly describes Obama's views.

(And if you asked liberal American Jews, do you admire Netanyahu or Rabin more? I'll bet they, like Obama, prefer Rabin, which is hardly a "rightward" answer.

I think the framing of that poll actually speaks to Beinart's point; there is a concentrated effort to make sympathy towards Israel read as a right-wing view, whereas I think everyone with every view of Israel would agree that both Democratic and Republican US politicans are united in their sympathy towards Israel. I mean, maybe GOP politicians have more sympathy than Democrats for permanent settlement in Hebron and mass involuntary transfer of Arabs into Jordan -- OK, maybe THOSE are accurately described as right-wing positions but I'll bet you dollars to sufganyot they are not held by more than a small fraction of liberal American Jewry.

More precisely, Beinart's point is that if sympathy for Israel gets recoded as a right-wing view, that's really bad for Israel.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Sunday, 29 April 2012 04:08 (five years ago) Permalink

Some really beautiful writing in the Nusseibeh, but this passage in particular struck me as really insightful and clear:

It may all begin with initially innocuous identity descriptions: the ways in which we describe our- selves and others and characterize our various af- filiations. Here we look at the individual through binoculars, situating her in a specific context and pinpointing her as being part of that context. Her context may be multilayered and complex (for example, she may be, like Dr. Ahmad Tibi and Hanin Zu’bi, both Israeli and Palestinian, or like Amin Maalouf, both French and Lebanese), but the mul- tiplicity or apparent incongruity of these layers or aspects of individuals’ identities is not what causes the real problem. The problem arises when one such aspect grows out of all proportion and, transformed from a property to an entity or a being in its own right, begins to control the individual’s life. Suppose for a moment that I am that individual. In extreme cases, such an entity or being may compel me (that is, I may imagine that it compels me) to commit acts from which I as a human being would recoil. What I, the individual flesh-and-blood Arab or Jew, ought to do comes to be dictated by what I believe the ab- stract but rigidly defined “the Arab” or “the Jew” would do in similar circumstances, or by what I be- lieve rigidly defined “Arabness” or “Jewishness” re- quires me to do, or even by what someone I trust who claims to speak in that entity’s name tells me I should do. And so I, the natural and primary indi- vidual, the autonomous human being, become a compliant puppet in that entity’s hands.

Mordy, Sunday, 29 April 2012 22:38 (five years ago) Permalink

saw nuseibbeh speak once and was completely transported by his groundedness and good sense, walked away thinking "why don't they just put this dude in charge of the middle east and everything will be fine" but apparently that is not possible

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 30 April 2012 01:41 (five years ago) Permalink

So all in all, there may be less in the political shift than immediately meets the eye.

curmudgeon, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 18:29 (five years ago) Permalink

Here is a short summary of the document. I hope I do it justice:

- Anyone who believes that Iran is not yet actively pursuing a nuclear-weapons program and merely developing the capabilities is committing an act of willful delusion. The intelligence supplied to the IAEA and verified by different "member countries," is clear on that Iran has been working on a wide range of projects for over a decade, all of which are specifically aimed at acquiring the capabilities necessary not only to enrich uranium to weapons-grade, but to assemble a nuclear advice that can be launched by long-range missile. Talk of a fatwa against nuclear weapons is just that: talk.

- Despite sanctions and international monitoring, Iran has received highly specialized instruments and equipment, benefited from the knowledge of foreign nuclear weapons designers and made impressive advance in its own scientific centers, so as to be able to carry out most of the necessary testing for a nuclear device, without actually creating a nuclear detonation. There has also been preparation for an actual nuclear test.

- The P5+1 talks will be useless if they continue to focus only on an Iranian commitment to curtail uranium enrichment for two main reasons. First, Iran is simultaneously advancing on multiple fronts of nuclear development and can continue even if it delays enrichment. Second, advances in centrifuge technology by Iran mean that it could well be capable of building a new network of smaller, easily dispersed enrichment installations unknown and unmonitored by the IAEA.

- A military strike on Iran, whether by the U.S, Israel or anyone else, may take out some of the key installations but the technological advances already achieved by Iran, mean that the damage will be limited and not prevent the continuation of the nuclear program. Only a willingness by whatever country attacks Iran to carry out a series of follow-on attacks can seriously endanger the nuclear weapons project.

- Iran will be extremely reluctant to abandon its nuclear program as it is a key element to the regime's entire regional strategy. In order to offset Iran's inferiority in conventional weapons when compared to other regional powers, it sees the nuclear option as its only way of fully countering that imbalance of force. Any future dealings with Iran or military strikes must take that into consideration.

Mordy, Monday, 14 May 2012 19:38 (five years ago) Permalink

welcome to the nuclear club you crazy kids

goole, Monday, 14 May 2012 19:47 (five years ago) Permalink

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