Israel to World: "Suck It."

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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

a series of follow-on attacks

An easy thing to do as well I'm sure.

curmudgeon, Monday, 14 May 2012 19:50 (five years ago) Permalink

well put but seems to ignore the israeli tactic of killing nuclear scientists and other acts of sabotage. people are probably harder to replace than equipment.

also i know everyone's got their tits up about nuclear iran giving shit to terrorists but isn't pakistan nuclear too? surprised nobody's shitting pants abt that

the late great, Monday, 14 May 2012 19:55 (five years ago) Permalink

everyone is always shitting their pants about pakistan

Mordy, Monday, 14 May 2012 19:56 (five years ago) Permalink

i kind of am

only so many pant tho, if you get me

xp ha

goole, Monday, 14 May 2012 19:57 (five years ago) Permalink

true but i haven't heard about pakistani WMD security, fingers crossed its not the ISI's job and/or they realize that would not be wise

the late great, Monday, 14 May 2012 20:06 (five years ago) Permalink

honestly, i think pakistani WMD security and concerns about what would happen to said WMDs in light of a governmental crisis have been circulating for a long time

Mordy, Monday, 14 May 2012 20:12 (five years ago) Permalink

stratfor link or it didn't happen

the late great, Monday, 14 May 2012 20:23 (five years ago) Permalink

re:Pakistan - you guys have already forgotten about AQ Khan eh

Roger Barfing (Shakey Mo Collier), Monday, 14 May 2012 20:28 (five years ago) Permalink

nah but he was supplying to nations not suicide bombers

the late great, Monday, 14 May 2012 20:34 (five years ago) Permalink

ha there's a semantic argument to be had there, but i get you

goole, Monday, 14 May 2012 20:49 (five years ago) Permalink

Mordy, Thursday, 17 May 2012 01:35 (five years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
two months pass...


maybe we'll be so busy being entertained by election season that we won't notice when the world ends

Mordy, Thursday, 6 September 2012 19:59 (five years ago) Permalink

Plus there's this related item:

curmudgeon, Thursday, 6 September 2012 20:07 (five years ago) Permalink

Atlantic piece reads like Israelis pissed the US won't give them blanket permission to bomb Iran. Puts Obama in a no-win situation. Don't give them the OK, and Iran likely finishes its work. Give them the OK, and Iran gets bombed, and surely something goes wrong, and surely a regional war is in the cards, too. Do nothing and possibly all three things might happen: Iran finishes work, Israel bombs it, and there's a war.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 6 September 2012 20:22 (five years ago) Permalink

my guess is the Obama administration would be totally fine with Israel doing a preemptive strike against Iran as long as they could plausibly deny US approval of it

stop swearing and start windmilling (Shakey Mo Collier), Thursday, 6 September 2012 20:22 (five years ago) Permalink

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