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Thursday, July 30, 2009

2 Non-Israel/Palestine Double Standards

These are two double standards I've heard blurbs about in the news recently. They don't have much to do with the Israel-Palestine thing, if you can believe it.

The first is rather new; the second is pretty old, but a persistent problem.

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Saberi vs. journalists we hold in the same way

We made a big deal about getting Roxana Saberi freed; should we do the same to journalists we have imprisoned? I mean, where are the protests and extensive coverage?

This, like the contrast in coverage of Iran protesters vs. Honduran protesters, makes me worry what the government and press is trying to cook up with regards to Iran. Maybe we won't even try to prove imminent threat and make a WMD charge (if wrong) this time. Maybe the groundwork has been laid for us to go to war with rulers we deem deficient in concessions to our side of an issue, rulers who are generally disagreeable or troublemakers, rulers whose people we deem not sufficiently free, etc.

But, back to the double standard-
Are we Americans acting like Iran in sending journalists to Guantanamo?

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/may/24/world/fg-iraq-journalist24

(two page article)

These are highlighted in the article:
Ibrahim Jassam, a cameraman and photographer for the Reuters news agency
Sami Haj, a cameraman for the Al Jazeera TV network
Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein

How many more are there?

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The School of the Americas/ WHINSEC

I was first introduced to the School of Assassins (Americas) by this guy, I think. I haven’t seen this site 'til I Googled him today, but he is the guy I emailed and got a VHS tape from. An email list I was on gave his name and email and a brief description of the contents. It’s been years. Maybe it was 2000 or 2001? I was horrified and rather surprised there wasn’t more of an outcry such that I’d have heard something about it.

http://www.addictedtowar.com/dorrel.html



Anyway, the School of the Americas graduates dictators and soldiers who would later perpetrate massacres in Central America. Most recently, it was said that the coup leader, Micheletti, who took over in Honduras, is also a graduate of this “school”.

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/1/generals_who_led_honduras_military_coup


What is the purpose in this? Nothing would justify such behavior we taught dictators and others, but we generally have motives, regardless if they make sense or not. In the Middle East, we act unjustly because of oil, Holocaust guilt, the appearance of a Western-style government and whatever else. What’s the deal here?

Here’s the watchdog group:
http://www.soaw.org/

Its other name is WHINSEC. And Blackwater is now Xe. How do you re-brand murder? I wonder how that works for them.


A book:
The School of the Americas: Military Training and Political Violence in the Americas
http://www.amazon.com/School-Americas-Political-Encounters-Interactions/dp/0822333929


The Stuff Conspiracy Theories Are Made Of

Both of these have probably been the subject of exaggeration, urban legend and frantic mass email forwarding. Both bother me.

The first is really a near miss. There were some other issues involved and the issue was resolved favorably. I'd still put it in this category.


The second is for real, for real. Big Brother- and not the TV show. Unbelievable, really. But true. It involves anti-war protesters, so I doubt anyone's going to care much, except to poke fun or rant about how much they "whine".

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Religious Freedom?

This was referenced in a (rather conservative) religious publication I get and I heard it in the news, so I decided to look into it more. It was disconcerting to say the least if it was as it sounded at first…

Couple Ordered to Stop Holding Bible Study at Home Without Permit
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,522637,00.html?test=latestnews



While googling, I found the snopes.com entry. It doesn’t dispute this (listed as partially true), but does provide extra details regarding a car of a visitor of a neighbor being dinged by a study attendee and makes note of the results- they are allowed to hold studies. The study leader paid for it, but maybe the neighbor and his friend still held a grudge? Anyway, it appears it wasn’t necessarily as all about religion as Fox News painted it. Not that it’s not worrisome to entertain the thought of police crackdowns on religious practice in this country. I just don’t think it was happening this time.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/biblestudy.asp


It is not clear to me whether this land use and religious assembly law has more to do with religion or number of people. If it has purely to do with having 10 people for a weekly event at a home that grows to 1000 and being able to circumvent the freedom of religion claim that could be used to circumvent fire codes and a ton of other safety and logistical nightmares such a group converging on one home creates, then the law makes sense. But if it is unnecessarily restrictive for religious groups compared to other groups (given that other groups can’t cite freedom of religion), then we need to take a look at it. Other groups could cite freedom to assemble… I don’t know.

An apology from the county. I looked for it on Fox, since that was my first source, but I don’t know that they bothered to cover the result of the situation. Apologies are boring, I guess.

http://www.10news.com/news/19650728/detail.html


It also sounds like the "pastor" was the source of confusion about where the controversy is- parking or religion.

In this article, he talks about the parking and thinks it sparked an official complaint: http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/may/30/1n30bible00100-county-wont-force-permit-bible-stud/
This source is a reference from the snopes site.

In a response to truthorfiction.com, he said parking was definitely not the issue- it was definitely religious freedom.
http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/p/Pastor-Dave-San-Diego-Permit.htm

Maybe his Fox experience convinced him it was more of a freedom of religion thing or maybe he just had time to think about it and reconsidered. It seems he changed his story either way, though.

It's definitely got legs with email, though! We'll be seeing this freedom of religion scare, minus the resolution where they are allowed to have the Bible studies without paying fines and minus the apology, for years to come.

The letters collected via email are here:
San Diego County Officials told pastor that he can not hold a Bible study in his home without a permit -Truth! but Decision Reversed!

San Diego County officials barred a couple from holding Bible study sessions in their home without a “major land use” permit.


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Government infiltrating and spying on anti-war groups

I hate to post so many Democracy Now links, but they do such a great job of summarizing the issues and asking questions and getting guests you won’t see on the big networks.

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/7/28/broadcast_exclusive_declassified_docs_reveal_military

Basically, this ex-military guy informs on innocent civilian protest and activist groups by infiltrating the group and asking police for info on specific groups-Students for a Democratic Society and Port Militarization Resistance. The reason for the spying, as I understand it, is not because they have done anything illegal or are putting people in danger, but they speak out against various government actions.

This is a WA site; I think it happened there.
http://www.ufppc.org/content/view/8882/34/


I don’t know anything about this site. I don’t know who is responsible for it, but it’s probably not the military or John himself.Link
http://www.johntowery.com/


This side is rightly complaining of possible rights and law violations, but there is something wrong with someone owning your name in this way… ☺

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Obama-inspired, insane (but comprehensive) settlement rant

To start off-

Pictures:
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/06/israeli_settlements_in_the_wes.html

Question: The Palestinian who builds a canal on his own land gets arrested. Where do illegal settlers in settlements, outposts and demolished outposts go??

This conflict is replete with double standards. Where are the investigative journalists? Exposing these and who's perpetuating them could get you a nice journalistic prize..or sent to Guantanamo. Let's face it. If Israel's going to make us go to war with Iran, we can't very well close it, can we?

***

U.S., Israel inch closer to deal on settlement freeze
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1103115.html

“The two are reportedly close to a deal in which Washington would allow a limited number of projects in advanced stages of construction to be completed, but Israel would freeze all other building for an as-yet undetermined period of time.”

They also want to be rewarded with normalization of relations with Arab states if they dismantle illegal outposts. (???)

This is like if I hadn’t paid my taxes in a few years (or decades) and I decided to pay them… at the prodding/threatening of authorities. Jail doesn’t even enter into the discussion- on the contrary- I should be compensated for my extraordinary generosity. I have made great concessions, after all. Totally absurd, right?!

Settlements are illegal. Period. The article said the US is trying to “bridge the gap”?? That can only mean we are going to let them get away with breaking the law. And we thought Obama was different. I might be joining you non-voters in 2012! He’s bending on settlements. He’s letting Israel influence him on Iran, from the people he’s talking to and direction the policy is taking. If we attack Iran preemptively, he might as well be another Bush.

It's laughable that Israel is even attempting to justify *natural growth*+ (and we’re thinking about buying it!) while it denies building permits to Arab Israelis who want to build and demolishes their homes when they build in spite of these racist policies. Note that the Palestinians are Israeli citizens and actually DO own the land they want to build for the same reason Israel is arguing- natural growth.
*=http://www.peacenow.org/policy.asp?rid=&cid=6329 "Top 5 Bogus Excuses for Opposing a Settlement Freeze"
+="normal life" is the favored term of late because it is less controversial and is more all-inclusive. See http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1246443842941&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
***

Palestinians reject any Israel-U.S. settlement deal
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE56B0F520090712
Yeah?! As well they shouldn’t! A “deal” implies that Israel gets away with breaking the law. Continuing to break the law, that is.
***

US and Israel strike settlement deal: report
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/07/08/78170.html

Apparently, this is the US and Israel finding common ground:
“Israel has won an agreement from the United States for the continued construction of 2,500 housing units in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, an Israeli newspaper reported on Wednesday, despite U.S. calls for a settlement freeze.”

***

Here’s a little more on Israeli denial of Palestinian natural growth:

The Israel – Palestine Problem: The perspective of a New Zealand Muslim
http://www.aen.org.nz/journal/1/1/rahman.html

Home Demolition and Land Confiscation
http://www.miftah.org/Display.cfm?DocId=81&CategoryId=4
***

Israeli-US settlement freeze talks hit a dead end
http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2009/07/01/77531.html

Besides the allowing Israeli natural growth and saying nothing about denying Palestinian natural growth, there’s the part where a good part of this so-called natural growth is in fact immigration, not natural growth.

“Ophran added Israel's claims of "natural growth" are bogus given that 40 percent of the settler increase is due to immigration to settlements either from within Israel or abroad.

"Natural growth in the settlements is not simply a matter of births from within but includes continuous flow of immigrants," Ophran explained.

Settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem have continued to expand at a rate higher than the population growth inside Israel. Some 180,000 additional Jews have been permitted to settle inside Israel’s Arab sector in East Jerusalem.”


Here’s a chicken and egg question, I guess. Are illegal settlements in the Occupied Territories growing more because of receiving more money or are they receiving more money because they are growing faster than the Israeli population in Israel?

Study: Settlements get more state fundingLink than Israeli cities
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1101829.html

Study: Heavily Subsidized Settlements Skew Israeli Policies
Settlements Get More Funding than Cities, Study Shows
http://news.antiwar.com/2009/07/21/study-heavily-subsidized-settlements-skew-israeli-policies/

And the next question would be...since we give Israel so much money, are we contributing to the violation of the 4th Geneva Convention. Bush said we didn't have to worry about that, though, so we're cool. This article doesn't really talk about government spending, but it does talk about unsuspecting Americans "contributing" to this "cause".

Report: US dollars funding Israeli settlements
http://www.prisonplanet.com/report-us-dollars-funding-israeli-settlements.html


This may explain the growth:

Beautiful Two-Bedroom on One Disputed Acre: How much does an Israeli-settlement home cost?
http://www.slate.com/id/2220531/

About half as much. How’s that for incentive? The money the Israel government is spending on making these homes so attractively priced should be going toward compensation for Palestinians.


If there were one binational secular democratic state, most of these final status, hot button issues would be solved. Settlements, human rights, water rights (maybe), refugees, borders, security, Jerusalem, access to holy sites.

Would there be apartheid? Maybe. Civil war? Only if it was forced on them and the people didn’t choose it themselves.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The American Dream?

I saw/heard these two reports yesterday and today and it immediately struck me how differently Americans look at things. We're fooled into believing this "American Dream" stuff where everyone has an equal shot at the big house, expensive cars, 6 figure salary, etc. Part of the folly is that those things aren't what life is about and we shouldn't strive for that- the other part is that we don't all have an equal shot at millionaire or quarter millionaire status. The American Dream is kind of bogus. Isn't it really about who you (or your parents) know or are? Isn't that how our last president got into Yale? Some of it is self-imposed, like a person whose parents didn't go to college- how likely are they to go to college. Or is neither of your parents has a PhD (or is a doctor or lawyer), how likely are you to end up with one? I'm not saying it never happens, but really what are your chances? There are social and economic considerations, not just parent's education, too.

Oh well. I don't have time to finish my thoughts, but here are the links:

This article was tagged 'best colleges for big salaries' on Yahoo's front page today:
http://finance.yahoo.com/college-education/article/107374/do-elite-colleges-produce-the-best-paid-graduates.html?mod=edu-collegeprep

And for a more realistic look (yes I know I live in the US and this is about the UK):



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Could Israel be getting a conscience??

Is Israel getting a conscience or is this just more "Palestinian propaganda"? Don't you just hate it when people whine and complain about war crimes and human rights? How petty can we be? Who do they think they are, right? 1,300 dead Palestinians including a ton of children. 10 dead Israelis. That's war, right? Nothing sketchy, there.

"You don't see a terrorist there? Fire at the window. In urban warfare, anyone is your enemy. No innocents."

Does this sound like Israel did everything possible to ensure the safety of civilians to you??

That is the official Israeli line, though. These reports from Breaking the Silence (and other sources I have read and posted through the years) seem to call that into question. For some reason, the media sat up and paid attention to this particular report.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8151336.stm


http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/07/2009714231352873494.html


http://www.france24.com/en/20090715-gaza-veterans-idf-moral-deterioration-war-crimes-palestine-breaking-the-silence-soldiers-israel

Monday, July 13, 2009

Fair trade

James posted this article on a note on Facebook earlier this year. I have been coming back to this fair trade concept a lot in my mind. Being your average greedy American I always think I am entitled to the lowest price. Long live The Market, right? But really what about those people who are making these things we buy at Wal-Mart in Chinese sweat shops, farmers who get a tiny fraction of our $3 cups of “premium” coffees, and Palestinians who deal with so much to try and make their living in their ever-temporary homes? Do we care? Should we? That’s up to you. And regardless of what or if you think of the politics of the Middle East, the fact remains there is a humanitarian situation that we could be helping by buying olive oil, olive oil soap, spices, etc.

This might explain better:

North American Fair Trade for Peace in the Middle East
http://www.chicagofairtrade.org/aboutFairTrade/fair-trade-in-conflict-zones/news_item.2006-02-06.1817772353

Will it be as popular as the coffee? I don't know why it isn't yet- Rachel Ray talks about EVOO all the time, Italian places do the olive oil and bread thing (if they served zaatar with the olive oil, it'd be way better, but I digress), olive oil is considered trendy and healthy these days. Add fair trade into the mix and I can't figure out why you can't pick it up at at least one place around here. I would think Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Asheville, etc would be all over this.

As far as locally, this is the one thing I’ve found. I don’t know what they sell from these countries, but they mention fair trade and Egypt and the West Bank. If it’s the same as World Market, I think I’ve been, but still don’t know what was from the West Bank, and if not, then I haven’t been at all.

http://www.tenthousandvillages.com - Egypt and West Bank, among other 3rd world locations
* Sarasota, FL
* Cumming, GA
* Greenville Crossing, DE
* Atlanta, GA - Perimeter Place
919-929-8022 | Eastgate Shopping Center1800 East Franklin St Chapel Hill, NC
(919) 286-2457 | One World Market811 9th Street Suite 100 Durham, NC


This sums up the regions’ organizations::

North America - www.afsc.org * www.canaanfairtrade.com * www.palestineoliveoil.org * www.worldcentric.org * www.zatoun.com

Europe - www.zaytoun.org

Middle East - www.canaanfairtrade.com * www.pal-arc.org * www.palestinefairtrade.org

These are various organizations I found:

Canaan Fair Trade, 5218 Shorecrest Dr., Middleton , WI 53562, phone: (608)831-0707, fax: (608)821-0790, email:nasser@canaanfairtrade.com. National distributor of fair trade products from Palestine, specializing in olive oil. All products are certified by the Palestine Fair Trade Association

Friendship and Peace Society Embroidery Project, PO Box 275, Point Arena, CA 95468; phone and fax: (941)922-7657; email: ellen.rosser@sbcglobal.net. Markets beautiful cross-stitch embroidery made by poor Palestine women who are the sole support of their families. Featuring: pillows, jackets, shawls, wall hangings, dresses, etc.

Holy Land Olive Oil; 2930 Domingo Ave., #122, Berkeley, CA 94705; phone: (510)830-8804; fax: (206)203-0515; email:info@holylandoliveoil.com. Startup business rooted in an all volunteer effort to help farmers in Palestine. Importer of Extra Virgin olive oil from Palestine.


http://www.palestinefairtrade.org/

https://www.canaanfairtrade.com/distributors-and-partners


http://WWW.OLDECITYIMPORTS.COM
-- USA, MA

http://www.olivebrancholiveoil.com
-- USA, MA

http://www.sunbula.org/etemplate.php?id=22

http://www.aseela.org/

Hadeel, St. George's West Church
Location:
58 Shandwick Place
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
http://hadeel.org/page.html?id=11



Along the same lines, I wrote this awhile back. Not too long ago. And I don't think it was on this site. I'm not exactly the go-getter type, but I think from time to time about stuff like this or getting something going. Petitioning the government is certainly (or seems so) one way to influence policy, but if Americans are talking to Palestinians and start to see them as people with perhaps more in common with themselves than they think (rather than The Others, terrorists, etc), maybe this will make people re-think the "Israel's way or the highway" mentality that holds us captive and causes common sense to escape us.

Here goes:
I have heard of (and have been inspired by) various efforts lately to aid Palestine like Galloway's convoy, Kite Gang (NPR), Gaza Surf Relief, etc:
http://www.vivapalestina.org/events.htm,
(edit 7/2009- A convoy actually left the US on July 4 and went to Gaza July 13)

http://www.kitegang.org/what_we_do/jordan
(http://thestory.org/archive/the_story_496_Kites_and_Plastic.mp3/view ),

http://www.gazasurfrelief.com/Start.html ,

https://www.canaanfairtrade.com/about ,

various programs among elementary students/schools from the US and Palestine exchanging letters, pictures, goodies, etc (why don't cities or peace groups in the two areas do the same sorts of things?)
*Facebook comments about Flat Stanleys around that time kind of re-inspired that one. I thought- what ifFlat Stanley went to a Free Gaza event or protest...

and even http://www.provoforpalestine.org/ (go figure!)


*************************************************

And with that, I'm all brainstormed out. Maybe something will come of it one day. If not from me, then from someone reading this. I feel less cluttered having put all this on "paper", so I guess I've accomplished something.

We followed others' lead in response to Honduras, time to jump on this bandwagon, too

Better late than never.

Kind of sad to be as surprised and happy to see a country following the rule of law, their own no less!

Britain halts some arms exports to Israel in response to Gaza conflict
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6699852.ece


UK cuts Israel weapons contracts
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8147377.stm

We also have arms export control acts and things of that nature. I guess we just choose never to give those a second look, though. The language is vague and it's a hassle. It would be bad for re-election, too, should we find that Israel is violating it. It's better to sweep it under the rug with the rest of the dirt.

Britain sees that some of what they are giving Israel is being used in a way that contravenes their laws. They are trying to put a stop to it. This is far from an embargo, as some have already called it. It's 5 things. I think an embargo would be warranted (think of the struggle against S.African apartheid) and I hope the small act of enforcing laws (even against Israel) encourages others to follow suit or do dare to do something bolder.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Lemon Tree- not a bad book

The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East.

There are a couple of interesting points. My review I posted to Facebook or wherever follows.

Everyone always talks about Arafat walking out of discussions, but Tolan (p235) describes Clinton and Albright storming out after Qurei dares to offer the June 4, 1967 map as a counter offer to Israel's suggestion that Palestinians take 92% of the West Bank minus settlements and annexed land for a demilitarized entity. Clinton acted rather childishly and yelled at Qurei that he knows he'd like the whole thing to be Palestine, but that's not possible. The 1967 lines are FAR from the whole of Mandate Palestine! Then he goes on about how this isn't the UN, he's the President of the US and he can go home, Qurei's losing a lot, Qurei's obstructing negotiations, etc. Then, he and Albright storm out in a literal downpour. Apparently, at least the part about the downpour is in Albright's memoirs.

*Also rarely mentioned is Malley and Agha's response to these "negotiations" and what has become known as "Barak's generous offer." A quote from the NYT piece is: "The measure of Israel's concessions ought not be how far it has moved from its own starting point; it must be how far it has moved toward a fair solution (p239)."

That is such an insightful comment. I think that "offer" and Malley/Agha's response will go a long way to show the uninitiated what the issues are and why the sides think the way they do.

Google them. I think they've written more since.

*With My Own Eyes by Felicia Langer was written about torture in Israeli prisons in 1974.
I think she met with the (Palestinian) main character in The Lemon Tree, Bashir.

*In 1977, the Sunday Times of London did a piece on torture as well.


This is my "review" for The Lemon Tree:

It is pretty interesting in that it tells the experience of a Jewish family emigrating to Israel around 1948 and a Palestinian family who is driven from what is now Israel around the same time. The events leading up to that time are oddly similar. There is much more info on the Jewish family, but the author is a Holocaust scholar, so I guess that's why. I am very familiar with the Jewish plight (Anne Frank several times in school, a Holocaust discussion and or presentations and projects in most history classes, etc) around that time, but not so much the Palestinian and Arab history of the same time period. I only have what little I have read outside of school. This book does provide some detail and allude to an alternate and rather mythical history taught to Israelis (land without people for people without land, Arabs left of their own accord and never came back, etc), but still talked about Jewish attacks on Palestinian towns as spectacular and in other terms that are definitely from a Jewish perspective.On the other hand, the author does relate the Palestinian expulsion in such terms that remind one of the Jews walking to various points to be taken to death camps. The images of the women strapping the family’s gold to their bodies so Nazi or Jewish soldiers respectively wouldn’t loot it were strikingly similar. Also similar are the descriptions of the long, forced "walks" with only possessions they could carry to a destination and future that was uncertain at best and in many cases fatal or nearly so.This story of two people linked by forces beyond their control reinforces my thoughts on how to achieve peace. The only hope is to share all of the land- not occupation, not two states- as one secular, democratic state.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy 5th anniversary illegal Israel wall ruling


'Law must thwart' Israeli barrier
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8140408.stm

If Israel wants anyone to actually believe that that wall is temporary, not intended to impede the peace process, and for security vs land grabs, they'd be BUILDING IT ON THEIR OWN LAND! I mean really, how dumb do they think we are?

It's not really a question of intelligence or ignorance, though. It's that Americans generally don't care. Things like celebrity babies and deaths, socialite antics, and Lorena Bobbitts of the world are much more likely to grab our attention than injustice and starvation around the world that our tax dollars are funding. And then there's the problem of being accused of being anti-Semitic for questioning Israel's policy or actions or daring to investigate the Palestinian perspective... No one wants to be called names, so we don't even go there.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Stalemate...is that the best we can do?

People make fun of PC terms like vertically challenged, domestic engineer and the like, but equally ridiculous descriptions are common and completely acceptable when talking about Israel.

Israeli- Palestinian stalemate
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8083107.stm

Funny how when Israel refuses to comply with international law and gets caught, they are in a 'stalemate'. When Palestinians refuse to give up internationally recognized rights and continue to fight for them, they are terrorists, stubborn, missing "opportunities", etc. But, this whole thing is steeped in double standards. Hamas is a terrorist organization and we shun them and starve Palestinians because of it, yet we have embrace(d) and revere(d) current Israeli terrorists like the FM Avigdor Lieberman and past ones like Sharon, Rabin, Shamir, Begin, Ben-Gurion and the like. Israel can elect whomever they want, be it a terrorist or whomever; Palestinian elections don't count unless the US and Israel like the results. It makes sense to let Israel handle Palestinian affairs and life, but it didn't make sense to let Hitler control the fate of the Jews. Israel talks about a demographic and security threat rather than the Palestinian population, with virtually no consequences; when Jews and African Americans are spoken of like this we think Holocaust, hatred, bigotry, racism, ethnic cleansing, Nazis, KKK, and other abhorrent nouns, but Israel is assumed innocent even in the face of hard evidence to the contrary. Israel is thrust upon the Middle East without consulting the inhabitants and is given 55% of the land (and why they complain about enemies on every side when they chose to sit a bunch of Europeans in that spot is yet another mystery), then takes 80%, then all, ignores UN resolutions 194 and 242 (except the part that gives it legitimacy), builds settlements, walls, violates international law, is involved in ethnic cleansing and yet the onus is still always somehow on Palestinians to make concessions. What exactly do they have left to concede, even if one were to convince ones self that this were anywhere near just or fair?

And can someone please explain why Palestinians are the problem when Jews and Arabs traded, talked, made agreements and generally coexisted in harmony up until the point where the Zionist experiment moved to the Middle East ~1945??

Palestinians want the right to return (and a state) to where they were expelled from in 1945-1948 in all of historic Palestine. Jews believe they have been refugees for 2000 years and want a Jewish state in all of Palestine. Palestinians have to concede that the European Jews aren't going back home, though that may be the fair solution. Jews must concede that Palestinian refugees have the right to return to their family homelands their national aspirations are as valid as Jews'. Since both groups want all of the land, they should all share one secular state to ensure the rights of all are respected.

The Jewish state idea. One might say that this is another Jewish concession in a secular state, but when keeping a Jewish majority trumps democracy and human rights and is maintained by policies resembling ethnic cleansing, you've got to ask yourself how fair, feasible, and legal this is. We're not talking about saving a native population from demise, here. We're talking about massive immigration of a people with a different culture on a mission to squeeze out the native (non-Jewish) population.


Oh well. Time to go back to the real world. Forget history, human rights, justice, etc. What UN? Amnesty Who? Still building settlements? Here's another $3 million.

When are those Palestinians going to demilitarize so there'll be peace?

***
While reading a book, The Lemon Tree, I was alerted to this response to "Barak's generous offer":
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/15502

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bible prophecy about Iran elections...or not so much...

Someone posted a link and asked for comments. The link is below and my comments follow. I hope I don't come off as sarcastic or rude. (I'd like to save that for politics ;) ) Premillennialism is something I've tried to understand in the past. I really have not been able to connect the dots as to how people extract this belief from the Bible, given the context, meanings, and history. It is kind of a soapbox issue (like support for Israel and its crimes) because it is widely accepted, but I just can't figure out why.

Anyway, here goes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67G0E0Uquyc

My comments:
In Galatians 3, the Bible calls the old law a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Our reading of these fulfilled prophecies gives us hope. The modern state of Israel is not mentioned in the Bible, contrary to popular belief. The Israelites were God's chosen. Jews today turn their back on Christ and God's sacrifice of his son. People often confuse today's Jews with Israelites. This is a really common false teaching, or group of false teachings, called premillennialism.

Ezra 1:1

The prophecy being fulfilled here is in Isaiah 44:28-45:1. Ezra1:1-4 says this prophecy is being fulfilled by Cyrus’s action, but you seem to apply this to Ahmedinejad in present-day Iran instead of Cyrus in Persia in comments like: “it’s ironic that the king of Persia is building God’s temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 1), but Ahmedinejad, leader of Iran today, is “trying to destroy everything that has to do with God’s temple in Jerusalem.”

I have a problem with his equating modern day Israel and modern Jews with ancient Israelites (God’s chosen people) and land (conditionally) promised (and received…and lost) to them at that time. It’s not historically accurate. Biblically speaking, it doesn’t matter one bit with regards to our salvation or Bible prophecy what goes on in Jerusalem (how ever interesting it may be).

You seem to differentiate between time periods, here, but I wasn’t clear on whether you thought Ezra was indeed a fulfillment (he didn’t say it at all) as we know it to be, or a prophecy to be fulfilled in the future (as you do later).

I thought the comment – ‘Jerusalem’s supposed to be their 3rd holiest site, but when they pray, they turn their back on it. Doesn’t sound holy to me.’ had no real place in the discussion of Bible prophecy. It was kind of catty, snide, and very much opinion.


Ezekiel 38

Ezekiel 38:11 speaks of unwalled villages. Israel today has tons of walls and fences, checkpoints, etc. Being attacked in a time of peace when defenses were decreased is spoken of in Ezekiel, but Israel is on high alert, is a very militarized society, and is filled with walls. This clearly doesn’t fit today’s situation or any since 1948 (and likely any after).

Most premillennialists say Israel was restored in 1948, but by saying this is a future prophecy it goes against even premillennial thought.

Ezekiel 39:29 “poured out My spirit” reminds me of Joel 2:28 which refers to that time when the gospel was beginning to be preached and people needed signs and before scripture was completed as referred to in 1 Corinthians 13:10. One could at the very least surmise that the fulfillment occurred before the scriptures were completely revealed. The Israelite captivity is also referred to in chapter 39, so I’m guessing it was fulfilled much earlier than the time the scriptures were completely revealed?

If the northern lands are indeed today’s countries as you say, then they will be fighting with horses, swords and shields (?) and not planes, bombs and other equipment long removed from swords. That begs some explanation if we are to continue to assume this will happen in the “future” from today’s vantage point.

He says Moscow and Iran are leading a world war against Israel. Really, Moscow is becoming dependent on the West more and more and consequently is pressured to have good relations with Israel which will probably actually hurt their relations with Iran, so I would say their bond or association is not so tight as you say.

He also says about the Ezekiel passage “recovered from war” that Israel has had a few wars. I’d say yes, but they are in a constant state of war and are nowhere near “recovered” from it, so this doesn’t fit here either. He says we are already seeing verse 14 in that Iran won’t accept Israel’s right to exist, but I say we can’t be seeing it (even if you ignore the fact that this has been fulfilled) since Israel’s at “war”, not recovered.

 

Dan 10 “time yet to come” He says that means it hasn’t happened yet. In reality, at the time of the writing, it was yet to come. It is important to think about when it was written, to whom, by whom, context, when considering a passage.

It is essential to read Daniel 10-12 to get the prophecy here. The Persian, Greek, and in 11, the north and south (Syrian and Egyptian) kingdoms are discussed. History shows that these things did indeed happen.

Going back to your assertion, how do we know this is meant for us at this point in history, rather than events that have transpired already for which there is documentation? This is something I have always wanted to know from premillennialists. Why is it impossible that it happened thousands of years ago and by the time we read it, it has been fulfilled?

When prophecies were written, they were written about specific people and events, but folks like to insert current events all too often. It is astounding that things were prophesied 400 years before they occurred. We don’t need to put current events in there to reinject the “magic”. It is amazing and tells us God is faithful and takes care of those that obey him- for instance when we see Jesus and his life and message, the Israelites’ captivity prophesied or their return and each of them fulfilled.


V20- angel says soon I will fight against the king of Persia
and
Revelation 22:7 , 12 coming soon

Students of Revelation will realize that when the Bible says “soon” it means soon, not 2000 or more years later. For example, Revelation was written to Christians undergoing persecution we can barely comprehend. This letter was their comfort and many saw the comfort in their lifetime, otherwise what good would it have been? Soon, I’d gather, would be more like a generation than a millennia or two.

We are not given signs or even a timeframe (i.e soon) for his return:
Matt 24:36, 42-44