Tuesday, July 04, 2017

A Belated Response to Jeffrey Goldberg

At the end of August 2012, I commented on something Jeffrey Goldberg published.

I now have stumbled on to his response to my comments and, to my surprise, it seems I did not retort. And that is quite unlike me.  Five years have passed. Did I start to compose and forget to finish?


Well, since the issues are still with us (and why shouldn't they be?) and as I had occasion to enjoy a lunch together with him at the Merlot Cafe and Restaurant in my home community of Shiloh some months ago, I return to his points.  To the first part of his post:

First, "Arabs living in Judea and Samaria are not citizens of Israel. So, they can't vote." Imagine the following sentence, justifying apartheid: "Blacks in South Africa are black. Therefore, they can't vote." How is this an argument and not a tautology? Obviously (or not obviously, to some people) this is the crux of the situation -- Arabs on the West Bank are denied voting rights in Israel, and are also denied the right to separate completely from Israel. (Their leaders haven't helped the situation, but the Israelis have not helped much either.) A more accurate, if still tautological, statement would have read: "Israel will not enfranchise Arabs living in Judea and Samaria. Therefore, they are disenfranchised."

His example of a comparison of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria to the fact that blacks in South Africa are blacks and therefore cannot vote (but they do, don't they?) - is quite ridiculous, facile and malevolent.  I did not indicate a racial basis for lack of enfranchisement but citizenship.

In fact, the Arabs resident in Judea and Samaria do vote but only when their elected leadership permits them to do so.  Since 2005, when Mahmoud Abbas was elected President of the Palestinian Authority, there have been no elections for that position.  Not very democratic.  If they cannot vote even within just their own limited sphere, how can they learn to be good citizens?  How can they promote a real statehood?

I practiced tautology?  Or did Goldberg simply pervert what I wrote and set up a convenient, and very non-existent, straw man?

If they are granted voting rights, say, in Jordan in a future confederation alignment, they they would possess exactly the same status as the status of the Jews.

They are not denied their own state.  They have refused, since at least 1937 and I would add earlier, to accept any offer of a state but have refused to do so because it would mean a Jewish state is acceptable to them.  For them, it is a zero-sum game.  Even now, they refuse to take any steps in that direction by rejecting US suggestions to halt payments to terrorists.

His "A more accurate, if still tautological, statement would have read: "Israel will not enfranchise Arabs living in Judea and Samaria. Therefore, they are disenfranchised."" is plain nonsensical and silly.


"Just like an Israeli living in the United States but who is not a citizen cannot vote." Is this what passes for a deep thought among the intellectual leaders of the settlement movement? There's one crucial difference between an Israeli immigrant in America and a Palestinian on the West Bank: The Israeli immigrant in America voluntarily moved to America. The Arab on the West Bank is from the West Bank. He didn't move to Israel, Israel moved to him.

I really do not know how many but I do know that not all Arabs residing in Judea and Samaria are "from the West Bank".  I do know that to be a "Palestinian refugee", one had only to reside in Judea, Samaria and Gaza for but two years. Two years! I hope this isn't too deep for Goldberg to grasp.  It means that a two-year residency gained many Arabs from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan (itself part of Palestine actually) and Egypt, at least, money, food and residency all free from UNRWA, for almost seven decades now.

As for those truly "from the West Bank", I do not know how many supported the Mufti, or the fedayeen or the PLO prior to 1967 and earlier, but there is a price for that. Part of that is that since they attempted numerous times to deny Jews their state - and to kill as many of them in the process - they lose the right to a state.  They could have achieved autonomy, or in September 1967 all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza except Jerusalem, or during 1968-70 the Allon Plan, etc., but they refused.  I do not have to be liable to correct all their mistakes, errors and evil intentions especially as a "state of Palestine" would endanger the lives and existence of Jews and Israel.

They "invited" us in by their terror. They continue to keep us here by their rejectionism and refusal to compromise.

Goldberg's next section:

Of course, the occupation of the West Bank was justified militarily, after Jordan used it to launch an attack on Israel in 1967. But that doesn't change the basic fact, known to all, that Arabs happened to be living on the West Bank when Israel arrived. They are not immigrants to the West Bank. They are native to the West Bank.

And those Jews who were ethnically cleansed from Hebron, Gaza, Gush Etzion, Jerusalem, Atarot, Neveh Yaakov, Bet HaAravah, etc., they are equally native. 

Fourth section:

As for the rest of Medad's post, I simply don't know if he sincerely believes that Arabs on the West Bank have equivalent legal rights before Israel's High Court, or equal access to Israeli services, or if he knows he's pulling our legs.

One of the most dispiriting aspects of the Middle East conflict is the inability of both sides to see that their enemy also has legitimate claims to the territory in dispute. Palestinian rejection of the right of Jews to live in their ancient homeland is absurd and immoral. But so is the notion that Palestinians on the West Bank are somehow immigrants, and should be punished as immigrants until they agree to enjoy their punishment. 

I do know, I do. And they seem to do quite well exploiting our court system.

I see Arabs as having legitimate claims, as in the spirit of the League of Nations Mandate decision of 1922:

in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing should be done which might prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine

Civil rights. Religious rights. Human liberties and freedoms. But that does not include the establishment of a fictitious Arab state of Palestine in the area of the historic Jewish homeland.  It didn't then and after all their rejectionism, animosity, opposition, violence and such, they surely do not deserve it now.

Jeffrey, is that clear?



NormanF said...

My position on the subject is the same as the late Steven Plaut:

They have no moral right to a state and Israel isn't obligated to facilitate its demise by giving them one.

The Arabs have made their intentions perfectly clear. And if Jews refuse to heed it, it will be their fault, for a change.

Yes, one does make peace with an enemy but one makes peace with an enemy who has become your friend.

That's not the case with the Palestinian Arabs and nothing on their part indicates they're going to be that enemy in the future.

J said...

The fact is that should an Israeli Jew drive into a Palestinian village, he/she will be detained and there were cases of lynching. They consider us their enemies. Their Prophet says we are animals to be exterminated. Obviously it is painful to accept that millions are out to kill us. You and me and the children too. What can one do but defend oneself?