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Uh-oh...AIPAC is meeting

And the U.S. Congress is on the warpath: From Haaretz"A Republican and a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation that would make Israel a "major strategic ally," a one-of-a-kind designation. The bill, introduced Monday by U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican from Florida, and Ted Deutch, a Democratic from Florida, is timed for the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committeeconference, and 13,000 activists are expected to lobby for it and for Iran-related bills on Tuesday."In addition, the Jewish Lobby (or is it the Israeli Lobby...Chuck Hagel, Help!), will send members to lobby Congress to exempt Israel from the Sequester that is now cutting budgets across the federal government and in most states. But not apparently for the 51st!The New York Times has this report on the meeting and Vice-President Biden's promise to embrace war (if need be): "Mr. Biden took pains to emphasize Mr. Obamas threat to use military force if all else failed to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Presidents of the United States cannot and do not bluff, and President Barack Obama is not bluffing, the vice president said, drawing one of several standing ovations for his remarks."Here is the text of Vice President Biden's speech. Thank you Ha'aretz!

About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.



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Ed Gleason: But Iran has attacked Israel and probably will again. Its just that it uses its proxy Hezbollah to do so.Nevertheless, you make a fair point about the restraints on Iran with respect to using weapons of mass destruction. However, no one can look at the fanaticism being exhibited across the entire region from Pakistan to Algeria without deep apprehension. And chemical weapons of mass destruction have already been unleashed in the Mideast in the Iran-Iraq war and by the mass murderer Hafez al-Assad (father of the current mass murderer, Bashar) against the Syrian city of Hama, killing tens of thousands of people.And there is deep concern by most of the world that if Iran obtains nuclear weapons, it might farm some out to terrorist proxies, or even if it doesnt, that it will be the occasion of a nuclear arms race in the Mideast. These are legitimate concerns.So, perhaps the issue is not as cut and dried as you make it.

Tom B --My problem with "major strategic ally" is that it is highly ambiguous. As I said above, "ally" raises a constitutional issues of which section of the government should handle foreign affairs, and the word "major" is essentially ambiguous -- your post makes this extremely well: "major" ally relative to which other allies? The phrase can mean anything anybody wants it to.

Presidents of the United States cannot and do not bluff, and President Barack Obama is not bluffing, the vice president said, drawing one of several standing ovations for his remarks.

More macho about playing to type!Hmmmm...two wars, a country almost broke, and it is not like the United States has recast its image with a significant portion of the mid-east. I would think Iran might call.But the bigger point is that the entire direction of US foreign policy has not shifted or changed and it is the policy and not the country, ideas or people that causes the reaction.

Sounds like the Senators are trying to have Congress establish foreign policy. Or what does "ally" mean here -- a preferred nation in the non-military sphere? Or does it mean a preferred nation in matters of an as yet unnamed or to be declared war? If the former then Congress has no business telling the President how to conduct foreign affairs. If the latter, it seems to refer to a non-existent state of affairs -- a war that the U,S. and Israel are both engaged in (only they aren't). It seems to have an anticipatory, hypothetical quality that puts it outside the sphere of real, actual law.

Congress is reflecting the will of the American people, who are the real Israeli Lobby. The Hill, the newspaper that covers Congress, has just published a new poll that shows that 73% of likely voters believe the Obama administration should continue its current support of Israel or should be even more supportive. A full 39% believe it should be more supportive and 34% believe it should continue its current level of support, while only 13% believe it should be less supportive. This poll confirms the results of the PEW poll earlier this year that showed that 68% of the American people believed that the United States should continue its current level of support for Israel or should be even more supportive, and showed that they sympathized with the Israelis over the Palestinians by a margin of 5 to 1. The American people are united in their support for Israel like they are united by few other things. As for Iran, Vice President Biden also said this about Iran in his speech yesterday: We are not looking for war. We are looking to and ready to negotiate peacefully. But all options, including military force, are on the table. But as I made clear at the Munich security conference just last month, our strong preference, the world's preference, is for a diplomatic solution. So while that window is closing, we believe there is still time and space to achieve the outcome. We are in constant dialogue, sharing information with the Israeli military, the Israeli intelligence service, Israeli political establishment at every level. And we're taking all the steps required to get there, but I want to make clear to you something. If, God forbid, the need to act occurs, it is critically important for the whole world to know we did everything in our power. We did everything that reasonably could have been expected to avoid any confrontation. That matters because, God forbid, if we have to act, it's important that the rest of the world is with us. We have a united international community. We have a united international community behind these unprecedented sanctions. He also said this: It is not only in Israel's interest and everybody should understandI know you understand this, but the world shouldit's not only in Israel's interest that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon. It's in the interest of the United States of America. It's simple. And as a matter of fact it's in the interest of the entire world. Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapon not only would present an existential threat to Israel. It would present a threat to our allies and our partners and to the United States, and it would trigger an arms race, a nuclear arms race in the region, and make the world a whole lot less stable.

The "Hill" is a fine newspaper. Maybe you missed this op-ed piece:"Israel stands to lose approximately $250 million of its $3.1 billion military aid package from the United States under the terms of the sequestration. The Jewish Week calls AIPACs gambit to exempt these cuts a very risky strategy at a time when millions of Americans will be feeling the bite of the sequestration debacle, which could easily backfire and damage Israel far more than any cuts in its very generous grant aid program. "Indeed, why should AIPAC seek to single out Israel and hold it to a different standard lobbying for greater levels of U.S. taxpayer aid for Israel at this time?"According to the author the U.S. subvents 20 percent of Israel's military budget. Wonder what the American public thinks of that? Of course, if Pew went and asked the citizens of Virginia, which is taking the largest cuts under the sequester, if they preferred that $250 million go to the Israeli Defense Forces or the Navy shipyards in Norfolk, I wonder what they'd say.

Neither you nor I nor the author of this op-ed piece know what Congress is going to do or what will be the reaction of the American people to whatever it does. But we do know that in general the American people overwhelmingly support maintaining the current level of support for Israel or providing even greater support, because they are speaking loudly and clearly in terms that no one can deny.

Right. I think we can depend on opinion polls to tell us what our foreign policy should be, and also our economic policies, and while we're at it, policies about space travel and intergalactic dialogue. On most other subjects, I would guess you'd be more prudent about supporting your position with opinion polls.

Thank God the American people support Israel.The recrudescence of anti-semitism in Europe is disturbing. This is a report from the Religious News Service (reprinted in the Washington Post) about the hearing in the House last week: that:"To a nearly packed hearing room, a first panel of witnesses none of whom represent Jewish organizations urged U.S. political leaders to call out anti-Semitism when they see it, and to support those who speak up for Jews, often at great risk."And:"Several other witnesses also noted that anti-Semitism often masquerades as political criticism of Israel."

I thought we still lived in a democracy where the opinion of the people mattered. You can argue that the people are wrong -- you and I have been arguing about the right and wrong of Israel for a long time -- but you can't credibly argue that support of Israel is a subversion of our democracy when it is, in fact, an expression of it.

Margaret: And I bet when the American people turned against the war in Iraq, you weren't posting comments ridiculing making foreign policy by opinion polls.

Gerelyn: I was unaware of the hearing that you reference. Thanks for the link to the Washington Post aricle.

Nuclear poker is a three handed game. US, Iran and N Korea. The US bluff was already been called by No Korea. No need for Iran to call... just proceed. Israel has the 200+ bombs and excellent delivery system and Iran understands stalemate. Learn to live with it.

Ed Gleason: You may be right that the world will have to live with Iran becoming a nuclear power. I dont have any idea how all this is going to turn out.But almost all countries are against Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. If it were not so, the United States would never have been able to unite most of the world in the current sanctions regime against Iran. As for Israel, it has never been Israels national policy to destroy Iran, while the same cant be said of Iran vis-a-vis Israel.

Does "major strategic ally" trump "special relationship"? If it does, can Britain be satisfied until Congress asserts that it has a "major special relationship"? And what about Germany? It's the prime mover of the EU, so it ought to get something. How about "major ally that used to be a major enemy" or, in German, "majorallythatusedtoanenemymajorbe"? Then Congress will have to think of some title for poor Mexico, so close to the United States, so far from God. It can continue to ignore Canada, though. We always do.We can vote on it, Jeff.

'As for Israel, it has never been Israels national policy to destroy Iran, while the same cant be said of Iran vis-a-vis Israel.'If Iran attacked Israel the only thing left Persian. will be some Park Ave rugs. Iran knows that.

Gerelyn, you're going to get tossed if I conclude that you are accusing me of anti-Semitism.And how about the whole quote on criticizing Israel.Jews as a people are often vilified in the context of attacks on Israel, said Elisa Massimino, president and CEO of the nonprofit Human Rights First, an international civil rights group based in Washington and New York. While criticism of Israeli government policies or those of any other government is legitimate discourse, it crosses the line when it disparages or demonizes Jews as a people.Criticism of Israel is legitimate discourse. Criticism of AIPAC is legitimate discourse. And criticism of VP Biden is legitimate discourse. You might also have noted that the WP story mostly cited European sources and that it was not a news story, but an On Faith blogger.

Margaret: Gerelyn will have to speak for herself with respect to the issue you posed to her. But it is an obvious truth that criticism of Israel or of AIPAC can be used to mask deliberate anti-Semitism or can slide over into invoking stereotypical anti-Semitic stereotypes, just as it is an obvious truth that defenders of Israel or AIPAC can make false or reckless charges of anti-Semitism against their critics. And when either occurs, it is appropriate to make an issue of it. Isnt it?

I think it is true that criticism of Israel often masks anti-Semitism; but by very much the same token, support for Israel often masks anti-muslim bigotry or anti-Arab racism.So often it seems that the arguments for why Americans should be supporting Israel don't rest on any kind of policy framework (that it is important to the US national interest) but more that we should all be pro-Israel because we're supposed to think that Israel's foes are so very bad.

I think a lot about why, as a leftie, I come down on the side of Israel. It's difficult to sort it out, but I do find it hard to support Arab countries where free speech, freedom of religion, the rights of women and gays, and in some cases democracy, are not respected.

Correct IreneThere are at least three narratives occurring simultaneously all of which contain large amounts of truth.1. Jewish people were systmatically targetted, dehumanized, and marginalized in Europe. During the Nazi period it, it became codified and legislated. Property was confiscated and Jewish people forced into concentration camps. No country, at the time, including the United States or Canada was prepared to accept the influx of Jewish refugees leading to the so called grand solution in Nazi Germany. Following this genocide, it was clear that the Jewish people needed their own country to assert their rights. Jewish people have historically had a spiritual connection with the land of Palestine.2. There were people who had lived in this land, including Jewish people, for hundreds of years. They had established homes and a connection with the land, culture and history of the region. Many were removed from their homes by people whose connection to the land seemed tenuous at best. As one Palestinian explained to me, it was strange to hear someone with an American, New York accent suddenly start talking about the ancient homeland. It seemed, at least to them, a bit fabricated.3. Americans have a strong Protestant more literal biblical history and are in great religious sympathy with the plight of the Jews. They see them, and believe them to be God's chosen people.Whatever you may think of the president of Iran, he made a good point in an interview when the interview accused him of denying the holocaust. He asked this American interviewer where the holocaust occurred. The interviewer replied Germany. he responded, then would it not make more sense to give them land in Germany? The obvious and implicit answer is that the basis for the Jewish claim to Israel is biblical. One Arab said that the bible is not a property deed.It is very surprising that we, in the so called secular west implicitly accept the biblical text uncritically.It seems to me that we need to resolve this problem on the basis of natural law and rules of fairness. This is easier said than done of course. When Iran says that it wants to "wipe Israel off the map"' it means that it wants to erase the geographic entity and note destroy people. The analogy is the Soviet Union being wiped off the map and no actual Russians dying. For the record, I think that is totally unrealistic and support the existence of the state of Israel. At the same time, I understand that the entire nation building process was blundered and people have been displaced. They, too, are entitled to justice.Calmer heads need to prevail. Come let us reason together.

Crystal said:I think a lot about why, as a leftie, I come down on the side of Israel. Its difficult to sort it out, but I do find it hard to support Arab countries where free speech, freedom of religion, the rights of women and gays, and in some cases democracy, are not respected.I think a lot about why, as a conservative, I come down on the side of Israel. But unlike Crystal, I have no problem sorting it out: Free speech, freedom of religion, the rights of women and gays, and in some (some?) cases democracy are not only not respected (which is passive), but are outright vilified and actively stomped on.

Bob,Yeah, as a liberal, I support those freedoms and rights I mentioned above, and that's part of why I side with and identify with Israel. It's usually conservatives that support Israel and liberals who don't but I'm not sure exactly why that is so.

"So often it seems that the arguments for why Americans should be supporting Israel dont rest on any kind of policy framework (that it is important to the US national interest) but...'Irene --I have never understood why it is asserted tht it is in the interest of the U.S. to support Israel. In realpolitik terms, what has Israel to offer us that other countries do not? It doesn't even supply us with oil, as do most of the other middle-eastern Muslim nations.No, there has to be some reason outside of realpolitik, and I think it is the our reaction to the Holocaust -- founding the state of Israel. Yes, something had to be done after WWII for the Jews, and our answer was to form a predominantly Jewish state. That makes Israel sort of our child, and we are, like all loving parents, sometimes irrationally loyal to it. But we forget that Palestine wasn't ours to give to anyone. They should have been given the Black Forest, or some other part of Germany. Fundamentally, the Palestinians have the greater gripe against us. Granted, the Jews had some real connections to Palestine -- they had cousins there -- they were and had been Jews living there since time immemorial. But we had no right to start a nation there that was *predominantly* Jewish. The Palestinians were not the Germans, yet they are paying for the Nazis sins. Yes, they have sometimes behaved atrociously against the Israelis. But -- and this is my main point -- the Jews, and we, started the mess.

So, Ann: "we" and The Jews started the mess? Actually, the U.N. "started the mess"; you remember, the 1947 offer to the Jews and the Palestinians to roughly equal areas in which to form their own nations? And the Palestinians' refusal to take nothing less than all of that land for their nation? and the Jews happily accepted, and proceeded to build the reasonably successful nation of Israel, with our help? Oh those rascally Jews! They sure put one over on the Palestinians, eh?.

AnnThere are plenty of reasons for the United States to support Israel. Israel is a functioning, vibrant 65 year old democracy in a region of terror states, failed states and assorted dictatorships. It is a hotbed of scientific discovery, technological innovation and entrepreneurial success completely out of proportion with its small size in a region known for its terrible dearth of these things. In defending itself in the wars waged against it, Israel developed the strongest military in the region. And Israel did all these things starting from scratch 65 years ago against tremendous odds. It is an incredible success story, of which it can be justly proud, and which the American people admire it for. For most Americans the question isnt why we would support an alliance with Israel, but given our values, why in the world wouldnt we.I strongly disagree with your characterization that the United States gave Israel to the Jews. The United States supported the two-state solution in the U.N. a Palestinian and a Jewish state with recommended division of territories -- as did two-thirds of the rest of the General Assembly. And when Israel was founded upon the end of the British mandate on May 14, 1948, the United States recognized it, as did other countries. But when the Palestinians and surrounding Arab countries went to war in 1947-48 to prevent the two-state solution, the United States did nothing to help Israel. It did not provide it with any military assistance or other form of aid. It did not even sell weapons to it. Israel bought those elsewhere. And no nation sent troops to Israel to help it fight the Palestinians and the invading Arab armies. The Jews stood alone.So, no one gave Israel to the Jews. They had to fight for it. Over 8,000 Jews were killed in that war, a war that was completely unnecessary, but for Arab rejection of the two-state solution.And when the Palestinians and surrounding Arab countries went to war to prevent the two-state solution, they were not fighting for an enlightened, democratic single state in which the Arabs and the Jews would enjoy equal rights. They were fighting to maintain the system of Islamic domination and enforced inferior status of the Jews that was the hallmark of Arab treatment of the Jews in Palestine and across the Middle East and North Africa for a millennium. Over 800,000 Jews fled Arab countries in the next twenty years often required to forfeit everything they had as the price of exit in order to escape discrimination and periodic outbreaks of persecution. They and their children and grandchildren now constitute a large percentage of the Jews in Israel, perhaps 40% or more. For the native Jews of the traditional land of Palestinian and for these Jewish refugees from across the Middle East and North Africa and objectively Israel is a liberation movement from Arab-on-Jew discrimination and persecution.

Curious that the topic has drifted to the establishment of Israel, the merits thereof, and to the many ways it has successfully created a viable country. As a result many of you are able to attest to your support of the country (though perhaps troubled by its relations with the Palestinians still living there--in the West Bank and Gaza), and some of you even your deep devotion to it. Bravo!But what about our topics: what the U.S. is being asked to do to show its support and devotion: If need be, bomb Iran, or rescue Israel when it does? Continue to support the Israeli military financially when it could well do so itself (it is not a poor country)? And to return to a point made by Anne O: Do Congressional resolutions and legislation designating Israel "a major strategic ally" cross the boundary into the president's authority to make foreign policy? Now that we have all expressed our loyalty to the state of Israel, what do we think of our responsibility to our own country and its foreign policy, not just to Israel but to other countries? And then our responsibility to our fellow citizens, some of whom could benefit from that $250 million along with others who will be sacrificed to a war with Iran?

"There are plenty of reasons for the United States to support Israel. Israel is a functioning, vibrant 65 year old democracy in a region of terror states, failed states and assorted dictatorships . . . Jeff --I'm afraid that I cannot agree that Israel is a bastion of democracy. Try being a Palestinian there. How many Palestinians are in the legislature or have high government positions? And as to Israel "making it from scratch", it had huge support from Zionists in other lands, did it not?That it has been successful materially is certainly admirable. But what does that have to do with American self-interest?Granted, Israel has had to fight to maintain its existence, and the Arab states have been terrible to it. (I have clearly maintained that there has been wrong-doing on both sides.) But that does not absolve Israel of its sins. Yes, sins. Two wrongs do not make a right.I think you don't understand the difference between a nation (people) and a state. The historians can correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that *states* (communal entities with explicit laws constituting them) generally have grown out of nations (people sharing the same culture and language and values and usually sharing at least some land which does not necessarily have contiguous parts. Its citizens can include people from various nations (peoples). Thus we can speak of the Jewish people as a nation, but must speak of Israel as a state. But there is also an Arab nation (people) in this sense of "nation". And if Israel wants to base its claims to Israel on its nationhood, then it has to allow the Arabs to also act as one people and to defend other the members of its nation, e.g., the Palestinians. In other words, morally nations and states are not the same thing, and sometimes being a state leads to conflicts with nations. The metaphysics of all this is gruesomely complex, and I won't even begin to approach it. Suffice to say tht if Israel wants to be a state, then it has to either give up the notion of the Jewish nation or else admit that the Arabs also have a right to act as one nation as much as Jews from various countries do.

Ms. S, --I have no loyalty to the state of Israel, though I think that allowing it to be abolished would be extremely wrong. What I have loyalty to is the notion that all the peoples of Palestine-Israel have a right to be there and have the right to equal treatment under the law. How they accomplish that is essentially their business.

Ann Olivier, Thank you for the clarification @ 10:22. I agree with you.

AnnThere are over a million Arab citizens in Israel. They enjoy all the same rights as Jewish citizens, including the right to vote and freedom of religious worship. They have political parties and access to the courts. They serve as judges and have even served as cabinet officers. They serve in the Knesset, Israels parliament. So, yes, Israel is unquestionably a democracy.Yes, many American Jews, in their capacity as private citizens and consistent with United States law, raise money for Israel. It doesnt diminish what Israel has accomplished in the last 65 years.I think we are just going to have to agree to disagree whether its in the United States interest to be an ally of Israel. For the reasons I've stated, I believe that it is and so do almost all Americans.I admit to being unable to follow what you call your metaphysical discussion. If you are saying that you are opposed to Israel being the Jewish state, then arent you also opposed to most of the countries in the region since they are almost all Islamic states? And arent you also opposed to the Palestinian national movement since its provisional constitution says that Islam will be the official religion of the state of Palestine and dedicates the state of Palestine to the Arabs? (Chapter 1, articles 1 and 4). And arent you outraged by the Palestinians and surrounding Arab countries going to war in 1947-48 to perpetuate Islamic domination rather than agreeing, as the Jews did, to a two-state solution so that each could pursue its own destiny?

Jeff --I'm opposed to any state calling itself democratic when it is founded on principles which define some citizens as second class, or, when it's laws theoretically treat all citizens alike, but in fact some are citizens are regulrly treated as second-class. I must admit that my view is founded on an several- hours-long conversation I had with a young Palestinian in Washington in the 60s. What he had to say sounded rational and sincere, and my conclusion was that he and other Palestinians did not have equality before the law in Israel. Perhaps that has changed significantly, but from what I've read, it hasn't. The interests of Palestinian citizens of Israel simply don't have the same clout. That is not what I call a democracy.Yes, we just seem to rely on different witnesses, so we'll have to disagree.

Go Ann!

AnnIsrael does not define any citizen as second class and the laws apply equally to all. And by comparison to (1) the countries around it, and (2) the treatment of the Jews by the Arabs (including those in Palestine) when they had power over the Jews, Israel is excuse my phrasing a mecca of fair treatment. And God knows, the human rights record of the Palestinian Authority and of Hamas in Gaza is appalling. If youre opposed to Israel, you must be quadruply opposed to them. Why wont you come out and say so?I cant claim that no problems exist with Israels minorities, but why try to make Israel a pariah for problems that arent fundamentally different from those faced by many countries, including the United States, with respect to their various minorities. By your criteria, the United States isnt a democracy either.And you didnt answer a question I put to you. You seemed to be saying in your post of 10:22 a.m. that there is something per se wrong about Israel being a Jewish state. Is there, then, not something per se wrong about a country being an Islamic state? This is a fair question. Id appreciate it if you would answer it.

Excuse me, Jeff, but over the years I have said over and over that there has been serious wrong-doing on both sides. To insinuate that I need to "come out" as opposing Israel is simply not based on what I have said.I am not "trying to make Israel a pariah". I am accusing some of its government leaders and their supporters of very bad behavior. This not to oppose the state of Israel as a whole any more than t opposing some leaders of the U. S. is to oppose the U. S. as a whole. Try to understand that.Your thinking is much to simplified. The world is a complex place, and the Middle East seems to be the most complex of all. Blanket support and blanket condemnation of either side just don't fit the complexities there. You're quite right -- at some times the U. S. has not been a democracy either. I won't make excuses for it either.I don't think and did not say there is something wrong with being a Jewish state -- IF all the citizens were Jews there would be no problem. In other words, a theocracy, at least at some periods of human history in some circumstances could be defended rationally. But in the state of Israel de facto not all of the citizens are Jews, and from what I have read, those non-Jew citizens have sometimes been treated as second class. Same with the Muslim states which have non-Muslim minorities that are discriminated against. States with homogenous populations no longer seem to be possible, so the only alternative is true democracy. That goes for both the Israel and the Muslim states. You can disagree with the above, but all that means is that the historians/reporters/others whom you read and trust are not the same ones I have read and trust. As I said, we'll just have to disagree about the facts.

AnnNot all Palestinians are Muslim and not all are Arab, but the Palestinians are, nevertheless, determined to be an Islamic state that is dedicated to the Arab people. So, by your criteria, their national movement is flawed in exactly the same way that you claim Israel is flawed. And the Palestinian Authority, and particularly Gaza, are sloughs of repression and terror.So long as you are applying the same criteria to all sides, Ann, and condemning equally all sides that are falling short of your standards, I can respect your opinions, even when I disagree with them. In a better world, I would actually agree with your philosophy of nothing but harmonious multi-religious, multi-ethnic states, but in the flawed world we live in, I remain a supporter of the two- (flawed) state solution. And given the mistreatment of the Jews, not just in Europe, but throughout the Middle East and across North Africa, I congratulate them for establishing the Jewish state. Its no historical accident that Israel was founded a mere three years after the Holocaust. By the way, did you know that the Palestinian Authority has made it a capital crime for an Arab to sell land to a Jew in the West Bank?

IN today's NYT Joseph Levine has an article concerned with "Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state". He makes the distinction between a state and a people more clearly than I did above, and he argues that Israel can and sometimes should be criticized without charges of anti-Semitism flying about. Read it here:

Ann: I have never accused you of anti-Semitism or even hinted at it. If someone else has, you should take it up with him or her. I agree, as Ive already said, that false and reckless charges of anti-Semitism should not be made. But I also believe that criticism of Israel and AIPAC can be used to mask anti-Semitism -- who can deny it? -- and that false and reckless stereotypical anti-Semitic images can be invoked for the purpose of insulting and wounding. Being from the deep south, as I am, too, I imagine you are as familiar with race-baiting as I am. There is such a thing as Jew-baiting, too. Surely, the totality of what I have just said is true and fair.I did, however, strongly disagree with your statement earlier that the Jews, and we [meaning the United States], started the mess. I disagreed on the ground that when an oppressed people throws off the yoke of oppression, it is not mess making, but a commendable act of liberation. The choice for the Jews in 1947-48 was not between an enlightened, democratic single state where all enjoyed equal rights, on the one hand, and the Jewish state, on the other. For the Jews in Palestine and throughout the Middle East and across north Africa, it was a choice between the two-state solution, on the one hand, and the perpetuation of Islamic domination and enforced inferior status for the Jews, on the other hand. The Jews opted for the two-state solution, and the Palestinians and surrounding Arab countries opted for the perpetuation of their continued domination, and they went to war to try to enforce it.I also disagreed with your characterization that the United States gave Israel to the Jews. It just isnt true. I also raised the issue of double standards. You have said that the creation of the Jewish state was wrong because Israel would contain non-Jews. But the Palestinians have always planned to create an Islamic state dedicated to the Arab people and the Arab cause, notwithstanding that there would be citizens who are not Muslim and not Arab. Yet, unless Ive missed something, I have never read anything by you opposing the creation of Palestine for the reasons that you say you oppose the creation of Israel. So, let me put it to you directly: Are you opposed to the creation of Palestine if it is to be an Islamic state?

Jeff --I don't see any use in prolonging our disagreement. We would just repeat the points we've already made over and over.

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