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July 27, 2014
August 17, 2014
Also posted to the dailykos:
A Not Pro-Israel Primer:
A brief outline of the Israel story for people
who haven't been keeping up.
Israel was founded in 1948 by edict of the UN.
The rationale was that after their persecution
at the hands of the Nazis the Jews needed a
nation of their own.
The Palestinians are the people who were
living there at the time. They call this
event the Nakbah, meaning "the catastrophe".
(And now you know more than most people who
watch television news.)
In 1967, Israel conquered adjacent territory
(the "Six-Day War"), and since then they've
been a rogue state by UN standards.
(And now you know more than everyone who
watches television news.)
Gaza is effectively a large refugee camp, crowded
with Palestinians displaced by Israel. They've
been struggling to survive an Israeli blockade
that was imposed after Hamas became the elected
government in 2006.
(And now, we're way off the "mainstream" map...)
The American left does not call for the elimination
of Israel, but rather for it to return to it's
pre-1967 borders, aka the Green Line. Israel says
those borders are "non-defensible", and has moved in
"settlers" as fast as they could, which complicates
There's a monotonous pattern toward events in the
Middle East: Negotiations collapse in out-breaks of
violence, with lots of finger pointing. Sorting out
whose fault it is often seems complicated, but
left-wing observers such as Chomsky argue that the
blame clearly rests with Israel and the US.
(And this is not a position you'll see discussed in
the New York Times, let alone on television.)
You will then hear complaints about Israel's actions
being a "disproportionate response", which is to say
that they've killed a lot of innocent civilians
Israel gets a lot of money from the US to do all
this: we fund around a quarter of it's military ($3
billion per year).
It would seem that nothing would be simpler than for
the US to get Israel to tone-down it's act, but
instead any successful American politician is
required to recite a pro-Israel line.
That includes Hillary Clinton: as Senator of New
York, she invited it's citizens to consider how they
were feel if they were being attacked by Canada.
(If we're doing absurd analogies, I might ask how
they would feel if New Jersey were blockading
Manhattan... Or how they would feel if the UN had
put Israel in Brooklyn.)
And why *was* a place of refuge for European Jews
created in the Middle East? This has to do with
"Zionism", a doctrine based on the biblical stories
about the historical Israel. Why secular
institutions like the UN and the US backed a
particular biblical interpretation is another
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