Monday, September 21, 2009

A price for not making peace

By now you have heard quite a few times a Zionist argument along the lines that "if the Palestinians don't want to make peace, they are the ones to lose out. Israel will continue to get along as it has done in the last 60 years." By making peace they mean accepting a Bantustan landlocked by Israel with no contiguity, no control over its borders and airspace and no army -- a.k.a. "the generous offer."

There is a lot of bad faith in this argument as these are the same Zionists who justified the Gaza carnage on the grounds that the residents of Sderot and, indeed, all the Southwest of Israel had suffered irreversible psychological damage due to the Qassam rockets fired by Hamas from Gaza. Well, a country whose southwestern citizens are mentally scarred for life can hardly be said not to be losing out, right?

But I have always thought that Israel is paying an additional price for not having peace. Its society is open to forms of violence that are not usual in other countries, and which stem from the impunity with which its soldiers abuse the Palestinians.

Roi Ben-Yehuda, writing in Haaretz, concurs. After listing a few striking examples of violence that took place in Israel this summer, he reflects:

Israelis get conditioned for violence through a highly militarized and patriarchal social order; an exclusive form of nationalism that privileges the interests of a particular group of citizens; a media obsessed with narratives of war; and a religious establishment that often lends spiritual credence to the institutional violence of the state.
In Internet forum language, +1. Israel is a brutalized society with a high rate of domestic violence, an underworld that engages in gang warfare complete with drive-by shootings and innocent people killed, attacks on ethnic and sexual minorities, and the state within a state of religious extremists, who perpetrate violence unhindered by the police.

Yes, Palestinians may be paying a price for not accepting a Bantustan, but Israelis are also paying theirs for sticking to the theory that everything can be solved through violence.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you crazy? Do you honestly think that making such claims without a single fact or statistic to back them up will convince anyone with half a brain?

In every category of crime, Israel is far down the list then most First World countries. The statistics prove your non-credible claims about the "brutalization of Israeli society" (lol) completely factually wrong. And that's not even beginning to parse the Israeli crime stats, which make it clear that the vast majority of both violent and non-violent crimes are committed by Israeli Arabs and Druze citizens.

You are a fraud.

William Burns said...

Not exactly long on the facts and statistics yourself, anonymous.

edwin said...

There aren't a lot of statistics easily available on the internet. Murder shows that Israel had a low year recently, but is relatively high though not excessively high compared to other first world countries. (wikipedia)

I ran across this interesting article:
http://news.haaretz.co.il/hasen/spages/1108561.html


MK Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) has questioned the reliability of crime statistics provided by Israel Police, and raised the possibility that patrolmen and station commanders have adopted creative ways to improve figures and reduce the reported levels of serious crime.

From the "feeling the hate" series of videos one would expect that crimes against Palestinians and other ethnic minorities would be dramatically under reported. A study of crime reporting in the US by minorities would be helpful here - especially from the 50's.

Anonymous said...

William Burns: I am not the one making the claims...

Edwin: This is a total red herring -- basic national crime stats and other quality of life statistics are easily available on the websites of the UN, the OSCE, as well as a host of specialist NGOs. That you may not want to look them up or like what you see is a different matter...

William Burns said...

"In every category of crime, Israel is far down the list then most First World countries."

That's a claim, albeit a poorly written one.

Anonymous said...

Well William, then I'll leave the literary criticism to great writers like yourself and will concentrate on debunking the false claims of two-bit anti-Israel propagandists infesting the web.

William Burns said...

Yes, but in order to debunk you need actual evidence. Can you at least give a link?

Gert said...

Anonymous:

"And that's not even beginning to parse the Israeli crime stats, which make it clear that the vast majority of both violent and non-violent crimes are committed by Israeli Arabs and Druze citizens."

That too, is a very strong claim, not backed by any evidence provided by you...

"This is a total red herring -- basic national crime stats and other quality of life statistics are easily available on the websites of the UN, the OSCE, as well as a host of specialist NGOs. That you may not want to look them up or like what you see is a different matter..."

And until you do that research and present your results here, all this is rather pot and kettle, don't you think?

Until solidly refuted I reserve the right to believe that someone who claims to be a member of the 'Chosen People' (see your comment on the previous HB post) has a vested interest in believing Israel is more 'crime-free' that it actually is...

O/T:

In the mean time we have Efraim Inbar (Perfesser at Bar-Ilan) claiming on Jeera that Jews have the right to live in the West Bank, as they have the right to live in NY or Paris and that to claim otherwise is racist (conservatives have a real knack of turning tables when out of arguments). Sure, in a binational one state solution for all, yes, but don't mention that to Efraim or he'll throw a tantrum...

David L said...

I'm a bit wary of the 'Israel is a violent unpleasant society because of the Occupation' argument too. Admittedly, having been there a few times, this is what I feel about it. Also a lot of Israelis I've chatted to (even those who aren't anti-Zionist) have said that one of the reasons they left was the ambient aggression and tension. However, they would say that, since they're the ones who have left.

In the end this is anecdotal evidence only (Although the fact that Israel now has net emigration is more than anecdotal). I think statistics are needed, especially about violence against women, since racist crime will inevitably be under-reported by the racist authorities. I think that the group, New Profile might have some relevant information on this.

However even if it were proved that the Occupation is brutalising Israelis, a reasonable assumption to start off with, what does this prove? it is the sort of argument that centres Israeli Jewish experiences and says they should stop being a racist state because it's bad for the racial elite. Since that's clearly not the central reason, this remains an interesting supplemental argument, but no more. Maybe then its not even worth the effort to prove it, even assuming that 'social facts' can ever be proved.

Anonymous said...

What a joke you are, David L.

You call the Jews a "racist elite"? Just a few decades ago, we were mass murdered for being "racially inferior" -- and yet you accuse us of being racist. Don't you see that this way of thinking is a byproduct of Nazi antisemitism? Israel is far less racist in how it treats its Arab minority than any European country. To illustrate this just look how many Arab MPs there are compared to the UK, France, Germany, etc. Calling Israel "racist" is itself a fact-free fantasy with roots in Nazi antisemitism. They also accused the Jews of being a "racial elite."

David L said...

Unfortunately not a joke. I don't call 'the Jews' a racist elite, or even the words I used - 'racial elite'. I'm Jewish, and I'm certainly not part of a racial elite. That's because I don't live in Israel, but in a state where I'm treated equal to non-Jews and being Jewish is subject to no privileges (or discrimination). Again different to Israel, where Israeli Jews do form a racial elite.

As for being a 'racist elite', well it's hardly surprising that many Israeli Jews show evidence of attitudinal racism far above European attitudes (for instance the 75% of Israeli Jews who wouldn't live in the same building as an Arab, or the half who believe that if an Israeli Jew marries an Arab they're committing an act tantamount to national treason). I guess this is a function of their structurally racist system.

Anyway enough feeding anonymous trolls. While uneasy with the 'occupation hurts Israelis' argument myself, I find those Zionists who argue against it kind of funny. I'd have thought that even supporters of the Occupation would admit that it's a stressful, damaging and brutalising business for those soldiers involved. It's an obvious non-ideological observation. But no, for the 'Israel is always right' brigade, any suggestion of imperfections in Israeli society must be wrathfully denied. After all, any impugning of the purity of Israeli national strength can only be the result of antisemitism.

Gert said...

David:

"But no, for the 'Israel is always right' brigade, any suggestion of imperfections in Israeli society must be wrathfully denied. After all, any impugning of the purity of Israeli national strength can only be the result of antisemitism."

Yes, well said indeed.

Listening to Zionists' tireless defense of Israel, it's hard not to hear harmonics that resonate with other supremacist thinking. Even 'the 'most moral army in the world' is something that's rather farcical: a British letter writer compared it to a guy who goes round telling people he's 'the greatest lover in the world'. After much hilarity has subsided, embarrassment should be the only remaining emotion.

Regards the 'Choseness', once probably a battle cry for internal, nationalistic purposes, in the hands of young Israelis (or Zionist supporters) it becomes analogous to 'white supremacism', 'black supremacism' or any other form of supremacism.

BTW: Anon isn't really a troll. He comes here regularly. I just wish he'd get a unique moniker because with 'Anons' you just don't know who you're talking too.

Anonymous:

"To illustrate this just look how many Arab MPs there are compared to the UK, France, Germany, etc."

I certainly wouldn't describe the situation in European countries as perfect but it isn't at all bad. In Britain we have MPs from all stripes and denominations, including Muslim and Jewish. We were once quite close to getting a Jewish PM (Michael Howard) and currently have to my knowledge two Jewish MPs in the cabinet. One of them I predict will be the PM of this country in the next decade or so (David Miliband).

There is very little to stop anyone from any 'race', religion or creed to reach the highest rungs of this society, despite residual racism continuing to pose some problems...

andrew r said...

One good question is, why would Israel allow some Arabs to become MK's when it bans all Palestinian refugees from its ceasefire lines and many of its own citizens have "present-absentee" status (even a Bedouin soldier is not exempt from house demolitions). This isn't like discriminated minorities ascending the political ladder, because there's a litany of racist legislation Arab MKs can't (haven't?) done anything about. And while an Israeli journalist can get away with traveling to Lebanon, Azmi Bishara was stripped of his immunity for visiting enemy states and maybe praising Hezbollah. There was also the attempt earlier this year to ban Balad and Ta'al.

It's obvious Jewish MKs have more power to pass racist legislation (like banning marriages from the territories) than the minority have to veto it.

andrew r said...

Since anon castigated someone for writing "the Judaic religion" because Hitler used the term, here's a letter he should enjoy:

I am once again appalled and outright disgusted that another opinion of empathy toward the Palestinians has appeared in the Light. This time, however, it is sad that such a view would be stated by a Rabbi...

[can I skip to the end already?]

However, any Jew, Rabbi or lay individual should stop to comprehend the meaning of the Palestinians on-going firing of missiles into Israeli residential areas; maybe then the entire Judaic populace and world will wake up to Israel's need for growth and outright survival.

---

Hard to tell when Zionists are really Hitler-wannabees, innit?

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

David:

I didn't mean to say that the occupation is bad because it harms the Israelis themselves through the brutalization of their society. On the contrary, I think the primary reason the occupation is bad is because it harms the Palestinians through the thievery of their natural resources and the curtailment of their freedoms.

In this post I was just debunking the Zionist argument that the Palestinians are the only ones who lose out with the occupation.

Ernie Halfdram said...

‘...basic national crime stats and other quality of life statistics are easily available on the websites of the UN, the OSCE, as well as a host of specialist NGOs.’

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime site does not provide much in the way of crime statistics. Their ‘Tenth United Nations Survey of Crime Trends and Operations of Criminal Justice Systems, covering the period 2005 – 2006’, doesn’t even mention Israel. http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/CTS10%20homicide.pdf Neither the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, the OSCE or the associated POLIS site provide crime stats.

‘In every category of crime, Israel is far down the list then most First World countries.’

According to this table http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate, the ‘intentional homicide’ rate in Israel is 1.87 per 100,000 population, much lower than that of the US (5.8/100,000) and a little lower than New Zealand (2.0), but higher than Canada (1.8), France or Scotland (1.59), Belgium (1.49), England/Wales (1.37), Australia or Spain (1.2), Italy (1.06), Iceland (1.03), Denmark (0.98), the Netherlands (0.91), Sweden (0.89), Germany (0.88), Austria (0.73), Norway (0.71), Hong Kong (0.49), Japan (0.44), or Singapore (0.39). I gather these would be among the ‘First World countries’ the troll intends. So it would appear, according to the comparative international crime statistics that are available, that Israel is not so far down the list for at least one category of crime – the one many would likely consider the most serious. Furthermore, Israel does not compare well with its neighbours on this criterion – Lebanon (0.57), Jordan (1.75), Syria (1.14), Saudi Arabia (0.92).

‘the vast majority of both violent and non-violent crimes are committed by Israeli Arabs and Druze citizens.’

The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics glossary is only available in Hebrew and the glossary from the Labour force survey does not define population groups, but I think it’s safe to assume that the category ‘Arabs’ includes Druzim. Anyway, according to the ICBS, http://www1.cbs.gov.il/reader/?MIval=cw_usr_view_SHTML&ID=192, in 2007, the last year for which data are available, among the nine categories of crime tabulated, ‘Jews’ were convicted of the vast majority of seven: Against public order (62.67%), Bodily harm (65.42%), Sexual offences (74.03%), Against morality (66.95%), Against property (61.57%), Fraud (59.44%), and Other (60.24%). ‘Arabs’ were convicted of a majority of cases of crimes Against the person's life (59.87%) and unsurprisingly Against the security of the state (59.24%). Of course we know of cases, anecdotally, where Jews who have committed crimes ‘against the person’s life’ where the person is an Arab and the charges have been dismissed or reduced. We don’t know how general a pattern this is, but it could well account for the discrepancy in that category of crimes.

Although Jews were convicted of 63% of the crimes, they were only sentenced to imprisonment in 59% of cases, and imprisonment with a fine in 52%. In 71% of cases, Jews received ‘Other’ sentences, presumably mainly suspended sentences. [to be continued]

Ernie Halfdram said...

[continued] But the point is not that Zionist trolls talk out the wrong orifice when it comes to facts, even in the midst of criticising others’ marshalling of fact. It’s what they do with facts, even when they get them right.

‘Israel is far less racist in how it treats its Arab minority than any European country. To illustrate this just look how many Arab MPs there are compared to the UK, France, Germany, etc. Calling Israel "racist" is itself a fact-free fantasy with roots in Nazi antisemitism.’

The ‘logic’ is that if you can make a claim, unsubstantiated in this case as in many others, that according to some indicator, relevant or not (as in this case), that some other country does something as bad as, or even worse than, Israel, then Israel is entirely innocent. So even if we were to agree to the dubious assumption that the number of Arab parliamentarians is an indicator of racism in a society, and even if it happens to be true – and I haven’t found any figures to support this one way or another – that there are more in Israel than in the UK, France, and Germany, there is still no way to get from there to the conclusion that Israel is not racist. The best you can do is Israel is not AS racist. That, I fear, is not proof of innocence of racism, much less a ‘fact-free fantasy’.

So, Gert, if someone who comes along spewing unadulterated bullshit, invective, and venomous accusations is not a troll, what would you call them?

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Two superlative comments, Ernie!

Ernie Halfdram said...

Thanks, Ibrahim, that means a lot, coming from you. But it was just one comment, interrupted by the arbitrary 4096 character limit.

Anonymous said...

Ernie you idiot just count the minority MPs. It's not that hard even for you. And this certainly is proof of a society which is far from the mythical "racist apartheid" you antisemites regularly libel Israel with.

William Burns said...

No, you don't just count the minority MP's, you also have to relate them to the overall number in the Parliamentary body and the minority percentage in the general population. Someone who loves to call other people "idiots" should put more effort into writing comments that aren't obviously stupid.

Ernie Halfdram said...

Actually, William, I think it goes quite a lot further than that.

Unless we actually define racism as, say, ‘the absolute number of minority MPs’, as the troll seems to, or ‘the proportion of minority MPs in relation to the proportion of relevant minorities in the population’, you would need to establish, at a minimum, first of all, what constitutes a ‘minority’ for these purposes, as well as some correlation between such an indicator and some other characteristics of the society that we might recognise as racism proper. For example, discrimination in housing, employment, educational opportunities, access to health and other services, etc., or indeed, actual legal restrictions on residence, land ownership, family reunion, intermarriage, etc. The troll hasn’t done this, but impressionistically, I would expect only a very loose correlation, if any. Certainly in the case of Israel, the existence of some Arab legislators correlates with the persistence of all the other markers of racism I listed, providing prima facie counterevidence. A particularly telling phenomenon is the repeated, so far unsuccessful, attempts to prevent passage of legislation that requires the votes of Arab MKs to secure a majority, in other words, legislation that wouldn’t have passed if only Jews sat in the Knesset.

William Burns said...

Oh, agreed. And of course the key issue in Israeli politics isn't simply representation in the Knesset, but representation in the Cabinet, which is where the actual decisions are made, and where Arab politicians are almost never found. The unwritten rule of Israeli politics, that Arab parties are never invited to governing coalitions, also plays a role.