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Oct. 31st, 2004 @ 04:02 pm Dear Juvenalian
I've been looking at your posts, and also your very moving weblog about your experiences in Lebanon. One thing that your blog made me realize was that your often very vocal opposition to Israel seems to be based on the Jewish nature of the state (I'm thinking of, for example, the first and second paragraph of this post). I can understand that- I also don't think that it is truly democratic to have a nation that discriminates based on religion, or that makes one religious culture the one whose history is taught, whose prayers are publically commemorated. I think that a state that is diverse ought to reflect that diversity in its self-definitions and national narratives, and that that diversity is a blessing rather than a problem or a threat. And I am Israeli, though I live in the US. And I'm not the only Israeli that feels this way- most of my Israeli family do not agree with the Jewish nature of the state. My aunt can speak very movingly on how she merely identifies with where she was born and raised, and if that land is Palestine then she can be Palestinian, but that she is not a stranger to the only place she's known.

One thing that deeply bothers me about your posts is that you often say, "Israel, leave!" or, "until Israel is ended", and the like. After reading more of your writing I think I understand that you mean the concept of the Jewish state, not the individual people who live there- at least, I think so, and please correct me if I'm wrong.

If that's the case, that you object to the Jewish character of the state (on the grounds that it is hurtful and unfair to its non-Jewish, and quite native, minorities), then I wonder why you choose such extreme and hurtful rhetoric. It hurts me when I read it- it makes me feel that you want to attack Israel, as in the people, as in people like me and my family, and we are certainly not against the Palestinian cause, and some of us (like myself) are actively involved in it and in promoting it.

I know many people in Israel, fellow activists, that don't agree with the idea of Israel being a Jewish state. But we say that, specifically, and we don't lump all of Israel into this one aspect of her government. We, who are part of Israel and who try to make her a truly democratic state, we are Israel just as much as those parts of Israel you abhor. The worst parts of Israel do not define all of us, and moreover, do not define what Israel is, in essence, anymore than the worst corruptions of Arafat's government define the Palestinian people, or the possibilities of a Palestinian state. When you say, "Israel, be no more", that is my culture too that you are telling to disappear, the culture that produced Ilan Pappe and Amira Hass and Uri Avnery and Azmi Bishara. None of these people say "Israel, begone!". They say, "Israel, become what you claim you are, what you thought you could be. Become a state of all your citizens, become a democracy, become a partner in the Middle East."
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ex_melimeli728:
From:juvenalian
Date:October 31st, 2004 08:02 pm (UTC)
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Hi there.

My problem with Israel and Israelis in general is that they claim they have an "Israeli identity", when such an identity cannot exist without the "Israeli cause" - i.e. an exclusively Jewish state. It cannot exist without Israel's past actions that created a Jewish majority. It cannot exist without Israel's refusal to let in the indigenous people. There is no such thing as an Israeli identity without its racist past and colonialist present. There is a Jewish identity in Israel, yes, but an Israeli identity, no.

I realise full well that there are many "Israelis" (and I use that word in quotations because I do not recgonise Israel as a legal state - both in its borders and its name - a Jewish name to begin with) who are against the occupation and against the government's actions. I respect all those who speak out for the rights of the Palestinians. But you cannot insist on an Israeli identity. When you let the Palestinian refugees to return, you cannot tell them that they should now assume an "Israeli identity". There is no such thing as that. An Israeli identity is based on Israel's wars of occupation (or "independence" as Zionists call it). What makes one an Israeli? The culture? What is an Israeli culture? A majority Jewish culture, nothing more, nothing less. What is "Israel's" history? A Jewish history - because it was essentially Jews against Arabs in the war of occupation.

There can be no democracy when the people have no voice to vote on the name of the country, on the national anthem, on the way things are run. A Jewish state cannot be a democracy for exactly that reason. Just like a state based on Islam or Christianity cannot. Also, the Uri Avnery you are talking about is someone I disagree with on many things, including his insistence on the Jewish identity of Israel, and "support" for a Palestinian state alongside Israel. That in itself is racist, in my opinion. And as I understand, Uri Avnery does have a racist background in the Zionist organisations, and he doesn't seem to have shaken off that aspect of him.

Anyway, how many people are there like you? How many "Israelis" would support getting rid of a state called "Israel"? Not too many. The majority might support the creation of a Palestinian state, or even a binational state, but they will also insist on keeping the exclusive Jewish "nature" of the country, and to do so they will have to settle huge numbers of Jews - and that can only come at the expense of not letting in Palestinian refugees. So we go back to point 0.

When I say Israel must be gotten rid of, I am not talking about the people. I would never support making them refugees. It would be very hypocritical of me to support such a thing, not to mention racist. I am talking about the exclusivist Jewish entity. I am talking about 20% of the population being forced to sing the Hatikvah in order to be given citizenship. How does that work? And wouldn't that obviously mean that they do not qualify as first-class citizens, because they are obviously not Jewish and therefore they would not be considered "patriots" when singing the Hatikvah?

Hope that clarifies my position.
From:slashbunny
Date:January 23rd, 2005 01:47 am (UTC)

Just wandered in, got interested, I'll be right on my way out

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Trust me, enough Israelis don't even know the meaning of most of the words they sing when they sing "Hatikva" that it can hardly be considered a Jewish-patriotic (or whatever the equivalent of "patriotic" to a religion might be) thing as things presently stand.

And one problem that arises from your analysis here is this: what reasons do you have to say that an Israeli identity "cannot exist without the "Israeli cause" - i.e. an exclusively Jewish state. [etc.]"? You make your claim quite clear, but you state little (if any) support for it. It is therefore merely your opinion that an Israeli identity necessarily implies a Jewish identity, and furthermore a violent and oppressive one.

(But wait! Didn't you say Uri Avnery's "insistence on the Jewish identity of Israel" is racist in itself? And here you are claiming that the only identity of Israel--the only identity Israel can have at all--is a Jewish one. I would advise you to be careful not to fall into traps like this in the future...)
From:juvenalian
Date:January 23rd, 2005 02:49 am (UTC)

Re: Just wandered in, got interested, I'll be right on my way out

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Didn't you say Uri Avnery's "insistence on the Jewish identity of Israel" is racist in itself?
When someone claims a state has a specific identity, one is not merely pointing to the "fact" that there are many people of that religion, it is in reference to who decides how and what is done and in what way. That is the whole point about the argument for "the Jewish nature of the state of Israel". When Jews argue that Israel is a Jewish state (Israeli identity = Israel is a Jewish state), they are essentially excluding more than 20% of the population, and that is not the definition of democracy I have. It is nothing other than a theocracy or a dictatorship that does not recognise its minorities as equals.

I do not recognise "Israel" in its governmental or demographic forms. Which means that I don't recognise its Jewish majority or so-called Israeli identity. That the area is important for Jews in terms of their history and religious beliefs I am in no way denying (hence I never did deny the Jewish identity). But in no way does that mean that the Jews are entitled to a country there, and in the process ethnically cleanse and deport the non-Jewish population. Because if religious importance could justify such a thing, then it would also justify the founding of a CHRISTIAN government on that land, because it is THE single most important religious location for them. End of story.

Where did I say "the only identity Israel can have at all is a Jewish one"???
From:slashbunny
Date:January 23rd, 2005 04:36 am (UTC)

Re: Just wandered in, got interested, I'll be right on my way out

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From your original reply:

My problem with Israel and Israelis in general is that they claim they have an "Israeli identity", when such an identity cannot exist without the "Israeli cause" - i.e. an exclusively Jewish state.

You very clearly state here that the only way for an Israeli identity to exist is for it to be a Jewish one.

Note, by the way, that you chose to linger on what I had very deliberately put in parentheses. By this (and by the slightly more playful tone of that part of my comment) I had meant that this was not the main issue. You may freely choose to respond to the original problem I raised or not. As you wish. I was merely pointing out an issue (and another one in parentheses, I give you that) that bothered me about your comment.
From:juvenalian
Date:January 23rd, 2005 05:10 pm (UTC)

Re: Just wandered in, got interested, I'll be right on my way out

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You very clearly state here that the only way for an Israeli identity to exist is for it to be a Jewish one.
Actually, I never did. I am simply stating what "Israelis" and zionists blah-blah all day long, about the Jewish identity of Israel, which they equate to the idea of a Jewish majority. Stating what others believe in does not mean I believe in it.

You are blah-blahing, again, about absolutely NOTHING, as all zionists do. Battling semantics seems to be your favourite pastime.
From:slashbunny
Date:January 23rd, 2005 05:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Just wandered in, got interested, I'll be right on my way out

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1) You may think I'm blah-blahing, but I'm not a zionist. I was commenting about your argumentation more than about your argument itself. What I've said had absolutely nothing to do with semantics. You're dealing with the wrong guy to just throw the word semantics around like you know what it means. Find me where I was arguing about semantics and I might conceed. As it stands, I see no such thing on my part.

2) You most certainly did not state what Israelis and/or zionists believe in and "blah-blah" about. You said they claim to have a "Israeli identity" and then you yourself claim that "such an identity cannot exist without the "Israeli cause" - i.e. an exclusively Jewish state. [etc.]". Go back to your original comment and re-read it. I'm not making this up; it's all right there in what you've written.

3) And here you are, again, avoiding the main point. When I wrote that I had put a certain point in parentheses to make it less noteworthy, I also tried asking you to respond to the original important problem I had raised, instead of lignering on what was merely a side note. If you have already managed to forget what that was, let me remind you:

what reasons do you have to say that an Israeli identity "cannot exist without the "Israeli cause" - i.e. an exclusively Jewish state. [etc.]"? You make your claim quite clear, but you state little (if any) support for it. It is therefore merely your opinion that an Israeli identity necessarily implies a Jewish identity, and furthermore a violent and oppressive one.
From:slashbunny
Date:January 23rd, 2005 05:59 pm (UTC)

Re: Just wandered in, got interested, I'll be right on my way out

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I apologise for my typo of the above comment: I had meant to write concede.
From:ex_melimeli728
Date:January 28th, 2005 06:22 pm (UTC)

Re: Just wandered in, got interested, I'll be right on my way out

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hi slashbunny,

i loved your comments to juvenalian. i had sort of given up, or agreed to disagree, but its nice to read someone pointing out these things. do you mind if i add you? i think i agree with you on so many of these points, and it always makes me happy to read opinions i agree with. :)

lisa
From:slashbunny
Date:January 28th, 2005 10:30 pm (UTC)

Re: Just wandered in, got interested, I'll be right on my way out

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Sure, no problem. I'll add you back :)
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From:nukke
Date:February 28th, 2005 12:20 am (UTC)

not here to argue

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"as I understand, Uri Avnery does have a racist background in the Zionist organisations, and he doesn't seem to have shaken off that aspect of him."

-this would be Ha'Etzel underground movement. He was active there when he was a teenager (though he claims that he wan't involved in any violent actions). Avneri is now over 80 y/o. People tend to change over the course of 60+ years.

" am talking about 20% of the population being forced to sing the Hatikvah in order to be given citizenship"

-do check your sources. This is a suggestion for legalisation brought up every now and then by semi-anonymous members of Knesset, who seek the attention that such a suggestion would draw more than anything. People are given citizenship when they are born (or when they immigrate - but that's anoter painful - any yes, racist - story, but we're talking about the non-Jewish, native population here, so let's stick to that) and no one expects a baby to sing neither Ha'Tikva nor Ace of Spades. And no, one does not have to do so when one receives one's Israeli ID, at the age of 15/16.


From:juvenalian
Date:February 28th, 2005 01:15 am (UTC)

Re: not here to argue

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Jerusalem is in Palestine.
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From:nukke
Date:March 1st, 2005 11:03 am (UTC)

Re: not here to argue

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walla.
That's a good response, but thanks for the reminder.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:November 18th, 2004 12:17 pm (UTC)
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http://www.israelnationalnews.com/news.php3?id=56867
From:fatgut
Date:July 13th, 2005 07:48 pm (UTC)
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I want you to check out my journal & spred the word
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From:goldieloxxx
Date:November 3rd, 2005 02:36 am (UTC)
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isrealie?
seems so but why do u continue to put up with such discrimintory comments toward are people?
I am 50 isrealie,and live in the usa. I have found peace with palastanians why not the true born isrealie?