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August 29, 2006


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I agree with you that I cannot make generalizations about all Germans based on my one year stay in Munich. I would not want a German to make generalizations about Americans based on a one year stay in New York City either. I concede this point (although I will always believe that the French are arrogant, worthless, and cowards living in a filthy crab pot...based on my experience and what I read in history books, lol).

My original response was to your statement "that it is a crime in Germany and Austria to deny the Holocaust, and not so here in the USA," which infers that they are more tolerant than we are in the USA. I believe that we in the USA are more tolerant. The fact that Germany has made this law proves their intolerance (especially, of free speech).


Well this is all off topic, but so far supporting the contention that Europe is more anti-semetic than the US we have the personal experience of Bob and me (not just one but many data points if you include the absence of anti-semetic experiences while living in teh US), we have statsitics offered by Eras, which he only tries to explain away through naked, unfounded equivocations, and we have logic, given the history and ethnic realities of European countries. So you were saying Eras...

Frederick Hamilton

There is no doubt that Europe and particularily France and Germany are profoundly anti-semitic. Forget the supposed data on hate crimes. The real data would be the Univ of Chicago's own expert on how concerned discerning people vote...they vote with their feet. Milton Friedman would simply analyze the emmigration pattern of the worlds jewish populations moving about. Thousands to the U.S., thousands to Israel, virtually none to France or Germany, enough said.


Well to be fair, your method says little about anti semitism at present, just that at some point in the past Europe was hostile to Jews, which is not in dispute. Even if such patterns still exist, it could be for any number of reasons, least of all a cascade effect or the presence of a critical mass of Jews for creating community etc. That is, now that Brooklyn or Highland Park or Rogers Park or Tel Aviv are established Jewish communities, that Jews are immigrating there instead of Hamburg does not necessarily imply Hamburg is still anti-semetic. You dig?


If we want to gauge anti-semitism by how Jews are voting with their feet, then here are some statistics:

From http://www.germany.info/relaunch/info/publications/infocus/JewishLife/generalfigures.htm

The Jewish population in Germany has tripled in the last decade. "Over 170,000 Jews have immigrated to Germany from former Soviet states since 1990, and there are an estimated 100,000 waiting to leave their countries for various reasons."

and from http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/world-jewish-population.htm

"The Algerian Jews, and also considerable numbers of Moroccans (75,000) and Tunisians (80,000), especially the more wealthy ones, went to France, doubling the French community from 300,000 to 600,000 overnight and creating a large Sephardic presence. (The Algerian Jews had French citizenship already in Algeria and had automatic rights of immigration to France.) The vitality of Orthodoxy in France today is largely a result of these immigrants, giving France a high kiruv potential to this day."

Countries with increasing Jewish population:

Hong Kong

Countries with decreasing Jewish populations:

South Africa

And this:

"One study predicted that in the next 80 years America's Jewish population would decline by one-third to 3.8 million if current fertility rates and migration patterns continue"

Thus, if we measure anti-semitism by changes in Jewish population, Germany comes out great, France is in good shape, Russia is near the bottom, and the USA, in the long run, looks pretty bad. Of course, I wouldn't use changes in Jewish population as the primary measure of anti-semitism, but it appears that the statistics contradict claims of French or German anti-semitism (relative to most other countries). My own hunch, from looking over the data, is that Germany has roughly the same amount of anti-semitism as the USA, and France is a bit worse.



Now that we´ve gotten off on this tangent, I suppose we could bring it back to the initial question that Frederick posed: the priorities that the U.S. should have when dealing with Israel´s situation in the Middle East.

The question is a fairly difficult one, especially because it seems like everyone wants the same thing: an independent Palestinean state. Arafat is gone, and Hamas has been elected (democratically, I might add). Where does that put Israel? In Hezbollah, it seems. Frederick woul give Israel, basically, a free pass to do whatever they´d like, given that they´ve been attacked so many times. I don´t think that´s the wisest of decisions. Israel has shown itself to be heavy handed in many situations (the U.S. has publicly criticized Israel´s attacks in Palestine plenty of times).

Honestly, the U.S. stance on Israel is one of our original problems in the Middle East. To be sure, there are some things to do to ease the blow of that stance. Recognizing when Israel gets out of hand may be a start. Lebanon is one of those situations, I think. The more that we go into these situations with only a pro-Israeli attitude, the worse things are going to get.

I understand that Frederick has had many experiences with people from the Jewish faith, and that´s admirable. However, just because the vast majority of Jews (and Muslims, remember) don´t want to kill, murder and destroy doesn´t necessarily mean that heavy-handedness in retaliation is justified.

Frederick Hamilton

Good point. Maybe at times Israel is "heavy handed". If you were Israel and Hezbollah fired missels into your soverign country killing your citizens, attacked across the border killing 8 Israeli soldiers and kidnapping 2 soldiers, what would you do?

The fight to the death concerns Israel. That is a fact of life in the Middle East. Both Hamas and Hezbollah want to destroy Israel, kill their citizens, et al.

I don't remember Israel being "heavy handed" when they weren't attacked. It is there country, their citizens, their defense and their lives. They have never asked another country to pick up arms and fight for them.

What would America do if we were constantly attacked on our southern border by Mexicans killing and bombing and terrorizing our citizens if they felt they should still control Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California? Somehow, I think if we wouldn't endure much before getting very heavy handed indeed.

Israel wants peace. Its neighbors don't. Syria and Iran to be specific and their surrogate fighter's (Hamas and Hezbollah). If Israel kept turning the other cheek by now their head and neck would be gone.

This disproportionate response argument is weak. We'll see if the international community and the UN are up to the challenge of maintaining peace in the region. You can be sure it won't be Israel that begins another round of fighting.


Mr. Hamilton, you seem to approach Israel's problem as a simple choice between retaliation and turning the other cheek. So long as Israel approaches its problems in so simplistic a manner, it is certain to face endless attacks. Swatting at flies is not the solution; retaliating to provocations does nothing to address the underlying problem. It is a temper tantrum, not a reasoned attack on the problem. Indeed, the worst possible way to fight a war is to kill people without doing anything to stop them from wanting to kill you. This is the kind of thinking that leads to Verdun.

The solution to Israel's problems has been obvious for thirty years: return to the 1967 borders, establish a Palestinian state, and build border defenses adequate to stop suicide bombers. Israel refuses to do so, because it wants to annex the West Bank. It is the Israeli desire for a land grab that continues this conflict.


But what happened in 1967 when those borders existed in the first place? Oh yea. Egypt. So simple. Everything would be fine if they returned to 1967 borders. Just like it was fine in 1967.

Frederick Hamilton

Couldn't agree with LAK more. You could give the Palestinians everything on their wish list and they would still keep on killing.

Difficult problem. Better minds than you and I have been dealing with this for some time. Without Arabs/Muslims willing to acknowledge Israel's right to exist and willing to stop the killing things around Israel will be bleak for a long time.


The objection you offer -- that Egypt and Jordan will simply attack Israel again -- overlooks the fact that Egypt and Jordan have signed peace treaties with Israel. Neither country has undertaken any military action against Israel in 30 years. There is no reason for them to do so now.

The Palestinians do not now and never will have the military power to seriously threaten the IDF. Yes, they can send suicide bombers -- that's what the wall is for and it works. Yes, they can fire mortars and rockets -- but with fixed borders and counterbattery technology, the Israelis can make such attacks very counterproductive. There simply isn't any significant Palestinian threat to Israel.

Israel doesn't need anybody to acknowledge its right to exist. So long as Israel has an adequate deterrent force, hostile nations will acquiesce to its existence.


Well if that is true, why the call to withdraw to 1967 borders then? Seems unnecessary to me. Jordan and Egypt are not the worry, obviously. Syria and Iran are. 1967 borders or not, Fundie Muslims want to destroy Israel, becasue they think God demands it. God is great!


LAK, the reason to return to the 1967 borders is to provide the Palestinians with a viable state. Are you suggesting that Israel should simply annex the West Bank or large portions thereof?


No, just small portions for continuity and where certain larger settlements are long established. Going back to 1967 borders would displace a lot of regular people, not just crazed religious land grab zealots, from my understanding.


Therein lies the problem. While border straightening would be good for both sides, the Israeli definition of what constitutes "long established settlements" includes serious chunks of the West Bank that would require deep tongues of land cutting through Palestinian territory. The end result would be a Palestinian territory that would be unworkable. People couldn't get from Point A to Point B without having to make long roundabout journeys.

This is precisely what the Israelis set out to accomplish 30 years ago with their settlement building program. They grabbed up all the best land deep inside the West Bank, and now they adamantly refuse to give it up. That's what's preventing peace.


Not from what I understand. Most of them are very near Jerusalem. And with all due respect, if Jews could be guaranteed to live in peace and safety in Arab controlled land, like Arab Israelis are, none of this would be an issue. Murderous fundie relgious zealots are the start and end of preventing peace.


It is not correct that most Israeli settlements on the West Bank are near Jerusalem. Here's a map of Israeli settlements on the West Bank as of 2002:


The largest group, with 52,000 inhabitants, is in the "Greater Jerusalem" area. However, West Samaria contains 44,000 settlers, West Benjamin has 14,000, the Jordan Valley and Judean Desert have 17,000, and another 4,500 live in other areas of the West Bank.

The best overall view of how Israel views its claim to territories on the West Bank is its assignment of "Palestinian Autonomous Areas". This is an archipelago of hundreds of tiny islands (and a few big ones) that represent areas to which the Israelis make no claims. They constitute less than half of the total area of the West Bank. Everything else -- the majority of the land in the West Bank -- is under direct Israeli rule.


Right, but the unilateral border drawing will not include all settlements, just the ones around Jerusalem and those at least near the 1967 border. Where Isareli rule exists has nothing to do with where the border is going to be or should be drawn. Israel is everywhere there are Jews in the west bank, becasue if they weren't, they be killed. Let's not confuse the convrsation. The wall that Israel is building does not included within it the majority of Jews who have settled in the West bank.

Better yet, why doesn't Jordan take responsibility for the Palestinians in the West Bank, while Egypt takes responsibility for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, rather than resorting to this Palestinain state nonsense, that seems unworkable? It is their fault they are in such hardship in the first place right? It is kind of shocking to me that the surrounding Arab countries who played the primary role in creating mass refugee issues take so little responsibility for the mess they created, and leave Palestinians to suffer. Sometimes I think Palestinians are more hated by Egypt and Jordan than anyone else.


OK, if you want to base it on the Israeli security wall, I suggest that you consult a map of the wall as it currently stands:


Much of the wall is OK, but there are two problematical sections: in the north, there's a huge incursion deep into the West Bank. It wraps around and isolates a goodly amount of Palestinian territory. This is a cartographic monstrosity, violating every dictum of good sense in dividing two warring parties. I can understand the Israeli desire to make Jerusalem defensible, but their land grabs here are too greedy. They are taking over a tract of land four times larger than the city of Jerusalem itself.

Lastly, note that at no point does their wall give any Israeli territory to the Palestinians. Every single deviation of the wall from the Green Line is a deviation into the West Bank -- even though in many cases the wall makes the border between the two countries much longer and more sinuous than than the original Green Line.

Again, the central point I have been making comes through clearly: the Israeli land-grab is a major factor in the continuing conflict in that area. The Israelis are not willing to settle for a reasonable boundary -- they want to annex as much territory as they can.


Hmm, seeing how Arabs control all land outside Israel, how Arabs living inside Israel enjoy security and safety (except from the random killing by other Arabs) and how Jews would be in mortal danger without the protection of the Israeli governmnet, it makes complete sense that Israel would only be devitating into the west bank. Ther is no need or desier by anyone for Israel to give up land. It makes no sense. As far as I can tell no Israeli Arab in their right mind would want their border village annexed to Palestine, or their Israeli citizenship lost.

The continued land grab is hardy the problem. It is small, and much smaller than what it could be, given the concessions that Israel has made. Remember how israel pulled all settlements from Siani after 1967 in exchange for peace? Well, they were willing to do that too in teh West Bank, excpet for the fact that the Fundie Arabs wouldn't agree to do that. The unilateral need to define borders and protect Jews in the West Bank is what defines it. It isn't "greed" as you suspectly put it. It is necessity for security.

If Israel wannted to annex as much land as they can, they would, or do you deny that Israel could do exactly what Arabs want to do to them. Kill them all or run them out of town. They could in an instant. No. israel may play tough, but they are the decent party in this conflict. They could easily target civilians and expell all Arabs from teh west bank if they wanted to. Given that that is what Arabs want to do to them, it is hard to lay blame on Israel for trying to defend the safety of its people.


And I'm not basing it on anything. We were talking about borders. You were claiming erroneously that Israel wants all of the West bank. That simply is a false statement.


LAK, there are some Israelis who do want to annex the entire West Bank. There are some Israelis who are willing to give up all of the West Bank. But the State of Israel as a whole has not been able to make up its mind. It has protected all its options and continues to retain the option to annex any part of the West Bank. The important thing, however, is that the State of Israel has refused to give up any part of the West Bank so far. Obviously they contemplate doing so, but as of this moment, they retain control over the entire area and their wall-building suggests that they intend to annex a considerable portion of the West Bank.

You defend Israeli annexation of West Bank lands as necessary for security. I do not see how Israeli security is enhanced by the proposed (and partially built) path of the wall. Their proposed path is circuitous, vastly longer than the Green Line, and leaves huge tongues of interlaced lands. Wouldn't everybody's security be greater if the wall followed the shorter, straighter Green Line?

I'm willing to concede the Israelis some shortening of the Green Line and even a bit of padding around Jerusalem -- but not the hundreds of square miles of territory that Israel is setting up for annexation. This has nothing to do with security. It's just a straight land grab.


Well, as far as I can tell, it has everything to do with the security of the people within those pieces of land. It does not seem Israel is annexing any land in which Israelis have not lived in some significant number for some time now. But you can call it a greedy land grab if it suites your biases...


Hold on -- you're saying that Israel should insure the security of those Israelis who settled on Palestinian lands in the West Bank? From the very beginning the world has been objecting to those settlements, and warning Israel that they are illegal, and now you're saying that those settlements deserve protection from Palestinians on whose land they were planted? Am I reading you correctly?

You seem to be saying that Israel is justified in annexing lands that they conquered. This is a violation of the the basic principles of the UN Charter, which Israel has signed.


Is this the debate I am missing at the Law School?

I am very interested in Professor Stone’s post. He outlines positions and probabilities: he felt some things were more likely to occur than others if we invaded Iraq. It does appear that some of his more-likely-to-occur scenarios are at least very close to coming true, if they have not already. The analysis he provided could have been very useful in our contingency planning. It can still be useful now if we can find ways to lessen their effects.

Here in the present, I would be very interested if any of you have any input on what direction we should take our effort. In this forum I could care less about how you feel about President Bush or the state of European anti-Semitism.

Erassmus, many of the Middle Eastern social conditions you outlined have in fact significantly hampered our efforts in building democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are the labor pains, now how do we get the baby? Can your insights help us in our programs to build democracies or at least mitigate the risks Professor Stone identified three years ago?

WE are in a very serious fight now – debating how we got here can be emotional and fascinating, but it helps neither the Iraqis nor our soldiers continuing the fight together. It appears all of us agree that losing would be bad and winning good. Perhaps some of you bright folks can invest some intellectual capital into lending a hand to avoid some of the pitfalls Professor Stone identified?

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