Author Topic: Israel's Settlement Policy  (Read 125 times)

Offline SirJohn

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Re: Israel's Settlement Policy
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2017, 11:56:58 am »
That makes some sense.  I'd also say that I'm no more a fan of a Jewish state than I am of an Islamic state.

Don't equate the two. The Jewish state is a democracy with freedom of religion and the rule of law with an independent court system. Where do you find any of that in an Islamic state?

Offline jmt18325

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Re: Israel's Settlement Policy
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2017, 12:47:35 pm »
I'm not a fan of religion - by extension, I'm not a fan of religious states.

Offline Manob

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Re: Israel's Settlement Policy
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2017, 08:58:29 pm »
That makes some sense.  I'd also say that I'm no more a fan of a Jewish state than I am of an Islamic state.

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I'm not a fan of religion - by extension, I'm not a fan of religious states.

I'm not a fan of religion either. However, as much as this concept is totally alien to North Americans, being a Jew is just as much about ethnicity/race/origin as it is about religion. Many Jews are atheists/agnostics or otherwise irreligious, but nevertheless identify as Jews as well. In countries that have had a historical Jewish population, such as in Eastern Europe, the racial difference between Jews and non-Jews (i.e. Slavs) is as visually obvious to the people of that country as the difference between black and white is obvious to Americans. I am an atheist of Jewish origin, and have personally encountered people in Canada who have visually identified me as a Jew and harassed/insulted me for being Jewish, on two separate occasions.

Further, the entire point of Israel is to be a homeland and safe haven for the Jewish people. In this context, Jewish can mean those that self-identify as Jews or, also, those that might be discriminated against by others for being Jewish. Hence, to exercise the right of return to Israel, an individual need only fit the Nuremberg Laws definition of being a Jew (a single Jewish grandparent). While some might point to the modern world of 2017 and say antisemitism is not prevalent as it once was and so Jews do not need a homeland to be safe, I would point to rising antisemitism both from Muslim countries and populations and some of their enablers on the left as well as from resurgent far-right movements in Western countries. Over 2000 years of history has shown that when Jews live as minority groups in the countries of other peoples, they face hatred, discrimination, and massacres every few generations.

The State of Israel is fundamentally required for the safety of any person in the world who might be identified as Jewish and targeted for their Jewishness. Almost every other identifiable racial/ethnic group has a homeland where they form the majority of the population and will not face hatred or violence for what they are, and it is wrong to deny Jews that same safety net.

Furthermore, it is erroneous to characterize Israel as a "religious state". While Israel has an official state religion, the society shares far more characteristics with the secular democracies of Europe than it does with the theocratic monarchies/dictatorships that one thinks of when using the term "religious state".

In an ideal world where all people live together in peace and harmony, the idea of countries based on ethnic, racial, or religious groupings sounds as repulsive to me as it does to you. But in this world that we live in, having faced over 2000 years of hatred and extermination culminating in the Holocaust, a sovereign Jewish-majority state is an absolute non-negotiable necessity for the Jewish people.

As a side-note to the above, I also support sovereign states for all other groups that have faced historical discrimination and form a majority population in a certain area. In particular, based on my knowledge of world events, I would say it is past time for a sovereign Kurdish state to be established... the Kurds have faced hatred and attempts at genocide in all the countries in which they have significant populations for centuries.

Offline jmt18325

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Re: Israel's Settlement Policy
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2017, 09:14:52 pm »
And that all makes a lot of sense too.  I think this is one of the world's most complex (if not the most complex) issues.  I'm glad we can have such a civil discussion about it. 

What is your position on the settlement policy?

Offline Manob

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Re: Israel's Settlement Policy
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2017, 09:28:45 pm »
What is your position on the settlement policy?

I think expanding settlements is counter-productive to any possible future two-state solution peace agreement. I do not support the expansion of settlements. I think Netanyahu allows settlement expansion primarily as a result of domestic politics, because of his reliance on right-wing/settler coalition partners to uphold his government.

Ideally, from my point of view, settlement expansion activity would be frozen and a final border for a two state solution would be negotiated, in which certain Jewish-majority parts of the West Bank are traded for certain Arab-majority parts of Israel along the border. It should also be noted that a large Arab Muslim minority population lives in Israel and is relatively unmolested. For those Jewish individuals who really want to live in parts of the West Bank after a two-state solution is implemented, one could only hope that the new Palestinian state would be as tolerant of its Jewish citizens as Israel is of its Arab ones (although in practice, this seems unlikely).

Unfortunately, multiple rounds of negotiations towards a peace deal over the preceding decades have been unproductive, most famously when Arafat was offered ~98% of the land he was asking for but refused the offer at the last minute. During the current period when negotiating a peace deal seems unattainable from the Israeli perspective, it is understandable (but not justified) that settlement policy is driven primarily by short-sighted domestic politics, even if this damages Israel's international reputation and the prospects for a two state solution in the long run, as that is just how politics tends to work.