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Thread: The spoiled leftist radical

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    Senior Member Aliyah1995's Avatar
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    The spoiled leftist radical

    Not sure if this is the right section of the forum (Dayag, feel free to move it to another section if you wish), but this is brilliant:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...219636,00.html

    The spoiled leftist radical
    Op-ed: Provocative foreign activists exploit Israel’s tolerance and comfortable lifestyle
    Tal Dror
    Published: 04.23.12, 11:06 / Israel Opinion



    During my first year at the Hebrew University I worked at a typical Jerusalem bar – coffee and pastry in the morning, hamburgers for lunch and plenty of beer in the evening. The bar's proximity to Jerusalem's city center made it popular with the foreign peace activists who arrive in Jerusalem quite often. On numerous occasions I spoke to those who grabbed a drink after another day of protesting in Sheikh Jarrah or Bi'lin. Time after time I found myself wondering – why do they even bother coming here? How can a 20 year old Danish boy wake up one morning and tell his parents he's flying to the Middle East?

    A foreign reporter from Spain, who loves Israeli red wine, told me once how every foreign correspondent dreams of being stationed in Israel. "This is a foreign correspondent's paradise!" she said. "Where else can you go to restaurant in a city such as Tel Aviv, grab a drink, or go dancing on Dizengoff Street, and sleep at a fancy hotel, when the only thing that separates you from your authentic 'battle field' report is a 45 minute drive into Jerusalem or Bil'in and Naalin?
    Fighting Back
    Confront the bashers of Israel / David Ha'ivri
    Op-ed: Israel is not the cause of anti-Western sentiments; at best, it is a convenient excuse
    Full story

    Indeed, Israel holds a strange dissonance that we have developed throughout our years of living by the sword. The south is bombed, one million citizens sit in bomb shelters, but 15-20 kilometers away – everything is just the same. We have created a situation where little Israel consists of two parallel universes. The foreign activists fit perfectly into one and only one of those universes – the good, comfortable and quiet one.

    The second reason was explained to me by two Swedish activists who loved the mixture of Arak and fresh grapefruit juice in their cocktails. I asked them once this one clichéd question that always comes to mind – "So why Israel of all places? Why not Syria? Egypt? Russia or China?" One of them put on a serious face. "Are you insane?" he asked me. "These are all extremely dangerous places!"

    And that's when it hit me.

    These people know that nothing bad is going to happen to them here. The massive exposure of the high-ranked Israeli officer who struck a protestor, and the amount of condemnation it received, proves how unusual this incident was. When the worst thing that could happen to you is to get smacked on the face and become a war hero among your friends – why wouldn't you hold up a sign? Why wouldn't you throw a stone at a soldier or a police officer?

    This is just a game
    After all, in Egypt or Syria you would become another dead body on the street. In China or Russia you would find yourself imprisoned for the rest of your life if you even attempted to raise your hand against a local police officer or soldier.

    "So wait," I asked in all seriousness. "You wouldn't have come here if you thought you could get badly hurt?" My Swedish friend grinned. "I don't think so," he said. "I may be a radical, but I'm also a spoiled one!" And they both burst out laughing.

    That's when I realized that for many of those foreign peace activists, this is all just a game. And in this game we, the Israelis and Palestinians, are the pieces. They come from all corners of the world to a faraway country they have never been to before. They confront soldiers and policemen, blocking roads and holding signs. Moreover – as long as they have their cold beer by the end of the evening, as long as they lay their heads in a comfy and friendly hostel – they will continue to arrive.


    They take advantage of what we're most proud of: Our freedom, democracy and the tolerance that we're so afraid to lose. They take advantage of the strange system we have developed, the one that lets us disconnect ourselves from reality and continue with our lives even when real fighting takes place so close to us.

    I hope that once they are here, beyond the screens of blind hatred, they will be able to find the light in the existence of Israel. I hope they will embrace how lucky they are to be “spoiled radicals” here with us. Then they might take a step back and scale back the “Palestine will be free from the River to the Sea" calls a bit. Hopefully they will realize that if that actually happened, and Israel disappeared, they will not have anywhere else to go.

    Tal Dror is a second-year student in international relations and Mideastern Studies at Hebrew University of Jerusalem
    "Study astronomy and physics if you desire to comprehend the relation between the world and G-d's management of it." - RaMBaM (Maimonides), Guide For The Perplexed

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    Re: The spoiled leftist radical

    I hope that once they are here, beyond the screens of blind hatred, they will be able to find the light in the existence of Israel. I hope they will embrace how lucky they are to be “spoiled radicals” here with us. Then they might take a step back and scale back the “Palestine will be free from the River to the Sea" calls a bit. Hopefully they will realize that if that actually happened, and Israel disappeared, they will not have anywhere else to go
    Fat chance. As the writer said: to them it's just a game, kind of like a rite of passage like the running of the bull in Pampolna ...
    Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem.
    Author: John Galsworthy 1867-1933, British Novelist, Playwright

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    Re: The spoiled leftist radical

    I have mixed feelings about these publications:

    On one hand, I agree with the injustice that is pointed out in this article: the mid east conflict gets way too much attention compared to other conflicts around the world, and Israel is unjustly portrayed as the ultimate villain and the Pals as the ultimate victim. there are many reasons for this, starting from childish adventure seeking like the European protestors, going through naive liberalism like Emma Thompson, ending with outright blatant antisemitism a-la Gunter Grass.

    On the other hand, I maintain that this conflict was dragged to long. It should have been resolved 25-30 years ago, but Israeli gov'ts chose not to take bold and unpopular decisions and to be led by extremists into the situation we are in at the present. I maintain that time goes against Israel and it should be our priority to reach an agreement. if it is not possible to reach one now b/c of the other side we should at least not make steps that further complicate the situation like expanding the settlements.

    so I do believe that pressure should be applied to Israel to steer it in the right direction. However, an equal or greater pressure should be applied to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas - and that isn't done at all.

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    Senior Member Aliyah1995's Avatar
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    Re: The spoiled leftist radical

    Sharon, you have been away from Israelforum for a while, so you might have missed some of the threads I've started. I think you might find this one interesting:

    http://www.israelforum.com/board/sho...eft&highlight=

    Anyway, I will be the last one to say Israel is perfect and without her flaws. I don't have an issue with doing soul searching and trying to make our country a better place, including how we treat our minorities, as well as coming to agreements with our neighbors. What I take issue with is when people who have no connection to Israel (or "Palestine") have an obsession with Israel. I can accept the "just because other countries are worse, doesn't mean we shouldn't try to be better" line from people like you, who are actually living here and can appreciate what Israel has to deal with, but when individuals come here from thousands of miles away, get their "been to Israel/Palestine" t-shirts and go back home, preach to us, hold us to higher standards than the rest of the world, call us an "apartheid" state, when there are multiple Muslim countries where Jews can't even visit and Christians lives are made miserable, or when leaders are killing their own civilians for protesting my blood, quite frankly, boils.
    "Study astronomy and physics if you desire to comprehend the relation between the world and G-d's management of it." - RaMBaM (Maimonides), Guide For The Perplexed

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    Re: The spoiled leftist radical

    I generally agree with you, Aliyah. Israel and the Arabs should be left to themselves to sort out their conflict.
    Furthermore, I agree with the article that the young Europeans come here for the "adventure" and less for the Palestinian cause (otherwise there are indeed better and more urgent causes elsewhere in the world).

    OK, we agree on that point.
    what's next?

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    Senior Member Aliyah1995's Avatar
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    Re: The spoiled leftist radical

    "what's next?"

    beats the heck out of me; one things for sure....This week is a short week and I have a LONG weekend thanks to Yom Ha'atzmaut
    "Study astronomy and physics if you desire to comprehend the relation between the world and G-d's management of it." - RaMBaM (Maimonides), Guide For The Perplexed

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    Re: The spoiled leftist radical

    Quote Originally Posted by sharonbn
    so I do believe that pressure should be applied to Israel to steer it in the right direction. However, an equal or greater pressure should be applied to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas - and that isn't done at all
    Bingo!!!!

    And that's why Israel will get the peace that it has been fighting for in the long term. As long as Israelis will not waver and doubt the basic justice of their cause. The right to live in peace, security and without being threatened by their neighbours. Even Israel's enemies will realize that they can't continue to play a zero sum game forever and that if they want to get something then they must also concede other things (especially if the 'other things' are totally unreasonable - like the demand that Israel has no right to exist).

    Of course it will take longer if Israel's own extreme leftists are seen to be the fiercest critics of Israel. Outsiders see that then they too follow suit. I am not advocating a policy of no criticism of Israel. But there is a difference between constructive criticism which is democracy as opposed to destructive criticism which really is subversion when a country is in a war in which it's very right to existence is being questioned. And if you want to give you an example of what I consider to be destructive criticism, sharonbn, then go and read the +972 magazine. I posted there for a while but I had to leave them in disgust. I just could not stomach them anymore.
    Idealism increases in direct proportion to one's distance from the problem.
    Author: John Galsworthy 1867-1933, British Novelist, Playwright

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    Re: The spoiled leftist radical

    Quote Originally Posted by Reffo View Post
    Of course it will take longer if Israel's own extreme leftists are seen to be the fiercest critics of Israel. Outsiders see that then they too follow suit.
    It will take even longer if Israel's own extreme right wing keeps building more illegal settlements on land we know we're going to give away.

    Quote Originally Posted by Reffo View Post
    I am not advocating a policy of no criticism of Israel. But there is a difference between constructive criticism which is democracy as opposed to destructive criticism which really is subversion when a country is in a war in which it's very right to existence is being questioned.
    Funny, this was said on the leftists who criticized the post six days war euphoria and arrogance of the Israeli gov't and public and foresaw the Yom Kipur war (like the play writer Hanoch Levin). Until the Yom Kipur war suddenly broke out.
    this was said on the leftists who went and secretly talked to Fatah members in the 1980s. Until Rabin's gov't changed the law and went ahead and talked to them itself.
    This was said (and some insist in it to this day) on the leftists who negotiated and signed the Oslo accord. Until Netanyahu adopted the two states solution and the notion became mainstream.
    This was said (and some insist in it to this day) on the leftists who advocated that Jer'm should be split between Israel and future Palestine. Until PM Barak accepted the Clinton plan from 2001 and the notion became mainstream.

    judging by history, you can look at today's leftist extremist and envision the mainstream Israeli 10 years on.

    in 2003 elections, former general Amram Mitzna was head of the Labor party. His campaign revolved around his plan for unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. He lost the elections to Ariel Sharon (then heading the Likud party) by a large margin. We all know what happened only two years after that...
    That is the tragedy of the left - it will always be looked at as either lunatic or traitor, but when the right wing come to it senses and suggests (or implements) the same policy, it is all of the sudden accepted.

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    Re: The spoiled leftist radical

    Quote Originally Posted by sharonbn View Post
    ...illegal settlements...
    Sharon, what's your definition of "illegal settlements", Migron?, those in the Gush Etzion?, the Jewish quarter of the Old City? Tel Aviv?
    "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither, let my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy." (Ps. 137: 5-7)"

    "Any generation in which the Temple is not built, it is as if it had been destroyed in their times" (Yerushalmi, Yoma 1a).

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    Re: The spoiled leftist radical

    settlements deemed illegal according to the Israeli security authorities (e.g. the Police) and/or Israeli gov't authorities and/or Israeli judicial system (i.e. the court)
    out of the places you named, I think Migron would fit the bill.

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    Senior Member Aliyah1995's Avatar
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    Re: The spoiled leftist radical

    Sharon, my question to you is where is the red line that the overwhelming majority of Israelis can agree on that we can NEVER cross? Giving up Israel's identity as a Jewish State? Accepting the PA's demand for the "right of return" for "refugees" born overseas to within the '67 lines? If I recall, judging by your posts (both recently and when you were in this forum before you lost your old account) these would also be red lines for you. What, in your opinion, can NEVER become "mainstream"?
    "Study astronomy and physics if you desire to comprehend the relation between the world and G-d's management of it." - RaMBaM (Maimonides), Guide For The Perplexed

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    Re: The spoiled leftist radical

    the red lines that come to my mind are
    1) Israel must maintain a strong Jewish majority out of its citizens.
    2) Israel must maintain its definition as the homeland of the Jewish people, and maintain its purpose to serve as safe heaven for Jews from persecutions and to preserve and promote Jewish culture.
    regarding the PA's demand for the "right of return", I am not against it per se, however, it seems that if fully realized, this demand would contradict the two red lines I outlined above. If, for instance, the "right of return" is translated in real life into some kind of formal apologetic declaration and monitory compensation, then I am willing to pay that price for the sake of ending the conflict.
    I purposefully didn't mention "borders" since I don't think I have red lines in that respect. of course, I do expect the final agreement to be very close to the green line. I do not think I have to specify that Tel Aviv or western Jer'm are red lines simply b/c they are not on the table.

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    Senior Member Aliyah1995's Avatar
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    Re: The spoiled leftist radical

    Quote Originally Posted by sharonbn View Post
    the red lines that come to my mind are
    1) Israel must maintain a strong Jewish majority out of its citizens.
    2) Israel must maintain its definition as the homeland of the Jewish people, and maintain its purpose to serve as safe heaven for Jews from persecutions and to preserve and promote Jewish culture.
    regarding the PA's demand for the "right of return", I am not against it per se, however, it seems that if fully realized, this demand would contradict the two red lines I outlined above. If, for instance, the "right of return" is translated in real life into some kind of formal apologetic declaration and monitory compensation, then I am willing to pay that price for the sake of ending the conflict.
    I purposefully didn't mention "borders" since I don't think I have red lines in that respect. of course, I do expect the final agreement to be very close to the green line. I do not think I have to specify that Tel Aviv or western Jer'm are red lines simply b/c they are not on the table.
    I can agree with #'s 1 & 2. Regarding your last statement though, based on your last post in this thread, what seems outlandish today cannot become so outlandish in the future. I don't believe dividing Jerusalem, for example, was on the table until fairly recently. So, what is to stop Yafo (also for example) from being on the table in the future?

    FWIW, I think this is a good and important discussion. Especially, being tomorrow is Yom Haatzmaut, I think we (i.e. all Israelis) need to come to a consensus once and for all as to what we can agree our red lines are (at least the OVERWHELMING majority of us) and stand by them. Easier said than done, but I think Sharon and myself can serve as a good microcosmic example of Israelis (who have their share of disagreement) discussing some very tough issues. My wish for Israel's 64th birthday is for more Israelis to be able to talk like this and come to some kind of consensus, even if not agreeing about everything.
    "Study astronomy and physics if you desire to comprehend the relation between the world and G-d's management of it." - RaMBaM (Maimonides), Guide For The Perplexed

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    Re: The spoiled leftist radical

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliyah1995 View Post
    I don't believe dividing Jerusalem, for example, was on the table until fairly recently
    It was first discussed in Camp David summit of 2000, it was explicitly specified in Clinton plan and was agreed by both sides in Taba summit of 2001. that's more than a decade ago...

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliyah1995 View Post
    what is to stop Yafo (also for example) from being on the table in the future?
    nothing. however, I don't recall the far left (Meretz?) or extreme far left (Hadash is far enough?) saying Israel should give up Yafo. The demand is for withdrawal to the border of June 4th, 1967. not the 1947 partition plan. so I don't see any danger of the mainstream accepting what the far left is not saying today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aliyah1995 View Post
    FWIW, I think this is a good and important discussion. Especially, being tomorrow is Yom Haatzmaut, I think we (i.e. all Israelis) need to come to a consensus once and for all as to what we can agree our red lines are (at least the OVERWHELMING majority of us) and stand by them. Easier said than done, but I think Sharon and myself can serve as a good microcosmic example of Israelis (who have their share of disagreement) discussing some very tough issues. My wish for Israel's 64th birthday is for more Israelis to be able to talk like this and come to some kind of consensus, even if not agreeing about everything.
    I wholeheartedly agree with you, in principal. However, I fail to see it happening. I don't see how people who voted for Liberman can agree with YOU (let lalone with me) on the red lines. I am not talkig about Liberman himself, he may only talk propaganda and is actually more moderate then how he presents himself, but his voters believe him and subscribe to his agenda. and they seem to be growing in numbers.

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    Re: The spoiled leftist radical

    Sharonbn-

    It was first discussed in Camp David summit of 2000, it was explicitly specified in Clinton plan and was agreed by both sides in Taba summit of 2001. that's more than a decade ago...
    Ok, but before then it was considered taboo to divide Jerusalem, even to the point that there was a petition of which the belated Yitzhak Rabin was the first to sign. Olmert was also against it.


    nothing. however, I don't recall the far left (Meretz?) or extreme far left (Hadash is far enough?) saying Israel should give up Yafo. The demand is for withdrawal to the border of June 4th, 1967. not the 1947 partition plan. so I don't see any danger of the mainstream accepting what the far left is not saying today.
    I hope you are right, but I do have my fears and skepticism.


    I wholeheartedly agree with you, in principal. However, I fail to see it happening. I don't see how people who voted for Liberman can agree with YOU (let lalone with me) on the red lines. I am not talkig about Liberman himself, he may only talk propaganda and is actually more moderate then how he presents himself, but his voters believe him and subscribe to his agenda. and they seem to be growing in numbers.
    This is the most important part of your response to my last post. I wasn't implying that we could all agree on everything, certainly not right away for sure. However, we need to keep talking with each other, including (nay, especially) with those we are likely to disagree with and try to agree on core things that ARE important to us. If we are supposed to talk with those, amongst whom are a high percentage who don't believe our country has a right to exist, how much more so do we need to keep talking amongst ourselves. Regarding Liberman, specifically, he said he would be willing to leave his home for the sake of peace (I assume he means a TRUE peace). So, he is not as "kitzoni" as people make him out to be. Granted, he is hardly my favorite Israeli politician for personality reasons more than anything else. But, that is besides the point. Woe unto us if we give up talking with each other, while running to hold hands with our enemies. I HONESTLY hope those we call our enemies will, one day, be our friendly neighbors, but if we can't even make peace with each other (or at least have civilized discussions with each other about pressing issues), then what hope do we have? So, what do you say Sharon? Do we (obviously by "we" I don't mean you and me specifically, but Israelis in general) keep talking or just stay in our corners?
    "Study astronomy and physics if you desire to comprehend the relation between the world and G-d's management of it." - RaMBaM (Maimonides), Guide For The Perplexed

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