The Power Of The Squeaky Wheel

Writing about the dissonance between American policy regarding Israel and the views of Americans, Glenn Greenwald writes:

By itself, the degree of full-fledged, absolute agreement -- down to the syllable -- among America's political leaders is striking, even when one acknowledges the constant convergence between the leadership of both parties. But it becomes even more striking in light of the bizarre fact that the consensus view -- that America must unquestioningly stand on Israel's side and support it, not just in this conflict but in all of Israel's various wars -- is a view which 7 out of 10 Americans reject. Conversely, the view which 70% of Americans embrace -- that the U.S. should be neutral and even-handed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict generally -- is one that no mainstream politician would dare express.


This is the power of the squeaky wheel, of intensity of support. While 70% of Americans may believe in "neutrality" (whatever that means) regarding Israel/Palestine or for the lifting of the Cuban embargo or that the estate tax should remain in place, the intensity of support from those who do not take those views overwhelms the majority view. It is why I have NEVER EVER had patience for those who tell activists to STFU. We have gotten a lot of that lately from Democrats because of their support for Obama above all else. Foolish advice - if you care about issues that is. If this is just politics as a game - if it is just about the color of the political jerseys - then sure. But I think most of us are about the issues, not the jerseys.

Speaking for me only

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    I don't have anything to add (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ryanwc on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 10:37:36 AM EST
    but that's a very good point.

    All praise to BTD for having the (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 07:35:46 PM EST
    gumption, once again, to stick his neck out and say "I will not STFU".

    You continue to give hope and inspiration in your willingness to address the thorniest issues head-on. "Head-on": it helps with my headaches too.


    Foxhole (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by CDN Ctzn on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 08:47:52 PM EST
    Where have you been? Missed your comments on the subject over the past couple of days. Hope everything is Okay!

    CDN Ctzn, bless your bi-national heart... (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 03:52:44 AM EST
    I am in the 'old country' now, Canada for part of the winter - go figure! It is so different here, on the street level, with respect to the Gaza siege. Let's just say there isn't a whole lot of parsing as to who is the most disadvantaged party in the Israleli-Palestinian conflict.  

    I am heartened by Glen Greenwald, who is calling attention to polling which indicates that 70% (?) of Americans want the US to remain "neutral" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But imo, we still have a long way to go since there is an evident failure to acknowledge that Israel habitually uses disproportionate force, which warrants reprimand rather than neutrality.

    *What's missing from this whole analysis is the bald truth of the fact that the state of Israel is an extension of the United States. It is a proxy military state which we fund for the express purpose of serving and protecting American interests in the Middle East. Not PUBLIC interests, mind you, but CORPORATE interests. Which explains why our politicians are generally indifferent to public opinion, whether it be Iraq, Wall Street, or the Gaza Strip. Yes, the "Israeli lobby" influences foreign policy as Greenwald suggests, but the interests of that entity are influential because they are seamlessly congruent with global corporate interests.

    *In brief, the public interest has been entirely subsumed by corporate interests. And for most of the 20th Century, and the first decade of the 21st Century, this slogan succinctly sums up the overriding corporate interest: IT'S THE CRUDE DUDE.

    I'll be keeping an eye out for you in the eye of the storm. And I look forward to having some time to read your recent and future comments. Till then, peace to you and all.


    Right Back At You (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by CDN Ctzn on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 12:23:38 PM EST
    Buddy. Try not to eat too much Poutine while in the True North... I love the stuff and end up finding excuses to eat it when I'm visiting family. Due to the poor weather out west this holiday season I couldn't drive North to visit family for Christmas. I'm glad you had better luck than I and wish you a safe trip home.
    God bless you and yours in the New Year. I have a feeling our numbers are diminishing and we'll need to lean heavily upon each other in the New Year!

    Not just the squeaky wheel (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 10:48:39 AM EST
    It's also the power of the squeaky wallet.  Those of us who agitate for this and that but without significant financial power are at a huge disadvantage politically.  Unions are the only thing I can think of on the left of center even remotely comparable, and they're more than balanced out on the right by anti-union corporate financial power.

    Of course (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 10:50:33 AM EST
    Sadly (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by Faust on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:52:46 AM EST
    I think that this:

    But I think most of us are about the issues, not the jerseys.

    is wishful thinking.

    If the primaries taught me one thing it is that "color of our political jerseys" is very much the most influential factor in our politics...much to our collective detriment.

    Somerby linked this article a while back, and while such studies are not conclusive they certainly confirm my own anecdotal experiences.

    Consider the following passage from said article:

    "Let's say you are a left-leaning person," Hetherington said. "You don't really follow politics, but through the blogs you know the Democrats are here on the bailout and immigration and health care. All of a sudden, you know where you are supposed to be on these issues. It is not as though you really care about the bailout."

    Think back to the rather funny (and frustratingly trivial) gas tax argument between Clinton and Obama during the primary. Personally I found it simply amazing how "suddenly" the majority of Clinton supporters found the gas tax to be the "best idea EVAR" while the Obama fans found the gas tax to be proof positive of Clinton's "vile" pandering nature. Can anyone seriously doubt that had Obama and Clinton suddenly switched positions enormous herds of people who have thundered past each other to reach the opposing side?

    This is not in any way to dispute your thesis about the importance of squeaky wheels. Indeed, the louder and more grating the squeaky wheel the better. Personally I beleieve one of the reasons religious groups get so much traction is because they have a unity of voice that it is difficult for non-fanatics to have have. It's hard to beat out fundamentalists for they have NO DOUBT about the validity of their issues, and they have NO RESERVATIONS about their truth and righteousness.

    Even in the case of religous blocks, however, one could make the argument that the issues that the congregants care about are arrived at post facto. If the religious heirarchy changes the church position on an issue some percentage of the parishioners will surely leave the church. Some percentage will stay however and embrace the new position just as fervently as they did the old one.

    I would love to believe the "majority" of Americans held issues over and above their identification with their tribe, the party, their sex, their race, their religion, or whatever key point of identification might wish to come up with. I would love to believe that humand beings were rational and had easy access to free will. To date I find no good evdence for such assertions. I see primarily crowds and collectives and beliefs that adhere to the dictums of power elites (including the media).

    Votes are the only reason (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Saul on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:27:22 PM EST
    politicians side with Israel.  Deep down inside they might agree with the 70 percent of American that says not to support Israel but the fear for their political life.   Boy what power a lobbyist group holds over our politicians.

    Gun control, anyone? (none / 0) (#28)
    by oldpro on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:35:28 PM EST
    Yep NRA too (none / 0) (#35)
    by Saul on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:23:06 PM EST
    I see (none / 0) (#29)
    by Steve M on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:52:07 PM EST
    so on other issues, politicians act out of deep-seated principle, but Israel is the one issue where they just care about votes?

    No other too but the totally fear this one (none / 0) (#34)
    by Saul on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:22:35 PM EST
    well, sort of (none / 0) (#41)
    by ryanwc on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 04:29:36 PM EST
    but it's not AIPAC votes they're afraid of.  There aren't that many AIPAC supporters in Cynthia McKinney's district, and there weren't very many in Paul Findlay's when Durbin beat him.  The method is that AIPAC and allies give money to candidates so they can tout other stands.  

    I don't have a problem with that any more than I have a problem with the general influence of money in American politics, though I would push in a different direction.


    Magical Sway (none / 0) (#47)
    by ricosuave on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 09:01:02 PM EST
    AIPAC does not have some magical sway over politicians.  I doubt anyone can come up with an actual example of AIPAC wielding some real power over a politician.  They take politicians on trips to Israel and give them a well controlled tour, and they do all of the rating, etc., that politicians like to see.

    But the real base of political support for Israel in the US is from the Christian fundamentalists.  Israel has a specific place in their belief system, and it is strongly tied to the events outlined in the Book of Revelations.  As soon as the fundamentalists decide that the world has moved to the next stage (where Israel is hopelessly threatened by the godless king, I think) then Israel will be on the outs politically no matter how strongly we American Jews yell and scream.

    All this talk of the amazing power and magical sway of AIPAC is just a variation of the "Jews secretly control the world" theme.  Add the idea expressed all over these comments that Jewish money in political donations is a humongous force to be reckoned with and you are hitting another golden oldie.  Luckily, we haven't seen too much of the "Jews are loyal to something other than America" talk here, or we would really have the trifecta.

    And by the way...it doesn't help the cause of those who would like to switch US allegiance away from Israel that the other choice in this conflict is Hamas.  How many US politicians do you think there are that want to come out and say "Hamas are the good guys"?  The Palestinians in general may have gained more political respectability lately, but Hamas sure hasn't.


    Real Politik (3.00 / 2) (#18)
    by bernardab on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:27:28 AM EST
    AIPAC can selectively target any politician which doesn't brown-nose Israel. Any dissent means risking re-election. So, AIPAC traitors are responsible.

    However, Israel is not part of the U.S. and has nothing to do with the U.S. There is no reason to treat it specially.

    It is completely irrational to give Israel three billion a year in military subsidies.

    Oh please. Admins. . . (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:37:24 AM EST
    So, AIPAC traitors are responsible.

    Can't we get beyond this here?


    Enough with the dual loyality BS (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:44:37 AM EST
    AIPAC advocates for its views, just like you do.

    They happen to do it well - the best of Squeaky Wheels.


    Advocacy (none / 0) (#23)
    by bernardab on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:12:19 PM EST
    AIPAC works for a foreign government and it doesn't advocate, it threatens. If a congressman doesn't vote for subsidies for Israel, or simply expresses some criticism, AIPAC will get its supporters to finance a rival candidate;

    As a one-issue lobby, it has an effective method. Nancy Pelosi gave the ultimate brown-nose speech to AIPAC in 2005. She ended to hysterical cheers, "The United States will stand with Israel now and forever. Now and forever."

    As an American, I don't stand with Israel at all and I don't see why the U.S. should have any particular concern for Israel.

    There once was a home video of this on the net. The fanaticism of the crowd was astounding.


    Ridiculous (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:26:33 PM EST
    this is simply a ridiculous comment. One thing  I do want to make clear - do not post any comments accusing people of "dual loyalties" regarding Israel.

    I personally find such comments anti-semitic.


    Aipac (none / 0) (#37)
    by bernardab on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 02:08:30 PM EST
    From the Aipac site.

    "For more than half a century, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has worked to help make Israel more secure by ensuring that American support remains strong.  From a small pro-Israel public affairs boutique in the 1950s, AIPAC has grown into a 100,000-member national grassroots movement described by The New York Times as "the most important organization affecting America's relationship with Israel."
    AIPAC's work to ensure that the U.S.-Israel relationship remains strong and vital.

    As America's leading pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC works with both Democratic and Republican political leaders to enact public policy that strengthens the vital U.S.-Israel relationship. With the support of its members nationwide, AIPAC has worked with Congress and the Executive Branch on numerous critical initiatives -- from securing vital foreign aid for Israel to stopping Iran's illicit nuclear program."

    Notice, "securing vital foreign aid for Israel". Vital to Israel, not the U.S. As I said, it is a one-issue lobby.

    Also this from the Nation in an article by Ari Berman,

    "The Bush Administration is bad enough in tolerating measures they would not accept anywhere else but Israel," says Henry Siegman, the former head of the American Jewish Congress and a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. "But the Congress, if anything, is urging the Administration on and criticizing them even at their most accommodating. When it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict, the terms of debate are so influenced by organized Jewish groups, like AIPAC, that to be critical of Israel is to deny oneself the ability to succeed in American politics."


    And not to mention the Larry Franklin affair.


    BTD, did you mean "anti-semitic" (none / 0) (#44)
    by Politalkix on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 07:41:57 PM EST
    or "anti-israeli" or "anti-jewish"? "Semitic" is more than just pertaining to israel or jewishness. It comprises the culture of the entire Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. Arabs are also Semites[link].

    Feh. (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:29:06 PM EST
    AIPAC works for a foreign government

    AIPAC represents the position of the Americans who support it -- a right constitutionally guaranteed under the petition clause.  The fact that that opinion concerns a question of foreign relations and that you don't agree with them doesn't make them traitors.

    it threatens. If a congressman doesn't vote for subsidies for Israel, or simply expresses some criticism, AIPAC will get its supporters to finance a rival candidate

    The word for this sort of behavior is not "treason".  It is "politics".  Do you support political candidates whose views you oppose?  If so, why?


    Don't you know that Jews are always (none / 0) (#27)
    by andgarden on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:34:16 PM EST
    foreign interlopers?

    One does wonder (none / 0) (#33)
    by ryanwc on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:09:39 PM EST
    what happens to AIPAC and its goals in a decade or so, at the point when the Muslim community in this country, already much bigger than the Jewish community, has matured in terms of wealth and political influence.  It's hard to see AIPAC continuing to have this kind of influence.  I think right-wing Israelis need to take this into account.  Even they have to recognize that they need a way to make peace with their neighbors.  

    I'm so ready (none / 0) (#20)
    by Fabian on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:40:13 AM EST
    to cut Israel loose.  Israel seems to prefer fighting to pursuing real, lasting peace.  With friends/allies like that, you'll always have all the enemies you could ever want.

    May We No Longer Be Silent (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by bridget on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 03:15:03 PM EST
    May  We No Longer Be Silent

    Thanks goodness for Norm Chomsky
    Thanks goodness for Jimmy Carter who wrote the truth and was also called anti-semitic - as it always happens when someone speaks out in defense of Palestine

    Thanks for goodness for internet sites like Counterpunch


    It also matters (none / 0) (#4)
    by BernieO on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 10:57:09 AM EST
    if activists are concentrated in a state like Florida or New York which have a lot of votes in the electoral college.

    Why? (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:10:11 AM EST
    Florida I can understand, but New York?  The outcome of our elections is never in doubt.  Even in the most recent primary there was no question about what the outcome would be.

    I think the point of the squeaky wheel hypothesis (if I may speak for Armando here) is that the squeaky wheel can have an effect outside of directly electoral representation.


    Yep (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:12:55 AM EST
    possibly (none / 0) (#42)
    by ryanwc on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 04:32:37 PM EST
    but I'd say results like the McKinney defeat and going back further, the Findlay defeat by Durbin, have much more to do with it.

    Loads of issue groups are 'squeaky', meaning they make a lot of noise.  I regularly have to argue with my chapter of the Sierra Club, because they do so much more lobbying of legislators than educating their members about legislators, and they always support safely elected members, but never take on targeted members who have voted badly.

    Lobbying is the implied threat that we'll do something to make you lose if you don't vote with us.  AIPAC, well, the Israeli lobby writ large, has done that.  


    I agree that the squeaky wheel (none / 0) (#32)
    by BernieO on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:07:40 PM EST
    matters a lot, but no presidential candidate has been willing to say that we need to have closer relations with Cuba because they can't afford to risk losing Florida. New York matters more to Democrats particularly in the primary. Support for Israel is more complex because a lot of fundamentalist Christians are big supporters. They are definitely a squeaky wheel group, but also have a lot of clout in conservative southern states which Republicans need to win. The Religious Right is also a very squeaky wheel although maybe they have been greased a little lately? One can only hope.

    I find these statistics. . . (none / 0) (#5)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 10:59:27 AM EST
    America must unquestioningly stand on Israel's side and support it, not just in this conflict but in all of Israel's various wars -- is a view which 7 out of 10 Americans reject. Conversely, the view which 70% of Americans embrace -- that the U.S. should be neutral and even-handed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict generally

    extremely hard to believe.  I suspect they're an artifact of questions carefully phrased to elicit a particular response.  I don't know what "neutral" and "even-handed" mean in this context, and I doubt the pollsters clearly defined those terms in their poll.

    I find it very hard to believe that the broad US population is not generally hostile to both Arabs and Muslims (severally and jointly) and that as a result of that, the American population generally supports the more right-wing elements in Israeli policy making.

    Oh I agree with you (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:00:31 AM EST
    I can produce any poll result you want on these type of questions, but my point is a different one.

    My post is not about Israel, it is about the Squeaky Wheel.


    If Greenwald's statistics are wrong. . . (none / 0) (#11)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:05:10 AM EST
    then your point doesn't follow from his argument.

    His argument is that the consensus of the political class goes against broad public opinion, and you argue that this happens because the Israel lobby is a squeaky minority wheel.

    My argument is that the political consensus reflects the broader public opinion and that therefore the squeaky wheel hypothesis is moot in this case.


    Sure it does (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:08:41 AM EST
    The poll results are not "wrong" per se - they are intended to produce a result.

    Let's put it this way, no matter what the number is - 70, 50, 35 -  35% of pundits and/or pols are not arguing for "neutrality," the squeaky wheel effect.  


    I Oppose ANYONE Who Kills Children (none / 0) (#9)
    by Alegre on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:02:18 AM EST
    That includes the right-wingers in the Israeli government.

    Interesting (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by bocajeff on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:05:06 AM EST
    That your sole example is right wingers in the Israeli Government. Why not the left wingers there as well? Or the Palestinians who go on school buses or in restaurants?

    Just wondering


    Thank you. (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:07:53 AM EST
    I think we can all agree that killing children is wrong.  I'm willing to go even further and take the radical position that killing adults is wrong.  I'm not sure I see the direct relevance to the point I was making about the fungibility of the kind of poll that Greenwald cites, but it's still an important fact to keep in mind.

    These Attacks Must Stop (none / 0) (#6)
    by Alegre on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:00:17 AM EST
    The military "solution" is not working - it's time to cease fire and find a peaceful solution to this madness.

    Until the rest of us stand up to the bullies with the bullhorn, nothing will change.

    If you mean Israel (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:01:27 AM EST
    I have never pretended to know what to do and will not start now.

    It's why I never write about it - I have nothing worthwhile to say on the subject.


    All Sides (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Alegre on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:06:03 AM EST
    But given the level of violence in Israel's attacks on Gaza, my comments were directed at them more than anyone.

    How long have they been going at each other in these battles?  Has anything changed as a result?  I don't pretend to have a solution either but I know what HASN'T worked so far.

    Maybe it's time they tried something new.


    Too Bad ... since it has happened befor our eyes (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by bridget on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 03:24:17 PM EST
    and the solution absolutely yells at you for decades and so does the reason for the Gaza attack right now

    check this out

    Befor Our Very Eyes


    Before Our Very Eyes (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by bridget on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 03:32:08 PM EST
    sorry, I think this is the right articleBefore Our Very Eyes

    hope it worked this time :)


    The Irony (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by CDN Ctzn on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 09:23:28 PM EST
    of the "well timed attacks" this past Saturday is astounding, what with it being the Sabbath and all.
    In all of this the words of the Prophets go ignored:
    5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
           only a day for a man to humble himself?
           Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
           and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
           Is that what you call a fast,
           a day acceptable to the LORD ?

     6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
           to loose the chains of injustice
           and untie the cords of the yoke,
           to set the oppressed free
           and break every yoke?

     7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
           and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--
           when you see the naked, to clothe him,
           and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

    13 "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
           and from doing as you please on my holy day,
           if you call the Sabbath a delight
           and the LORD's holy day honorable,
           and if you honor it by not going your own way
           and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,

     14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,
           and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land
           and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob."
           The mouth of the LORD has spoken.
                                        Isaiah 58

    Not to get all preachy, but we are talking about Israel here, are we not?


    I appreciate the irony... (none / 0) (#54)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:15:52 AM EST
    and, in this context, the righteous religiosity of your comment. Praise be.

    Thank you Bridget... (none / 0) (#53)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:04:27 AM EST
    Please keep 'squeaking' louder, and at more length. You are on the right side of history here!

    thank you, too, Foxhole ... (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by bridget on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 05:02:08 PM EST
    I hope everyone else will, too.

    I stayed away from internet blogging for a while now but had to at the v. least share some of the Gaza articles I have been reading.

    btw. one of my fav. activists and writers is Tariq Ali who has a new book out.

    A very happy and healthy New Year to You and all my fellow bloggers here.


    agreed. (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by cpinva on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 11:24:19 AM EST
    now you just need to tell hamas to stop making them on israel.

    These Attacks Must Stop
    The military "solution" is not working - it's time to cease fire and find a peaceful solution to this madness.

    of course, the real "madness" here is that israel, a state in existence for nearly 3,000 years (off and on), has been constantly attacked by arabs for the past 50 years. the palestinian leadership, such as it is, does nothing to stop those attacks.

    the rest of the arab and persian countries do nothing to stop those attacks. in fact, they facilitate them, by providing arms and funds to support hamas and other like-minded groups, in their attacks on israel.

    were these other countries to recognize israel, what could they possibly substitute, to keep their own citizen's minds off of the fact that their lives suck?


    Whaaaat? (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by vml68 on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 12:59:07 PM EST
    "the real "madness" here is that israel, a state in existence for nearly 3,000 years (off and on), has been constantly attacked by arabs for the past 50 years."

    You think it is madness for the palestinians to fight for the homes they were displaced from by european jewish immigrants?


    Europeans? Lost Homes? (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by ricosuave on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 09:35:09 PM EST
    Most of the Jews in Israel came there from Muslim countries.  They largely did not move into existing homes--there has been alot of new building since 1948 (some of it, to my dismay, in settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, but that is not where the vast majority of Jews settled).  Many (perhaps most...I admit there is some debate about the level of coercion in a few countries) were forced out of their homes in those Muslim countries and had to leave everything behind.

    Many of the European Jews that went there in the late 40's were folks who had been forced out of their homes (or not allowed to return) AFTER the war ended.  Many Polish Jews came home from Nazi work camps to be killed by Poles on their return.  The US, Latin America, and Western European countries wouldn't take them.  Stalin was already killing Jews in Russia.  So they largely went to Israel.

    In 1948, when the original UN lines were drawn and Jerusalem was on the Arab side, all of the Jews were driven from the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and their homes were taken.  All of the synagogues and every historic site was razed to the ground.  Jewish gravestones were used to pave the roads.  Jews were displaced and completely denied access to the holy sites in Jerusalem.

    I mention all of this not to start a suffering contest (my co-religionists generally consider us to be the all-time winners--I give the prize to the Native Americans, and think the Kurds give us a good run as well).  I just want to make the point that your "equitable" solution to give back to people what they lost is not going to be the same as someone else's "equitable" solution.  

    And if you don't even know the basic facts of the region well enough to avoid claiming that Palestinians are trying to get their homes back from a bunch of European Jews, then whatever solution you can come up with in your head is probably not going to be very applicable to the situation.


    While I have no idea what the solution is, (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by vml68 on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:04:27 PM EST
    I hardly think that putting all the blame on the arabs is the answer. It is like blaming the native americans for putting up a fight when the european settlers came here.

    Putting all the blame on anyone. . . (none / 0) (#36)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 01:45:29 PM EST
    is probably counterproductive.

    In fact, if it's a solution you want, putting any blame on anyone is probably counterproductive.  Solutions are about taking the situation was it's given to you and solving the problem -- blame has little or no role to play in an undertaking like that.


    Bush has given "blame" a bad name (none / 0) (#55)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:23:38 AM EST
    He evades taking responsibility by saying his critics are "playing the blame game". Let's not use the same facile semantics to let Israel off the hook.

    The real problem... (none / 0) (#45)
    by pmj6 on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 08:38:59 PM EST
    ...is the fact that Jews are on the verge of becoming a minority in Israel, and the disenfranchised Arabs will soon become a majority. Israel is no longer a "Jewish state", de facto, and in a few decades it will likely follow the example of South Africa. Kicking and screaming, maybe, but follow that path it will just the same.

    Well, if you think the Gaza Strip (none / 0) (#56)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:40:13 AM EST
    is such a picnic, go and have a word with Hamas for yourself. Sorry, I usually don't make comments that are as stupid and snide as this, but when in Rome...

    MY comment #56, meant for cpinva (none / 0) (#57)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 04:41:53 AM EST
    Before Pearl Harbor, (none / 0) (#48)
    by diogenes on Tue Dec 30, 2008 at 09:21:22 PM EST
    Before Pearl Harbor, the majority opposed going to war.  In the 1950's the majority opposed civil rights.  If you took a poll of the world population they would have opposed intervention in Rwanda or Bosnia in the 1990's.  
    Since when do our leaders rule by the opinion poll?  Even George Bush knew better than that.