On Israel

Yay! The not-so-obligatory Arab-Israeli Conflict post!

(Otherwise known as "I'm going to get a lot of flames".)

So there's this Twitter account, @UnifiedLeft. (Yeah, I'm a Twitter addict. You get used to it.) Now, I'm a crazy leftie and proud of it. I also believe that the Left should stop bickering and get its act together. So of course I ended up following it.

As with everything else, the Arab-Israeli Conflict gets divided along ideological lines, with conservatives being inclined to support Israel and liberals being inclined to support the Palestinians. Now, I'd be lying if I said I had no problem with that, but I can understand it. At least, I think I can understand it.

This is where things get complicated. I'm Israeli. So, according to liberals, I should be a racist, fascist Islamophobe who wants Israel to expand into the West Bank and gleefully kills Palestinian children before breakfast. The problem is that I'm not racist, I'm pretty much the opposite of fascist, I think Israel should at the very least stop building settlements (and it does need to pull out of most of the West Bank, though I'd let it keep most of Jerusalem), and I oppose the killing of innocents anywhere in the world. If you're going to point to Israel bombing schools and hospitals in Gaza, I don't agree with those actions - but when terrorists in the neighbouring country are trying to kill you and can reach targets within 20 minutes of your capital city, I can see where they're coming from. I still don't agree with it, I still think it's wrong, but I see little else that can be done.

Of course, according to the conservatives, I'm now a lily-livered anti-Semite who wants to hand the Holy Land over to the eeeeeeeebil Muslims. Never mind that you need a hell of a lot of conviction to be a moderate, never mind that given how both sides have killed without mercy at some point in their past and how both sides have good reasons for existing moderation is pretty much the only reasonable position, because I'm not flatly disregarding half the evidence in favour of rhetoric I must be weak in the head. Never mind that anti-Semitism is pretty much the last position I would take given my family history. Never mind that I support Israel's right to statehood, just as I support Palestine's right to statehood.

I don't like Israel being a "Jewish state": religion and the state should be separated. I don't like the increasing amount of racism and fundamentalism going on in Israel today: I know a lot of immigrants who say that Israel's changed, that these days they don't really want to go back because of what the country's become. (I know I'm not going back - Britain is my home now.) I don't like the settlements in the West Bank. I don't like the fundamentalists taking over the country. (Aside to Americans: the Tea Party is on very strong medication when compared to these guys. You might want to think twice, or three times, or a lot more than that, about putting them in power.) All the same, I have family there - good people who would never hurt anyone, not leering fascists who enjoy putting down innocents. It is for their sake that I'm standing up for a country which is going to the dogs - that and I pretty much owe my life to the Declaration of Balfour. (If anyone here is now going to decry me or my family as racist fascists based on the fact that we're Israeli and kind of owe our lives to Zionism, they shall be completely ignored, since they probably haven't read my post all that carefully - or indeed at all.)

So now I get to the meat of the post: @UnifiedLeft blaming Israel's condemnation on it being totally in the wrong. (Actually, I'm probably being a bit more reasonable than them, since they've called it fascist and Nazi. Despite all the bad stuff that the coalition government - which REALLY needs to go - has done, it is nowhere close to Hitler or Mussolini.) Cue me saying something along the lines of "you have a point, but you're assuming that the underdog is automatically good and Israel is automatically bad, whereas if you actually bothered to look at both sides you'd see how both have committed atrocities". For the record, as an aside, I disagreed with Netanyahu calling Israel a Jewish state. I also mentioned my dislike of Netanyahu and my support for the left, purely because it's the truth and I thought people would take that into account when discussing my points.

Apparently, I thought wrongly. Here are the two replies they sent me: I leave it up to you to judge them.

Reply 1
Reply 2

I don't appreciate the substitution of dogma for belief. I don't appreciate what seems to be "reverse Melanie Phillips".

Looks like @UnitedLeft are doing some pretty good things, but I still prefer reasoned debate to calling your opponents Nazis.