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JLeslie's avatar

What is your opinion on Israel and why? See more specifics...

Asked by JLeslie (48222 points ) November 2nd, 2009

If you support Israel why? Is it relgious reasons? Because the Jewish people were there first over 5000 years ago? Because, as an American you just think you are supposed to? Geo-political reasons—good idea to have a strong ally in the middle east? Or, a different reason?

If you don’t support Israel, why? Again, religious reasons? You feel Israel was given by the UN unfairly? Or, a different reason?

Are you for the two state solution and why or why not?

Does it worry you that Israel’s Arab population will mostly likely grow much faster in numbers than the Jewish population, which might lead to Israel having to move away from democracy in the future?

Lastly, do you think Israel would exist today if it were not for the Holocaust?

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55 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

It is the only functioning Democracy in the Middle East, and helps stabilize the region. It behaves intolerably badly toward the occupied territories. There must be a two-State solution, but the Palestinians could have had that long ago and made many strategic errors to deny it to themselves, which they continue to do. Zionism was a 19th C. phenomenon – the Shoah undoubtedly sped the process, but it was already well underway.

dpworkin's avatar

Oh. As to demographics. No State willingly allows its own destruction.

Vincentt's avatar

My opinion comes down to when two fight, two are guilty. In this case, even more than two. Terribly complicated situation over there. I haven’t investigated the topic that much so I can’t really say anything sensible about it.

Anyway, I’m curious as to why Israel would have to move away from democracy if the Arab population would outnumber the Jewish population, in your opinion?

aphilotus's avatar

Israel as an idea is fine- it has a right to exist and good reasons to exist. It’s political behavior and the USA’s complete backing of their behavior, however, is not. Israel has done things in its wars and with its occupied territories that would cause the UN to step in if it was any other country, but since it’s the USA’s weird little cousin, they don’t.

Yeah, we (America) kind of invented the idea back in the 40s of a Jewish State in the Middle East, but we (America) have been backing it up for all the wrong reasons ever since.

I’ve actually talked to Republicans who have said “Supporting Israel is great because it is one step closer to triggering the End of Days. We have a biblical mandate to support Israel.” And that’s just plain awful.

eponymoushipster's avatar

Natalie Portman is from Israel. How can it be that bad?

Psychedelic_Zebra's avatar

I support Israel’s right to exist. @pdworkin pretty much summed it up for me. The only thing I would add is that the Palestinians have fought every inch of the way to make the 2 state solution possible. Sharon was a monster, but then, after his demise, things were a bit better. The guerilla tactics and over the border bombing solves nothing. The inability of the Palestinians to compromise will make the success of a 2 state solution impossible. Our support of them as a country is not one-sided. There are other Arab and European nations that support/have peaceful relations with Israel, including Egypt.

Neither side is without fault, and the Israeli military has done some horrible things, but being as Israel is mostly secular, and the Palestinians are ruled by archaic Shariah laws, and other religious nonsense, I will side with the Israelis. Both sides are guilty of crimes against humanity.

There is no easy solution to the conflict, nor will there ever be as long as the extremists on either side have control.

That region has been historically in conflict for a long time. As for the Six Day War in 1967, the Arabs were told not to start something they couldn’t finish, and Israel kicked their ass and handed it to them. That loss of face has been a stick up the Arabs butt for years.

The end of days rhetoric mentioned by @aphilotus is nonsense of the most maddening kind. Shows why the whole Middle Eastern Religious tripe is in need of another Reformation.

JLeslie's avatar

@Vincentt I tried not make my opinion too obvious in the question, in fact I am still making and changing opinions in my own mind regarding the topic. That was part of the reason I was curious to peoples ideas on the topic. But, to answer you question…as the majority shifts, more people will be voted in who are Arab if the government is a representation of the population through majority vote. If you have a basic belief that the Muslim Arabs, in this case primarily the Palestinians, will have very different ideas about how to run a country, what should be law, very different values, then there would be fear attached to this shift in population. It would be way more drastic than the Republicans vs. the Dems I would guess. Some argue Israel could not tolerate this, or rather the Jewish people, so something would have to change. Of course there are many Palestinians who do have similar values as Israeli’s, I don’t mean to paint them with one brush. Anyway, this is another reason why many support the two-state solution (Pres. Clinton actually touched on this recently in an interview I saw).

JLeslie's avatar

@eponymoushipster Gene Simmons too.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@JLeslie something for everyone then. let’s get some latkes and chill.

oratio's avatar

I support Israel, but I don’t support their geopolitics. I believe the two state solution is the only one that can have a future. But only Israel can make that happen.

Why would arabs not be functioning democratic citizens? I don’t believe arabs will breed away the jews. They have been around for some time. I think that Israel will prevail, and it is not the only democracy in the region.

kevbo's avatar

@aphilotus, the idea of a Jewish state extends back much further than the ‘40s, and its modern (circa 1948) incarnation was spearheaded more by the British and the UN.

aphilotus's avatar

@kevbo Haven’t had my coffee yet. You’re right, of course. I was overgeneralizing the whole FDR Experience.

Judi's avatar

I Support Israel, probably for religious reasons mostly. I am not as up on current politics as I am on ancient politics (Bible) so my support is probably not as educated as it should be.
I also support the Palestinians. When I was in Israel in 2001, I noticed that the Israeli’s controlled the airport and the tourism industry. As much as I loved my guide, he made sure to steer us away from the Palestinian areas (and shops.) He even warned us against going into the Palestinian sections of the old city. (Which we pretty much ignored.)
I felt really safe in Israel, even though I was there just as the Palestinians were seizing the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the tanks were rolling in.
I felt sad though, because it was obvious that the Palestinians were being economically oppressed.
I have never completely wrapped my head around the whole conflict, and I know there is a whole “Big picture” that’s not real clear to me, But these were my observations as a tourist. There is something really special about the place that’s for sure. When we arrived I had to fight an overwhelming urge to drop to my knees and kiss the ground, right there on the tarmac. If I felt like I was “home,” I can see how so many other want to fight for it to be home too.
Edit:
I just went back and read your question. I had the Holocaust discussion with our guide when I was there. I was in tears at the Holocaust museum and we had a long talk.. I brought up that very question and it was like he had never even thought of it before. I would recant our conversation, but it would get into a religious discussion and I don’t want to go there. In summary, we left the conversation thinking that the nation of Israel might be the only good thing that came out of the Holocaust, since it came at a time when they had the compassion of the entire world.

jackm's avatar

In my mind, if Palestine stopped attacking, so would Israel, but if Israel stopped attacking Palestine wouldn’t. This is why I side with Israel.

this is just what I think, most likely influenced by media and such, don’t really have an basis for it.

drdoombot's avatar

As I understand it, in the original Palestinian mandate of the 1920’s-1930’s, Britain gave over 70% of the original land called “Palestine” to the Palestinians. The land was east of the Jordan river and was called “Trans-Jordan” at the time. The intention of the Brits was to give Trans-Jordan to the Palestinians and the small piece of land west of the Jordan river to the Jews. When the new mandate was being created in the late 1940’s, the Arabs in Trans-Jordan up and declared themselves an independent nation, claiming no ties to the Palestinians west of the river, even though technically, culturally and historically they are the same ethnic group. This left a sizable population of Arabs without a land, creating the modern day conflict. I could be way off about this, but it seems to me that it was the nation of Jordan that took away land from the Palestinians, not the Israelis. I believe you can read up on the details of this on Wikipedia.

It is not in the interest of most Arab nations to fix this problem because it gives them a common enemy to unite their people against. I might sound like a conspiracy theorist, but does anyone really believe that the Arab governments, like the Saudi Arabian government, are not corrupt? The royal families control billions of dollars of wealth while allowing their citizens to live in poverty. They live carefree, Western-influenced lives of extravagance and decadence, while pushing fundamentalism on its people. The best way to distract your citizens from the corruption of the government is to give them an enemy to rally against and a holy mission in life. Hell, Dubya did it to the American people a few short years ago with the war on Iraq.

Ok, back to the OP questions: Yes, I support Israel for lots of different reasons. I think of that land as the final refuge of the Jews. Even in the freedom of America, I still think that things could go sour for Jews yet again (history does repeat itself) and I imagine I’d be forced to run off to Israel. I also believe the Jews have earned that land. They took what was basically a desert and turned it into a fertile paradise. For the work the Jews put in to the land, they deserve to keep it.

As for solutions, I have no idea. The way the land is being cut-up does not seem reasonable because either Israel or Palestine will have to be cut in half to the connect the Gaza and West Bank areas. The US didn’t require Canada to cede a thin strip of land to connect Washington State to Alaska, but this seems to be what they want to do in Israel. Still, two-states seems better than what’s happening right now.

I sometimes wonder how feasible Israel is as a nation. If Arabs were allowed full citizenship, they would quickly become a majority, effectively turning Israel into an Arab state. So in this global age, Israel has to protect its existence by only allowing Jewish citizens? I just don’t know how this could be sustained for a long period of time.

The Holocaust definitely gave more weight to the Zionist movement of the time. If the Holocaust didn’t happen, I suspect Israel might have come to fruition at a much later date or we would have a very strong Zionist movement today.

Dr_C's avatar

Natalie Portman, Bar Rafaeli.. the list goes on! It’s a beautiful country full of contrast and diversity. I support the existence of the country.. as for supporting the government or political views of said government.. to a point. I do however feel that there should be no restrictions on people who have been living there for generations.. there is no reason why they cannot co-exist and share a country.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Dr_C bar rafaeli, good call.

JLeslie's avatar

@Judi I love your subjective/tourist view. Thank you for sharing.

@drdoombot about your first paragraph, I was unaware of these specific details. An aquaintance of mine; when I lived in Raleigh, NC; who was Palestinian said her sister returned to the middle east to live in Jordan (she had been living in TN) which was the first I knew that Palestinians sought out Jordan, and now with the info you have provided you have definitely peaked my interest.

After reading @drdoombot answer I feel compelled to share more of my opinions and curiosities about the subject. I too like the idea that I have a place to go if other countries turn against us. But, I am not sure my own fears or worst case scenarios justify supporting Israel if it is not a righteous cause. So I want to learn more to be sure it is on the side of right to fight for it. I want to know that if it were reversed, and I was on the “other” side that I would still think it is right to fight for Israel.

From my understanding Jews were already buying up the land in the territory even before the UN decision. So they had a lot of ownership. I also agree they have made the country and the land prosperous in the last 70 years, so at this point I can’t see taking the land/country away from the Jewish people, since it seems to have been given to them in a “legal” manner. If it ever was decided that the Jews had to leave I would want them to set fire to everything and let the new settlers start from scratch.

But, I don’t believe in the religious argument. I don’t think you get the land because you were there first. Then we in America might as well move from our land and homes and give it back to the Native Americans. And the idea that the Jews are going to rebuild the temple and fulfill some biblical prophecy is just annyoying to me. But, I do care about the history and protecting the religious monuments of all three religions of Abraham that can be found in Israel.

Some days I wish America had given Wyoming to the Jews after the Holocaust (I choose that state randomly) to give them a safe place to live and prosper. In the end, the people, my people, are more important to me than the land. When I listen to that crazy Iranian President I think his point must make sense to many Arabs if the Germans committed the horrors of the holocaust, why not give the Jews Germany? It does seem that Israel was almost given randomly by an Imperialistic government to the Jews after the Holocaust. I think the countries in favor of it had more geopolitical reasons than caring about the Jews themselves.

I have heard that Palestinian Israeli’s are treated like second class citizens, if that is true I find that to be awful.

I am in favor of the two-state solution, because I don’t see how there can be peace the way it is now.

I hold out hope that the Palestinian leaders will be willing to compromise in the future, I continue to believe there will be peace in the middle east.

tinyfaery's avatar

Israeli, Arab, Jewish, Muslim. How about people. People. Religion is a poor excuse, race is even worse. How about we call ourselves members of the human race and live together humanely?

Dr_C's avatar

@tinyfaery i agree!
are fairies people too?

JLeslie's avatar

@tinyfaery I would love that. I would love if the whole world believed in separation of church and state, and there were no countries based on a particular religion, and no need to fear discrimination. I wish that were the reality.

RareDenver's avatar

@JLeslie this is all starting to sound like a John Lennon song

JLeslie's avatar

@raredenver That or Gene Rodenberry’s idea of a perfect world.

mammal's avatar

I often wonder how Ireland would have turned out if the British had responded to IRA attacks in a similar fashion to the natural Israeli response. To transplant a western culture into an eastern region because of a religious affinity and arm them with enough firepower to decimate a continent, is bonkers.

drdoombot's avatar

@mammal You’re using a mixed analogy. Britain gave the land to the Jews, the settlers decided to become a democracy, then the US provided them with some arms (the Israelis developed the rest of their arms, as well as their own tactics and military training). There was no one power responsible for the way things happened in that region.

dpworkin's avatar

Rather an ignorant remark, @mammal. Perhaps it’s time for you to crack a book.

oratio's avatar

@pdworkin Well, he has a point in that there are similarities between IRA and the Jewish terrorist groups in the 40’s and their fight leading up to the creation of Israel. But it is as @drdoombot says. But still, rockets, helicopters and weapons killing Palestinians still come with the “Made in the US” on it.

dpworkin's avatar

And it says Made in Iran on the ones coming over the Lebanese border. Who is the Saint here?

Zen_Again's avatar

After your cascade of questions, @JLeslie you asked towards the end: Does it worry you that Israel’s Arab population will mostly likely grow much faster in numbers than the Jewish population, which might lead to Israel having to move away from democracy in the future? What does that even mean? Does it apply to almost every European country, and maybe the US in the future – when the Arabs “overrun” the other populations?

JLeslie's avatar

@Zen_Again The truth is I don’t know enough about Israel, that is part of the reason I asked the question. From what I understand your Arab citizens are not allowed to be in your army (please correct me if I get any of these “facts” wrong). That right there means to me that you cannot trust your own Arab citizens. That in some ways they are not full citizens or not perceived as loyal to the country. Israel is a Jewish state, as opposed to America which is not a country of a particular religion, although our majority is Christian. We seem to have a better record of assimilation, that the Arab Muslims who come to our country are grateful to be in America, in a country of religious freedom, and hopefully they would respect that, even if they began to gain political power. In Europe there has been articles, and even books written about Muslims not assimilating well, trying to change laws based on their religion and customs; trying to change the country to fit their culture, instead of fitting into the country.

So back to your question. If you do not trust your Arab citizens to be loyal to Israel’s goals, then if you are a democracy, once the population has a high percentage of Arabs, you risk many Arab Muslims being put into office. I would guess this would bother Jewish Israeli’s? Maybe I am all wrong? But, I did not come up with this idea. I have heard President Clinton elude to this idea, and other people, friends, when discussing The Israeli, Palestinian conflict.

I’m interested in your thoughts.

Zen_Again's avatar

Like the Arabs fighting in the US army? Would you want them next to you in a war inm, say, Iraq or Afghanistan? The Arabs of all nations declared war on Israel the minute after is was given nation status by the UN. The so-called Israel-Arabs call themselves Palistinian, and they have been caught time and again, smuggling arms, assistaing homicide bombers etcetera.

Look at the Psycho arab shrink case you have now? It’s just the beginning.

JLeslie's avatar

We do have Arabs in our Army. The shrink asked over and over again to have his assignment changed. I think he should have been allowed to serve our military in a different way. In my opinion our military royally screwed that up. I think any Arab and/or Muslim who feels psychologically unable to fight or be intwined in the the wars with Iraq or Afghanastan should be given an assignment not related. During WWII our German citizens many times fought against Germany, but I would argue that if they felt unable to, they should have been allowed to fight on the Japenese front.

I gather from your answer that you do not trust Arabs within your country, I am not saying you should, but then the question again asked is if the population grows in huge numbers, would you rather have a Jewish dictator then a popular vote placing leaders in your government? Or, will you take away the right for Arabs to vote in your country?

You may have seen I recently posted a question about a mayor in the town next to me who wrote on his Facebook that we should go back to the days where only property owners could vote. This law was in place in history so that only white men could vote. Blacks and women did not own property. He said this after a rant about Obama. It is a racist comment to exclude some of our citizens from being able to vote. He does not trust blacks or Muslims, so to insure the catastrophy does not happen again he wants to limit who can vote.

Anyway, the Arab population is growing so fast compared to the Jewish one, it seems the two-state solution is the best, because I can’t see allowing Israel to eventually have a very large percentage of Arabs.

Meanwhile, your point is legitimate, that maybe even the US would have trouble with a large Arab Muslim population, I don’t know? My Muslim friends have always been not very religious, and their families fled their crazy countries, they are very “American.”

Zen_Again's avatar

Arabs vote, have always voted and will always vote. It’s the only democracy in the \middle East and all arabs from all neighbouring nations wish they had the rights the arabs have here.

They can serve in the equivalent of a year’s service, as do many Jewish religious people instead.

If they would pledge allegiance to the flag and state, cease their terrorism and ghettoism within the nation, and ACCEPT it as their state – not a stepping stone to the ultimate Palestine including the state of Israel… maybe. Til then…

The US has had about 150 years of democracy more than Israel to practise it.

I think you should be American in America, and Israeli in Israel. The religion comes second, or there’s no real democracy.

Am I wrong?

eponymoushipster's avatar

When did say “Arabs” become acceptable? Why not refer to them as “Ali Babba pants”? geez.

JLeslie's avatar

@Zen_Again I 100% agree. It is too bad there is not a movement for Israeli Arabs to embrace Israel (maybe there is) knowing that the Israeli’s have proven to be amazingly industrious and prosperous. I guess since Israel is seen as a Jewish country then being Israeli is associated with Judaism? So, difficult for them to separate the two things, country and religion, as you suggest. And, I don’t mean to say that Israel is wrong with how they are doing things. The situation in Israel cannot be directly compared to any other country I think. I realize Arabs can vote, but would you want to take away their vote if they became the majority? Would a majority of Arabs mean Israel is no longer Israel?

JLeslie's avatar

I was just thinking, they are allowed to vote, but are not pledging allegiance to the flag as you put it. That kind of makes no sense. In America to become a citizen and have the right to vote, that is exactly what you need to do, take an oath of allegiance. But, then, I guess if you are born here, no one really checks on your loyalty to the country per se, you are simply given all the rights of any full citizen.

dpworkin's avatar

Don’t forget, the problem in Israel is also complicated by “Right of Return” questions, which are the real demographic threat to Israeli integrity and democracy.

JLeslie's avatar

@pdworkin Can you expand on that? I’m not sure what you mean? How is it a threat? The Right to Return is one of my more selfish reasons I want Israel to stay Israel, although I support Israel aside from the right to return.

dpworkin's avatar

You seem to be ignoring the question of whether displaced Palestinians have a right to return to their confiscated homes.

JLeslie's avatar

@pdworkin Oh, I see. Interesting. Does the Israeli government make efforts to return the property?

dpworkin's avatar

No. They are terrified of the demographic consequences as well they should be. It is an intractable issue.

JLeslie's avatar

@pdworkin I was not aware of this issue, thank you for bringing it up. It’s all so complicated really. It’s unfortunate Palestinians cannot identify and be proud of being Israeli. I have a Palestinian-American friend who is married to my Jewish friend. I am waiting for them to have a miracle baby that will bring peace to the middle east.

dpworkin's avatar

immaculate conception?

JLeslie's avatar

@pdworkin Maybe that is what it would take.

Zen_Again's avatar

@JLeslie Israeli’s – I lost a lot of points on a journalism class paper because of that apostrophe. Plural s, dear, just plural s – while we still exist.

@eponymoushipster LOL4RL.

JLeslie's avatar

@Zen_Again :). You, and your children, and their children will always be Israeli, that can never be taken away. No matter what happens to the country. I really do believe that there will be peace in Israel in the future. I am very optimistic.

Thanks everybody for the discussion.

Tomfafa's avatar

Israel has no chance! The jews should buy some land in the north pole and resettle. Either from within or without the state will be destroyed. The israelis go thru agonizing self-reappraisal constantly over the palestinians. Touching anything muslim is like touching cancer… there is no going back.

oratio's avatar

@Tomfafa

I would like – if you don’t mind – to inquire if you could possibly honor a simple request from my part, and take the outermost part of your – impressive I am sure – joie de vivre, and stimulate it in the mere inside of the last part of your digestive tract. Slowly, carefully and repeatedly.

Dr_C's avatar

@oratio damn. Silky smooth insult. I like your style!

Tomfafa's avatar

@oratio I see you live in sweden… I predict sweden will be the first western country to fall to sharia law. When the ‘asians’ get tired of raping swedish women, they’ll probably come looking for you. The swedes better grow some balls before it’s too late @zebra… why do you say sharon was a monster? btw my father fought alongside sharon. @drdoom… well thought out post. The state has endured 11,000 rockets and mortars before she went into gaza… how many should she endure? How many would the US endure? Arafat never mentioned the right of return at camp david with clinton… he received all that he ask for including most of east jerusalem and still he walked away. He just decided it was easier to collect billions and do nothing rather than actually build a nation. The muslim cult needs an enemy to distract the people.

eponymoushipster's avatar

^coo coo’s nest…coo coo’s nest…

philosopher's avatar

Simply put Israel is America’s only real alley in the Middle East.
Why can’t the wealthy Muslin nations take in the Muslin population that is suffering.? Israel is one tiny nation.
Would you allow poor people to live in your home?
How many American’s would want this unstable population living in their community?
How would American’s react to daily bombings? Would we protect ourselves?

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