1939
Posted: 31 January 2006 02:48 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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I wish I could take credit for this, but I didn't write it.  My brother-in-law recently spend a year in Gaza, teaching at a private school.  He just copied me on some poetry he wrote, and this piece was one of them.

I don't condone terrorism, of course, but there are two sides to this story.

In 1939, the German Army invaded Poland, swept the
Polish army aside and occupied the country. A year
later the Germans ordered the formation of a Ghetto
in the City of Warsaw and 500,000 Jews were
deprived of their rights and property and herded into
a crowded poor area. They were issued special
documents and forced to wear yellow arm bands. The
Ghetto was walled off from the rest of the city and
surrounded by the German Army. In 1943, when
they realized that their captors meant to destroy
them, the people in the Ghetto rose up in armed
rebellion.

In 1947, the Israeli Army invaded Palestine, swept the
Arab armies aside and occupied the country.
200,000 Arabs were deprived of their rights and
property and herded into a crowded poor area called
the Gaza Strip. They were issued special documents
and forced to paint their fishing boats yellow. In
1967 the Gaza Strip was fenced off from the rest of
the country and occupied by the Israeli Army. In
1987, when they realized that their captors were not
going to treat them as human beings, the people in
Gaza rose up in armed rebellion.

I wish I were making this up.

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Posted: 18 November 2006 11:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I know that I will sound moronic, and that anybody reading this will actually hate what I say, since I will not explain it. But as an Israeli, who has been to Poland and learned about history, and ofcorse (is that how you write it?) is living now in Israel - there is no similarity between what the germans did to the jews in poland, and what the israelis are doing to the arabs in gaza.

If anybody would like to comment, I will try to explain the best I can.

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Posted: 18 November 2006 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I’ll bite.  Please explain.

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Posted: 18 November 2006 02:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Maayan, I too would like to read your comments. I am glad to have some participation in this forum from someone living in the Middle East.

I am no expert on the subject and my comments come from far away. One obvious difference is that the Palestinians have a dozen Arab and Moslem countries where they could relocate, but the Jews, Polish or otherwise, had no national homeland until Israel came back into existence as an independent nation. Further, it is evident that the Palestinians practice “asymetrical warfare.” That is, their fighters wear no identifying uniforms and hide among non-combatant civilians. Then, any armed response on Israel’s part results in innocent civilian casualties. Those casualties then support the propaganda campaign of the Palestinians.

(We write it “of course”.)

I would sign off with the one Hebrew word I know—Shalom—except for the bitter irony that there is no peace in the Middle East and little prospect of peace.

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Posted: 18 November 2006 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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I am no expert on this topic either………however, I happened to have been born on March 5, 1939………and, recently, have found and purchased a copy of the Life magazine issue that was published on the day after my birth (March 6, 1939 - with a photo of Tallulah Bankhead on the cover).

This publication is truly a fascinating read ……on many levels.

It turns out that only on March 1, 1939 had a full and unabridged translation of Mein Kampf become available in the west. As a result, the majority of this particular Life issue is devoted to a detailed (contemporaneous) examination of Hitler’s Mein Kampf and the German strategy for world conquest.  It proceeds country-by-country analyzing Hitler’s strategy, rationale and tactics for exploiting anti-Semitism in each western nation’s culture.

It also covers fascism in America by reporting on a number of movements, organizations, events and personalities active in the pro-German politics of the time.

The parallels to the statements of radical Muslims like Ahmadinijad, Bin Laden, etc. and the politically correct terrorist apologists and appeasers in this country today are frightening and prescient.

The fact is that ANY ethnic and/or nationalistic culture can conjure up many, many, many…….many “reasons” to hate members of another culture………just look at the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, the Serbs and Croats in the Baltics, the Hindu/Muslim conflict in Kashmir, the Sunnis and the Shiites in Iraq or the Jews and Palestinians in the Middle East, etc., etc.

I have personally traveled to many of these areas and have talked to a large number of ordinary people.  I have found that (from a very young age) they can all cite chapter and verse of the atrocities committed by the other side for the last several hundred (or even thousands of) years….......as though they happend yesterday!.......Under these circumstances (IMHO) there is NO HOPE that these conflicts will EVER be resolved.

The ONLY hope is for the future generations of young people who are born into these cultures to NOT be indoctrinated with the hatreds of the past. 

Somehow, we need to break the cycle of virulent tribal hatred that permeates these cultures and that has been handed down from generation to generation forever.

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Posted: 18 November 2006 06:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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This is mainly a replay to Skipshot, although it can be read by anyone.

To explain the difference between the way Germany and the nazis treated the jews, and the way we, the Israelis, are treating the Arabs, I will actually start with Israel’s history, and then go back to 1939.

In the begining of the 20th century (1900), a man named Heztel decided that there must be a state for the jews, after he witnesed the Drifus trial in france. Drifus was a french jew who was accused in what I think is called in English a “blood story”, a only know the name in hebrew.

Herztel’s first suggestion was to build a state [is that the term for state? I don’t know] in Uganda Africa. But after many meetings in the Zionist Congress in Bazel, it was agreed that the state should be in Israel, then known as Palestine.

There were already some jews in palestine, but only after this event did the immegrations start, mainly from Russia (all the jews that saw that communism didn’t work there, and tried to make it work in Israel), Poland, and from the year 1933, Germany.

The british, who were in control of the country, have always limited the numbers of jews who are allowed to enter, since it was against there interests and the Arabs (who the british favored), even though the jews have turned the land that was a desert, to a land of (what was considerd back then) “high tech” and industrial.

But even back then the Arabs had a problam with the jews, they did not like the jews entering their land, and started attacking them. In respone the jews made an underground movement called the Hagana, or in english “the defense”. The Hagana’s objective was very clear, never attack the Arabs or the British, but just defend the jewish setelments.
Out of the Hagana, however, two more movements came to life, the Etzel and Lechi. These movments were more offensive, but let me make it clear, while Etzel had 1000 partisipants, and Lechi had 500, the Hagana had 50,000 (so the majority did not believe in attacking the british or the arabs).

I will skip a few years to 1945. The hollocost is over and all the jews realize (both in Palestine and Europe), that this situation can not continue. The survivors of Europe need a place to flee to, and that place is Israel.
The jews are putting more pressure on the British, and the British decide to take the matter to the U.N.

After many disscussions it is decided, that if the U.N. agree of course, that the land of Palestine will be devided into two states - one for the jews, and one for the arabs. It was decided that a teritory with a majority of arabs would be part of the arab state, and the same with the jews (it turned out about 50-50).

The jews were very pleased with idea but the arabs were not. In any case, on November 29th 1947, it was decided by the U.N. that on May 15th 1948, the British would leave Palestine, and the two states would begin to exist.

The arabs immedietly declared, that if Ben Gurion (later to be the first prime-minister of Israel) would declare Israel as a state, they would start a war. Although even before this they were fighting the three undreground movements.

In spite of their threats, on may 15th 1948, Ben Gurion declared Israel as a state, and the war of independane began. But who was fighting in this war? The three underground mevments have been dismanned [I think thats the word, I might be wrong], and the official Israeli army had been built, but since the majority of the fighters (50,000) belonged to “the defense”, they kept the same idioligy and strategy and named it the Israeli Defense Forces. But who did this army fight? was it the Palestinians? Not at all.

The nieghboring arab countries - Lebonon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq, told the 300,000 Palestinians: ‘flee to the borders of our countries, let us defeat the Israelis, and then you can return with nothing to worry about’. Needles to say, the palestinians were more than happy to exept this offer, exept they did not count on one factor - the Israelis won.

These 300,000 are the arabs accusing the Israelis of robbing them from their land - the ones that fled volintarily, after the Israelis would have happily taken the territory the the U.N. had promissed them.

Now, through the years there were many wars with Israel (all initiated by the Arab countries) in which Israel had won, and even gained more teretory (the Golan Hights, the Sinai desert). You know what Israel did with those teritories? It gave them back to the arabs (even though once they had Sinai, they found oil there which the arabs hadn’t).

Today in Israel, 10 out of the 120 represenitives in our parlement are arabs. To those of you who say “well that less 10%, when the arab population represents about 20% in Israel”, I would like to remind that the biggist politiacal party has only 29 represenitives, and the third has 11, so the arabs aren’t doing to bad.

Also, in Israel today, there are many respected arabs (politicans, proffesors, and so on), who have decent jobs. And just as a small point, In Israel, every mall has security gaurds, just like the airports in the U.S.,
do you know who it is checking ME for a bomb? An arab.

Now, my brother, as a soldier in the army, served in Hevron (an arab city south of Jerusalim). In there, the religious Israelis love annoying the arabs and start fights with them. As a result, my brother has to go there, brake it up, and make some arrests. Can you guess who he areests? If you guessed the arabs, you are wrong. He always stop the Israelis. There are many more examples, but I think a wrote enough.

Lets go back to Germany 1939, shal we. The germans who invaded poland were not interested to settle in that land, they wanted to get rid of the jews. They did not let the jews walk into stores or on the streets, like dogs, and definitly did not let the jews continue being profesors and 10% of their parlement. The germans gathered up the jews and send them to death camps, where they were worked to death, tortured, gassed and burned. I don’t think there are any death camps in Israel. When a jew would look at a german, a german officer would kill him, not defend him and arrest the other german.

If I need to go on and give more examples, then I don’t think there is much point. But if you would like me to continue just write to me, and I will be more than happy to. Of course, also write if you have any other questions.

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Posted: 18 November 2006 09:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Maayan, my brother, as often as we tell the story, our narrative is not taken seriously. I am frequently told by Americans that the Palestinians are a poor, oppressed minority and that we Israelis are the new Nazis! When I respond that the Palestinians are indeed oppressed - mostly by their own people, I am shouted down. When I ask why Yasser Arafat had hundreds of millions of dollars in his bank account when he died and why none of it went to assist his own, I am shouted down. When I ask why televised propaganda, such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion miniseries, is celebrated so joyfully, I am shouted down. When I ask why any gestures the Israelis have made, from making peace with Egypt - who recognized our right to exist (Gee, Hammas, why don’t you give it a try?) - to withdrawing from Gaza are not met with concessions on the other side, I am shouted down.

I am often told by Americans that the Palestinians can’t be blamed for suicide bombings, because terrorism is the war of the poor, while war is the terrorism of Israel (never mind the facts of who actually declared war upon whom). When I reply that Palestinians are schooled in hatred for the very existence of Jews (never mind that the Koran itself forbids attacking us as infidels), that many say Hitler was a great guy and should have finished the job and that Mein Kampf is a best-seller on the West Bank, I am told this is my fault. When I say that living in conditions of gender apartheid prepares the young psychologically to become suicide bombers, I am told that Israel is the only source of apartheid in the world today. I have never swayed anyone with the facts, I’m sorry to say.

My wife is a visiting university professor in the USA. I can’t tell you how many times our car’s tires have been slashed, keys have been used to scratch the paint, or the windows have been smashed out. We have ceased bothering to repair it…poor, little beleaguered Insight. I guess her mistake was driving it onto campus, a car deodorizer with Ivrit writing hanging from the rear-view mirror. She has had students set off fire works during class so they could laugh when she dove under the lectern. She has received death threats and often must shout over tape recorded denunciations of Israel that are played outside during her lectures. When she complained about these incidents, it was just taken as proof of the Israeli oppressor. She was too sensitive - taking student hi-jinks too seriously. Those whining Jews, what do they want? I am afraid for her, especially when there are functions scheduled late, but I’m trying not to be a mother hen.

It is hard work trying to keep up with all of the things for which I am blamed. I am responsible for the poor economic situation in the USA because so much foreign aid has gone to Israel. When I reply that a proxy state costs money, I am told, “That’s all you Jews ever think about, money!” Now, who was complaining about foreign aid expenses? Oh, nevermind…Of course, then there are the patients who tell me not to touch them when they find out I’m Israeli. I actually had a patient who wanted me to swear on a Bible that I wouldn’t harm her.

My experiences in this country have convinced me more than anything that there needs to be an Israel.

Shalom,

Avi

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Posted: 19 November 2006 01:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Avi wrote of the experiences he and his wife have had of American bigotry against Jews. I do not recognize my country in those stories. My own experience has been sharply different. I am originally from Los Angeles. The greater Los Angeles area includes Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Culver City, Burbank, Glendale, and other cities of Los Angeles and Orange counties. I spent sixty years there, not counting a few years at sea. That area had the largest Jewish population of any area in the world outside of New York City, surpassing any Israeli city. My neighborhood, my schools, my work places, and the civic life of my community all had a large number of Jews. I neither saw nor heard about attacks on Jews in Los Angeles such as Avi describes wherever he is in the US.

May I ask, Avi, whether you can provide links to newspaper accounts of those events you mention? I’d like to know what benighted corner of my country permits such bigoted behavior. I wonder how such outrages can have escaped my notice in local and national news sources. All my experience says that your experience is not in any way typical of life in the US. In fact, I predict confidently that you and your wife have not suffered those attacks in the states I know best, California and Nevada.

On further reflection, I recall considerable resentment and physical attacks in Watts and other mostly black L. A. neighborhoods aimed at Jewish storekeepers there. The riots of the 1960s seem to have solved that problem in a sense: after rioters burned out Jewish businesses, the Jews left the area. Those formerly black areas now have a very large element of Mexican immigrants, many of them legal. The small business men there are now frequently Korean. It seems to me that there has been a great deal of antisemitism among blacks even though Jews have been prominent supporters and leaders of civil rights causes.

I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel in my memories on this point now, but here is one more story. I recall a friend of mine telling me that he came under a lot of pressure, growing up a Jew somewhere in New York City. The pressure came from other Jews there, Jews who thought he was the wrong kind of Jew, not sufficiently Orthodox.

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Posted: 19 November 2006 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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I think I’ll have to go with Conservative Atheist on this one.  I don’t pretend to know what is happening with the Arab-Isreali conflict, but it does seem to be a battle of who can make their case to the world that the other side is the aggressor.  It is a battle that happens on every scale of human conflict (individual to state), and once it starts it creates wounds that don’t seem to fully heal and are easily re-opened.  And it happens so often that it may be considered a human trait that we like to fight, unlikely to go away no matter how much religion or atheism is thrown at it.  I don’t believe an aggressive response is fully justified with the “He started it” defence, but I do understand how that cancerous rationale is used ad infinitum.

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Posted: 19 November 2006 11:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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skipshot

I respect your honost answer. I understand that as an “outsider” of the conflict, you really can’t tell what is true, and who is “right” or “wrong” (as if the world were so black and white). I hope that at the least, I showed some readers ( in perticular, hampsteadpete, the first writer in this topic), that every penny has two sides, and that it is never one side’s fault. I still don’t agree that you call our acts “agressive responses”, but I know that this is an argument that will lead us nowhere.

I was very glad to hear your response (I kept on entering this site waiting for it), and hope we can discuss another topic in the future.

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Posted: 19 November 2006 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“hampsteadpete”]I wish I could take credit for this, but I didn’t write it.  My brother-in-law recently spend a year in Gaza, teaching at a private school.  He just copied me on some poetry he wrote, and this piece was one of them.

I don’t condone terrorism, of course, but there are two sides to this story.

In 1939, the German Army invaded Poland, swept the
Polish army aside and occupied the country. A year
later the Germans ordered the formation of a Ghetto
in the City of Warsaw and 500,000 Jews were
deprived of their rights and property and herded into
a crowded poor area. They were issued special
documents and forced to wear yellow arm bands. The
Ghetto was walled off from the rest of the city and
surrounded by the German Army. In 1943, when
they realized that their captors meant to destroy
them, the people in the Ghetto rose up in armed
rebellion.

In 1947, the Israeli Army invaded Palestine, swept the
Arab armies aside and occupied the country.
200,000 Arabs were deprived of their rights and
property and herded into a crowded poor area called
the Gaza Strip. They were issued special documents
and forced to paint their fishing boats yellow. In
1967 the Gaza Strip was fenced off from the rest of
the country and occupied by the Israeli Army. In
1987, when they realized that their captors were not
going to treat them as human beings, the people in
Gaza rose up in armed rebellion.

I wish I were making this up.


Hi Hampsteadpete,


Boy, you know how to avoid touchy subjects :D

Great to have two Israeli’s on the forum. I hope you stick around.

I think your brother-in-law has a point in making an analogy from the perspective of not oversimplifying the lot of the Palestinians.

I have to admit that I, reflexively, almost always sympathize with the Jewish people, but I think that is mainly based on my absolute revulsion of WW2 and the holocaust, and I still have a hard time comprehending the depravity and stupidity of so many Germans in those days.
So I am not objective on this issue, but I’d like to make 2 observations.

When I watch TV and see 8-year old Palestinian kids throw rocks at the Israeli soldiers I am wondering where their parents are. Who would let their kid do this? And I don’t believe for a moment that these kids have any comprehension of politics or history.

Also, I suspect that the “Israel situation” is used, very cynically, by oppressive Arab governments to deflect the people’s attention from other internal problems.
It is also a favorite pastime of people to blame an external entity for their problems.

My other observation goes two ways and I am sorry if it sounds naive.

I am so disgusted when I see little Muslim kids rocking back and forth like autistic kids having their minds shut down by ridiculous texts that tell them they are inherently different from other kids.
Richards Dawkins, In the God Delusion, tells of an experiment done in Israel which indicates that young Israelis receive an indoctrination that is somewhat similar.

We all know that your first 7 to 10 years are so important in ‘setting’ your mind to your identity and the world around you that it breaks my heart/infuriates me that children are taught that they inherently different from other kids by their parents.

I have met a bunch of Israelis and I realize now that it is so easy for the likes of me to reflect from the comforts of my easy life on the Jewish predicament (and the Palestinian).
But on the other hand, someone who is not caught up in the storm of a violent conflict can sometimes give a helpful suggestion from the outside.

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Posted: 19 November 2006 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Yes, you’re right - we’re in Texas! I do not find these attitudes prevalent except in the academic setting, where my wife has had difficulties (in a discipline where a large number of the students come from Islamic countries). I was rather taken aback by her experiences, however; it was not what I had expected. Ah, well…She did not go to the newspapers, but to the university administration to complain. She was told to overlook the “student hi-jinks.” Anyway, I’ve no doubt that this behavior would not be tolerated in an American engineering firm.  The university did offer to pay for the damage to our vehicle, but since we left it as is, no further vandalism has occured. Ha!

I must leave Maayan as the sole Israeli voice - two Israelis in a room will never speak to eachother, anyway. My wife’s contract is finished in 2 weeks, and I must dedicate myself to returning the whole entourage home, where I have no computer. I have enjoyed this foray into the Internets, but I also noticed that I am able to spend hours and hours on it, in place of things I should be doing.

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Posted: 20 November 2006 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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[quote author=“Avi”]Yes, you’re right - we’re in Texas! I do not find these attitudes prevalent except in the academic setting, where my wife has had difficulties (in a discipline where a large number of the students come from Islamic countries).

Muslims and leftist idiot students.

I was rather taken aback by her experiences, however; it was not what I had expected. Ah, well…She did not go to the newspapers, but to the university administration to complain. She was told to overlook the “student hi-jinks.” Anyway, I’ve no doubt that this behavior would not be tolerated in an American engineering firm.  The university did offer to pay for the damage to our vehicle, but since we left it as is, no further vandalism has occured. Ha!

I must leave Maayan as the sole Israeli voice - two Israelis in a room will never speak to eachother, anyway. My wife’s contract is finished in 2 weeks, and I must dedicate myself to returning the whole entourage home, where I have no computer. I have enjoyed this foray into the Internets, but I also noticed that I am able to spend hours and hours on it, in place of things I should be doing.

Avi, be safe on your journey.

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Posted: 12 December 2006 04:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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What to say, what to say. Great perspective, Pete.  Did you ever watch Speilberg’s movie, Munich?  I did a post on that movie here a month or whatever ago.  The portrayal of Israeli revenge is very interesting.  It’s a no holds bar premeditated type.  But that all stemmed from the 1947 rearrangement of geographical nation state boundaries of which you speak.

I don’t know.  I see both sides.  I would be extremely annoyed to the point of violence if I were a Palestinian too.  Oppression never set too well with too many folks, I gather..  I am just now trying to learn more on the living conditions on the Gaza strip.  I was more or less unaware that they lived ghetto style.  And Avi had a great point on Arafat’s greed and wacky ways of taking care of his people.  He puzzles me.  Enigmatic—Nobel Peace Prize winner even… I mean, uh?

I don’t really have much to add to the thread except this topic is very interesting to me, therefore I want to participate in it.

I am very glad to be able to read the words of our Israeli posters on this forum.  Kind of a treat.

one last thing Avi said, and I wish to comment on:

I am responsible for the poor economic situation in the USA because so much foreign aid has gone to Israel. When I reply that a proxy state costs money, I am told, “That’s all you Jews ever think about, money!” Now, who was complaining about foreign aid expenses?

The way I see that is our monetary aid to Israel is a symbiotic relationship.  We gain as much or more from giving Israel money.  Don’t we?  Or is Israel a big sink hole we piss billions down each year?  That is an interesting point… would Israel survive if we witheld our US dollars?

Noggin

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