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Author Topic: Obama shuns and humiliates Israeli leader.
Rakeesh
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quote:
Exactly. They've killed far less Israelis than Israelis have killed Palestinians--conservative estimates for Palestinian deaths caused by Israelis in the last decade is in the 6000s, with some reporting far more. And then take into account that Israel has a far larger population, so percentage wise they've killed even more Palestinians. There's just less awareness of it.
Actually, very few people I've ever talked to about this weren't aware that Israel has killed more Palestinians than Palestinians have killed Israelis. But, again, one death is not necessarily equal to another, at least in terms of the support it gains or costs.

quote:

In addition, the glue--at least for American support-- is a combination of the desire to have a strategic ally in the Middle East, and the religious support for Israel's biblical right to the "holy land." With perhaps some aid from the Israel lobby. Oh, and the general phobia towards anything Muslim post September 11 helps too.

The first one is a wash. On any list of reasons for the 'Muslim world's' antagonism towards the United States, its support for Israel has got to be somewhere at the top. If not the top. We could certainly gain much more than we would lose, in pragmatic terms, if we turned on Israel.

The religious support for Israel doesn't play much of a widespread political role for American support of Israel, again at least not so far as I have seen.

As for a 'general phobia of anything Muslim' since 9-11, that hardly counts in support of your idea, because American support for Israel goes much further back than 9-11, after all. And an American fear of Muslims is hardly irrational.

How powerful would the Israeli lobby be if it couldn't point to suicide bombers and say, "See?! They're evil! Look!" How much religious support would Israel enjoy if its most famous enemies weren't so infamous? And how frightened would the United States be of 'anything Muslim' if some of the most sensational Muslims of the modern day weren't known for blowing things and people up? (No pun intended, they've hijacked the reputation of the Muslim world to an extent)

Every single thing you've said, sinflower, so far as it is true is true, in large part or entirely, because of the response suicide bombings against civilians generates.

quote:
That said, we're really scraping the bottom of the barrel since Israel is neck-and-neck in terms of world reputation with North Korea, so I wouldn't really count that as a win for the Palestinians. BBC world service poll
Sometimes the world is flat-out wrong. I think there's even some history of world opinion about Jews being quite badly wrong too, but I might be mistaken.
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sinflower
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quote:
That said, we're really scraping the bottom of the barrel since Israel is neck-and-neck in terms of world reputation with North Korea, so I wouldn't really count that as a win for the Palestinians. BBC world service poll
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sometimes the world is flat-out wrong. I think there's even some history of world opinion about Jews being quite badly wrong too, but I might be mistaken.

So you really can't think of any reason for the world to have a bad view of Israel besides anti-Semitism?

quote:
Actually, very few people I've ever talked to about this weren't aware that Israel has killed more Palestinians than Palestinians have killed Israelis. But, again, one death is not necessarily equal to another, at least in terms of the support it gains or costs.
Nor in moral value, I suppose? The Israelis are still the victims here?
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Mucus
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Rakeesh: Sometimes, sometimes not. In this case, I think democracy is right on dot.

I would also note that technically, the question asked is about Israel, not Jews. In any case, the original assertion was about world support and this is an indicator of world support.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
So you really can't think of any reason for the world to have a bad view of Israel besides anti-Semitism?
OK, sinflower, that's enough for me. I could believe major misunderstandings stemmed from us starting from radically different places in this discussion for awhile, but at this point I just don't buy it anymore.

-----

quote:
Rakeesh: Sometimes, sometimes not. In this case, I think democracy is right on dot.
Fair enough.

quote:
I would also note that technically, the question asked is about Israel, not Jews. In any case, the original assertion was about world support and this is an indicator of world support.
For many, many, many people, there is no difference. I think there's ample historical justification for being wary of world opinion when it comes to looking at things done that concern Jews, is all I'm saying.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by sinflower:
So you really can't think of any reason for the world to have a bad view of Israel besides anti-Semitism?

I rather assumed that was a cheap shot. Even if you omit the countries that have a history of antisemitism (North American, European, or Arabic), Israel still wouldn't really move up much in the rankings.

The European countries if anything are even more negative about North Korea than Israel and off-set the Islamic countries which are the reverse. So omitting both is a bit of a wash.

Japan for example would give Israel a 2% approval rating versus North Korea at 1% and thats *with* North Korea regularly launching rockets toward or over Japan, so Israel is definitely sucking it up.

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sinflower
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Rakeesh:

You said this.

quote:
I think there's even some history of world opinion about Jews being quite badly wrong too, but I might be mistaken.
If you weren't talking about the anti-Semitism that caused the Holocaust as well as other Jewish persecutions, then what were you talking about?

If I misunderstood your meaning there--if, and I doubt that I did--it wasn't because I was deliberately misinterpreting your words. In response to the data showing that the world doesn't actually support Israel as you claimed, you said that the world had been wrong before about the Israelis. This heavily implies that they are wrong now, and for a similar reason. The reason before was anti-Semitism. So you wonder why it seems that you are alleging anti-Semitism in the present day? Instead of throwing a hissy fit over being "deliberately misunderstood," look at the way you're wording your ideas. Or the ideas themselves, one or the other.

And I really would like to hear your response to the issue of the moral value of Israeli vs. Palestinian lives. One life is not worth another in terms of gaining U.S. support or enmity, yes. But shouldn't it be?

[ April 04, 2010, 10:59 PM: Message edited by: sinflower ]

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by sinflower:
And I really would like to hear your response to the issue of the moral value of Israeli vs. Palestinian lives. One life is not worth another in terms of gaining U.S. support or enmity, yes. but shouldn't it be?

Again, I don't speak for Rakeesh specifically, so don't take this as him answering. However, my answer would be... no.

To make this really clear, I'll use an extreme example: If a foreign nation executes a murderer, that won't do much to gain our support or enmity. If they execute an American tourist for, say, something that is a minor crime (or not even a crime) in the US, they will likely earn some amount of enmity from us.

Do you think that's reasonable?

I can be even more extreme. If another nation assassinates our President, they'll earn a lot more enmity than if they execute a citizen of theirs who is a convicted serial killer.

Does that seem reasonable?

Saying "One life should be equal to another" sounds very noble and wonderful when you don't actually follow it to its logical conclusion.

If either of my examples seems reasonable, then you agree that one life does not, and should not, always "equal" another, whether in terms of garnering US support or really for any other metric.

So now we agree on the issue in principle, and we're just haggling over the details.

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sinflower
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quote:
So now we agree on the issue in principle, and we're just haggling over the details.
Haha, nice way of putting it. We're just haggling over the details... such as all the facts about the conflict at hand...

Although to be fair that's how this whole conversation has gone. I did much of the same thing with my argument that there isn't a strict line between civilians and combatants, didn't I? And then we all just haggled over the... details.

So in the spirit of haggling, I'd like to mention that those upwards of 6,000 Palestinians, or by less conservative estimates far more than double that number, were not convicted killers or murderers or even members of any militant group. A small number of them were, no doubt. But not the majority. So assume 1,000 of Palestinians killed were all murderers. And assume the very conservative 6,000-ish estimate is the right one.

You still need to justify why 5 Palestinian lives are worth less than 1 Israeli one.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
I rather assumed that was a cheap shot. Even if you omit the countries that have a history of antisemitism (North American, European, or Arabic), Israel still wouldn't really move up much in the rankings.
That assumes I care in the first place. I understand you're speaking strictly to the question of world opinion, though. It's just not something that's ever been very persuasive to me, in and of itself. (Not saying you think it is-I'm just wondering why we're even talking about it).

-----

Sinflower, you're just proving my point. World support for Israel was being discussed. I pointed out that I'm more than a bit wary of taking what 'the world' thinks of things concerning Jews, because anti-Jewish sentiment has such a negative and virulent force throughout the world for a long time-at least, as Mucus notes, in nations that have ever dealt with Jews. If you look at the list he offered, the only nations and regions that aren't mentioned are ones who have never had a sizable Jewish population in the first place.

Which was the only point I was making. You then replied, "So you're saying there's no reason for the world to be opposed to Israel except anti-Semitism?" That's a deliberate misunderstanding, so far as I see it, because it's a pattern of my discussion with you. Saying, "I mistrust world opinion on Jews," does not equate to, "The only reason the world doesn't like Israel is because they're antisemitic." It just doesn't.

quote:
Instead of throwing a hissy fit over being "deliberately misunderstood," look at the way you're wording your ideas.
I suppose you could characterize it at 'throwing a hissy fit' when you look at what I say, find the implication that best supports your argument, and then claim that's what I said, sure.

quote:
And I really would like to hear your response to the issue of the moral value of Israeli vs. Palestinian lives. One life is not worth another in terms of gaining U.S. support or enmity, yes. But shouldn't it be?
Would you also like a pony?
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sinflower
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quote:
That assumes I care in the first place. I understand you're speaking strictly to the question of world opinion, though. It's just not something that's ever been very persuasive to me, in and of itself. (Not saying you think it is-I'm just wondering why we're even talking about it).

Because you brought it up.

quote:
Which was the only point I was making. You then replied, "So you're saying there's no reason for the world to be opposed to Israel except anti-Semitism?" That's a deliberate misunderstanding, so far as I see it, because it's a pattern of my discussion with you. Saying, "I mistrust world opinion on Jews," does not equate to, "The only reason the world doesn't like Israel is because they're antisemitic." It just doesn't.
So you mistrust world opinion on Jews because of anti-Jewish sentiment, i.e. anti-Semitism. Which means you think that that likely plays a part in the world view of Israel, a significant part or you wouldn't have brought the issue up.

"Can't you think of any other reasons besides the one you stated (anti-Semitism) for the dislike of Israel" is a perfectly reasonable response to that statement, vaguely as it was stated. Yes, I didn't ponder it deeply. I didn't consider whether you were stating that anti-Semitism was the only main reason for the dislike of Israel, or merely a significant one. How deliberately awful of me.

quote:
And I really would like to hear your response to the issue of the moral value of Israeli vs. Palestinian lives. One life is not worth another in terms of gaining U.S. support or enmity, yes. But shouldn't it be?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Would you also like a pony?

Alright, I take it back. I wouldn't like to hear your response at all, not if it's going to have that level of constructiveness.
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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
... It's just not something that's ever been very persuasive to me, in and of itself. (Not saying you think it is-I'm just wondering why we're even talking about it).

Well, we were talking about world support for Israel. However, thats a measurable thing, as opposed to say, which side is more moral which is not measurable.

Specifically
quote:
Israel doesn't have world support, it has support from the Western world. There's a difference.
and
quote:
Palestinian suicide bombings are the glue that knits Israeli world support - fragile as it is
are statements that can be verified by seeing whether there is support for Israel and how it ranks with other nations.

In specific, Israel has world support to about the same amount that North Korea has world support (which is to say, not much) and support from the Western world for Israel is not significantly off-average from the rest of the world (since Europe balances the US).

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by sinflower:
quote:
So now we agree on the issue in principle, and we're just haggling over the details.
Haha, nice way of putting it. We're just haggling over the details... such as all the facts about the conflict at hand...

Although to be fair that's how this whole conversation has gone. I did much of the same thing with my argument that there isn't a strict line between civilians and combatants, didn't I? And then we all just haggled over the... details.

So in the spirit of haggling, I'd like to mention that those upwards of 6,000 Palestinians, or by less conservative estimates far more than double that number, were not convicted killers or murderers or even members of any militant group. A small number of them were, no doubt. But not the majority. So assume 1,000 of Palestinians killed were all murderers. And assume the very conservative 6,000-ish estimate is the right one.

You still need to justify why 5 Palestinian lives are worth less than 1 Israeli one.

Mens rea?
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Rakeesh
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Ah! I see the problem now, Mucus. When I said, "...Palestinian suicide bombings are the glue that knits Israeli world support - fragile as it is..." I didn't mean that there was a majority of world support, or even a strong minority. I just meant that the thing which keeps governments (mostly the United States) supporting or at least not more strongly condemning Israeli actions is Palestinian suicide bombings. I thought I made that clear by saying it was fragile, but that wasn't very precise.

I'll note that Mucus communicated that without suggesting I said the entire world opposed Israel because it hates Jews.

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Mucus
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Fair enough.
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Rakeesh
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I am interested, though, with whether you agree or disagree. Do you still think the United States would be supporting Israel to the extent it does, and criticizing Israel to the extent it does, if it weren't for things like suicide bombings and rocket attacks?
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Mucus
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I don't know. I guess it depends a lot on the terms of the scenario, namely at what specific point when they (the Palestinians) became more pacifistic and to what degree.

If the Palestinians were all Gandhi-like and the Israelis were still going with the Gaza War with white phosphorus, then yes it would be more difficult for the US to maintain its military support. However, the Israelis aren't stupid and would similarly switch to less violent means. With Israel still bordered by states like Iran and Lebanon, I don't know how much of a reduction in military aid there would be. Additionally, I think it is too unrealistic for the Palestinians to go the full Gandhi, so you're really looking at a more modest reduction

Nevertheless, on that aforementioned ranking, you would expect Israel to climb out of the ranks of rogue nations and into the lower middle alongside the China* and US.

* which in fact does have a more modest Muslim terrorism problem. That sort of points toward the results of a moderate terrorism reduction for the Palestinians, they're still Muslim and with the War on Terror, that limits international sympathy. But at least they wouldn't both be condemned with the "a pox on both your houses" attitude that dominates internationally among uninvolved nations.

If you stretch the scenario backward with the Palestinians back in time, maybe someone more familiar with Israeli immigration would be able to answer the question as to whether the Palestinians could have stayed in Israel if they were more pacifistic and worked toward equality within one state. It may be the case that a more black-and-white issue of apartheid might be harder for the US to overlook than a greyer terrorism issue. But I have no idea if that was ever an option.

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Blayne Bradley
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Well the Israeli lobby is the best organized and largest lobby regardless...
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Rakeesh
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Mucus,

quote:

If the Palestinians were all Gandhi-like and the Israelis were still going with the Gaza War with white phosphorus, then yes it would be more difficult for the US to maintain its military support. However, the Israelis aren't stupid and would similarly switch to less violent means. With Israel still bordered by states like Iran and Lebanon, I don't know how much of a reduction in military aid there would be. Additionally, I think it is too unrealistic for the Palestinians to go the full Gandhi, so you're really looking at a more modest reduction

First of all, if the Israelis switched to less violent means, wouldn't that immediately make things better for the Palestinians? Given that more Palestinians are killed by Israelis than Israelis by Palestinians.

Second, military aid is not the only measure of US support of Israel. When, for example, President Obama 'shuns and humiliates' Israeli leaders, that certainly has an impact on what the Israeli government will direct the IDF to do in the future. Our support does not consist only of giving them guns, tanks, and jets and then saying, "Do what you like with them." What we would permit done in order to ensure continuing military aid, too, would change. And that also would quickly make things better for the Palestinians.

As you pointed out, American public opinion on Israel basically amounts to 7:2:1 in terms of non-involvement, support Israel, and support Palestinians. Change one person in seven's mind about whom to support, and support is equally divided. Change two in seven and it's a blowout. Will the Israeli lobby continue to be powerful? Well, of course. I'm not talking about an abrupt change in fortune for the Palestinian people. Things don't work that way, even in guerrilla war campaigns, much less non-violent protest campaigns.

But how long have Palestinians (please note I did not say all) been trying the suicide bombing of civilians approach? And how long has it been a complete and total failure in terms of making things better for Palestinians?

Speaking generally now and not to you specifically, Mucus, I continue to be baffled at resistance or argument against the idea that nonviolent protest would make things better for the Palestinians. Why not try it? Organized, nation-state violence has failed. Individual suicide bombing violence has failed. International terrorism against the West has failed. Perhaps the sane next step for Palestinian 'militants' would be something not involving targeting civilians for death?

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Mucus
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Actually, I do not believe I commented on whether things would be better for the Palestinians. In fact, I'm not sure if I have ever commented on that. I have been commenting on the specific issue of international support and/or perception.
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Rakeesh
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Looking back, I see that's true. I guess I thought the conversation had grown to include that, my mistake.

(Looking even further back, I probably ought not to have put the Mucus heading there up top, since I wasn't speaking just to you.)

Anyway, I still support for both parties is subject in large part to the way they are perceived over time (obviously). I also think things like military aid are subject to support-so I don't see how a change in perception wouldn't result in a change in military aid.

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Mucus
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Well, I didn't say no change, I said modest reduction.

I guess I would model it something like this
(warning, totally made-up numbers):
If I were to explain military aid to Israel from the US, I would roughly divide it into
40%: Aid against Iran, Lebanon, Syria, etc. (also allow for plausible deniability in attacks against Iran)
20%: Aid in sympathy against Palestinian terrorism
30%: Aid for domestic purposes (say 10% Israeli lobby, 5% economic since 75% of US aid must be spent on US arms)

So a full Gandhi approach might shave the military aid by 25% at most, which is good but modest. But also, as I said it is unlikely that all Palestinians would buy into this, so a 80% reduction in terrorism might get you more of a 21% reduction.

It is true that Obama's tongue lashing as an example of change in non-military support might also affect Israel, but I would say that remains to be determined. If the leadership follows a more Lisa approach, they might do something the opposite out of spite [Wink]

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Well the Israeli lobby is the best organized and largest lobby regardless...

Would that it were so.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Well the Israeli lobby is the best organized and largest lobby regardless...

Would that it were so.
I think Blayne is confusing AIPAC with the Zionist shadow conspiracy that controls all the world's financial institutions, media, and governments behind the scenes.

It's a reasonable misunderstanding, I think. Their names are pretty similar.

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Destineer
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quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
I find it ironic when a group that uses the Old Testement as a historical and moral backing for wanting a particular piece of land then complains about the morality of the military actions of their enemies.

This is actually a very good point. For my part I find it odd (from the perspective of logical consistency) for orthodox Jews, who I presume must be literalists about the events of Numbers and Deuteronomy, to have a big problem with the targeting of civilians and children. There
were no Amorite children left alive by the time the Israelites were done with them.

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Rakeesh
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Why is it either ironic or odd? It's only ironic or odd if you believe that the people you're describing, those using the OT as historical and moral backing, don't actually believe that God commanded the people in the OT to do what they did.

If they believe that was so then, and that they are commanded to behave in a certain way now, and that their enemies are not given such permission by God...where is the irony or hypocrisy?

You could argue that there is wrongness or something to be found there, but that's a different thing. The zing here doesn't zing.

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jebus202
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Well the Israeli lobby is the best organized and largest lobby regardless...

Would that it were so.
I think Blayne is confusing AIPAC with the Zionist shadow conspiracy that controls all the world's financial institutions, media, and governments behind the scenes.

It's a reasonable misunderstanding, I think. Their names are pretty similar.

Hah.
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Destineer
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It seems very odd if one assumes, as believers generally do, that when God demands an action it means that sort of action isn't atrociously wrong. When God commands Adam to go forth and multiply, we infer that multiplying is generally a good thing. In fact, if it were evil then God would have just done something wrong by commanding it. Seems impossible.

It's not like he ordered these deaths as a test of faith, like when Abraham was ordered to kill Isaac. He actually wanted the Amorite civilians dead. So I fail to see how a believing Jew who reads this passage literally could universally condemn attacks on civilians without granting that God sometimes does the wrong thing.

A more nuanced perspective would be to say that civilian deaths are sometimes a necessary evil, and that's why God was willing to command them. But then one can't consistently say something like
quote:
Meanwhile, the Arabs laud murderers of civilians. Not "enemies", sinflower. Civilians. And not as collateral damage, either. They deliberately target civilians. And you making excuses for that makes you a moral viper. Scum.

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Destineer
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To put it another way, and phrase things in parallel with Lisa: the Jews laud murderers of civilians, and not as collateral damage. It's just that the murderers they laud (such as Joshua) are supposed to have lived a very long time ago.
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Rakeesh
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I can't speak to a Jewish interpretation of those texts, Destineer, but I can very easily imagine one overriding thing you seem to be forgetting. Someone using those texts as moral and historical support would likely think God commanded those killings.

It's very unlikely (to put it mildly) that they feel the same can be said of suicide bombing killings going on today. God commanded one, not the other. Granting your premise that those past killings were wrong, is it actually very odd at all to think that God could command something bad be done to make things turn out better? And that, if so, those bad things while still bad are acceptable?

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Destineer
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quote:
Granting your premise that those past killings were wrong, is it actually very odd at all to think that God could command something bad be done to make things turn out better? And that, if so, those bad things while still bad are acceptable?
Sorry, are we supposed to be disagreeing here? How is this different from my statement above?

quote:
A more nuanced perspective would be to say that civilian deaths are sometimes a necessary evil, and that's why God was willing to command them.
And how can someone who believes this make a blanket condemnation of targeting civilians?
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Rakeesh
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quote:
And how can someone who believes this make a blanket condemnation of targeting civilians?
I don't think they actually are doing so. The, "...when God commands us..." part is implicit but unspoken.
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Destineer
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But what principle was God using when he decided to order the killing? Presumably, that it was worth it to kill civilians in service of the greater good. Well, some Palestinians think they're in just that sort of situation.

Also, I suspect the Palestinians think that God has commanded them to do what they're doing, since they probably see it as a way of meeting the obligation to take part in jihad.

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Rakeesh
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I'm not sure if we can connect on this, Destineer. I think (and again, can't speak for Jewish readings of these texts) that what justified those killings in the past wasn't, "God commanded them," in general, that it was acceptable because they believed God commanded them.

It was acceptable, they believe, because God did command them. You're approaching the matter as though the people who look to these events as moral and historical justification are doing so in some sort of abstract, when I think it's quite a bit more specific than that.

Killing is acceptable when God commands it, but only if God has actually commanded it. Obviously they don't think God has commanded the killing of Israelis, thus it's not acceptable, and thus having a problem with it is not odd or ironic.

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Destineer
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I see the distinction, but I don't see how it solves the problem. God's decisions about what to command have to be justified by some moral principles. It's not like he could just say "Poof, killing is always right, go do it. So sayeth Me."

There must be some deeper principle of justification behind God's command that the Israelites murder indigenous tribes on their way to the promised land. So what I'd like to see, from the orthodox Jewish critic of the Palestinians, is an explanation of why that same principle couldn't justify Palestinian suicide bombing.

Such an explanation would have to be longer and more involved than "They killed civilians, period. They're evil." To pretend otherwise seems to me inconsistent with Jewish scripture.

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Rakeesh
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Destineer,

How much do you know about Jewish scripture, particularly as it is most commonly interpreted by Orthodox Jews? I'm only asking because I know very, very little, so it's difficult for me to understand what framework you're coming from. It really reads like you're doing quite a bit of projection.

quote:

There must be some deeper principle of justification behind God's command that the Israelites murder indigenous tribes on their way to the promised land. So what I'd like to see, from the orthodox Jewish critic of the Palestinians, is an explanation of why that same principle couldn't justify Palestinian suicide bombing.

I would be surprised to learn there wasn't some deeper principle of justification involved. One very easy to imagine would would be, "To help Israel." This would apply thousands of years ago, but most definitely wouldn't apply today, to Palestinians killing Israeli civilians.
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scifibum
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I hope I'm not stirring a pot that shouldn't be stirred by saying this, but in a modern international context, "God authorized it" is useless. As a justification it can only work in private. No one else [outside your religious community, at the limit] will believe you. No one will give you the benefit of the doubt in that regard if there is some question of mutual importance on the line, let alone vital importance. They will react to what you do as if God didn't authorize anything.

I'd sleep a little easier if I thought no one these days was under the impression that God has issued standing orders to kill. (Not a lot easier, since there is an overabundance of other reasons people are killing other people. [Frown] ) But anyone who really holds such a belief is a moron if they think that carries any weight with anyone else. And anyone else would be foolish to cede anything on such a basis.

Critics of Palestinian suicide bombers (for example) don't need to explain why religious motivation isn't good enough or even a mitigating factor. It'd be insane to give that kind of weight to beliefs that are not shared. I do think it's worthwhile to examine the situation in terms of why people are doing things, since that's the only way to determine with any hope of accuracy whether they'll continue to do them, but that's an analysis of cause and effect, not whether actions are justified.

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Rakeesh
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I'm not entirely sure why you're bringing that up, scifibum. Destineer and I weren't talking about whether or not the justifications were really good enough, then or now, but whether it was odd, ironic, or hypocritical for someone who believed God commanded the death of civilians then to be critical of those killing civilians now without, they obviously believe, God's command.
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Destineer
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quote:
I would be surprised to learn there wasn't some deeper principle of justification involved. One very easy to imagine would would be, "To help Israel." This would apply thousands of years ago, but most definitely wouldn't apply today, to Palestinians killing Israeli civilians.
Yeah, that's probably the idea. Good point. I guess you're right that I'm taking these ideas out of their proper context. I have a hard time comprehending a picture in which God favors one ethnic group over all others.
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Raymond Arnold
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Well, the people who believe God commanded people to take over countries in the first place obvious have no problem with it.
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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
I'm not entirely sure why you're bringing that up, scifibum. Destineer and I weren't talking about whether or not the justifications were really good enough, then or now, but whether it was odd, ironic, or hypocritical for someone who believed God commanded the death of civilians then to be critical of those killing civilians now without, they obviously believe, God's command.

Yeah... I got that. I was trying to make the point that it would ALWAYS be odd for anyone to credit anyone else's claim of divine justification if they don't share the same religious beliefs. Everyone should be critical of that kind of reasoning, and anyone offering it should expect the reasoning to be rejected outright.

It's not hypocritical unless you expect others to accept your own claim of divine justification while denying theirs...and I don't see anyone doing that. They may be open about their reasons, but they don't act incredulous when people don't say "OK, well if God said so, then I guess I'll just let you do whatever you want."

(At least, I haven't seen any examples where it appears that someone who wants to kill for their God seems to expect others outside the same religious community to let it slide on principle. They either take it for granted that they'll be at war with anyone who dares, or they feel they have practical impunity.)

I think I'm agreeing with you actually - just trying another way to address this specifically:

quote:
So what I'd like to see, from the orthodox Jewish critic of the Palestinians, is an explanation of why that same principle couldn't justify Palestinian suicide bombing.
...just saying "nothing could justify religiously motivated killing if you don't share the religion." If Destineer wants to know whether people, including Jews, recognize that the "same principle" is involved, then I'd say yes they recognize that, but are likely to insist that the principle is being misapplied in one or all cases, so it doesn't really matter.
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Rakeesh
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quote:


It's not hypocritical unless you expect others to accept your own claim of divine justification while denying theirs...and I don't see anyone doing that. They may be open about their reasons, but they don't act incredulous when people don't say "OK, well if God said so, then I guess I'll just let you do whatever you want."

Even if there were such a situation, it wouldn't be hypocrisy. There's only hypocrisy if you examine it from the outside looking in, and apply your own standards where all religious justifications are already equally suspect.

The people inside, the people you're looking at, probably don't think their religious justifications are suspect, but rather that theirs are divinely inspired, or commanded, or pick your word. So you could say to them, "Look at how dangerous this kind of thinking is, look at how many people it could apply to if we accepted it from you, and that's why we won't take that as sufficient justification." But you can't say, "You're being hypocritical for saying your religious claim is good but someone else's different religious claim isn't good."

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scifibum
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quote:
But you can't say, "You're being hypocritical for saying your religious claim is good but someone else's different religious claim isn't good."
Not quite what I was getting at. This a completely hypothetical situation where I see some hypocrisy:

"My religion claim is good and you should therefore willingly allow it to take precedence over your own vital interests. However, your religious claim means nothing to me."

That doesn't really happen too often. People often try to run with a religious agenda over objections of others, but you don't see them going so far beyond the pale as to expect those others to just happily die in service to that agenda. So in practice, generally, there isn't that particular kind of hypocrisy.

Just perceiving a difference between the validity of your own religious claim and someone else's doesn't amount to the same sort of thing, and I agree it wouldn't be hypocrisy.

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Rakeesh
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scifibum,

quote:
"My religion claim is good and you should therefore willingly allow it to take precedence over your own vital interests. However, your religious claim means nothing to me."
Where is the hypocrisy here, however slight? That's what I don't understand. In the (as you say, hypothetical) situation you're describing, the speaker doesn't view their claim as good because it's religious, thus making it equivalent to the second set of religious claims. The speaker views it as good because it is the right religious claim. It's only hypocritical to claim one's own beliefs as good justification but not someone else's beliefs as good justification if the justification lies only in the fact that they are the beliefs the person holds. Does that make sense? I'm having difficulty thinking of a good way to say it.

quote:
Just perceiving a difference between the validity of your own religious claim and someone else's doesn't amount to the same sort of thing, and I agree it wouldn't be hypocrisy.
Anyway, I see when we look at the more real-world issue that brought up this discussion, we do agree. Lemme also make clear that I don't at all agree with, "My religious belief is justified because my religion is right; yours isn't because yours are wrong," and think it's a pretty uncivilized way of thinking, not to mention quite dangerous.
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MightyCow
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Shouldn't the basis of any valid system of morality include the belief that it applies equally to all people, regardless of race, country, apperance, beliefs, etc?

Any moral rules which allow one social/religious/ethnic group to do whatever they like to another group are, by default, immoral.

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Raymond Arnold
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It's hypocritical to expect OTHERS to listen to your claim, but to ignore another claim that has exactly the same evidence supporting it as your claim does. It's not necessarily hypocritical for YOU to believe your claim is right and their claim is wrong, but if you can't provide a metric for a not-currently-believers to judge between good and bad beliefs, it's hypocritical to expect them to follow some but not all faith-based claims.
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Rakeesh
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Who said it shouldn't? I was only ever rejecting the notion that there is hypocrisy in claiming justification for past civilian deaths at the command of God and not accepting claimed justification of modern deaths not commanded (it is believed by the hypothetical Jews we're discussing) by God.

quote:
Any moral rules which allow one social/religious/ethnic group to do whatever they like to another group are, by default, immoral.
I can't speak to a Jewish reading of their own scriptures, but I am pretty sure this is not what actually happened, even back on the way to Israel.
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MightyCow
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
I can't speak to a Jewish reading of their own scriptures, but I am pretty sure this is not what actually happened, even back on the way to Israel.

I'm not going to put words into anyone's mouth, but I've read what Joshua, for just one example, did to the people he fought, and I'm fairly certain that nobody would think it's OK for their enemies to do that to them.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
I'm not going to put words into anyone's mouth, but I've read what Joshua, for just one example, did to the people he fought, and I'm fairly certain that nobody would think it's OK for their enemies to do that to them.
I was objecting to your characterization of what happened as a set of moral rules which allowed the Jews to do 'whatever they liked' to another group. I wasn't objecting to your description of events, but to their motivation and to the way those stories are told today.

quote:
I'm not going to put words into anyone's mouth, but I've read what Joshua, for just one example, did to the people he fought, and I'm fairly certain that nobody would think it's OK for their enemies to do that to them.
Is this somehow relevant to the discussion we were having?
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natural_mystic
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quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
Shouldn't the basis of any valid system of morality include the belief that it applies equally to all people, regardless of race, country, apperance, beliefs, etc?

Any moral rules which allow one social/religious/ethnic group to do whatever they like to another group are, by default, immoral.

When defining a moral system a lot of work goes into who is covered by it - e.g. who are the 'moral agents' or 'persons'. For example, in the abortion debate a contentious point is whether or not the foetus is a person. It's a tough question. If 'consciousness' is the criterion for personhood, then, clearly, our behavior towards many animals is highly immoral. If rationality is the criterion, then this removes protections from the severely mentally handicapped, patients in comas and newborns.

To your examples - I have a hard time understanding why traits such as race, religion etc should have any bearing on one's personhood. However, if I believed a given sub-population were God's Chosen, then I'm not sure that it's invalid to give them a higher degree of personhood.

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MightyCow
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For the purpose of the discussion at hand, Lisa, and presumably other Jews view Israel as theirs by right of God giving it to them. Many Muslims also view it as theirs because their God gave it to them.

Some of the Palestinians today seem to think it's acceptable to target civilians, children, and non-combatants in their quest to "reclaim their land."

If you read the Old Testement, the Israelites frequently engaged in the same type of warfare against their enemies.

I find it absurd to claim that a behavior that is reprehensible when used against you is perfectly acceptable for you to use, simply because your God told you that it's OK.

Anyone can say that to justify their behavior, and obviously they do.

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