I was reading an article in the "Atheist Revolution" blog and I came across this snippet:

When I encounter a parent telling her children about Santa Claus, I may find it unfortunate that someone would lie to one's own child merely for entertainment purposes. The potential for harm here seems trivially small. I cannot say the same for the Muslim parent instructing his son in the virtues of martyrdom or the Christian who tells her daughter that her Jewish friends will go to hell because they have not been "saved."

Could we not add something like the following to the last sentence:

...or the jew who tells his kids that he's "chosen" and has a covenant with god that entitles him and his "people" to the land of Israel, and then uses that as justification for a bloody occupation of Palestine.

The one-year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead is approaching (Dec. 27th) and I think we should take a look at where we've come since then. The Goldstone Report: buried. Settlements: expanding. Palestinian house demolitions: continuing.

As atheists, we should be appalled whenever religion is used to justify actions that result in suffering or death. We do not seem to hesitate to speak out when a child dies because a Christian Scientist eschewed Western medicine in favor of prayer. We do not seem to hesitate to speak out when a Muslim nutjob finds motivation in his religion to grab some firearms and gun down some people. Why are we silent when an ethnic group uses a story about chosen people and covenants in The Big Book of Jewish Fairy Tales (aka, the Old Testament) to justify what is looking more and more like a slow, methodical ethnic cleansing campaign? Why do the Jews need to have Jerusalem all to themselves? Why is it so important to them to have a Jewish majority that they'll turn Gaza into a prison camp and The West Bank into Swiss cheese where the Palestinians are forced to live on smaller and smaller plots of land and endure more and more restrictions on their movement? If this were being done to a Jewish population they'd be screaming about a second holocaust.

The bottom line is that all three major religions are guilty of many modern-day atrocities and have a great deal of blood on their metaphorical hands. Why do we only bewail the actions of two of those three major religions?

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This is happening more and more. And conversely, one can not say anything about Jews in any context, devoid of any connection with the Middle East, without immediate attacks and accusations of being a Zionist, an agent of AIPAC, etc. I do not defend Zionism nor am I an apologist for Israel's politics or actions, but the increasingly rabid and subliterate nature of discourse on the subject has constricted political discourse beyond repair. And similarly, those advocates of Israel who suffer no distinction between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism have polluted political discourse beyond the point of no return as well. How can any problems be solved under such conditions?
We should unite in rejecting racism in all its forms: the Islamophobia that demonises Muslims, as well as the anti-semitic discourse that can infect anti-Zionism and poison the political debate. However, people of goodwill can disagree politically - even to the extent of arguing over Israel's future as a Jewish state. Equating anti-Zionism with anti-semitism can also, in its own way, poison the political debate.-

Brian Klug, senior research fellow in philosophy at St Benet's Hall, Oxford, and a founder member of the Jewish Forum for Justice and Human Rights

It may be me who is reading too much into it. Still, there is a big difference between saying "Jews" and saying "Israel" or "Israelis". In the statement above, "Why do "the Jews" need to have Jerusalem all to themselves?" I have problems with the phrasing there as well.

This discussion seems to be conflating Judaism (orthodox, conservative, reformed, and secular), Israel, Messianism, ethnic conflict, unnamed Jewish people, without distinction to who they are and what they beleive and do as individuals. Quite a stew, I think.

I'm going to "un-follow" at this point - I don't see benefit from getting into a growing argument, it won't change any minds and will it will only serve to increase my blood pressure. For anyone who doesn't care about a middle-aged guy's blood pressure, that's fine.
There was a majority of Jews in Israel where the partitioned Jewish majority state was to occur by 1947. Many came by immigration sure, and we are only talking a million Jews at that time. The Arabs did not want a Jewish majority state in the area, and a war started that the Arabs lost (btw, if not for the surrounding Arab nations intolerance, a war would never have started. Jews and local Arabs for the most part got along OK though there was obviously some tension and conflict at times).
Lets say atheists were persecuted like the Jews in Europe in the late 1800's and the opportunity arose to find a non sovereign piece of real estate with a small population, though a place where atheists had at least a 10% population there over a long period of time. Would you be OK with the idea that atheist flock there to try to create a state? There is a Jewish culture too, even Dawkins admitted he considers himself to be part of the Christian culture. Israel isn't about religion as much as it is about ethnicity and the need to be free as an ethnic Jew. Though the land was picked out to appease both.
And no, Israel is not an exclusive claim to the area. They have a population of over a million Arabs in Israel proper.
Israel is the only country in the ME that resembles a Western country when it comes to common morals and ethics.
I see Israel defending itself against terror. You can't see who the real victim is though. That is the problem with those on the far left. If you knew the objective history of Israel and compared it with any country on this planet in its beginning, you'd find that Israel was started as legitimately as any other. And if the Arabs dropped their arms and desire to destroy Israel in the past 60 there would be peace in the area.
As for a comparison. Arabs get pissed off that by 1947 over half a million Jews had migrated to pretty much swamp and desert (not a sovereign existing country), so that Jewish laws (which are pretty much Western Laws) can be used to govern a state. Did you know that in Brazil, there are now over 11 million people of Arab descent (mostly of Lebanese descent). Their ancestors came for a better life, and once Arab communities were established, more and more Arabs came over.
Look at Dearborn Michigan. Over half the town is now Arab Muslim, most immigrants. The people who lived there before the Arab invasion have now had their lives disrupted with Arab culture and loud Mosque PAs.
My point is that demographics change all over the planet, but for some reason it wasn't acceptable to change in a swamp desert that wasn't even a state at the time.
Israel is the only country in the ME that resembles a Western country when it comes to common morals and ethics.

I agree. Although I can't think of any other post-WW2 Western or Westernized democracy who chose to elect a former (and, as far as I know, unrepentant) terrorist, Yitzhak Shamir, as Prime Minister. I find this very disturbing.

(quoted from Wikipedia)
As one of Lehi's triumvirate, he authorized the assassination of the United Nations representative in the Middle East, Count Folke Bernadotte, who was seen by Shamir and his collaborators as an anti-Zionist and "an obvious agent of the British enemy"

As far as I know, Bernadotte's only guilt was to try to remain impartial to all involved parties, and he's only one of Lehi's long list of victims. On behalf of Lehi, they offered apologies for the collateral damage they caused during Bernadotte's assassination. Oh well. As if it did them better people than Hamas. I also find it disturbing that even today, Lehi ribbons are awarded to past members as official military decorations.
Let me point out some gaps in this reasoning. I doubt very much that the religious argument counted for much in itself. There's a combination of arguments, one being that as Judaea was the ancestral home of the Jews, they have the right to return. But in the early years of the Zionist movement, all these claims were disputed. Pro-Zionists debated whether to establish settlements in the USA, Uganda, Argentina, or what is now Israel. Zionists disagreed on whether to establish a state, what to do about the local Arab population. Indeed, in those days, there was nothing to do but negotiate with empires--Ottoman, British, or others. Anti-Zionists of the 19th century thought all the arguments for settlement of Palestine were BS. It is a little ridiculous to call on the legitimacy of the British Empire as a justification for anything.

However, there is a legitimate point: Israel, whatever its origins, fair or foul, and one does not simply destroy a state, without regard for the welfare of its inhabitants, esp. given the history of the people involved. I think all nationalism is deeply suspect, but the past can't be undone. What about the future? The whole region is politically compromised and ruled by questionable regimes, with few or no extraparliamentary political organizations that are worthy of trust. I see nothing but a bleak future for all parties. A whole lot of people are going to have to surrender their illusions and figure out how to live together for their mutual benefit. As they are all capitalist regimes, some with remaining feudal political-social organization, I see no satisfactory solution on the horizon. Most rational people recommend a two-state solution. This is a beginning, but only the beginning, of a needed radical reconstruction of the entire region.
the Palestinian Mandate which originally was going to go just to the Jews.

That's new to me. Could you clarify? To my knowledge, the future Jewish state was never meant to be greater than what was proposed in the Faisal–Weizmann Agreement (1919) - still much smaller than the whole Palestinian mandate.
The red line boundary is clearly larger than what the Jews in Israel have to share with the Palestinians today.
I realize that. But the British Palestinian Mandate was at least four times as big, and if I understood Josh correctly, his point was this Mandate was supposed to be given to Jews entirely (?)
The map you showed was just the land that was supposed to go to the Jew. Back then Palestine included Jordan.
The Arabs were given 80% of the land, which wound up being Jordan.
Then in 1947, the British were dividing up the rest of the original 20%, which was supposed to be 100% Jewish governed land back in 1919.
Oh, I don't know that a two-state solution is unworkable. It seems like Fata and the West Bank are getting along with Israel OK. Not great, but there doesn't seem to be anywhere near the level of violence as with Hamas and Gaza. If anything, Israel seems to be the provocative one in the West Bank with the settlements. If they would stop with those, as they just promised, they would at least be able to achieve some kind of detente with Fata. And it's hard for me to understand how Israel is accomplishing anything useful by overreacting to the pitiful rocket attacks from Gaza. A measured response there would go a long way toward cooling things off.

In any case, it's Hamas that Israel has a problem with, not the civilians of Gaza. If Israel wants to stop the rockets, they should be delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza while carefully targeting Hamas fighters, not bulldozing homes and cutting off water. Yes, surgical precision in combat isn't completely realistic, but I don't see why Israel has to go overboard when they respond to Hamas violence. Like I say, they're not doing themselves any favors.
Where do you get this stuff? Israel was targeting where the arms were and where Hamas was during the Gaza war. Hamas hid in civilian territories. If Mexican terrorists who wanted Texas back, dropped even minor (your word, pitiful) bombs in Texas daily in civilian territories and the Mexican government did nothing or encourage the actions, what do you think the US would do?
Israel announced yesterday they are putting a freeze on the West Bank (not Jerusalem though) settlements.




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