"My question to these people has been simply to ask how far will you go? The bible clearly promises Abraham all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates. That represents an absolutely ludicrous amount of territory for Israel to conquer and the logical conclusion of a prophetically informed expansionist policy is to annex significant portions of Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Egypt. "



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Comment by Luara on December 7, 2012 at 4:24pm

Along those same lines, I've thought, how about if NYC were made the Jewish state :)  Since there are so many Jewish people there already. 

I doubt 9/11 would have happened in that case, a Jewish state would not be complacent about terrorism. 

Comment by John Remington on December 7, 2012 at 2:25pm

"your policies" should definitely be corrected to "Israel's policies," that's fair. I haven't really been proofreading these posts, so that slipped through. 

Just because it is not going anywhere doesn't mean it shouldn't. The cut and past arguments you have presented so far is exactly the sort of finger pointing and simple history that halts any serious progress on the matter. 

Comment by Frankie Dapper on December 7, 2012 at 2:05pm

"your policies" your tell.

I see this is not going anywhere. 

Comment by John Remington on December 7, 2012 at 1:52pm

The link is fixed. 

Well I think we agree on a lot, and perhaps our disagreement is mostly regarding the extent to which religious Jews are very destructive. I see them as having quite a bit of influence in contemporary Israeli society, and I see them as having historically toxic influence as well. More than most recognize. 

The myth of a double standard is nonsense. Israel has had preferential treatment by the most powerful country in the world since its inception. It is political suicide to deviate from this. Dismissing negative public opinion against your policies as a double standard shows the lack of substance in that argument. 

What happened in 48 and 67 is incredibly relevant because it shows that the expansionist aspirations of Israel are not isolated to this time. That is important and if we can't admit that then nothing will change today. 

I criticize Israel because I know more about it. I have been heavily involved with the messianic Judaism that informs the unfounded Christian support for Israel's policies in America, and I have seen what cultural norms within Israeli society cause it to act as it does on the international stage. 

I think that both are toxic to the peace process, and both are not talked about as they should be. My criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood is little more nuanced than "they are clearly wrong and they should really stop." That's boring and self evident and just as I think that Muslims or Palestinians should rise up and criticize the toxic flaws in their leadership, I am taking on the responsibility of rising up and criticizing my own. 

Comment by Frankie Dapper on December 7, 2012 at 1:30pm

I only saw your quote. Article not accessible.

So I assumed that meaning of quote was your contention. I dont want to discuss all of the 48 and 67 stuff that has been rehashed to death. The fact remains the world has a double standard. Jews and Israel on the one hand and everybody else. Obviously I concur re religiously motivated policy, jewish or otherwise. And religious Jews in Israel are very destructive.

If you want to expose religious notions and their destructive impact why not talk about the muslim brotherhood, hezbollah, and the rest of the islamic ideology which is inculcated at the earliest age, a direct result of religion, and poisons the minds of young arabs and insures ongoing enmity and conflict ad infinitum?

I think I know the answer.

Comment by John Remington on December 7, 2012 at 1:27pm

Oh, and don't be dumb and refer to this as antisemitism. I grew up in Israel, speak fluent Hebrew and have a ton of Israeli friends. 

I want Peace, and peace is going to require an honest assessment of Israeli flaws just as much as it is going to require an honest assessment of Palestinian flaws. I think it is legitimate to say that Palestinians are not close to that sort of discussion at the moment, but Israel is becoming increasingly secular and it certainly can. 

Someone needs to start. 

Your trite and simplistic description of History is a disservice to everyone and it prevents honest dialogue. Israel is not as perfect as you say, and the continuing popular assumption that it is will allow it to continue to act as foolishly as it has. 


Comment by John Remington on December 7, 2012 at 1:02pm

Ok, first off, my portrayal of Zionism is not a red herring within the context that the article was written. It was a response to a blog of a settler whose views on Israeli rights to the land are 100% in line with biblical prophesy, and I guarantee you that he describes that as a Zionist worldview. Obviously this is not a commentary on Theodor Herzel's view for the Zionist movement, but no-one said it was. 

Not once did I say that Israel did not deserve a country of their own, but rather I question whether or not they deserve the boundaries they clearly hope to eventually encompass and furthermore I question  the basis on which they justify this hope. 

On an Atheist blog, I'm going to assume that we can agree that a biblical justification is nonsense. However, I was trying to explain how nonsensical it was to the believer by reminding them of what a biblical literal interpretation is beholden to. People in religious circles frequently justify Israel's annexing of Palestinian land on biblical grounds, and there seems to be a general impression that this will stop once Gaza and the West Bank is Jewish. I was simply pointing out that it does not end with that, and a true adherence to the Bible would require a long and militant path towards fulfillment that would include invading Syria, Iraq and so on. 

When I was describing Zionism as militant beyond current Israeli borders (proper and occupied), I was only pointing out how absurd the biblical prophesy was. It is pretty clear that nobody relevant actually believes that sort of stuff. 

However regarding the 48 and 67 wars and the territory annexed in them, I simply think a few geographical features are curious:

In the 48 war, Israel conquered a narrow corridor that extended deep into the West Bank just so that they could acquire Jerusalem. This is undeniable, and it makes no conventional strategic sense to have a capital city as such an exposed outpost in potentially hostile land. But they were not thinking in terms of conventional strategy, they did have religious motives. This is seen in the Kidney Bean shape of the West Bank, and it is a well documented aspect Israeli society at the time. 

With the exception of the Golan Heights which was annexed for the purpose of defense against Syria, the land Israel acquired in the 67 war brings their borders to a perfect match of the British Mandate borders. If they were truly just gathering the spoils of war against their adversaries in Jordan and elsewhere, why did they stop precisely at the Jordan river? why did they not take some of Jordan proper as well? 

Of course that happened because there is an understanding that annexing land from a proper nation like Jordan is crazy, and they simply recognized that the only tenable expansion was to expand to land that had never been any part of Transjordan (the predecessor of Jordan). Jordan would much more readily part with some land it has acquired only 17 years before. 

The point here is that there is a notion that has been present within Israeli society. It is the notion that Israel's heritage includes the entirety of the British Mandate and most importantly that Jerusalem must be under Israeli control. To varying degrees, this is a religiously justified notion, and the article was written to show how self defeating a religious justification would be. 

I think that this notion has caused Israel nothing but headache over the past sixty five years or so, and if at any point they were happy with the borders they had, then they would actually posses the moral high ground on many matters that are now ambiguous. Israel could certainly stand to back off on a number of issues and in today's world, the easiest item for them to back off on would be the settlements. 

Problem is, theocratic parties have gained significant influence withing Israeli parliament and they are the wrench in the system. The entirety of Jerusalem remains the ultimate prize.

They are continuing to expand territory on religious grounds. This is a type of Zionism that is alive and well, and it needs to stop. 

Comment by Frankie Dapper on December 7, 2012 at 9:52am

The way you portray zionism is a big fat red herring. Just nonsense. Theodor Herzel, the leader of modern political zionism, recognized the need for jews to find a base. And that was in the 19th century and it was a result of religiously derived anti-semitism. Jews experienced persecution on a heart warming level. And after the second world war and their genocide their intention to stay alive and form a state was inevitable. Why would not they come back whence they came? To a place they had maintained a presence all of those centuries in which no thriving metropolis or anything approaching a state was to be found.

And in the nascent state they were celebrating a triumph which meant sharing the state. It was the Palestinians and Arabs who could not abide compromise. They attacked immediately and very nearly defeated the fledgling state. 

Jews have taken territory they won in war since the foundation of Israel. Just like every other people have done since forever. Leave em alone and they wont attack anyone. Other than maybe Iran or anyone else who threatens their existence. They are not out to annex Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Egypt. Nonsense.

And Arabs are envious of Jews and continue to spread lies and virulent propaganda. The content is so outrageous it would be laughable  were it not so influential. The railing against zionism is not so thinly veiled anti-semitism. And its exposure and media coverage with its concomitant double standard (Jews have to be paragons of virtue while gut wrenching persecution is all over globe) shows the endless legs of historys' mystery.

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