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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I'm one of the 18

Are you?

Don't tell me why not.  Tell me why. 

Your words... not something you've heard.

Make your case... not theirs.


Posted by David Bogner on December 9, 2008 | Permalink


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» Report from the front from Soccer Dad
I received an invitation to post the following report from Michael and Daphne Fenenbock about their visit with Israeli soldiers near Gaza. The picture comes from their photo album. The report is an expansion of the letter seen recently at LGF. For more... [Read More]

Tracked on Jan 18, 2009 5:51:34 PM


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I joined, or at least put myself down to get more info. I'm curious - and wrote this in my message on the site - what the18 will do differently to keep themselves from being marginalized as has happened to similar groups, and how they will keep the message going and strong while doing so. Reasonably solid first video, which gives some hope; creative videos to make similar points would be key, IMHO.

Posted by: Ezzie | Dec 9, 2008 9:26:11 PM

I am one of the 18 because I have seen post Israeli Gaza with my own eyes and I will not stand for Judea and Samaria or Jerusalem to be desecrated in such a fashion.

Posted by: Seth | Dec 9, 2008 10:39:18 PM

Ignoring the issue if whether I'm a part of 'the 18' - I think it's irrelevant since I am not yet an Israeli citizen - I have to register my discomfort with using the Mumbai attacks to make a political point. Perhaps the point is cogent, but it should be made a greater distance so as not to appear to be capitalizing on tragedy for pushing a particular agenda.

Furthermore, I'm not sure the point is all that good. Israelis are attacked abroad for the same reason that Americans are - even if the particulars of Israeli policy they object to are not located in Mumbai, they are merely attacking an Israeli target because it is a convenient way of expressing their displeasure. Barbaric, yes, but not necessarily divorced from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Much better points can be made arguing that whether or not they hate Jews per se (that argument can be made), they certainly have made no secret of their desire to completely eliminate Israel, and we should be aware of that in determining policy.

I'm also skeptical that the two-state solution is somehow the 'end of the Jewish state', since the current situation isn't doing too hot, either... and will continue to get worse. Pie-in-the-sky ideas about voluntary transfer aside, the Palestinians aren't going anywhere.


Posted by: matlabfreak | Dec 10, 2008 1:53:42 AM

I'm only a commenter but I am one of the Eighteen. I stand on the evidence of my posts (reference my comment to your previous post) that I adhere to the belief that this problem is not now, nor has it ever been about land and will not be found in trading land to resolve it. The enmity of the Arabs towards the Jews is codified. Resolution will only be found in the renunciation or repeal of those laws. As remote as the possibility of that happening is, Israel should make no more concessions until it happens because until it happens, concessions of any nature risk Jewish lives. Never again? How about enough is enough?

Posted by: Kae Gregory | Dec 10, 2008 2:02:37 AM

David, please forgive me if I'm being obtuse, but why should we be so afraid of Barack Obama's support of a "two-state solution" when the same idea is supported by Bush and Clinton? I don't argue that it would be a catastrophe. I don't want any US president to think it's a good idea. But I don't see why Obama and his "fawning worldwide media" is any scarier than Bush is, or than McCain and a truly clueless Palin would have been.

I agree with everything else on the site, but I don't think it's necessary to make Obama and a Democrat-controlled House and Senate part of the threat. There's enough threat already.

Posted by: uberimma | Dec 10, 2008 2:53:11 AM

I think there are three unrelated points in that video. Point 1, that the killers in Mumbai murdered Jews because they are Jews. I think we all agree this is true. 2) Barack Obama and the Democrats will impose a two state solution. This is a more complex assertion. I think it is true that many American Presidents but especially George Bush, who was the first to propose it, have supported the idea of a two state solution. I think that they have taken their cue from what seems to be, or what had been until recently, the opinion of a majority of Israelis as to the best way out of the current impasse. Obama falls into that group as well. But the word "impose" is problematic. I don't think Obama is any more inclined to impose a two state solution than Bush. In fact, I highly doubt, based on her record in the Senate and her campaign statements, that Hillary Clinton would speak nearly as negatively about the behavior of the Israeli side as Condeleeza Rice did in discussing her frustration with the pace of negotiations. So I am not sure that the Obama team is any more dangerous too Israel than any other Presidential administration. Which is not to say the two state solution is the best idea. But using Obama's election as a scare tactic is a little cheap. In any event, I fail to see the connection between this and the first fact. Finally 3) The two state solution is a guarantee of the end of the Jewish State.
This is an interesting point. It is clear that Hamas is not going away, and that Fatah is at best a mixed bag. But it is also clear that the current situation is untenable. The two state solution was thought of because it would force the Palestinians to take responsibility and it would disentangle Israel from the Palestinians. Hmm. Not so good either. But what is the alternative? This point, which is debatable, is not connected to either previous point except to say that should the US successfully negotiate a two state solution, it will have to be done with the strongest possible safeguards. The idea of that even being possible is to scary to count on, but it is not an excuse to say that a two state solution could never work.
So in conclusion, i don't like the video because it is irresponsible in how it makes it's point. And while I think the point has some merit, it is hard for me to say that I cannot conceive of a situation where the two state solution would be possible.

Posted by: jordan Hirsch | Dec 10, 2008 4:23:40 AM

I joined. I actually didn't think that video was the best, but it's important to recognize that a "two-state solution" is not a solution.

There has never been any political leader in the "Palestinian" camp who has said that if we return to pre-67 borders (an insane and impractical proposition unto itself), they will relinquish all other claims on Israeli land and Israeli blood.

Posted by: triLcat | Dec 10, 2008 4:23:55 AM

Matlabfreak almost makes a good point: "Israelis are attacked abroad for the same reason that Americans are" ... because the world hates those who honor HaShem. America is hated because it has dared openly acknowledge His blessings, Israel because it exists.

For us Americans, being loved by the world will be no problem -- we'll just have to quit praising the L-rd. But you'll be loved by the world only when you quit breathing.

Posted by: Bob | Dec 10, 2008 5:26:48 AM

Ezzie... The idea that the two state solution is essentially flawed is already marginalized. The goal of the 18 is to get people to rethink something that they had taken as gospel. This is not about getting people to do anything right now... except to think.

Seth... Great. Now tell two friends.

matlabfreak... You begin with a flawed premise and go downhill from there. :-) Seriously, How can one separate Mumbai from Politics of this region. It was entirely political! Our enemies launched a savage attack which demonstrated beyond all doubt that their rage is not about borders, territory or grievances. It is about killing Jews wherever we may be found. Yes, the attack was aimed at non-Jewish foreigners as well... but given the scarcity of Jews and their disproportionate representation among the non-Indian dead... one is left with the fact that there can be no accommodation between them and us. In light of that, it is perfectly legitimate to begin the discussion of Israel's borders and the two state solution with a refresher course in current events. That is not manipulative... it is history. Also, this is not about citizenship or right to vote. It is about taking something that the overwhelming majority of people in the world take for granted (i.e. that the two state solution is inescapable... a fait accompli), and get them to question that premise. On what basis is the two state solution inescapable? Why is Israel the only country tasked with making sacrifices in the name of Palestinian self-determination? Certainly, of all the countries that contributed to the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem (what some would call the creation of the Palestinian people), Israel is the least responsible if for no other reason than they accepted the UN Partition plan while all the Arab countries did not... and they attacked. So why is it accepted by almost all people that Israel must carve out a piece of itself to make room for this new state? Why not Jordan? Why not Egypt? Why not Syria or Lebanon? Why not Iraq? Many people say "But the Arab countries will never agree to such a thing so why waste time even suggesting it". That should tell you something right htere. WHy should Israel suffer because it is the only reasonable entity in the region? All the Arab countries attacked Israel and lost not one but three different wars... each of which worsened the plight of the Palestinians. So why is it Israel is assumed to be the one to pick up the check (i.e. pay reparations in the form of land)? Lastly, for what it is worth, I think the mention in the Video of the two state solution removing the 'Jewish' from the Jewish state is a distracting misnomer. What should have been said (IMHO) is that a two state solution will set the stage for the elimination for the Jewish state in its entirety (which I truly believe). Nothing in recent history can suggest that withdrawal from any land will not create a new Gaza or Lebanon on yet another of our tiny flanks.

Kae Gregory... Great, now tell two friends... and tell them to tell two more...

uberimma... You are not being obtuse and it is a fair question. The reason the speaker in the film made such a point about how overwhelming Obama's victory was and how unique it is that both houses of congress are also in the same parties control as the white house, is that it means Obama has a blank check (within reason, of course) to do anything he wants. Few previous presidents have had such a mandate to govern. The problem is that two state is considered a reasonable idea by pretty much everyone in the US. Israel is subject to enormous pressure to act in accordance with the US's 'suggestions', and with the international press also 95% behind Obama, Israel will be vilified as 'anti-peace' if it resists the pressure to create a Palestinian State.

jordan Hirsch... You are looking in the wrong direction. The killing of Jews in Mumbai is not unrelated to the push for a two state solution. It demonstrates that Jews/Israelis are going to continue to be targeted so long as even one remains in the world. The essential appeal of the two state solution is that everyone is assuming that international Islamic terrorism is about supporting Palestinian rights and that it will evaporate the moment the Palestinians have their own state. That is demonstratively untrue. Next, don't devolve into a semantic argument with me. Impose is perfectly suitable in this case since Israel (to my chagrin) is beholden to the US for pretty much all of its defense aid and for all of its 'cover' in the UN. Our planes would be grounded within a week for lack of spare parts the moment the US cut us off. Our jet fuel would dry up in even less time. For all the bold talk about attacking Iran with or without the US OK, that is a physical impossibility. Even if we didn't need the US codes (which we do) to get our planes safely through a network of IFF (identification friend or foe) surface to air missile radars, the our military would grind to a halt one week after the attack for lack of fuel and spares. It doesn't matter what Israel wants for itself when it comes to our negotiations with the Palestinians. The US State Department and the President can (and will) impose the vision they see for our region. The goal of the campaign (as I pointed out to Matlab above) is to do nothing more or less than get people to question two state. Question it! Think critically about why Israel is required to create such a state. Think critically about historical precedent for such a thing and what has become of every previous territorial concession Israel has made.You last point is the heart of two-state's flaw. Saying that 'the current situation is untenable' is not a good enough reason to go ahead with two state. It simply means that other solutions must be examined. As I wrote above, there are other countries with far more land and resources in this region who are far more responsible for the current plight (and existence) of the people calling themselves Palestinians. Why is it taken as Gospel that only Israel need give birth to this new state? Certainly there is enough paternity to go around. This campaign is simply about getting people to think critically about two state instead of accepting it as the only solution. I can't imagine you would have any problem with a clarion call to simply think. I hope I'm not wrong about that.

triLcat ... The video's quality is not the pint. When there is nothing else out there you work with the tools you have. I hope the second, third and 19th video will take lessons from the shortcomings of the first. Post it anyway on your site. Encourage people to discuss two state critically. Encourage your friends to ask themselves if there is absolutely no other plan possible. If they honestly can't come up with ten alternative plans... then they are not thinking critically. Israel is does not have the resources in land to be able to create a hostile entity in its midst. Those who suggest otherwise are not particularly concerned with the outcome of such an ill-advised move.

Bob ... Which is why it is essential that two state be pulled out into the light of day and shown for what it is; a fatally flawed plan to destroy the Jewish State.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 10, 2008 10:11:21 AM

While I completely agree with the sentiments expressed in the video, we really need to realize that Bush and Sharon are the ones responsible for pushing for a "two state solution." The ideological left in America and in Israel have a secondary role in this process. Obama has nothing to do with this.

In the end it is impossible for the US to impose suicidal borders on Israel unless the Israelis themselves lay the groundwork for such a move. And this they have been successfully doing ever since Sharon pushed through his expulsion. Maybe the next elections will change this, but I'm not hopeful. I don't see why the people who went in droves to vote for Olmert after the expulsion, after the kassams and after Amona won't do so again and elect Livni, or at least destroy any chances of a stable right-wing coalition. The change has to come from here in Israel. Israelis will determine their own fate and no American politician will be able to save us from ourselves.

Posted by: aschoichet | Dec 10, 2008 1:40:24 PM

David - I fail to see how your response (except the initial bit) has anything to do with my post. I'm not questioning the 'justness' or lack thereof of a two-state solution - I'm ambivalent about the whole issue but can see some merit in some variant of such a 'solution' on purely practical grounds having nothing to do with what is 'fair' or 'unfair' in either of our books.

Furthermore, I didn't suggest that the Chabad House in Mumbai wasn't singled out specifically because it was a Jewish target. Rather, I argue that the motivation for attacking a Jewish target may not have been because it was specifically Jewish (i.e. they didn't want to kill Jews for being Jews) but rather because it was an easy spot to specifically get at one of their enemies. Hunting down Westerners in a large hotel is one thing - attacking a soft target you *know* is Jewish is another. It's easy, and it allows them to directly attack a symbol of all that they hate - not necessarily Judaism, but most definitely the West, anyone not Muslim, and Israel.

It's a fine distinction, perhaps, but an important one. I have no doubt there are plenty of antisemites in the Arab world, and I wouldn't care to speculate how many of those who are both antisemitic and opposed to Israel are motivated primarily by one (hatred of all Jews) or the other (violent disagreement with the existence of the state of Israel). But the fundamental point is that it wasn't a specifically Jewish target they were going for, but rather a target that represents - in their psyche - all that is wrong with the world. Yes, Jewish is a part of that, but so is Israeli, American, Western, etc. It's a 'good' target to combine a lot of different frustrations, just like WTC was a good target to not only attack America, but also a monument to American capitalism.

Regardless, I still think it's a cheap ploy. (Not to mention the other good points brought up about the video.)

Oh, and I have yet to see substantiation about the claim that the two state solution is the end of the Jewish state. You argue how it might be dangerous to implement it too soon (agreed) and how it isn't exactly 'fair' (also agreed), but so what? 'The end of the Jewish state'?! I fail to see a shred of support in either the bombastic tones of the video or your own explanatory post today. I'll gladly agree that it sucks and needs very careful reworking to be a reasonable solution, but this principled opposition on the basis of pure rhetoric is hardly impressive.

It seems to me that this video isn't asking people to think, as you argue above (it certainly doesn't have any critical analysis of the whole Obama issue), but rather makes vague and often unsupported pronouncements talking about a bunch of issues peripheral to the fundamental questions at hand. I'm wholly unimpressed.

Posted by: matlabfreak | Dec 10, 2008 3:39:44 PM

I agree that the two state solution is extremely problematic. I just feel that this video did not make it's case.
I am not getting into a semantics war with you. Impose is a wrong word because the US Congress is not going to roll over and give away the West Bank because Obama gives a good speech. Obama has a Democratic Congress, and won with such a wide electoral margin, precisely because he and the majority did not run as the candidates of UC Berkeley. As a rule, Congress has always been more pro Israel than administrations of either party. And while Israel and the US are intertwined on a variety of defense and economic issues, the domestic and foreign political calculus is too delicate for the incoming administration to rush through a deal that it itself has no stomach for, using that relationship as the sword of Damocles to get what it wants.

Posted by: jordan Hirsch | Dec 11, 2008 2:51:30 AM

The 18 .... no, not enough. The 613 would be a lot better, and it would solve the problem once and for all.


Posted by: Mark | Dec 11, 2008 9:33:19 AM

We are. The message is clear, concise and perfect. Advocating for a 2 state "solution" in and of itself endangers Jewish lives.

Posted by: Jewish Internet Defense Force | Dec 13, 2008 1:06:43 AM

I haven't been able to view the video yet, and maybe that will win my heart. Basically, here goes for where I am now:

I do not think a two-state solution is a good idea, and that is a shift from where I was some years ago. The fact that at this point we're looking at three states at least is a big part of that, as is the disaster zone that is Gaza and my suspicion that a Palestinian state on the WB will come "pre-failed". And don't get me going on Jordan and Egypt, and what their responsibility in this mess should be and won't be. I don't think Israel owes the world a damn thing, let alone another chunk of land.

However, I looked at the 18 website, and I am unimpressed. Much of what I see there is an interpretation of Democratic politics that I do not, as an American, see as accurate, or particularly relevent. It's essentially an attack on Barack Obama's Israel policy, for which the proof is vague and rambling, and not terribly politically sophisticated, basically, I think, gleaned from too much time on the Internet with people whose politics support the writer's. I suspect that this is one of the same people who used to attack me for criticizing Bush's policies because George W. Bush was Israel's bestest friend ever. I don't think whoever wrote that manifesto knows much about American politics and policies

So I may agree with the essential goal, but no, I'm not an "Eighteener", I'm a Jew, a Democrat, and an American, and I believe that there is no viable two-state solution to be supported at this time. I have enough company that I believe I do not need to affiliate with this particular banner unless I see some real reason they are special or well-organized.

Posted by: balabusta in bluejeans | Dec 15, 2008 10:19:47 AM

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