Sunday, August 27, 2006

uh oh!

That's just great, hurricane heading right for me. Duck and cover!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

rethinking the paradigm?,,1854305,00.html company Steorn claims they have developed a method of using the interaction between magnets to produce energy. This energy is "free and unlimited", a statement that flies in the face of accepted modern physics. Could it be that we are violating conservation of energy or are we using a fundamentally flawed paradigm about energy creation? Perhaps we aren't creating energy out of thin air but rather converting energy from one form to another by means of a perfectly efficient transfer method.

Steorn has challenged academics to verify their findings and well... if no flaw is found we could be living in a drastically different world. This is beyond an energy dependence problem where the US and China are consuming increasingly huge amounts of energy, this could change the balance of international wealth. I can see the countries that stand to lose from a discovery like this is those middle eastern economies that are entirely oil dependent. Middle eastern nations like Saudi Arabia have long been warned that their dependence on oil exports was a flawed policy, one that would doom them when their oil reserves ran dry. Oil reserves running out is a outcome that can be prepared for, a change in sources of energy could render their presence obsolete. Can you imagine the social unrest caused by rapid economic change? Terrifying.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Israel Overkill

WWII suicide bombers and modern day Arab suicide bombers are worlds apart. What sets them apart is that Arab terrorists have been successful and they have a community that believes they are making a noble sacrifice. I don't think you're going to see any extremist Muslim deciding that his/her suicide bombing is ineffective; every life they take is supposed to be some sort of statement to the world that they will attempt to win at any cost.

While I'm sure members of the IDF and Israel are not proud of killing civilians and mourn to some degree, I have to think that most take the stance that you do (edit: this was a blog comment response to Matt Rutta), that it is an accident when civilians are killed but that is a by-product of war.

What troubles me is that it really isn't an accident. Israel knows full well that the areas that they bomb are heavily populated and that the civilian death toll will be high. Yes, Hezbollah does use "human shields" if you mean attacking from public spaces and they are endangering their own people. However, Israel being the obviously stronger party in the mix might take care to notice that their campaign against Hezbollah has resulted in the deaths of about 50 Hezbollah guerrillas, ~ 20 Lebanese soldiers, and 700+ and growing civilian deaths.

At this point calling this an accident is becoming a joke, regardless of how Hezbollah chooses to wage war; Israel is supposed to be better than this. Carpet bombings leveling entire towns and the use of white phosphorous is overkill. At this point if you can justify the staggering accidental deaths of civilians as a unfortunate product of war and the leveling of cities because guerrillas are launching rockets from the centers of towns, you might as well completely destroy Lebanon if that is your mentality. From their justification, what is sparing anyone in Lebanon? Guilty by geographic proximity.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

i was used!

My job has been great, keeps me mentally stimulated, exciting to work on new products, and best of all the people are really friendly.

I am always a great judge of character, I should have known there was something wrong when I first met one of my co-workers. I had originally gone out to lunch with him back when I was "the new guy". He had all sorts of life advice for me; own your own business, make residual income, maybe use my Columbia education to write a book about how I've been "successful" through my life, and he leveraged it with his worry about his own job. It is true that Motorola has laid-off a number of people in the past few years and job security is not what it used to be. I completely felt bad for him, late 40s, wife, kids, what do you do if you lose your job? Can you uproot them to find a new one?

Yesterday he had arranged a lunch meeting with me for this afternoon, I should have noticed when he was trying to be secretive about it, but I thought he just wanted to impart more life advice on me. I went home and I was worried that he was trying to steal company secrets and I would have to report him and I was even paranoid that he was desperate enough to kidnap me. My other co-worker brought up a good point today, who would kidnap me? I couldn't even be sold as some sort of exotic sex worker. You don't kidnap asian males to be sex workers, let's be honest.

So today I was worried. I pushed it out of my head and figured he just wanted to sit down and have lunch and talk about life. That's when all the cards fell. Lunch location: Denny's. The second I stepped in, I met another employee that was recruited for the same purpose as me and I was faced with our recruiter and his business partner. No conflict on interest, it was nonetheless stupid. He had brought me there to have him and his partner give me a presentation on "distributed networking" or you may know it as "multi-level marketing" for a vitamin company. Apparently Forbes named them the #3 small business last year and have been rather successful. However successful, it was obvious that it was just a corporate-ized pyramid scheme.

I'm no idiot and honestly, I felt my intelligence was insulted. I know when people are setting up a story and dropping words and details they want me to hear.

"Hi, good to see you, I just got back from a resort vacation with my kids".

"Be ambitious, do you want to continue working in a traditional linear system where you get paid little for your work or do you want to want to make money on your effort and the effort of your peers"

"This 3rd party analyst who wrote this book so and so said that this industry is poised to make trillions by 2010"

"What are you passionate about? I'm passionate about world health, curing AIDS, affordable healthcare, but i'm also passionate about Maybachs, Cartier, and money".

"You can make $50,000 every week, I'm 42 and retired".

I'm sure, that lucky 2% of people, and those people who got in early are making a lot of money. I'm not so jaded to think that I can come in, with the little time that I do have after work and make a fortune on the side. I told them, "do you see how long it's been and I am unconvinced about your business model, your product, your approach to marketing and your pitch, how exactly do you expect me to make this pitch to my friends?; the money is getting people to believe you."

Usana vitamins and skincare products, not worth my time. I am just angry because not only did he waste my time when I could have been eating lunch (I didn't eat lunch today!@!&^&^%!) when he had told me I was there for a different reason, he tried to get me in on his sob story of life unfulfilled to give him an in to recruiting me for this. To top it off, I told my friends at work what happened and apparently he had done it before, albeit with a different approach. Completely innapropriate for the work environment. Desperation makes people dicks.

Friday, August 04, 2006

back and forth with zionism part 3

anonymous @ Yeshiva:

In any case, with all due respect, I think you need to check your facts. Nearly a million Sephardic Jews were kicked out of Arab lands in 1948 -- their assets, worth billions of dollars were stolen from them by these Arab countries. This was not "10,000 per year" immigrating to Israel on their own volition -- it was mass expulsion of Jews from Arab countries. The reason you don't hear about this so much today is that Israel almost immediately absorbed all of these people into the country (though they were treated very poorly by the Ashkenazi Jews in Israel at the time). In contrast, about 600,000 Arabs left or fled Israel in 1948. The reason I say left or fled is that while some were in fact kicked out of their homes, many of them left on their own volition, prompted by their leaders who told them they would return in triumphant victory once the Jews were annihilated (Azzam Pasham, head of the Arab League at the time, compared what the Arabs intended to do to the Jews to the the Mongol massacres.) All of this is documented so you don't have to take my word for it.

Also in contrast to the Sephardic Jews, the Palestinian Arabs were not absorbed into any of the Arabs' 22 countries and have been kept as "refugees" by these countries, with the help of UNRWA of course, for all these years. These people are being used as pawns in the Arabs' struggle to destroy the Jewish state. It is a political and PR tactic that thus far has been working quite effectively. This is unfortunate both for Israel and for these Palestinian Arabs.

"Palestine" was recognized as the Jewish homeland for thousands of years by the entire world, even when the Jews did not control it. Except for the short-lived Crusader kingdoms, only the Jews had a nation in Palestine (on both sides of the Jordan River). These areas were conquered by others, but always they were part of larger empires. For example, under the Ottoman Turkish Empire (from 1517 to 1917), Samaria and Gaza were Districts and Judea was a Sub-District of the Empire.

In any case, the Palestinian Arabs were not an indigenous nation. They have no legal claim to the land. On the other hand, the Jewish people's historical claim to the land was recognized and affirmed by international law in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. In short, it was never "their(the Arabs'_ country," as you claimed in your argument. International law provided for the reestablishment of the "Jewish national home" in Palestine (all of Palestine, on both sides of the Jordan River). However, the British in 1922 "suspended or withheld" the Jewish right to settle and set up their national home in Eastern Palestine -- 78% of the land that was supposed to be the Jewish national home. In 1946, the British flat out lied to the UN, claiming this land was under a separate mandate (which it was not), and thereby established the Kingdom of Jordan -- which is a Palestinian Arab state. The Jewish people were left with only 22% of Palestine, and even that the Arabs want to shrink further (Israel is roughly the size of the state of New Jersey, just to put things into perspective. The Arab countries are over 500 times Israel's size and they want Israel to cede more territory which legally belongs to it).

The claims that this is a conflict about Palestinian Arab statehood are completely bogus. The Palestinian Arabs were offered another state in 1937, in 1947, in 1999, in 2000, etc. Each time they turned it down and renewed their attacks on Israel because they simply want the Jewish state wiped out (Hamas and the PLO says this outright in their charters btw). The attacks against Jews did not start in 1948 -- Arabs massacred Jews throughout the 1920s and 1930s in Palestine (e.g. the Hebron massacre in 1929). I guess it must have been because of the "occupied territories" that Israel liberated in 1967. And the war of annihilation in 1948 and the creation of the PLO (dedicated to armed struggle to liquidate the Jews) in 1964 -- all that was because of the lands Israel won in 1967 right? The fact of the matter is, if the Arabs had not started the wars to annihilate Israel, no Arabs would have been kicked out of the land.

As for Zionism harming the livelihood of the Palestinian Arabs, in fact the exact opposite is true. With increased Jewish immigration, the land which was previously a barren, desolate wasteland, began to thrive. Living standards of Arabs living in these areas rose substantially with Jewish immigration, and in fact, many of these Arabs actually only moved there for this very reason in the decades immediately preceding the establishment of the Jewish state.

I'm not really sure what point you were trying to make with the Golda Meir quote -- I believe the quote you gave just reiterates what I said before. The Palestinian Arabs were part of the Arab nation, or part of Syria (at least according to all their leaders from the early 1900's until about 1967), not a distinct nation. Golda Meir was merely stating a fact. There was no such people. Most of the Arabs living in Western Palestine when Israel was created left on their own accord, as I said before. Some were displaced, as happens in pretty much every war. Others chose to stay and when Israel was established, they were offered full citizenship in the country. Those who accepted it did in fact become full citizens with full voting rights in the new democratic state that was established. Today, Arabs serve in high position in the Israeli judiciary and government. Ten Arabs currently serve in the Israeli Knesset (Parliament).

I have not even touched upon the religious claims the Jewish people have to the Land of Israel -- I am an Orthodox Jew and believe in them fully. Needless to say they are well-known and do not need to be restated here. If you do not believe in the Bible or Torah, then my other arguments based on history and international law should suffice to establish the Jewish claim to the land. But yes, if you are so bold as to presume to know what Judaism has to say on something, you damn well better have studied Judaism. Hence my question which yeshiva you studied at. Judging by your non-response, I take it the answer is that you have not studied in a yeshiva at all-- it therefore demonstrates profound chutzpah on your part to tell us all what Judaism says. I for one have been studying Judaism my whole life (since it is such an integral part of my life), so when I venture to speak in the name of Judaism, I am prepared to back up my claims. It is a free country and you can comment on whatever you like, but my advice is stick to commenting on issues you know something about.

The Palestinian Arabs are people, though the majority of them support terrorist animals like Hamas and the PLO, (who are, incidentally, the ones who dehumanize and embrace the death of their "opposition."). They are not however, entitled to a state in Western Palestine in any way -- historically or legally. Furthermore, at this point in time, giving them a state next to Israel would only create another existential threat to the Jewish state (as evidenced by their election of Hamas, their mass smuggling of weapons, their inciteful media propaganda, etc.) by creating a terrorist state on Israel's border. So the point would be moot even if you were to claim that since 1967 a new nation was suddenly created.

My response:

You are right, I did not study at a yeshiva. Suprise suprise. I ask you though, being an Orthodox Jew, does the Talmud not say that a Jewish state may not exist through human means until the coming of the Moshiach? Did Israel not gain recognition through much blood shed and terrorism and has the Moshiach arrived? Feel free to enlighten me.

History is meaningless without any context, so it is best that we frame it in what was happening at the time. The 1900s and even earlier had strong sentiments of anti-semitism and the jews were forced by the Spanish, Portuguese, French, etc. from their countries and Arab nations took in many refugees. Let's not pretend like Jews were treated fairly in the Arab countries, they lived in ghettos, but at the time, at least they had a place to live. Towards 1948 Jewish immigration had increased following the end of the war and the Jews were pushed out of the countries for 2 reasons.

1. Some Arab nationalist leaders were pro-Nazi and carried anti-semitic sentiment and wanted to get rid of the jews.

2. Increasing immigration into the Arab countries after the Jews were forced by anti-semitism in Europe caused increasing social instability between the Jews and the Arabs. This is not exactly unexpected, huge immigration is never met with open arms.

Palestinian Arabs were not hostile to initial Jewish immigration, BUT the Jews having no other recourse due to anti-semitism all fled to Palestine. Rapid immigration.

The Jewish expulsion was about 900,000 and is an aggregate of all Arab countries with jews residing with them. The number you gave of 600,000 is the Israeli gov't figure on Palestinians leaving the area that would become Israel. The UN marks that number at 700,000 and the Palestinians mark it at 900,000. Compensating that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders are trying to evoke sympathy for their cause, the numbers are not disimilar. Let's keep in mind that it was 900,000 Jews from Arab countries, and almost the same amount of Palestinians were forced from Israel (ONLY ISRAEL).

Your argument that Israel had a NATION and when Arabs controlled the land the disputed land was only a territory/district is a bit of semantics. The issue is not the governmental structure, it is the people who inhabited the land. I think you would find it hard to argue that during Ottoman rule, there was a large majority of Arabs residing in Palestine. It doesn't matter that there was no grand concept of nationhood by those residing in Arab Palestine, the Arabs lived there and layed their roots there. Such is my argument that Israel's claim to the land is no different from that of the Palestinians... historically that is.

I find it hard to believe your claim that while there was a civil war in Palestine in 1948 between the Jews and Arabs that the overwhelming majority (at least in the earlier years of Jewish immigration) just decided to get up and leave. It makes no logical sense why they would leave on their own accord. You simplify it to the point where it seems like people happily left, it is of record that most left Palestine because of forced expulsion or fear of further violence upon their families. Your argument is like saying that the Jews that fled Germany during the Nazi regime, left of their own accord under no threat. And what is emphasized in the Golda Meir quote is her advocacy of "throwing them out and taking their country", them being the Palestinians; this is Golda Meir describing the Jews entering Palestine and kicking the Palestinians out. What is difficult to understand about that quote? Others stayed in Israel, bc part of the Palestinian leadership urged them to stay. Other Palestinian leaders took credit for the leaving of Palestine as a way of saving face and pride from being forced out of a country that they had for years been the majority.

In another instance of your misreading my post or misunderstanding, I did not ask you if Zionism hurt the livelihood of Palestinian Arabs. Zionism led to mass immigration into Palestine, in fact just as you stated about the Palestinians, most Jews in the early 20th century did not want an Jewish state as they believed that that was not the path that Judaism had called for them. This is before the spread and popularism of Zionism. What I asked you was, since you legitimitely deny that there is a Palestinian state, if the popularism of a Palestinian national identity is a direct product of zionism and its pushing out of Arabs from the country they resided in. Did Zionism (Jewish national identity) not rise out of anti-semitism and their being pushed out of their homes? Do we not see the parallels?

From all of your study of Judaism and Israel, you still are able to paint a rosy picture of Israel and its fine moral grounding and label the British as liars and Israel as being cheated. Let us not forget that Israel's creation is grounded in the Zionist led immigration into Palestine leading to social unrest and the Arabs to start a war. Zionsim turned a majority's land into one that did not represent its culture, religion, and all disruption that a short period of radical social transformation leads to (100,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine in the 1920s ALONE). Israel with its larger numbers from immigration overwhelmed the Palestinian Arabs and despite whatever sunshiny emnigration you think happened, caused the Palestinians to lead en masse in fear of their lives and that of their families.

What was their to fear? Israel was won through force, military force and that of terrorism that it now screams foul at the Palestinians for. Zionist violence and terrorism of Irgun and Lehi are no historical mystery or unknown. They attacked the UN, they attacked the British, they attacked the Palestinians. Hundreds of Palestinian women and children were killed in their village by Irgun at the Deir Yassin massacre. To say that the British was unfair in their distribution of land is ironic.

No Israel is not entirely or in the majority at fault, but the untainted image of Israel that you try and present is not indicative of historical context and paints the Palestinians as wild inhumane misguided zealots. It is suprising as, at least for me, the examination of history increasingly leads to parallels between recent Palestinian nationalism and the Jews' 20th century pursuit of legitimacy and statehood. The Jews should understand the Palestinian dilemma better than anyone else, though most on this board continue to preach a one sided explanation of the middle east crisis.

I do not question the legitimacy of Israel, but I do point to Israel as the catalyst for the existence of Hamas and Hizbullah, however misguided those two organizations are in their tactics.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

back and forth with zionism part 2

my words from facebook thread w/ an undergraduate (who has asked me to remove his identity from this post) at Yeshiva's replies. Interesting conversation, but can you tell who is entirely one sided? I'll give you a guess, I don't think it's me.

Stephen Wang:
I support Israel's current campaign against Hezbollah, in so much as if Hezbollah (and Hamas for that matter) want to promote themselves as worthy governments that are supportive of their peoples they should not be participating in kidnapping and indiscriminant missile firing. Israel has no choice but to fight back and target Hezbollah, lest this struggle continue tit for tat.

However. I am disgusted by many of the views in this thread regarding the Palestinian people. Palestine and Israel, in their desires for legitimacy are not much different, it is wrong to lump all Palestinians into the same box and to label them as the problem. It doesn't seem like anybody wants to actually debate as witnessed by Ahmed's posted email. By the way, it is wrong to post a private message without the other parties explicity permission, I don't understand how you can rant about respect and such things while expressing none yourself.

Pro-Israel advocates like Jaclyn seem to forget... or not know Israeli history. Jaclyn equates the Palestinians as a group that enters your dorm, takes advantage of your hospitality and tries to take your room from you. This is clearly a over simplication and misleading metaphor. Ahmed tried to clarify to you, however you did not respond, probably because you did not care to.

Ahmed's reasoning concerned Israel's legitimacy and Palestinian's losing their land. To Jaclyn, this matters not because Israel's legitimacy is taken as a given. It is a shame when people do not know or care about actual facts and then touts their going to Oxford when they are 16 (who cares?).

The fact is this. Israel exists because of a chain of favorable events, nothing to do with Biblical prophecy or land ownership. Come to think of it, if you read the Bible, you will see that the Israelis were cast from Israel and there has been no signal that they are entitled to Israel at this time. The Ottoman's lost WWI and the Jewish immigration into the area increased (the Ottoman's allowed small numbers of settlers into the land known now as Palestine). After WWII the land was again divided by the British to the Jewish people after the Jewish terrorist groups attacked them and occupied the area. There was a resolution to give the land to the Jewish people and establish the state of Israel. Public sentiment after WWII was extremely favorable to the Jewish people (as it should have been) and bolstered their case for the creation of a Jewish state.

The Palestinians DID occupy those lands that are now Israel. Borders change in times of war and it is understandable. However the Palestinians were displaced following the creation of Israel and it is not difficult to see how they believe the land is/was theirs and should be taken back. Israelis should recognize this struggle as there was a time when there was no land for the Jewish people and they were people without a home.

It is sad that people like Jaclyn in her support for Israel must hate and identify anything other than her views as propaganda and lies. Hate was not something I learned at school.

anonymous @ Yeshiva:

Blah blah blah. Are you done yet? Allow me to sum up your little "mind-numbing" argument: Israel has no right to exist. Terrorism is justified.

That about it?

Now here's a key difference between Israel and the so-called "Palestinians" -- the majority of Israelis voted in left-wing parties (Labor, Kadimah) dedicated to giving away more land (and kicking more Jews out of their homes) for the prospect of peace. The so-called "Palestinians" voted in Hamas, the majority of them support kidnapping Israeli soldiers and firing missiles at Israel. I think that's a pretty huge difference.

Israel's right to exist is not up for debate. It exists and is not going anywhere. The Jews have returned to their homeland -- we not only have the historical and religious claim to the land, but we the legal right to western Palestine -- Israel -- as well (please see the Mandate for Palestine).

As for the so-called "Palestinian people," there is no such thing. It's about time we started calling a spade a spade here. They are Arabs, part of the Arab nation, living in what was once the geographical region called Palestine. Every Jordanian is a Palestinian Arab just as every Jewish Israeli is a Palestinian Jew. Until about 1967, there was no mention of any "Palestinian nation" -- most Palestinian Arabs rejected this idea, claiming it was an invention of the "Zionists" and that they were part of either Syria or the Arab nation. In fact, the Jews were known as "Palestinians" before that -- hence the Jerusalem Post was once called the "Palestine Post," and the Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra was created by the Zionist Jews.

There is no such thing as Palestine, inasmuch as it denotes a distinct nation or a sovereign state (which never existed). Palestine was the name given to the Jewish state by Roman Emperor Hadrian in 135 CE (after he crushed the Bar Kochva Revolt) in order to humiliate the Jews (he named it after the biblical enemies of the Jewish people -- the Plishtim, or Philistines). Just imagine, if Hadrian had not decided to rename Judea to Palestina, and on every map throughout the ages and throughout the various empires it said "Judea." Would we now be fighting the Judean terrorists?

To quote Golda Meir: "There is no such thing as a Palestinian Arab nation . . . Palestine is a name the Romans gave to Eretz Yisrael with the express purpose of infuriating the Jews . . . . Why should we use the spiteful name meant to humiliate us?

"The British chose to call the land they mandated Palestine, and the Arabs picked it up as their nation's supposed ancient name, though they couldn't even pronounce it correctly and turned it into Falastin a fictional entity."

So why the myth of a Palestinian people?

"The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct 'Palestinian people' to oppose Zionism."
--Zahir Muhsein, PLO executive committee member, in an interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw, March 31, 1977 and Pakistan Today.


Stephen Wang <---- that's me!

You are absolutely ridiculous. It really bugs me when people formulate a summary in their heads about what they are reading without actually reading. I was not questioning Israel's legitimacy as a nation nor was I justifying terrorism. However you took it upon yourself to quote the zionist 'why palestine sucks' guidebook word for word and lump me into the anti-Israel crowd, that was big of you.

My point was that the land that everyone wants to be theres has changed hands repeatedly throughout history. As anglos were not the first to inhabit America, the jewish peoples were not the first to inhabit the area known as Palestine; it was the Philistines.

Let's not use the Old Testament as a proof of legitimacy; yes God said that he promised the land to the Israelites but it also said God himself would bring the Israelites out of their exile. What do you know, that hasn't happened yet. The religious foundations are best left alone. Zionism is an invention void of religious context, in fact it is founded in Theodore Herzl, who began Zionism as a path to escape anti-semitism.

Historical foundations are not much better. The land went from the Philistines to the Israelites to the Romans to the Muslims and Ottomans. Each group had boundaries established as well as a functioning ruler and governmental system. You are saying that Palestine has no right to exist because there is no such thing as a Palestinian in the way that there are Israelis. This is a game of semantics that you are playing though. Reduce the names to Arabs and the Israelites. Both historically had claim to the geographic region of Palestine and both lost it. It is only natural for both groups to take what they lost back. Israelites won the land from the Philistines the same way that the Arabs won the land from the Romans.

If there are no Palestinians there are no Israelis. We can refer to them as Arabs if you like, encompassing the Syrians, etc., just in the same way the Jewish people were scattered throughout the middle east and eastern europe. The Israelites did not originate in "palestine" any differently from Arabs that originated there. Do not mistaken biblical reference to "children of Israel" as that is a reference to Jacob. Jewish culture grew from its roots in Israel, is it no different that Arab culture reached its pinnacle of greatness from the same location.

Terrorism is terrible and woe unto those that use it, let's not forget though that at its root this is a struggle for reconquest of a land that was lost. Yes Hamas and Hezbollah engage in terrorist activities and they are wrong to do so. But because they engage in those activities does not subscribe their entire population to the same beliefs just because they were democratically elected. Those groups are the only ones that have demonstrated action on the humanitarian front for their people. And also let us not forget that it was the Muslims and the Arabs which allowed the Jewish peoples into their lands to take refuge as they were being persecuted by the Christians and the Romans.

anonymous @ Yeshiva:
I don't know what to correct first -- your gross distortion of history or of Judaism. I love it how you presume to tell us all what Judaism has to say on the issue of Eretz Yisrael. I was wondering, which yeshiva did you study at?

The "Zionist 'Why Palestine sucks' guidebook" huh? Where can I find me one of those? :)

The Philistines were not the original inhabitants of Israel. The Jews conquered the land from the Canaanites. The Philistines occupied 5 cities on the coast of the Jewish state. They have no connection to any Palestinian Arab, save for a similar name (thanks to the Romans and some clever PR by the Arab world after 1967)

In any case, the Jewish people's religious claims to the Land of Israel are very strong, and they do not need to be left out of any discussion. Zionism did not begin with Theodore Herzl. For over 2,000 years Jews have prayed thrice daily for the return to Zion. Since the destruction of our Temple we have yearned for its reconstruction. At every Passover Seder we say a small prayer "Next year in Jerusalem." Needless to say, if you think our claims to Eretz Yisrael started with the secular Zionist movement, you are sorely mistaken.

That said, many people are not religious, and will not accept the Jews' religious claims to the land. We of course have historical claims also -- our presence there predates any opposing claim, and the land of Palestine was always associated with the Jews throughout history, regardless of who controlled it. Other than a couple short-live kingdoms Crusader kingdoms, only the Jews had a nation in Palestine.

Furthermore, if you're not satisfied with the religious and historical claims, the Jews have a legal claim on the land. The League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, adopted in 1922, states that the Jewish people are to reconstitute their national home in Palestine.

There was never such thing as a "Palestinian nation," and the Palestinian Arabs are not entitled to another state in any way. The Arabs already have 22 states, including a Palestinian Arab one. Jordan is on 78% of the land which rightfully should have been part of the "Jewish national home." Jordan was created in 1946 because the British, perfidious Albion, outright lied to the UN to serve their own self-interests.

So I'm sorry if you or the Arabs don't like the fact that the Jewish people have returned after thousands of years in exile to reconstitute their homeland on the remaining 22% of Palestine, but frankly, tough. Israel's not going anywhere.

As for your last paragraph, the majority of the Palestinian Arabs voted in Hamas -- a well-known terrorist organization that openly states its aims of destroying Israel and exterminating the Jews. And this is supposed to be ok because they "demonstrated action on the humanitarian front for their people?" Let us not forget that a certain German dictator and his party also provided "action on the humanitarian front for their people." The Nazis were voted into power with a plurality of the vote (not even a majority like Hamas had). They also wanted to exterminate the Jews (assisted by Palestinian Arabs like the Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini of course).

It was also the Muslims who treated the Jews as second-class citizens under their dhimmi laws and the Arabs who expelled over a million Jews from their lands (confiscating billions of dollars in assets) since 1948. What exactly was your point again?

and drum rollllll, my latest response:

Stephen Wang <--- me.

Do I need to study at a yeshiva to participate in this conversation? I wonder how many people in this thread have any talmudic study. i didn't realize there was a restriction on who can comment.

First of all I do not believe I said that the Philistines had any connection to Palestinian Arabs. I did however say that the Philistines existed in Canaan prior to Jewish arrival in the area. My point was, and i'll repeat myself, that the land of Palestine changed hands many times, and it is not accurate to historically attribute it to "belonging" to a particular group any more than another. From the Canaans, to the Jews, to the Arabs, to the Romans, to the Ottomans, Assyrians, Persians, Byzantines, etc etc etc.many people have laid claim to the land and established rule over it. Israel may have been the first large scale monarchy the region had experienced, but monarchy does not equate to indefinite and infinite property rights across time.

Contrary to your claim, there have been many nations erected in Palestine; namely the Babylonians and Assyrians.. and the Romans. Are spans of ownership 200-300 years+ count as "short lived"?

One could say that any number of cultures could name Palestine as their national home. Whose claim is stronger, your statements don't present the Jews as having a claim any more compelling than anybody else's.

The meat of the argument is that there were large populations of Jews and Arabs that existed in Palestine which gradually pushed the Palestinian Arabs out at the conclusions of 1948 and 1967. The Jews repopulated in the area due to gradual immigration towards the tail end of the Ottoman empire; the land was just as much these Jews' home as it was their Arab neighbors that they cohabitated with. However consider the fact that in the 1920s there were 800,000 Palestinians compared to 80,000 Jews in Palestine. To me it was a mistake but an eventual occurence in history that war broke out and one side had to leave.

I will not defend Hamas, you and I both know that they have done more harm than help. However, although you will keep trying to put holes in this, the Muslims were the only ones that offered land and assistance to the Jews in the intial periods of anti-semitism. Your claim of a million expelled Jews, is that an aggregate from the last 100 years? 200 years? It is pretty well known that it was the large influx of jewish immigrants after the mandate of palestine that prompted the Arabs to incite the Arab-Israeli War of 1948. Expelling a million Jews? I do believe it was the immigration of at least 10,000 Jews a year as zionism became a rallying call against anti-semitism.

It was interesting that you plucked a choice quote by Golda Meir, when she said there was no such thing as Palestinians she also said...

"There was no such thing as Palestinians. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country from them. They did not exist."

Did you ever think the Palestinian national identity was a product of the Zionism that threatened the livelihood and property of Palestinian Arabs living in Palestine before being thrown out and having their country taken away as Ms. Meir warmly acknowledges? If you ignore the rest of this post, at least answer that question. I don't know how most people on this board are willing to take a perspective where their "opposition" becomes less than human and are so willing to embrace the death of their neighbors.

back and forth with zionism

The conversation began like this, a stand off between pro-Israel (who decided it was appropriate to publicly post a private conversation with her opposition) and pro-Palestine: (none of these posts are mine)

"my orig message (Jaclyn from Indiana Univ)

ahmed, When was the last time Egypt or any Middle Eastern country ever cared two sh*ts about the Palestinians? Now you are probably thinking about the time when Egypt promised a "safe haven" to Palestinians and promised to treat them as regular citizens. This was all true until a radical Palestinian group in 1978 assassinated the Egyptian cultural minister, Youssef al-Sibai in Cyprus. All bets were off, and Egyptians were quite angry. Ever since, the Palestinians have been treated like second-rate serfs in your home land and aren't even granted the same rights as its other citizens. Actually they aren’t considered true citizens. Wow, Egypt doesn’t want these people- shocking. Well, if they are being used as human weapons- then I guess the other surrounding countries deem them “useful”.

Why don't you move some refugees into your dorm room that have bombs strapped to them and claim that they are entitled to the A+ term paper you did all the work on? At least Israel was willing to (multiple times). The only problem is, the Palestinians didn’t just want the “paper” they wanted all of your stuff and they also wanted you dead. That’s kind of what its like for Israel- only its their country, that they built and now have to fight for.

Lets say there are aprox- 500 million Arabs in the Middle East and 5 million Jews (roughly)- do you really care all that much about Jerusalem that you have to fight with us on Facebook about it? You ask “have you ever been to Palestine?”. Well have you ever been to the Dome of the Rock, or the Arab quarter in Jerusalem? It was sure nice of the Jews to preserve it. Too bad the “Palestinians” couldn’t do the same with site of the last super for the Christians. It’s a little messy – and I should know, I’ve been to Israel.

Now, you go to school in Pennsylvania. When terrorist attacked the U.S on September 11, 2001 and a plane headed towards the White House crashed in Pennsylvania. Do you know what Palestinians did? They danced in the streets. So who are you trying to defend here, people that your home land hates or people that hate your new home?
ahmeds responce
Subject: Wow
Message: Jaclyn,
Your reply was nice and long. So is this one. let me tell you something, that video about palestinians dancing in the streets was FAKE and discredited a week later, and the people that showed it, i don't really know what happend to them. The tape was actually of a religiuos celebration. Notice in the Video not one American flag wa sbeing carried anf all the poster where in arabic and english talking about a relgiuos celebration. So there goes your whole video thing. Now Egyptians must really hate palestinians to have 1 million people protests in Cairo for palestine. Why don't you take the Isralies that moved in two palestinian homes and took over their land into your dorm, except they won't let you eat any food and they won't let anybody give you a job. Thats what they are doing to palestinians with all their economic sanctions, all because palestine elected hamas to be their leaders. I am sure Jeruslem is nice now with all the israelis in it, but what does that have to do with anything, I am sure if some one moved in to your home they could make it alot nicer, but that doesnt mean you dont have the right to live there, jeruslem is their home not a tourist attraction. Israel is really making a holy place on earth look very holy, especially when it was featured on entertainments "Wild on" you know the show for all the crazy parties and drunken sex. I am sure the Jews, muslims and christians in the world would approve of israel being a hot spot for horny college students. Cancun WATCH OUT!,

Now lets go back to the political aspect, the governements of the arab countries(not the people) are a bit afraid of Israel, they have an ally called America and if your a good politician you know you dont mess with good old U.S.A. Now these palestinians are oppressed and they are mad, if a person's child just got killed by an Isralie soldier, and nobody will help you, chance are you will go crazy and strap a bomb to yourself and try to kill a few Isralie soldiers. Israel started as a peacful country, but they are pushing their powers to the limits every year, and you know it. 350 civilians don't deserve death because two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped, thats a cruel and unusual reply by Israel, no?
You need to stop going back so far, you can say what you want, because most Arabs will tell you that they support Palestine and think they should have a country, the rest will tell you that palestine should be a country and Israel should not be a country anymore. Israel could very well start world war three, and for what two kidnapped soldiers?
my responce back:
side note- i apologize for a lack or spelling, grammer and. f*ck it, this is facebook- so who cares.

dude that was nice and long. listen, you stick to your propoganda and i'll stick to the New York Times. By the way- the palestinians did shit with Israel. It wasnt till the Jews moved in that you had irrigation and normal pluming. thats why Israel doesnt smell like Oil and Diareah when you step off the plane. Ii support israel because its democratic and is a safe haven for all. they have muslims and christians in their elected government. i cant say that about anywhere else in the region (Egypt is not a democracy, don't fool your self) . so you ask me two soldiers? yep- they can do what ever the hell they want becasue America would too. The Israelis pull out of the west bank and for what? nothing. they got no peace. some people dont want israel. but the thing is they do. they want an israel with out the jews. and that just wont work since the jews built the country. i'm sorry ahmed but its their blood, sweat and tears that got you aim and motorola. bill clinton said he would die for israel, and george bush- well we know how he feels. so i guess if its good enough for them thne its good enough for me. israel isnt pushing anything. You say Israel started off peaceful. Nope, THE DAY Israel became a state- good ol' Egypt attacked it (classy). so its really never had a chance to breath. next time you go back to egypt and admire those pyramids remember one thing- MY ancestors built them and they built Israel too.