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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Moving - and staying

Yesterday, US Ambassador to Israel Richard H. Jones, upon seeing the overcrowded haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem, said that he was aware of the shortage of housing, but added: "Sometimes people do have to move to a different location. They cannot always stay close to their families." He was clearly talking about Israel building new houses and apartments in Jerusalem.

Many in the JBlogosphere correctly slammed these comments.

Sultan Knish says:
After 2000 years of Jews being told where they could and could not live, walled into Ghettos, given designated Jewish areas, the State of Israel was founded in order to create a place where Jews could live freely, only to have the US Ambassador stride into its capitol, which the US continues to refuse to recognize, sniff around and proclaims that Jews cannot live in their own capitol city.
Boker Tov Boulder, a bit less diplomatically:
Remember how Dhimmedia told us time and time again, prior to the disengagement, how OVERCROWDED Gaza was? Funny, it's always the Jews who have to move. I don't know about the rest of you, but I think that's getting old already. How 'bout Jews live wherever they damn well please?
Atlas, even less diplomatically (as is her style):
What nerve. Tell it to the Gazans. Tell it to the Arabs with all their ginormous land. The nerve on this antisemite.
I wouldn't go so far as to call him an anti-semite, but the comment does betray an immense double-standard that has become quite acceptable even among Israel's friends.

Why is no one telling the Arab world to "move" their Palestinian Arab brethren elsewhere? Why is their claim to a piece of land that they pretty much turned into a wasteland when they lived there more powerful than that of a people who have lived there, died there and cried to return there continuously for 3000 years, and whose entire belief system is in no small part dependent on that land? In Arab history, Palestine was always a subdistrict of Syria (including much of today's Jordan), and Arabs freely moved between all Arab lands, while the Land of Israel was always the only place that Jews are commanded to live - so why do the Jews always have to move?

The reason is that, as always, Jews are regarded as being more "reasonable" and malleable, more open to reason, more likely to compromise. So why bother making a big demand on people who may just turn around and bomb you in response when it is so much easier to ask the more reasonable Israelis to do all the compromising?

Treppenwitz answers the ambassador brilliantly:
Although not specifically stated in the article, such a tour should have caused any reasonably intelligent observer to reach the conclusion that 'natural growth' in and around Israel's capitol city is an internal issue and not something open to international debate. Yet the conclusion that the U.S. Ambassador reached was exactly the opposite; that rather than allow the natural urban sprawl, such as surrounds nearly every major city in the world, Israel - so as not to cause offense - must instead relocate its growing population to unspecified remote locales, rather than build new neighborhoods just down the block.

Well I have a few news flashes for His Excellency, Mr. Jones:

We've done enough moving thankyouverymuch. We've spent the last two millenia moving from one place to another, all the time trying not to give offense to our hosts and neighbors. Yet despite being an industrious, peaceful people that has enriched our hosts far beyond all proportion to our modest numbers, we have been systematically victimized, caged, enslaved, slaughtered, disenfranchised, outlawed and expelled more than any single people in recorded history. And ... though we are (very) occasionally tolerated for short periods of time by progressive people like yourself... these periods of relative quiet are inevitably followed by more victimization.

Lather rinse repeat.

So guess what... now that we've finally managed to regain ownership of the only patch of land to which even your own family Bible gives us undisputed ownership, we're done moving. Go sell your plan elsewhere.

To the east of us is a spanking new country called Jordan that was created out of whole cloth by the British Mandatory power (at our expense). Not only is more than three-quarters of that country's population ethnically 'Palestinian', but there are huge, unused tracts of land east of the Jordan river that nobody is even looking at, much less fighting over. If you feel the burning need to find some suitable contiguous land to offer the poor Palestinians, why not start there?

But wait... I'm not done yet, there's more!

To the west of us is a vast empty chunk of land called the Sinai peninsula that is nominally administered by Egypt, but is for all intents and purposes abandoned. While the interior of Sinai is largely un-arable desert, the long fertile Mediterranean coastline, up to and including the Gaza strip, is nearly unparalleled in potential to provide a crowded, downtrodden people with a spacious (and contiguous) future paradise. Why not try that?

Why is it that you are demanding that Israel eviscerate herself to make room in her soft underbelly for a Palestinian state that will have no natural resources, little potential for development and above all, no chance for contiguity (at least so long as Israel remains stubbornly extant)?

Could it be because you know perfectly well that Jordan and Egypt won't consider having a real or defacto Palestinian terror state stirring up discord and unrest in their midst? Could it be that it is much easier to bully little Israel into slitting open its belly and allowing an openly antagonistic and parasitic entity to metastasize inside her than to ask Jordan or Egypt to tolerate a restive and radical Palestinian entity on their flank?

Read the whole thing.