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'Forward' editor: Compare Israel only to Mideast states

Just because Sisi and Assad are close by doesn’t mean their disgusting policies seep through the border and infiltrate the Israeli system, poisoning our minds. Why not compare ourselves to countries we actually want to be more like?

I gotta tell you, I’m really tired of this.

I’m tired of Jewish right wingers in Israel and the U.S. who say things along the lines of, “Christians have it bad here? You should see what goes on next door in Syria and Egypt,” or things like, “you want to talk to me about human rights? Look at how Assad is butchering his own people, then come talk to me.”

Jane Eisner, editor in chief of the Jewish Daily Forward, did just that:

Channeling Netanyahu (something not easy for me to do) I could understand how the Presbyterian decision could seem biased, hypocritical and, yes, anti-Semitic. Why should Israel be singled out for its treatment of the Palestinians when Christians elsewhere in the region are fleeing for their lives? At the very least, shouldn’t Syria and Iraq and Egypt be boycotted, too?

First of all – yes. But my question to Eisner and others who use this weak argument is this: why do you always compare Israeli policies to those in its nearby vicinity? If a country is in a certain region, it gets a green light to act in a certain way?

If one can only compare Israeli society to Egypt and Syria, does that mean one can only compare U.S. society to Canada and Mexico? Can one compare French democracy to Australian democracy, or is that way too far? Can British and American societies be compared, even though the Atlantic separates them?

Do Americans boast about the democracy in their country only in North America? Or do they compare it to the rest of the world (and try to teach others how to do it)?

Why can’t Israeli “democracy” be compared to Germany? To Ghana? To China? to India? To the Maldives? To Russia? To Finland?

What is this ridiculous obsession with comparing ourselves only to those that are geographically close, and not to those you actually want to be more like – even if they’re 10,000 miles away?

Actually, seeing as how it was all those cultured European Jews who founded the state and are still ruling it (as the Ashkenazi elite), shouldn’t Israel be compared to that continent?

Dear Jane Eisner: start comparing Israel to other countries you would like it to resemble more (maybe even your own!). Just because Sisi and Assad are nearby doesn’t mean their disgusting policies seep through the border and infiltrate the Israeli system, unbeknownst to us, and poison our minds.

Israeli policies are wrong. Period. Compare them and react to them as if they were happening in your own country.

Related:
Are Israelis Middle Eastern?
From Jaffa to Beirut: Re-imagining a borderless Middle East
Knesset study: No democracy has similar anti-boycott laws

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    1. Bar

      First of all, some of us compare Israel to China and Russia all the time. Israel looks great by comparison.

      Even though I’m not Jane Eisner, I’m happy to answer your question: “why do you always compare Israeli policies to those in its nearby vicinity? If a country is in a certain region, it gets a green light to act in a certain way?”

      First, why do so many pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli activists compare Israel to Nazi Germany, South Africa and America’s Jim Crow laws when all three comparisons are so deeply flawed and offensive? Does than not concern you?

      Second, most of us compare Israel to many countries around the world, not just countries in the region. However, the initial emphasis is often on countries nearby to Israel because this highlights the hypocrisy of Israel’s critics.

      As we all know, a large segment of these critics either come from these countries, are descended from people who come from these countries, share the dominant faith of these countries/territories, or, if none of the above, almost certainly learned about the conflict from people with these backgrounds (even Israeli leftists get told by Rami Younis on 972mag to shut up and learn to play second fiddle to Arabs). Therefore, it makes sense to point out the failing and violent systems from which they come and the crimes of which they ignore while they focus on Israel which offers a society comparable to Western countries.

      Third, your criticism is that Israel should be compared to countries such as the USA, Germany, etc. There are significant differences between these countries’ situations and Israel. Almost all of them are far older and more established whereas Israel’s neighbors are as young as Israel or close in age. This means that none of the Western countries have existential concerns or enemies who may pose an existential threat. Israel does. How can you make a fair comparison when such a significant issue does not influence these countries’ societies?

      Also, most Western countries control much larger land areas and have much larger populations than Israel. This gives them confidence in their demographics and in their ability to absorb newcomers. It lessens stress regarding control of land. Israel does not have the luxury of either in a comfortable way.

      And, of course, none of these countries are at war with their neighbors, and certainly not existential war.

      Finally, all the Western armies are different from Israel’s in that in the modern era most of them are not involved in wars on their or nearby soil. And their armies are also different in that even the countries that have conscripted armies don’t have a couple of generations of fathers, grandfathers and sons who have had to fight wars. Israel’s soldiers do their soldiering at home, not in far away places.

      Of course, even with these differences, Israel can still be compared to other Western countries in many respects. Its GDP is comparable, its courts are as independent, its media is as free, its people come from over a hundred countries, its culture has many facets but certainly liberal is among them, its government is truly democratically elected, its minorities enjoy the protection of the law and even have affirmative action policies to assist with their integration into society, etc.

      You should feel free to compare Israel to these Western countries any time.

      Reply to Comment
      • It is difficult to find a similar situation in which Israel finds itself. Israel has lost 25,000 persons in the conflict. Israel has had to deal with existential threats for its whole lifetime. Israel has been subjected to threats of terrorist attacks for its whole existence. Iran has called to wipe Israel off the map. Hamas calls for the destruction of the Israeli state and a genocide of the Jewish people. Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups not only talk about but they plan and carry out terrorist attacks mainly against a civilian population. The PA has an unity government with a terrorist organization sworn to Israel’s destruction.

        One might want to compare Israel’s reaction to the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers to Canada’s response to the FLQ crisis in October, 1970 when one diplomat and a Quebec cabinet minister were kidnapped. Canada imposed the War Measures Act for six months and suspended all civil liberties. 7500 members of the Canadian army augmented the Police forces in Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa. 497 people were arrested during raids on homes and other locations. Many of the people arrested had no membership in the FLQ. Many of the arrested were held without right of counsel or being brought to court in the legal time.

        Some Leftists and Liberals decried the actions of the state. However the actions of the state broke the FLQ.

        20 years later the Canadian government sent out 2500 members of the armed forces to counter the Mohawk terrorist threat in 1990. The quick action stopped the threats.

        I have no doubt that if Canada had found itself in the same position as Israel with threats from the West Bank and Gaza,it would have used the might of its arm forces to crush the terrorists and impose law and order.

        The problem with Israel is that in 1993 it permitted the Palestinian terrorists to establish themselves in the West Bank and Gaza and did not use sufficient military force to defeat and eject them when they revealed their true nature.

        Reply to Comment
        • Philos

          Someone’s a bit behind on their post-colonialist literature… Canada, when it comes to its First Nations is as bad as Israel and the next white settler “democracy”

          Reply to Comment
          • Obviously you have no clue what you speak about. I live in a Northern community of which 50% of the population is aboriginal. Aboriginals enjoy the same rights in my community as any non-aboriginal person. Aboriginals can choose to send their children to an aboriginal school, french immersion school, 100% french school or English language based school. Aboriginal people have access to the same government paid health services and same employment insurance and municipal services. Aboriginals serve at all levels of government, municipally, provincially and federally, in government and in opposition parties. Canada has a Charter of Rights with special provisions protecting the special interests of Aboriginal people. Courts are the arbitrator of disputes. Manitoba Metis Federation recently won a landmark case in the Supreme Court of Canada.

            Reply to Comment
        • Danny

          You are being disingenuous and dishonest – as per usual.

          First off, Canada does not occupy Quebec, and Quebecers are not an occupied people, stateless, rightless, disenfranchised or even second-class citizens. Despite having a distinct culture from the rest of Canada, Quebecers have time and again voted to remain part of Canada, despite being given numerous opportunities to secede. Unlike Palestinians, Quebecers may live anywhere they wish, work anywhere they wish, marry whoever they wish and even run for office (imagine that!) Under no circumstance, even in the darkest days of the FLQ crisis did any Quebecer have their homes invaded by soldiers, their women beaten, their men and boys arrested and put in administrative detention. Unlike Palestinians, no Quebecer has EVER had their home demolished or their land taken.

          One other little note about Quebec: Most Quebecers are decidedly pro-Palestinian, so you might want to stay away from there.

          Reply to Comment
          • Oh Danny Boy. The FLQ manifesto claimed Quebec was occupied.

            “We are sick of a government in the hands of a hypocrite like Bourassa who depends on Brinks armoured trucks, an authentic symbol of the foreign occupation of Quebec”

            The Canadian government sent the troops in and suppressed the terrorism of the FLQ. As a result matters are settled by civil means and not by terrorism. It is unfortunate that Israelis failed to use the force necessary to defeat the terrorists.

            Reply to Comment
          • Danny

            The terrorism of the FLQ wasn’t suppressed because it didn’t exist. Quebecers were not an occupied people, and hence the FLQ’s grievances had no basis or popular support. Most Quebecers are proud Canadians whose absolute equality to English speakers is enshrined in Canada’s constitution. If Israel treated the Palestinians even 10% as well as Canada treats its French-speaking minority, I and most who support the Palestinian cause will be very happy.

            Reply to Comment
          • Danny Boy:

            “The terrorism of the FLQ wasn’t suppressed because it didn’t exist.”

            The FLQ started carrying out terrorist attacks back in 1963. Prior to the October crisis of 1970, the FLQ had carried out hundreds of terror attacks. They bombed, kidnapped, robbed banks and murdered people. They bombed the rail line to carry the Prime Minister of Canada. They bombed the home of the mayor of Montreal. Bombs planted in mail boxes killed 6. The FLQ blew up the Montreal Stock Exchange injuring 27 in 1969. The FLQ threatened to kill all members of the Canadian Parliament.

            The FLQ received training from European and Palestinian terror groups. In October 1970 police made two raids in which they recovered items indicating the FLQ was attempting to kidnap the American and Israeli Ambassadors to Canada. British diplomat James Cross and Quebec cabinet minister Peirre Laporte were kidnapped. Laporte was killed one day after he was kidnapped.

            Canada sent in the army and crushed the FLQ entirely. Israel should follow the Canadian lead and crush Hamas and Islamic Jihad completely.

            Reply to Comment
      • Bar

        Just a couple more thoughts:

        Israel’s young age and the manner in which it was populated, not only with European refugees but to a large degree with refugees from Muslim states, has influenced it in many ways. It affects/affected economic potential, forced extensive educational adjustments for decades, needed to address the needs of new arrivals who arrived with nothing or very little and had to deal with cultural transitions both linguistic and cultural that were very challenging for many of these arrivals (particularly those who arrived with nothing).

        This is a key difference from Western, established countries that consider immigration a minor blip demographically. It certainly doesn’t put severe pressure on government or societal resources and effectiveness. Israel more than doubled its initial population with refugee immigrants in those early years.

        And yet, despite these pressures, Israel has maintained its democracy and other elements of its society that place it in the same category as these Western countries. That’s another reason to compare it to these countries proudly.

        It should also be noted that despite all the wars and the heavy burden of defense costs on the country’s budget, as well as being hamstrung not just by its small size but also by its lack of natural resources, Israel has brought its per capita GDP to Western standards.

        And finally, it occurred to me that the existence of a publication such as 972mag along with a small army of Israeli pro-Palestinian NGOs demonstrates precisely why you too, Ami, can compare Israel favorably to lovely places such as Switzerland and Holland.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Ben Zakkai

      Ami, the issue you’re addressing with this column is important, but your treatment of it is uncharacteristically superficial and off-the-cuff, where a more serious analysis would have shed more light on the subject.
      First, all other things being equal, it would indeed be suspicious if American Presbyterians became much more exercised about Israel’s misdeeds than they are about abuses of power in Syria at al. After all, those American Presbyterians aren’t Jews or Arabs who naturally tend to have a great interest in Israeli-Arab conflicts, so a newcomer to the scene might quite reasonably ask, “Hey, why are those Presbyterians so focused on and critical of Israel? Could it be that they hate Jews?”
      But of course all other things aren’t equal. Israel, since its foundation, has made two very effective moral claims on the sympathies of the rest of the world, as follows:
      (1) “We, Israel, are the only democracy in the Middle East. Thus, you, the other democratic nations of the world, who enjoy economic, technological, military and diplomatic dominance on a global scale, should regard us as one of your own and treat us in an especially friendly and benevolent manner.” And, in fact, Israel has reaped uncounted benefits from its de facto acceptance into the community of the world’s most prosperous and influential countries. However, the downside is that when Israel acts undemocratically and fails to respect basic human rights – such as by imposing a military dictatorship on millions of Palestinians for almost half a century while stealing their land and resources – then Western-style democracies sit up and take notice much more quickly than they do when analogous actions are perpetrated by admittedly undemocratic regimes like Syria, because of the hypocrisy involved. A corollary of that proposition is that Western liberals, although they might never admit it explicitly, allow themselves to hope that because Israel prizes its democratic reputation, it might actually react positively to criticism and pressure; while they reluctantly acknowledge that the benighted Syrians would probably just laugh at anyone who tried to lecture them in the name of democracy and human rights – so why bother? So Israel does suffer from being held to a higher standard, but it is a standard that Israel long ago adopted for itself, and for its own benefit.
      (2) “We, the Jews, have suffered atrocious persecution for millennia, culminating in the Holocaust during World War II. Thus, the rest of the world, and particularly the great powers who bear responsibility of various kinds for our past suffering, should compensate us today by (again) treating us in an especially friendly and benevolent manner.” Over the years, Israel has benefited and continues to benefit from that powerful claim. It’s not for nothing that we shuttle our high-profile international visitors to Yad VaShem. However, the downside here is that when Israel itself is perceived to have joined the ranks of the oppressors rather than the oppressed, our past claims of victimhood fuel a serious backlash. It doesn’t look good.
      There are other factors involved, such as the massive U.S. financial, military and diplomatic assistance to Israel that makes some Americans quite understandably and legitimately concerned about what we’re actually doing with the benefit of all that U.S. support, whereas they might react less strongly to terrible conduct by other nations in which the U.S. is less heavily invested. And, of course, none of the above is to deny that some people in the world, including perhaps a few American Presbyterians, are hostile to Jews for no good reason and express that hostility by unfairly attacking Israel. But it would be a mistake to count anti-Semitism as a major factor in most criticism of Israel’s policies.
      So Ami, next time someone pisses you off by stating or implying that Israel ought not to be held to higher standards than Syria or some other unsavory regime, you can ask, “Okay, would you also like Israel to be treated like Syria when it comes to being admitted to the OECD, receiving cutting-edge military hardware and dual-use technology, enjoying free trade and cross-border investment, obtaining visas to other countries and so on?” I doubt they’d agree to that.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Khaled Khalid

      Ami
      As a British Journalist once wrote: If Israel is comparing itself to Egypt, Syria, Iraq or Iran then it’s setting a Very low bar for itself [to jump over].

      If Israel sees itself as a Western liberal Democracy then it has to behave like one.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        Now you had just approved that Arabs and Iranians are barbaric and primitive.

        Well, not that it is a secret to Israelis, but it is nice receiving approval from someone with first-hand knowledge.

        Reply to Comment
        • Mike Panzone

          He said no such thing. He criticized four countries and their governments, not Arabs or Iranians.

          Reply to Comment
    4. Danny

      Ami, I couldn’t have said it better. I’m so tired of hearing the “but look how bad Syria is” argument, that is neither here nor there when it’s applied to Israel.

      If I thought even for a second that Israel was as hopeless a country as Syria, Egypt or ANY of our neighbors for that matter, I wouldn’t bother even thinking twice about my country. But Israel IS special because it is the best country in the region by far and has good people by and large (though our leaders are almost as bad as the leaders of our neighbors).

      I want Israel to be compared to countries like Canada, Norway, Sweden and… you get the picture.

      People like Eisner who compare Israel to our neighbors just parrot out the propaganda fed to them by the pro-Netanyahu camp, and do a great disservice to Israel. They should know better than to drink the Netanyahu-flavoured Kool Aid.

      Reply to Comment
    5. un2here

      Of course … Israel should not be singled out but instead treated EXACTLY like Assad’s Syria. No more miltary equipment for you, Netanyahu!

      Reply to Comment
    6. Ginger Eis

      What are you talking about Ami Kaufman? Sometimes comparing Israel to the ilk of China and Russia can really be a painful insult to Israel. Indeed, most people, including myself, compare Israel to The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, England, Uncle Sam, etc. In comparable situations, Israel fairs better than ALL of these countries. In incomparable situations in which Israel is under constant state of emergency, Israel is either on par with- or fairs a little less than said countries that – nota bene – are at peace with their neighbors and not facing the kind of existential threat Israel faces! That’s a huge plus for Israel! When we compare Israel to the ilk of Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, China, Iran, Sudan, Iraq, etc. it is only to expose the hypocrisy of those who inexplicably fixate on Israel, irrationally single Israel out for condemnation and BDS for perceived violations of human rights, while turning a blind eye to the abominable, hear wrenching human tragedies going on under their nose in THEIR OWN- or other countries.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Ginger Eis

      When you compare the conduct of the IDF and the Armed Forces of GB, France and the United States, the IDF emerges as the most moral army in history. Indeed, the IDF, unlike its Western counterparts, is the only Army in the entire history of Military Conquest and Domination that has not engaged in the rapes of foreign women of the captured populations. This is almost “über-menschlisch” and I am very, very proud of our boys in uniform. Some have attributed this astonishing fact to their incomprehensible claim that the IDF is racist and as such does not consider Arab women worthy enough to be raped (A Hebrew university student wrote that in his thesis and received HONORS!). Any honest person who is interested in making comparisons between Israel/the IDF and other Western countries, MUST make concrete comparisons using comparable situations. That’s a basic demand of fairness! And this article fails miserably in that aspect.

      Reply to Comment
    8. publo

      That Forward article doesn’t just focus on neighbouring countries, it only speaks of prejudice and violence against christians. A lot of Israeli apologists seem to see the world strictly in terms of religious identity, seemingly unaware of the many identities, class, language, football, that are shared and which overlap with religion, and basically that allegiances and hopes amongst us all can be subtle and varied and fluid.

      In the article we hear about the boycott actions of some christians, not of Americans, and are presented with the situation exclusively, of some other christians, not of Arabs, not Syrians, Egyptians, Palestinians. From such a simple, blinkered angle there’s sense to calling the boycott vote anti-semetic, but its not a perspective thats going to imagine and act a way out of this conflict.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Ginger Eis

      Here is the piece by Jane Eisner:

      http://forward.com/articles/200724/why-presbyterian-divestment-feels-like-anti-semiti/

      Clearly Jane is analyzing the claims made by Netanyahu and verifying the validity thereof. Even a moron can see that. How Mr. Ami Kaufman can use this piece to make the kind of sweeping claims and generalization he makes and then proceed to show phony outrage is just perplexing, very curious. There is NOTHING in the piece by Ami Kaufman that supports any of his claims and phony outrage! And, “I gotta tell you”, Mr. Kaufaman “I’m really tired of this”. This smells like fraud.

      Reply to Comment
      • There is nothing in your comments that have any connection with reality, no matter how many TIMES you write WORDS in CAPS.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Mr. Ami Kaufman,
          1. If you honestly think that there is nothing in my comment that has any bearing to reality, you need to demonstrate it. This is a challenge!
          2. The piece written by Jane Eisner – which forms the basis of your false claims – is linked here. Fair minds will read it and make their own independent conclusions.
          3. Your unreasoned denials are NOT arguments “no matter how many TIMES you write your WORDS in CAPS”, (you write in caps and complain about caps. Looks like kettle calling pot black, no?).

          Reply to Comment
          • JG

            You small minded hasbara troll are obviously way too dumb to understand what Ami said. Hopeless case.

            Reply to Comment
          • GilGamesh

            It would appear that neither you or Ari have the ability to counter Ginger’s argument, unless you consider name calling countering.

            Reply to Comment
        • Laurent Szyster

          I read Jane Eisner’s article.

          Jane Eisner does not compares Israel to Egypt or Syria.

          She compares the different policies of the Presbyterian Church in the Middle East and she concludes on their hypocrisy.

          Ginger Eis is right and you are a fraud.

          Reply to Comment
          • directrob

            “[…] Christians have been displaced by Syria’s civil war. […] in Egypt, attacks on Coptic Christians […] Meantime, Arab Christians in Israel are not only safe to practice their religion […]”

            Fraud??

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Directrob, the answer is no! But you are not that dense, are you? Ok, let’s take a ‘baby-step-approach’: Mr. Kaufman’s claim – i.e. Ms. Eisner and “Jewish right wingers in Israel and the US” “always compare Israeli polices to those in its vicinity” – is wholly unsupported by Ms. Jane’s article on which Mr. Kaufman relied. Why? Because (a) Ms. Eisner was examining – exclusively – the validity of Netanyahu’s claims within (b) the ambits of said claims and using (c) information already in the public domain regarding the claims made by Netanyahu. Nothing more, nothing less. To use the article to claim that she or anyone “always compare Israeli polices to those in its vicinity”, as did Mr. Kaufman, is a flat-out lie manufactured by Mr. Kaufman himself and therein in lies the fraud. Hence, Mr. Kaufman’s outrage which is based on said lie is phony.

            (Btw. Israel is the only country in the world where a minority Christian population has as much freedom of religion as other Christians in majority Christian countries in the West. To suggest – as did Mr. Kaufman – that such is not the case and the “Jewish right wingers” nonetheless “always compare Israeli policies to those in its vicinity” and not to those Western countries is another falsehood).

            Reply to Comment
          • directrob

            Jane Eisner does compare Israel to Egypt and Syria. That was my point, Laurent Szyster is plain wrong.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            No, Directrob, you are seriously mistaken and wrong. You see, Directrob, Ms. Eisner does NOT “compare Israel to Egypt and Syria”, as you claim. On the contrary, Ms. Eisner compares the Presbyterian Church’s polices re Israel to the Presbyterian Church’s policies re other countries in the region using Egypt, Syria and Iraq as examples. Ms. Eisner (a) first presented us well documented facts re Christians in Israel and other ME countries like Egypt, Iraq and Syria, (b) she then – based on said facts – proceeded to compare how different the Presbyterian Church’s policies are re aforementioned countries and (c) concludes that she understands the accusation of bias, hypocrisy and anti-Semitism. This does not mean that Ms. Eisner “compare Israel to Egypt and Syria” as you claim, or “always compare Israeli policies to those in its vicinity”, as Mr. Ami Kaufman claimed. Laurent Szyster understood this subtle and decisive difference but you still don’t.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Furthermore, Christians in Israel Christians have as much religious freedom as other Christians in Europe and the US, Canada and Australia. It is thus equally fraudulent for Mr. Kaufman to claim/suggest that somehow Christians enjoy more religious freedom in aforementioned countries than they do in Israel and that Jewish right-wingers in both Israel and the US ignore that and “always compare Israeli policies to those in Israel’s vicinity”.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            Lastly, when it comes to freedom of religion Israel is way better than top EU countries where certain Muslim and Jewish practices are either not allowed or are heavily restricted. In addition to that Israel is the only country in the world where a minority Christian population has as much religious freedoms as other Christians in majority Christian countries. This is a huge plus which the ilk of Ami Kaufman are willfully blind to. If you think that there is any country in the Western world that has more religious freedom than Israel, pls. name such country, argue your point and name your source.

            Reply to Comment
    10. Mike Panzone

      I could not agree more. When they use this argument they are only trying to direct attention off of their own faults which they have no way to respond to because they know they are guilty. It is like saying, “Sure I robbed a house but that other thief over their robbed the house and set it on fire, so I am not so bad.”…a strategy often used by spoiled, self-centered seven year olds on the school playground.

      Those who use this strategy also want to make it appear that when you criticize Israel’s policies that you are in some way in favor of policies in Arab countries…as if it is impossible to be critical of several country’s policies at once. Truth is, this site is about Israel. On an Iranian site, if it existed, I would be critical of Iran.

      …and before someone asks, “why does the world seem to be on Israel’s back more than the Arab countries?” Perhaps it is because…

      A) the world now sees the mistake they made after WW1 in letting European immigrants form a state on top of the inhabitants of the land without those inhabitants having been given a chance to vote on the matter, and
      B) Israel is made up of Jews who have been discriminated against as a minority for thousands of years and should have known better than to disregard how the Christian and Muslim inhabitants of the area would have felt about living in a “Jewish State”.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Vadim

      Ami, I think you simply miss the point.

      No one is seriously comparing Israel with Egypt or Syria. Some simply view the hysterical criticism towards Israel as totally disproportional.

      I’m not saying Israel is like Syria, but I ask how people can describe Israelis as “inhumanly cruel”, how people can question our right to exist, how people can claim we’re just like the Nazis or claim we should be boycotted – when much worse things happen in Syria?

      The evil that goes on in Syria does not in any way justify Israel’s misgivings, but you cannot describe Israel as the worst thing happening on this planet without being a hypocrite.

      And that’s what many people find disturbing – the total lack of proportion when it comes to Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    12. andrew r

      There are specific circumstances that should decide whether you take up a cause. However, while historical comparisons can be useful, it’s pretty silly to compare concurrent human rights records between countries as if they’re house paintings. In Russia, the first wave of pogroms during 1881-84 were much less deadly than the 1903-06 wave starting with Kishinev.

      The IDF and the Syria regime both displayed aptitude for mass killings in 1982, and while it took another 29 years for the Assad dynasty to start killing every day for years on end, there’s no reason to believe the status quo in Israel/Palestine will persist without the IDF unleashing similar mass killings (No doubt whining all the way how they were forced into it).

      So I personally don’t give a crap if Israel is better than Syria or worse than the United States. That ranking could be turned on its head tomorrow. It’s a useless discourse.

      Reply to Comment
      • Samuel

        “So I personally don’t give a crap if Israel is better than Syria or worse than the United States. That ranking could be turned on its head tomorrow. It’s a useless discourse.”

        Yea and let’s condemn Israel for what might or might not happen tomorrow.

        As for the comparison with the USA and the UK, Israel does come out of the comparison. Way better. In nearly 100 years of warfare with the Arabs there are about 80,000 casualties on both sides.

        Compare that to what the USA did in Hiroshima Nagasaki just in a couple of days and what the UK did in Dresden and we come out smelling like roses.

        So much for silly comparisons and hateful anti Israel diatribes.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Andrew R., here is a comparison between the IDF and the Armed Forces of the United States and European countries, such as GB, France, etc. The comparison was made by a British war/military expert and experienced soldier. The conclusion is that the IDF is the best in the entire history of warfare!

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM0fTss0UX4

        To rebut this, you must use only military sources. Propaganda video-clips from “human rights” NGOs or anyone else are NOT allowed. If you post any of those, I won’t bother responding, because I intend to debate only facts and science and not engage in screed and diatribe in an effort to score points, (I fear that’s where this debate might degenerate into. Do not allow that to happen).

        Reply to Comment
    13. Ginger Eis

      Comparison re human rights I: capital punishment and death row inmates:
      a. Total number of death row inmates in the US as of October 1, 2013: 3,088. Between 1968 to present, there have been about 9.000 US citizens on death row in the United States, most of them members of minority groups! (source: NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.). US researchers have concluded that about 4.1 % of those on death row are FALSELY convicted, (Source: Prof. Samuel Gross, University of Michigan).
      b. Europe: death penalty was recently completely abolished in top European countries in the 90’s (excl. modern day Germany: 1949). Before the abolition, European countries executed their own citizens in the most barbaric ways, e.g. the Guillotine in Belgium.
      c. Israel: death penalty is allowed ONLY during wartime and ONLY for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
      In this comparison, Israel comes out on top: with the exception of the tragedy of Meir Tobianski, only Adolf Eichmann has been executed in the entire history of the Jewish State. Israel has the appropriate punishment for the worst crimes imaginable to man and has never engaged in the barbarous acts the Americans are still practicing and the Europeans has practiced for centuries before just recently abolishing them.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Ginger Eis

      Challenge

      It is very easy to use generalized and unsupported statements to smear and condemn Israel. Anyone who thinks that the US, GB, France, Germany, the Netherlands, are better than Israel on human rights issues should make that case using CONCRETE examples. This is a challenge to all, especially to Mr. Ami Kaufman! You may begin with contentious issues such as ‘illegal migrants/asylum seekers’, ‘administrative detention’, etc.

      Anyone who cannot make that case must cease to smear Israel and forever shut up! Pls. do not forget to cite your source where necessary. Let the debate begin. The time starts now.

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    15. Piotr Berman

      “Actually, seeing as how it was all those cultured European Jews who founded the state and are still ruling it (as the Ashkenazi elite), shouldn’t Israel be compared to that continent?”

      Perhaps the problem is that at the time those “cultured European Jews” went to Palestine, the countries where they came from were not as democratic as today, so as long as Israel may be argued to be superior to, say, Hungary under Horthy, that is more than enough.

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    16. Piotr Berman

      Examples that make Israel an oddball among Western democracies.

      Religious marriage was required in most of Europe, but in XIX century it begun to change. England allowed for civil marriage in 1836. Now it is universal that in Europe (including Turkey) that a couple has to register as a marriage with a state official, and what religious ceremony they perform, if any, is up to them. That obviate any requirement to satisfy any religious authorities. But “There is no civil marriage in many Middle Eastern countries like Egypt, Syria,[7] Jordan,[8] UAE,[9] Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya, Mauritania, as well as in Indonesia,[10] Iran and Israel, among others; all marriages are conducted by religious authorities, and are registered by civil authorities only after having been registered by authorities of officially approved religions”. But at least Israel is not an oddball in Western Asia and North Africa.

      The second oddball aspect is than more than 90% of the land is administered by governmental and quasi-governmental organization for the benefit of one ethno-religious groups alone. There is no Latvian National Fund, I guess there is nothing similar in Malaysia either. Unlike the question of marriages, there are no loopholes here.

      The third oddball aspect is that the government employs a large number of uniquely vituperative clerics. Again, perhaps in the region it is not that unusual.

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    17. sarkis kebabdjian

      I’ll tell you why you can’t compare Israel’s “democracy” with all those other countries. Because all this list of contries, very different one to another, have a central piece of their democratic life: They all have a CONSTITUTION. Israel doesn’t. Until then, with equalty of rights and duties, ther will never be such a thing like “democracy” in Israel. And you all guys in +972 know it. A “General law” is not a constitution. This “General law” will always allow and tolerate racism, segregation, apartheid to continue, as just as it deed until now. On these terms, those “failed countries”, the neigbours i mean, are more democratic than Israel. Bad or wrong, they all have constitutions. As simple as that.

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