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Shimon Peres, former PM and President of Israel, passes away Watch

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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    Israel benefited immediately from the signing of the Oslo Accords up until the second intifada
    Yeah, Israel immediately benefited ... from Palestinian terror after the Oslo agreement.
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    Ahh, I'm so sorry about that. I suppose I can tend to jump the gun sometimes.

    NP :cool:



    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    :lol: I don't know why I find that funny, but it's true. Failing to be a Muslim means you are already considered to be inferior in their eyes. Being Jewish on top of that is a terrible sin. To then top it off with Peres having been a very talented and committed public servant of Israel is the cherry on top of their hatred cake.
    I read it back to myself and it sounds like one of those ads from porn websites

    ''Islamists hate him, local Jewish man acquires nuclear arsenal using this one weird trick''

    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    And it works the other way around too, for the hard left and for some sunnis who are politicised in the Stop the War / Galloway manner; Bashar al-Assad can kill as many Muslims as he likes with carpet bombings, chemical weapons attacks and torturing them to death in prisons. Half a million have died because of that evil man. Woe betide anyone who calls him out, or tangentially believes that ISIS needs to be taken on; they are immediately labelled as "Islamophobic".
    I agree with this, but as someone who tries to get the views of many different people, I've known Muslims to claim Assad is Jewish or that Shias and Alawites are not real Muslims so whilst I hate Assad, I worry about the rise of sectarianism.

    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    Just in respect of the Yemen and the Shi'a there, Saudi Arabia isn't attacking them because they are Shi'a. It long had fair relations with the Yemeni government under Saleh. It was when the Iran-supported Houthi terrorists started taking over parts of the country, at Tehran's instigation and with their weapons, that the Saudis took action. The Houthis were regularly attacking Saudi border posts. Also, the Houthis are undoubtedly execrable, despicable people; their victory mantra which is written on their flag "Death to America, death to Israel, curse on the Jews, victory to Islam" says it all. I can't stand the Saudi regime but in this case, they had cause to intervene to help prop up the democratically-elected Shi'a leader President Hadi. And the Saudis have not even come close to killing hundreds of thousands

    As for killing hundreds of thousands, as a general point of comparison, Israel has killed around 11,000 Palestinians in the last 68 years. It's not exactly the genocidal campaign that Israel's opponents depict
    I think it's naive to believe that Saudi Arabia isn't using the war in Yemen as a cover to engage in a little ''demographic cleaning'' given their record on the treatment of Shias inside their nation.
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    It seems extremists tend to hate Peres. Both Islamist extremists and their fellow travellers and sympathisers, and Israeli hard-right extremists. That means he was broadly doing the right thing; both the insane Islamists and delusional hard-right Israelis don't want this conflict to end, for their own reasons. It appears you very much fall into that category.

    By the way, there is no such thing as hell. And by the way, the person in your profile picture is Gaddafi, not Assad. How on earth could you fail to be aware that they are two different people?
    Maybe and where does it say that my profile pic has to match my username?! You can change your profile pic but not your username, simples! i hope you understand now as this is the second time i have had to explain this to you.
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    Well said, you hit the nail on the head. The right-wing view of the mainstream Israeli left as traitorous is obnoxious in the extreme, because what my Israeli friends tell me is that even today, for the most part the people who are centrally involved in defending the state's interests and fighting its battles (the people in Mossad, Shin Bet, the special forces, etc) are still, very often, from that traditional middle-class Israeli Labour/Mapai background. And the people who have been centrally involved in building the Israeli economy in the modern, technology-oriented powerhouse it is today (in internet start ups, biotech, etc) are, again, often from those traditional centre-left Mapai/Labour educated backgrounds.

    Half of the Israeli right, the ultra orthodox cults, are pretty much on their face traitors to Israel, given they hate the Israeli state, they see it as some kind of devil abomination or Babylonian satanic institution etc (the usual delusional crap), they have refused to serve in the armed forces, they have sucked up lots of welfare while having very low rates of workforce participation (and when they do it is often in businesses that are very low value-added, and mainly serve their own communities) and they have nothing but contempt for their fellow Israelis. You know how there's that sort-of meme about parts of Europe being no-go zones because of criminal Muslims? There are parts of Israel you can't go because if you do, the ultra orthodox cults will attack you in the street, spit on you, beat you up etc. Outsiders are not welcome in their communities, and at the very least if you walk into their area, unemployed young men wearing their stupid clothes will follow you around quite aggressively.

    Now I admit that there are secular rightists or moderate orthodox rightists in Israel; in fairness Likud is not a religious party. Iirc Jewish Home and Likud have proposed to conscript the ultra orthodox, but the Israeli secular right has also seen those extremists values taint and contaminate their own cultural values. And they seem to have accepted (without admitting it) that they are buying into the religious extremist idea of Israel having a divine right (not a practical/pragmatic/legal claim, as the old left Zionists felt).



    Completely. In fact, I think the late 1940s and early 1950s was a golden age for that kind of patriotic, internationalist, unapologetic leftism. You had strong left governments in France and Israel, you'd had an unapologetic Labour government in the UK which went ahead and nationalised industry according to fundamental socialist tenets (they were not embarrassed by it, it was their credo). You had strong, patriotic Labour governments in Oceania, in New Zealand and Australian, that ran the war effort during World War 2, who took industries into public ownership (and in the latter case unsuccessfully tried to nationalise the entire banking industry).

    The social democrats in Germany were also strongly leftist but also anticommunist. They were of the left, but they were not going to associate with authoritarian leftism, nor were they going to allow the right to make baseless accusations against them on that basis (like Churchill's speech in the '45 election saying that Labour would have to bring in a gestapo to implement socialism... ludicrous given that before the election Churchill had asked Attlee, who had been Deputy PM during the war, to renew their coalition agreement and postpone elections until 1947).

    Sometimes I feel that in the 21st century, we are almost pushed between a rock and a hard place; either third-way centrism (which is no kind of socialism or social democracy, in reality) or the more unpleasant sorts of hard leftism which seems to have much less interest in economic matters (for the 1940s and 1950s leftists, economics was the prime matter of concern) than they do in obscure and obnoxious foreign policy issues and a sort of cultural/identity leftism that is angrier, more likely to alienate



    Totally. Have you seen The Gatekeepers? Amazing footage of Netanyahu holding a rally where they were carrying a mock coffin of Rabin. Words have consequences, if you continue to whip people up and up and up in to a frenzy, where you are telling them the other side is not just your political opponent but that they are the enemy, that what they are doing is treason and that their policy constitutes some kind of terrible irreversible act that must be stopped or the country will collapse... that kind of hysterical rhetoric will lead some people to violence.

    That's why I often feel quite uncomfortable with the rhetoric against conservatives by Momentum associated people. While there are disagreements over who said what, the fact that John McDonnell was at a rally talking about lynching a Tory minister... this is a completely unhealthy mindset to have, it elevates every political disagreement to as if it's almost a life and death struggle. I don't want that level of partisanship in our politics
    On that last point, here is a tremendous article by Jonathon Freedland in response to the Jo Cox murder https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...-eu-referendum
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    Perhaps his most fundamentally influential post was when he was appointed in 1952, aged only 29, to be the Director-General of the Ministry of Defence and stayed in that position until 1958. One of his major achievements was the deep cultivation of ties between the French and Israeli militaries, and building of close relations between the left-wing governments of France of the 1950s and the Israeli government (for Israel in the 1950s was an extremely left-wing country, the military particularly). As a result of that relationship, Peres was able to open the way to France providing advanced military technology to Israel, the most important examples being France's provision of a nuclear reactor to Israel to allow it to build atomic bombs (and Israel's access to brilliant Jewish physicists permitted Israel to also contribute research data to France's atomic bomb project) and also Israel's acquisition of the advanced Mirage III fighter.
    The French support for Israel's nuclear weapons programme being one of many examples of misguided foreign policy, along with the Franco-British-Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956 - of which Peres was one of the principle architects. Nonetheless, I realise how the man himself is somewhat emblematic of his country, having emigrated to Palestine during the time in which he did and played such a large role in the state's formation. The fact that he is widely regarded as a moderate says more about the general direction of Zionism over the past five decades than it does about himself, though. After the collapse of Labour Zionism and the ascendancy of the Revisionists in the 1970s you might have expected a man like Peres to fade into obscurity. That he was able to be a moderating influence upon the excesses of various Israeli governments over the years - culminating in his efforts with Rabin and Arafat - proves his worth as a statesman. His death marks the end of a certain era in Israeli history though, which I would describe as the era in which there were still prominent people in politics who were alive during the pre-state years. The current regime of Netanyahu and the Likudniks, as well as the centrists who have been more than willing to prop them up over the years whilst kicking the issue of ending the occupation into the long grass, don't have much consideration for the sacrifices that must be made (and that have already been made by people like Peres) to reach a permanent settlement of the conflict.
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    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    The French support for Israel's nuclear weapons programme being one of many examples of misguided foreign policy, along with the Franco-British-Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956 - of which Peres was one of the principle architects.
    I would agree that Suez was a complete fiasco, but my impression from my reading is that the French were the party that made the original proposals that were eventually agreed at Sevres. The French sounded out the British, who agreed, and then Peres was invited to the French Foreign Ministry and asked how he'd feel about Israel invading the Sinai.

    Israel was not the driving force behind the operation, and in some ways I'd say Israel was the only country that benefitted from it (the UN peacekeeping force in the Sinai kept the two sides apart until 1967).

    I disagree that France's support for Israel's nuclear weapons programme was completely misguided. Certainly it's fair to say that France was being free and easy regarding nuclear proliferation in a way that's unthinkable today. But the provision of nuclear technology to Israel (which was partially self-interested on France's part, Israeli scientists played a significant role in making Gerboise Bleu happen) is something that provides the ultimate guarantee for Israel's existence. Come what may, they will not allow another Holocaust to happen.

    After the collapse of Labour Zionism and the ascendancy of the Revisionists in the 1970s you might have expected a man like Peres to fade into obscurity.
    In fairness, even though Israel's time as an almost one-party state under Mapai/Labour came to an end in the late 1970s with Begin and then Shamir, it wasn't the end of Labour governments. There were Labour governments and Labour involvement in coalitions in the 1980s and the Rabin government in the 1990s. Though I would equally agree that Ehud Barak could not seriously be considered to be Labour in the old left Zionist sense. The Israeli Labour Party of today is starting to get its act together again, I think you might be pleasantly surprised if they get into government. The rise of Yesh Atid and Kulanu means it is plausible that Labour, if they had a good election result, could get into government through some kind of Zionist Union / Kulanu / Yesh Atid / Meretz coalition that would allow (I think for the first time, though I stand to be corrected) Labour to govern without having to partner with one of the religious parties (and not to have to rely on the Arab Joint List, which would be politically problematic, and the List has become increasingly extreme anyway), which has always been a great obstruction to Labour pursuing rational policies. Isaac Herzog is no Ehud Barak

    His death marks the end of a certain era in Israeli history though, which I would describe as the era in which there were still prominent people in politics who were alive during the pre-state years. The current regime of Netanyahu and the Likudniks, as well as the centrists who have been more than willing to prop them up over the years whilst kicking the issue of ending the occupation into the long grass, don't have much consideration for the sacrifices that must be made (and that have already been made by people like Peres) to reach a permanent settlement of the conflict.
    I would agree and I would disagree. I think what you say of Peres is true, and the Likudniks clearly have little interest in pursuing a peaceful settlement. But I'm also hopeful that the next election might bring about a Labour government and an attempt at a true and comprehensive settlement of the conflict.

    I've gemmed your post because, even though I disagree with some of your analysis, you are clearly quite knowledgeable about Israeli politics and history and that really does stand out on this forum.

    Btw, speaking of the old Zionist left, do you know much about Mapam? Sorry for this very long post here, but it's an extremely interesting story and very revealing about early Israeli history, and it's also not particularly well-known. I've pasted in some information I wrote a little while back in an email.

    (Pasted text starts here)Mapam was a Marxist-Zionist party that was aroundn from the late 1940s until 1997, but the late 1940s to around 1960 was their heyday. Mapam was significantly to the left of Ben Gurion's Mapai/Labour; they were quite sympathetic to the Soviet Union. Interestingly, one of their strongest bases of support was the Army.

    In 1941 the Jewish community of Palestine set up an elite special forces unit, the Palmach, to reinforce and assist the Haganah militia. Because Palmach was an illegal organisation under the laws of the British Mandate, they had to hide within the community. But the leaders of the Palmach realised that their presence might constitute a financial drain on community's in which they stayed; communities that were already of very modest means. It would not do to have Palmachim eating the food out of the mouths of Jewish workers and farmers they were supposed to protect. The Palmach had to be self-supporting, so they had a system where two weeks out of every four, each Palmachnik undertook work on the kibbutz doing agricultural and other tasks, such that he would earn enough to pay for his food and lodgings during the other two weeks of the month when the unit would be operational.

    This was a very successful policy but it had an unexpected effect; Palmach, made up of the most committed and dedicated Israelis, the elite of its underground military establishment, became highly politicised. Working as agricultural labourers, they moved well to the left of the Haganah. Their officers and NCOs refused to wear badges of rank (for reasons of equality); they were very sympathetic to the Soviet Union. Each unit had a political commissar, and they sung Soviet marching songs, called each other comrade and revelled in the exploits of Soviet soldiers fighting the Nazis (for this was during World War 2). Although formally the Palmach was subordinated to the Haganah, very quickly the two organisations became estranged and the Palmach, regarding itself as an elite, almost Lacadaemonian, force became operationally and politically independent, and answered only to itself. They openly questioned the leadership of Ben Gurion. In 1948 (just as Palmach and Haganah were integrated into the new Israeli Army), the Palmachim along with two other kibbutz-based Marxist parties formed Mapam to compete against Ben Gurion's Labour/Mapai. At the 1948 election they became the second largest party and leaders of the opposition. Of the 9,000 members of the Palmach, around 90% to 95% were members of Mapam, and of its 64 senior commanders, 60 were Mapai members.

    As Palmach was absorbed into the new security forces, Mapam members came to hold top positions in the Army and Shin Bet, and constituted a very significant portion of the rank-and-file of those two organisations. In 1949 Isser Harel, head of Shin Bet, became concerned about the Israeli Communist Party and put them under surveillance. He believed the Communists were infiltrating, with entryist tactics, Mapam thus giving them access to and influence over important military and intelligence officers. In 1950 Harel decided to put Mapam itself under surveillance; the problem he faced was that probably a majority of Shin Bet officers were Mapam members, including his deputy Gideon Lavi. Lavi and Harel had worked closely together on security issues in the 1940s in battles with right-wing Irgun terrorists. Harel set up a parallel organisation outside of Shin Bet, called the Special Department, to carry out the surveillance programme against Mapam. However, the ubiquity and influence of Mapam members in the security forces meant they found out within a couple of months.

    Lavi recruited other members of Shin Bet to infiltrate and counter the Special Department, keeping them under surveillance for six months. Lavi's men conducted operations for Mapam, engaging in numerous operations against the Special Department, but also spying on members of the Western diplomatic community and stealing files from Shin Bet. This eventually became known to Harel and Lavi had to resign from Shin Bet, and large numbers of Mapam-associated Shin Bet employees were sacked. Mapam ordered Lavi to set up a secret organisation within Mapam called the Department of Self Defence; it was staffed by numerous, experienced former members of Shin Bet and its function was to defend Mapam against Shin Bet and hostile state activities. Harel continued to harass Mapam, recruiting informers within their organisation, tapping their phone lines, burgling their offices. This continued for about 2 years until in 1952 Harel decided to bug the office of Mapam's general secretary. They used a very sophisticated (for the time) CIA developed bug that required no internal power source (it's quite interesting in its own right, worth checking out; it's like RFID or wireless debit card technology in the 1950s).

    Anyway, Ben Gurion received the transcripts from meetings held by top Mapam officials in that room, and he was a bit too liberal in leaking the transcripts to the press. Mapam officials saw word-for-word transcripts of what they'd said in meetings, printed in newspapers. Lavi realised that this could only come from a bug. He searched the offices, found the device and broke it in such a way that Shin Bet would believe it had malfunctioned and send a crew to repair it. The next night, a team of Shin Bet operatives broke in and Lavi's men were waiting for them. They were interrogated and handed over to the police, Mapam held a press conference exposing what had happened. The Shin Bet burglers were arrested and had a hearing before a judge, but Mapam refused to hand the bug over to the police (realising as soon as they did it would disappear); the courts said without that evidence they couldn't proceed with charges and so they were dropped. Most Israelis didn't really know what to make of it, and eventually the scandal faded from the headlines.

    Interestingly, the day before the bug was found, the extreme left faction of Mapam, led by Avraham Berman (the brother of Stalin's henchmen in Poland, the Polish interior minister Jabuk Berman), split from Mapam and joined the Israeli Communist Party. They had failed to turn Mapam into a community front group. By the late 1950s and early 1960s other political currents in Israeli life had made Mapam less relevant; they consistently won around 9 seats in each election until the 1980s (3 in their final election in 1997 before being subsumed into Meretz). But in 1965 they went into coalition with Labour, and by the late 1970s they were completely estranged from Soviet communism due to their continued commitment to Zionist Marxism.

    I think it's a great story, partly because it's not well-known (even a google search doesn't turn up anything about the bugging), but particularly for what it says about early Israel, what it tells us about the political inclinations of those early left Zionists and the kibbutzim. I think there's an almost Spartan sensibility among the kibbutzim; a warrior race who live in close association with one another, a community where every man is a soldier and a farmer with the land held in common. One could even make an argument that the Palestinians are their helots (though as an admirer and supporter of Israel, I think such analogies only go so far).(Pasted text ends here).

    I hope it's something you found interesting, even though Israel has changed so much, there's a part of me that hopes one day they can return to those Spartan kibbutzim values, the old socialist Zionist dispensation.
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)
    I would agree that Suez was a complete fiasco, but my impression from my reading is that the French were the party that made the original proposals that were eventually agreed at Sevres. The French sounded out the British, who agreed, and then Peres was invited to the French Foreign Ministry and asked how he'd feel about Israel invading the Sinai.

    Israel was not the driving force behind the operation, and in some ways I'd say Israel was the only country that benefitted from it (the UN peacekeeping force in the Sinai kept the two sides apart until 1967).

    I disagree that France's support for Israel's nuclear weapons programme was completely misguided. Certainly it's fair to say that France was being free and easy regarding nuclear proliferation in a way that's unthinkable today. But the provision of nuclear technology to Israel (which was partially self-interested on France's part, Israeli scientists played a significant role in making Gerboise Bleu happen) is something that provides the ultimate guarantee for Israel's existence. Come what may, they will not allow another Holocaust to happen.

    In fairness, even though Israel's time as an almost one-party state under Mapai/Labour came to an end in the late 1970s with Begin and then Shamir, it wasn't the end of Labour governments. There were Labour governments and Labour involvement in coalitions in the 1980s and the Rabin government in the 1990s. Though I would equally agree that Ehud Barak could not seriously be considered to be Labour in the old left Zionist sense. The Israeli Labour Party of today is starting to get its act together again, I think you might be pleasantly surprised if they get into government. The rise of Yesh Atid and Kulanu means it is plausible that Labour, if they had a good election result, could get into government through some kind of Zionist Union / Kulanu / Yesh Atid / Meretz coalition that would allow (I think for the first time, though I stand to be corrected) Labour to govern without having to partner with one of the religious parties (and not to have to rely on the Arab Joint List, which would be politically problematic, and the List has become increasingly extreme anyway), which has always been a great obstruction to Labour pursuing rational policies. Isaac Herzog is no Ehud Barak

    I would agree and I would disagree. I think what you say of Peres is true, and the Likudniks clearly have little interest in pursuing a peaceful settlement. But I'm also hopeful that the next election might bring about a Labour government and an attempt at a true and comprehensive settlement of the conflict.

    I've gemmed your post because, even though I disagree with some of your analysis, you are clearly quite knowledgeable about Israeli politics and history and that really does stand out on this forum.

    Btw, speaking of the old Zionist left, do you know much about Mapam? Sorry for this very long post here, but it's an extremely interesting story and very revealing about early Israeli history, and it's also not particularly well-known. I've pasted in some information I wrote a little while back in an email.

    (Pasted text starts here)Mapam was a Marxist-Zionist party that was aroundn from the late 1940s until 1997, but the late 1940s to around 1960 was their heyday. Mapam was significantly to the left of Ben Gurion's Mapai/Labour; they were quite sympathetic to the Soviet Union. Interestingly, one of their strongest bases of support was the Army.

    In 1941 the Jewish community of Palestine set up an elite special forces unit, the Palmach, to reinforce and assist the Haganah militia. Because Palmach was an illegal organisation under the laws of the British Mandate, they had to hide within the community. But the leaders of the Palmach realised that their presence might constitute a financial drain on community's in which they stayed; communities that were already of very modest means. It would not do to have Palmachim eating the food out of the mouths of Jewish workers and farmers they were supposed to protect. The Palmach had to be self-supporting, so they had a system where two weeks out of every four, each Palmachnik undertook work on the kibbutz doing agricultural and other tasks, such that he would earn enough to pay for his food and lodgings during the other two weeks of the month when the unit would be operational.

    This was a very successful policy but it had an unexpected effect; Palmach, made up of the most committed and dedicated Israelis, the elite of its underground military establishment, became highly politicised. Working as agricultural labourers, they moved well to the left of the Haganah. Their officers and NCOs refused to wear badges of rank (for reasons of equality); they were very sympathetic to the Soviet Union. Each unit had a political commissar, and they sung Soviet marching songs, called each other comrade and revelled in the exploits of Soviet soldiers fighting the Nazis (for this was during World War 2). Although formally the Palmach was subordinated to the Haganah, very quickly the two organisations became estranged and the Palmach, regarding itself as an elite, almost Lacadaemonian, force became operationally and politically independent, and answered only to itself. They openly questioned the leadership of Ben Gurion. In 1948 (just as Palmach and Haganah were integrated into the new Israeli Army), the Palmachim along with two other kibbutz-based Marxist parties formed Mapam to compete against Ben Gurion's Labour/Mapai. At the 1948 election they became the second largest party and leaders of the opposition. Of the 9,000 members of the Palmach, around 90% to 95% were members of Mapam, and of its 64 senior commanders, 60 were Mapai members.

    As Palmach was absorbed into the new security forces, Mapam members came to hold top positions in the Army and Shin Bet, and constituted a very significant portion of the rank-and-file of those two organisations. In 1949 Isser Harel, head of Shin Bet, became concerned about the Israeli Communist Party and put them under surveillance. He believed the Communists were infiltrating, with entryist tactics, Mapam thus giving them access to and influence over important military and intelligence officers. In 1950 Harel decided to put Mapam itself under surveillance; the problem he faced was that probably a majority of Shin Bet officers were Mapam members, including his deputy Gideon Lavi. Lavi and Harel had worked closely together on security issues in the 1940s in battles with right-wing Irgun terrorists. Harel set up a parallel organisation outside of Shin Bet, called the Special Department, to carry out the surveillance programme against Mapam. However, the ubiquity and influence of Mapam members in the security forces meant they found out within a couple of months.

    Lavi recruited other members of Shin Bet to infiltrate and counter the Special Department, keeping them under surveillance for six months. Lavi's men conducted operations for Mapam, engaging in numerous operations against the Special Department, but also spying on members of the Western diplomatic community and stealing files from Shin Bet. This eventually became known to Harel and Lavi had to resign from Shin Bet, and large numbers of Mapam-associated Shin Bet employees were sacked. Mapam ordered Lavi to set up a secret organisation within Mapam called the Department of Self Defence; it was staffed by numerous, experienced former members of Shin Bet and its function was to defend Mapam against Shin Bet and hostile state activities. Harel continued to harass Mapam, recruiting informers within their organisation, tapping their phone lines, burgling their offices. This continued for about 2 years until in 1952 Harel decided to bug the office of Mapam's general secretary. They used a very sophisticated (for the time) CIA developed bug that required no internal power source (it's quite interesting in its own right, worth checking out; it's like RFID or wireless debit card technology in the 1950s).

    Anyway, Ben Gurion received the transcripts from meetings held by top Mapam officials in that room, and he was a bit too liberal in leaking the transcripts to the press. Mapam officials saw word-for-word transcripts of what they'd said in meetings, printed in newspapers. Lavi realised that this could only come from a bug. He searched the offices, found the device and broke it in such a way that Shin Bet would believe it had malfunctioned and send a crew to repair it. The next night, a team of Shin Bet operatives broke in and Lavi's men were waiting for them. They were interrogated and handed over to the police, Mapam held a press conference exposing what had happened. The Shin Bet burglers were arrested and had a hearing before a judge, but Mapam refused to hand the bug over to the police (realising as soon as they did it would disappear); the courts said without that evidence they couldn't proceed with charges and so they were dropped. Most Israelis didn't really know what to make of it, and eventually the scandal faded from the headlines.

    Interestingly, the day before the bug was found, the extreme left faction of Mapam, led by Avraham Berman (the brother of Stalin's henchmen in Poland, the Polish interior minister Jabuk Berman), split from Mapam and joined the Israeli Communist Party. They had failed to turn Mapam into a community front group. By the late 1950s and early 1960s other political currents in Israeli life had made Mapam less relevant; they consistently won around 9 seats in each election until the 1980s (3 in their final election in 1997 before being subsumed into Meretz). But in 1965 they went into coalition with Labour, and by the late 1970s they were completely estranged from Soviet communism due to their continued commitment to Zionist Marxism.

    I think it's a great story, partly because it's not well-known (even a google search doesn't turn up anything about the bugging), but particularly for what it says about early Israel, what it tells us about the political inclinations of those early left Zionists and the kibbutzim. I think there's an almost Spartan sensibility among the kibbutzim; a warrior race who live in close association with one another, a community where every man is a soldier and a farmer with the land held in common. One could even make an argument that the Palestinians are their helots (though as an admirer and supporter of Israel, I think such analogies only go so far).(Pasted text ends here).

    I hope it's something you found interesting, even though Israel has changed so much, there's a part of me that hopes one day they can return to those Spartan kibbutzim values, the old socialist Zionist dispensation.
    I'll begin by addressing the Suez debacle, which was concocted during a secret meeting of French, British and Israeli officials in Sevres. The hostility that existed between the United Kingdom and the nascent Israeli state at that point dispels with any suggestion that the Israelis simply went along with this for the ride. Most historians are agreed on Peres's role in this, which is that Ben Gurion dispatched him to Serves to reach an agreement. The Israelis had too much to gain from an invasion for the idea that they did not play a formative role in the invasion to be true - importantly the crushing of the Fedayeen, an organisation which had been central to infiltrating the country's periphery since its independence in what Benny Morris calls its 'border wars' in his book on the issue.

    The subject of Franco-Israeli cooperation also extends, as you say, to the reciprocal development of nuclear capabilities. I do not (or at least I hope I don't) have to point out how the addition of a thermonuclear dimension to the conflict in Israel-Palestine does not in any way safeguard Israel's security. When the nuclear deal was reached and work started in the desert outpost of Dimona, there existed no nuclear programmes in any Arab state, and Israel was not under the threat of nuclear attack. Not only does it stand to reason that the development of nuclear capabilities was only the beginning of an inevitable arms race, the whole concept of nuclear weapons acting as a deterrent is based on a false premise - namely that you can make it known that you have nuclear weapons and are willing to use them in retaliation, but any retaliatory attack you do have to launch would necessarily mean that the deterrent had already failed. Israel's line, which is to refuse to confirm or deny the existence of their nuclear programme, is especially pointless and has very little to do with national security. Saying you do not have them when you do negates their use under the supposed deterrent system, and lying about having them when you don't won't cut the mustard in this case because thanks to the work of various whistle-blowers we all know that this would be untrue. Their policy of ambiguity is based on this supposedly concealed truth - that Israel has an illegal nuclear weapons programme largely funded by acquiescent Western governments, and which is not subject to any treaty control or IAEA inspections. What the hawks on the Israeli right demand of Iran, they avoid.

    None of this unscrupulous secrecy and high-stakes weapons acquisition will protect Israeli Jews from another Holocaust, as you claimed. If an Arab or Muslim nation such as Syria or Iran really did intend to set about exterminating Jews en masse, they would find an easy target on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean, which is perhaps is Zionism's greatest irony - that as time progressed the most dangerous place to be a Jew became Israel. It stands that the only place where Jews live under the daily threat of incoming rockets fired by people who hate Jews is the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and the south of Israel. I used to believe that Zionism was necessitated by the Holocaust, and in some sense I still do believe that a reconfiguration of Jewish life in exile was required by it, and if some Jews believe that they will be safer living amongst Palestinians in the Levant then so be it; nobody should have prevented them moving there and there is a valid link between that land and the Jewish people that exists irrespective of religious dogma. (In fact I used to argue quite forcefully for the necessity of Zionism on this forum, several years ago, and I'm sure some of my stuff exists on the later versions of what used to be the dedicated Israel-Palestine thread in the International sub-forum.) Nonetheless instead of providing an answer to exile, Zionism has merely spawned another form of it in the fortress-like character of modern Israel and the increasingly chauvinistic nature of this state. What I am not in the business of is blaming victims of racism or antisemitism for attacks made against them, so I won't go so far as to venture down the road of that spurious and insulting argument that the actions of Israel make the diaspora a less-safe place for Jews (have the Jews thrived anywhere in modern history as much as they have in the United States, I wonder?). What I do know is that Israel in its current form is unsustainable as a political idea.

    As for Mapam, I have indeed heard of them and know of their importance to socialist Zionism (as, obviously, do you). What is interesting about them was their soft stance on the Palestinian issue, and their support for the right of refugees to return to property that they had been expelled from during the War of Independence. This seems to negate the central principle of political Zionism (as opposed to the cultural Zionism of Ha'am and such), which is the creation of an ethnically majoritarian Jewish state. Other Zionists such as Ben Gurion, Dayan, etc. knew that conflict with the Palestinians was unavoidable - that there was no way a contiguous and viable Jewish state could have been set up without the flight or expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and villages. When I speak of the decline of Labour Zionism I am referring to the rise of messianic religious Zionism, which was legitimised by the capture of the West Bank and the subsequent settling by Jews of Palestinian land therein. This is when the secular image and its forcefulness was lost, and the trend of increasing religious chauvinism and ethnic exclusivity began, which is at the root of the continuation of the occupation of the West Bank today. (The war between Israel and fundamentalist jihadists in Gaza is part of a separate and quite wider struggle with Islamism, and a solution that would work in the West Bank will not necessarily work in Gaza, for all the talk of them being part of the same political construct.) I do not believe you are correct in saying that this conflict would have been settled (or indeed that it can be settled) by the election of a Labour government in Israel. The occupation is too deeply entrenched and the disparities between Israel and a conceivably 'independent' Palestinian statelet in the West Bank are too large. In any case the desired result of the Israeli right (and large parts of the centre) is for Israel to retain significant control over this statelet in the event of independence - over its borders, its non-negotiable demilitarisation, its airspace, and so on. 400,000 settlers are not going to move, Israeli control over and presence in East Jerusalem is too entrenched, and the state would not be contiguous. The messianism that has always been somewhat inherent in the Zionist idea has established itself too firmly and the people who believe they hold the millenia-old deeds to someone else's land won't give it up without a fight. (It took nearly 2% of Israel's GDP to evacuate 8,000 settlers from Gaza, to put it in context.) The messianic factor was true even in the 1990s when Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish extremist for implementing the ideas that most of use realise will bring about some sort of settlement of this conflict, and Rabin had certainly looked at the other options.

    Finally, talk of the 'Spartan ideal' sums up what I've come to see as the ludicrousness of the central tenet of Zionism, which is that only by taking Jewish poets from Hungary and tailors from France and movie-makers from California and planting them in Palestine with a shovel and a gun can you solve the 'Jewish Question' (and Zionists do believe there is such a question and that this is the answer).
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    (Original post by Rhadamanthus)
    x
    Excellent post. I disagree with a lot of what you say, but again it's extremely refreshing to debate with someone who clearly knows what they're talking about. I'll hone in on just one particular point (I'll come back to write on the nuclear issue tomorrow), the idea that a comprehensive peace deal is implausible.

    I agree that the Gaza question and the occupation question are now, essentially, distinct. The main game, in terms of long-term peace and security for Israel, is how to disengage and disentangle itself from the West Bank. Gaza can be solved in a variety of ways, or simply ignored as Israel's air defence and tunnel detection capabilities continue to advance (with directed energy weapons, lasers and such, being developed by numerous nation-states, it's quite possible that in a conflict 15 years from now, not a single Hamas rocket would make it through to hit a target).

    On the question of disengagement, I do think the settlers really are the main issue. But the negotiations in 1999/2000 and 2007/2008 have provided a workable framework. Israel would keep aggregated settlement blocs around Ariel, Jeruselam-Ma'ale Adumim and Efrat. That is where 70% of settlers already live, the remaining ones could be induced by various means to move into those blocs. These settlement areas to be annexed to Israel would, its true, snake though into the interior but not a long way, only very small parts of the West Bank would be non-contiguous. There would be no more area C, it would all belong to the Palestinians. They would also get additional land to expand Gaza territory, and an underground highway and rail connection so Palestinians could move between the two territories with ease.

    http://zionism-israel.com/Olmert_2008_Peace_Map.jpg

    Of course the real question is how do you deal with the 120,000 settlers outside the settlement blocs to be annexed to Israel. One should remember that a majority of settlers aren't religious nuts, a huge proportion are just young families who can't afford the housing in Israel-proper. These settlers would probably be quite pragmatic in accepting inducements to move into the blocs or into Israel proper. As for the remainder, you simply say, "From X date, the army will withdraw from your settlements. You will be outside the walls. We will give you no protection, and we will make no move to prevent the Palestinian Authority from expelling you. We will not object to the Jordanian Army moving into Palestine for a limited time to assist the authority in expelling you. Good luck".

    I think the world would be extremely motivated to support a peace deal and they would be able to raise money to fund the provision of very attractive inducements, but for those who remain, they take their lives in their hands. At least, that's what I'd do if I were the Prime Minister of Israel. I understand there are huge political risks in such a course, but something has to shift.

    Even as an emphatic supporter of Israel, I find the intransigence of their political system and laziness with respect to changing the status quo tiresome and irritating. The Israeli centre needs to get their act together and decide whether they want to be a respectable country, part of the international community, or a pariah state. Increasingly I believe that only progressive reduction in aid, increasing abstentions rather than support to Israel in the UN and cutting off intelligence and military co-operation, will be sufficient for the Israeli centre to get off its butt and vote in sufficient numbers to make a West Bank disengagement happen (and be sufficiently forceful in their support for the government, in opposition to the right, during said disengagement)
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    (Original post by Josb)
    Palestinians too.
    Palestinians paid for their hate.
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    Peres was one of the main architects of the catastrophic Oslo agreements, which resulted in more than 1000 murdered Israelis. He never took responsibility for his actions and this is unforgivable.
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)

    By the way, there is no such thing as hell.
    If u say so

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    (Original post by AlvlVictim)
    If u say so
    I do say so. There is zero evidence for its existence. Unless you're wiling to offer some up now? I thought not.

    You believe in something based on nothing but fairy stories and blind faith. I would be embarrassed to publicly admit to being so credulous and gullible
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    Do you have evidence based on scientific facts and research it doesn't exist? I thought so. Also, obviously some of the greatest minds ever were also fools and you are the all wise

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    (Original post by AlvlVictim)
    Do you have evidence based on scientific facts and research it doesn't exist?
    It is not for me to prove anything. What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. It is upon the person making the positive claim that the burden of proof lies.

    So, if you are to make the positive claim that god definitely exists, please either provide the evidence or admit that there really is no scientific evidence and your belief is based on blind faith.

    Also, obviously some of the greatest minds ever were also fools and you are the all wise
    Very few of the greatest minds after around 1920 have been religious. Most of those great minds who were religious were living in a society where not being religious was simply not an option
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    (Original post by AlexanderHam)



    Very few of the greatest minds after around 1920 have been religious.
    Source please



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    Still no source found

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    Good riddance

    War criminal
 
 
 
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