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Michael Stuart Kelly

A wonderful Jewish site (JVL)

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Jewish Virtual Library

It is extremely important to gather non-fanatical presentations of facts from all sides for understanding what the real Mideast intellectual challenges are. I have come across many Jewish and Islamic sites that start to give good information, but then descend into preaching hate and jingoism, usually scapegoating the other side for all the evils in the world, or go on to present information that is incorrect.

But there are organizations that bear objectivity of fact as a banner of honor, even while presenting a bias that is unavoidable just from being on one side of the divide. The Jewish Virtual Library is one such organization. It is a treasure of facts presented in an interesting manner.

I have not had time to even scratch the surface of this site, but from everything I have seen so far, this is one of the best out there.

The Jewish Virtual Library is a project of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE), which has many high-ranking politicians and important people from Israel and the USA on its board.

I am opening this thread so that highlights can be discussed and summaries presented of important issues presented on the site.

Some good places to start are:

The Israel Briefing Book

Islam and the Muslim World

Myths & Facts Online: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Michael

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Michael,

I've been impressed with the quality and the even-handedness of the entries in this archive that I've read so far.

For instance, if you want to know how present-day Syrian law is related to shari'a, there's a clear answer on the JVL site.

Robert Campbell

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And what I found there about Syrian law was this:

Legal system: based on Islamic law and civil law system; special religious courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

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You are correct that there is some form of inevitable bias here.

[i apologise for the thread hijack!]

I am against Zionism. By Zionism, I mean the ideology that there should be a Jewish state. As such I find the site refferred to bias, as Michael said, however it is inevitable.

For example the arguments that are used: "The Jewish people base their claim to the Land of Israel on at least four premises: 1) the Jewish people settled and developed the land; 2) the international community granted political sovereignty in Palestine to the Jewish people; 3) the territory was captured in defensive wars and 4) God promised the land to the patriarch Abraham."

Premise one presupposes that sovereignty is collectively possessed and is passed genetically (obviously false, since sovereignty can come only from unanimous individual consent and/or violence against nonconsenters), premise two presupposes that the international community has the power to grant sovereignty legitimately (also obviously false, since I dont think there is any nation with legitimate sovereignty in the first place), premise three may be true, I do not know enough history to comment there, and premise four is obviously false since there is no god, Abraham may not be real, and (legitimate) sovereignty is not passed genetically.

As for legitimate sovereignty, I believe that this can only come from consent, but in today's context of less than rational people etc I would consider legitimate sovereignty to require that the sovereign powers acknowlege individual rights, refrain from violating them (with possible exceptions being taxation required to maintain defense, etc, because unfortunately voluntary tax will not work), and I consider a legitimate contest to sovereignty being when the challenging body/bodies are challenging the sovereignty using classical liberal premises (i.e. they are rejecting the state because of its violation of rights).

Also, "Jewish State" is a contradiction in terms. Judaism is a religion. Religions can only be believed by people, not states. Further, if Judaism has a right to a state, so does every religion including Scientology! At the very least, all the Abrahamic religions deserve a state. There is no state for Christianity per se (The Vatican is for Catholic Christianity, not Christianity as a whole). If, however, we are talking about "Jewish People," then what about part-Jewish people, nonpracticing Jewish people, atheist Jewish people, etc? Jewish people that took up other religions? Also, when talking about a 'homeland,' why is a State needed to be that homeland? Im biologically a mixture of everything from the British Isles, but the British Isles is not a "Homeland" for people of this ancestry. A historical connection does not neccesitate a State functioning as a homeland.

And of course, there is the dreaded charge of anti-semitism. Its well recognized that an objection to the concept of Jewish National Self-determination is not an objection to Jewish religion or people in and of itself. Why? Because unless one totally eviscerates the concept of "Jewish" then Jewish National Self-determination is just like any other form of <insert race/religion here> self-determination, i.e. a form of collectivism. It treats 'nation' like a great spiritual Reichsvolk.

Israel is certainly the most free country in the middle east (the Dubai Free Trade Area may not be a country but its freer economically and socially), albiet it does treat the people in the occupied territories poorly, and it is almost certain that there is at least one innocent person there (although many are psychotic brutes, not all of them can be declared murderers a priori), I still cannot see any rational reason to endorse a country based on completely collectivist premises.

If the land currently called Israel became a secular and classically liberal state, not a "Jewish State" or "Palestinian State" but rather a "State governing the area that is considered the homeland of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples" then I would consider it a legitimate state for practical purposes (or more correctly "as legitimate as possible in the current context").

One of the other reasons for my stance on Zionism is because of its non-Jewish supporters. Specifically, Jesus Fascists that want their apocalypse. "An important milestone in the history of Christian Zionism occurred in 1979...:the founding of the Moral Majority. Founded by Rev. Jerry Falwell, the Moral Majority was an organization made up of conservative Christian political action committees that succeeded in mobilizing like-minded individuals to register and vote for conservative candidates... One of the Moral Majority’s four founding principles was “support for Israel and Jewish people everywhere.”" (See: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsourc...anzionism.html).

I simply cannot see any argument for a "Jewish State" that does not depend on collectivism and mysticism, Im afraid. Although I agree as well that there should be no "Palestinian State" either, since that commits many of the same fallacies. In any event, Israel is superior in many respects to the Palestinians (although ariwatch.com shows a lot of Israel's devious geopolitical games, so Israel is by no means faultless). As I said, the only outcome I think would be acceptable is a completely secular free state with no racialistic-religionistic attachments.

[Again, sorry for the thread hijack]

However, it is certainly a useful site for information on the Jewish religion.

Edited by studiodekadent

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[Again, sorry for the thread hijack]

However, it is certainly a useful site for information on the Jewish religion.

Judaism is not just a religion. It is a culture, nationality, people and a world view. Take it from me. I have been Jewish for 71 years, since I was circumcised by a mohel. You cannot grasp this from the outside. You have to be there.

A thousand years from now there will be no Objectivists but there will be Jews.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Edited by BaalChatzaf

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Judaism is not just a religion. It is a culture, nationality, people and a world view. Take it from me. I have been Jewish for 71 years, since I was circumcised by a mohel. You cannot grasp this from the outside. You have to be there.

You are of course welcome to your perspective, however I respectfully disagree. If your perspective is true, then it follows that every ethno-religious grouping is an all-enveloping cultural context that no outsider can understand (i.e. just as I cannot understand Judaism, you cannot understand Anglo Saxon Empiricism-Naturalism). From this follows collectivism. For a perfect example of this precise chain of logic in practice, please take a look at multiculturalist-postmodernism.

I will agree that there is such a thing as Jewish religion, Jewish culture, and Jewish people, but I dont think the concept "Judaism" packages them all together. For example, Jewish people may not adopt Jewish religion or Jewish culture. Someone may convert to the Jewish religion without being of Jewish ancestry.

However, if you are correct, then I will never understand you anyway, just as you will never understand my perspective.

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However, if you are correct, then I will never understand you anyway, just as you will never understand my perspective.

I understand your perspective perfectly. I reject it.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I understand your perspective perfectly. I reject it.

If you are capable of understanding my perspective (a premise I agree with) then I am capable of understanding yours (this of course assumes we both possess effective modes of cognition, which I would argue).

I would also argue that I understand your perspective as well, and as I stated before I reject yours.

As previously stated we are both entitled to our respective perspectives, just as we are entitled to our evaluations of eachothers perspectives. I hope that in the future we can continue to acknowlege eachothers perspectives, and our respective disagreements with these perspectives, in a rational and mutually non-hostile manner, as we are currently doing.

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I simply cannot see any argument for a "Jewish State" that does not depend on collectivism and mysticism, Im afraid.

How about this one. After the Holocaust, the pitiful remnant of European Jewry, having the temerity to wish to remain alive, and being accepted nowhere on earrh, went to Israel. Was the death of six million not enough?

Barbara

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(i.e. just as I cannot understand Judaism, you cannot understand Anglo Saxon Empiricism-Naturalism).

I don't think Bob was referring to ASE-N when he rejected your perspective. Personally, I have no idea what ASE-N is and I'm of German, English, and maybe Dutch stock.

Israel is. Calling it "illegitimate" is an attempt, and not just from you, to soften it up in the hope someone kicks it in the ass and gets away with it.

The loss of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust has terribly improvished humanity and retarded human progress. European Jewish stock is by far the world's smartest and most intellectually productive ethnic group. At least 12 million Jews do not exist today consequent to this disaster, albeit one significantly mitigated by the existence of Israel.

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede

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How about this one. After the Holocaust, the pitiful remnant of European Jewry, having the temerity to wish to remain alive, and being accepted nowhere on earth, went to Israel. Was the death of six million not enough?

There is no argument against the fact that the holocaust was a hideous, monstrous evil perpetrated by a morally depraved collectivist government against a completely innocent, harmless, defenseless minority. However, that does not mean that the area currently called Israel has to be presided over by a "Jewish State." Of course, if Jewish people decide to move to the area that their religion refers to as the "Holy Land," then in that area they should enjoy the individual rights that, as humans, they possess. However, this situation does not require that the state presiding over the area be explicitly identified with said people. As I stated in my post, the state currently presiding over the area referred to as Israel should be changed into a completely neutral body that respects the natural rights of all people in the area and not be a "Palestinian State" or "Jewish State." It should be a state that governs the area that both the Palestinian people and the Jewish people consider their homeland, and simply acts as a neutral arbiter. In short, a classical liberal minimal state that does not identify itself as some Rousseau-style manifestation of some alleged 'general will.'

Israel is. Calling it "illegitimate" is an attempt, and not just from you, to soften it up in the hope someone kicks it in the ass and gets away with it.

The loss of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust has terribly improvished humanity and retarded human progress. European Jewish stock is by far the world's smartest and most intellectually productive ethnic group. At least 12 million Jews do not exist today consequent to this disaster, albeit one significantly mitigated by the existence of Israel.

(The Above Quote from Brant Gaede)

You are misinterpreting me. I agree with you wholeheartedly that the Holocaust was undeniably evil, and a terrible loss to humanity. I do not endorse anti-semitism (i.e. racism against Jews), because racism is the most primitive form of collectivism. Nor do I morally sanction Palestinian Islamofacism, since what they would set up if they had their way would be worse than the current situation (they more than likely would set up a Sharia dictatorship). What I disagree with is the concept of a "Jewish State" and the premises behind it.

If my proposed situation were implemented at the end of the Second World War, then the outcome in terms of the safety of the Jewish people would be identical, if not superior. They would be able to live in the area that they consider their homeland and have their natural rights respected, and the fact that the state would not identify as Jewish would (at the very least) lessen Arab resentment.

Under no circumstances do I endorse any form of racism. Unlike most people that disagree with Zionism (as I previously defined it), I do not hold "the Jews" responsible for the current situation in the middle east. "The Jews" is not an entity, only individual Jewish people are entities, and not all individual Jewish people were or are Zionists (again, using the definition I stated above). Indeed, my stance on Zionism is in itself a consequence of my hatred of racial collectivism.

Edited by studiodekadent

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I'm stalking MSK here and found this thread, in addition I'd like to recommend -

The Mideast Web - Particularly:

A "Balanced" History of Jews and Arabs

History of Zionism

Also:

BBC's Israel main page

Allaboutpalestine.com A forum with some heated visceral debates but there is some very good information, both in facts and moral perspectives. Leaning very pro-arab.

Israel Forum AllAboutPalestine.com's jewish counterpart.

Israel National News Front Page Mag for Israelis

Jews Aainst Zionism A group of Jews basically disowned by 99% of Jews and posted here only for novelty.

Zionism and Israel This is a site about well, Zionism and Israel.

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On 7/1/2007 at 4:41 AM, BaalChatzaf said:

Judaism is not just a religion. It is a culture, nationality, people and a world view. Take it from me. I have been Jewish for 71 years, since I was circumcised by a mohel. You cannot grasp this from the outside. You have to be there.

A thousand years from now there will be no Objectivists but there will be Jews.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Israel holds elections tomorrow. From NPR. Israel's Groundhog Day: Hold Elections. Call Another Vote. Repeat March 1, 2020 8:01 AM ET . . . After two failed tries, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is campaigning aggressively to win another term on Monday. It'll be the country's unprecedented third election in less than a year . . . .

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