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Who should we be supporting Israel or the Palestinians

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probeson
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There are excellent arguments here in support of Israel, especially the exhaustative one by CapitalistSwine.

I think all arguments are rational -- moral, as well as practical.

As a long time Israel observer, I have never apologized for Israel; and in fact have been wary of any Israel 'apologists'.

I think they are the flipside of the same coin shared with Israel's detractors .

Both rely on emotionalism to make their points, and both ignore facts that don't fit their views.

As far as I know there are no 'perfect' nations in the world today - with Statism so rampant, it is important to discriminate between those better, and those worse.

To hate the "better', for being better, is wrong. To apply one set of standards to one nation, and a different to another, is even worse, imo.

To the OP, there is no "we", on which side to support; you should make up your own mind, as I have and do. But I'd suggest looking at all the facts and principles before applying moral judgement; not just those that conveniently fit your view.

(As only one point - I lived for 20 years in apartheid South Africa, and have visited Israel a few times and studied it well, and can report that there is very little correlation between the two, in government policy or individual racism.)

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A colon, I believe, is meant to be followed with an explanation.

David has answered your substantive questions so I won't bother.

I do appreciate receiving grammatical advice so I will return the favor: you are wrong.

A colon is used to point to, or call attention to, what follows.

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I'm not going to address the OP, others have done a great job already and I don't have the time to get into another debate about Israel.

You'll notice nobody here is a Zionist.

I am. Israel as an independent Jewish state is essential for the life, liberty and property of ethnically and religiously Jewish inividuals - as witnessed not only by a litany of pogroms throughout history, but also by the anti-Semitism that still exists in a supposedly enlghtened, liberal, Western world. I am still learning, I cannot call myself an Objectivist, but I don't see how this is contradictory or conflicting with Objectivism. If it is, I would genuinely like to find out more or discuss it in another thread.

(And no, I am not Jewish.)

The draft in Israel, or Norway, is clearly wrong.

I agree with pretty much everything else you said in this thread, but on this point I must disagree. In Norway it is clearly wrong - they have no enemies. However, one can not judge Israel in the same manner, as the context is so very different, the draft in Israel is an existential imperative, rendering moral judgment irrelevant.

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I agree with pretty much everything else you said in this thread, but on this point I must disagree. In Norway it is clearly wrong - they have no enemies. However, one can not judge Israel in the same manner, as the context is so very different, the draft in Israel is an existential imperative, rendering moral judgment irrelevant.

I am forgiving in this mistake on your part as you said yourself you are still learning about Objectivism. The draft was clearly wrong and continues to be.

I could put this in my own words but Rand's are much more succinct:

"A free (or even semi-free) country has never lacked volunteers in the face of foreign aggression."

"It is often asked: “But what if a country cannot find a sufficient number of volunteers?” Even so, this would not give the rest of the population a right to the lives of the country’s young men. But, in fact, the lack of volunteers occurs for one of two reasons: (1) If a country is demoralized by a corrupt, authoritarian government, its citizens will not volunteer to defend it. But neither will they fight for long, if drafted. For example, observe the literal disintegration of the Czarist Russian army in World War I. (2) If a country’s government undertakes to fight a war for some reason other than self-defense, for a purpose which the citizens neither share nor understand, it will not find many volunteers. Thus a volunteer army is one of the best protectors of peace, not only against foreign aggression, but also against any warlike ideologies or projects on the part of a country’s own government."

Basically, the draft is one of the greatest violations of individual rights as it negates man's right to life. That is the core of the philosophical argument, with extensions into the normal arguments against force and such and so on. The second argument is basically this: If a country cannot get enough of its population to defend it voluntarily then it has not justified its continued existence in that particular form. Whether that means a transition is necessary or simply the destruction of that country depends on context. I have several friends who live in Israel. I do not believe that there would be any issue if the draft was repealed.

Here is the rest:

http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/draft.html

rendering moral judgment irrelevant.

:o Israel is at war, and a rather unique one. As a result there are often "pockets" of what would be considered...metaphysically...as "emergency situations". However they are not and cannot be, as a whole as a state, in a perpetual emergency situation, so moral judgment is completely relevant. (I am taking a bit of a guessing leap here so if I am in error here fellow Objectivists please point out my mistake)

Further, as I have shown with my earlier paragraphs in this post,regardless of whether what I just said about emergency situations holds there certainly is good reason to examine the qualifications of imposing a draft, namely: there are no qualifications except under a state whose goal is to act in a totalitarian manner.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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  • 3 weeks later...
In Norway it is clearly wrong - they have no enemies.

- While I obviously dont support the draft in Norway (allthough I found the experience of military training quite enjoyable myself) I must point out that this is not the case.

Norway is a part of NATO, and has about 500 soldiers in Afghanistan. That may not seem like much, but keep in mind there are only 4.5 million people living in Norway to begin with, and from the drafted soldiers about 5% continue to be professional soldiers serving abroad (primarily Afghanistan). Just last week we lost four soldiers in the line of duty.

If we dont have any military there is obviously little incentive for NATO to keep including us, and considering that we share boarders with Russia it certainly helps being a part of NATO.

The Russians deployed somewhere from 100-250000 soldiers on our boarders back in what I think was 1995 as a military exercise. We did not know it was an exercise however. Our boarder defence consists of four hundred soldiers. So we definetly need an army - and our NATO membership.

However, one can not judge Israel in the same manner, as the context is so very different, the draft in Israel is an existential imperative, rendering moral judgment irrelevant.

- I dont think it is, the impression I have is that most Israeli youth have no problem serving in the army for a few years to protect their nation.

If it had not been for the fact that you have to be of the Jewish race to serve in IDF (unless your born in Israel, or convert to Judeaism) I might have considered enlisting myself.

They should have no problem aquiering personell without forcing those whom have no interest in warfare to risk their lifes against their will. Thats slavery.

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I am forgiving in this mistake on your part as you said yourself you are still learning about Objectivism. The draft was clearly wrong and continues to be.

I could put this in my own words but Rand's are much more succinct:

"A free (or even semi-free) country has never lacked volunteers in the face of foreign aggression."

...

I have several friends who live in Israel. I do not believe that there would be any issue if the draft was repealed.

You are right that most soldiers in the IDF are very happy doing national service, there is no real need to compell them, as they are willing volunteers. The numbers of those who protest/refuse service are very small. The fear in Israel is that if it were not a legal obligation, several things would happen to reduce the numbers of people enlisting - firstly, the free-rider problem; secondly, the fact that life would get in the way, the idea that I'll do my service, but after college etc, Israel already has a problem with haredim avoiding service due to Torah study (though they are increasing numbers with Nahal brigades); thirdly, that the culture of national service would be undermined and numbers would drop. Perhaps this fear is unwarranted, because national service is so deeply engrained in the society, I doubt that they would see a large reduction in service numbers - but I do understand why some are wary of taking the chance.

My main point was that the draft is different in the Israeli context than it is in the British, US or Norwegian context, where it is totally immoral and indefensible. To be surrounded by hostile nations at least makes the draft understandable, I find it difficult to judge a society that lives with that kind of threat.

:o Israel is at war, and a rather unique one. As a result there are often "pockets" of what would be considered...metaphysically...as "emergency situations". However they are not and cannot be, as a whole as a state, in a perpetual emergency situation, so moral judgment is completely relevant. (I am taking a bit of a guessing leap here so if I am in error here fellow Objectivists please point out my mistake)

Surely an "emergency" is determined as much by the situation as by any time-limit. There are different degrees of 'emergency' that would justify different acts - i.e. Israel is not in imminent danger of destruction by Syria, so can not morally nuke Damascus - but they can morally take other forms of military action such as in Lebanon in 2006 (as disastrous as that was...). The fact is that Israel is under a continual threat from terrorism, several towns are until continual bombardment from Qassam rockets and there are several nations in the region that wants her destruction. Perhaps this can not justify the draft, but it at least explains it.

- While I obviously dont support the draft in Norway (allthough I found the experience of military training quite enjoyable myself) I must point out that this is not the case.

Norway is a part of NATO, and has about 500 soldiers in Afghanistan. That may not seem like much, but keep in mind there are only 4.5 million people living in Norway to begin with, and from the drafted soldiers about 5% continue to be professional soldiers serving abroad (primarily Afghanistan). Just last week we lost four soldiers in the line of duty.

I never said Norway does not need an army, I said they don't need the draft. I don't mean to belittle Norway's contribution to international security, but it can hardly be deemed in the same situation as Israel.

If it had not been for the fact that you have to be of the Jewish race to serve in IDF (unless your born in Israel, or convert to Judeaism)

Just to be clear, whilst they don't draft arabs born in Israel (for obvious reasons) they can apply to join the IDF.

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Just to be clear, whilst they don't draft arabs born in Israel (for obvious reasons) they can apply to join the IDF.

- Yes, but foreigners are not allowed to voulenteir for the IDF if they are not of the Jewish fate.

Not even in some special unit designated for foreign supporters, which seems like a strange strategic decition by Israel imo.

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I was drafted into the US Army and sent to Korea. I asked a sergeant what I was doing there. He said "Fighting for freedom". I said "Do you see a contradiction in my being forced to fight for my freedom. He answered: "No".

The nature of man is the same in Norway, Israel, Hackensack. He must be free to live as a human.

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  • 2 months later...

Well, I just recently found out that there was a response to my post and I apologize for not coming back to finish the job. Well, where shall I begin? Since Capitalistswine has offered the most concise rebuttal, I will respond to his.

While this isn't directly referenced, one must keep in mind that ARI has never condoned financial support of Israel as far as I am aware and even Yaron Brook (who is from Israel originally)has stated that we should merely be political allies (as our long-term interests are the same and we gain from their presence as opposed to the alternative), not support them financially.

While I could not find any specific quotes where Objectivist intelligentsia have advocated financial support for Israel, I have found something even better:

ARI-"We hold that the state of Israel has a moral right to exist and to defend itself against attack — and that the United States should unequivocally support Israel."

Unequivocal support...meaning no doubt or misunderstanding. Now, how in God's name could any country be worthy of such support when our interests are not the same? Actually, the opposite is more closer to the truth. Why should we risk our national self interest for a country who is basically a welfare recipient of taxpayers, who's policies are reviled the world over, and put us on a collision course with the Islamic world?

Yes really. Israel is the hub of civilization in that region and helps to (on the most fundamental level at least) keep them in check in respect to certain important factors. Further, Israel's enemies are terrorist factions that advocate and act upon the code of Islamic totalitarianism. Even if they are not a direct threat, they are still a threat.

Civilized by who's standards? Keep who in check? Israel's enemies are not America's enemies.Hizbollah, Hamas, and Iran are a threat to Israel not America and we needlessly make enemies when we support the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem-a Muslim holy place.Why should we sacrifice ourselves when we receive no commensurate benefit? Why should we continue to spend our diplomatic capital in the UN when Israel has very little to offer in return? Is this not self-sacrifice?

If you continue with such obviously biased (and in the big picture, incorrect) comments then this thread is likely to become nothing more than a short discussion. This is one subject you most certainly cannot be doing any context dropping on and I won't discuss it with someone that chooses to do so as it will only be a waste of my time

.

Context-dropping ...when , where? What are you even talking about?

If you are speaking about international law...those fat, corrupt politicians won't do more than write an angry letter which is why they are not taken seriously, aside from the fact that those international institutions have long been a sham and that none of these people have probably seen a level of conflict great than that of a serious paper-cut on their index finger. International law is broken regularly by many nations, often by those in prominent positions in these international bodies. All of these facts aside, it is irrelevant if they are obeying international law. They do not have an obligation to the other nations of the world to act on arbitrary rules of conduct, their own interests as a government to the protection of the individual rights of their population come first.

Please explain how these are "arbitrary" rules of conduct against the initiation of force?:

You cannot annex(steal, take) territory outside your sovereign borders with agreement of the country your are taking it from

You cannot invade just anyone you feel like

You cannot kill or target innocent civilians

You cannot just hijack ships with state flags in waters that belong to no one

You cannot use force indiscriminately, it should be proportionate to the offense. Especially when there are other means you can use (LIKE ENDING THE OCCUPATION)

You cannot set up an apartheid system of government

You cannot keep land acquired by war and armistice lines are not borders

How odd that you seem to subscribe to anarchy among nations or the primitive idea that a national collective have no rights another collective is bound to respect.This is a very crude form of collectivism- where what is good or right is so because a state says so. Is there no moral law applicable to a collective of individuals or are they above morality? If the rule of law is necessary to place force under objective control then why does this not apply to nation states? The reason you can brush it so easily aside is that the US has been protecting your country from the wrath of world opinion for over 40 years with its veto power against Security Council Resolutions. If it wasn't for this, Israel would be crushed under sanctions and isolation and the vote in the General Assembly and Security Council , with DAMN NEAR THE WHOLE WORLD ON ONE SIDE and the US and Israel on the other , would ensure that justice, morality, and human decency would prevail.

What kind of philosophical view is it that is inimical to the rule of law? And what kind of defense is "everyone else is doing it?".Let me guess, the people in these institutions are basically liberal pussies, with their talk of human rights,justice, activism against oppression, criticism of the killing of defenseless civilians etc....hell, you live in the real world right? Sometimes, these things are necessary huh?

Man, so we are on the path to reduction ad hitlerum (and necessarily reductio ad absurdum) in the first post of the thread!? If you think Israel's actions are on par with that of the Nazis you need to pick up a history book.

No, I chose my words carefully. There are several parallels, on several levels. I did not say they were the same but that there actions and methods of dealing with an unwanted population are similar.I realize you maybe trying to paint me with an extremist brush but there are FACTUAL similarities Consider:

1.They are/were both based on ethnic-superiority, the Master Race and the Chosen People

2.Both were Nationalist Socialist countries- Jewish nationalism and German nationalism

3.Both seek/sought to create a larger socialist state where their are "special rights" for the favored people.

4.The Nazi's sought to illegally create "lebensraum" or living room in Poland and Zionism seeks to illegally expand into Palestine

5. Both created ghettos or concentration camps for their unwanted populations -Gaza vs Poland

6.Both relentlessly invaded, attacked and occupied their neighbors

7. Both use(d) self defense as a justification for attacking their neighbors but it was the Nazis that created this defense at Nuremberg

I realize the historical connection and its sensitivity but a fact is a fact. I am not saying Zionism is Nazism but still ....

Good for them. As if they really needed a reason to hate other people that are not like them. I hardly care about what nationalists think, especially less arab nationalists. Primitive minds resorting to primitive actions to support unforgivable levels of individual rights violations don't deserve any respect in regards to retaliatory actions. They will be treated the way they deserve to be treated, they certainly don't have any moral base to stand on.

Then maybe you should start with Zionism- which is basically Jewish nationallism. Your comments fit nicely, does this include your beloved Israel as well?

You are criticizing the Israeli's actions in their conflict and you don't want to get into politics!? The 9/11 commission was a hatch job put together by the government and isn't a good source of information on those terrorists, and if you have watched any of the Bin Laden videos or other documents allegedly from him then you should know that this is not the main reason for his radicalism or his attacks
.

Is the whole world out to get Israel? Surely not the US congress too? There is not one politician of repute who would use this commission for political games. I believe they gave an honest assessment of the cause and you, as a supporter (and probably citizen)of Israel , are probably biased. I have watched Bin Laden and the plight of the Palestinians was his mantra.

Edited by probeson
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I believe they gave an honest assessment of the cause and you, as a supporter (and probably citizen)of Israel , are probably biased. I have watched Bin Laden and the plight of the Palestinians was his mantra.

1. So if he does not agree with your views on Palestine then he is most likely an citizen of Israel and therefore biased? Can you give us a reason why you are even worth bothering to talk to after this statement? I would really like to hear it. The fact that you did not bother to take a moment to check his profile, which says he lives in Iowa. I have to wonder, if you are doing such an abhorrently poor job figuring out the facts on something as simple as this before making such bold and sure statements, I have to wonder if such a shoddy job can be attributed to your personal analysis of the facts regarding other things.

2. I suggest you do some more research on Bin Laden.... (and please don't post his messages to the U.S. regarding Palestine/Israel, I am already aware of them.

1.They are/were both based on ethnic-superiority, the Master Race and the Chosen People (MISLEADING)

2.Both were Nationalist Socialist countries- Jewish nationalism and German nationalism (You are greatly generalizing the actual structures of both of these countries during the times you are referencing, even so, this hardly attributes much to your overall argument)

3.Both seek/sought to create a larger socialist state where their are "special rights" for the favored people.

(This again shows your very shallow understanding of how Israeli politics, and their government actually operates.)

4.The Nazi's sought to illegally create "lebensraum" or living room in Poland and Zionism seeks to illegally expand into Palestine. (You assume that Zionism has complete control over Israel and its politics. This is false as can be explained by someone that actually knows two shits about the country you love to lambaste)

5. Both created ghettos or concentration camps for their unwanted populations -Gaza vs Poland

Ok this claim is so hilarious I just have to do a PICTURE COMPARISON:

Gaza vs. Poland

6.Both relentlessly invaded, attacked and occupied their neighbors.

(This is false in numerous ways. If you really want me to explain this in detail then I will but let me know beforehand so I don't waste my time.) With the exception of things such as the bulldozings etc. the hostilities have largely been initiated not by Israel but by her enemies.)

7. Both use(d) self defense as a justification for attacking their neighbors but it was the Nazis that created this defense at Nuremberg

(I cannot actually consider this to be a serious argument. Now you are just being desperate. This kind of argument regarding this topic would be immediately thrown out of any professional style debate because its so ludicrous and blinded.)

Again, I ask, as I have in the other thread. Have you actually ever visited Israel or Gaza? Particularly the latter? No one here is suggesting Israel is completely innocent, that it has done nothing wrong. However you are creating such a ludicrously biased and blinded position for yourself (I would attribute it to confirmation-bias with respect to finding out information on the subject) that it is almost not worth the time to respond to your comments as I see it. I say this because I do not thing you will ever budge one notable inch from your position unless you go visit the place yourself. I suggest you go buy a plane ticket and let us know when you have rejoined us in reality. This assumes you were initially there however.

Edited by TJ46
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Probeson, I'm glad you started this thread - you were trying to discuss this question in the "Gaza Flotilla" thread, and I really think that thread couldn't contain a discussion of this scope. However, I think the scope of your posts in this thread are still too broad.

You should focus your discussion on a few basic starting points. You keep bringing up things like the Gaza flotilla raid and what you call the creation of an "apartheid state". But the evaluation of these acts must wait until you have established that Israel does or doesn't have right to defend itself, who the aggressor is, etc. Presenting recent exaples before establishing the legitimacy of a Jewish state or the identity of the aggressor will not be persuasive to people who disagree with you about the basics. I actually think that presenting such exaples will sow the kind of confusion that leads people like TJ46 to think you aren't willing to discuss the issue rationally. I have to admit I shared this assumption, but I'm really trying to give you the benefit of the doubt.

So, again, my suggestion is to focus the scope so you and the rest of the posters can begin to agree on the basics. For instance, does a pre-emptive military strike equate to the innitiation of force? You seem to think so, but I'd bet that many of the other posters would say that striking in such a way as a response to a credible threat is not the initiation of force. They might say that the threat innitiated force and the pre-emptive strike was actually retaliatory. How this question applies to the Six Day War is one of the most important issues when interpreting Israeli behavior. It will begin to establish either a pattern of self-defense or a pattern of aggression.

Edited by FeatherFall
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Thank you.

You are probably correct, there are too many issues on the table and it seems more productive to tackle them one at a time. Since this is an Objectivist forum, it seems that the starting point should be , "Who is the aggressor?". It seems the moral argument is the least controversial and it will tend to keep the conversation from deteriorating into a reasonable interpretation of history vs the numerous myths that surround the subject. Of course some history will have to be involved as the current situation is a product of historical causality.

If we can agree that it is the initiator of force who is the criminal and by doing so, he has forfeited ALL rights , including the right to life then this moral principle is evident in Israel's actions against the Palestinians. I say we have a moral obligation to call a spade a spade and that we should side with the victim who suffers unjustly.

The illegal annexation of land or land theft is an act of aggression.I'm sure it is not controversial to say that if you deprive me of my property then you have deprived me of the means to sustain my life so such an act is a direct/indirect attack on my life, so I have the right to defend myself or resist you if you are in the process of doing so.

The only land that is Israel's is the land that it was given under the Partition Plan(PP), everything else belongs to someone else by the law of non contradiction. What does not belong to the surrounding states, who's borders are already defined or territory under dispute, is Palestine by the law of non contradiction. Therefore, all land that Israel occupies after 48 that was not given under the PP is stolen, Occupied Palestinian Territory(OPT). But this is not the end of its aggression, it was given 51%(I believe) but it now controls ALL of it-including the land the Palestinians live on.

Occupation is when a hostile army has control over a territory not its own. A simple analogy is having a gang invade your home, run its operation against your wishes, restrict your movement....complete expropriation by force.Under these circumstances, one is morally bound to resist this initiation of force BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. whether it is by lobbing rockets blindly out of your bedroom, each family member blowing themselves up to kill the enemy -whatever it takes to defend one's life is fair game. Remember, the aggressor has no rights because of his criminal act so he cannot claim self defense.

Lastly, it is an act of force to invade a collective of people, occupy them AND then set up a military dictatorship where you control their movement, monitor them, control all commerce, assassinate its leaders, etc..... they have not only the right to resist and defend themselves but it would be immoral not to. If you disagree with the methods they use to defend themselves then it would still require one to show that these actions would still be chosen if they were not suffering under Israels's yoke.

Now, I am sure that the comeback will be that Israel has a right to these territories because they were acquired during a war. Well, it is illegal under international law to acquire land by war (UN 242). Second, the war or pretext Israel used to acquire these territories was an AGGRESSIVE war which makes it still illegitimate. Third, armistice lines are not borders under international law.

Now, if you disagree with international law AS AN INSTITUTION then what are you really saying? That nation states(the individuals that comprise them) do not have rights that other nations are morally bound to respect? That any nation has the RIGHT to initiate force against another? If the purpose of the rule of law is to place force under objective control( in a society of individuals )then why does this not apply to a collective of individuals? Hell , aren't you making the case that the strongest country , if it was able, would not be immoral if it just annexed Israel because it decided it was in its self interest to do so and imposed its laws on it and if Israel could not defend itself then tough cookie?

Am I clear enough?

Edited by probeson
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If we can agree that it is the initiator of force who is the criminal and by doing so, he has forfeited ALL rights , including the right to life then this moral principle is evident in Israel's actions against the Palestinians. I say we have a moral obligation to call a spade a spade and that we should side with the victim who suffers unjustly.

You may only take such actions as necessary to stop the force. True, this sometimes includes killing the force initiator who does place himself outside of the entire conception of individual rights, but as a blanket principle “the initiator of force forfeits ALL his rights” is not true. If a child shoplifts a pack of chewing gum and refuses to listen to reason, I may not kill him. If a pickpocket steals my watch, I may not spray machine gun fire into a crowd of people to kill him. If Evil Empire X occupies my neighborhood, I may not lob rockets into crowds of people shouting “Allahu Akbar!”

And also, this would seemingly place a contradiction in your criticism of Israel's response to the mass killings it has been frequented with. Yesterday you stated:

You cannot use force indiscriminately, it should be proportionate to the offense.

This is an oft-invoked canard in the attacks on Israel's actions, that it is being too “heavy-handed” in its responses, and should really only respond “proportionately.” Nevermind the fact that a “proportionate” response to mass killings would then also be mass killings rendering the whole conversation pointless, but my point here is that it would seem you have a double standard. Does an aggressor “forfeit ALL his rights” to “ANY MEANS NECESSARY” or should the response be “proportionate”?

The illegal annexation of land or land theft is an act of aggression.... The only land that is Israel's is the land that it was given under the Partition Plan(PP), everything else belongs to someone else by the law of non contradiction. What does not belong to the surrounding states, who's borders are already defined or territory under dispute, is Palestine by the law of non contradiction.

Given the above, it might seem we have a confused understanding of the law of non-contradiction. The law of non-contradiction is that A cannot be both A and non-A at the same time. A correct statement in regards to who owns a particular plot of land in this area would be “Two individuals cannot be the exclusive owner of one and the same plot of property at the same time.” This does not mean that “everything else [outside of where the UN draws lines on a map and calls it 'the borders of Israel'] belongs to someone else [i.e. the Arabs]” and whatever an Israeli seeks to claim ownership to here is therefore illegitimate. Again re: my previous post in the other thread, property rights, whether a title to a specific item has been bought or homesteaded does not depend on national or international or any collective noun denoting something like: “This land belongs to your tribe, that land belongs to my tribe. You stay over there and we'll stay over here, if not we go to war.”

Therefore, all land that Israel occupies after 48 that was not given under the PP is stolen, Occupied Palestinian Territory(OPT). But this is not the end of its aggression, it was given 51%(I believe) but it now controls ALL of it-including the land the Palestinians live on.

Also, given this understanding, regardless of whichever individual Palestinians do have legitimate ownership titles to land areas within the West Bank or Gaza, they have no right to establish a government in these areas, given their desire to establish a non-Western, non-rights-respecting Arab socialist state or outright Islamic state whether popular democratic or theocratic dictatorship. Therefore we do not believe the PLO or West Bank authorities to have a right to establish a government, nor do we recognize Hamas as having a moral right to establish a government. And also, given that and the fact that we believe Israel to be the more legitimate government and the victims of the aggression of terrorist guerrillas and savages, Israel therefore in our view has a right to conquer, occupy, and annex the land areas of the West Bank and Gaza, and the Golan Heights, etc.

Lastly, it is an act of force to invade a collective of people, occupy them AND then set up a military dictatorship where you control their movement, monitor them, control all commerce, assassinate its leaders, etc.....

An act of force, though not necessarily an initiation. Again, we do not here claim to support Israel's tactics in every event. They should engage in assassinations and control the movement of civilians in the enemy's territory, but they should also have put an end to the whole thing a lot sooner.

Now, I am sure that the comeback will be that Israel has a right to these territories because they were acquired during a war. Well, it is illegal under international law to acquire land by war (UN 242). Second, the war or pretext Israel used to acquire these territories was an AGGRESSIVE war which makes it still illegitimate. Third, armistice lines are not borders under international law.

Now, if you disagree with international law AS AN INSTITUTION then what are you really saying? ...That any nation has the RIGHT to initiate force against another?

We are saying, any law, whether international or no, unless it upholds individual rights in an objective manner, is an illegitimate law. The UN, being an evil institution, has no right to define the borders of Israel or govern its defensive force's actions. But more abstract, rights do not come from the law, the only laws one is obligated to respect are objective laws (i.e. laws outlawing the initiation of physical force or fraud) so international law is not the standard of judgment. No man has the right to initiate force. Back to something more specific, if you want to complain about the international waters or some such thing, you see it has no relevance to us and is not a frame of reference.

Acquiring land by war is not per se immoral. As mentioned above, Israel should take whatever land it objectively needs to protect its people, if such annexations are “illegal under international law XYZ thus sayeth the anti-Israel consensus,” then that is a touch cookie. As to the UN, should simply ignore them (or better yet, actively denounce and morally censure them.)

So to sum up, we believe Israel to be the more legitimate and moral government in this region (I think you get the point why by now, but if not see posts # 20, 14, 12, 11, and 2 in this thread) and therefore the settlers and immigrants who developed the land and formed the government of Israel have the moral right to exist over the Arab states and guerrillas that attacked it and continue to attack it. To threaten attack is to initiate force, therefore Israel's war, though a preemptive strike, was a war of self-defense, and Israel being the more legitimate country should morally be supported over the Palestinians and Arabs.

Edited by 2046
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Now, I am sure that the comeback will be that Israel has a right to these territories because they were acquired during a war.

If you are going to give the impression that you can be reasoned with, this will not do. I get offended when people put words in my mouth that I wouldn't put there. It's disrespectful.

Well, it is illegal under international law to acquire land by war (UN 242). Second, the war or pretext Israel used to acquire these territories was an AGGRESSIVE war which makes it still illegitimate. Third, armistice lines are not borders under international law.

Resolution 242 was passed after the 6-day war, and I don't agree with retroactive legislation. But that fact aside, international law as practiced by the UN is a farce. I've previously addressed the portion I've highlighted in bold, but I will address it again at the end of this post.

Now, if you disagree with international law AS AN INSTITUTION then what are you really saying? ...
The answer to all but one of the questions you go on to pose in this paragraph is an emphatic, "NO!" The conclusions don't follow.

Placing force under objective control is the purpose of law and law does apply to aggregates of individuals. But the UN does not rule objectively. If you want to discuss that point, I suggest a new thread.

The illegal annexation of land or land theft is an act of aggression.

This isn't true. Laws, as we know, can be just or unjust. So the legality of annexation says nothing about the moral status of annexation. UN "law" should be discussed in another thread if you disagree, but for the purposes of this thread I position myself as an opponent of the UN in general.

So, if I disagree with international law as an institution, what am I really saying? The acquisition of land during a war is legitimate only if that war was taken in self-defense. Furthermore, one of two things must be satisfied. The new territory must be better governed by the victorious nation, or the territory must be necessary to the continued self-defense of the victorious nation. Not only did Israel acquire its territory in self-defense (again I'll re-present my case shortly), but they also deemed the territory to be objectively necessary to their continued safety. We might even argue that they govern much of the new territory better, but that's a different discussion.

I agree that a person or a nation's government has the right to use any means necessary for defense. That was never my issue. My issue is who you consider, by and large, to be the aggressor.

You made an analogy about home invasion that I don't particularly like. But if I were to play around with it I would say that you've got the homeowner/aggressor relationship mixed up. I'd say that Israel's house is being invaded by a bunch of hostile neighboring landlords, and if a homeowner gets to defend himself by any means necessary, then Israel has the right to push out their aggressive neighbors and administer their newly acquired apartment complexes. The UN is the corrupt neighborhood association that has no ability to stop the criminal activity of the neighboring landlords and even refuses to recognize it.

Like I wrote earlier, the Six Day War was an act of self-defense by Israel. Threats are an initiation of force. Physical force can be used in retaliation to an objective threat. Israel's strike was a response to an objective threat by surrounding nations, and the territory they continue to occupy is necessary for their continued self-defense. Do you disagree with anything in this paragraph and, if so, what part? Try to make your response concise.

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This is an oft-invoked canard in the attacks on Israel's actions, that it is being too “heavy-handed” in its responses, and should really only respond “proportionately.” Nevermind the fact that a “proportionate” response to mass killings would then also be mass killings rendering the whole conversation pointless, but my point here is that it would seem you have a double standard. Does an aggressor “forfeit ALL his rights” to “ANY MEANS NECESSARY” or should the response be “proportionate”?

I would be very interested in learning about mass killings against Israel, from my research, the ratio is about 100:1. I submit to you that land expropriation,colonialism, political assassinations,control of commerce represent a threat against one's life and should be met with the maximum force possible to resist and deter it. We are not talking about stealing a piece of gum.

Given the above, it might seem we have a confused understanding of the law of non-contradiction. The law of non-contradiction is that A cannot be both A and non-A at the same time. A correct statement in regards to who owns a particular plot of land in this area would be “Two individuals cannot be the exclusive owner of one and the same plot of property at the same time.” This does not mean that “everything else [outside of where the UN draws lines on a map and calls it 'the borders of Israel'] belongs to someone else [i.e. the Arabs]” and whatever an Israeli seeks to claim ownership to here is therefore illegitimate. Again re: my previous post in the other thread, property rights, whether a title to a specific item has been bought or homesteaded does not depend on national or international or any collective noun denoting something like: “This land belongs to your tribe, that land belongs to my tribe. You stay over there and we'll stay over here, if not we go to war.”

Then you have misunderstood. If Israel has sovereignty over land WITHIN the partition plan then it is a contradiction to say it also has sovereignty over land outside it. What's outside is non-Israel.It makes little difference WHO'S land is outside its borders-it does not belong to Israel. So the land outside its borders cannot be Israel's because Israel has already been defined.All land not within the borders of the surrounding states, belong the Palestine. Therefore you cannot homestead land already owned by someone else because your border has already been defined.

Also, given this understanding, regardless of whichever individual Palestinians do have legitimate ownership titles to land areas within the West Bank or Gaza, they have no right to establish a government in these areas, given their desire to establish a non-Western, non-rights-respecting Arab socialist state or outright Islamic state whether popular democratic or theocratic dictatorship.

If individual rights are your benchmark then why is Israel more legitimate?Does it not grant additional favor to Jews? Is there not institutional racism in Israel? Does it not grant the right of return to Jews but not to Palestinians who have lived there all their lives? Isn't it a socialist state too? What does non-western even have to do with it?

Therefore we do not believe the PLO or West Bank authorities to have a right to establish a government, nor do we recognize Hamas as having a moral right to establish a government. And also, given that and the fact that we believe Israel to be the more legitimate government and the victims of the aggression of terrorist guerrillas and savages, Israel therefore in our view has a right to conquer, occupy, and annex the land areas of the West Bank and Gaza, and the Golan Heights, etc.

There is no such thing as the right to enslave, morality ends where the gun begins.

We are saying, any law, whether international or no, unless it upholds individual rights in an objective manner, is an illegitimate law. The UN, being an evil institution, has no right to define the borders of Israel or govern its defensive force's actions.

How odd....the UN had the right to CREATE, i.e. take land against the wishes of the indigenous population and create Israel AND define its borders but it cannot tell Israel that it cannot steal land outside its borders? Really? Then you have just made the case yourself that Israel is illegitimate.

But more abstract, rights do not come from the law, the only laws one is obligated to respect are objective laws (i.e. laws outlawing the initiation of physical force or fraud) so international law is not the standard of judgment. No man has the right to initiate force. Back to something more specific, if you want to complain about the international waters or some such thing, you see it has no relevance to us and is not a frame of reference.

Oh, but I agree but does this apply to Israel as well? It is specifically the outlawing of the initiation of violence that I am speaking of but you seem to be suggesting that laws against occupation, disproportionality, pirating in international waters , etc...should have "no relevance to us and is not a frame of reference"

Acquiring land by war is not per se immoral. As mentioned above, Israel should take whatever land it objectively needs to protect its people, if such annexations are “illegal under international law XYZ thus sayeth the anti-Israel consensus,” then that is a touch cookie. As to the UN, should simply ignore them (or better yet, actively denounce and morally censure them.)

This seems self -contradictory to me. If international law should outlaw violence then how do you advocate stealing someone elses property? Why is it that all actions of the UN are immoral except the one that created Israel?

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This HAS to be cleared up because this is a largely recurring argument, so I will deal with it specifically:

The Accusation:

Israel started the Six-Day War (i.e. an aggressive action)

The Accusers:

"In 1967 Israel started the Six Day War by launching an air attack on Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza and 1.5 million Arabs, mostly Palestinians, came under Israeli occupation. More than 300,000 Palestinians were forced to flee. Israel is still occupying the territories." (Eva Bjoreng, secretary general of Norwegian People's Aid, and Steinar Sorlie, secretary general of Norwegian Refugee Council)

The Reality:

Although Israel fired the first shot against Egypte--although not against Jordon--the war was begun by Egypt's decision to close the Gulf of Aqaba to Israeli shipping and to order the removal of U.N. troops from the Sinai.

The Proof:

Although Israel fired the first shots, virtually everyone recognizes that Egypt, Syria, and Jordan started the war. The Illegal Egyptian decision to close the Straits of Tiran by military force was recognized by the international community to be an act of war. As Egyptian president Nasser himself boasted, "We knew the closing of the Gulf of Aqaba meant war with Israel...the objective will be Israel's destruction." The Egyptian commander of Sharm al-Shekh, the point of entry to the straits from which the Egyptians warned they would shoot at any Israeli ship that tried to pass through on the way to or from Eilat, acknowledged that "the closing of the straits was a declaration of war." However, according to Nasser, the war was not to be over the Straits of Tiran but over Israel's "existence." Nor was Israel's surrender contemplated. This, like the 1948 war, was planned to be a war of extermination.

Damascus Radio incited its listeners: "Arab masses, this is your day. Rush to the battlefield...Let them know that we shall hang the last imperialist soldier with the entrails of the last Zionist." Hafiz al-assad ordered his Syrian soldiers to "strike the enemy's civilian settlements, turn them into dust, pave the Arab roads with the skulls of Jews. Strike them without mercy." He characterized the forthcoming attack on Israel as "a battle of annihilation." The Voices of the Arabs in Cairo exhorted its listeners with similar incitements to see that "Israel is liquidated." The prime minister of Iraq predicted, "There will be practically no Jewish survivors." Cairo was filled with anti-Semitic posters "showing Arab soldiers shooting, crushing, mangling, and dismembering beared, hook-nosed Jews."

Nor was this only rhetoric. Arab armies were massing along Israel's border poised to strike. Egyptian battle plans included the massacre of the Tel Aviv civilian population. Palestinian plans included the destruction of Israel "and its inhabitants." Israeli intelligence reported that the invading Egyptian army was equipped with "canisters of poison gas." The only question was whether the Arab armies would be able to strike the first military blow. As Prime Minister Levi Eshkol told his cabinet on May 21, 1967, "The Egyptians plan to close the straits or to bomb the atomic reactor in Dimona. A general attack will follow. A war could ensue in which the first 5 minutes will be decisive. The question is who will attack the other's airfields first." After exhausting all diplomatic options and learning that Egypt was preparing an imminent attack and had flown surveillance flights over Israeli territory, the Israeli air force attacked Egyptian, Syrian, and Iraqi military airfields on the morning of June 5, 1967. Would any reasonable nation faced with comparable threats of annihilation have acted differently?

Israel did not attack Jordan, hoping it would stay out of the war, despite its treaty with Egypt sent several messages to King Hussein promising not to attack Jordan unless it was attacked first. Israel made it clear that it had no designs on the West Bank or even on the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, with its Western Wall, unless it were to be attacked. It was the Arab legion that initiated the hostilities between Jordan and Israel.

Jordan ignored Israel's repeated peaceful overtures and began shelling Jewish civilian population centers in and around Israel's major cities and suburbs. Six thousand shells were fired into Jewish residential areas, wounding 1,000 civilians, many of them seriously. 20 civilians were killed and 900 buildings were damaged. Long Tom guns targeted the suburbs of Tel Aviv, and Jordanian planes joined Syrian and Iraqi MIGs in bombing civilian population centers in cities, towns etc. Damascus Radio proudly reported, "The Syrian Air Force has begun to bomb Israeli cities." It was a repeat of 1948, in which the Arab armies deliberately and unlawfully targeted Israeli civilian population centers, while the Israeli army attacked legitimate military targets.

Despite Jordan's unprovoked attack against Israeli civilians, the Israeli army did not respond, hoping that Jordan would limit its military actions to a few opening salvos, but after Jordan sent its air force into the sky to bomb the residential neighborhoods of Netanya, Kfar Sirkin, and Kfar Saba, the Israeli air forces finally attacked Jordanian military airfields. The Israeli's then accepted a cease-fire proposed by the U.N. chief observer, but the Jordanians fought on. Only then did Israel capture the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem--plainly in a defensive war against Jordan started by Jordan after Israel made it clear it wanted no military conflict with the Hashemite Kingdom.

The Six-Day War created yet another refugee problem, this one much easier to resolve in the context of a two-state solution. The 200,000 to 250,000 refugees who left Gaza and the West Bank following the Israeli occupation of those areas will surely have a right to return to those areas once a Palestinian state is established. (It will be interesting to see how many actually exercise that right, since the exercise of that right--unlike the claimed right of return to Israel-will have no major political or demographic effect on the Jewish state.) Most of the refugees left on their own accord.

In general, the casualties among civilians "were remarkably low" during the Six-Day War because Israel made sure that most of the fighting "took place far from major population centers". Indeed, the major civilian casualties were inflicted by Arab mobs on innocent Jewish civilians in Arab cities that were not involved in the fighting. A summary:

"Mobs attacked Jewish neighborhoods in Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Morocco, burning synagogues and assaulting residents. A progrom in Tripoli, Libya, left 18 jews dead and 25 injured; the survivors were herded into detention centers. Of Egypt's 4,000 Jews, 800 were arrested, including the chief rabbis of both Cairo and Alexandria, and their property sequestered by the government. The ancient communities of Damascus and Baghdad were placed under house arrest, their leaders imprisoned and fined. A total of 7,000 Jews were expelled, many with merely a satchel."

This refugee problem has never been addressed by the international community. The other civilian casualties, as we have seen, were inflicted on Jewish residents of cities and towns that were targeted by Arab mortar shells. The tiny number of Arab civilian casualties was lower than in any comparable war in modern history--a fact never mentioned by those who accuse Israel of genocide or the indiscriminate killing of civilians. The major impact of the Six-Day War was the occupation itself.

The accusation is that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights following its victory in the Six-Day

War is without any justification.

The reality is that Israel was willing to trade land captured in a defensive war for peace, as it eventually did with the Egyptians and Jordanians, but neither the Palestinians nor the Syrians have been willing to offer peace in exchange for land, as required by Security Council Resolution 242.

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Placing force under objective control is the purpose of law and law does apply to aggregates of individuals. But the UN does not rule objectively. If you want to discuss that point, I suggest a new thread
.

I am only talking about those international laws that outlaw the initiation of force. These can be said to be moral laws.

This isn't true. Laws, as we know, can be just or unjust. So the legality of annexation says nothing about the moral status of annexation. UN "law" should be discussed in another thread if you disagree, but for the purposes of this thread I position myself as an opponent of the UN in general.

True, but I am making a moral argument that amounts to Israel's disregard for laws that outlaw stealing land is immoral. You are seeking to deprive me of ammunition. I doubt very seriously that taking your neighbors property through force can be considered moral whether there is a law against it or not -irregardless of who enforces it.

So, if I disagree with international law as an institution, what am I really saying? The acquisition of land during a war is legitimate only if that war was taken in self-defense. Furthermore, one of two things must be satisfied. The new territory must be better governed by the victorious nation, or the territory must be necessary to the continued self-defense of the victorious nation. Not only did Israel acquire its territory in self-defense (again I'll re-present my case shortly), but they also deemed the territory to be objectively necessary to their continued safety. We might even argue that they govern much of the new territory better, but that's a different discussion
.

I find it odd that you would say that Israel governs better when it does not have the consent of the governed. For that matter, any dictator could be said to be as legitimate.

.

Y

ou made an analogy about home invasion that I don't particularly like. But if I were to play around with it I would say that you've got the homeowner/aggressor relationship mixed up. I'd say that Israel's house is being invaded by a bunch of hostile neighboring landlords, and if a homeowner gets to defend himself by any means necessary, then Israel has the right to push out their aggressive neighbors and administer their newly acquired apartment complexes. The UN is the corrupt neighborhood association that has no ability to stop the criminal activity of the neighboring landlords and even refuses to recognize it.

Have you forgotten that this "corrupt neighborhood" created your state in the first place? And just how has this this house been invaded? This makes no sense to me

Like I wrote earlier, the Six Day War was an act of self-defense by Israel. Threats are an initiation of force. Physical force can be used in retaliation to an objective threat. Israel's strike was a response to an objective threat by surrounding nations, and the territory they continue to occupy is necessary for their continued self-defense. Do you disagree with anything in this paragraph and, if so, what part? Try to make your response concise.

Perhaps we should define our terms:

Force-

The use of physical power or violence to compel or restrain

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/force

It seems you are using an exotic definition of force. It means physical violence. Obviously rhetoric is not subsumed under physical violence so therefore what you consider force is not force. So if Israel attacked its neighbors when "violence to compel or restrain" was not used first, then it is the aggressor.

Edited by probeson
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Perhaps we should define our terms:

Force-

The use of physical power or violence to compel or restrain

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/force

It seems you are using an exotic definition of force. It means physical violence. Obviously rhetoric is not subsumed under physical violence so therefore what you consider force is not force. So if Israel attacked its neighbors when "violence to compel or restrain" was not used first, then it is the aggressor.

I'll address this first, because it exposes a huge misunderstanding of yours. We shouldn't use the dictionary definition of force. We're on an Objectivist forum and philosophy requires the use of precise definitions that are not found in common dictionaries. This should explain why threats of violence are force:

http://aynrandlexico...ical_force.html

I am making a moral argument that amounts to Israel's disregard for laws that outlaw stealing land is immoral.

Annexation is about assuming jurisdiction, not taking property. This is one reason why I hate home-invasion analogies for international conflict. When one nation takes over another, private property is not always lost by everyone in the annexed territory. It is unfortunate that Israel hasn't protected private property consistently throughout its history, especially with regard to some of the recent settlements. But they protect such property far more consistently than any Palestinian authority. Palestine has been in a state of de-facto anarchy for a long time.

Have you forgotten that this "corrupt neighborhood" created your state in the first place? And just how has this this house been invaded? This makes no sense to me

I told you I thought it was a bad analogy. I never invoked UN law for justification of Israel's creation. The Jews in Israel declared Israeli statehood, that they did so in accordance with UN decree is immaterial. Israel was swiftly invaded by surrounding Arab nations in the war of '48.

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I would be very interested in learning about mass killings against Israel, from my research, the ratio is about 100:1.

Then you seem to be ignorant of the explicitly stated goals of the Arab states and guerillas fighters in addition to their actions.

I submit to you that land expropriation,colonialism, political assassinations,control of commerce represent a threat against one's life and should be met with the maximum force possible to resist and deter it. We are not talking about stealing a piece of gum.

Of course we are not talking about a piece of gum, we are talking about abstract principles. Think about the essences of the situations, not about the concretes like “gum.” You don't have a right to commit indiscriminate slaughter because you are under the impression that Israel stole your land and is engaging in colonialism.

Then you have misunderstood. If Israel has sovereignty over land WITHIN the partition plan then it is a contradiction to say it also has sovereignty over land outside it.

Not at all. A contradiction is an incompatibility between to propositions. To say that Israel has “sovereignty” within the partition plan does not exclude it also having a moral right to take actions outside of this partition. Think more about the statement “two individuals cannot be the exclusive owner of one and the same plot of property at the same time” denotes a situation involving the impossibility of a contradiction, but the statement “Israel's moral authority to act extends beyond this partition” does not.

Also, “Israel” does not validly own any land. You are still thinking collectively or making a personification about “Israel's land” verses “the Palestinian's land.” Only individuals in this area have a valid moral right to own land, and Israel is the only valid government which was formed by those individuals who had a moral right to the land they justly acquired and is the most relatively moral government in this area to assume jurisdiction and the alternative would mean destruction of a part of Western civilization in this inhuman part of the world. Also related, if Israel is overrun by Jihadists, we in America are less secure, making it a proper personal moral choice to support Israel.

The “sovereignty” of this group or that group is invalid. The land does not belong to the Arabs, for all the reasons already mentioned and again, whatever land that may legitimately belong to people outside of Israel's borders, the Arabs have no right to establish a government there, given the kind of government they intend to establish. We are going around in circles here, so unless you offer something new other than “all land outside of Israel automatically belongs to Arabs so they stole it” then I will consider the point impassable and move on.

If individual rights are your benchmark then why is Israel more legitimate?

Again, refer to the posts made previously in this thread which explain, given individual rights as our political standard, that objectively Israel must be more legitimate and the Arabs totally illegitimate. The Israeli government is far more respective of individual rights than any Arab government on the planet, and would be far more in line with that standard than any proposed Palestinian state.

Is there not institutional racism in Israel? Does it not grant the right of return to Jews but not to Palestinians who have lived there all their lives? Isn't it a socialist state too?

Again, refer back to posts # 20, 14, 12, 11, and 2, and importantly number 20 and 11. Nobody is denying Israel is a socialistic state which violates rights. However, America has no obligation to protect the rights of people in Israel. A government which violates rights is not automatically indistinguishable from a dictatorship.

What does non-western even have to do with it?

Just about everything. See post # 11.

There is no such thing as the right to enslave, morality ends where the gun begins.

I agree, so if country X is faced with slavery and annihilation at the hands of barbarians, it has a right to invade, occupy, and annex the land these people inhabit to keep that from happening. You would agree, no? That response really accomplishes nothing since you have not established why anyone would have a right to act on the demand that Israel cease to exist or face violence.

How odd....the UN had the right to CREATE, i.e. take land against the wishes of the indigenous population and create Israel AND define its borders but it cannot tell Israel that it cannot steal land outside its borders? Really? Then you have just made the case yourself that Israel is illegitimate.

Please proceed to point out where I ever made the case that Israel's legitimacy is derived from a decree of the United Nations. If someone else made that case, they're wrong.

And additionally, the indigenous population did not have a right to the land, as already mentioned for the fourth time now.

Oh, but I agree but does this apply to Israel as well? It is specifically the outlawing of the initiation of violence that I am speaking of but you seem to be suggesting that laws against occupation, disproportionality, pirating in international waters , etc...should have "no relevance to us and is not a frame of reference"

No, because as already explained these are legitimate acts of retaliatory force, therefore no international body has a moral right to stop them.

If international law should outlaw violence then how do you advocate stealing someone elses property?

Now I was thinking you were open to exchanging ideas over this topic and here you post something very dishonest. There is a disagreement over who has just title to property in this region, so to ask me “how I advocate stealing” is just plain dishonest.

Why is it that all actions of the UN are immoral except the one that created Israel?

I don't know, go ask someone that thinks that. I don't.

It seems you are using an exotic definition of force. It means physical violence. Obviously rhetoric is not subsumed under physical violence so therefore what you consider force is not force.

False. Communicating a threat is an initiation of force. The word “initiation” is absolutely key to understanding the non-initiation of force principle. You are not obligated to wait until the physical force is actualized. Force and threats of force, including demonstrated aggressiveness, justify defensive measures, including, sometimes, preemptive strikes. [HT to Grames on that one.]

Anyways, I think your position here has been made clear.

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I'll address this first, because it exposes a huge misunderstanding of yours. We shouldn't use the dictionary definition of force. We're on an Objectivist forum and philosophy requires the use of precise definitions that are not found in common dictionaries. This should explain why threats of violence are force:

http://aynrandlexico...ical_force.html

I am familiar with the lexicon and I am surprised you would mention it. Still it does not negate what force actually is , it only strengthens my argument. For instance:

"Man’s rights can be violated only by the use of physical force. It is only by means of physical force that one man can deprive another of his life, or enslave him, or rob him, or prevent him from pursuing his own goals, or compel him to act against his own rational judgment.The precondition of a civilized society is the barring of physical force from social relationships—thus establishing the principle that if men wish to deal with one another, they may do so only by means of reason: by discussion, persuasion and voluntary, uncoerced agreement"

"One does not and cannot “negotiate” with brutality, nor give it the benefit of the doubt. The moral absolute should be: if and when, in any dispute, one side initiates the use of physical force, that side is wrong—and no consideration or discussion of the issues is necessary or appropriate."

"Whatever may be open to disagreement, there is one act of evil that may not, the act that no man may commit against others and no man may sanction or forgive. So long as men desire to live together, no man may initiate—do you hear me? no man may start—the use of physical force against others"

Based on the dictionary definition and the "precise definitions" you require then it should obvious that rhetoric is not physical force or violence.

Annexation is about assuming jurisdiction, not taking property. This is one reason why I hate home-invasion analogies for international conflict. When one nation takes over another, private property is not always lost by everyone in the annexed territory. It is unfortunate that Israel hasn't protected private property consistently throughout its history, especially with regard to some of the recent settlements. But they protect such property far more consistently than any Palestinian authority. Palestine has been in a state of de-facto anarchy for a long time.

Are you actually defending taking property and keeping it by force? Seriously? It is immoral, unequivocally immoral PERIOD! If it is not done through treaty or purchase , or any other form of consent then it is wrong. A nation is just a group of individuals , so it can gain no additional rights such as the right to usurp the present owner and you are correct, it is not taking property -it is seizing TERRITORY.

I told you I thought it was a bad analogy. I never invoked UN law for justification of Israel's creation. The Jews in Israel declared Israeli statehood, that they did so in accordance with UN decree is immaterial. Israel was swiftly invaded by surrounding Arab nations in the war of '48
.

Let's be serious, we are not talking about UN law, we are talking about whether a nation has the right to initiate force against other nations. I am attempting to establish that Israel is the aggressor according to moral law. I am suggesting that international law(in some cases) is moral and I am frankly in awe of the venom against the UN when it basically carved up Palestine to make a homeland for Jews-against the collective will of the Palestinians. This act alone is immoral according to Objectivist standards as Jews do not have the right to set up a theocratic socialist state. So please let's dispense with the rants against the UN, we are talking about international laws that prohibit aggression. We both already agreed these were moral laws-correct? I am simply trying to establish who the aggressor is in this context. Once we do that then the rest is easy.

As for the war of 48, well ....you simply do not know what you are talking about when you say they were "swiftly invaded". I am choosing my words carefully- They were not invaded by the Arab League, it was the Arabs who fought a defensive war against an Israeli land grab. But I digress but I will revisit this later if you like but let's take one thing at a time.

Now since the dictionary agrees that force is physical violence and the lexicon with its "precision" agrees then can we agree that a threat is not physical violence, so therefore if an aggressor(Israel) attacks its neighbors when physical violence has not been initiated then it is the aggressor?

If not, why not?

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Man’s rights can be violated only by the use of physical force. A threat to use force is initiating, starting, beginning, the process of using physical force. A threat of physical destruction is a violation of man's rights.

To say that the threat of force is grounds for initiating actual force is to obliterate the non-initiation of force principle. According to your logic, then it really doesn't have to be a communicated threat. One may simply purchase a gun for his personal defense and become a valid candidate for destruction. A threat is a subjective evaluation about someone's intentions and since no one is omnipotent, there is simply no way to determine the contents of someone elses mind.This isn't a moral principle to protect one's life this is a cover to take someone elses. Any person in possession of a weapon coud be considered a threat-what then? Furthermore, now the principle is so muddled as to be non- existent. According to this expanded meaning then any ME state with the means has the moral right to destroy Israel as it has undeclared nuclear weapons or any state has the right to destroy any state by claiming omnipotence about the future.

Where do you draw the line? When is it valid? ...there is no way to tell which is probably the intention of whoever thought of this cover for aggression.

Edited by probeson
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The stated goals of the Likud is control of all of Palestine are they candidates for destruction too? It is my opinion that these fighters are fighting a moral war of self defense.

Of course we are not talking about a piece of gum, we are talking about abstract principles. Think about the essences of the situations, not about the concretes like “gum.” You don't have a right to commit indiscriminate slaughter because you are under the impression that Israel stole your land and is engaging in colonialism
.

Israel was granted 51% of Palestine but now controls ALL of it. I would say this is more than an impression.

Not at all. A contradiction is an incompatibility between to propositions. To say that Israel has “sovereignty” within the partition plan does not exclude it also having a moral right to take actions outside of this partition. Think more about the statement “two individuals cannot be the exclusive owner of one and the same plot of property at the same time” denotes a situation involving the impossibility of a contradiction, but the statement “Israel's moral authority to act extends beyond this partition” does not.

Look this is simple. If Israel is inside the borders of the PP then it cannot also be outside of it. This means that to say that Israel has a right to land outside its borders contradicts the principle of sovereignty as it cannot have rights to ALL of Palestine when its borders are clearly defined. It is to say that what is not Israel is not Israel's.

Also, “Israel” does not validly own any land. You are still thinking collectively or making a personification about “Israel's land” verses “the Palestinian's land.” Only individuals in this area have a valid moral right to own land, and Israel is the only valid government which was formed by those individuals who had a moral right to the land they justly acquired and is the most relatively moral government in this area to assume jurisdiction and the alternative would mean destruction of a part of Western civilization in this inhuman part of the world. Also related, if Israel is overrun by Jihadists, we in America are less secure, making it a proper personal moral choice to support Israel
.

Okay, Israel has jurisdiction over this territory. It is a completely subjective evaluation that a theocratic socialist country is objectively better than a theocratic fascist one so there is no "justly acquired land".As for the destruction of the Western world.....pure speculation-unless you claim some special knowledge about the future.

The “sovereignty” of this group or that group is invalid. The land does not belong to the Arabs, for all the reasons already mentioned and again, whatever land that may legitimately belong to people outside of Israel's borders, the Arabs have no right to establish a government there, given the kind of government they intend to establish. We are going around in circles here, so unless you offer something new other than “all land outside of Israel automatically belongs to Arabs so they stole it” then I will consider the point impassable and move on.

Please explain how a theocratic socialist country has more legitimacy than a theocratic fascist one. Second, you have no idea of what kind of government the Palestinians will create, once again you are claiming omnipotence.

Edited by probeson
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I am only talking about those international laws that outlaw the initiation of force. These can be said to be moral laws.

In the context, what you mean by moral is also practical (i.e. they should be recognized and followed, considered as legitimate). Why? Remember we are speaking of international law. You are arguing from Libertarian positions not Objectivist ones. The source of the authority is something that cannot be obliterated, it is not simply about what the law says. It also matters who is making those laws.

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As for the war of 48, well ....you simply do not know what you are talking about when you say they were "swiftly invaded". I am choosing my words carefully- They were not invaded by the Arab League, it was the Arabs who fought a defensive war against an Israeli land grab. But I digress but I will revisit this later if you like but let's take one thing at a time.

The OP wishes for us to identify Israel's actions as aggressive and insensibly initiatory and therefore immoral by the standards of Objectivist philosophy. As it is the actual source and cause for the initial aggression on which his argument rests on I will critique his claim:

Claim: The Jews started the first war with the Arabs.

Critique:

The chairman of the Arab Higher Committee said the Arabs would "fight for every inch of their country." Two days later, the holy men of Al-Azhar University in Cairo called on the Muslim world to proclaim a jihad against the Jews. Jamal Husseini, the Arab Higher Committee's spokesman, had told the UN prior to the partition vote the Arabs would drench "the soil of our beloved country with the last drop of our blood..."

Husseini's prediction began to come true almost immediately after the UN adopted the partition resolution on November 29, 1947. The Arabs declared a protest strike and instigated riots that claimed the lives of 62 Jews and 32 Arabs. Violence continued to escalate through the end of the year.

The first large-scale assaults began on January 9, 1948, when approx. 1,000 Arabs attacked Jewish communities in northern Palestine. By February, the British said so many Arabs had infiltrated they lacked the forces to run them back. In fact, the British turned over bases and arms to Arab irregulars and the Arab Legion.

In the first phase of the war, lasting from November 29, 1947, until April 1, 1948, the Palestinian Arabs took the offensive, with help from volunteers from neighboring countries. The Jews suffered severe casualties and passage along most of their major roadways was disrupted.

On April 26, 1948, Transjordan's King Abdullah said:

"All our efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Palestine problem have failed. The only way left for us is war. I will have the pleasure and honor to save Palestine."

On May 4, 1948, the Arab Legion attacked Kfar Etzion. The defenders drove them back, but the Legion returned a week later. After 2 days, the ill-equipped and outnumbered settlers were overwhelmed. Many defenders were massacred after they had surrendered. This was prior to the invasion by the regular Arab armies that followed Israel's declaration of independence.

The UN blamed the Arabs for the violence. The UN Palestine Commission, which was never permitted by the Arabs or British to go to Palestine to implement the resolution, reported to the Security Council on February 16, 1948, that powerful Arab interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the resolution of the General Assembly and are engaged in a deliberate effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged therein.

The Arabs were blunt in taking responsibility for starting the war. Jamal Husseini told the Security Council on April 16, 1948:

"The representative of the Jewish Agency told us yesterday that they were not the attackers, that the Arabs had begun the fighting. We did not deny this. We told the whole world that we were going to fight."

The British commander of Jordan's Arab Legion, John Bagot Glubb admitted:

"Early in January, the first detachments of the Arab Liberation Army began to infiltrate into Palestine from Syria . Some came through Jordan and even through Amman...They were in reality to strike the first blow in the ruin of the Arabs of Palestine."

Despite the disadvantages in numbers, organization and weapons, the Jews began to take the initiative in the weeks from April 1 until the declaration of independence on May 14. The Haganah captured several major towns including Tiberias and Haifa, and temporarily opened the road to Jerusalem.

The partition resolution was never suspended or rescinded. Thus, Israel, the Jewish State in Palestine, war born May 14, as the British finally left the country. Five Arab armies (Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Iraq) immediately invaded Israel. Their intentions were declared by Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League: "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades."

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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