Tuesday, January 6, 2009

a liberal take

One of my new friends, Paul Cox of Seattle, doesn't strike me as a conservative. When I was at his magnificent apartment, I recall seeing large Obama campaign posters all over the interior (if I remember correctly, an impressive Obama image watched over me while I slept). Make of that what you will, but I'm pretty sure the posters are a sign that Paul doesn't toe the rightie party line. And that's what makes this blog post of his all the more significant:

In other words, even though the Palestinians don't officially have a nation, for all intents and purposes they do have one-- and they're launching attacks from that nation into Israel.

What on earth are the Israelis supposed to do? Sit there and take the attacks indefinitely? I just don't get what protestors like these folks in Seattle this past weekend are thinking.

The reality of the entire mess is this: The only way these folks are going to get to an ultimately peaceful situation there is when the Palestinians fully accept that the nation of Israel is there permanently. Until that happens, and they recognize that the Palestinians who were evicted-- wrongly, sure-- are not going to get the "right of return," they're just not going to be able to have peace.

The current conflict in Gaza is worthy of discussion; there are many important points to be made. But for now, I just want to make this minor point: if you're a conservative, be careful about stereotyping those on the left.



Vaitandika said...

I think your definition of "liberal" and "conservative" is highly simplistic if you find this surprising. In the US, support for Israel isn't a "liberal" or "conservative" issue;
no mainstream politician seriously questions the status quo of American-Israeli relations. The few who do are not taken seriously by either major party.

And Obama has made it clear from the very beginning that he supports Israel and AIPAC. So, for that matter, do the majority of Democratic Senators and Representatives, despite the fact that Democrats both claim to be and are generally perceived as being "liberal".

On the whole I think Cox's analysis is about as simplistic as the average coverage one finds on FOX News, but that's probably taking this off topic.

Kevin said...


Thanks for the comment.

In the US, support for Israel, when there is controversy about it, does often fall along liberal and conservative lines (it wouldn't take long to find support for this). I do agree, though, that the definition of the terms "liberal" and "conservative" isn't a simple matter, and also agree that support for Israel is often bipartisan.

I never said I found Paul's take surprising. I do, however, find it heartening, and was addressing my comments to conservatives who do tend to view matters simplistically. My blog post is therefore perfectly justified, unless we want to try to deny that black-and-white conservatives exist, and are in fact numerous.

Paul himself has, on many occasions, presented rather nuanced views on current events (as will become obvious once you give his blogs-- he runs one and posts on at least one more-- a chance), so I wouldn't rush to call his views simplistic, either.


Paul Cox said...


Thanks for the defense. (I'm pretty behind on my blogging these days!)

I actually agree to some extent with Vaitandika, that when you get down to brass tacks, my view on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is simplistic.

I believe it IS simple. Israel is not going away; it is a fact of life.

They cannot and will not ever grant a full "right of return", because to do so would mean the Israeli nation would be overwhelmed with Palestinians who would so dramatically change Israel as to basically mean it would no longer exist.

Therefore, until basically all the folks on the Palestinian side accept these facts (because the only way the world could move Israel from this position would be to kill or evict every single Jew from Israel), we're not going to have much success at working out a solution to the situation.

Simplistic? Absolutely. But it IS simple.

Anyway, Vaitandika is correct about the notion of "liberal" when it comes to Israel. There are liberals who are fiercely pro-Israeli, and there are some who are fiercely pro-Palestinian.

The quite-liberal website DailyKos has had some truly epic battles over the whole issue, so it is definitely not a matter of "liberal" vs "conservative" (although it *is* pretty rare to find a conservative who questions American-Israel policy.)