Discussions on Israel and Palestine

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KenS

For what its worth, I don't want to give the impression people cant have the discussion.

But I am addressing your expectations. And how can you expect people to park the polarization?

I have these kinds of discussions on the issue with friends and family, because I know the depth of the residual sympathy for Israel and the Zionist project despite how revolted people have become over Israel's actions over the last few years.

But I frankly see no reason to have this discssion here. I'm listening, or I wouldnt be here now. But I havent heard anything that would change my mind.

I guess I take the pragmatists approach. Attempts at being moderate on this clusterfuck of issues strongly tend to degenerate into apologia for Israel, which at best is a mourning of the sterile futility of that husk called 'Israeli moderates'. And discussing that is a waste of time.

KenS

Yiwah wrote:

Which is funny, because that was my opening question.  WHY does this happen, how do people justify it, and actually...do people even notice themselves doing it?

I did address this question of yours. You seem to think that the extreme polarization makes no difference. On the surface, you are right- adults can still have a conversation. And I'm going to say that is a facile answer. Does the fact of polarization make no difference? And within that, does it make no difference that Israel has deliberately obliterated the 'space' required for a 'moderated' dispassionate look?

6079_Smith_W

I was hoping to avoid commenting on this thread, because I think my participation might be the kiss of death for Yiwah's argument.

Now that the "troll" word has been used I think we're kind of past that point.

Please don't shut down this thread until I have had time to collect my thoughts and respond. It might take a day, though probably not.

 

Yiwah

KenS wrote:

I did address this question of yours. You seem to think that the extreme polarization makes no difference. On the surface, you are right- adults can still have a conversation. And I'm going to say that is a facile answer. Does the fact of polarization make no difference? And within that, does it make no difference that Israel has deliberately obliterated the 'space' required for a 'moderated' dispassionate look?

I don't think the extreme polarisation makes no difference, but I do think that we aren't as progressive as we claim we are if we can't move past it enough to engage in analysis without calling each other pro-Israeli for doing so.  Israel may have the main stage, but there is certainly space available, on forums like these, among friends, among colleagues in action, to discuss this issue and others in a reasonable manner. 

Is it difficult?  Hellz yes!  Have you peeked into the Aboriginal forum lately?  It can be extremely difficult to address issues in the context of oppression, without it turning into something nasty.  Nonetheless we can still set up a dynamic where a certain position is supported and seen as foundational (ie, Israel is the agressor), AND discuss the actions of the people we support in a critical light. 

I think that's the overarching discussion really.  Oppression is they WHY of many actions.  Oppression is the mitigating factor.  But oppression is not always the justification.  Pointing that out does not mean you support the opposing side.

And I apply that to Aboriginal issues just as much as I would to any other polarised discussion.

Yiwah

KenS wrote:

For what its worth, I don't want to give the impression people cant have the discussion.

Ah.  Well I disagree.  I mean, not on the issue of being capable of having the discussions.  I just don't actually find that in practice you CAN have these discussions.  They get shut down immediately with rhetoric and accusations.

That's my experience.  It may not be shared by others.

KenS wrote:
But I am addressing your expectations. And how can you expect people to park the polarization?

If I can 'park the polarization' when it comes to Aboriginal issues, which affect me deeply, and are basically my life's work, then I don't think it's unreasonable to ask others to do the same.

'Parking the polarization' does not mean taking a morally neutral position.

KenS wrote:
I have these kinds of discussions on the issue with friends and family, because I know the depth of the residual sympathy for Israel and the Zionist project despite how revolted people have become over Israel's actions over the last few years.

I can have these discussions as well with people I am closer to, because they know I'm not an Israeli-apologist, so things don't get tangled up in those questions.  Though I can only think of a few people I personally know who have any 'residual sympathy for Israel and the Zionist project'.  What I can rarely do is have these discussions with people who in most contexts, are perfectly able to address complex, polarised issues. 

I think what you are saying here is that the reason for that is the extremity of the polarisation, which I do see, and understand.  I think that is an underlying cause of the difficult in discussing the issue at all (even discussing DISCUSSING the issue, to remain meta :P).  Personally I don't see it as an insurmountable obstacle.

KenS wrote:

But I frankly see no reason to have this discssion here. I'm listening, or I wouldnt be here now. But I havent heard anything that would change my mind.

I'm not sure if you're clear on what this discussion is, here in this thread.  It isn't actually about Israel and Palestine.  I'm not trying to convince you one way or the other on that.  The discussion is actually about 'the discussion on Israel and Palestine' itself. It's an attempt to look at the way the dialogue happens, not necessarily what's in it.

The box, not the contents.

KenS wrote:
I guess I take the pragmatists approach. Attempts at being moderate on this clusterfuck of issues strongly tend to degenerate into apologia for Israel, which at best is a mourning of the sterile futility of that husk called 'Israeli moderates'. And discussing that is a waste of time.

Your opinion is noted.  I'm going to masticate* it a bit later though, so bear with me.

*Like a ruminant.

 

Sorry, my mind is distracted with silly puns.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Yiwah wrote:

Deeper into this issue is the perplexing way in which normally rational human beings have a tendency to believe in a world wide Zionist conspiracy, assigning to these Zionists nearly god-like powers of manipulation and influence.  I've lost as many friends to belief in the ZOG as I have to evangelist Christian sects.

Well, I hate to keep trying to hold you to your own standards, but, you know ...

Perhaps you could quantify the above statement for us as it pertains here on babble? Which babblers and which threads have promoted or even raised the issue of "ZOG"? It seems the burden of proof is on you.

Second, as you've raised it, perhaps you ought to define, for us, what is "moderate" opinions as per debate on the issues of Israel's occupation of another people. If you're going to create parameters as to what is acceptable debate, perhaps you ought to define them.

Personally, I find official racism and idelogies founded on ethnic exclusion to be extremist and lacking moderation. I find it difficult to relate to the perspective of the violent racist occupier in the same way I find it difficult to relate to a carjacker. So maybe the onus is on you to explain why I should "moderate" my attitude and open my mind to the violent racist occupier or the carjacker. In either case I would be interested in your logic.

 

 

 

remind remind's picture

Hmmm, funny how some wordings sound like my evangelical relatives from AB, who are also Indigenous persons,

Yiwah

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Well, I hate to keep trying to hold you to your own standards, but, you know ...

Perhaps you could quantify the above statement for us as it pertains here on babble? Which babblers and which threads have promoted or even raised the issue of "ZOG"? It seems the burden of proof is on you.

Please see post [url=http://www.rabble.ca/comment/1156425/absentia-wrote-I-havent]#39[/url] where I already dealt with this.

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Second, as you've raised it, perhaps you ought to define, for us, what is "moderate" opinions as per debate on the issues of Israel's occupation of another people. If you're going to create parameters as to what is acceptable debate, perhaps you ought to define them.

Please see post [url=http://www.rabble.ca/comment/1156425/absentia-wrote-I-havent]#39[/url] where I already dealt with this.

Frustrated Mess wrote:
Personally, I find official racism and idelogies founded on ethnic exclusion to be extremist and lacking moderation. I find it difficult to relate to the perspective of the violent racist occupier in the same way I find it difficult to relate to a carjacker. So maybe the onus is on you to explain why I should "moderate" my attitude and open my mind to the violent racist occupier or the carjacker. In either case I would be interested in your logic.

Please read post [url=http://www.rabble.ca/comment/1156466/KenS-wrote-I-did-address]#55[/url], where I already dealt with this.  In particular the second to last portion.

 

 

 

Yiwah

remind wrote:

Hmmm, funny how some wordings sound like my evangelical relatives from AB, who are also Indigenous persons,

I'm always a fan of oblique accusations, myself.  Really moves the discussion forward.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Yiwah wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Well, I hate to keep trying to hold you to your own standards, but, you know ...

Perhaps you could quantify the above statement for us as it pertains here on babble? Which babblers and which threads have promoted or even raised the issue of "ZOG"? It seems the burden of proof is on you.

Please see post [url=http://www.rabble.ca/comment/1156425/absentia-wrote-I-havent]#39[/url] where I already dealt with this.

Well, in fact, you didn't deal with it. You skirted it. You made an OP on a left wing site accusing, quite on purpose, that the left is "hysterical" on Palestinian issues and then you, again, quite purposely, infer debates routinely give way to "ZOG". You chose to use language that could be described, and intended to be, provocative, and then you avoid providing any substance to the claims. You abandon your responsibility to the burden of proof. So why don't you say in language as plain as the opening post, that your claim is just not true?

Yiwah wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Second, as you've raised it, perhaps you ought to define, for us, what is "moderate" opinions as per debate on the issues of Israel's occupation of another people. If you're going to create parameters as to what is acceptable debate, perhaps you ought to define them.

Please see post [url=http://www.rabble.ca/comment/1156425/absentia-wrote-I-havent]#39[/url] where I already dealt with this.

Again, you do not. Rather than answer the question you make another vague generalization about balance, with balance being undefined other than acknowledging mistakes on the side you support (as though defending human rights entails adopting a sectarian position) and then you accuse further: "This thread questions why this issue CAN NOT BE QUESTIONED without raising some sort of confused, paranoid panic."

So where is your example of "confused, paranoid panic"?

Yiwah wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:
Personally, I find official racism and idelogies founded on ethnic exclusion to be extremist and lacking moderation. I find it difficult to relate to the perspective of the violent racist occupier in the same way I find it difficult to relate to a carjacker. So maybe the onus is on you to explain why I should "moderate" my attitude and open my mind to the violent racist occupier or the carjacker. In either case I would be interested in your logic.

Please read post [url=http://www.rabble.ca/comment/1156466/KenS-wrote-I-did-address]#55[/url], where I already dealt with this.  In particular the second to last portion.

Three for three. You strike out. You don't answer the question at all. 

Yiwah

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Well, in fact, you didn't deal with it. You skirted it. You made an OP on a left wing site accusing, quite on purpose, that the left is "hysterical" on Palestinian issues and then you, again, quite purposely, infer debates routinely give way to "ZOG". You chose to use language that could be described, and intended to be, provocative, and then you avoid providing any substance to the claims. You abandon your responsibility to the burden of proof. So why don't you say in language as plain as the opening post, that your claim is just not true?

If you have a burning need to feel persecuted or singled out, I really can't help you, I'm sorry.

I explained a number of times why I'm posting these questions on a leftist board.  I ask people's opinions on whether or not the Israel/Palestine situation can be discussed from a moderate stance.  I immediately define moderate as not either/or.  You have (from what I understand of your posts, forgive me if my interpretation is incorrect) apparently stated your opinion that no, that isn't possible.  Israel is always wrong and Palestine is always right.  Is that a correct formulation of your position?

Because that is the attitude I'm referring to, one which I have encountered over and over again on the left.  I am questioning it.  Perhaps it  isn't what it seems.  Perhaps that's just how it looks.  Perhaps that's exactly what it is.

So I ask.

 

Frustrated Mess wrote:

 

Again, you do not. Rather than answer the question you make another vague generalization about balance, with balance being undefined other than acknowledging mistakes on the side you support (as though defending human rights entails adopting a sectarian position) and then you accuse further: "This thread questions why this issue CAN NOT BE QUESTIONED without raising some sort of confused, paranoid panic."

So where is your example of "confused, paranoid panic"?

My statement about balance was not at all vague.  If you are capable of critiquing the actions of the people or side you support, without feeling as though doing so undermines your overall ideological stance, then this is the kind of moderation I'm discussing. 

I think that's fairly clear.

 

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Three for three. You strike out. You don't answer the question at all. 

Actually I was quite clear.  If you don't understand what was said, you might try telling me exactly what about my statement confused you.

If you're confused because you introduced the false premise that I want you to relate to the perspective of 'x', then I can't really help you with your assumptions.

Yiwah

KenS wrote:

I guess I take the pragmatists approach. Attempts at being moderate on this clusterfuck of issues strongly tend to degenerate into apologia for Israel, which at best is a mourning of the sterile futility of that husk called 'Israeli moderates'. And discussing that is a waste of time.

Alright, I've ruminated a bit.  My approach to this topic generally is to not bother with it.  As in, not ignore what's happening...simply not trying to engage people in discussions about it.

That being said, some of the best conversations I've had on this topic have been with pro-Israel right wingers.  You know from the outset that you are ideologically opposed.  Finding out how it is they can justify certain policies is an important insight.  (again, I'm describing my approach to the topic, I really don't want to delve into the contents of the box, and attempts by others to get me to do so will fail)  I do this so I know what questions they want answered.  So if they are saying, 'look your side did this, how is that okay?', I can say, 'look I don't necessarily support that particular action, but I understand what would drive them to do it, and it seems like a logical consequence due to policies x, y, z'.  They still aren't going to budge, they're going to say, 'well my side is justified for the same reason etc etc'.  It's not a discussion that ends up convincing anyone, but at least after I don't have that 'jesus fuck how the hell could they take this position?'...I at least understand how they justify it to themselves.

When it comes to discussing it with other leftists though, I take the 'it's a waste of time' track, unless it's someone I know on a more personal level.  It's easy enough to say, 'yikes look what's happening now' and condemn it.  That's not an issue.  Trying to put it in a wider context though, nearly always gets people angry, and the conversation devolves. 

So while your experience is that trying to take a moderate approach tends to devolve into apologia for Israel, my experience is that it devolves into accusations about your loyalties.

Thank you, however, for sharing your experiences with me in a respectful manner.  It gives me hope.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Yiwah wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Well, in fact, you didn't deal with it. You skirted it. You made an OP on a left wing site accusing, quite on purpose, that the left is "hysterical" on Palestinian issues and then you, again, quite purposely, infer debates routinely give way to "ZOG". You chose to use language that could be described, and intended to be, provocative, and then you avoid providing any substance to the claims. You abandon your responsibility to the burden of proof. So why don't you say in language as plain as the opening post, that your claim is just not true?

If you have a burning need to feel persecuted or singled out, I really can't help you, I'm sorry.

I explained a number of times why I'm posting these questions on a leftist board.  I ask people's opinions on whether or not the Israel/Palestine situation can be discussed from a moderate stance.  I immediately define moderate as not either/or.  You have (from what I understand of your posts, forgive me if my interpretation is incorrect) apparently stated your opinion that no, that isn't possible.  Israel is always wrong and Palestine is always right.  Is that a correct formulation of your position?

Because that is the attitude I'm referring to, one which I have encountered over and over again on the left.  I am questioning it.  Perhaps it  isn't what it seems.  Perhaps that's just how it looks.  Perhaps that's exactly what it is.

So I ask.

Ah, so I am the problem. What part of the question makes you think I am feeling singled out or persecuted?

You are not just asking questions. You are creating premises and making inferences also. You raised ZOG, But you won't admit wrongly. So you say, people are unreasonable, and then you are unreasonable. I guess you prove yourself correct. I did not say Israel is always wrong. I infered the occupation is always wrong. If you are suggesting you only view Israel in terms of the occupation, I can't help you with that, but that is not what I said. I also do not believe that supporting human rights is taking a sectarian side. Apparently, for you, I must take a side. Who is unreasonable?

So, you tell me, when is the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands not wrong?

Unionist

Frustrated Mess wrote:

So, you tell me, when is the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands not wrong?

Good luck, FM:

Yiwah wrote:
I really don't want to delve into the contents of the box, and attempts by others to get me to do so will fail

 

al-Qa'bong

Yiwah wrote:

al-Qa'bong wrote:

Quote:
However, you then get things tossed in related to "Zionism controlling Hollywood/the banks/all media/the world" etc and suddenly EVERYTHING is Zionist. 

 

I can't tell yet if your position is one of good faith or not, but this statement is complete rubbish. I haven't encountered anyone on babble (except for Stockholm, but he has his own reasons) who has equated Zionism with the kind of antisemitic worldwide Jewish conspiracy theory that you're suggesting.

*sigh*

Is it possible to look outside the bubble of Babble?  Can we do that, maybe?  You know, since Babble is generally full of leftists who have experience with other leftists outside of Babble and might be able to bring some insight to this topic in a way that doesn't confine them to only discussing what happens on this particular forum?

So who are you accusing? Anyone who actually exists?

Yiwah

al-Qa'bong wrote:

 

So who are you accusing? Anyone who actually exists?

Well let's see.  Are you able to talk about the way the Israel/Palestine issue is discussed on the left without attacking others, claiming they are pro-Zionist, behaving as though the question itself is a personal attack, or dismissing the question itself as having some sinister ulterior motive?

 

I also refer you to the opening question which most people posting here have apparently overlooked.  It's a simple one.  Try it out:

"Is the Israel/Palestine issues one of those (thankfully rare) topics that is simply not one that can be discussed from a moderate (re: not either/or) stance?"

I've further clarified that the 'either/or' stance I referred to means 'Israel is always wrong, Palestine is always right'.

 

An answer would be welcome, since that was the intent of this thread.  To discuss this particular question.

Yiwah

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Ah, so I am the problem.

I don't know, is my characterisation of your position correct?  Because if it is, then yes, that kind of rigid absolutism is a problem.

Frustrated Mess wrote:
What part of the question makes you think I am feeling singled out or persecuted?

That part where you apparently refused to understand that I started this thread about the left in general, and not Babble in specific.  You ignored that, and continued to act as though this is indeed the premise (ie. an issue specific to Babble).  If you harbour a persecution complex, I'm simply informing you that I won't be feeding it.

Frustrated Mess wrote:
You are not just asking questions. You are creating premises and making inferences also. You raised ZOG, But you won't admit wrongly.

Admit wrongly to what?  This thread has brought out some excellent examples of those who apparently cannot actually discuss the issue, the META issue of why this is one of those discussions that tends to bring out extremism over all.

Belief in ZOG is not something relegated only to total crackpots, unfortunately.  When people start going on about the Jewish-controlled media/everything else, that's ZOG.  Maybe you call it something else.  I'm going to give you a [url=http://www.workersliberty.org/node/5041]quote[/url] to describe what I'm talking about, which is an attitude you do indeed come across a fair amount in leftists politics:

Quote:

left-wing anti-semites do not only criticise Israel. They condemn it outright and deny its right to exist. They use legitimate criticisms, and utilise our natural sympathy with the Palestinians, not to seek redress, not as arguments against an Israeli government, an Israeli policy, or anything specifically wrong in Israel, but as arguments against the right of Israel to exist at all. Any Israel. Any Jewish state in the area. Any Israel, with any policy, even one in which all the specific causes for justly criticising present-day Israel and for supporting the Palestinians against it have been entirely eliminated.

The root problem, say the left-wing anti-semites, is that Israel exists. The root “crime of Zionism” is that it advocated and brought into existence “the Zionist state of Israel”.

Bitterly, and often justly, criticising specific Israeli policies, actions, and governments, seemingly championing the Palestinians, your left-wing anti-semites seek no specific redress in Israel or from Israel, demanding only that Israel should cease to exist or be put out of existence.

They often oppose measures to alleviate the condition of the Palestinians short of the destruction of Israel. Thus the petitions and chants on demonstrations: “Two states solution, no solution!”

 

Now if you have never encountered this attitude, that's awesome, I'm glad for you.  But I have.  Many others have.  This is an actual issue within the left, so I bring it up. 

You see, this entire issue is extremely complex.  The terms 'anti-Semite' and 'pro-Zionist' get thrown around a lot, and don't actually accurately define what is happening.  So I ask these questions, about the debate itself.  I want to know what you're experiences have been.  I've described mine in the OP.  My experiences show me that this discussion is one of the most difficult to engage in, and my experiences here have no in any way changed my opinion on that.

Frustrated Mess wrote:

So you say, people are unreasonable, and then you are unreasonable. I guess you prove yourself correct. I did not say Israel is always wrong. I infered the occupation is always wrong.

So my characterisation of your position is not correct.  I'm glad you've clarified.  There is a difference between saying everything Israel does is wrong, versus the occupations is always wrong.  I support the latter position as well.

Frustrated Mess wrote:
If you are suggesting you only view Israel in terms of the occupation, I can't help you with that, but that is not what I said.
Nor did I.

Frustrated Mess wrote:
I also do not believe that supporting human rights is taking a sectarian side. Apparently, for you, I must take a side. Who is unreasonable?

Not at all accurate.  I was asking you if you take an all or nothing approach.  It appeared to me that you were.  That is not even remotely the same as telling you that you must take a sectarian side.  In fact, it is the polar opposite of what I have said.

Frustrated Mess wrote:
So, you tell me, when is the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands not wrong?

How odd, I thought you just said that you don't view Israel only in terms of the occupation, but then you phrase your question in these terms.  Did I misunderstand something?

remind remind's picture

Yiwah, you were the one who stated "babble bubble" and now you say you were not speaking asbout babble per se, you cannot even keep track of what you wrote and you are inconsistent in the extreme,

 

BTW FM has quite clearly indicated your hypocrisy lies and I believe you are  concern trolling.

 

Yiwah

remind wrote:

Yiwah, you were the one who stated "babble bubble" and now you say you were not speaking asbout babble per se, you cannot even keep track of what you wrote and you are inconsistent in the extreme,

 

Remind, I don't think you are reading things very closely.  If you wish to attack me, it would at least behoove you to pay attention to what I've actually [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/humanities-science/discussions-isreal-and-pa....

Yiwah wrote:

*sigh*

Is it possible to look outside the bubble of Babble?  Can we do that, maybe?  You know, since Babble is generally full of leftists who have experience with other leftists outside of Babble and might be able to bring some insight to this topic in a way that doesn't confine them to only discussing what happens on this particular forum?

Please note that this is entirely consistant with my assertion that I am not speaking about Babble per se.  I await your apology with baited breath.

remind wrote:
BTW FM has quite clearly indicated your hypocrisy lies and I believe you are  concern trolling.

Let's take a look at what you've done here.

You've accused me of being a hypocrite and a liar.

Earlier you also called me a concern troll.  I asked you to clarify the term, which you didn't.  I looked it up.  Apparently this is the [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29#Concern_troll]definiti...

Quote:
A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user's sockpuppet claims to hold. The concern troll posts in web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group's actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed "concerns". The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.

 

So.  You have accused me of lying, of being hypocritical...you have accused me of being inconsistant (based on your own faulty reading of my posts), and you have accused me of having sinister motives.

What you have never done in this thread is participate or contribute in any way, you have simply attacked.

Thank you for providing me with at least one concrete example here on Babble of someone who apparently cannot discuss this issue without: attacking others, claiming they are pro-Zionist or dismissing the question itself as having some sinister ulterior motive(via your concern troll comment).

Because apparently it's really super important that there be at least one real live person here on Babble who does this, otherwise the original question simply will never be answered.

 

remind remind's picture

oops, did not call you a liar, it was a typo, as I left out "where" as  in "where your hypocrisy lies",  as in  where it lay in your words,  sorry should have reread it before posting, but  was too angry and  was walking away.

 

and did you forget that you actually used the words "babble bubble"? which I note you over looked in your selected quotes of your own words, where you indicated i read you wrong. which i didn't

 

to answer your question; Israel is always wrong these days, and looking at it from any other position, especially given the murder of peace activists, is  being an apologist for them.

 

ETA: anyway am done reading your posts, i can see them for what they are.

 

E.Tamaran

remind wrote:

ETA: anyway am done reading your posts, i can see them for what they are.

 

 

That's harsh. Yiwah writes excellent posts in the Aboriginal Forum.

Stargazer

That's true ET but I am completely at a loss as to what this thread is supposed to be about.

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Let me begin by saying you are  a very fine dance partner.

Yiwah wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Ah, so I am the problem.

I don't know, is my characterisation of your position correct?  Because if it is, then yes, that kind of rigid absolutism is a problem.

You never actually characterized anything. If I was to offer a single word to describe your debating style, I would say "empty". Your strategy is to accuse through inference and unstated premise but to never offer anything of substance other than conjecture and indirect accusations. It is a style for you. Unfortunately, it is also transparent.

Yiwah wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:
What part of the question makes you think I am feeling singled out or persecuted?

That part where you apparently refused to understand that I started this thread about the left in general, and not Babble in specific.  You ignored that, and continued to act as though this is indeed the premise (ie. an issue specific to Babble).  If you harbour a persecution complex, I'm simply informing you that I won't be feeding it.

You missed the point of the question. It goes to what I stated above. I challenge your unstated premises and your inferences, and so, according to you, the problem must be with me. But I have not suggested you have accused me of anything. I have not suggested there is any inference directed specifically at me. So why, if this is about the left in general, would you make it personally about me when I have not done so? Because, once more, your style is to draw inferences rather than debate substance.

Yiwah wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:
You are not just asking questions. You are creating premises and making inferences also. You raised ZOG, But you won't admit wrongly.

Admit wrongly to what? 

Do I really have to copy and paste your own sentences? You set out a premise that leftist anti-zionism is relebtless, and then you transition into: "Deeper into this issue is the perplexing way in which normally rational human beings have a tendency to believe in a world wide Zionist conspiracy."

Well, guess what? This is a board where leftist anti-zionism is relentless so where is the evidence of a belief in a "world wide Zionist conspiracy"? Or do you now want to change that to be "some leftists, but not all leftists, and certainly not these lefitsts ...." or something similar?

The simple fact is that on this board there is no evidence of an claims of ZOG. And that means, logically, you've advanced a fallacy.

Yiwah wrote:

This thread has brought out some excellent examples of those who apparently cannot actually discuss the issue, the META issue of why this is one of those discussions that tends to bring out extremism over all.

Belief in ZOG is not something relegated only to total crackpots, unfortunately.  When people start going on about the Jewish-controlled media/everything else, that's ZOG.  Maybe you call it something else.  I'm going to give you a [url=http://www.workersliberty.org/node/5041]quote[/url] to describe what I'm talking about, which is an attitude you do indeed come across a fair amount in leftists politics:

There you go again. You make a sweeping statement about "this thread" and what it proves without any substantiation and your very next sentence you again raise ZOG. In your biased opinon, in a thread that is framed by you to be controversial, you say this represents something. Yet, there are a million threads on this site discussing the mid-east and you reference not one of them. And ZOG is not advanced as a concept in any of them but the one started. How does that compute?

Yiwah wrote:

Quote:

left-wing anti-semites do not only criticise Israel. They condemn it outright and deny its right to exist. They use legitimate criticisms, and utilise our natural sympathy with the Palestinians, not to seek redress, not as arguments against an Israeli government, an Israeli policy, or anything specifically wrong in Israel, but as arguments against the right of Israel to exist at all. Any Israel. Any Jewish state in the area. Any Israel, with any policy, even one in which all the specific causes for justly criticising present-day Israel and for supporting the Palestinians against it have been entirely eliminated.

The root problem, say the left-wing anti-semites, is that Israel exists. The root “crime of Zionism” is that it advocated and brought into existence “the Zionist state of Israel”.

Bitterly, and often justly, criticising specific Israeli policies, actions, and governments, seemingly championing the Palestinians, your left-wing anti-semites seek no specific redress in Israel or from Israel, demanding only that Israel should cease to exist or be put out of existence.

They often oppose measures to alleviate the condition of the Palestinians short of the destruction of Israel. Thus the petitions and chants on demonstrations: “Two states solution, no solution!”

Now if you have never encountered this attitude, that's awesome, I'm glad for you.  But I have.  Many others have.  This is an actual issue within the left, so I bring it up. 

You see, this entire issue is extremely complex.  The terms 'anti-Semite' and 'pro-Zionist' get thrown around a lot, and don't actually accurately define what is happening.  So I ask these questions, about the debate itself.  I want to know what you're experiences have been.  I've described mine in the OP.  My experiences show me that this discussion is one of the most difficult to engage in, and my experiences here have no in any way changed my opinion on that.

No it isn't. That's a construct. Some guy makes claims about a broad group of people and you present it as thought it has any merit. What if you substituted to the words "left-wing" with "Masons"? Or "self-hating Jews" or anything else. It would be no more authentic.

From my experience, people who broadly accuse the left of anti-semitism for supporting human rights are people who are defending human rights abuses. That should be authoratative enough for you. You may quote and link it if you wish.

Yiwah wrote:

Frustrated Mess wrote:

There is a difference between saying everything Israel does is wrong, versus the occupations is always wrong.  I support the latter position as well.

...

Frustrated Mess wrote:
So, you tell me, when is the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands not wrong?

How odd, I thought you just said that you don't view Israel only in terms of the occupation, but then you phrase your question in these terms.  Did I misunderstand something?

Is acknowledging that Israel is responsible for the occupation, something you do acknowledge and admit is wrong, the same as only seeing Israel in terms of the occupation? Again, who is rigid and unreasonable in this discussion?

If you acknowledge the occupation is wrong, then you must also acknowledge Israel is wrong in being the occupier. In your mind, that may make Israel an illegitimate state, but it doesn't in my mind. To me, it makes Israel a state engaged in human rights violations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. But it does not negate anything else about Israel (except perhaps its claims to being a democractic state that respects the rule of law and human rights). Why  should it?

remind remind's picture

E.Tamaran wrote:
remind wrote:

ETA: anyway am done reading your posts, i can see them for what they are.

 

That's harsh. Yiwah writes excellent posts in the Aboriginal Forum.

 

Well the way I see it is, this is not the Aboriginal forum, and  frankly, i don't care if it is harsh. Though i do not think it is, as it is just being open and honest.

 

If i wanted to listen to borderline, if not outright, evangelical apologist blatherings about Israel, coming from a Aboriginal person, I would listen to it from my extended family, but certainly do not have to here.

E.Tamaran

But how can someone who posts thoughtfully in the Aboriginal Forum and who other people would like to see as a moderator there suddenly be discounted somewhere else. This is the same person, so maybe this thoughtful FN person has something others aren't seeing in this thread.

remind remind's picture

You were the one who thought moderator, and thoughtful,  not me.

 

And it is easy to be discounted elsewhere, happens to me all the time, good on some things not good on others, according to some.

KenS

If you think about it,

'thoughtful' and 'blathering' have a substantial amount of overlap.

Unionist

E.Tamaran wrote:

But how can someone who posts thoughtfully in the Aboriginal Forum and who other people would like to see as a moderator there suddenly be discounted somewhere else. This is the same person, so maybe this thoughtful FN person has something others aren't seeing in this thread.

Or in the other.

 

KenS

Hey Stargazer, if you happen to find a map, could I borrow it?

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Hmmmm ....

Then why doesn't he/she state plainly what he/she means?

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

 

I await your apology with baited breath.

 

Yeah, that sounds about right.

6079_Smith_W

 

I think it would be good if people could recognize the difference between attack and obstructionism and honest questions and good advice.

I was really hoping to avoid posting posting on this topic. It is awkward, because I like this site and support the vast majority of causes I see here. I also recognize and support the fact that some things are not and do not need to be up for discussion.

It's not my intention to make trouble, obstruct, or tell anyone what they should think. But neither do I like to see someone completely misunderstood when I know that he has a point and that his intentions are helpful. I ran into this exact same same thing on this same issue when I first posted. I didn't say a word in favour of Israel or against fighting their oppression, and still I got called an apologist (and a bunch of other things) and I got shut down with some questions left unanswered – and I am not asking to revive that discussion here.

The main point Yiwah is making isn't specific to Israel and Palestine (in my opinion) It has to do with moderation and tolerance. And tolerance means not jumping all over and demonizing someone who is a friend who has honest questions or advice.

Yiwah used a bit of hyperbolae in making his point. Big deal. From what I have read here you have all used it yourselves and know what it means. That's why it mystifies me that people are picking his words apart instead of addressing what he is really saying. Because I can see that he is actually sticking his neck out to say something helpful and I don't think he deserves this kind of treatment.

Moderation on this issue does not mean caving into Israel and adopting a position between them and the Palestinians. But the notion that there is one definitive position on everything to do with Israel and Palestine is nonsense. Even the staunchest advocates here aren't in complete unanimity. On one of the Libby Davies threads there was disagreement on what she meant, and on the merits adopting a position based on 67 or 48 - including whether one should support a compromise because it is the least contentious way forward.

Another example. I spoke with N.Beltov a few days ago about Margaret Atwood's decision to not honour the boycott. Her decision disapoints me, but I respect it, and I still see her as an ally and an important voice on other political issues. I don't want to speak for N. Beltov, but I believe he feels differently. I respect his opinion, and he was respectful of mine. But it is a another example of moderation on an issue while still supporting the same cause.

Anyway, sorry if I offend or cause trouble for your moderators, but I think you have enough real enemies and real struggles without being so paranoid that you turn your backs on a good friend like Yiwah seems to be. There is no shame in asking an honest question, and there should be no shame about having an honest talk about it either. It does nothing to diminish your work; it can only help make it stronger.

Maysie Maysie's picture

remind, you need to back off your assertions about Yiwah being a concern troll, as there's no indication that he is. Argue his points and arguments, but stop the unfounded accusations and speculations about Yiwah's personal life, eg your comment about your Christian extended family.

And Yiwah, I think I'm finally getting where you're coming from. I'm a meta-analysis person, being a sociology kinda gal but you get the meta-meta award. 

First:

Yiwah wrote:
 What I am advocating is for more people to engage in the kinds of conversations where it is alright to admit things such as "wow, that was a bad move on the part of the side I support" without having be seen as undermining the ideological position you say you espouse.  Either in your own mind, or in the minds of others.

I see your point, and I get it. 

But there are a few huge problems with actualizing what you're suggesting, and I think what you're espousing will never happen. Why?

a. This is online, many babblers will never meet in person or know each other in any way other than our words here to each other. What this means is I only know babblers through their text, and I will "know" babblers (as they will "know" me) better over time. This benefits the longer term babblers and does not serve new babblers well. So, maybe, I could say something like "Yeah Hamas really fucked that situation up" and not be accused of supporting Israel. But I wouldn't bother. Someone new might think, hey it's ok to say stuff like that, and then there'd be some non-fun in the thread.

b. Polarization happens all the time. In fact, your contention about the word Zionism is the same accusation that used to (still does once in a while) fly at my head about my use of the word "racism". I've been accused fairly regularly of throwing that word around with no basis, bla bla bla. What I've done in response is simply stop engaging, as the "debates" are draining to me. But my learned opinion (ha!) remains the same. But that's me, I've been a volunteer moderator for a number of years before becoming a staff person. If someone wants to use a descriptor like Zionist to describe a person, or an ideology, they are free to do so, and don't need to abide by a standard that you, Yiwah, find more intellectually rigorous. Sorry, but it's true.

c. Passion and emotion drive most activists, not the cool-headed place of "reason" (which doesn't exist anyways). You think the right isn't fueled by passion (and hatred, which is an emotion)? Oh I almost forgot, at one point didn't you say you're a lawyer? Tongue out

d. To get into grey areas is something that is not ever done very well on babble on any topic. Many issues are, in fact, more complex than the threads about them represent. Sure, in an ideal world it would be great to hash out the issues in more minute ways here on babble. Hell, I love doing that in my real life. But history has shown us that babble isn't the place for it, in my estimation. The pressure of the outside MSM and corporate media is too great. This space always feel embattled and under siege, with real concern trolls, right wing interlopers and others infringing here. It's exhausting sometimes to have to fight them all the time, which we do. So subtlety falls away. It's a shame, but there it is. 

Second: while babble is an interesting slice of the Canadian left, it by no means represents the official or unofficial Canadian left, which varies immensely by region and by issue. What I'm saying is, babble is what it is, but to engage "the left" on the issue of Israel's occupation of West Bank and Gaza (see, my pov is now clear) one would get a huge myriad of responses. Some, yes are locked down on one side or the other, but many are in the mushy middle. There ain't much of a mushy middle on babble.

Third: The left has no obligation to be balanced, imo. That's why we're the left. Cool

In conclusion, I don't think you're going to get the meta-meta discussion you were hoping for. And this issue is a hot-button issue, so whatever abstract ideas you imagine can be debated just isn't going to happen. Perhaps this affirms your original thesis, but I still think it's possible to engage in a flawed community (as babble is, since no community is perfect and ideal) and move ideas and issues forward. As I've said, I've learned tons on babble over the years, and still do. I've changed my positions on issues. But that's me, I'm an optimist.

Unionist

al-Qa'bong wrote:

Quote:

 

I await your apology with baited breath.

 

Yeah, that sounds about right.

LOL! I think Al-Q is referring, obliquely, to the fact that the usual spelling is "bated breath" - if one intends the usual meaning, of course.

absentia

Maysie is officially my hero-of-the-week.

This was a very difficult topic for me to follow, because Yiwah asked a question - or possibly made an accusation of slogan-yelling and shutting-down and disallowing a skeptical attitude, but then withdrew it - of babble, or maybe not so much babble as the left in general, but as represented on bable, after all, or not - about a topic, or maybe several topics which were unrelated but alike - but not really about the topic(s) so much as the way they are discussed, usually or sometimes, or always, except this time... And whenever someone tried to explain the 'why' part of his question, he kept answering no, no more than that; other than that. I just could not figure out what he wanted - wants. Others may have experienced similar frustration.

For the belated record, Israel is the reason i came back to babble. Or, rather, CBC's travesty of journalism, covering that act of undeclared war. I suddenly needed to be someplace where i didn't feel alone in my anger, shame and disgust. That may help answer the 'why' part. The 'what can be done about this' part - i have no idea.

Yiwah

Unionist wrote:

al-Qa'bong wrote:

Quote:

 

I await your apology with baited breath.

 

Yeah, that sounds about right.

LOL! I think Al-Q is referring, obliquely, to the fact that the usual spelling is "bated breath" - if one intends the usual meaning, of course.

Okay, that made me giggle.

remind remind's picture

Chastizing accepted maysie,  should have worded the whole thing better, or not bothered.

 

My only excuse is; I was pretty damn angry about the off hand comment regarding the expressed notion that some First Nations loved Residential Schools and feel they got a great education. Perhaps there are some, but I have never met them, and one would think, given the reality of "odds are", I would have, given the circles of people I move in.

 

As I have know 100's, maybe even more actually when I think about it, of  Indigenous peoples across BC, AB and SK, who went to several different Residential Schools,  and  have not met 1, who liked the experience and feel it did them a favour. Most I have met can't even talk about it, in any depth, and some I met/know are terrified of strange white people because of it. And thus, said off side comment, thrown in so casually, signaled a huge warning to me.

But I shoulda walked away, and ignored all posts from there on in.

 

ETD for clarity and missing words

 

6079_Smith_W

@ Maysie

Thanks.

If I can add just one thing from my perspective, this may be a space with set parameters of discussion, but it is also the internet, and you will always have people wandering in here who don't fully understand what that means, and who ask innocent and sometimes ignorant questions (though I realize you must know that already).

If these people were received with a bit less suspicion and condemnation (by some, not all) and a bit more gentle information and instruction I think it would help sort out the trolls and the obstructionists from those who are here in good faith.

Yiwah

remind wrote:

Chastizing accepted maysie,  should have worded the whole thing better or not bothered.

 

My only excuse is, I was pretty damn angry about the off hand comment regarding the notion that some First Nations loved Residential Schools and feel they got a great education. Perhaps there are some, but I have never met them, and one would think, given the reality of odds are, I would have given the circles of people I move in.

See, you think you understand my arguments, and you think you know what I'm saying, but you most clearly do not.  Perhaps, as Maysie has pointed out, that is because of the new/old dichotomy here, where new posters are looked upon with suspicion.  However, I'm not as willing to absolve the perpetrators of misunderstanding, especially when they apparently go out of their way to mischaracterise what is being said.

I'll address three of these mischaracterisations you continue to hold on to:

 

yiwah wrote:

If you take the simplistic approach that "Residential schools were all bad", then someone is going to rightfully point out to you that some Aboriginal people received an excellent education in them, were not abused, and actually enjoyed the experience.  This fact of course does not negate the more important issue of Residential schools being deliberately set up as a system intent on cultural destruction and assimilation.  However, the simplistic stance opens you up to these kinds of 'counter-examples' which the other side takes, runs with and goes 'woohoo see!  They're wrong!'

I am an Aboriginal woman, I have lived in Aboriginal communities all my life, and I have worked with Aboriginal issues my entire career.  I have done battle with supporters of the Residential School system, and I have lived and worked intimately with people who attended Residential schools.  I have a very good understanding of the overall system, but also the specific approach used in various schools throughout the country. 

What I have seen done on many occasions, is supporters of Residential Schools will take a specific school as an example, (usually one operating in later decades as well, in the late 80s for example) and parade graduates of that school out as 'proof' that Residential schools were also positive.

I pointed this tactic out.  I also stated how the opposing side can use these anomalous situations to claim they've undermined your position, if indeed the position you've taken is the simplistic one of "ALL RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS WERE BAD" compared with the more nuanced and accurate position "RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS WERE THE PRODUCT OF A SYSTEM WHICH DELIBERATELY FOSTERED CULTURAL DESTRUCTION AND ASSIMILATION".

I have met formers students of Residential schools who did not have a bad experience.  What is sad about the situation is that some of them will use their own experiences to attack those who truly suffered from the more common experience.  Others will simply feel ashamed that they escaped the harsh treatment others did not. 

In any case, I'm a little tired of your attempt to 'out-Aboriginal' me in this context, because I'm fairly certain had you made the barest effort, you could have read what I actually wrote and understood it, instead of bringing your quite ugly assumptions to the forefront.

remind wrote:
If i wanted to listen to borderline, if not outright, evangelical apologist blatherings about Israel, coming from a Aboriginal person, I would listen to it from my extended family, but certainly do not have to here.

Boom, and there you have it.

I have never espoused any of the opinions you are attributing to me here.  Apparently, for you, simply bringing up the topic at all is enough to get me accused of being an apologist for Israel.

Which, once again, is what I was interested in finding out from the outset.

Why do you do this?

How do you justify it?

Do you even see yourself doing it?

 

You see, I'm interested in the why of the way people approach this topic.  Thankfully Maysie and a few others have been able to understand that.  I wonder if you do now, or if you've made your judgment, and that's that.

 

As to your bizarre references to my use of the term "babble bubble""

remind wrote:

and did you forget that you actually used the words "babble bubble"? which I note you over looked in your selected quotes of your own words, where you indicated i read you wrong. which i didn't

I actually [url=http://www.rabble.ca/comment/1156566/remind-wrote-Yiwah-you]quoted[/url] the passage where I used that term.  Did you not see it?  Perhaps you are not actually reading any of my posts?  I can think of no other explanation as to how you could overlook what was specifically quoted to you in the post you are referring to.  I suggest you read it again.

You read me wrong, remind. I've shown you how.  You ignored what I said, and then claimed I didn't address the specific wording at all.  Despite the fact it was quoted for you.

I'm not sure what that is, but it's not something I can't fix for you...you'll have to work on it.

Unionist

Fascinating how Maysie's name gets recruited into this dubious campaign of revisiting agreed principles.

Yiwah

Apologies for what is a HUGE freaking post and wonky scripting at the top.

Maysie wrote:

And Yiwah, I think I'm finally getting where you're coming from. I'm a meta-analysis person, being a sociology kinda gal but you get the meta-meta award.

I don't think it's meta-meta, I'm fairly sure it's still in the realm of the meta.  What people here have no apparently understood, or perhaps did not believe, was that my question was this:

"Let us discuss the way people approach Zionism, Israel, Palestine, Antisemitism and moderation."

I wanted to discuss the way in which we discuss difficult topics(that's why I think it's meta, not meta-meta :D) Of all the difficult topics out there, it has been my experience that the Israel/Palestine debate is the most difficult to engage in, on the left.

(Abortion is a difficult topic, but it's not really a debate within the left, it's more of a discussion between the left and right.  So perhaps I should have been more clear at the outset that I wanted to discuss the way the LEFT talks about difficult topics, amongst ourselves.)

In any case THANK YOU FOR GETTING IT.  I am interested in the opinions of others as to what makes the discussion so difficult to have.  A few posters here have addressed that issue, but it is very difficult to stay on the meta level and not get drawn into the details.  I think others thought the discussion was about Israel/Palestine and couldn't see why I'd avoid the details if that was the case. Anyway.  (Now the preceding section of this post is the meta-meta :P)

On to the meta! (How we discuss Israel/Palestine)

Maysie wrote:

I see your point, and I get it. 

But there are a few huge problems with actualizing what you're suggesting, and I think what you're espousing will never happen. Why?

a. This is online, many babblers will never meet in person or know each other in any way other than our words here to each other. What this means is I only know babblers through their text, and I will "know" babblers (as they will "know" me) better over time. This benefits the longer term babblers and does not serve new babblers well. So, maybe, I could say something like "Yeah Hamas really fucked that situation up" and not be accused of supporting Israel. But I wouldn't bother. Someone new might think, hey it's ok to say stuff like that, and then there'd be some non-fun in the thread.

Alright.  So you think that in an online context, the way we discuss Israel/Palestine is constrained in a certain way because of text-based limitations, lack of intimate knowledge about one another and the particular ‘culture’ that is created by long-time members of a forum. (Please, if during my restatement of any of your positions [which I do to be very clear myself about what I’m addressing] I err in any way, please let me know.)

I agree.

I think that difficult discussions are hard to have face to face, and even harder online for the reasons you’ve mentioned.  I aspire to a way of discussing topics online which would allow us to have these discussions without introducing assumptions which undermine the entire process, but I’ve yet to see it happen.  Those ‘breakthroughs’ I HAVE experienced in ‘real life’ and I think it has something to do with recognising other people’s humanity in a way that is perhaps too difficult to do online.  Some of the other things you mention below, about trolls and right wingers invading the space are other factors which prevent these ‘breakthroughs’.

My aspirations, however, are still based on the idea that it IS possible for posters to take stock of the way they debate, to avoid undermining assumptions, and to attempt to work together for clarity rather than working individually towards the debate ‘win’.  The culture that is often fostered on forums like these appeal to those who like to argue.  I’m absolutely one of them.  However entertaining that can be, however, I think people also have another agenda which is perhaps given lip service but not necessarily worked on as much: actual understanding.

I see the approach as being adversarial, and the best debator scores ‘points’ and eventually ‘wins’.  However satisfying that may be, it is ultimately MORE satisfying to have a debate with someone who finally sees your point, yes?  (I also think it’s satisfying to finally get what someone else is saying, and I’ve had my opinions changed about a fair many subjects online)  I don’t think that can really happen if you just ‘vanquish’ someone.  I don’t think the conversation should be adversarial, I think it needs to be more mutual than that.

I aspire to that, but I also accept what you’ve said about the reality of the situation, a reality I may not like, but nonetheless acknowledge.

Maysie wrote:

b. Polarization happens all the time. In fact, your contention about the word Zionism is the same accusation that used to (still does once in a while) fly at my head about my use of the word "racism". I've been accused fairly regularly of throwing that word around with no basis, bla bla bla. What I've done in response is simply stop engaging, as the "debates" are draining to me. But my learned opinion (ha!) remains the same. But that's me, I've been a volunteer moderator for a number of years before becoming a staff person. If someone wants to use a descriptor like Zionist to describe a person, or an ideology, they are free to do so, and don't need to abide by a standard that you, Yiwah, find more intellectually rigorous. Sorry, but it's true.

I understand that the ‘meta’ debates on the meaning of certain terms, or the tactics we use are draining.  I actually dread seeing new replies on this thread, because it makes me ask myself, “why the fuck am I trying to discuss this when I KNOW that the majority of my time is going to be spent saying, ‘no that’s not what I’m saying’?”

However, I think we need to have the discussions every once in a while.  Call me an optimist but I really do think that our methods and definitions and dynamics evolve over time, via the medium of debate perhaps, or simply as people get to know one another better (online or in real life).  I think of it like revisiting your relationship...how have things changed, how have things stayed the same, what do you think about this now...

But it’s still a major pain in the ass to have those discussions.

I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t prefer people to use words that had a more settled meaning, but I also realise that isn’t really possible.  Nor, upon reflection, would I want to work with a language so rigid and unadapting to various contexts.  HOWEVER.  Because these terms are NOT settled, I will attempt to figure out how people are using them, and I will attempt to explain to them how I am using them.  Too often, that attempt at communication is shut down by accusations.  I have seen people engage in ‘semantic wanking’ to confuse the issue, and it annoys the hell out of me as well, so I get why people often get their backs up when they think that’s happening. Yet communication is a difficult thing.  Perhaps one of the most difficult things we have to do in our lives, on a continuous basis.  I’d rather look like I’m up to no good, and fight through that immediate assumption in order to get at some sort of understanding, than just keep quiet all the time and wonder ‘why the heck do we seem unable to get our points across to one another?’.

Maysie wrote:

c. Passion and emotion drive most activists, not the cool-headed place of "reason" (which doesn't exist anyways). You think the right isn't fueled by passion (and hatred, which is an emotion)? Oh I almost forgot, at one point didn't you say you're a lawyer? Tongue out

Neener neener :P  You can’t keep doing legal work and not succumb to despair if you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing.

But you do learn that arguments from passion alone are easy to dismiss.

Maysie wrote:

d. To get into grey areas is something that is not ever done very well on babble on any topic. Many issues are, in fact, more complex than the threads about them represent. Sure, in an ideal world it would be great to hash out the issues in more minute ways here on babble. Hell, I love doing that in my real life. But history has shown us that babble isn't the place for it, in my estimation. The pressure of the outside MSM and corporate media is too great. This space always feel embattled and under siege, with real concern trolls, right wing interlopers and others infringing here. It's exhausting sometimes to have to fight them all the time, which we do. So subtlety falls away. It's a shame, but there it is. 

Thank you, I think this provides good insight.  I’m still really just getting a feel for the culture of this forum, which is substantially different than the culture I’ve experienced elsewhere online.  I can draw a parallel though to real life ‘Aboriginal spaces’ which often feel under siege and cause a great many discussions to fall silent.  It fosters a feeling of suspicion and, to not exaggerate, some fear.  You find that you are simply unwilling to discuss certain things because people are waiting to pounce on your words, take them out of context, or hold you to them (when you are simply trying to think aloud) or use what you’ve said as some sort of proof for the opposing position. 

I’m getting more of a sense of how this forum in particular tries to maintain openness while skewing the parameters of the discussion enough to allow for a sort of protected space where certain things will not be permitted to derail the entire discussion.  I’m not totally convinced by the approach, but I think I don’t quite understand it entirely yet either (and I haven’t really formulated any alternative), and I do see the need for this sort of thing.  It’s an interesting concept, and I hope that I can ask questions about it as I spend time here, and we can have those meta discussions about creating space, without that turning into a bloodbath.

Maysie wrote:

Second: while babble is an interesting slice of the Canadian left, it by no means represents the official or unofficial Canadian left, which varies immensely by region and by issue. What I'm saying is, babble is what it is, but to engage "the left" on the issue of Israel's occupation of West Bank and Gaza (see, my pov is now clear) one would get a huge myriad of responses. Some, yes are locked down on one side or the other, but many are in the mushy middle. There ain't much of a mushy middle on babble.

My reason for posing the question here was that I do see a variety of leftist perspectives, and I was looking for people to draw on their own experiences working with other leftists in the real world.  I’m not looking for a single answer, I want that myriad of responses.

Another thing that perhaps is not clear is...I’m not approaching this meta discussion with a thesis, or with a solution.  I find it troublesome, and while I can sit down by myself and think, ‘what are the roadblocks to having these discussions on the left’, I think better when I can access other points of view.  Some people have already provided their point of view, and it’s given me a lot to think about.

Maysie wrote:

Third: The left has no obligation to be balanced, imo. That's why we're the left. Cool

Okay, so here’s a bit of my argument, restated...if we accept that being on the left means taking certain positions, then we know the playing field isn’t over there in the centre anyway, right?  So balanced cannot mean taking the centre. 

I don’t want anyone to take the centre.  I don’t want people to go, ‘well maybe being pro-choice is too extreme’.  No.  I think ‘balance’ has to mean something else in these kinds of situations, where we’re over on the left, and the centre is bullshit.

So in this context, I think balanced means the ability to see the holes in your argument or position (and this is my lawyer training, but seeing them from the point of view of your opponent on the right who is going to try to exploit those ‘holes’).  Once you see them, you can deal with them.  Usually they aren’t actually holes in your argument at all, but they are things you need to think about, factor into your worldview and your position, and be prepared to discuss.  It’s a way of staying one step ahead of the people trying to invalidate your position.

I brought up the idea of balance, because I think it’s something young activists in particular need to learn.  There are tried and true tactics used by the right to make leftist positions look poorly thought out and not well understood by those who hold them.  Some of those are just media tactics...cutting out nuanced opinions in favour of finding the least coherent person in the group, etc.  But some of them are ‘poking holes in the argument’ tactics which can be used in all sorts of contexts.  Older leftists are often aware of these tactics, and can smoothly respond to them...so I suppose it’s very much an issue of experience.

A lot of what I do, these days, is try to find those ‘open spots’ in my arguments in preparation for the inevitable attempt to exploit them.  Amusingly enough, I’ve found one of the best places to do this is among leftists, who will swarm all over you with a much better understanding of the issues than you can find on the right.  Trial by fire, amongst the more-informed left :P

Maysie wrote:

In conclusion, I don't think you're going to get the meta-meta discussion you were hoping for. And this issue is a hot-button issue, so whatever abstract ideas you imagine can be debated just isn't going to happen. Perhaps this affirms your original thesis, but I still think it's possible to engage in a flawed community (as babble is, since no community is perfect and ideal) and move ideas and issues forward. As I've said, I've learned tons on babble over the years, and still do. I've changed my positions on issues. But that's me, I'm an optimist.

The meta (how we discuss Israel/Palestine) and the meta-meta (how we discuss any difficult topic)...and we just did have that discussion.  Thank you.

 

Yiwah

Unionist wrote:
Fascinating how Maysie's name gets recruited into this dubious campaign of revisiting agreed principles.

 

Unionist, I wonder if you are able to take a step back, and stop making assumptions about this discussion.  I haven't seen you do it yet, but I still have hope.

This is not a discussion about Israel/Palestine.

 

Again, though I've repeated it throughout this thread....

 

This is a discussion about how we discuss Israel/Palestine.

 

Which in no way revisits agreed upon principles.

 

If you truly choose to believe that I am lying about what I have just stated is the purpose of this thread, then I am sorry for your obstinacy, but I take no credit for it.

Unionist

Has it ever occurred to you that:

1. I don't think you're lying.

2. I don't think you have a hidden agenda.

3. I understand your point and your aim perfectly well.

4. I don't agree with your point or your aim.

5. Some others here, no less intelligent and experienced than I, are trying to tell you the same thing.

You want to frame our consistent support for the struggle of the Palestinian people as "extremism"? Fill your boots. You want to create a caricature of that consistent support as being some irrational screaming and denouncing and dehumanizing of anyone that raises the slightest voice that differs from us? Go right ahead.

Just don't ask us to confuse your carefully constructed frame with any kind of reality.

And don't expect anyone to dilute their principled positions for the sake of winning your approval of the tone of our discussions.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Well said.

Merowe

Yiwah, with the greatest respect I get the feeling from the discussion here that you're not well acquainted with middle Eastern politics. There is a naivety if not coyness about the way you frame your points that conjures for me a person who until recently had an unexamined, mainstream opinion on Israel and Palestine. Obviously something has disturbed you about this orthodoxy and you find yourself pulled to more 'leftist' analyses of circumstances there, but you're nervous of abandoning the safety of your position for one that some would label 'extreme'. That you still have discussions with Israel's defenders is a sign you've yet to follow the logic of your own observations through.

Well, fuck all that. You're either pregnant or you're not. There is no 'middle ground' on this subject. Oh, there is always room for compromise and accommodation! But some things are immutable, just as 2 plus 2 equals 4. You just haven't done your homework yet. Your ideas are still basically those of the MSM, your opinions are a work-in-progress and it is this lingering affection for their fictive 'balance' that prevents you from fully accepting the evidence before you, and the narrative that follows from it.

I can say this because my own current understanding has been a decades-long evolution away from the conventional obfuscations about Israel we're indoctrinated with. I didn't arrive at my current understanding overnight. No, I grew up with the image of plucky little Israel, bold and imaginative, working miracles turning the desert into a cornucopia, battling venal and cowardly Arabs and I ate it up as assiduously as my fellows.

May I suggest you start with one simple question, which you must answer to your heart's satisfaction.

If Israel is GENUINELY interested in peace, why is it actively expanding onto Palestinian land?

You'll need a working knowledge of 19th century European imperialism, the Balfour declaration, the Ottoman Empire and a lot of other stuff, but its fascinating material, easily come by and at the end, you'll have an informed opinion and much of this thread will suddenly become irrelevant.

Unionist

When you're done with Merowe's assignment, you may wish to start researching Afghanistan.

 

Yiwah

Unionist wrote:
Has it ever occurred to you that: 1. I don't think you're lying. 2. I don't think you have a hidden agenda.

 

3. I understand your point and your aim perfectly well

4. I don't agree with your point or your aim. 5. Some others here, no less intelligent and experienced than I, are trying to tell you the same thing.

See, you say things like the bolded above and then:

Unionist wrote:

 You want to frame our consistent support for the struggle of the Palestinian people as "extremism"? Fill your boots. You want to create a caricature of that consistent support as being some irrational screaming and denouncing and dehumanizing of anyone that raises the slightest voice that differs from us? Go right ahead. Just don't ask us to confuse your carefully constructed frame with any kind of reality. And don't expect anyone to dilute their principled positions for the sake of winning your approval of the tone of our discussions.

Which  highlights that no, you don't understand my point, or my aim.

 

 

 

 

Yiwah

Unionist wrote:

When you're done with Merowe's assignment, you may wish to start researching Afghanistan.

 

Aw, that's adorable!  Instead of simply continuing to construct strawmen, now you're being condescending!  A truly breathtaking arsenal of wit and intellectual honesty.

Unionist

Merowe - did you seriously miss Yiwah's framing of this thread - Yiwah has no interest whatsoever in discussing the substance of the Israel/Palestine issue, and your attempts to do will fail:

Yiwah wrote:
I really don't want to delve into the contents of the box, and attempts by others to get me to do so will fail.

As a trained lawyer, Yiwah can be expected to remain true to that promise. You won't easily get the discussion onto issues of content.

Just admit you're an extremist, Merowe - and the thread can be mercifully closed.

Yiwah

Merowe wrote:

Yiwah, with the greatest respect I get the feeling from the discussion here that you're not well acquainted with middle Eastern politics. There is a naivety if not coyness about the way you frame your points that conjures for me a person who until recently had an unexamined, mainstream opinion on Israel and Palestine.

With the greatest respect, you haven't the slightest clue about my position, or my background on the subject, and are merely engaging in guesswork.  Thank you for your armchair analysis, but it's not particularly useful, the tea leaves have led you astray.

Thank you for sharing information about your political evoluation.  It does not mirror mine.

 

Merowe wrote:

Obviously something has disturbed you about this orthodoxy and you find yourself pulled to more 'leftist' analyses of circumstances there, but you're nervous of abandoning the safety of your position for one that some would label 'extreme'. That you still have discussions with Israel's defenders is a sign you've yet to follow the logic of your own observations through.

Well, fuck all that. You're either pregnant or you're not. There is no 'middle ground' on this subject. Oh, there is always room for compromise and accommodation! But some things are immutable, just as 2 plus 2 equals 4. You just haven't done your homework yet. Your ideas are still basically those of the MSM, your opinions are a work-in-progress and it is this lingering affection for their fictive 'balance' that prevents you from fully accepting the evidence before you, and the narrative that follows from it.

I can say this because my own current understanding has been a decades-long evolution away from the conventional obfuscations about Israel we're indoctrinated with. I didn't arrive at my current understanding overnight. No, I grew up with the image of plucky little Israel, bold and imaginative, working miracles turning the desert into a cornucopia, battling venal and cowardly Arabs and I ate it up as assiduously as my fellows.

May I suggest you start with one simple question, which you must answer to your heart's satisfaction.

If Israel is GENUINELY interested in peace, why is it actively expanding onto Palestinian land?

You'll need a working knowledge of 19th century European imperialism, the Balfour declaration, the Ottoman Empire and a lot of other stuff, but its fascinating material, easily come by and at the end, you'll have an informed opinion and much of this thread will suddenly become irrelevant.

This is not a discussion about Israel/Palestine.  I'm sorry you missed that very important fact.

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