What should have israel done instead?


Sure, they can be strong.


The problem with Netanyahu’s position is that it isn’t graduated at all, nor is it contextualized. It reduces (or elevates) every threat to an existential threat, makes any compromise impossible because of this, and never makes a distinction between those lines that cannot be crossed and the stuff that you just have to work through.

It also creates a situation where one side’s security pretty much depends, in their view, on the insecurity of everyone else around them. After the '73 war, the ability of the so-called confrontation states to actually do much to Israel, militarily, vanished, certainly after 1982 and Lebanon. Sure, there are still a lot of people with a lot of rhetoric that’s deeply disturbing and reason enough for a strong IDF, but the actual governments around Israel, and their actual military forces, aren’t really in the picture any more. And as horrible as Hamas and friends are, they aren’t an existential threat the way Syria under the elder Assad was, for instance, before '82. Yet Israel still behaves as if they are surrounded by Arab military forces on hair-trigger alert to invade or something. Much of this, IMO, is because there is a strain of thought in Israeli politics that simply cannot function without the country being in this militarized high-alert state. Which of course makes trying to figure out some realistic way forward pretty impossible.

Israel in effect is betting on its own ability to remain pretty much militarily inviolate for the indefinite future (not necessarily a bad bet, practically speaking), and hence on not having any need to compromise on anything at all. Which is fine, until one day they find out their superiority isn’t as absolute as they thought. That’s the problem with these might makes right sort of approaches. Eventually, you run into a bigger, meaner SOB in the valley.


I guess i recognize that the Israelis are in a somewhat unique position.

They’ve basically had to fight for their very existence, forever. They are surrounded by people who use them as a scapegoat, to distract from the atrocities that those other countries commit against their people. Israel isn’t even close to the top of the list when it comes to “middle Eastern countries that do terrible things”. I mean, their have neighbors who have done things in the past month like literally crucify people, or use chemical weapons against their own populations.

If i were Israel, i would absolutely be in the camp of might makes right, because that’s what they have experienced.

Who are they going to trust, if not their own military prowess?

The international community made up of counties that either actively tried to enact genocide against them, attacked their country after it came into existence, or simply did nothing during those events? There’s no reasonable way to expect them to have any respect for the notion of international law… They know first hand that such a thing doesn’t exist. Even today we sit back and watch genocides occur around the globe.

Israel exists because they are strong enough to defend their patch of sand. Full stop.

And really, again, they probably still the best country in that region.


Eh, I dunno if I can agree with this.

I mean, you know how wide Israel is, right? Nine miles. At its widest, it’s only 70 miles. They have basically no buffer.

That kind of thing, coupled with the fact that they are surrounded by those arguing for their destruction, who have actively attacked them and fire weapons into their country…

That gives me perhaps more respect for their perception of existential threats than I would otherwise have.

Yeah, I think they’re totally aware of this… but it’s their only option.

They don’t trust anyone else to fight for their existence. I don’t blame them.

The day Israel cannot defend themselves, is the day they cease to exist… because no one else is gonna come to their aid. And in a world where we’re seeing the rise of anti-semitism and fascists again? I sure as hell wouldn’t be putting faith in the international community if I were them.


Everyone does. It’s possible to believe that and still believe Netanyahu is wrong, and that he’s a bad man.

More’s the pity. I wonder how we tell them from the bad guys, then?


I think it’s simpler than that. Somewhere along the way their government decided they wanted to possess all of Palestine, and their entire foreign policy and security posture is and has been based on attaining that goal. So they must subjugate the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, and they must escalate every dispute or protest into a war, and they must legislate successively more and more second class status for the Palestinians who happen to be on the land Israel has decided is theirs. And they’ve basically won; they’ve got the President of the U.S. saying that the two-state solution is dead. It will be Greater Israel.


Sure, I’m not a huge fan, especially given his attitude towards the US.

But the statement about strength goes a bit deeper for Israel, because of what they have gone through.

I don’t really have that much trouble telling the Israelis from the bad guys in the middle east.

I don’t think you do either.

We’re just more critical of the Israelis, because we know they aren’t the bad guys, and thus we expect more from them. And that’s fine. But We shouldn’t believe the hype and lose sight of the fact that they are still the good guys… or at least the best ones in that region.


I’m reading the statement as justification for Israel crushing the weaker party. You’re reading it as justification for Israel making itself the stronger party. I admit that it could be intended that way, except for the part where Israel constantly crushes the weaker party, and then offers ad-hoc justifications for it that don’t pass the laugh test. Given that, I think Netanyahu is saying the former - that might makes right and that’s sufficient justification for Israel’s subjugation if a weaker people.

You’re wrong. I think Israel surrendered the high ground in the West Bank many years ago. They’re the bad guys.


No, I’m pretty sure I’m right.

Saudi Arabia literally cruxified people.

Syria literally used chemical weapons on its own people.

Sorry dude, it ain’t even remotely close.

If Israel used the tactics that are actively used against them, and simply turned its military towards the civilian centers of the palestinians, as are turned on Israel’s civilian centers… there would be no more palestinians.


The same could be said about the USA. Not regionally. But in general.


I’m saying you’re wrong about what I believe.

They’re bad guys, too. They could all be bad guys, right?

This would be funny if weren’t so sad. All of Israel’s attacks on the Palestinians are on the civilian centers of population. Gaza is 1.8 million people in 140 square miles. The whole place is a population center.


Yeah, Israel is not some kind of holy army of righteousness.

But still, when we’re witnessing literal cruxificions, stoning, and employment of chemical weapons… It ain’t really that close.

Sure, which is why I said they were the best in the region.


This is a tough topic, for sure. Hell, in what has to be a bitter bit of irony, it’s one of the topics we avoid at my synagogue. The Israeli right-wing has made hay equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. And yes, there is a ton of anti-Semitism out there, no question about it. And some of that does fuel opposition to Israel. But plenty of Jews are pretty fed up with Israeli policy across a wide array of issues, from gender rights to religious freedom to of course the Palestinian and settlement issues. Israel definitely faces challenges, and definitely as I noted needs a strong defense. But there’s no way in hell a bunch of thugs with rockets or fire balloons or what-not pose anything like the threat Israel used to have to face, which consisted of large, well-equipped national military forces poised on her borders. Israel is the undisputed military bad ass of the region at this point.

To me, the key problem we (Jews) have about Israel is that we don’t want to go through the painful process of admitting that, as amazing and necessary as the foundation of the State of Israel was (and it was necessary I believe, and it was in many ways an amazing and inspiring thing) it was not without a lot of very negative consequences. Just as we as Americans have had to come to grips with how the foundation of our Republic rested on exploitation of indigenous people and slaves brought from Africa, and many European nations have had to wrestle with the legacies of colonialism, Israel needs to grapple much for forcibly and sincerely with the price others had to pay for the creation of the state. That is what Netanyahu and his ilk steadfastly refuse to do.


This is well said, though I’d go further and repeat what I said earlier: What’s changed is that Netanyahu and his ilk decided they wanted all of Palestine. What’s been happening is a slow motion invasion and occupation of the West Bank and the effective construction of a prison camp in Gaza. And that is what Netanyahu’s tweet is meant to offer justification for: Israel is crushing Palestine because the strong always crush the week, that’s how things work, just deal with it, there will be peace after they are slaughtered.

I suppose I ought not to be surprised by it being expressed that nakedly, but I am.


Well, there are things in the Tanakh that sound fairly similar; there is a part of Jewish history that glorifies strength. What people forget is that Torah also tells us what happens when the people of Israel forget why they have been given that strength. A huge chunk of scripture is filled with warnings against hubris…


But this is ridiculous to try and minimize.

They have terrorists, litterally shooting missiles into their population centers. Can you fully grasp what that’s like? Because i have a hard time with it. Imagine if someone did that to us. What would our response be?

When people not only have the ability to fire rockets into your cities, but actually do it? No reasonable person could try to minimize that threat.

Yes, this is why I’m pretty sure that my interpretation is correct. It’s not a statement of “we should crush and murder everyone”.

Israel is in a position where strength is the only thing keeping them from being pushed into the sea. And that’s what the statement is about.

And again, that is in fact the reality. We can try and minimize the strength of the other actors in the region, but given the chance a bunch of them would destroy Israel (even though Israel ironically benefits them by being an easy scapegoat). And Israel cannot, in even the smallest way, count on the international community to defend or protect them. They would be foolish to place that kind of trust in others.

The only country that might go to bat for them would be the US, and i don’t think other countries can really count on the US given its current leadership.


Again, virtually every Israeli attack on Gaza is an attack on a population center. Israel kills five to ten times (depending on whose numbers you cite) as many Palestinians as Palestinians kill Israelis, and ten times as many minors and children.

Why do you think the Palestinians do what they do? Are they born wanting to launch rockets into Israel? It doesn’t make much sense to me to try to assess the blame here without confronting the fact that, in the West Bank, Israel is a foreign occupying power oppressing the native population, and they have made of Gaza a prison camp.


Because that’s where they are shooting missiles from.
They should stop doing that.


Violence against oppressors is a pretty common phenomenon in history, especially when the oppressors are viewed as outsiders or others. It’s certain was true when the Romans conquered the region. Doesn’t make it right, but it does show why this is a tough problem to solve.

Perhaps a good first step would be to remove the settlers? Unless you think a one state solution with the Jews as a minority is something you had in mind.


As long as attacks continue against the Israelis, the hard right in Israel is going to have power and control things.

From a purely pragmatic view, the Palestinians are not negotiating from a position of strength. As time goes on, their hand gets weaker. They need to accept a deal they don’t like, because they are not going to get what they want, ever.

They need to put together a government that is based on something other than the destruction of Israel, and they need to be able to police themselves, because as long as they have terrorists in their midst, firing mortars and rockets into Israel, Israel cannot simply let them be. It would be irresponsible for their government to not react to such things.

Israel can’t NOT occupy the region, because if they do that, then the Palestinians attack them. That’s not a tenable situation.