TED Conversations

Roger Farinha

Founder, New American Spring

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Should Israel go all out?

Israel clearly exists as a nation on the basis of its claim to have been given its traditional land borders by the revelation of the one true God. Compromise therefore doesn't make sense. "In for a penny, in for a pound." Should Israel just chuck in its tiptoeing around the various international and Arab demands, take its original borders, and let its very existence rest on the promise of God? To me, this is the only rational option, given the very identity of the Jewish people. What say you?

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    Nov 23 2012: If your God does not respect the sanctity of human life, no matter what race, creed, colour, sex or religious persuasion, then he is no God - he's a politician.

    Using the bible as a political manifesto is the reason why religion and politics have both seriously lost their way.
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      Nov 23 2012: Again I'm not espousing anything in particular but perhaps from a strictly rational perspective, you are also guilty of an artificial compartmentalization of human nature-- if human nature is to be treated with integrity, should not all its aspects (religion AND politics) be holistically, and not separately considered?
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    Nov 22 2012: "by the revelation of the one true God"

    israel was created by political powers, god has nothing to do with it.

    "given the very identity of the Jewish people"

    instant racism, well done.
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      Nov 22 2012: I don't consider it racist at all. It is quite simply the truth.

      The Jews exist as a culturally distinct people on the basis of the Biblical claim--which is only widely known due to their scriptural popularity and success historically. If I were a Jew, I'd either renounce my ethnicity altogether, or rest on its claims. Otherwise, I'd only be a coward and nonentity, worse than a man without an ethnicity.
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        Nov 22 2012: "The Jews exist as a culturally distinct people on the basis of the Biblical claim"

        well, if you believe in that statement, you are not racist indeed. you are merely ignorant.
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        Nov 22 2012: most jews are jews because their parents were jews, and they grew up in jew culture. just as germans are germans for a similar reason. they don't identify themselves with ancient german hordes. israel's policy is not originated in the bible in any way. nor the thinking of many people in israel or anywhere on the earth. strangely, religious reasoning prevalent in all other countries in the middle east, and unfortunately the USA too.
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          Nov 22 2012: Wouldn't you say that if the Germans decided to take over parts of England because of their ancestral and ethnic claim to those lands, that in the very act, they are opening themselves up to logical criticism (not necessarily criticizing) pertaining to all the elements of such ancestral claims? By acting on the biblical basis of Jerusalem in founding Israel as a nation, should not the Jewish people open themselves to all the ramifications of their underlying assumption of biblical legitimacy?
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        Nov 22 2012: neither ancestral nor ethnic claims are religious.and can only repeat that israel's gaza policy is not based on religion, as you keep saying.
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          Nov 22 2012: The difference with Israel is that its national claims ARE ethnic, and its ethnic claims ARE religious. I don't think YOU grasp this.

          This is what is unique about the Jews.

          AND IN CASE YOU DIDN'T GET IT ALREADY, I AM A BELIEVER IN THE TRADITIONAL JUDEO-CHRISTIAN GOD, SO I AM NOT ANTI-SEMITIC.
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        Nov 22 2012: no the claims are not religious.
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        Nov 26 2012: Seriously we are human beings before we this or that race, ethnicity and culture overlays.

        Actually Christians have been some of the most anti semitic groups ever.

        East Roman Christians kicked the JEws out of the Levant. Christians persecuted JEws are the murders of Christ for centuries in Europe and Russia. Finally, Christians in Germany, mainly Catholics, murdered European Jews on an industrial scale, along with Roma and homosexuals etc.

        The evangelical Christian take on Israel etc is not the primary Judeo Christian theme for the last 2000 years.
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    Nov 22 2012: War creates war. For as long as people want to fight, they will find something to fight about. In this case, it's whether or not God gave the land to some or all of Abraham's children. Tradition was always that the inheritance went to the oldest son. That would be Ishmael, the father of the Arabs. So the land really belongs to them if there is a god-given land-grant.

    Why not stand for peace rather than war? It's much safer and far more pleasant to watch.
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      Nov 22 2012: Truth is, I'm not asserting any option personally--I'm just having a rational exercise...
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        Nov 22 2012: No, you're having a mental exercise. Your position is certainly not rational.
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          Nov 22 2012: By the way, Ishmael gave away his birthright for a bowl of soup. So I don't suppose the Arabs have any basis in their squabble with their Jewish family.

          But if you take, say, an alien from outer space, and present him with the Jewish history. As an objective outsider, he would agree about my ultimatum.
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        Nov 23 2012: Sorry, but Easu lost his birthright for a bowl of soup. Not Ishmael.

        But now all can see that you were not attempting to use logical argument. You have an agenda. That explains the lack of rationality in your argument.
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          Nov 23 2012: My mistake about the soup, but it is not integral to my basic premises.
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        Gail . 50+

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        Nov 23 2012: If Easu could exchange his birthright for a bowl of soup, thus lose it, did not the Jews exchange their birthright for food provided as a result of their selling themselves into slavery in Egypt? When they pledged their lives to the Pharaoh, they actively rejected God's gift. Thus, by your logic, they lost their right to the land.

        Why are you fixated on one part of the text but refuse to read the rest?

        But this whole conversation is a digression. All archeologists, egyptologists, and Jewish sholars agree that the exodus could not have happened as recorded. It's just not possible. If the Jews were walking 10 abreast, the line would have been 150 miles long. People and their animals at the end of the line would have been dying of thirst as they awaited their turn at the next oasis, and there are no skeletal remains. There should be lots of them along the entire route - especially in the encampment area where the Ten Commandments were allegedly given. But remnants of Jewish campfires in the land of Canaan have been found, and they pre-date the exodus. Furthermore, Noah's flood is not mathematically possible. You can do the math yourself. There are many more impossibilities in the texts.

        There are so many problems with the Biblical texts that they cannot be used as a history. It's not rational to do so.

        Jewish scholars agree that the story of the exodus is a myth or a morality tale and not to be taken literally.
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          Nov 23 2012: Again, I'm just doing a playful logical exercise here-- not espousing anything (I have to say this in almost all my posts now).

          So let me give to you, whether true or not, that there is no really logical and rational ground behind Israel's occupation of its present nation. Why don't you therefore agree to have them dissolve their nation and melt into the Arab people for peace's sake?
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      Nov 26 2012: Actually, who were the first inhabitants of the Levant. They were not Jews, before Jewish culture and tribes existed.

      Maybe the preJewish peoples had their own gods who gave them the land. Why not them.

      Why everything through a Judeo Christian lens?
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    Gail . 50+

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    Nov 22 2012: Well, if you can prove that God gave the Biblical land of Israel to the children of Abraham, and that Abraham's God still wants modern-day Jews to own the land - meaning: show me your God - then you could stand firm in your position and have my support.

    If you can prove that by breaking (rejecting) the covenant - Jews leaving the land and selling themselves into slavery in Egypt - they are still entitled to the land, you could get me to listen.

    If you can explain why God kept removing the Jews from the land (as in Babylonian exile), I would also listen.

    Israel exists today because England went back on its word. That land was promised to the Arabs in exchange for their help in the Ottoman War. Because Jews were so hated in Europe and elsewhere, Europe wanted them to move, so England reneged on its promise and gave Jews land that had not been theirs for thousands of years. Seeing as Germany lost WWII (and in such a vile way), why didn't the powers that be give Germany to the Jews as their homeland? Why give them land that was populated by another people.

    You appear to be unaware that Jews and Arabs lived peacefully on that land for 1400 years. Now it's a hornets' nest. Is that the doing of your God as well, or just of the view of the Nazi-like Xtians who have helped make it so?

    If you are willing to allow Israel's existence to rest on the promise of God, then you should be in full support of our not giving Israel any more money and our staying out of Israel's business. Break the treaty that is endangering us. Let God defend it if God wants it defended.
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      Nov 22 2012: Regardless of the details of how Israel came to be as a nation again, I go back to the original Jewish texts of God giving these lands. When Israel kept loosing its land, you might say this is proof that God is not with them, or you might take their prophets' words on face value--that it is because they failed to adhere to God absolutely. So this is all the more reason that they should adhere to God absolutely today, and go all out. And prove, once and for all, if God is really with them.

      To be a real Jew would be to have the biggest cajones in all the earth! I repeat, this is only LOGIC speaking...
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        Nov 22 2012: What LOGIC????? I don't see any in your post or in your response.
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          Nov 22 2012: Logical train of thought:

          IF God gave the Jews such and such land, AND God is the one true God, then the Jews should take Him on face value, and not let any amount of HUMAN opinions and pressures dictate their compromising.
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        Nov 23 2012: If you are going to use the Bible as a basis, then god gave that land to the children of Abraham - which includes the Arabs.

        If God gave Israel to any group of people, then God should sort it all out. Do you agree with stopping all foreign aid and breaking our defense treaty with Israel, so that God can do his own handiwork?
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          Nov 23 2012: Again, I'm not personally espousing any action in particular--only taking things to a logical conclusion. In this respect, yes, all the premises would line up to leaving Israel to it's own devices-- inasmuch, again, it rests on the supposed promise of the one true and omnipotent God.
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      Nov 26 2012: Actually you can not even prove the god of the bible exists, or any other gods or goddesses.
      Its all apparently a sad delusion, a human conceptual construction.

      If there is an god and it happens to be correctly interpreted by one group on people and it gave some land to them.....not a great starting premise is it?

      What if the Buddhists have it right, and gods are irrelevant to our escaping the cycle of reincarnation?

      If the Buddhists are correct, then the Israeli government would be better to deal with reality and not base their actions on their cultural myths.
  • Nov 22 2012: Yes!
    Israel should go all out, or rather they should all go out!!
    Get the hell out of other people's business.
    Get the hell out of there.
    If there is a God, it isn't them.
    In lieu of there being no God, it isn't them.

    Stop using the Nazi's as an excuse to act just like Nazi's.
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      Nov 22 2012: I personally would not consider a people acting on their oldest and most ancient and sacred texts and traditions, Nazis. But I do see how they are faced with a very logical alternative-- either go all out in believing in themselves in their full roots, or renounce their identity as a people.

      Your statement is anti-Semitic, mine is not...
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    Nov 22 2012: Your 'only rational option' would be true If Israel could prove its 'one true God' in legal terms to justify its claim. The fact that they can't is one reason of this never ending story...
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      Nov 22 2012: Surely this proof would trump the legal, that they boldly take what they claim was promised to them, and let the action of God--either to protect them, or let them be destroyed-- decide the case?
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        Nov 22 2012: What would you think of me if I would claim some of your belongings because my God told me they belong to me? If we were neighbours, you probably would have at home what's in the hand of that man in your profile picture... :o) And rightly so!

        The decisions made and those which will be made on this topic in the future are not actions of any God and of people only. Wise would be to de-escalate and to compromise on all sides involved. Only this can bring a peaceful co-existence, which, as far as I know, actually is what this God want's his 'children' to live like...
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      Nov 22 2012: If you look at the history of my conversations, and my real words, perhaps the picture might not throw you off, as we are all tempted to judge a book by its cover.
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        Nov 22 2012: I did not judge you by 'the cover'. I just referred to it. Or do you picture me as a white cat in a black circle? Meow? ;o)
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          Nov 22 2012: No I didn't, although I can similarly refer to you as likely seeing yourself as a sweet and harmless against the backdrop of a dark world, lol...
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        Nov 22 2012: Now that is poetic! I like that! Meow! ;o)
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    Nov 26 2012: What about the majority of the world population that don't believe in the one god? From their perspective Israel is a piece of land being claimed by the decree of a comic book character.
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    Nov 25 2012: Roger,
    You seem to have a personal agenda, which has been mentioned at least a couple times by participants on this comment thread. I am very surprised TED has allowed this discussion to continue.
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      Nov 25 2012: I bet as soon as I mentioned "Jesus Christ" you jump on personal agendas and censorship. But again, whether you are willing to believe or not, I am putting out fodder for reasonable people who will not jump to name calling and censorship. If anything can't be on the table in a forum of reason, then it is not longer a forum or reason, but a forum of another AGENDA. No?
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        Nov 25 2012: Roger,
        If I wanted to "jump" on anything, I would have done it days ago, when this discussion started. I've been watching it unfold.....or not. It seems to be a forum of YOUR agenda.

        I observe that rather than facilitating a discussion, you are promoting your own ideas over and over again. You keep saying you are "putting out fodder for reasonable people....", and there have been several very reasonable people who chose to comment on this thread. You continue with your own agenda, rather than facilitate any kind of discussion, and when someone disagrees with you, they are, as you say...unreasonable or not logical.

        You seem to be accepting only YOUR perceived "reason" and logic. Based on your comments, you seem to be emotionally invested in the challenges of Israel. Your comment ..."To me, this is the only rational option, given the very identity of the Jewish people", seems racist to me. Again, you speak of YOUR "only rational option". and with that, you leave no room for discussion.

        As I said, I am very surprised TED has allowed this to continue.
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          Nov 25 2012: I might just as well object to TED that you are calling for censorship, and introducing into a community of hopefully open-minded that this is an acceptable option. I'd rather say, censor censorship. I wondered whether I should flag your comments to TED as someone espousing censorship, but then, I'd be guilty of the same thing.

          No. As a reasonable person, I urge you to put censorship off the table.

          That being said, I appreciate your feedback about me. Some things are inaccurate, but as long as we can dialogue, time can cure all. Or would you rather kill me in the spirit of genocide, and see me on TED no longer?

          In fact, this just gave me an idea: Could all genocide and warfare begin first in the human mind, with the spirit of censorship?
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        Nov 25 2012: Do what you will Roger. I'm certainly not the only one on this thread who brings this to light:>)
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          Nov 25 2012: Coleen, please believe me that I love all people. If you are wondering if I have an agenda, look at my New American Spring organizational movement idea-- posited on bi-partisan, good-will community building (my profile).

          "TO ME, this is the only rational option, given the VERY IDENTITY of the Jewish people."

          The TO ME is an invitation to reason. It says I am putting myself up for consideration along with my premise.

          VERY IDENTITY of the Jewish people, if offensive, should rather be dealt with by arguments, no? Otherwise, if it is indeed racist, how am I to grow and change as a person? By being labeled and censored?

          I knew, Coleen, that I was bringing up controversial subjects when I opened up the Israeli-Palestinian debate, but only because I like lively and thoughtful conversation. This topic is played out by now for me, though. I recently put in for a more philosophical topic on whether our universe is perhaps a universe of beings, rather than a universe of things, as our modern scientific paradigm suggests. Hope you can join in...
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    Nov 25 2012: People who believe these fairy tales and promote war because of them freak me out.

    Some times its hard to believe we are in the 21st century.
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      Nov 25 2012: Whether you like it or not, I believe that Israel is acting on this ethinic and religious mandate in the innermost of its government. Perhaps the word for this is Zionist-- frankly, I don't know much detail about the whole thing. I just have good gut feelings, and I feel Israel is trying to reclaim all the borders of its scriptural promise...

      I personally will not endorse or condemn this. I don't have authority to speak. I'm just throwing out considerations for reasoning people.

      Nor do I think that labeling anyone "nut" does any good among reasoning people, no matter how unreasonable you think your other side is. Using derogatory words is a sign that you are either too lazy to seek out the human level of your opponent (and there is ALWAYS a human level), or you are just a species of that which you are calling your opponent.
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        Nov 26 2012: I'm not privy to the internal workings or motivations of the most powerful people in Israel.

        Who are the key movers and shakers in your view, why do you think their drivers relate to particular superstitious religious beliefs and not more pragmatic concerns about the safety of their citizens and winning the coming election? Any evidence to support your view.

        My understanding of Judaism, Israel, and it’s government is that there are many different religious and political factions. In Judaism you have atheist Jews through to fundamentalist Jews, even Christian Jews.

        I guess some are looking at this from a pragmatic political, social, economic and military perspective – a real threat to Israeli citizens via the missiles, to win an election, and determine what is the best course of action based on the natural world. This would include consideration of of the relevant social/political groups with supernatural beliefs.

        Others might believe they have a god given right to all of Israel and see the conflict in some supernatural context. Not just Jews but evangelical Christians.

        “Nut” is your word, not mine.

        RE: "Israel clearly exists as a nation on the basis of its claim to have been given its traditional land borders by the revelation of the one true God. " - It might be my misinterpretation, but I interpreted your your headline comment that Israel has some divine right to exist, which makes you sound like one of the nuts that you allude to, whoever or whatever they are.

        I suggest the modern state of Israel exists because of more mundane reasons. I note Jewish control has been in the minority for the last 4000 years. I also note after centuries of Muslim control Jews were only about 10% of the population at the turn of the 20th century - WW1 and Ottoman collapse, ineffective British occupation, Zionist migration, Western guilt and maybe evangelical motivations and you have one of the biggest mistakes of the 20th century, the formation of 2 states in the Levant.
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          Nov 26 2012: I am prostrate on the floor. I breathe the dust. You clearly know much more than me. I'm glad my trowing this subject out there got some education in the mix.
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        Nov 26 2012: Sarcasm. Hmm. Shame, I was hoping for a mature response, better understanding your view in response to mine, even pointing out where you think my view is wrong and why. Well, never mind.
  • Nov 23 2012: Gods are imaginary. If Israelites acted upon the words written in an old book, a book filled with barbaric and imaginary stories, they would be acting on imprudent and incalculable stupidity. Other countries would have the humane duty of stoping them. No barbaric books, no imaginary entitlements, no imaginary gods, can justify genocide.
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      Nov 23 2012: Well even in my logical exercise, I wouldn't imagine genocide. I'm just referring to expanding Israel's national sovereignty to the full scope of the original territory promised by God. As far as I know, the ancient scriptures lead the way in global morality in prescribing ethical treatment of the foreigner in Israel. So the Arabs caught up in this territory would enjoy these protections.

      But again--logical exercise-- not recommendation...
      • Nov 23 2012: And how would you think such a thing could be accomplished if not by genocide? In any event. I do not care if the books have anything about treating foreigns ethically or not, taking over territories is taking over territories. Taking them over for imaginary promises by imaginary beings is still insane and overly stupid. No amount of believers in this imaginary character would change reality one bit. Such action would be exactly like hindus taking over something because of a promise by Vishnu. Suppose their respective gods disagree? What would make one right and the other wrong? These things have to be treated with reason, not superstition.

        So your logical exercise is anything but logical. It makes no sense to act upon imaginary promises by imaginary beings.
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          Nov 24 2012: I find that modern people continually mix up logic with reason. Logic is a mere exercise of IF, THEN. Reason can bring into the mix belief. So you are really saying I'm not being reasonable. But I am being logical.

          But whenever you claim reason, you must also acknowledge the level of BELIEF involved. So, because you don't believe in the Jewish God, only by that virtue do you claim that I am unreasonable.

          Again-- just logic here...
      • Nov 24 2012: You are right and I am wrong about the "logic" part (if ... then ...), but for the logic to work the premises have to be valid. So, even if "logical" your question/debate/whatever, is irrational, nonsense, and following it would be irresponsibly stupid.

        There's no level of belief involved in my answer. That I don't believe personally in this fantasy does not make my position based on a belief. My position is reasonable because there is no way anybody can demonstrate that their particular gods are real and that their promises should be respected. We know for sure that the people living in some lands are real. Putting them down for the sake of a promise by a character who cannot be demonstrated unambiguously to exist to all parties is pure nonsense. Again and again, incalculable stupidity.
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          Nov 24 2012: If you were any student of logic or even reason you'd know that human nature has a gaping hole-- we are creatures of belief. Whether you like it or not, your position is based on believe.

          Why?

          Because we are incapable of knowing anything absolutely. Hence we are creatures of faith. Your incalculable stupidity judgment is based on your own brand of faith, unless you are claiming omniscience.
      • Nov 25 2012: I don't need omniscience to know that you cannot show any gods to be real to all parties involved. But let me know the day you convince all those arabs, and the rest of the planet, that the god who promised the Israelites those lands is real, and that it really promised those lands, and that this god actually had the right to give those land to the Israelites.
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        Nov 26 2012: Have you read the old testament. I have, a few times.

        The god Yahweh is described as a jealous petty and murderous dictator, who personally killed hundreds of thousands that are enumerated, not to mention the millions of other not numbered in a global flood and destroyed cities. He also order millions killed (enumerated). This is truly a god of genocide. Global genocide. A monster.

        Animal sacrifices. A human sacrifice (not talking about Jesus). Laws that command death for witchcraft, homosexuality, working on the Sabbath, adultery, and unruly children. Endorses slavery, women as chattel who must marry their rapist and be killed on their Fathers doorstop if not a virgin when they marry.

        Not sure where you get "the ancient scriptures lead the way in global morality " unless you are talking about a brutal bronze/iron age morality. I'm not even sure if they were progressive 2500 years ago. But today they are barbaric.
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    Nov 22 2012: Does it seem at all odd to you that in your comments below you are defining for Jews what it means to be a "real Jew" and are proclaiming that they should either not seek peaceful resolution to disputes or renounce their identities, even as peace is such a universally held value among people of all faiths?


    It reminds me a little of the guy on the sidelines at the school grounds trying to get people to fight by saying "are you going to take that from him?" Such a guy is a friend to neither party.

    It's unpleasant enough when people of any faith try to define for others what it means to be a "real" person of their faith, but worse when you are not even of that faith yourself. People's own definitions of their faith and values are more relevant and valid, I believe, than your definitions of who they are and what they (should) believe.
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      Nov 22 2012: All I'm saying is "if your earliest traditional, ethnic records say you are A, then B logically follows." Nothing more, nothing less. Whether a people reserve the right to define themselves other than their earliest historical ethnic records show, that is their prerogative. But you can't fault an outsider from drawing logical conclusions, even if those conclusions are so sensitive that they may inspire unpleasant feelings.
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        Nov 22 2012: I agree that it is people's right to define who they are and what they believe- that others should not seek to define them.

        Outsiders' definitions and mischaracterizations- and the spread of those, particularly when they feature negative interpretations of who the people are and what they must logically believe and do, are a major source of hatred in the world.
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          Nov 22 2012: I don't know if it will surprise you that I am a believer in the biblical God, and the absoluteness of His promise to Israel. I am therefore far from a hater of the Jews. But maybe I should have more faith that peace is possible between Arabs and Jews, given their deep sibling rivalry from biblical days (Isaw and Jacob).
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        Nov 22 2012: I made no guess as to the beliefs you hold. My concern, as I believe you understand, is that when people who are not Jews make claims about what Jews must believe or do in order to be consistent with their identities or texts, or when those who are not Muslim make claims of what Muslims must believe or do, or when those who are not Christians make claims about what Christians must logically believe or do, there is a great risk others will believe these assertions as fact and form unfounded prejudices based on them.

        Very much most people, I believe, regardless of faith, nationality, or how anyone interprets their holy writings, want peace and are willing to compromise to get it.
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        Nov 26 2012: Again, you seem to be picking an arbitrary point of what it means to be Jewish and all that implies.

        You might say the North American Indians should strive take back their lands pre Columbus.

        Or that Christians should strive to follow beliefs before the reformation. No Protestants whatsever. Or go back early enough to when Jesus was alive and his followers were all Jewish. Paul, who never met Jesus, only let non Jews join the club after Jesus died. The letters compiled into the new testament have them arguing about whether non Jews can join up and whether they need to follow the old law and be circumcised.
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    Nov 22 2012: Isreal should act as led by the Prince of Peace.
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      Nov 22 2012: If you are referring to Jesus, and maybe to Jesus as their Messiah, what action as a nation do you feel would be entailed by this?
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        Nov 26 2012: Most Jews didn't/don't think Jesus was the messiah, let alone part of a god.
  • Nov 22 2012: "Israel clearly exists as a nation on the basis of its claim to have been given its traditional land borders by the revelation of the one true God."

    Are you saying you believe that claim to actually be true (that there exists a god that specifically wants there to be a greater Jewish state) or were you just looking at it from the Israeli (well, the right wing, nationalist/ultra-orthodox Israeli) view? If it's the former I want to know what you've been smoking, if it's the latter my answer would be that the Arabs pretty much claim god wants them to rule over Jerusalem, in fact the world is filled with places that people from two or more religions have opposing claims to, most of the Earth would be a warzone if we let all those groups "go all out" instead of having them coexist or at least negotiate separate territories.

    P.S. a majority of Israelis are secular Jews, atheists or Muslims, they do not care for Jewish religious arguments, they'd probably give Gaza away to Egypt in a heartbeat, if only Egypt would accept it.
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      Nov 22 2012: I'm just approaching this matter as a rational observer. The elephant in the room with regard to Israel's very existence is the widely publicized Bible, claiming the Jewish people's special dispensation from God; their miraculous escape from Egypt, etc. They exist as a people based on this claim. I will not say here--for the sake of objective conversation-- whether I believe or not (although I might or might not)--this is not my point.

      Believe me or not, my point is strictly rational.

      PS: Even if the one true God did choose a people, this does not HAVE to mean that they are SPECIAL above the rest of humankind. For example, here is a theological treatment of the matter I found once:'

      Thus did God seek to reunite with Man, in His great motherly love for all of His Creation. Looking down at man in sin, He did seek a pathway to the salvation of the human race, a pathway which had to begin first with one man, then one people, eventually leading to the whole world....Hence did Abraham, through his utter self surrender in Faith, win his progeny in the Jewish tribe of God—hence did he enjoy the crown gracefully given by the Creator to Its obedient and loving creature...Thence did the legacy of the Jews demonstrate, for the benefit of all mankind, what it means for sinful man to relate again to his Creator. In their myriad failures and disappointments, God showcased, to all of man, the hopeless nature of sin. Thence likewise was the stage set for God’s most wonderful action in the Salvation Saga—His very condescension to the lowest rung of his Creation, to the material cosmos, in the Incarnation.
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        Nov 26 2012: Religious myths and their interpretation, a great basis for modern political conflict resolution.
  • Dec 2 2012: My God, Roger. You ought to get out more, son ! "All out" ? aka genocide, right? Thermo-nuclear variety or a more conventional approach? The Israelis would need a load of ammunition, if the latter option was chosen.
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      Dec 2 2012: You know, Chick, that you just opened my eyes to why a lot of people were hostile to my post. You're right, I'm naive. But not because I'm suggesting genocide! That is unthinkable to me. What I mean by "going all out" is having Israel win militarily the full extent of their original historical borders as outlined in their ethnic texts--what is also known as the Judeo-Christian scriptures today. You don't have to have genocide to win territory--did they kill all the Palestinians to win their present borders?

      But again, I'm ASKING in order to stimulate lively conversation, NOT suggesting or endorsing anything...
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    Nov 26 2012: So because the Jewish religion includes claims to some land, they should go all out. Really?.

    Lets put this into context. You have a group of people with cultural historical roots with a fairly inconsequential group in the middle East who developed the old testament Yahweh religion, although we know from archaeological evidence they worshiped other gods also. This yahweh may have evolved from the Canaanite pathenon, created by the god El.

    This group has been persecuted by an offshoot group that deified one of the Jewish teachers. However, the Jews reject the core claims of the Christians.

    So the creator of the universe, billions of galaxies each with billions of stars choose a few tribes < 1% of the worlds population. A god unknown to 99% of the humans, or 99% of the lands. In fact of very little relevance in half the world even 1000 years ago - Asia, America.In fact only got to the Americas 400 years ago, and the pacific a few hundred years ago.

    Then you have another derivative group, the Muslim who also want to borrow the old testament god, but apply their own "revelations". This group has controlled the land for the last millennial.

    So for 96% of the time human sapiens have existed this religion and its derivatives did not exist. And it is still of no consequence to billions who have no religion or are Buddhist or Hindu, and there are billions of others who have different interpretations of the monotheistic god (although many Christians are confused about father, son, holy spirit and various saints etc). There being no compelling evidence for any gods. The diversity of gods reflecting human visionaries, empires, borrowing ideas and having nothing of consequence to distinguish one invisible god or goddess from another, or even non existence other than as a concept at all.

    And yet you would propose they go all out based on some religious beliefs. Suggest you need to be in a particular belief bubble to even contemplate this
  • Nov 25 2012: Who says anything has to be "logical"? Men organise themselves into tribes. They always have and they always will. Then they peddle themselves fairy-tales about why their tribe is superior to another tribe. Then they embelish their fairy-tales by invoking the endorsement of a supreme being. Then they train themselves to believe their cause is divine. Then they decide it follows that the other tribe is evil. Then they become afraid of the other tribe. Then they hate the other tribe. Then they kill the other tribe. Then they call it the Will of God.
    The history of warfare in a nut-shell. It has always been this way and probably always will. But we better learn some new tricks pretty damned quick ! The period of our history we've had the means to make ourselves extinct is only a fraction of a percent of the total history of the human race. Where to go from here ? Only time will tell. Human folly coupled with such incalculable fire-power ? It doesn't make for a good night's sleep !
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      Nov 25 2012: Funny thing. I have always aspired to logic and reason. I have always wanted to think that there is a truly objective "Truth," something both impersonal and universal. By its measure, all men can then fall into line, not necessarily oppressively, but harmoniously.

      But what if Truth is not a standard or ruler, but a Person? What if Truth is, let's say, Jesus Christ? He did say "I am the Truth, the Way, and the Life." I have a Bachelors in the history of modern philosophy, and a masters of interdisciplinary liberal arts, and a long history of studying human nature. I was brought to deep tears at the site of genocide accounts when I was a teenager. I embarked on a long process of searching for the truth. But encountering the impotence of philosophy and the natural limitations of human nature-- I realize that Truth is maybe something radically different than we might at first imagine.

      Merely proposing that Truth might be a person, coming from such a history of truth-searching on my part, will nevertheless inspire mockery and even inner disdain from many. They might label me a fruitcake, a nut, a fanatic. Why? Because human nature is NOT rational, NOT logical. We are creatures of FAITH. Our fundamental paradigms (way we see life) are all acts of our WILL, an act that originates there only, not in some objective truth.

      For maybe indeed, Truth is not but a PERSON.
      • Nov 25 2012: Roger, I don't attempt to belittle anyone's faith. I'm a man of faith myself, though my faith is tested each and every day by premeditated acts of barbaric cruelty and environmental vandalism. Both constitute blasphemy, as far as I'm concerned. This blue-green ball we call home is, as far as we know, the only place in all Creation that can sustain us. We've known that for a long time, yet we continue to defile it. God (or, if any reader prefers, the Architect of the Universe) gave us this Garden of Eden, and His patience must be wearing thin at the way we treat it and each other.
        Regarding Jesus, it matters less whether He actually walked the Earth than the fact that He has had more influence on more people's lives than any other. I'm trying to say we should ask less of the Almighty and demand a great deal more of ourselves, given the priceless bounty bestowed on us. We need, urgently, to become better ancestors. Better custodians of our beautiful planet, for the sake of all who will come after us. We have geniuses among us, who strive earnestly to undo the damage. We need to raise such people up, put them front and centre ! Then get behind them with whatever resources they need. I digress, a character trait of mine. Israel and Palestine ?
        God alone knows ! But remember, "Blessed are the peace-makers."
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          Nov 25 2012: Let me say officially, that for the sake of REASONING in a forum like TED which will necessarily have all sorts of people-- people of faith, people who hate faith, and everywhere in between-- I will never disclose whether I am a believer in this or that, personally. But I will not take anything off the table either, for this is the paramount rule of reason-- all things must be considered.

          Please don't label me if I don't label myself. My bringing up Jesus Christ is an act of providing additional fodder for REASON.

          If anyone wishes to learn what I personally believe, I recommend that they personally contact me and I'll tell them. Otherwise, ANYTHING I SAY IN TED'S PUBLIC FORUM IS FODDER FOR IMPARTIAL REASONERS...
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        Nov 26 2012: It is probably true that a human called Jesus probably existed. Even more likely a chap called Saul/Paul took some of his teachings, deified him and started a cult that grew into a popular religion. Most religions seem to be started by men. Humans, and males.

        You seem to be mixing in all sorts of unsubstantiated Christian dogma calling this person The Truth.

        There seems to be an objective reality, but we only perceive it through our human senses and technologies.

        The conflicting religious beliefs in gods and goddesses and associated dogma seem to be cultural technologies that key into our group behaviours and cognitive mechanisms such as assuming agency.
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    Nov 24 2012: One question might be whether Israel needs additional land, or are they able to meet their needs adequately with the amount of land that they have? If they are able to meet their needs adequately, perhaps there is no need to take more land, and taking it would provoke ill will, and be dangerous to them.
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      Nov 24 2012: Its hard to imagine more local ill will. It seems that they will always be hated to why not just go all out for historical border integrity?
      • Nov 25 2012: Why not go a bit less back in history and then the arabs went all out instead? Where is it proper to go back in history? One hundred years? One thousand? Two thousand? Why do you think that Israel has more rights to the land than any other cultures?

        Who owned the lands where you live originally? How far back are you willing to go to figure out "historical" borders and thus rightful owners? Will you leave the place to their descendants? Why should they not go all the way out against you?
      • Nov 25 2012: Roger, you make me sick. I will leave you alone now. If you represent the way people think when they are "enlightened" this planet will not last much.
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          Nov 25 2012: I'm not espousing anything, I'll say it again. I'm just putting fodder for the mind to chew on. I was hoping that TED could attract people who can dialogue with good natures and not get hot under the collar.
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        Nov 26 2012: Roger, your historical view is very focused on the period of Jewish cultural of these lands, perhaps through a Judeo- Christian lens.

        I note the lands were probably settled by other peoples for millennia before the evolution of the "Jewish" tribes. Over the last 4,000 years Jewish control has been in the minority. Canaanites, Assyrians, Persians, Babylonians, Romans, Muslims etc. Actually, didn't the Eastern Roman Christian Empire kick out the Jews from the Levant?

        Over the last 7 centuries they have been Muslim controlled lands, with < 10% Jews until the collapse of the Ottoman empire after WW1.

        So your "historical" borders seem to be a very narrow and biased perspective.

        I can understand why many Palestinians and Muslims in general are still outraged that the WW2 Victorious Western Powers on the security council tried to create 2 states, one Jewish in lands that have been Muslim for much of the last millennia.

        Religion just exacerbates the whole problem. Religious Myopia. Different groups thinking they have the absolute truth, who all disagree on what it is, and not compelling evidence to support any of it.
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        Nov 29 2012: well, I would say you can always have more ill will than you already have, roger. I think Israel tries to engender as little ill will as possible.
        I actually like my first question, which is, if Israel doesn't need the land, why go to large pains and much bloodshed to get it? What's so important about having the land in the Bible? Why do you think this particular standard is so important to you?
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    Nov 23 2012: Should the people of Israel sucumb to the rapine of the psychopaths amongst them?

    Perhaps.

    Perhaps this is the only way to have the stain cauterised for once and for all.

    Perhaps such a demonstation of sadistic rapine is required for all to observe as a lesson.

    But for what purpose? we already know that our states are penetrated and stained by the psychopath. Don't we?

    And what of teh people? What of those who are not psychopathic? Those who are not riven by ideology and the growing grudge of historical harm - real or imagined?

    I have a better idea. Assemble a massive team of psycho thereapists, doctors and healers - and treat every single one in Israel until the harm of their ancestors is finally healed.

    End that rapine of the ages.
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      Nov 23 2012: Don't you realize that this logical ultimatum of mine is the ACTUAL reasoning behind the settlers on the West Bank? They are gradually trying to, in effect, take back the biblical lands of Israel, while the Arabs keep objecting to peace.

      But I'm against them because they do so hypocritically. Why don't they just go all out, publicly and privately?
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        Nov 23 2012: It is a terrible situation .. I have friends inside and outside of Israel, most are apalled by the situation and want nothing but peace - can see no reason for conflict.
        But there are others who push agendas - whether their true motives are ideological does not matter. What matters is teh psychopathy which drives it.
        The Ideological and political currents are the method by which these insane indiviuals take advantage. THey are locally based, and widenned into the world arena only to serve local agendas - in both camps. There is a thread .. a faint-wiff .. of dynamics occuring in the internal mechanations of both the Arab and Israeli communities in which their conflicts are externalised on each other - and from there to the rest of the world. Always, when one asks people on the ground what is going on - it is revealed that the true conflict is between factions in each community.

        Perhaps you are right - perhaps we should just stand aside and let these historical struggles just discharge in holacaust.

        During the "liberation" of Iraq, I had a friend from Iraq. He was appalled. I tried to comfort him saying "The USA will conclude this invasion within a week or 2 - why are you afraid? He said "It's not the USA .. it's Iraq .. millions will die."

        Right now I have a Sirian friend. THe story is the same.

        RIght now, Iran is being forced into war. I will have Irani friends - and I cannot console them.
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          Nov 23 2012: Gee you have a lot of friends among the war torn, lol. One way to defeat the world is to conquer them with materialism-- give them the latest clothes, sneakers, video games, and smart phones. Let them be like guinea pigs on the wheel of consumerism.

          Yea! Let's take over the world with consumerism! lol
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        Nov 23 2012: Hi Roger,

        In case you haven't noticed - the world is already taken over by consumerism.
        Look up in your own sky - you see those aenemic whispy clouds?
        Where once you saw robust fat clouds in clear blue skies?
        Those sick looking clouds that dull the world are from cloud-seeding.
        The cloud seeding is done to attempt the filling of the water reseviours.
        Each state is competing for the moisture in the air - to feed the cities and keep the consumers in place to consume.
        You were not asked for consent for this vandalism of the sky - were you?
        But there it is.
        The war-torn are all around you.
        Compassion leads us into clear vision - and when you see them, the stories come tumbling out.
        Sadness is not a thing to fear. After knowing these things, you also see the same black thing that hurt all these people. It is psychopathy.
        A lot of it radiates from the USA - and I see it in those who have been harmed by it.
        Sadness cannot be cured by ignorance or violence - these things only make it worse.
        The legacy of the psychopath is the sociopath - a person crushed by more sadness than a human heart can bare.
        It all comes from the psycho - and he is clever enough to pretend to represent us while vandalising our earth our waters our skies - for a few shiny beads, useless toys and endless supplies of the tasteless, toxic muck that passes for food these days.
        It will play out in Israel as it will play out in the world.
        The tower of Babel has touched the Sun, and he will not be pleased at all.
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    Nov 22 2012: Surely if a parcel of land is going to be awarded to a group of people based on some birth rite there needs to be some requirement of proof of identification. There should be obvious genetic markers in mitochondrial DNA or y-chromosome markers if the citizens of Israel are truly of the one people.
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    Nov 22 2012: The Jews being the "people of God" is best characterized not so much as a "special" thing, as much as a "grave" thing. It's like a teacher calling out one child on the playground (of nations and peoples), and saying to that child, "you know how rebellious and stubborn your classmates are. You are chosen to represent me to them."

    What kind of experience will that chosen child have? He will be resented, even hated by his classmates for wearing the "monitor" badge. He will be held to a high standard in himself and he will surely fail many times.

    But if the teacher needed to choose SOMEONE to bridge the gap between the teacher and the school children, then these experiences were inevitable...
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    Nov 22 2012: Hi Roger.
    The same bible that gives us the history of the Jews also gives us the final outcome. I doubt that many modern day Israelis take the bible at face value, so they will act in a more human way. The bible seems to predict that it will be the enemies of Israel who will go for broke, & their Messiah will intervene at the eleventh hour to rescue them.
    So, if the bible is accurate about Jewish ownership of the land, it could be accurate about the final outcome. Maybe we should watch in awe the out working of God's plan.

    :-)
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      Nov 22 2012: I remind you that I am not espousing any action in particular. I am just conducting a logical exercise that says that the religious, ethnic, and national identity of the Jews (taken from their earliest historical, scriptural account) dictates their being bold, and going all out for God's promise. Or if not, they should renounce their identities, and melt into Arab territories. I'm not trying to be fundamentalist or devils advocate or anything.

      As a TED community participant, I'm just trying to show where flat reason points in various occasions.
    • Nov 23 2012: Are you truly hoping that they acted in an inhumane way?
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        Nov 25 2012: You're getting human & humane mixed up.
        I am saying that the Israelis will act without reference to the bible. They will use their own human understanding. The outcome of this process will, however, be in alignment with biblical prophecy.
        IMHO.

        :-)
  • Nov 22 2012: Yes Israel should go all out and create a single state for all including the Palestinians in occupied territory.
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      Nov 22 2012: What do you think would be the consequences of this?