“Much of Sam’s argument would hold water if the Israelis had been in earnest about peace, and in earnest in supporting moderate Palestinian forces on the West Bank, and in earnest about taking Obama’s proposals seriously this past decade. But they haven’t been. Settlements are much more important to them than peace. And the settlements are motivated by exactly the kind of theocratic zeal that Sam normally opposes.”
— Andrew Sullivan
Anti-Religion crusader Sam Harris has come under fire for his refusal to come out against Israel’s actions of late. Andrew Sullivan has a nice discussion on why that might be.
First, Sam Harris IS attacking Israel’s positions, the problem (says Sullivan) is that he isn’t doing a very good job of it. By sticking to the abstract — for instance, Harris strongly believes that Israel shouldn’t even exist as a state in the first place — he, unwittingly, undermines his own arguments by failing to take history and pragmatism into account.
I’d have to agree with this.
The 2-state solution is the only option at this point in history, and Israel has been vehemently opposed to it in any meaningful way.
As I’ve said many times before, Hamas are a bunch of psychopaths. But, that doesn’t take away from the reality that religious zealots in Israel are standing in the way of a rational solution and have FULL SUPPORT of the Israeli government. That kind of melding of church & state is the antithesis of what good democracy and humanitarian government is about.
The Enlightenment weeps …
To paraphrase Richard Dawkins, Religion turns grownups into children. In a situation like this, we need people who can finally start acting like adults.
To quote Christopher Hitchens:
“If this was only a territorial or national fight over land, it would have been solved by now.”
More from Sullivan:
“It’s not just Palestinian terrorism and Muslim anti-Semitism that makes a one-state solution moot; it is embedded in the very meaning of Zionism. If Israel requires a Jewish majority to survive as a Jewish state, a one-state solution is anathema to it. And if all Israel wanted to do was have its tech sector thrive within (roughly) the 1967 borders, and embrace serious, US-backed security arrangements vis-a-vis Jordan, I’d be backing it to the hilt.
Instead, as Palestinian terrorism from the West Bank has declined drastically – the Israelis have intensified their theft of Palestinian land. Those settlements deeply hurt, rather than help, Israel’s security – because they alienate most of her allies, exacerbate bitterness and suspicion, and make the possibility of a two-state solution moot. You could secure the West Bank by military outposts if you wanted. But Israel is committed to engineering the demography of the place by settlements of religious fanatics of the sort Sam would usually excoriate. Netanyahu, we now know, would rather release hundreds of prisoners convicted of murdering Jews than remove a single brick from the West Bank settlements. It’s really not about security at all. It’s about race and religion in their ugliest zero-sum manifestations. Just because it isn’t as bad as Hamas doesn’t excuse it.”
The discussion continues here