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Thread: Not in Kansas anymore...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Keith Farmer's Avatar
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    Default Not in Kansas anymore...

    http://www.ifcj.org/site/News2?abbr=...s_iv_ctrl=1481

    How would any of you like to live in a place where survival is the central theme in education, politics, and spiritual endeavors?

    The future in the Middle East is building to a crescendo...





    .
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1 NKJV)... 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4NKJV)

    No evolution, no monkey ancestors, no big bang!

  2. #2
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    My first visit to Israel was in late 1963. At that time I was 14 and met a family on a kibbutz in northern Israel that had been founded by an Anglo-American Zionist group. There was a tenuous connection between my family and some of the American founders and I was invited to return the following summer, when I would be 15, to work on the kibbutz for three months. Kibbutz Kfar Blum is located a few kilometers from what were then the Syrian and Lebanese borders to the east and west. The Golan Heights overlooked the kibbutz and the River Jordan flowed alongside the kibbutz on its way to Galilee. The town of Kiryat Shmona was six kilometers to the west.

    It was an idealistic time. The population of Israel was less than half of what it is today. Syria was the problem and it was not unusual for the Syrian army to lob occasional artillery shells in the direction of Kfar Blum and some neighboring kibbutzim to the south. None of us was allowed to wander far across the Jordan since infiltrators were known to kidnap those who strayed. There was an outdoor theater for movies. When we went, it was surrounded by machine gun emplacements for protection. At night the kibbutz was patrolled by armed guards carrying Uzis in case of attack.

    With all of that, it did not feel dangerous. The general belief was that peace was coming and that Lebanon would be the second country to sign a treaty but that it was too weak to be the first. After working for 2 1/2 months on the kibbutz I spent two weeks hitchhiking around the country. I had little money and survived by making lots of friends. I went to Caesarea and slept on the beaches. In Tel Aviv I stayed with a family that were cousins to a person I met on the beach.

    My next stop was Jerusalem. The area north of Jerusalem was the narrowest part of the country. The road into Jerusalem was in a narrow valley and the hills on either side were controlled by Palestinnians during the 1947-48 war. Trucks littered the side of the road, memories of the siege of Jerusalem. Convoys of trucks was sent in to relieve the city. I met a man who was in a convoy where 90% of the trucks were destroyed. It took more than a day to travel a few miles and the convoy arrived during the sabbath. Religious Jews stoned the soldiers as they entered the city for violating the sabbath. While the popular song Babi Yar commemorated the massacre of 33,000 Jews in a ravine in the Ukraine, it was often viewed as a tribute to those who died in the convoys into Jerusalem in 1948.

    In Jerusalem we would climb the wall separating the Israeli and Jordanian sections of the city although we were warned to be careful since the Jordanian guards were sometimes nervous and would fire toward the Israeli sector. While walking through the orthodox section of the city, my yamulke was blown off by the wind. That was a problem since the orthodox population was known to stone men who walked about with their heads uncovered. I chased by yamulke down he street. By the time I caught it, I realized I was in the no-man's zone between Israel and Jordan near the Mandelbaum Gate. Happily, no one decided to shoot me.

    After Jerusalem, I caught a ride with a French student group on its way to Eilat. The first day we went as far as Be'er Sheva where we were staying in a youth hostel. While walking around I was invited to join a wedding reception which netted me a free dinner. Later that evening I was invited to a Bar Mitzva reception but was already full. Before we left Be'er Sheva, we had to load automatic weapons into the bus since the trip through the desert was considered too dangerous for an unarmed vehicle.

    My ties to Israel go back far, but that does not mean that my support is either blind or unconditional. Two years after I spent my summer in Israel, the 6-Day War began. Two of the children I had lived with that summer, Avinash and Shlomite, were in the army in the middle of the battles. Kfar Blum was hit by artillery shells while I sat in my school in Switzerland wondering what was going on. Israel captured the Golan Heights, the West Bank, Eastern Jerusalem, and the Sinai during the war. The Sinai was not considered to be critical. However, the other areas were considered to be essential to the long term safety of Israel.

    Unfortunately, those areas were populated by Arabs and with their capture, Israel became a colonial power. It was in an untenable situation. It needed the caputed lands to provide buffers in case of attack. If it didn't return the lands, a negotiated peace would never be possible. If it annexed the lands, it would either have to give citizenship rights to the resident Arab population, or govern the captured territories as a police state.

    This dilemma has not just been the source of friction between Israel and the rest of the world ever since, it has been the primary source of political dispute within Israel itself. The parties on the left have opposed the settlements on the West Bank and have favored a negotiated peace with the return of all lands except Eastern Jerusalem. The parties on the right have believed that the captured lands are part of historic Israel and are needed to accommodate settlers. The pendulum has swung back and forth and the soul of Israel has been damaged as a result.

    There will be no clean solutions in the Middle East. While Israel is and I hope will remain our strongest ally in the region, I do not believe that the U.S. can support continued occupation of the conquered territories as vassal states. Even in Jerusalem, if Israel wants to continue to occupy the full city it must give complete citizenship rights to all residents. Ultimately it will need to accept a two state solution and accept that those settlers who choose to remain in the West Bank will become citizens of the Palestinian state.

    And Israel will need to confront the divisions within its own population between the Jews and Arabs. A fact that receives little attention is that Israel remained a strong ally to South Africe during the period of Apartheid. Israel understood and sympathized with the position of the white government. One of the sharper and more disillusioning memories I have of my summer in Israel was from a bus trip from Tel Aviv to the north. Outside of Galillee a man was standing by the road waiting for the bus. The bus driver stopped to pick him up and them realized he was an Arab. He closed the doors of the bus and left the man standing in the sun. Maybe the bus on the following day would choose to let him ride.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Keith Farmer's Avatar
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    Very interesting read Jeff. Your memories drip with a sense of nostalgia. The statement you made (below), one echoed by many today, is perhaps the most troubling aspect of the whole "Israeli conflict":

    Ultimately it will need to accept a two state solution
    God's judgement will ensue against all the nations of the Earth partly because of the fact you mentioned above.

    Joel 3:2 (NKJV) I will also gather all nations,
    And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
    And I will enter into judgment with them there
    On account of My people, My heritage Israel,
    Whom they have scattered among the nations;
    They have also divided up My land. (emphasis added)


    Shalom...pray for the peace of Israel.

    .
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1 NKJV)... 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4NKJV)

    No evolution, no monkey ancestors, no big bang!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    And Israel will need to confront the divisions within its own population between the Jews and Arabs. A fact that receives little attention is that Israel remained a strong ally to South Africe during the period of Apartheid. Israel understood and sympathized with the position of the white government.
    The relationship between Israel and apartheid South Africa had nearly nothing to do with racism and nearly everything to do with two nations, looked upon by much of the rest of the world as pariahs, banding together for their mutual economic and security welfare. Prior to the Yom Kippur war in '73, Israel had voiced protests at South Africa's apartheid policies. After Israel had the unmitigated gall to protect itself after being sneak attacked (and nearly anihilated) much of rest of the world, and the African continent in particular, completely shunned Israel. South Africa was one of the few countries in the world, and the only country in Africa, that would interact with Israel (and vice versa). They traded military arms and know-how as well as goods. It was a relationship based on their mutual survival. In fact, it was such an important relationship that Israel overlooked the Nazi leanings of many of South Africa's ruling Afrikaners (including their Prime Minister who was a Nazi saboteur in South Africa during WWII). You seem more upset about it than South Africa, as even today both countries are significant trading partners. To imply Israel and South Africa were buddies 'cause they both hated them some darkies is as lame as contending that Iran and North Korea's current relationship is based upon their leaders' love of Western movies and platform shoes to make them look taller.

    Other than that brief bit of liberal superficiality (at your age it's probably just reflexive for you at this point ), that was interesting reading. I will say, that of the people I've known who have lived on a kibbutz, you're the only one I know who came home with seemingly more sympathy for the Palestinian cause than before .

  5. #5
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    The relationship between Israel and apartheid South Africa had nearly nothing to do with racism and nearly everything to do with two nations, looked upon by much of the rest of the world as pariahs, banding together for their mutual economic and security welfare. Prior to the Yom Kippur war in '73, Israel had voiced protests at South Africa's apartheid policies. After Israel had the unmitigated gall to protect itself after being sneak attacked (and nearly anihilated) much of rest of the world, and the African continent in particular, completely shunned Israel. South Africa was one of the few countries in the world, and the only country in Africa, that would interact with Israel (and vice versa). They traded military arms and know-how as well as goods. It was a relationship based on their mutual survival. In fact, it was such an important relationship that Israel overlooked the Nazi leanings of many of South Africa's ruling Afrikaners (including their Prime Minister who was a Nazi saboteur in South Africa during WWII). You seem more upset about it than South Africa, as even today both countries are significant trading partners. To imply Israel and South Africa were buddies 'cause they both hated them some darkies is as lame as contending that Iran and North Korea's current relationship is based upon their leaders' love of Western movies and platform shoes to make them look taller.

    Other than that brief bit of liberal superficiality (at your age it's probably just reflexive for you at this point ), that was interesting reading. I will say, that of the people I've known who have lived on a kibbutz, you're the only one I know who came home with seemingly more sympathy for the Palestinian cause than before .
    I agree with that statement (in red) completely and it was what I was talking about when I said that "Israel understood and sympathized with the position of the white government."

    With respect to the fact that I "came home with seemingly more sympathy for the Palestinian cause than before", it depends on what you mean by Palestinian cause. I actually have no sympathy for the notion that the creation of Israel in some manner destroyed the historic state of Palestine. The Palestine that existed in 1948 was the product of a thousand years of subjugation. I'm not happy that our country grew out of the heedless slaughter and dislocation of the Native American tribes that were here before us, but that does not mean I would support a "right of return." I am no more in favor of a right of return in Israel.

    However, that does not mean that no wrong was done. I have personally known Palestinians who lived in the Israel in 1948 and were forced out of their homes; people whose homes were stolen from them and turned over to Israeli families. Do I believe those people were injured unjustly? Yes. Many in this country continue to believe that we should boycott Cuba until reparations are paid for the land and businesses confiscated from American citizens following the Cuban Revolution. I believe those claims are a lot weaker than the claims of the Palestinians that were forced to leave. To both the displaced Palestinians and the displaced Americans from Cuba, I basically say "Get over it. War is never just." However, that doesn't mean I lack sympathy.

    I grew up in the south and loved it. But I hated and fought against the discrimination. It is impossible to travel through Israel without realizing the extent of prejudice against the resident Arab population. The discrimination is palpable. To see that and hope for change is not anti-Israeli; it's anti-discrimination. Puppy love may be blind. Personally, I prefer a love that does not depend on wearing rose colored glasses.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    my comments are bolded...

    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    I agree with that statement (in red) completely and it was what I was talking about when I said that "Israel understood and sympathized with the position of the white government."
    Thanks for the clarification. You had sandwiched that sentence between two others that alluded to Israeli racism so I presumed you were implying Israel's understanding and sympathy for South Africa was based upon mutual racist attitudes.

    With respect to the fact that I "came home with seemingly more sympathy for the Palestinian cause than before", it depends on what you mean by Palestinian cause. I actually have no sympathy for the notion that the creation of Israel in some manner destroyed the historic state of Palestine. The Palestine that existed in 1948 was the product of a thousand years of subjugation. I'm not happy that our country grew out of the heedless slaughter and dislocation of the Native American tribes that were here before us, but that does not mean I would support a "right of return." I am no more in favor of a right of return in Israel.

    However, that does not mean that no wrong was done. I have personally known Palestinians who lived in the Israel in 1948 and were forced out of their homes; people whose homes were stolen from them and turned over to Israeli families. Do I believe those people were injured unjustly? Yes. Many in this country continue to believe that we should boycott Cuba until reparations are paid for the land and businesses confiscated from American citizens following the Cuban Revolution. I believe those claims are a lot weaker than the claims of the Palestinians that were forced to leave. To both the displaced Palestinians and the displaced Americans from Cuba, I basically say "Get over it. War is never just." However, that doesn't mean I lack sympathy. I've known some second and third generation Cuban-Americans and their attitude, to me anyway, sure seems like their interest in a free Cuba has more to do with some pipedream that they're going to reclaim their parents' lost wealth and land than any high-minded notion of liberty and equality for their homeland. If Cuba just up and topples one day (a la East Germany) there's gonna be an economic bloodbath when the Cuban-Americans rush "home" to divide up and pick over the carcass.

    I grew up in the south and loved it. But I hated and fought against the discrimination. It is impossible to travel through Israel without realizing the extent of prejudice against the resident Arab population. The discrimination is palpable. To see that and hope for change is not anti-Israeli; it's anti-discrimination. Puppy love may be blind. Personally, I prefer a love that does not depend on wearing rose colored glasses.
    Another interesting and surprising read. I included "seemingly" in my post as to leave room for the possibility that I had misunderstood you. Thanks for fleshing it out.

    Let me ask you this...given your opinions about Palestinians and Cubans, I assume that you're not in favor of any sort of reparations to blacks in America?

  7. #7
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    I don't know how one can ever make reparations for 200 years of slavery. The failure to provide 40 acres and a mule as promised may be the least horrible thing that was done between the earliest days of slavery and the voting rights act. If it were possible to reverse the effects of slavery, including two centuries of breeding slaves like cattle, bu paying everyone the economic equivalent of 40 acres and a mule, I would say do it. The real solutions will be much more expensive.

    In my mind our obligation is to forge a society where opportunity is not a product of color or the economic status of your parents. We do not have that today and the most important forms of discrimination begin in utero. Access to education, health care (including prenatal), nutrition and intellectual stimulation now vary widely by by color, by family income, and by wealth. Those factors are more important in determining access to economic opportunity than outright discrimination against adults. When color is no longer one of the determinants of economic outcome, I will begin to believe that we have fulfilled our responsibilities for "reparation". We have improved, but we are not there yet. I would expect that it would take at least as long to correct the damages from slavery as it took to create that damage through the institution of slavery itself.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YardleyLabs View Post
    When color is no longer one of the determinants of economic outcome, I will begin to believe that we have fulfilled our responsibilities for "reparation". We have improved, but we are not there yet.
    I'm in total agreement with you about economics being the primary determinant for all of the various yardsticks of well-being you mentioned (education, health, etc.). If America is racist with respect to color, it is the color GREEN that we're prejudiced in favor of. Affluent and middle class blacks graduate their children from high schools, avoid prison, have strong families, etc. Poor white families raise drop-outs, have kids that go to jail, smoke crack and have disfunctional families. We've got a black president, our second black Supreme Court justice, a recent black Secretary of State, a black National Security Advisor and a black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The opportunity to be/do whatever you want exists in America for everyone. For some it's harder than others, but that's more a function of their economic starting point in life; not their skin color. I'm not saying there's not some racism in our society, but like your attitude with the Cubans and Palestinians, I've about hit my "get over it" breaking point.

    If economic background is such a powerful determinant for all Americans, the question should be, "how do we assist those willing to escape poverty?;" and not just, "how do we assist blacks willing to escape poverty." I don't pretend to have the answers to that, but I'm pretty confident stating that the traditional liberal method, while well-intentioned, is a failed model that has often caused more harm than good:

    - welfare policies that have broken up families
    - public housing policies that have created multiple generations of ass-sitters
    - public housing policies that created de-facto inner-city prisons that are not conducive to families, not safe, and promote a life of crime
    - a revolving prison door that releases criminals to prey on poor people
    - public assistance programs that reward and promote sloth, laziness and greed
    - a public school system that is in shambles and ate up with liberal cronyism and union pay-back
    - a program, foisted on the military, designed to aid the disadvantaged resulted in 300k uneducated and lower IQ poor being used as cannon fodder in Vietnam
    - I'm too depressed to continue

    I used to poo-poo the notions of some conservative commentators that our welfare system was designed to provide a permanent voting block for liberals as being so jaded, pessimistic and paranoid. Now, 40 years into The War on Poverty, with poverty winning and us still doing the same stupid stuff, I'm not so sure anymore.

  9. #9
    Senior Member YardleyLabs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    I'm in total agreement with you about economics being the primary determinant for all of the various yardsticks of well-being you mentioned (education, health, etc.). If America is racist with respect to color, it is the color GREEN that we're prejudiced in favor of. Affluent and middle class blacks graduate their children from high schools, avoid prison, have strong families, etc. Poor white families raise drop-outs, have kids that go to jail, smoke crack and have disfunctional families. We've got a black president, our second black Supreme Court justice, a recent black Secretary of State, a black National Security Advisor and a black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The opportunity to be/do whatever you want exists in America for everyone. For some it's harder than others, but that's more a function of their economic starting point in life; not their skin color. I'm not saying there's not some racism in our society, but like your attitude with the Cubans and Palestinians, I've about hit my "get over it" breaking point.

    If economic background is such a powerful determinant for all Americans, the question should be, "how do we assist those willing to escape poverty?;" and not just, "how do we assist blacks willing to escape poverty." I don't pretend to have the answers to that, but I'm pretty confident stating that the traditional liberal method, while well-intentioned, is a failed model that has often caused more harm than good:

    - welfare policies that have broken up families
    - public housing policies that have created multiple generations of ass-sitters
    - public housing policies that created de-facto inner-city prisons that are not conducive to families, not safe, and promote a life of crime
    - a revolving prison door that releases criminals to prey on poor people
    - public assistance programs that reward and promote sloth, laziness and greed
    - a public school system that is in shambles and ate up with liberal cronyism and union pay-back
    - a program, foisted on the military, designed to aid the disadvantaged resulted in 300k uneducated and lower IQ poor being used as cannon fodder in Vietnam
    - I'm too depressed to continue

    I used to poo-poo the notions of some conservative commentators that our welfare system was designed to provide a permanent voting block for liberals as being so jaded, pessimistic and paranoid. Now, 40 years into The War on Poverty, with poverty winning and us still doing the same stupid stuff, I'm not so sure anymore.
    I agree with much of what you say, but not all. I believe that prior to welfare reform, the welfare system was very much designed to promote dependency. If a family on welfare earned any money at all, they paid an effective tax that was 100% or greater -- that is, their cash welfare benefits would be reduced by the amount of their earnings and in addition they might lose some non-cash benefits. Even now there are situations in which a person on welfare will lose money by working. However, in my experience, the actual incidence of welfare fraud is pretty minimal (less than the incidence of tax fraud in all probability) and most people on welfare are virtually unemployable on either a temporary or permanent basis. While there are cases where one could fairly assign some level of moral responsibility for this condition to the primary recipient, that is often not the case and is never the case where you are talking about that recipient's children.

    With respect to housing, the situation is even more difficult. The average rent for a low income, two bedroom apartment in Trenton NJ (near where I live, but predominantly a city of the poor) is about $1300/month. Burger King and McDonalds and Walmart all pay less than $10/hour. Assuming 180 hours of work/month (i.e., full time with no holidays, sick time or vacation), a single parent would earn $1800 less about $180 for social security, Medicare, and unemployment. After rent, that would leave $320 for food, clothing and medical care. Obviously, that is not a tenable situation, yet the family would not necessarily qualify for welfare assistance.

    I work as a volunteer with homeless kids on a regular basis. By the time I see them they are generally in emergency or transitional housing after having spent a period of time with no residence at all. Virtually all of their parents work full time, but could not afford to pay their rent -- usually because of a minor emergency.

    In Mercer County, NJ, where Trenton is located, the average age of the homeless is 7 years old - evidencing the fact that most of those homeless adults are responsible for multiple children. About 90% of the homeless are non-white, although that percentage is declining as more and more lower income white families are hit by the current recession.

    The children of the homeless, on average, will attend 2-3 different schools in the year in which they experience homelessness. 12% will drop out of school. 45% will experience significant absences. It is no longer legal for the schools to refuse entry to homeless children, which is what they used to do, but that does not mean these kids are welcome. The emergency residences in which the kids I work with normally live at cheap motels located on major highways. Other than the homeless, the primary users of these hotels are prostitutes. There are no cooking facilities. Families are spread across multiple rooms, and the children have only the parking lots as places to play. The futures of those kids are being written in those parking lots and their futures are not pretty. The average wait for public or subsidized housing units ranges from months to years depending on family circumstances. That assumes that the parents are not convicts or drug addicts which would make the problems for the kids even harder to address.

    Addressing the issues of institutionalized poverty in our country is not a matter of ideology; it is a matter of our future survival as a moral society.

    If you want to see a few of the homeless, go to http://jeffgoodwin.com/portrait3/. Two of the girls I have worked with are shown below:




  10. #10
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    I for sure think we should have a social safety net for people who need it, but the help should be a temporary bridge to get over some unfortunate circumstances; not a permanent causeway that connects one generation of helpless dependents to their next generation of helpless dependents.

    Our anecdotal experiences and the conclusions we have drawn from them seem to be pretty wide apart. Back when I used to do environmental consulting work we had contracts with numerous housing authorities to conduct lead-based paint testing. Walking into those dumps every day will jade a person. It was quite common to see literally three generations living in different units of the same complex, with the next generation waiting patiently for a unit to open up so they could move into it (or saving up their money to bribe the often-corrupt local housing authority crooks to jump other waiting people on the list). We'd have to tiptoe around able-bodied men sleeping in the middle of the day (and not from sleeping off the night shift...unless crack peddlin' counts). People carelessly living in squalor and filth...not because their power was turned off (the cable TV was always a'blarin') or garbage services discontinued, but because they just didn't give a damn. It's no crime to be poor but you don't have to live like a gd hamster. My wife's a social worker and was recently in a family's house that was bigger than ours, with a pool, a big screen HD TV, and a garage full of ATV's and a couple of trailers to tow them. Neither of the 40-something parents worked. Every last penny of their income came from the government in some form...disability (but that doesn't stop them from riding the ATVs nearly every weekend), subsidized housing and electric, food stamps, etc.

    I'm sure most folks receiving help probably need it. But there's alot that don't. There has to be a better way of differentiating between the people who need a temporary helping hand and those who need a swift kick in the ass.

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