A Rebuttal Against Scott Horton's Israel/Palestine Position

in news •  last year 

Scott Horton was on the Jason Stapleton Show here. Unfortunately, I'm unable to embed without iframes.

For those that don't know, Scott created writes for Antiwar.com and wrote Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan which is an astounding read.

By any measure, Scott Horton is well-versed in foreign policy. In the interview above he discusses everything from Israel, Europe, Iran, and Yemen to North Korea. He easily transitions from topic to topic and has depth and breadth to his arguments.

The first half of the Jason Stapleton Show was a deep discussion on Israel/Palestine. Although, Scott's delivery is a bit abrasive, he makes you think. I stopped the show many times and had to google events he was bringing up.

To be honest, most people won't devote the time it takes to understand this conflict because it is EXTREMELY IN DEPTH. There is no Good guy vs Bad guy in this conflict. To say that one side is "always the victim" reveals bias. Scott Horton does just this while also claiming Palestine is still a country. I find that his foreign policy knowledge and his books are amazing. His thoughts on the Israel/Palestinian conflict just seem biased though.

I believe the entire solution is to remove ourselves as American's from the entire conflict. Don't tell others where we think their capital is. Don't send money to either side. If Israel is unable to maintain its borders without international aid, maybe it shouldn't exist there. (As an aside, go check out Dave Smith's Standup Comedy 'Libertas' where you'll find a hilarious solution to the Israel Issue.

Below is a chronological rebuttal from some that believe that many of Scott's points were inaccurate and possibly lent to an Anti-Jewish bias.

The Assassination of Yassin led to Fallujah riots (Scott's Claim)

While the dates certainly fit, and the Fallujah ambush was conducted by a group that named itself after “Martyr Yassin”, it seems insane to believe that assassination had more to do with the riots than the presence of American troops in an Iraq that was destabilized by those same troops.

Also, a Jewish government assassinating the leader of a group that has in its charter the wholesale slaughter of all Jews everywhere is not what I would call a provocation.

The assassination of Meir Kahane in 1990, who might be compared to Yassin by some, did not, as far as I can tell, result in any additional conflict. Is it because Israeli extremists are less violent than Arab extremists? I somehow doubt it.

Yassin was propped up by Israel, leading to the creation of Hamas (Scott's Claim)

Sure, I have no problem believing this, on its face.

I can absolutely see Israel trying to prop up a counter movement to Fatah, and it blowing up in their face spectacularly.

But all this means is that Israel has the same types of idiots running it as the US does.

“The Israeli occupation and colonization of what’s left of Palestine” is either colloquialism creeping in, or outright falsehood.

Palestine is either a future state that does not yet exist or have recognized borders, or what’s referred to as “Mandatory Palestine”. Either way, neither of those territories have been, at any point in history, been part of a state under the control of what you might today call Palestinians.

As such, either “what’s left of Palestine” is wrong, because it doesn’t exist yet.

Or “Israeli occupation” is wrong because Palestine is not a separate nation with recognized borders that Israel has invaded and occupied.

The Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, a full 27 years after the Six-Day war, in which Israel conquered the formerly Jordanian territory now sought by the Palestinians for the formation of their own country.

The Jerusalem Embassy issue is wholly misconstrued

Unless Horton is claiming that the US intends on putting its embassy in East Jerusalem, there is no relevance to the Mexican invasion scenario he portrays.

That is, unless he means to say that in a just final resolution of this issue, the whole of Jerusalem would not be in Israeli hands (either under UN control or part of the future Palestinian nation).

There is no reason to assume a-prioi that in some future state of things, there couldn’t be a US embassy to Israel in West Jerusalem, and to Palestine in East Jerusalem.

“They’re taking Jerusalem from the people who live there” is just utter tripe. See all of the above, especially the part related to the “occupation”.

The portrayal of Jews coming to Israel as a “Settler colony” which then “created what’s called the Nakhba -- the great purge of 750,000-775,000 Palestinians off of their lands and into the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and also into refugee camps around the region” is ahistoric, and an abhorrent lie by omission.

It omits the fact that Jews have been coming to Israel since the end of the 19th century in several immigration waves, and not as a sudden invasion force, as you might misconstrue from his words.

What’s called the Nakhba is in fact “The creation of the state of Israel”, which occurred as a result of the Arabs in Palestine refusing to agree to the UN Palestine Partition Plan, which, though it gave them Jerusalem, gave the Jews, who were a much smaller portion of the populace, the same amount of land as the Arabs. The Jews did not appreciably reject this plan, which is understandable, as they were the smaller population, and this plan was their best option to ever have a country - no one expected the small population of Jews (especially given Egypt, Syria, Jordan, etc. in the region) to be able to stand on its own in the area.

The conflict that occurred then is dubbed the war of 1947, the result of which was called the “Nakhba” - the creation of Israel and the fragmentation of the Palestinian Arab population into those who stayed or quickly returned, at the potential risk of being slaughtered by the Jews - which thankfully didn’t happen (at least not to any extent that I could ascertain as more than localised incidents) - and those who escaped due to the risk of such slaughter, and didn’t come back in time (these are the refugees, to whom the “Right of Return” is often pledged).

The notion that Palestinians have no rights whatsoever is entirely fabricated.

Not only are Palestinians given the same Negative Rights as Israelis (rights that are always, even to Israelis, subject to the whims of their government), they have their own official government - The Palestinian Authority.

Palestinians don’t vote in Israeli elections because they have their own parliament - this is largely because they wanted to force the issue of self-determination - they couldn’t be an independent state and be wholly recognised citizens, including voting rights, in an entirely different state.

The Gaza Strip has been fully under Palestinian control since 2005, and no Israelis have entered there apart from active conflict situations.

The West bank is divided into 3 categories of locations since the Oslo accords, the minority of which - about 25% - is under civil Palestinian control. Other things notwithstanding, the sale of land under that authority to Jews is punishable by death - a law that is still enforced to this day - indicating that the PA government certainly enforces laws passed by its parliament.

The claim that the IDF comes “like boogeymen in the middle of the night” and “take these children out of their beds off to be tortured” is… Geez...

Now, granted, this is literally the first time I’ve heard this accusation.

And, granted, the IDF has some questionable and outright immoral tactics - like forcing a Palestinian to get his neighbor to open his door so they can arrest him, using the first Palestinian as something akin to a human shield, but not quite.

If you’re going to say that something like this happens, I’d like to hear some evidence, a name, a date, something that I can tie to an actual happening, or I’m going to assume this is just an accusation without merit, just because of how insane and lopsided it’s constructed.

The idea that the only Prime Minister that was willing to give up the West Bank was Yitzhak Rabin is not only wrong, it’s - in the context of this particular conversation - ironically idiotic.

Yitzhak Rabin said directly after the Clinton-led negotiations with Yasser Arafat (leader of Fatah), that there is no chance that Jerusalem will ever be divided again.

Yitzhak Rabin was followed (not directly, but followed) in the PM chair by Ehud Barak, who was willing to cede almost the entirety of the West Bank to Arafat, who left Camp David after the negotiations, which were quickly followed by the second Intifada.

Also, by Ariel Sharon, who gave up the entirety of Gaza in a unilateral good-will move, only to be answered eventually by constant belligerence and rocket fire.

Also, by Ehud Olmert, who offered to give them, in trade for some territory exchange (so that the borders would not sacrifice Israel’s capacity to defend itself against future potential Palestinian aggression), Eastern Jerusalem.

Also, it’s pretty gross that Horton “Guilt by Association”s Netanyahu for Rabin’s assassination.

That’s not even something we did here. Also, is Scott Horton “Guilty By Association” of the NYC failed bomber because he claimed to have been motivated by the Jerusalem step, which Horton thinks was a bad decision? No, so stop it!

The idea that Horton would accept Hamas representatives saying on frikkin’ Charlie Rose that they would accept Israel in the 1967 borders is ludicrous on its face.

Would anyone going on any talk show say “No, we want all of it. And also to kill all the Jews. All of them. Everywhere.”? Of course not.

And yet, that’s precisely what the Hamas charter still says to this day.

In addition, a big sticking point during this decade has been whether the PA will recognize Israel (within the 1967 borders) as a Jewish State, or even the Nation State of the Jewish People. They have refused to do either, which is interpreted by people from the Israeli side of the fence as a refusal to declare that a return to the 1967 borders (which, due to all of the religious sites in Jerusalem being beyond that line is highly anathema to Israelis in general) would not result in a continuation of the struggle against the legitimacy of Israel as a nation.

Now this is wholly a cop-out on the Israeli side, because it really shouldn’t matter, but it’s context that tends to pop up, so there you go.

Horton claims about Netanyahu’s tricks and lies in “the 2000’s negotiations” with Bill Clinton and uses them to illustrate that the Israeli side was a bad actor in these negotiations.

Netanyahu was stalling the negotiations because he didn’t believe in them. Fine. I can buy that.

Ehud Barak was elected after Netanyahu’s government was cut short, primarily because he was a pro-peace former general, and was more likely not to stall the negotiations further.

Ehud Barak offered what he offered, and Arafat refused what was offered.

After Arafat returned from the negotiations, the second intifada started, which caused Israel to tighten up security much higher on Palestinians, because they were literally blowing up in our streets.

Now, if Horton has anything to say about Barak’s honesty, except for “I don’t buy it.” He can say that. This misdirection/ignorance stuff is not impressing me.

“The Palestinians are Disarmed” is such tremendous bullshit

The Oslo accords gave the Palestinians the capacity to manage their own security, partially by giving them arms, as well as legal recognition.

Hamas in Gaza have been firing rockets at Israel, which no disarmed populace could do, because the word “disarmed” actually means something.

Israeli citizens are highly restricted in their capacity to own and use firearms.

You must be either a former soldier/police officer with Handgun training, or have specific security needs, like living beyond the 1967 borders, or in a farm in the Negev desert

Even then the process is long and arduous.

So the Israeli populace is just about as disarmed as the Palestinian populace.

The claim that Israelis have no claim to the land that isn’t just religious dogma ignores archaeological findings over the last century that corroborate the existence of an ancient Jewish state in the region.

More so, if we’re going to privilege people who claim to have owned the land a hundred years ago over those who own it now, why should we not privilege people who claim to have owned the land a thousand years ago? Why not 3000 years ago?

Fool's Errand

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Nice rebuttal. I think I'll tweet this at Horton later just for his response. Open discussion on this issue is more important than being right.

In terms of the "kidnapping kids in the middle of the night", I believe it comes up in the book "Goliath" (which Horton might be referencing), and it is shown in the documentary "5 Broken Cameras". Just for some reference.

I lean more to side of Horton on this, but who am I to rebut the rebuttal of his statements?

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I believe they've already sent it to him, but yes. I'd love more info.

When that guy talks, I find myself pausing a LOT and looking up events. He's extremely intelligent, I'm just trying to determine if truth from bias. Which is hard from the stand point of the ignorant (and I'm an intelligence officer immersed in this stuff!)

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Who is "they" by the way? I don't see a link to the original author in the post.

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It's a collection of authors who put the document together to send to Mr. Horton. It's from within the private JSP Group on FB. In all openess, one of the main contributors is Israeli, albeit, as an Anarcho-Capitalist, one that is far from enamored with the Israeli State or its control over my life, as well as the lives of others.

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