Comment: Mr. Freeman, I will treat your question as serious and genuine

(See in situ)

In reply to comment: I have a question about (see in situ)

Mr. Freeman, I will treat your question as serious and genuine

... and will attempt a substantive, thoughtful response. If you do likewise, we can have a dialogue. If not, then you will have the last word, and that will be that. In addition, please do me the courtesy of reading the entire post, as it is not that long, before responding.

I am not actually that enamored with Israel. (The reason that I "jumped in" on Granger's side is because of the way you were talking to her, not based on the merits of the conversation.) My favorite U.S. ally is South Korea (a post-WWII success story on multiple levels -- religious, political, and economic).

Regarding Israel, I see positives and negatives... On the plus side:

+ While imperfect, Israel is more democratic that any of her Arab neighbors. (And I think it is too soon to render a final verdict on the consequences of the "Arab Spring.")

+ Israel's enemies tend to be our enemies. While it was once the case that regional hostility toward Israel was led by Arab nationalists such as Nasser, it is increasingly true that Israel's most ardent foes are the same Islamic fundamentalists that would just as soon chop our heads off as well. (And I do not believe that they would stop hating us if we only stopped supporting Israel; we are the foremost non-Muslim power, and we therefore need to be dealt with if they are to successfully convert and/or subjugate the world in the name of Islam.)

+ When one takes the entirety of the Arab-Israeli conflict into account, it is clear that, in general, the Arabs have been the aggressors. And when you are the aggressor, and end up losing territory because you lost the war you started, I don't feel sorry for you. (And it isn't intellectually honest to "cherry pick" certain events, such as the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the 1980's, and thereby argue that Israel is therefore the overall aggressor.)

Now, the negatives:

- There is a fundamental disconnect between Land and People in Israeli policy. The supporters of Israel (and especially the most ardent ones) claim that Israel has a right to the West Bank and Gaza because:

A. God gave that land to Israel 3000 years ago, and/or

B. Israel won the land fair & square by defeating the Arab aggressors.

When it comes to the people living on the land (the Arab Palestinians), however, the supporters of Israel (and especially the most ardent ones) do not want those people to be Israeli citizens, for that would transform Israel's national identity. (This is also why the Arabs who fled from Israel during the original 1948 war are not allowed to return to their homes, and are instead stuck in the Gaza refugee camps.) To resolve the Land vs. People dilemma, Israel has four theoretical options:

1. Keep the land, and displace the Palestinians off of it. (This would be morally unacceptable, just as it was when we did it to the Native Americans in the 19th Century. It would also be practically impossible, as no one would take the Palestinians off of Israel's hands.)

2. Keep the land, and allow the Palestinians to stay on it, but deny them Israeli citizenship. (I find this choice to also be morally unacceptable, as it amounts to denying citizenship rights, to those who would otherwise qualify for them, on the basis of ethnicity and/or religion. This has effectively been the status quo, however, because Israel has been unwilling, or unable, to fully commit to any of the other options.)

3. Keep the land, and make the Palestinians Israeli citizens. (For the reason already stated, this is unacceptable to Israel.)

4. Allow the Arab portions of Palestine to become an independent country. (While this is the only option that is both moral and potentially sensible, Israel has never been willing to completely follow through with it because it would require fixing the borders -- and, thereafter, an independent Palestine would not allow the border to be continually pushed back by further Israeli settlement activity. To appease current and would-be settlers, and the votes that they represent, Israel therefore maintains the semi-autonomous, and gradually shrinking, "Palestinian Authority.")

Israel's inability and/or unwillingness to completely solve the Land vs. People issue means that she continues to effectively default to position 2, which therefore means that she does not, in my mind, have completely clean hands in the ongoing Arab/Israeli conflict. (Of course, the Palestinian Arabs have been far from completely responsible actors in the choices that they have made -- the unprovoked shelling of Israeli towns from within Gaza being a prime, but not the only, example.)

- The relationship between the United States and Israel has sometimes been disturbingly one-sided. The U.S. has given Israel an abundance of military, economic, and diplomatic aid over the years -- we have been her staunchest ally and only real friend. Yet, Israel has done things like attack the U.S.S. Liberty (an incident that has never been explained to my satisfaction), and steal our state secrets (the Pollard spy case). To put it bluntly, Israel should not bite the hand that feeds her.

- Israel sometimes engages in anti-Christian policies and actions. According to a 2009 report by our State Department:

The legal defense NGO, Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ), alleged again this reporting period that officials in the Interior Ministry denied services to some citizens based on their religious beliefs. The JIJ's legal defense caseload included numerous cases dealing with attempts by the Interior Ministry to revoke the citizenship of persons discovered holding Messianic or Christian beliefs, or to deny some national services -- such as welfare benefits or passports -- to such persons. In other cases the JIJ alleged that the Interior Ministry refused to process immigration applications from persons entitled to citizenship under the Law of Return if it was determined such persons held Christian or Messianic Jewish religious beliefs. On May 13, 2009, the JIJ filed a petition to the High Court on behalf of three Messianic Jews under the Law of Return whose application for immigration was blocked by the Ministry of Interior. They cited an April 2008 High Court ruling, which stated that the Government could not deny status to a person eligible to immigrate under the Law of Return on the basis of that person's identification as a Messianic Jew, provided that person was not also considered Jewish under the Orthodox definition. The case was ongoing at the end of the reporting period.

Conclusion: Unlike many in the Liberty Movement, I am not categorically opposed to mutual defense treaties with other nations. However, the relationship must be truly bilateral, in that the other nation must be as committed to coming to our aid as we are to hers (the goal of such alliances should be to safely reduce our military spending, rather than increasing it). The other nation must be truly committed to peace, so as not to draw us into unnecessary conflict (South Korea, in its dealings with North Korea, has been exemplary in this regard). Finally, the other nation must share our values and have a strong track record of loyalty.

In many ways, being allied to another nation is like a marriage -- and the cost of being married to the wrong spouse can be very high. While America should stand by her true friends, such as Canada and South Korea, she can no longer afford, for financial, strategic, and moral reasons, to fund client states such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. My view is that Israel needs to address and correct the negative items mentioned above if she wants to be included in the former group, and not the latter.

A Constitutional, Christian conservative who voted for Ron and stands with Rand