Dear Colleagues, What a peculiar and confusing world we live in. See url: http://www.timesofisrael.com/obama-netanyahus-anti-arab-remarks-risk-eroding -israeli-democracy See url: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_pot_calling_the_kettle_black Netanyahu stands accused by Obama of making racist remarks about Arab voters because a lot of them were exercising their rights of freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of expression, by going to the polls in the Israeli General Election en masse. Personally, I thought Netanyahu was only making an astute observation , to try and rally more Jewish voters to vote for his party, Likud, so that they would win the general election. And it showed, too, how much the Israeli Arabs believe in the present system, that they were all rushing to vote, knowing that the parties they support couldnt win. Of course, he could have and should have welcomed and encouraged such an increased participation by the Israeli Arabs in the electoral process of their nation state, but such is the nature of politics and its relationships with religious organisations...Henry V111 and the Reformation, springs to mind. In the countries and governments of the British Isles, by an accident of birth, Catholics and Protestants butchered, tortured and maimed one another on the basis of the religion of their Monarch, no matter what government existed. Rehabilitation after their death and that of the monarch, though pointless, was very sweet... J. Eventually, the natives of the United Kingdom learned to live together in peace and use the democratic process for resolving differences. Very shortly before the Israeli election, in fact the day before, Netanyahu also said that there was no way he would support a two state Israel...and then, after he was elected, he withdrew the policy. Such a volte face is not unusual for a politician of course, especially a leading one on the worlds stage. (I change my mind constantly, though I am not a politician, just a human being)... J. There was also some discussion promoted by Netanyahu and certain sections of Israeli society to change the Israeli Constitution to include the phrase Jewish and Democratic State, as it doesnt contain this at the moment, though it does occur in other documents relating to the constitution. I believe that this discussion is still ongoing...though, whether it will survive the post election period is another matter. One can see his tactic. It is part of the long term strategy for Israel to exercise its international legal rights granted by the League of Nations Mandate and subsequent mandates and resolutions for its existence on the world stage, within the terms and boundaries of the original Mandate drawn up in 1922. Nothing wrong with that, again, in fact it should be welcomed, a peaceful, political route is being pursued, even if it is hypocritical. Most, if not all rulers of nation states are quite prepared and willing to expand their territory, power and control they have in the world. In my view it is all part of human nature and a fact of the nation state. The ruling elites all want to turn their nation states into empires. An unfortunate consequence of the present constitutional changes being debated in Israel would be that Israeli Arabs would be in danger of being excluded from the same rights as Jewish citizens, because there would not be the same rights for Arab immigration into a greater Israel, as there is for the Jewish population. One of the many and great difficulties facing the Jewish citizens of Israel is a demographic one, in that the birth rate amongst the Arab population is greater than that amongst the Jewish one...and this is another reason for which the Jewish people feel threatened. Not only do they feel that the survival of their state is threatened from the inside, but also from the outside, being surrounded by Arab states who are all dominated by the Muslim religion and are very hostile to the Jewish religion and to the formation of a Jewish State, and to the Jewish people...hence the wars and terrorism which has befallen them. This situation is not helped by the policies of Western governments, who interfere on the basis of pursuing their own interests in foreign policy and economics. The Middle East conflict is a great place for engineering, promoting and exacerbating conflicts. It helps with the marketing, sales and distribution of arms and materials, and places like the UK, the US, Russia and European countries have armaments as one of their main and very profitable exports. And they have exported arms and other military resources to all countries in the Middle East, at various times, both overtly and covertly. I dare say that China too, should be on this list. Another reason why Netanyahu has called for Jewish families to emigrate to Israel is to increase the economic, political, social, cultural and military power of the Israeli State. This policy serves three purposes, it increases the Jewish population of Israel and it helps protect them from anti-Semite pogroms around the world. A bigger population tends to aid the chances of survival of their nation state and promote prosperity. A big difficulty for this policy to work is that the Israeli economy is in a very poor state, with high unemployment and a huge shortage of affordable housing. And of course, a lot of the Jewish Diaspora and their families are quite prosperous, happy, healthy and content living where they are now, despite any increase in anti-Semitism. Mind you, it isnt the only country suffering from such difficulties... J. There is a Scottish Diaspora all over the world, due to the defeat of the Clan system and the Highland Clearances, when Scots peasants were replaced by sheep. The sheep may have gone, but the Scots stayed abroad... J. There was a similar circumstance in Northern Ireland, where the Catholic minority has a higher birth rate than the Protestants. This led to trouble in the 1960s, and eventually extreme violence, because the Protestant majority and Catholic minority felt threatened by one another. There was also a lot of resentment amongst Catholics and Protestants because of the UK of 1922 Government of Ireland Act which split up Ireland into two parts way back in the 1920s. Up until that time the whole of Ireland had been a British Colony, as was Palestine, the land of Israel. The troubles of course, led to much terrorism and bombings, both in Northern Ireland and in the UK. There were many organisations in the US who sent money and helped with resources to the IRA because there are many Irish émigrés there and they thought they were helping a liberation struggle. Gaddafis Libya contributed arms, amongst other countries. The splitting of Protestant and Catholic communities into two camps was further enforced with political terrorist gangs of the two denominations dressed up as political activists, and supporting political parties, one calling for a closer capitalist relationship with the Crown, the other one calling itself socialist for a transfer of the land and communities of Northern Ireland to Eire. Knee-capping, beatings, bullying and protection rackets to fund their organisations, were the order of the day, as the state police were squeezed out as they were considered as allies of the British government. The situation wasnt helped by the UK government and the secret war, the sending in of troops and the massacre of Catholics, which exacerbated the situation. The fact that one cell of the British secret services was fighting other cells in these gangs, trying to unmask each others agent provocateurs and spies unbeknownst to head office, didnt help much either! (A need to connect up the dots...to quote a famous phrase by Obama)... J. Eventually, the people of the province got tired of the violence, came to the conclusion that nothing was going to be achieved by it; and, eventually a peace deal was signed by all the major parties to the conflict, which, with one or two exceptions, has been kept to. The Northern Ireland government now operates under a similar status to that of Scotland and Wales, with a regional government created under the rules of the European Union. The old combatants have united into settling their differences through peaceful political debate and measures in the local parliament. Eventually, the Catholic population in Northern Ireland will outnumber the Protestant one...in around 30 or 40 years at present rates...what will happen then, is anyones guess...political situations and circumstances change constantly. This attack by Obama is a bit rich in my view. He is presiding over US police forces who are throttling black people in the streets by the thousand, using illegal methods of arresting and detention and shooting other citizens who are innocent of any crime. Such practices are without any legal authority under the US constitution, or the regulations covering police operating and command systems...and he doesnt, or cant do anything about it. It is very easy for Obama to criticise Netanyahu. The United States itself is a product of an armed conflict between the UK and the colonial settlers from the rest of Europe, the War for Independence and the Civil War, black slavery and the slaughter of native Americans and the resettlement of what was left of the tribes on poor quality land. Racism is rife, the representation of ethnic minorities in the government and top echelons of the Civil Services is small. One question in my mind which arises out of all of this. Why and how does the US see a two state solution regarding Israel and the Arabs living in the area...as a way of resolving these problems? If a two state solution were created, would it lead to peace between the various groupings, factions and nations?... Wouldnt it be a wonderful thing if we could get rid of all states of any kind...but there again...thats what makes me such a romantic... J. ATB Dougie.