Make Israel a State of the U.S.

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israel-us.jpgThis is a guest note by Dan Kervick, a regular reader and commenter at The Washington Note.
Reaction to Aaron David Miller’s recent pessimistic piece on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has raised calls for outside-the-box thinking as the only alternative to despair and endless conflict in the Middle East.
So I thought it might be a good time to resurrect a proposal I have made tentatively a few times in the past: US statehood for Israel. I heard minimal sympathy for this proposal when I voiced it a few times over the past several years.
My hope is that with changed circumstances and evaporating prospects for a two-state solution, this is a proposal whose time might have come.
There are a number of considerations that argue in favor of US statehood for Israel:
First, statehood for Israel would only be a culminating, formal acknowledgment of an already-existing special relationship. The relationship between Israel and the United States is very unique, and admission of Israel into the union would be a natural evolution of that special relationship.
Israel is filled with bright, industrious and well-educated people. It’s incorporation into the union would be an economic boon to Americans.
Americans on the whole would eagerly embrace the inclusion of Israel in the union. Particularly those Americans whose religious traditions tie them to the Holy Land would view Israeli membership in the union as a source of pride and inspiration. But many others would see the admittance of Israel as a win, a good catch for the US, even if they are not moved by the religious considerations.
Admittance of Israel makes sense culturally: Israel is already closer culturally to the United States than was Hawaii, and Hawaiian incorporation into the union has been a great success. Many Israelis already have relatives in the United States. There are many prominent Jewish cultural centers in the United States, and Jews have a strong and secure cultural foothold in the country. And large numbers of Israelis already speak English.
Under statehood, Israelis could also move to any location on the US mainland, if that were their choice, just like any other US citizens. This would decrease the demographic pressure for the expansion of Israel. Those who feel the need to remain close to the ancestral Jewish homeland could remain in Israel; those who are more comfortable with Diaspora culture could move. And this freedom of movement would require no special political arrangements, or complex decisions about citizenship and permanent political commitments.
Under statehood, the US security guarantee toward Israel would be iron-clad, no longer based on highly debatable US strategic calculations and fluctuating considerations of national interest, as Israeli security would become a straightforward matter of US territorial defense.
The promise of lasting, durable security should give Israelis the confidence to wrap up their territorial dispute with the Palestinian Arabs quickly, on terms both acceptable and irresistible to most Palestinians. Seen no longer as merely a sliver of independent land between the West Bank and the Mediterranean, but the eastern-most edge of a very large territorial republic, Israeli confidence would be boosted, its paranoia would dissipate and much of the resulting Israeli hunger for more space and land would be abated. Existential fear would subside; the sense of besiegement would be gone.
As a result of the move to statehood, we should finally see ultimate acceptance in Israel for a genuine, real, viable Palestinian state with responsibility for its own security. Such a state would no longer be seen by security-obsessed and paranoid Israelis as a regional vanguard of an existential threat to Israel. The realistic security threat posed by remaining Palestinian rejectionists would be minimal, and easily deterred. Acceptance of a final resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict creating a Palestinian state and closing down the West Bank colonies, and admission of Israel into the American union, could be acted on as a concurrent package, with progress on each part generating momentum on the others.
As a means of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we might call this proposal the “two states plus fifty” solution.
Several of the factors which make the standard, Green Line based two state solution unattractive to rejectionist Israelis – predominantly, the small and narrow dimensions of the Israeli state that would result – would be neutralized by Israel’s acquisition of the expansive North American “back yard”, governed by the world’s strongest military power. And once the conflict is resolved and a final Israeli border – now to become the US’s easternmost border – is established and fixed, the global claims to legitimacy of armed, irregular resistance by Israel’s neighbors would be immediately undermined in the minds of all but the hardest of hard-liners around the world.
Such armed struggle could no longer be seen as defensible resistance to invasion, conquest, occupation and colonialism, but as a dead-end and reactionary attempt to recover territory that the vast majority of the world’s people would have already recognized as belonging to Israel.
Statehood would also help address the Israeli nuclear issue, about which the odd, officially prescribed US silence is certain to become an increasingly irksome diplomatic conundrum threatening the global non-proliferation agenda. Israeli nuclear weapons would be incorporated into the US nuclear arsenal. Their existence could then be declared immediately, and decisions about the future disposition of these weapons would then become part of ongoing US decision-making about its nuclear forces and nuclear posture.
Israel would be an excellent location for US military bases, military hospitals, and transportation and other logistics depots. The acquisition of this new territorial military asset would give the US much more latitude in the region, and allow the US the option of being more choosey and diplomatically reserved in its military relationships with other states in the region.
With Israel incorporated into the union, the US could end its aid program to the country. With Israeli taxes flowing into the US treasury, and with the economies of scale achieved by rolling Israeli security forces into the US armed forces and Pentagon planning – which already make financial provision for defense of Israel but which require complex state-to-state negotiations, inefficiencies and redundancy of effort – admission of Israel should be a net plus for the US treasury.
Issues of dual loyalty, dual citizenship, etc. would become moot. Jewish-American advocacy for and love of Israel would be no different than any other special interest taken by a US citizen in some particular part of the United States, and would no longer put Jewish-Americans in the compromised position of having an unusually intense commitment to, and devoted affection for, a foreign country. And those American Jews who are drawn to reside in Israel, and pursue public service in its government, would no longer have to renounce their US citizenship to do so.
Some Israelis and advocates of Israel have proposed NATO membership for Israel. But in the present environment of endless Israeli conflict and tension with the states and peoples in their neighboring region, along with the politically unacceptable situation of a non-existent eastern Israeli border, and persistent walks on the wrong side of international law, Israeli remains a somewhat pathological and unsettled state, and extending NATO membership to Israel seems out of the question as things stand currently. By joining the union of US states, Israel would acquire the protection of the NATO security umbrella more-or-less automatically.
Israel’s hard-line rejectionist enemies in the region could no longer entertain long shot dreams of ending Israel’s existence. The US guarantee of security would be unshakeable and beyond doubt. The assurance of swift US retaliation for attacks on Israel would be certain. And no rogue nuclear power, should one ever arise, could dream of defeating tiny Israel with a nuclear first strike, since overwhelming nuclear retaliation would be the certain result.
On the other hand, rogue Israeli behavior would also be checked. The defense of Israel’s security would be undertaken in the context of ordinary Pentagon business, and Israel’s armed forces would be recommissioned as members of the US armed forces. The dangerous recent tendencies in the IDF toward ultra-nationalism and religious and ethnic chauvinism and zealotry would be dampened significantly. With statehood, a range of extreme psychological reactions and destabilizing behaviors by Israel, flowing from Israel’s self-perception as a small, friendless and insecure outpost, would likely come to an end.
Much traditional support for political Zionism’s dream of an independent Israeli state is based on the idea that an independent state is necessary to protect and safeguard Jews – to serve as a sort of territorial lifeboat providing insurance against future renewals of militant anti-Semitism. But it is hard to make the case that the state of Israel as it exists today actually protects Jews on the whole. Rather it seems to isolate them, radicalize them, make them both more militant and more vulnerable, create more political enemies for them, and concentrate them as a potential target in a very small, difficult-to-defend state.
Security for people in the modern world doesn’t come from aspiring to the medieval ideal of the isolated and impermeable citadel on the mountaintop, but from economic integration into a cosmopolitan global system. I would contend that it is an incontestable fact that Jews in America are significantly more secure – both in the short term and the long term – than Jews in Israel.
So Israelis have little to lose, and much to gain, from seeking to incorporate themselves as citizens into the same powerful nation in which so many other Jews have thrived.
Permanent revolutionary anxiety, militancy and lawlessness, the condition to which the inherently revolutionary and isolating Zionist project has fated Israeli Jews, is no prescription for lasting Jewish security.
– Dan Kervick

Comments

137 comments on “Make Israel a State of the U.S.

  1. MMB says:

    Relocate the State of Israel to a western area of the USA and make it the 51st USA State.
    This would vacate lands for the Palestinians to move into.
    The above would take years but would be an enhancement and
    It would be an economic boom for all involved. The infrastructure would be recreated with the various warring countries/ fractions helping to pay.
    Jerusalem would be an international city and a virtual reality created for those not able to visit in the middle east.

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  2. Big says:

    Also, I don’t know how close Israel is to the US culturally anymore – I’m willing to bet 50 years ago it was, but now with the vast majority of recent (ie past 10 years) immigrants to Israel being African and Russian Jews, I think the closeness is a lot less.
    The closest countries to the US are those that are geographically closest, Canada and Mexico. Maybe the UK and Ireland next. And there are plenty of rough patches in the world where we didn’t try the whole adopt a conflict approach even though we probably could have, eg:
    1) Northern Ireland – how many Americans would object to making them a state? Think about the epic amounts of beer we’d acquire in the process.
    2) Quebec – Montreal is already Amsterdam for American kids too young/poor to go to Amsterdam, giving them statehood would be a no brainer (although the language thing might be a bit of a barrier, but many Quebecis are bi-lingual).
    3) Dominican Republic, Haiti: we probably have more of their diaspora in the US than those countries have citizens back home, it would be easy.
    4) Sweden vs. Norway in World War III – I’ve said too much.

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  3. Big says:

    Why would Israelis agree to this? They already get all of the benefits of American statehood (lots of aid, easily obtained permanent residency, American universities that take in a lot of their students relative to other int’l students). If they join the US, they get all the negatives of American statehood, ie their tax dollars will end up as pork for Mississippi and Louisiana and other failed states in the US, they’ll have illegal immigrants from Mexico showing up at their doorstep, high crime rates from lax gun laws, even more Arabs from the neighboring countries will try to jump the border and get in, etc. It’s better for them to keep the current arrangement, kinda like Puerto Rico.

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  4. DavidT says:

    So so so sorry for accidentally posting something that does not belong here…
    So sorry again.
    David,
    Thanks for your response. I guess we view things differently. I followed your advice and looked a bit further into Rep Grayson’s story. I’m in favor of robust progressivism best exemplified by Barney Frank. However, no matter how intelligent you consider Mr. Grayson, I think such initiatives, which are hardly serious, divert attention from more constructive approaches to our public policy.
    I know many many liberals yearn for public policymakers on the left to hit back with equal force against those on the right who can be so destructive, in my view. If you’re looking for revenge or putting those who we dislike in their place Grayson may be your man. I believe, as the old saying goes, that the best revenge is living well. So in this instance, the best revenge is, rather than sinking to the other side’s level, to work to bring about the society that will constitute “living well” for all of us. I just don’t see how this legislation nor Mr. Grayson’s behaviour helps move us towards a netter society. If you want to feel better, that “they need to get theirs,” and without doing so there will never be justice, I understand. However, if your goal is to resurrect more trust in our country, a stronger sense of community, and a shared sense of common purpose snd interest between those who’ve had tremendous success and those who have not, I don’t see how the Grayson approach — whether in this legislation or in his name-calling, gets us closer.
    I believe that building and destroying are not at opposite sides of a coin. Its much easier to destroy, vilify, dismiss, and insist that things don’t work so we shouldn’t have to pay than argue that you have to give up a little — your earnings, some of your opportunities to level the playing field, some of your opportunities or those of your employers to exploit others for profit for the betterment of all and in the long-run more opportunities for future generations at every level of the income ladder. But that’s not the message I hear from my friend, Steve Clemons in this post nor in the legislation discussed here nor in Rep Grayson’s bombastic approach even if it feels great.
    Cheers.

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  5. David Trilling says:

    Hi Amy,
    I’m especially late here but enjoyed your thread, the feedback of some of the commenters, and violate the “golden rule” with respect to compliments, at least I have done so in the past.
    First of all, I live where the notion of “encouraging another” comes from and I consider doing so as much as one can important. And while it’s hard for me to resist, I don’t think it’s a good idea to compliment another for something you didn’t like. Some have a stronger bullshit meters than others, but when I bombed I am likely to find a compliment for my performance not only irritating but will feel such a compliment may undermine a good feeling I might get from a compliment for a good performance. On the other hand, if there is something genuine to compliment me in my bombing, I.e., that unlike w/the previous presenter I didn’t rely exclusively on my slides…etc. If you’ve ever seen the television show, “Friday Night Lights,” and watch the “Coach” you’ll know what I mean. He doesn’t ever give free compliments — expecting his football players to motivate themselves and encourage each other. Thus when he pays a compliment, it has so much more meaning (again, I wish I could be so restrained and resist the temptation to jump in and overly compliment).
    In terms of reactions I guess I would make a few distinctions. First of all, on matters like this, it depends. For example for a person who dislikes any apologies, I don’t consider it particularly polite to regularly thank them. Thus it depends on the type of compliment I give. If it’s very general (i.e. “you were great”) a simple thank you or perhaps a “Thanks but I wasn’t as good as I had hope” is fine. However, a much more specific comment that shows that I’ve put a great deal of thought into the compliment (“I think your ability to live inside and really become that character so added to the performance and seemed to elicit stronger than usual acting from your fellow cast members. I wish I knew how to show on stage such an emotional range.” was striking and reminded me of so many great of dark blue throughout the presentation along with the subtle yellow in the corner really kept me focused on your theme stressed in every slide that respectful treatment really matters

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  6. Saint Michael Traveler says:

    There are many American who advocate Israel to become a member of USA Common Wealth. Practically speaking Israel already is pseudo-state of USA. I had suggested an alternative position for Israel and Palestine:
    Federal States of Israel and Palestine as One Nation
    http://straveler-myamerica.blogspot.com/2008/05/federal-states-of-israel-and-palestine.html

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  7. DavidT says:

    Dan,
    Meant to congratulate you for this guest post. I’ve enjoyed
    your postings in the Washington Note comments and mostly
    agreed w/you. I confess that I don’t completely understand
    your post here –if for no other reason than I can’t understand
    how doing what you suggest wound not make us (once Israel
    is part of us) much more vulnerable to terrorist attacks of all
    sorts. It seems hard enough to defend our own borders, but
    to add Israel and treat an attack there as an attack on New
    York City, even if the suicide attacks seem to occur less in
    Israel these days. Of course there are lots of other issues
    (I.e. Even if it’s a secular state, wasn’t the reason for Israel’s
    founding to make sure that Jews would have a place to live
    where their well-being might not have to be at the pleasure of
    the majority or vocal minority that might single them out for
    whatever reason…?)
    Congrats again! Well deserved opportunity.

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  8. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine, I didn’t write the quote you attributed to me; Dan did.

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  9. nadine says:

    “”BTW, if you’re talking about Res 242, whose compromise language was carefully fought out, it never speaks of the impermissability of taking territory by force …”
    In it second paragraph it emphasizes the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” I would submit that the phrases are synonymous.” (Paul Norheim)
    And how had Jordan acquired the West Bank? So that hardly functioned as a ruling in this particular case, and was quite specific to speak of “negotiated borders” — and of course, if you just go back to the status ante quem there is nothing to negotiate.
    As I read it, the language of 242 was fought out between the US and Soviet UN representatives.

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  10. Dan Kervick says:

    Good to see you, Paul. You’re a little bit late to the feast :)

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  11. Paul Norheim says:

    I have been off-line for some days now, and saw Dan’s article
    late last night. It is certainly the most thought provoking and
    interesting essay I have read for a while here, and the general
    quality of the comments is obviously a reflection of the quality
    of Dans arguments and the freshness of his perspective.
    I don’t have much time now to comment, and much have been
    said in the discussion above. My position is ambivalent, perhaps
    even more so (or at least on different levels) as a non-American.
    But just one note on a general, historical level: The old
    European nation states created a lot of demons. The tragic irony
    of the last sixty years is that the state of Israel creates the same
    kinds of demons that once triggered the idea of a Jewish
    homeland, and this is what makes Dan’s idea so intriguing.
    Theodor Herzl wrote “Der Judenstaat” as a direct response to
    the Dreyfus affair at the end of the 19th century, a spy case in
    France where a Jewish officer was made the scapegoat. This
    finally convinced him that it would be impossible for Jews to
    become assimilated or emancipated in Europe; thus he
    suggested a nation state in Palestine.
    America as an experiment is founded on a radically different
    idea than the old Europe of nation states – or, for that sake,
    Israel as a nation state. It is highly understandable that Herzl
    came up with his idea in the context of the European nations.
    Contrafactual historical speculations have their limits, but one
    could assume that this issue would not have been so urgent for
    the Jews in the context of the United States of America
    (although there was of course anti-Semitism in America as well,
    especially between the world wars).
    Dan writes a lot about the many difficulties and the bleak
    prospects for the Zionist state in the future. In the current
    situation Israelis are at the mercy of their own creation and
    certain internal and external dynamics that are very dangerous
    and difficult to control.
    As a 51. American state, their fate would be connected with the
    fate of the American experiment, which is very different from
    being at the mercy of a nation state, like France, Spain, or
    Germany. From a US perspective, I would not be surprised if this
    51. state would become America’s achilles heel (despite the
    strategic advantages described in Dan’s original post). But I have
    no doubt that from an Israeli-Jewish perspective, being at the
    mercy of the American experiment, and not the current Israeli
    experiment, would provide a much higher degree of security,
    given the premise for Dan’s essay: a solution of the I/P conflict.

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  12. Dan Kervick says:

    “BTW, if you’re talking about Res 242, whose compromise language was carefully fought out, it never speaks of the impermissability of taking territory by force …”
    In it second paragraph it emphasizes the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” I would submit that the phrases are synonymous.

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  13. nadine says:

    “OK, twenty years ago the numbers were a bit higher. But 20 years isn’t any magic number, it was a random one. The watershed year in 1967. That’s the year the UN, including the US, affirmed the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force. And virtually *all* of the Jewish inhabitants of the West Bank and East Jerusalem have moved into that territory since that year.” (Dan Kervick)
    Thanks, at least now we can talk about the same set of facts.
    The three important years are 1967, 1974, and 1994, when Israel took the land, when the settlement policy really began in earnest, and when Oslo was signed, under which the Israelis were allowed to build within the existing settlement footprints, about 4% of the West Bank.
    Not “virtually all”, but ALL Jewish inhabitants have moved in/moved back to the WB and East Jerusalem since 1967; for Jordan had ethnically cleared these places in 1948. Not one Jew was left. The first “settlements” were Jewish owners of land in Jerusalem and Gush Etzion reclaiming their properties.
    BTW, if you’re talking about Res 242, whose compromise language was carefully fought out, it never speaks of the impermissability of taking territory by force; instead, it talks of withdrawal from “lands” (not “the lands”) occupied and borders to be settled by negotiation.
    Israel has never had negotiated or recognized borders; nobody recognized the Green Line as a final border before 1967, certainly not the Arabs; it was the truce line of 1949, similar to the “Line of Control” in Kashmir. The Green Line just became sacred to the Arabs in service of their demand for a do-over on the 1967 war they started. Seriously, do you think the Arabs would have given anything back if they had won, or the UN would have passed any resolutions telling them to?

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  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “…..and we would also get a prosperous state filled with smart and productive taxpayers in the bargain”
    Dig deep, Dan. Even YOU can fall prey to the hasbarist misrepresentations about what Israel REALLY is.
    Interesting that we hear so much about the Madrasses, yet the parallel schools in Israel, teaching religious radicalism, (rather than standard academic teachings designed to develop an educated and productive populace), do not get mention. Islam does not have a monopoly on wackjobbery, and Israel’s expanding population of radicals is working hard to catch up. Of course, unlike the Palestinians, this population is NOT being subjected to hush-hushed threats of birth-rate controls. And they are reproducing like mad, having kids in amounts far above that of the rest of the Israeli population.
    Tell me, when we assimilate these zealots into the union, how will they feel about our so called “separation of church and state”?
    And when our own rural areas begin growing enclaves and fortresses of these fanatics, much like the compounds of Reverend Butler’s or Jim Jones’, or that Mormon bigamist, (whats his name?), you gonna still think your plan was a good ‘un?

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  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    More…….
    http://www.fmep.org/analysis/analysis/israelis-must-integrate-to-survive
    Israelis must integrate to survive
    Aluf Benn | The Guardian | April 6, 2010
    If you’re interested in Israel’s future, all you need to know is one statistic: among Israeli kids in their first year at primary school, about half are Arabs or ultra-Orthodox Jews. And their portion is expanding. Looking forward, a very different Israeli society is emerging, with its Jewish secular core shrinking. Alas, as this scenario matures the country is going to face growing difficulties in defending itself and sustaining its economy.
    Israeli Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews are exempt from military service, and are under-represented in the workforce. As their relative weight in society keeps growing, Israel risks security and economic implosion, since fewer and fewer soldiers and employees will protect and provide for an expanding population of welfare recipients. The Jewish state’s long-term survival depends on reversing the trend of non-participation among its Arab and ultra-Orthodox citizens.
    The country’s leaders are aware of the social timebomb on their hands. General Gabi Ashkenazi, the IDF chief of staff, warned that given the demographic trends, “within a decade or two, only few will be drafted”. The finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, argued that tradition and fear lead Arab women and ultra-Orthodox men to stay at home or study the Torah, respectively. “We must expand employment in these populations,” he said. A senior government economist puts it more bluntly: “We carry an elephant on our backs, and it’s getting heavier. We have perhaps 15 years to deal with this problem, or the elephant will bury us under its weight.”
    continues……

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  16. David says:

    Quixotic on in the sense that any good imaginative work shines a light on some truth or truths and motivates its reader or viewer to think more fully about those truths of the human condition.

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  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “…..and we would also get a prosperous state filled with smart and productive taxpayers in the bargain”
    Welfare system could cause Israel to collapse, economist warns
    Nearly one in five Israeli men between the ages of 35 and 54 do not work, including Arabs and ultra-Orthodox Jews, says Dan Ben-David. As their numbers rise, so does the economic peril, he says.
    May 10, 2010|By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times
    Reporting from Jerusalem

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  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “…..and we would also get a prosperous state filled with smart and productive taxpayers in the bargain”
    What, you are going to exclude the welfare mooches, the rapidly expanding and reproducing ultra-orthodox Jews from the equation???
    Uhm, hey Dan, these randy wackjobs are a good part of whats fueling the tensions. These ARE the settlers. They don’t work or pay taxes. They mooch, screw, have babies, steal land, and attack neighbors. You sure you want ‘em as compatriots????

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  19. Dan Kervick says:

    “The problem with too many people when they start ‘thinking’ about foreign policy and solutions is they leave out US interest.”
    My reason for proposing this “2 states + 50″ solution is fully based on my reading of US interests. If an offer of US statehood could be used to end the I/P conflict and create a Palestinian state, then we would get an end to that conflict – whose continuation is consistently damaging to US interests – and we would also get a prosperous state filled with smart and productive taxpayers in the bargain. Seems like a good deal to me, Carroll. It’s not about “rewarding” Israel in some way.

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  20. Carroll says:

    Posted by Dan Kervick, May 14 2010, 12:40AM – Link
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Well Dan, all joking and barbs aside, lets just examine the BOTTOM LINE of Israel-USA. Let’s put First things First.
    Number one…the US does not, and has never “owed”
    either Israel or the Jews anything..nothing, nada.
    We have no “moral obligation” to the Jews or to Israel. “Obligation being to key word here, implying we have some ‘responsibility’ for the Jews and Israel, which we don’t.
    US support of Israel and the Jewish influence on behalf of Israel is solely due to POLITICAL CORRUPTION in our government and has been since the day Truman recognized Israel. That’s all it is. Period.
    So to suggest that we “reward” or “cure” or “solve” the problem of Israel and the Jews by further attaching Israel to the US as a state would be nothing but a final capitulation to that political corruption.
    Imagine the US black African American community, which is 1000′s of times the size of the US Jews population having lobbied congress to support the genocide in Africa for instance and someone suggested that to make the US blacks happy and cure Africa’s crimes we should make it a US state.
    The problem with too many people when they start ‘thinking’ about foreign policy and solutions is they leave out US interest, assuming or asserting we should and ‘could’ as a supreme power do this or that for various world problems without any examination of what it would do to this country.
    If you were on the outside looking in at the US you would see what many of my ex-pat friends living abroad see…a country fractured by political corruption and tyrannies of minority and foreign interest with incoherent policies. A country run amuck because DC thinks of itself now as some kind of supreme universal ‘arranger’ for all those political minority and special interest instead of a sovereign country whose first duty is to itself.
    Other worlds and people are not stupid, they see this US aberration. It has not only created enemies where none existed before and it has shown those enemies all they have to do is sit and wait for us to cannibalize ourselves.

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  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “As a Canadian/Quebecer I would like to make one thing very clear,myself nor anyone I know would like to see Canada incorporated into the US”
    If you’re an example of what we’d get, I assure you, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
    But having have had a bit of experience with Canadians when I bartendered in Northern Idaho, I didn’t notice the prevailing bigotry or scum dripping sleeziness that you so openly exhibit, so I suspect that you are simply an abomination. Most of the Canadians I met would be a fine addition to our citizenry.

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  22. marcus says:

    As a Canadian/Quebecer I would like to make one thing very clear,myself nor anyone I know would like to see Canada incorporated into the US.
    Just want to make sure y`all don`t get any funny ideas,It`s all good ,nothing to see here.

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  23. Sweetness says:

    Dan writes: “The problem right now is that Israel doesn’t *want* a two-state solution, at least in its generally understood form.”
    Dan writes: “I think the main obstacle to accomplishing it, Sweetness, is that neither the Jordanians nor the Palestinians want it to happen.”
    Don’t these two statements pretty much pinpoint “the problem”? “We don’t want to.” If this attitude could be turned around, then any number of solutions would be plausible and easily accomplished. We keep hoping we’ll find a missing piece to the puzzle that everyone else has ignored or overlooked–but I’m not sure it’s there.
    And we haven’t even dealt the discrimination Arab Israelis face WITHIN Israel proper. That’s a whole other ball of wax. I guess they’d have to become Americans, too.
    All in all, despite all my objections, you deserve HUGE credit for opening up the discussion in a new way. I’ll leave you with a few random points…

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  24. Dan Kervick says:

    “It is precisely because Israel is so in tune with America, and vice-versa, that glibly or sarcastically dismissing this out of hand makes no sense to me.”
    Thanks David. I believe I first entertained this proposal as a serious idea during some past discussion about the I/P conflict when I was bitterly complaining about Israel being “the 51st state”, and I realized that almost everyone basically agreed with that notion, although some thought it was a good thing and some thought it was a bad thing. So then I thought, “Why not make it official, then?”

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  25. Dan Kervick says:

    “Sorry yourself, Dan, we were talking about “twenty years ago” — your quote. This year is 2010. … Did you flunk math at school, or what?”
    Shit. No, but I did just get home from having a beer! I lost count.
    OK, twenty years ago the numbers were a bit higher. But 20 years isn’t any magic number, it was a random one. The watershed year in 1967. That’s the year the UN, including the US, affirmed the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force. And virtually *all* of the Jewish inhabitants of the West Bank and East Jerusalem have moved into that territory since that year.

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  26. nadine says:

    Dan, the Palestinian population of the West Bank has also doubled since 1990. Are they immigrating too? They’re having babies. East Jerusalem and the settlements have a higher concentration of Orthodox population than the rest of Israel = higher number of births per woman. The average is about 3 births per woman in Israel, and it’s higher in the West Bank. At four births per woman you double your numbers in a generation. Yes, the Russian Jews made aliya in the 1980s and 1990s and moved in all over, but most of this growth is still attributable to natural increase. You really do seem to have problem visualizing numbers.
    As for UN Resolutions, the UN has just elected Libya to its Human Rights Commission and Iran to its Woman’s Rights Commission. They are a farce, a moral cesspool. You can look for guidance in that sewer if you like. If I had my druthers the US would pull out, save itself the billions in dues it pays, and tell the entire circus to move out of the country.

    Reply

  27. Dan Kervick says:

    “Then again, what advantage does your plan have over Israel simply making peace with the Palestinians via the reasonably well-understood two-state solution?”
    I see it as a way to implement that solution, Sweetness. The problem right now is that Israel doesn’t *want* a two-state solution, at least in its generally understood form. It wants to keep expanding and colonizing the West Bank. And the reason in wants to do that, in part, is that it regards the pre-1967 territory of Israel as too small to meet its security needs and immigration pressures.
    So my suggestion is that if we provide Israel with the enhanced security offered by US statehood, and the territorial escape valve for its growing “ingathered” population, we might remove the two factors driving its expansionist policies.

    Reply

  28. Connie F says:

    If Israel were a State, I would be finding ways to
    expel them from the Union.

    Reply

  29. David says:

    Fascinating proposal, and an intriguing way to think about US-Israeli relations. It is precisely because Israel is so in tune with America, and vice-versa, that glibly or sarcastically dismissing this out of hand makes no sense to me. I don’t see it ever happening, of course, but there is nothing silly about this piece. It is a rather compelling way to think about the components of the relationship between the United States and Israel. And one thing is for damned sure: the current situation is simply unsustainable – for anybody.
    Most intriguing would be the State of Israel, as a state, ceasing to be a religious entity and become a secular one, the more advanced status for any nation. Defining a nation, or a component of a nation, through religion, any religion, is backwards and not in the interest of the progress of humankind. No problem with citizens enjoying their religious identities. America is most definitely about that. But how much more proof do we need that mixing church and state never betters the human condition?

    Reply

  30. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag, the analogy with Northern Ireland isn’t very good, because the problem there is that Northern Ireland is *divided* among conflicted communities. If I had suggested incorporating the entire territory of Palestine – Israel and the Arab territories included – into the US, you would have a better analogy. But I didn’t suggest that.
    Again, the point of my proposal is to offer a specific political solution to a specific political problem. It’s not some general point about cultures and political closeness. What makes statehood for Israel an interesting idea, for me, is that it could be used as a way of offering an Israel additional, highly credible long-term security guarantee, and that security offer can be leveraged to induce Israel to abandon their expansionist project, dismantle their colonies, and accept a neighboring Palestinian state. It’s a particular way of implementing a two-state solution.
    I think you really should focus on that specific suggestion, and evaluate it as an approach to solving one specific problem, and not get distracted by comparing and contrasting that proposed solution to everything else in the world that might or might not be like it. This isn’t an SAT analogies question.
    The cultural and political closeness of Israel and the US are a necessary condition for even considering such a move. But they are not a sufficient condition for the moves desirability. What might make the US statehood approach *desirable* and not just conceivable, is that it could be a very nifty solution to a very specific problem.

    Reply

  31. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Your notion that the growth of these numbers to the current half million is due to people “having babies” is ridiculous”
    Ya gotta love Dan’s strategy of stating the obvious in order to counter lies that are designed to obscure the obvious. As if Nadine doesn’t already know that “growth of these numbers” IS NOT due to procreation that would have to rival that of rabbits to be deemed a reason for such growth?
    However, birth rates, on the flip side, DO pose a threat to the Israeli state. It seems these wackjob zealots, the ultra-orthodox Jews, do in fact reproduce like lab rats in heat. The problem? They don’t work, but instead become welfare wards of the state to the tune of 65%. Seems all they do is study wackjobbery, and mooch off the working Israelis. And, uh, screw.
    I wonder, if we weren’t pissin’ our money away to Israel, would the Israelis be so tolerant of these freeloading nutcases? I mean hey, if MY tax dollars weren’t subsidizing this shit, would the Israelis? They’d have to choose between spending ISRAELI money on white phosphorous to fry those nasty heathen Muslims in, or supporting a contingent of randy fanatics mooching out of the community coffers and pooping out welfare babies like rabbits on hormone therapy. Eenie meeny, miney moe….

    Reply

  32. nadine says:

    “”Twenty years ago, the total population of the West Bank settlements was a a few tens of thousands. Right now it stands at just under half a million.” (Dan Kervick)
    “In 1980, the Jewish settler population in the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem, was fewer than 25,000.
    The Jewish population of East Jerusalem was a few hundred in 1967, then about 32,000 in 1977 and 79,000 in 1983. So I assume that in 1980 it was around 50,000.” (Dan Kervick)
    Sorry yourself, Dan, we were talking about “twenty years ago” — your quote. This year is 2010. Twenty years ago it was 1990. Thirty years ago it was 1980. Nobody we not discussing settlement growth in the 1980s. We were arguing over what the settlements have been doing in the last twenty years, actually, to be more specific, in the last sixteen years since the signing of the Oslo accords. That’s since 1990 or 1994, NOT 1980.
    Did you flunk math at school, or what?

    Reply

  33. Dan Kervick says:

    “I’m sure this sort of scheme has been proposed many times before and there are some obstacles to accomplishing it.”
    I think the main obstacle to accomplishing it, Sweetness, is that neither the Jordanians nor the Palestinians want it to happen. However, if the restoration of the West Bank and Gaza to Palestinian Arab control could be facilitated by incorporating the entirety of the occupied territories into Jordan, and that move was supported by most Palestinians, I would see no reason to object.
    Suggestions along these lines before – “Jordan is Palestine” – have been accompanied by schemes to transfer Palestinian Arabs permanently out of their homes in the West Bank and into Jordan. I don’t think the world should support any plan that involves ethnic cleansing by another name.

    Reply

  34. Dan Kervick says:

    Sorry Nadine,
    In 1980, the Jewish settler population in the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem, was fewer than 25,000.
    The Jewish population of East Jerusalem was a few hundred in 1967, then about 32,000 in 1977 and 79,000 in 1983. So I assume that in 1980 it was around 50,000.
    Your notion that the growth of these numbers to the current half million is due to people “having babies” is ridiculous. Settlers have been actively moving into the territories, including a a large number of new immigrants to Israel from Russia and elsewhere who have been recruited from abroad as colonists for the occupied territories.
    Only Israelis themselves believe in the legitimacy of their “annexation” of East Jerusalem. Israel’s unilateral declaration of a unified Jerusalem as its capital was declared null and void by UN 478. The US did not veto that resolution. It was passed and remains law.
    http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/RESOLUTION/GEN/NR0/399/71/IMG/NR039971.pdf?OpenElement.

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  35. Sweetness says:

    Good point, Wig.
    But what about this…
    Except…why do you say this: “Palestinian national aspirations are of recent vintage and largely illegitimate.”
    In what way illegitimate?

    Reply

  36. samuelburke says:

    “Whats tragic is that the ongoing and fruitless “debate” is waged
    while these fucking racists in Israel continue to pursue policies
    that would make Hitler proud.”
    and they debate it like nazis debating the values of the holocaust
    in a smoke filled room in france over cognacs.
    but don’t tell them for they are too elitist to notice.

    Reply

  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Whats tragic is that the ongoing and fruitless “debate” is waged while these fucking racists in Israel continue to pursue policies that would make Hitler proud.
    I see the jackboots just gunned down, fatally, a 75 year old Palestinian that wandered too close to the border. And the campaign to arrest and detain peaceful protesters continues unabated.
    Meanwhile, the mental masturbation so clearly evident in the debate about this Alice In Wonderland proposition of Dan’s seems to be the order of the day. In truth, Dan’s proposal is no more unrealistic than these asinine we-aren’t-going-to-talk talks that the sacks of shit in DC are trying to sell us in a feckless attempt to hide their subservience to the Israeli agenda.
    As the debate wages, Israel rains down a daily dose of brutal oppression, crimes, abuses, and attrocities on the Palestinian people. Same oh, same oh. What scum can defend and rationalize this? The defenders of this are the dregs of American society.

    Reply

  38. samuelburke says:

    “Truthdig columnist and author Chris Hedges has some very
    strong words for the Israeli and American governments,
    condemning their roles in the ongoing conflict with Gaza in this
    clip from Hedges

    Reply

  39. samuelburke says:

    lol, take that schtick to vaudeville.

    Reply

  40. WigWag says:

    “Wig…you’ve won the argument. Uncle.” (Sweetness)
    No, Sweetness, Dan won the argument. His first post just went over 100 comments; isn’t that like a musician having their album go platinum?
    Personally I would like to make a plea to Steve and Dan for more Dan Kervick posts. Steve has a number of really excellent “guest posters.” One of my favorites is Barbara Slavin and I always enjoy Ben Katcher’s comments about Turkey.
    But it seems that Steve can’t rely on young Ben like he used to. Apparently Ben has decided to leave the progressive realist reservation for the greener pastures of the crack-cocaine realist reservation. Or maybe it’s just that with the new baby, the Leveretts need Ben’s help more than Steve does.
    Either way, Ben’s absence leaves a hole that could very ably be filled by Dan Kervick. What I liked about this essay by Dan is that it was thoughtful, well written and provocative. It certainly wasn’t the same-old, same-old that too often characterizes the blogosphere.
    For me, the fact that I disagreed with the sentiments that Dan expressed makes the whole thing even more interesting. I had as much fun writing comments on this thread as on any in a long time.
    So Sweetness, I say Dan won the argument; I’m ready to vote to make Israel the 51st state (as long as the State Capitol is in Jerusalem).

    Reply

  41. Sweetness says:

    Wig…you’ve won the argument. Uncle.
    Except…why do you say this: “Palestinian national aspirations are of recent vintage and largely illegitimate.”
    In what way illegitimate?

    Reply

  42. WigWag says:

    Sweetness, I am delighted to respond to your latest

    Reply

  43. samuelburke says:

    lets make mexico the 51st state, its bigger than alaska.
    any reason is a good reason.
    top ten reasons to make mexico the 51st state.
    1) it’s close.

    Reply

  44. Sweetness says:

    Dan, if your goal is to solve the IP conflict, the inverse of your plan would be to return the WB and EJ to Jordan and maybe throw in a connected Gaza for good measure.
    This essentially accomplishes what your plan accomplishes, but has several advantages over yours:

    Reply

  45. PissedOffAmerican says:

    There you have it, this racist piece of shit Marcus openly professing a genetic superiority over the arabs.
    Note Nadine and Wig-wag’s silence when confronted with someone of their own ilk, that refuses to masquerade as anything other than a racist worm. Wig-wag and Nadine try to hide their detestable bigotry, while the scum Marcus actually enjoys wallowing in it and rubbing it in our faces. Marcus poses no threat, because any reasonably moral human being is repulsed and wary of such an abomination. But those such as Wig-wag and Nadine are far more dangerous with their propaganda and insincere rationales and justifications, that are carefully scripted to defend the indefensible.

    Reply

  46. nadine says:

    “Twenty years ago, the total population of the West Bank settlements was a a few tens of thousands. Right now it stands at just under half a million.” (Dan Kervick)
    Dan, that’s just wrong. You are confusing West Bank numbers with West Bank + Jerusalem numbers. Twenty years ago was 1990, not 1970 as you seem to think. Twenty years ago, West Bank Settlers were almost 100,000, not counting East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed in 1980. There were almost 150,000 in East Jerusalem. So the 1990 total was well over 200,000. Today the West Bank has about 290,000 and East Jerusalem about 180,000 according to Wiki, making a total of almost 500,000, so the population has more than doubled (as has the Palestinian population of that area during the same time period). People are having kids. Both Jewish and Arab people.
    Towns can be built up on an existing footprint and that was the agreement of Oslo. The lion’s share of the Jewish population is the in the major settlement blocs next to the Green Line. Much of the land in those blocs was Jewish owned before 1948 and reclaimed by its owners in 1967.

    Reply

  47. Sweetness says:

    Dan writes: “So Israelis, and non-Israeli Jews, might ask: Where is this all this going? How does this project end?”
    Then again, what advantage does your plan have over Israel simply making peace with the Palestinians via the reasonably well-understood two-state solution?
    Are the obstacles to implementing the two-state solution that much tougher to overcome than what you propose?
    I mean if we say for argument’s sake that right wing Zionism (abetted by liberal Zionism) stands in the way of pulling out of the occupied territories, why and how does that obstacle go away if these same people are asked to become part of America…to become Americans… especially as quite a few of them decided to give up being Americans to move to Israel?
    I wonder if it’s even possible to make sense of Zionism if the object of its affection, Eretz Israel, “becomes” part of America? Isn’t that sort of like imaging France becoming America, or vice versa?

    Reply

  48. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “it is indeed shocking that wigwag would be so open here as she’s always more circumspect with comments like this”
    Nadine and the likes of Marcus really managed to suck Wiggie out of her shell. Its amazing what you can find out about someone when you pair them up them to their own ilk.

    Reply

  49. Sweetness says:

    Wig, you did respond, but you didn’t respond to the main point, which did sort of get lost as we spun off into questions of cultural affinities. That is, the POLITICAL ties and strategic need…
    This is the more relevant passage:
    “SN: But it’s not just a matter of culture, but of all the bonds. Is there a Canadian-American Political Action Committee whose annual meeting commands the attendance of virtually every member of Congress? Do we give the Canadians or the Canadiens $3 billion a year in aid? Does Canada send the US a constant stream of foreign policy tsurris? Are our public officials as preoccupied with Canadian “problems”…sending envoys to Canada for proximity talks between Quebec and Ottawa? No…”
    So I say “disingenuous” because I think you’re avoiding the key point–it’s not about language or customs primarily–but about political ties and linkages.
    I’m not in the camp of “Israel should commit suicide”…but I do think Dan’s essay is a good exercise in breaking up old lines of thinking. That is, it’s not viable (or even advisable) on the level of an actual proposal, but it is useful as a way of breaking through an impasse.
    More than anything, the situation calls for breaking out of old ways of thinking that lead to the same results over and over again. Although Israel IS doing well looked at one way, it isn’t doing so well looked at another way–namely, the constant and humiliating oppression of the Palestinians. No one can gainsay their dire straits or the role (not the exclusive role, but the significant role) Israel plays in maintaining the status quo.
    And though this may sound too metaphysical for some, I think it’s bad for Israel’s soul and spirit and the best of the Zionist enterprise. Who am I to draw these conclusions? No one. Does my opinion “count”? No. But as long as we’re jawing, I’ll jaw.
    The same point applies, mutatis mutandis, to America’s oppression of blacks and Native Americans. Sure, America has done well, but it’s also paid a price. And sheer size and dynamism have allowed America to absorb the price without a full reckoning in a way that Israel won’t be able to, I fear. When you’re big enough, you can get away with almost anything.
    FWIW, I also liked your proposals toward the bottom of your post. Some would argue that we’ve already given Israel plenty to reassure her of US support…too much, even. But I still like what you had to say, to wit:
    “I can think of a number of incentives that might catch the attention of the Israelis; membership in NATO; a permanent seat on a revamped U.N. Security Council, massive reparations from the Arab nations to Israeli Jews expelled from their ancient homes in Arab lands…”
    I will also say this. Upon reflection, I think Dan’s proposal has more to do with America solving an American problem than with Israel solving an Israeli problem. Americans are more likely to feel kindly toward this proposal than are Israelis.

    Reply

  50. ... says:

    r.c. – it is indeed shocking that wigwag would be so open here as she’s always more circumspect with comments like this… meanwhile everyone around here knows what a terrorist/nazi wigwag is and this comment just reinforces what pretty well everyone here knows already…

    Reply

  51. rc says:

    “It seems to me that a more realistic approach would be for the Palestinians to contemplate national suicide.
    Considering Arab contributions to the world over the years, would anyone even notice?” (above).
    Pure Nazi, 1932!
    Why not set up Israeli gas chambers along the wall as well so they can walk in and take a last picnic?
    Then we can give the survivors the lands previously named as ‘Israel’ in 1948 while they recover from a genocidal trauma not experienced since the Nazi holocaust!

    Reply

  52. WigWag says:

    “Wig, I think you’re being a tad bit disingenuous here…” (Sweetness)
    I’m not sure what you think is disingenuous, Sweetness. In your comment of May 14 2010, 10:29PM you said,
    “Myself, I see a lot to commend your proposal. Wig’s rejoinder about Baluchistan falls short because, as you point out, no one speaks English in Baluchistan (hardly)…”
    I responded by citing numerous world trouble spots, many of which directly impact the security of the United States, where a large percentage of the population does speak English.
    That seems pretty responsive to your comment to me.
    Then Dan said ( May 14 2010, 1:36PM),
    “WigWag, almost none of the places you mentioned are as close to the United States culturally as is Israel

    Reply

  53. rc says:

    DK.
    Ok, I’ll indulge you as a modern day Don Quixote.
    The whole farce here is, with 9 billion globally by 2050, the future belongs to mega cities. Israel as a mega city, within 1948 borders, modeled on the Singaporean example, could be the New Venice of the modern world.
    But instead the Zionists run the other way, east, towards some ancient myth of contention.
    The schizophrenic dynamic is what Israel has in common with the USA. Cultures in crisis.
    The USA psyche is still settling the ‘wild west’ even though it is obvious that in the ME (and especially Israel) the ‘West’ has met the ‘East’ — not in some mystical sense, but rather, as a political-economic reality — there is nowhere else to go … the world is round!
    So, everyone is wailing at the Wall, when, for a deal with the Moslems, and Christians, every Jew around the world could catch a bullet train to New Venice on the coast and a subway to the new temple complex which incorporates the working al-Haram ash-Sharif (Al Aqsa Mosque) within its center.
    If they really want to irritate the Persians, then let the Baihai’s set a few rooms up as well.
    Big happy and prosperous party for all. Business would make the Hajj look like entr

    Reply

  54. Dan Kervick says:

    Nadine,
    Twenty years ago, the total population of the West Bank settlements was a a few tens of thousands. Right now it stands at just under half a million.
    Now you might think all of these people were just absorbed into existing towns. I suppose we could ask deep metaphysical questions about how big the boundaries of a small encampment have to grow before it becomes a new territorial entity. But the fact is that the world doesn’t recognize *any* of these places on the West Bank as Israeli towns.
    Now c’mon. Half a million people! It’s impossible not to see this as an ongoing effort to colonize the West Bank.
    By the way, my understanding is that the population of Jewish settlers in Gaza never exceeded 10,000.

    Reply

  55. Dan Kervick says:

    Just a few thought on the cultural and political affinity issue.
    Granted, many parts of Canada are more similar to the United States culturally than is Israel. We can stipulate that there are a few other such places as well. And while it is hard to think of any countries that are as politically intertwined with the US as Israel, let

    Reply

  56. downtown says:

    “nadine: I asked you…”
    too funny……….

    Reply

  57. DonS says:

    “May I ask why a formal security treaty instead (along the lines of the US-Japan treaty) wouldn’t meet this need? (David B)
    The US-Japan treat also requires the renunciation of the threat or use of force to resolve international disputes.
    So that’s not gonna work. Of course Israel couches each military action ac defensive in nature. Would that kick in the mutual defense aspects of the treaty?
    Why exactly should the US be formally tied to Israeli belligerent and expansionist behavior?

    Reply

  58. rc says:

    I’m only responding to my original comment topic at “May 15 2010, 1:23AM” — it is about Syria, if you read it correctly! I’ve got no idea what your PA reference has to do with it.

    Reply

  59. nadine says:

    rc, you researched the wrong country. I asked you to look up the Palestinian Authority, and you go on about Syria. What’s Syria got to do with it?

    Reply

  60. rc says:

    … and seeing as I found it in my 3 min research task …

    Reply

  61. rc says:

    I’m not working for you nadine. But a quick search of the CIA Facts book came up with: (in 2009 US dollars)
    Syria = $100.7 billion (2009 est.) & country comparison to the world: 68
    Israel = $206.8 billion (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: 51
    I gave up trying to follow the three shell shuffle of what US aid went where and when, but it looks like Israel accounts for about 30% of US foreign aid. (In any case above Egypt, which is not insignificant either, which explains its silence on certain matters.)
    I’d suggest a rough 50% adjustment factor on each
    to account for (a) US embargoes on Syria and (b) general US non-government support to Israel would put them on about par.
    I conclude, at the macro level, any Russian support for Syria looks to be about equivalent to US support for Israel. You’re the one with intelligence support — you go work it out and report back!

    Reply

  62. nadine says:

    “Without US support Israel would be bankrupt and even worse off than Syria.” (rc)
    rc, do you even realize how absurd this statement is? Here’s a homework assignment for you. Go look up the GDPs of the PA and of Israel, then go look up how much foreign aid each gets, then figure out what foreign aid is as % of GDP.

    Reply

  63. nadine says:

    “As an American, or a philo-American, it’s easy to think that world history is moving toward the American model. But I’m not at all convinced that’s true. And there’s a HUGE amount of hypocrisy when people like Nir Rosen speak glowingly of Persian nationalism and of Jewish nationalism as if it were some residual cancer left over from 19th century romanticism and its devil child, Nazi Germany.” (Sweetness)
    Ah yes, national self-determination is an inalienable right for every people, except the Jews, they don’t get any. The Jews alone are rootless, deracinated wanderers who are outsiders everywhere, suspected of forming shadowy cabals, except their own homeland, where they are called “colonists”. Only the Jews are called “conquerors” for buying a parcel of land or having a property dispute caused by war and shifting borders, as if this phenomenon was unknown elsewhere in the last 70 years in, say, Europe.
    This is why it is so very difficult to actually be anti-Zionist without being anti-Semitic. Anti-Zionism fits so neatly into all the cultural receptors formed by the last thousand years of anti-Semitism. Rather like Environmentalism fits into a thousand years of cultural receptors formed by Christianity, but that’s another topic.

    Reply

  64. nadine says:

    Nadine, contra Mead, he Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t frozen. It is a slow-motion war of conquest and dispossession. Every day, Israel takes another step toward winning that war.” (Dan Kervick)
    Dan, this is simply not reality. Please delineate areas on the map that have been “conquered and dispossessed” by the Israelis in the last 20 years. Any reality-based map will show far smaller, not larger, areas of Israeli rule.
    This is an essential point because you literally do not seem able to distinguish between a) Israeli seizure of land for security or eminent domain reasons b) temporaray security measures, such as setting up a checkpoint, c) private sale of land d) somebody building a new house inside an existing Jewish town. Case a) might be called “conquer and dispossess”, although it is done every day by every government in the world. Cases b) and c) and d) don’t “conquer or dispossess” anybody. If you have an inflamed imagination that sees everything as dispossession, you really cannot talk sensibly about the situation.

    Reply

  65. rc says:

    Mr Mucus get out of the wrong side of his bed this morning?
    But more seriously, how cheeky is this?
    Without US support Israel would be bankrupt and even worse off than Syria.

    Syria’s regional foe Israel reacted angrily to the deal but called into question the solvency of Damascus.
    “Syria at the present time cannot afford to pay for this sophisticated weaponry, indeed, it has hardly enough money to buy food for its citizens. One can only wonder what is the real reason behind this dubious deal,” said an Israeli government official in Jerusalem who declined to be named.
    (http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20100514/ts_nm/us_russia_syria_arms )

    Reply

  66. ... says:

    dan kervick – thanks for this article.. i appreciate your effort at resolving a conflict in an original way… the way i see it, this would be an open acknowledgment of where things essentially are already on a congress and gov’t of usa level.. as it presently stands israel is already the 51st state in spirit, but they get to continue stealing land and referring to the opposition as terrorists and your suggestion would quickly pull the facade off these… you are suggesting they lose their cover in exchange for an open acknowledgment of their present position as 51st state based on the usa congress and gov’t’s ongoing actions… it actually makes sense… i don’t think the right wing terrorists in israel would go for this… based off some of the comments by those like minded ones here, it is clearly a no go… read kotz and wigwag for the right wing terrorists views…

    Reply

  67. JohnH says:

    “Another guy who found solace in religon, but then relapsed into pathology.” Sounds like an Israeli “religious” nationalist…or a member of Likud.
    http://kanan48.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/settler-rabbi-authors-guidelines-on-killing/

    Reply

  68. Sweetness says:

    Wig, I think you’re being a tad bit disingenuous here, or perhaps arguing for argument’s sake. Let’s take a look…
    Wig: Canada, including Quebec, is actually far more culturally close to the United States than Israel is. I don’t know how many Israelis or Canadians you’ve met, but anyone who knows people of both nationalities can testify how much more similar Canadians and Americans are from a cultural perspective than Americans and Israelis.
    SN: But it’s not just a matter of culture, but of all the bonds. Is there a Canadian-American Political Action Committee whose annual meeting commands the attendance of virtually every member of Congress? Do we give the Canadians or the Canadiens $3 billion a year in aid? Does Canada send the US a constant stream of foreign policy tsurris? Are our public officials as preoccupied with Canadian “problems”…sending envoys to Canada for proximity talks between Quebec and Ottawa? No…
    Wig: But what about all the Jews from the Soviet Union who now live in Israel; are they culturally similar to Americans? What about the Jews with origins in Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Iran and even Yemen and Morocco; are they culturally similar to Americans? What about the Jews who immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia?
    SN: Again, it’s not just a matter of culture, but of political bonds, aid, UN voting…
    Wig: I would also point out that while cultural proximity is important, geographic proximity is not unimportant. Israel is on the other side of the world from the United States; Quebec shares a border with Maine, Vermont, New York and your own home state of New Hampshire.
    SN: Geographic distance IS a problem with the proposal. But Quebec isn’t a good analogy: They don’t need help and wouldn’t fair any better within an English-speaking American than they do in Canada. At least Canada has already changed all the public signage.
    Wig: It seems to me that if Americans should offer Israel the opportunity of becoming the 51st state, there is little reason not to offer the Quebecois the opportunity for Quebec to become the 52nd state. Of course, Quebec would turn any such American offer down; for precisely the same reasons the Israelis would.
    SN: Sure there is. Quebec isn’t causing us any real problems.
    Wig: Yes the Israelis and Americans have a rock solid alliance (or did until recently) but I don’t think that it is particularly atypical. The United States shares intelligence, military bases, military hardware and a common diplomatic and security agenda with its NATO allies. I have a strong suspicion that there are far more non-American NATO officers working in the Pentagon than Israeli officers.
    SN: Perhaps. But which NATO ally gets $3 billion from us in aid?
    Wig: You are right that Israel enjoys rock-solid support by Americans; but so do several other nations. Should we really offer nations an opportunity to join our Union on this basis?
    SN: No, but Dan’s not suggesting we make the offer on this basis ALONE, but based on a whole constellation of factors. Special relation + need. We have a special relationship with Britain, but there’s no need.
    Wig: Few countries that win territory in war are anxious to give that territory up, especially to people that they have not reconciled with. In Israel

    Reply

  69. marcus says:

    BTW; a country with more in comman culturally,linguistically and militarilly is Canada,so this intertwining with Israel is not nearly as “unique” as you make it out to be.
    There are currently thousands of US soliders under the direct command of a Canadian General in afghanistan…with NO shadowy,elitist Canadian Cabal in sight…go figure.

    Reply

  70. Sweetness says:

    Wig, I think Dan pretty well answers your argument by analogy. Leaving aside language, none of the other countries you mention is close to Israel in its multifarious closeness to the US.
    That said, you have opened my eyes to the increasing trend for nationalities and ethnic groups to break up into smaller, more homogeneous groups. The Eurozone debacle is only the latest example of the center NOT holding.
    As an American, or a philo-American, it’s easy to think that world history is moving toward the American model. But I’m not at all convinced that’s true. And there’s a HUGE amount of hypocrisy when people like Nir Rosen speak glowingly of Persian nationalism and of Jewish nationalism as if it were some residual cancer left over from 19th century romanticism and its devil child, Nazi Germany.
    One wonders what the most basic, durable and ethical political “unit” really is. Libertarians, I think, think it’s “the individual.” Many people think it’s “the country or nation.” Some think it’s the ethnic or religious group. I’m not at all sure what the answer is.
    Dan, I think that Hawaii and Alaska are not good examples for your argument. What happened to Hawaii is more analogous to what happened to North America’s other native peoples. And neither Alaska nor Hawaii were fully developed “nations” in a Western sense that were subsumed into the American nation. Certainly Alaska wasn’t, and Hawaii is more like a conquered land.
    I think David Billington makes some pretty strong points against your proposal. It’s hard to see Israel giving up her “right” to protect herself even if she knew she were part of the US. Look at what AZ is doing on a much smaller scale to protect itself in the face of the national government’s inability to act on immigration reform. In fact, the country is always threatening to pull apart when one of its parts feels neglected or misunderstood by the greater whole.
    As things stand now, I’m pretty sure Iran and Hizbullah are already convinced that were they to lob a nuke at Israel the US would retaliate. How much deterrence would your plan add? Some perhaps. It would be a strange sort of wake up call to everyone in the region. But then, might it not intensify Muslim fears of US empire? First Israel, next Jordan, next…who knows what? Especially as a “US takeover” of Israel would mean the US imposing a solution to the IP conflict. The US/Israel get “this”; the Palestinians get “that”. And still, what if the parties disagree with the American solution?
    But beyond all of this, you are reducing the “Israel Question” to one of security. Israel is a COUNTRY with a CULTURE and a SOCIAL STRUCTURE. People forget that, I think, because it’s so new. I’m not sure it’s feasible to simply subsume that sort of entity under an alien whole for the sake of “security.” If security really were that paramount to Israel–if she really were THAT close to the edge–then Israel would be in a far worse situation than even her most paranoid citizens think she’s in.
    Nonetheless, even though I’ve argued against you, I like the freshness of your proposal and think it should be discussed more.

    Reply

  71. WigWag says:

    Dan, there are a number of statements in your response of May 14 2010, 1:36PM that I disagree with. For the purposes of civil debate, let me enumerate them.
    1) You say “almost none of the places you mentioned are as close to the United States culturally as is Israel

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  72. David Billington says:

    Dan,
    “On the last point, Alaska and Hawaii are already not contiguous
    with the continental US. I don’t see why the US would have to
    choose between a policy of being either closed, or open to
    everyone.”
    Alaska and Hawaii were already U.S. territories. My recollection
    is that Texas and California were the only independent states
    prior to admission and they were contiguous.
    Regarding the choice of an open or closed union, I apologize for
    any ambiguity. Of course we do not have to take everyone who
    could meet our terms. My point is that if we choose to add only
    one or two small states, we will continue to have about five
    percent of the world’s population and a falling relative share of
    its power. If we admit more countries that meet our terms, we
    might form an alternative world community and possibly serve
    as a model for a world state someday.
    “but then get protection under the same security umbrella that
    protects all of the 50 US states.”
    May I ask why a formal security treaty instead (along the lines of
    the US-Japan treaty) wouldn’t meet this need?

    Reply

  73. marcus says:

    What would actually work, is if the US,IMF.Israel – simply offered cash- to the arabs currently occupying the west bank to re-locate.
    They have already been polled and have answered overwhelmingly in the affirmative that they would take money to leave.
    Most of these people have very shallow roots in the towns they live in and would be more than thrilled to “take the money and run ” the majority would move the short 30 or 50 miles for the big cash (I know I would )

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  74. A Mac says:

    But they would never adopt our constitution with the seperation of church and state.

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  75. Dan Kervick says:

    “But if what is unofficially known of Israel’s nuclear arsenal is correct, and if they can deliver these weapons over the short distances necessary to deter their neighbors, it is hard for me to see what advantage the American nuclear arsenal would add.”
    That’s a good question David. My understanding is that many Israelis fear they are vulnerable to a nuclear first strike because of their relatively small size and close proximity to their adversaries. So the problem is that no matter how many nukes they have, one or two well-placed stealth nuclear suitcase weapons could devastate most of their country in a single first strike. Even a missile-launched bomb could strike them before they have time to respond, if the missile came from only a few hundred miles away. This is why they are so drawn to preventive measures – like bombing the Osirik reactor – and don’t place as much faith in conventional deterrence.
    A larger country – or one more distant from their adversary – can more effectively deter a nuclear attack, because it is much more difficult for an adversary to take out the retaliatory capability with a sudden first strike.
    You’re right about the freedom enjoyed by a sovereign state. I would suggest that that is a freedom that might not be in the interest of the United States, given the potential of Israeli preventive action to draw the US into a damaging conflict. Perhaps it would be better to create a situation in which Israel does not experience the kind of insecurity that draws them toward preventive action in the first place.
    Israelis would have to think about the tradeoffs among security, independence and sovereignty, which don’t always go together.
    My view is that a chief factor in Israeli insecurity is their inability to pull away from their belligerent and expansionist approach to their Palestinian Arab neighbors. They seem to have created a bind for themselves: their sense of vulnerability and smallness pushes them toward expansion and violation of international legal norms, to acquire a larger and more easily defended territory. But the expansion itself creates more opposition and more insecurity.
    So my suggestion: Israel should give up the colonies and give up the expansion, but then get protection under the same security umbrella that protects all of the 50 US states.
    On the last point, Alaska and Hawaii are already not contiguous with the continental US. I don’t see why the US would have to choose between a policy of being either closed, or open to everyone. We can think of the American union as a club. It’s up to the people who are already in the club to decide whom they wish to invite to join, and whom they don’t wish to invite.

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  76. David Billington says:

    Dan,
    Wigwag has noted the importance of national identity to Israelis,
    which you would have them give up in return for security. I
    wonder if Israelis could get security even then in the manner you
    propose. If all six million Israelis were distributed over North
    America, the survival of most in a larger war would be much
    more likely. If they remain in Israel and a mad government
    nearby detonates two nuclear weapons on their territory, the
    survival prospects would be almost nil. If security is more
    important than national identity, as you argue, then it makes no
    sense for Israelis to remain in Israel as you propose.
    It might be argued that becoming part of America would give
    Israelis some added increment of security, such as more
    deterrence, thus enabling them to remain in the Middle East.
    But if what is unofficially known of Israel’s nuclear arsenal is
    correct, and if they can deliver these weapons over the short
    distances necessary to deter their neighbors, it is hard for me to
    see what advantage the American nuclear arsenal would add.
    America’s relative advantage in conventional military power is
    also likely to diminish in the decades ahead, along with its
    economic strength if current trends continue.
    As a sovereign state, Israel retains the freedom to strike
    preemptively against a threat, which it would lose if it submits to
    a majority across the Atlantic that prefers to wait for one of its
    outlying areas to be attacked and destroyed before declaring
    war. Israel is currently weighing the efficacy of a preemptive
    strike on Iran against the efficacy of deterrence. They will
    probably come down on the side of deterrence but I do not think
    they will want to give up their freedom to act otherwise.
    The deeper question, though, is whether Israelis will give up
    their national identity, and if not, whether America could still
    take some kind of action to mitigate Israeli insecurity and trigger
    the benefits you see flowing therefrom. I wonder if a security
    treaty along the lines of the US-Japan Security Treaty wouldn’t
    better accomplish this result if it is coupled with a two-state
    solution.
    There is one more consideration. What defines America is a
    system and culture that can diversify its race, religion, ethnicity,
    and other identity characteristics and still endure with a strong
    sense of community. The question about adding new and non-
    contiguous states is whether America can evolve into something
    larger, or whether it will remain closed (or as you propose open
    to one new state) and possibly recede as the rest of the world
    selectively modernizes.
    It may be easier to draw closer to some countries than to others
    right now. But to offer a principled basis for including non-
    contiguous states, I would think the offer must be open to all
    countries on terms that are the same for all.

    Reply

  77. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag, almost none of the places you mentioned are as close to the United States culturally as is Israel

    Reply

  78. WigWag says:

    “Myself, I see a lot to commend your proposal. Wig’s rejoinder about Baluchistan falls short because, as you point out, no one speaks English in Baluchistan (hardly) and very few Americans live in Baluchistan and vice versa.” (Sweetness)
    That may be true about Baluchistan, Sweetness, but it doesn’t negate my point. As you know, Hebrew is the national language of Israel not English. It is true that a large percentage of Israelis speak English but the numbers of English speakers is actually not even as big as it used to be. A significant percentage of the new Russian and Ethiopian immigrants don’t speak English.
    And there are nations that I mentioned in my post where English is widely spoken. Kashmir for example has an extremely large English speaking population (because it was colonized by Great Britain); should we invite Kashmir to join the American union in order to solve the dispute between India and Pakistan that is every bit as intractable as the dispute between Israel and the Arab countries?
    If anything the dispute over Kashmir is far more dangerous than the Israeli-Arab dispute. The number of civilians who have died in the dispute over Kashmir exceeds the number who have died in the dispute between Jews and Arabs by a factor of ten (probably it

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  79. Sweetness says:

    Dan writes: “Carroll, I agree completely with the Woodward analysis. The US is dangerously isolated because of its monomaniacal obsession with Israel’s security concerns vis-a-vis Iran, and as a result the US is unable to pursue a balanced and flexible policy in the region.”
    I have to say I’m frequently puzzled by what feels like a hybrid policy of realism and one based on “American values” (assume there’s a formal name for it). It’s sort of a mishmash in which it’s asserted that America’s close association with Israel’s deep failings piss off countries with even bigger failings and prevent the US from getting closer to those countries with even bigger failings. Add in a few heaping helpings of deep American shame at being that close to a country with Israel’s failings and you have a heady brew.
    So, for example, the Iranian mullahs, who feel no compunction about stoning adulterous women (among many other tyrannical practices) hate Israel for all the usual reasons. America’s close ties to Israel prevent it from getting closer–rob it of “flexibility” to do business with–to that tyrannical regime. So you have commenters urging us to give up strong ties to Israel in order to strengthen our ties or our “flexibility” with regimes that are at least her equal, if not much worse, on the scale of American values.
    Let’s keep going…
    What does a closer relationship with Iran offer the US, except some help with extricating ourselves from our two self-inflicted wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan? Oil? Iran sells oil to China for lots of reasons that have nothing to do with Israel. What else? Fundamentalist religion? Nice people? A long and illustrious culture and civilization? No bomb?
    How about closer ties to Russia? But then what of Chechnya and Georgia and all those other former satellites? If we give up ties to Israel will Russia be more likely to behavior herself with the Chechens? Or will we be proud to fuel our SUVs with oil “stolen” from the Caucuses?
    This notion that our ties keep us hamstrung with respect to our relations with the rest of the world needs some serious examination. True; other nations don’t always do what we’d like from either a realistic or values perspective. But it’s hard to see how cutting the Gordian Knot between Israel and the US is going to give us the “flexibility” or “moral standing” in the world to pursue a more…what’s the right word? … foreign policy.
    I mean, do you think that cutting ties with Israel will persuade Iran to send her oil to us instead of to China? Or stop its nuclear ambitions?
    Here’s what I think: The world is changing. The US was once the world’s pre-eminent power. The rest of the world was in the dumps. But now, at last, they are coming up and throwing their weight around a bit, not always to our liking. We’ve also made some dumb moves in Iraq and Afghanistan that, as Steve once said, revealed the limits of our military power. These forces have almost nothing to do with Israel and the postage stamp-sized bits of land being fought over. People like Carroll want to argue that were it not for a “foreign influence,” America’s basic goodness would shine through and, along with American power, extend the American century well into the 21st. Not true, IMO.
    All that said, I STILL like your proposal. I like it, in part, because of the “universalism” that is its beating heart. Fooling with a country’s “natural” borders shows that countries don’t have “natural” borders and “the country” isn’t the most basic, primal, or ethically privileged unit. After all, if Israel and the US can “become ONE,” can’t the rest of the world move in that direction, too?
    And you’re right: Zionism was once the pipiest of pipe dreams. Stick to your guns.
    Beware of those who are too stuck on “American values.” They are happy to form alliances with “rootless cosmopolitans” on specific issues (like how bad Israel is), but very unhappy when their own national values are called into question.

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  80. Bart says:

    This could work if we were to buy a goodly chunk of land in northern Mexico and move Israel to that easily protected location.

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  81. Jim Moore says:

    Dan you have obviously touched a nerve. As a very, very, interested citizen observer to the mess that was created in the middle east post WWII I find your idea worth considering. I don’t know if I agree or disagree with your proposed statehood for Israel. I do know if Israel did become a state I would want the Palestinian territories included and Palestinians included. Judging from the comments your piece has inspired I would say you need a bigger forum to explore this idea. Maybe Steve can get you a desk at NAF.

    Reply

  82. Sweetness says:

    Dan writes: “Were Israel to become a US state following a peace settlement with the Palestinians, Yisrael Beiteinu would almost certainly wither away rapidly as a viable political force. Their entire platform would become a moot anachronism overnight. Some Israelis might remain for a time with their existing parties out of nostalgia. But I assume most Israelis would quickly end up registering as either Democrats, Republicans or unaffiliated voters – just like almost everyone else in the US.”
    Of course. YB can only exist in a small pond where even it can exert power. Once the pond grows into an ocean, these folks will want to associate themselves with others who have real power. Or, they can content themselves being the fringiest of the fringe.

    Reply

  83. Dan Kervick says:

    “Dan, LOVE your…satire. How can one take it any other way? The key to its power, as with all the best satire (see A Modest Proposal) is that the reader is kept off balance as to whether or not the author is serious and in what way he’s serious.”
    Sorry, sweetness. No dice. There is no Swiftian cleverness here. No hoax. No joke.
    Some of the responses of others to the piece might be off balance, because it’s not a proposal that has been considered much, and so people don’t know how to respond to it on the basis of their usual commitments and preconceptions. But I had no intention of putting people off balance with respect to my sincerity. It’s all straight.
    Your point about the role sheer size plays in American security is fair enough, as is your recognition that that is not a factor Israel enjoys. However, sheer size is not all of it. US security is also enhanced greatly by the fact that its military and economic institutions have underpinned an international global order for three generations. As a result, if the ship of US state takes on water, other boats go down, so potential adversaries have to think twice about causing us damage.

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  84. Dan Kervick says:

    All I can do, Larry, is reiterate my statement that my proposal is 100% serious. It wasn’t satire. Everything I said in the piece was written in earnest, and there isn’t a sarcastic word in it. I take responsibility for everything I wrote in the initial piece, and everything I have written in my lengthy responses to criticisms. I think US statehood for Israel is a seriously good idea, well worth considering and debating, and the considerations I listed in the post are my honestly conveyed reasons for thinking so.
    I don’t begrudge your right to oppose the proposal. But I wish you would get your brain wrapped around the fact that it is my actual proposal. Even Kotzabasis, who thinks I am an idiot and a loon for defending such an idea, at least understands that it is an idea I am actually putting forward as a proposal worth debating.
    As I said at the beginning, I am trying to explore some outside-the-box approaches, since the approaches that are inside the box are so depressingly failing.

    Reply

  85. Sweetness says:

    Dan, LOVE your…satire. How can one take it any other way? The key to its power, as with all the best satire (see A Modest Proposal) is that the reader is kept off balance as to whether or not the author is serious and in what way he’s serious.
    Myself, I see a lot to commend your proposal. Wig’s rejoinder about Baluchistan falls short because, as you point out, no one speaks English in Baluchistan (hardly) and very few Americans live in Baluchistan and vice versa.
    Carroll doesn’t like your proposal because of the nativism that bubbles beneath much of her assertions that Israel and the US don’t share a lot of the same values, that America doesn’t do “those sorts of things,” and the like.
    Has Nadine been barred? Where’s Questions?
    I’ll only take issue with this paragraph…
    “Security for people in the modern world doesn’t come from aspiring to the medieval ideal of the isolated and impermeable citadel on the mountaintop, but from economic integration into a cosmopolitan global system. I would contend that it is an incontestable fact that Jews in America are significantly more secure – both in the short term and the long term – than Jews in Israel.”
    To be fair and honest, America’s “security” doesn’t come “economic integration into a cosmopolitan global system” EXCEPT, perhaps, as an ideal. In fact, it’s always come from its sheer size, its lack of natural predators, its overwhelming abundance in natural and human resources, its physical isolation from the most troublesome parts of the world, its overwhelmingly large military with its ability to project power anywhere in the world in days, its good fortune in having the right leaders at the right time, and so on.
    I agree that Jews in America are safer than Jews in Israel. The question is, why. And the answer has little to do with “global integration” and more to do with the factors I mention above. For the last 50 years or so, America WAS the globe. Who was going to mess with her? If Israel had been blessed with the same advantages, Jews would be safer in Israel than in America.
    But, in general, GREAT job. Mr. Stino would be proud. I second Wig’s hope that you get to guest blog here more frequently.

    Reply

  86. larry birnbaum says:

    Steve,
    Sorry, no dice. My response was entirely appropriate to a disingenuously pseudo-sarcastic piece, the point of which (to the extent that there was a point at all) was to promulgate unargued slanders without taking responsibility for them. I suggest that you need to seriously rethink what counts as morally serious discussion. My response is “pugnacious,” but Kervick’s slimy insinuation of “dual loyalty” doesn’t seem inappropriate to you. And even a superficial read of the comments on your blog would make it clear to anyone just how uncivil much of the “discourse” is, in the context of which my comments are really quite mild and polite. I never hear a peep from you about that vile crap.
    Larry Birnbaum

    Reply

  87. Dan Kervick says:

    Nadine, contra Mead, he Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn’t frozen. It is a slow-motion war of conquest and dispossession. Every day, Israel takes another step toward winning that war.
    There are various solutions to the conflict that can be pursued. One of them is the “Let Israel win” solution that neoconservatives began openly trumpeting about a decade ago. That is the solution the United States has actually selected, although maybe we want to modify the slogan to read, “Let Israel win, but don’t make it too obvious.” This is the approach Barack Obama appears to have settled on by default, while he tries to distract the world with “proximity talks” and West Bank “civil society” projects. While these showroom operations go on, the US continues to help the Israelis keep the Palestinian people divided and penned up. We might raise a stink about settlements every few months, for appearances sake, but we always stand down after that, and the Israelis are then permitted to go back to the business of winning their war and destroying the Palestinian Arab political community.
    What is frozen are not the facts on the ground in Israel-Palestine, but US foreign relations. The US government entertains its people with video game versions of real world events, and tries to convince us that they are actually directing the course of events, while it wrecks our treasury on costly and pointlessly Sisyphean make-work projects for the US military. What is it now? That we’re protecting Sunni Arabs from “the Shia Crescent”? Please.
    The decadent rulers in the region are happy to take our money with a friendly and indulgent smile, and echo back to us, as the price of the aid, whatever formulas are currently popular in the salons of the DC thinkerati: “Oh, yes, yes brother … Shia crescent, by all means … post-Cairo reality, definitely … nuclear something-or-other, you know it! You are so indispensable, my friend”
    The US might still be indispensable to a few Middle East autocracies. But every day, due to our stupid fatal attraction to the Middle East, as seen through the warped DC-Israeli lens, and our wasteful addiction to self-perpetuating military projects, we becomes more and more dispensable on the wider global stage. People increasingly seem to be getting their business done without us.
    Didn’t McChrystal tell us recently that nobody is winning in Afghanistan? That endless “war” looks more and more like a live action spaghetti western, where American troops drift about the dusty high terrain, going nowhere, with no clearly identified purpose, getting some practice drawing their guns and killing real, live people – along with the varmints.

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  88. nadine says:

    Dan, the only “anchor” is in your imagination. Walter Russel Mead has a good post up musing about the advantages that all sides gain from the status quo of the frozen Mideast conflict. If you want to step out of the box of usual thinking, this would be a more productive approach (hint: one that stays closer to the bounds of reality):
    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2010/05/14/silver-linings-in-the-middle-east/

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  89. Robert Morrow says:

    Why not? Congress is already Israeli-occupied territory.

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  90. rc says:

    It’s not hard to see who the zombie is here!
    US home repossessions hit all-time high (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/10113339.stm)
    * Banks took control of 92,432 properties in April, up 1% from March, and a 45% rise from a year earlier.
    * A total of 333,837 new repossession filings were made in April, one for every 387 homes in the US.
    * Las Vegas was the worst affected large urban area, with one in every 60 homes getting a repossession notice.
    * New repossession cases fell 9% from March and 2% from April 2009″ [but] “What we’re really seeing is the effect of lenders slowing down the initial notices of default while they are processing what’s already in the pipeline.”
    And while Rome burns …
    Obama urges funds for Israel shield (http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/05/201051412713367443.html)
    * Barack Obama, the US president, asks Congress for $205m to help Israel speed up construction of a new short-range anti-missile defence system.
    * US military aid to Israel in 2009 totalled $2.55bn. This will increase to $3bn in 2012, and will total $3.15bn a year from 2013 to 2018.
    * The money would come in addition to annual US assistance to Israel.
    Roll on the Tea Party!

    Reply

  91. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “They would thus be entitled to equal protection under the law. Israel could not kick them out; or strip away their US citizenship”
    Never fly, Dan. If they can’t fry them nasty ehrab inferiors in white phosphorous, what do they gain?
    Besides, the process you propose will take some time. I imagine ‘ol Bigot Joe Lieberman will manage to make sure that they CAN be stripped of their citizenship, far prior to Israel being admitted to the union.

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  92. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The first step to curing an addition is admitting you have a problem”
    How the hell did we get on the subject of unwanted pregnancies???

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  93. Dan Kervick says:

    Carroll, I agree completely with the Woodward analysis. The US is dangerously isolated because of its monomaniacal obsession with Israel’s security concerns vis-a-vis Iran, and as a result the US is unable to pursue a balanced and flexible policy in the region. We’re like a big ship with a dropped anchor, that moves a tiny bit in this direction and that, but can’t go anywhere interesting – while the rest of the world sails ahead into the 21st century. The Obama administration keeps suggesting that a tough and effective global sanctions regime is right around the corner, but that doesn’t look at all likely. Obama and Sarko are fooling themselves, and us.
    My view is that this situation would actually improve if Israel were incorporated into the US, because the alleged security threats, which are already overblown and are driven by Israel’s small size, unending paranoia and sense of vulnerability, would recede. Nobody would believe that Hizbollah is planning to invade the United States; or that Iran is planning a one-bomb nuclear attack on the geographically extensive United States, the most heavily armed country in the world.
    If statehood came with an I/P peace settlement and the creation of a real Palestinian state, Israel’s regional opponents would have multiple reasons for altering their foreign policy stances toward the Israel issue, under the imperative of preferring normal relations with the US. And rejectionist hardcore minority in the region could no longer dream of “pushing Israel into the sea”.
    Statehood could also bring an end to Israeli expansionism, which is the source of global opposition to Israel, and of condemnation of its policies. The United States would no longer have to defend a bad and illegal set of policies, and cruel ethnically motivated wars, or restrict its relations in the region to autocratic countries whose aloof and distrusted rulers are willing to accept that US stance.

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  94. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Kotz, are you messin’ with the roos again? You really should seek out some human contact occassionally.
    As far as Dan’s proposal goes, rethinking it, perhaps it deserves consideration. Seeing as how we have ceded Arizona, California, and Texas over to Mexico, we are running very short on desert, and may in fact need to replenish our supply.
    Or, better yet, why don’t we simply make Arizona the capital of Israel, so they can use the IDF to steal the rest of Mexico for us?

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  95. Carroll says:

    O.K. , if we are now finished with Kervick’s plan to save the Jews by annexing Israel, let’s look at reality….of how Israel is yet again a millstone around the US neck and how much worse it would be if they were actually a part of the US.
    Russia

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  96. Dan Kervick says:

    Hey, don’t hold back Kotz.

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  97. nadine says:

    “I just refuse to accept the despair, defeat and hopelessness, that many pundits are beginning to express.” (Dan Kervick)
    Most pundits are addicted to “the solution” — the one that is clear, simple, and wrong. They run around trying to impose their vision on people who know better, people whose lives are at stake, but nobody can tell these pundits that their vision won’t work and is a sure-fire recipe for unending conflict. The pundits make their living proposing solutions, so they need to believe it them. They are solution-addicted: call it “Solutionitis”. Solutionitis is a dreadful addition; not only professionals but also amateurs can be infected.
    Feel the despair, Dan. Don’t fight it. The first step to curing an addition is admitting you have a problem.

    Reply

  98. nadine says:

    Dan, Since the whole Arab world already believes that Jews control America (it’s not just common people but members of elites, for example Zahi Hawass, the head of Egyptian Archeological Council, who say so), the Arabs would see Israel-as-the-51st-state as an Israeli takeover of the US, not a US takeover of Israel. They would feel confirmed in all their current conspiratorial beliefs.
    How would they react? Since it’s less shameful to knuckle under to a great power than to a small one, they might grow quieter. Or maybe not.
    Beyond that, Wigwag’s comments are good. Israelis don’t want to be part of the US, they just want to be their own masters and have the neighbors leave them alone and stop trying to kill them.
    BTW, there is no need to envisage Israel as a 51st state so it could be a military base and way-station for the US Army. Israel functions as a US way-station already. Arms for Iraq are routinely shipped into Haifa.

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  99. rc says:

    “… and that the world needs Israel if only to have a ready-made walled off Jewish ghetto for the next global round of pogroms and expulsions is both outlandish and outrageous.”
    I thought you wanted to play the scenario game? If so you have to consider possible, probable and preferred cases. Using language to capture the attention and emotions is part of the praxis.
    Obviously this “ghetto” option is simply a twist on the raison d’

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  100. Dan Kervick says:

    “And then it becomes somewhat less realistic.”
    … should have been:
    “And then it becomes somewhat more realistic.”

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  101. Dan Kervick says:

    “…why would they rock-the-boat?”
    Good question, Trudy. The best answer is that the Israelis are running out of good long range options. They are also running out of friends, and the powerful friends they have left are experiencing a decline in global influence. Some far-sighted Israelis have to be asking themselves searchingly where all this ends.
    I agree that this proposal seems unrealistic at the current time. The idea of a Jewish State was also unrealistic when the early Zionists first put it on the table. But perhaps if people begin talking about it, and think more about what would be involved in implementing it, and what would be required to move Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a position where statehood is politically and constitutionally do-able, the idea will grow on them over time. And then it becomes somewhat less realistic.
    Let me note once again that I regard this proposal as a particular path toward implementing a two-state solution – not as an alternative to the two-state solution. That’s why I called it the “2 states plus 50″ proposal. And the 2-state solution already commands wide global support.
    I personally find that even debating this proposal helps to break up some of the stale mental frameworks surrounding the conflict, and might help people approach the conflict with fresh eyes and new, outside-the-box ideas, even if they don’t support the particular idea I am putting forward.
    I just refuse to accept the despair, defeat and hopelessness, that many pundits are beginning to express.

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  102. JohnH says:

    Presenting the idea of Israel as the 51st state puts Israel’s supposedly modern, Western values under a bright spotlight.
    And the picture is not pretty, particularly the rampant religious and ethnic discrimination and systematic human rights abuses in the Occupied Territories. Also, its socialist land ownership system is totally foreign to American ideas of property rights.
    However, in one regard the US and Israel are totally in synch–a frontier spirit that translates into virulent nationalism. The US started out 400 years ago with toe holds at Plymouth and Jamestown and completed its continental conquest, realizing its “manifest destiny” a hundred years ago.
    Now the US seems to have embarked on a new “manifest destiny”-conquering Asia, country by country starting with Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. Adding Israel and Jordan would give USreal a direct corridor to the heart of Asia and the edges of China, South Asia and Central Asia. It would keep Israeli and American military contractors fat and sassy for at least another hundred years or two!
    I’m sure that the sacrifice of Social Security and Medicare to an Asian “manifest destiny” would be a small price to pay for most Americans, at least if you listen the news media!

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  103. DonS says:

    Two things:
    1) The inclusion of Israel as another “state”
    would have scant effect on the militant Israeli right wingers/settlers, etc, who are the equivalent of Dick Cheney’s ‘dead enders’. They ain’t going, and they will continue to stir the shit as much as they can. And would the US be forced into the ‘false choice’ of Israeli over the competing interests of everyone else in the region?
    2) Dan highlights the “security guarantee” issue, which is, to me, among the most troublesome. In the absence of formal defense agreements, US politicians over the decades have felt free to wax ever more chauvanistic in their willingness to imply actual punitive responses to anyone attacking Israel — all the way up to Hillary Clinton’s warning about “obliterating” Iran. Would it be better or worse if Israel were a state. I don’t know, but the underlying issue is a real time bomb.

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  104. Trudy P says:

    Dan,
    I don’t think the proposal is wanted at all by enough Israelis to seriously consider. It’s all hypothetical and not at all realistic. So why waste the time? What does it prove?
    When Israel receives our billions yearly with “no strings attached” and no auditing, why would anyone claiming to be Jewish who can take advantage of the dual-citizen arrangement, where no American-Jewish political actor can be returned to America for any reason regardless of charges, why would they rock-the-boat?
    Isn’t America paying enough to protect them from their hated enemies?

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  105. Dan Kervick says:

    Susan, I think you are not catching the spirit of this proposal. US statehood for Israel would not simply be a matter of Israel remaining exactly as it is, but being re-labelled “US State”. For *any* non-US entity to become a US state, certain requirements have to be met, one of which would be to bring their laws into conformity with the US constitution.
    Were Israel to become a US state following a peace settlement with the Palestinians, Yisrael Beiteinu would almost certainly wither away rapidly as a viable political force. Their entire platform would become a moot anachronism overnight. Some Israelis might remain for a time with their existing parties out of nostalgia. But I assume most Israelis would quickly end up registering as either Democrats, Republicans or unaffiliated voters – just like almost everyone else in the US.
    Israel’s current stance of occupation and colonization is clearly not going to disappear by magic. It will be very hard work. All of the proposals that incorporate a two-state solution recognize how hard that work is going to be. The only wrinkle in my proposal is that the application of sticks to push Israel in the direction we need it to go would be accompanied by the carrot of promised US statehood at the end of the process. That carrot might lead some currently rejectionist Israelis to the conclusion that their security and population pressure problems can ultimately be resolved, in the context of a two-state solution, by joining the US federal system as a US state.
    If Israel were a US state, it could not expel its Arab citizens. If Israel became a state, existing Arab citizens of Israel would become US citizens, just like all of the other citizens of Israel. They would thus be entitled to equal protection under the law. Israel could not kick them out; or strip away their US citizenship.

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  106. susan says:

    Dan,
    as Bill Clinton so famously said “once you realize that you’re down in a hole, the first thing you need to do is stop digging.” we could apply his thinking here.
    the more clarification you provide in your followup, the more absurd the original premise becomes. do you actually think that a political party like Yisrael Beitinyu could fit within the US system? those people will not go quietly off into the sunset now that they’ve had their taste of power.
    re: Israel’s bellicosity and behavior towards its neighbors, and the occupation-2 words only: dream on. so apparently that intractable, horrible, entrenched system is just going to *magically* disappear, I suppose, right along with all of those unwanted Arabs and Palestinians, who apparently won’t have a place in your 51st state.
    how do you square Israeli immigration policies with those in the US, particularly in the era of the Tea Party and Arizona SB 1070?
    of course not. but how would the US swallow the Israelis expelling their Arab fellow citizens-far more likely to happen.
    so you believe they would have more “security” as a US state. they are already the biggest US (client) state and see how well that’s worked out (for the US).
    all the alleged economic advantages that you imagine turn to dust when you look at the last 60 years of Israel political history. that history is simply incompatible with the type of democracy that the US Constitution demands.
    bottom line. Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, and its intention on remaining so, sounds the death knell for your premise before it even rounds the first turn. that is simply incompatible with democracy as specified under the US constitution. as long as the basic premise remains that any legislative or governing process is subject to the law of Israeli exceptionalism, there is no point to even imagine that any of this is possible. it becomes merely laughable to imagine it.

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  107. Dan Kervick says:

    Sorry, I clipped off a piece of number 11 above. It should say, “Those foreign policy benefits are in addition to the economic benefits that would come from bringing a prosperous and technologically advanced state into the union.”

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  108. Dan Kervick says:

    Hello everyone,
    Thanks for all your comments and challenging questions. My responses are below. I

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  109. samuelburke says:

    this is from lew rockwell over at their website.
    “Russia and China oppose any unilateral attempt to impoverish, sicken, and starve the people of Iran (

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  110. wags101 says:

    With U.S. support for Israel dwindling Israel, and the right wing Christians supporters out of favor, Israel doens’t want to loose the gravey train. Minds are changing accross the world and the US, people are seeing Israel for the terrorist state it is and they are feeling the heat. Too bad Israel!

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  111. WigWag says:

    FYI, Dan’s suggestion while provocative is not entirely original; there was actually a bestselling work of fiction by Michael Chabon entitled “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” that dealt with the same subject. It debuted on the New York Times bestseller’s list at number 2 in 2007 and stayed on the list for six weeks. The book was optioned by the Coen brothers and they are currently turning it into a movie.
    Here’s the link to the wiki in case Dan or anyone else is interested,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Yiddish_Policemen%27s_Union
    The premise of the book is not precisely the same as Dan’s recommendation; in the fictionalized version described in the book, the Arabs defeated the Jews in 1948 and the United States created a Jewish homeland in an Alaskan town called Sitka which the book describes as a large Yiddish speaking metropolis.
    The book is not a work of political fiction, it’s a detective story but it is quite entertaining and worth a look.
    JoshM makes the plea that commentators respond to Dan’s post in earnest. I am happy to do so.
    What Dan, Steve Clemons and so many other Washington Note readers miss is the fact that Israel is no more interested in being subsumed into the largely Christian world of the United States than it is in being subsumed into the largely Muslim world of the Middle East. Jewish national aspirations to return to their homeland are both powerful and ancient. Jewish national aspirations are no more and no less legitimate than the national aspirations of any other group including the Arabs, the Irish, the Americans, and the Norwegians.
    What differentiates the Jews today from the Diaspora Jews who lived before the founding of modern Israel is that through their own ingenuity and hard work, Jews have at long last shed their powerlessness. The same kind of people who feared and loathed Jews in the past are today doubly incensed because they resent a powerful Jewish nation ready to defend itself from the kinds of enemies who have been oppressing and murdering Jews for centuries.
    In the United States, decades of discrimination, marginalization and quota systems have been replaced by an aroused base of Jewish citizens who are ready, willing and able to take full advantage of the tools that American democracy provides. This community is not prepared to fight for what it believes in with one hand tied behind its back just to placate less competent, intelligent and convincing political opponents.
    In the Middle East, Israelis have managed in 60 years to build a modern, high tech and increasingly wealthy society that the Arabs who live in the neighborhood haven’t been able to build in more than a thousand years. Even if they were to achieve a nation of their own, there is little to suggest that Palestine will be anything other than an addition to the roster of poor, failing and illiberal Muslim states.
    While small, Israel’s army is relatively strong although this strength only provides a modicum of protection against asymmetric warfare. Israel’s nuclear arsenal provides the ultimate protection against Christian, Muslim and secular tyrants who would like to recapitulate the history of Jews in Christian and Arab lands.
    Reading the comment section of the Washington Note it is not easy to miss how infuriating Jewish power is, even to some citizens who live in Israel’s closest ally. Given the tenor of the remarks here, it is not hard to contemplate why it is critical for Israel to maintain overwhelming military advantage over its Arab adversaries; the Arab attitude towards Israelis makes the attitudes regularly expressed here look mild in comparison.
    Israelis don’t want to be Americans, Dan, any more than you want to be a citizen of Saudi Arabia or Canada. Those that do want to live in the United States are free to do so and many have left. Similarly, many Americans decide to leave the country of their birth to move elsewhere.
    Now that Jewish national aspirations have been achieved they won’t be relinquished. To those who find that disquieting all I can say is that your point of view has a long and dishonorable pedigree. As for your frustration, you better get used to it.
    Jews aren

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  112. non-hater says:

    The fundamental problem with this proposal is that puts the interests of Israeli Jews before that of Americans. If you put the interests of American citizens first, then a much simpler solution to the I/P mess is obvious: stop funding Israel (and stop buying peace for Israel from Egypt and Jordan).
    Israeli Jews made the mess they are in; they can fix it on their own.
    —-
    A detailed response to this nonsense proposal really isn’t worth the effort, because nearly every sentence contains a falsehood or misinterpretation of some sort. Responding would be like trying to fisk an hour of Limbaugh’s radio show.

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  113. Jerry E. Stephens says:

    Interesting idea. But really not one that deserves any real political attention. Josh posed some questions that would have to be examined if this is a serious proposal. But one that I don’t see mentioned is just what Israel is to be annexed. Is it the Israel of post-1948? Is it the Israel of post-1967? Is it Israel and the West Bank? Is it Israel and Gaza? Any of these defined Israels proposed for annexation seem to bring almost insurmountable burdens. So, what Israel would Dan propose to add to the United States union?

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  114. Carroll says:

    Posted by Steve Clemons, May 13 2010, 9:17AM – Link
    Larry – I don’t endorse Dan’s plan — but I do find his roster of issues that need to be dealt with quite fair and illuminating. I think you are better than the pugnacious response you offered. I have heard a lot of serious proposals about NATO and Israel membership — and of course, Israel has just been voted into the OECD. The view some have is that not only do these memberships offer Israel benefits, they also become points of pressure in pushing Israel on some fronts. I think Dan’s piece deserved air time — and I would hope that rather than launching another name-calling match, folks would try to think through options other than the status quo — which I find unsustainable.
    all best, steve clemons
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    You know very well why the status quo ‘is’ the status quo.
    And congress finds it quite sustainable.
    This suggestion is the same as offering the sniper on the roof the Governor’s mansion and his own army as a reward if he will just come on down.

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  115. Carroll says:

    Well Kervick, you are either desperate for attention with this idea and have been playing at policy wonk for too long or are quite insane.
    Whatever, it’s too too absurd for too many reasons to list.
    BUT…just for fun, why don’t you explain to us “exactly” what the similaries are between the US and Israel “politically and culturally”?
    “Posted by Dan Kervick, May 13 2010, 10:14AM – Link
    Hi WigWag,
    I know you’re just joking. But I think you would agree that none of those other places are as close to the United States, culturally or politically, as is Israel. The relationship that already exists between the US and Israel is quite unique.”
    Does the US insist on a ethnic or religious “National majority’?
    How would it work under the US constitution if we were to incorporate a “state” whose charter and laws called for that?
    Would it be a state in the US that didn’t enforce seperation of state and religion?
    And just for fun why do you think the relationship between the US and Israel is ‘unigue’…. for any reason other than the 2% US population of Jews and their lobbies for Israel in our political arena?
    Let me see if I have this right…You are suggesting the US incorporate a ME country as a US state;
    1) for the benefit of one certain minority ethnic and religious group in the US?
    2)and becuase as a US state Israel’s violation of international laws and war crimes and occupation of Palestine and threats to bomb Iran and threats to re attack Lebanon would all go away and solve the US problem with the ME, Jews and Israel?
    Is that it?
    BTW…how would Israel pay taxes when they can’t even support themselves now without US aid?
    Not mention that one third of Israel’s population of ultra orthodox don’t even pay taxes in Israel and are subsidized by the state? Would we have a US state in which a religious group is exempt from working and is supported by the nations taxpayers?

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  116. Dan Kervick says:

    Just a brief note to all: I appreciate the comments and have been reading them and jotting down notes for replies throughout the day. But I won’t have time to compose any replies until I finish work today. I look forward to taking my best shots at responding to your challenging questions.

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  117. JohnH says:

    Ah, yes abolition of the Establishment Clause. Each state would then be free, under the guise of religious freedom, to establish its own state religion! Alabama could officially become the Baptist State of Alabama. Texas could officially worship oil, adopt Hanukkah as an official holiday, and pray for the oil to last forever! And Oregon could officially become the Pagan State of Oregon, assuming of course that the constitution allowed it.
    Moreover, the government could formally take ownership of all land, as in Israel, leasing large tracts on a preferred basis to certain chosen groups (Arabs and Mexicans need not apply.) Best of all, we could finally be rid of all those pesky Libertarians, who would certainly flee.
    Yes, Israel is definitely a light unto humanity, and the US should definitely make it the 51st state so that we can study its shining example more closely!

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  118. NoWay says:

    HAve you people totally lost it?
    Yea, lets take the most hated country and people and put them here. Very brillant!
    I am a Christian and don’t hate Jews but that is me…too many do. This is a joke. Not satire but a complete joke.
    Any enemy of Isreal will quadruple against theh US if this happens. We already got enough problems. Let Britain or another country closer to the home land give them this right!
    And we are talkign abotu keep illegals out of America!
    This is a total joke and reflective of this socialistic government!

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  119. Josh M. says:

    Most commentators here are not responding earnestly to the article — which is a shame, because a provocative idea ought not be shot down automatically just on the basis of it seeming “absurd” initially. Why not engage the actual substance of the article? (rc and Susan aside)
    At the moment, I don’t know where I stand on the issue, but there are a few issues that I’d appreciate Dan addressing assuming that we can fiat the actual logistical process of the U.S. subsuming Israel as a state.
    1) What does this do for U.S. and/or Israel relations with the Arab/Muslim world. The issue of repression, as they see it, will not dissipate just because the U.S. nationalizes Israel — if I can use such phrasing. If anything, it would only legitimatize the pragmatic element of Bin Laden’s message regarding Israel — that is, only by striking directly at the U.S. mainland and Americans can the U.S. policy toward Israel change.
    Such a scenario really would target all of the regional animosity toward Israel at the U.S. exclusively. Is that desirable over the status quo?
    2) Also, if Israel, why not Jordan as well? U.S. policy toward both states is incredibly strong (e.g. Jordanians consider Jordan the 52nd U.S. state [with the 51st being Israel]?
    3) You say that bringing Israel into the union could allow for a fair dissolution of the Israel/Palestinian conflict; however, as some other folks have commented, entering the union would enhance Israeli influence in the U.S. political process. E.g. Two Senators, some representatives, etc. And then there are the local governance issues — we are a federal republic after all, which means Israeli officials would still have a similar degree of autonomy — or not? Also, the U.S. has been on the blurry side of what’s legal and illegal regarding Israeli activities for a long time — what’s the guarantee that bringing Israel into the union would do anything positive for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza (e.g. How did Americans react to 9/11…even the underwear bomber? Imagine daily news about foreign rockets landing in an American state…
    4)From Susan– “In addition, because there is no separation of religion and state in Israel, Israel could lead the way in invalidating the Establishment Clause.” Dan, your thoughts?
    I’ve got some other questions…but I guess I’ll let some of the debate start there. I look forward to your comments — interesting, provocative, and well-written piece by the way.

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  120. susan says:

    Once Israel becomes a state, the Department of Energy could lend its support to Zion Oil.
    Texas-based, Christian-run Zion Oil & Gas has been searching for oil in Israel since 2000. Founder John Brown says the Bible makes it clear Israel will be energy independent in the last days. The company

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  121. susan says:

    I’m distressed by this piece. at first I took it for satire, but have read this site long enough that I would not expect that from Steve. but Kervick’s argument approaches a level of absurdity that I find just baffling to read here.
    that said, this argument falls on so many levels it doesn’t meet the smell test. there was some convincing discussion about 6-8 yrs ago for Israel to become part of the EU, which seemed slightly more plausible. there is enough geographic, demographic and parliamentary diversity in the EU that one might posit that Israel would fit in if they were to abide by the EU constitution-a shaky proposition at best.
    I’d like for Mr. Kervick try to address some of the fundamental problems with his argument, instead of painting it in all nice sunny colors.
    on what planet does anyone think that the Israeli right would curb its intransigent and belligerent policies towards its neighbors, bombing and stomping and grabbing land. will they join the NPT or declare their true nuclear status? would they curb their incitement towards Iranians or Palestinians? would they grant equal rights to all its citizens? not bloody likely IMO.
    no, a 51st US state of Israel would be the ant astride the colossus, draining the US treasury whilst dragging it deeper and deeper into local and regional conflicts.
    what Kervick fails to consider in this piece is that the biggest thing that the US and Israel have in common is NOT the English language or the advanced technology centres, but rather the idea of “exceptionalism”-which the US is starting to creep away from, whilst in Israel it continues to strengthen.

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  122. rc says:

    What you been smoking Mr Kervick?
    Your utopian dreaming is solving what problem?
    You have simply described the status quo under different superficial dressing!
    You might have more credibility if you extended your model to the whole of Palestine and all Palestinians (Jews, Christians and Muslims). They would then have a right of return to their homeland ‘State’, and access to US legal help to sort out stolen property and the dismantling of apartheid segregation implemented under the illegal Zionist campaign since 1948. You could start resurrecting those old US anti-segregation programs and bus kids to non-racial schools.
    You confuse physical geography with psychological boundaries. The ‘State of Israel’ is a mental condition based on ideology and propaganda — and a pragmatic need for a US fort in the region at this time. US tolerance for Jewish customs and sensibilities is superficial and a stratagem for efficient occupation and foreign policy deployment. It keeps Saudi Arabia in check and the oil flowing.
    True, Israel and US share self-justifying exceptionalism policies, but do you really think a system based on supremest elitist values can submit itself to an inferior system? No, the wasp has the zombie host right where it needs it. The question is: which is which in this deadly embrace?
    Do you really think a land of around 300 million Americans, where nearly 50% believe in the New Testament, literal Creationism, eat pig, and love the Jesus story, have any deep sympathy for, or connection with, a cluster of recent Russian immigrant converts who think they are the chosen ones, despise Jesus as a heretical bastard, and his mother as a whore?
    Your mind is sailing along in the clouds without thinking through what your feet are doing on the ground. What do you think others in the region and around the world would think of this fancy? What about your new owners the Saudis and the Chinese — what do they think? In this regard, make no mistake: Iran says what all the others in the region think.
    Why did Europe rejected Jews, from Spain, Germany and other places? I suspect the US will wake up one day also. Sub cults driven by millennial visions and superiority complexes are not normally tolerated by the dominant culture — especially when the economics gets hard. OK, I’ll grant there is more complexity and subtly needed here in regard to Zionism and Judaism but that is not relevant to mass uprisings as was seen in Nazi Germany.
    Best Israel be left for the next Jewish diaspora that will likely arise as irrationality envelops the bankrupt western world world. I suspect, as the geopolitical and economic center moves to Asia, where Judo-christian myths do not dominate, the utility of a walled in Israeli ghetto will become more apparent.
    At this level there is no solution, because there is no problem. That region belongs to Turkey, Iran and Egypt. Once they begin to move, and they are starting to now (see sex tapes of Turkish opposition), then the US would be wise to stay as far away as possible. They’d be better off looking to Mexico as the next state of the union — at least they speak Spanish and can link to Brazil.
    Sorry, your scenario just does not make sense.

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  123. JohnH says:

    I like Dan’s idea! We could then move the US Capitol and White House to Jerusalem, along with all the lobbyists, sycophants courtiers, and think tanks (assuming they would all fit there.) Israel’s gain would be America’s gain, as the American people would be delighted to be rid of them. And the average integrity rating of the American mainland would rise dramatically as the enormous dishonesty of politicians got removed from the calculations. Israel would be delighted to have its influence over the American government manifested in such an overt manner.
    Politicians would be delighted, since their presence in Jerusalem, being several hours ahead of the United States, would allow them to work all day without pesky phone calls from annoying citizenry. Even better, every decision could be made during working hours and then presented as a fait accompli, officially dispensing with any notions of representing engaging with the American people.
    Moreover, since politicians would be residing in the Jewish state, where they would find no place to pray, they could dispense ritual displays of devout Christianity, leaving more time for fund raising.
    The “Defense” department could move closer to its operations, assuming of course that it didn’t prefer Dubai instead, saving gobs of jet fuel in the process.
    It’s brilliant!!! What could possibly go wrong?

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  124. samuelburke says:

    just what america needs, our very own trojan horse.
    http://www.irmep.org/

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  125. samuelburke says:

    Grant Smith of irmep.org has this piece on our 51st state over
    at antiwar.
    with friends like israel who needs enemies.
    “GAO Investigates Israeli theft of weapons grade uranium from
    the US
    Documents
    In 1977 chair of the House of Representatives subcommittee on
    Energy and Power John D. Dingell requested an investigation to
    determine whether weapons grade uranium had been illegally
    diverted from the US into a clandestine Israeli nuclear weapons
    program.
    In the early 1960s, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) began
    documenting suspicious lapses in security at the Nuclear
    Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) in Pennsylvania.
    In 1965 an Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) audit found that
    NUMEC could no longer account for 220 pounds of highly
    enriched uranium. The amount of missing uranium could

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  126. samuelburke says:

    Phil Giraldi has this piece on our 51st state and it’s
    representatives in congress.
    “Several weeks ago the redoubtable Charles Schumer of New
    York announced the Yahweh himself had anointed him Israel

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  127. kejia says:

    ps — Since I typed “through” instead of “throw”, my legal status in the US is clearly suspect. As it should be; my first European ancestor on this continent moved to New Amsterdam, where they didn’t even speak English!!!

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  128. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Further, the lost entertainment value is far too high a price to pay.
    In the latest sitcom, Obama plays the entire skit in a clown suit. Standing at the podium, he demands that neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians engage in any acts of provocation during the ongoing we-aren’t-going-to-talk-to each-other talks.
    Standing across the room, Netanyahu, attired in a resurrected SS uniform, responds with an announcement that Jerusalem will remain exclusively a Master Race enclave, home demolitions will continue, a new mall will be constructed on Palestinian land in East Jerusalem, and 14 new housing units will go up in East Jerusalem.
    I don’t quite understand the person in the background crawling across stage wearing a skull face mask, but if the fat ass is any clue, I think it might be Hillary, crawling off to see if she can find an excuse to nuke someone.

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  129. kejia says:

    No thanks. But what about the reverse? If they will accept Texas as a state of Israel, we’ll through in Arizona for free!!!

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  130. Dan Kervick says:

    Hi WigWag,
    I know you’re just joking. But I think you would agree that none of those other places are as close to the United States, culturally or politically, as is Israel. The relationship that already exists between the US and Israel is quite unique.

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  131. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The master race would never agree to such an indignity.
    Now, if you were to propose that the United States become a province of Israel, your idea might gain some traction with these racist murderous thugs.
    Besides, two major facts disqualify Israel for statehood; One, Israel has universal healthcare, which obviously makes them “socialists”, (Right, Nadine?), and two, they are not going bankrupt, as most of the states in the union are.
    I think the current situation is quite tenable, where we simply issue cash incentives to them to steal land and murder Muslims. Its the American way, why rock the boat???

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  132. WigWag says:

    It’s great to see a Dan Kervick post; I hope we see many more!
    Dan may have figured out a whole new paradigm to conflict resolution in the world today. After we solve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute by making Israel the 51st state, maybe we can solve the problem of Baluchistan, which is seeking independence from Pakistan, by making it the 52nd state. If that works, how hard could it be to solve the problems between India and Pakistan over Kashmir by making Kashmir the 53rd state? If it sounds crazy, consider the fact that there are almost as many South Asian immigrants living in the United States as there are Jews.
    To complete the trifecta, the United States could turn its attention to the Kurds; why not make the Northern Provinces of Iraq, where most of the Kurds live, the 54th state? Not ambitious enough? We could always add the troubled Kurdish dominated provinces of Syria, Iran and Turkey to the new American state of Kurdistan.
    Of course, there’s very little reason why Dan’s approach should be limited to Asia. Maybe it provides a model for solving the multitudinous problems of the North Caucasus. In that part of the world we have the disputes between Nagorno Karabah and Azerbaijan, Russia and Chechnya, South Ossetia and Georgia and Abkhazia and Georgia. Surely we could solve those problems by adding 4 more states to the American Union.
    I’ve lost count; what are we up to now? 57 states or 58?
    Coming closer to the American mainland, let

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  133. Steve Clemons says:

    Larry – I don’t endorse Dan’s plan — but I do find his roster of issues that need to be dealt with quite fair and illuminating. I think you are better than the pugnacious response you offered. I have heard a lot of serious proposals about NATO and Israel membership — and of course, Israel has just been voted into the OECD. The view some have is that not only do these memberships offer Israel benefits, they also become points of pressure in pushing Israel on some fronts. I think Dan’s piece deserved air time — and I would hope that rather than launching another name-calling match, folks would try to think through options other than the status quo — which I find unsustainable.
    all best, steve clemons

    Reply

  134. larry birnbaum says:

    As satire, it isn’t funny. As an excuse for stating tendentious presumptions, it’s grossly unsubtle. As a rhetorical exercise, it doesn’t excuse you from the moral requirement to justify those presumptions.
    Given how gross it is — slimy attacks dressed up as satire in an effort to avoid responsibility — I feel empowered to get personal: You’re not clever enough to pull something like this off. Which means you’re certainly not clever enough to add to our understanding of this problem.

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  135. jonst says:

    I have used this story before, so forgive me if I am repeating myself. However, when I read Mr Kervick’s piece, which I assume is not satire, the story came to mind again.
    It is from a scene from the BBC series, I Claudius. In the scene Claudius, just returning, dripping wet, from being tossed into the Rhine on orders from his certifiably insane nephew, the Roman Emperor Caligula.
    The Emperor, seeing that Claudius is still alive, orders him down on his knees and, with huge sword in hand, prepares to chop off Claudius

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  136. Dan Kervick says:

    I’m very grateful to Steve for posting my thoughts on US statehood for Israel. I have to run off to work right now, but I want to preemptively address one possible reaction to my piece: The above proposal is intended 100% seriously. It’s not a piece of satire or a jeux d’esprit.

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