Choices

Choices

So if things such as ancestry and giftedness don’t matter, then what does matter?

These three things matter:

RELEVANT CONSIDERATION #1: A. (Meaning, what is the state of things, RIGHT NOW.)

RELEVANT CONSIDERATION #2: What choices do people have?

RELEVANT CONSIDERATION #3: What choices do people not have?

#1, A– i.e. who is living where, as of now? #2– And what choices do these people have?

Let’s start with the Israelis- what choices do they have? The Israelis can choose to either live in Israel, or live in the OTs. That’s it- they cannot live anywhere else, because, #3– the option to live elsewhere is a choice that the Israelis do not have.

What choices do the Palestinians have? They can’t go anywhere- they’re stuck where they are, so relocating isn’t one of their choices. A choice they do have, is to either accept the state of Israel and oppose the occupation non-violently, or not accept the existence of Israel and commit terrorist violence against Israelis.

I feel a certain obligation to address other hypothetical B’s that conform to my criterion (such as what I had done in Nature, regarding the “one state solution”). So, another B that could satisfy the requirements… Well, there seems to be a lot of folks on both sides, who would simply prefer that the people on the other side just, go away… However according to my rules, no one can be forced from where they are. But what would be allowable, in theory, would be for all the members of one side or the other to make the decision to leave, entirely voluntarily. That might come about, say, through arguments made by one of the sides that were so cunning, so irrefutably incisive, that the other side became thoroughly persuaded by them.

But I’m seeing two problems with this scenario: the first, is that none of the entreatments along these lines have ever been anything even remotely cunning or incisive… they’re actually all resoundingly asinine.

For the sake of argument though, let’s humor those who feel this way, and say that they actually will succeed in convincing the other side.

I.e…

“Hey, Ahmed- guess what I just read?”

“What did you read, Nasser?”

“We’re not actually real- we’re fake.”

“Really? Wow, that’s strange… I could have sworn that we were real.”

“Nope, I’m afraid not. Look here, see? They say we’re a ‘fake people’, and call us ‘Fakestinians’.”

“Huh, how about that. Well, since we’re not real, I guess we should all just leave. By golly, the king of Jordan is probably thinking right at this very moment, that there is nothing in the world that he would like more than to have millions of Palestinians- whoops, I mean, ‘Fakestinians’- suddenly appear inside his country.”

Or, alternately…

“Hey Daphna, did you hear? We’re not actually descendants of some of the most cruelly persecuted refugees this hellacious world has ever known, who came here because there was no other place on Earth that would take them in, but rather, we’re racist, invading colonizers.”

“Gosh, Ronit- is that so?”

“Well, that’s what they’re proclaiming, furiously and incessantly.”

“OK, that’s convincing enough for me. So why don’t we all go head on over to Europe? You know, I bet they’ll be so thrilled to have millions of Jews streaming back to their continent, they might even welcome us with a ticker tape parade.”

(Oh, are you having a hard time picturing this, too?)

Which brings me to the second problem with this paradigm, which is that even if either side wanted to leave, they couldn’t, because there’s nowhere else that they could go to, hence why I say that this ISN’T a choice they have.

Once again, what crystalized this for me, are the Syrian refugees. That no other countries would be willing to take in the entire population of the Israelis or the Palestinians, is not from other countries being “meanies” about this… As we are clearly seeing right now, it is a tremendous strain on the host countries in the Middle East and Europe that have had to absorb the millions of Syrian migrants, to first meet their immediate needs (food, medical care), and then ultimately the longer term needs (housing, employment). The Syrian exodus happened because their home country has transmogrified into an apocalyptic hellscape. But why should any other countries undergo this burden for the sake of the Israelis and Palestinians, who are just being a bunch of whiney twerps unable to simply get along with each other?

And now again, what choice both sides do have… (yeah I’ve already said it but it bears repeating): both sides have the option to take steps towards the version of B that I proposed in States– and they can each take these steps regardless of whether or not the other side does.

The fundamental reason this is so, is that the crux of my B– the Palestinians allowing the current Jewish Israeli settlers to remain, and Israel sending no additional settlers- doesn’t require any active measures. And this is what I find so tantalizing about my B, which is that in theory it could come about very quickly- even TOMORROW in fact- because nothing in particular really needs to be “done”. For certain, there’s no killing and/or displacing vast numbers of people involved, as my rules for B explicitly forbid these. Yes- aside from inflicting colossal amounts of human suffering, ethnic cleansing does necessitate a certain effort to actualize, in contrast with my B, where everyone just gets to stay living wherever they are now. The only thing that needs to change to have my B, are people’s minds– to feeling that this would be acceptable. It’s sort of like in Peter Pan, where if everyone just clapped their hands and believed that fairies existed, then they would exist… it almost gives me chills.

So thus far, I have covered two types of faulty thinking: 1- not taking into account relevant data, and 2- attempting to factor in data which may be true, but is not relevant.

And so the final cognitive flaw I will go into, is the attempt to factor in data which is flat-out not true, or more commonly known as… lying.

Published in 2016 by Sandra Goldstein.