Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Speaking Up

While I was on vacation, something slightly obscure but profoundly negative happened. On August 17th a conference was held in Baltimore with the purpose of “normalizing” pedophilia. Supposedly serious researchers from major universities attended to discuss ways to get the APA to revise it’s classification of pedophilia as a mental disorder. In other words, the people at this conference are lobbying the APA to remove pedophilia from the list of recognized mental illness (the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM). 

This same pattern led to the DSM revision in 1973. Pro-homosexual activists lobbied, demanded changes, threatened with labels of bigotry and homophobia. It was political pressure, not science that led to the policy change. 

The APA’s endorsement of gay marriage and gay adoption, both of which are social-political issues rather than mental health issues, shows it is more a political than scientific organization. 

Up to 1973, homosexuals who wanted to change their behavior and orientation were treated, and many (thousands) received help and changed their lives.  Studies were underway searching for improved treatments. But in 1973, the APA discouraged any further treatment, studies, or debate.  

There was no sudden scientific breakthrough, no discovery of a sexual-orientation gene, no factual evidence that led to this policy change. In the nearly four decades since, the empty sound of chirping crickets proves that no such evidence was imminent. Nevertheless, those who seek the now-unsanctioned treatment to overcome homosexuality succeed at a rate of 30% to 60%, based on five-year follow-up studies.[i]  This rate is comparable (possibly better) than other mental disorders, such as drug addiction or compulsive behaviors. 

The APA opposes all therapeutic efforts to change sexual orientation, regardless of success rates or scientific studies. The APA also advocates indoctrinating children in public schools with acceptance of homosexuality as normal and equal to heterosexuality—using their status to give the impression this belief is science based.  An attempt by ex-gays to have a voice at the NEA was met with the declaration, “Ex-gay messages have no place in our nation’s public schools.” They were compared to the Ku Klux Klan, in an effort to shut them up.[ii]  

If science existed to support the “homosexuality equals heterosexuality” stance, wouldn’t it be safe to debate the issue? 

Since one of the mantras of the pro-homosexual lobby is that sexual orientation is inborn, and since the APA identifies some two dozen different sexual orientations (including pedophilia), then it is indeed plausible that the lobby could succeed in its effort to rewrite science and culture through political pressure. 

Linda Ames Nicolosi, publications director of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), gives this warning: 

“Normalizing” pedophilia would have enormous implications, especially since civil laws closely follow the scientific community on social-moral matters. If pedophilia is deemed normal by psychiatrists, then how can it remain illegal? It will be a tough fight to prove in the courts that it should still be against the law.

Defenders of traditional marriage (myself included) have warned that if you redefine marriage so that it doesn’t relate to the covenant between a man and a woman to stay together for life, to raise their children, with fidelity to one another—if you decide it only means that we give perks to whoever claims to have a current sexual partner—then there will be pressure to make “marriage” mean whatever anyone wants: multiple partners, intergenerational sex, incest, bestiality, and any of the many other “sexual orientations.”

Not possible? Then note how many “normalizing” programs appear on television relating to polygamy (Big Love on HBO, Sister Wives on TLC, a recent episode of Bones). Note how many “normalizing” plays receive awards for being open-minded enough to accept bestiality (My Pet Goat or Who Is Sylvia? and Equus come to mind). In France if you want to “marry” someone already dead, that’s allowed[iii]; I do not know the details of consummating such a “marriage,” but it must wreak havoc with probate laws.

As for normalizing “intergeneration sex,” 75% of homosexual males admit to having sex with boys age 16-19 or younger.iv In other words, unless you assume all these admissions are for 18-19-year-olds, it is a given that the vast majority of homosexuals already approve of and engage in pedophilia. Since they are already forming gay clubs on high school campuses, it would be na├»ve at best to assume they mean only to open up the minds of bigoted homophobes to improve lives for natural-born gays: they are recruiting their preferred sexual partners.

What can we do? I don’t have that answer. Except that, while we still can, we should speak up and declare that some behaviors are wrong. No matter what we’re called when we say so.

[i] Evidence concerning change from homosexual lifestyle is abundant.  See, e.g., Joseph Nicolosi, A. Dean Byrd, Richard W. Potts, “Retrospective Self-Reports of Changes in Homosexual Orientation:  A Consumer Survey of Conversion Therapy Clients,” 86 Psychological Reports 1071, 1083 (June 2000).  Study concludes that “20%-30% of the participants [in voluntary conversion therapy] said they shifted from a homosexual orientation to an exclusively or almost exclusively heterosexual orientation,” belying any assertion that homosexual orientation is “immutable.”

   See also J. Satinover, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996).  [Between 1966 and 1974, more than 1,000 articles appeared in the Medline databases alone on the treatment of homosexuality, showing evidence that homosexual behavior is treatable and changeable.]

   See also Warren Throckmorton, “Initial Empirical and Clinical Findings Concerning the Change Process for Ex-gays;” Psychotherapy: Research and Practice 39, 1(2002): 66-75. [The American Psychological Association Journal (2002) reported on scientific evidence that efforts to change thoughts, behaviors, and feeling-based sexual orientation can be successful.]

[ii] Mohler, R. Albert, Jr., “Psychologists Join the Gay Marriage Bandwagon,” .
[iii]Paris Journal; A Love That Transcends Death Is Blessed by the State,” NY Times, Thursday, February 19, 2004.
iv K. Jay et al, The Gay Report: Lesbians and Gays Speak Out About Sexual Experiences and Lifestyles 275 (1979).

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Glooper

We had some debate at our house yesterday, following my post about Terry Pratchett’s Making Money, with a highlight of the book’s low-tech economic modeling machine, the Glooper. Both my sons, Economic Sphere and Political Sphere, thought I was wrong to recommend that you never use economic modeling. I didn’t believe I had said that; I certainly hadn’t meant to. But if they both understood it that way, then clearly I needed to clear up that paragraph. 

I ended the post with this: 

In the future, it would be wise, in our world, to remember that economic predictors can be counted on for accuracy just about as much as Hubert and his Glooper—if they have put as much careful thought into the correlations as Hubert has. Trusting the experts—ever, under any circumstances—to know better how to spend your money (or whether to keep it in your sock or mattress) is never a good idea. Good rule of thumb. 

There are two separate points there. First, economic predictors are frequently inaccurate, requiring careful thought about correlations between behavior, actions, and reactions among consumers, lenders, investors—people involved in economic activity. A model is more accurate when it accurately takes into account the almost infinite number of factors involved.

Second, inaccuracy being generally true, trusting decisions on how you spend your money to centralized government “experts” is a bad idea. I did not clarify at that point that I was referring not to economists in general but to centralized economic planning, thus the misunderstanding.  

I like the idea of economic modeling; I am delighted by the ingenious representation of it that is the Glooper. In our world economic models are now pretty much all mechanized on computer. They have their uses both on the macro (whole economy) level and micro (your personal financial planning decisions) level. We have a trusted financial planner, and we’re hoping Economic Sphere will gain experience to step into that role for us at some future point. 

What I don’t want is for the administration to use a highly inaccurate (typically Keynesian) model, and then act on that using our tax dollars and future debt in an effort to make changes. EVERY time they do this, they cause negative unexpected consequences. 

I briefly compared economic modeling to weather forecasting yesterday, and I’d like to expand on that a bit. Weather forecasting is getting better all the time. Computers help. Finding patterns, based on actual measurements, and comparing to what has happened in the past is helpful but not flawless. Usually meteorologists can tell us, “There’s a 30% chance of rain this afternoon.” What we want in information that will help us decide, Should I bring along a jacket or umbrella? Should I wear suede shoes today, or would I be safer with the aging leather? Can we count on the kids’ baseball game, or are we going to get rained out? When I travel, should I pack warmer or lighter clothes? 

What the weather report gives us is data. Then we can use that data to make our own decisions. I’m even glad we have the national level of weather predictions (macro level). When we first moved to Houston, weather was exciting and new. We had lived nearly a decade in a place where 330 days a year the prediction was “fair and sunny.” We didn’t even have a local weather station. We relied on one over the state line to a town an hour away. We didn’t need more accuracy, because time of year plus “fair and sunny” was about all you needed to know—except on the rare winter ice storm days. When we got here, the kids were glued to the Weather Channel. Rain was frequent, steamy, and voluminous. We had a tropical storm with six inches of rain within a month of arriving. And if you didn’t like the weather, it would change in an hour or so. We were glad the weather service was there to give us some clue in our weather-related decision making. 

But what I would not want would be some central weather center trying to control the weather—or my behavior. What if they decided that fair and sunny with a brief weekly rain was ideal, and so they worked toward that end? What if they believed that taking an umbrella had an effect on weather—or inverse effect; i.e., if people bring an umbrella, they won’t need it, so on the assigned rain days, we must require everyone to leave their umbrellas home—hats and hoods will be permitted in some locales? They may not know my personal sensitivity to heat and cold. They may not know my transportation and parking situation. They may not know my plans for various times of the day. But that doesn’t matter, because they will make decisions for us that will benefit the highest number of people. [Please don’t let this suggestion get to Washington, or it might become reality.] 

This is essentially what is happening when central economic planners decide to control the boom and bust cycle with artificially low interest rates (or loose lending policies), stimulus spending, or bailing out failing businesses, thus keeping capital involved in unsuccessful ventures so that it is not available for better uses. 

It so happens that yesterday a new central economic planner was announced, Princeton professor Alan Krueger. He will replace Austan Goolsby as White House Council of Economic Advisors Chairman, who replaced Christina Romer, who was chosen by Obama upon his election 2 ½ years ago. (There is a team of advisers; only Tim Geithner remains from the original team.)  

When Goolsby announced in June his intention to step down, Obama complimented him with this fiction:  

Over the past several years, he has helped steer our country out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and although there is still much work ahead, his insights and counsel have helped lead us toward an economy that is growing and creating millions of jobs. He is one of America’s great economic thinkers. 

Seriously? In what alternate reality? In Pratchett’s Discworld, there is a theory in vogue at Unseen University, summarized by Mr. Bent to Moist von Lipwig, that there are  

…an infinite number of universes, in order to allow everything that may happen a place to happen in. This is, of course, nonsense, which they entertain only because they believe words are the same as reality. Now, however, I can disprove that theory, since in such an infinity of worlds there would have to be one where I would applaud your recent actions and, let me assure you, sir, infinity is not that big! 

Yes. Given the opportunity, I would like to say those very words to our current tyr…er, uh, president.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Making Money

After the long, rather serious series on Israel (six parts, August 11 through August 26), I thought we’d do some light economic modeling today. 

Actually, I’m just going to give an update on my Terry Pratchett reading. While I was out of town, I finished reading Going Postal (as well as the 3rd in the Fablehaven series—both of which I reviewed August 9th). So my son Economic Sphere, who is a big Terry Pratchett fan, loaned me the next Discworld book, called Making Money.

This time criminally minded Moist von Lipwig, who is bored with the now smooth running postal system, is tasked with reforming the banking industry of the semi-civilized city of Ankh-Morpork. 

Pratchett made mailing letters in his mythical place hilarious (I typed up nine pages of quotes that I had to keep for future amusement). So I think we can trust him to keep the more naturally funny economics world lighthearted. I’m only a third of the way through the story so far, so today is just sharing a few of Pratchett’s takes on the economic sphere. [Don’t worry about the length of today’s post; it’s mostly quoting Pratchett’s book and reads more quickly than you wish it would.]

Moist is taken on a tour of the inside of the Royal Bank of Ankh-Morpork by an official named Mr. Bent—a bean counter (in this case, a coin counter) of impeccable skill, who vigorously defends the gold standard:  

           “It is the metal that never fell from grace…. And it is also the only basis of a sound financial system,” Mr. Bent went on, while the torchlight reflected from the bullion and gilded his face. “There is Value! There is Worth! Without the anchor of gold, all would be chaos.”
            “Who would set the value of the dollar?”
            “Our dollars are not pure gold, though, are they?”
            “Aha, yes. Gold-colored, Mr. Lipwig,” said Bent. “Less gold than seawater. Gold-ish. We adulterated our own currency! Infamy! There can be no greater crime!” His eye twitched again.
            “Er…murder?” Moist ventured….
            “Mr. Bent waved a hand. “Murder only happens once,” he said, “but when the trust in gold breaks down, chaos rules. But it had to be done. The abominable coins are, admittedly, only goldish, but they are at least a solid token of true gold in the reserves. In their wretchedness, they nevertheless acknowledge the primacy of gold and our independence from the machinations of government! We ourselves have more gold than any other bank in the city, and only I have a key to that door!”
            .…”I read somewhere that the coins represent a promise to hand over a dollar’s worth of gold,” said Moist helpfully.
            Mr. Bent steepled his hands in front of his face and turned his eyes upward, as though praying.
            “In theory, yes,” he said after a few moments. “I would prefer to say that it is a tacit understanding that we will honor our promise to exchange it for a dollar’s worth of gold, provided we are not, in point of fact, asked to.”
            “So…it’s not really a promise?”
            “It certainly is, sir, in financial circles. It is, you see, about trust.”
            “You mean, trust us, we’ve got a big expensive building?”
            “You jest, Mr. Lipwig, but there may be a grain of truth there.” Bent sighed. “I can see you have a lot to learn, and at least you’ll have me to teach you: (pp. 36-37). 

During the tour of the Mint, Moist learns that it costs slightly more to actually coin the money than the money it represents, which is maybe the reason he is needed. He has a confusing conversation with the Mint workers about it and follows up with a debate about the relative values of gold and apples. Later he has a similar discussion with a news reporter.            

I have a section of Spherical Model, Free-Enterprise vs. Controlled Economy that covers what is wealth, and what is money (not quite as funny as Pratchett's). Money is an arbitrary, agreed-upon representative of work, to allow for easier trading of wealth (results of work, built up). Moist is going through the same thought process. I don’t actually know yet where Pratchett will come down. In our house there’s some debate about whether the gold standard is the sanest approach, or whether fiat money could work—if you could strictly align the creation of money to the creation of actual wealth, possibly equivalent to the annual GDP or some other measure. If that were possible, the dollars in circulation would actually represent work accomplished better than gold-backed dollars would. Of course, the system we use doesn’t resemble an attempt to represent wealth much at all. It’s more like the “trust us; we have a big building but don’t actually turn in the money for gold” version that is paralyzing the economy in Ankh-Morpork. 

One thing I haven’t covered in my discussions much is economic modeling. I understand that making predictions is one of the functions of economists—sort of like meteorologists; accuracy would be nice, but isn’t necessarily expected. Pratchett’s low-tech description of economic modeling in the bowels below the bank are better than I could come up with to describe such modeling, and possibly all you ever need know: 

           Water gurgled, sloshed, and yes, glooped along glass tubing. There was a smell of salt.
            Bent nudged Moist, pointed to an improbable wooden hatstand, and wordlessly handed him a long yellow oilskin coat and a matching rain hat. He had already donned a similar outfit, and had magically procured an umbrella from somewhere.
            “It’s the Balance of Payments,” he said, as Moist struggled into the coat. “He never gets it right” There was a crash from somewhere, and water droplets rained down on them. “See?” Bent added.
            “What’s it doing?” said Moist.
            Bent rolled his eyes. “Hell knows, Heaven suspects,” he said. He raised his voice. “Hubert? We have a visitor?”
            A distant splashing grew louder and a figure appeared around the edge of the glassware.
            …. “You’re not seeing us at our best, Mr. Lipwick,” he said.
            “Really?” said Moist.
            ….“No, we’re so close to perfection, you see,” said Hubert. “I really think we’re nearly there…”
            “Mister Hubert believes that this…device is a sort of crystal ball for showing the future,” said Bent, and rolled his eyes.
            Possible futures. Would Mr. Lipstick like to see it in operation?” said Hubert….
            “The Glooper, as it is affectionately known, is what I call a quote ‘analogy machine’ unquote. It sovles problems not by considering them as a numerical exercise but by actually duplicating them in a form we can manipulate: in this case, the flow of money and its effects within our society becomes water flowing through a glass matrix, the Glooper. The geometrical shape of certain vessels, the operation of valves, and, although I say so myself, ingenious tipping buckets and flow-rate propellers enable the Glooper to simulate quite complex transactions We can change the starting conditions, too, to learn the rules inherent in the system. For example, we can find out what happens if you halve the labor force in the city, by the adjustment of a few valves, rather than going out into the streets and killing people.”
            …. “It certainly looks very…complex, this thing of yours,” said Moist, striking out for normality.
            “Er, yes,” said Hubert, a little bit thrown. “And we are refining it all the time. For example, floats coupled to ingenious spring-loaded sluice gates elsewhere on the Glooper can allow changes in the level in one flask to automatically adjust flows in several other places in the system— …. And we’re adding fresh influences all the time. Indeed, I will not be satisfied until my wonderful machine can completely mimic every last detail of our great city’s economic cycle!”
            Something clanked, and colored waters began to foam and slosh along the bigger pipes. Hubert raised not only his voice but also a long pointer.
            “Now, if we reduce public confidence in the banking system—watch that tube there—you will see here a flow of cash out of the banks and into Flask 28, currently designated “The Old Sock Under the Mattress.’ Even quite rich people don’t want their money outside their control. See the mattress getting fuller, or perhaps I should say…thicker?”
            ….”Now see how bank lending is emptying as the money drains into the Sock?” Gurgle! “Watch Reservoir 11, over there. That means business expansion is slowing…there it goes, there it goes…” Drip! “Now watch Bucket 34. It’s tipping, it’s tipping…there! The scale on the left of Flask 17 shows collapsing businesses, by the way. See Flask 9 beginning to fill? That’s foreclosures. Job losses is Flask 7…and there goes the valve on Flask 28, as the socks are pulled out.” Flush! “But what is there to buy? Over here we see that Flask 11 has also drained…” drip
            Except for the occasional gurgle, the aquatic activity subsided.
            “And we end up in a position where we can’t move because we’re standing on our own hands, as it were,” said Hubert. “Jobs vanishing, people without savings suffering, wages low, farms going back to wilderness, rampaging trolls coming down from the mountains—“
            ….”You believe all that could really happen?” said Moist. “A bunch of tubes and buckets can tell you that?”
            “They are correlated to events very carefully, Mr. Lipswick,” said Hubert, looking hurt. “Correlation is everything.”…. “I just can’t get rid of the leaks,” said the little man, looking crestfallen. “I’ll swear that every joint is watertight, but we never end up with the same amount of water that we started with.”
            “Of course not, Hubert,” said Moist, patting him on the shoulder. “And that’s because you’re close to achieving perfection!”
            “I am?” said Hubert, wide-eyed.
            “Certainly. Everyone knows that at the end of the week you never have quite as much money as you think you should. It’s a well-known fact!”
            …. “Now demonstrated by the Glooper!” Hubert breathed. “I shall write a paper on it!”
            “Or you could write it on paper!” said Moist, shaking him warmly by the hand. “Okay, Mr. Bent, let us tear ourselves away! (pp. 62-67). 

Indeed! Economics is so much fun, it is hard to tear ourselves away. At least the way Pratchett describes it in Discworld 

In the future, it would be wise, in our world, to remember that economic predictors can be counted on for accuracy just about as much as Hubert and his Glooper—if they have put as much careful thought into the correlations has Hubert has. Trusting the experts—ever, under any circumstances—to know better how to spend your money (or whether to keep it in your sock or mattress) is never a good idea. Good rule of thumb.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Israel, Part VI: Continued Unrest

This is the 6th (final) part of a series on Israel. For the full series, see Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V.

Boundary Maps
I need to correct something from yesterday. Israel gained a significant amount of land when defending themselves in the 1967 War. I showed a map of what the boundaries looked like a year later, when they had ceded much of it back. But as I began reading about the Yom Kippur War, one of the reasons for that war was for Egypt and others to regain territory lost (specifically the Sinai Peninsula for Egypt). What the Israelis did do in the occupied territories, however, was allow the conquered peoples to continue self rule. They sharply put down any rebellion, but where there was cooperation, Israel was generous and mostly hands-off. I’m not certain why the source for my map was incorrect, unless it was using this self-rule policy as a limit to the actual boundaries of the state of Israel. So my apologies for the confusion. 

There’s a video I came across recently, dealing with the changes in boundaries. I found it helpful. It’s about six minutes long, worth watching for clarity:

I should maybe talk a bit about my sources, since it is information sources in the Middle East that accounts for so much of the difference of opinion. I am reading sources that have always been friendly to Israel, but who have spent a lot of time in the Middle East and developed relationships with many local Arabs as well. I trust the sources for point of view generally. You can make your own decisions. 

I mentioned at the beginning of this series that much of my information came from the history texts we used for homeschooling. These were self-published, and last I looked were no longer available for distribution. The books are Understanding Middle East and European History, Volumes 1 and 2, from The Center for Educational Restoration, © 1997 and 2000 respectively. I used basic information from these books, but analysis is mine.  

A good chunk of the information, especially up to WWII, is cited as coming from Zionism—The First One-Hundred Years, distributed by the Embassy of Israel, Washington, DC. Some later information comes from David Ben-Gurion’s Israel: A Personal History, © 1970 as well as The Jews in Their Land © 1974. The texts also quoted at length from writings by W. Cleon Skousen, including speeches, government reports, and his definitive work on the 1967 War, Fantastic Victory (I also used a student edition of this book, from CER, © 2001). Skousen was a prolific author; you might know him for The 5000-Year Leap, The Real Benjamin Franklin, and possibly his Bible history series, The First Two Thousand Years, The Third Thousand Years, and The Fourth Thousand Years. 

The reason for this talk about sources today is more than to make up for yesterday’s error; it is to get at the heart of why there is so much confusion there. How do we know what the situation really is, and who are the injured parties and the oppressors? Some of my trust comes from familiarity with the sources. Some comes from observing the countries and people, and gauging how closely they adhere to principles of civilization. 

Yesterday we covered some of the Palestinian refugees—the Arabs in Israel who fled their homes when surrounding Arabs refused to recognize the newly created state of Israel and went to war to eliminate Israel and the Jews. I need to add a detail about this. After the brief war that failed to eliminate Israel, the Israeli government set up a trust to handle the property of the refugees, to hold it for them. All they asked was recognition of their statehood and a permanent peace treaty. These requests were never met. 

Eventually the land was purchased using a price structure set up by the UN. Israel never simply went in and took over private property; they lawfully acquired the land. Meanwhile, however, it does not appear the refugees were personally paid for their properties. If that is so, it was not because of any evil attributable to Israel. 

Among the refugees, as we noted yesterday, were a number of hotheads, tending toward terrorism and war, and refusal to meet any Israeli demands. In addition, we also looked yesterday at the Soviet Union’s efforts to fill a power vacuum left by a retreating Britain. 

Now, for the Palestinian Liberation Organization. By the early 1950s, this was a loose organization of many factions, brought together under this umbrella that was supported and trained by the Soviets. Methods, structure, and ideology were more Marxist than Muslim. Potential leaders were trained in Moscow, East Germany, and Cuba, where they were specifically trained in subversion, propaganda, explosives, and terror tactics. In every war against Israel up to the fall of the USSR, the Soviets provided massive arms to Israel’s enemies. 

While among the refugees, the PLO attempted the assassination of Jordan’s king, causing the refugees to be ousted from that country in the 1970s. In the early 1980s, in Lebanon, they attempted a government takeover; the PLO was ousted, but refugees were allowed to stay. The PLO remained infiltrated, therefore, and often used innocent refugees as human shields.  

Among PLO atrocities are hijackings of passenger jets, assassinating the Israeli Olympic team in Munich, killing Egypt’s diplomatic corps in Cyprus, assassinating US diplomats and ambassadors, and many many attacks on innocent Israeli citizens in their own country. All these events they boast of as “revolutionary victories.” 

One of the PLO’s tactics was disinformation—lying propaganda. Repeating the lies over and over, through decades, in schools and in every news broadcast, has left a large part of the world unaware of the truth of events in the Middle East. 

Since the loss of Soviet support in the early 1990s, the PLO itself is both more accepted as legitimate and less in the news, but terrorism and disinformation tactics are at least as prominent as ever. 

During lectures I attended last week, Middle East expert Victor Ludlow talked about the people there. He has visited Israel some fifty times, lived there four times. He used the analogy of salt and pepper. Among Arabs, Jews, and Christians he knows there, most are the salt of the earth—good people, hard working, family oriented, the kind of people you want as your neighbors. But scattered among the salt are the pepper, the hotheads who make trouble for all. 

Over here in the US, that is also my perception. Most of the Jewish people I’ve known are good, decent people not too different from me and my family. Lately we’ve become acquainted with a number of Arab Muslims, mostly who have come here from Iraq and Saudi Arabia for training in the oil industry. Mostly young men between 20-35, they are nevertheless salt of the earth, not the pepper.  

Ludlow, an American who truly understands the Middle East, said he was very glad not to be asked to come up with some partition plan. He showed us a map of the controversial West Bank area. Jewish settlements are mostly many small dots, and a few larger settlement blocks. And Palestinian cities and towns are fewer but larger, mostly among the various Jewish settlements. There is no way of partitioning without uprooting a majority of probably both parties. 

There are serious problems that may not be solvable either by war or peace treaty. Population per square foot, for example. In the US we have about 30 people per square kilometer. Israel has 300. The West Bank has 400. Gaza (refugee area attached to the Sinai Peninsula) has 4000—only parts of India and Bangladesh are more crowded.  

In the US the GDP per person is about $47,200. In Israel it’s $29,800. They are hard-working and successful, but you can see their work doesn’t translate into as much prosperity as we enjoy. The West Bank GDP per person is only $2,900, and in Gaza it is $1000—extreme poverty. 

The larger Middle East can be divided into Big Four (Egypt, Turkey, Saudi, Arabia, and Iran), with 70% of population and, I believe, production/income. Seven Middle countries (Syria, Iraq, Jordan, UAE, Oman, Yemen, and Israel) have 25%. Then there are Six Small countries, dividing up the remaining 5%. As one of these small countries, Palestine (the partitioned country recognized with leadership from the PLO) continues as a hot spot for poverty, politics, and terrorists. (Similar problems exist in middle-sized Yemen and Syria and larger Egypt and Iran.) 

Israel’s government is much more socialist than we tolerate in the US (so far). But they are hard working and rights oriented, with elected representation. Despite the necessary outgo for defense, they are among the most prosperous in the Middle East. Logic alone tells us the 7.5 million Israelis, on their New Jersey-sized plot of land, are incapable of oppressing the surrounding hundreds of millions of Arab peoples.  

I believe Knesset Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu was right when he said, “If Palestine were to lay down their guns tomorrow, there would be no more war. If Israel lays down theirs, there would be no more Israel.” I’ve kept that quote for some years. But in that speech, he went on to say, “Israel must create treaties with the countries of the world based on values, interests, and strength. We must nurture our military, diplomatic and political, and spiritual strength—that is the key to our future.” 

At the Spherical Model, we can judge the success of civilization, economics, and freedom based on specific principles. It isn’t surprising that terrorists who advocate a mixture of savage chaos followed by tyrannical rule are far into the southern hemisphere, not only politically but also economically and socially. The Muslim people who most adhere to the rules of civilization also enjoy better economics and less oppressive government. Israel may not be perfect, but as a democratic friend that strives for civilization, we do well to honor that friendship.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Israel, Part V, Refugees and 1967 War

Today is Part V of (at least) a six-part series on Israel. After a week break, you may want to review. Starting August 11th, Part I was on ancient history, Part II was on Zionism (the return of Jews to their ancient homeland), Part III was on conflict and violence, and Part IV was on the Holocaust and statehood.  

As I wrote today’s piece, I realized it would have been wise to split it. Again it is long. But we’ve been waiting long enough for this section to move toward the current day. I hope the information is worth the additional length today.

Palestinian Refugees

The refugee problem began at the time of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. To review, David Ben-Gurion declared Israel’s statehood from Tel-Aviv, May 14, 1948. Immediately the new state of Israel faced enemy armies from surrounding Arab nations: Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, as well as smaller portions of a number of other Arab nations. 

The new Israel was not comprised only of immigrant Jews, but also many Arab Palestinians. The new Jewish government promised all rights would extend to Arabs. They promised safety and no hostility to any Arabs living among them. But the attacking armies, totally confident in their goal of “driving the Jews into the Mediterranean,” pressed the resident Arabs to get out of the way. The Jews encouraged them to stay; they had no reason to make their fellow Israeli citizens their enemies. These residents hesitated and didn’t know what to do. 

Those who chose to get out of the way fled their homes and awaited their Arab brothers’ victory—which, against all odds, didn’t come. Israel miraculously prevailed. Arabs that had remained in their homes had promises kept with them (about 100,000 near Nazareth, mainly), and they retained the rights of Israeli citizenship including their own representatives elected to parliament. But those who had fled became known as the Palestinian refugees. They fled to neighboring states of Jordan, Syria, Lebanon.  

The neighbors who had urged them to get out of the way had not expected to have to deal with them long term. Suddenly, here were these former Israeli Arabs, homeless. They had declared their allegiance with Israel’s enemies and renounced their citizenship rights. One of the most difficult problems was that among them were the terrorists who had been antagonizing the Jews for decades. So, among innocent, confused refugees were dangerous militants; the other Arab countries didn’t want them.  

Unlike refugee problems just about anywhere else in the world, these refugees did not become part of the countries they fled to. The relatively peaceful (in recent decades) country of Jordan could have easily solved the refugee problem by inviting the refugees to leave their camps and join in the economy. They did not. No one else did either. So, these unwelcome refugees became wards of the United Nations. 

Traditionally, these refugees have become a political tool. The blame for their existence has been placed on Israel, even though Israel neither created them nor forced the surrounding countries to enclose the refugees in permanent camps. The only thing you can say against Israel is that they chose not to welcome declared enemies back in as full citizens, and they have protected themselves against attack.  

One thing you might not be aware of is that, in surrounding countries Jews were forced to flee to Israel, many of them in poverty. Israel solved the issue by training the refugees and putting them to work. If the Arab nations that pressed the Palestinian people to become refugees had behaved similarly, these refugees would have been a short-term problem that would have disappeared about 60 years ago.

Up to and through the 1967 War

One of the biggest problems perpetually facing the new state of Israel has been trying to broker peace with the surrounding Arab countries. But some of the hostility was related to countries far beyond the Middle East itself. 

Britain’s retreat from protecting Israel at the end of WWII was a signal of its retreat as a world empire. Wherever it retreated, there was left a power vacuum, and at that point the prime candidate vying for that power was the Soviet Union 

The US approach was to encourage individual nations to fulfill their own national destinies, urging Greece, Italy, and Turkey to be responsible for their portions of the Mediterranean. And the US urged individual Arab countries to stabilize politically and economically. The US offered protection for these purposes, but did not impose authority over them. 

The Soviets, on the other hand, used subtle methods to incite violence and revolution. The US recognized what its Cold War enemy was up to, and in 1955 encouraged Arab nations to sign the Bagdad Pact, with the intent of communicating to the USSR: “You are welcome to trade and visit and so forth in peace, but not in war—not with espionage and sabotage and subversion.” Unfortunately, the US did not gain full cooperation of the Arab nations. Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Great Britain joined the US in signing the pact. But Jordan, Lebanon, and a conflicted Saudi Arabia leaned toward the Communists. And while Iran wavered and came our way, Iraq wavered and went to the enemy.  

Egypt, with Nassar new to power, signed an arms pact with the USSR. But the US countered with help building the Aswan Dam, plus wheat, food, and other aid to show friendship. For a while Egypt tried to balance friendship with both, but eventually leaned toward the Soviets. The US then withdrew help on the Aswan Dam under construction, so Nassar seized the Suez Canal and used resources from that acquisition to finish the dam. At that point Britain and France held interests in the Suez Canal, so they did what they thought was necessary to maintain trade there. 

In 1956 Nassar attempted to unite the Arab world by attacking tiny Israel. Israel, under the direction of a young General Moshe Dayan, launched a defensive attack, and Egypt retreated, in the fashion of Old Testament battles where the God of Israel went before them. Israel expanded beyond their original 1948 borders as a result of their defensive 1956 War, to cover the Sinai Peninsula. 

It was the US, threatening sanctions against Israel, in support of Nassar despite his affronts, that caused Israel to return to her original borders. The deal was, if Israel would remain within the original borders, the Aqaba Gulf would become international waters and would never again be closed.

As soon as Israel consented to this arrangement, the Soviets staged more power moves. They participated in murdering Iraq’s king, so that they could place their chosen people in power. And they attempted to take over Lebanon and Jordan. US Marines and Air Force, along with British forces, saved those two countries.

Back to the refugees. These Palestinian refugees, some of them previously successful and well-educated, were held as prisoners in the UN-sponsored camps. They were not allowed to get jobs; they lived in poverty. So it’s not surprising that from these hotbeds came a lot of violence. Attacks against Israel were continual. Ben-Gurion spent a long time urging his people not to retaliate, and he went through the UN to have grievances addressed. Finally, he gave the UN an ultimatum: either put a stop to the violence against us, or we will stop it. 

Since the UN continued ineffectual, Israel began to retaliate—hard. Jewish planes and tanks struck in the Golan Heights, north of the Sea of Galilee, both causing and suffering heavy casualties. Now, at last, the UN acted—by immediately condemning Israel. This became the pattern in and around Israel: Palestinian refugees and others attack Israel; Israel suffers in patience and then strikes back; and international condemnation of Israel ensues. 

During building-to-building fighting on the ground, one of the Arab tactics on the verge of defeat was to rip off their uniforms, down to pajamas, and hide under beds, saying “Shalom” to Israeli soldiers as they came. This led to confusion, causing a number of civilian, even Christian, casualties. Finding ways to make Israel look savage, and feed such images to the media, continues to be a basic tactic. 

In 1967, this ongoing fighting became a full assault. Israelis raced across the desert with the specific goal of destroying or capturing tanks and artillery provided by the Soviets to their enemies. There was no intention to capture and take over Egypt; there were certainly no additional resources for such an offensive strategy. The speed of the Israelis did allow them to seal off the Suez Canal, keeping the tanks from making an escape. Then Israeli aircraft bombed one of the lead tanks—with a guided missile that made a direct hit. The other tanks stopped, their hatches opened, and their crews made a run for it across the desert—leaving their boots behind, as the story goes, because running barefoot was easier in the desert. 

So, the Israelis captured over 350 tanks for their own future use, some of them so new they hadn’t even been painted with camouflage yet. 

Here’s an interesting detail. Unlike David Ben-Gurion, who was religious, most Israeli soldiers were not. They were Jewish ethnically, but mostly non-religious. Some believed in the destiny of Israel, but not Biblically, more patriotically. Following their amazing victory in the desert, however, these hardened soldiers returned to the city and joined their religious countrymen in tears and prayers at the Western Wall.  

During a religious service held at the wall, following the brief June 1967 War, a chaplain named Rabbi Gorin said this: “We have taken the City of God! We are entering the Messianic era for the Jewish people! And I promise the Christian world that we are responsible for, we will take care of, all the holy places of all religions here for all people! I promise them, we will take care of your holy places.” 

Prior to the war, Jordan had held all the land east of the Jordan River, plus some land on the west side. But their efforts to take more were thwarted. Israel held not only Jerusalem, but Bethlehem, Hebron (south), Nablus (north), and all the way to the Jordan River. The Jews fought in the north up to the Golan Heights and headed toward Damascus, which they could have taken at will. The Jews had suddenly increased their territory four-fold, without ever having been the aggressors. By the end of that week of fighting, Jordan, Egypt, and Syria had all retreated. 

Within a year, rather than wield authority over new territories, Israel ceded the entire Sinai Peninsula, keeping only the additional portions west of the Jordan River. The borders of Israel have continued to change over the decades since 1967, usually with Israel ceding land in an attempt to make peace with never satisfied neighbors.  

Tomorrow we’ll finally get to the current situation.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Returning and Reporting

I’m back home and beginning to regain contact with the online world. 

During last week’s conference I was able to attend a couple of lectures on Israel—the history and the current situation. I’m hoping that will enhance what I had already been planning to write. 

Next up is about the miraculous 1967 War. I’ll be working on that today, and hopefully post that piece tomorrow, which will be Part V in this series on Israel. Thank you for your patience during the week-long break. 

I had intended this series far ahead of Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Courage” event in Israel. I heard on the radio this morning that today is the day he is speaking there (available if you subscribe to I haven’t closely followed his plans, but in general I’m glad he is standing to support Israel and bringing attention to that little nation. Those efforts seem in line with my purposes in writing this series. 

Additionally, at the conference I attended, I heard many things related to philosophy and civilization. I can’t reproduce my notes here, but I’m hoping some of what I learned will fill out in my writing in days to come.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

R & R (Refreshing and Refilling)

I am taking a break before finishing the series on Israel. I expect Part V to be on the refugee problem and 1967 war, and Part VI to be on the current situation. But until I get them written I'm not certain.

I am on vacation, with very limited internet access. The posts earlier this week had been set up ahead of time or caught up this hour in the week that I had open near a library. So posting again is uncertain until I'm home in about a week.

I am at a conference, while also getting my daughter, Social Sphere, ready for her coming school year, and visiting my mom (where the computer and online world have not reached). The conference happens to be at my alma mater, where Spherical Model is studying, within an hour's drive of my mom's home. It is a very full week of classes on religion, family, and many other principles related to civilization. So I am taking enough notes to cause carpal tunnel and hoping to come away refreshed and refilled.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Israel, Part IV: Holocaust and Statehood

This if Part IV of a series on Israel, to cover some basic history and how we got where we are. For Part I covered ancient history; Part II covered Zionism; and Part III covered conflict and violence. Today we cover the Holocaust and statehood. This will take us up to 1948. It will take at least a couple more parts to get us up to the present.

It is impossible to overstate the effect of the Holocaust on Jews as well as on civilized people worldwide. As of 1933 there were about nine million Jews living in the 21 European countries. By the end of WWII in 1945 six million of them had been murdered—that’s two out of every three. The number included 1.5 million children.
To give you perspective, worldwide there are about 14 million Jews today. Six million of that number would be a known loss to every civilized person in the world—people they actually knew or loved ones of people they know. Compare to 9/11. That day we lost about three thousand; all of us know someone who was lost or who knew someone lost that day. We are a country of over 300 million. Twenty times that actual number of Jews were killed in the Holocaust, from a population much much smaller. If two thirds of the total US population were annihilated, that would be a loss of 200 million people. That’s how it felt to Jews in Europe.
But they were not allowed to immigrate to their homeland as promised, even to escape certain death from savage tyrants—because civilized people failed to keep their promises to them.
Despite betrayals against the Jews, among the British were 26,000 Jewish volunteers fighting against the Axis powers. In 1944 the Jewish Brigade became an independent military unit of the British army, seeing action in Egypt, Italy and northwest Europe. Following victory, these same soldiers joined the “illegal immigration” efforts to carry Holocaust survivors to Eretz Israel.
Victory against Hitler didn’t mean victory for the Jews. The White Papers had essentially nullified the Balfour Declaration, and they used diplomatic means worldwide to let their complaints be known. Diplomacy was not enough. People networked to smuggle in thousands of refugees past the British blockade. And simultaneously underground groups worked to defend Jewish neighborhoods, as well as supplies and infrastructure, from Arab attack. Some also worked to subvert British command. A handful were executed for their underground activities.
Working and fighting for their own survival, while simultaneously rallying support worldwide eventually resulted in delegations to the United Nations to explore the possibility of independent statehood. President Harry Truman took an interest almost as soon as he took office, and on Yom Kippur 1946 Truman declared his support for the Jewish Agency’s plan to partition the Palestine area into separate Jewish and Arab states.
Britain withdrew its paternal role, having failed to keep basic order, and referred the problem to the United Nations. After a UN study, a commission recommended that the Jews become sovereign over the area that included their main holdings (Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel-Aviv), and leave the rest to become an independent Arab state.

At the time, Arabs in the Jewish areas outnumbered Jews, and the partition severely restricted new settlement areas for the influx of European refugees. Nevertheless, the Jews agreed to the partition, and they continued diplomatic efforts, particularly to gain US support. Up until just days before the vote, the solution seemed impossible, but worldwide efforts finally came to fruition. On November 29, 1947, Resolution 181 was approved by the UN General Assembly—to much Jewish fanfare around the globe.
The Arabs outright rejected the partition. They responded by blowing up buses, attacking people in their neighborhoods and businesses, and destroying the main roads between Jewish cities. Jews were attacked throughout the Middle East.
With British protection withdrawing, Jews and Arabs struggled for control of strategic positions. Yet amid the conflict, on May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion declared the formation of the State of Israel. Within hours the Arab response was to bring in the armies of surrounding Arab countries, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and contributing forces from other countries as well, to “drive the Jews into the Mediterranean.”
Beleaguered new Israelis used light artillery and not much more than handguns and rifles to hold off the onslaught of the surrounding Arab world—and prevailed, slightly increasing their territory during the dispute
One of the byproducts of this battle to defend their right to exist was the refugee problem. That will be Part V.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Israel, Part III: Conflict and Violence

This is the third part of a series on Israel, to cover some basic history and how we got where we are. For Part I on Ancient History and Part II on Zionism, see last Thursday and Friday’s posts. Today we cover the conflict and violence that marked the decades prior to WWII. 

At the end of WWI, when the Palestine area came under British care, and Syria was placed under France, the local Arabs, rather than seeing this as a step toward independence and freedom, felt the world had betrayed them, eliminating the “protection” they had gotten under Turkish rule. 

Britain allowed the basically separated Jewish and Arab communities to essentially rule themselves. The Jewish community elected a self-governing representative body called the National Council, which implemented policies. And in 1922 they constituted a Jewish Agency to represent the Jewish people to the British authorities, and also to other foreign governments and organizations.  

City view taken by my niece during
this summer's semester abroad
During the next three decades, they developed agriculture, factories, roads, hydroelectric power, and tapped mineral resources. Cultural life abounded. Universities were formed. Art galleries and performance venues popped up, and there was lively discussion wherever people met to socialize. Also notable, the Hebrew language was revived as a living language, eventually developing vocabulary necessary for the modern world. Hebrew became one of three official languages, along with English and Arabic. 

Meanwhile, the Arabic people of the region resisted progress and felt threatened by both the influx of Jewish people and also the progress they instigated. 

Britain had additionally made commitments to the Arabs, simultaneous to the Balfour Declaration. Jewish leaders visualized a bi-national population, never meaning to limit the Arabs living in Palestine, but insisted that migration of Jews should never be restricted. The Jews put great effort into preserving Arab autonomy. In fact, at this beginning time, Arab leader Emir Feisal referred to Dr. Chaim Weizmann as “a great helper in our cause,” adding that he hoped “the Arabs may soon be in a position to make the Jews some return for their kindness.” 

World history would be different if this early working relationship had continued. Unfortunately, it didn’t last. The first anti-Jewish riots broke out on April 4, 1920, and continued igniting steadily over the next two decades. 

From what I can ascertain, this date could identify the introduction of terrorism into the world. Also, from what I can find, every riot was instigated by Arabs against Jews, never the reverse. Nor was there retribution beyond trying to quell the violence and hold perpetrators accountable. 

Yesterday we mentioned a couple of the reasons: Palestinian Arabs wanted to return to the older status quo. And they were upset that the malarial swampland and wilderness they had sold got turned into valuable farmland—and was no longer in their hands. But there were additional reasons. While Arab Muslims viewed the Bible as a sacred book, they did not accept as fact that the Jews had any divine right to the area Palestinian area. 

And then there’s the Dome of the Rock, one of the most sacred shrines in the Muslim world. It happens to be located on the site the Jews recognize as the historic location of Solomon’s temple—which they intend to rebuild. Muslims consider this a threat to their sacred site. 

The Zionists continued efforts to discuss the problems and reach an understanding with the Arabs, but they were unsuccessful. The British, as guardian of the region, first recommended in 1937 a two-state solution, one of Jews and one of Arabs. Jewish leadership considered the idea and decided to allow the Jewish Agency to negotiate for the proposal with the British government. The Arabs, however, absolutely and completely rejected any plan for partition. 

During this period, underground movements developed among the Jews, a kind of defense militia: Haganah (founded 1920), Etzel (1931), and Lehi (1940). Some of their acts included retaliation for Arab attacks and sabotage, as well as demonstrations against British restrictions on immigration. The least restrained of these was Etzel. All were disbanded at the founding of the Israel Defense Forces in May 1948. 

How to quell the continuing riots and attacks was an annoying concern to Britain. The most notable response was the series of directives issued in May 1939, called the White Papers, which severely restricted Jewish immigration to Eretz Israel—coinciding with the desperate need for Jews escaping from German Nazis to have a place of refuge. Nor did these restrictions appease the Arabs. 

Zionists remained consistent on two fronts: continue Zionist goals without compromise, and continue loyalty to Britain and the free world, despite what appeared to be a lack of loyalty in return. At the onset of WWII, David Ben-Gurion (who later became Israel’s prime minister,” put it this way: “We will fight the war as if there were no White Paper, and the White Paper as if there were no war.”

Tomorrow, in Part IV, we should get to the forming of the state of Israel.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Israel, Part II: Zionism and Migration

This is part II of a several part series on Israel, to give background to the conflict there today. For part I, see Thursday's post here.


Somewhere during the 19th Century, there began to be a worldwide desire among individual Jews to return to their homeland. Several influences caused this feeling to grow, mainly to escape the nationalism and anti-Semitism in Western Europe, and, even worse, the violent persecutions (pogroms) of Eastern Europe. 

Jericho Market *
In 1956 the first group of Jews tried to set up a Jewish-owned orange grove near Jaffa. This first wave of migration to Palestine (the Roman name for this Ottoman territory, not a Palestinian state) included about 25,000. But it didn’t work out well. These weren’t experienced farmers, and they were just about done in by malaria, the typical plague of swampland. But during this time the idea of Zionism grew around the world, thanks in large part to a mane named Theodore Herzl. 

During this period, freedom loving liberals in France (liberal in the classic sense, in favor of Republicanism instead of monarchy, with guaranteed individual rights) recognized persecution against Jews as wrong. A spy case against a man named Dreyfus was a catalyst; Dreyfus was falsely accused and twice convicted, when the actual traitor was liberated. The people recognized the wrong, replaced the leaders, and reinstated Dreyfus. It was the biggest issue of its day, and led to the end of state religion in France in 1905. 

Herzl dedicated his life to raising funds from Jews around the world to buy land in Israel to be settled by Jews. He died in 1904, but his influence had multiplied greatly to a worldwide movement, and others continued to seek an independent secular Jewish state in the area of Palestine. 

In Basel, Switzerland, August 1897, the First Zionist Congress set out the following formula: 

Zionism seeks to establish a home for the Jewish people in Eretz-Israel [land of Israel] secured under public law. The Congress contemplates the following means to the attainment of this end: 

  1. The promotion by appropriate means of the settlement in Eretz-Israel of Jewish farmers, artisans, and manufacturers.
  2. The organization and uniting of the whole of Jewry by means of appropriate institutions, both local and international, in accordance with the laws of each country.
  3. The strengthening and fostering of Jewish national sentiment and national consciousness. Preparatory steps toward obtaining the consent of governments, where necessary, in order to reach the goals of Zionism.
Jewish communities all over the world lit up over this idea, including in the US. Rabbis around the country became strong leaders in the movement. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, “This is a cause to which I will give my life.” He eventually stepped down from the bench and lobbied for the Jewish cause. He set up the Palestine Land and Development Company, the Palestine Economic Corporation, and the American Zion Commonwealth. He evidenced a rather new idea, ethnic American Jews, with the idea that “to be a good American meant that local Jews should be Zionists.” 


The Second aliyah—wave of immigration--was made up of several segments. The first was from Russia, escaping pogroms (bloodbaths), from about 1904 to 1914. These people were intrigued by some of the socialist ideas taking root at that time in Russia. They were interpreted in Israel as the kibbutz, a collective farm where everyone did manual labor. The people benefited from a natural willingness to be industrious. By the outbreak of WWI in 1914 there were 85,000 Jews in the Palestine region, compared to a mere 5,000 when the Ottoman Empire took control. 

Balfour Declaration

During WWI, the Zionists supported the Allied Powers, including the Jewish Legion under the British Army, and served in intelligence for the British. 

If you’ll recall, the Palestine region had been under the Ottoman Turks for 400 years or so. When there was finally hope that the British would be able to overcome the Turkish forces in Palestine, the Zionists sought reassurance that the British would commit to supporting Zionist goals. This was successfully done in the Balfour Declaration. In a letter from Lord Balfour representing the British Cabinet sent to Lord Rothschild representing the Zionists in Eretz Israel, the November 1917 declaration said this:  
“His Majesty’s Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
Following the Balfour Declaration, the aliyah (immigration waves) came in three segments: 1919-1923 mainly from Russia, about 35,000, mostly manual laborers, continuing the establishment of rural settlements. The next was from Poland between 1924-1932, adding small businesses and light industry in cities, mainly Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem.  The last segment came mainly from Germany during the 1930s, about 165,000, in response to Hitler’s rise to power. This group included professionals and academics, contributing significantly to education and intellectual culture. 

The significant cultural development in Eretz Israel is one of the main sources of conflict in the region. The native Arab peoples willingly sold land to Jewish immigrants; they were selling swamplands and worthless rocks. But then the Jewish communities drained the swamps, planted orange groves, and developed farmland—so it looked to the former owners that they were deprived unwittingly of valuable land. 

As the cities began to develop, there was the additional conflict between developing civilization and the nomadic Arabs, who preferred the simpler way things had been for millennia.  

That leads us to Part III next time, as conflict led to violence.
* The photo of the oranges in the Jericho Market comes from a beautiful photo book called, The Way, the Truth, and the Life: Images of the New Testament, text by S. Michael Wilcox, photos by Floyd Holdman and Don O. Thorpe, 2002, Covenant Communications. This photo is from p. 64, taken by Thorpe. This is merely a photograph of the page, which doesn't do it justice.