Thursday, September 15, 2011

Joe Walsh Isn’t Just a Jerk; He’s Really Stupid Too

A few weeks ago I posted a really funny video (Joe Walsh: Quit Lying) about deadbeat dad Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Illinois). If you haven’t watched the video, it’s well worth the three minutes it will take (and you can read what I wrote, too…). Anyway, yesterday I came across two new stories about Rep. Walsh that I wanted to share. One demonstrates that he’s simply a self-important jerk, but the other shows that he’s dangerously stupid, too.

Let’s start with the less egregious story. Apparently, the complaint by Rep. Walsh’s ex-wife about his failure to make child support payments finally went before a judge. But Rep. Walsh didn’t show up for the hearing (though his attorney did):

A Chicago judge issued a preliminary ruling Wednesday against U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) in his child-support dispute with his ex-wife, ordering the Tea Party favorite to explain why he appears to be $100,000 behind in child-support payments.

Cook County Circuit Judge Raul Vega also wanted to know why Walsh wasn’t in court Wednesday — the McHenry Republican’s ex-wife, Laura Walsh, was there — and initially said he expected him to show up for the next hearing.

In court, Walsh’s attorney, Janet Boyle, asked Vega “for what purpose” he wanted the congressman in court.

Vega gave her a puzzled look — to which Boyle responded: “Mr. Walsh is a U.S. congressman.”

“Well, he’s no different than anyone else,” the judge replied.

So Rep. Walsh, who likes to lecture President Obama about debt, not only doesn’t pay his child support obligations, he doesn’t show up to court for a hearing to determine if he wrongfully failed to make those payments, and, when questioned about his absence, his lawyer suggested that Rep. Walsh’s presence was either unnecessary or too inconvenient because Rep. Walsh is a member of Congress. A true man of the people. Like I said: Jerk.

But the more frightening story about Rep. Walsh has to do with an issue on which he and I actually agree: Support for Israel. I am very much opposed to the pending Palestinian Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). And I am also a strong supporter of a two-state negotiated resolution to the conflict. Some members of Congress have introduced legislation that will punish the Palestinian Authority if it elects to go forward with the UDI. There may be some merit to those proposals, though I’d want to be sure that any sort of punitive act did not have the unintended consequence of making peace or a negotiated settlement more difficult.

But Rep. Walsh, who apparently knows far more about the conflict than, say, Israel’s Prime Minister or the vast majority of the Israeli public, has a different idea:

With the U.N. showdown looming, some pro-Israel lawmakers have submitted bills that reflect their frustration with the P.A. — though few are expected to pass.

One such measure supports “Israel’s right to annex Judea and Samaria,” the biblical name attached to the area otherwise known as the West Bank. The resolution, which was submitted last week by tea party firebrand Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), accuses the Palestinians of breaking past agreements with the U.S. and Israel.

Modeled after a similar bill in the Israeli Knesset, the Walsh initiative maintains that if the Palestinians proceed at the U.N., the House will support a full takeover of the West Bank.

“My hope is that this will help buck up Israel,” Walsh said in an interview last week. “We're not going to get peace until the other side realizes that they're dealing with strength, that Israel and the U.S. are not going to back down.”

Left-leaning pro-Israel observers, though, slammed Walsh’s bill as destructive to the peace process.

“He's advocating a policy that would put Congress against a two-state solution,” griped Dylan Williams, director of government affairs for J Street, which is actively lobbying against Walsh's measure. “It’s a catastrophic tit-for-tat, a nuclear option.”

Walsh, however, denied that his bill would further damage the peace process or erode America's credibility in the region.

“What hurts the peace process is this continued practice of putting peace before Israel," said Walsh, who authored the legislation after meeting last month with arch-conservative Danny Dannon, a deputy speaker of the Knesset. “We've always worked under this paradigm where peace comes first and if we keep doing that, we're never going to get peace.”

Walsh asserted that “there is no such thing as a two-state solution, and no such thing as land for peace. The ultimate peace is going to come through annexation, through Israel having sovereignity [sic] over the whole land, from the Mediterranean to Jordan.”

Why is this idea so incredibly stupid? First, consider this: Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 (though today that occupation is far less than it was previously given that Israel has transferred control of much of the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority), but has not annexed it. Israel did annex the Golan Heights, captured in that same war in 1967. So why has Israel annexed one area, but not the other?

For one thing, how do you think that the approximately 2.5 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank will react? Will they march through the streets waiving Israeli flags or will those flags be burning as new violence ensues?

Or, think of the demographic and electoral changes that Israel would face if its population was suddenly increased by 2.5 million Muslims. Right now, Israel has approximately 5.8 million Jews (just slightly less than the number that Hitler killed…), 1.5 million Arabs, and about 320,000 from other groups. In other words, Israel’s Arab population is approximately 20% of the country. But if Israel were to annex the West Bank and absorb an additional 2.5 million Arabs, that percentage of the population would swell to about 40%. Moreover, the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza is presently growing at a rate of about 2.1%, the population of Israeli Arabs is growing at about 2.6%, while the Israeli Jewish population is only growing at about 1.7%. See any problems? How long before Israel would no longer be a Jewish state?

Now I suppose that Rep. Walsh or others who support the one state solution would argue that Israel simply shouldn’t allow the Palestinians the right to vote or be full participants in Israeli politics or society. But in that case, is Israel really a democratic state anymore? Those who oppose Israel have wrongly claimed that Israel is an Apartheid state. It isn’t. But if it were to restrict rights to political participation to a segment of the population based on race or religion … well, then, that charge of Apartheid might be a bit closer to the mark.

Or I guess Israel could ethnically cleanse the West Bank and forcibly remove all of the Palestinians (sending them where, I’m not quite sure). And while that has been the solution advocated from time to time by extreme and fringe groups within and without Israel, that is not a serious solution supported by many, let alone most, Israelis.

One other thing worth noting: The notion that Israel should annex the West Bank is a critical component of Christian Zionist ideology because, as I understand it, the second coming of Jesus is dependent upon Israel having all of that land. If Israel and the Palestinians reach a peaceful resolution that creates a Palestinian state on the West Bank, then the preconditions for the second coming would not be met. That is why you will often hear Christian Zionists (even if not self-identified as such) articulating the need for Israel to keep the West Bank.

Oh, the fact that a similar bill has been introduced in the Israeli Knesset is also completely meaningless. Recall that Israel is a vibrant democracy with representation for all sorts of groups (from anti-Israel Arab parties to Ultra Orthodox Jewish parties to far, far right settler parties). That a member of the Knesset might introduce a bill of that sort is no different than say … um … a far right member of the Tea Party who likes to ignore child support obligations introducing such a bill in Congress.

Rep. Joe Walsh is a jerk when it comes to his family; but when it comes to Israel, he is dangerously stupid.

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1 Comments:

At Tuesday, July 03, 2012 4:56:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerk Walsh is now claiming that his amputee-opponent is not a true hero because she publically refers to her war-time injuries too much. Dad-beat sperm-donor defining heroism... that's rich.

 

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