Jews Without Israel

In shul this morning, the second day of Rosh Hashanah, the rabbi spoke at length about the State of Israel. This is more surprising than you might think. I’ve been going to this shul since I moved to Brooklyn in 1999, and if memory serves, it’s only been in the last two or three years that the rabbi has devoted at least one of her High Holy Days talks to Israel.

Throughout the aughts, Israel didn’t come up much in shul. During flash points of the Second Intifada, you might hear a prayer for Jewish Israelis or nervous temporizing about some action in Jenin or Gaza. But I can’t recall an entire sermon devoted to the State of Israel and its meaning for Jews.

That’s also how I remember much of my synagogue experience as a kid. Don’t get me wrong: Israel was central to my Jewish education. My entire family—my five sisters, my parents, and my grandfather—visited there with our synagogue in 1977. Several of my sisters, as well as my parents, have been back. The safety of Israel was always on my mind; I remember spending many a Friday night service imagining a terrorist attack on our synagogue, so short seemed the distance between suburban New York and Tel Aviv. I wrote about Israel in school essays (I actually defended its role in the Sabra and Shatila massacre). I had a strong feeling for Israel (or what I thought was Israel): a combination of hippie and holy, Godly and groovy, a feeling well captured by Steven Spielberg in Munich.

But for all of Israel’s role in my Jewish upbringing, I don’t remember my rabbi talking about the state all that much. In fact, the only time I remember him bringing it up was in 1982, not long after Israel’s invasion of Lebanon. This was the first time that I became aware of international criticism of Israel. I had known, of course, about Arab and Palestinian opposition to the state, but in the world of American Jewry, that was all too easy to dismiss. The 1982 invasion, however, was especially controversial and brought Israel intense criticism from across the globe. Or at least sufficiently intense that I noticed.

Our rabbi—Chaim Stern, who edited the prayer book that’s now used at Reform synagogues across the country—was wry and erudite, not given to hot pronouncements. But something in the air that year stirred him to defend the State of Israel against its many critics. I’ve forgotten most of what he said, but one comment stuck with me: Israel should be allowed to be a normal state. We shouldn’t demand of Israel that it be a nation above others; we should let it be a state among others. Stern didn’t mean what many of us would now take that statement to mean: that Israel should be held to the same standard as other states, particularly states that claim to be liberal democracies. He meant that it should be free to hunt and kill its enemies. Just like any other state.

But aside from this one instance, my memory of my rabbi is that he was relatively silent on the topic. Israel was so much a part of the moral and material fabric of our lives that it didn’t require elaborate sermons and defenses or justifications. It (or an image of it) was something we lived rather than something we were lectured about.

And that’s how it had mostly been at the shul I now attend in Brooklyn. Until about two years ago. I remember the rabbi first taking up the topic in earnest in 2011 (or was it 2010?), almost apologetically, saying that we in the shul had been too quiet about Israel. It was time to talk. And by talk, she meant defend. Israel was under attack, politically and ideologically; its status in the culture could no longer be taken for granted. We had to speak up on its behalf. I remember wondering at the time whether she wasn’t responding to some specific call from other rabbis, a sense that Israel was beginning to lose control of the conversation not just internationally but in the US as well.

But what’s become clear to me since then—and this morning’s sermon confirmed it—is that it’s not the goyim the rabbis are worried about; it’s Jews. And not merely anti-Zionist, middle-aged lefty Jews like me but also younger Jews who are indifferent to Zionism.

In her talk this morning, the rabbi cited a statistic: where 80 percent of Jews over 65 feel that the destruction of the State of Israel would be a personal tragedy, only 50 percent of Jews under 35 feel the same way. I have no idea if this is true or what study it’s based on (this article in Tablet cites the same statistic), and admittedly it’s a high (and kind of weird) bar upon which to hang and measure support for the State of Israel. But my anecdotal sense is that there is something to it. Earlier this year, I had a drink with a 20-something journalist who’s Jewish. He said most Jews his age didn’t think or care all that much about Israel. Where Jews my age had to work toward our opposition to Israel—overcoming heated criticism and feelings of betrayal from friends and family—Jews his age, he suggested, could simply slough off the state as if it were so many old clothes.

But what most stood out for me from this morning’s sermon was how nervous the rabbi was about bringing up the topic. After talking a bit about how Israel felt to her as a kid (her memories are much like mine), she said that nowadays it seemed as if one couldn’t have a conversation with another Jew about Israel without fearing that it would explode into an argument. So fraught is the topic, she said, that many of us have opted not to talk about it at all. An uneasy silence had descended upon the Jewish community—an anxious modus vivendi in which we don’t agree to disagree but agree not to discuss—and it was this, more than anything, that worried her.

Now there are many reasons why a Jew would be made nervous by such a silence. Jews like to pride themselves on their tradition of argument and internal dissent. For every two Jews, three opinions, and so on. (That’s often not been my experience of Jews and Judaism, but it’s certainly a part of our sense of ourselves). Judaism, moreover, is not a religion of inner lights, of atomistic individuals who do their own thing. Ours is the religion of a people, a people with a rather insistent sense of collectivity. We do not shuffle into private confessionals; we declare our guilt publicly and communally. On Yom Kippur, we recite all the offenses we have committed against God and to each other (my personal favorite is “stiff-neckedness”). Individually, we may not have committed all of them, but that doesn’t matter. Somewhere, someone in the community did, and we’re all responsible.

But the rabbi wasn’t concerned about the conversation about Israel for these reasons. Something else seemed to be bothering her. If Jews can’t speak to each other about Israel, how can they defend the state to the rest of the country, much less the world? If defenders of Israel can’t make the case to the Jewish people, to whom can they make the case? Instead of issuing a call to arms, the rabbi pleaded for civility: let’s learn to speak to each other with mutual regard and respect, not to demonize each other simply because we take different positions on the State of Israel. Though she framed this as a universal injunction, I suspect she was speaking more personally. It seemed as if she felt like she had been demonized for her support for Israel (which is not, I should hasten to add, uncritical support but probably something closer to Peter Beinart’s liberal Zionism). And not by Arabs or the French, but by other Jews, perhaps even Jews in her own congregation.

I know how she feels. Though I grew up in a Zionist family, my position on Israel began to shift during my last years as an undergraduate in the late 1980s. In my junior year, I studied at Jesus College, Oxford. On the one hand, the experience solidified my identity as a Jew. Growing up in suburban Westchester, I never felt marked as other, as exotic or alien or strange. But at Oxford I did (I remember visiting a friend’s family over the Christmas holiday. Upon my arrival, the first thing they remarked upon was my being Jewish. It was as if they had been talking about it for weeks, wondering what they would do with this Jew once he crossed the threshold.) I came away from my year in England not only more identified as a Jew but also more interested in being Jewish.

On the other hand, that was the year of the Intifada, which set me on a path of questioning the State of Israel. When I returned to the States, I heard Edward Said speak on campus. I was mesmerized (anyone who had the privilege of hearing Said on Israel/Palestine knows what I’m talking about).

Coming out of these experiences, I recommitted myself to Judaism while rejecting Zionism. I learned how to be a Jew without Israel.

My break with Israel didn’t happen all at once. It was a process, but it did have an end point. In the summer of 1993, I was in Tennessee with my then-girlfriend, who was doing dissertation research there. Toward the end of the summer, I bought a copy of Said’s The Question of Palestine and read it in two days. As we drove back to New Haven, all hell broke loose. She was Jewish and at the time a firm if critical believer in Israel as a Jewish state. I began the car ride by voicing some tentative criticisms, but the conversation quickly escalated. It ended with me declaring that no child of mine would ever step foot in the State of Israel (I was kind of melodramatic in those days). We didn’t speak for a week.

That was my last experience of really getting into it with another Jew over Israel. I learned my lesson. I kept quiet. For about a decade and a half. The topic was simply too painful. I would only talk about it with ideologically sympathetic friends (and a couple of my sisters, who had come around to the same position as me) or with non-Jews. I couldn’t bear the feeling that I was being disloyal to the Jewish people; it was as if I had turned my back on my own family. I didn’t change my position; I just didn’t publicize or push it.

But something has changed in the last few years. The BDS movement has made great strides, critics like Ali Abunimah provide thousands of followers on Twitter with a constant stream of vital information we wouldn’t get elsewhere, books like Mearsheimer and Walt’s The Israel Lobby (whatever you think of its thesis) have blown open a topic long considered taboo, and respected voices in the mainstream media like Glenn Greenwald (and before him, Tony Judt) have made it possible for Jews to speak our minds on the topic. Now my little tribe within a tribe is more vocal, and suddenly it is our opponents who feel like they have to be careful around us and not vice versa.

I don’t want to overstate things. The pro-Israel forces still have an iron grip on the conversation in Congress (not to mention the expenditures and actions of the American state as a whole); critics of Israel are still vulnerable on college campuses; and lock-step support for Israel is still a requirement for mainstream respectability in most of the mainstream media.

I also wouldn’t want to make too much of a few sermons at my shul in Brooklyn, which despite being Conservative is politically progressive. I suspect the conversation in other shuls is rather different.

Still, if what my rabbi says is any indication, something may be happening in the Jewish community. If we look beneath the world of AIPAC and high politics, if we pay attention to the everyday conversation and its unspoken rules of discretion, we may be seeing a subtle shift in manners and mores that portends something larger and more fundamental.

I don’t know what that something larger is, or will be, and despite what Montesquieu and Tocqueville taught us, the politics of politesse is just that. Even so, for the first time in 20 years, I’m hopeful.

Shanah Tovah.


  1. neffer September 6, 2013 at 9:46 pm | #

    This is, notwithstanding my profound disagreement with you, one of your better articles. On the other hand, how you could take anything written by the – and I have chosen my words carefully here – literal hack Said seriously is beyond me. He did more harm to any serious study of the Arab regions and the great religions which have developed there than anyone in the US.

  2. J. Entin September 6, 2013 at 10:04 pm | #

    Powerful stuff, Corey! Thanks,


  3. Paul September 6, 2013 at 10:54 pm | #

    And don’t please overlook the brilliant work of Hilton Obenzinger at Stanford.

  4. Verax September 6, 2013 at 11:03 pm | #

    No mention of Noam Chomsky in your shout out to great Jewish dissidents on Israel?

  5. Steve September 7, 2013 at 12:11 am | #

    Good article, but don’t refer to non-jews as “goyim”, it can be taken as derogatory.

  6. Sallye Steiner Bowyer September 7, 2013 at 11:58 am | #

    Thanks – your article gives a great ‘feel’ for how Israel was a part of being Jewish for my generation & yours. I hope that’s changing.

  7. Jerold Hubbard September 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm | #

    This is an excellent article! When one looks at the History of the Jewish nation, they have ALWAYS been at their best of being a positive influence upon the world whenever they were NOT organized into a specific geographical nation or location, BUT, when they were scattered among the gentile nations!!! Look at the Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, (I especially liked Robert, He was brilliant and had a large part in actually figuring out how to practically tape into the huge energy potential within the nucleus of the cell…..BUT…he also knew how dangerous this knowledge could be if fallen into the wrong hands NO matter whose country had it’s power. For this he was dishonored by the very nation he helped win world power for, until later pardoned by president Kennedy I believe! How courageous was this), and others! The Jews were the first people to actually come up with a plan to help determine the sex of the babies, that actually stood up under scientific scrutiny!!! They kept meticulous records!!!
    This allowed them to come up with a way to help determine the sex of their babies!

    No one likes to be told what to do, what to believe, and why he should believe it!!!! Subconscious influence is a much better way to get highly intelligent ideas over! Of course, the bad thing about this method, is they have to match up with REALITY as it REALLY IS….or they do not work! Time will eventually erase or change all them!

    The same people that actually created Hitler, are still alive and well! What better way to get rid of a few Jews who want to rule the world as a prominent, dominant Nation….than to create a Israeli nation out of an already occupied area, build them up to where others want to come in to this nation….and PAINT a big red target on their backs (by committing selfish acts of terror)…to where one bomb could get rid of them all instead of hundreds of death camps.
    Corey did an excellent JOB!!

  8. Anat September 7, 2013 at 12:40 pm | #

    How sad. Even Jews are anti-Semites sometimes.

    • MSchweinsburg September 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm | #

      Cept Palestinian Arabs are Semites, too. Nice ad hominum, though, Zionist apologist.

    • Some Body September 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm | #

      You mean people like Israel’s current Minister of Finance (and his late father) who profess blind hatred toward ultra-Orthodox Jews for their poverty, Jewish heritage, and resistance to blunt militarism? True. These are anti-Semites indeed and that’s very sad.

      But what’s the connection to the present article?

    • mariapalestina September 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm | #

      And the majority of Israeli Jews are not semites. But let’s not quibble about that one, since the word has been co-opted to mean Jewish. In my opinion the only people indigenous to the land of Palestine are Muslims, Christians and Jews who are Middle Eastern – and semitic. Palestinians in fat. And even in Israel, Middle Eastern Jews are often considered “less than” the later arrivals from Europe.

      • Some Guy September 7, 2013 at 6:03 pm | #

        Not only has it been co-opted to mean anti-Jewish – anti-Semite was invented to mean anti-Jewish. So, it’s really being co-opted to be more inclusive.

        This isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but it is when its intent is to water down the ability to speak of the specific form of hatred that is directed against the Jews, as if anti-Jewish racism where wholly the same as other forms of racism. It certainly shares many qualities with them, but it has a distinct nature and history all its own, and which is important to understand if we’re going to talk about it intelligibly.

  9. Sarah Cohen September 7, 2013 at 12:46 pm | #

    Why do you mention the French along the Arabs as probable antisemites? Just in Western Europe, UK, Germany and Spain have worse opinion of Israel than the French. France is on par with Australia.

    Just so you know, it’s Germany that initiated the Holocaust. And the proportion of Jews killed by country shows that the Netherlands were far more antisemitic than France. Why would you think that France is especially antisemitic, when so many other European countries are objectively more antisemitic?

    • gay o'connor September 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm | #

      In fact, in 1941 there were a great many Jews in, surprisingly, Vichy France seeking, and being granted, asylum: Jews from occupied France, Germany, Poland, etc. Vichy France sought to get other countries to accept them because the burden was enormous – Portugal too many, the US refused! And eventually occupied France took those that remained and sent them to the camps. So not all France was anti-Semitic – at least at that point.

  10. BillR September 7, 2013 at 2:31 pm | #

    After 9/11, there was a process of “Israelization” of domestic and foreign policies, the bitter fruits of which are beginning to be felt even within the private lives of everyone in their homes as shown by out of control surveillance and shredding of Constitutional protections. The hateful nature of that settler, colonial society on the Med is a nightmare America’s better half is still trying to break free from but Zionist true believers would like nothing better than to drag US back to their vision of a permanent state of Apartheid for protection of a “higher grade race“.

  11. Mary Hughes Thompson September 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm | #

    Thank you for this, Corey. Interesting, illuminating (to me as a non-Jew) and funny. I enjoyed every word.

  12. Some Guy September 7, 2013 at 6:22 pm | #

    I’m curious what Corey has to say about some of these comments. While his piece rightly highlights the polarization of discussion on Israel, this polarization isn’t solely occurring on the “right” – although as he points out, his liberal Rabbi is among them, as are many other Lefties, so maybe we need another term?

    The reason I mention this is because there are a few comments with whom I, as someone who supports the right of the Jews to have a state in Israel but who is hopefully reasonable enough to talk about it, find totally inflammatory. When BillR talks about the shredding of the constitution as the “Israelization” of the United States, where exactly is a conversation to even begin? How do you talk to someone who believes that the nature of Israel is a “hateful” society that wants to drag the US back to its racist past?

    Certainly on the right there are those with whom it is impossible to talk, and I’ve encountered more of those than I would care to, but on a blog such as this, are BillR’s comments passing as acceptable?

    And I know that the standard response to such comments is to point out that the reality of life within Israel isn’t at all what BillR would have (even though few people would dispute how disgusting life is in the Occupied Territories): that it is democratic (including a large Arab population), that it often tolerant and inclusive, and that it is largely secular. Of course, my intention isn’t to whitewash any of its problems, including instances of its undemocratic actions, its intolerance or exclusivity, or its religiosity, instances which certainly do occur, but it is to point out that it is a complicated society, as are all societies.

    That this has to be established and defended, that an argument has to begin by establishing the general decency of a population, before anything else can even be said, doesn’t seem very promising. Moreover, it is the type of conversation that easily devolves into the familiar territory – having many Israeli family members and friends, how should I respond when BillR makes such blanket statements? It seems anti-Semitic to me, but to say so is to devolve into that other familiar territory in which the so-called right gets accused of trotting out that card to silence their opposition. But how else to label such comments?

    • gay o'connor September 9, 2013 at 10:59 pm | #

      Some Guy – 1. How can you, on the one hand, describe life in the Occupied Territories as disgusting, and also call Israel a democracy? When did the occupied get to vote in the Israeli Parliament?

      2. Following from your later comments, perhaps you might refer to criticism of Israel, not as anti-Semitic, but rather as anti-occupation?

  13. mariapalestina September 7, 2013 at 7:44 pm | #

    In response to Some Guy:

    “….as if anti-Jewish racism where wholly the same as other forms of racism.”

    On a subjective level, of course one is affected on a deeper level when the racism is directed at one or more of your own. I understand that.
    But racism is racism. Racism is bad. Racism against Jews is no better, no worse, and really no different from racism against people of any other group. To claim otherwise is exactly what angers people who are seriously interested in an equitable solution for the people of Israel and Palestine. This kind of rhetoric is perceived by many as just another example of some Jewish people claiming they are special; that Jewish suffering is different from other suffering, sometimes worse than the suffering of other people.

    • Some Guy September 7, 2013 at 8:05 pm | #

      You should read more carefully.

      I wasn’t making a normative claim about which form of racism is worse. I was making a claim that different forms of racism are different. Antisemitism has a unique history, as does racism against African-Americans, or any other group.

      As an example, within the United States, one of racisms forms against African-Americans has been the poll tax. For this reason, when modern day forms of voter disenfranchisement take place, many critics are quick to suspect that their might be underlying currents of racism. This doesn’t mean that it is always the case, but to suspect that it might be seems a very reasonable, historically informed, positions to take.

      To the best of my knowledge, however, poll taxes weren’t used against Jews in Europe. But as a counter example, their is a long history of “passion plays” in Europe, and knowledge of this history led some people to suspect something anti-Semitic to Mel Gibson’s movie. Regardless of whether or not it is anti-Semitic, knowledge of the particular forms that racism has often taken vis-a-vis different groups is one tool that helps us identify when it is happening to that group.

      So, back to my earlier point, which I’ll state more starkly now: the intellectual move, by some on the Left, to “reclaim” the term anti-Semitic as a term to refer to racism against both Arabs and Jews is a way of dulling down a language that we have for talking about the specific forms, and the specific history, of racism against Jews. I don’t think that those who employ this argument believe that that’s what they’re doing, as this argument cloaks itself in the type of universalist rhetoric that affords the arguer a sense of moral superiority (i.e. “I’m thinking about all people, not just the Jews”), but in the larger picture, that’s effectively whats happening.

      And to tie this all together with my other points, such arguments make it very difficult to talk with certain people on the “Left” about Israel, because sometimes (but certainly not always) an ignorant position (and I mean ignorant in the literal sense of uninformed) has cloaked itself in a language of moral superiority.

      • הפסקה September 13, 2013 at 9:49 am | #

        In reply to Some Guy’s question ” But how else to label such comments?” regarding BillR comment – you CAN name it – it is a rhetoric that was mastered by Bolshiviks. It is a populistic jibrish. Which is usefull to eliminate the diversity – are you with us, or are you an enemy. It is a very popular approach (and used not only by Bolsheviks – remember the slogan “Brazil, love it or leave it?” As you see not only the left is making use of this style). But to say this name is not a bon ton. Especially when it reminds the Bolshevik roots of the left, the roots most left-wing intellectuals would like probably to forget. As they are trying to forget the lessons of the Holocaust. When there was no Israel around. Now it is there. To stay. To be a shelter in need. To stand proud and not be spitted in the face. It is the only sensible beacon in the middle east. And yet – it shines too brightly for many. I agree with Anat – a pitty that anti-semitism – or it’s bon ton reincarnation of anti-Israel – is so popular with the Jews themselves. Indeed a paradox. I do not want to think what would happen to Jews all over the world in just one generation if the State of Israel will cease to exist.

        And to Corey – thank you posting this article. It put something on an agenda. Though I probably would not agree to many of your expressed and unexpressed opinions – I am glad that you have them and express them. Israel nowdays is very pro-freedom of speach, sometimes even too pro. I remember the times when Rabin was assasinated – people were afraid to say anything agains Rabin, or Oslo or the peace process – because people who expressed their opinion were prosecuted by community, labeled as fascits, and presented as anti-social elements that need to be finger-pointed. I hated this attitude. Thus even if I do not agree – you have every right to express what you think, what you feel. Thank you for beeing unafraid to express them. We can have an argument. But it is “we”. Not “me and my enemies”.

        Happy New year everybody and forgive me if I offended anyone (either by my english, or the content)

  14. John W September 7, 2013 at 10:22 pm | #

    Thanks Corey, for your calm, balanced recognition of Israel’s oppressive behaviour. Let’s hope this jolts at least some out of their devout denial of these injustices.

  15. Gaurav Khanna September 8, 2013 at 3:50 am | #

    Thanks for this candid article.

  16. BillR September 8, 2013 at 11:11 am | #

    It appears Israelis are tempting fate by moving too close to the embarrassment threshold beyond which decent people will want to wash their hands off defense of their supremacist state. This happened in white controlled Kenya 6 decades ago because the settlers:

    …were cut off culturally from the majority of society in Britain, ‘strangely out of step’, as Anderson puts it, ‘with everywhere else’, with the exception perhaps of the white-dominated countries to the south of them. They were very often arrogant and brutal, and long before the Mau Mau revolt were accustomed to treating their ‘natives’ like dirt. It was they who started the violence. Their upper-class kin in Britain, on whom the settlers relied to defend them in Kenya (Elkins calls them the ‘Old Pals Protection Society’), ultimately lost patience with them. Churchill thought they were as much ‘the problem’ in Kenya as Mau Mau. (Churchill had a surprisingly favorable view of the Kikuyu: ‘not the primitive cowardly people which many imagined them to be’, he told one of the settler leaders, ‘but people of considerable fiber, ability and steel’.) The man he sent to sort the settlers out in 1953, General ‘Bobby’ Erskine, soon got the measure of them: ‘I hate the guts of them all,’ he wrote to his wife just a few months later. ‘They are all middle-class sluts.’ (How they would have hated that ‘middle-class’.) Kenya was ‘a sunny land for shady people’. By 1960 even the most reactionary of the upper classes back in Britain were ‘too embarrassed’ by their ‘excesses’ to defend the settlers any longer…The puzzle is why they were allowed to get away with it for so long.

    It is hard to imagine a respected author writing the type of blather about Israeli society of the type Saul Bellow produced 4 decades ago in To Jerusalem and Back: A Personal Account. Of that book Chomsky in his 1983 book Fateful Triangle: the United States, Israel & the Palestinians wrote, “[Bellow] sees an Israel where ‘almost everyone is reasonable and tolerant, and rancor against the Arabs is rare,’ where the people ‘think so hard, and so much’ as they ‘farm a barren land, industrialize it, build cities, make a society, do research, philosophize, write books, sustain a great moral tradition, and finally create an army of tough fighters.’

    It’s as if someone from New York were to go to a major city in Africa made up almost entirely of white settlers, where the percentage of black people is below that in cities on other continents like Paris, Brussels, or even Stockholm nowadadays and fail to notice the absence of black people:

    Although 20% of Israeli citizens are Palestinians, only 4.2% of Tel-Aviv residents are. For a major city, that is an impressive lack of diversity. Moreover, almost all these Palestinians live in a few segregated neighborhoods in the far end of Jaffa, mostly Ajame. Excluding these marginal and poor neighborhoods at the edge of the city, Tel-Aviv is almost completely free of Arabs. As such, the city no doubt constitutes a demographic miracle. The below-margin-of error percentage of Arabs in this “diverse,” bustling, Mediterranean metropolis is lower than in Paris, Geneva London, or Brooklyn.

    The avoidance of Israel in even liberal discourse that Corey mentioned is an advance signal that unless Israelis are willing to ‘get back in step’ with the rest of civilized world they may end up marooned with just their 200 nukes left to keep them company in their “villa in the Jungle” as Ehud Barak calls it.

  17. Jon Butter (@JonButter2) September 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm | #

    “How do you talk to someone who believes that the nature of Israel is a “hateful” society that wants to drag the US back to its racist past?”

    You start by trying to understand what he’s saying on its own terms before forming an opinion. Notice that he’s talking about a political phenomenon in the US, not a simplistic characterization of Israel. In fact, ‘Israelization’ by definition takes place elsewhere than Israel. To get a handle on the difference between the one and the other, think about the difference between the Israeli press and the American – the mainstream Israeli press is actually more liberal and diverse than the US one. You can be much more critical of Israel in the mainstream Israeli press than you can be in the US press (lest you be called anti-semitic). As you suggest, the American conventional wisdom about Israel is different from the reality; the problem for you is that it’s opposite to what you want to be alarmed about: Israel has always been and still is admired for its ‘can-do’, ‘toughness’, etc. Israel is the darling of reactionary American politicians, who have actually coordinated politics with reactionary israeli politicians in recent years. On the American side, the political phenomenon we’re talking about is expressed as – surprise! – authoritarian and reactionary. (Timorous liberals just go along, as usual).

    You could respond to what he actually said rather than what you feel is rhetorically convenient for him to have said: the ‘hateful society’ he refers to is the settler culture (which you call ‘disgusting’), not Israel as a whole.

    • Some Guy September 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm | #

      Perhaps you should take your own advice, Jon.

      Firstly, he refers to the entirety of Israel as a hateful settler society.

      Secondly, I’m not even sure what you’re attempting to explain by your explanation of an “Israelization.” You offer an example of how Israel is more liberal than the US, then explain how an Israelization is a term that refers to an authoritarian and reactionary political move. Given your example, shouldn’t an Israelization refer to an improvement in democratic freedoms, than?

      But outside of the strange logic you use, how would the term chinafication strike you? Or, africanization? Or, mexicanization? Can you imagine such terms ever being used in a non-racist way? Beyond the inherent essentialism, which itself isn’t a sign of an open mind, I’d be surprised if the term africanized (for example) were used to descrbe a new strain of bumblebee that was more peaceful than others, producing more honey than others. Right?

      • Jon Butter (@JonButter2) September 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm | #

        It is you who is impossible to talk to ‘Some Guy’. You are not bound to accept what anyone else thinks, naturally, but if you can’t argue in good faith, which includes trying to understand what your interlocutor means rather than just looking for rhetorical openings, then there’s no point in my bothering with you. You don’t *want* to understand, so why should I waste time? I’m done.

        Ok, I just have to ask: are you saying that referring to ‘killer bees’ as ‘africanized’ is racist? How could ‘Israelization’ be a racist term if Israel is, as you say, pluralistic, democratic, and secular?

      • BillR September 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm | #

        Something on which the <a href="”>well-being of the rest of your weekend may depend:

        What this means for contemporary Jewish discourse is critical: Even though many contemporary Jews are not observant, pilpul continues to be deployed. Pilpul occurs any time the speaker is committed to “prove” his point regardless of the evidence in front of him. The casuistic aspect of this hair-splitting leads to a labyrinthine form of argument where the speaker blows enough rhetorical smoke to make his interlocutor submit. Reason is not an issue when pilpul takes over: what counts is the establishment of a fixed, immutable point that can never truly be disputed…The rhetorical tricks of pilpul make true rational discussion impossible; any “discussion” is about trying to “prove” a point that has already been established. There is little use trying to argue in this context, because any points being made will be twisted and turned to validate the already-fixed position.

        Pilpul is the rhetorical means to mark as “true” that which cannot ever be disputed by rational means.

        The contentiousness of the Middle East conflict is intimately informed by pilpul. Whether it is Alan Dershowitz or Noam Chomsky, both of them Ashkenazim who had traditional Jewish educations, the terms of the debate are consistently framed by pilpul. What is most unfortunate about pilpul–and this is something that will be familiar to anyone who has followed the controversies involving Israel and Palestine–is that, since the rational has been removed from the process, all that is left is yelling, irrational emotionalism, and, ultimately, the threat of violence.

      • donald September 8, 2013 at 5:07 pm | #

        I read Bill R’s link, where he uses the term “Israelification”–and rather than complain about the term perhaps you could tell us whether the article he linked is accurate or not. And I have seen people use similar terms–when speaking about Republican actions in appealing to white racism people talk about a “Southern strategy” and when speaking about Republican attitudes towards poor people and minorities, again some think there is a cultural link to Southern attitudes. People sometimes describe modern American Presidential politics as a re-enactment of the Civil War. In other words, if someone refers to white Southern attitudes in this derogatory fashion, we all know what is being discussed, even if we also know that many white Southerners are in fact liberal or at least non-racist.

        Israel couldn’t be a Jewish state without the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians back in 1948–something that was denied for decades. It would be a miracle of a country which basically re-enacted 19th century settler colonialism was truly liberal in its attitudes towards the people it displaced. And given that Israel is spoken of in such reverential tones by our politicians, it would also be a miracle if some of their attitudes towards how to deal with the threat of terrorism weren’t taken as a model. In fact, after 9/11 I heard people say “this is what the Israelis experience”. That meme, where we and the Israelis are in this together against a bunch of irrational killers is something that people reach for in our culture whenever there is a terrorist attack. Calling this the “israelification” of our attitudes seems fair to me. But I don’t think Israel is a model to be followed, so if I use the term then yes, I mean it as a criticism.

  18. jhh1822 September 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm | #

    If you send me an e-mail address, I’ll send you the d’var I gave at the same shul a year ago, in an effort to (re)launch our Israel Committee. We welcome your participation on that committee, by the way.

    J. Henning

  19. BillR September 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm | #

    oops, sorry about bad link in last post. Here is the corrected link.

    • Some Guy September 8, 2013 at 5:54 pm | #

      Right, because those who disagree with me must be irrational, and their arguments are never anything but rationalizations – and distinctively Jewish ones, at that.

      If what I hear whenever my opponent speaks is pilpul, who isn’t listening to whom?

  20. George September 8, 2013 at 5:36 pm | #

    We never read about Italians rejecting Italy’s existence. Or Arabs rejecting the existence of Arab countries. Or Muslims rejecting the existence of Muslim countries. Or Japanese rejecting the existence of the Japanese country. Or anybody else doing this sort of stuff. Yet extreme-left, kapo, antisemites like Corey Robin and his intifada/jihadist allies sit every day ranting about how Jews are rejecting the one Jewish country.

    No. Jews aren’t doing that. Normal people aren’t doing that. Only extreme-left antisemites, crackpots, and misguided trash, and their intifada/jihadist lunatic allies, are the ones rejecting Israel.

  21. ApeANDPig September 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm | #

    You don’t find it freaky to read posts by so many non-Jews describing with certainty how Jews today are thinking (a Mondoweiss commenters specialty)? Apparently (I didn’t realize this) that we’re turning against Israel.

    Me, I just watch the 200000+ actual young Jews go Birthrighting.

  22. Fnlevit September 8, 2013 at 9:07 pm | #

    It is a dangerous illusion that Jews can be anti-Zionists. Anti-Zionism is a one way street to anti-Semitism (see my unposted comment on Mondoweiss about this – the so called “moderators” censor it out). And antisemites are anti all Jews not only anti those who are Zionists. In fact they do not really care, dear Jews what your political convictions are. Nazis didnt distinguish between Zionists and Communists. Of the more modern history here are twomexamoles?
    Number one :
    How to Survive as a Jew in Sweden

    link to

    My son was wearing his kippah as we got on the train. He loves his kippah. He is not yet old enough to know the dangers entailed in wearing it, for this is a fact from which I have tried to protect him. But April 26 would change all that.

    There was a gentleman sitting in our reserved seat. An Arab, maybe fifty years old, listening to music. Apologizing for the inconvenience, I asked him politely for our seat. He got up, inspected my son, and then leaned over me, saying: You people always take what you want. You need to learn.

    He then walked straight into my son, causing him to fall over, and took the seat behind us.

    And another example :

    BDS supporters chanting “Shoot the Jew”. Not “Shoot the Zionist” mind you.
    link to
    And the BDS head defending ‘Shoot the Jew’ chant

    • DanDan September 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm | #

      I thought I am the only one who was moderates in Mondoweiss but it seems it is a common practice against pro-Israel reader their. Many of my comments were not published, so people thought I ignore their questions. I had to contact twice the editor and asked her to publish comments which were important to the sequence of the debate. One important comment, about the difference between the Palestinian and Jewish refugees, was published after I changed it several time, leaving behind many important facts.
      Most of the readers their practice propaganda techniques in which they always find the way how to blame Israel. I met their very little sympathy to other Middle East minorities tragedies. When I wrote about the destruction of Christian communities in Arab countries, the killing of hundreds of them and shrinking of many communities, not even one was brave enough to express sympathy, only states that Israel is the main problem and the center of Christian communities tragedy. Not even one could argue the fact that many Christian Palestinians join the IDF since the “Arab Spring” when they realize what exactly happen to different minorities in ME countries.
      Very bad experience but it strengthened my views about Israel and Zionism and our need for Jewish homeland. I became “more Zionist”.

      • fnlevit September 12, 2013 at 5:39 pm | #

        I have posted below another comment related to what is happening on Mondoweiss. They function under a motto “The war of ideas in the Middle East”. What a parody! They effectively block all pro Israeli posts using various techniques. One is exactly what you described – they would let you post one comment and block any of your responses to the attacks of the blog’s usuals which essentially amount to spitting hatred and venom against Israel. The blocking of your responses naturally gives an impression that you have nothing to say, sort of admit that their low level repetitios remarks are correct.

  23. hophmi September 9, 2013 at 10:58 am | #

    There isn’t much in this article that is accurate.

    No one prevented Corey Robin, or any other Jew, from criticizing Israeli policy in the past, and there has never been a shortage of Jews who have done so. There are a number of Jews, just about all on the radical left, who have created a sort of victim narrative for themselves of a past world in which, they say, they were “silenced” and unable to speak on Israel. Sadly, in doing so, they’ve internalized many of the antisemitic tropes of past, placing the American Jewish community at the center of world affairs, and using the language of antisemites to describe their own community, claiming that Jews are so financially and politically powerful that they deserve to be criticized collectively, in language that would never, ever be tolerated for other minority groups in this society. That is the main theme of Mondoweiss, the blog which agreed to republish this post.

    “The pro-Israel forces still have an iron grip on the conversation in Congress (not to mention the expenditures and actions of the American state as a whole)”

    No group has an “iron grip” on Congress, and the debate over the last couple of weeks over Syria shows what a lie that is. Anti-Zionist forces will do everything to deny the basic fact that the American people generally support pro-Israel policies over pro-Palestinian policies by a factor of about 8 to 1, and pro-Israel groups simply marshall that support to achieve a political objective. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped Corey’s friends at Mondoweiss and elsewhere from claiming that Jews who support these policies are dually loyal and that groups like AIPAC are a fifth column acting on behalf of a foreign agent.

    One wonder how “pro-Israel forces” maintains an “iron grip” on the “expenditures and actions of the American state as a whole.” What does that mean, Corey?

    “critics of Israel are still vulnerable on college campuses”

    This is part of the victim narrative. The truth is that it’s exactly the opposite. It’s pro-Israel forces who are vulnerable on college campuses, where pro-Israel speakers are regularly heckled and shouted down, their lectures jammed by pro-Palestinian students who walk out and refuse to listen to any perspective that is not their own, and in some cases, are threatened with physical violence and are thus unable to speak.

    In a country where the Middle East Studies Association is overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian, and not bashful about it, the idea that they are ones who are vulnerable is aberrant nonsense.

    ” and lock-step support for Israel is still a requirement for mainstream respectability in most of the mainstream media”

    Again, this is bull. There are many critics of Israel in the mainstream media. They are not, however, generally supportive of the BDS position, which is essentially the one-statist perspective. So they are in “lock-step support of Israel.”

    The notion that rabbis are reluctant to talk about Israel because of the BDS movement is something of a conceit. It is true that in a few places, like Corey’s Park Slope congregation, rabbis are reluctant to face the shrill voices of BDS advocates, who like nothing better, it seems, than to dump on liberal Zionists, who make up the vast majority of these communities. If Mondoweiss is any example, and if last year’s campaign by them to boycott Israeli products at the Park Slope co-op is any example, they’re simply people who are difficult to deal with, generally closed-minded to any perspective besides their own, and openly dismissive of those pro-Palestinian Jews who think the way forward is to work with the Palestinians to achieve a two-state solution. That was my experience with BDSers at last year’s panel on the issue at Congregation Beth Elohim. Most of them were completely unwilling to engage in dialogue with liberal Zionist Jews, and quick to dismiss the work of those who had devoted substantial parts of the their lives to helping Palestinians build their state.

    In most other places, the failure of rabbis to regularly address the subject of Israel is actually a reluctance to offend Jews on the hard right, who are the BDSers biggest beneficiaries, and like BDSers, also shrill and closed-minded. But in most congregations, there is no reluctance at all.

  24. edward scott September 9, 2013 at 2:05 pm | #

    When young Orthodox Jews on the street, selecting targets for their leaflets, (a Rabbi’s portrait painted on the side of a parked campaign truck like a Mayoral candidate), ask me if I’m Jewish, I imagine answering ” I’m not, not Jewish” which means, for me, that I’m Jewish by default, having long ago thrown off dogmas of Irish Catholicism, becoming a self aware Catholic Hypocrite, or as I imagined saying, “I’m not, not a Jew “. That’s too complicated to discuss on the street.

    Being not, not Jewish, I’ve noticed the reluctance to criticize Israel among ourselves, and back stiffening brisling with non Jews. (not unlike the sensitivity in Northern Ireland discussing the Catholic, Protestant issues)

    Being not, not Jewish, occasionally spying in the non Jewish world, I’ve been surprised anti- Semitism is still alive and well. Some otherwise liberal acquaintances, primed with criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians have flabbergasted me with Jewish plot theories. Unfortunately or fortunately, prejudices is still a valid modulator of Jewish identity, deeply and not so deeply buried, hence the weirdness of today’s Corey’s blog.

    Israel, without the adjective is, or should be treated and criticized like any other State. In reality the burden adjectives like “Jewish”, “Christian” and “Muslim” solidify competing identities. There are individuals within each of these groups finding shared identity with each other beyond religion, and therein is the hope.

  25. matthewlarocque September 10, 2013 at 7:36 pm | #

    Great points, Professor Robin. I’m of Jewish heritage (on my mother’s side) but have no religious education or practicing affiliation, Jewish or otherwise. I, too, have complex feelings about Zionism, but often feel like I lack the legitimacy to express my views in the same room with other Jews. I’ve always liked the maxim that the people you’re with are always far more important than the place you reside, and this post is a great celebration of that core belief.

  26. Jgncs September 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm | #

    Very well written. Congrats

    • Luke Marr September 10, 2013 at 8:56 pm | #

      Seconded – a very well written post with some well supported views. I would love to hear what you have to say about Syria and the situation over there at the moment. No, it may not be overly related, but I imagine you would put forward a good argument.

  27. Ashana M September 10, 2013 at 9:10 pm | #

    An ability to talk about the issue with civility and respect would be a great start.

  28. Linda-Marie McCormick September 10, 2013 at 9:20 pm | #

    I enjoyed your article … thank you.
    A Christian fan 🙂

  29. abbbz September 10, 2013 at 9:44 pm | #

    This is an interesting article. I am just wondering how after what happened in WWII any Jew (religious or not) can have anything but appreciation for the State of Israel. At the end of the day it will be the only place in the entire world that will take us in when our host country decides it is done dealing with their Jewish population. So like their policy or not, best believe that G-D forbid the day that OUR homeland is taken from us, the nations of the world will let us all know how they feel about us.

    • John W September 11, 2013 at 1:02 am | #

      And many are “just wondering how after what happened in WWII any Jew (religious or not) can” employ such rhetorical tricks of pilpul to justify the continuing crimes of the State of Israel against Palestinians, both occupied and within the state apartheid. “At the end of the day it will be” the only group in the entire world that will believe abbbz, are his/her own group of deniers. We do not want to take your state from you, only end the suffering of your victims, restore their human rights and hand back their illegally occupied land.

      • gay o'connor September 11, 2013 at 1:10 am | #

        This is a very switched-on comment John W; many who feel the same way could not have said it better, or even half as well.

      • abbbz September 11, 2013 at 9:31 am | #

        As I do feel badly for the people that have been hurt, I ask this of you. Would you say that the Americans should return the land to the Native Americans that were here living before us? As per your statement “and hand back their illegally occupied land” we too as Americans are living in illegally occupied land. .What the forefathers of this country did to those tribes is no different than what you allege the Israelis are doing to a country of terrorists. What happened when we did return land a few years back? Hamaz and Hezbollah took control and to this day are shooting rockets into mainland Israel. How would you feel if Mexico or Canada was shooting upwards from 50 rockets a day into your backyard? How do you think THIS country would deal with that?

        Should you only watch American television then I can understand what you are saying, but speak to an Israeli-my sister perhaps that has to have bullet proof windows in her car to get home at night so ensure the safety of her family. Or ask me who lived in Jerusalem in 1996-1999 and was eating lunch at a cafe on busy Ben Yehuda Street and if I stayed for dessert I would be dead because a terrorist blew up some garbage cans in the center of the walkway of the street.
        The leaders of the Arab nations that are in control of that area are to blame. They keep their people poor and full of hate so that they use terroristic tactics to show the rest of the world how terrible the Israelis are.
        Ask most Israelis and I can guarantee that they will tell you that they want to live in peace.
        If a group of post WWII holocaust survivors can rebuild the desert into a thriving country in 65 years what is the excuse of the Palestinians who have been there for hundreds of years?

  30. awax1217 September 11, 2013 at 6:33 am | #

    Many years ago I was at a conference with Abba Eban. He spoke elegantly on the state of Israel and this was around 1980. His observance of the makeup of Israel was that as the inhabitants of the state were all pushing for the voting right in the country it was doomed. As the Arab non-Jewish population was increasing and pushing for voters status they would eventually rule the country. The Jewish people would become a minority in their own state.
    The second problem is the mixture of Jewish people who have intermarried. A Jew is born from a Jewish mother. As many new children are born from a gentile and a Jew marriage the amount of Jewish people decreases. The population of the Jewish people is not rising rapidly and the lack of fervent Zionism will further weaken the state of Israel. Israel gets a lot of money from the participation of the Jewish population in the United States and that is on the decline.

  31. atlanticcus September 11, 2013 at 6:41 am | #

    Hmmm…. One thing that hurts me a lot is when people categorize themselves to be Jewish, Muslim or Christian …and start to talk about how great their religion or whatever is or they constantly talk about that Jewish or Muslim thing like if nothing else was more important. Coming from Czechoslovakia we were never bothered by what someones religion was. But I did experience this religious shock when I moved to London and later when I traveled around the Western Europe. For some reason most of the guys I knew were Jewish and they were pretty zionistic in their attitude which was really upsetting me a lot. They cannot stand a critique while there is no problem in criticizing other religions or wishing them death. The only down to earth guy was a Jewish guy from Germany and I have the same experience with Jewish people from Eastern Europe and Czechoslovakia. None of them bothers to talk about their religion or even say hey I am Jewish and so on. I think there is a big difference between Jewish people from Europe and those from Middle East, UK or US which are in my opinion pretty aggressive and separative. And then they cannot understand why people hate them. Well no wonder if you are separating yourself from others, they are not really going to like you. In the first place we are all people it doesnt matter what our religion is. I also think that to create a state where only people of one religion are based is pretty mad. Even though I understand the holocaust thing. But during the communism many more Christians were brutally killed. Still I think it would be a better idea if Jewish people would live among us as they always did. No need to go to Israel for that. There is no WW2 anymore. And then as a European Id rather live in Europe than in Middle East with so many problems and poverty they have. I feel blessed that I am living here.

    • mariapalestina September 11, 2013 at 4:21 pm | #

      Thank you for your comment. I couldn’t agree more with every word you wrote.

    • bensday823 September 22, 2013 at 12:14 am | #


      I am personally not Jewish; my father is a non-practicing Jew and my mother is a congregationalist (protestant sect). I am also not religious as a matter of personal choice. I’ve been informed by religious Jews, such as Corey Robin, that I am not Jewish (or as Robin would put it a goy), but I’m not offended or upset. Jews have a right to live by their own beliefs as long as those beliefs don’t infringe on others rights. If religious Jews personally don’t want to get intermarried that is their choice. If they want to keep Kosher that is their choice.

      As for the existance of Israel, Czechoslovakia was partitioned into two states for two peoples. The Slovaks wish to live in a state where they can make the rules according to their beliefs and culture, are you ready to stop them? Countries are frequently partitioned on ethnic, religious, or linguistic lines. Far from being an example of “racism” it is absolutely essential for making those places functioning states, and ending sectarian strife and violence.


      • atlanticcus September 22, 2013 at 7:13 am | #

        People who are not separating themselves into groups are the best people and best healers. Because they understand we are all humans and we are all brothers.When I cut myself from others it is only because I think I am more than others. Every person that is separating himself creates hate and creates his own karma. Such people usually blame others for their own problems and misery and are very aggressive. Everything that is separative in the end will destroy itself.

        • bensday823 September 24, 2013 at 7:05 am | #

          Good luck changing the behavior of the 99% of the world who are not perfectly universalist in their sentiments. And perhaps that’s for the best, universalist movements haven’t panned out the way people hoped.

          • atlanticcus September 24, 2013 at 7:07 am | #

            If you would really understand my point of view, you would probably never give me such an answer. Btw good luck with your negativity. This is exactly what world needs…

          • bensday823 September 24, 2013 at 7:16 am | #

            Most Jews do not belong to the 1% of the world that is perfectly cosmopolitan and universalist, and your very disappointed. After re-reading your original comment, I think you need to take a good long look in the mirror before accusing others of being “small-minded.”

          • atlanticcus September 24, 2013 at 9:23 am | #

            ????? are u paranoid or something? Things ur accusing me from I have never wrote and have nothing to do with what I wrote. Go an argue with someone else. It seems u love accusing people of you self projected dirt…

      • BillR September 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm | #

        @atlanticcus, Thanks for the video link. A little too pat for my tastes, but still something that moves one away from “that way madness lies” so beloved of diehard Zionists. The French thinker Gilles Deleuze, who was also suspicious of cloying humanism, put similar thoughts into words in a more secular register:

        You first see the horizon and you do know that it can’t sustain itself in time, that it is not possible, that those millions of people who starve from death, that can still last for a hundred years, but eventually we cannot stand this absolute injustice. That’s not a problem of moral, that’s a problem of perception. If we start by the whole, that is it to be from the left. It means that we can call and consider that those issues are the one to be solved. And that does not mean at all that we should say that we should diminish birth rate, etc. because saying that is just another way to conserve Europe’s privileges. This is not it. It’s really about finding the worldwide arrangements that will solve those issues. In fact, to be from the left it is to know that the Third World’s issues are closer from us than our neighborhood’s issues. It is really a problem of perception, it’s not a problem of beautiful soul. That is mainly what is it to be from the left for me.

  32. segmation September 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm | #

    I share you hope as well. May we have a good and happy new year.

  33. Genie September 11, 2013 at 11:16 pm | #

    “But what’s become clear to me since then—and this morning’s sermon confirmed it—is that it’s not the goyim the rabbis are worried about”

    Let me be very clear: non-Jews do not like this racist term “goyim”, same with “Gentile”. They are both racist terms that are the equivalent of the N word; and, it is the exclusivity and the notion of “chosen people” that is the root cause of anti-Semitism; anti-Gentilism, precedes anti-Semitism.

    • Corey Robin September 11, 2013 at 11:35 pm | #

      I haven’t commented on anything in this thread. But this one calls for a response. You do realize that this is one of the oldest anti-Semitic charges in the anti-Semitic book, right? That it was the Jews who brought anti-Semitism upon themselves because they chose to set themselves apart, because they claimed they were the chosen people. I might have explained why I chose to use the term “goyim,” but I find this statement of yours so offensive that I won’t dignify it with any more of a response than what I’ve just said. People have been accusing the Jews of bringing on their own persecution and oppression for centuries (and genocide more recently). You’re just one more in a long and sorry history. Always, as is the case with your blog, in the name of “love.”

      • Genie September 12, 2013 at 12:31 pm | #

        “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, ruler the universe who has not created me a woman.”
        “The “has not created me a woman” blessing is part of a subgroup that expresses similar gratitude for not having been created a gentile (i.e., a heathen) or a slave.”

        Dr. Eliezer Segal is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary. A native of Montreal, he holds a PhD in Talmud from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of Holidays, History, and Halakhah

        Professor Robin, please enlighten us all and post the name, author and ISBN number of the book you refer to: “the anti-Semitic book”.

  34. godtisx September 12, 2013 at 10:15 am | #

    I honestly don’t know that much about Jewish culture or the different trains if thought regarding Israel, but I’m reading more and more via blogs. So, it’s an education. I just wanted to say I found your post interesting and well written, funny too. All the best Corey.

  35. fnlevit September 12, 2013 at 11:49 am | #

    One can not be a Jew and anti-Zionist. Unless you are on your way to not being a Jew. I mean you, your family, children, grands… stopping with all this Jewishness. Then it is fine. Really. No problem.

    But if you want to remain a Jew then you cant be anti-Zionist. Why is this so? Take (you tell me) e. g. the anti-Zionist blog Mondoweiss which is run mostly by Jews. It is an example, no? Well, let us see.

    Look at the pages and pages of that blog. Imagine an alien coming and reading them. Israel is behind the massacre in Egypt. Israel is behind the horrors in Syria. Israel and Jews control US government, US Senate and Congress. Israel is stealing money from US budgets (tens of billions every year) so US can not repair bridges, … . Rahm Emmanuel was a Mosad agent… Israelis control a great deal of information and are capable of whipping Congress. It’s a settled fact!!! Etc, etc… et cetera.

    So – Israel is the biggest demon of the modern world. For Mondoweiss what happens to Palestinians is already a minor issue. Thousand were killed in Syria but who cares. Any news can and are being actually used there to “demonstrate” that Israel is a real villain behind and serve as a spark to pour out most vicious hatred and venom, against Israel as a state. Not against its particular government (which is a legitimate criticism in any democracy and this is what is done by Israeli democratic press all the time ) but against the state, it’s actual existence, against 80% of its people.

    Now back to the alien. And to the all important last step in the logic – from anti-Zionism to anti-Semitism. After reading all this do you think our alien will thoughtfully say ” OK, this is clearly all against Israel but has nothing to do with the Jews. certainly not Jews in Europe or US or Australia, etc”. Well, if the alien comes from a civilization based in Si with a brain like the computer I am typing on then may be the silicon logic will bring him to the above conclusion. But if he is made of the stuff like we are or is one of the innocent, busy with his own life representatives of non Jewish populations of Europe, US, UK, etc then with high chance after reading Mondoweiss pages or listening to the BDS speeches, or talking to this student representative recently elected to the board of UC or to the meeting you organized in your college he will come out with one conclusion “Those Jews are really something else, what they do to our world, to our bridges, to my budget, to my schools and Universities , to my Government, TO MY WORLD!

    I hope it is clear what will follow. Don’t just type in your quick response. Better think. THINK. THINK what you are doing. AND STOP.

    • bensday823 September 21, 2013 at 11:53 pm | #


      Not every anti-Israel person is an anti-semite. On this thread BillR is clearly a bigot, but the others clearly aren’t.


  36. Night Owl September 12, 2013 at 11:02 pm | #

    Excellent post and fascinating discussion. Interesting that no mention has been made of Israel’s insistence on settling and holding on to the West Bank. To many non-Zionist American Jews, that was the turning point, that was where we were reminded that we, as a people, are no better than any other people, and that a Jewish state could also be authoritarian and oppressive.

  37. marymtf September 12, 2013 at 11:07 pm | #

    Cory, inserting the word shul every other minute doesn’t necessarily make you a Jew, just as knowing what the word means doesn’t necessarily make me one. I mean, who is your intended audience? What do you believe would happen if the Jews left Israel to the Arabs? Given what’s going on in Syria right now and what’s been going on in the Middle East since the dawn of time, you can’t possibly imagine the world would finally have peace from terrorists or bomb makers? Not making that the issue of your article, or at least a part of it, is a shame.

    Genie, calling non-Jews goyim can’t possibly compare to the N word and the sort of suffering that African Americans have had to experience. And whoever said it on this blog, Jews are not the chosen people, Jews are the people chosen to be the world’s scapegoats. There’s hardly been a moment in history when Jews were not somebody’s scapegoat or the possibility of that was hanging over their heads as long as they had no homeland to go to. Semantics aside, Genie, I’d say that more offensive than the word goyim, is the separation between the terms racist and anti-Semite. I don’t think there should be a distinction.

    Cory, where do you live? In the US? Then you and the rest of the non-indigenous mob should move out – pronto – and leave the country to the American Indians. In fact same goes for any place wherever in the world there are non-indigenous people who have or whose ancestors taken over a country that was not terra nullius.

    • gay o'connor September 13, 2013 at 8:05 pm | #

      Marymtf – you suggest that all of us who live in a country where the original indigines have been dispossessed should move out and give them back their country. The big difference between us in the US, Canada, Australia et al is that the colonialisation of our countries took place hundreds of years ago when colonialism was the norm. I’m not saying it was acceptable, in fact it was horrible particularly for the people dispossessed. But the difference now is that (i) colonialism is now completely unacceptable; and (ii) our indigines have the vote.

      • marymtf September 13, 2013 at 9:03 pm | #

        Gay, I don’t know when your indigenous people got the vote, where I live it was in my lifetime. I imagine that as they would have seen it, finally allowing the first peoples the right to vote in their own country would have been more of an insult than a privilege. I’m not sure I understand your point. Is there a limitation on dispossession? You might want to ask the descendants of the dispossessed in your country how they feel about having their land invaded and overrun by white people. From what I read and from what I hear about how the indigenous today feel about the matter, the dispossession could have happened yesterday rather than hundreds of years ago. So, basically, it’s not how we feel about returning their land to them, but how they feel about us leaving.

        • gay o'connor September 13, 2013 at 9:18 pm | #

          Yes it was in my lifetime here, too. But the point I was making is that at least the Aborigines are now recognised as citizens with full citizenship rights. Unlike the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. And while the Israeli parliament makes laws governing those people’s rights, and those people have no vote in the Israeli parlt. then it cannot truly be called a democracy. That’s all.

          • marymtf September 14, 2013 at 7:09 am | #

            Gay, I believe that 20 per cent of the population in Israel are Arabs; they can vote, and stand for parliament and do anything an Israeli can do except join the Israeli army. That’s seems to be full citizenship too. I’d say that was democracy. But why worry about it if the rest of the region works so well without it.
            As for the Aborigines, no amount of full citizenship can make up for the fact that their land was stolen from them. They know it, they feel it, even now. And they resent it.

          • gay o'connor September 14, 2013 at 8:29 pm | #

            You are right abut our Aborigines – no amount of full citizenship can make up for their loss and they do still feel it, very strongly. Some of us understand their pain; others ridicule it.

            As to the Palestinians, those living in Israel proper do get the vote but those in the occupied territories don’t. And they must feel, just as strongly as our Aborigines, a great sadness and anger at the loss of their land.

          • marymtf September 14, 2013 at 9:04 pm | #

            Well, that leads me back to my first statement, Gay. Ask any indigenous person in whatever occupied country they live and to this very day they will all say (if asked) that they would prefer us all to clear out of their country. We don’t get a free pass just because we feel bad about it and certainly not because it’s been hundreds of years and it’s too hard to resolve. To feel bad about it yet do nothing surely makes us hypocrites. And we cannot be selective about who is exempt from action and who is not. I doubt either of us is going to convince the other, Gay, so, I at least would prefer it if we dropped this discussion and left this issue unresolved.

          • gay o'connor September 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm | #

            I wasn’t aware I was trying to convince you of anything, nor that you were trying to convince me of anything. In fact I thought I was agreeing with you. But OK, let’s leave it.

      • BillR September 14, 2013 at 12:30 am | #

        Endlessly harping on evils of the past when it comes to indigenous people is a standard talking point of Hasbara. Some interesting info on this form of propaganda here.

        • gay o'connor September 14, 2013 at 3:06 am | #

          BillR – Thank you for the reference to the the Chomsky article. I imagine you’ll get a lot of comments for referring to him, as he has never really been flavour of the month in either Israel or the US. I found it very interesting, particularly the comments on Peace Now which I thought was a movement calling for an end to the occupation, (by which I mean withdrawing to the 1949 Armistice lines). Similarly, I thought Rabin was murdered because he was thought to be a traitor to Israel for expressing the same views. Seems I was wrong on both counts.

      • BillR September 14, 2013 at 8:35 am | #

        yes, interesting remarks on the “whole cult in Israel of deception of the West.” Gore Vidal is also not popular in many quarters, but he too was quite good at exposing cults:

        Unfortunately, the hurried recognition of Israel as a state has resulted in forty-five years of murderous confusion, and the destruction of what Zionist fellow travelers thought would be a pluralistic state–home to its native population of Muslims, Christians and Jews, as well as a future home to peaceful European and American Jewish immigrants, even the ones who affected to believe that the great realtor in the sky had given them, in perpetuity, the lands of Judea and Samaria. Since many of the immigrants were good socialists in Europe, we assumed that they would not allow the new state to become a theocracy, and that the native Palestinians could live with them as equals. This was not meant to be. I shall not rehearse the wars and alarms of that unhappy region. But I will say that the hasty invention of Israel has poisoned the political and intellectual life of the USA, Israel’s unlikely patron.

        Unlikely, because no other minority in American history has ever hijacked so much money from the American taxpayers in order to invest in a ‘homeland’. It is as if the American taxpayer had been obliged to support the Pope in his reconquest of the Papal States simply because one third of our people are Roman Catholic. Had this been attempted, there would have been a great uproar and Congress would have said no. But a religious minority of less than two per cent has bought or intimidated seventy senators (the necessary two thirds to overcome an unlikely presidential veto) while enjoying support of the media.

        • John W September 15, 2013 at 3:34 am | #

          Thank you BillR for this cogent response to the fog of rhetoric obfuscation and sophistry, posing as debate. I hope at least some of the staunch deniers can grasp the basic immorality of Israel’s continuing occupation and annexation Palestinian territory. Israel’s subtle limitations and humiliations on their Palestinian citizens are equally repugnant. I recommend reading Chomsky’s article on the “Peace Now” subterfuge (–.htm ) with an open mind.

          • gay o'connor September 15, 2013 at 3:51 am | #

            Phew! Well said John W.

      • BillR September 15, 2013 at 11:09 am | #

        Thanks, it appears that the “social democrat” stratum of Israel that once cared about keeping up appearances (for instance by promoting the trope of “Shooting and Crying”) has been pushed aside by those who feel no need for sugarcoating the “redeeming” of God-given land by way of “gun Zionism”:

        Given the might of Israel’s warriors and the vulnerability of their targets, now that the country no longer engages in wars against other state armies and has justified its nickname (Israel Occupation Force), the shooting and crying image is hard to keep alive…The Israeli social stratum for which the image was existentially crucial has not only lost hegemony, it has been severely marginalized. The war adulation displayed by pro-Israel demonstrators in Los Angeles recently is horrifying, but you couldn’t call it hypocritical.

        One of the perpetual debating points in Israel is why the World consistenly fails to see things from the our point of view, but here too the fault may lie not in the stars but in ourselves:

        …as Israel loses interest in finding a solution to the Palestinian question that would meet the minimal moral standards of the Western World–either “one man one vote” or complete Palestinian sovereignty over a contiguous territorial unit–Hasbara efforts are just likely to draw more attention to the ongoing Israeli failure to live up to the promise of its talking points, and will shed more light on the ever-growing gap between the model, picture-perfect democracy reflected in brochures and the grim reality on the ground.

      • bensday823 September 21, 2013 at 11:42 pm | #


        For Gore Vidal american support for Israel proves that Jews run america. It is impossible for him to imagine any other explanation, such as non-Jews sympathize with Israel, or Israel was a counter weight to Soviet client states, etc.


  38. fnlevit September 14, 2013 at 9:22 am | #

    1. If something is “a standard talking point of Hasbara” it does not mean it is wrong. Anti-Israeli propaganda on the other hand typically ommits few impotant details in describing Israeli actions so that they appear just cruel. Checkpoints is a good example. No reference to the reasons of why does the army have to waste its resources to man and manage the checkpoints.
    2. Insting on the “colonization” interpretation of Israel is projecting your guilty feelings on others. Jews lived there and many Jews returned to their homeland. To colonise they could go to Argentina or Australia or Canada, etc. Many went. Many went to US. Those who went to Palestine returned home. And they did it under the initial formal approval of the British and the Ligue of Nations. And in fact the world applauded them – just recall the 1958 novel and 1960 classic movie Exodus.
    3. Another group of people claimed the same territory as their home – the Palestinians. Some lived there many more came roughly when Jews began to return. Because Jews brought prosperity which attracted immigration from neigbouring territories. Here is a quote from 1948
    “The Jews point with pride to the fact that over 500,000 Arabs, in the 12 years between 1932-1944, came into Palestine to take advantage of living conditions existing in no other Arab state…”
    4. The resolution of the conflict between the two national groups was the UN partition plan. Which Israel accepted but Palestinians did not. Arab Liberation (Salvation) Army was formed and was joined by Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq army units. A quote from the famed R. Kennedy reports in Boston Post

    “When I was in Tel Aviv the Jews informed the British government that 600 Iraqi troops were going to cross into Palestine from Trans-Jordan by the Allenby Bridge on a certain date and requested the British take appropriate action to prevent this passage. The troops passed unmolested…

    “I saw several thousand non-Palestinian Arab troops in Palestine, including many of the famed British-trained and equipped Arab legionnaires of King Abdullah. There were soldiers from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Trans-Jordan, and they were all proudly pointed out to me by a spokesman of the Arab Higher Committee… Every Arab to whom I talked spoke of thousands of soldiers massed in the ‘terrible triangle of Nablus, Tulkarm, Jenin’ and of hundreds that were pouring in daily… ”

    And …..the war ended with an unexpected Israel victory and what is now called ’67 borders. The Judea and Samaria were occupied by Jordanians which seem to be the ones who gave this area the name West Bank.

    5. To reiterate – Palestinians and Atan states started the war and LOST. Loosing war of aggression must have a price. Remember – this was just after WW2. Germany lost – Germany paid. Territorially.

    6. As a result two groups of refugees appeared. Again a quote

    Between 600,000 and 760,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from the area that became Israel and they became Palestinian refugees. The war and the creation of Israel also triggered the Jewish exodus from Arab lands. In the three years following the war, about 700,000 Jews immigrated to Israel..”

    7. Arab countries did not accept their defeat. “We shall bring Moslem brigades from Pakistan, we shall lead a religious crusade for all loyal followers of Mohammed, we shall crush forever the invader. Whether it takes three months, three years, or 30, we will carry on the fight. Palestine will be Arab. We shall accept no compromise”'s_1948_visit_to_Palestine

    8. Fast forward to ’67. Another war initiated by Arab states, another defeat. As a result Israel occupied Sinai, Golan heights and the West Bank.

    9. IMPORTANT – a few days after the war ended Israel offered to withdraw to ’67 borderes in return for peace. What was the Aran countries responce – the Khartoum Arab League Resolution with “what became known as the “Three No’s”: “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.”

    10. …………

    • gay o'connor September 14, 2013 at 8:21 pm | #

      Dealing with just a few of your points – 3: The annual “Report by His Britannic Majesty’s Government to the Council of the League of Nations on the Administration of Palestine and Trans-Jordan” lists, year by year, the immigration of Jews and Arabs. There is very little immigration by Arabs – growth is generally by normal means, ie by way of birth. Whereas growth in immigration of Jews is much much greater. So those reports, made during the Mandate, don’t bear out your assertion that Arab immigration followed Jewish immigration.

      Point 4 – you say the Jews accepted the Partition Plan. They did not. Even before they declared the State of Israel on May 15th 1948 they had taken large parts of the land that was allocated to the Arabs. When Ben Gurion made his unilateral declaration of the state, as the British were leaving, Arab armies moved in to protect what was left of those lands meant to be for the Arabs. And did not proceed into any of the lands allocated to the Jews. Further, the Jews never accepted Jerusalem to be an international city, which was part of the Plan.

      The Arabs did not accept the Partition Plan – true- because it “gave” to the Jews 55% of the land, when they were at that time 13% of the population, owning 8% of the land. Would you have accepted dividing up your land in this way? Don’t think so.

      Which brings me to point 5 – the Arabs did not start the war. The Jews started it as soon as the Plan was promulgated, by capturing areas not in “their” part of the land. They were fighting against the British at that point. The Arabs “invaded” what was to be their own land.

      1967 War – started by Israel. In fact they used to boast of their pre-emptive strike and how clever they were – until it became better for their PR machine to say they did not start that war.

      • fnlevit September 14, 2013 at 10:53 pm | #

        1. Concerning the 1948 – You can read in details in

        It is a long description with repeated scenario – Arabs were successful at the beginning but Jews slowly overcame and won.

        Some quotes
        “In the immediate aftermath of the General Assembly’s vote on the Partition plan, the explosions of joy among the Jewish community were counterbalanced by the expression of discontent among the Arab community. Soon after, violence broke … Between 30 November 1947 and April 7, 1948, 959 Palestinian Arab civilians died, and 1,941 were wounded, while Jewish civilian deaths were 840, with 1,785 wounded.”

        From January onwards, operations became increasingly militarized, with the infiltration of a number of Arab Liberation Army regiments inside Palestine. They consolidated their presence in Galilee and Samaria.[43] Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni came from Egypt with several hundred men of the Army of the Holy War. Having recruited a few thousand volunteers, al-Husayni organized the blockade of the 100,000 Jewish residents of Jerusalem.[44] To counter this, the Yishuv authorities tried to supply the city with convoys of up to 100 armored vehicles, but the operation became more and more impractical as the number of casualties in the relief convoys surged.”

        This situation caused the US to withdraw their support for the Partition plan, thus encouraging the Arab League to believe that the Palestinian Arabs, reinforced by the Arab Liberation Army, could put an end to the plan for partition.[citation needed] The British, on the other hand, decided on 7 February 1948, to support the annexation of the Arab part of Palestine by Transjordan.”
        “The Zionist leaders deeply, genuinely, feared a Middle Eastern reenactment of the Holocaust, which had just ended; the Arabs’ public rhetoric reinforced these fears”.

        Arab Legion was considered the most effective Arab force. Armed, trained and commanded by British officers, this 8,000–12,000 strong force was organized in four infantry/mechanized regiments supported by some 40 artillery pieces and 75 armored cars.[102] Until January 1948, it was reinforced by the 3,000-strong Transjordan Frontier Force.[105] As many as 48 British officers served in the Arab Legion.[109] Glubb Pasha, the commander of the Legion, organized his forces into four brigades
        Iraq’s army in 1948, had an of 21,000 men in 12 brigades and the Iraqi Air Force had 100 planes, mostly British
        Egypt’s army in 1948 – Initially, an expeditionary force of 10,000 men was sent to Palestine under the command of Maj. Gen. Ahmed Ali al-Mwawi. This force consisted of five infantry battalions, one armored battalion equipped with British Light Tank Mk VI and Matilda tanks, one battalion of sixteen 25-pounder guns, a battalion of eight 6-pounder guns and one medium-machine-gun battalion with supporting troops.
        Etc Etc. It was a fairly long war. I maintain from reading that it is clear that Arab were not happy and initiated most of the actions. Initially they were successful but at the end they LOST.
        Now you try to justify why Arabs did not accept the partition. The important point is – they opposed the UN decisions and Israelis not. So they acted illegally.

        2. About the 6 days war. Again read
        In May 1967, Nasser received false reports from the Soviet Union that Israel was massing on the Syrian border. Nasser began massing his troops in the Sinai Peninsula on Israel’s border (May 16), expelled the UNEF force from Gaza and Sinai (May 19) and took up UNEF positions at Sharm el-Sheikh, overlooking the Straits of Tiran.[16][17] Israel reiterated declarations made in 1957 that any closure of the Straits would be considered an act of war, or justification for war.[18][19] Nasser declared the Straits closed to Israeli shipping on May 22–23. On May 30, Jordan and Egypt signed a defense pact. The following day, at Jordan’s invitation, the Iraqi army began deploying troops and armored units in Jordan.[20] They were later reinforced by an Egyptian contingent.

        During May and June the Israeli government had worked hard to keep Jordan out of any war; it was concerned about being attacked on multiple fronts, and did not want to have to deal with the Jordanian West Bank. However, Jordan’s King Hussein got caught up in the wave of pan-Arab nationalism preceding the war;[g] and so, on May 30, Jordan signed a mutual defense treaty with Egypt, thereby joining the military alliance already in place between Egypt and Syria. The move surprised both Egyptians and foreign observers, because President Nasser had generally been at odds with Hussein, calling him an “imperialist lackey” just days earlier.[147] Nasser said that any differences between him and Hussein were erased “in one moment” and declared: “Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel. The Arab people want to fight.”[147]

        On June 3, days before the war, Egypt flew to Amman two battalions of commandos tasked with infiltrating Israel’s borders and engaging in attacks and bombings so as to draw IDF into a Jordanian front and ease the pressure on the Egyptians. Soviet-made artillery and Egyptian military supplies and crews were also flown to Jordan.[151]

        Israel’s own sense of concern regarding Jordan’s future role originated in the Jordanian control of the West Bank. This put Arab forces just 17 kilometers from Israel’s coast, a jump-off point from which a well-coordinated tank assault would likely cut Israel in two within half an hour.[151]

        Speaking to the UN General Assembly in September 1960, Nasser had stated that “The only solution to Palestine is that matters should return to the condition prevailing before the error was committed — i.e., the annulment of Israel’s existence.” In 1964 he said, “We swear to God that we shall not rest until we restore the Arab nation to Palestine and Palestine to the Arab nation. There is no room for imperialism and there is no room for Britain in our country, just as there is no room for Israel within the Arab nation.” In 1965 he asserted, “We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand, we shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood.”[154]

        President Abdul Rahman Arif of Iraq said that “the existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is an opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948”.[155] The Iraqi Prime Minister predicted that “there will be practically no Jewish survivors”.

        On June 1, Israel formed a National Unity Government by widening its cabinet, and on June 4 the decision was made to go to war. The next morning, Israel launched Operation Focus, a large-scale surprise air strike that launched the Six-Day War.

        3. Most importantly Israel warned Jordan that if it does not intervene Israel will not fight with it. But King Hussein was misled by Egyptians and started military actions getting Israel response and eventually loosing East Jerusalem and the entire West Bank. Read Hussein personal account.

        • gay o'connor September 15, 2013 at 12:03 am | #

          yes a great deal of blood was spilt. And you have regurgitated the bloody promises made by the Arabs – what about the Jews? Read the doings of Lehi, Irgun, Stern, Haganah, et al and their boastings. And read what Ben Gurion said about Deir Yassin – along the lines of “without Deir Yassin we could not have taken palestine.” And yes I know the Israelis won and the Arabs lost. But you refer to the UN decisions as giving a sort of imprimatur to Israel’s wins – what about after? What about the resolutions calling for withdrawal to 1949 lines? What about the findings based on International Law about the settlements? Your premise is that winning means might is right. Right?

      • gay o'connor September 19, 2013 at 9:29 pm | #

        fnlevit – you recite large parts of Wikipedia frequently. So have a look at those parts of the Partition Plan and which towns/cities the Plan proposed be in Arab hands. eg. The “Terrible Triangle” of Nablus, Tulkarem and Jenin, you refer to, were to be in the Arab part. So, perhaps. That is why the Arab armies were stationed there? Given what the Jews were doing in other parts of Palestine, and given that apparently the Brits were unable to stop them in the so-called War of Independence, what did you think might happen once the Brits left? Jews withdraw from Arab lands they had already taken? Don’t think so. And certainly not according to Ben Gurion’s earlier promise to them that they would eventually have the whole of the land between the Med. and the Jordan. (Have a read of his own writings on this.)

  39. fnlevit September 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm | #

    War is a mess. All I was trying to say is that it was a war after and had any of them ended differently we both know what it would have meant for the Jews. No refugees but a total slaughter. So let us see – the ’48 war started (I maintain that it started by Arabs but it is immaterial – level of hostilities was so high so it just started). Then there were months of fighting with rather heavy casualties (on both sides) with huge numerical inequalities in troop and most importanly human resourses – and Jews somewhat miraculously won.

    You suggest that after that they should have gone back to the ’49 lines (with hostlities and desire for the revenge even stronger, much stronger) and wait untill Arabs gain strength, get more prepared and no doubt start again. With the numerical disparity probably tens of millions vs 600.000 at that time it was clear that in this way Jew would loose eventually. No, say you, go back nonetheless because it is a moral thing to do and risk (no, be sure knowing the parties involved) that it starts all over again.

    Look at other wars – US won with Germany in WW2 and what? Did it withdraw to prewar lines? It actually occupied Germany untill almost the time of unification, i.e. late 80’s. 40 years!!! Same with Japan. US won and withdraw? US still has a military base in Okinawa and other places. Of course also Russia was and is a factor in all this but with us it was all the surrounding Arab countries to fear . So? Should Israel have retreated to ’49 lines nonetheless. Interesting to know your (and similarly thinking people) answer. Aftre I hear it we will talk about what happened latter. Waiting to hear… Honestly….

    • mariapalestina September 16, 2013 at 1:52 pm | #

      After World War Two did the U.S. it demolish the homes of thousands of Japanese and German civilians in order to build illegal American colonies (or Christian colonies) in Japan and Germany? Did it place hundreds of thousands of Americans in the middle of these countries? Raise the American flag and declare this was now part of the U.S.? Is the U.S. still destroying homes in Japan and Germany? Ruling their countries? Killing and imprisoning and torturing their citizens with impunity? Making their lives hell on earth? It’s time Israel stopped playing the eternal victim card. The victim long ago became the victimizer. Time to end the occupation. Remove the settlements from Palestine. Go home to Israel.

      • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm | #

        You should add one more question: are Americans receiving accusations of illegal U.S. actions by accusing its accusers of a species of racism that betrays a desire to re-open the gas chambers to finish off the genocidal project of killing Americans?

  40. fnlevit September 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm | #

    OK, so at least you agree that Israel could not withdraw to ’49 lines after it won that war? We can talk what happened later but let us agree step by step. All I want to establish is that there were two sides to the conflict and the present awfull situation is not just one side’s fault.

    Concerning Americans and UK and Russians and French in Germany – just imagine Germans had continued to resist in say 50’s or 60’s and rose against the winners (as Arab did with Israel). Can you imagine what US and UK and especially Russians would have done there? Houses destroyed? People killed? How about whole cities erazed to the ground? Germany surrended and as a nation decided that it is enough, it is time to built things not fight again.

    That was not so with the Arabs countries. Remember Khartoum resolition with the three famous no’s? That was after another two defeat – in ’67.

    Also note – there were hundreds of thousands US and UK and Russian troops sationed there for tens of years. They built houses for them. I saw such areas for US citisens in several places in Germany. These were huge places, like towns in towns, street after sreet. With US flags on poles and English speaking schools and kinderardens and transportaion and guards and fences.

    • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 16, 2013 at 2:55 pm | #

      You have an indefensible position. The US did not force the Russians, Germans or the Japanese into refugee status after WWII, did not take over their homes, did not send Americans to occupy their homes, did not fight their recognition as nation-states with voting power in the United Nations. German, Russia and Japan are not “the occupied territories”. They are sovereign nations. A status totally denied the Palestians to the present hour.

      • bensday823 September 24, 2013 at 11:01 pm | #

        Germany also surrendered, something you conveniently left out.

  41. fnlevit September 16, 2013 at 3:34 pm | #

    You must be kidding. Your position is undefencible, combatant. More than 12 mln Germans were expelled from various territories at the end of the war. Just read

    The later stages of World War II, and the period after the end of that war, saw the forced migration of millions of German nationals (Reichsdeutsche) regardless of ethnicity, and ethnic Germans (Volksdeutsche) regardless of which citizenship, from various European states and territories, mostly into the areas which would become post-war Germany and post-war Austria. These areas of expulsion included pre-war German provinces which were transferred to Poland and the Soviet Union after the war..

    The expulsions were part of the geopolitical and ethnic reconfiguration of postwar Europe; the Allies wanted to create ethnically homogeneous states in East-Central Europe because the German minorities were perceived as potentially destabilizing….

    By 1950 total of at least 12 million Germans had fled or were expelled from east-central Europe, some sources put the total at 14 million if one counts emigrants to Germany after 1950 and the children born to the expellees. This was the largest movement or transfer of any population in modern European history. The largest numbers came from the former eastern territories of Germany acquired by Poland and the Soviet Union (about 7 million) and from Czechoslovakia (about 3 million).

    The events have been variously described as population transfer, ethnic cleansing or genocide.

    • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm | #

      Wait a minute: Are you accusing the Israelis of ethnic cleansing and genocide? Why do you hate Israel?

      By the way, you did not implicate the United States in your reply (which was my point about the U.S. activities post-war). If the U.S. participated in the population transfers in Eastern Europe, it was to help Germans ESCAPE out of East Germany into West Germany — a deliberate finger in the eye of the Soviets, and a cold-war propaganda mobilization having little to do with humanitarian impulses.

      I am not a Jew nor an Israeli, and even I — an outsider — understand that.

      • fnlevit September 16, 2013 at 4:33 pm | #

        OK, let us look at the source again

        The Allies wanted to create ethnically homogeneous states in East-Central Europe because the German minorities were perceived as potentially destabilizing….

        After World War II, the Dutch government decided to expel the 25,000 German expatriates living in the Netherlands.

        The expulsion of the Germans from Hungary was dictated from outside the nation when the Soviet Commander-in-Chief ordered the expulsions.

        At the Potsdam Conference (17 July – 2 August 1945) the territory to the east of the Oder-Neisse line was assigned to Polish and Soviet Union administration pending the Final Peace Treaty. All Germans had their property confiscated and were placed under restrictive jurisdiction. Most of them were later expelled.

        Internment and expulsion of Germans occurred during the war in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
        In the US internment program a total of 11,507 people of German ancestry and 110,000 interned Japanese-Americans were interned during the war .

        My point is to compare two wars and the behavior of the winners. Never mind US or Russians. All I want to say is that AT THAT TIME , i.e. late 40’s when Israel fought and won (against all odds) these were the standards – winner does not retreat to a pre war lines like some people on this blog demand. Rather Allies tried to “create ethnically homogeneous states” to have a stable post war situation.
        Israel could not return to ’49 lines of the parttion since that would be suicidal. And it could not take in the refugees since that was suicidal too.

        • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 16, 2013 at 4:35 pm | #

          Again — are you accusing the Israelis of genocide and ethnic cleansing?

        • mariapalestina September 16, 2013 at 5:06 pm | #

          Laws Violated:
          U.N. Charter, Article 2(4) & 51 (1945); Declaratio
          n on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations…,
          Principle 1 (1970).
          Israeli Actions:
          It is illegal under international law to acquire l
          and by force: Israel annexed land occupied by force
          during 1948 and 1967 wars (lands
          other than those given by the UN 1947-48 partitionplan)
          ILRC article
          Military action and occupations are legal only if
          they are for self-defense, or
          to directly benefit the native population. But studies show Israel is not just defending itself as it
          develops de-facto annexation with its settlements a
          separation barrier on occupied land, as it takes ov
          er most of the occupied territories (over 70%) and
          its natural resources for its own use and
          economic benefit, at the expense of the native popu
          ILRC article on why the Occupation is illegal

          • John W September 16, 2013 at 7:11 pm | #

            Congratulations Donald Pruden and mariaPalestina for persevering against these seemingly endless flows of rhetoric. Are proponents of “poor victim Israel”, “Arabs are untrustworthy” etc arguments, trying to repetitively wear us into submission ( like they treatment Palestinians ) ?

  42. fnlevit September 17, 2013 at 6:33 am | #

    John W, you don’t really have to read. What happens with people like you is what Norman Finkelstein called a “cult” . Here is a link to excerpts from an interview with him

    He is one of you and his main message to you in this interview is (I quote) – stop being so clever and stop talking about the law. Because if your conditions are fulfilled then we ALL KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPENED. Yes we all know – THERE WILL BE NO ISRAEL. So – at least be honest in this. Say so directly.

    For people from this cult who are not interested in any honest discussion because you “know” the truth – please do not read what I post. I know that I have no chance to convince you in anything. And, frankly, I am not wasting my time on you. But there are other people who do not belong to the cult. Perhaps they are learning something new by reading my posts. Or at least seeing that things are not as straightforward in the mess which is called Middle East.

    • gay o'connor September 17, 2013 at 8:37 pm | #

      “stop talking about the law”. !! As if the law completely irrelevant. “Cult”? What, like those who are paid to promote hasbara?

      • mariapalestina September 17, 2013 at 10:30 pm | #

        “stop talking about the law.” That’s exactly what zionists demand the world must do. Israel violates international laws and even its own laws every day. Israel thinks it should be a law unto itself, and unfortunately the United States continues to be its enabler. If Israel doesn’t wake up and realize it is not above the law, it will self-destruct, and it will have nobody to blame but itself.

      • fnlevit September 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm | #

        Are you arguing with Finkelstein? Are you? He knows things better than I do? It is him calling BDS and such a cult. About the international LAW – please read my posts below.

  43. fnlevit September 18, 2013 at 3:57 am | #

    I am not sure you read or listen to what I refer you to. Listen to Finkelstein. Read the links. About the law – the international law is tricky – it is adopted and most importantly APPLIED according to the representation of countries in the corresponding international bodies. Why the law is not applied to Russia taking away Konigsberg from Germany? Or to Turkey occupying half Cyprus as recent as 1975 exiling nearly 100000 Greeks and turning them into refugees? Or China in occypying Tibet?

    Read this

    Take an opposite example – Israel withdrew from Lebanon to the line which was APPROVED by UN. But Hezbollah claimed that it was not enough and raised the issue of Shebaa Farms. Quote from

    “The United Nations had to decide upon a “withdrawal line” for Israel to withdraw from Lebanon (for Security Council Resolution 425).[4] The UN certified Israel’s withdrawal as conforming to that line.”

    Israel obeyed the law. And what? Hezbollah is using this tiny uninhabited area as a pretext and reason to launch 4000 rockets to hit Israeli civilian population. And now amasses 80000 rockets and is waiting to start another round. AND NOBODY PROTESTS THIS. This is legitimate in the eyes of your cult. Or Hamas shooting 7000 rockets on South Israel civilian targets is hailed as a great sufferer of the Palestinian people. And UN sends a committee which condemns Israel. AUTOMATICALLY. Listen to an UK expert about what happened

    His conclusion – “IDF does more to safeguard civilians in the combat are that ANY OTHER ARMY IN THE HISTORY OF WARFARE”.

    Was Israel applaud for that by your cult? No, you brush away the expert testimony and continue to represent us as the demon of the world.

    So – the international law is not what you try to represent. You use it when it is on your side and ignore when it is not. Arabs were for tens of years killing each other in astronomical numbers and no voice was heard to demand that LAW is obeyed. Look at Syria or Libya as recent examples and hundreds more in the past. I know that one bad thing does not justify another BUT it gives a perspective on what is the so called INTERNATIONAL LAW.
    Israel obeys the law. Under one condition – that doing so will not lead to its destruction. In 1948 withdrawing to the partition lines would mean a sure destruction of Israel. Israel withdraw from Sinai (60000 sq km of a thinly populated area) just for a “piece of paper” – peace agreement. Egypt could easily violate it. AND NONE OF YOU WOULD HAVE RAISED A VOICE TO PROTEST IT. But fortunately the agreement holds. It has been in Egyptian INTERESTS. We are waiting when peace will be in Palestinian interests too. It is not so far. Talking about the right of return of 6 mln people to Jaffa, Haifa, etc means destruction of Israel. We can not obey such laws. Get this into your heads. LISTEN TO FINKELSTEIN explaining this in your language.

    About Hasbara – do not understand what makes you so mad. There are countless anti – Israeli organizations supported by various government all working to create conditions under which Israel will be destroyed (see Finkelstein’s interview). And Israel is not even allowed to defend itself in this?
    And since you ask – no, I am not from the Government. I am a proud Zionist and a humble Professor of Physics who decided that it is time to help my country fighting your cult with my personal Hasbara. For me it is a natural continuation of my fight 40 years ago with (a much more scaring) Soviet KGB to “let my people go” and getting imprisoned there. Remember we won there against all odds and 300.000 Jews emmigrated in ’70s. And we will win against you too.

    • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 18, 2013 at 8:49 am | #

      Just like you did against Hezbollah — and its defeat of the mighty Israeli army is the REAL reason that Israel backed off out of southern Lebanon. Readers, look at the list of attacks in the wikipedia listing: all are Hezbollah provacations. Clearly that wiki entry is the work of likudnik propagandists, for it mentions no provocations on the Israeli side. What is not cited therein is the fact that Israel ILLEGALLY occupied southern Lebanon after undertaking an ILLEGAL invasion into another nation to attack civilians in an unarmed Palestinian refugee camp. Clearly a war crime and Israel suffered no legal sanctions for it. Hezbollah, a local and indigenous organization, formed in response to this act and after nearly two decades drove the invader out of southern Lebanon. Israel tried to get back in and paid for it in Hezbollah rocket fire on Israeli military installations near the border.

      Again, these are historical facts that even I — an outsider — know about.

      • fnlevit September 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm | #

        I am sorry but these is a distortion of historical facts by somebody’s wild imagination.

        I also see that when you find WIKI entry which you don’t like you blame it as propaganda. I will continue to rely on their quotes which have good chances to be objective.

        From the tone and content of your resonse I can see that you are not arguing in good faith. One more of Israeli haters – we are used to.

        But for the sake of perhaps other readers – here is the brief history of Israel Lebanon conflict as found in Wikipedia (it coincides with what I quite vividly remember since I intermittently served in army reserves in that area)

        After the PLO leadership and its Fatah brigade were expelled from Jordan for fomenting a revolt, they entered Lebanon and the cross-border violence increased. Meanwhile, demographic tensions over the Lebanese National Pact led to the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990).

        Israel’s 1978 invasion of Lebanon pushed the PLO north of the Litani River, but the PLO continued their campaign against Israel. Israel invaded Lebanon again in 1982 and forcibly expelled the PLO. Israel withdrew to a slim borderland buffer zone, held with the aid of proxy militants in the South Lebanon Army (SLA). In 1985, Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shia resistance movement sponsored by Iran, called for armed struggle to end the Israeli occupation of Lebanese territory. When the Lebanese civil war ended and other warring factions agreed to disarm, Hezbollah and the SLA refused. Combat with Hezbollah weakened Israeli resolve and led to a collapse of the SLA and an Israeli withdrawal in 2000 to their side of the UN designated border.

        Citing Israeli control of the Shebaa farms territory, Hezbollah continued cross border attacks intermittently over the next six years. Hezbollah now sought freedom for Lebanese citizens in Israeli prisons and successfully used the tactic of capturing Israeli soldiers as leverage for a prisoner exchange in 2004.

        The capturing of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah ignited the 2006 Lebanon War. Israel suffered 42 civilian deaths as a result of prolonged rocket attacks being launched into northern Israel causing the displacement of half a million Israelis.

        Interestingly – after the Hesbollah “victory” the border is almost absolutely quiet as it has not been for decades. Let God give us many such enemy victories.

      • gay o'connor September 18, 2013 at 7:04 pm | #

        And the last war in Lebanon was started by Israel because, they said, Hezbollah had sent “thousands and thousands of rockets” over the border to Israel, and Israel was merely defending itself. When in reality not one rocket, not one bullet even, was fired across the border by Hezbollah in the previous 11 months. So much for self-defense.

    • gay o'connor September 18, 2013 at 6:56 pm | #

      Do you recall that when Israel was granted recognition by the UN, by way of UN res. 273, it was on the basis that Israel agreed to abide by UN res.194 (Right of return of refugees) which Israel, within days, then repudiated. That is the Law which Israel repeatedly breaches. And the laws relating to what can and can not be done in occupied territory, both in relation to the land, and the people therein. Those are the sort of Laws I refer to. And which Israel feels entitled to ignore. But, you know, for some people who are trying to work out for themselves the history of Israel and the rights and wrongs of it all, what they find is a real turn-off is the sort of triumphalism as expressed by you. Very ugly.

  44. fnlevit September 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm | #

    guy o’connor and mariapalestina – I am responding to you but I know that I have no chance to convince you. I am just bringing arguments to better define my position and perhaps informing other readers on this blog.

    International law and its APPLICATION are set and supervised by international bodies. Since the time of the Soviet Union these were all shamelessly anti Israeli and pro Arabs. Just because of the sheer number of Arab states as well as their oil resources. Does this mean JUSTICE? Do they apply these laws to themselves?

    Look at the Human Right Council. This is really a scandal. Read below and tell if you can call this LAW. Here is the link I use

    1. In July 2012, Syria announced that it would seek a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council. Syria’s candidacy would be virtually assured of victory due to the prevailing system of elections. Syria would have been responsible for promoting human rights if elected. Fortunately in response, the United States and European Union drafted a resolution to oppose this move.

    2. In July 2012, it was reported that Sudan and Ethiopia were nominated for a seat on the council, despite being accused by human rights organizations of grave human rights violations.

    3. Human rights groups say the council is being controlled by the Middle East and African nations, supported by China, Russia and Cuba, which protect each other from criticism.

    4. Since the council was set up Israel has been condemned on most occasions while other incidences in the world such as Darfur, Tibet, North Korea and Zimbabwe have not been discussed at the council.

    ISRAEL OBEYS THE LAW unless doing so would leads to its destruction.
    1. Wthdrawing to the partition lines of ’49 was a sure road to the destruction of Israel.

    2. Khartoum famous three NO’s in 1967 – “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.” No negotiations!!! Can you imagine this. THREE Arab countries tried to destroy Israel, Israel preempted, won the war, offered land for peace and got these THREE NO’s. Was this LEGITIMATE in your eyes? Was this LEGAL? NO NEGOTIATIONS? Just continue to try to destroy Israel. Can you imagine what would have appened had Israel lost? Then or later in next war of 1973?

    3. Have you listen to Colonel Camp testimony (see my post above) . I heard no response from you on that. Israel bended over to obey the law and safeguard civilians. What did it get in response? Condemnation by the members of your cult.

    • mariapalestina September 18, 2013 at 7:12 pm | #

      It’s true that Israel is not the only, and certainly not the worst violator of human rights in the world. Also true that most others who are regularly in violation do not claim do be democracies. In any case, this particular blog post concerns Israel and Palestine, which is my area of interest and expertise. I don’t consider it relevant to bring up Darfur, Tibet, North Korea or Zimbabwe, though I realize this is what apologists for Israel are expected to do whenever Israel comes under legitimate criticism.

      As for your claim that Israel obeys international law unless doing so would lead to Israel’s destruction, this is the same tired mantra Israel has used for sixty five years to justify its criminal behavior. The old eternal victimhood thing is long past its sell-by date. It is Israel’s neighbors who are threatened by Israel’s ongoing belligerence and bullying, and it is Israel’s neighbors, especially Palestinians, who are regularly attacked and murdered by Israeli soldiers and illegal settlers.

  45. fnlevit September 19, 2013 at 10:33 am | #

    mariapalestina, In your first paragraph you seem to agree with me. I just want to say that is not only Darfur and Tibet and Zimbabwe and other backward God forsaken places. Take US and UK in Iraq and Afghanistan, France right now in Mali, Turkey in Cyprus, Russia in Chechnya – these seem to be the norms of the behavior of democratic countries when they feel they are in danger and deal with or are put in such circumstances. And I claim that Israel WAS PUT IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES (see below). At the same I admit that when into those CIRCUMSTANCES we have made and are making many mistakes which I hope we will be clever enough to correct (like US and UK did withdrawing from Iraq but not Russia or Turkey or France so far(?)). Quoting you the examples from around the world just serves to demonstrate that if for very experienced old democracies it is so very hard to avoid making such mistakes it is even more so for SUCH A YOUNG DEMOCRACY AS ISRAEL.

    Concerning your second paragraph – I totally disagree with the 65 years story. If fact in our relations with Palestinians there were two major periods – before and after ’73 war. More about this in my next comment which I will post later – sorry, it is holiday time here.

  46. fnlevit September 19, 2013 at 10:58 am | #

    Mr. O’Connor, “And the last war in Lebanon was started by Israel because, they said, Hezbollah had sent “thousands and thousands of rockets” over the border to Israel, and Israel was merely defending itself. When in reality not one rocket, not one bullet even, was fired across the border by Hezbollah in the previous 11 months. So much for self-defense.”

    OK – that is easy fighting such lies. Why dont you check Google first. Some objective source before you post so ridiculously wrong info. You probably heard it from somewhere. So – here is the link. Please read.

    “The conflict began when militants from the group Hezbollah fired rockets at Israeli border towns as a diversion for an anti-tank missile attack on two armored vehicles patrolling the Israeli side of the border fence.[48] The ambush left three soldiers dead. Two additional soldiers, believed to have been killed outright or mortally wounded, were taken by Hezbollah to Lebanon.[48][49] Five more were killed in a failed rescue attempt. ” Hezbolah then demanded to exchage the highjacked soldiers….

    That is how it started. Could you imagine what would US done if say Mexicans had allowed some anti-US organization to do this from bases on the Mexican territory. Bases hidden in Mexican villages and towns close to borders and the capital itself. Supported by Iran. Can you imagine how would US respond? Especially if the terrorists would demand to exchange the captured hostages for say prisoners in Guantanamo? Could you just being to imagine the public outrage in response to that? Think. It always helps to imagine how would you and your country react in situations similar to where Israel lives. Let us see if you are honest.

    • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 19, 2013 at 11:30 am | #

      Nice try, dude.

      Now for the REAL history, by an Israeli based journalist:

      You’re welcome.

      • fnlevit September 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm | #

        Yeah, right, “honest” Israeli based anti-Israeli journalist. Published in a very much “respected” place. Just look at other pieces published there.

        By the way have you actually read it? I sort of doubt. Because apart of all sorts of “conspracy theories” which it piles up it basically confirms the Wikipedia account. Hezbollah attacked , killed and high jacked soldiers and Israel responded.

        In addition we learn that there were all sort of contingency plans by IDF (not very good ones as it turned out) of how to respond in exactly such sort of the scenario. The army would not be army had it not have prepared plans for various contingencies. I am sure US army has such plans for, say, a war with China. Or Russia. Does it mean US is planning such a war? This is riduculous what this guy is writing. And various dark forces behind. US as the main one. SUCH publications would not be published by SUCH media if not contained all sorts of dark forces behind everything.

        • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm | #

          Yes, I did read it — twice. And I understood it clearly.

          The US may well have plans for a war with Russia or China — but it won’t initiate one because there would be a very high price to be paid for such action. These nations are not weak, like Lebanon or the Palestinian people. So no “dark forces” would dare gather against China or Russia. Unfortunately, such restraint did not exist to save Iraq or Afghanistan.

    • gay o'connor September 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm | #

      The info. I have about the non-firing of rockets is from one of Isreal’s own journos. – Uri Avnery. Check him out. (Better than google)

  47. fnlevit September 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm | #

    In Israel/Palestinian relations there were two major and very distict periods – before and after ’73 war. Or perhaps more precisely before and after Sadat’s visit in Israel and the following peace treaty with Egypt in 1978.

    In the 1948 war Palestinians in addition to their own forces convinced/incited/lured several Arab countries numbering many millions to join the war against 650.000 Jews of 1948 Israel. Look at my earlier post of Sept. 14 for references

    It looked a sure victory with horrific perspectives for the Jews but MIRACULOUSLY the Palestinains lost togeter with all their patrons and Israel found itself at what we now call ’67 borders or the GREEN LINE. BUT no peace. Just armistice.

    Palestinians and essentially all the Arab states still were very much “in arms” against Israel hoping and planning another round. I quote

    ” Arab nations refused to absorb Palestinian refugees, instead keeping them in refugee camps while insisting that they be allowed to return.

    Refugee status was also passed on to their descendants, who were also largely denied citizenship in Arab states. The descendants of refugees are also denied citizenship in their host countries. The Arab League instructed its members to deny Palestinians citizenship “to avoid dissolution of their identity and protect their right of return to their homeland.”

    Again NO PEACE was offered to Israel. Just promisses for the revenge. Under these conditions withdrawing to the Partition Lines and letting the HOSTILE refugees in was absolutely suicidal for Israel.

    Countries DO NOT COMMIT SUICIDE even to order obey the UN laws.

    Armed conflicts with Arab countries along the GREEN LINE continued almost non stop. Palestinian fedayeen (f militants or guerrillas) are playing the main role. Jordan was in control of the WB and Egypt of Gaza. No attempt on their side was ever made to create a Palestinian state there. Everyone was sure Israel AS A WHOLE will be destroyed sooner or later.

    Note – the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was created in 1964 with the purpose of creating an independent State of Palestine. In 1964! Three years before ’67. WB and Gaza are in Arab hands! What’s the problem? Ask your friendly Arab nations and get the state you so much want now. Oh, no. That was not the goal. The official Charter of the PLO had (I quote)

    “many clauses declaring the creation of the state of Israel “null and void”. This is usually interpreted as calling for the destruction of the state of Israel”. A direct quote from the PLO chapter
    “Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit” and “Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. This it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase”

    OK. Israel fights the Green line conflicts and prepares for the grand war. Palestinains are waiting for that too. The war come – ’67 war (see for detailed references in my post of Sept. 14) and? The Arab states loose AGAIN. In the course of war Israel occupies WB, Gaza as well as Golans and Sinai. And immediately offers “land for peace”.

    And what is the answer?
    Khartoum Arab Ligue resolution with “three NO’s” – no peace, no recognition NO NEGOTIATIONS. And things contunue roughly as they were. Palestinians hope Arab countries will destroy Israel, PLO operates border line conflicts from Jordan and there are conflicts in Sinai and Golans.

    Comes 1973 war with Syria and Egypt. And they lose again. Sadat decides enough is enough and makes piece with Israel in 1979. Palestinians loose their biggest supporter. They still have Syria and Jordan but on July 31, 1988, Jordan ceded its claims to the West Bank and essentially ceased to be a side in the conflict. Even earlier it kicked out PLO from its territory for initiating the Civil war there or what is Black September. Here is the link

    So – Palestinians are now almost totally on their own BUT STILL DO NOT RECOGNIZE ISRAEL and have its DESTRUCTION AS THEIR OFFICIAL GOAL.

    And AT LAST they took things into their own hands. That is when the second stage in Israel Palestinian relations started.

    • mariapalestina September 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm | #

      “So – Palestinians are now almost totally on their own BUT STILL DO NOT RECOGNIZE ISRAEL and have its DESTRUCTION AS THEIR OFFICIAL GOAL.”

      This is hogwash, more commonly known as hasbara. Palestinians do not recognize Israel’s right to occupy and colonize their land beyond that Israel was granted the right to share with its indigenous Palestinian population in 1947-48. They probably don’t accept, as most people in the world do not accept, the idea of a Jewish state which is intrisically an apartheid and racist state.

      • fnlevit September 19, 2013 at 5:34 pm | #

        But the Palstinians in the PLO Charter say
        “Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit” and “Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine.”

        Are you saying this is not correct? If it is then hasbara is correct – Palestinians want to destroy Israel.

        If it is not the what about the right of return? If Palestinians insist on it then letting 6 mln refugees back is tentamount to the destruction of Israel. Wouldnt you agree? So hasbara is correct again – Palestinians want to destroy Israel. What do you say? Honest please.

    • gay o'connor September 19, 2013 at 8:02 pm | #

      Speaking of “official goals” – Have you looked at the Likud charter lately?

  48. mariapalestina September 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm | #

    Do you really want to rehash statements made long ago that have long been discredited or superseded?

    Would you like me to start quoting some of the things said by Golda Meir and Ben Gurion and Begin and Sharon and many others among Israel’s leaders? The right of return for Palestinians is non-negotiable and is a right guaranteed under international law. That most Palestinians would probably accept compensation doesn’t change that fact. As to whether I agree with your assertion that “letting the refugees back is tantamount to the destruction of Israel” I don’t agee at all. What you mean, I suppose, is that it would destroy the nature of Israel as a Jewish state, and I see that as a good thing. If the Jewish people wanted to live in a Jewish state perhaps they should move to the original Jewish state that is still waiting for them in Siberia.

    Or follow their earlier inclination of going to North Africa or Argentina. I believe Palestine was not their first choice.

    Don’t get me wrong. Israel exists, and I have no desire to see it disappear. What I and the Palestinians and much of the world would like to see is for Israel to go back home to the borders it was given the opportunity to share in 1947-48. End the occupation. End the colonization. End the killing and the human rights abuses toward people whose only crime is to own and live on land and resources coveted by Israel.

    That is what the Palestinians want to be liberated from. I have spent a lot of time in Palestine, including Gaza. I never heard a Palestinian utter an anti-semitic comment. They welcome Jews as the welcome anyone else. They just don’t like people coming at them with guns or bombing them or attacking them with white phosphorous. That’s why Israeli soldiers and settlers are unwelcome in Palestine. They would be unwelcome if they moved onto my property too, especially if they tried to evict me and my children because they felt entitled to take whatever they fancied regardless of its true owners.

    • bensday823 September 20, 2013 at 9:11 pm | #

      When the 12 million Germans expelled from their homes at the end of WW2 return to Poland and the Czech Republic then I’ll take the right of return seriously.

      • gay o'connor September 21, 2013 at 1:50 am | #

        Erm – the “right of return”? Who for, Palestinians, or Jews? Oh, wait there, I forgot, Jews have this right, Palestinians don’t.

        • bensday823 September 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm | #

          If the Palestinians had accepted statehood any of the times it was offered to them, then they could set whatever immigration policy suited them.

          Israel’s policy of right of return is the same as Italy’s, Germany’s etc.

          • gay o'connor September 21, 2013 at 10:46 pm | #

            You may not recall that when Israel was granted recognition as a state by the UN (resolution 273) it was on the basis that they said they accepted resolution 194 – right of return of the Palestinians. No matter how you spin it, that is what occurred. And almost immediately Israel repudiated that agreement.

  49. Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 20, 2013 at 1:15 pm | #

    Here is more of the Finkelstein interview:

    I was going to reply to something else “Fnlevit” said but THIS challenge must be met. I am posting here to follow the previous replies, and not in reply to an earlier comment, because I want my long-winded entry to be slightly easier to for the reader to slog through. Please let me apologize for its length, but “Fnlevit”s invocation of Norman Finkelstein, a harsh critic of Israel, as a strategy to defend Israel needs to be taken seriously.

    When South Africa stopped being an apartheid nation, it did not cease to exist and no genocide campaign was opened against the whites who feared “the end” of South Africa. This is true of other nations that ended their unjust policies or released their imperial territories (by pain of force or by negotiated settlement). These nations did not die, their people were not wiped out. Of course, given the history of the Jews one could easily expect the retort that the peoples of these nations did not face the abyss at the hands of the greatest genocidal campaign of the twentieth century, so you’ll forgive us if we lack your confidence that we don’t face such a fate in the twenty-first in the absence of a Jewish state to which we can escape.

    When Professor Finkelstein (who I love and respect) talks about “the end of Israel” what does that mean? The physical end of the state as a political entity, the end the nation’s (as opposed to the end of the state, which itself may continue onward) Jewish identity because of demographics (and the terrifying prospect of democracy)? It is worth noting that defenders of Israeli policy vis-à-vis the Palestinians will dare to label living with them as equals within a secular democratic state as tantamount to suicide. Why? Does anyone really believe that the Palestinians would go on genocidal campaign, and with the planet Earth watching their every move? No? OK, maybe “suicide” merely refers to a change in state policy regarding its Arab population because that state would now recognize the democratic rights of ALL of its citizens, meaning that not being able to push Palestinians around anymore (which included taking their land and building settlements on it) is “suicide” for its Jewish population.

    Maybe it means the end of a Jewish homeland, and consequently the beginning of a renewed genocidal campaign that will finish off Hitler’s program and thereby (and therefore) spell the end of the Jews as a people on the face of the earth because now they have no homeland to which to flee the coming Holocaust 2.0?

    Can anyone help us out as to what “the end of Israel” really means? What do the Israelis fear such that obeying the law is such a terrifying prospect? What disaster awaits going back behind the ’67 borders that such a project cannot be undertaken? What horror does allowing a two state solution for two physically contiguous nations permit that this keeps Likudniks up at night? What does Israeli soldiers’ getting the hell out of the occupied territories mean that this prospect is foreclosed? What horror does a secular one-state solution offer to the Israelis?

    Objecting to the existence of the State of Israel is a legitimate project if that state is the reason one lives as a refugee or in “occupied territories” if that occupier is the nation that has troops policing your every move — if it even allows you to move about. Jews would be within their right reason to demand the non-existence of Germany as a State as long as that State was at genocidal war with their physical existence. If Palestinians cannot exist as a free people on the face of the Earth and in their own lands, but must pay for Israel’s existence by living in squalid camps and scattered from their homes as refugees to the surrounding nations (and when there they are then attacked by their displacers) or in occupied territories patrolled by a trigger happy Israeli military — then maybe Israel as a State should not exist as well. Instead, the Palestinians limit their actions to makeshift rockets that follow Israeli provocations or to pleas made to the UN to force Israel to obey international law.

    Needless to say, any question to the “right” of the state of Israel does not question the right of Jews to exist (and in fact, it does not). No state has a right to exist, including Israel. That it does (like the United States of America) is a historical reality. How humanity deals with that reality is the issue here. Part of how humanity deals with that reality will be impacted by the behavior of the existing state. I have to say, as a matter of mere opinion, that both of these nations — the United States and Israel — pose constant challenges to their continued “right” to exist with every act of violence they respectively undertake in the world. The “right” of a State to exist necessarily means the “right” of a State to organize its population’s social relations as a practical function of its existence as a State (after all, what is a State if it does not involve how its people shall live — as democrats or as conquerors over others inside and outside that State’s “boundaries”?) as well as that state’s relations and interactions with any part of the rest of the world.

    In other words, if a State has a “right” to exist, then necessarily SOMEONE MUST GET OUT OF THE WAY FOR THAT STATE. This is the logical terminus of a State’s “right” to exist: the ability — the necessity — to push someone aside in order to realize, and then secure, that right. How a state treats its own population and those it officially regards as “outsiders” will be function of being a state, and such actions will either challenge or reinforce its “legitimacy”. It will be here where its “legitimacy”, its “right to self-defense”, and finally its “right to exist” each become a question for debate.

    This is not about the end of Israel, and “Fnlevit” is quite aware of that. This is about the end of a state’s, that is to say Israeli, policy of claiming the “rights” of a conqueror over an indigenous population. If Israel must exist at such an expense, then it is not us who challenge Israel’s existence, but its supporters — because its supporters demand that innocent others pay for Israel’s continued existence. Those innocent others were not asked; they were displaced. Every act of a conqueror’s violence challenges the conqueror state’s “right” to exist, because that “right” must be borne by those guilty of nothing other than living. YOU may believe they must pay; they, on the other hand, do not. Every violent act of the conqueror invites the resistance of its victims. This is where the weakness of the powerful conqueror resides. In the creation of the conditions that bring resistance to its policies, the conqueror chisels cracks in the very edifice it seeks to construct and fortify. By its own actions the conqueror challenges its own claim to a “right” to exist. Pace Finkelstein, Israeli violence against the Palestinians and against its neighbors constitutes a persistent challenge to its own “right” to exist. That, and not BDS.

    “Fnlevit”s own arguments make exactly that point.

    But “Fnlevit” asked another question, or at least suggested one: why do people in the western nations huff and puff about Israel when other nations seem to get a pass on their human rights violations? Part of the answer is that they don’t, but that is a fact that propagandizing Likudniks ignore when the only nation that matters is Israel. But to address the apparent question directly, we need to remind folks of recent history. From South Africa under apartheid to Suharto’s Indonesia to Chile under Pinochet to Columbia for over half a century to Saudi Arabia to Yemen to Zaire under the rule of Mobutu Sese Seko (whose rule was facilitated by the assassination of Patrice Lumumba with the help of the CIA) Americans have been particularly agitated over the human rights violations by these nations for one very important reason: our own government supports them through diplomatic, economic, political, and military means, sometimes covertly and sometimes overtly. From money to assassinations to coups to military materiel, the gamut of support from the United States runs as concrete bennies so provided to these and other nations. And all of it on the American dime. This implicates us American taxpayers as unwitting supporters for the criminal activities of both our own government and the beneficiary nations of this species of largesse.

    We pay; their people die.

    That is what bums us out. That, and not some Likudnik bad faith defenses of Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians. Many Americans come down hard on the Chinese because of their actions in Tibet and Chinese labor policy. But this “Fnlevit” ignores. Many Americans come down hard on the Cubans because of their human rights violations. But this “Fnlevit” ignores. But in these and in other cases, our government does not have a policy of propping up these nations (even if we trade with some of them) by direct payments and other supports out of the U.S. Treasury, and with the U.S. military, and with secret “black budget” projects, so that they may wage war on their own people or pick fights with other nations/peoples.

    The same arguments “Fnlevit” offers in defense of Israel were offered in defense of South Africa and other regimes the U.S. supported, and they were posed as a question intended to “expose” our suspect interests (“communist!”) by questioning why it was that we did not decry the human rights violations of those nations regarded by our government as official enemies (such as Angola, which was also an official enemy of South Africa). It had to be because we sympathized with those nations and thus we were allied with our own nation’s enemies; this made us the enemy to our nation. What was ignored by such questions was the fact that we were not implicated in their crimes; we ARE implicated in the crimes of those nations that our tax dollars DO support. This is true of the United States and of the European Union. It is also why the polling of their populations finds support for pulling financial and political support from Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and removing the U.S. as intermediary between the Israelis and the Palestinians and having the UN take that role instead. Needless to say, Israel rejects ANY United Nations role in negotiations.

    Only a political solution through international diplomacy can resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

    But Israel has the burden of legitimacy because of its treatment of the Palestinian population and of its Arab citizens.

    As long as the United States has its back politically and financially, Israel is unconcerned about legitimacy. It needs to reconsider. This is because any state’s claim to a “right” to exist will turn on the legitimacy of that state. And frankly, given Israel’s behavior, that much vaunted “right” is not a matter of discussion belonging solely to the Jews. Palestinians are paying for this “right”. So, too, is the American taxpayer.

    If Israel wants to secure its continued existence, uncontested on any front, it must first do right by the Palestinians. It has not and has no plans to do so from the look of things. Second, it needs to stop trying to pick fights with the surrounding Arab/Muslim nations, and then asking Americans to shed blood to finish fights started by Israel.

    If nothing else we, the taxpayers of this nation, are deeply implicated in Israel’s claim to a “right” to exist, and to exist as a Jewish, which is to say, sectarian, state. A sectarian state that treats non-Jews in shabby fashion. And defends its ability and “right” to do so with the delegitimizing claims of a conqueror.

    A conqueror that needs foreign aid pay for its acts.

    • Mariapalestina September 20, 2013 at 1:25 pm | #

      Thank you.

    • John W September 20, 2013 at 4:58 pm | #

      Your essay was a long read, but worth every word. Thanks again Donald.

      • gay o'connor September 20, 2013 at 7:23 pm | #

        ditto (re Donald’s essay)

    • bensday823 September 20, 2013 at 9:05 pm | #


      While you seem sincere in your beliefs, you get your facts wrong. Israel didn’t conquer Palestine, Jews moved their as legal immigrants in the pre-state days, they had every right to be there. As for South Africa, the imposed solution hasn’t worked out so well, has it? White farmers brutally tortured to death, infrastructure crumbling, and yes potentially genocide.

      People have good reason to believe a bi-national state would be a disaster; Syria, Lebanon, Iraq. All descended into sectarian violence in the absence of an authoritarian strongman. And of course the widespread fanatical anti-semitism in the Muslim world. Most Israeli Jews support a two state solution, they just don’t want to be a minority for good reason.


  50. bensday823 September 20, 2013 at 7:39 pm | #

    Call me cynical, but I detect a certain opportunism among many anti-Zionist Jews. Corey Robin mentions Edward Said and Ali Abuminah, both supporters of an Arab dominated one-state solution, while being very careful not to give any hint as to his own views. I suspect, though it’s merely a suspicion, that Corey knows what a disaster such a solution would be for Jews living in Israel and simply doesn’t care. Corey cares about being acceptable to his fellow leftists and places that above all other considerations.

    Jews who are sincere in their criticism of Israel, and genuinely sympathetic to the Palestinians don’t act like Corey. Uri Avnery has spoken openly and honestly about the problems of a one state solution, I certainly disagree with Avnery but wouldn’t question his motives. In essence I don’t think any reasonable person could look at the Israel/Palestine situation and support a one-state solution along the lines advocated by Ali Abuminah, which is why I question Robin’s motives.

    For the record, I feel the same way about Glenn Greenwald, Max Blumenthal, Jeffrey Blankfort, Philip Weiss and others. They aim to serve their own interests, no one else’s. That is my assessment, if it offends so bit it.

    • gay o'connor September 20, 2013 at 7:50 pm | #

      I don’t understand this sort of criticism of anti-Zionist Jews. (Perhaps they might be called whistle-blowers?) I can’t see why they are so condemned. What motive do you imply they have? What’s in it for them? What do you say is their agenda – what are “their own interests” – other than telling the truth about the effects of Zionism on the original inhabitants of Palestine. Is telling the world what is happening as a result of this so bad? And if so, why is it? Or do you say the attitude should be “My country, right or wrong”. Or “You are either with us or against us”?

      • bensday823 September 20, 2013 at 8:45 pm | #

        Not all anti-Israel Jews fit this description but many do. Corey Robin knows full well what happened in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria etc. He knows a bi-national state would be a disaster, as does anyone with even a passing knowledge of the region. But they care more about their own careers than the actual well beings of the Israelis and Palestinians.

        • gay o'connor September 21, 2013 at 1:44 am | #

          Still don’t get it – why do you say they “care more about their own careers . . .” How can criticising what goes on in your country further your career? And btw, Jews did emigrate to Palestine illegally – and over a number of years – in fact whole books were written about their “triumph” in beating the Brits in this regard. As to the bi-national state, how can it, now, be otherwise? Most of the land has been taken, no viable state can exist in what’s left, millions of Palestinians live without a vote in the parliament which governs their every day wellbeing and activities, and this arrangement can’t go on. Israel keeps saying it wants peace, but it seems that what is meant by peace is “give us the rest of the land and we’ll then give you peace.” Clearly, the aim of Israel is to move out as many Palestinians as they can and take over the lot. And that won’t happen, either. You say that a bi-national state would be a disaster – what do you think exists now? Maybe not a disaster for the Jews, but certainly for the Palestinians. Because what you are saying, really, is that Jews deserve more consideration than Palestinians.

      • bensday823 September 21, 2013 at 5:10 pm | #

        “How can criticising what goes on in your country further your career?”

        If you are a leftist who lives outside of Israel telling your audience what they want to hear is the surest career path. Many on the left refuse to even acknowledge that there could be another side to this conflict, and will ostracize anyone who deviates even the slightest.

        “Jews did emigrate to Palestine illegally – and over a number of years”

        The vast majority came there legally. A few managed to escape death by evading the British, something which disappoints the anti-zionists greatly.

        ” Most of the land has been taken, no viable state can exist in what’s left, millions of Palestinians live without a vote in the parliament which governs their every day wellbeing and activities, and this arrangement can’t go on.”

        Absolutely false. Israel has been willing to turn over 95% of the west bank to a future Palestinian state. Also most Palestinians live under the rule of either Fatah on the West Bank, or Hamas in Gaza. And there is a Palestinian parliament.

        The degree to which people on the left swallow Arab propaganda is quite breathtaking. Anti-Israel Jews in America and the diaspora know fact from fiction, which makes their behavior even more vile.

        ” Clearly, the aim of Israel is to move out as many Palestinians as they can and take over the lot.”

        You have to be kidding, the Arab population is growing not shrinking.

        ” You say that a bi-national state would be a disaster – what do you think exists now? Maybe not a disaster for the Jews, but certainly for the Palestinians. Because what you are saying, really, is that Jews deserve more consideration than Palestinians.”

        It’s a false dichotomy to say that the only alternative to the current situation is a one state solution. And yes the present situation is on the whole preferable to a one state solution, even for the Palestinians. Virtually anything would be preferable to the violence and chaos inherent in the (extreme) left’s version of a one state solution.

        • gay o'connor September 21, 2013 at 10:41 pm | #

          I would agree with you about the two-state solution being the better solution, except it is just not possible now. The settlers won’t move out, and Israel won’t forcibly move them out. So what is left for the Palestinians? I don’t think it is just the “left” (whatever that is) who see that, looking at a map, the two-state idea is dead. And you don’t mention the Likud charter? That says no Palestinians state, Israel remains in the Jordan Valley, (the most fertile area) etc. Not a sign of any two states there. As to Olmert, his offer just before he left office (not 2008) was not accepted by his own parliament. They said he had no authority to make that offer. Which is what they said about the offer made by Barak. “Roughly 90% of the land” means Israel keeps the most fertile areas – look at the map and you can’t pretend otherwise. But why not 100%, in accordance with International Law?

  51. Mariapalestina September 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm | #

    It was my intention to refute each point you made in this latest response until I read the following:

    “Israel has been willing to turn over 95% of the west bank to a future Palestinian state.”

    Notwithstanding the fact that 95% is not sufficient (and are you talking about 95% of everything beyond the 1947-48 territory assigned to be shared by Jews and the existing population?) your claim is total fiction.

    Once I read that and scanned the rest of your comment I discovered there wasn’t a single word of truth contained. Everything you wrote is pure propaganda.

    • bensday823 September 21, 2013 at 10:23 pm | #

      Wrong. Olmert in 2008 offered Abbas roughly 95% of the West bank and Gaza. You may not like his offer but the Israeli’s have agreed to a Palestinian state, you can’t pretend otherwise.

      • John W September 21, 2013 at 10:49 pm | #

        Beware of peace offers from shrewd grasping politicians.
        Zionists have established a record for offering and negotiating peace while inflicting conditions and actions that ensure that their occupation and injustices can continue.
        Just one glaring and regular example in recent years is their accepting invitations to Peace talks, while refusing to even pause their onrush of illegal land thefts. This always dooms progress to peace in the middle east.
        And USA’s financial and military largess flows on anyway.
        God help America & God help the Palestinians.

      • bensday823 September 21, 2013 at 11:18 pm | #

        The point is the Israeli’s have made offers of a two state solution, too pretend otherwise is ridiculous.

      • mariapalestina September 22, 2013 at 12:43 am | #

        If you drove me and my family out of my city and gave my house and land to your friends because they shared your religion, I don’t think I would be interested in your offer to give back some parts of my house plus some scrub in a distant desert. Particularly if you refused to allow me and my family to return to live in our house and on our land.

        That offer was a non-starter. Why should the Palestinians agree to any deal that excludes prime land and resources? And the right of return is non-negotiable. No Palestinian leader would dare betray the Palestinian people by relinquishing their right, guaranteed under international law, to return to their land at any time they choose. After all, we hear repeatedly that Jews from Europe are entitled to “return” to Judea and Samaria because some other (semitic) Jews lived among the native population there 3,000 years ago.

        As for keeping any illegal settlement blocs in Palestine, this is a ridiculous and unworkable idea. Ariel, for instance, is a growing city, and it will continue to expand. How can it expand except by swallowing up the surrounding Palestinian villages, already squeezed by the settlement and the settlement roads?

        Thieves cannot settle their debts by arbitrarily deciding what portion of their ill-gotten gains they will repay to their victims.

        Furthermore, according to this report in Jerusalem Post, Olmert refused even to give Abbas a copy of the map he was proposing. And Olmert blamed Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak for the breakdown in the talks with Abbas.

        • bensday823 September 22, 2013 at 12:58 am | #


          O’conner said that Israel has made a Palestinian state impossible, which is false. You dislike the offer Olmert made which is different from claiming that Israel won’t allow a Palestinian state.

          As for the refugees; Israel needs a solid Jewish majority to survive. I’m less concerned with cosmic justice than the good of the actual people alive today. Jews are a tiny minority in a region where minorities are treated like crap. After the US invasion of Iraq, Assyrian were slaughtered by Jihadists. If an Arab has to live in Nablus instead of Haifa I won’t be losing sleep over it.


          • mariapalestina September 22, 2013 at 1:12 am | #

            “I’m less concerned with cosmic justice than the good of the actual people alive today.”

            What about the good of the actual Palestinians who are alive today?

            And if any Jew has to live in Haifa instead of Nablus I won’t be losing sleep over it.

      • bensday823 September 22, 2013 at 1:10 am | #


        Good comment. My last post didn’t go through, so I’ll redo it. You can disagree with the solution Olmert proposed but you cannot deny that the Palestinians were offered a state. For you the right of return is non-negotiable. Personally, I’m less concerned with cosmic justice than I am with the lives of real people.


      • bensday823 September 22, 2013 at 2:09 am | #


        Let’s consider a thought experiment, the Israelis and Palestinians come to an agreement that involves the creation of a Palestinian state, and the resettlement of the refugees within that state. Israel also agrees to help fund the development of a Palestinian state, and to cooperate on issues of resources and economics. If twenty years later both states are flourishing and at peace, would you still be disappointed that the grandchildren of the refugees can’t return to Israel?


  52. fnlevit September 22, 2013 at 4:20 am | #

    IN FACT I Palestinian rejected statehood three times so far.

    1. Olmert was the latest and rejected by Abbas. See many details and the MAP below

    2. Previous was Clinton-Barak in Camp David and then significantly improved Barak offer in Taba. (see detals and MAPS below). This was rejected by Arafat who started the 2nd intifada DURING THE PROCESS using this unbelievable invertion – human weapons suicide bombings of buses, discotheques, shopping centers, pedestrian streets and bus stops (growing and reaching 40 in 2001, the peak of 47 in 2002, 23 in 2003, 17 in 2004). It is my firm assessment that this was what caused a sharp turn to the right in the Israeli electorate voting (which was before that in its majority enthusiastically for Oslo)

    3. The earliest offer was actually the 1947 UN plan rejected by Palestinians and the Arab states.

    1. Here are the details on Olmert’s offer AND a copy of the MAP

    OLMERT OFFERED 100%. Of this 93.7% was of the pre ’67 WB plus 5.8% land inside ’67 line (with this land swap the total was 99.5%) plus corridor linking Gaza and WB..
    Olmert “accepted the principle” of the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees.

    Abbas told the Washington Post in 2009 that Olmert’s offer was insufficient.

    More in
    which quotes Olmert later interview

    In 2008, after extensive talks, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and presented a comprehensive peace plan. Olmert in a later interview said that

    “From the end of 2006 until the end of 2008 I think I met with Abu Mazen more often than any Israeli leader has ever met any Arab leader. I met him more than 35 times. They were intense, serious negotiations.

    On the 16th of September, 2008, I presented him (Abbas) with a comprehensive plan. It was based on the following principles.

    One, there would be a territorial solution to the conflict on the basis of the 1967 borders with minor modifications on both sides. Israel will claim part of the West Bank where there have been demographic changes over the last 40 years…

    And four, there were security issues. [Olmert says he showed Abbas a map, which embodied all these plans. Abbas wanted to take the map away. Olmert agreed, so long as they both signed the map. It was, from Olmert’s point of view, a final offer, not a basis for future negotiation. But Abbas could not commit. Instead, he said he would come with experts the next day.]

    He (Abbas) promised me the next day his adviser would come. But the next day Saeb Erekat rang my adviser and said we forgot we are going to Amman today, let’s make it next week. I never saw him again. (Nov. 28, 2009)

    Abbas, in an interview with Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post, confirmed the outlines of the Olmert offer and that he turned it down:

    In our meeting Wednesday, Abbas acknowledged that Olmert had shown him a map proposing a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank — though he complained that the Israeli leader refused to give him a copy of the plan. He confirmed that Olmert “accepted the principle” of the “right of return” of Palestinian refugees — something no previous Israeli prime minister had done — and offered to resettle thousands in Israel. In all, Olmert’s peace offer was more generous to the Palestinians than either that of Bush or Bill Clinton; it’s almost impossible to imagine Obama, or any Israeli government, going further.

    Abbas turned it down. “The gaps were wide,” he said. (May 29, 2009)


    2. Clinton parameters and Barak’s Taba offer.

    In the summer of 2000 US President Bill Clinton hosted intense peace talks at Camp David between Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and Israeli leader Ehud Barak, culminating in a comprehensive peace plan known as the Clinton Parameters, which was similar to the later Olmert Plan, though not quite as extensive.
    Despite the vast concessions the plan required of Israel, Prime Minister Barak accepted President Clinton’s proposal, while Arafat refused, returned home, and launched a new terror campaign against Israeli civilians (the Second Intifada).

    Despite the violence, Prime Minister Barak continued to negotiate to the end of his term, culminating in an Israeli proposal at Taba which extended the Clinton proposal. Barak offered the Palestinians all of Gaza and most of the West Bank, no Israeli control over the border with Jordan or the adjacent Jordan Valley, a small Israeli annexation around three settlement blocs balanced by an equivalent area of Israeli territory that would have been ceded to the Palestinians. As chief US negotiator Ambassador Dennis Ross put it in a FoxNews interview:

    … the Palestinians would have in the West Bank an area that was contiguous. Those who say there were cantons, completely untrue. It was contiguous… And to connect Gaza with the West Bank, there would have been an elevated highway, an elevated railroad, to ensure that there would be not just safe passage for the Palestinians, but free passage. (Fox News, April 21, 2002)

    According to Ambassador Ross, Palestinian negotiators working for Arafat wanted him to accept the Clinton Parameters, but he refused. In response to Brit Hume’s question as to why Arafat turned these deals down, Ross said:

    Because fundamentally I do not believe he can end the conflict. We had one critical clause in this agreement, and that clause was, this is the end of the conflict.


    3. . UN Resolution 181, the Partition Resolution, passed in November 1947, called for the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in the land which at that point was controlled by the British-run Palestine Mandate. All the Arab countries opposed the resolution, voted against it, and promised to go to war to prevent its implementation. Representing the Palestinians, the Arab Higher Committee also opposed the plan and threatened war, while the Jewish Agency, representing the Jewish inhabitants of the Palestine Mandate, supported the plan.

    The Arabs and the Palestinians were true to their word and did launch a war against the Jews of Palestine, violating both Resolution 181 and the UN Charter. Much to the surprise of the Arab side, the Jews were able to survive the initial onslaughts and eventually win the war.

    • gay o'connor September 22, 2013 at 8:16 pm | #

      Olmert’ “peace plan” did not impress either his govt. nor the Palestinians. (Livni repudiated it almost immediately.) The Palestinians, because he wanted them to sign on the dotted line but would not give them the map to show where he was going to permit their state.
      Clinton said, about the negotiations which took place under his watch, that there were a great number of Nos, and they were not from the Palestinians!
      The 1947 Paritition Plan gave 55% of the land to the Jews who owned 8% and whose population at that time was 13%. As I said earlier, the Arabs refused to give any of their land away. Would you have agreed to give away the bulk of your land?
      I also said earlier that the Jews never accepted the plan ion reality, but started taking land allocated to the Arabs almost immediately. And NEVER agreed to Jerusalem becoming an International City.

  53. fnlevit September 22, 2013 at 11:59 am | #

    @JohnW – when Zionists get serious offer of peace they are known to withdraw from 60.000 sq. km thinly populated area (Sinai), dismantling two towns (Ofira and Yamit) and scores od smaller settlements. Just for a pieace of paper – the RECOGNITION and PEACE agreement.

    Same with Jordan – Israel withdraw from 300 sq. km Israel gave Jordan 300 square kilometres including Peace Island, and leased 2850 dunams (2.85 km²) in the Arabah.

    • John W September 22, 2013 at 7:21 pm | #

      Let’s face reality. These strategic withdrawals in the face of international condemnation, were only shrewd tokenism. Meanwhile, the Zionist’s main occupation tightened and the apartheid and oppression continue still.

      • mariapalestina September 22, 2013 at 7:55 pm | #

        The strategy is to take 100 percent of everything you want, regardless of who owns it or how many innocent people you have to kill in order to get it. And then when the surviving victims protest, you first deny it and then when pressured by outside interests you agree to return some part of what you stole. And then when the victims say no, we want all of it back, you say they are the problem.

      • gay o'connor September 22, 2013 at 10:43 pm | #

        You and Mariapalestina always manage to hit the nails right on their heads! Well done, both of you. (You re above and Maria re “strategy being to take 100% of everything they want” . . .) No real answer to what either of you have said, is there? Oh, yes, they’ll try . . . but . . .

  54. fnlevit September 22, 2013 at 12:11 pm | #

    guy o’connor – I am not responding to your quoting various UN resolutions for two reasons
    1. I am not too familiar with the details
    2. I personally am not too impressed with the UN resolutions for the reasons best expressed by Abba Evan quote
    “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.”

    By the way here is another of his quotes just afte the Six Days war (remember Khartoum Arab Ligue Resolution?)
    “I think that this is the first war in history that on the morrow the victors sued for peace and the vanquished called for unconditional surrender.”

    • gay o'connor September 22, 2013 at 7:58 pm | #

      I think you should acquaint yourself with the details of those early UN resolutions – (it won’t take long) – they are the basis for recognition of the State of Israel!

      • fnlevit September 23, 2013 at 4:57 am | #

        I plan to do this.

    • gay o'connor September 22, 2013 at 8:08 pm | #

      You refer to Abba Evan. Do you mean Abba Eban? He was an Israeli. So what has his bit of spin got to do with Palestinians’ thought processes or actions?

  55. fnlevit September 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm | #

    This is a copy of one NormanF (with my small addition in one place) who answers better than me as to why Israel is not S. Africa and why the demans for actual RoR for Palestinians is what blocks the entire process and hopes for the end of the conflict. Only for now I hope

    NormanF says:

    September 21, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Zionism is the default view among Jews due to their realization that being at the mercy of others was – and is no way – for Jews to live.

    There was the Philip Weiss (or Robin Corey – my addition) Of Iraq – a wealthy, well-connected non-Zionist Jew, with Arab friends and connections in high places in Iraq. His name was Shafik Ades. In September 1948, he was arrested by the Iraqi authorities, tried in a show trial and executed for arms smuggling and treason, with his property and wealth confiscated. His body was hung on the gallows in front of his own home as Arab mobs cheered. This development had a jolting effect on Iraq’s Jews:

    “The execution of Ades sent shivers of fear down the spines of Iraq’s Jews. If it could happen to Ades, a friend of the Regent, a man whose sympathies could not be further from Zionism if he tried, it could happen to them, they reasoned. Shafik Ades’s execution was one of the main reasons why Iraq’s Jews streamed out when they were given the chance – the vast majority to Israel. ”

    Jewish safety and well being must never be dependent on others. Jews can be truly safe only if they have their own country and their own army to protect them. Zionism is a powerful argument against Jewish persecution and genocide. Yosef Munayyer does not understand this is precisely why the vast majority of Jews will never let go of Israel. And there is nowhere else for them to go. Ades could have saved his own life. Iraq’s Jews took note of his grisly fate – and nearly all of them understandably chose to move to Israel.

    • gay o'connor September 22, 2013 at 7:55 pm | #

      maybe not, but the grandchildren would be.

    • gay o'connor September 22, 2013 at 8:02 pm | #

      Are you aware of the number of Jews living in Iran? About 25,000. And are you aware of the number of times Israel has suggested they move to Israel? And of their response (“Thanks but no thanks, we are Iranians, not Israelis.”) And have you been to these Jewish areas, particularly in Tehran, where Jews have their own state-funded schools and hospitals? All is not what it seems in the Western press!

      • fnlevit September 23, 2013 at 4:52 am | #

        Just FYI – unfortunately this is a recurring phenomenon in Jewish history. There were always countries in which Jews felt good for several generations and began to be sure that this is it and it is so good and the government likes them and they have schools and businesses and pleasant neighborhoods and good living. So – enough to wander, this is our home. Like now in US. But, Alas, time always came (perhaps one or two generations later) that they got it on their head, life was destroyed, thousands killed and great majority went into exiles.

        In fact it started already in the biblical story of Jews in Egypt – as long as Joseph was there life was really good and his brothers came to live there in the time of drought in the Land of Canaan but couple of generations later – slavery and exodus.

        The more recent example is German Jews. Life was very good for them from roughly 18 through beginning of 20th century. Many of them .even stopped calling themselves Jews – they were proud to call themselves Germans of Jewish faith.
        Here is a link and a quote

        ” Once German Jews began to speak German, they embraced the concept of Bildung — the refinement of the individual self and character in keeping with the ideals of the Enlightenment, as exemplified by the main character in Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meister.

        While Jews were replacing their religion with Bildung and voluntarily adopting German ways, the reactionary German leaders only hardened their stance against the “foreign nation” that lived in their Christian society. Hence legal emancipation came slowly to German Jews. Yet the shared culture drew Jews and Germans together. As a consequence of Bildung and Kultur, Elon notes, within two or three decades many Jews became 100% German. ” (end of quote)

        You know the end of the story. And it was the same as you say – Zionists warning them earlier and calling them to get out. Few did but too many unfortunately and proudly did not.

        Now the most recent example is happening in front of our eyes – French Jews –
        “French Jews have grown so disgusted with anti-Semitism that more than one quarter of them are considering emigrating.”

        I can see it with my eyes – French signs appearing in restaurants (especially Netania region), property prices going up, increase of numbers of people speaking French on the streets, etc. Many buy second homes here, stay part year, many also go to French Canada or to UK. Just browse Google.

        So – when Prof. Corey thinks that Jews can do without Israel because life is good in US – I say to such – if you decided to stop being Jewish you are right. Stop going to shul, stop educating your children as Jews, let them just be Americans. In a couple of generations most of them will totally assimilate. Actually judging by Germany example even this may not save. But certainly if you insist of being Jewish. You will need Israel as you safe home. That’s what history teaches us and that is what Finkelstein is trying to explain in his post on Mondoweiss.

        • gay o'connor September 23, 2013 at 8:16 pm | #

          fnlevit – your point is . . . . ?

      • bensday823 September 24, 2013 at 6:56 am | #


        I fear your comments will fall on death ears. Any discussion of Israel’s role as a safe haven for world Jewry will likely go soaring over the heads of the commentariet. Most of the people here are leftists, and leftists refuse to study history in an honest fashion, Marxists being the worst of the worst in this.They see all conflicts through the lens of class struggle, which is why the left will never understand anti-semitism, or much of anything about the world.


  56. fnlevit September 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm | #

    I missed to say it is a copy from Mondoweiss! Sic!

    • gay o'connor September 24, 2013 at 8:42 pm | #

      Bensday – oh dear! oh dear! Those leftists who see the world through either Marxism or class struggle “will never understand anti-Semitism”. WTF? Do you have to be a conservative to understand this? (You mean align yourself with those who called for the invasion of Iraq, the bombing of Iran, etc?) And I thought the Bolshevik movement was mainly Jews who were fighting, inter alia, anti-Semitism? Were they not leftist/Marxists? Or perhaps I have misunderstood a large part of early 20th century history.

      • bensday823 September 24, 2013 at 10:04 pm | #

        1. This is a common misconception about 20th century history. Yes there were a large number of Jews among the Bolsheviks, no they were not the majority and yes they were fools.

        2. Leftists see the world entirely through the lens of oppressor/oppressed, which prevents them from understanding most of what goes on in the world. BTW, liberals are not leftists and not all conservatives supported the Iraq war.

  57. fnlevit September 24, 2013 at 2:19 am | #

    o’connor – that was my reaction to your post about Iranian Jews. I wish them all well but history teaches that the danger is there.

    • gay o'connor September 24, 2013 at 3:16 am | #

      fnlevit – and my post was my reaction to your comment along the lines that all countries in the Middle East (for which in reality read “Muslim”) banished their Jews. My point was that Iran has a large population of Jews who seem to be quite happy living there. Now you almost say: “well, they are going to suffer, as always” – which comment suggests an assured suffering in time – almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      • bensday823 September 24, 2013 at 6:43 am | #

        Actually most of Iran’s Jews left after the revolution, by no stretch of the imagination can the community be described as large.

  58. fnlevit September 24, 2013 at 9:14 am | #
  59. fnlevit September 24, 2013 at 9:30 am | #

    I am sorry for the likk. Here is a much better link than the one posted earlier

    You can also see on the left a button called “countries narrative”. Press it to see how the exile hap[pend in every country.
    Iran is not in their statistics but from what I see from a pdf diagram which I have on my computer (but do not know how to post it here) in 1948 there were 150.000 Jews in Iran.

    • gay o'connor September 24, 2013 at 8:12 pm | #

      bensday says 25,000 is not a “large” community. It is a lot larger than most Israel-apologists say (when they are trying to justify the expulsion of the Palestinians) remain in Muslim countries. Just wanting to point that out.

      • bensday823 September 24, 2013 at 10:07 pm | #

        IIRC there are something like 1.25 million Sunni muslims in Israel out of a total population of 8 million. Clearly different then 15,00 out of 90,000,000 (Iran’s ratio), no?

        • gay o'connor September 25, 2013 at 3:25 am | #

          still missed my point, but no matter . . .

  60. fnlevit September 24, 2013 at 9:56 am | #

    It is OK, Ben. I fully realize (and said so in my earlier posts) that I have no chance to change the opinions of people like mariapalestina and such. But perhaps others can see the truth in my objective links to the history and realistic description of the status of the conflict rather than mostly emotional words which I get in response.

    I am just trying to show that yes the situation was tough on both people, Israelis and Palestinians starting actually in 1930’s. Two groups claiming the same territory. Jews wee ready to compromise but Palestinians tried to exterminate Jews militarily. That started in 1948 and 1967 and 1973 relying on the armies of Arab countries. That failed and Egypt and Jordan signed peace agreements with Israel.

    Palestinians then continued via terrorism AND NO NEGOTIATION policy all the way until Oslo which gave some hope but Palestinians again destroyed it by using suicide bombings of Israeli buses, discotheques, shopping centers. This forced Israel to build the barrier preventing suicide bombers to freely penetrate into Israel and brought the army back to Palestinian towns to control the movements, to have checkpoints, etc.

    Now, after all these unsuccessful attempts to get their goals by violent means Palestinians try a new route – appealing to the world. In that they did not accept Barak and Olmert offers and demand the right of return of 6 mln refugees descendants (unprecedented in history). This means effectively the end of the State of Israel and tremendous violence. So – we are in the impasse again waiting for some miracles.

    • gay o'connor September 24, 2013 at 8:27 pm | #

      fnlevit – you refer to objective links to history – and then go on to say that “Jews were ready to compromise but Palestinians tried to exterminate Jews militarily” started in 1948 and 1967 and 1973.” That is not history. Read it again. Before 1948 Jews had taken land allocated to the Arabs (some compromise!); in 1967 Israel bombed the shit out of Egypt and Arab armies came in to contain Israel’s advance further into Arab territory; in 1973 Syria “invaded” the Golan (Syrian land taken by Israel in 1967 and despite many UN resolutions calling for withdrawal refused to do so. So invaded their own land. Don’t rely in Wikipedia (which, you will note, is constantlly calling for editing) – or Israeli hasbara – rely on news AS WRITTEN AT THE TIME. And while you are at it, read about the so-called peace offers made by Israel over the years, and what they did not offer – some hefty pre-conditions. And take into account, during these “offers” the amount of settlement building which was going on even as Israel talked peace.

      I have said before, take a real look at the creation of the State of Israel – and how it came about. How Jews, representing 13% of the population and owned 8%of the land was given 55% under the UN Partition Plan – (and then took some more even before 15th May 1948). You might then understand why the Arabs refused the Plan. Wouldn’t you? And talking about the problems in Palestine in the early part of the 20th century, take a look at Plan Dalet. I won’t add more – don’t want to be a spoiler.

    • bensday823 September 24, 2013 at 10:09 pm | #

      Precisely. Gay O’conner ignores that their present predicaments are the result of their past behavior. Israel as a tiny country had no interest in picking a fight with the larger Arab world, or the even larger Muslim, world.

      • John W September 24, 2013 at 11:33 pm | #

        How can you write
        ” – (Many) ignore(s) that (the Palestinian’s) present predicaments are the result of their past behavior (!?). Israel as a tiny country had no interest in picking a fight with the larger Arab world, or the even larger Muslim, world. “.
        Without adding –
        “Our great interest is in grabbing their lands and oppressing them, or preferably driving them out. “

        • bensday823 September 25, 2013 at 1:01 am | #

          If their so hell bent on taking over everything, why offer the Palestinians a deal at all?

        • gay o'connor September 25, 2013 at 3:44 am | #

          bensday (again) – poor little Israel, eh? Not interested in picking a fight with the surrounding Arab countries? Tell me, which of the surrounding Arab countries has Israel NOT invaded – and some more than once. Oh yes, I forgot, poor little Israel is entitled to defend itself, (even if by pre-emption). Well, so are the surrounding Arab countries. Or is Israel that special country which can do what it wants without a word of criticism being uttered? Because if it is criticised Israel can use its special weapon – no, not nukes, not cluster bombs, not white phosphorus, not helicopter gunships, not armoured tanks, but the word “anti-Semite”, which is thrown about so often it has almost lost its meaning.

          Clearly, you Israel-apologists approve of the occupation. Most of the rest of the world doesn’t. Get real.

      • bensday823 September 25, 2013 at 11:36 pm | #


        Nobody has accused you of anti-semitism, the only anti-semite here is BillR (the guy who randomly pops up to claim that Jews run the U.S government). In 1967 Egypt blockaded Israel (an act of war), Egypt was also massing troops on it’s borders and would have attacked had Israel not struck first.

        Look at a map Israel is tiny and outnumbered, why would they go out of there way to pick a fight? It just doesn’t make any sense.


        • gay o'connor September 26, 2013 at 12:48 am | #

          Ben – you ask why would Israel go out of their way to pick a fight. Don’t know, but they do. And remember when Netanyahu addressed Congress before the invasion of Iraq, saying that Israeli intelligence was aware that Saddam had WMD. So . . Iraq gets bombed. (Not, I add, by Israel – he got the US and its allies to do that.) . That destabilised Iraq completely, and got them out of the way. Now he’s saying the same about Iran – except it is nukes he refers to. Seems that after the e completely wrong call in 19p3, and the resultant loss of life the search to destroy Iraq’s WMD, the world might wonder if “Israeli intelligence” is not an oxymoron.

      • gay o'connor September 26, 2013 at 2:04 am | #

        Ben you could look at Plan Dalet too.

  61. fnlevit September 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm | #

    There is a disturbing contradiction in what is going on in the anti-Israeli cult which is so well represented in this blog. On one hand they worry about Palestinian suffering and use it to bash Israel at every opportunity. On the other hand they put all their efforts to interfere and stop any practical attempts to change this and get out of this entangled situation. I will try to define this in a oversimplified manner to be short and to the point. I’ll do this as a dialog between pro-Palestinian and an Israeli
    P. Stop oppressing Palestinians you racist ziobastard, get out of their land.
    I. Ok, frankly I wanted to do this since 1948 (will explain in another post) but where should I go?
    P. Go to the ’67 borders, sorry to the partition lines and don’t forget to take all the refugees in.
    I. How many?
    P. Well there were 650.000 originally in ’48 but since then with their descendants there are some 6-8 mlns.
    I. This is hard for me. I have absorbed some 850.000 Jewish refugees who escaped or were exiled by Arab states as a result of the same ’48 war. So now you want me to absorb 6 more mln. Will they be hostile to us? Do you think we will be able to live peacefully together?
    P. Well, I never thought about this. Most probably not but we don’t care, we want justice NOW.
    I. OK, I am a democracy and must convince my own people. They are scared that this will become just one big bloodshed. But what we can do is to withdraw almost to ’67 lines and compensate for the rest with the land swap.
    P. No, no, that wont do – we want all.
    I. Wait I thought you worried about Palestinian suffering under my occupation. This will immediately remove that. They will have their own state. Isn’t that what you want for them?
    P. No, I want them to have Jerusalem. And the army. And you should take in all the refugees. If not they should not talk to you. In fact I hear that some traitors from PA are now negotiating with you – I am sure they will betray Palestinian interests. They should stop this spectacle right away.

    I. But how can we withdraw without any negotiations?
    P. Just go out. Or, yeah and don’t forget to dismantle the wall.
    I. What if after we withdraw all these Al Qaeda and Hamas and Hezbollah and other fanatics (supported by Iran and others) will move across the Jordanian border into the West Bank and start attacking us with rockets, send terrorist units across our borders, kill our people?
    P. Why would they do this?
    I. Why do they do this in Syria? Or Iraq? Or on 9/11? It is you who think that ’67 plus refugees are enough but they just want to eliminate us from the Middle East which belongs to Arabs, you know. Oh, yes, and we will have 6 mln fairly hostile newcomers among us.
    P. Well, you will find ways to overcome, won’t you. After all you won already four wars.
    I. Yeah, but that was always by using air force to bomb and going fast with our army into the enemy territory. Are you saying we will have to go back and occupy the West Bank again in this very likely case? The Palestinians will suffer again. Everything will just return to what it is now. Wont it be better to end their suffering by just agreeing to what we offer, letting us to defend the Jordanian border and …..
    P. No, no, no, no way, you zio supra fascist racist bastard …..

    • gay o'connor September 24, 2013 at 8:09 pm | #

      fnlevit – you continually refer to the “anti-Israeli cult.” Why not start thinking of it as an “anti-occupation fellow sympathisers.” Or even “anti-Zonists.” Yes, yes, I know – “you are not proper Jew unless you are a Zionist – because Zionism is the only way we cane take someone’s country from them and make it our own.”

      • mariapalestina September 24, 2013 at 8:15 pm | #

        I’m still reading every comment, and giggling sometimes at the outrageous claims made by some. I don’t comment a lot, though I have a lot to say. But you, Gay, and John W say it so much better than I can. I agree with and thank you for every reasoned word you write.

      • gay o'connor September 24, 2013 at 8:32 pm | #

        mariapalestina – you do say a lot when you do say it – and a very informative lot it is. And I have to admit that sometimes I get a giggle out of some of the posts! I think it’s called being brainwashed. Or maybe a “cult”.

      • fnlevit September 24, 2013 at 9:22 pm | #

        I am just following N. Finkelstin in his terminology. About ending occupation – Israel keeps offering but Palestinians and members of your cult seem to focused on other objectives.

        • gay o'connor September 24, 2013 at 9:34 pm | #

          fnlevit – Why do you continually refer to Finkelstein. Why not try, oh, say, Noam Chomsky, or Shlomo Sand, or Benny Morris, or Ilan Pappe, or Stephen Green, or Robert Fisk, or . . . Lots of others out there!

    • John W September 24, 2013 at 8:32 pm | #

      Dear fnlevit. This theatrical non-debate seems an act of desperation.
      Admittedly your many contributions to this debate have included moments of reasonableness among hours of Zionist’s twisted facts, but this plumbs a new low.

      The immorality and illegality of Israel’s continuing (and worsening) occupation and oppression in Palestinian homelands, demands more sensible argument.

    • gay o'connor September 24, 2013 at 9:44 pm | #

      fnlevit – bloody hell – why bring 9/11 into this? I think you are just a little bit deluded.

    • bensday823 September 24, 2013 at 10:20 pm | #


      None of the anti-zionists have been able to answer the hypothetical I posed to Maria:

      “Let’s consider a thought experiment, the Israelis and Palestinians come to an agreement that involves the creation of a Palestinian state, and the resettlement of the refugees within that state. Israel also agrees to help fund the development of a Palestinian state, and to cooperate on issues of resources and economics. If twenty years later both states are flourishing and at peace, would you still be disappointed that the grandchildren of the refugees can’t return to Israel?”

      It’s impossible for them to perceive the existence of legitimate conflicts of interest, or that Israelis have any legitimate interests at all.

      • mariapalestina September 25, 2013 at 12:09 am | #


        I accept that Israel exists. I do not want to drive Jews into the sea. I used to believe in the possibility of a Palestinian state. I know better now. I have been and I have seen.

        It would be a waste of my time and yours to fantasize about Israel ever agreeing to end the occupation and remove every last illegal settler from any parts of Palestine (as decreed in the partition agreement of 1947-48.)

        Israel has never ever made a good faith offer to the Palestinians that was even worth of consideration. Israel has never ever been interested in living peacefully with or beside the Palestinians. Israel’s strategy, about which it has hardly been secretive, has always been to take all of the land of Palestine, and parts of other countries too if it can get away with it. Its dilemma is how to get rid of the Palestinian people.

        Israel has murdered thousands of Palestinian men, women and children, many of them by the use of chemical weapons in contravention of international law. Every month there are more deaths of innocent Palestinian civilians. Israel uses collective punishment, also against international law. Thousands of Palestinian men, women and children are in Israeli jails, many without ever having been convicted or even charged with any crime, and many of the rest convicted on trumped up charges. Thousands of Palestinian homes have been demolished with no compensation or apology.

        As an occupying power, Israel is responsible for the well being of all the people living under its occupation. Instead, Israel strangles them, doing its utmost to make their lives a living hell. Hundreds of women have given birth on the ground at checkpoints deep inside Palestine, because IDF soldiers refused to let them get to the hospital. Dozens of newborns have died as a result. Many patients have died because ambulances were held at checkpoints. Even today people in Gaza are dying because Israel prevents their passage to the West Bank or Jordan where there are facilities where their lives could be saved.

        Israel is a brutal occupier which continues to commit human rights abuses daily against men, women, children and infants. Settlers are living illegally in Palestine, so I consider every one of them a criminal. Many of them are thugs. I have personally experienced the horrors of being severely beaten and robbed at gunpoint in a palestinian olive grove by some of these thugs at the illegal settlement of Itamar near Nablus. While IDF sat nearby in a jeep and watched. These thugs were young enough to be my grandsons, but they showed me no mercy. So long as there is a single Israeli settler living in Palestine there can never be peace for Palestinians. Settlers such as those at Itamar prowl Palestinian land and villages daily, destroying their crops, burning their olive trees, poisoning their wells and sheep, and destroying their generators. Their only purpose in life is to remove, by any means, the people who own and live on land they themselves covet.

        The Palestinian people love their land and feel deeply connected to it. They have lived there for many generations. It is in their blood and in their souls.

        European Israelis moved to the part of Palestine they were given the right to share with the Palestinians, and many of them have grown to love it too. Many of them have abandoned Israel, and more are leaving every day. On my street it’s likely half the houses have been bought by Israelis. They don’t want to live in Israel. All those centuries of yearning apparently don’t relate to actually wanting to live in Israel.

        I have spent a lot of time in Israel and Palestine. There is plenty of room in Israel for all who now live illegally in settlements in Palestine. Those people need to go home.

        The right of return for Palestinians is a right enshrined in international law. If the Israelis removed their soldiers and settlers out of Palestine I think it unlikely Israel would be deluged with millions of refugees wanting to exercise their right to return to their homes. Most would probably accept compensation, and an apology. They are just unwilling to give up their rights and their birthright, and I don’t blame them.

        Your hypothetical scenario is just another smoke and mirrors game, and I’m not buying it.

        • bensday823 September 25, 2013 at 12:56 am | #


          While I’ve come to respect your opinions on this matter, I still disagree with you. If Israel was hell bent on seizing all of historic Palestine why would they offer the Palestinians a state at all?

          • gay o'connor September 25, 2013 at 3:54 am | #

            bensday – take a look at what Israel is actually”offering.” Not a viable state. Not a state at all. And all the while . . . building more settlements, at an ever increasing rate. Did you know that while Israel bleats that it is just making room for natural growth of the population, the percentage of settlement growth far exceeds the percentage of population growth? How does that figure in your reference to the offer of a state? That’s how they will eventually take all of Palestine, apart from the stuff they don’t want, the stuff settlers don’t want to live in.
            I know Maria can speak for herself, but it is heart-warming to see you have come to respect what she says – I thought you lined her up with me and John W and all those other leftist idiots.

        • gay o'connor September 25, 2013 at 4:32 am | #

          Maria – I have just read your post. It is heart-breaking. I too have been to Israel, though as a visitor. I went there thinking “you have to admire this poor little state, trying to get along with their neighbours, trying to do their best . . ” . I soon learnt that I was completely deluded. I was there before the first intifada and know how it came about. The Israelis spoke about the Palestinians with absolute contempt. Their attitude filled me with disgust. I was left wondering how long it would be before it became so objectionable that they would, in fact, object. Not long, as it happened.

          And this was the state that claimed, in 1967, that It would conduct “the most benign occupation the world has ever seen.” That lasted all of 5 minutes! And, no doubt, people like bensday and fnlivet will say that those pesky Palestinians brought it on themselves, by objecting to being occupied – the cheek!

      • gay o'connor September 25, 2013 at 3:32 am | #

        bensday – Can’t visualise such a situation – it is not even the basis of a hypothetical because it doesn’t take into account either the size of the Palestinian state, nor compensation to the Palestinians who lost their homes in 1948. Nor has there ever been such a proposal put forward by any Israeli with the power to make such a compromise. (Read the Likud charter, for starters.) And you ask would the “anti-Zionists” worry about the grandchildren of the refugees then? And I suggest you should ask the grandchildren. It is their right, after all . . . .

        • bensday823 September 25, 2013 at 10:46 pm | #


          Your answer to my hypothetical would be, “if it’s okay with the Palestinians” correct?

          • gay o'connor September 26, 2013 at 12:28 am | #

            You ask me would my answer be to your (fanciful) hypothetical “if it’s OK with the Palestinians.” No, actually my answer is “if it’s OK with the Israelis and the Palestinians.” I would very much like to see Israel’s answer to your hypothetical. I think it would be “Don’t be so bloody stupid!”

      • bensday823 September 25, 2013 at 10:43 pm | #

        gay o’conner,

        Without a doubt the settlements, particularly the continued construction of them, are a major obstacle to peace (and very bad behavior on Israel’s part). Where we disagree is that I see self-determination for Jews and Palestinians as worthy goals, even if it means denying the Palestinian right of return.

        One possible solution to the settlement problem would be to incorporate them into a future Palestinian state. The Palestinians would still retain a solid majority so it would not threaten their right to self-determination. Salam Fayyad himself has suggested this as a solution.


        • gay o'connor September 26, 2013 at 12:41 am | #

          My view (for what it’ worth) is that Israel should aide by international law, which is to say withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines (Green Line) hand over the settlements to the Palestinians as representing “just compensation” in accordance with UN resolution 194.

      • bensday823 September 26, 2013 at 8:10 pm | #


        Personally I would not be disappointed by the solution you proposed (return to 67′ borders, and compensation for the refugees), as long as it meant the final end of the conflict. I think most Israelis would grudging accept it, provided some concessions with regards to the old city of Jerusalem, and access to various religious sites, etc. The main thing Israelis fear is that it would not be a final agreement, and they would be forced to contend with terrorism from a much weaker position. Sadly there is a vocal and growing minority within Israel who would never accept any such compromise.

        But I would be curious as to what fnlevit thinks about such a proposal.


        • gay o'connor September 26, 2013 at 10:20 pm | #

          Ben unfortunately you and I aren’t the negotiators. As to Jerusalem, the UN proposal was that it be an international city. I think that would be fair. I think the Palestinians would accept this, but I am pretty sure the Israelis wouldn’t. So that is the end of that little pipe dream.

          Incidentally this is exactly what the Palestinians have been saying for years now – abide by International Law, which means, return to the 67 borders – and that means all the 67 borders – no land swaps (giving useless land in exchange for the best fertile bits.) To understand exactly what Israel has offered in the past requires looking at a map of their offer, and comparing it with old maps of Palestine which showed where all the towns and villages were, because Palestine was, essentially, an agricultural society, and old maps show where the villagers lived, which means next to their farms.

          I know Israel keeps saying they made the desert bloom. The desert always bloomed but the difference is that : (i) in 1948 and following, Israel by its various abandoned lands acts (look it up) managed to prevent the farmers from working their land, by, eg. declaring it a closed military zone -(still doing that today) or some other self-declared legal fiction, and then took it over as having been abandoned; (ii) in the early part of the 20th century, the population of Palestine was nowhere near as large as it became after May 1948, and the Palestinians back then used the land – and precious water resources – sufficient to sustain themselves, and some for export. Worked well. Until . . .

          And if you don’t accept this, then I suggest you get hold of info. about the area from, eg, various reports by the Mandatory govt. to the UN. They set out the extent of land under cultivation, all the produce, exports, increases in exports, increases in population, etc. Or going back further, reports to the Ottoman govt. from the provincial governors.

          • bensday823 September 27, 2013 at 12:24 am | #


            The main sticking points in negotiations have always been refugees and Jerusalem. You also state that this is the offer of the Palestinians, have they ever formally made such an offer? We have a general idea what Olmert offered, and what Ehud Barak offered, but according to most reports we don’t know what the counter offer was. If what you say is true then the parties are not as far apart as commonly believed.

          • gay o'connor September 27, 2013 at 2:35 am | #

            You ask did the Palestinians ever make such an offer? Yes, in November 1988 Arafat, when he foreswore violence, recognised Israel’s right to exist as a state behind 1967 lines, and declared a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel was not too impressed.

          • gay o'connor September 27, 2013 at 4:18 am | #

            Ben I’ve just notced that you said I said, in reference to what I think would be a fair thing, that this was an offer by the Palestinians. What I said was that I think the Palestinians would accept such an offer, as I suggested.

            As to your suggestion that we know, roughly, what the Israelis have offered, you asked what was the Palestinians’ counter-offer. What I said about Arafat was that was what he said in his address to the UN. it was not a “counter-offer”. It was his stated position. His position was placed on the table, not as a counter-offer, but, if you like, as his offer The Israelis have completely rejected it, and, in fact, as soon as he made his position clear, started to rapidly build more and more settlements.

            What Israel needs to do is recognise that they are not outside the law, that International Law applies to them. And this is the problem they face in that the rest of the world recognises this as an imperative. And it is the statement of this recognition that Israel labels “anti-Semitism.”

          • bensday823 September 28, 2013 at 3:47 am | #

            I will try and find out what the two sides were specifically offering. As I understand it Arafat has never made a formal offer that involved relinquishing the right of return. The negotiations were supposedly confidential, but mostly they were exceedingly complex.

            I also disagree with your statement about criticism of Israel being labeled anti-semitic. What get’s people labeled as anti-semites is in the middle of a discussion on Israel they do one of the following:

            a) Bring up the death of Christ
            b) Start quoting passages from the babylonian talmud as evidence of Jewish malfeasance.
            c) Start talking about Jewish wealth and Power
            d) something similar

            Not that any of those aren’t legitimate topics of conversation; but, people who can’t resist bringing them up in discussions of the contemporary I/P conflict probably are anti-semites.

          • gay o'connor September 28, 2013 at 4:21 am | #

            You know, I never heard, when I was growing up and attending school in a convent, that the Jews were to blame for Christs’ death. It was only well into adulthood that I heard that we “no longer blamed the Jews”. I was a bit surprised, as the very holy nuns never said anything to the contrary .
            As to the Talmud, we have our Bible with some pretty horrific stories in it – rape, incest, murder, betrayal, etc etc.
            Jewish wealth and power? I envy anyone their wealth. Power? I do feel Israel wields an enormous amount of power in the US.

          • bensday823 September 28, 2013 at 4:45 am | #

            I meant to point out that not all accusations of anti-semitism are false. This being the internet one runs into these characters far too often. I wish I hadn’t commented on it, I think it just distracts from the more significant issues.

      • bensday823 September 28, 2013 at 5:01 am | #

        ^^^I meant to add, in these discussion it’s usually just a distraction. And in all fairness I think the pro-Israel people have used the presence of anti-semites to distract from the issue.

        • gay o'connor September 28, 2013 at 7:31 am | #

          Well, actually, I would say that the pro-Israel people have used the allegation of anti-Semitism to distract from the issues.

  62. fnlevit September 25, 2013 at 10:02 am | #

    o’connor – the value of the property confiscated from the Jewish refugees in Arab countries is close to $6.7 bln . Here is a quote

    In the 1950’s, John Measham Berncastle, under the aegis of the United Nations Conciliation Commission for Palestine, estimated that total assets lost by Palestinian refugees from 1948 – including land, buildings, movable property, and frozen bank accounts – amounted to roughly $350 million ($650 per refugee). Adding in an additional $100 million for assets lost by Palestinian refugees as a result of the Six Day War, an approximate total is $450 million – $4.4 billion in 2012 prices. By contrast, the value of assets lost by the Jewish refugees – compiled by a similar methodology – is estimated at $700 million – roughly $6.7 billion today.

    Just as an example look at the list and air photo of former Jewish houses around and close to the famous Tahris square

    Joseph Nissim’s home on the banks of the Nile: Now the residence of the Russian ambassador. The site houses the modern Russian embassy.

    Victor Castro’s palace: now Jehan Sadat’s residence. Egyptian government property.

    Emile Zikov’s house – now the Pakistani embassy.

    Isaac Abdo’s house: the merchant’s home is now the South Korean embassy.

    The home of the Zuckerman family. Now the Swiss embassy.

    Maurice Cattaoui’s home. Now the German embassy.

    Ovadia Salem’s house. The home of the manager of the Chemla department store is today the Canadian embassy.

    Guido Levy’s house. Today the Dutch embassy.

    Moise Cattaoui’s house. Today the Great Library of Cairo.

    Henri Curiel’s house. Today the Algerian embassy.

    The Castro family house. Today the embassy of Bahrain.

    The Rollo family house. Formerly the US embassy. Now in private hands.

    Salvatore Cicurel’s house. Became a stock exchange and events hall. Now part of the US embassy.

    The Chemla, Ades, Benzion, Levy, Cicurel, Orosdi Bak department stores still exist, but are owned by the Egyptian government.

    My house is your house: Jewish rights denied

    • mariapalestina September 25, 2013 at 1:00 pm | #

      And your point is?

      • fnlevit September 25, 2013 at 3:18 pm | #

        There were refugees on both sides. That is very important to understand(I quote)

        In 1945, roughly 1 million Jews lived in Arab states, many in communities that had existed for thousands of years. After the Arabs rejected the United Nations partition of Palestine the Jews of the Arab lands became targets of their own governments’ anti-Zionist fervor. As Egypt’s delegate to the UN in 1947 chillingly told the General Assembly: “The lives of one million Jews in Muslim countries will be jeopardized by partition.” The dire warning quickly became the brutal reality.

        Throughout 1947 and 1948, Jews in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Morocco, Syria, and Yemen (Aden) were persecuted, their property and belongings were confiscated, and they were subjected to severe anti-Jewish riots instigated by the governments. In Iraq, Zionism was made a capital crime. In Syria, anti-Jewish pogroms erupted in Aleppo and the government froze all Jewish bank accounts. In Egypt, bombs were detonated in the Jewish quarter, killing dozens. In Algeria, anti-Jewish decrees were swiftly instituted and in Yemen, bloody pogroms led to the many Jewish deaths. The Jews of the Arab World fled their homes as refugees.

        Of the 820,000 Jewish refugees after 1948 , more than 200,000 found refuge in Europe and North America while 586,000 were resettled in Israel – at great expense to the Israeli government, and without any compensation from the Arab governments who had confiscated their possessions. The majority of the Jewish refugees left their homes penniless and destitute and with nothing more than the shirts on their backs.

        In Israel, the influx of immigrants nearly doubled the population and a put a great strain on an economy struggling meet the needs of its existing population”. (end of the quote)

        That was in a sharp contrast to Palestinian refugees in Arab countries. In fact Egypt and Jordan were in control of Gaza and West Bank for 19 year (1948-1967) and did nothing to absorb the refugees, On the contrary Arab Ligue instructed Arab countries not to grant Palestinians citizinship. And that is the real reason for the two facts
        1. That the Palestinian refiugees problem still exists after 65 years and
        2. That their numbers grw from 650.000 to some 6 mlns.

        The main reason why the world hears about Palestinains and not Arab Jews was that Israel, E andFrance and few other countries (but mostly Israel) accepted them, granted citizenships and helped to get absorbed so that their children and grandchildren do not continue to feel like unaccepted refugees.

        • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 25, 2013 at 3:28 pm | #

          So… the refugee status of the Palestinians is the fault of the nations that won’t accept them as citizens of the nations to which they were forcibly displaced, but not the fault of the nation that violently displaced them from their homes in the first place?

          Got it.

          And the crimes against the Jews around the world has to be paid for by forcibly displacing Palestinians?

          Got it.

    • Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm | #

      How many of these Jews are now living under military occupation by a conqueror nation?

    • gay o'connor September 25, 2013 at 7:10 pm | #

      Why is it that, whenever criticism is made of Israeli actions, you Israel-apologists ALWAYS point to similar actions made by others – usually Muslims (can’t slag them enough, can you?) The point is that the UN resolution called for Israel to permit the return of the refugees, or pay just compensation. That is a UN resolution which Israel accepted. (Read the bloody thing.) That is the point I was making. You can make your point if a similar situation arises where the stuff lost by Jews in other lands becomes an issue. But what you are saying is “well, we lost some too so that makes up for what they lost.” It’s like saying “Well I was robbed so I will rob someone else to make up for it.” Ridiculous.

  63. mariapalestina September 25, 2013 at 4:27 pm | #

    I understand that many many Jews were driven from their homes in Arab countries, many of them in retaliation for what the zionists were doing to the Palestinian population of the parts of Palestine Jews were given the chance to share. I agree this was wrong, and they should be compensated. I also know that probably as many or more left their countries voluntarily, some because they were offered compensation (bribes?) by the Israeli government to settle in Israel. And indeed many of them were semitic people who felt a connection to Palestine because they had roots in the land that go back for centuries. Many more resisted Israel’s impassioned pleas and offers of financial reward, choosing to stay in their homeland. The Jews who live in Iraq have no interest in moving to Israel, and my Jewish friends who live in Iraq say there are absolutely no problems for Jews living there. In Tunisia, after the uprising, Israel attempted to persuade Tunisian Jews to move home to Israel. They said “No, thanks. We are home already.”

    Regardless of how many Jewish refugees there were, and I know it was a large number, what does this have to do with the Palestinians who were driven from their homes and land in Palestine? And an even bigger question: What does it have to do with the thousands or hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who lived in the West Bank, many of them already refugees from their homes in the new Israel, who have been driven from their homes in order to make way for Jewish settlements? The entire world has condemned the building of these settlements on Palestinian land; yet it continues every day.

    So please don’t try to justify Israel’s crimes against Palestinians by continually harping on earlier injustices committed against Jews in other lands. Israel has a state, even if the world recognizes it is an apartheid state. Why must it continue to stretch its greedy fingers into Palestine too?

    To paraphrase somebody… “It’s the occupation, stupid!”

    • gay o'connor September 25, 2013 at 7:23 pm | #

      Maria – you said earlier that you say a lot — You do say a lot, and you say it so well !! Keep it up.

  64. Donald Pruden, Jr., a/k/a The Enemy Combatant September 25, 2013 at 5:43 pm | #

    John W and Mariapalestina, thank YOU! Along with gay o’connor – you guys deserve kudos for your interventions. And for your patience. BillR – I’ll say it again: You got the best links, ever! Given the sheer number of entries into this comment section, one has to say as well that Corey has really opened up quite a discussion. On to business.

    Ben (bensday823),

    The other discussants have addressed some of the points you have raised and have revisited them in reply to your replies to them — so I will not reply to those other comments (of yours) here.

    Except one. This reply is to one comment of yours as the point that it suggests has gone without any response, and that point is quite a serious one. I had planned to let this go but for days it nagged at me, and I regret having to be one to make this thread even longer than it already is. Once again, I apologize for its length (I don’t mean to do that, really…)


    While you seem sincere in your beliefs, you get your facts wrong. Israel didn’t conquer Palestine, Jews moved their as legal immigrants in the pre-state days, they had every right to be there. As for South Africa, the imposed solution hasn’t worked out so well, has it? White farmers brutally tortured to death, infrastructure crumbling, and yes potentially genocide.

    People have good reason to believe a bi-national state would be a disaster; Syria, Lebanon, Iraq. All descended into sectarian violence in the absence of an authoritarian strongman. And of course the widespread fanatical anti-semitism in the Muslim world. Most Israeli Jews support a two state solution, they just don’t want to be a minority for good reason.


    If Israel “did not conquer Palestine” then why is it that the Palestinians live in refugee camps (but not the Israelis), do not have right of return (but Jews around the world do, and can get land/housing in the settlements, funded by the United States), and the occupied territories are patrolled by Israeli soldiers (but Israel is not patrolled by Palestinian soldiers)? Sounds like a conquest to me. But let’s lay that aside for now.

    If I understand you, and without mincing words, you seem first of all to be suggesting that the different ethnic/religious/cultural social groups cannot be expected to live together as citizens of a shared nation because their innate hostility to one another will bring them to tear each other’s throats out.

    You also seem, second of all, to be suggesting that “Syria, Lebanon, Iraq” have all “descended into sectarian violence in the absence of an authoritarian strongman.” Well, of course they have! They are filled with Arab/Muslims (non-Whites) and we know that these people are barely one step up from cannibals, don’t we? They need a “strongman” to keep them under control — you know, like the African savages that were properly ruled by the colonial White Afrikaners of South Africa. And now these savages are tearing that nation apart, saving their especial brutality for the hapless the Whites (“potentially genocide”).

    Social discord is inevitable with different groups sharing the same territory, and one group must therefore be charged with the role of imposing authoritarian rule over the unworthy rest.

    This perspective is not without precedent. Until very recently (which is to say, during my lifetime – I am 52 years of age) America’s own racist historians peddled as truth the following: When the darkies in America were made “free” after the end of slavery in the US, they went on a violence-and-sex soaked rampage against their benefactors — the former slaveholders — and this brought back the need of the “strongman”: the Ku Klux Klan. What South Africa needs now is its own “authoritarian strongman”, likely modeled on the American KKK, to bring “peace” to that benighted nation. The movie “The Birth of A Nation” could provide some helpful hints as to how that could be accomplished. Maybe we could send a DVD, in Blu-Ray with special features hosted by David Duke and Charles Murray!

    Like the Blacks of South Africa that had to get out of the way for the incoming Whites, Palestinians now have to get out of the way for incoming Jews. Ben – you claimed that the Jews immigrated legally, only to be met by Palestinian genocide of the Jews – if that is true then why on God’s green earth did the Jews continue to immigrate to Palestine, rather than find some other place where they could immigrate without being met such a response?

    Clearly, SOME PEOPLE are in more need of “authoritarian rule by a strongman” than others.

    As Governor George Wallace once said: “Seggah-GAY-shin NAWH, Seggah-GAY-shin Ta-MA-Wah, Seggah-GAY-shin Fo-EVAH!”

    Or, as author Thomas Dixon wrote in “The Leopard Spots” (1902): “I don’t exaggerate in the least. I am looking into the future. This racial instinct is the ordinance of our life. Lose it and we have no future. One drop of Negro blood makes a negro. It kinks the hair, flattens the nose, thickens the lip, puts out the light of intellect, and lights the fires of brutal passions. The beginning of Negro equality as a vital fact is the beginning of the end of this nation’s life. There is enough negro blood here to make mulatto the whole Republic.”

    “Such a danger seems too remote for serious alarm to me,” replied the younger man.

    “Ah! there’s the tragedy,” passionately cried the Preacher. “You younger men are growing careless and indifferent to this terrible problem. It’s the one unsolved and unsolvable riddle of the coming century. Can you build, in a Democracy, a nation inside a nation of two hostile races?”

    Like the Blacks of South Africa have to get out of the way for the incoming Whites, Palestinians have to get out of the way for incoming Jews.

    Do I got you right?

    Now that I have indulged my more reprehensible tendencies in argument, let me now turn to a more benign reading of your position.

    History is full of examples of things going wrong when radical social change is introduced into societies. What kind of wrongs can be traced to the history of the particular social relationships in question. America’s old-timey conservatives in the early twentieth century loved to point to the American South as an example, and did so as a justification for subordinating Blacks and maintaining that subordination through legal means and means not so legal. Needless to say, the reasons they offered were outright lies, and the approved methods ran from the denial of the suffrage to peonage to lynching. It does not occur to anyone that the thing that went wrong was not Black behavior, but White behavior. Fortunately, we finally have honest historians to get the pre- and post-Civil War history right, from W.E.B. DuBois to Eric Foner and many others after them. But that took a while, and more social upheaval was necessary to bring that about.

    It also never occurs to anyone that the White-male ruled, post-revolution U.S. could itself be seen as having gone on a crime spree: slavery and its expansion and protection, imperialist land grabs of the former Spanish colonies, the westward expansion, genocide against the Native Americans, unprovoked wars in Latin America, assassinations of foreign leaders, fomenting coups in the Middle East, the Tuskegee Experiment, and on and on….

    Maybe the U.S. should have been kept under the good authoritarian rule of British control, and the world may have been spared the lot of America’s activities? But then, the British…..

    Or, how about the former Communist nations of Eastern Europe? Recent scholarship suggests that the fall of Communism in these lands has been an absolute disaster: the rise of criminal gangs, corrupt tyrannical governments, a vastly expanded sex and illegal drug trade across international lines, shortened life expectancy with the loss of government sponsored health care, in some quarters a quietly rising anti-Semitism, “grabification” in Russia, and on and on and on…. and that was BEFORE the global economic meltdown in 2008.

    I don’t see any great call for a return to Communism to, you know, re-introduce authoritarian rule and order. Whatever happened to that stirring U.S. triumphalism that shook the world right after the “Fall of The Wall”? Having won the Cold War, don’t we get to take credit for what comes after? (*crickets*). Has anyone noticed that American news outlets have had almost NO coverage of the post-Communist nations, with the exception of the time of the U.S./NATO-led war in Bosnia? Is not anyone even curious as to how the Bosnians or rest of Eastern Europe is doing now?

    So, now we are supposed to believe that the present troubles of South Africa are the work of Black rule (or, what you call “the imposed solution” – as if what came before were not “imposed”) and are not themselves the legacy of apartheid, nor are they the result of the betrayal by the ANC of the very ideals that inspired the Black millions to meet and defeat violent, racist domination? Naomi Klein and many, many others have documented this betrayal — a betrayal that followed a threat by the IMF and donor nations that the ANC would stand helpless in the face of global capital flight should the ANC’s economic policies ever be implemented. Then, the new rulers were bought off, privatizations imposed, services cut (hence, the “crumbling infrastructure”), workers exploited, even unpaid. THEN crime and anger rise, and this is wholly in response to the economic atrocities committed against the Blacks, and NOT in response to their liberation from apartheid.

    THAT is the legacy of capitalist/White racist rule, and not traceable to a mere change in the color of the hands on the government machinery. This, and not some criminal tendency of the Negro African who now needs the controlling hand of White authoritarian rule, is the aftermath of a social system that NEVER should have been occupying any space on the planet Earth under any condition in the first goddamned place.

    (By the way, I tried to find some information on the crime epidemic in South Africa. There are some well done stories in the BBC website, Washington Post site, NYT site. It is worth noting that the websites that turned up most frequently in my search for information where the racist ones. And all of them were claiming that a coming genocide against the Afrikaner population is being perpetrated by Blacks. Are these your reference sources for the “potentially genocide” claim you made, Ben? And how would you characterize the apartheid regime?)

    As an American of African descent I have read the old justifications for a return to an earlier species of unjust rule as regards the United States, and most of them are little more than the fevered revenge fantasies of frustrated racists. In the real world, when the unjust rule of one social order is overthrown, sometimes things go wrong (in fact, it seems to happen most of the time, but I could be wrong about that) and there is no guarantee of Heaven on the other side. But to the victims, the present is intolerable and change must be made to happen.

    But the present horrors that may well grow out of revolutionary change is no argument for going back to an unjust social order. And it certainly is no argument for imposing a new unjust social order. A discarded reactionary regime cannot — CANNOT — be redeemed. While it is true that one regime that is worse than the one before it does not get a pass because of what kind of regime it displaced, it is ALSO true that the one that was removed does not itself get a pass because of what tragedies comes later. In fact, it may indeed explain them to some extent.

    “The Terror” does not redeem Royalist/Aristocratic rule in France. Although materially and in many ways politically worse off, the Blacks of South Africa do not pine for Apartheid (even if some Whites in and out of that country do, rising crime by Blacks notwithstanding by the way). And it will be up to the peoples of that nation to get it right — and fortunately some progressives are fighting back with everything from radical feminism to labor activism to the rights of victims of AIDS.

    Also fighting back are the people of Eastern Europe. They too, according to the scholarship (I recommend the Global Research website, headed up by Professor Michel Chossudovski) are defending themselves against the new and reactionary social orders in the nations of that region. Massive protests in many of these countries have broken out against the abuse of workers, for example, by businesses protected by bought governments.

    The stories of South Africa and Eastern Europe — and the Middle East and the United States — are not over.

    And it sure as stuff ain’t “The Birth of A Nation”.

    I think it was Burke who wrote, “You cannot argue a man into slavery.”

    It is particularly difficult to do so if that man succeeded in getting out of it.

    No matter what comes next.

    • bensday823 September 25, 2013 at 10:28 pm | #


      We are getting off topic but I will try to respond. Obviously I’m not defending Apartheid, I just disagree with what came after Apartheid. A real fair and just solution would take the interests of all parties into account, did that happen? It doesn’t look like that to me. A fair solution would have included protections for the minority, along with a decentralized government that would have allowed the whites to manage their own affairs.

      As for the middle east, the model of large pluralistic states is crumbling due to underlying ethnic and religious tensions. Why are religious and ethnic differences so divisive? I really don’t know the complete answer to that question, but they are. Partially because these different groups have different values and therefore different ideas about how the government should be run. At a certain point these differences become insurmountable and the only fair solution is to create separate states.

      When one looks for a solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict the first question ought to be what is best for the people involved? Based on history, a binational state without a solid majority of either Jews or Arabs looks like a bad option. An Apartheid state would be obviously unacceptable. So that leaves a two state solution, where Jews form a solid majority in one state and Arabs in another. The Arabs could construct their state in accordance with their values and beliefs, and the Jews could construct one along their’s.

      None of this is to say that a state designed to have a solid majority of either Jews or Arabs should discriminate, far from it. Both states should grant equal rights to all of their citizens. But the minorities would have to accept living in a state shaped by a culture who’s values they may not share, something all minorities everywhere have to deal with. This is the vision laid out by both the Peale Commission and the United Nations, a vision completely consistent with liberalism.


      • gay o'connor September 26, 2013 at 12:38 am | #

        Ben, you have said that based on history a bi-national state without a solid majority of Jews or Arabs is impossible. Based on what history? Have you read anything which compares the percentage of Jews with Arabs living in Palestine (and I’m not including Trans-Jordan)? The Arabs were by far, by far, in the majority. I can give you annual numbers taken from reports to the League of Nations by Britain during the Mandate – but I suggest you do your own research, to avoid any suggestion that I am “spinning.” Even in 1948 Arabs far outnumbered Jews – and that is why 750,000 Arabs were turfed out. Read Ben Gurion on the subject. So “based on history” is not usefull for your purposes.

      • bensday823 September 27, 2013 at 12:04 am | #

        IIRC, some Palestinians were forced out, but most fled the fighting Regardless, that doesn’t diminish the personal suffering of the refugees or absolve Israel from responsibility.

        • gay o'connor September 27, 2013 at 2:26 am | #

          Bensday – no, some fled but most were forced out. Those that fled did so after the massacre at Deir Yassin, (April 1948) in fact Ben Gurion said that without Deir Yassin they never could have had their state. Read Benny Morris “1948”, or Ilan Pappe “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”. (I’m purposely referring you to Jewish writers – though there’s mountains of stuff from Palestinian writers.)

      • bensday823 September 28, 2013 at 3:34 am | #


        I believe you’re wrong, (about the refugees), but I will look into it. Too me the specifics of how the refugee’s became refugee’s is less important than how we can improve everyone’s situation right now. Regardless I’m going do some more careful study of the specifics.


        • gay o'connor September 28, 2013 at 4:11 am | #

          OK Happy reading.

    • gay o'connor September 26, 2013 at 2:17 am | #

      I’m stunned! This is such a good read – I’ve read it three times now (and it isn’t a short read.)

  65. fnlevit September 26, 2013 at 2:11 am | #

    Speaking of Jews without Israel – I quote from a report of Sept. 20, 2013 (not 1938)

    (Chairman of the Jewish Agency) Natan Sharansky just landed in Paris to coordinate the departure of 800 French Jews. “I do not remember such a number of people interested in alyah since the days when Jews stood in line outside the Israeli embassy in Moscow”, Sharanski said from the French capital.

    It is a peak of emigration which has not been seen since 2004, when during the Second Intifada Europe’s Jews suffered a wave of anti-Semitism and thousand of French Jews marched through the streets raising signs like “Synagogues brûlées, République en ranger”, i.e. synagogues burned, republic in danger.

    At stake is the famous relationship between Jews and France symbolized by the French Air Force jewel created by Marcel Dassault; by the father of the Constitution, Michel Debré; by Simone Veil, first president of the EuropeanParliament; by Pierre Mendes-France, Minister of Economy in 1945, and by the socialist leader Leon Blum.

    The Israeli government recently released emigration numbers. France tops the global list after Russia, Ukraine and Ethiopia. It is the “Aliyah Tapis Rouge”, emigration on the red carpet.

    In Paris, the Jews are advised to “walk in groups”, never alone. Better if above the kippah they wear a baseball hat. Half of the Jewish families in Villepinte, a proletarian suburb north of the capital, have left and the local synagogue, already burned down in 2011, is no longer able to set up the required 10-man quorum, called a minyan, for prayer.

    Joel Mergui, historic leader of the Jews of Paris, has warned: “The mass migration is likely to clear the capital of the community”. It is a drama silenced by the French media: “Of the 600,000 Jews in France, only one third is in contact with the community and educates their children in Jewish schools. A third is about to be assimilated, and a third is on the fence”.

    50,000 Jews have left France since 1990. But alongside real emigration, there is a new phenomenon which is difficult to count. That of the 30,000 French Jews who spend most of the year in Israel, but who have not yet taken out citizenship. 800 Jewish marriages occur every year in the town hall of Paris, but half of these are celebrated in Israel.

    • gay o'connor September 26, 2013 at 2:25 am | #

      Could it be that the reason so many Jews have left other countries is that Israel has offered huge monetary inducements to them to migrate to Israel – to help populate the state (meaning, in reality, largely in the West Bank) so that Jews will always outnumber non-Jews. That is OK for Israel proper, providing non-Jews get exactly the same benefits as Jews, but the invasion of the West Bank is something else.

      • fnlevit September 27, 2013 at 6:35 pm | #

        What is always fantastic is how anti_Zionists always look for altrnative negative explanations when facts go against their propaganda. Jews suffer antisemitism in modern France and are moving to Israel – maybe they are paid to do this. Arent you ashamed?

        850.000 Arab Jews thrown out of their countries in 1948-1951 – that has nothing to do with the Arab_Israeli conflict and Palestinian refugees. Unreal. Shame on you!!

        Fact – no Jewish refugees camps but there are Palestinian. Perhaps it is because felllow Arabs kept them in camps for 65 (sixty five!) years to feed their hatred – oh, no, it is Israel’s responsibility. Egypt and Jordan controled Gaza and West bank for 19 years – why didnt they created Palestinian state? It is Israel’s fault – whose else. Lies, distortions, telling half of the story.
        See below quotes on that from an article Questions to European Left.

        • gay o'connor September 27, 2013 at 8:39 pm | #

          fnlevit – some days ago now I referred yo to the various UN resolutions which created the state of Israel. You said you hadn’t commented on them as you were not familiar with them. I suggested you familiarise yourself with them; have you done so yet? Because it is really necessary, when you are defending the occupation, (or, put another way, defending the indefensible) to understand Israel’s history

          I also referred you to Plan Dalet. Have you researched that yet? And I don’t mean just research the Israeli versions, try non-Jewish versions as well. That will tell you a bit about how the Jews did NOT (though they said they did) accept the Partition Plan. (The Jewish versions try and justify their actions, along the lines of “yes, we did, but . . .” The non-Jewish versions tell you exactly what happened and why. And then check old maps to see what land they are talking about, which towns, etc, and where they were intended to lie in the Partition Plan – Go on, have a go. Then you can make all the comments you want, from a more informed basis.

  66. fnlevit September 27, 2013 at 4:08 pm | #

    Many people when talking about ’67 borders do not have a clear picture of what does that means.

    Does that include Israel retreating from the entire Old City including Jewish quarter and the area of the Wailing Wall? These were ethnically cleansed by Jordanians in 1948 and Jews exciled. 58 synagogues were destroyed,and the Jewish Quarter was bulldozed. The ancient Jewish cemetery on Mount of Olives was desecrated, and the tombstones there were used for construction and paving roads. Jordan also destroyed the Jewish villages of Atarot and Neve Yaakov just north of Jerusalem (their sites became Jerusalem neighborhoods after 1967).

    Armenian quarter? Christian quarter? It contains about 40 Christian holy places. Among them is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of Christianity’s holiest places.

    Another issue are are Palestinian villages that are located on both sides of the 1967 line such as Beit Safafa, Barta’a, Baqa al-Sharqiyeh and Baqa al-Gharbiyyeh. By the way it is a very intersting issue to research of why majority of their inhabitants living on the Israeli side do not want even to listen of the possibilty that thei change their citizinship from Israeli to Palestinains. Read this account by Al Jazeera.

    Concerning settlemennts – all in all I believe Olmert’s offer is a reasonabble basis – return 94% plus 6% swap plus special arangement ( ‘int’l trusteeship’ ) for what is called “Holly Basin”

    Yes and of course demiltarized West Bank. Like it was with Sinai.

    If you ask my personal opinion – I think people who really want good for Palestinians and not just running this out of their hatred to destroy Israel, they should have pushed for a Jordanoan solution. Just look at figures, demography and geography. West bank area is some 5.500 sq. km with no access to any sea (Israel by the way is 23.000 sq km in pre ’67 borders with 60% Negev desert). Jordan is a giant on this scale – 90.000 sq. km with access to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. It has some 6 mln inhabitants with almost 50% of Palestinian origin. Why not take Olmert plan for WB plus Jordan and have a huge territory, and the real two state solution (Israel and Jordan/Palestine) on what was called Palestine by Ligue of nations in 20s and which was artifiacially divided by Brits to pay off for Arab Revolt.

    • mariapalestina September 27, 2013 at 6:50 pm | #


      “Concerning settlemennts – all in all I believe Olmert’s offer is a reasonabble basis – return 94% plus 6% swap.”

      So you think that is reasonable? I don’t agree with you. Anything less than 100% would not work. You can’t have little pockets of Israel sitting in the middle of Palestine, any more than you could have little pockets of Canada sitting in the middle of the U.S. What about population growth? Will the Palestinians get to grow into the Jewish parts of Palestinian land? Or will the Jews get to grow into the Palestinian parts of Palestine’s land? I think we all know the answer to that one.

      “Yes and of course demiltarized West Bank. Like it was with Sinai.”

      Really? How about a demilitarized Israel?

      “By the way it is a very intersting issue to research of why majority of their inhabitants living on the Israeli side do not want even to listen of the possibilty that thei change their citizinship from Israeli to Palestinains.”

      So why would they have to consider changing their citizenship? They are Israelis and there is no reason for them to change their citizenship. Most of them are content being Palestinian Israelis.

      I don’t see any problem, by the way, if Jewish settlers now living in Palestine decide to apply for permission to stay there. If they are not considered a “security risk” they would likely be allowed to remain, under Palestinian rule. At some point they would probably be granted citizenship and be Palestinian Jews. I have several Israeli Jewish friends who live happily in Palestine. None of them would consider living in an illegal Jewish settlement.

      • mariapalestina September 27, 2013 at 7:10 pm | #

        As for your “Jordanian solution” I’m not sure what bits of historic Palestine you are thinking of including. Also, Israel agreed long ago to reconnect both parts of Palestine, so of course this would have to be done. It is one land, and most of the people of Gaza are refugees driven from their homes in what became Israel. All Palestinians need and are entitled to be able to travel throughout their land without having to be humiliated or denied or even ending up dead because Israel insists on dividing Palestine and its people.

  67. fnlevit September 27, 2013 at 6:40 pm | #

    Quotes from

    Why is the left in Europe and around the world obsessed with the two most solid democracies, the United States and Israel, and not with the worst dictatorships on the planet? The two most solid democracies, who have suffered the bloodiest attacks of terrorism, and the left doesn’t care.

    In every pro-Palestinian European forum I hear the left yelling with fervor: “We want freedom for the people!”

    Not true. They are never concerned with freedom for the people of Syria or Yemen or Iran or Sudan, or other such nations. And they are never preoccupied when Hamas destroys freedom for the Palestinians. They are only concerned with using the concept of Palestinian freedom as a weapon against Israeli freedom. The resulting consequence of these ideological pathologies is the manipulation of the press.

    The international press does major damage when reporting on the question of the Israeli-Palestinian issue. On this topic they don’t inform, they propagandize.

    When reporting about Israel, the majority of journalists forget the reporter code of ethics. And so, any Israeli act of self-defense becomes a massacre, and any confrontation, genocide. So many stupid things have been written about Israel that there aren’t any accusations left to level against her.

    At the same time, this press never discusses Syrian and Iranian interference in propagating violence against Israel, the indoctrination of children, and the corruption of the Palestinians. And when reporting about victims, every Palestinian casualty is reported as tragedy and every Israeli victim is camouflaged, hidden or reported about with disdain.

    • gay o'connor September 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm | #

      fnlevit – when you speak of indoctrination of children, I assume you are talking about the indoctrination which goes on in Israeli schools, and in particular those of the settlers. And referring to the graffiti which regularly appears on the walls of Palestinian homes, mosques and even Christian churches. (I assume they are done by children, not adults. Or maybe . . ?)

    • gay o'connor September 27, 2013 at 8:55 pm | #

      “Any act of self-defence becomes a massacre”. Depends on how you define self-defence, I guess. Israel’s tired old mantra, “we are entitled to defend ourselves” gets a bit thin when the “defence” to a few rockets (which Israeli used to deride as “flying stove pipes”, until it became better PR to describe them as “thousands of rockets daily”) becomes helicopter gun-ships, white phosphorus, cluster bombs (Oh, sorry, no, Israel called them “bomblets” didn’t they – sound like nice little toys for children to play with) and armoured tanks. Yes, “self-defence” sounds very one-sided, doesn’t it?

      • bensday823 September 28, 2013 at 4:30 am | #

        Having better equipment doesn’t make you the aggressor.

        • gay o'connor September 28, 2013 at 7:23 am | #

          No, but it makes it a lot easier to kill a lot of people.

  68. bensday823 September 28, 2013 at 4:13 am | #


    You’ve written a lot, and I would like to respond in detail. But for the time being I’m tied up with other matters. Obviously we see this from a different perspective: me from a utilitarian perspective, you from a perspective of justice. As far as our dispute concerns what ought to be done, I’m not sure how amenable it will ultimately be to argument. Also because we have different standards, we see different facts as important. For you the specifics of how Israel was founded are much more important, for me not as much so. My main criteria is the best interests of the existing parties. Still, I want to give your argument the response it deserves, and to do that I need to understand the events that are most critical to your argument. Which is why I’m going to try and read up and respond in some detail later.



    • gay o'connor September 28, 2013 at 4:24 am | #

      Ben, don’t worry to much about what each of us thinks “ought to be done.” No-one is going to listen to us anyway.

  69. fnlevit September 28, 2013 at 10:57 am | #

    One learns facts from press which gets facts from its own reporters and reports by the army, government officials and various groups and organizations. Let us examine how “objective” is the press in reporting on Israel.

    Take such respectable news net as BBC.

    Trevor Asserson, a litigation lawyer undertook several detailed analyses of how the BBC operates regarding Israel. He wrote: “Its news reports concerning Israel are distorted by omission, by inclusion, by only giving partial facts, by who is interviewed, and by the background information provided, or lack of it. I also found that there is a systemic problem with the BBC complaints system.”

    One among many of Assersons’ examples was, “In Iraq, Western coalition troops are described in warm and glowing terms, with sympathy being evoked for them both as individuals and for their military predicament. In contrast, Israeli troops are painted as faceless, ruthless and brutal killers, with little or no understanding shown for their actions.” He concluded that “the partiality of the BBC’s reporting quite possibly infects its coverage of all politically sensitive issues.”

    Here is from
    On 15 April 2009 the BBC Editorial Standards Committee found that remarks made by its head of Middle East reporting, Jeremy Bowen, contained an anti-Israel bias. Remarkably he has retained his position despite this finding, which took two and a half years from the original complaint.

    We have analyzed a selection of Mr Bowen’s contributions to the BBC reporting on the Israeli operation ‘Cast Lead’ which took place in December 2008 – January 2009 -‘The Gaza conflict.’ We have found:

    1.Of 58 reports by Mr Bowen, 38 were unbalanced. Of those, a staggering 98% portrayed Israel in a negative light;

    2.Of the civilian human interest interviews selected by Mr Bowen, 82% portrayed Palestinians in a positive light – a remarkable feat when, for most of the conflict, Mr Bowen complained that he was not allowed into Gaza and so principally only had access to Israelis;

    3. Of Mr Bowen’s 22 diary entries, all posted on the BBC website under the title of “The Bowen Diary,” 20 were unbalanced. All of them portrayed Israel in a negative light;

    4.The Bowen Diary frequently included personal opinion of Mr Bowen in clear breach of BBC guidelines;

    5.Mr Bowen’s Panorama programme “Gaza out of the ruins” dated 9 February2009, was an unbalanced attack against Israel, in which Mr Bowen presents himself more as an expert than reporter, and makes his personal opinions central to the programme.

    A really shocking documentary produced by CBS 60 minutes is (in two parts)
    which called it “Pallywood – According to Palestinian Sources (parts 1 and 2)”
    This documentary coined the term “Pallywood” to reflect on the truthfulness of the Palestinian reporting about what is going on. Certainly about Gaza conflict.

    Honorable international organizations have their part in the lies and extraordinary bias against Israel. Let us look at UN Human Rights Watch (HRW).

    HRW publishes reports on human rights violations in different countries. As an example of their “OBJECTIVITY” take the HRW’s July 2011 report on Syria (which covers 2010) reviewed a decade of human rights abuses by the Assad regime, resulting in a slim 35-page publication.[17] This was only HRW’s fourth report on Syria since 2000. Its 2010 report of five years of rule by King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia was also minimal, consisting of a mere 52 pages. By contrast, HRW devoted 1,903 pages to Israel.

    • mariapalestina September 28, 2013 at 7:49 pm | #

      Even if it were true that much of the negative reporting of the Israel/Palestine situation was more critical of Israel it would be because Israel Is responsible for more than 95% of the violence.

      Actually mainstream media demonstrates a decidedly pro-Israel bias. Palestinians are attacked every day in their own villages and homes, many of them murdered. Thousands more arrested held in administrative detention, never charged nor convicted of any crime. The victims include women, elderly, and children of all ages. There is rarely a mention of these crimes in the MSM. But on the infrequent occasions where an Israeli civilian, or even an Israeli soldier, falls victim to Palestinian violence, the incident is headline news in the U.S.

      To suggest the BBC is biased against Israel is ludicrous.
      As a co-founder of the Free Gaza Movement, I had the privilege to be among 44 passengers and crew on board two small fishing boats which five years ago successfully challenged Israelis inhumane and illegal blockade of Gaza. I was also a member of both Freedom Flotillas in 2010 and 2011.

      In the 2010 flotilla heavily armed Israeli pirates attacked our boats well inside international waters, assassinating nine unarmed passengers and seriously wounding dozens more. Reports on he incident from the BBC clearly followed the Israeli narrative, not surprising since its reporter responsible for the BBC version is Jane Corbin. To “research” her story, Corbin was embedded with the Israeli Commando Unit responsible for the MAVI MARMARA massacre. (Ms Corbin’s husband was John Credock Maples, former MP & President of the Conservative Friends of Israel.)

      • John W September 28, 2013 at 10:30 pm | #

        Thanks mariapalestina for your sound responses to this and several other allegations.

        • gay o'connor September 28, 2013 at 10:36 pm | #

          Maria – I’ll second John W’s comments.

    • John W September 28, 2013 at 10:49 pm | #

      Re: Pallywood I -2 and many similar mentions of “Pro Palestine” news.
      I conclude that both sides to the Israeli Occupation debate (and most news reports on any subject) slant their content selection, exaggerate, employ the tricks of debate and are influenced by self interest and personal experience.
      The main differences here are in degree, morality of aim and effectiveness.

      The Zionist’s “modifications” abet their long and brutally extending occupation of Palestinian territory. Their messages are spread worldwide, arguably lack moral balance but are expertly executed.

      The Palestinian’s “modifications” try to awake the affluent, free and largely apathetic world to their plight. The spread of their views is limited by pro-Israel interests developed in newspapers, cinema, books, TV, & politics.

      Fortunately, there is increasing awareness of the injustices inflicted on Palestinians. This is due not to “manipulation” but to unmanageable facts, which some still steadfastly deny.

  70. fnlevit September 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm | #

    About Palestinians who live in the villages divided by the Green line and refuse to even consider joining the future Palestinian state.

    If Israel is such an awful “apartheid” state why would they want to remain in it at all. It is not that they will be displaced or something physically would change. Just remain exactly where they live now with all the neighbors, the entire town and just border running somewhere outside them not in the middle.

    Actually it is instructive to read the link on aljazeera I quoted
    Here is a quote. After describing how badly Israeli Arabs are discriminated in Israel (it is partly true, it is getting better but still far from good and I am actually doing things in my job to help to improve) – so after the description of the discrimination the following comes (rather as a surprise). READ SLOWLY!

    “In dozens of interviews on a visit earlier this month, only one Baqa al-Gharbiyya resident said he would prefer to live in a Palestinian state.

    Asked why, many cited economic reasons; even the jobless thought their future prospects were better in Israel.

    “Our circumstances here are better than there, even though here we don’t feel that we are in the community, or in the society of the Jewish people,” said Bashar al-Alimi, an unemployed 38-year-old.

    “It’s a difficult question,” said Mounir Abu Hussain, a 34-year-old mechanic. “But my job is here, the work is good here, and maybe it would be hard to go into a Palestinian state.”

    “[Israel] is a Western country, it’s more developed, there are more options, less corruption,” said Ismail Athmani, 34. “And I was born in Israel. I’m not leaving.”

    But the economy wasn’t the only reason why Baqa al-Gharbiyya residents said they prefer Israel to Palestine. Several described the West Bank as a police state, and said that – despite the discrimination they face – they prefer the level of political freedom in Israel.

    “It’s bad in the West Bank. We have family there, we hear things. The police in Palestine, you can’t talk about politics unless you’re in the most closed-off place. Otherwise you die,” Athmani said.

    His friend Abu Mokh leaned across the table to interrupt him. “Not die,” he said with a rueful grin. “You just disappear.”

    • gay o'connor September 28, 2013 at 8:37 pm | #

      fnlevit – you ask “If Israel was such an awful apartheid state, why do Palestinians wish to continue living nthere rather than a palestin9an state?” Perhaps because living in the occupied territories is far worse than living in Israel – fresh continuous water where Israelis can even wash their cars under running hoses, compared with water allocated a few hours daily, because the consumption of water is controlled by Israel. And perhaps because Israel’s markets have better food that Palestinian markets, because Israel controls what Palestinians can grow, in the sense that settlers regularly destroy farms and produce, as well as IOF knocking down sheds for chickens, livestock, etc “because they were built without a permit” as well as knocking down various bits of infrastructure, including wells; perhaps because the IOF doesn’t come barging in houses at 3 am arresting young children in Israel, compared with regularly doing so in the occupied territories; perhaps because the IDf doesn’t bomb the shit out of everything in sight (in self-defence, of course) in Israel, compared with in Gaza and the occupied territories; perhaps because in Israel they have jobs, albeit menial ones, compared with the occupied territories, where it would take many years for a proper economy to be set up after having had their economy crippled over the years of occupation, and some people are more concerned about feeding their families than freedom in their own state . . . need I go on? Oh, do I hear you say, Israel won’t have control over those things if they “allow” a Palestinian state. Well,dear fnlevit, have a look at the Likud charter to see just what Israel would allow the Palestinians to control.

  71. fnlevit September 29, 2013 at 6:04 am | #

    o’connor – do you read what I post. I quote again from aljazeera

    “But the economy wasn’t the only reason why Baqa al-Gharbiyya residents said they prefer Israel to Palestine. Several described the West Bank as a police state, and said that – despite the discrimination they face – they prefer the level of political freedom in Israel.

    “It’s bad in the West Bank. We have family there, we hear things. The police in Palestine, you can’t talk about politics unless you’re in the most closed-off place. Otherwise you die,” Athmani said.

    His friend Abu Mokh leaned across the table to interrupt him. “Not die,” he said with a rueful grin. “You just disappear.”

    In fact in this “conversation” (like in other similar exchanges with anti-Zionists I had, e.g in Mondoweiss) I feel that I am dealing with people whose emotional and logical standards are at somewhere at the teenagers level. I provide links and proofs quoting many sources which I double check against others (and admit when I dont have answers) while in exchange I get a stream of unconfirmed accusations, half truths, simply emotional lies and open hatred.

    • gay o'connor September 29, 2013 at 6:07 am | #

      fnlevit – yes, I did read your post. Slowly, as you commanded.

      • fnlevit September 29, 2013 at 6:46 am | #

        By the way – I am doing my homework in various International law issues in elation to the I/P conflict.

        • gay o'connor September 29, 2013 at 10:58 pm | #

          fnlevit – as to the “various international law issues” you say you are “doing you homework on” – you really only need to look at the law relating to the treatment of occupied people and the use of their land. Quite extensive but not too much “homework” involved.

          (Actually, without meaning to be rude, I cannot quite understand why you launch into a huge amount of words to justify Israel and all it does, without knowing anything about these really important issues.)

          Then, when you are done with that little lot, it might help you to understand Palestinian anger to look at the build-up to the UN Partition Plan, and what that entailed. And, then, if you are still interested, have a look at the legality of that plan, ie what the UN is permitted to do, and what it did do. I won’t be a spoiler, because if I did, you’d tell me I was an anti-Semite, gushing forth some Pollywood BS. Research it for yourself. And look a bit wider than Wiki?

    • John W September 29, 2013 at 6:52 am | #

      OK fnlevit. I respect the reporting of Al Jazeera, and can not condone bad treatment, but I wonder what may underlie these quotes.
      Could it be that Israel’s creeping occupation, with humiliating pressure, causes a sense of hopelessness and extreme behaviour in your victims ? Could the interviewees be seeking better acceptance within their refuge ?
      I can’t tell, but the overpowering military presence of Israel and ill treatment of Palestinians does cast a long shadow. Why can we not end this immoral injustice without your endless excuses ?

      • fnlevit September 29, 2013 at 8:33 am | #

        John W – We are offering and they refuse. There is always a reason why but they always refuse. Not we – they!

        Just focus on the details. If they want to end the occupation accept our offer of 95% plus 5% land swap. No!!! This is unacceptable. Get us all 100%. With Jewish quarter, with Wailing Wall…. And let the refugees in. That is the end of Israel – no normal Israeli will agree to that and consequently no government.

        We tried unilateral withdrawal in Gaza – look at the mess this created. Earlier we unilaterally withdrew from Lebanon – and what? Now it is a mortal threat to us. Just don’t lie to yourself and look at the things as they are not what Pallywood sells you.

        Had they accepted us we would have peace tens of years ago. Don’t you see the pattern – after 1948 they refused to talk to us and then after 1967 they refused to talk to us. They thought they can militarily overwhelm us. They slowly realized that they can’t do this militarily so now they want to do this with words. They (at least their leaders) are not interested in making life easier for Palestinians but in maneuvering to get to the situation where they could eventually destroy us. With rockets and terror and whatever they will invent next…

        The result must be some sort of a compromise. They do not accept this. There is no honest offer on the table. Just retreat and that’s it. What’s with the refugees? Get them in. What all 6 mln – this will destroy us? Never mind – we don’t care. Etc. As I described. They have managed to silence all our traditional left by such behavior.

        • gay o'connor September 29, 2013 at 10:35 pm | #

          fnlevit, you say “we offer and they refuse.” What “your” offer amounts to “let us keep what we want and we’ll give you the rest, and bugger off all you people who keep quoting International Law to us.”

  72. fnlevit September 29, 2013 at 6:44 am | #

    mariapalestina and others

    As I said earlier in this “conversation” (like in other similar exchanges with anti-Zionists I had, e.g in Mondoweiss) I feel that I provide links and proofs quoting many sources which I double check against others (and admit when I don’t have answers) while in exchange I get a stream of unconfirmed accusations, half truths, simply emotional lies and open hatred.

    Frankly I continue here partly for the sake other possible (silent?) readers on this blog (if there are such) and also for myself to make sure I understand 1. what is the real anf honest situation with anti-Zionist accusations and 2. how such discussions are typically conducted.

    Now, mariapalestina I am glad you finally told us how hardened an anti_Israeli you are.

    Have you actually read the link to this “well known” news paper “salem-news” which you quoted. It essentially confirms Israeli version of what has happened. Listen again to the clips of the exchanges between Israeli boats and flotilla boats. Never mind the first. The second clip contains a very explicit suggestion to deliver the flotilla supplies after security checks via Ashdod to Gaza. Since this was humanitarian aid why not agree to that. I will post below what actually was in this aid load.

    And that last interview with this guy with tattoo over his body and neck – what did he actually say? There was almost zero content apart of just repeating that BBC was not pro Israeli and that Israel is bad and Gazan’s are poor victims.

    In a separate post I will provide many links to what actually happened to Flitilla and what was then the actual situation in Gaza. But let me actually ask this – the situation in Gaza is really bad NOW since the Egyptians took things in their hands. This is not your democratic Israel with journalists all over and left and Arab parties and NGO’s raising hell at any hint of violation. Oh, no – this is a new game for Gaza. Look at what Egyptions did with all the tunnels! And look at almost complete closure of the border crossing with Egypt. WHERE IS THE FLOTILLA NOW? WHERE? Why you, the co founder of Free Gaza movement waste your time arguing with me rather than organizing international protests and interviews and newspaper articles against present Egyptian crackdown on Gazans, causing (FOR THE FIRST TIME) the real shortages and hardships. Not seeing your protests confirms what I already said – you do not care about Palestinians. All you care is to bash Israel.

    • gay o'connor September 29, 2013 at 7:20 pm | #

      fnlevit – same ol’ same ol’ And same reply, same reply.
      Have you read those UN resolutions yet?
      And the Likud Charter?
      And Plan Dalet?
      And David Ben-Gurions’ writing before 1948? (About his intentions to take all of Palestine – and then some.)
      And Ilan Pappe?
      And Benny Morris?
      And Shlomo Sand?
      (I could give you many non-Jewish authors, but thought you might criticise me if I did, for referring you to “anti-Semites”.)

    • gay o'connor September 29, 2013 at 10:36 pm | #

      fnlevit – “all you care is to bash Israel”. No, listen. As Maria once said, “it’s the occupation, stupid.”

  73. fnlevit September 29, 2013 at 7:49 am | #

    o’connor – next time you make allegations of the type (I quote from your post)
    “… Israelis can even wash their cars under running hoses, compared with water allocated a few hours daily, because the consumption of water is controlled by Israel. And perhaps because Israel’s markets have better food that Palestinian markets, because Israel controls what Palestinians can grow, in the sense that settlers regularly destroy farms and produce, as well as IOF knocking down sheds for chickens, livestock, etc “because they were built without a permit” as well as knocking down various bits of infrastructure, including wells; ”
    PLEASE SUPPLY LINKS to evidence, preferably by reliable sources not by Palestinians since too many are Pallywood production.

    • gay o'connor September 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm | #

      fnlevit – re the reference to washing cars under running water – an article in The Tablet, a London (non Pallywood) production emanating from the Catholic church – Jesuit, I think, but maybe wrong on that.

      The other part of that particular post of mine was giving you explanations of what people thought life might be like in any future Palestinian state, not quoting facts.

      (You insist we read your posts, SLOWLY, so perhaps do the same thing with ours?)

  74. fnlevit September 29, 2013 at 8:56 am | #

    There were at least two offers on the table. The last one was 95% plus 5% land swap plus link between WB and Gaza plus special status of the Holy Basin plus taking in a certain number of refugees.

    They refused. They are not even offering. Just get us everything. All 100%. With Jewish quarter and Wailing Wall. And refugees. No government will agree to that.

    We unilaterally withdraw from Gaza – we got 7000 rockets. Same with Lebanon – it became the most dangerous border for us. With their behaviors they managed to completely destroy our left who invented Oslo and withdraw from Lebanon and Gaza (Sharon turned against his own party to try the unilateral withdrawl which was not tried before)

    They do not care about the solution and about making it easy for their own people. Look at this devious thing to keep refugees confined to the camps for three generations. Nowhere in the world conflicts has this occurred. Germany, Greece, India-Pakistan, Cyprus…

    They STILL want our total destruction and wait for it.

    They could not do this militarily so now they try it with words. Using people like you and others on this and similar blogs. You are just an instrument in their propaganda. They learned to play this game so they are trying to win now. We adjust and learn to beat them at that. And we always had. It is a recurring pattern since probably 1930’s.

    What will be the end? Like with Egypt – they will slowly get use to the idea to compromise (just a little) and we will jubilantly agree to the rest. Just like with Egypt. Or with Jordan.

  75. fnlevit September 29, 2013 at 9:37 am | #

    While Egypt has closed (until a few days ago) the border completely with Gaza, Israel has never stopped supplying aid to Gazans. Last week, 70 trucks delivered construction material to Gaza for the first time since 2007. Construction material was limited because it has previously been used to make weapons by terrorists in Gaza.

    • mariapalestina September 29, 2013 at 1:45 pm | #

      “Israel has never stopped supplying aid to Gazans….”

      Correction: Israel has never supplied aid to Gazans.

  76. fnlevit September 29, 2013 at 5:09 pm | #

    As promissed some fact about Gaza flotila. First watch this video of the “peaceful” passengers of the flotilla

    Just watch this video and I think this could be enough. Here is also quotes from Wikipedia

    On 31 May 2010, Israeli Shayetet 13 naval commandos boarded the ships from speedboats[1] and helicopters in order to force the ships to the Israeli port of Ashdod for inspection. On the Turkish ship MV Mavi Marmara, the Israeli Navy faced resistance from about 40 of the 590 IHH activists – described in an Israeli report as a separate “hardcore group”[2] – who were armed with iron bars and knives.[3] During the struggle, nine activists were killed including eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American, and many were wounded. Ten of the commandos were also wounded, one of them seriously.[3][4] The five other ships in the flotilla employed passive resistance, which was suppressed without major incident. The ships were towed to Israel, where all passengers were detained and deported.

    IDF photos displayed daggers, kitchen and pocket knives, metal and wooden poles, flares, wrenches and slingshots with marble projectiles said to have been used against the soldiers.

    United Nations report, after analysis of both Turkey and Israeli national investigations, concluded that the Israeli blockade was legal. It also concluded that Turkey should have taken action to try to prevent the flotilla from taking place.

    • mariapalestina September 29, 2013 at 5:35 pm | #

      There is no point in my explaining what really happened with the MAVI MARMARA and other flotilla boats. I have seen all the fake videos and read all the fake claims put out by Israel. I know the truth and don’t need to depend on propaganda.

      I know what Israel claimed. There were no weapons on board the MAVI MARMARA or any of the boats. When heavily armed pirate commandos started to be lowered from attack helicopters, firing weapons onto the deck of the MAVI MARMARA, the passengers, many of them kneeling in prayer, saw their friends slaughtered before their eyes and they realized they were likely going to meet the same fate. There were many women on board, and an infant. In an attempt to protect themselves and others, including family members, some passengers picked up whatever they saw that could be used in self defense.

      The fact that Israel, in addition to slaughtering and severely wounding unarmed passengers, shot the live feed cameras, confiscated all computers, cameras, cell phones, videotapes and video cards from passengers and crew, is conclusive proof they didn’t want the world to see what really happened. In addition the passengers were relieved of several hundred thousands dollars and all their credit cards. Several of the attackers used these stolen credit cards and cell phones on their return to Israel.

      As for their being no violence on the other boats, that is a lie. Passengers on all boats were brutalized and beaten, some severely injured. Even if that were not the case, when a boat carrying unarmed civilians is attacked in international waters it can only be violence. When passengers are forced at gunpoint to go somewhere they don’t want to go, that can only be violence. When passengers are robbed of all their possessions, including money, that can only be violence.

      All passengers were arrested and imprisoned for several days, unable to speak to the press or their families. Meantime Israel went into high gear with its hasbara campaign, which I admit it does very well. By the time passengers began to be released and were able to report what really happened, the mainstream media had picked up and reported the zionist version ad nauseum, and most of the audience had moved on. This was of course a deliberate calculation on the part of Israel’s Department of Propaganda.

      As I said, I know the truth of what happened. And I know Israeli leaders lie every time they open their mouths. Your “evidence” is meaningless. Let Israel release the photographs and videotape taken by passengers.

      I hope that if I had been on board the MAVI MARMARA I would have just stood there peacefully and allowed the pirates to murder me. I hope I would do that, but I can’t be certain. I wonder what you would do, fnlevit, if you were in that situation. If you saw your wife or your brother or your friend shot in cold blood, and the gunmen were approaching you. And there was something available you thought might just save your life, or your friend’s life, or your brother’s, or your wife’s, or your child’s… What do you think you would do, fnlevit?

      • gay o'connor September 29, 2013 at 10:30 pm | #

        fnlevit – you always seem to justify anything Israelis do, including their “very moral” IDF. Leaving aside the violence they perpetrated, what possible justification can you give for the stealing of money and credit cards of the passengers on the MaviMarmara? Or is that jut a pack of lies – Pollywood BS? Don’t think do.

      • mariapalestina September 29, 2013 at 10:53 pm | #

        I neglected to mention that at least one member of The World’s Most Moral Army was caught selling laptop computers stolen from flotilla passengers.

        • gay o'connor September 29, 2013 at 11:19 pm | #

          what a charming lot – just the sort you want to bring home to meet your mother.

  77. fnlevit September 29, 2013 at 5:31 pm | #

    Concrning Israel aid to Gaza. Here is a link with MONTHLY details of this aid since 2010. Also the number of rockets fired and injuries.

    Here are just couple of months as an example. I must say this looks grotesque, just as in the testmony of Col. Kemp (remember? see below the link)

    November 2011

    – 5,390 truckloads (149,165 tons) of goods, including 2,521 truckloads of food products, were delivered from Israel to Gaza.
    – 3,187 tons of cooking gas were delivered via the Kerem Shalom crossing
    – 1,336 Gaza residents (patients and companions) entered or passed through Israel for medical treatment via Erez Crossing.
    – 10 Rockets and 5 mortars were fired at Israel from inside Gaza during this period. No injuried were reported.

    October 2011

    – 3,875 truckloads (107,215 tons) of goods were delivered from Israel to Gaza.
    – 2,214 tons of cooking gas were delivered via the Kerem Shalom crossing
    – 1,022 Gaza residents (patients and companions) entered or passed through Israel for medical treatment via Erez Crossing.
    – 47 Rockets and 20 mortars were fired at Israel from inside Gaza during this period. One person was killed and at least 30 injuries were reported.

    September 2011

    – 4,945 truckloads (136,785 tons) of goods, including 1,503 truckloads of construction materials and 1,728 truckloads of food products.
    – 2,575 tons of cooking gas were delivered via the Kerem Shalom crossing
    – 1,522 Gaza residents (762 patients, 760 companions) entered or passed through Israel for medical treatment via Erez Crossing.
    – 3 Rockets and 1 mortar were fired at Israel from inside Gaza during this period. No injuries were reported.

    August 2011

    – 4,852 truckloads (126,813 tons) of goods, including 1,483 truckloads of construction materials and 42 truckloads of medicines and medical equipment.
    – 3,013 tons of cooking gas were delivered via the Kerem Shalom crossing
    – 1,127 Gaza residents (patients and their companions) entered or passed through Israel for medical treatment via Erez Crossing.
    – 150 Rockets and 51 mortars were fired at Israel from inside Gaza during this period. One person was killed and at least 23 injuries were reported.

    Link to Col. Kemp testimony.

    • mariapalestina September 29, 2013 at 6:36 pm | #

      “Israel has never stopped supplying aid to Gazans….”

      The devil is in the details. You said Israel supplied aid. That is false. What Israel does, when it feels like doing it, and it usually doesn’t, is allow aid bought and shipped to Gaza via Israel to continue on its way to Israel. After payment of taxes and fees and any other monies it can possibly collect. The world, except for Israel, is concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people in Gaza. The world tries to help by sending aid. Unfortunately because Israel illegally controls the Palestinian land of the West Bank adjacent to Israel, and because Israel eliminated the land connection between the West Bank and Gaza, all aid bought and shipped by international aid groups must go via Israel.

      As I said, Israel has never supplied aid to Palestinians in Gaza. (My friends in Gaza tell me they don’t care for the word Gazans. Any more than the Palestinians in the West Bank would like to be called Westbankians. They are all Palestinians.)

      • gay o'connor September 29, 2013 at 10:42 pm | #

        Maria, I’m glad you told me that the people of Gaza don’t like being called Gazans. I have done it myself; no more. I did so because that is what Israelis call them (when they are not calling them terrorists) and I realise, now, that it is their way of dividing Palestinians. (How many times have you read about “Hamastan”, or ” do they want three states”?) And thus, divide and conquer . . . .

    • gay o'connor September 29, 2013 at 10:31 pm | #

      fnlevit – did Col. Kemp tell us how many Gazans were killed by IDF over this time? No, thought not.

  78. fnlevit September 30, 2013 at 6:51 am | #

    o’connor – some International law issues.
    1.U.N. Resolution 194 was a non-binding General Assembly resolution and thus functioned only as a recommendation. It would have needed the agreement of both affected parties, Palestinian Arabs and Palestinian Jews, to become binding. [The only binding U.N. resolutions are those made by the U.N. Security Council under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter

    What’s more, Resolution 194 didn’t, and doesn’t, call for the return to their homes of all the Palestinian Arabs displaced by Arab aggression against Israel. It calls for the return of “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours.”

    Have Palestinian Arabs been willing to live at peace with their Jewish neighbors? I think not. In spite of this, though, Israel has repatriated a number of Palestinian Arabs in connection with Israeli family unification laws, and offers by Israel to repatriate more have been turned down. See

    • mariapalestina September 30, 2013 at 9:01 am | #

      “What’s more, Resolution 194 didn’t, and doesn’t, call for the return to their homes of all the Palestinian Arabs displaced by Arab aggression against Israel.”

      “Displaced by Arab aggression against Israel”??? What an outrageous comment. Wow, you sure do dislike Arabs.

      • fnlevit September 30, 2013 at 4:03 pm | #

        What this has anything to do with liking or disliking Arabs. How does anyone call the simultaneous invasion of 5 Arab countries on the next day of Israel declaration of the State following the UN decision and the end of British Mandate. .

        They invaded following massive the Jewish – Palestinian hostilities on the massive icitement by the Palestinian lidership which took part in the military actions with the clear goal to wipe Israel off the map. They openly warned the UN of their intentions.

        That was a hard war but a miracle happened and tiny Israel withstood their aggression won. The hostilities between two populations and military actions led to the creation of refugees. Two groups of refugees – Palestinian Arabs (estimated 750.000) and Arab Jews (estimated 850.000). Both groups must be addressed in any discussion of the refugees in this conflict.

        By the way on the issue of disliking Arabs. For several years now I teach Arab teachers in a program I initiated so they become bettter teachers in their schools.

    • gay o'connor September 30, 2013 at 7:48 pm | #

      fnlevit – I’m glad you have had a look at the various UN resolution 194. You say that it provided for the return of the refugees who wish to live in peace with their neighbours” You then ask “have Palestinians been willing to live in peace with their Jewish neighbours?” And then your answer? “I think not.”

      The resolution was talking about the 750,000 Palestinian refugees. “I think not” ?? Did someone go around asking all 750,000 of them were they wiling to live in peace with Israel if they were permitted to return? And did all 750,00 of them say “no.” I think not.

      Further, what effort has been made by Israel to pay the just compensation that resolution provided for if the refugees did not return? Nil – zero – zilch

      Further, you say the resolution was merely advisory – yet Israel, by virtue of res. 273 accepted it, and that acceptance gave them membership of the UN. (Or haven’t you got around to reading that one yet?)

    • gay o'connor September 30, 2013 at 7:59 pm | #

      fnlevit – oh, and I am glad you have done enough research to comment on the necessity for a binding resolution, ie one requiring the agreement of both affected parties. What, like the Partition Plan resolution?

      And I am very fearful of your claim, in one of your earlier posts, to teach Palestinian teachers so that they can teach their children better? So that they can teach their children better? What a paternalistic attitude that shows. And oh boy, I’d like to see that curriculum. What “history” do you teach? What do you teach about the foundation of the State of Israel? What to you teach about the cause of the poor relationship between Palestinians and Israelis? What do you teach about the “ownership” of Palestine? What do you teach about the Palestinians’ claim to Palestine?

  79. mariapalestina September 30, 2013 at 5:07 pm | #

    Your attempt to re-write history won’t work. Zionists began expelling Palestinians from their homes and villages long before Israel made its declaration of statehood. Irgun and Stern gangs had for some time been attacking towns, cities and villages, killing or forcibly removing residents. In just one village, Deir Yassin, according to an Irgun leader, 254 infants, children, women and men were butchered. Those not murdered were driven out. Word spread to other villages that killer gangs were rampaging across the land, and terrified Palestinian civilians began to flee in fear of certain death at the hands of crazed zionists with guns and machetes. And they clearly had good cause to be afraid.

    That is what prompted friends of Palestinians to defend the people being massacred and driven from their land. That was the reason Israel was attacked. Not Israel’s declaration of statehood which hadn’t yet happened.,%20Why%20Did%20the%20Palestinians%20Leave.pdf

    And once again I ask you to explain the connection between Jews who left other Arab countries, voluntarily or not, and the murder and expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland. No Palestinians wanted to leave their land. Many Jews wanted to leave theirs, to move to the new Zionist state. Others left because they were pushed out or forced. I don’t deny that. But it has absolutely nothing to do with the Palestinians, and cannot be used to justify Israel’s crimes against them. I realize that won’t deter you from continuing to do so.

  80. fnlevit October 1, 2013 at 8:00 am | #

    o’connor – I teach them advanced physics – calm down. And stop demonizing us, really. I do not really have to explain but am actually quite proud of this program to tell that it is a program to improve teaching of physics and science in general for all teachers in all schools. In a natural way some 20% of the applicants are from non Jewish minorities including Druse, Christian and Muslim Arab teachers. The program is in its 5th year and I have made many friends among the teachers. ALL TEACHERS – calm down.

    Actually why dont I explain why there was a need for such program. It is actually the success of our high tech industry over the last 20-30 years. This created an attraction (economical and professional) for the best science graduates from our universities to choose working for high tech companies rather than going for a carrier in a high school teaching. For some time the russian emigration helped but the high tech is doing better and better so – we needed this special program to help.

    • gay o'connor October 1, 2013 at 8:24 pm | #

      Hey, fnlevit, I’ll stop demonising you when you stop demonising Palestinians – which you do at every possible opportunity. In fact, the demonising extends to demonising ALL Mulslims. Think you would have learnt, wouldn’t you? But I have to repeat, it’s the occupation,stupid. And sorry for the “stupid” but it is part of a very handy quote.

  81. fnlevit October 1, 2013 at 2:52 pm | #

    mariapalestina – that’s what happend to Jews in Egypt

    By 1897, there were more than 25,000 Jews in Egypt, concentrated in Cairo and Alexandria. In 1937, the population reached 63,500.
    In the 1940’s, with the rise of Egyptian nationalism and the Zionist movement’s efforts to create a Jewish homeland in adjoining Israel, anti-Jewish activities began in earnest. In 1945, riots erupted – ten Jews were killed; 350 injured, and a synagogue, a Jewish hospital, and an old-age home were burned down. After the success of the Zionist movement in establishing the State of Israel, between June and November of 1948, violence and repressive measures by the Government and Egyptians began in earnest. Bombs were set off in the Jewish Quarter, killing more than 70 Jews and wounded nearly 200. Rioting over the next few months resulted in many more Jewish deaths. 2,000 Jews were arrested and many had their property confiscated.
    In 1956, the Egyptian government used the Sinai Campaign as a pretext to order almost 25,000 Egyptian Jews to leave the country and confiscated their property.

    • Mary Hughes Thompson October 1, 2013 at 3:36 pm | #

      There is no doubt Jews were persecuted throughout history. So were Christians, and many other groups, if not to the same degree as Jews. In more recent history, some Arab countries retaliated to Zionist brutality against Palestinians by punishing Jews living within their countries, such as in Egypt.

      Israel has never been good at making friends, and its aggressive campaign against the indigenous people of Palestine beginning in early 1948 angered many in the region. This was a major factor in the conflict in 1948 between Israel and neighboring countries.

      Again, I’m wondering what all this has to do with Israel’s illegal occupation and colonization of Palestine.

  82. fnlevit October 1, 2013 at 3:00 pm | #

    In looking googling for various accounts of the Palestinain refugees problem I came across an intersting study published by aljazzeera.

    I quote ” In this paper I intend to show how international conventions, major UN Resolutions, and relevant agreements that define who is a refugee and how the international community should deal with refugees have played a role in creating customary international law principles that eradicate the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

    The 1951 Convention defines a refugee as “any person who…. is outside the country of his nationality [or former habitual residence] and [as a result of a well-founded fear of being persecuted] is unable or unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”1 This convention places two main criterias that an individual must fulfil in order to be recognised as a refugee: possessing the nationality and/ or being a former habitual resident of the country that one is unable to return to. The convention also goes on to imply that it recognises the principle of naturalising refugees when it stated that a refugee who has “acquired a new nationality, and enjoys the protection of the country of his new nationality” is no longer a refugee.2 It poses a clear threat to the right of return for Palestinian refugees because it is essentially reaffirming the principles promoted within the 1930 Hague Convention that stated “the ideal towards which the efforts of humanity should be directed … is the abolition of all cases … of statelessness and …double nationality.”3 When we look at the principle of naturalisation as a solution to encounter statelessness and the call for abolition of double nationality in the context of the right of return for Palestinian refugees, it becomes clear that both conventions can be used to strip Palestinian refugees of their right to a Palestinian

    • gay o'connor October 1, 2013 at 8:18 pm | #

      fnlevit – I think what you are saying is that you are not a refugee unless you fear persecution in your to country of origin. Well, that speaks for itself. The Palestinian “refugees” would certainly be in fear of persecution if they were permitted to return – except for the promise made by Israel to abide by Res. 194.

      As to the second premise of your post, I imagine that you are giving a green light to Israel to redefine the Palestinian refugees so as to strip them of any statehood. Well done you!

  83. moderndayruth October 2, 2013 at 2:25 pm | #

    I wonder in which way graduating from Jesus college strengthened your Jewish identity? Reform means different things to different people, but mostly both by traditional Jews and secular Israelis it is not considered to be Judaism. Be it as it is, one is ethnically Jewish, if they are Jewish on maternal side (or have undergone Halachic conversion), but Judaism in the United States is in the post-ethnic phase… So, my question for you is: why don’t you re-think your affiliation? Without Ahavat Israel, being anti-Israel and of questionable observance, what makes you identify as Jewish?

  84. gay o'connor October 6, 2013 at 1:45 am | #

    Corey Robin – boy, did you expect such an avalanche of comments? They seem to have come to an end, but made most interesting reading. Well done, you!

    • Corey Robin October 7, 2013 at 10:12 am | #

      It’s the topic; it always elicits lots of commentary. Anyway, I’m going to close this thread now.

Comments are closed.