The N Word in Israel

Jodi Rudoren has a fascinating piece in the Times on proposed legislation in Israel that seems to be gaining ground.

Israel is on the brink of banning the N-word. N as in Nazi, that is.

Parliament gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to a bill that would make it a crime to call someone a Nazi — or any other slur associated with the Third Reich — or to use Holocaust-related symbols in a noneducational way. The penalty would be a fine of as much as $29,000 and up to six months in jail.

Backers of the law say it is a response to what they see as a rising tide of anti-Semitism around the world as well as an increasing, casual invocation of such terms and totems in Israeli politics and even teenage trash talk.

Many Jewish Israelis make high-school pilgrimages to Auschwitz and other death camps. Yet younger people have also been heard using the Hebrew word shoah — which literally means catastrophe but is generally reserved for the Holocaust — to describe an everyday disaster like a botched relationship or a messy kitchen.

At least half a dozen European nations, along with Brazil, already prohibit the use of Nazi symbols and flags, along with those of other extremist groups, and a longer list consider Holocaust denial a crime (as Israel has since 1986). And Rwanda bans “genocide ideology,” which it defines as any form of speech or action deemed to support or promote genocide. But other countries do not ban the utterance of the word Nazi, as the proposed Israeli law would, along with “everything that has to do with it and everything that connects to Nazism and the regime of the Third Reich and those who were the head of it.”

I should confess at the outset that I find the throwing around of the word Nazi to describe individual Israelis or the actions of the Israeli state really distasteful. While specific actions or deeds of the state do make me think of the Nazis—I simply can’t look at the Separation Wall without thinking of the Warsaw Ghetto—I still flinch, and am repelled by, the hurling of that epithet. So I get, at a visceral level, where people might be coming from on this.

That said…there are so many other things to say.

First, the idea that you can’t, in the State of the Jews of all places, say the word Nazi or anything, as the article puts it, “that has to do with it and everything that connects to Nazism and the regime of the Third Reich and those who were the head of it.” What if there really are Nazis in Israel? Or neo-Nazis? You can’t call them what they are?

Also, isn’t it part of the arsenal of a lot of defenders of Israel to claim that countries like Iran or opponents of the state are the inheritors of an anti-Semitic tradition that culminated in Nazism? Seems like you’d be depriving these people of one of their critical weapons. So I’m fascinated about that. The article touches on it, obliquely.

Second, prohibitions on words have a special valence in Judaism, as in most religions and cultures. They acquire an aura of holiness and the sacred. Could it be that the two words you can’t say or write in Israel are going to be God (for religious reasons, which not all Jews honor) and Nazi (for political reasons, which would apply to everyone)? Are God and Nazi really to be the two holiest words of the Jewish people in Israel?

Third, it seems like the intimate relationship between the Holocaust and Jewishness is coming full circle here. So much of postwar Jewish-American and Israeli identity—not to mention the legitimacy of the State of Israel—is caught up in the Holocaust, in remembrance of it. But because of the rising tide of anti-Israel sentiment, the State of Israel now wants to put that connection back in its box. References to Nazism once served as a legitimating device for Israel; now they’re a delegitimating device.

And last, one could say that what has cheapened the Holocaust and the remembrance of Nazism more than anything is not the casual or even hateful invocation of the Nazi epithet, but the use, as Hannah Arendt recognized in those memorable opening passages of Eichmann in Jerusalem, of the Holocaust by the Israeli state and its international supporters. There’s no business like Shoah business, as the old joke has it.

I’d say there’s far less kitsch in a teenager describing her failed relationship as a shoah—indeed, I see that as a brilliant appropriation of the word, signaling the vitality and power of Jewish irony and satire, the triumph of not merely humanism but our humanity over barbarism—than there is in state leaders mobilizing the memory of six million to justify the exertions of a regional superpower. As Hillary Clinton did when she visited Yad Vashem in 2009:

Yad Vashem is a testament to the power of truth in the face of denial, the resilience of the human spirit in the face of despair, the triumph of the Jewish people over murder and destruction and a reminder to all people that the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten. God bless Israel and its future.

When it comes to the cheapening of the Holocaust, that horse has long been out of the barn.


  1. billmon January 16, 2014 at 1:23 am | #

    “isn’t it part of the arsenal of a lot of defenders of Israel to claim that countries like Iran or opponents of the state are the inheritors of an anti-Semitic tradition that culminated in Nazism? Seems like you’d be depriving these people of one of their critical weapons”

    I’m going to take a wild guess that enforcement of the ban on those folks won’t exactly be an enforcement priority if the law passes.

    • Everett Benson January 17, 2014 at 7:07 am | #

      billmon is right that such a law would prohibit any frank study of or understanding of the actual situation Israel faces in the Middle East. So it obviously is yet another reason why there will be no such law at all — and that Rudoren has dramatically misreported the actual nature and scope of the proposed law itself. Judi Rudoren is famous for such articles, and the NYT famous for its one-sided publishing of them — opinion pieces masquerading as reporting, treating each trivial event that can be bent into slander of Israel as a major moral and international crisis, but followed by predictable short-term memory loss and no apologies when nothing comes of the event or the dire prognostications. Rudoren likes that heavy breathing and moral outrage, baseless in substance since she clearly possesses neither understanding nor compassion. She has form, as gamblers say. And the NYT has too. It got the gong for most biased reporting against Israel of all the English-speaking media, for 2013, by — and that is saying a lot.

      Israel is certainly not about to outlaw talk of Nazism. That is not because, as Corey Robin and various commenters here maliciously and gratuitously suppose, because there are Jewish neo-Nazis, since there are next to none of these, but because modern history, and especially the history of Jewish suffering and Israel’s own relations with its neighbours who are Nazistic in actual fact, cannot be understood without facing the Nazi heritage. This heritage must be confronted and dealt with, and cannot be placed out of bounds for discussion.

      For the Nazi influence actually did create much of the Middle East today (abetted after WWII by the Soviet Union as it replaced Nazi Germany as the fascist sponsor of antisemitic, anti-Western extremism). See for details on this, including the Soviet role, Robert Wistrich, Hitler’s Apocalypse: Jews and the Nazi Legacy (1985) and his magisterial A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (2010). Also see the more specialized studies of Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World, the German scholars drawing on Nazi archives such as Matthias Kuentzel, Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Nazism, Islamism and the Roots of 9/11), Klaus Gesicke, The Mufti of Jersualem and the Nazis, and other works listed in the bibliographies of the above studies. The malign Nazi mind-set remains potent and at the root of many of the problems of the Middle East, including the horrendous Muslim-on-Muslim slaughters of recent years, as well, of course, as the demonization and delegitimization of Israel of which the BDS movement is one typical manifestation, conveniently scapegoating Jews for not only the Arab refusal to make peace with Israel but also all the Middle East’s other problems.

      This rabid demonization is a root cause for the Arab-Israeli conflict and is why peace has been such a forlorn hope since 1948. After all, the leader of the Palestinian terrorist movement in the 20s through to the 50s was the Grand Mufti, Haji Amin el-Husayni, who was funded and supported by the Nazis in the 30s, spent WWII in Nazi Germany, participated eagerly in the Holocaust and set up two SS Muslim divisions to fight with the Nazis, and tutored his nephew, Yasser Arafat, in Egypt in the 50s to carry on his teachings and his heritage. Which Arafat faithfully did. The Nazi link is still explicitly praised and the Mufti heroized by Mahmoud Abbas, Farouq Qadoumi and other Fatah leaders.

      But they were hardly the only ones influenced by Nazism. E.g., the Nazis funded, helped shape and inspired Hassan al-Banah, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (Nazi texts and ideas crop up frequently in al-Bannah’s works, and in the Charter of the Palestinian M.B. offshoot Hamas). A similar influence shaped the secular racist ideology of the Young Officers movement in WWII Egypt, including Nasser and Sadat, directly created the Ba’athist parties of Iraq and Syria, which still drench those countries in blood, and also contributed to the Saudi Wahhabi world-view (the Protocols of the Elders of Zion have been a regular part of an information packet given to all diplomats of other nations taking up station there) as well as the Shi’a leaders of Iran. The chief reasons of course that this influence was so massive and pervasive, both in religious and secularist circles, were that it resonated with traditional Islamic views of Jews and non-Muslims generally, and conveniently delegitimized and demonized the entire liberal democratic West through the only non-Muslim, non-Arab, and genuinely democratic and Western state in the Middle East. Fighting that state could therefore become the core identity-politics justifying authoritarian rule and unifying the otherwise hate-filled, violently divisive Arab states.

      • Everett Benson January 17, 2014 at 7:29 am | #

        Actually I believe the HonestReporting gong was for the most biased reporting in the English-speaking Americas. The Guardian newspaper is probably even worse, in Britain.

      • Jara Handala January 17, 2014 at 7:51 am | #

        Not exactly central to the topic, but especially on this sort of blog it shouldn’t be allowed to pass without justification, so would you please give evidence for your claim that “the Grand Mufti, Haji Amin el-Husayni . . . participated eagerly in the Holocaust”?

      • Jara Handala January 17, 2014 at 9:24 am | #

        But for peeps wanting evidence concerning what Everett asserts please refer to the informative & comprehensive ‘The Arabs & the Holocaust’ by Gilbert Achcar, 2010 (first 2009 in French):

        “. . . the Arabs were deeply affected by the Holocaust, and my main ambition has been to render the complexity of their relation to it. To be sure, one finds many odious attitudes toward the Holocaust in the Arab world; but one also finds absurdly distorted interpretations of the Arab reception of the Holocaust in Israel and the West [here the translator’s word order is awry]. My aim is to open up avenues of reflection that make it possible to go beyond the legion of caricatures, founded on mutual incomprehension and sustained by blind hatred, that plague discussion of the subject.” (p.3)

        It’s currently available as a bargain at abebooks dot com, 4 copies at less than $4, post free in USA (hardback, good or better).

      • BillR January 17, 2014 at 10:07 am | #

        More on the Israeli inspired cult of the Mufti who looms larger than Nazi mass-murderers in hasbara tropes:

        Daniel Bar-Tal, a renowned Israeli political psychologist who has conducted some of the most comprehensive surveys of Israeli attitudes since Operation Cast Lead, found that the racist, authoritarian trends that are increasingly pronounced in Israeli society are products of a “psycho-social infrastructure” dedicated to promoting “a sense of victimization, a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians and insensitivity to their suffering.”
        This infrastructure is comprised of institutions like the Zionist education system, the Israeli Defense Forces, and even Yad Vashem, which explicitly links the Palestinian national struggle to Nazism.
        Indeed, the only image of a Palestinian in all of Yad Vashem (at least that I am aware of) is of the Grand Mufti Hajj Amin Al-Husseini, who was forced by the British to flee to Germany, where he became a (not very successful) Nazi collaborator. In recent years, the Mufti has become a key fixture of Israeli propaganda efforts against the Palestinians. As such, a photo is featured prominently on a wall in Yad Vashem depicting him sig heiling a group of Nazi troops. However, there is no mention anywhere in Yad Vashem of the 9000 Palestinian Arabs the British recruited to fight the Nazis, or of the 233,000 North African volunteers who fought and died while battling the Nazis in the French Liberation Army (and whose heroic efforts were dramatized in the excellent film, Days of Glory).
        According to Peter Novick, the author of The Holocaust in American Life, though the Mufti played no significant part in the Holocaust, he plays a “starring role” in Yad Vashem’s Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. “The article on the Mufti is more than twice as long as the articles on Goebbels and Goring, longer than the articles on Himmler and Heydrich combined, longer than the article on Eichmann — of all the biographical articles, it is exceeded in length, but only slightly, by the entry for Hitler.”

      • Everett Benson January 17, 2014 at 5:19 pm | #

        Jara Handal, you respond incredulously to my description of the Nazi connection with Haji Amin el-Husayni with the challenge to “give evidence” for it. Of course, I did in my post, citing four studies that document it in detail. For a good summary of research on all this, you can read David Patterson, “How Anti-Semitism Prevents Peace,” Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2011, pp. 73-83, available online at: (I see that I misspelled Gensicke’s name. There is lots more in the bibliographies I also referred to. Perhaps I can add here two other two German scholars reporting on Nazi archival records Klaus Mallmann and Martin Cuppers, Nazi Palestine — have a read of that, too. And for American and Allied war-time archives, Chuck Morse, The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism, and David G. Dalin and John F. Rothman, Icon of Evil: Hitler’s Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam. But these archival contributions do not reverse anything already known publicly since the 1940s, for all this unfolded in the public arena. E.g., Bernard Lewis wrote on it in the 80s.)

        So you clearly do not want evidence, you just wish to dismiss the subject. This means that it does not matter what scholarly evidence is presented. I give it, therefore, only for more objective readers. Demonstrating where you are coming from, you refer to the notoriously rabid antisemite Gilbert Achcar’s attempt to discredit all those who point out the Nazi aspect of el-Husayni’s activities — as if Achcar’s take on the subject is definitive. Actually, of course, Achcar does not deny those aspects in his screeds, for he cannot. The records are in the public domain, as mentioned, and much of them have been for decades (radio transcripts of el-Husayni’s broadcasts from Berlin during WWII, etc.). Achcar only resents reference to them. That these scholars stress these matters and show that they have immediate connection with contemporary events infuriates him; that they illuminate Palestinian attitudes today must not be said, ever.

        You are scraping the bottom of the barrel here, Jara Handala. I also call Corey Robin’s attention to the company she keeps. As I have written previously on a Corey webpage, one key problem with her leftist BDS stand is that it renders antisemitism respectable discourse again in “elite” circles, and makes it hard for those circles to draw any line at all between themselves and such attitudes. Her complicit silence when hosting such comments implicates her in them. She legitimates them by not drawing the line and making it firm and clear.Of course, if she did so, she would have to explain how and why the double standards, demonization and delegitimatization she argues for can be distinguished from the same coming from more blatant advocates.

        Thus, whatever Corey Robin might like to say, she joins in the effort to put Jewish community existence and ultimately their very lives at risk: murder starts with murder of the truth, with words, and only then once that is accepted can it progress to actual murder of people. The BDS movement is rife with such issues.

        Another telling indicator of where truth lies is the reference by Achcar, that Jara Handala gives, to Peter Novick’s complaint that the article on the Grand Mufti in the Encycopaedia of the Holocaust is longer than many other articles. Of course that is because of its continuing relevance. So it is not much of a complaint. And the important thing after all is not the length of an article, anyway, but its substance, which Novick, and Achcar, cannot deny.

        Just to indicate a few examples of contemporary relevancy, Mahmoud Abbas wrote his doctoral dissertation on Holocaust denial, endorsing all the standard tropes including Zionist conspiracy theories that in effect deny that democracy actually exists in the West at all and that the media, strongly critical of Israel as it is, is nevertheless somehow under the boot of the “Zionists.” Abbas just praised the Grand Mufti as a “hero” and model for Palestinians this past December, along with heroizing the terrorists that Israel has been forced to release to the P.A. — it is all of a piece. Killing Jews is good again. Farouq Qadoumi, Fatah “Foreign Minister,” publicly justified the Palestinian link to the Nazis, and also what the Nazis and the Grand Mufti did in the Holocaust as a positively good thing, by saying that after all they were fighting the same enemy, the “Zionists.” P.A. schoolbooks, mosque pulpit addresses, and TV programs rehearse the same tropes that the Mufti did, making all this part of Palestinian culture and basic values. It is after all the reason the Palestinians refuse to accept the fact that Israel is a “Jewish state” in any peace negotiations. These matters could not be more currently relevant than they are.

      • BillR January 17, 2014 at 7:45 pm | #

        Thanks, Donald! I remember reading somewhere that David Ben Gurion reached such heights of hyperbole that he started claiming that it was the Arabs who taught Germans to kill European Jews by the million. Presumably, Goebbels and Himmler would have led uneventful lives as civil servants had not the Mufti showed up in Berlin around the start of WWII and become their Svengali when it came to the centuries old matter of German-Jewish relations.

      • Everett Benson January 17, 2014 at 9:54 pm | #

        Unable actually to deny outright the too-well-documented Nazi connections of the leader of an whole generation of Palestinian terrorism, one who set his stamp on the entire “Palestinian resistance” enterprise, the mentor of Yasser Arafat himself, and the continuing influence of this on the present generation of Palestinian leadership and culture, the response of the posters here, including I see BillR and Donald Pruden (amongst the chief applauding contributors generally to Corey Robin’s blog) is to dismiss the whole thing as just Israeli “propaganda.” This not coincidentally reduces everything to mere political opinion, and there is no ground in any reality, shifting the framework from truth to mere sloganeering. So in the end truth is simply not an issue for BillR, Pruden, et al., it is all about who can shout loudest, a matter of power and personal preferences.

        BillR then contributes a red herring (another favorite method for avoiding the issue often found in these contexts) involving David Ben-Gurion, with another apparently invented quote without any citation or evidence given for it. There is a whole sub-industry amongst the Palestinians and their anti-Zionist/antisemitic supporters involving false quotes from Ben-Gurion and other Zionist and Israeli leaders whose actual views were obviously much too liberal to suit their enemies. BillR gives us an example.

        With such people, it is of course not possible to discuss anything. But, to be honest, I do not write for them. I am content to show that the whole foundation of their thinking is baseless and false (since I do not agree with their premise that there is no such thing as objective truth), driven not by facts but by hate and malice. Decent readers will get the point.

      • Jara Handala January 18, 2014 at 12:25 pm | #

        Not to appear tiresome but, given your response, simply to give you another chance to comprehend a question asked of you, the one I put to you yesterday: “would you please give evidence for your claim that ‘the Grand Mufti, Haji Amin el-Husayni . . . participated eagerly in the Holocaust’”? Please focus on the words ‘participated in the Holocaust’ – I think we’ll all be able to judge the alleged eagerness of it all from the evidence you can give us.

        And please let me note, you saying “my [E.B.’s] description of the Nazi connection with Haji Amin el-Husayni” is quite different from the above claim you made, the serious one that warrants evidence to stop it being recognised as an assertion lacking credibility. As a 10-year-old knows, ‘eager participation’ is quite different from ‘connection’, that guilt-by-association ploy applied to Saddam Hussein & so many others.

        As before, the ball is in your court. And you choosing not to reply is helping to make the reputation you are creating for yourself.

        P.S. Corey Robin is too polite to say, but please don’t refer to him as ‘she’. It’s rude, & of course it says more about you than anything else.

        • hophmi January 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm | #

          The Hajj helped Hitler organize Muslim SS units in Bosnia and lobbied to prevent him from allowing Jewish refugees to go to Palestine.

      • Everett Benson January 18, 2014 at 5:48 pm | #

        Jara Handala keeps on leading with his chin, inviting yet more knock-out responses. He specifically wants evidence of el-Husayni’s involvement with the Holocaust, and just a list of books that provide exactly that is not enough for him.

        For a good overview, easily accessible on the internet, see the article on el-Husayni in the Holocaust Encyclopedia maintained by the United States Holocaust Memorial, at (introductory summary) and with good detail on the wartime activities of el-Husayni,

        There is an informative article, quite detailed and extensive, by Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, an historian of the Middle East and German Middle East policy, on “Amin al-Husaini and the Holocaust. What Did the Grand Mufti Know?” at World Politics Review for May 8, 2008.

        Enjoy, Jara.

        By the way, I find it interesting that Corey Robin has not commented on even one of my posts. Genuine dialogue is risky, as Jara’s own posts demonstrate: it is so easy to be exposed if one pushes fantasies. So even correction of gender attribution has not been made.

      • Everett Benson January 18, 2014 at 5:49 pm | #
      • Jara Handala January 18, 2014 at 7:24 pm | #

        Thanx for the links, Everett, but I had wondered why you hadn’t quoted anything from them as the evidence that I, or any rational person, would ask for, something to support your assertion (7:07am, 17 Jan) that “the Grand Mufti, Haji Amin el-Husayni, . . . participated eagerly in the Holocaust”.

        But the contents of the three pieces explain your lack of quotes: there’s nothing there referring to what you asserted.

        In future please read what you link to before submitting any comment.

      • Everett Benson January 18, 2014 at 11:11 pm | #

        Jara Handala thinks that the links I provided regarding the Grand Mufti do not show that he enthusiastically participated in the Holocaust. Let the reader judge how trustworthy Jara is:

        According to the Holocaust Ency. article “Hajj Amin al-Husayni: wartime Propagandist,” which I listed, when discussing al-Husayni’s wartime residence in Nazi Germany, it is said that: “He broadcast anti-Allied and anti-Jewish propaganda by radio to the Arab world and to Muslim communities under German control or influence. He sought to inspire and to indoctrinate Muslm men to serve in Axis military and auxiliary units.” (As other sources indicate, but this article omits to say, he went so far as to issue “fatwas” commanding such participation in the Nazi war effort as a Muslim religious duty, and the war against the Jews was given, in public addresses and Nazi propaganda broadcasts to the Middle East, as a chief reason for this participation.)

        Details of the formation of the Muslim units are given further on in the same article. Some 24,000-27,000 Bosnian Muslims were recruited with al-Husayni’s leadership and encouragement into a new Muslim division of the Waffen-SS in early 1943. As part of this training effort, al-Husayni was given a guided tour of the Oranienburg Concentration Camp, and was particularly interested in the treatment of Jewish prisoners. By this time, he was fully aware of the extermination aims and actions of the Nazis (see below). Following the tour, he wrote enthusiastically to his friend Himmler about their “common goals.” Nevertheless this unit was generally ineffective as a fighting force, not of course for want of al-Husayni’s trying. Another organisation of an Arab unit in the Wehrmacht, also enthusiastically sponsored and advised by al-Husayni, met a similar result. The Muslims were not efficient nor disciplined enough by German standards to earn a central place in German war efforts, not even to kill many Jews. They served primarily in Bosnia, where they did participate in a number of “Aktions.” Nevertheless, at al-Husayni’s suggestion, in a statement issued in November 1944, the Nazis announced plans for the creation of a whole Arab army that would “foil the Jewish-English plans” and “participate in the common struggle at the side of the Greater German Reich. The German defeat brought these plans to nothing. The credit for this failure cannot be laid at al-Husayni’s feet: he tried his best.

        The article adds that al-Husayni also helped set up Muslim special operations units to infiltrate the Middle East and attack Allied positions, which he explained to the operatives as part of wider plans to extend future Arab rule and to wipe out the Jews of the region.

        He pressed the Nazis very hard to have them appoint him as ruler of a Nazi-satellite state in the Middle East after the war, but the Nazi leadership stalled on this and only in late 1944 gave grudging support. Again, this was not for want of trying. Other sources, including the books I listed in an earlier post, inform us that he wanted to have the honor of wiping out any remaining pockets of his Greater Syria himself.

        The same article also briefly describes al-Husayni’s efforts to prevent the rescue of thousands of Jewish children by the Allies, via the International Red Cross, in negotiations between the Allies and the Nazis in the spring of 1943. He wanted them sent directly to Poland and the death camps. Documentary evidence of this survives. In any case, the rescue efforts fell through, chiefly because of German unwillingness.

        The article I listed by Schwanzer goes into specifics about what al-Husayni knew about the extermination process and when he knew it. It turns out that the Grand Mufti got a complete and detailed briefing from Adolf Eichmann already in early 1942 of Nazi genocidal plans and actions, and in later years was in frequent contact with Himmler who kept him up to date on the current number of millions of Jews who had been exterminated. He was in enthusiastic accord. “In Berlin on November 2, 1943, he publicly declared that Muslims should follow the example of the Germans, who had found a ‘definitive solution to the Jewish problem.'”

      • Everett Benson January 18, 2014 at 11:15 pm | #

        I left out a word or two in my previous post, towards the end. Let me give the original sentence, and then correct it. I wrote “Other sources, including the books I listed in an earlier post, inform us that he wanted to have the honor of wiping out any remaining pockets of his Greater Syria himself.” Any remaining pockets of Jews, in his Greater Syria, I meant.

        • hophmi January 18, 2014 at 11:26 pm | #

          Hi Everett, I have to say, in the 12 years or so I’ve been discussing the conflict on the net, the only people who seem to apologize for the Mufti are Westerners. Palestinians themselves seem smart enough not to bother doing this. It’s symptomatic of how Western activists are often more extreme than the people they’re supposedly advocating for.

      • Everett Benson January 19, 2014 at 2:51 am | #

        The article I cited from David Patterson, “How Anti-Semitism Prevents Peace,” Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2011: pp. 73-83, at: helps fill in more detail about el-Husayni, things left out of the Holocaust Ency. article — so it is evident that that article only presents some of the whole story: there is a lot more that could be added. E.g., we learn of additional Muslim SS divisions formed under the sponsorship of el-Husayni, including the Skanderberg Division in Albania and the Arabisches Freiheitskorp in Macedonia. “These murderous Muslim units played a major role in rendering the Balkans Judenrein (free of Jews) during the winter of 1943-44. As these units were doing their work, the mufti was taking other measures to hasten the slaughter of the Jews. According to Wisliceny and Hungarian Jewish leader Rudolf Kastner, Husseini wrote letters to the governments of Bulgaria (May 6, 1943), Italy (June 10, 1943), Romania and Hungary (June 28, 1943), demanding that their Jews be exterminated without delay.” The footnote to the last sentence cites Lukasz Hirszowicz, The Third Reich and the Arab East (1966), so all of this was public knowledge well before the recent books by German scholars drawing directly on Nazi archives.

        Discussing el-Husayni’s meetings with Adolf Eichmann and his deputy Dieter Wisliceny (described by Wisliceny at his Nuremberg trial for war crimes right after the war), Patterson remarks: Wisliceny “claimed that ‘the mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and advisor of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of this plan.'”

        This article was available to Jara before he wrote his dismissive comments about the evidence I provided. The complaint he makes therefore is all the more disingenuous.

        Hophmi, I am glad that you found some Palestinians decent enough to be embarrassed by the Nazi thread to their culture. It is a pity that this is not true of their media nor their political or religious leaders. They are not embarrassed. They are even proud of it. As I mentioned earlier, Mahmoud Abbas wrote his doctoral dissertation on Holocaust denial, endorsing it. On January 4th, 2013, Abbas spoke via video link to the masses in Gaza who had gathered to celebrate the founding of Fatah. As reported in The Algemeiner, “Abbas praised the Mufti as a man whose ways should be emulated by all Palestinian Arabs. ‘We must remember the pioneers, the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Hajj Muhammad Amin Al-Husseini, as well as Ahmad Al-Shukeiri, the founder of the PLO,’ Abbas said according to a translation of the speech made by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).”’-glowing-praise-of-hitler’s-ally/ Interestingly, the Israeli governmental response to Abbas’s comments was at first total silence: there has been a great reluctance to stress this matter, since Israel wants to continue peace negotiations and not to discredit the Palestinian side. But in October, 2013, after further inflamatory statements from the Palestinians, Netanyahu did finally revert to Abbas’s comments, and condemned them. He quoted more fully than does David Patterson from Wisliceny’s Nuremberg Trial testimony, which corroborates even more the role of the Grand Mufti in the formulation of the Final Solution as such.

        But even this has not evoked shame in the PLO. On December 7, 2013, Farouq Qadoumi, former head of the PLO’s “Political Bureau” and “Foreign Minister” for the PLO, said that PLO members certainly “were enthusiastic supporters of Germany.” According to the MEMRI translation of the interview he gave for Russia Today TV, the interviewer was a bit taken aback, and asked, “You supported Hitler and his people?” “Germany, yes,” Qadoumi responded. “This was common among the Palestinians, especially since our enemy was Zionism, and we saw that Zionism was hostile to Germany, and vice versa.”

        Hitler is still praised in P.A. school materials. Just this past week Netanyahu presented to John Kerry, head of the U.S. State Department, a collation of hate-incitement materials presented over recent months in the Palestinian media, school materials, pulpits and political speeches. It makes for shocking viewing. Very unusually, the New York Times reported on this (generally having totally ignored the issue in past years). Links to the actual document can be accessed at the NYT website, at:

      • Jara Handala January 19, 2014 at 11:51 am | #

        So no evidence that he “participated eagerly” in mass murder, in the fascist European judeocide. Everett, I’m glad there’s little chance of you ever being a juror in a murder trial.

        Even so it’s a pity that, as you say, you are in Australia & not in North America. If things were otherwise you could apply for a Hasbara Fellowship, & give yourself the opportunity to acquire the logical & temperate skills you are clearly lacking.

        The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs got the Aish HaTorah (Fire of the Torah) to start the programme, but the Fire have a section on their own website that may be able to help you: Ask the Rabbi.

    • Everett Benson January 19, 2014 at 6:57 am | #

      I inadvertently omitted the URL of the David Patterson article. It is already given in my earlier posts, but I intended to include it again in my last one. It is: David Patterson, “How Anti-Semitism Prevents Peace,” Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2011, pp. 73-83, available online at:

      I think Wisliceny’s testimony about el-Husayni’s influential role in urging a total genocide plan upon the Nazis is an important proof of his eager involvement, even if as I suspect Wisliceny wants here to shift at least some blame for the greatest single criminal act in known history to the Mufti. Hitler’s intentions had to be the decisive influence, and they had been simmering away for years. But it certainly shows 1, that el-Husayni knew about Nazi plans, eagerly endorsed them, and tried his best to sharpen, aid and accelerate them. As with his other documented interventions later in the war to speed up the annihilatory process in Bulgaria, Hungary, Rumania, etc., he was no mere bystander. The testimony by the way was printed in the record of the Nuremberg Trial proceedings and came out in a separate book published in 1946 entitled The Mufti of Jerusalem, by Maurice Pearlman.

      It included the following additional remarks from Wisliceny’s affidavit: “According to my opinion, the Grand Mufti, who had been in Berlin since 1941, played a role in the decision of the German government to exterminate the European Jews, the importance of which must not be disregarded, He had repeatedly suggested to the various authorities… the extermination of European Jewry. He considered this as a comfortable solution of the Palestinian problem. In his messages broadcast from Berlin, he surpassed us in anti-Jewish attacks. He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures…”

      • Everett Benson January 20, 2014 at 8:53 pm | #

        I end by challenging Corey Robin, again, to draw the line somewhere in terms of clearly antisemitic and wilfully dishonest posts on his blog. If he, as a teacher in political science, lets these things pass without comment, since they are presented as defenses of his own views, but only posts responses to other comments critical of himself, he manifestly thinks such comment unexceptionable and gives them an open forum. He then becomes part of the problem. That lack of condemnation becomes positive endorsement. He needs to clarify just how his own views avoid or do not share in the manifest Double standards, Demonization, and Delegitimization, the 3Ds of antisemitism of his supporters (to which I would add an “O,” namely Obsessiveness, as shown in these posts — the antisemite replaces any interest in truth with fanaticism, part of his/her extremist mentality.

      • Jara Handala January 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm | #

        1) “[A]ntisemitic” posts? Cite one! Do you imagine the person running this blog would tolerate such a thing? Get real.

        2) Antisemitic:
        a) Semite is a racialised concept. Such concepts have no basis in reality, they’re fictions, falsehoods, ideology if you will, not simply non-scientific but anti-scientific;
        b) even in the racialised typology of the species Semites are more than Palestinian Jews, they include Arabs. So please don’t be conceptually imperialistic, claiming the referent solely for your favoured religio-ethnicised group, not least as the great majority of them are descendants of Kazakhs, Arabs & Berbers;
        c) it means the only rational word for what you talk about is ‘anti-Judaic’.

        3) And there is nothing in this thread that is against Jews, be they religious or those who otherwise self-identify as a Jew. What there is here is a refusal to accept oppression & exploitation. And liberal North American Jews are increasingly distancing themselves from the practices of both the Israeli state & the colonists it protects, not least in their violations of international law.

        I put it this way coz it isn’t a struggle between Israelis & Palestinians, as Akiva Orr makes plain here in less than one minute:

        4) What has been “presented as defenses of his [CR’s] own views”?

        5) “That lack of condemnation becomes positive endorsement”: please be logical, please learn the difference (in kind) between an act of commission & one of omission; the latter, such as “lack of condemnation”, can never be a “positive endorsement”.

        6) CR can speak for himself, & although ODDD isn’t in this thread it was replete at Saint Sharon’s funeral.

        7) What ‘obsessiveness’ & “fanaticism” are you referring to?

        8) But, Everett, please stop digging. I don’t know what matzpen you’re using (compass, & the name of Orr’s wonderful, courageous organisation), but any more digging & you’ll be in North America. You might think you’ll then be able to apply for a Hasbara Fellowship but you won’t: Homeland will take possession of you as an illegal alien, & after deportation you’ll never again be able to enter The Land of the Free. Better to stay at home & study logic, scientific methods, & rhetoric. And reading the likes of Israel Shahak, Akiva Orr, Moshé Machover, Baruch Kimmerling, Shlomo Sand, & Michel Warschawski will help, all good Jewish-Israeli boys.

      • Jara Handala January 22, 2014 at 11:39 pm | #

        Whoops: in two-be (or not-to-be) it should obviously have been the quasi-anagramic ‘Khazars’.

        Apologies, been a long day.

      • Everett Benson January 23, 2014 at 12:18 am | #

        According to you, Jara, I am digging myself a hole by my constant errors (none of which you can name) relating to your own posts, which apparently are without error. That is as accurate and truthful an account of the exchanges on this webpage as your claims in your other posts, and any reader of this page will know that. The shoe is entirely on the other foot. You have been utterly discredited on this blog, Jara, and repeatedly shown to be thoroughly dishonest in your selective use of sources, your wild misrepresentions of the content of the sources you yourself cite, and your obsessive demonizing of Israel at every turn and on a wide variety of topics.

        I was able to show in my posts that you falsified the significant Nazi and Holocaust involvement of the leader of 1920s to 50s Palestinian terrorism, Haji Amin el-Husayni, even though you repeatedly refused to accept the clear evidence for this as laid out in my comments, even including testimony to el-Husayni’s formative influence on the Final Solution planning itself, according to Adolf Eichmann’s own deputy. I also showed that this Nazi link continues to be highly relevant to contemporary Palestinian views and values.

        In addition, I proved that your smearing Zev Jabotinsky, the founder and leader of Revisionist Zionism, as being pro-Nazi and fascist was false. Those views did not characterise him or his movement, much less the later Likud Party as you claimed. Quite the opposite, he was a firm liberal democrat.

        You then denied that Israel itself was a liberal democracy, refusing to accept the universal agreement of authoritative non-partisan sources (some of which were listed by me) that it was.

        To justify yourself, you said that “the Constitution of Israel” and the Declaration of Independence and other government publications do not specifically endorse liberal democracy as such nor equal rights for all Israel’s citizens, but only talk of the Jewish people. However I showed that 1: there is no Constitution for Israel, as the very source you yourself cited made clear, so you made up that falsehood entirely by yourself, wilfully misrepresenting your source in the process, and 2: the Declaration of Independence cited by you does in truth clearly emphasize the equal rights that are extended to all citizens of the state, regardless of religion, ethnic background, etc. So you manifestly lied about that too, again falsifying the very evidence you cited. By the way, the Basic Laws that are foundational for Israel’s legal system do explicitly legislate equal rights for all her citizens, contrary to you. You offered some quotes from the Basic Laws which you mischaracterized as usual, but intentionally left out those many laws legislating equality throughout Israeli politics and society.

        Now, pretending that you had done a good job in those posts, and not apologizing for any of the many mendacious falsehoods in them, you obsessively add still more, citing of course only from mythicizing antisemitic authors listed, obviously, after an extended internet search. In that search you would of course have come across sharp criticism of these authors for their antisemitism and highly distorted and often entirely false claims (for each of them is notorious for these traits), but you pass all that by in silence. You even deny the applicability of the term antisemitism itself, either to them or yourself. This is because according to you the Jewish people are not a race (even do not exist, as one source you cite claims), while the term “Semites” refers as well to Arabs, etc., so a supporter of Arabs cannot be an antisemite by definition. You just ignore the “3Ds” definition I provided on this page, based on actual behavior and speech, of Double standards, Demonization, and Delegitimatization, found in your own remarks and in others at this site. Also found in your remarks are various of the tell-tale signs of antisemitism as defined by the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism and the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia back around 2005.

        So despite Hitler’s manifest antisemitism, it follows from your logic that he was not an antisemite at all, nor was the Nazism he led “anti-Semitic.” After all, he befriended the Grand Mufti and many other Arab leaders, and strongly influenced almost all the political movements and ideologies that have ruled the Arab world since then.

        Of course, we all know that in fact Hitler was a vicious antisemite even though he did not extend that hatred to Arabs, and Arabs can be vicious antisemites too (lots of them are, as surveys show), as can Jews who have lost any real connection to their own people (every single cultural and social group, even the smallest, even the one you identify with whatever that is, has at least a few members of it who end up repudiating and even eagerly defaming and betraying it; there is nothing remarkable about this also being true of some extremist Jews assimilated into hostile cultures and ideologies).

        Antisemitism has never been about Semites at all. The modern formulation of “antisemitism” was a “secular scientific” attempt to justify and apply anew the formerly religiously based hatred of Jews as “Jews.” Even Hitler admits in Mein Kampf that the Jews are racially mixed (and Aryan Jewish converts also died at Auschwitz). Actually, every people is multi-ethnic, this is not singular to Jews. The Latin-Americans, the Russians, the Chinese, even the Japanese, are actually ethnically mixed. This does not mean that they are not each a “people,” with their own identity, heritage and historically justifiable claims. The multi-ethnic peoplehood shared by all Jews is something evident to any visitor to Israel; people from all races have converted to Judaism over the ages. Judaism is a universal religion which anyone can join (although unlike her daughter religions Judaism shows this universalism also in teaching that access to God and salvation is available to righteous people in all cultures). The account of the Exodus from Egypt mentions in several places that a “mixed multitude” of other slaves and Egyptian peasants came out from Egypt with the Children of Israel, and joined them fully at Sinai, accepting the Torah revelation that established Judaism and the Jewish people as such. In later generations, as related in the Bible, the Canaanites amongst whom the Jews lived converted steadily to Judaism, all ending up Jewish, so when the population was exiled to Babylonia in 586 BCE, it was exiled simply as “Jews.” Down through later ages individuals in the Diaspora and significant percentages of whole kingdoms converted. All of these constitute the authentic Jewish people, derive from the Torah and Jewish heritage, and indistinguishably share the Jewish present and future. Multi-ethnicity is not a refutation of Zionism, and Zionism is not a racism. It is about the rights of a multi-ethnic people for national self-determination.

        A good brief explanation of “antisemitism,” showing it is not racial but simply a term for Jew-hatred, can be found in most books on antisemitism, for example, in the “Introduction” to Robert Wistrich’s brief little book, Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred (1991); similar comments can be found for example in Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin, Why the Jews?: The Reason for Antisemitism (1983), and David Nirenberg, Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition (2013). I recommend these titles for decent readers of good will who may be curious about the topic.

      • Jara Handala January 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm | #

        1) “. . . the Exodus from Egypt”: myth. Never happened. Hence there is no diaspora of Jews, a scattering. There’s simply (a) different peeps around the world who happen to get together & hold Judaism as their religion, practise it to some extent & in different ways, sometimes highly individualised, & (b) there are also peeps who distance themselves from Judaism but partly because of their parents & deceased relatives consider themselves Jews, & in effect live out part of their lives collectively as an ethnicity, as a group constituted by bonds of fictive kin.

        Today’s professional historians in Israel have never tried to argue that an exodus occurred coz they know it’s simply a fairy tale, a folk-tale. To do so would rightly earn them ridicule & a ruined reputation. As the state ideology of Israel takes upon itself that it is the state of the Jewish people, do Jews indeed constitute a people?

        2) Of course, Jews participate in & sustain different sorts of community, of human intercourse. One of these associations is to speak of Jews as a worldwide community, & to enact this in activities involving people from across the world. In this they are no different from Sikhs or Jehovah Witnesses. To use a non-religious example, the worldwide community of those deeming themselves supporters of a particular soccer club has fans visiting the home ground to tour the museum & see a game, even ending up at the very end of their lives as ashes scattered on the pitch. In none of these examples do these associations constitute a people. To ram it home, Jews worldwide are not a people, never have been: a worldwide-Jewish people has never existed.

        So what has to happen for a people to exist? It can be argued with a lot of justification, as did the Jewish Bund, that there was a Jewish people of Yiddish-speakers in the Pale of Settlement from some time in the Middle Ages to 1917 say, if not 1943. That is coz a people, as a natural (social) kind, has these necessary & jointly sufficient attributes: a shared territory, language, cuisine & dietary practices, dress, literature, music & dance, & norms. Obviously Sikhs across the world (clue) lack this, as do Jews. Jews have never constituted a people, & it is difficult to imagine them ever doing so.

        3) In virtue of this, supporters of the Israeli state are mistaken in claiming that it is the state of the Jewish people. At best an Israeli state can only be the state of all of its citizens & only of its citizens, but that would require a rejection of any Jewish-Israeli supremacist politics. It has been argued persuasively that since 1880 a Hebrew-speaking people, a nation, has been forming in Palestine. And in 1948 their leaders made a unilateral declaration of independence, going public with its own state; the majority of palefaces did the same in 1965 in Rhodesia.

        4) It should also be noted that neither a state nor a society can bear rights (or duties), only an individual or a group of people can do that. When a state is said to have a right two things are happening conceptually: a social form, state organisations, is ‘turned’ into a person, it’s personified; & organised persons themselves are not recognised for what they are but ‘turned’ into a thing, the nounal ‘state’, they are reified. Conceptual personification/reification is used in this misattribution, such as saying the Israeli state has a right to exist. The state of the USA or Israel or Vanuatu has no more right to exist than did the Soviet Union or the Holy Roman Empire. And one doesn’t have to be a socialist to recognise this.

        Jewish-Israeli supremacists & their foreign supporters have to look elsewhere for putative justification of their exercise in oppression & exploitation. One way is their campaign to label as anti-semitic any criticism of religio-ethnic supremacist practices, policies or strategies by either Israeli state managers or the colonists they fund & support. Another way is to grossly exaggerate the appalling anti-Judaic acts occurring in the world today, in Hungary for example, turning them into ‘the new anti-semitism’, some kind of worldwide offensive, posing an existential threat to world Jewry & showing why Jews need their own state as a refuge of last resort. Hasbara (Hebrew for explanation) is actually an effort in knowing distortion & outright lying. It tries to justify oppression & exploitation, & as such is anti-Judaic. It’s base. It’s an insult to all who value love & human solidarity.

      • Everett Benson January 23, 2014 at 9:22 pm | #

        How about it, Corey Robin: do you draw the line somewhere with your supporters, rejecting the obvious antisemites, or not? And what is that line, anyway, if you have one?

      • Jara Handala January 24, 2014 at 7:07 am | #

        Here is a short explanation of the myth of ‘The Diaspora’ by Shlomo Sand, written just after the publication of his 2008 book that in English is ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’: (‘Zionist Nationalist Myth of Enforced Exile: Israel Deliberately Forgets its History’)

        But first a correction. It was illogical of me to imply (point #1) that because the waters couldn’t have been parted that in itself proved that a Jewish scattering, a diaspora, never happened. Everett correctly mentions Bob Marley’s favourite, the Babylonians, & we can also throw in those dastardly Romans of 70 CE, but both are further evidence of the mythic nature of the origin story of the 1948 state: there never was a deportation of a people from Palestine, a wandering, a scattering, a longing for return finding satisfaction in the triumph of Zionism.

        Summary points made by Sand in his newspaper article:

        1) Exodus: “The discoveries made by the ‘new archaeology’ discredited a great exodus in the 13th century BC. Moses could not have led the Hebrews out of Egypt into the Promised Land, for the good reason that the latter was Egyptian territory at the time. And there is no trace of either a slave revolt against the pharaonic empire or of a sudden conquest of Canaan by outsiders.”

        2) Babylonians: “The general population of Judah did not go into 6th century BC exile: only its political and intellectual elite were forced to settle in Babylon. This decisive encounter with Persian religion gave birth to Jewish monotheism.” Those devilish Iranians – again.

        3) Romans: “Then there is the question of the exile of 70 AD. There has been no real research into this turning point in Jewish history, the cause of the diaspora. And for a simple reason: the Romans never exiled any nation from anywhere on the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean. Apart from enslaved prisoners, the population of Judea continued to live on their lands, even after the destruction of the second temple. Some converted to Christianity in the 4th century, while the majority embraced Islam during the 7th century Arab conquest.”

        What Sand then says is particularly interesting:

        “Most Zionist thinkers were aware of this: Yitzhak Ben Zvi, later president of Israel, and David Ben Gurion, its first prime minister, accepted it as late as 1929, the year of the great Palestinian revolt. Both stated on several occasions that the peasants of Palestine were the descendants of the inhabitants of ancient Judea.” Oh, dear, any ancient land claim switches to . . . Muslim & Christian Arabs, descendants of Jews who converted to Islam & Christianity!

        For his evidenced argument please see ‘The Invention of the Exile’, chapter 3 of his book. More generally check out, & the many vids at YouTube of Sand answering critics.

        Land claims thousands of years old have never been persuasive for reasonable, that is, rational people. Here it’s even more fanciful when the story of exile & return is recognised for what it is, a myth. And in any case the Ancients begat those who begat those who . . . begat the Muslim & Christian & agnostic & atheist Arabs who now consider themselves Palestinians. And we know what happened to them from 1948: they were turned into a scattering, a wandering, a diaspora. Perverse, isn’t it?

      • Jara Handala January 24, 2014 at 7:13 am | #


        Sorry, Corey, I posted the comment again as it hadn’t appeared in the thread.

        When I re-posted (7:07am) I added a sentence to the start of para. 2, “But first a correction.”, which on re-reading I thought should be there.

        So please approve my 7:07am comment, rather than the earlier one.

        Thanx, & have a productive day.

      • Everett Benson January 24, 2014 at 6:34 pm | #

        I see that Jara intends to flood this webpage with yet more red herrings and fallacious libels gleaned from antisemitic sources, a bit like a graffitist defacing properties he does not own. Of course these entries speak for themselves and only prove his own malice, and I thought I would not respond at all, but actually there can be a good use of his nonsense: providing solid sources of information on basic issues relating to Israel and Jews, for decent readers interested in following these matters.

        So, regarding the Jewish people, recent genetic studies have proven its actual mainstream ethnic continuity down through the ages and world-wide, along of course with significant contributions from other ethnicities from each region arising out of the conversions of others to Judaism. The DNA record irrefutably shows that the mainstream genetic heritage of Jews has continuity all the way back to the Patriarchs 4,000 years ago and to the Mosaic period. As a natural result of the very different global histories of Jews and Arabs over those four millennia, of course, their genetic traits are distinctly different. Palestinian Arabs share that difference: they are not more closely linked to Jews. However, there are also genetic similarities between Arabs in general and Jews, given the ancient ancestral link between the Biblical Patriarchs and the Ishmaelites, who became the Arabs, and the conversions both ways in Arabia and elsewhere over the ages (e.g., the Arabic Kingdom of Yemen mostly converted to Judaism in the 6th century C.E.). On these matters, see, for example, Harry Ostrer, Gil Atzmon, et al., “Abraham’s Children in the Genome Era: Major Jewish Diaspora Populations Comprise Distinct Genetic Clusters with Shared Middle Eastern Ancestry,” American Journal of Human Genetics, June 11, 2010, Vol.. 86, no. 6: 850-859, and Harry Ostrer’s 2012 book, Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People. Sand’s claims do not conform to the genetic evidence, just as they misrepresent the known history of the Jews.

        Interestingly, Jewish genetics show a striking link to the generation of Moses and the Exodus, as related in the Bible. Men who identify today as “Kohanim,” and who can therefore participate in certain priestly rituals in synagogue services, do in fact almost all (90%) share certain unique genetic traits passed down from father to son on the Y chromosome and not found in other populations. These traits have been traced back to a common male ancestor who lived approximately 3,200 years ago in the ancient Near East, in other words to the very same period in which the Exodus occurred and Moses and Aaron lived.

        The common DNA shared by Palestinian and other Arabs cannot be surprising. The Palestinian Arabs mostly derive from forced population transfers of tribes and villages into the Ottoman and Egyptian-held Palestine region during the 19th century (to repopulate desolate Ottoman and Egyptian border territories whose few villages were constantly dwindling away due to numerous epidemics, warfare, local feuds, severe economic difficulties and emigration) and the immigration of Arabs and other Muslims into the region following the Jewish build-up of the economy, from the late 19th century through to the establishment of Israel. This has been shown in detail by Arieh L. Avneri, The Claim of Dispossession: Jewish Land-Settlement and the Arabs 1878-1948 (1982), especially in the long first chapter, and Saul Friedman, Land of Dust (1982), both independently confirming the landmark book by Joan Peters, From Time Immemorial (1984).

        Many Palestinian tribal groups carry names that proclaim their Yemeni, eastern Arabian Peninsula, Egyptian or other recent source ancestry. Palestinians therefore naturally know of their mostly foreign origins. E.g., the Hamas Minister of Interior and National Security, Fathi Mammad, gave an interview on Egyptian TV in 2012 in which he pleaded for more support from the Egyptians, saying that half of all Gazans came from Egypt; the other half came from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. He clarified: “Who are the Palestinians? We have many families named Al-Matzri, whose roots are Egyptian [al-Matrzi means “from Egypt” in Arabic]. Egyptians! They came from Alexandria, Cairo, Dumeitta, the North, from Aswan and Upper Egypt. We are Egyptians. We are Arabs. We are Muslims. We are a part of you!” See the video of the interview at

        What this means is that many of the Palestinian “refugees” who live now scattered about in “refugee camps” throughout the Arab world, without citizenship rights, often without even the right to work, are actually back in their home countries. A particularly egregious instance of this are those “Palestinian refugees” who are incarcerated still in “refugee camps” without any freedom of residence or employment, within the Palestinian Authority territory itself, and in Gaza. They are in their supposed “Palestine,” but even they are still treated as homeless refugees — to use as hostages against Israel. The suffering of the Palestinians, in their own “Palestine,” and under Arab rule elsewhere, reflects their own culture’s cruel indifference to Palestinian suffering. It is a remarkable fact that very little financial support for these refugees comes from Arab states. Most of UNWRA’s funding comes from the U.S. and Europe.

  2. Brian January 16, 2014 at 1:24 am | #

    So the “soup Nazi” episode of Seinfeld is banned? Weird stuff.

  3. mindweapon January 16, 2014 at 7:56 am | #

    Reblogged this on Mindweapons in Ragnarok and commented:
    Israel wants to ban the word “Nazi.” and the word “God,” two of the most sacred words in Israel. Maybe if they pronounce it N-zi and G-d then they can still say it. Also, H-tler, PBUH. It’s very good to see Israel finally showing respect to the Third Reich. I’m waiting for the memorial to Ad-lph.

  4. Mark Lefevre January 16, 2014 at 8:01 am | #

    “When the Red Wings showed up in Atlanta last night, they couldn’t have known how narrowly they would escape an icy lynching.”

  5. Jonny Butter January 16, 2014 at 8:21 am | #

    That this law would be proposed is just very, very sad.

    • Donald Pruden, Jr. a/k/a, The Enemy Combatant January 16, 2014 at 8:46 am | #

      I hope the law passes because the objective perversity of it all would be an object lesson in how a colonial settler nation deals with its own and with global history. Given what I have read in the available excerpts of Max Blumenthal’s latest book, I simply have no faith that (non-Palestinian Arab) Israeli society will learn a damned thing from this situation, so let the law happen and we on the outside can sit back and watch the fun. Somewhere Godel is shaking his head and whispering, “This is not what I wanted…”

      I think it is interesting that Israeli legislators have not seen fit to make “Palestinian”, “settlement”, “occupied territories”, “Hamas”, “Israel’s defeat in Southern Lebanon”, or “nakhba” banned words before getting around to “N-zi”.

  6. Ralph Musgrave January 16, 2014 at 12:55 pm | #

    If that law were adopted, there’d be a special exemption for lefties who would be allowed to continue with their practice of referring to the far right as Nazis – far right people with white faces that is. Islam is a movement which in some respects is way to the right of the BNP, but far right beliefs by people with brown faces are OK with lefties.

    In fact that proposed Israeli law has already been sort of adopted in the EU in that Marine Le Pen has been stripped of her legal immunity as a politician because she compared Muslims who block streets in Paris while saying their prayers with Nazi troops goose stepping along Paris streets in WWII.

    • BobS January 16, 2014 at 1:13 pm | #

      Ralph, would you please be more precise about exactly which far right beliefs by just what people with brown faces are approved of by specifically which lefties? Thanks.

    • jonnybutter January 16, 2014 at 1:27 pm | #

      Islam is a movement which in some respects is way to the right of the BNP

      The whole comment is overflowing with ignorance, but this particular statement takes the cake. Any of our resident hasbara-types think ‘Islam’ is a ‘movement’?

  7. Jara Handala January 16, 2014 at 1:35 pm | #

    1) Given a ban on ” ‘everything that connects to Nazism and the regime of the Third Reich’ ” (Rudoren citing the bill) it would presumably be illegal to be accurate & say, for example, ‘the government [be it the Israeli gvt. or another one] has reduced unemployment faster than the German government between 1933 & 1937’.

    Perhaps significantly, it would make it illegal to engage in any comparative study of fascism in Germany: it would preserve not just the ideographic uniqueness of fascism in Germany (more accurate than talk of ‘German fascism’) but preserve – & protect – a discourse of the incomparable effects of such fascist practice upon others, not least the destruction of European Jewry. In this it’s simply part of the politics of trying to reserve the word ‘holocaust’ with a capital ‘h’ for the fascist European judeocide. This is the same politics that justifies ‘a unique solution for a unique problem’, partitioning a territory without allowing the indigenes the right of self-determination, leading to the creation of a religio-ethnicising supremacist state & society over the heads, homes, factories & fields of the 1948 inhabitants of Palestine, including the descendants of those Jews living there in 1880.

    2) “What if there really are Nazis in Israel? Or neo-Nazis? You can’t call them what they are?” (Corey Robin) – & not just Israeli Nazis but Jewish Israeli Nazis? Or would it be legal just to say they were fascists, or fascists reminding one of German fascists, or would it be legal to put the word Nazi in scare quotes? (Note that in everyday talk what is fascist is usually not called that but Nazi.) Anyway, here is a 2007-8 court case concerning Jewish Israeli fascists who considered themselves Nazis: (includes interview with one of the convicted Patrol 36 fascists; journeyman tv; 14′; more than half-a-million viewings) (succinct & fully referenced to links: BBC, Guardian, AFP, Ha’aretz, Ynet, even the Jerusalem Post)

    3) And of course pre-1945 there were Jewish fascists in Palestine: not least Abba Ahimeir & his organisation, Brit HaBirionim. Mitchell Cohen put it like this:

    “Ahimeir . . . was enamoured of Mussolini, wrote a newspaper column entitled ‘From the Notebook of a Fascist’ and whose followers formed Brit ha-Biryonim (the Union of Thugs). This shady group . . . not only espoused terror and assassination but denounced democracy and parliamentarianism and advocated fascistic politics . . . Jabotinsky was often discomforted and angered by Ahimeir and his followers, particularly when they called on him to declare himself the ‘Duce’ of Palestine, and when their newspaper suggested that the Nazis had good ideas, apart from their anti-Semitism. However, while Jabotinsky criticized Ahimeir’s group (at times harshly), he would not reject or dissociate himself from it.” (Zion and State: Nation, Class and the Shaping of Modern Israel, Blackwell (Oxford), 1987, p.154)

    “Just before May Day 1933 Mapai posters appeared branding the Revisionists as ‘the students of Hitler’ on ‘the Jewish street'” (157) [so Jabotinsky’s politics, not Ahimeir’s]

    And was there something to this, more than his refusal to distance his politics from Ahimeir’s?:

    “When one combines his ‘monism’, his hostility to the left, his ‘racial psychology’ of nationalism, his emphases on discipline, militarism and parades, and his radical subordination of the individual and class to the nation and the state (or state-in-building), the context in which he was accused – albeit at times indiscriminately – of ‘fascist’ leanings becomes clarified . . . Ben-Gurion was particularly prominent among the epithet-throwers, calling him ‘Duce’ repeatedly. Unhappily for Jabotinsky, this was encouraged by Ahimeir – who saw ‘Duce’ as a compliment . . . Weizmann called Revisionism ‘economically . . . [MC’s ellipsis] nothing but Fascism’. The prominent American Jewish rabbi Stephen Wise declared in a speech that ‘the truth is that Revisionism is becoming a species of Fascism in Yiddish or in Hebrew'” (170)

    Ahimeir must have had mixed feelings when “Mussolini himself told the chief rabbi of Rome in 1935 that ‘For Zionism to succeed you must have a Jewish state with a Jewish flag and a Jewish language. The man who really understands this is your Fascist, Jabotinsky” (same page)

    And Likud, & worse, trace their lineage to Jabotinsky & Revisionist politics.

    4) Next it’ll be illegal to call an Israeli Jew a racist. What will Max’s Israeli interviewees say then? (above the comments Max recounts how the NYT website solicited a vid then rejected this one without explanation!)

    • Everett Benson January 18, 2014 at 4:43 pm | #

      Jara Handala wishes to tar Jabotinsky and the Revisionist Zionists with the brush of Nazism and Fascism, and slants his account to this end. This is not the place for a full discussion, but he falsifies the truth, which is unsurprising given his other posts. On this, it is sufficient to cite the account in Walter Laqueur, History of Zionism, Chapter 7 (pp. 346-383), which also includes an account of Achimeir. It becomes clear from this that Jabotinsky was a genuine democrat life-long, believed deeply in parliamentary democracy, despised Nazism and fascism viscerally, but in his early years had socialist inclinations and beliefs about “class struggle” and the need to nationalize some industries which he later relinquished. Beginning with an admiration for the Achimeir faction’s activism and stress on self-defense, while demurring from their other views, by the 30s he came to reject them totally, and even to regard them as a major threat to the Jewish community. He refused their offer to make him “Duce,” like Mussolini; “Deeply embarrassed, Jabotinsky rejected the call in no uncertain terms” (p. 364). He condemned Achimeir’s use of vindictive character assassination, using wildly demonizing terms for his opponents (just like Jara Handala and some other posters here, come to think of it — shared traits), and (p. 364): “In 1932 he had written to the leaders of the Biryonim [Achimeir’s faction] that there was no room for them and him in the same movement and that he would leave if their views prevailed.” He wrote that their views were like “a stab in our backs. I demand an unconditional stop to this outrage. To find in Hitlerism some feature of a ‘national liberation movement’ is sheer ignorance. … I demand that the [Biryonim] paper joins, unconditionally and absolutely, not merely our campaign against Hitler Germany, but also our hunting down of Hitlerism in the fullest sense of the term.” Liberal democracy remained his touchstone, was the foundation for Revisionist political theory and remains the taken-for-granted basis for the Likud Party outlook.

  8. Raphael Sperry January 16, 2014 at 1:36 pm | #

    I’m confused how this would impact the teaching of history. How about all the existing (and forthcoming) books on the holocaust, or even general 20th century history. Can they not use the word “Nazi”? How could one even have a reasonable discussion of the Holocaust –whatever one’s views on its role in contemporary discourse — if you can’t use the word “Nazi” without breaking the law?

    • Corey Robin January 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm | #

      The second graf of the Times piece offers this statement: “or to use Holocaust-related symbols in a noneducational way.” So there seems to be some stipulation that this has to be happening outside an educational context. For what it’s worth.

      • Donald Pruden, Jr. a/k/a, The Enemy Combatant January 16, 2014 at 2:12 pm | #

        So much for even well-made Hollywood films featuring fictional Nazi characters as the foe of a fictional hero being made or shown in Israel? Is anyone there thinking this through?

  9. Bart January 16, 2014 at 6:45 pm | #

    It’s too bad that Israelis will be prevented from watching all those YouTube videos of “Hitler Reacts to…”, e.g., Miley Cyrus Twerking, etc.

  10. BillR January 17, 2014 at 5:22 am | #

    No such speechifying either:

    High Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak has just compared Israel’s current situation, in the presence of Israel’s President, to Nazi Germany. A Holocaust survivor himself, Barak said, “If it could happen in the country of Kant and Beethoven, it can happen everywhere. If we don’t defend democracy, democracy will not defend us!” The Libermans are out to destroy the democracy we have built and create a Fascistan.

    • Everett Benson January 18, 2014 at 8:06 am | #

      Having read a bit more about the actual law being proposed, it becomes clear that it merely amounts to defining libel and defamation in precisely the sort of way that is common in most other democratic societies. As such it is a much more justifiable law than indicated by the discussion on this thread. One can argue pro and con about the need or appropriateness of such libel legislation; here in Australia it is being debated very widely, but it currently applies here too and there have been a number of celebrated cases of punishment for such defamation. So I take back my previous statement that (as described by Rudoren and Corey, and other mocking commentators on this webpage) it would not be enacted since it would render accurate discussion of modern history impossible in Israel. It turns out that would not be the case at all. Israel has been an exceptionally free-wheeling society in the sort of political discourse that is allowed and indulged in, unusually so in Western democracies; the proposed law would presumably bring it into alignment with most other democracies and at the same time civilise discourse. It would certainly not prohibit the analysis or description of real Nazism, either in schools or research, nor inhibit ordinary people from discussing what Nazism really is. But application of the Nazi label would have to be manifestly appropriate to what Nazism actually was, and not used for irresponsible defamation nor falsifying propaganda purposes.

      So thank you for providing a good example, BillR, of what I suspect the formulators of the law intend to stop. Judge Barak’s comments illustrate the casual polemical use of extreme defamation-style terminology for things that are not at all comparable to the Nazi ideology or practice, merely to discredit one’s opponents and delegitimize them. It can be persuasively argued that such speech is irresponsible, and when indulged in too freely, that it actually undermines democracy itself. For manifestly it attacks the democratic right of citizens to differ from the speaker, whoever that might be, picturing this dissent as illegitimate, anti-democratic, and even evil, and falsely equating the victim with real evil that the victim has never endorsed. When such speech is indulged in by a high court judge, it becomes even more serious in its negative implications. Moreover, by crying “Wolf!” so often and so freely, polemics like this blind people to the real wolves and their danger. It makes it less likely that Nazism and its associated reality and characteristics will be recognized when they actually present themselves. The terms, being watered down and generalized to things that are actually far from “Nazistic,” end up connoting only one’s own emotive hate, mere propaganda.

      This is what is done, for example, by the BDS movement in its use of terms like “apartheid” and “genocide” — that is only possible after a preliminary evisceration of what apartheid and genocide really denotes. Only then can it be used for polemical falsifications such as we find when it is applied to Israel and its remarkably strong liberal democracy. The failure to preserve the real meaning of these terms also enables BDSers to be wilfully blind to, and not to boycott or condemn the real apartheid and genocidal thinking and actions that exists in the Palestinian political system and discourse.

      It is a telling point that it was the High Court Justice Barak himself who was manifestly degrading the seriousness of the subject by polemicizing defamation. There has been strong criticism in Israel of the quite explicit strong left bias of the High Court justices over several decades, and their tendency to appropriate for themselves as “activist” judges the power they should properly leave to the democratic process and the legislative-executive branches of government. Here again it shows itself. Very obviously, Liberman, whose views are on the center-right of politics (not the “hard-right” as the usual suspects in the media claim), annoys the left-leaning Barak. But Liberman is the head of a political party elected to power through the democratic vote of Israeli citizens, unlike Barak himself who was nominated by other high court justices and installed through wheeling-dealing in a small Knesset committee. So it is not Liberman who is out “to destroy [Israeli] democracy … and create a Fascistan.” He affirms democracy, participates in it, and has a right to present his opinions in the democratic process. Justice Barak’s defamation is precisely the sort of speech that should be subject to libel proceedings.

      • Jara Handala January 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm | #

        Let’s nail this canard: ‘Israel is a Western democracy’ & “Israel and its remarkably strong liberal democracy”.

        1) Israel is in Asia, not ‘the West’. Get used to it.

        2) Israel is a religio-ethnicising supremacist state, not a liberal democracy. A liberal democracy is a state of its citizens: Israel is not. Neither the Israeli constitution nor the government claim it is a liberal democracy: both emphatically say it is a Jewish state – it is explicitly not a state of the current 20% of Israeli citizens who are not Jews.

        It is as if the United Kingdom was declared to be the state not of its citizens but of the ethnic English. That shows how laughable, & anachronistic, how reactionary, is the idea of an ethnic supremacism, whether the constituting identity of those exalted as privileged has some basis in religion or not. It shows how far from a liberal democracy Israel is – & how egregious the lie.

        But this is only part of the fabrication. Now it gets really, really weird. Uniquely in the world, the Israeli state is not even a state of its citizenry. Instead it is a state of all Jews throughout the world, whether those individuals want it or not. Yes, the idea of the Israeli supremacist state is that anti-individualistic. It claims you as its own even if you want nothing to do with it, even if you campaign against its nature.

      • Jara Handala January 18, 2014 at 3:51 pm | #

        I was a little imprecise in two formulations, at the beginning & end of point 2:

        not “A liberal democracy is a state of its citizens: Israel is not.”, but ‘A liberal democracy is a state of all its citizens, & only of its citizens: Israel is not.’; &

        not “Uniquely in the world, the Israeli state is not even a state of its citizenry.”, but ‘Uniquely in the world, the Israeli state is not even a state solely of its own citizens.’

      • Everett Benson January 18, 2014 at 4:57 pm | #

        Again, rabid demonizing, Jara. But you lead with your chin. Your claims are false throughout. You can take it up with Freedom House, which issues authoritative and detailed assessments of the political systems of all nations, and which has consistently rated Israel the only “Fully Free” state in the Middle East down through the decades, the separate U.S. State Department and C.I.A. annual reviews of political situations and human rights around the world, which make the same judgment, The Economist annual global ratings, and, if all that is just too hard for you, you can simply consult the articles in any edition since 1948 of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and other authoritative encyclopaedias having articles written by leading scholars in their fields.

      • Jara Handala January 18, 2014 at 6:01 pm | #

        Everett, @ 4:57pm you keep referring to a ‘political system’ or “state” in terms of being “free”. But my point concerned your claim that Israel was a liberal democracy, a “remarkably strong” one (@ 8:06am). Try & keep up.

        And as I said about your efforts to cement your reputation, your talk of “rabid demonizing” & assertions of “[y]our claims are false throughout” is marking a sharp descent.

        Please address the points made to you, otherwise you disqualify yourself as an interlocutor.

      • Everett Benson January 19, 2014 at 7:16 am | #

        Jara, I like your claim that “Neither the Israeli constitution nor the government claim it is a liberal democracy,” as if you have read the constitution, and are familiar with the very first declarations of the new state made by Ben-Gurion and all subsequent government statements.

        But, Jara, Israel does not have a constitution, so you have simply made that up. Leading with your chin again, Jara.

        And Ben-Gurion’s very first speech on May 14, 1948 as Prime Minister of the new state underlined the liberal democratic nature of the new state as a central ideal. He emphasized explicitly and at some length that it was to be one for all its citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish; a view repeated down through the decades since then, fundamental to Israeli values and to Zionism itself, and conforming to its actual political structures.

        Its Jewishness was not only not incompatible with such liberal democracy, it directly led to it, just as Jewish sources lie at the foundations of the Western political development of parliamentary democracy itself (I referred in an earlier post to Eric Nelson, The Hebrew Republic, 2010, focussing on European political theory during the 16th through to the 18th centuries, as a scholarly demonstration of this). So you know nothing of what you pretend to, substituting for it only evident malice. Your wishes, Jara, are not facts.

      • Jara Handala January 19, 2014 at 4:09 pm | #

        In what follows, please bear in mind that in a liberal democracy the state is the state of all its citizens, & only of its citizens: no particular group, of any kind, is privileged.

        1) “Ben-Gurion’s very first speech on May 14, 1948 as Prime Minister of the new state underlined the liberal democratic nature of the new state as a central ideal. He emphasized explicitly and at some length that it was to be one for all its citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish” (Everett, 7:16am, Su 19 Jan)

        No, that is not what the man said:

        “. . . the People’s Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People’s Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called ‘Israel.’ . . . to assist the Jewish people in the building-up of its State”

        So, “of the Jewish State” & “assist the Jewish people in the building-up of its State”, Everett: not ‘assist all citizens building-up their state’, no, one religio-ethnicity is privileged at the very core of the state & society. That is an ethnic supremacist state & society, not a liberal democratic state & society.

        Just to bring things a lil more up to date:

        “Prevention of participation of candidates’ list
        7A. A candidates’ list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if its objects or actions, expressly or by implication, include one of the following:
        (1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people;
        (2) negation of the democratic character of the State;”
        (Basic Law: the Knesset, amendment #9, passed 31 July 1985)

        So, “. . . the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people”, Everett: not ‘the state of Israel as the state of all its citizens, & only of its citizens’, that is, a liberal democratic state.

        2) “But, Jara, Israel does not have a constitution, so you have simply made that up.” (Everett, 7:16am, Su 19 Jan)

        Those silly peeps at wiki with their links to government websites:

        Stop digging, Everett. Just please stop digging. It’s getting worse than embarrassing, it’s upsetting.

        • hophmi January 19, 2014 at 10:36 pm | #

          Jara doesn’t seem to even know his side’s propaganda. Usually, the line is that the reason Israel doesn’t have a constitution ( and it’s doesn’t Jara, it has a set of Basic Laws) is because having one would necessitate Israel becoming a state of all of its citizens.

      • Everett Benson January 20, 2014 at 8:51 am | #

        Jara claims that his links show that Israel does have a constitution, and that there was no reference to full citizenship and equal rights being extended to non-Jewish, including Arab, inhabitants of the state. I recommend to any interested reader the links he has provided, because they show the opposite of what he says. He obviously hopes that no one will actually bother to read them and will just take his word about them.

        So we find that in regard to the supposed constitution that Israel has (according to Jara), he provides a link to the Wikipedia article on “Basic Laws of Israel” — tellingly not called “The Constitution of Israel.” And this difference in terms is there for a good reason. The introductory sentences state that Israel does not have an actual constitution, but still today operates according to the “Basic Laws” that were laid down, one by one and step by step early in the nation’s existence; these Basic Laws provide a kind of framework for all later Israeli law, so even if they are incomplete in the topics they cover or depth of discussion, and are not a formal constitution they still have fundamental status and are given formal recognition when dealing with particular cases. Case law and precedents (i.e., from Ottoman law, British Mandate law, and Rabbinic law), provide specific rulings. So, the introduction goes on to conclude: “Israel currently functions according to an uncodified constitution consisting of both material constitutional law, based upon cases and precedents, and the provisions of these formal statutes [i.e., the “Basic Laws”]. As of today, the Basic Laws do not cover all constitutional issues, and there is no deadline set to the completion of the process of merging them into one comprehensive constitution. There is no clear rule determining the precedence of Basic Rules over regular legislation, and in many cases this issue is left to the interpretation of the judicial system.”

        Israel therefore manages without a formal constitution, as do many other states in the world, for example, Britain itself, which had formative influence on Israeli law. Jara has falsified his own source.

        Let us see if this is also true for the second issue he challenges me on, namely, as his link presents, the Declaration of Independence read out by David Ben-Gurion upon the establishment of the State of Israel, in May 1948. He says this declaration says nothing about non-Jews having equal rights in the State of Israel. I on the other hand had written that Ben-Gurion said then that “the state was to be one for all its citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish.” What does it actually say?

        “The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

        So again the actual material falsifies what Jara has claimed about it. And he would know this, since he read this Declaration, and presents it himself in his post.

        This paragraph was actually so crucial and central to Ben-Gurion that he repeated it, word for word, in the “Order of the Day” that formally established the Israel Defense Forces on May 31, 1948. That laid out the ideals that the IDF was formed to defend. (For the text, see p. 111 of David Ben-Gurion, Israel: A Personal History, 1971; this diary of Ben-Gurion’s emphasizes these liberal democratic ideals in many places and over the years).

        I mentioned that there are many Western democracies and other states around the world that manage without formal constitutions. Similarly, there are many states that privilege the culture and historical heritage of the people who formed and shaped the state. Amongst the Western democracies, many are like this. E.g., England has a “Church of England,” to which the monarch must belong and which has priority of status in official ceremonial and in other areas of society. The flag, like many other European flags, presents the Cross of the Christian religion. English literature has historically been heavily Christian in values and outcome. But England also provides freedom of religion so that other religious groups can exist and flourish with equal rights. The sort of language that is common in England at such official ceremonies, and even the national holidays, may not speak to people who have immigrated from other places, and they may honor events crucial to the nation which are alien to those immigrants, but that must be accepted by them. Is it possible for a state to be Christian and liberal democratic? Sure. And this is also the case for a Jewish state.

        I note, however, that the Palestinian official position is that “Palestine” is defined as an Arab and Muslim state, and that Jews are not to be allowed in it at all. There will be no freedom of religion for them, or even of residence and life. Clearly, that qualifies as the racist and supremacist sort of state Jara should boycott.

  11. hophmi January 17, 2014 at 1:39 pm | #

    “I simply can’t look at the Separation Wall without thinking of the Warsaw Ghetto”

    Why? In what way are these two things the same? Are thousands of Palestinians dying from starvation every day? Are they being sent to concentration camps? Did the wall go up to pen them in before murdering them? Is there a campaign in Israel to cause them to be subjected to either outcome? No. They live largely under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, and Israel built this wall after years of suicide terror.

    “There’s no business like Shoah business, as the old joke has it.”

    It’s an old antisemitic joke. And it’s not at all funny.

    The law won’t amount to much, and it’s not certain that it will actually become law. Israelis tend to overuse the word Nazi themselves. But that is a small problem in comparison with the way the BDS movement abuses the word.

    • Corey Robin January 17, 2014 at 1:50 pm | #

      “It’s an old antisemitic joke.” Which was first uttered by that notorious anti-Semite Abba Eban. Try harder.

      • hophmi January 17, 2014 at 10:29 pm | #

        It wasn’t appropriate when he said it, and it isn’t appropriate now. I could care less where it came from. The way you’re using it is the way bigots use it.

    • Everett Benson January 18, 2014 at 8:38 am | #

      Very good points, hophmi. While the Warsaw Ghetto walls were erected to concentrate Jews from the entire region together for efficient shipping to death camps, meanwhile starving them systematically, allowing epidemics to decimate their numbers and finally entering to wipe out all survivors, so that after a bit more than a year none were left alive, the security barrier was set up for an opposite purpose: to save Jewish lives by preventing the murderers from gaining access to them.

      (Actually if one does not want to admit that it is a “security” barrier then “Fence” is at least a more accurate term than “Wall,” since 97% of the security barrier is a fence. We can therefore measure the truth-value of the “Wall” terminology very accurately. It is 97% false and only 3% true, admittedly a pretty good attainment considering general Palestinian propaganda.)

      The security barrier worked, too: the murders dwindled down to next to none, very quickly, and they have stayed there. Clearly Corey Robin did not read the papers over the years from 2000 on to the present and cannot have known this, for she says she cares about the Jewish people and surely she does not approve of their wholesale murder? So we must forgive her for her ludicrously inappropriate association of the security barrier with the Warsaw Ghetto walls and her worse than tasteless jokes. Perhaps they are funny, in the BDS community.

      • Donald Pruden, Jr. a/k/a, The Enemy Combatant January 21, 2014 at 10:34 am | #

        Um, you are obviously new here. Aside from your lack of understanding of the issue of Israeli policy vis-a-vis the Palestinian people as well as recent Middle East history, you also seem to be unaware of the fact that Prof. Robin is a dude.

        Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you. Some of my best friends are guys.

    • Jara Handala January 18, 2014 at 1:39 pm | #

      It’s not just Abba Eban. There’s also the former head of both the Jewish Agency & the World Zionist Organization, Avraham Burg, so a prominent practitioner of Jewish Israeli supremacism (what others call Zionism), who entitled his book, The Holocaust Is Over (first 2007 in Hebrew; 2008 in English).

      The book is part of his attempt to get Jewish Israelis & their supposed supporters to move on, to save them from themselves, to devise a politics suited to more than two-thirds of a century after the fascist European judeocide. But sometimes one’s friends just don’t get what may be good for them.

      Excerpts are at amazon, & his wiki entry describes some of his other ideas, such as encouraging all Israelis to get a foreign passport, boycotting goods from colonists in eastern Palestine, & withdrawing from eastern Palestine (not sure whether he includes eastern Jerusalem):

      • hophmi January 18, 2014 at 1:46 pm | #

        I’m well aware of Burg. I really could not care less. When, as an argument against Jewish self-determination, a person says that there’s no business, etc, it’s not the same thing. Burg has credibility. He’s an ex-speaker of the Knesset. Corey Robin is just a leftist professor doing radical chic, and in this case, the radical chic happens to be antisemitic.

  12. authorextraordinaire January 20, 2014 at 12:23 pm | #

    A toxic topic, not because of he subject but because of the inability of the discussants to move above and integrate gut and brain.

    • Jonny Butter January 20, 2014 at 8:49 pm | #

      Um, I don’t think the point of the above exercise is to ‘integrate gut and brain’! That implies good faith.

      It is not even theoretically possible that Hophmi (for example) could ever be convinced to change his mind on any of this -there is a big ontological difference between something which is very very unlikely, and something not even theoretically possible. That this is so makes for a mostly pointless exercise. (It’s exactly like arguing with many American conservatives, btw). He reveals his modus operandi in this comment (which, hilariously, is supposed to be taken as a withering rhetorical jab!): “Jara doesn’t seem to even know his side’s propaganda.”

      Rest assured that the hasbara bunch doesn’t make Jara’s rookie mistake.

      • Everett Benson January 21, 2014 at 5:03 pm | #

        Jonny, I note that you do give an implicit criticism of “Jara’s rookie mistake,” thus validating Hophmi’s comment. So it appears that you have to agree with the truth of what he said, and only object to the fact that he said it. Free speech, especially if it is truthful, in defense of Israel is not to be permitted or at least given legitiimacy, according to you. That is “bad faith.”

        Perhaps you do not know what “bad faith” means. It means saying something that you know is not true, or claiming motives for your actions that in fact are not your motives at all. Hophmi’s comments even according to you were truthful and accurate. That indicates his good faith belief in what he said. His comments are the opposite of the revealed bad faith of Jara, whose malice-driven comments representing themselves as disinterested devotion to truth, consistent misrepresentations of sources and outright dishonesty about them even when presented with what they actually say, without any apology, have been clinically dissected on this very webpage. But this is not due to Jara being a “rookie.” He is merely holding to the standard BDS line; his traits are also those of the entire BDS movement. As mentioned, Corey Robin evidently is unable to distinguish his own position from Jara’s, and there is no clear-cut repudiation of his attempts by other pro-BDS people on this page.

        For example, you wish to condemn Hophmi’s comments anyway as “hasbara,” which for you means something sinister and underground. It is a favorite ploy of the BDSers and anti-Israel crowd. Hasbara, of course, means “explanation” or “clarification” in Hebrew. For its enemies, it is not good for defenders of Israel to explain the logic and clarify the morality of their position, nor to point out the errors or dishonesty of their enemies. That is bad and even should not be allowed, which ends up justifying the crowds of hecklers and violent protestors from BDS circles that try to shut down public addresses by Israeli government officials or pro-Israel speakers at university events and conferences.

        Often people from those circles claim, disingenuously, that they are not anti-Israel nor antisemitic: they grant that Israel has a right to defend itself for example, but only claim that the specific defense methods at issue are immoral, illegal, cruel, false, etc. When these criticisms are followed closely and viewed as a whole, however (e.g., just viewing the articles on Corey Robin’s blog), it ends up being clear that no method of defense turns out to be allowable nor legitimate when it comes to Israel. So the claims are made in “bad faith.” The claimed motives for criticising this or that thing about Israel is not the actual motive — the claims are just excuses. Not only is Israel to be criticised for active self-defense and being victorious in that (that is a Nakba, for example, a “Catastrophe” according to BDSers and Palestinians, and for another example Israel’s defense against Lebanese aggression produces amongst activists the cry: “We are all Hezbollah now!”), but also for passive self-defense such as the security barrier (which reminds Corey Robin of the Warsaw Ghetto and Nazism), and even for verbal defense, such as in clarifying the actual historical truth justifying Israel, refuting the false slanders directed at it today, etc. All these methods of self-defense are delegitimated. What animates this is not what the delegitimators claim is their motives, namely an interest in truth and morality, justice and peace, but actually simple hatred and antisemitism, a desire to annihilate the Jewish state simply because it is Jewish. So it is noticeable that there is no specific thing that Israel can do to mollify the BDSers, no actual suggestions being made that would help produce approval from them. As with the Palestinians themselves, every concession only produces yet more demands and even more aggressive criticism from the critics.

        That is “bad faith,” Jonny Butter, and your own comments illustrate it.

        • Donald Pruden, Jr. a/k/a, The Enemy Combatant January 21, 2014 at 5:09 pm | #

          “So it is noticeable that there is no specific thing that Israel can do to mollify the BDSers, no actual suggestions being made that would help produce approval from them.”

          Then why do you, and the other hasbaristas, waste your time here?

      • hophmi January 22, 2014 at 11:35 am | #

        “It is not even theoretically possible that Hophmi (for example) could ever be convinced to change his mind on any of this -”

        My mind is far more open on this topic than those in the BDS movement, who act like a cult most of the time.

        My comment re: Jara’s Pallywood propaganda is only to show how some Westerners, in their zeal to be holier-than-thou, say ridiculous things, because the object is not truth, but to cast Israel in the worst light possible. That’s why it’s possible for BDSers to complain that Israel’s lack of a Constitution is racist, and for other BDSers to claim (wrongly) that Israel has a Constitution that is racist. The operative word isn’t Constitution. It’s just an opportunity to make a specious claim about the Jewish state.

Comments are closed.