Gushing over Bob Simon–but did he let Livni off the hook?

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 23 Comments

Our mail is pouring in on "60 Minutes." Viewers have never seen ANYTHING like this on mainstream television before. They are grateful. We are too. We must honor Bob Simon/CBS for a heroic piece of journalism. Myself I loved seeing his Jewish face trembling with outrage outside the house the Israeli soldiers had occupied. At last here was the outraged moral Jewish face I grew up with and that went away for 20 years. A privileged Jew who has done his part to advance Israel's image in the United States is regarding the horror of Zionism, and not holding back but sharing it with his American audience. Again, too late for the two-state solution, but not too late for the interaction of sober Jews and Arabs in the holy land.

And the thing that I have repeatedly pushed for–treat these religious crazies the way you treat the religious right in the U.S.–it happened!!                                                                             (Phil Weiss)

Now here is some criticism of the piece from David Bloom–"Simon let Livni off the hook"–and Adam Horowitz's rejoinder:

although Simon talked about the fence annexing at least 8% of
Palestinian land, he didn't talk at all about the semi-dormant plan to
make the fence the new border.  in that plan, disengagement, realignment,
whatever they want to call it (i described the realignment plan in
detail here:…

that plan only removes between 40-70,000 settlers (more likely the
smaller #), from the eastern side of the barrier. It leaves in place
400,000 + settlers in the West Bank including East Jerusalem. &
some of the settlers who are removed will be resettled on the western
side of the fence, but still within occupied territory, some in new
settlements Israel will build there, others within existing
settlements. According to JPost (quoted in my article), only 20-30
settlements will be removed out of 252 total.

This plan enjoys
support across a broad spectrum of Israelis.
Veteran diplomatic
correspondent Akiva Eldar, considered a Zionist left stalwart, praises
the idea that only 60,000 settlers would be removed:
Israel is even less "ripe" than the Palestinians for a "genuine"
political process, of the kind that will require evacuating 50,000 to
60,000 settlers from their homes….(Ha'aretz, 7/28/09)

Recall that Livni wants the barrier to be the new border (AI,8/15/07–now-rise-to-the-occasion.html). That
means the realignment plan tacitly endorsed by Eldar would be put into effect. So when Simon asks Livni about removing settlers, crucially, he
misses an opportunity to ask her how many and where will they go (

one very important Israeli says she intends to move them out. She's
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, a candidate to become prime minister in
elections next month. She's also Israel's chief negotiator with the
Palestinians, and she told 60 Minutes peace is unthinkable with the
settlers where they are.  [Nonsense; she's only referring to about 10%
of the settlers]

"Can you really imagine evacuating the tens of thousands of settlers who say they will not leave?" Simon asked.

"It's not going to be easy. But this is the only solution," she replied.

big irony here is Livni has no intention of evacuating Daniela Weiss,
the settler Simon claims Livni wants to remove. Just before Simon
interviews Livni,  Weiss tells him:

She says the she and the settlers are immovable. "We will stay here forever."

lives in Kedumim settlement, which Israel plans to enclose inside its "security barrier" & thus is slated to be annexed to Israel if the fence-as-the-new-border plan
favored by Livni comes into effect:

Adam Horowitz's response:
I agree, but I also think Livni came off looking like a fool. When she first came on I thought to myself, okay here's the part when the US favorite gets to do her campaign schtick, but it blew up in her face as much as her press conference last week. I thought she came off as out of touch and just offering talking points that were then refuted.

I did think that the piece seemed a bit disjointed and I was surprised when it ended; it almost seemed in mid-sentence. I wish there was a lot more in it. But I think if we sent your comments to Simon he would say he implicitly was referring to the realignment plan when he mentioned apartheid as a possible future. I think that was a takeaway message.

23 Responses

  1. Mohammad
    January 26, 2009, 10:50 am

    Thanks Philip. It would have been impossible to fully clue in the importance of this piece without this blog. me and my friend Saied were stunned in front of TV. Then I said to myself, I bet Phil has something on this right way, and you did.

  2. Lysander
    January 26, 2009, 11:05 am

    Having been captured and tortured by Iraqis in 1991, Simon has reasons to be bitter towards Arabs, but he never has been.

    You gotta admire that. The show took courage. Gotta admire that too.

    Whether it represents the sea change in American perception remains to be seen, but I'm not holding my breath for that.

    Kudos to Simon and 60 minutes anyway, though. Any example set of rising above humanity's universal curse of tribalism is to be lauded.

    I confess, as an Arab, I struggle with the curse too.

  3. lester
    January 26, 2009, 11:33 am

    I didn't believe Livni when she said she would remove the settlements

  4. Rowan
    January 26, 2009, 11:38 am

    I never thought the wall had any other intention than to demarcate a new border, and nor did anyone else. Mind you, the wall is eminently movable, in either direction, if you don't mind spending millions of other peoples' dollars and ruining thousands of dunams of other peoples' land. The code term is 'hitkansut', which means roughly, 'gathering', meaning, gathering the Jews behind the wall. See an interesting discussion of this word and its etymology:
    link to

  5. Anonymous
    January 26, 2009, 11:49 am

    "After Gaza: Is The Two-State Solution Dead?"

    "In the aftermath of the fighting in Gaza, observers as varied as Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton have claimed that the "two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is dead. Are they right? If so, what's the alternative? If they're wrong, what can the Obama administration do to resurrect the possibility of two states, one Israeli and one Palestinian, living side by side in peace — and how much time is there left to do it?"

    — Sydney J. Freedberg Jr.,

    link to

  6. Todd
    January 26, 2009, 12:16 pm

    Simon didn't seem all that outraged to me. Yeah, he mentioned the settlers, and made it known that Palestinians have been victimized. But he glossed over the fact that almost all of Israel is on Palestinian land, and that Israel is a major burden to the world. It's just late-game spin. WooHoo!

  7. Joachim Martillo
    January 26, 2009, 12:43 pm

    After dealing for over 10 years with the Israeli government and military industrial complex, I no longer consider rational negotiations with Zionists to be possible.

    Arabs must develop a strategy for victory.

    I don't even think it would be particularly hard if Arab intellectuals and government officials were willing to broaden the concept of Jihad to include effective media campaigns and strategic investment.

    See Time for Arabs to Win.

  8. Rowan
    January 26, 2009, 1:38 pm

    Joachim, it is a bit impertinent to say,

    Start reading my blog. No one knows more about non-exceptionalist properly contextualized Jewish studies, Zionism studies, Israel studies and Jewish political economy since the beginning of the 19th century than I.

  9. Todd
    January 26, 2009, 1:44 pm

    "After dealing for over 10 years with the Israeli government and military industrial complex, I no longer consider rational negotiations with Zionists to be possible.

    Arabs must develop a strategy for victory."

    I think Americans should reach the same conclusion about our resident Zionists, and develop our own strategy for victory.

  10. MRW.
    January 26, 2009, 2:23 pm


    After rereading Israel Shahak's short book Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years (1994) recently, I think people can start there. Reading Chapter Two alone is an eye-opener.

    Someone put it up on for a free download with registration.

    BTW, is there a Web site with all of Dr. Shahak's translations? The ones Blankfort referred to the other day?

  11. MRW.
    January 26, 2009, 2:43 pm

    Only 60,000 settlers are going to be moved?

    Really. And is the USA going to pick up the tab for that as it did before? At a price of between $250,000 to $500,000 each?

    link to

  12. Rowan
    January 26, 2009, 4:06 pm

    link to

    Note especially the Helmut Spehl archive, which will send you a free CD full of Shahakiana if you ask it nicely.

  13. Nancy O
    January 26, 2009, 4:18 pm

    You could also check out the dusty book, Gentile serfs, Jewish Privilege: The Weight of the Dark Ages From then until Now (2004).

    Kinda hard to find. But it presents the Biggest Picture. Lots of footnotes to Marx and Luther, and the treatment of Christians by Romans, etc. Reading the first three chapters, it's pretty clear most of the
    goy masses over time, if given the choice, would have taken their
    chances on an infrequent pogrom just to live their life as a jew.

    Chapters 16 & 17 cover the Bolshevik regime and its affect on
    Weimar Germany, consequential rise of Hitler etc in the wake of
    Versailles, Wilson's foolish points, etc.

  14. questionsquestions
    January 26, 2009, 4:31 pm

    Why didn't Simon ask that nutcase settler woman: "But what about the Palestinians? Don't you think they have any rights?" An obvious question, why not ask it?

  15. John Lewis-Dickerson™
    January 26, 2009, 5:14 pm

    EXCLUSIVE – US tax breaks help Jewish settlers in West Bank

    Source: Reuters
    By Adam Entous – 25 Aug 2008

    JERUSALEM, Aug 25 (Reuters) – The United States says Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank threaten any peace between Israel and the Palestinians — yet it also encourages Americans to help support settlers by offering tax breaks on donations……

    …..Pro-settler groups say they are entitled to the tax breaks because their work is "humanitarian", not political, and reject any comparison to Palestinian charities, some of which face U.S. sanctions over suspected links to Islamist groups like Hamas……

    ……a review by Reuters of U.S. tax records found 13 tax-exempt organisations openly linked to settlements that have raised more than $35 million in the last five years alone…..

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to

  16. Seethelight
    January 26, 2009, 5:26 pm

    Applause for Bob Simon's "60 Minutes" piece on the settlements, but not too loudly. Where has "60 Minutes" been all these years? It's not like the settlements have popped up overnight, or that 60 Minutes reporters and producers don't know about them, having done many other Israel-related stories. I believe this is the first 60 Minutes report EVER on the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

    Television loves to report on conflict, actual and in terms of ideas. But I don't believe "60-minutes" has done anything on the foreign policy firestorm created in 2006, which continues today, because of Mearsheimer and Walt's paper and book on the Israel Lobby. Last May. Philip blogged that former 60 Minutes producer Barry Lando said the reason for no story was because they couldn't get a congressman to talk about the Lobby. Hey Barry, THAT IS THE STORY!

    I still count American MSM as Israeli-occupied territory, same as the US Congress. I'm glad Bob Simon was able to escape.

  17. John Lewis-Dickerson™
    January 26, 2009, 5:46 pm

    The Guardian, Monday July 7, 2008

    One wall, two very different views – life on either side of the great divide

    by Rory McCarthy and Alfe Menashe

    Six years ago, when Stan and Joyce Freedman retired they left their home in Edgware, north London, took Israeli citizenship and bought a plot of land on a hilltop in a small but popular sun-drenched Israeli community where their daughter already had a house. They built a three-bedroom home with a breezy patio offering views to the east across the hills of the West Bank and west towards the apartment blocks of Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean beyond.

    They named their new home Tulip Cottage and attached a sign next to the front door, which reads in part: "We have no enemies, only friends."

    "There was nothing here when we first came to this street," said Mr Freedman, 75, who worked as an executive driver in Britain, chauffeuring senior businessmen and politicians, including many high-profile Israelis. Sitting in the shade of his patio he described how the house was constructed to their specifications in just six months. Now their street is full of houses and families. "It's a wonderful life and the neighbours are fantastic," he said. "The quality of life is amazing," said Mrs Freedman, 76.

    The town they chose to live in is Alfe Menashe, a fast-growing community of about 7,000 Jewish Israelis who make up what is in fact a settlement, built about two miles into the occupied West Bank, east of the large Palestinian city of Qalqilya…..

    ……This is now Israel and it won't go back. It can't go back," says Stan Freedman……

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to

  18. Joachim Martillo
    January 26, 2009, 6:47 pm

    Hi Rowan, I modified my blog entry, but there really is a problem for people knowledgeable about Jewish studies in establishing credentials because this particular field is like an insane asylum run by the inmates.

    In Zionist Infestation Causes US Incompetence, I pointed out

    Jewish Zionist academic clods are too numerous to list, but consider that the much lauded Ruth Wisse, who has had Jewish education up that wazoo, has less command of Yiddish idiom of the late 19th and early 20th century than I, who have learned Yiddish while I worked in various NY and NJ neighborhoods where Yiddish was still commonly spoken. See Honoring Wisse, Insulting Walt and Wisse Kokht Kugl Mit Khazershmaltz!.

    The latter two blog entries point out how little competence Wisse really has. Yet she is a full professor at Harvard.

  19. Dan Kelly
    January 26, 2009, 8:26 pm

    John Lewis-Dickerson posted an excellent article above about a family that moved into stolen Palestinian land, firmly believing it is theirs because, as the mayor of the "town" says, "I definitely think our right to the West Bank is a historical, given right. The fact that the Palestinians have been living there for 100 years or so doesn't give them the edge over us." (Over 100 years? A little longer than that, Mr. Mayor)

    I highly recommend this article to all. It's unbelievable the cognitive dissonance of these people, not to mention the religious fanaticism. Here is a family that lived in London their entire lives, and then when the guy retires he decides to take Israeli citizenship and move onto land that he has to know has been stolen right from under the feet of Palestinians. They now live there happily, and insist on the wall, and look what it's done to the Palestinians who used to live there – they're now strangers in their own homes.

    These people seriously need to be checked for mental disease.

    Originally the barrier route did not encircle Alfe Menashe but followed the Green Line, the 1949 armistice line between Israel and the Arab armies, and excluded most settlements. But Alfe Menashe's mayor, Hisdai Eliezer, worked hard to change the route, even bringing the then prime minister, Ariel Sharon, to the settlement to hear the case for himself.

    The result was not only that Alfe Menashe was brought on the "Israeli" side, but along with it land for the settlement to expand. However, it also brought in five nearby Palestinian villages that were cut off in a closed area. Those villages' 1,200 residents now require short-term "permanent resident cards" to live in their own homes. This has severely disrupted their access to health and educational facilities and created a situation where friends and families require special permits to visit.

    Thank you John.

    One wall, two very different views

  20. John Lewis-Dickerson™
    January 26, 2009, 10:08 pm

    FROM DAN ABOVE: "Thank you John"

    ME: You're quite welcome. It is a remarkable piece of journalism. Equally impressive is the companion article "West Bank: Desperate battle for a permit to work their own land" @ link to

  21. jim byers
    January 26, 2009, 10:12 pm

    The woman mayor in the 60 Minutes segment has several entries under Daniela Weiss (or Weise). She has made alot of genocidal statements.

    "When the Israeli High Court recently ordered Jewish squatters to leave an Arab house they had illegally seized in al-Khalil ( Hebron) a few years ago, settlers and their supporters converged at the contentious site, vowing to put up a showdown with the Israeli army and police.

    Among the settler leaders arriving at the site, apparently to incite the squatters to resist evacuation, was Daniela Weise, a charismatic settler leader who preaches blood and fire against the Palestinian community in Israel-Palestine, demanding that they either be enslaved, expelled or outright exterminated.

    Weise didn’t content herself with invoking the usual mantras, such as “God gave us this land,” and “We are only reclaiming our country.”

    She actually quoted heavily from the Old Testament, telling hundreds of Jewish fanatics that it was a Mitzvah (good religious deed) to attack Arabs, even murder them, and damage their property, because “their lives have no sanctity and their property belongs to us.”

    “The Bible shows us the way as to how we should be dealing with the Arabs. The Bible can’t be wrong.”

  22. Rowan
    January 27, 2009, 5:15 am

    It's interesting to see the article by Adam Entous about the US tax exemptions for settler charities, posted earlier in this thread, appeared on Reuters AlertNet! But in fact it's from last year, it isn't new.

  23. citizen
    January 27, 2009, 2:47 pm

    Just how ignorant, dumb can the goy American masses be? They
    are broke, losing their houses, etc; their kids can't find a way to
    afford college–yet the direct welfare dole for Israelis goes on and on to the tune of 20% of American foreign aid, actually closer to 40% since that difference is so Egyptian elite will support Israel right or wrong. And the whole world sees the giant lack of fair play, the injustice, but the Jewish controlled American MSM keeps the
    average Americans in the dark, if not in the light of Paul Newman's old film face in Exodus. I don't know a single American who does not
    agree that the native Americans got the shaft. Those people actually have more rights than regular Americans now. But the
    stupid, duped Americans just go on and on, feeding the fire that
    will one day come home to roost, as it did on 9/11.

    On the other foot, Livni looked really weak on USA TV, as she
    did her best to defend Israel and link the USA in her nation's crimes. Yet, how many Americans saw this? Way less than any
    NASCAR event.

    Of course the jewish power orgs depend on this; they are astute.
    Look at Joe The Plumber. There is America. I could throw up.

    The difference between a goyischekopf and a yiddishakiopf is
    education. But with a USA MSM, what you get is propaganda for education. Also, the white goy believes in the individual, as distinct form the usual jew, who belives in the individual, but only
    within the parameters of the jewish community. The atoms cannot
    stand against the collective, even a small fanatical collective.

    Lincoln had it only partially right. Imagine Lincoln trying to
    sell the jews on a union of all equal humans. LOL

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