Israel, we have a democracy problem

on 141 Comments

I’ll be joining Phil in posting some thoughts from J Street soon, but in the meantime a friend sends:

State’s International Religious Freedom Report 2009 doesn’t say it that way, but if you skim the report and do the math you’ll see there are more Palestinians than Jews between the river and the sea. 5.735 million to 5.6 million. We have a democracy problem here. It’s the huge elephant in the room. (And I think J Street knows it.)

From the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report 2009:

Based on its pre-1967 borders, the country has an area of 7,685 square miles. The country has a population of 7.4 million (including settlers living in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem), of which 5.6 million are Jews, 1.5 million are Arab Muslims and Christians, and 320,000 are classified as "other"–mostly persons from the former Soviet Union who immigrated under the Law of Return but who did not qualify as Jews according to the Orthodox Jewish definition used by the Government for civil procedures. . .

The West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) has an area of 2,238 square miles and a population of 2.4 million persons, not including approximately 300,000 Israelis. East Jerusalem has an area of 27 square miles, and its population is 415,000, including approximately 180,000 Israelis. The Gaza Strip has an area of 143 square miles and a population of 1.5 million.

141 Responses

  1. potsherd
    October 27, 2009, 10:45 am

    Israel is just following in the tradition of the Greek founders of democracy, where everyone had a vote except for women, slaves and resident furriners – that is, the majority of the population.

    The problem as Israel sees it is how to annex the territory of the west bank while keeping the Arab population permanently disenfranchised. The problem with the one-state solution is precisely democracy.

    • James
      October 27, 2009, 11:50 am

      weird…. witty must be sleeping in as he didn’t get the first comment in!

      • Chaos4700
        October 27, 2009, 7:44 pm

        Oooh, Witty pretends that topics like these don’t exist in his little Zionist bubble. He avoids data that refutes his world view with a tenacity that exceeds even his capacity for his smug faux-courtesy.

    • kapok
      October 27, 2009, 5:35 pm

      Greek “democracy” was fine if you were an Athenian, male. If Athens need lumber for ships and slaves to build them, they took them from their neighbours and didn’t concern themselves with whether they voted or not. Their arrogance caught up with them in Sicily.

      Sound familiar?

  2. ihsan
    October 27, 2009, 11:00 am

    Scientists at the University of Oxford Institute for International Studies recently conducted a $145 million research project in to the most definitive yet peaceful solution for the Israel / Palestine conflict. The scientists began by building the second largest supercomputer in the world that would allow them to process trillions upon trillions of instructions per second. The scientists, led by Dr George Hammerduke, then fed every detail in the history of the conflict – from the King-Crane Commission of 1919, the 1929 Palestine riots, the 1948 war, Camp David accords etc. to the more recent second intifada, Gaza conflict of 2008-2009, Obama’s speech in Cairo, the demand for a settlement freeze, the Goldstone report, Fatah and Hamas reconcilliation talks, Netanyahu’s economic peace etc. – in to the computer and awaited the computer’s analysis and conclusion for a just and peaceful resolution for everyone.

    The task was considerably more difficult than Dr Hammerduke had first predicted. During its analysis cycle, the computer underwent several overhaul procedures – the fitting of 112 additional central processing units, multiple memory expansions running in to the terrabytes and the construction of a liquid cooling tank housed outside of the laborotary. However, Dr Hammerduke and his team are now pleased to announce that, despite the initial setbacks, the computer’s analysis of the Israel / Palestine conflict is now complete and that the computer has calculated a definitive conclusion devoid of all human politics and loyalties. The computer’s conclusion was translated from computer bytes in to pixels and output on to a 1800mhz visual display unit – the latest in computer display technology. The computer’s conclusion was: “OMG WTF!”

    Dr Hammerduke and his team are now working with several of the world’s best language and cryptographic experts to decifer the computer’s simple, eloquent and just solution. The University has already begun promoting the computer’s solution to world governments and NGOs: “OMG WTF!” t-shirts are available to purchase from the University’s website.

    • Taxi
      October 27, 2009, 4:49 pm

      How much do these T-shirts cost? I got ten bucks lying around here somewhere…

  3. otto
    October 27, 2009, 11:02 am

    Of course the democracy problem would exist even if arabs were only a large minority, not a small majority.

  4. David Samel
    October 27, 2009, 11:17 am

    I think the significance of this demographic problem is overemphasized. Previously, Israel retained control by 5+ million Jews over 5+ million non-Jews by not enfranchising 75 or 80% of the non-Jews. What makes it different now that the non-Jews outnumber the Jews? It already was patently undemocratic before the tipping point was reached.

    I think there is a more significant demographic problem, but it is decades in the future. Israel’s non-Jewish citizens have a higher birthrate, and their percentage of the electorate is gradually increasing — about 20% today, but when it gets to 30 or 40, Israel as a Jewish State/democracy will be doomed. What then? Either mass disenfranchisement, mass expulsion, or resignation to the end of the Jewish State.

    There is yet another demographic problem that I foresee. The Israeli Orthodox community has a much higher birthrate than its secular community. The latter is also more likely to emigrate to another country. I have seen no figures on this, but I would be suprised if the percentage of Orthodox/right-wing Israelis is not increasing noticeably. That will mean that as hard as it is to get a reasoned position from current Israeli leadership, the citizenry will be increasingly less likely to elect reasonable leaders with every passing year. Looks kind of hopeless.

    But anyway, for several years now, I have seen the prediction of this new demographic reality of non-Jews outnumbering Jews in the combined territory, but I have never understood why it is so significant. It seems like a slightly embarrassing bump in the road for Israel. They’ve weathered worse.

    • potsherd
      October 27, 2009, 11:42 am

      I’ve seen the figures, and the Haredi birthrate is now higher than the Palestinian.

      This is the real demographic threat to Israel. Arabs just need to wait and watch the self-implosion.

  5. Mooser
    October 27, 2009, 11:48 am

    ” The Israeli Orthodox community has a much higher birthrate than its secular community”

    Orthodox chicks are hot! And they don’t have all those screwy ideas about “feminism” the Reform Prietzkhs are always yapping about.
    The answer is simple! Simply join the Mormons (pretend Christians) with the Zionists (pretend Jews). We get the Zionist military skill with the Mormon birth-rate!

    Gosh, a guy like me can’t help thinking that if God was really down with the Zionist project, He would arrange for their wombs to be more fruitful, you know?

    Anyway, I have, many times, mailed (hell, I Fed-Exed overnite! Do you have any idea what that cost me?) my presentation and plans for a system of Jewish-State-Sponsored-Promiscuity, to get that birth-rate up. But do they listen? Nooo!

  6. BradAllen
    October 27, 2009, 11:49 am

    I think the problem is that we’re starting with the false premise, “Israel is a Democracy”. This can never be. In its nature Israel violates all the rules of Democracy as we know in the West. No country can claim democratic rule when one of its major foundation is the exceptional treatment of one group in the population against all others. Israel is and will always be an apartheid state unless one day the founders decide the idea of Democracy is more relevant than a dream of having a state based on asingle religious entity.

    I have an issue with some of the wording i see here and on many other sites when it comes to describe JEWS and Arabs and other people form that area.

    Lets see if I am confused or just missed a point. Judaism is a religion, which means in effect anyone can be a JEW if you chose to be just by converting, just like anyone can chose to be a Muslim or a Christian. So in effect when we describe Arabs and Jews, we are not being consistent, since Arabs can be Jews or Christian or Muslim. What they can’t be is ….Hebrew. Although they are both inherently semitic. So many people like Madonna and Britney who chose to convert to Judaism are in fact a reliogious converters and by the same rules adapted by the State of Israel, they have a right to live in Israel, NO???

    Is the problem religious or ethnic.
    As per previous post “OMG, WTF!”.

    • Mooser
      October 27, 2009, 12:07 pm

      Brad, it hit me a long time ago, in fact it hit me as soon as I was old enough to know what Zionism is. There is no special “Jewish” way to get a colonial settler project going. You want to live where others are settled (and if you want more than the reigning colonial power is willing to give you) you got to do it the old-fashioned way: You have to kill those people, or scare them away, and then keep them down.
      That’s the only way to do it, it’s the only way anybody could get me to give up my home and land, it must be how the Zionists did it, there is no other way.
      And everything I’ve learned since then has simply been a confirmation of that essential truth.
      And, oh yeah, the exigencies of colonial settlement preclude the moral demands of any religion. Unless, of course, the religion adapts itself to the colonial exigencies, as Israeli Judaism has done.

      • doug
        October 27, 2009, 3:29 pm


        Rationalization is a wonderful and flexible thing and it’s not stubborn, unlike facts or even the myths it creates like “A land without people for a people without land.”

    • MRW
      October 27, 2009, 12:12 pm

      I have an issue with some of the wording i see here and on many other sites when it comes to describe JEWS and Arabs and other people from that area.

      Me too. But that’s when people slide up with the ‘Jews are a race’ nonsense and fights ensue; hence, the reason they are working overtime at Hebrew University, according to Shlomo Sand, to find that Jewish DNA.

      • Mooser
        October 27, 2009, 12:37 pm

        “But that’s when people slide up with the ‘Jews are a race’ nonsense and fights ensue;”

        Yeah, cause when you get right down to it, the Zionist answer to the question “who is a Jew?” is the question “What have you done for Israel lately?”

        But that Zionists, just like anti-Semites, are of the opinion that there are too many Jews has been evident to me for a long time.

      • MRW
        October 27, 2009, 1:31 pm

        “But that Zionists, just like anti-Semites, are of the opinion that there are too many Jews has been evident to me for a long time.” Gee, Mooser, you better hide, we dont want to lose you.

      • Julian
        October 27, 2009, 3:34 pm

        Shlomo Sand like you is wrong. I’m sure Sand is better when it comes to the French Renaissance.
        You progressives are just too easy to debunk.
        link to

      • Donald
        October 27, 2009, 4:06 pm

        I think it’s a mistake, and a weird one, to get caught up in this issue. It shouldn’t matter whether modern day Jews are descendants of Jews living in Israel 2000 years ago. I suppose it would matter to people who think that their claims on the land hinge on this, but then, it’s my vague understanding that genetic studies also show that Palestinians are closely related to Jews–which seems logical. There must have been many Jews over the centuries who converted either to Christianity or Islam.

        Anyway, I just don’t see why this should matter. Modern Jews could all be descendants of Eskimos and the Palestinians could be a tribe of wayward Australian aborigines and it wouldn’t make any difference regarding the issues of the past 100 years or so.

      • MRW
        October 27, 2009, 4:45 pm


        A Jewish-only Y Chromosome, uniting all the Jews of the world, is vastly different than a semitic Arab-Jewish Y Chromosome, which is what the NYT article discusses. Sand said in his interview that his colleagues at Hebrew University were concentrating on the Jewish-only variety.

      • potsherd
        October 27, 2009, 4:49 pm

        If they think they’re going to find a “Jewish” DNA that doesn’t include the Palestinians, they’re embarked on a journey of futility.

      • tree
        October 27, 2009, 5:09 pm

        Obviously you haven’t read the book, Julian. Sands discussion of the genetic evidence is too long to list here, but suffice it to say that his point is that the original “evidence” that your article alludes to was revised a year later with adjustments made ( partially because the science is too new and the desire for a particular outcome too great) that put the origins farther north in the Fertile Crescent and found instead of the Jewish DNA being closely related to Palestinian and Lebanese DNA, it was closer to Armenian, Kurdish and Turkish DNA. And here is additional later research from a 2003 report on Levites (as opposed to Cohanim) that posits a European ancestry.

        Multiple Origins of Ashkenazi Levites

        And here’s a more lay oriented paper from 2005, A Mosaic of People: The Jewish Story and A Reassessment of the DNA Evidence

        I can’t really do his whole argument justice here, but Sands’ position on all of this can probably best be summed up by these concluding paragraphs of his:

        Once again, the public’s veneration of the “hard sciences” paid off. Laymen have no reason to doubt the truth of information derived from what is perceived to be a precise science. Like the field of physical anthropology in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which released dubious scientific discoveries to the race-hungry public, the science of molecular genetics at the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first century feed fragmentary findings and half-truths to the identity-seeking media. Yet so far, no research had found unique and unifying charateristics of Jewish heredity based on a random sampling of genetic material whose ethnic origin is not known in advance. By and large, what little is known about the methods of selecting test subjects seems very questionable. Moreover, the hasty findings are all too often constructed and supported by historical rhetoric unconnected to the research laboratories The bottom line is that, after all the costly “scientific” endeavors, a Jewish individual cannot be defined by any biological criteria whatsoever.

        This is not to prelude the potential contribution of genetic anthropology in uncovering important aspects of human history, and importantly in the fight
        against disease. Most probably, the investigation of DNA, a relatively young science, has a brilliant future. But in a state in which the law prevents marriage between a “Jew” and a “non-Jew”, we should be very wary about research that seeks genetic markers common to the “chosen people”. Like similar investigations carried out by Macedonian racists, Lebanese Phalangists, Lapps in northern Scandinavia, and so on, sch Jewish-Israeli research cannot be entirely free from crude and dangerous racism.

        Before making facile comments based on one outdated piece of research from 10 years ago, I would suggest that you actually read what Sand’s point really is. Otherwise, claiming to have debunked an argument that you don’t even understand comes off as rather ignorant rather than triumphant.

    • potsherd
      October 27, 2009, 12:30 pm

      This is why Israel doesn’t have a constitution. They can’t decide it, either.

  7. MRW
    October 27, 2009, 12:06 pm

    From that same State Dept article is the following about the rights of Jewish women in Israel. Oh yeah, big-time advanced civilization, big democracy:

    The Government, through the Chief Rabbinate, discriminates against women in civil status matters related to marriage and divorce. Under the Jewish religious court’s interpretation of personal status law, a Jewish woman may not receive a final writ of divorce without her husband’s consent. Consequently, thousands of women, so-called agunot–“chained women”–are unable to remarry or have legitimate children because their husbands have either disappeared or refused to grant divorces. Rabbinical tribunals had the authority to impose sanctions on husbands who refuse to divorce their wives or on wives who refuse to accept divorce from their husbands, but they could not grant a divorce without the husband’s consent, and women could not seek redress in civil courts. Following years of pressure by women’s rights advocates, on November 5, 2008, the Knesset closed the financial extortion loophole in the law on divorce by stating that assets can be divided during the Rabbinate’s divorce proceedings, rather than after the husband grants a divorce. Some husbands have used the law to extort their wives by demanding a personally favorable distribution of property and financial assets as a condition for agreeing to a divorce.

    Husbands grant the divorce? (So much for all the American Jewish groups that like to sneer at how Arab countries treat their women.)

    OTOH, if you’re a Muslim woman:

    A Muslim woman may petition for and receive a divorce through the Shari’a courts without her husband’s consent under certain conditions, and a marriage contract may provide for other cases where she may obtain a divorce without her husband’s consent. A Muslim man may divorce his wife without her consent and without petitioning the court.

    I guess the Muselmen can phone or email it in.

    • Mooser
      October 27, 2009, 12:12 pm

      “Under the Jewish religious court’s interpretation of personal status law, a Jewish woman may not receive a final writ of divorce without her husband’s consent.”

      Ah! Now I finally understand the old Henny Youngman tag-line: “Take my wife… please!”

      • tree
        October 27, 2009, 3:28 pm

        You’ve got it backwards, Mooser.

  8. BradAllen
    October 27, 2009, 12:22 pm

    Actually this is an excellent report by the State Dept. It clearly shows the religious bias used by the Govt of Israel in its application of the laws and the nature of the state of Israel which can never be sustained or stand any test in Democracy. I wonder how they got away with publishing this. Will AIPAC jump in to to have it removed or will someone in Obama’s admin try to use it to show why Israel needs to mend its ways and wake up to the new world.

    I wonder, what were David and Moses before they became jews and do they qualify under Israel’s laws as “real” jews.

    • MRW
      October 27, 2009, 12:27 pm

      David and Moses? Probably Egyptians. :-)

      • potsherd
        October 27, 2009, 12:32 pm

        Moses was an Egyptian, David a Canaanite.

      • Mooser
        October 27, 2009, 12:39 pm

        Also a great number of Cannabinites have become Jewish.

    • MRW
      October 27, 2009, 12:39 pm

      You’re right. It is an excellent report. I particularly liked this part:

      he Declaration describes the country as a Jewish state, establishing Judaism as the dominant religion while also promisingfull social and political equality, regardless of religious affiliation. The Basic Law describes the country as a “Jewish and democratic state.” Government policy continued to support the generally free practice of religion, although governmental and legal discrimination against non-Jews and non-Orthodox streams of Judaism continued.

      Promising? It promises. I love the “describes” part: we’re democratic because we say we are.

      Now contrast this with the statement by prominent American Jewish leaders 90 years about why they objected to Zionism:

      ‘The rights of other creeds and races will be respected under Jewish dominance’ is the assurance of Zionism, but the keynotes of democracy are neither condescension nor tolerance, but justice and equality.

      In other words, justice and equality are enshrined in law that all citizens can ask the courts to uphold. No such deal in Israel. It promises and self-describes.

      • David Samel
        October 27, 2009, 12:57 pm

        Right, MRW. The Declaration/Basic Law is reminiscent of the Balfour Declaration, which promised a Jewish national home in Palestine that did not “prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.” Just cause it’s written doesn’t make it so. Didn’t the USSR Constitution promise free and fair elections? It also is similar to the pronouncement of the IDF as “the most moral army in the world.” Or “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” If we say it, it becomes a fact, no matter how meaningless or even inherently contradictory it is.

    • Shmuel
      October 27, 2009, 12:51 pm


      I wonder, what were David and Moses before they became jews and do they qualify under Israel’s laws as “real” jews.

      David was born in Bethlehem, and probably had “Jew” (or at least Judean) inscribed on his identity parchment – unless he was a Palestinian, in which case his goose would have been cooked. Moses on the other hand, was born in the “diaspora”, and so would have had to provide some form of documentation – generally his mother’s Jewish marriage contract (ketubah) and/or a letter from his rabbi. Since neither ketubot nor rabbis existed at the time, he would have had to provide some circumstantial evidence, like remembering a grandparent who spoke Yiddish or something (didn’t think so). His non-Jewish (Midianite) wife and time spent living among non-Jews (Pharaoh’s palace and Jethro’s encampment) probably would not have stood in his favour. I’d say forged docs on the black market might have done the trick (Moses’ own statements about lying and bearing false witness notwithstanding), but the Israeli authorities would probably have been especially strict with an Egyptian.

      • Nolan
        October 27, 2009, 7:00 pm


        I don’t know if you meant it this way, but your post had me laughing hysterically.

        Well played.

      • Shingo
        October 28, 2009, 4:52 am

        Pure gold Shmuel.

  9. hnorr
    October 27, 2009, 1:17 pm

    It’s certainly true that we have a democracy problem, but looks like we also have an arithmetic problem. Assuming the report is correct that there are 1.5 million “Arab Muslims and Christian” within the pre-1967 borders, plus 2.1 million in the West Bank, plus 235,000 in East Jerusalem (415,000 total minus 180,000 Israelis), plus 1.5 million in the Gaza Strip, that comes out to 5.335 million, not the 5.735 million Adam cites.

    As for the Jews, the 5.6 million figure Adam uses excludes the 320,000 in the “other” category. Many, perhaps most, of these “others” may not have a Jewish heritage, but a large majority of them identify with Zionism – in many cases with its most rabid expressions. If your only two categories are Jews and Palestinians, I think you have to count them in the former column, but certainly not in the latter.

    So do the math again and you’ll see that there are not yet more Palestinians than Jews between the river and the sea.

    Now, if you were to add in the Palestinian refugees, you’d get an entirely different result….

    • ihsan
      October 27, 2009, 2:49 pm

      Typical Israeli you are.

      A reporter to an Israeli official: “Is it true that 1.5 million Israeli-Arabs are disenfranchised by Israel’s system of democracy?”
      The Israeli official: “Actually that figure is closer to 1.4 million. Any more questions?”

      What about the rest of the f***ing question?!

  10. David Samel
    October 27, 2009, 2:15 pm

    I believe you are in error. You add 2.1 million as the total number of Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank whereas the report says “The West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) has an area of 2,238 square miles and a population of 2.4 million persons, not including approximately 300,000 Israelis.” It was a mistake to deduct 300,000 from 2.4 mil. Still, Adam apparently overstates the total by 100,000; perhaps he deducted 180,000 from 415,000 for East J and got 335,000 instead of 235,000. The final score appears to be 5.635 to 5.6.

    • hnorr
      October 27, 2009, 2:30 pm

      Right you are, David Samel – thanks for the correction. So the total for Palestinians, according to this report, is 5.635 million.

      But I stand by my point that Adam was wrong – at least for political purposes – to exclude the 300,000 in the “other” category from his total for the Jews. So the “final score” I get, leaving aside both Palestinian refugees and Israeli Jews living abroad, is 5.9 million Jews, 5.635 million Palestinians.

      • VR
        October 27, 2009, 8:09 pm

        What about the Bedouin, or are we convinced that they do not exist like carnas does?…lol Approximately 200,000 of them

  11. syvanen
    October 27, 2009, 2:15 pm

    Hnor and you have a transcription problem. The total number of Arabs from that State Department report comes to (after roounding off) 5.6 million .

    And it gets worse. The Jewish population numbers also include at least 750,000 and maybe a million people with Israeli passports but are living in the west. Many of these also have passports in their host countries. So in fact, the real number of Jews actually living in Israel is lower. Jewish emigration from Israel now exceeds immigration so this fact is only going to get worse.

    These numbers mean something. Once Israel succeeds in annexing the WB, they will find themselves in a situation where they will have to pick one of three options: 1. A single state with equal rights for all, 2, forced transfer or 3. genocide. It is either that or the two-state solution.

    • potsherd
      October 27, 2009, 4:55 pm

      While Israel would prefer option 2, what they’re working on is option 4 – a permanent disenfranchised population under permanent martial law, with no rights, no citizenship, no votes, no water, no olive trees.

      • syvanen
        October 27, 2009, 6:27 pm

        The reason that I didn’t mention option 4 that the apartheid solution is unstable. It would be a festering sore that would probably eventually result in international condemnation and Israel would be forced to its knees and accept option 1.

        Genocide or transfer have the virtue of maybe horrifying the world but memories are short and life would go on. Israel would be cleansed of its problems. Unfortunately for Israel they do not have the opportunity to do either of these because of the right now the international community might react so violently as to completely erase Israel from the pages of time. The Israel’s know this. They need an opportunity to exercise total ethnic cleansing. WWIII would probably create such an opportunity much like in 1948. This time as Benny Morris has argued the Israeli’s should complete the job. I think this is why they are working so hard to provoke the US to invade Iran — that could set off a chain of events that would solve their Palestinian problem once and for all. I suspect they were hoping for such a chain of events being unleashed by our invasion of Iraq, but, in spite of all of his other errors, Bush refused to escalate once he realized that Iraq was a terrible error.

      • potsherd
        October 27, 2009, 7:11 pm

        syvanen – I don’t see any realistic probability that Israel will be forced to its knees for maintaining an apartheid state. Certainly not as long as AIPAC dwells in the pockets of the US Congress, with one iron hand on their balls.

        There will be protests on the left. There will be resolutions in the UN. There will be cooler relations with Arab states. And Israel will ignore all of these, just as they have ignored them in the past, and continue the expropriation of the Palestinian people. And NOBODY WILL DO A DAMN THING TO STOP THEM.

        Including the Israel-lovers at J Street.

    • Taxi
      October 27, 2009, 5:18 pm

      And so rather than face up to those internal, problematic demographic realities, the Israeli nation buries it’s head in the sand then forward marches firing it’s machine guns at anything that moves.

      Rather than sit together as adults and discuss how best to work with the ‘inevitable’, they just go right ahead and occupy more Arab land in an attempt to delay the ‘inevitable’.

      But no one can really alter the ‘inevitable’. No one has that kind of cosmic muscle. Not even the chosen ones or enlightened amongst us.

    • America First
      October 27, 2009, 5:22 pm

      Re: #2, I’ve run into American Jews who insist Jordan is the Palestinian state, and that expelling them there would not be ethnic cleansing but a homecoming.

      • Taxi
        October 27, 2009, 5:30 pm

        Yeah I’ve come across quite a few of hasbara’s ‘Jordon-is-Palestine’ nutjobs on the Huffington Post. Real classy joint.

      • Chaos4700
        October 27, 2009, 7:55 pm

        That guy was still allowed to have that screen name after having been bounced from a number of even worse screen names (or alternatively, getting banned for his hate speech). But, as I’ve noted, after the January sell-out, HuffPo lets people like “jordanispalestine” post pretty much with impunity. Will people like Taxi and me get banned.

        And you guys wonder why I’m bitter and don’t really care about overt courtesy anymore?

      • Taxi
        October 28, 2009, 1:49 am


        Have you checked out the puerile-ometer on the Huff’s mideast blogs lately?

        No need for bitterness – you should be glad of this – at least they use longer words on Mondoweiss!

        Besides, who needs the KGB as one’s moderator?

      • US_Objector
        October 28, 2009, 10:25 am

        A-1st, isn’t the Palestine-is-Jordan fantasy precisely what Operation Cast Lead, the occupation walls, and the settler terrorism against Palestinian residents are all about? In order to create Judea and Sumaria out of someone else’s land, you have to make life all but unsustainable in that crucible.

        That’s why the IDF used American-subsidized-and-manufactured high-tech weaponry to destroy infrastructure, kill children, and generally invoke the Dahiya Doctrine — to force a mass exodus of Palestinians into the arms of Jordan. The fact that the lockdown on basic supplies continues to this day is not only an outrage, but it’s part of the stranglehold intended to “wipe Palestine off the map.”

        And this is precisely why a one-state solution is impossible. Israelis see the Palestinians as sub-human occupants of their Biblically-deeded land. They must be pushed off the land or otherwise ethnically cleansed.

      • Chaos4700
        October 28, 2009, 10:30 am

        You think the Jordan River is going to stop the IDF?

        Also, Taxi, I’ll go check it out. I’ve been checking up on HuffPo less and less frequently, since it’s basically fading into the Democratic machine-politic woodwork at this point as far as I’m concerned.

      • America First
        October 28, 2009, 10:45 am

        USO, you raise good points. The piece that’s missing from what I originally heard about this is the destabilization of the Jordanian monarchy, which would allow the Palestinians to be pushed in there. Jordan’s regime is a US ally (puppet). For now…

  12. bigbill
    October 27, 2009, 4:59 pm

    The problem is that the Maskilim are running out of enthusiasm. Israeli seculars in Israel (as in the USA) refuse to breed as fast as the Haredim or the Arabs and are going to be overwhelmed by both.

    They loath religious zealots with a passion and are unwilling to live in a country where they cannot have their gay parades, nudie beaches, cheeseburgers, lobster, and t*tty-flashing tank tops.

    I wish it was just the Arabs, but it ain’t. It is the Haredi who have their own vision for the future and the bodies (and babies!) to back it up.

    • Taxi
      October 27, 2009, 5:23 pm

      The IDF Maskilims hate the IDF Haredis.

      Can Israel survive a civil war in ten years time?

      • potsherd
        October 27, 2009, 7:12 pm

        Wait 20 years, until the majority of IDF personnel are Arab.

    • Shmuel
      October 28, 2009, 3:08 am

      @Bigbill – Your identification of the Maskilim with secular Israelis is not quite accurate. The Haskalah was a 19th-century movement that aspired to Jewish intellectual and cultural revival. Some of the Maskilim were more traditional, others more secular, and not all were Zionists – certainly not political Zionists. Many were materialists and some, undoubtedly, hedonists (of the enlightened Epicurian variety or otherwise), but far from the discription you offer of contemporary Israeli secular society – to which you also do an injustice, adopting the Haredi view of secularism as empty pleasure-seeking.

      @Taxi – Nearly half of secular Israelis, you mistakenly refer to as Maskilim (see above) don’t serve in the IDF, and Haredim, for the most part do not serve at all. Unless of course you were using the term IDF as a metaphor for general Israeli nationalism and warmongering, in which case your assessment was correct.

      @Potsherd – As a rule, Arabs are barred from military service in Israel (as if they’d want to), although many Bedouin and Druse (as well as a smaller group known as Circassians) do serve in the IDF. The biggest IDF-related danger to Israeli society comes from ultra-nationalists and settlers, who are rapidly becoming the dominant group in the higher ranks.

      • potsherd
        October 28, 2009, 10:59 am

        Schmuel – my understanding is that Arab Israelis are not barred from IDF service; they may volunteer but are not drafted as the Druze are. iirc, Arab membership in the IDF is increasing, particularly among the Bedouin. But more significant, as you point out, the seculars are increasingly dodging the draft while the haredim generally do not serve and programs for integrating them are not a success. As the haredim become a majority of the population, the Arabs will inevitably constitute a larger proportion of the IDF personnel.

        The setter types, while militant, are becoming too hostile to the state for the IDF to be able to trust them to obey orders. Recently a group of them were dismissed from their units for insubordination at their swearing-in ceremony. A military coup from this group is by no means unlikely.

      • Taxi
        October 28, 2009, 11:11 am

        Thanks for the correction Shmuel – I wasn’t aware of the statistical headcount of Maskilim in the military. I’m surprised you state “nearly half…” do not. Why is that? How do the 40+ percent of them avoid serving in the IDF?

        And regarding the Haredim, my understanding is that the IDF is becoming more and more ‘religionized’ with IDF Rabbis preaching a louder Jewish Jihad to Israeli combatants about to take their positions during operations. We saw one reported incident of this (sorry but I forget names presently) where a secular IDF soldier launched an official complaint against an army Rabbi who was doing exactly that.

        The insidious infiltration of religion into the IDF heirarchy is a time-bomb and an open secret – as was the case in the period before the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war in 1975.

        You see when a civil war breaks out in a country and the citizenry take up arms on the lawless streets, the army unity and loyalty is profoundly affected – in the case of Lebanon, for example, it broke into factions and shrunk dramatically and rapidly in size. These ‘sectarian’ soldiers joined their brethren on the streets of the nation as brother and neighbor fought brother and neighbor. Usually, it is this added trained military muscle that makes a difference on the embattled streets.

        I have no doubt that there is a plan by the Haredim currently being executed, to take over the IDF. One of the ways they are doing this is by intensive indoctrinations of soldiers actually ON THE BATTLEFIELDS. They are not sending out their own Haredim youth to join the army, but rather converting young soldiers who’ve already conscripted of their own volition. They are also infiltrating the higher echelons of the IDF through offers of political empowerment – and we all know pretty much that most Israeli civil leadership has a long and involved history in the military.

        The Israeli citizenry is far more armed than the Lebanese citizenry were in ’75 and the unthinkable has happened to many a nation.

      • Shmuel
        October 28, 2009, 11:50 am


        If you are looking for a Hebrew term for secular Israeli Jews, the word is hilonim. Maskilim are something else entirely. Avoiding the draft is easy as pie, with the help of doctors, shrinks, etc. As long as you are not trying to make a political or ideological statement, the draft board is only too happy to comply. That is why the Refuseniks are doubly heroic, because they could easily get out of service by presenting a doctor’s note saying they “don’t function well in group settings” or “have a problem with hierarchy and authority” (in appropriate psych jargon, of course), but choose to make a stand and pay the price for their convictions.

        Your assessment of the dangers of factionalism within the IDF are correct, but the soldiers and rabbis in question are not Haredim, but rather National-Religious (dati’im le’umi’im, as are virtually all of the ideological settlers. Haredi rabbis have always fought tooth and nail to keep their boys out of the army – with various arrangements that keep these boys financially and socially dependent upon them and unable to join the workforce.

      • Shmuel
        October 28, 2009, 11:54 am

        On the subject of dodging the Israeli draft, CW has it that considering the parameters of modern warfare and Israel’s current geopolitical situation, the IDF doesn’t know what to do with all those conscripts and is therefore more than happy to let those who are not motivated to serve take a hike – providing (see above comment on Refuseniks) they don’t try to make a dangerous political stand, in which case the army feels it must make an example of them.

  13. Richard Witty
    October 27, 2009, 7:01 pm

    In internationally sanctioned Israel, the numbers are 80/20. In prospective Palestine the numbers are 90/10.

    BOTH peoples identify as peoples, NOT primarily as citizens of the greater region, and both are threatened by the majority of the other.

    As such, partition is MORE democratic than the jurisdiction of river to sea.

    The imposition of a 51% majority on to the minority of 49% WOULD be a democracy problem.

    • Colin Murray
      October 27, 2009, 7:28 pm

      Your use of the word ‘WOULD’ is incorrect. The imposition of a 51% majority on to the minority of 49% IS a democracy problem. What do you think is going on right now?

      • former coMMenter
        October 27, 2009, 9:00 pm

        He’s described it as a wonderful “tension,” Colin.

        And note how he projects his nationalist sense of identity on to the Palestinians: “BOTH peoples identify as peoples.” Because he really knows how Palestinians think, having read several books by Jewish Zionists, and many articles in the New York Times.

  14. America First
    October 27, 2009, 7:02 pm

    West Bank land belongs to Jews, says Israeli army judge
    • Settlements lawyer reveals core beliefs
    • Peace with Palestinians ‘goes against nature’

    It was, he claims, a mistake to call it the State of Israel. “If we would have named it the State of Jews, the Arabs would have understood that this land belongs to the Jews.”

    link to

  15. Richard Witty
    October 27, 2009, 7:03 pm

    When you guys start arguing for the national dissolution of France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Rumania, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United States, then there will be something to talk about.

    ALL states originated in a defensive orientation, protection FROM enemies. And, even as the threats from adjacent enemies in France or Canada no longer exists, the states are still regarded as rational. They ALL originated from conquest in some form.

    • Nolan
      October 27, 2009, 7:38 pm
    • Chaos4700
      October 27, 2009, 7:57 pm

      So how come Palestine doesn’t have the right to defend itself from an intruding European colony?

    • VR
      October 27, 2009, 8:11 pm

      In other words Witty is saying we suck, but you suck worse…lol

      • Mooser
        October 27, 2009, 9:52 pm

        v…, Take it all around, those four little axioms just about cover it all, don’t they?

        And then Witty adds his two special addendums:

        5. Get the first word! and
        6. Get the last word!

    • Colin Murray
      October 27, 2009, 8:49 pm

      Most of the nations you list sprang from distinct cultures that have been around 2000+ years. The most recent is the US which has been around 228+, depending on how one defines its inception. The days when mass ethnic cleansing and colonization were socially acceptable are over. Israel got a free pass because of the Holocaust. The generation of its survivors is rapidly vanishing. A new generation of Israeli Jews are running the show now, and their political establishment are the criminals, not the victims, and are correctly seen as such by most of the world. The pass has expired.

      Eventually the Israeli Lobby will be defeated, even if it takes 50 years, and then who will come to the aid of a pariah state as reviled as North Korea, but causing far more damage to other people’s interests? Business likes a certain reasonable level of order and stability. Israel sews disorder and instability. Is a few thousand more square kilometers of land worth the risk of becoming a pariah state perceived as one the world would be better off without? Watch not only the sympathy that remains for Israel evaporate, but hostility explode, if the colonials yet manage to finagle a war with Iran and the global economy slides into a depression worse than 1929.

      I personally support a two-state solution, even though I know at this point it is pure fantasy due to too much Israeli colonization, because an Israeli people exist NOW. But so does a Palestinian people, so don’t peddle this nonsense that because other peoples ancestors from between 200 and 3500 years ago established themselves on a piece of land via ethnic cleansing, that anyone has a right to do it now, and drag the rest of us into it.

      • Richard Witty
        October 28, 2009, 3:29 am

        I think the two-state solution is possible, and requires leadership to enact.

        There are political risks, so there are less leaders and less assuming principled (rather than dogmatic) stands. Like republicans, it is easier for likud, for Hamas, for “solidarity” to complain rather than propose and lead in their proposal.

        As I’ve stated many times, I regard the two-state solution as heads and shoulders MORE DEMOCRATIC than the choice of the single-state jurisdiction.

        While that proposal for jurisdiction certainly has been around for a while, it also competes with prior pan-Arab aspirations, smaller scale orientations than even Israel/Palestine (not usually described as “national”), and pan-Islamic.

        If you consider choice of jurisdiction, choice of what community you are a part of to self-govern as important at all.

        I reject the idea that Israel established themselves on a piece of land by “ethnic cleansing”, or that most did at anytime. The story of people’s migrations and NEED to settle, and need to defend, has historically been more under stress than intentional “colonization”. Long history and recent.

        And, again to put it into perspective. I hope that those that are somehow saying “Zionism is racism” or that the river to sea is the only possible jurisdiction, that Slovakia doesn’t have a right to self-govern, or Kosovo, or Macedonia, or Armenia. What do you think about the Quebecois movement a few years ago? Or Puerto Rico? Or Kurdistan?

        New and old movements.

        Or, the Ecotopian fantasy, wonderful simplistic principles, but a utopia nevertheless? You’re all familiar with that as well?

        Israel is real, not utopia now.

      • Chaos4700
        October 28, 2009, 8:32 am

        Nazi Germany was real too, Witty. So was Soviet Russia.

      • Donald
        October 28, 2009, 10:42 am

        “I reject the idea that Israel established themselves on a piece of land by “ethnic cleansing”,”

        You are free to reject facts at any time. The rest of us live in the real world. Israel wouldn’t exist as a Jewish state without ethnic cleansing. You’d be better off admitting this and then making a case for Israel’s continued existence as a Jewish state on pragmatic grounds–for instance, the possible risk of civil war if a one state solution is tried. I don’t know what the risks are, but it is at least something to consider, rather than waste time on your rewriting of history.

        “Nations form for diverse reasons. Israel’s is notable and laudable, with exceptions”

        Yeah, that little bit of ethnic cleansing does put a damper on it. And other than that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln?

    • MRW
      October 27, 2009, 11:24 pm

      ALL states originated in a defensive orientation, protection FROM enemies. What history were you taught? Ireland predates Greece. (The Greek Gods are renamed Celtic Gods; Eros comes from the Celtic God Aengus.) It did not originate from conquest. It was the advent of fire and shipbuilding that permitted people to live and farm the land.

      Witty, really. Didn’t your teachers tell you about the agrarian societies that created the great civilizations of the past that waaay predated the the plot of land that Israel now claims god have them in the bible. The great bread baskets that the Nile and Euphrates created and watered? You were never taught that? Upper and lower Egypt were functioning in 5500 BC, over 7500 years ago. They grew into kingdoms as the societies matured, people got rich, and their beliefs in the netherworld were assimilated into daily life. Nations weren’t even a concept until the Middle ages.

      Canada did not come about as a protection from enemies. It was exploration and ‘let’s see what’s across the ocean’. John Cabot hit NewFoundland in 1499, according to a letter recently discovered in King Henry VII’s handwriting. (I mean, like in the last six weeks.) The French came to this continent because they wanted a breadbasket for their people (US) and the priestcraft wanted to save Indian souls (Upper Canada). The Spanish wanted to trade fur, and other goods, up and down the coasts to send to China from western ports and Vancouver Island; the King of Spain owned 3/4 of what is now the USA until 1803. He effected the return of land to Napoleon in 1803 so Nappy could sell it to Jefferson, and get the dough to do battle with the Brits; hence: the Louisiana Purchase. The Brits were the Americans of their day, hegemony plus.

      France did not originate from conquest. It was actually from noble ideas about the concept of law and political structures.

      Little Understanding of Free Societies

      Zionist leaders took as their model the nationalisms which emerged in largely undemocratic societies and seemed to have little understanding of the dynamics of free, open societies such as France, England and the United States. “We must bear in mind,” writes [Yakov] Rabkin, “that Zionism takes as its example the organic nationalisms of Central and Eastern Europe, where nationalists were struggling to create a state, to set up legal and political structures for an already existing nation. Contacts with the exclusive aspects of German, Polish or Ukrainian nationalism were to exert a long-term influence on the Zionist movement and Israeli society. But few Zionists were aware of a countervailing reality, such as that of France, where in a slow and deliberate process, the state made use of an existing legal and political framework to create a nation. They had never experienced the kind of tolerant nationalism that could allow for a clear distinction between nation, religion and society — the model that enables large Jewish communities to thrive in France, England and the U.S. today (and where a substantial number of rabbinical critics of Zionism can be found). In fact, once they discarded Judaism as the cultural foundation of the Jews, the Zionist movement and the State of Israel had no choice but to promote a national identity based on ethnicity and consolidated by the Arab threat. The survival of a ‘secular Jewish people’ is therefore contingent on the perpetuation of the Zionist state.” From The American Council of Judaism review: link to

      • Chaos4700
        October 27, 2009, 11:48 pm

        Kudos, MRW, for one of the best rebuttals to a Wittyism to date. In retrospect this should have been the first reaction to what Witty said — a horrendous false assumption.

      • Richard Witty
        October 28, 2009, 3:36 am

        Read more about the history of France, Great Britain, Canada than just that single simple summary.

        Canada originated in a more colonial manner than the US, then in 1776 came to self-identify as Canada, largely in response to the revolution in US (loyalty/fear of revolution there). Canada’s independence as Canada occurred during the wave of post-empire dissolution, AFTER Israel formed.

        Nations form for diverse reasons. Israel’s is notable and laudable, with exceptions. To describe its character as “ethnic cleansing” primarily is to misrepresent the history.

        Palestinian consciousness is new and largely came about defensively (whatever Palestinian jurisdiction you are talking about).

        It is reasonable to oppose Israeli expansion. It is unreasonable to oppose Israeli existence.

        And, Israel will not shift to a “better wheel” that is hateful in origination and “invitation”. In Abunimeh’s political behavior for example, invitation is a SMALL (and rejected) aspect of of his efforts, for example.

      • MRW
        October 28, 2009, 5:38 am

        Canada originated in a more colonial manner than the US, then in 1776 came to self-identify as Canada, largely in response to the revolution in US (loyalty/fear of revolution there). Canada’s independence as Canada occurred during the wave of post-empire dissolution, AFTER Israel formed.

        No it didn’t. Canada did not become Canada until 1867. Until then it was called British North America and consisted of Upper and Lower Canada, two huge chucks of land comprising the lower halves of present-day Québec and Ontario. (Meantime, there was ‘New Found Land’ on the east coast with St. John’s the oldest English city in all of North America, almost 370 years old by 1867.) While there were battles for land and territory between the French and British and Indians, it was the Americans who battled the British of Upper Canada around the middle of the 1700s because they perceived them to be the same as the Brits abroad. The Canadians, however, won the Battle of 1812, contrary to what most of us think, or are told in movies.

        Canada was a British colony, but completely autonomous like India and Australia, with a royal representative in the appointed Governor-General of Canada. It was a confederation of autonomous provinces for 116 years, much the way European countries are autonomous within the EU….that is, until Pierre Trudeau, desperate for a legacy the second time around, created the Canadian Constitution in 1983, a Bill of Rights, and some other stuff, and centralized the power of the federal government. It is incorrect to say that Canada got its independence after Israel was formed, completely wrong. (Under no circumstances were the wartime Prime Ministers of Sir Robert Borden and Mackenzie King beholden to anyone.) It was independent from 1867: that was when it broke from Britain and its political structure was similar to what the US was from 1782 to 1789, a loose confederation.

      • MRW
        October 28, 2009, 5:43 am

        What Trudeau did in 1983 was take away the independent power of the provinces, and lock them up in a federal constitution. It had absolutely nothing to do with garnering independence from Britain.

      • Richard Witty
        October 28, 2009, 9:26 am

        Formal independance occurred under Trudeau, when Canada affirmed that it was entirely independant of English rule. It took a very long time to get there, even with the incremental granting of sovereignty from England.

        My point stands of the national character of France, Great Britain, Germany, Israel.

      • Chaos4700
        October 28, 2009, 9:58 am

        LOL! So you are putting Israel in the same category as, among other examples, the Germany that formed prior to and for the duration of the World Wars. Finally! Something we can agree upon.

      • MRW
        October 28, 2009, 11:08 am


        You do not understand what a commonwealth is, was, nor what it means in terms of Canada having been a member of the British Commonwealth. Canadians call this the Ugly American syndrome for only seeing the world through an American prism. This is the oath that new Canadian citizens take to this day:

        I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful
        and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty
        Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada,
        Her Heirs and Successors, and that I will faithfully
        observe the laws of Canada
        and fulfil my duties as a Canadian citizen.

    • SimoHurtta
      October 28, 2009, 4:21 am

      Well if Israel had the right to be created through invasion and ethnic cleansing in modern times then the Arabs have the same right to do the same in future.

      This pro-Israeli defence “you have done the same” is idiotic. The majority of Jews live as a tiny majority among “others”. The reality with Israeli Jews is that they are surrounded by hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims. It is naive to believe that Israel could manipulate the geopolitical “system” so successfully for the next 50 – 100 years that the balance of power would stay in Israel’s favour. In the end Arabs will unite and pop the pimple. What is done now determines how the pimple popping is done.

      If “we” now approve the ethnic cleansing and apartheid system done by Jews, “we” hardy can morally judge when after 25 years from now the Gaza inhabitants are replaced by some millions of Jews. Or can “we”?

  16. Chaos4700
    October 27, 2009, 8:16 pm

    Also, Witty? I’m confused. What exactly are you promoting for Israel’s “defense” against the fact that they are at best just about on an even keel, after 60 years of induced immigration on Jews and ethnic cleansing on… well, everybody else… and at worse, that Jews are in truth the minority in “their” supposed homeland? What do you believe in more? Real democracy? Or Jewish supremacy?

    • VR
      October 27, 2009, 8:29 pm

      That is the problem Chaos, he believes that a democracy can exist within the supremacy. All you have to do is vote, forget all of the other attendant identifiers we all embrace.

      • Chaos4700
        October 27, 2009, 9:13 pm

        So it’s democracy for the elite, huh?

  17. VR
    October 27, 2009, 8:36 pm

    The Zionists live within a reduction, what they do not realize is that it has its ramifications. It breeds habits of not listening and learning, because you are too busy chanting ridiculous irreducible minimums, as well as definitive equivocation. Then they wonder why all the kids are failing and very meager in school performance, it is a process of deterioration until they resemble the mental deficiencies found in the racist deep south of the USA (as the brain drain accelerates because they see the freight train coming strait for them).

    • Mooser
      October 27, 2009, 9:33 pm

      v…, the long-term and even generational consequences of ziocaine addiction are tragic.

  18. Cheryl
    October 27, 2009, 9:00 pm

    Earlier tonight my thoughts turned back to the Project for a New American Century’s paper on the need for invading Iraq and the statement that except for a major event in line with Pearl Harbor, such an invasion would be long time coming. Then, of course, 9-11 happened and the rest is history and a history that Obama, for instance, wants to move forward from rather than investigate too intensely.
    It struck me as I thought of the years of Israeli statements regarding wanting peace while slowly confiscating land until facts on the ground and any simple map point to the almost complete takeover of Palestinian territory by settlements. I wondered where the end game was for this plan….talking peace, gathering land.
    Then it struck me, that just like with the Project and the neocon foresight that what was really needed was some huge Pearl Harbor type event to finalize the plan in a reasonable amount of time, the end game for the Israeli land grab must be some event
    that once it occurs the world will not have the heart to investigate too seriously. What occurs will remain permanent…..that must be the end game.

    I was surprised to come to Mondo’s site and find that the discussion was on the same subject.

  19. Mooser
    October 27, 2009, 9:59 pm

    Say, while we’re all waiting on pins and needles for a report from the J-Street Conference, here’s some fun:

    link to

    Is everybody familiar with the execrable Gilad Atzmon? Here he is at his best. By which I mean his worst. He has the germ of an idea, that might be something worth thinking about ie, that Judaism in Israel has mutated into what he calls a Holocaust cult, a cult of brutality. He might have a point, I have no way of knowing, others might know more. But his own defeciencies as a thinker and writer means we won’t get any light on the subject, just a lot of noise.
    He’s supposed to be a good musician.

    Anyway don’t miss the comments. Oh, there’s a good time comin, chillun!

    • MRW
      October 28, 2009, 12:07 am

      I like Atzmon. Saw him on a panel and thought he had a lot of balls to say the things he did. Doesn’t he call it the Holocaust religion in that article, not a cult?

      He wrote a provocative article called “Zionism and Other Marginal Thoughts” that took a while to get to the point, but left you thinking about it, which is more than I can say for a lot I read.

      • Dan Kelly
        October 28, 2009, 12:18 am

        I enjoy Atzmon’s writing as well. I don’t always follow his thought process, but on the whole he is an interesting, and often quite informative, read.

    • Dan Kelly
      October 28, 2009, 12:13 am

      ICH publishes some worthy articles and writers that don’t get published elsewhere, but its comments section is essentially unreadable at this point. There was a time when there were some thoughtful comments published there, but it has devolved into a virtual sea of hatred and blanket assertions backed with scant evidence.

    • MRW
      October 28, 2009, 12:19 am

      “I understand Zionists, I think that they are the biggest threat to world peace, I argue that they are war criminals, I fight them and I try to bring them down. I write about them, I compose music against them…” – Gilad Atzmon.

    • DG
      October 28, 2009, 1:06 am

      The great thing about Atzmon is that he’s actually out there working for the Palestinian cause, raising money with jazz concerts and public talks.

      He’s an Israeli but renounced his Israeli citizenship and is currently living in England. A couple years back he arranged a concert/poetry reading/lecture at London’s hip ICA. Amazingly, the liberal Jewish left crowd that hangs out at JSF (perhaps even including Mooser, I don’t remember) worked AGAINST it, because they claimed he was an “antisemite.” It was an unpleasant thing to watch, and is what convinced me that the anti-Zionism movement cannot be left solely in tribal hands.

      (He’s written much good stuff, but an important article, IMO, is Third-Category Jews and the Palestinian Solidarity Movement.)

      • DG
        October 28, 2009, 1:19 am

        (If I’m not mistaken, this is the second time that Mooser has attempted to slime Atzmon apropos of nothing being discussed. Hope we don’t have a “hater” on our hands.)

      • DG
        October 28, 2009, 1:24 am

        Here’s a better version of the above link–
        link to

      • Dan Kelly
        October 28, 2009, 4:59 am

        Thanks D… An excellent analysis by Atzmon.

      • Mooser
        October 28, 2009, 10:15 am

        Whoa, whoa! I get a real kick out of Atzmon! (Oddly enough, I find his music mediocre, but that’s just taste, I can’t like everything) But as you mention, Atzmon is an Israeli (who renounced his citizenship) I am an American .
        I would never try to pretend that his attitudes, and the things he says are appropriate for me, okay? They are right and appropriate for him, but for me they are, indeed execrable. (If that’s the word I want…)
        And besides, me and Gilad end up saying a lot of the same things, and nobody likes competition. As my Dad used to say to panhandlers (before he gave them money) “Beat it, brother, I’m working this side of the street.”

      • Mooser
        October 28, 2009, 10:24 am

        And D. just so you know where you are, JSF is an “anti-Zionist” website. Says so, right on the masthead.
        Mondowiess, is not an anti-Zionist website. And no-where says that it is, IIANM. The best Phil can do is “post-Zionist” (Although I think a-Zionist is more accurate for American Jews)
        JSF clearly and plainly wants to dismantle the Zionist regime. Mondowiess just wants the Israelis to be nice to the Palestinians, but has no particular intrinsic beef with Zionism.
        You are much, much more in the “hands of the tribe” here, than at JSF.

        But than again, as I said when the great revelation hit me the other day; people who have never considered anything on a non-racist basis certainly can’t consider the questions around Zionism on a non racist basis.
        And from what I’ve seen, it may be the way to go, I wouldn’t know.

        But it doesn’t surprise me at all that you can’t see the differences between the two websites, and use expressions like “the tribe”. You are, and always will be, the Zionists best friend.

      • former coMMenter
        October 28, 2009, 10:42 am

        The formulation “people who have never considered anything on a non-racial basis” is just bullshit, and a prejudiced generalization, itself. Mooser’s reading hearts and minds by glancing at the cover-art, once again.

        And “the Zionists’ best friend,” to me, would be those still granting validity to the notion of “anti-Semitism” to begin with. Michael Neumann, whose anti-Zionist cred probably surpasses yours and mine times a thousand, wrote the ultimate, painstakingly detailed refutation of the concept many years ago. Why don’t you give it a read, Mooser, and we can discuss this like adults, you know, by going into hysterics and divining what’s in people’s hearts from four or five comments.

        And lastly, it might have been before Alces alces was reintroduced here, but Phil has come out as anti-Zionist, albeit while still paying the obligatory lip service to the impossible, not-gonna-happen two-state “solution.” Probably a smart pragmatic play for someone who still wants to dialog with the lite Zionist dead-enders of his “original community,” even if I think it’s a little bit of a waffle.

      • DG
        October 28, 2009, 6:48 pm

        Mooser wrote: “JSF is an “anti-Zionist” website. Says so, right on the masthead.”

        Yes I know, Mooser. But there’s another thing that it’s very much about, also stated right on the masthead. After all, it’s not called Brits Against Zionism, or Londoners Against Zionism, or East Enders Against Zionism. It’s a J-blog, by and for Jews, and ultimately about competing visions of Jewish identity. Now that’s a lovely thing to be and it’s a sorely needed conversation, but sadly it also means that it’s going to be about one subject above all others: anti-anti-semitism. When the two goals collide, there’s never any doubt about which takes precedence.

        Just read the comments and you’ll see what gets the juices flowing over there. (Or just examine your own posts.)

  20. cogit8
    October 28, 2009, 1:22 am

    And now for something completely Gilad Atzmon’s:

    link to

  21. cogit8
    October 28, 2009, 1:25 am

    doh! I see this has been already put up by someone who cannot appreciate it, oh well

  22. Richard Witty
    October 28, 2009, 4:33 am

    Likud quotes different population statistic jurisdictions.

    Their choice of relevant self-governance jurisdiction is Israel.

    Their description of possible jurisdictions includes the pan-Arabic definition which is something like 150 million Arabs to 5 million Jews. (The Saudi foreign ministers’ “Sure Israel can be a Jewish state in the Arab federation”)

    PRESENT self-governance is democracy. Historical jurisdictions, or prior exclusive nationalist hopes for jurisdictions aren’t democracy, those are reactionary.

    If the peoples regarded themselves as one people, or came to by skillful organizing and sentiment, then they would be. If they’re not, they’re not.

    If you or Ali or others, want to spend the time to become one people in fact, go ahead and work for that community and integration and acceptance.

    Acceptance is wonderful. BDS isn’t acceptance.

    • potsherd
      October 28, 2009, 4:43 am

      Acceptance of war crimes isn’t wonderful at all.

    • MRW
      October 28, 2009, 5:49 am

      PRESENT self-governance is democracy. Says who, you? There’s nothing democratic about it; it’s a theocracy.

  23. Shingo
    October 28, 2009, 4:51 am

    “BDS isn’t acceptance. ”

    When aparthid South Africa was boycotted, South Africa’s legitmiacy was never in dispute. Thus, Israel’s existence can be accepted while it’s policies are rejected. Hence BDS is indeed a great idea and if you were honest about wanting rights for the Palestinians Witty, you too would endorse it.

    • Nolan
      October 28, 2009, 5:31 am

      RW is the epitome of radical Zionism. He is capable of comprehending the crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinians. He is against such crimes being committed because it goes against what is politically correct and acceptable in a civilized world, but he wants everyone to just give Israel a pass, just this once, and move on to normalizing relations with the state.

      As far as he’s concerned the Palestinians can move to Jordan. He has even rationalized it in his head that the Holocaust changed everything, it changed the rules of the game. Neocons often say, “9/11 changed everything. The world is not the same anymore, so we have to torture, rendition people and lock them up indefinitely. We don’t like it, but it’s necessary”.

      Press him on the issue and he’ll try to wriggle out, desperately trying to maintain his legitimacy and credibility, even though he has none left.

    • Shingo
      October 28, 2009, 5:44 am

      I wouldn’t say so much that RW epitmozes radical Zionism, so much as reveals that Zionism itself is a radical belief. That’s why, when it comes down to the nitty gritty, the so called left and progressives are on the same page as the right.

      Someone once described the difference between the Zionist left and the Zionist right in these terms. The right want to transfer all the Palestinians out of the West bank and say it unashamedly, whereas the left will insist the Palestinians be deported in air conditioned busses.

      I think it’s abundantly clear that RW does not want to see a Palestinians state materialize. He says so for politcial correctness and becuase he believes it gives him legitimacy, but the reality is that he insists that a 2 state solution can be achived by maintaining the status quo, knowing very well that this wil gurantee failure.

      Thus, when no Palestinian state emerges, he will blame the Palestinians for not trying hard enough to win th econfidence of the Israelis, while pretneding he is disspaointed in the outcome.

  24. Richard Witty
    October 28, 2009, 6:43 am

    Self-governance and acceptance of others is a repugnant belief.

    I hope you don’t call yourselves progressives.

    Expansion is a policy, and needs to be reformed, and therefore needs rational criticism to accomplish.

    As I said, it greatly saddens me that the language and attitudes of solidarity so resemble the attitudes of likud in their non-acceptance of the other.

    • Shingo
      October 28, 2009, 7:06 am

      Bloviate to your hearts content Richard,

      But the only parties here that hav eanything in common with Likud are yourself, and a hadnful of other Israeli propandists.

      • Richard Witty
        October 28, 2009, 7:10 am

        Actually not Shingo.

        Those that desire to expand, those that rationalize terror, those that actively or even indirectly subvert peace efforts, those that are driven by ideology rather than humanization, have a great deal in common with likud.

        They dance together, mostly to stop any reconciliation.

      • Richard Witty
        October 28, 2009, 7:17 am

        For example,
        I can understand if you said that I may be powerless to confront the more militant and harsh ideological approaches of likud to actually enact peace.

        That might be a valid criticism.

        To say that I “desire” that Palestine not be viable is a lie. Resulting likely from an unwillingness to accept collective Jews (Zionists) on their terms of self-governance.

        I get that you criticize Fayyad when responding to insistence that the PA accept Israel as a Jewish state. His response, rejecting using the language Jewish state, was “what business is it of ours how you define yourself. We accept Israel as Israel.”

        I imagine that you think he should have stated, “there is no valid Israel”.

        So, if you act to oppose the existence of Israel, then we become opponents, and in that sense (that definition of “which side are you on?”) I’ll ally with likud.

        But, long before that, and permanently, I will regard fanaticism (in contrast to civil mutual acceptance) as “the other side” as in “which side are you on?”.

        I’ll go to a different game, a different dance. Your welcome to come, but you’d have to leave your weapons at the door. (Guns, knives, words)

      • Richard Witty
        October 28, 2009, 7:19 am

        I didn’t read that you stated

        “Thus, Israel’s existence can be accepted while it’s policies are rejected. ”

        We agree on that. Thank you.

      • Shingo
        October 28, 2009, 7:35 am

        Whenerv backed into a corner Richard, you reflexivlely resor to your favorite carnard, that Israel’s existence is being debated.

        This is the worst kind of dishonesty on your part Richard, because you and you alone are the one person who raises this topic. Matter how many times it is stated that Israel’s existence is not a matter of debate, you will always seek refuge in this false premise.

        When I say that you are on the same page as Likud, I am referring to the fact that you are insisting on poicies or stratergies that enable the status quo to continue. In that regard, you and Likud as inseperable. Likud wouldlike nothing more than to have aimless and innefectual empty rhetoric about peace continue until Obama’s term expires.

        Which ever way you paint it Richard, this is what you stand for.

        But, long before that, and permanently, I will regard fanaticism (in contrast to civil mutual acceptance) as “the other side” as in “which side are you on?”.

        I’ll go to a different game, a different dance. Your welcome to come, but you’d have to leave your weapons at the door. (Guns, knives, words)

      • Richard Witty
        October 28, 2009, 9:17 am

        The proposal for a single-state, the topic of this discussion, IS the dissolution of Israel.

        If you read the dialog early between Taxi and others, that is the stated goal of a number of people here, hidden. Its not off-topic, and is inherent in the divestment of the two-state proposal.

        The two-state proposal is possible with the cessation of settlement expansion. It is a single issue that can rationally, and effectively agitated for.

        BDS might be a last or near-last resort towards that focused effort, but when associated with the one-state thesis, DISTRACTS from the effort to cease settlement expansion.

        If you are consistently clear that you personally don’t mean to remove Israel from the map, or to absorb Israel into a single-state, then it will be obvious to me that that is your view, and I will be able to respond to you differently than only existential critic.

        It hasn’t been clear to date. This is literally the first that I’ve heard of your acceptance of Israel as Israel, implying that you respect the desire of Jewish self-governance in a dual Jewish AND democratic state.

      • Chaos4700
        October 28, 2009, 9:56 am

        Witty, being a Jewish state and a democratic state is mutually exclusive for exactly the reasons you highlight — in order for Israel to be both, it must ethnically cleanse anyone who’s not Jewish to create an artificial majority. Which Israel has been doing for over sixty years now.

    • Chaos4700
      October 28, 2009, 8:31 am

      “I hope you don’t call yourselves progressives.”

      Piss off, Joe Lieberman.

      • Richard Witty
        October 28, 2009, 9:19 am

        If you advocate for the diminution of consent of the governed (as occurs with the single-state proposal), then you are not progressive, not supporter of democracy, but supporter of something more sinister (civil war and tyrrany of the majority).

      • America First
        October 28, 2009, 9:53 am

        Have the Arabs in Israel given their consent for it to be an explicitly Jewish state?

      • Chaos4700
        October 28, 2009, 9:55 am

        Diminution of consent of the governed? Bullshit. You’re telling me that Zionist Jews can’t live in peace with their neighbors, huh? Because Palestinian Jews did just fine before they came along. Same with Middle Eastern Jews in general before the advent of Zionist terrorism.

        This notion that giving more people a voice in government somehow destroys democracy isn’t just laughable — it’s Orwellian.

        Like I said, you’re the progressive equivalent of Joe Lieberman — a fake “democrat” who professes loyalty to ideals he seeks only to take ownership of, and then corrupt for self-aggrandizement and profit. Piss off. You don’t own the progressive movement — and neither do I, for that matter.

      • Richard Witty
        October 28, 2009, 12:53 pm

        Jewish and democratic is as possible as American and democratic, or French and democratic.

        The problem that I observe is that too many can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, left and right.

      • Chaos4700
        October 28, 2009, 12:58 pm

        So let me get this straight. Palestinians can become Israeli citizens, and the “only” price they have to pay is to surrender their religion — and their cultural and historical identity, ultimately — at the door and become Jewish?

        And you’re seriously going to equate that to American or even French citizenship?

        The problem with you, Witty, is the gum is under your feet, sticking you to the ground so that you cannot move away from your zeal for Zionism. That’s not exactly “chewing.”

      • Shmuel
        October 28, 2009, 1:07 pm

        RW: Jewish and democratic is as possible as American and democratic, or French and democratic.

        Like hell it is. It is logically and legally impossible to be a citizen of the American state and not be an American, to be a citizen of the French state and not be French. It is however, the reality of well over a million people to be citizens of the Jewish State without being Jews. Your analogy is simply false – without even getting into refugee or naturalisation issues.

        Damn! Broke my Witty rule again.

  25. Citizen
    October 28, 2009, 7:10 am

    This thread works through the leftover thread of a few days ago regarding the Moyers’ Inverview of Goldstone. What was assumed there by Moyers in his introduction and line of questions, and what larger context was omitted? As a practical matter what tool can be used to bring out the Palestinian POV so sadly lacking in the USA MSM, including PBS?

    As Shingo declares to RW’s demand for acceptance of Israel’s right to exist: “When aparthid South Africa was boycotted, South Africa’s legitmiacy was never in dispute. Thus, Israel’s existence can be accepted while it’s policies are rejected. Hence BDS is indeed a great idea and if you were honest about wanting rights for the Palestinians Witty, you too would endorse it.”

    Do both the Goldstone Report and the Moyers interview contain the same flaw?
    Do they avoid the base issue by assuming it? Nat Turner killed 40 innocent white
    children. Hamas fires rockets at sleeping Israeli children. Surely by today’s standards these are war crimes. But does if follow from such events that Israel has a “right” to exist in its current ways anymore than the USA slaveholders of the 19th Century, the Confederacy in 1861?

  26. America First
    October 28, 2009, 8:15 am

    I know others have raised this point but just glancing at the post again I get the implication that if “5.735 million to 5.6 million” is the “democracy problem,” the other way around wasn’t and wouldn’t be. What definition of democracy is being applied?

  27. Colin Murray
    October 28, 2009, 9:23 am

    Lawyers in EU draw up list of alleged IDF war criminals
    They can always vacation in the occupied territories.

    Netanyahu Unsure How to Contain Gaza Fallout … without giving up the campaign of ethnic cleansing and colonization.

    Netanyahoo’s coalition begins to fracture.
    Israel’s Barak faces party revolt over peace deadlock

  28. Citizen
    October 28, 2009, 10:53 am

    On what other issue beside the I-P issue are Americans split fairly evenly (despite the one-sided MSM POV they are given), the latest example being the Gaza event over the turn to this year, yet both USA political parties of any influence march in lockstep as if there was no such domestic divide on this foreign policy affair?

    Isn’t this of grave cocern to all Americans; should it be just a subject for AIPAC v J-St?
    link to

    • potsherd
      October 28, 2009, 11:55 am

      Yet at J Street, which purports to be a US lobbying organization attempting to influence US policy – for all Americans, not just Jews – it seems that the voices of all who don’t love Israel are shut out.

  29. Citizen
    October 28, 2009, 10:54 am

    Israel, we have a democracy problem? Yeah, and USA, we also have a democracy problem.

  30. Sin Nombre
    October 28, 2009, 10:59 am

    I’m a little puzzled:

    What real-world consequences do people see if Israel were, say, to just even openly announce that it was just a democratic *jewish* state?

    After all I just felt that this is precisely what it was doing, albeit in a sotto voce fashion, via its recent demand to be recognized the the Pal’s as a “jewish” state.

    Didn’t see the U.S. or indeed anyone else in the world fall off their horses when this came out. Does anyone think that if it was made more explicit it would matter more? If so, to whom? The U.S. jewish community? Anyone else?

    I.e., I just don’t see how or where this is going to really matter so maybe someone can enlighten me.

    • potsherd
      October 28, 2009, 11:11 am

      Israel has already announced itself as a “jewish state.” The latest imbroglio is merely a rejectionist tactic of Netanyahu’s, making a demand that he knows the Palestinians can not accept so he can declare that, see, they aren’t a “partner for peace.”

      Every time the Palestinians cross over the lines that the Israelis draw in the dirt, the Israelis just draw another line, further back. Anything to postpone forever the moment when they might have to agree to give something up.

      • Taxi
        October 28, 2009, 11:25 am

        Interestingly enough, Saddam Hussein approved of a ‘Jewish State’, but not a ‘Zionist State’.

        He reasoned that a Jewish state would assimilate and be accepted quicker into the regional thinking/psyche as Judaism was part of the history of the region and born from it, whereas Zionism was an alien European entity which could never be digested by the region as a whole.

      • Chaos4700
        October 28, 2009, 11:47 am

        I dare say, perhaps, that was one of the few things Saddam Hussein might have been right about. Although, to be fair, say what you will about tyrants and dictators, generally speaking you don’t rise to that position if you are a stupid person.

        As a sidebar, it still corks me that we (as in the US as a nation) keep playing hot potato with so-called “nuclear threats” in the Middle East while ignoring the big Dimona-sized elephant in the room.

      • Dan Kelly
        October 28, 2009, 12:20 pm

        As a sidebar, it still corks me that we (as in the US as a nation) keep playing hot potato with so-called “nuclear threats” in the Middle East while ignoring the big Dimona-sized elephant in the room.

        “Realists” are beginning to be quoted in the mainstream:

        “Extended deterrence would be meant to protect friends and allies in the Mideast and Europe from the threat of an Iranian nuclear attack — not unlike the security umbrella the U.S. provided for Germany during the Cold War, when the central threat was seen as either a Soviet land assault or a nuclear attack.

        Some question whether such an argument can dissuade Iran, but retired Gen. John Abizaid, who oversaw U.S. military operations in the Mideast from 2003-07, says he thinks that a nuclear-armed Iran would make rational judgments.

        “The historical evidence would suggest that Iran is not a suicide state,” he told a University of Virginia conference Oct. 5. “So it’s my military belief that Iran can be deterred.”

        Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights advocate and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said in an AP interview that Washington is mistaken in insisting that it would be intolerable for Iran to have nuclear weapons.

        “Just as the world tolerates North Korea and Pakistan it would have to tolerate Iran as well,” she said.

        link to

        A realist American general echoing the sentiments of an Iranian peacenik, published prominently by the AP – admittedly at the end of article, but then no space was given at all to the “bomb Iran” crowd.

  31. GalenSword
    October 28, 2009, 1:47 pm

    Thanks to the Israel Lobby both the USA and Europe now have a democracy problem: Wilders’ Columbia Song and Dance.

  32. pabelmont
    October 28, 2009, 3:22 pm

    In 1948-51, Israel denied repatriation to 750,000 Palestinians (the refugees) who were citizens of Mandatory Palestine but “found themselves” (as the say) outside Israel’s pseudo-boundaries after the war. As we know from Benny Morris’s research, that most of the refugees were pushed out at the point of a bayonet or by the sound of bombs or by food shortages, but that’s by the way. The refusal to allow them to return was uniform and was Israel’s choice however non-uniform may have been the reasons for their absence.

    This refusal-to-readmit-its-citizens-to-their-homeland changed Israel’s electorate, which would have had a quite different demographic makeup had the refugees been allowed to return (and, of course, also been allowed to vote).

    Do we call a country a “democracy” if it has expelled a significant demographic just because the army (or the government or the majority) didn’t want it to be part of the electorate, and refused the exiles readmittance?

    It appears that Israel and its friends have no trouble pretending that this Israel (the real Israel) is a “democracy”, but I cannot join them.

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