Israeli refusers follow South African footsteps in the struggle against apartheid

on 105 Comments

Shministim are conscientious objectors. We are Israeli high-school graduates who refuse conscription into the military, and are repeatedly imprisoned as a result. We will not take part of the occupation of another people, the Palestinians, particularly when doing so goes against human values and cannot be explained on grounds of security. I am now 19 and have been jailed three times for my refusal, usually in solitary confinement because I refuse to wear military uniform in prison.

Sahar Vardi My friends and I have been conducting speaking tours through the United States and South Africa. Our South African hosts are the End Conscription Campaign [ECC], as they celebrate 25 years since the launch of their campaign against apartheid military conscription.

The contrast in reaction and media coverage is fascinating. In the US our friends were engaged with earnestly by audiences, but largely ignored by mainstream media. In South Africa the media wanted to hear our story, but during public speaking engagements we were met either with intense interest or with abuse and contempt. And whereas the many speaking engagements on US college campuses elicited little reaction from the Israeli press, our trip through South Africa has dominated headlines on Israel’s most popular news website, and garnered stories in the major daily papers.

The explosive reaction to our stay in South Africa is explained by the fact that Israelis are allergic to talk of South Africa. The spectre of Apartheid haunts the Israeli elite because they know that this is what exists, in modified form, in the occupied territories. Shulamit Aloni, our former education minister, said that Israel is “practicing its own, quite violent, form of Apartheid with the native Palestinian population.”

Michael Ben-Yair, a former attorney-general of Israel stated his view clearly that Israel is establishing, “an apartheid regime in the occupied territories”. Ami Ayalon, Israeli admiral and former internal security chief, said “Israel must decide quickly what sort of environment it wants to live in because the current model, which has some apartheid characteristics, is not compatible with Jewish principles.” The journalist Danny Rubinstein said at a UN conference in Brussels: “Israel today is an apartheid State with four different Palestinian groups: those in Gaza, East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israeli Palestinians, each of which has a different status.” Even our leading newspaper Haaretz wrote an editorial last year saying, “The interim political situation in the territories has crystallized into a kind of apartheid that has been ongoing for 40 years”.

In the wake of such categorical statements, it is vitally important to acknowledge the dual nature of Israel, as much a haven for Jews fleeing persecution before, during and after the Second World War, as the colonising international law-breaker that acts with impunity and uses Jewish suffering as an excuse.

Those of us who refuse to serve in the army have all seen the system of control and process of dispossession with our own eyes. Most Israelis have not. Like most white South Africans, even today, most of us are unaware what life is like an hour from our homes.

One of my first contacts with Palestinian life over six years ago was a visit to a small Palestinian community south-east of Jerusalem.

They were not different in any way to the people I knew from home. We even hated the same subjects in school. But, I had the right to come to their homes, meet with them and go back home. They not only did they lack the right to visit me in my home, but didn’t even have the legal right to live in their own houses, as these had been built without permits and were therefore under constant threat of demolition.

The shock was not from the brutality of the occupation or of a specific soldier, but from witnessing the ordinary day to day situation of going through checkpoints, fearing the demolition of their homes and knowing that every 18-year old soldier has the power to control their life. I could not bring myself to be that soldier and to hold such power of people who are my equals.

A week before coming to South Africa I made my way with some friends from the centre of Tel Aviv, a city that never sleeps, to the lightless streets of Bil’in, a village that has been fighting the separation fence stealing 40% of its land for over five years. This village has become a symbol for this struggle not only because it continues to fight for what is right even as soldiers arrest the organisers and shoot the protesters, not only because they have chosen an unarmed struggle, but because they have chosen to make it a joint struggle.

The fact that we Israelis sleep in our Palestinian comrades houses to prevent their arrests and that together with them we march demanding the return of their land has, in effect, beaten the purpose of that wall we struggle against: separation. Activists like Mohamed Khatib and Ezra Nawi, from opposite societies, both under constant threat of arbitrary arrest and harassment, show that a different future is possible.

Whilst in South Africa we gave the Ashley Kriel Memorial Lecture. Ashley fought against the “privileges” that the tri-cameral system offered him as a “coloured”. He linked his future to the unfree majority and was killed before his 21st birthday.

We also learnt about other heroes. Neil Aggett was a young white doctor at Soweto’s Baragwanath hospital who realised that working conditions made people sick, and so he helped unionise workers. He was tortured and found hanging in his cell. His funeral was attended by 6000 black nurses and workers, and followed by a nationwide work-stoppage, a key event in uniting the unions.

Mary Manning was a shop attendant in Dublin, Ireland who had never been to South Africa. In 1984 she refused to handle South African oranges. When she was suspended 11 coworkers walked out with her, and they maintained a picket every single day for over two years until the Irish government, by one vote, agreed to a general boycott of apartheid good.

Kriel helped to unite the oppressed people, Aggett showed that whites and blacks could find each other in friendship, and Mary Manning proved that the world cared because injustice touches on all of humanity. We have called for a similar boycott of Israeli goods linked to settlements and the military.

Speaking to young people was the highlight of our time in South Africa. Although we were barred from speaking at Jewish schools, we met many students from Herzlia who care about equality and human rights.

If our generation wants to see a new reality between Israelis and Palestinians it is going to take the support of the whole world, including Jews, Muslim, Christians, atheists, and every other religion, colour and creed.

Sahar Vardi, 19, is a Jewish Israeli conscientious objector who has been imprisoned three times for refusing to enlist in the Israeli military. As part of the Shministim she recently visited South Africa.

105 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    October 21, 2009, 8:40 am

    An appealing principled statement, convincing for the willingness to personally suffer for greater good, without imposing suffering on others directly or indirectly.

    • Chaos4700
      October 21, 2009, 9:07 am

      So when do you suppose we can expect some of these guys to die under IDF bulldozers in the future?

    • Mooser
      October 21, 2009, 10:18 am

      Gosh Richard, if that is so, why did she end up in jail? And you are recommending her course to the rest of Israeli youth?

    • VR
      October 21, 2009, 3:55 pm

      Alas, Richard has always called BDS wrong, apparently the poor guy has a reading deficit disorder –

      “We have called for a similar boycott of Israeli goods linked to settlements and the military. “

      • carnas
        October 21, 2009, 4:11 pm

        BDS is something much broader and different. Notice the distinction she makes.

    • VR
      October 21, 2009, 6:15 pm

      Well than she needs to expand her horizons carnass…lol Gimme a break

      • carnas
        October 21, 2009, 7:17 pm

        No, she doesn’t agree with you and has no reason to – some distinctions are important even if you specifically are incapable of making them.

      • potsherd
        October 21, 2009, 7:28 pm

        Hey, wondering jew – here’s some real sneering for you from carnas!

      • VR
        October 21, 2009, 8:22 pm

        Don’t worry carnass, we can see clearly what you are, no problem there.

      • VR
        October 21, 2009, 8:34 pm

        Did you like my other depictions of your stunts (you call them arguments) carnass, is that how you distinguish yourself? If you thought those were good (the Monty Python ones) take a look at this one –


        Pretty good depiction, wouldn’t you say?

      • carnas
        October 21, 2009, 10:48 pm

        The fact that you link to Beavis & Butthead video as a response is more telling than any of the other nonsense you post here. I’ll take a wild guess and say you’re a high school dropout with too much time on his hands and too few neurons still functioning.

      • VR
        October 22, 2009, 12:03 am

        How about this carnass – you are not worthy of being taken seriously, and therefore you are an object of ridicule? I have more weight in my little finger than you you have in you’re whole frame poseur. There is not much more to say than this, we will let the others be the judge of you’re skewed so-called arguments and discourse.

      • Chaos4700
        October 22, 2009, 7:15 am

        Carnas, I’ll take a wild guess and say that you weren’t hugged all that often as a child. That’s usually the basic psychological problem I’ve seen in compulsive bullies.

        For what it’s worth? I pity you.

      • VR
        October 22, 2009, 8:53 am

        An answer to this type of “selective” BDS can be seen by just asking one logical question – is it the settlers in the West Bank that require Sahar Vardi to enlist in an armed services that empowers an occupation? The answer is a resounding NO, it is state policy – the occupation is not some rogue element separate from the state. The makeup of the Israel is that it is an armed forces with a state, and not a state with an armed forces.

        Who has resisted any freeze on the settlements, is it merely the settlers? Again the answer is NO, it is the current administration (and all successive administrations sine 67′), the prominent spokesperson is Ben Nutty-Yahoo for the continuation. Who put this nut and his the other ape Leiberman into office, was it merely the settlers? NO, it was the Israelis.

        In other words the sickness is in the head and the whole body, not merely in some isolated element in the state. This is why BDS applied to the whole is necessary. Does this mean that we do this to everyone and throw the baby out with the bathwater? Not to the elements of resistance within Israel, but the BDS must be applied to the entire apparatus. The message – if Israel wants to once again join the group of nations and not to be a pariah state, it will cease this course and comply, and allow the Palestinians the same rights and freedoms that they claim for Israel only.

  2. Pamela Olson
    October 21, 2009, 9:26 am

    Yet the Israeli government is so quick and willing to impose suffering on this brave soul. And on Mohammad Othman, sitting in solitary confinement in Israeli jail with no charges in unsanitary conditions. And on Bassem Ahu Rahme, who was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers at a peaceful demonstration against the Wall. And on, and on, and on.

    What say you to that, Mr. Witty?

    • Chaos4700
      October 21, 2009, 9:34 am

      Witty won’t answer. He’s a denier. He pretends that Israel’s crimes don’t exist.

    • yonira
      October 21, 2009, 11:34 am

      If she doesn’t want to be in the IDF she should move to the US or So Africa, or even better perhaps Syria or Iran!

      • Donald
        October 21, 2009, 11:41 am

        Ah. I just replied to your other comment and had mistaken you for a rational person with whom I disagreed. That turns out not to be the case.

      • Mooser
        October 21, 2009, 12:07 pm

        C’mon, yonira, don’t waste bandwidth. Just type No.4 The Whole World Sucks.

      • James
        October 21, 2009, 12:40 pm

        better for her to work for a modern day version of the nazis…

      • Chaos4700
        October 21, 2009, 9:21 pm

        Good point, yonira! I’d love to see more Israeli youths given the opportunity to flee Israel for more modern, less oppressive countries. They deserve it.

  3. IrishMark
    October 21, 2009, 9:38 am

    My hope is to see a new Mary Manning come forward. No Agrexco produce should be sold in our shops. Ahava should also be banned, coming as it does from the West Bank.

    The lack of coverage of Sahar’s story in the US is unsurprising. Even journalists such as Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann shy away from discussing the issues (Jimmy Carter’s interview excepted).
    Today, more and more of educated Israeli society is refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories.

  4. gmeyers
    October 21, 2009, 10:10 am

    A very brave and articulated young man, indeed…

  5. Mooser
    October 21, 2009, 10:29 am

    His little pretension above that her actions are insignificant and not “imposing suffering on others directly or indirectly harm no one” is a clever inversion of his usual fraudulent ameliorations of Israel’s intransigence.
    I would bet she has been told, many times, that her actions may kill other Israelis .(‘because you won’t go others may be killed, we need all Israeli youth to serve’)

  6. Taxi
    October 21, 2009, 10:38 am

    I love you, Sahar Vardi.

  7. yonira
    October 21, 2009, 11:32 am

    The occupation sucks and there isn’t a day that goes by when I pray for its end, but calling the current situation anything other than an occupation is factually wrong.

    Moises Salinas, hits it on the nose, occupation sucks, and this occupation in particular is horrible, but its not apartheid, and the caparison between SA and I/P is bogus:

    link to

    • Donald
      October 21, 2009, 11:39 am

      I read the piece.

      There’s not a big difference between a racist supremist ideology and a religious one that gives one religious group privileges denied to nonmembers. It’s not like racism or bigotry in any form is some sort of logically based philosophical system–it’s always some ridiculous, irrational set of beliefs that would be laughable if real people weren’t getting hurt. The South African whites based their system on some crackpot set of beliefs regarding skin color–Israeli settlers have some different set of crackpot beliefs, but the end result is pretty similar.

      • yonira
        October 21, 2009, 12:21 pm

        I think you missed the point. apartheid requires citizenship, people living under occupation are not citizens of the occupying country.

        But I do agree, Israeli settlers are, for the most part, crackpots, with crackpot beliefs.

      • Chaos4700
        October 21, 2009, 9:22 pm

        You don’t actually know what a bantustan is, then, yonira? Fancy that. Your defense of Israel is predicated on your ignorance of what apartheid policy entails in its entirety.

    • Mooser
      October 21, 2009, 12:16 pm

      “calling the current situation anything other than an occupation is factually wrong”

      And that isn’t bad enough? Do you think they will raise victory arches to us in all the major cities, with the inscription “Honor to the Jews, Occupiers and Destroyers of the Palestinians?”

    • James
      October 21, 2009, 12:36 pm

      focus on the distinctions all you want, most people are going to see more parallels with israel and south africa, then they are going to see the differences… this is especially upsetting to those interested in supporting the racist state of israel but too bad…

    • marc b.
      October 21, 2009, 3:20 pm

      Ugh. Moises sounds like he is playing amateur lawyer. Any ‘confusion’ over the status and treatment of Palestinians, to include a comparison of between Palestinians and black South Africans, is part and parcel of the web of legal fictions spun by the Zionist dream team.


      the root of apartheid was a white-supremacy racist ideology that enabled the Afrikaans movement to settle and displace the Black inhabitants of South Africa because they saw them as inferior. In contrast, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories was driven by military considerations, and at least initially, the settlement enterprise was seen as a security, not ideological, issue.

      And dummer.

      The leadership of the Settlement movement has certainly been religious, but they never espoused a racist-supremacist ideology, just a “divine” territorial claim.

      And what of the second class status of Palestinian-Israelis living ‘outside’ of the occupied territories?

      Palestinian citizens of Israel do enjoy de jure civil and legal rights at par with those of the Jewish citizens, even if there is de facto discrimination, analogous to that which minorities in the U.S. endure.

      Is this an accurate statement of his earnest belief as he typed this shite, or was he conscious of the fact that he has produced a tortured defense of the indefensible?

      • Nolan
        October 21, 2009, 6:43 pm

        Palestinian citizens of Israel do enjoy de jure civil and legal rights at par with those of the Jewish citizens, even if there is de facto discrimination, analogous to that which minorities in the U.S. endure.

        Does he specialize in fiction or children’s books?

        In Israel, there is NO de jure civil and legal rights at par with those of the Jewish citizens. If there were such a thing, Palestinians in the Galilee wouldn’t have had their lands confiscated and annexed by regional Jewish town councils like the Upper Galilee Regional Council.

        Similarly, Palestinians in Umm al-Fahem (in central Israel) wouldn’t have their homes demolished because the government seeks to “expand” public parks.

        Similarly, Palestinians in Israel do not serve in the Israeli military (I refuse to call them IDF because they rarely defend the state and mostly attack non-Israelis).

        The Minister of Defense exempts them from serving by renewing an exemption order every few years. As such, they are also excluded from the job market as many Jewish Israelis have figured out the politically correct and covert way of not hiring “Arabs” – Job ads for menial positions such as dishwasher at a restaurant are advertised as requiring “previous military service”.

        Even if the Palestinians in Israel served in the military, they would still be discriminated against and given all the labor intensive, low ranking positions, just ask any Druze person.

        As for the government’s discrimination against the Bedouin population in the Negev (who are Palestinian as well) and the confiscation of their lands, the destruction of their farms, that’s a discussion for another day.

      • Shmuel
        October 22, 2009, 1:56 am

        Job ads for menial positions such as dishwasher at a restaurant are advertised as requiring “previous military service”.

        I once saw a recruitment ad in the paper, for ElAl pilots. The ad was worded so as to exclude both Palestinians and (gasp!) women, requiring “experience as a combat pilot in the Israeli Air Force”. At the bottom of the ad were the words: “This ad is intended for men and women alike.”

    • VR
      October 21, 2009, 4:15 pm

      There is not a HINT of any need for citizenship in the operation of apartheid in regard to the standard, the UN Conventions –

      “The Apartheid Convention declares that apartheid is a crime against humanity and that “inhuman acts resulting from the policies and practices of apartheid and similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination” are international crimes (art. 1). Article 2 defines the crime of apartheid –“which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in southern Africa” – as covering “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them”. It then lists the acts that fall within the ambit of the crime. These include murder, torture, inhuman treatment and arbitrary arrest of members of a racial group; deliberate imposition on a racial group of living conditions calculated to cause its physical destruction; legislative measures that discriminate in the political, social, economic and cultural fields; measures that divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate residential areas for racial groups; the prohibition of interracial marriages; and the persecution of persons opposed to apartheid.”


      Better luck next time yonira, and if you want to argue further in regard to this, I can elaborate.

    • robin
      October 21, 2009, 6:10 pm

      As far as citizenship, you’re talking about a formality. Palestinians are subject to Israeli sovereignty and control either way. “Non-citizen” is their status by which Israel denies them rights. And that status is not based not on where they live, but on their ethnicity, as Jews living in the same region participate fully in the state.

      The essence of apartheid is segregation and differential privileges based on ancestry. And that is very much the case in Israel/OPT.

      NO Palestinians, even Israeli citizens, have equal civil rights to Jews. And most have no civil/political rights at all. The ethnicities are forcibly segregated in the West Bank, and in the case of sealed Gaza.

      The article consists of badly misinformed equivocation. The author clearly knows little about apartheid South Africa and does not understand Israel/Palestine.

      First, the root of apartheid was a white-supremacy racist ideology that enabled the Afrikaans movement to settle and displace the Black inhabitants of South Africa because they saw them as inferior.

      That racist ideology in Israel’s case is Zionism, which calls for a Jewish state, meaning Jewish rule, i.e. Jewish supremacy. Israeli politicians act and legislate expressly for the purpose of maintaining Jewish control over the state. And note that here he admits that the actions (settlement and displacement) of both groups are equivalent, if not their motivations (which, in fact, are as well). If there is one thing that unites the settlers, and almost all Israelis, it is this commitment to Jewish rule (which is at the very definition of Israel).

      The second major difference is that Apartheid presumes a common citizenship.

      It doesn’t. Apartheid SA gave birth to the very concept of bantustans, whose purpose was to make technical “non-citizens” of many Black South Africans. In this respect, apartheid SA and Israel (vis-a-vis the West Bank and Gaza) are perfectly analogous. Seriously, just look up the term “bantustans” on Wikipedia. “The process was completed by the Black Homelands Citizenship Act of 1970, which made black South Africans into citizens of the homelands, even if they lived in “white South Africa”, and cancelled their South African citizenship.” link to

      The Israeli-Palestinian issue is entirely different because we are talking about two peoples and two states.

      There quite clearly are not two states. I shouldn’t even have to say this.

      Palestinian citizens of Israel do enjoy de jure civil and legal rights at par with those of the Jewish citizens, even if there is de facto discrimination, analogous to that which minorities in the U.S. endure.

      The discrimination is systematic and legally countenanced, amounting to unequal civil rights. Closer to the status of American Blacks before the Civil Rights Movement.

      Current opinion surveys also show that the vast majority of both Palestinians and Israelis support a separation between two states.

      The only valid point of distinction that the author highlights between the two cases. But…

      neither the Palestinian Authority nor the PLO have ever called for a single bi-national state.

      It is only quite recently that the PLO has not demanded a single secular state in Israel/Palestine. And this change in Palestinian opinion to support two states is only the result of decades of brutal repression and Israeli demands to accept Jewish rule in most of the Palestinians’ homeland, coupled with the empowerment of a more-or-less quisling Palestinian Authority dependent on Israel. Palestinians identify themselves based on the nation of Palestine, which includes all of Israel proper and the Occupied Territories, and of which they are the true majority in spite of Israel’s ethnic cleansing and gerrymandering.

      Then there is a problem with the tactics of the fight against Apartheid. South Africa was not a state who had to fight an endless series of wars with his neighbors, who was born out of a bloody military conflict, and populated by hundreds of thousands of refugees who saw it as a last shelter.

      This stuff is just laughably ignorant. South Africa certainly was born out of bloody military conflict, including the first and second Boer War, and the Zulu wars. Under apartheid it fought a war in Namibia for over 20 years, fought in Angola, and was militarily involved in other conflicts in the region. (Frequent conflict is in the nature of apartheid and settler-colonial enterprise, as Israelis should realize.) And did White South Africans feel any less imperiled for being natives of that country, with nowhere else to go? Of course not.

      Israelis see their struggle against the Palestinians and the Muslim world as an existential one

      Just as White South Africans saw their struggle against Blacks and the non-white world as an existential one. It doesn’t mean they were right to think so, or that we should accept the result of such racist attitudes.

      Israel does occupy the West Bank and Gaza, and in through that occupation it enforces an apartheid system of segregation and racial privileges. The South African analogy is a very useful one.

      • syvanen
        October 21, 2009, 6:24 pm

        Well thanks for taking the time to share your analysis with us. These Zionist scholars are such easy pickings but it does require a fair amount of effort to unravel the internal absurdities.

      • marc b.
        October 21, 2009, 7:51 pm

        Well done. The author’s emphasis on the ‘occupation’ as a distinguishing characteristic between SA and I/P is so much irrelevent horse shit. The various branches of the Israeli government can’t even get their story straight on this point, with the High Court concluding that territories taken in the ’67 land grab are under military occupation, while the elected government has claimed that no military occupation can exist when no legitimate national sovereignty controlled the territories prior to ‘occupation’. Land without a state, for a state with no[t enough] land.

        OT but the history of water disputes between Jordan and Israel in the years prior to the ’67 war makes for some interesting reading. Funny how Israel attacked Egypt on the basis of the newly discovered strategy of the pre-emptive counterattack, drawing in Egypt’s ally Jordan, and West Bank water. But there I go speculating.

    • Nolan
      October 21, 2009, 6:23 pm

      but its not apartheid, and the caparison between SA and I/P is bogus:

      Why is it not Apartheid? Just because you labeled it as “bogus” doesn’t mean it is.

      The main difference between a military occupation and Apartheid that is enforced through occupation is that Apartheid is institutionalized. Laws are passed to disenfranchise the occupied people and to take away their land and property. This, of course, includes the three or four lane highways throughout the West Bank that are for “Jews Only”, exclusive access to clean water, electricity and freedom of movement, as well as the right to build anywhere and work anywhere.

      A mere occupation would look like the US occupation of Iraq. That occupation is not institutionalized.

  8. Shmuel
    October 21, 2009, 11:32 am

    Impressive article by an impressive young woman. I have just one correction. Sahar characterises Israel as “a haven for Jews fleeing persecution before, during and after the Second World War.” Israel could not have been a haven for Jews before or during the Second World War, because it did not yet exist. It was British-ruled Palestine – a multi-ethnic society with an Arab majority – that offered many European Jews (including some of my relatives) a safe haven from Nazi persecution. After the war, and the establishment of the State of Israel, Israel may have offered Europe’s “displaced” Jews some dignity and even a sense of security, but the young state at war with all of its neighbours and much of its own population was anything but a safe haven. As for the Jews from Arab lands, had there been no Israel, they would not have needed a haven in the first place. Similar arguments can be made for every case in which Israel claims to have “saved” Jews from persecution – from the Former Soviet Union to Ethiopia.

    This myth of Israel as a safe haven for the Jews is one of the toughest to crack. I am amazed that Sahar, at the age of 19, has managed to see through so many other myths.

    • Linda J
      October 21, 2009, 11:52 am

      Thank you, Shmuel. That bit stuck in my craw as well.

    • potsherd
      October 21, 2009, 12:07 pm

      If you read Benny Morris’s Israel’s Border Wars, which is hard to do since copies are now going for $200, you see how the new immigrants that the new Israeli state stuck out on its “borders” were constantly retreating from the settlements, out of fear. For many of them, Israel was a place they didn’t want to be at all, anything but a refuge, more like a refugee camp.

      • Shmuel
        October 21, 2009, 12:12 pm

        Absolutely, Potsherd. And, surprise surprise , Sderot is one of those settlements (euphemistically known as “development towns”).

      • former coMMenter
        October 21, 2009, 1:22 pm

        Dimona, too, where the nukes are. Development town created in the 1950’s, populated by northern Africans and later by “black Hebrews,” who even got permanent citizenship a mere 35 years after arriving.

    • Mooser
      October 21, 2009, 12:19 pm

      Thanks from me too, Shmuel. I knew she was not right, but I could never have written such a cogent and factual reply.

    • Richard Witty
      October 21, 2009, 12:52 pm

      Israel was the only haven for refugee European Jews after the war.

      And, it was haven, in spite of British and Arab recalcitrance.

      The last straw had already been piled.

      There was no longer a dissenting portion of European Jewry. They had been killed.

      The only Jewish communities that remained were in the United States and Israel, and they had evolved to overwhelmingly Zionist sympathies.

      The United States refused entry to more than token numbers, with the 1920’s “America First” immigration quotas still in place, and not compromised on. The US avoided scrutiny for that “humane policy” somehow though.

      If the US had absorbed the European refugees, it is likely that Israel would not have formed in 1948.

      • former coMMenter
        October 21, 2009, 1:16 pm

        Richard Witty’s posts make much more sense if you insert “True or false?” at each line break.

        1. Israel was the only haven for refugee European Jews after the war. True or false?

        2. And, it was haven, in spite of British and Arab recalcitrance. True or false?

        3. The last straw had already been piled. True or false? [Careful, trick question]

        4. There was no longer a dissenting portion of European Jewry. They had been killed. True or false?

        5. The only Jewish communities that remained were in the United States and Israel, and they had evolved to overwhelmingly Zionist sympathies. True or false?

        6. The United States refused entry to more than token numbers, with the 1920’s “America First” immigration quotas still in place, and not compromised on. The US avoided scrutiny for that “humane policy” somehow though. True or false?

        7. If the US had absorbed the European refugees, it is likely that Israel would not have formed in 1948. True or false?

        Answer key: 1. False, 2. False, 3. Undefined, 4. False, 5. False, 6. False, 7. True

      • Shmuel
        October 21, 2009, 1:24 pm

        I will break my rule of not responding to Witty, to refute this particular, Zionist-serving lie. The Truman directive (1945) and the Displaced Persons Act (1948) overturned earlier immigration restrictions. Hundreds of thousands of survivors rebuilt their lives in their countries of origin, in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Argentina, France, and so forth. Any other assertion is simply false.

      • potsherd
        October 21, 2009, 1:52 pm

        And there were many, many thriving Jewish communities throughout world after the war, mostly untouched by it. Now, thanks to Israel, abandoned.

        But those were only Mizrahim, not “real” Jews, and “lacking moral fibre,” as Moshe Dayan put it.

      • tree
        October 21, 2009, 2:53 pm

        I’ll add my agreement with Shmuel’s point. Zionists, including those in the US, actively fought against the immigration of any Jews to places other than Palestine, so it is truly a self-serving lie to claim that Palestine was the only Jewish refuge.

        I strongly recommend reading “In the Shadow of the Holocaust” by Yosef Grodzinsky (an Israeli professor). Subtitled “The Struggle Between Jews and Zionists in the Aftermath of World War II”, it details “(t)he story of Jews in Displaced Persons Camps and their forced role in the founding of Israel”. Despite the continual pressure and advocacy of Zionists, who were largely in command of the Jewish DP camps, most DPs wanted to go elsewhere than Palestine, and in fact 60% of them did go elsewhere. Some of the DPs in the camps were forcibly intimidated and beaten for failing to adequately support the Zionist cause. Funny isn’t it, how many Jews went to places other than “the only safe haven” for them?

        And Shmuel is also right in that efforts were made in the US to liberalize immigration quotas, opposed by US Zionists, and finally enacted into law in 1948 and further liberalized and amended in 1950. One can look up Lessing Rosenwald and the Citizens Committee on Displaced Persons, which lobbied hard and eventually secured the admittance of greater numbers of DPs into the US. They were actively opposed by the leading US Zionists, including Rabbi Steven Wise, during this time, because Jewish immigration to the US would have undermined the rationale for a Jewish state in Palestine.

      • DICKERSON3870
        October 21, 2009, 4:00 pm

        RE: “Israel was the only haven for refugee European Jews after the war.”

        PLEASE SEE: “The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict”, by Jews for Justice in the Middle East (Third Edition)

        (excerpt from page 19)….Wasn’t the main goal of Zionism to save Jews from the Holocaust?

        “In 1938 a thirty-one nation conference was held in Evian, France, on resettlement of the victims of Nazism. The World Zionist Organization refused to participate, fearing that resettlement of Jews in other states would reduce the number available for Palestine.” John Quigley, “Palestine and Israel: A Challenge to Justice.”

        “It was summed up in the meeting [of the Jewish Agency’s Executive on June 26, 1938] that the Zionist thing to do ‘is belittle the [Evian] Conference as far as possible and to cause it to decide nothing…We are particularly worried that it would move Jewish organizations to collect large sums of money for aid to Jewish refugees, and these collections could interfere with our collection efforts’…Ben-Gurion’s statement at the same meeting: ‘No rationalization can turn the conference from a harmful to a useful one. What can and should be done is to limit the damage as far as possible.’ ” Israeli author Boas Evron, “Jewish State or Israeli Nation?”

        “[Ben-Gurion stated,] ‘If I knew that it was possible to save all the children in Germany by transporting them to England, but only half of them by transporting them to Palestine, I would choose the second—because we face not only the reckoning of those children, but the historical reckoning of the Jewish people.’ In the wake of the Kristallnacht pogroms, Ben-Gurion commented that ‘the human conscience’ might bring various countries to open their doors to Jewish refugees from Germany. He saw this as a threat and warned: ‘Zionism is in danger.’ ” Israeli historian, Tom Segev, “The Seventh Million.”

        “The Zionist movement…interfered with and hindered other organizations, Jewish and non-Jewish, whenever it imagined that their activity, political or humanitarian, was at variance with Zionist aims or in competition with them, even when these might be helpful to Jews, even when it was a question of life and death Beit Zvi documents the Zionist leadership’s indifference to saving Jews from the Nazi menace except in cases in which the Jews could be brought to Palestine…[e.g.] the readiness of the dictator of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Trujillo, to absorb one hundred thousand refugees and the sabotaging of this idea—as well as others, like proposals to settle the Jews in Alaska and the Philippines—by the Zionist movement… “The obtuseness of the Zionist movement toward the fate of European Jewry did not prevent it, of course, from later hurling accusations against the whole world for its indifference toward the Jewish catastrophe or from pressing material, political, and moral demands on the world because of that indifference.” Israeli author Boas Evron, “Jewish State or Israeli Nation?”

        “ORIGINS” (37 page PDF) – link to

        “ORIGINS” TO PRINT (20 page PDF – 2 sides per page) – link to

      • MRW
        October 21, 2009, 4:01 pm

        former coMMenter,

        Add Iran, which has had a continuous Jewish community for over 3,000 years. As Roger Cohen, they are the original non-Diapora Jews.

        There is also the Jewish Autonomous Region in Eastern Russia that was started in 1928. It borders China.

        Your true/false test is a riot.

      • Nolan
        October 21, 2009, 6:52 pm

        “But those were only Mizrahim, not “real” Jews, and “lacking moral fibre,” as Moshe Dayan put it.”

        Exactly. They are also viewed as inferior, to this day.

        Are you familiar with the “Ringworm Children”:

        In 1951, the director general of the Israeli Health Ministry, Dr. Chaim Sheba, flew to America and returned with seven x-ray machines, supplied to him by the American army.

        They were to be used in a mass atomic experiment with an entire generation of Sephardi youths to be used as guinea pigs. Every Sephardi child was to be given 35,000 times the maximum dose of x-rays through his head. For doing so, the American government paid the Israeli government 300 million Israeli liras a year. The entire Health budget was 60 million liras. The money paid by the Americans is equivalent to billions of dollars today.

        Source: link to

      • Nolan
        October 21, 2009, 7:20 pm


        Your post above essentially illustrates a behavior that is similar to the Bush administration’s behavior. Actually, I think it applies to the post-JFK era in general. That is to say that, while the fat cats sat in nice, clean, air conditioned rooms and plotted the next imperial invasion, they cared very little about the boots on the ground, the average recruit fresh out of high school, under the illusion he or she is fighting all these wars for America’s freedoms and the constitution and our forefathers and the red white and blue….

        Cheney was on the board of Haliburton. He later became the VPOTUS and handed Haliburton their multi-billion no-bid contracts in Iraq. How much gold to line his pockets with did that win him? This is just one example.

      • potsherd
        October 21, 2009, 7:22 pm

        Nolan – Dr Mengele would be proud.

        I see that in the last 5 years this story has exploded onto the headlines.

      • potsherd
        October 21, 2009, 8:09 pm

        Here link to btw is an article claiming the story to be a falsification.

      • Richard Witty
        October 21, 2009, 8:26 pm

        Read a little, besides those that are sanctioned by solidarity.

        I recommend two books that were recommended to me by Dan Fleshler.

        1. A History of Zionism by Laquierre
        2. A History of Israel by Sachar

        I’m sure there is much in those texts that you will contest, but the certainty of your dismissal of the Zionist urge, the Zionist necessity following the rise of naziism, the solidarity with naziism in eastern and even western Europe, and the failure of European and America to assimilate Jewish refugees after the war, compelled Zionism to be a necessity for European Jews to survive.

        And, leading up to and following the UN ratification of Israel, the harrassment of Arabian and North African Jews confirmed it.

        Please don’t avoid complexity in your historical assessments. The world is nowhere as simplistic as “Jews didn’t have to settle in Israel. They chose to colonize it solely.”

        You do yourself and the rest of the world by such triviality. And, most importantly, in your zeal to dissent, you threaten to repeat unnecessary suffering vengefully.

        Take a step back from your ideological reactions.

      • Chaos4700
        October 21, 2009, 9:26 pm

        Witty, you are an inveterate coward as well as an avid evangelist of Zionist mythology. You don’t think it’s escaped anyone’s notice that, when confronted with successful counter-arguments, you fleeee! and change the topic?

      • Nolan
        October 21, 2009, 11:35 pm

        potsherd October 21, 2009 at 8:09 pm

        Here link to btw is an article claiming the story to be a falsification.



        You should know the answer to the following question: What’s the Modus Operandi of every Zionist apologist?

        Smear, deny, or spin, especially if the negative news is intended for English speaking non-Israeli audiences.

        But, the truth is that Ringworm and the experiments conducted in Israel on Sephardi Jews was well known in Israel. Don’t take my word for it, let’s stick to facts, shall we?

        The following Ha’aretz article details the compensation the government was going to pay those who were subjected to these experiments as cancer rates among them were higher than the general population.

        link to

      • Shmuel
        October 22, 2009, 2:26 am


        What is well-known in Israel is that these kids were irradiated to treat ringworm, at a time when the dangers of radiation were unknown. In the 1950s, immigrants to Israel (mostly from Arab countries and Europe’s DP camps) were also doused with DDT. This practise was not uncommon in the 1940s and 50s, in treating people who had previously lived in unhygienic conditions. I once saw a film of doctors and nurses happily spraying child survivors of the Nazi camps with DDT. The medical personnel – undoubtedly exposed to far more DDT than any of the children – did not even wear masks. The Israeli authorities, who did in fact treat the Mizrahi immigrants with condescension and disdain, were probably guilty of assuming that far more of them required “delousing” than was actually the case.

        This is the first I have ever heard of the irradiation being part of a US-funded (bribed) experiment. I have not seen the Channel 10 documentary, but Barry Chamish is about the lousiest possible source for anything. The Ha’aretz article you linked to makes no mention of experimentation, but refers to the well-known (and well-documented) use of radiation to treat ringworm.

      • Richard Witty
        October 22, 2009, 7:14 am

        MM’s description of “lies”, conflicts with my reading.

        I presented sources. The accusation of “lie” is one-dimensional and misrepresentative of the complexity of the struggles at the time.

        As with ANY complex dynamic, it is easy to find some “truth” to support one’s contentions, but that usually adds up to an inadequate understanding, especially if one is considering what is possible, rather than only what one contests.

      • Chaos4700
        October 22, 2009, 7:21 am

        Can I just say, Witty? It’s a good thing you went into a career in the financial sector, rather than one in scientific field, or law. Or even the liberal arts, for that matter. You wouldn’t get very far with that attitude in an occupation that requires actual research and argumentation.

      • Shingo
        October 22, 2009, 8:30 am

        “I presented sources. The accusation of “lie” is one-dimensional and misrepresentative of the complexity of the struggles at the time.”

        Another Zionist tactic. Whjen confronted with the blatant injustice and criminlaity of Israel’s position, argue that the situation is complexed and that simple logic is innapropriate.

      • Mooser
        October 22, 2009, 4:30 pm

        Witty goes for the No.4 The Whole World Sucks and What is Truth Anyway, Truth Sucks!

        Gosh, a person could say that life and death is the only real truth. Nah, we don’t wanna say that, cause even that leaves the Israelis in a pretty bad spot.

  9. DICKERSON3870
    October 21, 2009, 12:32 pm

    RE: “We will not take part of the occupation of another people, the Palestinians, particularly when doing so goes against human values and cannot be explained on grounds of security…”

    HELP: I”m too damn old to be falling in love!

    • Mooser
      October 21, 2009, 4:25 pm

      “There was no longer a dissenting portion of European Jewry.”

      What on earth does that mean? If he means dissenting from Zionism, guess what Witty, we’re back!

      • Richard Witty
        October 22, 2009, 7:19 am

        Prior in Europe, really until the nazis became prominent, suppressive and then genocidal, there was large communities that regarded themselves as fully assimilated into their societies.

        German Jews, Polish Jews, Hungarian Jews, were among the most patriotic of the citizens.

        In each case though, they were persecuted during the hump of fascist impulse in Europe, and murdered. The religious were murdered, the Zionists were murdered, the socialists were murdered, the anti-Zionist assimilationists were murdered.

        All of them.

        The centers of population of Jewish community that remained were largest in the US and Canada, followed by Arabian and North Africa (generally non-Zionist until they were suppressed following the formation of Israel), then Israel/Palestine, then Western Europe, then Eastern Europe.

        The dominant sentiment of US and Canadian Jews had radically shifted from anti- (socialists and orthodox) or indifferent to Zionism, to assertively pro-Zionist.

        Its a fact. Live with it.

      • Chaos4700
        October 22, 2009, 7:33 am

        Of course, what you leave out entirely during that shift is the rise of the AIPAC lobby and the dramatic, disproportionate shift in political power that was seized by the Zionist machine, claiming that the represent the whole of Jewish culture (they don’t, but anyway).

        All you need to look at where we are today. Jews make up about 2% of the US population. However, 15 out of 100 Senate seats are filled by American Jews. Compare and contrast that with the political influence of African Americans. They are 14% of the population… and only one Senator is African American.

        And back in 2000, there were no African American Senators. And as a consequence, no Senator came forward to sponsor the call of the Black Caucus that election fraud — specifically, the caging lists that deprived thousands of African Americans, many of whom were soldiers deployed overseas, their right to vote, and also the stoppage of the vote count thanks to the Supreme Court, which denied even more people their vote and, ultimately, gave us George W. Bush, friend of Israel, as President.

        So Zionism doesn’t merely entail the disenfranchisement of Palestinians but it has a palpable affect on the destruction of American democracy and disenfranchisement of American citizens as well.

        And I haven’t even touched the blacklisting that goes on at the hands of Zionists within the American Jewish community. You don’t think that has something to do with the artificial rise in support for Zionism, Witty?

      • Richard Witty
        October 22, 2009, 9:36 am

        If you are a believer in democracy, in people forming their consciousness, rather than the conspiratorial (“they/we were brainwashed or forced”), then you would validate sentiment and be powerful to argue alternative viewpoints.

        Anarchy is dual.

        There is anarchy that is in the tradition of “Mutual Aid”, and grass roots formation of consciousness by inquiry and relationship.

        The negativist, silhouette, form of anarchy, “critical analysis” is a shadow of the richness.

      • Mooser
        October 22, 2009, 4:41 pm

        “Its a fact. Live with it.”

        I live with that fact every day. And the fact is, since Zionism is the only facet of Judaism that is killing people and stealing land and money, it is the most salient factor, the only one worth leaving Judaism over (although it’s certainly not the only reason people decide or for some reason break off an active relationship with the organised Jewish community. And at that point, you cease to be counted as a Jew. So to have serious doubts about Zionism and Israel makes Judaism practically speaking, impracticable .
        And since the organised Jewish community is just about completely organised with Zionism as an integral part, those who are against Zionism are not counted.
        But that’s changing, and the voice of Jews who are not in agreement with Zionism will be heard.

      • Chaos4700
        October 22, 2009, 9:07 pm

        Really, Witty? You just tried to build a case that my angst and protest over the disenfranchisement of African Americans somehow makes me an opponent to democracy?

        No wonder you felt the burning need to pounce on the chance to occlude the word “Orwellian” when it showed up elsewhere. Hits a bit close to home in nailing down your rhetorical style, huh?

  10. DG
    October 21, 2009, 1:29 pm

    More than her intelligence and bravery, it’s her tee-shirt that gives me hope. It’s so rare to see so-called progressive Jews actually celebrating the culture of the Palestinians — thinking of them as people as real as themselves, and not just as a public relations disaster for the tribe.

    • Shmuel
      October 21, 2009, 1:46 pm

      Thanks, D. I was thinking the same thing. Handala is such a wonderful symbol, and his “adoption” by an Israeli Jew speaks volumes.

      • Nolan
        October 21, 2009, 6:57 pm

        I believe that one day, there will be one state. It will include both peoples and the situation will finally be back the way it were in Palestine before Zionism and before Israel of 1948; Jews, Muslims, Christians living side by side with equal rights for all.

  11. marc b.
    October 21, 2009, 2:18 pm

    I’m too old to wear T-shirts with logos (unless of course they are free!) but that design is a perfect symbol to protest the occupation. Not to sound too much like an adman, but every campaign needs its symbolism, particularly here in the States. I’m gonna have to get me one.

  12. potsherd
    October 21, 2009, 2:30 pm

    More publicity for the movement: link to

    • Dan Kelly
      October 21, 2009, 4:35 pm

      Some comments from the ynetnews article potsherd posted:

      “Let Them Do Community Service . . .
      Something like like catching rockets in Sedrot.
      Then maybe they’ll learn why Israel needs an army and who the oppressors really are. [ emanon , USA]”

      “No soldiers = no army, no army = no Israel
      No Israel = bad guys win ;(”
      [Nick Sporek , Jerusalem, Israel ]

      “They’re shooting themselves in the foot…

      There will be no entree to universities or to Israeli society at large absent military service. That’s the first thing anyone asks in a job interview: where did you serve; what did you do.

      Hope they know how to clean houses and tend gardens and lawns. They don’t exactly have a bright future, and I don’t think they should be allowed to have a passport.

      Cowards and good-for-nothings. And if their parents are encouraging them — or even just not discouraging them — then they are pretty worthless, too.”
      [Sarah B , New York / Saviyon]

      “The vocal minority…
      How many kids are refusing to serve? Something less than one quarter of one percent?
      Let them go join the Meretz Party and sink into oblivion with their mentors.
      They are a blot on the majority of the secular public.
      So far as I know, no refuseniks in my town and quite the opposite – lots of kids who are proud to serve in combat units.
      I wonder what reaction these kids would get if they went and held their protest in Sderot?” [JPS , Efrat ]

      “It’s no mistake that the protest rally…
      took place in Tel Aviv, the city of the children of the wealthy and elite. I thought the students’ parents usually hired psychologists and psychiatrists to keep their “disabled” children out of the IDF.”
      [Robert Haymond, Ashdod, Israel ]

      In reading reader comments such as the above from Israeli media over the years, I’ve noticed that Israel is very similar to America in that there is only a miniscule percentage of the population that is pro-peace. I think the pro-peace movement is probably substantially greater in the U.S., actually, but it doesn’t get the mainstream press attention that the Israeli press gives its peace movement (which is another interesting insight: the Israeli mainstream press, although no doubt an organ of Mossad and the Israeli government in many respects, is nevertheless freer from such interference than the U.S. press, which is essentially a government mouthpiece (a government largely controlled by the military/industrial complex and the Israel Lobby, and the media itself is almost entirely owned by Zionists).

      • potsherd
        October 21, 2009, 6:06 pm

        Reading the Talkbacks in the Israeli press is a regular Feeling the Hate experience.

      • Nolan
        October 21, 2009, 7:06 pm

        This commenter’s location coupled with her comments make her seem hypocritical at best:

        Sarah B , New York / Saviyon

        Saviyon is the top ranking Tel-Aviv suburb. It’s akin to Bel Air in Los Angeles.

        She said: “Hope they know how to clean houses and tend gardens and lawns. They don’t exactly have a bright future, and I don’t think they should be allowed to have a passport.

        Cowards and good-for-nothings. And if their parents are encouraging them — or even just not discouraging them — then they are pretty worthless, too.”

        Right. Because she must have served in the military having shuttled between NYC and Saviyon while hiring “Cowards and good-for-nothings” to “clean houses and tend gardens and lawns” for her.

        She must be roughing it, suffering for the better good of the state of Israel and world Jewry as a whole.

      • Shmuel
        October 22, 2009, 1:49 am

        Reading the Talkbacks in the Israeli press is a regular Feeling the Hate experience.

        Try listening to Israeli talk radio.

  13. Mooser
    October 21, 2009, 4:27 pm

    Wow, that was a regular Mackensen wedge of retorts to Witty. Glorious.

  14. AM
    October 21, 2009, 5:47 pm

    Lol I like the response to whitty with the true false. I was going through each sentence thinking how to respond to such a tall tale. You did a great job.

    And I want to congratulate these Israelis. I wish I could have gone to see some of them (I believe they had an event with CODEPINK organized), but I can’t take off time from work that easily ;)

  15. Mooser
    October 21, 2009, 6:55 pm

    Excellent post at JSF today:

    Oh no! Jewish Jew bashing fails to silence criticism of racist war criminals

    link to

    I think I see Phil and Adam headed to a prominent listing on “As-Jews Watch”.
    No, it’s not “Jew Watch” (I’m sure America Fust-Cless knows that site!) it’s “As-Jews Watch. The post explains

  16. VR
    October 21, 2009, 7:46 pm

    If we were to elaborate, I think the correct statement to make is the one made by officials who visited Palestine, the areas that almost no one goes to – it is both Apartheid, and it is WORSE than Apartheid.

    “Equally harsh are the remarks of the editor-in-chief of the Sunday Times of South Africa, Mondli Makhanya, 38. “When you observe from afar you know that things are bad, but you do not know how bad. Nothing can prepare you for the evil we have seen here. In a certain sense, it is worse, worse, worse than everything we endured. The level of the apartheid, the racism and the brutality are worse than the worst period of apartheid.”


  17. Kathleen
    October 21, 2009, 10:11 pm

    great post. I was thrilled to hear Netta and Maya in Washington D.C. at the convention center. I remember coming out of the convention center looking right over at the NPR building and thinking why the hell no interviews with Netta and Maya over there.

    But most of us know why. NPR is not fair and balanced on this issue and of course the rest of or MSM barely whispers about this issue.

    Netta and Maya were both incredibly bright young women. I so admire that all of you have taken such a strong stance so young in your lives.

    One thing that Netta said when she spoke was that she thought J Street was “problematic” and over rated. She insinuated that J Street was just a softer version of Aipac

  18. Richard Witty
    October 22, 2009, 7:24 am

    I think the condition of Gazan Palestinians is worse than apartheid, and has been so since 1949.

    It is different and therefore requires a different approach than solely dissent.

    I find all campaigning to be fascistic in ways. People are asked to remove their individual responsibility and character to add their voice passively (even if enthusiastically, but still passive relative to message) to a mass.

    I guess once a decision has been made that campaign (war, election, or movement) is the present reality, that that is what happens.

    I prefer my role as independant thinker.

    • Chaos4700
      October 22, 2009, 7:34 am

      “I find all campaigning to be fascistic in ways.”

      I think you just called yourself a fascist. Good one.

      • yonira
        October 22, 2009, 10:42 am

        You are a troll Chaos.

        You are always the first person to respond after Witty says anything. I am sure you don’t read a word he says, you pick out a key word or two, then you bash him and call him a liar etc. etc.

        Which ever ‘sector’ you are in, you are lucky that it allows you all this time to create bogus retorts and fill this blog with more of what it needs, lies and 1/2 truths.

      • Chaos4700
        October 22, 2009, 12:00 pm

        “You are a troll Chaos.”

        As well as public performance exercises in irony goes, I’ve seen better. Nice try, though.

      • Mooser
        October 22, 2009, 4:51 pm

        yonira, if you think a person is a disruptive troll, you should e-mail the blog owner. He’ll know what to do.

    • Richard Witty
      October 22, 2009, 9:37 am

      You didn’t get my point, you potentially gullible, manipulated partisan.

      • Chaos4700
        October 22, 2009, 12:05 pm

        Oh “potentially!” Oh, yes, indeed, doesn’t that mitigate the mudslinging, doesn’t it?

        I get your point. You’re on a campaign to label campaigning as fascism. Basically, you’re trying to corrupt the meaning of both “campaigning” and “fascism” in order to dilute any discourse on either topic.

        This is a pretty worn-down crayon in the box of neocon Zionist rhetoric, Witty. I suppose I could at least give you credit for not merely taking an Arabic word — like jihad, or fatwa, or intifada — that most Americans have no idea what they really mean, and apply a corrupt meaning to that. At least you went out on a limb and tried to corrupt words that are part of the English language.

      • Mooser
        October 22, 2009, 4:49 pm

        Wait a minute, ZIonists are campaigning all the time! From they days when they campaigned to get permission to settle in Palestine up til today. They have always got a campaign going. They make no bones about it, are proud of it.
        Wow, that was weak, Witty.

  19. Donald
    October 22, 2009, 9:51 am

    “I prefer my role as independant thinker. ”

    Nice goal. The execution needs some work.

    • Nolan
      October 22, 2009, 10:17 am



      • Richard Witty
        October 22, 2009, 11:51 am

        You won’t find me conforming to your pressures. I’ll resist.

        You’ll have to persuade, deal with my arguments, rather than dismiss them.

      • Chaos4700
        October 22, 2009, 11:56 am

        Why? You never rise to the challenge whenever somebody knocks your arguments down. You just pretend like it never happened and spam out another thread starter. And there are some topicshere on Mondoweiss that you religiously ignore — any statement from any Israeli that damages your faulty premise that actual investigations into war crimes will happen from the Israeli government. Or stories about Palestinians who are thrown in prison indefinitely for staging peaceful protests — you know, that thing you keep saying is only thing Palestinians should be doing about the occupation?

        If you haven’t figured it out, Witty, no one cares what you think. There is no persuading you. As far as I’m concerned, we’re merely containing the damage you spread with your distortions and your mealy-mouthed phoniness.

      • VR
        October 22, 2009, 8:47 pm

        And what arguments are those Witty? lol

      • Donald
        October 22, 2009, 8:58 pm

        “You never rise to the challenge whenever somebody knocks your arguments down. You just pretend like it never happened and spam out another thread starter.”

        That’s correct. I agree with his professed long term goals, peace and reconciliation, but I think they are of secondary importance to him–he’s too busy protecting his idealized notions of Israel and Zionism. Facts and logic simply bounce off him. I’ve also noticed he can write clearly when he does have facts (or even if he just thinks he has facts) backing up his opinions. Otherwise he reverts to the fog and murk of his usual writing style. George Orwell said something about this in “Politics and the English Language”–when people try to defend the indefensible, their writing becomes vague, abstract, mushy. It’s a perfect description of Witty’s prose.

        Anyway, I’ve tried arguing with him in good faith, numerous times, but invariably, after one or two exchanges at most, he starts acting exactly as you described.

  20. Mooser
    October 22, 2009, 4:55 pm

    Witty’s power of persuasion can be estimated by the number and quality of supporting comments he receives. There is nothing, no fee and no process, preventing anyone, anywhere, from registering and voicing their comment. But for some reason Witty is pretty much alone out there. Well, that’s what happens when you start defending the indefensible, which thrives on silence. There may be many who can particiapte in it, for whatever reason, but it takes a peculiar moral vacuity to actually fit a rhetoric to it, to actually argue for it.

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