Al Jazeera show on Jerusalem shows the future of the Israel/Palestine debate

on 59 Comments

Sunday’s Inside Story on Al Jazeera highlighted several positive trends related to the struggle for equal rights in Palestine/Israel. Mordechai Kedar of Bar Ilan University, Ian Black of the Guardian newspaper, and Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada convened to discuss the European Union’s (EU) evolving role in Palestine/Israel in light of a recent EU report on Jerusalem. Three developments struck me as I watched the program: 1) The EU is discussing banning Israeli nationals from 27 European countries, 2) the Palestinians were being represented by a strong, authoritative voice possessed of an independent historical narrative, 3) Mr. Abunimah employed a new empiricism in describing the conflict; his speech lacked euphemistic turns of phrase.

Before I get into a discussion of any of the above, I want to respond to some of Mr. Kedar’s points on Palestine/Israel. He implied repeatedly that his was the mainstream Israeli view, and I am inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. The election Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman, the Gaza Massacre, and the ongoing Israeli siege of the Gaza ghetto permit me to do so.

The EU report on Jerusalem raised the idea of de facto recognition of Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem. Mr. Kedar insisted that by doing so, the EU is determining the outcome of future negotiations with some representative of the Palestinians. Therefore, there will be nothing to negotiate about, and consequently, negotiations will not take place. Well, sort of. The Europeans are concerned that there will be nothing to negotiate about if Israeli colonists succeed in the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem. His argument flips reality on its head – final status issues are primarily being influenced by Israeli actions with the help of the American government. The government of Barack Obama provides fungible resources to the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, which in turn provides material and logistical support for its colonies and their activities. Ironically, many of these colonists come from America. As an opponent of partition in Palestine/Israel, I am not concerned about any ‘final status’ issues. In my view, the point is a moot one, there will never be ‘final status’ negotiations because there will never be a Palestinian state. But, Mr. Kedar’s argument is instructive for its hasbaric qualities. It’s not exactly a denial of reality; it’s more like reality’s deformed image in a circus funhouse mirror. Reality is confused and distorted.

My second point is brief. Mr. Kedar claimed that Jerusalem has been the “capital of the Jews” for three thousand years. I have no interest in engaging Mr. Kedar on the merits of his claim, except to say that it is not exclusive on its face. Jerusalem can be the capital of the Jews and the capital of everyone in Israel/Palestine. Washington D.C. is the capital of Jewish Americans; it’s also the capital of black Americans. I don’t have to dispute his Jewish claim to reconcile it with justice.

Mr. Kedar repeatedly referred to Mr. Abunimah as a Bedouin. The argument Mr. Kedar was clumsily trying to make is that Palestinians are a nomadic people who “occupied this country” in the not-so-distant-past. It’s true that some Palestinians are Bedouins; my father is one, and his father farmed his land in Beer Al Sabaa’ – Be’er Sheeva in Hebrew – until he was forced off by Zionists in 1948. But Bedouins comprise a small portion of Palestinian society. Despite that, Mr. Kedar’s point is worth indulging. He argues implicitly that the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is permissible because “you the Bedouins are new in this country. You don’t belong in this country this is why this country rejected you.” Again, I’m not interested in disputing Mr. Kedar’s historical claim; the moral point is much more interesting. I will risk alienating the reader with a Nazi analogy. Imagine: “You the Jews are new in this country. You don’t belong in this country this is why this country rejected you.” History’s cruel irony is truly something to behold.

Finally, Mr. Kedar reminded us that Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew. I laughed a little when he first mentioned it; to me, Jesus Christ was always a Palestinian.

It’s time to return to my initial discussion of the positive developments around the Palestine/Israel discussion. The Inside Story program began with a brief review of the EU report on Jerusalem and measures the supranational body should take to implement long-standing policy in Jerusalem. While most of the points were commonsense and uninspiring, I was surprised to learn that the EU is discussing barring violent settler Zionists from the each of the twenty-seven countries in the bloc.

This is a new front in the battle to end Zionist apartheid in Palestine/Israel. The implications of the measure, if adopted, are profound. Anti-Zionist lawyers already confront Zionists in European courts on a variety of issues, most notably war crimes and the apartheid wall in the West Bank. Now the EU may be creating opportunities to petition the entire bloc against issuing visas to individual violent Zionist colonists. The definition of ‘violence’ opens up exciting new vistas. I can plausibly argue that by purchasing a house in a racially pure, illegally constituted community in East Jerusalem or the West Bank, a Zionist is engaging in violence. Imagine a scenario where American Zionists eager to promote Zionist colonization of the West Bank by donating to settler organizations are barred from entering the EU. I am getting ahead of myself, but this seems like a good, nonviolent way of augmenting the BDS efforts already underway.

The second positive development I’d like to highlight is the increased visibility of truly independent Palestinian voices. Ali Abunimah provides the best example of this phenomenon. He performs his advocacy work independently of the United States Department of State. The sooner the Abbasnik’s disappear from the airwaves, the better. The viewer gains nothing from hearing Saeb Erekat’s repetitious and unimaginative views on the ‘two-state solution’ which persist, year-after-year, as if encased in formaldehyde. Mr. Abunimah forcefully promotes the one-state view – which I subscribe to – with an eloquent recital of the facts on the ground.

My final point is related to my last one. Mr. Abunimah spoke using clear, vivid language during the program. It is time for anti-Zionists to embrace a descriptive precision when discussing the Palestine/Israel issue. What is happening in Jerusalem today is “ethnic cleansing” not “changing the demographics.” The phrase “changing the demographics” is factually correct, but serves to elide reality. Euphemisms retard the pursuit of justice. The language that serves to obscure is language that permits the oppressor to persist in his lie. “Zionism is Jewish supremacy” is the antidote to “Zionism is Jewish self-determination.” The battle over narrative is important because language conveys values, determinations of right and wrong. Widespread recognition that Zionist Israel is Racist Israel will come through a more empirical descriptive approach to the conflict.

Ahmed Moor is a 25-year-old Palestinian-American from the Rafah refugee camp. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he now lives in Beirut.

About Ahmed Moor

Ahmed Moor is a Palestinian-American who was born in the Gaza Strip. He is a PD Soros Fellow, co-editor of After Zionism and co-founder and CEO of Twitter: @ahmedmoor

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59 Responses

  1. VR
    December 8, 2009, 4:00 am

    Those are some very good points Ahmed, very well chosen words. If i may let me reduce things a bit further.

    When you look at the so-called arguments of Mr. Kedar, all you see is rabid mouthing of myths. He must present them in some sort of “authoritative” fashion, which he fancies as screaming above everyone else. It does him no good because they are non-demonstrable claims to “history,” but he nevertheless barks incessantly about these fairy tales.

    The fact of the matter is that he will not acknowledge the facts on the ground regarding the Palestinian people, nor the conclusions and demands of international law and the conventions. However, what we do see is this never ending ethnic cleansing now also taking place in Jerusalem. So in reality, whether he believes the nonsense he spews or not what he is saying is that “might makes right,” and “we will do what we chose regardless of any laws or valid claims.” The only question that has to be asked is “how did it come to this?” It became this way by the undying support of both the USA and the European community, by both arming these maniacs and by supporting their ill gotten gain to this point in time.

    Once this reality is clarified, about what Mr. Kedar is arguing than we can come to conclusions that will force this beast to stop. Some of the things which Ahmed has brought to the fore in his anaylsis of the discussion on the video.

  2. nicschlagman
    December 8, 2009, 4:01 am

    interesting news show

    as the video cuts to scenes of houses being built in the settlements it is hard not to notice that the construction workers are all Palestinians.

    these workers have built most of the settlements. why is this? if palestinian labourers stopped taking these jobs construction in the settlements would surely slow down massively

    • VR
      December 8, 2009, 4:10 am

      nicschlagman, was it also just as easy to see who was demolishing homes? Just thought I would ask because both were displayed. The answer to your query is simple, when you have people like the Palestinians strangled like they are, where are they going to find gainful employment? Whereas Palestinians might falter in desperation to support their families, it is not “necessary” for the Israelis to demolish and destroy Palestinian homes, nor to strangle them in regard to employment. I trust this is a simple enough observation for you.

      • nicschlagman
        December 8, 2009, 8:38 am

        vr – it is less than necessary, it is illegal and immoral.

        pursuit of ‘gainful employment’ is a lousy excuse for building the settlements that undermine your national self determination.

        they should stop building settlements – are they stupid?

      • VR
        December 8, 2009, 1:02 pm

        nicschlagman, when you live in an illegal and immoral environment which Israel has created, sometimes only the “illegal and immoral” is the only option given. It is also well known that rather than providing the medical care for the Palestinians that some are blackmailed to become informants, some watch the prospect of their children wither away physically – should they let them die? Those are the choices that are given, whether it be building settlements or getting health care, that Palestinians face. I would say, rather than trying to vilify the Palestinians (which I think your goal is), that you should expose the genocidal system which causes these things you say are “illegal and immoral” to take place.

        Were black men stupid for trying to gain employment in the South during the Jim Crow era? Keep in mind, even though there are many parallels to this time in the USA, that Israeli apartheid and occupation are much worse. So lets move away from the Zionist tradition of trying to blame the victim. Your argument is no argument, because it totally ignores the murderous and obvous trend of pauperisation inflicted on the Palestinians. It is similar to arguments I have heard many times before (especially from a historical perspective, about the “missed opportunity” charges).

        One time I was in the company of people of your seeming persuasion, it showed children carrying weapons in Gaza – the only arguments that could come from the floor were “how could the Palestinians allow them to have weapons?” The film was during the first intifada, I reversed the tables and condemned the Israeli government for putting them in such situations where their children had to grow up in violence – another case of blaming the victims, trying to imply that they did not care for their children (one in a long string of attempts to argue that the Palestinians are “so other” that they do not care for their children like we do). It was like setting a bomb off in the place, but it had to be done, because the arguments are not merely ancillary, but decidedly twisted to accuse the victims. You could just as well argue “why were their marches in Alabama made by MLK,” or “why did violence seem to erupt during the riots of yesteryear, etc.?” Fallacious arguments.

      • Richard Witty
        December 8, 2009, 1:15 pm

        Settlement construction is not necessary.

      • Chaos4700
        December 8, 2009, 2:32 pm

        Need we remind you that the entirety of Israel is, in essence, settlement construction?

      • nicschlagman
        December 8, 2009, 2:34 pm

        vr – you are welcome to google me and find out who i am. it may not be what you think. i don’t think i am one of ‘them’ per se.

        my question was quite innocent and i see your point. i certainly understand turning to violence and aggression as a result of your environment. this i see every day in my work with refugees and survivors of genocide.

        my point is just that you don’t find Jewish labourers building houses in the settlements, only Palestinian ones. this is stupid, they should stop.

        it is not quite ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’ but something similar.

      • David Samel
        December 8, 2009, 2:48 pm

        I’m with VR on this. It’s easy to criticize, but when Israel forces a high unemployment rate and stifling poverty on the area, they know they’re going to find cheap labor among the Palestinians. I have heard that these workers try to keep a low profile and do not like to be filmed, for obvious reasons. I’m sure that there are many who would refuse to do this work out of principle, but there’s no shortage of those who would prefer to feed their families. This is hardly an unusual situation.

      • nicschlagman
        December 8, 2009, 3:43 pm


        it is easy to criticise. in the grander scale of the issues raised in the news piece it is not so comment worthy.

      • potsherd
        December 8, 2009, 4:23 pm

        Actually the settler fanatics do their own construction, just about the only Israeli Jews who do that kind of manual labor.

  3. Richard Witty
    December 8, 2009, 4:21 am

    Zionism is Jewish self-determination.

    And, if you are against the principle of a society self-governing, then you would continue the phrase “Zionism is racism”, when to a humanistic the phrase “Anti-Zionism is racism” is equally true.

    If you are a Palestinian nationalist, that is an oil and water relationship to Zionism. It is not a co-existence.

    Acceptance of the other’s basis of self-identity, is a different question than accepting being marginalized for one’s own identity.

    The war between Palestinian nationalism and Jewish nationalism is a war. The reconciliation between Palestinian experience and Jewish experience is something else.

    • Shingo
      December 8, 2009, 6:28 am

      “Zionism is Jewish self-determination.”

      No it’s not. Zionism is an ideology based on racial and ethnic superiority and segregation. The principal of self governance does not legimitise doing so at the expense fo an indigenous population.

      “If you are a Palestinian nationalist, that is an oil and water relationship to Zionism. It is not a co-existence.”

      That’s the way you woudl prefer it to remain because you are adamently opposed to a single state. There is no war between Palestinian nationalism and Jewish nationalism. There is a massive crime being being perpetrated in the name of one nation establishing itself at the expense of another.

      • Richard Witty
        December 8, 2009, 9:11 am

        “Zionism is an ideology based on racial and ethnic superiority ”

        Of the 30 or so Israelis or former Israelis that I know, that is NONE of their definition of Zionism (in their own language or figuratively).

        It is your definition, an imposed one. That you regard all approaches to Zionism as unified, prevents me and other liberal Zionists from any substantive common cause with you.

        We agree on treating Palestinians better, but you present oil and water, and then insisting that it remain shaken.

      • Chaos4700
        December 8, 2009, 9:55 am

        So? Your Israeli friends say one thing, and they do another. I suppose I understand why you sympathize with that perspective.

      • Shingo
        December 8, 2009, 3:22 pm

        “Of the 30 or so Israelis or former Israelis that I know…”

        So your argument comes down to the Isrealis you know and that they seem nice.

        Zionism is defined by the way it is practised and the realities of it’s existence, which are entirely about racial and ethnic superiority. The fact is that even if your 30 Israelis believed in racial and ethnic superiority, you wouldn’t admit it, or worse still, agree with them and thus don’t regard it as racial and ethnic superiority.

        You’ve already established that you opposed BDS, but support the blockade of Gaza. You also established that you believe it is incumbnt upon the Palestinains to renounce resistance and violence, but not Israel.

        While the majority of Israelis support Israelis policies, Zionism is what it is. I’m sure there were some very nice Nazis , but who would argue it’s a worthwhile cause?

      • nicschlagman
        December 8, 2009, 3:47 pm

        this reply reminds me of god talking to abraham about sdom and amora. you go with god and i guess i would go with abraham.

        i am a zionist and it isn’t a dirty word

      • potsherd
        December 8, 2009, 4:29 pm

        It really is a dirty word. Zionism declares the right of the Jews to dispossess the Palestinians of their homes in the land of Palestine and take them for themselves. How can this not be obscene?

      • nicschlagman
        December 8, 2009, 5:04 pm

        no. it is my right to come and live on the land of israel.

        it is actually quite beautiful

        for sure there are times when you can only see the bad things and it seems to tinge it all, many friends express the same things. mostly however walking the land, watching the sunset, hiking the hills it is quite breathtaking, i feel lucky to live here, i often think if my family back the generations are watching they would be smiling.

        sorry if this winds you up

      • potsherd
        December 8, 2009, 5:35 pm

        “The bride is beautiful, but she already has a husband.”

        Wherefore hast thou despised the word of the LORD, to do that which is evil in My sight? Uriah the Hittite thou hast smitten with the sword, and his wife thou hast taken to be thy wife, and him thou hast slain with the sword of the children of Ammon.

        לְNow therefore, the sword shall never depart from thy house; because thou hast despised Me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.

        Thus saith the LORD: Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.

        because by this deed thou hast greatly blasphemed the enemies of the LORD, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

        So as it is written, so let it be.

      • Oscar
        December 8, 2009, 5:52 pm

        Wow, nicschlagman, that is a beautiful description. Wish there was a camera, that would show you in your peaceful home, with the sun setting behind the hills, and you, sighing with satisfaction as you sip a glass of wine in celebration of another wonderful day. . .

        CUT TO: Occupied Palestine, 20 miles away. A montage of scenes of unimaginable brutality . . . White phosphorus bombs incinerating screaming Palestinian children . . . IDF soldiers shooting an elderly Palestinian woman to death because she doesn’t understand their commands in Hebrew . . . a gang of violent settlers beating up a Palestinian farmer, uprooting his olive trees and setting his farm aflame as IDF soldiers look on idly . . . a 6-year-old girl with a heart condition, quietly slipping away to death, as her bereaved family is held up at an IDF checkpoint for five hours en route to the hospital . . . a modified Caterpillar bulldozer destroying the home of a Palestinian family who has lived on the land for three generations because “they don’t have a valid building permit” . . . the peaceful American protester who is seriously injured when a high-velocity tear gas canister is intentionally aimed at his head by a 19-year-old IDF soldier, crushing his skull . . . a middle-of-the-night raid by IDF soldiers who burst into a Palestinian home and abduct a 13-year-old boy from his bed, taking him to a prison without charging him, where he’ll languish for 16 months . . .

        CUT BACK TO: nicschlagman, watching the sun peacefully slip behind the hills of his home, as he finishes the glass of fine Israeli wine with a sense of self-satisfaction. He sighs, turns to the camera and says: “i feel lucky to live here, i often think if my family back the generations are watching they would be smiling.”

      • nicschlagman
        December 8, 2009, 6:42 pm

        potsheard – i like the first line, very drole

        natan’s rebuke goes a bit over my head but my hebrew name is david.

        oscar – this is a bit sensationalist. i am in palestine regularly enough participating in tours and demonstrations to know that is not the life of the the average palestinian. i take satisfaction from my life because i work hard and act to change things, as do many palestinians. life doesn’t need to be so doom and gloom.

        and mine is a goldstar.

    • MRW
      December 8, 2009, 6:43 am

      Self-governing has zip to do with Zionism. Ali-Abunimah said it best in his Haaretz interview (which I’ve posted elsewhere here and am repeating.)

      “It’s important to understand the the Jews of the world aren’t allowed to hold someone’s house as collateral in case the house they live in now burns. This idea that it’s the right of a limited number of Jews to hold on to this land, while oppressing the indigenous population as an insurance policy for people who don’t live here is absurd. Zionism presumed to create a safe haven for Jews. In effect, the majority of world Jews choose not to live in it, it’s a safe haven for no one, and to the people who live in it, an insurance policy is citizenship in another country, preferably one in the European Union.”

    • Citizen
      December 8, 2009, 7:26 am

      Moor: “The language that serves to obscure is language that permits the oppressor to persist in his lie. “Zionism is Jewish supremacy” is the antidote to “Zionism is Jewish self-determination.””

      Witty: ” Zionism is Jewish self-determination.”

      Shingo: “Zionism is an ideology based on racial and ethnic superiority and segregation. The principal of self governance does not legimitise doing so at the expense fo an indigenous population.”

      Are there any limits to the concept of “self-determination?” If so what are they?
      If not, should there be limits? Is there any limits to the basis of self-identity? What is a crime?

      • Citizen
        December 8, 2009, 9:08 am

        Here’s a 20 page article tracing the history of “self-determination” in the context
        of foreign policy:
        link to

    • Sin Nombre
      December 8, 2009, 9:11 am

      Richard Witty wrote:

      “Zionism is Jewish self-determination.”

      Okay, but on what basis then could you object to, say, the Nazi regime in Germany given that it could equally be seen as merely “German self-determination”?

      None whatsoever it seems to me. Nor would you have any basis (except that of naked self-interest) to object to any other ethnic’s hostility to jews living amongst them.

      You can’t have it both ways Mr. Witty.

      • Richard Witty
        December 8, 2009, 9:15 am

        Its clear to me that Israel can potentially be Jewish and democratic. They are not contradictions, and the parallel to nazi Germany is absurd.

        Israel is only partially simultaneiously Jewish AND democratic currently, and needs reform-minded individuals to make it more democratic.

        Either/or rather than reform is the trivial formula.

      • Chaos4700
        December 8, 2009, 9:54 am

        “Partially” democratic, huh? That sounds like an admission that Israel does, in fact, consider non-Jews to be second class citizens. I suppose we can expect to hear you talk about “partial” war crimes, too.

      • Sin Nombre
        December 8, 2009, 1:31 pm

        Mr. Witty, it’s hardly a refutation of the validity of a comparison to simply say that it’s “absurd.” In fact it’s called “dodging.”

        Why don’t you just face it and argue it out: You believe that for whatever reason(s) a Zionist state can morally do things that no others can, period.

        People will accept a double standard if there’s sufficient reason to honor same, you know. All you are doing by denying the former is impliedly agreeing to the absence of the latter.

      • Shingo
        December 8, 2009, 4:00 pm

        “Its clear to me that Israel can potentially be Jewish and democratic.”

        It is clear yo you because you’ve mastered the art of suspending disbelief and ignoring contradictions. You are right of course, Israel is only partially democratic, because that’s all it can be while it remains Jewish.

      • Richard Witty
        December 9, 2009, 3:58 am

        I don’t get your conclusion from any point that I stated.

        “You believe that for whatever reason(s) a Zionist state can morally do things that no others can, period. ”

        I believe that a Zionist national state can anything that any national state can do.

        That is the OPPOSSITE of double standard.

  4. Richard Witty
    December 8, 2009, 4:39 am

    Kedar is not representative of my views.

    • Richard Witty
      December 8, 2009, 4:51 am

      For example, on the question of Jewish capital and/or Palestinian capital in Jerusalem, the most that his siting of historical seat of governance, leads to is a sentiment of affinity, that ignores the present. “You can’t always get what you want”.

      If Palestine desires East Jerusalem as its capital, that’s wonderful by me. The present is what controls, hopefully not for provocation, but for reconciliation. There is no necessity for Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. Its sentiment solely. There have been other seats of government in Israel as well.

      Ali’s “one-state” advocacy is critical and colors EVERY discussion that he is a part of, in that it does represent an either/or approach resulting in the elimination of Israel, even as there are elements that appear to be democratic.

      The choice to partition is still the best choice, and according to all internationally reputable polls that I’ve read, is the choice by the VAST majority of both Israelis and Palestinians (at least of those that don’t have a land-lust and/or political control over the other, as a goal).

      • Donald
        December 8, 2009, 10:31 am

        ” according to all internationally reputable polls that I’ve read, is the choice by the VAST majority of both Israelis and Palestinians ”

        An important point if true. I place more importance on what the Palestinians want, as the aggrieved party–obviously the Israeli side, having swiped most of the land, would prefer a two state solution where they keep most of what they conquered. But it may be that most Palestinians don’t wish to live with Israelis.

        In the long run, the sensible solution would be a secular one state democracy for all, but that has to be something the people there want for themselves.

      • potsherd
        December 8, 2009, 10:48 am

        My own sense, which is hardly authoritative, is that Palestinians would be more willing to live with Jews than Jews would be willing to live with Palestinians. Too many Jews don’t even want to live near other Jews if they aren’t the right kind of Jews. I srael is a segregationist society.

      • Oscar
        December 8, 2009, 10:59 am

        I still don’t understand how so many participants at Mondo still believe Israel can be trusted to be in charge of a single-state solution.

        All the Arabic street signs are being changed to Hebrew, East Jerusalem residents are having their citizenships revoked arbitrarily, no building permits are allowed for non-Jews, the settlers are murderous thugs, the 20% Arab-Israeli population is being discriminated against and marginalized, and the rhetoric from the Knesset is of monolithic Semitic-superiority.

        In a one-state solution, Greater Israel will always seek to push out the indigenous population, and will do it through institutionalized discrimination and apartheid, which will have been unwittingly enabled by US tapayers.

      • Chaos4700
        December 8, 2009, 11:04 am

        I still don’t understand how so many participants at Mondo still believe Israel can be trusted to be in charge of a single-state solution.

        We don’t. But “Israel” as it exists today wouldn’t be in charge of a unified democratic state. A two-state solution is no longer viable — and even it were, really, what’s going to stop Israel from repeating history and invading it a couple of decades later?

      • potsherd
        December 8, 2009, 12:06 pm

        It’s interesting that while some people assume that a one-state solution would just be a Greater Israel, others insist that it would be an Islamic state with Jews reduced to “dhimmitude.”

  5. MRW
    December 8, 2009, 6:36 am

    Mordechai Kedar is a repellent piece of business. And his knowledge of history is farkakte.

    • James Bradley
      December 8, 2009, 3:54 pm

      My favorite part is how he claims that “Ramallah” is the ancient capital of the Palestinian people.

      Never mind the fact that Ramallah wasen’t founded until 500 years ago, while Palestinians have lived in Jerusalam for thousands of years.

      And his Bedouin comments… wow…

      He actually tried to claim that he has more of a right to the land as someone whose been there for 60 years tops, while a Palestinian that can trace his lineage for hundreds of years in Palestine is merely an intruder….


      • David Samel
        December 8, 2009, 4:22 pm

        He seems to harbor a great deal of resentment about his parents being expelled from East Jerusalem in 1948. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, and assuming it is true, does he not understand that there are millions of Palestinians whose families were expelled from their homes exactly the same time. Does he not understand that they might still be somewhat unwilling to get over it?

  6. andrewfelluss
    December 8, 2009, 6:40 am

    great points Ahmed..
    euphemisms confuse the general public, and give too much credibility to Zionism..

  7. Rehmat
    December 8, 2009, 6:56 am

    Such debates have the usual agenda of confusing the Palestinian issue – which in simple world is that Israel is is the world’s only remaining colonial power. The participants’ views expressed in this particular debate are far away from historical truth and to some extent laughable.

    For example, how can someone expect EU to ban Israel when the later is not a member of EU? YES, Israel participate in various EU events but because powerful Jewish lobby groups want their governments to be on the side of the Zionist-regime. Looking at the number of ZOGs controlling the EU – only some naive would conclude that EU would fight for Palestinian rights.

    As for Jerusalem position – it never was capital of a Jewish state for more than 40 years – when it was over-run by the Babylonian forces after the death of King Solomom. The city has been in the hands of Muslims for more than 1100 years in the modern times. If some fool believes in ancestral rights then he should demand White folks to leave the US, Australia and New Zealand as those countries belonged to the Natives who had lived 5000 year before the European hordes arrived there.

    Al-Jazeera is propaganda tool of the western puppet regimes controlling the Muslim world on behlf of the past western colonial powers. These hypocrites are waiting for the opportunity for the destruction of Islamic Resistance in both Palestine and Lebanon – so they can rush to recognize Israel as the “Jewish state” which would elimminate any possibility of Native recovering their fatherland from the European Jews.

    Israeli Chutzpahs
    link to

    • Chaos4700
      December 8, 2009, 11:08 am

      Israel is is the world’s only remaining colonial power

      Ahem. Rehmat, you seem to be forgetting both the United States and China — and, arguably, Russia and even still to a lesser extent, Great Britain. Israel is a colonial power but it isn’t quite the only remaining one.

      • Chaos4700
        December 8, 2009, 11:25 am

        For that matter, there’s also the Moroccan occupation of West Sahara.

  8. Oscar
    December 8, 2009, 9:29 am

    You’ll only see this on al-Jazeera. Not on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC. It is interesting to see the EU rise up on this issue and make bold statements that American politicans are unable to make without genuflecting with the required AIPAC-authored lines “unshakable bond” and “we support Israel’s right to defend itself.”

    Hillary Clinton knows where her bread is buttered. She’s got a not-so-secret plan to run for the Democratic nomination in a few years as the buyer’s remorse on the Obama presidency fully sets in. That’s why she was lobbying the Quartet and Russia to issue a statement in support of Netanyahu’s “freeze” while also calling Israel a Jewish state and suggesting that “facts on the ground” will trump the ’67 borders. Russia had to turn thumbs down on this ridiculous proclamation.

    Kudos to the EU for standing up on this issue. For once, I disagree with Ali — words are important. If the EU endorses a division of Jerusalem, and Israel disregards it, the matter simply creates global headlines for BDS. Any publicity is good publicity. (It also outs the US as a puppet of the Likudniks.)

    • potsherd
      December 8, 2009, 10:20 am

      The post this morning on the Council of Foreign Relations confirms this. The more people know, the more the AIPAC line is seen as raw propaganda.

  9. Danaa
    December 8, 2009, 11:54 am

    “zionism is jewish self-determination” das spracht witty.

    What needs to be subjected to scrutiny here IMO, are the two first words “zionism” and “jewish” rather than the expression “self-determination”, which leads to too much circular argumentation. That is, if it doesn’t go on a tangent.

    zionism implies an attachment to zion, which begs the question: what – or where- is “zion”?

    jewish implies that there is some kind of general agreement on “who is jewish”

    Both words have far more ambiguity hidden in them than is acknowledged, which is why zarathustra’s (oops, witty) statement – is an invitation to a duel, and a prelude to discord, rather than some agreed-upon, formulatic, self-evident truism like, say, “peace on earth”?. That many focus on “self determination” is bound to lead, I think, to fruitless dialectic wrestling with linguistic ghosts. Not that it’s wrong; it just tends to go way too far afield, which plays into the zionist’s hands. For whom obscuration is oxygen in the sea they swim in.

    So, is witty a true zionist? let’s look closer:

    Point 1: zionism can be interpreted universally, as many rabbis have through the ages. where is the true zion is the right question. some would say the US is the real thing, in which case jerusalem is new york – a place where the human condition plays out, with the jews as key (not the only) players.

    — So witty is, in fact, a confused zionist, not realizing that the jews have, in fact, arrived, just not in the place he thinks (homework for witty: describe “arrival” – chabad rabbi available as tutor).

    Point 2: jewish then is something found more prevalently in the US than in Israel. The latter is populated by judaens (to use avishai’s expression, slightly twisted, of course, in the interest of clarity). The Judaens’ heritage goes straight to the maccabis, which is why Israel looks like a warrior state rather than a ‘democratic” one. had the maccabis of old gotten their way with the Romans, the Israel they would have presided over would have looked somewhat like today’s israel, a place where exclusion rules, and “purity of arms” is taken as the foundation of democracy. In other words, the maccabis’ israel would be more like sparta – with drops of athens thrown into the mix, to make it more palatable.

    — witty is not – and could never be – a maccabi (not enough “purity of arms” I suspect). But he is, in fact, jewish, in the truer, original biblical/talmudic, sense.

    Point 3: so what of the all-purpose “self determinism” then? I’d argue that in some sense it has already been realized – in the US, the true zion. I’d further argue that this, more advanced, more fluid form of “self determinism” – a very american concept – has been twisted and corrupted by an envious first zion, the judaens’ state. and therein lies the great danger – and I don’t mean the linguistic one.

    witty cannot see this, BTW, because he is a citizen of the zion not founded by judaens, but by jews. who were finally actualized in america. so he keeps having visions of athens, without realizing that it’s spartan ideals (the maccabis, if you will) that the state of israel is founded upon.

    Point 4 (a throw-away point): both sparta and athens had what we’d call, “partial” democracy.

    shall we discuss, witty?

    caveat: this is not an invitation to dispute whether america is [still] a democracy. another subject, another day.

    Ahmed: sorry for the thread-jack. it happens here — yours was the good post, but the subject of linguistic casualties is just too tempting for some of us….

    • Richard Witty
      December 8, 2009, 12:10 pm

      Identity is more self-defining than your “analysis”.

      People are Jewish because they believe and say they are. That’s why the term is “self-determination”.

      If the majority of the population within both Israel and the West Bank called themselves “Palestinian”, then the single-state would be the rational mode of self-governance.

      I don’t see it. Even if it were only Zionists that sought to live in a separate state, and even if a minority of the total population from river to sea (not the current demography), it would still be the most democratic outcome.

      There are other voting methodologies than one-person one-vote that are described as MORE democratic, more informative of popular will.

      Options include:
      1. One person – three votes (Individuals can vote all three for a candidate that they care deeply about, or split their votes if they favor a candidate but can accept the other).
      2. Instant runoff – In that a voter expresses first choice, then if no majority a second choice, and again, with the result that some candidate or position receives a majority accepting the candidate.

      The ONLY way that civil single-state Palestine or whatever called would be the most just, the most democratic, would be if a majority preferred civil parties to nationalist ones, civil parties that could have counterparts in other jurisdictions.

      The single-state, pro-Palestinian, BDS advocates do not actively pursue that effort, for the acknowledgement that Israel is Israel, participated in (not boycotted).

      • Chaos4700
        December 8, 2009, 12:25 pm

        Pretty soon, Witty is going to have to put every single noun in his post in quotation marks.

  10. wondering jew
    December 8, 2009, 7:03 pm

    Al Jazeera invited Professor Kedar to represent the Israeli point of view because they know that he foams at the mouth and thus they wish to represent Israel as intemperate. (There are indeed many intemperate Israelis, but there are also temperate ones.)

    I would like to relate to one point raised by Ahmed Moor: “Finally, Mr. Kedar reminded us that Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew. I laughed a little when he first mentioned it; to me, Jesus Christ was always a Palestinian.”

    Ahmed Moor is not up on the current anti hasbara line of argument on this site, which is that it is possible to be both Palestinian and Jewish and that before the Zionist movement that Palestinian Jews, Muslims and Christians lived in peace.

    I think if we asked Jesus “What are you?” he would have answered a Jew and if one would have proposed to him that he was a Palestinian, he would have laughed.

    The Jewish attitude towards Jesus is diverse, from those who accept certain negative passages in the Talmud as referring to Jesus and considering him a blasphemer (for proclaiming that the only way to the father is through the son) to others who accept him as a great rabbi.

    The current liberal Jewish point of view adopts Jesus as one of us and rejects Paul as being a troublemaker who introduced most of the Jew hating into the Christian point of view and also combined Judaism with paganism.

    But to label Jesus as a Palestinian is purely anachronistic.

    (Another metaphorical point: Palestinians see themselves as the underdogs and Jesus as the friend of the underdog makes them kinsmen.)

    • Cliff
      December 8, 2009, 7:27 pm

      Palestinians don’t ‘see’ themselves as underdogs. They ARE underdogs.

      And the point was metaphorical and that’s why it makes sense.

      Jesus Christ was a dissident. He was crucified for his dissidence. He was an underdog.

      His Jewishness is irrelevant in this context because you mean it purely in a materialistic sense.

      Tell me, why the hell would Jesus Christ be a Zionist? Why would he support colonialism?

      Zionism is pure bullshit. One of the key elements of the Zionist narrative is the 48′ War and how the Arab armies ganged up on Israel out of nowhere.

      But upon reading the history, it’s much more complex. The ethnic cleansing took place months and months before the declaration of the Jewish State. Then there was the half-hearted nature of the effort on part of the Arab armies – I mean there was all sorts of political games going on behind the scenes and it’s not like they were defending their fellow Palestinian brothers out of love.

      And most of the fighting took place inside the Palestinian side of the partition.

      This original story, has all the themes that we see today in the present.

      The bullshit Israeli narrative – the mythology.

      Why would Jesus Christ support Zionism? How could he rationalize it? He was a humanist. Zionism is inhumane – like all colonial ideologies.

      Furthermore, the notion that he would ‘laugh’ at either answer is ‘anachronistic’.

    • Chaos4700
      December 8, 2009, 8:30 pm

      Funny, the Zionist excuse for the failings of their verbal persuasivity always always always defaults to, “Well, that wasn’t the right person to speak for Zionism.”

      So who is, then?

      • James Bradley
        December 8, 2009, 8:51 pm

        Professor Kader, I’m sorry to say, foams at the mouth just like all the trolls defending Zionism do here.

        He even repeats the same lies over and over again in a vain attempt to justify his murderous idealogy.

        Zionism is inhumane, deal with it.

  11. wondering jew
    December 8, 2009, 7:41 pm

    Jesus was crucified because he questioned the ruling elite which was Rome and the Herodians. Jesus was Jewish through and through materially and spiritually. When he first came to the people of the Galilee he read Jewish texts and quoted Jewish teachings.

    Cliff, I have never seen you acknowledge that the Jews were in trouble in the years between 1933 and 1945 and that the survival rate for Jews in Mandate Palestine was higher than the survival rate of Jews in Europe.

    Jesus loved Jerusalem and hated the sword (although he said that he came to bring a sword of destruction upon Jerusalem, so he was a man of contradictions.)

    Martin Buber was a Zionist. His form of Zionism did not triumph, but rather the Zionism of Ben Gurion triumphed in the short run. If there is to be peace between the Palestinian Arabs and the Jews, then the Zionism of Buber should be at least acknowledged by those that wish to disassemble the current Israeli sovereignty.

    To ignore the historical circumstance of what drove the Jews towards Zionism is to harden one’s heart to the past and to the future.

    • Chaos4700
      December 8, 2009, 8:35 pm

      So you beat us over the head with the “historical circumstances of what drove Jews toward Zionism” and simultaneously point out that “the survival rate for Jews in Mandate Palestine was higher than the survival rate of Jews in Europe” — in other words, that Jews were safe in Palestine before Israel.

      Of course, what you also fail to reconcile is how former Jews who converted to Islam, having lived in Palestine the whole time, are deprived of their rights, whereas Jews who are are, in many causes, ostensibly descendants of Khazaria, are priveleged over them.

      • Chaos4700
        December 8, 2009, 8:36 pm

        Make that Islam and Christianity. Shouldn’t have forgotten that.

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