Meet the Post-zionist Zionists: Jesse Fox

This post is part of a week-long series of interviews with Jewish Israelis discussing their connection to the idea of Zionism. We hope this series will spark a conversation over the what Zionism means today. For more on these interviews see this post.

Jesse FoxJesse Fox

Urban planner and activist Jesse Fox is less encouraged by some of the changes he sees in Israel’s cities. He points to the growing rifts in Jerusalem as a dark harbinger for the country’s future, “The Arabs are excluded. The Orthodox and the secular wrestle each other for control… I’m concerned Israel will devolve into tribal warfare, like Lebanon.”

Fox also sees trouble in less obvious places, like the gated communities in Herzliya Petuach. “It’s a trend towards creating bubbles,” he remarks.

Though it seems like Israelis who depart the so-called bubble of Tel Aviv for nearby Jaffa are moving towards integration, Fox, 27, resident of Jaffa and student of Arabic, says, “The rich people who come shut themselves in. They are aliens to both the Arabs and the poor Jews that live in Yafo [the Hebrew word for Jaffa]. Gentrification isn’t coexistence… it’s a continuation of a war for territory.”

But there is a bright spot in Tel Aviv-Yafo [the Israeli term for the broader municipality that combines Tel Aviv and Jaffa]. “Look at Ir LeKulanu,” Fox says, referring to the local political party City for All. “A year ago, they were agitating against developers. Now they’re on the city council.”

Fox calls Ir LeKulanu a “red-green movement.” While Ir LeKulanu bills itself as an “urban non-party group,” not as a communist party, it does seek to move the city out of developers’ hands and deliver it back to the people.

In tackling issues related to development—such as sprawl, increasing dependence on cars, and the resulting pollution—Ir LeKulanu naturally addresses environmental concerns. This focus, Fox says, is the way to achieve “sustainability in a Zionist context.”

And this new vision is slowly catching on, according to Fox, "The planning institutions in Israel are trying to move away from building the American/Israeli dream – single family, suburban homes with lawns and driveways – and toward denser, more compact cities, and that’s positive."

Fox, who immigrated to Israel from the United States nearly a decade ago, explains that his vision of Zionism is an Israel that is deeply integrated into the Middle East—via culture and resources. “The way forward for the whole region is through joint environmental action,” he comments. “We need to think about resources or in ten years we won’t have anything… We need to share water with the Palestinians and our other neighbors.”

Friends of the Earth Middle East, an organization comprised of Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian environmental activists is, Fox says, a spearhead for sustaining the region’s environment and fostering peace. FoEME’s cross border projects help both sides to “see that the people on the other side of the border exist… What this organization is doing is profound.”

Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 204 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Mooser says:

    So where is the “post”-Zionism? Because this fellow is just a little too smart to actually appear murderous in his speech?

    Why is Mondoweiss running an hasbara series?

  2. Mooser says:

    So far, we’ve got two Witty’s! I just can’t wait for the third example of Israelis who have mastered the art of counciliatory obfuscation.

    This has been their schtick for how many years?

    • Mooser says:

      Oh, and a traitor to the US, too. Rejected one of the greatest privileges anyone could have, to be Jewish in the US. Aww, bubele, did somebody call you a name?

      Gee, I wonder how hard it would be to find a similiar series on the “new South Africans” in the late apartheid days. Pretty easy, I bet.

      Just more of that good old hasbara, improving the “brand Israeli”

  3. It’s only a hasbara series if you don’t offer a critique. We wanted to help show the diversity of opinion of Israelis toward Zionism, and have those opinions be dissected and discussed. That doesn’t mean you can’t criticize. Is it important that not all Israelis share the opinions of right-wing settlers? Does it matter in the long run?

    Do you think such a thing as post-Zionism is possible?

  4. I’m glad that Adam and Phil are actually bothering to post some of the examples of humane Zionism.

    The human beings themselves are attempting to be whole, good, human beings, living and let living.

    Not politically fixated, life fixated.

    • sammy says:

      How is he life fixated? Did he give his home and resources in the US to a Palestinian?

      • yonira says:

        No he didn’t, and he didn’t take any Palestinian’s home either, he is 27.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          And how many Israelis have taken Palestinian’s homes, yonira?

        • yonira says:

          Chaos, you are like a broken record, there were many homes taken by Israelis, I am currently reading a book about one now. But that’s not what I asked, I asked if this specific gentlemen stole any Palestinians home as a response to Sammy.

          Is this another example of running circles around the Zionist agents Chaos?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Witty’s not an “agent,” he’s a poor unemployed farce of an academic. Don’t flatter him. Or yourself, for that matter, you’re just a frigid hag who couldn’t care less about anyone who’s not part of your Jewish country club.

        • yonira says:

          Or yourself, for that matter, you’re just a frigid hag who couldn’t care less about anyone who’s not part of your Jewish country club

          regardless of how many times I say the exact opposite huh Chaos?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          That only makes you a blatant hypocrite. Sorry.

        • tree says:

          Israel has continued to confiscate land from Palestinians up until today(and it will continue tomorrow). They do it within the greenline as well as in the occupied territories. Phil had a post last year about the more recent confiscations in Jaffa. Has Jesse Fox, as an Israeli Jew, directly and personally profited from the Jewish State’s continuing confiscation of Palestinian land to serve the exclusive needs of Jews? We don’t know. But it can’t be simply dismissed out of hand because he is only 27, or even because he only moved to Israel 10 years ago.

          Another link on the same subject from 2008:
          link to

        • tree says:

          Chaos, you have valid opinions to share here, but when you devolve into ad hominems and slurs it really doesn’t add anything helpful and it just becomes tedious to read . Please try to refrain. And I’d say the same thing for yonira.

          And frankly, on a personal note, since you have both self-identified as males here, this female is getting a little bit pissed at both of you attempting to shame the other by repeating derogatory names for females as if that’s the ultimate insult for another male to be mistaken for a female.

          Sorry if I offend, but the continuing personal animosity is grating and supremely un-informative.

        • yonira says:

          Thanks tree, I’ll refrain.

        • Mooser says:

          “regardless of how many times I say the exact opposite huh Chaos?”

          I agree, Yoni. “Frigid” is a sexist and male-medico-hierarchical term to indict women who their sexuality doesn’t conform to the current norm. I reject its use, and the phoney concept that there is some normative level of sexual sexiness all women must aspire to. There is no need whatsoever for you to be dis-empowered by these male chauvanist concepts.
          Chastity and modesty are womanly virtues which no amount of post-modernist assailing will ever tarnish. Thine alabaster titties gleam!

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Sorry, I thought yonira expressed female gender in a prior post. That was a genuine mistake on my part. I rather wish English had a gender neutral sentient pronoun.

          I will not, however, apologize. I didn’t set the tone for these interactions and I’ll be damned if I get blamed just because I’m better at insult swordplay. You want to lecture someone? You should maybe be there when people like yonira OhioJoes start these exchanges.

        • tree says:

          No need for apologies. I just think that tit for tat insults are counterproductive here. I made the same recommendation to yonira, and am glad that OJ has been banned as he seemed incapable of doing anything BUT making cheap insulting remarks.(I reported him for abuse precisely because of that.)

          You on the other hand are capable of more and I appreciate hearing your take on the issues. No one here has to follow my recommendations, you included, but I think in the case of serial insults, it is disheartening to other posters and distracting to the question at hand. But we are all free to do what we feel is best, subject to Adam’s and Phil’s moderation of their blog. In my case that included requesting an end to the multipost barb exchange. What you feel is best is totally up to you.

        • tree says:

          And thanks for hearing me out, yonira.

        • yonira says:

          Well I apologize to you Chaos

        • Mooser says:

          OJ got banned? Gosh, that makes two, first Salon and now Mondoweiss. My, he just runs around making friends and influencing people, huh?
          Oh well, maybe he’s out of a job and he can use that in his resume applying for a job with AIPAC.

  5. sammy says:

    I don’t understand why he immigrated to Israel from the United States, I assume he was born in the United States? What are his reasons for leaving the country where he was born and grew up to move to one where he is given entry simply because he is a Jew?

    • Mooser says:

      It’s because he is post-Zionist, don’t you see?

      I mean c’mon, what’s more important, that the Israelis stop wiping out the Palestinians, or that Jewish self-identity is worked out in its own sweet time? I think the answer is obvious to any non-anti-Semite, if such a thing exists.

    • Citizen says:

      Good question, sammy. You can be a greenie and urbanite sage here in the USA. What are his reasons for leaving the USA? And what do those reasons have to do with any average American or any average Israeli Jew?

      • sammy says:

        No my query is simpler. How is a man who leaves his country of birth, where he received all the benefits of a progressive, secular society and who moves to become part of a state occupation based on artificial race and prehistoric religion while engaged in active ethnic cleansing of the natives, a POST Zionist?

        He’s a zionist. A post Zionist would not become a Zionist. That would be like moving to apartheid South Africa to become post racist. Or joining the SS to become post Nazi.

        • Citizen says:

          OK, so you have a good question for Jesse Fox. After rereading the article, it seems to me he must have gone to live in Israel as a Zionist idealist wishing to
          use his urban planning skills to enhance Jewish life in Israel. But, by now, he’s
          slowly learning his envisioned near-utopia is more fascade than not. Eventually,
          he might even see his birth homeland, the USA, has more than a few things going for it than the comfortable life he led there, growing taller.

  6. link to

    Israeli Court Rules Against Segregated Road

    It looks like Israel itself is “post-Zionist”, at least its courts.

    • Cliff says:

      You’re taking one such case, and implying Israel is ‘post-Zionist in courts’?

      Way to jump the gun.

      For every case like that, there are plenty more that indicate Israel’s racism.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        To say nothing of the fact that the road was built in the first place. That was Zionism that built that road, Witty. That was “Jewish self-determination” after the Zionist regime shuttled its squatters onto Palestinian land in defiance of international law.

      • tree says:

        Nice to see you back, Cliff

    • Chaos4700 says:

      And the wall? The illegal settlements? The flying checkpoints? The “military zones”? The complete evacuation of Palestinians from the Jordan River Valley? What about all of that, Witty?

      Let us know when that ruling ever actually leaves paper, Witty.

    • potsherd says:

      Call us again when the rest of the roads are open.

    • Eva Smagacz says:

      There is no law of precedent in Israel, so this ruling does nothing to any other segregated road, and indeed nothing if the segregation was to be enforced under another pretext.
      There is also shameful history of High Court not punishing anybody for contempt of court if its rulings are ignored, and the ruling is beneficial to non-Jewish apellants.

  7. potsherd says:

    The guy is right to point out the growing segregationist trend in Israel. The triablism is already a problem, with Jews building walls to keep out other Jews, as well as Arabs.

    The problem is in the things he doesn’t say, like the way Israel cynically uses the green movement to push Arabs off their land with the excuse of creating green areas, then after a few years turn them over to some developer who builds Jewish-only housing.

    This is what Zionism is about, but Fox doesn’t really address any such issues. Post-Zionist Zionism seems to be about sticking your head in the sand and pretending Zionism doesn’t exist. Let alone Arabs.

    • Mooser says:

      “Let alone Arabs.”

      Oh, I think they exist for Jesse, but as recipients of the largess Israel is obliged to, by its great Jewish humanism or something, to give them. That they exist as individuals and as a people in the same measure as Jews, no, he doesn’t seem to have any disturbing thoughts about that he is willing to express.
      So I guess we will have to gather the salient facts about this state of post-Zionism by inference, since the terms of the project don’t seem to include actually questioning the subjects.

      So post-Zionism, we can gather, includes no basic, fundamental disagreement with the manner of Israel’s begetting, and no sense at all that this nearly dooms Israel to the same fate suffered by states similarly begot and run?
      And post-Zionism includes no resolve, or at least expressed resolve, to make any change in your own life and sacrificing the gains you have made in Israel?

      Or are we supposed to be overcome with joy because not every Israeli is an out and out bigot and warmonger, and has at least an idea of what sounds good? If so Israel is worse off than I thought.

      • potsherd says:

        Arabs are very important to Zionist developers, because they do all the heavy construction work and mow the grass in nice green areas open only to the right kind of Jews.

    • Citizen says:

      I totally agree that “The problem is in the things he doesn’t say, like the way Israel cynically uses the green movement to push Arabs off their land with the excuse of creating green areas, then after a few years turn them over to some developer who builds Jewish-only housing.”

      Imagine him getting away with this without major flack in the USA, where he was born and raised, and supported and protected by the USA (98% non-jewish).

  8. Mooser says:

    Maybe post-Zonism is a Hebrew word which, although very hard to translate exactly, is used for those deep thinkers in Israel who have decided (out of that great Zionist humanism we hear so much about) to forget about the naqba.
    In fact, more than that, some of them are big enough to completely forgive the Palestinians! And I thought the great age of Jewish humanism was over!

  9. Cliff says:

    When the guy being profiled says ‘share water’ – does he mean, Israel retains control of Palestinian water and simply allows them to have a bit more than they do now?

    What’s with these profiles? Is this a Christmas present for Witty?

  10. Mooser says:

    Here’s a little bit more Mya Guarneri:

    link to

    She answered the article in a comment with a telling bit:

    “First of all, if you were familiar with my work, you would understand that I am not at all in defense of Israel– I have written articles that are critical of Israel’s policies.” (Mya Guarneri)

    There it is again, the notion that the normative position for Israelis is mindless subservience, and writing “articles critical of Israel’s policies” is somehow revolutionary, or absolves one of any complicity with the state.
    Well, I don’t know. Maybe this “Jewish democracy” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and writing “articles critical of Israel’s policies” is indeed a very brave act, or she is mitigating as fast as she can. Oh well, I guess we’ll see.

    • Mooser says:

      Ah, and Mya Guarnieri also wrote the refuseniks article, and many other articles “critical of Israeli policies”.

      Well, maybe by the end of the series I’ll know what “post Zionist” is. If it’s a state which accepts Israel as just another state, albeit with some problems common to all states and some unique ones of its own, I’ll find it very hard to understand.
      But, as everyone knows, I’m one of those “forced-assimilation” Jews Witty talks about . The idea of Jews, as Jews, claiming to a Jewish state is unacceptable on its face (not to mention very stupid) and the idea that Israel could ever exist without being continuously involved in persecution and war is preposterous. Or without a military benefactor.

    • Even to speak about Israel’s nuclear arsenal or its policy of “nuclear opacity” is to risk jail time in Israel.
      Richard Silverstein hosted an Iran-Israel relations conference in Seattle a fortnight ago; several speeches were videotaped link to , including the remarks of Prof Ian Lustick, who said that the only action for which a Jew is punished as harshly as an Arab in Israel is to talk about Israel’s nuclear policy. One “Cohen” offended the censorship regulation and was forced to move to the US, according to Lustick.

      Which just goes to prove once again how Israel is the “only democracy in the Middle East,” and “shares American values.”

    • yonira says:

      What do you want her to do Mooser? what would make her righteous in your eyes? Leave Israel? Move to Gaza? Take up arms?

      • Mooser says:

        “What do you want her to do Mooser?”

        The person in the article, Jesse Fox? From the picture, I think “she” should either shave that beard or see an endocrinoligist, pronto!

      • sammy says:

        If you were in Germany, circa 1944, what would you want the Germans to do?
        To me its very simple. Quit the occupation, stop the oppression, recognise that Jews are human beings and allow them their freedom and self determination in their homeland.

        Anything else would be a charade.

        • Good idea. End the occupation. Establish borders at 67 lines (leave the Kotel in Israel). Seek to be good neighbors to good neighbors. Establish fully democratic law in both Israel and Palestine.

          End the conflict already. Accept Israel per the Arab League proposal. Accept Palestine.

          Lets make it happen.

        • sammy says:

          In my view, the occupation began with the nakba. What would you say if I said, the Holocaust is only what happened in the death camps, the rest is just “collateral damages”. Do NOT undermine or denigrate the ethnic cleansing of a people, Witty. Tomorrow, it could be your kid standing in line for a food parcel.

        • So, the intentional immigration of Jews from Europe and especially after WW2, was not occupation by your definition.

          That is a relaxation of prior rhetoric. I know you don’t speak for all here.

          I don’t denigrate the experience of Palestinians. I contest the logic that external historical events aren’t relevant in consideration of justice issues.

          If you regard the history and prospective future of forced migrations to be so rock hard, then you won’t be able to progressively address continuing social migrations.

          It then renders any homeless community for political or ecological concerns to be permanent. For example, it then prohibits Palestinians that choose to move on to the US, Europe, Lebanon from considering those locations their home, and after three or more generations their permanent home.

          By permanent home, I mean all that they can remember.

          My wife’s permanent home is not Hungary where at least five generations lived, or Israel where she was born, but England where she grew up and now the US where she’s lived for 23 years.

          My childrens’ permanent home is not Hungary, nor New York where I grew up, but the house that they formed their identity in.

          When do Jews become indigenous to the region? If Jews lived in the region for 1500 years until the Christian dominated era, does that make Jews indigenous? If the history of Jews included forced conversions to Islam in order to remain in Palestine, or migration out with any thread of racial and cultural connection in diaspora, does that make Jews indigenous to Palestine?

          Some say yes, some say no.

          That indigenous means functionally where a people lived for maybe 4 coherent centuries, not a few generations.

          But, that is a basis of persecution as well. When I lived in Vermont for six years, some of the old-timers stated that “until you’ve been here for four generations, your a flat-lander”. Now, there are 90+% flatlanders.

          And, when does democratic rights start to your mind? At residence, at multiple generations residence (meaning to survive the ups and downs of modern capitalistic economy).

          And, for someone like Phil, is he then homeless because he’s lived in the town where he resides now for only 2 years or so? Or, is he homeful?

          Or, is that constructed on some psychological basis?

          If a Zionist genuinely loves the land, including loving his neighbors (Palestinian and Jewish), is he/she then indigenous?

          If an otherwise indigenous harms the land (either by some traditional farming methods or new bad habits), are they still indigenous or parasites?

          Hopefully, their methods would be asked to change, not their dispossession.

        • sammy says:

          “When do Jews become indgenous to the region”.

          Jews are not an ethnicity, like Muslims and Christians, they cannot become indigenous to a region. Palestnian Jews are already indigenous.

        • sammy says:

          “If an otherwise indigenous harms the land (either by some traditional farming methods or new bad habits), are they still indigenous or parasites?”

          Indigenous is about genetic geography, it has nothing to do with how they treat the land.

        • “Jews are not an ethnicity, like Muslims.”

          That is very strained logic.

          There is NO PEOPLE that have always been there. Among Palestinians there has been very much migration in and out. That logic would leave a small portion of Palestinians as indigenous, those that have been there for centuries in continuity.

          American Indian “indigenous” migrated from Asia 15,000 years ago (a long time, but also a finite number of generations), and migrated within North America motivated by ecological requirements and tribal wars continually over the period that they were there.

          I personally honor their long presence, even if now mostly assimilated and largely inter-married. And, I also honor those that have recently established homes, even those with no intention of staying multiple generations.

          Home means something. It is both current and potentially historical. It cannot be a fetish, or else I, Phil, you likely will have to move, and to nowhere.

        • sammy says:

          ““Jews are not an ethnicity, like Muslims.”

          That is very strained logic.”

          Actually, its Biology 101. Logic is a mental construct that cannot be proved empirically, ethnicity is a matter of tracing homologous genetic groupings for geographical dispersion.

        • There are multiple genetic strains in Palestinian communities, in Jewish, in really all.

          The world is small and there is much migration and inter-marriage.

          And, there is still continuity, but NEVER pure.

          I thought that you opposed racially defined rights to land.

        • sammy says:

          Who said anything about race? Race is a social construct. We’re talking about indigenous peoples. Get an education.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          …Is it just me, or does it seem like the more we explore Witty’s attitudes, the more we find, ahem, Aryan-style overtones with the constant fixation on genetics?

        • Citizen says:

          Whether or not any people are allowed (by the powers at the time) right to
          claim physical land as their homeland seems to be always a matter of dominant
          politics enforceable by police/state military power. Case in point. Under Nazi
          power, the ethnic Germans had a right to live where they lived for centuries in what became Nazi-occupied territory. From 1945 to 1950 they no longer had
          such a right; they were transferred by the millions (many dying on the way) to Germany proper, although
          they had not lived there for centuries.

          The question for Americans is, what part do you want your government to play in the I-P scenario? And, exactly why? The USA is not defending its
          own security over there. It’s not even really threatened by any power in the Middle East.

        • Citizen says:

          If the question is, how long does your family have had to live there, or how long not, to decide entitlement by being considered “native” to the area with consequential “natural” rights to live there, don’t these two extremes pretty much meet today in Israel, where the reality of the proposition has been turned on its head?

        • Eva Smagacz says:

          If you want to leave Kotel (Western Wall) in Israeli hands, then you have to leave Old City in Israeli hands which means you leave East Jerusalem in Israeli hands which means Israel is STILL, in violation of international law, occupying land it illegally annexed in 1967.

          This is not compatible with establishing the borders at 67 lines.

          Why not use the system that works currently at Temple Mount?
          Allow Jewish worshippers over 45 to attend, subject to crowd control measures by Police.

        • Eva- The Geneva “Accord” reached between Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo in December of 2003 divided the old city between Israel and Palestine, as did the Clinton Parameters of December 2000. The only way Jerusalem will not become a redivided city is to have combined Israeli and Palestinian combined forces patrolling at least part of the city.

        • There is a partition that would retain the ancient Jewish portion of the old city (including the Kotel) while restoring the rest of East Jerusalem to Palestine.

          It will take cooperation and goodwill, as the Al Aqsa Mosque is what 50 yards from the Kotel?

          Partition would prevent Sharon-like demonstrations at the Al Aqsa, though it would then be difficult to police rock-throwing from the Al Aqsa courtyard onto the Kotel.

  11. Nth Republic says:

    “We hope this series will spark a conversation over the what Zionism means today.”

    I suppose I can understand this post and the prior one a little better if I read that over again. It seems that “Zionism” to these folks means accepting or ignoring pressing political problems involving the Palestinians as a nation in diaspora and trying to improve the lot of life of Israel, for the present and future. If that’s the case, then “post-Zionism” isn’t anything different from Zionism after the Nakba, and all Ms. Guarnieri has managed to find are the ideological progeny of the racist “Labor Zionists” that cleansed villages in order to set up kibbutzim and cities to activate class consciousness among the “Jewish proletariat”.

    What I’m curious about is what “Israel” means to the subjects, and that’s not the question being asked. Ms. Fridman seems to be coming to terms with the crimes of the Zionist past, but perhaps not with those of the present, and her views on who should be included in whose democracy are absent from the study. Mr. Fox says, “We need to think about resources or in ten years we won’t have anything… We need to share water with the Palestinians and our other neighbors.” I suppose that works for most of the population in the West Bank and Gaza, as they could be “neighbors”, but does Mr. Fox’s “we” include the roughly 7 million Palestinian refugees living in the diaspora (including the Gaza and WB refugee population)?

    If “post-Zionism” disregards the refugees that want to return to Haifa and Jaffa, etc., then it’s just a euphemism for “Zionism”, and maybe more specifically for “left Zionism” (if there is such a thing, which I don’t think there is).

    • Mooser says:

      Look, most everybody commenting on this thread has, I think we can pretty much agree, objections to the article which seem very similiar to mine. If that is so, let me just remind anyone who can come up with a substantive critique of the article, Adam Horowitz has posted his g-mail address earlier in the thread.

  12. VR says:

    I think the difference these “post-Zionists” make is how they pose for photos. They never look directly into the camera, but sort of pose left or right profiles? LOL That is about as much as this has to do with “post-Zionism.”

    I am afraid I have to agree with Mooser

    • Mooser says:

      “I am afraid I have to agree with Mooser”

      A tough spot to be in. Be aware, my “critique” has been condemned as unsubstantitive, and substantive critiques should be sent by g-mail.

  13. The now three (or more) Jewish generations of residents are indigenous now. It is their home.

    Are you proposing a 200 years war? A fight to prove whether Bosnia is really Serb or Albanian?

    When does the present become the basis of democratic political legitimacy? The 18 year olds are not the individuals that may have (not necessarily) ethnically cleansed during war. They are only individuals living in their home, trying to make it the best that they can.

    • sammy says:

      Do you know the meaning of “indigenous”? You don’t become indigenous by moving someplace and having your kids or grandkids there. You just become citizens, in this case of an occupation. Indigenous means originating in a geographical region. Europeans can never be indigenous to Palestine. No matter which sky daddy they think gave it to them.

      • Mooser says:

        Sammy, that is exactly, to the very word, what I was going to write. You may be ESL (English as Second Language) but you catch on quick!

        “The 18 year olds are not the individuals that may have (not necessarily) ethnically cleansed during war.” Witty

        I agree, Richard, it was really crappy of their parents to leave them with that burden. Maybe if their parents gave a shit about their kids, they wouldn’t have done it, but of course Zionism uber alles
        It’s always somebody else’s fault, it’s always somebody else’s responsibility. It’s never up to the Israelis to atone for their own sins.

      • When do you think a community becomes indigenous? How many generations in a region, in a locale?

        • sammy says:

          You don’t “become” indigenous. You are. The Palestinians show genetic homology which places them in the Levant from the neolithic times. Thats far enough continuous inhabitation for me to consider them indigenous.

    • Mooser says:

      “Are you proposing a 200 years war?”

      Because you figure the US will just resupply Israel over and over, for 200 years? Where on earth would Israel get the resources, oh, and the people, to fight a two hundred year war?
      But then again, like I always say, nobody is more willing to see Jews die than a Zionist-supporter.

      • sammy says:

        What would happen if Israel/Palestine became a state for all its citizens? Oh the horrors, living in a society where Richard Witty is equal to an Arab? Doh. I can just see the Witties decamping post haste to where they can at least be “white”.

        • It would be wonderful if there were societies in which Arabs comprised significant minorities or majorities, which regarded Witty’s as peers, full and equal, integrated.

          Do you think that is possible in Israel/Palestine? Frankly and practically.

          Many of the last posts were of contempt for Jesse Fox for attempting to retain his identity AND his sensitivity simultaneiously.

          What would give me and others like me the confidence to trust that equality would occur permanently, rather than a revolutionary purge?

        • sammy says:

          What would give me and others like me the confidence to trust that equality would occur permanently, rather than a revolutionary purge?

          Dunno. I haven’t heard any condemnation from you for the 60 year purge being carried out by Jewish Nazis.

        • Nth Republic says:

          What would give me and others like me the confidence to trust that equality would occur permanently, rather than a revolutionary purge?

          Why assume that equality isn’t going to occur in perpetuity?

        • Sadly, non answers.

          There is enough evidence to the contrary to put the question into grave doubt.

          It requires a change in attitudes and behaviors to make real, if you are actually serious about the goal.

        • sammy says:

          Please move to Israel Witty, I find it hypocritical that you would enjoy benefits as a minority that you are unwilling to extend. You don’t deserve to stay in a society where minorities have more than basic rights. You are un-American.

        • Nth Republic says:

          I’ll paraphrase something I remember 3ali Abunimah saying at the BDS conference back in November (this was in response to a question from the Zionist in the audience during the Q&A section, which wasn’t in the video that was posted, if I remember correctly): If a one-state settlement occurs, and there are pogroms against Jews living in this new nation-state, I’ll be speaking out against the violence and working to stop it from continuing. Fear that something like that could occur is understandable from the Zionist perspective, but it’s not a legitimate excuse to maintain the status quo of apartheid and occupation and stave off the natural human rights of Palestinians to realize equality in their homeland.

        • sammy says:

          There will be a backlash against the occupation. How bad it is, depends on how willing the occupation is to recognise the rights of the natives.

        • Mooser says:

          “AND his sensitivity simultaneiously.”

          His “sensitivity”? You are calling his inability to adjust (from what? the ghetto he was liberated from when a more liberal king took the throne?) to a multi-cultural, diverse society based on liberty, a “sensitivity”?

          That’s rich, Witty, rich! The boy is so sensitive, he just can’t stand it if Jews don’t run the place?

  14. We want Mondoweiss to be a place that everyone feels comfortable visiting, to read and comment, regardless of political perspective. People might not always like what we post, but everyone should feel invited and encouraged to join the discussion, share their opinions, and engage in debate.

    Unfortunately, more and more we are hearing that people are not comfortable participating in the site because of the noxious and often abusive language that proliferates in the comments section.

    Some people respect this idea; many do not.

    • sammy says:

      Its pretty hard to countenance racism, no matter how politely you put it, its still segregationist.

      • sammy- when you invite witty to move to israel, do you feel that this is in the category of “everyone should feel invited and encouraged to join the discussion, share their opinions and engage in debate”?

        • sammy says:

          Actually I think this to be in the category of :practise what you preach.
          Since Jews only understand situations as related to their ethnic identity [false though it may be], it would be in the way of the residents of the Warsaw Ghetto, treating the Judenrats as they would the Nazis.

        • tree says:

          Wj, I think you are wrong here. There is nothing “noxious” or “abusive” in what sammy said. He was pointing out Witty’s hypocrisy in condoning the discrimination in Israel that he (Witty) would be rightly and righteously condemning if it was occurring here in the US against his affinity group. I find sammy’s take on things refreshing and despite his ESL he speaks clearly and to the point on issues that he has obviously given much thought and is able to share complex and compelling arguments here. He’s an asset to the discussion and the website if you ask me.

        • sammy says:

          Thanks tree, I recognise, from my time in the west, that as an Indian post-colonialist, who is also a fervent Gandhian, that my notions of what constitutes “antisemitism” may be different from those of others brought up in the post WWII holocaust guilt society. As a society which does not have to apologise for Jews [although there is much to apologise for where untouchables, mutilation of children, sacrficing human beings to unforgiving gods, the sati, destitution and prostitution of widows as well as child labour and female infanticide and oppression are concerned], I view things from a more global viewpoint. One where the abused are not licensed to abuse.

        • tree – this comments section is not inviting or encouraging to those who do not agree. you agree with sammy, therefore you feel that he’s an asset. but with commenters like him, with his constant comparisons of zionism and nazism, and others who are consistently obnoxious in other ways, you end up with a limited spectrum of commenters. there’s nothing wrong with that per se, but don’t kid yourself that it is inviting and encouraging.

        • tree says:

          If people are willing to debate the issues, having someone who disagrees with your position is exactly what is needed. If one must stick to censoring ideas that others might find repulsive or obnoxious then there is not a real open exchange of ideas and being “inviting” and “encouraging” becomes pointless.

          While I disagree with your ideas and may find some of them obnoxious, I would never suggest that you must be limited in what you want to express just because I might find your view repulsive. If I can’t take hearing viewpoints that I personally find offensive then I don’t participate in discussions on them. Despite Witty’s platitudes to the contrary, sometimes it is necessary and even enlightening to be confronted with views that you are offended by as well as being confronted with the realization that others find your own viewpoints repulsive. As long as the discussion is civil and doesn’t devolve into repeated petty personal attack then why not confront the argument and face the return confrontation? Personally, I find the give and take to be much more inviting that a circumscribed debate.

    • Mooser says:

      Coming from you, Wondering, that’s rich, too.

      “Unfortunately, more and more we are hearing that people are not comfortable participating in the site”

      That’s a lie. There is nothing stopping anyone from registering and airing his or her opinions. And there is nothing stopping anyone from responding to them. But one thing you can always count on, when a Zionist can’t “shoot and kvetch, he settles for just kvetching!

  15. sammy- mondoweiss has posted its attitude towards its comments section. your attitude is not consistent with it, for the reasons you have given.

    • sammy says:

      I’m sure Phil or Adam are welcome to weigh in and tell me that. I agree that my position is not from their perspective. I do not believe that those who countenance ethnic cleansing for reasons of racial identity, can be politely manoevered to recognise human rights. What we can do is marginalise their opinions. The caste system no matter how you paint it or glorify it, is essentially one which dehumanises. Similarly, the “Jewish” state is essentially one which recognises the racial right of Jews to a land which marginalises the international law of indigenous rights to their homeland. Jesse Fox here, who sets aside his country and moves to capitalise on his Jewishness is not doing the Palestinian any favour by giving them concessions any more than the high caste Hindu who permits a chamar to sweep his courtyard is doing him one. Racism in any form, anywhere is anti-human. As someone who sweeps aside these ethnocratic points of view, I comment here to provide my perspective, that of a humanistic one. I do not believe that the Nuremberg laws could have been framed in any way that would promote dialogue so it would be quite contradictory to my personal values that Zionism [which puts Jews on the same level that Nazism put "the aryans" another irrational racist construct] which is identical to all pre-colonial tribal ethnocracies [like the one which has wiped out the culture of entire continents] should be something discussed as having a positive spin.

      The “post” Zionist who claims there is a positive spin on Jewish exceptionalism, would be wise to first show me a positive spin on Aryan exceptionalism. Or the caste system.

    • tree says:

      WJ, That is your opinion. Mine is the opposite. Neither of us are in charge of the moderation of this blog, so its really beyond your responsibility (or mine) to tell someone what is or isn’t consistent with Phil and Adam’s comment policy. If you don’t like what sammy said, then express that as your own opinion and be willing to accept that others may disagree with you. You are not the arbiter of manners here.

      Perhaps I’ve unintentionally precipitated this, in earlier mentioning my discomfort with serial personal barbs traded back and forth, but calling a commenter such as Witty out on the paucity of his argument and making him aware of how destructive his double standard belief system is does not qualify as a personal attack nor as anything particularly “noxious” except perhaps to bigoted and abusive ideas.

  16. tree and sammy- you will end up talking to witty (thick skinned as he seems to be) and people who agree with you. enjoy.

    • tree says:

      I talk to you and you talk to me and there is quite a lot we disagree on. Those who don’t want to face the possibility of being confronted on, and havng to defend, their viewpoints won’t post here, regardless of their views. But if you want a discussion you have to be willing to face that possibility, otherwise you sacrifice the dialog for the sake of being “inviting” to unexamined thought.

      • tree- When I was referring to people whose comments are not inviting, I was not referring to you. I have never found you abusive or noxious. Disagreement even in vehement terms is not what I mean by being uninviting.

        I find constant comparisons between Nazism and Zionism uninviting. There are plenty of other analogies that are available: apartheid, slavery, segregation, the caste system are a few. They are offensive enough, but they are not designed necessarily to provoke. The Nazi Zionism comparison is not designed for debate. It is designed to marginalize and invite people to leave.

        Comparing Sivan Fridman to David Duke is off the charts, in my opinion. Comparing her to Rudyard Kipling (which was done later on by the same commenter) is more acceptable. Kipling is a more ambiguous figure and the reference would at least require me to read a poem that I might not otherwise read.

        • Citizen says:

          I made both those comparisons, WJ. No historical analogy is ever on all four legs.
          What’s “off your charts” is not always off my charts, or others’ charts on this blog. Some people see more similarities than others, whether of conduct and/or belief systems implementing
          said conduct. Your talk of any comments “design” is specious; your map of things worthy of debate is only yours. Obliquely insinuating the motivation of any comment on this blog by talking about design is merely avoidance of debate. The Israeli settler who referred to herself and her convictions and actions as “just like Rosa Parks” is an invitation, intentional or not, to discuss
          this reference, this historical analogy; in this case a simple similie. Duke, Kipling, any Nazi-Zionism comparison–should not be out of the pale of idea settlement as it were. This is not a tea party here where we should worry about
          what might not seem inviting to you.

  17. tree- you seem to want debate. I am not sure that inclination is shared by a majority of the people who post here. Certainly the constant posters- mooser, citizen, chaos, mrw and vr, do not seem interested in debate. the newcomers- cliff and sammy belong to the same grouping. they want unanimity and some of them resemble ushers at a commie rally, acting noxious towards anyone who disagrees with the party line. they also seem to enjoy their own noxiousness, also similar to ushers at a commie rally.

    • sammy says:

      Is “commie” a bad word? like “socialism”? I’m Indian, so I kinda associate communism with Kerala and socialism with affirmative action for the untouchables.

      Just FYI.

      As for debate, its a war of ideas. But the ideas, at their base, are very simple. Do you believe in the dignity of the human being? Because if you do, then like all people with differing notions of approaching consensus, we can meet halfway at some point or another . If you, however, only believe in the dignity of race, then there is nothing to debate about. Because we are at two extreme ends which can never meet.

      Its your choice. Are you a human being first? Or a Jew first?

      • Citizen says:

        Personally, I don’t believe in pure communism or pure capitalism. No ideology, secular or religious. I do agree with sammy’s basic approach hinging on the question, Are you a human being first? There is no party line drawn there. I believe my own government has been guilty of war crimes; and similarly, Israel has been too. Either the principles laid out at Nuremberg and followed up at Geneva mean something or Goering had the astute

  18. sammy says:

    I find constant comparisons between Nazism and Zionism uninviting.

    Its deliberate. I want people like Witty to recognise the position of the victims. If you look closely at the racist policies of Nazism, examine the fabric of lebensraum, the criteria for the untermenschen and the regard for the reinressig, all that remains to distinguish it from Zionism is the mentality of victimhood adopted by Jews who ditch their countries and support an ethnic cleansing. Plus the invisible sky daddy who they adhere to, even past the point of actually believing in him. For someone like Jesse Fox to talk about his participation in the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians as a progressive process, is like talking to a sociopath who kills without remorse and considers it personality development. Its mind boggling. Which is why I like to show them exactly what their ideology looks like when they turn around. In the same position, ethnically cleansing a Polish Jew and replacing him with a “full blood” German would no more benefit the Jew who lands up in the ghetto with a bowl of soup, awaiting the train to Auschwitz, than it benefits those in Israel, whose homes are demolished before they are “deported” to Gaza, where they can be locked in and shot like fish in a barrel.

    Why isn’t this obvious to Jesse? Would he see the Jew sent to Aushwitz as liberated if the German did not actually release the gas pellets? Simply moved into Poland and replaced the Jewish Pole who lived there?

    • sammy says:

      okay I screwed up the italics, only the first line is a quote from WJ

      • Mooser says:

        “okay I screwed up the italics”

        Everyone does, I do, and I try so hard to get the ending marks in the right place when I use italics. As an alternative to italics for quotes of over, say, one or two sentences, use the blockquote, and the “end blockquote” code, and the quote will appear well separated from the text.

    • sammy- you act as if you discovered the nazi zionist comparison. it is not new. and it is not useful. unless you wish to provoke instead of discuss, which is patently your preference. i have offered you four different analogies but you persist in this analogy.

      yesterday when discussing what is and is not a holocaust survivor you asked for academic documentation. did people discuss holocaust survivors when you were growing up. did you live amongst survivors when you were growing up? so why don’t you use an analogy that comes from your own background rather than an analogy that you have learnt in school.

      as far as commie, if it is a dirty word, and it is, it is because stalin and trotsky and mao and pol pot turned it into a dirty word. but i was using it as an adjective to a certain kind of political rally where they kick you out and rough you up if they don’t like your attitude.

      as far as jew or human being i would refer you to isaac deutscher’s essay the non jewish jew. read it through to the end, because the point that is relevant to my attitude is near the end. at this point in time i answer questions on this web site as a jew who aspires to relate to the world as a human being. that is why i favor a two state solution and hope that this solution will allow sufficient reconciliation so that the two states can evolve into a federation. you would prefer a war and then impose a one state solution. you consider this a pro human position. good for you. you get a gold star. an a plus.

      • sammy says:

        If you aspire to relate to the world as a Jew, then you cannot relate to the world as a human being, unless you are willing to set aside your Jewishness in favour of humanism. If it were the other way around, would you want to be treated differently than others because you are a Jew? Would you like your Jewishness to be emphasised over your humanity? Do you wear a star of David stitched on your sleeve so everyone can first identify you as a Jew? If not, why not?

        Separate but equal is an oxymoron. If you want to be treated solely as a Jew, as one who puts his race in a separate compartment, so be it. But be careful what you wish for.

        • That is a ludicrous assertion.

          I have a body. I have and am part of a culture.

          Some say that to call myself human is to reject and oppress ecology. I am all of those simultaneously, soul, human, Jew, a New Englander, a Witty.

          I’m happy that I am what I am. I daily say a prayer of thanks for being born where I was born (including being a Jew, but not in your imagining of fetish of entitlement).

          I long stated a Hindu prayer that stated “I am grateful for the chain of how I came to be who I am, ancestry, culture, teachings. I am grateful for unity inherent in and distinct from diversity.”

          You want to call that racist, go ahead. I say to you get a life. Clarify what is important and accept more than condemn. “Judgement is the Lord’s” (not mine, not yours).

        • sammy says:

          So is it possible to be a Nazi and a humanist? An Aryan supremacist and a peacenik?

          Zionism is by definition, a racist ideology. To be a Zionist is to diminish the rights of all non-Jews. It is currently in practice in Israel, where 90% of Israelis supported the massacre of Palestinians dispossessed for three generations because they do not recognise their right to resist occupation. There are Jewish right of “return” for Poles and Brits and Americans and Russians, none for those whose ancestors lie buried under graves covered with parks or worse, under demolished homes run over by bulldozers. You cannot stand on the grave of Palestinians, scream “separate but equal” and expect me to see you as anything but a vile excuse for a human being.
          I apologise if this hurts your feelings, but its the truth.

        • Thats a false assumption on your part, anymore than any national assertion is a persecution.

          It can go multiple directions. From living as a community, a nation, as a willing good neighbor, to habitual aggression. Its a question of policy, not of identity.

        • Read Isaac Deutscher’s essay and then get back to me.

        • message of the non jewish jew by isaac deutscher

          link to

        • sammy says:

          Why? Was he replaced in Poland by a well meaning good Nazi and liberated in Auschwitz as the Germans wrung their hands in despair at having their identity misunderstood?

          I’m not Jewish and I’m not interested in what your identity is. I see you as a human being with delusions based on mythology, fed by media and vested interests, subject to the same failures of conscience as the local bania spoonfed ethnic racism from childhood. When you are willing to discuss the issue human to human, let me know. Your crises of identity is as meaningless to me as that of Genrikh Yagoda

        • You are denying multiple associations, as if you don’t have a body or an identity.

          “spoonfed ethnic racism from childhood”.

          So much projection on your part.

        • sammy says:

          Projection? No I just read the Haaretz, which sadly, is what the “left” in Israel is supposed to be. There is, of course, no left in Israel, because left or right, they are all Zionists and like any racist supremacist ideology, its followers are either silent or extreme. There is no good racism.

        • Physician, heal thyself.

          You are aware that anti-Zionism is also considered a racism?

        • Citizen says:

          The priorities of all one is depends on being tested by a real or perceived threat.

        • Citizen says:

          You are ignoring any human being’s prioritization of his or her simultaneous multiple associations. A mundane example: Hitler loved his mother, and dogs, and he was a vegetarian and teetotaler. He loved architecture, a certain form of art. He had an affinity for a certain community, and a certain ideology. He had a body and was part of culture.
          And so on.
          You have not answered sammy’s question.

        • Mooser says:

          “If it were the other way around, would you want to be treated differently than others because you are a Jew?”

          Yes! Yes! They should give me ten thousand dollars for every Jew those Nazi bastards killed! And a gold-plated annuity. And a Lexus, but I’ll settle for a Passat, I wouldn’t want to be unreasonable.

        • potsherd says:

          You are aware that anti-Zionism is also considered a racism?

          Only by a few fatheads.

        • sammy says:

          I read the essay, all it said was Jew this, Jew that. Deutscher seems incapable of divorcing himself from ethnocentrism. He puts Jews in a different box than all other peoples, as if there were no other way of thinking. He is right about the belated entry of Israel into the settler colonial state [or what he calls the nation state], its come too late. Genocide to establish colonies is no longer morally acceptable. The lack of introspection I see in Jews who support segregation and ethnic cleansing, even by proxy ie through justifications of Israels right to “resist”, blaming the victims for their aggression, blaming everyone but themselves for their segregationist policies, native dispossession even going so far, in some cases as to consider it acceptable in the cause of establishing a “Jewish” state; are all signs of imperial pathology. You can hear similar justifications for every single episode of ethnic cleansing in the world and it doesn’t change the inevitable loss of credibility of such institutions.

      • tree says:


        sammy-you act as if you discovered the nazi zionist comparison. it is not new. and it is not useful. unless you wish to provoke instead of discuss, which is patently your preference. i have offered you four different analogies but you persist in this analogy.

        I notice as I read the continuation of this discussion that it appears as if your objection to sammy- and his alleged “noxiousness”-boils down to your uncomfortableness with his comparison of Zionism with Nazism, which is an element of his argument, not a personal attack on his part. What you are attempting here is “gatekeeping”-proscribing for others what is and what is not an acceptable argument. Because you find such comparisons unacceptable you wish not to hear them, but that is counter to the purpose of an open debate. You do not get to instruct someone you disagree with on what analogies you find acceptable and then expect them to accede to your wishes in an open debate. You can argue that the analogy is wrong if you wish, but you do not get to compel the other person to agree with you, on threat of being considered “noxious” and being banned if they don’t agree and concede your point.

        Granted, simply slinging around epithets as “Nazi” and “anti-semite” are noxious, but if someone can cogently delineate why they think that Zionism and racism are similar, then its an argument that deserves to be heard rather than suppressed. Since I agree with sammy’s take on the similarities, perhaps you think that I am only supporting his arguments being heard because I agree with them, but that’s not the point. I don’t like the excessive gatekeeping that some feel is necessary, no matter whether I agree with an argument or not. Personally, I find the idea that the settlers building on Palestinian land in the OT are equivalent to Rosa Parks to be a repellent argument, but I would much rather hear it argued and supported than I would have it censored. Put the idea out there so it can be discussed.

        It seems to me that sammy has been able to have a detailed discussion of ideas with both you and Richard. I think you would admit that he hasn’t be noxious or repulsive, even if you find his ideas to be that way.

        The only thing that really pisses me off about sammy is that he can express his ideas with much more clarity and succinctness than I can ever muster. :-)

        • tree- I will answer you, because in general I respect your attitude towards civility on this site.

          I don’t like to answer comparisons between zionism and nazism for the simple reason given by lyndon johnson (in a possibly apocryphal story) when he claimed his opponent was a pig fucker. when told, you know that’s not true. he answered, but let him deny he’s a pig fucker and that will win me the election.

          the obvious similarity of recent human history is between other settler nations and israel rather than a country like germany that was not a settler nation, per se. the comparisons to america and its attitude to the indigenous is the most obvious. america’s genocide of the native americans is not a pretty story. i think that comparison yields israel as being far superior to the american story, due to the smallness of the land that was settled and the fact that the people were chased out rather than killed. the fact that egypt has closed the border to the palestinians puts the onus on israel for putting them in this open air prison. obviously egypt wanted/wants to hold israel’s feet to the fire for the expulsion of the palestinians. their blame for following up israel’s crime with a crime of their own is not discussed at any length.

          the zionist movement was born of necessity. the jewish people, (the existence of which sammy and phil and shlomo sand deny) needed a homeland. when herzl made this observation he was prophetic. indeed the primary crime of zionism (towards the jewish people) is that it came too late to actually solve the problem that herzl saw very clearly.

          nazism was a reaction to the treaties of world war One which Germany viewed as repressive. to compare the need of germany for nazism and the need of the Jewish people for some solution to the freight train that was heading their way is obscene.

          the ethnic cleansing or the refusal of Israel to permit the return of the Palestinian refugees (an anachronistic use of the term Palestinian, but nonetheless) was based upon the experience of 1920 through 1947 when there was a war between the natives and the settlers. the desire of germany to ethnically cleanse the jews of germany was based upon economic blame placed upon the jews by an ideology (the socialism of fools). to compare the crime of ethnic cleansing done by israel based upon the thousands of jews who were killed by arabs between 1920 and 1948 and the crime of ethnic cleansing done by the nazis between 1933 and 1938 is obscene.

          the crime that the nazis are known for is the crime of genocide against the jews (and others). when the war in gaza or the war against gaza or the onslaught on gaza occurred, palestinians themselves stated that this death of 1400 of whom half or so were civilians was the worst catastrophe since the naqba. the mufti approximated the palestinian deaths in the nakba at 10,000. to compare the deaths of 12,000 to the deaths of six million is obscene.

          the comparison between nazism and zionism leads to one conclusion, that the civilized world should deal with zionism the way it dealt with nazism. that is total war.

          further, sammy has indicated that he has nothing to learn from any jew who says anything about the jewish experience that doesn’t back him in his attitudes. he dismisses a suggestion that he read isaac deutscher. he knows better than anybody else who is a holocaust survivor and who is not based upon what he has read in books rather than what jews who have lived in a jewish community have experienced. he lacks any curiosity about the jewish condition now or 75 years ago or 113 years ago. he has nothing to learn. he has only his obscene rhetoric to share. he will find plenty of company on this web site from other miscreants (not including you, tree, and not including shmuel and a handful of others.)

        • sammy says:

          sammy has indicated that he has nothing to learn from any jew who says anything about the jewish experience that doesn’t back him in his attitudes
          Thats a misrepresentation. I read plenty, from all points of view, which is how I landed here in the first place. However, I do not think there is ANY justification for ethnic cleansing or racism and pointing to strawmen like Egypt and Deutscher does not change the root of the problem. i.e. the Palestinians are under occupation, NOW, not by Egypt, not by Deutscher, but by Jews who believe their “race” gives them a right to an “ancient homeland”

        • Cliff says:

          i think that comparison yields israel as being far superior to the american story, due to the smallness of the land that was settled and the fact that the people were chased out rather than killed. the fact that egypt has closed the border to the palestinians puts the onus on israel for putting them in this open air prison. obviously egypt wanted/wants to hold israel’s feet to the fire for the expulsion of the palestinians. their blame for following up israel’s crime with a crime of their own is not discussed at any length.

          1. The comparison between the origins of the US and the origins of the Zionist State is bogus.

          You are ignoring the differences in the social consciousness at both times. Of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Of what is possible given the means and what is not.

          We might as well say, that the U.S. is pretty benevolent compared to Genghis Khan. Or better yet, Zionism isn’t so bad and the Palestinians should gladly leave so the Richard Wittys of this world can have their country club/desert resort – after all, the Nazis would just toss the Arabs into ovens!

          Or wait, what about the dinosaurs? They got hit by a God-rock remember? God is sooooo evil in comparison to Zionism.

          Nope, sorry. You lose – good day sir! But add some goddamn context to your comparisons.

          Between now and the Vietnam War, a lot has changed in the US. Is that because the Establishment became more loving towards the various shades of brown people who it delivers freedom/democracy/etc. to? Oh and ‘securing Israel’s security’ (cha-ching)?

          Or is it because the SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS has changed such that certain kinds of behavior is simply INTOLERABLE for a society to express?

          This tension exists in Israel. It’s not because the leadership is moralistic and prefers starving the Natives, kicking them off their land, creating lies and spreading them through the artifice of BULLSHIT in the Western press (and regurgitated by pathological liars like Witty) to outright GENOCIDE.

          It’s because there is a historical residue, a legacy that informs our attitudes. That shapes our morality. Not to imply we are wearing blinders – although some certainly are, and knowingly. But simply put – what Israel is doing to the Palestinians in Israel’s own backyard (in practical terms, not moralistic or idealistic terms because all of that land is Historic Palestine) could not occur in the US.

          Now, does that mean our Presidents, like Bush – care so deeply about civil rights and equality and yada yada yada? No. Of course not.

          So stop implying Zionism’s goodness. Once these ideas ‘become subject to the laws of physics’ (someone else said this…don’t remember who) they cease to become simply ‘good’ ideas. They become realities.

          2. Egypt is a client State. The Egyptian leadership is no doubt corrupt and dictatorial. However, you’re not providing context (as fucking usual).

          The people of Egypt don’t support their government do they? What about the Israelis? How much do they support the gist of the Israeli government’s vision?

          Ok, that’s what I thought. Israeli Jews and the Zionist polity are in-sync in any MEANINGFUL sense. Not perfectly, but virtually yes.

          Like all these ridiculous profiles of tree-hugging Zionists. They are still Zionist.

        • tree says:


          I don’t have time to answer your specific arguments here, perhaps tonight. You may find my reasoning just as suspect as sammy’s, but so be it.

          However, my overarching point here is that closing down discussions of certain issues and arguments is counterproductive to a healthy and open debate. In a way, your argument above proves my point. If everyone was banned from discussing the Zionist-Nazi analogy then a lot of fruitful thought and controversy would be missed, including your own argument above. While I may disagree with many of your points, knowing your perspective on this, which you’ve argued well and mostly dispassionately, is a net gain as far as I’m concerned.

          If I get a chance tonight or tomorrow I will let you know where and why I disagree with some of your arguments. If not, perhaps another time as I think the question is worthy of discussion from all angles.

      • Donald says:

        I’ll jump in. I have a lot of time on my hands today. I don’t like the Zionism / Naziism comparison for several reasons.

        First, Zionism doesn’t have to be racist. In practice it has been, but it didn’t have to be. There were people like Judah Magnes who wanted a homeland (with ancient historical ties) where Jews could establish a society based on Jewish culture or whatever–I’m probably not phrasing this well because it’s not my belief system, but I don’t find this at all objectionable until or unless it involves displacing other people. Then it becomes racist.

        Second, Nazism is the most extreme form of racism and so people in general should be wary of constantly invoking it. It’s inflammatory. We remember the Nazis in particular because they tried to literally exterminate entire groups, not just because they discriminated against them. There’s a Godwin’s “law” for a reason. The crimes Israel has committed against the Palestinians are extremely serious, but they’re not on the level of the Holocaust.

        Third, though this is really part of reason 2, because it’s so inflammatory it tends to shut down thought. I don’t think this is a good idea. I don’t think it was a good idea to compare Bush to Hitler for the same reason. There are lots of examples one can use when comparing a human rights violation to some other human rights violation and it’s a little lazy to reach for the Hitler example, and in this case it’s just going to shut people’s minds off rather than open them up. I think the South Africa/apartheid analogy is reasonably close–it’s also offensive to Israelis, but I don’t care. It’s close enough to the truth that I think they have no right to be offended.

        That said, there was someone over at “Realistic Dove” who said that he assumes that anyone who makes the Nazi/Zionism comparison is an anti-semite and I’ve heard that elsewhere. That’s stupid. It can be anti-semitic, of course, but often it’s just someone going for the harshest analogy in their rhetorical toolbox, the same reason Bush is Hitler or Obama is Hitler or any run-of-the-mill murderous dictator is Hitler or for that matter, Seinfeld had the “soup-Nazi”. Calling someone anti-semitic for this, without further evidence, is just another example of using the charge of anti-semitism in a sloppy and dishonest way.

  19. Sammy,
    Do you now live in India? What part?

    I spent a month in Calcutta in 1986.

    I personally regard those that equate Zionism with naziism to be deluded.

    Its not an argument so much as a prejudice. The reason for that is that Zionism has MANY flavors and at many times. Even the individuals that are quoted as orchestrating “ethnic cleansing” by the fanatics that misuse that term, have nearly all established some relationships with Arabs and made political efforts relative to Arab powers that proposed bi-national status, a democracy in the land. A case in point is David Ben-Gurion who was a socialist labor Zionist who in the 20′s sought out Palestinians (they weren’t self-identified as Palestinians then) and Arab leaders (notably Feisal of Saudi Arabia) to establish a bi-national state with Jewish residential areas and Palestinian, majority Palestinian.

    It was rejected. Feisel originally agreed, but was compelled to recant by more militant Islamic and Arab parties that regarded the uninterrupted Islamic territory and the prescriptions in sharia that compel never renouncing an inch (similar language to Jabotinsky or even Kahanist Zionism) as sancrosanct.

    So, although there were published hopes of a Jewish dominated state, they were drafted in fantasies, in utopias, and the majority just wanted to live there, definitely to establish a familiar European-like millieu, but as their familiar setting, NOT as imposed colonialism.

    When the status of the region shifted to either/or, either leave or fight, especially approaching the time and general persecutorial status of the time of genocidal naziism in fact (not merely rhetorical), they opted to fight rather than move on.

    In critical periods, the Arabs sought to restrict immigration, which the Zionists resisted, and then adopted terror as means, to scare the Zionists and to compel the British to limit Jewish immigration and to expel.

    You can’t really start history in the region in 1949 (after the war, and during the period that former residents sought to return). If you started history in 1947, your reference would be the intended removal of Jews from the region. If you started history in 1939, you’d have the intended removal of Jews from the planet. If you started history in 1936, you’d have the intended removal of a smaller number of Jews, and largely indigenous to the region (residing in Jerusalem, Safat, Hebron for 3500 years).

    Don’t be ignorant of the long-standing and viciously racist nature of the conflict.

    That is NOT to say that even the majority of Arabs did not coexist in some villages, towns, cities together for long periods.

    Also, please bother to research to what extent “the Palestinians” are indigenous. Some are. Some aren’t.

    Also, please bother to research to what extent really any person is native and not the beneficiary of prior or current exploitation.

    Consider your life, your residence. In India or in the west.

    • sammy says:

      I’m not against immigration. Or even against moving to a place where you are not native. However, I do not agree that Jews have a “right” to Palestine anymore than you agree that Germans have a “right” to a “vaterland” whereever their daddy thinks it should be.

      And if you think the Germans lebensraum [desire for a homeland for the Aryan people] regard for the reinrassig [pure race] and inability to see the untermenschen [inferior people] on the same level is “deluded”, well you know exactly how I feel about a bunch of Europeans, Indians, Americans etc who think they “belong” in Jerusalem because a Canaanite deity told them and why their Jewish exceptionalism means they “deserve” a Jewish majority in Palestine and others should simply get used to the idea . All this is even more untenable when an American living in a multicultural society where he is not confined to a ghetto 24/7, where his movements, food intake and the survival of his children beyond the midnight knock on the door are not an issue for him, thinks that such treatment is acceptable before his racial identification with a Russian bouncer and a Polish second generation terrorist in Palestine

      They have medication for such delusions these days,

    • And, in doing so, please don’t conclude that you are a parasite because you happen to be the beneficiary of some others’ suffering.

      The US history is a case in point. There are 1 million+/- in the US that describe themselves as indigenous, some identification with Indians that lived on this continent for 15000 years. They were displaced by white immigration. At the time of the first presence Europeans on the continent, in a period of 100 years, 90% of the indigenous died. The overwhelmingly dominant cause of the deaths was disease that the indigenous inadvertently (not intentionally) got exposed to.

      There were incidents of intentional military and even biological warfare, but they were the exception. And, there was migration to the land, and a combination of settlers desparation and rationalization that described the land as free for the taking (seeing forest rather than the relatively few people). And, as a result of the European migration, eastern tribes moved slightly west into relatively long-standing domains of different tribes, and sometimes warred. And they pushed other tribes slightly west and went to war

      Shit happened.

      Does that make the 299 million in the US, formerly European, Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, Arabs that live in the US beneficiaries of colonialism? Yes, but mostly no. Not any more than the Lakota moving from Minnesota to the areas of the Dakotas were colonialist expropriators of the tribes that formerly resided in the Dakotas that were forced into the mountains. (And later the Lakota claimed that they were “always there”, yes and no).

      If you live in New York, I hope that you don’t walk your life in shame for existing where you are.

      That is what you are asking of the third generation of Israelis, or those that they have invited.

      It is relevant, more than relevant, to stop the current harms to Palestinians and to repair lives, but not relevant to shame those Zionists that are considerate, that are capable of living and let living.

      One is dissent, one is intended or unwitting persecution pretending to be dissent.

      • sammy says:

        Guess what? Just because there were Jewish slaves in the past, I don’t think slavery for Jews should be brought back. I cannot change the past, but I can act in the present and Mr Richard Witty, you do not get your turn at genocide, simply because others have done it before.

        • You are missing my point thoroughly.

          First, there is no genocide occurring in Palestine. That itself is an odd exageration of the term.

          There are persecutorial policies and practices that are wrong, and there are people that are working for change.

          For you to conclude that I advocate for genocide is delusional. You are believing the posts stated about me, but you cannot and will not (because they don’t exist) ANY intention on my part to suppress. You might misinterpret some post to conclude that, or to interpret that through some ideological prism, but it is not my intent.

          The context for how people came to be where they are, and what fights they chose to and/or had to fight, are historical. To believe that events that occur elsewhere don’t and shouldn’t affect what happens in a locale are both delusional and prejudicial.

          Democracy is of the present. Those that seek to create a progressive society structure ways to establish BOTH identity and coexistance. That dual characteristic is in the Israeli basic laws.

          Democracy is not militancy. Militancy by definition is the application of some force on others for some political or other end. If you are seeking a democratic will, a process of community listening, then that is a confusing life-long philosophical dilemma, to define the proper balance between self-assertion and listening, assertion and acceptance.

          Its not in ideological militancy though.

          Again, the majority of Zionists that I know are of the liberal bent. We err on the side of accepting. And, in the case of our families’ hope of living in Israel, that intent was not reciprocated.

          There is a self-righteousness, an avoidance of the question of what it means to fight for your own person or community, of activism. We are asked to feel guilty to speak up for our own. That is one difference between the Palestinian militancy and the third world and European solidarity.

          When solidarity willingly seeks to permanently shame or suppress another in the effort for self-assertion, they are engaging in persecution more than solidarity.

          Thats what your “nazi” references mean to me, an effort to persecute, not to liberate, and not to coexist.

        • sammy says:

          Would you “coexist” with a person who treated Jews the way Israelis treat Palestinians? If the US were to adopt the Zionist policy towards minorities, would you coexist with it?

        • I know Israelis that treat some Palestinians as loved neighbors, and some Palestinians as hateful thugs. They distinguish and are predisposed to accept.

          The generalization that “Zionism is racism” is as much a means to persecute, as a progressive political concept.

          Zionism is in reality a work in process. It is Zionists’ responsibility to transform their behavior to realize potential good neighbor relations. As it is Palestinians responsibility to transform their behavior to realize potential good neighbor relations.

          And, there are current Israeli laws, policies, administrative methodologies that conflict with that. Hence, the need for conscientious and competent reform.

          Militancy is NOT conscientious and competent reform. Its much more of a fantasy, a renunciation of responsibility.

        • sammy says:

          And there was an Oscar Schindler. Many of them. But that does not diminish the horror of the holocaust. The occasional good natured Israeli does not change the nature of the racist state.

        • “the occasional good-natured Israeli”.

          Can you voluntarily stop the nazi comparisons. They are painful to Jews, an example of pouring salt and acid on wounds, and then distort rational discussion from both sides.

          I can’t force you to accept that Jews are just people, that Zionism is not at root an intentional agenda to expropriate (rather than reside).

          I don’t see it. I see too many examples historically of Zionists reaching out to Arabs and Arab states to co-exist within a single state (early, but rejected), to co-exist as separate states (rejected).

          I personally urge that Israel adopt the Arab League proposal, including due process for all land claims, and right of return for individuals dispossessed.

          I consider that success, realization of normalized acceptance of Israel as Israel, and that marginalizes persecutorial extremism, whether by a state or a community.

        • sammy says:

          Zionism is not at root an intentional agenda to expropriate (rather than reside).

          Its not the root that matters. Its the fruits of the tree. You agree, the fruits have been poisonous. And the tree should be cut down.

        • Some of the fruits have been poisonous. Some have been a liberation.

          The tree needs some cultivation and remotely some pruning, not destruction.

        • Have you ever been sick? Did you commit suicide because of it? Or did you trust and encourage your body to heal?

        • sammy says:

          I’ve been sick many times. I’ve never confused a disease with good health, nurturing the disease is not going to make you feel better.
          The only thing to do with a disease is get rid of it.

          Which is why I keep telling you, they have medication for delusions like yours these days. :-)

        • You are proposing killing the tree, not healing the specific malady.

          So, you are in the 200 years war as well.

          Is that a sickness or a health?

        • sammy says:

          I think it is cowardly to opt for negative peace [ie suppression of rights to the extent that the victim is silenced] rather than justice. As a Gandhian, I do not opt for passive resistance or civil disobedience, but active nonviolent noncooperation.

          Here is something that you may have missed in your reading:
          ” I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

          I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fan in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with an its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured. ”
          link to

        • I don’t generalize in the way that you do. I look closer and treat individuals as individuals.

          Again, I’ve known Israelis that had good neighborly relations with Palestinians and some that stayed away. I don’t know any that actively harass Palestinians.

          I wouldn’t comfortably coexist with a persecutorial policy in the US. I would seek to reform the policy, not invalidate the state and seek revolution.

          You didn’t say whether you live in the states or in India. Do you feel that you live in a state of apology for being the beneficiary of some historical wrongs, or do you live in a state of self-acceptance and pride for who you are in real life, and how you got there?

        • And, similarly, I would not presume that France has no right to be France, because it came to exist by military power, and in the name of uniting all of the “ethnic French”, or that France continues to regard its French cultural character highly, even as it is French AND democratic.

        • Shmuel says:


          You latched onto my remark about respectful discussion, yet you continue to show little respect for those who contribute to this forum. You repeat the false and illogical claim that Israel is “Jewish and democratic” just as France is “French and democratic”. The falseness of the analogy has been pointed out to you again and again, yet you keep repeating it. There is certainly discrimination in France against immigrants and even descendants of immigrants, but in the eyes of French law – and the French political system – all French citizens are equal, regardless of their religion or ethnicity. “Frenchness” in this sense is a legal status, with no other implications whatsoever, and so is completely compatible with democracy. When this happens in Israel (i.e. Israel becomes truly “Israeli and democratic”, where Israeli simply means anyone holding Israeli citizenship) we can talk about the democratic implications of dominant national culture (French, Jewish, etc.). Until then, please show some respect for the rest of us.

        • What world do you live in?

          “You have been shown again and again”. But, your description of France resembles Israel. The Israeli basic law declares that Israel is both Jewish (culturally, ie Hebrew language) and democratic equally and simultaneiously.

          The same problems of corruption of administration occur in France and in Israel, demanding reform but NOT dissolution.

          The statement of support for Zionism as the basis of the 67 border Israel is not a disrespect of the “rest of us” or of Palestinians. To hold that ideological litmus test of what respect means, is suppressive. Do you get that?

          When the single-state proposals include PERMANENT haven permanent equality for Jews in Israel/Palestine, and confidently, then your argument might assuage those for whom Zionist history and Zionist current Israel is important.

          Again, the degree of hatred expressed at demonstrations and here towards Israeli Jews and supportive American Zionists, puts that confidence at rational risk.

          It is a stopper. If you seriously want the proposal for a democratic state, then it would be appropriate to consistently and confidently convey that, not wishing.

          You’ve lived in Israel, no? You know that there is a history of considerable violence to civilians that is independant of state Zionism, as it occurred before there was a state.

        • Shafiq says:

          Can one become Jewish by migrating to Israel? No. Can one become French by migrating to France? Yes.

          Does your mother have to be French for you to be French? No.

        • Shmuel says:

          Your assertion that the designation “Jewish” in Israel’s Basic Laws is merely a matter of culture/language is either very naive or very ignorant. My description of France does not resemble Israel in any way.

          See e.g.
          The Palestinian Minority in the Israeli Legal System

          See also Shafiq’s simple litmus test above.

        • Mooser says:

          Oh, and Richard won’t even come near the discussion about whether Israel could even exist other than as a remittance state of the US government.

        • I get Shafiq’s point. (His example was a little innaccurate in that those from outside the EU or prior colonies cannot migrate to France easily).

          I think the way to get to post-Zionism is after acceptance of Israel as Israel, not before.

          I like the dual character of Israel. I don’t think the post-Zionism era is here yet. There is still too much willing hatred of Jews in the real world, too much harrassment.

          I am most concerned about the erosion of the democratic and equal due process components of Israeli identity and basic law, and support EFFORTS to encourage integration, in contrast to only condemnation for opportunistic political purposes.

        • Mooser says:

          “There is still too much willing hatred of Jews in the real world, too much harrassment.”

          Horseshit! Pure and unmitigated horseshit! The post WW2 period has been almost entirely free from anti-Semitism, in any meaningful form.

          But notice the central hypocrisy Witty uses: Jews, or Zionists can do anything they want, and any response to it is “anti-Semitism”.

        • “The post WW2 period has been almost entirely free from anti-Semitism, in any meaningful form.”

          Ask a European post WW2 before you spout nonsence. Mymother-in-law is a case in point, harrassed in Hungary after surviving the holocaust. The world is different than it was prior to WW2, thanks to reticence of people to repeat racist harrassment. But, to imagine that anti-semitism is eliminated or inconsequential is naive.

          The primarily verbal harrassment only reinforces their sentiment of feeling of needing a haven. They don’t trust those that are willing to scapegoat and express it with taunts, rockets, boycott/isolation.

          Its how its perceived, and rationally so, even if there are other alternatives.

    • Shafiq says:

      It was rejected. Feisel originally agreed, but was compelled to recant by more militant Islamic and Arab parties that regarded the uninterrupted Islamic territory and the prescriptions in sharia that compel never renouncing an inch (similar language to Jabotinsky or even Kahanist Zionism) as sancrosanct.

      And that’s exactly what your doing NOW! If the bi-national state was a noble ideal 90 years ago, why isn’t it now?

      • It could be if not a stacked deck, and if the majority of the peoples regarded themselves as civilist rather than nationalist.

        But, as there is only a civilist party in Israel, but not yet in Palestine, the question is not asked sincerely.

    • Citizen says:

      RE: “I personally regard those that equate Zionism with naziism to be deluded.
      Its not an argument so much as a prejudice. The reason for that is that Zionism has MANY flavors and at many times.”

      Nazism in its heyday had many flavors too. Anyone get Witty’s logic here? Oh well,
      here’s a breakdown of some of the many flavors of white supremacist current now in the USA:

      link to

    • Citizen says:

      RE: “In critical periods, the Arabs sought to restrict immigration, which the Zionists resisted, and then adopted terror as means, to scare the Zionists and to compel the British to limit Jewish immigration and to expel.”

      Actually, as Chomsky and Finklestein, among other lights conclude, the labor zionists sought to take over control of the land and become the economic hegemony in the Middle East, which they were doing for example during the Spanish Civil War; the
      Arab population resisted this Brit-sponsored colonial quest, noting that the Balfour Declaration expressly protected the Arab natives. The zionists adopted terror tactics against both the natives and the Brits (whenever the Brits tried to be more even-handed, also note the murder of Count Bernodotte (sic). In 1947 the zionists were scaring the Arabs off their land and by 1948 the jews never intended to stick within the borders Truman granted as a condition to his recognition of the self-declared state–Truman’s actual letter of recognition even cancelled out the adjective “Jewish” to describe the acceptable character of the new state of Israel.

  20. Shafiq says:

    Am I the only one who is liking this series?

    I don’t even think this guy is Zionist in the traditional sense of the word. Well, it depends on what he thinks about the Right of Return

    • I like the series.

      It indicates the possibility of an ethic of acceptance, self-acceptance and acceptance of the other.

    • Shmuel says:

      I like the series too, Shafiq, although the interviews are too short and shallow to give any real insight into what these people believe (admittedly, part of the problem of liberal Zionism is its shallowness and walled no-go areas). The discussions are good, but would be a lot better if the interviewees themselves were to join us here. We could promise to be respectful.

      • “We could promise to be respectful. “

        • Shmuel says:

          How else would you get someone to give up their time, and subject their views to the scrutiny of a large group of people – most of whom probably think very differently, and may even hold some of those views in contempt? As tree and others here have explained, respectful discussion in no way implies respect for all of the ideas presented, and can even get a little rough. If someone just wants to rant at Mr. Fox or Ms. Fridman, there’s no point in asking them to participate. I, for one, would welcome the opportunity to talk to them.

        • I hope you model what you propose and that others follow your lead.

          I don’t trust the posse here to be or stay respectful.

        • Mooser says:

          How in the hell am I supposed to respect a Jew how has left the US for Israel! Whatsmatter, couldn’t take the Gentile competetiton.

          If we talked to them “respectfully” all he would do is lie! Jesus Christ Witty, I’ve been around, raised with and known Zionists all my life. I would treat them with about the same respect I would treat a cracker in a civil-rights discussion.

        • Donald says:

          Interesting, that word “posse”. I saw you use it at the most recent posting at “Realistic Dove”, where Dan’s posse and Dan himself were discussing Phil and Richard Silverstein and Jerry Haber at “Magnes Zionist”–you know, people who actually care about both Jews and Palestinians equally. Dan’s posse didn’t seem to like them much. Not at all. Dan was defensive–he listens to these nutcases and links to Phil, but obviously felt some explanation is needed. I’m wondering how much respect Phil or Adam or Richard Silverstein or Jerry Haber (let alone Ali Abunimah) would receive from Dan’s posse if he invited one of them to guest post.

          As for respect, it is respectful to a person who holds racist views to point out that their views are racist. It’s hard to maintain a respectful tone when someone reveals himself to have racist double standards on human rights and refuses to change. I can listen calmly to such people if I try, but interacting with them honestly means saying what I think of their views and after saying “Your defense of action A is morally repugnant, since it was a crime against humanity”, things often tend to go downhill.

          It’s actually dehumanizing to engage apologists for war crimes in an overly respectful way–dehumanizing to the victims and in a way, dehumanizing to the person who defends the crimes. You should stick to the subject and not veer off into their personal life or make references to irrelevant sexual practices or allegations of such by their ancestors or start tossing out random epithets, but I don’t want to give the impression to someone that I think their advocacy of torture or brutal sanctions or war crimes is a legitimate POV that deserves respect, as though we were arguing about what sort of parking meter should be installed in the local town center. (I really hate the new system where you can’t simply go back to the car and feed coins into it, but I don’t get as angry about it as I do when someone defends either suicide bombing on the one hand or the Gaza blockade on the other.) I have a friend who is an Islamophobe–I made the mistake once of saying that I thought his intentions were good and he thanked me for it. Later I felt dirty for saying that and rightly so. He’s a good man in other ways who has embraced hatred and his POV deserves no respect.

        • “Your defense of action A is morally repugnant”

          That would be an improvement, as it is oriented to reform of a policy or an action. It differs from “Zionism is racism”, or “you are a racist”.

          Although sometimes tempted, I generally do not call a person an anti-semite. The most that I will do is to describe the reasoning by which I consider the question.

          The majority of Jews, diaspora Jews and Israelis even, are genuinely liberal in outlook, and if respected as persons genuinely and encouraged to consider the affects of behaviors (even their own) will. Nearly none will accept denial of their association, their identity, or the honor of their parents’ traumatized history (as much as the holocaust is used as a smokescreen for some opportunism, it is also a real experience that does contribute to the substantive relevance of Zionism.)

          A humane activist will consider both, not resort to either/or. Validating multiple persons, multiple communities even if their positions look inconsistent and irrenconcilable.

        • Donald says:

          It’s word games, Richard. You have your own brand of name-calling–it’s more subtle, but unmistakable when people are around long enough to see you in action and to gradually pick up on your opinions. Your response to me, for instance, has been to say I support Hamas violence, which is false. I actually prefer it when you’re more forthright, which happens sometimes when you seem to lose your temper. As for antisemitism, if you think you see it, then it might be better to say so. I think there’s criticism of the Lobby, which is legit and needed, but then there’s this gray area where people start talking about American Jews in general, which you just did, as people also talk in general terms about WASPS and others, but then sometimes it definitely veers over into anti-semitism. Of course I suspect you probably see it in some cases where it is not there.

          Generalizing about how most Jews are liberal in outlook is just the flip side of anti-semitism (in fact, since many anti-semites are conservative, they might see being liberal as being bad). I don’t know how to measure that, and it’s not relevant. I’ve seen people countless times claim they are pro-peace on this subject, only to then hear them give a litany of reasons why it’s all the Arab’s fault why there is no just peace. Israel’s history has been whitewashed in the US for 60 years, similar to the way white America told its own history. I grew up in the South right after Jim Crow ended and when I started following the I/P conflict what struck me was the similarity in tone between white southerners defensive about their history and Israel defenders talking about their beloved state. It’s not that everything one could say in defense of the South or of Israel is false (the North, for instance, was heavily implicated in the slave trade and was just as racist), but there was this unmistakable air of bad faith and hypocrisy, ultimately to cover up shameful truths. “Progressive except for Palestine” is a real phenomenon.

          I don’t disagree with everything you say–people, for instance, who want to see a one-state solution had better be in favor of Jews and Arabs reconciling on a personal level and also, both sides need to come clean and repent (to use religious language) of acts of violence committed against civilians. People should not be throwing rocks or spitting on the Israeli flag or whatever it was you said happened at demonstrations you were at. And I agree the Holocaust is relevant, though it might also be relevant in ways that are not kind to Zionism.

          But don’t expect to be treated “respectfully” when you make excuses for Israeli atrocities, something you do all the time. I think you are actually a pretty bad representative of the liberal Zionist position–I’ve seen much better at other blogs, people who do not sink to the sort of apologetics you indulge in. They might not be willing to come here, since in the usual blog tribal fashion the comment section is dominated by one view, here the anti-Zionists, and so liberal Zionists who don’t engage in apologetics for Israeli oppression might get rougher treatment than they deserve.

        • Gaza is the very common topic here. It is described routinely as only an atrocity, and I differ.

          Your characterizing me RATHER than addressing my points.

          I get it. Whether I am “good or bad” at articulating the liberal Zionist position, it is my sincere view.

          I’ve read relatively widely, from multiple perspectives. I’ve been to Gaza, West Bank, Israel, Cairo, India (to dialog with Sammy), and in none of those places to primarily tourist sites, but actually to meet and talk to people.

          The judgement of my perspective presented by the “posse” here is trivial, innaccurate, defensive.

          My views are of the nature of capable of reconciling with those that are willing to reconcile. That would include a single-state or a partitioned state, unless a political litmus test is applied to defame person, rather than to their reasoning and actions in the real world.

          You can comment, or not.

        • tree says:

          Hint, Richard.

          Calling other people a “posse” is name calling. Just so you know. You are characterizing others rather than addressing their arguments. You do this type of thing consistently in your posts. You are really not able to live up to your own standards, at least not in this forum

        • I find it to be a descriptive term for what happens here.

          I’ll try to find another more respectful word for the pattern of harrassing those with differing views here.

      • Citizen says:

        I concur with Schmuel’s take on the series.

        • Citizen says:

          I have respect for Fox’s NGOs associations with resource sharing and physical environmental enhancement across any kind of border in the whole region, as is briefed here: link to

          I don’t really have an inkling how Fox ties that good effort in with Zionism; it’s hard thus at this point to imagine how he would argue for his sharing concerns with
          a hard-core Israeli settler, for example.

        • Eva Smagacz says:

          One of the pet projects of is “paths to sustainability” – you guys don’t think that Gaza is one of their projects, do you?

          Maybe they are testing what is maximum amount of humans that can sustain themselves independently and indefinately per square kilometer, with no outside interference? Papers to be published in Nature in a noble attempt to learn ways to save civilisations from global warming?

  21. sammy says:

    I would like them to define what Zionism means to them and why they see themselves as post Zionist.

    • Shmuel says:

      That’s part of the shallowness I was reffering to, sammy. It’s supposed to be a series on “Israelis discussing their connection to the idea of Zionism”, and the first two interviewees are labeled “post-Zionist”, yet neither Zionism nor post-Zionism are really addressed.

      • sammy says:

        Maybe they are not comfortable about coming out? Why not interview known post Zionists instead? Perhaps Phil could do a series on why people have opted out of a Zionism they adhered to either because they were born into it or because of too many B’nai B’rith camps.

        • There are two strains of post-Zionism that I’m aware of.

          One is of those that formerly closely, ideologically and actively identified with the themes of Zionism that are common to its liberal and conservative flavors, and then chose to personally assimilate elsewhere.

          There are many paths to that. One is the corporate path, in which individual Israelis that work for global corporations identify with their career goals more than Zionism.

          Others that were Zionists were motivated by political values. Most of those that have proceeded to post-Zionism, didn’t have the right-wing nationalist upbringing that is ascribed. Most of the current radical post-Zionists or anti-Zionists came from labor and/or socialist or communist family backgrounds, in which Zionism was necessary temporarily only.

          The second strain of post-Zionism occurs ONLY after Israel is accepted universally. Then generations of Israelis will drift independantly from their now necessary identification to opted alternative connections in a more open and integrated world. Israeli ecologists will freely connect to Jordanian and Palestinian, and form primary identifications based on their work and passion independant of national threat.

          That post-Zionism is hindered by the phrase “Zionism is racism”. Ironically?, that logic, that phrase keeps Zionism in place, and encourages the defensive manner of it.

        • Citizen says:

          Which Israel is it that needs to be accepted universally as a pre-condition to
          the incipient second strain of post-Zionism? The one with 1967 borders and
          a full-blown right of return for Jews who grew up anywhere but no similar
          right of return for Arab families who still hold keys to their former homes within those 1967 borders? Will such a recognized Israel pay reparations
          to those families? (I guess that means, will the USA pay reparations in behalf Israel.)

  22. sammy says:

    Which strain of Zionism recognises that there is no racial right of Jews to Palestinian homes?

  23. Pingback: Where do the human rights of Gazans fit into the fight for a ’sustainable’ future?

  24. sammy says:

    Btw, how do you guys deal with “witty”? He takes a lot of work and there are no appreciable results.

    • You won’t find me adopting the slogan “Zionism is racism”.

      What you will see if you bother to look is sympathy and activism for Palestinians that accept Israel as Israel.

      If you can’t accept that, and can only conceive of nationalism as racism, then we’ll continue to talk skew.

      I am supportive of all approaches that humanize the other, and oppose all political formulas that demonize the other.

    • tree says:

      BTW, how do you guys deal with “witty”? He takes a lot of work and there are no appreciable results.

      You catch on fast. Don’t expect to make a personal dent on Witty’s “logic” or his double standards. Respond if you wish, to his statements, but know that your response is more important for the others here who read it than for Witty who filters everything he reads through his fantasy Israel filter. He also doesn’t listen too well, because he thinks he can mind-read instead waiting to hear or see what is actually spoken or written. So continue your responses, when you feel so inclined because they are fascinating to read. But don’t feel like you have to respond to everything he says, because you’ll drive yourself crazy. Despite anything you say, he will circle back around and make the same obtuse statements over and over again, and you’ll find yourself caught in an endlessly recurring loop.

  25. Mooser says:

    I did some Googling on Mya Gaurneri last night and some reading. I think we are seeing a new phase of hasbara, call it the counciliatroy phase, in which Zionists do us the big favor of backing down a few notches, and admitting to “problems” with Israel and Zionism. We saw Witty do that little song and dance earlier in the thread, here.” The tree needs pruning.” All that nonsense.

    I just got a call, work calls, but I’ll give the prize to Sammy with two adroitly phrases:

    “Which strain of Zionism recognises that there is no racial right of Jews to Palestinian homes? “ (Sammy)

    But he already answered it: “No matter how thinly you slice it, it’s still baloney”

    Zionist are going to use every single emotional minipulation, every kind of denial of knowledge.

    I’ll tell you what, you turn Jesse Fox over to me for 20 minutes for a respectful conversation, and I’ll show you exactly what he is: a bigot, how caqn’t handle himself in a democratic multi-ethnic and diverse society, and felt compelled to go where his “religion” would offer him an economic and social advantage.
    As an American, that disgusts me, as a Jew, it horrifies me, but that not really of any account.

  26. MHughes976 says:

    We may be seeing a dusting-off of the ‘non-exclusive Zionism’ of the 30s, which I think meant that the resident Palestinians, provided that they accepted that the new state would proclaim that everyone who was Jewish had a right to a share in sovereignty should they choose to take it up, could stay and have a share in sovereignty themselves.
    Neo-non-exclusive Zionism would offer some vestiges of that right, provided they were not enough to upset the achievements of the decades in which the rights of sovereignty were in effect exclusively in Jewish hands.
    Sammy’s question is very well put but to my mind the right to a share in sovereignty is even more fundamental than the right to stay in one’s home, though the two are not wholly distinct. The basic principle of Zionism is that to be Jewish is to have, by hereditary right, a share in the sovereignty of Palestine. There are different shades of Zionism (‘non-exclusive’ being one) when it comes to non-Jewish rights but they are only minor differences, all regarding other rights as genuine only if their exercise places no serious limitation on the Jewish one, which is conceived both as a necessary step in human progress and as a righting of an ancient wrong.

  27. jan_gdyn says:

    Mr Fox struck me as a typical liberal Israeli. Evasive of the real issues politics, instead relishing the promise of living happily together in the eco bubble. An immature way of informing his existence over there. I hope in a few years he’ll come to realize that greater issues are what require attention, and what ought to enter his consciousness.