Israel’s crisis

Israel/Palestine
on 81 Comments

Just back from Israel/Palestine, the overwhelming sense I carry away is that the present state cannot last. Just how it goes down I have no idea. But conditions are so obviously discriminatory, and the knowledge of these conditions now so widespread– among the Christian pilgrims in my Jerusalem guesthouse, among European leaders, and now too among the Israeli elite and American left–that the situation is reminiscent of the delegitimizing of communism in the 70s and 80s. The period of apartheid struggle that Ehud Olmert warned of two years ago is upon us. So too his warning of possible “national suicide." 

The surprise for me is that the indifference of American Jews to this injustice is more than matched by that of the mass of Israelis: They live inside the bubble of their opinion that Israeli society is fair. So this trip has left me pretty depressed, even as it has renewed my sense of ethnocentric purpose: I will do what I can to bring the American Jewish community into the world conversation about the reality of Israel/Palestine.
This will happen. A few weeks back Israeli activist Micha Kurz said that a war had begun between one part of Israeli society and another; and I come home knowing that that war is about to erupt inside American Jewish life. You might say that it has already erupted: J Street’s emergence and all the liberal Zionists in the New York Review of Books attacking the occupation are signs. But we ain’t seen nothing yet. We are on the verge of a Jewish intifada, and about time too.

Now why do I say that the current situation cannot last?

I use the words apartheid and Jim Crow on this site all the time, but it is something else to see these policies before your eyes and be overborne by the feeling (and over days to come, I will offer observations of such moments). And today there is no secret about these conditions. They are being discussed openly not just in the Palestinian community—and believe me, every Palestinian I met expressed hatred for this system–but in Israel and Europe, and even at the fringes of the American Jewish community. A week ago I got out of a taxi in the occupied West Bank at the Ofer prison for a demonstration against the arbitrary detainment of Palestinian human rights worker Jamal Juma’, and there were Mustafa Barghouti and Omar Barghouti leading the protest–and a dozen American Jews from the visiting group American Jews for a Just Peace, also several news teams from the Arab world and Europe. What all these people recognize, and what Mustafa Barghouti woke up to three years ago, is that the peace process has been meaningless. Israel is today “the worst country in the world” because of the system it has set up, Barghouti told me: he would be arrested if he used that road right there, he said, pointing at settlers road 443; and the Jews in the West Bank use 26 times the amount of water as the Palestinians and Palestinians pay twice the price that Jews do for water and electricity. And when Barghouti says that Israel is now the worst country in the world he means that there is at last international outrage over the fact that a country claiming to be a democracy in the 21st century is creating these conditions.

A couple of dozen Israelis I met echo the understanding that their society faces an existential crisis, in one year or ten years. Even Ynet has columnists who say it is apartheid, and even Zionists I met are filled with despair. They know that it is like South Africa, they know the world is paying attention, they know that the Palestinians hate the system. And meanwhile the country’s leadership is committing national suicide by expanding the realm of apartheid conditions even as Al Jazeera and Reuters train their cameras on the scene.

This is the war that Micha Kurz told me about. Zionism is today divided between those who want the Land of Israel and the more pragmatic Zionists who think that the landgrab is destroying the state; and the second group is joined by non-Zionists and anti’s. This division did not exist for most of the occupation; previously, Labor Zionists went along with the religious crazies and Revisionist fanatics who wanted to populate Eretz Israel. But today liberal Zionist Tom Segev writes in the New York Review of Books that Zionism was never about having the land, it was about maintaining a Jewish majority. And Yoel Marcus writes in Haaretz that Israel must do everything to stave off the “demographic dominance” of non-Jews. 

The same war is visible in American Jewish life, between mainstream Jewish organizations like AIPAC that have pushed the messianic occupation and J Street which has opposed it, so far mildly. But in Israel the battle is raging openly, and of course the expansionists are winning, as they always have. Netanyahu’s settlement freeze means nothing when you consider that there are thousands of freshly-poured foundations across the West Bank and the settlers will now undertake to build houses on them during the freeze, and East Jerusalem continues to be ethnically cleansed.

What are they thinking? How does the right wing imagine that it can secure Israel’s future when it is consolidating a system in which 5 million Jews will govern a non-Jewish majority in the so-called Jewish homeland? The answer I got from Assaf Sharon and other activist Israelis is that the leadership is counting on miracles: that God will take care of the Jews so long as they are in Eretz Israel, or that somehow American Jews will be granted voting citizenship in the land and so Jews will continue to outnumber the Palestinians (p.s. dual loyalty is an antisemitic canard), or that the Palestinians will undertake voluntary transfer and clear out of the land on their own. The last would seem to be government policy, of making the Palestinians feel very, very unwelcome.

It is the weakness of the Israeli system, of course, that feverish people are now guiding government policy. Even Netanyahu must be afraid of them; and his recent efforts to try to break up centrist parties so as to capture some of their more conservative members for his coalition is seen by some as a pragmatic effort by the Prime Minister to provide himself a political base so as to take on the right wing.

The feverish have taken political cover from the Jewish-only bubble. I mean all the Jews, including Americans, who are swaddled in Holocaust consciousness of Jews as victims and have refused to develop any knowledge of a situation in which Jews exercise oppressive control. One of the most startling discoveries of my trip was learning from Mikhael Manekin, a leaders of the soldiers’ group Breaking the Silence, that the group had taken leading Israeli establishment figures, including government officials, on its tour of Hebron in recent months and they had come away disturbed and angry at the blatant apartheid conditions in the city, in which some Palestinians cannot walk on the street that they live on. The shock is that I took this tour nearly 4 years ago, but that even Israeli leaders have blinded themselves to a situation that has been an outrage for 40 years. Not to mention American Jewish leaders, here in the country where liberals attack you if you use the word apartheid.

This Jewish blindness will not last. There is too much stirring. Didi Remez is a Zionist, but he is using his Coteret blog to get facts to the American mainstream about the deadly occupation; and though he and I disagree about the necessity of the Jewish state, he doesn’t mind marching alongside me and BDS-supporting Jews in the fight against the occupation. I saw him at the Sheikh Jarrah demonstration Friday, against the ethnic cleansing of the East Jerusalem neighborhood so that Jerusalem will be Jewish Jewish Jewish; and who else should I see there but Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker– so maybe the New Yorker will write about this at last and tell its readers what virulent Zionists are doing to old Arab neighborhoods.

I know that many of these Israeli activists are committed to the idea of a Jewish state. Even among Jews who oppose the occupation and are butting heads with soldiers in villages in the West Bank, there are many who are trying to preserve Israel as a national refuge for the Jews. They are like Daniel Levy of J Street, who has called for a return to the ’67 borders to preserve the Jewish state. Or Bernard Avishai, also at the Sheikh Jarrah demo, who wishes to maintain a Hebrew republic, presumably in a form of partition.

Can they bring about a wider awareness of the crisis come soon enough to save the Jewish state? I don’t know. Yet somehow I doubt that a Jewish state—an ethnocracy somehow redeemed by institutionalized respect for the rights of a minority population– will survive the crisis. The proliferation of settlements on strategic hilltops in the West Bank and the signs for Israeli businesses like Ahava a mile from the Jordan River, let alone the Warsaw-treatment of Gaza, would seem to have destroyed the prospect for a viable Palestinian state on the leftovers of Palestine; and without a real state that permits the self-determination of Palestinians, and some real accommodation of refugees’ rights, Palestinians will continue to agitate, and the international solidarity movement will continue to advocate for them.

My despair springs from the fact that while I saw Arab media everywhere I went, the larger Israeli Jewish community and the American Jewish one are in denial. They have little knowledge of what is going on, and enfolded in nationalist ideals of 100 years ago, are ill-prepared for the impending crisis. And I’m afraid that this hardened, self-righteous resistance to the truth– let alone to 21st century liberal values– will result in greater violence and draw in the United States. 

The brightest hope I got on my trip came from young Jews. Standing on a hillside in the Palestinian village of Al-Walaje–which is being engulfed by the Israeli idea of greater Jerusalem embodied by the fortress-like presence of the settlement called Gilo that dominated the horizon a half mile away–I met two guys from my home town, Baltimore: Josh Levey and Michael Kaplan.

josh
Josh

They are just teenagers; but brace yourself– they attended an all-Jewish high school and are now working in a refugee camp outside Bethlehem for three months. As a boy, Levey told me, he yelled abuse at the anti-Zionist Jewish group Neturei Karta at pro-Israel demonstrations; but more recently, he has countered the hasbara in his own high school with vigorous opposition. Three months in a Palestinian refugee camp! These boys from my home town have no mental reservations about speaking of the Palestinians as human beings. So we are seeing a Jewish intifada at last, a shaking off of Zionism now that the ideology has sputtered out in ethnic cleansing and political prisoners and white phosphorus.

As we talked, an older American-Israeli woman, a Meretz/liberal Zionist type, who was also nobly demonstrating againt the landgrab, interrupted us to say that it is a simple matter to buy the settlers out; why, Naomi Chazan has said that is the case. As she talked with the boys about miraculously undoing the white stucco walls and red tile roofs of the elite settlement above us, it became clear that she regards the Jewish state as a necessity for Jews, but that somehow these young men do not. And in a couple of months, Josh Levey and Michael Kaplan will be coming home.

81 Responses

  1. potsherd
    January 11, 2010, 10:20 am

    Welcome home, Phil.

    I went yesterday to hear Adam speak, along with Brant Rosen and Cecilie Surasky, and it was heartening in several ways. The room was full, the audience was highly receptive to the anti-Zionist message. They were full of questions, avid to know.

    Yet I have to share a certain pessimism expressed by Rosen: the change is coming for the Jews, but for the Palestinians, it may be too late.

    • Psychopathic god
      January 11, 2010, 10:35 am

      the terribly anti-semitic thought has occurred that ever since the split between Israel and Juda, the civil wars of the Hebrew/Jewish people have negatively impacted the larger community that had the misfortune to occupy the ground that those warring tribes chose as their battlefield.

      Welcome home, Phil, from travels that, doubtless, have turned your life upside down and promise to continue to do so. Your courage is appreciated.

  2. MRW
    January 11, 2010, 10:28 am

    Fascinating report, Phil, and welcome home. Should Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker be reading this report as a result of your meeting in Jerusalem, I suggest that he keep on going to the Jewish Autonomous Region in Russia. Let him see how a Jewish society with Jews in the minority can be run. Where it’s a Jewish society and not a Zionist one.

    • MRW
      January 11, 2010, 10:45 am

      For anyone who wants to know about the Russian Autonomous Region, here is there homepage: link to eao.ru

      • MRW
        January 11, 2010, 10:46 am

        Jewish Autonomous Region; correction.

  3. Psychopathic god
    January 11, 2010, 10:30 am

    And meanwhile the country’s leadership is committing national suicide by expanding the realm of apartheid conditions even as Al Jazeera and Reuters train their cameras on the scene.

    If Avigail Abarbanel’s analysis is correct, Israel’s leadership will NOT commit “national suicide,” it will intensify its homicidal attacks on Iran.

    expanding the realm of apartheid conditions even as Al Jazeera and Reuters train their cameras on the scene.

    Increasing Israel’s brutalization of Arabs is, in Abarbanel’s schema, Israel’s strategy for simultaneously relieving the intense psychic pressure that Israelis endure; unifying fragmented Israeli society; and, most importantly, attempting to provoke Iran into a war against which Israel can justify itself into retaliating against.
    link to avigailabarbanel.me.uk

    Look for bellicose rhetoric against Iran to increase. — It’s already starting in federal and state legislatures where American Jews have influence:

    • MRW
      January 11, 2010, 10:57 am

      Worse than that, PG. This from Reuters early yesterday, while I find alarming:

      U.S. seeks ship to move arms to Israel
      09 Jan 2009 23:05:52 GMT
      Source: Reuters
      By Stefano Ambrogi

      LONDON, Jan 9 (Reuters) – The U.S. is seeking to hire a merchant ship to deliver hundreds of tonnes of arms to Israel from Greece later this month, tender documents seen by Reuters show.

      The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) said the ship was to carry 325 standard 20-foot containers of what is listed as “ammunition” on two separate journeys from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January.

      A “hazardous material” designation on the manifest mentions explosive substances and detonators, but no other details were given.

      “Shipping 3,000-odd tonnes of ammunition in one go is a lot,” one broker said, on condition of anonymity.

      “This (kind of request) is pretty rare and we haven’t seen much of it quoted in the market over the years,” he added.
      Read the rest here: link to alertnet.org

      • MRW
        January 11, 2010, 11:05 am

        I must be getting senile. I apologize to everyone on this board for my January 11, 2010 at 10:57 am post. What was I thinking ? ? ? I couldn’t read the goddam date? The Reuters report was 2009, not 2010.

        I apologize. [Adam or Phil, if you’re reading this, excise the damn thing to free up room.] jesus.

      • sammy
        January 11, 2010, 11:47 am

        Sounds like an annual affair. Were you intending to refer to this?

        Last update – 03:13 11/01/2010
        U.S. to store $800m in military gear in Israel
        link to haaretz.com

      • Mooser
        January 11, 2010, 11:55 am

        Didn’t Obama just sign a ten-year agreement to insure Israeli military superiority with American aid?

      • MRW
        January 11, 2010, 12:05 pm

        No, Mooser, Bush signed that in 2007, I think.

      • MRW
        January 11, 2010, 12:08 pm

        Sammy,

        Prelude to war with Iran?

      • Chaos4700
        January 11, 2010, 2:25 pm

        Wonderful. Just another Bush policy Obama will continue. Change who can believe in, exactly?

      • potsherd
        January 11, 2010, 4:10 pm

        Ha’aretz had a piece bitching that the US was selling them out by selling arms to Arab states.

      • Psychopathic god
        January 11, 2010, 4:20 pm

        yeah, Petraeus is crowing that Arab states are buying US weapons, and urges them to buy more. The logic (using the word loosely) seems to be, if everybody has guns, then eventually all the bad guys will get dead.

        link to wbur.org

        U.S. officials … applauded the recent arms buildup in nearby Arab states as something that should be accelerated.

        In his public remarks, General David Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command, urged Gulf leaders to beef up their weapons systems and cooperate more on security matters. He said America was feeling more welcome in this part of the world than it had for some time, largely because of worries about Iran. Petraeus said the United Arab Emirates alone in the past year had done $18 billion worth of business with the U.S., half of that coming in military purchases.

        American taxpayers one and all, say THANK YOU to Iran for serving as the scapegoat for American and Israeli hyper-militarization.

      • David
        January 11, 2010, 7:03 pm

        10-year agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) signed in 2007, under Bush. But the administration does actually have to request the money each year, and Congress has to approve it–the MOU is bilateral between the Administration and Israel, the budget still has to be approved each year.

      • Citizen
        January 11, 2010, 12:13 pm

        The USA shipped lots of missiles to Israel in the weeks before Israel commenced it’s turkey shoot on Gaza, and US NG troops are also on the Egyptian border, where they
        erased tunnels at that time, just prior to the turkey shoot; now, of course, US military engineers are busy helping the Egyptians cut of the survival tunnels by erection of a new underground steel wall. So what’s new? Certainly not the USA sending more ammo to Israel in preparation for the next, more crushing Israeli lesson for the people of Gaza.

      • Psychopathic god
        January 11, 2010, 1:34 pm

        I just listened, again, to the discussion Richard Silverstein sponsored in Seattle last December. The video is here: link to edmaysproductions.net

        The speakers were Keith Weissman, senior middle east analyst for AIPAC; Prof. of political science Ian Lustick; and Dr. Mohammed Sahimi, professor of petroleum engineering at UCLA and member of Union of Concerned Scientists.

        I’m preparing a transcript of the three talks as well as the Q&A session that followed.

      • David
        January 11, 2010, 7:01 pm

        Actually, MRW, I think this was sort of a timely reminder that we shipped tons of ammo to Israel DURING Operation Cast Lead…

  4. Richard Witty
    January 11, 2010, 10:37 am

    Wonderful comments. Its refreshing to hear that you went there with your eyes open.

    On the two-state element, one Jewish one Palestinian. It doesn’t matter what you yourself prefer. You’ve chosen to live in the US, where the question is not a pressing or relevant one. But in Israel, there is a significant majority that does value the distinctness of both haven and majority, and should be honored to the extent that it is reflective of reality. (When the population comes to be of 65% majority relative to 35 minority, the quality of the state has changed.)

    I saw a lecture by Akiva Eldar (at a seminar led by Rashid Khalidi) on you-tube from 11/2007, that I posted a reference to in another thread. Akiva Eldar is apparently a Zionist, one that like others that you sited regard the notion of “enough Israel” as sufficient, and expanded Israel (particularly through the settlement enterprise) as a form of suicide as you referred, spreading too thin, gambling.

    You speak of Israeli officials visiting Hebron and being appalled at the reality, and in terms that the Israeli legislators were only negligent. (If they bear any responsibility for the state of Palestinians as a temporarily occupying force, they are negligent.)

    I think the negligence is more in the journalism, this site and other similar ones frankly.

    Specifically, this site focuses on “tree” level description of incidents. The problem with that scale of reference is that it does not connect the dots at the relevant scope that individuals form informed opinions, positions and strategies. Using my own experience as a guide, I cannot tell if I am being propagandized by description of the incidents. When commentators respond to them habitually, it strikes me as then Pavlovian.

    The negligence though of the journalism, is that the scale (incidents) facilitates both our two reactions, Pavlovian rallying and skeptical dismissal.

    Readers are “lazy”. We cannot ourselves connect the dots into forest or eco-system scale of relevance. We rely on commentators that convey trust in their thinking and analysis BY sufficient balance in research to convey that conclusions are measured (not black-white), flexible (providing sufficient depth to change understanding and action when objective situations change even slightly), and then conclusions able to be implemented by non-fanatics (fanatics are by definition highly motivated, but also gamblers).

    • Richard Witty
      January 11, 2010, 10:42 am

      To elaborate,
      There STILL is no film or multi-media reliable summary of the history of the region.

      There are films on Baseball, Jazz, Global Warming, Civil War.

      The Civil War films are a useful model as the Burns series conveyed the war from both Union, Confederate views, but also from abolitionist, states rights, federalist, commercialist perspectives. It would be insufficient to portray the civil war accurately from one OR the other perspective. A comprehensive, coherent study is relevant.

      • Citizen
        January 11, 2010, 12:22 pm

        It might help for a tiny start that US government and MSM at least once in a while give the Palestinian POV some air and print time, both as to the history of the region and as to breaking news context (e.g., Gaza turkey shoot last year), no? Burns did his objective thing significantly over a century after the Civil War. How about a little
        balance for the American news consumer now? If they got it, they might actually
        put some pressure on their government and MSM to come up with a pro and con
        benefit v cost of what the USA is so enmeshed in, and for so long now.

      • Donald
        January 11, 2010, 1:58 pm

        It is hard to imagine PBS funding a truly fair series of documentaries on the history of Zionism. There would be much that would make the Arabs look bad–terrorism, mob violence against Jews in the 20’s, and Arab antisemitism and those portions would be uncontroversial for the most part. The real fun would start when they covered the racism of many Zionists,the ethnic cleansing of 1948, and the all the atrocities both before and after. For that matter, any coverage of nonviolent resistance by Palestinians would probably elicit some ugly reactions. If they did an honest job covering the atrocities of both sides Congress would throw an absolute fit–the Goldstone Report would be as nothing. There’s virtually no chance of this happening. Even a documentary with watered down coverage of Israel’s crimes that you might support would still get plenty of criticism from many Israel supporters.

      • David Green
        January 11, 2010, 2:46 pm

        The purpose of Burns’ Civil War was to redeem the south and sanitize racism:

        link to current.org

        “By relying on conventional interpretations of the war, the film “failed to reflect the profound changes in the way history is recorded.” Scholars today seek to discover lost histories by including the voices of ethnic minorities and women who did not have the leisure to keep diaries, Litwack said.

        The Civil War was “safe, risk-free, upbeat and reassuring,” Litwack added. It portrayed the “essential passivity of blacks and women,” “perpetuated the notion that ‘This need not have happened at all,'” and “celebrated the reconciliation of North and South while ignoring the brutal and violent racial repression on which that reconciliation rested.”

        “As Confederate and Union veterans were embracing and socializing at their reunion–underneath all that marvelous newsreel footage–the white South was winning [through] terrorism and murder, legal repression, what it had lost on the battlefield–footage that’s not so nice,” said Litwack.

        Reminding the audience that many historians share Litwack’s views, Daniel Walkowitz, a filmmaker and professor of history at New York University, contrasted reviews of The Civil War in the general press with critical evaluations published in several scholarly journals.”

      • Richard Witty
        January 11, 2010, 2:49 pm

        A well-done film could be distributed via many options.

        HBO, theatres, free pre-funded distribution to libraries.

        Its needed.

    • Citizen
      January 11, 2010, 12:25 pm

      Re: “But in Israel, there is a significant majority that does value the distinctness of both haven and majority, and should be honored to the extent that it is reflective of reality. (When the population comes to be of 65% majority relative to 35 minority, the quality of the state has changed.)”

      Anybody want to apply this line of reasoning to the US immigration issue (both legal and illegal) and the trending USA demographics?

    • Ael
      January 11, 2010, 12:26 pm

      One man, one vote.

      It worked in the USA. It worked in South Africa.
      It can work in Israel.

      If people still want two states then they can pass a law dividing Israel in the Knesset, after everyone is enfranchised.

    • Citizen
      January 11, 2010, 12:32 pm

      RE: “…this site focuses on “tree” level description of incidents.”
      I disagree with Dick Witty here. I think the majority of regular commenters here
      focus on the forest, and constantly relate the tree issues to that forest. In contrast,
      Witty ignores the forest, focusing on a tree here, there, etc; he never sees the
      forest; in fact he usually describes a shrub as a wider view would describe the forest.

  5. David Samel
    January 11, 2010, 11:12 am

    It seems to me that the Occupation is Israeli internal discrimination on steroids. Within Israel itself, the Palestinian minority experiences the type of discrimination that would be deemed intolerable in the US for any minority. Still, there are limits and restraints. Palestinian citizens have at least some recourse to the legal system, and their day-to-day lives, while not on par with Jewish citizens, is at least livable.

    But in the OPT, the situation is so much worse. Palestinians exist at the whim of the Israeli authorities, represented most immediately by 18 to 21 year olds with rifles, and remotely by officials whose disregard for the value of Palestinian lives is shocking. The situation is so awful that Israel’s internal discriminatory policies simply do not seem so bad by comparison. Those who think the end of Occupation will save Israel as a Jewish State hope that the world will be less pissed off at apartheid-lite and tolerate, at least for the next several decades, the inherent flaws and contradictions in a Jewish, democratic, secular state. They are perhaps partially right. Ending the Occupation will buy time, but what is the permanent end-game envisioned by the liberal Zionists? What is now tolerable only by comparison to the far worse nightmare of Occupation eventually will become intolerable. The Palestinian minority of 20% need not grow larger for such discrimination to be morally unacceptable.

    The Occupation is a horror which must end as quickly as possible. To see liberal Zionists and anti-Zionists unite in this effort is encouraging. The imperative of ending the Occupation demands that one-staters and two-staters work together toward that goal. But those who think that an end to Occupation will solve everything are kidding themselves.

    I think it is far preferable that people really think about what a permanent solution might look like. Can blatant, government-enforced discrimination be part of that solution? Can the idea of a Jewish State exist without such discrimination? I think the answers to those questions is no, and the question then becomes, how do we best get from here to a real solution. It’s not too early to think about that, and the proposals of people like Ahmed Moor, even if not perfect, are a necessary early step.

    The problem is that Israelis, like all people, will not act to reduce their comfort level. They will not make sacrifices in the name of fairness to other people unless failure to act becomes more painful than acting. They must be pressured by the international community to end the Occupation, and eventually, all forms of discrimination.

    • Avi
      January 11, 2010, 11:47 am

      They must be pressured by the international community to end the Occupation, and eventually, all forms of discrimination.

      I firmly believe that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement will bring the necessary pressure to bear on Israel.

      Your comment summarizes the predicament in which Zionism is found today. Well put. I think in the long run so-called liberal Zionists will have to come to terms with the discriminatory policies within the Green Line, Israel’s inability to sustain such policies and the so-called “demographic bomb”, even if and when the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza ends.

      That is to say that for Israel to survive in the long term, as a democratic state (not an exclusively Jewish state), Zionism will have to be relegated to the annals of history.

    • Avi
      January 11, 2010, 11:48 am

      They must be pressured by the international community to end the Occupation, and eventually, all forms of discrimination.

      I firmly believe that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement will bring the necessary pressure to bear on Israel.

      Your comment summarizes the predicament in which Zionism is found today. Well put. I think in the long run so-called liberal Zionists will have to come to terms with the discriminatory policies within the Green Line, Israel’s inability to sustain such policies and the so-called “demographic bomb”, even if and when the military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza ends.

      That is to say that for Israel to survive in the long term, as a democratic state (not an exclusively Jewish state), Zionism will have to be relegated to the annals of history.

      • MRW
        January 11, 2010, 12:24 pm

        Avi, read Rabbi Gottlieb’s piece that the blog just put up. She makes a great argument for BDS.

      • Psychopathic god
        January 11, 2010, 1:49 pm

        The mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, Jay Williams, has a tremendous opportunity before him to make a difference for his city as well as for the United States and Israel.
        Williams just returned from a commerce-oriented trip to Israel with the goal of bringing back to economically depressed Youngstown business relationships with Israel.
        Williams should be persuaded to take a very courageous position: NO relationship with Israel UNTIL Israel shares the values of the people of Youngstown and of the United States. Those values do NOT include ethnic cleansing, home demolitions, land thefts, use of disproportionate force and internationally proscribed weapons, deployed against innocent civilians.

        Please write to Mayor Jay Williams in Youngstown, Ohio, at: link to cityofyoungstownoh.org

        and/or Youngstown’s local newspaper, The Vindicator, here: link to vindy.com.

        Encourage Mayor Williams and the beleaguered people of Youngstown to stand on the right side of history, and to help to bring Israel in from the cold, by refusing to do business with Israel unless and until Israel behaves in a more civilized fashion.

    • Citizen
      January 11, 2010, 12:48 pm

      David, I agree with you. Even Truman would have–remember how he crossed out the adjective “Jewish” describing the new state of Israel he was recognizing? And his comments (available at the Truman Archives) regarding Jews in power? But Truman signed on the dotted line; the USA since 1945 has shown no allegiance to the moral principles it help define at the Nuremberg Trials, and no allegiance to the equally lofty goals of the UN it did so much to create–when it comes to applying higher ethics and morality to Israel, the USA has always been a day late and two dollars short. Instead the USA funds Israel’s flouting of non-Goering principles and echoes hasbara constantly, and at its own expense. Do the Palestinians need a few USA carrots? Yes. Do the Israelis need a few USA sticks? Yes. Instead we are heading for the usual diet for each, with the Iranians getting USA sticks too, and in that regard too, Israel getting more free carrots. BDS is the only hope, the only thing that has a chance of circumventing TPTB (the powers that
      be). This is precisely why the dick witty hasbara spielers hate BDS.

  6. Colin Murray
    January 11, 2010, 11:32 am

    Great post, Phil, and welcome back.

  7. radii
    January 11, 2010, 12:48 pm

    Illuminating remarks Phil, well done – and kudos for the guts it takes to put yourself in the middle of that with your body, not just words.

    Is willful ignorance a crime? I’m thinking history will judge a lot of the jews in israel and the majority here in the U.S. as willfully ignorant of the atrocities israel regularly visited upon its Palestinian subject population. What will be the price of complicity? None is my guess – maybe some shame if this one or that one has a conscience, but that’s about it.

    Getting israel to acknowledge and stop its crimes is like turning a large barge around in a narrow, shallow river while fighting the current.

    • Citizen
      January 11, 2010, 1:06 pm

      Yes, radii, similar to turning the USA barge around in a thin river.

      Everybody is a Hitler who suggests Israel should not always be allowed to do what it wants. Just look at the sequential state spokesman who each have been declared (a new) Hitler by AIPAC clones and Israel.

      Everybody who objects to the Shoah as a sufficient justification for whatever Israel does is at least not sufficiently empathetic to “the jewish people,” if not a simple “anti-semite.”

      What will it take to get the USA masses to wake up? My guess is a combo of continued economic malaise and an attack on Iran while we are already extending
      our negative contacts with so many weak Muslim states, hoping to change hearts and minds by ancient gunboat diplomacy. I think that’s the future.

      • radii
        January 11, 2010, 3:41 pm

        Citizen, I sure hope it doesn’t descend to the depths you suggest – continued gunboat “diplomacy” and lingering economic decline with the Iran attack – yikes!

        If most or all of that plays out then we will bankrupt ourselves economically and morally and will have played out bin Laden’s scenario almost exactly – he will be called a new prophet for getting it so close to right.

        It just amazes me how the zionist faction doesn’t seem to care a whit that they are actively destroying their greatest benefactor and protector. If the U.S. becomes more damaged and more weakened due to zionist policies and actions it bodes poorly for them.

      • Colin Murray
        January 11, 2010, 6:20 pm

        If the U.S. becomes more damaged and more weakened due to Zionist policies and actions it bodes poorly for them.

        I agree. I think talk I sometimes hear that Israel will find a new sugar daddy when the US can no longer fulfill the role is grossly in error. Zionists have put all their eggs into one fraying basket. They are cultivating as best they can relationships with rising powers like India and China, but other powers only deal with Israel on the basis of mutual benefit. No one else is going to actually subsidize their state, because there is no Israeli Lobby in states that can provide a market for Israel’s main exports, and there is not going to be. There is also the very major consideration of our persistent use of UN veto on their behalf. When that ceases, if it does before other factors make it irrelevant, the playing field will be entirely upended.

        Their most lucrative exports, defense and software, both heavily subsidized by the United States, are going to lose their competitive advantage. In the same way they have screwed us with crooked ‘joint contracts’ that end up transferring American technology and expertise to Israeli companies (at a corruption-catalyzed rate higher than the normal rate of diffusion), their qualitative edge over Indian and Chinese competitors will also erode as their trading partners acquire their expertise. I would absolutely LOVE to read that quashed CIA assessment that Israel might last another twenty years. The PressTV article implies that the paper focuses more on social rather than economic considerations.

      • Colin Murray
        January 11, 2010, 6:26 pm

        Also, Israel depends on security exports to allow the level of economy of scales necessary for a small nation to maintain a large defense industrial establishment, which is a critical underpinning of their regional dominance, and will be its very foundation when American subsidies dry up.

    • Colin Murray
      January 11, 2010, 5:06 pm

      Is willful ignorance a crime?

      Willful ignorance is a euphemism for moral cowardice.

  8. Rehmat
    January 11, 2010, 12:54 pm

    The Zionist leaders have been trying to wipe-off the native population based on the earlier European colonial ethnic-cleansing in Americana, Australia and New Zealand. However, the times have changed. Like World Zionist movement’s role model – Zionist entity is too destined to hit the dust. It’s just a matter of time – but it is interesting to watch that its destruction is not happening much by Hamas or Hizb’Allah’s rocket attacks but the awakening conscience of the new generation of Jews, inside and outside Palestine.

    Israel Shamir and Cynthia McKinney exposed the true nature and power of Zionist entity at the Ankara Conference on Palestine, last month.

    Ankara Conference on Palestine
    link to rehmat1.wordpress.com

  9. Mooser
    January 11, 2010, 1:44 pm

    I have a feeling that the ZIonists have, (as they planned to, or were fated to?) have created a problem way, way too big for “the Jewish Community” to solve.
    Of course, it’s possible the Gentiles aren’t smart enough to help us, and should leave us alone.
    But by no means should we admit that it is simply not within our Jewish capabilities to fix Israel, that would be the worst option!
    One could suspect that the Jewish community, as it exists today, was created by the Zionists to serve their purposes, and may not be adaptable to other purposes. But then, who knows.
    But by all means, the Gentiles should leave us alone until we solve our problems.

    • Psychopathic god
      January 11, 2010, 1:52 pm

      hello Mooser.
      hope you are having a good day today.

      • Mooser
        January 12, 2010, 1:32 pm

        As you perceptively perceived, I’m not, and the poorly thought out and poorly-worded (well, more than usual, I mean) comment reflects that. How’s about we scratch it, huh?

        But, I think you need to take a look at what you call the “Jewish community” in its operative aspects. It is completely decentralised, except for Zionism. The fact that there is, of course, a Jewish community in no way guarantees that it has the means, or even the desire, to overcome and change or eliminate that portion of it which is organised around Zionism.
        Look, just as Judaism should not have been used as the basis for a state, and guaranteed, in my opinion, a failure (it’s a 2500 year old religion, not a political community) same thing goes for the opposite: stopping Zionism, now that it has gone as far as it has, may be something quite beyond the Jewish community. If that is true, if the Jewish community doesn’t have the unity of purpose or means to influence (in any meaningful respect) Israel and Zionism, we need to face up to it right away, and act accordingly.

        Beyond that, the comment was atrocious, which I blame on a collapsed coffee filter, and the fact that I can’t start practising the organ til the dog wakes up (don’t ask!)

    • radii
      January 11, 2010, 3:52 pm

      Mooser,

      You’re tongue was firmly in cheek with that post … right?

      Let’s not forget jews have been around nearly 6000 years as an identifiable culture/religion and zionism only 100 years or so, so 1/58 t0 1/60 of that time depending upon who’s dates you believe … zionism is the interloper so it did not “create” a modern jewish community it merely molded it through political/social pressures … and the zionist problem has now become the world’s problem since it seems to be the fulcrum upon which so many conflicts pivot so non-jews will most definitely play a hand or be the guiding hands shaping the resolution – unless a miracle happens and zionist wake up and realize their experiment failed and move on to live in peace with their neighbors

  10. wondering jew
    January 11, 2010, 1:55 pm

    Israel is not going to war against Iran without Obama’s permission. As far as Lebanon goes there seems to be a Mutually Assured Mess that has this cease fire lasting. Gaza is an unstable situation. If Abbas and Netanyahu were serious about getting anything signed quickly (as in a border agreement), then their emissaries would be negotiating in Oslo or some other off the beaten path part of the world.

    • Chaos4700
      January 11, 2010, 2:20 pm

      When has Israel ever been serious about a border agreement? They even demanded control of Gaza’s border with Egypt. And that’s ignoring the fact that Israel has been taking land from others by military force for the entirety of its existence.

      How is anyone supposed to recognized Israel on its borders when Israel itself refuses to recognize borders?

      • Brewer
        January 11, 2010, 3:40 pm

        The lovely Henry Siegman exposed the “Peace Process” in 2007:

        link to lrb.co.uk

        “Israel’s contention has long been that since no Palestinian state existed before the 1967 war, there is no recognised border to which Israel can withdraw, because the pre-1967 border was merely an armistice line. Moreover, since Resolution 242 calls for a ‘just and lasting peace’ that will allow ‘every state in the area [to] live in security’, Israel holds that it must be allowed to change the armistice line, either bilaterally or unilaterally, to make it secure before it ends the occupation. This is a specious argument for many reasons, but principally because UN General Assembly Partition Resolution 181 of 1947, which established the Jewish state’s international legitimacy, also recognised the remaining Palestinian territory outside the new state’s borders as the equally legitimate patrimony of Palestine’s Arab population on which they were entitled to establish their own state, and it mapped the borders of that territory with great precision. Resolution 181’s affirmation of the right of Palestine’s Arab population to national self-determination was based on normative law and the democratic principles that grant statehood to the majority population. (At the time, Arabs constituted two-thirds of the population in Palestine.) This right does not evaporate because of delays in its implementation.”

  11. potsherd
    January 11, 2010, 2:05 pm

    Israel is planning a new assault on Gaza. The more Obama succeeds in keeping them from attacking Iran, as Netanyahu really would prefer, the more they feel they have permission to do another round on Gaza. link to haaretz.com

    The links to Samia’s remarks are a must-read.

    After all, they have to be attacking something.

    The countdown to the Second Gaza War has begun in earnest. Date it, if you like, to Sunday, and a coolly terrifying analysis by Yom Tov Samia, former overall Israeli military commander of the Gaza Strip and the adjacent Negev.

    Or date it, if you prefer, according to the axiom of contemporary Israeli history which reads: A future war becomes all but inevitable the moment a key IDF reserve major general declares it so.

    Alternatively, date it from the moment that selective amnesia allows Israeli political figures to court the illusion that Hamas can be invaded to death.

    • Psychopathic god
      January 11, 2010, 2:22 pm

      Abraham WILL find an unblemished ram caught in the thicket, whether Persian/Iranian or Palestinian Arab, to offer up instead of his own son, to propitiate the sins of Abraham and to bring to fruition the wetdreams of Abraham.

      Abraham is not MY father.

      read the first pages of Mike Evans’ “The Final Solution Beyond Iraq” (the first few pages are all most normal people can stomach). Evans is an evangelical Christian converted from his Jewish family of birth; he’s also a consultant to Bibi Netanyahu and a participant in The Joshua Project.
      Don’t know much about the Joshua Project, but if you read the appropriate passages in Torah re Joshua’s conquest of Jericho, you realize that the most ancient, settled agrarian village in the Levant was destroyed by Joshua using the power of WORDS. The birthplace of hasbara.

    • Colin Murray
      January 11, 2010, 11:17 pm

      There is a serious error in Burston’s analysis which I hope, without expectation, that the Israeli political establishment is not also making.

      Burston: “One of the most important lessons of last year’s bloodletting is that war or no war, Hamas and only Hamas decides when and if rockets are to be fired from Gaza into Israel. Rockets flew throughout the three-week war, and stopped only at Hamas’ order, several hours after Israel stilled its guns.”

      It is childishly ridiculous to assume that Hamas controls the timing of every rocket fired from Gaza. There are other factions, including Islamic Jihad and Fatah splinters, less willing to negotiate than Hamas, and far less trusting of Israeli intentions and credibility. Sometimes their interests coincide, and sometimes they don’t, and sometimes Hamas can impose its will on them, and sometimes it can’t. Hamas does not have some mystical 100% 24-hour control over every individual in Gaza, and Israel has murdered and stolen enough to ensure that many are angry. Can anyone, especially the Israel government which is literally unable to exercise more than a shred of control over its colonists, seriously expect a movement with highly limited resources which Israel has attacked at every opportunity, does not have the heartfelt support of even a majority of Gazans, and whose actual members comprise a tiny portion of the total population, to have God-like control over 1.5 million people?

      A far more likely explanation is that other groups deferred to Hamas’ leadership during time of war, and agreed that a cessation of fighting was warranted after Israel stopped firing. Any Israelis that believe Burston’s nonsense do so because they cowardly cling to the simple, comforting, and facile explanation that all their problems stem from the existence of Hamas, and don’t arise from the suffering that they have inflicted on Palestinians during their campaign of occupation, ethnic cleansing, and colonization. Make no mistake, people, if Hamas didn’t exist, some other organization, perhaps with radically different social and political values, would have arisen to fill the same role of champion of resistance to Israeli colonization.

      Resistance in Gaza was conceived by Israeli occupation, and born of ethnic cleansing and colonization. Factions in the Israeli political establishment who want another attack on Gaza don’t give a damn who is firing rockets. They want another war. If they are foolish enough to start one, they will regret its blowback, especially in the arena of public relations and legitimacy, far more than that of the last one.

      • Richard Witty
        January 11, 2010, 11:25 pm

        He made that point conspicuously. It was noted as a change from the past.

        Why don’t you write to him directly and ask how he came to that conclusion?

      • Chaos4700
        January 11, 2010, 11:56 pm

        The point is also conspicuously wrong, as Mr. Murray pointed out. And Burston is a conspicuous Zionist. We might as well be asking you to think of the Palestinians as human beings instead of cardboard cutouts with targets painted on them, Witty.

      • potsherd
        January 11, 2010, 11:42 pm

        Israel is demanding that Hamas control the action of other more militant groups in Gaza – which rather contradicts their declaration that Hamas is responsible for everything that happens there.

        If Israel weren’t under the control of a bunch of fatheads, they would realize that Hamas control of Gaza is really the least of the things they have to worry about. Israel actually wants Hamas to control Gaza, but at the same time they want to punish them for doing it.

      • Shingo
        January 12, 2010, 6:58 am

        Excellet post Postherd.

      • Colin Murray
        January 12, 2010, 11:01 am

        This is a brilliant observation. Also, I think the term ‘fathead’ is a great descriptor for Israeli leadership. :)

  12. wondering jew
    January 11, 2010, 3:33 pm

    Update me if I am wrong- Hamas is willing to sign a reconciliation with Fatah if they sign it in Damascus, whereas Fatah wants to sign it in Egypt. If this is true, then Egypt and Hamas view each other as adversaries. This is the essence of the instability.

    • annie
      January 11, 2010, 5:22 pm

      the PA and egypt (the government not the people) are both bending to the will of the US/IS authority. hamas is not. the instability between fatah and hamas is likely not due to one factor but their is no doubt that instability has been nurtured by those who wish to determine the outcome of any power between them and guarantee it remains within their grasp and under their control (israel/US). specifically the security forces and economic considerations. the essence of the instability has nothing to do w/egypt and hamas even tho they are adversaries. hamas and fatah should mend their conflicts sans meddling from israel or the US. since egypt serves as a proxy for them they should reconcile in damascus or turkey or someplace with both their best interests at heart. they should unite strongly with eachother sans israel/us or egypt.

    • Colin Murray
      January 11, 2010, 5:50 pm

      The dominant disagreement between Hamas and Fatah is that the ruling faction of Fatah, Abbas and his circle of cronies (they are not the only faction), refuse to share power with a democratically elected Hamas. Fatah was by far and away the strongest political party in the Palestinian Authority (PA) before Hamas’ ascendance, overriding or co-opting the wishes of the smaller movements .

      Hamas was sharing power before Abbas’ illegal dissolution of the Palestinian Legislative Council and imposition of his unelected dictatorial rule, remaining ‘in office’ far past his originally elected term. Many in Fatah have long seen the PA, theoretically supposed to be representative of all Palestinians, as their personal game preserve for hunting bribes and foreign ‘aid’ handouts. Israel has been content with that, as long as Fatah remained corrupt and politically compliant with the occupation. They are quite unhappy that Abbas is no longer willing to play ball.

      Abbas launched a failed physical coup in Gaza after his political coup in the PA, via the murderous Fatah thug Muhammad Dahlan. See The Gaza Bombshell for the definitive account. Whatever its other failings, and they are many, it speaks well of Hamas that they are willing to speak at all with Fatah until it has new leadership. One cannot trust the leadership of a competing political party after they tried to murder you.

  13. potsherd
    January 11, 2010, 4:26 pm

    I don’t believe what either Hamas or Fatah says on this issue, but there is no doubt at all that Egypt views Hamas as an adversary and a tool of adversaries.

    As far as I can tell, Eygpt wants to force Hamas to surrender to Fatah and let Fatah take over Gaza again. There is no chance Hamas will accept this.

  14. annie
    January 11, 2010, 5:09 pm

    welcome home phil. excuse my speechlessness right now, but its good to have you back.

  15. Todd
    January 11, 2010, 10:15 pm

    “Just back from Israel/Palestine, the overwhelming sense I carry away is that the present state cannot last. Just how it goes down I have no idea.”

    What happens to Israel’s supporters in America when the end of Israel comes? Will Americans be allowed to freely discuss the issue, or will the clamps be tightened further?

    I don’t believe that most Americans are so stupid that they don’t understand that Israel is largely a pet project of powerful American Jews, or that most Americans support Israel or have no resentment of the forced support. Being indifferent about the plight of a foreign people like the Palestinians isn’t the same as supporting Israel.

    “The surprise for me is that the indifference of American Jews to this injustice is more than matched by that of the mass of Israelis: They live inside the bubble of their opinion that Israeli society is fair.”

    Why on earth would you be surprised at the indifference of American Jews to the plight of Palestinians, unless you believe in some sort of Jewish ethical exceptionality? How can anyone familiar with the issue in America be surprised at the sentiment in the Jewish community? Indifference would be a huge step forward!

  16. timdon
    January 12, 2010, 12:13 am

    Why must Israel be a fair and just liberal society in order to justify its present existence as a sovereign state? Even though the majority of countries, let alone countries in permanent semi-war zones, muddle through with plenty of arbitrary unfairness, oppression, social inequality and whatever other immoral problems without the larger world giving a damn generally.

    • Donald
      January 12, 2010, 1:00 am

      It doesn’t. You’re right. Its legal right to exist is the same as that of any other thuggish country (including the US for much of its history–nowadays we’ve stolen all the land we want and most of our thuggishness is conducted overseas or via proxies.)

      But Israel is a little different from most modern states in that it insists the very people it expelled grant it the “right to exist” as a Jewish state. That is idiotic. It’s exactly like a mugger demanding his victim grant him the right to her purse.

      As a practical matter one can argue that a one state solution isn’t in the cards (though nowadays a two state solution doesn’t appear any closer). And Israel’s legal right to exist is real. But pushing for Palestinian recognition of their right to exist as a Jewish state is pure hubris.

      Also, that bit about the world caring or not is misleading. Different parts of the world care about different things. In the US, most politicians apparently feel they have to bow and scrape and swear undying love to Israel, and they fall over themselves making excuses when Israelis kill an Arab. It’s tiresome.

    • Todd
      January 12, 2010, 9:42 am

      The problem with Israel is that Jews demand that the world deem Israel pure and faultless, and to support the nation economically, militarily, politically, morally, and in every other conceivable way, or the offenders are labeled anti-Semites and the Holocaust is raised.

      If the situation in Israel were just another self-contained conflict, then it would be unfortunate, but still not my business. But to constantly demand the world support Israel, to relentlessly propagandize the situation, and then cry because the world calls a spade a spade is ridiculous and tiresome. Let Israel and her supporters get what they deserve.

      The thing I find most annoying and dangerous about Israel’s supporters is their lack of gratitude and their outright hostility towards those who have supported Israel. It’s hard to believe that Israel’s supporters literally tear America to pieces morally and existentially if they feel that support for Israel is faltering. What a despicable group of people! And the worst thing is that many are native-born American citizens.

  17. potsherd
    January 12, 2010, 12:17 am

    I don’t think it does. Only Israel insists that the world recognize it’s “right to exist.”

    If Israel would simply admit it is a totalitarian, racist state established and maintained by force, it would free itself of a great burden of hypocrisy.

  18. timdon
    January 12, 2010, 12:45 am

    Every country has an implicit right to exist. I think the world reached a consensus that the status quo of extant nations is a lesser evil than starting over afresh.

    • potsherd
      January 12, 2010, 10:08 am

      I would say rather that no country has a right to exist, but the world doesn’t want to see any more wars over the issue.

    • Shmuel
      January 12, 2010, 4:15 pm

      What does “right to exist” mean, timdon? Israel is a country with a state ideology. If one advocates the abolition of that ideology (and I say this as an anti-Zionist Israeli citizen) does that violate the country’s “right to exist”? If one advocates an end to the Israeli occupation of the WB and Gaza, does that negate Israel’s “right to exist”? If one demands that Israel treat all of its citizens as equals does that compromise its “right to exist”? If one presses Israel to adopt non-discriminatory naturalisation laws, does that undermine its “right to exist”?

      It seems to me that this entire “right to exist” argument is a red herring, intended to distract the world (and particularly liberal democracies) from the fact that what Israel’s supporters call its “right to exist” is in fact its “right” to occupy, oppress and discriminate, and no country has such rights.

      • David Samel
        January 12, 2010, 5:39 pm

        You are precisely right, shmuel, except that it is a particularly effective red herring. Who can argue with an organism or entity’s right to exist? Denial of that right, on the surface at least, appears to be the most unreasonable position to take – in this case a genocidal position, since it supposedly implies a willingness to wipe out the very existence of Israeli Jews. By the time one explains that affirmance of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State necessarily recognizes my right, as a Jewish American, to assert superior status in a country half way around the world over people who were actually born there, the listener is yawning or checking his/her watch. On the other hand, accusations of denial of “the right to exist” has a concise bumper-sticker quality, one that fits perfectly with the target audience’s attention span and depth of understanding.

        It goes hand in hand with the demand that Palestinians renounce violence. Violence sucks, doesn’t it? So it follows that requiring people to abstain is a good thing. Again, it takes time to explain that the Occupation itself is violence. Every day, even when no shot is fired, Israelis rule over 4 million Palestinians by force of arms, not by moral persuasion or consent of the governed. They compel Palestinians to do this or that, or refrain from this or that, upon penalty of violence if they refuse. A “peaceful” day of Occupation is continuously violent as much as an armed robbery of a liquor store which goes smoothly without a shot being fired. If there were a mutual renunciation of violence and the threat of violence, the Occupation would end immediately. Palestinians would be free to do as they please without threat from the IDF. Still, Israel manages to score points with this demand. I have said it before: Israel’s PR apparatus is more impressive and powerful than its military.

      • Shmuel
        January 13, 2010, 3:56 am

        Definitely, David, which is why we have to call the peddlers of this incredibly effective and manipulative crap on their bluff, at every opportunity. We anti-Zionist Jews have a particular advantage in this department, and should not hesitate to take advantage of it (Cliff’s worthy comments on the subject notwithstanding).

    • MRW
      January 13, 2010, 5:57 am

      timdon,

      No country on the planet has an “implicit right to exist.” Including the United States. That is cockamamie bullshit. It implies nothing can change; no nations can merge into one, or divide into two or three. An argument for idiots incapable of free and independent thought.

      The only thing a country has is a right to defend itself.

    • Cliff
      January 13, 2010, 6:01 am

      States are political entities. They have no inherent and arbitrary ‘right to exist’.

      This concept is relatively new to international politics. It’s just a piece of emotional blackmail employed by the Zionists to humanize a ‘State’ – namely, the ‘Jewish’ part of the ‘Jewish State’.

      The Soviet Union, doesn’t exist anymore. Nazi Germany does not exist anymore.

      They were political entities. Israel as a Jewish State has no right to exist, especially considering the various factors (ethnic cleansing, atrocity, bullshit ideology built on myths to mobilize people to colonize, etc.) it took to be created. That doesn’t mean it should be ‘destroyed’ (emotional blackmail again). It should be reformed, to become a State for it’s citizens and to include the Palestinians (whom it was and is still continuing to be built upon).

      • MRW
        January 13, 2010, 6:16 am

        Couldn’t agree more, Cliff. Especially the emotional part; totally inappropriate.

        Justice is what keeps a nation alive, nothing more. If a geographically defined political entity does not provide justice for the inhabitants within its borders, it has no right to exist. Period. It’s a fucking concentration camp.

  19. MHughes976
    January 12, 2010, 3:56 pm

    If one says that Belgium has a right to exist one probably means that it is right that Belgium should, unless Belgians agree otherwise, retain its present shape and borders.
    Those who say that Israel ought to enfranchise the Palestinians under its control are not really raising the question of whether a state of the size and shape of Israel (48 or 67 versions) ought to exist. Whether the exercise of franchise by all who are entitled to it, which requires the return of those illegitimately not permitted to return so far, would result in a new set of boundaries, as when the Czech and Slovak republics succeeded Czechoslovakia, is another matter. The right of Israel to exist is comparable to the right that Czechoslovakia once had, and is like all such rights non-absolute and subject to revision once usurpations of power are a thing of the past.
    There is of course no right for any country to exist on existing terms, whether or not these terms are just or unjust.

    • Shmuel
      January 12, 2010, 4:30 pm

      Who cares what happens to Belgium, MH, as long as the fries, mussels, beer and chocolate are safe ;-)

      • Tuyzentfloot
        January 13, 2010, 7:33 am

        Right. I heard that.

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