Peace may be more than one conflict away

In this weekend’s Haaretz, there is an interview, by Yotam Feldman, with Prof. Yehouda Shenhav, linked to the upcoming publication of Shenhav’s book “In the Trap of the Green Line” (Hebrew), in which he frames the debate within Israel not in terms of left and right, but in terms of 1948 versus 1967.

Interviewed at his home in Tel Aviv, Shenhav presents a historical viewpoint that sees the 1948 war as the formative event, the ground zero from which subsequent historical developments directly stemmed. Thus, he depicts the Qibya (1953) and Samu’a (1966) raids as a continuation of the "ethnic cleansing" of Palestinians in the area, which began in 1948. He sees the Six-Day War as a well-planned extension of the achievements of ’48 and settlement in the territories as a direct continuation of Jewish settlement inside the Green Line. For this reason, Shenhav is averse to the popular notion among the left that Israel was "corrupted" in 1967, and that the occupation east of the Green Line defiled Israelis’ moral values.

Shenhav points out that the “re-unification” of the two parts of Palestine in 1967 actually had some positive aspects, for Palestinians and Mizrahim – reuniting people and places, expanding and reinforcing the Arabic and Middle Eastern component of Israeli society.

It was not just that Israel had already forfeited its moral values in the massacres and expulsions that took place in 1948, argues Shenhav; the occupation of the territories and the creation of a contiguous entity between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River were a happy development for many who had been adversely affected by the arbitrary separation imposed by the Green Line.

Furthermore, he associates the ’67-centred view of the conflict with the liberal Ashkenazi middle class, who fear this magnification of Israel/Palestine’s Arab identity, and disregard the needs and aspirations of Mizrahim and religious Jews, as well as Palestinians.

This is why Shenhav feels alienated from the most prominent group in Israeli academia and from Tel Aviv intellectual life, and even farther removed from them than he feels from the extreme right and West Bank settlers. This feeling was behind his involvement in the Sephardi Democratic Rainbow, a political coalition he helped found in 1996, which demanded equal rights for Mizrahi Jews. The group fought against the inequality that was the lot of Mizrahim in the Israeli economy and in the distribution of national assets, primarily land. 

Provocatively, he presents the Israeli right as more realistic and more flexible than the left, by stressing a few isolated opinions on the right, as well as the “shared” view of Israel/Palestine as an indivisible unit – obviously perceived in a very different way by the Israeli right. Altogether, he seems to give the Israeli right a lot more credit than it deserves, although the right seems rather incidental to the main target of his criticism: the liberal left.

The insight Shenhav wishes to convey through his book is that the social left in Israel – represented by Meretz, for example – is also a political right. "When [the playwright] Shmuel Hasfari tells Ari Shavit [in an interview in this magazine], ‘Green Line nationalists sounds fine to me. I am not apologetic about my country, about its borders or the Green Line, which has been recognized by the entire world,’ he’s reflecting the way in which the Zionist left is in many senses more nationalist than other parts of the public, and this nationalism is especially striking in terms of the skeleton it keeps in the closet, the question of ’48."

And the right isn’t nationalist? Rightists don’t want a strong Jewish state? 

"Not necessarily like the left. Eliaz Cohen from Kfar Etzion says that if we don’t draw the border on the Green Line, then the right of return for the Palestinians and Jews will be reciprocal: ‘Just as I have a right of return to Kfar Etzion, he says, ‘there’s no reason that Palestinians from Nablus shouldn’t have a right of return to Jaffa.’ It’s a utopia, but this is a group that is a lot more leftist than Amnon Rubinstein and Ari Shavit and Yossi Beilin and David Grossman. This is where the categories have to be overturned and recreated in a new way. 

Shenhav rightly underscores the socio-economic aspect of Israel’s settlement policies and the fact that Ashkenazi liberal Zionist solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict consistently fail to take this into account. What Shenhav seems to ignore, however, are the many reasons for “proletariat” estrangement from the left, which purports to represent their interests – much to the consternation of its mostly middle-class exponents. I have a Hebrew summary of Marxist theory, published in Palestine in the 1940s, that grapples with that very question, long before settlements or the Ashkenazi-Mizrahi divide had become an issue. Back to Shenhav:

"For the Zionist left, all the settlers look alike and think alike. But there are at least 250,000 people in the settlements, which are the lower classes that should have been and could be a central part of the Israeli left. These people who live in the territories, they’re the main victims of a Mapai regime and of the neoliberal economy; they were pushed there as a direct result of the structure of inequality within Israel. Making the Green Line permanent and instituting a solution in accordance with that is a threat to them, a threat that evacuation will deprive them of the welfare state they received."

Therefore, asserts Shenhav, a future accord needn’t hinge upon the evacuation of all the settlements, an idea that he describes in his book as "a fantasy of the left that denies the political reality." For now, it’s hard to envision any Palestinian partner to a solution that does not include an evacuation of the settlements, as the struggle against them currently plays a key part in the Palestinian resistance, but Shenhav is optimistic about this too. Historically speaking, he does not see any difference between settlement on either side of the Green Line; the only difference is that the Palestinians have recognized the settlement to the west of it. 

We then come to Shenhav’s proposed solutions. There is nothing particularly new in the idea of a single, federal state, but its espousal by someone like Shenhav is significant.

At the end of the book, Shenhav proposes three possible solutions to the conflict, based on the premise that it began with the war of 1948 and not 1967. He presents the model of "a state of all its citizens" comprising all of the territory and jointly run by Jews and Arabs. In the same breath, he says that this is the less preferred model, since it does not take into consideration the different interests of the two sides and creates a demographic race between them to achieve a majority. 

Shenhav’s preferred model is what he calls a demokratiya hesderit: a division of the region into smaller territories in which various religious and civic communities would live, in a loose federation of independent cantons. Even if these solutions seem quite far-fetched today, Shenhav believes that the changes of recent years have made the two-state solution even more unrealistic and argues that future solutions are continually being shaped. "It’s not like everything is on hold, still waiting for Ben-Ami to come back from Camp David with an agreement. In the meantime, the occupation and control of the territories has deepened. The control of Gaza from the outside and via humanitarian organizations is the best possible control there could be. These changes fortify the one space. We’re not living in a Jewish and democratic state, we’re living in a single space in which Israel exerts de facto sovereignty from the sea to the Jordan River, including Areas C, B and A, in Gaza and Ramallah. A situation is being created that cannot be divorced from solutions."

The English translation of the interview leaves out an important passage appearing at the very end of the Hebrew version:

But who wants to integrate into the Arab world?

Prof. Yehouda Shenhav claims that it is largely Ashkenazim who promote the idea of separation from the Palestinians. He believes that Mizrahim may find it easier to live alongside Palestinians in a single binational polity: “This is a position that Mizrahim can adopt. My father and all those around him, all members of the defence establishment, in a second, you can see them as Arabs”.

Is this relevant to the younger generation? There is hardly anyone younger than you who speaks Arabic or is connected to this culture.

“It may be a generational thing that I am a little trapped in. But our parents offered a possibility that can be reconstructed, that can become a political position. On the flip side, it is almost banal, but nonetheless true, that it has been the Ashkenazim who have promoted the idea of Israel as a European outpost. Let’s see what they say when Islam becomes a central factor in Europe”.

About Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel

Shmuel Sermoneta-Gertel is a Canadian-Israeli translator living in Italy.
Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged , , , , ,

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

  1. potsherd says:

    Shenhav is certainly living in the past if he regards the WB settlers as “victims of Mapai.”

    Increasingly, they are fantatics from the US, victims of no one.

    • Mooser says:

      “fantatics from the US, victims of no one.”

      What about the people who drew those awful things on their notebooks, and the guy who discussed with them what they should do about it?

    • I was pretty much about to post the same thing as soon as I read that – It was always my understanding that the (non US) settlers are largely Kahanists who have been de-facto ‘exiled’.

      • I wonder if there is a way to get accurate statistics regarding country of origin of people who live in settlements. As far as their political leanings, I believe that the election results for the last Knesset elections should be available and that would detail the current voting patterns of people who live on settlements, although not what their previous (before moving to settlements) voting patterns were.

        • annie says:

          although not what their previous (before moving to settlements) voting patterns were.

          do you mean when they voted in russia or the states?

        • I would guess that the percentage of American or Russian immigrants in the settlements is about 50%. (This is based on what Rabbi Froman once observed about Tekoa.) And I was referring to the voting patterns of the 50% who are native born.

        • annie says:

          i know, i was pulling your leg. israel likes to entice newcomers by offering great deals on stolen land. whoda thunk rightwing americans and russians would find themselves staking out their own territory together on stolen land just years after the cold war?

        • VR says:

          I followed a similar line of thought on another site -

          “I don’t know if any of these settlers are American, but there should be a law against American citizens settling on occupied land or participating by force of arms in an illegal occupation. How do you think a law like that would do in congress? It seems reasonable enough.”

          Reply from another poster –

          “Most of the settlers are Americans and their settlement is funded by US money.”

          My response –

          The US is willing to allow what it can for its elites, and this is their design and desire. Just like the elites in other countries gave leave to their elites to colonize, supported them, and let them operate with impunity (see Africa, Algeria, Central and South America, India, etc.).

        • In an election where the likes of Lipni were termed ‘moderates’ I’m not really sure what you could hope to glean from such results.

        • “I don’t know if any of these settlers are American, but there should be a law against American citizens settling on occupied land or participating by force of arms in an illegal occupation. How do you think a law like that would do in congress? It seems reasonable enough.”

          There are presumably laws that make it illegal to handle stolen goods, no?

          I seem to recall a complaint was brought in the UK against some company or other that was selling property built on stolen Palestinian land.

        • Assuming a settler population of about 500,000, Shenhav’s statement that “there are at least 250,000 people in the settlements, which are the lower classes” refers to about 50% of settlers as “socio-economic” settlers (mostly Mizrahim) “pushed there as a direct result of the structure of inequality within Israel“, who would also be forced to bear the brunt of a Green Line solution entailing evacuation.

  2. Mooser says:

    Wait a minute, is this guy trying to say that in Israel, different groups or classes of Jews exploit each other? Just as people do in any neo-liberal set-up?
    This I can’t believe! I thought in Israel your staus and income was completely determined by how much Haftorah you memorise, and the guy who memorises the Wholetorah gets to be President.

  3. annie says:

    what an amazing interview. his framing doesn’t skip a beat and the way it culminates in an identical view as my own (‘We’re not living in a Jewish and democratic state, we’re living in a single space in which Israel exerts de facto sovereignty from the sea to the Jordan River’ tho approaching it from a very different angle is thought provoking. i wonder how his opinion might have matured differently had he not spent so many years masking his ethnic identity. he seems to have reached an epiphany that night in October 2000 after the political event. i’ll have to re read this interview a few times. thanks for posting.

    • Shenhav mentions only this one incident, but one of the essential characteristics of the the Second (Al-Aksa) Intifada of Sept-Oct 2000 was the interconnectedness of the entire territory, from the river to the sea. Shenhav adds another dimension to the more obvious connection between Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line.

      • annie says:

        shmuel , the connection of palestinians on both sides of the green line goes without saying. it is the potential of this interconnectedness i find more intriguing:

        “Because of the connection between Palestinians and Mizrahim. You can’t understand the conflict without talking about this connection between two types of Arab refugees

        i also think its cool he’s changing his name back to Shaharabani.

      • annie says:

        whoops, i realize now that is what you meant by ‘another dimension’ shmuel. i misinterpreted your comment just now but you spoke of this in the post also.

  4. yonira says:

    TM over @ Jewlicious had a post about the Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC). Looks like this movement is gaining momentum, this phenomenon will need to be addressed now in any future peace settlement.

    link to jewlicious.com

    • Julian says:

      About time. Where’s Goldstone? Doesn’t he care about Jews that had their property and many of their lives stolen by the Arab regimes?

      • Shingo says:

        What was stolen by Arab regimes Julian?

        • yonira says:

          Here is a list by country Shingo:

          link to justiceforjews.com

        • Shingo says:

          Yonira,

          From your link:

          The result: over 850,000 Jews were “uprooted” from the lands where they and their ancestors had lived for generations.

          No mention of ethnic cleansing or land theft anywhere. For most of the 850,000, the uprooting was a slow and gradual process that allowed them to make preperations to move and sell their land.

          Israeli professor Yehouda Shenhav once wrote that “any reasonable person” must acknowledge the analogy (ie. refugees) to be “unfounded”:

          “Palestinian refugees did not want to leave Palestine. Many Palestinian communities were destroyed in 1948, and some 700,000 Palestinians were expelled, or fled, from the borders of historic Palestine. Those who left did not do so of their own volition. In contrast, Jews from Arab lands came to this country under the initiative of the State of Israel and Jewish organizations. Some came of their own free will; others arrived against their will. Some lived comfortably and securely in Arab lands; others suffered from fear and oppression.”

          Some prominent Israeli politicians who themselves come from Arab countries, reject the ‘refugee’ label. Former Knesset speaker Yisrael Yeshayahu once said “‘We are not refugees. [Some of us] came to this country before the state was born. We had messianic aspirations’.” MK Ran Cohen, who emigrated from Iraq, made it clear: “‘I came at the behest of Zionism, due to the pull that this land exerts, and due to the idea of redemption. Nobody is going to define me as a refugee’.”

        • Citizen says:

          The major point is that the arabian jews have had it easy as compared to palestinian arabs. And they still do. Priorities.

        • annie says:

          actually, i am not sure if that is the point. i don’t exactly know how or why palestinians have anything to do w/settling the scores of Mizrahim who were forced out of arab countries. i certainly don’t think it was uniform in the same way palestinians were exiled. how they were treated once they arrived in israel is another issue altogether which Naeim Giladi has written about. remember there was colonial rule or coersion thruout the middle east at the time and i think it would be a mistake to not recognize a degree of collusion of zionists to ‘encourage’ immigration. i am not arguing against compersation where it is applicable, i’m just not understanding why or how is it relevant wrt any peace deal w/palestinians. unless there’s something i’m missing here.

          julian somehow alludes this has something to do w/goldstone? obviously it has nothing to do w/the gaza massacre.

        • Avi says:

          No matter how many times, the ignorant hordes of trolls are SHOWN and PROVEN to be historically WRONG, they continue to come back with the same tired lies.

          Should we start a donation drive for amnesia treatment?

        • yonira says:

          I love this argument. If you can say the Jews weren’t driven out, whats stops me from arguing that the Arab countries didn’t coerce the Palestinians to leave so they could “drive the Jews into the Sea?”

          its all all he said she said shit. but your shit is always accurate and anything we say is automatically false. quite the double standard.

        • Shingo says:

          Fine Yonira. If it ‘s all or nothing, then the IDF are the SS, Bibbi is Hitler, Israel is Nazi Germany, and the Gaza is a concentration camp. How’S that sound?

        • VR says:

          Yonira , even if this were true, that all that were coming from surrounding countries did so by expulsion (which is not true, there was push and pull by various means, the allure of a better life when in reality there was no better life – but discrimination and a push off to “till our land”), it still does not justify a Palestinian target in revenge. This like saying Saudi Arabia persecuted me, I will collect the debt from Yemen.

          First, the lumping of everyone together – “their all Arabs” – for the purposes of illegal activity (stealing land and genocide) , is absolutely wrong. In fact, it was the same argument used by white South Afrikaner’s – “they are all black, they have an entire continent, if they do not like what we are doing here they can move.” That is the “arguments” credentials, and it is a combination of ignorance and racism which makes a statement like this (with various mixture of racism and ignorance, with your track record I would say 50-50). Plus, you do not want me to innumerate the instances of Zionist plans and sabotage (I am not going to repeat myself, I have posted about this before, and frankly with trolls like you and your collective amnesia it is not worth the effort) in the said countries. I would say approximately 20% of the diaspora from around the territory came by way of persecution at the most – and can hardly be compared to the Palestinians, and has no validity anyhow in making the indigenous people of the area pay for what others have done.

        • Mooser says:

          “Should we start a donation drive for amnesia treatment?”

          If they lay off the ziocaine, a normal kind of memory will eventually repair itself.
          It’s the same process which prevents cocaine-and-alchohol abusers from remembering what they did last night, see Joel, Billy “Big Shot”.

        • argue and call names all you want, Knesset is passing laws giving Israelis/Jews the rights & mechanisms to demand reparations from Arab lands from which Jews were “expelled.” The concept is on its way to US Congress, as well.

          link to justiceforjews.com

          When I was in Isfehan, seat of the largest and oldest Jewish population in Iran, our tour guide told us that Jews worked very hard to establish themselves in Isfehan, grew very wealthy using institutions and protections provided by Iranian government. Then Jews LEFT Iran, taking their wealth with them. Should Iran demand that Jews who took advantage of Iranian government services be required to compensate the people of Iran for the wealth taken OUT of their country? (Fat chance Israelis would pay up: Israel fought a lawsuit with Iran for 20 years. A judgment was handed down 4 or 5 years ago; Israel refuses to pay. “How is it that Jews are so successful at making money?” Theft helps.)

          A little-mentioned ‘detail’ of migration of Russian Jews — FSU wanted emigrating Jews to compensate the Russian state for the education that the emigres had received from the state. Guess how that turned out. Hint: USofA paid compensation to ISRAEL for its intake of FSU ‘refugees.’

          Will Knesset include recompense of FSU for education provided to now-Israeli citizens (who are the core of Israel’s technology sector)?

    • tree says:

      Shenhav, who is an Israeli professor of Iraqi descent, has addressed this issue, and JJAC, numerous times. Here’s one such essay of his in Haaretz from 2003:

      Hitching a Ride on the Magic Carpet

      and here is a compendium of Shenhav’s articles on this and other issues in Israel:

      Material by Yehuda Shenhav

      • potsherd says:

        I like that header: “Lessons not learned.”

        Describes some people posting here.

      • annie says:

        thanks of for the ‘hitching’ link.. the other one is not opening for me tho but in my search for it i ran into one of shenhav’s papers What do Palestinians and Arab-Jews Have in Common? . i have not finished it yet but having just reviewed some of Naeim Giladi’s writing and having an interest in the history of iraqis jews it provides context i’ve thus far not encountered. could you check your second link for me please?

        • tree says:

          Sorry, I messed up the link for the other Shenhav articles. Try this link .

        • tree says:

          Also, if you are interested in other sources on the topic, I would recommend reading “The Lure of Zion” by Abbas Shiblak, ” The Last Jews in Baghdad” by Nissim Rejwan, and” Prophets in Bablyon:Jews in the Arab World” by Marion Woofson. Lure covers the circumstances around the mass emigration of Iraqi Jews in the 1950′s. Last Jews is a personal memoir from a famous Israeli writer of the same time period. And Prophets is an abbreviated history of Jews in Arab lands through history with the last part of the book dealing with the situation for Jews from various Arab countries, including Iraq, following the advent of Israel in 1948.

        • tree says:

          Cripes. Babylon, not Bablyon….

        • annie says:

          thanks tree, that link is great resource and i’ve bookmarked it. thanks for the titles also.

          now that i have finished reading ‘What do Palestinians and Arab-Jews Have in Common?’ i’m beginning to understand the twisted logic behind this ‘transfer’ of property of iraqi jews for that of palestinians, the origins of this idea (prior to the ‘expulsion’ of jews from iraq), how israel nationalized their debt collectively (even as those in the diaspora rejected this nationalization) and how they have used this to facilitate not compensating palestinians or justifying their theft is insane. using arab property (whether it be jewish or palestinian) as somehow interchangeable and using it to morally justify taking over the land of palestine and manipulating that compensation away from individuals for the sake of state appropriations…it is a good read. no wonder posters like yonira and the other hasbara trolls constantly bring up this compensation. it is a well oiled machine israel has been hammering away on for decades. even before the expulsions took place it was contemplated. what a farce.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      These would be the Jews that the Ashkenazim harried — like the synagogue bombs in Baghdad — and goaded to come to Israel in order to eradicate Mizrahi Jewish culture and exploit cheap labor, right? Just so that we know we’re talking about the same people here.

  5. David Samel says:

    Shmuel – Thanks for this very informative article. It’s great that more and more Israeli voices are seeing the handwriting on the wall and realizing that there has to be a radical shift in emphasis to produce a lasting peace. I was especially pleased to see Shenhav’s opinion that 1967-Occupation did not turn Israel from a utopian state to a corrupt one. Even though I probably would find agreement on many issues with those who say the Occupation was a turning point in Israeli ideology, I reject that view. Many of Israel’s worst characteristics, including its imposition of a Jewish supremacy by force and its willingness to inflict lethal violence on large numbers of civilians (what we call terrorism) pre-date 1967.

    With respect to the interesting things Shenhav has to say about left and right, I recall an elderly Likudnik (lovely man, despite his politics) telling me that Laborites are more prone to inventing fantasies about Israel’s founding. They will say that we begged the Arabs to stay but their leaders told them to flee, but he would candidly admit that they forced the Arabs out. It was either them or us, he said, and we chose us. I never forgot that conversation as a lesson that liberal Zionists, in their effort to be nicer and gentler, are more prone to bullshit. Honesty is not a very good defense to ethnic cleansing, but at least it’s a realistic start toward a solution.

    • tree says:

      David,

      I’ve heard similar sentiments as well. And I remember reading about Marty Rosenbluth, who went from being an ultra-right wing Zionist to working with Palestinian human rights groups, and directing the 1995 film, “Jerusalem:An Occupation Set in Stone”. Here’s an excerpt:

      MR: The way this project started was when I was showing the last video “Jerusalem: An Occupation Set in Stone”, a documentary I’d done in coordination with the Palestinian Housing Rights Commission, a coalition of Palestinian human rights groups in Jerusalem. Every time I showed the film, everywhere I showed the film, always one of the first few questions was: What was it like to be Jewish and live in the West Bank for seven years? So I decided to make a video to tell that story.

      Basically, what I’m trying to do is to recreate or to encapsulize my own personal political transformation. I went from being a right-wing Zionist when I was younger to working at al-Haq [a Palestinian human rights organization], in Ramallah, for five years, and then for the Palestinian trade unions for two years, living in the West Bank for seven and a half years from 1985 to 1992. There are not that many former Kahane supporters that ended up doing human rights work in the West Bank.

      I think that by re-examining the facts, re- examining the issues, reexamining the things that affected my process of political change, I’m hoping to influence other people.

      For example, when I first came here in 1983 as part of a fact finding mission, I was shocked to find that there were Palestinian villages inside Israel, for example, forget about Gaza and the West Bank, that in 1983 did not have electricity and running water and sewage, and that hasn’t changed. That still exists.

      There’s a fundamental conflict between a theocracy “in this case Israel being the Jewish state “ and a democracy, which is a state in which all citizens have equal rights. The two are fundament-ally and totally incompatible. The whole time I was living in Ramallah, I had more rights as an American who happens to be Jewish than a Palestinian who was born here and lived their whole life here. That’s totally unacceptable and that’s why I’m making the film.

      Even in my interactions with Israeli leftists, that fundamental contradiction is still there. I think that the Israeli Zionist left “ even though they do good work, even though I think most of them are very sincere in their opposition to Israeli governmental policy “ still are not willing to examine in many ways the fundamental contradictions in Zionism itself. I always used to be asked, although not as much asked as told, by Israeli leftists that I should be working in West Jerusalem with B’Tselem [an Israeli human rights organization] rather than with al-Haq if I wanted to fight for human rights. They said I should immigrate to Israel, make aliya[the ascent], and fight within Israeli society. But you can’t willfully, consciously take advantage of racist laws in order to fight racism.

      PR: What was it that initiated the change in your political outlook?

      MR: I made the transformation really through meeting Palestinians for the first time. When I was growing up, when I was a Kahanist, when I was a Zionist, I had never in my life met an Arab, let alone a Palestinian. And if you take Zionism literally, especially American Zionism, the Palestinians don’t exist, right? Israel was a ‘land without a people for a people without a land’. It was a desert and the Jews came and made the desert bloom. I never knew that there were 400 and something Palestinian villages which of course were agricultural that were uprooted in 1948. So for me, meeting Palestinians and talking to Palestinians was what started the process.

      I don’t mean this to sound glib, but I think it’s true: it was easier for me to make the transformation from being a right-wing Zionist to being an anti-Zionist, than it would be for a liberal Zionist to become an anti-Zionist.

      Interview is here.

    • Donald says:

      ” I never forgot that conversation as a lesson that liberal Zionists, in their effort to be nicer and gentler, are more prone to bullshit.”

      I’ve noticed that too, long before I came here and saw RW, who epitomizes what you’re talking about. It’s not true of all liberal Zionists, I don’t think. Some of them admit what was done in 1948 was wrong, but they think the idea of a Jewish state is justified. But some just deny anything bad was done in 1948 and as you say, make 1967 the year Israel fell into sin. Some on the right are more honest about this–Jabotinsky, for instance. Though we also see plenty of really dishonest rightwingers (some of them at this little blog, and a few more in the comment section at Realistic Dove). So it’s really four groups–

      1. Honest liberal Zionists (I think Avi Shlaim is in this group, because he defends the idea of a Jewish state in his latest book. For the most part Shlomo Ben Ami is in this camp, except on subjects where he played a role himself).
      2. Honest rightwing Zionists
      3. Dishonest liberal Zionists
      4. Dishonest rightwing Zionists.

      I’ve listed them in order of my preference.

      • potsherd says:

        What has happened is that, as the occupation becomes more intransigent and the Israeli apologists say one time too often, “The next thing they’ll want is Tel Aviv,” the more it became obvious that Tel Aviv is, indeed, as much stolen land as any on the West Bank.

      • If they think that the idea of a Jewish state is justified, then they don’t “think that what was done in 1948 was wrong”. They think that in the struggle wrongs were committed, some within control of factions, some not.

        ANY that regard Israel as either desirable or necessary at any time, must have that same confusion of willingness to fight (and harm). Similar to the confusion of any Palestinian nationalist or solidarity activist.

        You don’t get the irony of an activist claiming to be non-violent but willing to harrass those that differ from their perspective, willing to selectively boycott on national or ethnic grounds, or to demonize a people, with determination?

        The liberal Zionist view that combines concern for the other, with concern and determination for one’s own, is the most progressive view.

        If the single-state proposal were presented ONLY in terms of a democratic goal, then it might be appealing, not be suspect, but the primary adherents do not adopt that. They historically have been Palestinian nationalists, advocates, unwilling to make room for Jewish migration, Jewish presence, Jewish majority.

        How can you ask Ali Abunimeh to choose what is more important to him, his stated goal of a single fully-democratic state, or his people? How can you ask him to be patient enough to make his argument advocating for democracy in fact, rather than agitating along national lines? (Patient at what?)

        “Dishonest liberal Zionists”. How would you know one? What does that mean even?

  6. Citizen says:

    So, what should we average Gentile Americans make about this Jewish identity war between what amonts to a comparative pillow fight between mainland Nazi Germans of old and their ethnic German kin living to the East? Since so many Israeli settlers come from the USA, does that about sew it up? As in Africa, as in Israel, what skin tone are you? And this when white Gentiles have long left the scene?

  7. MRW says:

    Shmuel, excellent post. Thanks for translating it for us, both for the extra Hebrew only section and for your contextual comments. Shenhav’s tag line never even dawned on me as a possibility, but of course it’s absolutely true. …it has been the Ashkenazim who have promoted the idea of Israel as a European outpost. Let’s see what they say when Islam becomes a central factor in Europe.” As a side issue, but potent nonetheless, Britain right now is hosting a spectacular exhibition of Islamic contributions to the world, 1001 Inventions that I read somewhere will travel globally; should that happen beyond the net by coming here to the US and Canada, it will go a long way towards dispelling common North American views of the Islamic world inculcated during Bush’s reign of terror. Europe, however, will see it first.
    link to 1001inventions.com

    And seeing Islamists as people other than poverty-striken third-world baby breeders whose sole handwriting is violence, and sole raison d’etre the destruction of Israel or a US city, will humanize the incredible history our badly educated US population knows nothing about. Most Americans dont even know their own history; they know what Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (poet) and Nathaniel Hawthorne (novelist) invented with half facts and brio; and they think George Washington was the first President even though the country was formed in 1776 and Washington came to power in 1789.

    All this rambling is by way of saying that it will only be external forces — forces that Israel cannot control because it doesn’t deal with the future without emotion, nor the past with nothing but — forces that will intervene in the 60-year-old I/P closed system and therefore have lasting effect. The I/P situation will be intervened upon, and there is nothing it can do about it. But I think that guy Shenhav has hit upon something.

  8. potsherd says:

    He’s certainly hit a nerve. There are two articles discussing him in the weekend magazine.

  9. Brewer says:

    I have been very busy and unable to keep up with the pace of Mondoweiss lately so pardon me if this has been discussed before.

    “If, and as long as between the Jordan and the sea, there is only one political entity, named Israel, it will end up being either non-Jewish or non-democratic… If the Palestinians vote in elections, it is a binational state, and if they don’t, it is an apartheid state.” – Ehud Barak.
    link to economist.com

    I have had this idle fancy that Barak might have glimpsed himself striding the International stage as some sort of Mandela-like figure – the man who cut the Gordian knot as it were. A temptation to such glittering prizes could surely coax the Zionism out of a man who has already perceived that the “Jewish State” has a limited life.
    Dangerous to his health but Barak has never lacked physical courage.

    • syvanen says:

      I too was quite struck by Barak’s statement you mention. But he is also the author of “there is no one to talk with” that has been the justification for expansion of the WB settlements for the last decade. He needs to say more before I would accept his latest utterance.

  10. Keith says:

    I found the article interesting and concur in regards to the hypocrisy and duplicity of the liberal left in Israel (and the U.S.). My problem is with the tone of many of the comments (in this post and other posts as well).

    Many of you seem to be treating this as an exclusively Israeli problem, yet we must keep in mind that Israel remains a critically important U.S. geo-strategic asset. Israel’s military is significantly integrated into the U.S. middle-east force structure. Additionally, a combative Israel is an essential feature of U.S. Zionist ideology. U.S. Jewish Zionist elites are strongly supportive of Israel’s right-wing extremists, providing considerable funding for settlements, politicians and generals. U.S. Jewish Zionist elites (and probably the Christian Zionists as well) won’t passively accept a non-militarized Israel at peace with the Arabs. Neither would the Empire, which would consider such an occurrence as tantamount to the overthrow of the Shah of Iran.

    All proposals for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine must account for Israel’s unique relationship to the U.S. Empire and to American Zionism. It’s not just Israel, it’s U.S./Israel.

    • Shingo says:

      There’s a few flaws in your argument Keith, and if you don’t mind me saying, it sounds like a touch of Witty sprinkled in.

      While the liberal left in Israel and in the diaspora like to blame the right wing for the crimes of Israel, the left use this excuse to hide the fact that they are on the same page as the right. The right has become their excuse and their sacrifical lamd.

      There is no way the left would accept a non-militarized Israel, adn when they speak of peace with the Arabs, they lie to avoid disussing the terms of that said peace.

      As for accouting for Israel’s unique relationship to the U.S. Empire, you seem to suggest that this topic is itself off limits.

      • Brewer says:

        Some of us are old enough to “remember” when Arab Nations were friends and allies. That relationship was soured by the events of 1948, the year I was born.
        (I was something of a bookworm and the family library was stocked with pre-war novels and travelogues evoking the charm of the East. My “memory” is, admittedly, second-hand).
        Australians and New Zealanders, despite getting hammered at Gallipoli, bore no ill-will or hatred towards the Turks post WWI.
        I was weaned on tales of the Middle East told by WWII vets. I recall no animosity towards Arabs expressed by them and many stories about the fealty of native scouts and servants.

        Of what value would the “special relationship” be if there was justice in Palestine?

        The primary aim of the Hasbara has been to portray this conflict as a racial, religious and cultural one. It is not so.

        Through these aging lenses, Israel appears as the child who, having been caught by his classmates stealing, seeks revenge by telling the school bully “they hate me and what’s more, they hate you too!”

        Israel is not a bastion against Arab hostility, Israel’s treatment of its indigenous people is the reason for it. Take that out of the equation and the necessity for “a combative Israel” will cease to exist for most Americans.

        Neil MacDonald (link to en.wikipedia.org) put it best:
        “Everyone talks like it’s complex and difficult to understand. That’s a cop-out for not wanting to accept reality. It’s just a classic ethnic conflict about who owns this piece of land. It’s as simple as that.”

      • Keith says:

        SHINGO You say that there are a few flaws in my argument, then proceed to more-or-less agree with everything I say. You compare me to Richard Witty. What did I say to deserve this? As far as I can tell, Richard Witty and I have little in common. The core essence of my argument is that if you view this as Jewish-Zionists-Israel versus the Palestinians, you will be ignoring the Imperial reality. It isn’t just Israel doing horrible things, it’s U.S./Israel doing horrible things. In focusing exclusively on Israel, one tends to ignore U.S. complicity and responsibility.

        • Shingo says:

          Keith,

          The first flaw in your argument is the myth that the left and the right are in disagreement about Israelli foreign policy, when history has demonsatretd that in spite of the rhetoric, they are identical.

          There is no disputing US complicity in enabling Israel to do what it does, but then again, if Israel were to turn around tomorrow and do the right thing (ie. return to 196 borders, endorse a Palestinian state, dismantel the settlements, hand over East Jerusalem and pay reperations to the refugges), the US would probably support that move.

          The US is not standing in the way of Israel doing the right thing.

    • Donald says:

      Some of us here agree with you at least in part. It sounds like you are channeling Chomsky and there have been arguments about this here before.

      I’m sort of in-between on this one. I think part of the support for Israel is because, as Noam would say, they are considered an imperial outpost, at least by some. During the cold war Israel seemed to be arming the very same right wing thugs we’d support–when Congress would stop arms to Guatemala Israel was there to fill the gap. I’ve always suspected there was some kind of secret arrangement going on, but don’t have evidence for this. But in recent years it’s become clear there are some mainstream foreign policy analysts who see our kneejerk support of Israel as a liability for the Empire, which suggests that maybe the Israel lobby is more important than some lefties like to admit. And you don’t have to see the lobby as something unique–they’re sort of like the Miami Cuban lobby on steroids. The result is that even supposed progressives who might criticize US support for other human rights violators often go silent when the offender is Israel.

      I think the Christian Zionists are probably important in the support the Republicans give to Israel–Democratic politicians, except maybe those from the southern states, don’t care what the Christian right thinks.

      • Keith says:

        DONALD You are perceptive. Much of the basis for my opinions on Israel/Palestine have been strongly influenced by Chomsky, et al. The evidence for Israel as a U.S. strategic asset is massive and overwhelming (Avi notwithstanding). My one big disagreement with Chomsky is that I think he ignores the role of Zionism (and all of its implications) as a core component of Jewish elite power-seeking success in the U.S. (for additional discussion go to http://saskck.blogspot.com and click on “Perverse Triangle”). One of my key concerns, however, is that focusing exclusively on Israel tends to downplay U.S. complicity/responsibility. Included in this is U.S. Zionist support for Israel which seems to me to be based upon ideological fealty leading to power-seeking advantage.

    • Avi says:

      Many of you seem to be treating this as an exclusively Israeli problem, yet we must keep in mind that Israel remains a critically important U.S. geo-strategic asset

      So what you’re saying is that the US needs Israel.

      Unfortunately for you, that claim has no basis in reality, especially ever since the Cold War ended. By all accounts, including those of CIA analysts and DoS officials, Israel is a burden on the US.

      Israel’s military is significantly integrated into the U.S. middle-east force structure.

      No. It isn’t. I’d sure like to read your explanation for such a claim.

      All proposals for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine must account for Israel’s unique relationship to the U.S. Empire and to American Zionism. It’s not just Israel, it’s U.S./Israel.

      I’m inclined to ridicule that view, but I’ll just give you the chance to support your argument. A three-line talking point certainly doesn’t cut it. And if you can’t support your argument, at the very least use cut-and-paste.

    • Avi says:

      Many of you seem to be treating this as an exclusively Israeli problem, yet we must keep in mind that Israel remains a critically important U.S. geo-strategic asset

      So what you’re saying is that the US needs Israel.

      Unfortunately for you, that claim has no basis in reality, especially ever since the Cold War ended. By all accounts, including those of CIA analysts and DoS officials, Israel is a burden on the US.

      Israel’s military is significantly integrated into the U.S. middle-east force structure.

      No. It isn’t. I’d sure like to read your explanation for such a claim.

      All proposals for peace and justice in Israel/Palestine must account for Israel’s unique relationship to the U.S. Empire and to American Zionism. It’s not just Israel, it’s U.S./Israel.

      I’m inclined to ridicule that view, but I’ll just give you the chance to support your argument. A three-line talking point certainly doesn’t cut it. And if you can’t support your argument, at the very least use cut-and-paste.

      • Keith says:

        AVI I don’t have the time or inclination to inundate the Mondoweiss website with quotes from British, U.S. and Israeli sources attesting to the obvious fact that Israel, from its inception, has served as an outpost of Imperial intervention. If you have ever read Noam Chomsky, et al, you would be aware of this. The end of the cold war served merely to free up the U.S. in applying extreme violence in achieving its geo-strategic objectives in the middle-east, namely, the control of the hydrocarbon reserves, a “stupendous” source of power and influence.

        As for the integration of the Israel military into the U.S. force structure, Chomsky mentions it frequently. Two examples include the stockpiling of massive amounts of U.S. military equipment in the Negev desert and the sharing of satellite data with Israel. Now, some folks seem to feel that U.S. support for Israel results in a loss of Arab goodwill, as if Uncle Sam ever cared about what the man in the street felt. Divide and conquer, divide and rule. The U.S. Empire, like all empires, seeks to have its subjugated peoples divided and weak and at each other’s throats.

  11. Shmuel- Shenhav is definitely an interesting political thinker. Twenty years ago, during the first intifadeh I was enthralled by an idea proposed by Rabbi Froman from Tekoa about sharing the country, but in years since I considered that part of my impractical youth. I like Shenhav’s line about “we’re not waiting for Ben Ami to return from Camp David” and his line about the impracticality of the two state solution is quite similar to what you’ve written on this blog.

    Shenhav’s realization that he found himself as one of the few Mizrahi Jews supporting
    left wing thinking in the year 2000 may have pushed him towards less of a binary (or zero sum) thought process than is familiar on the left, but the reality is (I think) that most Mizrahi Jews vote for right wing parties.

    • Avi says:

      I was enthralled by an idea proposed by Rabbi Froman from Tekoa about sharing the country, but in years since I considered that part of my impractical youth. I like Shenhav’s line about “we’re not waiting for Ben Ami to return from Camp David” and his line about the impracticality of the two state solution is quite similar to what you’ve written on this blog.

      Keep writing bullshit, Wonderer.

      You’re emerging as a hypocritical hack, slowly but surely.

      How do you reconcile the impracticality of the two state solution with your refusal of the right of return to Palestinians, as you’ve stated in another post?

    • WJ,

      I think Froman offers a kind of right-wing version of the liberal Zionist left. He talks of mutual respect and peace (through religion, in his case), but insists on Jewish dominance and offers no solution that could possibly be acceptable to the vast majority of Palestinians. He wants a nicer, kinder occupation (based on Jewish religious law and theology/eschatology), and somehow expects Palestinians, especially Muslims, to submit to “God’s will” – as he sees it, of course. I sometimes wonder whether he is a greater crank or a greater hypocrite.

      • Avi says:

        Shmuel,

        Where do you stand on the right of return, refugee property rights, and the two -state vs. one-state vs. canton issue? (should we add Swiss cheese to the list of solutions everyone is coming up with?)

        • Avi,

          The short answer is that I support the right of Palestinian refugees to return and compensation, to be implemented in a coordinated, phased manner.

          I’m off to prune some fruit trees. Will try to elaborate later.

        • Avi says:

          Fruit trees in February?

        • jimby says:

          that’s right, you prune when they are dormant

        • Avi says:

          that’s right, you prune when they are dormant

          Sounds like an ambush.

        • jimby says:

          Aw, go mow Witty’s lawn!

        • Jimby’s right. It was a glorious sunny day, and we snuck up on all of the unsuspecting apples, plums, apricots, cherries, pomegranates and almonds. I think they’ll wake up pleased with our grooming efforts.

          As for ROR, UN resolution 194 calles for the return of refugees and their compensation. Palestinian leaders have proposed negotiating a detailed repatriation plan, including timetables and modalities for return. The way in which such repatriation is carried out is absolutely crucial, and the human rights of Israelis must not be trampled in the process.

          None of this should preclude or compromise the rights of Arab Jews to return and/or recieve compensation for lost property in Arab countries – to be taken up with those countries.

  12. Citizen says:

    ” Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and in-human to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home. The nobler course would be to insist on a just treatment of the Jews wherever they are born and bred. The Jews born in France are French in precisely the same sense that Christians born in France are French. If the Jews have no home but Palestine, will they relish the idea of being forced to leave the other parts of the world in which they are settled? Or do they want a double home where they can remain at will? This cry for the national home affords a colourable justification for the German expulsion of the Jews…..And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it the wrong way. The Palestine of the Biblical conception is not a geographical tract. It is in their hearts. But if they must look to the Palestine of geography as their national home, it is wrong to enter it under the shadow of the British gun. A religious act cannot be performed with the aid of the bayonet or the bomb. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs. They should seek to convert the Arab heart…” Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi (November 1938)

    • Avi says:

      Citizen, the problem with your argument is that many Israelis refuse to accept the historical context. First you’d have to get them to agree on the history before you can convince them of the larger picture. And just like Professor Shenhav who keeps telling them that they have to acknowledge the events surrounding the founding of the state and rectify them before anyone can move forward, many refuse to accept that idea. Those who do can be counted on one hand. The representation on this very site is a good indication of that.

      Israel is doomed. It’s headed for a cliff and no one knows where the emergency brake is. Quite frankly, if I didn’t have family there I wouldn’t give a flying ****.

  13. homingpigeon says:

    This is one of the most interesting and encouraging posts and comments section I have read in a while.

    While it is true that many of the Jews left Arab countries as a result of the call from Zionism (the mirror of the false accusation against Arab regimes calling for Palestinians to clear out), and also black flag bombings of Jewish targets by Zionist operatives, it is also true that Arab regimes and rioters played a part. As with the Palestinians, each village and each neighborhood had its own story of how it was “cleansed.” At the end of the day, both groups suffered a great tragedy.

    It would be terrible if we used competing accounts as propaganda cannon balls to hurl between each camp. While the truth must be uncovered in both cases it should not be used for the purpose of strengthening either the “side’s” narrative of victimhood over the other. What we need, and what the article addresses, is the commonality of the tragedy. The true allies of the Palestinians should be the Jewish refugees from Arab countries, and not any Arab regime or even either of the two Palestinian regimes. The true allies of the Arab Jews should be the Palestinians and not Zionism (insert Arab and Hebrew incantations to ward off the evil eye and demons).

    I propose that as we solve this issue the end goal be that all Palestinians and Jewish Arabs have the choice of reclaiming their property or complete compensation. Compensation would include the value of the land currently, rent for the past sixty odd years calculated at today’s value, and interest for the past sixty years of use, calculated at today’s value. (I believe this is what is collected from Europeans for holocaust survivors). Furthermore, acceptance of compensation for lost property would not preclude a right to return to the same neighborhood for several generations of descendents. And in the case of both groups they should be entitled to dual citizenship in the countries that control their original places of residence as well as their current place of residence, again, regardless of whether or not compensation was accepted for lost property.

    Negotiation on the details should have the Palestinians and Jewish Arabs working on the same team rather than trying to use their narratives to compete with each other.

    • Avi says:

      The true allies of the Palestinians should be the Jewish refugees from Arab countries, and not any Arab regime or even either of the two Palestinian regimes. The true allies of the Arab Jews should be the Palestinians and not Zionism

      If you rely on any government, regardless of where you live, you are entrusting your own future and life in the hands of a select few who could care less about you. That holds true for any government. The problem is the herd mentality. People seem too weak to view the world through their own eyes. Make of this what you will.

      By the way, I like your proposition in the paragraph before the last. How do European Jews figure into that, though?

      • homingpigeon says:

        I brought European Jews into that because I’m under the impression they were able to work out the formulas for compensation from Germany, hence the precedent. It also seems that Israelis of European ancestry can gain passports from their countries of origin which is also a nice precedent. Thus I would like descendants of Iraqi Jews to have Iraqi citizenship as well as citizenship in the Confederation of Israel and Palestine. Palestinians should have citizenship in the same Confederation and be able to keep whatever citizenships they’ve picked up in the past sixty years.

  14. jimby says:

    From the interview I get that the Ashkenazi are the most delusional of all. Having lived in various large cities on both coasts, is it possible that almost all Jews in America are Ashkenazi? Can this be part of the intransigence of American Jewry? This is a new idea for me.

    • Avi says:

      In Israel, it really transcends ethnic origins. Sixty years of government pumping hasbara in people’s ears are enough to turn most into drones. The isolation in which Israelis live in, both intellectually and physically helps enforce those trends.

      Historically, however, non-Ashkenazi Jews were discriminated against and marginalized. But, they (non-Ashkenazi Jews) put that discrimination on the back burner when the government’s own propaganda united Israelis against a perceived external enemy. Much in the same was that Zbignjev Brezinski wrote that 9/11 was a uniting force for many Americans, despite their ethnic differences, the same holds here.

      Brezinski asserted that given the diverse backgrounds of the US population, each group having ancestral connections to the “old country”, an external attack on America helped galvanize people behind the massive plan of invading the Middle East and reshaping it to “guarantee the safety of Americans at home”.

      As for American Jewry, I personally believe that much in the same way the government in Israel brainwashes the populace, Jewish organizations do the same in the US.

      For example, I used to teach Hebrew at a Jewish Sunday school. Everything from religious holidays, to recreation to history touched in one way or another on the sheer awesomeness of Israel. Even the Rabbi couldn’t help but inject his own off the cuff colorful comments about Palestinians and their leadership. It wasn’t a healthy work environment, but it was nice supplemental income for as long as I could stomach it. Needless to say, it didn’t last long.

      • jimby says:

        Thanks Avi, Since I am not Israeli I look mostly at the situation in the US. I believed Shlomo Ben-Ami when I heard him say that American Jews are the greatest obstacle to peace in Palestine. It seems that the most whacked out US Jews funnel huge amounts of support via elected representatives and projects for Eretz Israel. It seems like a form of mass hysteria. Fear is a powerful motivator so they talk about the Holocaust or Arab terrorism. If somehow the stranglehold of control of the argument could be shifted we would have a starting point. Of course this will not happen overnight and so I am so grateful for this blog of Philip Weiss and the opening of conversation. I have been largely silent since the first Lebanon war. I have lost some friends that I values over this issue.

        There has not been an atmosphere of anything other than hysteria. If you criticize Israel and you are either a self-hating Jew or an anti-Semite. There is no conversation and as a result of so much suppression I sometimes overreact. I now hear criticism where there was none and I only hope for a more peaceful world. I do think that the US is the numero uno sponsor of terrorism.

        I resent how our foreign policy is so warped by the Israeli centered policies of my govt. The US is killing huge numbers of arabs who are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children and grandparents of someone. On Israel’s behalf I have some responsibility for these unwarranted murders.

        • JSC says:

          “I believed Shlomo Ben-Ami when I heard him say that American Jews are the greatest obstacle to peace in Palestine. It seems that the most whacked out US Jews funnel huge amounts of support via elected representatives and projects for Eretz Israel. It seems like a form of mass hysteria.”

          I am an American Jew, have worked in two synagogues and I believe that you and Avi are absolutely right.

  15. Citizen says:

    Simha Flapan, from the introduction to his book The Birth of Israel, Myths and Realities 1987–

    For each of these myths Flapan dedicates a chapter in his book, describing what really happened:
    “Myth One: Zionist acceptance of the UN Partition Resolution of November, 29 1947, was a far-reaching compromise by which the Jewish community abandoned the concept of a Jewish state in the whole of Palestine and recognized the rights of the Palestinians to their own state. Israel accepted this sacrifice because it anticipated the implementation of the resolution in peace and cooperation of the Palestinians.

    My research suggests that it was actually only a tactical move in an overall strategy. This strategy aimed first at thwarting the creation of a Palestinian Arab state through a secret agreement with Abdallah of Transjordan, whose annexation of the territory allocated for the Palestinian state was to be the first step in his dream of a greater Syria. Second, it sought to increase the territory assigned by the UN to the Jewish state.

    Myth Two: The Palestinian Arab totally rejected partition and responded to the call of the mufti of Jerusalem to launch an all-out war on the Jewish state, forcing the Jews to depend on a military solution.

    This was not the whole story. While the mufti was indeed fanatical in his opposition to partition, the majority of the Palestinian Arabs, although also opposed, did not responds to his call for a holy war against Israel. On the contrary, prior to Israel’s Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, many Palestinian leaders and groups made efforts to rech a modus vivendi. It was only Ben-Gurion’s profound opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state that undermined the Palestinian resistance to the mufti’s call.

    Myth three: The Flight of the Palestinians from the country, both before and after the establishment of the state of Israel, came in response to a call by the Arab leadership to leave temporarily, in order to return with victorious Arab armies. They fled despite the efforts of the Jewish leadership to persuade them to stay.

    In fact, the flight was promoted by Israel’s political and military leaders, who believed that Zionist colonization and statehood necessitated the “transfer” of Palestinian Arabs to Arab countries.

    Myth Four: All of the Arab states, unified in their determination to destroy the newborn Jewish state, joined together on May 15, 1948, to invade Palestine and expel its Jewish inhabitants.

    My research indicates that the Arab states aimed not at liquidating the new state, but rather at preventing the implementation of the agreement between the Jewish provisional government and Abdallah for Greater Syria scheme.

    Myth Five: The Arab invasion of Palestine on May 15 in contravention of UN Partition Resolution, made the 1948 war inevitable.

    The documents show that the war was not inevitable. The Arabs had agreed to a last-minute American proposal for a three-month truce on the condition that Israel temporarily postpone its Declaration of Independence. Israel’s provisional government rejected the American proposal by a slim majority of 6 to 4.

    Myth Six: The tiny, newborn state of Israel faced the onslaught of the Arab armies as David faced Goliath: a numerically inferior, poorly armed people in danger of being overrun by a military giant.

    The facts and figures available point to a different situation altogether. Ben-Gurion himself admits that the war of self-defense lasted only four weeks, until the truce of June 11, when huge quantities of arms reached the country. Israel’s better trained and more experienced armed forces then attained superiority in weapons on land, sea and air.

    Myth Seven: Israel’s hand has always been extended in peace, but since no Arab leader has ever recognized Israel’s right to exist, there has never been anyone to talk to.

    On the contrary, from the end of World War II to 1952, Israel turned down successive proposals made by Arab states and by neutral mediators that might have brought about an accommodation.”

    • Thanks, Citizen. I’ve been doing some research into Arab opposition to partition as well as Arab and other counter-proposals at the time. The various binational and federal ideas popping up “all of a sudden” now, have a long and illustrious history. The Arab side was absolutely not averse to a Jewish presence in Palestine or even to some form of Jewish self-determination, they simply rejected UNSCOP’s Majority Report, which called for partition. Big deal. Had the UN at least agreed to discuss the Arab counter-proposal (a single federal state) things might have turned out very different.

      • History is easy to criticize, “if only”.

        The present is what we’ve got.

        Given the degree of animosity between the two people’s, most importantly between the ideologs, partition is still the best solution that results in the optimization of democracy.

        If that can be structured as containing features that enhance good neighbor to good neighbor relations, then more intimate relations are possible. Free movement and communication (maybe like I can visit my cousins in Canada, now requiring a passport unlike a decade ago). And, maybe regional governance, maybe eventually a single state, who knows.

        The movement for a single state that is so ideologically motivated, kills its own goal. In the stated effort to facilitate the diversity necessary and inherent in democracy, it insists on political unanimity, with punishment and condemnation directed to those that differ.

        Dehumanizing the other, in the name of democracy, and as a movement.

        • Citizen says:

          Reality posits that it is in fact the Palestinians that have been continually dehumanized. That is the past and present we’ve got. Here’s the context that Witty
          leaves out of his rendition of reality:
          link to thirdworldtraveler.com

          It’s really simple, not complex: Israel was born as a terrorist & land-grabbing ethnocratic state even as Germany was being tried (via its leaders) for being the same thing at the Nuremberg Trials. There is currently nothing in the world stopping a peaceful solution to the I-P conflict–except the succesive governments of the USA and Israel. Americans need to be informed. In order to be informed they need to be proactive in an area they are not schooled in at all: foreign policy. Presently, the internet is the only avenue to become informed. Hence the importance of Phil’s blog. The US spends more on its military than all the rest of the world combined; and Obama continues to authorize this even as he fakes looking for funding for his domestic plan. 9/11 motivation was threefold: US support of tyranical regimes in Arab countries; US troops on Muslim soil; US blanket support of Israel right or wrong. The war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, the impending war on Iran–these are all great drains on the US and the reason for Uncle Sam’s bad reputation in the world. All three wars are huge mistakes; all three were called for back in the mid 1990′s by PNAC, by a plan for Israel’s continued hegemony in the Middle East prepared by American Zionist Jews and Gentiles to enhance Israel’s power.
          Other beneficiaries are the military-industrial complex and US corporate control of the Middle East’s oil spigot. The EU and Japan, for example, are very dependent on Arab oil, much more so than the USA.

  16. Citizen says:

    Impact of Zionism:
    link to palestineremembered.com

    After reviewing this article you will see that what is happening now, and has been for decades is totally consistent with the pattern of formerly european jews (and now also USA jews) since the late 19th Century. You will see there is no end to this except the Samson Option stumbled on with the aid of the dope, your Uncle Sam. You’d think he’d have learned something from the poodle, England, who arranged all the moving parts in the first place.

  17. Citizen says:

    And here’s the engine and its parts under the American hood designed by Zionists:
    link to whatreallyhappened.com