17 Responses

  1. Kathleen
    March 24, 2010, 11:23 am

    Professor Juan Cole nailing Netanyahu’s lies and aggression.
    Wednesday, March 24, 2010
    Netanyahu Humiliates Obama with another E. Jerusalem Housing Expansion;
    Israeli Troops allegedly used live Ammo;
    UK expels Mossad Chief
    link to juancole.com

    all of the following over at Informed Comment (Prof Juan Cole)
    *Aljazeera English has the scoop, with live video of Israeli troops firing on the Palestinian youths, with what certainly sounds like live ammunition.
    *Tony Karon argues that Israel will not end its expansion of settlements in the West Bank until it has to pay a cost for maintaining the status quo.
    *Tuesday, March 23, 2010
    Empires Come and Gone in the Middle East
    * Top Ten Reasons East Jerusalem does not belong to Jewish-Israelis

    Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the American Israel Public Affairs Council on Monday that “Jerusalem is not a settlement.” He continued that the historical connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel cannot be denied. He added that neither could the historical connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem. He insisted, “The Jewish people were building Jerusalem 3,000 years ago and the Jewish people are building Jerusalem today.” He said, “Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is our capital.” He told his applauding audience of 7500 that he was simply following the policies of all Israeli governments since the 1967 conquest of Jerusalem in the Six Day War.

    Netanyahu mixed together Romantic-nationalist cliches with a series of historically false assertions. But even more important was everything he left out of the history, and his citation of his warped and inaccurate history instead of considering laws, rights or common human decency toward others not of his ethnic group.

    • Chu
      March 24, 2010, 12:37 pm

      * Top Ten Reasons East Jerusalem does not belong to Jewish-Israelis

      Cole says Muslims have built the city for 1191 years. I think they get first pick. Israel doesn’t even make the top five list of civilations that have occupied it for the longest periods of times.
      By that logic shouldn’t the Muslims, Egyptians, Persians, Romans and Greeks have an equal share.

      Netanyahu is a compulsive liar, and cheat, and should not be invited to the White House ever again until he apologises and stops disrespecting our government. He is the face this cancer, and the Congress is the host.

      • Psychopathic god
        March 24, 2010, 6:03 pm

        Jews have been in Babylon/Baghdad far longer and uninterruptedly than they have been anywhere.
        Only about 40% of the Jews who were exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar actually returned to Jerusalem when Cyrus conquered Neb. and supported Jews on their return to Jerusalem.
        Babylon was among the most cosmopolitan cities in the (known) world at the time, and Jews there were thriving. Jewish life throughout the Mediterranean region was ‘run’ from Babylon, where wealthy bankers issued opinions on matters of community observance, etc.
        Jews remained in Babylon from the exile in 586 BC until about 1950 AD, when a push-pull dynamic resulted in almost all of Iraq’s remaining Jews (some 200,000 in WWII era) departing Iraq for Israel, US, UK, and other places.
        The push-pull involved, surprise, the impact of zionism: In the breakup of the Ottoman empire and the zionization of Palestine, Arabs elsewhere grew restive and Jews were made to feel uncomfortable. That was the ‘push.’ Zionism itself ‘pulled’ Jews from Iraq, using inducements, incitements, and even false-flag attacks on Jews in Iraq to coerce Jews to flee to Israel.

    • MHughes976
      March 24, 2010, 5:55 pm

      Cole gets a few things wrong – which he shouldn’t, because any mistake gets pounced on. The city captured by the Assyrians in 722 was Samaria, not Jerusalem, and indeed it seems as Jerusalem was successfully defended (by heroic Jews, Netanyahu would say; with ambiguous results, some would add) in 700-ish.
      The actual abandonment of Jerusalem around 1000 (3,ooo years ago; that would really puncture Netanyahu’s balloon!) cannot really be demonstrated. Indeed, since a royal title and probably a sanctuary of God Most High had been attached to the place for some centuries it must have been a property with some political value and total abandonment seems pretty unlikely, even though it may have fallen on hard times.
      Mind you, I agree that warped history plays a huge role and genuine moral argumentation almost no role in Zionist rhetoric.

  2. potsherd
    March 24, 2010, 12:17 pm

    Wieseltier’s aim is to preserve the denial of the Palestinian right of return, for the preservation of which a little justice to Palestinians must unfortunately be endured.

    • sherbrsi
      March 24, 2010, 1:18 pm

      That describes the viewpoint of J-Street, Gush Shalom and pretty much the entire brand of liberal Zionism.

  3. pabelmont
    March 24, 2010, 12:26 pm

    It is right for people not to acquiesce in their own wretchedness, to reject all the quietisms and the fatalisms that teach them to do nothing for themselves. Zionism owed its moral and historical force in large measure to its refusal to accept the irreversibility of Jewish exile, and its attendant misery; and the national self-reliance now exemplified for the Palestinians by Salam Fayyad–in a culture of jusqu’au-boutisme, the technocrat is the revolutionary–represents a similar refusal of historical passivity. But not everything can, or should, be reversed. Sometimes there is wisdom also in acceptance, and in the power that it confers to move on. In the name of justice, one may destroy peace, and forget that peace, too, is an element of justice. The idea of beginning again is often a savage idea. Since the Palestinian right of return, and its premise that restoration is preferable to reconciliation, would undo the Jewish state, Israel is right to deny it. But if, in the name of moral realism, and so that they do not delude themselves with catastrophic fantasies of starting over, Palestinians are not to be granted a right to return to what was theirs before 1948, then neither should such a right be granted to Jews. When Jews fled Sheikh Jarrah, they fled to a Jewish state, which should have been worth the loss of their property; and the same would have been true of the Palestinians, if their Arab brethren had allowed the state of Palestine to come into being. But the lunatic Jews who insist that a Jew must live anywhere a Jew ever lived do not see that they, too, are re-opening 1948 and the legitimacy of what it established. Why does the Israeli government allow the argument for a unified Jerusalem to be mistaken for the heartless revanchism of these settlers?

    Wieseltier here seems to say that the ENTIRE West Bank (excluding unified Jerusalem) should become Palestinian and the Palestinians should be thankful and give up the quest for more, even though the Zionists did not give up and scored a coup. (He doesn’t explain why East Jerusalem is different from the rest, but its a start.)

    “Zionism owed its moral and historical force in large measure to its refusal to accept the irreversibility of Jewish exile.” Indeed. And its readiness to ignore international law and the opinions of anyone else. But “owed” does have a wistful feeling to it and is perhaps an expression of doubt that Zionism STILL has either moral or historical force. “Make a deal while you can” he says to the Palestinians, but seems to be urging Israel to do the same if, as it almost seems, he is urging Israel to give up the settlements in the West Bank (outside “unified Jerusalem”).

    He doesn’t explain the difference, morally, historically, legally, or in any way, between Israel’s claim to “united Jerusalem” and Israel’s claim to as much of the (rest of the) West Bank as Israel and its settlers may from time to time be pleased to seize.

  4. VR
    March 24, 2010, 1:35 pm

    “Sheikh Jarrah is a place with a run-down but real magic, rather like Naples. You can still see the glory beneath the grime, the fine imperial picturesque–the porticos and the gardens of old Palestine, the material elegance of the Muslim gentry in the calm between the storms.”

    This reminds me of the “noble Indian savage” terminology, like the indigenous are the settlers “heritage.” It is specifically repugnant because the speech is like talking about the, like they are already exterminated –

    “Now that your big eyes have finally opened
    Now that you’re wondering how must they feel
    Meaning them that you’ve chased across America’s movie screens
    Now that you’re wondering “how can it be real?”
    That the ones you’ve called colourful, noble and proud
    In your school propaganda
    They starve in their splendor?
    You’ve asked for my comment I simply will render

    My country ’tis of thy people you’re dying.

    Now that the longhouses breed superstition
    You force us to send our toddlers away
    To your schools where they’re taught to despise their traditions.
    Forbid them their languages, then further say
    That American history really began
    When Columbus set sail out of Europe, then stress
    That the nation of leeches that conquered this land
    Are the biggest and bravest and boldest and best.
    And yet where in your history books is the tale
    Of the genocide basic to this country’s birth,
    Of the preachers who lied, how the Bill of Rights failed,
    How a nation of patriots returned to their earth?
    And where will it tell of the Liberty Bell
    As it rang with a thud
    O’er Kinzua mud
    And of brave Uncle Sam in Alaska this year?

    My country ’tis of thy people you’re dying

    Hear how the bargain was made for the West:
    With her shivering children in zero degrees,
    Blankets for your land, so the treaties attest,
    Oh well, blankets for land is a bargain indeed,
    And the blankets were those Uncle Sam had collected
    From smallpox-diseased dying soldiers that day.
    And the tribes were wiped out and the history books censored,
    A hundred years of your statesmen have felt it’s better this way.
    And yet a few of the conquered have somehow survived,
    Their blood runs the redder though genes have paled.
    From the Grand Canyon’s caverns to craven sad hills
    The wounded, the losers, the robbed sing their tale.
    From Los Angeles County to upstate New York
    The white nation fattens while others grow lean;
    Oh the tricked and evicted they know what I mean.

    My country ’tis of thy people you’re dying.
    The past it just crumbled, the future just threatens;
    Our life blood shut up in your chemical tanks.
    And now here you come, bill of sale in your hands
    And surprise in your eyes that we’re lacking in thanks
    For the blessings of civilization you’ve brought us,
    The lessons you’ve taught us, the ruin you’ve wrought us
    Oh see what our trust in America’s brought us.

    My country ’tis of thy people you’re dying.

    Now that the pride of the sires receives charity,
    Now that we’re harmless and safe behind laws,
    Now that my life’s to be known as your heritage, XX(Note)
    Now that even the graves have been robbed,
    Now that our own chosen way is a novelty
    Hands on our hearts we salute you your victory,
    Choke on your blue white and scarlet hypocrisy
    Pitying the blindness that you’ve never seen
    That the eagles of war whose wings lent you glory
    They were never no more than carrion crows,
    Pushed the wrens from their nest, stole their eggs, changed their story;
    The mockingbird sings it, it’s all that he knows.
    “Ah what can I do?” say a powerless few
    With a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye
    Can’t you see that their poverty’s profiting you.”


    • Psychopathic god
      March 24, 2010, 1:43 pm

      “Sheikh Jarrah is a place with a run-down but real magic, rather like Naples. You can still see the glory beneath the grime, the fine imperial picturesque–the porticos and the gardens of old Palestine, the material elegance of the Muslim gentry in the calm between the storms.”

      honestly, compared to what Israel is so proud of building new on land poached from Arabs, “run down and grimey” is leaps and bounds more aesthetic.

      take a look at these multi-million shekel new interiors in Israel. all the charm of a shoebox. link to century21jerusalem.com

      • potsherd
        March 24, 2010, 6:37 pm

        I like it that all those millionaires get to look out their overpriced windows and see the golden dome and the minaret.

        Of course they don’t like it at all.

  5. seafoid
    March 24, 2010, 2:41 pm

    The Israeli aesthetic is pretty ugly. The only decent buildings in Jerusalem were built by Arabs. link to jerusalem-hotel.co.il

    Tel Aviv is no better. The Zionist respect for the environment comes very low on a priority list that starts and ends with subjugation. Remember the Maccabi games bridge collapse? Several Aussies died because the river was so dirty.

    • Psychopathic god
      March 24, 2010, 3:25 pm

      ta dum chiii —
      set up another opportunity to mention Hollow Lands: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation

      The book’s subtitle, Israel’s Architecture of Occupation, encompasses both the actual buildings that sustain the occupation and the organizational principles that ‘outline the ways in which it is conceived, understood, organized, and operated’. Weizman shows how Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of ‘smooth’ and ‘striated’ space helped the IDF explain to soldiers the concept of ‘inverse geometry’, the military manoeuvre of dynamiting pathways through an enemy’s domestic interiors to avoid the hazards of streets and other exposed urban areas.

      one guesses that by projecting an architectural concept to justify pulverizing other people’s dwellingplaces, Israeli soldiers can more readily sustain the fiction of ‘tohar ha’neshek’ – purity of arms.

      Taken out of their ethical/political contexts, the projects of Gordon Matta-Clark, Guy Debord, Georges Bataille and Bernard Tschumi have also come in handy as instruments of military propaganda.

    • Chaos4700
      March 24, 2010, 5:48 pm

      It’s imported German Bauhaus style, that’s why. A lot of good things came out of the Bauhaus — oddly, architecture wasn’t one of them (I saw “oddly” because the school was actually founded by and primarily for architects, although it was a haven for artists of many disciplines.)

  6. Psychopathic god
    March 24, 2010, 6:14 pm

    Cole wrote:

    then why couldn’t Palestinians with standing sue in the US when their property is usurped by an American millionaire?

    Extraordinary idea.

    When a Jewish American was killed in Israel, her parents sued Iran in US Courts. Iran did not make an appearance in its defense. The judge ruled in favor of the Jewish family and granted a multimillion dollar award against Iran. The Jewish family has collected parts of the judgment award by confiscating assets in Iranian banks in the US. But for the remainder the Jewish family is attempting to confiscate ancient Iranian artifacts — clay tablets — on loan from the government of Iran to University of Chicago. The plan is to auction these priceless artifacts to the highest bidder, with proceeds to go to the Jewish family to pay their judgment.

    Turnabout is fair play.

    Palestinians should file suit for every Palestinian wrongfully killed, every Palestinian home wrongfully destroyed. The Western Wall in Israel should be auctioned off, stone by stone, to pay the judgment. Maybe Dersh could buy a few stones.

    • potsherd
      March 24, 2010, 6:39 pm

      If Palestinian families are made to pay rent to the Jews who claim they once owned the houses they have occupied since 1948, why aren’t the Jews who live in the houses the Palestinians used to own paying rent to them?

      Speaking of turnabout.

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