Qumsiyeh: we’re reaching the ‘endgame’ of an anti-colonialist struggle

on 63 Comments

The view from the West Bank:

"Looking out from my window," Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Palestinian professor and activist, said on a press call hosted by the Institute for Middle East Understanding yesterday, "I’m seeing the settlement of Har Homa, the largest Jewish settlement between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. And I see the cranes and the construction continuing."

Meanwhile in the West:

Elvis is in the BDS building (or at least in its general vicinity). Andrew Sullivan, outing himself as a progressive on this score, won’t be cowed by unscrupulous accusations of anti-Semitism. In the New York Review of Books, Peter Beinart says liberal Zionists in the U.S. are becoming, well, illiberal.

All around me, in New York and D.C., the mood, the conversations on Israel-Palestine are shifting.

So, too, are the conversations shifting in Israel. But they’re not shifting toward openness. Rather, things are closing, curling up on themselves in a defensive cocoon — a cocoon with sharp spikes, impaling all those who dare question it. Most of the time, it’s Palestinians who are on the nasty end of it.

The crackdown is against the robust movement for justice, embodied today in the popular resistance efforts of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line–not through the channels of the Israeli government or the Palestinian Authority, but through civil society.

"We’re reaching the endgame," said Qumsiyeh, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Apartheid Wall and Settlements in Beit Sahour, who was himself arrested earlier this month. "Lots of people know that this is a classic colonial-anti-colonial struggle. It has been opposed because it’s reaching an end. Israel is building walls."

The walls are keeping out even the likes of Noam Chomsky, the leftwing linguist and staunch supporter of the two-state solution, for having disagreeable views. "If someone like that is denied entry, what is one to say, when [Israel] reaches the level of Stalinist Russia or fascist Italy in terms of free speech?" asked Qumsiyeh.

But the walls also box a hell of a lot of Palestinians into Israel proper. For them, this is not the occupier versus the occupied, but the citizen against the very ethos of her state, said Nadim Rouhana, a Tufts professor who works on issues involving Palestinian Citizens of Israel.

"The efficacy of [Palestinian citizens of Israel] is limited by the state," Rouhana said during the same IMEU press-call. "They certainly feel they have very little impact on the political system."

And so their redress occurs in civil society. Then Israel clamps down, lumping in Palestinian civil society with its Israeli counterpart. The fear is that this mobilized community — collective Palestinians and individual Israelis — will make Israel look bad, and call the Jewish state into question.

"What has been happening in the last year or two, certainly in the last few months, is that the more objection there is to this idea of a Jewish state, the more the crackdown increases and the more the crackdown is on freedom of expression and civil society," Rouhana said. 

The comparison the Israeli right — the Israeli collective consciousness — most dreads is the South Africa one. This theme came up again and again in the IMEU call. Israelis are afraid of it; Palestinians draw hope from it. ‘Get behind us, like you got behind South Africa’s blacks.’ That’s what BDS is all about.

But there are other areas of comparison: Palestinians, according to Qumsiyeh’s calculations, control only 8.3 percent of the land in Israel and the Occupied Territories. The same was true in — you guessed it — South Africa, where whites had the land, and forced blacks into small portions, 8 to 9 percent, of the land.

63 Responses

  1. radii
    May 21, 2010, 2:51 pm

    like holding a handful of sand, as israel squeezes ever more tightly to hold onto its power the more slips out of its grip

  2. DICKERSON3870
    May 21, 2010, 3:40 pm

    RE: “things are closing, curling up on themselves in a defensive cocoon — a cocoon with sharp spikes, impaling all those who dare question it…” – Ali Gharib
    SEEIsraeli Think Tank Calls for Sabotaging “Delegitimizers” of Israel , By James Marc Leas, Counterpunch.org, 05/21/10
    (excerpt) While a report by an Israeli think tank has been widely condemned (1) for advocating that the Israeli government use its intelligence services to attack and sabotage non-violent human rights advocates, the report is worth detailed study because it is chock full of admissions of illegitimate features of the Israeli government it desperately seeks to protect.
    The report, “Building a Political Firewall Against Israel’s Delegitimization,” is the product of a year of research by a team of Tel Aviv-based Reut Institute (2) investigators and includes contributions from more than 100 individuals in Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States. While the Israeli government did not commission the report, Reut officials gave a PowerPoint presentation, “The Challenge of Delegitimacy to Israel’s National Security,” to the Israeli Cabinet in February 2010 and to a large conference of Israeli government officials in March 2010.
    The report describes the “new strategic threat” created by the human rights activists’ “fundamental delegitimization” of the Israeli government.
    But the report also….
    CONTINUED AT – link to counterpunch.org

    • Avi
      May 21, 2010, 5:40 pm

      Israel thinks that it can deal with human rights organizations and activists in the same way it deals with what it considers to be enemy states and organizations.

      In other words, the day any state, certainly one which continues to claim to be a democracy, lumps all its “critics” together (the violent and the non-violent alike) is the day it officially ceases to be a free state, thus becoming a full fledged fascist state, a police state.

      It’s not a matter of subjective opinion, as I’m sure many a small minded detractor on here would be quick to allege. Instead, it’s a simple matter of definition. A spade is a spade is a spade. Take it or leave it.

      Sabotage has been the mark of Israeli diplomacy and the regime is in its last death throes.

  3. jonah
    May 21, 2010, 4:35 pm

    If the Palestinians oppose the idea of a Jewish state with a strong Palestinian minority, they should consequently abandon the idea of a Palestinian state without Jewish settlements within its borders. The acceptance of Jewish communities in the future Arab-Palestinian state should be, acccording to their own principles, in the best interests of the Palestinians themselves. Strangely, hovewer, I’ve never heard them talk in this way, rather the opposite…

    • Avi
      May 21, 2010, 5:27 pm

      Your problem is that you’re talking about things you haven’t the slightest idea about.

      The Palestinians don’t care if a zombie state or a Klingon state governed them, what they do care about is that their rights are one and the same as the majority’s. It’s a very simple concept, really. I don’t see why it’s so difficult for you to grasp it.

      Furthermore, what the heck does “strong Palestinian minority” mean?
      In a true democracy, all groups have the same rights.

      As for your hearing abilities, it’s rather clear that you are not only out of touch with reality, let alone Palestinian reality, but you are oblivious to the facts on the ground which make your dream of two states unattainable.

      Let us know when you decide to visit planet Earth. We’ll be more than happy to welcome you to stay.

      • jonah
        May 22, 2010, 5:01 am

        Avi, why so self-righteous?

        The Israeli Palestinians HAVE the same rights as the Jewish majority. They can vote, they have their representatives in the Knesset, they live in their villages and towns in Israel, can get a job and earn money, they can lern Arabic as official language, they can organize themselves in organizations and groups. That they enjoy good living standards is proven by the fact that they never wouldn’t change their situation with that of a neighboring Arab country. Besides, they don’t have to serve in the IDF (but they can if they want). I consider it also quite problematic that many Israeli Arabs are opposed to Israel per se. That makes them a fifth column.
        link to ynetnews.com

        Of course there are also problems of equity and justice waiting to be resolved, but you must not forget: Israel is a just 60 years old democracy, surrounded by enemies who have tried everything to destroy it. How long did it take for the black people in American to obtain same rights as the white majority? I’m simply not so pessimistic as you.

        link to cfisrael.org

      • Sumud
        May 22, 2010, 5:15 am

        “The Israeli Palestinians HAVE the same rights as the Jewish majority.”

        Yeah right. It’s hard to keep up with how many laws there are discriminating against Israel’s arab citizens, I’ve hear tell it’s currently somewhere between 20 and 32. Haaretz reported a couple of moths ago the current Knesset is the most racist in history:

        ‘Current Knesset is the most racist in Israeli history’
        link to haaretz.com

        You’re mistaking the facts Israeli arabs are staying put (and don’t wish to undergo ethnic cleansing, again) with approval of Israel’s racist policies. There are many jewish Israelis who also don’t approve of their governments policies – they too are a fifth column? You’re sounding rather like Avigdor Lieberman.

      • andrew r
        May 22, 2010, 6:11 am

        That they enjoy good living standards is proven by the fact that they never wouldn’t change their situation with that of a neighboring Arab country.

        No way. Palestinians not leaving Zionist occupied land? Because they might not be able to come back? YOURE SHITTING ME.

      • jonah
        May 22, 2010, 7:10 am

        Your reading is pretty selective, Sumud.
        In the same article of Haaretz you refer to we can read:

        “Publication of the findings coincides with a decision by the cabinet on Sunday to approve the largest economic development plan for the Arab sector in Israeli history, which will see the government address for the first time serious housing shortages in Arab communities.

        Ministers allocated NIS 800 million for the scheme, which will also aim to tackle unemployment in the Arab sector and include funding for public daycare facilities – almost nonexistent in Arab towns, where only 18% of women are employed – as well as for improved public transportation. ”

        How does this fit in your own preconceived perceptions of Israel?

      • Les
        May 22, 2010, 8:32 am

        Poor Jonah thinks he is informed when he listens to NPR or reads the New York Times. In this case, Jonah appears to have swallowed a whale of nonsense.

      • Avi
        May 22, 2010, 9:30 am

        The Israeli Palestinians HAVE the same rights as the Jewish majority. They can vote, they have their representatives in the Knesset, they live in their villages and towns in Israel, can get a job and earn money, they can lern Arabic as official language, they can organize themselves in organizations and groups. That they enjoy good living standards is proven by the fact that they never wouldn’t change their situation with that of a neighboring Arab country.

        These are all superficial generalizations. I’m spending more time on this issue than I had originally intended. Have you read through the archives of this website? Evidently not.

        This video
        only scratches the surface of the discrimination Palestinians in Israel face.

        If you’re seriously and truly interested in learning the truth, you’ll watch the video in its entirety and pay careful attention.

        Besides, they don’t have to serve in the IDF (but they can if they want). I consider it also quite problematic that many Israeli Arabs are opposed to Israel per se. That makes them a fifth column.

        They are not opposed to Israel for the reasons you pretend they do. They are opposed to the simple fact that they are treated like third class citizens. Why not learn what they REALLY want by reading the national proposal put forth by Palestinian Arab leaders in Israel?

        It’s the Future Vision.

        Make the effort to read it and understand it.

        Of course there are also problems of equity and justice waiting to be resolved, but you must not forget: Israel is a just 60 years old democracy, surrounded by enemies who have tried everything to destroy it. How long did it take for the black people in American to obtain same rights as the white majority? I’m simply not so pessimistic as you.

        I’m all for optimism, but as someone who grew up in a city that has its own native Palestinian population, Haifa, I am quite familiar with the grievances and the daily experiences of Israel’s Palestinian minority. I engaged many in conversation, made an effort to learn their experiences, got to know them, their hopes, their dreams, and I keep in touch with two of my best friends who happen to be Palestinian. What they have gone through as Israeli citizens has been terrible and continues to get worse. Ergo, I don’t think you’re in a position to pass such judgment, especially since you’ve shown that you are severely misinformed.

        The point is, throughout the last 62 years Israel has shown that it rejects the idea of having non-Jewish groups in its midst. The calls for Transfer from various Knesset members over the years, calls which have intensified in recent times, are simple enough an indicator that things aren’t exactly changing for the better as you would like to believe. Again, the points I mentioned merely scratch the surface.

        Make an effort to educate yourself, explore this subject, instead of repeating talking points and half truths, and my posts won’t seem self-righteous to you.

      • Sumud
        May 22, 2010, 12:06 pm

        “Your reading is pretty selective, Sumud.
        In the same article of Haaretz you refer to we can read:”

        jonah! Why change the subject? Instead, why don’t you explain why you are spouting demonstrably false information?

        The “pretty selective” quote you make from the Haartetz article, is.. hardly interesting and boils down to: “government spends taxpayers money on taxpayers”. Bog whoop. Why have Israeli arabs been so short-changed on housing and social services in the first place? Because they’re not jewish, naturally. “The only democracy” right?

        I get where you’re coming from – when the siege of Gaza is eventually broken you’ll be making a big song and dance of it, telling yourself and everybody else how generous and noble Israel is.

      • jonah
        May 22, 2010, 7:07 pm

        I saw the video which disappoited me (too one-sided, not a single authoritative Jewish-Israeli voice that made the counterparty’s position clear, please try with some more objective “stuff” next time) and made the effort to educate myself about the “truths” of the “Palestinian Arabs in Israel” (they don’t call themselves Israelis since they don’t identify with Israel as state which they consider “occupying regime”, even though they don’t stop having claims towards that very state). Tank you for the contributions.

        However, to counterbalance a little bit this “load” of mono-tonous informations, I suggest you to read the official position of the state that you despise so much. Please read it carefully, as I did before with your links, and let for a while your preconceptions aside.

        link to mfa.gov.il

        The fact that you lived in Haifa (I was there too) and that you still have a couple of Palestinian friends living in Israel, doesn’t seem to me enough to generalize about the whole Israeli reality.

      • Avi
        May 23, 2010, 12:05 am


        You’re a joke walking on two, or maybe it’s four. Who cares. You’re irrelevant.

        I hesitated at first thinking that you were actually interested in learning something. I thought your naivete could be chalked up to mere ignorance, but your utter bullshit rhetoric proves beyond a doubt that you are a liar, a troll, and a fraud. Balance? You call lying through your teeth, balance? Hey, for an American Jew you sure fit the
        stereotype of an arrogant privileged pimple faced thug. The link to the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs was the icing on the cake. No really. You should do stand up comedy. You’re a ****** joke.

      • jonah
        May 23, 2010, 4:41 am


        I didn’t insult you, I simply disagree with your arguments, that’s all, so I can not understand your attacks ad hominem.
        And I miss some more balance in your research. The Israeli ministry link was indeed a little provocation (it belongs to a debate too), but your reaction confirmed the impression you left at the very beginning in another thread: pretty radical and intollerant in your holy anti-Israeli beliefs.

        P.S. My english is too bad for an american Jew. I’m European and, besides, I hate ALL kind of stereotypes of arrogant thugs, regardless of Jewish, Muslim or Christian.

      • Avi
        May 23, 2010, 8:11 am

        The jig is up. Your playing it dumb and feigning innocence is all too obvious. That whole “I don’t understand your personal attack” must have been orgasmic as you typed it, you lying, sniveling fraud. You are irrelevant.

      • jonah
        May 23, 2010, 10:48 am

        And you are an idiot.

    • Bandolero
      May 21, 2010, 6:24 pm

      Nobody has any problems with Jewish settlements. They were there for ages and that’s fine.

      The problem is with zionist settlements. Nobody likes coloniailist immigrants full of racist hatred ideology of supremacy as their neighbors.

      Would you like to live next door to hatemongers like Baruch Marzel or Avigdor Lieberman?

      • jonah
        May 22, 2010, 5:29 am

        There are many hate-mongers on Palestinian side too, Bandolero. I oppose both the Jewish extremist settlers as well as the Palestinian Arab supremacists dressed as Arab nationalists or Islamic jihadists (here an recent example of incitement to hate in PA TV: link to palwatch.org).

        The real challenge, however, is whether the respective governments of Israel and of the Palestinians will be able to overcome the extremist tendencies within their own political reality in order to achieve a lasting peace. It’s doubtful on both sides.

    • Sumud
      May 22, 2010, 1:49 am

      ” Strangely, hovewer, I’ve never heard them talk in this way, rather the opposite…”

      Evidently, you haven’t been listening. Is that wilful or accidental?

      ‘Fayyad: Jews can be equal citizens in Palestinian state’
      link to haaretz.com

      • jonah
        May 22, 2010, 6:56 am

        In the same time Fayyad continues to glorify terrorists who killed many Jews.
        link to cnpublications.net

        The Palestinians are not new to this duplicity.

      • potsherd
        May 22, 2010, 7:35 am

        And it is also duplicity when the Israelis continue to glorify their own terrorists? Every year they have a ceremony glorifying the Olei Hagardom, Jewish terrorists hanged by the British.

        Oh, but that’s different. They were freedom fighters , says Tzipi Livni.

        these days are not simple to Israel, a country still struggling for existence and fighting terrorism. And there are those who try to take away Israel’s right of self-defense through the comparison between the war on terrorism and the terrorists.”

        “Those we are fighting are terrorists and those we are mourning today were freedom fighters,” she stated.

        Obviously, then, Israelis are duplicitous and none of their promises can be trusted.

      • Judy
        May 22, 2010, 8:49 am

        Jonah, are you actually suggesting that the “holdup” is a lack of Palestinian enthusiasm for welcoming the self-same settlers whose presence has been responsible for much of their suffering for the past 40 years?

        Exactly what hoops should Palestinians be required to jump through in order to prove their love for the settlers?

        Just so I have this straight: Before any negotiations can begin, or be realized, Palestinian victims of settler-based hate, violence and theft, must welcome those settlers into their midst in such a way that citizen of Israel can be certain the settlers will be loved?

        This kinds of garbage bespeaks the basest kind of racism.

      • jonah
        May 22, 2010, 8:54 am

        The Olei Hagardom were Jewish unterground militants who fought primarily against the British rule in Palestine (which after 1939 – White Paper – war clearly anti-Jewish). There was only one attack against Arab civilian with no casualties in Safed 1938, intended as retaliation for an earlier attack by Arabs in which six Jews were killed.
        link to en.wikipedia.org

        No comparison with the deliberate cruel attacks by Palestinian terrorists against Jewish citizens (of Israel).

      • Shmuel
        May 22, 2010, 9:18 am

        You forgot Meir Feinstein and the little bomb he tried to plant at a Jerusalem railway station. The assassination of Lord Moyne (Eliyahu Hakim, Eliyahu Bet-Zuri) was also terrorism. Furthermore, both Etzel and Lehi and their leaders (Begin, Stern, Shamir) are honoured to this day in Israel, despite the fact that they clearly engaged in terrorism against civilians. No need to get into the actions of the Haganah or the issue of state terrorism to prove that one man’s terrorist will always be another man’s freedom fighter, and Israeli apologists really have no grounds for moral outrage when Palestinians honour their “freedom fighters”.

        This has been a really popular talking point lately, as a point-scoring exercise, a diversionary tactic, and the product of authentic (partial) moral blindness.

      • Shmuel
        May 22, 2010, 9:26 am

        Just one little attack on civilians in Safed, oh, and another one in Jerusalem, oh and the political assassination of a (civilian) UN mediator. Of course we honour these guys. They were freedom fighters! Nasty nasty Arabs.

      • Shmuel
        May 22, 2010, 9:31 am

        Sorry, confused Moyne wth Bernadotte. Moyne was still a civilian however, and his assassination didn’t exactly help the British war effort against the Nazis.

      • Sumud
        May 22, 2010, 12:28 pm

        jonah – will you answer my question? I asked if your misinformation about the future of jews in the Palestinian state was by accident or design?

        Again, you’ve merely ignored a factual rebuttal and wandered off into a diversion – and a particularly weak one at that, as potsherd, judy and Shmuel have already responded.

        Some other examples on the commemoration of terrorism – how do you feel about Bibi attending the 60th anniversary celebration of the King David Hotel bombing? I understand Likud is a direct descendent of the Irgun (via Herut) but terrorism is terrorism right?
        link to en.wikipedia.org

        What about the Shmuel’s point on zionist terrorists being elected to prominent positions in the Israeli Government – eg Begin and Shamir, or such vile creatures as Ariel Sharon, responsible for at least two mass killings of Palestinians (Qibya and Sabra & Shatila)?

        The cult that’s grown up around Baruch Goldstein?

        The fact that Israel has “more streets, parks and squares named after Jabotinsky than any other figure in Jewish or Israeli history”?
        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • potsherd
        May 22, 2010, 12:47 pm

        No comparison? The comparison is exact – freedom fighters using deliberate cruel terrorist attacks to combat a foreign occupation force.

      • potsherd
        May 22, 2010, 12:48 pm

        It was on Talking Point List # 74. Julian was the first to use it here, about a month ago.

      • Sumud
        May 22, 2010, 1:07 pm

        “No comparison with the deliberate cruel attacks by Palestinian terrorists against Jewish citizens (of Israel).”

        You’re not trying to pretend that one attack was the extent of zionist terrorism in mandate Palestine are you? Please tell me you aren’t that brainwashed or *duplicitous*.

      • Mooser
        May 22, 2010, 2:29 pm

        ” (which after 1939 – White Paper – war clearly anti-Jewish).

        ROTFLMSJAO!!! Those freakin’ Limey anti-Semites! Good Lord, how did poor Israel survive, with the mightiest Empire the world has ever seen allayed against them? What freakin heroes those Zionists were!
        Ah, this site is health-giving, always so generous with the best medicine.

      • Mooser
        May 22, 2010, 2:31 pm

        Oh, and the poor Jewish people who were actually in England? How did they survive? Oh the prodigious tenacity, strength and endurance it must have taken to survive in anti-Jewish England! It’s a wonder they didn’t turn them all over to Hitler!

      • jonah
        May 22, 2010, 7:12 pm

        In 1939 there wasn’t Israel yet. The White Paper was anti-Jewish as you are today anti-Israeli.

      • potsherd
        May 22, 2010, 7:25 pm

        And WHY, jonah, did the British position in 1939 shift to favor the Arabs? What was the primary British concern at this time? Did they perhaps have something urgent on their minds?

      • jonah
        May 22, 2010, 7:38 pm


        It’s not a diversion, it’s a question of coherency. Fayyad can assert that the Jews are welcome as equal citizens in a future Palestinian state (but it is of course only a statement, nothing more) and two hours later he goes to honor a terrorist who killed many Jews. This cast doubt on Fayyad’s credibility with regard to his promise. Here was my point.

      • jonah
        May 22, 2010, 7:41 pm

        If do you know why don’t you tell straight out, postherd ? I don’t like mimicry.

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 22, 2010, 8:04 pm

        Talking of Itzhak Shamir:
        PM Shamir: Terrorism was ‘acceptable’ for Jews, not for Arabs.
        link to promisedlandblog.com

      • potsherd
        May 22, 2010, 8:06 pm

        The British position in 1939 was not “anti-Jewish” but reflected British interests, which, at the time, were focused on the war with Germany. They did not feel they could afford to divert resources to put down an Arab revolt in Palestine.

        The fact that the Jewish immigrants might also have an interest of their own in immigrating to Arab Palestine was of little concern to them. That’s how imperialists are.

        But to suggest, as your comment does, that the Brits were motived by “anti-Jewish” sentiment is not likely to provoke a serious reply.

      • potsherd
        May 22, 2010, 8:11 pm

        Self-serving hypocrite, him.

        “It’s OK if I do it, because I’m me and you’re not.”

      • lareineblanche
        May 22, 2010, 8:37 pm

        jonah (and the whale!) :
        The “white paper” was in 1922, and Churchill was probably rethinking the British support of Zionism because it was throwing a wrench into everything by causing too much conflict with the Arabs and Palestinians. He probably didn’t want to lose Arab allies in the ME. He was a “realist”.

        On the other hand, you could say that he had a less than stellar opinion of Arabs in general, according to this :
        1920 :
        Churchill was in no doubt that gas could be profitably employed against the Kurds and Iraqis (as well as against other peoples in the Empire): *I do not understand this sqeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes.* Henry Wilson shared Churchills enthusiasm for gas as an instrument of colonial control but the British cabinet was reluctant to sanction the use of a weapon that had caused such misery and revulsion in the First World War. Churchill himself was keen to argue that gas, fired from ground-based guns or dropped from aircraft, would cause *only discomfort or illness, but not death* to dissident tribespeople

        link to iraqwar.org

      • lareineblanche
        May 22, 2010, 8:46 pm

        Ooops, my bad, I thought we were talking about Churchill for some reason – where did I get that idea?

      • jonah
        May 23, 2010, 4:44 am


        the White Paper of 1939

        link to en.wikipedia.org

  4. seafoid
    May 22, 2010, 1:45 am

    I think the explosion of media since the late 90s, especially the internet, has been a disaster for Israel which previously seems to have been blindsided into thinking that it could get away with its inhuman treatment of the Palestinians for ever.

    Anyone who ever goes to the West Bank can see that the whole setup is wrong but the internet now allows people to make up their minds from the comfort of their own homes.

    the other killer blow for Israel was the dependence on a uber successful cohort of Jewish American Zionists who are now getting too old to be of an relevance to the future and who will not be replaced by a similarly driven younger cohort. When I see Dershowitz today I see my weakening grandfather, not an intellectual monolith.

    Israel is going to lose. The question now is what can be saved. Israel still has choices today. It won’t always have choices.

    • potsherd
      May 22, 2010, 12:50 pm

      Very true.

      The parallel is the Vietnam War, when TV suddenly started showing the reality of combat in American living rooms. The government was totally blindsided. Always before (and afterwards) the press had been censored to keep the truth from the population.

      Israel is fighting a rear-guard action to censor the truth now, but it’s escaped the bottle.

  5. homingpigeon
    May 22, 2010, 4:29 am

    As a point of information, Beit Sahour, the base of the above story, is populated by Palestinian Christians who believe they are descendants of the (Jewish?) shepherds who received the news of Jesus’ birth from the angels. They have taken the non-violent path of resistance from the beginning… early acceptance of the two state solution, establishing dialogue centers, recognizing and listening to “the other” etc. But this approach has disconcerted Israelis it seems much more than any violent reaction from Palestinians. And liberals in the west still ask “where is the Palestinian Gandhi?”

  6. DavidSiden
    May 22, 2010, 11:56 am

    Elena Kagan, part of the vast Zionist conspiracy according to Mazin Qumsiyeh.
    Yet Philip Weiss publishes the words of this racist Qumsiyeh.

    link to israelmatzav.blogspot.com
    I’ll bet you didn’t know that Barack Obama’s appointment of Elena Kagan to be a Supreme Court justice is part of the vast Zionist conspiracy. But it is.
    Palestinian-American activist Mazin Qumsiyeh adds an impressive, from his point of view, set of objections to the arguments of those who dislike President Obama, According to Qumsiyeh, Obama is filling his administration with evil Jew Zionists and their sympathizers. The appointment of Elana Kagan to the Supreme Court is a case in point. She is apparently a ranking member of the Elders of Zion.

    The court, Qumsiyeh notes, now has three Jew Zionists and three “Christian Zionists.” One supposes that might make a difference if the United States Supreme Court gets to decide on such questions as whether or note the Wailing Wall belongs to the Jews or to the Muslims. Palestinians should insist that in confirmation hearings, Kagan is asked whether or not she believes that Muhammad (PBUH) tied up his flying horse al-Buraq at the West Wall, and whether or not, in her opinion, that proves that the wall should be under Arab Palestinian sovereignty.

    Don’t laugh – it is not funny. What follows is from an email circulated by Qumsieh for public consumption. I have changed nothing below except for removing the line breaks in the email. It is the entire text that relates to Elana Kagan and the Obama administration.
    You can read the email here. Paranoid doesn’t begin to describe it.

    • Shmuel
      May 22, 2010, 12:15 pm

      Thanks for the cut and paste and smear job from Israel Matzav. I happen to be on Mazin Qumsiyeh’s e-mail list, and this is what he actually wrote on the subject:

      Barack Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court of Elena Kagan, like his selection of Zionist racist Rahm Emanuel to be his chief of staff proves yet again that he is no progressive. Kagan was appointed dean at Harvard by her mentor Larry Summers, another unabashed Zionist who equated Israeli criticism with anti-Semitism and is now also in Obama’s inner circle. Kagan had called Aharon Barak “my judicial hero. He is the judge who has best advanced democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and justice.” And who is her hero? Please read more about him in this brilliant article: ‘The Legacy of Justice Aharon Barak: A Critical Review’ by Nimer Sultany link to harvardilj.org
      See also: U.S. Jews ‘proud’ of Obama Supreme Court nominee
      link to haaretz.com
      When confirmed, there will be three Jewish Zionists and three right-wing Christian Zionists on the Supreme court (total two-thirds) when the US public is mostly opposed to unfettered bias and support to Israeli policies of destruction and discrimination. Kagan said she loved the Federalist Society and supported holding people without trial. The center for constitutional rights and other groups in the US voiced concern about nominating someone who supports the premises and unconstitutional actions accompanying the misnamed ‘war on terror’. But then again it fits the agenda of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians to advance fictions and notions associated with an endless war on terror.

      • wondering jew
        May 22, 2010, 7:40 pm

        Shmuel- Do you find Qumsiyeh’s comments on Kagan’s nomination without any taint of hatred of Jews? Do you feel that Kagan is a Zionist and therefore should not be on the US Supreme Court? Do you consider Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Jewish Zionists? Is the pride that US Jews take in Kagan’s nomination a negative because of her Zionism or because of her Jewishness or what?

      • Shmuel
        May 23, 2010, 2:13 am


        No, I do not find any hint of hatred of Jews in Qumsiyeh’s comments. He explains why he believes that Kagan is a Zionist (mentored by Summers, in awe of A. Barak, in favour of elements of “war of terror”), and objects to the disproportionate number of Zionists (Jewish and Christian) he identifies on the SC. He also links foreign to domestic policy (habeas corpus, unconstitutional actions), arguing that her Zionism is not just a matter of personal conviction.

        The article he cites on Jewish pride, quotes leaders of very politically active, pro-Israel organisations (NJDC, RAC, ADL). It is not a stretch of the imagination to identify this satisfaction with a Zionist (and necon/neolib – pertaining to US policies on Iran, Iraq, homeland security, etc.) agenda. Were she not pro-Israel, I doubt such pride would have been expressed by an organised Jewish community that is extremely intolerant of internal dissent when it comes to Israel (see Goldstone). Just being Jewish is not enough.

        I am unfamiliar with the views of Breyer and Bader Ginsburg or other members of the SC (I do not live in the US). Were it not for IsraelMatzav’s misrepresentation of Qumsiyeh’s email (pasted here by DavidSiden), I probably would not have commented on this subject at all. Regardless of what you may find in or between the lines of Qumsiyeh’s email (the real one), it is certainly a far cry from the crude “paraphrase” by IM.

        Side note: I have been reading Qumsiyeh for many years, and have met him personally. He is a remarkably open, tolerant and peaceful man. He has certainly challenged me and made me feel uncomfortable at times, but it is preposterous to accuse him of hatred of Jews. He has written a book called Sharing the Land of Canaan, in which he advocates Jewish-Palestinian co-existence and cooperation, based on equality and mutual respect. Hardly the position of someone who hates Jews.

      • wondering jew
        May 24, 2010, 3:20 am

        Qumsiyeh’s description of Ginsburg and Breyer as Jewish Zionists, when their Zionism is unproven, indicates to me an anti Jewish bias. If they are in fact Zionists I will apologize, but I think that even if Qumsiyeh is not a Jew hater as a rule, he is guilty of anti Jewish bias in this instance.

    • Chu
      May 22, 2010, 12:23 pm

      Where did Philip Weiss publishes the words of this racist Qumsiyeh?
      send me the link, David.

    • potsherd
      May 22, 2010, 12:53 pm

      Oh, it’s funny, all right! It’s always funny to see a clown take a pratfall. What’s your next trick – a pie in the face?

      Haven’t you figured yet that you are an object of ridicule, the more you post here? The comic relief.

  7. DavidSiden
    May 22, 2010, 12:00 pm

    Jonah, all your posts are right on the money.
    These Israel haters on here are getting whooped by you.

    • Sumud
      May 22, 2010, 12:40 pm

      LOL still struggling with the REPLY button DavidSiden?

    • Mooser
      May 22, 2010, 2:33 pm

      “These Israel haters on here are getting whooped(sic) by you.”

      You really need to work on the ol’ vernacular, Dave, baby, if you’re going to keep it crisp.

      • Mooser
        May 22, 2010, 2:35 pm

        Gosh, I hope ol’ Jonah doesn’t pick up a whooping cough. Penalties are stiff for endangering marine mammals.

    • jonah
      May 22, 2010, 7:15 pm

      “These Israel haters”

      On this you might be right, David.

      • potsherd
        May 22, 2010, 7:28 pm

        Hating Israel as it now exists is the only possible moral position.

        Hopefully, one day Israel will join the world of just states and will no longer be a pariah among the nations.

      • jonah
        May 22, 2010, 7:44 pm

        You can probably say this because you live in a safe haven, somewhere in America or Oceania.

      • potsherd
        May 22, 2010, 8:17 pm

        If Israelis want to live in safety, they can make peace instead of war.

        And if Israelis do not want to live in a criminal state and can’t reform its government, they can leave for some safe haven. Many of them already have.

      • jonah
        May 23, 2010, 4:47 am


        the ME-conflict in based on a complex dis-equation, not on a simple equation as you might believe.

      • potsherd
        May 23, 2010, 9:01 am

        The ME conflict is certainly complicated, but the question is not about a perfect solution to a complicated problem, it is about Israel’s moral responsibility for it, Israel’s moral responsibility for its actions.

        Which are almost invariably actions that promote injustice and pursue war, actions that make peace increasingly unlikely.

        To hate this is, as I have said, the only moral position to take.

        Your reply suggests that Israel is justified in its actions because of its “security situation.” This is the invariable weasel-language used to excuse all Israeli excesses. Israel expels a clown – “security reasons.” An IDF general declares that the situation on its northern borders is the most peaceful since 1948. So the IDF runs war games “to prepare for the next war” and unsettle the minds of its neighbors, who are justifiably concerned about their security.

        If Isrealis are insecure, this is a situation largely of their own creation.

        Akiva Eldar had an insightful look into the Israeli mindset in this weekend’s Ha’aretz: link to haaretz.com

        “When people cling to the average ethos concerning the conflict, which is based on the rightness of the path, a self-perception of morality, delegitimization of the Arabs and a sense of self-victimization – even when they are offered positive information that seemingly could advance a solution to the conflict, they ignore it and focus on negative information,” says Halperin, an associate editor of Political Psychology, a leading international journal.

        This is a phenomenon that is very evident on this website.

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