Nonviolence and the struggle for Palestinian-Israeli equality

My post about nonviolence vs. violence and the Gaza Flotilla unleashed a heated debate. Max Ajl, David Bromwich, Robin Yassin-Kassab, Ken O’Keefe elsewhere, Max Ajl again, and Norman Finkelstein outside this forum have spilled many impassioned electrons on this topic, not to mention the dozens of thoughtful comments below each post.

Good. This is a debate we need to have. "We" being "anyone who cares about Palestinian and Israeli equality and coexistence, which necessarily includes freedom for Palestinians from being oppressed, and freedom for Israelis from being oppressors."

Although this won’t be an all-encompassing effort to followup on all those electrons, I’ll tackle below the following major themes…

  1. What is Nonviolence?
  2. Success vs. Work
  3. Principled Nonviolence vs. Pragmatic Nonviolence
  4. An Accurate Portrayal of Gandhi and King
  5. The First Intifada — Some Success, Some Work
  6. The Second Intifada — No Success, No Work
  7. The Third Intifada — It’s Succeeding and Working
  8. Why Israelis and their Psychology Matter
  9. Mavi Marmara, Take Two
  10. What Would Gandhi Do? (Response to Mavi Marmara Passenger Ken O’Keefe
  11. Mainstream Media Coverage of the Mavi Marmara
  12. Nonviolence Succeeds and Works Despite Parallel Violence
  13. The Future and Conclusions
  14. P.S. – About Jewish Privilege and Palestinian Voices
  15. Nonviolence Education and Resources

Warning: this is more a book chapter than a blog post. The topic’s complex enough that it deserves this level of depth. The post’s only blog-like quality is the light level of editing. It could be tighter and less verbose.

1. What is Nonviolence?

Many people assume nonviolence means "not being violent." Simple, right? Wrong.

Here’s a definition of nonviolence:

Nonviolence is a powerful method to harmonize relationships among people (and all living things) for the establishment of justice and the ultimate well-being of all parties. It draws its power from awareness of the profound truth to which the wisdom traditions of all cultures, science, and common experience bear witness: that all life is one.

It’s important that we have some idea of what nonviolence is if we’re going to debate it.

Michael Nagler coined a way to understand the difference in efficacy between nonviolence and violence in the context of a social justice struggle:

Violence sometimes succeeds but never works; while

Nonviolence sometimes succeeds and always works.

Success means the immediate and obvious effects, while work designates the resulting underlying and fundamental shifts brought about by nonviolence… All action has consequences on various levels; a nonviolent actor always takes into account the intended long-term objectives and consequences and not just the more expedient or visible results. Because nonviolence can take time to address root causes of violence or injustice, people seeking immediate objectives often reject it on the grounds that nonviolence doesn’t (in their view) succeed. Often they embrace violence because it (may appear to) satisfy an immediate need, while ignoring the long-term adverse consequences, thus lurching from crisis to crisis instead of improving things.

Consider for example Algeria’s violent revolution, which succeeded in driving out the French colonists, but at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives. Since then Algeria has indeed lurched from crisis to crisis, including a civil war, and relations with the French remained strained for years. The armed rebellion did not work to help transform the culture of violence into one of coexistence and reconciliation:

For Algerians of many political factions, the legacy of their War of Independence acted to legitimise and virtually sanctify the unrestricted use of force in achieving a goal deemed to be justified. Once invoked against foreign colonialists, the same principle could be turned with relative ease also against fellow Algerians.

On the other hand, renowned British historian Arnold Toynbee said this about Gandhi’s methods:

"He made it impossible for us to go on ruling India; but he made it possible for us to leave without rancour and without humiliation." Nonviolence dignifies and humanizes as it works: it humanizes those who offer it, those to whom it is offered and the "reference publics" looking on. 

Gandhi’s movement succeeded in ending British colonial rule over India, and it also worked to establish reconciliation and positive relations between India and Britain.

India in the immediate aftermath of Gandhi’s movement was in much better shape on every level than it would have been had an Algerian-style armed uprising been the dominant feature of the freedom struggle. Had India stuck with Gandhi’s program consistently, it’s also reasonable to believe it would be far better off today.

3. Principled Nonviolence vs. Pragmatic Nonviolence

Max Ajl’s main premise is nonviolence is "not a principle, it is a tactic." On the other hand, Peace and conflict studies theorists recognize two distinct types of nonviolence: principled and pragmatic. To claim nonviolence cannot be a principle is a dismissal of a vast canon of research and scholarship on the topic based on the real-world lives and achievements of Gandhi, King, and others.

Principled nonviolence:

Principled nonviolence is the nonviolence of those who feel that it is a calling… In this view nonviolence is not merely a strategy nor the recourse of the weak, it is a positive force that does not manifest its full potential until it is adopted on principle. Often such practitioners feel that it expresses something fundamental about human nature, about whom they wish to become as individuals or as a people….

Probably the most important lesson we have learned since – and from – Gandhi is that nonviolence is a positive force. It is a way to alter violent situations and influence others by persuasion rather than coercion, a way to resolve differences so that all parties grow in the process as human beings – and become more open rather than more closed to each other.

Almost everyone today is familiar with the principle that “the ends don’t justify the means.” It is this recognition that differentiates a principled nonviolence-based effort, which is a mutual learning process for change, from a power struggle. “Means are ends in the making,” Gandhi explained, meaning that the kind of means we use – violent or nonviolent, with secrecy or transparency, democratic or authoritarian, deceivable or truthful – are already building the foundations of the society we want to live in…. In the case of a revolutionary struggle, for example, he held that “violent revolution will bring violent swaraj [independence].” Nobel Prize-winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel was just as emphatic: “Nonviolent action implants, by anticipation within the very process of change itself, the values to which it will ultimately lead … it does not sow peace by means of war.”

Pragmatic (a.k.a. strategic or tactical) nonviolence:

This concept, sometimes written today non-violence [with a dash, as opposed to nonviolence without the dash, which signifies the principled variety], refers to the kind of commitment that regards nonviolence as a strategy, to be adopted merely because it is thought to be more likely to succeed than violence (see success vs. work) or because violence is not a practical possibility. Those adopting nonviolence in this way often reserve the right to go back to violence if they do not meet with success, and some theorists believe this limits their effectiveness. Pragmatic nonviolence is usually a better choice and often requires more courage than violence. It can cause problems, however, if people think that this is the only form of nonviolence. Then if it does not succeed they are left with no recourse but violence (or submission), whereas principled nonviolence is not only more effective in the short term but can move humanity toward a new paradigm as it involves an other order of belief regarding human nature and human relationships.

Pragmatic nonviolence, for example, still presupposes that the means can justify the ends, whereas for Gandhi, “Means are ends in the making:”

4. An Accurate Portrayal of Gandhi and King

Ajl misrepresents the views of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a way of advancing the argument that violence is a helpful component of the Palestinian freedom struggle.

In his post David Bromwich quotes Gandhi accurately on this topic:

I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of
violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her
honour than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour. But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment.

In summary: Nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, and violence is preferable to cowardice. What more needs to be said?

But Ajl quotes Gandhi out of context:

I do believe that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence I would advise violence.

Notice that this quote is consistent with the previous one. But by leaving out the previous quote affirming the "infinite superiority of nonviolence," Ajl creates the impression that Gandhi might have perhaps supported Palestinian violence in achieving liberation instead of nonviolence. Such an idea would have the Mahatma rolling in his (metaphorical, he was cremated) grave. Robin Yassin-Kassab quotes Gandhi on his prescription for Palestinian resistance:

I wish they [the Palestinians] had chosen the way of non-violence in resisting what they rightly regard as an unacceptable encroachment upon their country.

Were Gandhi alive today, his recommendation would no doubt be even more strongly worded. It’s fine for Ajl to disagree with Gandhi, but unfair to misrepresent Gandhi in service to such an argument.

On the topic of nonviolence as a principle, Ajl writes:

Clearly, Gandhi was not a principled adherent to non-violence in the sense that I used it, or in the vernacular sense that most would understand principled non-violence. If I say that non-violence is my principle, and then advocate punching someone, then the reasonable conclusion is that non-violence is not my principle.

The word "principle" does not automatically indicate an absolute prescription for every situation. Here’s one definition of principle:

A standard or rule of personal conduct.

A standard or rule need not always be absolute. Considering Gandhi’s comment that nonviolence is "infinitely" superior to violence, it’s hard to see how it was not a principle. Gandhi wrote massive volumes of text about his devotion to and faith in nonviolence, both as a way of life and as a superstructure guideline for all his and his followers’ revolutionary activities. Gandhi endorsed the use of physical force as regrettably the most advisable choice only in the very narrowest of criteria and rarest of circumstances (I believe his example was a "madman running through the village with a sword"). So far as I know, Gandhi never endorsed the use of physical force as preferable to nonviolence in any situation even remotely comparable to the Palestinian freedom struggle.

Peruse, for example, Gandhi’s beautiful treatise Truth is God, a collection of Gandhi’s writings that clearly settles the question of Gandhi’s commitment to nonviolence as a principle. Examples:

My faith in truth and nonviolence is ever-growing, and as I am ever trying to follow them in my life, I too am growing every moment… 

Nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man. Destruction is not the law of the humans. Man lives freely by his readiness to die, if need be, at the hands of his brother, never by killing him. Every murder or injury, no matter for what cause, committed or inflicted on another is a crime against humanity…

I believe myself to be saturated with ahimsa (the Sanskrit word for nonviolence). Ahimsa and Truth are as my two lungs. I cannot live without them.

As for King, this quote makes clear his similar devotion to nonviolence as a principle, and his respect for Gandhi’s example:

…I had almost despaired of the power of love in solving social problems. The "turn the other cheek" philosophy and the "love your enemies" philosophy are only valid, I felt, when individuals are in conflict with other individuals; when racial groups and nations are in conflict [I thought] a more realistic approach [was] necessary. Then I came upon the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. As I read his works I became deeply fascinated by his campaigns of nonviolent resistance. The whole Gandhian concept of satyagraha (satyta is truth which equals love and graha is force; satyagraha thus means truth-force or love-force) was profoundly significant to me….My skepticism concerning the power of love gradually diminished, and I came to see for the first time that the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was one of the most potent weapons available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom…. Living through the actual experience of the protest, nonviolence became more than a method to which I gave intellectual assent; it became a way of life.

If a way of life is not a principle, what is? One more King passage to share, compiled from two different commentaries about his trip to India. Notice how King’s remarks elucidate how nonviolence not only succeeds, but also works:

It was a marvelous thing to see the amazing results of the nonviolent struggle… The aftermath of hatred and bitterness that usually follows a violent campaign is found nowhere in India. Today a mutual friendship based on complete equality exists between the Indian and British people within the commonwealth… And this is only because Gandhi followed the way of love and nonviolence, refusing to hate and refusing to follow the way of violence… The aftermath of violence is always bitterness; the aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community so that when the battle is over, it’s over, and a new love and a new understanding and a new relationship comes into being between the oppressed and the oppressor.

Bottom line: Whereas Gandhi and King subscribed to nonviolence as a principle, Ajl apparently sometimes subscribes to it as a pragmatic tactic depending on the circumstances.

5. The First Intifada — Some Success, Some Work

As noted by Ajl and Yassin-Kassab, the First Intifada’s was largely non-violent (mostly pragmatic, as opposed to principled). Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian-American and one of the fomenters and organizers of the First Intifada, tells stories of traveling through the West Bank with his mobile Gandhi and King library and educating fellow Palestinians on the ins and outs of nonviolent resistance in the mid 1980s, helping to seed the social sphere for the uprising. The First Intifada was hardly "pacific" as Ajl writes — Gandhi described nonviolent resistance as the most active force in the world. The "shaking off" was characterized by civil disobedience and other forms of non-cooperation – tax refusal, boycotts of Israeli products, illegally flying the Palestinian flag in the plain view of Israeli soldiers, and illegally planting olive trees on threatened land, as well as constructive programs to achieve greater self-sufficiency like planting victory gardens and organizing professional and cultural associations.

There was also plenty of stone-throwing and other forms of "lightly armed" resistance, which according to scholars such as Prof. Mohammed Abu-Nimer, falls into a gray area in-between violence and pragmatic non-violence. (Abu-Nimer called it "nonlethal force.") Stone-throwing was a controversial aspect of the First Intifada as it was the most clear and direct deviation from nonviolent discipline and produced a variety of reactions amongst Israelis. A summary comment on stone-throwing:

In assessing the effect of stone throwing, we can recognize that those who are the targets are likely to perceive the act in different ways: this is a difficulty with all symbolic acts.

As a whole the First Intifada was much less disciplined in its non-violent character than other, more successful nonviolent social movements such as the Philippines People Power Movement or Serbia’s Otpor uprising. Still, the Intifada’s largely non-violent nature had a powerful effect on both international and Israeli attitudes toward Palestinian legitimacy:

The Palestinians established the legitimacy of their aspirations in the minds of people around the world, built internal commitment and solidarity, created social structures, inspired left-wing Israelis to work on behalf of a resolution to the conflict, and achieved recognition of their political leaders.

This is an example of both success – recognition of their political leaders was one of the stated goals of the Intifada – and work, in helping to influence the general Israeli public’s view of the Palestinian cause for the better.

Typical of skeptics of nonviolence, Ajl dismisses the First Intifada due to its limited success:

If Palestinian non-violence could “work” in an abstract trans-historical sense, where is the Palestinian state? Was it Palestinian laziness for not persevering in Intifada for another couple years to really thoroughly gum up the machinery of occupation?

This is reminiscent of Theodore Roszak’s comment on the impatience of such critics:

“People try nonviolence for a week, and when it ‘doesn’t work’ [eg doesn't succeed], they go back to violence, which hasn’t worked for centuries.”

Lack of follow through was a major problem with the First Intifada, although it would be quite wrongheaded to characterize it as laziness. I’ve spoken to Palestinians, Israelis, and academics who say the biggest failure of the Palestinian liberation movement was to not return to the ways of the First Intifada when it became clear that the political negotiations were co-opted and ineffective in the mid to late 90s (even before Camp David). Additionally, I’ve been told by Palestinians who were involved in organizing the First Intifada that when Israel offered to negotiate directly with the grassroots leaders, the Palestinians insisted instead that Israel must talk to Arafat, who wasn’t in Palestine at the time and had no involvement of any kind in organizing the First Intifada. The grassroots leaders later regretted that decision. The Palestinians were understandably burnt out after the First Intifada, having suffered massive losses, but the resistance did in fact succeed in gumming up the machinery of occupation. Otherwise Israel never would have made the phone call to negotiate. Some Palestinians and Israelis have claimed that if there’d been a unified message — "We will continue the nonviolent Intifada until we get a state" — in the mid to late 90s, today there would either be some kind of two-state solution, or at the least, much better groundwork for it than what happened during, as a result of, and after the disastrous Second Intifada.

6. The Second Intifada —  No Success, No Work

There’s no factual evidence to support the idea that violence has accomplished much of anything for the Palestinian freedom struggle. Any supposed gains seem more illusory than real, and came at the expense of other, far bigger losses.

Take for instance the Second Intifada of the early 2000s, which started out somewhat like the First Intifada with the "nonlethal force" of stone-throwing as its most violent feature but quickly became a suicide bombing campaign. The slaughtering of civilians vastly increased Israeli public support for the land-confiscation wall (under the rhetoric of "security") and pushed Israeli public opinion far to the right. I condemn any form of violence/terrorism that targets civilians, perpetrated by any party (state or non-state), on moral grounds. Israel’s military is responsible for oppressing the Palestinian people, and Israel’s theft of Palestinian land is responsible for creating the conditions where Palestinians have resorted to such actions. But speaking purely in terms of effectiveness, the suicide bombing campaign was a counterproductive disaster of epic proportions, one from the Palestinian freedom and justice campaign has yet to fully recover, given how deeply entrenched Israelis are (both psychologically and with facts-on-the-ground infrastructure) in the wake of that experience.

Simply put, while the First Intifada succeeded somewhat in moving Palestinians toward a state and worked somewhat to move Palestinians and Israelis toward coexistence, the Second Intifada didn’t succeed or work.

One senior Israeli Peace Now organizer told me that prior to the Second Intifada, she could get tens of thousands to show up for demonstrations, but the suicide bombings "sent everyone home." She also said the Second Intifada set back Israeli attitudes toward Palestinian freedom and justice by twenty years. Say what you will about the level of commitment of mainstream groups like Peace Now – it seems far better to have them at least somewhat on your side than not.

To rebut comments like this one on the 2005 Gaza withdrawal:

Hamas and other groups drove Israel out of Gaza. They didn’t defeat the IDF on the battlefield but over time killed in small numbers enough colonists and IDF to convince Sharon and enough of the Israeli political establishment that allocation of colonization resources to Gaza was wasteful… If there had been no intermittent violence engendering an omnipresent threat, the IDF would not have had to invest resources highly disproportionate to the number of colonists, and the colonies would still be there.

Even supposing that Palestinian violence contributed in some way to the withdrawal (a dubious claim), it’s reasonable to assess that a disciplined nonviolent campaign would not have succeeded in influencing a withdrawal, and worked to create better terms for the Palestinians.

But more to the point, we can’t know for certain that Palestinian violence actually caused the withdrawal, or even contributed in any way to the withdrawal. As numerous international relations experts and conflict analysts said at the time, it appeared from start to finish to be a purely rational calculation of self-interest in order to address Israel’s so-called "demography problem," solidify its control of the West Bank, and delay if not kill the two-state solution all in one fell swoop, in sum Sharon’s greatest pro-colonization move ever. See Dov Weisglass’ famous formaldehyde comments:

"Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda… [The Gaza disengagement] supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians."

Weisglass elaborated further:

“What I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest would not be dealt with until the Palestinians turned into Finns. This is the significance of what we did…. All with a Presidential blessing and ratification of both houses of Congress…. What more could have been given to the settlers?”

Had the Second Intifada’s character remained more like the First, the Palestinian cause would be in much better shape today, perhaps including a Palestinian state. And this is not an argument of one state or two states being superior, just an acknowledgment that to the extent that many Palestinians want a Palestinian state, it’s quite plausible that it would exist today had the Second Intifada not taken a wrong turn into suicide bombing.

When I traveled through the West Bank in the Summer of 2005, Palestinians told me that while at one time "martyrdom operations" enjoyed widespread support among the Palestinian public, that support was dwindling rapidly as Palestinians came to the conclusion that the operations harmed the cause. I have heard that many Palestinians today view the operations in hindsight as a strategic failure.

7. The Third Intifada — It’s Succeeding and Working

As Tal Palter-Palman presciently observed five years ago, we are now in the midst of the Third Intifada. Fortunately, the Third is much more like the First than the Second. The Third Intifada began with and is defined by two primary events: organized non-violent resistance to the land confiscation wall in various West Bank villages such as Budrus starting in 2003, and the Palestinian Unified Call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions in 2005. (Rachel Corrie’s March 2003 death resisting a home demolition also coincided roughly with the start of the Third Intifada.)

The Third Intifada is unique from the previous ones, as follows:

- Unlike the previous two Intifadas – which were almost exclusively Palestinian affairs – today’s Intifada involves Israelis Jews and Internationals working in solidarity side-by-side with Palestinians in the occupied territories to challenge the wall and home demolitions. An Israeli anarchist against the wall said to me something like this: "During the second intifada there was nothing for us to do — how can we even consider organizing and working with suicide bombers blowing up pizza restaurants and killing our friends? But the wall was so outrageous and awful, it was easy to go to those villages and join the protests."

- The international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement provides a serious threat to the political legitimacy of Israel’s apartheid policies, and is energetically in sync with the on-the-ground resistance mentioned above.

- Various Palestinian, Israeli, and International NGOs such as Bustan, B’Tselem, Holy Land Trust, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Sabeel, the International Solidarity Movement, Rabbis for Human Rights, and many others are directly and indirectly challenging Israel’s apartheid policies, including with various forms of nonviolent direct action.

- The Israeli refuser movement is still small but growing rapidly, and producing organizations like Combatants for Peace – Israeli and Palestinian refusers working together to end the occupation.

- At the start, the Third Intifada’s Palestinian on-the-ground, non-violent resistance efforts were relatively small, primarily involving villages directly impacted by the wall. But now it is spreading fast across the occupied territories in the form of boycotts of settler products and other forms of non-violent protest:

"We are definitely committed to a path of nonviolent resistance and defiance in the face of the settlement enterprise, and we are defiantly expressing our right to boycott those products and I believe it is working," Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who has attended bonfires of settlement products, said in an interview last week. "We will continue to do more."

- More Jews than ever around the world are challenging Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies, and whether it’s fair or not, dissenting Jewish voices seem to matter more than gentile voices in changing the political calculus, especially in the U.S.

So back to the success/work frame…

Is The Third Intifada succeeding? This is hard to say as there’s no one clear statement about the goals of the Third Intifada. This uprising is far too diffuse, and in any case, the idea of a two-state solution and massive withdrawal of Israeli settlements from the West Bank looks more ephemeral every day (not due to the efforts of the Third Intifada, but due to the pre-existing momentum of the settlement enterprise). Is there a consensus on where we’re headed?

Let’s instead break the success/work question down instead into two pieces: the West Bank villages, and the BDS movement.

Budrus succeeded in recovering a fair bit of its land, and Bil’in won an Israeli Supreme Court ruling (thus far ignored by the state) on part of its claim. But most of the villages lost.

On the other hand, look at the work that was accomplished – many members of the Israeli public (and global citizens) have come to see those struggles as legitimate, which is hard to imagine if the protests had devolved into armed struggle. The villagers’ campaigns have helped enroll many people in the Palestinian cause in a general sense — including an international network to support popular nonviolent resistance. Bil’in’s website tells a powerful story, as does Shai Carmeli Pollak’s film, Bil’in My Love. The anti-wall campaigns would be even been more effective at success and work if stone-throwing was fully abandoned and the commitment was to at least a consistent baseline level of nonviolence. That said, even with the distracting and largely counter-productive mixed message of stone throwing, the anti-wall campaign has achieved real success and real work.

Now let’s look at the BDS Unified Call goals such as:

• To strengthen and spread the culture of Boycott as a central form of civil resistance to Israeli occupation and apartheid;
• To formulate strategies and programs of action in accordance with the 9 July 2005 Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS;
• To form the Palestinian reference point for BDS campaigns worldwide;
• To form the national reference point for the anti-normalization campaigns within Palestine.

Certainly judging from the rapid spread of BDS around the world, this campaign is highly successful. Of course, a bigger question (not addressed by the BDS call) surrounds medium and long term goals like the end of occupation, Palestinian sovereignty/state, civil/equal rights, rights of refugees, and so on.

BDS is working. As only one example of the work of BDS, I believe that the growing mobilization of leftist world Jewry to end Israel’s apartheid policies is both a cause and an effect of the BDS movement’s progress. In other words, leftist Jews are helping BDS gain traction — just look at Jewish Voice for Peace’s efforts. And the more BDS notches up victories, the more it stimulates and excites Jews to come out and support a cause that used to feel like a despair-ridden, unwinnable dead end. (Has anyone else noticed that suddenly we feel more powerful than AIPAC? Not because we’re bigger, but because we’re inevitable.)

Here’s another way of looking at the work of the Third Intifada. I once asked a long-time Palestinian nonviolence grassroots organizer what he thought would cause the end of the occupation. His response: "The international community will come to our rescue, as it did with South Africa." At the time the idea seemed over-wishful, but now it appears to be an effect of the Third Intifada… if it maintains nonviolent discipline. A new wave of suicide bombing or something like that would be a huge setback for the growing international consensus that the oppression must end. But as long as internationals (including and especially Jews) can envision and be inspired by village elders marching to recover their land as the symbol of Palestinian nationalism instead of scary masked people blowing up buses and cafés, this Intifada is on the path to victory and will continue to snowball the level of support for the Palestinian cause. The prediction "the international community will come to our rescue" seems prescient given the Mavi Marmara incident. But before addressing the M.M, let’s consider a more in-depth psychoanalysis of the Israeli people and why that matters.

8. Why Israelis and their Psychology Matter

Can we seriously expect to win Palestinian freedom if we do not deploy some major group psychotherapy on the Israelis?

I recall an image in Adbusters a few years ago that perfectly illustrated the catch-22, self-reinforcing problem of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and why it never ends. It depicted a soldier (symbolic of all Israel) with a boot on the neck of a prone and dominated elderly man (symbolic of all Palestinians). The photo caption said something like this: "I can’t remove the boot because if I do he will jump up and hurt me, thus, I must continue to keep the boot in place."

Please take a moment and contemplate this metaphor.

Israel is a nation of scared and traumatized people. Yes, they are responsible for inexcusable, inhumane oppression of another people. But they also know – or think they know – that a) most of the world always has hated Jews and inevitably will again hate Jews someday (a few recent golden decades in the U.S. notwithstanding), and b) the people they are oppressing are thirsty for revenge. Both of these beliefs are partially exaggerated or distorted, but they are also both partially if not largely based on history and reality. Those of us who seek to end the oppression of the Palestinians ignore these beliefs and these aspects of reality at our own peril.

During my travels in Israel Palestine, many Israelis I met brought up the specter of "another Shoah" (Holocaust). "Godforbid there will be another Shoah!" is a common Israeli expression, often brought up in reaction to any suggestion of making concessions to the Palestinians. Comments like Helen Thomas’ don’t help. Palestinian rockets launched indiscriminately at Israeli civilians don’t help. Hamas statements about deporting every single Jew who emigrated after 1880 don’t help. (The senior Hamas politician in Bethlehem told me he wanted to see that happen.)

The fact that most Palestinians want to live in equality and peace with Israelis – a conclusion repeatedly affirmed by all the opinion polls — can easily get drowned out.

I once asked a senior leftist Israeli negotiator and political analyst about what it would take to end the occupation and achieve a two state solution with justice for the Palestinians. He had two things to say:

1) "This is going to sound crazy and counterintuitive, but Israel needs a hug";

and

2) "In addition to the hug, it will take a massive unjustified slaughter. A whole bunch of innocents are going to have to die."

Let’s consider each of these provocative claims individually.

Point #1 - "This is going to sound crazy and counterintuitive, but Israel needs a hug"

I can already imagine the rebuttals to #1: "To hell with that – the Palestinians need to not get killed by white phosphorous and cluster bombs! I’ll be damned if I give a rat’s ass about Israel’s victim mentality and their childish self-absorbed whiny need for a freaking hug."

If that’s your attitude – and from what I saw of the comments to the previous posts, it’s the attitude of quite a few readers of this blog – I think you’re missing a serious opportunity to understand why the oppression continues to this day and how we can end it.

It’s easy to forget, unless you know the history, that the Nazi Holocaust took place decades after the birth of both political Zionism and the virulent military Zionism responsible for the Nakba and the Naksa, and that today runs Israel. The most extreme violent strains of Zionism were born in the crucible of experiences such as the Russian pogroms and the collective memory of centuries of cruel and unjustified persecution of Jews throughout Europe. See for example the life history of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the spiritual father of Likud and author of the Iron Wall doctrine. Wherever Jews went, they eventually received the following message: leave or die.

So this is what the Israeli political analyst is pointing at, I think: the entire world, especially Europe and Russia, must give Israelis and the Jewish people some sort of of ultimate, clear, final, and comprehensive apology for centuries of persecution, and some kind of collective assurance of "Never again." (I can imagine a lot of other kinds of "hugs" the world could give Israel, but this is the one I’ll focus on for purposes of this post.)

I remember meeting an old Jewish couple in Tel Aviv, secular artists who came across as fairly reasonable folks, who quoted Hillel the Elder’s famous words when I asked them for their views about the Israel/Palestine conflict:

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?"

Translation, in the context of Israel/Palestine:

"Jews can only trust Jews, and no one else. It’s up to us and only us to prevent another Shoah. We cannot give an inch to the Arabs, or assume anyone’s got our back."

The entire world must say to the Jewish people: "We apologize. We apologize for centuries of persecution. We apologize for not saving you from the Nazi Holocaust, from the Pogroms, from the Inquisition. We give you the assurance and take responsibility to guarantee to you, ‘never again.’ Those of us who are Christian are striking any reference to ‘the Jews killed Christ’ from our texts, as we realize this a crazy and horrific allegation that was primarily responsible for those centuries of persecution. Jews are welcome in our lands, and we will establish special laws to make Jews a protected minority if you choose to live here, as reparations for our past persecution. Furthermore, we will open our doors to unlimited immigration of Jews if any Jew ever seeks a safe haven from future persecution."

That’s the hug: Coordinated and cohesive international apology and reparations for long centuries of unjustified persecution of Jews, primarily by Europe, Russia, and Christian institutions (example: the Russian Orthodox Church, probably the Roman Catholic Church as well) with established histories of anti-Jewish ideology and oppression.

And no, the establishment of the state of Israel, without appropriate protection for the indigenous Palestinian population, was not and is not the hug. (It’s more like a crushing vise). Tthe creation of the state of Israel was a covertly if not overtly anti-Jewish act, a way for Europe to once and for all dispose of its "Jewish problem." It was both anti-Jewish and anti-Arab, as any of the political leaders who supported the establishment of the state of Israel could easily see the flames of violent conflict that would inevitably engulf the region, as evidenced by Zionist terrorism (Palestinian violence as well), growing inter-communal conflict, and the fact that every single Arab state opposed the manner and circumstances of the state of Israel’s founding. It was a convenient way for Europe to wash its hands of centuries of horrific crimes against Jews and dump the Jews into the laps of the Arabs, whose lands, property, and polities Europe carved up for colonial purposes in the wake of Wold War I. Israel was not a European colonial imposition in the regular sense, but certainly a European colonial solution to a European-generated "problem" – the problem of anti-Jewish oppression.

Going back to the metaphorical image, yes we want the soldier to stop being scared of the elderly man to whose neck he has affixed his boot. But we must treat the source of the illness, not only the symptoms. This soldier was scared out of his mind before he’d even met the elderly man, much less put a boot on the man’s neck. Any doctor will tell you if you do not cure the source of the illness, it will never go away, and you will just continue to treat the symptoms with medications that will cause side effects, sometimes even worse than the effects of the original illness. Israel’s apartheid policy is the medication currently being used to treat the fear-based symptoms of the original illness; the original illness being centuries of global anti-Jewish oppression.

If a scared, angry soldier who has suffered from centuries of unjustified abuse is controlling a nuclear arsenal with his finger on the button, what are you going to do: yell and scream at him and tell him how horrible he is, or offer him a hug and an apology for what was done to him in the past (even if you personally didn’t commit those crimes, but perhaps your ancestors did)?

Point # 2 "In addition to the hug, it will take a massive unjustified slaughter. A whole bunch of innocents are going to have to die."

What would it take for the soldier to stop feeling scared of the old man? If we give the soldier a hug and help him feel less afraid because we help him to deal with and heal from his past trauma, that’s helpful. But we still have a problem. The soldier says, "I’m afraid of this old man, because his brother blew up a restaurant and killed my brother. How can I trust that when I stop kicking this old man’s ass, he’ll treat me with respect?"

How indeed? Why would he? The soldier looks at the old man and thinks, consciously or unconsciously, "If I were that old man, the moment the boot was lifted, I’d want to grab a gun and blow me away. Better keep the boot in place."

Israelis make no secret of such views. I can’t keep track of how many times I’ve read in the Israeli media the theory that if the occupation comes to an end, Jenin will turn into a launching pad for rockets directed at Tel Aviv.

I’ve noticed readers of this blog have a tendency to dismiss the suffering of Israelis traumatized by Palestinian violent attacks. That attitude and 12 shekels might get you a latté at a nice Israeli café, but it won’t get you anywhere in understanding Israeli psychology when the café blows up, and it certainly won’t help you understand how to change Israeli psychology to help the Palestinians.

Here’s Bradley Burston on Israeli psychology and the 2009 election of Israel’s most right-wing government ever:

The Racist Israeli Fascist in Me

[The thousands of rockets launched from Gaza] put a sudden end to the idea of land for peace, because no one, even some of the most ardent advocates of Palestinian statehood in the West Bank, was about to agree to leave Ben-Gurion airport, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem within range of the rockets….

Entire communities, whole cities, suffer from post-traumatic stress. But unless 10 Israelis are killed, or 20, that rocket never existed. 10,000 rockets, fired at civilian areas, unprotected by anything — I am truly ashamed to acknowledge — other than miracles….

[We Israelis experience] an anger which no one outside Israel can know or fully comprehend, an aching, soul-deep frustration, an always humming fear, a sickness and fever over the nearness of true disaster, as well as a sense of abandonment by those abroad who cannot be expected to know what these people, my friends, are going through or why.

Now I don’t "blame" the Palestinians for the rockets, in the sense that I see essentially everything the Palestinians do these days to resist colonization (whether it’s a march against the wall or a suicide bombing) as a reaction to Israeli oppression. But whether those reactions are legally valid, morally appropriate, or strategically wise is another question. I will focus here only on the strategy. Just as the suicide bombing campaign’s primary result was to push Israeli public opinion to the right and increase support for the land confiscation wall, the rocket campaign pushed Israelis even further to the right and created not just support, but fervent demand, for Operation Cast Lead.

I don’t buy the idea that it’s impossible for Palestinians to make choices about what they do — that seems pretty insulting to the Palestinians, don’t you think? I suspect the Palestinians who organize nonviolent resistance would agree. Yes, there are structural constraints to agency. But Hamas has proven repeatedly it is capable of restraint if it chooses. 

Compare the above column with what Burston wrote about the recent outbreak of nonviolent resistance in Gaza:

A prayer for the Gazan armed only with a flag

To my friends in Gaza, with admiration:

God bless the Palestinian who, armed with nothing more than courage, plants a flag.

The Gazan who, week after week, marches to the front line and without a shred of cover, stands in the face of soldiers, gas guns, machine guns, threats and helmets, warning shots and shots to kill – armed only with conviction and a rectangle of cloth on a stick….

In acts of great bravery, there is great hope. In acts of non-violent resistance, there is unlimited might.

God protect you from us, and from your own people. You will be scoffed at even as you are shot at. There are people on both sides for whom non-violence causes a sense of unease, a sense of being, forgive me, emasculated.

Teach us to grow up.

Teach us what we have lost. Our sense of shame….

Stand fast. No rocks. You will change every soldier you face. You will change history. You will be the end of this occupation. You will give all of us, life.

Compare the two posts, again. Could the message be more clear? Let’s return to the soldier, with his boot on the neck of the old man. That soldier is Bradley Burston, and thousands like him. Violence will be met with the boot, as the soldier continues to feel afraid. Nonviolence will help the soldier feel safe to remove the boot and maybe even give the old man a friendly hand as he gets to his feet.

So now that we’ve set up that contrast, what was the political analyst talking about with his forecast of a slaughter of innocents being necessary to end the occupation? This may be the hardest thing ever said about Israel/Palestine, but I think it’s true. To move the mass of Israelis to feel comfortable removing the boot — to get mainstream Israelis to think like Burston does in his second column — it will take an event (perhaps several) like the unarmed Gazan with the flag committing civil disobedience in the no man’s zone, but on a much larger scale, and with much more severe consequences.

One of the grassroots organizers of the First Intifada, told me he had proposed the following to the refugees (paraphrased):

The refugees who wish to press the Right of Return should burn down the refugee camps  and march nonviolently toward the location of their villages of origin, with open hands, with the basic message of "We are exercising our Right of Return as enshrined in international law and U.N. resolutions. We wish to live in peace and rebuild our villages and we have no desire for revenge against Israelis for 60 years of dispossesion. Either stand aside and let us return or shoot us all dead."

This was proposed before the Wall, but perhaps it could still happen via flooding and overwhelming a checkpoint. In such an event, Israel would have to either honor the Right of Return, which would begin to unravel military Zionism, or massacre a large number of peaceful, unarmed Palestinians. In such a scenario, it would be helpful if Jews and Internationals were amongst them — Johan Galtung calls this the Great Chain of Nonviolence, in which those who are psychologically closer in space are more likely to influence an oppressor. This is why a Jewish ex-military officer risking his life in solidarity with the Palestinians carries more weight with the Israeli public, just as white northerners were more likely to influence white southerners in certain cases in the Civil Rights Movement.

Norman Finkelstein proposed something similar, his idea being massive numbers of Palestinians attempting to dismantle the wall (built on stolen Palestinian farmland), while holding copies of of the ICJ ruling againt the wall in their hands. Finkelstein argues that pushing demands that are already socially recognized as legitimate has a greater chance of success (eg two states, return of stolen West Bank land currently enjoys a greater level of international consensus than the right of return – although right of return was official US policy not so long ago).

In any case, perhaps either or both of these scenarios, or something like them, is the slaughter to which the politician referred. Not a slaughter of children sleeping unseen in Gaza homes, killed by cluster bombs, whose deaths can easily be blamed on Hamas rockets. Not a slaughter of armed militants. But a slaughter of those in the midst of active, out-in-the-open, disciplined nonviolent protest. This is what Mirsky refers to as a nonviolent moment:

A nonviolent moment is a climactic event in a campaign when all of the resistors’ forces are pitted against all of the oppressor’s forces in an open confrontation. The oppressor has two choices: escalate the oppression in a way that is repugnant to the rest of humanity, or back down and concede. Historical examples include the Dharasana Salt Raid during India’s anti-colonial struggle, the EDSA confrontation during the Philippines People Power movement, and Dr. King’s Selma march. Whether or not a nonviolent moment succeeds depends on numerous factors, some of which can be learned and practiced, such as the strategic efficacy of the resistors. However, not all factors are controllable and sometimes you can miscalculate, as in the Tiananmen Square massacre. 

A nonviolent moment could seriously change the attitudes of many Israelis. For some it will be harder than others – the Kahanists are fairly entrenched in their racist/religious views. But many Israelis are susceptible to nonviolent persuasion. I believe history shows that even those who seem to be most consumed by religious, racist, and nationalistic ideologies can be reached on the heart level when true (principled) nonviolence is offered. As I remarked in the previous post:

Remember George Wallace, the famous Alabama Governor who declared "Segregation now, segregation forever," and subsequently apologized prior to his death? If we want the Zionists who currently enable the policy of occupation to someday see the light, I believe we will only win them over with true nonviolence. 

Although I didn’t agree with all of his comments, Sam got my point here about the Israeli mentality:

Some comments have pointed to the article implying that Palestinians need to free themselves and their oppressor, and that this is ridiculous. Sadly, it is ridiculous, but yet, it is the only way. In some ways, crazy as it is, the Palestinians… are the Israelis’ salvation. The oppressed must make the oppressor understand equality and love and all that “junk.”

I’d just add that Jews and Internationals have a responsibility to support and collaborate with the Palestinians in this struggle.

Another frame to understand Israeli psychology and how we can change it is "demoralization." Demoralization as I use it here means, roughly, "I now realize that I am not acting as part of ‘the most moral army in the world’ as I once believed, and oppressing these people is against my/our deepest values."

To those who say: "Israelis cannot be demoralized" – not only is such a dismissal wrong, but there is evidence of growing demoralization in the ranks. How else to explain the refusers movement, an example of which is the famous Pilots’ letter:

We, who were raised to love the state of Israel and contribute to the Zionist enterprise, refuse to take part in Air Force attacks on civilian population centers. We, for whom the Israel Defense Forces and the Air Force are an inalienable part of ourselves, refuse to continue to harm innocent civilians.

Refusal to carry out orders, it is argued and well-documented in the film Sir! No Sir!, led directly to the end of the Vietnam War. It could very well be part of how military Zionism unravels. Jewish tradition includes core values of social justice and fair dealing, and the state of Israel’s founding documents call for freedom, justice, and peace for all. These values are easily obfuscated amidst the rhetoric of "security" and the culture of fear, but these values may surface surprisingly quickly amongst Israeli Jews once we can help them move past their fears.

A final take on Israeli psychology from Sami Awad, a long-time organizer of Palestinian nonviolence with Holy Land Trust, who had this to say at the Christ at the Checkpoint conference:

I come with a deep heart and desire to share with you…my pilgrimage in wanting to look deeper into the core issues that have allowed and continue to allow violence, fear, hatred, mistrust and mass resignation to be the main mechanism of how Palestinians and Israelis are dealing with each other.

I am fully convinced that what we as Palestinians experience is only a product, not the goal, of something deeper that lies in the Israeli Jewish community, especially those who came from Europe. This of course does not mean I justify or excuse it, but declare that when we are able to understand deeply the cause and not the effect, then we are able to develop and engage in the right actions and in speaking the right words that would allow for violence to stop, and for racial and ethnic discrimination to end, for healing to take place and for new realities to be established.

Sami goes on to talk about what it was like for him to visit Nazi concentration camps, and his profound understanding that the psychological legacy of anti-Jewish oppression today drives Jews to oppress Palestinians — both inherited fear, and manipulation of that fear. Watch the video, it’s an amazing speech:

This experience transformed my life and transformed even my understanding of nonviolence… Where it is not just about resisting oppression but also deeply engaging in actions that heal those who cause it from their real or manipulated fear, and I want to say here that I distinguish real and manipulated fear not for the sake of excuses but also for the sake of wanting to develop the right language to address both… How do I deal with a person who is really afraid and how to deal with a person that is manipulating fear are two different questions? I believe the world has neglected addressing the real outcomes of the Holocaust by assuming that financial support and political support for Israel are the only way to deal with what happened, and by giving Israel political legitimacy to be over‐international law and human rights…

This kind of principled nonviolence is exactly the approach that can heal and help seed the ground for justice and peace.

9. Mavi Marmara, Take II

So now we circle back to the Mavi Marmara, and to what extent it succeeded and worked.

First off, a preface: All of the M.M. passengers are heroes. What they did showed exemplary courage and determination in a humanitarian cause of deeply historical import. I can only wish I had such courage in the face of looming violent oppression. The passengers had every legal right to defend themselves with physical force in the face of an act of piracy in international waters.

My remarks are designed not to cast aspersions on these brave heroes, but to offer a way of looking at what happened that might provide for even greater potential for both success and work in the future. Some of these brave souls sacrificed their lives, and that is worthy of praise and song. But martyrdom does not automatically render one’s actions of maximal strategic value or immune from constructive critique for the benefit of the fu.

Here is my summary success/work analysis:

The Mavi Marmara incident succeeded somewhat in getting material supplies through to Gaza and undermining Israel’s grip on the Gaza blockade (as those were, I understand, the stated objectives), and worked greatly to shift international public opinion (less so with U.S. public opinion) favorably about the plight of both Gazans and the Palestinian people in a general sense;

However, the Mavi Marmara incident did not work — in fact, it mostly backfired  – in shifting Israeli public opinion in regards to the plight of Gazans and the Palestinians in general.

Plenty has been written on this blog and elsewhere about the extent to which international public opinion has been positively affected by the M.M, so I will not reiterate those points in depth. Looking at this through the frame of nonviolent struggle — what happened approached a pseudo-nonviolent moment, from an international (non-U.S., non-Israeli) point of view. I think that even though the use of physical force detracted and interfered significantly with the message getting across (especially in the hasbara-soaked U.S.), on the whole, many global citizens clearly saw Israel’s actions to be in the wrong and saw the use of lightly armed self-defense as understandable. That said, had the M.M passengers not used physical force and resisted with nonviolence, international public opinion (especially U.S. public opinion) would been even more — probably much more — with the passengers and the Palestinian cause.

Keep in mind the way the U.S. Congress jumped to support Israel. Some might say that would been the case regardless of the M.M. passengers’ actions. I’d argue that had there been no footage of passengers beating IDF soldiers with sticks, the Congressional reaction would have been at least somewhat less sycophantic, and perhaps we’d have seen some real change. The actions of the M.M. passengers gave Israel this hasbara point (obviously exaggerated) – but still, why give them the point?

Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-FL) insisted that "the Israeli Navy worked to plan a non-violent interception of the flotilla and only used force when soldiers’ lives were at risk."

And look at the reaction of the scared, traumatized, paranoid-of-terrorism Israeli public. Max Ajl notes:

In a recent poll, eighty five percent (85%) of the Israeli Jewish respondents indicated that Israel either did not use enough force (39%) or used the right amount of force (46%) during the attack. Only eight percent (8%) felt the Israelis used too much force. These numbers basically parallel the percentages of Israeli Jews who supported the winter massacre—there is near-unanimity on violence in Israeli Jewish society.

You probably saw Caroline Glick’s video – which was viewed over 3 million times before getting yanked for copyright infringement claims (and was then subsequently reposted). In any case, it’s a very important insight into collective Israeli psychology, and depicted Mavi Marmara activists repeatedly beating IDF soldiers with sticks. Check out this interview with IDF soldiers about their experience. Or read the IDF reports and watch the videos. In comparing with the IHH report it seems the IDF version contains a number of distortions and lies. But it also appears there is some factual basis about the passengers’ use of physical force (a lot of videos would have to have been doctored). I share all these links not because I view the IDF as a fountain of truthful information, but because we need to understand the stories Israelis tell each other that create greater fear and hostility.

Going back to the Adbusters metaphor, what is the impact on the soldier whose boot crushes the old man? Do the actions of the M.M. passengers help him feel safe removing the boot, or make him want to stomp down even harder? In light of the passengers’ actions, is the soldier more likely to trust the claim that the passengers are bringing humanitarian aid, or more likely to believe the hasbara that the passengers are terrorists trying to smuggle weapons into Hamas? Does the M.M incident impact the soldier more like the rockets (Burston’s first column) or the nonviolent Gazan with the flag (Burston’s second column)? 

It’s true that a small slice of anti-occupation liberal Israelis (the 8% mentioned by Ajl above) such as Gideon Levy criticized the IDF’s actions against the Gaza Flotilla. But Levy and the like are the choir. We need to reach the majority (67%) of Israelis who — on one hand — consistently state in public opinion polls they wish to end the occupation and achieve a two state solution, but on the other hand — also state they are afraid to end the occupation because they are convinced that if they do so, "Jenin will turn into a launching pad for rockets directed at Tel Aviv." This is the same majority that both wants Jerusalem to be shared, and also supports atrocities such as Operation Cast Lead not out of hatred of Palestinians, but out of fear of Palestinians.

10. What Would Gandhi Do? (Response to Mavi Marmara Passenger Ken O’Keefe)

Ken O’Keefe, a valiant Mavi Marmara passenger, had this to say about how the passengers’ actions fit into the legacy of Gandhi:

I would like to challenge every endorser of Gandhi, every person who thinks they understand him, who acknowledges him as one of the great souls of our time (which is just about every western leader), I challenge you in the form of a question. Please explain how we, the defenders of the Mavi Marmara, are not the modern example of Gandhi’s essence?

Answer: Had Gandhi organized and trained the M.M. passengers as he did the Satyagrahis in the Dharasana Salt Raid (a nonviolent moment at the height of the Indian freedom struggle), the Mahatma would have insisted on 100% complete and unbreakable nonviolent discipline, precisely the opposite of this pre-confrontation speech allegedly calling on the passengers to throw the IDF soldiers overboard. I cannot know whether that video is authentic and the translation accurate (I assume neither and would be surprised by neither), but the point is the same regardless. Gandhi would have demanded nonviolent discipline, and not permitted the use of physical force.

Another important point: Gandhi would not have left anything to chance, or relied on anyone’s in-the-moment judgment. Gandhi’s Satyagrahis spent months, years, even decades training and preparing for events like Dharasana. Gandhi would have rehearsed every possible scenario. He would have said, "If you board the M.M., you agree to embody true ahimsa (soul force, love in action, nonviolence) in your heart, words, and deeds. You will not raise a hand against the IDF soldiers no matter what they do, and you will accept self-suffering. You are prepared and willing to become a nonviolent martyr for the Palestinian people. Each of you should expect to die and do so with joy and gladness, knowing that your sacrifice will help liberate the Palestinian people from their suffering, and help the Israelis to finally see the brutality of their behavior and change. You all agree to be nonviolent soldiers under my command. If we hold fast to satya (truth) our campaign will succeed and work. Each of you must individually make this choice for yourself." Gandhi would only have permitted Satyagrahis to board; no one unwilling or unable to make the above commitment would have been allowed onto the ship (babies cannot make such a choice).

Two points people make about the M.M., that can be rebutted simultaneously… Some say "Muslims never embrace true nonviolence" (a prejudicial view to be sure), and/or "But Dharasana only involved beatings with clubs, not live ammunition — how do you practice nonviolence against gunfire?"

The double rebuttal: the so-called "Muslim Gandhi," Pashtun leader Badshah Khan and the Khudai Khidmatgars, his nonviolent army.

On April 23rd, 1930, the British arrested Khan and a mass demonstration filled the main square of Peshawar to protest his arrest. In a moment of panic, British-led troops began firing into the crowd…. “When those in front fell down wounded by the shots, those behind came forward with their breasts bared and exposed themselves to the fire one after another, and when they fell wounded they were dragged back and others came forward to be shot at. This state of things continued from 11 till 5 o’clock in the evening.” An estimated two to three hundred Pashtun were killed. One regiment of soldiers refused to fire on the unarmed Pashtun and were court-martial and sentenced to long prison terms.

But Khan’s nonviolent Pashtun army remained nonviolent. Even Gandhi found it remarkable…

When a truce was signed two years later, Indians were given the right to elect their own provincial governments for the first time.

Note that the Gaza Flotilla apparently asked for a nonviolent commitment from its passengers:

We agree to adhere to the principles of non-violence and non-violent resistance in word and deed at all times during our mission.

Apparently not all passengers were on board with this commitment.

I take nothing away from O’Keefe’s bravery and poise in the face of violence and oppression. But courage does not equal Gandhi or nonviolence. Like Ajl, O’Keefe quotes Gandhi entirely out of context to advance his argument that he and the other M.M. passengers were carrying on Gandhi’s legacy. O’Keefe writes:

Read the words of Gandhi himself.

"I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence…. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour." – Gandhi

Once again, O’Keefe leaves out the part where Gandhi says nonviolence is "infinitely superior" to violence.

Despite his misperceptions about Gandhi, O’Keefe’s heart is absolutely in the right place. Gandhi said that if you are to ever use physical force, you must do it while loving the oppressor, never with hatred. In fact, you must seek to love the oppressor out of his oppression no matter what, in all circumstances. Dr. King said the same. O’Keefe writes:

In all this what I saw more than anything else were cowards… and yet I also see my brothers. Because no matter how vile and wrong the Israeli agents and government are, they are still my brothers and sisters and for now I only have pity for them. Because they are relinquishing the most precious thing a human being has, their humanity.

Gandhi said that those who are most courageous and capable of violence are the ones with greatest potential for extreme nonviolence. O’Keefe is a perfect example, and if he can build on his positive feelings toward his Israeli brothers and sisters and learn the truth about Satyagraha and principled nonviolence, he and others like him could perhaps someday come to embody "the modern example of Gandhi’s essence."

Finally, O’Keefe issues this challenge:

I challenge any critic of merit, publicly, to debate me on a large stage over our actions that day.

Challenge accepted. If it happens, I suggest we invite a Palestinian expert on nonviolence, such as Prof. Mohammed Abu-Nimer. His participation would be far more important than mine. I hope we would also include an expert on Israeli psychology, who could help shed more light than I could about the effect on Israeli public opinion of actions like those of the Mavi Marmara passengers.

11. Mainstream Media Coverage of the Mavi Marmara

One of the main arguments that’s been made about why the M.M. passengers made the right choices with their actions is the massive media coverage, turning a harsh spotlight not only on Israel’s treatment of the M.M., but also more broadly on Israel’s oppression of the Gazans and Palestinians in general. As Michael Nagler and others have noted, we tragically live in a "if it bleeds, it leads" media culture. And it is true that prior flotillas garnered little media coverage, and the subsequent Rachel Corrie boat was a footnote in the media. 

However, the fault in the argument is the claim or implication that the M.M. passengers’ use of physical force was somehow absolutely necessary in creating this media attention. The first headlines and reports were about Israel’s killing of passengers, and that was the driving story and what gave it legs. Imagine if there had been no violent resistance on the part of the M.M. passengers, only nonviolent resistance. It’s well possible that a concerted, coordinated campaign of nonviolent resistance would still have provoked a massacre. The media coverage would have been just as big if not bigger, and there would have been far less opportunity for Israel to shape a coherent rebuttal.

Sam made a cogent remark on this topic:

You claim that without resistance there would have been no media coverage. But Taylor is not telling them not to resist or sacrifice their lives. He is just saying, from my interpretation, that in their resistance they should not be using pipes, knives or sticks, as at least some did. His point, from what I understand, is that this serves to split the media attention so that it is not entirely on Israel. I agree that there is little the activists could do that would not deem them terrorists, but I see Taylor’s call as asking for more commitment to pure nonviolence in our confrontation. Nothing wrong with that is there?

And Palestinians are calling for exactly the same thing with their confrontations in Bil’in where they resist Israeli violence with their bodies – dying in some instances.

It’s interesting to note the various interpretations of what came out of the Flotilla incident in terms of media and public opinion. maximalist Narrative said:

The lasting impact of the flotilla affair in the eyes of the world will forever be the video of the IHH cell beating the Commandos as they descended with metal bars.

melka rebutted:

Let me correct you : The lasting impact of the flotilla affair in the eyes of the world will forever be the display of Israel’s total disdain of international laws and institutions like the UN…

Both are true, and that’s exactly my point… When you mix violence into a nonviolent campaign, you get — at the very best — a mixed message (and all too often, the violence of the resistors drowns out the issues).

Some say that had the Mavi Marmara passengers resisted with nonviolence, there would have been no media coverage, because no one would have been killed. Others claim that the IDF was shooting live ammunition from the first moment even before the IDF boarded the ship. These claims appear contradictory.

I see only see two hypothetical scenarios here, assuming a re-imagined Flotilla in which the passengers offered disciplined nonviolent resistance:

Scenario One, the IDF still would have killed some people (perhaps less, perhaps more, you can argue it both ways), it still would have been an international incident with massive media coverage, and it still would have benefited the Palestinian movement – but without handing the IDF a hasbara gift to further scare and enrage Israeli public opinion. It might well in fact have helped turn Israeli public opinion in the right direction, exactly the "unjustified massacre of innocents" (or one of them) that the senior Israeli analyst told me would be necessary to get Israeli psychology on the track towards Palestinian equality and freedom. In other words, it could perhaps have been a true nonviolent moment akin to the Dharasana Salt Raid.

Scenario Two, the Mavi Marmara would have been handled like the rest of the Flotilla, and yes the incident would likely have received scant media attention. But that doesn’t mean something like this wouldn’t have happened eventually. Israel’s Gaza blockade is unsustainable, and the extreme oppression built into the policy would eventually have resulted in an incident of this nature and an opportunity for a nonviolent moment, given consistent international pressure and more flotillas. Israel is caught in a paradox of repression that requires Israel to continue to apply more and more oppression just to maintain the status quo of its blockade and other forms of mistreatment of the Palestinians, and increasing oppression strengthens support for the resistance and — with nonviolent discipline — will eventually lead to the regime’s undoing.

Gandhi said he does not believe in short-violent-cuts:

I do not believe in short violent cuts to success…. However much I may sympathize with and admire worthy motives, I am an uncompromising opponent of violent methods even to serve the noblest of causes. There is, therefore, really no meeting-ground between the school of violence and myself.

Beating IDF soldiers with clubs for the sake of media coverage based on the calculation that they’re likely to react by killing people — if we’re arguing it entirely from the perspective of "what gets the most media attention" — seems like a short-violent-cut, which backfires with the Israeli public from a strategic perspective, regardless of whether you subscribe to the principle as does Gandhi. The wisest approach — from both a strategic and principled perspective — is to keep throwing determined, disciplined nonviolent resistance at Israel until they react with a slaughter of unarmed civilians, preferably including Jews.

12. Nonviolence Succeeds and Works Despite Parallel Violence

Returning to some of the broader discussion of nonviolence raised in the ongoing debate, Robin Yassin-Kassab – like many skeptics – argues as follows:

Gandhi’s campaign was only one factor in achieving Indian independence, and certainly not the decisive factor… Many British people came to love Gandhi and to respect the moral courage of his non-violent strategy, but the British officials who counted could also see the tide of violent anti-imperialism rising behind him, a tide that would dominate if Gandhi’s method failed. It’s a lot easier to deal with the nice guy when you see the nasty guy rolling up his sleeves… The single most important factor in ending British rule was Japanese militarism during World War Two. By the end of the war, British popular attitudes to Indian independence were quite irrelevant. Britain simply did not have the money or the manpower to rebuild its own society, let alone to reassert control over the subcontinent.

This despite British historian Toynbee’s quote laying the credit/blame for Britain’s withdrawal directly at Gandhi’s feet, and numerous academic experts who concur.

Nonviolence skeptics regularly point to the existence of a parallel violent movement as obvious evidence that nonviolence cannot succeed without complimentary violence. Yassin-Kassab makes the same claim about the U.S. civil rights movement:

There was certainly a key non-violent aspect to the struggle for civil rights in the United States, but pretending that violence played no role in the process makes it necessary to ignore the American Civil War (half a million dead), Nat Turner, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers and rioting Chicago. When it became necessary for the American military to occupy American inner cities, it became necessary to grant African-Americans their rights.

If we’re going to go all the way back to the Civil War, the counter-argument to those who glorify it is that a long campaign of nonviolence would have led to slower but deeper change without the negative results of so many dead bodies, without generations of north-south bitterness, and true liberty for African-Americans instead of the fake liberty of Jim Crow. Remember success/work? A short-violent-cut, the Civil War succeeded but it did not work. 

But sticking with more recent history — Gandhi’s freedom struggle, the U.S. civil rights movement — plenty of respected academics dispute Yassin-Kassab’s assessment that these movements succeeded because of parallel violent campaigns, and argue quite the opposite, that these movements succeeded despite parallel violence.

One of the problems of living in a culture of extreme violence — which most of us do, one way or another — is from a very young age, our brains are wired to understand everything through the frame and lens of violence. We are all taught in preparatory school what violence is and how it succeeds. But virtually none of us – unless we seek it out – receive even the slightest education in how violence doesn’t work, much less an education in what nonviolence is or how it succeeds and works.

So when we see nonviolence and its successes and work, it doesn’t compute in our violence-suffused synapses, we don’t really get it, and we seek out an explanation for what we’re seeing that fits more closely into our extant educational background. Thus arguments like Yassin-Kassab’s that Gandhi succeeded because of, not despite, the parallel violence.

One major problem with Yassin-Kassab’s argument is that it leaves out the fact that dozens of nonviolent social movements around the world have both succeeded and worked without the presence of any sort of parallel violent campaign (or one large enough to show up on any historian’s radar as even arguably relevant). Examples: the Philippines People Power Movement, the Czech Republic’s Velvet Revolution, Poland’s Solidarity, Serbia’s Otpor, and the list goes on, there are dozens. The history books are suffused with these movements. But for the nonviolence skeptic, these facts are inconvenient and contradictory to the point they insist on asserting as undeniable truth – that nonviolence cannot succeed without violence. History just does not bear out this assertion.

Yassin-Kassab says:

I challenge readers to think of any situation in which colonial or racist oppression has been vanquished by the application of non-violent action in isolation from other forms of struggle.

So therefore, Yassin-Kassab implies that the mere existence of parallel violence proves itself as necessary and beneficial, and that we ought to automatically discount the idea that nonviolence alone can succeeded and work without the violence — despite the evidence of numerous nonviolent movements around the world, mentioned above, that have succeeded and worked without the presence of parallel violence.

Think of the moment when President Lyndon Johnson — reluctant to press civil rights legislation until the major actions of the civil rights movement (like the Selma March) — incorporated the motto "We shall overcome" into a major speech to Congress:

"What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement that reaches into every State of America. Their cause must be our cause too. Because it’s not just negroes, but really it’s all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome."

What moved Johnson to such an extent that he passionately vocalized the slogan of the civil rights movement? Are we to believe Yassin-Kassab’s implied argument that Johnson did this out of fear, not out of love? That what paved the way was the threat of militant violence, as opposed to the courageous, self-sacrificing nonviolence of the civil rights movement that rehumanized African-Americans in the eyes of so many whites? The civil rights movement won because of principled nonviolence, not because of parallel violence, either in whole or in part.

But even assuming that in some cases, a violent campaign contributes in some way to the success of a nonviolent campaign (remember: violence sometimes succeeds), what are the implications to the work of the movement? Even the skeptics like Ajl recognize the problem of using violence as a means to an end:

It is clear that a person, a society, a state, a world created by violence will carry the birth-scars of that fire with it for some time, and we know this neurologically as well as historically. Violence has begeted violence, and wars ended by violence have not ended war. A.J. Muste pointed this out: “The problem after a war is the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war and violence will pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?” And so it goes on, sociologically as well as psychologically.

Look at India  for example, with its growing culture of violence, its nuclear weapons arsenal, and its inflexible and uncompromising attachment to domination of Kashmir. Where do such problems likely trace, to Gandhi’s movement or to the armed campaigns mentioned by Yassin-Kassab?

Finally, and perhaps most ironically for Yassin-Kassab and other such skeptics, the experience of the Palestinian freedom struggle might be recent history’s most extreme evidence that parallel violence hinders, and does not help, the efficacy of nonviolent resistance. For example, the Third Intifada — with its resistance to land confiscation and growing BDS movement — has taken place in parallel with Hamas’ rockets launched indiscriminately at Israeli civilians. What did those rockets get the Palestinian people other than an Israeli public clamoring for Operation Cast Lead?

13. The Future and Conclusions

Here are three beliefs that I think members of the Israeli public must acquire for us to win Israeli Palestinian equality:

1) We see that the Palestinians are no longer interested in killing (or deporting) us to achieve their objectives, and their nonviolent approach helps us feel less afraid of them, see the validity of their cause, and desirous of a future in which both peoples live at some baseline level of mutual respect and coexistence in this land;

2) The world sees our treatment of the Palestinians as unfair and illegitimate and will make its relations with the state of Israel dependent on a major change in our policies toward the Palestinians, and that matters to us, because we want to be viewed as a legitimate part of the international community;

and

3) The entire world cares about the well being of the Jewish people and regrets its past/historical treatment of us, and has made a commitment to our well being. These apologies and commitments are solid, deep, genuine, and not dependent on what do or don’t do vis-à-vis the Palestinians.

We need to do the following three primary things to end Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people and achieve some kind of acceptable state of Israeli Palestinian equality.

1) Support the Third Intifada’s nonviolent resistance component, and for that movement to maintain nonviolent discipline, including planning and training for a nonviolent moment (this contributes to belief #1);

2) Support the BDS movement (contributes to belief #2);

3) Give the Israeli Jewish people a hug, as previously described, and/or in other forms (contributes to belief #3).

(And there are more — like Truth and Reconciliation commissions — but good enough for discussion for now.)

All three are necessary, and none alone are sufficient. In tandem, these three — and the way they will affect Israeli psychology — will bring an end to military Zionism’s oppression of the Palestinian people.

It seems that most everyone on this site agrees with #2. Some commenters on this site think #1 is problematic because it should include violence "as necessary." And it appears most commenters on this site don’t even think about #3, and many would laugh at it or dismiss it.

Worse, many commenters don’t believe it’s even worth trying to influence Israeli views, based on a dehumanizing assessment that Israelis have no moral compass of any kind and cannot be reached by any means.

The level of dehumanization in this conflict has risen to an extreme level on all fronts. We all know how low some Israelis will stoop to ignore or degrade the humanity of the Palestinians. What is the benefit to the Palestinian people — or for that matter, the Israeli people — when we ignore or degrade the Israelis?

It seems that in blogosphere discussions of how to advance the cause of Palestinian freedom, the psychological state of Israeli Jews tends to be ignored or discounted. Or worse yet, at times, Israeli attitudes have been portrayed in ways that are at least factually inaccurate if not downright anti-Jewish (I refuse to use the term anti-Semitic but you know what I mean).

For example, this comment from my previous post:

Today, Judeo-Nazism, pure and simple, is the center of the Israeli universe.

Repugnant garbage like this gets us nowhere. Based on all my travels in Israel, I think I’m right on target when I saw that fear drives the majority of Israelis, not a Nazi-like view of Arabs as cockroaches. The Kahanists’ views are flagrant, but I see no factual evidence that they’re the majority. Yes, there’s a noxious racism amongst the majority — Haaretz reported a poll saying most Israeli Jews wouldn’t feel comfortable living in a building with Arabs — but to characterize such views as Nazism is a leap too far. If you want to take specific Israelis or Israeli groups to task for specific actions, go ahead. But to extrapolate the actions of a minority onto the whole of Israeli society is to head right down into the cesspool. The Israeli government does that all the time to the Palestinians.

Bottom Line: Where are we going? What does the future hold? And how the heck are we supposed to get there without Israeli Jewish consent?

Can you imagine Israelis and Palestinians living together in anything even vaguely like coexistence and equality without the consent of Israeli Jews? If so, how does that happen? Can you just force Israeli Jews to accept coexistence and equality?

Some might argue that BDS alone could achieve such a result. I disagree. Certainly it would be a vastly harder struggle without accompaniment of the other components.

Barbara Deming talked about the two hands of nonviolence, the NO and the YES:

Active nonviolence is a process that holds these two realities – of noncooperation with violence but open to the humanity of the violator —in tension. It is like saying to our opponent:

“On the one hand (symbolized by a hand firmly stretched out and signaling, “Stop!”) I will not cooperate with your violence or injustice; I will resist it with every fiber of my being. And, on the other hand (symbolized by the hand with its palm turned open and stretched toward the other) I am open to you as a human being.”

What does the future hold for Israeli Jews? What can we do to comfort and reassure those scared traumatized people? How can we create a shared vision of the future that they’ll want to say Yes to, too?

Johan Galtung has, I think, an interesting and possibly viable proposal – the so-called six-state solution in a Middle East Community. Galtung makes a considered analogy between the Middle East today and where Europe was immediately after World War II. No one could have imagined once-bitter enemies France and Germany in a regional association. Why not Israel and its neighbors?

Most Israeli Jews – the majority who want to end the occupation, but are scared to do so – are afraid that a post-occupation future would hold three things: rockets, civil war, and/or deportation (the last two especially in the case of a one-state solution).

We must develop and refine our maximally powerful NO and our maximally powerful YES if we want to win.

As counter-intuitive as it sounds, winning the hearts of Israeli Jews — not beating the crap out of them and scaring them — is the ultimate key to winning freedom, justice, and equality for Palestinians. And that’s why the M.M. was, in terms of that particular goal, a failure. Will we learn the lesson?

14. P.S. – About Jewish Privilege and Palestinian Voices

It bothers me that throughout the course of this debate, no Palestinians have been handed the microphone. I proposed to Phil that we invite a Palestinian academic expert and/or organizer of nonviolent resistance to weigh in, and he said no, given that he’d like to see this topic wrap up and move on. Okay, Phil’s choice, it’s his microphone.

Keep in mind that this started as a debate about the Mavi Marmara passengers’ actions, not Palestinians’ actions in the territories. I agree that we cannot tell Palestinians what to do, we can only offer input if it’s welcome and requested. But I think we as an international community – who are not living under occupation – have an obligation to be wise in what we do to assist the Palestinian cause from the outside, and be willing to critically examine the impact of said actions.

In any case, while this discussion started out only looking at the M.M, the conversation evolved to include the entirety of the Palestinian freedom movement, especially its nonviolent components. "Peace imperialism" is defined roughly as "when western intellectuals lecture oppressed peoples on how to resist oppression or transform conflict." If there were no Palestinians organizing nonviolent resistance on the ground, I might well be guilty of such an offense. However, there are many such Palestinian leaders. I only wish they were part of this discussion. I hope the Palestinians who are involved in nonviolent resistance organizing will be in touch if they see any words in this post as overstepping, unhelpful, or inaccurate.

I’m not interested in privileged Jews like me telling Palestinians how to organize nonviolent resistance. I’m interested in privileged Jews using their privilege to support, assist, uphold, collaborate with, brainstorm, and contribute to the Palestinian-led nonviolent movement, to the extent that it’s welcome.

Norman Finkelstein said the following about this issue, and I find this summary consistent with both my views and what I understand to be Gandhi’s:

Neither I nor anyone else has the right to tell Palestinians that they must renounce violent means to end the occupation. As already noted, during the Arab Revolt in the 1930s Gandhi asserted that “according to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.” I cannot see grounds for revising this judgment, except to note that the “accepted canons” today would mean the current laws of war (e.g., the inadmissibility of targeting civilians). In fact, if they cannot find the moral reserves to practice nonviolence, according to Gandhi, then it is not only the right but the duty of Palestinians to hit back, and hit back hard, those who have wrecked their lives and violated their persons. Palestinians are not obliged to acquiesce in assaults on their human dignity; quite the contrary, they have a responsibility to defend their dignity against such assaults, nonviolently if they can, violently if they must…. If I propose that Palestinians adopt Gandhi’s doctrine of nonviolent civil resistance, it is not because they should be held—or hold themselves—accountable to a higher ethical standard, but rather because of a compelling pragmatic insight of his. There is nothing violence can accomplish, Gandhi maintained, that nonviolence cannot accomplish—and with lesser loss of life…  Gandhi’s point nonetheless stands: If Palestinians have repeatedly shown a willingness to pay the ultimate price, doesn’t it make sense for them to pursue a strategy that has a better likelihood of success at a smaller human price?

My only revisionary note to Finkelstein’s statement is I don’t see much evidence that violence has accomplished anything real for Palestinian freedom, and nonviolence can both succeed where violence cannot and work where violence cannot. Palestinians like Sami Awad and Mohammed Khatib who have been organizing and leading nonviolent resistance for years. I suggest we invite leaders like them into the discussion in the future.

Although there are places where Finkelstein and I agree and disagree about how to understand Gandhi’s words and legacy, and how to apply those lessons to the Israel Palestine equality struggle (I didn’t even bother to open that can of worms in this post – gotta declare an end somewhere), I find Finkelstein’s closing remarks quite touching, so I’ll repeat them here:

The Caribbean poet Aimé Césaire once wrote, “There’s room for everyone at the rendezvous of victory.” Late in life, when his political horizons broadened out, Edward Said would often quote this line. We should make it our credo as well. We want to nurture a movement, not hatch a cult. The victory to which we aspire is inclusive, not exclusive; it is not at anyone’s expense. It is to be victorious without vanquishing. No one is a loser, and we all are gainers if together we stand by truth and justice. “I am not anti-English; I am not anti-British; I am not anti-any government,” Gandhi insisted, “but I am anti-untruth, anti-humbug (nonsense), and anti-injustice.” Shouldn’t we also say that we are not anti-Jewish, anti-Israel or, for that matter, anti-Zionist? The prize on which our eyes should be riveted is human rights, human dignity, human equality. What, really, is the point of ideological litmus tests such as, Are you now or have you ever been a Zionist? Indeed, it is Israel’s apologists who thrive on and cling to them, bogging down interlocutors in distracting and endless intellectual sideshows—What is a Jew? Are the Jews a nation? Don’t Jews have a right to national liberation? Shouldn’t we use a vocabulary that registers and resonates with the public conscience and the Jewish conscience, winning over the decent many while isolating the diehard few? [Gandhi would say we shouldn't give up on anyone, no matter how diehard, and continually seek to include all.] Shouldn’t we instead be asking, Are you for or against ethnic cleansing, for or against torture, for or against house demolitions, for or against Jews-only roads and Jews-only settlements, for or against discriminatory laws? And if the answer comes, against, against and against, shouldn’t we then say, Keep your ideology, whatever it might be—there’s room for everyone at the rendezvous of victory?

May we all, seekers of truth, fighters for justice, yet live to join the people of Palestine at the rendezvous of victory.

15. Nonviolence Resources and Education

Nonviolence is a deep and complex field, representing a comprehensively different way to understand the world and social dynamics than what we learn in mainstream culture and education. One cannot spend a few hours reading blog posts like this one and the others in this debate chain and hope to gain more than a cursory level of familiarity. I offer the following resources as a baseline introduction to the topic, both generally and with regard to Palestine:

General Nonviolence

Metta Center for Nonviolence Education

Nonviolence Online Classes 

The Search for a Nonviolent Future and other publications

Gandhi

Gandhi the Man

Mahatma Gandhi: a Biography by B.R. Nanda (out of print): Part 1 and Part 2

King

A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Palestinian Nonviolence

Souad Dajani, "Nonviolent Resistance in the Occupied Territories: A Critical Reevaluation," a chapter in Nonviolent Social Movements: A Geographic Perspective edited by Stephen Zunes

Nonviolence and Peace Building in Islam: Theory and Practice by Mohammed Abu-Nimer (featuring the First Intifada)

The Road to Nonviolent Coexistence in Israel/Palestine by Nagler, Palter-Palman, and Taylor

P.S. – Stop by my website for more words.

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

  1. Mooser says:

    Wioth his comments on this post, Richard Witty will completely redeem himself. And you guys will feel so ashamed when he proves that Zionism is based on non-violence!

  2. marc b. says:

    i can only skim this post at work. a couple of points.

    1. gandhi is tough to reconcile sometimes. he seemingly makes numerous contradictory statements, and sometimes he can be ridiculous.
    2. as pointed out, many people misinterpret gandhi’s position on non-violence. in fact he does advocate the use of violence in many contexts, but views the resort to violence as a sign of political weakness. in other words, if i recall, ultimately a successful non-violent movement necessarily has to have broad popular support.

    • potsherd says:

      Gandhi, it must be recalled, led a long life of activism beginning in S Africa, and it’s natural that his views evolved just as his wardrobe devolved.

  3. marc b. says:

    a few objections to the ‘the hug’ theory of reconciling with Zionism:

    1. this view is part and parcel of the hierarchy of suffering that fuels israeli supremacism and the eternal superlative that zionists have chosen as their ideology. are the roma, for example, entitled to nice big hug from the european powers, particularly given their treatment in contemporary europe, and will that hug be warmer, more sincere than the hug that european jews are entitled to?

    2. without minimizing the depth and impact of anti-semitism, a good bit of the present trauma is self-inflicted, and even considered by some to be an integral component of jewish cohesion. real jews will cease to exist without an external enemy, so goes the thought process. so what about those huggees who don’t want to participate in the transformative group hug?

    • Response to #1:
      There are many oppressed peoples who deserve a hug. Yes, the Roma. How about the indigenous Americans (North and South) and Australians who were genocided, disposessed, their entire way of life in most cases obliterated…
      I could write endlessly on this topic by my piece is NOT about who are the most oppressed peoples and most deserving of apologies, reparations, and hugs.
      My article IS about how to end Palestinian suffering. And paradoxically, the point: to end Palestinian suffering, you gotta help the Israelis relax and feel safe. Thus the Hug. Refer back to the analogy of the soldier with his boot on the old man’s neck, mentioned many times in the article. How do you persuade the soldier to lift the boot?
      As for entitlement, yes yes the Hug could feed Israeli sense of superiority and entitlement. But only if it happens in isolation. If it’s part of an overall campaign — including BDS and nonviolent resistance — Israelis learn basically 1) they are safe and respected *as Jews* AND 2) Israel cannot keep oppressing the Palestinians. Must do both.

      Respond to #2: I think the Jews who would be unreceptive to and unappreciative of “The Hug” are the distinct minority of Israelis. In all my time traveling Israel, I discovered that the trauma of the Nazi Holocaust, the Russian Pogroms, etc. is alive and well psychologically in the individual and group consciousness. Group psychotherapy is desperately needed to help these people. Thus The Hug.

      BTW, I think the comments you quote are borderline anti-Jewish oppression: “real jews will cease to exist without an external enemy” — thank you very much, I am a real Jew and I do not depend on “an enemy” to exist.

      • marc b. says:

        thank your comment and for your thoughtful response (one of my criticisms of the internet is that it promotes superficial discussion) but i’m not sure what you are getting at here:

        BTW, I think the comments you quote are borderline anti-Jewish oppression: “real jews will cease to exist without an external enemy” — thank you very much, I am a real Jew and I do not depend on “an enemy” to exist.

        i am not jewish, nor have i conducted a scientific poll of self-identified jews, but there are many jews whose identity was (is) inextricably tied to their opposition to something or someone else. i’ll spare everyone the link again, but Dershowitz neatly summarizes the ‘Tsuris Theory of Jewish Survival,’ “that is, the need for persecution to survive”, in his ‘The Vanishing American Jew’. this may not be the dominant ideology, but it isn’t a marginal ideology either. the fear of ‘the other’ expressed by many isn’t simply the result of the trauma of the shoah, but the fear loss of identity, through intermarriage for example (miscegenation with a twist). similarly israel defines citizenship, establishes geographic boundaries, etc. on the basis of the biblical imperative, an us vs. them narrative if there ever was one.

        • Marc– when I said that quote was borderline anti-Jewish, note I said “the comment you quoted,” so it wasn’t directed at you personally, as kylebisme says.

          Thanks for expanding the remark with the backup, I understand where you’re going with it more and now it seems more thoughtful. It doesn’t land to my experience, although certainly throughout Jewish history (both what we know to be true, and what has been handed down to us as myth), survival against impossible odds and an overwhelming foe is a common theme. Unfortunately we’ve also got genocidal myths running in the background, like the Torah stories where God commands the Israelites to drive out the Canaanites – an ideology that informs a not insignificant number of military Zionist/religious Israeli Jews and their attitude toward Palestinians.

          To whatever extent fear/oppression (two sides of the same coin) of “the other” or “the enemy” continues, we must transcend it.

      • kylebisme says:

        Your argument at the end of your comment here is flagrantly anti-intellectual, disregarding the context of what you quoted from Marc (his “considered by some” qualifier most notably) to strawman him as bigoted.

      • azythos says:

        Matthey Taylor – “I could write endlessly on this topic”

        Didn’t yo already do just that?

        the point: to end Palestinian suffering, you gotta help the Israelis relax and feel safe”

        … so that they can expropriate more land faster and kill with greater impunity.

      • bindup says:

        The fact that Jews went straight from Holocaust to national state & colonizer in less than one generation, traumas all intact, is what sets their recent experience apart from that of other oppressed minorities.
        That said, I wish you would excise the word “hug” from this discussion and find another that would do justice to seriousness of what you are proposing, which I think is absolutely correct: that is, an acknowledgment of our own collective responsibility, and a commitment to substantial remedial actions that cost us more than money. I particularly like the idea of offering Jews anywhere in the world a free pass into any country of their choosing, or some variation thereof.

        • Judy says:

          Interesting though that Zionist leaders in the 40s and 50s, as well as Zionist leaders today, don’t want to “go there.”

          They seem to prefer reparations in the form of support for the Zionist enterprise, rather than real repentance and a changing of anti-semitic ways.

          Case in point: rather than welcoming real discussion about Christian anti-semitism, Israeli leaders prefer to buddy up with Christian Zionists who are anti-semitic.

          A genuine reckoning about anti-semitism is the LAST THING Zionists want!

        • LeoBraun says:

          “A genuine reckoning about anti-semitism is the last thing Zionists want”! [Judy]

          • How else fascist zionists to enforce a blind-leading-blind dill-flock’s adherence in commandeered kehilot?

          Ariel Sharon’s view when he said: “French Jews should leave France and go to Israel”, was that the “diaspora is unsafe”, so “Jews must only live in Israel”! This goes further than saying that the purpose of Jews is to support zionist junta in Israel, as it says in fact that a Jew cannot live anywhere but in the exclusive Jewish state!

          Indicative of the prima facie affirmation of the racist nationalism, straight out of 19th century Europe and an attack on the basic principle of the multi-ethnicity, that Western states now operate on.

        • LeoBraun says:

          “The fact that Jews went straight from Holocaust to national state & colonizer in less than one generation, traumas all intact, is what sets their recent experience apart from that of other oppressed minorities”! [Bindup]

          • Such as casteless Jews (also known as the Jew lesser brethren) who have been scapegoated always as a collateral human shield to deflect focus from the actual evildoers totalitarian ideology consequences. Going back to the “born to rule” species and their emphasis on being the almighty chosen aristocracy to reign on the planet earth within the “rule by the best”!

          Ever since such a stiff-necked evildoers hierarchy constituted surreptitious arcane system within the parallel universes. Set apart light years away from the apartheid erected for the Jew lesser brethren, bundled together with the gullible goyim and shiksas. Who were precluded in their own countries from asking imperative questions in the zionist era of universal deceit.

          Concerning crucial specifics: What kind of Jews we’re talking about? Since the deeper analysis of this issue in question to attest that it’s wrong to lump all the Jews together with the neurotic psychopaths savagery. What supremacist zionism has come to represent. It insults scores of the sane raised Jews and deflects crucial debate evolution on the life vital issues.

          Bear in mind that the casteless Jews, marginalised lot in the 18th century Europe, were obliged to wear yellow bonnet and star-of-david arm band for the “community sake“. As a warning sign for others, not to get too close and thus contaminated.

          At the time when Rothschilds (the highly revered Jewish dynasty) within the “rule by the best“, held apparently a key to the soul of the Roman Catholic Church. Encyclopedia Judaica having depicted Rothschilds as “Guardians of the Vatican Treasury”!

          No wonder a fleeting demise in Judeo Papacy in 1809, resulted in the Holy Land to be chosen as the viable alternative to erect there Zionist Vatican upon Haram al-Sharif.

  4. Thanks for the comments distinguishing non-violence as a worldview from non-violence as a temporary tactic.

    The successes of non-violence as you described are nearly universal. Even in the cases where the worldview was of reconciliation and forgiveness (Mbeki and Mandela), but violence as a tactic was periodically adopted, the magnamity and brotherliness was the feature that made change possible.

    I do not hold the same respect for BDS as currently practiced as you. I find that it is not its own ideal, not even close. The criticisms of my comments, “yeah sure you respect others’ rights, but the powers that be don’t”, applies to the BDS movement internationally.

    The view that Israelis will disappear is still a prominent view among western, Palestinian and Islamic audiences.

    That most Palestinians are strictly civilians seeking to live a life, with connection to their families, is obscured.

    So, I greatly disagree with your statement that non-violence as a worldview can confidently co-exist with violent approaches, except in very limited circumstances. The experience of violent activists in opposing Jim Crow in the south of the US, severely weakened the progress of non-violent activists and allies.

    On the Mavi Marmara. I think you conflict with your thesis. They were heroes for undertaking the voyage. They were not heroes for beating Israeli commandos, or scaring them to the point that any live ammunition was deemed to be necessary on the part of the commandos.

    I appreciate that you acknowledge that it IS possible to dissent determinedly, without even rock-throwing.

    • Richard,

      Thanks for your thoughtful remarks. And wow, I thought this opus was, if long, at least clear but it seems either I wasn’t clear enough or you misunderstood some of my comments.

      You say:

      “I greatly disagree with your statement that non-violence as a worldview can confidently co-exist with violent approaches, except in very limited circumstances.”

      I don’t recall saying any such thing. Go back and read my remarks about how parallel violence tends to hinder, and does not help, a nonviolent movement. Nonviolent leaders cannot control if some other group decides to launch a violent campaign in a parallel time and/or space. But my argument is, that it doesn’t help.

      As for this remark:

      “On the Mavi Marmara. I think you conflict with your thesis. They were heroes for undertaking the voyage. They were not heroes for beating Israeli commandos, or scaring them to the point that any live ammunition was deemed to be necessary on the part of the commandos.”

      I think my use of hero was unclear. I see anyone brave enough to sail into such danger — and use physical force in self-defense — as heroic. Misguided to be sure, but heroic. You see? I think it’s clear from my post that I disagree with the use of physical force to achieve the goal of Palestinian liberation, on both principled and strategic grounds, including and especially in a situation like the M.M.. But that doesn’t take away from the reality that these were valiant and brave people who did this act.

      • Shingo says:

        “They were not heroes for beating Israeli commandos, or scaring them to the point that any live ammunition was deemed to be necessary on the part of the commandos.”

        Since when have the Israelis needed to be scared into using live amunition?

        You are of courase lying through your facist, racist teeth Witty.

        It has been widely reported that the Israelis shot and killed passngers before even boarding the boat. They used stun grenades, tear gas and flash bombs before boarding.

      • potsherd says:

        Be careful whose praise you accept, Matthew. Witty is a perfect negative moral indicator. Whatever he approves is most likely wrong.

    • eljay says:

      >> On the Mavi Marmara. I think you conflict with your thesis. They were heroes for undertaking the voyage. They were not heroes for beating Israeli commandos, or scaring them to the point that any live ammunition was deemed to be necessary on the part of the commandos.

      The jester strikes again: Israeli commandos illegally boarded a vessel in the dark of night. The protesters on the Mavi Marmara attempted to defend themselves against an act of piracy, but because they “scared” the poor commandos into using live ammunition, the commandos – not the protesters – are the victims. What a joke(r).

      “Remember the Holocaust!”

  5. Khawja says:

    If one study the history of the creation and survival of Israel – he will find out that it was mostly based violence. Therefore, it would be naive to believe that Zionist leaders would understand the true meaning of nonviolence. Gandhi told World Zionist movement leaders in 1937 – to stay put in their western countries and wage nonviolent protests to fight anti-Semitism and equal rights. However, the leaders chose violence and terrorism to colonize Palestine – but now they expect from their Palestinian victims to carry nonviolent resistance.

    The political landscape is changing rapidly. New regional powers (Turkey, Iran, Syria and Hizbullah) are replacing the old colonial guards (the US, UK and Israel).

    Former U.S. Ambassador Chas Freeman has noted that the rising influence and independence of the nondeferential powers has inserted dysfunctionality into US policymaking. It seems that coping with the “winds of change” is set to be even harder for the United States than it was for Britain or France or Russia. The leaders of those colonial powers at least understood that earlier war entailed such change.

    It’s very difficult for the US leaders to learn from the past history – as they still live in the ‘fantasy’ of being the ‘liberator’ of Europe and the ‘leader’ of the so-called ‘free world’. It’s more difficult because the US leadership is controlled by a foreign country (Israel) which has its own axe to grind, especially, against the Muslim world.

    link to rehmat2.wordpress.com

  6. eljay says:

    >> The entire world must say to the Jewish people: “We apologize. We apologize for centuries of persecution. We apologize for not saving you from the Nazi Holocaust, from the Pogroms, from the Inquisition.”

    Yeahhhh…no. The “entire world” is not to blame for the woes of “the Jewish people”, but there has been no shortage of apologies and reparations made to “the Jewish people”. There’s no need for a global “hug” or apology. The “Jewish people” are not victims, so it’s time to stop playing that card. As RW would surely point out, it’s time for a new narrative, and healing old wounds doesn’t resolve anything.

    >> “We give you the assurance and take responsibility to guarantee to you, ‘never again.’ … Jews are welcome in our lands, and we will establish special laws to make Jews a protected minority if you choose to live here, as reparations for our past persecution. Furthermore, we will open our doors to unlimited immigration of Jews if any Jew ever seeks a safe haven from future persecution.”

    No special treatment. Practitioners of the Jewish faith should be as welcome as anyone else anywhere in the world, and they should be as protected as any minority anywhere in the world. No special status, no grovelling by nations “as reparations for our past persecutions”.

    • eljay says:

      >> The “Jewish people” are not victims, so it’s time to stop playing that card.

      Clarification: The “Jewish people” today are not victims, so it’s time to stop playing that card.

    • lysias says:

      I’m Irish-American, and I do not expect even just the English people, still less the world, to apologize for my people’s centuries of being oppressed. And fortunately, the numbers of those Irish who luxuriate in their victim status and in indulging their resentments is decreasing.

      I do, however, like most Irish, sympathize with the Palestinians because I see the parallel with the Irish past, with oppression by colonial settlers.

      • Lysias – Yes, the Irish were oppressed by the English, absolutely. But the Irish have not taken their victim status and used it to (in part) justify oppressing another people so far as I know.

        So here’s the question. How do we get Israelis – scared, traumatized, feeling victimized by the past centuries – to change their psychology? Or is that not even worth an attempt? What will it take for israelis to stop oppressing palestinians?

        • potsherd says:

          What will it take for israelis to stop oppressing palestinians?

          Force. Massive, overwhelming, crushing force.

        • Sumud says:

          I don’t think that’s the only way potsherd, and definitely not the right way.
          I think the BDS path will bring about transformation in a peaceable way – well, peaceable compared to any military conflict. The only real wild-card is if Israel openly turns on the US, which is not inconceivable.

        • Chu says:

          “Before Hitler there was Chmielnicki, who was not targeting Jews, during the 1648 Ukrainian Rebellion, which is transformed in the false Jewish narrative from an uprising against exploitative Polish domination into a vast anti-Semitic pogrom.”

          In the minds of Jews, Jewish casualties have at least doubled every century since Chmielnicki.

    • Look at what happened during the Nazi Holocaust. Where were the Jews, fleeing from monstrous oppression, allowed to go? The doors of immigration were open nowhere.

      Eljay, here’s the question. In advancing the cause of palestinian liberation, how do you get the soldier in the metaphor to remove the boot? If not The Hug (of some kind), how do you get that soldier to stop oppressing the palestinians? Is it relevant to try to get the soldier to stop feeling scared after enduring centuries of anti-Jewish oppression?

      And as for the “entire world” – that was overstated. Really, it Europe + Russia.

      • eljay says:

        >> If not The Hug (of some kind), how do you get that soldier to stop oppressing the palestinians? Is it relevant to try to get the soldier to stop feeling scared after enduring centuries of anti-Jewish oppression?

        The soldier hasn’t endured centuries of anti-Jewish oppression. The soldier is defending his aggressor state’s illegal and oppressive activities and is fearing retaliation from the people he is helping to oppress and subjugate. Perhaps the way to get the soldier to remove his boot and to stop feeling scared is to have the soldier stop carrying out his state’s brutal policies. For starters, anyway.

        The solider has not endured centuries of anti-Jewish oppression, but the Palestinian has very likely endured decades of anti-Palestinian oppression, and he has every reason to fear – because he sees it happening all around him – that a hug today won’t stop the bulldozing and demolitions and assassinations and confiscations tomorrow.

        • “Perhaps the way to get the soldier to remove his boot and to stop feeling scared is to have the soldier stop carrying out his state’s brutal policies.”

          How do you do that? How do you get the soldier to stop carrying out his state’s brutal policies? He’s been doing it for 60+ years already, how do you get him to stop? It’s a serious question!

          “The solider has not endured centuries of anti-Jewish oppression”
          Remember the soldier is a metaphor for “all Israeli Jews.” And yes he has, psychically, collectively, for centuries Europe and Russia oppressed Jews, that’s what caused political Zionism to start in the first place. My argument is that this oppression is alive and well in the minds of Israeli Jews, stories passed down from generation to generation, visits to Concentration Camps in Germany/Poland, etc.

          Yes some of that fear is “manipulated” in that the state of Israel tries both covertly and overtly to turn the Arabs/Palestinians into enemies to be feared, enemies who are “going to commit another Shoah.” So some of it is manipulated. But some of it is also fear being passed from generation to generation, fear based on real events that are part of real history.

          So how do you get the soldier to heal from the fear and that legacy? Or should we not even bother trying to help the soldier?

          “The Palestinian has very likely endured decades of anti-Palestinian oppression, and he has every reason to fear – because he sees it happening all around him – that a hug today won’t stop the bulldozing and demolitions and assassinations and confiscations tomorrow”

          Yes without question the Palestinian has endured the oppression. I argue the Hug is necessary but not sufficient to stop the oppression of the Palestinians. Also you need BDS (so Israelis know that Israel’s legitimacy is on the line) and nonviolent resistance. All 3 together I think is a potential path to liberation.

        • eljay says:

          >> So how do you get the soldier to heal from the fear and that legacy? Or should we not even bother trying to help the soldier?

          Not a lot of time to reply just now, but here are a few thoughts to help the soldier:
          1. No more passing fears on “from generation to generation”. The victimhood stops today. What happened over 60 years ago happened, was terrible, has been recognized as such and amends have been made and continue to be made. It’s time to move on. Stop indoctrinating additional generations with what is turning into a “mythical narrative”. Stop creating fear where no fear exists.
          2. No more “mythical narratives” about a “long-term exile” and “Chosen People” and a “Promised Land”. Practitioners of the Jewish faith are not Israelites, they are not entitled by any deity to any piece of land anywhere. Israeli Jews are there and they must be accomodated (along with Israelis of other faiths). Jews elsewhere in the world are not Israelis, and are not entitled to automatic accomodation in Israel, *especially* at the further expense of the Palestinians.
          3. Halt the oppressive violence. Halt the expansionism and the colonialism. Halt the brutality and debasement of Palestinians. Show the Palestinians that there is SOME reason to hope for a sincere, egalitarian resolution with a partner sincerely interested in making peace. Smashing Palestinians faces and stealing their land while speaking of peace really doesn’t send the right message, and it doesn’t make any friends (which, in turn, doesn’t make the soldier feel less frightened).

        • Everything you say is a lecture, a way of “talking at” the soldier. Why will he listen to you and suddenly change?

        • eljay says:

          >> Everything you say is a lecture, a way of “talking at” the soldier.

          I don’t see it that way, Matthew Taylor / Richard Witty.

          >> Why will he listen to you and suddenly change?

          Because he realizes that being the aggressor/oppressor/abuser is incompatible with being the victim. Because he realizes that Palestinians have a legitimate grievance that needs to be addressed and continuing to ignore it won’t do any good to anyone. Because he realizes that his self-perpetuating fears are not the fault of the Palestinians and should not be used as a cheap excuse to continue his victim-oppressor charade. Et cetera.

          But you probably won’t agree and, quite frankly, I really don’t care. The appeal of your argument is greatly diminished by the fact that your argument and subsequent comments are firmly rooted in self-perpetuating Jewish/Israeli victimhood.

        • Eljay,

          How do you explain the fact that 85% of Israelis thought the IDF used the right amount or enough enough force against the Mavi Marmara passengers? Shouldn’t the Israelis have gotten the message, per your arguments?

          Yeah, I think we may have to just agree to disagree at this point. I think something loving and giving must be done to get Israeli Jews to stop feeling so scared. You don’t, and you seem to think that purely negative and critical messages will succeed.

        • Donald says:

          “How do you explain the fact that 85% of Israelis thought the IDF used the right amount or enough enough force against the Mavi Marmara passengers? Shouldn’t the Israelis have gotten the message, per your arguments?”

          I would explain it as fairly normal combination of tribalism, narcissism, bigotry, and wartime hysteria–why do you think so many Americans were okay with torturing Iraqis? That’s what humans are like, unless they try very hard not to be like this. The distinction you make between fear and bigotry doesn’t hold up in the real world. Where I grew up many or most whites were afraid of blacks and they also held racist feelings against them–the two things went hand in hand. And they would have said they had no problem with nice respectable hardworking blacks–it was just the other kind that they feared and of course their own behavior as whites had absolutely nothing to do with creating the situation that might lead to high rates of violent crime among blacks.

          I largely agree with many of your points–terrorism is wrong, and even violence against Israeli soldiers (which is not terrorism) is probably counterproductive. And some of the rhetoric in the comments section of this blog is too extreme. But there were parts of your post where you seem to adopt the Israeli viewpoint. Here, for instance–

          “Take for instance the Second Intifada of the early 2000s, which started out somewhat like the First Intifada with the “nonlethal force” of stone-throwing as its most violent feature but quickly became a suicide bombing campaign. The slaughtering of civilians vastly increased Israeli public support for the land-confiscation wall (under the rhetoric of “security”) and pushed Israeli public opinion far to the right.”

          I agree that the suicide bombing campaign was a disaster, but missing from this summary is the level of Israeli violence, which far outstripped the Palestinian suicide bombing campaign, and furthermore, the Israelis were using lethal force against stone throwers from the very beginning. Yes, the suicide bombing campaign was wrong, but the Israelis were screaming “terror, terror” before it began, when they were doing virtually all the killing. In a very sick way the suicide bombing campaign gave Israel defenders exactly what they needed–an excuse to ignore the greater death toll they were inflicting all along.

          The problem here is that you sound like Richard Witty–the Palestinians end up having to take responsibility not only for their own violence, but for the Israeli violence as well. The Israelis are mostly peaceful, it seems, but suicide bombing has traumatized them. Again, I don’t think this accurately describes the way people really are.

        • eljay says:

          >> How do you explain the fact that 85% of Israelis thought the IDF used the right amount or enough enough force against the Mavi Marmara passengers? Shouldn’t the Israelis have gotten the message, per your arguments?

          Maybe Israelis just got all defensive because everyone was “talking at them” for the IDF’s murderous fuck-up. It’s hard work being a victim when your military has just illegally swarmed a ship and killed 9 people.

          >> Yeah, I think we may have to just agree to disagree at this point. I think something loving and giving must be done to get Israeli Jews to stop feeling so scared. You don’t, and you seem to think that purely negative and critical messages will succeed.

          I believe that both sides need to compromise and that Israel needs to offer something to the Palestinians in exchange for something from the Palestinians.

          You, on the other hand, acknowledge that Israeli Jews are perpetuating their own fears – passing them down “generation to generation” – and you’re aware but choose not to acknowledge the significance of brutal Israeli military actions against the Palestinians – in the past and ON-GOING – and the best you can conclude is not that Israeli Jews / Zionists need to kill less and covet less land and speak less righteously and seek sincere, equitable peace with the Palestinians and stop scaring themselves silly with their stories of victimhood and suffering, but that they need hugs and apologies and maybe even lollipops.

          What a joke(r) you are, Richard Witty.

          “Remember the Holocaust!”

        • You guys condemn the Palestinians to endless war.

          You are chicken-hawks, mirrors of the neo-conservatives that you condemn.

          Matthew is not an apologist. Is that not obvious to you? Eljay, Donald, others, owe him a great apology.

          Matthew,
          When you approach a demonstration in which terms like “Zionism is racism” is used or any inference of “send them back where they came from”, or “Palestine for Palestinians”, do you participate, or do you walk away?

          I think I’ve conveyed a couple times when I attended demonstrations in Amherst, MA with the individual that is now the rabbi at my local shul, in which he carried a sign with a Palestinian flag and and Israeli flag enclosed in a peace sign, and was taunted and later a few rocks were thrown at him.

          Violence escalates. It is a storm. If there is expression of respect for the other, then reconciliation of tangible conflicts are possible. If there is only expression of contempt or invocation to violence or suppression, then reconciliation of tangible conflicts are not possible.

          I’m still hopeful. You guys diminish my hope.

        • I have no doubt, and all of my writing has made clear, repeatedly, again and again (are you not bothering to read what I write? go to my website, and read all of my op-eds about Palestine) that Israeli colonization/oppression/violence places Israel’s military in the role of the “oppressor” and the Palestinian people in the role of “the oppressed.” It’s a completely asymetrical situation. The Israel military’s violence against the Palestinian people is massive, out of control, horrific, etc etc.

          But the question is, what is the best way for the oppressed people to achieve liberation? Does suicide bombing help? No. It does not. Even President Abbas has said so. And what is the best way for internationals (such as the Gaza flotilla) to support and contribute positively to the struggle for Palestinian liberation?

          My website is here: http://matthewtaylor.net. Check out for example my reviews of Jimmy Carter’s book, in which I excoriate Israel’s colonial and apartheid policies, in depth.

        • Donald says:

          “You are chicken-hawks, mirrors of the neo-conservatives that you condemn.”

          Brilliant analogy, Richard. Neocon chickenhawks denounced suicide bombing and so do I. I suppose that’s what you had in mind. OTOH, neocon chickenhawks favored bombing Arabs and I don’t–in that respect they are closer to you.

          To Matthew Taylor–

          Way to miss the point.

          I understand that you oppose Israeli violence, but it doesn’t help your advocacy of nonviolence FOR PALESTINIANS when you portray the majority of Israelis as helpless victims who favor peace, but are driven by fear of ruthless Palestinian acts of terror. It’s not that simple.

          Furthermore, you completely missed the deeper point and I explicitly said this doesn’t just apply to Israelis–humans in general usually have some facts they can cite to justify their bigotry. Obviously the mainstream Israelis are going to say they favor peace, but it’s the ruthlessness of the suicide bombing or the Sderot rockets that drives them to applaud the Gaza War. People always, always claim that their bigotry isn’t bigotry, but a justified reaction to the sins of the other side. Advocacy of nonviolence which depends on believing in fairy tales and rationalizations that people tell themselves is doomed to failure.

          I agree that the Palestinians should avoid terrorism and even justified acts of violence against the IDF and the more violent settlers. I agree that the Israelis need to be reassured that their own legitimate security needs are taken into account. The trouble with your advocacy for nonviolence is that in part it echoes the self-serving justifications of mainstream Israelis–those justifications are part of what need to be dismantled for true reconciliation to occur.

        • You denounce suicide bombing to the same extent that I denounce the Israeli blockade.

        • Donald says:

          “You denounce suicide bombing to the same extent that I denounce the Israeli blockade.”

          False. I think suicide bombing is a war crime, a vicious atrocity. I also think that about the blockade. Care to join me in saying that?

        • Shingo says:

          Donald, Witty can’t bring himself to ever admit that Israel commit war crimes because he endorses all Israeli violence and collective punishment. Even in cases that even he cannot defend, he’ll resort to the collective trauma experienced by the Israelis , which on his mind, absovrs them of any wrongdoing.

        • Shingo,
          Do you think that Hamas committed war crimes in December, 2008?

          Or, was everything they did perfectly just and understandable?

          Was there anything in the Israeli military action of 2008 that you regard as legitimate defense, not a war crime?

          Simple questions.

        • bindup says:

          “hugs and apologies and lollipops” are not being called for here, but rather consideration of something much more serious- opening our own doors to immigration, for example- that would call us to account and expose our own hypocrisy depending on our reaction. Taylor’s proposing just reparations of a different sort than money, to be pursued in conjunction with continued nonviolent resistance, BSD, etc. It makes total sense. But rather than “hugs”, let’s call it “political reparations”. (Anything but “hugs”, a word I find vapid and offense in this context.)

        • Shingo says:

          “Do you think that Hamas committed war crimes in December, 2008?”

          Some, though nothing that comes close to the scale and destruction of Israel’s war crimes.

          You refuse to accept that though because your a Zionist extremist that is incapable if acknowledging Israel’s war crimes. All you can do is obsess about what Hamas did.

          “Was there anything in the Israeli military action of 2008 that you regard as legitimate defense, not a war crime?”

          Israel started an necessary war, which according to the Geneva Convetions is a war crime.  That makes everything they did subsequently, a war crime. 

          “Simple questions.”

          Simple question that you are incapable of answering when they are posed to you. 

        • Frances says:

          Shingo, did you mean an “unnecessary war” or a “necessary war”? I can’t believe you would think the Gaza assault, and it was an assault not a war, was in any way necessary, and your usage of the word “an” makes me think it was a typo.

        • Shingo says:

          Indeed Frances, I did mean to say unnecessary.

      • Lonso says:

        “Look at what happened during the Nazi Holocaust. Where were the Jews, fleeing from monstrous oppression, allowed to go? The doors of immigration were open nowhere”

        Well, thank the American and British Zionist organizations for that! They fought tooth and nail to have both the US and Britain bar Jewish immigration from Nazi-occupied lands. The same applies to the several instances of Zionist collaboration with Nazis with the objective of limiting any emigration to Palestine, barring all other exits.

        “how do you get that soldier to stop oppressing the palestinians?”

        By boycotting him, I should have said, cutting all subsidies, trade and exchange, making him a pariah in the world community, defeating him militarily if needed before he finishes his ethnic cleansing, dragging him to Nuremberg, sentencing whoever gives him his orders and him personally. It all sounds so uphill, while we seem to have an easier solution now. Your idea of hugging the IDF is very interesting. I wonder why people (with the exception of collaborators) never thought of hugging the Nazis before and during WWII. Or why we did not stop slaughtering the Vietnamese when their monks showered us with kisses. It would have avoided so much suffering. Now we know better, all it takes is a big hug, and I am not being flippant.

        • “Well, thank the American and British Zionist organizations for that! They fought tooth and nail to have both the US and Britain bar Jewish immigration from Nazi-occupied lands. The same applies to the several instances of Zionist collaboration with Nazis with the objective of limiting any emigration to Palestine, barring all other exits.”

          Israeli psychology says:
          - Europe+Russia persecuted us for centuries
          - No one ever came to our aid
          - No one saved us from the pogroms
          - No one gave us a refuge to flee to during the Nazi Holocaust
          - Our only recourse is military force to create a Strong Israel with a Jewish majority
          - Pre-67 Israel is too small, indefensible borders

          So do you see how that would create a lot of fear and paranoia among the average Israeli Jew? Exasperated by the manipulation of that fear? Expasperated by being afraid of being blown up in a cafe, bus, rockets from overhead?

          How do you heal that trauma and change that ideology? Or do you not care or bother?

          Does that trauma/ideology in any way cause Israelis to oppress Palestinians?

        • Lonso says:

          “How do you heal that trauma and change that ideology? Or do you not care or bother?”

          I’m afraid I don’t care, because expecting some new-age psychotherapy to turn around full-flown Nazis, formed and drilled over a century of Zionism, within a useful time frame is your own, very particular, ideologic fixation. No one in his right mind would ever expect to get anywhere by it. Let me add that the Zionist plan is freely acknowledged in public. It fully intends to hold and ethnically cleanse all “greater Palestine”. There have been no signs that there was any change in this plan anytime. The paranoiac fears of the manipulated mass of Zionism supporters are independent from this older, agressive, nationalist program.

          The fact that you wouldn’t even bother to address any of the observations made by different people here, while your insistence on “non-violence” as a religion (not as a sometimes useful tactic but an absolute principle) shows that you are ideologically blinded. As you can see, nobody here but the open Zionist agents can follow you. I’d suggest that you hug them somewhere else instead of monopolizing the attention on nonsense.

        • Shingo says:

          ”Does that trauma/ideology in any way cause Israelis to oppress Palestinians?”

          Of course it does, the same way it causes Israelis to kill Americans and Europeans. Still, it makes as much sense to sugegst we should indulge that truma as it would to tolerate a heroin addiction. The first thing you need to do is take away anything by which they can hurt themselves or others.

          The worst thing you can do for an alcoholic is give them the keys to the liquor cabinet. Israel’s psychosis is exacerbated, not helped by the massive cahce of weapons at their disposal, the limitless aid and diplomatic protection. It feeds their sense of entitlement, their sense of superiority, their resentment towards their enablers and wort of all, it stokes their fears by convincing them that their fears are justified.

          The way to deal with fear is to face it, not avoid it.

        • Lonso – This statement is pure, blatant, and unambiguous anti-Jewish oppression (others call it “anti-Semitism”):

          “full-flown Nazis, formed and drilled over a century of Zionism”

          There is not even one shred of factual evidence I’ve ever seen to justify the analogy that Israelis are in any legitimate sense generally comparable to Nazis, or that the past century of Zionism has been dominated by a Nazi-like ideology. To collapse the past century of highly diverse, heterogenous Zionism ideology into one alleged strain — a strain with no evidentiary support for its existence — is just as wrong as it gets. I’ve met the some of the most extreme right wing Zionists in Israel, and even their calls for a mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians cannot be compared to not just a call, but a successful campaign, of relentless and uncompromising genocide. Ethnic cleansing is bad. But it is not as bad as genocide. A 5th grader could tell you this.

          You say I haven’t even “bother[ed] to address any of the observations made by different people here.” I’ve responded to many comments on this page, and my post above is in part a lengthy response to numerous arguments about nonviolence and the Palestinian liberation movement. You can disagree with my responses if you want. But to say I haven’t bothered to address these observations seems just… factually inaccurate. Like the rest of the garbage you’ve posted here.

          I’m not clicking on the “Report Abuse” section because I’d rather a “war of ideas” (as this site calls itself) unfold than for a censor to come in. But you’re taking your arguments much too far. Your statements are out of line, inappropriate, and revolting. Your ideas will contribute not only ZERO to helping Palestinians achieve liberation, your ideology is in fact highly counter-productive to the cause.

          In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you weren’t an agent provocateur, intending to make sites like this look bad, a purveyor of anti-Jewish crap whose goal is to drag down the left and make the left look anti-Jewish. The more you convince others that Israelis are Nazis, the more you spread not only hatred, but help Israelis who are afraid of Palestinians and those who advocate for their human rights be even more afraid.

          It’s comments like yours that make me wonder if it’s even worth the time to wide into the comments at all.

        • Shingo – 100% agreed, we should take away the weapons Israel uses to oppress Palestinians and steal their land. My formula is instead of sending 3 billion in weapons to Israel, we should invest those funds in programs for reconciliation, equal, coexistence, rebuilding demolished homes, etc.
          AND… using the drug addict metaphor… psychotherapists can trace an addiction to the addict’s formative childhood experience, where parents abused them and such. Similarly, Israel’s addiction I believe traces not to its relationship with the Palestinians, but on a deeper level, the psychological scars from persecution in Europe/Russia.
          So we must BOTH cut off the supply of weapons AND help these traumatized Israelis to heal.

        • Cliff says:

          Poor poor Israel. Save it from itself, right Taylor?

          Disassociate the crimes from the criminal. It’s not Israel’s fault – it’s those Europeans and Russians and pograms and Nazis!

          What about the Nazis? Is it REALLY their fault? Or their parents fault? Lets psychoanalyze into oblivion.

          You’re like Richard Witty-lite.

        • Shingo says:

          “There is not even one shred of factual evidence I’ve ever seen to justify the analogy that Israelis are in any legitimate sense generally comparable to Nazis, or that the past century of Zionism has been dominated by a Nazi-like ideology.”

          The evidence is certainly there.  Whether you want to see it or not is another matter. 
          First of all, the notion that Israel has the “right” to exist as an exclusively Jewish State, is no different to the German Reich having a “right” to exist for Aryans only.  If you’re a visual person, then the following montage is self explanatory:

          link to normanfinkelstein.com

          “To collapse the past century of highly diverse, heterogenous Zionism ideology into one alleged strain — a strain with no evidentiary support for its existence — is just as wrong as it gets.”

          The only strain of Zionism that exists is the one we see being applied in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.  All other strains of Zionism are purely theoretical and have never truly existed.  We also have countless quotes from prominent Zionists which have exposed the dark reality of Zionism, such as:

          “We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.”
           David Ben-Gurion quotes (Polish born Israeli Statesman and Prime Minister (1948-53, 1955-63). Chief architect of the state of Israel and revered as Father of the Nation, 1886-1973)

          “But it is not as bad as genocide. A 5th grader could tell you this.”

          True, but it is certainly a precursor and slippery slope towards genocide. There is also the fact that unlike Nazi Germany, Israel is heavily dependent on foreign support and thus risks it’s won demise should it pursue negocial poilcies.
          Mind you, it’s clear that you haven’t spoke to all Zionists, such as those that advocate nuking Europe in the event that the state of Israel faces defeat in a war.  Does nuclear attack not rate as highly as genocide?

          link to voltairenet.org

          “But you’re taking your arguments much too far. Your statements are out of line, inappropriate, and revolting. ”

          So is the idellogy of Zionism and the policies of Israel, but reporting abuse would be futile.  What can be more out of line, inappropriate, and revolting than justifying th massacre of 1,400 people?

          “Your ideas will contribute not only ZERO to helping Palestinians achieve liberation, your ideology is in fact highly counter-productive to the cause.”

          Spare us the diatribe and the hot air.  Zionism is extre racism, enthic supremacy and as Benny Morris said, has at it’s very core, the need for ethnci cleansing.  Thus, we don’t need Zionists, who has been massacaring and ethnically cleasing Palestinians for 60 years, to tell us how to help them.

          “In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if you weren’t an agent provocateur, intending to make sites like this look bad, a purveyor of anti-Jewish crap”

          Actually, it is likely that if anyone is an agent provocateur it is you.  No one here has ever attacked Jews, so don;t waste your time pulling that cheap stunt on this forum you sleazy troll.

          “The more you convince others that Israelis are Nazis, the more you spread not only hatred, but help Israelis who are afraid of Palestinians and those who advocate for their human rights be even more afraid.”

          No one is better at convincing others that Israelis are Nazis than Israel. It’s sick apologists and brain washed drones like yourself that are pushing Israel over teh edge of  a cliff.

        • Chu says:

          I agree. When you’re diggin’ yourself into a whole, you gotta stop diggin…

        • Chu says:

          diggin a hole!

        • Lonso,

          In rereading my remarks, I realize I overreacted to your provocation (“All Israelis/Most Israelis are Nazis,” stated or implied is a remark that bothers me quite a bit). I made a highly sloppy counter-generalization that went too far in the other direction. Here is the point I was trying to make, simply put: I’ve never encountered any serious argument in mainstream Zionism that explicitly and unambiguously calls for the genocide of Palestinians/Arabs. That’s what I meant by “not one shred of evidence” — language, in hindsight, I wish I hadn’t used, because in fact certain individual Israelis have made remarks along those lines. My point is that it’s not anything like a part of mainstream Zionism I’ve ever seen. Even Meir Kahane, the spiritual leader of Israel’s most far right groups – who advocated for ethnic cleaning, never wrote in favor of genocide so far as I know (but perhaps he did and I’m not aware of it, if so, show me). The ideology of genocide is was what I think defined the Nazi attitude (and policy and practice, obviously) toward the Jews (and other oppressed groups, like the Roma). But I’ve never seen that as anything widespread among Israelis. Yes the Zionist militias engaged in horrific massacres like Deir Yassin. Yes certain extremist settlers write “gas the arabs” on the walls of Hebron. Yes one of Israel’s defense ministers threatened “a bigger Shoah” on Palestinians. But does all that add up to a clearcut and straightforward analogy to the Nazi regime? Is it helpful to call Israelis Nazis?

          My problem is you calling Israelis Nazis or saying (or implying) that “all Israelis are Nazis” or “the state of Israeli is run by Nazis” just feels like a leap too far given what’s happening in real life right now. The reality is horrific enough, why exaggerate?
          It seems a distraction from the more powerful use of more precise language.

          The photo gallery you reference on Finkelstein’s page is very powerful. There’s no doubt that certain of Israel’s policies are, in effect, similar to certain actions perpetrated by Nazi Germany – but again, nothing that rises to the level of genocide. Today, anyway.

          Are we headed toward a genocide? If so, I think making that argument, backed up by supportive facts as relevant, is an important contribution to the discourse. Others have made that argument. But I think the argument would be more powerful and grounded if it’s along the lines of: “Here’s the evidence that the state of Israel is heading in a direction toward a Nazi-like genocide” as opposed to “It’s already the case that Israeli a Nazi state.”

          The reference you make about nuclear weapons is very important. I have no idea if it’s true or not that Israel is on a course to use nuclear weapons as a way to cover up another ethnic cleansing of Palestine, but if it is, certainly that would leave Israel in the role of having unleashed a nuclear Holocaust on the world. In any case, we must do everything we can to stop such an atrocity before it happens. Israel’s nuclear arsenal is a very real threat in any case. Mearsheimer has written that while another mass ethnic cleansing is not the most likely scenario, it’s well possible.

        • bindup says:

          I’m not an open Zionist agent, and I think I’m following what’s Taylor trying to say: Resistance, BSD, European + Russian (and I’d add + US) + political reparations to the Jewish community on the part of Europe,US, Russia. It’s all of a piece. Why not? Is respect for Palestinians, or commitment to justice and security for them diminished by considering this?
          The “religious” principle involved is that “the means you use creates the ends you get”, I’m an old woman whose mother lived in Germany in the 1920′s. Believe me, attending to the full humanity (or whatever remnant is left of it, either in oneself or one’s enemy) in war is worth the effort, because without that effort the cycle of violence continues over and over and over.

        • Shingo says:

          With all due repecrs Bindup, while your words are evocative and pleasing to the ear, the reference to “cycle of violence” is often used as a cynical attempt to portray this conflict as one between equal sides with equal culpability.

          This conflict is based entirely on territorial disputes and in that regard one side is 100% to blame.

        • Donald says:

          ” Resistance, BSD, European + Russian (and I’d add + US) + political reparations to the Jewish community on the part of Europe,US, Russia.’

          I would support that, though I’d want the reparations to go to actual Holocaust victims, not to the government of Israel. We’ve wasted I don’t know how many billions on that government which would have been far better spent on individual Holocaust survivors. And giving any and all Holocaust survivors automatic US citizenship would be fine with me.

      • RoHa says:

        “Where were the Jews, fleeing from monstrous oppression, allowed to go? The doors of immigration were open nowhere.”

        Let us, for the moment, suppose that the only place they could go was Palestine.

        Surely, then, their duty was to thank the people of Palestine, rather than to join in a movement to steal their land?

  7. Max Ajl says:

    Matthew Taylor has offered a very long and very disingenuous intervention into the discussion on violence and non-violence. He has ignored nearly everything that has been said on the matter on this blog, especially on the difficulties of conceptualizing violence and the ethical positioning of the Western commenter. People will decide for themselves the worth of his comments. I’ll stick to what he has said about me.

    He writes, “Max Ajl’s main premise is nonviolence is “not a principle, it is a tactic.” I explicitly said that this was a normative as opposed to empirical statement, at least when we take “non-violence” and “violence” as easily separable. But as I made very clear, the best way to assess them is consequentially. Taylor did not address this point and so his comments on the matter should be ignored.

    He writes, “Ajl misrepresents the views of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a way of advancing the argument that violence is a helpful component of the Palestinian freedom struggle,” but doesn’t bother citing anything I said about King in support of his argument. On Gandhi, the man produced millions of words. I specified the “vernacular” sense of moral principle I was using. Taylor ignored it, and thinks he has caught me out. He has me “quoting Gandhi out of context” when I used the verbatim quotation that Bromwich supplied. Taylor has a bizarre journalistic approach to Gandhi, extracting what he likes, discarding what he does not. This is his business but not exactly sound intellectual practice.

    Taylor likes to resort to the dictionary. He can look up “pacific,” then decide if I used it correctly in the sentence he misquotes.

    Taylor writes, “Typical of skeptics of nonviolence, Ajl dismisses the First Intifada due to its limited success.” Taylor can look at the sentence he misquotes, and if he can manage it, try to understand that the context was structural limitations over-determining the ability of tactics, strategies, and movements to win, “win” as assessed in terms of overall or final goals. I recommend Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward on this.

    Finally, Taylor has the gall to call me a skeptic. To this I respond in the only vocabulary available to me that carries the correct emotional charge: Fuck off you fucking scoundrel. I am in Gaza participating in non-violent protest against live ammunition while you are writing the most transparently illogical non-sense on the internet and lecturing a struggling people on how to resist. I finished my second response with the comment, “How dare we.” Honestly, Matthew, how dare you. You should be ashamed.

  8. “I explicitly said that this was a normative as opposed to empirical statement”

    What do you mean by the distinction between a normative and empirical statement?

    I thought you argued concisely for regarding non-violence as only a tactic, that “loving one’s enemy” was a useless phrase in your interpretation.

    The question really revolves around whether the issues are a “conflict” seeking reconciliation in which the other is respected if not agreed with, opposed.

    Or, whether the question is of a war, in which the only outcome is an either/or one. Either “we” prevail OR “you” prevail.

    Are you at war Max?

    You know the consequences of you stating that you are at war, and that Hamas is still at war, and that solidarity in some general sense is at war, is to validate the Israeli right-wing argument that “we cannot let up the boot”.

    If you (collectively) are seeking to reconcile, then the Israeli right-wing assertions are irrelevant.

    To those that state that Jews require persecution for identity, that is a bigoted and falsely bigoted statement.

    To those that state that the formation of Israel and the life of Israel was “primarily” of violence, that is also a bigoted and falsely bigoted statement.

    “Fuck off you fucking scoundrel. I am in Gaza participating in non-violent protest against live ammunition while you are writing the most transparently illogical non-sense on the internet and lecturing a struggling people on how to resist.”

    You don’t sound like you are practising non-violence to me, even as a tactic.

    • Donald says:

      “You don’t sound like you are practising non-violence to me”

      Why do you care? You’re not in favor of non-violence on the Israeli side–you supported the Gaza War.

      • Enough misrepresentation Donald.

        Are you now saying that you supported the Hamas shelling of Israeli towns?

        • Shingo says:

          “Are you now saying that you supported the Hamas shelling of Israeli towns?”

          Do you support the Israeli shelling of Gaza?  Israel did fire 7,700 shells into Gaza in less than a year.

          A yes or no answer will suffice.  No fluff or evasiveness.

        • Donald says:

          “Enough misrepresentation Donald.

          Are you now saying that you supported the Hamas shelling of Israeli towns?”

          You did support and do support the Gaza War and you don’t advocate nonviolence for Israelis. You only advocate it for Palestinians. You have also approved the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 48 and the decision not to let them back in after that war was over–you’ve only relented and only for those old enough to have been alive then because allowing a few hundred thousand elderly Palestinians back in won’t tip the ethnic balance you prefer. You support terrorism by your side to the extent necessary to achieve the goals you think necessary.

          I oppose all violent acts of Palestinians aimed at civilians, including the rocket fire. You do not oppose all Israeli violence against Palestinian civilians.

          If you were serious about supporting nonviolence as a fundamental commitment by Palestinians, you’d try to make it easy for them by opposing Israeli violence except for that aimed extremely carefully at people who are actually in the act of attacking Israeli civilians but this is not a path you have chosen to follow.

        • There are FOUR relevant categories, not your opportunist two.

          1. “By any means necessary” resistance/warring until victory
          2. Principled non-violent dissent
          3. Self-defense and protection of civilians by a state

          My advocacy of Israeli military actions in 2008 was LIMITED to supporting defense from repeated and traumatic aggression on civilians only by Hamas and other factions, by the INITIATION of war by Hamas in the form of escalating shelling to longer and longer distances and larger and larger cities, rather than a token single or very finite demonstration of “we could respond if we chose”.

          States don’t have the right to protect their civilians, they have an obligation to.

          The distinction between state defense and state terrorism is a possibility, but the presence of “any” military response is NOT a description of state terror.

          You are NOT advocating for cooler heads here.

        • That was “three” categories. I thought of Hamas as a quasi-state undertaking its version of “self-defense” as a fourth, but failed to edit when it didn’t make sense.

        • Donald says:

          In some alternate universe where Israel was minding its own business and not doing any harm to Gazan Palestinians your claim would have merit. But that simply doesn’t describe the real world.

          What Israel should have done in 2008 is lift the blockade–they didn’t do that. They didn’t do what would have been the fair and just thing–instead, like you, they took for granted their right to immiserate Gazan civilians. Here Ajl is exactly right–advocates of “nonviolence” are really just advocates of privileged violence if they don’t take into account the violence imposed by oppressive states, a form of violence which can take many forms. How long would Israel’s blockade have lasted without the threat that they might kill people who try to break it? The blockade was violent in itself, an act of war, and it was maintained with violence.

          What you do, Richard, is draw your lines very carefully in such a way that you can depict the Palestinians as the aggressors and Israel as the one acting in self-defense. So you very carefully select those portions of what happened in late 2008 where Hamas behaved wrongly (I agree the rocket fire was wrong) and completely ignore Israel’s violence. It’s natural for privileged Westerners to do this, and to preach “nonviolence” to the people living under oppression. This form of preaching is not just mistaken–it’s apologetics for the violence of the oppressor. You’re not truly in favor of nonviolence when you do this.

          And even your claim that you favored only very carefully targeted violence doesn’t fit very well with your denials of Israeli war crimes.

          I’ve been critical of Matthew here, but I think you do him no favors by taking his side. I haven’t read his website, but I will assume he’s a much more forthright critic of Israeli violence than you have ever been. (Perhaps I give him too much credit, but I doubt it.) I object to portions of how he makes his case, but I hope he’s not the sort of hypocrite you’ve always been.

        • Shingo says:

          Your cheerlading of Israeli massacre of Gaza was not limited in any way shape por form.

          In spite of your repeated pathological lies, it was no defense. You yourself have stated that Israel would have reponse to the raid with violence just as Hamas did. But in your tupcal hypocritical Zionfascist fashion, you would have deemed the Israeli actions to be legitimate.

          The war as initiated when Israel boek teh ceasfire. You know it Witty, yet you continue to lie insufferrably, becasue your sick Zionist indoctrinated brain cannot rbing you tro admit that Israel did any wrong.

          “‘States don’t have the right to protect their civilians, they have an obligation to.”

          And that obligation begins with avoiding war until it is abosolutely necessary. Isrel could have avoided the conflict by stickign tot eh ceasefire, but chose not to. Israel abrogated it’s responsibility before Hamas did.

          “The distinction between state defense and state terrorism is a possibility, but the presence of “any” military response is NOT a description of state terror.”

          In the case of ISrael it mostr certainly is.

          “You are NOT advocating for cooler heads here.”

          You are simply advocating bloodlust you vile cretin.

        • Shingo says:

          Thank you for that excellent post Donald,

          Witty’s disconnect and dishonesty is multi facetted. When Witty speaks of non violence, it should be noted that he is speaking exclusively about resistance. If you read between the lines, he fully endioses violent occupation, oppression and persecution.

          You might recall that after his repeated insistence that it was Hams who started the 2008 war (because according to him, the they failed to excercise sufficient discipline and restraint after Israel atatcked) I posed the question to him as to what he expected Israel’s repsnse would have been to a raid during a 4 months ceasfire. He argued that Israel’s reponse would have been overwhelmingly severe and that such a reponse would have been appropriate.

          When I pointed out the inconsistency (he didn’t pereive it of course), his answer was that Israel was a sovereign state and Gaza was not, therefore the same rules do not apply.

          As Phil and Adam have pointed out, Witty’s idea of what resistance should look like is nothing more than his desire to pacify the Palestinians. He has no desire to see the end of the occupation, the ethnic cleansing or land theft, he just wants it to happen in a calm setting.

          Like Netenyahu and other Zinist extremists, Witty claims to endorse a 2 state solution because

          a) he knows a 2 state settlement is DOA, hence it is safe to do so and
          b) that endorsing a 2 state solution that he knows is DOA buys time for the facts on the ground to be moved further away from a 2 state settlement.

          The more we see of Witty, the more vile and repugnant he becomes.

        • Shingo says:

          “I thought of Hamas as a quasi-state undertaking its version of “self-defense” as a fourth, but failed to edit when it didn’t make sense.”

          So now you’re admitting you made up th ebit about Hamas claiming to be defending the Palestinians.

          Another lie exposed. How surprising!!

        • Donald,
          You are again writing of your projection of my views and actions, not of the actual.

          You’ve read my blog, so you know what I think independantly of reaction to the self-talk here. Some of your assumptions of my views are accurate, and some are way way off.

          The construction of states having a right/obligation to defend its civilians is not subject to dissent. Its a given. If you don’t like that then the only consistent approach is anarchism (which is grass-roots mutual aid more than just the anti-state element). Is that what you are saying now Donald?

          Advocates of non-violence CHOOSE it as a means and as a worldview because it is realistic unless you assume that either/or dispossession is the only possibility. That is that if the two peoples are to co-exist at some future date, then there has to be a basis of some trust between them. The logic of “you are only a racist, thieving polity” is a false one.

          The Israeli state is not particularly a top-down fascist thuggery, but an accountable democracy (moreso to the wealthy and less so to Palestinian Israelis). Power is derived from the electorate, and has not been delegated upward to the extent that a fascist state has. (A fascist state often has a single election from which it derives its “authority” to disband democracy.)

          The blockade of Gaza is not illegal. It is immoral for its extending into the range of loss of health for Gazans, and loss of ability to restore their infra-structure. Again, a great deal of the responsibility for that is Hamas’.

          I continue to conclude that Hamas’ decisions in December 2008 led to the war, by its intentional escalation of shelling (rather than none, and rather than incidental), and that it is responsible for exagerating the right-ward wave in the Israeli election.

          It exists within a world. It is not solely a “resistance” organization, that can rationalize that its actions affect noone else, or even themselves secondarily (after say affecting the Israeli election). And, literally only an idiot would conclude that there is “no difference” between Likud and Kadima. There might not be much difference in their opinion of “unlimited right of return”, but there are critical differences in MANY other respects.

          You are only critical of Matthew, because you regard him as a loyal dissenter, whereas I am untrustworthy. I don’t regard Israel as enemy even as a target of non-violent dissent. I’m a liberal. I consider my participation in Jewish political discussion as empowered, potential able to influence by persuasion.

          In contrast to an attitude of alienation supporting the willingness to fundamentally dissent, rather than incidentally, on policies and practices.

          You through names around like “hypocrite”. Its false. I’ve not misrepresented my views in the slightest.

          I propose paths, options, actions to pursue. I am not interested personally in mass movement. One reason for that is that mass movements MUST adopt a simplistic approach to its effort, or else it will lose its mass (in the form of doubt of the movement).

          I will not dumb down to that level. I will continue to bear compassion and famialility for Israelis and only compassion for Palestinians.

          Only a revolutionary, a war advocate, would regard that attitude as an obstacle.

        • Donald says:

          “The construction of states having a right/obligation to defend its civilians is not subject to dissent. Its a given. ”

          True, but this has little to do with Israel’s behavior, and invoking this to support even a “humane” war in Gaza in late 2008 is obscene, given that Israel had not offered the Gazans a just peace. What they offered was a re-extension of the ceasefire which they had broken, while continuing to maintain the blockade. You know this and for a supposed advocate of nonviolence to make excuses for inexcusable acts of cynicism and violence by Israel by ignoring the context is an act of hypocrisy.

          As for Hamas, Hamas should not have fired rockets at civilians. That was their crime. They should not blame their decisions on Israel. It was their decision to do this and it was both immoral and stupid.

          Israel does not have the legal right to blockade Gaza–they don’t own the sea coast and they don’t have the right to immiserate the entire population or the right to keep West Bank residents from visiting Gaza and vice versa or the right to keep 1.5 million Gazans locked up in prison and furthermore, you can’t even get through one paragraph about Israel’s crimes without suggesting Hamas bears much of the blame for them–something you don’t do when the subject is Hamas crimes.

          You seem confused about the meaning of hypocrisy. Yes, you do parade your views around openly. What makes you a hypocrite are the double standards you constantly employ. The one person you manage to deceive is yourself.

          Matthew Taylor’s post was interesting and though I criticized him and even compared some of what he wrote to your drivel, I don’t think he is the hypocrite on Israeli crimes that you are. I think he’s a little naive about how people in general rationalize their bigotry. Fear and hatred of the Other go hand-in-hand, and when the Israeli “liberal Zionists” support the violence of their state on the grounds of fear, we’re on familiar turf.

          In the time I’ve been reading the comment section at this blog I’ve found myself thinking several times that maybe at last you “get it”, at least to some degree. But like Lucy, you always jerk the football away. Most recently you seemed shocked by the flotilla killings, and unlike others I didn’t think you had “run away”, but were genuinely stunned by the stupid brutality of Israel’s action. But now when you mention this it’s only to blame the victims for their deaths and I suspect most of your shock was over the fear that Israel and Turkey might get into a war. Now that this danger seems to have receded, you are back to normal. I agree that such a war would be a terrible thing, but while you were appalled at those who welcomed it, you were quite sympathetic to Jeffrey Goldberg’s lies and apologetics for the Iraq War. So again there’s that double standard.

        • Shingo says:

          another excellent and devatating analysis of Witty Donald. I am curious however, when did Israel offer a re-extension of the ceasefire after breaking it?

        • Donald says:

          Now that you mention it, Shingo, I’m not sure. I thought they did–that is, after the exchange of violence following Israel’s violation on November 4, I had the impression that there was such an offer, but I might be wrong. I think Jerome Slater had a timeline up about the events preceding the Gaza slaughter, but I’ll have to look.

        • Donald says:

          My memory appears to be faulty–at any rate, the Jerome Slater entry doesn’t confirm what I thought. Here’s the relevant section from his January 3 2010 entry–

          “*In January 2008 Israel closed the border crossing points, drastically reducing supplies of fuel, electricity, and other crucial goods into Gaza. Hamas then briefly resumed firing rockets into Israel (few Israelis were killed), but in April the Hamas leader Khalid Meshal stated that Hamas was ready to stop attacking civilians if Israel did the same. As a result, in early June a negotiated six-month Israeli-Palestinian truce went into effect. According to Hamas, the ceasefire included an understanding that Israel would open the border crossing points and ease its economic sanctions and blockade. For awhile, Israel did allow a minor increase of goods into Gaza, but far less than Hamas had expected–or, more to point, far from sufficient to truly lift the economic siege.
          *In September and October of 2008 there were two Islamic Jihad rocket attacks but none from Hamas. Nonetheless, Israel then greatly tightened its siege of Gaza, especially over food supplies, medicines, fuel, and repair parts for water and sewage systems—and six Hamas men were killed in a November 5th Israeli raid on a Gazan tunnel. Following that attack, Hamas fired rockets into southern Israel and announced it would no longer abide by the latest ceasefire agreement when it expired in December—even so, it stated, it would be prepared to negotiate a new truce if Israel agreed to ease its siege.
          *The Hamas offer was effectively confirmed by Israeli intelligence, for according to Israeli newspapers, just before the Israeli attack Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin told the Israeli cabinet that Hamas wanted to continue the truce if Israel accepted a ceasefire and ended its blockade. Israel refused these terms; even so, no Israelis were killed until after the full-scale Israeli attack on Gaza that began on December 27, 2008.[9]
          Reflecting on this history, the Israeli columnist Yitzhak Laor wrote: “Who still recalls that before the war Israel rejected attempts to renew the tahadiyeh [truce]? Who still remembers that the months before the war were relatively quiet, despite the siege on Gaza? Who still recalls that the siege itself was a blatant violation of the tahadiyeh agreement, which Israel signed?”
          In short, the chronology establishes that Israel has had many opportunities to bring about a negotiated end to missile or other terrorist attacks from Gaza, if that it had been its true goal. However, because its underlying purpose is to destroy all resistance to its continued occupation of the West Bank and external control over Gaza, using both economic siege and military force as its weapons, Israel has repeatedly provoked Palestinian violence.”

      • Shingo says:

        And he romanticises the terrorism of Israel’s founders.

    • Max Ajl says:

      Richard,
      It remains difficult to discuss these issues solely with vocabulary extracted from See Spot Run, but I will do my best for your benefit.
      Within the non-sense binary propounded, but not defended, here, non-violence should be a tactic. That is normative. Within the terms of this non-sensical binary, one can be a committed pacifist, or think one is being a committed pacifist, so it is empirically true that for some deluded souls, non-violence is, so they think, a principle.

      In the real world, privileged white people are implicated in and practicing violence constantly. So no I am not “practising” [do you seriously use British spellings??] non-violence and neither is Taylor nor is Nagler. They are writing non-sense on the internet. If curse words scare you, you can fuck off too, which again is the correct rhetorical register to deal with what you have to say and it’s a wonder people don’t resort to it more frequently here. Apparently it is one of the few things you manage to hear.

      • So you arrogantly believe that the terms “normative” in contrast to “empirical” are common usage and that you consider it politically valid to insult someone asking clarification for your use of those terms?

        Fuck off is the sum total of your response. Dismissal.

        I assert that you are self-talking. You are speaking content and language of the converted only.

        The consequences of that are twofold?

        1. What is the outcome of your success? What occurs then? Can you be trusted?

        2. What is the outcome of your failure? What occurs then? If your actions are a twist of the Gandhian assertive statement “the purpose of civil disobedience IS to invoke a response”, what happens then?

        I believe that you are describing advocacy for the militancy that Hamas exemplifies, of endorsing “by any means necessary” combined with opportunistic political agenda. Adopting non-violence as a temporary tactic is consistent with “by any means necessary”.

        And, the consequences of your advocacy are the consequences of Hamas’ affect on Gaza and the rest of the world. While it is easy for those that are converted to conclude that only Israel is responsible for Gazans’ ongoing isolation and suffering resulting and for periodic outbreaks of more conspicuous violence, I disagree strongly.

        I believe that the insensitivity to Israeli and world opinion, and disappointing frequent indiscipline on the part of Hamas is what created the current setting. (Literally that Hamas was primarily responsible, again in its periodic horrid judgements, long-standing hateful communications, history of gruesome terror.)

        Specifically, the CHOICE to reinstitute shelling of Israeli civilians towns, and the CHOICE to escalate to further distance with larger rockets UNTIL Israel retaliated militarily, was idiotic.

        Not only did it irritate Israel to the point of “having to do something about it”, but it shifted the Israeli election at least 5 seats to the right, that would have resulted in clear Kadima/Labor government in contrast to Likud/Israel Beitanhu/Shas.

        If you think that that is not the case, that the resumption of shelling did not move Israeli public opinion to the right, perhaps far to the right, then you live in the ozone. And, if you think that there is no difference between a Kadima government and a Likud, then you also live in the ozone.

        There is a “go” game feature to this and all politics. That is that contradictions and the seeds of the next exist in the current, yeilding ironies. So, for example, a Kadima government would not itself make as many or severe impolitic comments or actions that would alienate the US or Turkey, thereby retaining the status quo.

        And, another irony may be that Netanyahu is forced to negotiate a treaty with the PA, that is incomplete, containing large compromises on both, but particularly for the PA. And, that in that setting, world opinion and political pressure (including from the Arab world) would press Palestinians’ hand to accept an agreement that excludes right of return either at all or to the extent that solidarity hopes.

        Ironies. Your view is the view of determination for victory from what I read, with no prospect of turning to reconciliation ever.

        Maybe I’m accurate and you will retort “fuck off” for accusing you accurately of seeking victory for your side (as distinct from justice, which may or may not mean victory)?

        Or maybe I’m wrong and you will retort “fuck off” for incidentally or fundamentally misrepresenting you.

        Either “fuck off” is an abdication of your responsibility to take a difference of opinion as a learning and/or teaching opportunity.

        • “See Spot run”.

        • Shingo says:

          1. Can you be trusted?

          Fuck off Witty. We’re not here to enternain you an convicne you slimeball

          2. What is the outcome of your failure?

          I repeat, we’re not here to enternain you an convicne you slimeball

          “Adopting non-violence as a temporary tactic is consistent with “by any means necessary”.”

          Get lost you fuckign hypocrite. By any means necessary are teh very words Israel used to describe their aims of stopping the flotilla you imbecile.

          “Maybe I’m accurate and you will retort “fuck off” for accusing you accurately of seeking victory for your side (as distinct from justice, which may or may not mean victory)?”

          How can you possibly be accurate when you are a pathological liar who’s become so discredited on this forum that he is the object of everyone’s digust? How can you possibly be accurate when you’ve been exposed a s a liar, a fraud, a propagadist, and an ignoramus too many times to mention?

          Just fucjk off Witty. All you are achieving is convioncing everyone here what a sick socieity Israel has become and how sick it’s supporters are.

          Clearly you cannot be trusted.

  9. While the Salt Satyagraha did not “succeed” in its short-term, situational objective – the salt laws were not repealed – it worked on a deeper level. British public opinion was deeply affected by the Dharasana nonviolent moment, which shockingly revealed the violence inherent in the British colonial system. Ultimately, this led to India’s independence in 1947.

    Taylor, did you actually write that? So India got its independence in August 1947 because ‘British public opinion was deeply affected’ by a protest that had happened in May 1930! And you are here telling Palestinians what the kosher method is for resisting a brutal occupation!

    Word of advice: Hollywood is no substitute for history. Get an education before you pontificate.

  10. Max,

    I respect deeply your actions in Gaza. I wish I had the courage you do to face down the IDF. (Perhaps someday I will find that courage and make that choice…. I’ve only done it once, in Bil’in, and it was scary as hell.) That makes you a hero for Palestinian liberation, and nothing I or anyone else can say can take away from your actions, nor is anything I say a criticism of your direct action work in Gaza (if you interpret it that way, that’s your choice).

    But no amount of flinging oneself into bullets automatically makes one an authority or expert on Gandhi.

    Max, I’m curious about something. This is a real question, not rhetorical, and I hope you will answer it. Have you read any of the extensive and well-researched, well-referenced academic literature on principled nonviolence and pragmatic/tactical/strategic nonviolence? If so, how can you reconcile the arguments of Michael Nagler, Gene Sharpe, and many others who say there are two schools/fields/disciplines of nonviolence: 1) principled and 2) pragmatic (aka strategic/tactical)? If you’d read any of that material, I’d imagine you’d agree that their arguments are both normative and empirical. Your article postulating that nonviolence is not a principle holds little water for me, because it does not even begin to attempt to rebut these scholars’ claims (normative, empirical, and otherwise) about nonviolence being a principle. Nor can I honestly imagine anyone coherently rebutting the decades of serious work that went into cultivating this distinction. I believe there’s a consensus within the peace and conflict studies academic community about the two two schools of nonviolence, and the real questions that are up for debate are about efficacy, not whether the two schools exist.

    I didn’t even bother to wade into your argument that there is no clear line between nonviolence and violence (I had to draw the line somewhere in length) because this idea has been so thoroughly rebutted by other scholars. I think the basic idea is (and this is a vast simplification): “if you hold in your heart love for the adversary and a desire to persuade instead of coerce him/her to see the Truth (you are always holding fast to Truth), and you seek to both achieve justice AND reconcile your relationship with the adversary so that all parties benefit, then your campaign is in fact driven by true nonviolence” whereas “if you wish to coerce or force the adversary to do what you want without care or regard to his well being or how your relationship will be affected or end up, then you are driven by violence.” Much more has been said and written about this topic.

    In the early days of his nonviolent resistance “career” Gandhi in South Africa was once introduced to an audience as a passive/pacific resistor. He ripped up his prepared speech and gave a lecture about how Satyagraha was anything other than passive. I rejected your characterization of nonviolent resistance as pacific in that spirit. Certainly aspects of the dictionary definition of pacific do in fact apply to nonviolent resistance. The problem is that most people think “doing nothing” when they hear the word nonviolence, as opposed to “the most active and powerful force in the world for healing, social change, and reconciliation.” So I tend to jump on the “passive” or “pacific” characterization whenever and wherever it appears.

    Okay, so some people will in the vernacular sense hear or (mis)understand the word “principle” as a strict absolute, as you apparently do. But if you’d read any of the academic literature on “principled nonviolence,” you would know that it is specifically defined as NOT being an absolute. So given that you were seeking to characterize the word “principle” in the context of “nonviolence as (an alleged) principle,” it seemed inappropriate for you to attempt to pigeonhole the word principle as necessarily an absolute, without so much as a mention of the fact that the academic literature has addressed and dealt with that misperception.

    Yes, you do indeed quote Bromwich’s quote of Gandhi verbatim, but you do so selectively and out of context. By leaving out where Gandhi said: “But I believe that non-violence is infinitely superior to violence,
    forgiveness is more manly than punishment,” you imply that Gandhi would have been an advocate of possible armed resistance as a better choice than nonviolence. I believe your representations of Gandhi are so far offbase that if you were to submit an article to a serious academic journal with such characterizations, and the journal was edited by anyone deeply familiar with Gandhi, your article would be rejected out of hand. It’s easy to misunderstand Gandhi and quote him out of context, and I stand by my claim that you do that consistently in your posts.

    Your claim “Taylor has a bizarre journalistic approach to Gandhi, extracting what he likes, discarding what he does not. This is his business but not exactly sound intellectual practice” is entirely projection, and precisely what you are doing. I would be more than willing to have this question settled by an independent panel of Gandhian experts.

    Go back to your second post. You write, “Gandhi would have reluctantly approved” re: violent resistance. No. Gandhi would have said something like this, “According to society’s moral standards I cannot condemn violent resistance against Israeli oppression (so long as it doesn’t target civilians and conforms to today’s societal moral standards), and this is far better than cowardice. But I would vastly prefer the resistors choose the infinitely superior method and spiritual commitment of nonviolence.” So far as I know, virtually everything Gandhi ever said and wrote in his career backs up this claim.

    As for my claim that you are a skeptic about nonviolence, I refer to what I perceive (and I think accurately) to be your skepticism of nonviolence as either a moral principle, or at a minimum, forgetting morality, a consistent strategic commitment. I believe you wrote in your post that you see certain non-violent tactics as appropriate sometimes, and certain violent tactics as appropriate sometimes, depending on circumstances. True? If so, then you are in fact a skeptic of the idea that people who stick to a consistent and disciplined commitment to nonviolent resistance are more likely to have their campaign succeed (and work). Quite a few activists and scholars argue in favor of nonviolence as a consistent strategic commitment, including those who don’t give necessarily give damn about the morality or about healing relationships. They see nonviolence as consistently superior to violence in succeeding (Gene Sharpe holds this view, also check out the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, link to nonviolent-conflict.org, with many films and publications advancing this idea).

    The arguments about existence of structural constraints are valid, and indeed, the Palestinians are clearly suffering extreme structural constraints. But if you take the structural constraints argument too far (and I’m not necessarily saying you are, just that it’s possible to take it too far), you can dismiss the idea of any form of agency at all, as if everything the resistor does is entirely determined by the oppressor. I don’t think that holds water, and the fact that certain Palestinian grassroots leaders I’ve spoken to have expressed regrets (like: too bad we empowered Arafat instead of handling the negotiations ourselves, too bad we didn’t get back to the 1st Intifada when the negotiations were being co-opted) shows there is a possibility of agency and choice. The danger is if all failures are absorbed under “structural constraints,” you never learn anything for next time. Talk to Palestinians who say the 1st Intifada was the right path and the 2nd Intifada was the wrong path, I think they are arguing they did in fact have some agency despite the extreme oppression and structural constraints.

    As for the position of the Western commenter, you wrote a lot about it, and I have a simple and straightforward remark: I do not need to stick my head in front of an Israeli gun in order to accurately argue what Gandhi would have said about the Mavi Marmara and the struggle for Palestinian liberation. Nor does sticking one’s head in front of the gun automatically impart such wisdom. Finally, the most important thing I can say is that many of my words are based on what I’ve heard from Palestinian nonviolent organizers, so are you dismissing them too?

    Max, I have no doubt that you are a strong and courageous person, your commitment to the cause of Palestinian liberation is true, and your words are passionate. I hope someday you will take the time to read about principled nonviolence and pragmatic (strategic/tactical) nonviolence, and gain a deeper and more accurate understanding of the true Gandhi.

    • Max Ajl says:

      Matt,
      The only person, the sole confused, ethically bankrupt, fundamentalist, Gandhian teenager enamored of posies and pacifism here is you. You fundamentally mis-read my remark about the position of the Western commenter for the same reason a Zionist literally cannot comprehend the original sin of 1948: you are a racist. Admit it, and this will be easier. You do seek to instruct Palestinians. You “condemn any form of violence/terrorism that targets civilians, perpetrated by any party (state or non-state), on moral grounds,” so you condemn Palestinian terrorism and especially Palestinian rockets out of Gaza. This is racist. You have no standing to issue that condemnation, unless you think your toils reading Gandhi, hanging out with Tommy Nagler, and having a safari out to Bilin give you that standing. You not only do not understand this and the way the point generalizes, but work your hardest to create pieces of writing whose effect, whose only possible effect, is to create a framing that makes Palestinian violence illegitimate when that violence is part-and-parcel of Israeli violence.

      Condemnation creates a corollary, too, which is suggesting alternatives. No alternatives, less grounds for condemnation. Israelis have alternatives: lift blockade, end occupation, bi-national state. Enormous responsibility, enormous condemnation. Understand that responsibility rests in the hands of those who have choices, and Palestinians in Gaza have few choices and so little responsibility. You fetishize martial violence and ignore structural, institutional, or bio-political violence, and the way they are constantly defended, at the end of the day, by a man with a gun, and by a man with a pen legitimating the actions of the man with a gun. Your refusal to see that you are that man with a pen is saddening. You are quite eager to write the Palestinian right to violent resistance out of the tablet of moral laws issued by the Peace and Conflict Studies Community, which also lecturing Palestinians and the solidarity movement alike on how to act:

      Keep in mind that this started as a debate about the Mavi Marmara passengers’ actions, not Palestinians’ actions in the territories. I agree that we cannot tell Palestinians what to do, we can only offer input if it’s welcome and requested.

      I add here that this glossing of your first piece of writing is deeply dishonest, a recurring pattern, since you and Nagler both started issuing diktats about how Palestinians had no right to violent resistance almost immediately.

      Matthew, a quick note: Words matter. They matter for their effects. Your words literally will have no positive effect on the Palestinian struggle, because Palestinians in Palestine are generally (a) agreed on the utility of non-violence at the present moment (b) are not quite so eager to give up their right to self-defense and (c) probably not reading this exchange. Your words could have a negative effect. They could convince people that condemning Palestinian violence, no less by the people who pay for it, who live in states with borders protected by violence, is OK. It is not.

      Here you are borrowing a definition of “violence” and “non-violence”:

      Nonviolence is a powerful method to harmonize relationships among people (and all living things) for the establishment of justice and the ultimate well-being of all parties. It draws its power from awareness of the profound truth to which the wisdom traditions of all cultures, science, and common experience bear witness: that all life is one….

      And not borrowing one:

      If you hold in your heart love for the adversary and a desire to persuade instead of coerce him/her to see the Truth (you are always holding fast to Truth), and you seek to both achieve justice AND reconcile your relationship with the adversary so that all parties benefit, then your campaign is in fact driven by true nonviolence” whereas “if you wish to coerce or force the adversary to do what you want without care or regard to his well being or how your relationship will be affected or end up, then you are driven by violence.

      (You are actually slightly more coherent than the person you quote. I recommend excising yourself immediately from the Peace and Conflict Studies community. The rot may be infectious). Anyway, these are not coherent understandings or conceptualizations of violence or non-violence. The first definition of non-violence is just babble. The second definition excludes coercive BDS from the spectrum of “non-violence,” and actually makes it “violent,” hence illegitimate for “principled” practitioners of non-violence. Now these are labored understandings of violence and non-violence that depart far from what anyone reasonable person would understand by the terms, and they still don’t make any sense. If this is the distillate of how my (unrebutted) ideas about the spectrum and melding of violence and non-violence have “been so thoroughly rebutted by other scholars,” you can once again fuck off, because your only resort to an argument is argument-by-authority.

      On the academic literature. I have read enough of it not to read anymore. It’s a mélange of racist ethical thought, 3rd-rate political science, theology, and historical sociology for the mentally retarded. It has no discernible influence on the movement, except to reinforce an already hegemonic faith in non-violence. Trust me, the Mavi Marmara incident convinced a lot of people that using force in self-defense is a good idea. Also Matt this is a standing invitation to please by all means kill me if I were “to submit an article to a serious academic journal with such characterizations, and the journal was edited by anyone deeply familiar with Gandhi, your article would be rejected out of hand,” or hold myself out as a Gandhi expert.

      You seem to think that Gandhi’s campaign worked, and then cite Toynbee. You want to wave around the Peace and Conflict Studies literature? I recommend Paige or Zeitlin or Tilly on historical causation. We all know Gandhi’s campaign didn’t work, it didn’t work at all, while India now is a neo-liberal hellhole where peasants kill themselves with pesticides.

      You cite King on India:

      The aftermath of violence is always bitterness; the aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community so that when the battle is over, it’s over, and a new love and a new understanding and a new relationship comes into being between the oppressed and the oppressor.

      Frankly, I like Barrington Moore on India better. Here are the relevant questions: what happened to British metropolitan capital formation before and after Indian independence? What happened to the Indian political economy? What were the effects of Gandhi’s refusal to braid economic doctrines into his non-violence? India is one of the most desperately poor places on earth. Bangladesh will be underwater soon. Now Moore for example has tied some of this to Gandhi, suggesting that India’s path to independence and democracy came at the cost of a failure to radically break with the past, in part, not wholly, because Gandhi’s struggle had no component of socialism. In lieu of class-based allegiances people turned to communal violence, encouraged by the British and accepted by power-seekers within Indian society who encouraged communal violence when the other option was class-based upsurges that would have threatened their privilege.

      Socialism is to the point here—it is a way of destroying structural violence that you normalize and naturalize and don’t really care about. Gandhi refused to take up class struggle on mostly moral grounds. You must be aware of this. So when you are talking about Gandhi’s “non-violence” and don’t think of it consequentially, you should think a little about this. Violence is not simply the flash-point of confrontation between oppressor and oppressed but the threat of that flash-point and what it means for those who living under a regime of structural violence. They are scared of that flash point and so live in misery instead. Violence isn’t just soldiers shooting civilians. It’s also children dying when a generator in Rafah explodes because the Israelis don’t let enough gas in for the main grid. I don’t know why you don’t consider these things, but please stop making the readers here the casualty of your thoughtlessness.

      Frankly, we have no evidence that non-violence or non-violence can “work,” least of all for leftists. If the Spanish anarchists had better weapons in 1936 who knows what could have happened—better weapons both to resist the violence of the fascists and the treachery of the communists. We have no idea if anything will “work.” We may all be going to hell on a planet that is burning. It’s an ideology that there is an inevitably better world waiting for us, and in the meantime, as Edward Thompson pointed out, generations born, live and die in the tunnel of this world and the point is, right here, right now, to focus on alleviating their misery. There are people with guns in this world who will unceasingly kill to defend their privilege. I can see how this would not matter to someone already privileged, a beneficiary of structural violence, but for others, it is something worth keeping in mind. You think knowing Gandhi helps understand the Israel Palestine conflict but it doesn’t.

      On principles, tactics, empirics, and strategies: I realize that you are deliberately mis-reading. I said within your binary, there are those who hew to non-violence as a principle. But then I rejected your binary, and all you can do in response is fling “scholars” and “academics” at me.
      Your arguments where you engage with what I said as opposed to your renditions of what I said are at their core semantic. My uses make sense within their contexts and make less sense out of them. Specifically, there is an immense misunderstanding of Gandhi as a categorical pacifist who totally disavowed violence and it is that sense of “principle” that I was attacking. Correctly. You think that I imply that “Gandhi would have been an advocate of possible armed resistance as a better choice than nonviolence,” but you are off case both factually and more relevantly, generally: you think that I misunderstand Gandhi, but in fact I reject his utility to this debate entirely, and refuse to be another ninny invoking Gandhi when discussing how brown people should resist American violence. I reject the grounds of this scoundrels’ debate but you want to make it your life’s work. Of course you can’t listen to or understand what I am saying.

      For your claim about “skepticism”: you have no idea what I think. Each situation is different, which doesn’t make me a skeptic. It makes me a realist. Skeptics question efficacy of tactics. I am not a skeptic of principled non-violence, especially from (aspiring) intellectuals. I think the correct response to urinate on them, recognizing their humanity and the fact that they are being so insistently silly, naïve, and ethically blind that perhaps this is the one course that will wake them up.

      As I have made very clear, and you have repeatedly, at the length of thousands and thousands of words, refused to understand, principled non-violence is an ideology in the classic sense of the word, a misunderstand of the actual world, because you are responsible for violence. You cannot be a principled practitioner of non-violence and carry out violence, and Matthew, you are responsible for violence! Your privilege is the result of violence! You live in Berkeley and Berkeley isn’t inundated by Palestinian refugees from Gaza because of violence, because force repels illegal immigrants and force pens the Gazans in and you pay for that force and never throw yourself on that machine—American society—that produces that force, that violence.

      You write, “I do not need to stick my head in front of an Israeli gun in order to accurately argue what Gandhi would have said about the Mavi Marmara and the struggle for Palestinian liberation. Nor does sticking one’s head in front of the gun automatically impart such wisdom.” Correct. Knowing what Gandhi would have said is not possible with or without sticking your head in front of an Israeli gun. Gandhi’s dead.

      Finally: Matt, I don’t want your respect, and don’t offer it as some coin that I take payment in. Don’t offer it as a cheap debater’s trick after which you can mis-represent what I said, lie, mis-read, refuse-to-read, refuse-to-understand, contrast your Peace Studies Learnedness to my silly, unlearned, incorrect “bravery, courage, commitment, and passion,” and then highlight your racist refusal to countenance Palestinian violence as somehow the height of principled, erudite, righteousness. It’s the cheapest kind of demagogy, and no one is buying.

      • Max,

        We’ve unleashed a lot of words, and we gotta wrap this up sometime and move on. I’d like this to be the closing exchange. I’ll keep it purely to responses to your post.

        “You fundamentally mis-read my remark about the position of the Western commenter for the same reason a Zionist literally cannot comprehend the original sin of 1948: you are a racist. Admit it, and this will be easier.”

        Like essentially all white American men, I grew up in a culture suffused with racism, sexism, homophobia, and countless other forms of bigotry, discrimination, and oppression. Unlearning racism is a lifelong process, and while I’ve done a fair amount of work on it, I would never claim to be fully rid of these infectious cultural diseases — I don’t think any of us ever truly are.

        But I maintain that whatever racism I’ve grown up with and inherited from this culture does not automatically and necessarily mean I know nothing about Gandhi or what he’d have to say about the Mavi Marmara. I’d happily submit my analysis of Gandhi against yours to an independent panel of acknowledged and respected experts on Gandhi’s life and legacy and see what they have to say.

        “You ‘condemn any form of violence/terrorism that targets civilians, perpetrated by any party (state or non-state), on moral grounds,’ so you condemn Palestinian terrorism and especially Palestinian rockets out of Gaza. This is racist.”

        So is International Law — which as you know, condemns targeting of civilians — racist and illegitimate? Is the UN Goldstone Report, that condemned the Hamas War Crimes, racist and illegitimate? (Goldstone of course also and much more prominently condemned Israel’s far larger War Crimes.) On your blog, I recall you linked to Finkelstein’s analysis of Gandhi, with at least some approving words. As you must know, Finkelstein specifically said that Gandhi would never have approved targeting of civilians. Is Finkelstein’s comment about Gandhi racist and illegitimate?

        International law is very clear on this point. Any targeting of civilians is illegitimate. That means Israel’s oppressive civilian-targeting violence is illegitimate, and Palestinian violent resistance targeting civilians is illegitimate. I stand by my blanket condemnation, which is consistent with international law. If you don’t like it, what are you doing screaming at me? Why don’t you take it up with the UN and The International Criminal Court and the authors of the Geneva Conventions and Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, all of whom — so far as I know — not only agree with me, but are in fact the authorities from which this universal standard originates (more like I agree with them than the other way around)?

        “Understand that responsibility rests in the hands of those who have choices, and Palestinians in Gaza have few choices and so little responsibility.”

        To my understanding, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has unambiguously condemned the Second Intifada’s suicide bombing (so have many other grassroots Palestinian organizers). So is he and the others racist, lecturing and condemning fellow Palestinians who have no choice?

        “You fetishize martial violence and ignore structural, institutional, or bio-political violence, and the way they are constantly defended, at the end of the day, by a man with a gun, and by a man with a pen legitimating the actions of the man with a gun. Your refusal to see that you are that man with a pen is saddening.”

        I despise and am embarrassed by the way my country stole its land from the Native Americans. While I realize I benefit from the privilege of being an American amidst Empire, this is not a privilege for which I rejoice.

        “You are quite eager to write the Palestinian right to violent resistance out of the tablet of moral laws issued by the Peace and Conflict Studies Community,”

        See above re: international law. Go take it up with the UN.

        “They could convince people that condemning Palestinian violence, no less by the people who pay for it, who live in states with borders protected by violence, is OK. It is not.”

        See above re: international law. Go take it up with the UN.

        “The second definition excludes coercive BDS from the spectrum of non-violence,’”

        I can see why you’d conclude that, but after a lot of time questioning the line between coercion and persuasion, I think BDS can fall into something like “highly assertive persuasion” and “non-cooperation.” But it’s a fine point, and let’s not debate it here. Suffice it say that many of those who subscribe to nonviolence consider BDS to fall within the realm of nonviolence. It’s a legitimate topic of debate, but I think it’s outside of the main areas in which we disagree — we both support BDS, right? So let’s move on.

        “If this is the distillate of how my (unrebutted) ideas about the spectrum and melding of violence and non-violence have ‘been so thoroughly rebutted by other scholars,’”

        Max, there are times when certain actions fall into a grey area between nonviolence and violence, and you can argue it both ways. No doubt. But many actions I think can be clearly put into one box or the other. And other statements you have made or implied: “Nonviolence is not a principle,” “Gandhi would have approved of Palestinian violence” are highly rebutted by the scholars. I’ve addressed that in the post above.

        “On the academic literature. I have read enough of it not to read anymore. It’s a mélange of racist ethical thought, 3rd-rate political science, theology, and historical sociology for the mentally retarded.”

        There’s really no basis for us to have a discussion if you aren’t willing to read those who disagree with you.

        I would refer you to “Nonviolence is Who? Gene Sharp and Gandhi” by T Weber:
        link to www3.interscience.wiley.com

        Unfortunately it’s behind a firewall, but you can read the abstract:

        “There appear to be two approaches to nonviolence. They have been termed “principled,” where emphasis is on human harmony and a moral rejection of violence and coercion, and “pragmatic,” where conflict is seen as normal and the rejection of violence as an effective way of challenging power. Failure to distinguish between the two strands can lead to a diminution in the effectiveness of nonviolent action and can cause confusion among the audience. The acknowledged leading figures representing these approaches are Mahatma Gandhi and Gene Sharp. Sharp was once an idealistic seeker after Gandhi, yet his later work is characterized by hard-bitten realism. He now champions a “technique approach” to nonviolent action, arguing that it should be used for pragmatic rather than for religious or ethical reasons. Depending on how one looks at it, Sharp either has gone beyond Gandhi, making nonviolence a more practically available method of struggle, or has ditched key elements of Gandhi’s philosophy in action in a way that diminishes nonviolence. Perhaps rather than debating the merits of each approach, they can be seen as indicating alternative paths to the traveler who does not want to use violence.”

        My point here is many people have argued that nonviolence is indeed a principle, Weber among them. When you make a claim like “nonviolence is not a principle, it is a tactic” (the entire premise of your first post) I can only take it seriously if you read and directly rebut those who have already written in opposition to your views. But if you refuse to read that stuff, where do we go from there? There’s just no common ground to have the debate as we’re operating with different sets of information. It’s like you’re saying “just because it’s from academia, automatically it’s fraudulent and I’m not interested.”

        “India now is a neo-liberal hellhole where peasants kill themselves with pesticides.”

        Yes and it’s a tragedy. Some would say part of the reason was the abandonment of Gandhi’s program. I’m guessing you’d disagree. The causes of India’s dysfunction are numerous. That’s a huge discussion, and one I’m not knowledgeable enough to get into, nor do I have the time or desire.

        “What were the effects of Gandhi’s refusal to braid economic doctrines into his non-violence?”

        Google Gandhian Economics. It was a well developed part of his philosophy and on-the-ground organizing and practice.

        “Violence is not simply the flash-point of confrontation between oppressor and oppressed but the threat of that flash-point and what it means for those who living under a regime of structural violence. ”

        Galtung talks about direct violence, structural violence, and cultural violence. All must be considered and confronted and overcome and changed. I expect you’d agree, even if we disagree about methods.

        “Violence isn’t just soldiers shooting civilians. It’s also children dying when a generator in Rafah explodes because the Israelis don’t let enough gas in for the main grid.”

        Yup, that’s structural violence. “God ordered us to ethnically cleanse this land of its inhabitants” is what Galtung calls cultural violence.

        “Frankly, we have no evidence that non-violence or non-violence can ‘work,’ least of all for leftists. ”

        Okay, you can remain ignorant of history if you wish. I’ve listed numerous examples where nonviolence has succeeded, I’m assuming you know nothing about them. (Otpor in Serbia for example?)

        “Specifically, there is an immense misunderstanding of Gandhi as a categorical pacifist who totally disavowed violence and it is that sense of ‘principle’ that I was attacking. Correctly.”

        Wow, we agree on something. “Gandhi was a pacifist who categorically disavowed violence” is absolutely wrong, a widespread misperception, and it’s good to correct it. Gandhi himself eschewed the term ‘pacifist’ saying “There’s nothing about nonviolence that is passive.” And I think the oft cited quote where Gandhi says “Violence is superior to cowardice, whereas nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence” both clears up the idea that he always rejected violence, and also sets the record straight that he was an adherent to an advocate of nonviolence as a non-absolutist principle. The problem lies in your characterizations of Gandhi, and your lack of familiarity with (for example) the Weber article. I haven’t read the Weber piece in about 5 years, but my recollection is its contents would be very informative in your arguments about whether nonviolence is/can be a principle, Gandhi’s attitude toward nonviolence as a principle, and so on.

        If you were to agree, “Gandhi subscribed to nonviolence as a non-absolutist principle,” we’d have finally found some common ground on Gandhi, after all these words spilt. But if you insist on maintaining that Gandhi did not subscribe to nonviolence as a principle (without having read the Weber article) there’s really no further discussion to be had on the point.

        “I refuse to be another ninny invoking Gandhi when discussing how brown people should resist American violence. I reject the grounds of this scoundrels’ debate but you want to make it your life’s work.”

        If you reject making Gandhi the focus, why did you post something about how “nonviolence is not a principle” (which is disproven most prominently and conspicuously by Gandhi’s life and actions) and spend time trying to rebut the idea that Gandhi did not embrace nonviolence as a principle? Anyway, studying Gandhi is in fact a major component of my life’s work.

        “I am not a skeptic of principled non-violence, especially from (aspiring) intellectuals. I think the correct response to urinate on them”

        And that doesn’t make you a skeptic about the wisdom and practicality of embracing nonviolence as principle? In this case, I think your pee speaks louder than words.

        “principled non-violence is an ideology in the classic sense of the word”
        I agree.

        “a misunderstand of the actual world, because you are responsible for violence”

        Huh? I don’t know what you’re trying to say here. How was Gandhi’s embrace of nonviolence as a (non-absolute) principle (see Weber), or for that matter King’s subscription to nonviolence as a principle, a “misunderstand[ing] of the actual world].” What violence was Gandhi or King responsible for?

        “You cannot be a principled practitioner of non-violence and carry out violence, and Matthew, you are responsible for violence! Your privilege is the result of violence!”

        1) I don’t think I ever claimed (dear God I hope I didn’t) to be a practitioner of nonviolence. At least I hope I didn’t. I think I said I believe in it. Belief is one thing, practice is another. Gandhi believed in it and practiced it. I refer you to his legacy, and the writings about his legacy, not to anything in my life.

        2) Yes my privilege is a result of violence. I agree. You are right. That doesn’t change that I might possibly have something accurate to say about Gandhi and nonviolence. Well it does for you. So be it.

        “Knowing what Gandhi would have said is not possible with or without sticking your head in front of an Israeli gun. Gandhi’s dead.”

        You can read his writings and draw reasonable inferences, as I and others have done, Norman Finkelstein among them, Gandhi’s grandson too.

        “you can mis-represent what I said, lie, mis-read, refuse-to-read, refuse-to-understand,”

        After you read Thomas Weber’s piece on nonviolence as a principle, surely you will post some comments about how he was wrong and you were right about your claim that nonviolence is not a principle? Or will you refuse to read it?

        • Max Ajl says:

          Matthew,

          I have learned something! You are 36 years old. When we started off, I thought you were my age or younger, and this explained why you are such a silly twerp and aren’t so good at reading, but now I realize that you are a fully-grown-up twerp. I think you’re probably stuck with being that twerp for the rest of your life. Critical literacy, honest, ethics are things you still have a shot at, though the prospects aren’t good. Lesson is on. Pay attention.

          Let’s start with the core of the first tutorial: the question of non-violence as a “principle” versus a tactic. You have asserted—but not defended—the binary of non-violence and violence. You have proven unable to defend or define violence or non-violence in such a way as to create a coherent binary. Your definitions have the tone and logical content of a little child writing about how much they love their puppy. We’re talking politics, the real world, and violence, which means people dying—distant from the shire over in Berkeley, but bear with me. Your inability to defend your dichotomous conception of violence and non-violence against a spectrum-or-melding-throughout approach renders a principled approach to actually practicing non-violence as a way of being, rather than a situational way of reacting to violence and oppression, literally incoherent. What does it mean to be principled practitioner of non-violence if that sort of principled non-violence likely will lead to mass death? Is it just an idea?

          It doesn’t seem to be a very good idea. I took apart your definitions. BDS is coercive, people practice BDS coercively, there is no question about that and no amount of hemming or hawing about which category to slot it into, what “coercive” as opposed to “persuasive” means, will make you correct about it being non-coercive which is just an attempt to make it fit into this Procrustean bed that your rigid theory makes for you. I considered something—BDS—that people understand as a non-violent tactic against your definitions of non-violence and violence. BDS is anti-colonialist and overtly coercive. Plenty of those using it hate Israel, hate Israelis, but are willing to live in peace or want the Palestinians to live in peace with Israelis in a bi-national state. Intent matters for a certain sort of scribe scribbling away in the cloisters about non-violence, but vis-a-vis real world effects you have some convincing to do, and I suspect you’re not up for it. Not your fault. It’s going to be Sisyphean work. Your definitions are thoughtless non-sense, I am really sorry to say. Your definitions fell flat, on their own terms. You can’t blame anyone, you wrote them, you know that, so you hurtle along and write something fresh:

          I can see why you’d conclude that, but after a lot of time questioning the line between coercion and persuasion, I think BDS can fall into something like “highly assertive persuasion” and “non-cooperation.” But it’s a fine point, and let’s not debate it here.

          No shit you can “see why I’d conclude that.” It’s correct. No shit why you desire to “not debate it here.” You are wrong. Either defend your writing or get out of the ring.

          Now, you can continue to misconstrue what I wrote initially—Phil titled the post—when as I have clarified, re-clarified, clarified again, and clarified yet again, my argument is that non-violence should be employed as a tactic, and shouldn’t be raised to the level of principle. That is a normative statement about what I believe. It’s true, and truism, that people think of non-violence as a principle, but I still do not know what this means, and your lengthy interventions have not clarified this issue for me. Consider another one of these dimwits you say, “Look! Read! I can’t synthesize and summarize their work But They Are Correct!” Here’s Weber:

          There appear to be two approaches to nonviolence. They have been termed “principled,” where emphasis is on human harmony and a moral rejection of violence and coercion…

          Consider this “principled” non-violence. It “morally rejects” violence, except not in absolutist terms—presumably in self-defense it allows for violence. Here again you show your obsession with direct confrontational forms of violence, e.g. sudden, overwhelming force is the “exception” to the “moral rejection” of violence which then allows for forceful self-defense and coercion. That is roughly the prevailing interpretation of Article 51 of the UN. But that article allows for violent resistance to colonialism, and colonialism explicitly is not “sudden and overwhelming” but often structural. Here’s the point. Self-defense is allowed against sudden and overwhelming force within the ambit of an ostensibly “principled” non-violence–this we agree on. But what is the moral or ethical difference between violence used to expel foreign invaders who will inevitably kill because that is what occupiers do and have done throughout history and violence used against the foreign invader running willy-nilly around with a scimitar? There’s no coherent defensible ethical or moral difference. The issue is consequentalist: how do we reduce human suffering. Right?

          I read your scholarly obituary on Sharp and Gandhi. Sharp agrees with me (in part), saying “It is not a question, is it morally right or morally wrong. It is not a question, is it justified or unjustified. Those are the ways it is usually argued among Palestinians. The question is, what are its consequences?” although he’s clearly morally retarded since the questions of consequences are basically moral ones, although there is nitpicking to be done, systems of morality conflict, are not axiomatic, etc, Sharp does seem to agree that we are responsible for the consequences of our actions. Gandhi in this incisive rendition says consequences are unknowable. In other words according to your authority he has divorced himself in general terms from the world. Now I don’t give a fuck about Gandhi, but I will duly inform the Gazan organizers facing politicide about this revolutionary analysis and will report back their reactions. Take silence for contempt, and then be assured: I can predict the consequences of that idiotic foray and won’t carry it out.

          There are those who claim to be “principled” practitioners of non-violence and for them we are supposed to accept that non-violence is a principle. But the only way to make it an ethical principle, and furthermore a principle that redounds to actually decreasing violence–the goal–is to riddle it with so many exceptions that it instead becomes really a strategy. Or, rather, the “principle” is that non-violence will always and inevitably be better than violence as a means to reducing societal violence. Is this provable? Of course it isn’t, it’s faith, it’s an atheistic religion.

          On Gandhi, you insist on mis-reading even while you trip yourself so bumblingly on the words you’re leaving scattered around that you actually confirm my arguments. I said that Gandhi was not a principled practitioner or believer in non-violence in the vernacular sense stipulated in my reply to Bromwich. Vernacular is common. You then agree that the common misunderstanding of Gandhi was as an adherent to an exception-less principle of non-violence, while that was not in fact what Gandhi thought—as you write, this is a “a widespread misperception,” one whose consequences have spread into the fucking vernacular! Once again, once you have taken the time and effort to extricate your head from your ass, its usual resting spot, clearly, you in fact precisely confirm my argument.

          On the question of the utility of Gandhi. You are unable to defend Gandhi’s historical failures, and so don’t want to discuss them: “Some would say part of the reason was the abandonment of Gandhi’s program. I’m guessing you’d disagree. The causes of India’s dysfunction are numerous. That’s a huge discussion, and one I’m not knowledgeable enough to get into, nor do I have the time or desire.” In other words, you don’t care that Gandhi’s programs failed, you don’t care why, you don’t care about the world or the consequences of actions but rather about this set of ideas. This is pure idealism as someone else pointed out, and the height of privileged non-sense. What you care about is a legacy of writing that he left behind. Now, any ditz can make the facile argument that non-violence could have worked. History is not a laboratory. Sure it “could have,” something different could always happen, just like maybe a million Lebanese fellah could have marched south from the Litani and wowed the children of Israel into abandoning the occupation of southern Lebanon. This is silly, since Israel wants land more than peace, which you don’t understand and refuse to understand, a refusal with no consequences for you, hence your mule-stubborn morally bankrupt refusal to see it. History doesn’t follow immutable laws but the workings of power are more predictable than the machinery of resistance. We know that Israel would prefer land to peace, this is embedded in its genetic code, which makes all of your verbiage about humanizing the oppressor a sort of dangerously naive non-sense that can literally end up killing people if anyone was listening to. Let us be clear again that they are not.

          More on the utility of Gandhi: you claim I give a shit about Gandhi but I emphatically do not. You brought him up, you invoked him, and I said you misread the efficacy of his actions (you are totally unmoored from reality and think citing Toynbee that erudite historian of South Asia confirms your argument) and that is where we started off. Gandhi Gandhi Gandhi Gandhi Gandhi Gandhi you are like a fucking woodpecker Matthew. If Gandhi’s doctrine failed on its own terms, why take him seriously? You have a pretty good answer to that one:

          Anyway, studying Gandhi is in fact a major component of my life’s work… That doesn’t change that I might possibly have something accurate to say about Gandhi and nonviolence…. I would be more than willing to have this question settled by an independent panel of Gandhian experts… I’d happily submit my analysis of Gandhi against yours to an independent panel of acknowledged and respected experts on Gandhi’s life and legacy and see what they have to say.

          In other words, you are very concerned with consequences—consequences for yourself, and for your career path. Listen. Drop Gandhi. One, we agree that within an idealist realm, where only ideas matter and where history does not, it is true that I would “agree [that] “Gandhi subscribed to nonviolence as a non-absolutist principle,” [so that] we’d have finally found some common ground on Gandhi, after all these words spilt.” Walla. Fucking Amazing. But the question—my question, not yours, to be fair—is if Gandhi’s doctrine had the ultimate effect of reducing the net social violence that afflicted the South Asian continent and my feeling is that the real, physical, historical answer is that the answer is no. Which makes the notion of “principle” difficult to comprehend or conceptualize. If I subscribe to “non-absolutist principled non-violence” as a route to reducing net human suffering but it can be shown persuasively enough that it in fact increases net human suffering induced by violence, what does this principle mean? What could it possibly mean? Is the point personal purity, a life-style choice? Do you think the 18-year-old Hamas or Islamic Jihad martyrs pick up the guns because they get to wear slick bandannas? Are you possibly so detached from the world?

          A quick bit of advice, then onwards: you write, “You can read his writings and draw reasonable inferences, as I and others have done, Norman Finkelstein among them, Gandhi’s grandson too.” But in fact if Gandhi was alive now he would have seen 60 years of history and colonial occupation go by and would have changed his mind as human beings are wont to do. We cannot draw reasonable inferences, it’s simply an invalid historical and philosophical procedure and incoherent and irrelevant and scriptural and fundamentalist. You cannot say that Gandhi would have approved of Palestinian violence because you have not the slightest idea what he would say since history is path-dependent and you cannot simply extract and re-implant Gandhi. It has no intellectual value whatsoever.

          On your misreadings. They are deeply dishonest. I understand that confusion will suffuse your mind because you’re so confused perpetually that clearly the world, texts, logic and the rest simply send you into a cognitive tailspin when you try to engage with them. When you have petulant whinny asides, like when I dismissed the literature you’ve been marinating in for the last few years, and you write, “There’s really no basis for us to have a discussion if you aren’t willing to read those who disagree with you,” you are being willfully mendacious, because I read you even though I disagree with you, I read enough of the literature to not want to bother anymore with it, I read Weber just now and lost some time from my life. If you are representing this literature, if Nagler produces this literature, the logical conclusion is that it, kind of like your life, is worthless. Then you issue this mealy-mouthed blabber about how you “haven’t read the Weber piece in about 5 years, but my recollection is its contents would be very informative in your arguments about whether nonviolence is/can be a principle, Gandhi’s attitude toward nonviolence as a principle, and so on.” Ah it would be helpful but you can’t synthesize it, remember it, or defend barely a one of your positions—you just urge me to Go Read Daddy Scholar He’s Convincing shit Matt you sound like a kid in a playground claiming that your daddy is going to come and beat me up.

          You write, “There’s just no common ground to have the debate as we’re operating with different sets of information. It’s like you’re saying ‘just because it’s from academia, automatically it’s fraudulent and I’m not interested.’” You dummy, I am in academia. Go look at my “About” section, if you’ll be so troubled, then look at who I am citing, who I am glossing. They are academics. I like academia! Academia Is Good! What I don’t like is non-sense, and when that’s all you have to offer, and when you say read this or read that but can’t actually make an argument what am I supposed to do?

          Well, who cares, you know exactly what your next step is: you can just misunderstand the next sentence, too. When I wrote, “Frankly, we have no evidence that non-violence or non-violence can ‘work,’ least of all for leftists,” that was quite clearly a comment directed at leftists. We don’t know how to bring about socialism, and we may fail. You are not only convinced that a better world is inevitably on the horizon, but that non-violence as pure principle is the best way to bring it about. This infinite horizon makes it easier to shrug: yes the American Indians nearly died out wholly but they can keep breeding, they’ll bounce back! Maybe there is no infinite horizon, so we must fight for justice in the here-and-now.

          When I write, “principled non-violence is an ideology in the classic sense of the word…a misunderstanding of the actual world, because you are responsible for violence,” and you quote with the sentence broken in half where there is the ellipsis, it’s no wonder you are befuddled. You write re: above that

          How was Gandhi’s embrace of nonviolence as a (non-absolute) principle (see Weber), or for that matter King’s subscription to nonviolence as a principle, a “misunderstand[ing] of the actual world].” What violence was Gandhi or King responsible for?

          They were responsible for the violence that occurred that was avoidable if their doctrines had been different. (Again I did not bring up King). Now, this is not a question of re-writing history or running lab experiments Matthew but understanding something Chomsky has been insisting on for a very long time. The privileged are infinitely responsible. You are infinitely responsible. There are people screaming and dying and you could do more to stop them and you are not and this makes you infinitely responsible. You. Right now, you are responsible for a Palestinian child dying in Rafah and you insipid dimwit so am I! They are screaming NOW. On Gandhi, he stopped certain industrial strikes; this led to violence when battles that could have taken place on class lines took place on communal lines. I think this led to more violence than would have been the case otherwise. Others agree. I laid out my arguments in the previous rebuttal, but you don’t care.

          There is a corollary. Through these arguments, we are also responsible. We are responsible for what we choose to say and what we choose not to say. I know you think you are issuing non-sensical babble and hence by definition can’t be held accountable for what you are saying. I have some sympathy for that position, but not enough to drop the charge.

          Some more misreading. I refuse to condemn Palestinian violence for ethical reasons that I very carefully laid out. That Abbas condemns it is not evidence for anything. He is a collaborator-scoundrel. That Palestinians condemn it is a different story. Their ethical positioning is different from yours. This is so damnably difficult for you to wrap your head around Matt but you are not Palestinian. You are a privileged white Jewish guy infinitely responsible for awesome suffering and your job is to end that suffering.

          Next. Refusal to condemn Palestinian violence is different from approval. “Countenance” was too ambiguous and was used incorrectly. That, I retract while reiterating that I absolutely and categorically refuse to condemn Palestinian violence. You perched with the rest of the woodpeckers now have a new rat-tat of a rhythm: GoldstoneUNGoldstoneUNGoldstoneUNGoldstoneUNGoldstoneUNGoldstoneUN: “Is the UN Goldstone Report, which condemned the Hamas War Crimes, racist and illegitimate?” Yes, it is, although not wholly. Look into who Goldstone is. International law is a set of norms. Wisely, perhaps, it does not implement itself. People implement it, and for the same reason that there is jury nullification, when jurors can vote not to convict despite the weight of evidence favoring conviction, because they can act on their own moral conscience in exceptional cases, people should implement international law in an ethical manner, which means demanding that those with power hew to it before demanding that those suffering from the violence inflicted by power follow it, a fortiori when we are responsible for one form of violence rather directly. You “stand by your blanket condemnation” and you are welcome to slam brown people with no other option but you are wrong to do so. Or, rather, others who I respect are wrong to do so. You are a little worse than just “wrong.”

          Matt: international law is a set of norms that applies to a radically unjust world. It’s a Utopia, or should be, but we need to map its texts, norms, documents, the institutions they establish, over the real world, this capitalistic imperialistic Earth with its class struggles and misery and hope, this world you hate, that you must hate because you so sedulously and steadfastly refuse to engage with its gritty, grubby empirics. The UN and the ICC reflect colonial power dynamics as well as represent grasping, halting tries at codifying the terms of a radical, rights-based Utopia. There is an enormous tension there. The question: how to arrive at that Utopia? First step: Condemn those who create hell. Second step: Make them stop creating hell. Third step: There is none, because hell produces acts that resemble it. Palestinian rocketry is an overt symptom of occupation. Stop hiding behind the UN and the ICC and turn on your heart and your brain. You will find that it is a novel experience but not totally unpleasant. You may even get to like it after a while and cease to be such an unpleasant person, and that’d be cool, too. As for your comment about the UN and violent resistance, you might look into the issue slightly more deeply. You may even learn something.

          When I wrote,

          You not only do not understand this and the way the point generalizes, but work your hardest to create pieces of writing whose effect, whose only possible effect, is to create a framing that makes Palestinian violence illegitimate when that violence is part-and-parcel of Israeli violence… Words matter. They matter for their effects. Your words literally will have no positive effect on the Palestinian struggle, because Palestinians in Palestine are generally (a) agreed on the utility of non-violence at the present moment (b) are not quite so eager to give up their right to self-defense and (c) probably not reading this exchange. Your words could have a negative effect. They could convince people that condemning Palestinian violence, no less by the people who pay for it, who live in states with borders protected by violence, is OK. It is not.

          You ignored those words and proceeded apace. That you don’t care is indicate of something. It’s indicative of your thoughtlessness and precisely that very absence of thought and of reflection, that careerism—and Matthew, you do want that career in Peace and Conflict Studies, you want it badly—leads to evil. You are free to not give a fuck, but seriously: what are you doing posting here then? Why is Phil tolerating you? What do you aim with your life? To be another cog in the machine? Thus far you fit well. And don’t get it confused: that machine kills Palestinians. You can choose to be a wrench, too, and that fits also in its way into the machine. A wrench fits into the space in the machine that destines it for destruction. Your life and your call Matt. Think about it.

    • sherbrsi says:

      “I do not need to stick my head in front of an Israeli gun in order to accurately argue what Gandhi would have said about the Mavi Marmara and the struggle for Palestinian liberation. Nor does sticking one’s head in front of the gun automatically impart such wisdom.”

      According to your (supposed) role model, you most certainly do.

      As an activist of any merit lecturing in the most self-righteous manner those who have faced the danger and suffered its violent consequence, you most certainly do.

      To have any shred of credibility, you most certainly do.

      But, by the way you so passively and ignorantly dismiss actual action (the very essence of Gandhist activism) for lecturing others who had the discipline to follow through with their words, instead of authoritatively lecturing others on the deeper understanding of moral right and Gandhism safe on the sidelines like yourself, you reveal just how superficial your understanding of the issues is, and more importantly what a hollow shell of a being you are for maligning the dead activists in the contemptible manner you have treated them.

    • sherbrsi says:

      I hope someday you will take the time to read about principled nonviolence and pragmatic (strategic/tactical) nonviolence, and gain a deeper and more accurate understanding of the true Gandhi.

      Please. You’re just some kid who took some courses on Gandhi, and you imagine yourself to be some enlightened expert on the “true Gandhi” and his ideals, while displaying the most explicit ignorance of some of the most rudimentary ideals Gandhi lived and died by. Don’t flatter yourself.

  11. I didn’t read all that eroodeyte stuff and no, I don’t believe the topic is “so complex” that “it deserves this level of depth.”

    In fact, the topic is so simple, and the ethical path so clear, that this “level of depth” is required in the same way as a tonne of spaghetti is required to be flung against the wall in the vain hope that something will stick, to support a fundamentally bankrupt position.

    Instead of debating ad infinitum the legitimacy, practicality, effectiveness, relative moral value of violent vs non violent resistance, why not put your effort to BLASTING it into the heads of Israelis that what they are doing to Palestinians is wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong, in as many categories and with whatever level of complexity your graphomania requires of you? hmmmm?

    doh, you jooos: what yous guys is doing ain’t right. stop it. now.

    • azythos says:

      Psycho God – “why not put your effort to BLASTING it into the heads of Israelis that what they are doing to Palestinians is wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong”

      But of course they know it; better, perhaps, than we do. What must be blasted into their head is that they are losing and the price tag is getting steeper.

  12. andrew r says:

    I’ve only been skimming it but Bradley Burston’s comments pulled me by the larynx.

    “God protect you from us, and from your own people. You will be scoffed at even as you are shot at. There are people on both sides for whom non-violence causes a sense of unease, a sense of being, forgive me, emasculated.

    Teach us to grow up.

    Teach us what we have lost. Our sense of shame….”

    Not impressed at all. The only thing that separates this guy from Witty is a bit of self-awareness. What’s so great about belonging to “us”? Why did he support Operation Cast Lead if he knew Israeli soldiers are able to fire on civilians non-violently protesting? Take a look at how he responded to the killing of Nizar Rayyan.
    link to haaretz.com

    From this I draw two conclusions:
    a) Bradley identifies with those who commit violence against Palestinians
    b) Bradley has a system of punishment and reward for how Palestinians respond to said violence

    He knows Israel will kill Palestinians violent or non-violent, but in the latter case their killing doesn’t have his moral support. What a hero.

    • sherbrsi says:

      Burston is a prime example of the liberal Zionist feigning concern and sympathy for Palestinian suffering. No wonder he is so liked by Witty.

  13. Matthew IS obviously considering how the message of dignity and improvement for Palestinians can be conveyed to Israelis and sympathizers, and to persuade them to reconcile.

    He is saying, as I have many times, that violent or even overly assertive verbal comments DETER that communication.

    Maybe its not necessary for Israeli community to consent. Maybe its not necessary to persuade and make a confident path for Israelis to co-exist.

    I think it is. War is not a democratic setting.

    • Donald says:

      Another thing that deters that reconciliation are Israeli war crimes and apologetics for them.

    • Shingo says:

      “War is not a democratic setting.”

      Which is why Israel remains in a state of war and refuses to accept the arab Peace proposal. Israel was founded on war and it’s existence is maintain by a state of war (real or imaginary).

      Your own paranois and distrust of peace offers from Arabs expose the very same psychosis. As a Zionist, you regard peace or peace offers as simply another form of warfare.

      • Shingo,
        I am on long record of supporting the Arab peace initiative, and criticizing Israel for not taking it up in earnest.

        Israel was founded on self-determination. War came much much later, when Israel’s desire for self-government was so violently opposed.

        1948 is clearly accurately a great tragedy for Palestinians, one that can be resolved if not to the satisfaction of those “on a roll”. But, an honest inquiry into 1948 will acknowledge that the Arab and Palestinian communities sought to ethnically cleanse the region of Jews, and that any story that omits that is self-deception.

        I believe that it was the effort of some Zionists to terrorize the Arab residents, and that for many more the ethnic cleansing was a temporary wartime strategy.

        The nut to resolving it is confident acceptance of Israel. That is not clear from western solidarity, from Hamas, from diaspora Palestinians.

        Its real, and doesn’t go away.

        • Shingo says:

          Witty,

          “I am on long record of supporting the Arab peace initiative, and criticizing Israel for not taking it up in earnest.”

          Correction:  You’re on the record of denying the Arab peace initiative even exists.

          “Israel was founded on self-determination.”

          Bullshit.  Israel was founded on terrorism and ethinc cleansing. Without both, Israel would not exist.

          “War came much much later”

          Bullshit.  War came on the heels of Israel’s declaration of independence.

          “1948 is clearly accurately a great tragedy for Palestinians…”

          Fuck you Witty.  Was the Holocaust a tragedy or a crime against humanity?

          “But, an honest inquiry into 1948 will acknowledge that the Arab and Palestinian communities sought to ethnically cleanse the region of Jews, and that any story that omits that is self-deception.”

          What would you know about honesty Witty>?  By your own admission, you’ve never read a book on the subject of 1948 in yout long and sorry life.

          “The nut to resolving it is confident acceptance of Israel.”

          Bullshit.  Acceptance in a mutual arrangement, not an exclusive right of Israel.
           

        • andrew r says:

          If you’re surrounded by books on the early Zionist movement, you can not sneeze without hitting some mention of the plan to transfer Arabs. Nevermind the infamous Herzl quote, Ruppin planned on buying land in Lebanon for the purpose of resettling fellahin.

          This makes it especially disingenuous to paint 1948 as a war between two sides equally bent on expulsion. The Arab invasion of Palestine was a reaction to the Zionists implementing their transfer idea.

          Zionism was unsavory before it left Europe.

        • Shingo,
          You are making things up again.

          Please bother to attribute accurately.

          Also, please bother to read history. For example, there was a 1947 civil war in Israel/Palestine that was triangular (if not more parties, England, Zionists, Arabists/Palestinians). That preceded 1948 and the various partition plans proposed.

        • RoHa says:

          “Israel was founded on self-determination.”

          No, Israel was founded on denying the self-determination of the majority of the people of Palestine. They wanted self-government from at least 1918, but were continually denied it. They did not want part of the country sliced off for an ethnically based state, but that is what happened.

          “War came much much later, when Israel’s desire for self-government was so violently opposed.”

          Israel brought the war and the violence.

        • Sumud says:

          “Also, please bother to read history… … there was a 1947 civil war in Israel/Palestine…. …That preceded 1948 and the various partition plans proposed.”

          Right Mr Teacher.

          Except the civil war came after UN passed GA Resolution 181 November 1947, not before. And it was just in Palestine, Israel didn’t exist at the time.

          Who is makin’ stuff up?

        • Shingo says:

          “Also, please bother to read history”

          I ghave read history. By your own admission, you have not.

          The 1947 war was a precusro to the1948 war and the pre planned ethnic cleasing of Palestine.

          Strop wanting our time with your fuaxhistory lessons. Read a history book and go away.

        • Shingo says:

          Thank you Sumud,

          The village idiot and master of comedy soils himself once again on this forum.

          What a tragic excuse for a human being!

        • Sumud says:

          ” But, an honest inquiry into 1948 will acknowledge that the Arab and Palestinian communities sought to ethnically cleanse the region of Jews, and that any story that omits that is self-deception.”

          Total hasbara rubbish.

          Ben Guri0n to Moshe Sharret, March 14, 1948:
          “They, the decisive majority of them, do not want to fight us”

          Ezra Danin (head of Haganah Intelligence – arab section):
          “I believe the majority of the Palestinian masses accept the partition as a fait accompli and do not believe it possible to overcome or reject it”

          The arab state armies were reluctant to enter the conflict and began military planning only two weeks before the end of the British Mandate in the middle of May 1948. The two compelling factors were the massacre at Deir Yassin (and related ethnic cleansing of Palestine – already well underway) which prompted a response in defence of the Palestinians, and the desire to prevent Abdullah of Jordan from annexing the West Bank and implementing his plans for a greater Syria.

          I recall you quoting two history books as your invaluable source on Israel Richard – one of them from the mid 1970s. Time to do a little more reading.

          PS what was the name of that text again?

        • Sumud says:

          “The village idiot and master of comedy soils himself once again on this forum.

          What a tragic excuse for a human being!”

          It’s sad really Shingo. If RW could break out of the bubble I’ve no doubt he could make a positive contribution to I/P. He’s not unintelligent, just stuck in old school zionism – and closed to much of what has occurred in the last 30 years.

        • Shingo says:

          “PS what was the name of that text again?”

          Do I hear crickets?

        • Shingo says:

          “He’s not unintelligent, just stuck in old school zionism”‘

          It’s worse than that. He’s stuck in old school zionism and mastered the art of denial and self delusion. He could never make a positive contribution because ultimately, he’s an ethnic supermacist and a racist at heart.

        • Sumud says:

          “Do I hear crickets?”

          The silly thing is it’s actually a serious question. I’m reading a bit on that period (post ’67) and looking for a some zionist history of that time.

        • Donald says:

          He’s recommended Howard Sachar’s book.

          I’ve glanced at it in libraries and bookstores from time to time, but not read it. From the passages I’ve skimmed, it looked honest in some spots and biased in others, but I’ve forgotten most of the details. One I remember where it seemed biased was in his criticism of the Western press for its coverage of the number of civilian casualties in Lebanon–Sachar claimed that they were just giving PLO figures. But I’ve read accounts where the figures came directly from hospitals and for Beirut, the numbers cited were from Red Crescent medical records. Sachar didn’t say where his supposedly superior knowledge came from, but his complaint was one made by Israel and its supporters at the time (Israel, as Chomsky pointed out in “The Fateful Triangle”, gave absurdly low numbers.)

        • Sumud says:

          Thanks Donald, the Sachar text was one of the two, but the one I’m after is the text from the 70s. He’s gone all shy..

    • azythos says:

      Witty (not much truth in advertising here) – “how the message of dignity and improvement for Palestinians can be conveyed to Israelis and sympathizers, and to persuade them to reconcile”

      The Propaganda shill pretending to be unaware of the clearly stated price for reconciliation.

      It’s an exceedingly simple price tag. Scrupulously respect the UN GA resolutions, international law and the requests made by the freely elected representatives of the Palestinian people in the absence of any military of civil occupation.

      Like he’s never heard it. Tomorrow he’ll pretend again that he didn’t.

      • Shingo says:

        “Like he’s never heard it. Tomorrow he’ll pretend again that he didn’t.”‘

        Just like he’ll pretend 22 Arab States have not signed a peace initiative, nor that Israel has rejecte the offer since 2003 and instead will conplain that all the Arab states are hostile to Israel and it’s very existence.

  14. Matthew- Thanks for the article and for the heartfelt feelings and beliefs that underlie it. Few things are encouraging regarding the conflict today, but the amount of effort, brains and heart you put into this is encouraging.

  15. MHughes976 says:

    I think that the overwhelming consensus of the human race is that there exists a right to violent self-defence. Strong philosophical arguments in support of this position are provided by Hobbes and Locke. These arguments also show that in many or even most circumstances that right can be renounced- and indeed anyone who contemplates violence should, as a matter of common sense, recall that many people who do decide that violence is justified invoke all sorts of consequences that they never intended. However a right can, in its nature, never be renounced for all circumstances or absolutely: which may mean that Gandhi (depending on how he is interpreted) is wrong.
    It may be that the Palestinians are best advised, in all the circumstances, to renounce their right to self-defence, even to endure the unendurable. But that has to be an argument from the circumstances rather than from moral absolutes. That is the advice that I would give, not that I pretend to any right from my Western perch to advise.
    I think that there are some fuzzy boundaries between ‘moral argument taking account of circumstances’ and ‘tactical arguments’ and even more importantly between essentially peaceful and essentially violent forms of resistance.

    • Has Hamas ever conducted self-defense?

      Terror bombings of civilians as self-defense? Shelling of civilian towns as self-defense? Hiding during the 2008 Israeli offensive, self-defense?

      • Shingo says:

        “Has Hamas ever conducted self-defense?”

        Has Hamas been attacked?  Yes.

        “Terror bombings of civilians as self-defense?”

        It is for Israel is it not?

        “Shelling of civilian towns as self-defense?”

        Israel fired 7,700 shells into Gaza over a period of 12 months.  Was that self defense?

        “Hiding during the 2008 Israeli offensive, self-defense?”

        Are you out of your fucking, psychotic Zionist mind?  Did the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto and throughout WWII hide from the Nazis Witty, or was the fact they they hid proof that they got what they deserved?

        You’re nothing but a sick, fascist racist pig.

        • Donald says:

          Richard’s “Hamas hid” meme is especially hypocritical, even for him, because he knows damn well that if Hamas militants had fought back with everything they had, Israel would have blasted into oblivion every neighborhood where there was serious resistance and the civilian death toll would have been many times higher than it already was. Richard would then have blamed Hamas for hiding behind the civilian population and would have blamed them for all the civilian deaths.

          Besides, it’s funny seeing a self-proclaimed advocate for (Palestinian) nonviolence taunting them for not being more violent.

        • Shingo says:

          “Besides, it’s funny seeing a self-proclaimed advocate for (Palestinian) nonviolence taunting them for not being more violent.”

          Brilliantly and devastaingly put Donald.

          Witty’s hypocrisy and delusion is so ingrained that he steps into his own rhetorical traps and still doesn’t realise he’s done it.

        • The hypocrisy is of Hamas.

          The claimed to protect the Palestinian people, but instead hid, to fight another day.

          They claimed that they were undertaking self-defense, by shelling civilians only.

          Very odd what they do. Their decision process is self-talk (like here), and the admiration of the western solidarity is more odd.

          There is a great divide between the dissenting and the warring solidarity community.

          The dissenting solidarity committee welcomes introspection by Israeli and supporters’ liberals, as they know that changes in attitudes within the range of dismissal to consideration (not to revolution) DOES make change.

          Those that are at war state, “it doesn’t matter, they are only spineless liberals”.

          And, thereby shoot themselves in the foot as far as tactics and long-term objectives are concerned.

        • Donald says:

          “Witty’s hypocrisy and delusion is so ingrained that he steps into his own rhetorical traps and still doesn’t realise he’s done it.”

          It sure seems like it–I’m never quite sure how self-aware he is.

        • Sumud says:

          Not very.

          I hear a lot of complaining that we don’t accept his particularly disgusting version of “self-determination” – one that Goebbels himself would have been proud of [everything's OK if you call it self-determination]… … some foot stamping that we reject his branding of jewish supremacy as a “liberalism”… …some moaning that his lies are contested… …criticism of others for challenging bad journalism… …an unwillingness to face Israel’s serial rogue behaviour… …and a whole lot of pseudo-intellectual word salad.

        • Shingo says:

          “The claimed to protect the Palestinian people, but instead hid, to fight another day”

          When did Hamas claim to protect the Palestinian people? Please provide a quiote from a Hamas spokesperson to that effect.

          Hama claim to resist occupation annd agression. They know as well as anyone that they have no means to protect Palestinians from Israeli agression.

          “They claimed that they were undertaking self-defense, by shelling civilians only.”

          Please provide the quote to that effect.

          We kow youre a fucking liar Witty. I just want you to prove it again.

        • Donald says:

          “criticism of others for challenging bad journalism”

          I forgot about that. The same guy who insists on squeaky clean pure nonviolent resistance from Palestinians (unless it’s the PA doing Israel’s dirty work for it) and who is so critical of “dissent” for advocating boycotts was oh so understanding about Jeffrey Goldberg’s warmongering. Weird. I can’t understand the logic, unless, unless—it’s the identity of the perpetrator and victim that matters more than any underlying principles.

      • Hiding during the 2008 Israeli offensive, self-defense?

        Just proves how violent those Palestinians are!
        There they were, our proud, brave IDF, guns loaded, jets screaming. They called out nicely, politely, in Arabic even: “Come here so we can kill you; we don’t want to get our boots dusty by trekking thru the houses that we’ve bombed and bulldozed.”
        So what do those violent Palestinians do? They HIDE in SELF DEFENSE!
        Despicable, just disgusting. Where is the Palestinian Gandhi? How can anyone deal with such people who won’t cooperate in their own destruction?

        • Shingo says:

          Also brilliantly put PG.

          Witty’s comment was so outlandish and absurd that it seriously left me speechless, so I’m glad you and Donald were able to be so erudite in your reponse to such a digusting statement.

        • eljay says:

          >> RW: “Hiding during the 2008 Israeli offensive, self-defense?”
          >> Donald: … it’s funny seeing a self-proclaimed advocate for (Palestinian) nonviolence taunting them for not being more violent.

          Another crack in the veneer…

  16. Matthew Taylor’s posting/ running argument for his brand of nonviolence against activists who disagree with him, and who also happen to live in the real world, are really, really awful.
    He is putting forth a holier than thou bunch of mystical drivel that is a CANCER on oppressed peoples’ struggles for liberation.
    Do I sound too harsh? Am I too dismissive of the, to paraphrase, the years of alleged scholarship on Ghandi and nonviolence? No not at all.
    Why do I say it is a cancer? Because it is a utopian, debilitating doctrine that always gives the benefit of the doubt to the oppressors and denigrates those who fight back for their rights. Usurpers always like to state that they are defending law and order and that any insurgency is illegitimate unless it is properly “peaceful.”
    How many times have we heard pro-zionist defenders of Israeli state terrorism ask in dismay, “where is the Palestinian Ghandi?” They are violence-baiting any opposition to Israeli violence. It looks like the pacifists in our movement are acting like a fifth column. (is this too incendiary? I’m very, very pissed off and have had it with haughty lectures from “principled pacifists.”)
    The criticisms of the passengers on the Mavi Marmara who were under murderous armed attack by a remorseless IDF commando unit are nauseating. Taylor would have them wearing saffron robes and chanting OMMMM, or something. The use of Hindu religious jargon to criticize the vetting of the passengers is more evidence of the fantasy-land nature of this kind of church dogma style pacifism.
    There has never been a successful major social change or victory of the downtrodden scored via any so-called principled philosophy of non-violence. Not in India where there was an armed movement. Look at India now, it’s a disaster of poverty and theft of land from destitute peasants. (see Ahrundati Roy’s article “talking with the comrades” about the armed resistance of these peasants–resistance which is the only thing keeping them from losing everything.)
    The civil rights movement in the US used very practical tactics of mass mobilizations and passive resistance. This fitted both the goal and political environment. The goal was not socialist revolution to turn society upside down. It was to eradicate Jim Crow, to win formal democratic equal rights. that goal was won, by and large. Of course any democratic right has to be constantly defended as we have seen with the Nixon Southern Strategy beginning in 1968 in which these gains have been chipped away, along with other things like labor rights, and checks on corporate power.
    A big factor in the civil right struggle was the popularity of Malcom X and the later ghetto rebellions. These were not planned acts of violence; they were uprisings provoked by police sadism and wanton brutality. They played a constructive role in gaining social programs. The government had to respond in some way, and not with more force.
    Taylor should look up the history of the Deacons for Defense in the south. They stopped KKK raids into black neighborhoods by showing up with shotguns and rifles to protect civil rights leaders who were threatened with attacks by the Klan on their homes. The Deacons were not the only such group during that period. They also played a constructive role in the movement. I doubt that anyone in their neighborhood berated them for not understanding Hindu teachings on nonviolence.
    Finally, there is the issue of winning over the Israeli people…I suppose by not scaring them too much. I’m not going to say much about that. It’s just another example of the oh so moralistic pacifists catering to the oppressor (and yes, most of the Israeli Jews are the oppressors. Can they be persuaded? Don’t count on it. And don’t base all of your plans for the Palestinian struggle for their rights on pleasing the colonizers.

  17. Bandolero says:

    @Matthew
    Thanks for this nice article on nonviolence. I think sticking to principels like nonviolence and excluding others is just bringing rifts in the movement.

    History shows that nonviolence sometimes works to end an oppressive situation. On the other side history shows also that sometimes advocating nonviolence may even play the oppressor in it’s hands, becaue it may make oppression more easy. And sometimes history shows that violence works, eg Hizbollah managed to end the Israeli occupation of south Lebanon using violence.

    What you didn’t line out expicitely is in what circumstances nonviolence works. Implicitely I understood your psychological example the way that nonviolence has best chances to work when the oppressor acts due to fear. I understand to the opposite, that nonviolence won’t work, when the oppressor oppresses because of sadism like eg the Nazis did.

    But then you state:

    “I think I’m right on target when I saw that fear drives the majority of Israelis, not a Nazi-like view of Arabs as cockroaches.”

    This doesn’t make a difference. Many Germans during the Nazi-regime also were driven by fear. Many people feared the judeo-bolshevik world rule and jewish communist terror, as it was told by Goebbels propaganda machine. Of course the fear had no reason, but the fear was there. On the other hand, lots of Nazis in SS and so on acted not based on fear, but based on pure inhumanity and sadism. Nonviolence would for sure not have been the best tactics for jews then in Germany to avoid the holocaust.

    Sad as it is, much of this mirrors in Israel today. The people feas terror as media campaigns incite the fear and IDF soldiers killing “Arabs” smile and enjoy pleasure while killing. IDF-soldiers proudly have shirts displaying pregnant “Arab” women in a crosshair and above texts like “one bullet two kills”. In such cases nonviolence will not work.

    So what’s a better measure then violence or nonviolence for how resistance should be? I think, the actions of the resistance need to be just. The support for Palestine is not depending on violence or nonviolence, but on the ability to make the real story known.

    Let me give an example: when Hamas confronted an IDF killer squad inside Gaza in March this year. I would consider it just defense, even though they killed some of the IDF killers in Gaza. IDF death squads shall not go into Gaza for killing people. Zionist media told the story that the incident was “near the border” making people think “at the border” or in Israel “near the border”. The real story remained rather unknown in the West, so the defensive Hamas action harmed Palestinian support in the West.

    Let me give another example: qassam rockets and mortars are fired from Gaza to Israel civilian areas. It’s not just, because it violates Geneva convention and overwhelming majority of world opinion views it as criminal acts. It harms Palestinian cause. Hamas-leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said, Hamas doesn’t do it, tries it’s best to prevent it and those firing these rockets serve the interests of Israel. Serving Israel is a very serious charge in Gaza. If he is right, and Hamas doesn’t fire the rockets, this nonviolence doesn’t help Palestine cause nothing. Israel can just uses false-flag-attack against itself instead. The crucial point is not abstaining from firing rockets here, but to bring the message out, that Hamas does not fire thse rockets.

    Let’s now have a look to the actions the brave people took who defended Mavi Marmara. They used pipes and sticks against heavily armed elite navy commandos of “Shayetet 13″. Was it just? We have precedence. There was a ship “Exodus 1947″, that was to break a naval blockade, an armed British commando entered the ship and jewish people on board defended the ship with clubs and sticks. The whole world agreed to the Israeli claim, that this was just. So, defending the Mavi Marmara with clubs and sticks was just. And that’s the point, why Israel came under such immense pressure after attacking Mavi Marmara.

    I doubt it would have had a greater effect on public opinion if resistance on Mavi Marmara would have been with bare hands or completely absent. I would rather think, this form of resistance was very helpful. The limit of public opinion change came only from the zionist propaganda machine. Where zionists can influence mass media heavily and make them broadcast only zionist lies, public opinion didn’t change due to the Mavi Marmara. But in Turkey, where TV broadcasted the real story, it had great effect.

    I think, nonviolence or not, doesn’t matter. The actions of the resistance must be just. And that set as a precondition spreading the truth is most important.

    • Many Germans during the Nazi-regime also were driven by fear. Many people feared the judeo-bolshevik world rule and jewish communist terror, as it was told by Goebbels propaganda machine.Of course the fear had no reason, but the fear was there.On the other hand, lots of Nazis in SS and so on acted not based on fear, but based on pure inhumanity and sadism.

      I submit that Germans had abundant reason to “fear judeo-bolshevik world rule,” and that Goebbels was in very good company in warning people of the danger of judeo-bolshevism: Churchill as well as the US and the Netherlands’ ambassadors to Russia warned of the danger of judeo-bolshevism.
      Germans had every reason to “fear judeo-bolshevik world rule” because the movement, which, according to the American Hebrew magazine, was largely run by Jews, had, by 1920, killed around 20 million people.

      Well-informed observers, both inside and outside of Russia, took note at the time of the crucial Jewish role in Bolshevism. Winston Churchill, for one, warned in an article published in the February 8, 1920, issue of the London Illustrated Sunday Herald that Bolshevism is a “worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality.” The eminent British political leader and historian went on to write:13

      There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistical Jews. It is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders. Thus Tchitcherin, a pure Russian, is eclipsed by his nominal subordinate, Litvinoff, and the influence of Russians like Bukharin or Lunacharski cannot be compared with the power of Trotsky, or of Zinovieff, the Dictator of the Red Citadel (Petrograd), or of Krassin or Radek — all Jews. In the Soviet institutions the predominance of Jews is even more astonishing. And the prominent, if not indeed the principal, part in the system of terrorism applied by the Extraordinary Commissions for Combatting Counter-Revolution [the Cheka] has been taken by Jews, and in some notable cases by Jewesses

      Needless to say, the most intense passions of revenge have been excited in the breasts of the Russian people.

      David R. Francis, United States ambassador in Russia, warned in a January 1918 dispatch to Washington: “The Bolshevik leaders here, most of whom are Jews and 90 percent of whom are returned exiles, care little for Russia or any other country but are internationalists and they are trying to start a worldwide social revolution.”14

      The Netherlands’ ambassador in Russia, Oudendyke, made much the same point a few months later: “Unless Bolshevism is nipped in the bud immediately, it is bound to spread in one form or another over Europe and the whole world as it is organized and worked by Jews who have no nationality, and whose one object is to destroy for their own ends the existing order of things.”15

      “The Bolshevik Revolution,” declared a leading American Jewish community paper in 1920, “was largely the product of Jewish thinking, Jewish discontent, Jewish effort to reconstruct.”16

      Your cant statement, “lots of Nazis in SS and so on acted not based on fear, but based on pure inhumanity and sadism” is one more recitation of the litany of the religion of holocaust, which Shall Not Be Questioned: Nazis killed Jews because they were inhuman and sadists, but Jews, fine, upstanding, compassionate Jews like the Jews who killed the Czar’s children and wife, the Jews who killed millions of Russian Christians, they were NOT “inhuman and sadistic;” after all, they were Jews!

      During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary — but non-violent — act.

      The most profound nonviolent act one can perform would be to extract from the Jewish mental framework deeply embedded self-deception.

      • Donald says:

        PG, the Bolsheviks killed massive numbers of people (though 20 million by 1920 is almost certainly inflated–the number I’ve seen for the Russian civil war is around 5 million and the Whites who, among other things, were murderous anti-semites were responsible for their share of atrocities.) The Bolsheviks didn’t do this killing in the name of Judaism–they did it in the name of establishing a worker’s paradise. There were Jews heavily involved in all branches of leftwing politics and given the anti-semitism of the Tsarist regime, it’s hardly surprising that they were part of the revolutionary movement in Russia. But I haven’t seen too many Jews who defend the Bolsheviks these days–”Commentary”, the neocon rag, was constantly condemning communist crimes back in the days when I still read it.

        And citing Churchill adds nothing to your case. Churchill was a racist, remembered in a good light because he recognized Hitler for what he was before most of his anti-semitic conservative British cohorts did.

        And anyway, there’s a logical fallacy involved here–just because some Jews were communists doesn’t mean that Judaism is responsible in general. It’s similar to the error of the Islamophobes who eagerly embrace the claims of Islamic terrorists when they say they represent what Islam is all about.

        • Bandolero says:

          The “judeo-bolshevik conspiracy” was a central piece in Nazi-ideology. It was as much a lie as the Protocols, but people in Germany believed at that time it was true. Winston Churchill, Henry Ford and many more “conservatives” were almost as racist and anti-communist like the Nazis.

          @PG
          You write: “Germans had every reason to “fear judeo-bolshevik world rule” because the movement, which, according to the American Hebrew magazine, was largely run by Jews, had, by 1920, killed around 20 million people.”

          For kiling scores of people never any of the big shot capitalists cared a damn. But the bolshevists did something worse: they disowned big capitalists. It was not only the loss of property due to the Russian revolution, what angered Western capitalists like Shell boss and Nazi financier Henri Deterding, but the example. USA send twice troops to Russia after the bolshevist revolution to support the counter-revolutionary White army and to restore capitalist order in Russia.

          Big shot capitalists supporting Chamberlain, Churchill and Hitler feared communist revolution in Britain, Germany and elsewhere, like in Spain, where they secretely and against the will of their own population supported civil war of Franco, Hitler and Mussolini to prevent the democratically elected communist government to take power.

          But the final target was rollback of the revoution in Russia. Hitler’s Nazi-movement was designed to get that job done. The propaganda fake of a judeo-bolshevik world order was central in selling the war. It managed to paint bolshevist class struggle as jewish race struggle.

          The Germans and not even the Nazis were not all sadists. But the Nazis sent the sadists in the first line to get the kilings done. These laughed while killing. Lot’s of them had fun when killing. Against such people, nonviolent resistance is completely useless and self-harming.

          The Nazis had annihilated several towns and the millions inhabitating them on their way to Moscow to fight against judeo-bolshevism. The Nazis coud not be stopped nonviolently. They could only be stopped violently. This was done by the red army.

          That doesn’t say anything about the “good nature of jews” in any way. It just says something about that there may exist situations, where nonviolent resistance is completely off target and counterproductive.

          It can be even tragic to be tricked into nonviolance when it is not an appropriate situation. Just have a look how happy Eichmann was to have the jews of Hungary not revolting due to their Zionist leader Kastner:

          “This Dr Kastner was a young man about my age, an ice-cold lawyer and a fanatical Zionist. He agreed to help keep the Jews from resisting deportation – and even keep order in the collection camps – if I would close my eyes and let a few hundred or a few thousand young Jews emigrate illegally to Palestine. It was a good bargain. For keeping order in the camps, the price of 15,000 or 20,000 Jews – in the end there may have been more – was not too high for me.”

          Source for this excerpt:

          link to marxists.de

        • Donald says:

          “The “judeo-bolshevik conspiracy” was a central piece in Nazi-ideology. It was as much a lie as the Protocols, but people in Germany believed at that time it was true. Winston Churchill, Henry Ford and many more “conservatives” were almost as racist and anti-communist like the Nazis.”

          That’s true from what little I’ve read–chiefly Arno Mayer’s book on the Holocaust “Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?”. He said the Nazis were largely motivated by the Judaeo Bolshevism myth.

      • Chu says:

        Solzhenitsyn’s 200 years together is now in english.
        only about 1/4 through it. 50pgs.+/-

        link to ethnopoliticsonline.com

  18. Non Violence as a principle is a metaphysical, philosophically idealist (idealist in the sense of non-materialist) form of religious belief. It begins from unprovable (or untestable in the real world) dogmas and then filters what ever happens in the world through this lens..it dismisses anything that doesn’t support its unprovable first principles. That is to say it’s a scam, like all religions and many secular ideologies.
    Was Ghandi a Ghandist? Marx, irritated at the antics of some of his followers, said “I am not a Marxist.” The tactics, strategies, end goals, etc. have to be evaluated in this world and this life. Pacifism can’t do this because it is other worldly and takes as good coin unprovable (or it cannot be empirically tested). It’s like a biologist arguing with a creationist.

  19. Matt.
    Please do not join the revolutionary religion.

    Your sensitivities to others is your greatest asset in the world, and that will take various political forms in your life, some consistent with current views, some surprisingly different.

    Ajl is the Palestinian equivalent of the Irgun logically. In his sense of need, any distraction from revolutionary discipline is disloyalty, punishable by shunning or violence.

    Again, I refer to an experience I had at 19, taking care of a friend’s dog that got into a fight with another dog. I tried to pull my dog away from the fight. My dog bit me and forgot the other dog. Be careful.

    In some odd ways, Palestinian solidarity hates the support of the Israeli liberal left. Bradley Burston, Gershon Geronberg, Harvey Stein (who posts here), Bernard Avishai (others), that do participate in non-violent demonstrations in Silwan, other sites on the wall, are verbally assaulted here.

    Hated for ANY sympathy with other human beings, or off the scale hated for any sympathy with the idea that Jews are a people, and have the right to political self-determination.

    • Shingo says:

      “Please do not join the revolutionary religion.”

      Yes Matt, please  join Witty in his campaign to maintain the status quo and work towards ensuring things remain the same.

      Your sensitivities to others is unique among Zionists and can be used to reach more people with Hasbara.

      “In some odd ways, Palestinian solidarity hates the support of the Israeli liberal left”

      It’s hardly odd considering that there is no such thing as Israeli liberal left, but that all Zionism is extremism.

      “Hated for ANY sympathy with other human beings, or off the scale hated for any sympathy with the idea that Jews are a people, and have the right to political self-determination.”

       Hated for selective sympathy for Israel and blatant hostility and racism towards Palestinians. The same characteristics that make Witty despised.

      • eljay says:

        >> Again, I refer to an experience I had at 19, taking care of a friend’s dog that got into a fight with another dog. I tried to pull my dog away from the fight. My dog bit me and forgot the other dog. Be careful.

        What a clown! A more accurate analogy would be:
        - Another dog, believing he was entitled to your dog’s territory and food, stole your dog’s territory and food…and killed some of his family and then put his boot on your dog’s neck.
        - Your dog was struggling to regain what was rightfully his, while also attempting to work toward a sincere and equitable peace with the other dog.
        - You told your dog to find a new narrative and not to heal old wounds.
        - You suggested to your dog that he hug the oppressor dog, who might be scared because he had been raised on a diet of “generation to generation” fear after suffering a mythical “long-term exile” and who, as a result, was not reponsible in any way for his actions.
        - Your dog said “Fuck you, you biased and insensitive idiot! I’ve had my territory stolen, my food stolen and my family killed, and now I’ve got that dog’s boot on my neck! If you’re not going to help me, get the fuck away from me!” *SNAP!*

        What a joke(r).

        • The obvious point was of the predatory and willingly malevolent attitudes of radical solidarity.

          At some point, you’ve got to question your morality. The ends don’t justify the means forever.

        • Frances says:

          Marry me, eljay.

        • eljay says:

          >> Marry me, eljay.

          Alas, I’m already spoken for. But thanks for making my day. ;-)
          :-D

        • eljay says:

          >> The obvious point was of the predatory and willingly malevolent attitudes of radical solidarity.

          Well, duh. Speaking of which, doesn’t it ever both you that the Zionists with whom you share radical solidarity are so predatory and willingly malevolent?

          >> At some point, you’ve got to question your morality.

          Too bad you haven’t made it to that point yet. I guess that’s why the predatory and willingly malevolent attitudes of your Zionist brethren doesn’t bother you.

          What a joke(r).

          “Remember the Holocaust!”

    • Donald says:

      “Hated for ANY sympathy with other human beings, or off the scale hated for any sympathy with the idea that Jews are a people, and have the right to political self-determination.”

      There is anti-semitism in some anti-Zionists but it’s a shame you can’t criticize it without lying. The criticism of Zionism that comes from the non-haters stems precisely from the fact that Israel exists as a Jewish democracy because of the ethnic cleansing of enough Palestinians to make this demographically possible. You know this, but pretend not to. You find it impossible to face up to legitimate criticism, so you lump it in with illegitimate criticism. That’s the mark of a dishonest ideological hack.

      • 1947-8 with predominant efforts to ethnically cleanse Jews from the region with countering mix of defensive and offensive ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from some regions, is PAST.

        Sympathy for the tragedy of Palestinians displaced, and more importantly current Palestinians that are stateless and isolated, is real.

        Solidarity with an implied punitive remedy to the current population is something different.

        Rather than urging current change, your gripe is that Israelis and sympathetic Jews don’t grovel. They/we won’t. Don’t expect it. You will be disappointed.

        We’ll compromise.

        • Shingo says:

          “1947-8 with predominant efforts to ethnically cleanse Jews from the region with countering mix of defensive and offensive ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from some regions, is PAST.”

          As Shmuel said, you’re absurdly ignorant of that period.  Israel had already ethnically cleansed 200,000 Palestinians you idiot.

          “Sympathy for the tragedy of Palestinians displaced, and more importantly current Palestinians that are stateless and isolated, is real.”

          Not among you and the Netenyahu’s of this world.

          “Solidarity with an implied punitive remedy to the current population is something different.”

          Tell that to your fellow Zionizais like Lieberman.

          “Rather than urging current change, your gripe is that Israelis and sympathetic Jews don’t grovel. They/we won’t. Don’t expect it. You will be disappointed.”

          What are you carrying own about change for Witty?  You clear are opposed to and resist any change.
           
          We’ll compromise.”

          But int he mean time, continue building illegal settlements and murdering Palestinians.

        • eljay says:

          >> 1947-8 … is PAST.

          So is the Holocaust, the mythical “long-term exile”, the Israelite Kingdom, the “generation to generation” fear, the victimhood. Time to let it go, to move on, to create that “new narrative” that you keep yammering on about.

          >> Rather than urging current change, your gripe is that Israelis and sympathetic Jews don’t grovel. They/we won’t. Don’t expect it. You will be disappointed.
          >> We’ll compromise.

          Wow, you really are a self-important asshole. Not only do you manage to twist calls for justice, fairness, egalitarianism, democracy and respect for human rights and international law into delusional, self-righteous victimhood, but you then cloak yourself with this victimhood and use it as some sort of validation for your incredible feats of hypocrisy. Unreal.

  20. EmmaZunz says:

    Excellent post.

  21. MHughes976 says:

    I argued before that there is always a right of self-defence and I would agree that pacifism has an idealistic aspect – ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’ and all that. But that’s not the whole story.
    I think history is full of plans for wonderful victories and successful use of force that either went wrong or left those who made the plans disgraced. Pacifism has an unscientific element but so does militarism in all its guises, aristocratic-chivalrous, imperialist-technological and populist-romantic.

  22. LeoBraun says:

    “The most extreme violent strains of Zionism were born in the crucible of experiences such as the Russian pogroms and the collective memory of centuries of cruel and unjustified persecution of Jews throughout Europe”! “The entire world, especially Europe and Russia, must give Israelis and the Jewish people some sort of of ultimate, clear, final, and comprehensive apology for centuries of persecution, and some kind of collective assurance of ‘Never again’”! [Matthew Taylor]

    • Speaking of the legacy of my people, one mustn’t reach the forgone conclusion before exploring “A Great History of a Great People”! The most authoritative and comprehensive history of the Jews. Containing astounding eye opener to many! Astute readers to learn apropos, courtesy of the American Jewish Committee disclosure on page 308:

    “The position of our co-religionists in Russia grows increasingly deplorable, and recent advices from that country indicate that there is little likelihood of any relief being afforded. The situation is of the gravest. It may be doubted whether Jewry has ever confronted a greater crisis since the overthrow of the Jewish state by the Roman Empire. Not even the horrible persecutions of the times of the Crusades or the expulsion from Spain and Portugal affected so large a mass of our co-religionists”!

    “Russia has since 1890 adopted a deliberate plan to expel or exterminate six millions of its people for no other reason than that they refuse to become members of the Greek Church, but prefer to remain Jews. To carry out this purpose, it has used several methods. Wholesale assassinations, called pogroms, have been employed in order to arouse the religious fanaticism, the greed and the savagery of the needy, the ignorant and the depraved among the Russian people. Horrible as these pogroms are, their effects are trivial compared with those which have followed other methods countenanced by that Govt”.

    “The Jewish inhabitants of the congested Pale of Settlement are being harassed by restrictions on their ordinary activities, by practical denial to a serious extent of the right to educate their children, and by having thrust upon them by force, large numbers of their co-religionists who had previously settled in other places within the Empire and had there been usefully employed. By this insidious process, the Russian Govt wickedly and artificially creates unnatural conditions that enable it to twist economic and social laws into the service of persecution, and it believes that by their operation the ultimate expulsion or destruction of the Jews of Russia is assured”!

    • Doesn’t this sound familiar as a mirror image of what’s happening to blameless Palestinians right now?

      • LeoBraun says:

        “Doesn’t this sound familiar as a mirror image of what’s happening to blameless Palestinians right now”? [Richard Parker]. • Absolutely, in view of the fact that: “Today, Judeo-Nazism, pure and simple, is the center of the Israeli universe”! [DecentJew]

    • Bandolero says:

      @LeoBraun
      You say: “Speaking of the legacy of my people, one mustn’t reach the forgone conclusion before exploring “A Great History of a Great People”!” You are absolutely right about atrocities over and over in Europe and every civilist human being shoud feel ashamed for it.

      But what about the zionist deeds? What does your Zionist “Great History of a Great People” says about how Zionists cared for the Jewish people as Rabbi Weissmandl has it documented? What answers give this book to his “ten questions to the zionists”? Just to remember these questions:

      1. IS IT TRUE that in 1941 and again in 1942, the German Gestapo offered all European Jews transit to Spain, if they would relinquish all their property in Germany and Occupied France; on condition that:

      a) none of the deportees travel from Spain to Palestine; and

      b) all the deportees be transported from Spain to the USA or British colonies, and there to remain; with entry visas to be arranged by the Jews living there; and

      c) $1000.00 ransom for each family to be furnished by the Agency, payable upon the arrival of the family at the Spanish border at the rate of 1000 families daily.
      2. IS IT TRUE that the Zionist leaders in Switzerland and Turkey received this offer with the clear understanding that the exclusion of Palestine as a destination for the deportees was based on an agreement between the Gestapo and the Mufti.

      3. IS IT TRUE that the answer of the Zionist leaders was negative, with the following comments:

      a) ONLY Palestine would be considered as a destination for the deportees.

      b) The European Jews must accede to suffering and death greater in measure than the other nations, in order that the victorious allies agree to a “Jewish State” at the end of the war.

      c) No ransom will be paid
      4. IS IT TRUE that this response to the Gestapo’s offer was made with the full knowledge that the alternative to this offer was the gas chamber.

      5. IS IT TRUE that in 1944, at the time of the Hungarian deportations, a similar offer was made, whereby all Hungarian Jewry could be saved.

      6. IS IT TRUE that the same Zionist hierarchy again refused this offer (after the gas chambers had already taken a toll of millions).

      7. IS IT TRUE that during the height of the killings in the war, 270 Members of the British Parliament proposed to evacuate 500,000 Jews from Europe, and resettle them in British colonies, as a part of diplomatic negotiations with Germany.

      8. IS IT TRUE that this offer was rejected by the Zionist leaders with the observation “Only to Palestine!”

      9. IS IT TRUE that the British government granted visas to 300 rabbis and their families to the Colony of Mauritius, with passage for the evacuees through Turkey. The “Jewish Agency” leaders sabotaged this plan with the observation that the plan was disloyal to Palestine, and the 300 rabbis and their families should be gassed.

      10. IS IT TRUE that during the course of the negotiations mentioned above, Chaim Weitzman, the first “Jewish statesman” stated: “The most valuable part of the Jewish nation is already in Palestine, and those Jews living outside Palestine are not too important”. Weitzman’s cohort, Greenbaum, amplified this statement with the observation “One cow in Palestine is worth more than all the Jews in Europe”.

      Source:

      link to jewsagainstzionism.com

      Is it true, what Rabbi Weissmandl claims? If yes, how feel zionists on it?

      If you have never heard about this, you may read more about Rabbi Weissmandls view the Zionist leaders way serving “the jewish people” in an excerpt from his book Min Hametzar:

      link to jewsnotzionists.org

      So, if it’s true, what Rabbi Weissmandl claims, what does it say about the Zionist leaders moral right to be accepted as leaders of “the jewish people” to combat harm and anti-semitism and represent the victims of the holocaust?

      I think, there is a big difference between judaism and zionism.

      • LeoBraun says:

        “Is it true that this response to the Gestapo’s offer was made with the full knowledge that the alternative to this offer was the gas chamber”? “Is it true that the same Zionist hierarchy again refused this offer (after the gas chambers had already taken a toll of millions)”? [Bandolero]

        • Concerning gas chambers allegedly used to exterminate human beings, apparently rail freight carriages delousing tunnels utilising Zyklon-B as a routine to fumigate the contaminated railway wagons (precluding thus a spread of the contagious diseases), undoubtedly could have been used to accomplish horrendous mass murder. Literature abounds with stories of misery and filth on the crowded rail freight carriages, “what in itself could have been reason enough for a thorough delousing of the entire train”, yet apparently none ever has been reported.

        IT IS TRUE otherwise on all the counts!

      • LeoBraun says:

        “You are absolutely right about atrocities over and over in Europe and every civilist human being shoud feel ashamed for it. But what about the zionist deeds”? [Bandolero]

        • Luckily, Hannah Arendt survived to point out that: “During its first few years Hitler’s rise to power appeared to the Zionists chiefly as a decisive defeat of [Jewish] assimilationism. Hence, the Zionists could engage at least for the time in a certain amount of ‘non-criminal’ cooperation with the Nazi Reich. The Zionists also believed that dissimilation, combined with the Jew youngsters emigration to Palestine (they hoped Jew capitalists) could be a mutually fair solution. At the time many German [Jew] officials held this opinion, and this kind of talk seems to have been quite common up to the end”!

        No wonder, harmonious co-operation between Heydrich’s Gestapo and the Zionist Haganah flourished as a Jew born Eichmann gained rapport with the Haganah commander Feivel Polkes. With whom in Feb 1937, the SD troops leader Adolf Eichmann met in Berlin in a wine restaurant Traube, near the zoo. As a couple Yid plotters came to the amicable agreement, according to which: A body “representing Jews in Germany” to exert pressure on the wealthy Jews leaving Germany, to emigrate only to Palestine!

        Feivel Polkes’s general staff officer in Berlin met at the time with Herbert Hagen, Nazi Reich Director of the Office of Jewish Affairs (Judenreferat). Consequently Eichmann and Hagen were invited to tour Palestine. On Oct 2nd, 1937 as SS Romania reached Haifa, British officials didn’t allow them to disembark. So instead they proceeded to Egypt, meeting Polkes’s entourage at Cafe Groppi in Cairo on the 10th and 11th Oct 1937.

        In their report following a notable trip, Hagen and Eichmann reflected on discourse with the Zionist Haganah officials. According to which, Polkes told the Nazis: “People in Jewish nationalist circles were very pleased with the radical German policy, since the strength of the Jewish population in Palestine would be by far increased thereby that in the foreseeable future the Jews could reckon upon numerical superiority over the Arabs”! “The Zionist state must be established by all means and as soon as possible”! “Once the Jewish state is established according to the proposals laid down in the Peel paper, in line with England’s partial promises, the borders may be pushed then further outwards”!

  23. “The entire world, especially Europe and Russia, must give Israelis and the Jewish people some sort of of ultimate, clear, final, and comprehensive apology for centuries of persecution, and some kind of collective assurance of ‘Never again’”! [Matthew Taylor]
    There have been apologies ad infinitum for the Holocaust for decades. Misplaced reparations from Germany to Israel in the billions, on and on. It’s been converted to a world wide cult of philo-semitism.
    And the Zionists will never be satisfied. They love everyone cringing and apologizing forever. They love it. And there will be no end of disgusting schmucks like Dershowitz, Netanyahu, Schumer, Weisel etc. demanding more apologies. It gives them permanent moral superiority and a cover for Israel to commit any crime tit can get away with. The Holocaust is three generations in the past, but it STILL serves a useful purpose to justify Israeli ethnic cleansing.

    Neither the Palestinian people, nor the Arabs (and Turks) as a whole own the Jews any apology for the atrocities of the Europeans.
    Where did the Jews expelled from Spain go to? They went to the protection of the Ottoman Empire.

    Enough already with this harping on the world’s guilt for the Holocaust. Other people have suffered ethnic/racial/religious oppression and campaigns of extermination.

    Apologists for Zionism’s reactionary, and intrinsic impulse towards expulsion and (if they can get away with it) extermination of Palestinians will never stop invoking the Holocaust. Waving the bloody shirt of victimization has been their trump card in trying to silence any criticism of Israel.

    Those Jews who belong to a synagogue or other Jewish organizations have been brain washed with the story of the history of the world centering around Jewish victimhood. And they have been taught a contempt for any other people who also claim to have been oppressed, and they have been taught paranoia and racist hatred against Islam and all Arabs. They have to unlearn this poisonous propaganda.
    When I had to got to temple (after my bar-mitzvah I was free) there was none of this going on. When I returned to the same temple (in Indianapolis) decades later for one of my nephew’s bar-mitzvah I was stunned to see a big “Holocaust Resource Center” had been built on and that the whole synagogue and service had been radicalized with crude, full-throated Israeli nationalism.

    FORGET ABOUT APOLOGIES. TIME TO DEMAND THAT ORGANIZED JEWRY RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS.

    • LeoBraun says:

      “Neither the Palestinian people, nor the Arabs (and Turks) as a whole own the Jews any apology for the atrocities of the Europeans. Where did the Jews expelled from Spain go to? They went to the protection of the Ottoman Empire”! [Richard Congress]

      • Where Aussies faced one of the bloodiest in zionist instigated calamities (embarked to attain the foothold in Palestine). Revered ever since as a sacrosanct bloodletting by the blind-leading-blind dill-flock of the duped adherents to the illusory lies. So let’s us draw the line, at last to expose the master deceivers, proficient to spin bogus history legends. Contrary to the authentic history annals, leading to the provoked WWI. Not before sly zionists embarked on the relentless lobbying the Imperial Russia which insisted not to have a slightest influence with the Turks (Judeo ruling class) who saw Russia as their enemy.

      Still, there was a slim glimpse of hope to convince the recalcitrant Sultan of Turkey in granting an autonomous statelet in Palestine to the staunch zionists in return for taking care of the mounting debts by Turkey to the insatiable bankers. But it soon became quite apparent that all the hopes were unrealistic as a Jew born Abdul Hamid knew perfectly well that the initial zionist foothold autonomy to culminate ultimately as an independent entity. At the time when a besieged Sultan was adamant to hold onto his threatened empire.

      So with the zionists without any army, they were gifted nonetheless with the astounding brainpower. Care to recall their plot, utilising Lawrence of Arabia? Set to deceive naive Arabs who sought independence while fighting courageously against the Turks! In the meantime Chaim Weizmann spun intrigues in London, in unison with Vladimir Jabotinsky in Russia, scored Tsarist accord towards the call-up of a volunteer Russian Jew Legion. Ultimately helping the coalition of the willing connivers in taking Palestine by force. As thousands young Russian Jew dissidents (still Russian citizens) in Britain were threatened with deportation by the Home Secretary Herbert Samuel, if they didn’t volunteer to British Army.

      Yet in spite of all the intimidation tactics by Brits, Russian Jew dissidents wouldn’t fight for the Tsar, nor for his sly allies. So much for the zionist perceived Jew legion volunteers idea, turning into embarrassment, if not for the irony strike in making such a scheme into reality. Courtesy of the asinine Turks (actually an inside zionist job) to expel all the Russian Jews from Palestine as enemy aliens. Who joined in turn thousands of young Russian Jew dissidents in Britain.

      Still unwilling to fight for the Tsar, however their indoctrinated zionist ideology led them to follow Yosef Trumpeldor (Jabotinsky’s co thinker) into Zion Mule Corps with Brits at Gallipoli. Later Jabotinsky proudly boasted on how such Mule Corps, courtesy of Petersburg anti-Semites aid, led to the plotted goal’s fruition: “It was that donkey battalion from Alexandria to open doors to the Whitehall offices”!

      Simultaneously as Britain, France, Russia, Italy and Greece conspired jointly with Australia and New Zealand in 1915, to pursue elders of zion cabal in an unprovoked course of action. Nevermind colossal human lives loss as a blatant military aggression at Gallipoli, sought regime change in the Ottoman Empire on behalf of the almighty “chosen”, and their need for the homeland in Palestine. Contested against the Turk forces of the legendary general Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. As cold blooded Crypto-Jew Brits hierarchy pulled off a gory stand off via expendable recruits folly. Eager to volunteer for the patriotic duty, only to be dished out as a cannon fodder. Culminating in one of the bloodiest calamities outcome for the duped Aussies. Sacrificed into oblivion under exploited Anzacs treaty for no good reason at all.

      Still such an ill spirited cabal, veiled as an ANZAC pact, has been highly revered and idolised by the brainwashed descendants of the fallen diggers. Joined by the likewise duped halfwits who still failed to realise that the elders of zion played a major role in dragging the mighty USA into bloody European war. A war in which the US had no vital interests at stake whatsoever. When by 1916, the Germans, Austrians and Ottoman Turks had seemingly won the war. Russia was in turmoil and about to be swallowed up by the communist Crypto-Jew revolution. France had suffered horrible losses, and Britain was under German U boats blockade.

      Germany made an offer to Britain to end the war under conditions favorable to Britain (minus the promised land). But the international zionist mafia had one more card to play as Crypto-Jew Brits hierarchy and the zionists (with lots of blood on their hands) struck a dirty deal, led by Chaim Weizmann (who to become a first President of Israel). The idea was to use zionist subterfuge (care to recall Lusitania tragedy), and as such to drag the mighty USA into the war on the British side (so Germany and its Ottoman ally to be crushed). Whereas in exchange for luring the USA into the war, the Brits to reward zionists with an autonomous statelet in Palestine.

  24. MHughes976 says:

    It’s difficult to see how an apology can become ‘final’ – ‘I am saying now that I am sorry; I will not say it again’ may sound insincere. A endless series of apologies also sounds insincere, perhaps a mere cover for continuing resentment on both sides. What sign can be given that the apology is accepted?

  25. eljay says:

    >> What sign can be given that the apology is accepted?

    Usually “I accept your apology” works just fine. Of course, it has to be said and meant sincerely.

    Take away the “generation to generation” scary stories, the self-flagellation of victimhood, the wailing angst of mythical “long-term exile”, the righteousness and (ersatz) moral superiority that comes from the self-designated status of “the Chosen People” – and practitioners of the Jewish faith become, well, regular folk.

    A Jewish person in America becomes just another American and a Jewish person in France becomes just another Frenchman; no longer is either person a scared, long-term exiled, victim-of-the-Holocaust, hug-needin’, Beacon-Unto-The-Nations, Promised-Land-entitled, self-righteous Israelite.

    That “new narrative”, however, is seemingly just too scary for some to contemplate and embrace. (Why be regular if you can be special?)

    • “why be regular if you can be special”

      the original SuperSize
      hold the freedom fries

    • LeoBraun says:

      “Take away the ‘generation to generation’ scary stories, the self-flagellation of victimhood, the wailing angst of mythical ‘long-term exile’, the righteousness and (ersatz) moral superiority that comes from the self-designated status of ‘the Chosen People’ – and practitioners of the Jewish faith become, well, regular folk. A Jewish person in America becomes just another American and a Jewish person in France becomes just another Frenchman; no longer is either person a scared, long-term exiled, victim-of-the-Holocaust, hug-needin’, Beacon-Unto-The-Nations, Promised-Land-entitled, self-righteous Israelite. That ‘new narrative’, however, is seemingly just too scary for some to contemplate and embrace. Why be regular if you can be special”? [ eljay]

      • Nevermind the far reaching implications due to the bigoted Jew nationalists to think that it’s of greater ethical importance to condemn the prejudices against one’s own people in galut (amoral world outside Israel) than that against the all other people, belittled commonly as gentiles. Who were precluded in their own countries from asking imperative questions in the zionist era of universal deceit. Whilst not a day passing by, without the self-appointed Jewish leader, newspaper editor or radio pundit to ask: “Is it good for the Jews”?

      Alert people I think recognise how ugly such a phenomenon can get. Obviously, racially prejudiced demeanour is a very dangerous style to adopt. Particularly when that violates the fundamentals of civic loyalty and the citizenship in the sovereign country. So while there was a clear understanding to support the multi-ethnic and multi-religious way of life, all together alike those locally born and the naturalised citizens must function as one nation.

      Otherwise our home country to end-up with some seeing themselves as part of the transnational group! What have a treacherous bearing within the society in which we live. Notably, “minorities” in the West have a connection and empathy with their wider group, be it cultural, tribal or religious within and outside their home country. Take for instance us the Jews, who have extensive families out there. Many Jews have relatives in Israel, nothing wrong with this. The problem arises when the self-appointed Jewish leaders speak on behalf of all the Jews. While taking the line that the Jews in diaspora (exile = galut = galus) must support unquestionably zionist junta in Israel. Which implies to have a loyalty to what is apparently a foreign country.

      At the time when Jews in their home country should regard themselves primary as Kiwis, Australian, British, Canadian, American, etc … and not see themselves as having some sort of slyly predetermined role, linked to the rogue regime. Whose unyielding missionaries brainwashed Jews around the world. Ariel Sharon’s view when he said: “French Jews should leave France and go to Israel”, was that the “diaspora is unsafe”, so “Jews must only live in Israel”! This goes further than saying that the purpose of Jews is to support zionist junta in Israel, as it says in fact that a Jew cannot live anywhere but in the exclusive Jewish state. Indicative of the prima facie affirmation of the racist nationalism, straight out of 19th century Europe and an attack on the basic principle of the multi-ethnicity, that Western states now operate on.

      Clearly, radical zionist doctrine violates the idea of civic nationality — what actually ought to be encouraged. People can live in multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious ways of life, yet all together citizenry must function as one nation. Where “minority” groups shouldn’t have the fanatically adhered role in supporting a mothership over their present home country. To do that, would be to live as expats! Moreover a problem is that the authentic minority groups look to the Jews as an example — they see that Jews are successful, “integrated” and make a “huge contribution” to the society, but nonetheless retain their tribal separatism.

      All of this obviously fine for the radical zionists with ZOG’s blessing, adamant to surpass their political counterparts precedence), but the minority groups seek to imitate the way Jewish groups — line up fanatically to support the zionist junta in Israel — in terms of their own support of their native land communities. Such as Pakistanis in regard of Kashmir, Indian Sikhs in regard of Sikh-Hindu relations in India (etc, etc). Moreover Muslim public affairs committees increasingly seeking to be just like a Muslim version of the AIPAC. While taking on the zionist attitude of staunch advocacy for one’s side at the expense of the loyalty to the society where they live.

      Empathy is fine, and state’s priorities should adjust to suit its citizens, but seeing one’s sole purpose in life to advocate the egotistical cause of the mothership elsewhere is treacherous in any society. So in these circumstances every moral citizen needs to pause for the moment while taking a deep breath, then to seek the reality check. Starting with the national leaders at long last to end their treacherous mission under the auspices of the fascist zionism.

      Instead of which, we ought to galvanise vital resources towards the civil society betterment in our home countries. To begin with the establishment Charter of Rights & Obligations in the sovereign Australia. Founded on freedom of speech within the fundamental human rights’ obligations. Contrary to the fascist internet filter imposition as a prototype to the broadband conquest. At the time when youth ought to be guided how to focus their vulnerable minds away from debauched consumerism, neurotic militarism and the obsessive devout devotions exposure. If not for the fact they lacked a role model to learn how to fend for themselves!

  26. LeoBraun says:

    “Those Jews who belong to a synagogue or other Jewish organizations have been brain washed with the story of the history of the world centering around Jewish victimhood. And they have been taught a contempt for any other people who also claim to have been oppressed” [Richard Congress].

    • Dear reader, unless a Jew was jolted by the calamity on the receiving end, there is actually no panacea for the brainwashed category, at long last to come out of their shell. Hence no rational deliberation eventuated as yet, to figure out the cause of our wretched existence under fanatical tribe hegemony. Where since the beginning “us versus them” mentality was sewn. No wonder bewitched Jew hearts swelled with pride: “Our land is the homeland”, gullible suckers thought. Whereas all other places simply were a foreign land. “We are the chosen people”, zionist demagogues insisted. The only ones worthy of our nation’s concern; if bombs fall on Afghanistan, Iraq, Beirut or Gaza, and their human rights are violated but it makes our lives better, it’s of little concern to us.

    I myself am not a nationalist Jew who thinks that the world would be better off, without the fascist zionism. Same applies to the neurotic militarism and the obsessive devout devotions, because religion is opium of the conditioned masses. Fanatical nationalism and indoctrinated religions have been more detrimental to the humanity on the whole, than any other vicious force, imaginable. Whilst our Jew lesser brethren were scapegoated always as a collateral human shield, to deflect focus from the actual evildoers committed crimes against the humanity. Taboo for discussion in galut (amoral world outside Israel). How else fascist zionists to enforce a blind-leading-blind dill-flock’s adherence in commandeered kehilot?

    So much for the wishful thinking that all the Jews mattered equally, when in fact our Jew lesser brethren were not the almighty chosen lot. Although sharing ancestor in common with the Jew peers of the realm, having descended apparently via “inferior” lineage. Hence being exploited for millenniums ever since as a collateral human shield. Where instead of zionism being the hope of the Jews, our blood has been a political salvation of the fascist zionism.

    • With a prima facie case to answer for the Pale of Settlement diabolical plot: denoting burning stake (pale) of the final solution (settlement). What meant to culminate with the six millions burnt offering to the insatiable Yahweh, purportedly obligatory before aliyah to proceed. No wonder religiously indoctrinated fanatics were deeply divided as to the scriptural legitimacy in a treyf creation Jewish utopia in Palestine. In the meantime gigantic internment several millions casteless Jews lasted for 130 years, during 1791-1917 period, in anticipation of the sacrificial inferno to come (hence the immense significance attributed to the holocaust).

    • LeoBraun says:

      Apparently, Jewish prophecies in the Torah require that 6 million Jews must vanish before the state of Israel can be formed: “You shall return minus 6 million”! Tom Segev, an Israeli historian declared that the 6 million is an attempt to transform the Holocaust story into state religion. Those six million, according to prophecy, had to disappear in “burning ovens”, which the judicial version of the Holocaust now authenticates. As a matter of fact, Robert B Goldmann writes: “Without the Holocaust, there would be no Jewish State”!

      A simple consequence: Given six million Jews gassed at Auschwitz, who ended up in the “burning ovens”? The Greek word holocaust means burned offerings, therefore, did the prophecies have now been “fulfilled” and Israel became a “legitimate state”?

  27. LeoBraun says:

    “I’ve noticed readers of this blog have a tendency to dismiss the suffering of Israelis traumatized by Palestinian violent attacks. That attitude … won’t get you anywhere in understanding Israeli psychology when the café blows up, and it certainly won’t help you understand how to change Israeli psychology to help the Palestinians. Here’s Bradley Burston on Israeli psychology and the 2009 election of Israel’s most right-wing govt ever: ‘The Racist Israeli Fascist in Me’”! [Matthew Taylor]

    “Today, Judeo-Nazism, pure and simple, is the center of the Israeli universe”!

    • Extremism can emerge, and often has, at least in part in almost every nationalist / independence movement … but whereas extremism in other nationalist movements is an aberration, extremism in Jewish nationalism is the norm, pitting Zionist Jews (secular or observant) against the goyim (everyone else), who are either possible predator or certain prey, if not both sequentially. This does not mean that all Jews or all Israelis feel and act this way, by any means!

    But it does mean that Israel today is what it cannot avoid being, and what it would be under any electable government. The differences between Jewish nationalism (Zionism) and that of other countries and cultures … are fourfold:

    1. Zionism is a real witches’ brew of xeno-phobia, racism, ultra-nationalism, and militarism that places it way outside of a “mere” nationalist context — for example in Ireland (both parts) no indication whatsoever that the PIRAs or anyone else pressing for a united Ireland had a shred of design on shoving Protestants into camps or out of the country, although there may well have been a handful who thought that way — and goes far beyond the misery for others professed by the Nazis;

    2. Zionism undermines civic loyalty among its adherents in other countries in a way that other nationalist movements (and even ultra-nationalist movements like Nazism) did not – eg, a large majority of American Jews, including those who are not openly dual citizens, espouse a form of political bigamy called “dual loyalty” (to Israel & the US) that is every bit as dishonest as marital bigamy, attempts to finesse the precedence they give to Israel over the US (lots of Rahm Emanuels out there who served in the IDF but not in the US armed forces), and has absolutely no parallel in the sense of national or cultural identity espoused by any other definable ethnic or racial group in America — even the Nazi Bund in the US disappeared once Germany and the US went to war, with almost all of its members volunteering for the US armed forces;

    3. The “enemy” of normal nationalist movements is the occupying power and perhaps its allies, and once independence is achieved, normal relations with the occupying power are truly the norm, but for Zionism almost everyone out there is an actual or potential enemy, differing only in proximity and placement on its very long list of enemies (which is now America’s target list); and …

    4. Almost all nationalist movements (including the irredentist and secessionist variants) intend to create an independent state from a population in place or to reunite a separated people (like the Sudeten Germans in the 1930s) – it is very rare for it to include the wholesale displacement of another indigenous population, which is far more common of successful colonialist movements as in the US – and perhaps a reason why most Americans wouldn’t care too much about what the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians even if they did know about it, is because that is no different than what Europeans in North America did to the Indians/Native Americans in a longer & more low-tech fashion.

    The implications of this for Middle East peace prospects, and for other countries in thrall to their domestic Jewish lobbies or not, are chilling!