Note to Kristof: Palestinians don’t need Israeli tutelage with nonviolent protest

Israel/Palestine
on 146 Comments

A popular colloquial expression in Hebrew regards the futility of “selling ice to an Eskimo”. Perhaps the New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof should take note. In a recent blog entry, Kristof wrote that “Israeli civil society promotes democratic values in Palestinian communities”, and that “…the weekly Sheikh Jarrah protests in East Jerusalem, in which Israeli Jews play a major role, offer a useful model of peaceful protest”. Unfortunately, Kristof presents a patronizing and misinformed view of the history of the Palestinian struggle against Israel’s policies of land grab and occupation. 

It is true that some Palestinians, especially former prisoners who have risen to leadership roles, openly state that they have learned a lot about Israeli society during their imprisonment, and these people sometimes praise the Israeli elections and the parliamentary debates which they have witnessed. But their keen observation of Israeli political processes is by no means a starry eyed appeal for an Israeli education on human rights and non-violent civil disobedience. There are several reasons why they do not need to hear the Kristof line from us. The main reason, and one wonders whether Kristof is at all informed on this issue, is the fact that inspirational non-violent Palestinian campaigns against Israel’s policies have been around for years, and these campaigns have been initiated and led by…Palestinians! 

Palestinian community leader Dr. Haidar Abdel-Shafi, a respected Gaza based physician needed no peacenik-Israeli guidance in 1967 when he voiced his opposition to the Israeli occupation of the Gaza strip. Moshe Dayan, Israel’s Minister of Defense at the time, arrested him and then expelled him from Gaza to Sinai and then to Lebanon (such deportations are prohibited according to the humanitarian principles of the Geneva conventions, by which Israel has promised to abide). Abdel-Shafi was not alone in his actions. A non-violent Palestinian effort to protest against Israeli repression was met with military brutality: “As General Shlomo Gazit, the Coordinator of Activities in the Occupied Territories at the time, points out in his book The Carrot and the Stick, the message Israel wanted to convey was clear: Any act of resistance would result in a disproportionate response, which would make the population suffer to such a degree that resistance would appear pointless.” (Quote taken from Dr. Neve Gordon’s recommended article from December 2009)

Another important episode in the history of Palestinian non-violent resistance was the campaign led by International human rights and children’s rights activist, Dr. Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian living in exile in the US. Nicknamed “The Palestinian Gandhi”, Awad established the Palestinian Centre for the Study of Nonviolence in 1985, after returning to the Occupied Territories on an Israeli tourist visa. Among the tactics employed by Awad and his fellow Palestinian activists was the planting of olive trees on proposed Israeli settlements, asking people not to pay taxes and encouraging people to consume Palestinian products (an action which even the co-opted Palestinian Authority has now embraced to some extent, by banning the selling of settlement products). And what was the fate of Awad? In 1988 he was detained and then deported. Israel’s High Court of Justice, a beacon of justice and democracy in the eyes of some prominent US jurors, approved the decision. Even the NY Times got it right at the time:  

For moral and practical reasons, it is regrettable that Israel’s High Court of Justice could find no reason to overrule the deportation of Mubarak Awad, a Jerusalem- born American citizen. The ruling suggests that Israel, made frustrated by the uprising in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, is having trouble drawing the line between civil disobedience and armed rebellion.

Another inspiring Palestinian campaign was the May 1988 tax revolt in Beit Sahour, under the most American of slogans, "No Taxation without Representation". The revolt, a courageous act of non-violent Resistance, was brutally crushed by Israel. Residents were beaten, detained without trial, households were raided and their content was confiscated (Israel’s way of collecting tax…). The goods, including children’s toys, were auctioned off in Israel. Israel’s Defense Minister at the time (his name, by the way, was Yitzhak Rabin) said that he would break the Beit Sahour tax revolt at all costs, even if it meant keeping the town under curfew for two months. Without taking away from the efforts of a few respectable Israeli NGO’s and some dedicated Israeli activists, who tried to assist, finding a mainstream Israeli leftist (of the Peace Now type) in uniform, patrolling the streets of Beit Sahour (albeit reluctantly), was more probable than finding him standing at the entrance to a house, trying to prevent the state sponsored plundering which was taking place. 

Palestinian non-violent resistance is alive and kicking today as well, in the struggle against the construction of new settlements and the rapacious separation wall built by Israel to grab as much land as possible (Shaul Arieli of the Geneva initiative has demonstrated that a alternative path that does not cut through Palestinian land would have been much easier to construct, and just as suitable for Israel’s proclaimed security considerations). And at this moment, as Kristof speaks and writes, Palestinian grassroots activists are paying a very heavy price for their efforts. More and more Palestinians are joining various demonstrations and actions against the occupation, but the risks are high, including the risk of injury or even death at an unarmed rally. It seems safe to assume that grassroots Israeli actions to stop this policy and bring the perpetrators to justice will serve the campaign better than telling the Palestinians what they already know. 

Israelis should not go to Sheikh-Jarrah in order to educate the “heathen” as to the merits of civil disobedience. Israelis who attend protests at Sheikh-Jarrah, are privileged citizens in an apartheid state, and they are simply following the elementary dictates of conscience. The Palestinians have no need for Israeli civil disobedience tutoring. They are in need of Israeli solidarity with their just struggle.  

Ofer Neiman is an Israeli citizen who participates in Sheikh-Jarrah solidarity actions. He is a co-editor of the Occupation Magazine

146 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    July 9, 2010, 11:01 am

    Another small tent advocate.

    Palestinians won’t get Israeli solidarity with their struggle to demean those that conditionally support it.

    One cannot remain a humanist and subvert one’s own morality for the sake of a political interpretation of justice (especially one that contains hatred within its ranks.)

    • Philip Weiss
      July 9, 2010, 11:44 am

      Richard, on your previous comment–
      You are really deceiving the readers of this blog by stating, “I am surprised that Phil is impressed by Mearsheimer’s analysis” or words to that effect.
      If you have read this site, beyond commenting at it, you have to be aware that I have, again and again, praised Mearsheimer. I take Mearsheimer enormously seriously.
      It’s a small point; forgive my irritation; but on what possible basis can you be surprised? Are you just monkeying around?
      Phil

      • Richard Witty
        July 9, 2010, 1:08 pm

        I would expect a mix of criticism and praise. I’m surprised in the sense that from my vantage point (as a reader), you seem to have abandoned skepticism as a primary value, relative to Walt/Mearsheimer, Finkelstein, others.

      • Philip Weiss
        July 9, 2010, 1:30 pm

        i regard all these thinkers as leaders. they have all placed the moral destruction that is american support for oppression in Palestine at the forefront of their thinking.

      • Richard Witty
        July 9, 2010, 1:45 pm

        Don’t journalists criticize leaders?

        Isn’t that part of your role?

      • annie
        July 9, 2010, 2:22 pm

        I’m surprised in the sense that from my vantage point (as a reader)

        your vantage point doesn’t come across as one of a reader but as a skeptic on a personal level. it’s a constant ad hominem nit pick, you criticize. if it is not phil it is the author or the post ie Another small tent advocate. always the shrink, rarely critiquing the ideas on their merits but generally in context to what you perceive about whose writing them. it’s offensive and meant to be absorbed defensively because it is by nature personal even to the extent of attributing hatred to your ideological opponents. ie:

        One cannot remain a humanist and subvert one’s own morality for the sake of a political interpretation of justice (especially one that contains hatred within its ranks.)

        we’re all quite capable or judging whether we are subverting our own morality thank you very much. another guilt tripping wittyism.

      • MRW
        July 9, 2010, 3:07 pm

        Richard,

        You make no sense: Don’t journalists criticize leaders? Isn’t that part of your role? vs. One cannot remain a humanist and subvert one’s own morality for the sake of a political interpretation of justice (especially one that contains hatred within its ranks.)

        All I read from your backyard carping and sniping at Phil is jealousy, which, quite frankly, is understandable. You’re not in his league.

      • Mooser
        July 9, 2010, 3:29 pm

        One cannot remain a humanist and subvert one’s own morality for the sake of a political interpretation of justice (especially one that contains hatred within its ranks.)

        Gosh, Richard, I never realised you could be so incisive about the primary humanist objection to Zionism! Good for you!

      • Richard Witty
        July 9, 2010, 3:53 pm

        You guys are confusing conversations.

        Can you count for me the number of instances that you remember that Phil has criticized a comment by Mearsheimer or Finkelstein.

        I can’t remember any.

        While I find much to criticize. I formed a “prejudicial” attitude towards him in watching his manner of responding to criticism of his book during the initial promotional tours (on youtube, never in person). He was mean to respondents periodically. His arguments often resembled very partisan criticisms, more than reasoned and complete analyses. And, he presented himself as an expert on the history, even recent history, when his verbal analyses indicated incomplete study of the history, and even current contexts of the conflicts.

        I guess you could say the same about me and Bradley Burston most of the time. I admire the guy, and defer to his closer and more extended experience.

        But, I’m just a commentator on a blog, not a U of Chicago departmental chair.

        The way to test for completeness (necessary to be informative, beyond stimulating doubt) is to have two or more commentators look at the same set of data, and then describe their conclusions.

        Nearly certainly, a biased right-wing Zionist would conclude “nothing Israel did was wrong”. A “biased” liberal Zionist would conclude, “policies and practices might have been wrong”. A biased radical anti-Zionist would conclude “everything Israel did was wrong, and must be because Zionism is fundamental racist, and inevitably results in institutionalized cruelty”.

        In contrast to his realist credentials, and realist initial disclaimers, the content of his presentations were of the anti-Zionist flavor (but without the inevitability of “Zionism is racism”.)

      • Shingo
        July 9, 2010, 8:12 pm

        “I would expect a mix of criticism and praise.”

        Fair and balanced Witty? Are you arguing that the truth is in the middle of 2 opinions.

        You’re pathetic.

      • Shingo
        July 9, 2010, 9:44 pm

        “Nearly certainly, a biased right-wing Zionist would conclude “nothing Israel did was wrong”.”

        Which is precisely what you do repteadly.  You will always inist that Israel makes mistakes, but it never wrong.

        We appreciate your honesty.

      • annie
        July 9, 2010, 10:44 pm

        The way to test for completeness (necessary to be informative, beyond stimulating doubt) is to have two or more commentators look at the same set of data, and then describe their conclusions.

        so start your own f’ing blog and quit humping phil and adam’s readership. we’re beyond ‘testing’ norm or walt. the zionist mouthpieces don’t get equal play here and why should they? they dominate the entire msm. you’re so friggin yesterday witty. either get w/the program or get out. go mingle w/the yesterdays in the debate at your own blog where you can rule (never mind nobody’s there) cuz we’re not really interested in your form of ad hominem critique.

        In contrast to his realist credentials, and realist initial disclaimers, the content of his presentations were of the anti-Zionist flavor (but without the inevitability of “Zionism is racism”.)

        try reading his book witty, the one advertised here on the home page. specifically the last page #146. you’re wrong, he writes in response to gandhi’s quotes wrt anti british

        shouldn’t we also say we are not anti jewish, anti israel, or for that matter , anti zionist?

        i went to one of his lectures on the book tours and they were decidedly not the content of his presentations were of the anti-Zionist flavor . you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about nor do you know the history of the last year or apparently why he dropped out of the gaza freedom march. he very publically expressed his sentiments. so take your flavor bs and try actually studying what you’re talking about because it is well documented

      • sky7i
        July 10, 2010, 12:46 am

        Sounds like Witty has finally reached #4 on link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

        Anyhow, now that Witty has his own blog, it would be more sensible of him to post the majority of his spiel there with a trackback to here, with truly novel comments posted here directly. Some of us who understand his viewpoint don’t need to see it regurgitated ad nauseum — it just makes the comments section more tiresome. Is the slow colonization of this blog his strategic aim…?

      • Mooser
        July 10, 2010, 12:07 pm

        so start your own f’ing blog”

        Oh,he he has, he most certainly has.
        I sent him a comment, too, out of the goodness of my heart, and he threatened to sue.

      • Judy
        July 11, 2010, 6:05 pm

        Witty’s blog post on his own racism was really enlightening. It’s clear he views “racism” through a very narrow lens — namely, how he ( or his parents.. individuals, in any case) feel about other individuals. Now I understand why he’s constantly calling for individual contact.

        Israeli racism against Palestinians, in the form of the occupation, apartheid structures in the WB and the siege of Gaza aren’t in place because Jews in Israel don’t know enough Palestinians personally. The solution isn’t to become vegetarians and smoke pot together, Richard.

        Structures must be changed. The feelings of individuals Jews in Israel doesn’t mean squat in this conflict–those feelings are far too easily manipulated.

        Next time my husband is in MA for business Richard should meet him. Maybe meeting a real live Gazan in the flesh–one who has thrown stones and has scars from IOF bullets — might be just the ticket for Richard, who seems to personalize this conflict in the oddest of ways.

      • Richard Witty
        July 11, 2010, 6:37 pm

        I guess you didn’t read the post Judy.

        “I want to take this time to first explore what racism is, how it plays in my inter-personal relationships and how it gets expressed in collective consciousness and later in political policies.”

        Please hesitate to condemn before you get a clear and full picture. Shooting first is not progressive.

        I would love to meet your husband. If he is willing to speak and listen to me respectfully as a human being.

      • Shingo
        July 11, 2010, 8:31 pm

        “Please hesitate to condemn before you get a clear and full picture.”

        In spite of Witty’s thousands of comments to this blog, we apparently don’t understand him.

        “I would love to meet your husband. If he is willing to speak and listen to me respectfully as a human being.”

        Yes Judy, Witty expects your husband, who has been shot and has the scars to prove it, to sit and listen to Witty respectfully and not interrupt, because what Witty has to say is much more important and relevant than what your husband might have to say.

      • demize
        July 11, 2010, 8:44 pm

        He’s didactic like that…

      • azythos
        July 9, 2010, 5:31 pm

        Witty – I have no idea why everybody is talking to this moronic propaganda robot calling himself witty.

        “Palestinians won’t get Israeli solidarity with their struggle to demean those that conditionally support it”, he says.

        Well, fuck Israeli solidarity. That’s not what Palestinians need. Fuck Israeli anything, in fact. They need their land, their rights and their full sovereignty. So shove your solidarity you know where and just get out, or drop dead, or make it secualr and egalitarian, or whatever. And for fuck’s sake shut the hell off. If there is a single human being worth calling that among the Israelis he will desert and walk over anyway.

    • tree
      July 9, 2010, 12:29 pm

      Richard, Ofer Neiman is a JEWISH ISRAELI who is in solidarity with he Palestinian struggle. He recognizes the patronizing attitudes among many Israeli Jews and some Americans, including Jews and non-Jews, that are a part of the false justifications that underpin the unequal treatment of Palestinians and Jews. You can’t struggle for equality among all if you yourself believe that the Palestinians are lesser beings than Israeli Jews. And believing that the Palestinians have to learn from the Jews how to struggle non-violently against Israeli injustice and violence is part of a belief system that is incompatible with a true belief in equality.

      One cannot remain a humanist and subvert one’s own morality for the sake of a political interpretation of justice (especially one that contains hatred within its ranks.)

      Yet again, you need to take your own advice. You are filled with a belief in the superiority of Jews, which colors and subverts your feeble attempts to become a humanist and causes you to spew your passive-aggressive hatred here and elsewhere.

      • Richard Witty
        July 9, 2010, 1:17 pm

        You don’t have a clue about my attitudes re:”superiority”.

        Intimacy is a more accurate term, as Palestinians are responsibly and naturally more concerned with the well-being of their own communities, than others.

        Peace is possible when Israelis that are both sympathetic to their own communities’ needs and to Palestinians, interact with Palestinians that are both sympathetic to their own and Israelis’ needs.

        They form intersecting mutually beneficial solutions.

        The path of jockeying for power only, is the path of distortion, injustice, and war.

        When solidarity advocates for power only, for victory, rather than reconciliation, they disserve the community that they claim they are fighting for.

        Whether that is a Lebanese, a French, an Israeli radical Jew, a Gazan, anyone.

        The valid question of solidarity is whether success (improvement in Palestinians’ live, real improvement) comes through zero-sum agitation or through assertive negotiation and creative compromise.

        I say through creative compromise, of which those that seek victory only don’t have the prerequisites to succeed at.

        “The Times they are Changing. Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall.” Its not just the establishment that blocks hallways.

      • tree
        July 9, 2010, 1:47 pm

        Richard, you are known here by what you write. If, as you say,
        we “don’t have a clue” about your attitudes then it is because you are not expressing your true feelings here, because your sense of superiority shines through all your posts. If you can’t recognize that what Neiman was criticizing was a sense of moral superiority that exists with regards the Israeli Jews versus the Palestinians, then you are part and parcel of the problem. You act as if equality is a zero-sum game, and that is only the case if one comes from a belief in superiority. You can’t see your own false assumptions. We totally get that, even though you don’t.

      • Avi
        July 9, 2010, 2:03 pm

        You don’t have a clue about my attitudes re:”superiority”.

        Hummmm……Phil’s interaction with you seems to have given you a much needed boost and vigor. Perhaps that’s a good thing. I don’t know. At least you’re not waxing poetic about universal understanding, compassion and maximalist determination, anymore.

      • Mooser
        July 9, 2010, 3:32 pm

        “The path of jockeying for power only, is the path of distortion, injustice, and war.”

        Wow, I never ever realised, Richard, you do understand Zionism. I’ll have to give you more credit.

      • Richard Witty
        July 9, 2010, 3:55 pm

        You project Tree.

        Superiority of Jewish culture is not a view that I particularly hold.

      • Mooser
        July 9, 2010, 4:36 pm

        “The Times they are Changing. Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall.” Its not just the establishment that blocks hallways.”

        Gosh I didn’t know that Dylan was really talking about those damned hippies who used to take over the Administration or ROTC building, but now that Richard points it out I wonder, how could we have been so wrong about him?

      • Richard Witty
        July 9, 2010, 5:17 pm

        One thing that you don’t realize, is that in nearly every conflict, every issue with multiple interpretations, I bear both.

        I just don’t see anyone else similar here.

        I feel that I am in some familiar company when Phil articulates the complexities of his understanding, and the other liberal Zionists and even a couple more severe critics here.

        I wonder at the oversimplification and what looks to me to be knee-jerk contempt towards Zionists, liberal, radical, others.

      • Shingo
        July 9, 2010, 8:19 pm

        “You don’t have a clue about my attitudes re:”superiority”.”

        That’s because your arguments are not very convincing.

      • thankgodimatheist
        July 9, 2010, 8:50 pm

        “You don’t have a clue about my attitudes re:”

        It’s always ALWAYS your response to criticism of your views. Did it occur to you that if it’s the case than it could only be because you do not write clearly and unequivocally and your prose can be interpreted one way and its opposite at the same time? Or it cannot be interpreted at all!! You must be the most tedious, boring and irritating writer in the English language I ever came across. Pure torture…

      • Shingo
        July 9, 2010, 9:46 pm

        “Superiority of Jewish culture is not a view that I particularly hold.”

        True.  The view you hold to is superiority of Zionism.

      • Mooser
        July 10, 2010, 12:11 pm

        “One thing that you don’t realize, is that in nearly every conflict, every issue with multiple interpretations, I bear both.”

        Ah! So that’s why you are so unbearable!

        “I just don’t see anyone else similar here”

        We’d be lost without you, huh? Thank God you’re here to set us straight!

      • Mooser
        July 9, 2010, 5:01 pm

        “You are filled with a belief in the superiority of Jews,”

        The only superiority Richard believes in is his own. His ostensible belief in Jewish superiority is just a way Richard uses to avoid coming to grips with his neurotic narcissism. And to try and conceal it.

      • Richard Witty
        July 9, 2010, 5:28 pm

        I am definitely invested in my life. I’m committed to a combination of my own family’s, my own community’s, my own region’s, and others’ welfare.

        Narcissism?

        And, I am candid about my views, privately and publicly.

      • Donald
        July 9, 2010, 10:15 pm

        “Narcissism?”

        Yes, since you asked. Ofer made a simple point and you have done everything in your power to dodge the issue and change the subject. His point was that in this piece, as in other pieces that appear in the American media, the credit for nonviolent Palestinian activism is given to Israeli Jewish activists. It’s not a sign of disrespect to these activists to point out that this is patronizing and condescending to Palestinians–if you were the slightest bit aware of liberation movements you’d know that this is a sensitive issue–the great White Fathers who benevolently lead their inferiors out of darkness is a standard and offensive stereotype and Kristof’s column (perhaps inadvertently) fell into this. But you care nothing about the denigration of Palestinians. All you care about is a purely imaginary critique of Israeli Jews who work in solidarity with Palestinians, though nothing of the sort was said in the post and Ofer himself is an Israeli Jewish activist.

        And this thread is hardly unique. You seem to live inside your own head, typing nonsensical comments that often show little or no comprehension of the point of the post to which you are ostensibly responding. You barely acknowledge any point made by either the original poster or anyone else–the only thing that matters to you is the point you want to make. I don’t know if that behavior fits the definition of narcissism, but it’s not good, whatever one calls it.

      • annie
        July 9, 2010, 10:55 pm

        I am definitely invested in my life. I’m committed to a combination of my own family’s, my own community’s, my own region’s, and others’ welfare.

        given the abundance or time and energy you spend here where do we fit it? let’s nix family because obviously the time you spend here detracts from that. is it region, community or others welfare? who are you serving here richard? phil? us? israel? zionism? or is this for our welfare?

      • Richard Witty
        July 10, 2010, 3:10 am

        “Yes, since you asked. Ofer made a simple point and you have done everything in your power to dodge the issue and change the subject. His point was that in this piece, as in other pieces that appear in the American media, the credit for nonviolent Palestinian activism is given to Israeli Jewish activists. ”

        Thank you for confirming that I got his jist accurately. Others had said that I misrepresented his posts/

        Here, that theme (“Israelis always take over”, even in demonstration) is oft-repeated.

        His thesis ends up, “we want Israelis to change their attitudes to join us, but not through their own understanding and moral lens, only through Palestinians'”.

        And, angrily, “Palestinian non-violence has not been seen by the press. The world doesn’t know it.”

        Then he angrily cites a couple individuals that he describes as consistently non-violent. I don’t know them and can’t judge one way or another.

        I’m now habitually skeptical, more than skeptical, trained to be that way, by the rationalization that the 1st intifada rock-throwing was an example of “non-violent civil disobedience” whether confronting tanks (analagous to Tien Amin Square) or commandoes.

        There is a problem of perception. And, the problem includes Dan Fleshler’s recent comment on Realistic Dove that posters here carelessly and callously ignore the history of terror in Palestine and Arab and Muslim world as insignificant, and that somehow magically that shouldn’t make an impression in westerners’ minds.

        But, the fact is that it is. Palestinian resistance is NOT known as non-violent, even the flotillas, even the Silwan marches.

        It takes witness by someone with a worldview that is not yet converted (religiously converted to solidarity) to confirm to the west that the marches are in fact non-violent.

        That he and you derive irritation at that, rather than thanks, speaks badly for the movement.

      • Richard Witty
        July 10, 2010, 3:13 am

        I misrepresented Dan’s gist. Read the article yourself.

        link to realisticdove.org

        Philip Weiss and the inconvenient truth of suicide bombers
        In a recent post, the increasingly influential Philip Weiss tells of a Gaza psychiatrist who pleads with his visitors to “reach out and heal” Israelis because they are “gripped by fear.” Weiss accepts the challenge. After saying Israelis have a “psychosis” because of their fears, he asserts:

        I use the word psychosis because Israeli society is conditioned by the Holocaust and the 6 million and the belief that Jews can trust no one else. As Norman Mailer said, Hitler’s bitterest achievement was reducing Jews to the concern, Is it good for the Jews?

      • Richard Witty
        July 10, 2010, 4:01 am

        I think it is interesting that radical dissent refers to me as “narcissistic”. I’m sure there is an element of that in my thinking. (Name one person that isn’t in fact to some extent. Phil? Finkelstein? Abunimeh?)

        The irony is that that is exactly what I accuse the solidarity movement as, and that it represents a great failing through the lens of both morality and effectiveness.

        That is that the solidarity movement considers dissent as communication ONLY to the extent of propaganda, and not to the level of mature respect of its audience (if that audience includes Israelis or “privileged” Americans prominently, which it inevitably does unless one dismisses the vast majority of its social and political characteristics that are more than valid, functional, existing.)

        When you regard the communication process as actually significant, then you (collectively) will undertake efforts to actually communicate (humble dialog, humble to hear, humble to speak) rather than to propagate.

      • LeaNder
        July 10, 2010, 6:48 am

        I couldn’t have said it better, Donald. He seems to be some kind of Don Quichotte fighting his own imaginary wind mills.

        I also agree very much with tree.

        I am not a specialist on narcissism either. Mooser: Negative narcissism, maybe? Stabilize self by denigrating others?

        There is obviously a deep fissure between his heightened ethical self-presentation and the way he is perceived by others. I tend to explain this behavior in everyday live with a rather rigid set of prejudices. See the fighting of windmills above. And that’s really the behavior that strikes me most, that he keeps seeing things that aren’t there. That his comments often are faster than his understanding of who said what.

        It is really amazing that Ofer’s sensitive essay can be so thoroughly misunderstood and attacked.

      • Mooser
        July 10, 2010, 12:14 pm

        My own…my own…my own! Oh, and “others”

        Nope, no narcissism there, none!

      • Donald
        July 10, 2010, 3:40 pm

        “Thank you for confirming that I got his jist accurately. Others had said that I misrepresented his posts”

        You did misrepresent his post in your first several comments. I You obviously didn’t bother to pay attention to the actual content of the post until several of us, including me, repeatedly pointed to what Ofer said–only then did it apparently cross your mind to read it. You even admitted in this thread that you don’t always read things first.

        Condemned by your own words Richard. You are “trained to be skeptical” of any claim that Palestinians are non-violent because some throw rocks and you won’t take the effort to learn yourself. There are Palestinian human rights organizations with websites–have you examined any of them? Probably not. No one denies that much of Palestinian resistance has been violent–the Israelis, to their obvious regret, do not have a monopoly on war crimes. But nice try, making excuses for your lazy presupposition that you don’t have to believe in any Palestinian nonviolence until the rest of us prove it to your satisfaction. Once again you set yourself up as the judge who has to be convinced. And we can expect that to occur sometime around never.

        As for “converting you”, that’s more of your lazy self-absorbed arrogance. Investigate what Palestinians have said and done for yourself and stop acting like it is our responsibility to drag you kicking and screaming away from your patronizing racist attitudes. It’s your responsibility as a supposed peace advocate to stop demonizing Palestinians and offer them some respect and not to react like some classic liberal white racist who wants the Palestinians to thank the Massa for his kindness. There’ve been a few times when I thought you were starting to get it, but I’ve been like Charlie Brown to your Lucy pulling away the football. The only reason for having you around IMO is to see the extreme hypocrisy that afflicts some self-proclaimed liberal Zionists. You are a veritable caricature–I am honestly astonished at the level of hypocrisy, the willful blindness, the double standards, the kneejerk reactionary posts, the criticisms without understanding, the unwillingness to admit error and the self-admiration. For God’s sake, shut up and go away until you change. You do no good around here.

    • Donald
      July 9, 2010, 12:51 pm

      To put it the way you would, bother to read the posts you criticize. You don’t seem to do this. Recently you were asking about the results of Palestinian elections when the very post you were criticizing had the information in the text, with accompanying links.

      In this case, the point of the post is not to “demean those who conditionally support it”–it’s to point out a racist assumption that Palestinians need Israeli tutelage in order to learn how to protest nonviolently. That this is the point should be obvious to anyone who bothered to read it. Here are the last two sentences–

      “The Palestinians have no need for Israeli civil disobedience tutoring. They are in need of Israeli solidarity with their just struggle. “

      • Richard Witty
        July 9, 2010, 1:22 pm

        An Israeli arguing with a NY Times columnist about whether Palestinians need Israeli tutelage or not.

        Small tent means that “politically brilliant” Ofer by his attitudes exclude those that don’t defer to Palestinian solidarity. Smaller and smaller population invited to dissent in any scope, in any way, consistent with any personal values.

        Only the “holier than thou” invited, the politically correct.

      • Donald
        July 9, 2010, 2:10 pm

        In other words, Richard, you object to someone pointing out that Palestinians didn’t need Israeli tutelage to learn how to be nonviolent. Neiman isn’t rejecting the big tent–he’s inside the tent. He’s objecting to that portion of Kristof’s writing that contributes to racist misunderstandings of Palestinians. Kristof may not even realize it.

        Kristof’s columns on this have been good by NYT standards, but far from perfect. It’s appropriate to point out where they fall short, but when someone does this, you start whining and complaining about “holier than thou”. So how come you can complain about nearly every post here and that’s okay, but when someone points out the racist implications of an otherwise decent column, that’s not?

        Anyway, as usual you are avoiding the real point, the one you clearly either didn’t see or didn’t care about –it’s wrong, it’s racist, it’s not helpful to portray Palestinians as people who needed Israelis to teach them how to practice nonviolence. Are you really so insensitive and racist that you can’t see this? Or is that your ego doesn’t allow you to concede the point?

        BTW, I have no problem with Kristof praising the elements of Israeli society that stand with the Palestinians. I’m an admirer myself. What’s wrong is that he doesn’t give the Palestinians the credit they deserve. Obviously that doesn’t matter to you–only your own feelings are important, as always.

        Finally, I see that we’re giving you too much of a platform again–it’s a bad sign when your posts comprise so much of the thread.

      • tree
        July 9, 2010, 2:34 pm

        Great reply as usual, Donald. To the point and cohesive.

        BTW, it just occurred to me that Witty is the ultimate “small tent” advocate. He criticizes anyone who doesn’t agree with his take on things and either implies, or outright asserts, that they are not helpful or worthy of inclusion into the “big tent” he pretends to believe in. His “big tent” is pup-sized and doesn’t cover anyone but himself and those who see things exactly the way he does.

      • annie
        July 9, 2010, 2:41 pm

        You don’t have a clue about my attitudes

        oh right because while you continually lecture others about their inner motivations we have no right to come to conclusions of our own wrt yours.

        Ofer by his attitudes exclude those that don’t defer to Palestinian solidarity

        we get it, you can’t play ‘gotcha’ wrt what ofer actually wrote therefore your superior ‘sensing skills’ once again carry the day by leaping over the text and critiquing your own sorry exclusion due to the attitudinal voice of the author. it is almost as if you are incapable of reading the text and commenting on the point. it’s blame blame blame. another ad hominem and we don’t have a clue about you. actually we do by now. evade divert and go for the jugular while lecturing others about your expectation of ‘criticism and praise’.

        you’re not the camp counselor witty. placing yourself at the top of the comment section once again leading the thread w/some personalized message w/assignations of ‘hatred’.

      • James North
        July 9, 2010, 2:48 pm

        Donald is right. I found Ofer’s post extremely valuable, providing plenty of information about the history of nonviolence in Palestine that I did not know — and I am someone who follows Palestine/Israel reasonably closely. Also, Ofer’s tone throughout was polite and non-confrontational.
        By the way, Richard, I would love to see you rewrite the Ten Commandments to appeal to a “larger tent” audience than what you call “the ‘holier than thou,’ the politically correct.”
        “Thou Shalt Not Kill” would become something like: “We mean no offense, but maybe those who use deadly violence should reconsider, and ponder reconciliation instead.” Luckily for humanity, Moses and God were more maximalist than that.

      • Mooser
        July 9, 2010, 3:37 pm

        “We mean no offense, but maybe those who use deadly violence should reconsider, and ponder reconciliation instead.”

        Oh they do, they do. But the stubborn “holier than thou” bastards refuse, just flat refuse, to come back to life! What kind of society breeds people like that? Do they know how much it hurts us when they just lie there? No wonder we hate them!

      • Mooser
        July 9, 2010, 4:40 pm

        “You don’t have a clue about my attitudes”

        Richard, at least you have a realistic grasp of your ability as a writer. That’s a good start to end with.

      • Shingo
        July 9, 2010, 8:45 pm

        “In other words, Richard, you object to someone pointing out that Palestinians didn’t need Israeli tutelage to learn how to be nonviolent”

        The funny thing here is that in the Roger Cohen thread, Witty engages in tutoring thr Palestinians on how up be democratic.

      • Richard Witty
        July 10, 2010, 4:06 am

        The ten commandments also include the prohibition to “Not bear false witness against thy neighbor”.

        It compels humility and respect for the communication process, for the deliberative process, respect for the other in its definition of “justice”.

      • Shingo
        July 10, 2010, 5:10 pm

        “It compels humility and respect for the communication process, for the deliberative process, respect for the other in its definition of “justice”.”

        What would a narcissist with an iunflated sense fo self importance know about humility?

      • Richard Witty
        July 9, 2010, 5:30 pm

        Your right that I don’t always fully read the posts that I comment on.

        Sometimes I read only the content, and don’t read the references. Sometimes I only read a paragraph or two. Sometimes I am guided by the framing of the article in the form of headlines.

        Are you different in that respect?

      • Shingo
        July 9, 2010, 9:49 pm

        “Your right that I don’t always fully read the posts that I comment on.”

        The same goes for history books of the region or the Goldstone Report.  it’s why you have to resort to making up your “facts” on the fly and inventing polls and legal definitions.

        “Sometimes I read only the content, and don’t read the references. Sometimes I only read a paragraph or two. Sometimes I am guided by the framing of the article in the form of headlines.”

        Oh come on Witty.  Your appaling comprehension and your propensity to go off topic proves you never get past the headline itself.

      • annie
        July 9, 2010, 11:04 pm

        Your right that I don’t always fully read the posts that I comment on….. Are you different in that respect?

        that must be the key to getting the first spot on the comment thread..skippin the text. to answer your question, yes. usually i read it all and follow the links before commenting. apparently i’m not alone because anyone of us could race you for top post if we just skipped the text.

      • azythos
        July 9, 2010, 11:16 pm

        Witty – “Your [sic] right that I don’t always fully read the posts that I comment on”

        But there is no need at all.
        Who ever would ask a lowly henchman of the Propaganda-Abteilung to read? He is paid to repeat his moronic “talking points” no matter what.

        No one expects anyone who can understand what he is reading to still be working for the goons.

      • Chaos4700
        July 9, 2010, 11:19 pm

        Your right that I don’t always fully read the posts that I comment on.
        […]
        Are you different in that respect?

        I dare say the short answer would be, yes, Mr. Weiss is different in that particular respect from you. Among others.

      • LeaNder
        July 10, 2010, 7:20 am

        funny, I do too, if I have the time. And if I have not, I rarely comment. Based on what should I comment or criticize the author or the headline?

        This is a core to the Witty riddle.

        But then, this thread reminded me of Danaa’s hopeful comments that Richard views will change fundamentally in the near future. Watching him for several years now, I am hesitant about that. Honest revelations like these seem to result from his realization that he is backed into a corner, and has to act to restore his “authority”.

      • Mooser
        July 10, 2010, 12:20 pm

        “that must be the key to getting the first spot on the comment thread..skippin the text.”

        Bingo! Hole-in-one, Annie!

        And gosh, why isn’t Richard’s name linked to his blog? It’s free, and might boost his readership.

      • Mooser
        July 10, 2010, 12:42 pm

        “Watching him for several years now,”

        Reading that caused my knotted and combined locks to part and each particular hair to stand on end, like quills upon the fretful porpentine. Several years now! You are one brave hombre or hombrette, as the case might be.

    • Chaos4700
      July 9, 2010, 11:18 pm

      One cannot remain a humanist and subvert one’s own morality for the sake of a political interpretation of justice

      You forgot the air quotes that you generally put on the word justice.

  2. Avi
    July 9, 2010, 11:09 am

    A documentary film on the Israeli occupation of the West bank and the separation wall that Israel has built was recently screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

    The film was later shown in both Tel-Aviv and Ramallah.

    At the screening in Tel-Aviv, about 50 Israelis attended. Many of them voiced their displeasure with the manner in which Israel was portrayed. Apparently, showing Israel’s brutal policies is far worse than for Israel to commit said brutalities. The audience in attendance might as well have shouted, “We don’t like your exposing us to reality”.

    At the screening in Ramallah, close to a thousand Palestinians came to watch the documentary.

    I mention the contrast between the two events and the two groups to illustrate that as long as the ugliness and the inhumanity of the occupation remains behind the wall — while the average Israeli is secure in the knowledge that what happens in the West Bank, stays in the West Bank — very few Israelis will find a vested interest in reaching out to the Palestinian people or ending this decades-long occupation. For Israelis, the wall has put the inconvenient truth about the occupation out of sight, thus out of sight-out of mind.

    • sherbrsi
      July 9, 2010, 6:16 pm

      The ignorance extends beyond the wall, to the occupation, the IDF abuse, the land grabs. The average Israeli is not affected by the conflict, at least not on the continual and relentless basis all Palestinians are subjected to, therefore there is no incentive for the Israelis to push forward with any sort of resolution. Many don’t even know what the Green Line is, or more importantly where it is. So the status quo remains their best offer: they don’t have to deal with the “demographic bomb,” the settler-Zionism is appeased by continued construction in the West Bank/EJ with no danger at all to the enterprise from any party (even America’s objections, as Obama realized, are neutralized). On the Gazan front, the sadistic and hateful Israeli can project their own evil onto the caged Palestinians.

      Little wonder then that the Israelis have to put on a mere show of “peace and 2S” for the world, while in America and the OT, business goes on as usual for the Zionists as it has for 60 years.

      • Richard Witty
        July 10, 2010, 4:29 am

        As long as dissent uses language like “the sadistic and hateful Israelis” it would be unrealistic to expect more than 50 to come to a movie.

        In the west, VERY few come to documentary movies (there is a genre of Roger Moore, “Oversize this” satire now).

        Most political realities are conveyed by fiction and drama and now film, as has always been the case in the west. (Tolstoy, Steinbeck, HG Wells, Camus, Kafka, Sinclair, Gordimer, Andre Brink)

      • Mooser
        July 10, 2010, 12:25 pm

        “Most political realities are conveyed by fiction and drama”

        Bingo, Richard, you just exposed yourself as preferring propaganda to facts, and preferring melodrama to human empathy.

  3. Khawja
    July 9, 2010, 12:37 pm

    Maybe Nicholas Kristof needs to read the New York psychiatrist,Dr. Arnold A. Hutchnecker’s study published in 1972.

    link to rehmat2.wordpress.com

    • Mooser
      July 9, 2010, 3:52 pm

      Ziocaine is very elusive, and not easily tracked in the body. In 1972, of course, ziocaine had not even been discovered, and it’s existence was theoretical. I hope Dr. Hutchnecker has kept pace with the latest research into the subject.
      Many hypothesize that the ability to produce ziocaine is related to all those special “Jewish genes” Shwartzman was telling us about.

  4. demize
    July 9, 2010, 12:41 pm

    In the course of human events…I have found most people except for a minority can tolerate or learn from being exposed to their dirty laundry. All manor of mechanisms of denial and blame transfer, jingoism are employed to avoid uncomfortable truths. There is also a segment who genuinely relish in the suffering of others. What can be learned by non violent resistence to Israeli policy is that said resisters will be the target of all manor of ordnance both lethal and less than. This isn’t particular to Israel, we have it here as well. Remember the outrage at exposing the horrors of Abu Graib, not the horrors themselves but the exposing of. I can only recommend reading Max Ajl’s continuing debate with Meyers? I can’t remember the name. If not illuminating it is amusing.

  5. lysias
    July 9, 2010, 1:26 pm

    I recently read in a book on the Grimm Brothers that the equivalent in German of carrying coals to Newcastle is bringing turnips to Strassburg. I can’t find confirmation of such a saying on the Internet, so maybe the expression in German has died.

  6. Richard Witty
    July 9, 2010, 1:56 pm

    Ofer describes his colleagues (Israeli sympathizers) and journalists expressing contreversial sentiments in the American press (Kristoff) as ultimately “patronizing”.

    Not, “THANK YOU. Please pay attention to these inspiring individuals that I’ve had the good fortune to get to know.”

    But, “screw you for expressing any respect for liberal Israelis” (the ones that only put their reputations at risk, but not their bodies. In fact, if they have children or others responsible for them, their reputations is probably more dangerous, more courageous to risk for the good of others, or law, or whatever value they assert.)

    • Shafiq
      July 9, 2010, 3:37 pm

      It is patronising to assume the Palestinians don’t know how to protest non-violently and they need to be taught it. Ofer pointed this out and gave many examples of non-violent resistance that preceded the involvement of Israeli Civil Society

    • Mooser
      July 9, 2010, 4:27 pm

      It just hit me! How can I be this dumb, and still know where the lighter goes, and remember to inhale? Richard Witty has a blog!
      And he makes the effort to come over here and trying to set us straight, but do we ever go there and thank him, return the favor? I mean, this is the guy who, at the risk of carpal tunnel, still came over here to inform us of Phil’s journalistic malfeasance, and how the Gazans bought him.

      I cannot believe I have overlooked this simple reciprocal gesture, of commenting at his blog for every comment he leaves here. Plus, I guess there’s a lot to make up for.

      Richard, I apologise, and I promise not to let it happen any more, and make up for our lack of response. You can count on it! I know after each post you make over at Loving Home in Practice you lie awake, and toss from right to right wondering what I might have thought of your post. Sleep soundly tonite Richard, just as we never lack for your insights here, I’ll make sure you never lack for mine, verb and adjective!

      • Shafiq
        July 9, 2010, 4:49 pm

        It seems Mr Witty is more honest on his own blog than he is here (well sort of). In his response to the flotilla attack:

        I am extremely critical and distrustful of Hamas. It embarrasses me to say that Hamas acted with more consistency and integrity [during the ceasefire] than Israel.

        The only feasible proposal that has emerged, that I heard, came from Hamas of all sources, but prior to the confrontation. Saturday, an interview that Charlie Rose conducted with the Hamas leader Meshal (from Syria) was published. Meshal offered to allow a Gaza international port to be developed and managed by international supervision (not by Hamas). It was a surprise to hear.

        But in the paragraphs prior to that, he laments at there not being a decent alternative to the blockade (contradict yourself much?)

        But then he also sometimes reverts to being the Witty we all know and love:

        The negligences [by the IDF in its operation] led to inhumane and inneffective policies, and now extreme embarrassment to the point where many are challenging Israel’s legitimacy to exist as a state. (It is not just talk by a fanatic few, now.)

    • Mooser
      July 9, 2010, 4:45 pm

      “screw you for expressing any respect for liberal Israelis”

      Is that a quote from the article, Richard? I only ask because you put the phrase inside, you know, quote marks.

      “In fact, if they have children or others responsible for them, their reputations is probably more dangerous,”

      Now there’s some clear writing, fo’ sho’! But the point shines through: Zionists may kill the children of those with whom they have the smallest disagreement. Even fellow Israeli or Jews.
      I bow to your superior knowledge of the Israeli character, and thank you for this frank appraisal of it.

    • thankgodimatheist
      July 9, 2010, 9:02 pm

      “contreversial”

      It’s contro..versial not contreversial. And it’s weird not wierd. It’s dialogue not dialog.
      Show some respect to the language you express yourself with..If unsure, check it out. And stop posing as a thinker. You can’t even write properly or clearly.

      • Mooser
        July 10, 2010, 12:28 pm

        Thankgod, if he takes the time to proofread, or use spell-check, he’ll miss that first spot on comments.

      • thankgodimatheist
        July 10, 2010, 10:18 pm

        That must be exactly it Mooser because I had a look at his blog that you linked to above and I was very surprised to see that he writes much better there. Now I’m not sure if it’s not also because he talks about topics of different nature such as economics and social issues where he seems to be much less convoluted and snake-like. And to be honest, I’d much rather read his other stuff and not being the slightest irritated, infuriated or simply confused as to his intent. He’s much more readable clear and even, yes, interesting. The I/P issue is definitely where he stumbles and mumbles. That fact that he mostly resorts to smoke screens and squid ink is, ironically, revealing!..

      • Donald
        July 10, 2010, 10:34 pm

        You will notice that pattern even at this blog if you follow him closely. On those rare occasions when the facts support his position or even if he only thinks they do, he can write clearly. When they don’t, you get the smoke screen. It’s probably meant to delude himself as much as anyone else.

        If one could step back and just study it as a psychological phenomenon and not get angry at the content, it’s interesting.

      • Shingo
        July 10, 2010, 11:37 pm

        I noticed that this phenomena is a common trait among Zionists, particularly those that consider themselves liberals.  There is ample evidence of it over at the comment section of Glenn Greenwald’s blog.

        When the subject of Israel comes up, commenter who are otherwise intelligent and lucid (and who happen to be pro Israel) descend into gibberish and conflation like Witty.  They become absorbed in philosophical discussion and obsessing about minutia and irrelevancies, refusing to address the facts before them.  All the while of course, they demand to be taken seriously and insist that them and them alone are the arbiters of what constitutes reasonable debate and criticism.

        Another individual who exhibits this affliction is Christopher Hitchens when he gets on to the subject of the Iraq war.  Hitchens is simply masterful and poetic about every topic I’ve heard him address except for then he turns to Iraq.  It is then that his arguments and reasoning begins sound like a child.

  7. annie
    July 9, 2010, 3:05 pm

    “screw you for expressing any respect for liberal Israelis”

    there is a difference between ‘expressing respect’ and attributing misplaced responsibility. it just so happens these non violent protests didn’t get the attention they deserved or essentially any attention at all until there was a concerted persistent effort by israeli jews to join in solidarity with their palestinian colleagues/counterparts in the peace movement. furthermore ofer didn’t call israeli sympathizers “ulitimately patronizing”, ever. go ahead and copy paste any part of the text, you are completely evading ofer’s point…again.

    • Richard Witty
      July 9, 2010, 4:01 pm

      Ofer’s description of his colleagues, and reporters ACTUALLY bothering to report to the world of the merit of the demonstrations that he attended was “patronizing” rather than wonderful. It is an offensive statement to me, and shrinks the tent.

      It DISCOURAGES others from joining the dissent, rather than encourages.

      Its a common theme here and elsewhere, the invitation to those whose views are sufficiently “pure” by a predefined litmus test.

    • Donald
      July 9, 2010, 4:19 pm

      “you are completely evading ofer’s point…again.”

      Not only Ofer’s point, but also every single one of us that pointed this out to him. Notice that rather than respond directly to what several of us have said and that which is in Ofer’s original post, Witty just starts a new subthread and repeats what he reads into the post, something which isn’t even there. It’s his classic evasion tactic at work.

      He doesn’t care one little bit about the patronizing of Palestinians–doesn’t acknowledge it as a problem. Their feelings are of absolutely no importance. Perhaps he feels that Palestinians did need to be taught nonviolent resistance by their betters. He can’t say that, so he pretends the problem is that we are spitting on Israeli Jewish human rights activists. The funny thing is, I have great respect for those Israelis that work on behalf of Palestinian human rights and I’m sure most people here do as well. And if they are the people I take them to be, they would agree with Ofer’s post.

      • Shingo
        July 9, 2010, 8:34 pm

        “He doesn’t care one little bit about the patronizing of Palestinians–doesn’t acknowledge it as a problem. Their feelings are of absolutely no importance. Perhaps he feels that Palestinians did need to be taught nonviolent resistance by their betters”

        Does this come as any surprise? Witty gas never considered what the Pslestinians feel. After all, he’s perfectly happy to see Palesrininans bring oppressed, ethnically cleansed and murdered on mass if the alternative is to hurt the feelings of Israelis.

      • eljay
        July 9, 2010, 10:11 pm

        >> Ofer’s description of his colleagues … was “patronizing” rather than wonderful. It is an offensive statement to me, and shrinks the tent.

        In general, Kristof’s article reads quite well, although his comment “one advantage of Israeli civil society is that it promotes democratic values in Palestinian communities” clearly is patronizing, particularly in light of Ofer’s list of Palestinian democratic / peace initiative crushed by the Israelis.

        Your constant howls of self-righteous indignation are offensive. “Shrinks the tent”, however, is pretty funny. What a clown.

      • Shingo
        July 9, 2010, 10:20 pm

        “Your constant howls of self-righteous indignation are offensive.  “Shrinks the tent”, however, is pretty funny.  What a clown.”

        Yes, Witty does love his slogans.  Today it’s “small tent”, yesterday it was “live and let live”, which he had to shelves after the attack on the flotilla.

        he’s also had to ditch “self governance” after he was forced o claim that Gaza is still under Israeli occupation in order to explain how Israel could claim Gaza waters as their own.

      • eljay
        July 9, 2010, 10:30 pm

        >> Yes, Witty does love his slogans.

        Hey, who doesn’t love a good slogan? Seriously, there isn’t a better way to white-wash illegal, immoral, religiously-based fanaticism than to toss out cutesy, meaningless slogans. It’s so much more fun than actually supporting and promoting justice, egalitarianism, freedom, democracy and fairness.

        “Remember the Holocaust!” (always a good one)

      • demize
        July 9, 2010, 10:50 pm

        Hey denize. What? How long have you been posting over at Mondowiess? Uhhm, I don’t know, let’s see. I started somewhere around the mid “Maximilist” Epoch and am now in the early “Big-Tent” Era.

  8. Richard Witty
    July 9, 2010, 4:03 pm

    “Unfortunately, Kristof presents a patronizing and misinformed view of the history of the Palestinian struggle against Israel’s policies of land grab and occupation. ”

    It seems clear to me that that was Ofer’s PRIMARY theme, of the patronizing nature of Kristof’s and colleagues’ attitudes.

    Do you have a different impression? Do you think that he was applauding Kristoff for attending, for commenting? Do you think he was inviting?

  9. Mooser
    July 9, 2010, 4:33 pm

    Richard has a post on: “Assertively Responsible Investing, General economic, Sustainable Economics” along with a ground-floor opportunity to buy shares in settlements. How can you lose?

  10. Koshiro
    July 9, 2010, 5:15 pm

    ‘Israel civil society’ as an example, what a joke!
    For almost all Palestinians, almost all of their encounters with Israeli society fall into one of these categories:
    1.) Occupation soldiers who humiliate them
    2.) Settlers who harass them
    3.) Administration authorities who control them
    The miniscule number of decent Israelis who interact with Palestinians is a drop in the ocean. And the only thing that one can learn about western democracy from this whole mess is how phoney and hypocritical it is.

    Fancy dreams of reconciliation are likewise nonsense. People don’t reconcile with their oppressors – which Israelis, as I said, almost exclusively are to Palestinians – while they are still oppressing them. The end of the occupation has to come first. After that Israelis can try to reconcile with the Palestinians, a process which will take a very long time and might not even lead anywhere, especially if Israel refuses to admit its wrongdoings.

    Palestinians don’t need lessons from Israelis, they don’t need sanctimonious lectures about peace and reconciliation, they need Israel off their backs ASAP.

  11. eljay
    July 9, 2010, 5:45 pm

    >> Fancy dreams of reconciliation are likewise nonsense. People don’t reconcile with their oppressors … while they are still oppressing them. The end of the occupation has to come first. After that Israelis can try to reconcile with the Palestinians, a process which will take a very long time …

    End the oppression, then engage in reconciliation geared toward justice, equality, democracy and fairness. Sounds very reasonable…but according to RW, what you are actually asking is for “Jews to grovel” and, goshdarnit, he’s made it very clear that he simply won’t do that!

    • potsherd
      July 9, 2010, 6:05 pm

      Whenever the Zionists here start talking about “Jews” I can smell the whiff of bullshit. For “Jews” you have to read “those extraspecial poor victimized people with special rights that no one else on Earth can claim and no one can ever criticize.”

  12. sherbrsi
    July 9, 2010, 7:20 pm

    The NYT is harping on about the “white man’s burden,” to morally lead the savage people of Palestine and “set an example”. No wonder that Zionists and Zionism is so wedded to colonialism and colonialist thought.

    • VR
      July 10, 2010, 1:32 am

      Yes, and the insistence of RW that we follow the discourse is his anger that we do not want to take up the white man’s burden.

      I could excuse Kristof for his implications here, except that he does it in other scenarios. The same thing occurred when he took up the subject of atrocities in Africa, but he never revealed the true background of what was happening by foreign exploitation. His wish to be “helpful” always clouds the true context of the situation, so he is either a “dumb” humanitarian or he just likes to embellish the take of the Euro/American offenders.

  13. VR
    July 10, 2010, 1:53 am
  14. Richard Witty
    July 10, 2010, 3:23 am

    I’m actually asking that solidarity engage in effective dissent, oriented to changing Israeli policy and practices, to shift to a consistent approach of seeking to be a good neighbor to a good neighbor.

    I find that the habitual verbal sniping and contempt for Israeli society (wishing for revolutionary magic, rather than for better arguments to persuade), to greatly REDUCE the effectiveness of dissent to change Israeli and American views.

    I think it is paranoid (invoking laziness to do the real work of persuasion) to resort to “we are being censored” or “THEY are injecting hasbara assumptions underneath headlines in arguments”.

    Make the better argument already. Unless you believe in revolutionary vanguard rather than liberty, then you have to persuade.

    • eljay
      July 10, 2010, 12:41 pm

      >> I’m actually asking that solidarity engage in effective dissent, oriented to changing Israeli policy and practices, to shift to a consistent approach of seeking to be a good neighbor to a good neighbor. … Make the better argument already. Unless you believe in revolutionary vanguard rather than liberty, then you have to persuade.

      The jester trots out the “better argument” slogan once again. (The “blue dot in a green sea can’t be too far away.) And, once again, the onus is on the Palestinians to make that “better argument” (despite their best attempts to live under occupation and oppression) and to be “good neighbors to good neighbors”…but he fails to address just how Israel will be a “good neighbor” and he fails to indicate what “better argument” Israel is going to put forth to the Palestinians.

      What a joke(r).

      “Remember the Holocaust!”

      • Donald
        July 10, 2010, 3:48 pm

        “The jester trots out the “better argument” slogan once again.”

        What he’s doing is setting himself up as the judge of what constitutes the better argument and then he can refute anything we say by issuing his judgement–“I’m not persuaded”. He doesn’t have to justify his own position because he sees himself as the one in the position of power.

        I think the reason for his upset right after the flotilla killings is that for a week or two there it looked like the curtain was torn away and Israel’s cruelty was coming under scrutiny even in the US media and furthermore, there seemed a very real possibility that there would be war between Israel and Turkey. That shook him up. But now he’s back in the role of Judge Witty.

      • Richard Witty
        July 10, 2010, 4:11 pm

        I’m proposing that the method of attempting to mobilize a mass movement inevitably limits content to trivial formulas that misrepresent reality. (Yes, there are similarities with apartheid, but parallel in events and parallel in remedy are a trivialization.)

        The method of respecting the other sufficiently to address their concerns, is far far more effective at changing hearts and minds, policies, and relationships.

        It depends what you want. If you want the vanity of “I told you so” when things fuck up again, continue. If you want to actually change hearts and minds, policies and relationships then review your assumptions coolly and with a genuinely open mind.

      • Richard Witty
        July 10, 2010, 4:16 pm

        There is an element that we have fundamentally different perspectives.

        That is that I observe what is occurring through the lens of a “we”, in which I genuinely care about the results of dissent for my community (closely or distantly related), and I also care about the results for Palestinians. I don’t pretend to care about them literally equally.

        Dissent includes those that are Palestinians and similarly are more concerned with their own community (closely or distantly related). To the extent that they respect Israelis and Jews, then there is a prospect of a good peace.

        Dissent also includes those that vainly, or opportunistically define themselves as judges of justice. Some from genuine compassion, some from mix of compassion and opportunism, some more weighted to the cynical.

        Those that are not genuinely compassionate, either ideological or harboring some vain exageration of their knowledge and character, to judge others, usually cannot accomplish peace.

        They might accomplish pendulum swings, and maybe that is better than the status quo, or potentially worse if it invokes war for example.

      • Donald
        July 10, 2010, 5:09 pm

        Changing your mind should not be on anyone’s agenda, Richard and any attempt to do so has been demonstrated to be a waste of time over and over again. I’ve met liberal Zionists I respect online and in books and articles–people who believed that the long history of antisemitism made it necessary to have a Jewish state, and yet who also recognized that Zionism as it was carried out resulted in massive human rights violations committed against the Palestinians. They don’t lie or downplay or justify the crimes committed by Israelis against Palestinians or constantly blame the Palestinian leadership for Israeli crimes(though they may blame them for the crimes that Palestinians have committed and for mistakes they may have made). I would like to change their minds, but actually, given where they stand there’s not a lot of changing I would try to do anyway. If someone recognizes the immense injustice done to the Palestinians, that’s half the battle. I think Palestinians could work something out with Israelis if they were all like that.

        You’re not like that, Richard. This website would not be the friendliest place in the world for a Zionist of the type I just described, but whatever one thinks about that, it has nothing to do with you. You’re not open to persuasion and you’re not honest about the crimes of your side. No one should use your posts as anything except illustrations of the sort of hypocrisy that Phil is fighting against.

      • Shingo
        July 10, 2010, 6:29 pm

        “The method of respecting the other sufficiently to address their concerns, is far far more effective at changing hearts and minds, policies, and relationships.”

        Note that Witty will never cite an example if the success of this approach, absent more measures. In the abaenxe of amy evidence, He keeps citing this imaginary scenario as being the only approach that can possibly work.

      • Shingo
        July 10, 2010, 6:38 pm

        “Dissent also includes those that vainly, or opportunistically define themselves as judges of justice”

        So says the resident narcissist who regularly dismisses inconvenient arguments as “not convincing”,makes up legal terms and definitions on yhr fly and proclaims himself to be the spokesman for not only Israel but the entire world community.

      • Richard Witty
        July 10, 2010, 6:39 pm

        Donald,
        I AM of the type that identifies wrongs and proposals for reforms.

        That is one of the great tragedies of this site, and of your approach, that you do not seek areas of agreement, of invitation, but only of condemnation.

        I am not open to demonization, that is accurate.

        I recognize enormous harms done to civilian Palestinians, some injustices some tragedies. For example, in thinking about 1948, you describe that the only acted and intended injustice was the expulsion of Arab residents from what became Israel. (The actual injustice occurred in the early 1950’s when the prohibitions from return were institutionalized. And, that occurred in a setting in which Arab renegades violently attacked Israeli civilians, so the Israeli conclusion that return was impossible is also a rational, understandable conclusion).

        In 1947, there was a concerted attempt by Palestinians to rid the land of Jews, and a primary slogan of the Egyptian and Syrian army recruitment was “we will drive the Jews into the sea”.

        I get that a tragedy occurred. I don’t hear your acknowledgement that an injustice was intended and sought on the Jews, Israelis.

        War sucks. Some things that Israel does sucks. Some things that Palestinians do sucks. Some things that solidarity does sucks.

      • Shingo
        July 10, 2010, 6:45 pm

        “What he’s doing is setting himself up as the judge of what constitutes the better argument and then he can refute anything we say by issuing his judgement–“I’m not persuaded”.   He doesn’t have to justify his own position because he sees himself as the one in the position of power.”

        It get’s better than that Donald. He then GPRS on to accuse others of doing this very thing.

      • eljay
        July 10, 2010, 6:47 pm

        >> The method of respecting the other sufficiently to address their concerns, is far far more effective at changing hearts and minds, policies, and relationships.

        This raises, yet again, the usual questions:
        – What is Israel doing to respect Palestinians “sufficiently to address their concerns”?
        – What is Israel’s “better argument”?

      • tree
        July 10, 2010, 6:50 pm

        Witty, yet again, can’t even follow his own advice, as his comments never address the concerns of others – they only address the concerns of his own or of his chosen affinity group. Most everyone else who disagrees with him gets dismissed and/or lectured to. He has never been successful here at “changing hearts and minds”, because frankly he’d rather think himself right and more enlightened than thou then actually listen to concerns he doesn’t already share.

      • Richard Witty
        July 10, 2010, 7:02 pm

        What is Israel doing to respect Palestinians “sufficiently to address their concerns”?

        Not much. Why do you think that is?

        I suggest a portion of it is because you only condemn, rather than also self-inquire.

        It gives the worst in Israel cover to say, “See, they are truly out to get us. I wasn’t imagining.”

      • eljay
        July 11, 2010, 12:22 pm

        >> What is Israel doing to respect Palestinians “sufficiently to address their concerns”?
        >> Not much. Why do you think that is? I suggest a portion of it is because you only condemn, rather than also self-inquire. It gives the worst in Israel cover to say, “See, they are truly out to get us. I wasn’t imagining.”

        Do you ever think before you spew your pseudo-intellectual garbage? Israel doing “not much” to respect Palestinians and address their concerns is acceptable because Palestinians “condemn rather than self-inquire”, but Palestinians doing “not much” to respect Israel and address the concerns of Israelis is completely unacceptable even though Israelis/Jews “condemn rather than self-inquire” AND Israel continues to steal Palestinian land AND destroy Palestinian homes AND kill Palestinian civilians AND refuse to comply with declarations of human rights and with international laws AND…

        You are both an astounding hypocrite and a complete buffoon.

      • Mooser
        July 11, 2010, 3:06 pm

        “I’m proposing that the method of attempting to mobilize a mass movement inevitably limits content to trivial formulas that misrepresent reality.”

        Witty, you are determined to strike directly at Zionism’s black heart, aren’t you? And what a concise summation! Good work!

      • Mooser
        July 11, 2010, 3:09 pm

        “I don’t pretend to care about them literally equally”

        I don’t pretend to care about them literally equally

        All that word salad, and one crouton’s worth of honesty.

      • Mooser
        July 11, 2010, 3:16 pm

        “Some things that solidarity does sucks.”

        Great, we haven’t fogotten Poland!

      • Donald
        July 11, 2010, 3:36 pm

        Here’s Richard–

        “I get that a tragedy occurred. I don’t hear your acknowledgement that an injustice was intended and sought on the Jews, Israelis.”

        Here’s part of the post I wrote that he allegedly responded to–

        “They don’t lie or downplay or justify the crimes committed by Israelis against Palestinians or constantly blame the Palestinian leadership for Israeli crimes(though they may blame them for the crimes that Palestinians have committed and for mistakes they may have made). I would like to change their minds, but actually, given where they stand there’s not a lot of changing I would try to do anyway. If someone recognizes the immense injustice done to the Palestinians, that’s half the battle. I think Palestinians could work something out with Israelis if they were all like that.’

        I was describing what I’d call the honest sort of liberal Zionist (Avi Shlaim, for example). Note where I mentioned Palestinian crimes. And I’ve condemned Palestinian atrocities all along–Richard knows this. I know that there were atrocities and acts of ethnic cleansing on both sides in the 1948 war and have never denied it (though obviously the Israeli crimes were on a larger scale).

        “The actual injustice occurred in the early 1950’s when the prohibitions from return were institutionalized. And, that occurred in a setting in which Arab renegades violently attacked Israeli civilians, so the Israeli conclusion that return was impossible is also a rational, understandable conclusion”

        Richard won’t mention that according to Benny Morris in “Israel’s Border Wars”, most of the Palestinian infiltrators were nonviolent and most of the victims of Israeli killing in that period were not guilty of any violence. Israel killed between 2700 and 5000, according to Morris. And Israel didn’t “conclude” that return was impossible because of the violence–they didn’t want the returnees because they had their majority Jewish state and returning Palestinians would have ruined that. Several weeks ago Richard himself has said he wouldn’t have allowed the return back then for precisely that reason.

        Also, though Richard doesn’t seem to mind, the ethnic cleansing of the 48 war involved at least 20 massacres and much of it was deliberate ethnic cleansing for demographic purposes, not merely taking villages for military purposes and temporarily chasing the residents out.

        There’s no point at all in discussing anything with Richard–he won’t respond honestly. He’ll only notice the things he wants to notice and he will erect a strawman and attack that if he has to–anything to avoid confronting his own hypocrisy. And he will seem to condemn some Israeli act and then make excuses for it, though he himself has already given the real reason he’d justify the atrocity.

      • Shingo
        July 11, 2010, 4:47 pm

        “Why do you think that is?”

        It’s obvious Witty. Zionism is rascism and based on ethnic cleansing and colonialism.

      • Shingo
        July 11, 2010, 5:11 pm

        “I AM of the type that identifies wrongs and proposals for reforms.”

        No wity, you are of the type that identifies wrongs on one side of the conflict, justifies wrongs on the other side and aportions all the blame to the victim.

        You have proposed nothing other than vaccuous suggestions that both sides need to understand each other better. That’s not reform, that’s stonewalling.

        “In 1947, there was a concerted attempt by Palestinians to rid the land of Jews, and a primary slogan of the Egyptian and Syrian army recruitment was “we will drive the Jews into the sea”.

        This has been demostarted to be false and whatsmore, your ignorance of this period of history has been exposed repeatedly.

        But your hypocrisy doesn’t stop therem, because you clerly ignore the fact that there was not only a concerted attempt by Zionists to rid the land of Palestinians, that the primary slogan of the Zionists was “removal of the Arabs” and that they achieved this goal.

        You want to obsess about the potential injustice that was intended and sought on the Jews (even if it was retribution for the stated policies of the Zionists), but triviliase and ignore the injustice the Israelis perpetrated nto nly then, butg have ever since.

        Why is that? Becaue the in your sick and racist mind, teh lives of Palestinians are much less important.

        War suck and Israel is obsessed with war. Most of all, you suck.

        Fuck off Witty.

      • Shingo
        July 11, 2010, 5:41 pm

        “And he will seem to condemn some Israeli act and then make excuses for it, though he himself has already given the real reason he’d justify the atrocity.”

        Witty will do what all Zionists do, claim that they always criticize Israel, but then relfexively reject any criticism of Israel as unjustified. In fact, Witty has admitted that he ignores reportes liek the Goldtone report because his assumption is that the charges are exagerrated.

  15. Richard Parker
    July 10, 2010, 5:10 am

    So Witty’s on the scene again, with all his obfuscatory crap.

    My own blog is only a news-aggregation spot, quoting other journalists or bloggers, , but I have recently posted some items covering Israeli responses to Palestinian ‘dumb insolence':

    The Orthodox Jews fighting the Judaization of East Jerusalem
    link to levantnotes.blogspot.com

    Echoes of Steve Biko – 4th Floor Defenestration
    link to levantnotes.blogspot.com

    Israel Bans Parachutes From Gaza
    link to levantnotes.blogspot.com

    IDF soldiers used Gazans as Human Shields
    link to levantnotes.blogspot.com

    And some scheduled to come under the general heading of “Israel’s Crime of the Week.

    ‘Dumb insolence’ was my British sergeant-major’s characterisation of Ghandian non-violent protest.

  16. Rowan
    July 10, 2010, 8:49 am

    I wish people could gain the habit of taking one step back from the ostensible issue. This is perhaps not always easy but it can be learned. In this case, it requires us to ask: why should it matter who learned ‘non-violence’ from whom? The obvious answer is, because we are taught to think of non-violence as a morally superior mode of expressing opposition to a government (or corporation) policy. Once we have clarified it to this extent, we realise that it is a superficial, liberal question. However, more to the point is the prevalence world-wide of what are known as ‘black ops’, which are terrorist outrages killing many civilians staged by governments (or corporations) and blamed on protestors. When you realise how easy it is to get away with these, since the mass media everywhere are quite subservient to this strategy and never question it, you also realise that if you — the people destined to be defeated by the government (or corporation) — are not violent enough to discredit yourselves, then some ‘black op’ violence will be manufactured and attributed to you.

    • Donald
      July 10, 2010, 9:10 am

      I don’t agree and just because your interests are different doesn’t mean the rest of us are discussing a trivial issue, oh deep-thinking one. The black ops issue is worth discussing, but that’s not what this post was about. Anyway, in the vast majority of cases it’s clear who did the killing. There are famous exceptions– the Lavon Affair was one where Egyptians were meant to be blamed for Israeli terror, but that’s not the norm in this conflict. There are also cases like that of Samir Kuntar, where some claim he didn’t kill the people he is supposed to have killed and on the other side, Israelis sometimes try to claim that their victims were really killed by Palestinians. But most of the time there’s no denying who killed whom.

      The issue here is a very old one–do oppressed people need the Superior Culture to teach them how to be nonviolent. You may or may not think nonviolence is a good thing, but that is irrelevant– it is racist to think that Palestinians needed the Superior Culture to teach them this particular mode of resistance.

      • Richard Witty
        July 10, 2010, 9:53 am

        They DO need to learn how to communicate.

        Dissent is primarily communication. While there are important examples of non-violent demonstration on the part of Palestinians, there is also too damn much rationalization (deception) for low level violence like the rock-throwing during the 1st intifada.

        It, and the habitual condemnation (rather than reasoned criticism), causes a great deal of distrust and dismissal of even important valid contentions.

        We, liberals, feel lied to by both the right and the left. As I spend much more of my time with the left than the right, I personally feel lied to more by the left.

        There is still fundamental differences within the dissenting community, ranging from scary hateful propagation, to dismissive single-state advocacy, to naively hopeful single-state advocacy, to genuine support of Palestinians’ civil rights, and hastening facilitation of Palestinian statehood.

        When a demonstration includes the slogan “Zionism is racism”, I know that democracy is not part of the proposal.

      • Shafiq
        July 10, 2010, 4:49 pm

        They DO need to learn how to communicate.

        Communication is a two-way process – it’s really not the Palestinians’ fault if the world (including you) refuses to acknowledge the existence of non-violent resistance in Palestinian civil society. Claiming the Palestinians aren’t doing their bit is disingenuous – the number of non-violent actions have vastly outweighed violent ones ever since 1967. How many times have we heard the petty sloganeering, ‘Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?’ Forgive me if I am wrong, but I’m pretty sure you’ve come out with that line on more than one occasion.

        there is also too damn much rationalization (deception) for low level violence like the rock-throwing during the 1st intifada.
        The first intifada started off as a tax-revolt. The Israelis turned nasty and the Palestinians defended themselves. This is rationalisation, but it’s dishonest for you to claim it’s deception. The Revolutionaries did exactly the same thing in the 1790s and have been almost deified for it. How many times have you attempted to rationalise Israeli violence against the Palestinians (violence that is much worse than rock throwing)?

        It, and the habitual condemnation (rather than reasoned criticism), causes a great deal of distrust and dismissal of even important valid contentions.
        Condemnation doesn’t occur willy nilly. Condemnation happens when a party is in the wrong and commits acts worthy of condemnation.

        We, liberals, feel lied to by both the right and the left. As I spend much more of my time with the left than the right, I personally feel lied to more by the left.
        And what do you mean by ‘liberal’ here? I haven’t come across much liberalism in your comments here

      • Shafiq
        July 10, 2010, 5:00 pm

        There is still fundamental differences within the dissenting community, ranging from scary hateful propagation, to dismissive single-state advocacy, to naively hopeful single-state advocacy, to genuine support of Palestinians’ civil rights, and hastening facilitation of Palestinian statehood.

        What do you mean by ‘dissenting community’. Is calling a spade a spade, hateful propagation? Am I being hateful if I say that much of the Muslim world’s treatment of homosexuals disgusts me?

        Those who advocate a one-state solution (most of whom are either Palestinians or Israelis) have considered a two-state solution and deemed it infeasible. They have explained their reasoning many times on this blog, yet all you can do is call it ‘naive’ or ‘dismissive’ instead of challenging the premises of their arguments. Instead, those arguments are challenged by other members of the ‘dissenting community’ who believe a two-state solution is more feasible.

        When a demonstration includes the slogan “Zionism is racism”, I know that democracy is not part of the proposal.
        You know full well why many consider Zionism to be a form of racism. A Jewish state in 1948 (not racist) could not have existed without large-scale expulsions of the Arab populace (racist). This is exactly what happened.

        I don’t really see how calling Zionism racism is an attack on democracy.

      • Shingo
        July 10, 2010, 6:01 pm

        “I don’t really see how calling Zionism racism is an attack on democracy.”

        That’s just Witty using Orwellian Zionist double speak. Zionism is the antithesis of democracy, but to suggest that Zionism is rascism is undemocratic.

        It’s clearly illogical and absurd, but Zionists will often use such ridiculous arguments to throw their opponents. It reminds me if how Netenyahu claimed that asking Israel to sign the NPT was hypocrisy, even while Israel are demanding that Iran (who have signed the NPT) be sanctioned for excercisong their rights under the NPT.

      • Shingo
        July 10, 2010, 6:17 pm

        Shadow,

        You have to understand that the Zionist mindset cannot accept, let alone aknowledge acts of peace, because that would require acts of peace from Israel. Even more significant is that it would require Israel to give up it’s rationale for expansionism and racism. Without an identifiable ebrmyenemy, Zionism’s raisin d’ être would dissapear.

        That is why faux liberals like Witty will continue to talk about suicide bombing as though it happened yesterday (even though such attacks have ended and Hamas have denounced them) and pretend that the Arad peace initiative does not exist.

        I saw Fink debating a Zionist propagandist the other day and the deluded Hasbara talking head went so far as to state that all 22 Arab states gave vowed to destroy Israel when in fact those 22 states have signed a peace offer that Israel has rejected for 7 years.

        In Witty’s case his denial is even more macabre. He not only argues that the responsibility to communicate peaceful intent is exclusively Papestinians, but that any violence the Israelis inflict on the Palesrinians is proof that the Palesrinians haven’t tried hard enough.

      • Richard Witty
        July 10, 2010, 6:45 pm

        Communication is a two-way process.

        It takes YOU (you individually and who you support) listening and speaking, and it takes US (me individually and those that I support) listening and speaking.

        Time to start.

        If you start to listen earnestly, the whole game changes. It indicates respect for the other, even as you disagree, even as you are angry.

        If you don’t, then war happens, no matter how you present yourself to yourself or to others.

        Propaganda is the rallying, the rationalization for the cruelty of warring. It is NOT the other that wars. It is you.

        Defense is from threatened or actual harms. My asking you to listen and respect rather than just rant, is not a threat to you in fact.

        As, the insistence that the Israeli government actually listen to the condition and needs of the Palestinians is not a threat to them, actually their responsibility. Fulfilling a responsibility is a great opportunity on the planet.

        I assure you that if you continue to threaten in your dissent, it will nearly inevitably invoke the fortress mentality.

        You have to address the illness you have, not the illness that you are familiar treating.

      • Shafiq
        July 11, 2010, 11:58 am

        Witty,

        You took the first paragraph of my post, disregarded the rest of it and then posted a reply telling me to do exactly what I said you weren’t doing.

      • Shafiq
        July 11, 2010, 12:01 pm

        Actually I was wrong – you took the first four words of the first line (from a post that was 485 words long). Then you wonder why people get annoyed at you.

      • Psychopathic god
        July 11, 2010, 3:27 pm

        Bibi spoke at Council on Foreign Relations the other day (see my comment below).

        He said the heart of the problem started NOT in 1967, when Israel took territory they now occupy; the problem started in 1920, and is “asymmetrical:” Arabs don’t love Jews living in Palestine, turning Palestine into a “a sovereign Jewish national homeland.”

        And until Palestinians no longer even WISH that Jews were not in occupied territory, there will not be peace. It is Fayyad’s job to educate his people to stop “wishing” anything other than that Jews have a right to a sovereign Jewish national homeland on Palestine.

      • Shingo
        July 11, 2010, 5:01 pm

        “If you start to listen earnestly, the whole game changes.”

        On the contrary Witty, we have been listening very earnestly to you and the Zionist movement for many years, hoping to see some sign of logic, some reason, some humanity, some element of justice and to our dismay, not only have we found none of the above, we have discovered that Zionism is a sickness.

        You demnand that we keep listening because you insist that there is some pearl of wisdom or some “beautiful jewel” embedded in all the visious rhetoric that epxlains it all. Sadly, the more you extremistsd open your mouths, the more inhumane and vile you become.

    • Mooser
      July 11, 2010, 3:14 pm

      “The obvious answer is, because we are taught to think of non-violence as a morally superior mode of expressing opposition to a government (or corporation) policy.”

      That is complete bullshit, and you know it, punk. First of all, who is “we”? And even giving you the “we” as the equally stupid “the left” can you substantiate that “violence as a morally superior mode of expressing opposition” as it relates to the anti-Zionist or Israel criticising movement? No, not at all.
      What the hell are you up to? Proving that the solution to any of the world’s various problems can only be in the context of a total proletarian revolution, which we would all hate, so why bother? Or shall we try the proletarian revolution first (I’ll be the prole, you’ll be the leader, right?) and see if it will solve our problems?

      • Mooser
        July 11, 2010, 3:20 pm

        Oh my frickin God! Rowan Berkely, together again for the first time for one last show. God help us! An immovable intellect meets an irresistable farce! There’s gonna be an explosion. Didja get any onya?

  17. Donald
    July 10, 2010, 8:50 am

    Here is the predictable response to Kristof’s column in today’s NYT’s letters section. Two of the responses are decent and two aren’t. The two bad ones do exactly what one would have expected from moral idiots-the first loftily proclaims that the existence of Israelis who fight for Palestinian rights proves that Palestinians are backwards, because Palestinians aren’t self-critical and don’t have human rights groups critical of themselves (which is false). The second one says that the existence of Israeli NGO’s proves that Israel can be trusted to investigate itself, which is like saying that the existence of the Center for Constitutional Rights proves that the US government can be trusted to investigate itself on the torture issue.

    link to nytimes.com

    I am willing to give Kristof the benefit of the doubt on this–he may not have realized how patronizing his column was in this crucial respect. People should write him to suggest he correct the false impression his column gave.

    • Cliff
      July 10, 2010, 9:12 am

      how about stop reading the NYTs?

      responding to this guy legitimizes him. the NYT is full of hophmis and richard wittys

      people who are incapable of introspection/humanizing ‘the other’

      go ahead and waste your time though donald

      • Donald
        July 10, 2010, 9:51 am

        Kristof, I think, is better than, say, Tom Friedman, and the NYT is part of the Establishment, to use the old 60’s phrase. They have influence and if one can swing them ever so slightly to the left in their coverage it helps inform people who would never visit a blog like mondoweiss or Tony Karon or themagneszionist or Silverstein (nevermind “The Angry Arab” blog). We aren’t exactly a representative sample of the American public and just because most of us can rip apart hasbara arguments without too much trouble doesn’t mean that most people can, so it does matter that Kristof is better than Friedman.

        Whether Kristof is consciously playing the Great White Father also matters–if he didn’t mean to, then he might correct the record.

      • Richard Witty
        July 10, 2010, 9:55 am

        You are very vain to conclude that you have or can “rip apart hasbara arguments”.

        You straw dog (a verb) too often.

        You self-talk.

        Truth is truth from multiple perspectives, multiple reasonings, not only from selective self-proving ones.

      • Donald
        July 10, 2010, 3:51 pm

        It’s not vain to imagine one can rip apart obviously stupid arguments. It would be vain to imagine it took any great level of intelligence to do so. It doesn’t. Anyone of average intelligence who starts reading outside the US mainstream press soon realizes how much BS we are fed on this subject.

      • Richard Witty
        July 10, 2010, 4:07 pm

        Donald,
        Calling arguments stupid, is itself an indication that you have never ripped apart anything.

        You can pick the stupid and trivial arguments easily. You have not addressed the more nuanced and reasoned.

        You demonstrate the self-talk that I’m speaking of.

      • Donald
        July 10, 2010, 4:56 pm

        “Calling arguments stupid, is itself an indication that you have never ripped apart anything.”

        Utterly illogical.

      • Richard Witty
        July 10, 2010, 6:50 pm

        It implies that you have not addressed the points, just called names.

        Did you get the significance of my point that I am admittedly, proudly, part of a we and my intention is not to get to some abstract justice (which none of the Palestinian advocates that I’ve spoken to here advocate for, they advocate for justice for their community, which is part of justice, but only part.)

        And, my attitude is to seek to live and let live.

        And, that I observe that you imagine that you are an advocate of justice, and that you believe that you being free of association makes you more objective/reliable.

        I differ. I think that only involved people can resolve these issues, that outside community’s can help, but if they exagerate their importance or knowledge, that they harm far more than help.

        Its still unclear to me what you seek.

      • Donald
        July 11, 2010, 1:58 pm

        This is all BS. I’m guessing you got it from Walzer.

        I know your community commitment song and dance. I could have a respectful discussion about this with someone but not with you. Of course many people care for their own community the most–nothing necessarily wrong with that if it doesn’t lead to rationalizations and double standards, which it does in your case. It probably does in most cases–that’s the problem with it. Maybe it doesn’t have to, but clearly it does in your case. But you like these second-order meta-discussions about discussions and about your commitment to your community, because it’s nice and bland and foggy and we don’t get down to the nitty-gritty elements regarding what Zionism (most definitely including your liberal variety) has done to innocent people.

        You pay no attention to the facts and arguments in posts that demonstrate what is wrong with your position. You do best discussing things in a hazy murk of meaningless abstraction. Have fun with that.

      • Mooser
        July 11, 2010, 3:27 pm

        Just wait til him and Rowan get going! Than you’ll see the schmutz fly!
        Actually, once Rowan fastens on Witty as a “liberal”, we’ll probably all end up in the Comintern, in self defense.
        Gonna be fun to see Rowan contend that Witty and Wiess are birds of a feather, which I’m sure will make Witty cream.

      • Mooser
        July 11, 2010, 3:30 pm

        “You can pick the stupid and trivial arguments easily. You have not addressed the more nuanced and reasoned.

        If they are stupid and trivial, why make them, Witty. And we’ll address the more nuanced and reasoned when you bring some.

        You are like a guy who wants to argue how the corpse should be dressed for the funeral, instead of maybe trying to find the murderer. And claiming if the corpse is dressed wrong, the murder doesn’t count.

      • Mooser
        July 11, 2010, 3:32 pm

        ” I think that only involved people can resolve these issues, that outside community’s can help, but if they exagerate their importance or knowledge, that they harm far more than help”

        “Who are you to tell me how to greet Finklestein?”

        ‘Give us the money and shut up, or the Palestinian gets it in the neck’

      • Mooser
        July 11, 2010, 3:33 pm

        And, of course, “Northern Agitators come down here interferin’ with are traditional Southern way of life”

      • Shingo
        July 11, 2010, 4:57 pm

        Beautifully put and superbly illustrated Donald.

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