The pharaoh of Jerusalem

Palestinian one-room school house inside the occupation In the last two days two guides have taken me through the geography of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, and I’m staggered. I wonder why this monstrous structure is not better known, even to people like me, who study the conflict. I wonder how it is that American reporters are not describing the racist devouring of Jerusalem every day in our newspapers and showing it every night on our television news. I wonder why our politicians, or our liberal Democratic ones anyway, are not holding angry press conferences in front of the repulsive separation wall as it lunges to separate a Palestinian village from virtually all its connections to the outside world, so as to privilege the lifestyle, and short commute, of Jews in the new development on the hilltop above them.

I wonder why Rabbi Arthur Waskow, who calls for boycotting the “pharaoh” of BP as a response to the destruction in the Gulf, cannot see the Pharaoh’s works right here and call for boycott. I wonder how it is that Ethan Bronner of the New York Times, who lives in West Jerusalem, could give lectures back home about covering the story and lament the (remote) possibility of Palestinians moving back into Arab houses in West Jerusalem when the only real movement and dispossession, eastward, is in front of his eyes; and millions of Palestinian ambitions are blighted by lack of freedom of movement and constant insults to their human rights. And believe me, if a fraction of what the Palestinians are experiencing were happening to Jews, it is all we would hear about.

But let me try to be a little more reportorial. 

What I’m seeing is the result of 40 years of Jewish colonization of one of the jewels of world civilization. During the 43-year occupation, the Israelis have essentially constructed a system of spears radiating out from Jewish West Jerusalem into Palestinian East Jerusalem, and on into the West Bank. These new Jewish neighborhoods are designed to solidify Israeli control over greater Jerusalem in the event of any possible division of the place in a two-state solution, but more important, to make Jerusalem into a Jewish city by choking off the Palestinian life of this international city.

And yes, I imagine, there is a security component to the thinking too. They want to kill us, we have to keep them behind fences.

The choking-off is what I saw in my tours. As this colonization progresses, it takes more and more village land around the city and throws out more infrastructure to serve the colonists, special roads and high barbed wire fences and walls to protect the drivers and their communities. The infrastructure isolates more and more Palestinians from one another. You can tell Palestinian villages from the black water vessels dotting the rooftops—because their water is shut off for days at a time. So when Jeffrey Goldberg, pushing the Israeli side in the U.S., says that Gilo is just a neighborhood in Jerusalem, well it is actually a white stucco fortress/colony built on the outskirts of southern Jerusalem on Palestinian village land, and now requiring more of that land so as to expand, with plans to build a wall right through the neighboring village to protect the colonists from the farmers in the valley. And again, all of this on land that international law says is Palestine’s.

Homes are routinely demolished in that village facing Gilo, so as not to prevent the colony’s growth; and as you travel through Greater East Jerusalem you often see the rubble of Palestinian buildings, Palestinians who dared to try and develop their communities. The Israeli authorities come in and destroy the houses or businesses. Even as the Israelis expand a colony nearby. Rubble and palaces. In a word, systemic racism.

Maybe the most pitiable sight I saw yesterday, inside the West Bank but close to the north Jerusalem colonies of Ramot and Ramat Shlomo, is the hilltop tomb of the prophet Samuel, which is worshiped by Jews and Muslims. The tomb is both a mosque with a minaret and a Jewish place of worship. Well when we visited, busloads of Jewish schoolchildren were arriving and Israeli soldiers were in the tomb davening and Hasidic boys were descending, too. A moving sight. We must have seen 150 religious Israelis.

And meantime the Islamic portion of the tomb is dead. The door is chained, pigeons fly into the outer rooms, the Palestinian who runs a store there told us that the authorities had shut down the minaret. There are no Palestinian worshipers.

Alongside the tomb is a Palestinian village in the West Bank, but the occupation has now cut this village off from the rest of Palestinian life in the West Bank. The school serving the village—that is the photograph at the top of this post—is a one-room building. At this point in our travels, my wife walked away for a few minutes so that our Palestinian friend who lives under these conditions all the time would not see her feelings.

And this is a National Park. An Israeli National Park for the tomb of Samuel, inside Palestinian territory! Do you think the Israelis are ever going to part with this colony? Of course not. We are in the West Bank, the home of the Palestinian state, and these Jews will be here forever.

Now let me remind you that the Israeli settlement nearby, Ramat Shlomo, is the one that pissed off Joe Biden in the spring, when he blew up at Netanyahu over the latest construction orders. Biden got really angry. He said you’re endangering American lives. There was a showdown, and in the end what happened, Obama swallowed it.

Still, you can see why Biden was pissed off. This situation is monstrous and racist. If our politicians were not hogtied by the Israel lobby, they would be bringing reporters with them to the tomb of Samuel and saying, Is this right? This is happening with our tax dollars? They are making a National Park inside Palestinian territory and choking off all Palestinian access to the place! Are you crazy?

Our politicians would declare that the road to peace in Jerusalem doesn’t lead through Baghdad or Tehran– no the road is right here in Jerusalem, and it is blocked by Israeli bulldozers.

Now I mentioned a minute ago that my wife hid her feelings from our Palestinian friend, and I want to unpack this somewhat. The Palestinians live with this all the time. They have the boot stuffed down their throat at every turn. Even the educated professionals, their horizons are blocked off, their aspirations. Academics can’t travel, even into Jerusalem; and when I say, Oh they can’t sustain this, my friend responds, They have sustained it as long as I can remember. You cannot normalize this oppressive situation. The polticians talk about all the businesses thriving. Well the Palestinian people are always trying. The Palestinians are not defeatable, and they are always struggling for this and that. You see beautiful restaurants inside the occupation, lovely hotels, good book stories. But it is not a flourishing life. It is not the life that these people would make for themselves if they had any real freedom. If they were able to compete and cooperate as equals with the Israelis, you would see something entirely different.

So they live with this daily humiliation and they stuff their souls down inside their chest somewhere and one day they bring in friends from the United States and show them around, and a visitor is so overwhelmed by the oppression that she starts crying and has to walk away. Well you understand that it is a little rude to show your friend just how pitiable life here seems to us.

I don’t know how they live with this, my wife said later, and of course you ask that question. The other day we met a man who works in Sheikh Jarrah, right up from the house evictions that happened last winter, a funny Palestinian, my wife and he were joking around a lot, when I said to him, “Are they still living in the tent down there?” I meant the Palestinians who had been thrown out of their houses in Sheikh Jarrah and were living in a tent in the road.

The man’s smile disappeared. “I don’t know.“
 

“Well it’s just a block away.”

“I’ve never been there. It would make me sick. And then I would have to walk away and there would be nothing I could do about it. So I’ve never seen it.”

Imagine feeling so helpless, and feeling that powerless over your own fate and the life of your society that you avoid knowledge of the fierce conditions. Jews were like this during the advance of anti-Semitism in eastern European cities, they tried to ignore it.

And that’s why my wife walked away, she didn’t want to seem a complete tourist of someone else’s suffering.

My rage at this situation is directed at my own community, American Jews, who have allowed this to develop. I can think of only a few responses to Jerusalem that I can honor. Earlier this year Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights visited Jerusalem and came back and gave speeches about the colonization and said the two-state solution is finished. Jeff Halper came to the States more recently and described the endless process of house demolition. And Charney Bromberg came back and told a Columbia University audience that this situation reminds him of apartheid.

These are exceptional statements. Liberal Zionists generally can’t face this reality; and our politicians are mute and even the fairly-good piece that Isabel Kershner did on the colonization of East Jerusalem a couple of months back in the Times didn’t convey the monstrous reality. No, liberal Zionsts are are concerned with preserving Israel against the “demographic threat”– a possible Palestinian majority. When you see what Jewish control has meant for non-Jewish residents of Jerusalem,  that seems a particularly filthy euphemism.

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Beyondoweiss, Israel/Palestine | Tagged , , , ,

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

  1. Ael says:

    Remediation starts with:
    “One person, one vote”.

  2. bijou says:

    Thank you, for an amazing report.

    I lived in Jerusalem in the 1980s for a couple of years. When I returned recently, I was shocked. You wouldn’t know this, because you did not know the city then, but the entire topography of the city has been altered. I had this complete feeling of disorientation driving through, because all the directions were different. The roads were oriented differently. All the Arab areas, which used to form the backbone and be part of the fabric of East Jerusalem, have been “disappeared.” Now you can travel through the city and not know or realize that they exist. They are shriveled, pathetic, withering shadows of their former selves. – deliberately marginalized to the point of near non-existence.

    The same is true of the Old City. It used to be that you would walk through the Old City and see a wonderfully diverse population. Easily half were Arabs from the West Bank who had come to do daily commerce in the Old City, which was their commercial center. The place felt alive and authentic and vibrant.

    Now, I realized with a shock that almost that entire demographic has vanished, cut off by checkpoints, etc. Almost all of the human flow of people shopping in the narrowed old alleys of the Old City are tourist to Israel. They are only there to see Israel. As well, the produce being sold in the Old City is all from China and much of it looks cheap, trinkets. All the actual authentic local goods have disappeared from the shelves. As a result, the merchants, who have sold here for hundreds of years, end up looking like decoration — kind of an exotic but out of place trimming.

    AND – how long do you think this commercial center will survive, I wondered, when I realized again with a shock that Israel has built a beautiful, gleaming modern megaplex Jewish commercial shopping center right outside the walls of the Old City? In my eyes the future couldn’t be clearer. All by design – to make any Arab existence within areas coveted by Israel undesirable and indeed, unliveable. I am sorry to say this, but it is the absolute truth. I challenge anyone to go and see what Phil saw and not draw the same conclusions.

    • bijou says:

      I should correct my remarks to say “much” of the commerce being sold, not “all,” because of course there is still some local pottery, etc – probably originating from Jerusalem itself more than other areas. But the overall impression I got is of the considerable cheapening of goods being offered for sale overall, and that much of what is for sale is of lower quality and foreign made than it used to be.

    • when something is repeated on a blog it’s called spamming and frequently sanctioned or censored. (otoh, when a message is repeated ad nauseum in MSM it’s called effective advertising/propaganda, and the repetition is essential to firmly implant the idea).

      Eyal Weizman wrote “Hollow Land: Israel’s Architecture of Occupation,” and seems to be a driving force behind the attempt to force Israelis to SEE what they are doing to themselves and others, to remove the blinders of abstract narrative and rationalization and confront the concrete reality of what has been built in their names.

      Recently, he created a model of Israel with its boundaries and took it to a judicial proceeding — a stunning event. link to opendemocracy.net

  3. eljay says:

    Wonderful post, Mr. Weiss. I shudder to think of what sort of twisted, “enough Zionism”-based commentary RW is going to vomit up in response to it. His continued attempts to defend the indefensible and to moralize the immoral would be comical if they weren’t so tragically disturbing and hateful.

    • eljay says:

      >> eljay: Wonderful post, Mr. Weiss. I shudder to think of what sort of twisted, “enough Zionism”-based commentary RW is going to vomit up in response to it.
      >> RW: And, in ways the East Jerusalem story is also a story of gentrification.

      He’s never one to disappoint, that ol’ “humanist”!

  4. James North says:

    A great post, Phil. I remember being stunned that the “settlement” to the southeast of Jerusalem at Har Homa, instead of being the couple of house trailers in the Biblical landscape that I would have expected from mainstream U.S. press accounts, turned out to be a giant, towering complex along the lines of Co-op City in the Bronx.

  5. potsherd says:

    And the longer the delay, the more they keep building, one monstrous stone pile after another.

    Phil’s rage is directed at the US Jewish community.

    Mine is directed at the US Congress that accepts the bribes from the US Jewish community and caves to its political pressure, that feeds off the fanaticism of Christian supremacists.

    But it is always an impotent rage. Which is all the more enraging.

    • Citizen says:

      Me too. To me, they are worse than despicable. I am ashamed.

    • American says:

      I feel the same.
      I hate the US zios and the US congress ……hate the congress more I suppose because all of them but the actual jewish ideological agents in congress allow this for money and ‘politics”.

      I do believe the Israeli and zionist light will go out… not by the US hand, but by the collective outrage of the world.

      Unfortunately there won’t be anything left of Palestine by then.
      Zionist have a need not to just build their own world but to destroy other people’s history and civilizations.

      • while I appreciate and support Mondoweiss and the essential work Phil and Adam are doing, it bothers me that I complain on a forum aimed at the American Jewish community about my rage against the American people and Congress that are overly influenced by zionists.

        Perhaps because it is too painful for me to think of the Christian values that are important to me in the same neurological process as James Hagee and his ilk, I don’t think of Christian zionists as Christians in any sense other than an Elmer Gantry category.

        • American says:

          Doesn’t pain me at all to complain about zionist or my own government, or our whacko christians, any more than it pains me to complain about the slaughters in SA or elsewhere, or the corruption in our financial centers and congress. Every thing bad and wrong needs to be complained about, actually we should do more than complain, some people like Phil are doing more.

  6. I had a similar experience when I went to Israel, in as much as an eye-opening transformation of what I thought about the whole thing. It is beyond ironic that the Israel which is endlessly talked up is actually the biggest reason to convert to anti Zionism when you go and see, and witness for yourself the crushing dehumanisation of the indigenous people. And what is even more enraging to anybody brought up to honour civil rights and self-determination for indigenous people is the utterly callous and indifferent attitude of Israelis. Featherbedded by US taxpayers, protected by US military hardware the Palestinians are invisible to them. They have been eradicated from their consciences. They don’t even see the blocked roads, the ghettos, the military architecture all around them. They have been thoroughly indoctrinated, and are supremely indifferent to the concept of equal human rights. Utterly convinced of their right to endless privileges, they nevertheless wheel out their ‘victimhood’ at any opportunity. If I was Israeli, I wouldn’t encourage too much tourism, as it is my experience that there is nothing like seeing it for yourself, or encountering the arrogance of Israelis, to make you into a lifelong Palestinian supporter. Anybody with a scrap of humanity would feel that way.

    • and yet the Israel lobby achieves the influence it has acquired over the US Congress by taking congresspersons, even candidates, to Israel.

      My speculation is that the ‘tour’ is as calculated as are Birthright tours, as Rachel Marcuse has been reporting to Mondoweissians. Yad Vashem is an essential part of any and every congressperson’s visit; Mike Pence, a diehard zionist and a professed Christian, says that a visit to Yad Vashem many years ago had a profound impact on him and has influenced him ever since. I suspect he did not stroll to the prospect where he could sight the remains of Deir Yassim . . .

  7. Shmuel says:

    Thanks, Phil. Add to the intolerability of this situation the fact that it is never addressed in the present. To the extent that anyone cares or Israel and its supporters are willing to recognise that there is even a problem, its resolution or even mitigation is inexorably bound to a chimerical “comprehensive solution” and infinite, sterile talks. Even Israel’s devastating addiction to settlement-construction (“facts on the ground”) is dismissed by Israeli apologists as an issue that will be resolved at some indefinite time in the future.

  8. Bumblebye says:

    Passion and Anger. Thank you Phil & Mrs Phil.

    It would be interesting to compare and contrast with some of the despatches from mid ’30s Nazi Germany, if any are available – certainly the similarities in attitude from the people and authorities with the upper-hand as it were. Ethno-supremacist ideology in action.

    • Sumud says:

      Bumblebye ~ a few months ago we were discussing Dorothy Thompson, the woman who does the intro to the 1950 film on the Palestinian refugee camps, “Sands of Sorrow” (a must-watch if you haven’t seen it before):

      link to youtube.com

      Thompson had been a correspondent in Nazi Germany and was the first American journalist thrown out of Germany by the nazis (in 1934), who objected to her book “I Saw Hitler” – apparently she was ejected within 24 hours of the book being published. I’ve looked around for a copy – unsuccessfully – but there was a bio published on her in 1991 that is freely available through Amazon’s used books or on ebay:

      ‘American Cassandra: The Life of Dorothy Thompson’
      link to amazon.com

      I don’t know if it reprints any of her nazi-era work but it gets excellent reader reviews. Phil’s dispatches are a mix of personal and political, and I imagine there’d be a wealth of similar material in Thompson’s biography. If only it were an autobiography!

      A slight aside, linked off the wikipedia page on Thompson is her 1939 radio report on Hitler’s invasion of Poland, available as a downloadable mp3 file. The file is dated September 3 but I think it’s actually from September 2, one day after the Poland invasion, one day before the Allies declared war. Thompson makes a few remarks about events in Germany: the government cracking down heavily on those perceived as traitors, and much apathy among the general population in Germany about what their government was up to.

      link to otr.com

      • annie says:

        thanks for reposting sumud, i recalled that video weeks after first viewing it but forgot her name and couldn’t find it..i wanted to link to her somewhere. i’ve bookmarked your post for future reference.

      • Bumblebye says:

        Thanx Sumud. I tried googling a few ways, but can’t have put in the right keywords! I’ll definitely check out the links. I only finally signed up around flotilla time, having looked in a few times before. I’d hoped it would ‘ve been good news on my birthday, not dreadful.

  9. Marian says:

    Some of us write about “this” — or different aspects of “this”, for there are many — every day. Please, Phil, can you say why nobody seems to pay much attention to what we write?

    My own focus hasn’t been on Nabi Samuel. I visited the site on a tour with Hagit Ofran a couple of years ago. The pigeons were there, but the prayer room was still being used as a mosque by a miniscule community of faithful. The Israeli Army’s “Civil Administration” was — and is — in charge of the site.

    The checkpoint that was between Ramot and Nabi Samuel was removed recently when the portion of Road 443 that is in the West Bank was “opened” to Palestinian traffic by the IDF under a most litteral interpretation of an order by the Israeli Supreme Court (just to let the Palestinians trapped in these West Bank villages onto part of Road 443 — no more).

    Now, the Palestinian villages in the area around Nabi Samuel who were supposed to benefit from this Court decision have an even worse time — and the villagers still have to travel under or across Road 443 to go to Ramallah and then back through the really monstrous and disgraceful Qalandia Checkpoint in order to get to work in Jerusalem and back, every day, under conditions of truly scandalous stress…

    Nabi Samuel, alone and serene on a hilltop, can be seen from many vantage points in Jerusalem and the West Bank. It seems to be just across the way (as the crow flies) from Dahiet al-Bariid, a north Jerusalem community divided up the middle of Ahmad Ourabi street by The Wall. But, other than those in the adjacent villages (who are trapped in a myriad of other ways), Palestinians do not have an easy time (quite an understatement) getting there. Only East Jerusalem Palestinians with an Israeli ID (indicating permanent residence status, not citizenship) would have a good shot at getting there.

    The only way, now (Bijou’s description of what she saw recently is spot on) is via Ramot coming from Jerusalem, or — I think) — via Givat Zeev (next to one of the brand new checkpoints constructed by the Army as part of its preparations to “open” Road 443, and Palestinians living in the villages around Nabi Samuel cannot pass this checkpoing) coming from Road 443…

  10. Taxi says:

    “We are in the West Bank, the home of the Palestinian state, and these Jews will be here forever”.

    Nothing is ‘forever’, Phil. Not even Jerusalem.

  11. MRW says:

    Great report, Phil. I really appreciate them.

    To the rest, I draw attention to Alan Hart’s latest three pieces on catbirdseat.com. Hart is the former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent who covered the Middle East for 50 years; he the first correspondent to report before the 1967 war started, and interviewed all the players. He was friends with Golda Meir and Arafat. He wrote a three-volume work of his experience in Israel called: Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews. [Shmuel, he's looking for a translator into Hebrew; who better than you.] His blog: link to alanhart.net

    ALAN HART: Zionism’s Colonial Enterprise Is Doomed, but…
    link to mycatbirdseat.com

    ALAN HART: Does the Palestinian Diaspora Care Enough To Become Engaged?
    link to mycatbirdseat.com

    ALAN HART: A moment of reckoning but for whom? America or Zionism?
    link to mycatbirdseat.com

    • Shmuel says:

      Thanks, MRW. Will look into it.

        • Shmuel says:

          Good piece. Hart’s analysis of the political-military dynamics in Israel prior to and during the war is consistent with Tom Segev’s account in 1967.

        • annie says:

          I’ll start by telling you where I was on Thursday 8 June 1967. I was in the Sinai desert. I was the first Western correspondent to the banks of the Suez Canal with the advancing Israelis. On reflection some years later, I realised that what I witnessed in the desert, well out of sight and sound of the attack on the Liberty, was a key to understanding why America’s most advanced and sophisticated spy-ship (perhaps I should say intelligence-gathering platform) was attacked…….

          Now to the significance of what I witnessed in the Sinai on the afternoon of Thursday 8 June when (unknown to me at the time) the Liberty had been silenced…. Scores of Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers, which had blitzkrieged their way through the Sinai sand, were being loaded onto huge lorries with trailers for transportation to the north, and re-deployment to the Jordanian and Syrian fronts. The orders for this re-deployment were coming by radio from Dayan’s staff at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv.

          This takes us to what the Liberty’s mission was.

          It was assigned to listen to all of Israel’s military communications because some in the highest levels of American military and political decision-making did not trust the Israelis to keep their word about not extending the war to take chunks of Jordanian and Syrian territory, to create a Greater Israel of Zionism’s mad dream.

          wow, i never knew that. i knew it had to do w/the golan but..just wow, thanks for the link MRW.

          why i love this place!

    • demize says:

      He did outstanding stuff on The East Timor occupation if I’m not mistaken.

  12. Kathleen says:

    “I wonder how it is that American reporters are not describing the racist devouring of Jerusalem every day in our newspapers and showing it every night on our television news. I wonder why our politicians, or our liberal Democratic ones anyway, are not holding angry press conferences in front of the repulsive separation wall as it lunges to separate a Palestinian village from virtually all its connections to the outside world, so as to privilege the lifestyle, and short commute, of Jews in the new development on the hilltop above them.”

    You know why. This has been going on for decades and our MSM our congress critters will barely touch it. Congress members know they would be leveled by the I lobby, Rachel Maddow, Keith, Chris Matthews etc either have their heads up where the sun does not shine or know they would lose their million dollar jobs. CHHing wins.

    Hell the MSM did not even whisper about the Goldstone Report. Folks need to contact these outlets and hammer them for their silence on these issues. They need to hear from you

  13. Kathleen says:

    Phil “And believe me, if a fraction of what the Palestinians are experiencing were happening to Jews, it is all we would hear about.”

    thanks for being so honest
    Phil “And yes, I imagine, there is a security component to the thinking too. They want to kill us, we have to keep them behind fences.”

    So build the wall along the 67 border all ready. Few are going to argue with that. Stop confiscating more internationally recognized Palestinian land

  14. eljay says:

    >> So build the wall along the 67 border all ready. Few are going to argue with that. Stop confiscating more internationally recognized Palestinian land

    This is one of those inconvenient little things that “humanists” who believe in “justice” like to gloss over. Stealing land, and building and expanding settlements on occupied land, have nothing to do with maintaining or increasing security. If anything, they decrease security by virtue of the blowback they foment.

    The mental contortions required to turn crimes into virtues – to equate “justice” with the failure to punish theft and aggression – are astounding. When you put “enough Zionism” to work, I guess nothing is impossible.

  15. clenchner says:

    “Liberal Zionists generally can’t face this reality”.
    That’s not true. Look at the work of NGO’s like Ir Shalem or Hamoked which have been addressing the problems of occupation in East Jerusalem for many years. You think there are no liberal Zionists in those organizations, or among the donors?
    Liberal Zionists are not any less opposed to what you saw that you are. They probably disagree with other positions you express, like the efficacy of BDS or the value of a Jewish. Is Gershon Goremberg, a liberal Zionist who did a great study of the settler movement, somehow on the other side of these Jerusalem issues?
    Which is to say – while I am not a liberal Zionist, I appreciate that they offer additional muscle at times in support of measures I support. So why gratuitously alienate folks like Rabbi Waskow?
    Strategy wise, it seems better to divide the opposition (folks who support the settler movement) than your probable friendlies (liberal Zionists who oppose the occupation).
    Then again, if the goal is to defeat all forces that support Israel’s existence, then weakening a broad based movement against the occupation makes sense.

    • Phil does that often.

      At a Jewish table, people can disagree vehemently, and then hold hands as they walk down the street.

      Here, people don’t even listen to each other sufficiently to disagree vehemently.

      • Sumud says:

        Reasonable people have reasonable conversations here all the time, across geographical, cultural, religious and a whole lot of other “divides”.

        No jewish tables required.

        • You don’t dialog with Zionists, any. Please stop pretending that this is that kind of site.

        • Shingo says:

          “You don’t dialog with Zionists, any. Please stop pretending that this is that kind of site.”

          That’s because Zionists regard dialogue as a means to distract, conflates andstonewall while they steal land.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Witty, the last time the Palestinians attempted to dialog with Zionists, the number of settlers transferred to the West Bank doubled.

          We’ve already explained international law to you dozens of times. You keep pretending like it’s something vague and ill-defined.

          There is no dialog with religious extremists.

        • Sumud says:

          You don’t dialog with Zionists, any.

          As I said, reasonable people have reasonable conversations here all the time.

          The problem is you expect to be able to say the most revolting racist things and be treated with respect.

          No. No. A thousand times, NO.

        • American says:

          No one can dialog with a broken record.
          Which is what the die hard zios are …a broken record…playing the same scratch over and over.

        • RW is 100% correct on this one. This is not a site of dialogue.

      • Shingo says:

        “At a Jewish table, people can disagree vehemently, and then hold hands as they walk down the street.”

        Let’s see that happen when one if those at the table happens to be a Holocaust denier.

    • Shmuel says:

      clenchner,

      You make a good point. There are liberal Zionists who do good work (Ir Shalem and Hamoked certainly include many such people, and are good examples). Protests against the Sheikh Jarrah evictions are also attended regularly by many liberal Zionists. Such people are not to be despised as allies.

      For the most part however, I think Phil was referring to mainstream Jewish-American liberals, who tend to defend Israel more than criticise, prefer to turn a blind eye most of Israel’s abuses, support a vague, unrealistic and inherently unfair peace process as a kind of panacea for all that ails the ME and, perhaps most of all, fail to see the devastating urgency of an infinite number of daily injustices inflicted on Palestinians by Israeli occupation, expansionism and disregard for human rights and humanitarian law. Opposition to BDS among liberal Zionists is generally less a matter of “efficacy” than an unwillingness to come to terms with what Israel really does and stands for.

      • eljay says:

        >> … mainstream Jewish-American liberals, who tend to defend Israel more than criticise, prefer to turn a blind eye most of Israel’s abuses, support a vague, unrealistic and inherently unfair peace process as a kind of panacea for all that ails the ME and, perhaps most of all, fail to see the devastating urgency of an infinite number of daily injustices inflicted on Palestinians by Israeli occupation, expansionism and disregard for human rights and humanitarian law.

        Another term for these people is “humanists” (not humanists). They believe in “justice” (not justice). They prefer to forget the past – unless it is convenient to remember the past – and they believe that ethnic cleansing is “currently not necessary”.

      • clenchner says:

        “Opposition to BDS among liberal Zionists is generally less a matter of “efficacy” than an unwillingness to come to terms with what Israel really does and stands for.”

        This is true sometimes. But the population of liberal Zionists represented by J Street, or Meretz USA, or Ameinu, etc. have been pretty vocal opponents of the occupation while strongly supporting Zionism. There’s no unwillingness to come to terms, there’ s a disagreement about what the terms mean. That phrase, ‘unwillingness’ represents a kind of arrogance, of saying ‘my definitions are correct, I am the rock, you are the water that will eventually break upon me.’

        Broadly speaking, there are no religious or political movements left in the world with legitimacy to speak that way. Not even the movement for Palestinian rights, which has made so many twists and turns over the years. (Pan Arabism anyone? Pro-Soviet? Alliance with Jordan? South Lebanon Fatah-Land?)

        Israel stands for a lot of things, if by ‘stand’ we mean ‘emotional representation for a defined community’. And there are quite a few communities for whom Israel does a whole lot of standing. My goal, politically, is to attract those communities to a defense of Palestinian rights, as opposed to wholesale delegitimization of their communal aspirations and beliefs.

        • Shmuel says:

          There’s nothing wrong with communal aspirations and beliefs as long as their realisation does not entail trampling the aspirations and beliefs of others. This was the case in 1917 (Balfour said as much – Jews have hopes and beliefs, Arabs only “desires and prejudices”) and this is still the case today. I really don’t think that liberal Zionists “get” the magnitude and significance of the Nakba, or the inherently non-liberal side of Zionism. If they did, I doubt they would remain Zionists. The standard answers about non-acceptance of partition and simply “leaving” don’t hold water. It is too easy to pretend that Israel was pure and good prior to 1967, and that the occupation and settlements are little more than “temporary aberrations”. Another “temporary aberration” is the second class status of Palestinian citizens of Israel – to the extent that liberal Zionists are aware of its true extent (particularly in the area of land expropriation and allocation). These Zionists continue to insist that a little more equality in resource allocation, a little more equal opportunity, and everything will be fine. But why are they so unaware of such things? I have no other answer than an unwillingness (yes, unwillingness – whether out of fear, loyalty, comfort, etc.) to know – because the facts are out there for anyone who chooses to take a good look. I speak from personal experience.

        • “It is too easy to pretend that Israel was pure and good prior to 1967, and that the occupation and settlements are little more than “temporary aberrations”. ”

          I don’t know of anyone here saying that Shmuel.

          Pure/demon are the options chosen to describe Israel here, and it just ain’t so. Human is more accurate.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Great. I suppose you’ve already insisted that you’re so much wiser than Nelson Mandela or Desmond Tutu when it comes to speaking about apartheid, Witty. I suppose you squawking from your armchair at an Israeli that he doesn’t know Israel more than you do, is rather pale in the face of that.

        • Shmuel says:

          I don’t know of anyone here saying that Shmuel.

          It is the dominant mindset among left/liberal Zionists, that history began in 1967, and Israel was good before is became expansionist and those nasty settlers (especially religious settlers) ruined everything. In the words of Shulamith Aloni, it is the difference between justified need (1948) and unwarranted greed (1967). Left-wing Israelis frequently wax nostalgic about “eretz yisrael haktanah vehatovah”.

        • Shingo says:

          “But the population of liberal Zionists represented by J Street, or Meretz USA, or Ameinu, etc. have been pretty vocal opponents of the occupation while strongly supporting Zionism.”

          That would be the same J Street that rejected the Goldstone Report and who’s spokesman says he fears the day when Palestinians in greater Israel demand a vote.

          Like I said, liberal Zionists are liberal about all things except when it comes to Israel.

          “Not even the movement for Palestinian rights, which has made so many twists and turns over the years.”

          And why might that be? Could it have anything to do with the fact that Israel insists of defining what the Palestinian movement should look like ?

          You “Liberal Zionists” exhibit an incredible capacity to lie to yourselves, let alone the rest of us.

          “Israel stands for a lot of things, if by ’stand’ we mean ‘emotional representation for a defined community’..”

          You’re sounding more and more like Witty mini me. Because the reality ofIsrael is such abomination, you go into denial and retreat into a fantasy of the Israel you would like Israel to be and convince yourselves that the status quo is an exception to the rule.

          “My goal, politically, is to attract those communities to a defense of Palestinian rights, as opposed to wholesale delegitimization of their communal aspirations and beliefs”

          Witty has a term in his menagerie for that. It’s another way of maintaining the status quo, while convincing yourselves you’re making to make a difference.

        • Shingo says:

          “I don’t know of anyone here saying that Shmuel.”

          I do. In fact it was you that has repeatedly thief that the occupation is only temporary.

          They say that liars need good memories Witty.

        • James North says:

          clenchner: Your comments are thought-provoking and helpful. Please keep commenting.

        • Noone that I’ve read here speaks of anything as pure.

          “It is the dominant mindset among left/liberal Zionists, that history began in 1967, and Israel was good before is became expansionist and those nasty settlers (especially religious settlers) ruined everything.”

          You’d have to actually discuss to know what the “dominant mindset among left/liberal Zionists” is.

          .

        • Donald says:

          “But the population of liberal Zionists represented by J Street, or Meretz USA, or Ameinu, etc. have been pretty vocal opponents of the occupation while strongly supporting Zionism. ”

          What version of Zionism? There’s Jerry Haber’s version, which is Judah Magnes’s version and would favor a one state solution with equal rights for all and a right of return for the Palestinians. I just recommended “The Lemon Tree” to Witty yesterday and the Israeli woman who is one of the two central figures in that book is a really compassionate person, but she doesn’t support a one state solution. I need to reread the book to reacquaint myself with her reasons, but the only one that seems defensible to me would be a fear of an Iraq or Lebanon-style sectarian bloodbath with a massive death toll. One could argue about how likely that is (I don’t know), but it’s a legitimate concern. But Zionism itself–well, it’s hard to see how one could say that Jews had the right to establish a Jewish state in a location where that could only happen after ethnic cleansing. It seems to require a certain amount of cognitive dissonance at best.

          “clenchner: Your comments are thought-provoking and helpful. Please keep commenting.”

          I agree with James on that.

        • Donald says:

          “That would be the same J Street that rejected the Goldstone Report and who’s spokesman says he fears the day when Palestinians in greater Israel demand a vote.”

          I didn’t know about that latter comment, but yeah, they did reject the Goldstone Report. That’s when they started looking a little too much like AIPAC to me.

          There is some variety among liberal Zionists–Henry Siegman still calls himself a Zionist and Goldstone himself is a Zionist and so obviously there are liberal Zionists who don’t engage in apologetics for Israeli war crimes. One can disagree with them and still give them a lot of credit for this. But J Street–that’s the other kind of liberal Zionist.

        • Shingo says:

          “I didn’t know about that latter comment, but yeah, they did reject the Goldstone Report. ”

          That comment was made by Isaac Lauria (from J Street), during an interview he did with Scott Horton on antiwar radio.

        • Correction from previous dismissive statement: There are voices of dialogue on this blog: Donald and James North are two of them and there are some more.

    • Shingo says:

      “Look at the work of NGO’s like Ir Shalem or Hamoked which have been addressing the problems of occupation in East Jerusalem for many years”

      Addressing the problem implies there are solutions in place to deal with it. Clearly there aren’t.

      “Which is to say – while I am not a liberal Zionist”

      We got that. First of all, the term “liberal Zionist” is a contradiction on terms. Secondly, Israel w
      As founded on terrorism, ethnic cleansing, land theft and occupation, so one cannot oppose the occupation and support Israel.

      “Then again, if the goal is to defeat all forces that support Israel’s existence, then weakening a broad based movement against the occupation makes sense.”

      That’s like arguing that the goal of opposing BDS is to oppose a Palestinian state and Palestinian human rights.

      You’re definitely not a liberal, at least when it comes to Israel.

    • annie says:

      clenchner, you were doing real well til you got to this part:

      Then again, if the goal is to defeat all forces that support Israel’s existence, then weakening a broad based movement against the occupation makes sense.

      it’s the ol ‘destroy israel’ hasbara. i don’t want to end israel’s existence, i want to end israel’s racism and zionism’s racism. if jews want to consider israel their homeland i have no problem w/that as long as they chuck the exclusivity. after all, i have no problem sharing my homeland w/jews. israel is not a jewish state, it’s a zionist state and an ugly zionism at that which in turn makes israel ugly. do i think all zionists are bad people? no. do i think zionism necessarily needs to be extinguished? no. read this:

      THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

      is that your israel? i didn’t think so. the goal here is a state of equality for all with respect for international law which includes the international right of return, a right palestinians have which is obvious and evidenced by the continued pressure to give those rights up in any peace agreement.

      the mormon homeland is in utah and last i heard they’re not rounding up non christians and building walls around them and demanding it be recognized as the mormon state.

      Strategy wise, it seems better to divide the opposition (folks who support the settler movement) than your probable friendlies (liberal Zionists who oppose the occupation).

      you didn’t like phil wondering why rabbi waskow supports boycotting BP and not israel. he’s not facing the reality, he’s doing nothing about what’s going on there and so are millions of other american jews who identify as liberal zionists. check out waskow’s interview on democracy now. he opens w/a feelgood blurb about “the major change that needs to happen is a profound change in the actions of the United States government….it won’t happen unless there is a public movement in American society to demand that.” as opposed to bds which he calls unethical.

      so where’s his public movement to change that? not on the homepage or the blog. he thinks bds “demonizes Israeli society.” how unique/not. in fact what demonizes israel society is the culture of apartheid which the society nurtures. waskow, while giving a good line about changing US policy rags on barghouti for ‘focusing on military aid’ which while admitting is ‘unreasonable’ he says “when in fact ten or twenty or thirty times that amount of money is being spent on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. ”

      how helpful. he doesn’t like demonizing. bummerella. truth demonizes israel. ethnic cleansing is ugly and has to stop. if you don’t end war crimes and crimes against humanity in the most stringent non violent ways possible what else is there? what about sanctioning iran? i don’t hear israel complaining about how that would demonize iranian society, was israel society concerned the sanctions on iraq might demonize iraqis?

      waskow should shit or get off the pot. every single person who isn’t part of the solution is part of the problem. the lines that need to be drawn are between people who support full equality and equal rights for all people and those who don’t. period, end of story.

      • sherbrsi says:

        do i think zionism necessarily needs to be extinguished?

        The reality is that it does. The passage you quoted is promising, but ultimately only Hasbara fodder. It sounds to me the same as the Balfour Declaration, a document that also promised that Israel would respect its non-Jewish inhabitants, but which has gone on to become the basis of Zionist propaganda, being used in part to to opportunistically support Israel’s legitimacy and neglecting any parts which do not conform to its Zionist character.

        There is no Israel which fell short of its ideals or goals. The fact is that the Israel has been remarkably successful in achieving its goals, and gaining support for them. That is also the catastrophe of the conflict, the “success” of Zionism and its constant propagation in the occupied territories. It is also the fundamental ingredient that will prohibit any viable Palestinian state from emerging, and thus any chance of peace.

    • sherbrsi says:

      Liberal Zionist involvement in anti-occupation and settlement demonstrations and activism, isn’t so easily written off as a liberal cause, rather than a Zionist one. Don’t forget that as of currently Zionism is in danger of writing itself off, as much as it commits atrocities against the Palestinians. Why else is it that liberal Zionists have only recently begun to boycott West Bank settlements, or make any concrete actions affirming liberal action (such as limited acceptance of BDS)? Phil’s skepticism is very much warranted in that regard and historically grounded, although it certainly applies less so to the liberal Zionists in Israel, than their American and international counterparts who are virtually indistinguishable from their right-wing brethren on the issue of Israel and the Middle East.

      • You haven’t been following the region very concisely, or maybe very long, to conclude that.

        In the late 80′s and 90′s, there was considerable support for Palestinian aspirations, as they were stated by the PLO (the SOLE representative of the Palestinian people, still?)

        The last straw was the second intifada. 85 executed terror incidents in two years in 2002/3.

        The Israeli left got exhausted, confused, lost interest.

        The current is the end game. I read an article this morning stating that the current Netanyahu position is to the left of the Rabin position before he was assassinated. I think that was referred to here.

        Change has occurred. And, it occurred through a combination of reality hitting people in the face, and being articulated in a way that could be heard by us liberal Zionists.

        • sherbrsi says:

          In the late 80’s and 90’s, there was considerable support for Palestinian aspirations, as they were stated by the PLO (the SOLE representative of the Palestinian people, still?)

          Would that be the same time the PLO and Arafat as terrorist organizations, unfit for being a “partner for peace,” just as Hamas is now?

          The Israeli left got exhausted, confused, lost interest.

          Because it realized that Zionism could not tolerate liberal values any more than it could accommodate the Palestinians in any fashion.

          Change has occurred

          Only for the worse, with finger pointed towards Palestinian, and still no self-inquiry towards any actions motivated or supported by Zionism.

        • Shmuel says:

          The last straw was the second intifada. 85 executed terror incidents in two years in 2002/3. The Israeli left got exhausted, confused, lost interest.

          Meanwhile the Palestinians were enjoying the fruits of peace and understanding (don’t miss the data on “Fatalities until operation Cast Lead”):

          link to btselem.org

          Fatalities

          Fatalities since operation Cast Lead
          Fatalities during operation Cast Lead
          Fatalities until operation Cast Lead
          Death penalty in the Palestinian Authority
          Detainees and prisoners

          Monthly tables of custody
          Minors in custody
          Administrative detention
          Destruction of property

          Demolition of houses as punishment
          Demolition of houses built without permits
          Demolition for alleged military purposes
          East Jerusalem

          Demolition of houses built without permits
          Land expropriation and use
          Building starts
          Building density
          Revocation of residency

          Separation Barrier

          Data on updated route
          Settlements

          Data on the settlements
          Residency

          Deportation
          Revocation of residency in East Jerusalem

          Restrictions on movement

          Checkpoints and roadblocks
          Comprehensive closure days
          Unemployment and poverty
          Death following restrictions on movement

          Water
          Data on the water crisis

          For more year-specific information, see the “Publications” section.

        • I’m sure what you are saying is true, that Palestinians suffered and suffer.

          The question is what changes that.

          Ranting at, insulting, Israelis doesn’t. Terror doesn’t.

          The alienation of the Israeli left was due to the hatred expressed in terror and now in demonization.

          The only audience for the far left now are a very few that can willingly stand to express their compassion in spite of the hatred expressed by the left for them, or among Americans, those that are too young, or too formerly uninformed, to be aware of what was going on at that time.

          Its obviously very hard for you to acknowledge that militancy deters change. It is an equivalent blinder to what you accuse Zionists of, which in most of our liberal cases, isn’t blinders at all, but actual sincerity.

        • tree says:

          In the late 80’s and 90’s, there was considerable support for Palestinian aspirations

          You are spouting false history again, Richard.

          The first intifada started in 1987 and was met by IDF orders to “break bones”. The Palestinian tax revolt (Palestinians are made to pay taxes to Israel for the privilege of being militarily occupied) was met by Israeli destruction and confiscation of property. The settlement building in occupied territory continued apace during this period, and in 1991 Israel instituted the permit, closure and checkpoint system that continues in effect today. There was little or no mainstream support for “Palestinian aspirations” in Israel. There was considerable desire to end the first intifada, but only out of Israeli self-concern, not out of any empathy with Israel’s victims.

          As for the second intifada, it started in 2000 with street protests that were met with violent Israeli repression. Within a month of its start the IDF, by its own admission fired over one million bullets in the occupied territories. It also demolished homes and property, surrounded Palestinian population centers with Israeli tanks, attacked those centers and instituted a crushing curfew system. By the time of the first suicide bombing (in February 2001), Palestinian civilian deaths at the hands of Israel were somewhere around 700. Palestinian deaths continued to outpace Israeli deaths by a considerable margin throughout 2002/3.

          This is just another example of your bias, Richard. You recount the Israeli victims and excuse Israel’s actions as a result of those victims and the “fear-scarring’ that caused, but yet you apply a totally different mindset when it comes to the continual and continuing Palestinian victimization at the hands of Israel. This victimization started well before any suicide bombing, and can more accurately described as a cause of the suicide bombing rather than a result of suicide bombing.

        • James North says:

          Richard: Shmuel is an Israeli, from Jerusalem. He knows many languages. He knows Hebrew. He knows Torah backwards and forwards.
          Shmuel has told us he has left Israel because he can no longer tolerate the reality there. I’ve never seen him ‘rant,’ or ‘insult Israelis.’
          In fact, for a long time now, I’ve seen him do precisely what you suggest — calmly and politely bring facts and his personal experience to try and persuade. Just yesterday, he pointed out courteously to you that you just might not understand how Israeli landgrabbing actually works in East Jerusalem.
          Did I see you acknowledge that the reality might have changed since your last visit in 1986? (Shmuel was there last month.) No, I did not.
          Don’t you think he might be a little better placed than you are to know what will help bring change to Israel/Palestine?

        • Shmuel says:

          Mr. Witty,

          My point was not that there was suffering on both sides (obvious), but that your version of history – like all of the opinions you express here – had a single frame of reference: “The Israeli left got exhausted, confused, lost interest.” That the Palestinians might have gotten “exhausted, confused, lost interest” – with infinitely greater reason than the Israeli left – never crossed your mind. Your faux-proactivity is really tiresome. Agitation and organisation (which most of us also engage in) is pointless without education – which is what Phil, Adam and the rest of us do here all the time. Your distinction between “militancy” (what we do) and “compassionate dissent” (what you do) is total hogwash.

        • sherbrsi says:

          The alienation of the Israeli left was due to the hatred expressed in terror and now in demonization.

          Or maybe because the left was too busy cooking up its own justifications to Israeli crimes that find little if any origin “in terror” or “demonization,” but in the Zionist policies of the state, namely ethnic cleansing and colonization, so “thoughtfully” rationalized to be “gentrification” and “gerrymandering.”

          To blame the Palestinians for lack of Israeli restraint is cowardice at best. That the “facts on the ground” is defined by militant Zionism and not the progression of any semblance of liberal values is the failure of “liberal Zionism.”

        • My point is that dissent is a communication.

          In this case the liberal Zionist is the community that holds conditional views on Israeli policy, and is therefore the community within Israel and the US, that should be who communication is oriented to.

          To the extent that liberal sensitivities are condemned angrily, insultingly, you will lose them.

          They will not be “educated”.

  16. Thanks for the descriptions.

    During your description it occurred to me that in a democratic single state solution with literally equal rights for all, there would be no way to protect the Palestinian community from the Judaization of the region.

    There would be no legal way to segregate property as exclusively available to a single ethnicity, unless there was some agreement that in principle that were acceptable as a principle.

    I can see it in locales like MeaSharim in the community is vigorously insistent on it being a halachic community. I assume that there are similar in the West Bank and Gaza, that would desire to remain or become sharia communities, with no threat of even social intrusion.

    And, in ways the East Jerusalem story is also a story of gentrification.

    I worked in Adams Morgan in DC for a year in 1981, a progressive urban community. But, the neighborhood was being gentrified. Developers bought up large portions and divided a formerly coherent neighborhood. The local residents were very upset and did everything they could to prevent it, but the neighborhood is different now than it was.

    In a single state it would be IMPOSSIBLE to preserve the character of East Jerusalem. In a two-state solution (as mythic and delayed as it is), it would be possible.

    It is easy to blame. A lot of the division strategies look intentional. A large portion of development is a collaboration of developers and the state. Some of that development is rationalized as for the purpose of urban improvement, but is inevitably opportunistic for the ethnic prohibitions against Palestinian initiated development.

    Another LARGE portion of blame however is a result of the division within the Palestinian polity, and frankly contributed to by solidarity.

    Hamas, Fatah and single-state democratic advocates have severe ideological and interpersonal differences. They are substantive, not trivial. Blaming those differences on Israel is opportunistic on the part of solidarity.

    It STOPs the prospect of resolution of conflicts.

    And, in an environment of conflict, rather than peace, political and economic opportunists abound.

    Specifically,
    One great reason for the exhaustion of the Israeli liberal left, is the confusion they have about what Palestinians actually want. For the majority of the period of Palestinian resistance, the PLO was the SOLE representative of the Palestinian people. Israel and Israelis reluctantly acknowledged that, and their goal of a two-state solution.

    200,000 Israelis celebrated the acknowledgement of Palestinian national and civil rights in 1994. Thats what, 5% of the total population of the country at one demonstration.

    Terror (both Israeli and Palestinian) distracted from that plausible effort. The second intifada was NOT a wake up call to people of conscience in Israel, it was an invocation of fear, threat, terror.

    The implied theme of the second intifada was “we hate you. Leave.”

    Not the political maturity of responsibly advocating for the development of integrated (single-state) social and political institutions, but only rage, and expressed barbaricly (sorry to use the “n” word).

    The wall is a result of that terror. It is not a good choice. I personally argued against it vehemently in 2002,3. But, I definitely understand the reasoning behind it.

    In 2001 and 2002, there were 85 significant terror bombings in Israeli civilian centers.

    And now, noone knows what Palestinians want. Everyone knows what they don’t want. It is time to clarify.

    On Phil. He didn’t form his views during that period of terror, but only later and only in terms of really strictly domestic American foreign policy questions.

    He didn’t even know of the wall intimately at that point, if his posts here are accurate. Even while the rockets were firing in Gaza in 2008, he ignored them. They weren’t as important as other intellectual issues that he was raising at the time, you know Walt/Mearsheimer, Jews in media, Jews in the Obama White House, “progressive” questions like that.

    Noting what is wrong, or that there is wrong, is barely a starting point.

    Its intellectually and politically lazy to stay at the status of only dissent. And, that means a qualitative shift in political consciousness among solidarity from objection to clarification.

    • Mooser says:

      “During your description it occurred to me that in a democratic single state solution with literally equal rights for all, there would be no way to protect the Palestinian community from the Judaization of the region.”

      Witty, you have a lower opinion of the Israelis than I do, and that’s really something! Thanks for putting it so plainly: Any political liberty will simply be an excuse for further Jewish oppression and more ethnic cleasing.
      I might have held out hope that a new generation of Israelis could go on to something better than that, but than again, I don’t get direct reports from my son.

      At any rate, thanks for the final word. Now that I’ve heard from you, I can see that the only possible solution is to get the Zionists out of there.

      • There are obviously many and with funds that desire to live in that neighborhood for the convenience of it.

        And there are obviously man and with funds, that desire to live in that neighborhood for the Judaization of the city.

        It is an uphill struggle to prohibit that process short of in the context of a two-state solution. And, the longer it delays, the longer the expropriation will occur.

        I can’t imagine that the likelihood of a single state, in which Silwan and other neighborhoods become Jewish neighborhoods, is worth it.

        But, that is what is implied in a single-state. It sounds wonderful.

        I believe that the wonderful elements of it can be implemented in a two-state solution.

        Followed by a long-term strategy of formation of genuinly non-nationalist parties in both Israel and Palestine. It is difficult for both communities to not color their civilism with nationalism. Ali Abunimeh does not accomplish that currently. Omar Barghouti does not accomplish that currently. They approach the single-state largely motivated by protection of their communities’ rights.

        Its a reasonable temporary position, but at some point the question of seriousness of what is meant comes up.

        It actually comes up currently, with the fear that the single state is a ploy for a Palestinian national state, using sentiment for democracy as a manipulation. (Its a fear, a reasonable one. It might not be true in fact.)

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Whatever you say, Jim Crow.

        • Mooser says:

          Shorter Witty, and he’s expressed this many times before: ‘Okay, you deligitimising anti-Semites, make one move, and the Palestinian gets it, right in the neck’

          Although I must admit, Witty’s prediction that given their druthers, the Israelis will murder and disposses the Palestinians on their own initiative, or even in opposition to their government’s policies, if necessary, shocks even me.

          But what it comes down to is this: Witty sees the Palestinians as hostages. And tries to pass this off as a laudable position.

        • “Witty sees the Palestinians as hostages. And tries to pass this off as a laudable position. ”

          What a load of crap as a summary.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Really? Because you’ve never condemned the siege of Gaza, only insisted that it should be relaxed “a little bit.” You’ve also — in spite of saying you don’t approve of the settlements — wholeheartedly endorse the vile and illegal military measures Israel takes against Palestinians to ensure that the settlements not only continue, but expand.

          Out of curiosity, Witty — you keep insisting that Palestinians being divided between Gaza and the West Bank are their own fault. How do you reconcile that with the fact that Israel routinely “deports” Palestinians from the West Bank to Gaza and then leaves them besieged there?

        • Shingo says:

          Superb and accurate summary.

        • eljay says:

          >> How do you reconcile that with the fact that Israel routinely “deports” Palestinians from the West Bank to Gaza and then leaves them besieged there?

          My guesses are “humanism” and “justice”, but not ethnic cleansing because, y’know, it’s “currently not necessary”.

      • Shingo says:

        “Witty, you have a lower opinion of the Israelis than I do, and that’s really something! Thanks for putting it so plainly: Any political liberty will simply be an excuse for further Jewish oppression and more ethnic cleasing.”

        That’s what Witty considers self governance. What a beautiful jewel!

    • kapok says:

      You’re quite the prognosticator. I dub thee Richard Wouldy

    • lyn117 says:

      “There would be no legal way to segregate property as exclusively available to a single ethnicity, unless there was some agreement that in principle that were acceptable as a principle.”

      But why are you in favor of reserving some 90% of Israel (within the 1967 borders) for Jews only, as it is currently? Especially considering that legal title to large parts of that land is held by Palestinian refugees, much of the rest under a fair system of property would go to the peoples who used it for centuries for traditional farming and herding, rather than being confiscated by the state for Jewish-only development/use?

      “200,000 Israelis celebrated the acknowledgement of Palestinian national and civil rights in 1994.”

      As if they actually got national and civil rights… Could you please provide a reference? I can’t find anything that size with google.

      “The wall is a result of that terror. It is not a good choice. I personally argued against it vehemently in 2002,3. But, I definitely understand the reasoning behind it.

      In 2001 and 2002, there were 85 significant terror bombings in Israeli civilian centers.”

      You’re saying no Palestinians were killed by Israelis? If not, please stop giving partial reports that don’t inform.

      “And now, noone knows what Palestinians want. Everyone knows what they don’t want. It is time to clarify.”

      Why don’t you go to Gaza and ask one?

  17. Kathleen says:

    Thank you Phil for this vivid description of the horrendous situation that many Palestinians deal with daily. I have had many friends who have been going to Israel/Palestinian territories for decades now living with the Palestinians for months. They have told and written about the situation for years. But over the last five or so years many have become more exposed to what has been going on for decades. Many more Jews have joined the fight against apartheid in Israel, the continued confiscation of Palestinian lands. This has been a beautiful development.

    My dear friend Art Gish (recently deceased, not sure how to shorten this link link to google.com
    witnessed Palestinian school children being spit upon by radical and illegal settlers, he witnessed several beatings of Palestinians, witnessed bulldozing of Palestinian homes. It is good more people are seeing and writing about what has been going on for decades.

    And yet the little coverage the illegal expansion of settlements in the West bank and illegal housing in E Jerusalem is referred to as a moratorium? Where the hell is the moratorium? This is the myth perpetrated on NPR. Just heard a journalist refer to a “moratorium”

    THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A FREEZE OR A MORATORIUM …NEVER

    Partial is what they should put in front of freeze or moratorium. They are fueling that somehow the Israeli’s have stopped construction. Complete bull.

    Somehow there seems to be a difference between “how pitiable life here seems to us.” and compassion. What ever it was that your dear wife was feeling “pity” compassion and empathy. Being able to put one in another’s shoes is what most of us are taught. And as you pointed out Phil it is oh so sad and deeply disappointing when individuals are unable to go there and then do something about it

  18. bijou says:

    And, in ways the East Jerusalem story is also a story of gentrification.

    Excuse me while I vomit. Sorry.

      • Do you know what occurs in a neighborhood during gentrification?

        It is that money comes in and buys inexpensive property and changes the character of the neighborhood.

        Money is interested in the cheap real estate. In Adams Morgan, it was an old neighborhood that was conveniently located near Dupont Circle (another neighborhood that had been gentrified). Developers bought strips of land that constituted a division of the neighborhood. The property values increased, and then so did rents and taxes (for those that owned). The former residents moved out.

        It is the same there. Because of the cheap land (a bribe when expropriated) and proximity to Jerusalem, the site is a attractive in the marketplace.

        In a single state, with equal property rights for all, no reserved neighborhoods, Silwan would disappear as an Arab neighborhood.

        It is NOT an apology for what is occurring. It is an observation.

        The question is NOT only ethnic, not only state expansion, but also economic.

        You can look at that information as useful for strategy to oppose the settlement construction, if you were smart, rather than merely reactive.

        • For Phil,
          There is a point of him looking to make change in the middle east, but not looking in his own neighborhood. In his portion of the remote NY suburbs, there are not only affluent, quaint neighborhoods, but horrible poverty as well, ethnically screened.

        • “it is not an apology for what is occurring. It is an observation.”

          step out on this tangent with me:

          During the presidential campaign, a member of the audience at a Tennessee (iirc) town hall asked candidate Obama if he thought health care should be treated as a commodity.

          I thought it was an enormously important question, with explosive import.
          Obama dodged the question and, as politicians do, substituted his own question that would match his talking points, and answered his question, not the Town Hall citizen’s question.

          Is health care a commodity?
          Is one’s home a commodity or an ATM?
          Is an education a commodity?
          Is Dupont Circle a commodity?
          Is property in Silwan not only a commodity but a commodity so delectable that stealing it is acceptable?

          At what point do human values of belonging, of possessing and owning supersede stashing in inventory against future profits or advantage?

          Is profit and creation and accumulation of wealth the ultimate value, indeed, the ONLY value?

          When I traveled in Iran, what impressed me about individual houses there was that the exteriors are a study in the nondescript: no keeping-up-with-the-Joneses exteriors to be found: the interior of an Iranian home is where life went on, where beauty was cultivated, where family was nurtured.
          Israel sees itself as the westernizer of the Middle East, determined to drag benighted Arabs and Muslims into the western orb — the orb in which all aspects of life are commodified and generation of wealth is the state religion.
          THAT is what Iran is resisting.
          Palestinians are resisting something more immediate — they are resisting their own displacement which is demanded in service of the Israel agenda of the commodification of all in all.

        • Sumud says:

          Since your real concern is jewish supremacy, please stop the crocodile tears for East Jerusalem.

          A single state and full equality will means Palestinians are no longer forced to live in arab-only towns in Israel proper, and that is your anxiety. Palestinians in Tel Aviv, quelle horreur!

        • Chaos4700 says:

          As this colonization progresses, it takes more and more village land around the city and throws out more infrastructure to serve the colonists, special roads and high barbed wire fences and walls to protect the drivers and their communities. The infrastructure isolates more and more Palestinians from one another. You can tell Palestinian villages from the black water vessels dotting the rooftops—because their water is shut off for days at a time.

          Witty? That is “gentrification” to you?! What do you call this style of urban development? Warsaw Ghetto Fabulous? Jim Crow Vitalization?

          Seriously. What is wrong with you?

        • Sumud says:

          Palestinians in Tel Aviv, quelle horreur!

          An unhappy coincidence, another article by EvaSmagacz:

          “Israeli media sources have confirmed that an Israeli soldier shot and killed a handcuffed Palestinian youth on Tuesday morning (14.09.2010) in the city of Tel Aviv.”
          link to mondoweiss.net

        • “Since your real concern is jewish supremacy, please stop the crocodile tears for East Jerusalem.”

          Another load of … as summary.

        • Gentrification? You have to be kidding…low cost land…since when did Israel pay for the land? They just take it house and all or better yet bulldoze it, don’t even worry if people are living there or at home.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          You’re the one who’s elsewhere referred to what the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians as “gentrification,” Witty.

        • Sumud says:

          Civility requires more than the absence of swear words Richard.

          Your advocacy of selective application, of international law (where it favours jews) is one example of this supremacist attitude:

          link to mondoweiss.net

          You said it Richard, not me. When applied to an issue as large as right of return, it speaks volumes about your priorities.

        • MarkF says:

          I’m quite familiar with Adams Morgan.

          C’mon, you’ve got to be kidding. Not an apt comparison at all. Where’s the state induced economic hardships placed on the Adams Morgan residents? The discriminatory laws?

          I know you said it’s not an apology. It’s also not even close to a fair comparison or a part of the equation. In my opinion, of course.

          To be honest, I’m stunned.

        • Shingo says:

          “It is that money comes in and buys inexpensive property and changes the character of the neighborhood.”

          That’s different to Jewish immagrants comming in and demanding that the Israeli government evict the occupants of a home they have owned for a century, demolish it and give the land to the said immigrants.

          At least when gentrification takes place, the land owners are offered money for their property and the choice as to whether they wish to sell or not.

          So you see Witty it’s what is occurring and yours is not an observation, so much as the attempt to polish a turd.

        • Colin Murray says:

          In his portion of the remote NY suburbs, there are not only affluent, quaint neighborhoods, but horrible poverty as well, ethnically screened.

          But not ‘ethnically screened’ by the coercive machinery of the state implementing racially supremacist legislation.

      • Seham says:

        Mohammad, that’s good advice. I’m always tempted to respond to all the absurdity that he posts but try hard to control myself 90% of the time. It’s almost impossible though, when he white washes ethnic cleansing under the rubric of gentrification because that word is easier for him to digest.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Let me have it out with Witty, then. It’s actually good therapy for me, and I get the impression that my responses are at least modestly entertaining to the community at large.

        • Mooser says:

          Chaos, he’s all yours. He provokes a very unhealthy response in me, since he is so similiar to so many people I grew up with.
          He actually has the power to make me physically ill.

          The proof of his power is how well his progeny has absorbed his values, and right through his skein of ridiculous verbalisations. Now that’s childrearing!

        • Seham,
          You should respond, and as if I am a human being articulating real concerns, rather than representing some type to you.

          I expect that you are too impatient to go through the questions, that you want immediate change, and if you don’t get immediate change that you will be angry.

          But, if you have to remove and inspect four parts of a car to fix the car, that’s what you’ve got to do. The car doesn’t magically get fixed.

        • eljay says:

          >> But, if you have to remove and inspect four parts of a car to fix the car, that’s what you’ve got to do. The car doesn’t magically get fixed.

          You messed up your analogy again. If someone strips your car of most of its parts and you insist on getting them back, your solution is to let the thief keep the parts as long as he promises not to steal anything else.

          The thief is rewarded, the victim remains wronged, the car remains part-less and you call it “justice”.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Oh this is rich! Witty spends like 80% of his efforts browbeating Palestinians as not civilized enough, and now that people are disgusted with him to the point where they just don’t want to deal with his crap, he’s wounded!.

          Awww. Don’t worry Witty. You still have me.

        • Shingo says:

          “I expect that you are too impatient to go through the questions, that you want immediate change, and if you don’t get immediate change that you will be angry.”

          The Zionist fall back poistion – what’s the hurry, let’s slow down and see if we can create a Palestinian state in say, 40 years?

          I’m more convinced every day that Witty is a Likudnick.

          Do you propose that the Warsaw Ghetto and death camps should have operated for a little bit longer Witty rather tham impatiently demanding they be closed?

        • Mooser says:

          “You should respond, and as if I am a human being articulating real concerns….

          Yeah, you do have real concerns. Any minute now Arabs will come and kick you out of New Jersey. I feel for you.

        • Donald says:

          “Let me have it out with Witty, then.”

          People should be responding to RW, since his views really do represent a lot of what is called “liberal Zionism”. Citizen posted a link a week or two ago to an interview between Charlie Rose and George Mitchell and much of what Mitchell said could have been said by RW, (except of course Witty’s style is all his own). In general RW’s prejudices and blindspots pretty well match up with how the MSM and most American politicians talk about the subject.

          The problem is that too many of us respond to him.

        • Donald,
          Responding to the arguments is more important.

          That is that solving the issues humanely is not simple, takes thought and inquiry.

          If you desire democracy, then that inevitably requires consent of the governed, which is a knotty issue where the two populations are at such loggerheads.

          There is no excuse for forced removals though. To the extent that Phil is able to inform the world methodically and convincingly, it will motivate a movement to do something about it.

          To the extent that that is constructed of politically induced memory ignoring, it will fail, and should.

          Reconciliation of the narratives, not denial of them.

          They both contain myths and falsehoods. Thankfully, there are intellectuals that are challenging the simplistic interpretations, rather than just agitating.

        • Donald says:

          “Responding to the arguments is more important.”

          Responding to propaganda masquerading as fact is very important. That’s why what Phil does here is important (or could be, if enough people read him). The bulk of what people say about the I/P conflict in America is heavily biased in a liberal Zionist and sometimes even Likudnik direction, so the Palestinian side of the story is rarely if ever heard.

          I recommended “The Lemon Tree” to you yesterday. It’s very respectful of Israelis–doesn’t dehumanize them at all. There is a great deal about the Holocaust and how it made the Israeli protagonist (a very compassionate woman whose parents came from Bulgaria) feel the necessity of having a Jewish state. But Sandy Tolan is very clear on the injustices inflicted on the Palestinians from the very beginning. If people in the US began their discussions with full knowledge not only of the Israeli side of the story, but also of the long history of Israeli injustices and atrocities perpetrated against Palestinians, then maybe the US could be a truly honest broker. It’s just not going to happen under the current circumstances. When you have American politicians condemn Palestinian terror but run away from the Goldstone Report, it shows as clearly as anything how little American politicians respect Palestinians.

          That’s what Phil is fighting and you’re on the wrong side.

        • lyn117 says:

          It’s not just the propaganda in Witty’s case, it’s
          a) the complete lack of logic, making rational discussion impossible
          b) the avid willingness to ignore facts and evidence
          We can’t ourselves argue with Charlie Rose & the other mindless pundits

        • Thanks for the recommendation.

          I’ll see if I can find it.

          It is a fact that MANY of those that are inclined to dissent, to sympathize, are chased away from it by harrangue.

          It does NOT serve your movement to seek to chase me and the arguments that I articulate away.

          Bringing up a concern, is NOT the same as advocacy. That so many, including Phil, Adam, others, hold that view in speaking of journalists for example, is a great failing of this movement.

          It is just too much of a moral gamble as a movement resting on “defer to the vanguard”. It takes thought and inquiry, including considering views that are different than your own prejudice.

          Have you read one book that I’ve recommended Donald?

          Since people have been recommending work, I’ve read Pappe, Shlaim, Khalidi, Finkelstein. I learned the most from Khalidi.

        • eljay says:

          >> Thankfully, there are intellectuals that are challenging the simplistic interpretations, rather than just agitating.

          Gawd help us all when “intellectuals” become involved. They take good ol’ “simplistic assumptions” and challenge them real good!

          Laws become “suggestions, concepts”.
          Justice is transformed into “justice”, whereby:
          - criminals are absolved of all crimes by a simple promise not to re-offend;
          - criminals are permitted to keep their ill-gotten gains;
          - victims are expected to let go the past and to draft new, future-oriented “narratives”.
          Ethnic cleansing – a horrible crime anywhere, any time – is intellectualized into “currently not necessary”.
          Bigots who are able to rationalize the above points become “humanists”.

          Thanks, but I’d rather have in charge of things sensible, real people, who speak in sensible, real sentences instead of biased, sterile, pseudo-intellectual, slogan-laden babble.

    • Shmuel says:

      And, in ways the East Jerusalem story is also a story of gentrification.

      It’s Witty’s spellcheck. It doesn’t recognise the word “judaization”.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Kind of like how it keeps failing to recognize “Geneva Convention” and keeps substituting in the word “fascism” as if it were some sort of general purpose perjorative. “Ohmygod Suzie! Just look at the awful blouse she’s wearing! That’s so fascist!”

  19. Jim Haygood says:

    ‘I wonder how it is that American reporters are not describing the racist devouring of Jerusalem every day in our newspapers and showing it every night on our television news.’

    For all practical purposes, the pap served up by the MSM is zionist advocacy journalism. That’s why the MSM is going to end up eating the dust of Mondoweiss — because no one trusts them anymore.

    We don’t trust the New York Times and its Ethan Bronners; we don’t trust the WaPo with its Wills and Krauthammers. Away with these privileged lying turds!

  20. annie says:

    i cried intermittently during my entire trip. at first i tried to hide it but then it became such that i just got used to it. tears just welling from my eyes over and over and over. weeks of tears.

    • Kathleen says:

      A real live human being with feelings for others.

      Sad to think about those who are unable to empathize with others suffering know matter how much one may have suffered in ones own life. When th at ability to feel compassion shuts down I think I would be ready to roll over and check out

  21. This is such a powerful report Phil, it really hit me hard, and I empathize with the rage coming through your words. I lived in Ramallah for so long, I could see Jerusalem, it was only a ten minute drive away-yet I, and almost all Palestinians in the West Bank (and of course Gaza) are barred from ever entering the city.

  22. Two practical questions:

    Can the former character of the neighborhoods be restored?

    If not, what do you propose for them?

    • And what strategy would you recommend?

      In the political sphere?
      In the public information sphere?
      In the economic development sphere?

      Any proposals?

        • The reason that you ridicule that single suggestion is that you apparently don’t believe that it is relevant to attempt to change Israeli’s hearts and minds.

          And, that is a great divide between partisanship and dissent.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Witty, nobody cares about changing Israeli hearts and minds. We just want them to stop murdering people to take their stuff.

        • Sumud says:

          The reason that you ridicule that single suggestion..

          Wrong again.

          I have a degree in Fine Arts Richard. I have written before that I like the idea, and if an artist such Christo were to undertake the project (with something more substantial than yarn) it could have an impact.

          I criticise YOU because it the ONLY thing you could come up with when repeatedly pressed for alternative courses of action WE could take. YOU constantly criticise current non-violent campaigns to bring about change in Israel, speak about two-states with reverence but have NO action plan. The Witty Plan is about maintaining the status quo. The status quo is unacceptable.

          Really Richard, how many thousands of words do you clog up Mondoweiss with EVERY DAY? Grotesquely racist hearts and minds really do need to be changed in Israel, yet you choose to spend your time here: badgering, criticising, and disrupting – and all because (I believe) to most of us the status quo is not acceptable.

        • “you apparently don’t believe that it is relevant to attempt to change Israeli’s hearts and minds.”

          How does one do that, Witty, go about attempting to change Israeli hearts and minds? Reason doesn’t work, logic doesn’t work, — Israelis have their own set narrative that they have been taught for so long and so powerfully that any alternative telling of the story is blasted as antisemitism.
          Americans have indulged Israelis for going on three generations.

          It is striking to me that Iranians, whom America has gone out of its way to oppress and demonize, have more fondness for Americans than do Israelis, for whom Americans have sacrificed blood, treasure, and their moral character.

          I have learned that the way to understand Israelis is to apply to Israel what Israel says about the enemies Israel creates; thus, “Israel only responds to violence, to strength.”

        • Sumud,
          The great irony of your and your colleagues posts, is that your comments are almost solely reactions, looking for irritations, rather than opportunities to take an idea further.

          Its a failing. It requires a religious conversion to join. If applied to everyone that you seek to motivate to dissent, you will alienate far far more than you inspire.

          And, as the starting population of those that are willing to consider dissent is small, to alienate so many of us is really to destroy your stated favored movement.

          The consensus of force.

          I consistently speak on behalf of non-violent dissent, stated clearly, for clear purposes.

          Look at the reporting of non-violent dissent here. When Jews beyond anarchists began coming to the Sheik Jarrah demonstrations, they were described as unwelcome, as cooptation.

        • The best response to my suggestion of the green thread, was to dare me to do it, rather than to ridicule it.

          In that way, I would be engaged, rather than alienated. Have you not led anything?

        • James North says:

          Richard: Here’s what Phil and Adam say, on the other thread that includes their request for donations:
          “we’ve had over 700,000 unique visitors and 1.2 million page views in the past three months alone”
          I remember when Phil started this site, and the only visitors were his wife and me. It sounds to me like his methods, helped along by Sumud and other thoughtful commentators, are not ‘alienating far more than they inspire.’

        • eljay says:

          >> RW: The best response to my suggestion of the green thread, was to dare me to do it, rather than to ridicule it.

          Sad little man, you were challenged almost immediately after having proposed your idea.

          ———————————————
          Richard Witty May 13, 2010 at 12:13 pm
          The green yarn idea is uniquely artful. If I had money and time to travel to Israel, I’d do it, even organize it.

          sherbrsi May 13, 2010 at 12:15 pm
          Why not organize a fund-raiser? If it is a sincere effort with noble intentions, surely you don’t believe in your failure to do so. So, is it not worth your time or are you simply not bothered following up yourself to your suggestion to others?

          sherbrsi May 13, 2010 at 12:31 pm
          When will you take the green yarn laying charge then?
          ———————————————

          And your reply was…silence.

        • Bumblebye says:

          RW

          You also burble against non-violent forms of dissent, such as BDS, which you consider a harm to Israel, while explaining away & minimizing all Israeli violence & the siege of Gaza.

        • He’s succeeded at building his brand.

          The question of alienation is whether he is seeking to change Israeli policies or achieve revolution that eliminates Zionism (as in Jewish self-determination).

          To change Israeli policies, he and hundreds of thousands of liberal Jews are in agreement, and if BDS accomplishes literally only that, then it is loved.

          If he means revolution as in a forced marriage of a single state, then he and hundreds of thousands of liberal Jews, Zionists, are in fundamental disagreement, and his posting vaguely on that question, will alienate those hundreds of thousands, and should.

          The commentators here are nearly in consent that it is acceptable to abuse Israelis and those that sympathize with the idea of a Jewish state, left and right. You know “they all look alike”.

          The best that Phil can do with this site is to inform fully. To the extent that he provides only well-armed dissenters, and not fully educated dissenters (or not dissenters), he disserves humanity.

          I am NOT advocating that he shut up (as you are of me). I am advocating that he fully inform and with honest, care and sensitivity.

          I’m disappointed in the politics of his writing, in that he often shifts from description and witness to polemic, same as Anna Baltzer, Seham, Shmuel, many others.

          I feel deceived. No matter how others think of Phil, I think of him as peer. He has a different role, but walking on the earth, it is the merit of our arguments that matter.

          And, that is why I suggest that he “make the better argument” rather than “the better character assassination”.

        • Shingo says:

          “If applied to everyone that you seek to motivate to dissent, you will alienate far far more than you inspire.”‘

          Really? If that is to be believed, then surely we would see it in the form of support for Israel growing internationally.

          Is that what the polls tell you Witty?

          “I consistently speak on behalf of non-violent dissent, stated clearly, for clear purposes.”

          Yes Witty, you consistently speak of non violent dissent, while giving wholesale endorsement to violent occupation.

          “Look at the reporting of non-violent dissent here. ”

          Yes, we just read about how Israeli snipers are using live ammunition against it.

          It’s clear why you would regard that as a recipe for success.

        • Donald says:

          “I consistently speak on behalf of non-violent dissent, stated clearly, for clear purposes.”

          “Yes Witty, you consistently speak of non violent dissent, while giving wholesale endorsement to violent occupation.”

          He favors peace in some sense, but only on his terms and that requires that Israel gets to keep 78 percent of Palestinian land right off the top and negotiate about which portions of the remaining stolen property it might return. And there is never to be any forthright acknowledgement of Israeli brutality, because that is “groveling” to him. His first almost instinctual priority is to downplay or denigrate or whitewash virtually every report of an Israeli atrocity that comes along. It’s reflexive with him. He thinks Israelis have the right to kill Palestinians–to renew a ceasefire that would include a lifting of the blockade was “appeasement” to Witty. Better to kill some Palestinians first. Palestinian terrorism is evil and without excuse and he reaches that conclusion instantly, but one has to engage in literally endless hemming and hawing about whether or not Israel is or is not guilty of this or that crime and obviously one is never supposed to reach a final conclusion.

          Richard is right that the goal should be reconciliation, but it is difficult to imagine how a Palestinian could respect Richard’s position and reconcile with him. It’s like reconciling with someone whose idea of an apology is “I’m sorry if you were offended by my actions, but you started it, you’re worse, and I’m going to keep most of what I took from you, though we can discuss how much of what I took in recent years I might return. But I really want to reconcile.”

          Hard to turn down an offer like that.

        • Shingo says:

          It’s worse than that Donald,

          It’s goes like this.

          “I’m sorry if you were offended by my actions, but you started it, you’re worse, and I’m going to keep most of what I took from you, but only after you agree not to talk about it and acknowledge that it now belongs to me, and though we can discuss how much of what I took in recent years I might return, though I am in the process of taking more of it from you. But I really want to reconcile.

          And why don’t we have a partner for peace?”

        • Shingo says:

          “The question of alienation is whether he is seeking to change Israeli policies or achieve revolution that eliminates Zionism ”

          That’s not a question Witty, that’s a straw man argument that you’ve created out of whole cloth.

          “The commentators here are nearly in consent that it is acceptable to abuse Israelis and those that sympathize with the idea of a Jewish state, left and right.”

          That’s because you equate the existence of Israel with it’s continued land theft , ethnic cleansing and settlement expansion. After all, you recently described the relocation of settlers and a violation of their rights.

          “To the extent that he provides only well-armed dissenters, and not fully educated dissenters”

          You’re such a patronizing weasel Witty. You’ve been embarrased countless times by those with far greater knowledge than you, yet you claim to be the arbiter of who is fully educated. Do you have no shame?

          “I am advocating that he fully inform and with honest, care and sensitivity.”

          Why do you demand standards of others that you fail so miserably to demonstrate yourself? Or perhaps are you suggesting that he exercise care and sensitivity (sans the honesty) towards Israel only as you do?

          “I feel deceived.”

          Oh dear, cry me a river. The very commenter who refuses to accept facts placed before him, dismissed the Goldstone Report, singularly insists Hamas started the 2008 war, and denies the Nakba, feels deceived.

          You’re as tragic as a rapist who blames his victim for bad bedroom etiquette because she fought him off before allowing him to reach orgasm.

          “No matter how others think of Phil, I think of him as peer.”

          Yes, you do have delusions of grandeur. You also consider Norman Finkelstein as a peer. The rest of us regard you as pathetic wannabe who can only dream of inspiring the following that Phil has created.

          “And, that is why I suggest that he “make the better argument” rather than “the better character assassination”.”

          Like I said last week Witty, when you can create a blog that is frequented by more than just you, then you can make suggestions.

        • Shingo says:

          “And, that is a great divide between partisanship and dissent.”

          The only great divide is between you and reality.

        • American says:

          It’s not the world’s job to” change Israeli hearts and minds”…it’s the world’s job to stop them from war crimes.

        • Shingo,
          You also are a peer to Phil and Norman.

          Why would you disempower yourself so?

        • “You started it” is the oppossite of what I present.

          I describe a reciprocal cycle of violence, with only the militancies on both sides as the beneficiaries.

          A design process, a peace process, honestly articulates

          1. This is what our community needs. These features must be in a treaty.
          2. This what would help our community thrive. These features would be effective in a treaty.
          3. This is what our community would like. These features would sweeten a treaty.

          It is our job to define an agreement that includes BOTH of what our communities need, that includes as much of what would help our community thrive, and as many features that would make the treaty pallatable as possible.

          The skeleton, the structure, of the treaty is the intersection of needs and conditions to thrive.

          The “feeling” stuff is in the third area, the marketing.

          At some point, Israelis and Palestinians will get to ratify or reject a proposal based on need and conditions to thrive. If they instead decide, “My feelings, my anger is more important”, then they will be self-abusers as well as abused by others.

          And, if they act out their anger in orchestrated terror (not exceptions, but a strategy), then they will be barbaric.

          Using the dysfunctional marriage (the permanently forced intimacy/marriage between those that hate each other) as a metaphor, the abused wife will not only kill her husband (murder), but everyone her husband knows whether they sympathize with him, her, or both (mass murder).

          And, those that have been abused will state that “they had it coming”, and rationalize it.

        • eljay says:

          >> It’s goes like this.
          >> “I’m sorry if you were offended by my actions, but you started it, you’re worse, and I’m going to keep most of what I took from you, but only after you agree not to talk about it and acknowledge that it now belongs to me, and though we can discuss how much of what I took in recent years I might return, though I am in the process of taking more of it from you. But I really want to reconcile.

          And why don’t we have a partner for peace?”

          A perfect summary. Condensed to one word, it’s “justice”…as only a “humanist” could define it.

        • eljay says:

          >> RW, September 15, 2010 at 7:01 pm
          >> The best response to my suggestion of the green thread, was to dare me to do it, rather than to ridicule it.

          I – and possibly Sumud and others – are still waiting for you to address the fact – as proven in my post of September 15, 2010 at 7:19 pm – that you WERE challenged to put your “green thread” plan into action and that you never accepted the challenge.

          It looks like someone called your bluff and you thought it prudent to ignore the challenge in the hope that the matter would fade away. Well, luckily for you, it did…until you raised it again.

          So, now that it’s back in circulation, will you accept the challenge? Or will you blather your way out of it by suggesting that:
          - The original challenge was not properly phrased, so you didn’t think it merited a response?
          - You were intending to do it all along but stuff came up and, gosh, it slipped your mind?
          - Having read the challenge, you felt properly “engaged” and that was good enough?

        • You embellish your own words, Eljay.

          I’m far far away from Israel. I had hoped that others would take it up. I certainly told many more than people here about the idea.

          Maybe someone will do it.

          The point is about your habitual ridicule, rather than even productive dissent.

          It rests on assumptions of the “movement” that the “enemy’s” condition and perceptions are not worth anything, only to be dismissed.

          That works in an army, in a war status. It doesn’t work in a relationship. Oppression works in a war status too, and doesn’t work in a relationship.

          So, to my mind, the big shift needed on the part of the warring parties (solidarity and Israeli expansionists) is to regard themselves in a relationship, not in resistance.

          But, that is a qualitative shift that is named as cowardly by “leadership”, when it is the most manly and heroic change in consciousness possible.

          It is what made the ANC successful, and has made a thousand other revolutionary movements unsuccessful and corrupted.

        • eljay says:

          >> RW: You embellish your own words, Eljay. I’m far far away from Israel. I had hoped that others would take it up.

          You are such a fraud that I can’t tell whether you are lying or are in such a massive state of denial that you simply can’t accept the truth of your own words, as typed by you into – and as retained as a permanent record on – this website. It’s amazing!

          But just so there’s no confusion, here’s a re-cap:
          ————————————
          1. “The pharaoh of Jerusalem” (link to mondoweiss.net)
          >> Richard Witty September 15, 2010 at 7:01 pm: The best response to my suggestion of the green thread, was to dare me to do it, rather than to ridicule it.
          [NOTE TO RW: Here is where you suggested that you should have been challenged to implement your "green thread" (originally your "green yarn") peace initiative.]

          2. “Denying Edward Said” (link to mondoweiss.net)
          >> 72 Richard Witty May 13, 2010 at 12:13 pm: The green yarn idea is uniquely artful. If I had money and time to travel to Israel, I’d do it, even organize it.
          [NOTE TO RW: Here is where you stated that you would implement, and even organize, your peace initiative.]

          >> 73 sherbrsi May 13, 2010 at 12:15 pm: Why not organize a fund-raiser? If it is a sincere effort with noble intentions, surely you don’t believe in your failure to do so. So, is it not worth your time or are you simply not bothered following up yourself to your suggestion to others?
          [NOTE TO RW: Here is the first challenge, with a suggestion that you attempt to raise the funds necessary to permit you to implement your peace initiative.]

          >> 75 Richard Witty May 13, 2010 at 12:27 pm: If it changes hearts and minds, that is FAR superior to throwing rocks.

          >> 76 sherbrsi May 13, 2010 at 12:31 pm: … Great idea indeed Witty. When will you take the green yarn laying charge then?
          [NOTE TO RW: Here is the second challenge.]
          ————————————

          The evidence is clear: You said you should have been challenged to implement your peace initiative and, in fact, you were challenged to do so.

          But you didn’t do it and now, rather than admit your failure and the hollowness of your words, you’re playing “victim” and attempting to deflect the issue by ignoring your own words and accusing me of “embellishing” mine.

          You are a sad little man, RW: A self-deceived bigot, a hypocrite, a hateful “humanist”, a fraud and, very clearly, a liar.

        • Sumud says:

          I – and possibly Sumud and others – are still waiting for you to address the fact…

          Back it up eljay!

          I’m still waiting for Richard Witty to explain why Israel confiscated and continues to hold all the footage and pics of the commando raid on the Free Gaza Flotilla.

          link to mondoweiss.net

        • eljay says:

          >> The point is about your habitual ridicule, rather than even productive dissent.

          I habitually ridicule your dishonesty, your bias, your hateful commentary, your self-importance and your overblown prose. You have no interest in “productive dissent” – you have interest only in preserving injustice and imbalance under the guise of “humanism” and “justice”. You and your words are a fraud. You have earned and you continue to earn the ridicule you attract.

        • Mooser says:

          “to change Israeli’s hearts and minds.”

          Gee, Witty, correct me if I’m wrong, but I have this memory of some very appealing, good-looking, gentle American girls who tried to do a little of that. One got run over by a bulldozer, the other got her eye put out. And there were a couple of guys, too, weren’t there? One’s dead, and the other paralyzed.

        • eljay says:

          >> … I have this memory of some very appealing, good-looking, gentle American girls who tried to do a little of that. One got run over by a bulldozer, the other got her eye put out. And there were a couple of guys, too, weren’t there? One’s dead, and the other paralyzed.

          I believe they were destabilizing maximalists who weren’t interested in “productive dissent”. For three of the four, violence against them is “currently not necessary”. I fear to think of what “justice” and “humanism” might hold for the fourth.

      • American says:

        Here’s my proposal.

        First cut off the US money to Israel and bar their US imports.

        If that doesn’t make them think go to step two.

        Step two, do fly overs dropping leaflets on Israel advising them to retreat to the borders of the UN charter.

        Step three, if they don’t comply, launch the USAF.

        Problem solved.

        • Shingo says:

          Oh and don’t forget,

          Pass a fe Chapter & Resllutions demanding Israel’s withdraw to 1967 borders immeditabely and pay all reperatuions to refugees or allow ROR.

      • Mooser says:

        And what strategy would you recommend?

        Gee, I don’t know, how’s about we start with an eye-witness account, honestly reported from a human and humane perspective?
        I tend to think that’s a good start, since it seems to bother the hell out of you.

        What a piece of work you are Witty, what a piece of work. Made from the whole shmattes

    • Shmuel says:

      Can the former character of the neighborhoods be restored?

      You really haven’t got a clue, have you. The “old neighbourhoods” are physically cut off from each other and from their hinterland by massive construction for Jews only, as well as (removable) walls, checkpoints and restrictions. The situation in Jerusalem is completely irreversible – as per the intentions of all Israeli policymakers since 1967. The Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem cannot possibly be dismantled. It is not bloody “gentrification”. It is “judaization”, i.e. ethnic cleansing.

      • So, your answer to that is no.

        So, what do you propose? Punishment?

        What?

        • Shmuel says:

          What?

          1. Stop making it worse. Stop building for the sake of dispossession. Stop taking away Palestinian residency. Stop cutting Palestinian Jerusalem off from the West Bank.
          2. Equalise services and rights.

          If these first two steps are undertaken seriously and in good faith, the rest will fall into place.

        • Good suggestions, Shmuel.

          What is your strategy for working on those two?

          Political organizing
          Electoral
          Economic

          Get clear about your goal, tie the means directly to the goal, persuade.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Witty, why do you keep finding excuses to allow Israeli colonists to plow over Palestinian families with armored bulldozers?

      • Mooser says:

        Every man will fight to ensure the future of his children. It’s only natural!

        • Chaos4700 says:

          His son could, you know, just live in the US and be a normal patriotic American. Why is that so hard for them to fathom?

        • Mooser says:

          Chaos, how dare you suggest that! Witty’s son barely escaped with his life from a horde of viscious anti-Semites! What else could he do but reject not just America, but all of modernity?

          For God’s sake Chaos they drew on his notebook!!

          Compared to that, Emmett Till had nothing to complain about.

      • Shingo says:

        “Witty, why do you keep finding excuses to allow Israeli colonists to plow over Palestinian families with armored bulldozers?”

        The answer is simple enough. He supports it.

    • Shingo says:

      “Can the former character of the neighborhoods be restored?”

      You meam. can the homes hat weer stolen be returned to their rightful owners?

      Sure Witty, why not?

      Don’t you just love how Witty describes ethnic cleasing as changing the character of a neighbohood? That and gentrifcation.

      I guess the Nakba was one big excercise of gentrification.

      • “I guess the Nakba was one big excercise of gentrification. ”

        Not just the nakba, but the prior 100 years of change in title relations from common/free land to private to every inch titled and managed.

        Read history Shingo.

        Its happened everywhere. If the population of Palestine exceeded the ability to establish commons, it would/will happen there as well.

        • The neo-religious Zionist effort is a similar conflict with that trend of history.

          I thought you were familiar with class analysis.

        • Bumblebye says:

          RW

          Oh wow!

          Now it’s “class analysis”!

        • Shingo says:

          “Not just the nakba, but the prior 100 years of change in title relations from common/free land to private to every inch titled and managed.”

          That’s just jibberish to try and explain away land theft on a massive scale.

          “Read history Shingo.”

          I have and that tells me that you haven’t.

          “If the population of Palestine exceeded the ability to establish commons, it would/will happen there as well.”

          Absolutely rubbish. We’re talking about the fact that Palestinians have had their land taken from them. They didn’t get to sell it, in fact, they weren’t given anything for it. Gentrification is a consequence of supply and demand under the rubric of property rights being honored.

          This is not about gentrification or the threat of it, but wholesale land theft.

  23. aban says:

    This is an exercise in disproportionate outrage. Reading this, it doesn’t seem to amount to very much (and some to nothing: A national park at Samuel’s grave ? The horror).

    Seems to me there are three start points with which to view what happens in Jerusalem.

    - Jews/Israelis: This is Jerusalem. We own this place.

    - Arabs/Palestinians: No Jews here.

    - Phil Weiss: Jews should know their place.

    Guess what? The first makes most sense to me.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      So if Canada drove a fleet of armored bulldozers across the border into New York, cordoned off the surrounding communities with barbed wire and military checkpoints, and declared the entire vantage point zone overlooking Niagara Falls to be a Canadian national park, you’d be just find with that?

      • Schwartzman says:

        Your analogies are so ridiculous. Would you consider the US/Canadian relationship to be one where there is an occupier/occupied? Where the two groups are enemies? Does Canada and the US have defined internationally recognized borders?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Great. At least I managed to drag some concessions out of you that A) Israel is a militant occupying power; B) Israel maintains hostilities; and C) Israel exists as a flagrant violation to everything we’ve built, as a modern world, after WWII to prevent imperialism from degrading into atrocity by way of internationally recognized and enforced borders.

        • Shingo says:

          “Your analogies are so ridiculous. Would you consider the US/Canadian relationship to be one where there is an occupier/occupied?”

          It was an example SM, not a likely outcome. Surely you’re not that thick.?

        • Antidote says:

          How about Washington instead of NY, not now but 200 years ago?

          from Wiki:

          “The Burning of Washington was a battle that took place on August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812 between the British Empire and the United States of America. The British Army occupied Washington, D.C. and set fire to many public buildings following the American defeat at the Battle of Bladensburg. The facilities of the U.S. government, including the White House and U.S. Capitol, were largely destroyed, though strict discipline and the British commander’s orders to burn only public buildings are credited with preserving the city’s private buildings. This is the only time since 1783 in United States history that a foreign power has captured and occupied the United States capital (Philadelphia was captured by British forces in 1777 during the American Revolutionary War).

          Historians assert that the attack was in retaliation for the American burning and looting of York (now Toronto) during the Battle of York in 1813, and the burning down of the buildings of the Legislative Assembly there. The British Army commanders said they chose to attack Washington “on account of the greater political effect likely to result”.

          Governor-General Sir George Prevost of Canada wrote to the Admirals in Bermuda calling for a retaliation for the American sacking of York and requested their permission and support in the form of provision of naval resources. At the time, it was considered against the civilized laws of war to burn a non-military facility and the Americans had not only burned the Parliament but also looted and burned the Governor’s mansion, private homes and warehouses.
          Further proof of the intention was that after the limited British burning of some public facilities, the British left. There was no territory that they wanted to occupy, no military facility that they had planned to attack, and the attack caused no American casualties.”

      • aban says:

        Choas, here’s the point: While I might object to such a Canadian invasion, I would not depict every parking ticket handed by a Canadian cop thereafter as a crime against humanity.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          So now a Canadian cop handing you a parking ticket is supposed to be the equivalent of a Palestinian having his farm razed by the Israeli government?

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Also, why do Zionists always always always refer to Jewish people as “the Jooooos!” Seriously.

    • Mooser says:

      “Guess what? The first makes most sense to me”

      Oh lookee! Another tough Jew!

    • Schwartzman says:

      Jews will own Jerusalem in a one state solution. The only chance of Eastern Jerusalem keeping a Palestinian/Arab/Muslim identity is in the framework of a two state solution.

      • Sumud says:

        “Jews will own Jerusalem in a one state solution.”

        If the one-state you envisage ever comes to pass the US will drop Israel quicker than you can say “no billion dollars”. And that one-state will cease to exist (in that format anyway) shortly after.

        • Schwartzman says:

          No idea what you are talking about Sumud, but I don’t envisage any one-state.

          I don’t see it being any different than SA right now. Sure the Palestinians will have equal rights, but will they economic equality? How will the people of Gaza get a foothold in an combined I/P economy? Israel already has an economic infrastructure in place, do you think they will be bending over backwards to integrate with a Palestinian economy? Do you think they will readily include Palestinians on the boards and in executive positions of already established Israeli industries?

          What about land ownership? what will prevent Palestinians from selling their land to Jews creating an even more gentrified Jerusalem?

        • Perhaps a healthy dose of that Persian Golden Rule would work:

          Do unto Israel what Israel is having US do unto Iran.

          economic sanctions on every Israeli bank, international trading company, cross-border merchant; de-list Israeli corporations from US equity markets like NASDAQ; forbid any and every US government and state from doing business with any Israeli company until Israel abides by UN Resolutions and joins NPT.

          Investigate any Jewish charity that sends US-origin funds to Israel to ensure that those funds are not being used to violate international norms and rules.

          Investigate major US-based philanthropists who contribute major sums to Israel, like Haim Saban and Sheldon Adelson; have their files examined thoroughly by IRS, find out if their registrations in Cayman Island are legitimate.

        • potsherd says:

          The Golden Dream!

        • Shingo says:

          “I don’t see it being any different than SA right now. Sure the Palestinians will have equal rights, but will they economic equality?”

          Whatever they get will be infinitely better than their current conditions, which are largely imposed on them because they are not Israeli citizens or protected under Israeli laws, therefore have no rights. For a start, those in the West Bank wil be able to tend to their orchards and farms with freedom of movement. If they can still maintain an existence under the current conditions, then surely their quality of life will improve considerably.

          As for Gaza, well, just lifting the blockade will make a world of difference.

          “How will the people of Gaza get a foothold in an combined I/P economy?”

          Why would they need to? If they can sustain an existence under the blockade, then surely they would be able to be self sustaining without it.

          “Israel already has an economic infrastructure in place, do you think they will be bending over backwards to integrate with a Palestinian economy?”

          It doesn’t matter. If the Palestinians have the same access to the land, then they will be economically empowered. The wealthier Palestinians will create business opportunities for the poorer ones and so forth. How often are we reminded of the fact that there are a billion Muslims surrounding Israel? That’s a massive economic opportunity.

          “Do you think they will readily include Palestinians on the boards and in executive positions of already established Israeli industries?”

          Perhaps, but at least it will be illegal to discriminate against doing so.

          “what will prevent Palestinians from selling their land to Jews creating an even more gentrified Jerusalem?”

          Nothing, but that will be their choice, as opposed to the status quo where they don’;t get to sell, but are simply evicted and their land stolen from under them.

        • Avi says:

          One thing is for sure, yonira; in a one state you’d be nothing but an annoying tourist.

          That’s right. Parasites will no longer be allowed to smooch off of the land and the people by virtue of their religion.

        • Sumud says:

          Schwatrzman ~ ?? You speculate about (a possible) one-state then claim you don’t envisage one?

          “Envisage” is not “advocate for”.

          Envisage: form a mental image of something that is not present or that is not the case; “Can you conceive of him as the president?” [syn: imagine, conceive of, ideate]

        • Mooser says:

          “I don’t see it being any different than SA right now. “

          Ah! The Golden dream of the Zionists! To build their own Saudi Arabia in the Holy Land, with Zionists as the Royal Family!
          I’ll say one thing for you Zionists, you aim high, and emulate the best, dontcha?

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Who are these “Jews” you keep talking about? I hear Zionists talk about “Jews” as if they were all men with machine guns, ready to gun down any Palestinian who dares to, you know, be alive. Most of the Jews I know don’t fit that wild, anti-Semitic caricature of Jews that you forward, Schwartzman.

        • Schwartzman says:

          what the hell are you talking about? I am sick of your endless nonsense Chaos. You make baseless accusations against Witty and now myself? I don’t know why you aren’t censored, you add nothing to the discourse, all you are is one-line ad-hominems.

          In the future don’t respond to my comments unless you can add to them.

          Shingo, I enjoyed your responses. What makes the Palestinians better than the black South Africans? The anti-Israel group always brings up the apartheid comparison, I don’t see how the end of Israeli occupation/Jewish Israel, would bring a better situation to Palestinians.

          How would the religious differences and Hamas’ advancement of Sharia law play into a one state solution?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Your analogies are so ridiculous.

          No idea what you are talking about Sumud

          what the hell are you talking about?

          English isn’t your first language?

          What makes the Palestinians better than the black South Africans? The anti-Israel group always brings up the apartheid comparison, I don’t see how the end of Israeli occupation/Jewish Israel, would bring a better situation to Palestinians.

          What do you know! Plantation owners in the southern United States had just the same attitude toward liberating their slaves. Imagine that!

        • Shingo says:

          “What makes the Palestinians better than the black South Africans?”

          Who said anything about them being better. Have you met any black South Africans who long for the days of apartheid returning?

          “I don’t see how the end of Israeli occupation/Jewish Israel, would bring a better situation to Palestinians.”

          So you don’t think Palestinians in Gaza would be better off without the siege and blockade?

          You don’t think Palestinians in the WB would be better off without the apartheid wall separating them from their only means of maintaining a living?

          You don’t think Palestinians in East Jerusalem would be better off without being evicted and having their homes demolished?

          “How would the religious differences and Hamas’ advancement of Sharia law play into a one state solution?”

          How would Hamas implement Sharia law in a democratic bi-national state? Their entire base would be gone overnight for a start.

        • potsherd says:

          I don’t see how the end of Israeli occupation/Jewish Israel, would bring a better situation to Palestinians.

          Oh, like maybe not having their houses torn down, maybe not having to fear armed troops invading their homes at 2 am, maybe not having to stand hours at checkpoints to travel more than a mile.

          etc

        • Mooser says:

          “In the future don’t respond to my comments unless you can add to them.

          ROTFL (MSJAO)!!! As Schwartzman says, it will be done!
          Scratch a Zionist, find a whining spoiled kid, every time.

          Hey Schwartila, baby, if Chaos’ responses are so ineffective, why are you demanding, he stop? And what an effective method you have choosen to stop them! Say. I know; why don’t you complain to the moderators?

          What a punk you are Schwartzila. What a punk. A few words sends you running for cover.

      • Shmuel says:

        The only chance of Eastern Jerusalem keeping a Palestinian/Arab/Muslim identity is in the framework of a two state solution.

        Your concern for Palestinian interests is touching.

        • James North says:

          Shmuel: Thanks yet again for your clarifying comments. I know you are someone who lived for years in Jerusalem, so I pay closer attention to what you say than to those whose idea of Israel is still based on the film “Exodus.”
          Phil’s post, and the follow-up comments by you and others, have been so effective that you have collectively tied up Richard Witty all day, and also attracted two trolls to the scene.
          Let’s remember: most of the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the site do not comment — but they read and learn, as I do, every day.

        • Schwartzman says:

          Spare me Shmuel, you could give two craps about the Palestinians. Your hatred of Israel trumps any concern you have for the Palestinians.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          He’s from Israel. Why are Zionists so ignorant?

        • “Your hatred of Israel trumps any concern you have for the Palestinians.”

          Why would Shmuel “hate” Israel, pray tell..what could be, rationally, the reasons in the absence of specific Israeli policies targeting the Palestinians..If you want to spew nonsense prepare yourself to back it up otherwise you know the answer..

        • Shmuel says:

          You throw that hatred thing around an awful lot, Schwartzman.

          My comment may have been a little snarky, but you really have shown very little actual concern for Palestinian welfare (e.g. cheap shots about the Gaza siege, or schadenfreude at the prospect of Palestinian internecine violence). You have made no secret of the fact that you are primarily concerned with what you perceive to be Jewish-Israeli interests. Your expression of concern for “Palestinian/Arab/Muslim identity” in Jerusalem was thus somewhat less than convincing – especially when couched in terms of a 2-state process that has never (not even in the Clinton Parameters) recognised the validity of Palestinian claims with regard to access to and within Jerusalem. I don’t recall whether you support a 2ss or not, but your interest in avoiding 1 state is clear.

          So are you concerned with “Palestinian/Arab/Muslim identity” in Jerusalem, beyond the utility of such an argument in furthering other ends? Are you really in favour of divided sovereignty in Jerusalem (and not just the Abu Dis idea)? What about access to and within Palestinian Jerusalem and the the holy places (presumably under joint or international control)?

        • potsherd says:

          You forgot to call Shmuel a “self-hating Jew.”

      • Will the current laws concerning who can and cannot buy particular parcels of land and property come into play regarding this conjecture over the future demographic make-up of the aforementioned communities?

        • Shmuel says:

          Will the current laws concerning who can and cannot buy particular parcels of land and property come into play regarding this conjecture over the future demographic make-up of the aforementioned communities?

          Great question, LT. It is another example however, of how ’67 cannot be divorced from ’48. The discriminatory laws and practices regarding land ownership pertain to all lands (including those expropriated from Palestinians) held by the Israel Lands Administration, throughout Israel, and not just in Jerusalem. They are a key tool in unidirectional Israeli control of demography-geography (expropriation from Palestinians only, allocation to Jews only), on behalf of the “Jewish people” – and not the citizens of Israel. It is hard to overestimate the importance of land policies in the systematic discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel.

          Would a priori recognition of Israel “as a Jewish state” (as demanded by Netanyahu in recent talks) imply Palestinian acceptance of these practices within all areas that remain under Israeli sovereignty?

      • RoHa says:

        Now I’m confused.

        I thought that the main argument against the one-state solution (and the ROR) was that it would let hordes of blood-thirsty Arabs take over Palestine and destroy not only the Jewish State, but the Jews themselves.

        But now the argument seems to be that the one-state solution would let hordes of blood-thirsty Jews take over Palestine and destroy not only Arab society, but the Arabs themselves.

        Baffling. Especially since the second version seems to happening anyway.

        • Shmuel says:

          Now I’m confused. I thought that the main argument against the one-state solution … hordes of blood-thirsty Arabs … But now … blood-thirsty Jews

          I guess justice and equality just bring out the best in everyone.

        • Mooser says:

          “But now the argument seems to be that the one-state solution would let hordes of blood-thirsty Jews take over Palestine and destroy not only Arab society, but the Arabs themselves.”

          No RoHa, only a paskudnik like me (a regular litvak) could get the “Palestinians as hostages idea from Witty’s comments.

    • Sumud says:

      Guess what? The first makes most sense to me.

      Well you know what they say: Garbage in, garbage out.
      link to en.wikipedia.org

      A short excerpt:
      “It is used primarily to call attention to the fact that computers will unquestioningly process the most nonsensical of input data (garbage in) and produce nonsensical output (garbage out). It was most popular in the early days of computing, but applies even more today, when powerful computers can spew out mountains of erroneous information in a short time. ”

      Not that I’m confusing you with a powerful computer aban, but I think GIGO is a good analogy.

      On your second point (“no jews here”):

      ‘Palestinian prime minister: Jews would be welcome in future state’
      link to aspendailynews.com

    • Shingo says:

      “Guess what? The first makes most sense to me.”

      Yes, we guessed it would.

    • potsherd says:

      This is only proof of the corruption of your judgment.

  24. Thank you, thank you, thank you….Phil your report is so well written, true and it so very sad…..Life get’s more impossible for Palestinians each day yet they carry on with dignity and do not disappear as Israel would have them do.
    It is good to hear your anger and passion return full force…your reports are always strong…you are sounding as you did in Gaza. Outrage! The difference in emotion is Israel and Israelis weren’t visible in Gaza…just the aftermath of their destruction and cruelty. Where you are now the contrast between the takers and the taken is clear.
    And Israel would have us believe it speaks for all Jews. It must become easier for Jews and non-Jews to criticize Israel without fear of the consequences doled out by Zionists and non-Zionists. No other group or country carves out and enjoys the protection Israel has over criticism, legitimate criticism.
    What they have done and continue to do to the Palestinians is beyond horrific! I doubt the Holocaust would have been so easily “hidden” had TV been a means of communication. How can what is happening to the Palestinians be hidden? They are subject to destruction, death, ethnic cleansing, theft, burning, home demolition and it is not seen…it’s ignored.
    Your RAGE is needed, Mr Weiss!

  25. “I wonder why this monstrous structure is not better known, even to people like me, who study the conflict. ”

    Finally, some self-inquiry. How can I inform?

    Devolving to:
    Why didn’t others think it was important enough to drop everything else in their lives for something that they likely tried to bring attention to.

    If you focused on informing (thank you for using the word “I” to describe your feelings on it), you would find that MANY will similarly be moved.

    You will be fighting upstream though. There are two good reasons that people don’t hear.

    1. They are tired of being ranted at, blamed, they tune it out.
    2. Terror really did happen and there is the inevitable maze of appearing to justify terror even indirectly, in their dissent.

    The bad reason that people don’t hear you’ve articulated, actually too much as it contributes to 1.

    It takes artful, careful presentation to get through on this, religiously avoiding polemic and blame, even as you are angry.

    The work of it is a communication process, not a catharsis, and definitely not revenge.

    Have you seen the film “The Mission”?

    • What would work to change hearts and minds would be to take us there.

      Art,

      That describes, not rants. That lets people see.

      As I said to you in an e-mail. The world at large has not seen even the things that you’ve seen (hopefully admittedly limited).

      The message is entirely lost, whether told by you, Seham, Shmuel, others if the other is demonized or politicized and not humanized.

      You can get lots of accolades from the converted (to loyal solidarity, rather than compassionate dissent), and confirmed by contributions.

      You need to meet with those that disagree with you somewhat (say Uri Avneri) and those that you disagree with radically (say Shmuel Rosner), to also gain their perspective.

      Its difficult to run this all through a single body, but that is the path that you chose in becoming a journalist rather than a politician or novelist.

      Please do it well. Breathe deep. Don’t forget what you’ve experienced in the slightest. But, see other things as well.

      You went on a dissenting tour of Hebron, but didn’t speak with any settlers. Challenge yourself even beyond this.

    • Shingo says:

      “How can I inform?”

      It’s impossible to inform when you ignore facts and reality Witty. Until you acknowledge and accept facts that are confronting to you. the best you can do is simply resort to defending the indefensible.

      “If you focused on informing…”

      You have never even tried this Witty. Informing is based on sharing information, which means proving sources, links and resources. You avoid such options at all costs, and resort to making up your own facts, definitions and legal interpretations to suit your ideology That’s not informing, that’s called spreading propaganda and indoctrination.

      “They are tired of being ranted at, blamed, they tune it out.”

      Too bad. Visit any prison and as the inmatedif they are guilty and they will all tell you they are innocent. Does that mean that we pretend they are right for fear of them tuning out?

      “Terror really did happen and there is the inevitable maze of appearing to justify terror even indirectly, in their dissent.”

      Yes terror really did happen and was used to create the state of Israel, and what’s more, you consider it a noble and morally justified pursuit.

      Oh wait, you don’t like talking about Zionist terror do you?

      “It takes artful, careful presentation to get through on this, religiously avoiding polemic and blame, even as you are angry.”

      That’s easy to say when you’re defending the rapist or the murderer. What’s more, is that you yourself only insist on this approach when criticism is directed at Israel.

  26. Thank you Phil for this vital reporting, especially important for those of us who have never been to the region.
    You were wise to insist on bringing your wife along.
    (will hit that “donate” button once some cash comes in)

  27. yourstruly says:

    The racist nature of the settler-state has been apparent to me since the ’67 war, after which the stupid/weak Arab jokes reeked of pure and unadulterated racist hatred. Right away, thoughts of “So this is what it’s about, damn have I been suckered” brought me to my senses. Ever since there’s been no doubt in my mind as to who in the Mideast conflict is the slave and who’s the slaveowner. Which required an immediate change of sides on my part. Since then, minus lifelong friends whose attachment to the settler-state exceeded the value of friendship, I’ve been relentless in pursuing justice for Palestine. Self-hating Jew? No, a Jew who’s in touch with his heritage – always siding with the slave, never with the slavemaster, even (better, especially) when the slaveowner supposedly is a Jew. Supposedly, because being a slaveowner is incompatible with being a Jew. And with mondoweiss.com as a platform for like-minded people (believers as well as non-believers) to express as never before their solidarity with the Palestinian people, what we’re doing is making it easier for those who have been intimidated by Zionist vitriol to speak out. And sooner than one would have thought possible, we’re going to help turn the tide.

  28. MHughes976 says:

    Modern communications may make it harder to hide things but it seems to be just as easy as it has ever been to ignore things or look the other way.

  29. Mooser says:

    The end of Zionism will be the end of Jewish elite status in America, at least in its post ’67 manifestation.

    Whether you welcome that or fear it is up to you, but that’ll be the result.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Pretty much. The only thing that’s hard to tell is which will be the downfall of the other. Though I suspect it’s mutual implosion. It isn’t as if Zionism and Jewish exceptionalism aren’t one in the same, anyway.

      • Walid says:

        I’d like to go back to Phil’s first report out of Amman in which he wrote:
        “… The men were complaining about King Abdullah of Jordan. The night before the king’s brother had had a wedding in the desert. 15 million dinar ($22 million). Earlier this year the queen had had a birthday. 10 million dinar…”

        I asked a friend living there and close to the royal court what these extravagant parties were all about as told to Phil in light of Jordan’s poverty since it subsist on either grants or loans from other countries. This is the answer I got :

        “… The King’s brother had a very simple wedding, due to the fact that he divorced his first ( and much adored by everyone) wife and it was not in his nor the Royal Court’s interest to make a big affair out of the wedding. And it wasn’t “the night before” – it was sometime in June, I believe. As I said, it was rather low-key and not a big affair at all.

        My children were invited to Queen Rania’s 40th birthday party, which was not earlier this year, but just a couple of days before Weiss’ article was published. He got the timelines wrong and probably the amounts spent too
        I heard the Queen’s birthday party was very nice but by no means an extravaganza that would have cost the amount of money stated in the article.

        So in all fairness, yes, the Royal family does throw parties from time to time and has weddings, as do most Jordanians. And I am sure there are non-Royals in Jordan that spend way more money on such events than them. ..”

      • Mooser says:

        “Pretty much.”

        Thanks for responding, Chaos. I really just threw that in there because it bubbled to the top of that bong-water I call my mind, and wondered if I was the only one who thought they were connected, at least in the post ’67, new “tough Jew” type of way.
        I think I may be right, since without Zionism, American Jews will lose a lot of usefulness and appeal to…. well, we can leave that “to who” question alone for now. It’ll answer itself.

        At any rate, if Phil Weiss can stand it, I suppose I can.

    • Keith says:

      MOOSER- Excellent point! Whether it’s true or not is another matter. The changing nature of the global order makes speculation inherently tentative. Perhaps the financialization of the global economy means that the Jewish elites have outgrown Zionism. Perhaps not. There seems little doubt, however, that Jewish elites have been advantaged by Zionist ideology and solidarity up till now. What the future holds in these uncertain times is anybody’s guess, however, old habits die hard and these old Zionists may cling to what they know.

    • American says:

      I think you are right.
      I have thought the zionist would go too far in the US with some outrage against the majority population’s interest, but now I think the zionist demise will more likely come from an act of Israel itself.

    • Jewish elite status in the United States is not based on exceptionalism it is based on meritocracy: studying hard and excelling in chosen fields. Obviously as the generations pass, the original immigrant overachiever has been replaced by generations with less motivation and elements of complacency and nepotism. But to dismiss Jewish elite status in America as Jewish exceptionalism is either stupid or racist.

      The “end of Zionism” is at least 20 years away according to my reckoning, so further stateside changes can be expected, including the further dilution of the whiteness of America and the further progress of the Asian elites. A United States abandonment of the friendship with Israel in Congress and by the president and by the media that would result in a war that would defeat Israel and in which Israel used nukes to no effect other than destructive effect, would be a scenario that would be a radical change from the past. There has yet to be a scenario of a peaceful changeover to a one state that is believable in a short term like 20 years.

      • Mooser says:

        Wondering Jew, you shouldn’t try to type while your fingers are trembling so badly. It shows.

      • Mooser says:

        “The “end of Zionism” is at least 20 years away according to my reckoning,”

        Yup, and I bet God will die on the day you do, too, Wonderful Jew!
        But what the hell, 20 more years should see you well into retirement, and then, as your hero said “we’ll all be dead”

        I don’t want to shock you Wonderful, but there are Jewish children (not yours, of course) in Israel who are only a few years old, and lot’s yet to be born. I’m sure that living in a Zionist hell, and continued militarisation of Israeli society, and the prospect of enforcing the Occupation and ethnic cleansing, so that you don’t have any of your preconceptions (“Palestinians are just like South African blacks” I can’t imagine what you meant by that, but I’m sure it wasn’t good) or prejudices or privileges questioned is just what they want to do. I can hear them now as they fall in battle “As long as I know Wondering Jew is comfortable, it’s all worth it! ”
        Once again, as ever, Wondering Jew, you have told us that the boundaries of the Holy Land contains nothing but your ego.

        And as usual, there’s one thing you can always count on, the only thing Zionists like you have less consideration for than Palestinians/Arabs are the Jews who must directly bear the burdens of your Zionism.

  30. To those naive enough to believe the settlers/colonists are just tolerated and not encouraged, financed and funded:

    Settlers receive 22% more budget grants than other Israelis, probe shows

    Interior Ministry allocated NIS 265 million in balancing grants to West Bank settlements in 2009, just over 10 percent of all the grants it distributed that year.
    link to haaretz.com

  31. A realistic piece on an achievable goal of establishing a Palestinian entity and delineating borders is advocated by Ari Shavit in today’s Haaretz.

    link to haaretz.com

  32. sherbrsi says:

    “Palestinians who dared to try and develop their communities. The Israeli authorities come in and destroy the houses or businesses. Even as the Israelis expand a colony nearby. Rubble and palaces. In a word, systemic racism.”

    Israeli billionaire and economist Benny Landa has this to say about the disparity:

    “We have two societies. One country is like Denmark where people are prosperous and high tech; the other one is like El Salvador, where you have a $2,500 GDP per capita, huge families, terrible poverty and hopelessness…It is not a society that can survive”

    “We are on the verge of a major crisis in this country, a major economic crisis,” Landa said. “This is going to be a desperate situation. There is a total disenfranchisement of Israeli Arabs and a disassociation from Israeli society. We have a society that is going to fragment.”

  33. NormanF says:

    Philip leaves out the real reason for the Arab majority in the eastern part of Jerusalem – the Jews were ethnically cleansed from that part of the city when the Jordanians ruled it from 1948 to 1967, erasing every trace that Jews had ever lived there. Much has been done to redress the demographic imbalance. Much more remains to be done to allow Jews to live in all parts of their capital. And it bears reminder the city has had a Jewish majority since the mid 19th Century.

    • Shmuel says:

      Much has been done to redress the demographic imbalance.

      Too bad nothing has been done to redress the “demographic imbalance” created by the ethnic cleansing of West Jerusalem and the surrounding towns and villages (not to mention the rest of Palestine).

      link to palestineremembered.com

  34. eljay says:

    >> link to palestineremembered.com

    Looks like an anti-semitic website to me: All facts and figures but no “nuances”… ;-)

    • you’re right, eljay!!

      even the numbers are Arabic numerals.

      but no doubt an early zionist whispered in the ear of the Arab who devised Arabic numerals. maybe it was Wonderful Jew — he’s a bird, he’s a plane, he’s Sooper numerary Jew.

  35. rmokhtar says:

    Thank you for writing this post.