Am I allowed to be a Palestinian Jew?

Two brothers are on the couch next to me, speaking rapid Arabic and sipping their beers. Though they look white, they have no discernible accent and to my ear, their Arabic is flawless. I assume they’re Arab, even though there’s something not-quite-Arab about them. But this is a party, so we switch to English and the important things in life: wine, beer, and mopeds.

An hour later I’m talking to them again, and a revelation shocks me. “They’re Jewish! Did you know that?” I’m stunned – not because I don’t know Jews who can speak Arabic, because I do – but because they pulled it off so effortlessly. They gave no impression of putting on airs, pretending to be someone they’re not. They were completely at ease with the other mostly-Arab partiers, joking around with their friends with native fluency. But they’re Jewish, and we’re in Israel, so they must be Israeli, so….what?

“You’re Jewish?” “Yeah, we’re Palestinian and we’re Jewish.” More stunned-ness. My initial reaction was that they’re Palestinian Jews from before the founding of the state – there were, of course, Jews who lived in the Middle East before Israel existed. For the most part these Mizrahi (Arab, lit. Eastern) Jews have integrated into Israeli society, though there is discrimination facing this community as well and for the most part they would never identify as Palestinian. But racial profiler that I am, I knew these were not Mizrahi Jews. They looked too much like me, like my Ashkenazi Jewish and white Christian friends.

“Our grandparents are from Poland and the Ukraine. They were communists, and they immigrated here from Europe. But our parents raised us as Palestinian – yeah, we’re Ashkenazi but we’re Palestinian. We went to Arab schools, we speak Arabic. Our friends are Arab.” Dumbfounded, I begged them to continue. I suppose it could have been the wine, but these Palestinian Jews veritably blew my mind.

I pushed some more. “But how are you Palestinian?” They responded with a simple question. “You’re American, right?”

I began to realize I was still stuck in my jahiliyya (ignorant, in Arabic) framework in which Palestinian necessitated the co-descriptor Arab. I am, after all, a product of the worldview, framework, and conventional discourse surrounding us which tells us that this identity is impossible. As much as I normally resent and resist this imposed discourse, in my subconscious the Palestinian and the Jew are still enemies. We are told that Jewish and Palestinian are two irreconcilable identities, and we internalize this. Further, the conflation of the identities “Israeli” and “Jewish” is constantly forced on us and it is always juxtaposed with Arab and Palestinian. Indeed, this case of mistaken identity is so pervasive and so global that everyone accepts the definition of Palestinian as Arab and Israeli as Jewish and as against everything Palestinian and Arab.

A few years ago, I read a children’s book to my Hebrew School students about a Jewish boy and a Palestinian boy who play together during childhood. As they grow up they become enemy soldiers at war with each other because that is supposedly the inevitable – if sad – truth of this land. This is what we are taught and this is what we are still teaching our children.

Trapped by the predominant narrative of Jew versus Palestinian, even those of us “in the know” have trouble removing ourselves from this mentality. But who says they can’t be friends? Is there a dividing line between these identities? We are so accustomed to these ideas being mutually exclusive – but I bet if you asked, anyone who gave it a moment of thought will say a Jew can also be Arab. So why cannot a Jew be Palestinian, or a Palestinian a Jew?

Who drew these lines, and why do we abide by them? The Palestinian-Jew dichotomy is not only imposed, brainwashed into us, but it is completely fabricated. To be Jewish is to be a part of a religion, heritage, culture, and tradition. It is not a nationality. I repeat, and Netanyahu, take note: JEWISH IS NOT A NATIONALITY. On the other hand, to be Palestinian means to be a part of the community whose members can trace their lineage back to this land, the families who have historically owned homes and property in this corner of the world. For many, it is living here that makes them Palestinian. It is a national identity, a shared history, and a shared place. Palestinians are a diverse group: Muslims, Christians, atheists, Bedouin, Druze, Israelis, Palestinians, Jordanians, Americans, Communists, Marxists, capitalists, anarchists… even Jews.

The dichotomy, if one exists at all, is not Palestinian-Jewish. A reasonable dichotomy is those who were already here versus those who came later, those who consider themselves native; much like I consider myself native to the US because I was born and raised there, in that culture. (Apparently there is a huge amount of post-colonial literature on this topic, in which the über-colonialist adopts the indigenous national identity in at attempt to sort of anti-assimilate, or claim the land as his own through identifying foremost with the native. I would say this is what happened in the US, and these brothers are the first of that phenomenon here.) In the same way that I am not Native American but am still American, they are Palestinian. I consider myself to come from there, it’s my culture, and my home. They were born and raised here, immersed in Palestinian Arab culture, and it’s their home. On Palestine, in Israel; they are Israeli citizens who, like the many of Israel’s Palestinian citizens, identify with the Palestinian national identity, rejecting the concept of an inherently racist, ethnocratic, xenophobic, verging on theocratic state.

Their Palestinian Jewish identity and the complicated questions it was raising was beginning to draw me in, not only because of the phenomenality of their identity, but because I could see a lot of myself in them – the über-colonialist, the Jew with conflicting identities, someone who is always told they can’t be who they believe they are. I was drawn to their story because it so mirrors my own.

They’ve been outsiders their whole lives. Theirs is the only white Jewish family in a neighborhood of Arab Muslims, Central Asian Jews, and Ethiopian Jews. They were the only non-Arabs in their classes throughout their entire schooling in Arab Christian schools. The older one keeps his identity a secret from his group of Jewish Israeli friends. They know he is leftist, speaks Arabic, and didn’t serve in the IDF, but they don’t know “the truth.” Unlike most Jewish Israeli citizens, they did not serve in the Army despite (somewhat) mandatory conscription. The way they see it, as Palestinians, it’s not their army. “They didn’t want me anyway,” said one. “I had to make them reject me,” said the other. (He told of a lawyer friend of their parents, who informed them of a little-known law which states that anyone – even an Israeli Jew – who identifies with Arab culture more strongly than Israeli Jewish culture are exempt, like most non-Jewish Arabs, from Army service.) But their complex identity is not always understood by other Palestinians. “Some guy told me I can’t be Palestinian because I’m not Arab – but that’s wrong. Palestinian is national, not ethnic.” Theirs has always been a life in direct opposition to a system which tells them what they can and can’t be and believe, and of them rejecting this and creating their own, unique identities.

I am Jewish. My father is Jewish. My mother was raised Presbyterian and never converted. Before my sister and I were born, my parents had a discussion about religion; my dad has never cared strongly for organized religion so was ambivalent about the whole thing, but my mom thought it was important that we be brought up with something. My dad countered with the stipulation that if there must be a religion in the house, it should be Judaism. So my sister and I went to Jewish preschools, went to Hebrew School, celebrated our B’nai Mitzvot, observed the holidays, and even kept Kosher for a few years. (We live in Maine, so finally had to acquiesce to the demands of eating fresh shellfish.) Both of us even underwent an Orthodox conversion. Despite this, my whole life people have been telling me that – regardless of my belief or my practice or my traditions – because my mother is not Jewish, I am not Jewish.

Being Jewish is an important part of my identity, and it will not be denied or defined by someone else’s limited perspective. In the same way, the Palestinian Jewish identity of these brothers flies smack in the face of our standard perceptions of identity in Israel/Palestine. These identities are a product of the discourse created by Israel’s power struggle which necessitates the synonymity of Palestinian and Arab, to the exclusion of every and all things Jewish. This binary distinction is sprouted from untruths and manipulation, created so Israel has free reign to act according to its belief that it has exclusive rights to speak for all of us (even when it doesn’t want us), a right upon which it depends for its political survival. In return we – Jews – must defend its principles and actions no matter what, comprising our values and personal identities in the cross-fire. Israel has co-opted my ancestral identity and turned it into racist nationalism by adopting it as an indispensable part of its rhetoric. Israel sullies the Jewish religious identity and simultaneously destroys the Palestinian national identity: in no other scenario are we told in such absolute terms how we can and cannot identify.

Mainstream definitions of our identities, and in particular those such as Arab, Jewish, and Palestinian, are formed and informed by dominant memes, formulations, and perceptions that we may not entirely understand or even realize exist. The antitheses used in popular discourse – Arab versus Jew, Palestinian versus Jew, Israeli versus Arab, and the amalgamation of Jew as Israeli and vice versa – have created boundaries, limiting what we can say and do and think and even who we are allowed to think we are. This identity crisis will continue until Jews and Israel are no longer used interchangeably and until we are allowed to define our own identities. Identity is complicated and nuanced and we take what we want from our various sides, but amalgamations should be permissive, not prohibitive. I can be American and Jewish, and they can be Palestinian and Jewish, because nationality and religion are not mutually exclusive. In this world of a separate church and state, these should be complementary characteristics.

We can so easily get fenced in by what someone else defines for us and not dare to expand our own definitions and boundaries. To be fully free to express our own complete identities, especially here where politics and media try so hard to control them, rejecting “Jewish” as a necessary and exclusive characteristic of the Israeli identity and rejecting Arab as a necessary and exclusive characteristic of Palestinian identity will lead the way to being able to identify as a Palestinian Jew.

If being Palestinian and Jewish is contradictory, it means neither Palestinians nor Jews are willing to coexist because they are inherently incompatible identities. The ability to combine these identities in one person is a prerequisite for equality in Israel. To achieve this, Judaism must be relegated to a religious, cultural, or ethnic – and not a national – identity. And the Palestinian identity must be secular, national, tied to a place and a geo-political history and all that that entails. In these terms, with these identities, there is no reason that a Jew cannot be Palestinian, or that a Palestinian cannot be a Jew.

“We are the future” one boy says jokingly. “It’s not a joke,” says his brother. The only liveable future is one in which the us vs. them mentality dissolves into the shameful recesses of history. They believe that soon – maybe in thirty years – Israel as we know it will be gone, and they’ll be prepared. They will already be rid of the mentality in which everyone is everyone else’s enemy. By internalizing both sides of a divisive dichotomy, they are the future. I, too, am a part of this future; we are dismantling divisive rhetoric, imposed and perpetuated by the mainstream media and created by Israel’s political needs, by taking these words, redefining them, and crafting our own identities to reflect who want to be, not who someone else told us we were.

Posted in Israel/Palestine

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

  1. RoHa says:

    “Our grandparents are from Poland and the Ukraine. They were communists, and they immigrated here from Europe. But our parents raised us as Palestinian – yeah, we’re Ashkenazi but we’re Palestinian. We went to Arab schools, we speak Arabic. Our friends are Arab.”

    Immigrants who did the right thing and became part of the society they moved into, rather than isolating themselves in a separate “community”.

  2. Self-define if you like. I would hope that you could find a path to be accepted in Palestinian society if you desire to remain.

    You are innaccurate about your description of what Israel is, that “Jewish” is only a religion, and not a people, and not a people that require coherent institutions of self-governance, including defense.

    In an environment of confident acceptance of the other, maybe it is true that there is no need for institutions of state. In an historical environment of harrassment of Jews in the world, and Jews in former Palestine, that is not the case.

    When has it been that Jews are confident of being accepted in the world? Phil repeats that that is the case for him, that he is confident that he will not be harrassed for being Jewish, that he has a place. Not everyone has the same experience or interpretation as him, but he doesn’t seem to incorporate that into his political conclusions.

    He doesn’t construct and undertake a non-biased poll to confirm if his private views are confirmed, or at least partial projection. (There are ways to construct poll questions that are really propaganda, and there are ways to construct polls that are really information gathering.)

    • seafoid says:

      “When has it been that Jews are confident of being accepted in the world? ”

      I don’t know. 1000 BC to 1933 ? 1945 to 2010? From 1933 to 1945 life was okay for Jews across the Middle East and in the US.

      Name one other people in the world that needs to hold a country in reserve just in case.

      • Mooser says:

        Witty, would it shock you if I told you there are no garauintees in life, for anybody?
        Please consult your Torah. The Jews did not, as you seem to think, sucessfully keep all the covenants and earn God’s eternal favor.
        We ended up out in the world with everybody else.

        You have no idea what being Jewish is all about. It’s not the same as being an Episcopalian with old money, pal.
        You don’t like it, talk to God about it. But be careful, I’ve heard he doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

      • Seafoid,
        You must live in a part of the world that does not read.

        The history of Jews in literally most of the world has been a pattern of temporary subordinated “acceptance”, followed by forced removal.

        The ethnic cleansing that Palestinians have experienced partially (contributed to by no other Arab state willing to assimilate them – with the exception of Jordan and Europe/US), Jews have experienced regularly, and are at least partially threatened with again.

        • Donald says:

          “The history of Jews in literally most of the world has been a pattern of temporary subordinated “acceptance”, followed by forced removal.”

          If we’re talking about the past 2000 years, I don’t know how to break it to you, but history has been mostly just one damn thing after another for most people. It wasn’t very pleasant to be a peasant during the Middle Ages and most people were peasants. It wasn’t very comfortable being a Cathar–ever met a Cathar? The idea that everyone should live in a democracy with equal rights for all irrespective of race, ethnicity, or religion is an extremely recent development, one which really hasn’t taken root in the Middle East yet, certainly not in Israel. But that idea of universal human rights is the solution to all these difficulties of pogroms and oppression and tyranny. Your preferred solution of nationalism is the 19th century solution and it seems to cause a lot of wars and excuses for more oppression.

        • hophmi says:

          And I don’t know how to break to you, but it was the Christians persecuting the Jews during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Modern Era, not the other way around.

          You can make the class argument all you want, but you damn well it isn’t the same thing.

          You can make this or that argument about whether Israel is a good thing or a bad thing, but to belittle Jewish sufferingat the hands of Christians over the last millenium is ridiculous.

        • annie says:

          but to belittle Jewish suffering at the hands of Christians

          hophmi, are you referencing history has been mostly just one damn thing after another for most people?

        • And, if you’re comparing democracies in the middle east, Israel stands as the most democratic, certainly moreso than tri-national Lebanon, or dictatorial Syria, or parliamentary monarchy Jordan (they’re pretty good), or Egypt.

          The only entity that comes close is Palestine, a good sign.

          Improvement is the relevant term. Rejection because its only the most democratic in the region and nowhere near perfect, is really dumb.

        • Potsherd2 says:

          And what is it, hophmi, to obsess over it?

        • Donald says:

          Hophmi–

          I agree that Christians persecuted Jews during the Middle Ages–my point was that we’re talking about the Middle Ages, a period not noted for observance of human rights in general. Cruelty is just part of the historical territory, both then and throughout most history, and minority groups generally got the short end of the stick, simply because they were minorities. We see how the Israeli Jews have been acting now that they have the opportunity to persecute. It’s only in very recent times that a solution to this problem (which wasn’t even seen as a problem) has been devised–the idea that everyone should have equal rights. Somehow you missed that point in my post. I wonder why.

        • Donald says:

          “And, if you’re comparing democracies in the middle east, Israel stands as the most democratic,”

          True, but again, Richard, I don’t know how to break it to you, but democracies often have utterly atrocious records on human rights. It’s not a paradox–it’s just that people who don’t have the vote often find themselves living under bombs or apartheid or both. The Confederate States of America was a democracy.

          As for Israel’s Arab neighbors, one of the benefits of a truly just solution to the I/P conflict would be that it could serve as a model for the region of what a multi-ethnic democracy with equal rights for all looks like. Assuming people want it, that is.
          If they don’t, then Israel can continue to be the sort of apartheid democracy it has been, which is probably not appealing to anyone who is on the bottom end.

        • lyn117 says:

          How can you call a country such as Israel in which half the people aren’t allowed to vote because they aren’t Jewish, in which half the people have no say in the ruling government?

          In Egypt and Jordan everyone can vote at least.

        • I agree that democracies can often be in fact conspiracies of the majority.

          That is the significance of fighting FOR human rights and full civil rights WITHIN existing democracies, rather than seeking in any way to overthrow them from outside.

          If a single state were possible, then to be democratic it would also have to be chosen. If you think that it is an idea whose time has come, propose it to the citizens, and see if they adopt it.

          Otherwise, please stop calling it democratic.

          An apartheid democracy that shifts to a national democracy is much much much better than an apartheid democracy that shifts to permanent civil war, as the Lebanon model remains.

        • Everyone in Israel can vote.

          Everyone in Palestine used to be able to vote, until the split between Hamas and Fatah. (Please don’t say until the “Dayton coup”. The parties themselves have to work it out. Its too easy to blame one’s troubles on third parties.)

          No vote planned, either in Gaza or in the West Bank.

        • talknic says:

          Richard Witty

          “The ethnic cleansing that Palestinians have experienced partially (contributed to by no other Arab state willing to assimilate them ..”

          Cute try .. However, assimilation comes AFTER having been ‘ethically cleansed’.

          A failure to assimilate doesn’t contribute ‘partially’ or in any other manner, except of course in finely honed stupidity.

          Failure to recognize RoR has perpetuated the refuge problem.

          The Palestinians don’t want assimilation into a country to which they do not belong. The Arab states have complied, even altered their legislation to comply and the Palestinians now still have refugee rights

          Claims on behalf of Jewish folk who might have been expelled from the Arab States hit a brick wall created BY assimilation. If they have taken up citizenship in countries other than that of return, they DO NOT have refugee status. They DO NOT a have any refugee rights.

        • A rock and a hard place, now 65 years, and three generations.

          A few weeks ago, the chabad rebbitsen (wife of the rabbi) from Amherst, MA called us to ask if we would put up a homeless family for a couple days. “Sure, we have an extra room for a couple days.”

          They were evicted from a rental that the landlord had gone bankrupt and the house was in foreclosure sale.

          They’ve been homeless for a couple months now, a long time. They are approaching the point where they may never get back on their feet, multiplying health problems from sleeping in a cold car in Massachusetts winter.

          They cling to the idea that they will be able to return to their former home, on the basis that they were unfairly evicted. They have a court hearing in a couple weeks, but their lawyer says that the final decision is likely at a subsequent hearing, likely three months from now.

          They have to choose whether to remain homeless for the next three months, or get bullshit jobs in western Massachusetts and at least be able to pay rent, and start to get back on their feet and send their 19 year-old daughter to community college.

          I recommend that they get those bullshit jobs and return to having a life, rather than wait for the possibility of return to their home (that they loaned the former owner $20,000 in exchange for 4 years rent, before a divorce left him penniless). I agree that it was a dumb thing for them to do, loaning someone that much money.

        • Philip Weiss says:

          very generous of you Richard to put that family up

        • to belittle Jewish sufferingat the hands of Christians over the last millenium is ridiculous.

          I disagree.
          I think it’s essential, like a dose of salts to purge the system, to force a brutally honest version of reality.

          If its Jews Jews Jews and only Jews that have borne all the suffering in this world, then how is it that so many Jews were among the most prosperous and influential in Babylon/Baghdad from ~400 BC to 1950 Ad? How did so many Jews manage to rise to the heights of prosperity and influence in Andalusia during Jewry’s self-styled 500-year long “Golden Age?” How is it that Jews in Germany — whence Jewish merchants migrated as early as the 4th c. AD — controlled vast wealth and power for hundreds of years, to the extent that when Ruppin negotiated the Transfer Agreement with Nazi leaders in 1933, the money that flowed into Palestine made Palestinian Jews the most secure peoples in a worldwide depression, and their prosperity was dwarfed by the prosperity suddenly realized by German Jews in New York City, who transferred from Germany to the US about three times the wealth that Jews transferred to Palestine? (see Etan Bloom, the argument is his, not mine; I’m just a stenographer. link to tau.ac.il

          Suffering Jews, or wealth seeking new opportunities — occasionally at the expense and disadvantage of a host nation.

        • hophmi says:

          “If its Jews Jews Jews and only Jews that have borne all the suffering in this world,”

          It’s sentences like this that make people like me wonder about you and your movement.

          No one has ever said or suggested that the Jews have borne all of the suffering in this world.

          No one has denied that there were wealthy Jews in the past.

          The problem is that all the money in the world doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when you and your children are thrown in crematoria ovens for no other reason than your religion.

        • where’s eljay when you need him, to remind us to “remember the holocaust.”

          The problem is that all the money in the world doesn’t amount to a hill of beans when you and your children are thrown in crematoria ovens for no other reason than your religion.

          and you still choose to miss the point, and you choose to use the most inflammatory language possible to do so, while ascribing causation to spurious “reasons.”

          -were “[Jews] and their children” thrown into crematoria ovens over a 2000-year long period?

          -when Jews WERE victims in Germany, was it “for no other reason than their religion?” If you answer Yes, then explain WHY German Jews rose to the highest levels of German society and political life, to the extent that Ruppin modeled Israel’s “Hebrew Culture” on German society? Hitler wrote in Mein Kampff that he NEVER harbored ill wishes toward Jews on the basis of their religion; that was unthinkable in the Austria and Germany of Hitler’s day.

          but feel free to take another swing, hophmhi

          ~

        • hophmi says:

          “and you still choose to miss the point, and you choose to use the most inflammatory language possible to do so, while ascribing causation to spurious “reasons.””

          Inflammatory? Why is it inflammatory? Because you dislike confronting the reality of human beings in ovens? Because you dislike the suggestion that putting children in ovens might mean that Jewish suffering in the 20th century in particular was on a different level than other suffering in Europe?

          “were “[Jews] and their children” thrown into crematoria ovens over a 2000-year long period?”

          No. The technology wasn’t there until the 20th century. Before that it was good old fashioned massacres with whatever was available (fire, guns, clubs, sticks) and expulsions, driven by deicide charges. And that was mostly, I guess, over the span of the last thousand years.

          “-when Jews WERE victims in Germany, was it “for no other reason than their religion?” If you answer Yes, then explain WHY German Jews rose to the highest levels of German society and political life, to the extent that Ruppin modeled Israel’s “Hebrew Culture” on German society? Hitler wrote in Mein Kampff that he NEVER harbored ill wishes toward Jews on the basis of their religion; that was unthinkable in the Austria and Germany of Hitler’s day.”

          Are you serious? You’re really going to cite Mein Kampf on this point? What part of “Today I will once more be a prophet: if the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshivization of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe.”

          and

          “”Only when this Jewish bacillus infecting the life of peoples has been removed can one hope to establish a co-operation amongst the nations which shall be built up on a lasting understanding.”

          That’s Hitler. You can read the other Nazis here:

          link to ess.uwe.ac.uk

        • talknic says:

          A generous gesture R W .. bravo..

          Alas it’s not even close to the mark as an analogy for the I/P issue. .

          A) Has Israel gone broke? Did the Palestinians lend Israel money? Who is foreclosing on Israel?

          B) Did the Landlord or bank agree to adhere an equivalent to the UN Charter.

          C) Was the bank saying ‘ please stay ‘ as it was throwing them out and razing the home?

          ———–

          The Israeli propaganda makes no sense. Only a PART of a MINORITY fled the actual SOVEREIGN territory of Israel.

          Anything “outside of Israel” was/is NOT sovereign to Israel

          If this PART of a MINORITY was going to create a demographic threat through returning (Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett August 1948) to the actual SOVEREIGN territory of Israel, they must have been the same demographic threat had they chosen NOT TO FLEE the violence.

          Either the Declaration invite to stay was a lie (didn’t the Jewish People’s Council know that Arabs were already being dispossessed under Plan Dalet when they asked them to stay?) or the notion of a demographic threat is a lie.

          Today the Demographic threat in the actual SOVEREIGN territory of Israel is definitely a lie. The Palestinian claim for RoR is based on UNGA Res 194. UNGA Res 194 is based on the UN definition of refugee. It defines a refugee as a person who has actually lived in a region of return. It does not include lineal descendants.

          Do some maths RW … a PART of a MINORITY 62 years on, is considerably smaller PART of a MINORITY through natural attrition. Palestinians are mortal. Unlike illegal Israeli settlers who, if they’re re-claiming their property, live to be 2,000 years old. (strange that the majority have never set foot there in their lives and that they have to buy apartments…. isn’t it)

          The demographic threat is ONLY to the ‘facts on the ground’ Jewishness in territory Israel has illegally acquired by war and never legally annexed. Which is, OUTSIDE OF Israel

          Israel is as declared May 14th 1948. The same borders as confirmed to the UNSC on May 22nd 1948. There are only a few thousand old people, all over 62 yrs of age, who actually have genuine basic RoR right to return what is actually Israel.

          Furthermore, the country of return has the right to refuse them if they do not fulfill the criteria.

          The rest of the fallacy Israel needs to perpetuate is shown for what it is here link to wp.me

        • Shingo says:

          Corect me if’ I’m wrong Talknic,

          But if ROR recognizes the property of refugees, then aren’t their descendants beneficiaries of that property?

        • Even if the Palestinians have legal rights, which they should, they still face an important choice.

          My comment was on that, the choice.

          In similar situations, Jews have chosen to move on, stay coherent as a people, hoping to gather and return some day (it took 2000 years as a coherent real option).

          Maybe in the sands of time, the specific place becomes incidental, that the coherence of the people is what is important, but that usually requires a place (as many here refer to geography – the specific geography also a choice – as the primary basis of jurisdiction of governance.)

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “Everyone in Israel can vote.”

          Only if one assumes that “in Israel” should be determined by the de jure border or by the de facto exercise of power over people. Viewed the second, more humane way, half of the people who are directly and daily affected by Israeli law and policy have no say in that law and policy.

        • talknic says:

          Shingo.

          Ownership of real estate or goods and chattels and inheritance are a rather more complex area, refugee status or not

          As a matter of course lineal descendants can have a right to pursue their inheritance through the courts depending on the laws of the country in which that inheritance is and to some degree agreements between countries.

          Hard or impossible if the country of return has been determined to obliterate the possibility by denying ownership or even existence through laws such as Israel has instituted.

          For all the Nazis did, Germany today is a beacon of light when it comes to return/compensation and inheritance . Israel has done the opposite, knowing full well the cost of justice would be astronomical.

        • yonira says:

          So what exactly are you blaming the Jews for PG? You are getting really really close to sounding like a blatant anti-Semite here.

    • joer says:

      “When has it been that Jews are confident of being accepted in the world? Phil repeats that that is the case for him, that he is confident that he will not be harrassed for being Jewish, that he has a place.”

      If someone has that many issues about being Jewish, they should see a psychiatrist-not move to the Mideast and go psycho on some poor farmer trying to harvest olives.

      • Mooser says:

        “When has it been that Jews are confident of being accepted in the world?”

        Witty, I’ve tried to tell you over and over: get your hair “kinked”, your skin darkened, and some minor plastic surgery, and then, boom, you’ll be accepted everywhere you go.

        I’m sorry, Richard, I know you find the idea that anybody else besides “the Jews” has ever suffered to be very disturbing.

        And if I made the only sensible demand, (the one that frankly, Phil should make) that you talk about yourself, and your life, because that is the only thing you can even approach knowing… oh, never mind, Witty, why don’t you tell us again how you escaped after dying in Hitler’s gas chambers?

        • hophmi says:

          “I’m sorry, Richard, I know you find the idea that anybody else besides “the Jews” has ever suffered to be very disturbing. ”

          And I’m not sure why your response and the response of others here every time someone mentions that Jews suffered is to tell me about other people’s suffering, perpetuating a lie that Jews don’t acknowledge other people’s suffering, and reminding us that the Jews have it good because other groups were completely annihilated.

          It’s like, I shouldn’t care if I lose both legs and both arms because some other guy lost his head. Why would anyone subscribe to such reasoning?

          It is not the nature of the world for the persecuted to evaluate themselves in terms of other people who are persecuted, or to accept annihilation. It is the nature of the world for the persecuted to find a way out of persecution, and Israel is one answer.

        • Hophmi,
          We’re different, unless your name is also Richard.

          Though I agree with you that suicide is not the rational choice just because some critic can’t accept the existence of some tensions or confusions.

        • annie says:

          I’m not sure why your response and the response of others here every time someone mentions that Jews suffered is to tell me about other people’s suffering, perpetuating a lie that Jews don’t acknowledge other people’s suffering

          maybe it is just a theme that doesn’t have to be inserted into multiple conversations day in and day out. must we revisit jewish suffering so often? how relevant is it to current day to day news about what’s going on in the world?

          also,mentioning others people have suffered is nowhere connected to some allegation that ‘Jews don’t acknowledge other people’s suffering’..which is not a theme i am familiar with outside of the constant and continued ethnic cleansing of palestine in the guise of ‘security’ for the greedy purpose of land theft and expansion of the state if israel.

          For three weeks, during Operation Cast Lead, we sent fighter jets to drop bombs on one of the world’s most densely populated areas. We aimed our guns at clearly civilian targets. We used [white?]phosphorous bombs. We deliberately and systematically demolished thousands of private houses and public buildings, and all the while we maintained a tight siege on the Gaza Strip, preventing civilians who wanted to from fleeing the war zone. We did not erect a temporary refugee camp for them. We did not create a humanitarian no-mans’-land corridor for them. We did not spare hospitals, food repositories, or even UN aid agencies’ buildings. At the same time, we did not express fake regret. We did not argue we made tragic mistakes. We did not even take wounded children to Israeli hospitals.

          do not blame anyone but massacre supporters if some people get the impression israelis do not care about the suffering of palestinians. calling that a lie is a stretch. this is the masacre they brought their picnics and sat out on the hill watching the light show as skin was burning down below.

          jewish suffering is not a once in awhile theme around here, in the least. meanwhile we’ve got decades upon decades upon decades upon decades of israeli generations inflicting (some sadistic) pain and suffering on millions of people. so , maybe i am not in the mood to hear about jewish suffering today if you don’t mind. given we are on our two year anniversary of the gaza slaughter. move over.

        • annie says:

          ps, when israel invades and bombs it’s called ‘squirmish’. the stenographer’s take the word of the iof spokespeople.

          Senior Israeli officials earlier this week cautioned Hamas of the repercussions of violating the delicate ceasefire. “Hamas knows that if it renews the conflict, our response will be harsh. Israel will not return to the situation that existed prior to the 2009 offensive,” local news service Nana10 quoted Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom as saying.

          Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz hinted that the IDF would eventually have to respond more harshly to the surge in violence in the area, saying that “sooner or later Israel will have no choice but to subdue Hamas’ regime in Gaza. I estimate that eventually we’ll be forced to do so,” Steinitz said.

          no choice? of course they have a choice.

        • Donald says:

          “It is not the nature of the world for the persecuted to evaluate themselves in terms of other people who are persecuted, or to accept annihilation. It is the nature of the world for the persecuted to find a way out of persecution, and Israel is one answer.”

          All true. Unfortunately Israel also illustrates another aspect of the world’s nature–the persecuted often become the persecutors and the switch is made all the easier if they see themselves as victims incapable of being the victimizers. That’s human nature at work. Incidentally, I’m not equating the Israelis with the Nazis–that’s way over the top. Israel is more like a middle-of-the-road colonial settler state, not quite as bad as, say, Puritan Massachusetts. (And Richard Witty, if you read this, I’d like to correct a mistake of yours last week. You have a very romanticized view of the Pilgrims if you think Plymouth Colony was so much better than the Massachusetts Bay Colony. They weren’t.)

          So Israel is an attempt at an answer, but it’s also been a perpetuation of the problem. And the problem is that we live in a world where people don’t have equal rights.

        • annie says:

          suicide is not the rational choice just because some critic can’t accept the existence of some tensions or confusions.

          oh my. is that what drives them to it witty, some tensions and confusion..hmm

        • Donald says:

          “I’m not sure why your response and the response of others here every time someone mentions that Jews suffered is to tell me about other people’s suffering”

          Speaking for myself, I can break this down into various categories–

          1. Jewish suffering in the past 100 years or so is relevant to what is discussed in this blog. The Holocaust is relevant and persecution of Jews in Arab countries (or in Iran) is relevant. Terrorism against Israelis is relevant. When I object to someone bring up any of this it will be to the way RW condemns Palestinian murders of Israelis in far harsher terms than he ever condemns Israeli murders of Palestinians.

          2. Jewish suffering centuries ago–Of limited or no relevance at all. Atrocities that occurred centuries ago are only relevant today if there is a continuing system of oppression going on tied to what happened then or if people defend now what happened then. Jews were treated horribly in the Middle Ages. Well, a lot of people were treated horribly back then for all sorts of reasons but things have changed. All we are obligated to say is that when, for instance, Ferdinand and Isabella expelled the Jews in 1492, it was a terrible act of ethnic cleansing and they shouldn’t have done it. I’d say the mistreatment of the Indians initiated by Christopher Columbus that same year is of slightly greater current relevance, because it initiated a system of oppression against Native Americans in the Western Hemisphere that isn’t entirely finished and more importantly, people still engage in apologetics for European colonialism (Benny Morris, for instance). But I have never anyone defend Ferdinand and Isabella’s treatment of the Jews. Since that’s the case, bringing up centuries-old mistreatment of Jews which everyone condemns today makes about as much sense as bringing up Viking raids on the coast of England. Those were bad and I’d demand an apology from Norway, except I have no way of knowing what fraction of my millions of medieval ancestors were pillagers and what fraction were pillaged.

        • The Pilgrims were a few hundred at most, at a single location, and didn’t depopulate a region. The Puritans did.

          Both had alternately adversarial and cooperative relationships with natives.

          The posts were a few days ago. The point was NOT to compare Pilgrims to Puritans, but to comment on how communities are motivated to leave their former hosts (persecution in the case of the Pilgrims and Hugonots), and settle.

          It does NOT make them the epitome of evil. It does not render every subsequent wrong an inevitable expression of a racist ideology.

          “So Israel is an attempt at an answer, but it’s also been a perpetuation of the problem. And the problem is that we live in a world where people don’t have equal rights.”

          We agree on that. That is why reform and negotiation based on principles of mutual respect, is the nature of the solution, not to kill what is important (Zionism) because one interpretation of it doesn’t allow something else important to also exist.

        • Annie,
          You have stated that because of Israel’s expansion and violations of Palestinian human rights, that it is not a legitimate state, that it should fold into a single democratic state.

          That “Zionism is racism” inevitably, not racist because of bad decisions, but inevitably.

          Did I misinterpret your comments?

          My response to that logic has consistently been that there is an inherent tension in all nationalism between individual and minority rights and national identity and majority.

          In ALL of them. Including the US. Including every national state in Europe.

          And, in places where conflicting peoples are forced together, they play out violently.

          Do you disagree?

          Reform is a different discussion. That is the discussion of what policy legitimate Israel should apply. I say equal rights for all within Israel. I say full viable sovereignty for Gaza and West Bank Palestinians if they decide to function as unified.

          I even say that anyone that was born in geographic Israel should be entitled to reside as an Israeli citizen, and that the knesset should repeal the 1950′s acts that prohibited return, day in court, and annexation of then “abandoned” homes.

          But, I also say that Israel should remain, and as Israel, unless a majority of current Israeli citizens determine that they prefer a single state or even bi-national state federation (as ironically likud ministers have proposed for the whole region).

          But, it must result from consent of the governed, if it is to be democracy.

        • annie says:

          Annie,
          You have stated that because of Israel’s expansion and violations of Palestinian human rights, that it is not a legitimate state, that it should fold into a single democratic state.

          richard, could you please use the copy/paste function so i can tell what you’re referencing please. i have to go out and will try to attend to your comments later. btw i have never said ‘zionism is racism’ although i think it is inherently racist unless manifested on a land w/no people for a people w/no land…iow, somewhere else besides palestine.

        • RoHa says:

          “I’d demand an apology from Norway”

          Oslo does send a Christmas Tree to London every year as a thank-you for British support during WW2. Does that help?

          (I’m still waiting for reparations from the Roman Empire. I’m sure some of my Briton ancestors’ barns got burned.

          Though some of my Angle ancestors probably burned a British Roman barn or two. And then got pillaged by some of my Viking ancestors.)

        • Donald says:

          “The Pilgrims were a few hundred at most, at a single location, and didn’t depopulate a region. The Puritans did”

          It didn’t stay at a few hundred, obviously. Plymouth grew and played a big role in King Phillip’s War decades later. And even at the beginning there was violence by Miles Standish against the Indians. Try reading Philbrick’s book “The Mayflower” or even a much older book “Saints and Strangers”. Anyway, I originally thought you brought up the Pilgrim analogy as a recognition of the harm done to the native population by refugees from overseas, but no such luck–you were invoking a sentimentalized version of the history of Plymouth and comparing it to your sentimentalized version of Israel.

          “not to kill what is important (Zionism) because one interpretation of it doesn’t allow something else important to also exist.”

          The Zionism of Judah Magnes wasn’t harmful to Palestinians, or wouldn’t have been if followed. The kind that was imposed was, unfortunately, another variation of European settler colonialism. Like Plymouth.

        • Donald says:

          “Though some of my Angle ancestors probably burned a British Roman barn or two. And then got pillaged by some of my Viking ancestors.)”

          I’ve got the same problem–so many ancestors and I’m sure half of them were committing atrocities against the other half. Bastards.

        • Shingo says:

          That is why reform and negotiation based on principles of mutual respect, is the nature of the solution, not to kill what is important (Zionism) because one interpretation of it doesn’t allow something else important to also exist.

          Is negotiation based on principles of mutual respect was the requiste for removing apartheid, apartheid south Africa woudl stil be apartheid.

        • Donald says:

          “But, it must result from consent of the governed, if it is to be democracy.”

          Which conveniently elides the fact that Israel is a majority Jewish state because of ethnic cleansing.

          Richard, you want a two state solution because you like the fact that Israel is a majority Jewish state and you don’t care how it got that way. That’s the reality. Now if you want to argue that a two state solution is the best possible one, then stick with the argument that a one state solution would turn into a full scale civil war. It’s a reasonable fear. What is not reasonable and not honest is this garbage about “consent of the governed”. That’s just hypocrisy, because there was no “consent of the Palestinians” when they were forced from their homes. It’s sheer hypocrisy on your part to use that phrase. You’re trying to make your case stronger than it is, probably to make yourself feel better.

          I grew up in a place where civil rights was imposed against the consent of the governed–Southern whites, left to themselves, probably would have taken many more years before consenting to end Jim Crow. It was forced on them–100 years earlier on the issue of slavery they initiated a civil war because they thought abolition would be forced on them. So that phrase “consent of the governed” doesn’t mean a darn thing when you’re talking about a group which has privileges due to some systemic injustice.

        • Donald says:

          Incidentally, for anyone interested someone named “Robin” is doing a superb job dismantling the ethical basis for a Jewish state over in the comments section at “Realistic Dove” (Dan Flescher’s blog). Dan had put up a liberal Zionist post distinguishing between what he sees as legitimate criticism of Israel and illegitimate criticism (the latter being the delegitimizing kind). Robin’s posts are a model of how to argue politely on this subject.

        • annie says:

          ps

          it must result from consent of the governed, if it is to be democracy.

          really? after you explain to me how it is the occupied territories are not ‘governed’ by israel i will entertain your idea.

          tag, you’re it.

        • Shingo says:

          Superbly put Donald,

          Once again you nailed Witty for his hypocrisy, nauseating dihnoesty and blatant racism.

        • My point was about harms done to natives.

          The question of the Pilgrims was an aside. Please don’t make it the subject.

          The Zionism of Judah Magnes was also of immigration. I don’t know if he sought a majority or not.

          The local Palestinians did NOT accept the migration. The small massacres in Hebron, Safed, Jerusalem were not directed at expansionist immigrant secular Zionists, but against Jews.

          The snipering of kibbutzim did not distinguish between ideologies. In fact, the socialist approach of kibbutzim, including the young girls in short shorts, offended the locals.

          (Most often it wasnt neighboring Palestinian communities that snipered kibbutzim, but “outside agitators” did, ideologs more than neighbors.)

          Ideologs more than neighbors is the problem. Its what wars are made of.

        • There is no legitimacy to Israel being a Jim Crow state.

          Consent of the governed refers to what jurisdiction they will be governed by. Your home community DID consent to be governed within the US, even during the civil rights period.

          Maybe you can make that argument about the south seceding, that they didn’t consent to the “north’s military occupation of their land”.

          The consent of the governed IS the basis of democracy. If you want to use the term “democracy”, you have to address the fundamental question of whether a present population is self-governed or governed against its will.

          The single state approach is NOT international law in Israel/Palestine currently. No UN resolution declares the land a single jurisdiction.

          It is literally ONLY a proposal currently, one that makes sense to many and for good reasons, but is not law, is not consented.

          I get that you dislike the argument of “consent of the governed” as substantive, that you prefer the “there will be civil war”, my suspicion is that you hold in your back pocket the condemnation “see they threaten war, they are war mongerers”.

          Did I get that right?

        • “really? after you explain to me how it is the occupied territories are not ‘governed’ by israel i will entertain your idea.”

          The occupied territories are occupied, and should not be.

          I don’t see your point.

        • It is the nature of the world for the persecuted to find a way out of persecution,

          if the assessment of the causes of “persecution” are inaccurate or dishonest, than the “way out of persecution” cannot possibly be effective.

          reverse engineering Israeli behavior suggests that the “persecuted” have been far from accurate in their assessment of what went wrong with prior arrangements. In other words, in creating Israel, zionists unwittingly created the laboratory conditions in which all other variables — “they hate us because we’re Jews;” “they say we are Christ killers” — all the excuses of the bad actions of another people with prior residency in a place to which Jews migrated — no longer pertain: Jews are now sovereign over their own social and political and economic behavior.

          And yet, Jewish scientists, educators, psychologists conclude that Israel is a “disordered society;” it’s schoolchildren “undisciplined;” it’s cultural mind set “irrational and psychopathic.”

          This is a crisis moment for Israelis: they have no one else to blame but themselves.

          ergo, BOMB IRAN. Punish Gaza.

        • annie says:

          you don’t see my point? about the consent of the governed?

          the consent of the governed refers to the governed giving consent to those who govern them

          don’t believe me? consent of the governed

          “Consent of the governed” is a phrase synonymous with a political theory where in a government’s legitimacy and moral right to use state power is only justified and legal when derived from the people or society over which that power is exercised. This theory of “consent” is historically contrasted to the divine right of kings and has often been invoked against the legitimacy of colonialism.

          get it? “derived from the people or society over which that power is exercised

          the government of israel is exercising power over millions of people who give NO consent.

          Your home community DID consent to be governed within the US, even during the civil rights period.

          yes, it did. but that is not the case in the occupied territory, they DID NOT give consent to those who govern over them , nor have they ever been afforded that right.

          The consent of the governed IS the basis of democracy. If you want to use the term “democracy”, you have to address the fundamental question of whether a present population is self-governed or governed against its will.

          don’t i know it richard. you’ve got a government ruling over 2 peoples w/2 sets of laws. one of which CHOSE it thru a vote, the other which DID NOT, therefore it is NOT a democratic government. it is an apartheid state .

        • Shingo says:

          Thank you Annie,

          It becomes tedious to have to correct Witty’s invented definitions and made up laws, but comeone’s gotta do it.

        • annie says:

          comeone come all shingo.

          ;)

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “I say full viable sovereignty for Gaza and West Bank Palestinians if they decide to function as unified.”

          What is “full viable sovereignty”?? Does this entail complete and utter freedom of the Palestinians to control every element of their national and state existence, free from interference, limitation or control by Israelis, with the relationship between them no different than, say, the relationship between Canada and US?

          Or does “full viable sovereignty” mean “whatever liberties in government that Israel decides it wishes to grant the Palestinians?

          “I even say that anyone that was born in geographic Israel should be entitled to reside as an Israeli citizen,”

          So would you be kicking out all the Russian Jews and Brooklynites, or is your limitation “anyone… born in geographic Israel” merely designed to keep out those Palestinians borne is exile??

    • RoHa says:

      ‘“Jewish” is only a religion, and not a people, and not a people that require coherent institutions of self-governance, including defense.’

      I (and others) have repeatedly given arguments to show that these claims are a load of tosh. You have never given a response to these arguments*.

      And yet you keep on repeating the nonsense. After such a demonstration of intellectual dishonesty, do you really expect to be taken seriously?

      [*Save for your "they are a people if they call themselves one", which puts Jews in the same class as stamp collectors.]

  3. occupyresist says:

    Very beautiful.

    Thank you.

  4. Shingo says:

    What a refreshing and ecouraging story.

  5. clenchner says:

    You assertion that ‘Jew’ cannot be a nationality is contradicted by many Jews who assert that it is. Self determination more or less means that when millions of people assert a common nationality (and fight for it) then it is so. Why are Kosovars Kosovars, and not just Albanians who live in Serbia? Because they say so.

    More interesting to me is the example set by Uri Davis, a somewhat well known Israeli Jew who was a member of Fatah and lived in exile for many years. He defined himself as a Palestinian Hebrew, the natural counterpart to Palestinian Arab. The ‘Arab’ nation is one based strongly on a linguistic tie – speakers of Arabic – so it makes sense to turn the Palestinian ethnicity into one comprised of speakers of more than one language, just as they have more than one religion.

    After his return to Israel (membership in Fatah become less of a crime after Oslo) he tried to organize a chapter of Fatah made up of Israeli, Hebrew speaking Jews. But the organization refused to accept them. The bottom line for me is that Palestinians (and this is normal) don’t just define themselves by who gets to be ‘in’ but by who they can collectively exclude. Hebrew speaking, Israeli Jews are out, by definition they are non-Palestinian, and the concept of ‘Palestinian-ness’ makes it so in spite of individual stories like your friends and Uri Davis.
    But if it did change, if the Palestinian national movement were to redefine itself to be inclusive across the linguistic barrier (Hebrew/Russian) and explicitly welcome Jews who seek to integrate into the Palestinian nation, it would indicate (for the first time) that Palestinians themselves are becoming more ready for a one state solution.

    • Avi says:

      Hebrew speaking, Israeli Jews are out, by definition they are non-Palestinian, and the concept of ‘Palestinian-ness’ makes it so in spite of individual stories like your friends and Uri Davis.

      For you to reach so many conclusions based on your assumptions about Uri Davis, a man you clearly did not know on a personal level is ludicrous. Why do I say that? I say that because you have limited life experience on this issue. It’s obvious. And it’s evidenced by the fact that you don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to Hebrew speaking Israeli Jews being “in”.

      Palestinians (and this is normal) don’t just define themselves by who gets to be ‘in’ but by who they can collectively exclude.

      Utterly clueless. I wish you wouldn’t make such definitive grandiose statements, as though what you write is fact. You better stick to: “As far as I know, and I could be wrong, my personal experience has been…….”

      Alright, sweet cheeks?

      • Avi says:

        clenchner,

        Read this post instead:

        No, make that, Please read the following post:

        Hebrew speaking, Israeli Jews are out, by definition they are non-Palestinian, and the concept of ‘Palestinian-ness’ makes it so in spite of individual stories like your friends and Uri Davis.

        Well, respectfully, I beg to differ. It seems rather unfair to come to such conclusions based on what is publicly known about Uri Davis. Therefore, I must ask, is the author personally familiar with Uri Davis?

        Palestinians (and this is normal) don’t just define themselves by who gets to be ‘in’ but by who they can collectively exclude.

        Again, I respectfully disagree. I believe the author is being presumptive. My vast experience and research has shown otherwise, certainly in regard to the social and historical aspects of Palestinian society as they relate to this particular topic.

        Sincerely,

        Avi.

        • clenchner says:

          What a strange argument. Yes, I know Uri Davis personally. I wouldn’t say we are close friends, but I thought him a very interesting guy, and supported his effort to get more Jews admitted to Fatah – though I myself would not have joined.

          We almost worked together when he was trying to raise funds for an academic institution in Sakhnin. Ask him – he’ll remember. At one point I was exploring ways of helping with ownership issues in Katzir…..

          I’ll take is a back-handed compliment that you no longer accuse me of not knowing much about Israeli society or knowing anything about the conflict….

        • Avi says:

          I’ll take is a back-handed compliment that you no longer accuse me of not knowing much about Israeli society or knowing anything about the conflict….

          Well, now you’re being unfair. It seems you’ve got some residual anger from earlier exchanges. I do recall you claiming early on that minorities were desired in Israel.

    • Avi says:

      Audrey Farber,

      It’s an interesting story. Thank you.

    • Mooser says:

      “You assertion that ‘Jew’ cannot be a nationality is contradicted by many Jews who assert that it is.”

      Clencher, you can’t spell “assert” without…. Oh never mind.
      Gosh, I wish I lived in a world where an “assertion” controlled reality.
      Say, why didn’t the Jews in 1930′s Germany just “assert” they were part and parcel of the German nation?
      Yes, sir, there’s nothing like an “assertion” to change reality.

    • kapok says:

      Nations are drawn around people already there. NW Europe became France, Germany etc; SE Asia became China, Thailand etc. Nations are not drawn up by a committee someplace else for the exclusive use of an elect and populated by immigrants.

      • Citizen says:

        Does any other people in the world claim a right to a state they self-proclaimed on land they or may not have lived in about two-thousand years ago? Does any other people claim a right to such a state because some of them were exterminated in the mid-20th Century? Do the Roma?
        If so, do they have a state of their own?

        The unilateral British promise pf 1917 (and its interpretation by the Brits thereafter up to the time of the Partition vote) to give the Jews a homeland never contemplated giving them a state, but rather a home within the (former) Mandate land, which was expressly to not interfere with the rights of the local Arab population already living within that Mandate land for many centuries. In 1948 those declaring a sovereign Jewish state looked that unilateral gift horse in the mouth, and tore the mouth out; subsequently, by not sticking to the Partition plan, it did this again. Is there a word for “grateful” in Hebrew or Yiddish? Just wondering. How about “ungrateful?”

    • RoHa says:

      “‘Jew’ cannot be a nationality is contradicted by many Jews who assert that it is.’

      And the Jews who deny it…?

      “Self determination more or less means that when millions of people assert a common nationality (and fight for it) then it is so.”

      That is one meaning of “self-determination”. But consider my famous stamp-collectors. Suppose all the stamp collectors assert that they are a nationality. Would our response be anything but “Don’t be so damned silly”?

      And what are they going to fight for? Are they fighting for us to accept the claim ” stamp collectors are a nation” or are they fighting for a chunk of land to create the sovereign state of Philatelia?

      If the latter, why should we accept the idea that a “nation” should have a chunk of land for a state?

      “Why are Kosovars Kosovars, and not just Albanians who live in Serbia? Because they say so.”

      Being damned silly is not a minority sport.

      Why are Kosovars Kosovars, and not just Albanians who live in Serbia? Because they say so.

  6. why the passive voice: We are told that Jewish and Palestinian are two irreconcilable identities,

    BY WHOM are you “told” that Jewish and Palestinian are irreconcilable identities?

    It is extremely important to avoid weasel language here: at LEAST since the earliest days of modern zionism (late 1800s), Jewish zionists have been active voice telling Jews that they are a separate identity from others.

    Mark Braverman is a 60-ish year old Jewish psychologist from the DC area who was raised in an intensely Jewish family that he loved and loves still. A few years ago he traveled to Palestine with an interdenominational peace group from the US; among the eye-opening and life-changing experiences he had on the trip was the contrasted receptions he received from Jewish Israelis and Palestinians. His Jewish relatives in Israel threatened him with expulsion from the family if he carried out his plan to visit Palestine — “They’ll kill you; they’re animals . . .” his family told him.

    Braving a trip into the Palestinian ‘animal kingdom,’ Palestine, Braverman thought full disclosure was important: “I’m Jewish,” he told the Palestinian Arabs he met.
    “Yes, and?” responded his Palestinian hosts. “Come in, have tea; let’s talk.”
    “They were wonderful to me,” said Braverman; “It did not matter that I am Jewish.”

    Agreed, Audrey Farber, If anything is going to change, Jewish people will have to reach into their souls and their mythos and yank out by the roots that millenia-old insistence that Jewish is different from any other brand of human being, and Jews must renounce forever the right accorded to themselves to label any Other as an Other — much less an animal.

    ps. sorry to rain on your parade, Shingo. Yes, it’s a good story and a good start, but if the roots of the problem are allowed to remain beneath the surface, any change will be only temporary.

    • Mooser says:

      “It is extremely important to avoid weasel language here: at LEAST since the earliest days of modern zionism (late 1800s), Jewish zionists have been active voice telling Jews that they are a separate identity from others.”

      Bingo! You have rung the bell, hit the target, got the ring over the bottle, and are entitled to cigar or coco-nut, as you choose.
      That Zionists would tell us this is one thing, but that any significant number of Jews would believe it? What happened to that vaunted intelligence.

      • MRW says:

        Re Mooser’s comments:

        You can’t have a “vaunted intelligence” if all your thoughts and reactions come from the Amygdala, the fear (flight or fright) section in your brain. (Also called the Lizard Brain.)

        Only in the 21st C, and that ain’t long, have neuroscientists been able to prove via MRI that active amygdalas will supplant the prefrontal cortex as seats of operation when it is enlarged. It gets enlarged when it gets used more than the prefrontal cortex.

        Intelligence issues from the prefrontal cortex, according to MRI scans. Tribal fears and clannish emotion comes from, or is aroused in, the amygdala. So if people like Witty (and the Christian Zios) want to self-identify and raise the fear of extinction that failure to do so would result in — that heightened fear being the important indicator of overworked amygdala use — be our guests as you get stupider and stupider. [Always loved that concocted SNL word "stupider."]

        Oh yeah, another thing the neuroscientists discovered: Anger reduces the IQ. Chemically. Physically affects it.

        So, in answer to Mooser’s question: What happened to that vaunted intelligence. They traded it in for a patch of sand and a myth. And you can watch that Stupid Factor take over Israel as it took over the USA during the 20-aughts.

    • RoHa says:

      “Jewish people will have to reach into their souls and their mythos and yank out by the roots that millenia-old insistence that Jewish is different from any other brand of human being, and Jews must renounce forever the right accorded to themselves to label any Other as an Other — much less an animal.”

      And more cigars, coconuts, and cuddly toys for that one too, PG.
      but I would go a step farther, and say that the renunciation of difference not just necessary for a resolution of the I/P conflict, but that it is a moral duty of all Jews at all times.

      Of course, replace “Jewish” with “Welsh” or “stamp-collecter” or whatever label you wish, and it is still a moral duty.

      The renunciation of difference is a moral duty of all people at all times.

      • Citizen says:

        But what then can people brag about? My team’s football helmet logo is more aesthetic than yours? What about the Cleveland Browns fans? And where would that leave the Bucs fans?

        • RoHa says:

          “But what then can people brag about?”

          Gentlemen do not brag.

          But if people must brag, let them brag about what they themselves have achieved.

          “I ate two Vegemite sandwiches in a row”
          “I helped in that production of Pygmalion. I did some set-dressing, and assisted with the lighting.”

  7. Tuyzentfloot says:

    You’re all muggles to me. Mind you, some of my best friends are muggles!

  8. Jim Haygood says:

    Audrey Farber’s story of the two Jewish Palestinian brothers reminds me of John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me, the saga of a white man who pigmented himself black in 1959 and crossed the colour bar in the Deep South — becoming that seeming impossibility, a dark-skinned caucasian.

    ‘A little-known law … states that anyone – even an Israeli Jew – who identifies with Arab culture more strongly than Israeli Jewish culture [is] exempt, like most non-Jewish Arabs, from Army service.’ This is a telling example of pure, subjective cultural discrimination. At first glance, it would appear to assume probable disloyalty on the part of minority cultures and religions in Israel. But does it really?

    In the US armed forces, disloyalty was never the main concern in recruiting minorities. In the case of blacks, finally integrated into the military in World War II, the barrier had been objections on the part of white troops to sharing close quarters with black soldiers. To put it bluntly, conventional white-trash wisdom held that they stank.

    It may be claimed that Israel’s situation is different, since it’s surrounded by Arab lands. But Mexican-American soldiers serving in the US armed forces aren’t suspected of occult loyalty to Mexico.

    So one really has to wonder: is the exclusion of Palestinian Arabs from the IDF based on Israeli Jews’ pure, racist disgust at having to mingle with Arabs, after a lifetime of living separately in a thoroughly segregated country? Is the policy based on an unarticulated, but deeply-held notion, that Arabs are unclean? If so, let’s just blurt it out, and let the chips fall where they may.

    • clenchner says:

      It’s not a law. Just saying. Israeli Arabs are generally never called up based on the judgment of the ministry of defense, not a law. The publicly stated rationale isn’t about fear of disloyalty, but about not wanting to force people into military service against their own people.
      Druze are drafted, along with some Bedouin, and they are Palestinian, so I’d have to say that it’s not about lack of cleanliness or pure racist disgust.

      • annie says:

        not wanting to force people into military service against their own people.

        sounds nice but they have a policy of encouraging just that w/those PA troops and the whole PA apparatus. that was their problem w/hamas, they couldn’t control it. something tells me if they could trust palestinians to repress/cleanse their own people they’d be all over that like flies on shit.

      • Potsherd2 says:

        Druze do not self-identify as Palestinian, and I don’t believe most Bedouin do, either. I would guess most of them self-identify, secondarily, as “Arab.”

        • clenchner says:

          This is splitting hairs, but… the Druze in Israel are somewhat split. Groups like the Druze Initiative Committee definitely see Druze as Palestinian. The head the Israeli Communist Party and former MK for Hadash was Mohammed Nafa’a, a Druze. The hard and fast distinction between Druze and Palestinian is sort of a reactionary fetish promoted by Israel, though accepted by many Druze and Palestinian. Try and tell a Druze in Lebanon that they aren’t Druze though, and you’ll get smacked!
          Sadly, the Druze have a horrible reputation among Palestinians in the OT because of their role in the IDF, Border Police and prison service. Sad because the community is quite diverse, which many aren’t aware of.

        • Avi says:

          clenchner December 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm

          This is splitting hairs, but… the Druze in Israel are somewhat split.

          One of the main reasons for that split stems from the ongoing Israeli policy of ‘Israelification’ wherein various groups of Palestinians are promised integration and favorable national status. However, the Israeli school system plays a significant role in shaping the minds of younger generations of Druze. This manifests itself in a curriculum that emphasizes the birth of Israel as a nation and Jewish history throughout the ages over the history of the Druze, and the Palestinian nation in particular.

          Furthermore, contrary to what many believe, the Druze are not split along political lines due to ideological or nationalistic preferences, but rather due to a system of privileges and incentives to divide and control, no different than the methods used to divide other Palestinian groups in Israel.

      • Citizen says:

        Gee, that explains it, clencher, now I know why German Americans were not drafted to go fight Hitler’s Germany.

  9. Potsherd2 says:

    This is what I have been saying about the misuse of the term “Palestinian” to mean both nationality and ethnicity. If there is going to be a Palestinian state (less and less likely) then “Palestinian” will be the name for the citizens of that state, regardless of ethnicity. The currently accepted term for the ethnicity, whether we like it or not, is “Arab.”

    I also like the use of “Hebrew” to designate the ethnicity with “Jew” referring to the adherent of the religion.

    So Palestinians could be Christian, Muslim or Jews, regardless of ethnicity. Just like Israelis.

    • clenchner says:

      Amen. It’s a sad fact that there is no such thing as a secular Israeli nationality, legally speaking. If there was, many Israeli citizens currently classified as ‘Jewish’ or ‘Russian’ would choose it. What’s crazy is that some Russian immigrants who are not recognized as Jewish by the rabbinate as still listed as ‘Jewish’ in terms of nationality. Even if they become passionate Orthodox Christians!
      I’d love to see a photo of an Israeli ID card showing a resident who was Nationality: Jewish and Religion: Christian as a great illustration of this nonsense.

    • RoHa says:

      “So Palestinians could be Christian, Muslim or Jews”

      Just like they used to be.

  10. Thank you for this enlightening post. I actually wrote a personal story of mine that bears a profound relationship to the ideas and perceptions you present in this post. It’s my story of how I come to recognize, while I was still a kid, the distinction between what is Israeli and what is Jewish, and how we, Palestinians, unconsciously absorb, many faulty perceptions such as the Jewish-Palestinian antithesis by the daily proceedings of our lives.

    You can read my post on mondoweiss on this link: link to mondoweiss.net

    However, I still can’t get see your point of how those brothers can be seen as Palestinian (or see themselves as Palestinian) in a sense because what you said about the dichotomy being truly between “those who were already here versus those who came later.”

    You mention in your article something about how to be defined as part of a group means that you are linked to the history of that group, that you can trace your history back to the indigenous people who inhabited this land. Therefore, taking into consideration that the two brothers’ grandparents are from Ukraine and Poland, how come can they be Palestinian?

    I also see that you fall into the same snare of the huge disparity between a nationality and a religion when you said that “Palestine” is not synonymous with “Arab”. Palestine is simply because Palestine is part of the all-embracing Arab community. I won’t get into the question of whether the Canaanites were Arabs or not, but by and large, there is nothing wrong with the attitude of considering ever Palestinian as an Arab. You wrongly juxtaposed the concept of being an Arab with the concept of being Jewish which resulted in your statement that Palestine doesn’t necessarily mean you be an Arab.

    “Arabism” is not the religion here. It’s a nationality as well. A more general nationality for every Moroccan, Lebanese, Libyan, Egyptian, Iraqi, Palestinian….

    I wonder you didn’t mention the slightest thing about Islam since it’s inseparable from a speech that includes “Arab, Jews, Israelis, Palestinians” and so on and so forth.

    Think about this: Being Palestinian doesn’t necessitate you be a Muslim (fairly correct. ha?)

    So now being Jewish doesn’t necessitate that you be Israeli, BUT being Palestinian does necessitate that you be an Arab.

    I do agree that to be Palestinian doesn’t automatically exclude you being Jewish. Simply proved by the Jewish people who inhabited this land before the founding of Israel, not the two brothers in your enjoyable article.

    Thank you again.

    • Potsherd2 says:

      A while ago I read about a Jew whose family lived in Hebron prior to 1948, who considers himself a Palestinian and plans to be a citizen of Palestine if/when it is established. He could claim his family’s property now but refuses to claim it from the occupying state.

      But I think the two brothers can also be considered Palestinians if that is where their loyalty lies, if they are willing to renounce Israeli citizenship and take up Palestinian. This is the importance of making the distinction between ethnicity and nationality/citizenship.

    • Mooser says:

      mohammed suliman, that was really pathetic. Does it bother you that much for Jews to call themselves Palestinian?

      If I didn’t know better, I might say “Hey, look Ma, a Palestinian Zionist!”

      • I didn’t say that. Can’t you see my point? or even the point of the article? and why is you like to attack others as such?

        I am actually very much privileged to be in contact with Jews who dedicated their lives for the Palestinians. I love them as much as I love other Palestinians.

        “Hey, look Ma, a Palestinian Zionist!”

        That really grieved me, fellow. You don’t need to start calling me names until you understand my argument.

        Before I posted that reply, I asked my friend who was sitting next to me whether there can be Palestinians who are not Arabs and guess what he replied to me? he said there are non-Arabs who are more Palestinians that Palestinians.

        Definitely. He can say that again. And I loved what he said. But that wasn’t what I meant. I said if your definition of Palestinians is that they are a group of people who share one history, one identity, and one culture an who inhabited this land thousands of years ago, how can they be considered part of the group? not that they are not Palestinians by heart. Not that they share the Palestinians’ suffering. Not that both peoples identify with each other.

        So please, don’t try to distort what I said. This article and the story of it are one of the best articles I read which show to what a great extent the identification between “us” is close and palpable.

      • annie says:

        mooser, zionism is a political construct not an ethnicity. one that manifested itself w/the ethnic cleansing of palestinians. so the concept of a palestinian zionist is a mental contortion that is hard to fathom. i’m not sure i understood your joke this time around. maybe there are a few of them out there..but really that is kind of insulting.

        maybe i missed your point.

    • Avi says:

      mohammed suliman,

      So now being Jewish doesn’t necessitate that you be Israeli, BUT being Palestinian does necessitate that you be an Arab.

      An Arab is merely a person who speaks Arabic. There are non-Arabs in the Middle East, including Armenians, Aramaic-people (who live in Syria to this day), the Sharkas in Jordan and Palestine, among other places.

      Thus, within that context, one need not be an Arab to be a Palestinian.

      “Arabism” is not the religion here. It’s a nationality as well. A more general nationality for every Moroccan, Lebanese, Libyan, Egyptian, Iraqi, Palestinian….

      I’m sorry, but that is simply incorrect. “Arabism” is only a nationality if one were to look at the “Arab world” as a monolith. It is not. In addition, there are numerous groups in the Middle East and in North Africa who share the cultural and traditional attributes, but do not identify as “Arab”.

      • Okay, but is it a religion such as Judaism? When you talk of being Jewish but not Israeli, can you talk of being Palestinian but not Arab? I think there is such a big different…

        • Avi says:

          May I ask whereabouts are you from?

        • KatinPhilly says:

          Hi Mohammed,

          Armenians in Palestine are Arabic-speaking, and are some of the most pro-Palestine people I met when I was in Palestine, but they would never consider themselves Arabs. There are Armenians who are proud members of the Palestinian nation, and have played key roles in the struggle for self-determination. Similarly, Chaldeans or Assyrians, or Circassians, speak perfect Arabic, embrace much of Arab culture, but are proud Assyrians or Circassians, while being loyal citizens of Jordan or Iraq. Similarly, the Berbers of North Africa, etc., etc. Fatima Bernawi, an early resistance leader in Palestine, was clearly an African, but is she any less Palestinian for her skin color or racial background? Similarly, the recently departed Abraham Serfati of Morocco, a true hero for justice and equality in the Arab world, who suffered greatly for his beliefs, and refused many offers to emigrate to Israel – was he any less a Moroccan or Arab because he was not a Muslim?

          To say that Palestine is inextricable from Arabism and Islam is justified to a certain, even large extent from several angles. But it gets much murkier and more dangerous to the cause of a democratic state for all peoples to insist that only Arabs and Islam can be the definitive markers of what makes one a Palestinian, or that they should at least be prioritized. I see that you are struggling with this, and it is totally understandable. All national identities grapple with these conundrums and contradictions in defining exactly what it means to be X, often defined as meaning we are not Y. Many of which can never be successfully resolved; rather, they get managed, often to the detriment of minority populations. Majority rights vs. minority rights, given our collective inability to shed our privileged, nationalistic and tribal approach to the “Other”, regrettably remains a ongoing, universal struggle, even in the most ostensibly democratic of societies. It’s probably one of the few damn things that unites us all in this world.

          Not all Palestinians are Arab or Muslim, and never have been, and it is alarming how with the rise of a very rigid, oppressive, religious-based nationalism in Palestine on the one hand, and the existence of a co-opted, corrupt, oppressive and pro-American PA on the other, many non-Arabs and independent Arabs feel shut out of the actual governing of Palestine. Then again, being forced to retreat to the grassroots will hopefully be a blessing in the long-run for a democratic state that embraces all its peoples.

        • annie says:

          kat, it is alarming how with the rise of a very rigid, oppressive, religious-based nationalism in Palestine on the one hand, and the existence of a co-opted, corrupt, oppressive and pro-American PA on the other, many non-Arabs and independent Arabs feel shut out of the actual governing of Palestine.

          many palestinians feel shut out of actually governing palestine because of the occupation and the israeli military rule that calls the shots, whenever they damn well please. btw it is alarming how with the rise of a very rigid, oppressive, religious-based nationalism in Israel on the one hand, and the existence of a co-opted, corrupt, oppressive and pro-Lukid knesset on the other, anybody references israel as a democracy anymore anyway, don’t you think?

        • RoHa says:

          I think most of you are missing MS’s point.

          He said
          if your definition of Palestinians is that they are a group of people who share one history, one identity, and one culture an who inhabited this land thousands of years ago, how can they be considered part of the group? ”

          “IF”. It is a little word with big implications*. He was pointing out an apparent internal contradiction in the article.

          Two definitions of “Palestinian” are suggested.

          One is “born and raised here, immersed in Palestinian Arab culture, and it’s their home.”
          The other is “member of a group of people who share one history, one identity, and one culture and who inhabited this land thousands of years ago”.

          However, I don’t think that is a fatal contradiction.
          First, the general thrust of the article is about reconciliation of these concepts.
          Second, the definitions do not specify how one becomes a member of the group. If membership is by biological ancestry only, then the contradiction stands, but if it is by other means, then there is no necessary contradiction.

          (*And complicated grammar, which a lot of people mess up.

          “If I had known that, I would not have gone” is correct.
          “If I would have known that, …” is WRONG. )

        • Citizen says:

          I guess, mohmmed, what you mean is there are Jews in the Jewish diaspora, many for centuries, and in the 1948 self-styled Jewish State Of Israel. In constrast, you suggest one can not properly identify as a Palestinian unless you or your ancestral family
          were born and raised in Palestine. Why? Because the Palestinians do not have a long dispora history, such as the Jews have in Europe? This does seem a big difference… Perhaps in a century this may significantly change? Just asking. Or did you mean something else you see as the big difference you are trying to explain here?

      • annie says:

        avi, heeeere’s wiki

        * Political: in the modern nationalist era, any person who is a citizen of a country where Arabic is either the national language or one of the official languages, and/or a citizen of a country which may simply be a member of the Arab League (thereby having Arabic as an official government language, even if not used by the majority of the population). This definition would cover over 300 million people. It may be the most contested definition, as it is the most simplistic one. It would exclude the entire Arab diaspora outside of the Arab world, but include not only people who identify themselves as Arabs, but would also include Arabized groups who do not identify themselves as Arabs (including many Lebanese and many Egyptians, both Christians and Muslims) and even non-Arabized ethnic minorities who have remained non-Arabic-speaking (such as the Berbers in Morocco, Kurds in Iraq, or the Somali majority of Arab League member Somalia).

        The relative importance of these three factors is estimated differently by different groups and frequently disputed. Some combine aspects of each definition, as done by Habib Hassan Touma,[21] who defines an Arab “in the modern sense of the word”, as “one who is a national of an Arab state, has command of the Arabic language, and possesses a fundamental knowledge of Arab tradition, that is, of the manners, customs, and political and social systems of the culture.” Most people who consider themselves Arab do so based on the overlap of the political and linguistic definitions. Few people consider themselves Arab based on the political definition without also having Arabic as a language.

        by this definition every palestinian would be arab.

        • Potsherd2 says:

          And so would a lot of Jews. “Arab Jews” was once a commonplace designation.

        • Avi says:

          annie,

          I looked at the sources used in that wiki entry and found them to be lacking.

        • annie says:

          yes, well it did say It may be the most contested definition, as it is the most simplistic one.

          there is also this one

          # Linguistic: someone whose first language, and by extension cultural expression, is Arabic, including any of its varieties. This definition covers more than 300 million people. Certain groups that fulfill this criterion reject this definition on the basis of non-Arab ancestry, such an example may be seen in the way that Egyptians identify themselves.[19][20]

          my first understanding was ‘anyone who speaks arabic as their native tongue’. my point is that it is contested. i think during the pan arabism movement there was a nationalistic definition applied. this is not my specialty tho but i don’t think the defintion is set in stone even by arabs. the concept of a modern sense of the word..i think was in relation to pan arabism.

          gotta go.

        • Avi says:

          annie,

          The problem with identity is that people, individuals, and nations have struggled, debated, modified, reshaped, reverted and invented that which is called “identity”.

          As for collectives, groups that call themselves nations, religions, etc. are those who get to define for themselves what they have in common. There is no one standard for classifying or categorizing the sense of ‘togetherness’ that which emerges from such national identity.

          On a micro level, every individual has the right to define for himself and or herself whatever he or she chooses one’s own personal identity to be. That is to say that no self-appointed Zionist has the right to tell others whether they are “real Jews” or not. Similarly, no Palestinian, American or French has the right to impose such constructs on fellow man, woman or child.

        • “one who is a national of an Arab state, has command of the Arabic language, and possesses a fundamental knowledge of Arab tradition, that is, of the manners, customs, and political and social systems of the culture.”

          My girlfriend is Moroccan, born and raised in Casablanca. She speaks Arabic and French, and not a word of Berber, yet she is 100% pure Berber. She indeed has a fundamental knowledge of Arab tradition, just as anyone who lived in a predominantly Arab country would. One of her best friends’ parents are from India, but he was also born and raised in Casablanca. Arabic and French are his first languages, and he is also fully intimate with Arab culture, but he is definitely NOT arab.

          Nationally they are both Moroccan. Ethnically they are Berber and South Asian respectively. Religiously they are Muslim and Hindu.

          I see Palestinian as a national identity, Muslim/Jewish as religious identities and Arab as an ethnic identity. One could be an Arabic-speaking Berber Hindu and still be a Palestinian because it relates to a geographical space, not a genetic origin and not an ideology.

        • annie says:

          every individual has the right to define for himself and or herself whatever he or she chooses one’s own personal identity to be.

          i definitely agree!

    • LeaNder says:

      You mention in your article something about how to be defined as part of a group means that you are linked to the history of that group, that you can trace your history back to the indigenous people who inhabited this land. Therefore, taking into consideration that the two brothers’ grandparents are from Ukraine and Poland, how come can they be Palestinian?

      The German philosopher Kant talked/wrote about the “the Palestinians living among us” (die unter uns lebenden Palästinenser) and meant “the Jews”. Here in Cologne Jewish communities were first mentioned in a document from 321 CE /AD or whatever you would call it in Islam. They probably came here with the Romans. And still Kant perceived them as “Palestinians” more the 1.500 hundred years later.

      Slim, compact, not easy to digest but highly interesting: Semites. Race, Religion, Literature.

      And nowadays, it surely must be the highest recommendation to be on “Orientalist” (or less sophisticated: racist) David Horowitz’ Discover the Network list.

  11. hophmi says:

    “Some guy told me I can’t be Palestinian because I’m not Arab – but that’s wrong. Palestinian is national, not ethnic.”

    Or maybe he was stating the truth, which is that there is no distinct Palestinian nationality separate from pan-Arab nationality, difficult and incovenient as this may be for some Westerners to swallow.

    Most of the enemies of the idea of a Palestinian Jew are Palestinian, not Jewish. They are the Palestinians who insist that Jews cannot exercise their right to self-determination and kill whomever sells land to a Jew.

    I have never heard anyone say an Israeli cannot be an Arab.

    You also make an assumption – that people cannot have two nationalities at once, when, in reality, it happens all the time.

    • Potsherd2 says:

      which is that there is no distinct Palestinian nationality separate from pan-Arab nationality

      Go on, hophmi, tell us what that actually means. Is it the old Zionist canard about there never was a country called Palestine?

      • “Go on, hophmi, tell us what that actually means. Is it the old Zionist canard about there never was a country called Palestine?”

        Every time I hear this I think of three things – an antique Palestinian passport, the 1922 British White Paper and the Faisal-Weizmann agreement.

        White paper:
        “Further, it is contemplated that the status of all citizens of Palestine in the eyes of the law shall be Palestinian, and it has never been intended that they, or any section of them, should possess any other juridical status.”

        F-W:
        # Article 1: Understanding between Arabs and Jews
        # Article 2: ***Borders between an Arab and Palestinian state to be determined by a commission***
        # Article 3: Endorsement of the Balfour declaration and the establishment of the ***Constitution and Administration of Palestine***
        # Article 4: Settlement of Jews to the land of Palestine provided that “in taking such measures the Arab peasant and tenant farmers shall be protected in their rights [in this case meaning Palestinian Arabs, considering other Arabs would not be living in Palestine] and shall be assisted in forwarding their economic development.”
        # Article 5: Protections of religious exercises and the guarantee that “no religious test shall ever be required for the exercise of civil or political rights”
        # Article 6: Muslim holy places put under Muslim control

        link to resistingoccupation.com

        • RoHa says:

          maggielorraine, you are not trying to introduce historical facts into the argument, are you? For Zionists, the only facts that count are those they create.

        • i’ve noticed this. it frightens me. the war on reality…

        • hophmi says:

          What does ANY of this have to do with the fact that the Palestinian national movement is indiscipherable from the Arab one? Are you now taking the position that the arbitrary national borders drawn by colonists throughout the Arab world have historical significance to the people living there?

          We KNOW there was never a country called Palestine. I’m not sure why you would argue differently.

        • Frances says:

          “What does ANY of this have to do with the fact that the Palestinian national movement is indiscipherable from the Arab one? ”

          Only if you’re stupid.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “We KNOW there was never a country called Palestine.”

          Wrong. There is a difference between a state and a country. The country has been known as Palestine for thousands of years.

    • RoHa says:

      “You also make an assumption – that people cannot have two nationalities at once, when, in reality, it happens all the time.”

      When “nationality” is the same as “citizenship”, then this is true. There are lots of people who are dual citizens. I am one of them.
      On my Australian passport it says “Nationality – Australian”.
      On my British passport it says “Nationality – British”.

      But the weird Israeli claim is that “nationality” is not the same as “citizenship”.

    • talknic says:

      hophmi
      “maybe he was stating the truth, which is that there is no distinct Palestinian nationality separate from pan-Arab nationality, difficult and incovenient as this may be for some Westerners to swallow”

      Twaddle. A citizen of Lebanon is not a Jordanian citizen. All Lebanese citizens are Lebanese. All Jordanian citizens are Jordanian. Lebanese do not have a right to just go to Jordan and live because they might be Arabs. ALL citizens of Palestine, including Jewish folk, were Palestinian, for at least 2,000 years. Far longer than the Jewish kingdom or the State of Israel. Their nationality was PALESTINIAN.

      STOP trying to justify and learn to apply logic.

      Most of the enemies of the idea of a Palestinian Jew are Palestinian, not Jewish. >

      The most vehement deniers of the existence of Palestine and thus Palestinian Jews, are the rabid, illogical, advocates for a Greater Israel.

      They are the Palestinians who insist that Jews cannot exercise their right to self-determination and kill whomever sells land to a Jew.

      Conflation 101. Israeli’s cannot exercise self determination in Palestine. Not even Arab Israelis.

      ” I have never heard anyone say an Israeli cannot be an Arab”

      You haven’t been around… the existence of Israeli Jewish Arabs is widely denied.

      “You also make an assumption – that people cannot have two nationalities at once, when, in reality, it happens all the time”

      Except in Israel perhaps. Do many Israeli Palestinian Arabs have dual Palestinian citizenship? Even if Jewish?

      Israeli = citizenship Palestinian = heritage Arab = ethnicity Jewish = religion.

      • hophmi says:

        “The most vehement deniers of the existence of Palestine and thus Palestinian Jews, are the rabid, illogical, advocates for a Greater Israel.”

        Simply tell us about Palestinian Nationality before the PLO in 1964.

        • talknic says:

          hophmi

          “tell us about Palestinian Nationality before the PLO in 1964.

          Er what changed in 1964? NO THING. There was no alteration in Palestinian citizenship law for Palestinians.

          Your really, really, stupid argument, is about the Palestinian decision in 1964 to CONTINUE calling their bit of the M East Palestine. The name did not change.

          They were citizens of Palestine for 2,000 years. They they are still citizens of Palestine. What nationality were Palestinian Jews before 1948? Israeli? What nationality are US, Chinese, Canadian, Australian, Iranian, Yemeni, British Jews before they immigrate to Israel? Israeli? Is there Jewish passport?

          Why is there an Israeli Nationality Law ?

          A person is a national of what ever entity they happen to be a citizen of, regardless of whether that entity is a state or a non-state entity. Some PALESTINIANS have dual US citizenship.

          Denial of the existence of Palestine before 1964 denies the major period of Jewish history in the region. 2,000 years or so as Palestinian Jews. Longer than the existence of the Jewish Kingdom or the Jewish state.

          The hatred of the Palestinians whose land Israel is illegally acquiring, is propaganda OUT OF CONTROL. It’s illogical, it is an impediment to peace. It is perpetuated by those who will use anything, no matter how bizarre, absurd, obscene, ridiculous, illogical, STUPID, bigoted, irrelevant, for a Greater Israel. If you perpetuate it, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

          The day the State of Israel was declared as the Jewish Homeland State, the notion of Jews living in the ‘historic’ Jewish homeland in all of Palestine was relegated to the garbage bin of history. link to wp.me Another opportunity in a long list of opportunities missed

    • Doctor Pi says:

      hophmi: even if you believe that there was no palestinian nationality separate from a pan-Arab one before the establishment of the state of Israel, the shared experience of over 40 years of occupation has created one.

      • I’ve heard Hophmi state that there IS now a distinct Palestinian identity.

        Its new though, and its manifestation into a self-governing state has not yet occurred. Its not a restoration, so much as something new that should be.

        • Philip Weiss says:

          interesting how that kosovo identity blossomed into a state right under our eyes and the turkmenistan identity burgeoned right after the cold war into statehood and pakistani identity floored all expectations by becoming a state 63 years ago but palestinian identity just wont gel into statehood…

        • Its coming soon.

          The prerequisite work is being done currently, and cannot but be accepted ultimately.

          But, that WORK is called “quisling”. Rather than non-violent, assertive affirmation.

        • eljay says:

          >> Its new though, and its manifestation into a self-governing state has not yet occurred.

          It’s hard to manifest into a self-governing state when external entities undermine your democracy, steal your land, control your resources, bombard your factories, hobble your economy, imprison or kill your “Gandhis”, et cetera. Thankfully, at least, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is “currently not necessary”.

        • hophmi says:

          Yeah, interesting. I supported the Kosovars and NATO against the Serbs.

          Are you a fan of Kosovo? It would be interesting if you were, since Kosovo is as good an example of a new ethnic state as we have today, a holy land fought over by two peoples. The “one-state solution” would have been a united Serbia. In fact, in the whole region, the one-state solution would have been a united Yugoslavia.

        • Philip Weiss says:

          true, hop, but they delivered that state; and the delivery promises to palestinians have been going on for 75 years without even a postcard, which has led some to question the good faith of the promises…
          also be careful with kosovo/serbia, because they honored a right cemented in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: refugees have a right to return to their homes…

        • hophmi says:

          Yes, refugees returned very soon after being expelled – to a Kosovar state, not a Serbian one. Also, the Kosovar actually elected people with commitments to non-violence (though it didn’t stop the KLA from ethnically cleansing Serbs from Kosovo).

          The difference is pragmatic, not ideological. The obvious parallel would be for the Palestinians to exercise a right of return – to the Palestinian state, not the Jewish one.

        • Phil,
          You are dead wrong about “not even a postcard”.

          The tide is flowing for a Palestinian state. Netanyahu and government are attempting to put up dikes against that tide, but won’t be able to.

          Its ignorant to attempt to sail into the wind. I would hope that you also sought that the boat sail, rather than twist the ropes, now that the wind is actually blowing, after 63 years.

          The comment about doubt in the promisers is relevant. Extending that doubt to fact is a falsehood.

        • RoHa says:

          “for the Palestinians to exercise a right of return – to the Palestinian state, not the Jewish one.”

          The right of return is the right to return to the place from which they were expelled. That means Israel.

          Going to Ramallah is not a return for people who were expelled from Haifa.

        • Shingo says:

          The tide is flowing for a Palestinian state. Netanyahu and government are attempting to put up dikes against that tide, but won’t be able to.

          Yuo’re deluded,

          Even if Netentahy wanted a Palestinian state, he couldn’t deliver one. It’s clear to anyone paying attention that Lieberman controls the reigns of powe now, and Bibbi won’t dare take him on, let alone the settlers.

          As the Monti Python skit with the dead parrot shnows, you are completely deluded and in denial. You just can’t bring yourself to admit that a single state is innevitable

        • talknic says:

          “but palestinian identity just wont gel into statehood…”

          Seems irrelevant. Occupation and Israel’s refusal to end it, prevents Palestinian statehood, as it has done from May 14th 1948 when Jewish forces were already in control of territory slated for the new Arab State, outside of Israel.

          Identity Example….Texas – legally annexed to the USA after a referendum amongst the people of the territory to be annexed. Mexicans, with a Mexican identity became USers.

          The argument on the existence or not of Palestine or of a Palestinian identity is largely irrelevant. It gives Israel no more right or justification for illegally usurping the Palestinians , illegally acquiring, illegally annexing or illegally settling it’s citizens outside of Israeli Sovereign territory than it has now. NIL.

          What the people of Palestine do with their territory, sans occupation and being illegally annexed and settled, is their concern, self determination, regardless of any single identity.

        • talknic says:

          a missing link

          Occupation and Israel’s refusal to end it, prevents Palestinian statehood, as it has done from May 14th 1948.


          and added bits

          What the people of Palestine do with their territory, sans occupation and being illegally annexed and settled, is their concern, regardless of any single identity or what anyone else thinks. It’s nobody’s business but their own.

          I believe it’s called self determination.

          Meanwhile Israel has a responsibility under the UN Charter Chapter XI. Surely the Jewish People’s Council read the UN Charter before obligingIsrael to uphold it in the Declaration for the Establishment for the State of Israel?

  12. peters says:

    israeli-ness is a made-up identity. kind of like george bush pretending to be texan. what you get is a sort of fakeness and defensiveness.

  13. hophmi says:

    “israeli-ness is a made-up identity”

    I think the same could be said about any national or regional identity.

  14. droog says:

    This sounds good to me, I can understand the Pals not being too keen, as the ongoing bulldozer of nigh on, a century of history has taught them to beware of “new friends” from afar. I still believe that a publically declared route to acceptance would be politically toxic to a fundamental meme of Zionism and good for future prospects.

    consider this propagated

  15. JLWarner says:

    I always ID myself as a Jewish Palestinian. I attribute this distinction to my mother being born in Ottoman Palestine. My mother’s parents migrated from Beirut in the first decade of the 20th century. My mother spoke Arabic with her family. She never taugh me – pity.

  16. john h says:

    Psychopathic god mentioned Mark Braverman. In Bethlehem in 2004 he said “I am a Palestinian Jew. My grandfather was born in the Old City of Jerusalem in the year 1900. My prayer is that someday, the phrase “Palestinian Jew” will not sound strange to the ear. It does not sound strange to me”.

    Just loved those Mooser and MRW comments about that vaunted intelligence. Right on the button.