The general vanishes

Israel/Palestine
on 56 Comments

A few years ago, an Iranian general, Ali Reza Asgari, deputy minister of defence, vanished during a foreign trip. Rumours spread that he had defected or had been kidnapped by Israelis or Americans. At the end of 2010, the general once again appeared in the news. This time he was reportedly found dead in Israel. 

While no confirmation from Israel is forthcoming, there remains a strong suspicion that he was kidnapped by Israeli agents in Turkey, brought to Israel via the US Air base at Incirlik, interrogated for three years and finally died (was killed or committed suicide) in an Israeli prison. I have no privileged sources to support or deny the story. As a scholar long interested in Israel and Zionism, I can only assess the probability of such an event. Could Israel commit such acts? Is it congruent with its past record? Does it fit the ideology of Zionism that lies at the basis of the state of Israel?

Prima facie, the source of this story appears credible. This story reached me through a blog named ‘Tikun Olam”, Hebrew for Repairing the World, run by Richard Silverstein, an American Jewish activist. Jews, such as Ilan Pappe, Noam Chomsky and the rabbis of Neturei Karta have been among the most active and best-informed critics of Israel. This is no coincidence. Most Jews, religious or not, rejected Zionism when it emerged in the late 19th century. In spite of the establishment of the Zionist state and its military an economic successes, Jewish opposition has not vanished to this day. My recent book on Jewish opposition to Zionism explains and interprets this important but often obscured phenomenon that sheds a different light on the century-long conflict in the Holy Land. Having looked at what motivates Jews who reject Zionism, I am inclined to trust Jewish critics of Israel. While they are motivated by a strong desire to show that what Israel is and does has nothing to do with Jews, Jewish history and Jewish religion, their sources are usually reliable, and I have no reason to doubt this one.

Secondly, the suspected scenario fits established patterns. Kidnapping individuals in other countries and bringing them to Israel is part of the ethos that Israeli security services have developed over the years.

The history of Zionist activities even before the establishment of the state of Israel shows a taste for intrepid, often violent adventures and disdainful disregard for law, national or international. The cultivation of distrust by the state of Israel pretending to assure “the survival of the Jewish people” serves as a carte blanche to justify the use of any and all means available. Ironically, Zionism has turned the Holy Land into the most dangerous country for a Jew to live in. 

The first political murder perpetrated by Zionist organizations occurred as early as 1924, when Jacob De Haan, a prominent opponent of Zionism, was shot as he was leaving a synagogue in Jerusalem after the evening prayer. His murderers were Zionists who had infiltrated the British police. The murder was to prevent De Haan from organizing a delegation of rabbis to London in the hope of convincing British colonial authorities that Zionists did not represent Jews in Palestine or elsewhere, that Zionists represented only themselves. As a result of De Haan’s assassination, this delegation never left for London, and Zionists continued to act as if the Jews of the world were supporting them. Among the conspirators to murder was the future President of Israel Yitzhak Ben-Tsvi. Later, Zionist assassination squads committed murders of British and international officials in Cairo, with at least one of them being attributed to the future Prime Minister of Israel Yitzhak Shamir. 

There is a bitter irony in the manner in which the state of Israel consistently ignores and defies public international law. In fact, Israel may be the only state to derive its legitimacy from an international organization, i.e. the United Nations. It was a decision of the UN General Assembly to partition Palestine in 1947 that gave the Zionist movement a degree of international respectability. Taken against the will of the majority of Palestinians – Jewish, Christian and Muslim – the UN resolution was a bizarre vestige of colonial mentality and a recipe for chronic violence that has plagued the region ever since. When the United Nations later called on Israel to allow Palestinian refugees back, Israel refused and snubbed the international organization, proceeding to obliterate hundreds of Palestinian villages. Israel added insult to injury by settling the lands conquered from Egypt, Syria and Jordan in June 1967. Israel has since ignored dozens of resolutions adopted by the UN.

Israel has acted with resolve and determination, colonizing the occupied territories, assassinating presumed enemies around the world and – with particular relevance to our case – kidnapping people in other countries. The kidnapped are a rather motley crowd, ranging from the Nazi official Adolf Eichmann kidnapped in Argentina to the Israeli nuclear technician Mordekhai Vanunu abducted from Italy. Since kidnapping is part of the Israeli arsenal, it is quite conceivable that General Asgari would be dealt this way. / Israeli security services enjoy the privilege of impunity because of unswerving protection by the United States. In fact, there is an interesting parallel between the exceptionalism of Israel and that of the United States. Both countries have acted self-righteously in pursuit of its interests whatever the legal consequences. The only counterweight has been the threat of credible force from their adversaries: this is how, for nearly half a century, the aggressive instincts of the United States were held in check by the Soviet Union.

For decades, rather than admit that the colonial settler state generates hostility through dispossession and displacement, Israel has attributed the hostility of Palestinians and other Arabs to irrational causes, including “the new antisemitism”. This justified routine use of violence as “the only language they understand”.

The United States and other Western nations embraced this doctrine soon after the dismemberment of the Soviet Union. Thus the hostility of the perpetrators of the attack on the Twin Towers was attributed to “their hatred of our way of life”, rather than to perfectly rational causes such as rejection of US policies in Western Asia. The stage was set for the concept of “Clash of Civilizations”, and for the unabashed reliance on the use of force in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan as well as growing threats of the use of force against Iran. This is how the US practices have come to imitate those of Israel. Kidnapping was renamed “extraordinary rendition”, and came to be practiced with active cooperation of several European and Arab countries. There is little doubt that Israel and the United States would cooperate in such endeavours. It is therefore quite conceivable that the kidnapping of General Asgari could be carried out as a joint venture of Israel and the United States.

To justify a kidnapping of a deputy defence minister of another country, Israel had to build up the image of Iran as a dangerous and irrational enemy. This is how the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was portrayed as an anti-Semite who threatens to wipe Israel off the map.

These two claims have been proven false. While overtly anti-Zionist, he is not anti-Jewish. Indeed, had he been anti-Semitic, he would have harassed Iran’s Jews rather than criticize a nuclear-armed regional superpower. Nor has he threatened to wipe Israel off the map, as Zionist propaganda claims. Rather, comparing it to the Soviet Union, he expressed a wish to see Israel as the Zionist state disappear “from the page of time”. Just as the Soviet regime was not wiped out in a hail of nuclear weapons, he does not suggest using force to transform Israel into a normal state of equal citizens, which would live in peace with its neighbours. Like many non-, anti- and post-Zionist Jews, he wants Israel to evolve from a state for the Jews to an inclusive state of all its citizens.

A wish to see Israel evolve this way was misrepresented as a physical threat against Israeli civilians. This is how the emotionally charged allegations hurled at the Iranian president have become established truth and, moreover, ground for action in Israel and the United States.

Zionism has been a rebellion against Diaspora Judaism and its cult of humility and appeasement. Several Jewish thinkers had warned of this predicament. One of them prophesied in 1948, soon after the unilateral proclamation of independence by the Zionist leaders: 

And even if the Jews were to win the war, […] the “victorious” Jews would live surrounded by an entirely hostile Arab population, secluded inside ever-threatened borders, absorbed with physical self-defence. […] And all this would be the fate of a nation that – no matter how many immigrants it could still absorb and how far it extended its boundaries – would still remain a very small people greatly outnumbered by hostile neighbours. 

This warning came from the German-American scholar Hannah Arendt who understood the perils of establishing a state against the will of local inhabitants and all the surrounding nations. Secular and religious thinkers alike had feared that Zionism would endanger Jews engulfing them in chronic violence. Indeed, to impose itself onto its “hostile neigbours” Israel has acquired the mightiest military in the region. But this has brought its citizens neither peace nor tranquillity as if confirming the words of the Biblical prophet Samuel: it is not by strength that man prevails (Samuel I 2:9). 

Nowadays, when no Arab state poses a military threat to Israel it is Iran that the Israelis are being told to fear. Just next to Iran, which is as yet far from acquiring a nuclear potential, lies Pakistan, an unstable regime with a real, not imaginary, nuclear arsenal. Just as Arendt prophesied, there may be no end to existential threats if Israel maintains its Zionist character. It follows that kidnapping a deputy minister of another country in a third one would make perfect sense in the Zionist frame of mind. While I have no solid evidence that the kidnapping took place, its probability appears rather high. 

The author is Professor of History and associate of CERIUM, Centre for International Studies at the University of Montreal. His recent book on the history of Jewish opposition to Zionism has been translated into eleven languages. It was named one of the three best books of the year in Japan in 2010, nominated for the Hecht Prize for Studies on Zionism in 2008, and for Canada’s Governor General Award in 2006.

56 Responses

  1. annie
    January 11, 2011, 10:45 am

    while reading your essay i was reminded of israel kidnapping a planeload of syrians in 1954, the first airplane highjacking ever.

    • yonira
      January 11, 2011, 10:49 am

      annie, i may have missed it before, but outside of Chomsky’s book, is there any other sources confirming this incident?

      didn’t Chomsky allege the plane was intercepted by Israeli airforce jets? I don’t know if I would consider that a hijacking.

      Funny thing about this incident, it is basically unreported, anywhere.

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      • annie
        January 11, 2011, 10:50 am

        it is basically unreported, anywhere

        wonders never cease

      • Chaos4700
        January 11, 2011, 10:57 am

        It’s funny how Holocaust deniers keep denying the actual, well-documented, recorded events of history by playing semantics games and discrediting respected academics. It’s quite a disgusting strategy to watch in action… especially when other people copy those dishonest methods and propagate them.

      • Chaos4700
        January 11, 2011, 11:06 am

        But of course, you’d refute Chomsky by going into the Talk section of Wikipedia. Not because you’re so desperate you’d scrape the bottom of the barrel and take the word of any anonymous user on Wiki with a propogandistic agenda over the word of one of the US’ most respect academicians.

        What next? Are you going to refute the Goldstone Report with a post you found on 4-chan?

      • annie
        January 11, 2011, 11:25 am

        i know, it cracks me up. wiki is a completely challenged source wrt i/p anyway. but resorting to using the talk back pages as a source?!?!?

        yonira’s just playing games. we had this discussion w/him 4 days ago right here . yonira is well aware of the wiki link (not talkback) that sources Avi Shlaim, (2000) The Iron Wall;Israel and the Arab World Penguin Books , and the msm AP plus the nyt on both 12/13/54 and 12/15/54 immediately after the event.

        12 December 1954 Israel forced a Syrian civilian airliner to land in Israel in the first recorded skyjacking after Israel said it had entered Israel’s airspace illegally, the Israeli claim was admitted to be false by Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharret to the Israeli Knesset on 17 January 1955.[18] Israeli war-planes forced a Syrian Airways Dakota passenger craft carrying four passengers and five crewmen to land at Lydda airport inside Israel.[19] The passengers were interrogated for two days before international protests, including strong complaints from Washington, finally convinced Israel to release the plane and its passengers.[20] The plane had been forced down so that the passengers could be used as hostages for the Israeli soldiers caught on espionage duties in Syrian territory.[18]

        the fact yonira would rely on debunked gossip on a talkback page knowing full well this hasbara bs has been previously proven false is pathetic and beneath him.

      • yonira
        January 11, 2011, 11:34 am

        thanks Annie, like I said, I may have missed it before.

        So it wasn’t a hijacking, it was a skyjacking, and it wasn’t the first instance of the hijacking of a plane.

        But I guess W/P is so challenged, I can’t really believe that either huh?

      • annie
        January 11, 2011, 1:57 pm

        missed it? rigghhht. well now you know.

        But I guess W/P is so challenged, I can’t really believe that either huh?

        depending on how the article is sourced. kinda hard to cover up an event of that much publicity when it happened . ap nyt etc. it’s gonna take lots of little scrubbers to make it go all the way away.

        ;)

        So it wasn’t a hijacking, it was a skyjacking

        every skyjacking is a highjacking yonira. sheesh. Aircraft hijacking (also known as skyjacking and sky controlling)

        in fact it was the first one ever. pre 9/11 so to speak. israel is so…innovative don’t you think?

        it was also kidnapping innocent people.

      • yonira
        January 11, 2011, 6:14 pm

        One is where the hijackers are in the actual plane, here the aircraft was intercepted and the diverted to Israel.

        It may have been the first time a plane was diverted midair and forced to land somewhere else, but not the first time a plane was taken over against the pilot’s will.

        in fact it was the first one ever. pre 9/11 so to speak. israel is so…innovative don’t you think?

        What on earth are you talking about here? So basically in your deranged time line there was this incident and then 9/11?

      • annie
        January 11, 2011, 6:16 pm

        no, there were lots of incidents in between.

      • Chaos4700
        January 11, 2011, 6:44 pm

        Yonira, you already made a fool of yourself as it is. Try not to keep digging that hole deeper.

      • maggielorraine
        January 12, 2011, 4:25 am

        Yonira,

        Definition of hijack: comandeer; take arbitrarily or by force (princeton wordnet – look it up).

        “taken over against the pilot’s will”

        Well let’s see, the plane wasn’t going to Israel. The pilot had no desire to land in Israel and yet Israeli planes forced him to do so. What exactly do you think constitutes “against the pilot’s will” hmm? You were proven wrong, shown reliable factual evidence and are now resorting to equivocation. Ridiculous.

  2. Citizen
    January 11, 2011, 10:50 am

    This is a great post. Thank you, Mr Rabkin. The sovereignty of any country other than itself is of no consequence at all to the Israeli regime mindset. The abuse of foreign passports means nothing in Israel. The ultimate irony is that
    a self-declared state given world validity solely by foreigners ignores all foreigners official or unofficial at will. And the former role model state for the modern world has been steadily adopting Israel’s criminal mentality, and doing so under the justification of “Judeo-Christian” values. The picture being painted for the world to see is not the rule of law, but the rule of might make right. The balance of the world will absorb this lesson, plan and act on it when the timing is deemed right, inch by inch, foot by foot, mile by mile, all the while borrowing from the US and Israel the code words and pretexts to make the medicine go down. World War 3 is just a manner of time, and like WW2 was the continuation of WW1, WW3 will be the continuation of WW2. Always monitor the flight of investments to see what will eventually come down–and where.

    • Walid
      January 11, 2011, 11:12 am

      Y.M Rabkin asks “Could Israel commit such acts? Is it congruent with its past record? Does it fit the ideology of Zionism that lies at the basis of the state of Israel? ”

      The answers to his questions are yes, yes, and yes.

  3. Potsherd2
    January 11, 2011, 11:06 am

    Rabkin seems to mix his condemnation of Israeli crimes with a certain admiration of their “resolve and determination.”

    • Walid
      January 11, 2011, 11:42 am

      I think it’s a simple matter of Y.M. Rabkin not agreeing with what is being done in his name and in the name of other Jews by Israel . I’m not Jewish but I know enough about it to see that what Israel is doing has nothing to do with it.

  4. eee
    January 11, 2011, 11:19 am

    Why isn’t it just as likely that the US did it? After all, the US did and does much worse things than Israel. What exactly were the CIA agents in Italy convicted of? Ah, yes kidnapping:
    link to news.bbc.co.uk

    According to Chomsky, the US took part in destabilizing governments through assassinations all over the world. And in fact was complicit in the 1953 overthrow of democracy in Iran. Given these facts and given that the CIA is much larger than the Mossad and the fact allegedly the general was taken out of Turkey via an AMERICAN air base, isn’t it clear that if there was a crime, it was much more likely the US is behind it?

    • Walid
      January 11, 2011, 12:13 pm

      eee, still trying to take the heat off Israel by pointing the dirty finger at the US, eh?

      • eee
        January 11, 2011, 12:25 pm

        Walid,

        Care to explain why it is more likely Israel did it when it is the US that has an air base in Turkey?

      • Walid
        January 11, 2011, 1:02 pm

        eee, I base it on Israel’s track record. It’s been doing stuff like that for ages; targeted assassinations, use of human shields and stuff like that was new to Americans and Israel taught them well. Hang on, eee, the story of Israel’s assassination of Arafat is slowly creeping back into the news.

      • tree
        January 11, 2011, 5:26 pm

        Here’s why, ee.

        Listed in order of appearance on Richard Silverstein’s blog:

        link to richardsilverstein.com

        link to richardsilverstein.com

        link to richardsilverstein.com

    • Potsherd2
      January 11, 2011, 12:20 pm

      Or they collaborated in the crime.

      • Chaos4700
        January 11, 2011, 6:46 pm

        Because right now, the evidence there is to be had points just to Israel. If you have any additional evidence to present, you know, instead of wild, desperate diversions, let us know.

      • yonira
        January 12, 2011, 1:37 am

        Which evidence is that Chaos?

        Can you show us any evidence? So far I have seen the ‘refuting evidence’ which is a link to richard silverstein’s blog, which is about as unbiased as Fox News.

  5. DICKERSON3870
    January 11, 2011, 4:24 pm

    RE: “At the end of 2010, the general once again appeared in the news. This time he was reportedly found dead in Israel.” – Rabkin
    ALSO SEE: “NPR on Asgari: Buying into Mossad Narrative” ~ by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 01/07/11

    (excerpt)…Thanks to reader Nico who informed me about NPR’s segment yesterday on Asgari. I was worried that, since the reporter hadn’t bothered to contact me, that the report might be full of the speculation and dubious claims that characterized Laura Rozen’s reporting in Politico on the same story. Though the NPR correspondent Mike Shuster did a better job than her, the report was sorely lacking in a number of ways.
    First, Shuster began by reporting that Asgari disappeared three years ago, when it was four (in late 2006). Second, he stated unequivocally that Asgari defected and never even discussed the equally plausible claim by Iran and other parties (including me) that he was kidnapped. He interviewed two native Iranian experts who both supported the theory that Asgari defected. One in fact dismissed a report of mine, whose source was a former senior IDF officer and government minister, that Asgari had been held in an Israeli prison by saying: “Why would Israel have to imprison him if he defected?” The very question completely misunderstands my claim and the claim of those who say Asgari’s disappearance was not voluntary…

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to richardsilverstein.com

    RE: “Why would Israel have to imprison him [Ali Reza Asgari] if he defected?” – a native Iranian “expert” on NPR
    POSSIBLE SCENARIO [PURELY HYPOTHETICAL]: Suppose that after the “defection” Asgari was being “debriefed”. Further suppose that Israel and/or the U.S. wanted him to say that Iran was working on “da bomb” [as Fox “News” refers to nuclear weapons].
    But unfortunately, he told them Iran wasn’t trying to develop a nuclear weapon as far as he knew. Then they said, “Well, that’s a shame because if you can remember something that perhaps you had forgotten [wink, wink] that convinces you the “mad mullahs” have a covert program aimed at producing nuclear weapons [wink, wink], then you can instantly become a very wealthy man (like that Iranian “defector” reportedly given access by the CIA to a bank account containing five million dollars – that is, until he decided to go back to Iran).”
    But the “defector” Asgari still claimed he couldn’t remember anything about an ongoing covert nuclear weapons program. [In other words, he still wouldn’t lie.]
    Consequently, “Pricky Dick” Cheney decided that Asgari’s “feigned lack of knowledge” as to Iran’s WMD program was a “clear indication” that Asgari was “withholding vital information” (“like those crafty Persians are famous for”). He therefore insisted they try a little “unfriendly persuasion” of the “enhanced interrogation” [wink, wink] variety.
    When Asgari still couldn’t remember anything about an ongoing covert nuclear weapons program, “Pricky Dick” Cheney DEMANDED they use a whole lot of “unfriendly persuasion”; because, he insisted, “that’s the only way you can get the truth out of those cagey Iranians”.

  6. Jeffrey Blankfort
    January 11, 2011, 6:12 pm

    Stop a minute folks. Don’t you see what Yoni and Triple-e have done and as they have done before? They have taken the comments almost completely away from an important, well researched article by Yakov Rabkin, one the leading genuine Jewish anti-Zionists.

    This is their game. Why else do they spend the time defending the indefensible which just by coincidence, no doubt, follows a plan spelled out last year or the one before by Israel’s hasbara ministry?

    Whether Agent Yoni or Agent eee are volunteers or on the Israeli payroll or a sad humorless creature like Witty is irrelevant. Their job is to throw shit in the game and indeed, I know from, experience, it is hard to resist cleaning it up. But let’s think a bit before stepping into it.

    • Schmok
      January 11, 2011, 6:51 pm

      This is who’s game? My? If you take a look at my blog you would see that I am the last one who is defending the crimes of the right wing gouvernment of Israel, the settlements or the racism towards the Palestinians inside or outside Israel or anything else.

      But, like I said: Call a spade a spade. This is why I resist an article which (I hope by mistake) trys to whitewash Ahmadinejad’s Anti-Semitism and nationalism. All I said is: you don’t need to defend Ahmadinejad when you criticise the politics of the state of Israel. So the article could be (even without proofed facts) really informative. But – I repeat – it is annoying when it comes to Ahmadinejad.

      • Chaos4700
        January 11, 2011, 7:13 pm

        Really? And how come this is the first time you’ve spoken up on here at all? Just to slander us as “Persian-lovin'” PR agents of Ahmedinejad?

        Why are YOU trying to whitewash the kidnapping, torture and murder of Iranian citizens?

      • Potsherd2
        January 11, 2011, 7:25 pm

        Or maybe it’s that you have a particular hair up your ass when it comes to Ajad?

  7. eljay
    January 11, 2011, 7:04 pm

    >> Schmok: All I said is: you don’t need to defend Ahmadinejad when you criticise the politics of the state of Israel.

    I agree that Ahmadinejad has a problem with Jews. That being said, if it’s not necessary to defend him when criticizing the politics of Israel, neither is it necessary to demonize him (one man, impotent to execute his “existential threat”) as justification for defending the politics of Israel.

    So, now that you’ve taken the “defenders” to task, perhaps you could take the “demonizers” to task as well? :-)

    • Psychopathic god
      January 11, 2011, 8:12 pm

      if you “agree that Ahmadinejad has a problem with Jews” then you are working on the basis of false information, eljay.

      Ahmadinejad has said, countless times: he loves the Jewish people; he has no problem with the Jewish people. It is ZIONISM that is the problem. He is opposed to zionism. As are many participants on this blog. As is the author of the informative and important article that is the subject of this thread.

      That Ahmadinejad became the immediate target of zionist vitreol should tell you that the man was a threat precisely because he would not bend over to zionist coercion. Read what AN says, not what zionists say about him. Do your own critical thinking from sound sources, not MFA.

    • Schmok
      January 12, 2011, 3:49 am

      Unbelievable that Mondoweiss is censor an input on an article just because I am criticising the way Iran’s president is whitewashed! This is how you discuss here? If somebody writes wrong stuff (even the rest is interesting and maybe right) and somebody points his finger on it, you just cencor it? Wow, this is how you will get us all in line!

      I am out!

  8. Psychopathic god
    January 11, 2011, 8:40 pm

    this is an extremely important piece of writing. We should all be grateful to Phil and Adam for giving it exposure.

    There is a crying need for a well-reasoned, well-researched, persuasive but not polemical exposition of the nature of zionism and how it relates to Jewish history and culture — or how zionism is antipathetic to Jewish history and culture, as the case may be.

    Every member of the US Congress should be required to pass a test demonstrating that they have read, studied, mastered some fundamental information about the nature of zionism. The source for that learning should be someone like Dr. Rabkin, and NOT the cadre of zionists who have, in fact, infiltrated the US government to the highest levels.

    Somehow, American policymakers and legislators have got to be shaken out of their hypnotic trance/addictive state: they are being used by zionists; zionists have done this before to other states: those states have been destroyed by zionists, and as they crumbled, zionists scooped up their loot and made off for the next “mark.” I suspect Dr. Rabkin’s book would support this warning: Do not delude yourselves; zionists will kick the US under the bus, just as soon as US ceases to supply zionism’s needs. We have hyperarmed this power, and they WILL turn their weapons against the US. Consider: Iran and Israel were best of friends, and now there is no length to which Israel will not go to destroy Iran. What makes Americans think Israel would NOT turn on the US, if US demanded that Israel change its behavior?

    The importance of Dr. Rabkin’s informative book cannot be overstated, because the United States has GOT to go about coming to its senses DIFFERENTLY from other states that have tried to eradicate zionism: Americans have got to think this through, have got to resist the impulse to swing in manic-depressive mode from one extreme to the other: Americans must NOT turn awareness of the harm of zionism in its midst into an orgy of anti-Jewish reaction.

    Education is the key. It will be very difficult because zionists have so totally saturated all levels of American media, institutions, government, entertainment. Somehow, Americans have to resist a reaction to zionism that is a vicious as zionism.

  9. Richard Witty
    January 11, 2011, 9:10 pm

    Jewish life includes Zionism, and in religious approach, permanently.

    The theme of ingathering is in all Jewish religious approaches.

    The form and timing of it varies group by group, perspective by perspective. And, the degree of literality (relative to figurative, metaphorical, and/or mystical interpretations) varies.

    There is definitively NO slam-dunk, no certainty, no good vs evil about it.

    Currently, 5 million Jews live in Israel and/or the West Bank. To insist that they leave is an evil, three generations, most have never lived elsewhere, home. To insist that they not self-govern is a question, potentially evilly persecutorial, potentially “civil”.

    History in the region is a bad precedent.

    What do you think has changed, that would lend the idea of safety in a single state ANY confidence?

    • pjdude
      January 12, 2011, 5:36 am

      just because you breed in a stolen home doesn’t mean you or your decendents have any right to it. funny how it was ok to remove palestinians but to remove Israelis so those palestinians can return home is some how a great evil.
      in the zionist mind
      removing people with a legal right of ownership and replacing them with those with out a legal right = a good thing

      removing people with out a legal right of ownership to allowing those who do to return = an evil. just goes to show just how sick zionism and its defenders are.

      • Richard Witty
        January 12, 2011, 6:06 am

        They are both evils. Sometimes necessary, sometimes unnecessary.

        Are you advocating for the evil of forced removal of millions, in the present?

        In the name of “justice”?

        What’s past is past. What’s proposed is the world of intention.

      • alec
        January 12, 2011, 6:13 am

        Hi pjdude,

        Watch standard hasbara trope rather poorly played out by RW: trying to catch you out on denying Israel’s right to exist. Next syllogism, classify you as an anti-semite. Next syllogism, as an anti-semite, your opinion is worse than worthless. Next step, contact your employer, contact your spouse and if you live in the wrong country, the police.

        RW, just go and shove your “world of intention”: get busy righting wrongs for a change instead of blowing hot air to cover for torture, murder and expropriation. It could be as simple as ensuring that the children of Gaza have enough to eat.

      • Shingo
        January 12, 2011, 6:29 am

        What’s past is past. What’s proposed is the world of intention.

        You are referring exlcuively to crimes perpetrated by Israel of course. You are not nearly aer sanguine when it comes to crimes by Arabs are you Witty?

        The reason you fear justice, is becasue you know it’s not forth
        comming to your tribe.

      • pjdude
        January 12, 2011, 6:56 am

        No witty undoing a crime is never evil. or in your scrwed up head is returning stolen property evil????

        it was justice to remove all the settlers in 48 and return the property back to its palestinians owners. nothing has changed since. it is not in the name of justice it is justice. justice where ever possible demands the return of stolen property.

      • pjdude
        January 12, 2011, 6:57 am

        um I actually do deny Israel’s right to exist because as far as I am concerned no country has the right to exist only people have that right

      • Richard Witty
        January 12, 2011, 7:58 am

        Undoing a crime that has many conflicting perpetrators is beyond you, I or ANY politically motivated effort.

        The best that we can do is to improve the present, and with determination.

        There is NO possible good in seeking to remove 5 million from the land, no matter what their nationality, their ancestry, their prior residence.

        Rationalizing for that as a “good” is just a cruel rationalization, and one that will be fought.

      • pjdude
        January 12, 2011, 9:10 pm

        Wrong there is much good in removing most of that 5 million its called the rule of law.

        I like how when the crimes are done against you no amount of time is too much to stop recifing them but when you do it its oh well time went by just deal with it. your a hypocritie and a enabler of thug behavior.

    • alec
      January 12, 2011, 6:08 am

      Three generations of Israeli Jews vs one hundred generations of Palestinians. Is that really the argument you are seeking to advance?

      • Richard Witty
        January 12, 2011, 8:00 am

        I’m advocating for democracy and justice in the PRESENT, as all true justice is oriented.

        In the present, there are land and other claims against some Israeli title, that requires perfection, meaning the legal and substantive transition from contested status to consented.

        Again, if the “justice” that pjude asserts occurs, the status of land will remain contested, just with different parties contesting, again requiring perfection to achieve consent.

        The past orientation does not accomplish anything that you hope it might.

      • pjdude
        January 12, 2011, 9:11 pm

        No your not. sorry witty but demanding crimes left un punished is not justice. So because the jews never want to give back what they stole it shouldn’t be given back. only in your twisted morality do the wishes of criminals and gainers of stolen property matter more than the victims of their crimes. it is never wrong to undo a crime.

    • eljay
      January 12, 2011, 7:33 am

      >> Currently, 5 million Jews live in Israel and/or the West Bank. To insist that they leave is an evil …

      …unless their expulsion brings peace and stability to the region, which would be “a good in the world” and that, as we all know, makes ethnic cleansing acceptable to you.

      • Richard Witty
        January 12, 2011, 9:21 am

        You know Eljay, NEVER during my life have I advocated or recommended that ethnic cleansing occur by anyone.

        Any comments that I’ve made about the past, before I was alive, really offers little/no insights into my perspective. I get that you want to demean me and my views, but that is a sleight of hand way.

        In contrast, the advocacy that Jews be sent back to “where they came from” in any way sincerely, is a current advocacy for ethnic cleansing, a real one, an actual one, an intention.

        My political ideology is not that vain that I would advocate for such harms to living people. My skin is too thin for that, thankfully.

      • sherbrsi
        January 12, 2011, 9:35 am

        In contrast, the advocacy that Jews be sent back to “where they came from” in any way sincerely

        Just like the common Israeli belief that the Palestinian Arabs “go back where they came from?”

        And is the suggestion (even a hint, if not the outright support) of ethnic cleansing of Jews worse than the actual performed ethnic cleansing of Arabs/Palestinians at the hands of Israel (historical and present)?

      • eljay
        January 12, 2011, 10:04 am

        >> You know Eljay, NEVER during my life have I advocated or recommended that ethnic cleansing occur by anyone.

        Your defensiveness is a poor attempt at sleight of hand, seeing as how I did not claim that you advocate or recommend ethnic cleansing. (I know full well that, for you, it is “currently not necessary”.)

      • eljay
        January 12, 2011, 10:19 am

        >> In contrast, the advocacy that Jews be sent back to “where they came from” in any way sincerely, is a current advocacy for ethnic cleansing, a real one, an actual one, an intention.

        Of course it is. But that wasn’t the point of my hypothetical scenario, which appears to have hit a little too close to your hypocrisy for your comfort.

      • pjdude
        January 12, 2011, 9:12 pm

        meaning that Israel all ready got away with it. he assumes we are too blind to see through his ruse

  10. Potsherd2
    January 11, 2011, 9:20 pm

    Sounded like it at first to me, psycho. But now he’s sounding more like a Holocaust nut.

  11. Formerly T-Bear
    January 12, 2011, 2:23 am

    Following the title of the post: “The general vanishes” –

    So too does history, it seems:

    link to english.aljazeera.net

    Archeological sites are being “scrubbed” of “inconvenient” artifacts.

    Is everything the zionists do in Palestine to service an Israeli lie?

    • MHughes976
      January 12, 2011, 11:37 am

      I saw an angry denunciation of ‘this worthless programme’ by Israel Finkelstein, Israel’s leading archaeologist, some weeks ago – I don’t think he could bring himself to mention Al-J by name, though he did say that the personal acquisition of artifacts by Dayan had been a disgrace, which led me to think that if the programme drew attention to something disgraceful it could not have been entirely worthless. I am rather hoping that Mondoweiss can find a well-informed person to write a balanced account of the complex archaeological and political crisis simmering round the Temple area at the moment.

  12. Chaos4700
    January 12, 2011, 3:53 am

    Fox News? Or freerepublic.com. Or MEMRI. Or any of the second rate hacks you link to, yonira.

    Or maybe you have another behind the scenes flame war from a talk page at Wikipedia you’d like to throw at us as if it were an actual entry in the database (which it wouldn’t be).

  13. Walid
    January 12, 2011, 4:23 am

    Yonira, this is not about R. Silverstein’s bias ( I wish more Jews had it) and not so much about the disappearance of the general as much as it is about answering the questions raised by Mr. Rabkin: “Could Israel commit such acts? Is it congruent with its past record? Does it fit the ideology of Zionism that lies at the basis of the state of Israel?”

    Maybe Jeffrey has a point with his “agent Yonira” and “agent eee” thing.

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