At J Street, Eltahawy gets standing ovation when she calls on peaceful revolution to come to Israel and Palestine

on 81 Comments

I’ve been at the J Street conference for two hours now and the political program seems to be, End the Netanyahu government now, because we’re in deep trouble. But that message was overshadowed by Mona Eltahawy, the Egyptian journalist, who actuallly actually got applause when she spoke about the “massacre” in Gaza and Arab “hatred for Israel,” then got a standing ovation when she called on the assembled to lead a peaceful revolution for Palestinian “dignity and freedom.”

First Eltahawy, then the attack on Netanyahu.

Eltahawy’s theme was that the Arab revolutions are coming to Palestine inevitably, there’s no border. All the Arab revolutionaries care about Palestine. She quoted a Tunisian friend who said, “My feet are in Tunisia, my mind is in the west, I love the culture, I love the literature But my heart is in the east, with Palestinians.. I will not be a full and open friend with the west until Palestinians get their freedom and dignity, this is key.”

She also quoted young Egyptians with no personal knowledge of war. “But they don’t need war [to understand]…. because they see what happens to Palestinians on a daily on a daily basis, and they don’t like it… [They say], The hatred for Israel… will not end until you lift the siege on Gaza and treat Palestinians with freedom and dignity.”

Applause mostly from the young people, there are about 500 students here. You can see they love the Arab revolutions and want to feel so good about something themselves.  

Eltahawy’s closing challenge was that just as the Arab dictators responded late and stupidly to the demands of the people, Israel and Obama and its friends are responding late to the political movement afoot. They were completely tone-deaf to Gaza, she said; as Arabs everywhere watched Palestinians being “torn apart.” It was a “massacre,” she said twice. Great to hear that from a Jewish pulpit.

“My question to J street and to Israel, do you want to be ten days too late, do you want to be like these dictators that [Netanyahu]… loves so dearly… the people have outpaced the Obama administration…Here’s my challenge to you–“

Just as Egyptians and Tunisians “have managed to get rid of the unriddable…” wihtout burning one foreign flag, “the best of Gandhi and Martin Luther King combined,” it is time “to march for the freedom and dignity of our Palestinian brothers and sisters, and we will.

“Make that call, I will be with you. It’s about time, and it’s something that everyone is thinking about.”

She added, “This is not something that is supposed to scare you.. Embrace.. nonviolence. Millions of Arabs peacefully dismantled dictatorships ….Embrace them and reach out to them, and we too will march for the freedom and dignity of Palestinians.. Cll for that nonviolent revolution for freedom and dignity for Palestians, and I will be there.”

Wild cheers.

The anti-Netanyahu theme is all through the conference. I gather that Jeremy Ben-Ami went after Netanyahu last night.

And just now Ron Pundak, an Israeli liberal, threw cold water on Eltahawy’s parade by saying that nothing is going to change Israel as it is currently constituted, the government will do nothing.  

“Unfortunately we are governed by a prime minister, whose main policy is based on a paranoiac feeling, on an obsession on thinking that everyone is against us…

“The obsession with dealing with the past– the future is not at all calculated, and issues like the Arab Peace Initiative are not on the table, and we are looking at everything as if all criticism is anti-Zionist or anti-Semitic or anti-something…

“We are in a situation on the verge of tragedy.”

So far I have heard two Israelis blasting their country for not grabbing the Arab Peace Initiative — like Sadat’s flight to Jerusalem in ’77, Knesset Member Ophir Paz-Pines said–but with the sense that that time may be past. The Arab people have woken up, and they don’t like us.

J Street’s answer would seem to be what my answer is, go after the lobby and the American Jewish community because that’s where the power is. Though the agenda here is clearly a two-state solution. I’ll keep you posted. 

81 Responses

  1. Richard Witty
    February 27, 2011, 3:06 pm

    link to

    J Street – Dabbling
    Posted on February 27, 2011 by Richard Witty

    I’ve been watching some of the live and recorded videos from the J Street conference occurring currently in Washington DC.

  2. seafoid
    February 27, 2011, 3:34 pm

    “This is not something that is supposed to scare you.. Embrace.. nonviolence. ”

    There is no way Israeli Jews can continue to live on USD 30,000 a year with Palestinians on USD 3000…

    Israel needs sanctions

    • fuster
      February 27, 2011, 5:40 pm

      Israel’s needs sanctions because Palestinians are poor?
      Don’t quite understand that.

      • bijou
        February 27, 2011, 9:23 pm

        Hellooo… because of the huge gap between the Have it Alls (Jews) and Have Nothings (Palestinians.) Because of being a state that privileges one group of citizens while actively impoverishing another.

      • RoHa
        February 27, 2011, 10:38 pm


        link to

      • Chaos4700
        February 27, 2011, 11:25 pm

        You might want to read the Geneva Conventions, fuster. In particular, the part where military occupiers are REQUIRED to see to the basic needs of the occupied.

      • fuster
        February 27, 2011, 11:48 pm

        I’m fairly familiar, Chaos, which one are you citing what is the applicable provision or provisions?

      • Hostage
        February 28, 2011, 5:27 am


        Articles 51 thru 55 of Additional Protocol I (1977) to the Geneva Conventions reflect customary international law on that topic. The UN Secretary General’s report to the ICJ (2004) and the subsequent reports of the Human Rights Committee Rapporteurs and Fact Finding Missions on the situation in the Occupied Territories have cited numerous violations with respect to destruction of the means of sustenance and interference with the supply of international aid.

      • lareineblanche
        February 28, 2011, 7:55 am

        fuster :
        Here, I looked it up for you, knock yourself out :
        link to

        In the case of occupied territory, the application of the present Convention shall cease one year after the general close of military operations; however, the Occupying Power shall be bound, for the duration of the occupation, to the extent that such Power exercises the functions of government in such territory, by the provisions of the following Articles of the present Convention: 1 to 12, 27, 29 to 34, 47, 49, 51, 52, 53, 59, 61 to 77, 143.

        Not all violations of the treaty are treated equally. The most serious crimes are termed grave breaches, and provide a legal definition of a war crime. Grave breaches of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions include the following acts if committed against a person protected by the convention:
        * willful killing, torture or inhumane treatment, including biological experiments
        * willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health
        * compelling someone to serve in the forces of a hostile power
        * willfully depriving someone of the right to a fair trial
        Also considered grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention are the following:
        * taking of hostages
        * extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly
        * unlawful deportation, transfer, or confinement.

        link to

        One of the reasons the Israelis are pushing the line that the territories are “disputed” instead of “occupied” is to skirt the obligations laid out in this 4th Convention, I suppose.

        The international community is eagerly awaiting your judgment on how to interpret the situation, they haven’t thought about any of this stuff yet.

      • Hostage
        February 28, 2011, 12:12 pm


        So far as the international community is concerned, the so-called “disputed” status of the territory is ineffective propaganda. Even the government of Israel admits that the customary provisions of international humanitarian law (that you cited above) are applicable to the conflict with the Palestinians. See for example paragraph 31 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs page on the applicable legal framework of Operation Cast Lead link to

        In the 2004 Wall case, the Government of Israel unsuccessfully advanced Yehuda Blum’s “Missing Reversioner” theory in its summary legal position and its written pleading. See for example paragraph 3 of Annex 1
        link to

        Blum’s “Missing Reversioner” article had relied upon an article authored years earlier by Rosalyn Cohen Higgins which explained the distinction between acquisition of title and military occupation. However, in her advisory opinion Judge Higgins rejected the proposition that the status of the territory or the applicability of the Geneva Convention was uncertain.

        The Sharon government subsequently rebutted the entire laundry list of legal-sounding arguments in an Israeli High Court of Justice case regarding the removal of four settlements from the West Bank and all of the settlements from the Gaza Strip. The government of Israel insisted that Jews do NOT have a legally protected right to settle wherever they desire in Eretz Israel because the territory is being held under a regime of belligerent occupation.

        So, arguments based upon the San Remo resolution; the British Mandate for Palestine; Article 80 of the UN Charter; and how many other countries formally recognized the annexation of the West Bank are all completely unpersuasive at this point in time. Judge Higgins observed that :

        This is not difficult – from Security Council resolution 242 (1967) through to Security Council resolution 1515 (2003), the key underlying requirements have remained the same – that Israel is entitled to exist, to be recognized, and to security, and that the Palestinian people are entitled to their territory, to exercise self-determination, and to have their own State.

      • lareineblanche
        February 28, 2011, 2:35 pm

        OK, thanks Hostage

      • fuster
        February 28, 2011, 3:48 pm

        Hostage, thank you.

        please note that my question was directed at Chaos assertion of a positive duty to “military occupiers are REQUIRED to see to the basic needs of the occupied.”
        rather than to a listing of prohibited actions.

        I’m clear on what you’re citing and saying, not at all sure that it’s what Chaos is trying to get at.

      • tree
        February 28, 2011, 5:11 pm

        For the perpetually lazy fuster, here’s the specific articles that Chaos was referring to: (From lareineblanche’s link above)

        Art. 55. To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate.

        The Occupying Power may not requisition foodstuffs, articles or medical supplies available in the occupied territory, except for use by the occupation forces and administration personnel, and then only if the requirements of the civilian population have been taken into account. Subject to the provisions of other international Conventions, the Occupying Power shall make arrangements to ensure that fair value is paid for any requisitioned goods.

        The Protecting Power shall, at any time, be at liberty to verify the state of the food and medical supplies in occupied territories, except where temporary restrictions are made necessary by imperative military requirements.

        Art. 56. To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring and maintaining, with the cooperation of national and local authorities, the medical and hospital establishments and services, public health and hygiene in the occupied territory, with particular reference to the adoption and application of the prophylactic and preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics. Medical personnel of all categories shall be allowed to carry out their duties.

        Art. 59. If the whole or part of the population of an occupied territory is inadequately supplied, the Occupying Power shall agree to relief schemes on behalf of the said population, and shall facilitate them by all the means at its disposal.

        Such schemes, which may be undertaken either by States or by impartial humanitarian organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, shall consist, in particular, of the provision of consignments of foodstuffs, medical supplies and clothing.

        All Contracting Parties shall permit the free passage of these consignments and shall guarantee their protection.

        A Power granting free passage to consignments on their way to territory occupied by an adverse Party to the conflict shall, however, have the right to search the consignments, to regulate their passage according to prescribed times and routes, and to be reasonably satisfied through the Protecting Power that these consignments are to be used for the relief of the needy population and are not to be used for the benefit of the Occupying Power.

        Art. 60. Relief consignments shall in no way relieve the Occupying Power of any of its responsibilities under Articles 55, 56 and 59. The Occupying Power shall in no way whatsoever divert relief consignments from the purpose for which they are intended, except in cases of urgent necessity, in the interests of the population of the occupied territory and with the consent of the Protecting Power.

        Art. 61. The distribution of the relief consignments referred to in the foregoing Articles shall be carried out with the cooperation and under the supervision of the Protecting Power. This duty may also be delegated, by agreement between the Occupying Power and the Protecting Power, to a neutral Power, to the International Committee of the Red Cross or to any other impartial humanitarian body.

        Such consignments shall be exempt in occupied territory from all charges, taxes or customs duties unless these are necessary in the interests of the economy of the territory. The Occupying Power shall facilitate the rapid distribution of these consignments.

        All Contracting Parties shall endeavour to permit the transit and transport, free of charge, of such relief consignments on their way to occupied territories.

        Here’s the link again, in case its too much of an endeavor for you to scroll up:

        link to

      • Hostage
        February 28, 2011, 6:16 pm


        The non-derogable rights contained in the ICCPR and ICESCR are subject to international guarantees. Respect for many of those rights is a positive (erga omnes) obligation in any territory subject to the jurisdiction of the government of Israel. The guaranteed rights include the right to life, and an adequate standard of living – including shelter, food, water, education, health care, & etc. See paras 88, 102-114, & 132-134 of the ICJ advisory opinion. link to

        Those minimum guarantees were recognized as customary by all civilized peoples and were reflected in the prohibitions contained in the Hague and Geneva Conventions; the Genocide Convention; the Apartheid Convention; & etc.

        FYI, Article 1 of the Declaration of Rights and Duties of Nations drawn up by the American Institute of International Law consisted of two parts: the first part stated that “every State had a right to exist and the right to protect and preserve its existence;” and the second part read “this right does not, however, imply that a State is entitled to commit, or is justified in committing unjust acts towards other States in order to protect and preserve its existence.” See the minutes of the 10th meeting of the International Law Commission (1949) pdf file page 3-5 link to

        In the S.S. Lotus case, the World Court decided, “the first and foremost restriction imposed by international law upon a State is that – failing the existence of a permissive rule to the contrary – it may not exercise its power in any form in the territory of another State.” link to

        There are no permissive rules to the contrary in the case of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, they are prohibited at all times. Article 85(4) and (5) of the 1st Additional Protocol (1977) clarified that colonizing an occupied territory is prohibited and a grave breach of the Convention. That was really nothing new according to the official commentary on Article 49(6) “Deportation and Transfer of Persons into Occupied Territory”, (1949). link to

        See also “The Problem of the Colonists”, page 45, in Raphael Lemkin’s “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe”, link to

      • tree
        February 28, 2011, 6:28 pm

        There’s also Art. 50:

        Art. 50. The Occupying Power shall, with the cooperation of the national and local authorities, facilitate the proper working of all institutions devoted to the care and education of children.

        The Occupying Power shall take all necessary steps to facilitate the identification of children and the registration of their parentage. It may not, in any case, change their personal status, nor enlist them in formations or organizations subordinate to it.

        Should the local institutions be inadequate for the purpose, the Occupying Power shall make arrangements for the maintenance and education, if possible by persons of their own nationality, language and religion, of children who are orphaned or separated from their parents as a result of the war and who cannot be adequately cared for by a near relative or friend.

      • fuster
        February 28, 2011, 7:46 pm

        thank you for the info, Hostage.
        I appreciate both it and all the other information about international law that you offer.

      • Hostage
        March 1, 2011, 2:36 am


        You are welcome. The minimum protections for the civilian population in non-international conflicts are contained in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which among others prohibits at all times the passing of sentences and executions without benefit of trial by a court that affords all the essential legal protections recognized by civilized peoples. That prohibition is a corollary to the right to life; a fair trial; and the right of appeal contained in Article 6 of the ICCPR. link to

      • Lydda Four Eight
        February 28, 2011, 1:54 am

        helloooooo? because Israel controls so much of Palestinian movement/ life/ commerce/ borders/ airspace/ sea/ checkpoints/ roads.

      • lyn117
        March 1, 2011, 2:01 am

        Bravo for the J-street audience. They appear to be light years ahead of J-street the organization, although I suppose some are still fooled into thinking that there is such a thing as liberal zionism.

    • Sumud
      February 28, 2011, 3:31 pm

      seafoid ~ that figure – $3k/year – might be an average but it doesn’t tell the true horror of the conditions Israel has created for Palestinians outside urban areas like Jerusalem. Surviving on three thousand dollars a year is bad enough, and then there is the crushing conditions in Area C where Israel is undertaking slow-motion ethnic cleansing, designed to herd Palestinians into the bantustans of Areas A and B.

      According to a breakdown by Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat average incomes are:
      • Jews in Jerusalem: $16,000/year
      • “centre of the country” (I presume he means around Tel Aviv/Jaffa): $24,000/year
      • Arabs in Jerusalem: $4,000/year
      • Arabs in West Bank (I presume excl. East Jerusalem): $800/year

      Tragi-comically Barkat relays these figures to demonstrate how good life is for Arabs in East Jerusalem – like a slave-master might boast he doesn’t whip his slaves like the neighbours. That clip is also a good primer on the convoluted conditions of East Jerusalem arabs who are classified Israeli ‘residents’ due to the illegal annexation but not Israeli citizens. The interviewer knows his stuff and is thoroughly onto Barkat’s evasive answers.

      A grimmer look on life for a subset of Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank: no permanent structures permitted, no electricity, no water (conditions described as “worse than Gaza”:

      West Bank poor pay heavy price

      These Palestinians demonstrate sumud in the extreme: holding onto the land no matter how impossible the conditions Israeli jews impose. Tell me, was life for jews in the European ghettos in the centuries before the Shoah ever this difficult?

  3. Potsherd2
    February 27, 2011, 3:40 pm

    Additional report from the floor: link to

  4. eee
    February 27, 2011, 4:11 pm

    The only relevant power is the power of the Israeli electorate. You can go after the American Jewish community or Israel Lobby as much as you want. They did not create or maintain the views of Israelis. Their actions will not change the views of the Israeli public. Only trust building over time will. The only way to replace Nentanyahu is to get less Israelis to vote for him. Why would they by the way? If all the left has to offer is Israel becoming another Arab state, people will just continue moving right.

    • Woody Tanaka
      February 27, 2011, 4:53 pm

      “The only relevant power is the power of the Israeli electorate.”

      Nonsense. The only think keeping you criminals from the full weight of the international community is fact that Washington is Zionist-occupied territory. If it wasn’t for the Zionists buying off the politicians to work against the interests of the USA and in the interests of the Jews oppressing the Palestinians, the international community would have taken care of you people a long time ago.

      • Ellen
        February 27, 2011, 7:44 pm

        Interest of Zionist Israelis. Not Jews. Israel has nothing to do with Jews as much as they claim. And Zionism has zip to do with Judaism. It was hijacked.

        Not all Jews identify with the Israel gig and fewer and fewer will.

      • Richard Witty
        February 28, 2011, 4:03 am

        Every Jew that cares about his/her community also cares about Israeli Jews, as they are family in some regard. To not care is to be a callous, inhumane ideolog.

        Residual Jews (Jews only by birth, but functionally renounced) care about other things than Jews or about Israel. Thats fine, so long as they don’t abuse others, or propose an ideology that results in the abuse of others.

        Anti-Zionism (as expressed as the opposition to self-governance of the Israeli people, Israeli Jewish people) is an ideology that will likely result in the abuse of others. Criticism of policies is not that.

        Distinguish please.

      • annie
        February 28, 2011, 9:09 am

        Residual Jews (Jews only by birth, but functionally renounced) care about other things than Jews or about Israel.

        lol. do you ever read what you write?

      • eljay
        February 28, 2011, 9:39 am

        >> Anti-Zionism (as expressed as the opposition to self-governance of the Israeli people, Israeli Jewish people) …

        Do Israeli non-Jewish people get to have self-governance? Or do they merely get to bask in the glory of the Chosen?

      • Richard Witty
        February 28, 2011, 11:58 am

        Stick your neck out and actually respond in a way that relates to something that I said, and can then be responded to.

        If you don’t understand what I mean by “residual Jew”. It refers to someone for whom their Jewish identity and Jewish life is not all that important, that they are born Jewish but more assimilated than actively Jewish.

        They can take or leave Jewish life, Jewish community.

        Its NOT an investment in the community, its residual.

        Those for whom the Jewish community is an active concern, an active present to future investment, feel a kinship with Jewish Israelis, even if they criticize policies.

        Very very few for whom Jewish community is currently important, advocate for a single state or the vague and punitive approaches of BDS.

        Its a rational approach for someone that is engaged in Jewish life.

        Among those that are sincerely engaged in Jewish life and community, are MANY that are highly critical of Israeli policies and practices.

      • Chaos4700
        February 28, 2011, 12:06 pm

        If you don’t understand what I mean by “residual Jew”.

        Good lord, can’t you type in full sentences, Witty? Anyway, it’s cute to watch you buy into the whole class structure of reinrassig Jews that eee and WJ push on us.

      • annie
        February 28, 2011, 12:09 pm

        what are you whining about richard? obviously you were able to respond. you’re just knee deep in defining who is allowed to be defined as a real jew. we get it. you get to define what ‘Jewish life, Jewish community’ is and jews outside your definition, if they connect or identify collectively don’t count as jewish. it’s anti semitism and you can’t even hear it.

        yada yada

      • eljay
        February 28, 2011, 12:45 pm

        >> Anti-Zionism (as expressed as the opposition to self-governance of the Israeli people, Israeli Jewish people) …

        Anti-Zionism – as I see it – is expressed as opposition to the inherently supremacist ideology of Zionism, not to the self-governance of Israelis – all Israelis, both Jewish and non-Jewish – in the secular, democratic and egalitarian state of Israel.

        Your particular slant indicates that you continue to view Israel as a Zio-supremacist state. Say it ain’t so! :-p

      • Sumud
        February 28, 2011, 3:48 pm

        annie ~ RW accidentally pinpoints the tragic flaw in his not-unique idea of what it means to be a jew. His binary is: jewishness or assimilation (“It refers to someone for whom their Jewish identity and Jewish life is not all that important, that they are born Jewish but more assimilated than actively Jewish.”).

        One can only wonder, in horror, at the extent this idea of jews as perpetual outsider has been a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    • Potsherd2
      February 27, 2011, 5:46 pm

      Let Israelis do what they please – without any support from my tax dollars. If they want to dig a pit down to hell and throw themselves in, they are quite welcome to keep digging.

    • Jethro
      February 27, 2011, 6:35 pm

      “The only relevant power is the power of the Israeli electorate.”

      Wrong. Please see the fate of the proposed Law of Return bill, July, 2010.

      Here’s a little reminder:

      “This week Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, said he would not support the bill. His decision came after intense lobbying from outside Israel.”

      link to

      • eee
        February 27, 2011, 10:35 pm

        The bill was not popular in Israel also and Netanyahu himself was against it.

    • pabelmont
      February 27, 2011, 8:26 pm

      The Israeli electorate might “listen up” if a sufficient number of countries, especially EU countries, take individual or (better) UNGA-collective-coordinated BDS action against Israel, with a time-table before sanctions take effect (but sanctions laid out, in advance) intended to require removal of settlers, dismantling of settlements and wall, ending of siege, maybe more (home demolitions to stop, end internal check-points).

      This would change the water in which Israel swims, and no-one wants to swim in oxygen-depleted water. The electorate might listen and might call N’yahu on the telephone. They might. Worth a try.

      • eee
        February 27, 2011, 9:42 pm


        The chances of the Europeans sanctioning Israel is zero. They will at most sanction things from the West Bank. Ho hum, that will do much good.
        Take Norway for example. They are a very rich independent country which is extremely pro Palestinian. So, why aren’t they sanctioning Israel? If Norway won’t do it, do you think some other European country will?

        There is only one option. A two state solution reached by negotiations.
        The Israeli electorate is the only relevant power to obtain Israeli concessions.

      • pabelmont
        February 28, 2011, 4:18 am

        eee: Very good point. But there are three factors (at least). One is how angry are the people of the country. Another is how reluctant is the country (or its g’ment) due to sensitivity to charge of anti-Semitism, or guilt w/r/t holocaust. A third is practical: how much trade with Israel, how much pressure from USA, lobbies, banks, etc.

        German chancellor Merkel surprised us recently (25 Feb 2011) by talking sternly to N’yahu. Normally, Germans have not (even) talked that way. (Just talk, of course.) Earlier, Norway forbade Israel to run its submarines (or, perhaps, to test them) in Norwegian waters (Oct 1, 2010).

        As to real action, for which I hope — maybe from Turkey, South Americans to start, and newly democratized Arab states, I hope and wait. “Dum spiro spero.”

      • Sumud
        February 28, 2011, 3:53 pm

        The chances of the Europeans sanctioning Israel is zero.

        Not according to Shimon Peres, who is apparently worried it will happen this very year:

        If Peres truly believes, as he says in private conversations, that in 2011 Israel will face the genuine possibility of economic sanctions by the European Union, joining the ranks of countries like North Korea and Iran, will he be able to look in the mirror at the end of the year and tell himself that he did everything he could to avert the disaster?

        While I find Shimon Peres rather duplicitous, he has oodles more credibility than you eee.

  5. seafoid
    February 27, 2011, 4:26 pm

    Even if they got rid of Bibi what difference would it make? The victory of the settlers has been so complete that there is nobody bar Hadash to offer anything different. The whole of Israeli Jewish society is run according to an ideology that is out of date. There is no alternative. It is like Tunisia and what Ben Ali did to the opposition. There is none .

  6. Saleema
    February 27, 2011, 4:26 pm

    “My feet are in Tunisia, my mind is in the west, I love the culture, I love the literature But my heart is in the east, with Palestinians..

    That’s how a billion people around the world feel. All Muslims have a tear in their hearts about Palestine. They see it as an injustice to themselves, too. Palestine is near and dear to our hearts.

    People ask me why as a Pakistani-American I am so concerned with Palestine, when I’m not even an Arab? The question surprises me every time. What the hell do you mean I’m not supposed to be concerned about Palestine?

    Don’t people get it? The Palestinian people and Palestine are important to a lot of people. This is an international issue. People get very emotional about it. Pakistani went berserk when a leak from the government said that ex-dictator Musharaff may have tried to make contact with the Israelis about starting some sort of relationship.

    The Pakistani passport says to allow unhindered access to countries, except Israel. Warning is printed that prosecution will be sought.

    When most of the Muslim world was overthrowing the yokes of colonialism, Palestine was being colonized. What a tragedy.

    Let’s not escalate this tragedy further. Let the Palestinians be free! Israel will never be accepted in the world unless they accept the Palestinians.

    • eee
      February 28, 2011, 12:30 am

      Now I understand why Pakistan looks like it does. If you are so concerned with Palestine, obviously you lack the attention and focus to make something of your own country. Unless of course you have some convincing tale to tell about how Zionism wrecked Pakistan.

      • Saleema
        February 28, 2011, 11:04 am

        You are as dumb as they come.

        First of all, I am a citizen of the US. I don’t want my tax dollars supporting injustice and your hatred.

        Second, I also don’t want my tax dollars to to be given to Pakistan which it then either pockets or spends on the military, which it really shouldn’t as Pakistan shouldn’t be enemies with India.

        You are just jealous that Palestine has so many supporters and you guys–just the US government.

        Your malice shows through your stupid comment about Zionism wrecking Pakistan. It would be almost funny if it weren’t so sad. It gives me great pleasure that my comment made you froth at the mouth. :) :)

        Pakistan isn’t directly concerned about Zionism, but your past and present country leaders are scared that the “Islamic bomb” as the nuclear capability of Pakistan was dubbed by you guys and your few supporters around the world, will somehow find it’s way over to Israel through an Arab country or Iran.

        I guess the Arab world’s celebration of Pakistan going nuclear made you racist idiots nervous.

        Sweet nightmares!


      • tree
        February 28, 2011, 1:42 pm


        “Now I understand why” Israel “looks like it does. If you are so concerned with” the United States, Pakistan, Iran, etc.,” obviously you lack the attention and focus to make something of your own country. ”

        Works for me. You go on and on about how everyone should be first and foremost concerned with improving their own countries, but you won’t follow your own advice. If someone won’t follow his own advice, then his advice is worthless.

      • fuster
        February 28, 2011, 7:01 pm

        eee, you’re running away with yourself there. do you realy want to come off as telling somebody not to be sympathetic to other people’s problems and just mind their own business.
        fix this up, eh?

  7. gazacalling
    February 27, 2011, 6:16 pm

    Seafoid is exactly right. The problem’s not the government, it’s the society. It’s not going to change on its own. It has to be FORCED to change. Saleema’s right that Israel’s legitimacy depends on it. So some tough love by the US is in Israel’s long-term best interests.

    • Potsherd2
      February 27, 2011, 7:44 pm

      On its own, it has been changing profoundly. Becoming more racist, more intolerant, more violent.

  8. fuster
    February 27, 2011, 7:01 pm

    The partition of India into two states in the summer of 1947, the violence that accompanied the partition with the Muslims and Hindus slaughtering each other’s population with more 500,000 (maybe a full million) killed in religious violence , the ethnic cleansing and the population transfer of more than 10,000,000 people resonates with so many people.
    The wars that followed over the outrage over the forced partition began almost immediately, the first one starting in October 1947 and known as the First Kashmir War.
    The UN Security Council resolutions, the cease-fire line and the feeling that nothing at all was settled and that more war would follow resonates as well.
    More wars have followed, in 1965, in 1971, and in 1999.
    In between the wars, constant tension and constant skirmishing.
    Pakistan has developed, trained, supported and encouraged terrorism and terrorist groups to fight against Indian control of part of Kashmir.
    Pakistan has spent far too much of its money on a military designed to offset the enormous military manpower advantage that India can wield.
    The reckless spending on war and the military has ruined Pakistan. There’s no money for public education for its children. Terrorist groups have riddled the land with violence and have destroyed much of the authority of the Pakistani government which has little to offer the people.
    Pakistan at present is considered a failed state and is in desperate need of international aid to prevent a total collapse.

    • ToivoS
      February 28, 2011, 2:46 am

      Oh wow, the hasbara are getting desperate. It is always look away, look away and now it is looking at the Pakestan/India war from 1949. Folks do not look at land theft in the the WB today, rather look at what happened in India 60 years ago.

    • thankgodimatheist
      February 28, 2011, 5:56 am

      I fail to see in your comment any relevance to anything written here whether in the post or in the comments on it! Or are you just opening a parallel topic to divert from the main raised issue?

    • seafoid
      February 28, 2011, 8:19 am


      India is in a far worse state than Pakistan. There is no money for education in India. India spent far too much money on nuclear technology and Kashmir instead of limiting population growth. Have you ever been to the slums in Bombay ? Food inflation is hammering the families who live in them. Only 30% of people in the city have access to a home toilet.

    • Chaos4700
      February 28, 2011, 9:37 am

      “Iran! Poland! Iran! Afghanistan! Iraq! IRAN! Sudan! Libya! Pakistan! India! IRAAN!!”

      Seriously. This is getting tiresome.

      • eljay
        February 28, 2011, 10:26 am

        >> Pakistan at present is considered a failed state …

        Ah, yes, but Israel commits crimes and is an apartheid state, you see. And let’s not forget the Native Americans! So, please, stop hating Pakistan.

        Or is this type of distraction only valid when used by Zio-supremacists in their defence of the Promised Land?

    • Saleema
      February 28, 2011, 11:10 am


      You are right, except on this:

      “Pakistan has developed, trained, supported and encouraged terrorism and terrorist groups to fight against Indian control of part of Kashmir.”

      India has done the same. It isn’t a one-way street.

      However, it doesn’t justify either side.

      I don’t understand how Pakistan has managed not to disintegrate. Many analysts inside Pakistan say that unless there are dramatic changes, Pakistan will break up into small states, there are 4 states, Balochistan being devoured by Iran, Pakistani Kashmir (Azad Kashmir) and parts of Punjab by India, NWFP will be attacked by Afghanistan tribes…

      • fuster
        February 28, 2011, 4:54 pm


        I agree entirely with what you’re saying.

        I started that other comment because I occasionally muse on the parallels between the two partitions that Britain initiated at almost the same time.

        I think that it’s extremely important that Pakistan survive and that the Obama administration follows the advise that its campaign staff gave to Obama and that the US changes its policies and helps Pakistan to improve the economy and political climate rather than focusing entirely on shoving only weapons and war on the country.

      • Hostage
        March 1, 2011, 2:19 am


        The mandatory administration adopted a Land Ordinance in 1940 and immigration quotas that partitioned Palestine between the existing legal inhabitants. The Jewish Agency claimed it was illegal for the mandatory administration to do that, but it urged the UNSCOP to adopt an alternative partition scheme and immigration quota.

        In short, a proposal that favored the Jews over the Arab majority was “legal”.

    • annie
      February 28, 2011, 11:23 am

      how do you pick which suppression to support fuster?

      More than 100 people are estimated to have died in violence in the Kashmir valley since June amid continuing protests against Indian rule in a territory where many of the Muslim majority favour independence or a transfer of control to Pakistan. Hundreds of young protesters have been imprisoned in a string of clashes with security forces.

      “Threatening me with legal action is meant to frighten the civil rights groups and young journalists into keeping quiet. But I think it will have the opposite effect. I think the government is mature enough to understand that it’s too late to put the lid on now,” Roy said.

      Earlier the author, who is currently in Srinagar, Kashmir, said in a statement: “I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators, have written and said for years. Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice.

      “I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state.”

      link to

      • annie
        February 28, 2011, 11:30 am

        while you’re supporting protesters in iran fuster you poopoo on these protesters.

        link to

        link to

        fuster: screw the majority and support the occupation of kashmir!!

  9. Psychopathic god
    February 27, 2011, 7:43 pm

    what was it about my comment that you didn’t like, Phil?

    You wrote, “J Street’s answer would seem to be what my answer is, go after the lobby and the American Jewish community because that’s where the power is.”

    I wrote, “If J Street thinks it should “go after the American Jewish community,” why are they in Washington, DC, going after the Congress? Why aren’t they going after the “American Jewish community” that is sponsoring and supporting the racist film, “Iranium?”

  10. Richard Witty
    February 27, 2011, 8:07 pm

    Your last ramp up tirade, is the voice of the mob. “We’re going to teach you a lesson. You won’t respond to reason, WE will have to force you.”

    If you are truly advocates of democracy, then you will acknowledge that Israelis’ consent to agreements is critical. There is no possibility of Arab takeover of Israel (short of very very violent war). There is no possibility of the US ratifying the mob approach.

    The only possibility is of persuasion, and on the basis that a border at peace is far far superior to a border in a state of conflict. And that will take a skillful articulation of a coherent plan for peace, with the accompanying discipline to convey confidence in its implementation.

    Uprising will end at the border. Are you advocating for Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Jordan to blockade all of Israeli ports? And, for the US to stand by?

    Or, a universal shunning of Israel by all Mediterranean states?

    Thats how much of a fantasy, your punitive approach is.

    The theme “The US is Zionist occupied territory” is a half step from overt fascism. Maybe right square in the middle.

    • gazacalling
      February 27, 2011, 10:04 pm

      I’m an advocate of democracy when it is combined with basic human rights. Majority rule is the definition of democracy only in a very impoverished sense. Democracy without impartial justice for all citizens is exactly mob rule. And yes, force should be used to stop mob rule and implement justice, comparable to what a justice system in a free country does every day. Right now, the US is going against the best interests of Israel in giving her unconditional support, as with the last Security Council veto. Israel will only get serious about giving the Palestinians rights when it sees that it cannot just always rely on US support for its actions, no matter how illegal they are. Israelis should be coerced to give their consent, because otherwise they won’t. This is the lesson of the last two decades. And it’s only human nature. All of us would cut corners for convenience sake if we knew that we always have a free pass and never have to face any consequences for our actions. Don’t give Israel a free pass all the time — this is tough love, which will only redound to her benefit in the long run.

      • Richard Witty
        February 28, 2011, 12:10 pm

        The tough love of the PA introduced resolution, is nothing compared to what Psychopathic God advocated for.

        If you’ve read my original writing, on my blog for example, you’d see that your invocation of “free pass” misrepresents my views.

        There is a distinction between criticism and demonization.

      • annie
        February 28, 2011, 12:29 pm

        There is a distinction between criticism and demonization

        we get it richard. when you blather about “residual Jews” you’re not demonizing, you’re just being critical. /NOT

      • Chaos4700
        February 28, 2011, 12:34 pm

        Nobody reads your blog, Witty. Haven’t you figured that out yet?

      • Richard Witty
        February 28, 2011, 1:11 pm

        Are you Jewish Annie?

      • Michael W.
        February 28, 2011, 1:57 pm

        Chaos4700, I didn’t know my nickname was “Nobody”.

    • Chaos4700
      February 27, 2011, 11:24 pm

      Your last ramp up tirade, is the voice of the mob.

      You know, most people would take a step back, read those words they’d just typed, and realize just how woefully out of touch with the mainstream they’ve become.

      But not you, Witty! Or Glenn Beck.

      • Sumud
        February 28, 2011, 4:05 pm

        Chaos ~ RW has the jewish equivalent of beer-goggles when it comes to Palestinian self-determination. If it’s a mob of jews it’s called a Democracy. If it’s a mob of Palestinians (or people advocating for Palestinian’s human rights), well – its just a mob. Right shmite.

      • Hostage
        February 28, 2011, 7:14 pm

        The declarative theory of recognition was developed by former colonies. They insisted that the existence of a State is independent of recognition by the other states. Even before recognition the state has the right to defend its integrity and independence, and to provide for its conservation and prosperity.

        The constitutive theory of recognition (aka the doctrine of legitimism) was developed by imperialists. They held that although a state might exist prior to recognition by other states, international law takes no notice of it before its recognition. Through recognition only and exclusively a State becomes an international person and a subject of international law.

        In 1949, the International Law Commission discussed the danger of returning to the doctrine of legitimism or the policy of non-recognition by which one group of States could virtually control the existence of another. It was felt that would be a step backward in the twentieth century when so many colonial territories were seeking freedom, independence, and self-determination. See page 5 of the ILC Yearbook (extract) for the 10th session (1949): link to

        Even though the numerical majority of existing states have long since recognized the State of Palestine, Israel and its supporters are still (wrongfully) trying to control its existence.

  11. bijou
    February 27, 2011, 9:26 pm

    Haaretz: The racist entity that is taking over Israel must be toppled

    ….The atrocities in Libya send an unequivocal message to the world: Patriotism lies with democracy, not with the regime. Citizens are allowed to fight an arbitrary, racist rule. Seventy years after the atrocities in Europe, the Middle East is sending a clear message about the moral necessity of international intervention to promote democracy and civil rights, and combat racism and oppression.

    Israel, because of the history of violence against Jews, should have been the leader on that path, but official Israel instead chose the opposite direction – the Liorian one.

    ….The racist entity that is taking over Israel must be resisted. This regime, too, must be toppled.

    • seafoid
      February 28, 2011, 9:24 am

      The racist entity took over Israel from the very start. Ethnic cleansing was no accident. Israel was never, ever progressive or decent. Gaza is the proof.

  12. Colin Murray
    February 27, 2011, 10:08 pm

    This obsession with Netanyahu is silly. The entire Israeli political establishment has supported ethnic cleansing and colonization, not just Netanyahu and his Likudniks. ‘Liberal’ Zionists just disagree with conservatives over choice of tactics, preferring a slower rate of cleansing that draws less attention and resistance.

    Netanyahu will be politically defeated sooner or later, but ethnic cleansing and colonization won’t stop even in the unlikely event that a worse criminal like Lieberman doesn’t come into power. There is no politically effective resistance left in Israel to continued Zionist colonization in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and there will be no Palestinian state.

  13. Avi
    February 27, 2011, 10:36 pm

    The reason Israel is where it is today is due to a decades long policy of Othering.

    As a child in an Israeli school, I was bombarded at an early age with the idea that Zionism made the land of Israel bloom. The Palestinians were absent from that narrative. Textbook after textbook, whether in 5th grade or 9th grade all told me that due to anti-Semitism and historical persecution Israel was needed, it was necessary.

    In the media, too, Arabs only existed in the context of “terrorism”, usually on the nightly news.

    The average Israeli usually comes in contact with non-Jews after high school, when he/she join the military and are ordered to keep the Arabs at bay.

    And from school textbooks, to field-trips, to visits to one museum or another, the Israeli student quickly learns that the world has been a horrible place for Jews.

    All these programs and policies nurture a society whose members grow up to think and behave like cornered animals, ready to attack with ferocity, hatred and anger at any moment.

    To speak about Netanyahu as though his government is the source of all evil, to speak of the Israeli right or the Israeli left as the obstacle to a just solution, indicates an inherent lack of understanding of Israeli society.

    Change needs to be instilled early on. It will take Israel an entire generation to morph into a society that views Palestinians — on both sides of the Green Line — as human being, deserving of equality and compassion.

    So, while I understand Ms. Eltahawy’s approach and recognize the applause she received, the standing ovations and admiration, I hope that she and others in attendance realize the challenges ahead are not posed by one single Israeli government or another.

    • bijou
      February 28, 2011, 7:49 pm

      Avi, I completely agree except on one point: I don’t think that one generation will be enough time for the “morphing” process that needs to occur. Perhaps we should say “de-programming”… its so deeply entrenched in such wide swathes of society that it’s hard to see this just falling away like magic…

  14. dbroncos
    February 27, 2011, 10:45 pm

    eee: ‘The only relevant power is the power of the Israeli electorate.’

    The Israeli electorate can make their choice at the ballot box – and so can the American electorate. Sooner or later American voters will be confronted will the real costs of doing business with Israel: alienating 300 million Arabs and 1 billion Muslims, losing all credibility as the world’s exemplar of liberty and equal rights, and possibly losing the cozy, ‘cheap oil’ relationship we have enjoyed with oil rich Gulf States and their compliant dictators. Recent trends in the ME should make American voters and lawmakers alike very nervous about ‘the will of the people’ in the ME and what it is going to look like re: oil at $150/barrel? It’s not hard to imagine a time when Americans will be faced with a choice between oil or Israel. Between a $6 gallon of gas or continuing our support for Israel’s ethnic cleansing campaign. If Americans are faced with such a stark choice we’ll sober up in a hurry and side with our real strategic allies in the region -the ones with the oil.

    eee may not believe it but the Israeli electorate needs their American benefactors. US policy makers, if they should ever decide to do what is in America’s real interest in the ME, will become very influencial among the Israeli electorate.

    • eee
      February 28, 2011, 12:23 am


      If what you say was vaguely possible, why did it not happen last time the Arabs used the “oil weapon”?
      link to

      Why did Nixon not abandon Israel?
      The “oil weapon” is highly over rated. It is a just a boomerang that will hurt the Arabs more than it will hurt Israel. High prices will lead to resentment against the Arabs in the short term and to changes in US consumption and development that will result in major future loses for the oil producing states. It will just hasten significantly the process of the US weaning itself off mideast oil.

      • Citizen
        February 28, 2011, 3:12 am

        Why did Nixon not abandon Israel?
        Israel was losing the fledgling war. On October 8, 1973, the Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, gave orders to mount 13 20-kiloton nuclear warheads on their Jericho missiles and F-4 Phantoms and that activity was commenced very publically. On the exact same day Meir came out with a personal appeal for military assistance. Coincidence? Or signal and threat to the world? Weeping, pleading, and carrying a big stick. All European countries refused because they feared that Arab countries would make good on their threat to cut off oil supplies to the West.
        Kissinger learned of this threatening nuclear escalation the next morning and Nixon ordered Operation Nickel Grass, to replace all of Israel’s materiel losses, and more to double what Israel asked for, taking it from anywhere, even at the expense of then current US military needs. On the same day the Soviets began their own resupply operation of Arab forces by sea. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Kissinger had told Sadat that the reason for the U.S. airlift was that the Israelis were close to “going nuclear”

        Surprisingly, the United States was under no treaty obligations or formal protocols to supply Israel. The commitments derived from a series of White House policy pronouncements issued by five successive presidents dating back to Harry S. Truman, the first, but not the last, US president to succumb to domestic Zionist bribery to get elected (by unilaterally recognizing Israel’s existence as a new sovereign state as the price for needed campaign dollars, the NY Jewish vote, and MSM praise, all of which would have otherwide gone to Dewey, just as the Zionists threatened him right in the Oval Office), despite the advice of the US State Department. These pronouncements indirectly linked the territorial integrity of Israel to the national security interests of the United States within the greater framework of peace and stability in the Middle East. Moreover, under the Nixon Doctrine, the United States favored support to friendly countries by providing the military equipment and supplies needed for self-defense.

        The transports had major consequences for the rest of the world; the Arab countries lived up to their threats of a complete oil embargo against the U.S. and Europe. It was the beginning of the oil crisis in 1973. The American people ares still paying for the effects of that oil embargo to this day.

        There is no more USSR, no cold war. And AIPAC et al have pushed the US to the extent it’s becoming crysal clear to not only the world, but even to the
        blindfolded American public, that the US actually is Zionist controlled territory, as Obama’s recent lonely vote at the UN regarding the settlements made crystal clear, as clear as Netanayu’s statement to his fellow Israelis that the US was a pushover.

        With the rebellions seeking liberty in the Middle East, the US engaged for years in endless costly wars on terror with an Arab face, and a vocal civil war between the have-nots and barely-haves in Wisconsin over who will pay for those wars, and for Israel, the times they are a-changin’ and in a time shorter than you think there may be a new form of OP Nickel Grass, and a different beneficiary.

      • Ellen
        February 28, 2011, 8:16 am

        Right, it is not about oil. Oil will become less and less important.

        The world is a very different place than it was 40 years ago when the cold war still had us building our bomb shelters in hysterical fear.

        Choices are: does the US continue to alienate a large part of the world and weaken itself on the world stage by enabling and supporting a Zionist enterprise –that is now contributing what? — or does it join the world community and make “friends” with a region that will have increasing importance for all.

        Or does it cling to it’s “only friend” no matter what, at the cost of loosing everything?

        The choice is obvious.

      • seafoid
        February 28, 2011, 9:28 am

        Nixon didn’t abandon Israel because back then nobody in the US understood Israel and also because the US was a superpower.

        The oil price today has investors in a panic. Oil rose by 20% over the month of Feb and if it stays at that level there will be a double dip recession. Americans ultimately want jobs and growth more than they want to prop up a corrupt Zionist regime in Israel that abuses Palestinians in the name of a superior morality.

        Israel has very few cards left to play. Iraq was such a bad move.

        Your grasp of economics is desperately weak, eee.

      • kapok
        February 28, 2011, 1:42 pm

        “the oil weapon is highly over rated”

        I’m looking out at a blizzard and enjoying a hot cup of coffee with my feet up on the radiator=yer an idjit

  15. VR
    February 28, 2011, 2:10 am

    I would recommend that individuals who are intent on continuing what I would call the Peaceniks For Imperialism route, trying to whitewash recent history (like they did with what happened in India and with MLK, etc.) that they take a look at this –


    You better stop passing off what did not happen without people beating down security forces like in Egypt so that others could pass, it is totally dishonest – just like your re-writes of “history.”


    What are you going to tell these people when they find out they cannot peacefully produce any substantive change? It has to be a mix of both peaceful and forceful or it will fail. Now, you can disagree with me, just stop being a tool for Imperialism ( I don’t care if it is unconscious or not, it will bring the same disastrous result) – or, like you have experienced already we can take up this subject again after you have found out you were wrong.

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