Desmond Travers on Geo Mitchell: Irish-American Diaspora wanted an end to the troubles, Jewish-American Diaspora hasn’t opened its eyes

Israel/Palestine
on 144 Comments

B4Acct Gaza backdrop

On Thursday night Col. Desmond Travers, the Irish member of the Goldstone mission, will be speaking in New York. (Click here or the image above if you want to get a ticket.) Yesterday I phoned him at his home in the Republic of Ireland to ask about why George Mitchell was successful in the Irish troubles but failed in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Here’s what Travers said:

“I am not at all the least surprised by George Mitchell’s resignation. For I understand the structural impediments to his work in Israel and Palestine.

“To quote Mitchell himself, he had 700 days of failure and one day of success in northern Ireland. He showed a phenomenal comprehension of the steps that could be achieved incrementally with two communities that were implacably opposed to the idea of settlement and of the compromises that an approach to settlement would entail. And he has a genius for timing. He knew precisely when to throw an additional possibility that might just be attainable into the works.

“And the net result? We haven’t had violence since the northern Ireland accords were signed in 1998. Today you see the representatives of extreme loyalism and extreme Republicanism sitting side by side hammering out the business of statehood, and they were reelected only a week ago. The best and worst that can be said about the accords are that we are better off now than when people were blowing one another up and shooting each other. And it is quite amazing to see these sides horsetrading in democratic fora and doing it quite well. No one would have predicted that.”

So why didn’t this approach work in Israel and Palestine? Travers, the grandson of an Irish revolutionary in the years 1917-1921, points to the Irish and Jewish Diasporas in the United States.

“Diaspora Irish-Americans wanted a peace. The troubles reflected negatively on them, and they wanted them ended. In the multicultural world of the United States, nobody outside the Irish experience could comprehend anything other than Irish as troublesome, violent, aggressive terrorists, and people outside the Irish milieu were not in a position to make distinctions about cause and effect. And so when an emissary with an enormous amount of clout arrived in Ireland he didn’t have to look over his shoulder at the Diaspora Irish who were saying, we don’t want this to happen.”

By contrast, Mitchell spent a lot of his time in Israel and Palestine worrying about Diaspora Jewry, who questioned his efforts.

Also crucial was the end of Diaspora support for Irish terrorism. In the United States and in England, funding Irish republican causes became illegal. “I’m quite certain that American Jews subscribe to Israeli fundraising without being quite aware that some of that funding may not be appropriate, in the very way that Diaspora Irish were funding violence.”

“You have to convince the wider Diaspora community that a resolution is in the Jewish people’s and in Israel’s best interest. I don’t think you can convince Israel of that.” Why not? Travers lived in Israel for several years in the 80s as a military adviser to peacekeeping missions. He says the country is too caught up in a security mindset, convinced that it is surrounded by enemies, and the entire military-industrial culture of the country is built on that understanding, which also generates social “cohesion and camaraderie.”

Can Travers extract optimism for Israel/Palestine from the ending of the Irish troubles?

“I had no optimism whatsoever for George Mitchell’s venture into Northern Ireland.” And yet today the ancient divisions are softening. “For over 300 years we have had institutionalized multigenerational prejudices accumulated in our hearts. The two communities are still entrenched, but they are not shooting each other.” 

But there is Partition between the largely-Catholic Republic of Ireland and majority-Protestant Northern Ireland.

“Partition in Ireland was determined by an exiting empire that [in 1921] made compromises to serve the residual majority that was pro-empire, to give them a foothold in Ireland.”

And yet Partition will not last more than a century, he says. Because of the larger forces that are driving the sides together throughout Europe. Ireland and England now need each other economically. And “the two governments are absolutely marching in step.” These processes, he said, will melt multigenerational enmities created by Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and European empire and colony, conflicts that played out in Ireland longer than anywhere else in Europe. “We are steeped in the past, when others had moved on.”

Shouldn’t there be Partition between Israel and Palestine?

It might work, Travers said, if there were a division in keeping with the 67 lines, making two viable states. But he has grave doubts.

“I am not entirely convinced that a single religious entity in the entirety of a state is in the best interests of the society that aspires to that. There is inherent prejudice in it, for starters, inherent racism in it, a propensity to draconian laws that exclude rather than include. And there is a historical propensity toward corruption, in cronyism.”

I said, You are a Roman Catholic, though, in a largely-Catholic state. Travers said the RC on his identity disc now stands for Re Considering (especially in light of the child abuse scandals in the church).

“I can say that my grandfather’s dream of a single Roman Catholic republic with an anti-British stance has outlived its purpose.

“And I would say that the great dynamism and innovation of the Jewish community may be stultified and hindered in a single religious state apparatus. The magnificent Jewish creations of the west have arisen in a multicultural environment. We’ve seen that over the last 500 years. That is the Jewish forte.”

I asked one more question about George Mitchell’s failure, but Travers objected.

“I would hate to describe George Mitchell as having failed– as I would not say that Richard Goldstone recanted. It is not for an Irishman to say that Geore Mitchell has failed– a man who did what he did over 700 days here.

“As we are speaking the Queen of England is coming to Ireland. Imagine that. This is not something that has happened in 100 years. And so the strongest statement I would make is that George Mitchell did not achieve success in Israel and Palestine.”

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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144 Responses

  1. seafoid
    May 17, 2011, 4:07 pm

    The 2 communities in Northern Ireland live together. They support the same football teams, they watch the same TV programmes, they speak the same language, their daughters drool over the same boybands.

    And Israel has Beitar Jerusalem, apartheid, a virtual prohibition on speaking arabic, no attempt at cross community relation building, roads for Jews only. Northern Ireland has a future. Israel doesn’t.

    • hophmi
      May 17, 2011, 5:06 pm

      Israel has Beit Sahknin, full voting rights for its Arab minority, and no prohibition, virtual or otherwise, on speaking Arabic.

      • Diane Mason
        May 17, 2011, 5:34 pm

        full voting rights for its Arab minority

        You can’t say that in all fairness without mentioning that Israel allows full voting rights for its Arab minority precisely because it ethnically cleansed seven-eighths of them in 1948, so that the remaining remnant was not large enough to change anything about its situation by voting.

        Let the refugees return home, and enjoy full voting rights, then Israel’s democratic credentials will be something to boast about.

      • Citizen
        May 17, 2011, 6:30 pm

        When an Arab Israeli can be put on trial for “seducing” a Jewish Israeli by not telling her he was not Jewish when they both decided to spontaneously copulate, I fail to see hophmi has anything to brag about. And look at all the bills in the Knesset to make it harder to build any cross community relation building. Jeez.

      • pjdude
        May 17, 2011, 10:25 pm

        or let them vote for people and parties that will work for their interests rather than their opressors and conquerors interests

      • pabelmont
        May 18, 2011, 5:55 pm

        Diane Mason Your point is exactly right. Anybody can claim to be a democracy if large swathes of voters are first removed from the rolls. The USSR was a flourishing democracy (so considered) because the politburo had democracy (I suppose)(and the vast populace had the right to vote YES at elections). A Mafia gang has perfect democracy, because the boss (alone) “votes” and everyone else says “YES”. The refugees have far worse problems than not being allowed to vote, of course, but they were excluded at least in part to allow Israel to claim to be a democracy, as it has done for 63 years. Israel has had enormous Jewish (and quasi-Jewish) immigration over the years, but the Palestinians in exile have had a lot of children. I, too, look forward to the doings of Israeli democracy after a full return of Palestinian exiles (refugees) is allowed and achieved.

        And by the way, just to be clear, it is my impression that the demographics of Israel after such a major return would be about what WOULD have happened had all Palestinians been allowed to return home in 1950, a demographic such as UNGA-181 seemed to promise — a demographic without expulsions.

      • Shingo
        May 17, 2011, 6:01 pm

        Israel has Beit Sahknin, full voting rights for its Arab minority, and no prohibition, virtual or otherwise, on speaking Arabic

        Other than the fact it is a sackable offense.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 19, 2011, 2:41 am

        @Shingo Speaking Arabic is not a sackable offense. That’s a lie.

      • Diane Mason
        May 19, 2011, 10:57 am

        Or not.

        McDonald’s Confirms ‘No Arabic’ policy at its restaurants in Israel

        McBusted: Mounting evidence supports claim McDonald’s Israel fired worker for speaking Arabic

        McConfusion: McDonald’s Israel reportedly backs down, while McDonald’s HQ stonewalls

        Concerning Abeer Zinaty, whose grounds for firing were:

        “Abeer spoke Arabic to her Arabic co-workers while she was on duty, even though Abeer knows that Hebrew is the language for interpersonal communications at work.”

        Which is a reflection of MacDonald’s Israel’s policy that:

        “there is a directive known to all chain employees, that restaurant staff will speak, among themselves and with clients, only in the Hebrew language. This is in order to prevent discomfort felt by clients and staff, who mostly speak Hebrew.”

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 19, 2011, 12:01 pm

        Thanks for those links from 2004, Diane. Of course I’m sure you appreciate that whatever may have happened in McDonalds, it’s still against the law to fire someone for speaking Arabic.

        Is there any chance you could find this story somewhere other than Electronic Intifada? I’m not saying that it’s a totally untrsutworthy source, but I would still like to have seen this story reported elsewhere. Ha’aretz would certainly have picked it up. Thanks.

      • annie
        May 19, 2011, 12:39 pm

        I’m not saying that it’s a totally untrsutworthy source….I would still like to have seen this story reported elsewhere. Ha’aretz would certainly have picked it up

        so which is it? how can you claim you’re not saying it’s a untrustworthy source and say haaretz would have certainly picked it up if it were true in the same breath. EI contacted the company and got quotes. certainly there would have been a retraction if that was fabricated, no?

    • petersz
      May 17, 2011, 6:03 pm

      80% of people in Northern Ireland have almost no social interaction with members of the opposite community. Miles of “peace” walls still exist. Segregation in school and work places is entrenched. Everyone knows where a Republican area or Unionist area begin and ends and to keep to their area. Republicans watch Gaelic football and learnt to speak Irish, Unionists join the Orange Order and march in Flute Bands. Republicans vote Sinn Fein Unionists vote DUP. A “coalition” Government between Sinn Fein and the DUP is as absurd as one between Islamists and White Supremicists or Likud and Hamas. New hospitals and schools have to be built for each community even when building only one would make better economies of scale. Northern Ireland is not a good example of reconciliation between two longstanding feuding communities!

      • seafoid
        May 18, 2011, 11:15 am

        SF and the DUP are both neoliberal parties with far more in common than Meretz and Israel Beitenu.

        40% of workers in NI work for the Government where there is no segregation.

        When the daughter of Tyrone Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte was murdered earlier this year the whole Protestant community (including a former UDA terrorist) was represented at the funeral.

        And then there was this :

        link to irishtimes.com

        “THE FUNERAL of Constable Ronan Kerr was rich in symbolism, expressive of a society in transformation and prepared to break more of the chains of the past, powerful in its humanity and potent too in its denunciation of a terrible act. You could tell the Protestants and the Catholics standing together outside the Church of the Immaculate Conception in the little Tyrone village. As family members took the coffin from senior members of the GAA, the Catholics blessed themselves, the Protestants bowed their heads – both acts of solidarity, sadness and respect.”

        NI is slowly becoming a normal society.

        Israel remains a freak show.

    • Mikhael
      May 17, 2011, 9:46 pm

      As Hophmi points out, not only is there no prohibition, Arabic is still an official language of the state alongside Hebrew. Official government documents must be published in Arabic as well as Hebrew, Knesset speeches are allowed to be made in Arabic (although most Arab MKs use Hebrew), State radio and television broadcasts in Arabic, etc.

      I’m listening to the Israel Broadcasting Authority’s Arabic service right now. You can too.

      link to iba.org.il

      How can it be possible if Arabic is being virtually prohibited?

      • Cliff
        May 18, 2011, 12:08 am

        Hear that guys??

        Israel actually LOVES Palestinians. I mean if it didn’t, why would it make Arabic the 2nd language for 20.4% of it’s Israeli Arab population?? (Israeli Jews account for 75.4x%).

        Herp derp, Mikhael.

        Also, read Diane Mason’s post and don’t just add onto hophmi’s hasbara snorefest.

      • Mikhael
        May 18, 2011, 1:57 am

        Hear that guys??

        Israel actually LOVES Palestinians. I mean if it didn’t, why would it make Arabic the 2nd language for 20.4% of it’s Israeli Arab population?? (Israeli Jews account for 75.4x%).

        A simple-minded response from a simpleton. It has nothing to do with Israel “loving Palestinians” (especially as the concept of an Arabic-speaking “Palestinian” nationality did not exist, among Arabs or Jews–or anyone–when Israel became independent in 1948 and when Arabic became the official language of the state alongside Hebrew).

        “Herp derp” yourself. My comment was in response to “Seafoid,” who lives up to his Gaelic moniker when he blatantly lied and claimed that Israel suppresses the Arabic language.
        There are two official languages in my country, Hebrew and Arabic.

      • Citizen
        May 18, 2011, 2:47 am

        Why is Israel erasing the Arabic name from all locality signs in Jerusalem? link to islamweb.net

      • Cliff
        May 18, 2011, 2:56 am

        ‘Israeli Arabs’ account for 20.4 percent of the population inside Israel proper. So obviously the second language will be Arabic. However, the question of suppression is another issue. Suppression can exist alongside ‘official’ recognition.

        It’s like saying ‘we [Zionists] let the Arabs vote, hence we’re not racist/anti-democratic/etc. etc.’ – which is also at the heart of the matter considering the exchange between hophmi/seafoid/you.

        It’s a superficial statement meant to obscure the more complex experience.

        Of course, as Diane Mason points out, Israel can allow the Palestinian Arabs to vote (and it DOESNT MATTER WHETHER THE ‘PALESTINIAN NATIONALITY’ EXISTED OR NOT, PEOPLE STILL EXISTED when you ethnically cleansed them in 48′) precisely because Israel has CREATED a Jewish majority through war and terror. It is still carrying out ethnic cleansing in the occupied territories.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 18, 2011, 4:24 am

        “Why is Israel erasing the Arabic name from all locality signs in Jerusalem? link to islamweb.net

        For the same reason that there is no more Peking or Bombay on the map.

        All road signs will continue to be translated into Arabic, by law.

      • seafoid
        May 18, 2011, 5:27 am

        Arabic is a second language in name only.
        Try speaking Arabic in West Jerusalem some time and seeing the tolerance level.

      • Avi
        May 18, 2011, 5:35 am

        Official government documents must be published in Arabic as well as Hebrew

        That is simply not true.

        Off the top of my head, I can think of the Israeli passport which contains no Arabic text whatsoever. And that is but one example.

        My comment was in response to “Seafoid,” who lives up to his Gaelic moniker when he blatantly lied and claimed that Israel suppresses the Arabic language.
        There are two official languages in my country, Hebrew and Arabic.

        There is de facto discrmination concerning the Arabic and Arabic speakers and there is de jure discrimination.

        In Israel, among Israel’s Jewish population, Arabic is connotational with terrorists, traitors and Bnei-Mi’utim — “The sons (members) of minorities”, the euphemism Israel uses to describe Palestinians in Israel. It is a term that best resembles “Colored” in the old American south.

        While Arabic is recognized by the government as one of the official languages, that means very little for the following reasons:

        (1) The vast majority of Israeli Jews do not speak Arabic. They are not interested in learning the language and view it as the language of the unwashed masses, see above. By contrast, the vast majority of Palestinians in Israel do speak Hebrew, often better than some Israeli Jews and certainly better than Olim.

        (2) The scope of Arabic language curriculum in the Jewish sector is limited to basic conversational Arabic. And, it serves the purpose of preparing students for their post-highschool military service.

        (3) Both state radio and TV broadcast programs in the Arabic language. Alas, the majority of these broadcasts are aimed at the public relations aspect, i.e. Hasbara, for the purpose of divide-and-control, separating Palestinians inside the Green Line from Palestinians outside the Green Line. And while programs in Hebrew are quality programs with good intellectual substance, programs in Arabic tend to be banal with the aim of eroding and destroying whatever cultural capital the Palestinian population has managed to rebuild after Israel had destroyed said population’s intellectuals, scholars and scientists during the Nakbah. The recovery process took Palestinians more than 30 years, until in the late 1980s a new group of intellectual elites re-emerged.

        In addition, both radio and TV programs in Arabic receive a minuscule budget from the state, compared with those budgets which the government allocates programs in the Hebrew language.

        (4) Speaking Arabic in public while in a Jewish town will often draw slurs. I am personally familiar with several cases in which Palestinian families were attacked when they spoke Arabic in public. In addition, speaking Arabic in public will draw harassment from Israeli police.

        (5) In recent years, Arab members of the Knesset have been subject to harassment and threats, both from government officials and the public at large. Jewish parties in the Knesset have attempted to prevent Arab parties from participating in the elections. And, just yesterday, Haneen Zo’abi, a Palestinian woman and a member of the Knesset, was prevented from speaking at Haifa University.

        Given the aforementioned, Arabic remains a language that provides Israel with the veneer and the cloak of a democracy. A visiting tourist will easily notice the Arabic text on TV and street signs. When one looks deeper, however, an entire system of discrimination, manipulation and control emerges.

        I am certain that I have left out several other examples, but for the time being, I believe the above is sufficient enough an indictment.

      • Avi
        May 18, 2011, 5:38 am

        Citizen May 18, 2011 at 2:47 am

        Why is Israel erasing the Arabic name from all locality signs in Jerusalem? link to islamweb.net

        A similar initiative entails the Hebrewization of road signs.

        link to ynetnews.com

        Cliff May 18, 2011 at 2:56 am

        Of course, as Diane Mason points out, Israel can allow the Palestinian Arabs to vote

        In addition, African-Americans in the old south were “allowed” to vote. But, such a right merely looked good on paper at the time. In practice, it had no significance whatsoever.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 18, 2011, 10:30 am

        Avi, where do you live?

        I live in Ra’anana. My son learns Arabic in his (religious) high school.

        15 years ago I worked for a company publishing text books to teach English in schools. All instructions had to be written in Hebrew and Arabic (and at that time Amharic, although I believe that is no longer the case) before presenting a new book to the Ministry of Education for approval.

        All TV and movies are subtitled in Hebrew and Arabic.

        The מכולת (mini-market) outside my apartment employs a number of Arab workers including at least one who wears a hijab. They often talk Arabic among themselves. No one, to my knowledge, has ever batted an eyelid.

        I spent some time a couple of years ago at Bet Berl, the teachers’ training college where Israelis of all kinds studied together and sat on the lawn eating their lunch together. I was not aware of any self-consciousness about speaking Arabic.

        Of course I know that there are deeply racist elements of Israeli society just as institutionalized racism still exists in the UK where I grew up and where you can count the persons of color who have ever held cabinet positions on the fingers of one hand.

        I won’t defend racism, but I don’t believe it is significantly worse here than in other countries I’ve visited.

        I look forward to hearing how my personal experiences are wrong or irrelevant.

      • seafoid
        May 18, 2011, 10:53 am

        “They often talk Arabic among themselves. No one, to my knowledge, has ever batted an eyelid.”

        Ma sha allah .

        Take a very nice Israeli lefty. Jeff Halper. I went on one of his ICAHD tours once. The bus driver was a Palestinian. Halper spoke to him in Hebrew. Arabic is the language of the maids in Israel.

        “I won’t defend racism, but I don’t believe it is significantly worse here than in other countries I’ve visited.”

        Have you ever been abroad ? Do Jews get special security treatment in airports anywhere in Europe? Is there a special program of home demolitions for Catholics in Paris, like the one for Palestinians in Jerusalem ?

      • Avi
        May 18, 2011, 11:33 am

        15 years ago I worked for a company publishing text books to teach English in schools. All instructions had to be written in Hebrew and Arabic (and at that time Amharic, although I believe that is no longer the case) before presenting a new book to the Ministry of Education for approval.

        Let me clue you in; school textbooks are usually written in Hebrew and only later, some — some — are translated into Arabic. That is the way the Ministry of Education operates.

        That you worked with some private company 15 years ago which did this or that is not indicative of anything.

        The מכולת (mini-market) outside my apartment employs a number of Arab workers including at least one who wears a hijab. They often talk Arabic among themselves. No one, to my knowledge, has ever batted an eyelid.

        So, the Arab help who works at the store is tolerated? You don’t say.

        He/she is tolerated by some — most, would be an exaggeration — because he or she was cleared by the Jewish manager. That makes the Arab help one of the “good Ay-rabs”, one who isn’t uppity. One who is needed to do the dirty work.

        But, that doesn’t explain anything nor prove anything. It only shows that you and Israeli society are so bigoted, that you don’t see your own bigotry anymore.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 18, 2011, 11:42 am

        “Do Jews get special security treatment in airports anywhere in Europe?”

        No idea, but I have been singled out for “random” extra security checks (SSSS on my boarding pass) on every one of my last 20 trips originating in the US. I can only assume that the issue is that my ticket originated in the Middle East. Ironic, no?

        I think I gave a perfectly good example of institutionalized racism in the UK. Would you care to respond to that? There have been less than 5 black or Asian cabinet members in the history of the UK Parliament. Thoughts?

        Here’s another. Despite the numbers of black players, there have only ever been 2 black managers of UK Football League teams. Odd no?

        So, to answer your question , I have been abroad and I live in Israel, so I feel confident in telling my story here.

        “Arabic is the language of the maids in Israel.”
        I wouldn’t know, my maid is a bloke called Nicholas and he’s from Russia. Neither of us speak Arabic.

        Whenever I am in conversation with an Arabic speaker, we tend to talk in either Hebrew or English as those are the two choices available to me. Maybe that’s a symbol of my colonialist oppressive mentality or maybe it’s just that I’m lazy. I do wish I had at least studied the alphabet so I could pick out some Arabic phonetically the way I learned with Greek and Russian at school.

      • Mooser
        May 18, 2011, 11:52 am

        “I won’t defend racism, but I don’t believe it is significantly worse here than in other countries I’ve visited.”

        Yeah, yeah, and Israelis are so much more honest than other people. Say, Guilty Feat, why don’t you look back at your early posts, where you tried to convince us you were a gender-bending sixteen year old yamulke addict, looking for enlightement and resisting his father’s apostasy, and tell us how honest you are?
        So now it turns out you are professional hasbaratchnik.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 18, 2011, 11:55 am

        “So, the Arab help who works at the store is tolerated? You don’t say.

        He/she is tolerated by some — most, would be an exaggeration — because he or she was cleared by the Jewish manager. That makes the Arab help one of the “good Ay-rabs”, one who isn’t uppity. One who is needed to do the dirty work.”

        I didn’t say “tolerated”, you did. I said no one cares if they hear anyone talking Arabic in refutation of your earlier point that “Speaking Arabic in public while in a Jewish town will often draw slurs.”

        Avi, the revolting idea of “good Ay-rabs” is all you. You can try to put your poisonous words in my mouth, but it doesn’t mean I said them. This whole thread is turning into a projection of your own experience. Did you grow up in a particularly racist household?

      • Avi
        May 18, 2011, 12:21 pm

        Avi, the revolting idea of “good Ay-rabs” is all you. You can try to put your poisonous words in my mouth, but it doesn’t mean I said them. This whole thread is turning into a projection of your own experience. Did you grow up in a particularly racist household?

        Take a deep breath and read my comment again. I was explaining to you why that grocery store clerk is tolerated. You described what you saw, I responded by explaining to you why what you saw takes place in Israeli society.

        It’s not that complicated. Really. Read it again. You might just get it.

      • pronomad
        May 18, 2011, 12:26 pm

        All TV and movies are NOT subtitled in Arabic. I canceled my YES cable subscription because I was tired of the embarrassment of having Arabic-speaking friends or relatives over, and not being able to switch to Arab subtitles (of course, Hebrew, English, and Russian are all available).

        “I don’t believe [racism] is significantly worse here than in other countries I’ve visited.” Hey, I grew up black in the US (still am, BTW :-)), and my family and many friends have experienced a sh**load of racism in our lives. As an adult I’ve traveled throughout Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, and in my experience Israel wins the racism sweepstakes hands down. I have never been anywhere else where I was viewed with such suspicion, where I was “randomly” selected for questioning so frequently, where I was stopped so often and asked to show my papers, where I have been asked point-blank “what are you doing here and how long are you going to stay?”

        Have you ever noticed how government offices in Jewish areas have protection from the elements, and chairs for clients to use while waiting; not so much in Arab areas. Have you ever been told that you must be mistaken and that you “couldn’t possibly” be entitled to “preferred client” at the bank (until they took a look at your account balance)?

        True story: I was driving in Jerusalem a few years back with a friend of mixed Arab-European heritage. We were approaching our (Arab) neighborhood when we were stopped by the police. They had obviously mistaken him for a Jewish Israeli and wanted to warn us that the neighborhood we were about to enter was “dangerous” and “full of Arabs.”

        Unfortunately, Israeli racism is alive and doing very well.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 18, 2011, 12:51 pm

        “Take a deep breath and read my comment again. I was explaining to you why that grocery store clerk is tolerated. You described what you saw, I responded by explaining to you why what you saw takes place in Israeli society.”

        I described what I didn’t see, racism. You keep using the word “tolerated”. I don’t “tolerate” the sales clerk when she talks Arabic. I relate to her in exactly the same way that I relate to every other sales clerk that I have ever encountered.

        You claimed that ““Speaking Arabic in public while in a Jewish town will often draw slurs.” I dispute this. I live in a Jewish town where people occasionally speak Arabic in public. I have never heard slurs. Again, which Jewish town in Israel do you live in where your version of events is more real than mine?

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 18, 2011, 12:59 pm

        @pronomad I don’t have a TV anymore so perhaps my information is outdated. I recall the Israeli state channels always carried both Arabic and Hebrew subtitles.

        As a white, kippah-wearing Anglo, I am never asked for my papers, so I can’t imagine how it must feel. You experiences are awful and I have no intention of belittling them. As an Israeli, I take responsibility for my part in educating my children against this kind of disgusting behavior.

        I would like to hear more about your experiences if you don’t mind. In addition to the frequency, are there other aspects of the racism you encounter in Israel that are different from your experiences in the US? I’m genuinely interested. Where in the US did you grow up? Have you visited other places in the region like Jordan, Lebanon or Syria. Did you encounter any racism there?

      • seafoid
        May 18, 2011, 1:47 pm

        GF

        What I hate about racism in the UK are all those checkpoints around London that prevent blacks and gypsies from getting anywhere near the city.

        Any time I see those corporation of Manchester bulldozers demolishing the homes of Pakistanis it sends a shiver down my spine.

        When those groups of Protestant English kids take over the homes of Catholic farmers in Oxfordshire and sequester their land I always thank god for Israel , that it is such a beacon of tolerance in a world that has none.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 18, 2011, 4:19 pm

        “For the same reason that there is no more Peking or Bombay on the map.”

        LMAO. That Hasbara propaganda refutes itself, because the name changes regarding Peking and Bombay had two different causes.

        The Peking/Beijing change resulted from a change in the recognized Romanization which, itself, included changes brought about by evolution in spoken Mandarin.

        The change from Bombay to Mumbai was a casting off of the Portugese/English colonial name and replacing it with a native one.

        The changes in Palestine are designed to wipe out the Arab identity and superimpose upon it the Hebrew. That is a political act of vandalism.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 18, 2011, 4:22 pm

        seafoid your ignorance betrays you. If you knew anything about the history of racism in England you wouldn’t be so quick with your glib comments.

        If you believe that a black man in England isn’t several times more likely to be stopped by the police than his white counterpart, you’re wrong.
        link to dailymail.co.uk

        If you believe that travelers haven’t been hounded out of communities for decades and been the subject of police brutality, you’re wrong.
        link to travellerstimes.org.uk

        If you believe that there aren’t cities throughout the UK that are divided by race and religion, you’re wrong.
        link to guardian.co.uk

        Trevor Philips the former head of the Commission for Racial Equality described Britain as “sleepwalking toward apartheid”.

        I’m old enough to remember the race riots of the 80s, you clearly are not.

        I grew up in the UK. I repeat my claim that I find Israeli society to be no more racist than the one I left behind.

      • Cliff
        May 18, 2011, 6:58 pm

        Israel is colonizing another peoples’ land, so of course it’s more racist than the UK. The colonial mentality adds another dimension to whatever racism exists in Israeli Jews towards ‘the Other’.

        There are pretty big obvious structural differences in the racism that exists in the UK and Israel.

        It’s only because you’re a partisan that you’re willing to paint your apartheid State with the same broad brush as every other ‘Western democracy’ in this instance because even though we’re talking about racism – it cleans up your image a bit, relatively speaking.

      • Mooser
        May 18, 2011, 7:47 pm

        This is the most common, and one of the cheapest, hasbara tricks: Guilty Feat is trying to make the difference between social racism, and governmental racism policies disappear. They always try to erase that distinction, because it condemns them.

        But really, all he’s doing me is convincing me that Israel will find the worst examples in the world to emulate, from all ages, and feel themselves perfectly justified. And I gotta say, Guilty Feat has been doing a very good job of that. I’m convinced, I’m convinced, Zionists believe any atrocity committed during any age is available and rightfully so, to Zionism.

        Yes sir, remind to go right over and sign up with the Zionists, and make sure to guarantee their policies with my own body. Why where could it possibly lead except to vindication and glory!

      • pjdude
        May 18, 2011, 8:25 pm

        wrong you bigot. Peking, Bombay you english names of foriegn places that werte later altered to better represent the native name. in Israel case it is erasing the native arabic name of places and renaming in hebrew flat out with no regard to its actual historical arabic name.

      • Mikhael
        May 18, 2011, 8:48 pm

        Try speaking Arabic in West Jerusalem some time and seeing the tolerance level.

        Bull.
        Most Israeli Jews in West Jerusalem in 2011, unfortunately don’t know Arabic fluently, so an Arab-speaker wishing to use Arabic would have a difficult time in most situations, but one can see and hear Arab Jerusalemites on Jaffa Road in West Jerusalem who are not afraid to speak Arabic loudly and publicly amongst themselves. However, many Israeli Jews of a certain age still speak Arabic fluently. My father, a 15th-generation Jerusalemite on his mother’s side, spoke Arabic nearly as well as Hebrew (Arabic was his mother’s first language) and I remember my grandparents, aunts and uncles speaking Arabic all the time (often mixed with Hebrew, French and Ladino) , in Jerusalem, whenever I went home to Israel on family visits. My sister’s Iraqi-born in-laws still frequently lapse into Arabic and are not ashamed or embarrassed to do so in public in Givatayim, right outside Tel Aviv.

      • Mikhael
        May 18, 2011, 9:24 pm

        That is simply not true.

        Off the top of my head, I can think of the Israeli passport which contains no Arabic text whatsoever. And that is but one example.

        Government documents such as safety announcements must be published in Arabic by law, and official policy documents are supposed to be made available in Arabic upon request. A passport is a travel document that contains limited space, and it is in Hebrew (the principal language of the country and the language spoken by nearly all of the population, Jewish and Arab) and English (most customs officials in foreign countries know what “Name”, “Date of Birth”, “Place of Birth” etc. mean). Since Israeli citizens can’t use their Israeli passports to visit most Arab countries, there is little reason to crowd Arabic on to to the limited space available for printing text on a passport.

        The vast majority of Israeli Jews do not speak Arabic. …The scope of Arabic language curriculum in the Jewish sector is limited to basic conversational Arabic.

        That is indeed a shame, although lately the Ministry of Education has mandated more of an Arabic curriculum in Jewish schools. Whether or not there are fewer Israeli Jews who know Arabic fluently has no bearing on whether Arabic is an official language or not. Outside Quebec and the Maritimes, few Canadians speak French fluently, yet even in British Columbia or Manitoba, which have hardly any Francophones, French is still official. So it is in Israel. In the days of the Old Yishuv, most Jews, even Ashkenazim, had to know Arabic for advancement. (My great grandparents had to know Turkish too.) Things have changed. Most Israeli citizens, Jewish or Arab, given a choice over a foreign language would rather know English fluently.

        And, it serves the purpose of preparing students for their post-highschool military service.

        A very important thing, indeed. They must put more emphasis on Arabic teaching in the Jewish sector for that reason if no other. Sadly, having been raised and educated primarily in the United States, I did not learn Arabic in any formal setting until much later in life.

        Both state radio and TV broadcast programs in the Arabic language. Alas, the majority of these broadcasts are aimed at the public relations aspect, i.e. Hasbara,…

        It’s much better and more nuanced than the Hebrew-language propaganda service of Press TV! (I remember back in the 1980s watching the Hebrew language news from Jordan, every sentence began with האויב הציוני””, maybe they are less crude now.)

        Speaking Arabic in public while in a Jewish town will often draw slurs. I am personally familiar with several cases in which Palestinian families were attacked when they spoke Arabic in public.

        Go and have obvious Hebrew conversations, while wearing a kippa and tsitsit hanging out in certain neighborhoods in places like Umm al Fa7m and see how friendly people will be to you.

      • Mikhael
        May 18, 2011, 9:50 pm

        It’s much better and more nuanced than the Hebrew-language propaganda service of Press TV! (

        I didn’t mean Press Tv, which is the English-language broadcasting arm of Iran, I meant “Kol David”, which is the Iranian’s crude propaganda arm in Hebrew.

        Is this where you get your favorite Hebrew-language news from, Avi?

        link to hebrew.irib.ir

      • pronomad
        May 18, 2011, 11:23 pm

        Dear GuiltyFeat,

        My experiences at home were pretty much standard for my generation; thankfully, things are much better these days.

        I believe that Israeli free-to-air broadcasts are subtitled in Hebrew and Arabic, but the for-pay broadcasters (Yes and Hot) are different. It’s not that Arabic subtitling isn’t available, but while Hebrew and English subtitles are almost always available, and Russian frequently available, Arabic is hit-or-miss.

        In my adult experience racism rarely manifests in loud and visible ways. Most of the time it’s through subtle actions that most others wouldn’t notice because the actions aren’t directed at them or the acts themselves seem innocuous, but one develops a sixth sense after a while: eyes following you around a store, or having salespeople “casually” tail you or otherwise make sure you’re within visual range; the assumption that you wouldn’t be interested in high-quality goods and/or don’t have the funds to pay for them; having someone who clearly arrived after you attended to first, etc. Women holding their purses closer or “coincidentally” crossing the street when they see you walking in their direction; being stopped for “driving while black” in a “white” area. Being told that you should accept a lower grade for classwork similar to higher-graded fellow students because “these things are going to happen and you just better get used to it” (not so subtle, that). These days, more enlightened attitudes prevail (although, given what has crawled out of the woodwork since Obama’s inauguration, it appears a lot of crap was forgotten but not gone). Nonetheless, I think that greater interracial/inter-ethnic familiarity and interaction has brought us a long way forward.

        While racism can sometimes be equally subtle in Israel, I find it generally much more institutionalized and overt than in the US; it slaps one in the face all the time if one is paying attention. As an example, I used to spend a lot of time in Jerusalem’s Old City, and got to know all four Quarters pretty well. I was struck by the street-cleaning regimen: motorized street sweepers in the Jewish Quarter what seemed like every day; motorized sweepers 2-3 times a week in the Christian and Armenian Quarters, supplemented by manual labor; and manual labor only in the Muslim Quarter. Or having a green traffic light for four seconds for traffic coming from an Arab neighborhood, but seventy-five seconds for traffic coming from a Jewish neighborhood (yes, I timed it). Or the fact that for years the only ATM in the Old City was in the Jewish Quarter. Or constant delays, endless bureaucratic excuses, and regular short-changing when Arabs try to collect state benefits to which they are entitled.

        I have spent a good bit of time in all the countries you mentioned, and can’t say that I have ever felt singled out because of my complexion. I have had people make rude comments about my status as an “infidel” but these incidents have been very few and far between. In general, I’ve always felt comfortable and welcome in Arab countries.

        People in both cultures ask questions that many Westerners might find invasive: Arabs tend to ask about your private life (age, marital status, number of children (unmarried and/or childless couples beware!), etc. but are generally glad that you are visiting their country. Israelis, on the other hand, all seem to be subcontractors for the security services. Small talk between a medical tech and me WHILE UNDERGOING AN EXAM: where do you work? where do you stay in Israel? why are you staying in an Arab neighborhood? do you know many Arabs? how did you meet them? how long have you been here? how long are you staying? Sheesh, she never even asked me what sites I had visited or if I was enjoying my stay.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 19, 2011, 2:55 am

        @pjdude

        “in Israel case it is erasing the native arabic name of places and renaming in hebrew flat out with no regard to its actual historical arabic name.”

        You’re so funny. I don’t think even the most jaded scholar of Arabic would ever claim that the Arabic name “al Quds” (“the holy”) predates the Hebrew name “Yerushalaim” (“city of peace”), so by your own logic the historical name is the one being upheld.

        Do you guys ever read anything or do you just post the first thing that comes into your heads.

        For the record, Jews ofter refer to Jerusalem as “the holy” city or in Hebrew, “Ha-KoDeSh” where the Hebrew root KDSh is closely related to the Arabic one QDS.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 19, 2011, 3:25 am

        @Cliff

        “Israel is colonizing another peoples’ land, so of course it’s more racist than the UK.”

        Dude, you’re kidding right? You’re trying to draw a contrast between Israel and the UK by claiming that Israel is the colonial one?

        Clearly you’re not from Northern Ireland… or Canada… or Australia… or New Zealand… or Gibraltar… or the Falkland Islands… or Bermuda… or the Cayman Islands… or Montserrat.

        I’m pretty sure Elizabeth Windsor has her privileged face on more coins and stamps and lays claim to a greater number of “subjects” than Israel could ever achieve.

        You have to try harder.

      • seafoid
        May 19, 2011, 4:14 am

        “frequently lapse into Arabic and are not ashamed or embarrassed to do so in public”

        Why would they be ashamed ? Do they make the announcements in arabic at Beitar games ?

        How about the younger generation ? What’s their attitude to arabic ?

      • Cliff
        May 19, 2011, 5:30 am

        Pathetic GF. I am talking about the examples given – Israel and the UK.

        But I think instead of modern UK you want to reference olde UK since clearly you’re a time traveler and also seem to think it’s relevant.

        You need better hasbara.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 19, 2011, 6:30 am

        Nothing olde UK about the British colonization of Northern Ireland, Gibraltar, The Falklands or the other I listed. These exist today very much colonized and under British rule for no discernible reason. Britain only gave back Hong Kong 10 years ago or so and they fought a war over the Falklands in 1982.

        The only thing pathetic here is your double standard.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 19, 2011, 6:37 am

        “How about the younger generation ? What’s their attitude to arabic?”

        My 16 year old started learning it last year. He’s really enjoying it. Having grown up bilingual, he loves the similarities between Hebrew and Arabic.

        I live in a town where you can easily hear people talking Hebrew, English, Arabic, French, Hungarian, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese and Tagalog just walking down the high street. No one stares and no one shouts out slurs.

      • Avi
        May 19, 2011, 7:06 am

        Mikhael May 18, 2011 at 9:24 pm

        Whether or not there are fewer Israeli Jews who know Arabic fluently has no bearing on whether Arabic is an official language or not.

        Whether you are capable of comprehending it or not, the lack of interest in learning Arabic stems from the power imbalance between the majority and the minority. The minority is the oppressed underclass, and so is its language in the eyes of racist Israeli Jewish society.

        As for Quebec and your grandmother, spare me the nonsense.

        And, it serves the purpose of preparing students for their post-highschool military service.

        A very important thing, indeed. They must put more emphasis on Arabic teaching in the Jewish sector for that reason if no other. Sadly, having been raised and educated primarily in the United States, I did not learn Arabic in any formal setting until much later in life.

        Would you like a tissue to wipe those tears?
        Again, it seems beyond your thinking ability to realize that associating Arabic with occupation and militarism is detrimental to the treatment Israel’s Palestinian citizens receive at the hands of the Jewish majority.

        Both state radio and TV broadcast programs in the Arabic language. Alas, the majority of these broadcasts are aimed at the public relations aspect, i.e. Hasbara,…

        It’s much better and more nuanced than the Hebrew-language propaganda service of Press TV!

        Ahh yes. That gem of Hasbara. So, Israel is better then Iran and Jordan, big deal. I thought Israel was a western-style democracy according to your nonsense. Besides, policies and practices in other countries have no relevance. Israel should treat its citizens and their rights equally. It doesn’t.

        (I remember back in the 1980s watching the Hebrew language news from Jordan, every sentence began with האויב הציוני””, maybe they are less crude now.)

        Funny. I’m quite familiar with that news program and don’t recall any such usage. Are you sure you’re not making this up the same way you made up your claim about ‘Arabs’ in Israel being treated equally across the board?

        Go and have obvious Hebrew conversations, while wearing a kippa and tsitsit hanging out in certain neighborhoods in places like Umm al Fa7m and see how friendly people will be to you.

        More hypothetical and irrelevant scenarios. Nice. It’s comical that your knowledge about the country you salivate over is negligible.

      • Avi
        May 19, 2011, 7:13 am

        Mikhael May 18, 2011 at 9:50 pm
        Is this where you get your favorite Hebrew-language news from, Avi?

        link to hebrew.irib.ir

        For an ignoramus, you sure make a lot of grandiose statements and claims. Alas, it’s pathetic when someone has to overcompensate for his deficiencies with such inane bravado.

        What was that claim of yours again? “I’ve lived among Arabs. I’ve worked with Arabs. I’ve studied with Arabs. I’ve served in the army with Arabs. I’ve eaten with Arabs. I’ve danced with Arabs. I’ve sung with Arabs.” Anything else?

      • Avi
        May 19, 2011, 7:29 am

        Go and have obvious Hebrew conversations, while wearing a kippa and tsitsit hanging out in certain neighborhoods in places like Umm al Fa7m and see how friendly people will be to you.

        That you used Umm al-Fahem as an example, the Palestinian town in Israel which Kahana supporters have relentlessly attempted to enter, march and provoke, speaks volumes. The same group calls for the “Transfer” of Palestinians from Umm al-Fahem.

        And yet, like a good Zionist tool, you use your fascist friends — the Kahana supporters — as representatives of Judaism, what with the mention of the Kippah.

        You don’t disappoint. You remain a liar and a propagandist with your arrogant dishonesty.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 19, 2011, 8:49 am

        With all that anger and “knowledge”, Avi, I think I missed the answer to MY question about the false statement you made:

        “Speaking Arabic in public while in a Jewish town will often draw slurs.”

        Are you ready to withdraw this nonsense now or at least tell us all when the last time you lived in a Jewish town in Israel was?

        For someone who is quick to call others liars and propagandists you are surprisingly evasive when called out for your own falsehoods.

      • Avi
        May 19, 2011, 9:29 am

        GuiltyFeat May 19, 2011 at 8:49 am

        With all that anger and “knowledge”, Avi, I think I missed the answer to MY question about the false statement you made:

        “Speaking Arabic in public while in a Jewish town will often draw slurs.”

        Are you ready to withdraw this nonsense now or at least tell us all when the last time you lived in a Jewish town in Israel was?

        For someone who is quick to call others liars and propagandists you are surprisingly evasive when called out for your own falsehoods.

        However petulant you become, that won’t change the simple fact that what I wrote above is true and factual. Deal with it, or go pound sand.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 19, 2011, 12:04 pm

        You do realize that just saying something is factual and true from thousands of miles away doesn’t make it so?

        But I see you’re not prepared to answer my question. That tells us all everything we need to know about your credentials, Avi.

        You talk like you know what’s going on, but as soon as you’re confronted with conflicting evidence from someone actually living here, you get evasive and name-cally. Very weak.

      • Mikhael
        May 23, 2011, 11:13 am

        Why would they be ashamed ? Do they make the announcements in arabic at Beitar games ?

        A false accusation was made that people are afraid and/or ashamed to speak Arabic publicly. I offered a counter-example of my sister’s Jewish in-laws, who speak Arabic frequently and publicly.
        Most Beitar fans speak Hebrew as their main language , there is no reason to make announcements in Arabic.
        (Although when one considers that much of Beitar’s fanbase are Mizrahi Jews, they often understand Arabic too.)

        How about the younger generation ? What’s their attitude to arabic ?

        Different people have different attitudes. My nieces and nephews who live in Israel study Arabic in school, and they enjoy it, but they would rather have fluent English.

      • Mikhael
        May 23, 2011, 8:53 pm

        And yet, like a good Zionist tool, you use your fascist friends — the Kahana supporters — as representatives of Judaism, what with the mention of the Kippah.

        Oh, so everyone who wears a kippa is a Kahana supporter? Moreover, how dare you presume to tell me who my “friends” are? I have more friends who are Arabs than who are Kahana supporters. Of course, little creep that you are, think that you know who I am and and my friends better than I do.

      • Mikhael
        May 23, 2011, 9:09 pm

        What was that claim of yours again? “I’ve lived among Arabs. I’ve worked with Arabs. I’ve studied with Arabs. I’ve served in the army with Arabs. I’ve eaten with Arabs. I’ve danced with Arabs. I’ve sung with Arabs.” Anything else?

        Your sneering skepticism of the above says a lot about you and your sick prejudices. Nevertheless, I most certainly never said I’ve lived among Arabs–that would imply that I was raised in their houses. Would you be so kind as to not misquote me? Nevertheless, I have indeed been fortunate to have Arab friends and neighbors in the US and in Israel. Why does this seem so odd to you? As for “dancing” at their weddings, that could only have happened at the most urgent coaxing. Just as it is when I am a guest at Jewish weddings–including my own– I try to avoid dancing as much as possible. Since I don’t like dancing, I seriously doubt I ever made that claim. Of course it’s true that I’ve studied with Arab- and Muslim-American students, one of whom was my college roommate for two years in row and naturally I went to his wedding–where I am pretty sure I avoided dancing as much as possible. Again, none of this remarkable or interesting. You’re obviously an ignorant bigot, so it’s really not worth convincing you of anything.

      • Mikhael
        May 23, 2011, 9:22 pm

        That you used Umm al-Fahem as an example, the Palestinian town in Israel which Kahana supporters have relentlessly attempted to enter, march and provoke, speaks volumes.

        I used Umm al Fahm as an example because it’s the town that elected the virulently anti-Semitic, Islamist hatemonger Raed Salah as mayor.

        The same group calls for the “Transfer” of Palestinians from Umm al-Fahem.

        I most certainly do not condone Kakh’s platform calling for transfer of Israel’s Arab citizens or the imposition of Halakha as the law of the land. Kakh and Salah’s 7arakat al Islamiyieh fi falastin ’48–the Islamic Movement of “Palestine 1948″– are mirror images of each other. Both call for imposition of a theocracy, ethnic incitement and ethnic cleansing. But in your book, Avi, nothing Raed Salah says or does can be as bad as Kahanism. They are two sides of the same coin.

      • Mikhael
        May 23, 2011, 9:34 pm

        More hypothetical and irrelevant scenarios. Nice. It’s comical that your knowledge about the country you salivate over is negligible.

        It’s very relevant to offer a counter-example because you explicitly stated that “speaking Arabic in public while in a Jewish town will often draw slurs.” It’s no doubt true that this sometimes can happen (just as Hispanic-Americans can face bigotry and/or violence when speaking Spanish). It’s also true that the same thing can happen to a Jew who speaks Hebrew in an Arab town in Israel–FOR EXAMPLE in Umm al Fa7m. I’ve actually visited Umm al Fa7m (and yes, I’ve spoken Hebrew there), in fact I’ve even gone to the recently opened art museum and had a nice time, but there are certain Arab towns and neighborhoods that one is advised to avoid to walking in while Jewish. Back in the day when I wore a kippa (I am no longer religious and no longer don one routinely– my baldspot is exposed for everyone to see), I was told explicitly by Arab friends who were concerned for my welfare (I am sure you will again accuse me of lying for my assertion that I have Arab friends) that I was taking my life in my hands for strolling around Akko’s Old City with my kippa and tsitsit. I was shocked and surprised, because even though it was the tense times of the 1st Intefadeh, I always felt perfectly safe in Akko.

      • Mikhael
        May 23, 2011, 9:41 pm

        Funny. I’m quite familiar with that news program and don’t recall any such usage. Are you sure you’re not making this up the same way you made up your claim about ‘Arabs’ in Israel being treated equally across the board?

        You won’t find any instance of me saying that Arabs are treated equally across the board, but I know that you like to put words in other people’s mouths.

        There were frequent references to “ha oyev ha tsiyyoni” and ha kovesh ha tsiyyoni”. I admit I used hyperbole by saying “every sentence”. It was probably more like every OTHER sentence began with that description of Israel.

    • Kris
      May 18, 2011, 8:25 pm

      Another example of Israel’s “tolerance,” from Ma’an news:
      “Palestinian identity under attack in Israel.”
      link to maannews.net

      Israel has decreed that Palestinian students must study the Holocaust, but outlawed study of the Nakba. And the principal of a public high school in Yafo, with 50% Palestinian-Israeli students, has forbidden them from speaking Arabic amongst themselves, though Russian-speaking students are allowed to speak Russian. All the classes are taught in Hebrew, of course.

      • Mikhael
        May 18, 2011, 10:14 pm

        Israel has decreed that Palestinian students must study the Holocaust, but outlawed study of the Nakba.

        Really, “outlawed”? You mean Arab citizens of Israel must convene in secret study groups hidden in basements to study their version of history and post a lookout lest the SHABAK disrupt their meetings where they teach their youth about the Nakba? Not exactly. Arab citizens of Israel are free to indoctrinate their youths as they please, but they should not expect that the state will subsidize their teaching their youths that the failure to entirely ethnically cleanse Israel of its Jewish inhabitants was a catastrophe.

        And the principal of a public high school in Yafo, with 50% Palestinian-Israeli students, has forbidden them from speaking Arabic amongst themselves

        You mean he tried. The Ministry of Education promptly reprimanded him and told him he exceeded his authority as principal. Kids at Yafo Ironi Zayin can still speak in whatever language they wish outside of the classroom. Although it has an ethnically mixed student population it still remains a Hebrew-language school, though, so Hebrew remains the language of instruction there.

        link to mynet.co.il

      • Donald
        May 18, 2011, 11:10 pm

        “Arab citizens of Israel are free to indoctrinate their youths as they please, but they should not expect that the state will subsidize their teaching their youths that the failure to entirely ethnically cleanse Israel of its Jewish inhabitants was a catastrophe.”

        Oh, and you were doing so well up until that point. Never having been to Israel and having lived in a racist society myself (the southern US right after Jim Crow), I don’t doubt that Israel is racist, but also realize that things can be complex. So I was reading your posts with interest. I think we need more Israeli input in the comments section sometimes.

        Then you go and say something crude like this. Evidently the expulsion of the Palestinians is just a nonevent to you and so if Palestinians mourn it, they aren’t mourning a real catastrophe which happened to Palestinians, but the fact that a similar catastrophe didn’t happen to Israeli Jews.

        I’ve seen this before, here and at other blogs. Mention something terrible that Israel did to the Palestinians and it’s like a reflex–some Zionist will jump in and turn the meaning upside down. Palestinians don’t have any real genuine human sorrow over what happened in 1948–no, they’re all just a bunch of savages who wish they could have done something terrible to the Jews.

      • annie
        May 18, 2011, 11:57 pm

        the failure to entirely ethnically cleanse Israel of its Jewish inhabitants was a catastrophe

        nakba denial. how did this make it thru moderation?

      • Mikhael
        May 23, 2011, 11:29 am

        Then you go and say something crude like this. Evidently the expulsion of the Palestinians is just a nonevent to you and so if Palestinians mourn it, they aren’t mourning a real catastrophe which happened to Palestinians, but the fact that a similar catastrophe didn’t happen to Israeli Jews.

        War almost always exacts a harsh toll on civilian populations, and that toll is inevitably worse for the losing side. I am glad that my people were not on the losing side. It is a fact that between 1947-49 that Arabs hoped to entirely ethnically cleanse the country of its Jews. My father was a native Jerusalemite. He lived in the Western side of the city. He and his parents, brothers and sisters survived the Arab siege of Jewish Jerusalem, when they were constantly shelled for months and survived starvation by eating the hubeiza weed and “bread” baked with sawdust. His aunts, uncles and cousins were expelled by the Jordanians from the Jewish Quarter in the Old City, where my grandmother was born. The Palestinian Arab Nakba is that there was no Jewish Nakba in Eretz Yisrael on the heels of the Shoah. We Israeli Jews don’t need to feel remorse that we weren’t kicked out of our country.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 19, 2011, 3:06 am

        @Kris

        “Israel has decreed that Palestinian students must study the Holocaust, but outlawed study of the Nakba.”

        Wrong. The Israeli Ministry of Education has stated that Israeli students must study the Holocaust (I mean who actually “decrees” things these days?) The Israeli Ministry, as far as I know, has no jurisdiction over Palestinians students.

        FYI, here’s a link to a report where the former Minister of Education in the UK emphasizes that the Holocaust is a COMPULSORY component of the British curriculum, so Israel is hardly unique in this respect – link to news.bbc.co.uk

        Fortunately for you, Hamas does have jurisdiction over Palestinian students, and you’ll be delighted to know that they have “decreed” that no Palestinian students should study the Holocaust, so there’s your story.

        link to dispatch.com

        Hamas was unhappy about UNWRA’s plan to teach the same curriculum that it recommends throughout the world so somebody vandalized the schools and torched UNWRA’s summer camps for Palestinian children in Gaza. Oops. Looks like another own goal for you, Kris.

      • annie
        May 19, 2011, 3:25 am

        oh gag me with a spoon. hamas decided not to teach the holocaust after the ministry of education stripped the nakba for israeli textbooks 07/22/09.

        Education Minister Removes ‘Nakba’ From Curriculum

        The Israeli Ministry, as far as I know, has no jurisdiction over Palestinians students.

        if you have any evidence indicating palestinian israeli students do not come under the purview of israel’s education ministry by all means produce it.

      • GuiltyFeat
        May 19, 2011, 3:36 am

        “if you have any evidence indicating palestinian israeli students do not come under the purview of israel’s education ministry by all means produce it.”

        Isn’t that what you call a straw man, Annie? The original claim was that Israel is deciding what Palestinian students are allowed to study. I responded that Israel only decides what Israeli students can study.

        I guess that when you wrote “palestinian israeli students” you were referring to Israeli students. If you wrote about “indian british students” learning European history in their British schools no one would bat an eyelid. Why should Israeli students of all backgrounds not study the same curriculum?

        Israelis of all ethnicities are clearly bound by Israeli law. Non-Israelis aren’t.

        I think the attempt to legislate against talking about the Nakba is daft.

        How do you feel about Hamas banning education about the Holocaust?

      • Cliff
        May 19, 2011, 5:35 am

        Read the article LazyFeat. It’s about Israeli Arabs.

  2. Donald
    May 17, 2011, 4:18 pm

    Off-topic, but what happened to the comment bar on the far right? It’s useful, especially for keeping track of comments from people like hostage (who ought to be a frontpager in my opinion).

    On topic–Is there any firsthand account of what Mitchell thinks of his failure to accomplish anything with the I/P conflict? Or is he being the good soldier and keeping his mouth shut?

    • Kathleen
      May 17, 2011, 5:14 pm

      If he comes out at all would be a shock if it was this week. Too much going on

      • Citizen
        May 17, 2011, 6:32 pm

        Yeah, like the bill to allow Obama to by-pass congress when making high level appointments: On March 30, 2011, Senator Charles Schumer (D–NY) with 15 cosponsors, including the Senate Majority and Republican Leaders, as well as six other Democratic Senators, six other Republican Senators, and an Independent Senator (Lieberman, who else?) introduced in the Senate the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 (S. 679). The bill was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
        The bill reduces the number of presidential appointments that require the consent of the Senate.

    • Mooser
      May 18, 2011, 11:53 am

      “Off-topic, but what happened to the comment bar on the far right?

      I have no idea what you mean. All the usual hasbaratrolls are here. Been no bar as far as I can see.

      This place is like occupied territory.

  3. Jim Haygood
    May 17, 2011, 4:22 pm

    A brilliant and thought-provoking interview! This is the sort of in-depth analysis that the NYT used to publish, before it became a PR Wire for Israel.

    Travers’ skepticism about religious states is well-founded. The founders of the U.S. came to the same conclusion in their era. His remarks about the tendency toward corruption in crony states have already been amply borne out.

  4. Lydda Four Eight
    May 17, 2011, 4:46 pm

    “I can say that my grandfather’s dream of a single Roman Catholic republic with an anti-British stance has outlived its purpose.”

    this is an excellent interview.

    “You have to convince the wider Diaspora community that a resolution is in the Jewish people’s and in Israel’s best interest. I don’t think you can convince Israel of that.” Why not? Travers lived in Israel for several years in the 80s as a military adviser to peacekeeping missions. He says the country is too caught up in a security mindset, convinced that it is surrounded by enemies, and the entire military-industrial culture of the country is built on that understanding, which also generates social “cohesion and camaraderie.”

    national security is where the $$$$$$ Benjamins are at. Check this out:

    “Pete Hoekstra … the Republican point man on national security issues, serving as both chairman and ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He was also deeply engaged in … congressional oversight efforts.” Now has “left” public office and started his own company, keep in mind Hoekstra, part of the Dutch-American Reformed tribe of W. Michigan, started out selling furniture and now he’s selling “national security” which is an unattainable gimmick imo loaded with $$$$$$:
    “Hoekstra Global Strategies affirms the vital role that private enterprise and entrepreneurship play at home and abroad in keeping the United States safe, and is committed to fighting terrorism and promoting democratic values worldwide …
    Led by former U.S. Congressman and Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra, Hoekstra Global Strategies plays a vital role in shaping and communicating the ideas necessary to win the fight against radical Islamism, to keep Americans safe, and to ensure that our next generation has the same opportunities that we have.”

    Hoekstra also works for … Dickstein Shapiro:
    Dickstein Shapiro has a team of experienced public policy experts who are uniquely suited to provide counsel regarding the ever-changing political and security situation in the Middle East and its effect on U.S. business interests. The firm’s team includes former Members of Congress who have unmatched insight into the U.S. intelligence community, foreign security issues, and the Middle East in general. It is vital for American corporations to continually monitor the developments in the region in order to anticipate how their bottom line may be affected. The firm can assist by providing key analysis and advice related to likely future events in the region, how political unrest in one country may spread to its neighbors, possible winners and losers in an altered political landscape, the growing threats to the global economy and U.S. business interests, and how Congress and the administration are likely to respond to the turmoil in the region. Additionally, the former Members of Congress at the firm have exceptional relationships with the leadership of countries in the region and can assist with direct communication efforts in addition to working through U.S. government channels. The Dickstein Shapiro team providing significant resources and expertise to advance these goals include:

    Former Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2011. During his tenure, he held numerous Republican leadership positions, including the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he focused on building a national intelligence infrastructure, strengthening national and homeland security, and fortifying defense. As House intelligence chairman from 2004 to 2006, Congressman Hoekstra played a decisive role enacting the bipartisan bill that created a Director of National Intelligence, the cabinet level post which now oversees the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies. He concentrates his work on legislative and regulatory counseling with an emphasis on intelligence, national security, defense, foreign relations, and international business matters.

    Oh and btw, Erik Prince, he’s from the same town in West Michigan, Holland as Hoekstra. I won’t be surprised if the Big 3 in Michigan get replaced with National Security wares.

    • Daniel Rich
      May 18, 2011, 3:03 am

      Hi Lydda Four Eight,

      Thank you for sharing this info. It’s good to know who stands were and why in this cloak and dagger environment.

      • Lydda Four Eight
        May 18, 2011, 3:40 pm

        Daniel, i see a lot of parallels between the Reformed-Dutch-American tribe of W. Michigan and the Jewish-Israeli-Western-Zionist tribe. Hoekstra belongs to the former but is doing well fitting in with the culture of the latter b/c they have so much in common.

        btw, i think Dickstein Shapiro is the firm Scooter Libby and his wife were at when they met. maybe it was another Dickstein Shapiro or there was a slight name change but the Libby’s pre-marriage i believe worked for Dickstein Shapiro as well.

  5. NorthOfFortyNine
    May 17, 2011, 4:55 pm

    Great and timely piece. There should be more comparisons to Ireland and Israel. And maybe Jews and Irish? –N49.

    • Thomson Rutherford
      May 17, 2011, 10:54 pm

      “There should be more comparisons to Ireland and Israel. And maybe Jews and Irish?”

      To what purpose? More hasbara talking points?

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        May 17, 2011, 11:33 pm

        To what purpose? More hasbara talking points?

        I think the Irish are a great example of a group maintaining their culture and identity in multicultural societies without the exclusivist and sometimes inward looking tendencies of some Jewish communities.

        I remember there was a big uproar in Montreal when the orthodox community there wanted to contruct a Eruv around their neighbourhood up on the Plateau. They needed a bylaw to get changed and there was a heated debate about the matter — aren’t these guys part of the city? If this group wants to be separate from the rest of the community, move some place else! I was ambivalent at the time and still am. But they hardly endeared themselves to the broader community in the city.

        By contrast, as everyone knows, Montreal’s St Paddy’s Day parade is second to none, with everyone joining in, with everyone being Irish for a day.

        Isn’t this the example to follow?

        I throw it out there…. -N49.

  6. Bumblebye
    May 17, 2011, 5:00 pm

    Unfortunately, a group calling itself the “real” IRA has come crawling out of the woodwork, causing some mayhem. Chunks of London were closed off today after receipt of a coded message threatening a bomb. A pipe bomb was found on a bus in Ireland shortly before the beginning of the Queen’s visit. Hopefully the changed political character will not allow this movement to grow.

    Off topic – like Donald, I’ve lost the “latest comments” bar too, and have been having all sorts of MW server errors over the past few days. Is something happening?

  7. Dr Gonzo
    May 17, 2011, 5:03 pm

    Very interesting article, agree with every word. At the end of the day George Mitchell was placed in an impossible situation on I/P. Hard to see even in retrospect what he could have done differently to advance the peace process. There was to much institutional resistance for him to have replicated the success of Northern Ireland. But still… solving one long running conflict is more than most political figures achieve and he can be proud of the job he has done.

    In reply to Donald’s question on Mitchell’s views the only evidence we have so far on what he thinks is from his letter of resignation which ForeignPolicy.com described as “curt”. Can read the letter at the link below but he appears to have kept it very vague and matter of factly and short.

    link to blog.foreignpolicy.com

  8. Kathleen
    May 17, 2011, 5:13 pm

    What a great interview.

    Such an important point about the Irish diaspora not undermining negotiations as the Jewish diapora has been for decades

    And Irish Reps in the US congress were not trying to block negotiations or interfere.

    Would have asked him if George Mitchell had to deal with a Dennis Ross undermining negotiations in the Irish Republic UK negotiations. If it is true that Netanyahu did all of his talking with Ross what other outcome would one expect except stalling or Israel trumping.

    Travers: ““I am not entirely convinced that a single religious entity in the entirety of a state is in the best interests of the society that aspires to that. There is inherent prejudice in it, for starters, inherent racism in it, a propensity to draconian laws that exclude rather than include. And there is a historical propensity toward corruption, in cronyism.”

    And this morning on Msnbc’s Morning Joe Jane “waddling on over to interfere in the aipac espionage investigation” Harman staunchly referred to saying the Jewish state of Israel and said absolutely nothing about a Palestinian state. Nothing.

    How much money do you think Harman gives to Israeli terrorism efforts in the West Bank and illegal settlements and illegal housing in E Jerusalem?

    • RoHa
      May 17, 2011, 7:42 pm

      “…the Irish diaspora …And Irish Reps in the US congress ”

      I still think that Americans who pretend to be Irish because their ancestors were Irish are nuts, but at least there are limits to their nuttiness, and they do show loyalty to the country of their birth, their homes, and their citizenship.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        May 17, 2011, 10:43 pm

        RoHa writes,
        “I still think that Americans who pretend to be Irish because their ancestors were Irish are nuts ….”

        Would you say the same about Italian-, Greek-, or Chinese-Americans? Mexican-Americans? I have Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, and German ancestry – all originally arriving in this country before 1800 – but I’m proud to call myself an Irish-American. Tradition lives.

      • RoHa
        May 17, 2011, 11:38 pm

        “Would you say the same about Italian-, Greek-, or Chinese-Americans? Mexican-Americans?”

        Yes. What’s the point of all these hyphenations? Why not just be Americans?

        “I have Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, and German ancestry”

        So you have mixed ancestry. Very American.

        ” in this country”

        I presume you mean the USA.

        “before 1800″

        Short of being a Cherokee or one of the Daughters of the Revolution, that seems about as American -and un-Irish – as you can get.

        “but I’m proud to call myself an Irish-American.”

        Why proud? Is it an achievement? And why not a Welsh-American?

        ” Tradition lives.”

        What tradition? Ancestor worship?

      • Thomson Rutherford
        May 18, 2011, 1:53 am

        RoHA: “And why not a Welsh-American?”

        Oh yes, I’m also Welsh and proud of it. Look, exhaustive searches by my relatives of dozens of our ancestral lines have not turned up any immigrants to this country (U.S.A. and prior colonies) after the year 1760 (i.e., all before 1760). As you suggest, I am about as “native” as one can get without being an aborigine.

        What’s the matter with my being proud to be “Irish”, “Scot”, “German”, etc? I believe strongly in the American “melting pot” (not “multicultural”) ideal I grew up with. If you see a contradiction in that, I don’t. Here in my part of Texas, we have annual Irish, Scottish, and German festivals which I take “pride” in. But I have also enjoyed our Czech and Greek festivals just about as well. We can and should have the melting pot without destroying pride in one’s ancestral heritage.

      • NorthOfFortyNine
        May 18, 2011, 2:17 am

        >> What tradition? Ancestor worship?

        Isn’t this just a little harsh? Why the aggro? -N49.

      • Thomson Rutherford
        May 18, 2011, 2:26 am

        And I say that it is altogether fitting that I celebrate my Irishness, at appropriate time and place, in good spirit with proper spirits – a pint of Guinness stout hoisted high.

      • Mooser
        May 18, 2011, 7:53 pm

        Gosh Thompson, you are so lucky, having pure white blood.
        No sir, nothing mongrelised about you, baby.

      • RoHa
        May 18, 2011, 8:26 pm

        “I am about as “native” as one can get without being an aborigine.”

        So why do you want to call yourself anything other than American? What’s the point?

        “We can and should have the melting pot without destroying pride in one’s ancestral heritage.”

        What is there to be proud of? Being proud of having Welsh/Irish/whatever ancestors is as daft as being proud of having fingers.

        Everyone has ancestors of one sort or another, but we are not our ancestors. We are ourselves.

      • RoHa
        May 18, 2011, 8:27 pm

        You do not need to have Irish ancestors to enjoy a pint of Guinness. (At the proper temperature. If it gets cold it loses its body.)

      • Thomson Rutherford
        May 19, 2011, 2:16 am

        “Gosh Thompson, you are so lucky, having pure white blood.
        No sir, nothing mongrelised about you, baby.”

        I’m pure mongrel, Mooser. I am so mongrelized that I managed to get direct lineage (no bastards) from Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland; and Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons and first self-styled King of the Anglo-Saxons. Now that takes real diversity. I trust you are suitably impressed.

      • Kathleen
        May 18, 2011, 10:29 am

        The same would apply to Jews and this alleged ancient connection to that land in the middle east. Have never been able to relate to those who have an over the top identity to their alleged religious, cultural or ethnic history.

      • Hostage
        May 18, 2011, 1:24 pm

        Have never been able to relate to those who have an over the top identity to their alleged religious, cultural or ethnic history.

        Thomson Rutherford was talking about having a pint of Guinness in “Gawd’s Country”(Texas), not about redeeming the land of Ireland or Israel from their current inhabitants.

    • Citizen
      May 17, 2011, 7:51 pm

      Astute comment, Kathleen. And did the President’s advisers while Mitchell was working on the Irish troubles have to be American Irish?

      • Kathleen
        May 18, 2011, 10:07 am

        good point.

    • Kathleen
      May 18, 2011, 10:06 am

      expect

  9. Diane Mason
    May 17, 2011, 5:36 pm

    I think one thing that really helped in Ireland was that both the U.K and the Republic of Ireland joined the EC/EU, which progressively made international borders less significant. When people are divided by concrete and barbed wire borders, the location of the border is a contentious issue. When borders are porous, and families both sides have easy access to each other, not so much.

    • lysias
      May 17, 2011, 7:32 pm

      I think it was always easy for Irish people to go to Britain to work, and of course then to go back to Ireland to visit family, before independence, during the period of the Irish Free State, and even after Ireland declared itself a republic and left the Commonwealth. Several relatives of mine did this. All of this well before Ireland and the UK joined the EU.

      Until the recent decades of prosperity, plenty of Irish people wanted to emigrate to find work, and Britain’s economy wanted Irish workers.

      • RoHa
        May 17, 2011, 9:16 pm

        The Irish could always enter Britain freely. Irish immigrants were, and still are, the largest groups of immigrants.

        (By “immigrants” I mean people who were not born in Britain. The British do not think that people born in Britain are Irish.)

        Like British and Commonwealth citizens, they have the right to vote in British elections. Of course, on entry they gained equal rights to British Citizens.

        The IRA was outlawed in Ireland in 1936. It was outlawed in Britain in 1974.

      • Diane Mason
        May 18, 2011, 9:59 pm

        I wasn’t suggesting it was difficult to travel between the Irish Republic and the British mainland, but talking about the local effects of the border within Ireland where Catholics in for example Fermanagh and South Tyrone – whose natural family and community links were with other Catholics in say, Cavan and Monaghan – found themselves bisected by a rather arbitrary border that didn’t respect the reality on the ground.

  10. Thomson Rutherford
    May 17, 2011, 7:35 pm

    “By contrast, Mitchell spent a lot of his time in Israel and Palestine worrying about Diaspora Jewry, who questioned his efforts. … ‘You have to convince the wider Diaspora community that a resolution is in the Jewish people’s and in Israel’s best interest. I don’t think you can convince Israel of that.'”

    Don’t bother trying to convince “Diaspora Jewry” that a resolution would be in America’s best interest. Not relevant. No such thing as an “American interest”.

    Here we see once again how the Fifth Column operates to subvert the U.S. government and its policies. Watch CSPAN next week for the annual AIPAC conference and you will get a graphic eyeful of how it works.

    (Why is that anachronistic word “Diaspora” still used? Dispersed from where? In its current usage, it serves little purpose other than the furtherance of Zionist political ideology. The Palestinians own the modern meaning of Diaspora in the Levant.)

  11. yourstruly
    May 17, 2011, 7:50 pm

    open your eyes*

    jewish diaspora

    open your eyes & accept the palestinians’ right to return

    open your eyes

    jewish diaspora

    jewish diaspora!

    why don’t you open your eyes & let them in?

    *to the tune of “open the door, richard”

    • yourstruly
      May 18, 2011, 1:28 am

      why?

      it’s the right thing to do

      right for the palestinians

      right for the jewish settlers

      right for us here in the mother country

      right for all life on earth

      unity

      where one equals one

      god or not

      are we up to it?

      • yourstruly
        May 18, 2011, 2:27 am

        how?

        among other things, by backing only those candidates who see justice for palestine as a (if not the) key issue in next year’s elections

        by taking on the israel lobby

        by linking to the justice for palestine movement

        directly

        ok to just show up

        on the job training

        plus the spirit of those eighteen magical days in tahrir square, live

  12. hughsansom
    May 17, 2011, 9:04 pm

    A key difference between Ireland and Israel is that the Irish had to bear the cost of northern Irish conflict. Israel has spent 60 years insulating itself ever-more from the consequences of its atrocities. The IRA might have gotten some support from bigots like Rep. Peter King (R-NY), but it never enjoyed the full-fledged support of the US government. The Israeli terror-machine gets billions each year in US financial and military support. There is no incentive of any kind for Israelis to open their eyes. And there is growing intimidation of Jewish Israelis who dare to criticize their government or their fellow citizens. Israel is marching on a path diametrically opposed to that taken by Ireland.

    Note also, that The Troubles raged on for some 80+ years, with and without the mindless, knee-jerk support of American bigots. Israel is condemning itself and Palestinians and who knows who else to decades of more suffering.

    • Thomson Rutherford
      May 17, 2011, 10:25 pm

      Trying to compare American Irish Catholic support for the IRA with the Israel Lobby is like comparing a baby chimp with the 800-lb gorilla. The chimp could be safely ignored by most Americans (even most of those, like me, with Irish ancestry), but the gorilla can be ignored only at our peril.

    • Kathleen
      May 18, 2011, 10:08 am

      “Israel has spent 60 years insulating itself ever-more from the consequences of its atrocities”

      Bingo.

      I believe Ted Kennedy was involved with negotiations. Clinton too?

  13. Citizen
    May 17, 2011, 9:12 pm

    RE: “In the multicultural world of the United States, nobody outside the Irish experience could comprehend anything other than Irish as troublesome, violent, aggressive terrorists, and people outside the Irish milieu were not in a position to make distinctions about cause and effect.”

    Huh?
    Any other Irish Americans here (I’m 62.5% Irish) who were adults then find this characterization a stretch?

    • Thomson Rutherford
      May 17, 2011, 11:03 pm

      Citizen, where did you see the passage you quoted? I can’t find it. It’s outrageous and offensive.

      Good habit: State whom you are quoting.

      • Citizen
        May 18, 2011, 3:01 am

        TR. Sorry. It’s a quote from Col. Desmond Travers, in Phil’s post at the top of this thread.

  14. Richard Witty
    May 17, 2011, 9:44 pm

    I think the Palestinian diaspora and solidarity also deserve some scrutiny, perhaps more of a parallel to Northern Ireland.

    That is that the largely American Irish diaspora wearied of terror as means. The Arab diaspora has to an extent, but the western solidarity movement regards direct action (including moderate violence) as dissent, and not as something less noble.

    Your parallel isn’t one Phil.

    • James North
      May 17, 2011, 10:34 pm

      Richard Witty said: ‘I know Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. participated in direct action, but when the Western solidarity movement does the same thing, I don’t approve because it frightens Israelis.’

      • Donald
        May 17, 2011, 11:01 pm

        In the US the pro-Israel lobby has 99.99% of the political power, but Richard is afraid that support for BDS has caused Israel to kill thousands of Palestinians, continue to build settlements, and spit in the face of the most cooperative Palestinian leader they’ve ever had to deal with. Makes perfect sense.

  15. Richard Witty
    May 18, 2011, 4:39 am

    Bother to consider the reasoning, rather than just poo-poo everything that doesn’t conform to your agenda.

    Is the direct action of storming a border a “Martin Luther King” direct action, or an IRA direct action?

    Are the border stormers consistently adopting the ideology of non-violence? Are they unambiguously known as conducting a disciplined non-violent demonstration?

    Or, something different?

    You insult Martin Luther King by carelessly using his name in that way.

    • Bumblebye
      May 18, 2011, 9:50 am

      RW
      In your previous comment, you omitted to state that (in the main) the Jewish diaspora has NOT wearied of violence – in fact donates money (tax exempt) for its continuation,
      In the above comment, you omit the fact that the “direct action” of the “border stormers” was completely unarmed, and involved crossing borders that are unrecognized by any country but Israel. You also fail to condemn the IDF for shooting into neighboring countries and potentially starting yet another war. But, hey ho, you’ll always maximise the wrongs of the “other” and minimize those of your pet state Israel.

      • Richard Witty
        May 18, 2011, 2:01 pm

        The Jewish diaspora contributes money to Israel, its community, its nation.

        A small amount of donations go to Israel’s defense, if even that.

        The Jewish diaspora is very weary of violence, which it accurately perceives as a large portion of violence directed to Israelis, civilians.

      • James North
        May 18, 2011, 2:28 pm

        Richard Witty said: ‘I look at Mondoweiss for hours every day, but I skip over the posts that chronicle how diaspora American Jews, including multi-millionaires, fund the settlements/colonies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Rather than recognize that these colonies are one of the biggest obstacles to peace, I would rather blame solidarity and dissent for not taking account of Israeli fears.’

      • Richard Witty
        May 18, 2011, 4:51 pm

        Again,
        The diaspora Jewish community is for the most part very weary of violence, and if there was a reliable promise that it would stop, more than just for a short hudna, would take it.

        Do you propose such an arrangement? Or, do you propose continued “resistance”?

      • yourstruly
        May 18, 2011, 6:13 pm

        The promise has always been out there, give us back our homeland, then we’ll consider discussing with you just how jewish settlers* might fit in; those who opt to stay, that is.

        *every jewish israeli except for those who support justice for palestine

      • Donald
        May 18, 2011, 11:19 pm

        “The diaspora Jewish community is for the most part very weary of violence, and if there was a reliable promise that it would stop, more than just for a short hudna, would take it.”

        Well, why doesn’t this diaspora Jewish community of which you speak pressure Israel to stop inflicting so much violence? Why don’t they lay down the law–cease acting like apartheid South Africa or else?

        In fairness, I don’t know what the “diaspora Jewish community” even refers to. If you mean the average American Jewish voter, I don’t know what he or she knows about the conflict. I know that the relative handful of prominent Jews who head the major Jewish organizations are cheerleaders for Israel, never criticize it in public, toe the pro-Israel line, and are a major part of the problem.

      • Richard Witty
        May 19, 2011, 6:23 am

        Donald,
        Find out what the Jewish diaspora think.

        The Jewish diaspora community is various, but of near consent of support of peace for Israel. In nearly all cases, that means support for the continued existence of Israel as Israel.

        For some, “peace for Israel” implies subordination of Arab communities. For most, “peace for Israel” implies just the criteria of whether Israel is accepted. For some, “peace for Israel” requires active supporting consideration of neighbors’ needs.

        It is what it is. To condemn people for their sense of connection is really a bit off, a bit suppressive.

        The most that the diaspora Jewish community will consent to are policies that are mutually humanizing.

        And, the only way to silence them/us, is to suppress us. Better that you persuade diaspora to pursue the mutually humanizing, than to get forced into the “who should I suppress?” decision of crass political activism.

      • James North
        May 19, 2011, 9:24 am

        Richard Witty said, ‘Whenever I want to distract attention from criminal Israeli policies like the expanding illegal settlements/colonies and the assaults on Gaza and the Mavi Marmara, I use vague, meaningless expressions like “mutually humanizing.”‘

      • Donald
        May 19, 2011, 9:41 am

        “Find out what the Jewish diaspora think.”

        Oh I know all that Richard. Or rather, I could have laid out a list of positions different people take without any hard evidence about the details. What I do see are letters to the editor and comments in the press and there are some very loud voices that show no respect for Palestinian rights, aside from occasional shedding of crocodile tears. And accepting Israel can mean a bunch of different things, but apparently what it means for you and for many is pretending that it was okay to drive hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and nobody is supposed to talk about it. That’s a pretty darn poor way to bring reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians–in fact, it’s an approach that has failed for over 60 years.

    • Woody Tanaka
      May 18, 2011, 4:24 pm

      “Is the direct action of storming a border a ‘Martin Luther King’ direct action, or an IRA direct action?”

      Looked like Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettus Bridge to me.

      “Are the border stormers consistently adopting the ideology of non-violence?”

      Are the Israelis?

  16. GalenSword
    May 18, 2011, 5:48 am

    Travers does not understand the real differences between Irish and ethnic Ashkenazi history.

    There was an awareness in England that the treatment of Ireland was wrong at least as far back as Jonathan Swift and Edmund Burke, who were Anglo-Irish. Charles Parnell supported home-rule.

    An analog in the conflict over Palestine would require a long history among Jews to support justice for Palestinians — in other words Brandeis, Abba Hillel Silver, and Joe Lieberman would all have to reject Zionism and support justice for Palestinians.

    Instead American Jews indoctrinate themselves with a completely false history of Jewish victimization: link to amazon.com

    The customer reviews are quite interesting.

    • pulaski
      May 18, 2011, 11:49 am

      In both conflicts, the colonialists emphasized the ethnic dimension the most. If we start with the 1798 rising as a reasonable beginning to the “modern” phase of Irish rebellion, this was organized not by Catholics but Protestants: Wolftone, Emmet, etc (ok, I’m papering over some divisions within protestantisms in N. Ireland). Their has been a tension between more universalist (and often socialist) and nationalist/ethnic threads in both Irish and Palestinian resistance experiences. And the colonial side pushes the ethnic divisions. Same in South Africa.

  17. Citizen
    May 18, 2011, 8:38 am

    Anybody else experiencing a problem with the retweet button on MW? For the last couple of days when I click on it, it does not deliver to the tweet box near the top of my Twitter home page, which remains blank.

  18. seafoid
    May 18, 2011, 8:41 am

    I think another difference between Israel and Ireland is that peace makes economic sense in the Irish context. It doesn’t make sense in the Jewish Sparta where so many people make their living from oppression. Northern Ireland had many winners from peace but peace is an existential threat to the IDF and the settlers.

  19. upsidedownism
    May 18, 2011, 9:30 am

    Mitchell’s attempt to secure ‘peace’ as was a doomed as a that of 16th or 17th century British negotiator sent by a ruler like Queen Elizabeth and Oliver Cromwell at the same time when the English were acquiring as much land in Ireland as possible.

    The difference between Ireland and the Middle East today is that in the former the case the borders are both static and agreed upon. In Palestine by the border is disputed by many israelis and in any case it is ever shifting as more palestinians are evicted and ethnically cleansed.

    If one understands that the occupation of Palestine is a kind of slow, creeping invasion, you can see that Mitchell’s task was not only always doomed, but actually ridiculous. The phoney ‘peace process’ is just israel’s way of stalling talks while zionist colonists backed by their army acquire ever more land. ‘Peace’ attempts are even more zany when one takes into account that this program to create a Greater Israel has never been hidden and is no surprise; acquiring all of Palestine, expelling its indigenous people, and turning it into a jewish state is the oft expressed desire of Ben Gurion and a host of other Zionists leaders.

    • seafoid
      May 18, 2011, 10:03 am

      The settler colonial nature of Zionism is so important. The machine never stops colonising.

      my favourite settler says

      “The country was defined by international law, set by the UN’s predecessor, the League of Nations, as “a national home for the Jewish people”. In defining the residents of that country, the word Arab does not appear at all but rather “non-Jews”. Any Arab claim to the country is one of residence, of civil rights not of sovereignty. ”

      This is the difference between Ian Paisley and Bibi. Paisley is a nutcase but he doesn’t believe Irish catholics have less rights than Protestants. Bibi would.

      The other thing is that the IRA really broke the economy of Northern Ireland. 40% of employment is in government now.
      Israel has prospered through the occupation, not lost money.

    • Kathleen
      May 18, 2011, 10:17 am

      “disputed” by Israeli’s. Not by the international community, courts or the UN

  20. Kathleen
    May 18, 2011, 10:16 am

    Msnbc, Cnn, Fox, Cspan’s Washington Journal no one reporting about Obama’s meeting with the King of Jordan, Netanyahu’s upcoming visit, Aipac conference, Move over Aipac conference. No need to wonder why the majority of the American public have their heads up where the sun does not shine on the Israeli Palestinian conflict facts.

    Just sent this to the Diane Rehm show. They are spending the next hour on sex scandals

    “It really is insulting that our MSM outlets spend so much time on these sex scandals. President Obama just spent time with the King of Jordan, Netanyahu is coming as well as the Aipac conference and the Move over Aipac conference where the authors of the Israel Lobby Mearsheimer and Walt will be speaking. So many more criticals issues to cover to inform the public about and you folks are spending an hour on sex scandals. Enough! “

  21. Kathleen
    May 18, 2011, 10:31 am

    Phil so wish I could be there tonight. Will there be a live stream? Can we send in a few questions?

    Would like to ask the panel if there was a Dennis Ross type character in the Irish/U.K. negotiations…undermining negotiations.

  22. Kathleen
    May 18, 2011, 10:35 am

    Being moderated by Laura Flanders…sure to be taped for Grit TV. Hope so.

    Would also like to ask the panel were they surprised by the lack of coverage about the Goldstone Report when it originally came out by so called progressive talking heads like Rachel Maddow, Ed, etc and so called progressive blogs?

    Also are they surprised by the lack of coverage of Netanyahu’s upcoming visit, Obama’s meeting with the King of Jordan etc.

    All week we have been hearing about Newt, Newt , Newt, Strauss-Kahn, and now the Terminator. Aye yi yi

  23. Mooser
    May 18, 2011, 12:14 pm

    Gosh, all you hasbara trolls, you really shouldn’t do this. I mean, it’s not good for a guy to get too smug. Excessive smugness, I have noticed, is almost invariably followed by getting it right in the neck and ending up “waist deep in the mulligatawny” as the ineffable Bertie puts it.
    But gee willikers, it sure is nice to get up in the morning, look at Mondoweiss, and know, deep down know that no matter how many stupid decisions I made in my adolescence I was righter than I could ever have believed about one thing. I may have been wrong from A to Y, but when it came to Z, I musta got smart.

    Of course, if I had known, back in the sixties, how easily excessive femininity could get a guy out of the draft, I would have worried a lot less, but you can’t be right about everything.

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