Palestinians are driving the train of history now, Beinart acknowledges

Israel/Palestine
on 74 Comments

Peter Beinart has a good piece at Daily Beast. Yes I’ve been saying this for a while. But a good thing that he and the mainstream are waking up. Not denying the moment. This is the greatest wisdom of Rabbi Hillel, readers: If not now, when? (Oh by the way Sullivan is hip too.)

What hit Israel yesterday was the Palestinian version of the Arab spring. Something fundamental has changed. I grew up believing that we—Americans and Jews—were the shapers of history in the Middle East….

For millennia, we [Jews] had been acted upon. Mere decades earlier, American Jews had watched, trembling and inarticulate, as European Jews were destroyed. But it was that very impotence that made possible the triumph of Zionism, a movement aimed at snatching history’s reins from gentiles, and perhaps even God. Beginning in the early 20th century, Zionists created facts on the ground. Sometimes the great powers applauded; sometimes they condemned, but acre by acre, Jews seized control of their fate. As David Ben-Gurion liked to say, “Our future does not depend on what gentiles say but on what Jews do.” The Arabs reacted with fury, occasional violence, and in Palestine, a national movement of their own. But they could rarely compete, either politically or militarily. We went from strength to strength; they never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

That world is gone. America and Israel are no longer driving history in the Middle East; for the first time in a long time, Arabs are.

About Philip Weiss

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

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74 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    May 16, 2011, 11:15 am

    As David Ben-Gurion liked to say, “Our future does not depend on what gentiles say but on what Jews do.”

    (The quote leaves out one important possibility: Israel might care what the nations DO.)

    This is one of my favorite quotes. This is why all those UNGA resolutions roll off Israel’s back like water off a duck. Words don’t matter to Israel. What USA presidents say doesn’t matter to Israel. There’ll be no progress until someone outside Israel starts to DO something.

    Let the nations (perhaps organized by a UNGA resolution) create sanctions [that is, DO SOMETHING] aimed at encouraging Israel to remove the settlers, the settlements (buildings), and the wall, and I expect there will be progress.

    But if they leave it to the USA, or to Palestinian refugees, Israel will use bullets and there will be neither peace nor justice.

    • seafoid
      May 16, 2011, 11:46 am

      “Our future does not depend on what gentiles say but on what Jews do.”

      This is the mentality of a peasant with no understanding of how power operates. What Jews do is fine as long as it is in the privacy of their own homes and doesn’t result in others being denied their rights.

      Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is like the last 60 years of fossil fuel use. It’s irreversible and it is about to set off changes over which Israel has no control. There is no going back to 1967. there were chances to avoid the unfolding disaster which would have been cheap as well as effective but they were all ignored and the costs of sorting out the mess now are massive and more than Israel will be able to afford.

      • Avi
        May 16, 2011, 1:05 pm

        seafoid,

        Good comment.

    • patm
      May 16, 2011, 5:32 pm

      pabelmont, My Israeli-born activist friend suggested another solution for the buildings in the settlements: homes for returning Palestinians.

      • seafoid
        May 17, 2011, 3:50 am

        Pabelmont

        Zionism isn’t generous enough for that. If the settlers are evacuated the houses will be most likely be demolished, as was the case in Gaza. Zionism is a zero sum game.

  2. seafoid
    May 16, 2011, 11:17 am

    Zionism overreached. It has nothing to offer the Palestinians.
    And they know it.

    The zionists lie to the palestinians and they lie to themselves.
    Khalaas ya’ni.

    • piotr
      May 16, 2011, 11:00 pm

      Was Zionism to offer something to the Palestinians?

      I think the whole point of Z project is not to offer anything.

      • seafoid
        May 17, 2011, 3:56 am

        “I think the whole point of Z project is not to offer anything”.

        The Victorians who built modern London were no lefties but even they saw the point of providing services such as clean water and a sewage system to the poor. It was in everyone’s interest.

        Italy annexed Süd Tirol from Austria in 1918. The area is German speaking. There is no political violence, no white phosphorous, no torture, no wall, no hasbara. Instead the people get a fair deal.

        The Zionist idea that the Palestinians simply don’t exist is at the root of all Israel’s diplomatic difficulties.

  3. Bill in Maryland
    May 16, 2011, 11:25 am

    Thank you Phil. But again, like J Street, Beinart only tiptoes up to the edge and dares not look past the 2SS:

    The more America sticks by Netanyahu, the less relevant America will become. Other powers will begin taking matters into their own hands, and their strategies for achieving a two-state solution will have none of the tenderness of Dennis Ross.

    Such fear of imagining past the 2SS and refusal to take the Palestinian right of return seriously are what will make Beinart and J Street, well-intentioned as they might be, ultimately irrelevant.

    • Jim Haygood
      May 16, 2011, 11:46 am

      Quite right, Bill. Those Palestinian throngs at the fences weren’t there to lend their endorsement to the PA’s negotiating positions exposed in the Palestine Papers.

      Beinart writes as if those revelations changed nothing about Israel’s plan to herd Palestinians into a tightly supervised bantustan. To revise his own sentence,

      ‘The more America sticks by the 2SS, the less relevant America will become.’

  4. wondering jew
    May 16, 2011, 11:53 am

    Imagining a one state solution and a serious response to the right of return are fine wishes from those who wish to undo the recent turn of history (63 years) Beinart and J Street are not in the undoing history business.

    From 67 with the UN assertion of “occupied territory” and the cure “negotiations” Israel has been in a defensive posture since- holding territory that diplomatic society has declared to be not theirs.

    The term “Arab spring” is used and a recap of where we stand is in order: Tunisia and Egypt the only “successful” revolutions so far, elections are not yet in sight. It will take a decade to assess the strength of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Rooting for freedom, doesn’t mean it won’t get waylaid a few years hence. People have a right to a future of their own making and maybe Egypt will yield a hopeful future.

    The declaration of a state of Palestine in September possibly preempted by a speech by Obama regarding the US parameters are on the calendar for the near future. The idea that Obama will confront Netanyahu in an election year would seem to be foolish.

    • Lydda Four Eight
      May 16, 2011, 12:37 pm

      wondering jew habibi,
      you say,
      “Imagining a one state solution and a serious response to the right of return are fine wishes from those who wish to undo the recent turn of history (63 years) Beinart and J Street are not in the undoing history business.”

      and i quote,
      “… I was raised on two value systems: one was the ethical code and the other the tribal code, and I naively believed that the two could coexist.” -original Israeli Refusenik.

      and i say, we can live together in peace under an ethical code.

      as long as the tribal code gives preference to one over the other, and the audacity to do so even in the face of injustice toward the other we will certainly not have peace. choose the tribal code or choose the ethical code.

      i choose the ethical code. i urge you and others to choose the ethical code. the ethical code is the way of peace and justice.

      • Richard Witty
        May 16, 2011, 12:44 pm

        Lydda,
        To be confident in your assertion, you’d have to convey clearly and confidently that that applies to Jews and Jewish Israelis.

      • Lydda Four Eight
        May 16, 2011, 1:00 pm

        i realize one’s identity is bound up in the tribe and therefore what i suggest is no small endeavor, but i sincerely don’t understand what you’re implying. i don’t know why you’d think this doesn’t apply to Jews and Jewish Israelis as well as Muslims, Christians, Palestinians, Arabs, Americans, etc.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 16, 2011, 1:00 pm

        You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. NO ONE can be this dense.

        Here, I’ll give you a clue: When someone talks about an “ethical code” and a “tribal code” and suggests that the “ethical code” be adopted in favor of the “tribal code,” there are many bad ways to react.

        But one of the worst, is to suggest that special consideration must be given to YOUR F’ING TRIBE.

        Holy Pete.

      • Chaos4700
        May 16, 2011, 1:02 pm

        This coming from the guy who asserts Jewish Israelis have the unique right to slaughter non-Jews on Lebanese and Syrian soil without prejudice.

      • eljay
        May 16, 2011, 1:19 pm

        >> You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. NO ONE can be this dense.

        Awesome stuff, isn’t it? :-)

      • Richard Witty
        May 16, 2011, 1:26 pm

        Lydda,
        The absence of assertions of Jewish Israelis’ rights adds to the confusion.

        It is stated as equal rights, a great goal, but too often applied as proposing excluding equal rights for Jews.

      • James North
        May 16, 2011, 1:29 pm

        Richard Witty said, ‘Until every Israeli, those within the 1967 borders and those in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well, are reassured that none of them will be affected in any real way by a peace agreement, there can be no such agreement.’

      • eljay
        May 16, 2011, 1:34 pm

        >> It is stated as equal rights, a great goal, but too often applied as proposing excluding equal rights for Jews.

        You appear to be confusing the Zio-supremacist model of “equality” (everyone is equal…but Jews are more equal than everyone else) with actual equality (everyone is equal).

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 16, 2011, 1:36 pm

        “Awesome stuff, isn’t it? :-)”

        Stunning.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 16, 2011, 1:39 pm

        The absence of assertions of Jewish Israelis’ rights adds to the confusion.

        It is stated as equal rights, a great goal, but too often applied as proposing excluding equal rights for Jews.

        Because it is not enough that all animals be equal. Some must be more equal than others.

      • pjdude
        May 16, 2011, 3:51 pm

        your idea of equal rights isn’t because you demand the protection of theft. witty removing jews from stolen land so the rightful owners can live on their property would be equal rights as it would be enforcing of basic property law. this is something you have repeatedly said your against such a thing. so please quit you dishonest equal rights prattle when you don’t want equal rights.

      • Avi
        May 16, 2011, 5:01 pm

        Richard Witty May 16, 2011 at 12:44 pm

        Lydda,
        To be confident in your assertion, you’d have to convey clearly and confidently that that applies to Jews and Jewish Israelis.

        Why stop at Jews and Jewish Israelis? Why not include Jews’ cats, Jewish Israelis’ dogs, Jews’ gold fish, Jewish Israelis’ parakeets, and Jews’ ant farms? And let’s not forget the Iguanas? What about the Iguanas? Have you no soul? Why leave Iguanas out?

        Hath not an Iguana eyes? Hath not an Iguana hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a parakeet is? If you prick one, does it not bleed? If you tickle one, does it not laugh? If you poison one, does it not die? And if you wrong one, shall it not revenge?

      • James North
        May 16, 2011, 5:17 pm

        Once again, Avi is right on the money. Any change in the status quo might affect Jewish Israeli iguanas in negative ways. Before we do anything sudden, we have to take iguana needs and fears into account.

      • Richard Witty
        May 16, 2011, 5:24 pm

        Avi,
        If you do not offer Jewish residents their day in court to contest their relative title rights, then you abuse Jews’ rights for a political ideology.

        Its nowhere near “justice”.

      • lobewyper
        May 16, 2011, 6:10 pm

        Gee, Avi, you managed to forget the Israeli camel.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 16, 2011, 6:30 pm

        “If you do not offer Jewish residents their day in court to contest their relative title rights, then you abuse Jews’ rights for a political ideology.”

        Exactly. They should be go back to Israel, and the, after being “absentees” and having the land revert to its real Palestinian owners, in about 63 years, then those Jewish residents (but not their children) should be given “a day in court.” That would be fair.

      • pjdude
        May 16, 2011, 8:53 pm

        what title rights? simply existing their doesn’t give them any right to the title. for them to have any right to contest the title they would have to show an attempt to purchase it in good faith as a bona fide purchaser. they can’t do that.

      • RoHa
        May 16, 2011, 10:04 pm

        “i realize one’s identity is bound up in the tribe”

        What is this “identity” thing?

        Why is it important?

        Why is it “bound up in the tribe”, and does it have to be?

      • RoHa
        May 16, 2011, 10:10 pm

        Is it time for the dead inguana sketch?

      • wondering jew
        May 16, 2011, 1:03 pm

        Lydda, habibti,

        My gut instinct is that if you and I were put in charge of reconciliation between Palestinians and Jews that we would choose some mode of reconciliation that would satisfy and lead to the region moving in a positive direction. But I regret to inform you that you and I are not in charge of “official” reconciliation. How one reacts when the leadership is not interested in heading in a positive direction, but merely in a self protecting direction, is the situation that I am facing. I don’t think ethical code and tribal code are really the basic contradiction or opposing forces. It is more helplessness that the leaders are cruel rather than forward thinking (is that a dichotomy?) I don’t know how to change the mentality of the leaders nor of the public that elects them and then my vision and the practical facts are not the same and how do i react then? That is the question.

      • Lydda Four Eight
        May 16, 2011, 1:17 pm

        wondering jew, habibi,
        please don’t be offended when i say this, b/c i am for you, but you do not lack knowledge. you lack imagination. and imagination requires some amount of faith, i think. knowledge isn’t everything, imagination is of greater importance for us right now. we need to move forward with new possibilities and shake off the old chains, including the tribal codes.

      • Lydda Four Eight
        May 16, 2011, 1:49 pm

        wondering jew, habibi,

        don’t be afraid
        to walk with me
        through the garden of the Arab Spring,
        where hope,
        imagination,
        and possibilities abound.
        yalla, come on,
        i’ll hold your hand.
        instead of fear
        and hate
        we’ll smell something sweet,
        clean
        and pure.
        yalla habibi, yalla,
        before winter comes upon us
        and our imagination shuts off
        and we focus
        only on our own survival.

      • seafoid
        May 16, 2011, 5:13 pm

        Lydda

        Inti nijmeh . Allah ya’teek al afya.

      • Lydda Four Eight
        May 16, 2011, 11:24 pm

        wa inta batal wa qiwa.

        btw, only because your Arabi is so good and i think you’d want to know … it is “ya’teeki” for female. you got it right on “Inti”.

    • pjdude
      May 17, 2011, 3:45 am

      do you pro Israel people have any other solution for peace other than the infantile demands that the palestinians give up all their rights so you can have your childish wants?

  5. Richard Witty
    May 16, 2011, 11:56 am

    If the model of militancy and “direct action” end up as the sum total of Palestinian action, that will be a horrid failure and tragedy.

    Beinart aptly gives Fayyad and associates credit for the substantive change that constructs a viable Palestinian state.

    The militant perspective that ends with Palestine as enemy to Israel, and the militant perspective that neglects law and institution-building in Palestine, are its downfalls.

    They make good song lyrics, but lousy policy and lousy reality.

    link to liberalzionism.wordpress.com

    • James North
      May 16, 2011, 12:05 pm

      Richard Witty said, ‘Palestinians must place Israeli feelings first in all Palestinian efforts to secure human rights.’

      • Richard Witty
        May 16, 2011, 12:09 pm

        North,
        You really believe that “direct action” creates more good than institution building?

        I thought you were an intellectual. Could you address content please, rather than fulfill a role as blocker?

      • Donald
        May 16, 2011, 12:19 pm

        Here’s some content –

        link

        I won’t deny Fayyad might possibly have done some good, but Richard, you’ve never acknowledged the dark side of the PA’s record. They’ve brought security of one sort, but at the cost of political repression. The PA security forces violently break up peaceful protests and use torture and you never acknowledge this. Abbas and the PA are shifting course because they’ve come to realize that the path they took essentially made them the lapdogs of Israel and the US. The peace process has been an industry and Israeli settlers have done well, as have those Palestinians who played along.

        Your unwillingness to acknowledge the political repression under the PA is similar to the support given by Zionists to Mubarak. You guys actually like dictatorships and repressive Arab governments if they act in ways that help Israel. Try acknowledging the human rights violations that occurred under the PA and then maybe whatever praise you wish to give Fayyad’s institution building won’t sound so opportunistic. I would genuinely welcome a nuanced account of what the PA has done under Abbas and Fayyad in the past several years, acknowledging both positive and negative features, but when I see people praising the PA and never once acknowledging their human rights violations it’s obvious that such people aren’t very concerned about Palestinian rights. That means you, Richard, among others.

      • James North
        May 16, 2011, 12:27 pm

        Donald is right. Richard Witty said, ‘The denial of human rights in the Arab world is OK if it makes Israel safer.’

      • Richard Witty
        May 16, 2011, 12:34 pm

        Donald,
        The disconnect from communication with me inherent in your post, and in MANY dissenters’ is the emphasis on judgment rather than on proposal.

        I see the reforms that the PA has made under Abbas’ and Fayyad’s leadership. There is still residual corruption, and likely some extra-legal judicial harshness, but it pales compared to Arafat’s corruption and methods. If anything, I would give Abbas and Fayyad eighteen stars for police reforms.

        There work is the ONLY path that has brought Palestine close to self-governance, and it is close.

        The compromises of their principles necessary to complete and compete with Hamas (to militancy), will kill their goal.

        Maybe you can say that drowning in deep water is the same as drowning in shallow water, but in shallow water you actually have the option of putting your feet down and walking to dry land.

        I don’t have a clue why so close to dry land, solidarity with Palestinians would ask them to swim back out to the depths.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 16, 2011, 12:40 pm

        Richard Witty,
        There is no shallow water. It is, at best, a sand bar miles from shore.
        You appear to be the only person who is so delusional as to believe that the Israelis have any intention of agreeing to anything which is remotely close to what is accpetable to the Palestinians. That is your problem.

      • pjdude
        May 16, 2011, 12:47 pm

        please spare us the false empathy you feel jewish wants need to come before palestinian rights

      • Donald
        May 16, 2011, 12:48 pm

        “If anything, I would give Abbas and Fayyad eighteen stars for police reforms.”

        This is BS, Richard. It’s the “bad apples” excuse applied to PA human rights violations. The security forces didn’t suppress political opposition because of lack of reforms and they didn’t have a civil war with Hamas after Hamas won the elections because of lack of reforms. They were repressive because that was part of their job. The US and Israel wanted a split among Palestinians–divide and conquer is one of the oldest strategies in the book. Suppressing Palestinian dissent and Palestinian protests was a feature, not a bug.

        If this is your response it just further demonstrates your lack of integrity on this subject. You could perfectly well praise some aspects of what Fayyad did while acknowledging and condemning the political repression that was a policy under the PA, but instead you pretend that it was simply a matter of insufficient reform of the police.

        The proposal I have is that Palestinians fight corruption (to the extent that Fayyad did this, that’s a good thing) and also cease political repression both in Gaza and in the West Bank. The unification and the movement towards new elections is a positive step and I hope both sides are sincere in trying to make it work.

      • Richard Witty
        May 16, 2011, 1:51 pm

        Hamas was militant, declared that it was consistently at war with Israel, and Israel concluded rationally. (There were probably better options at actions, that if I were king I would have taken.) Naivete about Hamas was not one of them.

        Donald,
        You continue measuring my comments by what I condemn. You will never be satisfied with my or other liberal Zionists comments, in that I/we are not oriented towards condemnation, but towards a mutually beneficial outcome.

        That requires that I/we NOT abandon our understanding of our needs, that we form an agreement that accomplishes mutual needs.

        The condemnatory approach allows for subsequent pendulum swings of injustice. I won’t accept it being done to me, and I won’t propose it being done to my neighbors.

        Peace is the only relevant goal. The formula of “peace is only possible with justice” is false, if by “justice” you mean punishment for “crimes”.

        I agree that the movement towards unification is a positive step, but only if results in possible reconciliation. Hamas’ reiteration of its position that it will “NEVER” recognize Israel as Israel, is not a good sign, but we can wait and see what actually happens.

        Abbas’ return to some condemnation is also not a great sign, as if when sovereign he would accept 3000 Hebron residents marching to the West Bank to reclaim “their” homeland.

      • eljay
        May 16, 2011, 2:41 pm

        >> You will never be satisfied with my or other liberal Zionists comments, in that I/we are not oriented towards condemnation, but towards a mutually beneficial outcome.

        You say that and, yet, you’re consistently able to criticize and condemn the Palestinians on this site while dishing out apologetics for Israel. The word “hypocrite” comes immediately to mind.

        >> Peace is the only relevant goal. The formula of “peace is only possible with justice” is false, if by “justice” you mean punishment for “crimes”.

        Although you sneer yet again at the concept of justice, accountability for crimes is essential. Peace and accountability are both necessary. But foregoing accountability is just another part of your apologetics.

        >> Hamas’ reiteration of its position that it will “NEVER” recognize Israel as Israel, is not a good sign, but we can wait and see what actually happens.

        If “Israel as Israel” means “Israel as a supremacist ‘Jewish state’”, then Israel deserves no such recognition, any more than America as a “Christian state” or the new Palestine as a “Muslim state” deserves recognition.

      • Richard Witty
        May 16, 2011, 5:29 pm

        I posted a week before Beinart that Palestinians were leading currently. Did you read my blog?

        But, yesterday, Abbas applauded the border rushes, that resulted in 12 dying.

        The solidarity here get ego rushes over direct action, and disrespect real work of institution building.

        Direct action DELAYS Palestinian sovereignty, when it is literally close.

        You seem childish to me in that adrenaline addiction. Sorry to be so blunt.

      • Donald
        May 16, 2011, 7:01 pm

        “You continue measuring my comments by what I condemn. ”

        That’s correct. As eljay points out, you show no hesitation in condemning Palestinian terrorism. You condemn BDS. You condemn Phil. Most of your posts are full of condemnation, but you never condemn Israeli war crimes or Israeli cruelty unless you can find some way to scapegoat the extreme right. So yes, your hypocrisy is revealed in what you choose to condemn.

        “You will never be satisfied with my or other liberal Zionists comments, ”

        Not actually true. I respect WJ, for instance (the feeling may not be reciprocated, but that’s fine.) I have huge admiration for Jerome Slater even when I disagree with him. Dan Fleschler is someone I disagree with, sometimes strongly, but I think that in some hypothetical universe where WJ or Dan represented the Israeli position there would be a real chance for peace, or at least real progress. There are other liberal Zionists who seem like decent human beings to me, people who would make real partners for peace as the phrase goes if they had power.

        With you I don’t think so.

        “I won’t accept it being done to me, and I won’t propose it being done to my neighbors.”

        You are not interested in justice for Palestinians. You want peace, but the Palestinians are the ones who have to make all the sacrifices.

        “The formula of “peace is only possible with justice” is false, if by “justice” you mean punishment for “crimes”.”

        Punishment for crimes isn’t the point–recognition that Israel has committed crimes is the point, followed by restitution. But it can’t have escaped your notice that there are quite a few Palestinians who have been either assassinated or jailed for real or alleged crimes. For myself (not that my opinion matters), I don’t expect a peace agreement to result in prosecution for war criminals on either side. It should, but won’t. But real reconciliation on the level of ordinary people would surely involve recognition that yeah, it was wrong for Israel to kill Palestinian civilians and it was wrong for Palestinians to resist by killing Israeli civilians. Perhaps this recognition will never come from dinosaurs like you–certainly not from you–but I hope that things can change eventually.

      • Donald
        May 16, 2011, 7:19 pm

        One other point, Richard, perhaps the main point regarding Israeli war crimes–by downplaying or denying them while emphasizing the terrorism of the Palestinians, you are dehumanizing the Palestinians. It’s a litmus test for honesty on this subject and you flunk. There’s no reconciliation when one side doesn’t admit it’s done anything really wrong. You think you are being a peacemaker by showing your willingness to give the Palestinians table scraps, but you clearly think that all the really vicious people in this conflict are Arab (with the possible exception of a few far rightwing types on your side) and all the really vicious crimes have been committed by Arabs.

      • James North
        May 16, 2011, 7:38 pm

        Richard Witty said: ‘I support a double historical standard. For Israelis, history should matter — whether we are talking about the fall of the temple in Roman times, or the refugees from Europe after World War 2. But Palestinians should just put their history behind them, and be prepared to reconcile based on the realities today.’

      • Richard Witty
        May 16, 2011, 10:25 pm

        The reality is the reality. And, unless you are advocating for ethnic cleansing, that is that the two peoples are there.

        They have the choice of being one nation, unlikely in the setting of continued animosity (a tradition, and preceeding the nakba). Or, of burying the hatchet in two states, endeavoring to be good neighbors to good neighbors.

        There really isn’t any other options.

        You are still not making a proposal, just taking cheap shots. Its too easy, and too morally irresponsible.

      • RoHa
        May 16, 2011, 11:50 pm

        “They have the choice of being one nation, unlikely in the setting of continued animosity (a tradition, and preceding the nakba).”

        A tradition initiated and perpetuated by the Zionists.

        “Or, of burying the hatchet in two states, endeavoring to be good neighbors to good neighbors.”

        Even in two states the animosity will remain, unless the fundamental injustice is acknowledged and at least some recompense is made. But Israel refuses to admit any injustice, and refuses to contemplate recompense. On the contrary, Israel just continues with further injustice. Even if Israel pulls back to the 67 lines, the 78%/22% division is manifestly unjust.

        “There really isn’t any other options.”

        Grammar: “There really aren’t any other options.”

        But there are. Once that acknowledgement of injustice has been made, Zionism has been rejected, and a firm commitment to live in harmony has been publicly declared, there are other options.

        First, a federation of semi-autonomous states, to allow a cooling-off period in which the majority of Jews live in separate areas from the Palestinians.

        Second, my three state solution. A tiny Jewish state, a tiny Arab state, and the rest of the country for those who are prepared to try to get on with the neighbours.

        But without that acknowledgement of injustice, rejection of Zionism, and a firm commitment to live in harmony, the options seem to be that the Palestinians are driven out or slaughtered entirely, or that they somehow take over without the Jews having any say in the matter.

      • Donald
        May 17, 2011, 12:02 am

        “You are still not making a proposal, just taking cheap shots.”

        You keep lying, Richard. I’ve said over and over that it’s up to the Palestinians to decide whether they want to go for one man one vote or if they want to go for the two state solution. It really should be up to them. I know that you don’t think they should have any agency here and that some white guy like you or me should make that decision for them, but allow me to disagree. Think of them as though they were human beings with the same rights as Israeli Jews–among other things, the right not to be driven out of their homeland. It’ll make it easier for you to understand other viewpoints if you do that.

        And my “cheap shots” are on target. You trivialize Israeli crimes while condemning Palestinian crimes and Phil and BDS and “dissent” all the while loudly complaining that others are too free with their condemnations. You know this is true.

      • Richard Witty
        May 17, 2011, 8:06 am

        And, the consequence of militancy remains a Palestine deferred.

        While the consequence of responsible institution building remains a Palestine realized.

        I get it, you are solidarity, and it is not your right to state an opinion. You defer.

        I say give the Palestinians as chance to vote on a proposal. (You attacked that.)

        In an agreement, it takes consent to accomplish and to realize. If Palestinians don’t consent to reconcile, then that is a state of war.

        I am willing to intervene to the extent to state that the avoidance of war supercedes their “rights”.

        You? You want to bless them to their destruction?

      • James North
        May 17, 2011, 9:32 am

        Richard Witty said: ‘I live here in western Massachusetts, with no first-hand experience in the Middle East since 1986. But I know what’s best for Palestinians. If they don’t do what I (and Israel) want, then it is their own fault that the state of war against them will continue.’

      • Richard Witty
        May 17, 2011, 9:37 am

        Yes,
        How preposterous of me to desire a viable, sovereign Palestine that can get that way and stay that way?

        How preposterous of me to desire that Israel and Palestine not be at war?

      • Donald
        May 17, 2011, 12:26 pm

        Richard, you’re not very good at drawing logical inferences. If I say it is up to Palestinians to decide what they want, then yes, if they vote for a two state solution then that settles it. There are also problems involved in who gets to vote, however. Are Palestinian refugees in other places allowed to have a voice? Anyway, I think we all suspect that if Palestinians vote for a two state solution it will be because they understand that they can’t get what is theirs by right and have given up asking for it.

        What you refuse to see is that I don’t criticize you so much for advocating a two state solution–I don’t think it’s fair to the Palestinians to allow the Zionists to steal 78 percent of the land, but Palestinians may be willing to settle for it and that’s their business. And there are other liberal Zionists who advocate what you claim to favor and those are likely to be the kinds of people the Palestinians will have to negotiate with at some point.
        But there’s a huge moral gap between liberal Zionists who concede the atrocities and cruelties that Israel has inflicted on Palestinians and self-described “liberal” Zionists like yourself who justify virtually every act of violence Israel commits. We’ve seen you doing this for years now. Think of it this way if you are capable of doing so–a Hamas official might say he is willing to settle for a two state solution along the 67 borders, but if he also says he thinks that suicide bombing was a morally justifiable technique then I suspect that most Israelis would find it difficult to trust him. Now they should go ahead and negotiate since this is the real world and one can’t choose the moral values of one’s enemies, but it would be tough to truly reconcile with such a person. Maybe you should look in the mirror and remember all the times you’ve denounced Palestinian terrorism and made excuses for Israeli violence. Maybe Palestinians have no choice but to negotiate with people with your views but reconciliation is going to be pretty tough.

        Real reconciliation begins when the apologists for atrocities become an embarrassment to most people on both sides.

      • Donald
        May 17, 2011, 12:51 pm

        Oh, and one related point–until a peace agreement comes there is likely to be some violence from both sides. And based on your record so far, we can predict you will continue to defend violence when it comes from Israel and condemn it when it comes from Palestinians, no matter what the relative scale. And that’s not an attitude conducive to bringing about the peace you profess to want.

      • James North
        May 17, 2011, 12:54 pm

        Richard Witty said: ‘Palestinian nonviolent civil society organizations decided that BDS is the best strategy to improve the terrible human rights reality for Palestinian people. I know they live in Palestine, and they confront Israel — an often violent Israel — every day. I know they might be presumed to have some understanding of what might work.
        ‘I know I live here in western Massachusetts. I know I haven’t visited the Middle East since 1986. But my theoretical understanding of “reconciliation” means I know better than they do how to bring about peace over there.’

      • alec
        May 17, 2011, 1:41 pm

        The only needs you understand Richard are your own. And strangely you don’t understand those well either, as the government who feeds and clothes and protects you is not Israeli but American.

        Tribalism at its most primitive. Neanderthal, I’d say.

  6. Donald
    May 16, 2011, 12:06 pm

    Sullivan said something stupid here–

    “The sadness on my part is that yesterday non-violence still did not seem to be among the options the Palestinians can agree on. But non-violent, Tahrir-style resistance to occupation would be very, very powerful.”

    In fact the Egyptian “nonviolent” resistance included street battles with the police. Most of the lethal violence came from the government (or all? I don’t know), but it wasn’t just people waving signs and chanting slogans.

    It’s irritating when even people who claim to be sympathetic to Palestinians insist on portraying them as uniquely violent compared to other protestors in the region–it’s also irritating when people who otherwise embrace violence for their own pet causes insist that Palestinians be nonviolent. (I say this as someone who also hopes they take a nonviolent route, but don’t feel inclined to lie about what others have done.)

    • Avi
      May 16, 2011, 5:12 pm

      Yesterday, Palestinians near Qalandiya marched peacefully toward the checkpoint. Omar Barghouthi was on CNN yesterday and explained that Israeli plainclothes police threw stones in order to start the violence and justify a violent attack by the army.

      In addition, Israeli forces fired across the ceasefire lines in the Golan and Lebanon at unarmed protesters.

      What Sullivan needs are two things:

      (1) He needs to grow a brain that can absorb certain facts.

      (2) He needs to stop looking at the world through his British racist colonial superiority.

      The native savages sure don’t need yet another hack to lecture them from his comfy ivory tower sitting behind a desk in Anytown, USA.

      Why is it that any moron can become famous these days?

      • hophmi
        May 16, 2011, 5:59 pm

        “Omar Barghouthi was on CNN yesterday and explained that Israeli plainclothes police threw stones in order to start the violence and justify a violent attack by the army. ”

        Um-hmm. It’s always a conspiracy. Palestinians are never responsible for anything they do.

        This looks real peaceful.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 16, 2011, 6:24 pm

        More peaceful than Cast Lead.

        Interesting that “Jewish News TV”‘s coverage jumps after the peaceful demonstration at the beginning, and doesn’t show the point between then and the rock throwers. I guess they didn’t want to show the police that Barghouthi was talking about.

        Of course, they could just release the whole tape, without edits if it’s all a “conspiracy”…

      • Chaos4700
        May 16, 2011, 8:40 pm

        Getting a lecture on peace from a right-wing war monger who’s insanely stupid politics have destroyed the future of the US is laughable to say the least.

  7. Kathleen
    May 16, 2011, 12:07 pm

    Over at Washington Note
    Palestine Papers Source Outs Himself

  8. Lydda Four Eight
    May 16, 2011, 1:49 pm

    wondering jew, habibi,

    don’t be afraid
    to walk with me
    through the garden of the Arab Spring,
    where hope,
    imagination,
    and possibilities abound.
    yalla, come on,
    i’ll hold your hand.
    instead of fear
    and hate
    we’ll smell something sweet,
    clean
    and pure.
    yalla habibi, yalla,
    before winter comes upon us
    and our imagination shuts off
    and we focus
    only on our own survival.

  9. American
    May 16, 2011, 2:38 pm

    “Our future does not depend on what gentiles say but on what Jews do.”

    Actually that isn’t exactly true.
    The whole history of the Jews has been one of what non Jews said or did about Jews…..all the historical expulsions from country after country, the holocaust, then the world creation of Israel for the Jews. I have liken these occurances before to a light bulb going on and off, on and off thruout history…they rise, they fall as many groups have always done. We can blame both the rises and falls on something the Jews did, in which case what he said is true, or blame it on anti semitism, in which case it isn’t entirely true, or just blame it on tribal competition.

    Is astounds me though when some Jewish leader or any leader of any group, but particulary a Jewish leader given their history, says something like the above. It’s like throwing out a challenge to other ‘tribes’ and some other tribe will always respond to that challenge in the end and then it comes down to which tribe is bigger and has more resources and power.

    It is possible for a “tribe” to rule the world or a country I suppose, ‘if” they are the “majority” tribe and if they aren’t so harsh or greedy that all the minority tribes under them don’t unite against them. If you want to look at tribalism on a world power level, the disappearing influence of the US tribe is the result of a lot of lesser tribes uniting against us.

    I see no long term future for zionist or Israeli tribalism….I am positive it will be their undoing. Tribalism begets tribalism in others.

    • Krauss
      May 16, 2011, 5:34 pm

      There was a very tribal touch to his article. There was a tacit, silent acknowledgement of how far we’ve come, and even those of whom we’ve displaced(WASPs et al) not just from positions of power but through our love of multiculturalism and mass immigration.

      Yet, somewhere in his piece, he thinks it’s now all coming to an end. Not just Israel but even the advanced role of Jewry have had post-WWII throughout the West, but especially in America.
      There is gloating, but there is also a realistic, even brutal assassment of the situation.

      Perhaps I’m seeing and reading things which are not there but some sentences speak to Jews, not to Israel, and our history and struggles and, yes, conquests.
      It was very tribal and I liked it.

  10. American
    May 16, 2011, 7:41 pm

    I saw some dishonesty in Sullivan’s comments …some portraying of the protest as not what it was and the implication that the Palestines had never protested non violently before…and the “praying’ Israeli picture.
    I believe I detect some sort of bitterness or defensiveness about to bloom in Sullivan —as if he senses the tide in turning away from Israel and the pretenses won’t hold up much longer.
    Some people will be a little magnamious toward their opponents as long as they think they are winning—but then if they realize they might lose something after all, their perspective changes.

  11. RoHa
    May 16, 2011, 9:58 pm

    “Mere decades earlier, American Jews had watched, trembling and inarticulate, as European Jews were destroyed. But it was that very impotence…”

    At the same time, other Americans, neither trembling nor inarticulate, were joining together and fighting in American armed forces that were (after some false starts) very far from impotent.

  12. lyn117
    May 17, 2011, 1:08 am

    Beinart fails to mention that what the “Arabs” were angry about was the proposals to take over their land and the violent repression, in early days most of it by the British to prevent them from equal rights in their own land, let alone any political rights such as to participate in their own government, and the implementation of mass murders and ethnic cleansing in order to create the Jewish state – which Beinart euphemistically terms Jews seizing “control of their fate”. The far greater violence by the British and Jews is entirely absent from his narrative, which only uses “violent” only to describe Arab reactions.

    And then there’s the claim that Zionists are only lately land grabbers. When weren’t they land grabbers? And the bogus claim that the Arab national movement was a reaction to the Zionist movement. This all reveals least, to me, he really has a racist blindness.

    As for Jews being acted upon throughout history, I doubt it’s that historically accurate. He’s just perpetrating the myth of unique Jewish victimhood. I’m not saying Jews were never victims, I’m just saying that a) they were far from being the only victims and b) for significant parts of European history not really victims at all.

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