Is Israel a failed state? asks ‘American Conservative’

on 38 Comments
gorenberg 1
Gershom Gorenberg

The American Conservative is fabulous. It has a piece on Israel as a failed state, by Noah Millman. It is broaching a question that the New York Times and Washington Post will get around to in another five years, I guess. Millman observes that Palestinians have never reconciled themselves to the idea of a Jewish state– and gosh, doesn’t their opinion matter?

Millman is reviewing Gershom Gorenberg’s important book, The Unmaking of Israel:

[Post ’67] The Israeli state broke its own and international law, but more alarmingly from the perspective of the integrity of the state, it encouraged private parties to believe that they were acting patriotically when they broke the law and forced the state’s hand, all in an effort to establish “facts on the ground” that would (those responsible presumably thought) redound to Israel’s benefit—or, more properly, to the benefit of the “Jewish national movement,” since Gorenberg’s contention is that this activity in fact damaged Israel as a state and since it wouldn’t be correct to talk about this or that activity benefiting an entire ethnic or religious group like “the Jews.” Since 1967, Gorenberg relates, the settlement enterprise has undermined the Israeli state top to bottom. It has fostered secrecy and corruption in government…

Gorenberg is making the case that Israel has encouraged the reversion to a pre-state mode of being; it has revived a situation where Jews are locked in ethnic conflict with their neighbors rather than dominating an independent state with relations (whether conflicted or harmonious) with neighboring states. But why blame Israel for this? How do we know that the pre-state situation ever really ended? Did the Arab states make peace in 1949? No. Have the Palestinians reconciled themselves to the idea of a Jewish state? No. Have the Palestinian citizens of Israel at least reconciled themselves to it? No. So why should Israel effectively disarm themselves and say: we’ve got enough; we’re not going to fight for more—even though you will continue to fight so that we have less. Why should Israel be the sucker?

…Zionism’s goal was a sovereign, independent Jewish state in the historic land of Israel, as a means to the moral and spiritual rebirth of the Jewish nation. If the occupation is destroying Israel’s fundamental character, dismantling the state, and corrupting the people, as Gorenberg contends, then Zionists above all should want to end it, as swiftly and comprehensively as possible, and not try to hold out for the most favorable terms—to say nothing of holding out for the approval and acceptance of those for whom the Jewish state can at best be seen as an unfortunate fact of life.

After all, it was always absurd to think that anyone but the Jewish people would ever truly endorse the aims of Zionism, because Zionism was a specifically Jewish national project. That project is properly judged a success or failure by what kind of nation it built, and how. Which is how Gorenberg judges it. And, to his dismay but not despair, he finds it wanting.

The issue of Israel being “an unfortunate fact of life” for its Arab neighbors and even second-class Palestinian citizens seems to me the great imponderable of the Arab Peace Initiative. Israel was offered a chance to legitimize itself in the eyes of its neighbors and in the eyes of the Palestinians too with that 2002 overture–offered a chance to show accountability for the Nakba by allowing a return of the refugees. That is the answer to Millman’s questions about the irreconcilability of the Jewish state  for its neighbors; no, they rejected it, for a long time, and then offered an opening to it. The delegitimization of Israel that we have seen since is one that Israel itself has assisted fully, by treating its neighbors and non-Jewish citizens, including those under occupation, with such contempt.

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan for glomming this piece.

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38 Responses

  1. yourstruly
    February 1, 2012, 12:25 pm

    self-delegitimization, a uniquely israeli achievement. and may its walls come tumbling down, down, down, may its walls come tumbling down.

  2. brenda
    February 1, 2012, 1:12 pm

    thanks for posting the link, Phil, it is an excellent piece.

    Coming from someone like Gorenberg — it really does bring home the tragedy of Israel. Of what Israel has become.

    It’s a damned shame, really. And frankly, I put the ultimate responsibility for this on Americans, not on Israelis. Left to themselves, without the constant fussing and propping up of powerful American Jews, without the constant attempts to do end runs around US government policy Israel might have done very well for itself. Might now be living in peace and security. Even though Israel likely always would have remained “one of those unfortunate facts of life” for the neighboring Arab states — it wouldn’t have mattered. With legitimate, not coerced US government assistance Israel was strong enough to hold off disapproving neighboring states. Because of coerced US government assistance Israel never had to grow up and do the difficult task of making peace. It never became the respected and mature state, part of the world community of nations that it might have become. It’s a crying shame, really. Both for Israel and for us.

    • Theo
      February 2, 2012, 12:24 pm

      Brenda, you are day dreaming!

      Take a good look at how Israel was created, the years before 1948 and the years since.
      Nothing but unnecessary wars, lies, oppression, killing, stolen secrets from the USA sold to the USSR, making prostitutes out of our congress and governments, stealing of land, killing children, etc., etc. All these could not have been done without the approval of a great majority of israelis, so let´s not blame the US jews for creating a fascistic apartheid state. They just financed the undertaking.

      Let´s be honest, the jews arriving from Europe never had the slightest intentions to find a place for themselves in a democratic land, regardless what it may be called, where all had the same rights and privileges.
      From the very beginning they wanted a land that is jewish by its character and laws, and they were ready to use all means, including terror and wars, to achieve it.
      Since the arrival of the russian jews it got real bad as they brought with them a long history of savage suppression of others.
      The original intentions may had a few nobel sides, just like the Mafia was originally created to fight the foreign rulers, however very shortly both the Mafia and Israel became a criminal entity.

      • brenda
        February 2, 2012, 1:41 pm

        “They just financed the undertaking.”

        just? that was all? Theo, that was all it took for this tragedy to happen. It would not have happened without American financing and subversion of the American political system — by Americans.

        I stand by my perceptions. I already know about the circumstances of the creation of the Israeli state. I already know that European and Russian zionism pre-dated the events of WW2. I already know how some zionist leaders collaborated with nazi Germany for its own ends — I’ve read my Hannah Arendt. But who am I to weigh in on the morality of those times and places? The US has enough blood on its own plate, there is enough for Americans to contemplate about their own history, recent history and present blind spots. We of all people don’t need to get all moralistic about how Israel was created or the vision of its founders.

        I often think about how our comedians like Woody Allen created the humorous/deadly serious caricature of the smothering Jewish mother. All I can say is — those Jewish mothers has nothing, nothing, nothing on those deep-pocketed Jewish fathers. Looking out for poor widdle Israel and quite happy to put America on the backburner, thinking America was plenty strong enough to look out for itself. Well, they were wrong about that. That’s what I think. It is a tragedy for both countries.

        I hope the US can survive this. I no longer care about Israel much.

      • Theo
        February 3, 2012, 11:27 am


        I do not follow your reasoning! I get the impression that in your opinion anyone who has access to large amounts of money will and can end up as a criminal and it is not his fault, but that filthy moneybag´s who gave him the necessary juice. Our criminal laws do not function that way!

        I really never cared for Israel, because the world would be a better place without such states as it is, however I care for those israelis who will pay the price when the day of reconning is here.
        Some will have the money and connections to flee to the USA and end up with a cushy job reserved for them, however most will stay there to face the music. Those zionists must have been just as crazy as their nemesis Hitler was, did they really think they get away with raping and subjugating the ME forever?
        As far as the USA goes, we will pay dearly for our stupidity to follow the zionist course and allow them to take over and control our country and its politicians and government.
        Why do you people never learn from history? This same story keeps repeating itself over and over again, in the USA probably we will end up with an increased anti-semitism once the average ignorant citizen wakes up and someone starts hitting the drums.
        You know the saying: you can fool some people all the time, you can fool all of them sometimes, but you cannot fool all of them all the time.

  3. American
    February 1, 2012, 1:28 pm

    In 2009 Israel was 58th on the failed states index. There are a lot of hallmarks for judging failure, economics, inequality, internal breakdown or elite control of law in the judical system, etc.,etc.. You can look at all the factors that count in the chart. External agression isn’t factored so if it was Israel would be even worse in rankings than it is.
    Look at what’s counted as hallmarks (they are all commonly used standards)—-and then remove all the US and other foreign aid like Germany’s, all the US trade favortism engineered for Israel with other states as well as with the US, —-and you can see what the impact to the social and economic factors that are counted would be . It would move Israel even further up in the rankings.

  4. Dan Crowther
    February 1, 2012, 1:30 pm

    If Israel is a Failed State, I think we all know who is to blame:


    • Charon
      February 1, 2012, 11:52 pm

      LOL! I love that video. “We fought a war and we won! It’s our land!” Somebody in the background says “It wasn’t a war” LOL! “Once the Palestinians value their own lives more than killing Jews, there will be peace, once that happens”

      IMO, this video is proof of a hopeless situation. Those perceptions are never going to change in a lifetime… sad

      • teta mother me
        February 2, 2012, 1:13 pm

        “Those perceptions are never going to change in a lifetime . . .”

        very scary that the young people use a donated microphone to spew talking points that they’ve been brainwashed with . . . zionism is perpetuating itself.

        That’s why I think the comment of “Dana” in the Peter Beinart video is so very important. Dana said, “We were lied to.” “In my education in Israel, we were lied to.”

        Dana’s comment was a hairline crack, and anyone who has tried to patch a hairline crack in the basement foundation knows that you can only gloss over them, never make them go away, and that left unattended, they will only get worse ’til the house falls down.

  5. pabelmont
    February 1, 2012, 1:46 pm

    Self-delegitimized, yes. Indeed. Encouraged (and still encouraging) both lawlessness as to Israeli law and as to I/L? Yes. Surrounded by enemies? Yes. Of its own making? certainly, deliberately, starting in 1947 if not 1945 or earlier. But very successful in a SPARTA sort of way.

    So, where does “failed state” come from? Where’s the failure? What failed? Was Russia a ‘failed state” because it fostered pogroms? Was the USA a “failed state” when blacks were being lynched (illegally) after the civil war?

    Is the USA a “failed state” merely because pirates (the 1%) have captured the government? Maybe a “failed democracy” but how a “failed state”?

    I guess that “failed state” is just another slogan, a bumper sticker, in place of full description. But, then, the entire corpus of MondoWeiss might be taken (by some) as characterizing Israel as a “failed state” — or at least as a disaster that many people wish were otherwise.

    • American
      February 1, 2012, 2:31 pm

      Consider the failed state hallmarks as mile markers on the way to collapse.
      Yea Russia did fail as a state.
      The US now has some of the same hallmarks of failure.
      To judge Israel accurately as a failed state, remove all the outside help it has gotten to become what it is and ask yourself what condition it would be in now– following the same policies and actions it has followed —without receiving outside help.

    • lysias
      February 1, 2012, 3:54 pm

      The Office of Legal Counsel in the Bush Justice Department justified not giving Geneva Convention protections to Taliban prisoners of war on the grounds that Taliban-ruled Afghanistan was a “failed state.” Even though the memo could cite no international law authorities for the proposition that prisoners of war from a state signatory to the Geneva Conventions somehow lost the Geneva Convention protections once their country became a “failed state.” And even though the memo barely argued for Afghanistan under the Taliban being a “failed state.” It ignored, for example, the fact that the Taliban government had had the power to stop the growing of opium poppies throughout the country, something previous Afghan governments had not done.

      So, if the U.S. is now a “failed state,” does that mean American POW’s are not entitled to Geneva Convention protections?

      By the way, the Obama administration is still not extending Geneva Convention protections to Taliban prisoners of war.

  6. American
    February 1, 2012, 2:09 pm

    “of not only freezing settlement construction but of initiating evacuations “without waiting for a signature on a peace agreement,” of negotiating a two-state solution based on the Green Line (the armistice lines of 1949, the de facto borders prior to the 1967 war), of the separation of synagogue and state, and of true civic equality between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel. ”

    Gorenberg obviously sees what must be done.
    Although he doesn’t say it and a zionist of any stripe will never admit it, it was never a “necessity” for Jews to have Jewish state, that Israel was a ethnic -like victim luxury. The ‘not’ necessary has already been proven in the difference between Jews safety in Israel and Jews outside Israel.
    So no matter how you slice and dice it, the original sin of insisting that Jews could go back 2000 years and claim land not theirs because of either victimhood or being some kind of distinct people was wrong from the git go and puts the onus on Israel.
    All the yada yada on the “complications” claimed by Israel are illegitimate.
    To fix I/P in a lasting manner, in so far as it can be ‘practically’ fixed you have to start at the beginning…which would be the original UN proportioning of Palestine land to Israel, and go from there.

    • seafoid
      February 1, 2012, 5:31 pm

      You need a solution that addresses all of the issues. And the issue of Palestinian rights is top of the list. So anything dictated by Israel can’t work.
      Maybe best to let Israel’s demographics work themselves out. Israel will be bankrupt within a generation.

      • Duscany
        February 2, 2012, 3:36 am

        It won’t be Israel that goes bankrupt within a generation. It will be the United States. In the meantime, Israel will continue to receive its $3 billion a year, which when adjusted for inflation will be $6-or-$8 billion a year.

      • American
        February 2, 2012, 12:34 pm

        I saw yesterday that Israel has a 2 billion surplus—-and we are giving them 3+ billion a year while we have a trillion something debt.

      • teta mother me
        February 2, 2012, 1:22 pm

        Stanley Fischer, governor of Bank of Israel

        [Interviewer:] You have raised Israel’s foreign-currency level substantially, to $70 billion. Some commentators have linked that policy to the prospect of a future war with Iran. Is that the case?

        [Fischer:]No, but there are aspects I want to emphasize. There are standards of calculating how much reserves a country needs … We calculated how much we need and then added something to that because this [global economic] crisis had reemphasized the usefulness of having reserves in a crisis. And secondly, because, as we’ve said, we are in a special geopolitical situation … Israel has been in more wars than most countries in the last 60 years and we have to think about what we would do if we got into a situation like that again.

  7. seafoid
    February 1, 2012, 3:17 pm

    Zionism contains the seeds of its own destruction because Zion was the only idea that could rally enough Diaspora Jews to the insane idea of building a new Jewish state in a country that didn’t actually belong to Jews. It was only the Land of Israel that could work the magic of luring Jews away from their own societies and into the quasi mystical. The lure was the land itself, the sacred land , the one you have to go up to, make aliyah to. This is a very special land. 2 millennia of religious sermons had elevated the real estate into the sacred. And in 1967 they couldn’t stop themselves. The settlers have Israel by the gonads because they play on this religious mysticism , the sacredness of their work, the holiness of their contact with the land of the Bible, the only possible way to hasten the return of Moshiach, the carrying out of so many mitzvot in Kiryat Arba and Migron and Beit El and Shiloh . And they have destroyed their moral framework to make this possible. And nobody can stand up to them. It is a very particular Jewish tragedy.

    • john h
      February 1, 2012, 5:28 pm

      Spot on, seafoid, I love this:

      The lure was the land itself, the sacred land, the one you have to go up to, make aliyah to. This is a very special land. 2 millennia of religious sermons had elevated the real estate into the sacred.

      And then you top it off with:

      And they have destroyed their moral framework to make this possible. And nobody can stand up to them. It is a very particular Jewish tragedy.


      I have the feeling I’ll be quoting or paraphrasing this more than once; thanks.

    • Chu
      February 2, 2012, 11:38 am

      The further Israel looks back on this history, the more ugly
      it becomes. The mystical dream of unifying Jews in their ‘holy
      land’ is another like another colonial effort to secure a land
      that was someone elses. There were established towns in Palestine,
      with deeds. No biblical archeology about the borders of King David’s
      Kingdom can dispute that.

  8. gazacalling
    February 1, 2012, 3:42 pm

    ’67 has turned out to be Israel’s Nakba. Since then the state has steadily lost control to the settlers and extreme right-wingers.

    720,000 Israelis now live illegally on occupied land. Humiliating and depriving civil rights to the Palestinians. If another country did this to Americans on US soil, what would we do? Britain tried it, and Americans revolted, resisted, just like the Palestinian freedom fighters.

    At some point Americans are going to realize what the situation is like in Palestine, and the true historical analogy (viz. the War for Independence). Then Israel will be on its own. Which will be better for Israel in the long run.

    I’m with Gorenberg. Israel’s long-term best interests are not being served by the illegal settlements, the humiliation of the Palestinians who just want to be free and have rights, and unconditional US support for all this.

    • seafoid
      February 1, 2012, 5:23 pm

      720,000 settlers now but the trend is relentlessy upward. Throw in the Orthodox with their birth rate and project for 20 years and figure out how the secular schmucks are going to pay for it all. Especially now that the education system is showing the effects of 40 years of YESHA funding in lieu of schools and teachers. So who will work in high paying jobs to pay for the whole circus?

    • Chaos4700
      February 2, 2012, 12:13 am

      Israel was already an out of control state of ethnically cleansing marauders as soon as they “declared independence.” 1967 merely taught them there was no limit to the amount of theft and murder they could wage because the United States would always protect them. They own Congress and virtually own the White House at this point because of the MASSIVE pull that their lobby exerts both financially and in terms of threatening politicians with blacklisting.

  9. lysias
    February 1, 2012, 3:49 pm

    If holding out for the best terms means holding out for a binational state with constitutional guarantees for both nationalities (I’m thinking of things like a bicameral legislature, with one house for each of the two nationalities,) I have nothing against that.

  10. American
    February 1, 2012, 4:20 pm

    Failing upward continues.

    Israeli Government Moves to Subsidize Settlers, Legalize Outposts
    Support for ongoing settlement activity is impeding peace talks
    by John Glaser, January 31, 2012
    | Print This | Share This | Antiwar Forum

    In an effort to appeal to right-wing sentiments ahead of an election, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has reinstated subsidies for Jewish settlers in the West Bank and appointed a panel in an attempt to legalize illegal settlements.

    Years ago, Israel halted generous financial incentives encouraging Israelis to settle in occupied Palestinian territory. But this week, the government released a list of settlements – many of which are deep inside the West Bank – that will again qualify for housing subsidies.

    The incentives, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office, are “meant to encourage positive migration to these communities,” despite being recognized as illegal by the international community.

    Additionally, the Israeli government on Monday appointed a committee to review a 2005 government report that found several dozen settlements were built not without state approval on privately held Palestinian land. The panel was set up with accusations that the report’s author was not objective.

    There are suspicions that the committee will attempt to legalize at least some of the more than 100 outposts built without government authorization and on privately held Palestinian land.

    These latest moves are helping to break down recent low-level peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials. ”They are adding obstacles at a time when everyone is intensifying efforts to try to resume peace talks,” said Palestinian government spokesman Ghassan Khatib. “I think with every additional settlement activity, the feasibility of having two states is diminished.”

    • seafoid
      February 1, 2012, 5:26 pm

      How would the 2 state solution have worked anyway? Even if Israel pulled every single settler back. How would Gaza have made it in the world? Even if it had never been bombed. How would it have fed itself ? The whole thing was never going to work. Israel never wanted it to work either but that is a different story.

  11. seafoid
    February 1, 2012, 4:23 pm

    This is a must-read: “Israel , the land and the sacred ”

    Now, of course, it’s Israel, the land and the scared.

  12. teta mother me
    February 1, 2012, 6:10 pm

    thanks seafoid.
    whoever wrote that paper needs a paper bag to control the hyperventilating.

    re this statement:

    “The situation
    of Israel and its land, bearing the marks of exile and expropriation, also
    seems to constitute a historical sanction of the theological pretensions of
    Christianity and Islam.”

    The nugget of an impossible dynamic is buried in that passage.

    According to some scholars of ancient religion, the earliest Christians did not SEEK to be associated with Jewry, did not consider themselves part of the Jewish tradition, they considered themselves a new way of thinking. According to this theory, young Christianity existed in a copious market place of religious ideas and forms of worship. Those forms that gained state favor, and financial support and adherents, were those that could trace an ancient lineage; the more distant in time the lineage, the more likely the belief system would find supporters; to trace the god YOU worshiped back to Zeus was more powerful than some start-up god. So Christianity was persuaded to hitch its wagon to the Jewish train.

    In the late 18th and 19th centuries, explorations in Palestine and discoveries of ancient civilizations in Mesopotamia that predated the Hebrew bible, which had been believed to be THE history of antiquity, started to displace the bible stories as unique and oldest in time.

    Following on these destabilizing discoveries, source criticism and a new urge to tease the human Jesus away from what had been taught for centuries as his ‘Jewish’ and divine roots, took hold in France and Germany, in the work of Renan and others. Shlomo Sand has researched this topic in On the Nation and the Jewish People; Ernest Renan

    In the period between the Franco Prussian war and the end of the second world war, many more German scholars tried to define a human, historical Jesus separate from Jewishness. Susannah Heschel considered them virulently anti-semitic. Although neither Hitler nor Nazis subscribed to or supported the works of the theologians Heschel decries, Heschel rolled up their work under the blanket epithet “Nazi.” Separating Jesus from Jewishness is not acceptable for scholars like Heschel, even if a factual case can be made for so doing, or even if a particular believer might hold that to be a important reality in his/her life. Thomas Jefferson held the “Jewish system” and Jesus in diametrically different categories.

    In 1909, Samuel Untermyer encouraged Cyrus Scofield in Scofield’s production of an annotated bible that, according to bible scholars Charles Carlson, Paul Mauro, and Dr. F. Ferman Kearley“zionized Christianity,” put Israel at the center of Christian life, and imposed on Christians a demand to be warlike, rather than imitate the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount. As one of these Christian scholars points out, the Scofield bible places far more emphasis on the relationship of Christianity to Abraham than most Christians, before Scofield, typically maintained.

    Recently, Amy-Jill Levine published the The Jewish Annotated New Testament, a follow-on to her earlier “The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus.”

    To summarize, Jewish theologians and scholars resent that Christians seem to take over the place of Jews in god’s eye, even though Christians don’t necessarily seek to do so and did not see themselves as such in their earliest days, but also resent any attempts by Christians to establish themselves and their beliefs as separate and distinct from Jewry. Jewish agents and scholars have acted to re-cast the bible so that Christians are persuaded that their belief system is not only inextricably linked to Jewry but also to zionism. When Christian scholars sought to explore a version of Jesus separate from the Jewish narrative, their efforts were branded antisemitic. Finally, contemporary Jewish scholars are dismantling long-held Christian beliefs (ie. Levine argues that the “Three Wise Men” were actually fools and clowns) and have published yet another annotation of the bible that seemingly seeks to place an exclusively Jewish stamp on Christianity.

    • john h
      February 3, 2012, 5:32 pm

      An interesting synopsis, teta mother me.

      You sure got it with this:

      In 1909, Samuel Untermyer encouraged Cyrus Scofield in Scofield’s production of an annotated bible that, according to bible scholars Charles Carlson, Paul Mauro, and Dr. F. Ferman Kearley “zionized Christianity,” put Israel at the center of Christian life, and imposed on Christians a demand to be warlike

      What I have highlighted perfectly sums up why Christian Zionism is a contradiction and an oxymoron, and a cult that is anathema to every informed Christian.

      • teta mother me
        February 3, 2012, 7:00 pm

        thanks for reading john h
        American Christianity is very much in need of a Renaissance/reformation. We need to get back to Zoroaster– Good Thoughts Good Words Good Deeds.

  13. pabelmont
    February 1, 2012, 6:26 pm

    Another take on all this is is Israel on the road to self destruction? based on link to ha’aretz.

    • Charon
      February 1, 2012, 11:59 pm

      I’m almost afraid to mention the ‘H’ word (and I’m not talking about ha’aretz) but what that article mentions is important. There exists a faction within Zionism (and the revisionist Zionists push this narrative) that Israel faces enemies wanting to push them to the sea on a daily basis. And if they let their guard down for one second…. Holocaust.

      Zionists are conditioned as children to believe that if Israel fails symbolically, demographically, or physically, the end result is the same: Holocaust. Inject that at a young enough age and you have a generation(s) of paranoia.

  14. Chaos4700
    February 2, 2012, 12:14 am

    Has Witty finally given up? I was shocked enough to not see him pounce in the top spot, but by this point I expected to have to put on my waders to find the new thread comments box.

  15. Inanna
    February 2, 2012, 2:31 am

    So 1947/48 was about the moral and spiritual rebirth of Jews? Is that what ethnic cleansing and massacres is called in modern times?

    • seafoid
      February 2, 2012, 8:53 am

      The land was empty, Inanna. Nobody had been there for almost 2000 years.

      • Talkback
        February 2, 2012, 9:46 am

        The desert [!] was empty, seafoid. “land” sounds too fertile and that there could have been some fauna and flaura. But a burning bush told me, that only after the 2000 years old Zionists returned and shtupped the soil it started to bloom.

      • seafoid
        February 2, 2012, 12:07 pm

        The Arabs all turned up AFTER the Zionists arrived. It was only in the 1970s that they invented themselves.

  16. seafoid
    February 2, 2012, 9:41 am

    The book looks very interesting. The review includes this :

    ” Israel made the transition from a revolutionary national movement to a functioning state more successfully than many other decolonizing countries, particularly given the nature of the challenges it faced. (Most notably the need to integrate an enormous wave of mostly poor immigrants that, while sharing a sense of common peoplehood, was divided into wildly different cultural and linguistic groups.)”

    They did integrate them but it wasn’t into a society of reasonably educated , rational, democracy supporting (say Ashkenazi) citizens. Israel became a society with vast seas of ignorance, religious fundamentalism, out of control nationalism and respect for the police state rather than the vote (other than for pork barrel items) . So the integration came at a massive cost. There just weren’t enough Ashkenazi Jews to make a Euro style Israel work. And the damage to come will be monumental.

    Robert Capa went to Israel in 1948.- As a photographer he was always drawn to the exotic, the different.

    This man’s grandchildren are now running the country

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