Israel lobby’s favorite senator tries to erase Palestinian refugee status for millions

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 64 Comments
Kirk Senator Mark Kirk (Photo: Kirk.senate.gov)

Palestinians in the occupied territories, the diaspora and in refugee camps protested earlier this month on the 64th anniversary of the Nakba, commemorating the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians by nascent Israeli forces. Palestinians were sending a message to the world that the right to return to their homes would not be forgotten, and that millions of refugees are awaiting a solution.

One senator from Illinois, though, wants to write off those millions and change who is classified as a Palestinian refugee. Mark Kirk, a hawkish Republican whose political career has been boosted by right-wing Israel advocates, is leading a drive to fundamentally redefine who a Palestinian refugee is in the eyes of the United States.

Critics see the move as just one step in a larger strategy to take the issue of refugee rights for Palestinians off the negotiating table, and to cut funding from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN agency that assists Palestinians. One senior Senate aide who helped craft the amendment told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that “this will have major implications for future negotiations over final status issues with regard to refugees.”

In a statement, UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness said that “while UNRWA is following the debate in DC very closely, [the agency] does not comment in public about the internal workings of the legislatures of member states.”

Israel strongly opposes Palestinians’ right to return to their homes or their descendants’ homes, which they fled during the 1947-49 Arab-Israeli war and were never allowed to return to. Israel opposes the right to return because of their policy of maintaining a Jewish demographic majority. International law, though, strongly supports the rights of refugees to return to homes they were displaced from.

On Thursday May 24, a Senate committee passed an amendment by unanimous voice vote that would require the State Department to differentiate between Palestinian refugees who were displaced first-hand and those born after to families who were refugees.

The senator behind the amendment was Kirk, who is close to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and has received over a million dollars from Israel oriented political action committees during his political career. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) expressed concern at the bill and modified the amendment, but it still contains the State Department reporting requirement that Kirk was pushing. Kirk celebrated the passing of the amendment in a May 25 press release: “With U.S. taxpayers providing more than $4 billion to UNRWA since 1950, the watershed reporting requirement will help taxpayers better understand whether UNRWA truly remains a refugee assistance organization or has become a welfare agency for low-income residents of the Levant.”

An earlier version of the bill pushed by Kirk would have made it US policy to classify as a refugee only those Palestinians personally displaced by Israeli forces. In practice, this would mean erasing the refugee status of almost all registered Palestinian refugees, cutting down the number to about 30,000.

It’s unclear how far the amendment will go in the legislative process. The State Department has come out strongly against Kirk’s idea to redefine Palestinian refugees. Their position, as Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy reports, is that “final status issues can and must only be resolved between Israelis and Palestinians in direct negotiations. The Department of State cannot support legislation which would force the United States to make a public judgment on the number and status of Palestinian refugees.” Rogin also reports that the State Department puts the number of Palestinian refugees at 5 million–the amount registered with UNRWA–and that US policy is in line with UNRWA’s practice of granting refugee status to descendants.

A diplomatic source with knowledge of the Kirk amendment outlined the key problems with it in an interview. The US has no interest in attacking UNRWA because in allied countries like Jordan, UNRWA is a stabilizing force. Jordan hosts some 2 million Palestinian refugees who are registered with UNRWA, which provides refugees with crucial services in education and health. If US funds to UNRWA were cut, for example, as Kirk tried to do when he was in the House of Representatives, Jordan could be destabilized.

Furthermore, Kirk’s amendment rests on the wrong assumption that Palestinian refugee status is uniquely passed on through generations. In fact, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a separate agency that oversees refugee situations outside of Palestine, also gives refugee status to generations of family members who remain displaced. For example, the son of a Cambodian refugee registered with the UNHCR as a result of being displaced is also considered a refugee by the UNHCR. The amendment also does not address the fact that the 1967 war created 500,000 Palestinian refugees, with an additional 175,000 Palestinians registering with UNRWA as a result.

Lara Friedman, an expert on Congressional policy on Israel/Palestine, criticized the bill in a recent post at the Daily Beast blog Open Zion. Kirk wants to “use U.S. law” to redefine “most Palestinian refugees out of existence” outside of a negotiations context. “Of course, it won’t work, even if this somehow makes it into law. Palestinians who consider themselves refugees don’t do so simply because UNRWA, or anyone else, gives them permission to do so,” wrote Friedman.

The big issue here, as Friedman notes, is that Kirk is pushing for a fundamental shift in US policy towards who is a Palestinian refugee. In turn, this shift could help scuttle Palestinian refugee rights in negotiations over resolving the Israel/Palestine conflict. If this amendment were to become US policy, it would boost Israel’s attempts to take the right of return off the table.

Backers of the bill have been explicit about their aims. Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the neoconservative think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, wrote that the aim of the bill is to “tackle” the “thorny” issue of the right of return. “By tackling one of the toughest challenges of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict without the bedlam that typically accompanies bilateral negotiations, there would theoretically be one less sticking point when the stars align again for diplomacy,” wrote Schanzer. “Under the leadership of Knesset member Einat Wilf, this idea now has the backing of the prime minister’s office, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

According to Americans for Peace Now, Schanzer is reportedly “deeply engaged in this latest anti-UNRWA initiative.” The group also reports that AIPAC “was reportedly pleased with the amendment but has issued no public statement.”

It’s all in line with the recent attacks on UNRWA by Likud Party member Danny Ayalon. Ayalon created a video in conjunction with the right-wing Israel lobby group Stand With Us which argued that UNRWA was prolonging the refugee conflict and the conflict with the Palestinians. But as Randa Farah, an expert on UNRWA and Palestinian refugees recently wrote, it is Israel’s “repressive apparatus” of control over Palestinians that perpetuates the conflict and “increases the dependence of refugees on UNRWA’s meager aid, while at the same time creating even more refugees and internally displaced persons.”

The right of return is not something Palestinians plan on giving up, as the recent Nakba Day protests show. But that won’t stop Kirk from trying to legislate their status as refugees out of existence. Kirk is holding water for the Israeli demand that Palestinian refugees should never be allowed to return to the homes they were forced out of over six decades ago.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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64 Responses

  1. riyadh
    May 26, 2012, 3:23 pm

    Video of settlers setting fire to Palestinian olive groves and shooting a Palestinian who tries to put fire out

    http://youtu.be/W679Gn4fLQQ

    http://youtu.be/4ihZjJt5qt4

  2. traintosiberia
    May 26, 2012, 3:54 pm

    Israel does not want to help the Palestinian refugees and does not want any one does either. interesting! At least Hitler thought that some other countries could help the Jewish people if they wanted

  3. DICKERSON3870
    May 26, 2012, 3:55 pm

    RE: “Israel lobby’s favorite senator tries to erase Palestinian refugee status for millions”

    FROM Robert Naiman, Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy, 11/23/12: “Would It Make a Difference to Progressives if Norman Solomon Goes to Congress?”

    (excerpts) A key paradox for progressives of our national political life goes something like this: everybody complains about Congress, but nobody does anything about it. . .
    . . .Even now, the national infrastructure for effective caring is too weak. If the Progressive Caucus and the groups that support it effectively exercised all the functions of a political party, the fact that Norman Solomon is a candidate for Congress with a serious possibility of winning would be foremost in the consciousness of every pragmatic peace advocate in the United States. Every pragmatic peace advocate would know that Norman is running, every pragmatic peace advocate would know that there is a primary on June 5 and that voting by mail is already underway, every pragmatic peace advocate would know that Norman will survive the primary if he places second, every pragmatic peace advocate would understand why it matters if Norman survives the primary, and every pragmatic peace advocate would be doing their bit to help ensure that Norman survives the primary. . .
    . . .I am looking forward to Norman going to Congress because I know that Norman will work to raise the profile of the Progressive Caucus and will work to help make the Progressive Caucus more effective. Right now progressives in Congress are fighting to end the wars, to prevent war with Iran, to curtail drone strikes, to cut the military budget and redirect the money to human needs. But too few progressives in the country even know these fights are taking place, still fewer are engaged in them. With Norman in the Progressive Caucus, with Norman on TV, more people would know about these fights and more people would be engaged in them.
    Having Norman in Congress would do a lot to help build the progressive movement for political reform in this country. Check out his website. – http://solomonforcongress.com/ Think about what you could do to help move the ball forward.*

    SOURCE – http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/22-7

    * I made a modest contribution via ActBlue and Paypal. – https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/solomonforcongress?refcode=site-front-button

    • DICKERSON3870
      May 27, 2012, 10:57 am

      P.S. ALSO SEE: Three congressional challengers very worth supporting, by Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com, 3/29/12

      (excerpts) . . . Norman Solomon
      The long-time anti-war activist, co-founder of the great media criticism group FAIR, and author of “Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State” – a critique of America’s decades of militarism and the role which its media plays in perpetuating it — is about as close to a perfect Congressional candidate as it gets. He’s written 11 other books, including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death”: the title speaks for itself. He’s running in the heavily Democratic California district being vacated by the retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey. A newly released poll from an independent Democratic pollster shows him with a serious chance to win (there is an open primary in June, and the top two candidates, regardless of party affiliation, will then face each other in a November run-off).
      In 2002 and 2003, Solomon led three trips to Iraq to try to avert the war (trips that included former and current members of Congress), and was one of the most widely featured media voices during that period opposing the attack on moral, legal and prudential grounds. . .
      . . . Solomon demands diplomacy, not threats of military force, to resolve the current disputes with Iran. He decries the lack of criminal prosecutions for Wall Street defrauders and Bush torturers as a violation of the rule of law. . .
      . . .When it comes to Congressional candidates, it just doesn’t get any better than Norman Solomon. If you have any residual doubt, just look at this remarkable 2007 TV appearance he did on CNN with Glenn Beck, which he wrote about here, when he used the opportunity to detail and denounce the effect of corporate ownership of America’s establishment media (including CNN). He’s been doing this for 30 years and there’s zero chance he will change or compromise any of it if he wins. I can’t even imagine what it’d be like to have Norman Solomon in Congress, but I’d certainly like to see it. You can — and, I hope, will — support his campaign here. – https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/solomonforcongress?refcode=site-thermometer

      ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.salon.com/2012/03/29/3_congressional_challengers_very_worth_supporting/

  4. dbroncos
    May 26, 2012, 5:07 pm

    In 1982 the Begin government negotiated terms of peace with Lebanon’s President, Bashir Gimayel, shortly after Israel’s invasion. Apparently, Begin believed Gimayel would have enough Lebanese support to make good on terms of peace negotiated with Begin’s government. Those terms, almost entirely dictated by Begin, included a fixed price for pickles which would work out nicely in favor of Israel’s would be pickle suppliers to the Lebanese. The treaty essentially turned Lebanon into a Israel’s vassal state and three weeks after it was signed Gimayel was killed by an assassin’s bomb in a Beirut hotel. With Gimayel’s demise Begin’s dilusional hopes for normalized relations with Lebanon, including a fixed price for Jewish Israeli pickles, were gone.

    Does Kirk believe, as Begin did, that Israel’s diktats will be honored by those people most damaged by them? Does he belive that by wiping 4,970,000 names off UNRWA’s ledger the Jewish State will become more acceptable to Palestinians or the wider world?

  5. Fredblogs
    May 26, 2012, 5:15 pm

    Wasn’t it 3 quarters of a million refugees originally?

    ” is in line with UNRWA’s practice of granting refugee status to descendants” You forgot “of Palestinians” no other refugee group passes refugee status on to their descendants.

    Of course the State Department is against it, their primary job is sucking up to the Arabs for oil and to “help” with the war on terrorism.

    • Fredblogs
      May 26, 2012, 5:34 pm

      OK, the edit isn’t working. The linked document (an interview with the UNRWA spokesman, not exactly objective) has nothing about son of Cambodians. Nor does its linked document, which doesn’t say anything about an official policy of classifying descendants as refugees, the closest it comes is:

      “Tutsis who fled Rwanda between 1959 and 1962 and their descendants filled the ranks of the Rwandan Patriotic Front which invaded Rwanda from Uganda in October 1990. Many of these refugees had been living in the region for more than three decades.”

      Which could just be referring to the actual refugees, not their descendants since their descendants hadn’t been living for more than three decades (as of 1990). Or could just be a sloppy way of reporting on a group that has both refugees and descendants.

      When asked point blank about descendants of other refugee groups being classified as refugees, he said that UNHCR agrees that Palestinian descendants are refugees (going along with UNRWA) and talked about “protracted refugee situations” which also has nothing to do with descendants, just refugee situations lasting more than 5 years with more than 25k people displaced.

      Frankly if an odd sentence in a cherry picked report, and some obfuscating change of subject is the closest the paid spokesman of UNRWA can come to proving that other refugee descendants are classified as refugees, that pretty much proves there is no such official policy.

      • Talkback
        May 27, 2012, 5:36 am

        Fredblogs: “Frankly if an odd sentence in a cherry picked report, and some obfuscating change of subject is the closest the paid spokesman of UNRWA can come to proving that other refugee descendants are classified as refugees, that pretty much proves there is no such official policy.”

        Is that another example of hasbara autism? You were allready shown that UNHCR passes the refugees status to dependants according to the principle of family reunification.

        “Both the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) generally recognize descendants of refugees as refugees,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told The Cable. “For purposes of their operations, the U.S. government supports this guiding principle. This approach is not unique to the Palestinian context.

        Ventrell pointed out that the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees also recognizes descendants of refugees as refugees in several cases, including but not limited to the Burmese refugee population in Thailand, the Bhutanese refugee population in Nepal, the Afghan population in Pakistan, and the Somali population seeking refuge in neighboring countries. ”
        http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/05/25/did_the_state_department_just_create_5_million_palestinian_refugees

    • Daniel Rich
      May 27, 2012, 3:35 am

      @ Fredblogs

      What’s the difference between you and a holocaust denier?

      “In 1983, French scholar George Wellers was one of the first to use German data on deportations to estimate the number killed at Auschwitz, arriving at 1.613 million dead, including 1.44 million Jews and 146,000 Catholic Poles.[80] A larger study started later by Franciszek Piper used timetables of train arrivals combined with deportation records to calculate 960,000 Jewish deaths and 140,000–150,000 ethnic Polish victims, along with 23,000 Roma and Sinti,[81] a figure that has met with significant agreement from other scholars.[82]

      After the collapse of the Communist government in 1989, the plaque at Auschwitz State Museum was removed and the official death toll given as 1.1 million. Holocaust deniers have attempted to use this change as propaganda, in the words of the Nizkor Project:

      Deniers often use the ‘Four Million Variant’ as a stepping stone to leap from an apparent contradiction to the idea that the Holocaust was a hoax, again perpetrated by a conspiracy. They hope to discredit historians by making them seem inconsistent. If they can’t keep their numbers straight, their reasoning goes, how can we say that their evidence for the Holocaust is credible? One must wonder which historians they speak of, as most have been remarkably consistent in their estimates of a million or so dead… Few (if any) historians ever believed the Museum’s four million figure, having arrived at their own estimates independently. The museum’s inflated figures were never part of the estimated five to six million Jews killed in the Holocaust, so there is no need to revise this figure.[79]” @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auschwitz_concentration_camp

      Like to toss a few more numbers around?

      • Fredblogs
        May 27, 2012, 2:53 pm

        Don’t get your shorts in a bunch. That was just a somewhat tentative way of asking if there was an error in this particular post. I didn’t want to say “hey, you screwed up, fix it”. In case he was talking about some subset of the refugees in 1948 and I had just misunderstood him. If you’re going to correct someone, either be sure or be tentative about it.

  6. Parity
    May 26, 2012, 5:16 pm

    Please change “a quarter of a million” to “three-quarters of a million.”

  7. seafoid
    May 26, 2012, 6:00 pm

    Illinois has many home grown problems to solve (how many jobs does the state need to create this year for example and where will they come from? ) but obviously taking one in the *** for the lobby is far more important.

  8. OlegR
    May 26, 2012, 6:23 pm

    /The right of return is not something Palestinians plan on giving up/
    Neither we plan to allow, ever, so …

    • Blake
      May 27, 2012, 6:27 am

      Boy, history won’t be kind on you reprobates. I doubt anybody can be as despicable to you though as you have been to the Palestinians. Lying about all your brutal savage terrorist gangs and its rapes/plunder/murder and ethnic cleansing, wiping from the face of the earth their ancestral villages and even claim they are an invented people. Simply not human.

      • Fredblogs
        May 27, 2012, 2:55 pm

        All Peoples are invented. It’s just a question of when. The Jewish People were invented about 3500 years ago, the American People were invented about 2-3 centuries ago and the Palestinian People were invented after the 6 day war.

      • JamieT
        May 27, 2012, 7:03 pm

        That’s a disgusting, anti-semitic lie. The concept of a place called Palestine dates back to Herodotus, and the ‘invention’ of the people, as you put it, began under Ottoman rule.

        Now that said, how about we take your assertion about invention to its logical extent, and remove all the silly distinctions between ‘Jews’ and ‘Palestinians’ in Israel? Or does your invented identity come before the suffering of millions of innocent people?

      • gamal
        May 27, 2012, 11:32 pm

        “The concept of a place called Palestine dates back to Herodotus”
        interesting and a people well even earlier, from the history that does leave a trace, unlike that invisible empire, some more interesting stuff, tjekers and all.

        The Peleset and Tjeker (Minoans) of Crete, they would later be known as the “Philistines” after they had settled in Southern Canaan. Over time, this area became known by a form of their name “Palestine”. The Lukka who may have come from the Lycian region of Anatolia, The Ekwesh and Denen who seem to be identified with the original Greeks, The Shardana (Sherden) who may be associated with Sardinia, The Teresh (Tursha or Tyrshenoi), the Tyrrhenians – the Greek name for the Etruscans, and The Shekelesh (Sicilians?).

        From the textual evidence on the temple walls, it appears that the Peleset and the Tjeker made up the majority of the Sea Peoples involved in the year 8 invasion. In the artistic depictions, both types are depicted wearing a fillet (a ribbon used as a headband), from which protrudes a floppy plume and a protective piece down the nape of the neck.

        and

        The Sea peoples’ defeat prevented them from conquering Egypt itself, but it left the Egyptians incapable of defending their possessions in the East, which were colonized by the Philistines, Sidonites and others. The effects of the eclipse of Egyptian power are described in the Wenamen papyrus. Local kings, such as the king of Dor, showed quite open contempt for the ambassador of the Pharaoh.

        According to the possibly a ficticious account, at the beginning of the 11th century B.C, during the reign of Ramses XI, Wenamen, a priest of the Amen temple at Karnak, sailed in a Phoenician ship to Gebal (Byblos) in order to buy timber for the construction of a solar ship. He carried with him a letter of introduction to Zekharbaal, king of Gebal, a statue of the god Amen and some valuables: One golden vessel weighing five deben (about 450 grams), four silver jugs weighing twenty deben and a purse containing eleven deben of silver, a total of five deben of gold and 31 deben of silver, enough to buy thousands of cubic metres of wood.

        The Story begins:

        Year 5, fourth month of the Summer season, day 16; the day on which Wenamun, the elder of the portal of the estate of Amun, lord of the Thrones of the Two Lands, set forth to fetch the timber for the great noble bark of Amen-Re’, King of the Gods, which is upon the river and is called Amen-user-her. On the day of my arrival at Tanis, the place where Nesbanebded and Tentamun are, I gave them the dispatches of Amen-Re’, King of the Gods. They caused them to be read before them and they said:
        ‘We will surely do as Amen-Re’, King of the Gods, our lord has said.’ I stayed until the fourth month of the Summer season in Tanis. And Nesbanebded and Tentamun sent me forth with the ship’s captain Mengebet, and I went down upon the great sea of Syria in the first month of the Summer season. And I arrived at Dor, a Tjekker-town, and Beder its prince caused to be brought to me 50 loaves, one flagon of wine, and one haunch of an ox. And a man of my ship fled after stealing one vessel of gold worth 5 deben, four jars of silver worth 20 deben, and a bag of silver, 11 deben; total of what he stole, gold 5 deben, silver 31 deben.
        And I arose in the morning and went to the place where the prince was and said to him: ‘I have been robbed in your harbor. But you are the prince of this land and you are its controller. Search for my money, for indeed the money belongs to Amen-Re’, King of the Gods, the lord of the lands, it belongs to Nesbanebded, it belongs to Hrihor my lord and to the other great ones of Egypt; it belongs to you, it belongs to Waret, it belongs to Mekamar, it belongs to Tjikarba’al the prince of Byblos.’

        He said to me: ‘Are you in earnest or are you inventing? For indeed I know nothing of this tale that you have told me. If it had been a thief belonging to my land who had gone down into your ship and had stolen your money, I would have replaced it for you from my storehouse, until your thief had been found, whoever he may be. But in fact the thief who robbed you, he is yours, he belongs to your ship. Spend a few days here with me, that I may search for him.’ I stayed nine days anchored in his harbor, and then I went before him and said to him: ‘Look, you have not found my money.’

        There follows a much broken passage the gist of which may be guessed to be as follows: Wenamen expresses the wish to depart with some ship’s captains about to put to sea, but the prince urges him to refrain, suggesting that he should seize goods belonging to the suspected persons until they had gone to search for the thief. Wenamen, however, prefers to continue his journey and after touching at Tyre leaves that port at daybreak. He is soon at Byblos, where Tjikarba’al is the prince. There he comes across a ship that contains 30 deben of silver, which he annexes saying that the money shall remain with him until those whom he addresses have found the thief.

      • Samuel T
        May 28, 2012, 1:48 am

        Fb, that has to be one of the most succinct statements you’ve written.
        I’d like to test each one of them and see how they stand-up under closer scrutiny.

        1. “All Peoples are invented.” This is, historically accurate although some may assume that the use of the word; “invented” implies that they are made up, a figment of the imagination. I don’t believe that is your context. Israel and it’s people(s) came from an actual person, named Jacob, then Israel and his 12 sons, representing tribes named after them. You know those pyramid shaped structures in Egypt? They were built by Hebrew slaves, not Egyptian citizens.

        2. “It’s just a question of when.”
        The “Roots” of both Jewish peoples and Arabic peoples can be traced back to Abraham,”the Father of many nations” who had two sons; Isaac and Ishmael. From Ishmael came the Ishmaelite’s (go figure) and from Isaac, the “Jewish” peoples. Ishmael was born first, he is the older brother, if birth order may be argued as a right to exist or not exist. Same Father, different Mother(s).

        3. “the American People were invented about 2-3 centuries ago…”
        Who discovered “America” is still being debated. The Indigenous people, native(s), tribes, either pre-existed before the arrival of the “pilgrims” OR are descendants from China. (I saw it on TV, a theory, but it was on TV)
        However, America was founded on the same principles of other Nations. Wage war with the locals, wage war with “other” peoples from other nations, Wage war with each other, but please, be Civil, we’ll call it a “Civil War.” North against the South. Hatfields and Mcoys, family feud (not the game show) AND in the Middle East? Family feud on Acid (a lot, like a game show)

        4. “… and the Palestinian People were invented after the 6 day war.”
        Fb, you’re on your own with that one.

      • tree
        May 28, 2012, 3:41 am

        You know those pyramid shaped structures in Egypt? They were built by Hebrew slaves, not Egyptian citizens.

        Actually, that’s a myth. The Pyramid builders weren’t slaves and they weren’t Hebrews. And the Great Pyramids were built several hundreds of years prior to the existence of the Hebrews and Israelites.

        One of the first things you find out is that it’s important to get our definitions right. Terms like Jew and Hebrew are thrown around a lot in these histories, and they’re not the same thing. A Jew is someone who practices the Jewish religion. A Hebrew is someone who speaks the Hebrew language. An Israelite is a citizen of Israel. A Semite is a member of an ethnic group characterized by any of the Semitic languages including Arabic, Hebrew, Assyrian, and many smaller groups throughout Africa and the Middle East. You can be some or all of these things. An Israelite need not be a Jew, and a Jew need not be a Hebrew. Confusion over the use of these terms complicates research. Hebrews could be well integrated into a non-Jewish society, but modern reporting might refer to them as Jews, which can be significantly misleading.

        Now, there are more than just a single question we’re trying to answer here. Were the Jews slaves in ancient Egypt? Were the pyramids built by these slaves? Did the Exodus happen as is commonly believed?

        The biggest and most obvious evidence — the pyramids themselves — are an easy starting point. Their age is well established. The bulk of the Giza Necropolis, consisting of such famous landmarks as the Great Pyramid of Cheops and the Sphinx, are among Egypt’s oldest large pyramids and were completed around 2540 BCE. Most of Egypt’s large pyramids were built over a 900 year period from about 2650 BCE to about 1750 BCE.

        We also know quite a lot about the labor force that built the pyramids. The best estimates are that 10,000 men spent 30 years building the Great Pyramid. They lived in good housing at the foot of the pyramid, and when they died, they received honored burials in stone tombs near the pyramid in thanks for their contribution. This information is relatively new, as the first of these worker tombs was only discovered in 1990. They ate well and received the best medical care. And, also unlike slaves, they were well paid. The pyramid builders were recruited from poor communities and worked shifts of three months (including farmers who worked during the months when the Nile flooded their farms), distributing the pharaoh’s wealth out to where it was needed most. Each day, 21 cattle and 23 sheep were slaughtered to feed the workers, enough for each man to eat meat at least weekly. Virtually every fact about the workers that archaeology has shown us rules out the use of slave labor on the pyramids.

        It wasn’t until almost 2,000 years after the Great Pyramid received its capstone that the earliest known record shows evidence of Jews in Egypt, and they were neither Hebrews nor Israelites. They were a garrison of soldiers from the Persian Empire, stationed on Elephantine, an island in the Nile, beginning in about 650 BCE. They fought alongside the Pharaoh’s soldiers in the Nubian campaign, and later became the principal trade portal between Egypt and Nubia. Their history is known from the Elephantine Papyri discovered in 1903, which are in Aramaic, not Hebrew; and their religious beliefs appear to have been a mixture of Judaism and pagan polytheism. Archival records recovered include proof that they observed Shabbat and Passover, and also records of interfaith marriages. In perhaps the strangest reversal from pop pseudohistory, the papyri include evidence that at least some of the Jewish settlers at Elephantine owned Egyptian slaves.

        Other documentation also identifies the Elephantine garrison as the earliest immigration of Jews into Egypt. The Letter of Aristeas, written in Greece in the second century BCE, records that Jews had been sent into Egypt to assist Pharaoh Psammetichus I in his campaign against the Nubians. Psammetichus I ruled Egypt from 664 to 610 BCE, which perfectly matches the archaeological dating of the Elephantine garrison in 650.

        If Jews were not in Egypt at the time of the pyramids, what about Israelites or Hebrews? Israel itself did not exist until approximately 1100 BCE when various Semitic tribes joined in Canaan to form a single independent kingdom, at least 600 years after the completion of the last of Egypt’s large pyramids. Thus it is not possible for any Israelites to have been in Egypt at the time, either slave or free; as there was not yet any such thing as an Israelite. It was about this same time in history that the earliest evidence of the Hebrew language appeared: The Gezer Calendar, inscribed in limestone, and discovered in 1908.

        http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4191

        And Exodus didn’t happen as written either. There is no record of Jews or Hebrews having been slaves in Egypt or fleeing Egypt for the Promised Land nor is there any record of Hebrews or Jews wandering in the desert for 40 years. Its all myths.

        See a video on it here:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCc0XpCkjsU

        And the same info here, lest you think I am making this up:

        http://www.nationalgeographic.com/pyramids/pyramids.html

        http://news.discovery.com/history/pyramids-tombs-giza-egypt.html

        http://harvardmagazine.com/2003/07/who-built-the-pyramids

      • Shmuel
        May 28, 2012, 3:57 am

        A Jew is someone who practices the Jewish religion. A Hebrew is someone who speaks the Hebrew language. An Israelite is a citizen of Israel.

        Of course the idea that the pyramids were built by Hebrew slaves is nonsense, but so is the above statement.

        A citizen of Israel is an Israeli. Israelite is used in the Bible to refer to the descendants of Jacob (also called Israel), and in Rabbinic literature as a synonym for Jew. Hebrew is used in the Bible to refer to descendants of Abraham (“the Hebrew”; more specifically through Jacob). Both Hebrew and Israelite have been used in modern times as synonyms for Jew. As for who/what is a Jew – let’s not get into that again.

      • tree
        May 28, 2012, 4:09 am

        Sorry. Obviously the explanation in the quoted source is a little fuzzy, and I thin he’s combining and in some sense confusing the terms as used in the Bible and other religious texts with the terms as used in other ancient historical records, and current history as well.

        Both Hebrew and Israelite have been used in modern times as synonyms for Jew.

        But not always correctly, which I think is the point the author is trying to make, although not altogether clearly, and not without mistakes of his own.

        In any case, my point in quoting the source was to make clear that the Pyramid builders were not slaves and were not Hebrews. I didn’t mean to step on any toes. However one wants to define Jews, they weren’t pyramid builders.

      • Shmuel
        May 28, 2012, 4:29 am

        In any case, my point in quoting the source was to make clear that the Pyramid builders were not slaves and were not Hebrews. I didn’t mean to step on any toes. However one wants to define Jews, they weren’t pyramid builders.

        My toes are fine :-) I just thought it was a shame that someone (not you) trying to establish historical facts begins by misinforming and mystifying, while claiming to set the record straight.

        English today tends to distinguish between the three terms (Hebrew, Israelite, Jew), roughly corresponding to different historical periods. It was not always so in English or in other European languages (some of which continue to use equivalents of Israelite or Hebrew to refer to Jews), and it was/is certainly not the case in Hebrew.

        The bottom line however, that the pyramids were not built by “Hebrew slaves”, is absolutely correct. Much of Samuel T’s comment is based on religious mythology, rather than history, but this particular assertion is not even a part of Jewish religious mythology, and would seem to derive from Cecil B. DeMille’s Ten Commandments and certain American Haggadah illustrations (not to mention an offhand remark by Menachem Begin).

      • Shmuel
        May 28, 2012, 4:47 am

        Speaking of “invented peoples”, there’s an interesting interview with Shlomo Sand in this weekend’s Haaretz: http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/author-of-the-invention-of-the-jewish-people-vents-again.premium-1.432371#

      • Talkback
        May 28, 2012, 5:08 am

        “… and the Palestinian People were invented after the 6 day war.”

        Considering citzenship laws Palestinians were invented in 1925 and Israelis in 1952. A Jewish citizenship never existed.

      • Shmuel
        May 28, 2012, 5:38 am

        All Peoples are invented.

        That’s a truism. The real questions are what does the term mean in a given context and what are its ramifications. The words people, nation, am, goy, umah, gens, ethnos, etc. have meant different things at different times.

        the Palestinian People were invented after the 6 day war.

        The concept of a Palestinian people in the modern sense is, of course, a modern invention (as are the corresponding concepts of Jewish, Israeli, French, German, Italian, Iraqi, Libyan, American, etc. peoples). Zionist propaganda likes to use the Six Day War as a cut-off point for Palestinians, but the Palestinian National Charter, ratified in 1964, repeatedly uses the terms “Palestinian Arab people”, “Palestinian people” and “people of Palestine”.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 28, 2012, 8:48 am

        “Zionist propaganda likes to use the Six Day War as a cut-off point for Palestinians, but the Palestinian National Charter, ratified in 1964, repeatedly uses the terms “Palestinian Arab people”, “Palestinian people” and “people of Palestine”.”

        Shmuel, you’re using facts and logic. What you have to remember is that Fred will say anything, no matter how false, racist or ludicrous — such as this claim about the Palestinians being a people invented in 1967 — to defend Israel or an Israeli Jew.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 28, 2012, 8:53 am

        “The “Roots” of both Jewish peoples and Arabic peoples can be traced back to Abraham,”the Father of many nations” who had two sons”

        No, they can’t. That “Abraham” nonsense is myth. No more real than Ganesh or Apollo. How much of the idiocy in the Middle East and the world in general would be solved with the wholesale recognition that these stupid myths are just fairy stories from the infancy of civilization and proceed accordingly.

      • talknic
        May 28, 2012, 10:48 am

        Fredblogs May 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm

        “the Palestinian People were invented after the 6 day war”

        LOL. ‘fraid not Freddy. Nice pic for ya!

        Apart from your nonsense being irrelevant to RoR, (UNGA res 194 and its definition don’t mention Palestinians) , by your denial of the existence of the Palestinians as a people prior to 1967, you’re also denying the longer history of Jewish existence in the region….. As Palestinian Jews. Longer than the Kingdom of David existed, longer that Israel has ever existed.

        You must be so proud..

      • Fredblogs
        May 28, 2012, 11:43 am

        @Shmuel
        Yes, but at the time that was just a description for convenience, Remember that it wasn’t the “Palestinian liberation organization” but the “Palestine liberation organization”.

        The idea in 1964 was that after they destroyed Israel that the Palestinians would just be part of a Pan Arabist state. The idea of an independent Palestine as a goal of the PLO wasn’t floated until 1974. That is why in 1964 they foreswore any claim on governing the West Bank and Gaza, then in the hands of Jordan and Egypt.

      • Shmuel
        May 28, 2012, 12:08 pm

        Yes, but at the time that was just a description for convenience

        Well, that settles that then. I count 21 such “descriptions for convenience” in the relatively short document.

        Your entire understanding of Palestinian national (pre-67) identity and Pan-Arabism strikes me as a description for (Zionist) convenience. There is no contradiction between the concept of Arab nationhood and Palestinian (or Egyptian or Syrian) peoplehood – as the charter itself explains.

        I agree that a distinct Palestinian national identity is a modern invention, precipitated (like Zionism and in direct relation to Zionism) by modern conceptions of peoplehood and nationhood promulgated in the 19th and early-20th centuries. To suggest that no such identity existed prior to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, is self-serving nonsense. Coupled with the assertion that Jews have had such a national identity for 3,500 years, it is simply nonsense.

        To return to the topic at hand, the ROR is an individual right, not a national one, so that Palestinians could have become a people yesterday or never, and Jews can be direct descendants of exiled Judeans or Khazari Johnny-come-latelies or the product of Heinrich Graetz’ fevered imagination. It doesn’t really matter in this context.

      • MHughes976
        May 28, 2012, 12:25 pm

        The story of Abraham does not have to be ‘literally true’ in order to be of historical value. It has that value at two levels. One level concerns the time when Genesis was being more or less finalised, presumably around 500 BCE. The Eerdmans Bible Commentary, p.57, says that the presence of the various other nations, which we would call Arab. in the Abraham story, indicates the degree of affinity that the Israelites felt with them at the time of writing – the text accepts or admits that there had been centuries of intermarriage and cultural influence. The other level concerns the more ancient times in which Abraham’s story is set, the early second millennium BCE. What the story accepts must have been more or less true. The Israelite civilisation was a branch of the civilisation of Canaan and Syria.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 28, 2012, 12:28 pm

        “Your entire understanding of Palestinian national (pre-67) identity and Pan-Arabism strikes me as a description for (Zionist) convenience.”

        Of course it is. As I’ve pointed out on a number of occasions, Fred doesn’t care about facts or logic or anything. He asks, “what position do I have to/need to take in order to advance the cause of zionism?” and that’s what he argues. If zionism required him to defend human sacrifice and belief in elves, he’d do it without a second thought.

      • Fredblogs
        May 28, 2012, 1:35 pm

        @talknic
        Great, and that passport went to everyone in the region, not just to the Arabs. Back then, when you said “Palestinian” you were just as likely talking about a Jew. So as to the question of when they were a separate people, it is proof of exactly nothing.

      • Fredblogs
        May 28, 2012, 1:40 pm

        @Shmuel, I didn’t say that the self-identification of the Palestinians had anything to do with the “right” of return. You just assumed that. As to the right of return. Never going to happen. They can get over it, or keep fighting, but it isn’t going to happen.

      • Shmuel
        May 28, 2012, 1:59 pm

        I didn’t say that the self-identification of the Palestinians had anything to do with the “right” of return. You just assumed that.

        I didn’t assume anything. I was just trying to get back on topic (the post is about Palestinian refugees).

        As to the right of return. Never going to happen. They can get over it, or keep fighting, but it isn’t going to happen.

        As I said, Israel should be honest and say that it is willing to discuss the terms of Palestinian surrender, but not a peaceful solution to the conflict. Maybe BDS will help put an end to Israel’s ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights. Negotiations certainly won’t.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 28, 2012, 2:15 pm

        “when they were a separate people”

        Who said they had to be “separate”? That they were a subset of a larger people is to be expected, given their reality. The fact that they conform to their own culture in their own way and did not reflect Western thinking about how people “should” view themselves is surprising to no one but a bigot.

      • Blake
        May 28, 2012, 2:34 pm

        Fredblags: Most historians mark the start of Palestinian Arab nationalist sentiment in 1834, when Arab residents of Palestinian region revolted against Ottoman rule. Israel, founded amid 1948 Arab-Israel war, took shape along the lines of a 1947 UN plan for ethnic partition of then-British ruled territory of Palestine which natives rejected. More than 800,000 Palestinians were forced from their lands by Zionist terrorist groups in 1948, in an episode Palestinians refer to as the Nakba or “catastrophe”.

        During the years of the Yishuv, pre-Israeli-statehood Zionist community in Palestine, Jewish-Zionist settlers called themselves “Palestinians”. In this way, Zionists ironically affirmed thing that many of them wish now to deny: Palestinian identity. In 1948, amid the massacres & military forced mass expulsions of “nakba”

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 28, 2012, 3:02 pm

        “I didn’t say that the self-identification of the Palestinians had anything to do with the “right” of return. You just assumed that.”

        Do you people discuss this theory for any reason other than to libel the Palestinian people’s right of return?

        “As to the right of return. Never going to happen. They can get over it, or keep fighting, but it isn’t going to happen.”

        Well, people said the same thing about the Jews living in large numbers in the Middle East, and some of them have. Who knows what the future will bring?

      • Blake
        May 28, 2012, 4:12 pm

        Fredblags: If we all have to move to our “original homes,” then every group has to go back to human origination point in Africa, except for first people who settled in any other area. That also means the Jews go back to where they started from — which is not Israel, that’s the “promised land,” remember? — but, if historical surmises are correct, somewhere in MesoPotamia. The Hebrew scriptures say Abraham was born near “Ur of the Caldees” & was instructed to leave his “native land.” So, by your logic, that’s where all the Jews have to go.

      • bigbill
        May 29, 2012, 8:47 am

        “Hebrew” was given a special meaning–a meaning in opposition to “Jew”–by the European Zionists. Ruppin and his fellow German Jews were trying to create a new “Hebrew” people in Israel, unlike the “Jewish” luftmensch, hustlers, fraudsters, peddlers of Europe. Read some Arthur Ruppin and Jewish Agency stuff. The new “Hebrew man” was going to work the soil, real blut und boden stuff unlike the decadent “Jew”.

      • Fredblogs
        May 29, 2012, 11:28 am

        @Woody Tanaka
        What do you mean “you people”?

        I discuss it because it is historically interesting. I don’t think it matters one way or another to the merits of their claims about a RoR. I don’t think they have one or if they do, they’ll never get to exercise it. If they had been a country when the Jews took over, I still wouldn’t think they had a RoR. Countries come and go, and population transfers happen. Which is why smart people just get on with their lives instead of spending 64 years complaining about the RoR and not doing anything to make their present conditions better, but just assuming that they will get RoR someday which will fix their lives.

        As to what people said about the Jews living in large numbers in the Middle East, the Jews didn’t just sit around waiting to get Israel back for 2000 years, they made lives for themselves wherever they were.

      • Blake
        May 29, 2012, 4:28 pm

        “Smart people” do NOT believe land that is lived on by a native people actually belongs to them to begin with. Nothing more to add to it than that.

      • talknic
        May 30, 2012, 1:08 am

        Fredblogs May 28, 2012 at 1:35 pm

        “that passport went to everyone in the region, not just to the Arabs”

        “everyone” who was a ‘legal’ citizen of Palestine.

        ” when you said “Palestinian” you were just as likely talking about a Jew”

        More likely, pro rata, a non Jew. Never the less, either or both. All legitimate citizens of Palestine held Palestinian nationality.

        “So as to the question of when they were a separate people”

        Prior to the launching of the Zionist Federation’s colonial enterprise, they were just Palestinian people, with different religions. The creation of Israel separated them.

        “…it is proof of exactly nothing.”

        Oh dear. It proves their nationality prior to Israel being given on May 15th 1948, completely gratis, over half of 1947 Palestine.

      • Hostage
        May 30, 2012, 1:29 pm

        “…it is proof of exactly nothing.”

        Palestinian nationality is based in international law found in Article 30 of the Treaty of Lausanne, not the municipal laws of Israel. So to be perfectly honest, when Israel seceded from Palestine its new laws prove exactly nothing about the status of refugees. The same thing applies to US congressional appropriations bills.

    • Woody Tanaka
      May 28, 2012, 12:35 pm

      “Neither we plan to allow, ever, so …”

      Who’s “we”, comrade? When the redemption of Palestine is achieved, you’ll be sent on the first plane to Siberia where you belong.

      • Fredblogs
        May 28, 2012, 1:42 pm

        @Woody Tanaka

        LOL, well that attitude is exactly why the Israelis see the Palestinians as mortal and eternal enemies. If all they have to look forward to is exile to Siberia, why should they ever do anything to help the Palestinians?

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 28, 2012, 2:23 pm

        Fredo, as usual, you have causation backwards. This Russian, Oleg, invaded Palestine; Siberia wouldn’t be “exile,” it would be “going back where he came from.” It’s odd that you zionists commit the most vile bigotry, oppression and murder and then asks why the Palestinians don’t welcome you.

        Do you want to know why the Israelis view the Palestinians as mortal and eternal enemies? Because they stand witness to the Israelis criminality. So long as the Palestinians exist, the Israelis will be unable to sweep their crimes under the rug. The Israeli’s view is the view of the guilty.

      • talknic
        May 29, 2012, 10:21 pm

        Fredblogs May 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm

        ” If all they have to look forward to is exile to Siberia, “

        Uh? The word used was “you”. When ‘you’ can’t comprehend a simple sentence OR ‘you’ need to adulterate what has been said in order to make sense of ‘your’ own nonsense, ‘you’ either need help OR ‘you’re’ just another propagandist for a Greater Israel. The latter became apparent within two or three of ‘your’ posts. In which case help won’t help.

        What ‘you’re’ doing is affording the chance to show other readers just how ill-informed, stupid and dis-honest ‘you’ and ‘your’ kind are.

        .

        .

        BTW …. thx . Keep up the ‘good’ work

  9. Citizen
    May 26, 2012, 7:07 pm

    Kirk sits at the candy desk in the senate, has supported blocking arab male immigration into the USA, and also administrative detention of Americans without due process. He’s a member of the United Church Of Christ. Lives in Highland Park, if memory serves. He lied about being shot at while in the military.

    • DICKERSON3870
      May 26, 2012, 9:02 pm

      RE: “He [Mark Kirk] lied about being shot at while in the
      military.” ~ Citizen

      MY COMMENT: Being a chronic liar certainly makes Mark Rich superbly qualified to be a lackey for AIPAC! “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but facts will never sway us!” ~ Neocon Creed

      CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/03/13:

      (excerpt) Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk accepted responsibility Thursday for a series of misstatements about his Navy Reserve career, including that he served in the Gulf War, that he once commanded the Pentagon war room and that he came under fire while flying intelligence missions over Iraq. . .

      SOURCE – http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-06-03/news/ct-met-mark-kirk-military-record-060420100603_1_military-gulf-war-democratic-senate

      ALSO SEE: Congressman Mark Kirk Lies About Everything, By Dan Amira, New York, 6/18/10

      A few weeks ago, an Illinois Republican congressman in the midst of a senate campaign, Mark Kirk, graciously took the heat off of Connecticut Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal by “exaggerating” his military service even more flagrantly than Blumenthal had. Kirk had said he won the Navy’s “Intelligence Officer of the Year” award, which he didn’t! But that wasn’t all. As reporters dug into his background, more embellishments were revealed. He said he was fired on the last time he visited Iraq. He wasn’t! He said he served in Operation Desert Storm. He was a reservist in Maryland! Now Kirk’s refusal to state any of his life experiences accurately has extended into non-military biographical details, like the time he “taught” nursery school in upstate New York.
      The ‘Times’ reports today that, though Kirk has frequently spoken about his time as a nursery school teacher, an administrator at the Ithaca church where Kirk “taught” says he “was never, ever considered a teacher.” He was just a work-study student from Cornell who acted as “an additional pair of hands to help a primary teaching person.” Eight other members of the church from that time, including two pastors, fail to remember there being a male teacher either. So what else has Kirk embellished about his life? Is he even really a congressman? Does he even exist?

      SOURCE – http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2010/06/congresman_mark_kirk_lies_abou.html

      • traintosiberia
        May 26, 2012, 11:41 pm

        So its not the stroke .He was making things up before that happened to him.
        With these kind of flagrant lies one only can avoid scrutiny by the media by doing what Truman, Johnson,Scoop Jackson, Reagan,Bush 2 have done i.e : by prostrating to the most odious demands of Jewish power.

    • Hostage
      May 27, 2012, 2:55 am

      Rogin also reports that US policy is in line with UNRWA’s practice of granting refugee status to descendants.

      Well of course, Article III of the Apartheid Convention applies to individuals and members of organizations (AIPAC/WINEP) whether residing in the territory of the State in which the acts are perpetrated or in some other State. The acts include the adoption of measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country, including the right to leave and to return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence, & etc.

      This measure is designed to do all of those things. Kirk may enjoy congressional immunity at home, but try explaining that to the other UN member states that he’s attempting to stiff with the tab for Israel’s policy of grand apartheid. What do they get in return for going along with this nonsense?

      2 of my children were born overseas while I was serving in the US military and they inherited my nationality. That’s exactly how Article 1 of the 1951 Refugee Convention works too, on the basis of the refugee’s country of nationality. My children are middle aged now and have children of their own. Their nationality got passed along in-turn by operation of law without the need for any personal intervention. Article 1 of the 1951 Convention does not concern itself with how the family ends up outside their country of nationality, only that they are unable to return or fearful of doing so. If my family had somehow been prevented from returning to our homes and properties in the US years ago by a measure like this, would Sen. Kirk accept a settlement that ignored our nationality and the content and intent of the Refugee Convention? You could certainly claim that my children and grandchildren had no right of return, because only my wife and I were personally displaced from our country of former residence, but the convention doesn’t stipulate that a refugee’s descendants must be personally displaced in order to acquire their parents status or nationality.

      Article 35 of the 4th Geneva Convention reflects customary international law:

      “All protected persons who may desire to leave the territory at the outset of, or during a conflict, shall be entitled to do so”.

      The only exception is an occupied territory, where enemy civilians of military age may be prevented from leaving. Palestinians in that category are Israeli citizens today. Many of them were internally displaced and martial law was used to prevent them from returning to their homes. There are schemes to strip them of their acquired nationality and citizenship too. At what point do we stop pretending this isn’t a criminal conspiracy to commit the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people?

  10. braciole
    May 26, 2012, 11:01 pm

    I hope that Kirk will demonstrate that he is not racist bigot by demanding that the Israeli government end the so-called “right of return” for Jews as all the Jews who were alleged to have been expelled by the Romans after the destruction of the Second Temple are long since dead and their descendants many generations later should not be defined as refugees if the children of Palestinian refugees are to be reclassified.

    • traintosiberia
      May 27, 2012, 8:52 am

      Spain has been allowing ( under pressure) any descendants of the victims of inquisition to settle in Spain . Germany has been allowing Jews descendants of Holocaust to return from eastern Europe and former USSR to settle and claim citizenship while ignoring same to the children of the legal immigrants from 3rd World countries. It is same Israel that make laws here in US also make laws for Europe only in opposite direction contradicting itself.

      • ritzl
        May 27, 2012, 8:49 pm

        @traintosiberia Well, if that isn’t yet another OMFG moment. At least for me.

        A study at Tel Aviv’s Bar Ilan University study found 100,000 Israelis have German passports.

        During the Nazi era, the 1935 Nuremberg racial laws stripped Jews of German citizenship. But since May 1949, German law gives Jews who fled Nazi Germany the right to German citizenship, including all their descendants.

        (my emphasis)

        http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/16/11230508-descendants-of-holocaust-victims-reclaim-german-citizenship?lite

        Given this, the level of raw, documentable, power-enabled hypocrisy/privilege/un self-awareness/disconnect (there’s probably other words) of this Kirk effort to deny to Palestinians what Jewish Israelis already have is really, really hard to overstate. Maybe equally hard to ignore in even the medium-term.

        This extreme level of flimsy, Lobby-enforced political top-heaviness (inverted pendulum, even) must exist in a state of constant fear of someone sneezing in its general direction, or the Butterfly Effect, as the case may be. Reflexive fear.

        Dangerous game.

    • Fredblogs
      May 28, 2012, 1:44 pm

      There is no “right of return” for Jews. What you’re thinking of is the _law_ of return. Why should Kirk care whether the Israelis choose to let in Jews? They aren’t doing it because of any non-existent refugee status of the Jews, they are doing it because they like having more Jews in the country.

      • talknic
        May 29, 2012, 9:50 pm

        Fredblogs May 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm

        ” They aren’t doing it because of any non-existent refugee status of the Jews, they are doing it because they like having more Jews in the country”

        Even this is a lie.. there are housing shortages in Israel while Israel has since 1948, been busy building “outside the State of Israel” and in “territories occupied”

  11. sciri21
    May 27, 2012, 1:19 am

    Kirk is the same guy who said sanctions against Iran should be intended to hurt the Iranian people and that “it’s okay to take the food out of the mouths” of Iranians. He’s a disgrace to Illinois and to the U.S. Senate. But not to AIPAC. His lack of humanity represents and serves AIPAC quite well.

  12. CTuttle
    May 27, 2012, 3:49 am

    Any doubts on AIPAC’s sway…?

    *aargh*

  13. Talkback
    May 27, 2012, 5:21 am

    Kirk actually helps the refugees by bringing them back into the focus after Israel and the PA tried to take them out of the equation. Another stupid Zionist whose actions will backfire.

  14. piotr
    May 27, 2012, 10:05 am

    How many Jews who made aliya were actual refugees from Roman persecution?

    Thus the “Jew who taunted Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion and was then cursed to walk the earth until the Second Coming” qualify as an example? Are there others?

  15. Woody Tanaka
    May 28, 2012, 12:40 pm

    “Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the neoconservative think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies… ‘Under the leadership of Knesset member Einat Wilf, this idea now has the backing of the prime minister’s office, the Ministry of Defense, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.’”

    So now this fifth columnist, israel-firster piece of garbage is conspiring with foreigners to manipulate US law?? Time to cut zionism out of US politics completely.

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